Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pronounce 'Jana'?
It's Czech - so the 'J' is pronounced as a soft 'Y' meaning that it sounds like 'Yana' (to rhyme with Anna).

Where do you get your clothes?
They are usually second hand and often vintage; sourced from charity shops, markets, jumble sales, online and vintage fairs/shops. I enjoy nothing more than the thrill of hunting out a bargain. Many of my favourite items of clothing were hoarded and then passed down from previous generations of family members.

In addition, when I buy 'new' I'm likely to save up for something from either an independent or sustainable source/ brand/ designer. 

How would you describe your style?
Kate Bush meets Katharine Hepburn in a charity shop.

When and why did you start your blog?
I started it in June 2009 after being introduced to the notion of style blogging by a friend. At that time it was a great way to make contact with others around the world with similar interests. I grew up rurally, where the only shearling to be seen was on the sheep in the fields and the only pony skin was where it belongs: on the ponies. So an online community celebrating the joy and playfulness of dressing up and dressing well appealed to me hugely.

I've made some wonderful friends, enjoyed all sorts of thought-provoking conversations and met a variety of inspiring people through my blog.

Who takes your photos?
Generally either my mum or my dad. Most of the photos are taken using my Canon 5D, and are not edited (bar the occasional crop and lightening) or photoshopped, unless otherwise stated.
I also have some very talented photographer friends who I'm lucky to work with occasionally. When I use their photos, it's with permission, credits and links.

What are your other interests? 
Writing and reading are the two biggest loves - it's a constant balancing act between the two. However, I'm also very partial to theatre (both performing and watching), drawing & painting, vociferous debating and conversation, feminism, dancing, scrap-booking, walking, wine-sipping, visiting museums and galleries, browsing charity shops and spending too much time drinking coffee in cafes.

Do you like where you grew up?
I know next to nothing about farming. I dress completely inappropriately (lace skirts/ silk shirts) for family walks across the hills. Public transport is almost non-existent. I love it. Growing up in a rural area allowed me a childhood of climbing trees, den building, fire-making and wading in streams. I also enjoy tramping around in wellies.

What is your education background?
Home-schooled to age six and a half, followed by village state Primary School. State Comprehensive Secondary School. State Sixth Form College. Oxford University.

Most inspirational authors and poets?
This changes according to my mood and what I’ve read most recently. Constant favourites are: Angela Carter, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Laurie Lee, Roger Deakin, Owen Sheers, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Niall Williams, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, George Eliot, Henry James, Daphne Du Maurier, Thomas Hardy, Hilary Mantel, Carol Ann Duffy, Sylvia Plath, Alice Oswald, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Jennings, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ted Hughes, John Keats, Pat Barker, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Tolstoy, JD Salinger, Alan Garner, Alice Munro, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Mahy and Italo Calvino.

Most inspirational photographers?
Tim Walker, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Norman Parkinson, Ida Kar, Hoppe, Horste, Nick Knight, Clive Boursnell, Jane Bown, Sally Mann, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Miller, Cecil Beaton, Man Ray, Esther Sapetbour, Rico Puhlman.

Who are your favourite current designers/ brands?
Corrie Nielsen, Mary Katrantzou, Vivienne Westwood, Orla Kiely, Erdem, Bora Aksu, Daks, Margaret Howell, Holly Fulton, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Prada, Eley Kishimoto, Hussein Chayalan, Goodone, Beautiful Soul and Henrietta Ludgate.

Who are your iconic favourite designers?
Chanel, YSL, Dior, Mary Quant, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Madame Gres, Givenchy

How tall are you?

Do you model professionally?
I was first signed up by a London Agency at the age of thirteen after being scouted at the Clothes Show. Being a part time model led to some amazing experiences. However, I decided to leave that agency following my spinal fusion surgery in autumn 2010 – as, at that point I had no idea what my future would hold and my aspirations were in disarray.

I am now represented by the Special Bookings department at Models 1. My portfolio can be seen here. For bookings, see my contacts page.

What are your aspirations?
My aim is to continue to spend time improving and working on the craft of writing. My main aspiration is to be an author of fiction and non-fiction, as well as working as a freelance writer.

What is the Vogue Talent Contest? 
It's an annual competition held in the UK by Vogue Magazine for writers under the age of 25. I won it in 2011, had my winning piece published in Vogue and completed a month's paid work experience at Vogue's offices in July 2012. For more information see here.

Do you have any advice for entering the Vogue Talent Contest?
There isn't a particular golden nugget of information I'm able to offer. I can only speak from my own experience, and what has worked for me. Write. And write. Spend as much time writing as you can, if not every day, then at least every week. Polish each piece until it shines. Remove all extra adjectives; edit, redraft and edit some more. Become a compulsive tweaker of sentences. You can read my thoughts on the process of writing. Other than that, don't concentrate only on what you think Vogue want to hear. My guess is that they're also looking for individual, engaging voices. Read entries to someone else before deciding if they are finished. Another perspective is always useful, and sometimes just speaking an article out loud allows me to notice errors or areas that 'snag' and still need work. Don't be satisfied until it feels like every word deserves to be there.

I’ve seen your scoliodress inspired by the late Alexander McQueen. 
What is scoliosis?
It's a curvature of the spine. It is often idiopathic – which is the medical term for, "We have no idea why this has happened". No reason. Just is. The most common group to be affected are adolescent girls, although it can happen to anyone. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the start of 2010 with a 56 degree curvature, and eventually had spinal fusion surgery as my spine bent further to 80 degrees within only 7 months. The operation involved my spine being manually straightened and kept in place with titanium metal rods, screws and hooks, while two thirds of my spinal vertebrae were fused into a single, solid bone mass with the aid of bone graft. I spent a week in hospital and was off school for two months. I have made a full recovery, but I still have a 23 degree curvature and my torso - ribs and shoulder blade - is still slightly twisted. Please feel free to email me if you want to know more.

Do you happen to have a handy list of any of your past blog posts talking about scoliosis? 
Why yes, I do. These are listed below, in chronological order. Some cover scoliosis, while others focus on post-op recovery, reflections on surgery, body image, photos of my scar etc. I have also written on it for publications and websites including British Vogue and ThandieKay (see my writing page).

Twisted Embrace
She'll be Wearing Silk Pyjamas
Wrapped in Support
Jumble Sales and Treasure Troves
Preparing for the Chill
A Taste for Tartan
Made to Measure
Silver Sighs
Walk a Crooked Mile
Scar Tissue

Where is the 'Backbone' Brooch in your header from?
It was custom made for me by one of my best friends who practises silversmithing. I commissioned it in the aftermath of my scoliosis surgery and was beyond thrilled with the result! You can see some more of her work on Esme Eva Silver. I'm afraid she never makes the same piece twice, but email her for more information if you would like your own highly individual piece of jewellery.

Do you set off metal detectors in airports?
Yes. My consultant/surgeon said I wouldn’t, but walking through the security detector at airports proves him wrong every time.