Posts tagged ‘Fashion’

April 10, 2011

Yay, coat weather!

I have been a bad, bad blogger. I won’t bore you with the excuses; suffice to say, I have been so bogged down with work that I almost saved the draft of this blog post as ‘conferencepaper_v3’. Even though it feels like it’s all been work… it’s not all been work. (I would damn well hope so, considering how little I’ve produced.)

ANYWAY. No one cares about that (I’m boring myself just thinking about it), so! It’s almost coat season in Sydney and all my coats are ready to play. Too ready, really, as it’s actually a tiny bit too hot for my heavier coats, but any drop in temperature makes me want to take them out for a stroll.

I am wearing a pale silvery-blue dress from Fleur Wood (more detailed pictures of the dress here and here), which I think bounces with the grey in the coat quite nicely. I like how it peeks out at the neckline, though I do wish the snap buttons weren’t so very large and bulky… it disturbs the line a bit. But it’s not too obvious, so I suppose I’ll survive. (Or snip the button off, bwahahaha.) The blue suede shoes from Midas — you know, the ones to which I added a burgundy bow from scraps of bias tape. They’re never the right shade of blue, really; they’re always too bright or too warm or too cool a blue for whatever piece I’m trying to match it with at the time, but they seem to work when seen from far away. And when you can’t see much blue (like in this outfit). I find that it’s easier to co-ordinate hopelessly non-matching shades of the same colour by keeping them very very far apart. No one notices that the colours clash when one shade is on your hair and the other is on your feet. Very tricksy.

My stockings are cream with a very subtle mauve stripe. They’re called ‘Style Me Pretty’ and were from Alannah Hill’s Spring/Summer 10 collection. I’ve almost thoroughly trashed this pair, but I’ve still got a spare in pristine condition. Almost too scared to use the spare because I don’t want to ruin them. I get ridiculously attached to my clothes. I find that these stockings are perfect when mediating colour clashes, too — the Fleur Wood dress and the shoes really don’t go together at all unless I have pink-y pale hosiery.


My coat is from Alannah Hill’s Autumn/Winter 10 collection and is called ‘The Waiting Game’. It also came in a charcoal (you can see it here) but I have a Thing for red coats. I think it stems from having played the Carmen Sandiego computer games a lot. She had the most amazing red outfit in the universe.

…And I’ve just looked at the link to the charcoal coat and realised that my coat is officially orange, not red. Which has just blown my mind, because I’ve always thought of it as red. I suppose it’s a very bright, warm red. Like what the red Crayola pencil should have been, really. (You know. There’s the orange-red pencil, which is indisputably orange with bits of red mixed in; there’s the red-orange pencil, which looks like fire trucks and McDonald’s and Coca Cola and Maltesers packets and is indisputably red, and then there’s the plain red pencil which suddenly looks suspiciously plummy burgundy, because everyone knows that red = McDonald’s and fire trucks. I like the red now but it certainly didn’t look like a proper red when I was younger.)

The coat isn’t only red (that’s right, I’m going to insist it’s red), it has a bow. And bows make everything amazing. True fact.

You can’t really see the bow on the coat in these shots, can you? I think the bow is the Crowning Detail of Awesome. I remember seeing it in store and dying. And then trying it on and dying of heat exhaustion, because it was warm inside the store and I had just been walking at a fairly quick pace for half an hour. While wearing a leather jacket. I was almost put off this coat because it made me feel as though I had just donned a furnace but, thankfully, (ir)rationality prevailed and I am the very happy owner of one of the most twee coats in existence.

Look on the bow and say that it is not (one of) the most twee things in existence:


Okay, that’s not the clearest shot but the rest of the photos tend to feature me being a bit of a dork so… it’s this one or nothing. And, please ignore the fact that my beret looks like a giant melted marshmallow. I’m not quite sure how it ended up looking like that.

Speaking of marshmallows, do you know what is amazingly amazing? Marshmallows melted on chocolate chip cookies. Pop some chocolate chip cookies in the oven (toaster oven is best, really) and top each one with a marshmallow. Heat till marshmallow is all gooey goodness. Gobble. Enjoy. It’s like s’mores for lazy people.

December 13, 2010

“Are you in a play?”

So asked a little girl, hanging over the edge of an escalator.

‘No,’ said I, ‘not at the moment.’

Not at ever, actually, because I would suffer immense stage fright. I hate being on stage unless I’m dancing. Maybe even particularly if I’m dancing, as I haven’t danced a step in a good five years and the stage is the last place I’d like to be if I had to relearn pirouettes. (Pirouettes were my weakness. I have no ability to spot.)

I’m not sure what it is about this outfit. Valerie and I ducked quickly out to go to the bank, and got some tea while we were out  (100g of Jasmine Monkey King tea and 50g of Lapsang Souchong from The Tea Centre). Most days, I get quite a few looks, largely because (I assume) I’m rather overdressed.

