I don't think I ever mentioned it on here, but on April 1st I turned 19. I bought myself this amazing 1960s velvet dress to mark the occasion, from one of my favourite tiny little thrift stores. It was actually hiding behind the counter, but the old fella who works there knows me well so he kindly let me try it on. He said that years ago someone had donated it and he'd taken it home to his wife, who'd worn it well but was trying to downside her dress collection, so donated it back. He was so happy to see me try it on and discover it fits me like a dream, and he gave it to me for a super tiny price when I said it was a birthday present from myself. Although, the print divides my friends and family into adoring fans vs. 'you look like you're wearing an old lady's sofa'. Pssh. It debuted at my birthday dinner, and has made many outings since.

My dear brother snapped these for me on a drive in the country to go visit my boyfriend. There are so many pretty sights to see in North Canterbury, I can't say it enough!

(Wearing a thrifted 1960s dress, cane handbag from Two Squirrels Vintage, vintage necklace from my boyfriend, amber art deco ring bought in Crete, and t-bar flats off Trademe)

I've booked myself in to get a tiny hair trim to lighten it up before I head off to the intense heat of Southeast Asia in a couple of weeks. I am so nervous- last time I got a proper haircut, I was 15. If they butcher my mane, I'll probably have to become a recluse. Wish me luck!


The Archive

(Photo stolen from T'Nealle's blog)

If you live in Christchurch and have nothing better to do this Wednesday night (come on, I know you don't), come on down to the opening party for The Archive's pop-up shop! Located at 336 St Asaph St, you'll find crafts, zines, local music, and baking... not to mention a large number of garments from my own wardrobe! I've had a bit of a clearout, and there are some great vintage pieces available for a tiny price. Festivities kick off around 5pm, and the shop is open until Wednesday June 8th, 12 - 4 pm every day.

I originally wasn't going to post the photos below, as they were taken right after my aforementioned bike crash. I look a bit flustered and teary-eyed, both of which I was. However, this post felt a bit bare by itself, so I guess I could manage a couple. I'm not feeling quite as terrible about myself as I was then, thanks to lots of sweet comments indicating that we're all in the same boat.

(Wearing a vintage dress bought in Wellington, thrifted beaded cardigan, and oxfords from Goldenponies on Etsy)

I was so very very happy to find this cardigan earlier in the week. After seeing one on Meg's blog I made it my mission to find the perfect 1950s beaded cardi for the awful New Zealand winter, but was a little miffed at the very high (for a student budget!) prices they go for on Etsy, eBay and the likes. The very next day I wandered into a thrift store on a whim and there is was, beaming at me. For $7 I was chuffed, not to mention the fact that it's angora and lambswool, and in amazing condition. The beading was all intact too, until my little bike tumble ripped some off the sleeve. Thankfully, one of the pros of working in a jewelery shop is that I'm a dab hand with seed beads, so I've returned it to its previous glory.

Finally, how amazing are these highland bulls that hang out near Logan's place in Fernside? It's a veritable menagerie out there- you can't look out the window without encountering goats, geese, cows, chickens, teeny tiny ponies, alpacas and llamas.


Bear with me

I've been feeling horrible about blogging lately. I feel like the more blogs I read, the less awesome my life seems. I've been so busy with university lately and feeling so unmotivated in general, that the idea of posing for photos and critiquing myself in a public forum makes me feel a bit crap. Every blogger seems to have it down- the right balance in their lives, the most amazing wardrobes, the nicest cameras and the most lovely things to photograph and share. And my life seems to mundane in comparison- a full-time student living in a barely-standing house in suburbia, spending most of my time drinking beer and watching The Simpsons with my boyfriend. Ugh. I don't really know what to do about this silly jealousy- of course bloggers don't like to write about the bad things in life, the days they went thrifting and found nothing nice, or those outfit shoots that don't turn out right. There's just always an aspect of having a fashion blog that says 'look at what I've got and, ergo, you haven't'. Um. I don't really know where I'm going with this- possibly just appropriating rumours that fashion bloggers are a self-indulgent and narcissistic bunch. Whoops. Anyway.

