What I wore: Behind the scenes

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know by now that I’m in the process of packing up to move to Ballarat.  After six years of living in my hometown of Benalla, I’m ready for a new adventure.  As Moving Day looms closer, I’m trying to take time out to visit some of my favourite places in town for the last time in a while.

One of the hidden gems of Benalla is our costume museum.  It’s tucked away in the tourist centre and it’s a haven for vintage-loving visitors.  It was a visit to this museum when I was in year seven that kindled my own fascination with vintage fashion.  The museum owns clothing and accessories that date all the way back to the 1700’s (older than Australia itself!) which are all carefully stored and cared for on site.  The display items change regularly, and on the Saturday I visited there was an exhibit of 1930’s evening wear in the secondary gallery. The main gallery was devoted to an exhibit of clothing owned by a woman named Margaret Richardson, who was a resident in Benalla until her passing two years ago.  Mrs Richardson was famed for her incredible passion for fashion and her expansive wardrobe.

To visit the exhibit I wanted something fun and comfortable, but still fashionable. I opted for a new swing dress that I was gifted by a friend, and monochrome accessories to compliment it.

I am wearing:


The two exhibitions were magnificent, and we took our time wandering through and marvelling at the beautiful garments. I was especially taken by a heavily beaded cape in shades of blue, purple and green that reminded me of a peacock.  As we moved through the museum, one of the curators struck up a conversation with us about a display of shoes.  After chatting with her for some time, she asked whether we’d be interested in coming out the back of the museum to see the archives.  I nearly clapped with glee.  I’ve been to the museum so many times but I’ve never seen the workroom or archives. And being that I love vintage fashion, you can imagine how exciting this prospect was.

We were taken out the back to the workroom. The centrepiece of the room was a large sewing table, spread with fabric and folders filled with reference photographs.  On a tall sewing form was a forest-green skirt, which our guide explained was a riding skirt from the 1800’s that was in the process of being repaired and restored.  A large cabinet housed bottles of buttons, bolts of thread and all manner of fastenings and trims.

The archive room was our next stop, and it was honestly one of the most astonishing things I’ve seen in my life.  Shelves reached from the floor to the ceiling, each one stacked with slim white boxes. Each box was meticulously labelled with the contents, which ranged from dresses to suits to blouses and even children’s clothing.  Another wall housed a mountain of hatboxes, all similarly labelled and yet another was stacked with boxes of shoes.  Along the far wall was a rail upon which hung evening dresses and furs, again all labelled and carefully wrapped in linen.  I was taken aback by the array of historical garments that were being held here, and it moved me to see them all stored with such care and reverence.  It’s clear to see how much the museum workers care about preserving these items and ensuring that they are properly restored and cared for.  It was nothing short of amazing and I left feeling somewhat awed.

The costume museum has long been a favourite place of mine to visit, but until that day I truly had no idea of the scale of the collection or the dedication of the curators who work to run the museum.  It’s quite fantastic to learn that something so special has been happening right under my nose for all the years that I’ve been attending the exhibits there.  I feel like I got a peek into Santa’s workshop, and I have such respect for the people who have worked so hard to run the museum and preserve these flashes of fashion history.

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What I wore: Fuzzy coats and horror brooch

Every year I look forward to winter, getting excited about finally pulling all my fuzzy jumpers and hats out of the cupboard, imagining myself rugging up in adorable vintage gloves and cardigans and prancing about in tall boots.

 

And every year July hits and I am sick of being cold and tired of planning outfits that cover the greatest possible amount of skin.  I just want to wear something that looks cute without shivering through the day.  Luckily a few weeks back I got gifted a bag of second hand clothes from my friend Judith, and in the bag was this amazing nobbly grey coat. It’s heavy and warm, like wearing a blanket, but it still looks super chic.  I’ve been wearing it non-stop, both to work and on weekends.

 

This past Saturday I adorned my new coat with a brooch from Cherry Loco that I’ve had for months but I haven’t worn nearly often enough.

