Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in floral (16)

Wednesday
Sep042019

Capricious spring!

How fickle is the Melbourne spring! Like this glorious 1970s dress, it has two faces. You don’t know what weather it will bring: one day it will be sunny and balmy, and the next a howling gale will lash about unsuspecting flesh – and sometimes this will happen all in one day. In fact, the last day of winter was more springlike than the first day of the new season.

From the front this dress is wonderful. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw its sleeves in the op shop. They were perfect for my sleeve story, for the pagoda sleeve (multiple tiers) was yet a gaping hole in my lexicon. In great delight, I took the gown into the changing room with me, but a nasty suspicion nagged at me that fate would rain on my parade.

In great delight, I took the gown into the changing room with me …

Thunder rolled as I was engulfed by rustling fabric, which I think it is most likely polyester, or perhaps a poly/rayon blend at best. I was right: the dress fit me to the waist – but that darned zip would simply go no further, and the back gaped open. (Because of this, in the first picture, the bodice is loose and should appear much more fitted.) There is a snowflake’s chance in hell that my torso would ever shrink so much, no matter how much weight I lost!

I would not ruin the dress by having it altered to be made backless, for instance, so now that I have photographed its splendour for posterity, I shall prepare to sell it and the income can go toward something in my Etsy wishlist.

Unlike the gown, the season cannot be traded in. This week will see a return to wintry weather, and we must grin and bear it – but perhaps not bare it all just yet!

Photos: September 2019

Thursday
Apr252019

A Poppy for Remembrance

Today is Anzac Day, an Australian day of remembrance, commemorating Australians and New Zealanders who ‘who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations’.

The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has traditionally been used as a symbol to commemorate the war dead since 1921; it was inspired by the WW1 poem In Flanders Fields written in 1915 by the Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae (1872–1918). Here is the first verse:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

My poppy is an enamel ring that I found in a thrift store in the last few months. I love enamel jewellery, and poppies as a flower, and today this ring is a perfect remembrance.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

For the Fallen, 1914, Robert Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)

Photo: April 2019

Friday
Apr192019

Easter Pink

I’ve always thought candy pink hair would be a lot of fun, like wearing a halo of fairy floss, but I’m too fickle to commit to such drastic measures as bleaching and dyeing my hair. The next best thing – and even more fun than a wig – is a vintage hat. So this Good Friday, I bring you my first Easter bonnet: a 1960s hat of pink petals! And if you squint your eyes, I look like I am sporting a pink afro.

Happy Easter!

Photo: September 2018

Wednesday
Mar202019

Colours of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness! And I have spent today and much of the last few days in bed, or otherwise resting, as I have been sick with a horrible chest cold – hurrah! My workplace was having a morning tea in celebration of the day, and we were told to wear yellow; while I didn’t make it to that, I still managed to wear yellow – my kimono is yellow and white gingham.

I shall share instead some pictures from Saturday, when I visited my parents for lunch and wore a new favourite vintage 70s dress – a cotton voile spaghetti-strapped straight dress, belted at the waist. Its standout feature is the gorgeous print, in colours that really do make me happy! The dress is in very good condition; I found it recently in a thrift store. I am also wearing 40s sunglasses, 50s hairclips and am carrying a vintage Chinese paper parasol.

The label is Miss Jo Melbourne, and I surmise that was inspired by Jo from Little Women, the famous book by Louisa May Alcott. I don’t know anything about the label’s history unfortunately, and have only spotted one other dress – a brown polka-dot, 30s style frock – at Le Sourceress on Etsy. With such a romantic name, I’d love to know what else the label produced.

Photos: March 2019

Monday
Sep102018

The Tale of the Jaw-Dropping Hat

A while back I was browsing in a vintage bazaar in Melbourne, whiling away some time pleasantly on a Sunday afternoon, when I spotted an amazing vintage hat locked away in a cabinet. Fortunately a member of the floor staff was zealously guarding that room against my possible depredations, so I was able to ask for some assistance.

“Is it possible to try on a hat from the cabinet?” I asked. It was, but the hats in that cabinet were very expensive, I was pompously informed. I haughtily raised my chin and sent the woman scurrying for a key. A man stayed behind on guard. 

It took some doing for the hat to be extracted from the cabinet. If it, and the room, were any more stuffed, they would explode spontaneously. Tenderly it was handed to me and I examined it at my leisure. It was a 1950s hat encrusted with pansies and had a little branch of them climbing into the air. It was extraordinary, and I had never seen anything like it. The price was also extraordinary: $450!! You must be joking. I am a very experienced hat shopper, and while it was very unusual, it was not worth that price, I instantly decided.

It was extraordinary, and I had never seen anything like it. The price was also extraordinary: $450!!

Nevertheless, I tried it on and asked the hovering attendant if she could please take my photo. She immediately acceded, agreeing that I had to ask my friends’ opinions before I bought it. (I laughed inwardly. All my friends, I was sure, would slap my face to bring me to my senses if I so much as considered purchasing this overpriced hat. I mean, a Schiaparelli maybe, but some random New York label? No.)

I returned the hat unregretfully, and determined that I would find AN EVEN BETTER HAT at a REASONABLE PRICE and then I would swan into the bazaar wearing it and watch those attendants’ jaws hit the floor.

And, dear Snapettes, I HAVE FOUND THE HAT, only remains for me to do my swanning.

I purchased this jaw-dropping yellow straw 1940s number from The Golden Age of Vintage, a Los Angeles-based seller that I found on Instagram. (Actually she found me, because she was interested in purchasing one of my own hats, which sadly for her was not for sale.) I ended up buying not one, but three hats from her, and a pair of golden Lilly Daché 40s gloves that I stupidly did not wear in this photo as they match perfectly. The sum total for all this, including postage, was far, far less than the price of the original hat. WINNING.

This hat outscores the previous hat on every count: it’s 1940s, which is my favourite era for hats …

But I digress. This hat outscores the previous hat on every count: it’s 1940s, which is my favourite era for hats; it’s yellow; it also has pansies that climb off on a tangent – on a strap that clasps the chin, which I have never before seen; it has a veil made of dark green patterned netting. It does not have a label, but it does not need one, DOES IT?

I REST MY CASE.

I am going to go lie down now, and you can have another look at the hat, from the front angle this time.

Photos: Today