The Jazz Emporium

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A Personal Note From Jazzine: Croatia; A fashion hot spot or not?

As some of you know (and as some of you rightly won’t really care, for isn’t anything more boring than hearing someone bang on about how LOVELY their holiday was,  and how WARM it was and how RELAXED they felt, to then go on and patronisingly tell you nose-snortingly ‘hilarious’ stories about their native waiter ‘friends’ and their endearing mispronounciations of ‘wine’ and ‘soup’ so on – uh, where was I? Oh yes…) I’ve recently come back from a holiday in Croatia. And let me tell you, Jazz fans, it was so LOVELY! And god, so WARM – enough.

I was hoping on my return to be able to share with you a little outsider insight into Croation fashion, but unfortunately, the parts of Croatia I visited (tourist ridden islands) seemed to represent the idea of ‘fashion’ purely through floral romper suits and strapless, elasticated summer dresses alone; if indeed there were any clothes on the bodies passing by. Mostly I was treated to viewing the fashion of middle aged ladies & men, who bared every inch of their leathered skin to the sun on the rocky croatian shores, and at times, directing full frontal views of said, eh, skin, in quite an obscene fashion towards the nearby tourist path.

Don’t get me wrong; I ain’t no prude, and I’m all about  abandoning  stuffy British ideals for the freedom & physical liberation of bit of nakedness in the sun, but trust me, some arrangements of naked sunbathing bodies are  fit only for display to the public on a fee-paying website. And by ‘the public’ I mean teenage boys with their mum’s credit cards. And by display I mean – well, I won’t patronise you. None of you are foreign waitors, and I only spell out things for them;’ TWO COFF-EE – look, look at my fingers, NOT ONE, TWO COFF-FEE AND CHIPS – LA FRENCHIE FRIES. OK??’

Anyway, needless to say, between the identical tourist ‘fashion’ shops and the bronzed handbag bodies, my Croatian street style spotting dreams were dashed. As were my holiday shopping hopes. Until we drifted away from the sun-soaked islands and had little city break in Pula, the Istrian captial of culture.

Now, it was no London or Edinburgh, but there was something charming and captivating about Pula; arriving on the evening of their yearly music festival buoyed my impression of the city up, and it was further cemented by finding a gem of a shop sandwiched between the obligatory tourist ‘fashion’ shops, (cue those damn strapless floral rompers again) and endless streets of jewelers that specialised in coral bracelets. It was the very cool, very small Makina Gallery; which as well as selling the work of some unique jewelry makers, was displaying the work of a photographer who took many famous photies of celebrities ranging from Keira Knightly to Dustin Hoffman. Try as I may, I can neither find nor remember the name of the photographer (PLEASE tell me if you know, as it’s been driving me bonkers!), but you can see snaps of the exhibition here, if you’re interested.

The jewelry was particularly noteworthy; there were some stunning lasercut collars, studded rings and beautiful little character set necklaces & brooches, so I snapped some photies to prove to you all that Istria does have SOME noteworthy fashion designers!

After careful consideration I decided to give one of those robot necklaces, crafted from discarded chips and computer parts, a home. I nearly had a meltdown of (unwarranted, really) excitement when my boyfriend pointed out the motorola chip that makes up the little guy’s head could have come from Glasgow, given that there was a motorola factory in East Kilbride at one point in the history of the world. However, he quickly quelled it by explaining there were motorola factories worldwide too, and to stop squealing, because a motorola chip isn’t in possession of a personality and it’s very unlikely it has the capacity to house a desire to return to it’s place of birth.

Shh, said I. Shhh, little Robot, it’s time to go home…

I hate admit it but all I can say here is 'warlgleSOCUTE!'

I also found this bad ass hand made ring on the touristy island (ok, so it wasn't ALL bad there, but bear in mind I did find this in a craft shop in amongst 'hand decorated' shirts (t-shirts with blobs of fabric paint dotted on them) and cat ornaments made of sea shells, so I think I found a diamond in the rough here...)What, you mean you haven't heard? Chipped nail polish is massively in this season...

What, you mean you haven't heard? Chipped nail polish is totally in this season.

So, to recap; Croatian tourist fashion, not so good. Croatian summer wear, floral and gross. Croatian jewelry, a big thumbs up.

For visualising purposes...

Damn, yo.


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A Personal Note from Jazzine: World of Workouts

There’s one area of my life with which I eternally struggle, and one which I imagine many of you ambitious jazz fans identify with; The desire to get – and stay – incredibly, intensely, awe-strikingly FIT.

Fit; like a boss.

It’s a good desire; a desire to be nurtured and fed, and welcomed freely into one’s everyday psyche.  After all, we’re all old enough & wise enough now to realise exercise is a positive lifestyle choice. And frankly, you ain’t gonna get Michelle Obama’s arms from purely refusing the bread basket every time it comes round.

(Though, honestly, I find it hard to believe that people cut bread out of their diets anyway – not only is the the Original Food of mankind (probably), wasn’t it also God who ‘gives us our daily bread’? No-one refuses an offering from God. Not even a heathen like me.)

So, exercise is a must. A given. And actually quite fun once you get into it… But there is one problem I encounter whenever I decide to enter into a ‘work out’, and it can often be one that is so acute that it prevents me from acting on this decision, and thus traps me in that group of people who huff and puff after climbing one flight of stairs.

The problem is that I like clothes. Too much. And the idea of dedicating a couple of hours in my day to wearing something unflattering & misshapen (which more often than not is the case, given the frequency with which gym clothes are washed) when I could be giving air time to that excellent new jumpsuit weeping quietly for a wearing in the back of my wardrobe is a dilemma that often eats at my very soul.

Vain? Yes, I suppose I am, really; there’s no denying it. But I also really just like clothes!! Insomuch that eating a stale sandwich is a waste of the opportunity of encountering a tasty meal at lunch time (you only get 3 a day; savour them), wearing crap gym clothes seems like a wasted opportunity for a sartorial statement. There’s a serious gap in the market here…

Luckily, when I was last in London, I spoke of my workout woes to my companion who bides there, and she introduced me to something that was rather a revelation; a shop that makes a good attempt at filling this giant gym fashion chasm… Sweaty Betty.

Vintage inspired sports wear?? Suddenly I’m feeling energised!!

Sweaty Betty team clever materials & ingenious craftsmanship (such as fashioning vests from machines used to make tights in order to create a seamless & therefore comfortable garment) with an understanding of flattering cuts & the essential features needed in any garment you plan to sweat and stretch profusely in. They also make subtle nods towards current trends in their collections, through statement prints on their running leggings & gorgeous yoga jumpsuits.

Yet, it’s the attention to detail that really makes their wares special; and for the first time I see sportswear aimed at women which recognises femininity without resorting to the colour pink. It’s the understated ruffles on hems, pleats on skirts & drapery tanks that really steal the show. My particular favourite being the puff shoulders in the see through waterproof running jacket.

Damn, yo.

Impressive, no? I’d feel quite happy to potter about daily in this gear; Sweaty Betty, you’ve got my stamp of approval!

L – R: Disco Tee, Sweat It Over Vest and Garudasana Catsuit

 

There’s a lot in this shop (which is sadly, rather expensive) I’ve whacked on my wishlist, so I’ll share a few more with you, jazz fans, and maybe you’ll feel energised enough to get that Jane Fonda workout tape out too…

L to R: Power Suit, Flaunt It Tank, Virasana Skirt Pant, and Diva Tee.

 

L – R: Work It Shorts, Phantom Tennis, Addias by Stella McCartney Ten Perf, and Ace Tennis Top.

 

That’s all for today, folks. Keep your eyes peeled for our guest blogger, Anneleen, coming to this page sooon!

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A Personal Note from Jazzine: Fashion Fails

Since my early childhood, I have harboured with me an unrequited love.

A love that has been bubbling in my veins for many years, unsatisfied and fierce – wailing for acknowledgement pitifully. A love that has been steadily ignored by those I clamoured to, despite my pleas and unrelenting fervour for it.

Last weekend, this love has finally been realised, the process of which rendered me back 15 years to a burbling, twitching fool. Crying, drooling, screaming and whooping, I faced my nemesis, soared through the air with a feverous glee and threw myself with ardour into oblivion – the pit of which embraced my deepest inner delight… yes, Jazz fans,  this week I did realise my dreams (have you guessed it yet?) through a visit to ….

ALTON TOWERS!

Hoo boy, and what a larf it was! And in amongst the low quality junk food, countless jittery visits to the bathroom and sheer white knuckle terror, I couldn’t help but notice my fellow theme park guests – what with them noshing that crap food at tables next to me, squirming in bathroom queues behind me and warming up the seats on the rides, allowing me to maintain the temperature in my derrière throughout the day.

Spending hours standing in close quarters to them as the queues for the rides inched forward wasn’t exactly the best experience of the day, and I must admit that to ease my boredom, I did find myself studying them in great detail. As you could imagine, on the man-made paths of the manufactured thrill village there was much scope for street style watching (if you could dub it thus), and yes – I am a bona fide sartorial pervert, so I couldn’t avert my eyes and judgement if I tried. Even those below the age of consent (of which there were a huge number, unsurprisingly) did not escape my beady, critical eyes. In between screaming myself hoarse as I hurtled off 250ft drops and ‘duelling’ zombies with plastic guns, I scoped, logged and wrinkled my nose beneath my sunglasses at many who stumbled by, who added to the creation of this hit list of theme park fashion fails – of which I desired to share with you, jazz fans.

Lucky you.

Fashion Fail 1: Denim Shorts = Buttock Fall-out

This is a rule of truism, according to the hoards of teenage girls at Alton Towers. I’m sorry to say that this photo is not an actual person who encountered this fail, as I could not bring myself to be quite so blatantly critical – or risk dabbling in actual perversion by snapping shots of young ladies and their ACTUAL arses. This photo is a very subdued version of what I encountered on almost every ride queue; a face full of hanging buttock, their wobbly glory framed by frayed denim fringing.

On searching for photographic evidence of this fashion phenomena to demonstrate to you the inappropriateness of it, I found Anna Farris (of Scary Movie & My Super Ex-Girlfriend Fame, you know, those two highly respected cinematic experiences) to be sporting the same look, minus the denim.

The new way to combat visible tan lines on the arse?

Am I the only one have fallen behind in this trend? Am I the only one to still cherish the belief that buttocks should be kept at bay within the confines of shorts – or at the very least within a pair of pants? Perhaps it’s the new mating call of the 14 year old to their male counterparts (who I believe are super charged on easy access to internet pornography). It would certainly explain the abundance of young mothers wandering around the Towers…

Fashion Fail 2: Daytime Neon

Ok, so neon isn’t exactly my colour palette of choice, so perhaps I’m a little biased on this one. However, I’m sure most of you will agree that if neon is to be braved, it is to be done so with great gusto, and only at night – usually in the form of a costume or extreme club attire. In club lights, neon can be tacky fun. In daylight, however, neon just becomes abhorrent.

Especially when it’s worn in this format.

Replace the skirt with some of those denim fall-out shorts, and add some lack of tone to that belly and you’ve got the outfit of one ill-advised teenager strutting her stuff down by the popcorn pick and mix (they really had one of those – kind of purposeless, no?). Did her accompanying mum want her to look like a naff page 3 girl? I can only assume so…

I’m not even going to address the negatives of boob tubes; everyone knows the only stylish way to show torso is a few inches of ribcage. Bellies must go the way of buttocks – encased in material. It’s not that hard to achieve, girls!

Fashion Fail 3: Inappropriate footwear

Surely only a brainless infidel would consider stilettos as suitable footwear for a theme park?

The fairground; the new disco, apparantly.

I jest not.

Fashion Fail 4: Character tattoos

The tattoo in question was actually a Tasmanian devil with a halo and a devil sceptre. On the shoulder of a middle aged woman. Now, I don’t like to criticise tattoos generally, as I understand they are usually a very personal and often intensely meaningful show of dedication towards something or someone. With this in mind, however, I do question the ability of a human being to find a deep personal meaning within a mass marketed cartoon taz emblem, meant primarily as childish entertainment.

The number one rule of tattooing: Don’t get tattoos on a whim!!

The number two rule of tattooing: Don’t ever get a cartoon character, unless you want to endure years of children giggling and prodding at your body parts, and their disgusted parents forcing amused smiles at your apparent ‘wit’.

Fashion Fail 5: Matching outfits in a row

Bleaching catalogue.

Now this is a real photo from the weekend; provided by the resident pervert on board for the rides (oo-er).

There’s really nothing wrong with this outfit; simple, pratical, casual – pretty dull, but a simple  summer throw on.

The problem is just that however – it is AN outfit. One outfit xeroxed by the two blank slates either side… I’m not sure if it’s a teenage equivalent of those luminescent yellow waistcoats kids wear on school trips in order to be easily identified from afar, or if a lack of personality provokes them t ocreate fantasies in the mind of every man they pass by in their threesome. A marketing dream for pornography, really – they should have been carrying business cards to slip into the hands of every 14 year old who gawped at them approaching – and leaving.

For those interested, they were just as hot from the front… And clearly not British!

Fashion Fail 6: Ill-fitting clothes.

From booty fall-out to hip grab-bags

The general masses really fall at the first hurdle, I’m afraid. It’s actually begun to worry me, for clearly 40% of the British population suffer from bpdy dis-morphia if they think that the size 8 clothes that are causing them pain from cutting into their skin are presenting them as that size. It makes me sad…

Thankfully this lady knows where it's at. Even if she's dressed like she works in tescos.

Final Fashion Fail Collective: FLORALS

Why so MANY? Is there really no other option for summer? I get it – it’s cute, it’s pretty, it’s perfect for hot weather & looks sweet on tea dresses, shorts, tops, head scarves, maxi dresses… every fucking thing! But come ON, guys; from what I saw purely at the Towers, Topshop & Primark must resemble a botanical garden nursery hosting a funeral this season.

What these lovers of florals tend to forget that en masse it can be hella garish.

Yellow floral, pink floral, white floral? Fuck it, this baby makes me hungry for everything - I'll have them all!

Imagine 10 mini Jessica Albas striding towards you, flouncing and cutesying it up in every single piece of clothing and accessory.

Now imagine they are having a lot of trouble pulling it off; (though I must say I find it doubtful that Jessica Alba manages either) at this point I would advise you to avert your eyes; the longer you stare, the more likely you are become dizzy from the overload of garden dwellers and vomit. If you must keep staring though, save that vomit for when they’re inches away – if any splashes on their tea dresses I can guarantee it’ll blend rather well, and probably improve the garment exponentially.

Thus ends my 7 fashion follies, fails, faux pas – whatever you deem it – of Britain’s finest theme park.

And here is the best dressed lady of the whole trip… Rita.

Damn, that is one fiiine booty.

And on the topic of bootys – if you MUST indulge in the new trend of buttock fall-out, please use a little giselle inspiration rather than ill-fitting denim shorts…

The only time fall-out is sexy. Well - from a feminine point of view.

— Jazzine, out.