Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in coats (26)

Monday
Jul082019

What I Actually Wore #0154

Serial #: 0154
Date: 26/10/2013
Weather: 14°C / 57°F
Time Allowed: 15 minutes

I remember nothing about putting this outfit together, but I do recall an amusing incident at the end of this evening – but I’ll get to that later. I was going out to dinner and the theatre with a friend, and dressed up accordingly.

I really liked this black wool dress. I bought it in a thrift store, and had never (nor have since) heard of the designer, Charlotte Eskildon. It had some pretty ruching on the cuffs and around the waist – I say had because it didn’t take me long to admit that the dress was simply too big for me, and it returned to the op shop whence it came.

It’s pleasing to note though that I still own almost all the other items, although the polka dot tights inevitably became holey and ran. They have been replaced however with an identical pair that I confess I am reluctant to wear for fear of ruining them also! The op-shopped shoes died as well, but I fortuitously was able to replace them with an identical pair that were also from the op-shop and unworn. (How lucky am I?!)

The cashmere coat is a marvel, and I will never get rid of that – I am often likened to Red Riding Hood when I wear it. Parts of the label are very worn, and I have only now bothered to examine it closely with the aid of a magnifying glass, and have managed to make out it says ‘Weil der Stadt’, in addition to the fibre content and the ‘Made in Germany’, which I had read previously. Weil der Stadt is a town in the state of Baden-Württemberg, and is often called the ‘Gate to the Black Forest’, which is a very evocative origin for my fairytale coat. I bought the coat in a vintage store in Melbourne many years ago, in celebration of winning a pitch for a freelance job. I suspect the coat is not that old at all however, for some time after I bought it, I came across a Vogue magazine ad for designer coats in which there was one almost identical.

What does make me chuckle however, is the memory of travelling home by tram that evening: the tram driver – a regular bloke – had to stop the tram and access some interior maintenance panel. It was late at night, and there were few passengers on board; on his way through the tram, he saw me and exclaimed loudly, “It’s Miss Fisher!” That was at the height of Miss Phryne Fisher’s fame, and a few people nearby smiled, while I imagined his wife inveigling him to watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries with her, and him feigning disinterest. Although I am sure I had not thought of her when I dressed, I knew Phryne indeed had a coat very similar to mine – the tram driver was clearly paying attention to the show!

Items:

Dress: Charlotte Eskilden for Designer Remix Collection
Coat: vintage
Headband: Morgan & Taylor
Bag: vintage 60s
Tights:
Basque
Shoes: Scooter
Earrings: self-made
Necklace: souvenirs
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Ring:
souvenir

Photos: January 2014

Tuesday
Apr302019

Cerberustooth

This houndstooth pattern is so huge I am dubbing it ‘Cerberustooth’ – after the three-headed dog of Greek mythology! Houndstooth is a tessellated pattern of broken checks in two colours, usually black and white, but other colours are employed according to fashion.

The oldest known garment featuring houndstooth, the Gerum Cloak dates between 360–100BC, and was unearthed from a Swedish peat bog in 1920. However, the modern pattern most likely has its origin in the woven wool plaids of Scotland, specifically the Border or Northumberland tartan.

What I particularly love about my two jackets, apart from the oversized pattern, are the interesting cuts. The tan and white cotton jacket by Japanese brand Mash Mania has enormous and dramatic kimomo sleeves, while the cut of the black and white wool blend jacket by Gasp is reminiscent of a 40s cape jacket. It also has a black satin tie that gathers in the hem at the back. Admittedly, the cut of the sleeves on both jackets make them a bit restrictive, in that it’s very awkward to wear a bag with a shoulder strap. But who cares when they look fab?

However, they are nowhere near as mad, dramatic, or restrictive as these oversize houndstooth garments in Alexander McQueen’s 2009 Autumn/Winter collection ‘Horn of Plenty’. Scroll down and see … the cocoon coat is my favourite.

Read more about houndstooth here.

Photos: September 2018

Wednesday
Apr172019

Victorian Glory

Yesterday I was waxing lyrical about my Victorian cape – here it is in all its glory! Isn’t it amaa-aa-zing? I first saw it from the rear, on a mannequin in the window display of a Sacred Heart Mission op shop. I stared at it in amazement and disbelief. At first I thought it was a costume from a theatre perhaps, but when I enquired if I could try it on and swept it away to a changing room, I saw that it was an original piece.

It is wool, with a silk lining and fringe, and cornelli embroidery on the yoke. The label is also still intact, and reads, in gold embroidered script on a cream background: “Mesdames Niblett, Crighton & Burton”, and in smaller text, “75 New St Birmingham”. It does have a few moth bites and holes, which is not surprising considering its age, and a previous owner covered a few up with tiny lace leaves – you can see them in the second picture.

It has a lovely weight to it and a delightful swishy swing.

I am wearing it here with a vintage 1970s mauve dress and 1950s cherry casque, an outfit I wore to my niece’s wedding last year. (I actually wore it with a different cape, one of red cashmere.) On the morning I was very indecisive about which coat to wear, but the red won out as I love that colour it worn with purple. I ended up wearing this cape to the Opening Night of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband – which I thought was an ideal occasion, as the play was written in the Victorian era. I recall it was a cold night, and the cape was very warm – not to mention an extravagant indulgence to wear! It has a lovely weight to it and a delightful swishy swing.

