At the beginning of this year both Christie and I were contacted by an online magazine that seemed pretty legit, asking us if we'd like to be contributors for the May issue. We were chuffed, and diligently wrote our pieces, and emailed them through, and were never got back to by the editor. Maybe our writing sucks, or maybe the next issue never happened and their website, suspiciously enough, hasn't been updated since March, so I guess our pieces are never gonna be published in the magazine that shall remain nameless. So here's mine. I was asked to write on my style icon.

I remember, very clearly, thinking about this question for a long time before I asked it. I must’ve been 6 or 7 when I asked my mother ‘what was before the “Olden Days”?’ I can’t remember her answer, but she was the oracle, and I’m sure whatever she had to say moved me deeply at the time. To my tiny brain, the notion of old-ness was totally blurred, an unsure mash of what I’d learned from old books and visiting a local ‘heritage park’ obsessively. The Olden Days represented some elusive concept I’d conjured from very little evidence, but I obsessed over it for many years, a little unnerved by the fact I could not access it fully. I, over my childhood, decoded the decades and centuries into some semblance of accurate chronology, but remained obsessed with notions of past lifestyles and cultures, especially those of the 20th century. It’s odd to ponder that question in relation to what I’ve become at age 20. My love of vintage now goes beyond simply wanting to dress nicely- I want to be fully immersed in beautiful old clothing all the time. I dream of serendipitous thrift finds, and I am instantly drawn to others who visibly share my passion for retro.

With the wiseness of retrospect, I can deduce that I was fated to become who I am today, and it’s closely tied to the identity of my mother, who I’ve always thought of as an older version of myself. It’s been in my blood since my before I was even imagined, when my mother was a young’un in rural New Zealand being raised by her own mother, a woman with no regard for nostalgia, nor frivolity, nor fashion. Unmoved by the prospect of dressing five children under the age of 10, my grandma was given bags of clothes that friends’ children had outgrown. Much to the horror of my uncles and aunties, these were always a decade out of date. The few remaining family portraits of the seventies depict a group of squinting children with wonky hand-cut fringes (which must also run in my blood) in geometric shifts for the girls or high-waisted shorts for the boys, all made from matching fabrics. They consistently looked like terribly unhappy little Von Trapps.

I also have a huge bank of stories from my mother about childhood toys thrown into the dump and burned family photos- too many to pick an exemplary one, but I’m sure it is understandable why my mum resisted this unsentimental attitude. She credits this theme in her youth as the origin of her own slightly-amusing inability to throw anything out. Recently cleaning out the mezzanine in the garage of our family home, we found too much junk to chronicle, beginning from when she left home at age 17. Amongst the detritus I unearthed one of her old teeth, which is now a rather fetching necklace on a sterling silver chain, and the only garment she’s ever sewn, a beautiful eyelet blouse that she made in Home Economics in the early seventies. At age 10 I started wearing the sterling silver watch she was given for her 10th birthday, and now I wear one she bought for herself in her early twenties, in her first flush of freedom in the big city. I can use these as tools to summon or draw parallels between my life and hers. Perhaps my love of vintage comes from a strange, misplaced guilt regarding the lost relics of my mum’s youth, a desire to tap into what she was doing or wearing or wanting to be at my age. Perhaps I want to preserve everything possible from my own golden days, hoping to pass them on to an equally-retrospective offspring one day.

I believe I’ve inherited this intense sentimentality I have from her, and I struggle hugely with the concepts of minimalism and downsizing. The nostalgia I experience through the medium of vintage clothing rarely lapses into idealism, perhaps due to my childhood spent pestering my mother for more stories about her own tough one. I know the stories, second hand but still so real, of the chill of winters spent on the farm in too-small coats and holey woolens. The sixties and seventies were not ‘a better time’, just a different one. In an unconventional way, my mum equates to my style icon, my biggest influence, and the reason I adore vintage in the all-consuming way I do. I should really thank my grandmother for giving her duchess lace wedding dress to the Salvation Army a few years after its purchase, and for throwing Mum’s koala toy on the bonfire, and for the decades of family photos rotting under the old cottage, still on the farm.

