Thursday, 29 January 2009
Alternative title: Flamboyance Vs. The Social Uniform: The Sartorial Death Match
When I was little, like most little girls (and some AWESOME boys), I played dress-ups all the time.
My favourite thing to wear was my mother’s old debutante dress, dyed blue and clumsily hacked off around my feet. Playing dress-ups influenced my ideas about practical dressing so much so that when I pretended to run away, aged six, I packed only my most ‘essential’ clothes: Riding boots, a silver shawl and a white puff-sleeved flower girl dress. All stuffed into a Garfield satchel.
These days, I often experience a kind of struggle when I dress. I wrestle with what Sark calls the fear of being “too much” – dressing too extravagantly, standing out from the crowd. By the time we reach adulthood, a lot of us have already begun practising ‘unconscious dressing’ –clothes become nothing more than glorified fig leaves. It becomes habit to throw on some trousers and a t-shirt and start the day. Which is fine, of course – clothes, style, fashion – in the end it’s no more than fabulous window dressing. I get it. But blending in is just not for me. From the plastic tiaras, silver shawls and two-hats-at-any-given-time obsessions of my childhood, to the three tutus that are tucked into my wardrobe as I write this, I am, and always have been, a dresser-upperer.
What I am not is an unconscious dresser.
So why am I nearly always tempted to dress to be invisible?
If you read this blog, you’re probably a fan of playing dress-ups as well. You love shopping, or perusing style.com or seaofshoes.com, and deciding what to wear each day is an adventure of sorts. That’s what I love about the blogging community.
But re-watching this old video, Ellen von Unwerth’s Wendybird, which has made its way around the internet countless times, reminded me that in the real world, the meat world, whatever you call it, while people dress up for certain occasions – not many people play dress ups anymore. What’s the difference? The approach.
And that if I want to keep playing dress-ups and going out into the world, I’ll have to just suck it up and stand out a little bit.
Von Unwerth’s Wendybird:
This kind of topic – and idea of playing with your clothes (like playing with your food! Haha) – is endlessly fascinating to me, because it’s more about the people wearing the clothes than the clothes themselves, and I'd like to write about it a little more from time to time. If you don’t agree with any of these things I say, though, don’t worry – I’m just thinking out loud here.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
It has weird sculptural shoulders and it's incredibly well made - I want to wear it all the time! Hmph.
• 'Cue' pink print trapeze dress
• Black cheapie cardigan
• Black thongs/flipflops/cardinal sins
It was also the dress I wore in my very first daily outfit photo, taken in November 2007, when I had ridiculously long hair:
In other news, I now have delicious, delicious new sunglasses that I love to death, bought for me by The Boy Made of Awesome and Glitter. Behold my terrifying bedhead and haggard sleepy face (I swear, the things I do for this blog ...):
I hope that photograph made you roll around and giggle. Side-splitting laughter is golden, kids.
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Comme des Garcons - I love that peek of purple skirt!
I'm slowly reintegrating purple back into my wardrobe (and my paintings!), though I don't think it will ever be a favourite.
But today I did get my purple on. Just a little bit.
This dress is really conservatively girly - I'd rather wear it with studded leggings than saltwater pearls, but I think, in the end, it's always going to scream WASP.
• Cotton floral dress, a Christmas gift from my mother
• Black patent wedges, a birthday gift from my mother
• Black patent belt, came with a Zara dress
• Black 1980's sunglasses, opshopped, last seen when I was impersonating Billy Idol!
• Smudged makeup!
Monday, 26 January 2009
I'm wearing (and excuse my grumpy sleepy face!):
• 'Jeans West' knit cotton dress. It's SO comfortable. It was originally $70. I ebayed the little sucker for $2.
• 1950's satin circle skirt, bought on eBay years ago. It came with a little capelet.
• Belt, taken from one of my 'Cue' dresses.
• A weird necklace purchased from Diva over a year ago, pinned up with a faux cameo brooch.
• Black flip flops. I'M SORRY. I know they're not real footwear! And yet I keep wearing them. It's an unhealthy relationship.
Detail shot featuring a bit of everything:
Sunday, 25 January 2009
While I am trying clean out my wardrobe (albeit halfheartedly), I keep coming across these pieces of clothing – pieces I haven’t worn in years, that I looked awful in, that are pilling, acrylic, faded, or just not my style any more. I pull them out of the sorting pile, stare at them for a moment, and, with a pang, realise that I can’t quite part with them yet, and put them back in my wardrobe – right at the back, that is, where I don’t have to look at them. I never want to wear these pieces of clothing again. That’s not the point.
