Sunday, 4 August 2013

Golden Brown

Excuse the bed hair!  This is me early on a Saturday morning trying to make an effort be more dressed up on the weekends.  The first thing I did this morning was pick out this floaty, silk chiffon, mid-length Sass and Bide skirt from the wardrobe which I bought for a song on Ebay a few years ago.  At the time I was completely taken by the devore pattern of bright gold chrysanthemums festooning the multiple layers of gauzy brown silk.  The floatiness of the fabric and the handkerchief hem also reminded me of those chiffon wrap ballet skirts I recall well from my ballet years.

I remember seeing this skirt some years ago at some exorbitant price on Net-A-Porter and thinking I would never own such a gorgeous thing.  A good time later it turned up on Ebay for less than thirty quid and I won it.  After it arrived I admired it for a while, then threw it into the back of wardrobe and never wore it - for years!  Out of sight, out of mind.  When I pulled it out this morning it still had the tag on!  Given its unusual colour and cut, I think it was a combination of just not knowing how or having the courage to wear it.  Criminal really because it is a very pretty skirt and deserves to be worn more.  Despite the dark brown of the silk it has a translucence that means it really glows in the sunlight.

I've been trying to heed the shopping from the wardrobe mantra and recently I've been thinking frequently of  Patti of Not Yet Dead Style's "Rule of Instead" - a great post for those in a wardrobe rut and stellar advice that has remained with me for some time.  Instead of wearing same old, same old, reach for something extraordinary, or just different, or in my case what still hasn't been worn yet.  It's about not letting the "wow" factor of a piece scare you and about allowing yourself to wear something for the pure joy of it, because you love it.  So today ended the humming and hawing with this skirt and I just wore it.

I think I previously had a fear of never doing enough justice to this skirt to be able to wear it, always feeling that I didn't have the right kind of top or shoes to go with it.  That's the perilous part of buying a piece just because it's beautiful rather than because it works with everything else in your wardrobe!  Today I decided that it didn't need an all singing and dancing top to go with it after all.  Such a gorgeous pattern and fabric should be allowed to speak for itself.  I thought a better companion for such frivolity would be pure simplicity - a ghost of a tee shirt with raw edged sleeves in barely there, whisper thin cotton.

Later I extended the golden brown theme of the skirt and wore this out to dinner with my brown leather gladiators with gold studs and a buttercup yellow ballet wrap cardigan.  Yes I'm wearing yellow these days!  It was an outfit I felt really great in as well as at ease.  Sorry no photo - maybe I'll recreate it for another post.

If you are a regular reader you'll know Mr V and I have recently moved.  In doing so we have also taken on the task of renovating and restoring an old Victorian flat.  When we were trying to decide on a new home we both knew that we wanted a place with character but that we could put our own stamp on.  We loved the idea of doing up a period property so we were fortunate to find a large two storey Victorian flat which was liveable in but still needed some TLC to restore it to its former glory.

When we arrived there was a cream wool carpet laid on the stairs and in some of the rooms which had seen better days and was hiding the antique wooden floorboards.  The carpet was very soiled in some areas and was showing signs of moth infestation.  In fact the moth problem was really bad - the damn things were flitting about everywhere and any moth traps that we laid down were soon encrusted!  I was really panicking about my clothes getting munched - oh my God all that wool and silk!  So it forced our hand in getting the carpets up as quickly as possible and since it went we've noticed the moths have pretty much gone too.

Strangely, since I've moved into this new flat, I now feel like getting dressed up more at home.  Not something I used to do very much of.  I was one of those who was brought up to believe you shouldn't wear your "good" clothes at home lest you spoil them and that you should always save your best for special occasions.  Who has that many special occasions these days?  I've realised I'm still trying to shake off the guilt of wanting to look nice all the time and hearing my mother in my head nagging me to take that off and stop wearing my nice clothes at home.  Here reading other blogs has provided suitable therapy.  I always enjoy seeing what ladies like Vintage Vix, Helga and Curtise wear to knock around at home.  There is never a slobby tee or track suit in sight, just frocking vintage fabulousness!

Maybe it is also because design and aesthetics around renovating and redecorating our new home is on my mind a lot lately, but I often now find myself rummaging in the wardrobe for something pretty to swan around at home in.  This weekend it's all about the aesthetics of wooden floorboards.  Do we keep them golden brown?  Do we tint them darker or lighter?  Or do we paint them white?  Here is what the floors looked like just after we took the carpets up.  While the dark brown patina of age on the floorboards added character to them there was an unsightly black pitch border on the edge (something they liked doing in the Victorian era apparently).  They were unfortunately also paint splattered, broken, chipped and uneven in several areas.

In the end we decided to fill the gaps and sand the boards down and they came up a lovely pale gold that positively glows in the morning sun.  We're still undecided where to go next with them...

I fished out a video of The Stranglers "Golden Brown" because it seems apt.  It is one of my favourite songs although until today I'd never seen the video clip!  I was surprised to see it was filmed in Egypt.  I also hadn't appreciated until now what a complicated rhythm this song has.  It's three-four timing for three bars then four-four for the fourth.  Pretty sophisticated for a seventies punk rock band.

There's a ballet connection here too with this song and the colour combination it refers to.  I associate this song with arriving one warm golden afternoon at the ballet studio for my class many, many years ago back in Australia.  The sunlight was streaming in from the windows to bathe the studio in a warm late afternoon glow and I had stumbled in on one of the young professional students from the school practising a solo she had choreographed for this Strangler's track.  Watching her rehearse is something I will never forget.  I watched, completely mesmerised by her skill and agility while she pranced and leapt about as effortlessly and freely as a gazelle.  I was in awe at her ability to make jumps and pirouettes look light, airy and carefree.

