Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in stripes (114)


What I Actually Wore #109

Serial #: 0109
Date: 16/03/2013
Weather: 21°C / 70°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It was a cool and rainy autumn day with intermittent sunshine, and I was attending the Castlemaine Arts Festival on this Saturday with two of my sisters and a brother-in-law. I dressed in what I call a ‘story-book’ style, defined by the inclusion of some striped garment with bold colours.

The orange cardigan is by Anthropologie, and I loved it, although I wished too late that I had bought the oatmeal version instead. I think the neutral colour might have toned down the frivolous ruffle details. However, both my sisters admired it. The matching striped socks amused me because they were tan and clear nylon mesh – sort of now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t tattoo socks.

I chuckle now when I look back at this outfit because it is so colourful, in spirit as well as tone. The socks wore out eventually, and the cardigan was retired from my wardrobe in the Big Cull a year or two ago, but the other items still survive, although admittedly I have not worn them often, except for the bag. However, it’s still a fairly simple outfit, not over-accessorised, even if it is too cute to appeal to me now. I still love the ceramic ring though! It was a souvenir from Barcelona, and looks like a bit of coral.

It was a fun day of food, music, shopping and gallery-hopping.

Photos: April 2013


Cardigan: Anthropologie
souvenir (various)
hand made
souvenir from Spain
Kenneth Cole
Kinki Gerlinki
John Lewis Women


Into the New

Early on New Year’s Eve, I had a lurid dream which in once scene had me running through a deep forest down a narrow but well trodden path that followed the curve of a slope. In the dream, I thought: “Oh! This reminds me of that other beautiful forest I have run in before – and I’m going to be there tomorrow!” And within the dream, my mind’s eye pictured this other forest; far more beautiful than the one I was in. It was an untouched wilderness, the green so vivid, the grass so lush, the trees like dryads dancing in the wind – you couldn’t believe it was real.

In past days I had been pondering the coming new year, wondering where it would take me, down what adventurous roads. A forest, in dream symbology can represent the unknown, losing your way or perspective, and the concept of infinity, the great out there. A new year always seems full of infinite possibilities, doesn’t it? We take a step out of the old year, and into the new.

A new year always seems full of infinite possibilities, doesn’t it?

Late this afternoon I walked to the botanic gardens nearby, to my favourite place, a ‘lawn’ of oak trees, elms, and pines, covered in long, lush grass: a pocket wilderness in fact. (Also in fact, the long lush grass was slippery, sticky and stingy; and hidden underfoot were great spiny seeds, and I was wearing thin-soled sandals. I hope that’s not a metaphor for the coming year!)

It was so beautiful there, lying in the grass under the trees, with the wind blowing through the leaves; a lovely start to the new year. I’ll just make sure to put on sturdier shoes when there are hills to climb.

Happy New Year!

Photo: Yesterday


Candy Cane Girl

When it comes to red and white, the first thing I think of is peppermint candy canes, so of course this is a combination perfect for Christmas. That’s what the song says, after all: just a hint of peppermint and every single thing begins to feel like Christmas (Point of Grace). And then of course there’s Mr Claus’ traditional outfit.

White is my favourite non-colour. Since there are only two, that’s not saying much, but I love white in combination with other colours, my favourites being blue, hunter green, as well as scarlet. (I actually also like black more when it is paired with white.) Nor does the ratio of white to red matter – you can wear a lot of white with small accents of red, or the reverse. It always looks striking.

I also have a particular liking for red embroidery on white. Many years ago, I saw a beautiful white scarf, thickly embroidered with red, in the National Gallery of Victoria’s shop. It was very expensive, so I reluctantly put it down, but to this day it remains one of those purchases I regret not having made. I’ve searched high and low, on and offline since, but never seen anything remotely like it.

On one such search on Etsy, I came across this white silk peasant blouse with red embroidery around the yoke and on the cuffs. It is vintage 40s, and quite delicate, so I don’t wear it often. It’s also tiny – I have quite little wrists, but I can’t do up those cuffs!

Many of these other clothes are vintage too. The white wool jumper (sweater) beaded and sequinned all over is 50s. It has adorable beaded pompoms dangling from the hem, although a couple are missing; this was another Etsy purchase that I snapped up in a hurry (having learnt my lesson). Also 1950s: two different rabbit fur bandeaus, one of them with pompoms (irresistible!), while the red sailor hat is 1940s.

The other clothes are contemporary pieces: notably, the red cable knit dress is by Anthropologie, the white skirt by Witchery and the glittery red heels by Wittner.

I haven’t yet decided what to wear on Christmas Day, but I have worn white and red before. Perhaps this year I could reverse the proportions? It’s a delicious possibility.

Photos: July 2013


What I Actually Wore #0103

Serial #: 0103
Date: 26/11/2012
Weather: warm and 22°C / 71.6°F
Time Allowed: 20 minutes

It’s a warm day for my cousin Robert’s wedding, and since I had planned this outfit a long time ago, it’s just as well. I purchased this 60s silk dress on Etsy some time ago, specifically for the occasion. Although the 60s is my least favourite fashion era, I was attracted to this dress because of the candy-coloured stripes, and because of its rather free trapeze shape with the inverted pleat in the back. I also really love silk dupion fabric.

The rather outré pink trapunto-stitched toque/turban is also original 60s; I bought that in a vintage bazaar in Melbourne. There are long tassels dangling from the top (you can see the hat in more detail here). My clip-on earrings are from the same era – they are amusingly huge and, made from cheap plastic, they bobble about lightly. (In fact, I recall January Jones wore a very similar pair in a Mad Men episode.)

This dress is also virtually impossible to do up completely on one’s own however: the straps fasten with large buttons at the back, just below the shoulder blades, which requires the skills of a contortionist to reach. This is why I have not photographed the back.

Lamentably, I had a little wardrobe malfunction in the car …  and one of the buttons tore off!

On the day, I had to wait for my cousin Amelia Jane and her husband to pick me up so she could fasten the buttons for me. Lamentably, I had a little wardrobe malfunction in the car reaching for something on the back seat, and one of the buttons tore off! One of my aunts came to my rescue with a safety pin, but it meant I was unable to remove my linen coat (handmade for me by my sister Blossom, from a Claude Montana Vogue pattern) in the church throughout the ceremony, and I suffered in the heat. I was able to mend the button at home before the reception in the evening however.

I was bemused to receive so many compliments all day from other guests, especially for such an unusual hat. A couple of my aunts were both astounded to hear I was wearing such ‘old clothing’ – one of them assumed it was because I ‘want to get noticed’! I assured her dryly that it most assuredly was not. I choose vintage clothes for their beautiful fabrics, unique designs and because I believe in recycling. It was a fun family wedding all in all.


Dress: vintage
Coat: Montana (handmade)
Hat: vintage
Bag: vintage
Earrings: vintage
Ring: Autore
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Shoes: Escapade


What I Actually Wore #0102

Serial #: 0102
Date: 21/11/2012
Weather: 22°C / 71.6°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

As usual the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) let me down: they forecast a temperate 22°, but by lunchtime it was windy and cool. I was quite underdressed, and out of desperation had to resort to the cashmere shawl I keep in my tote bag for cool office days when we can’t wrangle the temperature controls.

In my favourite striped red and white, the shawl is a souvenir from Sharjah (UAE). I remember trawling the upper level of the Blue Souq, and it caught my eye hanging on a ladder outside a pashmina shop. In keeping with good bargaining etiquette, I entered the shop and pretended I was interested in anything but the striped shawl. Finally I discovered there was no other like it inside, and had to confess I wanted the shawl that was hanging outside. They were onto me from that moment. I think I paid about AU$90 for it, which is still an excellent price for such a fine cashmere shawl. It is very lightweight, yet extremely warm. I love it, and you’d have to rip it from my cold, dead hands before I’d give it up.

The Marni blouse was still quite a new purchase, from eBay, and I loved the striking combination of blue and white with a cherry red skirt that I brought out from storage. It is by New Zealand brand Obi, and I purchased it a great many years ago. The multiple rows of gathered frill along the front always put me in mind of antique petticoats. By Free People, the striped espadrilles were also fairly new; I liked that they perfectly complemented the striped shawl.

I am wearing a sliver convex ring by Roun with my onyx band that is always on standby. The silver ring I have since lost – it slipped off my finger (a bit like the One Ring, only not dangerous and magical) in the Botanic Gardens one morning on my way to work. I still look for it sometimes when I think of it.

I like that all the components of this outfit have a story; that’s one reason why I love vintage clothing – I like to imagine the original owners of the things I now own. The black 60s bag is the only vintage item here, but it has been a great addition to my wardrobe.


Shawl: souvenir
Blouse: Marni
Skirt: Obi
Bag: vintage
Earrings: hand made
Rings: (onyx) souvenir, Vietnam; (silver) Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Shoes: Free People

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