Monday, 28 March 2016

Belmer The Elephant

Well folks here I am again in the fair and beautiful Oxford, bringing my rather East London sense of style back to my hometown and as a result, looking like a nu raver that got lost and ended up at Hogwarts.
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I love this shirt SO MUCH. I found it in Edinburgh at a vintage fair for £9, and it gives off serious Elmer the Elephant vibes. The first time Jess pointed this out to me I thought she meant Elmo from Sesame street, which is interesting because the coat I'm wearing here makes me look like I am acually wearing Elmo. As I said in my previous post, my aesthetic now seems to be children's tv characters, but only accidentally.
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Coat - Topshop
Shirt - Vintage fair
Trousers - Asos
Shoes - Adidas Supercolor (via Ebay)
Bag - Gift
Sunglasses - Unif via Depop
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This look is rather low key for me, I picked up these rather unremarkable looking jeggings from Asos because I really hate how restrictive proper jeans are. They are so so comfortable and haven't lost their shape at all (my trousers always have to be super skinny as a rule) so I would reccommend! This was a great outfit for wandering around town in, I tend to come home maybe once every three months for a few days so my time here is certainly precious.
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Also I hope you've noticed that these pictures have gone up in quality, I'm finally getting to grips with my 50mm 1.8 lens which has confused me for so long. It means I can't really shoot my own photos anymore on self timer because it's too difficult, but it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make for better photos! I feel like a real blogger now instead of a bum.
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Credit goes to Cara for inspiring the name of this post and my mother for being a very patient and skilled photographer!

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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A Whole Lotta Rainbow

As you know, dressing like a children's TV presenter is something of a passion of mine. I have to have those strong primary colours going on so that my friends never lose me in a crowd and I somehow match with every child I see. This polo neck top that I'm wearing here is a prime example of this, it is the clothing embodiment of the British children's TV show Rainbow which I loved watching as a child. And who knew that the combined aesthetics of Zippy, Bungle the Bear and George would become my style inspiration aged 23? unif primark topshop 5

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Coat - Topshop
Top - Unif via Asos
Skirt - Primark
Shoes - Clarks
Bag - Cambridge Satchel
Sunglasses - Unif via Depop

This is a pretty Unif heavy outfit, now there's a surprise! These glasses are completely ridiculous but the minute I saw them I knew I had to have them! The shirt is from the Unif range on Asos, they've been doing quite a selection of multicoloured polo crop tops at the moment! This one is just so unashamedly cheerful and I imagine you will not be able to get it off me all all the way through Spring.
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I've paired the crop top with my trusty Primark pencil skirt which I have got A LOT of wear out of in the last few years, I really like stretchy pencil skirts because I know they're going to cover everything, because usually I have to rely on safety shorts to make sure I'm ur, safe from flashing. Alongside this the red coat and yellow bag essentially replicate the colours of the top! This wasn't deliberate and I've just noticed it but that's some serious style ingenuity right there kids, that's why you come to Rags right?
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Thanks once again to Luke for taking these photos!

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Friday, 18 March 2016

Prom in Primary Colours

Would you believe, would you bloody believe that this dress came into my life just after my trip to Scotland, home of the tartan? Still, this little photoshoot gave me the opportunity to play out my prom dreams, wearing my boyfriend's jacket (if I had a boyfriend) as he walks me home after prom through our suburban American town. I'm thinking way too much into this. My actual "prom" was hilariously anglicised to be called 'the dinner and dance' instead, a name that very clearly outlined what we would be doing (have dinner, then dance) and not, in fact, engaging in American prom activities such as getting off with some dude you've talked to once in Geography or like, ending the night covered in pig's blood a la Carrie. jack wills love the sales 1
Jacket - not mine
Dress - Jack Wills sale via Love The Sales
Shoes - Clarks
Bag - Cambridge Satchel Company

