The power of perfume

perfume

The power of perfume and smells. It is amazing how in an instant, a smell can bring back so many memories and with such strength.

I write these words having just dedicated the better part of an hour smelling different perfumes in the Duty Free lounge at the airport whilst waiting for my flight home after an intense day of vintage treasure hunting.

I started by smelling all the perfumes I myself have worn throughout the years. First, Coco Chanel, the first real perfume I bought, at a Duty Free shop too, age 15. A powerful scent for a fifteen year old, but funnily enough, the perfume I have returned to years later and which is now with me to stay, probably forever. There have been many others on the way, L’ Eau d’Issey, 212 Carolina Herrera, Chanel’s Chance, Encre Noir by Lalique, Jo Malone’s English Pear & Freesia…a long list of perfumes that have accompanied me along different moments, people and experiences in my life to date, moments I have been able to revisit this evening in the airport’s Duty Free perfume section. It has been marvelous. A trip to the past made possible by my sense of smell and it’s magical power of transporting the imagination.

And once I’d started, I obviously couldn’t resist visiting other people from the past and present. Childhood memories of my Granny brought back by Opium, I visited my Mum with J’Adore, teenage boyfriends came alive with Farenheit, long chats with friends with Narciso Rodriguez…

I could have spent a whole day there, playing with great memories which I was reliving through the scent of the different perfumes.

And that is exacty it… perfumes are intagible and yet they are a multimillionaire business in the fashion industry and it’s no surprise given how powerful they are.

A perfume is the finishing touch to any outfit. Just like with clothes, each one of us has a perfume that suits us, and it must be inkeeping with our personality and tastes, and although it can change over the years, once we have find the right one, it will usually stay with us forever.

I don’t believe in changing our perfume with the seasons, I think we should change it according to how we are feeling, as perfume transports us to different moments and places and sets a mood, completing our outfit or ruining it if for instance we don’t feel comfortable wearing it.I’m sure you too have been inadvertently spritzed with a perfume whilst walking through a department store and have spent the rest of the day feelng uncomfortable, suffering rather than enjoying the perfume.

Perfume should be enjoyed, it should make you feel good, glamorous, it should complete your daily style and make you feel unique. That way, when someone who cares for you smells your perfume anywhere, they will be transported to wonderful moments shared with you, and you will pop into their memory in the most unexpected places, like the airport’s Duty Free lounge.

Wardrobe Confidential

Wardrobe Confidential

I am sure at some point or another you have stood in front of your wardrobe trying to decide what to wear and have ended up uttering “I have nothing to wear” to a partner or friend’s utter disbelief. It has certainly happened to me on more than one occasion. But I think I have found the answer, or at least a solution that seems to work for the moment. It is a simple process, but an effective one.

The first step is to follow one of author and “tidy guru”, Marie Kondo’s bits of advice which is to get rid of anything you do not love, anything you are not passionate about. Whether it was very cheap, or it is very comfy, if you are not passionate about it, you will not wear it and if you do, you will not feel good in it so scrap it, donate it, give it away or sell it… do whatever you want with it but get rid of it.

When all that is left in your wardrobe are items of clothing that you like, look at it carefully and have a think about what it is about those things that you love, is it the cut, is it the fabric… and try to see if they are clothes that follow a specific fashion or just items that you like as just that, items. And this is where the key is, in filling our wardrobe with items of clothing that we are passionate about not just as clothing, but as items in themselves, as if they were works of art.

So, instead of considering our wardrobe a whole load of clothes we wear on a daily basis we should consider it a collection, just as if it were an art collection.

And we should now therefore apply similar criterion to that of an art collector when buying our clothes. We should buy our clothes when we come across the item we love, whether we need it at that moment or not. But we must ensure, as I mentioned in my post a couple of weeks back, that the clothes we are buying satisfy that primal taste we all have and are not just a fad, it must be real love, not a one night stand! True, we will sometimes need to buy an outfit for a specific event or occasion, but once we have applied the method for a while, our collection will have clothes for all occasions and they will be clothes we love and which will make us feel fantastic. These clothes will be clothes you will not get bored of, and although you might tire of wearing them sometimes you won’t want to get rid of them, and will go back to them time and time again with the same enthusiasm as when you first bought them. You will have a collection of clothes rather than a wardrobe full of clothes.

