Monday, September 30, 2013

Are You Reddy To Frock? (To The Maxi)

No decade quite owned a full length dress like the 70's maxi. It makes sense on so many levels really. The bright colours and busy patterns synonomous with that period are all so awesome, if the dress is longer you get to see more of them.  "More is more" isn't a philosophy that spans all outfit decisions, but in this case I think it's perfect.

Maxi dresses and I had some time apart for a few years, but I fell in love with them again last Summer and now I am a serial maxi re-wearer. Not always easy when you are of diminutive stature. Let's face it. Wearing a long dress that is far too long and pools around your feet is going to do a pretty great job of making you look as short and squashed as possible. No self respecting undercover midget wants that I can assure you. Hiding high shoes under them can help, but you still gotta be careful.

No matter what the fabric, all long dresses have a few key universal versatilities.
  •  If it's cold, you can wear leggings or tights under them. It may be one of the only times I relax enough to not need to match them too. Chances are I still probably would, but I could potentially break my colour co-ordinated fixation under billowing skirts and it might not wreck my day. (don't judge. It's a thing. Ridiculous I know, but a very real affliction even if I am the only one to suffer from it.) Hell. If it's really cold you can go to town. Tights, long socks and legwarmers are even better when they are your own dirty little secret. I imagine so anyway. I can't keep them a secret and keep showing them to people so it's hard to say. It does allow a new  and hidden platform for the ridiculous while not looking like a cartoon character or detracting from the dress though. Legwarmers are amazing, but can be hard to work into outfits as an retired rollerskating adult. Take every opportunity you can to get those puppies on. Im always glad when I have and I usually catch myself making resolutions to do it more often.

  •   If it's hot, a maxi is surprisingly cooling to wear. I couldn't explain the scientific logistics but there is a definite breeze you get flowing through the right light floating fabric. A very specific breeze that has never been matched on a shorter hemline. The more breeze you get, the more it floats too. A nice bonus of this feature is that you feel like a princess when you're floating around on your own dress induced aircon. I've been called a lot of things but graceful isn't one of them. If I can fake it with a dress you can be damned sure I am going to notice it. Sadly, being aware of this rare feeling of grace and poise is often short lived when I invariably trip over my own feet or get tangled up in the fabric. While falling over is never really that awesome, it's almost worth it if I can get a few minutes of tapping into my inner disney princess. I dont even really think of myself as a "princessy" kindofa girl, but I think on some level we all are. Who wouldn't want a beautiful gown, handsome prince and a happily ever after? A great trio sure, but let's face it. I'm pretty much happy enough with a beautiful gown. CHECK!

  • A maxi can also hide all kinds of things. You don't have to shave your legs for a start. If you ever needed to tape a hipflask to your leg nobody would be any the wiser. And if cartoons have taught me anything, its that you can pretty much sneak 2 (or even 3) people in anywhere if you have them on each others shoulders and a really long coat. I'm not that silly though. Of course that wouldn't work in real life. Nowhere makes coats that long. You could adapt this concept with a midget though. Very easily hidden under a maxi. You can pretty much get that midget in for free anywhere now.  
You're welcome.

Pretty much every maxi has those same great selling points, and that's before you even get to the individual dresses selling points that always grab me right by the eyeballs. Fabric, pattern, colour and extra detailing. Today's featured frock has a lot going for it in those stakes too.

Red is one of my favourite colours to accesorise with. What girl doesn't feel sexier wearing a great red lippie? Exactly. Now I suggest you start with that and just keep going.  Red is a great contrast to pretty much every other colour, and I must say I abuse the crap out of this. Nothing wrong with being a serial colour combo'ist. (Although I do suspect there may be something wrong with using the word combo'ist.)

This maxi is in a firey shade tomato red with an overlying paisley in shades of black and charcoal.  (see what I did there? Fire? Charcoal? I did stop short of using "burned out", but totally defeated my restraint by just telling you about it.) The fabric is just how I like my friends. Bright and ridiculous. This frocks additional features include some tiny faux button detailing down the front, a tie at the back to really add shape and the cutest double layer of arm frills EVER.

I am now freshly excited about long dresses- and it's just in time for FROCKTOBER!

