Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in 1950s (92)

Monday
Apr152019

New Jools

I am a sucker for jewellery – or in the case of costume jewellery, ‘jools’ – of all kinds, but especially for necklaces. Nearly all my jewellery is vintage or secondhand. Most of it was found in op shops and cost very little, which is why I don’t feel too guilty for my self-indulgence.

Of this selection of necklaces bought in thrift stores in recent months, only three of them are genuine vintage – a chain of white rhinestones, the twisted strand of pink seed beads that resembles a Twizzler, and the white milk glass bead necklace – but all of them are fun. I especially love the giant silvery bauble necklace which looks quite 60s-space-age-inspired.

And considering the embarrassingly large quantity of jools I own, I am quite pleased to reflect that I have worn nearly all of these at least once!

Tuesday
Apr092019

Cross My Heart

In August 2014 I visited the Heide Museum with an old friend to see a Mirka Mora exhibition. We also wandered around the extensive grounds to look at the sculptures, which is when my friend took some snaps of me.

I was going for a 30s or 40s aesthetic. As usual, I am wearing a mix of modern and vintage items, and like the colour combination very much. The halo beret is 1940s and was bought from The Vintage Hat Shop on Etsy; the lilac silk blouse (1950s, I think) with the amazing details was bought in a thrift store for around $5; and the black 1960s bag was also bought in a thrift store many years ago. All the other items are modern, the skirt by Witchery and the wedges by Oxford, both Australian brands. I’m also carrying some souvenirs: a black agate bangle from Spain, and a striped cashmere shawl (in my bag) from Sharjah, part of the UAE.

… who remembers the childhood chant, “CROSS MY HEART, HOPE TO DIE, STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE”?

I am also pleased to reflect that all the items are still in circulation. In fact, I wore the sunglasses today after a very long hiatus, as I have been wearing my various 1930s and 40s sunglasses exclusively for the better part of a year. I remember spotting the shades online somewhere, and they made me laugh – who remembers the childhood chant, “CROSS MY HEART, HOPE TO DIE, STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE”? Round lenses are my favourite shape to wear, and I managed to track them down to some random online retailer and bought them on the spot.

Scroll down to see some pictures of the Mirka Mora exhibition.

Photos: August 2014

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
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
Monday
Dec312018

Shine On, Magpie!

If it glitters, you can guarantee my fingers will get itchy and I’ll be drawn to it like the magpie of yore, which explains why I have so many sequinned garments feathering my nest. I can at least justify this excess by the fact that I actually wear them – working at a theatre allows me to indulge in my, ahem, theatrical sense of style.

… sequins are the quintessential party wear, and an excellent choice to ring in the new year …

In the nineteenth century, sequins were made of shiny metal – I have a late 1920s or early 1930s hat trimmed in tiny metal sequins (they need replacing and will be difficult to source), and also an antique Berber rug, originally worn as a cloak (incredibly heavy), that is interwoven with silver metal sequins. In the early twentieth century, flat or faceted to catch more light, they were made of celluloid, meaning they were dangerous to wear as they are flammable. But by some accounts of vintage sellers I have read, they have a special extra-shiny quality not found in their modern plastic counterparts. In the 1930s, there were even electroplated gelatin sequins. Obviously not very durable, these did not stay in fashion for long!

60s pink and white wool tank, silver velvet skirt by Top Shop, 1980s sequin beret; 1960s red 1960s red sequin wool top, modern skirt by Ojay and red sequin bag (era uncertain); 60s white sequin and red bead wool top, modern skirt by OjaySequins have been used in decoration for much longer than this however: the first evidence for them is in the Indus Valley around 2500BC, when gold sequins were used to trim clothing and other ‘paraphernalia’ – possibly for ceremonial or royal use. [Wikipedia] Note that ‘spangles’ are actually made from coiled wire that is hammered flat, though today the term is used interchangeably with sequins, while ‘paillettes’ usually refers to large, flat sequins.

Black sequins two ways: modern sequin dress worn as top with Bettina Liano puff shorts, Victorian miniature velvet top hat, 60s pearl earrings and modern heeled sandals by Wittner; modern sequin dress worn with rhinestone earrings by Aldo and modern red satin pumps by BarkinsThe modern name for these shiny decorative disks comes from the zecchino, a Venetian ducat coin, by way of the French translation, sequin. After Napoleon’s invasion of Italy in 1797, the coin ceased being minted, but the Conqueror carried the name back to France in triumph (okay, I’m romanticising here), and the term sequin came into use in France for the decorative trim shortly after.

Modern Australian flag sequin souvenir dress, 1980s straw beret, modern plaited white heels by Stefano Stefani. This dress made me laugh when I spotted it in a thrift store – a pity it is not a French flag, to match my story better! It was obviously a cheap souvenir dress, and I paid $6 for it, although I haven't found an occasion to wear it to yet!I have been hoarding this shiny story literally for years, but as sequins are the quintessential party wear, and an excellent choice to ring in the new year, this New Year’s Eve seems an appropriate time of year to finally release them into the world.

In fact, I haven’t even included everything in this collection – I also have a miniskirt of giant iridescent green paillettes, a grey tee of matt sequins, another modern sequin tank trimmed in silk chiffon, and a few sundry accessories. Out of this set, I think either the red sequin top, or the cropped robin’s egg blue tasselled top are my first vintage sequinned purchases. They were both purchased online, the former on Etsy, and the latter at eBay auction. I remember I was on a picnic with friends when I excitedly received the notification my bid had won the top! All the other items were found in thrift stores, except for the black Bettina Liano shorts, an indulgent Australian designer purchase.

Whatever old thing you slip off for this evening’s party dress, shiny or not, I hope you bling in a bright and shiny new year! Here’s to a happy 2019.

50s robin's egg blue sequin and bead tassel wool top, modern skirt by Ojay, vintage jewellery; 60s turquoise sequin and star-beaded wool top, modern skirt by Ojay, vintage jewellery; 60s celadon sequin and bead top, modern skirt by Ojay, vintage jewellery; 60s yellow sequin wool top, 1960s linen blend skirt by La Gonda, sterling silver, lemon quartz and agate earrings hand made by me

View all the items here in my new gallery All the Shiny Things.

Photos: (black set) March 2014, (Australian flag) February 2016; (pink and green sets) March 2018

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Read more about the history of sequins and spangles in this excellent article by The Dreamstress.

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