Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

___________________________

Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs and artworks on this website are copyright
of So Not A Princess and must not be reproduced without permission.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

___________________________

Powered by Squarespace

Entries in plaid (5)

Saturday
Dec012018

What I Actually Wore #145

Serial #: 0145
Date: 12/09/2013
Weather: 15°C / 59°F
Time Allowed: 7 minutes

Ah, ye olde schoolgirle looke. I have issues with this, as technically I am probably a bit old for it (even five years ago), but if I had worn tights instead of socks, it would look less jeune fille. However, at the time I was going through a phase of loathing tights with every fibre of my being, preferring to wear long socks.

According to my notes for this day, I had not intended to photograph this outfit, but apparently I received so many compliments I decided it was worthy after all.

I am pleased to say I still have all these items, except perhaps the socks, unless they have fallen to the bottom of my sock basket, in favour of my newer collection of Mukluk socks. My favourite item in this outfit is the shoes, my all-time favourite red shoes I think, but they are a little worse for wear after five years – I’ve had to have the soles repaired a couple of times, so I deliberately don’t wear them too often these days, so that I can make them last as long as possible.

The jumper is still in my closet. I bought that in a Melbourne boutique I forget the name of, but they imported mostly international labels. It was a great boutique, with a few stores around town, and it was such a shame when it closed down; probably it couldn't compete with online shopping.

While I still own the navy and cream vintage 60s or 70s skirt by Fletcher Jones – an old Australian standby, trading since 1924 – it has also fallen a little out of favour simply because it is quite short. I still love plaid wool skirts, but prefer longer lengths, to lessen the schoolgirl effect … But at least I’m not a naughty schoolgirl!

Items:

Jumper: Ink
Skirt: Fletcher Jones, vintage 60s/70s
Socks: ASOS
Sandals: Wittner
Earrings: handmade by me
Bangle: eBay
Ring: Roun

Photos: October 2013

Monday
Jul232018

Blue Girl

When I was growing up, I was never into Holly Hobbie. I was of course I familiar with the image of the famous blue girl, mainly through collecting swap cards (the Australian version of trading cards).

Holly Hobbie, the eponymous character of the artist, was created in the late 1960s and subsequently sold to American Greetings who disseminated her throughout the world.

The original Holly HobbieHolly – the character – was famous for her rag dress and giant bonnet, and when I first spotted this patchwork 1970s maxi dress at a giant vintage warehouse sale, I immediately thought of her. The dress tickled my fancy, and although I doubted I would ever wear it in public, I bought it as it was priced at only $10. It is a great pity the belt was missing; I have substituted a silk scarf.

When I recreate these dress-ups, I like to challenge myself to create costumes out of items I already own. My bonnet is actually a modern hat designed to look like a headscarf and bonnet hybrid; my boots are also modern, recent op shop purchases, and my umbrella is vintage 50s or 60s. The umbrella is not authentic to Holly Hobbie, but rather inspired by other cutesy 70s characters – it made a more interesting picture than without.

I’ve owned the dress for nearly two years, and have yet to wear it out. I am trying to make a conscious effort to wear all the vintage clothes and accessories I have collected over the years – it feels wasteful otherwise. Perhaps this colourful dress is simply waiting for the right occasion.

Photo: May 2018

Monday
Jul032017

Plaid: A Blanket Term

Plaid or tartan, what is the difference? Nowt indeed! Tis but semantics: plaid is the American term for the traditional Scottish fabric, but, funnily enough, in Scotland a plaide is an accessory to the kilt – a piece of tartan fabric slung over the shoulder – or a plain blanket.

Tartan is a multi-coloured pattern of criss-crossing horizontal and vertical lines. The different coloured pre-dyed threads – originally wool, but now encompassing many other fibres – are woven at both warp and weft at right angles to each other, which creates diagonal lines where they overlap. Here they appear to blend and create additional colours. The repeated pattern of squares and lines are called a ‘sett’.

Tartans should not be confused with gingham (a simple check pattern usually in white and one colour), or houndstooth (a tweed pattern of broken checks; learn more here), as they commonly are. And a windowpane check is just a check.

(Left) Soldiers from a Highland regiment, c. 1744: the private on the left is wearing a belted plaide; (right) a man wearing tartan, c. 1875Today we are familiar with the notion that tartan patterns are associated with particular clans, but before the nineteenth century, this was not so. The distinctive patterns were associated with geographic regions, and the colours with the natural dyes available in that district. Chemical dyes were non-existent, and transport of different dyes from other regions was prohibitively expensive.

The word ‘tartan’ is most likely derived from the French word tartarin, meaning ‘Tartar cloth’, which sounds dubious to me as the Tatars were a Turkic-speaking people living in Asia and Europe. Seemingly more plausible is the theory that the word has its origins in the Scottish Gaelic tarsainn, meaning ‘across’.

Black Watch tartan, worn by a couple with a very cute story (click through to read)!I prefer the more generic description ‘plaid’ as it has little apparent association with an ethnic tradition (since I have not an iota of Scots blood in me). The traditional Scottish plaide, meaning ‘blanket’, first referred to any rectangular garment worn on the shoulder, which was often a plain weave, and sometimes a tartan. (And here the origin of the classic plaid blanket for the bed!)