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mexi Can Can (Yes I Can Can)

(Before you read any further  I have a recommended soundtrack for the full aural experience of this post. It can be located here. I don't care if you choose to listen or not, I just think you should have the choice... )

One of my more commonly used phrases seems to have become "If you are going to do something- you may as well do it properly". It  really is a great all purpose philosophy and I catch myself applying this to numerous situations on a daily basis. In the context of outfit creation it means total commitment. None of this hesitant dipping one toe in the water. Oh no. Pick a theme/ colour/ obscure inspiration and run with it. As far as you can. I've fine tuned my own sense of when I think I'm over doing it by intentionally taking it way too far and then working my way backwards . Over co-ordinate on purpose and then stripping it back slowly is a great way to find the right balance, and definitely the most fun.  I  do try to toe the line and stop right before an outfit gets too obvious, cliche or ridiculous- but let's face it. Even my conservatively dressed days are bound to be deemed pretty weird by more conventional standards.

I do like dressing with a theme in mind. I like a goal and I like the challenge of finding the perfect combination of items to interpret my concept through. I know that the time and effort I invest is likely to be lost on most people as I realise that 99% of the population just don't care. But that's ok. I also know that it is totally worth it for the rare times I come across one of the 1% that get it. There may not be many of them out there- but the ones that understand REALLY understand. I don't like to think I'm the sort of person that needs my fashion choices validated- but I do get quite the kick when someone picks up on the finer details. (without me having to point them out anyway.) It's not the same when you have to explain the levels of  nerdy matching theme continuance to someone. Seriously. If I have to explain it to you, it kinda takes away all of the "clever" out of it. I have a scarf that is a perfect example of this in fact. The pattern on it is knitted bacon and eggs- and it was the very first thing I noticed about it. I swear I have worn that damned thing at least 50 times and not one single person has noticed it's breakfasty goodness. Sigh.

 Sometimes the theme develops organically while other times it's conscious and predetermined by a single item. Like when you find a super rad brightly coloured Mexican circle skirt from the 50's. When a theme is that awesome why wouldn't you run with a it? An off the shoulder white top not only fits with the theme- but is also subdued enough that it lets the skirt do all the talking. A red flower in my hair is pretty standard most days- but this outfit could also work with yellow. Actually you know what would be perfect? A green cactus clip.
(Note to self- make that happen....)

The dark navy of the fabric perfectly sets off the bright yellows, greens, reds and whites against it. Bold contrasting colours are always a winner in my opinion- and something about the striped detailing is particularly pleasing to the eye too.

I feel like I have given the right amount of attention to detail to stay on the right side of MexiCAN before it slides into Mexican't or even the wrong end of Mexicarnage.. (I stopped short of a sombrero, fake moustache, poncho, Freida unibrow and burrito but all these went through my mind I can assure you) The only other addition I would consider is a bottle of corona in my hand and some more of THIS in my ear holes.

I made it through this whole post without incorporating any great Mexican puns.. not a single Juan!

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Chambray ya say...

If you are a regular reader, you may well have noticed I haven't been here for a wee while now. Quite some time in fact. While I have a couple of pretty good reasons why blogging has been put on my back burner for the last few months, it would take far too long to explain it here. Besides. It  all has very little to do with clothes so not much point putting it out in this context anyway. Let's just assume you are all thinking "Oh you're back" and leave it at that. Right then. Now that's out of the way let's carry on with the frocking show!

I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about 50's reproduction clothes that came out of the 80's. When they got it right- the garments can be nothing short of amazing. When they didn't, they really didn't.  Maybe it's safer to just keep judging on an outfit by outfit basis, so today I'm talking about one that totally made the cut.

Pale blue chambray isn't often my first choice when it comes to picking an outfit. For me it conjures up images of Billy Ray Cyrus (back before he was more famous for being Miley/Hannah Montana's Dad) and phrases like "Canadian Tuxedo". It's a hard mindset to break, but this could be the kind of dress that could do it.  The added bonus of being the pale blue denimy colour it is, makes it very easy to accessorise with. There are many other variations available in my stash of belts, shoes, petticoats and hair accessories, but a classic red was the ultimate winner for the photo's you now should see before you.

While we're on the subject let's talk shoes. Red, spotty & wedge(y). What's not to love! I managed to get a lot a great deal of wear out of these babies over the Summer months. They are a very easy shoe to work into other outfits too so rest assured  they will be featured here in a few more posts to back this up.

