Tag Archives: fashion

I <3 Marks & Sparks

You know. I like to think I’m somewhat conscious consumer. I buy what I use and think about the ethical consequences, within my own means of course. But I do appreciate good business too. I can much easier justify spending money on clothes and support textile industry because the materials for those you can re-grow over and over again, where as for smartphones…Once the metallic is dug up, it’s not replenishing itself.

This same goes for all kinds of packaging. I like well designed packaging and I think ALL the packaging in the world should be designed well. Once you use any kind of natural resource, you should use it the best possible way and the sum of all the parts should always be bigger than the basic cost! Nice surroundings and things create nice people.

With these thoughts…Let me tell you how excited I am about MARKS & SPENCER OPENING THEIR FIRST STORE IN FINLAND!!!

Note: This is not an advertisement. I haven’t received any compensation from M&S. I’m just a huge fan of British high street.

marks & spencer helsinki

Last Saturday, after the demonstration against #TTIP (yes, I’m aware of the irony but ethics and business are not mutually exclusive things), I bumped into a friend of mine and convinced him to accompany me to the newly opened store. (I had a good reason for this. I knew I was going to get all kinds of fashion fan-girly embarrassing once in the store. Needed support and backup).

My swooning started already at the entrance. The huge bouquet and dim lighting immediately gave me a feeling of luxury. Me? A luxury buyer? Yes! Please! Butter me up! Butter me up!

marks & spencer Helsinki

The ground floor has the more expensive (still reasonably priced) M&S- brands like Autograph and Per Una. I kept bouncing from one display to one another because I loved every single outfit. This orange coat with the plaid dress with electric blue highlights is a perfect example of everyday luxury that just oozes confidence, style and good taste. And oh glorious…I checked the dress on the hanger and there seems to plenty of room for hips & butt. Praise the English and their pear-shaped lower bodies. Now in Finland!

marks & spencer Helsinki, footwear

The British have perfected the smart casual office style. Even the shoes have details that make sensible shoes cute and sexy. And the price point…I found black ballerinas, leather, with those hidden heels that make ballerinas good shoes instead flat, feet killers for 60 euros! SIXTY EUROS! Usually I have to pay over 100 for them.

M&S has four floors and they are shared with the Finnish department store Sokos. However it’s clear what’s M&S-space and what’s not. There’s signage and of course the presentation is much more well thought:

MarksSparks4

I took a separate tour to the Sokos-side so I could get a full shot of this:

marks & spencer Helsinki

Me and my friend just kept nodding and repeating “they know how to sell, they know how to sell”. Even the music supports this. Very cool, very danceable and very, very selling. It was the kind of music that makes you want you to put your best face and clothes on and go out. M&S (and H&M among others) gets it. Even if I’m buying period panties, I don’t want to think that I HAVE to buy something. I want to want it.

Even the men’s wear department got me all excited.I mean, look at this display:

marks & spencer Helsinki, men's wear

If a guy wearing any of those looks, smelling really good came to me and said even so much a hello, I would put out. Yes, I said it because it needs to be said. A smartly dressed man is same to a woman as a half-naked woman is to a man. Suit catalogs are porno for women.

I have a feeling a lot of men in Helsinki will be finding Marks & Spencer-clothing in their Christmas-socks. Men, if you do, take the hint.

Anyhoo, on the same floor is also a small food section. It mainly has biscuits, candies and other packed snack foods. Do I even need to tell you my excitement level here? If you, like me, are package enthusiast, you love this section. Every single thing in here is such that you can give it as a gift. Even if it’s cheap, the packaging itself makes it a special and more thoughtful gift than, let’s say a TV-mix, from a regular store. Bonus is that you get the fantastic shopping experience.

I bought some chocolate covered honeycomb crunch thingies. Delicious. I joked with the sales assistant that this was my breaking point. After buying this one thing, I won’t be able to stop shopping there :D

My only negative thought is that M&S was brought to Finland by S-Group. S-Group is one of the two chains that control 80% of Finland’s food retail (and presumably a lot of other retail too since they own any kind of retail chain possible), so M&S is not really new competition. That also probably prevents them from opening a full scale M&S food retail space because S-Group wouldn’t want anyone new on their turf. Although the basement of the building where M&S now resides, already has a grocery store and the space would be perfect for M&S.

