The art of giving

The past few months have literally been all about acing exams. Yesterday, I finished my last exam of the year, so it’s finally high time to give some love to the dearest people in my life, who haven’t been anything but extremely supportive and good to me all the way long. And with Christmas just around the corner, the timing couldn’t have been better! Needless to say, I am, just like any other year, far behind when it comes to buying gifts as I’ve been involuntarily locked up in my room for months now. Anyhow, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been pondering over what to give this year. As for what I want for Christmas? Well, I am the kind of person who loves to give more than to receive, so I don’t have a Christmas wishlist as usual – unless you count world peace, willpower and other abstract things….

For those who are in the same boat as me, here are some last-minute nondisposable Christmas gifts ideas. If you are my friend, please don’t read!

For the music lover: AiAiAi “Capital” headphones. Top-notch sound quality, bass, not to mention the design. They’re also a good alternative to earmuffs.

For the tech geek: A pair Etre FIVEPOINT gloves with special “contactwoven” fingertips that make touchscreens easier to handle during winter months.

For the writer or the poet: Notebook from Leuchtturm1917. A book that’s small enough to carry anywhere with plenty of blank pages to fill with words.

For the reader: Books are generally hard to gift unless you know the person very well. However, you can’t go wrong with classics or popular science. Some of the books I’m gifting this year are “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, and “Les Enfants Terribles” by Jean Cocteau. Additionally, “Stuff White People Like” and “Whiter Shades of Pale” by Christian Lander are witty reads that inevitably hit close to home, perfect for the not too touchy souls out there.

For the tea drinker: Teapot from Marimekko.

For the twosome: Cute and timeless porcelain Moomin mugs. I don’t know with you guys, but everyone loves them here in Scandinavia. And most people collect these mugs too, so the limited editions or the seasonal ones are good options.

For the tomboy: Breton sweater or a cable-knit sweater from A.P.C.

For the food lover: The Rose Bakery book “Breakfast, Lunch, Tea”. It’s my favorite!

PS: A gift to dad is a biannual struggle. Any ideas?

Margaret Howell home products

(via margarethowell.co.uk)

If you’ve ever visited one of the amazing Margaret Howell stores before, then you’re likely familiar with the interior and concept. The very first time I entered the Margaret Howell shop in London’s Wigmore Street just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, I was truly enamored with the clean furnitures and the amalgam of oak, concrete, stained wooden floorboards, and mild steel in that enormous shop – materials which I love and would like to incorporate into my future home.

Although the shop’s interior has a slight rural, industrial feel, I couldn’t help but notice the chic, contemporary minimalism throughout the open space room. The interior clearly is an uncomplicated reflection of Howell’s aesthetic in terms of clothing – chic, rural, understated, minimal, functional, yet contemporary. It’s just such a shame that the clothes run very big in size, otherwise I would probably have abused her items already.

As a big fan of Howell’s easy style, I was downright excited to have discovered that not only does this brilliant designer offer a refreshing and strong collection of utilitarian gear designed for the no-nonsense each season, but she teamed up with Ercol Furniture and a range of great designers and artists so as to create a modest and tasteful selection of home products and furnitures. Adopting the aesthetic and interior of Howell’s stores seems to be much easier now. Oh, how I wish I had my own space right now, but until I’m moving out, a few pillows or jugs will hopefully make their way into my suitcase in August.

31 best-kept secrets

gomediazine.com

What an overwhelming response to the A.P.C. tote bags giveaway. Man, thanks a million for sending in all the incredible tips and secrets. Reading them was fun! Wouldn’t it be a shame not to share some of them with you? Below, I’ve picked out a few of my favorites that are new to me or which I’ve already incorporated into my oh-so perfect life. Haha. And in terms of best-kept secrets, one of mine is to never stop learning – be that as it may, there’s nothing more off-putting than coming off as a pompous know-it-all. Modesty is empowering, if you ask me!

Anyway, it’s a long post, so just scroll down to the bottom for the tote bag winners.

Again, thanks for entering the giveaway and congrats to the winners!

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Spring ensembles

(via badlands-blog.com, lagarconne)

I always look to La Garçonne for sartorial inspiration. The lookbooks over at La Garçonne never cease to be spot on and real. Talisa of Badlands blog – one of my daily reads – put together a post with her favorite looks, and I couldn’t agree more with her wonderful picks so I simply borrowed her little compilation. The second outfit and the last one to the right are my favorites right now. I can’t wait to start dressing lighter and more summery.

Just can’t get enough shoes?

