Someone asked me (in the comments of my last post) how the whole "short shorts with bow on the bum" thing worked. I thought I'd just post a photo of my own late eighties bow-bedecked bottom and be done with it, but extensive excavations in my photographic archives failed to turn up anything relevant and I was forced to create the following magnificent pair of explanatory diagrams instead:
Those two tentacle things are actually a pair of tie straps which were sewn into the side seams of the shorts (which were skimpy and fluttery and could be called "tap pants" if we wanted to make them seem somewhat classier than they were).
Once the shorts were on, the straps were pulled to the back and tied in a big bow which rested jauntily on our sadly taken-for-granted (and now long gone) perky teenage bottoms. Occasionally some foolhardy youth would attempt to undo the bow, and they were so terribly disappointed when the undoing of the bow didn't result in the immediate dropping to the floor of the shorts. Sucked in, Chad!
Black bedsheets aren't depressing at all when used as curtains.
I did turn up plenty of photographic evidence that explains exactly why my memories of the clog-infested era of the early nineties are so grim. Look at that photo above (you may not want to look for very long, it's pretty awful), where I'm trying and failing to look cute and adorable in my bass player boyfriend's horrible clothes (those are his purple pants there too) in amongst the general morass of his grunge-era bass-player decor. I know for a fact that a pair of my clogs is lying on the floor just out of shot, somewhere behind that random garbage bag and black vinyl couch, and next to the wall of giant amps, and in my mind that is still the natural habitat of the clog.
It's hard to see because of the flash, but the walls were pretty much orange.
Not that my flat was any better, just slightly tidier and waaaaaaay prissier. I have included this photo because it highlights not only my natural eye for composition, but also the strange sun and sunflower fixation of nineties homewares designers. That rug on my sofa was my pride and joy - I think I actually laybyed it because it was so expensive (that's not saying much, I was a poverty stricken teenager at the time) - I remember thinking that I'd own it forever because it was such a classic and beautiful piece. Just visible: my leather backpack sitting on the pink wicker chair. Not shown: the extensive collection of pictures of Keanu Reeves torn out of magazines and stuck to my wardrobe doors.
Yep, kitten heeled mules. Those little fuckers.
This is from later in the nineties, in a friend's share house - yet there's that sun still hanging around, looking all creepy and smug. Those things were everywhere, I think I even had a shower curtain with their little yellow faces all over it - staring at me slightly malevolently every time I had a shower. You can tell this was a share house, the wonky peeling posters and mismatched brown armchairs are a dead giveaway - but that artfully distressed rug really seals the deal. My friend and I were once caught by one of her housemates as we (drunk on a duty free bottle of Amarula Cream filched from another housemate) writhed around on that rug doing melodramatic interpretive dance moves to "Damn, I wish I was your lover" by the rather unpleasant and generally insane Sophie B Hawkins. Which was playing on a cassingle. On a tape deck.
What can I say? It was the nineties, we had to make our own fun back then, and find our joy where we could, which was no easy task in amongst the grunge, minimalism and brown lounges. There's a reason ecstasy got so popular!
Itty bitty floral prints generally make me itchy and twitchy, I prefer my flowers to be bold and even slightly predatory - I'd like to think of myself as a Venus Flytrap kind of femme fatale rather than a little daisy chain chick. Obviously I'm somewhere in between (probably a carnation, or maybe a jonquil), but either way I generally avoid little floral prints in the Liberty family. This dress, originally a vast sack before being hemmed into smaller sack form, is a print which is a fairly distant cousin twice removed from the Liberty archive, the kind of thing most usually found as a quilted kleenex box cover or one of the innumerable padded photo frames currently littering the op-shops of the land.
I was drawn to it by two things, the peachy nudie colur scheme (predictable), and nostalgia for the late eighties when my friend and I had a little craze for sewing clothes out of craft print fabrics. I think we started using that stuff because it was cheap, which made it perfect for teenagers who were long on sewing inspiration but short on cash. I seem to recall a fair number of short shorts (with little bows on the bums), frilly mini skirts and crop tops whipped up without patterns, from fabrics that were far more usually found fashioned into quilted wall hangings of geese wearing bonnets sold alongside the bread dough rose earrings and lavender scented wheat dollies at trendy (!) local craft emporium, Potpourri Cottage.
Quick, look away!
The photo above is a handy illustration of how Hands-In-Pockets shots can go horribly wrong, and end up looking like there's some unsavoury (double-chinned) rummaging going on, when really it's all innocent and sweet and Potpourri Cottagey. Also horribly wrong - clogs! I saw these shoes at the Salvation Army, bought them because Kaiser Karl had penetrated my brain with his eeeeeevil clog collection, felt ashamed of myself, then put them on and clunked around very happily indeed. Then I felt all confused, because really clogs and I, we don't get along. In my universe, clogs are strictly the domain of that certain breed of yummy mummy who wear Marimekko headscarves, shop solely in Scandinavian design stores and always looks extremely aesthetically coherent, even with babies tied to the front of them and longhaired blonde toddlers hanging off their selvedge denimed legs.
I also have clog issues, because the last time I wore them was circa 1993, with outfits which also contained such things as extra wide raver pants, crocheted chenille skullcaps and chokers with glass daisies on them. They remind me of doomed relationships with unsatisfactory youths (of the classic early nineties bass player/record shop employee kind), interior decor with an excess of sunflower themed items, and specifically they remind me of a pair of giant wooden platform clogs with metal daisy buckles which were my clubbing shoe of choice throughout that grim era. I eventually sold those to Melissa George at a garage sale, along with a maroon lace flared catsuit, and I was quite glad to see the (clunky chunky) back of them. Still, these ones are kind of cute, so perhaps I can be won over, even after decades of disdain.
Marc Jacobs, my tusk and I may have to have serious "talk" with you if you persist in this attempt to bring the kitten heel back. It's too soon for the trauma to have faded!
I cannot find such charity for kitten heels however, those still bedamned in my book. At least my chunky clogs never got hopelessly entangled in long carpet, and I never found myself on one side of a dancefloor with my clogs somehow still sitting neatly on the other. Unlike the kitten heel mule, foul demon shoe which would only stay on dancing feet if a the wearer employed a sort of shuffling gait which was neither sexy nor sensible nor recognisable as dancing by any sane human. Away, I beseech thee! Away!
Note to online retailers: flatter your customers, we like it.
I need a moment to think of nice things, soothing things, things without weird little stumpy heels on them - ahhhhh. That's better. A calming moment to reflect on, for instance the very nice things for sale online at Alegorie or in my neighbourhood at The Village Markets. This post has been hanging around waiting to be published for so long that the monthly market is almost upon us again (first Sunday of the month), and the memory of my most recent (and highly successful stall there has almost receded into the distant mists of three weeks ago.
Doing a little business.
Spot the small invader in the markets office tent.
That's another sausage, that child can eat his weight in sausage sizzle sausages.
It's a great little market, and not only do Marissa and Sarah do a fabulous job of organising the whole thing - they also let the little dude hang out with them to his heart's content. If you're in the neighbourhood then I highly recommend a trip down to check out the stalls - you never know, you might just see the little dude on the loose, sausage in hand and smile on face!
A slightly less problematic version of the Hands-In-Pockets shot.