Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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What I actually wore #0031

Serial #: 0031
Date: 03/09/2009
Weather: forecast 22°; a lovely, mild early spring day
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

Now that is a real blouse. I say that because no-one uses the word ‘blouse’ any more; it’s too out-dated. This is an out-dated blouse though, because it’s vintage. I love that the dyed quartz earrings are exactly the same shade of blue.

I rarely wear strapless garments, but teaming this bright blouse with it turns this neutral dress into a Statement Dress. I wanted something a little exciting, as I was working at the art gallery for a few days.

As it’s only a 20 minute walk from home, I took a chance and wore heels to walk there (usually I don walking shoes of some sort – NOT runners, let me assure you!). These snakeskin heels are old favourites from Zomp, bought many years ago. On another occasion walking to work one of the heels snapped, to my horror. Fortunately the shop was near my office at the time, and I was able to drop past at lunchtime. The shoes had then been worn only a few times, and although I no longer had a receipt, the sales assistant looked up their records and immediately organised a replacement pair for me! I was truly impressed; what great customer service.

My other hero is this handbag. I really like how the buffalo-hide (or it could be cow-hide) clashes with the snakeskin shoes. I totally fell in love with this bag 3–4 years ago in Stanley Market in Hong Kong. I had gone to China on a business trip with a colleague, bookended by one and a half days of shopping in Hong Kong. What a fabulous whir that was!

On that trip, our shopping motto became: “Buy it! When are you next going to be in Hong Kong?”

On the last day of our trip, I dragged Aurora all over the city; Stanley Market was just one of our destinations. I spotted the bag early on, but as it was expensive, I decided to think about it while we explored the rest of the market. I found a lovely cream cashmere shawl trimmed with rabbit fur that I still use (it’s currently draped over an armchair, ready for chilly autumnal evenings), a diamanté belt, and some rare black onyx beads, among other things.

On that trip, our shopping motto became: “Buy it! When are you next going to be in Hong Kong?” (How many times have I heard people lament not buying souvenirs, because it wouldn’t fit in their bag, or they didn’t really need it? That, cough-cough, doesn’t happen to me.)

With that in mind, I returned to the handbag stall only to find some American woman eyeing it off. To my relief, she decided against the purchase, and I became the proud new owner. I am so glad I did buy it; I haven’t been back to Hong Kong since, and the bag has drawn so many compliments over the years from friends and strangers. My sister Star has even claimed the bag should I ‘ever get tired of it’. Sorry Star, that won’t happen!


Dress: Barkins
Blouse: Edith Hart, vintage from Shag
Earrings: Larama (boutique no longer open)
Rings: Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Bag: Stanley Market, Hong Kong
Shoes: Zomp


Vogue 1947

Ph: Horst. Click on images to open larger versions.

This is the cover of the oldest fashion magazine I own: British Vogue, January 1947. And what an eye-catching cover it is. Minimal and striking, that amazing silhouette says more on its own than the hundred coverlines today’s magazines would plaster all over it. The photograph is by Horst P. Horst; look here for more beautiful examples of his work.

What I love about old fashion magazines are the illustrations, used copiously in the editorial as well as the ads. Below are just a few pages. The black and white ads are the quaintest. Have a closer look by clicking on the images.

(Left) Ph: Cecil Beaton; (right) ph: CoffinShoes and stockingsThe Way to Modern Loveliness


Puffs Still Speak Volumes

Weren’t these once called balloon skirts? There’s so much volume in this outfit I would ascend like Mary Poppins, umbrella or no umbrella, if I actually wore this in the street.

But this spring’s been so wet I probably would be carrying an umbrella!

No need to be dispirited though: spring’s arrival brings on the racing carnival and a mood of frivolity; and as usual there’s plenty to be had in Melbourne’s boutiques.

And yes, puff sleeves are still well and truly in, as are frills, layers and asymmetrical details.

So don’t be afraid to go bouffant, for after all, I expect you’ll be well-grounded by the fierce heels you’ll be wearing to counteract all this sugar.


What I actually wore #0025

Serial #: 0025
a cool 21°
Time Allowed:
5 minutes

Monday morning blues… what better way to treat them than with Schiaparelli pink? Especially in the form of brand new patent heels bought the day before from Myer!

I wanted the shoes to stand out, so I chose a grey skirt bought from Staff in Dubai, teamed with what I call my meringue puff top from Veronika Maine. Its asymmetrical, standing collar necessitates an updo, however. Little pintucks gathered together with rosettes create a quilted look on the front and rear panels of the skirt. Both garments utilise fabric with a slight stiffness and pleasing rustle, which enables them to hold their shape.

Monday morning blues… what better way to treat them than with Schiaparelli pink?

I really love the sculptural aspects of both items, and the girly pink heels (matched with bright pink lipstick) offset them just enough.


Top: Veronika Maine
Skirt: Staff
Jewellery: Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Lipstick: ‘Cherries in the Snow’, by Revlon
Shoes: ‘Devotion’, by Jane Debster


What I actually wore #0021

Serial #: 0021
Date: 02/02/2009
Weather: forecast 31°, sultry and unsettled; reached 27°
Time Allowed: 0 minutes – picked out the dress the night before

This dress amuses me. It looks like nothing on the hanger, and on me – if the wind blows in the wrong direction – it can make me look like I am in the family way, to put it delicately.

However, I am always attracted to unusual cuts. This dress had a minimal, Grecian feel, and I particularly liked the belt. It was white (a non-colour I love) and the billowing linen promised to keep me cool on the hot days of an Australian summer. It is by Australian designer Karla Spetic, and I happened upon it in a sale store that popped-up for a brief time in Chapel St.

My red earrings are carved cinnabar beads from a shop in Bridge Rd, Richmond, and still give me good mileage many years later. The red frames of the sunglasses sport a leopard print; I scored them from a Frenchwoman on eBay.

The dress certainly delivered on its promise – and I have at least one maternity outfit at the ready!


Dress: Karla Spetic
Earrings: Chinese import shop
Paris Mode
Watch: Kenneth Cole
Sunglasses: vintage
Shoes: Zoe Wittner