Children in Fashion?



This is ‘Super-model’ Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, she has just been featured in this shoot for Paris Vogue, oh and did I mention she is ten years old.



When I was ten I had probably clomped up and down the garden in my mums high heels. I had most likely painted my face up like a clown with her make-up. But I pretty much spent most of my time playing with Sylvanian Families and dreaming I was in Narnia. I can image Thylane finding it fun dressing up like the ladies in her mums magazines but these images are a far cry from how I dressed up as a child. You can’t deny these are styled up in a sexy manner, somewhat provocative. I know French Vogue likes to be risque, that they are art perhaps. But I don’t like it, not one bit. I don’t like seeing little girls in adult situations, I don’t like seeing them wearing make-up, I cringe when I see tiny feet in heeled shoes clicking around the super market. Childhoods are short enough, we should do whatever we can to let kids be kids.

Then I also came across this:


A phrase taken out of context from a Kate Moss interview a couple of years ago and touted as a pro-anorexia slogan. But my god why is it on a child’s t-shirt?

Excuse me whilst I go and vomit,

Pearl

(Images yahoo.com)

The Fat and Thin of it?


Kelly Osbourne has never been one to keep her opinions to herself, yet during a recent interview she let rip against arch rival Christina Aguilera.
ÔÇÿShe was a c*** to me,ÔÇÖ said Kelly, ÔÇÿShe called me fat for so many f**king years, so you know what? F**k you, you’re fat too!’
I can understand it if Christina had been taunting Kelly for years that she might want to hit back and feel like Christina was getting a taste of her own medicine. But why is weight so often used as ammunition? And why is it used by other women to attack each other?

I have been at both ends of the weight spectrum like Kelly and Christina and I can tell you it does make a difference to how you are treated. When I was a size 18, don’t forget I am only 5.2″, I was at my biggest. Within 12 months I dropped to a size 6 – which was so unhealthy, then I leveled out at a sensible size 10. This year due to my illness I have gone up to a size 12, which isn’t much, most people wouldn’t notice, but I won’t lie to you it really gets to me. It gets to me because I can’t wear some of my favourite pieces but also because I don’t feel like me. I feel bloated all the time and just uncomfortable in my own skin. I know that once I get my health back on track I will be able to get some exercise and get back in shape, that getting better is the most important thing, of course but still it is upsetting.Previously I had put on weight at uni during my undergrad, eating junk, not exercising, boozing all the time. During that time I had people ask if I were pregnant, some bloke in a bar said ‘you would be quite pretty if you lost some weight’. I couldn’t go and buy whatever I wanted to wear as it didn’t come in my size. When I gave myself a stern talking to and set of on my venture to loose weight it was a hard and lonely process. You would think people, friends, would have been supportive but in fact I was met with quite a lot of the opposite. Jealously I guess, that I was achieving this. So many people ask how I was doing it, like I had some magical formula I was selfishly keeping a secret from them. Honestly? I ate a very low calorie 1000 per day, diet and exercised for 30mins to one hour every single day. Either on my cross trainer or a Mr Motivator DVD. That is it, it took me about a year. It was very, very difficult to summon up such will power. I didn’t go out for a meal once in that entire time, I never ate unless at home so I had total control of my food intake. It took about 6 weeks before I could even notice any weight loss, a reason why many people give up after a few weeks.

These photo’s of me were taken about 14 months apart– in t’olden days where photos came on paper!
So it makes me laugh when people say ‘oh, its alright for you because your thin’ when talking about all manner of topics. Loosing weight didn’t make my life any more perfect, it did make me a lot happier but only because I felt good about myself on the inside. Yet no matter how frustrating not being able to shop at Topshop might have been, it was the sheer nastiness I experienced from other people that hurt the most. Being fat doesn’t make you a bad person and it certainly doesn’t mean you have no feelings!
We often hear how ‘sizeist’ fashion is, but life is sizeist too. Why can’t Christina be a size 14 and be a pop star? Why can’t Kelly loose weight and try her hand at modelling? I don’t have the answers, but I can say that if you are happy then it really doesn’t matter what size you are.

Thoughts? Rants? What do guys have to say?
Pearl

Dress Code part 1: Are You Modified?

Body modification: the deliberate altering of the human body for aesthetic or non-medical purposeThat is the definition from wikipedia, other sources very slightly but are fundamentally the same, the only word deliberated over is ‘permanent‘. When we think of body modification I bet most of us think firstly of body piercing, perhaps tattoos. How about plastic surgery? Circumcision? These are other permanent modifications, yet hair dye, make-up, fake tan are all modifications too just temporary. Where do clothes, accessories and jewelry fit into this? They are all aspects of changing our bodies in some way or another.

What’s with all the deep thoughts on a Sunday I guess you are wondering. Well a few things have got me thinking about this lately, mostly watching repeats of Miami Ink, London Ink and all the other types of Ink on TV whilst I have been stuck at home ill. But also a few things in the headlines.


Rick Genest walks for Mugler

The appearance of Rick Genest aka Zombie Boy on the runway and in the ad campaign for Mugler caused a huge stir up. Rick’s entire body is covered in tattoo to make him look like a zombie. He says he has had trouble finding a steady job due to his appearance.
Then there was the case of sales assistant Melanie Stark who felt she was forced to resign from her Job at Harrods when after 4 years of her working there the company decided to enforce their ladies dress code. The code requires female employees to wear full make-up.