(There really needs to be a close up photo HERE of said shoes. Will update this post to reflect such a thing as soon as I can get a decent pic of them. Taking photos of your own feet is harder than it looks ok! Go try it. Feel free to let me know any tips if you can manage it better than I do...)

The style of this dress has a subtle undertone of "Nautical" too with it's wide neck line and row of tiny buttons down the bodice. The back also has quite a wide and sweeping shape from shoulder to shoudler. The V shape just below the waist line is a cool detail, and the skirt has more than enough circle to it to rock a decent crinoline underneath it. The fabric is light to wear and falls really nicely, so overall I think I need to be wearing this dress a lot more often. In fact while typing this post I have just completely resold the whole concept of this outfit to myself. Let's hope Auckland's erratic weather gives me a window of opportunity to get reacquainted properly soon....

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Madame Butterfly

I have recently been reintroduced to the amazing-ness that is Saturday morning "Garage Saling". It's a pretty great way to start your weekend if you can commit to the early start. Coffee in one hand and a list of addresses in the other. Getting to rummage through piles of unwanted trinkets, knick knacks and having that moment where you realise you've found a true treasure in amongst the junk. I've managed to accumulate all kinds of unexpected gems this way but I am always extra stoked when I come across great clothing. You couldn't ever count on finding an incredible vintage gown but sometimes you are lucky enough that one finds you.

Friends of ours were moving to New York and were having an early morning "everything must go" sale at their place. It was a nice mix of BBQ breakfast, social beers, a chance for people to stop in to say their goodbyes, and lots of well organised (but extremely varied) items that weren't going to be travelling with them. I did manage to convince myself that we were paying more of the social visit than looking to buy stuff off them. My best intentions dissolved within 5 minutes of arriving and soon I had committed to helping the cause by taking a set of shelves, a set of vintage postcards and an oil heater. I was about to head back to the BBQ in the courtyard when my eye was caught by something beautiful floating on the back of the lounge door. There hanging up in front of me was the most incredible 70's gown in shades of marigold, deep browns and reds. It was one of those actual jaw dropping moments that stopped me in my tracks for a moment while I registered just how amazing this dress was. It actually took my breath away in those first few seconds and I knew that this dress was something really special.

After checking that it wasn't out with the rest of the items up for grabs as a mistake I found out as much as I could about its history. It was bought originally for a fancy dress party. It had made it out a few more times since- but only ever in a dress up context. It had been very well received in all of its wearings and while my friend was sad to be giving it up- it just hadn't been worn enough to make the cut of the clothes going to New York. With it's fitted bodice, floating full skirt and long winged arms it was indeed a work of art- but a hard one to get into a regular wearing rotation.

 The warm colours and the floral pattern are indicative of its 70's creation and with it's long pointed sleeve/ wings it manages to be elegant without being too hippy. I love that the colour evolves from the bright marigold flowers of the main dress into the contrasting red, browns and black while keeping the same big bold flower pattern throughout. It works well and even though there are a few key points of difference in the cut of the dress itself- the fabric makes the most of being bright without diminishing or overpowering the gown as a whole.

I put it on as soon as I got it home and immediately felt like a princess. Or maybe a butterfly. Whatever the label. It was graceful and delicate anyway. These words aren't often ones that are paired with me (ever!) so it did actually feel like there was a kind transformation when I put it on. I was enjoying gliding all around the house and watching the fabric float all around me when my default unco setting burst the bubble. I had managed to get one of my "wings" caught on the banister at the top of our stairs. With so much fabric to get caught there hadn't been any obvious tension in my sleeves to stop me moving. Sadly I kept going and the banister ensured that the dress didn't keep moving with me. The sound of that fabric ripping felt like a lead weight in my stomach. Luckily for me it was a relatively small and very fixable rip- but a timely reminder that even in a chiffon winged gown I'm still not going to be able to pull off "graceful" for more than a few minutes.

To reduce the risk of another rip I have been admiring it from the stationary safety of the mannequin in the wardroom. I may not have found many places I can wear this frock yet, but at least I can appreciate it as a work of art in the meantime...