Today, I got stares. People’s heads swivelled to gaze after me when I had walked out of their line of vision. It was a bit baffling. I suppose my hat is rather flamboyant and my skirt is particularly frilly but I’ve worn brighter outfits before, I’m sure. Their stares didn’t bother me, as such — when you dress the way I do, stares kind of come with the territory — I just got a few more than usual and I can’t pin down the reason. I think I’ve desensitised myself to absurd outfits!

Here are some detailed shots:


Look at me, about to step into the pool! Tsk. My poor shoes. I was going to whisk away some yellow flowers (those funny little floating things in the pool) but then decided against it.

My skirt and cardigan are from Alannah Hill. The cardigan is called ‘Send Me Away’ and has a terribly detailed collar — scalloped edging, and then a rope of pearls sitting upon some cream braid, and then seed beads and matte sequins in rows.  There are also two ties that I do up in a bow, but I’ve tucked them in and inserted a satin teal bow instead, because… because I can, haha. I usually wear it as a hair bow but I needed it for a higher cause.

Using it as a sort of brooch, however, meant that I was without a hair bow. I never know what to do when I don’t have a hair accessory — I find they finish outfits off so well. So I took a mini boater hat — also from Alannah Hill, called ‘My Little Boat’ — and replaced the black grosgrain band with a loosely tied teal satin bow. I think I had Mrs Banks from Disney’s Mary Poppins in mind when I was doing the hat, although I know her hat looks nothing like this one.

The skirt is also from Alannah Hill (do I bore you when I keep repeating myself?), called ‘Mum I’m a Call Girl’.


I love it. It’s the sort of skirt I would wear if I were playing one of the whores in Les Miserables. It’s all flippy and dizzy and full of ‘wheeee!’ We are very happy together. I’ve been meaning to dye a pair of shoes a deep pink to match the darker frills, but I haven’t really had the time. It could be overly matchy-matchy, too. These shoes are those beloved pair of Midas blue suede shoes with the bow I attached myself. My blueberry and raspberry sorbet shoes. Om nom nom.

Valerie and I were asked by the sales assistant at The Tea Centre whether we were into steampunk, which surprised me as I don’t find my outfits very steampunky, nor Valerie’s. I suppose the general silhouette of this outfit recalls steampunk to an extent, but steampunk to me needs dirt and tears and probably shades of brown. Today’s outfit does have steampunk like textures, if not the colours — the rough silk of the skirt, for instance, and the collar of my cardigan has tattered netting. And there’s something delightfully whimsical and nostalgic about a giant teal bow perched on a mini boater hat.

Ideally, I’d have OPI’s Suzi Says Feng Shui on my nails, just to bounce a little more blue in to the middle of the outfit ‘picture’. I had and still have Ulta3’s Earl Grey,  which was yesterday’s procrastinatory manicure. I never do my nails in the morning, so I wasn’t really able to change. I should plan my outfits ahead of time to avoid this, really. I do like that Earl Grey is quickly becoming my interesting neutral shade — it’s quite quiet and unassuming but somehow demands a second glance.

Much unlike my outfit, apparently! Lol!

December 7, 2010

In which I frolic.

It was a sunny day here. An incredibly sunny day.

I have a love-hate relationship with the sun. I’m prone to headaches and bright light heightens my chances of ending the day with the feeling that moving my neck will make my head fall off.

But I do like that I can wear light floaty things without needing to layer too much, and that the weather paints the world with a palette that matches the tone of my outfits.

Here, I’m wearing a Fleur Wood dress with an Alannah Hill ‘Little Picket Fences’ belt in red and cream. My legs are encased in knee-high socks, which not only looks rather sweet and twee and frolic-worthy but protects my skin from grass (I’m mildly grass intolerant). Double duty clothing ftw. You can see a detailed shot of the socks on Wikifashion — they’re polka-dotted with a sparkly garter and a little pink bow. The photo is plastered in watermarks but I can’t find the original on my computer to save my life.

I have an Alannah Hill butterfly clip in my hair, called ‘Love Addict’, and my shoes are Midas blue suede shoes with a bow I attached myself:


I’m also wearing a Dior silver bow necklace with a little pink Swarovski charm and a little silver ‘D’. This is it here, although the pink didn’t come out very well. It’s a very pale, subtle, silvery-pink, and my camera turned it a bit flat (click to enlarge):



In a desperate attempt to appreciate spring weather, I went out and tried frolicking amidst the flowers in Valerie’s garden. All the world’s a stage and my costumes let me play the parts, right?

It began well enough. And then I started to run around like I had no arms…

And then I noticed that I could see my reflection in the windows of the house. The third picture is often what I do when I unexpectedly see my reflection.

I don’t know why I do it, either. I suspect it’s to make sure it’s actually my reflection and not someone else’s. Because no one else would break into strange dances. I might try jazz fingers next time for extra win.

I am obvsly the hippest dancer in town.

