When in Paris, do as the Parisians do.

Paris.pngHere’s a fact: anyone with a few million pounds in their bank account can stroll into Selfridges and become Fashionable with a capital F. But here’s another fact: very few people—substantial bank account or not— can be considered people of genuine style.

When you have a quick scroll through Instagram or check out any of the multitudes of fashion blogs that exist today – you’re inundated with people clutching onto the latest trends in a dizzying attempt to keep up with the times. And that, ironically, results in hordes of beautiful, talented young men and women looking, well, exactly like everyone else. These types of people are not the genuinely stylish people with whom we should take our fashion inspiration from.

And that’s why I like Paris.

It’s home to the Eiffel Tower,The Palace of Versailles, The Champs Elysees and and has birthed some of the worlds most stylish people – including Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. But the people of Paris (and France at large) arguably possess the best knack for fashion I’ve seen in all my travels.

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I’ve been fortunate to have visited France a few times, and I’m consistently reminded of how much I just love the way French men and women dress. I love how the French flirt with androgyny and embrace the elegance of simple sophistication. Perhaps it was ever since my first visit to Paris in grade 6 that my fashion choices have been precast today, but over the years my observations of French women’s style have definitely been a catalyst for my own very personal style.

Here are a few reasons why I like the way the French do Fashion:

– Trends –

Echoing the previous point, French people are not slaves to short-lived, high frequency fads such as trends.

In London – you’re so aware of trends because the moment something becomes ‘on trend’ – every second girl or guy is wearing it. I don’t have an issue with that – but what I like about France is that the French tend to stick to timeless, well-cut pieces that are classics.

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I also love French architecture. We passed this building on the way to The Louvre – it’s part of the Grand Palais. C’est magnifique!

In a 2014 Vogue research analysis of French Ready-to-Wear style, it was not only revealed that French women aren’t slaves to seasonal trends, but it also proved that they found style inspiration from the streets — not magazines or TV.. I love that.

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My stylish travel buddy, Indigo.We loved spotting the differences/similarities between the French and English cultures.

– Simplicity – 

It’s as simple as that.

They eat simply, they drink simply and their attitude towards fashion is – beautifully – simple. They don’t try so hard to adorn and embellish things the way us English naturally do – they stick to what they know and they stick to the essentials. This is where the true allure of “Frenchness” lies.

In today’s consumerist culture we are constantly bombarded with a kaleidoscope of aspirations; we need to keep up with the Joneses – to look this way or act that way, to have certain beliefs and portray certain strengths. And then the French culture comes in as a breath of Fresch air (oh you’re quick if you got that.. 😉 ) and they seem simply immune from the assault of Western Culture – somewhat virginised in their approach to style and free of all 21st Century pressures.

It’s as if the French take the modern day fashion world with a large pinch of salt (because, obviously their food wouldn’t be the same without salt) and instead have simplified their approach to encompass a more authentic and “chic” style that has no Westernised frills and tassels.

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Ile De La Cite – my favourite nook of Paris. Dressed in black – all day, everyday

 – Femininity – 

This is personally a point that resonates most with me. I must admit, and I know a few readers will condemn me for saying this as it’s a modern day society etc etc – but I think women are to embrace being just that – women.

I am not a feminist. At all.

Even though I believe in gender equality, I appreciate that men and women are just different. And they should dress differently, too. I like men to wear the pants! And while I love a wardrobe that has a slight flirtation with androgyny – I think women look best when they dress femininely.

Androgynous femininity is one of the core elements of a French Girl’s wardrobe and is the perfect interplay of masculine and feminine.That is why the French style is so alluring and interesting and captivating. Androgynous femininity is somewhat of a genius style that the French have mastered.

Perhaps it all began with Coco Chanel, who revolutionised the female wardrobe by incorporating the relaxed styles of menswear into her designs for women.

Having said that, I know this is a contentious topic in today’s climate but I’d love to hear your opinion. Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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I bought this (super cheap!) off the shoulder top on sale from Boohoo a while ago.

