Summer Essentials For Ladies That Prefer To Hang Out Under Trees

summer essentials

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer in New Zealand. It rarely gets too hot (high 20s), everyone is getting their required dose of vitamin D and it’s making them happy, holidays abound, and there is a general sense of love and frivolity in the air.

However, above New Zealand is a giant hole in the Ozone. This means an extremely fast burn time (think 5 minutes at midday for someone fair skinned like me) and a high risk of skin cancer whether you tan or not. I’m not a sporty type, I don’t get much enjoyment from battling waves in the ocean or feeling uncoordinated while trying to throw a frisbee, so I usually sit under a tree with the other pale uncos or amuse myself with books, photographs, and music.

What you need

  1. Cool Clothes – I’m a big fan of rockabilly clothing but it’s almost always too windy to wear flowy dresses and skirts in Wellington. Pencil skirts are great for combating the wind but make lounging on the grass and sand difficult. Capris are sexy and generally stretchy – perfect for summer! I wore my pair a lot last year, this year I’m thinking of getting a few more and embracing by ass and thighs.
    A pair of loose dress pants are also essential for night time in summer. Mosquitoes, evening breezes, and sunburnt legs stuck to chairs be gone.
  2. Distractions – While everyone else is off doing cartwheels I like to read a book, listen to some music, or take pictures of the fun. Books and music are also great for occupying the pockets of time you can grab for yourself in between holiday visitors.
  3. Protection – For pasties especially a wide brimmed hat and plenty of sunblock are essential for staying healthy during summer. Sunburn is never fun and never hawt. If you have tattoos make sure to either keep them out of the sun or heavily sunscreened, you don’t want your artwork fading do you?
    If you’ve got darker skin, or skin that tans don’t forget you’re still at risk for sunburn and skin cancer! The only safe tan is one that comes from a bottle.
  4. Hydration – Worse (IMO) than sunburn is heat stroke. You really don’t want to go there, it’s a nasty nasty business. Stay hydrated when it’s hot outside and if you’re drinking alcohol match each drink with a glass of water.
  5. Bottomless pitBag – Gotta have somewhere to store your travelling fun, and a big pretty bag is most ideal. You’ll probably end up being asked to look after everyone elses stuff too so lots of pockets are a must.

What do you need to get through summer?

Win An Exclusive Shirt! [closed]

T post tees
Why yes, that is Che Guevara’s image depicted in toilet rolls

A few weeks ago I was contacted by T-post asking if I’d like one of their shirts. I took a look at their site, and discovered that their shirts aren’t like normal tees. They’re also micro magazines!

Printed inside each tee is an article that reflects both a current news piece, and the state of the world. The issues I have to give away are “Negotiating a War” this article is about music file sharing and the charges RIAA are claiming from small time downloaders; the other is “Spare a Square” which talks about Cuba’s current toilet paper crisis, they’re running out of it quickly! Alongside the article is a column about the tee designer.

T post articles

T Post is a unique idea. You subscribe like you would to a magazine, receiving a new issue every 6 weeks and not knowing what will be inside till it arrives. Each shirt is exclusive, print runs are limited to the current number of subscribers and back issues cannot be ordered.

I’m extremely fussy when it comes to tees and I’m a good little bogan who only strays from black for special occasions. For this reason alone I turned down the offer of a free shirt and instead asked if I could give one away. Lucky for you they sent two.
Both shirts are womens medium. If that’s not your size don’t forget the other t shirt lovers in your life, you could score a unique xmas present for free!

If you’d like to win these shirts simply leave a comment letting me know. For extra entries tweet (include @msconstantine so I see it) or blog about the giveaway.

You have until the 20th of November.

Is there a question you’ve always wanted answered by an impartial male? I have one of those available for you! Submit your question (anonymously or leave your details) and The Boy will do his best to give his advice or opinion. Ask him about love, fashion, or what that seemingly snide comment really means.

What Makes a Trend?

ribbon in a suitcase

I raised this question yesterday on Twitter because I don’t have the answer. Whether that’s because I’m clueless when it comes to defining fashion or because it can’t be defined is unknown to me. No one else seemed to know either.

At 4.5 million people New Zealand doesn’t have a big enough market to give shoppers a lot of choice. Unless you know how to make or customise your clothes you’re mostly at the mercy of the chain stores. In New Zealand we’re also in the wrong hemisphere to get fashions first hand.

Six months after new season fashion heads into shops in America -already watered down versions of catwalk fashions, created in every conceivable colour and quality- we finally get the left overs. I’ve never worked in retail so I don’t know how the buying process works. But I imagine that after a few months of celebrities and high school kids picking what’s hot for the season that’s what we get stuck with. We don’t get the multitude of variations here. Consumers don’t get to decide what suits them, they don’t get to choose the shirt with one ruffle over the shirt with two. We usually get one choice. A choice that is sold in one, sometimes two colours, and then the buttons are changed and the same top is sold in the shop next door.

The point of this rant is this: This seasons clothing trends are determined by the people buying for shops. Most people can only afford chain store clothing, and therefore whatever is in the chain store is what they’ll wear.

What about trends that are so simple you don’t need to go anywhere near a mall to participate.

Apparently a simple ribbon tied around a wrist is going to be the next trend. It’s trickling along and could go either way. What most of you should know is that people have been doing this for years! It’s so simple, wrap yourself up like a gift to the world and you’ve got jewellery for less than 20cents. So why is it the next trend?

Does a picture of Dakota Fanning wearing a ribbon launch a thousand girls into their grandmothers haberdashery drawers? Does it take two celebrities? Does it take a fashion blogger or two sporting the look for women to see how pretty a ribbon is? I’d like to believe that people don’t follow just because something’s announced as the next big thing, but ugly It bags and 80s comebacks are trying to prove me wrong.

Maybe you’ve got the answer. What do you think starts a trend?

Daily Outfit – 12 September 2009

You may have seen my plea for help on twitter on Saturday night. Big thanks to those who replied!
My Saturday night consisted of a friends birthday cocktail party where semi formal dress was requested. We knew it’d be more semi than formal so didn’t want to be too flash. And afterwards we had an album release party to go to at a bar. I ended up pulling out an outfit I bought for a work do last year, I love wearing a poofy skirt anytime and this one always gets compliments.

Outfit 12 September

Beads – Some cheap jewellery store (Diva, Bling, Equip?)
Ring – Cupcakes and Mace
Blouse – Jay Jays
Jacket – Portmans
Silk skirt – Portmans
Leggings – Valley Girl
Sneakers – Converse

Postcards from Simitopia

Simi brooch

Well, not so much a postcard as an adorable letter and gift.

Back in February (my how time flies!) the lovely simi of [the now disappeared] Postcards from Simitopia ran a tag giving five people the chance to receive a gift made by her. I was one of the lucky ones and I received my specially made gift yesterday wrapped in black tissue and a sparkly ribbon, with a letter addressed to the Cupcake Factory, a special Simitopia stamp on the front and the Simitopia deer on the seal. So cool!

simi is a crafty little lady and it really shows in the beautiful brooch she made me in my two favourite colours, pink and black.

Thanks simi! You’re great. :]

A package for the Cupcake Factory

Sydney Fife: Style Icon

We finally got around to watching I Love You, Man last weekend. It’s very funny, very cute, has great actors, a great script, and an adorably awkward man almost every woman wants to marry (Paul Rudd as Peter Klaven). What surprised me about the movie was how much I loved the style of sloppy mismatched Sydney Fife (Jason Segel). What surprised me more was when we went shopping the next day and The Boy told me he really loved Sydney’s style and wanted to emulate it. :D

Next thing I know he’s buying a hooded grey knit sweatshirt and I’m planning his wardrobe. I love being with a guy who is enough into fashion that he cares about how he looks and thinks about his purchases, but still relaxed enough not to look like preppy douchebag (I like preppy style, just not preppy douchebag style).

This one’s for The Boy, and anyone else who wants to get the Sydney Fife wardrobe.

Board shorts should be refined to the water and ugg boots should be kept inside. So really I should be screaming NONONOOOO at the thought of this outfit. But Sydney makes walking a small dog along a board walk in both board shorts and uggs look like the best idea in the world.

Sydney Fife - I Love You, Man - Ugg boots and board shorts

Start your Sydney wardrobe with some kitschy board shorts, low cut uggs, and a cowboy check shirt.

Sydney Fife - I Love You, Man - Tweed jacket and jeans

Add a grey tweed jacket, a light coloured striped sweater, jeans, and slip on shoes.

Sydney Fife - I Love You, Man - Cable knit cardy

Shop for a tux or relax with a beer in a shawl neck cable knit cardigan and t shirt.

Round it all off with a couple of scarfs and some more buttoned shirts, especially cowboy check shirts in yellow and blue tones. And there you have it, your very own Sydney Fife-d wardrobe.

