Back to Basics – Mori

Mori, or Mori Kei, is a style based on getting back to nature and living a slower, calmer existence with the world around us. Unsurprisingly, it’s s a very organic look; it has lot of different aesthetics brought into it, and can be developed in many different ways. There are some people who would say that there are “rules” to Mori, but I think that fashion, especially a fashion that finds its basis in the natural world, it can grow in whatever way you want.

However there are some good basic pointers and hints of how to start creating Mori looks in these rules. Personally I do more Dark Mori, or Strega, than I do Mori Kei, but that’s just because I am still building my Mori wardrobe. So this Back to Basics is not only a great start for you guys, but also a lovely place for me to explore looks and ideas that I want to bring into my own style.

Right, let’s get started!

Except not. Before you start looking for pieces for your wardrobe, find the looks you like! There are so many versions and variations of Mori that you need to know what you’re looking for. Do you like floaty, lacy whites and browns, or do you like earthy greens with pullovers and boots, or the corduroy skirt with cotton patchwork blouse? Or all of it! Collect images of what you like – pintrest is great for this – and then you can start thinking about what you want to buy, what you can make or modify ad how you are going to put it together.

While you’re doing this take note of the colours that are being used and the combinations that you like as well.

Colour wise with Mori you do want to have a certain palette and tone of colours that you work with. Nothing to bright, it’s more muted, natural tones. You can add statement pieces of colour to enhance your outfit, but going for a bright red outfit won’t quite work. It’ll look cool, it just won’t be Mori.

Within that you can choose whatever colours you want, but remember you’re coordinating your outfit so that it all works harmoniously together. You maybe want to stick with more neutral colours, whites, greys, browns, though I’d push into greens and blues as well; they are natural colours after all.

Lastly, before we get onto the pieces themselves, the fabrics you want to be looking at are going to be more natural and vintage. We’re talking brushed cottons, regular cottons, lace, lose jersey, wool, knits of all descriptions, linen, and corduroy, anything that feels earthy, and preferably not man made.

Now, let’s look at what makes up Mori so that you actually know what you’re looking at when you have your horde of pictures.

The first thing to remember about Mori, and Strega, is layers! Layers are the key to this look. I’ve talked about how they create depth in an outfit, but they also give texture and in a look that is emulating forests, and planet life, you want to have lots of textures blending together, like in nature.

This means that you want to have a nice plain base. You can use a base over and over in different outfits so having a few easy to wear, go with everything pieces are a must. These pieces are going to be your canvas to put the rest of your look on.

Base dresses: These are very simple I would say minimalist style dresses. You don’t want them to be overly fitted, or in fact fitted at all, because they aren’t the main focus of the outfit. Think of them as support for the rest of the look. It’s better to go with a smock or shirt dress, but you can play with what it looks like outside of that. Peter Pan collars are really cute way to do with this, or you could just go for a simple round neck.

Base shirts: If you don’t want to wear a dress, a long button down shirt or blouse is a lovely look for Mori. Again, you want it to be quite plain, but the collar, the cut of the shirt, the length. These are all things that you can play around with. You can also go for a long t-shirt or vest; that can create a really great look too.

Remember, that as much as it is a base for your outfit that does not mean it is the bottom layer. You can put things underneath as much as on top of it. It’s just the part that brings everything together. They can also be any length. You can put a longer petticoat or skirt under a shorter dress, or shirt, as well adding layers over the top of a longer dress. If you want to go for trousers then you can layer different lengths of shirts and tops, or is you want shorts, you may want a top that’s shorter in the front but long in the back. The possibilities of how you work it are endless.

Speaking of Petticoats, they are a key part of Mori.

Petticoats and Underskirts: A quick and easy way of adding length to a skirt, and creating layers, you can even have multiple length underskirts and petticoats if you fancy it. And for those of you who like your lace, petticoats are great way of bringing lots of exciting lacy layers into your outfit.

Though a lot of people will go for white or off white petticoats, that is by no means the only option and you shouldn’t feel like that’s all you can do. If you’re playing with the idea of having a water inspired Mori look, you could go for light blues or turquoises, or for forest feel, browns, greens and beiges could look great. It depends on what you are doing and what you’re matching it with. Don’t be afraid to play outside of the box.

You can chop and change a look to your hearts content with petticoats and undershirts.

