Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Follow that camel

So you want to know another pet peeve of mine? 
Sure you do!

All those lists of so-called essential items which every woman's wardrobe is apparently supposed to contain.
They are blithely promulgated as A Truth Universally Acknowledged, but I never feel that the choices have anything to do with me or my lifestyle.

Typical items? 
You know.

White shirt
Black smart/dress trousers
Wrap day dress
Little Black Dress
Classic trench or winter coat
Blazer/smart jacket
Ballerina flats
...or similar. 

So here I am, trying to Obey The Rules, for once.

I do actually have a pair of black trousers and a white shirt, retained from my old working wardrobe. They are probably about 15 years old.
I had to add a bit of colour with the shoes. For my sanity, you understand.

I always swore I would never own a Classic Camel Coat. Never. Not ever.

But then I spotted this 1970s Alexon pure wool and faux fur number in St. Luke's charity shop on Saturday, and with Lucy and Ben's encouragement, I bought it, for £12. 

I have to say I do like it. It's a fabulously well-made coat, in brilliant condition, and I reckon the faux furriness lifts it out of the beige zone.

These fabulous ladies have managed to work a bit of beige/camel/tan/ecru/whatever-the-hell-we're-supposed-to-call-it, and look wonderful.

From top left, clockwise - Sarah, Dawn, Vix, Tine, Clare, Melanie and Judith.

Aren't they beautiful?

In Sheffield, we would say mardy arse. Look at the gob on that.

This next photo really made me chuckle. Not because I think I look that bad, just because the look is so un-me!

I felt more uncomfortable and conspicuous dressed like this that I ever do in all my colourful vintage clobber.
 Is that weird?

 1970s Alexon coat and red Mary Jane shoes - charity shopped
Gap white shirt and Kookai black trousers - from a previous existence
Jeans - Jasper Conran at Debenhams, at least 10 years old
Boots - Ebay

I suppose those annoying lists aren't intended for the likes of me. I'm a stay-at-home mum, I don't shop on the high street, and I have a penchant for vintage. 

And anyone who possesses a sense of fun, individuality, and a love of self-expression and colour doesn't need a list.

A top-and-tail-only version of camel was easy.

M&S wool hat, Hennes (pre-H&M rebrand) crochet dress and leopard print bangle - also charity shopped on Saturday with Luce
1970s scarf - jumble sale
Tights - can't remember
Leopard print T-bars - Ebay

Is there something you never thought you would wear but you'll give it a go for the sake of the blogging sisterhood? Can you show us? Go on, consider it a challenge!

And do you have your own list of essentials?

Mine would include maxis, boots, faux fur and colour/print!

Yeah, I'm wearing a camel coat and hat and I am not ashamed!



Kitty said...

Shit, is it Tuesday already? I had no idea, what am I like?! It's all wrong that jeans and white shirt business, i can't come at it, at all, it's not for any of us normal people!! And I love that saying 'mardy arse' how cute is that!!

Anonymous said...

OMFG!! Scrolling along reading and agreeing to your anti list rant, and then BAM! The climax at the end with you in that gorgeous crochet number with that fabulous hat, tights, shoes! Geeminy, can you get anymore gorgeous than that? Well, maybe your cabaret ensemble tops it just a tiny bit. But one can't dress for a performance every day, can we?

That's a perfect perfect dress Curtise. And the color of a crimson kiss.

Anonymous said...

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...and it is better to wear a camel coat than a camel toe!
You are gorgeous in your new beautiful coat and I think that the bon ton essentials are a must have, but is good to mixed them following our own sense of style.
I must admit that I don't have many beige items in my closet,I think that I'm too pale and I risk the monotone effect, but when I see it on other girls I like it a lot, you and the other bloggers here are the living proof!
Mine list of essentials included mini dresses, boots,bell bottoms, floral and leopard printed items and lots of black!
Recently my blogger friend Lucy sent me two stunning red dresses and even if I didn't like red before, I love her presents so much that I can wear red on daily basis now!
Love xxxx

thorne garnet said...

beautiful coat, who cares what list say? And of course I love the priplr dress. That word is "purple", I had to leave the weird miss spelling. At least I hit the 2 p's. I'm not a fan of button front skirts with collars, yet I have 3-4 that I like to wear. Come to think about it, the collars are all open and don't button all the way up, like a man's shirt.

