Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in coats (26)


What I Actually Wore #0131

Serial #: 0131
Date: 03/07/2013
Weather: 16°C / 61°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

On a chilly day I decide wool is necessary. A new Anthropologie dress is the easiest choice; I had recently purchased it secondhand on eBay. I had picked it out because of the geometric pattern, which was very Art Deco, even if the minidress had a more modern shape. The knit is quite thick and sturdy, and surprisingly warm. I like the belt which is made in the same fabric too. Matching belts are one thing that so often go astray from their dresses in op shops – it’s maddening! Contrasting ones sometimes never look quite right.

Underneath the dress I wear what I always thought of as my black Guinevere knit, because it had a medieval look with the little puffed shoulders and fitted sleeves. I purchased this Max Studio top in Hong Kong in, I think, 2006, so it had been in my closet for a decade before being culled at the end of last winter. The stockings are also wool for warmth, and my sparkly red Dorothy heels add a splash of colour.

Over this outfit I wore my beloved but fragile vintage 70s Zhivago coat, suede with rabbit fur trim, a vintage velvet and fur-trimmed cloche cap, and carried my black patent vintage 60s/70s handbag. It’s quite a vintage look, but once the coat is off this is a fairly simple outfit, which I like. My hair looks freshly-bobbed too. As it’s growing out now from my current pixie cut, I have been wondering whether to get a bob again, but I am a long way off from this length still.

Photos: July 2013


Dress: Alice + Olivia for Anthropologie
Max Studio
Stephen Dattner, vintage
Kenneth Cole
souvenirs (bangle, ring), handmade (earrings)


The Coat of Many Winters

Today I give homage to a very favourite old coat that I recently gave up to the hope shop. (That’s what I call op, or thrift, shops, and the designation is particularly poignant in this instance.) I bought this coat many years ago from Melbourne designer Obüs; it was my first ‘grown-up’ coat purchase. It was made from herringbone tweed, and featured a double-zipped front, the zips of which could go two ways. The sleeves also had zips up to the elbows, for extra ventilation. When I first saw it, I loved the modern minimalist design combined with the classic camel-coloured tweed.

I wore this coat for many winters, and even after the pockets tore a little at the sides from careless hand-stuffing, I continued to wear it. (Of course, I did not wear it all the time, as I am a coat aficionado from way back and alternated it with many others.)

I look at this photo and feel a little pang in my fashion heart.

It was only last winter that I noticed that one of the shoulders had become so worn in two places from rubbing caused by my shoulder bags, that the fabric had actually shredded into fragments of warp and weft. It was really ready for the rag-bag, but the coat held such sentimental value for me that I considered trying to have it repaired, perhaps by inserting leather shoulder patches. But there were also other signs of wear, and the torn pockets. I decided, in view of how many coats I actually own, and how little space I had for them all, that it was not worth the investment of a difficult repair, or even merely keeping it as a sentimental piece.

In a ruthless moment of wardrobe culling, I put it in a bag destined for the charity store (in case someone had some use for it, damaged as it was) and steeled myself to drop it at the Salvo’s depot. And I did it. But first, I photographed it. Now, I look at this photo and feel a little pang in my fashion heart. It gave me good love for well over ten years – I hope it comes to a good end.

Photo: January 2017


What I Actually Wore #125

Serial #: 0125
Date: 07/06/2013
Weather: 17°C / 62°F
Time Allowed: 8 minutes

In my notes for this outfit, I have recorded the fact that a colleague, upon seeing me, called me an ‘apricot disco’, to the great glee of everyone in the department. Fortunately, all the women in my department had already admired my copper knit, so I was not discomposed – and I had also received a compliment on my outfit that morning from a perfect stranger. She was an American, and exclaimed, “Now I'm loving your whole look!”

The open weave of the knit is coated in copper paint, and it is not warm at all. I layer it over a long-sleeved linen tee, but it is still not warm enough when I go to the theatre after work that evening. The scallop-hemmed suede skirt was a real favourite of mine, and I am a little sorry that I have since got rid of it, donating it to a charity store. I had suddenly decided I no longer liked the broderie anglaise decoration along the bottom.

Those taupe-and-tan wedges were an extremely expensive purchase for me, and I was quite distraught when early on they were utterly ruined in the rain. I noted that they were made from glove leather, and while this meant they were very soft, they really were not hardy enough for Melbourne’s flighty weather. Who expects leather shoes to be badly watermarked by rain?!

