Monday, 28 December 2009

Happy Holidays from Ship-Shape!

Happy Holidays from Ship-Shape & Bristol Fashion! I hope you've all had an amazing Christmas and stuffed yourself silly with turkey, chocolate and all the trimmings (food trimmings that is, not things like tinsel - that would just be silly).

I'm back in Bristol and about to move house tomorrow so I have no idea how frequent my posts will be (shuddering at the the very thought of no internet for a few days). Posts should be back to normal within the week, any longer and Virgin Media are going to feel my wrath.

Ship-Shape Xx

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Culling: For better or worse?

Blogging has unfortunately been rather nonexistent since I returned from the States on Friday, but I do have an excuse, honest.

The boyfriend and I are currently in the process of moving flats and I have been up to my neck in cardboard boxes, parcel tape and random belongings for days. We are both avoiding the bedroom at the moment, as, what with my half emptied suitcase and half-hearted attempts at packing, it looks like the wardrobe projectile vomited across the carpet, see below.

We are moving to a slightly bigger flat but I'm sick of having to fight just to retrieve an outfit from my over-stuffed wardrobe so I have volunteered to get rid of a few bits and bobs. Not only have I been forced to sell and charity shop some of my clothes, I now have to spend the afternoon going through all of my beloved fashion magazines, as I've promised I'll get rid of some of 'that junk' before the move.

The upshot of this culling process means that I get reread half the magazines, purely so I know which ones to keep and which to chuck of course!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Alice by Alice Temperley S/S 2010

Hello Bristol! I'm back on (freezing cold) English soil after having spent the best part of the last 48 hours in transit. While I like the 'rollercoaster' aspect of airplanes (that would be taking off and landing), I'm not a massive fan of everything else in between; the food, the screaming children, the sardine-style seats...

So to take my mind off my seven hour flight (which turned into nearly ten thanks to the snow) I curled up with some fashion magazines and was delighted to find a new collection by Alice Temperley in the January issue of Marie Claire (US).

Simply entitled 'Alice' the collection is full of nautical stripes and military influences with a very British rock and roll edge. According to the designer, speaking to Marie Claire, the girl who would buy this collection 'listens to The Killers, Gorillaz and The Cure - she likes to mix things up'. Apparently Temperley cites the likes of it-girls Georgia Jagger and Alice Dellal as her inspiration but I think the London feel will be something accessible to the masses, evoking a kind of year-long festival style. Love it.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Florida Bag Lady

So when I started packing for my flight home last week I noticed something quite disturbing: my suitcase had shrunk. Ok, well that's not strictly true. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that while staying in Florida these last couple of months I've accumulated more clothes than I had intended. And now they won't all fit back in the suitcase.

I've never had a need for one of those irritatingly small carry-on suitcases on wheels until now, and didn't relish the thought of parting with nearly $100 for something I'll probably never use again. That's why I was delighted with this total find, above, from The Rose Garden. Not only does the case fit within airline baggage restrictions, it comes in a 'so garish I love it' floral patten, with a satchel thrown in for good measure. And all for a ridiculously cheap $12.

The shoulder bag/satchel is sure to come in handy once I'm back in Bristol and I'm loving the sheer 'granny' feel the set has to it. All I have to do now is find a space for the bag in my suitcase...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Blog of The Week: Frassy

I'm currently trying to write an article about winter trends for Bristol, all the way from sunny Florida, so naturally I've spent the last hour blog surfing in a bid to become the world's best (or should that be worst?) procrastinator. Thankfully I did though, because that's how I found Frassy, this week's BoW.

I knew I was onto a winner when I clocked the use of 'label maker' fonts - a typeface I've always loved, not to mention label makers in general, of which I which I am a proud owner (geeky, I know). Then came the Polaroids and use of black and white - this may sound cliche, but all are big ticks on my design radar.

Frassy is Audrey Lieghton, the English Lit student based in Spain/Durham with a passion for vintage and all things boho. Each post starts with a famous literary quote, with artfully haphazard shots of her posing in outfits (often charity shop and vintage finds), and the stunted prose reminds me a little of Hunter S. Thompson.

