I heard a rumour that the Olsen twins spent two years designing the perfect white t-shirt. Caroline de Maigret, queen of French-cool, refers to the white t-shirt and jeans combo as the best first date outfit. The ensemble even appears in the lyrics of my favourite Lana Del Rey song. It’s essential for everyone’s wardrobe. It’s just so basic that it exudes confidence. An I-don’t-give-a-fuck sort of nothingness that shows you don’t need anything extra. It’s effortless. Shown here: an American Apparel (RIP) powerwash Tee, Topshop Mom Jeans, Converse and Asos wide fishnets.
“I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time. It’d be stupid not be on my own side” – Maya Angelou
It would be stupid, Maya. Thank you for saying it, and so eloquently, too. If you are a woman (we’ll talk about the men later), you should identify yourself as a feminist. It wasn’t until recently that I realised there are still some that don’t. I can’t believe I have to say this in 2017, but you should be a feminist. You need to be a feminist.
With constant reminders, like the recent allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults spanning over 30 years, I can’t help but think ‘how could you not be a feminist’? The list of women speaking out against him is growing by the day. These women, just trying to do something they loved (act, write, etc.), were forced to stay silent in fear that this powerful man would ruin their career if they spoke out. I don’t think I need to say that it’s already difficult enough for women in the workplace but sure, let’s add potential career-killing sexual abuse to the mix. The really unfortunate part is that I’m sure it’s not isolated to Hollywood.
So, why would any woman not consider herself a feminist? Does she not believe in equality? Or the right to control her own career? Lifestyle? Body? And then I heard a reason I hadn’t heard for quite a while (since I first started Uni in 2004 and every girl taking women’s studies was adamant that they were “not, like, a crazy feminist”).
Firstly, a male co-worker decided to explain feminism to me and a fellow female co-worker *facepalm*. He had been offered a vegan brownie by some lady standing outside a bakery with a tray of samples. He didn’t like it and told her why he could never be vegan. She obviously felt a little defensive (I can’t imagine why) and decided to tell him why she was vegan: one of the reasons she gave was because she was a feminist*.
He went on to explain to her, and now us, that women don’t like to use the f-word because it’s associated with man-haters and extremists. We both rolled our eyes before exclaiming “I’m a feminist” almost in unison. I’m sure I could see the smoke coming out of her ears. But a man who thinks feminists hate men? Well, that’s nothing new. Closed minded? Yes. New? No. What I wasn’t prepared for was our female manager agreeing with him. She validated everything he said, agreed with the stereotype of feminists. I could just see the picture in their minds of screaming women burning bras (we fucking needed those women, btw). Now, the manager is a strong, smart and hard-working woman (also younger than me so we can’t blame it on a ‘generational’ thing) who agreed with the principals of feminism (equality, equal opportunity, etc.), yet she didn’t want the title.
Saying you believe in equal rights but are not a feminist is in the same ballpark as “all lives matter“. Feminism isn’t about hating men or thinking we deserve more. It’s not about putting down other women, shaming them for what they wear (I’m looking at you Donna Karan) or judging them based on their lifestyle. It’s about equality. We only want to be treated equally, be given the same opportunities as men and the right to make choices about our bodies. But, we aren’t quite there yet and that’s why we still need to promote feminism. With or without the burning bras.
*If you are unfamiliar with why a feminist would be against the dairy industry, let me briefly explain: artificial insemination. This is basically the act of raping cows to get them pregnant so we can steal and kill their calves and keep the milk for ourselves for the sake of cheese. They may not be human, but no female should never have to endure this particularly cruel type of torture and cows endure it over and over.
I started this blog a while back with the intention of documenting my own personal sense of style. In the vast sea that is fashion blogging, it seemed to be dominated by young, white, modelesque girls with perfect hair and perfect bodies wearing perfectly curated outfits, usually carrying the latest designer it-bag. And while these girls were beautiful, chic and unique in their own way, I felt I could bring something different to the table. I was (am) short and not overweight but not particularly thin either, half Asian and older than the average blogger. At the time I was also very into menswear (still am but not the same obsession level that I was) and loved trying to mix tomboy style with femininity. I wanted to start a blog that represented others like me.
It started out well, but I quickly fell victim to what I will call ‘blogger tunnel vision’. An avid vintage shopper and repeat offender (if I loved it I wore it until it fell off me), suddenly I was buying more well-known brands I could tag in the hopes of being re-grammed to gain more exposure. I wore something once maybe twice and then had to move to the next thing. I never fell into trends before unless it was something I genuinely liked and now I felt this need to keep up with all of them. I was buying clothing at an alarming rate. Something I didn’t even fully grasp until we moved to England and donated 12 bags of clothing (that doesn’t include the clothes I brought with me or the two massive Rubbermaid containers I filled to store at my parent’s house).
