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Entries in pearls (13)


Costume Pearls

I found these pearl-encrusted half-hoops a little while ago in an op shop but have not worn them yet as they are so extravagant. They are about 1cm wide by 4cm high, and there is nothing at all delicate about their design, which makes me think they must be brash 1980s pieces! Pearls are usually more refined, associated with debutantes and twin sets, but these Eighties numbers are bold and glitzy, which makes me suspect that I will keep these for costume wear only.

They do give me an idea, however, to make some traditional hoops threaded with seed pearls – something like these ones below from Sanctuary Jewellery on Etsy, only more spectacular – by which I mean much bigger!

Photo: Today

Small pearl hoops from Sanctuary Jewellery on Etsy


What I Actually Wore #114

Serial #: 0114
Date: 05/04/2013
Weather: 25°C / 77°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

I chuckle every time I open up the folder of one of these archival fashion shoots and see some outlandish outfit like this one. It’s so OTT! But I should reiterate at the time I was on a real Ballet Russes kick that year. That ballet company was famous for its extravagant and wildly colourful costumes, many of which featured a multitude of patterns.

I remember buying that Anthropologie cardigan new on eBay (and we still don’t have a brick-and-mortar store here in Australia). I deliberated for a long time because it was quite expensive, but I did love it. I’ve teamed it with a classic black and white striped t-shirt from Zara (bought in Portugal while on holiday to replace a previous iteration that just became too worn), and a vintage 1920s navy straw hat that has a striped effect by way of the velvet piping. There are pearls scattered over the hat too, and two little velvet bows at the back. I bought it on Etsy from an American seller.

Black patent T-bar heels (by Scooter, a brand that no longer seems to exist) and bag (vintage 60s), grey over-the-knee socks, and sterling silver and enamel earrings complete my accessories. I made the earrings myself, from small sterling silver ridged beads, and larger beads that are enamelled in blue with silver stars. The design is a variation on my favourite simple style of a dangling single round bead – I call them bauble earrings.

The effect of the whole outfit is quite doll-like, and far too cute for me to wear anything remotely resembling that these days. The cardigan has since been donated to charity, the linen skirt as well I think (or it may only have made it as far as a bag of prospective donations, in storage) and the shoes also wore out and were trashed. The other items I still own – a 50% retention rate is not too bad, I suppose.


T-Shirt: Zara
vintage 20s
hand-made by me
vintage 60s

Photos: April 2013


Grab Your Pearls, Girls

I have long had a passionate love for pearls of all kinds. There is something so beautiful about the sheen and lustre; they feel silky to the touch. There is also the romance of how they are created (so lovely that a clever little oyster makes something so beautiful from an irritant!), and the history of pearl fishing is fascinating.

I love all kinds of pearls: from the beautiful South Sea pearl that made up my former engagement ring, to multicoloured freshwater pearls, and even the fake pearls used in some of my vintage costume jewellery.

A pearl collar was a classic accessory to ladies of the 1950s, worn with woollen twinsets, or in the evening with a cocktail dress. I had a hankering to own one because they are just so pretty, even though I generally don’t like garments with little collars (I hate shirts and absolutely loathe the Peter Pan style collars popular in the 1960s).

I searched Etsy off and on for a long time (seeing many in my wish list get snapped up while I dithered) before I finally bit the bullet and made a purchase. It was difficult to choose because really it is the type of accessory that ideally one wants to try on. This one I bought is in excellent condition however, and features gunmetal bugle beads amongst the deep clotted-cream pearls.

It feels too prissy and dated for me to wear it as it originally would have been, and I thought I could wear it as a neckpiece, and the effect here appears amusingly like a bowtie – I look like a cigarette girl of the Art Deco period! (Which is a totally awesome idea for a costume party, I must say.) I just need a tuxedo jacket to complete the picture.

Photos: February 2014


Fancy Hat!

Since I have been in a more minimalist phase in the last year or so, I have not been wearing my more fancy vintage hats – I’ve donned the ones with simpler shapes and minimal trimming. However, last week I suddenly declared to the marketing department at large that I was going to wear a crazy vintage hat the next day.

The next morning, in my hurry dressing for work, I almost forgot, but at the very last minute I remembered the previous day’s avowal. Fortunately I have an app cataloguing my many hats (a bit like Cher Horowitz’s computerised closet in the film Clueless), which I can search by style, colour or trim; the app also records in which hatbox I have stored each hat so that I can find them quickly.

I have always thought [this hat] resembled Mickey Mouse ears …

As I was wearing black, I used the colour search filter, scrolled through the selection and voila! This 50s nylon crin hat was perfect. I have always thought it resembled Mickey Mouse ears, and in fact someone said as much that day. I suspect it ought to have three giant pearls, but my 60s pearl bauble earrings are a fabulous substitute.

It always amuses me how much I get stared at on my morning commute whenever I wear an unusual hat – I always want to demand have they never seen a hat before? The girls I work with, however, were delighted.

Photo: May 2013


What I Actually Wore #0103

Serial #: 0103
Date: 26/11/2012
Weather: warm and 22°C / 71.6°F
Time Allowed: 20 minutes

It’s a warm day for my cousin Robert’s wedding, and since I had planned this outfit a long time ago, it’s just as well. I purchased this 60s silk dress on Etsy some time ago, specifically for the occasion. Although the 60s is my least favourite fashion era, I was attracted to this dress because of the candy-coloured stripes, and because of its rather free trapeze shape with the inverted pleat in the back. I also really love silk dupion fabric.

The rather outré pink trapunto-stitched toque/turban is also original 60s; I bought that in a vintage bazaar in Melbourne. There are long tassels dangling from the top (you can see the hat in more detail here). My clip-on earrings are from the same era – they are amusingly huge and, made from cheap plastic, they bobble about lightly. (In fact, I recall January Jones wore a very similar pair in a Mad Men episode.)

This dress is also virtually impossible to do up completely on one’s own however: the straps fasten with large buttons at the back, just below the shoulder blades, which requires the skills of a contortionist to reach. This is why I have not photographed the back.

Lamentably, I had a little wardrobe malfunction in the car …  and one of the buttons tore off!

On the day, I had to wait for my cousin Amelia Jane and her husband to pick me up so she could fasten the buttons for me. Lamentably, I had a little wardrobe malfunction in the car reaching for something on the back seat, and one of the buttons tore off! One of my aunts came to my rescue with a safety pin, but it meant I was unable to remove my linen coat (handmade for me by my sister Blossom, from a Claude Montana Vogue pattern) in the church throughout the ceremony, and I suffered in the heat. I was able to mend the button at home before the reception in the evening however.

I was bemused to receive so many compliments all day from other guests, especially for such an unusual hat. A couple of my aunts were both astounded to hear I was wearing such ‘old clothing’ – one of them assumed it was because I ‘want to get noticed’! I assured her dryly that it most assuredly was not. I choose vintage clothes for their beautiful fabrics, unique designs and because I believe in recycling. It was a fun family wedding all in all.


Dress: vintage
Coat: Montana (handmade)
Hat: vintage
Bag: vintage
Earrings: vintage
Ring: Autore
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Shoes: Escapade