Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in polka-dots (69)

Saturday
Sep212019

A Polka Dot Across the Bow

A couple of years or so ago on one of my more ruthless closet-culling rampages, this very cute 30s inspired nautical knit was one of the victims. It was culled exactly because it was cute. I had decided anything tow which you could apply, “Oh, that’s cute!” was going. Cute was out, sophistication was in. Anything with ruffles, frills, bows and the like were cast aside – even my adored polka dots were under suspicion! I’m not sure how long this rigorous rule lasted, but slowly hitherto despised frills and furbelows crept back into my closet when I wasn’t paying strict attention.

But how has this particular knit boomeranged back into my closet, you wonder? I actually gave it away to a friend, and forgot about it for a long time. One day I thought to myself, “Hmm, maybe I should have kept that … Never mind, at least it went to a friend,” I consoled myself.

Then recently, while working on culling my current winter wardrobe before I put it in storage, I mentioned this knit in conversation with the same friend, and said, “No pressure, but if you ever want to get rid of it, I’ll be happy to take it back.” To my surprise, she confessed that though she still liked the top, somehow it just didn’t work for her, and she would be happy to return it to me! That was last weekend, and I have not had a chance to take it out for a spin once again, but it does look nice paired with these wide-leg denim pants.

What, you may wonder again, is my culling criteria this year? Thirties style is my main mantra, although not everything I am keeping is strictly of this era or style: I’m leaving room for some other things I love. I am also being prudent this time and planning to store my culls for a little while, in case of change of heart!

Photo: September 2019

Monday
Jul082019

What I Actually Wore #0154

Serial #: 0154
Date: 26/10/2013
Weather: 14°C / 57°F
Time Allowed: 15 minutes

I remember nothing about putting this outfit together, but I do recall an amusing incident at the end of this evening – but I’ll get to that later. I was going out to dinner and the theatre with a friend, and dressed up accordingly.

I really liked this black wool dress. I bought it in a thrift store, and had never (nor have since) heard of the designer, Charlotte Eskildon. It had some pretty ruching on the cuffs and around the waist – I say had because it didn’t take me long to admit that the dress was simply too big for me, and it returned to the op shop whence it came.

It’s pleasing to note though that I still own almost all the other items, although the polka dot tights inevitably became holey and ran. They have been replaced however with an identical pair that I confess I am reluctant to wear for fear of ruining them also! The op-shopped shoes died as well, but I fortuitously was able to replace them with an identical pair that were also from the op-shop and unworn. (How lucky am I?!)

The cashmere coat is a marvel, and I will never get rid of that – I am often likened to Red Riding Hood when I wear it. Parts of the label are very worn, and I have only now bothered to examine it closely with the aid of a magnifying glass, and have managed to make out it says ‘Weil der Stadt’, in addition to the fibre content and the ‘Made in Germany’, which I had read previously. Weil der Stadt is a town in the state of Baden-Württemberg, and is often called the ‘Gate to the Black Forest’, which is a very evocative origin for my fairytale coat. I bought the coat in a vintage store in Melbourne many years ago, in celebration of winning a pitch for a freelance job. I suspect the coat is not that old at all however, for some time after I bought it, I came across a Vogue magazine ad for designer coats in which there was one almost identical.

What does make me chuckle however, is the memory of travelling home by tram that evening: the tram driver – a regular bloke – had to stop the tram and access some interior maintenance panel. It was late at night, and there were few passengers on board; on his way through the tram, he saw me and exclaimed loudly, “It’s Miss Fisher!” That was at the height of Miss Phryne Fisher’s fame, and a few people nearby smiled, while I imagined his wife inveigling him to watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries with her, and him feigning disinterest. Although I am sure I had not thought of her when I dressed, I knew Phryne indeed had a coat very similar to mine – the tram driver was clearly paying attention to the show!

Items:

Dress: Charlotte Eskilden for Designer Remix Collection
Coat: vintage
Headband: Morgan & Taylor
Bag: vintage 60s
Tights:
Basque
Shoes: Scooter
Earrings: self-made
Necklace: souvenirs
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Ring:
souvenir

Photos: January 2014

Monday
Jun032019

Starry Tights

While we’re on the subject of stars, let me bring your attention to these amazing starry tights I once owned. I have often waxed lyrical about my love for long socks, but once upon a time I went through a phase of “tattoo tights” – that is, nude hosiery with printed patterns that gave the effect of a tattoo. (Imagine tattooing your legs all over with stars!)

I managed to amass quite a collection before my hatred for all hosiery made me abandon tights almost entirely for a few winters. These tights are by Leg Avenue, and not only did I have stars, but polka-dots and fishnets too! I have a strong feeling that I shall be soon investigating the basket of tights in my closet – there are quite a few unopened packages lurking in there. Stay tuned for more stocking shenanigans!

Photos: October 2013

Monday
Jul302018

Polka Dot Homage

Polka dots are a perennial print favourite. Even if they’re not precisely in fashion, they will never look outré. They are a classic pattern, especially in black and white, or white dots with some other neutral, such as navy or brown – even red could be almost classed as a neutral.

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in ‘Pretty Woman’, 1990One of the most iconic polka dot outfits I can think of is Julia Robert’s brown and white dress she wore to the polo match in the 1990 film Pretty Woman. Who could forget that one? It was memorable because it was such a elegant and classic outfit unlike many of the others, which were trendier – and not least because the scenes between Vivian and Edward held so much charm. I recently watched the film again for the first time in years, and that is definitely my favourite outfit of Vivian’s – not at all the red dress she wears to the opera, which is cited all over the internet as iconic.

Quite a while back I came across a brown polka dot dress completely by chance in an op shop. It wasn’t the same as Vivian’s dress – it was a silk wrap dress, in a different shade of brown – but it certainly reminded me of it, although I do prefer the more cinnamon shade of brown in her dress.

I am accessorising it with a vintage boater sporting a polka dot tie (not original to the hat); vintage 50s broderie anglaise gloves; a vintage Laura Ashley cane bag; and Italian woven leather heels. In the film, Vivian’s shoes were of an appropriate heel height for walking on a playing field, unlike mine. I know nothing about the sport, but if I ever attend a match, at least I’ll have an outfit!

Photos: March 2017

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