Sunday, December 28, 2008

End of an era

Well, my year is nearly over, and I can't believe I've nearly made it. I'm actually a bit sad because this little project has, in a way, defined who I am this year. Once I got past the temptation of buying new things (which took months, believe me) it was actually a relief in a way to not be spoilt for choice when shopping. I'm terribly indecisive, so op shopping is good for me, because you can't really 'choose' what you find... In a way, it chooses you!

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This weekend I went back to where it all started. This dress was actually the very first vintage dress I bought - way back in high school. At the time, Sex and the City (series, not movie) was the fashion icon of the decade, and I bought this dress thinking it was kinda SJP-like.

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It's a nice way to finish off this year, as this will likely be the last post I make before the year ends!

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What will be the first new thing I buy next year, I wonder? Honestly, I don't know. The impulse to purchase new has virtually gone, and there's nothing I can't think of that I particularly need. However, it'll sure be nice to go into a shop knowing there is something in there that is in my size... and not have to inspect it for armpit stains!

Lastly, after my whingeing to Trish about not being able to find vintage sandals in my size I finally found a perfectly fitting pair, for $3, in as-new condition! (Seriously, the soles weren't even marked). This sort of serendipitous occasion rarely happens to me, so I'm still totally elated by it. I'd JUST put a bid on vintage sandals on ebay too, having given up the hope of ever thrifting a pair, oh well.

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They were the best Christmas present I could have ever bought myself... I do believe they're pretty much perfect.

So that's it for me today - happy holidays to you all and see you in the new year!

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Dress: from an op shop near my parents' house
Belt: vintage from my mum
Sandals: Northcote op shop
Bag: Camberwell market for $2 several years ago

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Guten Tag

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Well, the year is drawing to a close and what better time to pass on the tags that I have procrastinated in passing on...

Firstly, from the wonderful Hollie of Vegan and Vintage, a truly inspiring blogger and committed vegan. It's such an honour to be considered for this award, just because of this incredible personal journey of mine this year. Especially as I never intended to make this resolution for any recognition, it was just for myself. (That's why it took me 8 whole months after starting before the idea of documenting it via blog even occurred to me!)

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What it means: this award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.

Being an animal welfare advocate myself, I'd like to pass this onto Sally Jane, as I love the idea that you can look that fantastic while still retaining a conscience of sorts.

The next one is from the lovely Ana B. of On Dressing Up as well as the wonderfully talented photographer extraordinaire, Blair. (Wow, that kind of rhymed a little).

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Attached to it is this text:
This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships.
These blogs are exceedingly charming.
These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement!
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut,
even more friendships are propagated.
Please give more attention to these writers!
Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more
and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.

This one I'd like to pass to:
Trish Hunter Finds
Lavender and Yolk
Fashion Hayley Hits Home
I'm not Antisocial
Sea of Ghosts
Clever Nettle
Thousand Threads
Only Shallow

Lastly, a 6 random things about me, tagged by the lovely Brook . I'm bad at making lists about myself, so I'll see if I can come up with six.

1) My full name is Mandarin Chinese, and means "Bright and Colourful". Very appropriate methinks!

2) I was never allowed pets when I was younger, however I now spend the entirety of my working day working with animals.

3) I'm not very confident riding bikes especially when there are cars around. This is a pity as I do own a gorgeous vintage '80s Peugeot and long for nothing more than to go cruising down Brunswick St with green veggies in my bicycle basket.

4) My favourite food, and biggest weakness, is hot chips. I love them so much I have to limit myself to only eating them once a month.

5) I don't have a very addictive personality, but I suffer greatly if I don't get my one daily morning coffee.

6) I was vegan for about 7 years, and only went back to vegetarianism when I moved in with my (chocolate loving) boyfriend. However I do aspire to get back to veganism, maybe there's a new resolution at hand?

