Music: Introducing Smitha

Fashion and music are such natural bedfellows. There are so many new and exciting artists out there ripe for discovery and Smitha is one of those gems. We’ve been tapped into Smitha for a while. She’s a refreshing, talented and seriously authentic (and gorgeous) singer/songwriter from our very own London Town. We were really happy to sit down and find out more about her music, style and inspirations.

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.

How would you describe your style of music?
Melodic, expressive and heartfelt, incorporating pop, soul and folk.

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.

What’s your process for song writing? How do you get inspired?
It’s variable! Sometimes I think of a melody or ‘hook’ first and depending on where I am, I’ll frantically sing it into my phone before I forget it and expand on the song when I get home with my guitar. Sometimes it’s the other way round and the chords come first.

I get inspiration from personal experience or at times something that has affected someone else but stirred up an emotion in me. I would like my songs to be real and relatable for others. You feel so much more connected with others then, particularly when playing live. I love it!

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.

How would you describe your look?
I do like to mix it up and give a nod to the sixties! I have a few jeans and skirts that I wear frequently. I dress these up or down with T-shirts, laced tops, jumpers and flats or heels depending how fast I need to move! I love interesting prints, pretty details and bold colours. I have some dresses that I love wearing, particularly when the weather is warmer, which are both vintage and new! I absolutely love 60s style make-up with winged eyeliner and nude lips, and this is my go-to make-up. I also like to keep it simple and then I may add in a red lippy.

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.

How do you decide what to wear for a performance?
It’s important for me to feel comfortable and be able to breathe! My priority is to sound the best that I possibly can but at the same I want to look like I’m performing. This gets me into the mindset that I’m not just ‘Smitha’, I’m Smitha the ‘Artist’. I tend to steer away from wearing very dark colours and for big performances I’ll wear something bold and colourful.

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello

What do you love about vintage clothes and accessories?
Where do I start!! I love its uniqueness and knowing that it’s highly unlikely that anyone else will be wearing that same item. I love the quality of the clothing. These items really do stand the test of time. I love the fact that there is a story behind these items and then I imagine I’ve stepped back in time! I love mixing vintage up with newer items of clothing. Actually I have added vintage pieces into my performance wear at gigs, including dresses, scarves and skirts.

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.

What’s your favourite way to perform? Festivals, small intimate venues, in the studio?
I love all of these venues for different reasons and I think it’s important for me to do them all. Festivals are great for my more up-tempo and groovier tunes, they help to get the crowd interested and engaged. The smaller venues are more intimate and brilliant for the slower songs and trying out new material. I love performing live, but the studio is essential to get the music recorded with a few takes if needed!

Any advice for aspiring musicians?
Practice, perform, practice, write, practice, perform, write, practice, record, write, practice…..you get the idea!! It is really important to know your songs very well, this means that when you do perform them in front of an audience, you’ll be nervous but not a complete wreck and feel confident about them. You’ll mess up sometimes, but that’s ok, everyone does. Get involved with your local music scene. Meet and collaborate with other musicians. I’m learning so much from others and I’m sure I’ll always be learning. Go to open mic nights and try out new material. It’s not all smooth sailing but remind yourself now and again why you are doing this, as sometimes the reason for this can be lost, and keep coming back to it – put a post-it on your bathroom mirror! For most it will be for the pure love and passion for music. Thinking about this has kept me going through any rough patches. Surround yourself with positive people who support and believe in you. Also remember to have fun and enjoy yourself!

Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.
Wearing pieces from Style By Portobello clothing and accessories archive. Styled by Style By Portobello.

Where can we next see you performing?
On 10th December, I’ll be performing at Nomad Club in Old Street, London. Then on 15th December, I’m performing with some other acoustic artists as part of the Icarus Club, Pelton Arms, in Greenwich, London. My biggest gig in the diary so far is at Jimmy’s Farm Festival next summer. It’s brilliant fun there and I’ll be performing on the main stage. I’ll also be in the recording studio again in preparation to release my debut EP next year.

Website smithamusic.com Twitter @smithamusic

If you’d like to get our latest news on vintage style and keep up to date on our clothing launch journey, make sure you sign up to our Style By Portobello newsletter. To buy a Scarf Set or one of our Bello Boxes (style boxes full of divine vintage jewellery and accessories) just pop over to stylebyportobello.com.

SBP Team x

Three ways to wear a statement vintage jacket

As you know, in 2017 we’ll be launching a vintage cloting offering. Until then we want to inspire you with just how versatile a vintage wardrobe can be. You can get so many outfits out of one gorgeous piece. Our most recent shoot featured this stand-out, killer of a vintage jacket. It’s from our archive and is just the kind of piece we’ll be bringing you in our edit when we launch.