She was a very pretty girl, with tawny golden brown skin much like the imaginary Mediterranean girl the track was apparently written about.  She had dark chocolate brown eyes, brown hair with blonde highlights and she always wore chunky gold hoop earrings that glittered when she danced.  I remember thinking at the time that for someone her age "Golden Brown" was a particularly sophisticated track to have chosen to dance to.  It was the early nineties and she was all of seventeen, so she couldn't have been more than seven years old when that track had come out.  But then and there it was as if the track had been written just for her.  It was one of those perfect moments that stick in your memory and every time I hear this track I think of her, that bright young thing, dancing her heart out in that gold lit studio.  In fact, in some subconscious way, she may well have been the very reason I ended up buying this golden brown skirt.

Silk chiffon devore skirt: Sass and Bide; Cotton tissue-weight tee shirt: Cos;

Linking up to Visible Monday over at Not Yet Dead Style and Monday Bloom at DC Style.


  1. Your description of the dancer in the sunlight is enchanting.
    And your skirt is truly beautiful. I'm glad you finally decided to just do it.
    What I see of your new home looks lovely. There's nothing like the glow of rich wood in sunshine to feel at home.

  2. What a gorgeous skirt, the kind of thing you could pull on and instantly feel glamorous.
    Your flat is beautiful, no wonder you want to dress up and do that glorious space justice. Doing up a home can't be rushed, you need to live in a space for a while and ponder, it's an organic process. xxx

  3. This is what happens with me from time to time - I buy something just because it is beautiful and I fall in love with it. Then it turns out that I have no idea how and with what to wear it. Can understand your delight with the skirt, it is really very beautiful. I never liked my mom's idea of wearing some old, worn out things at home. I prefer dresses: made of cotton, simple in design yet pretty.

  4. That skirt is positively amazing. Amazing. And as a dancer, you have the ability to wear it boldly and beautifully more than any other person I know. I hope it finds regular rotation in your new flat—which looks beautiful! I'm a fan of aged, stained, unpainted hardwood floors, so I would vote to keep them the way they are.

  5. Oh I love your story about the dancer, absorbed in her own creation in the sunlight. Some moments are indeed magical. Like you, I am fascinated by the strange rhythm of that song, a stately waltz... until it isn't anymore, with that descending four-four bar. Suits the song perfectly, though, and stands as a metaphor for being unafraid to mix it up, to do the unexpected.
    Like dressing up in something beautiful to stay at home! I was also brought up to "save for best" but have consciously rejected the idea, it is such a waste of our favourite, lovely things. Use and enjoy! Your golden brown skirt is beautiful, I am glad you rediscovered it. Your flat looks gorgeous too - I am always a fan of wood floors in their natural colour but Vix is right, it's good to take your time over these decisions.
    Thanks for the mention! xxxx

  6. Thanks so much for the mention, dear V. This skirt is indeed gorgeous, and it's great that you've brought it out for "everyday". It suits your dancer aesthetic wonderfully! I love, love the look of your antique floors, sanded down to gold. What a pretty place. xoxoxo

  7. This is fantastic - I adore the skirt and your willingness to admit that it has hung in your closet for years :) I actually adore how you are wearing it. The simple shirt brings out the amazingness of it. I love wearinga something plain with something amazing - yin and yang. It draws the eye to the fullness to the intricacy of the skirt and the cut of it. And your apartment looks just as fantastic as your outfit. I'd definitely dress up and dance around in it!
    xo ~kim & chloe

  8. What a great post! I adore the floaty layers of that skirt, so balletic, and your description of that dancer is mesmerising. Best of luck doing up your flat, it looks lovely already so I bet it's going to be amazing by the end, worth all the hard work!

  9. I loved your last paragraph and the description of the ballet dancer. What an enchanting dreamy image when paired with the song.


  10. Love this skirt and it looks great with just a white top! Looks like a twurly skirt. xoxo

  11. Your tousled hair is perfect with the raw-edged tissue tee and sheer handkerchief hem of that glorious skirt and bare feet on the warm wood. Wonderful storytelling of the song and the dancer! Great to hear you sounding like the settling-in to your new home is going well. All best with the floor finish deliberations; my vote would always be against paint so as to let that wonderful grain show through.

  12. Hi there! wow, gorgeous skirt- a real statement piece and so pretty and summery! Glad to hear the moths are gone, they really are such a horrible nuisance! Have a great week xxx

  13. This is such a pretty skirt. Love the layers!

  14. Did you know there's a teenager hanging out in your white tissue tee and brown and gold floaty hanky-hem skirt, standing at your pretty bay window !!!! ??
    Seriously, you look wonderful. What a delicious way to enjoy your clothes thoroughly.
    We all have memories that kick in when we hear certain songs, but rarely as visually and lyrically rich a memory as yours. Thank you for writing about this skirt's personal narrative! You know I love the stories ...

  15. I love the bed hair! It's weird that English houses so often have carpets hiding the much more attractive wooden boards... You've done well! I sometimes dream of looking pretty (like with this floaty skirt) but at home it's tracksuit bottoms for me ALL DAY ALL THE WAY.

  16. I applaud your decision to wear that exquisite skirt with the simple tee. Just as I love seeing your bare feet on the wood floor. I like to imagine that you're poised to dance at any moment, sharing the legacy of the golden-brown dancer.

  17. great skirt! the flow in it is really great!

  18. It is an fantastic skirt. Just as beautiful as you say. I'll bet when you start to move it gets even better!! Thanks for jumping into our VERIZON VOICES Fashionista style hop last week! Hope you will join us again this week here:


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