 

I am wearing:

  • Hogwarts raglan tee from Jay Jays
  • Grey Boucle coat (gifted)
  • Checked jeans from Forever 21 (thrifted)
  • Black motorcycle boots from Big W
  • Redrum brooch from Cherry Loco Jewellery
  • Deadpool locket necklace (gift)
  • Ladybug stud earrings from Louvisa

 

Something about this outfit gives me a bit of a Judd-Nelson-from-The-Breakfast-Club vibe. I think it’s the combination of boots and long jacket and red checks that does it.

 

I can never get enough Hogwarts tees.  This is the only long-sleeved one I own.  I wear it so often because the colour palette means that it teams with lots of colours that I typically wear: red, blue, purple and black.  This one is a staple of my winter wardrobe.

I thought about doing a smokey eye to go with my slightly grungy look but instead opted for a clean copper eye.  I watched a makeup tutorial the night before where Detox did a fierce copper eye look and it reminded me how much I love wearing copper eyeshadow.  It’s a very eighties shade, but it’s so flattering on blue eyes and looks brighter than black or grey shadows.

 

This warm, textured coat is breathing new life into my winter wardrobe.  It’s been the perfect thing to pair with so many lighter-weight dresses and shirts to make them winter-appropriate and I’ve loved experimenting with it.

What I wore: body con dresses in winter

Lately I’ve found myself in a bit of a wardrobe rut.  Winter has begun and it’s been icy around these parts.  As such, I’ve found myself reaching for the same warm and cosy clothes over and over.  And that’s fine, but it’s making me feel bored and a bit sluggish. I’m the type of person who needs to dress up once in a while, to put on something fun to sweep the cobwebs out of my brain.  For me, trying something new with my clothes is like a cup of coffee for my soul.

I pulled out a body con dress I was given by a friend a few months ago.  I wore it a lot in summer, but now that the weather has cooled off, I hadn’t reached for it in a while.  I decided to pair it with thermal leggings, boots and a slouchy jumper for a sassy winter look.

I am wearing:

  • floral body con dress
  • Black fleece-lined tights from The Reject Shop
  • Black knitted jumper from Cotton On
  • Black vegan leather boots from Ebay
  • Moonstone ring from Louvisa
  • Dr Frank brooch from Erstwilder
  • Vintage silver earrings.

This almost all-black ensemble felt like the perfect backdrop for my Dr Frank brooch.  He’s one of my favourite Erstwilder creations, and I’m particularly smitten with his tiny pearl necklace.

I paired a few makeup products that I don’t usually wear together- a smokey purple eye with a pink lip and I was pretty happy with the result. I have been wearing a lot of dark lip colours lately and it was a refreshing change to wear something a bit punchier.

It’s so easy to update your summer clothes for the cooler months.  Adding warm legwear, a jumper or cardigan and boots brings your body con dresses forwards into the new season and means that you can get twice as much wear out of them.

 

Do you wear body con dresses in winter?  How do you style yours?

What I wore: a birthday in Wonderland

For as long as I can remember, I’ve adored Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  As a child the story opened up a world of impossible creatures and grand adventures.  The older I get, the more I appreciate the surreal elements of the story and the riddles hidden within. Alice in Wonderland has also had an influence on my personal style and I’ve done a number of Alice themed outfits over the years.

When ACMI in Melbourne revealed that they were holding an entire exhibition devoted to Wonderland, I was keen to check it out.  And what better day to head along to this event than my birthday?  My lovely boyfriend David and his mum and stepdad came along with me to celebrate my 32nd birthday.

When I was choosing what to wear, naturally I knew that it had to be Wonderland themed.  I had two dresses in mind, one that reminded me of Alice and another that was more Queen of Hearts in style.  Ultimately I decided that on my birthday, I really wanted to dress in a manner inspired by the accidental heroine of Lewis Carroll’s tale, Alice.

I am wearing:

  • Vintage blue and white checked dress
  • Black bodysuit from Missguided
  • Razzamatazz polka dot tights
  • Black and silver flats (thrifted)
  • Vintage playing card bracelet
  • Teacup earrings from Disney Couture
  • Teacup ring from One Day in Paradise
  • Teapot ring from Equip
  • Crinoline petticoat from Vicious Venus
  • Kitty ear fascinator from Louvisa

I blended numerous Wonderland elements into this outfit.  I wanted to look like a pinup, rockabilly version of Alice.  I wore my hair up in a pomp and added my kitty ears as a nod to the Cheshire Cat.  I kept my shoes low and comfortable but added a pop of colour with bright blue polka dot tights.  My crinoline petticoat gave my skirt a full look, mirroring the way that Alice’s skirt poofs out when she’s drifting through space down the rabbit hole.