And little by little we will stop having that feeling of “I have nothing to wear” as anything and everything in our wardrobes will give off great energy, will make us feel great and will be timeless. And as fashions come and go each of the items in our collection will respond to that primitive taste of ours and we’ll be only too pleased to wear them day in day out.

Dressing Vintage

Vestir Vintage

One thing that never ceases to surprise me when I talk to friends about Mima&Boo, is when they tell me they don’t like vintage. Not due to the fact that it’s already been used, but because it’s just not their style, they say.

But this is the big misconception, at least from where I stand!

Dressing vintage, does not necessarily mean dressing retro. A few weeks back I wrote about the difference between vintage and retro for precisely this reason, because loads of people get the two concepts mixed up. And dressing vintage is absolutely compatible with dressing in a contemporary fashion.

In fact, at Mima&Boo we follow three basic guidelines when dressing: our outfit needs to be comfortable for the day’s events, we try and wear at least one vintage item of clothing and we make sure our outfit is in “our” style (in keeping with our personality), and looks contemporary. In other words, we do not wear our vintage in a retro fashion. Not because we don’t like it, as we in fact love it, but because it isn’t our style, so we wouldn’t feel comfortable dressing that way.

So the thing is, that when I am out treasure hunting, for the shop or myself, I look for items of clothing that can be worn in that contemporary style and may even follow current trends.

The big differences between vintage clothes and newly manufactured clothes are the fabrics, the tailoring and most of all that with vintage, we can wear unique and therefore exclusive clothes at an affordable price.

To me, the quality of the fabric is essential, always preferring natural fibres (silk, cotton, wool…) as they have a much nicer feel to them, are more breathable and comfortable. It is true that I sometimes find spectacular pieces in artificial fibres, so we could say that for wardrobe staples I look for natural fibres and am willing to overlook the nature of the fabric if the design of the piece is worth it. And this is where I find a big difference between vintage and current high street clothing. I find now a days, most clothes, no matter what the nature of the design is are manufactured in artificial fibres, when in many cases those items would benefit from being made in natural fibres. It is all down to costs.

So what vintage allows us, is to dress quality items of clothing that would otherwise be too expensive, in a contemporary fashion is we so wish.

So when my friends tell me they are not into vintage, I love to propose a little game which is to lay out two outfits and let them guess which is vintage and which isn’t… shall we play?

In the foto, one of the outfits is 100% vintage and the other 100% not vintage…can you guess which is which?

The answer… to come shortly!

Style Mood Board

style mood board

 

What is my style? How many times have you asked yourself this question and how many times has it remained unanswered?

How many times have you found yourself on the shop floor surrounded by clothes rails packed full of items of clothing of the most diverse styles, wondering which to go for?

You might find you feel overwhelmed every time you go clothes shopping. Bohemian, classic, glamorous, sophisticated, romantic, sporty, sexy, traditional, punk, gothic androgynous, rocker… the list is never ending but none of these define your style exactly.

It could be that your style can’t be defined with a single adjective or word.

Aha! So I must be “boho-chic” or a “smart casual” dresser… and again, the list goes on and on but still none of these really describes your style. And then you remember that word that is so fashionable at the moment…eclectic! Your style is eclectic! Which is simply to say that you like a variety of styles and fashions and like to mix and match them.

So you now know your style is eclectic but you find yourself no wiser when confronting all those clothes rails on a shopping spree.

Worry not! This happens to most of us and we spend years if not decades trying to, very often unsuccessfully, find our style. And really the key is precisely in not trying to define a specific style, but to try and identify our favourite styles, colours and textures and put them together in outfits that make you feel good, comfortable and pretty when you wear them.

To try and help resolve this uncertainty I recommend investing some time in making a mood board with things we like that are related to how we like to dress.

Fabrics, colours, textures, jewellry for example. We can also have images that inspire our style such as paintings, specific people, landscapes, places…

If we then look carefully at our mood board our style may become apparent and this will be our starting point when putting together an outfit or when setting out to buy new clothes.

It’s important that any outfit we put together reflects our style as otherwise we will not feel comfortable and this will prevent us from enjoying the day. Our mood board will help us keep our preferences in mind and not allow ourselves to be influenced by external factors, fashions or opinions which can sometimes confuse us. A confusion which can sometimes lead us to buy items of clothing which are not really our style, and although we may wear them on a couple of occasions, in the long run, they will end up at the back of the wardrobe as we don’t really feel comfy in them. So at this point, I must underline the importance of being 100% honest with ourselves whilst putting our mood board together. Anything clothes related that we feel passionate about must be on that mood board, even if they are of questionable taste or fashion, if not, we will be wasting our own time. Once we have put it together, we must try and keep it in mind when shopping to ensure any new purchases fit in with our tastes and style.