December 6, 2010

Yaaay, outfit post!

This wall is not Valerie’s, but mine. Well. My parents’. It’s our fence and blocks our entire house from view — I live in a little dip of a valley and you can’t actually see my house unless you jump the fence.

Or enter by the gate.

You know, whatever suits you.

[Insert sensical segue of your own here]

We eventually ended up at Valerie’s house, which meant more photo-taking. I wanted to take photos of Valerie, but she said no because she is a camera hog. This is what eventuated:

BOOYEAH IMAGINARY CAMERA FRAMING. Just in case you think I’m being twee and coy and cute, my face pre-blurring looked a little like this:

by Kip Photographie


Aaaand moving on and away from the scareh clown.

Here’s a picture of what I was wearing, without me in it pulling strange faces:

The cardigan is my ever trusty and much beloved Puff the Magic Dragon. Ever trusty, much beloved. These things go with everything. The dress is called ‘Spooky Little Girl’. I’ve paired it with red today but I often do it with navy and, during winter, brown (to match one of my coats). I want to try it with green, one day — I think it’ll work marvellously — but I haven’t any green things yet, so it’ll have to wait. This is the print, by the by (click to enlarge; the shot itself is rather large):

I think green would go spiffingly. I usually wear green nail polish with this dress, but I haven’t yet taken off my procrastination manicure (one hand in OPI’s All Lacquered Up; the other in Ulta3 Waterlily). You can see the OPI in my ‘pretending to take a shot of Valerie’ picture above.

And, as per usual, I made the hair bow myself, and added the bow to the suede shoes. (You’ll find a picture of the shoes at the bottom of this post.) I need a new pair of red suede shoes, actually, though I haven’t found any I like, yet.

Such a dilemma.



(And, if you haven’t already, do enter my Ulta3 and Moleskine giveaway by leaving me a comment — any comment — at this linked post before the 12th of December.)

November 27, 2010

Sneaky shots of colour

I look much more sane from the back, don’t I? I’m investigating Valerie’s/Valerie’s neighbour’s garden again. I’m not sure what I found so fascinating this time around, but I assure you: that garden is full of magical wonders. (I realise that sounds like they’re growing illicit drugs. They’re not. Just your usual, run-of-the-mill, nature-is-wonderful-and-magical, stuff-of-poetry magic.)

I’m wearing my Alannah Hill Live to Tell skirt in navy blue and a BCBG Max Azria blazer, with an Alannah Hill cream ‘Send Me Away’ short-sleeved cardigan underneath. (It’s a lovely cardi, with a beaded collar. Will post up a photo of it when I wear it as an actual outfit piece rather than just a basic under-my-other-clothes rag.) My shoes are a navy suede and grosgrain number from Tony Bianco, and my hair is unbrushed. Yay for lazy days!

I’m very fond of my BCBG jackets. I find they fit rather well — my leather one fits like a dream. I don’t wear this one as often as I would like, because I find it rather difficult to pair it with things. It’s quite a tame jacket, until you notice the brightly coloured trims (click to enlarge):

My right hand LOOKS AWESOME(ly fail) in this photo. (I don’t think I’ll ever learn to stand still for an outfit photo shoot; I get too self-conscious.) I suspect I’m wildly gesticulating towards something exciting and Valerie is snapping photos and not paying me any attention. It’s probably not that exciting, particularly if you’re Valerie and you pass by that garden every day.

…When I’m sleepy, I find very mundane things very exciting. I was a wee bit sleepy when these photos were taken.

Here’s a close-up shot of the jacket:

I like that the khaki is mediated by these WHOA THOSE ARE WACKY colours. It’s like someone took to the trim with a set of highlighters. I normally dislike highlighter colours (annoying on paper; annoying off paper) but they add a level of fun to what would otherwise be a rather ordinary jacket. Valerie says it’s a fun jacket masquerading as a serious jacket, which I think sums it up rather nicely.

Pretty pleased with this outfit as a whole, although it’s not quite what I usually wear. (WHERE ARE THE BOWS?) I still have to work out a few outfits for my Live to Tell skirts — they’re so very blocky, colour-wise, and I really want to break up the colour and make it all dizzy and tizzy and spinning with different textures and contrasting colours… and bows XP.

November 25, 2010

Teddy bear baths


This is Valerie’s teddy bear, Mummy Bear. She’s had Mummy Bear since she was… oh, I’m not sure, but it’s been easily just under two decades. In this photo, she is in Valerie’s bathroom sink, which I’ve dubbed ‘the giant bear bath’. It is indeed a giant bath,  for a bear anyway.

Mummy Bear has been bathed very few times in those twenty-odd years and this fact, coupled with Sydney’s rather hot weather, prompted us to give her a bath.