What comes to the fashion retail, I think the biggest blow will be for Stockmann (that’s the “better” department store in Helsinki). Their clients are more international and they have learned to shop at M&S when abroad. M&S clothes are also better priced and like I said, feel very luxurious. But then again, M&S brought much needed newness to the Helsinki- fashion and shopping scene and could bring everyone’s sales up. From an artistic and designer’s point of view, it’ fantastic have a place where I can get international inspiration. Patterns, cuts, displays…Hopefully an endless treasure trove.

Edited to add: The opening hours Mon-Fri 9-21, Sat 9-18, Sun 12-18

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. When I got to the lingerie department, the first thing I asked from the manager was that do you have the multi-packs? They did:

marks & spencer Helsinki

H&M just lost about 30-50 euros of business per year from me.

 

Inspiration: Finnish Sewing Blogs

Did you know Ottobre, the sewing magazine, is based in Rovaniemi, Lapland? My precious hometown? Well, you do now :D The bigger Ottobre has gotten,  the more and more people in Finland have taken to sewing and blogging. Which is great as crafting and hand-making make peeps happier and helps to live longer. Yay!

I thought you would like to have a look some cool Finnish blogs that focus on sewing for kids. They are written in Finnish but you don’t need to understand the text to get inspired by the amazing creations.

villa ja villa, crafty blog, Finnish

Villa & Villa is written by two women and has all kinds of sewing posts. Kid’s wear, women’s fashion, purses etc. My favourite is the T-shirt made of Roberto Cavalli- end of bolt jersey.

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Made by Ulma, Finnish sewing blog

Made by Ulma does all kinds of crafts but her best work are the clothes she makes for her little toddler boy. What I have gathered from sewing blogs all over the world, inspiration (and fabrics) for little boys are hard to find. Well, here you will find it:

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Tilkunpaikka, Finnish sewing blog

Tilkunpaikka has a style that I would call graphic feminine.  She sews mainly little girl clothes but there are some stuff for adults too. The best part of the clothes she does are the pattern combos.

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Mutturalla, Finnish sewing blogMutturalla- blogger is a mother of five. FIVE! She also works fulltime and finds time to sew. Let’s all feel like a total under-achiever for a moment. Oh and she’s gorgeous too. How annoying. When it comes to her sewing, I’m a huge fan of her detailing and general taste level. Very good indeed.

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nuutikki, finnish sewing blog, craft, DIY Nuutikki sews for her kids and makes cool things for her home too. Her style is similar to Tilkunpaikka, very graphic and romantic although she makes little boy’s clothes too. My favourite part is the variety she shows on her blog.

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There are tons of more blogs to explore and these 5 represent just a small part of the sewing community in Finland. The explosion of sewing has been helped by the rise of indie-fabric manufacturers/shops. There is sometimes quite fierce competition on FB-fabric groups for some of the rarer prints :D I might have to make a post about them soon too.

-Thrifty Finn-

 

Fashion News: Hel Looks

My Twitter-feed is buzzing…Do you know everyone’s favourite Finnish street style blog Hel Looks?  Where looks are abundant and style questionably so?  Here are some of the fine examples:

I leave you to make up your own mind but Hel Looks has gotten some good press, some bad press, and some downright hilarious press. There’s even a Hel Looks- drinking game!

Right now Hel Looks is on a break for the unforeseeable future. But don’t you worry. You will still get your fix of unexplainable street style because the creators have moved to San Francisco and started a sister site SF Looks! Yay! Let’s see if it’s any better:

hel looks, sf looks, street style, blog

Jahvanna

I’m going to presume that the drinking game rules stay the same.

-Thrifty Finn-

 

Pinteresting vol. XLI

pinteresting, pinterest, Thrifty Finn

I’m in pain. The new leg program I got on Monday was brutal. I walk like I pooped my pants. Very sexy, let me tell you. Anyhoo, I’ve been distracting myself from the muscle pain by pinning like there’s no tomorrow and here are some of my top picks this week…

Good type, teal, typography

Via type-lover.tumblr.com

Teal, gold and beautiful typography. And the little crown in the corner. Very princess-y. Me likes. I honestly could cover all my walls with these kinds of prints. Which I won’t because I’m not crazy  within normal limits. From the board Font Book.