Anonymous said...

That camel coat is AMAZING! I don't consider myself a fur (or faux fur) wearer, but I might reconsider if I saw that. For blogging sake, I actually WEAR my vintage or odd little pieces of whatever instead of it just sitting in my closet. Basically blogging has given me the balls to wear the things I've dreamed of wearing!


Vix said...

Arghhh, the list! It's down there with dressing to suit your shape, foundation and age appropriate dressing, the other peeves that pee me off.
That coat is wonderful and an absolute steal at £12, it looks gorgeous on you (but what doesn't?) Whilst the jeans fit you fabulously the knitted Hennes dress and hat take my breath away, you look spectacularly glamorous and I've a feeling Bob'll be all over you like a rash if you enter posh Wetherspoons dressed like that!
Essentials? Psychedelia, maxi, mini, platforms, fake fur, outlandish hats, garish makeup, false eyelashes, string bikinis and too much jewellery!
NOT LONG NOW!!!! xxxxxxxxx

The Style Crone said...

I don't pay attention to lists, so if I happen to stumble upon something that meets someone else's criteria, it's totally accidental. However, I do like your list of essentials! Thank you so much for the mention!

The coat does look fabulous on you and I have to say that crocheted dress is a stunner. Fits you like a glove and the touch of leopard with those amazing socks made me smile this morning. Brava!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I completely agree with Every. Single. One, of your list of pet sartorial hates, yet the camel coat is scrumptious and then, Holy fuckwad!!!! THE FROCK!!!!!!! The tights. The SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ!!!! Oh gawd there is so much to love with the norty stick that I will need in order keep my hands to myself if I spotted you lurking under a tree, y'know incognito an' all with the hat and scarf. Bloody hell Curtise, look at your bodacious bod honey!!! Off for a lie-down with a cold pack on my head. xoxoxoxoxoxo

Lynne DeVenny said...

Is it bad that I think you look like a Ralph Lauren model? I mean that's good in my book to be all tall, stunning, and giving classics a sexy twist.

Is it bad that I think your coat should be on The List? Or that I may have virtually slobbered on it just a wee bit?...

lucy joy said...

I like the poses here very much. You have an elegance and grace that somehow comes right to the fore in that coat. The right coat is essential when you have months of covering up dresses ahead. That IS the right coat
So glad you got the Hennes dress too, its perfect on your frame, the scarf and hat give it a timeless feel. Such a gorgeous shade, and I reckon the dress is better quality than modern day H&M.

My pet hate with those boring done-to-death lists?...

"These shoes will take you from office to the bar"
"Perfect for lunch with the girls"
"Comfortable yet stylish for hitting the shops"

What? What do you wear for mopping up diarrhoea, then going to Tesco? How about 7 pints with the girls and a tray of curry and chips?
Are magazine readers really going to buy a £79.99 bag to 'hit the shops' because its 'roomy'?
It starts with "ideal for a first date" in teen magazines. Where does it end? Ideal for disguising incontinence pads! Ideal for pureed carrot and mash with Edwin from the day centre?

I don't half moan! Have a great time with your roomy bag on Thursday.

Lucy x

Lucy Nation said...

Ha ha, Lucy Joy's comment summed it up for me. I despise those lists too. That coat looks lovely and warm. I know what you mean about feeling more uncomfortable in the 'staples'. I always feel strange the more understated I'm dressed. I love that burgundy knit dress and the leopard t-bars xxx

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I think the dress looks fabulous on me. As for the list of essential I think you are right we all have our own. Mine would be animal print, stripes, black knee length skirt, black ankle boots and lots of red.

delia hornbook said...

I sooooooo hate that list burn it, stamp on it. Dress to suit yourself and your own shape and what ever makes you feel like a million dollers and gorgeous. And by the way you look gorgeous in your coat and im loving the boots with it. I only ever wear vintage dresses on a daily basis i own jeans but i never ever wear trousers these days there just not me and i feel uncomfortable in them. Give me a vintage dress any day and im happy :-) dee xx

Secret Squirrel said...

Wow, that Beautiful dress! Absolutely stunning. Why did someone donate that?! But all the better for you.

I also dislike these lists. I can see they are useful if you are thinking how to put a capsule wardrobe together, but otherwise, than ideas, no. Any fashion 'should' bugs me, really.