These are the pieces of clothing that have nostalgia value. I virtually inhabited some of these pieces during some of the most fantastic moments – and even years - of my life. But these years, these moments, still exist – in my head, in photographs, in journal entries. I remember being seventeen and driving around in a sleek black car at night in my hometown – even if I don’t hold on to the red track jacket I wore at the time. I still climbed through the half-constructed parts of the Crazy House in the middle of the night, even if I throw out the green knitted hoodie I was wearing when I did it.
What are any of us afraid of losing when we part with the last tangible remains of these kinds of moments?
• Clubmasters. Okay, so Pink has a pair, but I've recently grown obsessed with them. They seem to be a male-dominated style, but I think there's something cute about these lil glasses on a girl.
• Rainwear. It's grey outside today, and I'm mostly staring out the window, wishing it would rain! I have a thing for clothing that looks as though it's ready for puddles and drizzle at any second - like glossy black boots, ruffled parasols-cum-umbrellas, old synthetics from the 1950's that are plastic to the touch, and of course, latex stockings.
• Layering. Layering like a batty pirate-obsessed bag lady/wedding cake. Sheer jersey tops, tulle cravats, waistcoats, capes, cashmere gloves cut off at the fingers ... Gimme insane layers any day of the week. Did I mention I can't wait for autumn?!
• Cashmere tights. I'd like a pair to live in this winter. Seriously. I'll just pull them on in May, burrow into my blankets, and emerge in August.
Extra, extra: These women by The Facehunter - 1 & 2. I'd like to adopt them and feed them cake.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
I was given this dress by Australian brand Cue. It has pockets, which is always a bonus. I envisage wearing it with enormous hoof-like shoes, or sleek, futuristic spats like these darling things.
The dress hanging on a poor, hapless picture frame.
Details of the neckline and belt.
Luckily, I also received some tall, strappy wedges, so that's sorted:
I also have a new baby, named Soleil:
I've been using a pink iPod mini since 2005 - and I love it dearly, but as the mini has been EVERYWHERE with me, and gets carried around in my enormous handbag day after day, it's more than a little bit battered. Enter Soleil. Though I will keep using the 4GB mini as an external hard drive until it dies completely.
Finally, the silk 1930's teddy I bought a while ago arrived in my mailbox! I've wanted one for ages. It looks beautiful on, and I can't wait to start wearing it with black opaques, big shoes, powdered hair, neck ruffs, trench coats ... you name it. I think I'll have to wear something underneath, however, or risk being arrested! What I'd be arrested for, I'm not quite sure ... "Under Arrest for Enabling Titillating Glimpses"? "Under Arrest for the Lack of Ladylike Layering"?
Friday, 23 January 2009
I love how completely fantastical they are - but understandably, they're almost impossible to get away with at the post office, or while taking your dog for a walk (but then again, why not?)
So I thought I'd pull up a few of her costumes over the years, and concoct slightly more wearable ways to get your Goldfrapp on.
I love her Black Cherry era. Unfortunately it's really difficult to translate this album's aesthetic into everyday wear - that is, without looking like a Tim Burton throwback. But with the introduction of some muted colours, the red glitter and black and white stripes can work:
Her earthy, I-am-a-goatherding-Swiss-mountaineer first album, Felt Mountain, is a lush, trilling soundscape - and Supernature, her third album, is sleek electronica. A sartorial mix of these two albums would be perfect: Glam rock and tree nymph!
Glam rock tree nymph is an aesthetic I plan on trying out myself very soon :P
In the photoshoots for Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp's fourth and latest album, Alison is all whimsical again: pirate hats and ostrich feathers, caftans and a looming, papier maché owl ... It makes me want to wear crochet dresses and buccaneer boots, and do silly things like play harps. And find a giant owl of my very own.
Because what started out as a normal photoshoot quickly devolved into me pretending to be a bemused rabbit!
It's a shame that I didn't capture the dress, though - it is SO spectacular. I did at least manage to get a photograph of the front pleating/bow detail:
But as for the rest of the dress, you'll just have to wait until I wear it again!
