Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in handbag (46)

Tuesday
Jun232015

Mend Your Ways!

The infernal chain strap on this leather bag keeps disengaging from the interior hooks! My fourth New Year’s fashion resolution this year was to keep up with my mending, to stitch, darn, rip, bolt or glue as needed. You know those pesky little chores which you dismiss with that old excuse, ‘Oh, I’ll do that later …’? But later never comes, does it?

At least in my case (as we established in the last story) I don’t continue to wear ripped or holey garments, but it is aggravating to have one’s wardrobe reduced for such a petty reason. So I determined that I would mend my ways this year, and keep on top of the mending basket.

I do very well with mending seams and sewing buttons back on and the like, but I draw the line at wielding scissors at anything except a length of thread. I mend; not alter – that’s what professionals are for.

I’ll tell you a funny story though, the thing that forced me to change my wicked ways …

Two pairs of jewellery pliers come in useful to open the links at the ends of this chain. The metal is quite a heavy gauge, and the link quite small, so pliers are quite definitely needed to open and close the links – fingernails wouldn't cut the mustard

The Funny Story

Many years ago I purchased a lovely silk 1950s dress. I wore it usually to work only, although probably only once or twice a season. But it had one flaw: the hem was falling down. Because I wore it so seldom, I never remembered to fix the hem, so I would be forced to take emergency measures at work. Earlier this year, I finally laid the dress out, determined to repair the hem, and discovered not only that I had to tack up almost the entire hem, but I first had to remove a number of tiny black safety pins, a couple of lengths of double-sided sticky tape and even (I blush to confess) a staple!

You can laugh about it sure – but I can exactly picture the scandalised/amused/disbelieving look on my mum’s face if I were to tell her! After that mortifying discovery, I determined never to let things come to such a pass again!

If you’re going to take your mending seriously, you need to put together a basic sewing kit, as well as perhaps a few jewellery tools (used here to repair the chain strap of this vintage 70s snakeskin bag) and also glue for adhering different types of materials. There are some things you just can’t repair though.

Swinging Seventies!So, with half the year almost done, how’ve I gone with this resolution? … Not too badly. I have gone on the odd domestic frenzy and mended a heap of garments at once to clear a backlog. Admittedly, there are still a few sundry items still bubbling way back there, but mostly Santa would have to say I have been a Good Girl. (I wear size 39, in case you NTK.)

Ironically, I found that I had to finally remove and trash the chain strap on this bag – after it snapped off no less than three times on a single outing! The bag has since become a clutch.

Sunday
May112014

Autumn Leaves

Autumn stole in hand-in-hand with an Indian summer, but finally the chill has really set in. Winter is breathing down our neck, and autumn leaves. (Geddit? I always poke fun at fashion editors when they make headlines out of puns, but that one was irresistible.)

Melbourne has become cold cold cold, I have finally succumbed and brought the winter wardrobe out of storage. I’ve been wearing winter coats in the mornings on the last week or two. I can’t say any of them are Hermès though, sadly.

How very lovely are these pictures? A perfect and literal segue into the season. The clothes are nothing to sneeze at either.

As usual, click on the images for bigger versions.

Wednesday
Apr232014

Aussie Men Are Not Afraid of Your Handbag

Some time last year I read an article about handbags in British Vogue. There is nothing particularly extraordinary in that occurrence, except to note that the writer opened with a declaration that if one wanted to reduce a British man to cringing mortification, one had only to ask him to hold a lady’s purse in public.

I read this and was truly astonished. Really? Are British men really that spineless and so afraid of having their manhood impugned? I was pretty sure that most Aussie men would be completely unfazed by this request. I conducted a straw poll and was gratified to find my good opinion of the Aussie male was justified.

I made a general call-out to my male Facebook friends with this question: ‘Who among you would be unfazed to hold your female companion's handbag in public?’ Here is a sampling of their (and their partner’s) comments:

‘All the time – I don't even blink.’

‘Completely unfazed.’

‘All the time, I take the role of humble servant or camp gay friend, depending on the bag she wants me to hold.’

‘I do it all the time.’

‘My husband does it a lot, no dramas!’ (Several women said this.)

There were quite a few ribald comments along these lines:

‘Depends on the colour, has to match my outfit too.’ And, ‘Only if doesn't clash with my outfit.’

‘Sometimes I meet my lady at the train station just so I can carry her bag home.’

‘And who would hold mine whilst I was holding hers?’

A single gentleman was agreeable with one qualification:

‘Marmaduke says he has no problem as he likes my handbags. If they were gaudy or frilly or something he may feel differently.’

And only one was uncomfortable with the proposition:

‘Never done it. To be honest I would put it on the ground and stand next to it, not hold it.’

I therefore come to the conclusion that most Australian men are so comfortable with the representation of their manliness that to be seen in a public street holding what is patently a woman’s handbag could not ruin their image – it could only enhance it. They are man enough.

Thank you gentlemen.

Many thanks to Volodya, who nonchalantly agreed to model for this shoot, and held not one, but two handbags with complete sangfroid.

Monday
Oct072013

A Shopping Miracle

Last Saturday was the Grand Final of the Australian Rules Football competition. I wasn’t going to any house parties this year so I decided to watch it on tv at home. But supplies were required first.

Rain was forecast, but when I stepped out to do my shopping, prepared to wade against the tide of football-crazed fans (I live practically next door to the sports ground), it was gloriously sunny. I didn’t need an umbrella, I stupidly decided.

Little did I suspect that I was in for a series of unfortunate events.

I didn’t need an umbrella, I stupidly decided.

Everything was fine until I left the supermarket and saw that drops of rain were falling. I shrugged fatalistically, and crossed the road to the video library. As I waited to collect my DVDs, I chatted to Bartholomew the proprietor, a man I have known a long time. ‘It’s Melbourne,’ he drawled, ‘how could you come out without an umbrella? What were you thinking?’

‘I know,’ I replied lugubriously. 

When I exited, I saw it was a deluge. I stood under an awning for a moment, thinking to wait it out, but then Bartholomew rushed out waving a vintage umbrella. ‘Do you want to borrow this? A customer left it behind last winter.’ He waved off my profuse thanks. ‘Return it whenever you remember.’ Hmm, it was quite cute, black with a little wooden handle. Perhaps I would forget to return it for a long time. I set off.  

It was raining so hard my jeans were soaked within moments, and I ran for another awning. And then the strap of my handbag broke. Of course. What next? I examined the damage and realised it could fortunately be repaired with the aid of a pair of pliers, but that would have to wait. Right now, I would wait out the rain in the op shop that I was fortuitously standing in front of. It was an expensive charity store, with goods over-priced for their quality, so I doubted there was much chance I would be tempted by anything.

But – cue triumphant, heavenly sounding chord of music – I spotted something remarkable! A new pair of shoes: exactly the pair I had admired a week or two ago in the shoe store Wittner and dismissed because I didn’t really need them (or to spend $140 on them, more to the point). There they were, in all their leopard-spotted glory, IN MY SIZE, marked $15. It was Fate. I sighed ecstatically as I purchased them. 

Minor domestic disasters matter nought when it comes to shoe bargainry. 

Then I raced home in time for the football, ripped off my wet jeans, turned on the tv and discovered I had no channel seven, and two channel nines, and sat on the floor in my undies as I searched through the manual for instructions on retuning the sports channel. After that the downlight in the bathroom blew, and I had no replacement globes.

But it didn’t matter – I was still bathed in the light of shopping glory. Minor domestic disasters matter nought when it comes to shoe bargainry. (I did manage to repair the strap on my bag too.)

Sunday
Sep292013

Little Sparkles (where the sun don’t shine)

I own lots of sunglasses. I don’t swap them as often as I change other accessories, though when an outfit calls for something special I certainly do. But none of my sunglasses cases – even the designer ones – are particularly glamorous. Why is that? And those enormous hard cases! (Calvin Klein I’m lookin’ at you.) Those certainly don’t fit in a little handbag. And yet one doesn’t like to scratch the lenses either, tossing unprotected sunglasses around willy-nilly.

Enter the vintage sequined evening purse by old Aussie label Jendi. It caught my eye in a charity shop, and I thought it would make a fun sunglasses case. It is satin lined too, so no fear it will damage those precious designer lenses. Admittedly, it’s too large to fit in the little handbag I ordinarily carry, but it’s just fine for my work tote bag. All those sparkles mean it’s easy to find within the roomy interior (where the sun don’t shine) too! 

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