Wow, that was a loooong post! Hopefully I'll get to post before the new year is out. I can't believe my year of buying nothing new is ending, it feels so surreal.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rain on my parade

We've recently had some inclement weather down here in the midst of a Melbourne summer. The weekend was so windy and rainy I didn't dare venture out in anything less than knee-high boots.

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Hopefully my next post will be more summery. It will also contain some long overdue tags I'm going to pass on!

Dress, worn as skirt: my mum gave to me
Crochet top: thrifted from CBD opshop
Tights: can't remember
Belt & Boots: thrifted from Northcote opshop
Cardigan: ebay from several years ago
Cat: adopted as a stray

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Daytime dress

I've been a very slack blogger lately, it's just been so busy lately!

The dress I wore today drew lots of stares while we were out Christmas shopping. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I did feel a bit... prominent.

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I've pretty much gotten all my presents as of today, which is a relief. Hopefully this means I will be around more!

Dress: Northcote High School market
Belt: Northcote op shop
Shoes: From an op shop in NZ

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

To paint my shadow on the wall

Today was a great day. I had the day off work, everything was $3 at the op shop in the city, and I had a devine vegetarian lunch involving bento boxes and Rose tea.

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I also finally got to wear the plaid wool skirt I bought earlier this year. It was such an '80s gem - thick and pleated and still with its original store tags. (I'm allowed to buy 'new with tags' things from op shops as they have clearly been bought, and not worn by, someone else).

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The bag is another NZ find. I know the cardinal rule of op shopping is to never try and find a specific item, but I must admit I had a mini-Gladstone type bag in mind after seeing Esme and the laneway's version. When I found this navy blue one in a small Salvos store in Dunedin, I wasn't sure if I wanted it because I had my heart set on a brown one. The shape was so perfect I bought it anyway, and now it's one of my favourite treasures. It is so unique. Also I'm really loving navy at the moment, so it goes with a lot of what I'm wearing.

Top: vintage from my mother
Belt: also from my mother
Skirt: from an op shop in the city
Tights: Sportsgirl 2007
Shoes: ebay
Bag: from an op shop in NZ

Sunday, November 30, 2008

On the pier

Just a quick post tonight before this (very busy) weekend is over.

This is a story about a dress. It came to me via an op shop, but isn't vintage. It was originally from a well-known store.

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This dress surprised me, crept up on me amongst a rack of jumbled mess of other, non-dress garments. Being only $3, and sheer, it willed me to buy it - putting forward a good case of its potential as a beach cover up.

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It sat unloved for several cold, miserable months. Then when the weather warmed up, it persuaded me to try it on again, and made me love it again. 'Look at my batwing sleeves!' it said. It made me dance to some music in my living room, to prove how fluttery its sleeves really were.

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This dress has come from humble beginnings, but I'm not prejudiced. I love it anyway.

Thus ends a very, very cheesy and long winded post about the dress I wore today. I'll ask you all in advance to forgive me, I think I'm over chlorinated from my swim. Happy Sunday everyone!

Dress: Supre(!) via op shop
Slip dress: from an op shop pre-year 2000, dyed black by yours truly
Cardigan: vintage, Northcote high school market
Bangle: Sportsgirl 2007 (how chain store am I today?!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's sweeter than a sweater?

I was pretty happy when Sunday turned out cold - which is unusual for me. The reason was that I was able to wear this '70s(?) sweater dress that I thrifted recently. It had been packed up, relegated to the ranks of future-cold-weather clothing. I thought it would be at least a year before being pulled out again...

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It's got to be one of the most comfortable items of clothing I own. It's so snuggly!

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These are the shoes I mentioned in my last post. They weren't as uncomfortable as I thought they'd be - but I was rather overdressed for a casual Sunday lunch!

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What else did my Sunday involve?

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Baking raspberry-topped cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Messy but delicious!

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Admiring the devine bunch of tulips the boy sprung on my as a surprise last week. Yes I know, I'm a total bragger but fresh beautiful flowers are one of my favourite things!