In these photographs I'm wearing:
• Dress by 'Cue', a Xmas present from my mother and her fantastic taste (they come as a pair, haha).
• Electric pink flip-flops. Because I am classy and like to wear nice dresses with $2 footwear.
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Before I pack up my computer to drive however-many-hours north to see my parents, who want to shower me with presents and belated dinner - life's hard, eh? - I thought I'd share some of the sweet and fantastic articles I've seen floating around lately.
Garance Doré toys with the myth of La Femme Francaise, which is hilarious.
Mademoiselle Meredith gives some good advice about acknowledging your anger - and recognising exactly why you're angry.
JAK AND JIL applaud Anna Dello Russo, as do I.
And Queen Michelle manages to pull of the Rachel-from-Blade-Runner look (one of my favourites, and one of my style icons!) minus the fur.
And if you're hungry, like I am right now:
Vegan Dad's Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Manacotti has had me drooling for a while, and taste.com.au has a recipe for marshmallows that I'm wondering if I could successfully vegan-ise?
Now, I'm off to find something light and travel-y to wear!
Monday, 19 January 2009
At any rate, this is what I wore the night before my birthday to drink pints and dance to the "gypsy deathcore" maestros, the Barons of Tang:
The Barons of Tang.
I am clutching a longneck in homage to Pink, who was some 400 kms away at the time!
• 1950's pink organdy dress
• Black 1980's boots, defiled by a lot of titanium white oil paint.
• Black chiffon skinny belt, opshopped.
• The heavily-abused 1980's black and white striped wayfarers.
And this little picture is a little part of the outfit I wore on Saturday for a birthday picnic comprised of red velvet cake, hula hoops, bubbles, beer, and the best people ever.
Photograph taken by Monsieur Diabolik, I think!
I wore a ridiculous concoction that was equal parts fluffy cupcake and I-am-Australian-and-it's-hot!! Something along the lines of the glasses, a pink tulle 1950's prom dress (which was a really bad decision on account of the vast quantities of cake consumed), a white wifebeater and pink thongs-flip-flops-jandals-whatever-you-call-them. Styl-ish!!
Friday, 16 January 2009
And so, I bought myself two gloriously gaudy, campy things that will give me hours, if not days, of delight:
In case you couldn't tell, I am a huge fan of clashing red and pink! I think it may be years of childhood exposure to those colour-tastic cartoons like Rainbow Brite, Jem and Strawberry Shortcake. As a result, I no longer believe in clashing. Haha.
The dress is 1950's pink organdy, and fits PERFECTLY. I am so, so happy with it. As for the vodka, well, it will be joined in alcoholic matrimony with some ginger syrup and mint.
I just realised that if these two birthday presents were to have a lovechild, it would be in the form of my pink sparkly faux-Cons. Which are, incidentally, pretty much the only pair of sneakers I own!
The colour in these photographs is off - the sneakers and the dress are actually almost identical shades of pink:
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
It's a miracle!!
God, it's so hot. I want to buy a kiddie pool, a sprinkler and lots of glitter and hang out on my balcony. This weather is really horrible. I'm completely over it. And ready for winter.
• Silver tuxedo onesie, by Bardot. Bought for nothing 2ndhand on eBay.
• Opshopped aqua headscarf
• Opshopped 1940's spectator heels
• Aqua singlet, from the kids section at ... probably Big W?
• Tattooed man brooch, etsy.
And here are ze details:
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the wearing-a-tutu-to-the-supermarket scenario, but this dress isn't that crazy. Nor is it ordinary. It's not quite gaudy, not quite classy. Not quite All Night Long. In short, I don't know how to wear it - or where. But don't fret, lovelies, I am nothing if not determined! At least I know pairing it with a zebra mask works!
(Forgive these photographs, I was completely without makeup and had just scrubbed off a lot of silver face paint.)
The second dress is excessive. It reminds me of the New look photographs in Paris, except it is in no way subtle or understated. Everything about this dress is loud: The pattern, the colour, the taffeta, the silhouette, the cape collar, the buttons (!). I love it, I think it's beautiful and tacky in a Patricia Neal in Breakfast in Tiffany's kind of way, but really ...
I put it to you - where and how would you wear this (ignoring my very best bunny impression)?
Well, ladies and gents. Pony here. You may remember me from that time (was it last week?) when I actually bothered to get dressed.
