Style scouting in Jozi

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Today Gus Silber (a joburg-based journalist) tweeted about how much style the people he saw at Arts on Main today had. I feel the same about a lot of the people I saw yesterday at the Melville Music Fête – stylish, beautiful and exuding confidence. Here are just a few of them…

More pics from the music fest tomorrow before I leave for Nairobi

Brrrrrrr

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Anyone who knows me, or who has read my posts before, knows how much I hate cold. I hate the dry croc skin, feeling like a sausage squeezed into stockings and the discomfort of walking into a warm place and feeling trapped in your layers….

If you have any friends in Joburg right now you will have no doubt seen the posts/Facebook updates/tweets about how cold it is. They aren’t joking. But I’m using this as an opportunity to embrace winter fashion (albeit begrudgingly), because after photography there is nothing I love more than clothes and fashion. Moving to Joburg was a huge education in this regard – in Durban a pair of stockings, some cardigans and a light jacket will suffice…here it is a different story. I think this is the first time in four years I’m ready to be warm and stylish in winter.

This is what I’m wearing today on top of a foundation of stockings and vests: black leggings from Zara in Poland, mustard jersey from Zara in SA, crochet-collar made by my mom, and flat boots from Country Road.

Obsessed with vintage

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On Saturday I decided I needed to take a break from the usual bird necklace that I wear around my neck, and while I was trying to decide what to put on, the vintage silver locket I bought a few years ago caught my eye. It was really dirty from hanging on my wall for a few months so I used a trick my mom taught me of cleaning silver with toothpaste and an old toothbrush – worked like a charm.

It is undoubtedly one of my favorite pieces of jewelry because it carries a history. Very sadly I don’t know any of it – I just picked it up at a small vintage store in Melvill. Other than the beauty and attention to detail the reason why I love vintage jewelry so much is because there are no family heirlooms in my family, no pretty shiny trinkets that have been passed down from generation to generation.

But having said that, I was lucky enough to receive a ring and a pendant (the little silver teapot) from my grandmother a few years back – the ring was bought for her by my dad when he visited Russia as a young man. They are completely worthless in monetary value, but they are incredibly important to me because one day I will be able to pass them down to my daughters or granddaughters, together with the other pieces I own.

These are photos of some of the vintage pieces that I have picked up over the years. The rectangular ring with the pinkish stone is the one from my gran. The oval ring with the purple stone I bought at a vintage store in Japan in 2007 – I love it because it reminds me of a fabrage egg. The flower brooch I bought in Cape Town at the market in Longmarket street.

The vain person’s guide to dressing for winter

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The lowest fashion moment of my holiday.

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The detailing on my wool coat bought in Poland.

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The delicate little gloves I bought in South Africa which I very quickly had to replace in Europe with a warmer pair.

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Trying to look good under the coat was a challenge too.

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My trusty pashminas – I would never trade them for a traditional scarf.

As I write this I am sitting in a vest and short-shorts back in the comfort of the South African summer. I also have to admit that I did not manage to find the holy grail this holiday; that is the ability to look and feel stylish while staying warm.

While we were in Paris walking along the river, a beautiful girl, in all black, long hair loose and blowing in the wind floated past (stylish people don’t walk, they float). I looked at her with all the envy and horror my body could spare since all my energy was concentrated on not crying from the cold. She had on a very light coat, no scarf and no beanie. I think she was even wearing heels.

At that same moment I on the other hand had on:
*two thermal vest,
*a top,
*two jerseys,
*a coat,
*2 pairs of stockings and jeans,
*2 pairs of gloves,
*2 pairs of socks cutting off the circulation to my feet, and
*a beanie AND a scarf wrapped around my neck and over my beanie.

It didn’t matter that my coat was grey wool and really classic, or that my boots are a rich warm dark brown leather. I felt like a war-time refugee from Eastern Europe. I had failed.

Call me vain, it’s okay, I admit it myself. I am also sure I am not alone. I was devastated that the soft caramel-colored leather gloves I bought at the Market on Main before I left made my fingers feel like I was climbing Everest. I detested the layers and layers tucked into stocking pulled up to my waist.

Maybe the secret is acclimatization, or maybe the beautiful winter fairy was just as cold as I was. All I know is that I long for the day when I can walk beanie-free along the river in Paris, in the dead of winter, smiling like I’m on the beach in Mauritius.

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Down memory lane

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This morning I got sent to the shops in -10 degrees to buy a few things for my grandmother, who hasn’t been feeling well. When I got back to her house (digits barely intact) she asked if I wanted to look at the her old photos. Of course I said yes, so she sent me to fetch the old chocolate box and white handbag where she keeps all of her old photos.

I’ve looked at these before but I never noticed the little love note photos before, that my gran and grandpa had sent each other before they were married. I love the digital photography age but tragically things like this have been lost along the way – the fact that photos were so expensive and there was no SMS, email or Facebook made notes like these extra special.

I also really enjoyed seeing some of my grans’s more stylish outfits. In some of the photos, if you look close enough, you can see her with the white handbag that the photos are now kept in.

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