Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in colour (64)

Monday
Jan312011

The Meaning of Pink

Nearly all of the pink coloured things in my wardrobe are vintage or second-hand, discarded by their original owners.

Does any other colour in the rainbow have such controversy surrounding it? People who like it are often on the defensive. Yet pink is considered a peaceful, calming hue; the universal colour of love; happy, hopeful, nurturing, sweet, feminine… are these curse words? I have heard women dismiss it for its girlishness in scathing tones – but is that rather a reflection of their own sentiments than a valid denunciation of an innocent distribution of light energy versus wavelength?

How could you not? (Photo by Kareem Black)It is always a source of amusement to me that pink – a colour associated with femininity – used to be considered a suitable colour for boys. It only serves to emphasise that our perception of colour is also influenced by cultural conventions*, not only by the emotional responses they evoke.

pink is considered a peaceful, calming hue; the universal colour of love…

About.com has a fascinating collection of reader responses to pink, from Nathan, who feels powerful; to Calinda who feels disappointed and rejected; and Linda who says, “Pink is pretty, girly, loud, bold, fun, and sometimes sexy.”

Kitten-Kay is obsessed with it. (Photo by Barcroft/Fame Pictures)Who could deny the beauty of Japanese cherry blossom? (Photo by Sakura Saki.) A hue divine enough for prayers in Vietnam. (Photo by So Not A Princess)As for the vertiginous hot pink satin heels, and the wool felt cowboy hat in a shade of scorching pink, both are found from the same charity shop. One day I will attempt to totter around in those dangerous shoes, but the hat will adorn the head of my niece Rosiecheeks. I am sure she would echo Linda’s words: “I LOVE PINK. I love being a girl, so I love pink, and I always will…”

*Click here for a complete psychological profile on pink.
Click on images for sources. Thanks to Sapphire for helping me take the main photo. 

Sunday
Nov282010

Chocolate & Pistachio

If you can’t wear a 50s inspired outfit to a high-tea birthday party, when can you, I ask you? It was chilly, so I wore a chocolate brown wool polo-neck jumper with a pistachio green and white striped A-line skirt. A white beaded belt and matching vintage purse add party-sparkle.

Chocolate and pistachio … rather like the macaroons (and numerous other tiny delicacies) we ate over chai lattés. Delicious!

Friday
May142010

Wear Something Pink Day

In honour of my niece, Rosie Cheeks, who has created an ‘Other – Festival’ event on Facebook titled ‘Wear Something Pink Day’ because she, er… just likes pink, I have donned a very fluffy wool scarf that looks like fairy floss, and some (cotton) candy pink lippie.

However, it cannot be said that I truly need the excuse, as I have discovered over the years – I’m sure I must have mentioned it before – that quite an unhealthy quantity of pink garments have somehow snuck into my wardrobe. These include, but are not limited to: dresses, blouses, jumpers, scarves, shoes, hats (four, two winter, two summer), a silk raincoat, a velvet coat with attached scarf… oh, and one pair of velvet jeans that have since sadly been donated to charity.

Dear me. That is quite a list. And I probably could go on if I got up from my desk and went to my closet to see what else is buried there.

I am quite embarrassed.

I am in fact WORSE than Rosie Cheeks. And to exacerbate my mortification, I am now going to remind you of a few of them. Please scroll down.

But before you do, go put on something pink. It’s Wear Something Pink Day, for heaven’s sake.

(Click on the images to go to the original post.)

The waterproofed silk raincoat… and look ma, pink suede shoes!I need say no more. Except: pink tulle and parachute silk.The infamous pink velvet jeans, and how I love that ombré wool jumper! I feel happy just wearing it. Oh, and it's warm (of secondary importance).Yes indeed, I first wore that dress when I was a teen. It is actually coral pink with white polkadots, as if a balloon skirt wasn't enough on its own.

Friday
Apr022010

The Colour Winter

When I was in high school, maybe grade 8, some of my friends, studying seasonal colour palettes, declared positively one lunch time that I was an Autumn. “How did you arrive at that decision?” I asked, lifting a brow. (Alright, that’s a bit of poetic licence.) Apparently it was the colour of my hair and eyes that decided them, but they didn’t take into account that I was dyeing my hair with henna shampoo, and it was not, in fact, red. 