It reminds me of when I worked at a Supermarket on checkout whilst I was at Uni doing my undergrad degree. We got a new manager who sent around an update to our contracts we had to agree to uphold and sign. Amongst things like wearing full uniform and abiding by health and safety regulations were rules that all long hair must be tied back and all visible tattoos were to be concealed with plasters (band-aids). I told the supervisor that I would not sign it and wanted an explanation for those rules in particular. Apparently our hair was to be tied back for health and safety, to prevent it getting caught in the till conveyer belt, I never did get an explanation for the tattoos. I never did sign that agreement nor did I comply with it, I said I would prefer to leave and nothing was ever said about it again. If I had been given it to sign at the start of working there I probably would have complied as I wanted the job and to be honest it wasn’t really a big deal. The thing that grated with me however, was that I had been doing that job perfectly well before hand so how could altering my appearance improve my working ability. (In case you were wondering – we tested this – the only way to get your hair caught in the conveyer belt is if you lay with your head on the thing).

What gets me is why is everybody so hung up on controlling the appearance of others?

I was getting coffee at a service station the other day and the girl serving me had an entire arm of blue plasters, you could see a tiny part of her tattoo poking out (they probably ran out of plasters). Would my coffee have tasted bad if her tattoo had been on display? Would she have been unable to do her job? Of course not so why make her look ridiculous trying to conceal it with plasters.


The rarely seen three tattoos on my thigh, I originally intended them to make up a bigger design yet haven’t quite got around to that
(excuse the PJ’s and Snuggie like I said Ive been sick)

I know some people don’t like tattoos, fair enough but you know what I don’t like Croc’s shoes, yet that doesn’t give me the right to prevent people wearing them. I really like tattoos so maybe I am biased? Well I would never have facial piercings, but each to their own if people want to have them. It makes no difference to me and it certainly doesn’t offend me, I just choose not to have them. How is an eyebrow piercing really different to ear piercing any how?
I have my ears pierced, 3 times in fact not that I ever really wear earrings these days. I also had my tongue pierced for a couple of years.
People often ask why I had my tongue pierced and why I got tattoos – I have 6, but I never really have an answer. There wasn’t a specific reason, just like there isn’t a specific reason why I have my hair in this style or wear certain clothes. They are just things I like and I guess are an extension of myself.
Most people don’t even notice I have tattoos, I had them all in places which are usually covered up. I just had them where I wanted them, I never felt the need to have them ‘on show’ all the time, yet neither was it a conscious decision to have them hidden. I often forget they are there. One time on a work trip to Egypt I shocked a fair few colleagues when they saw me in swim wear. One said ‘Ohh I would never have guess you were like that’, like what exactly I am not entirely sure.
I liked having my tongue piercing at the time, I liked buying pretty body jewellery and would wear a silver bar with either a pink or green jewel on the ball. I decided to take it out one day, I guess for no more of a reason than I had on the day I had it done.These are just some of my thoughts, but I guess my biggest wonder is why people waste their lives getting wound up about things that don’t really matter at all.
It is beyond me how anybody could be offended by another’s appearance,
Pearl

The Tale of Lianne and the YSL Bag

I heard my phone ringing but I was eating my tea (dinner if you are not a Mancunian), but it kept ringing so I though I best at least check caller ID. It was my friend Lianne so I thought I best answer in case it was an emergency. “Where the hell have you been?” Me: “Eating my tea”, “But I need you it is an emergency, a fashion emergency!!!!”

Brief Interlude: Now I had been expecting some kind of phone call, since it was the first day of Selfridges sale and I had, with nerves of steel declined to go. Lianne was determined to go after repeat visits to fondle this cerulean Yves Saint Laurent clutch. We had also been on a few trips to take a good look at these Prada wedges, you might recall seeing them in this post. As it was so close to sale season and the fact L has size 3 feet I convinced her it would be prudent to wait for them to go on sale – oh yes the irony I know, I know. Any way sale day comes and L decides she absolutely wants the cerulean YSL clutch, nay needs the cerulean YSL clutch after debating its necessity for months.

“Do you think I should get a navy or turquoise Marc Jacobs bag, you know in the same style as the black one I have?”, Me: “Erm what about the cerulean clutch?”, “I was too late they sold out, so I thought I should get one of the MJ ones instead but I can’t decide which colour.” Me: “Well is it a dark navy because it probably won’t even look any different to the black one.” L: “But the navy has gold hardwear and my black one has silver”. Me: “Ok well that makes a difference, what outfits have you found that don’t go with the silver?”. L: “Ermmm” *thinking*. Me: “Ok well how about the turquoise, what do you think you will wear that with?”. L: “Erm, well…” (At this point I should tell you L has a phobia of mixing colours, everything has to match or I think she will contract plague or something equally terrible).

So to cut this part of the story short, L can’t really think of anything she would wear a navy or turquoise bag with, beside the fact that they are both fairly summery and the summer bags she already has don’t see that much use (we live in Manchester, we have come to accept this). Whilst interrogating a sales assistant about the cerulean clutch she had asked about the Prada wedges. Last time we were checking them out they didn’t have her size in store but there was one last pair ‘on the system’ but the system wouldn’t tell us in exactly which store they were. Turns out it was maybe a mistake of the sale assistant as this time the inquiring discovered they were at the Trafford Centre (about a 45 min drive away from the city centre).

At this point L tells me this is all my fault, which in fact maybe slightly true. When we met in Egypt I most likely came across as a fairly normal person, unclad of designer trappings. Only upon getting to know me does the full extent of my obsession become clear. L was never into designer stuff until she met me, I created a monster, an addict who was it need of a hit. L: “You did this to me”. Me: “Yes, but where am I? At home, not freaking out in the sales.” L: “That’s why I need you, you give me a little now I want more…. we end up in hysterics over this for a few minutes. Me: “Ok you are only wanting a MJ bag because you are in the sales and feel the need to take home a ‘bargain’, put both bags down and leave the store. Do it, do it now. Save your money for the Prada wedges.” Finally we get L out of the store and on her way to the other one right away across town.

