Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Fluffy Clouds in the Sky

Why fight it? 
The first day Black Milk put up these leggings, my finger hovered momentarily over the "add to cart" button and click, it was all done in a flash.
Now I can hum The Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds while perched in a tree, pegs encased in a vibrant summer sky.

I may have missed out on a vintage fashion fair this weekend, but my daughter and I made up for it by spending a lovely couple of hours at a little craft market, climbing trees and mucking about in harbour rock pools.

I'm wearing a thrifted silk scarf tied into a turban, 1930s camisole I re-fashioned, thrifted bilum bag from Papua New Guinea, thrifted 1950s necklace, thrifted 1970s sunnies and Docs.

I found this lovely little green ring made by a Kiwi lady who has an Etsy shop too.
I love how many crafters are so accessible these days - so many of artists sell at one-off markets, online stores, pop-up shops and take special orders.

You are feeling sleepy ... your eyes are getting heavy. 
Something hypnotic about a bright sky isn't there?

Did you have a wonderful Sunday?
Desiree xoxo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Purple Peril

This weekend I've missed out on one of Brisbane's biggest vintage fashion fairs for the third year in a row ... **blowing raspberries**.
So I did the next best thing and dressed up in the late 1930s dress and bolero I bought at the last one I went to.

It's a damn shame about the perilous fading but what to do?
Risk further damage with dye or brave it and be proud of its flaws?

Well I don't believe I should be hidden away because of my age-related flaws, so why should my clothes be hidden away for being far less than perfect?
So I wear it as is.
Besides, it's purple!  'Nuf said.

When I first spotted this lovely bias-cut frock and jacket, I just couldn't turn away from it - I mean it's homemade and someone's gone to the effort of hand beading all the lovely embellishments.
Here's a bit of a close-up of the gold and silver beading.

I've always been a sucker for a bit of a puffy sleeve and super-soft satin lining.

The deep calf-length feels wonderful swishing around my ankles and the leopard-print satin wedges slapped me repeatedly, yearning to be worn, to see and be seen.

And yes, I mash-up my animal prints, yes I do!

If you're out and about digging for vintage treasures this weekend ... enjoy, break out of the mould and wear what you love.
Desiree xoxo

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Frilly Frou-Frou Evenings on a Budget

How is it possible women in the 1930s wore these beautiful silk nighties to bed?
Surely they were tempted to wear them as dresses sometimes?
I snapped up this little cream silk and lace beauty on eBay, while in the throes of Frilly Knicker Fever.
Alas FKF shows no sign of abating.
But if I can't afford the 1930s dresses that are (understandably) becoming prohibitively expensive, I will continue to hunt down the next best thing.
Knickers and nighties.

These silken treasures are wonderful for creating looks that are intensely individual.
Vintage camisoles and PJ tops worn as blouses with structured jackets look great and of course if you want daring, you could wear your undies on the outside.
I've been dying to wear this 1920s jet beaded headpiece for ages.
I love the way it feels on my forehead and ears - tiny tickles:).
Plus it's great for a bad-hair day.
The bag is a 1920s or 30s gold-embossed leather evening clutch and I think the blood-red feather earrings add a bit of "how's your father" to the ensemble.

You can see the lace detail here - it's extremely soft and a darker shade than the silk dress.
More red with Rimmel's Alarm lippy and my leather red rose and cocktail rings.

Boobs get a bit of much-needed shaping here with the gathered bodice.
The fur cape is from the 1940s.
Sarah of Misfits Vintage had me smiling at her post about her late mother's fur that she's planning on selling and donating the proceeds to orphaned animals in Japan.
You can donate to the cause on Sarah's blog too.
I do wear vintage fur and adore it, but many think it's gross.
Perfectly understandable in these enlightened times.

Let me share a dress-fitting secret with you.
If you're planning on wearing 1930s bias-cut gowns, DON'T buy them to fit your measurements.
Buy them slightly larger as the extra couple of inches in all the right places will create a better drape.
Believe me, if you size up and go for at least 2-3 inches more in the waist and hips, the gown will fit better and be more figure-forgiving.

The shoes are vintage leather dancing shoes.

When I do my sums, I'm quite impressed with the cost of my evening outfit:
eBay headpiece: AUD$16; 
eBay dress: $12; 
eBay fur: $60; 
thrifted shoes: $4; 
thrifted clutch: $12; 
new earrings: $15.
Total: $119.
Hey not bad for evening wear and if you swap the fur for a faux or fabric cape you might get a better deal, although capes are really popular at the moment so prices are high.
I have a costume sewing pattern for capes with and without hoods - think it's time I made one and if I use thrifted or stashed fabric it'll cost next to nothing.

