Girl in the Pink Blazer

If someone had asked me what I thought my style would be at this age I would probably say black-on-black, the occasional white shirt, something classy, something elegant and most certainly no bright colours – a red lip would do. But buying into quality pieces and spending on that which you love and all which enables you to purchase the things you’d want to wear again and again, I found myself utterly smitten by this blazer.

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It’s so far out of my comfort zone and so loud a piece that it took me about half an hour walking through the store in it, just to be certain that even though I had fallen madly in love with it, that I would be comfortable and confident enough to wear such a statement piece. And with the enabling of my best friend and the desire to invest in classic pieces, albeit a pink one, was a pretty pricey purchase I’d probably never regret buying.  It is by far the piece of clothing I want to wear most.

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It’s vibrancy and utter disrespect for my own dark and broody undertones of black and brown screamed loudly at me, and maybe even at the world, that this is a piece I want to be seen. And by giving it due course and playing homage to its true colour, which is a lot more pink than what is photographed, we enhanced the colour scheme by letting it stand out in its own palette of bright pink tones.

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The blazer pops either way, in any lighting and with any piece it’s paired with, it’s always going to be the centre of attention; it’s always going to be the place where the gaze falls. It is a unique piece, which has everything to do with its colour and texture of the corduroy classic. It feels expensive and makes anyone look like a million bucks. But the feeling I get when I wear this, is one of confidence and one of strength, that I, the ever so anxious girl in a dark corner, could walk around almost quite blatantly wearing a stunning pink blazer and feel bloody good about it.

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Photography by Lindsey Fourie.

Blazer from & other Stories.

Styling Mom Jeans – 3 Easy Outfits

If you’ve read my previous blog post you’ll know that I’ve recently got my hands on a pair of light wash denims in my search to find 100% cotton jeans in South Africa. The only pair that I had managed to find happened to be your basic mom jeans, which by the way, is not my personal style preference on myself. If you can pull these off then my hat goes off to all of you because it’s not easy to look good in these (I speak for myself here). In fact, they are probably the most unflattering pair of jeans I’ve ever worn. They give a lot of bulk in awkward places with a mass of fabric residing particularly in the crotch area (can I say crotch?). I also seem to be missing a leather belt from my current wardrobe so these do slip down the waist, giving the illusion of more weight around my thighs. But with all that said, they are still pretty darn comfortable even as zero stretch denim and its thicker material, I’m still reaching for these jeans every morning.

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I genuinely thought I’d be wearing my unwanted mom jeans with basic sneakers and a simple white tee but funny enough, found myself experimenting more with heels and blazers for something leaning a bit more formal, and generally more versatile than a casual look. Enter my first pair of Timberland boots I’ve ever bought, which were a bit more than I could afford at the time, now being somewhat of a staple in my wardrobe, especially since wearing these jeans. I find the extra height helps to slim down the jeans a bit, a look a much rather prefer on myself and I feel I could still wear a t-shirt or something casual on the top, like this Adidas sweater. It’s still pretty casual in a way but I feel a bit more done up wearing these boots as opposed to wearing flats or sneakers.

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My favourite outfit though has to be this Zara (slash Chanel “inspired”) tweed top with these light wash jeans. There’s just something about the colour scheme that paired perfectly, even though I lean more neutral on an everyday basis, I find this look to be formal enough for meetings yet casual enough for coffee hangouts. It’s a tweed tee that’s a lot more than an actual t-shirt but the boxiness of it works for a more relaxed look, albeit not the most comfortable of fabric to have you feeling relaxed (nor are the boots by the way). But this is about style after all, and the confidence you exude through any look that generates onto those around you. And yes, you could be wearing old battered sneakers and that vintage tee and be giving off the exact same effect, but these boots for me are what give these jeans that push towards something more than your typical mom jeans. It’s all in the way you feel.

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Photography by Lindsey Fourie.

Jeans – Unseen Cape Town

Denim Diaries – Where to Find 100% Cotton Jeans in S.A

Cape Town boasts quite a number of vintage stores around the city, a lot of which were new to me and only discovered since I started this blog series. But the stores I have visited, mainly around the CBD area, were hit & miss in the quest to find zero stretch denim in South Africa. But here’s what I found around town.