 

Fun cup and saucer earrings from Disney Couture to call back to the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

This playing card brooch was a gift from one of my friends last Christmas and I just adore it.  It’s so unique and it was the perfect adornment for a trip to Wonderland.  So much of the style of Alice in Wonderland is inspired by playing card motifs, from the Queen of Heart’s court to the guards that protect her castle.

I went with a 1960’s inspired makeup look, with a pop of blue eyeshadow, cats-eye eyeliner and nude lips.

David and I snapped a few selfies while we were waiting to go into the gallery. At this point I was so excited and I was rearing to get inside and see what the exhibit had to offer.

This was the first time I’ve ever been to an exhibition at ACMI where you have been allowed to take photographs inside.  I took quite a lot of photos but I don’t want to share them all because it would spoil the exhibit for any Melbourne-based readers who are yet to check it out.  There was so much to see and do, and the whole experience was very exciting and interactive.  There was a large section dedicated to Lewis Carroll himself, with original notebooks and letters in his hand.  The exhibit showcases costumes, props and artwork from many of the early Alice in Wonderland films as well as animation cells and concept art from the Disney version.  There are a lot of exhibits that show how certain visual effects were achieved and lots of props for you to take your picture with so that you look smaller or larger than usual.  My favourite part was a room filled with costumes and props from the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland, including Alice’s suit of armour which is just stunning.  The exhibit ends with a tribute to all the ways that Alice has permeated pop culture, from Gwen Stefani’s music videos to The Matrix.

I had so much fun at ACMI and it was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  If you’re an Alice fan and you’re in Melbourne between now and the 7th October, I definitely recommend that you check it out.

 

What would you wear if you went to the Alice in Wonderland exhibition?  Would you take inspiration from Alice or a different Wonderland character?

What I wore: royal purple

A few weeks back I was on my way to pick up the office’s stationery order when I passed the local Red Cross shop.  In the window was a gorgeous long-sleeved vintage 70’s dress in the most lovely shade of purple.  It was a fairly simple design, a straight skirt, boat neckline and button detail, but my eye was instantly drawn to it.  The following day I made the decision to go to the shop in my lunchbreak and pick up the dress.

Alas, when I arrived it was no longer in the window.  My heart sank when I realised that it had probably been sold, and I resigned myself to taking a quick look in the store to see if I could find a consolation purchase.  And there, on the rack with the other dresses, was my purple marvel.  Silly me!  It hadn’t been sold, they’d just changed the window display!  I snapped it up for $5 and walked gleefully back to work with my treasure.

I am wearing:

  • Royal purple vintage dress (thrifted)
  • Black boots from Ebay
  • Mrs Doubtfire pin from Amy Blue Illustration
  • Celtic knot brooch (gifted)
  • Art deco earrings (thrifted)

I wore this particular outfit for mother’s day brunch with my family.  I chose my jewellery carefully.  These two brooches are to pay tribute to two mothers who are important to me but who weren’t present for Mother’s Day this year- my late Nana Dot and my ex-mother-in-law-now-friend Judith.  The Celtic knot was a gift from Judith and I always think of her when I wear it.  I chose Mrs Doubtfire for Nan because it was a film that she loved and we used to laugh our asses off watching it together.

 
I’m thrilled with this dress.  I have very few long-sleeved vintage dresses, so this was the perfect addition to my winter work wardrobe.  The colour is superb and the slight stripe texture makes it a bit more interesting than just a block colour.  I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this now that winter is here and the temperatures are dropping.

What I wore: no capes

It’s been a couple of years since my last cosplay.  After a stint as Tank Girl at Supanova I unintentionally took a hiatus from cosplay.  I didn’t make a conscious decision not to do it anymore, I just no longer felt excited about creating and wearing costumes.  But recently I started feeling the itch to cosplay once again.  And Free Comic Book Day presented the perfect opportunity to rock a new character costume

I’ve got a short list of characters I want to cosplay, and Edna Mode from The Incredibles was at the top of that list.  I adore Edna’s super sharp style and lightening wit.  Like so many cartoon characters, her look is simple but instantly recognisable and pretty easy to translate into a cosplay costume.

