Wednesday 27 November 2013


I bought culottes... yes I know, it was a questionable buy, I'm still not 100% sure about them. I saw a picture of Nicole Warne (of Gary Pepper fame) wearing some and I thought, YES, the one thing missing from my wardrobe is giant calf length shorts. Hmmmm. 

I got these from Asos for $15, I love the print, if this was a skirt instead of pants then I think they would be on very high rotation, as it is I've worn this exact outfit twice. The first time was to visit my best friend (I knew she wouldn't judge me) and the second time was to work. I received good comments both times, so I'm starting to feel more confident about them. 

Ordinarily my wardrobe rule of thumb is simple: If I'm not 100% confident the first time I wear an item of clothing then I donate it back. I just have too many beautiful things in my wardrobe to hold on to something I'm half hearted about. But these culottes are SO COMFORTABLE. Seriously, I feel like I could run a marathon or climb a mountain in these things, so I'm giving them a few more turns around the block before I make my final decision. 

My pink top is op shopped, my sandals are Melissa (also from Asos on sale, I think they were about $25), my sunglasses are Prada and my hair scarf is vintage. I'm still on the hair scarf band waggon! I love it! This huge bow is fairly over the top, but it matches my shirt perfectly and I figure if I'm wearing gigantic clown pants I may as well go all out and whack on a massive bow as well.  

Monday 25 November 2013

Frilly and Free

I went for a casual op shop with Mum the other day and just as we were about to walk out of the shop empty handed and a bit disappointed, one of the sales staff ran up to me with this top in her hands. She said that it had just come in and it smelt weird so they were going to through it in the rag bag, but she recognised it was cute vintage and thought that I looked as though I might like it. She let me have the top for free because it was smelly, I was thrilled!

One extra hot cycle in the washing machine and the top came out good as new, with no smell what-so-ever. Success! It makes me a bit sad to think of all the wonderful vintage clothes that are donated but then thrown away as rags because they smell a little. From my experience, one of the biggest problems people have with second hand clothes is their smell, so I can understand why the op shop sorters need to ditch the stinky things, but it's still annoying to think about all the awesome vintage stuff I might be missing out on. This top has anchors, frills, pleats and tiny sail boats on it, it is definitely destined for greater things then the rag bag!

So my top was free and my skirt and bag both cost $5 each from the Melville Markets and Salvos respectively, my wedges are from Hobbs. I think I may have gone into frill over load with the ruffles on my top and the trim on my skirt. I actually wore the top backwards because I really liked the big frilly part and wanted that to be on the front. 

I really love this outfit and am so grateful for the lady in the op shop who brought me out the smelly vintage blouse. If it's frilly and free, chances are I'll like it! (motto to live by right there!)

Friday 22 November 2013

Kicking Goals

It's only been two weeks since I set myself four goals and I have already nailed one! Yahoo! I have to admit it was probably the easiest of my four goals, but still, I'm pretty happy with myself. Goal number three was to wear more scarves in my hair and I've been killing it!

I have many beautiful scarves in all patterns and colours, that decorate my specially made (thanks boyfriend) scarf rack, but I hardly ever wear them. In the last few weeks I have challenged myself and worn a scarf in my hair pretty much every second day. It's been so fun! I have got many comments about my new obsession with hair scarves, most have been good although one man at my work said I looked like his 6 year old daughter (hmm not sure if that's good or bad?). I think scarves are an accessory that often get forgotten, but I've loved finding new ways to incorporate them in to my outfits.  

The other brilliant thing about scarves is that they are SO EASY to find in op shops. Every single op shop has a specific scarf section and they are always priced around $2 (regardless of the fabric, hello silk!), so it's really easy to build up a little collection of different patterns and colours quickly. 

Aside from this outfit and this one, which I've already put on the blog, I've been taking iPhone selfies every time I've worn a scarf in my hair. I've pretty much stuck to the same style, folding the scarf up and tying it in a bow or knot, in line with my hair part. I'd like to try wearing a scarf in a turban style as well, I've just got to work up to courage to do so! 

Sorry about the limited outfit pictures, my $14 ebay tripod broke (it lasted 3 months), so while I wait for my new fancy one to arrive I've been trying to make do balancing my big camera on tables, the BBQ and various pot plants on my balcony. My lack of pictures isn't the end of the world because you've already seen this outfit here, I've just lost the jacket, added an awesome polka dot scarf and swapped my transparent brogues for transparent sandals! 

Hooray for kicking goals!

Monday 18 November 2013

High Tea Ladies

There are very few occasions that call for pretty dresses and heels during the day. Weddings are the obvious one, but in my 26 years I have only ever been to one wedding (seriously friends, get a move on!) so it's safe to say that glam day dressing is a rarity for me. I still do it, obviously, but it's nice to have an occasion that calls for it. I don't always enjoy being that strange lady in the post office with a crinoline under her skirt and very high heels on a random Tuesday. (I lie, I always enjoy being that person)

Any way, this past Sunday I had an occasion that required fancy day dress! Hooray! A good friend of mine was visiting from Sydney and organised for a bunch of girls to go to a high tea. Tiny cakes and champagne? A pretty dress is practically mandatory! We went to Rochelle Adonis, which is THE place to have high tea in Perth. We had to make a reservation two months in advance and pay a deposit when we booked. Madness!

It was a really nice afternoon, catching up with friends, eating tiny delicious food and exclaiming about every ones outfits. I was excited to get the chance to wear my back up Melbourne Cup outfit (another great day dressing occasion!). I found this new season Cue dress in an op shop a few weeks ago, I snapped it up for $9! The colour is perfect for a fancy day time affair and I really like how structured it is. It looks a bit crumpled in these pictures because I didn't get a chance to take photos before I stuffed my face with miniature tarts.

I also took the opportunity to wear my floral headband from Anna Chandler which matches this dress perfectly. I felt a bit silly when I first put it on, but I actually forgot I was wearing it after awhile. I matched the roses on our table perfectly as well, so I think it was a good choice in the end!

Aside from my headband, my whole outfit is op shopped. I always get excited when everything I'm wearing is thrifted, it's like a little win I can notch up on my imaginary headboard of op shop successes. I particularly like my new vintage brooch, which unfortunately you can hardly see in these pictures. I bought it on Saturday for $2!

I love how pretty every one looks! It was such a fun afternoon, I am definitely a high tea convert!

Excuse how terrible my hair looks, as nice as Rochelle Adonis was, their air con was crap, so it was a zillion degrees inside and my beautifully groomed hair (I just went to the hair dresser on Saturday) soon turned in to a sweaty frizzy mess.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Good Alterations

One of my absolute pet hates is badly altered vintage. I know that sounds a bit petty or fussy, but it infuriates me when I find a cute dress or skirt that I would love to buy except someone has hacked off the bottom 5 inches to make it a mini skirt (and decided they didn't need to hem it). I see it all the time, why would you butcher a dress and not even finish the job?! (and then try and sell something with a ragged hem!?).

I'm definitely not against altering vintage (some people are, which is fine). I think making small alterations is a great way to incorporate vintage style into your own, without feeling like you are wearing a costume. I alter things all the time, it's one of the skills I am most grateful for. My mum and aunt taught me how to sew and although I have never really made anything from scratch, I whip out my sewing machine every few weeks to take up or let out hems and make other small adjustments to the stuff I buy. 

I thought I'd show you how I altered this dress to make it more wearable. I bought this dress a few months ago and wore it once as is (pictured above) before deciding it was too matronly and throwing it in my sewing pile for another day. On Sunday I finally got around to fixing it up. I love the print and the flowy sheer skirt, but the high neck and weirdly long sleeves make it all a bit dowdy for me. I thought about changing the neckline to make it a bit more low cut so it balanced out the sleeves, but in the end decided to remove the sleeves instead.

Removing sleeves is fairly easy, I just unpicked them at the seam and then re-sewed the raw edges. It took me about 20 minutes all up. This is something that anyone could do, you don't even need a sewing machine (although it makes it a lot faster). Most fabrics will just fray and look crap if you don't re-sew and tidy up the raw edges, so it's important to not to miss that final step.

