About designiscool

I'm James, I live in Ipswich in Suffolk which is an OK town, but could be much better if someone would just put a little thought into it. If you're actually interested in me, you'll probably find out more by visiting my girlfriends blog - just google ticklepea.


A while ago, the magnificent Camille from Archives of our Lives wrote an extremely good post about Mexicans, not just Mexicans, but the Mexicans that cause people to spit out the word with a particular sort of venom.

I’ve been meaning to respond to it, but I couldn’t find the words until a little earlier when I found myself muttering the word ‘polish’ with annoyance as I was walking into town along the pavement and a group of eastern european men, smoking and walking 3 abreast didn’t move into single file or yield to let me pass – causing me to walk in the road for a few steps. This sort of discourteous behaviour really pisses me off, simply because its so unnecessary and just represents complete disregard for those around you. But what about my choice of word? Polish.

It is fair to say that there has been a lot of immigration from eastern europe since the expansion of the EU in 2004 gave the right to live and work in the UK to people from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovenia. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all, there no point granting Fundamental Rights to people and then complaining when they exercise them to make life better for themselves.

The issue at hand is that for a few seconds I attributed their rudeness to the fact that they were polish. Unfortunately rudeness exists everywhere, it was just as likely to be a British group of men as a Polish one. Perhaps the proper words to mutter would be ‘rude bastards’.

But this got me thinking a bit further, why do we label things? Psychologists will tell you, probably quite correctly, that labels are designed to allow the brain to simplify the world around us, it allows us to prejudice situations and people so that we don’t have to make a full analysis of every situation. Something which would probably cause a bit of brain overload.

So somewhere in the past I’ve been brushed past, or had cigarette smoke blown at me or some other relatively minor, but rude annoyance perpetrated by a Polish person. Thus, in a snap judgement my brain recalled that previous experience and it had concluded that:

  • The people were being purposefully inconsiderate
  • That Polish people are inconsiderate
  • That all Polish people are inconsiderate
  • That the fact that Polish people are in this country in annoying
  • That the fact that Polish people are in this country and are inherently inconsiderate has damaged my peaceful idealistic mental image of England
With the exception of the first one, these conclusions are almost entirely incorrect.

These are thoughts which are not by themselves wrong (in the moral sense), everyone has them – they are a natural way by which we sort thought the muddled world in which we live, but not everyone reflects on them and sits around in the evening typing away to tell everyone why they’re incorrect.

Lots of people simply have these thoughts reinforced, layered over and over without introspection to put the breaks on. This is where prejudice becomes problematic, and where racism starts, and when that becomes endemic, no-one is given the chance to break the pre-cast mould.

Besides, before we moan about people coming into ‘our country’ and ‘stealing our jobs’ – what about the guy who just move into your town to find better prospects from 50 miles down the road?

I do wish people were more polite though.


The New

Ros and I decided to go to London at the weekend. She has a ‘Priv’ ticket because her dad works on the railways and I have a season ticket so we both get free travel at the weekend (Ros actually gets free travel all the time) so there’s really no excuse not to go on little adventures from time to time.

We went to Covent Garden where I realised that my nearly new Lumix GF3 camera was broken. This pissed me off so we went shopping instead of wondering around taking delightful pictures in the afternoon winter sun.

We visited the Dr Marten’s shop and went to Westfield Stratford (largest urban shopping centre* in Europe).

We both bought some stuff, I bought these totally awesome Dr Marten’s….

Dr Marten 'Lucie'

They were HALF PRICE (£62) and thus count for one of Camille’s Saturday Steals. The heel is about 2 inches and they’re pretty ‘workman’ looking. They can easily be paired with a whole range of stuff and are a hell of alot easier to walk in that some of my other (rather higher) heeled boots.

Once at home I set about integrating them into an outfit and this is what I came up with…

Notice how I’ve managed to destroy the masculine credentials of the boots by wearing leggings and what amounts to a very short dress. But hey, they also look great with regular jeans and a t-shirt for those days when one is feeling a tad more conservative.

*American’s call these ‘malls’

PS. Does everyone like my balcony trellis?

Hotpants (false advertising in this case)

Is it ever possible that men will be allowed to wear hot-pants?

I don’t think it’ll ever be particularly common, but there are designers doing short-shorts for menfolk – Rad Hourani in particular (see previous post)

I have a pair that I’ve been using to preserve my dignity whilst wearing leggings as otherwise I suffer from a rather unsightly male ballet-danceresque bulge in that area. Not that I’m bragging or anything.

Anyway, this is my attempt at modelling hotpants.

My conclusion? Simple: omg I have f**king girls legs. Manly shoulders, but girls legs. No hotpants for me then. Harrumph.

Light Games

I have recently recharged the batteries of the remote control for my Philips Ambilight – which is a large neat LED lamp designed to light up your wall with any one of about 65,000 colours.

In honour of this I have decided to have a few games with light and colour – as well as show off some outfit ideas.

"my precious...."

Ok so this first one I actually like so much I’ve made it my Facebook profile picture. I’m wearing a Light Up Electric Souls t-shirt which I think was from River Island and also some electric blue jeans from Asos.

This one is mustard yellow jeans from People’s Market and a sort of Aztec design t-shirt from Asos, as well and my awesome Marc by Marc Jacobs boots. This one is particularly amusing because it sort of looks like my legs might well go on for ever…

Same outfit as the other blue one, but leaning up against the wall looking a bit stoned.

I’ve noticed recently theres a definitely trend at the moment for Aztec print leggings, this is my attempt to get in on the action, these are from River Island and the t-shirt is from The Long Clothing Company.

Cradling the Sun

I think this picture makes me look a bit chubby, but I do like the pattern on thrown on the wall by the lamp.

This is probably my brightest post yet. I don’t really have anything meaningful to say, I just wanted to share pretty colours with everyone!

Gender Blending

Right, well I’ve been experimenting with putting together something decent to go with the magnificent new boots. I think I’m come up with something thats not half bad so I thought I’d release it onto the world.

As I posted before, I was trying to find a way to use the leggings I bought for the elf outfit in my general everyday wear, so I thought why not use them with some black shorts (they’re actually pretty close to hotpants, but shhhhh).

Combined with a black t-shirt maybe a black long cardigan (but I’m not so sure about it, comments please) and I think I have something that looks pretty good – and not too feminine either.

I’m actually quite pleased with this photo – as well as the outfit!

This picture shows off the boots quite nicely. I also put on a bit heavier eyeliner than I normally wear to try and link in my face with the blackness of the boots, t-shirt and shorts.

This one includes the cardigan too, I’m not so sure about it because it think it makes me look a bit top heavy as I seem have pretty thin legs, but comments are appreciated.

Have a great week.

The New Boots

As part of my gender-blending fashion agenda I got permission from Ros to buy some Marc by Marc Jacobs wedge boots that were on sale. Pretty good, I thought as there was well over $200 off at Endless.com (by the way, for the sum of $0, they shipped them over to the UK in just 2 days).

Like most of the weird footwear I buy I think they’ll be paired with skinnies, but as I’ve said before I was trying to work out ways of integrating leggings into my wardrobe so I might go down that route too, maybe with some shorts… but we’ll see.

So here they are:

They are a fairly narrow fit but they good for my size 8 feet (11us, 42eu). They’re really nice and heavy solid feeling and for 4 1/2 inch heels they’re pretty comfortable. Really nice stitching detail around the eyelets.

The inside is really nice red leather. In short I’m really pleased with them and I’m looking forward to trying out a few outfits including them! Stay tuned for future updates…

The Incidental Purchase

Because Ros has a bit of a book fetish we have run out of bookshelf space. There are just slightly over two thousand books hanging around in our 2 bedroom flat. There are also 350 of my DVD’s which take up valuable book space. Consequently it was necessary to buy more space… cue a trip to Ikea to buy DVD shelves for the hallway media overspill zone.

Whilst we were there we remembered that we needed a new liquid soap dispenser for the kitchen. What we found were these…

They’re called Limmaren and come in a 4 pack containing a dispenser, a bottle, a jar and soap dish, all really nice thick glass for only £7.99 which is about $11 – I think this a pretty good bargain. I really like the look of seeing the liquid soap inside the bottle, and the pump mechanism sucking it out when the top is depressed.

The blue soap also throws quite pretty shadows on the white tiles too!

They’re just cheap and stylish – bonus!

The Travel Industry

Of course in times of recession & austerity people make cutbacks. They trim out the things they don’t really need in order to preserve their standard of living. The drop the expensive gym, the magazine subscription, the deluxe organic pet food and also regular foreign holidays.

Whereas travel agents used to advertise all the amazing offers they had to take a family of 4 to one of Balearics for 2 weeks – now they feel the need to remind us why we need holidays in the first place. Thomson’s latest advert makes a pretty decent stab at reminding us…

The Sales

I’m going to lay my cards down early – I don’t like sales.

Women may well find them fun, but like most guys I find the idea of launching into town kicking and barging my way to a selection of goods reduced in price that I don’t really need…all because the retailer has put a time limit on the good times and promises to raise the prices again in a few days…pretty unappealing.

Instead I did some online shopping in the sales, and even though there’s been a bunch of bank holidays this week the stuff showed up ahead of schedule. Stand by for a whole heap of posts about stuff I’ve bought…including some rather astonishingly bright blue jeans.

For my elf outfit I ended up buying some £3 leggings from Primark and I’ve been trying to work out how to integrate them into general wear. So I bought a black cardigan to go with a long white t-shirt I already own and this is the result:

I’m pretty pleased with this – I think it still looks relatively masculine but also pretty edgy. The black chord of the white shirt works really well to link in the cardigan to rest of the outfit.

I think it also sort of works without the cardigan:

But I’m worried about the t-shirt looking too much like a dress. What does everyone else think?

Boots: River Island
T-shirt: The Long Company
Cardigan: Asos
Leggings: Primark