Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should Doc Marten Stay or Should he Go?

Spotted shift - $2 op-shop
Le Specs reissues - ebay
Doc Martens brogue maryjanes - $3 op-shop

I've got to tell you straight up, I really rather hate Doc Martens - although that wasn't always the case.

As a poverty stricken first year university student in 1990 I wore a pair of plain low lace up Docs (or "DMs" as we used to call them) every single day for a whole year - such was the depth of my desperate yearning for credibility and the shallowness of my shoe collection (three pairs).

I aspired to be like the coolest, sexiest girl at uni who wore her Docs with fifties cotton sundresses, cats eye sunglasses, bare legs and a birds nest of peroxided hair piled on her head (with about three inches of black roots). She had messy (and probably dirty) love affairs, a throaty chuckle (which with hindsight I'm sure she practised at home in front of a mirror) and seemed like she wasn't trying at all. I gave the vintage frocks a shot, but in the end my natural tendencies asserted themselves and I wore my DMs with velveteen hotpants, crocheted catsuits and psychedelic mini skirts. My dalliances were never more than a bit untidy, my laugh was (and still is) an exuberant cackle and I spent my time bouncing around and dancing like a fool and trying awfully hard to work out just what the hell I was all about.

I did always hated the cherry Docs though, and those ones with the yellow stitching, and by the time my mother had a knock-off pair of six hole boots (with horrible little padlocks on them, no doubt some youth has salvaged them from an op-shop now in triumph and joy) I had grown to loathe the very sight of those chunky soles. Eventually the trend waned and Doc Martens went from being ubiquitous back to being worn by glum grunge teenagers, earnest people handing out Socialist Left Weekly outside of train stations, and skinheads. In other words, people who are very determinedly not sexy.

Of course in more recent-ish times lots of gorgeous young things have been clomping around in Doc Martens, but I have been utterly resistant to the revival. Partly due to my ingrained loathing (you try wearing the same pair of shoes for a year and NOT hating them) and partly due to the fact that I know I look kind of dumpy in them. With black opaques and the insouciance (and legs) of an eighteen year old I could get away with the bovver boot look, but I think that particular ship has sailed. So how is it that I come to be wearing this pair of cornish pasty shaped chunksters?

I blame this photo from Jak & Jil, which ignited little flickers of nostalgia somewhere deep inside (those are just like the ones I wore so long ago), and the fact that about two hours after seeing that picture I ran across these shoes and they cost a mere three bucks. Back in the day I had to save for about six months to afford a pair of Docs - and make a three hour train trip to Sydney to buy them. So a heady cocktail (well, more like a college bar happy hour shandy) of fond memories and cheap price tag prompted the purchase, but now I want your humble and not so humble opinions about whether they stay or go.

Points for Staying:

- they are undeniably comfortable, always a plus when there is little dude wrangling to be done;
- $3 is still a bargain;
- if I am suddenly gripped by the desire/need to wear the same pair of shoes for a whole year then these would be hard wearing enough for the job;
- the brogue/maryjane combo is kind of cute and girly, no?
- maybe with a skirt and black tights they'd look ok for a puddle jumping winter's day.

Points for Going:

- I have short stumpy feet, so no matter what, Doc Martens are going to look wide and sort of abbreviated on me (ie. the cornish pasty effect);

- I am not generally a comfort footwear proponent - having been blessed with sturdy flipper feet I have been able to ignore Crocs, Birks, Masseur Sandals and all their orthopedic cousins. Why change now?
- there might just be a kind of minimalist elegance to a pair of plain low lace ups, but hole punched t-bar double strap maryjanes? Not minimalist, not elegant and maybe just way too much going on for an alleged classic shoe.
- I know I always say this in these posts, but there is a very real danger for a person of my vintage wearing a literal interpretation of a trend from my youth - the danger of looking like I haven't ever moved on, that I'm stuck in the early nineties and won't ever leave. Or like I should be standing outside the railway station with a pile of unwanted Socialist Left Weeklies...

Anyhow, what you say - Should they stay or should they go?

PS. Happy fourth wedding anniversary to me and my husband today - hence the blue spotted frock which is his favourite. I love you baby!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

As promised...

...welcome to the Wacky Jumpsuit edition of Skylark and Son!

Diane Fres eighties jumpsuit - $49 (hangs head in shame) ebay
Black leather heels - $40 Sportsgirl sale
Eighties gold/black disc earrings - $3 op-shop

When I appeared (materialised?) before my husband in this jumpsuit he went white with fear and said, "What... the hell is that?!" before muttering something about Priscilla Queen of the Desert and scurrying back into the safety of his lair/office. I'm guessing he spent the rest of the afternoon messing around with his 3D modelling pre-visualisation storyboarding software thingy and trying desperately to banish this particular mental image:

I'm highly tempted to suit up again and put the frighteners on him with a bit of lip synching and voguing before bed time!