Of course, these are only ideas and guide lines, so you can and should switch things up. I personally love having a statement shirt as my base and building up plainer layers on top, heck, why not try wearing the petticoat as a top layer. That could look really cool. After all you could go for making the dress the statement part of the outfit. A more patterned, colourful or tailored dress can be just as Mori as a plain one.

Statement dresses and skirts:

A statement dress in Mori is not suddenly breaking out the body con or neon colours, that should be pretty obvious, but it is an excuse to go for something brighter or with more a fit. A lacy, light weight cotton shirt dress with a pull in waist would be a great shout for a statement piece, or a navy blue jumper dress with owls on it, or even that red corduroy circle skirt that you’ve never quite known how to wear, all of these will work.

To keep these in the tone of Mori you want to be pairing them with more obviously Mori pieces, like the base items we’ve already discussed.

I’ve talked a lot about skirts and dresses, so I’m guessing you’ve got some ideas there, but what about the rest? Let’s have a look at blouses and shirts.

Blouses and shirts: This is the area that I feel there is the most variety in Mori, going from smart button downs, to long t-shirts, to a light weight roll neck and back again. And it’s not just the style, but because you want to be layering, you can play around with lengths and cuts as well. You could have a long, straight t-shirt with a button down grandpa shirt over the top, in fact that would look great.

As I’ve said through all of this don’t go too tight. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just not really Mori. You’re trying to have an easier going aesthetic – despite it actually being a lot of work to get Mori right – so the look wants to look effortless, like you are one with the world around you, and super comfy. That’s the best thing about all of these pieces, they are comfy as hell.

Trousers and shorts: There’s a bit of a cross over with ouji here, in that you are going to looking at bloomers, pantaloons and the like, but also harem pants, and some straight leg, but lose-ish fitting trousers. Actually I’ve gone for all variety of trousers and shorts with Mori, but it’s best to start with a basic look and then work on it once you know what you’re doing.

Personally I don’t like the really lose harem pants, but that’s because I don’t enjoy wearing them, they don’t suit me, so I normally go for a straight cut, but not too tight. That being said jodhpurs actually look great with Mori so.

Shorts wise, I’d say not too short. Booty shorts aren’t really in keeping with the whole woodland creature aesthetic. But you can mix it up with tights or leggings if you do feel like going shorter, and I think long socks with a cute pair of pantaloons is a definite win.

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Outerwear: OK, I love Mori outerwear. It’s all big cosy jumpers and cardigans, and who doesn’t love a parker jacket? Heck, even a waistcoat can add a fun twist to an outfit. Literally you can go to town with this stuff. Personally I love an oversized, chunky knit jumper, over a long button down shirt or dress; it’s the cutest look.

You can also go for cardigans, with big pockets, maybe a cute decal. You have so much choice! Look at all the choice!

As for jackets, like I said, you can go for a baggy parka, but you could also go for a light weight overcoat. I honestly think that as long as it fits with your colour scheme you can probably get away with any jacket.

A lot of Mori, fashion in general in fact, is playing around with what looks good and what doesn’t. If you don’t something you switch out, try something else. It’s quite a fun thing to spend a day doing, playing with your wardrobe and your outfits. I know that sounds a bit silly, but it’s totally worth doing, just so you know what you have and what you might want to get to improve, or add to, your existing outfits.

Accessories are a big part of this experimentation and wardrobe building. For Mori you want cute, nature based accessories – birds, flowers, squirrels, foxes, acorns, trees, leaves, I could go on forever but you get the idea. Necklaces of varying lengths are, of course, a good call, as are scarves. Lace scarves, light weight summer shawls, big woolly blanket scarves, whatever the weather they will always enhance your outfit. I also think a fun watch can work too, either a wrist watch or a pocket watch on a chain, either looks great. Earrings, brooches, bracelets, belts, you can go to town with it all.

Again, don’t be afraid to play around. There is so much scope within the style, you don’t just have to look like an ethereal fae who’s climbed out of a tree stump. My personal favourite look is Scandinavian goat herd. Lots of nice reds and browns in that one. But seriously, have a play. You wanna wear the bottle green shirt with cream lace over the top, try it, see how it looks. I have said it over and over and will continue to say it, experiment! It’s you’re look, you decide what you like.

I hope you like this first Back to Basics piece and look forward to the next one which will be voted for my by patreon supporters!

If you like what I’m doing please consider supporting me on patreon and continue to support my blog as well as my other ventures.

Simplicity and Serenity

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Thought it was about time I did simple look. And I mean simple.

