Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in minimalist (16)


The Coat of Many Winters

Today I give homage to a very favourite old coat that I recently gave up to the hope shop. (That’s what I call op, or thrift, shops, and the designation is particularly poignant in this instance.) I bought this coat many years ago from Melbourne designer Obüs; it was my first ‘grown-up’ coat purchase. It was made from herringbone tweed, and featured a double-zipped front, the zips of which could go two ways. The sleeves also had zips up to the elbows, for extra ventilation. When I first saw it, I loved the modern minimalist design combined with the classic camel-coloured tweed.

I wore this coat for many winters, and even after the pockets tore a little at the sides from careless hand-stuffing, I continued to wear it. (Of course, I did not wear it all the time, as I am a coat aficionado from way back and alternated it with many others.)

I look at this photo and feel a little pang in my fashion heart.

It was only last winter that I noticed that one of the shoulders had become so worn in two places from rubbing caused by my shoulder bags, that the fabric had actually shredded into fragments of warp and weft. It was really ready for the rag-bag, but the coat held such sentimental value for me that I considered trying to have it repaired, perhaps by inserting leather shoulder patches. But there were also other signs of wear, and the torn pockets. I decided, in view of how many coats I actually own, and how little space I had for them all, that it was not worth the investment of a difficult repair, or even merely keeping it as a sentimental piece.

In a ruthless moment of wardrobe culling, I put it in a bag destined for the charity store (in case someone had some use for it, damaged as it was) and steeled myself to drop it at the Salvo’s depot. And I did it. But first, I photographed it. Now, I look at this photo and feel a little pang in my fashion heart. It gave me good love for well over ten years – I hope it comes to a good end.

Photo: January 2017


Enamoured of Enamel

I have always liked enamel jewellery, beginning with cloisonné that was fashionable in the 80s when I was a teen. It was de rigueur to have at least one bangle on your wrist, probably pinched from an older sister or mother who had bought it in the 70s. I still own a few of these vintage pieces, though I don’t often wear those unless I am feeling a rare bohemian mood.

However, I am very taken with this modern version of geometric and minimalist enamel. I really like the combination of colours too. The enamel is double-sided, and the whole piece has a nice weight – it’s certainly better quality than enamel pieces from cheap jewellery boutiques.

It is by the Australian label Sportscraft, which was established in 1914. It is quite conservative and preppy – a store I would not generally shop in at all – although I have come across a few useful basics in op shops. I found this necklace in a Salvos, at a fraction I’m sure of the retail price. I intended to gift it to a friend or one of my sisters, but I decided I liked it too much to give away!

Photo: July 2016


What I Actually Wore #124

Serial #: 0124
Date: 05/06/2013
Weather: 14°C / 57°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

This is an outfit I would still wear! Except that I have got rid of the ponyhair slippers as they were a bit too narrow for my feet and cut in the sides. Pity about that, as they were very nice shoes, with a zigzag pattern created from ponyhair and suede.

I remember I bought these kitten-heeled mules at an end-of-season sale for the extremely low price of about $20 – low for anywhere, but especially for the shoe boutique Zomp. I think I may have been wearing them on this occasion because I had badly hurt my left heel; I couldn’t wear closed shoes for over a month.

The vintage 50s bandeau is faux fur with two rabbit fur pompoms attached on one side; I bought that on Etsy years ago. I also wore a vintage 60s velvet coat and a white leather tote.

While I don’t like to wear too much black, I still like it when it’s paired with white or cream, or another neutral. I’ve worn a lot of these kinds of outfits especially in the past year in a vintage x minimalist style. The only thing I’d change here is to remove the necklace and let those spectacular woven hoops make a statement on their own.


Jumper: Kookaï
vintage 50s
souvenir from Hong Kong
souvenir charms
souvenir from Vietnam
Kenneth Cole

Photos: October 2013


What I Actually Wore #120

Serial #: 0120
Date: 15/05/2013
Weather: 15°C / 59°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

Oh, this jumper! Why did I throw it out? That is the first and most important question I must demand of myself. I cannot offer any sensible answer. Unless perhaps it had become a little worn and pilly. But the colour! Heaven. Literally. It’s sunshine personified.

I actually still like this outfit, although the white toes of my socks make me laugh. I find them a little disruptive, but that is nitpicking. I still own and wear the skirt, and the shoes (I love my Finsk shoes!). The Melbourne designer, Ammo, sadly closed its doors a few years ago, and this is one of the items I still own; I also have a blue silk dress. I always liked Ammo for its interesting and asymmetrical cuts.

The enamel (I have a fondness for enamel) cat earrings are souvenirs from Vietnam, and the pearl ring is a souvenir from a past relationship. I also wore, as it was a cool day, my vintage 60s black velvet coat and a matching hat. I’d still wear this outfit now – abeit with plain black socks or tights – it’s my take on minimalism with a vintage twist.


Jumper: vintage
Kenneth Cole

Photos: September 2013


Winning Silver

Many good things come together in this silver metallic clutch by Country Road that I found a while back in an op shop (thrift store).

So, what’s to love?

  1. A bag on a wrist strap is so kicky! It also makes it much more convenient to hold – clutching a bag under the armpit always feels precarious.
  2. The elegant, slim shape harks back to my beloved, lost envelope purse.
  3. Silver is much cooler (in both senses of the word) than gold, and I have always preferred it.  
  4. Silver, like grey, matches everything! This minimalist style will always look elegant, even when strict minimalism goes in and out of fashion.

I call this a first class thrift shop find!