Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in seasonal (158)


Winter Favourites

Last month I raced to photograph all my winter outfits before I did the biannual seasonal clothes storage swap-over, and spent about four days over two sessions to get through everything. This meant I had a compressed overview of which items were my popular over autumn/winter.

While it was interesting in hindsight, I was also a bit annoyed with myself for ‘overwearing’ some things considering how many other items in the same categories went unworn, or worn little, especially my hats. I have so many hats I don’t have time to wear them all even if I did wear a different one every day!

But, for what it’s worth, here are the favoured ones.

3 x

Three times wearing this vintage 40s purple hat (above) doesn’t sound like too many for all of autumn/winter, but this was all within a few weeks, and I simply own too many hats for this not to seem like I am squandering opportunities to make use of my marvellous collection.

5 x

This blue ribbed wool cardigan by Australian label is a vintage 1970s piece, and has been a favourite for many years since I found it in a thrift store in Berwick when I went op shopping with my sister, who lives out there. I just love the colour, which is what stood out: one of the gems amongst rack upon rack jammed with dross.

5 x

One of my favourite vintage brooches is this soaring seabird (above); I think it is probably celluloid. Admittedly, I have more than once worn it simply because I have left it on this cardigan – but that just speeds up the process of getting dressed in the morning!

7 x

These black leather Mary-Jane heels with the little bow on the strap are so comfortable and easy to walk in, it’s no wonder I reached for them so many times. On the days I wear higher heels, I walk to work in a flat pair of shoes, which is an extra thing to carry. If I don’t have to, that’s a bonus.

7 x

Simply an outright favourite, I reached for this double enamel cherry brooch many times this winter. Considering how many brooches I own, this is remarkable, but these cherries look good enough to eat. Plus, I must confess, while rhinestones catch my eye in the thrift store, I end up wearing them very little. I have always preferred opaque stones over sparkle – pearls, lapis lazuli, turquoise – and the same goes for costume jewellery. Enamel, Bakelite and wood win hands down over the multitude of rhinestone brooches I own.

And … drumroll … the winners!

8 x

The cherry earrings (photo before the above) just pipped the cherry brooch at the post, beating it by only one wear. I usually wear them together, but once I wore the earrings with a glass fruit necklace. I always love a cherry motif, but these earrings are also so bright and cheerful, and seem to go with so many things. 

8 x

The black pants by Ming (above and below) were worn eight times. I was rather disgusted by that total, as I do own other winter trousers, some of which only were worn once. But these are elasticised at the back, and the sheer wideness and soft wool flannel and suiting combination make them very comfortable and relaxed to wear. I have had them so many years, and had to do more than one repair, but they have proved their worth countless times, they deserve a prize!

Most of these favoured items were found in thrift stores (except for the two brooches and the hat which were bought from vintage boutiques). In fact, except for the red hat, every other item I am wearing in these pictures was also found in a thrift store, so I consider that a pretty good testament to a trained eye, able to spot a good purchase in the jumble of op shops!

Photos: August, September 2019


Strong and Bold

In honour of the Australian Rules Football Grand Final match today, I bring you this yellow and black vintage 1950s dress, in the team colours of the Richmond Football Club, a club that has been running for more than a century. They are playing Greater Western Sydney Giants; in contrast, a modern team formed only a decade ago, whose colours are a rather odd combination of orange, black and white.

I don’t barrack for (that’s Aussie for ‘follow’) Richmond except for today, although I live next door to the inner-city suburb in which it was formed, and in fact Richmond East is my local stomping ground.

This is an outfit I wore in the summer of this year, with a 1950s cello hat, a 1960s bag, and modern patent shoes and belt. Richmond’s club mascot is a tiger, and I’m rather pleased the way this dress emulates a tiger’s claw slashes … if a tiger had decided to dip its claws in black paint and do some textile design! Previously I’d thought the pattern reminded me of the grasses of an African savanna, which is also apt.

Today I shall finish with Richmond’s club song:

Oh we're from Tigerland
A fighting fury
We're from Tigerland
In any weather you will see us with a grin
Risking head and shin
If we're behind then never mind
We'll fight and fight and win
For we're from Tigerland
We never weaken til the final siren's gone
Like the Tiger of old
We're strong and we're bold
For we're from Tiger
Yellow and Black
We're from Tigerland.

Go Tiges! Oops, the game is starting, bye!

Photo: April 2019


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


Capricious spring!

How fickle is the Melbourne spring! Like this glorious 1970s dress, it has two faces. You don’t know what weather it will bring: one day it will be sunny and balmy, and the next a howling gale will lash about unsuspecting flesh – and sometimes this will happen all in one day. In fact, the last day of winter was more springlike than the first day of the new season.

From the front this dress is wonderful. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw its sleeves in the op shop. They were perfect for my sleeve story, for the pagoda sleeve (multiple tiers) was yet a gaping hole in my lexicon. In great delight, I took the gown into the changing room with me, but a nasty suspicion nagged at me that fate would rain on my parade.

In great delight, I took the gown into the changing room with me …

Thunder rolled as I was engulfed by rustling fabric, which I think it is most likely polyester, or perhaps a poly/rayon blend at best. I was right: the dress fit me to the waist – but that darned zip would simply go no further, and the back gaped open. (Because of this, in the first picture, the bodice is loose and should appear much more fitted.) There is a snowflake’s chance in hell that my torso would ever shrink so much, no matter how much weight I lost!

I would not ruin the dress by having it altered to be made backless, for instance, so now that I have photographed its splendour for posterity, I shall prepare to sell it and the income can go toward something in my Etsy wishlist.

Unlike the gown, the season cannot be traded in. This week will see a return to wintry weather, and we must grin and bear it – but perhaps not bare it all just yet!

Photos: September 2019


Winter Takes a Bow

Hooray! It’s the last day of winter! I farewell the cold season with this charming 1930s black wool felt calot – a cap that sits on the back of the head – featuring a bow on the front, and decorative top stitching in gold thread on each side. It is simple, but stylish and versatile since it goes with multiple outfits. I found this hat last year in an op shop (thrift store) for only $5! Hat bargain of the year.

Goodbye Old Man Winter, we won’t miss you.

Photo: June 2019