Simplicity on this level isn’t something I do that often. For me to wear an outfit that is made up of less that 5 pieces, and has no patterns or fancy fabrics if a very rare thing. Despite not being an OTT person at all, I generally try to go for a midpoint, layering and using interestingly designed pieces with different fabrics and textures, as well as throwing a hand full of accessories at whatever I’m wearing.

I’m not entirely sure why I avoid simple outfits. It’s not like OTT which I find too busy and overbearing, often losing the style of the original fashion. Simple looks hold more of a fear for me instead of an active dislike. To create a balanced and interesting look with so little is a challenge that one can fail at so easily, but I think it’s more than that.

With a lot of my looks, I can hide behind the layers, not only literally but also figuratively. I’ve spoken before about clothes being an armour, a way of getting the world to see what you want of yourself. If you dress a little bit odd then you are very clearly saying “This is who I am and I don’t care what you think of me”. You can hide behind that, even if, actually, you care a lot. It’s one of the hardest things about existing in the world as nonbinary or trans, you have to walk down the street and deal with people making comments, especially if you don’t “pass” – mean that’s such a binary idea anyway, people should look like whatever they want.

Wearing odd clothes draws attention to you, but in a way that makes people see you for who you are, rather than judging you by your physical appearance. But this also allows you quite a bit of freedom. You’ve stated your claim to not caring, so people get on board with who you are quicker, after all you must be very comfortable with who you are not to care about what others think. A lot of people don’t realise that it’s an act. So by wearing something simple, you suddenly lose that armour, loss your instant confidence. You have to be yourself without the crutch of your clothes.

That being said, I don’t think that, even with a simple outfit, I am being anything other than a bit weird. This look may be simple, but it’s not exactly high street. There’s definitely more Briar Rose about it than Ariana Grande. I don’t think anything I wear will be anything less than slightly eccentric. And maybe that’s how I “pass”. I’m passing as me, because I can’t be anything else.

Outfit Breakdown

Obviously there isn’t a huge amount going on in this look, except, wait there is. Simple does not mean that it’s easy. Because you can’t rely on hiding parts of the outfit that don’t quite work with an accessory or even another piece of clothing, you have to be more careful in picking what goes together.

This look is built around the dress. It’s a beautifully tailored, classic piece from Cos. It’s a timeless cut, with the cleanly fitted bodice, and full circle skirt, with a little modern twist of a slight handkerchief finish to the bottom hem.

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Handkerchief hem skirt

The waistline sits beautifully, sculpting the figure without it feeling forced or overly tight, utilising the fullness of the skirt of emphasize it.

The colour isn’t in your face, yet at the same time it isn’t so neutral that you don’t notice it. I love this sort of blue, somewhere between royal and navy. You can dress it up or down and it will always look great. There’s a whole load of colours in this tone range, wine red, forest green, gunmetal grey, all good versatile colours. Not for everyone I get that, but I like it.

Especially with the shawl. The brighter shades of blue, intercut with the black could be jarring but are balanced perfectly by the darker blue of the dress. It’s almost as if you have mixed the two colours of the shawl to create the colour for the dress. The shawl is the only thing in this outfit with a pattern on it, but even that isn’t overly busy. Large symmetrical, sections of block colour are very pleasing to the eye and don’t overwhelm the dress, but rather compliment it and the flow of the shawl accentuates the flow and movement of the skirt.

I love shawls as an accessory. They add so much that a coat or jacket doesn’t. They feel like cloaks and that lends them an air of mystery and glamour. Basically I think they make you feel like princess, or a cowboy, or both. Both is good. Plus warm and easy to throw on, which helps.

You can get them pretty much everywhere at the moment, and they aren’t expensive. I’d definitely recommend getting one for your wardrobe.

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Clint knew how to rock a shawl

The tights are just tights. Nothing special. Black tights. Everyone no matter what gender they are should own a good pair of black tights, you never know when you might need them.

The last thing in this look is the necklace. It’s amber. Amber is orange, and what is orange? The opposite colour to blue on the colour wheel, yes! Look you’re learning.

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Always good to complement each other

It’s quite a simple pendant, it’s not forcing itself into the outfit. It complements the blue in the outfit and brings a little bit more interest to the overall look. I think without the necklace this would be a very boring look. It would be blue and blue and black, nothing wrong with that but it’s nothing special. The orange in the necklace pulls the whole thing together and makes it pop. It’s a ridiculously simple thing, but it totally works. Colour theory is a special piece of magic.