The next phone call I get and we find out L has the Prada, pieces of perfection, shoes and she is just having a look around, when low and behold she comes across another table of bloody MJ bags. We go over the entire pros and cons conversation again when we decide it would be worth double checking this store for the cerulean YSL clutch. She locates a sales assistant and from the muffles I guess she is going to have a look, next thing I hear is screeching down my ear, I guess she has found one. Turns out they had been put away as they were not going into sale. I don’t need to point out that this is the perfect example of when and why you should be buying something. In my experience when you have to umm and ahh over something then really you should let it go. Then when you find the things that really make you jump around and squeal for joy, you can snap them up without a doubt. Me: “Get off the phone and go pay for your bag…” duuurrrrrrr *click, end of call*

A couple of hours later I get this photo,
Pearl

Budget Fashion: What is a Bargain Anyway? Ethical Fashion Part #2

From the heart felt response to my post ‘Can you afford to shop ethically?’ I realise it is an issue close to the hearts of many of us. We want to buy clothes that are fashionable – we do not want to buy them at the expense of another human beings suffering. It doesn’t sound a lot to ask does it? Someone makes the clothes, we buy the clothes – we earn our money so why not spend it all on new clothes if we please?
But life isn’t that easy. We have no idea where most of the clothes hanging in the shops are made, if the people involved in manufacturing them were paid and treated fairly, was the cloth produced from ethical sources? How about the carbon foot print of the garment? What does that company do with dead stock? The waste of plastic and card involved in production, is it recycled….You see even the definition of ‘Ethical’ means different things to different people.

(Failed attempts at an outfit post due to the dogs playing silly beggers! Wearing Vivienne Westwood for People Tree top, Topshop jeans, Vivienne Westwood boots)

There really is so much to consider, whilst we can all take steps to shop more wisely this is not an issue we can fix overnight. I think the main thing we can do is heed these wise words:

‘Buy Less, Choose Well’
Vivienne Westwood

If we put some thought into what we buy, try our best to only buy things we ‘need’ – OK ‘want’ but will actually wear! Try and shop in charity shops and buy vintage, try and shop places with an ethical policy in place, little by little it can all help.

There is no quick fix because there are so many knock-on effects of our actions. Imagine if the UK stopped buying from the high street, in fact imagine if everyone in the UK boycotted Primark, for example. Not one person would shop there and they had to close down the stores. Think of all the staff that would loose their jobs, managers, sales assistants, security, cleaners, head office. Think of the manufacturers workers, they would all be set free from their sweatshops? Would they thank you for this, to them is having a job and income even if it is not the best job, is it better than having no job and no money to feed their family at all?
Ideally the pressure should be on the companies to insist their manufacturers are ethical – none of this sub-contraction get out clause. We want to know exactly where the clothes are made, we want this information available in plain English, clear and simple.

To me a bargain isn’t defined by how much I paid, but by how valuable it is to me. If I buy something which I will wear often, is made well, that will last me for years to come, then that is a bargain. So my personal attempts at shopping ethically are this: to only buy things I will get a lot of use out of, to by second hand / vintage too, only buy quality goods and to buy things made in England to support our economy where I can.

(Sirius, Ruby & Simba getting in on the act)

There is a growing collective of brands which name themselves ethical such as People Tree, Ciel – who now has a collaboration with whistles and Kitty Cooper etc. But, and I really hate to say it, I don’t really like any of the clothes they sell. Well no it isn’t that I don’t like them but they aren’t quite my style, I have never bought anything from them as I have never liked anything enough if you see what I mean.

On the other hand some of the designers I do like already are making moves towards being more ethical.Vivienne Westwood designed a t-shirt for people tree which I loved (and am wearing in this post). Dame Viv has also just launched a new collection of bags made in Africa – more on that in a later post, one of which I want to buy. But I hold my hands up in all honesty and tell you I want these things because I like them and am not buying them just because they are ethically made – although I am extreamly happy about the fact they are. Also as many of you have pointed out in your comments these shops are very expensive and are limited in size ranges.

What you said:

I’d recommend People Tree if people are looking for decent, stylish, ethically produced stuff. They’re normally a bit out of my price range but the sale prices are really quite reasonable and they sometimes do mystery bags where it’s 5 items for ┬ú30 – bargain! I’ve got a few gorgeous things that way. Alex

in our consumer driven society it is very easy to trick yourself into believing that you absolutely have to have a new dress to go out in or a completely new outfit for an interview, I know I do it often enough. But in most cases this isn’t true, we have wardrobes with perfectly decent outfits but the shops, magazines and even our peers make us believe we need a new outfit for every minor occasion and should never be seen in the same dress more than a handful of times (at the most). Jolly Good

The tighter my budget I swear the better my outfits become, because I have to think about it and go outside of my comfort zone. Little Miss C

I don’t agree with the elitism of eco-conscious shopping either, and I don’t think that people with less money should be criticised for wanting to purchase things; wealthier people are lucky that they have the option, but they are no less ‘materialistic’. Mrs Bossa

The only thing we ‘need’ to do is clothe our body so we don’t stroll around naked, or in discomfort due to the temperature. It seems that we are now a society of rights – we believe we deserve new clothes and a constantly changing wardrobe. Roz

I think that it’s important to pressure retailers to clean up their practices, rather than blame the consumers.


