Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in pompoms (38)


Not a Basics Kinda Girl

Classics: ten essential items that every woman must have in her wardrobe. Here and now I refute it! It’s rubbish.

Any long-term reader of this journal will know by now that I adore anything that is shiny, stripey, polka-dotty, plastered in feathers, brightly coloured, or vintage – and sometimes all at the same time. (Don’t believe me? See outfit in the story below). I am not a classics kinda girl. I don’t do basics. Not when there are accessories in the world.

You know those stories you read in fashion magazines that tell you that you must have one good black suit (don’t own one), a perfectly-cut pair of jeans (never wear ’em), a white button-down shirt (loathe collared shirts), a beige trench (Burberry if you can manage it), etc and so on … ? And everything is black or white with a bit of beige thrown in if you’re lucky. The further I get into these articles, the more I find my lip starting to curl.

Like many though – judging by the number of people Googling these terms – I am fascinated by the notion of French chic. Earlier this year I purchased Ines de la Fressange’s style guide Parisian Chic, and was much entertained reading it (read my comprehensive report here). But really, it all boiled down to pretty much the same list as above, and when I read that I had to step away from the sequins, well really, with all due respect to Ines, I had to put the book down. Fashion rules are made to be broken, in my book!

Fashion rules are made to be broken, in my book!

I decided to take up a challenge. While classic was a dirty word to me, I did have quite a number of well-loved items in my wardrobe that had stood the test of time. I always went back to them; I wore some of them nearly every day. I decided to collect them together and photograph the series. The criteria were that the items had to have been in my possession a long time, and in almost continual circulation. There were quite a few more garments I could have included, but in the interests of brevity I kept them out. I didn’t photograph everything at once, and it was not until I had collated all the pictures that I discovered something interesting.

All of these items are black, white, red (or pink) and beige, with a tiny bit of blue thrown in for good measure. Damn! And some of these items are actually on that hated list. Quelle horreur! Sacre bleu, even! 

As this story continues on for ages (don’t worry, there are lots of pictures) click through to read on. Otherwise, check out the A Few Things I Heart gallery for an overview.

Click to read more ...


The Cat’s Pyjamas

I thought this was such a cute little novelty necklace when I bought it from the chainstore (no pun intended) Hello Gorgeous. It was also cheap: $10, so I thought no harm done if I don’t wear it much.

On the first day I wore it (to the office), Amelia-Jane complimented me. “It’s the cat’s miaow*!” she said. Well, she didn’t really say that exactly, but I’m sure that’s what she meant. I looked down lovingly and then shrieked with dismay, for I saw that one of the dear little pink pompoms was gone!

I lamented and cursed alternately, even though I knew it would be easy to repair. I know it was only $10 and you get what you pay for, but it’s the principle of thing. I was indignant!

On my way home I remembered to keep my eye out for it, in case it had fallen off on my walk to work. It was bright pink, I reasoned, so it should be easy to spot. I didn’t hold out much hope though. Then to my astonishment I saw it on the stairs going up to the Shrine of Melbourne!

It was a fashion miracle, and that’s the cat’s pompoms indeed.


* The cat’s miaow, the cat’s pyjamas and the cat’s whiskers are all delightful slang phrases originating in the 1920s, meaning something highly sought after.

I love this snippet from Wikipedia:
“A report in the New York Times of a publicity stunt by an unknown woman in 1922, in which she paraded along 5th Avenue clad in yellow silk pajamas and accompanied by four cats similarly dressed, may indicate the phrase was already current by that date, as ‘the cat’s miaow’ certainly was.”


A Good Pompom

Hornbecker // Blanko Noir // No flash

I love a good pompom. So does my cousin Naughty Amelia-Jane. She was passing the Indian boutique Tree of Life when a bath mat in the window display caught her eye.

Once inside, she decided to have a look around for anything else that might take her fancy. The pompoms trimming this scarf drew her like a magnet; the bold gingham print and classic colour combination of black, red and white clinched the deal.


The Umbrella Killer (A Story in Pictures)

Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of parasols. Some of them do double duty as umbrellas. Nearly all of them are damaged in some way.

My friend Rapunzel has long called me an umbrella killer, but that is not fair. All but one of these parasols are vintage, so no-one should be surprised if they have incurred damage over the long years.

My friend Rapunzel has long called me an umbrella killer, but that is not fair.