Not only does Audrey have a beautifully presented blog, she also sells her own homemade t-shirts and some vintages pieces on her sister site, Frassy Rags. The only disappointment I found was that a gorgeous worn brown leather bag I had my eye on had already been sold. I'm not sure if the store was a one off thing or how often it is updated but hopefully this stylish student will have more stock soon...

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Vintage... In The Florida Sticks

Today I went to the Everglades National Park and after taking me to see some huge alligators, my lovely driver Bill took me to this crazy little town where 'the oldest general store in the Everglades' had been preserved just they way it was in the 50's.

The Smallwood Store first opened its doors in 1906, serving as a place for weary travelers to stay and locals to by everything from chocolate to tobacco (a regular 7Eleven if you will), and is now a museum full of old Coke bottles, pharmaceutical packaging and animal skins.

While it was slightly disturbing to turn a corner and see a dead raccoon dangling in front of me, I loved looking through the old patterns, buttons and pieces of pristine clothing, such as the 1940s day dress, below.

Back in the day it was all about 'make do and mend' as popular fashion didn't make it to the Everglades until the 1920's

Buttons! I love the crinkled cardboard with all the old advertisements and illustrations

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Button Envy

I'm suffering from a serious hit of Button Envy* thanks to Class Act, the new consignment store that has opened up next to one of my aunt's cafes here in Naples.

The store is run by the lovely Roberta Stephens, who I've gotten to know through dishing out cups of coffee and watching as she transformed this former shell of a store into an Aladdin's cave of art, furniture, jewelery and accessories.

With a background in design and retail, Roberta decided to go solo and set up her own store in Naples, Florida. "I just like collecting junk and meeting people" says Roberta as she slips a bib of brass buttons around my neck.

Most pieces in the store are consignments, (including a collection of brightly coloured acrylic paintings by local artist Dot Lingren) but Roberta makes the button bangles and bib necklaces herself, using buttons she has collected on her travels, from antique malls to flea markets and "anywhere I can find them!"

The bibs in particular are gorgeous and I love this brass one, below, with a watch face thrown into the mix, fastened with what looks like a shoelace. If only I had some dollar and some room in my suitcase, it would be mine!

Class Act Consignment is based in Trinity Plaza, 304 9th Street North, Naples, Florida.

Owner and jewelery maker, Roberta Stephens

The buttons used are a mix of old and new, from antiques to flea market finds

Lust-have: The brass buttons and small watch face certainly liven up a plain white tee.

*'Button Envy' is a termed used to describe the feeling evoked upon seeing that someone else has a better collection of buttons/button jewelery than you. The sensation can normally be quelled after making a purchase, trading buttons or taking copious amounts of photos to be used as Button Porn.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Hamilton House Fashion Bazaar

Ah, I wish I were in the country for this one! If you're making a start on your Christmas shopping and are looking for fun, creative gifts, or just a place to avoid weekend shoppers while indulging in a little fashion voyeurism for yourself, then head down to Hamilton House in Stokes Croft for the first ever Fashion Bazaar.

Presented by the Bristol Fash Pack, this free one day event promises stalls, customising workshops, a fashion parade, a clothes swap and a clothing auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the collectives' two chosen charities; the Bristol-based Malawi Education Project and Cancer Research.

Fash Pack is an all female line-up of local fashion designers and shop owners including Shop Dutty and Madidas Harissa, both of whom featured in the Stokes Croft Fashion Show back in October. The group are looking for volunteers to help out with the event so if you're interested then please get in touch via their Facebook event page.

The Bazaar kicks off at 1pm and carries on till 6pm, with the fashion parade and auction happening at 5pm. All the action happens in the event space above the Coexist Canteen - see the Facebook page, link above, for more info.

A fashionable event that supports charity, local designers AND has t-shirt customising workshops sounds like a winner to me so make sure you go and check it out this Sunday!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Black and Blue

In the US there is a Thanksgiving tradition known as 'Black Friday', which happens the day after Thanksgiving (which always falls on the last Thursday of November).

But Black Friday is not where families come together to relax after the stress of cooking a big meal, it is in fact the day when they choose to venture out at 5am (!) to shop like crazy in the ridiculously priced pre-Christmas sales. Events take place everywhere from superstores to thrift stores and last the weekend, but all the best sales happen first thing on Friday morning.

