Things I love Thursday 20/10/2016

I am overflowing with joy this week.  Although I’ve been really busy, there are so many wonderful things filling up my days and I just can’t hold in my happiness.

This week I love:

  • Mr Selfridge.  I started watching this show a few weeks ago and I’ve blown through three seasons.  I love it for the vintage fashions and the way it highlights how much shopping has changed in the last century.  By far my favourite character is Miss Mardell.  I can’t get enough of her.  She’s tough and ballsy while still being romantic and kind.  Single and childless, she’s still one of the most successful characters in the show and manages to turn the stereotype of the lonely old spinster onto it’s head.
  • Having a song written for me.  My boyfriend, David, and I celebrated our six month anniversary last week.  He is just the bees knees and he makes me so happy.  He wrote this song about me, and I was crazy excited to have a song with the word “shit” in the title dedicated to me.

  • Mr Ringo.  My poor little man has been very unwell with a urinary tract infection but he is all better now.  We had to take an emergency trip to the vet which was very frightening, but our new vet was exceptional with my anxious little dude and he’s now fighting fit again.
  • Roses, geraniums and daffodils, which are all popping up in my garden.

Stocking my drawer with hand crocheted dish cloths. #crochet #dishcloths #eco #green #craft

A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • Working on some handmade cotton dishcloths.
  • Decluttering.  I’m on a real minimalism kick, which has meant doing some ruthless clearing out of drawers and cupboards.  I have gotten rid of bags and bags of items that I don’t use, and I’m doing quite well with resisting buying more items to fill the space I’m creating.
  • The Conjuring.  I watched it last week and it was so scary!  If you like creepy stories of hauntings that re based on true stories, this could be one for you to check out.

Scored this adorable cardi at the op shop on the weekend. #thrifting #cardigan #outfit #hearts

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  • Sweater clips.  I’ve never gotten into them before now, but I was gifted this awesome Erstwilder set for my birthday.  This new (to me) cardigan was the perfect companion to my lipstick-and-mirror clips and I now can’t get enough of them.
  • Dark nail polish.
  • Finding PG Tips teabags in the import section at the supermarket.
  • Leaving work at the end of the day with my desk completely clear of paperwork.
  • Dr Pepper and 90’s slasher flicks.

What do you love this week?


In the style of: American Horror Story: Coven

With each season of American Horror story I’ve been utterly blown away by the costumes. But the two seasons that have inspired me most deeply were Coven and Freak Show.  I’ll devote another post to Freak Show at a later date, because right now I’m ready to get witchy.

Season 3 felt like the strongest season of AHS to me for many reasons, but one of the biggest was the solid fashion aesthetic that was woven through the show.  When the season ended I wanted to cover myself in black lace, massive hats and sky-high heels.  It could have been so easy for the costume designers to tread a very traditional path with the coven’s outfits but instead they threw in some unexpected elements and the end result is breathtaking.

Today I’d like to take a closer look at the wardrobes of several of my favourite characters from American Horror Story: Coven

Zoe Benson

Zoe Benson


Zoe’s wardobe seems to be filled with items that a person might have purchased it they were told that they were being shipped off to a witch boarding school.  Her clothes are mostly black and white, and everything has a very prim and proper vibe to it.  Her shirts are always buttoned to the neck and she rarely wears anything revealing.  My favourite item in Zoe’s closet is the amazing black wide-brimmed hat that she sports on numerous occasions.  I feel as though Zoe’s style is the least defined of all of the characters, as she regularly borrows elements from the style of the other three student at Miss Robichaux’s Academy.  This may be a wink to Zoe’s newly attained knowledge of her magical powers, a way to show that she’s still figuring out who she is.

Myrtle Snow

Myrtle Snow


The two words that leap to mind when I think of Myrtle’s style are “Big” and “Bold”.  We’re talking big hair, bold patterns, bright colours, statement jewellery and voluminous layers.  Myrtle takes her fashion very seriously indeed and every item on her body is carefully curated.  She will wear colours and prints and textures that should all clash horribly but somehow the end result is a masterpiece.  She favours polka dots, embroidery, ruffles, gloves and blazers.  And no Myrtle Snow outfit would be complete without a pair of sharp cat’s eye glasses and a swipe of violently red lipstick.