A style mood board can change over time but we won’t normally find any major changes, as our basic, or should we say, primitive tastes don’t normally vary much, even over long periods of time. What will change though is how we apply these elements to our personal style.

It really doesn’t matter what it is that makes you buzz, be it fringing, velvet, patent, bling or trainers, what matters is to know that it makes you feel something special and to put it on your mood board with all the other elements that make up your style. And these things must be things that have always moved you, not just fleeting tastes and likes, but those that have been with you for years. With your mood board in mind you will begin to be able to identify your style and wear outfits that express your personal tastes and personality as well as maybe even following certain trends with your own personal twist.

With help from a simple mood board, we can all find our style and begin to dress according to our real, personal tastes and adapt fleeting trends to our primitive and individual style whilst feeling comfortable, beautiful and happy each and every day our this wonderful adventure which is life.

 

 

 

Dresses and Mima&Boo

vestidos

At Mima&Boo we love dresses, they are our favourite item of clothing and even more so if they are vintage!

Why? You ask…well for many reasons, but more than anything, we love them for their comfort and versatility value.

I have to admit I don’t like changing my wardrobe from winter to summer clothes and vice-versa. It isn’t so much that I don’t like doing it, but that I find it very impractical… by the time I’ve managed to get my summer clothes out, it’s usually winter again!

So, a few years back I decided to scrap the change over and leave all my clothes out all year round, winter and summer garments happily sharing my rather crowded wardrobe space. And that was when I discovered that dresses are the most versatile item of clothing ever! All being we are not talking about a wool dress of course!

You can wear a cotton or viscose dress for instance, all year round, all you need is four key pieces to wear under or over it depending on the weather:

  1. a neutral coloured roll neck jumper,
  2. a cardi
  3. a blazer or jacket of sorts
  4. and last but not least, a pair of thick tights to match the roll neck

Layer up or layer down and you have a dress for all climates!

In summer: Dress plus sandals.

For autumn: Dress plus sandals and a jacket or blazer.

In winter: Dress plus boots, tights, roll neck (under the dress), cardi, jacket or blazer and a coat.

For spring: Dress plus tights and boots (or sandals if you dare!) and a jacket, blazer o cardi.

So, the other reason for loving dresses is their comfort value, you just have find the shapes that flatter you most and you’re set! Trapeze or triangle shaped dresses for example flatter most body shapes, curvy and not so curvy, as they can be worn loose or belted to accentuate the waist.

And I’ll let you in on a secret… most vintage dresses have pockets! An absolute necessity which is missing in most current day dresses.

So this is why we maintain this love affair with dresses. They are feminine, comfy, versatile…what more can you ask of an item of clothing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage vs retro

So… to kick off this little blog, I thought it would be interesting to define these two concepts, vintage and retro, which are often mistaken and whilst being close companions are certainly not the same thing.

I might add I am particularly drawn to all things vintage and not so much all things retro.

So the definition of retro is “looking like or relating to styles or fashions from the past”. Essentially taking something from the past and using it as inspiration (sometimes downwright copying) to create something new. So a retro dress for instance would be new made but styled on 50s, 60s, 70s…. dresses.

Vintage on the other hand is an adjective used to describe something “of high ​quality and lasting value or showing the best and most typical chracteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past” It is also used to describe the wine made in a particular year or a particular year in which wine has been made.

When on the subject of clothing, items are generally considered vintage when they are over 20 years of age. This is not so much a written rule as a general consensus. When on the subject of cars, a vintage car is one built before 1930. So the exact age of a vintage item can vary considerably but one thing is clear and that is that it can never be of contemporary fabrication.

The fact that something can be vintage and “new” as in never used can lead to confusion. We can find vintage jeans which have never been worn and which still have their original labels, deadstock jeans and they are correctly labeled “vintage” as the term refers to when an item was made and not it’s condition.

And although at Mima & Boo we like retro, we are passionate about vintage. We specifically like to mix and match vintage items of clothing to create current trend outfits with an original twist.

Do you prefer your vintage to look contemporary or retro?