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Silver Rouched Ridiculousness

So another Christmas has come and gone. Turns out the end of the world didn't happen- and we are screeching towards the final days of 2012. There is a very high chance I said this last year but it feels like I actually blinked and missed much the last 12 months. 

Yes. We are almost completely past the festive season now and I suspect many of you  experienced an increase in overeating and hangovers because of it. I am very fond of this time of year (for many reasons) but thank god it only lasts a couple of weeks. I can get as festive as the next girl but there is a lot to be said for pacing yourself these days. I'm getting too old to be able to live through the hangovers. Its a sad fact- but its totally true. Long gone are the December's  of my twenties where I could celebrate many consecutive nights with a glass of bubbly or 3 and be fine the next day. These days there needs to be a lot more glasses of water in between drinks- and sober nights in between the festive ones. If you are reading this and lucky enough to be still enjoying your 20's- for god sake make the most of your stamina while you can. It will disappear just when you think you are untouchable and it sure sucks when you realise how good you had it in the sobering light of your mid thirties. It's always nice knowing how good you have it before you lose it. Sorry. I will end my finger waggling old lady rant here.

One of the Christmas traditions I have picked up in the last few years is playing with Masters of Metal in their annual Christmas Extravaganza. What better way to celebrate the silly season than to don a mullet wig and rock out to some sweet 80's glam rock? Seems like the right thing to do to me.

As previous posts have shown I've had a few years to put together a couple of different themed MOM ensembles now- but there is one slight problem I have encountered. Once you wear an outfit as a piss taking 80's glam rock costume- it sure is hard to break away from that vibe and wear it with any credibility later.  Such outfits get pigeonholed this way and it makes utilising these rare opportunities for further wearing much harder. Basically once a dress is a MOM dress- it's likely to only ever be a MOM dress. I'm more than happy to commit to a sweet outfit for his band- but when I only get to play with them once- or twice a year tops it can be a little sad too.

That brings us to the topic of today's post in fact. Now to be fair- I did buy this frock specifically for Masters of Metal. At first that is. It's definitely one of those dresses that just has so much going on all at once that at first it seems... well. Ridiculous. Rouching. Metallic. Cowl neck. Lace insert. It's more than your average garment would attempt to pull off- but somehow it works. Even weirder is that the longer you look at it the more credible it slowly starts to seem. So much in fact that I kinda want to wear it outside of an 80's glam rock theme to see if it can hold it's own. I am all for pushing the boundaries of your average dress code if I have something I really want to wear- but a dress like this needs a semblance of occasion I feel. Even I know that it isn't really a Saturday morning cafe brunch frock- or a pop down to the supermarket outfit. I do sincerely hope that I stumble across the right time to bust it out on an unsuspecting public without over thinking it too much more than I already have. I'm hoping that in a burst of epiphany- I will just know when it's time is right.

At the bargain price of $20 (trademe of course!) I'm sure I have already got my monies worth really. In fact- I even bought another one that is almost identical as I'm that convinced that someone else I know needs one in their lives at some stage! I really should stop doing that I know- but if something can bring me that much happiness I feel obligated to help another one find someone else that will feel the same way.... I know. I have a problem- but I get almost as much joy out of watching someone else fall in love with a piece I have sourced as I do falling in love with a piece myself. You just know when someone truly appreciates a garment in the way it deserves and it sure warms the heart. I have had many a vintage clothing store owner comment on seeing that same spark in me and we end up just feeding off each others excitement. I know that the doppelganger of this one will end up in good hands eventually and I'm looking forward to being the catalyst for the happiness it will bring the right person. But with that long winded tangent I digress...

In my attempts to break free of the context I have forced upon it in previous wearings- I'm not even going to post pics of it being worn in all of its glam rock glory. I'm hoping that once I take away the white ruffled stiletto boots, the lace fingerless gloves, the teased hair/ridiculous wig and the multitude of chains and bracelets it may paint a very different picture. I may have typecast it myself but I'm hoping it's not too late to try a new context and set a very different precedent. I'm also hoping that the photo's will help me to see it's full potential outside of a dress up theme. If not- at least I got to wear it with credibility just once even if it was only for these photo's!