(via vogue.fr)

All the shoes above belong to the very inspiring Gaia Repossi. You know, the Italian heiress and creative director of Maison Repossi, who possesses that intangible “je ne sais quoi” allure and who’s always decked out in the best boy-meets-girl attires. She assuredly has a small, yet splendid collection of well-loved Church’s brogues, which have been on my “someday”-list for quite some time now. I’m talking about the classic Burwood brogues from Church’s. And truth be told, I’ve postponed this purchase several times before because I couldn’t account for buying them at the time even though they’re decidedly timeless and made of high quality leather. But I think it’s ultimately the right time to get hold of a pair, and of course I have some “bona fide” reasons for adding another pair of shoes to my ever-expanding footwear collection:

– I’ve been wearing my winter boots non-stop for three months, so I think both my feet and boots deserve a break from the constant wear.
– The temperature is rising, the snow is melting, and it’s time for a change in shoes.
– It’s still wet outside so I’d better keep my suede boots out of the danger zone.
– My loafers need to be resoled and repaired.. God knows when I’ll have time for that… Plus, it’s still a tad too cold to wear loafers since they don’t cover the entire feet.
– I reeeeallly want a pair of brogues. They’ve been on my list forever! Argh..

Admittedly, these are merely excuses to purchase them. They’re not even reasonable enough if you ask me. Anyhow, when I came across the picture above, it only intensified my desire for a pair of brogues. Internet is indeed a dangerous place.

And, while I’m at it, I think it’s refreshing to see photos of clothes that actually carry the signs of wear and tear in fashion articles that offers a peek into other people’s closets. Miss Repossi’s shoe collection is a good example. The epitome must be “the essentials” section of Self Service magazine. It’s real and not at all untouched. I’m fed up with clothes that look completely polished on blogs, in magazines etc, as if they’re still in their pristine condition. I find them so boring because they’re just an illusion. Beautiful clothes are the ones that have been worn with a big portion of love over time.

La Marinière

It’s no surprise that I have a penchant for striped tops. They’ll never cease to be versatile and super chic. Breton tops are decidedly the mainstays of my wardrobe and I’m afraid I will never have enough of them. I’ve come to the point where the distinction between want and need has become indistinguishable to the hilt. Oh well… How many striped shirts is enough? I don’t know, I’m too smitten with all things striped to care, haha.

Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers, Louise Robinson, just created this incredibly chic tumblr dedicated to the perennially timeless breton shirt. Check out La Marinière for some stripey tumbling inspiration. I’m already hooked!

Composition of harmony

(via totokaelo.com)

It’s hard to talk about the perfect length sans using visuals. Fortunately, the styling over at Totokaelo is so spot on – I love their take on where the pants should end on you, the perfect sleeve length that reveals the right amount of skin before hitting at the wrists, and so forth. Take a look at these photos – the separates are in harmony, which elevate the outfits from being boring and devoid of style to understatedly appealing and just no-nonsense. And the trick is… *drumroll* … to train your eyes to discern the right lengths for your body. I’ve already found mine, which makes shopping a simpler task in terms of eliminating items based on whether or not they create a harmonic silhouette.

The gentlemen of Lisbon

(via thelisbontailor)

After my trip back in February 2010 to Lisbon, my partiality for menswear was intensified to the hilt. The city is chockablock with winsome and thoroughly well-dressed gentlemen donned in their finest everyday clothing. I was truly dazzled to the core by the myriad of dapper men, and scrutinized every one of them, sartorially speaking.

The Portugese gentlemen were decked out in bespoke suits in power-neutral colors for maximum wear-ability and topcoats reflecting the qualities of tailor workmanship, topped off by quintessential flat caps or trilby hats, and old, befitting leather shoes. Occasionally, I spotted young men eating lunch with their girlfriends, youthfully dressed in the same manner mixed with their quirks, charisma, and derring-do. It is no wonder that I was entirely smitten with the Portuguese men’s enchanting magnetism and gracefullness, not to mention their thorough and innate amiability and warm smiles, which is rare in the relatively aloof Norway.

I wish I could enjoy the sight of gentlemen clad in conventional attires daily. Fortunately, I’ll be visiting Milan in July where I decidedly will study every Milanese gentleman I see.

(This post was supposed to be about my trip to Lisbon, haha.. oh well!)

Le sport princier de Ferragamo

(via stylediary.ro)

I am entirely head-over-heels for Emmanuelle Alt’s casual yet attractively chic take on the “Ferragamo lady’s” aesthetic. It does look like an easy look to approximate, but truly requires a well trained eye for detail in order to flawlessly merge together classic elegance and le sport. The wash of the jeans is elusively impeccable and crisp – why on earth are jeans like these extremely difficult to find? Annoyingly, the rare pairs I somehow manage to unearth are always repellently embellished or just the wrong size or cut. Regardless, you can’t possibly disagree that these jeans are very pretty to look at, even though they are ‘just a simple pair of jeans’. Truth be told, I have a thing for rolled-up jeans in the right wash and cut like these ones. Informal and chic! My penchant for the classic Ferragamo Vara bow has yet to cease increasing in intensity. I’m just waiting for the right hardware and leather. Nice bag as well.. all in all it’s a desirable look. Good thing I rediscovered this picture today, as I’ve been feeling slightly uninspired as of late.