Some photos of my mum and her siblings from their childhood, scanned from slides by my Aunty Shelley:


For Sale Part 1:

Here's a couple of things I am very reluctantly parting with. If you are interested please email me at georgianess at gmail dot com for more information or to make a purchase. First in, first served. I take Paypal or NZ bank deposit (or even cash if we live in the same city!). Shipping is not included in any of the prices. will ship to anywhere in the world, just ask for a quote and I'll do my best. All of these will be roughly $6 to ship within NZ, tracked post.

These photos are from the original online listing I got this off. If you'd like any more detailed shots, please email me. White lace crocheted 1960s dress starting at $60

White lace crocheted 1960s dress with metal zipper and metal hook with thread eye. This would best fit an NZ 10-12 (US6-8) and someone taller than 5"1', depending on how you'd like it to fit. I bought this online off a woman who bought it for her own wedding, and I think it would make an amazing wedding dress. I intended to take it in at the sides and hem it but now that it's arrived and I see how beautiful the construction is, as well as how beautifully the hem has been finished using the floral motif from the lace, I can't stand to alter it at all. There are a couple of small age spots and a couple of places where the joins of the embroidery are broken, but this is barely noticeable because of the complexity of the pattern.

Measurements are:
Shoulder to hem: 98cm / 38.5 inches
underarm to underarm: 49cm / 19 inches
Length of sleeve from shoulder seam to cuff : 55cm/ 21.5 inches

Cause this is so gorgeous I'm not sure how to price it, so if you are interested please email me (georgianess at gmail) with offers over $60NZ ($46AUD or $48USD). This one will go to the highest 'bidder'.

Ruby Boutique 'Gloria' dress in pale pink (NOT the blue of the second photo), size NZ12 $45

This is meant to be a little slouchy because of the style- I am an NZ10 and this fits me nicely. Side zipper, textured swiss dot fabric, unlined bodice and three-layered tiered skirt. This was $310 new and I have it in two colours which is difficult to justify. My pink one is packed away at the moment and I am temporarily unable to get it out, but I can have it out by tomorrow if you'd like to buy it/see photos of its actual colour.

Plaid 1980s flannel jumper dress. $10

Awesome warm flannel plaid/tartan checked 1980s jumper dress. This is made of a really lovely warm fabric and is great for winter, but the drop-waisted style doesn't suit me. It measures 47cm / 18.5 inches from armpit to armpit.

George Hess originals 1950s plaid day dress size NZ12 $30

A 'George Hess Originals' autumnal 1950s day dress with full pleated skirt and double-breasted buttoned bodice. This is a really flattering cut and an amazing genuine fifties dress, I just have too many of them. It measures 53cm / 21 inches from armpit to armpit.

1970s paisley midi skirt $25

Gorgeous longer-length 1970s burgundy paisley skirt with button-up front and pleating. The waist measures 37 cm / 14.5 inches across lying flat, but this has been taken in at the sides and could easily be let out. The colours are much more vibrant than the photo shows.

Pierre Cardin stripe sweater $15

Cute striped blue, white, black and yellow knit sweater. The label has been cut out but the embroidery at the chest reads Pierre Cardin. This is probably made for boys but anybody could wear it. The knit feels like it is partially composed of wool. It measures 48cm / 18 inches from armpit to armpit and has a slightly cropped fit.

Dark red chevron sweater $15

Gorgeous dark red vintage made-in-New Zealand sweater with chevron or arrow shaped pattern in the front. The label is Bonds Knits, which used to be a subsidiary of what is now Bonds the underwear brand! The label says 70% arylic, 30% wool and it's nice and soft. It measures 48 cm / 18 inches from armpit to armpit. The colour is a darker reddish-pink than what is shown in the picture.

I am also selling my bike. Please email me if you live locally and are interested in a gorgeous pink and blue Healing Super City retro bike.

Thanks for your support! When you see what I want to buy with these profits you will die.


Yes Novelty Thursday

This isn't my garden, but god damn I wish it were. Today Kita and I went over to her boss's house to dogsit, and by that we mean eat loads of fancy food and hang out in the beautiful terraced backyard and drink posh tea and marathon The L Word and play with her animals.

(1950s horse and carriage-print skirt from Recycle Boutique bought with credit, striped tee a present from my mum via Uniqlo, thrifted leather belt, old tights and Goldenponies t-bar flats.)

I am jumping in the last photo which is why it looks so odd.