Naturally I wouldn't dream of getting up so early for any of the January sales, but as I'll probably only be here once for this time of year I figured I might as well partake with the rest of the country. In a bid to be clever and out-smart my body clock, I decided to join my cousin (and what seemed like half of Florida) in going to Miromar, one of the largest outlet malls in Florida at midnight.

There were queues from the highway, queues to get into stores, queues to pay and even queues to get back out again! Luckily I was just on the hunt for a few Christmas presents and succeeded in getting most of the things on my list, but my cousin had to queue to get into her favourite store, Juicy Couture, only to find nothing of interest and left empty handed!

One of the things I love about shopping is the thrill of the chase; the rummaging the looking high and low and the satisfaction of walking out the store with my purchase. Last night I practically had to beat off old ladies with their own walking sticks just to get near any of the stores I was interested in*, and I had to put up with the scary, bleary eyed looks of shoppers desperate for a hit of '40% off'. Not an experience I intend on repeating but I'm glad I gave it a try. Now, off to bed...

* No old ladies were harmed in the making of this post.

Blog of The Week: Polka Dot Bride

Ok, so this week it is a bit of a selfish BoW on my part but bare with me as it packed full of style. Polka Dot Bride is a blog devoted to, you guessed it, brides, weddings and all things 'Special Day' related. Since I'm now in line to get hitched and there is an ocean between me and my intended, the thought of weddings has been on my mind of late. Polka Dot Bride was bought to my attention via Facebook, from Liz, an old waitressing pal who now makes 50's style wedding dresses.

While I still feel rather overwhelmed at the prospect of themes, dresses and colour schemes, I have been inspired by the stunning 'real life' posts of beautiful photography from this blog, based in Australia. And when I say 'real life' I don't mean in a tacky, Chat, Now, Take A Break fashion...

Wicked Brisbane based wedding post, above

Most of the weddings featured are from the US or OZ and I wish I could import half the photographers over as the visual memories they make for each wedding are stunning! Quirky couples pose across New York with matching green RayBan's, couple pose in front of iconic landmarks and even in from of art galleries, museums and graffiti. The photography is fantastic and the site itself is very simple to navigate, with new posts appearing every day.

The blog is well respected in its home country and comes with helpful lists of photographers, dress makers and everything else one could possibly need for a wedding. Sadly most of these contacts are for Australasia but there are a few tips for UK and US brides too. Creative colour posts give many ideas for a particular colour, be it black, olive or grey, and interviews with wedding specialists (think filmmakers, boutique owners and wedding planners).

Definitely one to check out if you're getting hitched, but also for those of you who are aspiring photographers or interested in bridal wear in any way.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Oh So Sui!

Yesterday I went back to Target, primarily to get a memory card reader for my camera, but got a little sidetracked first by the Anna Sui for Target collection that I mentioned in a previous post.

The collection had been on sale when I first visited the store at the end of October but there was an even bigger sale on yesterday (I don't think the older generation of Naples appreciate this hip New York look), so I couldn't help but have a nosey through what Target had to offer.

Most of the gems I found were from the Anna Sui range, although sadly not in my size. I found a gorgeous retro woolen mini skirt in brown, cream and mustard shades which would have looked great with a pair of plum tights, along with a black lace Wild West inspired dress, both of which were too large. I often find pieces like this and convince myself that I'll take up the hem or whatever but in reality they all just sit in a pile on my desk (for weeks at a time) so I figured I should leave said items behind.

What I did find however was this delicious blue smock with a black print and pussy bow collar, see above. The dress comes with a waist cinching belt but I'm not sure if I'll use it or not as I quite like it as is, even if it does make me look like a French abstract painter... As M would say, 'it just hangs there' and is not in the slightest bit figure hugging but I just love that print over such a unique blue colour.

Perhaps it is being in a sunny climate but I seem to be attracted to brighter things at the moment. Hopefully an occasion will arise where I can wear it here otherwise I'll have to fit it into my already bulging suitcase. By the way, after a an hour of rummaging and trying things on I did eventually make it to the photography department and am now the proud owner of a memory card reader, hurrah!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

A trip down Memory Lane...