 – Basics – 

Parisians have a penchant for good quality basics. I’m talking about crisp white collared shirts, black trousers, trench coats, the perfect tee, black leather loafers, soft cashmere sweaters and a great pair of jeans. And let’s not forget a black blazer.

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My favourite black blazer these days is a military-inspired one from Zara. It reminds me of my dads school blazer.

 – Perfectly Imperfect – 

Perfection is boring and the French are easily bored.  They don’t want to look perfect, and I love that.

Where the English are constantly searching for some objective level of perfected beauty, French women pointedly optimise their own level of attractiveness – and this lends itself to a perfectly imperfect appearance.

The biggest fashion faux pas in France is looking like you tried too hard.

Don’t take your self (or your style) too seriously in France and you will fit right in.

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These jeans are my perfectly imperfect wardrobe essential 😉

What is your favourite thing about French Fashion? Comment below and let me know, I love to read everyone’s messages and comments.

If you liked this post then follow my blog to stay in touch

HH xx

WHY YOU OUGHT TO LIVE IN LONDON AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE

No one can quite prepare you for living in London. No matter how talented, rich or educated you are – this incredible city will forever change you. I’ve only been here since the beginning of the year and I can already feel the effects of London – and I mean that in the best possible way.

Before commencing your flight to Heathrow, however, there are many flaws to this concrete jungle that you should know about.

Rush hour is an absolutely terrifying dog-eat-dog world akin to that of a scene from the Hunger Games and it always reminds me of the sprawling spectrum of humanity through the cumulation of all our individual journeys.  God forbid you should NEVER stand on the left hand side of an escalator and lastly but most importantly – sell absolutely everything you own before  you move to London because it will suck you dry! One beer sets you back easily about R144 and you must accept the fact that you will never pay less that 7 pounds for a burger.

On the plus side, London is worth every single penny you have and there is truly nothing quite like it. It’s quite hard for me for some reason to elucidate the style that this city encompasses – it’s more of a “come and see for yourself” type scenario.

People in London certainly dress well. Very well! Men are so comfortable to wear Tweed coats and striking scarfs – and confidently walk the streets in the most stylish loafers that I’ve ever seen.  Signet rings are somewhat of a hierarchical fetish here and tend to adorn a large number of British men’s pinkies.

I have also noticed that the streets are full of people wearing the newest Nike Huaraches. When I first saw them in Dubai I remarked in disgust that they look like alien shoes – but I must admit, I have grown to quite like them.

The white Huaraches are on my lust list for sure!

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The streets are busy hum-drums of formal frantic businessmen, the pubs are little havens of overworked and fantastically interesting Brits and the shops are never-ending possibilities to file for bankruptcy.

There’s an electric energy that pulses through the heartbeat of this incredible city that simply makes it impossible for it not to change you!

Here are a few (photographic) reasons to come to London:

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Strand Street – an example of London’s correlation to a Harry Potter film set.

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Regents street – it’s quite overwhelming at first, to be honest! But it’s rather beautiful at night.

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Westminister! Founded in 980, this is by far the most beautiful gothic church I have ever seen.

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My secret weapon to the ins-and-outs of London! If you’re coming to London you need a Brit to show you the ropes. This is my fantastic British friend, Ed.

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A better view of Westminister.

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It’s always adventure time with this baby on my wrist! I absolutely love my DW.

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Pikaboo! Big Ben wants to say hello, too!

If you’d like to see more – follow me on Instagram 🙂

HH

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Things you ought to know

London is a notorious concoction of culture and class – I absolutely love it! Everything about it just takes my breath away – and the fashion is something to truly behold.

I could walk down the tube station absolutely stark naked and no one would think twice, they’d probably just nod at me and then proceed on to their next destination. So while I’ve been walking along cobbled streets and little red telephone booths – armed with my South African accent and a Laminated map torn out of my “Tour guide to London” – I’ve been aggressively ticking off things on my London to-do list. Through my pub-hopping escapades, exhaustative exploring and countless trips on the tube, I can’t help but establish a distinguished style that correlates throughout most Brits. My love of lists has therefore encouraged yet another one:

Things you ought to know before you come to London.