Sorry about that dalek sticking its raygun into the corner of all my photos, I had my tripod around the wrong way today.

I'm not sure I'm quite the statuesque glamazon to do this jumpsuit justice (maybe Claerwen would work it the way it deserves), but it makes me feel pretty good anyhow. I do think I need bigger hair for it though - something a bit Bonnie Tyleresque, perhaps!

I have been on the look out for some giant disc shaped earrings for ages, ever since I dreamt of a pair months ago (any thoughts for us on that one, Sigmund?) These eighties ones presented themselves to me in an op-shop a couple of weeks ago and I am quite thrilled with their gigantism - and the fact that although they look like metal, they are actually made from super light wood with coiled metallic cord glued on. So despite their enormous circumference they don't weigh my ears down at all.

My far from exhaustive knowledge of eighties Australian fashion tells me that these earrings are from Bali, the wood being the biggest clue to their origins. The most common species of Balinese earring known to Australians is the dangling carved wooden parrot (I had a pair of purple ones), but then, as now, Bali was a cheap place for smaller Aussie designers to have their garments and accessories made. Current Australian labels designing and manufacturing to some extent in Bali include Shakuhachi, Alice McCall, Natasha, Hussy and Mogil.

Balinese batik jumpsuit - $2 ebay
Black leather eighties belt - $1 op-shop
Black suede Senso fringed sandals - $40 Max's Shoes Sale

Australia's proximity to Indonesia means that virtually the entire population has managed a trip to Bali at least once* and consequently we have a few decades' worth of Balinese souvenirs floating around our op-shops - the kind of clothes that people buy to wear on holiday, but which don't quite work for them back home in Bacchus Marsh or Cessnock or wherever. Wacky Jumpsuit Number Two up there being a prime example.

Bizarrely enough my husband kind of liked this one, and some random dudes on the front verandah of a house round the corner sexually harrassed me with great enthusiasm when I walked past them this afternoon. I cannot say I understand it - I do kind of like the jumpsuit (you know me, I've perverse like that) but it really does look like what Dr Oz was wearing when he got struck by lightning, or fell in a tar pit or something.

Dr Oz was the bane of my existence when the little dude was a newborn (well actually the bane of my existence was sleep deprivation, closely followed by explosive projectile poo, but just go with me here). I'd sit down for my hour long breastfeeding sessions at Oprah time, and instead of some uplifting makeovers or home renovations, I'd get Dr Oz haranguing me about my cholesterol or showing piece of fat clogged artery pickled in a jar or something. I resent him still, after all surely the time in life when you should be able to enjoy your cholesterol without harassment by some guy in scrubs is when you are FEEDING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING SOLEY FROM YOUR BODY.

Patchwork duffle bags and satchels like this one ($2 op-shop) are another classic Bali souvenir op-shop staple - I usually ignore them but something about the colours in this one made me like it enough to buy it. At least I think it was the colours, but I might just have been hypnotised by the Rubik's snake I bought the same day ($1 op-shop), and felt an uncontrollable compulsion to surround myself with triangles...

I've been working out how I can fashion the snake into bangle shapes, but I think that wearing a Rubik's Snake as jewellery would actually be a Nu Rave bridge too far. I think I'll leave it to the youths in the giant fluro pink sneakers, so if any nu-rave youths are reading this - please feel free to adorn yourself in Rubik's Snakes and I won't ask for any royalties at all!

PS. Here's the little dude and his mate Arch hanging out in their sunglasses. No reason, just because they're cute (and sort of remind me of a mini toddler version of Entourage).

*I’ve Been to Bali Too

Qantas flight 20, Denpasar
Meals and accom and a rent-a-car
I've been to Bali
I've been to Bali too

Took a two week course at a suntan clinic
So lying round Legian I wouldn't look anaemic
And you can't impress me
‘Cause I've been to Bali too

Got a ride out to Kuta in the back of a truck
Cost me twenty dollars and it wasn't worth a buck
Hustled to a losmen down in Poppy's Lane
By a Javanese guy in a tropical rainstorm,
Lock up your daughters
I've been to Bali too

Life is tragic hanging out at Kuta
If you haven't got a car, a bike or a scooter
Show me the bike shop
I've been to Bali too

Got myself a Honda, had to get away
No brakes, bald tyres,
five thousand ‘rupes’ a day
I've been to Bali too

Well I don't ride a bike much home in Australia
As a motorcycle hero, guess I'm a failure
Bemos to the left, trucks to the right
The Honda was a wreck but I was alright,
Hello Mercurochrome
I've been to Bali too

Wired home for money, I was short of cash
A dose of Bali-Belly and a tropical rash
Daddy came through - American Express
Bali T-shirts, magic mushrooms, Redgum bootlegs
I've been to Bali too

Took my bag and mozzie coils to Peliatan
It was there where my Bali trip really began
Been there, done that
I've been to Bali too

Tourists from Holland, Britain and France
Late night puppet shows, legong dance
Want to see my slides?
I've been to Bali too.