Would you “let” your man dress like Sydney or dress like him yourself?

Indie Finds – T Shirts

My love of t shirts doesn’t extend far beyond a black base. Once you’ve got the black base sorted though I’m open to any number of funny witticisms and kawaii cartoons.

There is a vast array of indie t shirts available online. Most of the retailers you’ll find online feature designs from independent artists, often in limited quantities. Here are a few of my faves.

Also check out 1-daytee and TeeFury for limited 1 day only designs.

  1. Robot love – Shana Logic
  2. Crossbones classic – Johnny Cupcakes
  3. I got one! – The Deep Blue (cafepress)
  4. Frankencakes – Dotted with Hearts (etsy)
  1. Shunnn – Film Cow (cafepress)
  2. 7 legged spider – 27bslash6 (cafepress)
  3. I’m blogging this – ThinkGeek
  4. Ich bin ein nerd – Gifts for a geek
  5. OMG Pwnies – ThinkGeek
  6. Black Out – Vision and Indecision
  1. I listen to bands that don’t even exist yet – Evan Ferstenfeld (typetees)
  2. Beware of unicorns – Alex Solis and Matheus Lopes (threadless)
  3. Fairy bread – Mr Vintage
  4. i > u – ThinkGeek
  5. Famous Nobody – Famous Nobody

I’m A Dick I’m Addicted To…

Sneakers and Tees

T shirts and Sneakers.

There’s no point denying it. No point trying to fit in with the other girls. There’s no reason for me to try to wear high heels, elaborate swishing blouses, or huge cowl neck sweaters.
I can admire stilettos, platforms, and pumps as pieces of art. I want to buy them because they’re pretty, but I just can’t wear something that makes me that uncomfortable.

All colours and styles of shirt adorn my change room but the black t shirts are the only ones that get worn.

It’s always a thrill to find a t shirt that is fun and funky, black, in my size and,  in my price range. My biggest problem is I have no idea what I’m looking for until I find it. I’m extremely picky about what I buy. But I don’t know what to search for to find my ideal pieces. I’m not a label whore so I can’t even narrow it down by name.

Finding pretty sneakers is harder. When the shoe gods make sneakers available in shoe stores in as many varied styles and colours as they do for heels I’ll be a very happy lady.

So, there you have it. I don’t give a shit about the latest catwalk design that makes you look like you got caught on a barbed wire fence. I want tees. Witty, dark, and cute tees. And I want them paired with sneakers.

[pictured: Osiris Libra Girl (which I have!) and ThinkGeek t shirt (which I want need!)]

At Least Stay Warm

As America heads into Summer New Zealand and Australia sink into a wet, cold, depressing, winter. Working in an office brings many great things like always boiled water for hot tea and reasonably consistent temperatures via air conditioning, but there are still essential items you need to make sure you survive the dark months.

Winter essentials

Your winter essentials:

  • A long coat with a hood for Wellington wind – If you live in Wellington like me you should know that there is nothing more essential than a hooded coat in winter. Umbrellas are turned inside out and there’s no use for them when the rain is coming at you vertically anyway. A long hooded coat will keep your head and most of your legs dry.
  • A pashmina or wide scarf – Wont take up too much room in your bag and it can be used as a scarf, as a whole head covering to keep your ears warm, and you can wrap it around your shoulders when the meeting room turns our to be colder than the rest of the office.
  • Fingerless gloves – Even better if you can find the mittens that fold back into fingerless gloves. Sometimes the air conditioning can take a while to kick in and it’s difficult and painful to type with freezing fingers. Fingerless gloves are perfect for typing in.
  • Knee high socks or stockings – Wether you’re a pants or skirts type of girl knee high socks will keep you warm.
  • Long sleeved undershirts or polyprops – Wear them under your short sleeved tops and dresses and you wont have to go without your summer wardrobe or cover it up with jackets for 6 months.
  • Bright nail polish and accessories – If they don’t keep you from being depressed then they might at least keep you from being hit by a car.
  • Shoes – You’ll need at least one pair of closed toe shoes, with proper grip, and no details cut out of the sides and top that can be worn with socks. For those freezing days when you’re running down the hill to the bus in the rain.
  • Waterproof bag – If you usually use a bag made from a material that absorbs water now is the time to switch to something more like leather or vinyl. There are not many things worse than discovering that not only is your bag soaked but so is every single thing inside it.
  • Miso sachets and heat and eat meals – For when you haven’t prepared lunch and can’t face going outside on your break.

What helps you survive the winter months?