One last thing before I sign this off, this entire outfit is second hand. I found all of it in a charity shop, apart from the necklace which is my mother’s. You do not need to break the bank to look good. Hunt down those bargains. Thrift shops, charity shops, ebay, sale racks, market stalls, these places are your friends. Do not be afraid to look somewhere other than the high street.

Thanks for reading, if you like this and you want to keep it going please support my patreon,

‘Olly Out

The Fashion of Fabric – Selvedge Bath Spring Fair

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Pom Pom flower making at Selvedge

Last weekend I attended Selvedge‘s Spring Fair in Bath. For those of you who don’t know what Selvedge is a magazine that embodies the true passion of textiles and fashion through artisanship.

“[We are] a magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story.  We are surrounded by cloth from the cradle to the grave and by exploring our universal emotional connection to fibre we share the stories and values that mean the most to us.” – Selvedge Magazine About Us

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Decorative Textiles

Now, obviously, this is everything that I think, feel and love about fashion, fabric and journalism, so of course I jumped at the chance to go to one of their live events! Even better it was in my city, literally just done the road. How exciting.

The event itself was quite small. Being used to big comic cons it was a bit of a culture shock, but the quality of the stalls and the products and pieces on show was overwhelming, that I think if there had been more I wouldn’t have made it out of there with my bank card in tact. It was a treasure trove of delights. I found everything from African inspired fabric, to Japanese haori, to vintage 1920s silk and back again. Honestly I could have walked away decked out looking like a Scandinavian goat herd.

Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to on show, or what people would be selling. The wide range was actually perfect and gave an eclectic feel to the fair, though the love for craft binded all of the exhibitors together overall so it never felt disjointed or confusing as you explored.

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Treasures From The Silk Road – Anne Hildyard

Unsurprisingly, the place was packed; more surprising – and to my great pleasure – was the sheer range of different people attending. I will be honest and say that I thought it was probably going to be a lot of nice, middle aged women (not there is anything wrong with that at all, those are the women who show the rest us the way), but I was happily proved wrong. I mean, there were lots of nice, middle aged women, being supremely excellent, but there were also lots of families getting involved and people – of all genders – in their teens and 20s pawing their way through the fabrics on sale.

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One Two Five Gallery – Carole Walker and Gray Wood

This range of people meant that an eclectic group of outfits and styles were working their way round the show. As someone who likes to explore and innovate their own style it was inspiring to see so many ideas and styles that I had never seen let alone thought of trying out myself. Beautiful screen printed silk shirts, with images of blue prints and hand painted colours, a collection of handsewn Himalayan shepherds coats and effortlessly simple linen summer dresses, are just of a few of the things that tempted me, and will definitely be looking to adding to my overly full wardrobe. Plus I’ve always wanted to try silk screen printed.

As someone who promotes and enjoys the handmade way of life, it was really gratifying to see my own and younger generations turning their hands to it. It’s all too easy to buy off the high street and never give a second thought to alternative and artisan fashions. Encountering other people who have the a love affair with hand making as me is rare, and for once I was in room with 100s of them, and they were all different and brilliant in their own ways. And now I’m waxing lyrical, but the show was definitely geared towards getting people involved.

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Vintage silks, linens and haberdashery

As you walked into the venue there were loads of tables laid out with fabric, scissors and, what I can only describe as, posh pipe cleaners, for people to make their own pom pom flowers! The tables were a microcosm of the rest of the show, it seemed like everyone was having a go. I think it’s great to have interactive parts of events like this, otherwise walking around tables can get a bit stagnant, especially if you’re under 12, which a lot of the pom pom creators were.

Being held in the Assembly Rooms, with their rather wonderful Tea Room and Fashion Museum was a stroke of genius, combating the smaller nature of the show. You take a stroll around the wares, then sip down a pot of tea and pretend to be eating a piece of yummy, jammy sponge cake delicately, before heading back to pick up the pieces you wanted to get those, now sticky, fingers on. And if you really wanted to you could even get a joint ticket with the Fashion Museum, which is always worth a punt in my humble opinion.

Overall the event was lovely. The atmosphere was welcoming, the show beautiful, the people innovative, interesting and incredibly talented. I would definitely try and get to another one, though I think it would be more fun to go with other people, though that may just have been because I was, possibly still ridding my system of absinthe from the night before. For all those lovers of fabric, fashion and fascination I would 100% go to one of these events if you can, if not try and grab yourselves a copy of Selvedge so it’s not just me crying over the beauty of it.

