Friday, April 23, 2010

dirty boots

This season is a very childlike mix of frills and leather. If you put on fairy wings, a tutu and gumboots when you were five and allowed to dress yourself, now is the time to channel that inner child. Of course it’s a bit more sophisticated than that and I think I hit on the “grunge princess” note a few posts back, but it’s brought me to a serious question.

Do I need to pull out my 10-up Doctor Martin’s from wherever I might have hidden them? I’m almost scared that I left them in the cupboard of some previous flat I have no intention of returning to. I certainly hope not – even if I never wear them again I remember my dad buying them for me once I was big enough for my feet to have stopped growing and at around $200 a pop I knew even then that this was an investment boot. He’d be gutted if he knew I couldn’t locate them.

I wore them dutifully, despite not being the best in terms of comfort until appropriately worn in. Considering that my dad had been wearing his for 20 years or more I assumed the comfort level increased considerably if you persevered for long enough. Unfortunately these kind of find-and-retrieve missions in the storage room will not be conducted until I move house again. Which doesn’t seem likely at present.

But I digress. I did see one chick wearing Docs just the other night, but she may have been persistently wearing them for years without closeting them. The softer side to the hard-wearing trend is some kind of mash up between an ankle booty and a work boot. The older they appear the better, like you just pulled them out of the wardrobe from your days as a forestry worker. Or some such occupation.

Match these with a tulle skirt, lacy stockings and a leather jacket and you’re ready to go.

I must say I am enjoying the general fashion of now somewhat as it provides the opportunity to wear something flat into town without feeling like a complete pleb. Maybe this isn’t the case if you’re still going to Courtenay Place bars – Estab and the like – and you’re so young you won’t get served at the bar unless you’re in sky-high heels. But for more relaxed atmospheres – the cool bars, I will snobbishly add – a pair of keds or flat boots over tights will do just fine.

The problem with this trend – and the reason I am tempted to haul out something I already own to partake in it – is that I can’t see it lasting. It might end up being something we’ll cringe at a couple of seasons down the track and I’m therefore reluctant to spend any money on it – tight-fisted fashionista that I am.

Just thinking about it I reminisce about begrudgingly having to walk to the end of the garden to feed the chickens (dirty things that they are) and putting on my step dad’s pull-on work boots for the trip. They were awkwardly large on my feet, but they gave me a great sense of security that anything I encountered on the way could be squished without a chance of it actually touching me. Perhaps be wary of drunk and aggressive girls this winter with clompers on their hoofs feeling the same kind of fearless over-confidence.

Monday, April 19, 2010

obsessive much?

Two weeks after returning from a spree-filled holiday (of the shopping variety) and I’m already dissatisfied with the quantity of my purchases. Quality-wise I did an outstanding job. And even though I jostled people on the streets with bags a-laden for three days straight and struggled to close my suitcase on the way home, I’m once again struggling to find something to wear in the morning.

However I know this lacking feeling is totally psychosomatic because my drawers are obese with overindulgence and coat hangers are inestimable treasures. I saw one on the footpath the other day and almost picked it up with great excitement, until I realised how gross that would have been. I had visions of myself scuttling away with it muttering “my precioussssss” and hissing at passersby.

The reason for my dissatisfaction is most likely that I have demoted so many items from the coveted hanger positions and jammed so much into the drawers that I just can’t see how much I’ve got any more. Once favoured things are now buried beneath the rubble of my obsession fascination.

But I must have more. A new season is upon us and New Zealand shops are now filling with fresh items to long for. Shop windows plagued with desireables. Lambton Quay is a gauntlet of fancy. Yet my credit card is still reeling from our excursion across the Tasman.

I have often thought about putting little-worn things on Trademe, but that requires time and effort and giving up on items which might one day be worn again. Or in the case of a couple of pairs of heels – be worn. There is the potential of a cash incentive, but chances are it’s not going to happen any time soon.

