Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in 1980s (34)

Friday
Apr142017

Hat Roll-Call

This past year has been a very good year for finding vintage hats in op shops at bargain basement prices. And, I decided, Easter is an eggcellent time to parade some before you (sorry, that was irresistible). These summer hats coincidentally all feature bows.

First up is what I suspect is a 1930s navy and natural straw hat found on one lunchtime spree at a store near my workplace. It does not have a label on the inside, but I am estimating it to be from this era because of the shape and materials that are very similar to another straw 1930s hat I own. The lining of the brim was torn from the crown – easily fixed – and otherwise it is in very good condition and was a steal at $10. It looks very elegant on, and the other great thing is that it fits very tightly, so even a high wind was unable to whip it off my head.

The second hat is possibly from the 1980s. It is a huge cartwheel of natural store, and tied with a black jacquard taffeta bow at the back. The fabric has the distinctive moiré pattern of that formal fabric that was so popular in the Eighties. This does threaten to take flight on a windy day (a hat elastic fixed that), but it offers great shelter from our strong southern sun. A $4 bargain from a little charity store.

Also from the 1980s is this black straw closely-fitting visored hat that I found at the same time as the Prada kepi, in a huge vintage warehouse in Geelong. The deep crown features a black grosgrain ribbon that forms a bow at the back. The visor provides great shelter, though not so at the back clearly. Perhaps I should be wearing it 80s style, with a giant white shirt with the collar turned up to protect my neck? This was another cheapie that cost only $4 (reduced from $8).

I do hope you are all having a very Good Friday!

Photos: March 2017

Monday
Mar272017

Gypsy Mood

“You look like a gypsy!” That was what my mum would say to me years ago when I was attending art school and dressed very colourfully in piles of beads and Indian skirts and vintage clothes that I found in the op shops at lunch time around college.

The word ‘gypsy’ has such picturesque connotations: one thinks of nomadic folk living a bohemian, happy-go-lucky and simple life, thriving on the freedom of travelling wherever whim took them – in quaint little caravans drawn by sturdy horses of course. It’s a romantic notion, and undoubtedly they must endure the harsh realities of life just the same as the less adventurous of us.

I’m not nomadic (although I have travelled a little), but I still sometimes dress like a gypsy, when the mood strikes me.

Fashion Notes

In keeping with gypsy values, I am wearing quite a mish-mash of items, most of which is second hand. The most spectacular piece is the silk taffeta skirt of course, which I bought in an op shop last year for around $7. I wasn’t sure if it was silk at the time, and I doubt the staff member who priced it suspected it was silk; there are no labels in it. I just thought it was fabulous.

The organza blouse is by an Australian designer, Carla Zampatti, and is I think a highly amusing relic from the 80s. The silk shawl around my hips was a birthday gift from a friend, and the pink sequin scarf in my hair was another thrift store find. My jewellery is a mix of vintage (a white 40s bead necklace) and antique (Turkish coin earrings, the Afghan bead tassel); second hand from op shops; new retail, and souvenirs (the bangles, from Vietnam) and even a turquoise ring hand made by me.

Fashion Disaster!

The skirt is extremely well made, with every seam inside perfect, and over-locked, so I didn’t want to even snip a piece from inside to do a burn test and ascertain the fibre content. However, something disastrous happened right after this photoshoot. It was hanging in the bathroom and I inadvertently swiped some Lucas Papaw ointment – which has a petroleum jelly base – on it.

I inadvertently swiped some Lucas Papaw ointment on it.

First I tried spot cleaning the stain with dishwashing liquid (which can work on greasy stains if used immediately). Nothing doing. I left it for a few days while I pondered whether to take it to the dry cleaner. Finally, after doing some research I referred back to my laundering app (‘The Stain’ – highly recommended) on how to deal with oily stains. It doesn’t mention mineral-based oils, but I tried the method of sprinkling talc on the stain and lifting it onto paper towel with the application of heat (using an iron). Then I hand-washed it, immersing the entire skirt to avoid possibly leaving a water-stain (in for a penny, in for a pound).

Then something marvellous happened – aside from the stain lifting: once the skirt was dry, the fabric had softened considerably and I knew without a doubt that it was silk. I assume the previous owner had only ever dry-cleaned it, and that accounted for its starchy crispness. Some may prefer that finish for taffeta, but I think it is much nicer to wear now.

Photos: December 2016

Wednesday
Mar082017

Wearing the Trousers

Super for the summer: lounging pyjamas in a pretty print with a matching jacket, 1928; a woman wearing a leaf-pattern trouser suit and broad-brimmed sun hatToday a good part of the world’s population is celebrating International Women’s Day.

Not only do we laud the remarkable women of history who achieved great and extraordinary things as human beings, but also as women in the face of incredible odds and sometimes horrific circumstances. We are also celebrating the quiet achievers: our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces (and every other conceivable female relative, pardon the pun) and of course our girlfriends. We couldn’t have done anything without the women who came before us.

One thing I can’t help but think about women’s history in the world is our liberation from strictures of dress – literally. That may seem trivial at first, but being rid of societal strictures about what we wear is a huge gift.