‘Olly Out

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Wild Folk – Emma Cocker

Fairies in the Forest

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Photo By We Shoot First Photography

Heading back to last summer, to a magical, little Ouji outfit that I wore to Puzzle Wood. It’s been dubbed “Young Newt Scamander” by several of my friends, so I had to go fairy hunting. I mean, what else would I do looking this adorkable?

However as much as I think this look is fun and cute, I’m not as happy with it as I would like. It definitely needs work and I am definitely a perfectionist.

It’s frustrating putting outfits together when you have a really clear idea in your head of how you want the look to go, but you don’t have all the pieces, or something you thought you had has gone walkabout, or, honestly, it just doesn’t quite work and you have no idea why. It drives me up the wall. In an ideal world, I’d want this look to have a velvet waistcoat to match the shorts, and I probably will make one, but, of course, that is a much bigger process. Hand making your own clothes may mean you have unusual, interesting, unique items, but it takes a long time to get anything done. Some days it would easier to buy off the rack.

Of course, most people do not have this strange desire to make all their own clothes, in order to have the perfect wardrobe. I think it comes from my need to control how others view me, and to make sure that I am presenting myself and my gender in a way that I approve of. I want the rest of the world to start understanding me, and that starting point is with my clothes.

I spend a long time thinking about how I dress. Not because I want to look good – though of course that is part of it – but I also want to look “right” for me, and that leads to a weird level of perfectionism. It’s so I can combat my issues, my dysphoria, my internal struggle, and keep a balance in my life with my gender and my body.

Presenting as NB is a very tricky thing to do, after all, what is NB? It’s pretty much whatever the NB person wants to be. I present like a Victorian urchin who’s been kidnapped by fairies, because that’s pretty much the best aesthetic to represent how I feel about my gender. It’s a bit other worldly, but like hell it ain’t a new thing. Nonbinary people aren’t a new fad after all, and they have been hiding away for too long. It’s time to open up a new path of presenting outside of the gender norms, and that means creating fashion that is out of the norms, and that means, we may have to make it ourselves.

Outfit Breakdown

Apologies in advance, there’s a lot of handmade and modified stuff in this look, but I will do my best to point you in the right direction for similar items as well as the best places for patterns if you desire to try making some pieces yourselves. Because of this, I’m going to do this break down a little differently to normal, starting with the handmade pieces and then finishing up with the bought pieces.

As I said before this a return to the Ouji style that I have posted about before, though unlike the March Hare outfit, which for me sits in a more “classical” Ouji/Kodona style (by classical I don’t mean Classic which is an actual subset of Lolita/Ouji, I mean more in keeping with the “standard” ouji look. I will be doing a Back To Basics post regarding Lolita and it’s subsets in the near future), this outfit feels more Edwardian, early 1920s. It’s a period style I’ve discussed before, and definitely where I gravitate back to, even with styles of clothing that don’t have their natural home there.

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Right, enough waffle, let’s get on!

The shorts are velvet. Obviously. I’m not actually the biggest fan of velvet, but it does have a place, and that place is when you are dressing like an Edwardian child – at least for me it is. These shorts were made for a spring themed meet, but they work perfectly for any time of year, despite the fact that velvet is normally a heavier, winter fabric. I countered that heaviness with a William Morris print, cotton trim on the bottom of the shorts – which the bow tie is also made from, mmm, matching accessories. The lighter nature of the fabric, plus the floral print brings the velvet away from it’s winter abode.

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Velvet – How can it be so awful and yet so good?

It’s a combination that you can use with any velvet item. Got a velvet skirt? Pair it with a cute cotton blouse, maybe with some birds on it. Wanna wear that velvet top that’s been hanging in your wardrobe forever? Light weight jersey or cotton skirt or shorts will bring it out of the shadows and into the summer sun. It’s a match made in fashion heaven.

Anyway, back on track. The shorts are made in the style of chino shorts  but if you want to recreate this look with bought items, I would suggest looking for something corduroy instead because chino shorts aren’t going to give the same look, and the velvet shorts you can get on the highstreet aren’t normally the right cut. If you fancy making them, I actually drafted this pattern off a trouser pattern that I had, but I would recommend this pattern from Burda or this one, depending on your size/body type. Both are easy  to follow and easy to modify.

The jacket is the same jacket I wore in School Boy Summers. It’s a really great, transferable piece of clothing. It can be casual or smart, it can go with most things – as long as you are careful with your accessories – and I love it. I would recommend that everyone has at least one all purpose jacket. Be it a blazer or a bomber, having something that goes with everything is more than useful, it’s necessary.

