Monday, June 30, 2008

Tags and Happiness

I'm feeling very social this week, chatting to all my wonderful online friends, so I thought I'd try and share a little happiness through these delightful images from Flickr. I've also been tagged to bring you three different memes.

So in the order they were received; firstly I was tagged by Times of Glory to list my Six Songs For Spring. Given that I am presently in Winter, I'm going to give you my Six Songs To Dress By instead. Click the links to get your groove on.

1. Nobody But Me - Lou Rawls ( This would have to be one of my all time favorite tunes)
2. Is you is or is you ain't my baby - Dinah Washington.
3. The Lady is a Tramp - Ella Fitzgerald
4. L.O.V.E. love - Emma Pasque
5. Plenty of Money and You - Tony Bennett
6. Me & My Shadow - Robbie Williams

The 123 tag from Disney Roller Girl.

The rules:
1. Pick up nearest book
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the next 3 sentences
5. Tag 5 people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

"Six months later, though, while filming in New York, her made plans to escort her to a title fight at Madison Square Garden. George Evans, who knew the press had learned of the affair, dissuaded him. Instead Frank appeared at ringside with Joe Di Maggio and Marlene Dietrich."

from Sinatra - The Life by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan

I've had this book for a number of years now and am only just starting to read it in my spare time. Hence, three months on, I am still on chapter 2.

And the 6 Unimportant Things About Me from Ivyology, I think I have done one like this before but for the benefit of my new readers I'll have to come up with something.

The rules are as follows:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you.

2. Post these rules on your blog.

3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your entry.

1. I have an overactive imagination and start looking for laser sights to appear on the walls when the power goes out.
2. I use my fork in the wrong hand, and swap it to cut.
3. I am constantly creating nonsensical nicknames for my children and dogs, so no one knows when I am talking to them.
4. My husband calls me Rain Man.
5. When I bought my last pair of slippers (hand made), the little old man who sold them to me said, " I have only ever sold these to elderly ladies." And I was quite pleased with that.
6. I still have to count forward from 12 to figure out what time it is in 24 hour time, but I like how military and organised it sounds.

Rather than now tagging 15 people, I'm going to tag 5. Each of you can choose which of these tags most appeals to you or that you haven't yet completed. Have fun!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Swanky Panky

Given my recent adventures in outfits of drama and decadence, this weeks Swanky Panky finds yet another way to take your glamour factor up a notch - with a stunning Chapeau. While this post will most certainly make my Northern hemisphere readers jealous, those of you in Melbourne will be rubbing your hands with delight as I introduce Boring Sidney.

"With a BA in Apparel Design and a Minor in Costume Design, Belle has had the opportunity to design costumes for some 25 plays or musicals over the last 18 years... It was in the theatre that she learned the art of Millinery. It is with a love for the bizarre and quirky, a solid sense of humor, and a driving need to create, that she started Boring Sidney/Belle Millinery 10 years ago." - Boring Sidney

I think I would possibly wear this Marlene Dietrich while taking covert meetings with a Private Eye, comissioned to discover the secret shopping haunts of my fashion nemisis.

Lightweight canvas and denim cloche Sunny Days hat, for those of you currently enjoying Summer and sick to death of the same old raffia numbers.

1930's style hand blocked hat Ingrid Bergman in Teal is just so lucsious and lady like. In this number you'll never have to carry your own groceries again.

This off beat Steam Punk number really tickles my fancy. With the goggles it makes me think of women first learning to drive and how wonderfully socially inappropriate they were. Remove the goggles and you have yourself one snappy versatile hat.

So until you are fortunate enough to add one of these beautifully crafted pieces to your collection, give the lonely hat in the back of your closet a much needed make over with a quick trip to the craft store. You'll discover one of the secret beautifiers of hats - they make you walk taller, adding inches to you height and making you feel slimmer. And if that doesn't make an addict out of you I don't know what will!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tea for Two

Outfit details: Dress - Vintage on Ebay, Coat - Vintage from Nana (about 1940), Opaques - Voodoo, Tri colour shoes - RMK, Waist Cincher - Girl Express.