There is nothing wrong with this umbrella. It's pretty lightness means it can double as a parsol in summer.I own so many because I hate sunscreen. It is sticky and greasy and takes so long to apply. Of course I do employ it at the beach, but around town I prefer to protect my complexion with a parasol.

Also, parasols are quaint and pretty, and olde-worlde-y. And they are sensational. It used to amuse me when bogans, travelling into the city from the outer suburbs, would cleverly cry out from their car as they passed me, “It’s not raining!” However, parasols are becoming quite a common sight now, and no longer provoke such witticisms.

Once an African girl (with skin so dark you would not suppose she would have a problem with the sun) approached me in the street to admire my umbrella. She told me she had a skin problem that required she should carry a parasol, but she was too embarrassed to do so. I warmly encouraged her to carry one. Who cares what the hoi polloi think?

It’s about time I took my armful of broken parasols to an umbrella repairer however. 

Read more about vintage parasols here

A missing pompom does not preclude my using this parasol

A trio of paraplegics: I was devastated when a crazy tram driver caused me to smash the handle of this white umbrella; I lost my balance on his hurtling vehicle. It has a gorgeous black lace lining. Epoxy glue was not successful, and I do not know what type of plastic the handle is made from. The frill on the taupe umbrella has unravelled (and this should be easy to fix for a patient needlewoman, which I am not). The mauve umbrella lost its tassel, and has a new one attached temporarily by way of a knot.One of the seams has come undone on this leaf-printed umbrella in a zesty shade of burnt orange. I ought to be able to repair this!Nothing wrong with the battenburg lace parasol I bought in Queensland years ago, but I have never yet carried this unfortunate brown umbrella. I don't like the colour. It would be kind to call it caramel and chocolate, but really, it is a shade of baby-poo brown. Yuk.


Home and Abroad

Amelia-Jane models some of her favourite garments and tells us about shopping in Tokyo, and at home in Melbourne.

Tell me about that comfy-looking dress.

It is comfy! It’s from Uniqlo, in Tokyo. I bought it on my second trip there, a few years ago. The dress is a wool/cashmere blend. I was really drawn to the shape, and the fact that it’s not fitted. I like the enormous sleeves too, cut like a kimono. Plus – it’s wool, and a dress!

Was that something you were particularly looking for?

No, but it’s hard to find knit dresses that are pure wool. They’re often acrylic.

So what else did you find shopping in Tokyo?

I didn’t have a shopping list. I was just browsing generally for anything that caught my eye. Uniqlo specialises in knits. I went crazy in that shop! Great prices on woollen knits, cashmere and mohair – unlike here in Australia. Cashmere’s the price of wool, around $80 for a jumper. I bought jumpers in wool and cashmere, and they’re both still going strong after two or three years.

I adore pompoms. Where did you find that scarf?

So do I. I bought it from DFO [Direct Factory Outlets]; I can’t remember which store. It’s cotton – natural fabrics are very important – but all the pompoms fell off one by one, and I had to sew them back on individually. But it was cheap, about $12, so no surprise they fell off. I still like it though!

Woah! That's dedication – there are a lot of pompoms on there. Those dark grey boots are a major item. Tell me about those.

I love these boots! I haven’t even worn them out yet. They’re from Cactus Jam, by D.Co Copenhagen. I did a design job for a friend, and she gave me a Cactus Jam voucher. I love grey – it will always catch my eye when I go shopping. Most of my wardrobe is grey, although I like to dress it up with colour.

I hardly ever see you wear colours! Give me one example.

I bought a colourful maxi dress from Country Road. It’s in turquoise, melon and black, and has a splotchy pattern like camouflage. … And I bought a grey dress at the same time!

And did you wear this colourful dress?

Er, no … there weren’t enough hot days this summer. I wore another dress instead.

Sounds suspiciously like an excuse to me. Where else do you like to shop?

Country Road is good for me because they stock a lot of clothes for tall people, unlike other places. But I used to like Witchery, but not lately. Gorman, and Fat (but they’re both pricey). I recently bought something from FCUK, and something else from Country Road.

I like to go off the beaten track normally, but not many shops have inspired me lately. But I have started browsing on Etsy. I’m looking for some sort of neck ornament – a necklace or scarf.

Etsy certainly is fantastic for finding unique items – failing a shopping spree in Tokyo! Thanks Amelia-Jane, looking forward to next time.