Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in hosiery (17)


What I Actually Wore #126

Serial #: 0126
Date: 10/06/2013
Weather: 16°C / 61°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It was a rather chilly day today, and I dressed for the weather. This outfit was built around the cashmere jumper, which reminded me of a cheerleading sweater when I first saw it on eBay. It’s in a favourite shade of robin’s egg blue, and I also love cherries!

The pleated navy and cream houndstooth wool skirt is a vintage (possibly 80s) find from years ago, while the 1940s beret-style platter hat is a purchase from Etsy. The jewellery is a mixture of handmade (silver bauble earrings) and souvenirs from travels (various ‘charms’ collected on a sterling silver chain).

The suede shoes are also favourites; I still wear them, and will continue to do so until they fall apart! They’ve already had their soles repaired once or twice. I used to have a pair of tights that exactly matched the cherry-red of the leather, but after they were ruined I was never able to find another pair that matched so closely. These are over-the-knee socks I am wearing, held up by suspenders as they always sag.

I call this cute look preppy with a vintage cheerleading twist and a cherry on top!


Jumper: vintage
David Jones
Sock Shop
Warners (on Shop Style)
handmade, souvenir, vintage
Kenneth Cole

Photos: October 2013


A Thrifty Kindred Spirit

Welcome to Clementine, a stylish woman with an independent and eclectic sense of fashion, a keen op-shopper, all-round lovely person, and a true kindred spirit. Her outfits always catch my eye at our shared workplace, and this floral number she’s wearing had me smiling reminiscently of Eighties fashions.

How did you put this outfit together this April morning Clementine?

I actually packed this outfit into my yoga bag the night before – I was planning to get up and go to an early morning class … but then I slept in. Oops! But it was nice to have an outfit pre-organised. Pre-packing means I need things that won’t crease, and the skirt and cardie are good like that. But I started putting the outfit together around the tights.

I’m enjoying the change in seasons at the moment, and it’s nice to feel snug on these cool autumn mornings. I was a bit stuck on which top to put with it, and then I saw this one on the drying rack – my sister just passed it on to me recently and it actually goes rather nicely with the skirt I think.

The outfit does seem very ‘you’.

Yes it is actually very representative of my whole wardrobe – a lot of op shop finds and ‘pass-alongs’ from friends and family, with a few new pieces thrown in here and there.

When you aren’t pre-packing, how long does it usually take you to get ready?

Time to choose an outfit depends on how awake I am … some mornings I just stare at my options and can’t decide! I guess this was an outfit of convenience more than anything – I really should try pre-packing (or at least pre-selecting) more often.

I bought the heels on the same day I found my antique wedding ring, so I always have happy thoughts when I put them on!

Can you tell us a bit more about the individual items?

The apricot knit top was given to me by my sister; I think it’s from a Postie party.

What is that?

Postie parties are just like Tupperware parties – you shop from someone’s home, and there is a stylist to give advice.

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of them – clothing exchanges, but not this. [You can read more about Postie parties here.] What are your other items? That floral skirt has a particularly retro 80s vibe.

This skirt is from Forever New, from a revival a few years ago. The cardigan doesn’t have a label, but was given to me by my cousin in Italy. I think it belonged to a friend who cleaning out her cupboard, and she snapped it up. It’s travelled all around Europe with me. The heels were from an op shop in Camberwell [an inner-Eastern suburb of Melbourne] – I think they are RMK. I bought the heels on the same day I found my antique wedding ring, so I always have happy thoughts when I put them on!

And what about the stockings that started the whole outfit? I am partial to cable knit too.

They are from Sportsgirl. (Opening in 1948 Sportsgirl is an Australian chain store that has been around for nearly seventy years!)

I know you and I share a love of op shopping (thrifting), but before we get to that longer discussion, tell me where else you shop.

I’m actually struggling with mainstream brands in Australia at the moment – I feel too old for some high street shops, and too young (or too casual) for others. But I tend to buy jeans and pants from Sussan [another Aussie standby, around since 1939], as I find their cuts flattering for me – I like that the waistband sits above the hips! If I’m going past a shop I like, I’ll stick my head in. I rarely go out specifically to find a particular item.

And do you shop online much?

Yes! My favourite shop would have to be Anthropologie – I’ve bought quite a few things online, in spite of the expensive postage. I’ve found almost every item I’ve bought from there to be really well made, and I like that the designs are a bit different to what we find here. I’m a sucker for a beautiful email, catalogue image etc.,which is probably why Anthropologie always wins me over.