This is Mummy Bear having her ears scrubbed. The soap we’re using is Lush’s Porridge soap, which is not only wonderfully apt for a bear (because we all know that bears like porridge hot, cold and ‘just right’) but a nicely scrubby soap for humans. Quite moisturising and a pretty fun soap — much more tactile than your usual soaps or shower gels.

I’m quite fond of Lush products, although I do think the majority of their products are rather gimmicky and overpriced. I am quite happy, however, to pay for their skincare line, which I’m sure pulled my normal, leaning-towards-oily-in-summer-and-dehydrated-in-winter skin through a month of all-nighters, stress, bad diet and dry indoor air.

These are the Holy Triad of Skincare Products:

From left to right: Catastrophe Cosmetic biofresh face mask; Angels on Bare Skin cleanser; Aqua Marina cleanser.

The gorgeously purple container on the left holds Catastrophe Cosmetic, a facial mask made from fresh blueberries. It also has calamine and all sorts of essential oils, which are probably more effective than blueberries but far less awesome sounding. I find that this mask really evens my skintone and seems to control breakouts really well — haven’t had one pimple in the four months I’ve been using it.  —Oh, wait, I tell a lie; I stopped using it and had a few little ones (my skin is generally well behaved), and they all disappeared once I got a new pot. Miracle in a little black pot, really.

Angels on Bare Skin is a lightly scrubby cleanser made from kaolin clay, rose and lavender essential oils, and ground almonds (that’s what makes it nicely scrubbeh). Don’t expect it to remove makeup, because it’s really very gentle. It leaves my skin looking quite dewy and fresh, like I’ve just woken up after a long sleep. I have no idea how it does it (okay, maybe an inkling: light scrubbing from the almonds and a bit of moisturising from the essential oils) but I love it very very much.

I’ve only just started using Aqua Marina, mainly because I didn’t want to use Angels on Bare Skin every day — as tempting as it is, all that exfoliation probably isn’t good for my skin. Like Catastrophe Cosmetic, Aqua Marina has calamine, which is awesome for soothing and evening skintone (remember using calamine lotion on mosquito bites?), as well as kaolin (which is what makes Angels on Bare Skin so awesome). It’s basically a win combination of Catastrophe Cosmetic and Angels on Bare Skin, except it smells Really Very Strange. I’m not quite sure what it is, either — I suspect it’s the seaweed, which is apparently very good for your skin. Would rather eat seaweed than plaster it all over my face, though!

I use Angels on Bare Skin about three or four times a week, and Aqua Marina when I haven’t used Angels on Bare Skin. Catastrophe Cosmetic gets pulled out four times a week (about every second or third day) because the expiry date demands near-constant use if you want to use it up before it goes all mouldy and gross. (Lush says that the pot has four to six applications, I think; I know I manage to get at least twenty. Maybe I have a small face?)

Just to wrap it up, this is today’s outfit. You’ve seen it before, but I’m wearing it again and now you get a chance to see it without my stupid poses. Ain’t life grand!


The dress is from Alannah Hill’s Spring/Summer 2006 collection and is called ‘Stargazer’; the cardigan is the ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ cardi from… Spring/Summer 2006 too, I think (can’t really recall and I’ve lost the receipt) and the ‘Little Picket Fences’ belt is from Autumn/Winter 2009.

I’m very fond of this outfit — I love that it combines red and pink and blue, which is a bit of  fashion no-no generally, but I think it works here. I usually pair it with this headband:


The headband (Parking Lot Love from Spring/Summer 2010) originally came with a brighter and bigger blue satin bow, but I cut it off and replaced it with a thin grosgrain ribbon. I also added a satin burgundy ribbon to the headband for this particular outfit, so that the blend of red and blue in my overall outfit looks less blocky.


I brought the red of the cardigan down to my shoes, as well, so that the red wasn’t so heavy at the top of the outfit:

I made the red bows myself — just out of a strip of bias tape (I’ve linked you to a Wikipedia description because I have no idea what it is, lol!) I took from my mother’s sewing box. At the moment they’re precariously attached with dabs of glue gun glue. I imagine I’ll reattach them with something more sturdy sometime soon.

I bought the shoes themselves from Midas Shoes. They came in an awesome array of colours — pale yellows and purples as well as the blue above, I think. I wanted them to go with a particular dress but the tone was all off — far too warm for my dusty silvery-blue Fleur Wood dress (which I haven’t posted yet, huh?). I like how the red brings out the warmth so that the bow isn’t too glaring an addition. Almost like berry sorbet ^^.

And berry sorbet is pretty perfect for this weather, I think.

November 24, 2010

Squirrels and museum curators

I mentioned personal phases and fads in one of my older posts — in particular, my tendency to collect and hoard things. I’m not too terrible a hoarder. In my head, there are two types of ‘not that terrible’ hoarder*: squirrels and museum curators. Squirrels find a lot of things and save them for a cold winter’s day so that they don’t starve. Museum curators collect a lot of things and put them in glass cases and write little cards and pet them with their gaze.

