Monday, 29 June 2009

The Staple - DIY Denim Shorts

A Short Story

I realised recently that despite owning several pairs of shorts, I more or less only wear my blue denim cutoffs. With that in mind, and an epic cycle from Holloway to Greenwich planned, I decided to make myself a new pair. I popped into New Look near work on my lunch break, and grabbed a pair of ten-pound grey jeans. While in front of T4 on Saturday morning, I decided to get to work so I could wear them that day. And document the process, so that my lovely readers can make their own pairs (and thus save £20 on some from Topman). It took me 10 minutes, and all I needed was a pair of scissors.

First, take a cheap pair of jeans:

Next, cut them off just below the knee (for best results cut both legs):

Then fold the raw edge upwards:

Tuck the raw edge into the next fold to create a neat, narrow cuff; fold as high as you like, but with each fold, the width of the leg becomes tighter on the thigh. If necessary, lop another inch off the hem and re-fold:

Et voila! A bargainous pair of practical denim shorts, for the price of a tenner, some scissors and 15 minutes in front of the telly:

Give it a try, it's easy, cheap and VERY much worth it come the summer. I'm off on my holidays next week, and I'll be changing into these on the plane, for a cool arrival in the Med. And they work pretty well for urban-wear too...Other Staples this week:
Homemade denim cutoffs
The Crown Tavern in Farringdon
Glastonbury coverage on the BBC
Lazing around on Blackheath
A lovely, unhurried dinner on St. Christopher's Place, at Paradiso
My fabulous new interweb-phone, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
Looking forward to having an actual holiday!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Staple - Gucci Lace-Ups

Shoesday Celebrations

I had other things lined up to talk about this week, but my new shoes wouldn't be ignored. We were given House of Fraser vouchers for winning a work competition waaaay back in April. While I was determined to buy something practical (luggage was the idea), I wandered aimlessly into their branch in the City to have a quick look for some sale cases. I did find a gorgeous Ted Baker navy leather holdall, but couldn't bring myself to buy something that was neither practically-sized or checkable. It is gorgeous though, but more of a glorified manbag than practical luggage. I had a quick look at the shoes (luckily the City branch stocks some luxury brands) and my eyes, and indeed feet, rested upon these beauties from Gucci. Utterly gorgeous tan leather, soft and wearable, and best of all, 50% off (from £350 - £175). I've talked a lot about sales recently, but there really are some brilliant bargains to be had if you can find the cash; classics like these will last for years and never really go 'out of style' - you could imagine anyone from Clark Gable to David Beckham wearing such simple, pretty shoes. I tried them on immediately on Friday evening, but again dismissed them for not being practical. I have no idea what was wrong with me. I got home and realised I'd made a terrible mistake, looked up the phone number and got the lovely people to reserve them for me on Monday. And what a start to the week they were. As gorgeous as I remembered, and moulded from one piece of leather with a seam at the heel, (hence being called 'wholecut'). With the rather generous voucher, I bought them for just over £100; cheaper tan a good pair from Jones, and kept them on my desk all day. Despite being told repeatedly that this is blasphemy, they're too pretty to keep in the box. My very first post was about the importance of good, gorgeous shoes, and I feel like I'm living up to that. I'm not going to wear these every day, but they'll be one of those things that whenever you wear them, you know people are going to compliment you on them. Part of the reason why this Tuesday I began a Twitter meme, #shoesday; for posting your shoes and seeing what other people are wearing - join the fun here! Now to find an event (and outfit) worthy of the new shoes...Other Staples this week:
Tan Gucci Maracay Wholecuts in the sale
Almond Magnums eaten in the sun
Jack Penate's new album 'Everything is New' (via Spotify)
Karaoke at Lucky Voice in Soho for Hannah's hen night
Not having to take an extra layer when leaving the house
A hearty asparagus and herb risotto
Perrier sparkling water

