Monday, 9 May 2016

Back to Brighton

Yesterday my pals and I visited Brighton, a place I've actually visited many times before (see my other posts here!) Quite coincidentally, my friends and I picked the hottest day of the year so far to visit, and evidently every other Londoner had the same idea because the place was packed to the rafters, nonetheless it was still such a lovely day of wandering around the Laines, sunbathing and eating our dinner of fish and chips whilst watching the sunset. brighton vintage nike 2
Dress - secondhand
Bag - Choies
Shoes - Asos
Sunglasses - Primark

I guess I have a lot of nostalgia attached to the seaside, growing up in Oxford I was about as far away from the sea as you can get, so I maybe only saw the beach once or twice a year. I remember the first time I visited Brighton, aged 15, and being really struck by the place, how much there was to do, how colourful and uh, bright everything was. I don't think the label 'London by the sea' does it justice because it has a very distinctive character of its own, trendy but not necessarily pretentious because it still retains that traditional seaside charm.  It still feels like the coolest place in the world to me now, and as you can see from these photos I dressed up for the occasion, looking quite literally like a stick of rock. This dress was actually £3 from a charity shop and it is a godsend, about as 'British seaside chic' as you can get.
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The sunglasses were just £1 from Primark and they fulfil all of my iridescent dreams. Alongside my freshly dyed hair and the bag I was feeling as colourful and cheerful as it was possible to be, despite the weather being just a little too hot for me (I know I shouldn't complain, but I'm super English and even the slightest bit of heat feels a little uncomfortable for me).
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Have you been to Brighton? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Pink Tresses and Dungaree Dresses

You know when you decide to delve a bit further into your wardrobe one day and actually find something that you haven't worn in years that could do with a revival? I bought this dress years ago whilst I was studying at university, a bright-eyed bushy tailed young thing who was delighted by London's huge selection of vintage shops. I have loved secondhand clothes shopping for as long as I can remember and having such a large selection of items available to me seemed like the most exciting thing ever. vintage nike 9
This dress is a little tight on me now, but it's just because I've grown upwards instead of outwards, I promise! The whole look makes me think of Factory Girl for some reason, I can imagine Edie Sedgwick walking around New York in it. Though instead of New York, I was walking around Bloomsbury, London with Jess where we decided to snap these pictures on a street that she excitedly lead me towards (we often use the term 'blogger streets' to describe the perfect location for taking outfit snaps) only to find that I had actually taken some photos there before just last year! Who'd have thought it? Anyway all the cool old Victorian(?!) lamp posts made the perfect accompaniment to the outfit snaps you see here! I'm getting a bit old now so I actually have to prop myself against something whilst posing, sigh.
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Dress - East End Thrift Store
Top - H&M
Shoes - Nike via Asos
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Monday, 25 April 2016

The Yellow Mac

I really like this outfit. It's nothing special at all but I like it so much I thought I should share it with you. Luke snapped these photos of me on a lovely Sunday walking through Victoria Park, a particularly awesome day as I had managed to miraculously avoid any trace of a hangover from the night before! olive uniqlo yellow 1
Top - Olive
Coat - Secondhand
Trousers - Uniqlo
Shoes - Adidas Supercolors via ebay
Bag - Gift
Sunglasses - Michael Kors C/O Shadestation

Everyone seems to have this jacket at the moment! And why wouldn't you, it's bright yellow and makes you look like you're going on a school trip, all I really needed was a lunchbox to complete the look. They are selling yellow macs in Topshop for a pricey £55, but I found this one in a charity shop around the corner from me for a fiver! It's slightly too small for me and for some reason it's gone slightly red on one of the sides, but you can't really complain for a fiver can you? As jackets go it is super versatile and it would also look awesome with a stripy top and blue dungarees. I love all the primary colours in this outfit, from my blue trousers and yellow trainers right down to the bright red lipstick. I don't know if wearing lots of bright colours can make you happy but I swear that this outfit perked me up all day!
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Monday, 18 April 2016

Country Crochet

I have been so excited to share these photos! They were taken close to where I am originally from in Oxfordshire, at some particularly spectacular ruins in the countryside. Usually when I'm on a family walk I leave my fashion sense behind and plump for practicality over style, but this time was a little different. jessthetics vintage 6

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Coat - Vintage
Top - Primark
Shorts - gifted by Shop Jessthetics
Wellies - Office (old)

I've been mainly excited about showing you these crochet shorts! They were handmade by my wonderful chum Jess who runs her own excellent blog Jessthetics as well as her shop, where she sells vintage and handmade clothes, including these bad boys! Jess is really passionate about sustainability and it's amazing that she is able to create these pieces that are totally one of a kind. She kindly gave me these after I helped her out at a vintage fair as I fell for them the moment I saw them, and like who wouldn't?? I just love how versatile the shorts are, they're pretty warm yet the colours are ideal for Summer, and I've worn them on both a family walk and night out!
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The coat was from a vintage shop in Kreuzberg, Berlin (which I think is their equivalent to East London) and is probably one of the best secondhand items I've ever bought. I like slightly longer coats and this one is just light enough to wear all through the Spring, the pastel colouring is also very up my street. I've had these wellies for years and they are covered in Russian dolls, an example of my longstanding obsession with anything Russian. I like how this whole outfit is sort of a mismatch of different patterns!
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Also because I was home there is a special guest appearance from Davey! I'm blatantly using him to get more views, like when guys hold puppies in their Tinder profile pictures to get girls to swipe right. Davey doesn't typically fit into the Rags aesthetic but I can make an exception here because he's adorable, and perfectly complimented my look for this post. Imagine me walking through the muddy countryside in my wellies and cool shorts with my noble hound by my side, being dragged along the minute he sees a cat or a squirrel, or a horse, or well, anything really, he's quite excitable!
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Thanks to my mum for taking these photos of me!


Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Value Of A Like

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So I'm about to publish a new post on Instagram, a tasteful black and white selfie. My finger dances over the 'share' button before I send it out into the world. Loading it up with hashtags (sneakily added into the comments) I admire my work and expect the likes to come rolling in.

Thirty minutes later I check again. 5 likes. I'm embarrassed, mortified, confused, I'm...on a photo sharing app having a breakdown? Nonetheless thoughts rush through my head, should I have actually hash tagged 'selfie' instead of leaving it out because I thought it was lame? What was wrong with me? Why did this seem easier for everyone else? My selfie just makes it to 11 likes (you know, where it just becomes a number and not a list of people's names).

Because I write a blog and am actively interested in social media, I often fall victim to the traps of social media validation. People can tell me 'social media isn't real' until the cows come home but the fact is that it has become a part of our reality. It is an immediate and effective way to validate things that you say or do, to encourage engagement. It's a great way to cultivate and show off the parts of you that you love, which should be celebrated, yet I also feel that it has its downsides.

Last week I found myself getting deeply frustrated about Twitter. Yes, the social media channel where even its actual freaking name denotes its rather lighthearted, often inane nature. If I posted something and it recieved no likes, I would immediately doubt myself. Every time I lost a follower I would take it completely personally. I would look at other people's twitters and their higher number counts would take on a life of their own, leering at me and confirming my ineptitude. It all begs the question, when did this stop being fun? Why is any of this important? Why am I desperately seeking the approval of a sea of people I don't even know? It's interesting to talk to people from the generation before and see their bewilderment at the importance of social media popularity, 'why does it matter?' they'll say.

It matters because that's how I, and many people, perceive success these days. With great power comes great responsibility. Also, free stuff and random people coming up to you in the street telling you that they recognised you from Instagram whilst you're halfway through eating a sandwich. This is what we strive for, and with every like and comment we feel a little better about ourselves. We get to milestones, maybe 500 blog followers or 100 likes on instagram, which we briefly celebrate, but it always leaves you wanting more. I really am a drop in the ocean when it comes to cultivating a successful online presence, but sometimes I find myself looking at my friends in envy, those who just use instagram because it's a fun place to share stupid photos of your mates, who don't really give a shit and are able to find satisfaction in other parts of their life.

Social media has given us an amazing outlet to share our creative work to a much larger audience than we could have ever thought possible, and I am truly grateful for that. Yet with that comes an expectation of immediate validation and a very concrete measure of our success. I used to write blogs just for me, because it was fun, and it makes me wonder whether we can ever truly find satisfaction and worth in our work as separate from this culture of liking, commenting and sharing. Part of me always feels frustrated that I'm not progressing, and how that progression is often reflected in a number. A niggling worry in me also knows that even those who break through and are successful aren't necessarily happy, or at least not for that reason alone.

The other day I genuinely considered doing an Essena O'Neill. Giving it all up, deactivating Twitter, packing up my stuff in a hanky on a string and living in a cave as a hermit. The pressures that I put upon myself whilst using social media, and the way I correlated likes with my own self esteem, just seemed exhausting and unhealthy. I don't think I will actually do that, but it seems important to remember what a 'like' actually is, really nothing more than a brief nod, something that holds very little significance in and of itself (unless someone you have a crush on likes your selfie in which case, wahey)! The internet should be used for cat videos and not for a damning analysis of our own self worth. I know this, deep down, but it's hard to remember in a society where social media is so prevalent.

Sometimes the appeal of becoming anonymous, of making stuff for me, however insignificant, really speaks to me. To say 'fuck you' to Facebook likes, analytics, algorithms and forecasts. We have such an incredible resource available to us but it seems important to not let its influence overpower us and make us lose perspective of what's important. Occasionally someone who has read a blog post of mine reaches out to me, or just tells me that something I wore inspired them to try something different,and that small voice amongst a sea of social 'likes' feels so significant. I suppose that's a good reason to do it, to make those small connections with people that you might otherwise have never spoken to.

I wonder whether, with my own personal use of social media, I'm assigning value in the wrong places. In the midst of comparison and growing numbers I'm forgetting what brought me here in the first place, to have an outlet for creativity and a place to make friends. Having any kind of audience whatsoever feels like a huge privilege, but I hope that the pressure of growing on social media won't discourage me from achieving my own creative goals.

I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts. Do you agree that social media validation can be pressurising or do you just use it for fun? What does it mean for you when something you post gets liked?



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