What a treat, tea twice in the space of a week. Today I met with the delightful Lady Melbourne for high tea. The epitome of ladylike chic, Lady Melbourne arrived clad in a stunning vintage dress with perfectly toned shoes and thematic accessories. Picking up on the floral motif of the dress, she sported a stunning black flower ring and jeweled black rose earrings. And let me tell you, she is even more beautiful and charming than she appears on her blog.

As we enjoyed our finger sandwiches and champagne, we compared notes on our favorite stores and people about town. It is quite a treat to see your own city through someone else's infinitely stylish eyes. I can see some serious vintage shopping in our futures, although this could lead to scenes from the WWF in the thrift store.

While the whole experience of taking tea is indeed lovely, it is another kind of pleasure altogether to be accompanied by a glamorous partner. Dressing well lends a sense of occasion to everyday and creates the romance that memories are made of. I encourage you to try it. Make a special effort tomorrow, even if you are just spending the day relaxing at home. No track suits; cashmere lounge suits are permitted, but if I hear the word 'Juicy', I may just have to come around there with a big pointy stick! So you have your mission people, and I want to hear all about it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Deco Desires

Please excuse the gratuitous portraits, but I was just so thrilled with this wonderful outfit. You can read more about it in the previous post, A Vintage Dream.

The occasion was the opening of the National Gallery of Victoria's Art Deco 1910 -1939. exhibition. And what a spectacular evening it was. From the illuminated and mirrored pillars at the entrance, to the jazzy band and vivacious crowd. I must admit, I would loved to have seen more people dressed for the occasion, it is rare to get a chance to break out this much glamor day to day, so when the invitation comes - to arms people!

The exhibition itself was just like living in a dream. Each piece resonated with history, but in a way that was not musty or patinaed with age, but bright and sparkling, like the young things whose lives they would have no doubt graced. Having seen the era reproduced on the silver screen is a wonderful romantic experience, but standing bathed in the glow of the lights of the old Strand Palace foyer, simply transforms you. Each minute scratch making the sense of history palpable, and as you catch your reflection in the multitude of mirrored surfaces, you feel yourself dissolving into a film strip of the past.

The exhibition is on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and we have never before seen anything like it on our shores. So do not miss it people! I'll be making sure that I take both my girls to see this as soon as possible. They may be only 4 and 11 months, but you are never to young to surround yourself by beauty and art.

You can find more images of the evening at The Vine . Or for more detailed information and a not to be missed peak at the exhibition, check out The Age online.

Image courtesy of The Vine

A Vintage Dream

The last few days have been nothing short of amazing for me. Firstly I was invited to attend the opening evening of the Art Deco event at the National Gallery here in Melbourne. Given that my schedule has been quite hectic with birthdays, babies and house guests, I was concerned I wouldn't have time to find something appropriate to wear to such a magnificent event. And then in stepped the wonderful Nicole from Circa Vintage. Those of you who read my High Tea post will recall that I met Nicole and her charming husband Tim that day, and had a lovely long fashion chat. I mentioned my fashion dilemma to Nicole, who was of course only too happy to help me out. And so with my house guests roped into babysitting for a few hours, I headed into Circa - The most wonderful vintage clothing store I have visited. If you live in Melbourne or have the good fortune to visit us here, do not miss this treasure trove of quality fashion history.

When you consider that trying to find a vintage dress can have many considerations, a short lead time is not usually to your advantage. You may find many wonderful things, but will they be your colour, your size? Nicole, knowing her stock and having quite the eye for a perfect fit, had just the dress in mind. And it was of course, perfect. A 1930's panne velvet evening gown in Eau De Nile (Water of the Nile). Slipping into that baby made me feel like Veronica Lake and Ginger Rodgers all rolled into one. With the addition of some white evening gloves, we were almost complete. Given that winter in Melbourne is quite cold, (although not quite snowing) I needed a little something to add warmth to the ensemble. Now, before I am lampooned for my choice of evening wear, let me say that he and his buddies lived a long full life, frolicking in the wild, before becoming a stunning part of fashion history. And it was with this historical perspective in mind, that I donned the most beautiful piece of clothing I have ever worn, a pure white Arctic Fox wrap.