Now onto something serious. I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do next year, with both my resolution and my blog. Obviously things will change somewhat on January 1st 2009 (which is coming up awfully soon), but the last thing I want to do is leave this blog to shrivel up and disappear. I have some ideas but as it's late (and I have an early start at work tomorrow) I'll leave those thoughts until another time!

Dress: thrifted, Northcote opshop
Tights: my sister's old school tights
Shoes: ebay (that ebay habit again, ha!)
Necklace: gift from a friend

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Setting sail

Wednesday's weather was a strange not-quite-warm, not-quite-cold combination, so I used it as a good opportunity to wear this thick polyester dress I found in NZ for $5. To me it's rather nautical, but the boy described it unromantically as looking "half like a uniform".

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The tie around the neck was originally a waist-tie.

I mainly bought it for the collar:

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I had wanted to wear it with my newly-acquired vintage triple strap black Mary Jane heels but knew the day would involve a lot of walking, so grudgingly settled on flats. This internal debate is one that happens often... My brain says heels, but my feet plead otherwise!

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I do a lot of walking, which is mostly motivated by guilt. My place of work is in an unforbidding hell-hole of a suburb and working 10+ hours a day means that I drive each day. This flagrant useage of my personal carbon footprint (and the guilt accompanied) means that on my days off I try to take public transport or walk everywhere. Which then leads to a depressing lack of heels. (I've still amassed a huge number of them, some of which have never been worn, only stared at wistfully).

Many things in my life are, in fact, motivated by guilt. This blog, and the nothing-new policy for one. I have real materialistic tendencies, particularly with clothes. I am also the WORST for buyer's guilt.

One thing I've had a happy lack of this year though, is the lack of buyer's guilt. I never feel guilty about buying second hand. Even if I don't get around to wearing it, I can send it back out into the sphere of vintage clothing for someone else to purchase, and (hopefully) acquire good clothing-karma. Plus, things bought from op shops give money to worthy causes, even if the said things weren't really a good purchase to begin with.

I should really work on kicking my ebay habit, though... That's next on the list!

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Dress: thrifted from op shop in Dunedin, NZ
Beret: gift from my boy
Shoes: ebay
Belt: vintage from my mum
Bag: from Newport op shop

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too tied up

Well I'm back from my 9 wonderful days in New Zealand, and the concerto of snow, sleet, hail, rain, wind, and sunshine that occurred there means that I don't have many blog-worthy photos of my experience. However, although the first half of my trip was decidedly unglamourous (kayaking in a remote fiord; tramping up to a secluded alpine lake; struggling to stay warm under 5 layers of thermal clothing) the second half of the trip was spent dragging my ever-patient partner into countless op shops while driving around the southernmost end of one of the most southernmost countries. I have a huge NZ thrift store haul that pushed my check-in baggage up more than 2kg!

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny Melbourne spring day and I spent it having afternoon tea in a posh hotel bar followed by a alfresco engagement party of one of my uni friends. This is the outfit I wore during the day - for the night's party all I did was change into tuxedo-style dress pants and throw on a cardigan.

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The scarf was found crumpled in the bottom of a CBD op shop's 50 cent bin. It still had a 'Made in Italy' sticker on it. Scarves are my newfound love, I bought a few in NZ and I'm going to endeavour to incorporate them more into my outfits.

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The shoes are from a NZ op shop - a tiny one in South Dunedin. They were squashed into a giant box of smelly $1 shoes, which I approached with some trepidation. I'm glad I did because these were gems. They look virtually unworn and are adorably nerdy.

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Close up of the shoes (and our horrible carpet).

I've pretty much caught up on all your blogs today but didn't get around to commenting, for which I apologise. Will get back on track soon though, I promise.

T-shirt: thrifted Witchery from CBD op shop
Scarf: thrifted from CBD op shop
Skirt: thrifted from Northcote op shop
Shoes: thrifted from Dunedin, NZ

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm off!