Queenie’s look is the most casual of all the Coven members, but she always looks sharp and ready for action.  Queenie is a big fan of graphic tees and brash gold accents.  She dresses for comfort in jeans and leggings.  Her outfits are usually topped off with a flashy pair of earrings and sneakers.




Nan is like a psychic gothic lolita.  Her clothes have a very definite Victorian feel to them, with swathes of black fabric and her ever-present Peter Pan collar. Her dresses are always prim and feminine and are usually in shades of black, grey, white and navy.  She doesn’t wear much jewellery or makeup, just a well-placed swipe of blush and a headband to hold back her sleek hair.

Madison Montgomery

Madison Montgomery


Madison’s style is probably the least “witchy” of all the students at Miss Robichaux’s Academy.  She is glamourous and sexy to the extreme.  Her incredible figure is usually bound up in a body con or bandage dress that shows every asset to perfection.  Madison will accessorise with bold heels and furs in dramatic shades.

Misty Day

Misty Day


It’s no secret that Misty’s biggest hero is Stevie Nicks.  Her style is very closely modeled on Stevie, with the floaty hippie dresses, tall laced boots and mountains of jewellery.  And of course, none of Misty’s outfits would be complete without a fringed scarf to twirl with. Her wardrobe is filled with earthy tones and shades of blue and green.
Were you a fan of AHS Coven?  Which character’s style would you most like to steal?

Style icons: Harley Quinn

I was pretty rapt with the Suicide Squad movie.  Even though the critics have kinda panned it, I really enjoyed the film. There can be no doubt that a huge part of my love for the film came from the presence of one of my favourite DC characters, Harley Quinn.  After seeing the film, I was so inspired by Harley’s awesome sense of style, and I wanted to dedicate a Style Icons post to the mad clown queen of Gotham City.



Mod Harley


There can be little doubt that Harley is the queen of colour blocking.  She likes large panels of bold colour, usually in a half-and-half style.  Her favourite combos are red and black and blue and red with splashes of white thrown in for good measure.  Her two-tone look even extends to her hair, often worn in pigtails with dip-dyed tips for dramatic effect.
Casual Harley


Harley’s outfits are usually form-fitting or scandalously brief.  She loves being the centre of attention so eye-grabbing pieces are a must.  But although you might want to touch, you’d better keep your mitts to yourself.  Harley’s relationship with The Joker is anything but open.  He keeps her on a tight reign, and while their relationship is pretty dysfunctional, there are also strong elements of dominance and submission present.  I really liked the way that bondage gear and winks to Harley’s BDsM relationship with Joker were woven into her costumes.  Her “Puddin” collar, ”Yes Sir” cuffs and “Property of Joker” bomber jacket all speak to her submission to Mr J.
Daddy's disco princess


It’s the tiny details that are key to Harley’s outfits.  She particularly partial to diamond shapes, which harken back to her harlequin-inspired costume in the original cartoon.  Jagged edges and circus-goth finishings are also perfect for a girl who is more at home on a tightrope or aerial silks than with her feet firmly planted on the ground.
Rev her up


Interestingly, a large number of items in Harley’s wardrobe are inspired by sporting apparel. From her triple stripe sneaker stilettos to her baseball tees, Harley likes to blend a bit of activewear in with her outfits.  This possibly has to do with the fact that her weapon of choice is a baseball bat (when she’s not wielding her comically-huge mallet).  Harley likes to match her baseball jacket with teeny tiny shorts and a liberal application of bling.
I’m head over heels in love with Harley’s look, and it’s so tempting to sprinkle a bit of madcap circus-gal fun into your own wardrobe.  You could quite easily add a few small touches, or go for the full-shebang in two-toned gear, a collar and booty shorts.  It’s up to you how far you take the look, but once you get going, it’s hard not to go a little bit nuts.
Are you a fan of Harley’s look?  Which parts would you like to incorporate into your own wardrobe?

Things I Love Thursday 7/1/2016

Woah, it certainly feels a bit strange to type “2016”.  I’m excited for the very first Things I Love Thursday for this brand, spanking new year.  So let’s all jump right in, shall we?


This week I love:

  • Visiting with Nook, my Nana’s friend.  Nook and Nana were friends from the time they were teenagers until my Nana passed two years ago.  I had morning tea with Nook and her husband on Monday and it was so much fun.  She has such a positive outlook on life and has a great way of making everyone feel cherished and special.  And she’s an awesome cook.  I must have eaten about a thousand of her mini Christmas puddings.

Intermission. #cats #musical #olddeuteronomy

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on Jan 2, 2016 at 7:19pm PS

  • Seeing CATS for the third time.  CATS is my all-time favourite musical and my parents bought me tickets to see the Melbourne show for my birthday.  After a six-month wait, I finally got to take my seat at the Regent Theater and soak in the amazing performances.  I’m thinking about writing a full review of the show if you are interested in reading about it in more detail.
  • Shopping for new sexy time toys.
  • Star Wars!  I saw The Force Awakens on New Years Day and I thought it was brilliant.  I had low expectations for this instalment of the Star Wars saga, and I was surprised at how great the film was.  I won’t go into detail, but I thought it was a thoroughly entertaining film and was so much better than the prequels.

I’ve gone a wee bit mod tonight. #vintage #60s #flowers #outfit

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on Jan 1, 2016 at 11:02pm PST

  • Wearing a fun, silky shift dress and feeling like Queen of the Mods.
  • Brushing the cats.  Although both of my cats have short hair, they seem to shed like crazy.  I am forever vacuuming up cat hair and it seems as though my clothes and bed are perpetually peppered with strands of fuzz.  So I’m trying to get into the habit of brushing the cats regularly to get rid of some of the loose hair before it gets onto the carpet.  Jelly is totally into this, but Ringo has taken a bit of convincing.  On Tuesday I managed to get him to sit still for fifteen whole minutes and I brushed off enough hair to build a brand new cat.
  • Making headway with some of my new year’s resolutions.  I’m trying out a productivity app called Habitica that is pretty cute and it’s really helped me to move towards some of my goals for the year.
  • Jane The Virgin.  I started watching this on Netflix and it’s actually pretty fantastic.  It’s kind of like Arrested Development meets a Spanish Telenovella.
  • Getting my first professional pedicure in two years.  My tootsies were in serious need of some TLC.  Now they are soft and lovely.
  • Salted caramel everything.

What are you loving this week?  Has the first week of 2016 been kind to you?


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Style.

Cowabunga dudes!  Today I’m taking a bit of style inspiration from my favourite crime-fighting quartet: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  These four rad guys were dramatically different, from their personalities to their training styles.  In spite of their differences, they also had a lot in common: they all adored pizza, they all liked hanging out with ladies in yellow jumpsuits and they all banded together as a family.

I was inspired to put together an outfit for each of the turtles, which all had common elements running through them.  I tried hard to capture each turtles’ personality while still keeping a sense of continuity in this collection of outfits.  Each outfit features the colour green, as well as a hidden turtle.


Leonardo leads.


Leonardo is the leader, so I wanted an outfit that exuded power.  I decided to look to the 80’s for ideas, as this was the era when the Turtles were created.  The 80’s Power Dressing trend seemed the perfect way to capture Leo’s strength and poise.  Deep shades of blue and classic accessories are accented with a crisp blazer and perfectly manicured fingernails.  You’d certainly look like a leader in this ensemble.


Donatello Does Machines.


Donatello’s outfit is pure geek chic.  Futuristic fabrics hint at his love of science fiction, but are tempered with chunky knitwear and casual shoes.  A big backpack is a must for lugging around all your nerdy gadgets.  No nerd should be without a pair of funky glasses, and I think that Donatello would approve of this purple pair.  Finish off the outfit with some knit socks and a cyber-style watch.


Cool but rude


Rough and tough, Raphael’s outfit has a punky edge to it.  The ripped tights, Dr Martens boots and bold tartan add a rebellious flavour to this ensemble.  Accessorise with tough studs and knuckle rings for maximum impact.  Don’t forget to add a slogan tee with a biting message: you may be cool, but you’re also rude.



Party Dude


Mikey’s laid-back attitude comes across in this outfit.  From the flowy fabrics to the bohemian accessories, this ensemble has a super-chilled vibe to it.  The surfer beannie and bright sunglasses are perfect for masking bed-hair and droopy eyes when you’ve had a big night out, while the sandals add a sprinkling of surfer-chic style.
Who is your favourite turtle?  Which one of these outfits do you think suits your personality?

How to wear tricky items: grey linen vest

I got an email from one of my friends with a fashion dilemma. Her boss has gifted her a grey linen vest, and she isn’t too sure how to style it. Naturally, I have a few ideas.