Desiree xoxo

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And the Wise Old Woman Said ...

What makes your blog tick?  
Modly Chic's weekly Friend Beauty Fashion Friday group asks bloggers to share the five hardest blogging lessons they've learned.
I've tweaked this week's question and decided to share the greatest lessons I've learned, from a blogger who is growing old disgracefully.

1. Read widely.  
One of the earliest lessons I learned was to make time reading blogs I liked and making mental notes on why I kept returning for more.  
I discovered that my favourite blogs included posts about the writer and their life, with the main focus on inspirational outfit of the day posts, DIY, re-fashioning and bargain finds - especially secondhand treasures.
Time spent reading has in turn helped me to shape my blog into a manageable and focussed one.
Don't forget about books - inspiration plus!

Reading about sapeurs in the book, Gentlemen of Bacongo, inspired me to style-up this 1950s frock.

2. Post one topic at a time.  
Art, home decorating, fashion, crafting and food are great topics to read about and look good pictorially, but I find they pack more punch if they're kept to separate posts.  
It's easy for a reader to skim over important content if they're feeling weary.  
Split that content into bite-sized chunks and you've given your reader one thing to focus on at a time.  
Remember, bloggers spend a lot of time reading other blogs and brains get tired.

3. Post big pics and include close-ups.
Creative minds love detail and many fashion bloggers need to see all the little patterns and textures of fabrics and accessories to quench their sartorial thirst.

This kilt had been kicking around my closet for a while and simply shortening it gave it a new lease of life - a simple refashioning ripe for a post.

4. Comment, comment, comment.  Share the love!

5. Write about what you love - it shows.

After decades of coveting, my mother gave me her 1940s silk suit and after finding a photo of her wearing it, I couldn't resist this post.

Enjoy the weekend ahead you delicious minxes! 
Desiree xoxo

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What the People Need is a Way to Make 'Em Smile

I'm off to join the circus  and I'm pretty sure I've got a chance in this get-up.

Trouble is I don't really have any circus skills people would pay to see unless you count wrapping both ankles around my neck while reading Green Eggs and Ham.
You're more likely to find me singing aloud on my daily walks ... today was the Doobie Brothers while raiding guava trees.

It's been a rollicking good day wearing my outfit du jour ... a 1950s purple tulle and floral headband from Dandelion Vintage; a thrifted 1960s gold, heavily beaded and sequinned top; a pair of 1930s hand-stitched silk patchwork pants from eBay and Vivienne Westwood Wings.

Clashing colours, sequins, tulle, feathers and patchwork ... have no fear.

Here's a close-up of the pants.
There's some interesting construction going on here.
They're made of calico covered in cut-up silk scarves, which are patched together using something like a blanket stitch.
They still look pretty good for a pair of 80-year-old pants.
Look at the colour saturation!

The headband is decorated with lots of tiny velvet and beaded flowers.

The pants are part of a set, but I need to do a bit of mending work on the top before I can wear it and show you.
As you can see here, the silk border on the hem of the pants is shattering and some of the patches are loose - but I think they're perfect for a would-be clown.

These pants are so precious to me but there's no way I'm hiding them away even if they are falling apart.
They'll just get more love and lots of mending after each outing.

Here's something to lighten up your day ... oh, and if you have a couple of spare tickets to the Doobie Brothers in Brisbane next Thursday night, I'm happy to lighten your load;)).

Desiree xoxo

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tipping the Scales

"Headless chook" is a phrase commonly used to describe someone trying unsuccessfully to get everything done all at once, with perfection.
I happen to think it means trying to please too many people all at once.
This week, Katy of Modly Chic has asked the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday group to explore the concept of "finding the balance" between blogging, working and playing.

1. When it comes to prioritizing your life, in what place does blogging fall?
I'm not great at prioritising as during the past decade I've taken on a hell of a lot with children, study and work commitments.
The result of all that juggling?  An addiction problem, a marriage break-up, two nervous breakdowns and total physical exhaustion.
It all sounds rather grim, but I allowed my life to resemble a non-stop roller coaster ride before I decided to jump off the hurtling wagon and start creating some peace.
Blogging is one way to relax and connect with people who share similar interests with me, so in time it has actually become an important priority and a tool to recovering from all the crap.
Besides, as any fashion blogger knows, playing dress-ups is an unbeatable pastime!

2. We all wish we had more free time to dedicate to blogging and all it entails. What are your tricks for taking advantage of the time you do have to be as productive as possible?
Take today's outfit pic:

This is what I wore to walk my daughter to school this morning and run a few errands later on.
I enjoyed putting the outfit together and wearing it, so I snapped these pics off as soon as I got home.
When I'm wearing something I've put together for the first time, picked up some great second-hand finds or made the odd new purchase, I'll play around with ways to wear those new pieces and do some outfit shots at the same time.
That's how I manage my time with the photography side of blogging.

3. Have you discovered any short-cuts that makes blogging easier or more time efficient?
Outfit pics are time-consuming but they are fun because I'm shopping my closet everyday to make full use of everything I have and coming up with interesting looks.
I have a raft of outfits in my memory bank that I can throw together in a couple of minutes because I've taken the time to think about pieces in my closet I love but haven't worn for a while, or ever!
So blog pics have created short-cuts in real life.
As for blogging short-cuts, I don't really have any apart from the photography side of things I described above.

4. Do you have an editorial calendar or something similar that helps you plan ahead?
Nope.  I guess I should but blogging has purely been a hobby so far.

5. If time wasn’t an issue what you would be doing on your blog/for your blog that you aren’t doing now?
I would spend more time discovering other blogs and attend more vintage fairs and fashion-y events to showcase here.
In the meantime, you'll just have to put up with my boring mug, warts and all;)).

Today's outfit is comprised of a new Black Milk bodysuit which I didn't realise had a nice little feature until I unpacked it.
See? Sparkly!!!!

All of the accessories were thrifted except for the $9 Kmart flats.  The 1930s silk lounging pants were $7 from eBay.  Bargains galore!
A couple of you lovelies have asked about my red rose ring.  It's leather and I bought it from Thousand Island Dressing.

I hope you all have a wonderfully wild weekend:))
Desiree xoxo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Freshly Squeezed

Remember that saucy little ditty in Twin Peaks when Agent Cooper first meets Audrey Horne?
I was humming Freshly Squeezed while strapping on these juicy heels that arrived from eBayland last week.
I guess the tune is an appropriate one considering the pin-up theme here today.
Plus I'm wearing my underwear on the outside again.

The dress is a 1950s rayon slip from Dandelion Vintage - another black slip that I've been wearing incessantly this summer.
I added this 1930s peachy-pink satin embroidered and embossed cape from eBay that I also wore here.
The shoes are exactly the same as a pair I loved to death and had to throw out two years ago.
To me, they are the perfectly balanced shoe and I could not believe my eyes when I spied them reincarnated. 
Come to mama!

Platform - check.  Curved blocky heel - check.  Ankle strap - check.  Cushioned old-lady sole - check.

As for the little gem of a hair clip, I spotted this flashy pin up girl in a Brisbane boutique called The Collective Store.
Everything is handmade by Australian artists and I couldn't put down this one by the talented Emma of Miss Rockabilly, who draws her own gorgeous ladies.
You can buy them at her Etsy store.

Does your coffee need a top-up Agent Cooper?

Thank you all of you for your kind words following my car crash a week ago.
As you can see, no permanent damage - but I must have had a head-knock as I have knickers on the brain.
The hero of the day was Vernon the Volvo, who saved his mistress from getting squished and got pummelled for it. 
Desiree xoxo

Monday, March 7, 2011

You've Come a Long Way Baby

Take a moment and spare a thought for grandma's knickers.
On this eve of the centenary of International Women's Day, I wonder how many women will be thanking the modern goddesses of industry for spandex, lycra, boy pants, g-strings, magic-sucking-in pants or just going knicker-less.
Yep, we are lucky.
Imagine the patient struggle it took those jazzy young things to undo the buttons on their step-in, button-up knickers in desperation for the loo, back in 1935.

Invisible buttonholes - eeeeeeeek!!!

I have a growing addiction to this peachy shade of silk, satin or rayon underwear from the 1930s and 40s.
Part and parcel of getting hooked big-time, is trying out some of these luscious babies for style and practicality.
I snagged two identical pairs of these one-piece thing-umpys on eBay.
Practical they are not!
So to the drawing board.
After much umm-ing and ahh-ing, picking up and putting down, hanging up to gaze at, taking off and on; I decided I was never going to torture myself by wearing them as the inventors meant me to.
I bravely unpicked the button placket, took out the crotch and made a pair into a camisole.

Now, granny's knickers-as-top are wearable, practical ... and kinda cool!

The satin is super-soft and how 'bout those pointy, reinforced stitched bra cups?

Wanna closer look?

The stitching on these pieces is incredibly fine, strong and reinforced inside with pink, fine, grosgrain ribbon.
I'm wearing my new top with Black Milk leggings; black, thrifted silk wrap-around top and Docs.

I love how the top's front skims below the lady-bits and the back drapes down low (this had originally been designed to allow for sitting bottoms).

Do you have any plans for IWD?
After this project, I intend spend the day sorting out my knicker drawer;).

Desiree xoxo

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