Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vintage for the Mod

Facebook is amazing. Facebook clothed me! I found vintage at Facebook! About two years ago - before the addiction – I use to log onto Facebook just curiously. In my element, I noticed many of my 'friends' commenting randomly on a group’s pictures: “R93”, “R100”, “101 for the blouse”.

Blouse? R101? Where!?

My curiousity led me to Lost & Found, a Facebook group with gorgeous Vintage finds to bid for! This was exciting: one, it’s Vintage darling; two, it’s competition – cough – I mean, I'd like to bid.  

Amy, its creator, started the group for *drum roll* “the wearers of art, the devotees of movable beauty, the appreciators of the inimitable, the lovers of vintage, the raiders of cupboards, the treasure hunters”.

She is the treasure hunter for us, “the lovers of vintage” – and I love it!

Amy gathers vintage and second hand pieces, takes breathtakingly beautiful pictures, puts them up, sets a bidding date. Go! I joined in – by cut off time, I had tallied up my score and… geez, these girls are beasts – nothing!? Next time! Next time!

And Next time came, I gathered my 10-or-so goods after the bid and it felt fabulous! Skirts, dresses, shirts, you name it. Amy delivered it to me at work (that’s the other plus of Lost & Found: she really wants you to be happy) and… (no boss here?) I tried everything on - in the ladies. I couldn’t wait.

I’ve taken part in bids ever since. Just recently I got a lace dress, and quirky polka dot cocktail dress. Bags, belts, scarves are often up for bidding too. There's even a men's section. :-) 

The incredible thing is, it’s one of a kind – it’s Vintage baby.

Trends are tricky. What’s in today was probably Hot! before, and will make a comeback. So, if you’re a sucker for trends (personally, I prefer style because it’s ageless) Vintage is for you too. There’s the beauty in fashion: it forever evolves, but remains the same.

Aah, Facebook is amazing. Lost & Found is amazing.

Jacket at Lost & Found probably under R100

Dress at Lost & Found, less than R120

Skirt from Lost & Found for about R100
 Get your Vintage on

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love: Forgiveness for even the Ugly

Picture the ideal man – sincere, loving and kind (heart-stopping-smile included). What’s more, he helps to rebuild broken societies through HIV/AIDS care, self-sustainability and gender equality programs.

His name is *Sizwe and unlike many of us, he hasn’t remained stagnant is the fight for humanity. I met him for an interview last year. His face, and real name, was splattered onto the pages of many newspapers and I picked up on it via a BBC report. Now I sat down with him to hear his story for myself.

“I love [to] see people changing; [to] see a bit of development in our under-resourced communities.” He’s been working with people for twenty years, but it was during one workshop that his own life changed.

My imagination takes me into the room: men proudly boast about their place in society and how they can take what they want from any woman without question.

Sizwe says he had heard these stories over and over again, and that made him go back to his own past. Almost thirty years back: he had raped a girl as a teenage boy.

He was the outcast: the boy who did his homework and went to church with his parents. He wasn’t man enough. So his ‘friends’ decided he would be accepted into manhood if he raped a girl.

“I was terrified. The date was now set, that at 4 o’clock on a Saturday this is going to happen.”

This story was tough. One, because the distaste I had couldn’t be masked.

He looks down, still hanging his head in shame. He mumbles that they (the boys) saw he was scared, and gave him alcohol and marijuana. Then they disappeared and Sizwe was left, waiting for the target.

“[One of the boys stayed and] he pulled her down and started raping her and then said ‘it’s your turn’.”

Sizwe completed his task that day, brushed off the guilt and lived his life.

Yes, this story was tough. Two: because it’s in our nature to distrust – I had to fine-tune my sensors – was he sorry?

He decided that he needed to ask the girl, now probably a grown woman with children, for her forgiveness – even if it meant his admittance could take him to jail.

“That would be justice for her, but I have to admit it and apologise.”

So Sizwe journeyed back to his home village and did just that.

“She just looked at me and started crying; I just stood there and let her cry.” He listened to find out that she had been raped and abused ever since he raped her first.

