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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Personal Style Resolutions #4: Vagabond Language

Vagabond Language is a lifestyle blog, chronicling the life and style of a twenty-two year old Irish girl living and studying in Glasgow. Zoe likes to read, she wishes she was the heroine of a Nancy Mitford novel. The blog was started in the Spring of 2010, in the hopes of meeting kindred spirits.



When Sarah approached me to do this post it came at the right time, as I was already considering my personal style resolutions for 2011, that is, if my clothes still fit me after the gluttony of the festive season!

This year I made a concentrated effort to be more considerate of what I buy – what its made of, where it comes from, quality, style, etc. I refuse to pay too much for an ‘on trend’ acrylic sweater from Topshop when I could buy a vintage 100% wool jumper on etsy for the same price or less.

I think with all the glossy magazines out there, pushing the latest catwalk to high street trends on you, the pleasure of shopping and dressing yourself has diminished. Our parents looked good and they had less disposable income (as my own like to remind me, anyone else?). This year I volunteered in an Oxfam shop in my town (Oxfam Sligo!) and I really embraced the charity shop culture. Previously, I used to do a monthly charity shop thrawl with one of my friends in Dublin. However, its in the small towns that the bargains and gems are to be found. There’s nothing more thrilling than finding the perfect blouse or blazer in a charity shop after a long search.

Many trips to charity shops may present nothing, but that’s missing the whole point of the experience. Consider for a moment all the ridiculous things you’ve come across in past thrawls, that bonkers artifical flower arangement that actually turned out to be a hat or the size 18 green viscose jumpsuit, they gave you a giggle and I bet you tried them on too! Not to mention that charity shops are nowhere near as crowded as high street stores and you're less likely to bump into someone you know, trying on the same dress as you, eek! This month I think I may have found the perfect pair of tweedy pants that I’ve been keeping an eye out for all year. For £2 in my local Shelter. They’re Italian made and fully lined, I can't wait to find the perfect cream shirt to go with them next!

My main resolution this year is to be more frugal. To forsake the temptation of the high street and its disposable trends.

My style icons are timeless, many of them fashion muses.

 - The teddy girl, a working class revolution. A brooch or a ribbon; simple touches, carefully placed, add a degree of playful femininity to an outfit, they transcend the everyday and become dandyfied.


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 - Diane Keaton is an obvious one, but I just love her masculine aesthetic, best demonstrated in Annie Hall, where she was permitted to wear her own wardrobe, rather than be ‘styled’ for the character. She is the ultimate girl next door; her teeth aren’t perfect, she forsakes make-up, she has flyaway hair and her clothes look slightly worn, in the best way. It means she’s lived in them!


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 - That being said, I find Woody Allen a style inspiration too. Jam jar glasses, check shirts and courdroy blazers/trousers, yes please! Comfortable but still retaining an aura of intellectualism.


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 - Next is Shelley Duvall in her 1970s hey-day. An unconventional beauty and dresser, embracing bold colours, patterns and textures with giddy glee. I want to have such a refreshing attitude to clothing, dressing for fun! I love her eye lashes, very mod.


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 - Finally… The British Bardot?… Julie Christie.  She’s everything I want to be, but am generally too sloppy/lacking in grace/sexual allure ever to attain. I envy her svelte figure, her smile, her hair and make-up, such a sixties sex kitten, full of bounce, health and vitality! This is a girl you want to hit the tiles with in your local discothèque and she probably wouldn’t break a sweat! Men want her, women want to be her. I want her to do my hair. Ms. Christie has lost none of her elegance or beauty decades later.


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I can’t end this without mentioning a fictional character, books and films are where I find most of my inspiration.

 - Cassandra Mortmain, heroine of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle.  Living in a decaying English castle, Cassandra can only dream of silk gowns while her eccentric family life constantly interrupts her daydreams. Cassandra finds beauty in the little things, despite her straitened circumstances. Wearing a simple dress, a cloche hat, some cardigans, oxfords and her journal, Cassandra is not deterred from embracing her romantic and imaginative spirit.


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Other mentions – Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Sissy Spacek, Katharine Hepburn, Molly Ringwald in all of John Hughes films

I've only recently discovered the Argentinian model Tati Cotliar and her haphazard tomboy aesthetic. It's fun and fancy free and I love it! Looking at the shots here, the individual items all seem lovingly acquired over a period of time, a favourite pair of shoes, tights from the high street, blouses and waistcoats discovered in second hand stores from all over the world, all combining in a colourful encore.


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Read more from Vagabond Language at the blog or on twitter!