Yes. As I might have mentioned before, I am officially experiencing le slumps. Slumpsville. That terrible affliction that means all I can be bothered to wear is a petticoat. Maybe socks. Sure, I get dressed to leave my house, but if I’m not leaving my house, forget about it. It’s a phenomenon addressed by Gala Darling in years past, and while she had some fantastic advice on the subject – and even gave it a cute acronym - here are the things that I’ve been trying to get me out of this descent into sartorial laziness:
• Taking to hair with a pair of clippers. Hacking it off without much regard for how it's going to look is a wonderful feeling – if, and only if, you’re not too precious with your locks. If you treasure your hair this might just lead to tears and cursing.
• Making an appointment with a hairdresser to colour your hair. This means you have to leave your house. It’s worth either shelling out decent money for the appointment, or going to someone who you KNOW is fantastic – the idea here is to feel better, not to take a gamble on a colourist who might make you feel a whole lot worse.
• Making an appointment with a massage parlour. Okay, so it's not really style-related, but feeling fantastic is all-important. Try to get an ayurvedic massage, if you can. If not, 15 minutes of being pulled in directions against your body’s will can do wonders.
• Buying something that’s unusual for you. This forces you to think about your clothes in an entirely new way. In my case, this item is a pale pink silk 1930’s teddy. I will wear it layered over a leotard and tights in the winter, with a beret and my big fat Frye boots that haven’t seen the light of day, despite belonging to me for years.
• Doing silly things. This includes getting the bath and giving yourself a bubble beard, painting your face, hot glue-gunning jelly beans to a plastic tiara (making a jelly bean tiara! This is SO on my list of things to do now I've just thought of it!) going to a dollar store and buying something ridiculous to wear (my last purchase was a pink sheriff’s set, complete with badge and bubblegum-pink gun).
•Making something to wear. This might be a simple skirt, or a crown made out of a cardboard box … You don’t have to wear it outside, if you don't want to. This is just designed to get you thinking creatively about what you wear on a daily basis.
Saturday, 10 January 2009
But it also means I’m suddenly back to wearing “painting clothes”. These include an old pair of skinny jeans, babydoll nightgowns, plain white wifebeater singlets, and in the privacy of my own home, plain ol’ underwear.
Not exactly style-tastic.
One of my aims for this year is to develop a stylish kind of uniform that I can wear while painting, without fear of it getting painted or destroyed – that I can wear with the knowledge that anything I do to this uniform will simply add to its overall patina.
While I haven’t dreamed up this perfect painting uniform yet, I thought I’d look at historical artists who had style. And try to develop a potential uniform around their stylish bits and pieces.
First up, it’s the monobrow’d Frida Kahlo. I am not into Kahlo, or portraiture as a whole, actually, but there’s no denying that the woman had a striking look. I love the row of flowers in her hair, the strong masculine, um, brow, and ethnic dress and jewellery. And colour. She definitely knew how to wield colours, both in the garments she wore and the pigments she used.
Photograph by Steve Coron.
Dali with Gala.
Secondly, it’s Dali. Another artist whose work I don’t particularly admire, but whose outlandish style I love to death. It’s widely known that Dali’s flamboyance was a means of masking his shyness, but his mode of dress was mostly dapper, rather than crazy – ascot neck ties, suits … even if he did collaborate with Schiaparelli on the famous Lobster Dress:
Louise Bourgeois is not someone I know much about, aside from the infamous salons held in her New York residence. But this photograph I came across – nuff said, really.
And when I combined the aesthetics of these three artists, this is the new painting uniform I ended up with:
Not bad! Although I would probably cry if I got paint on that feathered vest.
There is nothing more important to my wardrobe at the moment as my most recent love, the beautiful and oft' overlooked coloured sock. And i don't mean in that Red Hot Chilli Peppers way either. I've been developing quite a collection recently and they've really been spicing up my dressing.
It's great, especially with all this terribly hot weather we've been having, me usually just in shorts a shirt and shoes, its hard to pull off the sort of flashy layering that you would in the colder months. But with my recent addition of colorfull socks suddenly I can wear anything I like, and simply match my socks with a cap, or a neckerchief, effectively tying everything together with such minimal effort and elegant flair.
I picked up some more interesting colours from the American Apparel online store, but your local whatever should have a reasonable selection.