I'm sure a lot of my friends from school will be laughing right now at the thought of me in Jack Wills! Everyone loved that shop whilst I was at school, we have a huge one in Oxford and I spent many a Saturday afternoon in there with my best chums, loudly complaining about how expensive it was. However, this dress was sent to me by Love the Sales as part of their Jack Wills collection so I thought it was about time I tried it out! As you can see this dress isn't really my usual style, but I really do love the print and the shape. Paired with this jacket, lent to me by the photographer of this post Luke, I'm really into the dressed down effect. I've never been hugely comfortable in formalwear, which I suppose might come as a surprise because surely, as a fashion blogger, I would love to get dressed up? I guess I just like to be comfortable! Also shout out to my hair for actually behaving in this post and keeping the beehive to add to the prom queen effect, instead of sliding down like it usually does! Also, sorry there are a lot of photos in this post, it was great to have Luke helping me out with outfit photography, truly the most difficult task of fashion blogging, and we got a bit snap happy!
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Credit to Luke for taking these photos for me, check out his instagram!

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Sunday, 13 March 2016

'I'm Not Like The Other Girls'

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A snap of me devilishly revealing my slutty, unintelligent knee! 

Recently there has been an uproar about one of the most famous women in the world, Kim Kardashian, posting a naked selfie. Reactions have ranged from positive, praising Kim for celebrating her body, to negative, describing her as a poor role model for young women.

I don't personally feel as if someone posting a picture of their own body really warrants my opinion, or anybody else's, but the level and type of vitriol directed at Kim for doing so is really concerning, and I believe it feeds into deeply-held beliefs about women's worth, and our relationship with our bodies.

I suppose one of the most concerning aspects of this whole story is the reaction of other women. With Chloe Moretz reaching out and saying that Kim should be 'teaching women that we have more to offer than just our bodies' and Pink suggesting in a Twitter post that we should be using our intelligence rather than our bodies to 'get attention.' What really worries me about these arguments is how they are packaged to appear to be empowering women, 'you have so much more to offer' they say, 'so why would you rely on your body?' I don't really blame Chloe for expressing these opinions because I imagine I would have said similar things at her age, but Pink's entirely simplified, binary view suggests she should know better by now.

I don't think it is entirely surprising that this idea is popular, however the problem is that it feeds just as much into sexist ideas as anything else. Simply put, the minute you try to put down another woman for her own form of self expression or her choices (except if those choices or that expression actively harms another person or group), you've already lost me, and many other women who understand that being sexually open and confident about your body is not the same as aligning yourself with patriarchal standards.

As a teenager I believed that I wasn't like those 'other girls.' I was different, looking up to stars like Pink and Avril Lavigne and relating to that pop star image of the outsider girl. This was my version of feminism, one that shamed other women for their choices and how they expressed themselves. What I didn't realise at the time is that the alt girl pop propaganda was lying to me, telling me that if I acted a bit more like one of the boys and not like one of those 'stupid girls' (to directly quote Pink) I would be respected, and by who exactly? A set of very judgemental women and the group whose opinion undoubtedly still mattered the most, men. I believe that this argument plays on girl's insecurities about ourselves, teaching us to direct that frustration at other women rather than societal pressures.

As women, we are taught that our sexuality and our bodies are to be concealed. We are patronised and lied to, told that within our bodies lies so much power (true), and that we should 'respect ourselves' by not giving too much away (false). This is why the idea of virginity exists, a notion that encourages young men to get rid of it as quickly as possible and for women to hold on to it as a source of their worth. This is why we are taught to wait to have sex for fear a man won't respect us if we give ourselves away too easily. This is why the act of showing a little more skin than others deem acceptable results in being called a slut. We are painted as seducers who use our sexuality to trick men, to 'cocktease', to manipulate, heaven forbid that we might actually enjoy our own sexuality.

