Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in 1940s (102)


Love Takes flight

Recently I bought this original 1940s black velour hat from Jane’s Vintage on Etsy after falling in love at first sight with it. Wings! With silver lurex scrollwork! Irresistible. I really liked a second hat from the same seller as well, also 1940s, so dithered over them for a while.

One day when I returned to admire them, the second hat – a kind of inflated, tall Cossack number made of faux curly lamb had sold, so that made me make a decision in a hurry! I was very glad the wings had not flown, and bought it immediately.

In the second picture you can see in profile the hat looks like a tricorne – that triangular historical hat you might associate with pirates and buccaneers. I like to think though that it was inspired by the heroic aviators of WWII.

Fashion notes: jumper by Trent Nathan, jeans by Hudson.

Pictures: Today


Birds and Brollies

I love fun and kitschy pins and brooches and am amassing quite a collection. Most of them I have bought in Melbourne op shops (thrift stores); a very few bought online; and a couple are leftovers from my childhood (a crimson enamel and diamante butterfly) and teenage years (a frilled sea-serpent wrapped around a sword and swallowing the red glass pommel).

This pair, which I think are from the 1940s or 50s, I bought last Saturday in two different op shops. I was quite tickled to find the umbrella because I had been searching on Etsy last week for umbrella pins – if you’ve been reading this journal for a while, you know I go through quite a few brollies, so I thought it quite expedient that I should have one in brooch form. I also love birds of every kind, and already have a few others in my set, so the swan is a lovely addition.

I tend to wear brooches more in winter because so many of them are made from heavy metal, and weigh delicate summery fabrics down too much. Now that the weather has cooled at last, they shall come out to play!


Je ne sais quoi

The Blue Hat, published in Femina, 1949Last year I visited the Christian Dior exhibition in Melbourne, which was quite spectacular. It was interesting comparing the styles of each of the designers who have headed the House of Dior.

They all like to say that while they have their own signature style, they wish to honour the spirit of the house, but I’m not sure if any of them really are completely successful in that respect. Of course fashion must move with the times, but Monsieur Christian Dior simply had that je ne sais quoi that is really epitomised in the illustrations of that other master, René Gruau, in these postcards bought in the exhibition shop.

Absolute perfection – that’s what it is.

Drawing for perfume advertising image, 1963


What I Actually Wore #0136

Serial #: 0136
Date: 05/08/2013
Weather: 16°C / 61.5°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

This outfit is making me sad, because I’m looking at the list of items and seeing just how many of them broke or wore out: almost everything! What is left and still in circulation is the vintage 40s hat (I love its detailing; you can see it in the close-up below), the Chinese red carved jade bangle and ring (featured just recently) and the grey wool jumper – although the boutique I bought it from closed down a few years ago, which is a shame, because they always had a great selection of Australian and international labels.

The wide-leg wool pants with the self-tie belt were a favourite of mine for years, and just became too worn and threadbare in patches, so they were culled, and of course the brogues which I wrote about a couple of days ago also wore out, but here they are in all their beribboned glory. (I noted the outfit started with the shoes in fact, as I wanted flat shoes because my calves were tight from martial arts training.)

Not seen are two other items I wore that day: my white leather trench, and a white leather tote – I was actually donated the bag only a couple of weeks ago, as not only was the leather very cracked and worn, but the zip had broken – you can see it in the A Few Things I Heart picture gallery. I’m never sure whether I should donate such items, but someone might have a use for them instead of adding them to landfill. I’m doubly sad over the bag because the label is now defunct too.

I am actually still quite fond of this outfit, which is inspired by 40s fashion, although the pants are very low-waisted rather than high, in proper 40s style. There are a lot of bow-ties in this outfit too, which amused me – on the hat, the jumper, the pants and the shoes. Also funnily, four years on, I am wearing my hair like that again. It is curlier however, because of the layers from the grown-out pixie cut. My style in general really hasn’t changed a great deal since I wore this outfit.


Jumper: ink
vintage 40s
vintage 70s, Leda Spain by Gropper
Bangle and ring:
Elise Carrels


Spring has Sprung!

This is it! Spring is here, at last. How glorious! Just the thought makes me want to leap into the air and click my heels together, to break into song. The days are getting longer, blossom is blooming everywhere, the sun is shining, and the breezes are balmy.

It’s time to throw off the woollens and embrace vintage printed pleats instead. I don’t demand they be florals by any means, although this pinky-mauve 1940s skirt is printed with a black floral pattern. The off-pink and black are a less sweet alternative to traditional pink pastels, especially when worn with a sassy black backless halter and high suede peeptoes.

I actually have an array of 70s printed dresses that I am looking forward to wearing in this inbetween weather – most of them are polyester so they won’t do for really warm weather. Many of the prints are geometric rather than floral, but there is something so cheerful about graphic prints they suit this uplifting time of year.

Of course, Melbourne is traditionally quite rainy in the springtime too, so one must carry a brolly under the arm and be prepared for four seasons in one day – that’s why we love this town.

Photo: March 2014

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