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Entries in pompoms (38)


What I Actually Wore #0074

Serial #: 0074
Date: 24/07/2012
Weather: 16°C, fine
Time Allowed: 8 minutes

Although I was only off to work as usual, I had a birthday dinner with a friend in the evening, so I felt it behooved me to wear something festive. As it was also winter and I would be gallivanting about the city in the evening, I needed to dress warmly. A new vintage beaded wool jumper fit the bill. It is beaded all over in red and white sequins, and little red pompoms dangle along the waist and cuffs. Red, white, pompoms, shiny! It was a case of love at first sight when I saw it on Etsy.

Now some people might feel this top would be a little much for their office – luckily I work at a theatre. I did dress it down with a camel suede skirt and cable knit tights, but everyone felt compelled to remark on how glittery I was. There were also two counts of Dorothy shoe comments and the magical powers thereof – I wish, especially when shivering late at night waiting for a tram home. A vintage velvet hat kept my head warm – but apparently that old chestnut that one loses most of one’s body heat through the top of the head is sheer bunkum. Not that I need an excuse to wear a hat!


Hat: A Pyreneés Model
Top: vintage 50s
Skirt: Chine Collection
Earrings: vintage
Ring: Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Shoes: Zoe Wittner


What I Actually Wore #0068

Serial #: 0068
Date: 03/06/2012
Weather: 14°
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It was a cold day in June when my friends and I travelled to the country town Bendigo to view the Grace Kelly exhibition. I wanted to wear something with a retro silhouette, but I also wanted to keep warm. And there were a pair of new shoes that were begging to be worn. These were 40s style cherry red suede platform T-straps, so my outfit was built around those. They have become one of my favourite pairs of shoes (although I have been very remiss and forgot to photograph them for this story).

The wide-legged trousers are wool, as is the red jacket, and both would keep me toasty. Vintage pearl ‘grape’ earrings echoed the shapes of the red pompom scarf. The final touch was the 50s grey wool felt hat trimmed with a jaunty stylised feather shape and bows.

I received numerous compliments from other visitors to the exhibition that day, but oh, how my feet ached in the new shoes! There was too much standing about, edging from display case to display case in the crowded exhibition rooms. But one must suffer for fashion. I’m sure Grace Kelly must have done once or twice.


Jacket: vintage
Top: Veronika Maine
Pants: Ming
Earrings: vintage
Bangle: souvenir from Barcelona
Kenneth Cole
Hat: vintage
Shoes: Zoe Wittner


Queen of Knitwear

French designer Sonia Rykiel has been creating knits for thirty years. She began her career in 1962, when she was pregnant, motivated by the fact that she could not find any attractive maternity wear. It was in knitwear that she found her metier however; she wanted to ‘be the only unique woman of St Germain des Prés, dressed so that the rest seemed not to exist’. A very worthy motive indeed!

It was the ‘poor boy’ sweater that became her trademark with its tight, high-cut armholes. I own one of these in distinctive purple and red stripes, in a thin, almost semi-transparent wool, and can testify that the cut does give knitwear a sexy edge. I also have a couple of her pompom sweaters, the grey one above, and a multi-coloured striped knit with bell sleeves. All were bought from eBay stores.

Click and read the story below for a little history on the Queen of Knitwear. 

From British Marie Claire, Nov 1998; click image for larger version


Tribal Pompoms

It is no secret that I adore pompoms almost as much as I love stripes. (Hmm, striped pompoms … there’s an interesting proposal.) I am not sure whence comes this delight in pompoms – they are cute and full of movement, and are usually colourful, yes, but I am also drawn to their connotations with tribal style.

Thai hilltribe girlsSoutheast Asian people groups incorporate pompoms into colourful headdresses; they are also seen in Chinese wedding and opera hats. Latvian Irita Too is creating some extraordinary tribal-inspired headgear for label UTHA – you can shop her Etsy store. Probably appealing to music-festival revellers, but much more fun to wear stalking the city streets to shock those staid suits striding by one’s side.

UTHA pompom ear warmer, availble on EtsyChinese opera hatFor my last birthday, my sister Blossom gave me some money (mysteriously, she finds it difficult to choose presents for me), some of which I used to purchase the pompom necklace (top) from Quick Brown Fox. Initially, I thought it was a headband when I reached for it – and it would be easy to convert – but it is a fun piece to wear around the neck. And happily, later on I did find a vintage 40s pompom headband too.


Madame de Pompomadore

The True History of the Origin of le Pompon

We’ve all heard of Madame de Pompomadore. She was the Royal Ladylove of that decadent French king whose name I forget, and she adored her pompoms. She loved them so much she adorned her person with them – she wore pompoms in her hair, all her buttons were little mink pompoms and her boudoir was stuffed to overflowing with enormous vases of white chrysanthemums, plucked of their foliage.

… finally she relented and cried, “Très bien! Let them all wear le pompon!”

Pompoms were so much in favour with her that there was a court edict that only she was allowed to wear them – and so all the envious ladies of the court nicknamed her Madame de Pompomadore. In the street, the people took to strewing her path with flowers that resembled pompoms – dahlias, asters, chrysanthemums and purple hydrangeas. Overcome by this compliment, finally she relented and cried, “Très bien! Let them all wear le pompon!”

And that is the true story of how the pompom came into fashion.
Sort of.

According to the OED however, the origin of the pompom is in the mid eighteenth century, and originally denoted a bunch of ribbons, feathers, etc, worn by women in the hair or on a dress. It comes from the French pompon, of unknown etymology. Unknown until now, that is.

Fashion Notes

Vintage 1940s, the pompom headband is made from lamb’s fur. I watched one just liked it on eBay for months, stalling purchasing it as it was quite expensive. Then one day, I saw another exactly like it on Etsy for one quarter of the price. The rest is history. The pompom earrings I made myself from green jade and hot pink Indian beaded beads, and the striped jumper adorned with a black pompom tie is by Sonia Rykiel. 

There can never be too many pompoms.

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