26 March, 2011

My Cranlana Fashion Parade outfit - Deep blue dress and yellow opera coat

On Thursday morning I attending a lovely vintage event - a talk and vintage fashion parade organised by Charlotte Smith of the Darnell Collection, with assistance from Nicole Jenkins of Circa Vintage Clothing. It was held at the lovely historical Cranlana home in Toorak (Melbourne) which is owned by the Myer family (the owner of the largest department store in Australia). It was a lovely event and the talks by Charlotte and other guests (including a curator from the National Gallery of Victoria) were really interesting. Unfortunately, I can't show you any photos of the parade itself as no photos were allowed in the home. But you can get a glimpse of the outfits worn on Nicole's website here: Circa.

As it was a morning tea event, I wanted to wear something appropriate - not too dressy but something smart and sophisticated (for my international readers - Toorak is a tres elegant and fancy suburb - the most expensive address in Melbourne so I wanted to look the part!)

I chose a vintage deep blue fitted dress (late 50's perhaps?) with a 50s mustard yellow opera coat.
The coat was given to me by my mother's cousin, who was in her 70s at the time. I love the label 'Le Monde Modes - Melbourne'. Sigh . . .

 With my fair skin and propensity for freckles, I wouldn't normally wear yellow (I only have three yellow things in my wardrobe, all given to me!). However, I find I can get away with it if I wear a strong colour next to my skin - like this deep blue. Blue is my favourite colour by the way - I particularly love royal blue. It is actually sometimes difficult to find that colour in vintage dresses. Not sure why!

 I did all these photos with a self-timer and pedestal-thingy - what do they call them again? Oh yes, tripod! Anyway, as you can see I need to practice a bit with placement - but thought you might like to see some my treasured dresser - which I had to quickly dust before I took these photos! (I am THE worst housekeeper)

Last (but not least) the fab silver buckle shoes I wore with my outfit. They are 60's era, so not quite in keeping with the 50's dress and coat. But still, they are fabulous! (quite uncomfortable by the way, but comfort is not really something I factor in any more to my outfits!)

Outfit details
late 50's blue dress Top Hat vintage clothing store, High St, Northcote
50s yellow opera coat  gift
brooch op shop Edinburgh ($5 bargain!)
50s earrings Callie Whelan Camberwell markets
60s silver buckle shoes etsy

17 March, 2011

My austerity drive

I am in the midst of my annual 'austerity' drive. This usually comes around every year when (a) my work offers to send me overseas and (b) I realise I am penniless and cannot afford to pay for my share of the 'personal holiday' bit of my travel (because, surprise surprise, I have spent all my money on vintage!) This is where my desire to have a wonderful time in Italy and Canada overrides my etsy obsession (and who of you can blame me for that?!). This time however, the austerity drive is going to last quite a long time as my hubby and I are saving to buy a house next year. Ouch!

Unfortunately I am not naturally frugal with money. For me, money is there to be spent on wonderful things. When I could have bought a house in my 20s I instead spent all my savings backpacking around the world. It was totally worth it and the best thing I ever did (just the night making out with the handsome Canadian welder in Hanoi was worth it alone!!)(I will spare you the details don't worry)(unless you want to hear them - that will cost you $5 a minute - ha ha!)

But when I do have to save (and I usually need a reason), I actually find it quite therapeutic. Although etsy have great stuff, and it is difficult sometimes to resist its allure, it is actually nice to just enjoy the things you have without having to buy things all the time. And it allows me to take a good, long hard look at my wardrobe and realise I have waaaaay too many clothes anyway - why do I need anymore. Exhibit A - my wardrobe:

Now I have to be honest and say I probably have the equivalent of another of these wardrobes stored in various parts of the house so I cannot tell myself that I don't have enough clothes. And some of them I have worn only once or twice so I really need to work on better utilising the wardrobe I have. I am also starting to find it hard to look after all the clothes I have - make sure they are all mended and clean and free of moths. Another reason for my austerity drive!