One more and final  noteworthy point is that other than that depicted in these pics- every other time I have worn this dress I have worn it backwards. I don't know what it is about the style but I seem to  feel more comfortable with the cowl neck at the front and the lace insert at the back. I think it stems from a vaguely constricting feeling I get with anything that is too snugly fitting around my neck. I always mean to wear it in the way it was designed but change my mind at the last minute. Kinda weird really that I took pictures the way I've never actually worn it now that I think about it- but maybe it was my brains subconscious way of giving it that new context I was talking about. Lets assume I had a flash of secret prophecy in fact and just run with that shall we?

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Red Knitted Piano Jumper

I don't know if it's because I was a true 80's child that I have such nostalgia for these years. I was there for all of them for a start and spent a lot of my formative school age years deep inside them. Seriously though.  What a great time to grow up. We had glimpses of the mod cons that technology would be bringing us but there was still a simplicity. A wholesomeness to life back then. Kids toys were pretty epic but we still wanted to play outside. Television shows were off the chart and with only 2 channels in NZ until 1990- TVNZ had a pretty captive audience. Weekends were book ended by "What Now" and "RTR Countdown" or an endless stream of Sunday night Disney Family movies. (depending on your bedtime of course....) Kiwi cuisine was for the most part still pretty bland but thanks to microwaves at least it was fast. The times they were a changin' but little did we know the cultural cusp we were existing on.  Of everything the 80's touched - not many things evolved and expanded quite the same way that music and fashion did. Both became brave and experimental in both inspiration and execution while also giving us so many more choices and options. For a small country with 2 television stations and only a handful of high end family run department stores; this was a huge turning point.

 Before I slip into the ramblings of a mad woman writing about 80's music I will get back on track. From here on in I will try to just give you the ramblings of a mad woman writing about 80's fashion or more specifically knitwear.

The later half of the 80's (from where I was at least) heavily featured bright and chunky knits. Much of it was over sized. Even more of it was variations of a template using neon colours, geometric shapes, different textures and squiggles. There were squiggles everywhere. There is a very real chance that my view of knitwear during these years is based predominantly on my own wardrobe at the time but years of op shop rummaging seems to back me up. Knitwear was heavily patterned and multi coloured whatever the palette of choice. There was (is?) something for everyone who wanted to dabble and support our national wool industry. Woolrest was even the prime sponsor of the 1983 Miss World Competition that shot our own Lorraine Downs straight to the dizzying international and highly coveted "Miss Universe" title. Wool was breaking away from it's daggy (ha) reputation and we were happy to jump aboard and see where this thing would take us.

I just need to quickly apologise for the "dag" pun but the one incorporating "following like sheep" was much worse.

Somewhere in between the first industrial knitting machine made for personal home use and the niche carved out by infamous figure David Bain and his garments of choice lies today's subject. It wasn't knitted for me personally but god knows I had 2 Grandmothers that would have been more than capable of making this happen if only I had thought to ask. Whoever was the original recipient was I just hope they loved it the way it deserves to be appreciated. In saying that there is a certain comedic quality to imagining a punk or goth 14 year old boy  being given this for Christmas from an elderly relative. I just hope he waited till she wasn't watching before he  rolling his eyes or going into involuntary facial twitches when he realises he not only has to try it on for her but people have cameras. Whether it harked from a happy place of intentional design for it's original wearer or a teenage boys darkest nightmares his friends see him wearing it in the family Christmas photo's. It sure is in a loving home now.

I stumbled across it on trademe. I may have typed piano as a search word in the clothing section. It sure seems like something I would do after all- but I seem to recall this one may have found me in a much vaguer category in a general browse. I could go into some deeper philosophical thoughts about fate versus luck when it comes to finding clothes. I could also go into ridiculous detail about the difference between me finding that special something and that special something finding me and how I differentiate the 2 but I won't. You will just need to trust my gut feeling on this one. Even if I hadn't found the trademe listing myself there is a very real chance that someone else would have pointed me in it's direction. Piano keys are a pretty obvious thing to be related back to me so I have a pretty sweet collection of keyboard themed accessories gifted over the years. (scarves, belts, rings, bracelets, tights, headbands... the list goes on) I will confess there is an inclination to throw myself into this P.O.F completely and wear them all together but I won't. Even I have a line I don't cross and I'm pretty sure a head to toe piano key outfit is falling on the wrong side of it. I will save that one for when I am closer to 60 and can use my well earned elderly eccentricity as an excuse to really go to town on it. Seriously. The outfits of my golden years are already being thought about....

