Thursday, 17 February 2011

Pre LFW/LOOK Show excitement

Ship-Shape & Bristol Fashion has moved! To read all about the eve of The LOOK Show and see my new home, please visit me here.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love Is In The Air...

Happy Valentine's Day from Ship-Shape! Regardless of your relationship status and feelings towards this Hallmark Holiday, I hope you are having a fab 14th February.

For anyone wondering how love and romance can translate to the catwalk and high street, check out my article for the Bristol Pigeon entitled Love Is In The Air on romantic trends for S/S11.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Something for The Weekend... The Big Swish, Gimme Shelter Vintage Fair

This weekend is all about recycling, regeneration and pre-loved clothes as the Oxfam Big Swish clothes swap descends on the city. This Saturday you can get rid of your wardrobe hermits - you know, the kind of clothes that cling on for dear life to the sides of your closet, not wanting to be worn but not wanting to leave the comfort of those four walls - and get some new threads in the process.

Clothes swapping, or swishing as it is also known, has become big in recent years and given the economic downturn this country has faced it isn't hard to see why. The Oxfam Big Swish is just one of the many events going on at the CREATE Centre, as part of their sustainable fashion programme.

If you want to take part simply drop off any unwanted clothes between 11-12, peruse the rails and be ready for a 1pm kick off. I'd love to go but have actually double booked with another clothes swap - my own! I've been inspired by all the clothes swaps that have been happening recently so a few friends and I are getting together on Saturday to exchange our unwanted goods - I'll let you know how I get on : )

The Gimme Shelter vintage fair is back at the Lanes this Sunday with all the usual suspects including Motel, Cox & Baloney and Nylon Sky in attendance. Entry is free and there will be vintage clothes, shoes, jewellery and bags up for grabs, as well as plenty of vintage bric-a-brac and homewares.

If I have recovered from the excitement of my own clothes swapping sesh I'll be heading down to find some bargains, though I'm not sure anything can compare to the cream dress I found a couple of weeks ago.

Have a great weekend and let me know if you're planning your own fashion events by commenting here or emailing

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Reading List: Techy Tips

For a while now I've been contemplating a move from Blogger to Wordpress and, as always, I've found making a pro/con list to be the most effective way to make the decision. Although this would be quite a big step for the blog, it got me thinking about all the little technical tips and tricks that bloggers (fashion or otherwise) use to get the best from their blogs.

So here are some of the blogs I've been reading this week, full of tips to get the best out your blog...

SVB - What have you done with my landscape, flooding the fields with this clone shape - For a style blog perhaps one of the most important factors is great photos. This post shows readers hour to get a hazy, vintage tinge to their pictures.

Pro Blogger - How Your About Page Can Make or Break Your Blog - a tad intimidating as a headline but as a post it actually makes a lot of sense - great for seasoned bloggers and novices alike.

Independent Fashion Bloggers - How Will Fashion Blogs Evolve in 2001? - A fantastic resource for any fashion blogger, IFB's post on the changes we can inspect in fashion blogging over the next 12 months is comprehensive and insightful.

Dressful - 20 Sarcastic Tips to Become a Successful Fashion Blogger - an excellent tounge in cheek look at how to be a 'successful' fashion blogger from a site packed full of useful info on the fashion blogging scene.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Lust Have: Tatty Devine's new collection. Yes, all of it.

I'm a big fan of Covent Garden (previously Brick Lane) based jewellery company Tatty Devine and their quirky, whimsical designs. Perhaps best know for their brightly coloured acrylic 'name' necklaces, I first came across TD in my teens, when their logo was tattooed across strings of guitar pick necklaces and bracelets. I love that with every season comes a completely new concept (previously including dinosaurs, cocktail umbrellas and Amelia Earhart) and their new season collection, Astral Haze, does not disappoint.

Myth and magic has cast its wand over the Tatty Devine studios, with jewel encrusted unicorn brooches and quartz inspired bibs taking centre stage, but my favourite piece has to be the Halcyon Skies necklace, above. With the nights gradually getting lighter and winter slowly making way for spring, this dreamy necklace would make the perfect addition to any S/S 11 wardrobe.