I wasn’t buying clothing with the same enthusiasm I once had. Shopping and getting dressed turned into a chore. I was thinking about ‘my brand’ instead of what I authentically liked. And of course, I was comparing myself to other bloggers and trying to emulate or keep up with these already established gurus instead of doing what I set out to do: be me. And the really funny part, all the fashion blogs I follow, the ones I would deem successful got there by having their own unique voice (because we all know that style isn’t just about the clothes you wear) and I was slowly becoming a cheap knockoff. I needed a break.
But here we are again, refreshed, lessons learned and passions re-kindled. High fashion is art (I did go to fashion school and I still follow designers and fashion week) but you won’t find much of it here. You also won’t find much fast-fashion since evil takes a form in capitalism. I still buy the odd piece from ASOS and Topshop but I am consciously trying to buy less and stay far away from HM, Primark, Zara and the like. Instead, you might see more vintage and second hand, especially since apps like Depop make it so easy and from the comfort of your own bed. I’ll still document my outfits and give you styling tips, but fashion is not enough to keep me creatively fulfilled or passionately motivated. So along with style posts, this blog will now contain monthly quips on feminism, veganism, travel, and personal anecdotes or thoughts on the world. Not necessarily in that order and maybe with no order at all.
Welcome to the new AVEC LUI.
Earlier this month I took a little trip up north to Manchester. All I really knew of the city was what I saw from Shameless. Well, that show is brilliant but it’s a terrible representation of the city. I found Manchester to a bright, vibrant city. It was full of interesting, friendly people. It was cool; relaxed with a sense of style. It was hip without necessarily being trendy. And even though I was only there for a few days I could tell that Ian Brown was right: Manchester has everything except a beach.
Since I wasn’t there long enough to really give any sort of in depth travel guide, I won’t. But here are my top five suggestions:
- Manchester has such a huge music scene you couldn’t go without indulging in some of it. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to get your fix but for me it was always going to be about new wave. While catching a Stone Roses/the Smiths/New Order/Oasis cover band would have been amazing I found the next best thing: Blowout at 42’s. Every Tuesday, the longest running night in Manchester, according to their flyer. 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, rock, indie, dance. Fucking Amazing. The music was brilliant, the people were nice, the drinks were cheap. The place was lit.
- In such a cool city you best believe that everyones style was steal worthy. Luckily that’s possible. Head to the Northern Quarter where you will find the streets lined with all the vintage stores of your dreams. Definitely check out COW two stories of vintage and refurbished clothing.
- After you’ve worked up an appetite shopping you can check out V REV in the Northern Quarter. They have a 100% vegan menu full of the most delicious junk food I’ve had since moving to the UK. If you are lucky enough to go you have to try the Buffalo the Vampire Slayer and their mac and cheese sticks.
- Alright it’s time to work off all that vegan cheese and what could be more fun then skateboarding?! Ha ok maybe not for everyone but if you skate or you don’t but want to try go to Projekts MCR skatepark. Is it indoor, is it outdoor? Who cares, it’s chill as fuck plus they have 1hour private lessons for £25 a pop, perfect for beginners. I took one because I’m still too chicken to skate with actually people. It was hard but helpful. The guy (Jonny one of many teachers I think) was motivating, really pushed my limits, plus he was pretty good looking and let me fall on him (I just had to ignore my boyfriend sitting on in the corner >_<).
- Relax in the city centre at Piccadilly Square. People tend to hang out there when it’s nice out. It’s a good place to bring a drink, take in some of the architecture and decide what to do next.
You may have noticed that all my outfit post included at least one pink this month. It wasn’t accident.
Yeah, so I’m totally in love with the colour pink. I have been for awhile. I never wore it much before but now half my wardrobe looks like it belongs in a barbie dream house. And I’m ok with that.
I could never resist buying the unusual pink item – a blushed coloured hammer, frying pan painted rose, an old school telephone in coral. And that has pretty much translated directly to the pink clothes I buy; the boyish hoody, an inappropriate graphic tee or the oversized men’s t-shirt. The perfect combination of my favourite colour with my favourites types of attire.
So let’s get onto to the favourites: Pink accents. These accessories give the perfect hint of pink without making you look like the stereotypical girly-girl character like Chrissy from Now and Then.
- The pink cap. I chose a baseball because summer, but I own a beanie which works even better. I’d personally stay away from any hat that’s hyper feminine (pink or not) but that’s just me. This hat I purchased at Urban Outfitters and I currently share it with my boyfriend. It adds a casual feel to any outfit and the colour is super flattering on both us (which is amazing considering I’m tanned with yellow undertones and he’s almost see-through with blue/pink hues).
- Socks. Again I’d stay away from ruffles or lace socks but it’s a personal choice every (wo)man has to make for themselves. I almost died over these athletic socks with the pink stripes, hence why they made the favourites list. Purchased from Asos.
- Underwear. An easy way to add pink to your outfit when you don’t normally feel comfortable wearing pink. No one sees it (or hardly anyone) plus these ones with the feminist label on the butt make badass. Thank you Me and You for making these perfectly pink and empowering panties. (say that 5 times fast).
I had a goal when I restarted this blog to post more about my travels. I fully intend to, once I travel somewhere worth while to post about. In the mean time I thought I’d share some insider knowledge of my current location. So here’s the W’s (who, what, where, when) of Brighton.
Brighton is a seaside town located almost directly south of London. Very popular day trip spot so weekends in the summers can be jammed. It’s got a rock beach, a pier, some crazy little streets and a pretty interesting night scene.
What to do:
- Definitely check out the pier. It’s touristy and cheesy but that’s part of it’s charm. Eat some candy floss and enjoy a ride or too or just go for the beautiful view of the town.
- Take a walk down the seafront. again it can be cheesy AF but grab a drink, sit on the beach and buy yourself a silly Brighton souvenir. End at hove gardens where you can take some pretty Instagram photos of the colour beach huts.
- While you’re on the sea front make sure you stop to look at the west pier; it burnt down many years ago so nothing is left but the frame and it’s very beautiful especially at sunset and while you are there you should definitely go for a swim or rent a kayak.
- Head up town towards the North Laines and have a browse through some very unique shops (be sure to hit up Family Store, Mysteries LTD , Infinity Foods, Wolf + Gyspy)
- Walk around the parks at Old Steine and upwards to the Level (if you are into skating check out the Level skate park). Have a picnic or pims in the grass.
- Go get wasted in the Lanes. With a great mixture of pubs, dives, hipster and cocktail bars there is something for everyone or you could do a pub crawl and hit them all and finish your night with some chips from one of the many late night fish and chips spots on the sea front.
- Take a the 77 bus to Devil’s dyke and enjoy some of the english country side.
- Keep your eyes open for colourful graphics of Brighton’s own street artist Minty,
What to skip:
- The i360 is a relatively new resurrection and one that I think is overrated, if you want a great view of Brighton go on the pier.
- Stay away from West street and Western Road, both are super tacky nightlife places that attract hen and stag parties. Stay away.
- There is some pretty cool shopping in both north and south lanes but there isn’t a need to visit the shopping centre
- The Royal Pavilion is definitely worth a look from the outside (especially at night when it’s all lit up) but unless you are a huge history buff going inside is overpriced a little dull.
Where to eat: Brighton happens to be UK’s vegan capital, here are some of my favourites:
- Purezza: located in Kemptown, you got vegan pizzas and italian food, including a raw menu. I recommend the Cheesus.
- Loving Hut: there are two located in Brighton and their menu’s couldn’t be more different. Check out the LH in the North Laines for wicked vegan Chinese food (defo get the wonton soup) or head up the LH in the Level for some pretty spot on vegan junk food (try the fake chickn’ burger).
- Hope and Ruin: another awesome spot if you feel like some vegan junk food. Their fries-a-go-go are to-die-for.
- Vbites: another vegan junk food spot that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend BUT on Sundays they serve vegan roast that comes with a YORKSHIRE PUDDING. Probably the only place in the city that has a vegan yorkie.
- Happy Maki: vegan sushi burrito rolls, ’nuff said.
- Glazed: ALL. VEGAN. DONUTS.
- Honourable mentions: Earth + Stars (not vegan but has some pretty awesome options), Pho (Vietnamese chain with veggie options, make sure you specify no fish sauce), Grubbs (cheap Brighton burger chain, 4 locations with vegan options, it’s fucking amazing)
Where to drink:
- For cocktails: Twisted Lemon, Mesmerist, Dandelion
- Pubs: Fiddler’s Elbow, The Bee’s mouth, Black Dove
- Bars: Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, East Street Tap
- For craft beer: Bier Haus, Brewdog
- For patio sun beers: Mash Tun, Fortune of war (heed this warning: get out before the sun goes down)
May: Brighton Fringe Festival happens all month long and the legendary Speigltent Tent is there for you loose hours in.
June – August: Obviously summer is the best time to come. It happens all at once and it’s hard to pinpoint when it will be but all of a sudden the city comes alive. The beach is packed, the streets are bustling and every patio is full.
July: Pride week is always a good time.
September – October: Summer lingers in Brighton, you can thank the sea for that. Fall isn’t as busy but still a good time.