21st December 2012
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that less than perfect presents happen. But is it ever ok to give an unwanted gift to someone else? Aka a ‘regift’
? Understandably some people are very strongly against it – it’s never a nice thought that something you put your heart and soul into choosing or making might be given away to someone else. But at this time of the year, when everyone is frantically trying to buy their loved ones (including your cousin’s new boyfriend you’ve only met once) gifts, regifting can for some be a (questionable and yet) completely necessary modus operandi. Maybe you were given something you would never in a million years use (and you don’t want it to sit unused or end up in landfill the next week), or perhaps you’ve run out of time to get everyone presents and are willing to forego the enjoyment of a good gift recieved in order to give it to someone else – regifting happens. And in defense of the giver, because of people’s different tastes, buying gifts can be incredibly difficult. Although I love giving (and recieving gifts), I’m sure there’ve been times when I’ve given someone a gift they were ‘meh’ about. But would I care if that gift was given away? On that I’m not entirely sure – I like to think my gifts are so amazing that no one would want take it out from under their pillow let alone give it away, but in reality this probably isn’t always the case.
We could discuss the moral issues all day if we wanted, but the reality is that it does happen. So if you have to do it this year, do it right:
Remove the evidence: Ok so this is the topic of lecture one, day one in Regifting 101 – if you plan on regifting, make sure you remove all traces of the person who gave it to you to start with. That means re-wrapping and a new card (duh!). Make sure you also check whether the original giver has left any little surprises for you within the gift – a sweet note amongst the pages of a book would have brought a smile to your face had you had a chance to read that Dan Brown novel, but will very much confuse the regiftee.
Social Media: It goes without saying that you should never regift to a person who knows the original giver. But these days it’s even more complicated. A few years ago you could have regifted an item to a friend twice removed from the original giver and have been fairly comfortable that the original giver would never have found out. But unfortunately due to social media, you never know if the regiftee will instagram/pin/facebook/weibo your regift with something along the lines of #thanksgeneva #bestfriendever #lovemynewhairclips, only to have the person who gave them to you originally see that post (naturally they follow each other on instagram but don’t one another) and be all #wtf #coincidenceithinknot and you’ll be pretty much be like #ohcrap. When in doubt, air on the side of caution in terms of your friend’s circles and if you have to, regift to people who are generally aren’t involved in the online world. That friend of yours who doesn’t believe in social media will be getting a pile of regifts this year won’t they?
Perishables: The problem with regifting is that it stays around like a bad smell, for years and years or until the item you regifted has been thrown away. The lifetime of that jewelry box is quite a long time, and you never know when the original giver and recipient number 2 might cross paths and put two and two together. ‘omg i love your jewelry box’ ‘thanks, geneva gave it to me’ ‘oh funny that i gave the same one to her’ ‘…..’. So when you’re looking around the house for something to give the surprise guest who just dropped in to give you your gift (wtf I didn’t know we were doing presents!), something perishable is always good for its short lifetime. Everyone loves getting flowers, wine and chocolates, and as a regift you’ll know that the evidence will be gone in a few days. But because perishables are so fresh in the givers mind (the aroma from the bunch of lilies having not left their car yet), once again be careful about who you give them to.
The more nondescript the better: Regifting someone a really amazing gift can be dangerous, because these sorts of presents are often the subject of conversation within groups of friends and at this point it’s possible to get caught out. ‘Omg did you hear about the gorgeous porcelaine jewelry cake stand that Vanessa gave to her work friend Lou? So Cute!’ ‘Hmmm no but it sounds mighty similar to the one I made for Vanessa’ ‘….’. So when regifting, stick to giving nice presents but not ones overly worth mentioning. A bottle of Bodyshop paw paw bath gel? Smells delicious and also something people are unlikely to discuss at length – you can put that down as a successful regift.
Keep it at home: Regifting any item that gets worn can be dangerous too – because there’s always the likelihood that the original giver sees the regiftee in the street and is like ‘those earrings are the same as the ones I gave geneva’ blah blah you get where I’m going here. But the issue is that more often that not people give jewelry and other wearable items without being sure of the taste of the receiver, and admittedly it’s hard to hit the nail on the head here, thus leading to lots of unwanted gift. Aunts, cousins and other people outside your circles should receive these pieces.
Lifetime of a gift: Never, ever attempt to give someone a gift they gave you last year. I’ve heard of this happening (not naming any names) where the receiver held onto an unwanted gift and regifted it the next year, only to regift to the original giver. Biggest faux pas possible.
So we’ve established that regifting happens and how to do it properly. And now I’d love to hear your thoughts! Is regifting modern day necessity or an act of laziness? Feel free to post anonymously and tell me about times you might have regifted/had your present regifted/received a regifted item.
19th November 2012
Being a collector of one item in multiples seems to be a dying art, it seems everyone’s grandma had a collection of painted plates, or dolls or lace doilies, but these days it’s rare. For me, nothing is more rewarding than collecting special pieces from your everyday, and not so everyday, travels – sentimental items that have a story and mean the world to you. Sadly, having lived overseas for the last five years one of the things that I’ve missed is the ability to keep all the precious pieces I find. I left London two years ago with only two suitcases – my total takings from 3 years of living in the UK. Luckily my collection of postcards from my travels (complete with blurbs on the back of the things we did and what we saw) didn’t take up too much room. I recently helped a friend unpack her new house and was in awe, and admittedly slightly jealous, of her much larger collections. In the last few years she’s kept all her used perfume bottles, horded Vogue magazines and collected mountains of Lonely Planet guidebooks. It would be wrong to suggest that it’s the things you have that make your life complete, but these little bits and pieces around her apartment speak of a life of travel, a little bit of fashion and her always smelling delicious. Luckily I’ve already put dibbs on my parents National Geographic collection (complete from the early 70s!).
Are you interested in collecting? Or have you already got a collection of your own? I spoke to a few people with amazing collections (including my great aunt!) who helped put together these tips.
How to become a collector
1. Things you’ve done vs. things you bought – To me, the best types of collections are made of up pieces that represent something you’ve done, like a place you’ve been or an experience you’ve had. I guess that’s why I love collections made up of pieces from people’s travels – my mum collects small coloured pebbles from beaches she’s visited, from New Zealand to Argentina. Sure, you could call my shoes a collection of sorts, and indeed many people collect fashion like others collect art, but to me they’re more something I’ve bought that don’t have a huge amount of extra meaning other than looking good and protecting my feet from glass.
2. Don’t force it – Your interest in collecting a particular item should come naturally, so when thinking about what you want to collect, consider the things you already own, the things you are drawn to and the things you cherish the most. These will be easiest to build on.
3. Limit Yourself – Hone in on one of two items to collect so that you can focus on quality and uniqueness rather than collecting everything.
4. Make sure you have enough space - Living in a small apartment in Hong Kong isn’t conducive to me collecting bulky items, and even collecting magazines can be a pain when you move house every 12 months or so. So think about space when you start collecting.
5. Think about display – The best thing about having a beautiful collection (put together with your own blood sweat and tears) is how you can tie it into your house so you can look at it everyday (instead of it languishing in a garage). So when you start collecting, think about how you will display it. My friend who also collects postcards said that one day she wants to have a long table with a piece of glass over the top and her postcards from all over the world made into a collage covering the table under the glass.
6. Pick something you can afford – This one probably goes without saying but unless you’re rolling in dosh you’re probably not going to start collecting vintage Chanel handbags, so pick something that’s not going to overload your credit card.
7. Choose something out of the ordinary – You don’t have to collect stamps, postcards or magazines just because other people do, choose something unique and different that represents you – you could collect egg cups, sharks teeth, alarm clocks, festival posters, ladders, rejected photos from photobooths (thanks Amelie!), vintage erotic playing cards – anything you want!
8. Collecting vs hoarding - I’m guessing most of you have seen the show ‘hoarders’, if you’re not careful or picky that could be you. So don’t buy or keep everything you see, pick items for your collection carefully so they are special and important to you.
9. Commit to your collection - people with amazing collections have worked hard to get it that way, I know for a fact that my friend crossed swords with her parents and her partner about keeping her huge collection of magazines, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
10. Or you could… Lack the drive or concentration to start a collection from scratch? Head to an estate sale and pick up someone else’s collection (vintage teaspoons anyone?).
Here are some pics of my favourite collections, including vintage cameras, magazines, rocks, sunglasses, baseballs and heaps more!
Are you a collector or do you know any? Do you have any tips or rules for collecting? I would love to hear and also find out what you collect!
Images: here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here / here
30th October 2012
Wondering what to do with that leftover fabric when you’re done making a skirt or dress? Why not make a matching clutch bag like I’ve done here, to wear on it’s own or as part of a sartorially forward thinking (or questionable) ensemble? Follow my instructions here
on how to make a clutch bag, it’s as simple as one two three. Hola invisi-bag in the first picture – you can barely tell it’s there! Perfect for stashing your hipflash or other questionable necessities.
Wearing: Outfit 1 – DIY clutch, pink and white dress my own design, Coach watch, Plukka Glamorai ring. (I wore this outfit to The Sartorialist’s book launch in New York – a touch too much pink for downton me thinks…)
What do you think? Is matchy-matchy too much or would you totally rock an invisi-bag?