There are so many amazingly insightful comments on the original post, these are mere excerpts, well worth going back to read in full.I also want to recommend the following posts on the issue:

Guardian – Linda Grant Cheap at twice the price (also has a list of ethical shop links)

Rosel – My ethical dilemma with fashion blogging

Emily – Ethical fashion vs fast fashion

Jen – Ethical fashion – does it work for you?

Jill – Prime Mark – I was intending on posting about this issue myself but felt Jill’s post summed it up really well. Jill kindly copied me in on an email regarding the legal battle Primark won after parts of a recent Horizon documentary were found to be falsified. This was enough for me to undermine the entire documentary if they had found actual evidence then they would have used that no matter how ‘undramatic’. I am not saying that totally excuses Primark, but it does clarify some issues. You can read about it yourselves on the Primark Website, which I have to say goes a long way to promote their ethical considerations.

I will be blunt though, what I would like to see is some facts and figures from Primark and all the High St retailers as to how they can afford to sell things so cheaply whilst paying everyone in the chain a fair fee and still make a profit. Actually, how about that, Phillip Green et al, should you have nothing to hide?
Pearl

UPDATE: Just wanted to add this link on the problems met by ethical fashion label Edun, thanks Wendy B

How to Sell Stuff and Make Mega Bucks: Guide for Carboots, eBay and Etsy

So chance would have it, as it invariably does I was in the middle of typing out some notes for this post after giving a friend some advice on car boot sales. I had tweeted a couple of tips when the citizen rosebud asked if I had any more tips for selling. Luckily I did. I have been selling on eBay for 6 years and have an Etsy shop, I have also done car boot sales in the past. I love selling, bartering, bargaining and everything in between! So I thought I would pass on some of that wisdom, especially since I remember how daunting all this was at first. I previously wrote a post on eBay focusing mainly on finding and buying which you can read HERE.

There are 3 main places you can easily sell at: Etsy, eBay and car boot sales here are my pros, cons and tips.

Carboot Sales
My general rule is that if I am having a clear out and just want to get rid of a load of stuff then I will do a car boots sale. Remember people go to car boots to find a bargain and will be expecting to only pay 20p, 50p, ┬ú1 for items of clothing. Half the fun of a car boot is to get some fresh air on a Sunday morning , have a barter and find a bargain. You need to be prepared for the price you say to be bartered down, don’t be offended. The aim of a car boot is to sell everything, you have had a clear out, you don’t want to take it all back home again. So my rule is anything for any price, just let it go.

Tips for Selling:

  • 1. Don’t bother pricing things, haggle with the buyers and so long as you get something be happy with it.
  • 2. Don’t take valuable items unless you are going to a car boot twinned with a collectors fair, then clearly state the price. Also be prepared for ‘collectors’ the professionals, to be around they are a right pain and will try and come rooting through your stuff before you have even unpacked it. They are looking for hidden treasures, very valuable items you may not know about. Beware if you get a quick and sudden interest from someone like this, whatever they offer you say no and take it to a local auction house for a valuation. Or whatever they offer you treble it. You’ve all heard the stories of 50p bargains selling for thousands at auction, don’t let it be you that looses out!
  • 3. If you have a rail to hang clothes on the better, if not take hangers and have them hung up on your car or even take a clothes dryer to hang them from. Sadly car boots are usually in a field, clothes will get dirty, get over it. People will rummage through your things if they are in a pile or box you can’t be precious about it.
  • 4. Take a ‘float’ of small change with you, make it easy for people to buy.
  • 5. Take some spare carrier bags to put the sold items in, also newspapers are handy to wrap up any breakables like cups and plates.
  • 6. If you are selling some larger items such as a chair, offer to hold it for the customer till they have finished looking around but make sure they pay first, may people will ask you to hold items and forget to come back loosing you a sale.
  • 7. Have a 20p box at the front of your stall, clearly labelled. I have no idea why but this attracts the crowds, it doesn’t matter really what you have in there but I found old make-up and jewellery no matter what state it is in always sells. It also gets people to look around the rest of your stall.

eBay
If your aim is to make money and make it fast then eBay is your place. It is only worth selling things on eBay that are fairly valuable. Selling on there is expensive, they charge you a fee to list the item and also a percentage of the sale price. If the buyer pays via Paypal then you will be charged again for this too. You end up paying out around 10% of the money you make so bear this in mind when deciding upon your prices. Ways to keep the costs down are to list items for 99p which is free or to wait for a ‘free listing’ weekend. You must always remember though that if you list the item at 99p then it may only sell for that little. Is it really worth the effort of selling say a jumper for 99p? You will get around 90p profit for it but you still have to wrap it up and take it to the post office, packaging such as tissue paper, a padded envelope, parcel tape, printer ink, paper and petrol / bus fare to take into account. For a 90p sale you are likely to have actually lost money. Plus all the time it takes to photograph, measure and write up the auction. I don’t list anything I do not think I will get over ┬ú5 for.