I have also wanted a new dresser for some time now, but I fear that it will only make things worse. Perhaps more drawers in which to fit things is not the solution here. Perhaps limitation is just what the doctor ordered. But how well-dressed is this doctor, and do they understand the needs of the fashionably obsessed aware? I bet the only doctor who would order such things is a man – wearing a sneans and a sports coat from the 70s. With elbow patches. And sock gap.

Friday, April 16, 2010

a weight on your shoulders

Shoulder pads. Bringing horrific imagery of brightly colour power suits and feathered hair? Well think again. Usually slow to advocate re-emerging trends, I am quietly endorsing this one. Before you grab my discreetly adorned shoulders to shake some sense into me, let me explain why...

Recycled fashion is not about plucking the mode straight out of the age we last remember it and literally translating it into today’s runway fashion. There’s a great art to picking an element from yesteryear and using its best qualities to renew the style. Don’t worry about pastel green and yellow jackets slipping back into the stores anytime soon – the padded shoulder look of today is fresh without the fruity flavour!

It has only recently dawned on me that I have particularly broad shoulders. I have often wondered why some clothing silhouettes make me look like I’m twice as large as I really am and I have often maintained that if I could walk around barely clad my true size would be more apparent. It took a colleague saying to me, in the context of why jackets never fit me in the armpits properly, “well you are quite broad across the shoulder”. I am, aren’t I? I suddenly realised. And I think this is why the shoulder enhancing fashion is working for me. Why not take what I thought was a negative element of my body shape and turn it into something positive?

I think this is why women with “real” body shapes have and will embrace the look. Take Kim Kardashian for one, she’s often seen sporting large-shouldered dresses and jackets. Kim’s known for her curvy body, she’s got hips and boobs to work clothes around – dressing is not just about slipping something over a rake-thin frame for girls like this. The shoulder pad look enhances the hour glass shape most excellently. It gives her a bit of extra height through the body and it understates the wideness of her hips. Other real women like Rihanna and Beyonce are working the shoulder pads to their advantage aswell.

One of my favourite fashionistas (however removed from the “real girl” status she is) Victoria Beckham has also been rocking the look. It gives these shapes a bit more of a hard edge – although you must wonder if her edges could get much harder – but again it elongates the frame and takes the eye away from a lack of action in the hip area. Although I don't particularly like the look of it on her here... its all a bit "V" looking for me, another skinny minny Kate Moss does the style justice.
Good times all around.

I’ve purchased a couple of detailed shoulder pieces to get me into the swing of things before trying something as daring as these looks, but so far I like what I see. A ruffled or rouched shoulder and sleeve is a good way to start. I also recently bought a cute square-across-the-neck satin dress with little enhanced shoulder spikes of fabric. As “spiky” as satin gets – but it gives it a little lift in that area and makes for a nice contrast to the raised neckline. Unfortunately, one of my colleagues went to Melbourne about a month before me and apparently we went to the same shops because she informed me that she bought the exact same dress. Such good taste! But now I’m dubious about wearing it to work again. Bummer!

So whether or not you think you can pull this one off it’s already encroaching on the generic stores, let alone high fashion. Maybe give it a go, or at least don’t judge me until you see that it does actually work on real girls, not just on the runway.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Great Expectations

I went to Melbourne with great expectations of fashion-forward people strutting the streets and an insight into coming styles for its younger sister city, Wellington. However, I left with little to write home about – thus my delayed reaction in blogging.
What I saw in the shops was very on-trend and I made many significant purchases for the winter season, including three coats of varying styles and shoulder-enhancing dresses. But more on that soon. What I saw on the racks was quite removed from what people wore on the streets. Melbounites seem to be a casual bunch, clothes for comfort rather than flaunting couture.

There were a few exceptions in the teenage wearers – they seem to be embracing the leggings/cropped singlet look with great vigour. Hopefully the sudden temperature drop in Wellington will save us from the navel- and bum-bearing in the coming seasons, although the youth always seem to battle it out whatever the weather determines. I had a slight expectation of some male-legging action due to a Melbourne informant saying he had spotted male versions of jeggings outside university. How very Russell Brand. He so aptly asked whether they were to be referred to as “meggings” and were they a crime against nature. My vote is yes on both. I thought I saw some in Auckland while I was up that way, but it may have just been Auckland rain causing his painfully tight red jeans to stick to his pins. I await further spotting.