If you want something Devine for yourself check out the Soma Gallery in Clifton Village which stocks Tatty Devine as well as several other contemporary jewellery designers.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

All the fun of The Vintage Fair

This weekend has been a busy one and not particularly gentle on my wallet! Before freezing my fingers off at the Gok's Clothes Roadshow catwalk I had some time to kill so I popped into Primark and came out with a brown paper bag.

I felt a little guilty making an impulse purchase just before seeing the man that claims women can survive with just 24 key pieces in their wardrobe, but I couldn't resist. Heavy cotton skirt with a voluminous black net underskirt, covered in a watercolour of poppies, this skirt is truly a work of art and unlike anything I've ever seen the fast-fashion retailer before.

After watching Gok and Co. I got an early night in preparation for yesterday. An early morning makeover courtesy of the Benefit concession in Debenhams kicked things of, before S and I hit the Bristol Vintage Fair in Portland Square. Sadly we peaked a little too soon, falling in love with a pleated cream dress and polka dot playsuit within the first ten minutes, thus blowing our budget an forcing us to dig around in our bags and purses to find enough cash for a cheeky cupcake.

Half an hour of Benefit later we were ready for the fair

A selection of gorgeous vintage bags

Circomedia on Portland Square was the perfect venue for a vintage fair

Clothes swapping fun at Goldmine on Stokes Croft

The fair itself was fantastic though, with some quality sellers in such a beautiful location. My pictures, below, don't really do it justice but if you missed it fear not - apparently there are plans for another fair in three months time, or visit their online calendar for upcoming fairs across the country.

After the fair we went long to the Goldmine clothes swapping party, armed with some pre-loved treasures to swap. The event kicked off at 4pm and when we rocked up not half an hour later we joined what can only be described as a frenzy of eager girls who looked like they had walked straight of the set of Skins.

I suddenly felt quite old as I rummaged through the rails looking for some vintage gems but S and I did come up trumps with some elasticated skirts (perfect as summer dresses) and 80s jumpers. By 5pm we were done and headed out with some fantastic finds and we had spent less than a fiver between us : )

Today I made use of the gorgeous winter sun to shoot some of my new (and old) finds...

50s style floral skirt from Primark

My stunning new pleated cream dress that I found at the fair...

... with a mocha coloured bow and shoulder panels

Two of the vintage skirts I picked up at the Goldmine clothes swap

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Something for The Weekend... Bristol Vintage Fair & Goldmine Launch

I love the period leading up to the new season - magazines, blogs, boutiques and events organisers get in on the action and at the moment Bristol has a busy hub of events and fashionable happenings taking place.

First up, I know I've been banging on about it this week, but don't forget that the weekend kicks off tomorrow evening with Gok Wan's catwalk show at Cabot Circus (it starts at 5pm , don't be late!) Gok will be showing of his high street finds and competing against Brit Smith-Start's designer outfits for his new Channel 4 show, Gok's Clothes Roadshow.

On Saturday the Vintage Fair comes to town. Joining the likes of Blind Lemon and Gimme Shelter, the Bristol Vintage Fair, above, is the new kid on the block as far as all things vintage go. Originating in Birmingham, the fair has been running at cities across the country since 2009 and came to Bristol for the first time back in November. This Saturday the fair is back at Circomedia in Portland Square and as well as lots of vintage goodies for sale it promises cupcakes, a vintage tea party and even a travelling hair and beauty salon - perfect if you want a beehive 'do to match your Mad Men style outfit. The event starts at noon and entry is £2 or £1 with an NUS card.

Just as the Vintage Fair is winding down, the fun (and vintage bargains) continue on Stokes Croft. You may remember that Shop Dutty opened The Goldmine last summer, a pop-up shop on Stoke Croft full of vintage clothes a a bargain price, not to mention a DJ booth, comfy sofas and plenty of tea and biscuits. All good things must come to an end and although The Goldmine closed just before Christmas, it has now been reincarnated as a permanent fixture in the basement of Shop Dutty on Cheltenham Road and will open to the public on 2nd February.

To celebrate it's new home, The Goldmine will be hosting a massive clothes swap, on Stokes Croft (opposite Pieminister) from 4pm with DJ sets, swapping and a few vintage bargains thrown in too. The festivities are due to go on into the night and if you want to take part simply bring some unwanted clothes to swap, or browse their clearance stock - bargains start at just 50p! For more info check out the Facebook page here.

Don't forget that La Freak Boutique in Montpelier will also be closing its doors for the last time this weekend, but not before every last vintage wonder is sold. The store will be open as usual on Saturday and also from 12-4pm on Sunday.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Behind the scenes: Gok's Roadshow

This afternoon I found myself in a disused shop in Quakers Friars, watching a camera crew and production team flutter around a cute set full of colourful clutch bags, towering multi-coloured heels and quirky high street finds. It was of course all for Gok Wan's new Channel 4 show, Gok's Clothes Roadshow.

A twist on the original Gok's Fashion Fix format, Gok's Clothes Roadshow sees Gok and designer obsessive Brix Smith-Start are taking their high street vs high end battle on the road and Bristol is the latest city to get a visit, along with the likes of Birmingham, Liverpool and London.

Today a selection of Bristol's fashion enthusiasts, students and journalists have made their pilgrimage to Cabot Circus to see Gok at work, dressed in blouses, blazers, leopard print jackets and ankle boots. I join them outside in the rain, waiting to get a first glimpse of the man himself.

Gok was a hit at Cabot Circus last September

After shooting was delayed for over an hour - the morning filming session had overrun and even TV's best loved fashionista needs to eat lunch - we were allowed to enter the shop and minutes later Gok appeared. Dressed in his trademark black outfit - casually thrown together workman boots, low hanging black jeans and casual shirt layered over a vest - he was actually shorter than I thought he would be.

I must confess I thought I would be watching Gok customising outfits behind the scenes so I was surprised to find that I would be part of Gok's avid (on camera) audience. I can't give away too much but it was a very interactive afternoon and I can't wait to see the episode when it airs later this year.

Gok has no doubt had a massive impact on all the women attending his workshops and the audiences who have already flocked to see his catwalk frock-offs with Brix. If you want to see the catwalk show for Bristol then it is taking place on Friday (28th) at 5pm in Cabot Circus.
Come down to see the latest high street and designer trends and don't forget to check out Gok's Clothes Roadshow tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Something for The Weekend... Elsie Riley, La Freak Boutique & Gok Wan

There are so many exciting events to look forward to in the coming weeks, not least the last of the January sales, the start of a new ethical fashion exhibition and the return of Gok Wan to Cabot Circus...

First up is the clearance sale at Elsie Riley. Run by the lovely Katie and named after her grandmother, Elsie Riley is a picture perfect boutique located just around the corner from St Nicks Market and is always so full of pretty, girlie trinkets. Whenever I walk past it I always picture myself lying on a chaise lounge, dripping in vintage pearls listening to Frank Sinatra. But that's quite enough of my daydreams - get down there and bag yourself a bargain this weekend!

Next up there is some sad news - La Freak Boutique, top, will be closing its doors for the last time at the end of January. The Picton Street boutique is closing down after enjoying years of being Montpelier's premier vintage emporium. Well known for showing at local vintage fairs and the £1 rummage box that entices in its shoppers this colourful shop will be sorely missed. La Freak will be open Thursdays-Saturdays until the end of the month so please visit and make the most of those crammed rails and sale boxes before their doors close for good.

Finally a little Something for The Weekend preview... next Friday Gok Wan will be returning to Bristol as part of his new show, Gok's Roadshow. Basically Gok's Fashion Fix with a twist, the filming of the catwalk face-off between Gok and Brix Smith-Start will be taking place at Cabot Circus on Friday 28th January. If you missed out on Gok's last visit then be sure to head down to the runway for 5pm to watch his high street vs designer show. More details to follow...

Sunday, 16 January 2011

MBTs: Walking the walk

As you may be aware I'm trying to get fit and with that challenge comes a whole new world of stylish opportunities; Stella McCartney for Adidas, Sweaty Betty, not to mention fitnesswear on the high street and performance enhancing footwear.

Trainer technology has advanced in recent years with the likes of MBTs, Fit-Flops and now the new Rebook Easytone trainers (with that rather distracting advert full of pert bottoms) becoming an increasingly popular choice of footwear for fitness fashionistas. The price of this type of footwear isn't cheap and has often put me off purchasing a pair in the past, along with their reputation for unflattering shapes and styles. Much akin to how mobile phones in the 80's resembled bricks, these kinds of shoes looked like brick strapped to your feet.

Just before Christmas I was invited to attend a body MOT in the city centre, courtesy of the folks behind MBTs, and I was lucky enough to be given a pair of my very own MBTs, below, to road test. As they arrived just before Christmas into a city coated in snow and ice, I decided to wait until the weather had mellowed before giving them a spin - my balance and coordination is an issue in regular conditions with familiar footwear - this would have been a Bambi on ice situation!
Masai Barefoot Technology physiological footwear, or MBT for short, was first developed in 1996 after researchers noticed how members of the Masai tribe walked barefoot over uneven ground. The brand was the first of its kind when it first launched in the US and its shoes aim to replicate 'natural instability' which in turn creates the need to balance, through a constant, rolling movement underfoot. The uneven surface forces the wearer to balance, in turn toning the leg muscles and improving posture.

Last week was my first trip out of the house wearing my pair (other than pottering around the house) and it felt so strange. The way the MBTs work forced me to balance, so I constantly felt like I was tipping forwards and convinced myself that I would fall flat on my face. Walking downhill was particularly challenging but now I've worn them a few more times I'm actually noticing a significant difference. I can really feel them working my calves when I walk up hills and
because of they way they make you balance, I find myself concentrating on my posture more - which is one thing I am always trying to improve.

From a style point of view I was worried that I would look like I had shoe boxes strapped to my feet but the style I picked, while 'sporty' is also quite sleek. I have worn them with black leggings, boot cut trousers with dresses and skinny jeans. While I do feel self conscious wearing them it is more because of the way I need to concentrate on my walk, rather than how the shoes themselves look.

At £100+ this type of footwear should be considered an investment for your wardrobe so if you are considering buying a pair think long and hard about when you would wear them and what colour and style would best go with the contents of your wardrobe. With regular wear you could see an improvement in both your posture and muscle tone but the makers believe every wear will experience different benefits.

I've yet to try exercising in them but will report back when I do : )

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Fashion and CREATEivity

Fashion isn't just about the what you see on the catwalk or find on the high street. In Bristol we are lucky enough to be surrounded by a wealth of independent shops, designers and organisations who are committed to recycling, reusing and restoring garments.

Charity shops and vintage boutiques sit side by side and community based projects are around every corner working to make a better, more sustainable city for us to enjoy. The CREATE Centre is one such venue - an 'environment centre' that runs workshops, hosts exhibitions and conferences and focuses on promoting green living to its visitors.

Starting today and running until the end of March, CREATE are running a programme dedicated to ethical fashion and the future of fashion. Fashion Footprints: Sustainable Approaches aims to unravel the complex world of fashion and its ecological and social impact - from the cotton fields to your favourite pair of jeans.

The exhibition has been created by the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World and curated by MA students from the London College of Fashion, and is touring the nation to educate consumers and industry insiders alike. As well as an exhibition there will also be a customising events, a Fairtrade fashion show and The Big Swish, a clothes swap organised by Oxfam.

Located near Spike Island, the centre isn't the first place you would think to go for your fashion fix but this exciting programme will make it worth the visit. If you can't get there during on a weekday then be sure to stop by on a Saturday morning before you hit the shops - what you learn might surprise you. I'll be checking this exhibition out and reporting back but if you get the chance to visit this week let me know what you think...

Fashion Footprints: Sustainable Approaches runs until 31st March at the CREATE Centre, for more information including opening times and a full listing of events check out their website.

Friday, 7 January 2011

New Year, New Loot - Part Two

Welcome to New Year, New Loot - Part Two. If Part One was an insight to my fashion-forward mind pre-Christmas, then consider this post to be a look at how my brain works during the January sales.

Every year I read (and write) about how to shop successfully during the sales, what items to look for (the words 'classic' and 'wardrobe staples' spring to mind) and how to avoid the pitfalls and frenzy that only the January sales creates.

Then, every year I go and buy something like the layered vest top, below, simply because it costs a fiver and has a smiley face on it....

That's not to say I won't wear this vest (H&M) a lot - I will and it looks ace with black leggings - just that I get a little over excited at all those big red signs. This was my first purchase of a day out with some friends at Cabot Circus and while we were trying lace dresses and skater skirts I also came across this silk dress, below.

This has a tad more longevity and could work well as a dress or as a smart day-to-evening top when paired with some tailored trousers. The tie-dye pattern isn't something I would normally go for but that is a benefit of sales shopping - a price drop allows one to try out new styles, colours or patterns, without the fear of wasting a lot of money.

Once I'd warmed up a little I found The One, below, the dress that respects the rules of sales shopping and that made my heart skip a beat. It is a flattering, feminine shape, has a unique pattern, a vintage vibe and, crucially, goes with lots of other items I already own. Sadly as with all sale items there was one slight flaw - there was only one size left, and it was slightly smaller than I usually wear.
You can see it in the photo above so I obviously bought it. Does it fit? Well yes actually. Would it fit a little better if I were half a stone lighter? Probably, but at least this way I have a goal to aim for... at least that's what I'm telling myself...

New Year, New Loot - Part One

Thanks to a mystery bug I've had a fair bit of time on my hands today so, aside from napping and the odd bout of nausea, I've been playing with my camera and all the lovely new treats that came my way over Christmas*.

This year, Christmas stocking aside, Mother Ship-Shape took me shopping in Bournemouth to find a few festive goodies. I love surprises - planning them, being on the receiving end, knowing about somebody else's surprise (I'm not fussy) - and usually insist on knowing nothing about gifts that might be coming my way. Year after year I've had some cracking surprises but this year the shopping trip saved my poor mother from the hassle and panic of buying for a surprise-aholic and also guaranteed everything would fit properly.

I tried on numerous pairs of tailored jodhpur style trousers before finding this stone-coloured pair from New Look. Thanks to my pre-wedding health kick they suit sitting both high on the waist or lower on my hips. They also go rather nicely with my gorgeous new Dorothy Perkins blazer, below. I adore the slight ruching on the pockets and the slouchy feel of the lightweight cotton, and the taupe colour is close enough to beige to be a wardrobe staple, but far enough away from camel to make it too A/W 10.

I also finally managed to get myself a pair of brogues from River Island. A cross between a loafer and brogue, the hidden laces make these shoes far more versatile and I can't wait till Spring to pair them with bare legs and summer dresses.

Somewhat surprisingly, I gravitated towards very similar garments and came away from Christmas with a practically complete outfit - a rare feat for my shopping trips, as Part Two of this post will show you...

Slouchy pockets and turned up cuffs make a perfect S/S blazer

My new stone coloured trousers came complete with brown knotted belt

Brogue + loafer =?

*Sadly not the new Jamie Oliver cookbook - at the moment that is only adding to the nausea feeling : (

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Above: new year, new loot! Some gems from Christmas and January sales

Today started with such good intentions. After a whirlwind of Christmas and New Year celebrations (which always passes by so quickly doesn't it?) I decided I should sort my life out and freshen up for the new year. Cue manic tidying, multiple loads of washing and lots of ideas for revamping this blog and my other web projects.

All good in theory, but when I haven't been on 'blog watch' for a couple of weeks, I find a whole gallon of exciting posts I've missed, from some of my fave blogs, below. Now four hours later I have just about caught up but left very little in the way of time for my own posts!

It's been a very busy festive Ship-Shape season, what with Christmas stockings, January sales and the obligatory annual health kick (complete with new gym kit) so while I flex my fingers and start typing, why don't you check out some of the gems you might have missed over the festive season on my reading list...

Rock & Roll Bride - 2010 The Year That Was... Part One & Part Two - an extensive rock and roll round up of some of the best weddings/engagements/photo shoots of 2010 from one of my fave bridal blogs.
Bargainista Fashionista - Make it your own Christmas! - nowt to do with bargains but actually a gorgeous (and cheap) idea for an alternative wreath. This is so sweet I think you could have it up all year round...
IFB - Setting Blog Resolutions For The New Year - this time of year it can be tough to keep up the blogging momentum so this is a great read to reignite your passion for your blog and perhaps inspire you to create your own.
The Bristol Beauty Blog - The Beauty Diet Reboot for 2011 - An alternative diet for the year ahead - using up/getting rid of all those smellies and make-up bits and bobs that you never use!
Fashionising - Zoolander 2 on the way: rumormonger - by far and way my favourite rumour of the new year. Fact.