(*Please note that I’m not discussing the hoarding that has been equated with a mental illness. I simply don’t want to call it ‘collecting’, because there’s collecting and then there’s my inexplicable desire to Have It All. I have no sense of moderation really.)

My sister and my mother are the former; little squirrels who insist on keeping everything they come across ‘just in case’. My sister’s bedroom is crammed full of shoe boxes filled with knick-knacks ‘that could be used for some art project’, and the downstairs room has five wardrobes because my mother doesn’t want to give them away. To be fair, we are using them, but I personally think we could downsize.

I’m a museum curator, which means that I collect a lot of things and fawn over them with a happy sense of accomplishment. And then I suddenly draw an arbitrary line between ‘things I need’ and ‘things I don’t’, and deem my collection complete.

This is my modest collection of nail polish, which pales in comparison to quite a few. They’ve all been carefully selected, though, to go with at least one particular outfit. Some of them only do go with just one outfit, actually.

At the moment, I can quite contentedly say that I need no more. That’s because the phase has passed.

…But, dear god, do I need notebooks.

I don’t, really.

But I want them. I only have a few, really, and I don’t need any more. One day I’ll devote a post to them; wonderful, glorious little pockets of fun that they are. I was going to post up a photo of them but I haven’t yet taken one I like. Watch this space!

Speaking of notebooks, I’ve started to put together a little one for my giveaway (sorry about the strangely bright pink background; I’ve just dumped it on an old filing cabinet I usually keep hidden away):

What do you think? I think it just needs a few more things to bring out the depth of the navy blue (Moleskine does such a lovely navy). The chiffon bow in the top right corner will also be at more of an angle.

What I’ve used so far:

  • A handwritten letter from 1954, to a ‘Mr Hubert A Kraus’ living in Canada;
  • A scrap of lace from the offcuts of my Year 12 formal gown;
  • A section of a print of a map of Paris;
  • A little wooden button
  • A tattered chiffon bow fashioned from a hairclip I used to wear in high school. The hairclip was a larger bow,  but I tore it apart to make something less structured and tidy.
  • A length of cream grosgrain ribbon with a stripe of satin down the middle.

I don’t want to make it too bulky in case things fall off/it becomes impossible to use, so it’s going to stay quite simple, I think. I don’t think it’s coming along too badly ^^.

This, by the by, is what I’m wearing as I tackle this little project:


It’s not the most exciting outfit in the universe, because I chose everything based on the fact that a) they were blue; b) they were easy to nap in. Such is life.

I’m wearing, as per usual, Alannah Hill. The cardigan is yesterday’s teal Flames to Dust, paired with yesterday’s cream Adorable Wafer Girl cami… okay, this is starting to sound worrying. I promise you that they’ve been washed; I was just too lazy to put them away and too lazy in the morning to go through my wardrobe, lol!

My skirt,thankfully, is different, and is the cream Sit Down, Shut Up! skirt. It has adorable polka dots in pale blue and a darker blue, and little silk blue buttons. Very fond of it. And the belt is a blue and cream Little Picket Fences, from the same season. It has quite a nice buckle:


My necklace is from Untamed Menagerie on Etsy and reads ‘We’re All Mad Here’ in cursive script. I love Alice in Wonderland (it was actually going to feature in my thesis) and couldn’t resist it. The picture is taken from her listing, because I can’t get a good shot myself that does the piece justice:

I also have the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ necklace. Definitely recommend the seller — amazing service and really beautiful pieces.

And, to prove that I can’t pose like a normal person:


I’m not quite sure what I was doing here, but I’m positive that I was mocking Valerie, the camera-wielder. To do this pose, you have to put one hand up to your head, with your thumb touching your forehead, and wiggle the four fingers around while chanting ‘nyah, nyah’ or various immature taunts. It helps if you dance from foot to foot. Increases the absurdity.

The things you learn from this blog, huh.

November 22, 2010

General sensory hedonism

(Just a little shameless plug: thinking about doing a giveaway; please read about it send me your thoughts here. Would appreciate it ^^!)

If you are/were an English major, or ever did any ‘classic’ English units, you most likely ran across Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, which features copious amounts of effeminate male aesthetes eating chocolates, sipping wine and generally enjoying all of life’s shallow pleasures. The book can easily be read as a warning against hedonism (live for the pleasures of the flesh and your soul will pay!!111oneoneeleven) but I usually ignore that reading, reveling instead in the general displays of hedonism. There is a section in The Picture of Dorian Gray that describes all of Dorian’s little hedonistic pursuits: he collects jewels; paintings; goes to the opera; collects more things; fills his house with beautiful rubbish. (The declutterers among you may faint in despair at that last one XP.)

Let me confess now: I have a tendency to collect things. I actually go through quite intense phases of ‘must have them all!’ I used to play Maple Story (a rather dull and cutesy 2D side-scrolling MMORPG, but I love it) and every time a game event happened, in which players could collect limited edition items/weapons/what-have-you, I made it my mission to get the entire set. And I did, even if I had to trade a great deal of pixelated gold for a pixelated (overpriced) ‘rare item’.

