Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in 1970s (94)

Saturday
Sep012018

Golden Days Here at Last

Hellooo, spring, glorious spring: welcome! … Well, almost. Everyone is excited to see spring finally arrive although unfortunately, apart from a few sunbeams early in the morning, today Melbourne was been hit by another blast of wintry weather.

However, September 1st is not only the first day of spring, but also Australia’s National Wattle Day. The day was first celebrated in Victoria, NSW and South Australia in 1910, but was made official only in 1992. A few years previously, in 1988, the golden wattle (acacia pycnantha) was officially declared Australia’s national floral emblem. I did not know of Wattle Day at all until I came across a reference when reading about the flower last spring (well after the celebratory date), so I had to save this story for this year.

The native Australian wattle bird in a wattle treeI am happy to celebrate the prospect of warmer weather however, in one of my favourite colours, bright and sunny wattle yellow. It always amazes me that many people seem daunted at the prospect of wearing the colour; it is not often in fashion either, and when it is decreed to be so, it is embraced by very few brave souls.

… once upon a time a bright yellow dress was one of my fashion Holy Grails.

I am always looking out for the colour in thrift and vintage stores, but owing to the above factors, it is rare to come by. To date, I have managed to collect quite a few pieces, many very recently (more on those to come in the next few weeks), but once upon a time a bright yellow dress was one of my fashion Holy Grails. The dress I am wearing in these pictures is vintage 1970s. I spotted it very late one night on Etsy and was so enraptured I bought it immediately. I have never regretted it, and do not fail to receive compliments every time I wear it.

The velvet leafy 1950s hat I am wearing I bought on Etsy many years ago. I always think of it as a Grecian wreath, but it serves well for Wattle Day.

Here’s to sunny days coming very soon – happy spring!

~

Read more about the history of Wattle Day here.
Top background image sourced here.

Photos: August 2018

Friday
Aug312018

A Farewell to Winter

I am a long-term fan of tweed for winter. There is something so cosy about this fabric, if it is good quality wool. I particularly love the herringbone pattern and have managed to collect many examples of it over the years, most of which is vintage, or merely secondhand, and a little of which was purchased new. [You can read more about the different types of tweed patterns, and how to distinguish them here.]

A really fun way to wear it, I have decided, is all at once if you can possibly manage it. Even better if they are separates that all differ a little; in this case, a proper suit scores low styling points.

[The coat] clinched my decision that it was time I made another homage to tweed.

This 1970s coat I am wearing has a very amusing label: “Richard Shops – Such Clever Clothes”. I found it in an op shop in the midst of a heatwave last summer. I suffered trying it on, but it was worth it. I certainly didn’t need any more coats, but I loved the tailored shape of it, and the enormous lapels. It clinched my decision that it was time I made another homage to tweed. The occasion of the first homage on these pages was way back in 2009, so it’s about time I reprised the look.

I’ve had the baggy pants for a few years – they remind me of plus-fours styled this way – but going by the drop crotch, they are modern. The label is clearly designer, it’s so difficult to read: white embroidery on cream, which is twisted and folded. I eventually decrypted it and read ESS Laboratory. Established in 2001, the label is Melbourne-born, and the two designers Japanese. (My effort was rewarded, because their bio alone is pleasingly intellectual. You can read more about their work on their blog.)

The Pierre Cardin blouse is a silky herringbone print, also found in an op shop, but in spite of its designer associations, it is disappointingly made from polyester. The cut is too awesome though for the fibre to be a deal breaker.

While the 1950s tweed hunting cap does not have a herringbone pattern, is does suit this outfit very well.

I am happy to say I enjoyed wearing the coat and pants together recently, although with a warm wool knit instead of a blouse, and a different hat. However, that is the last time for this winter, for tomorrow it will officially be spring – hurrah!

Photos: May 2018

Thursday
Aug092018

The Determined Recycler

Anyone who as ever gone op- or thrift-shopping must surely be familiar with that sinking feeling one gets as soon as the shoe rubs or the sweater itches or the zip pinches: That’s why this lovely item was in the thrift store! One either discards in turn, or resolves to repair the issue. This is where we separate the determined recyclers from the dilettantes …

I am a determined recycler. I don’t give up on garments or accessories I really like: like Scarlett O’Hara, I will find a way! (I have not tried making clothes out of curtains yet however.)