Disclaimer: the following list is highly opinionated and stereotypical. If you don’t agree – that’s totally up to you !

 

  1. Never judge a confident London Lass.

The ones who are willing to flaunt their legs in an H&M miniskirt when the temperature is close to snow-fall and the wind is howling directly into their face. Support them. Back them. They have more confidence than you could probably ever hope for in your wildest dreams! Let them be.

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My friend Paula and I trying to get a good shot of the London Eye – clearly we both failed haha

 

  1. Coats.

To be honest I absolutely couldn’t give a blue moon what I look like when I’m in 1’C weather– just as long as I’m warm. I started out wearing 2 layers of thermals (double top AND double bottom), a down-feather jacket, a woolen scarf and my dad’s 30 year old army jacket – and guess what? I was still shivering cold and grumpy as hell. I’m a wuss in the cold, don’t judge, but nothing can quite prepare you for the horrorful wind-breeze that sweeps through London. It’s a cold that hits you to your bones – and then eventually hits you right in the center of your soul. Therefore – do yourself a favour and get a good coat, one lined with animal fur and hot water bottles and even thermal underwear.

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Buckingham Palace Baby! To be honest I found this to be rather disappointing in real life!

 

  1. British men dress well; appreciate it.

Sitting on the tube is like fashion week in itself and I can’t help but be super impressed with the level of eloquence with which British men dress. Most of them have got the rugged-tailored-gentleman look down to a tee– it’s remarkable. As I sat in the tube last week I couldn’t help but acknowledge that British men just do it well – from the quality shoes they wear to the impeccable coats that complete their outfits, it’s a job well done indeed. Tailored clothing is for British men what cigarettes and coffee are for British women.

 

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Portobello Road, Notting Hill

  1. Guys can wear scarfs, too!

I remember when my mum bought my brother a scarf a few years ago – oh dear lord did she get shut down! My brother flat out refused to wear it. Here, it’s more a necessity than anything and it looks so incredible and work-chic.

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Westminister Station

  1. No more flip flops, thanks!

British men have a serious thing for shoes – that much is clear. The uber British lad is always adorned with his leather loafers and perhaps this is a slight improvement to the guys back in SA who wear flip flops even though they clearly shouldn’t let any ray of sunlight see their gruesome toe-nails. I’ll never forget my favourite English teacher in Grade 12 telling us all how she actually left a guy on a date because his feet were just so disgusting, haha I will ALWAYS remember her telling us the story!

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St Paul’s Cathedral

  1. British women don’t care.

There’s a carefree confidence that British women behold that distinguishes them apart from the rest of the world. Since being in London I’ve acknowledged that there is indeed a sense of judgmentalism that is ever-apparent in South African fashion. British women are stoked to wear whatever the heck they want – and I really like that. They unashamedly exhibit their personalities through their clothing, it’s absolutely refreshing to be in a city that just doesn’t hold back.

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Even the Lampposts in London are feasts for the eyes

In all honesty – I have been horrified at some of the atrocities I’ve seen people wear. But I quite like that, too.  London has taught me to shake off my judgmental attitude and learn to appreciate the eccentrics of fashion that London displays to its inhabitants day in, day out. Come here with an open mind (and a large wallet, might I add!) and London will be sure to show you a good time.

HH

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Barely there, but perfectly so.

“Real Elegance is everywhere

especially in the things that don’t show”

Christian Dior

Any girl will understand when I say that there’s a certain empowerment that beautiful underwear gives you. It gives you that small push of confidence that’s somewhat demure yet strikingly effective.

On a side note – any girl who is elegant, educated and has some respect for her body should never heavily-depend on showing what her mamma gave her in order to complete her outfit.

Of course, guys will never understand this sentiment, haha!

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Anyway I love this trend of nude chiffon bralets with white lace and think it looks UNbelievable. Will be hunting this down in the coming months.

HH

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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

“There’s always fashion. It’s a basic human instinct. And it’s very much about humanity and freedom, and it’s not very superficial at all.”

