Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spotted Frocks and Spring Flings


Eighties vintage Le Specs sunglasses - $13 ebay
Navy spotted shift dress - $2 op-shop
Black patent leather wedges - $50 Nine West outlet

At last! The first official day of spring is living up to all the hype - blue skies, golden light, twenty delicious degrees - and (taking my cue from the gorgeous new dotted dress that Andrea from A Cat of Impossible Colour acquired this morning) I decided to break out my own spotted frock. My husband has been hassling me to wear this one since I bought it - the classic fitted shift shape being stereotypical man-bait deluxe. I've held out on him until now, because I really wanted to debut this dress on a day when the air was warm and I could go bare legged and fancy free


I'm sure I could wear scarves and belts and brooches and all kinds of feminine furbelows with this, but there's something refreshing about ditching all the layers after a long winter and just being a streamlined machine. Note: armpit fetishists this one's for you!


Slipping into this dress and feeling suddenly full of frisky spring optimism and breeze-in-my-hair freedom, I was reminded of a spotty dress I own which has the exact opposite effect on me. It resides in the Garage Sale Bag of Doom, where it has had permanent residence since the day I bought it (thankfully just from an op-shop) in some kind of fugue state caused by toddler-induced sleep deprivation.


I can hear you thinking, "What's she on about? That's not so bad." Bit frumpy perhaps, a tad ordinary but it doesn't look completely terrible. Little do you realise just what down in the dumps, stumpy awfulness can be achieved with a bias cut and a hem-length of impossible wrongness. Behold the full-length view:


You can see the morose look on my face - that's because Daddy's just come home from work with the news that he's lost everything in the Crash. I'm trying to digest the fact that I'm going to have to try and get a job at the button factory even though everyone's getting laid off and I've never worked a day in my life. Daddy's letting the maids go right now, we'll probably be next door neighbours in Shantytown before the month is up!


Here's the little dude (do you think that should be capitalised?) getting in on the spotty spring action in my super plasticky shower cap.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunday Should I Stay or Should I Go?


My wish for a sunny sunday did not come true, and so I've spent a rainy day rattling around with a stir crazy little dude thinking about all the things I need to get rid of before we move. I have a feeling the next month or two might feature a glut of "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" type posts. My natural inclination is to be ruthless, but sometimes that can result in regrets over things which I jettisoned too soon, just before the fiendish fashion cycle brought them back to covetability.


When it comes to earrings I'm an all or nothing kind of girl - I like them HUGE (hoops you can wear as bangles for example) or tiny (like, say, almost infinitesimal pearl studs) and rarely do I walk the middle ground. For the last three or so years, though, I've barely worn a thing in my ears and when I have they've been chunky square cut crystal studs (like these Mimco ones):

A combination of perilous grabbing little dude paws and the vagaries of fashion have conspired to keep my extravagant dangling earrings off my ears and on the shelf. Lately though bigger earrings have been stealthily sneaking back onto my radar - one recent morning I woke from a dream absolutely certain that I needed to acquire a pair of saucer sized round hammered brass earrings forthwith. Since other recent dreams have included one where a spaceship was buried under the local highschool football gound, one where a slight aquaintance joined me in the shower clad only in a pair of brown sneakers, and another where I was about to go into battle (!) in some kind of global super-conflict but couldn't find a pair of clean socks or knickers anywhere, I did not heed the saucer earring call! Still the idea of bigger earrings has floated up from the murky depths of my subconscious and is begging for attention.


All of that brings me to today's Should I Stay or Should I Go item - a pair of earrings I've owned for four or five years (just cheapies from Diva, I'm sure they cost under ten bucks) and haven't worn for an age. In the last little while I have put them on and taken them off again on quite a few mornings, not quite able to decide if they are right for now, or too dated still. I feel like perhaps these earrings, with their delicate fringe of chain, represent the middle ground between HUGE and tiny - without being too dainty for me. I'm truly not sure though, am I deranged in thinking that their moment might ever come again? Or should they be consigned to the dustbins of history?

Points for Staying

- their delicate fringe of chain which feels lovely sweeping my shoulders
- they've survived this long without disintegrating even though they were under $10
- the gunmetal/brass hybrid metal colour is very versatile
- my subconscious tells me dangly earrings are coming back around

Points for Going

- my subconscious is not widely known for its fashion judgement, mostly is known for scenarios involving Daniel Craig as James Bond and lots of raspberry jam (don't ask).
- perhaps irredeemably early noughties (urgh, hate that word)
- does the hoop part make them a bit Jenny from the Block?
- no idea if they look ok, or terrible, definitely need outside opinions on that!

Please note, for the purposes of these photos I put my hair up, usually though the earrings get a little lost in my hair - the overall effect is far more subtle.


So there you have it - should they stay or should they go, go, go to the great big boho graveyard in the sky?

PS. If you haven't voted in the giveaway yet - here's a handy reminder!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cloudy Horizons

Something by Natalie Wood blouse - $4 garage sale
Chambray skirt - $7.50 Supre bargain basement
Tan stack heel Brazilian pumps - $10 op-shop

When I headed out the door this morning I was feeling quite jaunty and pleased with myself, clip-clopping along in my little tan pumps and puffy blouse in the sunshine. By the time the photos were taken things had degenerated somewhat - the sky had gone grey, a neighbour was using a bandsaw (and hammering in between ear-searing bandsaw activity), the little dude trod in dog poo and tracked it through the house and all in all a cloud had fallen across the sunshine of my day.


The biggest cloud hovering overhead though is that after five years in our little rented beach shack the landlords have decided to sell up, and they want us to leave by the end of October. Which probably wouldn't have been that much of a hassle because although we love our little place, we've outgrown it and have been itching to up stumps for a while. The complication with finding a new nest (aside from a ridiculously tight rental market and skyrocketing rents) is that we're in a holding pattern at the moment waiting for the green light on my husband's next project. When that light comes (hopefully in the next two months) we'll have to pack up and be on the next plane out of here. The timing could not be worse, although I suppose I could be nine months pregnant as well, so should not complain too much!


I am going to miss the frangipani trees at our back door, I hope they have their leaves and flowers by the time we go - they are still in their winter grey now. It's a funny thing, I'm a natural-born nomad and I've been climbing the walls for six months, bursting to sell up and get out of here - and now that the decision has been taken out of my hands I'm getting desperately (and uncharacteristically) sentimental about this house. It was the place we brought our newborn little dude home to, the place I prepared for our wedding (and the place we got engaged too), the place we lived when we got the first big green light, the place I was when I found out I was pregnant, it's the last place I lived before I became a wife and a mother.


Ah well, at least this gives me an excuse to have a gargantuan garage sale (Everything Must Go!) and get rid of that behemoth garbage bag of clothes lurking under the bed. See, I told you that sentimental stuff was out of character for me and my black little heart! I do love the black little rose buttons on this blouse though, although I don't think I could countenance them in pink.

Of course all of my whingeing is ridiculous in a world where people are driven from their homes by war, famine, civil unrest, poverty, debt and disaster and a million other sad and terrible reasons. Perhaps, as my husband said, the call from the landlord was a sign from the universe that everything is about to fall into place for us. Onward and upward! Although, please can it be sunny tomorrow?


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Stuff Friday! (and new shoes too...)

It occurred to me last night that the end of the Black Dress Challenge deserves a better celebration than I gave it yesterday - which was far more whimper than bang. To that end I propose joining the cool kids and getting into some Free Stuff hijinks!

Up for grabs is the shiny, shiny eighties vintage Charles Jourdan bow pin I was wearing yesterday (so it too is a genuine veteran of the challenge). The pin is in mint condition and comes in the original box and I think it's pretty darn cute. I will miss its shiny little face but would love it to go to a loving new home:

All you need to do to get in the running for these giveaway shenanigans is tell me in the comments for this post which one of the seven black dress outfits is your favourite (and if you hate them all just lie, I'll never know). Here they are again (click to enlarge if you really want to punish yourself):

Those seven outfits represent a fair sampling of my ninety seven thousand different fashion personalities, so my totally transparent ulterior motive is finding out which one/s people like. I am a curious kitten! In a week the little dude will draw the winning name out of his fireman helmet and the pin will be winging its way to one lucky commenter!

In other news, I gave in to a little craving which has been niggling away in the back of my brain for a while and bought these:

Nude patent leather makes my heart go pitter patter! $70 reduced from $150 at Sportsgirl. There were heaps of pairs left so no doubt they'll end up being reduced to ten bucks or something, but I couldn't wait any longer. There are some pretty decent shoes on sale in there at the moment - definitely worth a peek. I think they brought in the spring/summer stock way too early and the unusually cold winter has kept the customers away.

I know that the pale colour/platform/patent combo could scream "STRIPPER SHOES XXX" and make me look like a refugee from the world's crummiest pole dancing club - but I think they're ok (and pretty comfortable considering those heels are pretty high).

PS. No outfit post today because after a week of that dress all I wanted to do was slump into a pair of jeans and my cashmere jumper and not think about my clothes even one little bit. The only fashion personality I could muster up was Mummy-At-The-Children's-Library-Juggling-Snacks-And-Wriggling-Toddler. Not one of my most inspired, that one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Black Dress Challenge Day Seven - Yippeeee!


Black cotton lycra dress - $2 op-shop
Denim dress (altered by me) - $40 Sportsgirl sale
Black tights - Levante
Charles Jourdan bow pin - 50cents op-shop
Oroton patent leather belt - $1 op-shop
Patent leather slingback wedges - $50 Nine West outlet


The last day of this infernal challenge has finally dawned and I am so ridiculously pleased that the end is in sight - I wanted to tell random people in the street the good news, but that would have entailed far too much back story. I was tempted to make this post all about the ritual burning of the black dress which I intended to do in the backyard, but I think I'll wait and see just how deep the trauma goes. You never know, I might be able to bring myself to wear it again some day! Today I finally put a skirt over it (had to ruck the dress up in a slightly lumpy fashion underneath), and put it on back to front for a slightly more demure approach. Since my skirt was so much shorter than I remembered it being I thought the scoop neck might be better at the back.


The universe was plainly aware that today was the last day of the challenge because new clothes have been materialising before me in the most magical way. A rare Etsy splurge arrived this morning - a dress all the way from Germany which I LOVE. It far outweighed my expectations, I am thrilled with it - but I'm going to be a tease and not show a photo now, I'll save it for another day (which might be tomorrow if the weather cooperates). It was also Op-Shop Thursday, and although it was not the most shining op-shop haul ever seen (some weeks it's all excitement and 1930s dresses, other weeks it's all about the basics), I still rustled up a little pile of things:


Zara red silk/cotton sleeveless blouse - 50cents
Oversized striped boatneck top - 50cents (love this)
Two high-waisted late seventies denim skirts - 50cents each (not sure about these, they are a tiny bit small in the waist, and far too long)
White witchery leather sandals - $2
And for a dollar, this floaty 80s dress, which needs some shortening to make it workable (into my alterations pile it goes, I really need to get some more of that done before it becomes unmanageable):


After the weekly op-shop mission, my lovely cousin came by for lemon polenta cupcakes and to say goodbye before she moves away to the other end of the country. It's a fabulous butterflies-in-the-tummy adventure for her, sad for me because I'll miss her madly - but there was a tiny sliver of silver lining in the big brown paper bag of goodies she brought me from her pre-departure wardrobe purge. Here are just some (!) of the scrumptious bits and pieces which she chose with me in mind:


Silk dresses, fluttery sleeves, stripes, gorgeous prints - she knows me well, in fact she said she had great fun picking out the right items to give to particular people. Almost like shopping in her own wardrobe for other people - which I think is a lovely idea. I'm often shopping with other people in mind when I'm rummaging through op-shops and garage sales - it's like a little personal styling challenge to find exactly the right thing to take someone else's fancy - I have my share of failures, but when I find just right thing it's wonderful.

I don't know where I'm going to put all these lovely things, but I'll find room. If I've got the ingenuity to wear the same damn dress for a week then I've surely got enough rat cunning to find a way of cramming an extra bushel of clothes onto my tiny little clothes rail.

For those who've stuck around through this interminable challenge, I have to say a massive thank you to all of you for your encouragement and persevence!

PS. Baby gorilla cuteness ahoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Black Dress Challenge Day Six - C3P0 Rules Ok!


American Apparel shiny gold lame leggings - $30 Tuchuzy sale
Black 80s suede almond toe mary janes - $12 bondi markets
Black cotton lycra dress - $2 op-shop
S necklace - $8 bondi markets
Elephant necklace - gift from husband (we went through a lucky elephant phase and elephants started to accumulate around the house, we had to stop before we turned into crazy elephant people with thousands of elephant figurines and a segment on Collectors).
Hawaii necklace - $4 op-shop (about ten years ago)


In a time before the little dude I used to wear all these chains (and more) every day, now I only sneak them on occasionally when I have the energy to be hyper-vigilant about stopping his grabby little mitts snatching them and breaking the chains. I never managed to get one of those gold necklaces with my name on it, despite dropping many hints husband-wards, but there's something about a trashy proliferation of gold chains which I thoroughly enjoy. I do have a very well-developed fondness for trashy gold things in general, hence these terrible/wonderful AA leggings.


