Thursday, 5 March 2015

Recipe Rifle goes shopping: Spring Fashion

The problem with all fashion, no matter who you are or what you do, is trying to make it work for you - for who you are and what your life is like.

There are also levels of fashionability. I simply do not have the kind of personality that goes well with high fashion. I'm just too much of an awful piss-taker to go about in a neon scuba top and a hat. But I also think it is important to change the way that you look, to modernise. You know all this. I've written about it before.

My particular problem with any kind of fashion, any year, wherever I am is that is has to be practical. It just does. I cannot wear slithery dry-clean only fabrics because they will attract butter and Marmite stains out of thin air. I cannot wear heels because there is enough discomfort in my life without adding sore feet to it. (And often I will need to break into a run - or at least a fast trot - at short notice.)

I also cannot wear mini - or even shortish - skirts because I do a lot of bending and sitting on the floor and I do not want to show everyone my knickers. But I also cannot wear maxi skirts because I will trip over them or get them caught in buggy wheels or they will just generally get tangled up in my legs and drive me fucking nuts.

So what oh what is the solution? Last summer I spent the whole thing in shorts, boyfriend jeans and Birkenstocks. It worked fine, it was all extremely practical and washable and I was pleased with how it went. It wasn't a very "pretty" look but I wasn't feeling especially pretty, what with my husband out of the country for weeks on end and Sam a) not walking and b) crying all the time.

Anyway I've been spending some time thinking about this because when I think about World Debt it doesn't get me anywhere. These are the results of my thoughts about spring fashion.

For my feet I have invested in a pair of clogs by Lotta from Stockholm, recommended to me by @emfrid, a friend of this blog, whom many of you know and admire. I got the pair with the lowest possible heel with a closed toe so that groomed feet are not essential. I say "invest" - they are only £56.60. Apologies for hilariously small picture ripped off their website.... for a closer look see

I know what you are thinking... you are thinking "clogs... clunky... unflattering... noisy... actually in fact not that comfortable?" All this is wrong. They are perfectly flattering - in as far as "ugly shoes" can be flattering - no more or less flattering than a pair of Birkies, they are light, not heavy, have a ridged rubberised sole - perfectly okay for breaking out into a light trot but possibly not an emergency dash. And they go with everything - with jeans, with skirts, with shorts - everything. They would even go with a tight leather skirt. I recommend them to you! Plus, their customer service is absolutely outstanding.

I also got a pair of white trainers by Superga, £45. Converse are over. Give yours to a charity shop.

In terms of jeans, I will still be wearing my Acne boyfriends from last year because they are just so freaking comfy but I have also got a pair of ripped-at-the-knee Leigh jeans from TopShop (£40) because I like the fact that because of the rip, there is no straining at the knee and they don't go baggy. I can't abide a baggy knee.

Absolutely everyone takes the piss out of me for these, even Humphrey, who is 4 years old, and a friend of Kitty's from nursery: "WHY HAVE YOU GOT HOLES IN YOUR TROUSERS?" he said the other day. "IT'S FASHION, HUMPHREY," I barked back. He seemed satisfied with that answer. My dad took the living piss, too, but then I lectured him about modernism and he looked amused and then subdued. Anyway I will be having the last laugh come Spring when everyone is scrambling for a pair and they've sold out - even in my dad's size.

I also freaked out the other day in Hennes and bought a pair of low-waisted bootcut jeans. YES I KNOW!!!!!!!! They're so out of fashion that they're back in again. I don't want to do flares because see above in terms of practicality but if you think back to 1996, boot cuts are basically in between straightleg and flares. It's a nod to the flare without the full-on commitment, which is the story of my life. I don't really suit skinny jeans - it's not that my legs are fat, it's that my calves are too skinny and without the balancing-out effect of a slight flare towards my foot my legs look horribly sausagey. I've been walking around with these sausagey legs for years now thanks to the hateful skinny obsession. So I am happy as a clam that bootcuts might be on the way back in. These are on sale for £15.

I have been wearing the same white knee-length cotton summer dress for 6 years now and I love it and will still be wearing it this summer (with clogs or white Supergas, do you see what I am getting at here?). You have a similar dress skanking about in the back of your wardrobe right now, I'll bet. Dig it out. But I could do with another summer dress, so I got this thing off Asos for £22. Crucially it is machine-washable, patterned (so's to hide all that marmite) and long enough so that I can sit cross-legged at a picnic without anyone having to have memory-replacement therapy.

