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.

Advertisements

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 13/2/2018

I recently found out that a local Thai restaurant that I used to frequent is now doing all-you-can-eat banquets during the week.  So naturally my parents, my aunt and uncle and I wasted no time hopping in the car and hauling ourselves to sample the dinner fare.  And we were not disappointed.  But before I headed out for an evening of deluxe food and first-rate company, I had to decide on what to wear.

I often make the mistake of overdressing for events such as this.  It’s so easy to get carried away and winding up wearing something that’s much too much for the occasion.  For this particular dinner, I wanted to look dressed up, but not over the top.  My solutioin was to pair a fairly casual tee shirt with a simple skirt and then jazz it up with fancy hosiery and shoes.  And I think it worked a treat, don’t you?

I am wearing:

  • Cruella De Vil tee shirt from Threadless
  • Emerald green skater skirt from Princess Highway
  • Nude fishnet tights from Razzamatazz
  • Gingham heels from Scooter
  • Drop pearl earrings from Louvisa

 

 

 

Nude fishnets are one of my most favourite types of legwear.  They look effortlessly vintage, they go with every colour and they are so easy to wear.  These ones have lasted me so many years and they’re ideal to wear in summer when you don’t want to be completely bare-legged but it’s too hot to don full stockings.

I was so comfortable and cool in this outfit, but I still felt dressed up enough for dinner out with the family.

 

What I Wore 26/9/2017

I shaved the side of my head back down to a number 1 in preparation for Oz Kinkfest 2017 last weekend.  Now that it’s super short, I’ve felt inspired to play with hairstyles that show off my shaved side.  For dinner with my parents, I chose a sweeping rockabilly up-do with huge victory rolls in the front.  I kind of love the juxtaposition of prim and proper vintage hairstyles with the shock of my naked scalp on one side.

I am wearing:

  • Black lace corset dress from 7 Angels
  • Black leopard net tights from Big W
  • Leopard trimmed cardigan (vintage)
  • Red and gold wedges (thrifted)
  • Zap necklace from Equip
  • Red costume ring from Lovisa
  • Red rose stud earrings

This outfit was thrown together quickly when my mother invited me out to dinner with 20 minutes to get ready.  I already had makeup on from work, so I opted to add a bold red lip and sweep my hair up.  An all-black ensemble with red accents was simple and still looked polished.  I added a few daring accessories, like these net tights, to give the outfit a bit more edge.

Things I Love Thursday 13/7/2017

This past week has been a real drag.  I spent Thursday and Friday completely bombed out with a migraine.  Which meant cancelling a trip to see my boyfriend on the weekend because I still wasn’t well enough to travel.  I’m trying to look on the bright side and come up with at least a couple of things that are worth smiling for.

This week I love:

  • My cats.  When I don’t feel well, they seem to intuitively know it and they are so loving.  Miss Jelly in particular gets really maternal with me when I’m not well.  She barely leaves my side and snuggles up to me when I’m napping.  It’s really sweet and it makes me feel a tiny bit better when a migraine hits.
  • Deep heat rubbed onto the points where my shoulders join my neck and my neck meets my skull.
  • This adorable 1960’s vintage purse that I got to replace my old wallet. The design reminds me of liquorice allsorts.  It opens from each end into two completely separate pockets.  It’s so slim and streamlined and it fits so well into my handbag.
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday.  This movie was surprisingly adorable and really, really funny.  It co-stars Joe Manganiello as himself, and I have the hugest crush on him, which was another reason that I chose it.
  • Super soft cotton nightshirts
  • Black bean and beetroot burgers.
  • This GIF

  • Beauties of the Night.  It’s a Netflix documentary about several former showgirls who are now in their sixties and seventies.  It was really eye-opening.  When I started to watch, I felt quite sad for these women, because I thought that they were trying to cling to their youth.  But as I watched I understood that they aren’t sad in the slightest. They are passionate, majestic, colourful and creative beings.  I loved learning their stories and felt inspired by this movie.
  • Listening to my Offspring CDs from high school.

What do you love this week?

What I wore: 18/4/2017

Once upon a time I owned a gorgeous pair of black boots.  They were leather with silver hardware and a stack heel. They found their way into my life after a chance encounter at at second hand store.  After countless adventures together, they tragically parted ways with their soles last winter.

 

Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of boots to replace them.  I had a clear picture in my mind of what I was after, and yet the perfect boots were somewhat elusive.  But recently I snapped up this pair of vegan leather boots on ebay and they are just ideal.  Supple, soft and comfortable, I believe they are set to become a wardrobe staple.

 

I paired the boots with one of my favourite vintage dresses for a drive to take some photos of street art and lunch with my parents.

 

I am wearing:

  • Black and red floral dress (vintage)
  • Black leopard fishnet tights (K Mart)
  • Black vegan leather boots (ebay)
  • Silver swallow chain link belt (vintage)
  • Turquoise earrings (handmade by my aunt)
  • Silver ring

 

This belt belonged to my best friend’s grandmother. It is such a gorgeous and unusual piece.  It always adds a bit of interest to simple dresses, and I love the way it looks when paired with something heavily printed.

My headscarf is actually the sash off my dress.  As I was wearing the silver belt, I thought it would be fun to pull my hair back with the sash and go all matchy-matchy.

 

These boots are just what the doctor ordered.  They are beautiful for wearing with my hippie getups, but they will also look great with some of my grittier punk-rock looks.  I have even worn them to work a couple of times over cigarette pants and under prim dresses.  They were a brilliant find and I’m so chuffed with them.