Again, this is a handmade piece, made using a vintage Vogue pattern that I don’t think is available anymore, but you might be able to find it on ebay – search for Vintage Vogue Blazer pattern. If you can’t find that and you want to make one yourself, there are some great choices of pattern at the moment. Just a few off the top of my head Burda B6746, Burda B6813 and Simplicity 1412 but browse a few pattern sites (Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, Butterwick) until you find something you like. After all, it’s your look.

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That craft goodness

For everyone who doesn’t want to do any sewing, it’s the same advice as last time I wore this jacket, vintage, tailors, vintage, maybe Topman if you’re lucky, ebay possibly. Sorry I can’t be more helpful on that front, but I’m struggling on finding places to buy myself at the moment. If you happen to be in Bath and have some money to spend Vintage to Vogue is the best place to go.

The jacket is made from a wool blend, lined with cotton. Again, the mix of the heavy fabric with the lighter, printed cotton means that this doesn’t feel like a item just meant for autumn and winter. The rougher feel of the wool, contrasts with the velvet to create depth and definition in the outfit. It feels much more natural and organic than if it was all one, or similar fabrics. Wool and velvet are polar opposites of each other, but that compliment and contrast with each other so well. Honestly I think it’s the best. Also the brown breaks up the green really nicely, and obviously goes with the surroundings. I mean, who doesn’t plan their outfit to look good in the place they’re going? (Oh dear, I’m so sad that I do that.)

Moving swiftly on, the blouse is vintage Laura Ashley but any blouse/shirt with a Peter Pan collar will do because you can’t see it! Even a clip on Peter Pan collar would work – check out Etsy for that sort of thing if you aren’t crafty yourself.

The socks are from Forever England, but they are crochet socks, so you can probably find them other places too. I haven’t been able to find any with the cute lace round the top, but I will keep looking and let you guys know if I do.

Shoes and the bag are charity shop finds. I love charity shops, you will literally find the best and most random things. I’m planning on doing a massive post with all the pieces I’ve found in charity shops over the years.

The boots are lace up pixie style boots I guess, though they could be described as Victorian boots. I reckon any brown, vintage-y boots would do, possibly even brogues or oxfords.

The bag is a leather satchel. You can get them in most bag shops at the moment and ebay is full of them! Worth investing in a good one, it will last you forever (though forever may mean a few years, but still worth it).

Throw a few necklaces into the mix if you feel like it and you’re ready to run off into the woods and fill up a jar with fireflies!

I hope you like this look and the article, if you do please check out my patreon and maybe help out – there’s loads of yummy extras that will come your way if you do!

‘Olly out!

 

 

 

Back to Basics!

Welcome to Back to Basics! This is going to be a new feature that I post once a month, voted on by my Patreon supporters (who will also get it two weeks before everyone else does!), talking about how certain fashions work. I’ve been focusing a lot on my own looks and want to start talking about how to put together the component parts; as well as giving a bit of background to the fashion. I want to “teach” you guys how to understand the fashion, not just copy me.

I’ll be posting the options on my Patreon for the first Back to Basics article, so if you want to get involved, please consider helping me out.

Thanks for supporting me!

‘Olly out!

Tweed, wool and Glastonbury

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I am a something of a follower of Chap. What is Chap I hear you cry, well Chap is a throwback to the fashions of the 1920s and 1930s. It focuses a lot on good tailoring, good fabrics, and always being dandy. Being an amateur tailor myself, and lover of suits, I was drawn to this whimsical fashion style, exploring my Wodehousian self with gumption and aplome.

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Of all the fashions I follow and engage with I think that this 1920s look is the most me. Despite having a very definite male/female divide – Chaps and Chapettes, though there are many ongoing attempts to introduce Chapex, or to just degender Chap as a fashion term – I have found that not only do I love the fashion, but the community is the most accepting and ingratiating of any of the fashion communities I am privy to. Fun, rambunctious, and downright splendid in their taste and style, these Chaps welcome all with open arms and are more than willing to teach and convert everyone they meet to the way of tweed.

As a Nonbinary Chap, I have carved out a little style corner for myself. I inhabit a space of roguish vagabonds, elfin children, ragamuffins, urchins and, unashamedly, Bertie Wooster. I feel that this style has no gender for me, it’s not a male version of a female fashion like lolita is, or shapeless, ethereal creature like Mori or Strega, it’s a release into a place where I am purely myself.