Vanessa Friedman

Cape Town is the epicentre of some of the most stylish and eccentric people on earth. The city’s pulse is beating with an unfathomable amount of colour that I can’t help but consistently stand back and be mesmerized by it. It is Cape Town who has empowered me to appreciate the beauty of fashion– and it is Cape Town who has revealed to me that fashion isn’t as superficial as I’d first thought.

Fashion is dumbed down as an industry of smoke and mirrors – and even though I agree that indeed its depth is certainly not that profound, I acknowledge that it’s much more than merely a concoction of trend forecasts and colour sheet predictions. The industry’s impact on society in general is long lasting and shockingly distinctive. To be honest I used to be embarrassed to be so interested in fashion because I knew that the automatic assumption would be that I was therefore shallow, narcissistic and inauthentic. After getting over myself, I’ve since recognized that fashion is a form of humanity that is instinctual in all of us and more significantly is very much part our freedom of thought and self-expression.

While I admit that my love of clothes makes for an expensive retail therapy habit – I acknowledge that fashion is a form of creativity and expression that goes far beyond what meets the eye. I don’t always intend to heavily analyze people’s dress sense too seriously (I’ll be honest I do find myself looking people up and down in a much too obvious manner sometimes but I’m working on that okay!) but I can’t help but perceive the correlation between one’s personality and their style.

Fashion is a powerful entity that marks society. It’s even traceable through history – from the Egyptians, the Indians, the Incas and the African’s and their tribal-wear. Adorning the body is therefore an insurmountable human need – proving to be nothing superficial at all unless of course you’re excessively materialistic.

What’s more is that fashion as an art form in itself has the intense power to evoke social transformation and experiment with ideas surrounding sexuality and body image. The thing that really bothers me though, is that people are very supercilious towards fashion. The industry consists of many hard-working, talented and highly intelligent people who take what they do very seriously. There is a huge amount of responsibility that goes into sending clothes down the runway season after season. The ordinary person sees nice clothes, but the industry professional sees a myriad of talents and languages sewn together to express an underlying message.

When I look at labels such as Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors I appreciate the power of fashion because these labels have empowered not only a select few women, but generations of them.  The ordinary (well-endowed, might I add!) consumer of fashion powerhouses often satisfies themselves in the untold empowerment and confidence that these expertly made clothes give them. Whether it is rich unemployed housewives seeking comfort in the therapy of shopping or independent women who work hard for their capital – it’s undeniable that there is a certain power that all people seek through clothing.

Fashion has also transformed into a hybrid of technology and art – with houses such as Hermes merging with companies such as Apple for their new iWatch. That’s groundbreaking because it’s a testimony to the power of fashion: fashion is no longer merely what we wear anymore. It’s what we see, what we do and most importantly: how we do it. The fashion industry in the UK alone is worth over 28 Billion pounds – making it bigger than even the automotive industry!

Ultimately, fashion is an elevated form of art that speaks of society far more than perhaps we give it credit for, and this is why it’s not as superficial as you’d perhaps first thought.

I can’t wait to learn more about the fashion industry this year. I am living in London (moving there this week!) and I plan on doing lots of writing yeaaaah! Bring on 2016 baybeeee!!!

Happy New Year fashion bunnies 🙂

Lemmeno your thoughts

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Nailed It.

They say that your interpretation of life changes when you start to write and I’ve come to accept that perhaps it’s true. Even though I don’t really consider myself to be much of an established “writer”, I acknowledge that I have one thing in common with most wordsmiths; an incomprehensible obsession with observation.

Once you start writing, you become acutely alert of everything about a person, a piece of writing, a song, a title – you can never merely react; but you develop a sense of interpretation that painfully notices everything. All this suddenly dawned on me today while I was sitting in Exclusive Books, reading Alexa Chung’s masterfully written work.

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I’ve always had a knack for honest people with strong opinions and that is why I’m absolutely appreciative of Chung’s book, “It“. Her book is so remarkably origional and stands out from the crowd of other self-obsessed autobiographers who can’t see beyond their own success.  The collage format of the book is entirely unique and absolutely random – paying tribute to her personality and establishing her writing voice in an uncommon manner.