As I wondered round the sprawling mall the other day, taking in the stores and swarms of angst ridden teenagers, I found myself travelling back through the years when my love affair with the (at sometimes questionable) fashions of the good ol' US of A began as a teen. My aunt would give me Old Navy clothing for Christmas and birthday presents that I would wear religiously - the shining American beacon in my boring English wardrobe.

When I came to visit my aunt for the first time in New Jersey, at the age of 14, she took me to Manhattan for the day where I experienced Abercrombie & Fitch for the first time. Taken in by the all-American charm, I walked out of there with a maroon fleece zip-up hoodie that had navy piping and a small navy 'Abercrombie & Fitch' embroidered on the sleeve. The day ended with a makeover at Saks Fifth Avenue. A song out at the time called Summer Girls featured the line; "I like girls who wear Abacrombie & Fitch, I'd take her if I had one wish..." I wore my new American hoodie with pride for the rest of that summer and for many months that followed.

I was around 17 or 18 when I went to the west coast for the first time, with my friend L and her parents, spending time in California, Nevada and Arizona, hanging out in Vegas and riding around on the back of a Harley Davidson for the best part of three weeks. Cult shows and fashions were on the agenda and L introduced me to a store called Hot Topic. The chain of band t-shirts, cult clothing and comic books was like a revelation in my teens and I remember finding a Hello Kitty t-shirt and a Rainbow Brite bracelet, both of which were unattainable in England and that I treasured for years until the t-shirt became faded and the bracelet broke.

I don't know that cartoon/logo tees are really my thing anymore but I love this 'Nerds Need Love Too' shirt that I saw in Hot Topic. It is just the kind of thing I would have worn in my teens, when Hello Kitty was, or perhaps just felt, more underground and 'cult' then it does today.

I'll try and dig out some photos of my American adventures, pre-Florida, in fact I still have a pair of jeans I bought from American Eagle Outfitters from the California trip. Straight in the leg and plain blue in colour, they were the jeans I biked around Europe in a few years ago and that I wore so often I got the all-American rips in the knees that I had always wanted, but refused to pay for.

This I think, is one of the reasons I find it so hard to give up old clothes - clothes which have so many memories woven into them that I treasure too much to part with, despite stains, rips and general unfitting-ness. This is why I'm trying to enjoy what I have, using and wearing it now rather than waiting to 'save it for best', see excellent post by LLG.

Perhaps you have some treasured tales of clothing you wore to death as a teenager. If so then post a comment or better yet send a photo to

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Absence makes the wallet grow smaller...

Since I took leave from Bristol my other half has been keeping himself busy by going to an art exhibition, cooking lots of fish and playing on his new PlayStation 3. On the other side of the Atlantic I have been consoling myself with two of my favourite things: shopping and cake.

The cake was getting a bit too calorific for my liking so today I went to The Mall instead, which turned out to be a bit lethal on my purse.

First stop was the department store Macy's which was a little lacking compared to the one I visited a few years ago in NYC, but with a store-wide sale I thought it would be worth a look. Before I knew it I was walking out with a Calvin Klein grey plaid shirt dress with a yolk neckline, and a charcoal coloured leather jacket by Sugarfly, an American brand I'd never heard of before.

I've always liked leather jackets on other pretty young things, such the Olsen twins but found them a little boxy looking when actually trying any on, so I can only conclude that one of two things has happened. Either I've found the perfect leather jacket for me or, as a suspect may be the case, I'll wake up tomorrow morning and be desperate to take it back - time will tell I guess!

Above: an ill-advised purchase? Sugar Fly leather jacket.

On the search for some reasonably priced Converse I came across Old Navy, a subdivision of Gap which is full of quirky prints and retro advertising. I have a bit of a thing for pyjamas and fell for some yellow flannel boxer shorts covered multicoloured deer, above.

Image courtesy of Fab Sugar

I love all the trashy, cartoon emblazoned pyjama sets and bottoms that seem to be so popular in the US, possibly due to watching too much of Clarissa Explains It All when I was younger, I managed to find a hideously wonderful pair of bright pink bottoms covered with birthday cakes, which I think are fantastic, especially since they satisfy both my clothing and cake needs.