Tips for selling:

  • 1. Make sure you include as much detail as you can in your listing especially condition, colour (it can look different in photos), size and measurements.
  • 2. Take clear photographs.
  • 3. EBay offers two selling formats, auction and ‘buy it now’. Buy it now, you just set the price you want for the item and wait and see if someone buys it. You may also add ‘best offer’ to this which means people can send you a best offer, for example if you have the buy it now of ┬ú100 people can offer you any price below this – beware most people see this as a great pass time to offer you stupid amounts like 50p. Even serious buyers will start at least half the price so unless you are quite flexible in the price I wouldn’t use this feature. Also as a buyer someone who has say ┬ú100 buy it now and will only take offers of over ┬ú97 are just annoying on principle. Buy it now is the best format for more unusual or less well known items.
  • 4. With auction you can start the price low and hope you get lots of bids. This is the best format for popular items that a lot of people will be interested in. How do you know if you have a popular item, you can look at auctions which have already ended of similar items. Generally you learn this with experience from items that don’t even get one bid at 99p and ones that go from 99p to hundreds of pounds. Basically, well known high street and designer items will be popular, for lesser well know designers you have to bide your time for the right buyer. I could write an entire post on this topic alone. For example you would do well at a 99p auction with a pair of Topshop jeans but you would be wise to put an Erdem skirt on a buy it now.
  • 5. Be prepared to answer questions, lots and lots of questions, even ones you have already answered in the listing, even ones that are blindingly obvious. People on eBay like to ask questions, many are dumb ass but hey if it gets you a sale just roll with it. These are all questions I have genuinely been asked ‘exactly how blue is that jumper?’, ‘Has anyone farted in those jeans?’, ‘Is one of the shoes a different size to the other?’…. I could go on!
  • 6. Be prepared to have people wanting returns, even if you clearly state you will not accept them people will try all sorts of BS to get a refund. Basically if they do decide to involve eBay you will be forced to give a refund, eBay is always on the side of the buyer. Yet I find being super nice to complainers, even though you know you did nothing wrong, gets you everywhere. I find the usual problem is that they bought something and it is too small or they had a vision in their heads what it would look like and it doesn’t match their fairytale imagination. I have had all sorts of excuses ‘it smells of smoke’ I don’t smoke it is impossible, ‘it is a small size 1o, you didn’t say it was a very small size 10′ we all know sizes can vary from store to store. To resolve this kind of thing I always apologies profusely that they were disappointed in anyway, say I am an honest person who would never want to mislead anyone. I then try and resolve the issue. I have offered a ┬ú5 refund for dry-cleaning on a ┬ú100 dress. It certainly didn’t need it but it was less hassle for me than taking the dress back and having to resell it. You can also suggest that they relist the item on eBay themselves. You just have to play things by ear. Some times I have lost my temper and snapped at buyers I admit. One accused me of selling a fake item, which you all know by now I am the last person on the earth to ever do that. So I told them I refused to listed to such crap, they had obviously never even seen designer items before let alone been in an original boutique of the designer and that they could take the matter up with eBay, trading standards and the law. They never did of course but I don’t encourage anyone to be rude.
  • 7. Beware that eBay is huge, it attracts millions of people from all over the world. Not all of them are nice people. About 1% are crooks, thieves and down right nasty. I have had the displeasure of dealing with a few but it is rare, most people are just like you. Just bear in mind that eBay has rules and guidelines for a reason – to protect its users, so follow them to the letter. Do not sell an item outside of eBay if you get an email asking you to, do not accept payment methods eBay doesn’t allow like Western Union as you will not have any fall back protection if some thing goes wrong. Do not post an item until you have the money in either your PayPal account or hand in the case of postal orders. If you suspect anything dodgy get in touch with eBay right away.
  • 8. Don’t be afraid of posting overseas, over 60% of my sales are overseas all you have to do is recalculate postage costs which you can work out using the royal mail website going off size and weight. But if you only want to sell to your own country then you can specify that too.
  • 9. Only send items via recorded methods. No matter what the buyer tells you to try and get you to make the postage cheaper, if an item gets lost in the post you, the seller will be held responsible. If you do not send an item so it is fully insured you will loose out as eBay will make you refund the buyer. Therefore if the item is worth over ┬ú46 it must be sent by Special delivery / International signed for plus insurance. If it is under ┬ú46 you may still claim for it but if it wasn’t sent recorded (where the recipient has to sign to prove they have the parcel) then you will have a hard time proving it never arrived. I will never send an item without requiring a signature.
  • 10. Beware of con artists, you would be wise to Google a few eBay scams to familiarise yourself with them. It is most likely you won’t come across any yourself but it pays to be educated if you are selling electrical goods such as mobile phones and laptops or designer handbags especially.
  • 11. If you have a high volume of things to sell you can also open an eBay store, I did this for a while when I was selling my own handmade jewellery but closed it as it did not work for me personally, yet there are many who do like this method. Again it is trial and error and personal preference. I think for a shop to work you need to have a high demand item and something that people will repeat buy. Your shop items are not as highly visible as auction items so you need a real business strategy having the shop stocked with ‘bread and butter’ items and running auctions along side it as ‘cup cakes’ to attract people into your store.
  • 12. Be prepared that your item may take a few weeks of relisting to sell, it may take a while for the right person to find it, some people may spot your item but have to wait 3 weeks till they get paid to buy it.
  • 13. Watchers – watchers are annoying to sellers, you can have an item with lots of watchers but not get a bid. Why? Usually this indicates people are interested in your item but don’t want to pay your price. When I get this I usually start my item off at 99p the next week and almost always end up with it getting bid up over my original price? Why? Want creates demand if someone has their eye on something, but its too dear then all of a sudden they have the chance to afford it they start to obsess and get competitive with other people trying to steal the item away from them.

Esty
I simply adore Etsy, it reminds me of grandmas, cake, kittens and florals. It is just a really nice place to sell. You get to make your own shop, pretty it up with your personalised logo and set out all your items. The thing is that it is restricted to selling vintage, handmade and craft supplies so you may not meet the criteria with what you want to sell. Etsy also has a community where you can meet other like-minded sellers and ‘favorite’ other shops. I choose Etsy over eBay to sell my vintage clothes and accessories because of its specialist vintage category and because it was linked to my blog. I wanted a shop that was more personal, like my blog, so I could sell my things to like-minded people. The downside is that Etsy has nowhere near the traffic of eBay so you need to be prepared for that.

