Style obsession: Midori in Norwegian Wood
By Elisa, Wandering Minds founder and Chief Wanderer
I’m not sure how to start this post, but basically over the last few days I’ve been obsessing about a Japanese film (We’re creating a dedicated Tokyo page on our store where you will be able to shop cool stuff from there, so I needed inspiration) I saw a couple of years ago. This film made a deep and lasting impression on me, and I’ve just to tell you guys about it and see if anyone else shares my obsession.
I’m talking about the film Norwegian Wood, based on an equally awesome novel with the same title, which basically tells the story of a love triangle - or a square, or even a pentagon at times - in 1960s Tokyo.
Now let’s establish a couple of facts: 1. I’m obsessed with Tokyo 2. I’m obsessed with the 1960s, and let’s add a third one, 3. I’m obsessed with visually stunning films.
Norwegian Wood ticks all the above boxes. The whole film is dreamily beautiful, but what I want to talk about is a character that has become a major style inspiration for me: the devious, unattainable (except when she wants to), too-cool-for-school Midori, whose style, haircut, clothes and attitude I want. You could safely say I want to be her.
First, she has the most amazing sharp, slightly asymmetric bob, which is usually not my thing (I’m a long hair kind of girl), but her haircut is a DREAM, and she often wears a wonderfully simple hair pin on the side of her parting.
Second, the clothes. She manages to look slightly conservative and devastatingly sexy, the best combination ever as far as I’m concerned. She wears cool little pleated skirts, combined with short-sleeve knits in preppy stripes or geometric patterns, or bright and structured mini shift dresses, finished off by coats with an androgynous feel.
Guys, just download the sh*t out of this film. It’s worth it.
New year style resolution: sticking to one’s guns
By Elisa, Wandering Minds Founder and Chief Wanderer.
January 1st means only one thing for me: new year’s resolutions. I am aware of the recent re-emergence of the ‘New Year’s resolutions are unhealthy’ school of thought, with the whole thing about continually improving while being accepting of oneself being very trendy.
To heck with that, I’m a huge sucker for NY resolutions, in fact I LOVE them, and that’s that. This year, one of my resolution pertains to my own personal style.
I have decided to try and stick to my guns. The last couple of years have been very much about experimenting with different styles, from LA casual to Kate Moss grunge chic, and it has been fun - well, actually, I’m lying, it hasn’t. In fact it’s been very frustrating trying to emulate styles that didn’t come naturally to me.
So, I’ve decided to stick to what I really like. Things that suit my body but most importantly my personality, aesthetics and all-time aspiration. I love preppy things. I love navy blue. I love short, pleated skirts. I love boring - but perfectly cut - wool jumpers. I love a piece of black velvet ribbon around a high, bouncy ponytail. I love knee-high socks, and simple ballet flats. I love effortless loose buns and long, wavy hair.
My style icons are preppy queens, from Ali Mc Graw in Love Story, Katharine Ross in The Graduate, Jane Birkin, Kirsten Dunst and yes, Alexa Chung, to name but a few.
But I also love prints, colours, and cool textures, whether it be smooth leather or chunky wool, and fortunately these work really well with a preppy, neat but nonetheless sexy silhouette. So, for me, 2013 will all be about accepting and expressing one’s true style, this sort-of-coherent image that you find yourself attracted to times and times again.
Sunday night inspiration - Happy fashion
by Elisa, Wandering Minds Founder and Chief Wanderer
As an entrepreneur, sunday doesn’t mean rest day. I still check our facebook page activity every 5 minutes, our analytics every 2 minutes, and my email every 30 seconds. However on Sundays, I let myself be drawn towards the things that naturally interest me. I investigate. I loose myself in random searches and find things that inspire me.
Fashion and style inspiration obviously has a big part in my sundays. But again, I try not to think about it in business terms, but purely on a aesthetics, natural affinity basis. Today, I found myself attracted to ‘happy fashion’. Outfits that look comfortable, but have an obvious joyful dimension to them. Whether it’s a print, a colour, a texture, or a combination of the previous, I look at things that scream ‘I’m really quite happy to be alive and clothes are part of the fun’.
