White Out Part II

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"Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual – the kind who is comfortable "putting himself out there".

But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly.  Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions ‚Äì from the theory of evolution to Van Gogh's sunflowers to the personal computer ‚Äì came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there."

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The quotes above are from an article by Susan Cain who has just come out with a book called "Quiet: The Power of introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" (out in the UK on the 29th March), which I have nearly finished devouring.  Cain's TED talk also further strengthens her case for the quiet, the contemplative and those that feel reproached for feeling this way.  Without wanting to delve into an emo-heavy spiel about relating to Cain's words, all I can say is that I found myself nodding quite vigorously with each page.  I don't subscribe to self-help through text and although there are faint tones of life-coaching in the book, the overall message is that "deploying the powers of quiet" and using "soft power" may just get us further in this world than shouting out from the roof tops and giving stellar boardroom presentations.  

I know. Says the girl who puts herself out there on a fashion blog and has in effect been self-promoting through an online for the past six years.  You might be chortling right about now.  Still, it's my own perspective that Style Bubble has been part-therapy, part-relief for someone like me, who as Cain describes in her tome, found myself cripplingly uncomfortable in social situations and spent my formative years wondering whether wanting to be by myself all the time was abnormal and whether it was going to kill career prospects.    

Now how to work a pithy non-descriptive review of what is in fact a heavy weight, potentially life-changing book?  Oh, I know!  Talk up its beautiful aesthetics and link it back to FAS-WAN!!  After winter's white out, and in contrast to last week's rainbow bonanza, I'm due for another dose of white.  It just so happens to tie in with Cain's book landing on my desk.  What I appreciate most about her book is that her definition of introverts isn't concrete or damning.  They're not necessarily hermits nor are they painfully shy.  Likewise, I may express myself outwardly through what I wear but this doesn't necessarily mean I'm as in yer' face or bolshy as my multitude of colours and prints suggest.  

In this second installment of the white out, I'm equipped with a few protective elements to shield me from small talk and social natter, namely my headphones that are as bright as you find just to make it clear that I'm plugged in to another world.  Then there are the pre-requisite shades and a sturdy big bag to hold other devices to turn to if I'm not up for chit-chat (Kindle, MacBook Air, books, The New Yorker).  Everything else is of course a purely aesthetic proposition, that conveniently matches up with the smooth uninterupted surface of Cain's book cover.  Fortunately, there's a lot more to recommend from this book that goes beyond the cover.  Introvert or not, there's a lot to glean from Cain's words at a time when power in the more traditional sense doesn't seem to be working anymore.  

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(Wearing Molami Twine headphones in white and gold, Illesteva Leonard sunglasses, Comme des Garcons sequinned tuxedo demi-jacket, Hussein Chalayan white twisted jacket, Uniqlo heat tech poloneck, Balenciaga white patent button down skirt, Simone Rocha wedges, 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli in Polished White)

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(From top to bottom: Holga 135BC, Apple adaptor plug, Chanel lip balm UrbanEars white headphones, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain, SanDisk ImageMate card reader, Illesteva Leonard sunglasses, Balenciaga Paris Purse Spray, Panasonic DMC-LX5, Apple iPhone 4S, 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli in Polished White)

Bicester Catch Up

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>> I couldn't make it to the launch of the new British Designers Collective at Bicester Village last week so I went on a spare Sunday to do right by my inner journalistic purpose and cover what is in fact a great initiative in the scheme of discount fashion shopping.  It's got NOTHING to do with the fact that I love a good outlet mall, especially one that has a Le Creuset shop or the fact that I wanted to go and stalk Prada to see if there's still any S/S 10 postcard print stuff.  No, not at all… *cough*

If I did make the British Designers Collective store my primary motive for heading up to Bicester, that wouldn't be too shabby at all.  The shop fit this time round is more ambitious and in the stretch of outlet stores really stands out with its astro-turfed exterior and pop-baroque aesthetic.  

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The offerings from the previous two British Designers Collective store have been expanded upon and now there are more designers taking part, covering shoes, accessories as well as clothes.  If you're not in London, fiendishly hawk-eyeing all the sample sales and you're visiting the country, you could do a lot worse than bagging a few past season pieces from the British Designers Collective at up to 60% off with the bonus of being able to try them on (unlike say TheOutnet.com or Yoox.com).  Just a quick perusal yields the following…

…Nicholas Kirkwood shoes (not the boring styles either)… 

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Jonathan Saunders' deliciously juicy knitwear // Lulu & Co. pieces including this Louise Gray MA collection dress that is my go-to party frock

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Peter Pilotto's S/S 11 shattered prism prints // Holly Fulton bling/fun jewellery 

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Other jewellery notable mentions include this Erickson Beamon ring that looks like it's glowing in daylight… 

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… and quite a few Mawi pieces that are recognisable by a mile away… 

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Holly Fulton's smoky deco prints are also up for grabs… 

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…as well as Marios Schwab's pearl-encrusted frocks… 

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… and Emma Cook's animal-inspired prints in muted shades.  

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The biggest surprise were these Osman pieces from his A/W 11-12 collection which feature a really beautiful stitched matelass√© in vibrant shades of orange and red.  I was particularly taken with the wide legged trousers that would work nicely with my fixation with this pic of the Brady Bunch, circa 1977.  

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Another new face to the Bicester scene is Charlotte Olympia popping up with its own outlet store.  Fruit pumps at 50% off which is still isn't cheap but we are talking about a fruit bowl incarnated in shoe form. 

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In other Bicester news: Prada S/S 11 faux fur stole in Muppets orange and turquoise SPOTTED for ¬£120, Celine's S/S 11 scarf print pieces are in stock and in abundance but still hideously expensive, Marni outlet store punching its weight above the rest in terms of prices, Church's outlet store is about to open and it looks like I'm going to be spending a lot of money at Bon Point, with friends and family members having buns in their ovens.  Bicester report over and out.