In a world driven by superficiality and self-fabrication; it’s refreshing to find Chung to be so unapologetically real and honest about the fashion industry.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in Fashion.

Hope all you fashion bunnies are having a goooood weekend 🙂 🙂

HH xx

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind :)

In one-way or another – we’re all ultimately in the pursuit of happiness. I’m only a student and my humble opinion can’t claim the solution to life’s obscurities – but I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Aside from nice clothes, what makes you happy?

We’re all different, but at the end of the day I only need three things to put a smile on my face: God, Good mates and Exercise (Somewhere along the lines wearing a killer outfit does feature in there 😉 ).   We are theeee most self-obsessed and shallow generation – it’s important that we question what makes us happy.

Soooo, that’s pretty deep. On to the actual reason for this post: exercise clothes. After a busy day, nothing can compare to the rush of endorphins that pump through your body from an exhausting run. I’d hate to actually see what I look like when I run – maybe I’m a disjointed flamingo or maybe/hopefully I’m even comparable to an elegant feature on Baywatch? I’ll never know and to be honest I’d rather not know haha!

I was never a huge fan of exercise when I was at school and I’m pretty sure that my weak ankles are the result of the fact that I carried a bit too much baby-fat when I was younger. When I came to UCT – I started running casually and I’ll never forget this one run I went on to Rhodes Memorial.

I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack because the entire route was uphill and I thought the veins in my throat were popping the higher I got (I was really really unfit at that stage). I left when it was pitch black, but when I got to the top it was just in time to see the sun rise. It was majestic! The kind of beauty that leaves you stuck in one place (at this stage sitting down was more an instruction from my sore body than a desire to see the sun rise) and wholeheartedly spellbound . I sat there – gasping for air and in awe that I was the only one seeing this – witnessing the gentle transition of the sky from a deep pink to a yummy orange and then eventually the city entirely light up and start its day. That forever changed my view of running and exercise in the larger sense.

Beyond the physical benefits of feeling strong and firm – exercise just keeps my mind sharp and leaves me feeling profoundly happy. I’m absolutely nowhere close to running any of the 21 km marathons that my friends regularly do – but I’m quite stoked to go for a casual run down my street in Newlands or along the promenade in Camps Bay. It’s like through the physical pain, life rewards you with some sort of beauty that leaves you awestruck and infinitely blessed.

It’s therefore essential that while experiencing this beauty unravel before you that you’re well dressed for such ventures. My mum used to tell me when I was younger that you must always be prepared to bump into the Queen wherever you go. Gym is definitely NOT a fashion show but you must, of course, always be well dressed.. 🙂

Gone are the days of frumpy boyfriend clothes to gym – research has proved that your active performance is actually improved when you’re dressed well.The Nylon/lycra blend of material enhances the stretch of the garment and can help boost your performance because of its increased elasticity and comfort. Gym clothes have become so well-engineered that I actually opt to wear them over normal clothes. It feels like you’re wearing – well – nothing.

Cotton On nailed their fitness range, “Body”. Not only is it comfortable (which is key!) and stylish, but it also functions to suit the needs of any athlete all the while being cost-efficient. Nike is my first choice because of their groundbreaking research into fitness clothing – but their clothing is, in my opinion (and student budget), quite overpriced. Cotton On’s fitness range is designed to simultaneously provide your skin with good ventilation while soaking up perspiration – and it definitely delivers on that. I honestly cannot fault them, and I’ve been using their range religiously for a good while now. Their compression pants are insane – and even though they’re SO tight-fitting, they work like magic and I even wear them to varsity (the guys haven’t noticed yet!).

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Photographed by Jason Broderick

Outfit: T-shirt: Cotton On, Compression Pants: Cotton On, Trainers: Nike – Nike Air Run.

P.S – When buying your next gym outfit, however, make sure that if you’re buying more into the garment’s brand than the garment’s purpose – it might be a matter of fitting in, not getting fit. And that’s just not worth it!

Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

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HH XX