Friday, 30 October 2009

Over here...

The recent Anthropologie store opening got That's Not My Age thinking about other fabulous American shops that would be welcomed, with open arms and an over-extended credit card, on our shores. We already have Theory, the grown-up store on Marylebone High Street may not as gorgeous as the one in the Meatpacking District, but it's a start. So how about Vince? The lady Madonna is a fan, and the lovely jersey separates and neat leather jackets have a timeless (ageless?) appeal. Available from net-a-porter and Liberty has a small range , but surely it's time for a whole store full? A pair of fantastic black ski pants, have already made their way onto the Christmas wishlist, can't wait for the shoes and handbags.

If you like the idea of specialist shops - no,no, no, not organic butcher's and bakers - fine knit t-shirts! West Coast designer, James Perse is the jersey supremo. His signature cotton tees, classic shirts and shirtdresses are available from Net-a-Porter but once you've visited the store on Bleeker Street, NY, you'll be convinced that London needs it's own haven of pared-down chic. Westbourne Grove anyone?

Once inside the gorgeous John Derian store on East 2nd Street, it's hard to drag yourself away - OK, not so hard if you're just popping to his other store, two doors down. This emporium of homewares, clothing and ephemera, is home to Derian's world-famous paperweights and decoupage, plus various bits and pieces collected on his travels. Classic books from the likes of Thomas Hardy and Vita Sackville West with beautiful hand-painted covers, stationery, furniture, table linen and sumptuous loungewear. Everything you need for stylish living.

Rag & Bone has just opened on Mercer Street. Marcus Wainwright and David Neville set up their business in 2002, the name is an homage to the rag and bone man of old, 'to pioneering ingenuity and conservation.' This is the place to go for top quality jeans and trousers, That's Not My Age bought a lovely pair of navy cigarette pants a couple of years ago and they're still going strong (Mr TNMA has a pair of jeans). And the founders are British - so come on boys, what are you waiting for?

What That's Not My Age will be wearing when the Americans have landed:

Asymmetric leather jacket, Vince
Ribbed poncho tunic, James Perse
Gaberdine and leather pant, Rag & Bone
And the American flag paperweight by John Derian (top) will help keep those Visa bills in a neat and orderly pile.

Shop photos:
(From the top)
John Derian
Rag & Bone (from A Continous Lean)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Grayson Perry, Alan Measles and The Walthamstow Tapestry

Grayson Perry is 49 years-old, his female alter-ego Claire is 34 on the 5th November and teddy bear, Alan Measles (named after the boy next door and a bout of measles in winter 1963), is 45 years-old. Making their average age 42 and a half, perfect subject matter for That's Not My Age.

So, the 'transvestite potter' is having a bit of a moment. An appearance last week on Have I got News For You, a collection of scarves for Liberty (beautifully modelled by Waldemar Januszczak in The Sunday Times Culture supplement,see below), a brilliant new book by Jacky Klein and his largest show to date at Victoria Miro

As well as the trademark pots, Perry has turned his hand to tapestry. Paying tribute to Alan Measles (the bear who ruled an imaginary kingdom when GP was a boy) with a nifty piece of handiwork. The fabulous Walthamstow Tapestry runs the whole length of the opposite wall, and wittily depicts modern, everyday life. From birth at one end, to old age and death at the other, with Grayson Perry and Claire in the middle. And a generous scattering of brand names, from Lidl to Louis Vuitton, dotted all around.

And there's a lovely outdoor space at the back of the gallery, which has some polka dot sculptures by Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. She's 80 by the way.

The Walthamstow Tapestry exhibition continues until 7 November 2009, at Victoria Miro

Grayson Perry (at the Liberty store) from The Guardian.
Waldemar Januszczak from The Sunday Times.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A blog-free weekend (well, almost)

Whilst the rest of the blogosphere went into overdrive about the opening of the Anthropologie store in London, That's Not My Age was in exile up north. No computer, no internet, no blog. So, I had to talk to Mr TNMA instead. And the blog widower took this opportunity to point out:

1. We've stopped watching The Wire - the fourth series is shaping up nicely but we've come to a bit of a standstill. (Note to Mr TNMA: this is not a programme to watch when suffering from blog-related exhaustion).

2. The whole family will be venue-less for Christmas if he can't get onto the computer to book one of the two uninhabitable cottages that are left, in the entire country.

3. Constant obsessive checking of the blog is not healthy.

4. He is not interested in my new virtual friends.

5. It is not raining in London.

Anyway, before I turn into Liz Jones, let's get back to important retail matters. So what if the brand spanking new Anthropologie store full of gorgeous globally-sourced products opened in my absence - obviously the invitation to the launch party earlier in the week got caught up in the postal strike. As a regular visitor to New York (the younger-but-still-over-forty brother lives there - sorry bro, it was only a matter of time before you were outed online), That's Not My Age has long been aware of the lure of Anthropologie Oh yes, on days when the West Broadway store is too much of a hike, a little trip round the corner to the 5th Ave branch always provides a quick fix of fashion and homewares, swiftly followed by some hot apple cider at the Union Square farmer's market.

Cry into my lovely old, floral Anthropologie napkins? Me? Never.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

David Byrne: Bicycle Diaries

For a lifelong cyclist - not a faddish fixed-wheeler, David Byrne's book has instant appeal. The lovely tactile cover, tasteful black and white photos and the thought of being able to cycle, wherever, had me running for the cash till.

The Bicycle Diaries follows Mr Talking Head as he tours the world, from New York to Buenos Aires , with folding bike packed neatly into a large suitcase. Each chapter focuses on a different city; Berlin is civilized, with cycle lanes and traffic lights for bikes, Manila is 'not the most bike friendly city in the world' and San Francisco has steep hills and smart maps that tell cyclists the gradient of each street. It starts slowly in American towns, such as Columbus, Ohio and Sweetwater, Texas but once Byrne's off on tour, then we're freewheeling.

Essentially this is the art-rocker's diary, as he tours the world playing global music, to anyone who'll listen, and meeting various artists and musicians along the way. More a collection of Byrne's observations on politics, music, architecture than a book about cycling. But as the 57 year-old points out, in some places, cycling is not part of the culture - or it implies poverty. In Las Vegas, he's told that the only people who cycle are 'the ones who've lost everything, probably through gambling.' It's an enjoyable read with regular bike rides thrown in, and just like on holiday when you spend time searching for the real people and places, Byrne manages to get behind a city. But for a two-wheel fanatic, there just aren't enough pictures of bicycles - and you don't even get to see Byrne on a bike, which feels like a missed opportunity. Though I like the chapter with practical tips on what to wear, bicycle security and the best folding bikes (big wheels are better than small, but I knew that anyway). And Byrne's bike rack designs for New York City (see above) are fun.

So as compensation for the lack of bicycle photos, here are a few of my own. Including the best bike rack in the world, found in Valletta, Malta. David Byrne, if you're reading, please take note.

Photos from the top:
1. Maltese bike rack, Valletta
2. Outside a bike shop, Lecce, Italy
3. Jack Spade bike shop, New York (enough said)
4. Chained up bikes, NoLita, New York
5. Man on bike (and it's not David Byrne), Lecce, Italy.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Street Style

Jarvis Cocker
isn't the only dad with a stylish son to show off. Set designer, Rick van der Heul, 50, and son, Max nearly 15, show us that the best way to wear a lean single-breasted jacket is with a pair of easy denim jeans.

Jane Young, 48, in subtle shades of grey, knows how to do chic and understated. We love her fabulous DVF cardi, vintage Liberty scarf and Gucci loafers. Her jewellery is from the hippy market in Ibiza.

Eelke Jan Bles, 43, has a certain town meets country vibe. The tweed jacket is from Portobello market, the flat cap fron New York. And have you noticed he's matched his vintage Ralph Lauren shirt to his tan leather Trickers? Attention to detail - that's what we like.

Photos: Dvora

Thursday, 15 October 2009

What we've learned this week: How to do glamour

Hollywood legend, Joan Collins wants to bring a certain type of glamour back to the streets of Britain. The born-again style icon has a regular column for The Daily Mail, recently penned a piece on the return of the shoulder pad for The Sunday Times Style and even rocked up at London Fashion Week. And then this week, to top it all, we had the fabulous 'Joan Does Glamour' makeover show (please somebody tell us that it's going to be made into a series!). Collins might be a stranger to Sainsbury's but she certainly knows her way round Dior and Saint Laurent. Joanie says she 'respects people who look good more than people who look like slobs,' and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Here we share her thoughts on glamour - and remind ourselves that with a little bit of discipline, everyone can look and feel their best:

1. Slap on the eyeliner, apply a little bit of lipstick and hold your head up high.
2. Invest in a black leather jacket, JC says every woman should own one.
3. Spend time shopping for a good capsule wardrobe. It doesn't have to cost a fortune - even Joanie shops at Primark.
4. Beware - once you get glamour it's like a drug!

1. Think that a bar of soap, a razor and a bottle of shampoo maketh a decent beauty regime.
2. Opt for poker straight hair if you've got a round face.
3. Never ever wear tight white, peep hole trousers.
4. And always remember... only sheep wear fleece.

Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Fashion Dilemna: Ankle v Knee Boots

Ever since The Guardian's Jess Cartner-Morley declared, 'The knee boot dead in the water,' and, 'The safe easy choice: what yummy mummies wear at the school gates,' That's Not My Age has been in a terrible sartorial quandary. What to wear if the trusty old knee boots have passed their sell-by-date, thigh-high Prada waders are out of the question and platform shoeboots remind you of Victoria Beckham playing ball on her first week in LA? Much as I'd like to 'take a tough-luxe approach' with this gorgeous Burberry Prorsum ankle boot, I can only imagine doing so whilst sitting at a desk. Tottering down the street like an old drunk might be tough but it certainly isn't luxe. And even if I could afford to splurge, net-a-porter have completely sold out anyway. Not wanting to look mumsy or safe, That's Not My Age tried on both knee and ankle boots (APC from a couple of years ago), bravely decided Jess C-M was right, and went off to work feeling very autumn/winter 09. Yes, this week I've given knee-highs the boot!

What do you think?

Fashion tip: Clever Hollywood designer Adrian, used to raise the waist of Norma Shearer's skirts to give the illusion of longer legs - so, try a slightly shorter skirt to offset the effect of flat ankle boots, or opt for low-ish heel as in this M&S image.

Photo: Burberry Prorsum leather boot from Net-a-Porter, model shot: M&S Indigo Collection

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Hacienda: How not to run a club by Peter Hook

When That's Not My Age was a Bright Young Thing, not much older than Tavi, the Hacienda felt like home. The club on Whitworth Street Manchester, designed by Ben Kelly and funded by Factory Records and New Order was where TNMA grew up. Many a drunken night was spent watching gigs and staggering up and down the stairs, from the Gay Traitor bar to the dance floor. And now, thanks to Peter Hook's witty memoir, those crazy hazy, early eighties nights (pre-Facebook, mobile phones and cheap cameras) are back in focus.

The best quote in the book has to be Tony Wilson's, 'About three years after we opened the club, we realised that everybody in Manchester was getting free drinks - except for the people who actually owned it.' So true Tony, so true. A friend 'E' worked behind the bar and often hurriedly shoved bottles of Pils into my hands free of charge, thank you very much. One night, 'E' was on his break and we were swinging each other round on the dance floor (students on free beer, remember!) a bouncer grabbed us both and tried to show us the warehouse door. 'But I work here!' shrieked 'E'.... how not to get thrown out of the greatest nightclub ever.

And so to last night. Hooky's London book signing was a chance to reminisce, re-visit those teenage years and ask the 53 year old DJ a couple of brief, age-related questions (and it was a brief encounter, the queue of 40-something blokes snaked all around the shop and down the stairs).

TNMA: 'Thank you for writing this book - I grew up at the Hacienda, and it's reminded me of all those gigs I'd forgotten I went to.'

Hooky: 'Ha ...someone who went to the Hacienda and can't remember things, you're not alone!'

TNMA: 'What record would you play at a 40th birthday party?'

Hooky:'You've Got The Love. Yeah, it's got to be You Got The Love'
(Candi Staton tune often played at The Hac)

TNMA: ' Have all those years playing guitar at knee level had an effect as you've got older?'

Hooky: 'It has. I've got a trapped nerve. It's very bad, actually.'

Let that be a warning to all the hip, young guitar slingers out there - and then Hooky signed my booky and that was that. The End: No Funk.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bruce Weber: Hollywood Memories

Blimey, time flies by and all that... a new edition of Arena Homme + has hit the shelves and I haven't even got round to blogging about the last one! Or maybe I can just pretend I'm fashionably late. Whatever. I just wanted to say a big three cheers to Bruce Weber and his gorgeous, glamorous Hollywood Memories photographs.

Who he's met, what they did and why he loved them....

'Jimmy Scott was a singer who could give Billie Holiday a run for her money.'

Dave Brubeck; 'The first jazz record I ever bought was Dave Brubeck Quartet's 'Take Five.'

Paul Jasmin (professor of photography); ' I have to stand in a long line when I say I'm in love with Paul..his book about Los Angeles are prized possessions.'

David Hockney;' Everywhere around his house were his paintings, sketches and drawings of people from the past, present and future. I think he had a schoolboy crush on all of them.' Whilst we're on the subject of Hockney, we'd like to draw your attention to a fabulous post on Mr Peacock Style.

Helmut Newton;' He was like a dad to a photographer it's always good to have a guardian angel.'

Robert Mitchum; 'Bob's history in Hollywood is one of a wild man. The guy I got to know was well read, had a good sense of humour and was loyal.'

Robert Altman; ' He was old school and hip at the same time.'

Monday, 5 October 2009

Style icon: Hilary Alexander

Brightening up our day, the hugely talented and ever-so lovely Hilary Alexander. Always a friendly face in the fashion crowd, when we bumped into Hil, she was wearing a fabulous New Look fringed jacket, Monsoon top, Toast skirt and necklace from Morocco. High street meets High Atlas, we like.

Photo: Dvora

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Road Test: Patterned Tights

Forget 'mantyhose,' that's so last week - now that the barbecue summer has finally fizzled out we turn our thoughts to a bit of autumn leg coverage. And with Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs showing patterned tights on their A/W 09 catwalks, we decided it's time to channel our inner Mary Quant...with a little help (and some free tights!) from Charnos:

Adrienne Wyper, from, in luxury cotton diamond tights

Adrienne says:
'Having looked at the six leg shapes identified, I reckon I'm 'wine glass' although probably without the 'amazing ankles! I loved the high relief of the luxury cotton diamond pattern tights I tried on. The detailed texture of the yarn looks much more high-end than a simple criss-cross, and reminded me of open-weave basketwork. The colour was a deep, warm plum, sitting happily in autumn's palette of purples, so they're going to get a lot of wear!'

That's Not My Age standing on the bed in checked 'fashion' tights

That's Not My Age says:
'Ooh, I'm a showgirl and 'Lessons in Legs' says I can afford to be daring - but fishnets for day? I don't think so. Instead I opted for a pair of checkerboard tights, which looked like houndstooth in the packet but once the white cardboard was removed (from inside the leg), were not quite so er, daring. Think I'll stick to opaques - not much of a showgirl, eh?

The verdict:
Patterned tights are a good thing. They act like camouflage, break up the silhouette and give people something to look at other than the shape of your legs. They also add a bit of oomph to an outfit, some wardrobe staples can be a little dull if not livened up with accessories. We also like Wolford's 'Twiggy' tights and Henry Holland's 'Colour Card' tights for Pretty Polly. Available from Tights Please. But if in doubt, opaques will do nicely - and whilst we're on the subject, can we just say we don't have a problem with Sarah Brown's choice of hosiery. Leave her legs alone!

Photos: The sixties picture does not belong to That's Not My Age and may be subject to copyright (we swiped it from Plain Jayne)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Fifty and thrifty

Ailsa Atherton, 56, is a special needs art teacher. Everything she's wearing is from a charity shop - apart from the recycled ring pull bag which was a present from her husband.

Marco Vicinanza, 51, is from Milan. His leather jacket and jeans are from Uniqlo.

Photos: Stephanie Rushton