Not only have I got a case of the blogger blues, but to add insult to injury I've had a couple of wee accidents lately-firstly, a fall off my bike onto some gravel, tearing through my brand new stockings and giving me some seriously grazed knees. The next day my senile old cat tripped me up as I walked down our hallway, and I bashed my elbow against one of our stainless steel door handles- ouch. I've got nerve damage to my arm (thanks a lot, Roger) and my fingers keep doing involuntary twinge-y things that spook me a bit. Needless to say, I'm full of painkillers right now.

Thankfully, said boyfriend is always there to make me feel a little better about myself. Through some cosmic twist of fate, we both had Tuesday off work, so we set out so visit a couple of second hand stores in North Canterbury, about an hour out of the city. One of the best things about Christchurch is the sprawl, and the little periphery towns that go with it. We picked Oxford and Amberly as our destinations, and we weren't disappointed. It was so lovely to get out of the routine of uni-work-essays that usually dominates my waking hours, and see more of the country.

The opshops up North proved fruitful, and I slowly filled Logan's back seat with the most amazing things. One of my favourite finds was a trio- the amazing blue floral dress just down there, a sweet blouse and an embroidered chambray dress that I suspect were all from the same donor. They seem like the kind of things that a skilled grandma made for an ungrateful granddaughter, as they're beautifully handmade but have clearly never been worn. I'm glad I could take them on as my own.

Afterwards we stopped off at Brew Moon, the makers of our absolute favourite beers ever (and we drink a lot of beer, trust me). We got their sampler with a glass of each different beer, as well as a massive bowl of chips and two different kinds of cake... and we took away a 2-litre rigger of the Hophead organic pale ale, which tastes like apricots. So good!

(Dress, belt and shoes all thrifted on my road trip, thrifted cardigan, tights from Myer ages ago and crochet bag from Trademe for $4, vintage necklace a present from my boyfriend.)
I threw this outfit together from things picked up along our little road trip. This dress, from the grandma collection, was an absolute steal at $1 from the best opshop ever. I love the horizontal pleated detailing on the hem! I only had $8 cash, or else I could've taken away a much more significant pile.

I'd also like to say thanks to the lovely ladies at Ventricular Projects for including me in their dream wardrobes project. Tricia and Carly are two seriously awesome babes, who are both committed to making and sharing the most excellent bits of art and culture. Check out the rest of their dream wardrobes if you want to feel some intense blogger envy!


Nick DeWolf

I just spent a solid two hours of 'study time' going through Nick DeWolf's photo archives on Flickr. He seems like a cool guy- he had so many adventures, visited so many locations, but still archived the every-day aspects of his home life and job. I could pick a thousand favourites, but here are just a few:

I was considering putting my latest 1960s swimsuit on the 'to sell' pile, but now it's firmly back in my wardrobe after seeing these. On dreary Autumn days like today, all I want is a bit of sun, some pretty dresses and the beach. I'll also admit to have been neglecting my (15-ish) film cameras lately, due to my infatuation with how easy and cheap digital is. I promise to remedy that soon, and dust off my Vilia and get shooting!

I unfortunately only have this one original photo to share with you today. The last week has been rather boring, due to too many essays and assignments that I characteristically let pile up. However, Saturday was beautiful, and my boyfriend and I set off for a 24 km (15 mile) run/bike ride- guess who does what? Haha. Anyway, we stopped for grapefruit iceblocks down by the river that runs past his little farm and he snapped this for me. I miss being out in the country, especially now that the post-quake city has very few merits.

Speaking of the quake: if you, like me, are missing Christchurch's vintage shops, keep the evening of June 1st free. You may be able to snap up a bit of my wardrobe for a tiny price. More details later!

P.S. Sorry if I haven't replied to your comment lately, it's probably because it got deleted in Blog-Gate 2011. Thank you for them all regardless of whether or not they remain!



(Dress by Ruby Boutique via Trademe, thrifted beaded cardigan, grey marle tights from Myer ages ago, grey oxfords from Etsy, and tote bag by Christchurch musicians Lawrence Arabia)

There's a certain knack to getting your blog photos to look like they're taken in a woodland setting, when really it's just your local suburban park. Thankfully, my brother/photographer Will has this talent. He picked me up from university today, and after some thrifting we stopped to snap these. It seems I am going through a pink phase, as evident in the floral culottes, sheer swiss-dot blouse and 1960s swimming togs I bought today. I'm going to cut up the blouse to make a little skirt, because, as you may be able to see, it's miniscule. I just couldn't leave that amazing fabric behind for $1!