This is the second Victorian cape that I own, the first being a shorter, hooded skating coat of red and white striped velvet, which I bought from Persephone Vintage on Etsy a few years ago. It too has a long fringe, of red and white chenille. I can’t say that I’d want to gad about in weighty Victorian gowns and their even more fearsome foundation garments, but I must say I do enjoy wearing the capes of the era, and how much more exciting than a prosaic duffel coat for example, or some other even more utilitarian coat? Life’s too short to wear a parka.

Photos: July 2018

Tuesday
Apr162019

Some are coats, some are jackets

Summer is long gone, but Melbourne keeps on rolling out the warm, summery weather; I still haven’t done the seasonal Dreaded And Great Closet Swap because of this. I have, however, completed a seasonal cull, but my wardrobe is still crammed! I’ve been contemplating whether I should try to cull even more, or put some of my precious vintage things that are not worn frequently in storage.

So, it is an appropriate time to look at my collection of summer coats and jackets. I must confess that I actually took these photos two years ago, but never made time to edit them as it was such a time-consuming job – almost as time consuming as seasonal wardrobe maintenance! Some of these jackets have actually since been culled, but since I love outerwear so much, they are still part of this visual library for posterity.

I also have added more coats and jackets to my wardrobe, since I can’t resist adding an amazing historical piece, such as 30s and 40s embroidered silk bed jackets; a 40s plush velvet (imitation fur) jacket, and a velvet evening cloak from the same era; an extraordinary cape in animal-print velvet that I think is probably 60s or 70s; amazing 60s and 70s leather coats and jackets; a 1970s brown tweed wool frock coat; a 1970s hot pink marabou bolero; an oyster-coloured modern leather capelet in a Victorian style; a jaw-dropping mid-nineteenth century Victorian wool cape, floor-length, fringed and cornelli-embroidered; a modern cream silk duster that is fantastically embroidered with flowers in pinks and reds … and probably more that I am forgetting!

Who could resist these despite a bursting closet? Most of these items have been found in thrift stores. But, cataloguing these garments has made me realise I have some gaps, such as a peplum jacket, and some Holy Grail wishes: a 1930s winter coat (which would be a lucky find in an op shop – although one would not expect to find a silk-fringed Victorian cape in a thrift store either), an Edwardian Battenberg lace coat, and a 1920s velvet evening cocoon coat with an extravagant collar.

Here are a couple of pictures of the fronts of two items: a 60s or 70s double-breasted sailor jacket, which is a more recent find, and a 50s satin opera cloak, which is one of my earliest vintage purchases. It is trimmed in with brocade ribbon, which you can see in the rear view in the gallery. I found it in a thrift store in a local shopping strip near the art college I attended, decades ago now, and recall it cost me around $30.

You can check out the gallery here – and look out for more, as I shall be adding all my newer treasures soon!

Photos: January 2017

Tuesday
Apr022019

What I Actually Wore #0148

Serial #: 0148
Date: 04/10/2013
Weather: 22°C / 72°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

The first thing I have to say about the above photograph is: MY HAIR! That bob is immaculate and newly shorn, and I must give another shout-out to my awesome hairstylist Alex from Lady Marmalade, who has been cutting my hair for more than a decade. Secondly, I very, very rarely wear all black – or even almost all black as I did on this day over five years ago.

That is my credo in fact: never to wear all black! And it’s why I didn’t on this occasion – I wore a pair of animal print ponyhair pumps, and a vintage 1970s brown leather jacket.

The third amusing detail about this outfit is that it is quite ill-fitting! The 70s style knit blouson-sleeved top I still have, but the pants I eventually donated to charity because they were too big (you know pants are too big when you don’t have to undo the zip when you go to the bathroom); the shoes, currently buried in a storage bag of footwear intended for eBay, were a size too big for me even with insoles, but I bought them anyway because they were a $10 bargain; and the vintage 70s jacket was too small across the shoulders and in sleeve length, and has long since also been donated to charity.

That was a particularly regrettable loss. The leather was so fine, and it was a chocolate shade of brown that I like. If it had a label, I can’t recall what it was. Sadly, the jacket was missing its belt, which I guessed was a long soft leather tie style. Here, I am wearing it with a vintage 80s plaited taupe leather buckled belt – it was never a pairing I was completely satisfied with, but I had never found a suitable replacement for the original. I had intended to try to sell the jacket, but it was accidentally toted off to a thrift store – whence it had come, so I can’t regret it too much. I hope someone with a smaller frame pounced on it with joy!

Fourthly, I must note that all of these items – excepting the souvenir jewellery, and the shoes which were seconds from a warehouse store – were bought in a thrift store, which is wear I buy most of my clothes and accessories. 

My jewellery is a mixture of vintage souvenirs and boutique purchases. The silver necklace is Moroccan and came with an antique coin attached; I have over the years added a number of mostly sterling silver charms, with the exception of a Victorian cash register key. I have not worn it for some time, so this outfit from the archives is a nice reminder to do so – and to make an overdue appointment at the hair salon!

Items:

Top: French Connection
Pants: Dizingof
Jacket: vintage 1970s
Belt: vintage 1980s
Shoes:
Wittner
Earrings: Mimco
Necklace: souvenir
Ring: souvenir (onyx), Roun (silver)

Photos: October 2013