Service is Terrible – and I’m not here to sound like a snob or even to rant because to be honest, I’m over it. But the thought of walking back into these stores would be regrettable. It’s a frustrating, tiresome afternoon spent waiting at gates, waiting to be buzzed in, girls working on the floor are actually sitting down with their phones not helping you, not greeting you, it’s quite a long waste of time to even expect good service. Safe to say, the vintage stores on Long Street had nothing to offer.

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My next bet was Kloof Street. I was demotivated at this  stage. I had been into a number of stores and could get little help from where to find what I was looking for. Then I came across a store called Unseen and by luck found someone who greeted me with a smile and was happy to help. Even better, they had exactly what I wanted – light washed, zero stretch, 100% cotton jeans. Or at least, that’s what it felt like; all the label said was “Made in China”. Small problem – they didn’t have my size but with a couple of phone calls I could make my way to the Sea Point branch and find it there.

 

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Big problem – I walked into the fitting room wearing the jeans marked at R499, walk out of the fitting room and surprise! price change – they’re now R549, fifty bucks more than they were 5 minutes ago. I mean, you think you’ve been getting bad service all this time but then store managers refuse to sell you items at clearly marked prices – the headache continues to an Instagram post, a back & forth of DMs and the jeans were ready at the Kloof Street branch at a discounted price.

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Number of stores visited – a thousand

Number of pairs found – one!

Slight exaggeration I know 🙂 You can expect to see these jeans styled in upcoming posts!

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Photography by Linsey Fourie

Catch the 1st post in this series here!

Moving Back Home and Starting Over

Sitting on my old bedroom floor inside the house in which I grew up, with a mess of clothes next to me, all tangled into a large pile sat on top of my suitcase waiting to be given a home, I ask myself this question, Should I put my clothes into my old cupboards filled to the brim with dated pieces and old wedding gowns of the women before me, or should I put them back into that old suitcase, the one I drag through every street trying to find a place to keep, that old battered thing?

The self realisation and torment continues, the age old questions of where am I actually going and what am I actually doing. I am the mess itself and I am its uncertainty.

We don’t always know what we’re doing; something I’m learning as an adult.

No-one really does. But it’s finding the things we don’t want to do and the places we don’t want to be is itself a way of discovering where it is we need to be.

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To me, this photo represents life in a new city, its new beginnings, interesting discoveries and the uncertainty that awaits you around every corner. It’s about always looking up, literally as well and seeing more than you usually would. It’s about being brave, about keeping your head up when you’re anxious and even when you’re afraid. Starting over is never easy. We all know this. But it’s where something inside of us, begins.

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Photography by Lindsey Fourie.

Fall Fashion Inspiration – Autumnal Hues and Colour Mood

The end of winter in Cape Town does feel like fall in a lot of ways. Cold winds and rainy days leave us feeling all too moody and in that cozy up feeling of staying in bed longer than we should and drinking copious cups of comforting warm beverages to soothe the winter away. But seeing as our winter isn’t particularly harsh, I thought it perfect to do a fall mood inspired style post. The autumnal hues and deep shades of browns have been a recent love affair of mine and in the dark woody undertones of Cape Town’s coffee shops, something came to life.

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It doesn’t seem like the in between season is here to stay, with our temperatures spiking rather quickly into summer-ish days, I wish I could waltz longer in this ensemble. It’s one of those looks where I find it difficult to pick a favourite piece, or when no one piece is the centre of attention but rather the outfit as a whole. Over complimented or not, these boots have come to be a staple in my autumn/winter collection and it may lean a tad bit matchy-matchy but I wouldn’t wear anything else. It’s just one of those things I always love to wear. A heel is always a confidence booster in my opinion and adds that touch of sophistication to any outfit. I feel quite put together wearing this look but it’s the colour mood that I’m in love with most.