I am trying to magic up some money from nowhere, because the best jumper has appeared on my clothing radar and I have never wanted a garment more. My intense job hunt continues with me, surprisingly enough, still unemployed, so the best way for me to make some money right now would be to sell a dress or two. Because I hate Trademe with a fervour and a passion, would anyone be interested if I made a small sales post on here? Because I live in New Zealand, shipping to the US would be around $15 for a dress, so not that viable unless you live locally or REALLY love something. But would this be a happening thing, potentially?

On that note, does anyone in Wellington know of any jobs going? I am really nice, a fast typist, and am always on time.


Not Novelty Wednesday

So you know how I said I was lazy and unmotivated? Yeah, I didn't wear novelty prints today. Possibly because it's not as cold as it's been here lately (despite being the very middle of Winter) so I took this opportunity to wear The Best Dress In The World. Let me tell you a story about this dress.

As I'm sure every person on the internet is, I've always been a huge fan of Effie of The Snail And The Cyclops, which was one of the first blogs I ever read. Her outfits and styling are such a huge inspiration, and I still have a big creepy folder in my computer full of my favourites from her outfit photos. I saw these photos on her tumblr a few months ago, and immediately fell in love with the dress she's wearing.

I adore anything with a rose print or motif, they are lurking all through my bedroom and my wardrobe and my name. So I went on a quest to find my very own painterly red rose 1950s dress, dreaming of all the outfits I could wear it with. I Googled and Etsy'd and Ebay'd furiously for months, searching every day or so for 'red rose 1950s' and 'rose halterneck fifties' and every possible combination of words that could possibly lead to this amazing garment. I thought I might find something similar, but I never imagined I'd actually find THE dress. But I did, not by searching for any keywords but by browsing Croatia Vintage, one of my favourite Etsy shops. The dress had been listed a few hours before I found it, and was in my size too. It was possibly the fastest purchase I've ever made.

And when I was waiting for it to arrive, even more Googling lead me to believe this dress must've been mass manufactured and quite a popular design, because I've found lots of them! There is one still for sale here, some already sold here and here, and apparently an identical one was even worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City. There's also this one which is made of the same fabric but in a different style. So there's basically a league of extraordinary ladies (or gentlemen) who own these dresses, strewn across the world. AWESOME. I wonder if this sort of thing will happen 60 years in the future with dresses from Glassons or Forever21. My guess: no. I wear mine all the time alone as a dress, but today I'm wearing it as a skirt with my faithful fifties knit tee.

(Wearing a 1950s red rose halterneck dress from Croatia Vintage, 1950s mustard knit tee from an opshop in Taranaki, Goldenponies t-bar ballet flats, and the neighbour's cat Poppy)

My regular photographer is back, yay thanks Kita. She took these on the balcony outside my room, which has an awesome view of all of Mitchelltown. Today she roasted and ground her own coffee beans, so now everything in the house smells delicious and roasty.


Novelty Tuesday

I decided I was going to do a thing called Novelty Week where I wore a different novelty-print vintage garment every day for a week and photographed it and posted it here, to motivate me to actually do outfit posts. Also, to motivate me to actually put on clothes. But then I remembered I am terribly lazy and can't be bothered doing that, so essentially I'm going to wear 7 novelty outfits eventually and we can all pretend they were done over a week consecutively. Alright.

Failed jumping photo, haha.

Today I'm wearing the excellent mustard wool knit 1950s tee I picked up in an opshop in some small Taranaki town for $2, with this 1960s balloon-print skirt. My shoes and coat are vintage, and the banana basket was a gift from Jack's mum. This skirt holds a special place in my heart because when I was 16 I opshopped a very similar one with a green background, that I then sold on Trademe for a couple of bucks. Why did I do that? WHY? I also sold a pale yellow 1950s kitten-print skirt at the same time, but that's another, even more devastating story. Anyway, I found this one in a vintage shop in Wellington and couldn't leave without it, so thank god it was really cheap.

Also looking at these photos I've realised this outfit is really unflattering and boxy, so have since changed into a different coat for my expedition into town to take clothes to a consignment shop. So there we go- positive outcomes of blogging! Also these photos are quite bad because Jack doesn't know how to use cameras. Sorry. Maybe he will get better as the 'week' progresses, maybe I'll find a new photographer.


