Hello you, how were things this week? Been anywhere nice?
I've got some photos from a lovely afternoon I spent in York earlier this month if you fancy a look? Yeah? OK, here we go ...
The 'Knickers Model's Own' Afternoon Tea at The Grand Hotel, York.
They say "Don't meet your heroes ... unless your hero is Caroline Jones, in which case you should definitely meet her." don't they?
Well, OK, maybe that's not quite what 'they' say - but that's probably because they've yet to meet Caroline. But if they ever did, they would.
I did, and I have because - after reading about, admiring her from afar and chatting with her online, she certainly didn't disappoint in the flesh.
Caroline's 'Knickers Models Own' challenge (where she styled, wore, photographed, and shared a different pre-loved outfit every day during 2015) began as a way to raise money for the Cancer Research UK charity following the death of her mother to the disease.
You might remember back in October 2016 I reviewed the book which documented her challenge: 'Knickers Model's Own: A Year of Frugal Fashion':
I know a few of you will definitely remember because you told me you were planning to put it on your Christmas lists either as a gift to give ... or receive. For those unfamiliar it's a compilation of all 365 of Caroline's outfits, plus extra styling tips and advice on seeking out vintage clothes, bound together in a beautiful hardback, which continues to raise funds for cancer research.
And the book single-handedly reignited my love of pre-loved fashion, so that once again, alongside rummaging around for the usual books and papery treasures in charity shops, I'm now searching the racks of clothes in charity shops in earnest.
So, when I saw the announcement that she was giving a talk at 'Fashion City York', an hour away from me, I seized the opportunity to hear directly from her.
I booked the tickets on a chilly, post-Christmas slump of a day way back in January, and by the time the day itself rolled around York was looking its Springtime best. Here we are, in the Yorkshire sunshine, Mam and me, two intrepid explorers (don't believe anything you read: we actually got dropped off and picked up right outside the hotel) in search of some pre-loved fashion inspiration:
|In honour of the occasion I wore a vintage shirt (with those 70s collars ... you might have guessed) and charity shop beads.|
And this was our location for the afternoon, York's Grand Hotel, which certainly lived up to its name:
The afternoon's festivities began with a talk from Caroline where she described:
- how the idea of 'Knickers Model's Own' fundraising came to her;
- how she branded the project, and the steps she took to promote it across social media;
- how the project caught others imagination almost immediately;
- and how she dealt with the overwhelming response she received, including inter/national press attention and having to write the book in 6 weeks!
Here's Caroline, mid-discussion in between the two ladies who took over her Instagram account for the afternoon sharing the event with anyone who wasn't lucky/near enough to be there on the day.
Later in the day Caroline introduced me to her faithful Instagrammers @susiesoso and @myfashionable40s - a rarity for me to meet up with people I only know online, let alone meeting people who have tens of thousands of followers between them. But they were honestly the most friendly of friendly women, with no edge, no 'Influencer' airs and graces (so that taught me a lesson in expectations). And ... altogether I'm pretty sure that this now means that I'm one of the cool people. (Please don't feel the need to disabuse me of that delusion. I'm good thanks.)
After this Caroline held a Q&A where she answered questions and gave advice on everything from:
- what she plans to do in future - which, luckily for us includes a brand new website: knickersmodelsown.com
- how to have fun with clothes and accessories despite your age or body-shape;
- the relevance of 'slow' fashion in a fast world;
- the power of a good bangle!
- and, of course, the benefits of good foundation garments. Or ... knickers, basically! She has a brand to maintain after all!
After that we got to browse amongst some of the clothes from the fashion show, plus others, in what must be the poshest room I've ever rummaged for old clothes! Naturally I found something (I can't help it. The stuff finds me!) and I went home with a gorgeous, immaculate, see-through navy pinstriped St.Michael blouse (which, judging by the label, dates to the 1980s) for the princely sum of £4.50.
At one point she said some complimentary things about me to my Mam, and I felt a little bit like I was at a parent/teacher meeting at school ... and even that was lovely.
In short (I know, I know, that ship's long sailed) ... don't meet your heroes ... unless they're Caroline Jones.
(And maybe the Little Angels and you're a very cocky teenager with no shame).
See you soon. Online. I've filled my quota of real-life meetings for this month! ;-).
- You can read more about Caroline at her site Knickers Model's Own
- And you buy her book Knickers Model's Own: A Year of Frugal Fashion here at Cancer Research.