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I think I read somewhere that the French woman would never mix her brown shades with her black shades, and being so enamored with Parisian chic, I was playing a game of Could I? Should I? But the anarchist in me reveled in this hue of black on brown, that I could no longer think what the reason was for the French code of dress. Was code too strong a word for their effortlessly chic style? Maybe! But my love affair for these tones are deeply embedded in my caffeine addiction and the interior of coffee houses that play on these rich colours. It feels like we’re all telling a story, something dark, something broody and a touch of narcissism to feed the tortured writer.

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Photography by Lindsey Fourie.

Boots from Timberland, Skirt and Black High Neck were purchased at local Korean stores in Seoul.

You can see more of how I play with these tones on my Instagram page here. Have a good day everybody!

 

You are not in competition with anyone else

For the past few weeks this has been my mantra before going to bed at night. Being in a new city, albeit a city where I grew up, had spurred on some negative feelings, largely due to the anxious nature of settling in to a different place, but more particularly in the field of social media, an area I have strayed away from for months. But coming back online and back to Cape Town was a lot more nerve wracking than I had anticipated. Things have changed and I too, have created a culture of my own far away from the one I am in now. A culture of expats all living and working abroad, a culture of creatives all working together trying to put out content, a culture of women supporting each other and carrying each other through and an overwhelming effort from friends and photographers to encourage and help one another in the pace of it all.

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My dear friend Jeff Simone and I started taking photos over a year ago and I remember him clearly saying that he wanted to practice. He wanted to practice taking photos of people. He wanted to get better at photography and was willing to take photos of a number of creators on blogs and social media, so that he could get better. For a long time I thought Jeff was helping me out, but now I believe there was a part of him that thought I was helping him, that the subject was the one helping the photographer.

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This story is an important lesson for me, and I’m sure for so many others out there, that our intention in what we do shapes the way we do things, the way we create, and also the way we start. We all start from the bottom. And the top is where you define what success means to you.

You are not in competition with anyone else.

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Though that’s what it felt like when I arrived in Cape Town. I could feel I was in a new pool, a pool with new creators, people who I haven’t connected with, who have already established relationships with each other. And in a state of anxiety, I felt as an outsider, far removed from my own team of creators, from my own community and from my own friends. And the more I pondered on this, I came to realise that there was no Gretchen Weiners moment. Maybe these groups of creators were just reflecting something back at me. They were reflecting at me something I once had, something I miss. An emptiness came over me, a loneliness. I was without – without a team and to begin again takes a lot, to grow with people takes a lot. And the whole experience has reflected where I’d like to be and just how much it’ll take to get there.

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“Where we are not is just as important as where we are” Matthew Mcconaughey.

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Photography by Lindsey Fourie.

Lindsey and I have been working together for the past few weeks and I couldn’t have asked for a better fit! You’ll see so much more of her photographs in my upcoming blog posts and on my Instagram feed. 

Thank you as always, for reading!

 

 

 

About Feeling Alone in a New Place

The feeling of loneliness doesn’t surprise me. It sort of comes with living on your own and moving abroad. It happens. Some days you feel it creep in beneath you and some days you are elated that you’re alone. It’s a mix bag of feelings that you tend to ride as life ebbs and flows, and I guess I’m just here to say that I know. I know what it feels like when you are completely and utterly alone in a new place, where you literally know nobody, where you don’t know the language or its culture and more frighteningly, you don’t know how you’re going to get through it all.

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I know what it’s like to arrive and immediately feel as though you want to leave. I know what it’s like to miss someone so completely that you feel enraged at yourself for ever leaving. I know that it hurts you, that it pains you, that it paralyses you from all the loss that you feel, that you are so undeniably alone that the tears practically dry themselves.

But the fact that you are on your own is in itself a beauty. You are with your-self essentially, your whole self, which can be some form of rude awakening as you get to know yourself truly, without cultural influences, without family, when it’s just you and your own experiences, you begin to form into your honest self. You may or may not like this person but you will learn to love that self, for all its mistakes and all of its mishaps

– you’ll learn how to forgive your self and how to move on, to move forward. You will teach your self how to tread on new streets, how to read a new script and how to interact in a new culture. And so you will learn how to connect with its people.

