Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in tiara (17)


Golden Oldies

Have I mentioned anytime, that the 1940s – along with the 30s and 70s – are my favourite eras for fashion? Imagine my joy, diluted over the past year or so, in finding three yellow 1940s dresses! They are all quite different shades of yellow too: pale lemon, rich butter and light chartreuse. Two of them are easy-to-wear day frocks, and one is a full-length evening gown that I have no idea where or when I am going to wear. I feel zero guilt for its purchase however, for all three dresses were extremely inexpensive.

Like the others, this sprigged dress is made from rayon although I’m not sure what the fabric is called (it’s smooth like a dull satin), and like many vintage dresses, it is missing the original belt. I bought it late last year from a thrift store in Bendigo, a country town, when I journeyed there to see the Edith Head fashion exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

I have worn it with a vintage 30s or 40s velvet ribbon as a sash; the 40s hat I have paired with it is also velvet. I do not know what to call its shape – it’s a kind of halo-turban hybrid! The shoes are modern, but I think they stand in quite well for 40s style shoes. I actually wore this dress a few times last summer, although I used a vintage Victorian cream silk ribbon as a sash. (As most of my summer hats and shoes are still in seasonal storage, I accessorised the dress with rather more wintry items than I would normally.)

When I spotted it in the vintage bazaar, I pounced … completely forgetting that I already had a yellow floral 40s dress!

The second dress also has little puffed and cuffed sleeves, but the buttery yellow top layer is made from chiffon. The splashy floral is very different from the first dress, which is all to the good. When I spotted it in the vintage bazaar, I pounced, overcome with delight in the colour, and completely forgetting that I already had a yellow floral 40s dress! I’m not sure of its age, but the vintage necklace is pressed glass, while the white clip-on earrings are chunky plastic, and probably 40s or 50s. (The shoes are basic neutral stilettos, but come summer I won’t wear them with this dress.)

The most recent purchase is the evening gown, and I was so excited to find it. It is made from a brocade in an unusual combination of white and pale chartreuse. (I must apologise the high speed setting I inadvertently used during this photoshoot has made the pictures overly grainy.) I adore the draped neckline on both the front and back.

It also demanded to be worn with vintage 40s rhinestone jewellery and opera-length gloves! Which, fortuitously, I happen to own. This is not a true parure; I found all the pieces on separate occasions. Both the tiara and necklace need minor repairs, for which a jeweller and their soldering iron will be required.

It also demanded to be worn with vintage 40s rhinestone jewellery and opera-length gloves!

I was very lucky the gown fit me perfectly. I had tried on at the same time a 50s satin brocade ballgown – ALSO in a rich golden yellow! – which lamentably was too small across the back. Tragic.

Still, this is not a bad collection of yellow dresses, is it? And, would you believe, it’s not yet the end of my yellow bonanza – stay tuned for more!

Photos: August 2018


Monstrous Millinery

When does a hat segue from the stuff of dreams into monstrous millinery? When it’s made from birds or bullets, perhaps, or forms horns from zips. These fantastic creations are from the magazine Love, issue #6, Fall/Winter 2011, and feature Nyasha Matonhodze, Kristen McMenamy, Lara Stone and Mariacarla Boscono.

The crow headpiece, by Pam Hogg, is particularly frightening, and instantly puts me in mind of Edgar Allan Poe crossed with that infamous schoolyard scene from Hitchcock’s film The Birds. Almost as ominous is Kristen’s bullet crown; it is credited, like the black vinyl crown worn by Mariacarla, to the stylist’s studio. (Credit for Lara’s zipped horns is missing, unfortunately.)

The ethereal photographs are by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, with styling by Panos Yiapanis and Katie Grand, originally spotted on Real Life is Elsewhere.



How time flies! It is the first of May already, celebrated in the northern hemisphere as the spring festival of May Day. The holiday has its origins in Floralia, the festival of the Roman goddess of flowers, Flora. Of course here in Melbourne it is autumn, and we are finally entering proper autumnal weather when woolly layers must be considered, not the floral petal-like garments of spring.

So my floral wreath today is a modern tiara from Sportsgirl made of copper, and enormous floral earrings like pendulums, made from multicoloured sequins and crystals. I love costume jewellery when it does not take itself seriously and is not masquerading as the real thing – these earrings by Lovisa are very fun in a plastic-fantastic 1960s way. And yet, combined with the white ruffled blouse, this look somehow evokes the days of ancient Rome too.

Happy May!

Photo: March 2018


What I Actually Wore #121

Serial #: 0121
Date: 18/05/2013
Weather: 15°C / 59°F
Time Allowed: 15 minutes

The silk kimono dress! My Puss in Boots outfit! Yes, this is how I dress up to go to dinner and the theatre. As you can imagine, the cat ears attract a lot of attention from other patrons – two of whom I work with (at a different theatre) who exclaimed over them.

I remember it was actually a very chilly evening, the kind when you breathe out you see your breath in a puff. I managed to find a pale grey wool top to wear under the dress; it was low-cut enough that it didn’t ruin the neckline of the dress; the black tights are wool too. On top I wore a vintage 60s velvet coat with a warm fur collar, and also vintage eggshell blue leather gloves that I bought on Etsy.

The cat ear headband came from a costume jewellery store that sells cheap, cheerful and very trendy pieces, some of which are simply playful like this headband. Matching perfectly, the little round rhinestone earrings are vintage 40s, and also came from Etsy.

Those tan over the knee lace-up boots were a fantastic bargain I made a few years ago; the original price was around $400, but I managed to snag them for only $75! The other items are usual suspects from closet that I use often and have featured on the pages of this journal many times – testament to the need for good and trusty basics: my black 60s patent handbag, the silver oval shell ring, the round bead silver bracelet, and of course the coat.


Dress: Luella
vintage 60s
vintage 50s
vintage 40s
NGV gallery shop
vintage 60s

Photos: September 2013


O Star of Wonder

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. It seems so short a time since last Christmas! I have taken a starry theme this year and am wearing a silver dress by Bebe, a vintage 1940s pearl and silver bead tiara – most likely originally a bridal headpiece – and silver patent sandals by Zoe Wittner that you can’t see.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Following yonder star …
(from the Christmas carol We Three Kings)

It’s that time too, just a few days short of year’s end that we start reflecting on the past twelve months, and looking forward to a brand spanking new year. Whatever you’ve had, wherever you’ve been, I say keep following that star!

However you celebrate Christmas, whether as a Christian holiday or as a time to spend with family and friends, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Starry Christmas to you!