Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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That Thrilling Thrifting Feeling

I loved this grey silk blouse with a multitude of complicated pleating – but alas, it was a size or two too small.Who knows that heart-wrenching thrifting feeling when you find some fabulous item only to discover it doesn’t fit? Or it’s ruined somehow beyond repair? Or alternatively, that thrill when you stumble across some incredible, mind-boggling, once-in-a-lifetime find? I have been op-shopping for decades now, and I have hit both highs and lows.

Just look: HEART-SHAPED BUTTONS. (Sob.)A recent high was finding an antique Victorian pink wool cloak with cornelli embroidery and silk tasselled fringing, while a low was a gorgeous 50s dress and bolero set with a novelty London print (featuring the Buckingham Palace guardsmen in their bearskin hats) that was not only a little small for me but horribly ripped from some stupid person who had tried to squeeze themselves into it and torn the bodice asunder (not even on the seam). I could have wept! I was so overwrought in fact I forgot to photograph its wonderful print.

Here are some of my hits and misses of the past.

Periwinkle blue leather flats hardly worn? I won't say no!In fact, I also did not say no to the NEVER-worn black patent T-bar heels – they still had the original price sticker in them.I also took home this flocked cotton tee that charmed me in the store.I like matryoshka dolls, but I think I did not like the enormous size of this pendant (one time when I rejected exaggerated proportions!).So many shiny shoes! Remarkably I held my magpie tendencies in check and none came home with me.


Tassels for a Fine Lady

There’s an old Mother Goose nursery rhyme called ‘Ride a Cockhorse to Banbury Cross’, where the lines go, Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes. … I feel like they did the ‘fine lady’ a disservice by ignoring her ears. May I put forward tassels, with perhaps little tinkling bells on the ends, as a suitable decoration?

One of my favourite pairs of earrings to wear of late are these giant ballerina pink tassels made from seed beads that I bought a few months ago. You might have counted these as frivolous purchase as any fine lady upon a white horse of yore might have made, but amazingly, they seem to go with everything! I think it’s because this pale shade of pink works like a neutral in the same way as does beige, tan or camel.

Another pair, also a recent purchase, are tassel-esque in design but are white rhinestones set in rose-gold metal. They are equally long and swingy. Because they are so blingy, they seem more fitted for evening – I last wore them out for cocktails, celebrating my birthday with friends. (Not that I disapprove of sparkles for day on the right any occasion.)

Both of these sets were bought in the jewellery department of David Jones, an up-market department store here in Australia. The enormous proportions and the sheer fun of tassels make each pair a joy to wear day and night. And I feel quite the fine lady too, I may add!

Photos: May 2018


Go-to, tally-ho!

Here are a couple of hats I bought late last year. One of them I call a ‘go-to’ hat because it’s so versatile and easy to wear – that would be the pink 70s-style oversize newsboy cap. It’s one I reach for often on casual weekends when I run out the door to go shopping for instance, because it seems to go with lots of my outfits and I don’t need to think about it.

The other hat is a vintage 50s hunting cap (with a visor on front and back), complete with ear-flaps that can be tied down under the chin with the grosgrain ribbon. It is quite amusing and cute, but definitely has a louder personality!

These were both bought in thrift stores for a song or two, and each bring a lot of colour to dreary winter days – that’s what makes hats so much fun to wear.  


Liza Doolittle Day

Liza Doolittle Day

It’s Eliza Doolittle Day, did you know? It’s a long time since I have seen the film My Fair Lady, I must admit, and the thing I love most about it is that it’s Audrey Hepburn playing the title role, and Cecil Beaton designed the costumes.

A while back I was reminded that in a scene where Eliza daydreams about meeting the king, she sings these words:

One evening the king will say:
“Oh, Liza, old thing,
I want all of England your praises to sing.
Next week on the twentieth of May
I proclaim Liza Doolittle Day!
All the people will celebrate the glory of you
And whatever you wish and want I gladly will do.”

At that point in the story, Eliza wished ’Enry ’Iggins dead!

However, my sartorial homage here is to her famous black and white racing outfit. I’m wearing a mix of vintage and more contemporary items. The screw-on earrings are 40s; the gloves – trimmed in bows – are 50s; the skirt and belt 80s, and the Edwardian hat is from the late 90s (the milliner was inspired by Kate Winslet’s hat at the start of the film Titanic). The jabot and striped shirt are more modern numbers.

Here’s to you Liza!

Photo: May 2018


Knit One, Pearl Seven

I picked up this mohair beret at the start of spring last year from an op shop (thrift store). I am a sort of connoisseur of berets, and this mauve number was unlike any I already owned. Someone had clearly donated it because it was missing quite a number of the pearls decorating its top, so it was priced accordingly, but this I knew was an easy fix if I could find matching pearl beads.

The warm weather was coming up, and knowing I was unlikely to wear it for many months, the hat languished on the mending pile for some time before I attended to it. I found Swarovski pearls that matched closely enough, and one day on a mending frenzy, I finally attached them.

And voilà! Someone else did not make do, but I mended, and I now have a rather cute little hat to wear in the coming cold weather.

Photos: March 2018