November began uncharacteristically mild and the first, saw my husband and I visit Whitstable; me with a vintage SLR camera given to me by my father to capture some shots. The first seaside town south of London, Whitstable is long known for its oysters; harvesting here dates back to Roman times. We visited the famous oyster fishery company house for a fish and chip lunch and sampled a local oyster each as a starter. Now how can I describe it? They were brought over on a tray of ice and to me resembled a slug curled up in a shell. I tentatively put a miniscule amount on my fork whilst my husband threw it down in one, thus setting the bar higher so that I had to do the same. They are very salty, almost like drinking seawater. Neither of us liked the texture and we will not be repeating the experience! We then popped into the converted old Oxford cinema which is now a Wetherspoons for a pint of Whitstable Bay shandy. The Art Deco style which the cinema reopened with in 1936 has been recreated in the pub.
November of course is famous for Armistice Day. This year took on an extra poignant significance as it marked the centenary of WW1. In order to mark the anniversary – volunteers installed 888,246 hand-made ceramic poppies by an artist from Derbyshire, in the moat around the Tower of London. Each poppy represented a British/commonwealth soldier killed in WW1. The poppies were then sold for £25 each. The installation proved such a massive tourist draw that parts of it remained open for the whole of November, instead of it finishing on 11th as originally planned. Sadly I didn’t get chance to visit it but on Remembrance Sunday my husband and I walked up to the local war memorial and observed the 2 minutes silence; my husband took with him some WW1 medals that belong to his family.
The First World War greatly influenced fashion. When the war broke out, Britain was coming to the end of the Edwardian era and one of great opulence. More women began to work so fashion needed to become more practical. Skirts rose from floor length to above the ankle and waistlines dropped to the more natural waist rather than under the bust. Darker colours became the norm due to the number of people mourning lost soldiers and the general sobriety of the time. People had less ability to be extravagant, with funds being put towards the war effort and due to this, Chanel created costume jewellery.
Winter fashion this year is influenced by a number of decades with plaid miniskirts, polo neck fitted jumpers and pastel shades especially baby pink, which are a nod to the 60’s as well as a revival of 1990’s fashion influenced by the film Clueless which is 20 years old next year – I know the 90’s still feel like they were only yesterday – remember butterfly clips, Bon Bleu tracksuits, snap bracelets and tamagotchi’s! Match that plaid skirt with over the knee socks, white shirt and matching plaid jacket for a true Cher look. I purchased this plaid skirt and pale pink bow back jumper from Oasis and with its 60’s feel; it was great to wear to the musical Made in Dagenham which is all about the Ford Machinists strike in 1968 which was a precursor to the Equal Pay Act of 1970.
The 70’s have quite a strong influence in the fashion world at the moment with camel coloured suede, flares and A-line skirts. I loved this denim button through A line from Miss Selfridge which I paired with a festive snowflake jumper from Oasis.
An iconic clutch from the 1970’s was the magazine clutch. I bought a Paparazzi version some time back and mentioned it in this blog after seeing the episode ‘The Big Time’ of Sex and the City where Carrie accessorises with one; but thanks to my Mum’s friend in New York I now have two genuine vintage ones which were her mother- in- law’s. I gave one of them its first outing at Afternoon tea and cocktails at Browns for my friend’s birthday. The outfit I wore was leather look leggings from New Look paired with this chiffon floral shirt and Jane Norman shoe boots.
November finished much colder than it started and before we knew it Christmas was upon us – look out for my Christmas themed blog to follow shortly.