And so, dressed to the nines, I headed off into the evening. Want to see how it turned out? You'll just have to wait for the next installment, which I am writing as fast as my fingers will carry me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Adventures in Hair

I am off to the salon today, to see what my new stylist can achieve in the way of vintage 1930's hair for my evening tonight. I need to get it all up, which is quite an ask with all the hair I have, so I wasn't game to attempt this one myself. Here's some of the pictures I'm using for inspiration. Let's just hope that I come out looking anything like these girls, then it is sure to be a hit. I can hardly wait to show you all the pictures that are sure to come from tonight's event and tell you all about the wonderful people who are helping to glamorize me. (Can you tell I am really excited?)

So I'm off now to do all the crazy girly things one does before a big event. Hair, nails, shoes, tickets then getting back to feed and hug my babies too. Mama's hitting the town tonight!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daily Outfit

Outfit details: Top - Hello Gorgeous, Skirt - Boo Radley, Silver metallic leggings - David Jones, Stiletto boots - Joanne Mercier

Today I headed out for a little shopping, on a quest to find the perfect outfit for a gala evening I have tomorrow night. There will be some fabulous pictures coming indeed. It was a crazy day of fittings, beauticians and a dentist appointment; but much fun was had in anticipation of tomorrow.

For those of you who are wondering, my life does not consist of maids and nannies to achieve these things. Just an understanding husband and a militant sense of organisation, which doesn't always work, but it sure helps.. So on any given day I can start the day changing nappies, washing clothes and cleaning M &M's from the heating vent, to catching up with some of my favorite witty individuals or heading out to a show.

While this doesn't happen every day, I believe it is so important to keep on doing things for and/ or by myself. It is by having time to indulge myself and feed my passions, that I have more to put into my relationships. And yes, I know I am amazingly fortunate to be able to do this. So whether you have children, a demanding job or a litter or puppies that are taking up almost all your waking hours, make sure you find a little time to indulge your passions. These are the things that keep us happy and interesting individuals; and it is a great excuse to buy new shoes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Suburban Sweatshop

In the absence of Imelda's talented workforce of minors, I have had to learn to sew myself. And in response to a much emailed question, I have a little sewing post for you all today.

One of the questions I am often asked is about the wide leg pants I make for myself. Let me preface all this by saying that I still consider myself a sewing novice, but I always have grand plans and usually learn by my mistakes.

The pattern I have used the most and found very easy to make is by Kwik Sew, pattern no. 2990. They are a wide leg palazzo pant with a mid to high rise waist and a rear zip. The rear zip ,(and absence of pleats in the front) means that they sit flat and are a very flattering cut. I have made them in everything from loud, patterned cottons to glittery evening fabrics. They work best however, in a fabric with some elastane. I'd recommend a mid to heavy weight cotton elastane. It means you can make them quite fitted and they still have a little give. Being a wide leg pant, the more fitted they are around the butt, the better. The pattern has them fitted to about half way down the butt/ thigh and then drop from there. Which, in my opinion is wonderful because it hides a lot of sins.

If you prefer a pull on pant, I'd recommend using Kiwk Sew No. 3156 for something casual or Butterick B4807 for something with a bit more of a Jade Jagger look to it.

As for getting the right fit - and this is a lesson that has taken me quite a while to learn - I find that the measurements on the packet just don't translate. For instance, when I make pants I usually go by the hip and waist measurement thinking that the size they give me will be correct. What happens is that they end up about 2 - 3 sizes too big! After much angst, I have now discovered that I need to find my size by using my bust measurement - even for pants. When trying to find your bust measurement, place the tape measure below the bust; in the same place you would measure the girth of your bra, and don't include the cup. I have been told that all patterns use this method and then assume the cup size to be a B, and you have to scale up or down yourself from there. So long story short, measure your bust and stick with that sizing for pants.

