Sunday, 12 September 2010

The £10 challenge - nautical

So last wednesday EDF came to visit our lovely home in Queen's Park to raid my wardrobe and find outfits for the ridiculous number of weddings she is due to attend in the next month or so.
In return she agreed to take some pictures of me for the £10 challenge in one of my favourite new finds - a super soft oversized denim shirt.
She also convinced me that my very fine limp hair was now long enough to put in a top knot and did my hair. I have wanted a try the now ubiquitous top knot for a very long time, but frankly, I think it's just not me. I'm never going to be 'edgy' enough to pull it off. The final straw was JFK saying that in Ireland the kind of scraggly top knot that my hair makes is referred to as a 'Stella bump' and is generally sported by pregnant teenagers in jogging bottoms.
I'm also not very good at having my photo taken by other people, so it's back to the tripod and the self portrait button on the Canon dslr for me.
However EDF also brought with her a present. A very lovely wearable present - a knee length pale yellow vintage high waisted Jaeger pencil skirt that features in today's £10 challenge post.
It's the perfect compliment for a much-loved but rarely worn Marc Jacobs t-shirt squirreled out from the bargain rail at the clothing exchange in Notting Hill two years ago for £7. I actually paid for it in vouchers acquired from the exchange of some old bits and pieces, so in a way it was kind of free, which is always nice.
So I'll reshoot the denim shirt challenge shortly, but for now let us turn our attentions to nautical fashion.
Trying to work out why nautical has been such a huge trend on the high street for so long is tricky. You may not have seen many anchor prints recently, but the breton stripe is still going strong. Coco Chanel is usually given the credit for transforming the attire of the rough and ready sailor into high fashion. We can thank the rich and famous and their penchant for expensive yatchs for ensuring that the look has hung around, fading in and out of favour but never quite disappearing. Jean Paul Gaultier has done his bit too with a far sexier take on the look than Chanel's elegant but boyish approach.
But the most recent revival of everything nautical is really thanks not to canonical fashion designers but to the rockabilly and burlesque scenes and the revival of forties and fifites pin-up fashion. The momentum behind it was building for most of the noughties, filtering up from the vintage purists, the rockabilly scene and tattoo parlours. Its appeal mounted as we tired of the hippy floatiness of boho, the scruffiness of rock chic or the lycra infused bling look, and wanted something nostalgic that required a bit of effort but was still a little rough around the edges and adaptable.
The nautical frenzy peaked a couple of years ago and has died down a bit now to make way for a more lady-like Mad Men inspired look as seen on the catwalks of Prada and Louis Vuitton, but it's still there hovering in the background waiting for another moment.
A lot of the iconography associated with the rockabilly and pin-up revival now looks a little tired, which means anchors are consigned to the Primark bargain rail for the moment.
I still love a good breton stripe, but the thought of yet another article about what is, basically, just a really good t shirt that's been around for ages just fills me with fatigue.
But it's still possible, I think, to be a little pin-up and a little nautical and keep it fresh. Especially when the sun is shining and you crave something jaunty. There may be a chill in the air but I'm not quite ready to sacrifice the last touch of summer just yet.

£10 challenge outfit;
Skirt - Jaeger - gift - £0
Top - Marc by Marc Jacobs - Notting Hill Clothing Exchange - £7
Belt - no label - car boot sale - £0.50
Denim jacket - Gap - car boot sale - £2
Brooch - Swarovski - car boot sale - £1

Total - £10.50


Office - car boot sale - £3

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