Navy blue obsession
By Elisa, Wandering Minds Founder and Chief Wanderer
I have an unhealthy obsession with navy blue: sweaters, jumpers, little skirts and coats, you name it – my wardrobe is full of navy blue, and to a lesser extent, my online store is too.
I don’t know what it is about this classic hue that enthralls me so. Perhaps it has something to do with its timeless prepiness – think Ali Mcgraw in the 1970s, nonchalently walking the grounds of Yale in Love Story, dressed in a navy peacoat, cord jumper, pleated skirt, knitted scarf and knee-high socks.
It is also the boyish, androgynous, relaxed, I’m-not-trying-to-look-hot-but-I-just-do thing about navy, best epitomizes by Alexa Chung, who shows up at red carpet events with the perfect navy blue jumper and still manages to provoke total style jealousy from us all. I know the obsession over Alexa’s style is no longer cool – totally overdone, isn’t it – but shoot me now, I can’t help it.
It is therefore not much of a surprise that Wandering Minds has quite a bit of navy blue, but, in my defence, they are PERFECT navy blue pieces. Our preppy navy blue crewneck jumper has the right amount of structure of looseness, and could rival with Alexa’s best one.
Our navy blue pleated sweater from Seoul-based designer Grace Raiment is a bit more wild and quirky, with its slightly oversized fit, cool pleats and short-ish length.
Our navy blue skater dress, with its clean white collar, is one of our best sellers, probably because it has this sexy school girl thing going on, as well as a great heavy fabric that twirls.
And finally, our latest arrival, the bipolar navy cashmere coat, with its preppy front and totally unique back, which represents the great double personality aspect of navy blue: it may look a bit classic at first, but it has this wild and totally seductive side that’s just plain hot.
What would Audrey wear
By Elisa, Wandering Minds Founder and Chief Wanderer
I’m a big Audrey Hepburn fan girl, and I’m not going to apologise for it! The characters she played were always wonderful witty and playfully charming; obviously she always wore tremendous clothes in her films, but you could see her cleverness and depth of character in the way she dressed everyday too. She looked like she didn’t try very hard at all, and yet she knew her classics and wasn’t afraid to use time-tested style formulas and give them her own little twist. Here are the 6 main style lessons I’ve drawn from looking at pictures of my ultimate icon.
1. Crewneck jumpers are the sh*t.
A simple crew neck jumper can make for an outstanding outfit. They have this boyish charm that will make the boys and girls go crazy. It’s the androgynous thing, it can be so damn sexy. Because the neckline is high, keep it quite fitted. Choose a navy one (this one is pretty perfect) for a hot sailor look.
2. Skinny jeans + classic peacoat rock = awesomeness.
This is probably one of the most timelessly cool style combination, and again its charms lies in its simplicity and inherent tomboyishness. Also, peacoats are great because they’re not too long, which means you can show your legs and sometimes even a bit of ass, and who wouldn’t want that. Burberry probably does the best peacoats, but Uniqlo’s not bad either.
3. All black outfits don’t have to be boring.
Quite the opposite; it can be quite a strong style statement that can say a lot about one’s confidence and personality. Make sure you mix different textures to keep it interesting and multi-dimensional; combine leather with effortless cotton and rich velvet. For a true modern Audrey Hepburn look, finish the look with black repetto flats, or if you want to grunge it up a bit, with lace-up ankle boots.
4. Statement, quirky knits rock.
It’s actually quite difficult to find jumpers that have something fun and unique about them. I’ve tried, failed, and then commissioned some of our designer friends to create a couple for our store. Because when you have a stand-out jumper, the rest comes easy.
5. High-waisted tailored shorts + cropped top look = best silhouette of all times.
One of the most flattering silhouettes ever. Keep the shorts (very) short, the top simple and minimal, and you’ll look like the coolest girl in the room.