“I felt terrible. I immediately thought of how I lived my life for nearly thirty years and it never bothered me. I would just go about my business, my normal days and yet there was someone who was suffering in those years because of my actions.”

“I then was on a new journey – how do I forgive myself?”

That’s what nobody has asked him before, and that’s what I could find out...

His head is held higher than before. Suddenly there is life in his body and his eyes have joined our conversation. I can tell that he has forgiven himself. In fact, Sizwe says he was tested in a way he never imagined. He’s own daughter was raped.

“I had to learn to forgive that man when I looked into all of this, trying to understand what it means to love even your enemy.”

He leans forward and continues, “It’s a concept that I just read but I think it is a big challenge for humanity today to understand love. I learnt that you need something more. You don’t just need psychology to help you to forgive that way.”

That’s what I could find out – how do you forgive yourself?

You need God”, he says.

Once you understand this, he urges, a second chance awaits you.

Romans 8:1 - “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

*name changed
Watch the Turning Point programme for this true story

Friday, August 20, 2010

Under Her Skin: Sandra Laing

The film, Skin, has tugged on the heartstrings of many South Africans. I had the privilege of sitting down with Sandra Laing, on whom the film is based and she let me get under her skin.

For Sandra, looking to the future has been her only motivation all her life. As the movie details, Sandra was born black – to white parents. Rewind back to the sixties, this was unheard of and a dramatic scandal! It also fuelled Sandra’s torture. “I wasn’t happy”, she says.

She’s quiet and withdrawn – her experiences made her this way – or she is a strong enough woman to have let it go.

She lets me know that though in a world of black and white, she has had good moments. “I was happier with black children: my friends were black [while] their mother worked in our kitchen,”

Of course, her father wasn’t happy with this. He wanted to have an ideal white family. White mother + white father = white child, right? Not in her case – as a result of black ancestry that had been dormant for generations, she was black.

Knowing what havoc this caused, a pre-teen Sandra put all sorts of chemicals onto her hair and face – this image from the film had me so disturbed. Society injects the idea of ‘ideal’ into little minds so badly?!

For many Sandra’s, such rejection ‘confirms’ that they don’t belong. And the line between this and that is drawn.

I’m glad that we’ve started moving away from this attitude but, sadly – there will always be prejudice. I think the key is your determination to reshape your own future. Like Sandra: she has forgiven, she has moved on, and she continues to try and “get on with [her] life”.

We can certainly look at our own circumstance through these eyes.

Watch the Turing Point programme for Sandra’s story.

Must-Have Items, and Attitude

I was tormented a few days ago! Imagine a dozen options of the WORLD’S best clothes. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but it wasn’t easy. I had the need (and budget!) for only three items heading into Spring and this is what I’ve finally chosen from the latest of Pure.

Understated but oh so sexy Aladdin Pants. It’s in a delicate material and lets you breathe, can be worn as part of a dressy ensemble or dressed down for a day at the shops. When I tried it on, I paired it with an awesome pair of black gladiator sandals (Love Love Love) and tank top – I also looked at it with a frilly blouse tucked in and he gave me that look so trust me, it works! Having it in black is an added bonus since we can do anything with black.

Then I tried out a pair of beige tights in a soft fabric. Once I pulled it up, it was sold!

Just a touch of it and I felt very diva. I added a just-above-the-knee linen top (both, in picture), thin belt and flat strappy sandals and voila! Spring Weekends suddenly seemed nearer. You could do a strappy sandal or wedge too if you’d like to take this look to the movies.

Choosing my final item nearly depressed me but nothing like a quick budget check to sober me up!

It came down to either a blue stretch cotton dress or cream velvet, very seductive wrap dress. When the seller said “I sleep in mine” (referring to the cute blue), that idea was scrapped!

I juggled the idea of a lavish velvet dress around a bit and thought it may be too much and then the lady in me said every woman needs a dress that makes her look like she owns the world, without looking like you’re headed to prom. So I kept this one, and kept it on – it felt great.

So that became my theme – How does it feel? I had a dozen hot items in front of me and I tried them all (really) but the ones I kept were those I felt completely comfortable in. I realized, you can buy every trend out there but true class exudes from the confidence with which you wear it.

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