Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in leather (43)

Tuesday
May282019

What I Actually Wore #0152

Serial #: 0152
Date: 19/10/2013
Weather: forecast 26.5°C / 80°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It was a Saturday evening on quite a warm spring day, and I had a date with a friend to see the 1945 film Brief Encounter in a pop-up outdoor cinema at Federation Square. I had not planned to dress up, but my friend insisted I had to, so I wore a new secondhand dress I had bought on eBay, by Australian brand Witchery.

I have long liked woven ikat fabric, and also watered silk, and this dress combined the two effects prettily. It is a rather shapeless tunic and I wore it with a grosgrain ribbon as a tie-belt as a leather belt felt too heavy for the delicate silk fabric. Although it was still balmy, I took a wool cardigan just in case – another eBay purchase. It has Juliet sleeves – that is puffed in the shoulder and then tight to the wrist – and delicate patterns down the front. (My knitting knowledge is practically non-existent so I don’t know what that technique is called.) I omitted to photograph it on, but you can see the cardigan here.

As I was walking, I needed a pair of comfortable shoes, and I chose this ice-blue pair of wedges and took them on their first outing. I ended up giving them away to a different friend as they were too big for me. Sadly this is another brand that has since closed down.

I still own my other accessories: chalcedony earrings and pendant necklace, the turquoise ring which was a souvenir bought in Barcelona, and the green eelskin bag, which I bought from a thrift store. I was carrying it so much during this time that one of the straps became detached – it’s been languishing in a basket for quite some time, awaiting repair. The dress though, as much as I loved the print, I ended up giving away as I just didn’t like its shape. I do like the summery sorbet of colours in this outfit though.

Items:

Dress: Witchery
Cardigan: Nanette Lepore
Bag: vintage
Shoes: RMK
Necklace: Portobello Lane
Earrings: self-made
Ring: souvenir

Photos: January 2014

Saturday
May182019

What I Actually Wore #0151

Serial #: 0151
Date: 10/10/2013
Weather: 21°C / 70°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

As always, if I wear a lot of black, I add some pops of colour to brighten it. I wore this black and cobalt outfit to work, with the rhinestone cat ears headband added for evening as I was going to see a play at the Melbourne Festival. My friend, who came with me, was delighted by the whimsical headband.

The black knit top has a subtle lurex thread going through it; it and the skirt are both great basics. The top I bought from a warehouse store on sale, and the skirt came from a thrift store. I still own all of these items, except for the silver ring – a favourite – that slipped off my finger one day (in action like the One Ring, although it didn’t make me invisible!) never to be seen again. As the night was cool, I was also wearing my beloved white leather trench coat (you can see it in this gallery), which I forgot to photograph.

It was a fun night – the play was an enjoyable UK production of Brief Encounter, after the film – and one of the actors even complimented my outfit out in the foyer of the theatre, probably because of that eye-catching headband.

Items:

Top: Country Road
Skirt: Kenneth Cole
Headband: Diva, now Lovisa
Shoes: Mollini
Earrings: self-made
Ring: Roun (silver), souvenir (onyx)
Watch: Kenneth Cole

Photos: October 2013

Tuesday
Apr022019

What I Actually Wore #0148

Serial #: 0148
Date: 04/10/2013
Weather: 22°C / 72°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

The first thing I have to say about the above photograph is: MY HAIR! That bob is immaculate and newly shorn, and I must give another shout-out to my awesome hairstylist Alex from Lady Marmalade, who has been cutting my hair for more than a decade. Secondly, I very, very rarely wear all black – or even almost all black as I did on this day over five years ago.

That is my credo in fact: never to wear all black! And it’s why I didn’t on this occasion – I wore a pair of animal print ponyhair pumps, and a vintage 1970s brown leather jacket.

The third amusing detail about this outfit is that it is quite ill-fitting! The 70s style knit blouson-sleeved top I still have, but the pants I eventually donated to charity because they were too big (you know pants are too big when you don’t have to undo the zip when you go to the bathroom); the shoes, currently buried in a storage bag of footwear intended for eBay, were a size too big for me even with insoles, but I bought them anyway because they were a $10 bargain; and the vintage 70s jacket was too small across the shoulders and in sleeve length, and has long since also been donated to charity.

That was a particularly regrettable loss. The leather was so fine, and it was a chocolate shade of brown that I like. If it had a label, I can’t recall what it was. Sadly, the jacket was missing its belt, which I guessed was a long soft leather tie style. Here, I am wearing it with a vintage 80s plaited taupe leather buckled belt – it was never a pairing I was completely satisfied with, but I had never found a suitable replacement for the original. I had intended to try to sell the jacket, but it was accidentally toted off to a thrift store – whence it had come, so I can’t regret it too much. I hope someone with a smaller frame pounced on it with joy!

Fourthly, I must note that all of these items – excepting the souvenir jewellery, and the shoes which were seconds from a warehouse store – were bought in a thrift store, which is wear I buy most of my clothes and accessories. 

My jewellery is a mixture of vintage souvenirs and boutique purchases. The silver necklace is Moroccan and came with an antique coin attached; I have over the years added a number of mostly sterling silver charms, with the exception of a Victorian cash register key. I have not worn it for some time, so this outfit from the archives is a nice reminder to do so – and to make an overdue appointment at the hair salon!

Items:

Top: French Connection
Pants: Dizingof
Jacket: vintage 1970s
Belt: vintage 1980s
Shoes:
Wittner
Earrings: Mimco
Necklace: souvenir
Ring: souvenir (onyx), Roun (silver)

Photos: October 2013

Tuesday
Mar192019

Goody, Two Shoes!

I have been doing some desperately-needed culling in my closet over the last couple of weeks, and have so far completed sorting through all the summer clothing which is currently in my wardrobe, plus the winter jumpers which normally don’t go into storage. (I’ll do the winter clothing either when I bring it up out of storage, or at the end of the coming winter.) I have not yet touched any accessories at all either, so I am not even half way! So with that in mind, when I saw these photos again today, they made me laugh.

I find it difficult to cull shoes, except if they are worn out, or are uncomfortable – or if I suddenly decide they are ugly and wonder why on earth I ever bought them. This happened once, a long time ago, when I wore Birkenstocks for commuting. I was sitting in a park and looked down at my feet and found myself thinking, “Those shoes are extremely ugly.” The moment I returned home, I threw them unregretfully into the garbage. (I didn’t want to donate them so that some other misguided soul would wear them – why inflict that on the world?) These days I wear more attractive walking shoes.

But why do I find myself with two pairs of navy suede pumps? Well, they are not exactly the same, it’s true. It came about that after I threw out a pair of beloved but worn out patent navy Mary-Janes, I was in search of replacements. “Somehow” I ended up with two. At least I can say that they both came from op shops (thrift stores), so I can feel good about recycling.

… what if some mishap occurs, such as a heel snapping off, or muddy rain, then I will be glad I have two.

They are both very comfortable and elegant – one, by Australian brand David Lawrence, features scalloped edges, how cute! The d’Orsay pumps, which I found first, are by Jady Rose; I only discovered recently this is an extremely expensive brand that I could never afford to buy retail. The pairs are slightly different shades of blue, and have different heel heights, so I simply can’t choose one over another. Besides, what if some mishap occurs, such as a heel snapping off, or muddy rain, then I will be glad I have two. So much for the blue.

The red suede T-bar Mary-Janes are by Guess, and I bought them on Ozsale at a huge discount. Despite their deceptively high heels, they are extremely comfortable. I can even run in them. They even stop traffic! Once, as I dodged cars to cross a road (the traffic was stationary), some random woman shouted urgently from her car, expressing her love for them. The rich hue is delicious, the style is a classic.

And then along came the claret coloured Mary-Janes by Nine West, with cute little button fasteners. Some foolish person had donated them to a charity store unworn, so I took them home with me. What would you? (I do have a thing for red shoes.) The colours, and again, the heel heights, of these are so different that clearly it’s necessary to keep both of them for different outfits.

In conclusion: why ration your shoes when you can rationalise? Good shoes come in twos in case of emergency!

Photos: November 2018

Saturday
Nov242018

Impressed!

A few years ago, my friend Rapunzel bought this vintage 60s suede coat at a vintage warehouse sale for a fairly modest sum. The clothing, I believe, was purchased unseen by the container-load from America. While all the other clothing at the sale seemed to have suffered no lasting damage, this coat looked like it had been drenched in the brink. It was so wrinkled, and strangely textured as though it was encrusted with salt.

My friend, however, never wore it, saying she had never got round to taking it to a drycleaner, and didn’t like wearing coats for commuting anyway, as she tended to overheat, and so she was reluctant to spend a large amount on professional cleaning. She donated it to me.

I was pleased to accept the coat, but it couldn’t be worn in the state it was. I forgot to photograph it in its original state, but I would describe the texture as resembling a piece of paper that had been screwed up into a little ball, then poorly smoothed out.

I would describe the texture as resembling a piece of paper that had been screwed up into a little ball …

I took the coat to my regular drycleaner and asked his advice. With very serious face he examined the coat and remarked that it did look like it had fallen into the ocean. That seemed unlikely, but perhaps it had been splashed at some point in its life. He did not think cleaning it would improve its appearance – the two apparent stains visible on the right side (near the collar and the middle button) were actually abrasions of the leather, so cleaning would have no effect on those. He suggested pressing it instead.

Ironing leather! I have talked before about the importance of ironing, but it never would have occurred to me that it was appropriate to press leather. For a modest sum of $15, I agreed to see if that improved the look of the coat. When I returned to pick the coat up, I was very impressed (pardon the pun) to see the improvement.

This suede, mink-trimmed coat transmogrified from a sozzled 60-year-old harridan into a gently-used dignified dame. Disfigurements became faint scars proudly marking the stately passage of time, and the coat was eminently wearable. Amongst so many coats I already own, I still managed to wear it a few times this past winter, an excellent result.

Photo: August 2018