I am a determined recycler. I don’t give up on garments or accessories I really like …

I really liked the colours in the pattern of this vintage 1970s tweed jacket. The herringbone is made up from chocolate and caramel shades of brown with cream, and scattered amongst the chevrons are minute flecks of blue, yellow and red. The effect is very subtle. I bought the jacket a couple of winters ago during a day of op-shopping with my sister, despite the fact that it was a little too big for me, and it was missing its belt. I felt sure that I must be able to find a belt in my huge collection that would work with the jacket. A long flexible leather tie-belt, perhaps.

In fact, I knew that I did not own any such tie-belts, but very fortuitously I found two in subsequent op-shopping trips shortly thereafter. This was promising! It was certainly unlikely that I would ever find one that exactly matched – that would be a thrifting miracle. What else could I pull out of my hat?

The first belt I tried was a thin tan stitched belt. While I liked the colour, I immediately saw it was too insubstantial for the bulk of the jacket.

Next came a vintage stretch red and white belt, with a leather and brass buckle. I liked how the stretch belt really pulled the waist in. This contrast was rather good, and unexpected! It also put me in mind of Gucci, which is not a bad thing – even better without its brash designer logo emblazoned everywhere.

Perhaps another patterned fabric belt might work? I had a houndstooth wool tie-belt, but that looked terrible. Scratch that idea, I instantly decided. Sometimes I like mixing patterns on patterns, but these two did not harmonise at all. Next!

A very long black leather tie-belt also looked quite good, I decided. It was so long, wide in the central area and tapered to the ends so that I suspect it was designed when obi fashion belts were the trend. The leather was supple and soft however, and the black was a pleasant counterpoint against the tweed.

The last belt I tried was the other leather tie-belt, this one a khaki-tinted brown. Unfortunately that shade clashed somewhat, and it was not as long as the black one, so did not form as nice loops. It transpired that this belt worked very nicely with a pair of tweed pants that need cinching, so the belt stays permanently on them.

That left the black leather belt, and the figure-flattering red stretch belt, the unexpected alternate winner. I tend to wear that one more often than not. The only drawback with it is that if I undo the belt, it won’t stay in both belt loops, so I have to keep an eye on it so as not to lose it. But compared with not wearing a likable jacket at all because it’s too shapeless, it’s a small ask. The Determined Recycler wins again!

Photos: July 2016

Monday
Jul232018

Blue Girl

When I was growing up, I was never into Holly Hobbie. I was of course I familiar with the image of the famous blue girl, mainly through collecting swap cards (the Australian version of trading cards).

Holly Hobbie, the eponymous character of the artist, was created in the late 1960s and subsequently sold to American Greetings who disseminated her throughout the world.

The original Holly HobbieHolly – the character – was famous for her rag dress and giant bonnet, and when I first spotted this patchwork 1970s maxi dress at a giant vintage warehouse sale, I immediately thought of her. The dress tickled my fancy, and although I doubted I would ever wear it in public, I bought it as it was priced at only $10. It is a great pity the belt was missing; I have substituted a silk scarf.

When I recreate these dress-ups, I like to challenge myself to create costumes out of items I already own. My bonnet is actually a modern hat designed to look like a headscarf and bonnet hybrid; my boots are also modern, recent op shop purchases, and my umbrella is vintage 50s or 60s. The umbrella is not authentic to Holly Hobbie, but rather inspired by other cutesy 70s characters – it made a more interesting picture than without.

I’ve owned the dress for nearly two years, and have yet to wear it out. I am trying to make a conscious effort to wear all the vintage clothes and accessories I have collected over the years – it feels wasteful otherwise. Perhaps this colourful dress is simply waiting for the right occasion.

Photo: May 2018

Wednesday
May302018

Go-to, tally-ho!

Here are a couple of hats I bought late last year. One of them I call a ‘go-to’ hat because it’s so versatile and easy to wear – that would be the pink 70s-style oversize newsboy cap. It’s one I reach for often on casual weekends when I run out the door to go shopping for instance, because it seems to go with lots of my outfits and I don’t need to think about it.

The other hat is a vintage 50s hunting cap (with a visor on front and back), complete with ear-flaps that can be tied down under the chin with the grosgrain ribbon. It is quite amusing and cute, but definitely has a louder personality!

These were both bought in thrift stores for a song or two, and each bring a lot of colour to dreary winter days – that’s what makes hats so much fun to wear.