#28 Phoebe

January 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I collared Phoebe for her lipstick and her hat, then fell in love with her classic-mac-and-shiny-DMs combo. When she told me how much of her outfit was thrifted, I knew she was perfect mannequin material. “Don’t say charity shop, say vintage!” she said as I quizzed her, but second-hand clothes mean first-class style in our world. This is an eclectic get-up, but the neutrals pull it all together and it’s accented with a wine-soaked flash of colour from her lips and jacket and that dramatic necklace.

What she’s wearing

Hat, from a charity shop

Necklace, from Maddison in Chippenham

Mac, Burberry via charity shop

Satchel, a Christmas present

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Style en pointe

January 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few weeks before Christmas, I was in a pub with a few friends and friends-of-friends when a very drunk Frenchman leant over and said, “Are you a ballerina? Because you move like a ballerina.” As I’ve got a distinctly un-sapling-like BMI of 25 and was at that moment sucking down my third Jägerbomb, I’m confident that this comment was inspired by neither my physique nor my startlingly graceful movements (I may have missed my mouth slightly with the fourth Jägerbomb).

Instead, it was either a testament to the Frenchman’s refusal to be impeded by reality when thinking of a chat-up line, or (and I prefer this option) evidence of the Awesome Power Of Clothes. Because, in a plain off-white racer back vest and full black skirt, I was dressed a bit like a ballerina that night. And as ballet psychodrama The Black Swan is coming out shortly, with exquisite Rodarte-designed costumes (see Natalie Portman as the Black Swan above, and the designer’s sketches below), I’ll probably be working the tutu and tulle even more this year. The good news is that, if I can be mistaken for a dancer, you won’t need to be Portman-petite to pull this look off. More ballet style coming up soon.

#27 Dusty Mink

January 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

This adorable jumper is my greatest prize from the January sales, and marks a bit of a clothing epoch for me, because it’s my first cashmere jumper. Get that: cashmere, the fabric of adults who can be trusted not to tip their coffee down their front, who own exotic objects like sweater bags and who do a regular handwash. So what if none of those things are actually true of me? I own cashmere now, which means they bloody well could be.

It’s an Antoni & Alison jumper – a brand I always love for its witty design and unsickly cuteness – but the trompe l’oeil bow is, I think, a call back to a much more famous jumper. Elsa Shiaparelli was a couture designer, a contemporary of Chanel’s and an associate of the surrealists. Her bowknot sweater (below) is more detailed (it has faked-up cuffs and shawl collar too) and technically more challenging, because both the light and dark yarns are carried round the whole of the garment (you can download the pattern here if you’d like to knit it yourself), but the A&A version has the same sly sense of visual humour. The big glittery bow on my head just seemed necessary under the circumstances.

What I’m wearing

Jumper, Antoni & Alison Label via TK Maxx

Bow, unknown via TK Maxx

Initial necklace, Tatty Devine (a Christmas present from my brother-in-law and his rather chic wife)

Not shown: jeans, DM boots (as here and here)

Ask the Mannequins: Which winter hat should I buy?

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Which winter hat is best?

Holly B, via Facebook

The bobble hat.

What? You need more? OK. As someone who’s recently shaved their head for charity, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at the winter hat. Due to their current ubiquity on the high street, you should negate the animal hat automatically. But if you insist, first a question. Are you under 16? If yes, then fine, go with the silly animal hat. Those old enough to remember 1998 should be old enough to know better, quite frankly. If that’s not a good enough argument, then Hadley over at the Guardian puts it much better than I can.

Still not convinced? OK, try this…

Terrible animal hat (for an adult), Boohoo

OK then now, you’ve seen sense, let’s look at other stylish hats that are hella more suitable.

If you really must go animal, this one is bear (fnar) able. It’s basically a Russian-style fur hat, but look! It has ears! How ironic will you be wearing that sucker?

Bear hat, River Island

This little beany is great because, in its current styling, conforms to this winter (and every other winter’s) Jack Wills-preppy/military trend. If that’s your thing, then fab. But switch the pin for an antique-style broche, a feather, bow or whatever and you’ve got a rather versatile hat on your hands that’ll see you through many a winter.