6. Tie your shirt and show your tummy.
Shirts can be boring, or they can be awesome if you sex them up a bit. Wear what could be your boyfriend’s shirt (it doesn’t really have to be, though) - classic colours but also gingham and chambray work beautifully - tie it so as to make it slightly shorter and tighter. This looks works with jeans, shorts, skirts, you name it.
Film Inspiration: Michelle Williams’ wardrobe in Take this Waltz
By Lucie Goulet, Wandering Minds guest blogger and wise strategy advisor
Is love best sustained by the sweet nothings that make the routine of marriage or forbidden, sexually-charged passion? Take this Waltz is actress and director Sarah Polley’s answer to this question. Michelle Williams is Margot, a dissatisfied freelance writer torn between her long standing relationship with cookbook writer husband Lou (Seth Rogen) and her new-found love for artist Daniel (Luke Kirby).
Margot is 28 going teenager, her wardrobe the most visible manifestation of her refusal to leave childhood. Converses and flip-flops are her default shoes, she favours primary colours. Despite going through emotional turmoil during the movie, her clothing choices don’t evolve, reinforcing the loop-feeling of the storyline: her personality, rather than her situation, causes her unhappiness. The movie is framed by two key bright yellow pieces: a raincoat for her first meeting with Daniel and a gingham shirt for a last heart to heart with Lou.
The crux of the movie takes place over one scorching summer and Margot dresses accordingly in short everything. Introduced in a flowy red dress, she stays true to the colour for the rest of the film, in the shape of a sports jacket worthy of the Canadian hockey team, a gingham dress, a striped t-shirt and red splashes within patterns. Red is the colour of sexualisation and infidelity and can be seen as a foreboding of her trajectory throughout the film. Blue, the colour of ingénues and Disney princesses is the other dominant hue, be it in denim or playsuits. Used interchangeably throughout the movie, both colours project Margot’s complex and indecisive personality.
Style Inspiration: American high-schools in 1969
By Elisa Eymery, Wandering Minds founder
James, our co-founder and genius ‘digital mechanic’ guy, may be a huge geek but he also has an extremely good eye for style. He recently sent me a link to a series of photos which had been taken in an American high-school in 1969, and we were both struck by how cool these people looked. To me, it highlighted what our style direction at Wandering Minds is all about: simple but well-made pieces which put together in an interesting way create effortless, quietly confident looks with a bit of an edge. The edge doesn’t scream at you though, it just sings in a whisper (I’m in a poetic mood today, as you can see).
The thing that I love the most in the photos is the play with proportions and lengths. High-waisted bottoms were teamed with very simple jersey t-shirts or tank tops, tucked in so as to create volume and structure. Outfits were completed by knee-high socks, reasonable but cool-looking shoes and slightly crazy accessories.
The prints were unexpected, the fabrics contrasted and the pops of colour vibrant and full of joy. The silhouettes were tailored, but in a very relaxed way, with easy shift dresses, softly structured blouses and buttoned-down shirts made funky and fun.
These young people dressed in a spontaneous and joyful way, and I think we all ought to recapture this fun, experimental and individual way of dressing everyday.
Denny’s column - A gay guy’s guide to dress stylishly: khaki and navy hunting gear
by Denny Lv, Wandering Minds Web Analytics specialist.
I’m a big believer in the idea that truly stylish men and women essentially dress in the same way. The slightly utilitarian, posh hunter look is one of these looks that work brilliantly on both men and women. You can either go khaki or navy, depending on whether you want to go for the lion hunter or hot sailor look.