Viva la tarta, girl cookies, bows

Via vivalatarta.blogspot.com.es/

Girly and princess theme it is then…I pinned these first thinking they are make-up compacts and Viva la Tarta some kind of new cosmetics brand. Hey! Anyone could have made that mistake. But wouldn’t these be perfect things to give out at a cosmetics brand launch? In a nice little box? So cute and chic. Viva la Tarta has tons of cute baked cookies on her site. The pin is on my board Cute & Kitschy.

paris please, chic

Via pinterest.com

Paris feels like a far away thing although I was there just couple of months ago. The most perfect city in the world. When you get tired of Paris, you get tired of life. If you wish to see more Paris goodness, you can find them on my board Parisian Dreams.

handpainted envelopes, craft, DIY,

via thimblecat.blogspot.com.au

We should send more snail mail, don’t you think? These hand-painted envelopes are so sweet they hurt. I used to have tons of pen pals when I was a kid. What happened? Where would one even get pen pals these days? I got mine from the back of Barbie-magazine but what about grown-ups? Classifieds? Pleading for them in the interwebs? From my board Crafty Things.

cute workout pattern

Via pinterest.com

Work it, girl. This pattern is cute and hilarious at the same time. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the original link, nor the designer’s name but let’s take a moment to respect his/hers cleverness. I actually wouldn’t mind working out at a gym decorated with this pattern. I draw the line on the pink gym balls though…From the board Patterns.

And one more for the road…Wise words to live by:

Fashion quote

via letsmakeitpreppy.tumblr.com/

-Thrifty Finn-

Pinteresting vol. XL

pintere There’s a saying in Finland that Thurdays are filled with hope. I have no idea where it comes from and what it means but in Finnish it rhymes really nicely of the tongue and that’s why I like using it. Maybe it’s about hope for the coming weekend? Perhaps.

Anyhoo…I have no rhyme or reason in my pinning either but here are again some of my favourites this week:

Grey cat, pattern, spoonflower, ottomanbrim, kitty

Designed by ottomanbrim at spoonflower.com

This kitty pattern is just too adorable and you can find it on Spoonflower. Ottomanbrim, who is a designer based in NY, has plenty of other mid-century inspired prints available too. The “Snowflake sweater” is another one of my favourites. This one is on my board Patterns.

quilt, red, spicy colours, modern baby quilt

Via flickr.com

Remember my Sunshine Quilt? Of course you do. I’m already planning my next quilt and since autumn is here and winter not too far away, I want something with warm colours to add extra coziness to my bedroom. This modern baby quilt has the perfect colours and I’ve found a fabric line from Amy Butler that have similar colours. Don’t hold your breath though. It DID take my first quilt 3-4 years from start to finish. From my board Crafty Things.

yellow chiffon blouse

Via sheinside.com

What’s with the warm colours this week?…. Lately I’ve had discussions with my friend about Lidl. Namely about how Lidl is expanding its business by venturing into clothing. Finnish fashion designers are all aghast because this “abomination” but IMO, at least Lidl SELLS clothes. A vital ingredient of keeping a business afloat. Personally I’ve bought some undies and tights from there, and today I’m getting their outdoor jacket. I’ve reached an age where appropriate clothing doesn’t feel embarrassing anymore. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start hiking, I just need the jacket for when I leave the gym.

I had point to the story but I lost it. I like this blouse, it’s sold out but girl can dream. From my board Trés Stylish.

tall dark and handsome

Via menstyle1.com/

Were we talking about girls and dreaming? I have a board, Men & Fashion, that’s a combination of style for men and men I fancy. It was supposed to be just about the style but I am weak. Very, very, weak. So far I’ve managed to keep the fancying part in minimum, so I have that going for the board but I can sense the total loss of Man Candy Pin Control in my very near future. But hey, which one of us doesn’t want little bit of tall, dark and handsome in their life? Allthough…

great dane with tennis balls

Via remainsimple.us

That’s the only tall, dark and handsome who would stay faithful and love you back unconditionally. Well done me. Managing to turn this week’s Pinteresting into a Single Girl Pity Party. I guess we all are good at something. From my board I Want a Doggy.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. I can’t resist. Here’s one more tall, dark and handsome, and a ‘bitching’ magazine cover:

Robert Downey Jr, Vanity Fair, cover

Via coverjunkie.com

You’re welcome.