Military beany, Bank

Lots of love,

Badger x

Got a dressy dilemma to put to the Mannequins? Send us an email or contact us on Twitter and we’ll do our best to solve it.

Five things: a Badger party look

December 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

Oh gawd. Until this evening I was all set over what I would be wearing to our work Xmas party. I’d found a dress a while ago that I thought about wearing to my headshave, but then decided to relegate it to the Xmas party and wear something slinkier (and less likely to get hair stuck in it – the things you have to consider when shaving your head are many, believe me). Two weeks of missing my bad-ass morning sweat-a-thon later (and therefore with an arse the size of a small African country), and I’m only 60% sure. I love the roushing, and the stunning back, but will it be OK on my pot belly – and can I lose half a stone in two days?

Anyway, assuming I man-up, shut up and just go for it, here are the five things I’m wearing this Wednesday. Argh, yes I know it’s only four things, but I’m going understated. Besides, I’m treating the buzz cut as an accessory it itself.

Earrings, River Island

Another tip for would-be baldies: big earrings are your friend.

Dress, Miss Selfridge

It looks like a posh frock but was such a bargain! And the back makes the dress sexy in a wonderfully understated, grown-up way.

Shoes, New Look

Option to switch to ballet pumps later, allowed.

Clutch, Topshop

Who says I have too many bags already?

So do you reckon girls with a bit of a belly can do slinky numbers? Or must one’s tummy be totally washboard to pull this off? I’ve seen some quite cute outfits like this where there’s a mini-pot, but I’m just not sure – would welcome opinions in the comments below!

#26 Dusty Mink

December 12, 2010 § 4 Comments

I have encountered some misguided types who seem to think that wearing tights with shorts means it is not shorts weather. Rubbish. In fact, for anyone who shares my untameable nest of anxieties about the way they look, the more reason there is to wear tights, the more emphatically it becomes shorts weather.

In the summer, these rather nice high waisters are beachwear. They’d definitely never accompany me to the office with bare legs – or, Lord help me, on my commuter bike. But with some robust woolly tights, I feel thoroughly dressed. I have lots to say about the boots as well, but as they’re the only footwear I’m likely to be rocking between now and spring, I expect I’ll have plenty of chances for that.

What I’m wearing

Breton jumper, American Apparel

Shorts, French Connection via Boundary Mill

Tights, Gennifer Merino Wool in noisette by Transparenze via MyTights

Boots, Tana by Dr Martens

Necklace, Antlers Pendant by Tatty Devine

Ask the Mannequins: what should I wear to a Janelle Monae gig?

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m going to see Janelle Monae in December. What should I wear?

dawnhfoster, via Twitter

Normally the problem with picking a gig look is how to stay in the narrow bounds of the music tribe you’re going out to play with. Oh the long hours it took me before a Crystal Castles gig deciding which pair of skinny black jeans and which yes-I-am-a-bit-edgy-thank-you T-shirt to wear.

But Monae is a different matter. She’s got so many looks (and sounds) that you could miss the support act just deciding which style you wanted to copy. (See above, clockwise from top left.) She’s got ’70s psych-soul; vintage Stax look in tux and spats; flirty flapper; ultraglam diva; androgynous in an argyle and tie; and robot savior of a of a dystopian metropolis. Where do you start?

I’m going to rule out android straightaway, and then make a controversial bid to strike tuxedo from the list too. Look, I know it’s awesome on Jannelle – but she has the most astonishing hair in the history of hair. You could try it, but there’s every chance you’d come out looking like a magician.

Flapper and diva are both possibilities but a bit high-maintenance, which leaves the boyish Gap sweater look (too easy, all it takes is a trip to Gap) and my favourite, the afro-and-beads look.

Even without the afro, you can rock this. Key element: LAYERS. A tee, a printed shirt and a shearling waistcoat are the bare minimum, and a good solution to the freezing in the queue/broiling in the gig problem. You’ll also need a bunch of chunky necklaces and bangles. Oh, and to carry yourself with the uncompromising air of someone at the vanguard of social change – easy right? If that fails, I’m afraid you’ll just have to go with the cardboard and gold paint cityscape look. Sorry.

Enjoy the show!

With love, Dusty x