Like I said, in the light of day I might feel differently but for now I'm quite pleased with myself!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Blog of The Week: The Freelancer's Fashion Blog

This week I've gone not for a British blog nor an American blog as my BoW. Stumbling around in the darkness of Google, I came across The Freelancer's Fashion Blog, based in Helsinki, Finland.

The blog is run by a tattooed blond bombshell who loves vintage, beehive hair-do's and burlesque; blogging about her outfits, performances as part of her burlesque group and tips and tricks for everything from 30's inspired hair to applying fake eyelashes.

Playful photography and confessions of an addiction to 'fashion porn' (online shopping) are just some of the highlights and this blogger's cats and her love of all things vintage can be seen in the photos of her taken against mirrors and other reflective surfaces; evoking a voyeuristic, 'times gone by' feel.

50's pin-ups are obviously a huge influence and as a result the blog is full of girly, lust-have images of vintage clothing, accessories, and cute Finnish shops. FFB is well traveled and should I ever find myself in Sweden or Finland I'll be sorted for vintage boutiques! And if if she was in Naples, Florida right now then I'm sure sure would love the vintage collection at Audrey's Attic.

I admire someone so influenced by vintage that it has become part of their essence of style, and not just in a printed scarf or red lipstick, although these feature highly in FFB's look. Her posts on inspiration are, well, inspirational and I think I might try out my on vintage bombshell look tomorrow...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Luella Hit By Recession

Luella S/S10 image courtesy of Vogue style achieves

As I was browsing on the UK Vogue website this morning, I was shocked to see that the fantastic British fashion label Luella has announced plans to cease trading.

Created by Central St Martins graduate and onetime fashion editor Luella Bartley back in 2000, the Luella brand took the fashion world by storm after its first season and Bartley was soon hailed as one of the 'bright new stars' of the design world. Making a name for herself with quirky, feminine designs, Bartley has received many accolades since starting the brand, most notably winning New Designer of the Year in 2000 (Elle Style Awards) and Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2008.

Image courtesy of Le Fabuleux Mia

According to the Vogue report, the brand's global licence Club 21 has "reluctantly taken the decision not to invest further in its relationship with Luella Bartley Limited." The rippling effects of this current recession do not seem to discriminate; effecting all businesses and communities alike, even the seemingly unstoppable fashion industry.

If well established design houses like Luella can be hit by such a blow, it is worrying to think about what the future of design holds for graduates and fledgling fashion designers and their peers.

Another one bites the dust as they say, disappointing to see such an eccentric, fun label disappear, though hopefully Luella will return in some form or another.

Liberty London Girl and the Guardian both have good reports on this for further reading.

Monday, 9 November 2009

WIN! Tickets to Bath Swap Event!

Last week I posted about a clothing swapping event in Bath, hosted by the lovely Posh Swaps.

Ship-Shape has a pair of tickets to give away to this exciting event so if you would like a serious session of guilt free shopping then simply email with your contact details by 12th November. The winner will be picked at random and sent a pair of tickets in the post.

Details of the event are below...

When? 24th November 2009 7.00 -9.30pm
Where? Brunswick Room, Guild Hall, Bath
How? Just bring along 3 items of clothing that someone else would be delighted to own
Why? It’s fun, it’s frugal and it’s eco friendly, plus a great chance to refresh your wardrobe!
Cost? £10 in advance, £12 on the night including…
entrance to the swap party and our fashion and beauty market, a glass of wine and nibbles, the chance for one lucky person to be styled by Personal Stylist, plus a reusable goody bag with fashion and beauty goodies

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Interview with Zac Posen @ Saks Fifth Avenue

Models show off to stunning Zac Posen S/S 2010 dresses in canary yellow and sea green. Print designed by Rosson Crow

This afternoon hip young designer Zac Posen paid a visit to Saks Fifth Avenue, Naples, to meet fans and show off his new S/S 2010 collection.

For those unfamiliar with Zac Posen, he is a US designer who studied at Central St Martins as well as Parsons the New School for Design and made his name in his home town of New York, establishing a cult celebrity following and winning a host of awards for his colourful and feminine designs since he stepped out onto the scene in 2001.

Posen has won both citizen and celebrity fans over with a mix of bright colours, detailed prints and silhouettes that celebrate the diversity of the female form: from 1930s inspired monochrome in A/W 2003 to delicate floral prints in his 2009 Resort collection.

