Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in 1950s (99)

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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Wednesday
Nov212018

Bonus Barrettes

I discovered yesterday I had forgotten to include this closeup photo of my vintage hair clips, so you could see them in all their glory. Look at all the detail in the moulds! The red clip has little carvings, and the leaves on the green sprig are quaintly all different to one another. The three of them together make such a lovely combination. Grow hair, grow!

Photo: Last week

Monday
Nov192018

What I Actually Wore #0144

Serial #: 0144
Date: 01/09/2013
Weather: 24°C / 75°F
Time Allowed: 8 minutes

I don’t remember this occasion at all, unsurprisingly, as it was just another work day, albeit Father’s Day, and the first day of spring. However, I can report that I still own all these items, except for the ikat print skirt and the dark taupe (or donkey brown if you prefer) pumps. The latter simply wore out, but I lament culling that skirt – looking at it now, I really like it and wonder why I deemed it should go. I love ikat prints in general, and am always keeping an eye out for them, although I prefer ones with limited colour palettes.

The feather headband, fashioned into a bird, is vintage 50s, and I bought it many years ago on Etsy when I was on a headband/bandeau hat kick. I love the concept of a bird perched on the head – much more interesting and quirkier than a plain band. I have not worn it for a long time, mainly because I have so many hats to choose from; this archival photo is a nice reminder to bring out some of my simpler hats on occasion.

Items:

Blouse: Veronika Maine
Skirt: Veronika Maine
Belt: David Lawrence
Headband:
Joseph Horne Co, vintage 50s
Earrings: handmade by me
Ring: Autore
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Bag: vintage 60s
Shoes: Zu (now defunct)

Photos: October 2013

Saturday
Nov172018

Clip Art

How cute are these vintage 50s hair clips? I found them irresistible, and bought them a little while ago from Rosebud Vintage Bazaar.

There are two different bows, and a branch of leaves – I think the latter are my favourite – and the two pastels are nicely offset by the tomato red bow. I like them worn all at the same time, although I’ve had my hair cut since I took this photo, so I shall have to wait a month or two before I can sport them again. Incidentally, the pink bow exactly matches the screw-back button earrings that also came from the Bazaar.

You can find some great accessories today of course, but there’s something about vintage: they just don’t make them like they used to. Also, one can rest assured that one is unlikely to bump into someone else wearing the same thing!

(Here’s a 3-second clip—ha—I made on the day just for fun.)

Photos: Last week