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Staple - Glass Candy

Disco 2009

Last Thursday was a gig I'd been looking forward to for ages; the label Italians Do It Better taking over Koko, with Lindstrom, Glass Candy and Desire. It's a label I've been listening to pretty much constantly for the last few months, and one of those songs that I DJd back in the Club Rees days which was almost always followed up with an enquiry from a curious punter. The genre Italodisco has its roots in the clubs of late 1970s and 1980s southern Europe; as its name suggests, it incorporates some of the disco motifs of synthesisers, but mixes them into a spacey, trippy and altogether more chilled-out mood. That's not to say it's not without some absolutely corking tunes however. It emerged as music entirely made electronically was in its infancy; and the clubbing scene as we know know was it just taking off. Its recent revival hasn't involved much of a change of sound, but since the interest in electro has risen through the indie scene, a similar indie mindset of ephemeral and unusual approaches has been sought. Mike Simonetti's record label Italians Do It Better has been one of the spearheads of this movement. Along with established Swedish DJ and Producer Lindstrom, his bands have brought this sounds back. Seeing them in the theatrical environment of Koko, whose sparse but bass-heavy sound system finally sounded it it element was an absolute dream. I'd been on the verge of ordering a massive package of CDs from his Viva Italians store, and had even arranged for a US address for them to be sent to thus avoiding $40 of international shipping, but once I realised he'd be playing here, I put that on hold and decided to hit the merch stand here. Luckily, the lovely Megan Louise from Desire was on the stand, and even signed my CD. I also picked up this tshirt. In all my years of festivals and gigs, I'd never yet felt compelled to buy a band tshirt, so for me this was a real exception. And the music of Desire, Glass Candy and Lindstrom was so on the button, that I stayed far too late on a school night, and didn't even mind Koko's extortionate beer prices as much as I would normally have. It was an unmissable Staple, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of the same. Other Staples this week:
A night of gorgeous Italodisco at Koko
Monochrome Gingham
Lunching by the river
'The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads' by Robert Elms
Desire's album, II
The Jerusalem Tavern in Farringdon
Bourbon biscuits

Friday, 12 June 2009


Thanks for all the lovely comments & tweets about the new-look Staple; it's all down to my fantastic friend Janine Stromberg. As well as being a rather talented graphic designer and style Goddess in her own right, Janine's encyclopaedic knowledge of music continues to throws up little drops of aural delight. Anyway, he regularly updated tumblr, Lil' Bumps is a constant source of wonderment...Kudos and 3 cheers for Janine!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Staple - Fred Perry Harrington

Confessions of a Sale Addict

Hi, I'm Seb and I'm addicted to Sales. There's something very satisfying about getting clothes on sale; perhaps I'm just tight, but the days of paying full-price for pretty much anything seem to be a long time ago (unless it was a tenner in the first place). I particularly love the sales at Liberty and they way they're introduced with thick mailed-out invites and a preview for cardholders as well as a further £5 voucher. As ever, I swished straight down to the hallowed Tudor emporium and hit the menswear floor to see what could be had. I'd been looking idly at this Raf simons for Fred Perry jacket on oki-ni and it's one of those things that you know will go with 95% of your day-to-day wardrobe. I wear a lot of blue, and I think this shade (some call it Celia Blue; some call it International Klein Blue) is particularly flattering to my skin. It shows off my cycling-induced tan, and is just the right side of electric to be wearable at work. I'd got so far as to say this is pretty much my perfect jacket; so much so that when I got it home and couldn;t take it off, my flatmate didn;t even know if was new as it looked like it was already mine! Sale-wise, it was 50% off, and with a £5 voucher brought it to just over £100. A lot for a cotton jacket, but when it's this good, then I'd rather not buy anything else this month! Other Staples this week:
Raf Simons x Fred Perry blue harrington jacket
Writing for the Fashionisto
Raiding Bloomberg's free food canteen
Sailing past traffic on my bike during the tube strike (even fun in the rain)
The Southwark Tavern's pub quiz
Cadbury's Freddo bars
The Glass Candy gig tonight at Koko

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Staple - New CDs

Music To My Ears

A wander around the shops last week didn't yield anything exciting clothing finds, so I absentmindedly wandered into HMV. It's been awhile since I bought some CDs; I've been downloading stuff and borrowed discs recently; but it reminded me of the importance of 'concrete' music purchases. While a CD might not take on the patina of age like a vinyl record, it's still a physical product with inlay notes, artwork and an actual disc. Now that we've all digitised our music collections, it's easy to forget humble compact disc. And while iPods are undoubtedly easier and more convenient than CDs when you're on the move, some of my most treasured possessions are records and CDs from my Dad. I am very passionate about my music; regular readers will know about my summers of many festivals, but I've also been lucky enough to attend loads of gigs, DJ regularly and invest serious time and money into music and a brilliant stereo. I also think it's pretty important to pay for your music; if you don't pay for it, it's not going to be there - artists need money to survive; you wouldn't steal a shirt from your favourite boutique (though you might borrow a shirt from a mate from time to time), so why should this be different with music? Plus, if you apply fashion's 'cost per wear' analysis to a CD, then they're bloody brilliant value for money too! Anyway, whoever's doing the buying for HMV's dance section is doing a fantastic job; the selection there is better than some indie stores, and pleasingly without the aching-trendiness of certain shops as well. Any of these albums would be a brilliant addition to any musical collection (especially the Blondie remixes disc from 1995 which I picked up in a junk shop for £2!); download if you must, but make the point of going to a record store at some point this week and having a browse; it's well worth the time! Other Staples this week:
A big pile of new CDs
Selfridges Pantone 109C mugs
Growing a beard (to hide the stitches)
Writing for Brandish
Old Jamaica Fiery Ginger Beer
A nautical bandanna around the neck