Sunday, 22 January 2012

Lament

Sorry for the radio silence everybody, but my flat was broken into last week.  We had our laptops taken and Mr V lost his Nikon camera.  Suffice to say that blogging, apart from being impossible without camera, computer or internet access, has been the last thing on my mind.

I guess anyone out there who has suffered a burglary or had stuff stolen will know that the heartbreak of losing a personal computer is not so much the loss of the computer as what was stored on it.  My life was on that thing.  I used it for freelance work, I used it for storing photos, I used it to promote my dancing and I used it for blogging.  I can't tell you how sick with sadness I feel when I think of the years of photos I have lost on that thing and that some creep somewhere is obliterating all of them.  Precious memories of our travels, photos of me performing in Spain, photos of times spent with my family in Australia.  Now all gone.  I didn't have back ups and I am really, really angry with myself for being so idiotic.  Staggeringly the only place I have a selection of some of those photos is on this blog.

I have a couple of draft posts to share and I am aware that I owe many blogging friends a visit, but I have limited internet access at the moment and a hell of a lot of things to sort out, so I may be quieter than usual until Mr V and I get back on our feet.  Hopefully it won't be too long.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Little Fluffy Clouds

 
 

They don't call Perth the Windy City for nothing! This is the effect of the Fremantle Doctor - the strong cooling breeze that hits the coast in the late afternoon during long summer days and makes it perfect for Mr V to go windsurfing on the river and for me to do a windswept look!

It's Visible Monday again! Okay, technically in this photo it is neither a Monday, nor actually what I wore today in freezing cold London.  I'm sharing it because nothing catches my attention more than an amazing, colourful print on a dress that manages to be bold yet also feminine.  This is one of my favourites.  A go to piece in my wardrobe which I can just throw on knowing that I'll feel both good and comfortable in it, a quality you begin to appreciate more in clothes as you get older.

I only appreciate the full technicolour glory of this floral print in the kind of strong sunlight you get Down Under, the type of light which makes everything look wonderfully hyper real in photos.  Especially the white fluffy clouds on their journey across the blue sky.  Lying back on a bright summer's day and watching the clouds go by was a favourite pastime in my youth.

The way the sky turned out in these shots reminded me of those times.  If you don't have the requisite time (or the requisite climate for that matter) to indulge in such a pleasurable activity here's a video set to that great Orb track from which I robbed the title for my post.  It manages to condense some pretty spectacular cloud watching into a easily digestible four minutes.  Recommended.


Catch what the other Visible Monday crew are wearing over at Not Yet Dead Style.

Silk print dress: Mango; Sandals: Zara; Bag: Michael by Michael Kors

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

Statement Skirt


While in Oz I happened across this luxe gold and orange brocade skirt from Australian label Cue hanging on a sale rail at fifty percent off. Although it is completely out of character for me, I bought it. The colour, fabric, print and shape are unlike anything I've previously owned.

Maybe it was a side effect of the festive season with the all that tree decorating and present wrapping that made me more receptive to an item of clothing resembling a Christmas bauble or gift wrap. Or maybe it was because statement skirts in look-at-me prints were all the rage in 2011 and the idea of owning one had somehow filtered into my fashion subconsciousness. Or maybe following too many bloggers who would pull off these kinds of bold pieces with inspirational panache has given me Dutch courage (Hunting and Gathering and Oranges and Apples spring to mind).

The stylish sales girl cooed her approval of my choice all the way to the till declaring my find a wonderful statement piece. I secretly wondered if I should allow my fashion ego to be assuaged by her flattery or be deeply suspicious that she was just stringing me along and that actually, she was just imagining my head as a light bulb with this skirt hanging around it, laughing internally at my expense while she cinched her sale.


But no matter, I had already convinced myself of this skirt's high fashion merits having noted the sartorial nod to Jonathan Saunders in the print, as well as the influence of the Mary Katranzou school of design where interior decoration and print are combined to make high octane fashion statements in ready-to-wear - you know the type where you take the loudest, gaudiest flock wallpaper you can find, redecorate your most outrageous lampshade with it and then wear said lampshade as a skirt.  Plus it presented a chance to inject some badly needed colour into my wall-of-black wardrobe and wear two colours that would normally drain my complexion should I wear them right next to my face.

Source: Vogue
Source: Vogue

I have to admit though, that upon arriving home and surveying what in my wardrobe I could work this skirt with, I've had a sudden crisis of confidence, and it is now in grave danger of becoming nothing more than something with which to actually decorate my bedside lamp as I'm struggling for ideas as to how to wear it.  So I'm sending out a call for help on the style blogosphere!  Suggestions anyone?

Brocade Skirt: Cue

Saturday, 7 January 2012

After While Crocodile


What a difference a week makes! It's hard to think that on Christmas Day I was lying on the beach and, shortly before that, enjoying warm sunny days with the sun rising at five and setting at nine.  Now just after a week back in the UK I'm battling with a nasty cough and cold, struggling into work in the dark, coming home in the dark and, to add insult to injury, also suffering rain and gale force winds!