They are pretty gorgeous. So: let’s get onto op shopping. Why do you like it?

I’m definitely a browser style of shopper – I just find it very relaxing to flick through the racks. The atmosphere is so much nicer than the bright, noisy stores at shopping centres – the music is usually quirky, the volunteers are relaxed and genuinely pleased to see you – and when you find something unique, you feel like you’ve won the lottery!

I also enjoy knowing that in some small way I’m helping the community a little, by recycling and supporting charity. That’s very important to me.

… when you find something unique, you feel like you’ve won the lottery!

That’s great – you are a woman after my own heart! Good shopping ethics.

When I do buy new clothes, I’m conscious of buying quality items that will last, rather than cheap things that can only be worn a few times – and when I do have a wardrobe cleanout, I take as much as possible back to the op shop. And I’m not afraid to donate a really great piece if I’m honestly not wearing it – because I know there’s probably someone else out there that can enjoy it. And I think it brings good op shop karma!

Is there anything special you are currently looking out for?

I could currently use a couple of new tops for work – but I’m sure I’ll find them at some point. I’d love to support more independent Australian designers, but I haven’t found a style I love at a price I can afford just yet. But I’m keeping my eyes open.

On that note of hope, Clementine you bright young thing, I shall thank you for agreeing to appear on the pages of SNAP. Happy treasure-hunting!


Sheer Amusement

Once upon a time it was considered totally apropos to wear sheer pantyhose with sandals. Here is the evidence: vintage 80s Holeproof Sheer Tops with sheer toes. Clearly, however, the original owner of this pair spotted in a thrift store thought better of donning them.

I have kicked about this sartorial dilemma previously: what kind of foot covering ought to be worn with open-toed shoes? Obvious socks and hosiery seem to work better because they become part and parcel of an entire look, whereas sheer hosiery pretending to be naked skin just looks wrong, with or without the seam in the toe. With so many other options (other types of tights, or, at a pinch, a closed shoe) its unseemly not to toe the line.


Instructions on the Proper Usage of Hosiery with Peeptoes

Fun texture of winter cable knit contrasts with suede heels. Verdict: cute! This past autumn, my friend Audrey and I held an important summit on a controversial topic: Is it sartorially forgivable to wear hosiery with peeptoe shoes?

It was Audrey who brought up the subject, for she had observed my breaking of this hitherto unpardonable sin. After a serious and in-depth discussion we brokered three rules:

  1. under no circumstances are beige pantyhose to be worn with open-toed footwear
  2. seams along the toes must be invisible to the naked eye
  3. toeless stockings are an abomination and not to be considered for a moment

Beige pantyhose. Visible seams. Verdict: vile! Within this framework, we decided, it ought to be possible to don fun and attractive legwear with peeptoes and thus expand one’s footwear wardrobe over the cooler months. This includes lace socks, over-the-knee socks and tights of all persuasions. The jury is still out on fishnets, although the larger the net, the less likely they will work with open-toed shoes – how silly would toes look poking out of the holes?

I have since discovered, in the 1970s, the incumbent fashion editor of Australian Vogue was apparently a proponent of beige pantyhose worn with open-toed sandals. This is an atrocity. (It also probably means it will soon be back in favour, probably beginning with hipsters.)


Does anyone in fact still wear beige pantyhose in this day and age? In my view, the only acceptable beige hosiery is between 10–15 denier, so sheer as to be almost invisible, or the tattoo stockings that are currently in vogue.

Scroll down for additional pictorial examples of shocking no-nos and stocking yes-yeses. 

Right sock, wrong place. Visible seams make this verdict: vile. Cream lace socks with scalloped tops look pretty with T-bar peeptoes. Verdict: cute! Go all the way with bright colour contrast: sky blue with raspberry red. Verdict: cute!


Over The Top

I’ve been waxing lyrical over socks recently, namely all these over-the-knee socks I purchased online in recent weeks. And here they are! Aren’t they lovely?

The merino wool striped pair are from Free People, and all the others were bought from Asos. I made sure to buy socks that were, if not 100% (allowing for Lycra for a better fit and non-saggingness), mostly made from natural fibres – from cotton, wool and angora.

I am excitedly awaiting autumn so that I can wear them, but with the seemingly endless heatwave in Melbourne it looks like those days are still a long way off.