Well, I wandered off to Ubud, just a little up the track
One week there didn't want to come back
Listening to gamelon and playing guitar
Tjanderi’s tacos, Hotel Menara, two month visa
I've been to Bali too.

Flying Kangaroo out of Denpasar
Left me camera in the airport bar
I've been to Bali
I've been to Bali too

Touch down, touch down Tullamarine
Sprayed me on the plane so I'd be real clean
Coming though Customs
I've been to Bali too

They went through my bags like McCartney in Japan
I didn't have a thing so I didn't give a damn
You can't trick me
'Cause I've been to Bali too

You've been to Paris and you've been Boston
You've been to Fiji and you've been to London
But you can't impress me
'Cause I've been to Bali too

From the Redgum album “Frontline”, 1984
John Schumann: Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd

Friday, February 13, 2009

Glitter Hearts and Pink Champagne

Rose print taffet pencil skirt (worn as a dress) $2 op-shop
Black elastic belt - $5 Cotton On sale
Black patent leather wedges -$50 Nine West outlet

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope wherever you are that pink marshmallows are raining from skies of clearest Tiffany blue, lovebirds are flitting amongst the rosy scented petals all around, vintage champagne is pouring from your kitchen tap and a happy glow of love is warming the cockles of your heart.

Here we have monsoon rains pouring from a grey sky, a pack of noisy mynah birds launching dive bomb attacks on our cat, and a leaky bathroom tap wasting water and money with every drop - but the love is in abundant supply, so how could I possibly complain!

Valentine's Day card courtesy of the little dude on his first day of kindy.

Lots and lots of love (and pink marshmallows too).

PS. I have a vast backlog of posts rattling around in my tiny mind, so stand by for a return to more frequent blogging around here in the very near future.
PPS. Australia has gone all out to help the people affected by the Victorian bushfires, with donations over $100 million now (which is huge considering the size of our population), but if anyone has a spare dollar left over, spare a thought for the little wild animals also suffering in the wake of the fires. Over a million animals are thought to have died in the disaster, and many more have been injured and/or lost their habitat in the vast swathe of bushland burnt out. My mum has especially asked that I pass on this link for donations to help the animals - Wildlife Victoria.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A sad day here

A very sad day here in Australia - terrible bushfires are still burning across the state of Victoria where they have claimed many, many lives, homes and animals. Some survivors have been terribly burnt, many have lost everything they owned, some small towns have been completely destroyed. In terms of loss of life it is the worst natural disaster we have seen in the nation's recorded history.

We have a large country with a small population, and a disaster like this makes a huge impact on us all. One sign of that is the unparalleled amount of donations that have already been made to relief funds. Aussie style bloggers are also part of the outpouring of generosity - to name a few, Imelda Matt and Super Kawaii Mama (among others) have details of where to donate, Keshe from the Vintage Year is donating part of her Ebay profits, and Trish from Trish Hunter Finds has written a very moving post about the loss of her family home in the fires.

One of those days where I can only feel grateful for the fact that the people I love are all safe and well and far from harm's way.

PS. Wacky jumpsuits etc will return soon, just couldn't face it today.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Clarification

It has come to my attention (via a rather condemnatory anonymous comment) that some people maybe thought that this paragraph in my last post:

Maybe, just maybe, if this was made out of some kind of slithery shiny satin I could picture it as the going out attire of some superannuated showgirl - but poplin? Poplin is the fabric for sensible blouses and bank teller uniforms, not aging sex kittens with too much gold jewellery and too many stories about the one that got away (he had a used car dealership, biggest on the Coast, wouldn't leave his wife in the end).

was about me. It's not - it's my hamfisted attempt to imagine the lady who might have owned that dress. She's a character, just an imaginary character. I obviously didn't write that little passage with enough clarity, so I thought I'd better make it clear now. I'm not an old showgirl, an aging sex kitten (or any other kind of sex kitten for that matter), I don't have too much gold jewellery (I kind of wish I did though), and I never had an affair with a married man, used car dealer or otherwise (obviously that was the controversial bit).

Hope that all makes sense!

PS. We have another day or two until our broadband kicks in for another month, so I am a bit curtailed in my blog reading and commenting until then. So apologies for my absence, but I'll be back soon to see you all.