And loving the use of 'mardy'.. I also say -face like a slapped arse. How nice. It's the Midlands in me, I can't help it.

Amie K said...

you look wonderful! I have a camel coloured coat and sad to say, I do find it rather useful! It's not as glamorous as yours though!

My essentials: a mini, boucle jacket, classic ballet pumps, slouchy silk trousers. Ooh and a smattering of faux fur!
XO Amie

Louise Mc said...

I agree, those lists are pants. I think they are for people who are too afraid to try anything else. Don't get me wrong, I own a fair few of the items on those lists, but that is because I want to and not because someone has told me to. You look equally fabulous though in the jeans and white shirt, like someone out of a Jilly Cooper novel lol. That crochet dress is beautiful though, and far more you. xx

Vintage Coconut said...

Well HELLO Gorgeous!
I like your camel tan coat. I think it would look splendid with a bright maxi underneath. ;)
Or if your daring you could become a flasher... BUT I don't want you getting arrested sooo maybe don't do anything illegal.
The crochet dress is Wondrous.

Helga! said...

I have a black frock that could qualify as a "little black dress"!
Yep, fuck the rules.I just cannot be arse following that kind of thing,it just puts my nose all out of joint.AND it smacks of everyone having to look the same? Ugh.
I feel very VERY peculiar of I'm not frocked up as usual.Like something is missing.Oddly, I do like jeans,just not on me.I feel uncomfortable as all hell in them, but love them on sexy bods like your and Vix'.
I have found a love for beige/camel/putty sort of colours just in the last year or so,and have surprised myself!Mixed with some brights,of course!Your new camel coat is gorgeous,totally worth pouncing on,especially for such a great price!
That woolly frock is fabularse too!!! the colour is divoon, and you look sexacious in it!The hat, fantasmo shoes and scarf make it a 70's dream!
Love you!

Dawn said...

Curtise I just wanted you to know that I have not looked at this post until now. Thank you so much darling Curtise for gracing your blog with my photo...hahahaha! I mean for including me with all of those beautiful and unique women, I am truly honored. I absolutely love you in jeans and a shirt with fabulous boots. What's not to love? That camel coat is beautiful and looks fabulous on you. I have seen you wear so many different styles whether you were just playing dress up or dressing for a day out and I am convinced that you can wear anything. That knit dress was supposed to be mine, lucky you found it first. What a sensational 70's boho vibe and the color is like a deep wine...I like wine. dawn suitcase vingettes xo

bonsaimum said...

I think that the beige coat looks great-what a find!. I am also a stay-at-home mum and I must confess that I still have some of my previous work clothes in my wardrobe, it's that "they are too good to get rid of" mentality.And like you, it was, in my case, nearly 18 yrs ago. I tell you what---I am tempted to row over and nab that crochet dress you found. Its gorgeous.

Melanie said...

Did someone say ecr-eeew? Curtise, you look fantastic in that camel coat, partly because I know you are wearing it in a state of irony, partly because it looks great on you no matter what, and partly because you've added those bad-ass red shoes. You look fantastic in those jeans, but I'd rather see your bloomers.

But that last outfit - ooo-eee. That's a fave!!! That's so YOU!! Love, love it!

Lists make me sigh and run for a tutu or looorex. "With a quick change of lipstick my '70s floral jumpsuit takes me from the boardroom to the bar, tra-la!"

Max said...

I think you look sensational in the jeans and white shirt, and slightly like a polo player?! jeans, white shirts, trenches, it's my uniform (so easy when you have 3 seconds to decide what to wear in the morning!). but beige no. caramel yes. and that furry trench number, defo YES! still i don't think i'd recognise you in the street without a maxi and a floppy brimmed hat x

Trees said...

You look so classic in the jeans and crisp white tee! But I can totally relate to not feeling comfortable in it. People always ask why I dress up so much and wouldn't I feel better in just a jeans and a tee shirt? Wearing jeans and a tee shirt would make me feel so uncomfortable and weird. My normal is other people's "dressed up" and the universe will just have to cope with it;) Also I do dress a little quirky and I am an office worker, but we are so lucky here in the NZ Public Service - you're taken on the quality of your work and your ability not the way you look (what a crazy idea!). I love that crochet dress - I think its super rad :D

Anonymous said...

