Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in minimalist (18)


What I Actually Wore #0150

Serial #: 0150
Date: 09/10/2013
Weather: 27°C / 81°F
Time Allowed: 5 minutes

I don’t wear all black like many Melburnians are purported to do, but I do happily wear all white, or white and black together. Here is an outfit born of my minimalist phase, although that enormous vintage 70s cartwheel hat is rather maximalist, as are the gladiator boots. Both of those accessories were problems. But let’s start from the top, meaning clothes first, accessories second.

The white cotton dress was a favourite for many summers. It is by Australian brand Witchery, and I remember buying it in a warehouse sale. It was only retired when it started looking worn. It’s actually a little bit too long for these boots, and that was the problem: I didn’t really own any dress short enough for the boots that was also work-appropriate (some might say the boots weren’t work appropriate, but luckily I work in a theatre, so no one really blinks an eye at what I wear), so I wasn’t 100% happy with this pairing. But I was desperate to wear these new boots that I had paid remarkably little for in another warehouse sale.

I do remember wearing that very light straw hat that day because it was so blustery the hat simply would not stay on my head as the brim is so wide. It behaved like a sail catching the wind. A hat to be worn on dead calm days, I decided.

The sunglasses were also another warehouse find, while the vintage 60s bag, one I’ve owned and used for many years, came from a thrift store. The silver jewellery was from a now-defunct label called Roun, where I bought a few pieces. I loved to double up the concave silver ring with my onyx band on one finger, but tragically the former slipped off my finger one day en route to work. I never saw it again.

Vainly I still look for it even today, with someone’s anecdote in my mind – I think this was my brother-in-law’s mother’s tale – of losing a ring in the bush and stumbling upon it nine years later. So I still have hope: it’s only been five or six years since I lost it after all. I walk to work with fingers crossed now – for two reasons!


Dress: Witchery
Hat: Josephine Tripoli, vintage 70s
Sunglasses: Calvin Klein
Bag: vintage 60s
Shoes: Zoe Wittner
Earrings: handmade
Cuff: Roun
Ring: Roun (silver), souvenir (onyx)
Watch: Kenneth Cole

Photos: January 2014


What I Actually Wore #0149

Serial #: 0149
Date: 07/10/2013
Weather: 18°C / 64°F
Time Allowed: 8 minutes

I was on a minimalist kick at the time, and this is a rare all-black outfit for me, but the best thing about it is obviously the tights. The giant fishnets are not true net tights; the pattern is actually printed on nude hosiery – if they were actual net, I imagine it would be quite a task to make sure all the lines were straight.

I have a love-hate relationship with tights. They are obviously practical in winter, but I find it a bore pulling them up and down – and heaven forbid they are a little worn and saggy! That is the worst. This pair, which I bought online at Ozsale, were quite fragile too, and I ended up ripping them after a few wears. Fortunately, I was able to replace them when they reappeared on the same site.

The dress is by Australian label Saba, and I purchased it at a thrift store because I liked the cut – it had an origami-like fold on the right side. However, I did not like the fact that it was polyester, and it ended up going back to the op shop a year or two later.

Odd earrings – one silver and one black onyx bauble – and two rings of the same materials, and black patent Mary-Jane heels finished off the outfit.


Dress: Saba
Tights: Leg Avenue
Shoes: BCBG
Earrings: handmade
Ring: (silver) Roun, (onyx) souvenir

Photo: January 2014


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