Moretz, Pink and professional slimeball Piers Morgan's views on Kim's nakedness correspond to the notion that women's bodies are the source of their worth. They may not think so, but they do. Shaming a woman for showing her body makes the assumption that she is doing it for men. Their appeal that we should look for the qualities other than our bodies, whilst also telling Kim to cover up, implies that we lose a part of ourselves when we reveal a little more. It feeds into a demonisation of women, of our 'tits' and 'asses' as bad, sexually charged, attention seeking instead of, you know, our own damn tits and asses. If a woman takes control of her body and chooses to express it, she is irresponsible, attention seeking, yet if a woman's body is depicted by another it is art. Why else is it that some nude shots of women are represented as 'tasteful' or 'beautiful' or 'honest', many of which are taken by men, whilst Kim's own choice to show her body to the world is somehow an attack of womenkind?

We do not have to be this gross, impossible, contradictory amalgamation of qualities that society demands of us, namely that we should use our brains but conceal our sexuality and our bodies, oh but also look conventionally pretty. This is a reductive view that seeks to keep women in a certain role just as much as anything else. It is a method of keeping women as the other, entrenching the 'I'm not like the other girls' culture that introduces misogynistic views in a warped feminist format. It is important that we don't buy into the othering of women that appears in the words of Moretz and Pink, that says you can be better than those dumb girls, that encourages us to hate women who we should support and respect. You don't have to agree with or necessarily like Kim Kardashian as a person to know that criticising her for founding a career on her sexuality and being open about her body is a way of slut shaming her.

There is nothing wrong with 'the other girls.' The 'other girls' have different life experiences and opinions and relationships with themselves and this is to be celebrated. Other women are not your enemy, they are not the people holding us back from equality, it is those who uphold and champion patriarchal standards that should be criticised.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments! 

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

The Iron Throne

There is an uncharacteristically dark colour palette in this post (apart from the yellow of course) and there are two reasons for this. The first is because these photos were taken in Edinburgh, a city that I absolutely adore but that admittedly, doesn't tend to fit in too well with my colourful aesthetic. That didn't stop me from telling everyone who would listen how I was desperate to move up there though. I was visiting my friend Jess who has her own amazing blog and shop Jessthetics, and can I just take a moment to talk about how Jess is easily the most stylish person I know, her outfit photos are always a dream and she picks out/makes beautiful sustainable pieces for her shop including crochet shorts(?!?!) and co ords, you have to go check her out! We had a really lovely weekend together exploring old and new places, including the whole countryside area around Arthur's Seat and Holyrood (it is as if there is wilderness within a city, which felt pretty insane for me having lived in London for 4 years), a lot of pubs, and, of course, Armstrongs Vintage Shop.
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Dress - Black Milk
Shoes - Primark
Cardigan - H&M

The second reason, is this dress! I basically left the iridescent at home in Hackney as I felt this dress would be perfect for the trip. I've always thought Edinburgh has this slightly Game of Thrones style vibe about it, perhaps because I'm a filthy tourist casual, but also because it's super North, very dark, and has a surprising amount of Americans. All in all, it was time to get my Daenerys on and take this dress out for its first Rags of Love ride. If you're not familiar with the show this dress depicts the Iron Throne, an extremely iconic piece of furniture fought over by all the warring families on there. They're also looking for power but I think it's mainly this chic chair that they're after. The dress is from the Australian brand Black Milk and was a collaborative birthday present from my best chums many moons ago! It is a skater style and is very flattering, although perhaps a bit nippy for the Scottish climate, although as Jess and I often said on the trip 'you have to suffer for fashion'!
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I can't remember exactly how we found this location but it was ideal for outfit photos because it was very quiet and quintessentially Edinburgh, also there was a lamp post slap bang in the middle that you could, quite literally, frolic around. It's important to get involved and not look too stiff when you're taking outfit snaps folks!
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If you want to read a little more about our trip then check out Jess's February review post, and if you're going to Edinburgh yourself soon (lucky you) then check out my Edinburgh guide post from my first ever trip up there three years ago!
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(I'm just putting this one in to prove to my mum that I did actually wear a coat).

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