Wow, a lot of swiss dots in this post. This dress one of few new-ish items in my wardrobe, and is by New Zealand designer Ruby Boutique, from a few seasons ago. I tried it on no fewer than 10 times in store, but couldn't justify the $250 price tag that silly 16 year-old Georgia might've been able to. A month ago it popped up on Trademe (like the NZ version of eBay) for a very reasonable price though, and I decided if I still liked it after all this time it was meant to be. I'm so glad I snapped it up, I adore the little collar and layered skirt. And, inspired by Anja's latest photo shoot, I filled my hair with bobby pins to achieve this braided style.

I also wanted to point anybody who is yet to read it in the direction of this excellent article from The Guardian about the way we consume fashion and the harmful effects it has. It's really a compelling read, and brings up many points that fashion fiends are too quick to ignore for the sake of a quick fix. I've been neglecting an essay for far too long now, so I best get onto it.


On Vintage

I've spent the last week of my list completely emerged in an essay entitled: 'analyse one local example of ‘retro mode’ in terms of the fabrication of an effect of cultural historicity.' That might sound hideously boring and tedious, but I've enjoyed it to the extent that I am considering changing my major for Political Science to Cultural Studies. But none of you guys really care about that. The point is, this piece of writing has mainly been about the way we perceive certain eras of history, and the way they are looked at in the modern era. Although I was writing about steampunk and how it treats Victorianism, I couldn't help but think long and hard about the world of vintage blogging.

As a society, we have a misguided and over-indulged tendancy to idealise the past. In 1937, long before 'vintage' even vaguely resembles what it does now, a fellow called Laver mused:

"The same costume will be indecent 10 years before its time, shameless 5 years before its time, daring 1 year before its time, dowdy 1 year after its time, hideous 10 years after its time, ridiculous 20 years after its time, amusing 30 years after its time, quaint 50 years after its time, charming 70 years after its time, romantic 100 years after its time, beautiful 150 years after its time."

Many fashion bloggers, along with design enthusiasts, collectors and general retro junkies, have a tendancy to idealise the bygone days from which we draw our fashion inspiration. We don't look at the 1950s, for example, as a decade struggling to deal with the trauma of a world war, or as one where women were respected only for their small waists and abilities in the kitchen (or bedroom). We look at that era as a golden age of fashion and design, where New Look and Horrockses reign supreme and women have a certain glamour that the modern lady lacks completely.

An advertisement for Horrockses Fashions.

We, as fashion bloggers, prefer to sanitise the past, looking at it in terms of, for example, '1950s-ness'. Decades become a kind of art form, rather than a period of human history. Architecture historians of the modern era call it 'historicity'- a yearning for a non-descript 'days gone by', leading us to butcher the past for the purposes of aesthetics. Recently reading an interview with a blogger whose name escapes me, I was astounded when she said she felt she belonged in the 1950s rather than the modern era. Sure, maybe if you like being repressed. The reality is, if we were teenagers of the fifties rather than of the 21st century, the quality of our lives would be significantly worse. As we romanticise the stylistic elements of an era, we can't help but take other parts of it with us on a nostalgia trip down a path we never personally experienced. We approach the past through stylistic connotations, and it becomes a pastiche of a parody of a stereotype rather than some kind of real sense of history.

And by god, was our man Laver right or what? Vintage fashion is so 'in' that Forever 21 and Glassons have used the term to describe their latest ranges, cheap parodies of full-skirted dresses made in Chinese sweatshops. 'Vintage' now means anything that looks like it was made or designed before the year 2000, including unflattering 'mom' jeans from thrift stores, cheap polyester blouses from the 80s, 'Crosby sweaters', and all sorts of other abominations. A search for 'vintage' on an online website brings you a vast array of results, only a small portion of which are legitimate vintage fashions. It's become a fashion buzz-word, and become somewhat severed from its true meaning somewhere along the way.

