Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Wednesday
Oct312018

Helloween!

While I don’t – along with many of my compatriots – actually celebrate Halloween, I am getting into the ‘spirit’ of things with this little spooky series of photos taken in the installation 1000 Doors, by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, at the 2018 Melbourne International Arts Festival.

The ticket for entry was a tiny and quaint brass key, which made me feel a bit like Alice. Laid out like a maze of doors in a house of horrors, the installation was complete with dilapidated walls, crumbling wallpaper, vintage furniture and Bakelite telephones, the smelly carpet of a seedy hotel, and a myriad mysterious vintage photographs littering every surface.

It was a lot of fun to traipse through, and the only thing that would have made it better and spookier was if we had been able to go late at night without the crowds of people – but this was a popular installation and there was no hope of that. For the occasion, I am wearing a vintage 1940s hat, and a Diane von Furstenberg dress bought in a thrift store.

I enjoyed hamming it up a little for these photos, and must confess in the last frame I had in mind Freddy’s tongue from one of the Elm Street nightmares. I was pretty young when I saw that scene, and ran away from the tv shuddering. Answering a telephone is akin to opening the door to the creepy cellar!

Happy Halloween.

Photos: October 2018. With thanks to my friend Rapunzel for taking them.

Tuesday
Oct302018

Shopping for Robin’s Eggs

It’s no secret to regular readers of this style blog that robin’s egg blue is one of my favourite colours – if not the favourite. It’s a colour I am always drawn to whenever I see it, and so when I saw this necklace in a sale on Facebook from Rosebud Vintage Bazaar that is evocative of actual birds’ eggs, I knew that I absolutely had to have it.

The vintage 1950s feathered hat is an absolute marvel as well – I bought it many years ago on Etsy, and have worn it a few times on special occasions, such as Christmas Day celebrations and going to the theatre. I love it paired with this necklace though!

The only thing that would make this outfit more amazing would be a silk dress featuring a bird’s egg print …

A tall order, you think?

I actually came across such a dress in a thrift store just over a month ago, and was bowled over by the print. I was not, however, bowled over by the price of $80 attached to it. Come on, I thought. Especially when they had not even bothered to present it nicely. It was as wrinkled as though it had just been withdrawn from a bag in which it had been screwed up into a ball and jammed with many other items. No, no, no.

However, I might have accepted the price for the print if it had been cut into anything other than an ugly shirt-dress. I loathe and abominate shirts. Always have. And shirt-dresses are even worse; I don’t find them flattering at all, at least on me. I look like I have just crawled out of bed wearing a man’s shirt. Hideous!

I look like I have just crawled out of bed wearing a man’s shirt. Hideous!

I thought about having the hem tailored to get rid of the shirt slits, but I was too annoyed at the prospect of spending another $30 or so on top of the $80 purchase price. $20 okay, or $30 even, but $80 is just too much in a thrift store for a modern dress that looks like a rag, in my view. I was recently chatting to a thrifting diva from the US, and she was shocked when I quoted her some average prices from Aussie op shops. Many of them are not really ‘opportunity shops’ any longer, unfortunately.

That being said, I am quite willing to pay much more for unique or rare vintage items such as the necklace, or feathered hat, even when I find them in an ‘op shop’.

Photos: September 2018

Monday
Oct292018

What I Actually Wore #0143

Serial #: 0143
Date:
30/08/2013
Weather:
19°C / 67°F
Time Allowed:
7 minutes

Aww! These pictures make me nostalgic! All these items, except for the beret, wool knit top and some of the jewellery have completely worn out and are long gone from my closet. On this day it was a mild and rainy, and almost spring so I dressed suitably in woollens for the weather. I do still really like the colour combinations here: beige, red, white, black – you can’t go wrong.

The loss of the 1970s vintage leather trench coat makes me the saddest. I loved that coat to death, literally. When I bought it on eBay, years earlier, it was pristine. By the time I had finished with it, it was so worn that it looked grey and dirty. I took it to a professional cleaner and he shook his head sadly: nothing to be done about it except have it ‘recoated’ in white paint (no pun intended).

I already knew this was a dubious option because I’d had the forethought to purchase a replacement white leather coat on Etsy (similar in style, but with a fuller skirt, which is not as cool), but the seller never told me it had been refurbished. Tragically it sheds white spots of paint every time I wear it that looks like DANDRUFF! The horror.

The loss of the 1970s vintage leather trench coat makes me the saddest. I loved that coat to death, literally.

So the coat was donated to a thrift store, as was the beloved white leather tote, which suffered the same fate from wear. The silk camisole got shabby; the well-darned wool/cashmere socks eventually became holey beyond rescue; the watch chain-strap hopelessly unraveled; the shoes wore out; and another favourite item, the wool skirt, was chomped through by an evil and hungry moth. What a litany of sorrows!

At least I can reflect that I really did get good wear out of these garments. The beige wool knit, which originally came from a thrift store, has definitely been an excellent basic in my wardrobe. And while the shoes wore out, I actually found replacements in a thrift store that are exactly the same except they are brogued versions. I’m pleased too because both were by a brand I always liked, Scooter, which now seems to be defunct.

I still own all the jewellery, even the broken watch, which awaits the patience of a jeweler when I remember to take it for repair. And the armchair: I still have that!

Items:

Camisole: Enamel
Jumper:
Kookaï
Skirt:
Anthropologie
Socks:
Philippe Matignon
Hat:
vintage
Coat:
 Leda Spain by Gropper, vintage 1970s
Earrings: handmade by me
Ring: souvenir from Vietnam
Watch:
Kenneth Cole
Tote:
Elise Carrels
Shoes:
Scooter

Photos: September 2013

Wednesday
Oct242018

Domestic Exchange

I haven’t posted a Foreign Exchange story for a long time, and that is sadly because I haven’t been travelling overseas for an equally long time, but this woeful tale has its beginnings in a foreign exchange swapped for another kind of exchange.

The story starts in Vietnam nearly ten years ago, where I had a kimono custom-made for me from sumptuous silk brocade. I took that robe home and wore it to death over ten years, wearing it almost every morning except on the hottest summer days.

The day eventually came when it dawned on me that the kimono was actually starting to look rather shabby. There were worn patches and frayed edges. In denial at the prospect of setting it aside, I decided to ignore this observation and kept on wearing the kimono for a while longer.

I’ve spoken before how ruthless I am about shabby shoes – once they start to look disreputable, I become relentlessly unsentimental and throw the offending shoes straight into the bin without a moment’s hesitation. This is not the case with favourite garments.

… it still hung on a hook in my bathroom where I could gaze upon it fondly and sigh reminiscently.

Eventually, I stopped wearing the kimono, but it still hung on a hook in my bathroom where I could gaze upon it fondly and sigh reminiscently.

One day in a fit of madness, I gathered my resolve and took it to my sister Blossom, who over the many years we have been sisters, has generously made and altered countless garments for me.

She – and her husband, an involved observer one afternoon as she and I examined a portion of my wardrobe that needed rescuing – both assured me that indeed the kimono was too shabby to wear any longer.

I’d had the idea that something could be made of the good pieces of fabric, and I made my revolutionary suggestion … A CUSHION!

I know, brutal – shocking even, all things considered; I did suffer some pangs for a while. But I figured if I had a cushion I would put it on my favourite armchair and lean against it every day, and thus extend the life of the kimono.

The cushion doesn’t match the rest of my interior décor at all, and my yellow gingham kimono, though cheery, is not in the slightest degree exotic, but I don’t regret the loss anymore. I actually have a large collection of vintage dressing gowns, and enjoy sometimes wearing a 60s rayon satin with a stylised floral pattern. (I don’t wear it often for my cat Mimi attacks me in rage when I do – I think because it’s too slippery in my lap for her liking – she’s very opinionated.)

Maybe I’ll go to South-East Asia again one day, and then I’ll have another one made.

Photos: June 2009, March 2018

Monday
Oct152018

The Cartwheel Hat

Now that the warm weather is here at last (hurrah!), I am already thinking, “Now, how can I cover up to prevent sunburn?” Big hats are the answer! I own a lot of big cartwheels, as very wide brimmed hats are known. The origin of the name is obvious, but they began to be very popular in the Edwardian era, in the years prior to WWI.

This hat I am wearing is actually quite wide-brimmed – wider than it seems in the picture, but, when you scroll down and see the next hat you it will seem quite paltry by comparison.

Now THIS is a cartwheel hat! I think it is as big as an actual cartwheel. It is woven from a very sturdy grass, and the edges are wicker. It’s quite heavy and unwieldy to wear, as well as uncomfortable on the forehead, which makes me suspect it was never meant to be worn, or perhaps it was a theatre prop. It decorates the wall in my bedroom.

One of the problems with cartwheel hats is that there is a lot of area that can easily catch the wind, and the usual thin elastic attached to the inside of the brim of most hats is not enough to keep it safely on one’s head. A ribbon is a better option, as the cartwheel has.

So, is this the biggest hat in the world, or what …?

What? What’s that you say? Jacquemus?

OMG. That thing is practically a TENT. Look how big it is! A whole family could shelter under there. No more beach umbrellas! You could take off like Mary Poppins with that thing on your head!

I WANT ONE.

Photos: March 2018

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