Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Monday
Apr012019

Tiffany Surprise

Look what I got! A Tiffany & Co surprise! … But wait … No, it’s just a little trifle from a thrift store!

Recently I bought a pair of carved blue shell earrings in a thrift store, and while I was paying for them I expressed my concern that these fragile earrings should not break on the way home. The sales lady agreed, and said she would find a box for me. She disappeared under the counter for a moment and when she popped back up, lo and behold she was holding a Tiffany & Co box in her hand! We were both quite tickled by the incongruity.

I have already worn these once, but I did not notice until after I photographed these today that one of them is actually damaged – one of the flowers is missing a leaf. I suspect the ladies in the op shop didn’t notice either, as the break is quite neat and not immediately obvious. The shimmering, reflective surface is quite distracting too.

I guess I am the April Fool after all! (But I still think they are pretty.)

Tuesday
Mar262019

Fashion Follows Sailor Suit

Late last spring, just as the warmer weather was beginning in Melbourne, I amused myself (and my work colleagues) by adopting a nautical theme for a week. I have long loved stripes – a nautical staple – and the classic colour combination of blue, red, and white which I very often choose to wear, nautical theme or not.

Traditional sailor suits … influenced the design of the new bathing suits and other clothing …

Nautical fashion has for many decades been popular for the warmer seasons, with its obvious link to seaside activities. The fashion first took off in the mid nineteenth century, when ‘sportswear for the new woman’ first started being produced. Traditional sailor suits, ie, naval uniforms with flap collars, stripes and bellbottoms, influenced the design of the new bathing suits and other clothing designed for regattas, yachting, boating and seaside promenading.

Coco Chanel in the interwar periodFrench sailors; the marinière or tricot rayé (striped sweater) is a cotton long-armed shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes, characteristically worn by quartermasters and seamen in the French navy.Coco Chanel was another enormous influence after adopting the sailor-collared top (as opposed to Breton striped tees) worn by the local fishermen and sailors in the resort town of Deauville, where she opened her first store on the coast of France in 1913. At the same time, ‘Middy’ blouses, inspired by the uniform of midshipmen were worn by school children for gym activities; by the 1920s they were a huge women’s fashion trend.

1920s middy shirtFashion in the decades after followed suit, adopting the look not just for sportswear, but for daywear, and to the present day we are still wearing nautical influenced garments (although it still seems chiefly only for daytime). Every nautical motif once can think of has been deployed by fashion designers in both blatant and subtle iterations, from the triumvirate of the three most popular colours of blue, red and white; stripes and flag graphics; middy tops and sailor collars; neckties and pussy bows; every type of nautical hat – boaters, fisherman and sailor caps; high-waisted bellbottoms; to naval trim such as gold buttons and braid, and rope, anchor and sailboat motifs. 

It’s fun, it’s sporty and casual, easy and breezy, and denotes summertime and carefree holidays so very particularly – no wonder nautical fashion has remained popular!

Click through to view my gallery of all my nautical looks of the week, and keep scrolling for nautical looks throughout the decades.

Read more about nautical Fashion

Stories on nautical fashion by Vintage Dancer and Blue Velvet Vintage are worth a read – both include some great images from different eras.

Genealogy Lady has written a short history on the middy blouse.

Frenchly reveals that Coco Chanel did not make Breton stripes a thing!

For seaside fashion of the nineteenth century, visit Mimi Matthews.

Nautical fashions through the decades

Victorian era, c 1890sEdwardian wool bathing suit1920s swimsuit1930s nautical daywear fashions1940s dress (LIFE magazine)1950s1960s1970sMarch 1982February 1992, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington wearing Ralph Lauren on Vogue's coverLes Indes galantes collection, Lascar dress, Haute couture, spring/summer 2000, Jean-Paul GaultierZuhair Murad, RTW Spring 2016All images found on Pinterest unless otherwise indicated with direct links.

Wednesday
Mar202019

Colours of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness! And I have spent today and much of the last few days in bed, or otherwise resting, as I have been sick with a horrible chest cold – hurrah! My workplace was having a morning tea in celebration of the day, and we were told to wear yellow; while I didn’t make it to that, I still managed to wear yellow – my kimono is yellow and white gingham.

I shall share instead some pictures from Saturday, when I visited my parents for lunch and wore a new favourite vintage 70s dress – a cotton voile spaghetti-strapped straight dress, belted at the waist. Its standout feature is the gorgeous print, in colours that really do make me happy! The dress is in very good condition; I found it recently in a thrift store. I am also wearing 40s sunglasses, 50s hairclips and am carrying a vintage Chinese paper parasol.

The label is Miss Jo Melbourne, and I surmise that was inspired by Jo from Little Women, the famous book by Louisa May Alcott. I don’t know anything about the label’s history unfortunately, and have only spotted one other dress – a brown polka-dot, 30s style frock – at Le Sourceress on Etsy. With such a romantic name, I’d love to know what else the label produced.

Photos: March 2019

Tuesday
Mar192019

Goody, Two Shoes!

I have been doing some desperately-needed culling in my closet over the last couple of weeks, and have so far completed sorting through all the summer clothing which is currently in my wardrobe, plus the winter jumpers which normally don’t go into storage. (I’ll do the winter clothing either when I bring it up out of storage, or at the end of the coming winter.) I have not yet touched any accessories at all either, so I am not even half way! So with that in mind, when I saw these photos again today, they made me laugh.

I find it difficult to cull shoes, except if they are worn out, or are uncomfortable – or if I suddenly decide they are ugly and wonder why on earth I ever bought them. This happened once, a long time ago, when I wore Birkenstocks for commuting. I was sitting in a park and looked down at my feet and found myself thinking, “Those shoes are extremely ugly.” The moment I returned home, I threw them unregretfully into the garbage. (I didn’t want to donate them so that some other misguided soul would wear them – why inflict that on the world?) These days I wear more attractive walking shoes.

But why do I find myself with two pairs of navy suede pumps? Well, they are not exactly the same, it’s true. It came about that after I threw out a pair of beloved but worn out patent navy Mary-Janes, I was in search of replacements. “Somehow” I ended up with two. At least I can say that they both came from op shops (thrift stores), so I can feel good about recycling.

… what if some mishap occurs, such as a heel snapping off, or muddy rain, then I will be glad I have two.

They are both very comfortable and elegant – one, by Australian brand David Lawrence, features scalloped edges, how cute! The d’Orsay pumps, which I found first, are by Jady Rose; I only discovered recently this is an extremely expensive brand that I could never afford to buy retail. The pairs are slightly different shades of blue, and have different heel heights, so I simply can’t choose one over another. Besides, what if some mishap occurs, such as a heel snapping off, or muddy rain, then I will be glad I have two. So much for the blue.

The red suede T-bar Mary-Janes are by Guess, and I bought them on Ozsale at a huge discount. Despite their deceptively high heels, they are extremely comfortable. I can even run in them. They even stop traffic! Once, as I dodged cars to cross a road (the traffic was stationary), some random woman shouted urgently from her car, expressing her love for them. The rich hue is delicious, the style is a classic.

And then along came the claret coloured Mary-Janes by Nine West, with cute little button fasteners. Some foolish person had donated them to a charity store unworn, so I took them home with me. What would you? (I do have a thing for red shoes.) The colours, and again, the heel heights, of these are so different that clearly it’s necessary to keep both of them for different outfits.

In conclusion: why ration your shoes when you can rationalise? Good shoes come in twos in case of emergency!

Photos: November 2018

Tuesday
Mar052019

What I Actually Wore #0147

Serial #: 0147
Date: 25/09/2013
Weather: 29°C / 84°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

You may have noticed a weird disparity in the ‘time allowed’ quantities I usually quote. Most of the time I am referring to how long it takes me to decide what to wear in the morning, which I most often do while I am showering. I very rarely stand in my bursting closet and look blankly around – I’m not one of those people who wail, “But I have nothing to wear!” Five minutes is often probably an overestimation – sometimes 30 seconds is all it takes!

On this morning I apparently spent a whole five minutes trying to decide which hat to wear with my outfit; nowadays I am usually picking out a hat first and matching my outfit to it. This is because my hat collection has expanded exponentially, and it would be shocking if I didn’t actually wear all the amazing hats I own. Often I’ll whiz through my cataloguing app to pick out something I haven’t worn all season.

I am pretty sure that only the vintage 50s pleated grosgrain bandeau and the suede peep-toes are the only items still in circulation. I think the top was culled entirely because I decided it was a bit too baggy, although I love the colour. (Yellow!)

I am an atypical Melbourne girl who avoids black like the plague (except on very rare occasions), and the neutrals I most often reach for are grey or white. I went through a phase of loving grey with accents of colour, and the light blue and mustard here work great with the grey tones.

Items:

Jacket: AEFFE Spa
Top: Anthropologie
Skirt: Staff Women
Headband: Betmar, vintage 50s
Shoes: David Lawrence
Earrings:
Mimco
Ring: Roun
Watch: Kenneth Cole

Photos: January 2014