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Photography by Gesant Abed

Where to Buy 100% cotton Jeans in South Africa

The market for classic old school jeans seemed to have evaporated as the push to follow trends inside South Africa has taken over. Finding a good pair of jeans, without any stretch, rips and elastane is hard to come by, but I never imagined it would be impossible. I’ve started this post in the hope that there would be some help out there for those of us refusing to purchase stretch denim that only last us a year (if that) and then keep us in a loop where we need to keep on buying these pieces year after year. As a consumer, it’s quite shocking that this target market is not catered for, seeing as in the world of fashion, the classic pieces are the ones that stand the test of time.

Start Here > The V&A Waterfront 

My first bet is trying out all (most of) the stores in Cape Town’s most popular mall, The Waterfront. First stop – Levi’s, obviously, with its vintage jeans and white tees from the days of counter cultures to our Instagram Nation, the brand still seems to hold firmly its place in the market for zero stretch denim. But sadly and most unfortunately, this Levi store currently only sells stretch denim for their female clients. Oh but wait, there’s one pair of 501s coming in, wait for it, November. But not too worry, as the sales assistant suggests, if you go to America, maybe there you’ll find 100% cotton jeans.

 

 

Because we’re not going to America anytime ever, we’ll go to the store right opposite the Levi’s, Zara. I’ll make this one short seeing as Zara did have a non stretch pair of jeans but were far too boyfriend for my style, excessively baggy and unflattering, basically not for my shape or the way I like to dress. But if anyone is into that look, Zara  is probably your best bet for now.

Okay, next stop – H&M. We all know H&M do ‘vintage denim’ so I was expecting at least one pair to try on seeing as they had a selection of these jeans. Problemo numero uno, vintage denim jeans doesn’t equate to classic light washed jeans nor does it mean that they remain in their original form. Some pairs had stretch in them, some were distressed and some of them were red. Okay, just the one pair was red but you get my point. Still without luck, I remembered GUESS.

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With friendly sales assistants and a quick check on their labels I was outta there as fast as I came running. I think I’ll even go back as I remember a pair being 90-something percent cotton. But the next few stores was a mesh of referencing by sales assistants inside the mall, go here, go there, try that store, try Levi’s, what about Zara, what about…NO. Nothing – there was nothing. I must also say here, that I had received wonderful service at G-Star RAW which in my future ramblings you’ll see is quite hard to come by.

If there is anyone with any suggestions, please drop them in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram.

 

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Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series – The Vintage Stores and Local Designers

Featured Jeans – 100% cotton purchased at & other Stories (not in South Africa)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving my Home in Seoul

For the past two years I’ve been so fortunate to have lived abroad. And in a lot of ways, Seoul feels like my home. I remember having a conversation with an old friend about defining this word ‘home’, both of us being South African and living abroad, and to her, home was not the town where we grew up in as kids, but more so the town where we grew. I’ve written a post on my own thoughts about this here, and I feel like a fumble through this concept quite a bit in the time spent in and out of South Africa. I guess what I’m trying to say now, is that leaving this city, and this tiny apartment where I’ve been cooped up in, leaving the friends I’ve made here and the relationships with each and every soul that has helped made my experience here so incredibly worthwhile, does feel like leaving home.

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It’s leaving a life behind, an entire world of living and working, of stuttering through a language, of assimilating into a culture, of becoming more of my surroundings that leaving it and returning to my home country now leaves me with such anxiety that I feel fragile. Fragile from saying goodbye to the people who have lifted me up, fragile from seeing my kids in the classroom for the last time, fragile from the relationships, from the ones who ask you to stay. It’s been a whirlwind living in South Korea. There were many ups & most certainly many downs, but at the heart of it, was something to stay for, to fight for, to live for I guess. There was something inside of me that I needed to find, to figure out and a large part of that was appreciation, not just for the good parts but for the whole part, the ugly parts, where we discover in ourselves something we dislike, our shame and our arrogance. But that’s also the moment where we find our hill. And trust me when I say it feels like a mountain but when you get to the top, all you see is a beautiful view.

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Photography by Jeff Simone

Thoughts on Home

Minimalist Fashion – 5 Wardrobe Staples

Okay, so here’s the part where I tell myself “You literally have no style” because these basic pieces are essentially my most worn pieces, if I can get away with it.