The red is bright and tomatoey. It goes with my current favourite red lippie and I have many options for co-ordinating around it in while being subtle yet deliberate. A closer look at the stitches in the keys suggests that it was machine knitted  but still not mass produced.  I have matched it with red boots that are maybe knocking on the door of a little too matchy but a pair of classic black chuck taylor hightops would finish the outfit off perfectly too. Not only would they tone it down a notch while not having to give up on my obsession for matching colours- they would work well with the tights in the pictures, darker shiny lycra leggings or jeans.

I love this jumper. I really do. The only thing I would change about it is it's size. When I bought it is was clearly listed a woman's size 10. It was photographed flat on the floor and I imagined it would be much smaller than it turned out to be. You will see in the photo's that wearing it as a dress isn't too much of a stretch for me but turns out it also fits my lovely man who is much MUCH bigger than me. What started as a joke in him trying it on for shits and giggles quickly escalated into it going to work with him as an ironic participation in a loud shirt day. Essentially he used my awesome new jumper as a novelty dress up joke. (The joke hinging around the fact he is the last person you would ever see joining in on an office dress up theme.) It was even briefly passed on and worn by another friend of ours in his office- although I know he was wearing less ironically being  a man of  loud persona and many musical talents. The most impressive part being that standing at close to 6 foot 7 the jumper still fits him perfectly. This knitted piece of incredibleness is many many things but a woman's size 10 it is not.


To give you a sense of scale- if I was standing next to Carl in this photo I would be lucky to come up to the bottom of the black keys on the sleeves. I should also point out I haven't asked permission to use his photo showing how well he rocks this jumper.  It sure isn't a choice for the faint hearted and he carries it off in a way that not many others could. He should be proud. Hell if I didn't love the damned thing so much myself I would be tempted to give it him.

Carl- if you ever read this I promise you can borrow it anytime you want. I will even throw in the matching glasses you are modelling to complete the ensemble. You are welcome. Or I'm sorry. Whichever is more appropriate at this juncture....

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let The Sunshine In

Not being the type to shy away from bright colours and bold patterns I am somewhat used to people commenting on my use of them. This year in particular I have found more strangers than ever before approaching me in the street, office, cafes to let me know that they are picking up what I am putting down. While I don't need the reassurance of strangers as such, it is still nice to know that someone appreciates what I am doing enough to tell me. Apart from one lady who yelled at me out of her car before chasing me down the street and cornering me in a shop. It took away from the compliment itself and left the whole situation quite firmly in the "creepy" zone. The intense look in her eyes combined with the sense that she was the stereotypical type of woman to own 30 cats sure added to the experience. I think the part that scared me the most was knowing that there is a very real possibility that I will be the same when I get to her age. Maybe if I am brutally honest it could be closer to my outright destiny. I will almost surely be terrifying younger women by chasing them down streets to talk about their clothes when I am old enough to be classed as properly eccentric. I may have a bit more room yet to grow into this impending phase of my life but truth be told it probably isn't even that far away.....

But I digress.

Todays featured outfit certainly isn't one that blends into the background by any stretch. I have been using it to force my own sunshine into Auckland's grey days this Winter and it sure has freaked people out with it's migraine inducing brightness. People just cannot help but comment. Most of these are based around "Gosh that's a bright dress" (which can portray admiration or terror depending on the tone)  or a variation of "You are your own little ray of Summer". (usually from the older end of the age spectrum). Whatever the comment. Whatever the intent behind it. I am well aware that there is a degree of "balls" required  to wear this dress with the confidence it deserves- and on the right day I'm pretty sure I can.

As is often the case the dress found me. I had left the house to get a key cut in St Kevins Arcade and this little number was part of the window display in K Rd's infamous "Vixen". It had me transfixed instantly but I managed to break free of the spell and carried on my errands. It's one thing to walk away from a moment like this. It is something completely different when it comes to obsessing over it afterwards. Once that initial "I love it" seed is planted in my head it can be very difficult to move on. In this instance I recognised early that it was already quite far under my skin and could prove to be very distracting. Instead of letting it dominate my thoughts over the next few weeks I went back an hour later to try it on. I had to be prepared for the outcome either way. If it fit me I was ready to commit to the purchase. If it didn't, at least I could stop dwelling on it and move on. Either way it was the first step to breaking the spell I was under and getting control of my own thoughts again.