I am sure over the intervening years I must have tried to once or twice decipher these mysterious codes, but at some point I worked out on my own which colours suited me. I used to prefer slightly dirty colours – until I figured out they actually look awful on me. In fact, they make me look sick and sallow. I always disliked pastels too; perhaps they reminded me too much of the early 80s. As for pink – waaay too girly for me.

Hot pink was another epiphany. Cobalt blue quickly followed on its heels…
I was disgusted: all these 80s
jewel tones!

Icy pinkAnd guess what? Yep, it’s bright colours that suit me best. I discovered that pure white looks brilliant on me. (I once read in a magazine of a bridal designer who declared that pure white suits hardly anyone, only girls with dark olive skin. I immediately decided she had no clue, and pitied her poor clients.)

Icy lavenderHot pink was another epiphany. Cobalt blue quickly followed on its heels, and emerald, and amethyst (there I am above, decked head-to-toe in it). I was disgusted: all these 80s jewel tones! So I rebelled, and limited my wardrobe to a colour palette that I actually liked: mostly white, grey, taupe, and a limited amount of black (because I’m from Melbourne and like to buck the trend).

I like to terrify innocent passers-by with fierce yellowsFor colour I added bright reds, oranges, and turquoise, and a bit of green and purple. I never wore them with black though – that also was too 80s – but with other neutral hues. Some time later I developed a new-found love of bright sunshine yellow – a colour which has often provoked both fear and admiration whenever I have worn it.

Icy blueWhen I started researching this story however, I learned that I am a ‘cool, clear, bright’ winter. All the colours I wore were actually in that colour palette, as well as all these icy pastels – which makes sense, since they are bright whites with a hint of colour. And there is a veritable carafe of reds, pinks and purples! That explains how more and more shades of pink had managed to creep into my wardrobe. That had always bemused me.

Some favourite colours: periwinkle, turquoise, tomato red, magenta, pink and raspberry. I usually combine these with neutral greys.

So if you’re curious to test this theory out yourself, click here to visit College Fashion for an easy diagnosis, based on hair and eye colour, or drop in to the Personality Café for another take (although I think some of their eye colours are a bit simplistic – I have never seen anyone with natural violet eyes, for instance, and though I am certainly a ‘clear winter’, my eye colour [hazel] is not listed). The Chic Fashionista’s not bad either, and has a troubleshooting page too. Mail Online has a story that breaks it down simply. And here’s a good one for men. Any one of these will help you.

Anything that makes your skin
glow and your eyes sparkle most likely suits you.

You don’t need to buy a colour palette swatch book either: just go through your own wardrobe (or a boutique) and hold different items to your face. Anything that makes your skin glow and your eyes sparkle most likely suits you. They’re also probably the items you were wearing when you received lots of compliments. Remember, if there are colours you really love that you find aren’t your best, you can always wear them away from your face: in skirts or trousers.

And if, like me, you always deeply appreciated reading through your older sister’s or mum’s Avon catalogue when you were a kid because the colour names were so hilarious, click here for a multitude of colours, some with very perplexing names (grullo, anyone?).

Happy colouring this Easter!

Wednesday
Feb242010

Golden Delicious

I’m a bit like a magpie: I go for the bright shiny pretty things. Like a kid in a candy shop, I just can’t help reaching for them.

The gold foil skirt has featured before in this journal, but as I find it completely irresistible, here it is again in another incarnation. I’ve told the story before, but I was searching for an outfit to wear to a wedding when I spied this skirt in the front window of a charity shop in Windsor. I dragged my friend across the road and snatched it up before anyone else could get their mitts on it.

…why wear one metallic fabric when you could wear TWO?

Indian-made from 100% rayon, it is just like the gold foil from a chocolate box. I think I have, ahem, made that comparison before. As mentioned previously, I ultimately teamed it with a chocolate-brown top, but I had such trouble deciding what to wear with it at the time. Most colours looked too gaudy, and I discovered since (when the pressure was off) that neutrals worked best; I’ve subsequently worn it out with a charcoal grey polo neck jumper.  

Here I’ve paired it with a silver ruched t-shirt, because why wear one metallic fabric when you could wear TWO? Nothing so much fun as going giddily OTT. Just ask Cecil, that master of golden deliciousness.

Silver velvet and pearls, against silver walls: Baba, Cecil's sister in 1925. Ph: Cecil Beaton. Click on image for larger version.

(Left) Goldfish or mermaid? Paula Gellibrand, 1928. (Right) A seahorse with such fronds, surely. Tilly Losch, 1929. Ph: Cecil Beaton. Click on images for larger versions.