Naturally, an all-black ensemble was vital.  Edna’s outfit has an armoured look to it, and it’s very structured.  I chose this heavily sequinned dress for the bell-shaped skirt and the rough texture.  I added leather-look pants with pleated details on the knees and thighs for a tough look.

I actually bought new glasses specifically for this costume.  These are the 7001 from Derek Cardigan.  I normally go for very square or cats-eye glasses, but Edna’s frames are extremely round and heavy.  I actually really like the way these frames look and they’ve become my go-to glasses lately. It’s great to step outside your comfort zone and wear something you haven’t tried before.

Edna’s makeup was kind of tricky, because in The Incredibles she doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup. I kept my look polished and fresh, making my brows heavier and doing some more extreme contouring that I do for day-to-day.  I contoured my cheeks and around my mouth to make me look a little more jowly and shaped my nose to be a tad rounder to recreate the shape of Edna’s face. I kept my lips light with a slick of nude lipstick.

 

I picked up so many new comic books on Free Comic Book Day.  My favourite offerings were The Mall, which was a very nostalgic 80’s teen romance mixed in with a crime story.  Crush was gorgeous, a tale of a young man dealing with his first crush and I really enjoyed the lightheartedness of the Adventure Time Fiona and Cake story.  Naturally, I loved Tank Girl as well.  And the artwork in Street Angel’s Dog was unlike anything I’ve seen before.

After a very long day of standing in line, waiting in stifling shops and lugging bags of books I was grateful to jump on the train back to my boyfriend’s house.  He’s never seen me in cosplay before so that was a hilarious first for us.  I was ready for a long shower, a shampoo and a Marvel movie with the man I love.

 

I loved being Edna for the day and allowing myself to jump back into cosplaying.  I felt a bit disappointed with myself when I lost interest in cosplaying, because it used to be something that brought me so much joy.  But sometimes we grow out of hobbies that we used to love.  And sometimes we just need some time and distance, and suddenly our interest bubbles up again and we get to become reacquainted with that fun and creativity that we used to know.  And when that happens, it’s an awesome feeling.

What I wore: Come up to the lab, and see what’s on the slab

When Erstwilder announced that they were releasing a Rocky Horror-themed collection I was beyond excited.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of my all time favourite films, and I adore the aesthetic of the movie.  I had no doubt that Erstwilder would do an amazing job of translating that vibe into a line of jewellery.

 

Overall I wasn’t super impressed with the Rocky Horror collection.  Unlike the Grease collection that came out last year, I thought that this collection lacked range.  There were a lot of “portrait” style brooches and fewer conceptual pieces that evoked the general feel of the film.  I felt like this collection was a lot more literal, with more actual representations of characters rather than subtle winks to the theme. There were a couple of pieces that I just flat out didn’t like (such as the Riff Raff brooch) and some that were kind of cute, but that I wouldn’t personally wear (such as the Damn It Janet nameplate necklace).  I ended up getting two brooches from the collection: the Dr Frank  and the Science Fiction Lips.

I thought long and hard about what to wear Dr Frank with for his maiden voyage.  And I thought he’d be most at home amid a sea of kisses, leather look trousers and sky high heels.

I am wearing:

– Dr Frank brooch from Erstwilder

  • Kisses blouse from Target
  • Leather look jeans from TK Maxx
  • Red rose heels (thrifted)


I bought these jeans a few weeks ago to use as part of a cosplay costume. I’ve fallen head over heels for them.  I never expected that I’d want to wear a pair of leather-look trousers, but these are just so freakin’ comfortable.  They fit like a second skin and they stretch and move with you.  They’re also incredibly warm so I expect they’ll become a part of my winter wardrobe.  They’ll be perfect for pairing with teeshirts or vintage blouses for a tough edge.  I  love them.

Did you snap up any of the Erstwilder Rocky Horror collection? Which pieces were your favourite?