As a Manchester fashion blogger, the bohemian, hip Northern Quarter of the city has been my playground for many years: notably, for its photogenic urban backdrops and abundance of street art. With paste ups proudly sat aside hand-finished stencils, it’s an area that’s flourished alongside its creative counterpart: music. In fact, it was through music that I discovered the Northern Quarter existed (back in the early 2000s).
You’d be forgiven for thinking the photos in this blog post were taken in the Northern Quarter, they’re not. It’s Blackpool. Just like Manchester, Blackpool has also seen a resurgence of culture in the form of street art thanks to Sand, Sea and Spray: a festival that showcases international street artists. Gloriously transforming dozens of walls in the town from bleak to chic, Sand, Sea and Spray has attracted household names in the street art world such as: D7606, Nomad Clan, My Dog Sighs and C3, to name but a few.
The paste ups of D7606 are well-known across the UK and as far-fetched as Europe and the USA, you’ve seen his worked featured in an outfit post here, three years ago. His work is familiar and maintains the inseparable mix of art and music. Pasted alongside C3’s feminine pieces, it’s a winning combination that I simply couldn’t resist for an outfit post backdrop. Same style, same art. Different town.
I can’t say I was overjoyed when John suggested that we visit Blackpool: it was an uncharacteristically warm September’s Sunday afternoon and I wasn’t welcoming the thought of spending an hour in the car. Had I seen these works before I’m sure I would have been more encouraged. Part of my reluctance was not knowing what to wear- I’d packed up my summer dresses just days before, but this ASOS pinafore dress (a July purchase) sat hanging on my dress rail waiting to be worn.
I’m never far away from a polka dot print I’ve yet to discover and love, it’s a weakness (or strength, depending on your perspective) and I fear it’s become my signature style. Slowly, I’m starting to rotate my wardrobe. In preparation for autumn, I’ve vacuum packed away my spring/summer clothes, tried on 90% of my winter clothes and have created a large pile of clothes to sell on and donate to charity. Selling my clothes means I can buy more, guilt free.
// Polka dot pinafore :: ASOS //
// Collared shirt :: Vero Moda //
// Red satchel :: Cambridge Satchel Company //
// Pom pom loafers :: Primark //
As it turned out, the majority of Blackpool’s charity shops are open on a Sunday. It’s remarkable: not once have I visited a place with shops that open on a Sunday. It was a happy chance, because whilst John was striving for the perfect shot taken in the perfect light, I could happily browse what Blackpool had to offer. (In a twist of fate, I didn’t find anything and haven’t since and that’s no mean feat because I’ve estimated that I’ve visited approximately 30 charity shops within the last week or two.) Am I disappointed? Not really, maybe a little but the fruit of summer’s charity shop trawling has brought me over 50% of my autumn wardrobe. Who can be down about that?
Are you thrifting for your autumn wardrobe? I’d love for you to share your thrifty finds using the hashtag #ShowMeTheThrift. Alternatively, if you’ve been to see Blackpool’s Sand, Sea and Spray festival, I want to know your thoughts! ❤
September fashion Emily and Fin Nancy Dress
September, you remind me of a teenager- one minute you’re laying it on thick with lashings of sunshine, the next you’re scolding me with a tantrum of rain. And, you expect me to put up with this behaviour? Well, I do because I love the way you bring me the start of autumn. Readers, I know you’re just as excited for the change of season as I am but are you finding this transitional period difficult to dress for? Because, I am.
As you know, I was recently invited to celebrate 10 years of Country Attire at Proper Tea in Manchester. Despite the event being held in August, the weather was what you’d typically expect in September and it rained for the entirety of the afternoon, whilst remaining uncomfortably warm. I don’t know about you, but I find this type of weather so difficult to dress for and this time of year can be a challenge for my personal style.
So, I reverted to my factory settings and wore a dress because ladylike dressing seemed apt for High Tea. I wore the beautiful Nancy dress by one of my favourite brands, Emily and Fin
. I have loved this naval dress since the release of their spring/summer 2016 look book. When Nancy was reduced by 50% in Aspire Style’s summer sale, I took it as my signal to invest in September fashion Emily and Fin Nancy Dress
If you’re a regular reader of Polkadot Pink, you know that buying investment pieces is important to me- whether those investment pieces are brand new or second hand, it doesn’t matter as long as I love them. I want to build a wardrobe full of clothes to love. Last month, I was exceptionally lucky to find lots of pieces for my autumn wardrobe in north west charity shops. An added benefit of buying the Nancy dress meant I could wear the pieces I’d thrifted.
I was delighted to find this bamboo handbag as finding a retro bag had been on my summer wardrobe wishlist- one season too late but who’s being picky? Lined in red velvet, with an ornate golden clasp, it’s in immaculate condition and can you believe it was only £1.99? It is surprisingly roomy and fits my camera, mobile phone and keys in. It’s set to become a staple of my wardrobe.
// Nancy naval print dress :: Emily and Fin //
// Vintage Crimplene jacket :: Jospice //
// Tan Mary Jane heels :: Red Herring (Red Cross) //
// Bamboo handbag :: No brand (Age UK) //
// Cherry brooch :: Luxulite //
Weeks later, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this vintage Crimplene jacket in the Allerton Road branch of Jospice during a rare day of thrifting with Katie, from Life on Vista. I believe it’s from the 60’s but vintage enthusiasts may correct me. It’s a size 12 and fits like a glove, even though I’m petite. I’m certainly not in need of any more jackets, but at £3.99 I think it’s earned a place in my wardrobe.
I’m also not short of shoes (I have an alarming amount of pairs), so why do I find it difficult to find a pair to complete an outfit? On the same thrifting trip, I also found these Red Herring leather shoes in a local Red Cross shop, in brand new condition. Tan is a colour that I always invest in because it’s so versatile, especially at a price of £1.99.
If you follow me on social, this week I’ve been seeking advice and talking about how I’ve started a Bullet Journal. Honestly, it’s been a revelation! In just one week, I’ve increased my productivity by managing to stay focused and on task. Next week, I am planning to pack away my summer clothes, start piecing together autumn outfits and donate/sell items that no longer fit me. It’s a task I’m looking forward to. Watch this space!
10 YEARS OF COUNTRY ATTIRE :: PROPER TEA MANCHESTER
Sitting in the imposing Gothic shadow of Manchester Cathedral lies a hidden jewel nestled in the city’s most historic quarter: a modern tea room with a traditional twist, Proper Tea Manchester.