Monday, October 4, 2010

Are we there yet? Five more to go.

The last post was rather dense with text so I thought I'd break this one up with some photos. Not related photos mind, but pleasant enough, I hope.

Here's my work bag:

She's a red Mulberry Bayswater. I bought her in London two years ago. She is a workhorse and a lady. Probably the only other things I need to confirm here is yes, I have a white squirrel on my window sill at work and no, my desk isn't always that tidy.

And back to my top ten stylish people:

6. Sharon Giles. Sharon was in my year at school and I am certain she - or at least a girl like Sharon - was in your year too. Sharon was pretty, slender and wholesome, a good sports woman and competent student and the owner of the most envied wardrobe in our year. Sharon, I think, was the first person I knew who had true individual style: she wore black jeans with white singlets and black sandshoes years (decades!) before Kate Moss, she wore long floral dresses with short pale socks, cobalt Mary Janes and her father's brown v-neck jumper (it look fantastic) and in summer, loose Thai fisherman's pants with little coloured vests she bought in the kids' section of a department store. She moved in and out of different trends, tried them on, picked out what worked for her and moved on. We all copied her slavishly and one by one, the lucky ones amongst us learnt that what worked on the Sharons of the world didn't necessarily work for us. I like to think I got my early sense of style - and a willingness to experiment - from Sharon. I don't know what happened to her but wherever she is I bet everyone's saying, "Love your dress! Where did you get it?"

7. The lady in hospital who I'll call Rachel. She was in her eighties and ran a huge clothing business in Sydney. Rachel was born in Germany and her family had been very fortunate to escape Berlin in the late 1930s. She was only a wee thing when they did. Even though I only knew Rachel the few days we shared a hospital ward, and we only ever saw each other in our nighties and dressing gowns, I learnt very quickly that she was a LADY. Not prissy and sour, mind, but well mannered, intelligent, courteous and very well groomed. She had the most beautiful feet I have ever seen - dainty and smooth with ten pearly little nails. She talked at great length about different outfits she had worn in her life and recommended that I, about to start my working life in earnest, buy a suit and discussed quite gravely with me the importance of ironing all my clothes weekly. Nothing makes you look older than rumpled clothes, she warned. I think she's right. I still love suits and the weekly ironing has become one of my favourite rituals.

8. The brown dress girl: she got my bus to work the other day. She wore a plain brown jersey dress, a wide gold belt, black snub nose pumps with preposterously high heels and carried a big squashy clutch. It had obviously been a frazzling morning for her because she had rushed to catch the bus and her hair was a little too mussy to be deliberate. She looked great and smelt of roses.

9. Franca was one of the senior librarians in my first serious grown-up job. She was the daughter of an Italian diplomat, spoke five languages and had studied at Cambridge and the Sorbonne. She met an Australian teacher on a train in London and left her large world willingly to come and be his love in a small Sydney beach suburb. Her sister, despairing Franca's self imposed penury, sent huge care parcels of clothes from Milan every season. Needless to say, Franca always looked superb. She favoured graceful blouses tucked into sunray pleat silk skirts, a scarf around her neck, rigidly lacquered hair and a very wide swipe of thick jammy lipstick. Her shoes (also from her sister) were very high heeled pumps, dull and severe but beautiful quality. Her perfume was Ma Griffe, which translates as my style, my stamp.

10. Tia at the markets. All of us, the faithful little flea-marketing band in Sydney, have seen Tia. Her creamy, straight-out-of-a-movie 'fifties style is legendary. My jaw drops every time I see her, not only because she wears such incredible outfits but because her hair and make-up, picture perfect as it is, must take hours yet Tia, like all good flea-marketers, is prowling the stalls at sunrise. Usually Tia is in tight waisted, full skirted dresses but once I saw her in wide legged dark denim jeans, a red gingham blouse that matched her lipstick exactly and a her white blonde hair in a slung high in a perfect pony tail. You don't need me to tell you that it was tied with a red bow. It would have been just another one of Tia's great looks but this time Tia was accompanied by a little boy (her son? Nephew? Neighbour?), a little boy in dungarees, a checked shirt, red sneakers and the most perfect brylcreem cowlick ever combed into place on a little boy's head. He held Tia's hand and looked amongst the stalls with her. They were great mates what ever their relationship and Tia, I thought that morning, took out the random Stylish Person's cup by turning a young companion in to an endearing fashion accessory.

And to soothe you after that huge parcel of text, here's the Oberon Valley as seen high up on the Duckmoloi Road. I was out there last week:
And here's how I recover from a heavy dose of blog: