Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hung My Head - DAY 18

Cash is reverberating through my head once again.
He visits when I need a fag, but instead I reach for my 12th cup of tea of the day.
He begs forgiveness, I beg for strength.
So it goes I've kept busy snapping a bit of a train-wreck outfit.
Turns out that I like it.
I feel like an early 20th travelling lady that had to rip off the bottom of her skirt to grab the reins and surf the roof of a stagecoach in pursuit of a gang of marauders.
Retrieving grandmama's locket and her dignity.
The lady in question is wearing a very fragile, Edwardian silk blouse, Bitching and Junkfood leather mini, 1940s fox fur cape, Storets mesh leggings and 1950s veiled headband, plus the trusty Forever 21 booties.
Time for a cuppa.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Researching the 80s - DAY 17

This thrifted mini kilt from the 70s (short coz it's a kids one) has been lurking about in my closet for about a year.
It just would not work with anything!
But I had a bit of a brain-storming session over it and decided to put it with something very non-kilt, non-Scottish-like.
That's when the vintage 60s gold wool and silk sequinned shell top jumped out and begged for mercy.
Then my thrifted Etro blazer got all primadonna on me and wanted in on the action.
That's the thing about pledging to quit shopping; it's the time when those little gems decide it's time to hook up and be seen in public together.
All three items were purchased long ago with the best intentions, only to be ignored in my closet until today.
But no more.  I love how this little three-way is working - I would have worn this in the 80s for sure.
I've added an AA mesh dress, some vintage brooches and 1930s hat, plus Forever 21 booties and 400-year-old tights;P.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Softly, softly - DAY 16

Oh this is so typical of what happens to me.
I get dressed, go to the supermarket/post office/library/hospital/specialist/accountant, blah, blah, blah.
Minding my own business, I'm asked if I'm on my way to a fancy dress party.
It's when there's clearly no sarcasm intended, that I have to hide my face to cover the smirk and imminent laughing fit and get the hell out of there.
Sorry general public I can't help it - it's always more fun when my seven y.o. daughter and I go all out in capes and what have you, just coz we're bored, and order fish and chips.
Love her sense of humour, the little darling, she thinks it's hilarious when dolled up in her giant, black, frothy pettiskirt, with mother in tow in god knows what, she tells the cashier that no, we came out to eat!
It's not to show-off, shock or make a statement.
It's a mix of sublime comfort and wanting to feel fabulous.
Here I've put together a normal everyday little something that I'd wear just about anywhere.
Black Milk have done it again with their Wave leggings and I've added a thrifted, white, Metallicus t-shirt (first wearing here); 1930s peach silk camisole (underwear) type thing that I wear as a top and a 1940s fur cape that always makes me feel like Barbara Stanwyck or Joan Crawford.  Plus a mix of vintage rhinestone necklaces, fake and real pearls.
Oh and Docs.  Just so I know I can run for a bus.
Some of you have asked me about the huge, bronze skirt that is always being a show-off in some of my interior shots.
Yes the little darling got her 15 minutes HERE!
I know you magnificent creatures love to play dress ups, but how far will you splash out with what you wear just to do your everyday errands, or even work?

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Mind of its Own - DAY 15

I'm halfway through my pledge to Stop Buying More Shit! and yet it's only now I'm feeling the bite of the challenge.
My lounge is starting to look like a thrift store as I have pieces of clothing and accessories draped over chairs and tables, so as to help me figure out new combinations.
I'm pulling out all sorts of weird bits and bobs that have never been worn, or just admired from a distance.
Now I know this sounds weird and no, I don't need to change my meds, but I think the clothes are starting to talk to me.
OK, OK, don't run off, but this is the conversation I'm sure I had last night with a black leather 80s dress I bought off Etsy but have never worn.

Me:  I think you're gorgeous an' all, but you're kind of scary in a Dynasty kind of way.
Dynasty Dress:  Don't worry darling, you're clearly just way to scatty for this level of glamour.
Me: Oh. OK. I just thought that maybe I could jazz you up a bit with a scarf or maybe *sotto voce* some layering?
DD:  WHAT?  Layering?  You want to cover me up?  Now I realise the irony of this statement darling, given that I'm crafted from soft, buttery leather but, OVER MY DEAD BODY!
Me: Oh I'm sorry.  You must feel very strongly about this.  Maybe a scarf for some colour?  Just a little one.
DD:  No way.  Earrings and heels.  Or you're a dead woman.
Me: K.

Fifteen days to go ...

Well knock me over with a feather!

I'm so chuffed about being included in this week's IFB Links a la Mode - hey, it's a bit like winning a raffle eh?

links a la mode

Looking Forward to Looking Back for Fall

Edited by: Ann of Holier than Now

Every  season begins with looking back: the designers revisit trends of yore,  and we fling open our oversized Tupperware bins and dig through the back  of our closets to see just what it was we wore this time last year.   Despite the thrill of new trends, most of us probably feel that the  first Fall shopping we should do is in our own closet (View from 5 ft. 2 and Your Saving Style inspire on this front).  Next step: after considering your bank account, and perhaps the pros and cons of fast fashion (see: Consumerism Killed My Soul),  a visit to your local thrift store or flea market for vintage finds  might replace that mall excursion you were imagining.  With a wealth of  inspiration from the blogosphere, there's never been a better time to  invest in - or just be inspired by - style from the past.

Links à la Mode: August 26th

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Way Back When ...

As a little girl, my mother had a beaten up old black clutch bag crammed full of worn, old, family photos.
Like this one of me aged about two, in a red and white gingham bikini. 

I remember spending hours crouched on her bed with the photos spread out on the white chenille bedspread.
One after another of my long-dead or ageing relatives "appeared" before me dressed to the nines for special celebrations, picnics, days at the beach or just showing off a swell new hat.
I was recently given a couple of old photos by my mother, which combined with Seven Style Notes' vintage pics of her gorgeous grandmother as a young lady, inspired me to start digging about for pix and get some lovely vintage looks on board.

This is a shot of Mum and Dad on their wedding day in November, 1945.   
Dad was 21 and had  just been released from a four-year imprisonment in a WWII prison camp.

Mum and her two glamourous sisters used to visit the prisoners bringing them reading materials and food.  
During the war, the three girls used to sing live on the local radio and were nicknamed New Zealand's own Andrew Sisters! Love it!!  
I can still remember the brocade fabric of her beautiful gown. She made it into a bed jacket when she was pregnant with me, but not before my older brother and sisters got hold of the precious dress  a few years earlier and played with it in the paddock, leaving it in a muddy farm drain for a couple of days!!
This is a shot of my mother's parents, Beryl and Bert in 1941.

I'm guessing they were at a family wedding judging by their clothing and the fact that they were photographed together.
They had divorced a year earlier you see, so I guess they were putting on their happy faces for the day.
Grandad's wearing motorcycle gauntlets to ride his precious 1921 Indian Scout motorcycle.
Nana, in her jaunty little hat, was a milliner and loved her headwear.  Hmm sounds familier;).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Le-le-leatherrrrrr - DAY 14

I've taken to my backlog of fash-mags for a bit of a visual feast and as always, I'm drawn by the fall/winter issues of my favourite titles.
For a city that gets about 2-3 months of "winter" each year, I try and cram in as much boot-stomping and skin-wearing as possible.
This week has been c-c-c-cold and Brisbane houses are NOT prepared for temperature drops.
So there's much dashing between cold rooms to don capes, gloves and finally these 80s leather pants I picked up on eBay for $2!!
I've popped on a lemon silk pussy-bow blouse and blood-red platforms to satisfy the stirrings created by five-year back-issues of Russh and UK Vogue.
OK can I put a coat on now please?

If you're about to embark on a new fall season,  what's inspiring your sartorial choices?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Anyone seen my ironing board? DAY 13

All I see in this pic is the stack of ironing spilling onto the floor, so forlorn and forgotten.
But my son was playing with the camera in the afternoon, the light was right and he started snapping.
Hey who am I to stop anyone reacting to the call of their muse?
Anyway I can't help it if the ironing board is dead;).
Actually, secretly in this shot, I like how the light hits those Black Milk Liquids - they appeal to my shiny-shiny magpie instincts.
I'm wearing them with my Docs of course and a vintage pink, silk kimono from eBay.
I keep wearing it!
Can you name one item in your closet that just makes everything feel pulled together and just right?

I think I'll start wearing the kimono inside out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Run, run, run through grass -DAY 12

I've just finished watching Marie Antoinette (2006) and I'm feeling a little swishy.
I regret not seeing it years ago at the cinema, so every time I watch it on DVD I end up watching it twice just to lap up the film's incredible world of rich colour and design.
As a result of all that colourful eye-candy, my Edwardian silk petticoat has been pulled out for some spectacular floor-sweeping action.
Well I pretend it's spectacular.  I can pretend can't I?
I can't go the full regalia because 1. I'm not a costume department and 2. I could not bear the corsets.
Kirsten Dunst looks so fragile and about to break at any moment - she's such a convincing actor, loved her in Virgin Suicides.
How on earth did she survive those corsets?  Award-winning corset-wearing performance!
Instead of corsets, I'm going for a trained skirt and my contribution to swishy-ness is this cream, silk petticoat which is very fragile.
It's inset with lots of fine, silk lace and tiny ruffles and has a train which means walking very carefully ie. stop, pick up train, turn, drop train, walk.
I bought the skirt on eBay and the waistband had fallen to bits so I sewed on a very long satin ribbon which has saved the skirt from ripping away from what's left of the waistband.
I'm wearing it with black tights and platforms, plus the black, mesh bodysuit I wore in yesterday's post.
What do you wear when you feel a bit like playing princess dress-ups?;)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Give my Love to Rose - DAY 11

Johnny Cash is ringing in my ears as I type out this post for Day 11 of my pledge to "Stop Buying More Shit!", so I've dedicated this post to the Man in Black.  
And I think this blue satin number is just the thing for listening to Cash as I think it has been around the block once or twice, possibly at some of his wilder gigs.
Not likely, as it was found in a dingy Brisbane thrift store, but it has certainly had a wild life at some point - it was once an evening dress but it's been hacked to mini length with a dubious hem and has oodles of cigarette burns.
I love it though.  
As I'm sure the previous owner did.
I'm wearing it here with a 1990s mesh bodysuit, 1950s purple headpiece and platforms.
Oh and I cut my hair while sitting in bed last night - yeah I'm broke, but at least I only have to put up with my own mindless chit-chat;).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vintage Origins

This week Nylon Magazine asked the question of whether people bought vintage clothing specifically because they loved the shared experience of the history of a piece or if they bought pieces because they were cool.

I've loved vintage clothing since I was a child.
The youngest of seven children, including four older sisters, I didn't get new clothes and instead wore their hand-me-downs while mum sewed or knitted items to fill in the gaps. 
The result?  Dire muddy colours, scratchy fabrics, grey knee-high socks and Bata Bullets (sneakers).
I rest my case here ...

I saw my grown-up sisters' closets as one giant dressing up box and frequently raided their gear to inject some glamour into my life while they were at work.
Flitting through the sheep paddock in a pair of 70s brown lace-up knee boots and cape a la' Wonder Woman was unforgettable!!
Especially if I'd forgotten to remove any traces of chook or sheep poo before surreptitiously returning offending items to their place:).  Oops!!

I started to learn sewing at age seven but it was at about 14 when I thought "Stuff it, I'll not wear this hideous gear mum's making for me, I'll make my own clothes!"
I'm sure mum's efforts were kindly meant but 14-year-old girls are impossible to please and I think she was relieved to hand the reins over to me.
Being the tail-ender of the family I spent much of my time in the company of older female relatives who indulged my ravenous appetite for soft, sensuous fabrics.

Many of these grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins and their sundry acquaintances didn't mind me gently touching and smelling the delicate and precious silks, velvets and wools and even the odd fur hanging in their closets.
I learnt at an early age how to handle aged fabrics and accessories which when combined with the glamour of Saturday afternoon 1940s movies on TV,  I ended up developing a deep and abiding devotion to fashion history. 

As a collector of clothing from various 20th century eras I've settled on wearing only natural fibres which has meant the 60s and 70s have taken a back seat in recent times.
The Brisbane climate is temperate and it's impossible to comfortably wear vintage man-made fibres.
As for style, I did go through a stage of head-to-toe vintage (any era!).
However something didn't feel quite right until it dawned on me that in head-to-toe vintage,  I was telling someone else’s story and literally walking around in someone else’s shoes/life. 
Now I prefer a look that I consider less "costumey", by mixing up vintage eras and modern pieces together. 
It seems to be a style that has also caught on for many and I think it has something to do with individuals wanting to tell their own life story, not somebody else's.
For now, I'm happy with that.
I'm back in the paddock, fancy-free, running around in a mix-up of bits and pieces, with some that once belonged to someone else.
Now I'm creating a story that's just my own.

So do share please!
What are the origins of your vintage fashion desires?
Why do you wear vintage?

Hail the next generation of vintage fashion lovers! (my seven-year-old)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Come along quietly now - DAY 10

I'm still tossing up whether animal prints only belong to throw cushions and shoes, or whether I can pull off the look in an item of clothing.  You know, keep it safe. Goodness knows I once rocked a pair of leopard-print faux fur hot pants about 20 years ago (Yep I thought they were hot!;D) but I haven't been game to wear the same print since.  
There's something about it today that evokes the following two words. 
Mutton and Lamb.
Still, a couple of months ago my hand reached out for this leopard print stretchy cotton dress in a thrift shop and I haven't worn it since.  I like the neckline, length and sleeves but there you go.
So I pulled out this vintage, maxi-length, cashmere kilt which I've been wearing as a cape this winter and decided the two would walk up the isle together and get hitched.
I'm not sure if it works, but I'm convinced that taking animal prints too seriously is just not the way to go.
Animal print = keep it fresh, don't try and sex it up, add something a little unexpected.
Have fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting greener - DAY 9

I really love green.  I've said it before - it's nature's-neutral.  Goes with everything - yes, even blue.
So I've finally ventured outside for this shoot in a Pretty Much New silk fluttery top that feels like a dream. I layered it over an American Apparel mesh dress.  And I've finally cranked out my beloved Audrey Cantwell leather leggings, the F21 booties once again, plus of course a purple vintage floral and veil headpiece;), vintage 1960s earrings and assorted bangles.
Ready for anything!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh how I wanted everything Madonna wore in Desperately Seeking Susan - that jacket! Those boots!  
Interesting to see her recreate her past and flog it off to modern teens with her new Material Girl collection.  I smell a nice big earner for her and Macy's, but I can concede that it is a clever idea: 1980s icon and controversial feminist who led the way to today's Lady GaGa look.

Bustle Up! - DAY 8

Blame my shameless Madonna worship, circa 1985. on my skirt.
Or blame the skirt on Madonna.
Or just me.  
Yes I love and do wear this skirt. 
It does tend to knock things over and brush delicate kick-knacks off shop shelves,  but I just think it has a mind of its own and wants some attention.  
Sooooo back to the circus world.
The skirt is part of a Studibaker Hawk dress which was a big Sydney label during the 80s and considered expensive at the time at around $500+ a pop.  
Once upon a time it was a dress and someone has hacked the strapless bodice off the top and probably just worn that and hidden the sad, forlorn and outrageously huge skirt part away.
You might recognise it as a permanent decorative feature in the kitchen in my post pics, accompanied by its sister - a gold and black number - which has not been destroyed and fits me.
I spotted the skirt's garish fabric at a vintage market stall a few months ago, knew straight away what it was and picked it up for a few bucks.  It had no waist so I sewed a thick band of black elastic around the top to make a waist band - too easy!!
Also wearing a thrifted lace blouse and Forever 21 booties.
Messy hair, tick.

Monday, August 16, 2010

That's it, I'm joining the circus - DAY 7

Every time I put this top on I feel like I should be on the high swing in a big top circus.
It's a vintage 60s wool and silk shell top absolutely covered in sequins and beaded tassels both front and back.
I bought the leather shorts from Bitching and Junkfood - they have so many pockets and are super comfy - check out their site for more and their 50% off sale.  Shoes are a thrifted pair of delicious metallic suede wedges.
Well, must be off to tighten the ropes!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Get Up Sister - DAY 6

Yes I am wearing a nightie.
Now we've got that out of the way I can truthfully say that after styling this 1930s lacy treasure I'm ready to wear it anywhere.
Gorgeous fabric - tick.  Beautiful colour - tick.  Tiny puffed sleeves and lace details - tick.
Add black tights, Docs, pearls and feather hair-comb and I'm off out.
This nighty's far too yummy for bed I'm afraid:).

Go flapper go! DAY 5

My son paid us a surprise visit on this glorious Sunday, resulting in many mind-blowing, hilarious and futuristic discussions and plans.
The result?  Today's 1920s-meets-Star Trek outfit:).
The dress is an original late 20s silk chiffon number with creme lace inserts in the front and back.  I love the fit around the hips with its finely pleated flounces.
The dress is so incredibly old that the sleeves are starting to shred.  So why am I wearing it?  Because it's beautiful, old and has soul. 
The shredding makes it even more charming and accessible.
Plus it's my favourite colour - green.
I've married the dress with AA silver leggings and tried it with Docs, blood-red platforms and a black silk jacket.
I also added a 1940s velvet, veiled hat; then a vintage Liberty of London silk scarf.

Question: Do you think old, delicate clothing or accessories should be worn or saved for posterity?

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