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Entries in polka-dots (69)


Sail away on a sea of polka-dots, cherries and nostalgia

These quaint little photos – and I mean that literally: they are all about 4cm x 6cm – are out of my friend’s family photo collection. They show her Great-aunty Belle and friends on a cruise to Europe, in the late 1940s, presumably well after the war. Also, below you’ll see the original photo packet.

What I find fascinating, apart from the peek into a personal past, is how alike all the women dressed! Of course we all know already that serious followers of fashion had to abide by certain rules: dresses were a certain length from season to season, gloves in the city, etc. Even all these women’s hairstyles are similar. It makes me appreciate just how eclectic fashion is today and how spoiled for choice we all are.

I am also pleased to see polka-dots appear in the picture on the top-right. The beach photo shows two women wearing high-waisted shorts with matching polo-style shirts.

And a great chapeau moment on the right: not plain old polka-dots, but cherries, which makes me completely ecstatic!

In the bottom-right photo, the woman on the right is carrying a box-shaped bag – a real vintage gem that I’d love to get my hands on. All the women’s outfits are similar, featuring pleated skirts, fitted jackets and very sensible shoes so that one may traverse the wilds of Italy in comfort.

I feel a forties blog or three coming on. And there will be polka-dots, that I can assure you!


I'm seeing spots!

This photo has always fascinated me. A bed in the field! Children romping in shortie dresses — that may be my second oldest sister on the far left. I love the plethora of patterns: stripes and florals, spots and plaids. I love the baby (my cousin) in her little white bonnet. There seems such a story to be told in this candid moment, but there is nothing even written on the back. I am sure I must have asked my mum why there was a bed in the field but I can’t recall what she answered.

That is my aunt in the wild print dress which dates the photo to some time in the fifties, although her hair looks distinctly thirties style with the marcel waves. My mum is wearing the polka-dot scarf and numerous layers (the topmost of which is spotted too). Seems safe to say she was not the fashionably-minded one in the bevy of sisters!

However, she continues to be enamoured of spots, as you will see in the photo below. This is 1967, making my sister in her spotted dress nearly four years old. I bet that dress my mum is wearing is made of polyester, and I like to imagine the print is purple, as that is her favourite colour. Note the sensible loafers both women are wearing.

I know hardly anyone prints their photos anymore, but I adore the deckle edge of these, and the slipshod, off-centre printing; the spots and scratches. They need to bring the deckles back and then they might see a resurgance of photo printing the world over. Everyone loves a bit of instant nostalgia.


Pretty – and unnecessary?

I go second-hand shopping for two reasons: one, it’s fun, because you never know what you might find; and two, I’m saving for a sunshine-and-shopping fuelled holiday in December (will there be op-shops where I’m going?).

Many people make their ‘savings’ at sale time, and you know what they say: a bargain is not a bargain unless you actually need it. Of course, for women this does not usually apply when it comes to clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, perfume and/or makeup. (Did I leave anything out?) We need those things. However, if we can save a few dollars, that will make us feel both happy and virtuous.

There are several sources for second-hand treasures. I am fortunate in that there are six op-shops and at least five vintage boutiques near my place of employment, and many a happy lunch hour has been spent in the avid pursuit of a bargain. I call it ‘hope-shopping’, because you never know whether you’re going to come away empty-handed or carrying a swag of stuff.

It’s a bit like gambling: riding that wave of uncertainty; not knowing whether I’ll be triumphant or disappointed by the time I return to my desk.

Going further afield there are places such as Camberwell Market; Round She Goes, and of course clothing-exchanges-with-a-cocktail. And let us not forget eBay.

DFO, by comparison, is expensive and certainly does not deliver the same thrill as finding a pair of Veronika Maine linen/silk-mix pants that look hitherto unworn for only $10 – or less, if you’re lucky.

Which brings me to last week’s bargains… an MNG mint-green, cotton cardigan ($5.75), in mint condition. Pretty (almost too pretty for me), but will go admirably with a Veronika Maine diagonally-striped mint-green and white silk dress I bought on eBay. Just fine for summer holiday evenings.

Continuing the green theme, I found a polka-dot t-shirt with the cutest puffed and gathered sleeves you ever did see. I was undecided until I tucked it into the skirt I was wearing that day. Works. Only $4.75. (Both pictured in main photo.)

I also found a navy, rayon beaded scarf (above left) with the tiniest hint of purple in it for $3.50. I’m not sure if I would wear it, but if not, I’m positive one of my sisters would like it. Rayon is a natural fibre based on wood cellulose, but is not as enivoronmentally-friendly as its younger cousin Lyocell is to manufacture.

And lastly, a tomato-red wool knit T by Bracewell (above), for the princely sum of $6.75. Never mind the fact that I already have a VM top in that colour, and am getting rid of a Jigsaw wool short-sleeved knit in the exact same shade of red (a BrandSmart ‘bargain’ which I wore maybe once). Bracewell, I said. It was $6.75. A bargain!

So, to appease my conscience, I am finally going to start selling some outcasts on eBay myself, starting with these gorgeous striped sailor trousers* (above). They were a ‘bargain’, from an Alice Euphemia sale a few years ago. The problem was, they were too big to start with and I convinced myself they wouldn’t fall down, and now that I’ve lost weight from all that martial arts training, they don’t stay up at all. I’m very sad about it (not the losing weight part).   

Secondly, a Phillips sleeveless silk top (right). So, so pretty, but so not me! Again, it is too large. Need I mention that this was another ‘bargain’ bought from Cream, the second-hand designer boutique on Chapel St, in Windsor?

Farewell it is. Sigh.

* Trousers are not as big as they appear.


Out of black, into the pink

Melbourne, it’s spring! It’s time to shed those dark layers and wear something pretty and light. It doesn’t have to be girly, or frivolous and frilly. It doesn’t have to be this colourful, and you don’t have to be that brave! But for goodness sake, let’s put an end to this tiresome rumour that Melburnians wear black all the time!

If wearing top-to-toe colour seems a trifle frightening to you, why don’t you try swapping the black for dark grey, or even – gasp! – light grey? In fact, I think this lovely neutral looks even better teamed with colours than does black, which seems a very eighties combination to me.

I know! I have a wonderful idea… why don’t we start a fashion revolution and give Sydney a run for its money?

(And if a pink sash is not enough for you, try a pink coat on for size…)

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