Start with the right tools. Before you start get yourself a decent pair of heavy weight dress making scissors. There is nothing worse than going for cheap scissors and then having them catch and ruin your lovely fabric. Also, get a fine needled, seam ripper. Chances are if you are just starting out you are going to need it, (and a mouth full of soap) quite often. Get a couple of packets of dressmaking pins with the brightly coloured heads and a magnetic pin dish. Better than a pin cushion any day.

If you're raring to go, but get all shaky at the thought of cutting into your $30 per meter fabric, knock up your first pair in calico. It will help you get more confidence in perfecting your zipper techniques. Then you can cut away with confidence.

If you don't have the confidence to tackle a pair of pants first time out of the gate, I suggest you try a couple of simple DIY projects. For some wonderful ideas of useful and cheap things you can knock up in a couple of hours visit the wonderful THREADBANGER.

I picked up these gorgeous vintage patterns the other day, but sadly my list of projects is so long at present it may take me a few months to get to them. And vintage patterns are a whole new challenge that I am only just starting to explore.

If you want to know more about sewing from vintage patterns, I'd recommend checking out A Dress A Day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fashion Is Where You Find It

Not all of my inspiration comes from movies or fashion pages. And while I love to see the everyday outfits of many of my friends in blogland, there is a wonderful overt sense of style I see in many artists work. I particularly love the pen work of Krystof Nemeth.

"Krysztof Nemeth is a Seattle based artist specializing in fetish, gothic, retro, and low-brow kulture pin-up illustration. For the past ten years, Krysztof has been making a name for himself creating saucy pin-up girls for everything from bands to burlesque troupes, gallery shows to rock shows, and clothing stores to private commissions." Taken from Krystof Nemeth's Charm School.

I love these women, with their curves, their outfits (or lack thereof) and that wicked look in their eye. Unlike so much of the modern photographed pin up work, I find these much less subjective of the subject (if that makes sense), and these gals much more self possessed. Now while I have no intention of replicating these looks to head out for milk at the supermarket, it is the little details Kriztof has included that could add some much needed sass to your day. Break out the pigtails, work some suspenders and wear gloves with short sleeves. You don't need to wear your underwear on the outside to be a fashion hero!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

High Time for High Tea

Outfit Details:
Coat - Wool coat, unlabeled, Knitted Dress - Laura Ashley, Stretch Waist Cincher - Girl Express KMart ! (Can you believe it) Gloves - Vintage from Nana, Purple tights - Voodoo, Shoes - Hot Options, Hair Bow - By Super Kawaii Mama (Me!) on Etsy, Platinum Earrings - gift.

Today it was off for my first High Tea with the Melbourne High Tea Society at the Park Hyatt. What a gorgeous hotel. Full of the most divine Deco detailing, I just had to take a few outfit shots whilst wandering around before tea. I am meeting a fellow blogger here next week and after today's sneak peek, I think we may well be spending some time taking location shots here too.

While enjoying my champagne and scones, I chatted with the lovely Nicole of Circa Vintage. Circa Vintage is our premier vintage clothing store and is a head and shoulders above the rest. Nicole hand picks all the wears, and it must be at least 40 years old to classify as vintage. She also mends and restores all the garments before they go for sale. I am planning to head in for a visit later this week to pick up something special for an opening night I have coming up.

I so enjoyed meeting all the lovely members of The High Tea Society; an eclectic, engaging and welcoming group. If you have never 'taken' High Tea, I'd highly recommend getting together with either some of your best friends, or take the plunge and meet some of your favorite online acquaintances in real life. Whether its the scones or the company, it's bound to bring a ray of sunshine to your day.

Nicole and her charming husband Tim.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daily Outfit - Of Fairies, Cake and Chaos

Todays Daily Outfit was an exercise in practicality and speed. After madly making mermaid cake, getting my fairies ready and making the house be-sparkled (not sure if that is a word, but you know what I mean) I had only 15 minutes to get myself ready. So given the likelihood of being covered in food quite quickly, I chose black on black, comfortable shoes, nicked a tiara from a guest and kept on moving.

Outfit details: Lamb Cardigan - Friends Couture, Black Top - Miss Shop, Skirt - SES, Black Opaques - Voodoo, Shoes - Wittner (again, I know, but fast and comfortable to stand in all day)