It is also FLORAL and FLORAL is big this summer. At least so says Dolce & Gabbana in their hateful La Mamma Mia show or whatever it was called where the models all bounced around with toddlers and babies. I don't know why this show made me angry but it did. I think it was something to do with the propagation of the "sexy mama" myth. Italian mothers have a million black-clad fat Nonnas in the kitchen who do all the heavy-lifting with the kids so that their "sexy mamas" can go back to sipping espresso and dancing across palazzos in their stupid mini floral dresses and impractical sandals!!!! We do not live like that in this country and I am furious about it!

Another completely easy-wear item that will drag you instantly into SS15 is a denim shirt. Just get one. Do not worry that it is boring or that you will look like everyone else - it's a lifesaver. You can wear it on its own or worn open like a very thin jacket over a t-shirt or a dress or something. The best ones are from J Crew (Keeper Chambray shirt below, £78). On warm days you must roll the sleeves right up above the elbow in the American style, not below the elbow in the British way. It's all about detail, friends.

Last of all - the spring jacket! I resisted the pink/yellow/bright coat trend because I just thought I'd look a dickhead, but I fell in love with this jacket from Zara, £59.99. I didn't mean to! It wasn't anyone's fault! It just happened. This is great if you, like me, have got broad shoulders. Jackets don't do terribly well on me as a rule because I look like I've got this tiny pin head on massive shoulders - like tennis ball in the middle of a scaffolding plank - but this is a kind of unstructured style that doesn't emphasise them. It also looks that impossible thing: smart-casual. You can wear it with a t-shirt and jeans and a jazzy necklace, (shoot me, someone take me outside and shoot me), and look really very smart.

The only problem is that when I bought it I somehow managed to get it out of the shop with the stupid security tag still attached, so now I have to traipse all the way back to get it taken off. (Thank God I kept the receipt.) Why does shit like this always happen to me.


  1. Never. Converse are timeless. Give them to me instead . I don't have every colour yet.

  2. I love superga have a pair in acid orange much more comfortable than converse.... I am off to buy a denim shirt.

  3. Agree about the Superga, they are supremely comfortable.

  4. I've been in Supergas - white ones - for years. Just love them. It's a bit 'his n hers' but I buy them for my daughter too - fab with a dress.

  5. Is superga like these wonderful Stan smiths I keep reading about everywhere?
    I'm holding firm in camp converse. You'll all come back eventually!!

  6. Thank you so much for this post! I read it yesterday and felt very proud of myself for already having superga trainers (light green) and pale ripped jeans, then today I followed your advice and bought a denim shirt. I would normally have walked straight past them, but I love it already :) (Topshop, pale denim, pearly poppers.)

  7. Thanks so much for the Lotta link. I have a shocking time getting decent comfy shoes that llok goo. I have worn Scholls for years but they have totally lost thie plot recently. These Lotta ones look like exactly what I want!

  8. I love your forays into fashion writing! Have been meaning to buy some Supergas for ages and now you've convinced me! X

  9. could you tell us more about the jazzy necklace??

  10. I really like these. I even have a jazzy necklace already. And as I actually never cook your fashion posts are much more useful for me! I just read your food posts because you're funny.

  11. Do you have any tips for new mums who want to breastfeed but have no clothes in which to do so that wouldn't involve stripping completely to the waist? I'm due to give birth in April and am clueless.

    1. Hi, wrap tops/cardigans were a savior for this; just loosen the tie a bit and you only need expose one nursing bra clad boob at once :) Rita x

    2. Have a look on - my daughter is now seven and I'm still wearing the nursing top I bought from there as it somehow gives the illusion that I have a waist (l'm not still breastfeeding her btw!!). There's an under layer that covers your tummy with big openings and you lift up the top layer to feed so shoulders and chest are still covered too. Handily also the sleeves are long enough that unshaved pits won't show (though maybe you will make a better fist of post-baby grooming than I did). Good luck! Sarah x

  12. So, I bought two denim shirts today, inspired by this blog. This is no small move. I have boobs and a small waist. I'm not showing off, it's just a fact. But = total pain finding a shirt. So it's testament to your influence I bothered to trawl round H&M and TK Maxx on a rare child free saturday afternoon. But geez I'm glad I did! I love them! I've already built them into a dozen outfits.

    Clogs though? I tried on a lovely Spanish pair at TK Maxx (i love that place) and although they looked great and felt great from a height/ walking perspective, I honestly thought there was some kind of gumnut or lump under the ball of foot. Is this a Spanish thing? Do the Swedish versions do that? Or is it my princess feet?

    I would like to add - printed pants (ie trousers). So good. I've gone from none to 4 pairs in a week. I plan to double that at least.