Tips for selling:

  • 1. If you can make your first photograph in each listing a square shape, or at lease make sure the middle of the photo is easy to identify. This is because in the search a ‘thumb print’ of your first photo will be used. If you are selling a dress this can mean the thing buyers see in their search is only the middle as the top and bottom can be cut off!
  • 2. Make sure to add as many key words to your listing as possible so you buyers can find your item easily. This goes for eBay too, people may come up with hundreds of items for ‘red dress’ so they may then look for ‘red dress size 14′ or ‘red dress 60s vintage’ think about all the terms that might apply to your item.
  • 3. Postage, again see eBay tips I will only post via traceable and insured methods to protect myself and I always recommend you sell worldwide not just limited to your own country.
  • 4. Advertising, as Etsy has a smaller footfall than eBay you need to be creative with attracting customers. I promote my items on my blog, twitter, facebook, business cards and word of mouth through friends and family. You can of course do this for your eBay too.
  • 5. The slow burn. With Etsy their is no need for people to panic buy as there is with an eBay auction. With an auction they know this is their only chance to buy something. With Etsy people have time to browse, add items to their favorites and come back to it. I find it is worth reminding people that your item is vintage / handmade so will likely be a one off. Once it is gone, it is gone for good. This recently happened to me, I had a vintage YSL blouse in my shop which sold just after I had blogged about it yet the blouse had been in my shop for a week and I had tweeted about it too. As soon as it was gone I had around 6 messages asking where it went as other people wanted to buy it.

Pricing: I asked on twitter whilst writing this post if anyone had any questions and a common one was how to set prices so I thought I should add more details. For car boot sales I would really say aim as low as possible. Say 20p for t-shirts maybe 50p-£1 for high street dresses.

Again if you want more money for something then get it on eBay. With eBay you can look at similar items to your own and see what they sold for. Simply go to ‘advanced search’ and tick ‘completed listings’. You can then look at the price the item sold for and see what price the item started bidding at. Generally high street clothing I start off at 99p you don’t pay that much for things new so you won’t get a fortune for them second hand. Things that are always popular are jeans and practical items. Season also has an effect on your prices, maxi dresses will get a ton of bids in the summer as will faux fur coats in the winter. Trendy items will attract more bids too, if you think of the key trends at the time clogs last summer for example seen on the Chanel runway were really hard to get hold of, unlike this summer where every shop on the high street has a version. Popular designers will attract more attention than less well known, for example Chanel will attract many bidders where as say Ann Demeulemeester is less know to the mass market. Therefore you could safely list a Chanel 2.55 handbag at 99p and expect it to still get bid up to hundreds of pounds. Yet a ┬ú700 Ann D jacket would be better off placed on a buy it now and be worth the wait for a knowledgeable buyer. If you have seen a celebrity wearing your item try and find an image to add to your listing, people love celebrities especial Kate Moss and Alexa Chung.

With Etsy pricing is pretty much the same as for eBay, you can have a look around other shops to see what similar items are selling for. It is more difficult to price handmade items than it is vintage as only you know hard much hard work went into it. When I used to hand make jewellery I worked out prices by first considering the cost of materials, then how long each piece had taken to make. If you bear in mind that minimum wage is around ┬ú6 per hour you can give yourself an idea of cost per time. Then you need to consider its uniqueness, are you knitting dozens of identical scarves or is each one unique? Are you personalising items? Also how many do you want to sell and how fast? If you make things quickly say, 20 birthday cards per hour you may want to sell higher quantities at lower prices. Whereas if you create fine art, each painting could take two weeks you would aim to sell fewer items at higher prices. When things are more personal you have to step away from any emotional connections and get into your business mind too. Beware of over pricing your items because you have put so much effort into them. You have to make your prices competitive if you want to sell them. Also don’t forgot you can alter your prices, they are not set in stone. Imagine if you saw your item in a shop, what would you be happy to pay for it?

There are of course other place to sell that I won’t go into detail but here are a few words:

Amazon: the best place to sell books, all you have to do is enter the number on the back and decide a price – you can even compare prices of the same book to help you decide, so easy. The only downside is that you don’t get a lot of money for your books and the Amazon set postage fee never covers the actual cost of postage. But I use it because it is easy and I have a lot of books and no room. Amazon is the only place I risk sending 2nd class unrecorded but I do always get a receipt for proof of postage.
Consignment: There are a few place now which will take your designer/ high end high street clothes and accessories, sell them on for you and give you around 50% of the profit. This is an easy method for those who don’t want to spend time faffing around but you will get a somewhat small fee for your items.
Auction: Again an easy way to sell, someone else does the hard work for you and it is the best option for selling rare items. With fashion however you will not get as much money as you would using eBay. For example at a Kerry Taylor designer clothing specialist auction you may pay around £150 for five modern Vivienne Westwood outfits or £300 for an 80s Chanel bag. Bargains to be had here for buyer though!

One last tip: When you sell online you need to consider who your audience is, I like to quote the term ‘Never mix business with pleasure’. It is good to remember you are not anonymous although you might think it. I do not link my eBay to my blog as I prefer to keep my buying and selling private. It is also a very small world, only the other week I bought something and it turns out the seller was a friend of mine!On the other hand I am more than happy to tell everyone about my vintage Etsy shop, I link it to my blog and encourage everyone to come and look around because I want to share it.

Please feel free to ask any questions and of course share any tips you might have too!

