Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Everything sold (to me) is blue again

Blue is not really my colour. I can get away with teal occasionally and sometimes look refreshed in pale blue, but for the most part shades of blue do nothing for me. I mean that literally - grey marle makes me look corpse like, red makes me look as if I'm about to combust and take several suburbs with me, black makes me look cranky - but when I wear blue, nothing happens. I just disappear. 
Having said that, I love this dress. 

It's a piece of silk-cotton polka dot loveliness by local designer Anna Thomas. I found it reduced and reduced and reduced at a sale, and bought it despite the fact it was two (count 'em) sizes too big and navy blue. The size problem is evident at my waist where the best intentions of a belt are thwarted. I don't care. It's soft and light and very comfortable for a day in the office. 

In fact, I liked it so much that when I found a matching blouse from the same range at the same sale (also too big) I bought it too. 

What surprises me is how the colour doesn't ignore or despise me. I've had this relationship with blue lately. We seem to be getting on a little better and subsequently it is worming its way into my wardrobe and affections. 

That's the trapeze dress I hauled back from the seventies last week. She made her 21st century debut with a Petit Bateau tank, a Liberty bag and a pair of preposterous Birkenstocks in - you guess it - 

blue. Though to be fair there is a goodly amount of silver mesh in there too. May I also add that I love having lavender toenails. 
Oh, and before I forget, wearing blue does allow some exciting shoe leeway. I wore the Ferragamos with the Anna Thomas dress: 
Both parties were very happy with the arrangement. 
Sydney sagged in the heat today, about 36 degrees Celsius' worth of melting. (For those of you tuning in from the Fahrenheit regions, that's about 98). Amidst oppressive heat and humidity, I packed my bag for the US.  It's difficult to guess exactly what I'll be needing in San Francisco in February. All the books say layers, all the people who've been there say a coat. I'd be grateful for any clues. 
But look: six dresses, four pairs of leggings, eight pairs of opaque tights, three long sleeve t-shirts and some light silk knit vests ...
...all in one standard carry-on case. Moral of the story: The more you travel, the better you pack and the more shopping you can put in your big check-in luggage. 
Seriously though - San Francisco, Nevada, Los Angeles, February: not as cold as New York, no? A scarf and a trench coat should keep me warm - or not? 

It doesn't even have a name

The news is on in the background.
They say a prisoner escaped,
Slipped through a hole in the the
Fence, piteously dressed for winter.
You shouldn’t approach him. Part
Of me fears the felon who held
A blade at a teenager’s throat while
He robbed the till, who threatened
A neighbour with a mallet. His
Eyes change colour when he needs a hit.

But part of me cheers him on.
We’ve all been caged, staked.
We’ve all been imprisoned by our
Own circumstances and relived
Our bad choices all days after. Who
In the field of their errors and spying
The smallest of holes wouldn’t squeeze their
Shoulders through that desperate exit and bolt
Through the frigid frost in bare feet? 

That's not thunder, that's a drum roll

...and it's for my favourite all time fashion book, The Cheap Date Guide To Style (Transworld Publishers, 2007, Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett).   You may remember Cheap Date, a clever, anti-fashion magazine that closed down a few years ago.   Cheap Date was (in my opinion) the precursor of the current raft of style-it-yourself manuals and guides, and one of the earliest magazines to feature vintage clothes styles with more expensive new pieces. 

This book is a joy - a great big dressing up trunk full of ideas and suggestions. It's not about buying ten key pieces or a whole raft of new garments in a specific palette.  There's no rules and no strict themes. You'll find a variety of women (Princess Anne, Marianne Faithful, Beth Ditto, Jane Russell, Patty Smith Tracey Emin and  Sophie Dahl to give you an idea) a variety of interviews and a wide cross section of ideas presented in a very low key way. It's like hunting around a flea market, looking for the bits that suit you best. I browse this book often and always close the covers feeling stasified. 

Surprise: Amelia Earhart had great style (I want jodhpurs)
Verdict: Intelligent fashion writing by two intelligent fashion writers. My pick of the bunch. Its out of print but there are lots of copies on Amazon. You won't regret it.  

So that's what I think. 

Tomorrow is a national public holiday which I intend to celebrate by sleeping in, mooching, packing for my upcoming holiday and possibly by taking a late afternoon swim, depending on the weather and my motivation. 

And my blue dress. You should really become acquainted with my blue dress.