Fashion shock

I vividly remember my first impression when I stepped out onto a street in suburban Adelaide for the first time: “Why is everyone wearing pijamas here?”

Ok, this may seem a bit harsh. But a change from image-conscious Moscow to a super relaxed summery Adelaide felt like a fashion shock to me. South Australia was getting its share of the February heat, and the streets were filled with baggy t-shirts (sometimes featuring marks and even holes) and flip-flop beach shoes. It was hard to imagine people would even own the shorts I was seeing!

Therein lies the rub: what was I to do with my kitten heels (the only pair of shoes I brought from Moscow) and the elegant clothes I wore to high school back home? We can argue that a colder climate predisposes itself to a more fashionably conscious society. After all, the beautiful coats and boots can only be worn if weather stays way below 35 degrees Celsius! Still there are summers in Moscow too – and in Paris, New York and Milan. Yes, I think my shock was justified.

Russians’ priorities about image are actually completely opposite to what a Westerner might be used to. An Australian will put money aside for a house, then go after a nice car, and only after the big things are sorted, go after the designer clothes. Russians’ self-image would not allow them to leave the house unless they are presented impeccably. (If you walk through a metro station in St Petersburg, you’ll struggle to find a woman who is not wearing heels or is not dressed up to impress.) Thus, with any available money, Russians would first take care of their clothes in order to make the optimal impression: if you look like a million bucks – that’s all that matters, because that’s all people see and remember! Then they would think about buying a nice car, and once that’s done the house comes into the picture. If you think about it, it makes sense – the first impression tends to be the strongest one. No-one can see what kind of apartment you got dressed in, but if you look great, you’re certainly more likely to get noticed, right?

While trying to fit into a new society though, I did acquire a pair of cheap shorts from a discount store. (As immigrants with no job yet, the family funds were limited.) Surprisingly, it didn’t take too long to get used to them, although I found myself feeling somewhat naked for the first few days. And after a week or two in the Australian sun, having settled in Glenelg a short walk from the beach, the freedom of clothing felt oddly liberating and almost intoxicating. It wasn’t even so much to do with the clothes themselves. It was the culture they represented: relaxed, unhurried beach fun, complete with breaking waves, flies, wind and daily sunburn.

Today I find myself wanting to marry up freedom and style – and keep it sun smart too! 😉 Maybe I feel a need to combine some image-conscious Russianness with a bit of laid-back Australianism. A little bit of vodka with the prawns doesn’t hurt, right? After all, it is our experiences that personalize our styles: the warmth and the freedom of the beach don’t need elegance and style sacrificed in their name. That way my sometimes conflicting immigrant soul feels like it strikes a little bit of balance between its two cultures.

Bring on the gold!

Brightly painted yellows and oranges, gorgeous amber landscapes, trees looking heavy with golden foliage, dropping a leaf here and there… The weather is cooling down while the nature is taking on its warmer shades as a reminder of the summer gone and the approaching winter.  Did somebody say “autumn”?.. Yes, we are in the European autumn, and it’s glorious! My favourite time of the year, hands down!  The cool air is so refreshing, and the yellow glow is covering the streets methodically under a bronze blanket of leaves, like a never-ending sunset.

I love this season also because it is time for boots!  Beautiful, leg hugging, ankle shaping boots – they cover more of the foot, and yet draw more attention to themselves than summer sandals. They are the epitome of sexy footwear, and evoke a range of mixed emotions and associations, making boots the most controversial of shoes.  Do you want to feel elegant, or sexy, or slutty, or edgy, or graceful, or fashionable, or dirty?  A pair of kinky, cute, hugging ankle boots or a sensual, grandiose pair of knee-highs will do the trick.  No excuse needed to dress up your calves as the boot season is here!

Vive la France!

This week I am finally going back to my French classes, so it is all about French!

Ah, France… Dream come true? Absolutely!

It is so hard not to romanticise Paris – I mean all we see in movies is beautiful stone sidewalks, lined with gorgeous old buildings, and pastries that look so good you can almost smell them through the screen! All this, or course, leads up to La Tour Eiffel – the iconic landmark instantly recognisable by just about anybody. And don’t forget the popular night shots of Champs Elisees that can make you want to jump off the couch and start packing!

The hype of Paris is certainly up there. I read an article somewhere about some Japanese tourists that have to go into therapy for their crushed dreams after visiting Paris! Never mind… It’s a big old city, with a certain amount of ‘appropriate charm’, and you will undoubtedly come across a smelly metro, a beggar (or six!), and a predictably unfriendly Parisian who will pretend not to speak a word of English. No – we will focus on the more exciting elements of Paris. It is the city of Napoleon, Victor Hugo and Gerard Depardieu. It is a city where you will stand for an hour in the freezing wind just so you can climb up the bell tower of Notre Dame and see the gargoyle at the top. (If you’re like me, you’ll spend a few minutes trying to imagine what they’ll look like coming to life after dark and chatting to Quasimodo.) It is the city of d’Artagnan, Count of Monte Christo and Les Miserables. And, before you ask – yes, the famous Champs Elisees is as beautiful as it is in the movies!

So – now that we’re in the mood… Meet Francoise: sexy, feminine and fully French patriotic 😉

Shoes, glorious shoes!..

This blog is about accessories. In particular, shoes…  Beautiful, magical, ever-addictive shoes that complete our outfits (or life!) and destroy our bank accounts.

The thing I love about shoes is that it can turn a simple, casual outfit into a sexy and chic one.  Lose your casual sandals or joggers and put on a pair of hot pink heels, and feel the gazes of the passers by on you!  Do you know another accessory with such power?

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