My last phase was Lush, but I’m more or less done with that now — I only drop in to replenish skincare products when they’ve run out. (I’ll admit that that phase only ran out when I tried everything in the store. And I have, except for the things with jasmine, because I’m allergic to jasmine.)

Valerie, however, is still indulging in olfactory delights and an interest in perfume has begun to kindle — niche perfumes, particularly, which are unfortunately few and far between in Sydney. Today, we went to Mecca Cosmetica hoping to find Comme des Garcons’ Series 2 ‘Tea’ perfume, but our local didn’t have a tester out. Valerie did light upon CdG’s newest addition, ‘Wonderwood’, which is a nice woody scent — woody, a little spicy, and ever so slightly sweet on the dry-down.

I sniffed around but found nothing I liked better than my current fragrance, Miss Dior Cherie — I’ve been wearing it every day for almost six years now but I haven’t found anything that blends with my skin chemistry quite as well.

This is what I was wearing, by the by:

Oooh, dodgy pic. My apologies. The lighting in my room was horrible at the time.

All from Alannah Hill except for the belt, the hair bow and the necklace. The skirt is called ‘Lost in Headlights’. I think I’ve posted it before. Really one of my favourite skirts — I find that I end up trying it with everything. It’s surprisingly versatile. The cardigan is called ‘Flames to Dust’ — this season’s Alannah Hill has a recut, but I wasn’t too enamoured with them. (I have them in black/cream trim, red/cream trim and black/pink trim’ but I really want more.) And the cami is called ‘Adorable Wafer Girl’ and comes in a pale pink, which I have, and black, which I don’t. I really regret it — they’re really versatile pieces.

The necklace, which you can’t really see in that picture, is from Disney Couture. It’s gold-plated and reads ‘Fairest of them all’, and has a little red enamel apple. Here’s a close-up photo:

It’s a bit of a vain thing to wear but, in my defence, I got it as a gift. And it’s so awesomely kitsch; how could I not wear it?

November 20, 2010

There be dragons in that castle!

I’ve decided that Lazy Days are balanced out by Seriously Hectic Days. Today was meant to be a stroll in the park: an early visit to the Philippino Lantern Festival in Parramatta, and (perhaps) home to gobble all the food we brought. Indeed, the only hiccup seemed to be the fact that Valerie intended to go out in her pyjamas (a shirt with pictures of sheep). This exchange happened over chat this morning:

maybe you shouldn’t?
Valerie: I SAID I WOULD DO IT AND I’M ALREADY WEARING IT XD. Because i wore it to bed ^^
Andrea: LOL
Do you want to?
(Better question: why do you want to?)
Valerie: Yes
I do
wearing it now ^^
have an outfit of sorts
Andrea: you nutter
Valerie: they’re pyjamas? XD
Andrea: I can’t believe you’re trying to explain it to me.
Valerie: But I dont’ think they look as pyjama-y as my other pyjamas
which aren’t even fun looking. Also, i don’t have any other shirts like it XD
Andrea: yeah, you don’t. Because they’re pyjamas. No one makes shirts to look like pyjamas.

To be fair, when she arrived this morning, she looked rather cute. I unfortunately didn’t get a picture, but I’ll get one soon. Brown-khaki pants with brown knee-high boots, the sheep shirt (which is quite loose-fitting, has thick brown and white vertical stripes, with a sheep at the hem on the right and another near the neckline on the left), a brown hat and a black little square scarf around her neck. This is what I was wearing:

The skirt is a cheapie from Hong Kong; the argyle vest and cream blouse are from Valleygirl (bought a good four years ago and still looking pristine! Handwash all your cheap thrills and they’ll last a good while yet); the leather blazer is from BCBG Max Azria and is one of my favourite jackets, bar none. It was a bit hot for today’s weather but I thought I’d wear it out before it got too unbearably hot to wear again.

My accessories: Twitter stockings, which I’ve shared before, from Etsy; champagne pearl necklace; champagne pearl earrings; my beloved Sretsis glass bird ring; red hair bow.

So, even though Valerie was wearing her pyjama top, I suppose we didn’t cut too bad a figure.

Unfortunately, we left the festival almost as soon as we came. Valerie seemed to have an allergic reaction to something she ate and felt rather nauseated. (The poor thing hasn’t had an allergic reaction to anything before, and nausea is something quite rare for her.) It ended rather messily (won’t go into the details!) with me rushing up four shopping centre levels in search of antihistamines — I’m not familiar with Parramatta Westfield and the place is huge when you’re looking for something very ordinary! We went home after Valerie’s nausea passed and she felt well enough to move.

