Burnt Sienna


1. Garance Dore 2.Hanneli Mustaparta 3. Sonia Rykiel resort '11

Burnt sienna is a rustic and rich name for a colour, officially borne of burning a specific type of clay, but unavoidably conjuring images of Italy! I would never even have known its name were it not for Ben's box of oil paints, all carefully labelled with their official titles. Whatever you know it as though, this colour seems to be appearing in all the right places at the moment, and with a name like burnt sienna, it just must be the perfect colour for the approaching season.

There are a lot of these slightly muted hues around at the moment – dusty blue and mustard are two of my other favourites. They have a warm, but almost 'non-colour'-ness about them which I think must be perfect for paler skin tones in the unavoidably even paler autumn and winter.

Somewhere between a too-dull brown and a too-harsh red, I see it going perfectly with grey or cream ribbed tights or soft woollen jumpers, and maybe even with a splash of royal blue as in Garance's picture above. I love the way that Sonia Rykiel styles hers with creams and a daring red highlight. Hanelli's blouse comes from Zara, unbelievably, and goes so well with easy denim.

All Topshop 1. Dress £45/$71 2. Blouse £40/$65 3. Top £28/$45

Topshop's selection is surprisingly extensive. The above are my favourites – the blouse in the middle would go perfectly with faded blue jeans or cut offs; the beautifully draped dress with those ribbed grey tights again and maybe a cosy wool cardigan, and the loose top would be great with skinny black jeans and Sonia Rykiel style red lips.

Etsy has the best and most original selection. These three are my vintage favourites – if money were no object, I'd have them all! The polka dotted blouse is such a playful take on quite a sophisticated colour, while the beautiful vintage dress on the left is very sophisticated and is another that would look great with grey. The neckline on the dress on the right is so Joan Holloway, and so pretty. These are grand potential autumn staples – a little nod to the fallen leaves.


Love Me or Leave Me


Somehow, I've managed to leave at least a little bit of time between posting editorials shot by Kalle Gustafsson. They're like Zara lookbooks – you want to post one every month, but have to limit yourself to one per season. This one I think is perfect for mid-September, that period when the light is still bright, the clocks haven't quite gone back and when it is getting chillier and nearing time to merrily light the fire or tentatively turn on the radiators. I already feel resigned to finding another irresistible postable beauty for the deepest depths of December though.

This selection comes from the Swedish Fashion Tale magazine, and has a much colder feel than the last editorial of his that I posted (the beautiful Late Summer) but the attempt at a narrative style is almost the same: female models staring into the lens, hard and haughty, or looking emotional in beautiful clothes.



All images from SkarpAgent.se

The colours are true icy autumn and winter, and remind me how lovely soft blues and greys are, as well as plaid, wool and dark flannel. The makeup here is also typically winter – and unashamedly 60s Bardot – dark eyeliner and resultant smoky tears. In spring and summer I am minimal with makeup, but brash autumn and winter (I now remember) means more of everything – eyeliner especially, although I'm not sure I would want to wear quite that much.

In terms of fashion, this, I suppose, is neither new nor groundbreaking, but in a time when we do nothing but look to the past for inspiration, who really needs that? I love the neckline on the navy blue jumper on the boat, the layering of wool, the denim and, especially, those brown leather lace-up boots. Original this is not, but there is plenty to admire, inspire and take away, not in terms of new season trends perhaps, but certainly in terms of real, useful and achievable style.



Bramble Jelly & Scones

Scones & Bramble Jelly

Blustery early autumn and its abundance of fruit, nourished by sunshine all summer and weighing on the ends of heavy branches by September, inspires me to start baking more than any other season. There isn't really any choice – there's more fruit to be picked than anyone could ever eat, and it would be terrible to let it go to waste. I already have a bag full of Bramley apples waiting to be tarte tatin-ed, and am terrified that they'll spoil before I get around to it.

Crumbles and pies are great desserts to make with autumn fruit, but I really like the idea of being able to preserve a little bit of summer in a little jar for the winter. Bramble (blackberry if you are anywhere other than Scotland) and apple jelly is the perfect way! This jelly is amazing on floury homemade scones or thick toast, especially if you, like me, still childishly dislike the 'bits' in jam.

I made the jelly and the scones last week – they are so smooth and creamy together – and now I have three little jars of summer all stored up, squirrel like.

The recipe, in case you fancy it, is on my Tumblr.


An Auction


Auctions have always fascinated me. It's nice to imagine auctions as they were – the main method of selling antiques before the days of the Internet and frantic eBay clicking. Usually the preserve of the unemployed and retired (in real time and on daytime television) it seemed right for me as a pseudo-freelancer to go to my first one, an auction of vintage textiles.

With their old-fashioned gavels and fast talking auctioneers, I had quite romantic hopes for auctions, but really it was quite terrifying. I sat as still as possible for fear of bidding £200 for a box of tablecloths, which is (amazingly) what they were selling for. You don't really have to be that careful though – the auctioneers are able to tell a bid from a nose scratch. Just at the £40 mark on a table runner, Benjamin (a serial gesticulator) held up four fingers to illustrate something he was saying – if you can get away with that, you can get away with anything.

Union Jack Bunting


Auction Lot II

Aside from the comedy of accidental bidding, these auctions are perfect for picking up pieces from the 1950s and 1960s (and even from the 1920s, 1930s and the preceding century if you are very lucky) at very fair prices. The general bidders here were bidding for the curtains and those tablecloths, and being of an age that suggested having lived through the 1960s, they were mostly uninterested in the vintage clothes, which was what I was there for.

Little countryside auctions are the best to go to, (this was in Powys, Wales) as fewer vintage dealers and shop owners venture that far out. If you are willing to make the effort, you can really reap the rewards. This auction was full of job lots of vintage patterns and clutches, Mappin & Webb handbags, and Jaeger headscarves, estimated at around £30–£70 and often selling for much less. Other boxes were crammed with wartime Union Jack bunting, christening gowns, 1930s wedding veils and sequined, feathered 1920s hats. All manner of things, all with the potential to sell at £20 – which is a price well worth the journey.

I picked up three beautifully made 1960s dresses, which will be making either an eBay or an Etsy appearance next week – you will have to wait until then to see them. For a taster, the collar of one of them is on the left in the first photograph.