I'll leave you with a pic of me from a few years ago, getting right into the whole sock thing :P
-red converse Chuck Taylors
-red an white footy socks i got from a lowes i think
-just a plain white bonds tee
So go get socking! (dad pun i know)
Click on the image for proper product details.
Bow by Loulou Loves You. Tortoiseshell Ray-Ban Clubmasters (I blame Pink entirely!). A little bunny. Philosophy's Red Velvet Cake. 'Tease' kit by Coco de Mer. Balenciaga heels that seem more monster than shoe. New brushes. Miss Dior Cherie. An actual red velvet cake. Agent Provocateur Gangster bra set. Plane tickets to anywhere get-me-out-of-here-my-feet-are-itchy-as-hell. Cormac McCarthy's Suttree.
Also: Aerial trapeze lessons, if you please.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
• Wear dark, elbow-length gloves like the Grand High Witch. Also, shave your head and always wear a wig. But don’t blame me if children are afraid of you.
• Wear round, owl-like glasses like Sophie from the BFG. Bonus points if you wear them with a nightgown.
• Dress like a kind of peacock. Adorn yourself in plumage and the colour blue. Eat berries all day. Learn both Afrikaans and English fluently.
• Wear lace-up boots and polish them constantly. Spend hours taking them off and hours putting them on again. Admire them in a loud, vain voice to anyone who will listen.
• Keep a glittery water pistol tucked into your satin girdle. Fill it with water or alcohol at your discretion. Wear a cape.
• Wear a faux-fur coat and patent black shoes and keep a squirrel for a pet.
• Give a tortoise to the one you love.
• Wear deep indigo or purple from head to foot and declare yourself a blueberry.
• Dress like Snow White, in blue, red and yellow, and go down to the track and place bets on horses: Gambling is not a sin/Providing that you always win.
• Wear a fox mask. But don’t steal livestock like the Fantastic Mr. Fox. That’s just bad form.
• Carry a riding crop like Ms Trunchbull. Wear Demeter’s Riding Crop scent for full effect.
, originally uploaded by galadarling.
Oh so many years ago - well, four - I started art school with a gorgeous textile artist named Amy. And now I discover she has her own textile design business up and running, named Moyou. Moyou's aesthetic seems to be heavily influenced by Amy's experiences at art school in Japan, and is clean, geometric, and perfect.
Moyou's blog can be found here. And the etsy store has some screen printed fabric pieces and jewellery available for sale.
I'm just so astounded that people can make such beautiful, functional objects with their hands! Give me a board, a brush and some squishy tubes of paint any day!
(Although lying on the grass listening to records is another alternative.)
Well, it's midsummer, kittens, and I am officially in the Slump. The I-don't-want-to-do-anything-it's-too-hot-I-just-want-to-nap-on-my-couch type Slump. I've decided that one way to fix this is to start playing a game I call "concoctions", that is, to make as many odd recipes, from facial moisturiser, to watermelon and rose petal jam, as I possibly can. And while I was visiting bellasugar.com, I came across a few fantastic-sounding recipes I thought I'd share with you:
Coffee and Clove Body Scrub. Vegan friendly.
Rose Mint Foot Scrub. Vegan friendly.
Solid Perfume How-To.
Chinese Sesame Ginger Scrub. Vegan Friendly.
Strawberry Exfoliator. Vegan Friendly.
Those should stave off my (and hopefully your) boredom for a while! And of course, while you're playing concoctions, this elderflower martini might also help the hours fly.
Although I did just get a call letting me know that some friends and I got a group exhibition, opening in two months' time - so that might kick me into action as well!!
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
I bought this dress on eBay recently on the understanding that it was from the 1950's. Once I looked at the tags and the fabric in person, I realised it's a (beautifully made) 80's dress. Oh well. It's still lovely, and doesn't have the tell-tale 80's boxy shoulders, so all is okay. It's also the perfect length - my legs don't look short and stubby, for once!
I was going to wear this dress with 50's cat-eye sunglasses, but in honour of its 80's-ness, I wore it with these funny 80's sunglasses I picked up for $2 in an op shop. If only I could have borrowed Pink's Clubmasters!
Also, can I just say: Billy Idol ain't got nuthin' on my snarl!
• Sparkly black lace vintage 'Lillie Rubin' dress, eBay.
• My beloved black patent booties, Scooter.
• Black 80's op-shopped sunglasses.
And these are some details: