Fashion copycats – flattering or infuriating?

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I’m not sure the same applies when we’re talking about fashion and more so when we’re talking about fashion amongst friends.

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with wearing the same things as other people. I will do everything I can to remain as individual as possible, which is why although I love clothes and catwalks, I try not to follow trends to the very last letter. I’ve worked with my fair share of high street and luxury brands and when part of the press office, you are expected to practice what you preach – that is wear the wares you’re peddling. When you’re working in luxury this is just fine. I have absolutely no problem at all with that. Apart from when your “employer” sends bloomers down the runway – that didn’t make for an easy season. But when you’re working for, lets say the more commercial brands, the chances of you showing up for work wearing the exact same dress as 50% of your colleagues, is horribly high.

There were way too many times I found myself queuing up in the work cafeteria for my tuna salad sandwich – there are already far too many things wrong with that sentence – only to see my very outfit being worn by all kinds of chattering colleagues. Didn’t like that at all. It made me want to run home and change, or rush for the sample cupboard, or just leave the building altogether.

Now I know this wasn’t copycat dressing, it was all purely coincidental and not really terribly surprising bearing in mind we all worked for the same brand. What I’m curious about are those instances when you find something you love and then someone – most often this someone is very near and dear – goes out and buys the EXACT SAME THING. Do you applaud them for having your impeccable taste or berate them for not having a taste of their own?

Obviously this hasn’t happened to me. It happened to a friend who actually goes shopping, leaves the house and sees people. I don’t care who buys my ASOS t-shirt because, chances are, I won’t be bumping in to them in the village shop. But if I do…..well I’d probably just invite them round for a cup of tea. Like fashion minds are rare to find when living in the sticks.

Photograph courtesy of Pierre Cardin SS11 : for the simple reason, it’s just too good not to use.

Two whole weeks doing Absolutely Nothing

A packed fortnightly roundup of the very best bits from Absolutely Nothing To Wear.

And we now have a little ANTW shop which is in its very very early stages but promises to have all kinds of lovely things to buy over the coming weeks. Just click on the SHOP tab on the homepage.

Absolutely Nothing To Wear : Shoes Glorious Shoes by Mel Moss

Absolutely Nothing To Write About : A Term Of Endearment by Mel Moss

Absolutely Nothing To Smile About : I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside by Micki Myers

Absolutely Nothing To Wear / See / Do : The Wilderness Festival by Mel Moss

Absolutely Nothing To Eat : Fabulous Figs by Mel Moss

Absolutely Nothing To Wear : Too Old For Mickey Mouse? by Mel Moss

Absolutely Nothing To Wear : When It Rains It Pours by Mel Moss

Absolutely Nothing To Smile About : Cowpats by Zebedee Helm

Absolutely Nothing To Smile About : Bottlebanks by Zebedee Helm

Absolutely Nothing To Wear : ASOS, uh oh by Mel Moss

Quality Street cartoon by Zebedee Helm

Absolutely Nothing To Buzz About : a sweet little love story from Micki Myers

I love honey. I love my Honey. I love both of them; the exquisite golden substance unique to nature produced by the humble honey bee and my sweetheart, whose pet name seems to embody all that is good and unique in nature wrapped up in his lovely person.

The two are connected in more ways than one, however. Back when I met my Honey I was busy making honey. As a member of the Nature Department at summer camp, I was partly responsible for maintaining the hives. We had 20,000 bees (give or take) housed in a couple of those beautiful wooden hives parked at the edge of some meadows in Ohio. Every now and then we’d take brave campers out to see them, armed with nothing but a tin smoker stuffed with pine needles and set alight; you could pull a lever to emit a puff of white smoke that would temporarily subdue the bees into docile fuzzies. After removing the lid, you could lift up a frame heavy with thousands of busy writhing bodies, and sweep some off with your hand to reveal the oozing maze of honeycomb underneath.

It was a big hit, not least because the kids could go back to their scaredy friends and boast of having stuck their hands into a seething hive. No bees were crushed, and no kids were stung, but I was when my summer romance with the future Mr. Honey fizzled out.

At the end of the season we harvested the honey, squeezing it out of the combs and straining it off into small jars which were given to all of the staff. It was the very last of that honey to be handed out; after a hundred years or so the camp closed down after that season in 1988. Generations of Cincinnati residents had spent their summers there; it was a place where you could see graffiti your grandparents had etched into the wooden walls of whitewashed cabins, and many marriages were made of folks who had met as campers or counselors.

I doubt that any of that honey still exists … apart from the single unopened jar my Honey nursed all that time, and which now sits on my mantelpiece. To anyone else it probably looks like a jar of tar, inexplicable as an ornament — but to me it is the most wonderful love token ever. Over time the honey has thickened and darkened to become incredibly dense; he tried shining a military-grade 250-lumen light through it to no avail. I like to think that jar contains the magic that brought us back together so improbably 23 years later. It’s not every day that you are given a jar of honey you yourself made a lifetime ago. But then again I am all a-buzz with love, so don’t mind me.


ASOS – uh oh

Until yesterday I was an ASOS virgin. I’ve had a look, lots of times, but never actually bought anything. And now I’m hooked. There are all kinds of things I didn’t even know I wanted.

I started with a plain black “boyfriend” t-shirt. It’s long and slim with a perfect neckline and rolled short sleeves. I’ve been back online today and ordered it in Navy. It shall be at the centre of my uniform for the rest of the Summer and possibly beyond.

I’ve also fallen in love with a Sherlock Holmes-esque parka and a “chiffon” (read polyester) kimono jacket and a “Chanel” box jacket and I’ve even put a pair of peg leg trousers in my basket…..surely there’s a better name for them?

I’ve browsed through all the brogues and clicked on a pair of Chelsea boots more than once – could this be my biker boot upgrade? I’ve got my eye on a Fox print t-shirt, which I fear may be a little too young for me, and I’m considering yet another cape. I love capes.

All I need to do is click a few buttons and it might all be mine by Monday. It’s too easy. I better just have another look through and check I’ve not missed anything…..



Everyday Things Of Britain – Bottle Bank Neighbours : a cartoon by Zebedee Helm

Click here to see more marvelous cartoons and hilarious things

Cowpats : a cartoon by Zebedee Helm

We will be posting lots more brilliant cartoons from Zebedee Helm over the coming weeks.

They are all available to buy from his online shop.

Click here to be redirected immediately.

When it rains it pours

What on earth are we supposed to be wearing in this weather. How can any vaguely fashion conscious being worth their salt, be expected to dress seasonally when the weather has the mind of an Autumn day.

I had to go to London today. If I hadn’t had to go anywhere, the rain wouldn’t have bothered me or my choice of clothes. When in the comfort of the Shires, I don’t have to worry about not being able to get a taxi, or wet overcoats swooshing past me on the tube or buses splashing through enormous puddles or umbrellas taking my eye out. I just have to worry about how the dog’s going to go out and pee without dragging mud through the kitchen. It can rain all it likes, I don’t care but I do care when it falls on the days I make my trips to London. Not just because of the reasons above, but also because these are the days I make every effort to really try and look nice. To remember how I used to look and dress in the olden days. I save some (all) of my favourite clothes for these days and to have them rained on and accessorised with frizzy hair and wet shoes is frankly tiresome. The very worst bit was that because of the severe lack of taxis on this most wet of days, I had to rush all over the place on my own two soggy feet and didn’t have time to make my high street pilgrimage to Cos and Uniqlo (for the last Jil Sander collection) which is quite honestly, the only reason I bother coming. Thanks rain. Thanks a bunch.

So what did I wear today for the August rain? I wore black….layers and layers of black and all topped off with my two tone brogues. At least Gene would have been proud.