Today at Saks, Posen's S/S 2010 collection was alive with colour, figure-hugging dresses and exotic prints teamed with bright feather sleeves and cover-ups. The abstract floral prints were designed by Rosson Crow, an American artist and illustrator famous in art circles for her decedent use of paint on the canvas and rich, bold colours.

Yazbukey brooches and jewelery used in the NYFW show are on show at Saks alongside the rest of the S/S 2010 collection

The collection had a mix of short cocktail dresses combined with longer, Grecian-inspired gowns, see top photo. There were also some fun lattice two-tone pieces that looked like chicer versions of cheerleader uniforms. Posen, who has previously favoured tailoring from the 30s and 40s in his collections, has managed to evoke nearly every inspirational decade for Spring/Summer.

The acid yellow colours and shorter mini dresses looked reminiscent of Mary Quant designs of the 1960s while the mannequin sporting the long pink gown embellished with beading could have walked straight out of a 1070s cocktail party. Posen has obviously enjoyed putting together this new collection and collaborating with other artists and designers - something that is reflected in the fun use of colours and choice of fabrics (everything from feather to silk).

The colourful and tongue-in-cheek lip brooches that feature in Posen's S/S 2010 collection were designed by Turkish design duo Yazbukey, see image above. Laser cut lips and manicured hands came in black, bright green and mirrored pink and blue, reminding me of the London based jewelry company Tatty Devine, a Ship-Shape favourite, who specialise in quirky, fun acrylic designs.

Above: Zac poses for a photo in his rather dapper navy suit

As well as a sneaky peak at the new collection, the designer was also meeting and greeting fans, both the two and four-legged variety! Once the gushing group of high school fashion followers I was with had cornered Posen for a chat, I was lucky enough to be able to pick his fashionable brain about his new collection, Mark Ronson and his list of A-list followers...

Ship-Shape: What inspires you when you design a new collection?
Zac Posen: I am constantly researching. I'm into people who self-style: women who know their character and personality and know how to express it.

SS: Were you happy with your show and all the glamorous parties at New York Fashion Week?
ZP: Well my show was at 9am so I didn't get much partying before then! The show went well and was mixed by [English music producer and DJ] Mark Ronson who played some fantastic independent bands such as The Like. Ship-Shape also heard tunes by Santigold and Florence And The Machine made an appearance as models sashayed down the runway.

SS: You've dressed a lot of celebrities for the red carpet - do you have a particular star you've enjoyed working with?
ZP: I could never answer this question!
SS: (with a cheeky smile) Is that because there are too many favorites to choose from?
ZP: Ah, I've had so many amazing experiences with every [celebrity] I've dressed! I love it when I can work closely with them during the fitting process.

SS: You're a New Yorker but you spent some time studying in London, what are your favourite things about the city?
ZP: Well I met so many great people there and lots of my friends are in London. I love the British Museum, the John Soane Museum, Sussex...

SS: The people of London and New York dress very differently, what do you think about UK style?
ZP: Oh absolutely! I think England has embraced eccentricity. (SS nods enthusiastically and mentions a potential move to the capital) If you're going to work in fashion in London you have to make a statement, look at the likes of Isabella Blow - maybe not that extreme but you have to create a look for yourself and stand out from the crowd.

A huge thanks to Zac Posen and the Saks Fifth Avenue team for a fantastic event, and for E for letting me borrow her camera phone!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Thrifty Thursday

After my weekend adventures at the mall and Target, I've been hankering for a slightly more diverse and quirky way to fashionably spend my dollars and today I hit gold, in the form of thrift stores.

For the uninitiated, the common thrift store is an American version of a charity shop or vintage boutique. Thrift stores have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson championing vintage on and off the red carpet.

I'd been to a few of these quirky stores the last time I was in New York and the look focused very much on leather, denim and retro inspired t-shirts - much akin to the young, hip vintage boutiques in Bristol and London.