My character over the years has been very much informed by the wot-hos of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster and the Great Snakes! of Tintin so I’m not surprised that  I feel so at home in the mould of Chap. I’ve always dreamed of toddling off on some wacky adventure in my tweeds and brogues. And perhaps I am, I do find myself in much more exciting and interesting places when herringbone adorns my person. I have never been more comfortable, physically and emotionally, than I am in a pair of plus fours or breeches. I am never more at home than in a shirt and a pullover. Chap has given me a real outlet for expressing myself rather than just my gender.

I love how express and over the top I can be in my other fashions, they allow me a different outlet for different needs, but Chap is me. I am Chap.

Outfit breakdown

This is particular look, which I wore for a day out in Glastonbury – hence the article title – is actually a really simple look. It just requires having the right pieces, well piece. The Plus Twos (Plus Fours or Breeks will also do nicely).

Plus Twos/Fours were a staple of the gentleman’s wardrobe back in the day. They were sportswear, for golf or cycling or other recreational activities. Lost fitting and comfortable, usually made from wools and tweed.

Unfortunately they are not the easiest item of clothing to get your hands on nowadays. You can get some for hunting or golf but they aren’t cheap and often use less than good fabrics. My personal recommendations would be to look for vintage ones, on ebay or in vintage shops, or to make your own, which is what I’ve done. Home made allows for more choices in colour and fabric weave (herringbone, houndstooth, salt and pepper, whatever you like best). I love a good herringbone and dislike every tweed piece being green – I mean, come on, there’s so much to choose from!

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So, once you’ve wrangled yourself something in the trouser department, it’s time to look at those lovely wooly jumpers that are in all the shops. The high street is literally my dream at the moment.

Proper, knitted jumpers being in fashion is one of the best things to ever happen, and I hope it lasts for a good few years – if only so I can stock up! You can get a huge selection and you can actually get them pretty cheap as well. Even Primark have some good ones kicking around. It’s worth shopping around to see what you can get, patterns, collar styles and wool thickness vary and it’s worth finding one that you like and will go with plus fours. You don’t want to be running around in an orange jumper and green breeks now do you? (I do, I kind of really do, but I am a bad influence).

My current favourites for all things knitwear are Fatface and The White Stuff. Both have a great selection of mens and womens clothes (so you can definitely find your size no matter where in the gender wobble you are), and are both in the middle of the high street pricing range. Also, The White Stuff is a really trans and NB friendly company, probably some of my best shopping experiences have been in there and I would really recommend them.

Ok, so this look might be a bit heavy, fabrics wise, it is probably a better winter look, but don’t dismiss it as just that. Plus Fours are great spring wear, and switch out the jumper for a sweater vest and you can still be tearing off after adventure well into spring.

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The socks are actually just school socks that I picked up in M&S. They are super easy piece to wear, very comfy, and you can get them in loads of colours to complement your outfit. You may be lucky and find some on your local high street but if not, they are easy enough to order online. Search for hunting socks on ebay or have a look at sports socks, either will do.

Now, I could be flippant and say “a shirt is a shirt” and move on. And honestly, I basically am. If you have the cash go a bit more upmarket, but everyone should be getting something well made, well fitting and that isn’t so cheap it’s see through. A good shirt makes a wardrobe. Do not skimp on the shirt just because it might not be seen.

The hat is a vintage flat cap I picked up in Vintage to Vogue in Bath – the best vintage shop in the world. It’s a blue herringbone to match the Plus Twos, because coordination is always key. The gloves on the other hand were a last minute addition because it far too cold to not wear them.  At least they’re grey I suppose.

Lastly we move into the coat and shoes. Unlike with a style like lolita where you want everything to be matchy-matchy, Chap has a more everyday, wearable feel, so an overcoat of any colour will work perfectly well – within reason, obviously – as will a good pair of boots, brogues, oxfords or monk straps, though I have been thoroughly admonished for not polishing these ones. I honestly think that it’s good to make something everyday, Chap has what a lot of alternative fashions don’t have, it’s has wearability. I could literally go to work in this style and it would be perfectly functional, as well as looking like a dapper so and so.

If you are interested in Chap, then check out The Chap Magazine and the Tweed Run for more inspiration.

Hope you enjoyed this, if you did, please check out my Patreon!

‘Olly out.