Let it be known now that if you are a worrier, a fretter, a mother hen of sorts to sick people, Valerie is not your ideal patient. After seeing her looking pale, flushed and dazed, I was quite understandably rather worried about her state of health after the episode had passed. I was quite content to tuck her in bed and simply sit at home all day. But Valerie wasn’t.

Two cups of tea later, she piped up, ‘let’s go to Top Ryde City!’

‘Why?’ said I.

‘Because we haven’t been there yet!’

(I still don’t know why ‘because we haven’t been there yet!’ is a reason to go to a shopping centre. Shopping centres are, by and large, all the same. Myer and David Jones may be on one side in Shopping Centre A and on opposite sides in Shopping Centre B, but this does not erase the fact that Myer and DJs are in both shopping centres and will more than likely have similar things.)

So off to Top Ryde City we went.

It was, like many shopping centres… like many shopping centres. I don’t think there’s much more to say about that, besides that it is brand new and the travelators are still bafflingly clean.

And like many shopping centres, it had Aldi, which is the usual grocery store to normal people but a haven of undiscovered treasures for Valerie. The girl collects Aldi catalogues as though they’re vintage baseball cards in mint condition.

I’ll concede Aldi has some weird and wonderful things at especially wonderful prices. Their Halloween fairy floss goes unrivalled and as someone who eats the stuff on a regular basis, this means that it is really awfully good. They had a fog machine for $40, which was so terribly tempting but let’s face it, what would I do with a fog machine?

This week, they have wooden building blocks for $15. Stuff of childhood, for $15! Nostalgia doesn’t get any cheaper!

With a bucket of blocks in our hot little hands, we scurried home to Bring Our Imaginations to Life.

First, we made a train. It was going to be a car, but it became a train. Such feats of engineering can only be accomplished with brightly coloured blocks, y’know.

Our brilliance led us on to more ambitious dreams: an aeroplane.

A picture tells a thousand words but this one is quite reticent. It just says: it failed miserably.

I’m not really sure where the aeroplane ends and the ‘just pile the blocks on!’ begins.

Eventually, it became a dragon:



If you think it looks innocuous, you are sorely mistaken. Any dragon that can BREATHE FIRE (and all dragons can) while being made of something that catches on fire at the drop of a hat, and yet not die, is seriously a force of immense and awesome power.

So awesome, indeed, that it invaded and took over this castle:

This elegant architecture-designed castle sits on an expanse of land not the size of a postage stamp but, rather, a reasonably sized ‘you have a parcel waiting at the post office’ card — a great beginning lot for a first-castle buyer or a good investment for those looking to break into the retail block market. This castle boasts views of the rolling green hills on the right and a busy bubbling blue stream-cum-moat, with a sturdy yellow-block bridge. Castle does come with dragon, so be prepared.

The lucky inhabitants of the castle will be able to live a pseudo self-sufficient life, as they will be able to seize all their foodstuffs from the neighbouring farm:

Our idyllic farm

And when you’re sick of hearty, homecooked food, you can dine at the Generic Conglomerate of Asian Food restaurant, which is designed to look suitably ‘oriental’ without being anything at all:

The restaurant is flanked by the Twin Pillars of General Exotic Mysticism and has an Inverted Triangle of Balance for some extra pizzazz.

Good, huh. You know you want it. Go go go to Aldi and make your own wonderful lands of wonder, all for $15. You won’t regret it.

November 20, 2010

Satirical sartorialism: fashion and femininity

(A note: this isn’t a fashion post as such. It’s more of a pseudo-academic musing, which I understand isn’t always what people are after on lazy Saturday afternoons. Click here for today’s usual outfit post ^^. —I must add, however, that this post contains a rather dorky set of photos, so if you want to see the stranger side of me, have a read through XP. My outfit is pretty damn’d cute too, if I do say so myself.)

I read a great post, Selling Myself, by a fellow Voguette. She discusses the fact that Alannah Hill is an incredibly feminine brand; that sales depend on selling a (very feminine) image; and whether or not it matters that she is selling femininity. This post is a run-off rather than a direct reply; I’ve used it to bounce into my own reflections about my femininity and fashion choices.

As someone aware of and interested in gender, I often have to reconcile the fact that I am a feminist performing a very specific type of femininity — a femininity that is often derided as frivolous and a hindrance to feminist movements.  It would be easier if I were an individual engaging in genderfuck or even someone who dresses androgynously (as Tilda Swinton does), or dresses like Valerie, who is often seen in (a more feminine) vest and tie. Such performances are far more explicitly gender-b(l)ending than my rather conservative display of femininity.

Me (left): 'girly' girl: Bows; skirt. Girl. Valerie (right): 'not-girly' girl; tie; vest. Girl.

That being said, genderfuck performances are often read as ‘just fucked up and wrong’ as opposed to a playful approach to gender; androgynous or cross dressing people are often shunted into the butch/femme binary — that is, their dress choices are immediately (and sometimes erroneously) equated with their sexuality. These performances are often recognised and read through a conservative gender lens. Performances alone, unfortunately, do not invite reflexivity.

So what if we played within the actual constructs of gender? Dressing like a tomboy or like ‘one of the guys’ stems from a rather androcentric stance — that masculinity is neutral and femininity is other. And a feminine ‘neutral’ outfit — a laid back and ‘prettified’ jeans and t-shirt affair — feels to me like a naturalisation of the relationship between ‘prettiness’ and female. So I decided, a good five years ago, not to fight it, but to accentuate it a little; make it just a bit more absurd. I slipped out of my jeans and t-shirts and took ‘girliness’ to the absolute heights (that my wallet could reach XP).

This has, of course, invited very conservative readings of my gender identity. All of a sudden I was offered Jane Austen books at bookstores (don’t start me on how boring I find Austen); people expected me to be shopping for my boyfriend at EB Games; and people look rather taken aback and perplexed when I say that I once spent over twenty-four hours, without sleep, grinding my character to the next level in an MMORPG.

My clothes have led people to dub me a ‘girly girl’, although outside of makeup and clothes, I don’t ascribe to conventionally feminine interests at all. My interest in makeup and clothes stems from aestheticism and colour theory as well, not necessarily from ‘looking attractive’ (although that’s always a plus!) — I derive the same pleasure from putting together a nice outfit as I do from putting together a nice arrangement of objects. If I were a male in nineteenth-century England, I would be all over Piccadilly carrying lilies with the best of them. (And swooning. I find that aesthetes in literature are always fainting onto couches.)

This does baffle me a bit, because I can’t help but ask: what does it mean when I’m dubbed ‘a girly girl’? I’m ‘more’ girl than the girl in jeans and a t-shirt? But we both (presumably) have female genitalia; we both (presumably) have the XX chromosome.  How can the clothes on my back suddenly deem me more ‘girl’? All of a sudden gender is marked not by biological sex but by something else — something that is rather arbitrary, like clothing.

I mean, look at me, everyone. I’m seriously a dork. I don’t spend all my time lounging in teahouses and cafes and looking for vintage things. I do spend a great deal of time doing so, but that’s not because of my biological sex — in the same way my dorky geeky nerdiness* isn’t because of my biological sex, either. (*The first thing I did when I got my iPod Touch was download the lightsabre app and run around making ‘zzwmmmm’ noises. But I don’t have pictures of that.) I’m not quite sure what I was doing here, but rest assured: it was epic.

Least. Feminine. Action. Evar. But-in-a-pink-dress.

If I were in a dorky looking t-shirt and had my hair all frizzy, I doubt anyone would call me ‘very girly’. Take away my dress and cardigan and I am no longer obviously ‘girly’, which suggests a (simplified) equation: Andrea + current clothes = girly girl; Andrea – current clothes = girl; therefore current clothes = girly.

Clothes maketh the girl here; and certain clothes mark femininity. Femininity is, put simply, a costume: something we perform and something we do. As a costume and a performance, it can also be taken off and stopped. It is hugely unnatural to strut around in high heels as it is to rip the hair out from under our arms, but it is being marketed to us as a very natural thing: something that women ‘like’ or ‘have’ to do, by virtue of our gender.

What I hope to do by dressing in such an absurdly girly way is highlight how much of a costume it is: how much effort goes into engaging in all the trappings of femininity, how very controlled and limiting it is, how very ridiculous it is to expect women to conform to it all the time.  And I enjoy this performance. I do; else I wouldn’t be doing it. But I enjoy it in the same way I’d enjoy dressing up in a costume of a film character: there’s something really terribly awesome about acting a role. I just happen to act a role on a daily basis.

Of course, this doesn’t work flawlessly. It has made a few of my students think,  once or twice. It’s also probably been read as ‘just girliness’ by countless of other people. As such, my choices may be just the indulgence of a privileged middle-class first-world cis-gendered female (booyeah cultural theory keywords!), pretending to take a political stance. In my defence, I’m not trying to tangibly change very much by dressing the way I do. I am aware, however, of the politics of performance, both in a theoretical mechanics-of sense and in the tangible political realm. An explicitly artificial, costumed, so-feminine-it’s-almost-unreal performance seems to fit the bill as well as anything else.

I also think it’s really important to claim femininity as a valid performance. ‘Serious’ things are always equated with the masculine. If you want to suggest that a girl is stupid, you style her in pink and frills and bows. I get great thrills from appearing all frilled up and being able to hold my own in an academic debate; in wearing bows and pwning people at computer games. And these thrills stem from the reactions some people first have when they see me: a bit incredulous, a bit unsure… and, largely, a bit definitely positive that I’m not cut out for whatever task for which I’ve arrived.

I don’t want to have to don a suit to look respectable and serious. I can do just as good a job (in my field) in heels and with bows in my hair, and I don’t want to act some form of masculinity just because being male is srs bzns and somehow more valid than femininity.