Naples is a frustrating place for fashion: the majority of locals are either rich, old, or both, which means that fashion comes in the form of boutiques and exclusive department stores. Great for designer finds, not so great for my wallet. This is why the thrift stores are perfect as all the old people donate all their designer labels and there are plenty of Granny Chic finds to be had!
Gucci pumps, Escada blazers and a stunning pair of nearly new Docle & Gabbana brogues, above, for $75... there are some amazing finds to be had if you're prepared to rummage, which I always am! Along with high end designers there were the more obscure American and Italian brands along with the likes of Ralph Lauren and Levi denims.

I visited three shops this afternoon, all just five minutes from the house that I had never noticed before. The lovely ladies at The Rose Garden and some gorgeous vintage jewelry and gave me a map with all the thrift stores of Naples on it (the Holy Grail of my fashion hunt so far). Their shop was divided into open plan rooms with menswear, accessories and womenswear, along with furniture and bridal gowns. All the staff were really helpful and super nice, even pointing me in the direction of other store I might like using said map.

Options and Audrey's Attic were next and both were full of treasures. Options was where I found the D&G shoes, photographic evidence of which will be posted soon. A lot bigger than the other stores, Options supports a local domestic abuse charity which one of the employees told me draws a lot of contributions from the community. There was a real mix of clothes here and although one would need to rummage to find good clothes, accessories were displayed on tables and clear perspex units making them easy to locate and identify.

Audrey's Attic is a 'for profit' thrift store and as a result it looked like more money had gone into the decor and the quirky vintage layout. The collection of vintage upstairs was simply stunning and the shop is run by a British couple who were very helpful when I paid them a visit! The vintage on sale spans from the 40s through to the 80's with some amazing lace wedding gowns and 50s prom dresses, see photo above. There were treasures aplenty and I will definitely be going back next week and taking E with me - she is a label lover and I'm sure I can lure her in to my way of thinking with some vintage Gucci and Chanel!

Stay tuned for accompanying photographs...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Stateside Shopping

I find it hard to believe but since I landed in sunny Florida over a week ago, I have only got around to exploring some of the shops and 'the mall' this afternoon. The biggest difference I've noticed so far is that, unlike in huge cities like New York, all the shops are contained in malls or plazas and are not particularly easy to get to on foot.

Like everything in America, the malls and shopping centres are big, big, big with a mix of high street and high end shops inside. Today I paid a visit to Marshalls which is just like an American version of TK Maxx as it sells high end familiar and obscure brands at low prices (normally due old season lines or unsuccessful sellers).

I managed to pick up a wicked pair of New Balance grey and red running trainers, which can now replace my accent Nikes, while my friend picked up a cute pair of Emporo Armani sunglasses for $10 - bargain!

Next stop was Target which I always thought of as an US version of Primark - cheap clothes and there for lower quality. The only time I heard of this popular American store was when Sarah Jessica Parker designed a (poorly received) womenswear line for it back in 2007. I was surprised then, to find not only far more than clothing on offer but that it offers regular seasonal designer lines, and this time by Anna Sui. The collection has been inspired by the TV show Gossip Girl and featured trademark Sui design features such as lace and fringing, like this gorgeous grey t-shirt, above.

The collection looked like it had been inspired by the wild west, with nostalgic saloon tassels and lots of high-neck cream and black blouses. Although I've never seen an episode of Gossip Girl I've been informed that each of the 19 pieces in the collection has been influenced by Sui's favorite characters. Talking to Target press Sui said of the show; " [Gossip Girl] is such a phenomenon and so fashionable, so I really wanted to create a collection reflective of the four main characters."

The line came out in August so before I found my way to the shops it had already been put on the sale rack. Personally I've fallen for the grey t-shirt with black fringing as it it is simple but feminine - a classic Anna Sui look. As soon as I work out the bus system I'm going back to buy it!

More Ship-Shape and Florida Fashion updates and pictures to follow so watch this space...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Posh Swaps Hit Bath

If you're looking to find some new treats to fill your wardrobe but are strapped for cash or concerned about your carbon footprint, you might be interested to know that a Posh Swap event will be taking place in Bath at the end of November. I love swaps such as this as you never know quite what you're going to find and the hunt for something new is far more exciting than just picking something off a rack.