Vampiric Reds

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This is an outfit I wore to a work do. Yeah, it was possibly a bit out there for the place I was working, but I felt this was pretty toned down for me. And I’m done with dressing to make other people comfortable.

I’ve spent a long time pretending to be someone I’m not, every school dance I wore a standard dress, every family event for years I would just wear jeans and t-shirt or, if I had to smart, a tunic top and jeans. The need to conform to what other people did and what they expected me to do was overwhelming. I knew wasn’t the same as them but, being a teenager, I kind of wanted to be, or at least have somewhere I felt less odd. So I tried, that being the optimum word here, to fit in. It did not work. It was boring and not how I wanted to dress.

Since leaving school, I’ve had space to find myself more. Peer pressure lessens as you move away from your old social groups, I’m not saying it doesn’t reappear when you enter new ones, but you have the chance to find groups that are more like you, or more open to the weirdness and not likely to tell you to change. This being said, it’s not easy. Walking down the street looking different is never easy. I still find it hard to be out and about in full on Lolita or Kodona looks, but I don’t hold myself back.

The fear of being stared at in the street is always going to be there, especially if you are trans or NB, but it should not stop you. Heck, if you know it’s going to happen, stir into the skid; go as weird as you like, you might as well.

I’m not going to say it doesn’t take a lot of courage to do it, not matter how you are presenting yourself, it is still hard to step out of the door, but once you’ve done it the first time, it gets easier the next, until it is your life and that is wonderful.

Outfit Breakdown

There’s not a huge amount going on in this look, it’s very simple and bared down. I like that. I think its classic; two colours, black and red – well burgundy if you’re being picky.

This whole look was built around the jacket. I love that jacket. It was a birthday present from my presents and owning it makes me very happy. A burgundy smoking jacket. That’s a piece that will never not look cool. Honestly, people talk about the little black dress, but why not the burgundy smoking jacket? Come on, it’s a staple.

I’d recommend Topman for suit jackets if you’re on a budget. They still aren’t cheap, but you will get a better fit and good quality so you won’t need to worry about it. Honestly a jacket like this is worth spending a more than £20 on.

If you do have a bit more to throw around hit a proper tailors, because holy moly, if I could own a proper tailored jacket, heck a whole suit, I would in a heartbeat. It is more than worth it and it will pay for itself (think of all the drink you’ll get bought, eh?). You can also go vintage, but you may need to get it altered for a proper fit.

Moving on from the jacket, the trousers are the next crucial part of this look.

Leather look skinny trousers are the best thing to appear in high street fashion for years, in my opinion that is. They are just so cool, and no one looks bad in them. They have that magic ability to sculpt your shape without making you look like a sausage shoved in it’s skin. Plus the fact that they are effortlessly cool, especially with the high waist. I also don’t think they look particularly gendered either, they are very andro in my eyes.

With this look, they added a certain punk rock element and kept it more fun and playful, taking yourself too seriously, which, with a velvet blazer, easily could have happened.

These types of trousers are all over the high street at the moment, so you’ll be able to find them super easily.

The shirt, on its own, isn’t that interesting, it’s literally a button down, brushed cotton shirt, but that’s perfect here. You don’t want too much going on and with the added collar pins and chain to just add that touch of interest, you’re onto a winner. I do think that less is more a lot of the time, but that’s just me.

I mentioned the chain, so I’ll quickly touch on the accessories. I only say quickly because they aren’t that many, the collar pins – which are actually just earrings, pro tip that – the chain, with it’s little vial of “blood” on it – just in case I need to give into my vampiric ways – and a gold, faux ear cuff. Just enough gold to give the look a hint of sparkle. Coz who doesn’t like sparkle?

Shoes; black, patent oxfords with socks to match the blazer. The shoes are vintage, and you should definitely try and get your hands on some. Again, they are pretty in at the moment, so grab them while you can at high street prices. Office and Clarks are great for a good long lasting pair of Oxfords, as is Jones.

So, last but not least, the makeup. I think this is the first look where I’ve talked about the makeup, but this look hangs on it. It’s the Kristen Stewart red, smokey eye with a seriously pale base and I cannot get enough of it. I used the Pixiwoo tutorial as a basic start but then modified it for my own face shape and added a smidge of contour and highlight.

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That look man.

I think that a really striking makeup with a simple, but classy outfit, is really the best thing for a night out. Or a day out. Or a day in. Well really any time. It’s the best.

I hope you like this ramble, new content soon! Check out my Patreon for updates!

‘Olly Out