I bought a vest to add to my work wardrobe and it’s become one of my favourite things to wear. It’s a really simple way to add a bit of contrast to your outfits or to make casual items look a little bit snazzier.

Annie hall

One of the most obvious ways to wear your vest is with trousers and a blouse. I personally love this look because there are a million ways to reinvent it. You can keep it really simple and classic with a crisp white shirt, or go crazy with coloured or printed blouses. It’s fun to add a blouse in a rich fabric like silk, which will contrast beautifully with the rough texture of the linen. You can embrace the Annie Hill vibe and add a tie and oxfords for a masculine look. Or you can add a feminine edge with towering heels and sparkling jewellery. The options are endless.

Dress with vest

A vest can also funk up a dress for work. I think a vest looks especially gorgeous when worn over a printed dress and opaque tights. Popping your vest on over a slightly baggy dress will pull it in and instantly make it look more tailored. A long necklace looks gorgeous when worn with a vest-and-dress ensemble.

print matching

A vest is ideal for making casual items look more polished. I love to pop a vest on over a billowy top to pull it in around the waist and create a gorgeous silhouette. Choose a printed top with similar tones to your vest for a stylish look. If you’re wearing a lot of volume on top, it’s best to anchor the look with a pencil skirt or some slim-fitting trousers. A pair of cute flats in a similar shade to your vest will finish off the look.

Weekend vest

Of course, you can incorporate your vest into some more casual outfits for the weekend. I love throwing a vest on over a funky tee shirt and some well-worn jeans. Throw on a cute hat and some sneakers for a laid-back take on androgyny.

Do you have a tricky item that you’d like some help styling? Feel free to drop me a line and I’d be happy to give you a hand.

Style icon: Miss Piggy in Muppets Most Wanted

I took myself on a me-date last week to see Muppets Most Wanted.  I was utterly blown away by Miss Piggy’s wardrobe in the film.  Now, Piggy has always been one stylish lass, but the most recent offering from The Muppets has taken her personal style in a more sophisticated and vintage-inspired direction that looks amazing.

This new direction has a lot to do with the fact that Vivienne Westwood designed many of Miss Piggy’s costumes.  One of my favourite Westwood-designed outfits included a floor-length tweed coat with a matching beret.  In typical Piggy style, it was accessorized with lashings of pearls and a pair of gloves.

Piggy in London
Piggy’s new style direction is also possibly inspired by her job in the previous Muppets film, where we saw her working as the plus-sized editor for French Vogue.  Piggy’s costumes in Muppets Most Wanted are infinitely more polished and posh than anything we’ve seen her wear before.
Glorious, 40’s-inspired up-dos are topped with an array of breathtaking hats.  I couldn’t get enough of the fedora that Piggy wears to take a tour of Berlin.  The beautiful hat is worn with a stunning suit and silk tie.  In typical Piggy fashion, she adds a smattering of diamond jewelry and her ever-present silk gloves to make this ensemble ultra-feminine. I thought  this outfit was extremely reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich.


Piggy in Berlin
Another of my favourite costumes from the film was a gorgeous brocade cheongsam topped with a vintage-inspired pancake hat.  I adored this look not only for it’s sophistication, but because it beautifully encapsulated Piggy’s confidence and poise.  I adore the stylish cut of a cheongsam, but they are often worn only by women with petite, slender figures.  It was so wonderful to see Miss Piggy rocking this look with all her curves on show.  Piggy is the ultimate plus-sized style icon, and she works her curves to perfection in this number.
Cheongsam Piggy
Of course, no Muppet movie would be complete without Piggy gracing the stage in a show-stopping gown.  Her on-stage outfits are more diva than showgirl this time around.  There are plenty of deep plunges, slits, sequins and lush colours on offer.  My favourite on-stage dress is the emerald green number that Piggy wears in Dublin.
Piggy in Dublin
I was so impressed by Miss Piggy’s costumes in Muppets Most Wanted.  I loved the way that her style has progressed and changed as her character changes, but the essence of her show-stopping style is still maintained.  There is still plenty of frou-frou and excess present in her outfits, but I love that the costume designers have allowed Piggy’s style to develop in this film.  Moreover, I actually wanted to wear most of her outfits.  If they put out human-sized versions, I reckon I’d be very tempted to snap them up for myself.
Have you seen Muppets Most Wanted?  What did you think of Piggy’s outfits?