This event will be the first swap that the West Country based company is putting on and founder and fellow fashion blogger Ceri Heathcote is looking forward to the event; “We wanted to create a place where people could find affordable and sustainable clothing. Looking stylish is not about following the latest fashions; it is about wearing quality clothes to suit the wearer’s lifestyle, personality, colouring and body shape. These clothes make people look and feel great without the guilt of causing unnecessary environmental damage."

Above: A shopping frenzy at a recent Posh Swaps event.

I couldn't agree more, which is why, as I'm all the way over in sunny Florida at the moment, I'm giving away a pair of tickets to the event - that really is guilt free shopping! To enter this giveaway simply email with your contact details by 12th November. The winner will be picked at random and sent a pair of tickets in the post.

Below is the who, what when where...

When? 24th November 2009 7.00 -9.30pm
Where? Brunswick Room, Guild Hall, Bath
How? Just bring along 3 items of clothing that someone else would be delighted to own
Why? It’s fun, it’s frugal and it’s eco friendly, plus a great chance to refresh your wardrobe!
Cost? £10 in advance, £12 on the night including…
entrance to the swap party and our fashion and beauty market, a glass of wine and nibbles
the chance for one lucky person to be styled by Personal Stylist, plus a reusable goody bag with fashion and beauty goodies

Further information and tickets can be found at here.

Images courtesy of Ceri Heathcote

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Blog of The Week: La Petite Fashionista

Seeing as I'll be stateside for a couple of months I figured I should search for the best fashion blogs in the US, and of course Florida. This week's BoW is La Petite Fashionista, a 20 year old college student based in Florida who is 'obsessed' with fashion.

The writing on this blog is young and fresh - Lauren obviously adores fashion and this passion comes across in her writing. From what I gather she is studying fashion merchandising and often blogs about her coursework, work experience and college life, such as this post below.

The blog is very well presented with lots of info and fun bits such as Lauren's own personal collection of inspirational images not to mention comments and opinions on fashion editorials and new designers. Images and collections are often arranged and designed to look like the pages of a fashion magazine or a mood board, which is shows off Lauren's creative streak and takes me back to my own fashion student routes of sketchbooks and presentation.

This blog is a fun stroll down memory lane for me and it is great to see a student blogging about fashion while still at school - a quality that will no doubt give her the edge over her peers when it comes to getting a job in the fashion world!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Ship-Shape and Florida Fashion

I've jetted across the pond to Florida for a few weeks. Sadly not in the name of fashion, but I will endeavour to source out the best fashion America has to offer and blog about my findings as much as possible!

So far in the depths of Florida all I've seen are shorts, baseball caps and suspicious looking Hawaiian shirts but I'll find some fashion worth blogging of somewhere in this state! At the same time I'll do my best to keep up with you fashion forward lovelies in the South West so feel free to comment on up coming Bristol based events...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Ship-Shape in the local press

Slowly but surely I'm starting to get this blog 'out there' into the big scary world of the press and public. As this is all still fairly new, it is still exciting to see Ship-Shape get a mention. So follow the links below to see Ship-Shape in all it's glory, on the Bristol Evening Post website and on the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft...

Stokes Croft Fashion Show report on the PRSC blog

Bristol Bloggers Directory on the BEP

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Blog of The Week: Liberty London Girl

I found the musings of LibertyLondonGirl after reading a very interesting piece on IFB that she wrote regarding recent changes in US law that effect bloggers; a must-read for any American bloggers who receive freebies and samples from PR companies.

LLG is "an English fashion editor in Manhattan" blogging about "life, love, fashion, design and food" and appealed to me as she ticks the boxes in terms of interests and her job. As I'm also off to the US soon (sadly not for journalism related purposes) there are posts such as What Beauty Products Should I get in the US?, below, that could come in handy!

There is always something quite appealing about the nature of anonymous bloggers, particularly those in the field of fashion so I was intrigued to read more of LLG's blog and I think it has a good mix of lifestyle and fashion related content - a balance that many fashion bloggers can loose sight of from time to time.

LLG's refreshingly honest attitude to life and her move to the US is fun to read ans recently she commented at her surprise at her most recent accolade considering that "this blog, which was originally my letters home to London from New York". A little helping of English wit, honesty and self-depreciation gives this blog and edge and LLG ticks the boxes as a good blogger - pro active, community focused and keen to respond to comments and posts - a perfect read!