Wellington sees itself as being pretty fashionable, and it is, but it dawned on me that although we are fast adopters of trends we all end up wearing somewhat of a uniform. There are always those who buck the trend, but when something comes in Wellingtonians seem to put it on their eager bodies before working out if it’s really for them or not. For Melbournites the fashion is more available, with a bounty of stores for all shapes and styles, so I guess there’s less inclination to all wear the same thing. Wellington’s so focussed on being cool, that it almost cancels itself out. What is so cool about wearing the same thing as everyone else, no matter how “on” it is.

I guess that’s why Aucklanders that come down here mention how uptight Wellingtonians are about what they wear and just keep on going with their jeans and jandals.

As for my purchases, two stores I fell in love with were Dangerfield – so awesome for the goth/rock/alternative look that’s often hard to find as original and not just emulating something that’s “cool”. I also loved Quick Brown Fox – another quirky/alternative find that had plenty to offer in the way of originality. I went into two outlets of each of those stores and came out bags a-swingin’ all four times. Thankfully not wearing items purchased at the counterpart store on a previous mission.

Favourite buys: Quick Brown Fox coat, Black Friday dress, Dangerfield handbag, whistle watch necklance. Other things of note: I somehow managed to avoid buying a leather jacket – there was such an abundance that I just didn’t want to go there. I’ll make do with the three other coats that I bought.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We partied like it was 1985

As mentioned in my earlier rant about imagination-lacking costumes, Haze and I recently defied the laws of physics and travelled back in time 25 years.

Yes that’s right kids, it was an 80’s extravaganza – well, a prom to be exact. And I was not in the least bit disappointed with the effort from the fairer sex. Not one “slutty occupational” costume did I see, and even though one or two guys seem to have got the wrong decade, everyone tried.

This was one well organised costume party. Not only did the party have a theme (80’s prom), but the prom had a theme too (under the sea). Upon arrival, prom-goers strutted their stuff down a driveway, where a not-tacky-at-all cardboard archway awaited them. I tell you, this was the place to be of that night, I mean who wouldn’t want 300 photos taken of themselves amongst seaweed and anchors and a giant ‘1985'

The mood was also set by fairy lights, cut-out sea creatures, and some good old classic 80’s music. I’m sad to say there was no Safety Dance though – I guess safety is a bit lame for partying. The food was also trying hard, with fairy bread (remember the days) and of course PUNCH. That punch was great but it wasn’t my friend by the end of the night...

This was one night of partying where I wasn’t jealous of the blokes and their funky costumes. The girls had it going on with poofy-sleeves, giant bows, Frou-frou hemlines, side-ponytails....the list of excessive and hideous attire goes on. I think most of us probably felt like drag queens but my god was it a sight to behold. I think the winner of the night though was our friend Hazel, who looked like she’d walked straight out of a Roxette video. I have never seen a novelty wig look so normal on someone. And the blush, THE BLUSH!! It was awesome. And yes, I may have got a little drunk and yelled at Hazel how awesome she was about 20 times. But I’m sure she forgives.

It was a pretty dam good party, but I went and spoiled it by acquainting myself with the punch, and if you know punch, you know that it’s like drinking juice. Wiser people know to be careful with the stuff because of its often lethal ingredients but i guess I lost my wisdom somewhere along the way. Couple that with a few whiskey and dry’s and a pinch of someone else’s bourbon and it was a guaranteed disaster.

Up till the point where I required I bucket though, I have to say it was one of the most cohesive costume parties I’ve ever been to. Maybe everyone knew that it was going to be impossible to look sexy while donning monstrous sleeves and inches of eyeshadow. Or maybe the fact that invitations went out months in advance gave everyone a lot of planning time.

Whatever the reason, let’s just hope such fashions don’t venture out of the dress-up box and back into the shops!