Friday, January 27, 2012

The relativity of it all

Just a little while ago, I was asked to attented a meeting on the start-up of a research project for my organisation. Also attending would be my nearest colleague, my boss and three researchers, one of whom is a well known university professor and a much respected expert in his field. Pondering what to wear in the morning, I decided on a dark flowery dress and a grey top underneath. After looking in the mirror, I realised the grey top was much too sporty spice, so I took off the dress in a hurry and put on a more formal black top instead. The meeting took place first thing in the morning and went quite well. After a couple of hours, we shook hands and started leaving. I was chatting with my colleague, when he suddenly noticed I'd gone quiet. He followed my gaze to my left hand, all confused because it didn't find its way into a pocket, and we both saw this:

See those seams? Turns out I had been wearing my dress inside out the whole morning, genius that I am.

The remarkable thing was: nobody had even noticed it before I did. They couldn't have cared less about what I wore. I think I can therefore safely conclude: the only person I'm dressing up for is me. Maybe I should put this theory to the test with, say, a Finding Nemo dress-up costume.

Needless to say my colleague hasn't stopped making fun of me ever since. (He also kindly told my boss while I was speeding off to the bathroom to change.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Countdown to Paris shopping

Three more days and we'll be on our way to dancing the cancan and downing macaroons by the kilogram! (Maybe not the macaroons - I honestly don't understand the obsession.)

Pictures by my beloved who would most likely flog me for not crediting him.

On the agenda: good food (perhaps it's time to try snails?), art, and of course some shopping. To get in the mood I turned my list of stores-to-visit (mentioned in this post with basic tips on Paris shopping) into a Google Map. I also added some outlets thanks to the ever so knowledgeable Not Just A Pretty Dress. And of course, I wouldn't be the shopping philantropic I pretend to be if I didn't share this map with you. Here you go!

Paris on a bigger map

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Olympia Le-Tan: I love books, BUT...

... I'm not sure I would spend over a 1000 euros to carry one around. Do you think these qualify as the literary equivalent of fake geek glasses? As in: style trumping function and fetishing an intellectual image?

They are pretty, though. I hope whoever buys these gets a free copy of the book as well. And, you know, reads it. Crafted by Olympia Le-Tan, available at Net-a-Porter.

Olga's Retro

Should you ever fall prey to an uncontrollable desire of crocodile leather (surely one of life's more offbeat but underestimated hazards), there is always the option of visiting Olga's Retro in Gent.

In fact, you should go even if you don't have a particular longing for reptile skin, if only because there never was a true Gantoise like Olga. She represents everything I associate with characteristic Gent personalities: stern at first sight, but with a heart of gold, and quite a mouth on them. It's hard not to like Olga - she's a firecracker. On top of that, vintage clothing really is her passion. She opened the store when she was 58. Takes some guts, right?

The shop is tiny, but well stocked. There's an array of clothing, but Olga focuses on purses, shoes and coats. She has a steady supply of high quality leather goods, and I have to say, we found some magnificent purses during our hunt. Among them was a beautiful and impeccable crocodile bag for - if I remember this well - 500 euros. A small fortune, yes, but not compared to the thousands and thousands of euros you'll pay for a new one.

You'll find a lot of vintage brands here (Delvaux especially). Olga told us some purses are sold within a few hours of their arrival, so if you've really got your mind set on something, I would check back from time to time. And if you're worried about overspending, Olga will no doubt mollify your mind: