It feels so long ago now (it was wintry, in fact) when the caped Crusader & I went to the Rare press event and met Almina, who we became instant friends with. We were gushing so much over a pale pink rah rah skirt, like real petals, that she sent us each one! No strings attached, just because. And because we both fell in love with the collection, she knew we'd just have to gush about it.

But she did ask that we have an 'embargo' on the gorgeous clothes we saw that day, and not to post until a certain date, because she promised someone exclusivity. We respected her wishes and soon as it was lifted, Jen did a great post on it, better than anything I could write, so just READ HERS PLEASE. Besides, you can view, and purchase, on their new 'rare opulence' site.

What I find fascinating is how women, clothing, and flowers, are so intrinsically linked. I wonder: when did that start, does anyone know? Ballerinas in skirts just like beautiful flowers.. does it go back to cave days? I mean, Wilma and Betty's leopard print frocks are a bit.. rah rah, don't you think?

What has suddenly brought this into the mainstream, made this accessible, I feel, is technology. Ironic, as technology seems the opposite of nature. Almina said the designer had wanted to do this line ten years ago, but it took this long for laser technology to be ready for her ideas. The details are amazing, especially for the prices.

I know other excellent brands are doing this, affordably, and people were freaking out when, say, H&M's bolero jacket sold out, but trust me: these are just, if not more, beautiful, and besides.. (sorry I can't help myself) they're Rarer.

This is the before shot. It was from our friends' Bob & Karen's wedding, in Connecticutt.. I think my friend Lisa, the original 'Polka Dot' - it was my nickname for her - took it. I was wearing the future Mr. Dot's jacket cause I was cold, over a kind of long two piece 'shirtwaist' nude silk dress that I'd bought not knowing my good friend Barbara's old sister had designed it!

This was a million years and another lifetime ago, and altho I've long since given the dress away, it's funny that I still have the real alligator pumps (bought vintage: my then boyfriend's gay brother and their mum haggled it down on the 25th street NYC fair from $25 to $20 - humiliating! but then again, they were all Texan millionaires and that's their idea of good fun). And unless those are my long lost favourite Vuarnet sunglasses, I do believe they're the same Ray Bans I still wear. And the hair.. my I'm dull, style wise.

Flowers, and colouring, added by Mother Nature, in photoshop. I did it a few years ago, actually, but my taste in these kind of colours hasn't changed. And I hope my love of floral concepts in clothing will never wane. It's a bit of a long winded post, but in light of tomorrow's May Day, it feels only fitting.

Any fun plans for the weekend? We're staying in town, more or less, but tomorrow I'm looking forward to going to Oxford, and seeing if they really do anything wacky for May Day. So if you're Oxford-centric, watch out: you, too, could be dotted.

Oh btw: I'm giving everyone til midnight tomorrow to choose the First Annual Polka Dot Princess of the May Pole, so you can still vote on 'you've been dotted': just go to fan photos and click 'like' on the ones you.. like.


stars and stripes

Emily, being such a star, in another look from our American Apparel shoot last week in Carnaby Street ('together we have a voice').

Together, we do. And we can now use this voice for.. oh, endless possibilities. Thank every single one of you who posted, tweeted, commented, spread the word.. if I haven't personally commented on your blogs on the post you did, apologies: I will. Or please comment again and let me know.

To think: this wasn't even for any particular 'reason' or benefit to you, yet you all got it about our collective voice, and the potential in that. That kind of support.. I'm like an elephant, frankly. I never forget.

Emily is wearing red and black dress by American Apparel, striped leggings, too, and the cardigan and shoes, model's own.

may day! may day!

Is it just me: this spring I'm just blown away by the flowers!! Mr. Dot said it's because we had such a cold and rainy few months, but there is just this explosion right now (and it's also making me really sleepy: hay fever). So, I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of May Day, which is this Saturday.

Why have we (globally) stopped celebrating it? If you have a moment, check out the wikipedia definition. How did a pre-Christian, 'pagan', possibly Roman celebration of the goddess Flora (for flowers) somehow morph into the pedestrian, rather masculine (but no less important) Labour Day in many countries?

How did the Maypole somehow transform into pole dancing? How did 'May Day' become synonymous with war, and danger?

Let's bring it back! This saturday, let's dance! Barefoot. Outdoors. And to celebrate, I vow to virtually crown one lucky girl Polka Dot Princess of the Maypole, and perhaps, for the runner up, a role of Attendant. It's not too late: just join my new facebook club, you've been dotted, and follow the easy steps. You don't have to upload your own photo if you're feeling sqeamish about it, just 'like' the ones you do. You can 'like' them all: I do.

Thank you for your lovely comments on yesterday's love love love post (well, thank you all always for your comments, it makes my day, even when it's not May Day). Oh and when I posted this, Mr. Dot said 'you're using those girls a lot, Jill' but they're my Muses. Some of my Muses. Everyone I meet and Dot becomes, in a sense, a Muse. You all inspire me!! xox


love, love, love

This was pretty surreal.. was with my husband (the infamous Mr. Dot) in Hyde Park recently, by the Serpentine. Shot this couple who were next to us, then turned around, facing the water, and saw this couple going by:

I can't describe how much it moved me. This beautiful sunny day, children running around, couples falling in love.. the dignity, and the dedication, and the love, that I felt coming from these two. They had such grace and yes, such style, as they moved slowly in front of my view. In the water, couples in boats, moving among the swans, having their own private drama.. choosing partners.. you know, they mate for life. Swans.

Then I turned around and saw these two again. I didn't see who put the shawl on her, but I like to think that he did, while she slept. The sequence of images gave new meaning, for me, to the phrase 'in sickness and in health...'

My wish for you today, no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, that you a) love someone and b) that you, and the object of your love, are both in good health. (I want to add: not everyone needs to be coupled up all the time. There are lots of ways we can love people: friends, family.. and we can love more than one person. As long as we love AT LEAST one person).

The rest is just frosting on the cupcake.

can't stop wearing my breton top

I like to think I'm my own person, I'm not a slave to fashion, I don't blindly follow every trend like a sheep. In fact, in the past year, I'm thrilled to bits to see that many of my own quirky things that I've always done (ankle socks with girly shoes or sandals, bare bony knees, etc etc) are all now becoming trends. Alexa Chung reminds me so much of a younger me, it's scary.

But this Breton top thing.. I don't care that everyone is wearing it. I've had a thick one for years - and a few years ago bought striped tees from the Gap in three colours, but when I passed a Zara a few weeks ago, on impulse, I bought one really cheap (ten quid) and have been wearing it non stop.

The other day, I asked Mr. Dot to shoot my nails in our wonderful secret garden (we belong to a garden square, it's sunk in and beautiful) because I wanted to show you my other current obsession: blending nail polish. I've discovered that by adding a surprisingly few drops of a very inky navy blue colour (which I can't wear because I look like a cadaver), to peachy pink, it turns a wonderful metallic greyish blue. Someone was saying recently that her theory why we're loving nail polish lately is she feels her hands are ugly and that makes them prettier. Looking at these photos, my hands and wrists look so old: veiny & weird, but they always did, even as a kid, and I just love coloured nails because.. I don't know why! It's just fun.

I've been (how sad is this) struggling to come up with a name for the colour (like griege, which is grey and beige, this is grey and blue, but grue doesn't do it for me) so I've decided to call it Breton Blue. And the process of blending polish, or VARNISH as you call it.. I've dubbed it BLENDISHING. You've read it here first, kittens!

The weird thing about this Breton thing is, I don't at all mind that everyone is wearing it. It's ironic it's become synonymous with Chanel, because she just adopted it from sailors (as anyone who's seen the film knows). I don't believe she used the stripe in her couture clothes: that was later, that the Chanel brand took ownership of the meme, like they have recently with clogs, or turquoise nail varnish. Anyway, at some point, I'm sure I'll get bored with the fad, but for now.. I'm riding out this fashion wave for as long as I feel like it. I kind of like seeing everyone in the shirt: it's like we're part of a club.

Oh!! Must thank you for your response to the First Annual Polka Dot Princess of the Maypole Competition (previous post: vote on You've Been Dotted). It runs til Sunday but I don't want to push you, Polka Dots. I, personally, am not competitive by nature, so I can understand if you don't want to enter. But definitely vote! Remember: like the elections here next Thursday, every vote counts.


are you competitive?

FINALLY got in the pool (indoors), after a great yoga class. I do my best thinking in the water, and this is what came to me:
Now that I've started (properly) my new facebook Polka Dot club, what we need is a competition. And then it hit me: May Day is coming up!

We need a Polka Dot May Day Queen of the Maypole. Or rather, a Princess. A Polka Dot Princess of the May Pole.

Here's how it would work:

1: Go to facebook and join you've been dotted.

2. In photos > fans photos > upload a photo of yourself, if you're not averse to a bit of competition, or a friend or family member you feel is stylish. (remember: this is NOT a beauty contest: this is about style. And if you don't know the difference by now, what are you doing even reading this blog?)

3. Tag yourself (if it's you) or your friend. In the label, please identify them - first name is fine. Long as we can find them. If you want to source the clothes, that's great, but optional.

3. Vote for anyone you like in any of the photos, by 'liking' them. You can vote more than once, you can vote for everyone, but alas facebook won't let you vote more than once. So spread the word for your favourite candidate.

I guess it's not a competition without a prize. The winner - which will be chosen on Sunday - will get a genuine Polka Dot photo shoot if you're in London, with an interview: I'll do a Polka Dot Maypole Princess Post. If you can't get into London, we'll do it as a phone in (or online) interview and you can send the shots. Either way you'll also get a link to your blog (if you blog) on the side. I'm also toying with the idea of other little prizes, like a custom made limited edition Polka Dot special blend nail polish (yeah, I've got a little chemistry lab going on here) but I'm also to other suggestions.

Which leads me back to the original topic: are you competitive? There is so much I want to say on the subject - I'm fascinated with our (female) collective love/hate relationship with competition (especially, with the element of competition that sometimes underlies our friendships) - but I've got to skeedattle over to the V&A to meet my lovely friend Natalya, of 'treasures of a laydbug', who I actually met near home last fall, simply by dotting her!

Even if this isn't your thing, please spread the word. How pathetic a loser would I look if I made all this hoo-hah and nobody played. Smile: You've Been Dotted.

(p.s. you might recognise: this is Georgie and Estelle, from our photo shoot last October, wearing clothes by the stylist/student who organised this: dresses by someone or other, and furs from both her grandmothers).


the complete is more than the sum of its pieces

I am typing this with my left hand in hot pink and my right hand in bright orange.

This is a colour combination I've been wearing since... oh at least 1998, when I first went to Spain. Once it gets warm, and my skin gets tan, chances are one of my feet will have pink toenails, and the other, orange.

These are my friends, Maria and Izzy. They are gorgeous girls, and really, really nice. And smart. And polite. And creative. And they just happened to be wearing pink and orange recently (yes, this is recently: the weather here is daft: daffs and snorkel coats, no wonder the British talk about the weather so much: it's just so freaking unpredictable). And don't even get me started on the Ash Cloud!

I do a bit of screenwriting from time to time, and that whole concept would never pass the first draft. I keep thinking 'how would I explain this to someone from another planet?' or, someone who just woke from a coma. I almost wish I could FIND someone who was in a coma all last week, just so I could tell them how a volcano in Iceland - that no one could see - could so majorly screw everything up.

I was also thinking about colour (I think about colour a lot) and how I love these colours together more than I like each colour separately. Like with yellow: I just like it more mixed with a lot of neutrals, and some pink.. I think of the colours at a bullfight: the brown of the bull, the unique ochre of the sand, the hot pinks and yellows and oranges of the picadors and matador.. and some black. Or, in this case, the unexpected twist of navy.

So, curious, I looked into that quote: the sum of the parts. ("The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.") Actually, it's a rough translation of the Greek, which is: "The complete is more than the sum of its pieces." Which is so wacky, I'm going to leave it there.

Thank you for coming here and visiting, for your lovely comments, for doing the most amazing thing and posting Emily's photo in the American Apparel riding pants.. I am just blown away by your support. I've just started a facebook club, please join it (sorry, LIKE it ; ) you've been dotted. I'm hoping it can become a more democratic way to see the amazing style icons round the world. Please contribute: your own images, or friends whose style you like.

Oh Izzy is moving home this week, so I'm posting this to make her smile. Thankfully, she's still based in London (they sound French but they're actually Bavarian/Hungarian: they're pretty global, those two). I love her spirit, not to mention, her style. And oh, did I mention? She's also a brilliant writer (brains + beauty ONCE AGAIN). Check out her blog: the Princess Diaries.


oasis of vague

Last Saturday, Kaz of style my wardrobe was in the area while we were with our friend Angus in the park, so I said, come on over. What did we ever do before cell phones? It was a hilarious series of calls and texts with things like 'which tree' and 'I see water but I don't see you' but she did eventually find me: just in time for us all to have to go.

Just as we left, I saw this pretty, and very very nice girl, walking home from work at Oasis (hence, being dressed this way: everything is from them, obviously). She sounded like she might be originally from somewhere else: Russia, perhaps? Or Poland? She was just so so sweet. She has a bit of a young Cameron Diaz thing going, don't you think?

This is why I need the facebook club (you've been dotted): I gave her my card, but I didn't jot down her name, and now I can't recall it at all, and now how will she know she's been dotted?! If she knew about the facebook thing, I could post it and someone could tag her.. I'm going to post this on it anyway. You never know. Once, I couldn't find someone and her MOM contacted me! Actually, twice. Once was a really cute policeman, CJ, in Southampton (NY, that is, not UK): 'just the facts, ma'am'.

I chose this shot, incidentally, because I love the way the Serpentine Cafe in the background looks like fabulous giant earrings (or, they do to me). That cafe is amazing, by the way: it's new caterers, an Italian company who also do the V&A cafe. Amazing food & excellent coffee. Of course: they're Italian!

Last but not least: Kaz's nails. She wouldn't let me shoot her, altho I loved what she was wearing. She'd had her nails done at the Chanel press event, in Vague, of course, darling. I have a post stored up in my head about what Hedvig, who had them done with her, calls the Chanel effect.

But this is enough chit chat for one post: I'm off to watch the last few minutes of Antiques Roadshow with Mr. Dot, and paint my nails two different colours: one, my special blend steel blue grey, the other, a limited edition two year old turquoise quite similar to Vague, by Essie. It's ridiculous. When will I ever grow up already.

boyfriend jeans

It never ceases to amaze me: the British public, who are normally so averse to PDAs (public displays of affection) that they will literally flinch upon human contact (Mr. Dot's favourite catch phrase, with friends he's known forever, is 'don't touch me'), will go absolutely mental on the first sign of sunshine and warmth. Hence, if you live in a warm climate outside the United Kingdom, the seemingly bizarre behaviour of Brits on Holiday.

I, however, am American born and bred, and a fool for romance. I've been doing a kind of series on Love. Here, a couple who were unwittingly spotted and dotted as I ran past, one of the recent days we were hanging out in Hyde Park by the Serpentine.

Speaking of Dotted... I've moved my facebook 'club' to a new location: you've been dotted. So please spread the word. We're building a photo album of style shots round the world: definitely join, upload yourself or others, tag them, vote by 'liking' people's shots.. each week I want to do a dot icon post, but I want it to be democratic, chosen by you, dear Dots!

Meanwhile, no time to upload even the shots from Friday, sorry - more posts later - but the sun's coming out and so are we. In fact, this might just be a swimming day!!! Best kept secret: David Lloyd has branches outside London with heated outdoor pools. One of the best things we did was join that club.


snippets of shiny thoughts

Oh Friday, you ARE perfection.

I will be late for a string of plans today - it's GORGEOUS out - and I am so energized by yesterday's lunch with the 'girls.' The group of girls and women of all ages - as diverse as we are - is just, frankly, amazing. I couldn't stop thinking about it last night: it's what makes series like Friends or Sex & the City so popular: that fantasy, not about the perfect relationship, but about friendship with women without competition, agenda, or jealousy.. I mean, most, if not all, of us yesterday have great husbands or boyfriends, and yet what seems to bind us - besides our love of fashion, or being bloggers (or models) or, as we discovered, love of cooking and beautiful, good food - or we like the same tv shows - is this.. for lack of a better word: this generous spirit. Just a contagious joy to be alive, and excitement about the world. I get so energized from these amazing women.

Anyway, I'm typing this fast as I run out the door. Jen the Style Crusader has already done a wonderful post on the day - she's no slacker, she's uploaded her shots! - and I'm posting two she sent of me at the V&A (fair dues, I shot the ones of her & Hedvig, so it's like virtual posting: or, posting once removed).

Everything is borrowed today: I stole this title from the delightful Lucy's blog of the same name, borrowed the photos by Jen, dress from American Apparel.. and the thoughts, from everyone else. Well as the buddhists say (I"m paraphrasing) nothing is our own, nothing is permanent, let's just go out in the sunshine and have a party.



While on my way home from the most magic lunch that lasted til 5, Mr. Dot texted me that I had my 1000th follower! Maike. I tried clicking on her profile to write to her - maybe give her a little thank you gift - but my system crashed. Which is fitting, as I am, too.

Have you ever been so tired you can barely speak? That it almost hurts? Mr. Dot and I were just chilling out tonight. But then, I remembered.. I didn't post today! So this is Holly, who we met when we were having a coffee last weekend with a friend.

She was with her boyfriend. Something like Kyle.. nope. Not Kyle. Drawing a blank. I didn't write down his name, I didn't ask her where she got that simple but beautifully designed dress, or who made those cool boots, or whether she added the black leotard or if it's part of the dress (or even, if it's vintage Luella, which I suspect) and I didn't ask to see her tattoos, didn't photograph them up close, or even ask if the one on her right arm is of a bluebird, which is the cafe where we met her (Bluebird, that is: on the King's Road). All I know is she's originally from Virginia. I gave her my card so perhaps I'll hear from her. Or perhaps not.

Such a wonderful day! I wish I could tell you about it. But I simply can't. All I can say is: people are just constantly amazing me with their wonderfulness. And it only gets better.

What fabulous plans have you got up your sleeves for the weekend? Or are you looking forward to doing absolutely nothing at all?


happy earthday

Blown away by the response to yesterday's post. People never cease to amaze me: there didn't seem to be anything in it for you, and yet you did it because I asked. I'm so moved. We can all benefit if this works, you'll see. This is something that kind of came to me, and - for me, too - more will be revealed in time.

Meanwhile, in honour of Earth Day, I chose Andrea's shots to post, because she's so naturally beautiful (I love her skin, eyes, hair, smile, everything about this look) and because her boots are from the Natural Shoe Store. (Her sweet earth child dress is Kate Moss for Topshop, btw).

We met her and her boyfriend, Joel, in the park near the Serpentine, and because the light was being funny, I made her pose over and over and over. She just stood there dutifully yet cheerfully, under a tree. It was hard to choose because I liked so many, but I chose this one because it's got a rainbow! See?

Besides being Earth Day, it's Jennifer, the Style Crusader's, birthday! This is her getting a free hug. Why don't you go pay her a little blog visit, and give her your own, virtual hug. And have a delightful Earth Day, and many more Healthy Earth Days, to come.


together we have a voice

Can you keep a secret? God knows, I can't. And I've been keeping this since.. sometime in January.

After American Apparel asked me if I wanted to run their ad, I ran this idea by them, and they got it: take a girl off the street (in this case, Emily, who I spotted and dotted outside Topshop last November: 'emily's style'). I asked her to meet me at American Apparel's Carnaby Street shop yesterday, wearing whatever she wanted. I didn't want to know. She knew that we were doing this for free, but did it anyway. She's starting to do catwalk modeling, so I caught her just in time. I am so lucky, and so grateful!

This is how she looked when we met (not bad, obviously: this is not a make-over! I chose her because I feel she's a natural style icon: a DOt icon, if you will ; ) We then went 'shopping' - basically, tried on a few things. It's funny, the first thing she chose was their new riding pants (translation: trousers, not knickers), in black (I've got my eye on the same pair, in taupe). Oh and btw: if you want to buy these trousers, and click thru on the ad, I'll get a commission!

We shot her on the street, with everyone passing by (and countless guys clowning around, getting in the shots, leering, you name it). It was a quick thing. It was really hard to choose, you'll see more in time (and other looks: this one happened to be all black), but I just wanted you to have a taste.

Here's what I'd like you to do: Please use the top shot on your blog - just let me know when you do, by leaving a comment on this post. It's like being tagged, but you're basically tagging it forward. If you'd like, tell your friends. You can reduce the shot, write what you want.. I want to show American Apparel how much of a collective force we are.

Would you mind spreading the word? If you do, definitely comment with the link to your blog, so we can check your blog out.

Even if you don't have a blog: if you comment here that you saw this and like the trousers.. who knows? If enough of us pick them up they may let me do it again. And there could be ways we all can profit. I mean, let's face it: most of us who blog are already doing our bit, for free, for our favourite brands' PR. It's just a fine line, really. I want to do this as a series, shooting YOU: the Dot Icons on the street. Together, we can transform how advertising works.

Together, I passionately believe, we have a voice.

Emily's black riding pants are by American Apparel, ladylike big black purse is her mom's, lace body is similar to one also by AA, and everything else, model's own.

claire and her new puppy, pip

I was jumping into the tube at Gloucester Road yesterday, on my way to the Thing I Can't Wait to Tell You, when I saw Claire, with her cute little puppy, Pip. She was a great sport about a) letting me shoot her and b) trying to get Pip to pose, but, let's face it, it's really hard to teach a new puppy old tricks.

Claire is displaying perfectly, I feel, this season's Geek Chic. The essentials to every girl's wardrobe: cute little lemon pumps, boyfriend jeans casually cuffed up, fun tee, tomato cardigan, straw hat to keep that harsh sun off English rose skin, honey blond hair, big black geek glasses to only be worn if you're pretty to begin with, a proper lady's big black purse, and, small enough to fit inside, a cute little shiny black puppy.


oh, zuzanna

Zuzanna, in Hyde Park (you'd never know by this shot: it's the wall of the Serpentine Gallery). There's a story (there's always a story) but I"m flying out the door now. So you get just this one shot, kittens, and more, later.

All I can say is: shorts, shorts, shorts. Zuzanna's are vintage, by no one in particular.

So much to tell you! And show you! It will all have to wait, I'm afraid. Doing an experimental thing today that I feel will be potentially exciting for fashion bloggers everywhere. That's a rather grand statement but what can I say, I'm having a superlative day. So far. How about you? How's your day going?


into the sunset

Today in my inbox, from ASOS community was, among other things, an Ashish-inspired 'sequin sunset vest dress', below. (The above shot is one of mine, btw: A/W 2010).

I got so inspired that I pulled out some photos from our sailing trip to the Virgin Islands last February (when I missed what would have been my first London Fashion Week, incidentally), and, having some Fun with Photoshop, I produced this:

Then I realised that net a porter is currently selling the real deal.

So, okay, I've done the math. I could buy the Ashish dress today (below), from net-a-porter, for £1,070. Or, I could buy the ASOS Ashish-inspired dress, sans sleeves, for £85. Another way to look at it is, for £1070 I could buy 12.68 ASOS dresses.

That's a lot more sequins.

I wonder at what point technology made it possible to mass produce sequins. I mean, even for the Ashish dresses, they can't possibly be hand sewn, can they? The dresses are quite different, apart from the sequins and the sunset motif. I used to wear the style of the ASOS dress: fitted, same neck, but.. maybe it's back to the 'act your age' debate, but I find I'm not in a stage of my life right now where I'd be wearing that kind of 'pulling' dress. I prefer the loose feel of Ashish's original design, the sleeves, and the colours feel more sophisticated. I'm not normally a red person but I love it next to hot pink and orange. Everything, with colour, is relative.

Don't get me wrong: I adore Ashish, and I love ASOS: two opposite ends of the same spectrum. And ASOS aren't saying that Ashish designed that line, only inspired it. And I feel ASOS is a brilliant, absolutely brilliant brand, and I like how they think. It's like the print vs. online debate: I believe there is not just room, but a need, for both. And at the moment, I'm not buying either dress.

What I'd love (Ashish, are you reading this?) is a large turquoise Hawaiian shirt, like what he's shown on the S/S 2010 catwalk, but bigger: as a mini dress. In sequins. Failing that, I am looking for a vintage one. I just think it would be a gorgeous look, with black tights and heels for night, or leggings, or bare legged with brogues. I haven't seen anyone wear it yet but I am starting that trend. Right here, right now. I'm throwing down the gauntlet.

Your thoughts on the subject, as always, are most welcome. Thank you to net a porter, ASOS, me, Photoshop, the British Virgin Islands, and the British Fashion Council, for unwittingly giving me permission to make this post possible. But especially, thank you to Ashish. Your vision and your talent is so joyous, far reaching, and above all, inspiring.