Sunday, January 11, 2009

Op on Pop

White Swan brand t-shirt - $4 (new) op-shop
Silk zebra skirt made by me from eighties dress - $8 op-shop (years ago)
Studded suede leather sandals -$24 Sportsgirl sale

White t-shirts are one of those classic basics which are held up as the cornerstone of every human's wardrobe (man, woman, child and all points between), but which I have a conflicted relationship with. My general need for unnecessary embellishment and excess means I feel strangely undressed in a plain white tee. The only ones I've ever really liked are the eighties staple "Swan Brand" which were once widely available everywhere in Australia (here and here are a couple of archival examples I found), but are now an endangered species available only in odd Asian grocery shops, ramshackle army disposal stores, lucky op-shop scores and suchlike.

The cotton is thin, the neck is round, there is no ribbing to be found. If anyone has a reliable online source for these, I'd love to hear about it!

I bought the silk eighties dress that skirt is made from well before the little dude was even thought of, and it's been hanging around in my sewing bag ever since. It was mostly a lovely dress with little shoulder pads and a tulip skirt, but an unfortunate circular ruched panel in the midsection made it unwearable in its original form. It gave the unsettling impression that the wearer had been set about by some knife-wielding maniac who'd performed haphazard adhoc abdominal surgery then stitched it all back up again the wrong way around. In any case I finally just gave up on all the elaborate plans I had for it (it was going to be a strapless dress, then a paper bag waist skirt) and whacked on a bit of thick black elastic as a waistband. Et voila, the lazy sewer's skirt!

This little eighties vest ($3.50) caught my eye on the racks of the Coolangatta Salvation Army store mostly because of the contrast between the black and the print - but I bought it because of the exaggerated and elongated cut at the front. I've actually been wearing this almost constantly since I bought it a week or so ago, it's surprisingly versatile and somehow those roses go with everything. In fact, the actual outfit I wore today was the skirt/tee/vest combo not just the skirt and t-shirt.

I haven't done an op-shop round-up post for an age - truly continents have formed and then drifted apart again since I last laid out my op-shopped purchases for your perusal. As ever, a few factors are to blame:

1. Lack of motivation to op-shop as have millions of summer clothes already,
2. Lack of motivation to op-shop as the beach calls to me instead,
3. Lack of motivation to op-shop as tis the season for sale shopping instead!

So this is a sort of aggregate post of random bits of stuff I've picked up here and there over the last few weeks of half-hearted occasional op-shop adventures. There are a few things in my alterations pile, but this is the actual (rather paltry) rundown of what I've picked up lately.

This Mexican vest ($8) is one of those things which I occasionally buy, then ruminate over for a while before deciding whether it works or not. It has a distinctly late-seventies-Doctor-Who-costume-department vibe about it, and I mostly bought it just because I'd been to four different op-shops that morning and found nada, but I do kind of like it. Not with this outfit though, that's just for the sake of quick and easy photo taking.

The Gold Coast is one of those places where there are lots and lots and lots of retirees (and golf courses), and consequently the op-shops are chock full of senior citizen wear. The racks are clogged with slack suits, sensible blouses, bowls uniforms and orthopedic shoes - and they do a roaring trade among the thrifty elderly locals. Not so much joy for me though, unless I muster up a bit more commitment to the op-shopping cause!

This little blouse ($4.50) is borderline sensible seniors-wear, but something about the jade green colour, the perfectly floppy fabric, the embroidered seashells and the myriad cut-outs gives it a little edge. I had trouble getting a decent photo of the colour - imagine something somewhere between all three of these and you'll just about have it right.

No need to imagine the colour(s) here, this technicolour yawn effect is very true to life. This washed silk blouse ($3.50),

is probably what we'd have to call non-sensible seniors wear, and since I'm all in favour of anything from the Endora school of older lady fashion I approve!

See, she likes the blouse too!

In summary, I'm going to have to seriously up the ante when it comes to my op-shop endeavours. I have the distinct feeling that there is a goldmine of fabulousness lurking out there and I need to get out there and comb the garage sales, car boot sales and op-shops with a renewed hunger. I have no need of new (old) clothes right now, but I have started to get those first tiny glimmerings of interest in wintry things - and those can only be assuaged with some mighty, mighty op-shopping magic...

PS. I don't know what the final verdict on the shoes from my last post was, there were so many differing opinions I think I'm going to have to do some kind of complicated spreadsheet/graph/pie chart analysis before I have the results!

18 comments: said...

i feel weird posting about a white t-shirt but that is a great cut. the neck line is perfect and it's loose without being sloopy.

why the fuck do they make those ugly ass high neckline t shirts that have weird sleeves to the elbow. who does that flatter? N.O.B.O.D.Y

enc said...

I'm continually blown away by your op-shop scores. You can make any schmatte look good, and your sensitivity for good '80s vs. bad '80s is unimpeachable.

Brilliant finds, Skye.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-you've done a fabulous diy job on that skirt, really lovely! I like it best with the white tee and the jade blouse!!

Sal said...

The skirt turned out fabulously. And I love that you refer to that massive vest as "little." For serious, Skye?

thevintageyear said...

Oh man, senior citizens wear, I think I just got a bit too excited there. I love all the blouses especially the jade green one. Also know exactly what you mean about the t-shirts... I NEVER buy basics, I just get distracted by all the shiny pretty things. Your t-shirt is heaps cool though.

WendyB said...

I love, love, love the skirt.

Missa said...

I've been drawn to florals with black backgrounds lately too! I totally know what you mean, I have a floral vest myself that cunningly weasled its way into my wardrobe and demands to be worn with everything. I often wear it over a white tee.

I really like the triangle detailing around the collar of your other vest and the cutouts on the green blouse too :)

Emily Rose said...

The white T shirt is great... it's always hard to find good basics. i like the neckline

LightStealer said...

Love the emerald green with the black&brown of the skirt!

the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things said...

Swan Brand T-shirts! They are the best. We call them "Ah Pek" ("Uncles" in Hokkien) shirts in Singapore because that's what the old guys wear, tucked in, with pleated tailored polyester shorts and loud (fake/real) gold Rolexes when hanging out with their pals in neighbourhood coffeeshops. It's a look that I like replicating.

I don't have an online source but if you like, I can get my pals in Singapore to find you some. They are so cheap by the dozen that we used to keep a few stacks in different sizes in our production boxes for the crew to change into on days when we get caught in the unpredictable Singapore rain. x

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Hammie said...

Sigh, I had a swan t-shirt screenprinted with a Ken Done rip-off of the Harbour bridge which I got in Birkenhead markets circa 1983. They really were the biz in terms and so iron-able!

I am not feeling most of those tops, The Mexican one reminds me of Guliani's Youtube clip where he dressed up as Mufasa from the Lion King (Republican nomination attempt) but I do love the Rainbow Fish top. A lovely tale if you havent read it.

Happy New Year Sky, Hope it is good for you and all your loved ones.xx

Hippy Chic said...

I really like the green shirt with the animal print skirt, it's a good punch of color. and about the basics issue, I just turn to good ole American Apparel or Gap for those. They have the best cuts and necklines around.



Skye said... - loose without being sloppy is a really tricky combo, I think it's why I like these tees so much.

enc - good to see you!

Sharon-Rose - thank you, I am planning another skirt now, leopard print this time.

Sal - it really isn't as massive as it looks there, and the fabric is really light and girly, so it seems kind of little to me!

thevintageyear - there's old lady wear (cool) and then there's senior citizen wear which is all about the poly pantsuit!

WendyB - I'm glad you love it, it's the zebra isn't it?

Missa - they're cunning, those vests. Before you know it they've taken over!

Emily Rose - good basics are hard to find, and I rarely make the effort to look for them, so extra good to find this one.

Lightstealer - I wish I could have got a better photo of that green, it's good!

ikkle - ooh, ooh, ooh! That's a very tempting offer...

Hammie - you were certainly a Birkenhead regular! That blouse is totally Rainbow Fish, of course.

Hippy Chic - I've tried AA and Gap over the years and I like them well enough (well AA, not Gap for me), but I still love the old Swan Brand the best.

Anita said...

The Lifeline store at Molendinar/Ashmore is probably worth a trip one day; it is HUGE so although there is lots of seniors gear there, there's usually plenty of decent finds too. There's a shop my SIL used to frequent at Helensvale, I can't remember who runs it, but it's just off Discovery Drive (first left from Brisbane Road, after the street that goes into the shops). I htink it's St Vinnies at Nerang, on the corner of Lavelle Street (the river end) could be another operator but they usually have some decent finds too. Enjoy! ;)

Make Do Style said...

I want your sandals now!!!
Hope you're good and look forward to your next post x

whereareyou said...

Fabulous finds!! I really like your rose vest... it's beautiful :)
xx said...

that valley girl dress is hawt...this post has such great finds!