Back in January 2011, Elisa and I went on our first ‘routine’ Paris sales trip - she’d been doing that for years while I lost my Paris Winter Sales virginity on this occasion. We stopped at what would become our absolute favourite sales spot in Paris, the flagship APC store on Rue Madame. That year, Elisa and I both found great hunting clothes: I found a pair of slightly quirky but definitely lovely forest green trousers; Elisa got a great coat in the same colour, with a brown collar and brown leather buttons and detailing, which had a distinct I’m-on-my-way-to-shoot-foxes flavour, but in a cool way - despite James ‘Testino’ Haydon’s comment - our brilliant mathematical brain at Wandering Minds - that Elisa looked like a hunting dog in that coat.
Me, not being a big fan of girls who dress like pretty little dolls, love it when girls pull off casual looks like the ones pictures below. I’ve seen many uber-stylish girls - including our lovely CEO at wandering minds - wearing slightly oversized shirts/cardigans/jumpers either from their boyfriends or from products branded as “boyfriend’s [xx]”. I particularly like our navy spring parka at Wandering Minds - completely androgynous but oh-so-cute - in fact I could quite see myself wearing it. The shape and fit of menswear adds the perfect amount of ease and cool and perfect for creating off-duty looks for cool girls. In some occasion, men can also borrow their women’s wardrobe, which is more rare but can work equally brilliantly; Jonathan - see picture below - featured in one of my favourite sites - Hel looks - looks awesome wearing his girl friend’s ragged olive shorts. Good style is most definitely genderless.
Elisa in her APC hunting coat - Brick Lane, London
Oversized navy parkas are hot
Boyish parkas work brilliantly for women too. Navy Spring Parka, from Wandering Minds
Guys can also steal their girl friend’s clothes for a great hunting look
Style Inspiration: Elle Fanning by Venetia Scott
There are some images that have a certain something that will particularly appeal to your visual, style and fashion sensibilities. Even better when it’s a whole photoshoot. Venetia Scott’s shots of Elle Fanning published recently in Self Service Magazine somehow hit the right buttons for me. It’s not that I particularly love the clothes, nor Elle Fanning for that matter. But Venetia Scott’s pictures convey a compelling mix of youthful cookiness, quiet confidence and optimism and plain good old fun. The slightly retro colour tones, middle class setting, and vibrant prints are both comforting and exciting; the lengths, volumes and textures are fashion-forward but not intimidating. Finally, the fact that Elle Fanning doesn’t have supermodel looks, but still looks great and comfortable in the clothes is also very endearing. It makes fashion fun and approachable again, when so many fashion spreads look beautiful but completely unattainable. I always try to remember this fashion feel-good factor when buying our collections for Wandering Minds, because clothes should ultimately be fun and enjoyable to wear.
Movie Style Inspiration: The Last Picture Show
At Wandering Minds, one of our main sources of inspiration comes from films. There is a handful of movies whose aesthetics have played a big role in shaping our general style direction. The Last Picture Show is one of them (check out the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YQomR5xJ_Y). It is a sensational movie; it is raw, moving and beautiful, and as such is one of my favourite movies of all times. But it is also one that inspires me visually. Although it takes place in rural America, each character has its own, strong visual identity, conveyed both by their clothes and hair and make-up. The interesting thing is that the movie was made is 1971, but the story takes place in the 1950s, and you can definitely see a mixture of the two periods in terms of fashion.
My favourite character is the beautiful but cruel Jacy Farrow, played by Cybill Shepherd, whom you may know from Taxi Driver. In the Last Picture Show, she manages to be innocent, mean, naive, and manipulative all at the same time, creating a complex character that is compellingly realistic and will undoubtedly remind you of yourself when you were a teenager - especially if you’re a girl. The personality of her character is brilliantly expressed through her clothes: faux innocent white or checked shirts strategically tied to show some midriff skin, a great cropped checked top, teamed with loose shorts or ankle-length trousers. But what really stands out is her hair, which is absolutely iconic: a 1970s flavoured shoulder-length bob, with the ends arranged in soft, bouncy curls, with a dramatic virginal side-parting adorned with a rectangular, dark, plastic hair pin. Her mum, played by Lois Farrow, is also really cool and feisty (see photo of her “finger” at the end of the series of photos).