All the other items are still in my current wardrobe, although the tote is rather more worn now. The coat and hat are both vintage velvet with fur trim; the coat is 1960s, but the hat is possibly older. All in all, I still approve of this outfit.


Tee: Seed
Jumper/Sweater: Blesse'd Are the Meek
Skirt: Chine (label now defunct)
Hat: vintage
Coat: vintage
Tights: Columbine
Scarf: souvenir from Hong Kong
Earrings: boutique
Ring: souvenir from Hong Kong
Tote: Elise Carrel (label now defunct)
Wedges: Habbot


What I Actually Wore #121

Serial #: 0121
Date: 18/05/2013
Weather: 15°C / 59°F
Time Allowed: 15 minutes

The silk kimono dress! My Puss in Boots outfit! Yes, this is how I dress up to go to dinner and the theatre. As you can imagine, the cat ears attract a lot of attention from other patrons – two of whom I work with (at a different theatre) who exclaimed over them.

I remember it was actually a very chilly evening, the kind when you breathe out you see your breath in a puff. I managed to find a pale grey wool top to wear under the dress; it was low-cut enough that it didn’t ruin the neckline of the dress; the black tights are wool too. On top I wore a vintage 60s velvet coat with a warm fur collar, and also vintage eggshell blue leather gloves that I bought on Etsy.

The cat ear headband came from a costume jewellery store that sells cheap, cheerful and very trendy pieces, some of which are simply playful like this headband. Matching perfectly, the little round rhinestone earrings are vintage 40s, and also came from Etsy.

Those tan over the knee lace-up boots were a fantastic bargain I made a few years ago; the original price was around $400, but I managed to snag them for only $75! The other items are usual suspects from closet that I use often and have featured on the pages of this journal many times – testament to the need for good and trusty basics: my black 60s patent handbag, the silver oval shell ring, the round bead silver bracelet, and of course the coat.


Dress: Luella
vintage 60s
vintage 50s
vintage 40s
NGV gallery shop
vintage 60s

Photos: September 2013


A Gift Camel

Hip-hip-hurrah! It’s the last day of winter! Officially, at least – I’m sure dear old Melbourne will throw us a few curve balls still. But we can sniff spring in the air – there have been a few practically balmy days already.

This camel wool coat has been my mainstay for most of this winter. It’s quite long, and very warm and cosy. It’s also a little big, so there’s plenty of room underneath for fat jumpers. (I hate feeling like a polar bear, stuffed into a too-small coat when one wears a heavy knit underneath.)

The Journey

Earlier in the year, a camel coat had been on my wishlist for a while, and I had been scouring the world for a new winter coat. I saw many lovely ones on Etsy – all kinds. I have a particular fondness for plaid and blanket-like fabric. However, the truth be told, I do not at all need yet another coat, so I balked at paying several hundred dollars plus another fifty on top for postage.

And then one day I came across this vintage coat in a thrift store for the beautiful sum of $30. Admittedly the coat was a size or two too large, with which, upon enquiry, another older lady shopping in the store reluctantly agreed. She also agreed that it was a lovely coat, and I decided to buy it. It was exactly the shade of honey camel I had had in mind. The only thing it lacked was a belt tie, but budget shoppers can’t look a gift camel in the mouth.

… budget shoppers can’t look a gift camel in the mouth.

Later, I showed my three sisters, and they all admired it. One of them, Blossom, has been a seamstress since her teens, and she advised me that I wouldn’t even need to move the buttons over too much. In the end, I was too lazy and too eager to make such alterations, and have worn it as is – oversize is still in right?

A Holy Grail Garment

Recently my sister Star texted me to say she had found a wool and cashmere Italian coat in an op shop; it was only $20, and very fine quality, but the only problem was that it was brown, and she didn’t think brown suited her. “What kind of brown?” I demanded. She sent me a photo of herself in a change room. It was my Holy Grail camel coat with a belt tie! (Except it was only knee-length.) “BUY IT. BUY IT IMMEDIATELY!” I commanded her in capital letters. She obeyed.

A camel winter coat is a classic item, and will never go out of style, and the colour is a neutral – it will go with anything. And if you fear, as my sister did, that the colour does not suit your complexion, wear another flattering colour near your face, and a strong red lip. You will always look great.

That is my final word on the matter … except: GOODBYE WINTER!


Want to get a head start for next winter? Or maybe you live in the north, and WINTER IS COMING? For lots more inspiration, head here.

Photo: Yesterday