Siem Reap

I'm back in Wellington! Yay. I'm always so happy to come home to my moldy flat even though it was a great trip. Pix:

 So much hair. I got this dress made in Vietnam, from the vintage novelty jetskiers fabric I opshopped in Taranaki. I gave the amazingly talented tailors at Chi Chi a dress that my friend Grace sold to me for a fiver when she left for Europe recently. It's a beautiful 1950s dress but it's had a long life and the fabric is disintegrating. I'm also wearing the excellent Roman sandals that I got on Trademe for $4. My flatmate just went on a huge rant about how much she hates them but SORRY they are comfy and durable.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the quad biking through the countryside and rice fields. Man, it was SO BEAUTIFUL. I didn't take many photos because I was covered in dust, mud, insects, mosquito repellant, sunscreen and sweat but trust me. We biked for nearly 3 hours through the rough terrain and by the end of it I was wasted but so happy.

Here I am in front of an ancient building we found in the middle of nowhere, looking rugged as with plastic bags on my feet. I got these obnoxiously touristy pants from a market and they were perfect for the 35 degree C (95 F) heat, and the tshirt is an old one of my mum's. They're both ruined by the clay-y mud we drove through constantly.

The Angkor temples were utterly awe-inspiring. I didn't take many photos because you can just google it really, but it was excellent.

My brother took this, I wish I could claim it.

This monkey was such a badass. Here is the narrative of these pictures: it was just wandering down the causeway where it spotted something in the distance and started running towards a large group, it jumped on one of them who got such a fright she dropped her bag of food and tried to fend it off with her umbrella, the monkey tore the bag open, stole the food, went over to a shady spot and proceeded to ravage it and snarl at anyone who got too close.

Condensation inside my lens made everything a bit whimsy.


Nah thanks.



So as you may have gathered from my somewhat-delirious last post, I went to Sydney and it was awesome. My little brother lives there studying Architecture, so we spent two hilarious nights cramped in his cube of a dorm room. AND IT WAS GREAT. 

We had to take the train out to the Anglicare Depot in Summer Hill (105 Carlton Crescent) to score some bargains. Oh, and to hang out with Caitlin Shearer! I was so excited about being on a train I got Will to take a photo for me. But then I remembered I had my 50mm lens on, so this is just a photo of my face. Blogger problems eh. 

This was the second time I'd been to Anglicare, and it did not disappoint any of us. After an hour of picking through these huge bins of clothes, shoes and junk we were all pretty exhausted, and dragged our sacks of stuff into the curated opshop part to have them weighed and priced.

I'd already found a red cotton pinafore. a vintage Australian tourist teatowel (that Caitlin actually found and let me have), a polka-dot tablecloth that will soon become a skirt and a pink cotton gathered skirt, and I thought that was a good haul. However, last time I was in Sydney I found an amazing coat in the kids section of the opshop part, so decided to have another look there. And damn, did I make bank. I found this A M A Z I N G white chiffon 1950s cocktail dress with an embroidered floral overlay. God, it is SO PRETTY. And it was $25. Which is certainly more than I'd usually pay for a thrifted dress, but a lot less than I'd usually pay for a divine fifties frock! It has a couple of small brown marks on the front, but I'm hoping a soak will get these out. It also has an excellent made-in-Melbourne label, and 3 huge layers in the skirt. So I consider it a very, very fruitful trip.

After all this picking we were pretty tired, so headed into Newtown to get some falafel for lunch, browse some more vintage shops (mostly overpriced), and then Caitlin introduced us to the best gelato we've ever had. Proof we actually met/me looking extraordinarily haggard after a loooong day/peanut butter and caramelised fig gelato.

I love this city so much. 

The next day Will and I spent at the Glebe Markets which was fruitless but fun, we had cuddles with this AWESOME cat, and Will showed me the lovely campus where he studies. Then explored the other end of Newtown and had dinner at one of its (literally) 25 Thai restaurants. We were awfully surprised when Caitlin walked into the same restaurant, especially after our discussion the previous day about the ridiculous number of dining options in the suburb. Even more coincidental was when I ran into/was chased down by some German couchsurfers I went to see Beirut with at the beginning of this year in Wellington. Small world.

Now we're in Vietnam, woo.
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