Blonde bombshell: a curvy catsuit with a pleated inset at the trouser bottoms, 1929; American actress, Joan Blondell, a whacky, wise-cracking Hollywood starletTrousers were first adopted in Western Europe the period known as Late Antiquity (the transition period between Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages), but they were mostly worn by men. It was not until the twentieth century that wearing the pants first became acceptable for women, by way of imported pantaloons from the Near East, to pyjamas at home (in place of the traditional teagown), to pyjamas on the beach in the 1920s and 30s (read about the exotic origin of the pyjama here). Of course the First World War had a lot to do with the emancipation of the Flappers, and the adoption of trousers beyond work wear for the war effort.

Beach babe: baggy bell-bottoms, a tight striped top, a spotted scarf and plimsolls, 1932; a girl with a bobbed haircut, dressed for a day out on the boardwalk

Perhaps in another century or two it will be de rigueur for men to be wearing dresses again.

Shockingly, there are still parts of the world where it is a criminal offence for a woman to wear trousers. I think everyone has forgotten that once upon a time everyone wore robes, togas, chitons, tunics, kilts whatever-you-may-call-’em. Perhaps in another century or two it will be de rigueur for men to be wearing dresses again.

Here are some glorious vintage pictures of women wearing trousers, from the 20s to the 70s – so many awesome styles! Enjoy your day, women of the world.

Photos from: Style Book – Fashionable Inspirations, by Elizabeth Walker, Flammarion 2011

Stellar and smouldering: in a Spencer Tracy suit, complete with brogues, 1938; American actress, Katharine Hepburn sitting on the arm of a chair smokingLand-girl looks: dungarees in bold checks, more Chelsea than cabbages, 1941; clothes for A Coupon SummerWorld War wear: crisp in white cotton with a classic rolled hairdo, 1943; a woman wearing coveralls examines designs on a drafting tableShock horror: collegiates in trousers, men’s shirts, bobby socks and even loafers, 1947; American students in Heidelberg, Germany, astound the local ladiesSexy siren or beautiful beatnik, a cinched-in waist and huge hoop earrings, 1955; British actress Joan Collins feeding a parrot in a big birdcageBoyish and yet beautiful, a sailor sweater with jeans, topped off with a pixie haircut, 1965; a portrait of American actress Jean Seberg sitting cross-legged on a stoolMatching moments: a cropped top, flared loons, topped off with a little beanie hat, 1971; a model wearing ‘Lollipop’, from the Mary Quant spring collection, LondonJust a gigolo: clubbing in a classic jacket and trousers with a fedora in hand, 1978; American model and occasional actress, Lauren Hutton at Studio 54, USAFighting fashion: snowballing and stripes, and very Flashdance legwarmers, 1982; knitting from head to toe protect a girl from the wintry weather

Tuesday
Mar072017

Hot Today, Mild Later

I suddenly realised I’ve been distracted by the still-summery weather and the traumas of html, and have forgotten to give a proper welcome to autumn!

Last year I went on a tour of op shops in my sister’s neighbourhood, and I managed to unearth many awesome clothes and accessories, quite a few of which have already featured on this style journal – a blue 70s cardigan, a pink plaid scarf, and a sculptured wooden bangle.

This leather belt is I think from the 1980s. I liken to bark or autumnal leaves. It was actually picked up by my sister first: she handed it to me, but it was only after I tried it on that she suddenly said, “Why did I give it to you? I like it!” “Too late!” I replied promptly, and bought it for $5. (I will add, I had seen it much earlier when we first arrived in the shop, but had been distracted by a magnificent 70s silk chiffon dress displayed on a mannequin – but that’s a story for another time.)

In any case, finally: welcome autumn.

Photo: August 2016

Thursday
Jan052017

What I Actually Wore #126

Serial #: 0126
Date: 10/06/2013
Weather: 16°C / 61°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It was a rather chilly day today, and I dressed for the weather. This outfit was built around the cashmere jumper, which reminded me of a cheerleading sweater when I first saw it on eBay. It’s in a favourite shade of robin’s egg blue, and I also love cherries!

The pleated navy and cream houndstooth wool skirt is a vintage (possibly 80s) find from years ago, while the 1940s beret-style platter hat is a purchase from Etsy. The jewellery is a mixture of handmade (silver bauble earrings) and souvenirs from travels (various ‘charms’ collected on a sterling silver chain).

The suede shoes are also favourites; I still wear them, and will continue to do so until they fall apart! They’ve already had their soles repaired once or twice. I used to have a pair of tights that exactly matched the cherry-red of the leather, but after they were ruined I was never able to find another pair that matched so closely. These are over-the-knee socks I am wearing, held up by suspenders as they always sag.

I call this cute look preppy with a vintage cheerleading twist and a cherry on top!

Items:

Jumper: vintage
Skirt:
David Jones
Stockings:
Sock Shop
Suspenders:
Warners (on Shop Style)
Hat:
vintage
Jewellery:
handmade, souvenir, vintage
Watch:
Kenneth Cole
Shoes:
Wittner

Photos: October 2013