Gah--the crocheted dress is fantastic on you!

The coat is lovely (and I have camel that I shopped for for two years because of the stupid lists). I do not own ballerina flats...and doubt I ever will.

Fiona said...

A 'capsule wardrobe' would not be suitable for my lifestyle, far too smart....and boring. I'm glad you bit the bullet and bought that camel coat, it looks the dog's bollocks on you! You look divine posing against the tree in your gorgeous crocheted dress, Charlie, the tart is showing his arse again!


Bohemian said...

You look Fabulous in your Camel Coat. It is Refined, so the Colorful Sanity Shoes I had to smile about. My list of Essentials includes Vintage Velvet Gypsy Bloomers... lots of Bohemian Bling... and Carpet Bags. Needless to say, the ONE time I dressed conservatively {by my standards anyway} to attend the first Parent-Teacher Conference for the year of the two G-Kids we're raising they looked at me flabbergasted and said, "Gramma... why do you look so NORMAL!?!?" *LOL* Then they both told me to go back and change into my 'Regular Clothes' because the Jeans made me look like a Farmer! *Smiles* It touched me when they both said they LIKED that I'm Different and don't look like anyone else's Gramma... nuff said. You go Girl!

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

OP SHOP MAMA said...

Yes you do look unusual in those 'usual' clothes! You look great in that knitted dress and that coat.

The jeans and shirt thing is something you'll not see me in either. As well as that, you'll never see me in a power-dressing suit of any sort. I won't wear a shiny shell suit either innit!

I'm also unlikely now to ever wear a bikini again. For entirely different reasons LOL! x

Miss Simmonds Says said...


So yes, obviously I don't agree with staple wardrobes or capsule wardrobes. Though I do like camel coats if they're sufficiently 60s, 70s or 80s. I love your coat, wear it with bright colours! The jeans and white shirt do look fab on you, with your gorgeous figure, but I know what you mean, it's not quite right. There's been a watershed moment where now we have been enjoying colour and expression for so long, everything else seem dull.
That crochet dress is wonderful, I really want it! Keep looking fabulous and I'll see you in less that 24 hours!!

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

We know how many humps Alice the camel has, but Curtise? You are smashing!!! The coat's furryness elevates it far beyond those grotty lists, as do your boots and amazing self in the jeans / blouse pic. Totally adore all the other fantastic ladies rock and rollin' the taupe! I can so relate to the feeling of "not-me" and don't think I could bear a white blouse. Count me in with the others on the amazingness of the crochet dress! Spectacular!!!

Izzywizz said...

Oh my you look utterly smashing in the crochet dress, youdo rock the 70s style! :)

Krista said...

You know Curtise I got one of these last year after Grandma Barbara died and I have yet to wear it, maybe you have inspired me to take that coat out and give it a whirl! You look pretty dang good in yours my dear!

I loathe these lists but I do think each woman should have her own list based on what she loves. I find that I need a pretty wide range of leggings in bright colors to wear with all my short dresses in the winter. I also feel like I need boots in every color of the rainbow. I have definitely been inspired by you ladies most recently with my new love of maxi's and I have you and Vix to thank for that!

You can totally rock the jeans and boots but yes the second outfit is way more you! Have a Happy halloween my dear and fun tomorrow!!!!

Forest City Fashionista said...

You look smashingly elegant in the furry camel coat - a definite keeper! I am all agog at the crocheted dress, which hugs you in all the right places. Yeah, those lists make me want to spit on whoever keeps churning them out. I'll read one, because I can't help myself, then realize the only thing I own that's on it is a black dress, and I'm sure it's not the kind of black dress they mean! I do have a couple of pairs of jeans, but feel so underdressed when I wear them that I'm uncomfortable. I'm with Melanie, "must have" lists make me want to throw on my silver crinoline, a David Bowie T-shirt and platform boots!

Melanie said...

I have a hankering for a long camel swing coat but the only way I'm having one of those is if I make it and I'm not brave (or rich) enough.
You have leopard shoes? How wonderful!
I won't wear most jeans or trousers as I have huge hips and look just awful but I plant to wear some that don't look awful (I hope) in a post soon xxx

joyatri said...

Hi Curtise, I'm just catching up on my blog reading and 'Wow! - what a post. Agree that universal lists are for the unimaginative. My list includes stripey trousers/jeans/leggings, boots, the combination of gold, crimson and purple, bangles, and velvet to name just a few.
Gosh! You look so Biba-esqe in that crochet dress. And, of course, the gold/orange scarf, claret tights, and hat take the dress to a whole new level. One of my favorite outfits of yours hands-down!
Yes, I bought the double-sleeve maxi at Second to None. I hope you have great luck there on your upcoming visit!

Anonymous said...

That crochet dress is wonderful on you & those t bar shoes are fab...And your coat - definitely a keeper.
I used to think I needed "wardrobe essentials" but I've been a lot more comfortable since I started making & buying clothes that I like & not thinking about essentials lists.

karensomethingorother said...

Oooo! Fabulous crocheted dress!!! AMAZING COAT! How could that coat even be considered boring?!? That is some faux-fur sexiness right there.

I hate those lists too. I do NOT have a crisp white blouse, and a little black dress is actually very nearly impossible to find. A dress that's just plain black!? Show me where I can buy one, and I'll make it my staple. Or not. Whatever. You look fabulous though, as always, Curtise.

karensomethingorother said...

Oooo! Fabulous crocheted dress!!! AMAZING COAT! How could that coat even be considered boring?!? That is some faux-fur sexiness right there.

I hate those lists too. I do NOT have a crisp white blouse, and a little black dress is actually very nearly impossible to find. A dress that's just plain black!? Show me where I can buy one, and I'll make it my staple. Or not. Whatever. You look fabulous though, as always, Curtise.

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I'm one who avoids camel as well. Those washed out colours just don't look so good on me. But that coat is gorgeous, I can see why you broke your camel rule to wear it. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels weird in jeans now. I feel super self conscious in 'regular' clothes. Isn't it funny what you get used to. You look good in jeans, but it does look very un-you! Xx

Gracie O'Tripp said...

Love that fur collared coat.

CityScape Skybaby said...

I'm so far behind in comments Curtise but I love that coat, it avoids being a boring beige coat because of the big fur collar and trim I think. One of the things I love about here is how you are all shaking up my ideas about how I should look and not having to pay any heed to all those rules. Though I do wear jeans a lot but I'm getting to or past the age when according to the rules I shouldn't be wearing tight jeans anymore, so could that count as me breaking the rules maybe? xx

Rosemary the Shopper said...

I have always found those lists of "must have" items a proper pain as well. Who says I must have it??

Most of the list I don't have, and you know what? Nobody's died because of it.

Rosemary from

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Ooh great post, SO many things annoy me about magazine journalism that I can't imagine why I still feel I'd like to inflict my version of it on the world. I have never felt the urge to own a trench coat particularly, or loafers, or a camel coat for that matter, although I do like yours a lot. I WOULD like the perfect t shirt in various sleeve lengths, but not at £79 a pop as I saw somewhere recently. FOR A FREAKING T SHIRT?? That I will spill curry down and the kids will tug on?

I have owned one nice white shirt in my entire life, and it's now a bit dull and bobbled and faded, so not really what they are insisting on any more. They're hard to buy without ridiculous boob gapage (as you probably know)

I find leopard print essential, I will always love it whether it's 'this season's must have' or being derided as tacky and Bet Lynch. Also leather jackets and skinny jeans. I met up with a (male) mate the other day and he remarked that my look hadn't changed much since school. I think he meant it as a compliment!

I find fash speak annoying when they talk about 'a red lip' and 'a flared jean' or 'a boot'. Weird singular nonsense!

kaffesoester said...

Thank you so much Curtise for the shout out! I'm so late in my commenting, it's embarrassing! You look gorgeous in that crochet dress, and of course your awesome coat! The fur bit really makes it stand out.

Coloured opaque tights are definitely something I never thought I'd wear until I started blogging, and maxi dresses too. I always thought my legs were too fat for fun tights, and that maxis would make me look even fatter, can you believe it? Now the tights are on top of my essentials lists along with any colourful vintage clobber I can squeeze my body into!

Mimi and Tilly said...

Curtise you look amazing in all the outfits but my favourite is the wool dress and floppy hat. Gorgeous. I'm loving your new blog look too. Sorry I've not been over in a while. Life threw me a few things to deal with and blogging was left on the "to do " pile!!! Big hug Em :)