I ventured out in this aqua number, sans petticoat (scandal!), last Thursday afternoon for a rendezvous to Newtown. It’s a dress I’ve had for awhile, but the length used to freak me out a little in my less adventurous sartorial days. I’ve recently rediscovered it, to great success.
The dress is by an Australian label called “Lazy Bones“. They have an excellent range of six basic 50s-inspired dresses that are all produced in an array of splendid fabrics such as this aqua floral. There are new fabrics each season, I believe. Lazy Bones also designs fabulous vintage-inspired sleepwear and slips. Check it out!
This week I’ve been:
- Plotting the next Old Hat gathering (December 18)
- Working at Becky Sharp’s Vintage Market (more on this later)
- Watching too much daytime TV, especially the Crime Investigation Channel
- Reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, aka utter word porn
- Dreaming of travels to Russia and Eastern Europe
(Kudos to Emma Aime for this inspiring this format of post)
Dress: Lazy Bones
Bolero: Blooms, borrowed from Mother
1950s necklace: Camden Passage Markets, London
1950s headpiece: Mint Condition, Rozelle
Snood: Arthelia’s Attic
1950s bag: Paddington Antique Centre
Seamed stockings: What Katie Did
Also, check out my superbly-dressed friends Tim and Kath:
I had the good fortune of stumbling upon some employment at a Sydney vintage fair recently: “The Way We Wear” fair at Marrickville on 26-27 November. Considering my “uniform” was a red and white polka dot dress with a bolero and petticoat, I wasn’t exactly a reluctant employee. Imagine my joy upon discovering I was to carry out my duties dressed like this:
Yes, “uniform” indeed.
The duties assigned to Siobhan and I were not limited to manning the door (“don’t forget to enter the lucky door prize competition”); rather, in something of a risky move, we were also billed as the “models” for the Titanic-era fashion show at the fair. Inexperience was no barrier to the impending launch of our modelling careers.
The fashion show was arranged by Fiona, who is custodian of an extensive collection of historical fashions stretching back to the 18th century. It being nearly 100 years since the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic, Fiona was exhibiting an array of Edwardian gowns at the fair which we paraded around in extravagantly. I don’t have photos of the first set of outfits, but here are the three that followed:
Siobhan is wearing the lace gown of a suffragette (notice the purple and green embellishment down the front), and I’m wearing the Sunday best of a poorer passenger on the Titanic.
Siobhan is wearing an exquisite frock which was so fragile after surviving 100 years, and I’m wearing a slightly daring shorter Edwardian gown with fur and wrinkled white socks (how they stopped them wrinkling, I can’t even imagine).
The finale of the fashion show saw us in nightgowns and lingerie, much to the delight of fair patrons. On the left, you can see Siobhan’s outfit is a shout-out to the glamorous ladies who escaped the Titanic in their nightdresses and fur stoles (shame on this lady and her ripped socks). Beside her, I’m wearing the work of a very glamorous Edwardian lingerie designer: a very transparent hobble-skirted petticoat. The old ladies at the back of the hall were particularly fond of this number.
It was an excellent, but very unconventional weekend of employment spent wearing fragile 100-year-old frocks and buying hats from the beautiful stalls. “The Way We Wear” vintage fair will be on again next August, and I understand you can expect some flirty fifties fashions sashaying around the room. In the meantime, I’ll be working at the “Becky Sharp” vintage fashion fair at Paddington RSL on December 10, so if you’re there, come and say hello – I’ll be passing out flyers on the street.
A bientôt, mes amis.
I visited the most divine café when I was in Brisbane called “Cabinessence”. It wasn’t the only adorable café I happened across in Brisbane, but it was certainly one of the most adorable cafés.
Cabinessence is a pleasant amble out of Paddington CBD down a few leafy residential streets. It had a very lazy weekend vibe to it which suited my own very lazy weekend quite nicely. Apart from myself, the place seemed to be frequented by an ongoing trickle of regulars, all of whom chattered amongst themselves as well as with the friendly baristas. Some just popped in for coffee; others settled down on one of the bar stools or sofas and whiled the time away.
I chose to settle down because I am a lady of leisure and have nothing but time.
The decor is so cute and sort of has a 50s feel with certain pieces. I particularly love the tiki bamboo bar stools. It’s all very casual, but doesn’t lack any charm.
I ordered iced coffee as an antidote to the frightfully warm day (I don’t deal well with heat), and it came in this super-cute cocktail shaker. Cabinessence does the kitsch, mis-matched tableware thing very well – the souvenir spoon was an especially nice touch. Plus the coffee was spectacular.
Cabinessence doesn’t do food apart from toast, but when the toast is this great, I suppose there isn’t really a need to expand the menu. There is a choice between avocado or tomato, as well as an array of spreads and such. Seeing as avocado is my life, I obviously chose it as my topping. They put on a nice thick layer, not skimping as one might expect (the world usually doesn’t love avocado as much as I proclaim to).
I sat there for a good half hour or so enjoying the afternoon. If you need somewhere pleasant to sit, and you’re willing to walk up a somewhat steep incline to get there, Cabinessence is ideal. Brisbanites: you should visit Cabinessence, pronto.
117 Enoggera Tce,
Yesterday I had elaborate plans to be terribly studious and do hour upon hour of study before class in the afternoon… And yet somehow I ended up in Paddington, walking absent-mindedly into a vintage store. It was a good hour before I came out again.
The store I visited was “Shag” on Oxford St. I have never really frequented Shag because it always looks a little too 80s from the outside; the window display is very kitsch, with garish accessories, crazy patterned tunics and flared pants. Now I’m cursing myself for my aversion, for even though mod dresses and corduroy pants dominate the space, there is a wonderful rack of clothes from 30s-early 60s. Fifties frocks! Old evening gowns! Vintage negligees!
I tried on 80% of the rack, and fell in love with a blue velvet fifties evening dress. The lovely sales girl went wild when I waltzed out of the fitting room, and put on the song “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton for my benefit. Naturally, I took a turn about the store. Here is the evidence:
The scalloped collar still has all its original diamontes – divine!
I also bought a divine novelty skirt. I think it’s later than 50s (the zipper gives it away), probably 70s or 80s, but it has a very 50s-style novelty print with its olive oil and wine theme. The waist band is beautifully embellished with olive branches and grapes, and then on the skirt itself there are bottles of olive oil and wine glasses – fabulous! I think it’s so cute! I’m going to hem it though, as right now it sits at my ankles, and I’d rather it a little shorter. Check it out:
While in Shag I had a conversation with the sales girl about dating vintage clothing, and she was very wise. I’ve been thinking a lot about the small details that allow you to pick the era of a piece of clothing, having just read this post. So as a little tangent for this post, here is my collected wisdom on dating vintage with zippers:
- Metal zippers were used pre-60s, so anything with a vinyl zipper is usually later – though this isn’t 100% accurate as of course some garments will have had zippers replaced
- Back zippers weren’t instituted until the 60s, so frocks with side zippers are usually earlier (learnt this tidbit from the girl in Shag)
- Lack of a zipper, perhaps with a hook and eye used on the side, indicates that the item of clothing could be pre-40s
I might collect more tips like these into a blog post as a sort of guide after a bit more research. If you have any words of wisdom, leave them below.