Pearl

Don’t forget you can now ‘like’ my blog on Facebook, I have been adding lots of things not seen on the blog – if you have a page leave me your link on my wall so I can ‘like’ you too!

Breaking the Fashion Rules?


As we are intent on moving house, I have been gradually clearing out lots of junk and having a general tidy up, including sorting out my wardrobe. I am intrigued as to how people like to order their wardrobes, some by colour others by item. I actually like to have my own system, which really only ever makes sense in my eyes. I tend to put tops and bottoms I want to wear together but then I also have all my trousers together and all my shirts together – except shirts with patterns which have their own place depending on erm, well, I am not all that sure, but that is their place.
As I was trying to sort out what to put away for winter and what to keep out for summer, I moved everything into item type categories just so I could see what I had and let me tell you I was really shocked.

After reading Mrs Bossa’s and the Dashing Eccentric’s posts about dressing for your body shape and how we navigate to a specific formula of dressing. I knew I did tend to navigate to ‘fail safes’ but I didn’t think I did it so much! Let me start at the beginning, if we adhere to the age old body shape rules I probably fall into the ‘Hourglass’ body shape – evenly balanced bust and hips with a small waist. According to the style gurus Trinny & Susannah and Gok Wan I should be very grateful as this is the body shape every woman should transpire to. If you are not an hourglass you should be using all manner of tips and tricks to fool people that you are. If you would like to read some of Gok’s wisdom here is an article complete with patronizing terms and daft advise.

Ok so I do agree with dressing in a flattering manner, of course I do, I know I cannot wear a bodycon or sack dress for example I need to wear one that nips in at the waist or I look much bigger than I am. Same goes for trousers, I wear high waists as I prefer my stomach to be covered up, hipsters give me a muffin top! In this way I do have a wardrobe full of these formulaic items that work for me.
Lets have a look, here are two outfits that would make Gok happy (well maybe he would want to add a neck scarf and wide patent belt because he styles everyone the same).
That’s all well and good but I don’t want to dress like that all the time, in fact I like to dress in many different ways. I also think the idea that everyone should force their natural body shape into one conventional idea of beauty is quite frankly ridiculous, but then again nobody has given me a TV show where I get to fondle ladies bangers! I think we should dress to look good yes, and to some degree this involves dressing to flatter our shapes. But for example, I do not think that if you have a ‘Boyish’ – slim, with less waist definition – figure you should have to wear shoulder pads, a corset and poofy skirt to try and make yourself look like an ‘hourglass’. It is insane, why not just wear a shift dress with cap sleeves or a fabulous column gown to enhance your willowy silhouette.

I also hate the fact that all these shows have women forced into tons of shapewear! Yes I have a pair of Spanxs type shorts for when I want to wear lower cut trousers so I don’t get a muffin top or when I want to wear a dress which is very clingy around the stomach. What I don’t do is wear them everyday, nor do I wear them with my casual jeans. The truth is they are not suitable for daily wear, they aren’t comfortable enough for a start. Also they are a pain to get on and off when you need the loo and that is just the knickers, what about when they have these women dressed in the full body suits with the shorts over the top – insane!!!
Also you cannot wear them with tights, they fall down – no Gok you cannot add a piece of bloody Velcro or ‘tit-tape’ to keep them up! How about you just buy them clothes that are flattering and comfortable for everyday, how about you do some proper styling? This is not to say I don’t enjoy the Gok and T&S shows, Gok especially helps a lot of women with their body confidence (just don’t get me started on the Miss Naked Beauty show, that I found despicable). I just think they could do a lot more than keep dishing out the same old tired advise.

So lets stick two fingers up at the rule book and look at outfits that would make Gok weep – but you know what, they actually look good.

First up I need to point out I am 5.2″, I am really short, I freak people out the first time they see me in flats, especially blogger friends. This must mean I am tricking you all into thinking I am 5.6″ hey maybe even 5.8″ on my blog (according to a Twitter survey, thanks ladies), so breaking the rules regarding dressing for my height isn’t making me look squat as the books forewarned. For example above I am wearing wide leg trousers, which I should never wear. But actually high waist long, wide leg trousers are one of the most leg lengthening things you can wear. I am also in the habit of rolling up my trouser legs, I like to show off my shoes, does it make my legs look stumpy, you tell me?

Lets break some more rules, here I am wearing my staple peg cut trousers but what the hell am I doing with a drop crotch!!! Am I making my legs look like stumps? am I making myself look 10lbs bigger? erm no. By not defining my waist I have disguised my hourglass but does it make me look repulsive? I certainly hope not! Next case in point, not only am I wearing a chunky Aran sweater but I have paired it with a humongous gilet – Alert, Alert adding bulk, adding bulk – I have given myself an ‘Apple’ body shape. Er so what, it looks fine, I won’t keel over and die.

Clothes are necessary yes, but they should also be fun. Nobody should feel under pressure to look a certain way and these ‘Rule’ books really do need some new chapters. The body shape rules are helpful in starting out, figuring what suits you but the best thing you can do is actually get out there and try on lots of different things. Way, way back many moons ago when I started this blog I wrote a post on How I found my Style and also How to Find Your Style, aww looking back at these posts makes me quite nostalgic, they don’t even have any comments! Yet I am still sticking to the same formulas which work for me. Lets all just wear what we want!
Pearl

Vivienne Westwood on Jonathen Ross Show



Has anyone else been having serious trouble with blogger this week? I have been unable to log into my blog and having problems with comments too, so here is a quick post just in case I get locked out of my own blog again. They really need to sort it out!
This youtube video, in two parts, is my absolute favourite Vivienne Westwood interview. Jonathan Ross is one of the only interviewers who genuinely listens to what she says and shows her utmost respect, hence the interview is joy to watch. Vivienne has some really important points to make on environmental issues as well as fashion. Its Wednesday, go grab a coffee and take a little break with Queen Viv.
Pearl

Man Wisdom: The Small Things

You would be forgiven for thinking that menswear is plain, formal and a tad stale. Given the fact you can count on one hand the number of men you see on the street in cutting edge fashion. Of course there are the true classically stylish gents, think Tom Ford, who believes shorts should never be worn. The men who head to Saville Row, the laid back chic Italian men ooze, the old school gentry to traditional Scottish dress.

