Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Entries in red (58)

Thursday
Sep272018

The Fatal Allure of Red

The colour red has all my life exerted a fascination over me. I have always been attracted to it while shopping, especially in accessories such as shoes and bags. It holds a siren-like allure for me, by which I mean those wickedly bewitching singing creatures of the sea – but it is fatally easy to forget that red is also the colour of danger, and alarm sirens are usually flashing red light.

So when a few months ago I came upon a pair of funky red leather shoes in a thrift store, I was easy prey. Since I also firmly believe one cannot own too many red shoes, and these ones fit me perfectly, I bought them.

[red] holds a siren-like allure for me … but it is fatally easy to forget that red is also the colour of danger

When I plonked them down on the counter, another customer admired them and said, “Oooo, you’ll get a lot of wear out of those!” I was quite sure she was correct.

WRONG.

One evening walking home from work I felt something strange afoot … an indescribable sensation of … a sole detaching from the bottom of my shoe! With every step, the sole flapped about and rolled under itself, making it completely impossible to walk at a reasonable pace. I was forced to reduce my customary speedy stride to a slow schlep, and hobbled home the last leg of my journey.

I was quite aggravated by the time I arrived at my abode. It’s remarkable how a seemingly small thing can become a major irritant. I had only worn the shoes a handful of times, too. The other sole was not in quite as bad a state, but I could see it wasn’t far off. It was not worth getting them repaired, as other parts of the shoe were already too worn; it would have been throwing good money after bad, I decided crossly.

That would teach me to be tempted by the siren-like beckoning of red shoes! One of the first rules of shopping is caveat emptor, or, in English, ‘buyer beware’. That is doubly true when shopping in thrift stores. Into the bin with these! Maybe the next ones will be better …

Photos: September 2018

Tuesday
Sep252018

What I Actually Wore #0142

Serial #: 0142
Date:
28/08/2013
Weather:
22.5°C / 72.5°F
Time Allowed:
10 minutes

Argh! My favourite raspberry red shoes! I am delighted to say that I still have these and wear them as often as possible, although their toe tips have been repaired once already, and are starting to look hacked again. This is one pair of shoes I wish I had bought two of! In fact, I once saw another pair in a thrift store at a very good price, barely worn, but lamentably they were one or two sizes too big.

In fact, I still own all these items but the socks, which have worn out, although the 50s cardigan is in storage somewhere and I had forgotten about it what with the plethora of winter cardigans I own. I do like it though! It has always reminded me of Wedgwood. According to my notes, apparently I had bought this in a vintage boutique in Belgrave, a township at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne. However, I have absolutely no recollection of the purchase. 

The linen/rayon skirt I do remember buying, in a Salvos thrift store, and I was particularly pleased at the time because I had a virtually identical vintage 40s wool knit skirt in my Etsy wishlist that was much more expensive. Mine I think is 1960s or 70s going by the design of the label. The plain grey t-shirt under the cardigan was from Kookaï, and was a good basic until it wore out.

My hat is vintage 50s, and I bought that years ago on Etsy when I was on a headband shopping kick. The feathers are shaped to look like a bird perched on the head, a charming notion. The jewellery is a mixed bag, with a chalcedony pendant bought from jewellery store Portobello Lane, and my charm necklace – the charms are collected from many places. The earrings are also chalcedony, and I made them myself, while the turquoise ring is a souvenir from Barcelona.

For this sunny springlike day, I put this outfit together purely based on a monochromatic colour scheme, although I added the raspberry pops in the accessories. At the time, the skirt was new to me (ergo, it had to be worn), but funnily, even this year I have been wearing variations of this outfit, using the skirt as a base. Robin’s egg blue is one of my favourite colours, so when you’re onto a good thing – stick to it I say!

Items:

Tee: Kookaï
Cardigan:
vintage 1950s
Skirt:
La Gonda, vintage 60s
Socks:
ASOS
Headband:
Jospeh Horne Co, vintage 50s
Necklaces:
Portobello Lane, souvenir/vintage
Ring:
souvenir
Watch:
Kenneth Cole
Shoes:
Wittner

Photos: October 2013

Thursday
Jul122018

I See Red

Red is one of my favourite colours, it always has been. I think it may have started when I was a child. For proof, if you look through my Out of the Album section, you’ll see red features big, starting with me as a very cute little toddler in a red and white wool suit, and matching red shoes. (Is this why I love this combination so?)

Red bags and shoes in particular have been like fashion candy for me. This plump little bag that I use very often is made from buttery soft eelskin; the brand is Amorni. When I bought it second hand it looked as though it had never been used.

While my glove collection will never reach the proportions of my hats, I am beginning to amass quite a few vintage pairs. These red cotton Simplex gloves are vintage 50s, and feature decorative stitching forming a leaf pattern along the cuff and down the back of the hand.

The inexpensive Timex watch I bought purely for its striped wristband, but I bought it just in time (pardon the pun) when all my other watches were out of commission, requiring new batteries, or other repairs.

All of these items were bought in op shops – the red bag was what I refer to as a Holy Fashion Grail find: one of those desirable things one dreams of finding in a thrift store. But the colour red in general will always draw my eye – there are no connotations of anger for me when I see red!

Photo: May 2018

Tuesday
Mar132018

Venus x Abigail

There is such a joy in op-shopping when one stumbles upon a rare and fabulous find such as this 1970s Regency-inspired maxi dress with shirred bodice in tomato red with slit bell sleeves featuring prints of a hybrid Botticelli Venus-Flora figure. (No fashion journalist could ever have dreamed of penning such a sentence!)

I actually must credit a Vinnies staff member for bringing this priceless treasure to my attention, for in my excitement at finding another 70s dress (hand crocheted turquoise) I had unbelievably missed spotting this on the same rack! The lady declared it a quintessential 70s dress, and reminisced how she herself had worn such garments when she was young to her high school prom.

Someone whose chest was too ample to close the zip had actually altered the dress. The back had been opened up and sewn flat, and two sets of ties had been added to the back. I think the fabric for them had been cut off the hem of the dress, as the hem is not very well hand-stitched. When I got it home I unpicked all the stitching, hoping that it would fit me, and fortunately it does.

Of course the caped sleeves are mind-blowingly awesome, and I also love the little peaked shoulders, but the pièce de résistance is the printed lady. I immediately recognised her as Sandro Botticelli’s Flora, the goddess of flowers and the season of spring depicted in the painting Primavera (painted in the late 1470s or early 1480s) – she’s the one casting flowers about out of the folds of her robe. But what is even funnier, I realised later, is that the head is that of Venus, flipped around, from another of Botticelli’s paintings, The Birth of Venus (1485)! (Was this the designer’s answer to avoiding copyright infringement?)

Primavera, Sandro Botticelli (late 1470s or early 1480s)The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli (1485)The label is Clementine, and states ‘dry clean only’, at which I scoffed as I laid it into a laundry tub of water to hand wash. It is probably a poly crepe, or at best, part rayon as well.

The dress really comes to life in movement. I am planning to wear it to the opening night of Abigail’s Party, a 70s period next on stage at the theatre I work at. It is exactly like something the titular character might wear herself. I shall have to make sure to swish and swan about just like her.

A scene from Abigail's Party (1977), Mike Leigh's film of his own original stage play (Abigail is wearing the red dress)

Photos: Yesterday (March 2018)

Tuesday
Mar062018

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

We are enjoying another string of summery days this week – so much for autumn – and what more summery way to celebrate that than to wear a sparkling cherry necklace?

I had to go to market today to buy not cherries, but coffee beans, and I wore this necklace along with some other cheerful red accessories and a checked navy and light blue 70s cotton sundress. The enamel and crystal necklace was an op shop (thrift store) purchase quite a while back, and it really is the cherry on top when it comes to accessories.

The lady serving at the coffee shop no sooner clapped eyes on me than she complimented my outfit, insisting I was the best-dressed person at the market today. “Are you going somewhere special, or do you always dress like that?” she asked me. I laughed, and answered, “I always dress like this.”

But even a trip to the market can be special, and why not? Life’s too short to dress dully: stop to smell the roses, and eat wear the cherries!