Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Wednesday
Mar202019

Colours of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness! And I have spent today and much of the last few days in bed, or otherwise resting, as I have been sick with a horrible chest cold – hurrah! My workplace was having a morning tea in celebration of the day, and we were told to wear yellow; while I didn’t make it to that, I still managed to wear yellow – my kimono is yellow and white gingham.

I shall share instead some pictures from Saturday, when I visited my parents for lunch and wore a new favourite vintage 70s dress – a cotton voile spaghetti-strapped straight dress, belted at the waist. Its standout feature is the gorgeous print, in colours that really do make me happy! The dress is in very good condition; I found it recently in a thrift store. I am also wearing 40s sunglasses, 50s hairclips and am carrying a vintage Chinese paper parasol.

The label is Miss Jo Melbourne, and I surmise that was inspired by Jo from Little Women, the famous book by Louisa May Alcott. I don’t know anything about the label’s history unfortunately, and have only spotted one other dress – a brown polka-dot, 30s style frock – at Le Sourceress on Etsy. With such a romantic name, I’d love to know what else the label produced.

Photos: March 2019

Tuesday
Mar192019

Goody, Two Shoes!

I have been doing some desperately-needed culling in my closet over the last couple of weeks, and have so far completed sorting through all the summer clothing which is currently in my wardrobe, plus the winter jumpers which normally don’t go into storage. (I’ll do the winter clothing either when I bring it up out of storage, or at the end of the coming winter.) I have not yet touched any accessories at all either, so I am not even half way! So with that in mind, when I saw these photos again today, they made me laugh.

I find it difficult to cull shoes, except if they are worn out, or are uncomfortable – or if I suddenly decide they are ugly and wonder why on earth I ever bought them. This happened once, a long time ago, when I wore Birkenstocks for commuting. I was sitting in a park and looked down at my feet and found myself thinking, “Those shoes are extremely ugly.” The moment I returned home, I threw them unregretfully into the garbage. (I didn’t want to donate them so that some other misguided soul would wear them – why inflict that on the world?) These days I wear more attractive walking shoes.

But why do I find myself with two pairs of navy suede pumps? Well, they are not exactly the same, it’s true. It came about that after I threw out a pair of beloved but worn out patent navy Mary-Janes, I was in search of replacements. “Somehow” I ended up with two. At least I can say that they both came from op shops (thrift stores), so I can feel good about recycling.

… what if some mishap occurs, such as a heel snapping off, or muddy rain, then I will be glad I have two.

They are both very comfortable and elegant – one, by Australian brand David Lawrence, features scalloped edges, how cute! The d’Orsay pumps, which I found first, are by Jady Rose; I only discovered recently this is an extremely expensive brand that I could never afford to buy retail. The pairs are slightly different shades of blue, and have different heel heights, so I simply can’t choose one over another. Besides, what if some mishap occurs, such as a heel snapping off, or muddy rain, then I will be glad I have two. So much for the blue.

The red suede T-bar Mary-Janes are by Guess, and I bought them on Ozsale at a huge discount. Despite their deceptively high heels, they are extremely comfortable. I can even run in them. They even stop traffic! Once, as I dodged cars to cross a road (the traffic was stationary), some random woman shouted urgently from her car, expressing her love for them. The rich hue is delicious, the style is a classic.

And then along came the claret coloured Mary-Janes by Nine West, with cute little button fasteners. Some foolish person had donated them to a charity store unworn, so I took them home with me. What would you? (I do have a thing for red shoes.) The colours, and again, the heel heights, of these are so different that clearly it’s necessary to keep both of them for different outfits.

In conclusion: why ration your shoes when you can rationalise? Good shoes come in twos in case of emergency!

Photos: November 2018

Tuesday
Mar052019

What I Actually Wore #0147

Serial #: 0147
Date: 25/09/2013
Weather: 29°C / 84°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

You may have noticed a weird disparity in the ‘time allowed’ quantities I usually quote. Most of the time I am referring to how long it takes me to decide what to wear in the morning, which I most often do while I am showering. I very rarely stand in my bursting closet and look blankly around – I’m not one of those people who wail, “But I have nothing to wear!” Five minutes is often probably an overestimation – sometimes 30 seconds is all it takes!

On this morning I apparently spent a whole five minutes trying to decide which hat to wear with my outfit; nowadays I am usually picking out a hat first and matching my outfit to it. This is because my hat collection has expanded exponentially, and it would be shocking if I didn’t actually wear all the amazing hats I own. Often I’ll whiz through my cataloguing app to pick out something I haven’t worn all season.

I am pretty sure that only the vintage 50s pleated grosgrain bandeau and the suede peep-toes are the only items still in circulation. I think the top was culled entirely because I decided it was a bit too baggy, although I love the colour. (Yellow!)

I am an atypical Melbourne girl who avoids black like the plague (except on very rare occasions), and the neutrals I most often reach for are grey or white. I went through a phase of loving grey with accents of colour, and the light blue and mustard here work great with the grey tones.

Items:

Jacket: AEFFE Spa
Top: Anthropologie
Skirt: Staff Women
Headband: Betmar, vintage 50s
Shoes: David Lawrence
Earrings:
Mimco
Ring: Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole

Photos: January 2014
Tuesday
Feb262019

Hello, Hats!

This enormous red straw cartwheel has no label, but it is probably a modern hat. I purchased this in a thrift store while on a beach outing, and quickly discovered it threatened to be carried off by the slightest breeze. I subsequently added a vintage navy satin ribbon, which answered the problem effectively.I have taken a long but unintended hiatus from posting on these pages, but I promise you I have not slacked off in fashionising! I’ve been hunting high and low for new old treasures over the summer, and I have stumbled over so many wonderful things I couldn’t list them all, but they include vintage hats (naturally); 1950s and 1970s skirts, dresses and ballgowns; quite a few 1930s style items (my favourite fashion era) and an incredible hand embroidered modern silk coat.

One of the most heart-stopping of the 1930s style accessories is a pair of handmade green leather heeled sandals, by the label Jolie – a holy grail item for me! I haven’t heard of the brand (and can’t find any information on it), but the swirling script logo on the insole looks very 1970s. I must confess they are a half-size too small, but I can squish my Cinderella’s sister’s feet into them, and there was no way I was leaving them behind in the thrift store where I found them! Someone had had them resoled, but subsequently never worn them.

Another thrift store find and also lacking a label, this 30s-style conical or coolie style hat is hard to age definitively. It's in such good condition, I suspect it is from the 70s or 80s.But here are some of the hats I have worn in the last month or two – some of these are very new to me, some not, but I don’t think any of them have appeared on these pages previously. Information on each one is within the captions of the photos. I’m still looking forward to taking more summer hats on outings – though the season is nearly over, it doesn’t look like Melbourne is going to cool down any time soon.

Photos: December 2018, January 2019

With an unusual clamshell shape, this hat also features black and white cord trim and a black bead decoration that emulates a hatpin. This 1940s straw hat also came from a thrift store in Albury, a large country town in NSW just over the Victorian border. I spotted it for $12 and couldn't snap it up fast enough!I bought this cute little red straw 1930s derby hat from a Facebook seller named Bonita Markwick. The hat is trimmed with black bows at the back and net.Yet another thrift store find, this modern cloth beret with trapunto stitching is by the Australian label Mimco. Another purchase from the Facebook seller Bonita Markwick, this whimsy hat of black net with red silk roses is vintage 40s. I am wearing it here on Christmas Day with a deep red 50s knitted ribbon dress, bought from Birthday Life Vintage on Etsy.This 40s raffia and straw pom-pom hat is by Sally Victor – another holy grail find for me! I purchased this on eBay.

Friday
Jan112019

In Which Case

Many years ago, I bought this vintage metal mesh glasses case in a thrift store, intending to use it to carry sunglasses. Regrettably, it turned out to be a bit too small. I set it aside, forgetting about it until about a year ago, when I received my first pair of prescription reading glasses. I was pleased to find that the vintage style made them small enough to easily slip into it, a much slimmer and more attractive case than the hard shell from the optometrist.

I’ve never come across any similar cases since, and had always meant to share its quaintness here. I finally got round to photographing it early in December last year – ironically, as it transpired. Around the same time I found out from the doctor that I was anaemic, and had to immediately begin to increase my iron levels. Only three weeks later, I inadvertently discovered that remarkably my eyesight seems to have improved! I was in a grocery store and suddenly found I was able to read the tiny text of the ingredient list on a box of cereal. I even turned the text size on my iPhone to smallest and was tickled to find I could quite easily read it.

I can only assume the extreme fatigue I was constantly feeling had also affected my eye muscles, which had thrown in the towel at trying to focus on tiny text. I’m still becoming accustomed to not reaching for my reading glasses all the time – they do still help in low light or when I am extra tired – but as it can take months to raise iron levels to normal, I am hopeful that by the end I may hardly need to use them at all. In which case (pardon the pun) I may end up using this mesh case for sunglasses after all, for the little 30s and 40s sunglasses I bought in the last year will fit as easily as my specs.

Photo: December 2018