What is exciting now however, are the men who have the age old rules of style and yet are adding fashion forward variations into the mix.

Monogramming a classic leather briefcase is nothing new, however adding clashing colours and a sleek pouch design gives a fresh new approach.

Denim shirts, the corner stone of the Texan tuxedo, have been a long time dated, yet a bleached shirt looks uber modern especially with the style perennials of a navy suit and trench.

Women’s fashion magazines are screaming neon is the thing this season thanks to Christopher Kane and Co, yet it works even better for men. A simple grey cardigan with neon yellow edging screams fashion yet paired with classic tailoring is kept chic.

Pearl

(Images Tommy Ton for Style.com)

When Life Gets In The Way: Blogging Against Adversity


How much do I love this Chesterfield chair!!

I have been meaning to write this post for a while but haven’t much felt like it. Then Roz wrote this amazing post for the IFB, which you should go over and read – then come right back:
Blogging Against Adversity
Both Roz and I have had a medical condition impact our lives so much that we had no choice but to voice it on our blogs. We both agree that whatever fears we had about doing so were swept away by the genuine love and support of our readers and friends. So I thought I would take this chance to give you an update and to fill in new followers. I have rheumatoid arthritis you can read about it here and a follow up regarding problems with the condition and fashion here. Besides the obvious problems such as being in pain and general exhaustion, drug trials and their side effects it has impacted my life in ways I never really imagined. I guess until you go through something like this, you can watch all the episodes of E.R and House you like but you will never know the little things which really get to you.

I don’t wear flats, never have, never will. Er right ok so how do you wear 3″ heels when you knee is so painful it hurts to move, your hip is grating in the socket so much the sheer feeling makes you feel nauseous and your feet, every single joint, feels like it is stuffed with cotton-wool. Even if you can get your swollen little feet into your shoes you certainly aren’t walking anywhere in them. So I have spent the best part of this year in Ugg boots- I am not impressed about this one bit. I have 3 pairs of Uggs now, I have a pair of black flat army boots for when it is rainy, my trusty old Chanel ballerinas and Vivienne Westwood pirate boots for when it is sunny. I have taken to wearing a tatty old black cardi (it is Westwood and thus I will wear it until it drops to shreds) over everything to cover the wrist and elbow supports. Loose fit black peg trousers have always been my thing and my collection has grown to disguise the knee supports. When I do wear heels I now pull them out of my bag at the desired destination – on a positive note it will save me a fortune in re-heeling. Of course there is a lot of smoke and mirrors with the blog. You don’t see the Ugg boot days, I take off the supports for the photos and I certainly don’t wear bloody flats in the photos. I don’t just do this to make the photos look better, though evidently they do. But it makes me feel better that I can at least see what the outfit was intended to look like, rather than having to wear it with the flats and insanely huge bag stuffed with spare supports, gloves, shoes and meds. Clutches have been well and truly abandoned of late, as have totes which put strain on my wrist.

Fortunately the doctors also diagnosed me with a vitamin D deficiency, the medication for this worked fast so I am ten times better than what I was before Christmas, where I could barely get out of bed. I have now started disease modifying drugs to fight the RA, the effects of which I should see in around 8 weeks – if they work for me. I have tried different types of anti-inflammatory all of which my reaction to was far worse than the original problem and decided to show themselves just after the med’s had started working. The last ones I had tried gave me one day of being pain free before the worse onslaught of side effects I have ever had. That was a very strange feeling, I have gotten so used to dealing with the pain I had totally forgotten what it was like to not have it.

But anyway as long as the goodish days are more than the very, very bad ones I can cope for with that. I do worry I will never get the life back I used to have. I can’t burn the candle at both ends and really have to look after myself.

Helga reminded me the other day that Vivienne Westwood used to receive people when she was still in bed. In fact she liked to do everything from her bed, even make the clothes, so next time I am stuck in bed with my laptop I will just pretend I am Queen Viv. I admit I have taken to wearing my pink furry Prada scarf with my PJ’s, I am ridiculous I know, but it makes me smile.

(Mother of Pearl is wearing: Jimmy Choo H&M tunic and trousers, Pierre Hardy clutch, Chanel shoes and Prada stole – more on this topic again to come!!)
I choose these photos to go with this post as I was at a family party to celebrate my cousin’s 1 year anniversary of her having a double lung transplant. No matter where you are and what problems you have there is always someone worse off than you, that is why I have never been one to complain I guess. I also wanted to include this photo of my sidekick and I. I know everyone loves their mum but mine really is my best friend, I’d be lost without her.

(Wearing: my favorites! Ann Demeulemeester leather jacket, Vivienne Westwood Anglomana ‘Miller’ dress and Christopher Kane embroidered boots – them being too big ended up being a bonus as I put padded insoles in them so comfy, Christopher Kane for Topshop bag – another bonus being at a family party means there are plenty of other people you can get to carry your stuff )

Keep safe and well, where ever you are,

Pearl