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

A statement jacket is a wardrobe essential. A VINTAGE statement jackets is even more of a must-have. With a timeless piece such as this one you’ll always be on the best dressed list.

1) With leather: sequins and leather is just such a fabulous combo. These mint condition vintage leather trousers are from our archive and are a favourite. A leather skirt or shorts would look just as stellar.

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

We love mixing vintage with high street purchases as it’s a great way to ensure you don’t look dated or cliched. This divine high street powder blue, crepe top just made those sequins pop and was a great texture contrast to the leather.

2) With demin: ok so we’re a bit biased as we are obsessed with denim and as far as we are concerned, EVERYTHING looks good with denim. These vintage jeans are just the right wash and they tone the outfit down a bit. Sometimes a girl doesn’t want to look like she’s made too much of an effort. Pairing your statement jacket with denim (again a skirt or shorts would work just as well) gives you that ‘just thrown on look’. Having a slightly more casual look also means you can wear a few more accessories. Isn’t this vintage belt just so gorgeous!! Just like denim, the leather wears so well and looks better and better with age.

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

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c/o stylebyporrtobello.com
c/o stylebyporrtobello.com

3) With cashmere: need we say more? This is super luxe yet nicely pared down. This vintage cashmere cardi is so fine in tucks in just perfectly and it’s a bottle green colour that you just don’t see that much nowadays. Again, as this look is more casual you can go harder with the accessories as we’ve done with this vintage bag from our archive.

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

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If you’d like to get our latest news on vintage style and keep up to date on our clothing launch journey, make sure you sign up to our Style By Portobello newsletter. To buy a Scarf Set or one of our Bello Boxes (style boxes full of divine vintage jewellery and accessories) just pop over to stylebyportobello.com.

SBP Team x

Style By Portobello does Vintage Clothing

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

We love all things vintage. We love sending out our Bello Boxes full of gorgeous, one-off stylish vintage accessories… AND…we also adore vintage clothes. To that end, in 2017 we are delighted to announce that we’ll be launching a vintage clothing offering! Our edit of women’s vintage clothing and accessories will allow you to explore timeless designs and enduring trends. We can’t give too much away as yet but suffice to say that you’ll be able to preview, pick and buy your favourite pieces there and then. We’ll of course be drip feeding you lots more info as we get closer to launch. Expect gorgeous shoots showcasing the kind of divine pieces you can expect when we go live such as the shot above from our most recent shoot. Talk about a statement vintage jacket. We are so excited and hope you are too! Bring on 2017.

If you’d like to get our latest news on vintage style and keep up to date on our clothing launch journey, make sure you sign up to our Style By Portobello newsletter. To buy a Scarf Set or one of our Bello Boxes (style boxes full of divine vintage jewellery and accessories) just pop over to stylebyportobello.com.

SBP Team x

Restaurant Review: Eating out at Kensington Place Restaurant & Bar

We love west London. The people, the tree-lined streets, the stucco fronted white houses, Portobello Road of course, and the plethora of fabulous places to eat.

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Kensington Place Restaurant & Bar is one of those places. It’s a local institution that’s been around for years. They also have their divine fish shop next door which sells the best fish pies ever, by the way.

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

Before you’ve even tried the food, you fall in love with the décor. The floor to ceiling windows bathe you in light on even the darkest London day. Chic and simple interiors with just enough of an ode to their staple offering, fish, keep the ambiance fresh. On top of that you can’t beat water served in a fish-shaped jug.

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

The menu is great but we kept it traditional and went for our nation’s most iconic dish, fish and chips. Boy was it good. Chips – chunky with the right amount of crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Fish – light, golden batter over succulent haddock. We wolfed it down!

c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com
c/o stylebyportobello.com

The staff are really friendly and we never felt rushed to leave and free up our table even though it was a busy Friday night and we were chinwagging for a good while.

So next time you’re down sampling the vintage delights of Portobello Road, head back up to Notting Hill Gate and pop round to Kensington Place. Think of it as a reward for that shopping workout.

If you’d like to get our latest news on vintage fashion and style, make sure you sign up to our Style By Portobello newsletter. To buy a Scarf Set or one of our Bello Boxes (style boxes full of divine vintage jewellery and accessories) just pop over to stylebyportobello.com.

SBP Team x

An Ode to #MumsThatSlay: INTERVIEW WITH STYLE AFTER NINE

One of our favourite bloggers is Yvadney Davis from blog http://styleafternine.com/. She was one of the first bloggers to discover us when we launched. She describes her blog as, ‘a style loving journey through mummyland for mums and kids, because style doesn’t end with motherhood’ and we couldn’t agree more which is why we just had to chat with her about her style, her powerful phrase – Mums that slay – and of course, vintage fashion. We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did.

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c/o Instagram @yvadney, styleafternine.com
c/o Instagram @yvadney, styleafternine.com

Your blog kills it when it comes to inspiration and tips for the life and style of all hip mums out there. Having created your blog, Style After Nine, what do you love most about blogging?

Firstly, I love how it challenges me to keep experimenting with my own style and enjoy it. There’s no point in encouraging other mums to enjoy their style if I’m not taking my own advice.

The biggest thing, however, has been the positive feedback I get from readers who have read a post and felt empowered to throw caution to the wind, regardless of their post-baby bodies and wear the clothes they want to. To know I’ve helped women to look at themselves in a positive way is all I want – it’s all about self loving, not self-loathing.

c/o Yvadney Davis, styleafternine.com
c/o Yvadney Davis, styleafternine.com

One of your straplines is ‘Mums that slay’ which we just love. How does one become a mum that slays?

A mum that slays, is The Queen of her style. She’s not worried about fashion trends or following the pack, instead she oozes confidence and self love, with a mum tum, jiggly boobs, bingo wings, dark circles and obligatory squirming baby under one arm. She owns her “defects” and rocks fashion with all the swag of a supermodel.

c/o Yvadney Davis, styleafternine.com
c/o Yvadney Davis, styleafternine.com

Who are your inspirational ‘Mums that slay’?

Solange Knowles, Gwen Stefani, Erykah Badu and M.I.A

How would you describe your style?

My style is pretty eclectic, I know that’s a bit of a cliche, but I’ve never been one to fit into a certain style posse. My look reflects my story, there are elements of street (giant earrings, trainers & hoodies), ladylike elegance (my appreciation of fashion history is endless) and my Caribbean heritage (lots of colour and prints).

c/o Yvadney Davis, styleafternine.com
c/o Yvadney Davis, styleafternine.com

What are your school run style essentials?

I like things I can throw on, but still have a bit of slaying power. For me, a funky rain coat is essential. My favourite is my metallic Asos jacket, because it’s not only practical when pushing a buggy and catching up with a toddler, but it cheers everyone else up too. I always have practical flats on, because we’re so close to the wire when it comes to the bell. Lastly, red lipstick and statement earrings.

How do you work vintage into your wardrobe?

I’ve been shopping in car boot sales, vintage and charity shops since I was a teenager, so have a real love for a good rummage through a treasure trove. Now that my weight has fluctuated after two pregnancies in the last 4 years, I love vintage accessories the most. Scarves, jaunty hats, jewellery and shoes make such a difference to my look, they add depth and individuality to all my high street clobber. I’m also a fan of vintage jackets, because the construction is always far superior than the mass produced stuff we wear now. My favourite piece is a pink cashmere Austin Reed double breasted blazer.

c/o @yvadney Instagram, styleafternine rocking her Style By Portobello vintage scarves
c/o @yvadney Instagram, styleafternine rocking her Style By Portobello vintage scarves

What’s your favourite decade for vintage fashion?

It has to be the 1930s, which I must add, is the most overlooked style decade. It held a juxtaposition between all the fuss of the twenties and the austerity of the forties, giving women much more choice with their fashion. On the one hand you had lots of fluidity, bias cut tea dresses, midi skirts and oversized ruffled sleeves. On the other you had quite masculine tailoring, with boyish wide legged trousers and cotton shirts.

You can also see it’s influence in 1970s fashion and also current, masculine V feminine, hard V soft.

Who would be your vintage style icon?

Kathryn Hepburn
Kathryn Hepburn

It has to be Katherine Hepburn, her character shone through her fashion choices. She was a style maverick and wore whatever she wanted and could switch between styles in an instant, which kept everyone on their toes. What would she wear next? A suit, full on evening dress, tropical crop top and midi skirt, hair in a top knot or coiffed to perfection?

So take Yvadney’s advice and whether you’re a mum or not, get out there and slay! Don’t forget to join in on her bi-monthly Monday #MumsThatSlay blog link up which is a celebration of mums who are slaying fashion & beauty, regardless of their bodies, breastfeeding, lack of sleep or jam-packed kids’ diaries.

If you’d like to get our latest news on vintage fashion and vintage style, make sure you sign up to our Style By Portobello newsletter. To buy a Scarf Set or one of our Bello Boxes (style boxes full of divine vintage jewellery and accessories) just pop over to stylebyportobello.com.

SBP Team x