So I'm going to dwell on happier times for a few more posts.  Like walking through the suburban jungle of my home city in the mid afternoon heat to get milk.  I lack the dedication to dress up to the nines to go out to get milk but I don't like looking slovenly either.  That's when a tee shirt dress comes in handy - just the right mix of casual chic and comfort on a thirty degree day.

This crocodile print tee shirt dress by Christopher Kane for Topshop may be an oldie but it's still a goodie.  As an Australian I'm much fonder of the crocodile as an iconic image than the ape which graced the jersey pieces in Kane's mainline collection (and which were also five times the price of Topshop's).  I'm wearing black sequined Fit Flops - for the uninitiated these crazy things are supposed to give your legs a workout while you walk which I wear at every opportunity trying to convince myself they are melting away cellulite as I pound the pavement - well one can dream!

On the subject of legs I debated whether to post these pictures or not because my first reaction on seeing them was "Christ my legs look awful!" and flip flopped between pressing delete and indignation firing up the urge to publish what un-airbrushed legs look like when you hit thirty nine because, why hide the fact?  I reasoned this is a blog about what I wear and this is what I wear!

I was also spurred on after reading this thoughtful post by Terri at Rags Against the Machine, in which she dissects her personal reaction to a paragraph from a Susan Sontag essay "The Double Standard of Ageing", which argues age anxiety is something more acutely felt by women in higher social classes in developed societies.  If you are a woman, whatever your age, this essay is well worth a read as it candidly strips bare all those social influences that combine to damage the psyche of women and fuel their obsession with the ageing process.  There will be nothing that will surprise you to read it as a woman but it is a sobering wake up call to see it all written down with the clarity of Sontag's brutally honest prose.  You realise how much of your own experiences and insecurities you recognise while reading and also how tragically limiting it is as a human being to be constrained by this "social pathology" as Sontag puts it.


If you have any age related body insecurities then spending some time in very hot climate soon puts keeping cool as a priority above worrying about how much skin and limb exposure is considered decent for your age bracket.  When it's a hot day and I need to go out in the heat and there's all this glorious sunshine to be soaking up on limbs that haven't seen the sun for way too long, the last thing I want to worry about, or indeed should have to worry about, is whether it is acceptable to society at large that my legs are on show.  And the last thing I want to wear on a hot, sticky day is something covering my legs and arms other than SPF 30!

There is enough style advice out there aimed at women over a certain age (some have that threshold as low as twenty five) imploring the wobbly of thigh and crepey of knee to banish everything that is not knee length or below in hemline from our wardrobes. The subterfuge begins then, women are to hide from all of society what their bodies look like as they get older.  But if we join in this game we inadvertedly teach everyone (and in particular younger women) that what the female of the species look likes as she biogically ages is something to be acutely ashamed of.

I'm not going to pretend that ageing does not bother me, or that these days I don't think twice about putting something like this dress on.  But should I really deny myself the simple and sensual pleasure of feeling the sunshine on my skin for the sake of such society inflicted angst about my physical appearance and age?  The largest organ in my body is my skin and it is the conduit through which I receive sorely needed doses of vitamin D to stave off depression and the onset of osteoporosis in later life.  That I should be subject to increasingly severe dress codes that limit my intake at a relatively early stage in my life seems especially galling - I am expected to give up free health benefits as well as simple pleasures with age.  Well let me tell you, there is no way on Earth, that on a two week holiday in the sun, that I am going to pass up using every square centimetre of skin that I can possibly get mileage out of to get my vitamin D!

This imposition of a particularly cruel best before date for women, by which it is deemed that the majority of their bodies should disappear under dress, actively discourages us to foster a healthy acceptance of the inevitable process of ageing or to attribute it any value.  Note how different the standards are for men as they age (Sontag's essay has an excellent treatment on this).  Why can't we as women be encouraged to regard our older bodies with the affection I can afford the dress I'm wearing in the photos?  As an oldie, but still a goodie - great vintage if you like, rather than well out of date.

PS. I have since posting decided to link this post to this week's Visble Monday series over at Not Yet Dead Style.  I was just going to kick back and read the entries myself.  But then I read a post from Debby from She Accessorizes Well recounting a hurtful encounter with a photography teacher who passed over using her as a model to demonstrate something in a photography class just because she was a older woman.  Instead of trying to use his expertise to take a decent photo of her he opted to use a younger, more attractive model.  It's a sobering post and for me reflected many of the issues Sontag brought up in her essay about the difference between how society treats the ageing of women and the ageing of men.  As Debby says physical beauty fades, only internal beauty remains.  But that should not mean that we should become invisible.

Tee Shirt Dress: Christopher Kane for Topshop; Flip-flops: Fit Flop; Bag: Michael by Michael Kors

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