Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in 1960s (53)

Saturday
Nov242018

Impressed!

A few years ago, my friend Rapunzel bought this vintage 60s suede coat at a vintage warehouse sale for a fairly modest sum. The clothing, I believe, was purchased unseen by the container-load from America. While all the other clothing at the sale seemed to have suffered no lasting damage, this coat looked like it had been drenched in the brink. It was so wrinkled, and strangely textured as though it was encrusted with salt.

My friend, however, never wore it, saying she had never got round to taking it to a drycleaner, and didn’t like wearing coats for commuting anyway, as she tended to overheat, and so she was reluctant to spend a large amount on professional cleaning. She donated it to me.

I was pleased to accept the coat, but it couldn’t be worn in the state it was. I forgot to photograph it in its original state, but I would describe the texture as resembling a piece of paper that had been screwed up into a little ball, then poorly smoothed out.

I would describe the texture as resembling a piece of paper that had been screwed up into a little ball …

I took the coat to my regular drycleaner and asked his advice. With very serious face he examined the coat and remarked that it did look like it had fallen into the ocean. That seemed unlikely, but perhaps it had been splashed at some point in its life. He did not think cleaning it would improve its appearance – the two apparent stains visible on the right side (near the collar and the middle button) were actually abrasions of the leather, so cleaning would have no effect on those. He suggested pressing it instead.

Ironing leather! I have talked before about the importance of ironing, but it never would have occurred to me that it was appropriate to press leather. For a modest sum of $15, I agreed to see if that improved the look of the coat. When I returned to pick the coat up, I was very impressed (pardon the pun) to see the improvement.

This suede, mink-trimmed coat transmogrified from a sozzled 60-year-old harridan into a gently-used dignified dame. Disfigurements became faint scars proudly marking the stately passage of time, and the coat was eminently wearable. Amongst so many coats I already own, I still managed to wear it a few times this past winter, an excellent result.

Photo: August 2018

Saturday
Oct132018

Another Lemon Slice

So here is the 1960s sequin shell top I bought on the Day of the Yellow Bonanza. It looks very subtle in this picture, and it is quite a pale lemon yellow, a nice addition to my ever-growing collection of sequinned garments. (Rather hilariously, I am suddenly reminded that many years ago I painted my bedroom and boudoir this exact colour combination. Lemon yellow above the picture rail, and robin’s egg blue below – how funny!)

What I like about this particular 1960s sequinned rendition is that when the top is off, it looks like an ordinary shell, but on the body it has cap sleeves. Admittedly it is a little boxier in shape than I would prefer – scroll down and compare it to the red top – but for sequins and yellow ones at that, I will not complain!

Photo: August 2018

Tuesday
Sep252018

What I Actually Wore #0142

Serial #: 0142
Date:
28/08/2013
Weather:
22.5°C / 72.5°F
Time Allowed:
10 minutes

Argh! My favourite raspberry red shoes! I am delighted to say that I still have these and wear them as often as possible, although their toe tips have been repaired once already, and are starting to look hacked again. This is one pair of shoes I wish I had bought two of! In fact, I once saw another pair in a thrift store at a very good price, barely worn, but lamentably they were one or two sizes too big.

In fact, I still own all these items but the socks, which have worn out, although the 50s cardigan is in storage somewhere and I had forgotten about it what with the plethora of winter cardigans I own. I do like it though! It has always reminded me of Wedgwood. According to my notes, apparently I had bought this in a vintage boutique in Belgrave, a township at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne. However, I have absolutely no recollection of the purchase. 

The linen/rayon skirt I do remember buying, in a Salvos thrift store, and I was particularly pleased at the time because I had a virtually identical vintage 40s wool knit skirt in my Etsy wishlist that was much more expensive. Mine I think is 1960s or 70s going by the design of the label. The plain grey t-shirt under the cardigan was from Kookaï, and was a good basic until it wore out.

My hat is vintage 50s, and I bought that years ago on Etsy when I was on a headband shopping kick. The feathers are shaped to look like a bird perched on the head, a charming notion. The jewellery is a mixed bag, with a chalcedony pendant bought from jewellery store Portobello Lane, and my charm necklace – the charms are collected from many places. The earrings are also chalcedony, and I made them myself, while the turquoise ring is a souvenir from Barcelona.

For this sunny springlike day, I put this outfit together purely based on a monochromatic colour scheme, although I added the raspberry pops in the accessories. At the time, the skirt was new to me (ergo, it had to be worn), but funnily, even this year I have been wearing variations of this outfit, using the skirt as a base. Robin’s egg blue is one of my favourite colours, so when you’re onto a good thing – stick to it I say!

Items:

Tee: Kookaï
Cardigan:
vintage 1950s
Skirt:
La Gonda, vintage 60s
Socks:
ASOS
Headband:
Jospeh Horne Co, vintage 50s
Necklaces:
Portobello Lane, souvenir/vintage
Ring:
souvenir
Watch:
Kenneth Cole
Shoes:
Wittner

Photos: October 2013

Tuesday
Jul172018

Pennies for Tears

I don’t go looking for vintage jewellery (I’m usually hunting hats) – but vintage jewellery usually somehow manages to find me. The reason I’m not shopping for jewellery is because I have so much already (hmm – no idea how that state of affairs might have come about!) but I seem to have a positive knack of discovering something irresistible.

That was the case with these vintage 60s copper teardrop earrings. They are so shiny and rosy and swingy. I also like to imagine that someone illegally melted down some 1-and-2-cent pieces to make them.

For when one enters an op shop or thrift store, one never knows what treasure one might unearth, such as these beaten copper tears that might have cost someone a few cents to make. Those coins don’t exist anymore, so that makes these earrings priceless! (They cost me three bucks.)

Photo: May 2018

Monday
Mar192018

Shanghai Silk

I am a total sucker for anything embroidered. It draws my hand irresistibly like a magpie to shiny things. (I also love shiny things.) This vintage 1960s, exquisitely decorated silk blouse, one of two I own, was embroidered by hand in Shanghai.

The real heyday for such embroidered garments were the 1950s and 60s, when the label ‘Made in China’ did not have the connotations it does today. The labels on both my blouses are written in English as well as Chinese, indicating that they were made for the tourist market. Perhaps they were unwanted souvenirs, for neither look worn.

Embroidery and most other needlework arts are believed to have originated in the Orient and Middle East. Paintings and pictures on sculpture illustrating embroidery with silk thread, precious stones and pearls indicate that Chinese thread embroidery dates back to 3500 BC – no wonder this example is so fine: they’ve been practising a long time! Elaborate embroidery on garments, household goods and religious artefacts has been a mark of wealth and status in many cultures since.

Just look at this detail!While the Industrial Revolution brought machines that replaced hands, and made embroidery more accessible for the masses, freehand embroidery has never died out, and its fineness cannot be contested when it is laid side-by-side with a cheap, mass-produced item. One can only marvel at the skill and patience needed for such fine needlework.

I am lucky enough to own a short-sleeved silk blouse embroidered in a similar style, as well as two other plainer Chinese silk blouses. All of them were found in the same Salvos store on separate occasions. I always wonder: Who gets rid of these beautiful things?

Vintage lovers will also be familiar with the beaded and sequined knits of the same era, and detailed beaded evening bags, most of which declare Hong Kong as the origin – look out for more on these in coming days.

~

I am also wearing a modern silk skirt by Carolyn Taylor, and belt by Alannah Hill.

Photos: March 2018

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