Flying to New Zealand tomorrow and won't be back until November 13th. Have a great week all!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All hallow's morning after

Now I am posting a bit out of order because I've been really slack (been sick with the 'flu this week) and haven't gotten around to posting pictures from World Vegan Day last sunday... but with all the Halloween photos going around I thought I'd better post Friday night's Halloween party outfit before missing the boat.

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Can you guess what I am? Probably not!

Having been sick, my costume was a last minute cobbled together affair. I originally wanted to go as Carmen Sandiego but not having the necessary parts just decided to go as a random Nancy Drew-ish girl-detective. I had my grandmother's dress, my belted trench coat, a hat, and super high heels.

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The dress and hat match perfectly. The only thing missing was a giant magnifying glass, like this:

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I really really really love this dress. The style is so flattering, but I also love that it was my grandma's, and that she made it from scratch herself! I went to Malaysia earlier this year and visited my grandma, and she gave all the female relatives free rein to raid her closet and take any dresses she no longer wears.

I took home 4 dresses, and felt like the luckiest girl alive. One day I will show you the other three, they are all perfect.

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Just check out the belt detail -

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Also, we got trick or treated by a bunch of giggling school girls - the poor things were in tutus trudging around in the rain! They didn't want my vegan chocolate bar though, I think the vegan-ness scared them off. Oh well, more for me!

Hope you all had a great Halloween.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Black and cream

I have always loved the combination of black and cream. Not sure why - perhaps it reminds me of sepia tones and antique times. At any rate, black and cream is a colour combination that always catches my eye.

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This dress was from the Northcote high school market I mentioned in my last post. It isn't vintage, but I still love it. Even though it's black it is perfect for hot days like today - it's made out of some cheesecloth-like airy cotton material, and it's super light.

I also bought the camera, a vintage Yashica SLR, for $5 at the market. It doesn't wind on properly - perhaps I'll take it to Hardware Lane to be looked at by a funny old guy in a second hand camera shop. But really I bought the camera for the almost-perfect condition vintage case that came with it - which fits my (working) '70s Pentax SLR perfectly! I have been looking for a case for it for ages, so I'm happy.

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The outside light doesn't show the dress details very well, so here it is indoors.

Dress: Northcote high school market
Camera: Northcote high school market
'70s wedge shoes: Port Fairy op shop
Belt: Northcote op shop

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So I blogged about my thrifted Doc Martens the other day, and decided I should try and wear them in before taking them overseas with me. I'm guessing getting stuck in the NZ wilderness with uncomfortable shoes would not be fun!

Building an outfit around a fashion icon from the '90s is a bit tricky, I felt as though I was harking back to my high school days.

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These photos were taken in the laneway we walk through to get to our local breakfast haunt, which I love. It's all dark wood interiors, good music and jazz music playing - and their breakfasts are simply devine.

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The cardigan was from a school fete I chanced upon last weekend - I just happened to be driving past after work and decided I'd drop in... and my goodness, it was a vintage goldmine. I bought so much stuff, and all for super cheap - I think I got about 6 or 7 items of clothing for like $1 each. I will make a post about it soon, because I think it deserves one in its own right.

Shoes: Melbourne CBD op shop
Dress: Phillip island op shop
Tights: Port Fairy op shop
Cardigan: Northcote school fete
Necklace: Drink me, Alice from 2007
Bag: ebay

Friday, October 17, 2008

Little bow peep.

I'm working this weekend, and don't have anything to look forward to except for dinner with my parents tomorrow. So, I'll hark back to better times and post pictures from Wednesday (my most recent day off work).


This bow blouse was actually in the Port Fairy haul, but I forgot to post about it last time. It has a strange little plaid print that I really like. I think it's from the '80s, but can't be sure.



I find I have a lot of trouble putting together outfits that are 100% secondhand. Having a huge wardrobe accumulated over my lifetime (and being a hoarder, so never throwing things away) means that I tend to mix up vintage with things that I've bought new (prior to this year, of course!).

I have the most trouble with shoes. Does anyone else have this problem? I find that shoes are always either not my size, too beat up to wear, or give me the heeby jeebies when I touch them (let alone wear them!).

However, I DID manage to thrift an awesome pair of almost-new black Doc Martens in my size the other day. Having been a teen when they were cool the LAST time around (how old am I?!?) I will always have a soft spot for Docs. They are also perfect for the overseas travel I am planning, and I'm glad I didn't resort to buying boots new. More on that later!

Blouse: vintage? from Port Fairy op shop
Cardigan and jeans: gifts from my mum
Beret: gift from my man
Bag: ebay
Shoes: bought at a shop in Werribee in 2005 or 2006

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Off the High Road

So on Sunday, we went to see one of my favourite bands in the whole wide world play in Northcote. It was actually quite hot so I was able to break out this sundress I've been itching to wear. This look was breezy and casual and perfect for a gig in a pub on a hot day.

I got this dress from Retrostar - a huge jacked-up-prices vintage store in Melbourne city.



(forgive the pictures, the boy thought it would look artistic taking photos through a wire fence, and couldn't be convinced otherwise)

I have mixed feelings about shops like Retrostar. On the one hand, I appreciate that it can be handy to have a bunch of wonderful vintage all in one place, and that the prices are appropriate for the time and effort taken to source the clothes. It's also instantly gratifying to find so much great stuff in one place.

The main problem I have with these stores is that I am terribly indecisive, and there's just too much to decide between (I've also been known to suffer dizzy spells in huge stores such as Savers). Also, it kind of takes away the thrill of unearthing a rare treasure.

Nonetheless, I still like going to vintage stores on occasion, especially this year when I can't buy anything from a boutique. It's nice browsing racks and racks of beautiful clothes. This dress was the first thing I ever bought from Retrostar, and I'm glad I did because I really love it, but I probaby paid a bit more than I can afford for it.

Just one more picture, because it's a bit funny, making me look like I'm in a zoo, or prison, or something!


Dress: vintage via Retrostar
Cardigan: from a store that was closing down in the city a few years ago
Shoes: given to me by my mum
Necklace: self made, from an earring
Bag: ebay

Sunday, October 12, 2008

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

This weekend has been so beautiful - both in weather and experiences. It was warm enough at dusk to go for a stroll in our neighbourhood park, amongst the trees and the low light of the evening sun.



I've shown this dress before on this blog, but I wore it with black tights last time, which in retrospect looked too severe. It may not be obvious in these pictures but the tights are a pretty teal colour.



Sunset is one of my favourite times of day. Everything looks so whimsical in the failing light. I love the long shadows that are strewn towards the east.


Dress - Northcote op shop
Belt - Northcote op shop
Bag - Newport op shop
Tights - Sportsgirl, from 2007
Boots - Ebay

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wind, hail and sunshine

Sunday involved wind, rain, sunshine, a haircut and a lovely early evening dinner at a city restaurant.


I was inspired to finally watch The Painted Veil after seeing one of Casey's posts. All those dropped waists, ruffles and quaint collars... I love the flapper look. Am absolutely in lust with Naomi's hair in the movie too.

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This dress is not from the '20s but is courtesy of my mum from the '70s. I love the plaid - it's such a crazy mesh of colours that shouldn't work, but do. The photo below shows in closer detail - I mean, brown/orange/aqua and purple?!? Who would've thought?

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The necklace is from Drink me, Alice. Last year, I acquired many of these beautiful treasures from Melbourne-based Alicia, both as gifts and self-purchased. This year, I'm on a hiatus from even visiting the site, as I'd be sorely tempted to break my not buying any new jewellery rule. It's still bookmarked though!

Dress: vintage from my mum
Jacket: Kinki Gerlinki from 2005
Necklace: Drink me, Alice
Tights: can't remember
Boots: ebay