Blue Jeans – Growing up, I’ve always been into black skinny jeans and I’m sure I will go back to it in a cooler climate but blue jeans have been a staple for me this year. This pair specifically, which is 100% cotton, zero stretch, high waisted jeans from & other Stories have been my life. Though I have currently moved on from them (due to a bit of wait loss and a big stain, but mainly just the stain) I think I may have found my favourite style of jeans.

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A white Tee – I mean obviously, what else? How many white t-shirts can one possess? (counts in head all the ones I own) but this one is actually my favourite. I found it in the men’s section of Uniqlo because that’s where all the good things are. There’s nothing fancy about this tee, it is probably thee most basic piece of all but I love wearing a plain white tee and spritzing some perfume on and that just makes me feel good.

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Trainers – Because I could sit here and tell you about my obsession with boots and loafers but when it comes down to the everyday, stress free outfits I’m all about these Adidas ones. They go with everything (sort of) and they are probably the most comfortable shoe I think I’ve ever owned. Okay now they have been worn down so the comfort level has too, but I remember slipping into these the first time and I finally understood the craze.

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A Leather Jacket – Now what would my Uni days be without a black leather jacket. I was all about the skinny jeans, the oversized hoodie and the leather jacket (Oh and  some beaten old converse). I guess my style hasn’t evolved all that much. Now at the age of 28 I’m still about a black leather jacket. This one from H&M has been my go-to this spring season and I cannot wait to throw this on again!

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Sunglasses – Wearing a pair of sunnies every day has become habitual to me, to the point where I cannot leave the house without them. It’s kind of like carrying my cell phone around. I need to have it on me at all times. I think I developed this habit since I first started working many moons ago and it definitely feels like something that’s a part of me now. I surprisingly don’t hoard sunglasses, nor do I spend loads of money on them, but a good pair that’s just dark enough and sits well on my face will do the trick. I think I’ve had this pair for almost two years now. Touch Wood it stays with me for two more!

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Photography by Jeff Simone

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post!

 

 

 

Exploring Seoul’s Abandoned Amusement Park Yongma Land

Walking through Yongma Land early on a Sunday morning felt a bit strange. If I’m honest, I had quite a bit of expectations to photograph the space but once I arrived, and even on the walk up through the trees, the dry leaves beneath me, a worn down building whose windows scream out a darkness at you, approaching the old man at the gate, the sense of uneasiness began. Going to explore Seoul’s abandoned amusement park was to enjoy a photographic experience, the playful rides and props that remain, the colour tones painted on the walls, and just getting on the rides I thought would be fun.

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But the feeling of fun has long left this place and what is left of it, even in its upkeep with visitors paying an entry fee and the ongoing additions of photogenic spaces to delight our Instagram nation, there is an emptiness set deep within its own atmosphere that it can’t seem to rid. The playful ambiance is cut short by slightly creepy tones of the faces of its props, the fact that this was once a playground for kids but you can’t imagine a child being here, and the eeriness in the air that surrounds you, that you’re in a lonely place far from the city, far from comfort. As a photography enthusiast and a traveller, it was worth the trip, but the memory of being here and feeling like I was in a twilight zone, in a nothing space filled with void, is one I don’t force myself to remember.

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Photography by Jeff Simone and Yours Truly.

Sunset over the City

I’ve never seen a sunset that wasn’t pretty, that never made me stop in awe of it, and as with a lot of you I’m sure, sunsets are something you always remember. I remember seeing the sunset in Saudi Arabia on a bus ride from the city of Medina to the holy city of Mecca. I remember seeing the sunset whilst boarding a plane at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul and I even remember seeing it in photos, not all my own photographs, but the shared memories of others who catch the light in its golden hour. Yet something about this moment feels like an in-between-ess of something sad and something delightful. A momentary recognition that something is ending, that time passes and that the beauty too, will give way to something else. The temporary is evident, and fleeting, yet we pause through it, spellbound by its majesty and then we turn away, afraid to see it leave us completely. Time feels like sunset in some way. We stall throughout our passing life when it’s just but a flash, a spark of something that was beautiful, but is ending.

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Photography by Yours Truly and Jeff Simone  ❤

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