Of course, austerity drives are vintage in of themselves. During World War II, rationing was very strictly controlled and there was a public push to 'make do and mend'. . .

Waste Not, Want Not

Of course this philosophy is also great for the environment. The less I consume the better it is for the health of the world.

But of course, saving and not consuming is not always easy. So if you are interested, these are my personal keys to saving success:

(1) Get creative and feed your soul
There is a good reason why the best pop music ever made was in Britain under the rule of Thatcher in the 80s. Everyone was poor and depressed. Result: genius pop music creativity. Now, we don't want to go back to Thatcher (do we?!). But it is an indicator that not buying stuff helps your creativity. So utilise your free time that you would otherwise waste buying things - write a short story, read 'War and Peace', join a Toastmasters or book group. I have had such a great time this past month reading books - I have been devouring about one a week. They have all been brilliant and made me so happy (if you are stuck for recommendations - start off with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series by Alexander McCall Smith - brilliant. Then go on to Dickens!)

(2) Learn how to bake a cake
One of the best ways to spend your time, and save money too, is to bake your own cakes, and make your own pikelets, scones and pancakes. Your family and friends will love you for it and home made food is much better for you than processed stuff (it is also less fattening as it is more natural)(believe me, its true!). Start off with the Women's Weekly series or recipes by the Country Women's Association (CWA):
Don't go for smancy fancy, just plain honest home cooked fare your nanna would have made. Delish!

(3) We are all in the same boat
Sometimes I read blogs where the writer seems to have limitless money with which to buy fabulously expensive vintage clothes all the time and they live in an enormous house and you think 'where do they get the money for this?'. The answer probably is: debt! We all know about the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). My husband is Irish and many of his family and friends are under financial pressure (another reason for my austerity drive). So I try and remember that everyone has to save - not just me!

I could go on and on about this, but there are a few hints to help you out if you are interested. Hopefully I can stick to my austerity drive and make it to Italy for my trip. You may see me curled up on a park bench in Pisa if I don't start saving for my hotel bills so I had better do it!

Happy saving!

03 March, 2011

Pretty blue (and green, and red and . . .!) floral vintage dress

I tend to say this about all my vintage dresses, but this really is one of my favourites summer frocks . . .  
 It is actually one of my very rare finds from an op shop (Brotherhood of St Laurence in St Kilda, which is really a 'vintage' op shop I guess - although don't expect to find any treasure there now, it has changed a lot since I bought this dress many years ago).

 Although this is not in the class of a designer vintage dress (think Adele Simpson and the like), this is just a great, versatile and wearable dress. And, importantly, the cut is quite flattering. Although I have a small-ish waist (which I work on, believe you me), on the downside I also have a fairly large behind (it sort of sticks out at the back - my ballet teacher was always hounding me 'pull your bottom in! I wanted to say 'I can't, its just like that!!).
Anyway, the cut of the skirt on this dress is quite flattering to my rather fullsome rear-end which is nice (the cut that is!). If I was handy I would make a few copies of this dress, but I can't sew (and really don't have time to sew more importantly!) so I will just enjoy this version.

The other reason I love this dress is that the pattern is very very cute. It also has a number of great colours in it, so I can team the dress up with various nice bright cardis and accessories to make up different outfits. Love that.

 I am not sure of the date of the dress as it is evidently handmade. I would say the 1970's? Definitely not the 50's. But I don't mind either way, its just a great, individual day dress which can be worn almost anywhere - even to the park with my troublesome, headache-inducing 2 year old son! (who at this moment is headbutting my desk computer - God help me)

 And of course, an outfit would not be complete without some gorgeous vintage Trifari earrings (part of a demi parure, that is, comes with a matching necklace). I love Trifari jewellery. Pity the size of my wallet doesn't allow me to buy more of it - it is very well-made and great design.

Outfit details:
dress  Brotherhood of St Laurence, St Kilda (years ago when it was a 'vintage' type op shop and had great stuff  - no longer like this, a lot of tat)
Blue cardi Saba (their cardis are good)
bag Old Hat Northcote
earrings etsy