I'm also partial to lovely, scrumptious, not-trashy-at-all gold things like this:

BBF Gold Card generously bestowed upon me by the keen-eyed and super fabulous enc from Observation Mode. She thought I might need to put my credit toward something new to wear after my seven days in the same dress ordeal, but I think I might have to invest in a tripod instead. Here's what I currently use to perch my camera on (although I usually remove the cat before I take the photos):

Super high tech, and yes, that is the world's biggest aloe vera in the background, we really should start charging admission for that thing. I'm always a bit nervous about people walking around in the backyard in the dark (especially if they've been drinking) - I have a dread of stumbling out into the early morning light to go running and finding someone out there impaled on an aloe vera spike. Better change the subject quickly, need to think lovely thoughts - and what could be lovelier than a list of bloggers who I'd love to pass on a little bit of gold dust to?

Mila from Loveology - so she can go and buy lots of polaroid film to make more beautiful pictures
esme and the laneway - now that the shopping rules have been lifted she needs some new things from proper shops
Make do an Mend - some extra pennies to ward off student penury for as long as possible (and maybe buy the perfect satchel)
Lady Melbourne - some gold might come in handy for fixing certain technical issues of which we will say no more
Miss Karen from I'm not anti-social - because being a mod is a full-time job and expensive to boot!
Missa from Thrift Candy - because I know you'll spend it wisely on a vast haul of fabulous finds.

Oh, and just in case anyone was still in the dark about this particular issue - no, leggings aren't pants. Damning evidence below - take particular note of the open-mouthed, dead-eyed stare and thigh/crotch grabbing pose I'm working - that's my personal tribute to the wonder that is American Apparel catalogue pictures...


PS. Despite the title of today's post I'm really more of an R2D2 girl, us small and opinionated types have to stick together!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Black Dress Challenge Day Five - On the Offensive


Seventies sheer rayon print frock - $2 op-shop
Eighties tan woven leather boots - $60 ebay
Seventies plaited leather belt - $1 garage sale
Black cotton lycra dress (yes, it's there, look closer) - $2 op-shop

I promise you I really tried to do something more creative with the black dress today - I put skirts over it, and layered tank tops and scarves and more - but nothing was working. It's very rare for me to have this kind of trouble choosing something to wear, even this week I've just been pulling exactly what I want to wear straight off the rack first try. Witness the pile of detritus and debris left in the wake of my dressing process this morning:

It all came down to the fact that it is 20+ degrees here today, spring has well and truly sprung at last, and all I wanted to do was throw on a pretty dress and be done with it. The last thing I felt like doing was messing about with tights and that damn black dress! Anyway, after many failed attempts I gave in to temptation and decided to use the challenge dress as an underneath layer for this sheer frock, which is in desperate need of a slip. Everyone happy (even if I feel like this is maybe not precisely in the spirit of the challenge)!


Lurking in the background of that photo of the pile of discarded clothes on my bed is something pink, polyester and very, very unpleasant - my winter dressing gown. I'm not a pajama kind of girl (and I think you are either are or you aren't), where others rhapsodise about the joys of lounging around in their jammies all day and pledge their allegiance to Peter Alexander, I'm straight into the shower and dressed before you can blink. The thought of staying in pajamas all day makes me feel icky and depressed, even with a newborn little dude I just couldn't do it. Possibly this is because I don't actually wear pajamas to start with!

In summer I always have a couple of little frippery slips and silky robes to slink around in (since I'm usually up just after dawn feeding bananas and porridge to a certain small human), but winter is much more of a challenge. Aging beach bunny that I am, I resent winter house wear and wish there were no need for it. I refuse to spend proper money on it I always end up with something hideous as a result. Truly offensive. Like that polyester robe (bought from a $2 shop/Dollar Store/Everything A Pound place called The Reject Shop) - which is so synthetic that it gives me electric shocks, makes all my arm hairs stand on end, and I'm sure is chock full of carcinogens. When that brain tumour finally happens I'll know exactly where to lay the blame!

The robe's partners in crime are these brown faux suede Pammy Anderson-style ugg boots (with faux sheepskin lining for an extra dash of class) from K-Mart - I think they speak for themselves:

So that's my dirty little secret exposed. A symphony of polyester, acrylic and other synthetic wonders which have a half-life of ten million years and an ugliness factor to the power of a bazillion. Is it any wonder I like to leap into the shower as soon as I can and throw on a pretty dress to erase the memory of the robe?


Do you have house clothes of secret and surpassing hideousness, or are you one of those people with an array of fine gauge cashmere lounging robes and a penchant for wearing pajamas right through the day?