Mimi Farina's wedding in 1964

Vintage fashion wasn't vintage when it came out, it was just fashion. Have you ever talked to someone aged 60+ about the fashion of their youth? They're unconditionally baffled that there are a group of avid followers of the clothes they were forced to wear in their youth. They can't possibly imagine how their horn-rim reading glasses are now collectible, their Crown Lynn swans are not sought-after. In the 1960s, children played dress-ups in day dresses from the decade before. And when I think about mainstream cultural output from my youth- Ikea couches, jeggings, ugg boots, Eminem- I can't possibly fathom anybody romanticising this era.

To me, vintage doesn't simply imply an era, a certain number of years ago. It has connotations of quality, of an age before mass-production. Clothing was made to last a lot longer in, say, the 1960s than it is today. People had less disposable income, smaller wardrobes, and trends changed on a slower scale. I have dresses from the 1950s that I've had since I was 12, worn on a regular basis, and they've still got at least another 10 years in them. I'm not sure if anything from Topshop would undergo that kind of treatment. Also, the vast majority of clothing in retail shops today is made in sweatshops in third-world countries. When for a similar price you can put your money towards an item sold by a small business of charity, and look a bit unique in doing so, why wouldn't you? To me, shopping vintage has endless appeal.

To me, I think something 'vintage' is at least 35 years old. That said, I've been wearing vintage for around seven years. I suppose in that time my classification for the term has gone from around 1969 to 1976, without me even realising, but I'm not so sure how I feel about that. In another seven years, I guess I'll have to think of vintage as 1982. That's the year The Dark Crystal and E.T. were released. Call me crazy, but I don't think I'll ever want to dress like characters from either of those films. In my mind, there is a cut-off for what I consider to be true vintage, from an era before Made in China was ubiquitous. But maybe I stand alone in this.

Hosiery through the ages.

I guess, in the end, I don't know where I'm going with this whole thing. I love vintage, I've worn it for a long time and I will continue to do so for a long time. Despite its undeniable status as extremely trendy, dressing in clothes from before the mid-seventies aligns too perfectly with my figure, my views on mass production and my sense of aesthetics for me to give up on it. I am lucky to live in the 21st century, not just because I can vote, work and get paid almost what a man does, and trust that I'm not going to die when I catch a cold. But because we are gifted with the retrospect to be able to pick and choose from previous decades, and be inspired by so many years of film, literature, photography and art. And although the term is generally used as an insult to architects, we have historicity on our side. As I type this, I'm wearing a 1950s dress, with a 1960s sweater, and brand spanking new Goldenponies oxfords on my feet. We can learn from the mistakes and misgivings of past decades, as long as we consciously separate their culture from their cultural output- that is, the fashions that you probably love, or I guess you wouldn't be reading this blog.


various niceties

As you may have already heard, me and my band, 5th Day of May got the amazing opportunity to open for Imogen Heap along with a wonderful collective of Lyttelton musicians aptly named Harbour Union.
It was a fantastic, wonderful night and I was lucky enough to chat and sing and sneak a photo with the lovely Imogen:

Playing a song I wrote:

Apart from singing in front of sold out crowds, I've spent the holidays in the sun and rain with Adam, my family and my cats.

Slip up

(Wearing a thrifted dress, thrifted slip, t-bars off Trademe and rabbit-and-mushroom-print bow from a vintage shop in Athens, Greece)

To take a wee break from the 7500 words I have due for varyingly agonising subjects, my brother Will and I went for a wander to our old school to enjoy the Autumnal colours and bask in the whimsy. I wore this $1 thrifted sheer dress, and I wish I'd had a black slip, because in this light I can see it looks a bit silly with the white. I have so much more to write, but I don't want to fall into that familiar old pattern of procrastination- oh I'll just check my blog comments, I wonder if anyone's emailed me, I wonder how my Google Reader is looking... and so on. I am yet to ever hand in an essay late, but I fear this week may be my undoing. Farewell!

Oh, but, my brother got me these lovely lily-shaped fairy lights in Thailand, from whence he's just returned. Thanks Wills, you're an alright buy.
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