 (I feel like I need to acknowledge those last few sentence. Yes. This is an accurate depiction of how such things play out in my head. I realise that not many people obsess over such things the way I do but then not many people have an entire room full of clothes boasting a similar history either.  Instead of being vaguely embarrassed of myself when I catch myself deep in the "over thinking" zone I now choose to look at is as "deliberate and well thought out". At this point in my life I am not just comfortable with my passion being much closer to an obsession. I am outright embracing it. )

I did feel a little bad at making Mikey behind the counter take apart his window display for me to try it on- but only for a split second. As soon as I had it over my head it just felt right. I was already sold but if I needed another sign to push my decision it was the reaction I got when I stepped out of the fitting room. The reaction of an audible gasp followed up with a "You cannot leave here without that dress" was made all the better by the fact that it came from a complete stranger who was just browsing in the store. Someone who had no way to benefit from giving me an empty compliment. There was no turning back. It was definitely coming home with me.

The style of the dress itself has elements of a few different era's. It has the full pleated circle skirt of the 50's while still managing to convey the 70's with it's exaggerated collar and extreme polyester fabric. Not a common mix of decades influence but one that works quite well in this instance. 

Yellow may not come across as particularly neutral but block colours in frocks can prove to be very versatile. There are many options in the colour palette to compliment and set it off when picking accessories and shoes-  but some certainly work better than others. Red with yellow can feel very "McDonald's". Green with yellow can feel a bit like "Australian sports team". It didn't take me long to realise that pairing it with a deep cobalt blue was the best way to get the most out of both colours with the perfect balance of neither toning it down too far or over intensifying an already bold base. I had the basic concept ready but wanted to give this outfit a special occasion in which to unveil it in. As luck would have it there was a friends 40th a few weeks later so I decided to wait till then to bust it out officially. The ensemble was mapped out and complete. I didn't need anything else to realise the vision. Or so I thought....

A week or so later I walked past the window of Vixen again on my way to our local bar. Not only was my eye just caught by the window display it stopped me in my tracks completely. I literally ground to such a halt that my long suffering man (whose hand I was holding at the time) came close to girlfriend induced whiplash. I could feel myself being physically pulled in closer to the window in the same way that cartoon characters float on the smell of a hot baked pie. There in front of me was the most perfect pair of statement shoes to compliment my dress. I don't think I ever could have imagined them better. Yellow vintage pumps from the 70's with a splash of cobalt blue detailing and a smattering of black polka dots. The shop was closed so I took a photo on my phone. I spent the entire next day not just thinking about them but actually dribbling over the picture. Needless to say I ran back there as soon as I could to try them on and they fit. They were now forever cemented as the perfect finishing touch to an ensemble I was already very excited about.

When you put the shoes directly next to the dress there is a subtle but noticeable difference in shades of yellow. The shoes have a warm orange undertone while the dress is definitely has more of a cooler lemon shining through. As I am almost guaranteed to be not just the only person to notice, but the only person to care I can let this minor fact go. The block colour of the dress is offset by the blue leopard cardi to give it some texture (a plain blue cardi was just too flat) and the black tights pick up the black in the pattern while providing the contrast to make both the yellow pop and to further tie the blue in. The shoes work like a dream to pull the entire context together and work just the right amount of each colour to give it balance. Plain yellow, blue or even stock standard black shoes just aren't enough. It isn't just that these shoes match the palette I have chosen here. They actually lift everything to the next level. They give an impression of everything else being carefully chosen to work with all of their elements rather than the complete opposite.

I am yet to even try to get these shoes into another outfit or consider replacing them in this one. Even if this frock and shoes only ever get worn with each other I am still happy. What they may eventually lack in versatility they certainly make up for it by complimenting each other so well. Like Bert goes with Ernie or Lucy goes with Desi. Pretty cool on their own but the dynamic they create together is undeniable. At some point I may well stumble on different wearing options for both pieces but I also get the feeling that I have already tapped into some weird next level clothing nerd chemistry and one that could not be topped. It doesn't often get better than this. I have plenty of other items and ensembles that I can put my energies into fine tuning and testing new ideas. This one is perfect already.

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