The ubiquitous Burberry plaid, designed in the 1920s.I must confess I do love plaid, and have managed to amass quite a collection of different plaid garments (and blankets). I prefer the simpler colour combinations, with red and white being a particular favourite. Some of the most famous tartans are Royal Stewart, Black Watch, and of course the ubiquitous Burberry check, which was created in the 1920s. My favourite red and white appears as Clan Menzies. (You can scroll through a long list here.)

Tartan upon tartan! The Royal Stewart is the mainly red plaid on the topmost layer. (Image from Pinterest.) My vintage 70s wool jacket is made up of navy and yellow on a cream background, and is a fashion tartan. When I decided one autumn that I needed to acquire a wool plaid jacket, I luckily came upon this one within a week or two. I do love it, but at thigh length it doesn’t cut the mustard for this cold snap Melbourne is currently suffering through. I do however have a very warm, heavy wool skirt in cream and navy large plaid pattern, which, considering the etymological origin of the word blanket, I very aptly dubbed my ‘blanket skirt’!

Photo: July 2015

Monday
Oct032016

Audreyesque

Recently my niece Bluejay and I decided to have a Twin Peaks marathon, ahead of the new series being released next year, especially because we had done one nearly twenty years ago (Bluejay is only four years younger than me). Yesterday we had our first session, managing to get through the entire first season. It was so much fun!

As far as style goes, Audrey Horne is – as she probably is for many others – my favourite character. Her cute, preppy look has become iconic over time. As Bluejay asked yesterday evening, “How is it that though Audrey wears the same kind of clothes as everyone else, she looks much sexier?” I laughed, and we decided that it’s because her clothes are closer-fitting, and her sweaters are mostly plain, rather than emblazoned with hideous 80s patterns. Any hint of subversiveness lies more in her character than in the demure clothes she wears.

“How is it that though Audrey wears the same kind of clothes as everyone else, she looks much sexier?”

The iconic Audrey Horne of David Lynch's Twin PeaksIt was very entertaining to see the fashions everyone was wearing – so sloppy and dowdy! So many enormous sweaters in earthy, muted tones. And the big hair! I asked Bluejay in astonishment, “Did we think they were dowdy back then?” I couldn’t remember wearing such clothes – I was at art school when Twin Peaks was first aired in Australia. “We didn’t dress like that,” Bluejay answered, “it was weird.” Well of course the whole show was weird! The fashion just gave it an extra dimension of strangeness.

The fashion just gave [Twin Peaks] an extra dimension of strangeness.

I’ve managed to put together an Audrey-esque outfit from existing items in my closet: I actually own a great many plaid pleated skirts, although I wouldn’t say I dress preppy at all! However, I do have a sneaking fondness for the look. Nor do I currently own any brogues or penny loafers – I had to make do with a pair of very high brogue-inspired heels.

Bobbysoxers are just so darned cute! Click the image to find out more about bobbysoxers and their entertaining origins.Interestingly, earlier in the week while researching 1950s daywear, I came across another section in my book Fashion: The Whole Story (Marnie Fogg, Thames & Hudson, 2013) about bobbysoxers of the 1940s, who wore skirts with sweaters, and the eponymous bobby socks with loafers. These rebellious teens were surely the inspiration behind Audrey’s look, along with shades of the 50s and 80s.

I was amused to note the first close-up of Audrey’s penny loafers as she enters her father’s chauffeur-driven car to go to school: black and white, and worn without socks – a saucier rendition of the look.

Her hair and makeup are also reminiscent of the 40s (the lack of bangs and side part) and 50s (the short curls). I pinned up my hair at the back and curled the shorter layers to emulate Audrey’s do, but her hairstyle is giving me some much-needed inspiration.

I can’t wait to see what David Lynch has in store for us – narratively and sartorially – in the new series!

Photos: This week

Friday
Aug262016

Scots x Italia

A couple months ago I visited my sister in the country, ahem – OUTER MELBOURNE (I like to tease her about the distance as often as possible) – and we spent a day together op shopping. We zipped around to four or five different stores, large and small, chain and independent, and I managed to snag quite a few bargains.

One of these good finds was this wool pink plaid scarf for which I paid around $4. It comes from Italy, in one of the typically traditional tartan designs that country is renowned for … Wait, what?

och, I do love plaid, wherever it hails from.

There is an embroidered insignia at the end (right about where the fingers of my left hand are holding it), and at first I thought it said ‘Castle Something’ until I brought it into brighter light and read ‘Carlo Visconti, Italy’. I suppose there is nothing new in the designers of one country appropriating the traditional styles of another, and – och, I do love plaid, wherever it hails from. (I’m not convinced the label’s name has anything at all to do with the fifteenth century assassin of the same name, but maybe it does! You can read all about the court official’s colourful history here.)

Why would anyone get rid of such a lovely scarf, I wondered? Did they find out about the womanising, murdered Duke of Milan and conceive an unreasoning distaste for the scarf? Unfortunately, I can’t find any less apocryphal information on this Italian label, and have only spotted men’s ties and cufflinks, and fountain pens online.

It must remain an eternal – and possibly unsavoury – mystery.

PS. I am not wearing my top inside out. In case you were wondering. Ok, I am. Also, apologies for the disturbingly fluffy hair.

Photo: July 2016