Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in pleats (19)


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!


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

Photos: October 2013


That Thrilling Thrifting Feeling

I loved this grey silk blouse with a multitude of complicated pleating – but alas, it was a size or two too small.Who knows that heart-wrenching thrifting feeling when you find some fabulous item only to discover it doesn’t fit? Or it’s ruined somehow beyond repair? Or alternatively, that thrill when you stumble across some incredible, mind-boggling, once-in-a-lifetime find? I have been op-shopping for decades now, and I have hit both highs and lows.

Just look: HEART-SHAPED BUTTONS. (Sob.)A recent high was finding an antique Victorian pink wool cloak with cornelli embroidery and silk tasselled fringing, while a low was a gorgeous 50s dress and bolero set with a novelty London print (featuring the Buckingham Palace guardsmen in their bearskin hats) that was not only a little small for me but horribly ripped from some stupid person who had tried to squeeze themselves into it and torn the bodice asunder (not even on the seam). I could have wept! I was so overwrought in fact I forgot to photograph its wonderful print.

Here are some of my hits and misses of the past.

Periwinkle blue leather flats hardly worn? I won't say no!In fact, I also did not say no to the NEVER-worn black patent T-bar heels – they still had the original price sticker in them.I also took home this flocked cotton tee that charmed me in the store.I like matryoshka dolls, but I think I did not like the enormous size of this pendant (one time when I rejected exaggerated proportions!).So many shiny shoes! Remarkably I held my magpie tendencies in check and none came home with me.


What I Actually Wore #0134

Serial #: 0134
Date: 29/07/2013
Weather: 19.5°C / 67°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It’s funny to open up the archives and see this outfit, because very recently this dress came back into my life! I had given it to a friend of mine two or three years ago. She had worn it a few times that I had seen, but finally decided that it swamped her a bit (she’s shorter than I am).

She asked if I’d like it back, so I agreed to have another look at it. However, I’m just not sure that it fits in with my style anymore – the best explanation I can come up with is that it’s too girly for me. I’m not sure if it’s merely the velvet bow belt (easy enough to remove), the sweetheart neckline, the tulip shape, or all three at once.

Here though I have worn it with a wool knit (that I still wear with much affection, though it is darned in several places), and a few other accessories that I all still own.

I have always liked pink paired with brown – it livens up what I have always thought of as a rather dull shade. Ironically, I do much prefer chocolate coloured tights – as I am wearing here – to common black (I always think of liquorice legs when I don black tights on the rare occasion).

The 70s inspired patent wedges I still like too, although I rarely wear them these days, but I feel that I must hold onto them for the sake of some female descendent of mine who will adore them in twenty or thirty years.

I am not sure which era this fur-trimmed, black velvet cap comes from. When I pull it right down, it looks very much like a 20s cloche cap, and there are no labels inside to give a clue to its age; it’s definitely vintage though. The hoop earrings are another vintage relic from eras unknown, but I will never part with those.

All in all, I still like this outfit, but I don’t know that I could wear it now. The dress is hanging in my closet, but when I reach for something to wear in the morning, my hand always hesitates over it.


Dress: Cue
Kenneth Cole

Photos: September 2013


What I Actually Wore #130

Serial #: 0130
Date: 02/07/2013
Weather: 19°C / 66°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

This is an outfit that was dictated by the cool weather. Once I picked out the navy and white houndstooth skirt, it was easy to build on it with warm layers. It used to be once upon a time that pink and red were considered a ghastly combination, and I’m not quite sure why, since they sit beside one another on the colour wheel and therefore meld quite harmoniously. Both colours look great with navy too.

Some of the items I am wearing were bought second hand in op shops: the coral pink merino wool and silk knit (the front panel is silk) has no label, but I suspect it may be Kookaï; the vintage houndstooth pleated skirt; the red wool beret, and the vintage 60s handbag. The patent wedges are by Australian label Nude, and I purchased them on the online sale site, Ozsale. All the items are still in my wardrobe, miraculously, except for the white and pink striped cotton tee I am wearing under the knit – that wore out.

The other interesting piece is my necklace, which is made up of a number of different charms that I have collected on my travels: an antique Moroccan coin, an 1890s cash register key, a crown and a high-heeled shoe. I have since added some cherries, a pair of boxing gloves, a dove and an antique-style key. I last wore it yesterday. I don’t like charm bracelets, but I would like to make a pair of charm earrings to wear with the necklace – each with two or three different dangles. I do enjoy a-little-bit-wrong things as well as odd things, in both senses of the word: eccentric, and uneven.


Knit: second hand
David Jones
Kenneth Cole
vintage 60s

Photos: July 2013


The Original Candy-Striper

When I was a little girl, I loved the English children’s storybooks about Milly-Molly-Mandy. They were written and illustrated by Joyce Lankester Brisley, and were set in about 1920. The stories are set in a quaint English village, and follow the simple, every-day adventures of the title character, who lives in ‘the nice white cottage with the thatched roof’. Her full name is Millicent Margaret Amanda, which is shortened for ease. (According to my Oxford Dictionary of First Names, Molly was actually an alteration from Mally, a pet form of Mary.)

The original illustrations were darling, as was Milly-Molly-Mandy’s seven year old style. She wears a simple pink-and-white striped dress, a straw boater, white socks and black Mary-Janes – a children’s unisex classic shoe that in the Roaring Twenties transmogrified into adult women’s shoes and have never gone out of style since. (Check out this gorgeous children’s outfit at Sewpony, made by a modern mum who lives in country Victoria.)

I wonder if here is the genesis of my long love of the short bob, Mary-Janes and striped clothing? Inspired by one of my childhood heroines, I’ve styled an outfit for the grown-up Milly-Molly-Mandy, who now of course insists on being called by her proper name. She’s grown her hair out, but she still loves pink and white stripes.


Fashion Notes

The short-sleeved seersucker blouse is from Australian high-street store Witchery, the pleated skirt is by Moschino, the punctured brogue-style, patent T-bar heels by Scooter, and the striped elastic belt is, I think, vintage 80s. I can’t believe I forgot to include the boater however! All of these items I bought second hand.

Photo: December 2016