My dress, belt and green necklace are all op shopped and the other necklace is from a cheap boutique in Queensland. My two bangles were both gifts and by far the most expensive part of my outfit, the clear one is Mimco and the grey swirl one is Dinosaur Designs. My wedges (aka. the most comfortable shoes I own) are from Hobbs. 

Monday 11 November 2013

What is Vintage Anyway?

I've been wondering about the actual classification of 'vintage' for awhile now. I've Googled it several times, but I tend to find a different definition on every site I read. The general consensus I've found is that vintage is any piece of clothing that is 20+ years old. But does that include a plain singlet with no label and no defining features from like 1991? Or what about the crappy trackies my dad still wears circa 1985? I'm not sure! 

When I'm writing about my op shopped goodies, I tend to decide whether something is vintage based on the quality of the fabric, the cut of the dress/skirt/top and, of course, the label. I love Googling old looking labels to learn about the clothes I have scored at op shops and flea markets.

This dress I'm wearing today would definitely fit into my definition of vintage. It's a fantastic retro (another word I'm not quite sure about!) print, a sturdy polyester fabric and an awesome 1970's (I think?) shape. It doesn't have a tag and actually looks like it's home made. I bought it on Sunday at the Melville Markets for $4, from two very hipster looking girls who had sorted all of their wares for sale into two piles, vintage and modern. This dress was in the modern pile, which is what got me thinking about all this to start with! Why did they decide this dress is modern, when I am very certain it's vintage?  

After reading many blogs from ladies who are well and truly committed to 'authentic vintage' and could be described as 'vintage purists' I started to feel a little guilty about labelling some of my clothes (particularly those from the 80's and early 90's) with the exclusive 'vintage' tag. Are they actually vintage? Or am I just jumping on the vintage bandwagon? I don't know! So when I write about 'vintage' this and 'op shopped' that, they are merely just my definitions of the bits and pieces I find, nothing technical, nothing official!

Let's get on to the rest of my outfit, my shoes are trusty Sportsgirl sandals (on sale for $50) and I picked up my head scarf from the Markets on Sunday for 20 cents!! Madness! Before leaving the house but after taking these pictures I also slipped on some orange fimo bangles I made recently. 

P.S check out the scarf in my hair! I'm totally loving my four goals challenge, going to tackle number two this weekend.  

Friday 8 November 2013

Setting Goals

I've been AWOL from In The Dress Up Box lately, sorry about that! Life just got carried away there for awhile. I've actually had a great few weeks, on Tuesday I went to the Cottesloe Beach Club to watch the Melbourne Cup and won best dressed! It was so exciting. I didn't take many pictures of my outfit because I wore basically the same thing as I did for my birthday (you can see it here) plus a big red floral fascinator. Below is a dodgy iPhone picture from the day, I got a giant bottle of champagne and a really cute clutch! I may have lost $30 trying to bet on the horses, but I feel like I definitely came out a winner. 

The next six weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be hectic and wonderful. We've got my boyfriend's family coming to visit from Queensland, a tropical holiday to look forward to, plus I've planned quite a few Christmas parties (including another clothes swap!). I also can't wait to decorate our house and start baking festive treats with my housemates, first on the agenda is a ginger bread house! 

With a busy time ahead of me, I thought it would be a good idea to set some goals for myself. Elsie from A Beautiful Mess encouraged her readers to make a short list of goals to achieve before the end of the year. I've never really been one to make New Years resolutions, but with 53 days until 2014, I think setting myself some achievable targets is a great idea.

So within the next 53 days I hope to...
  1. Learn how to use my camera a bit better
  2. Make a full circle skirt from scratch
  3. Wear scarves in my hair more often
  4. Make at least half of my Christmas gifts

To kick off the goal achieving, I am wearing a scarf in my hair today! I seriously have so many beautiful silk scarfs that never see the light of day because I'm not quite sure how to style them. This little purple op shopped Oroton one is a great size and shape for wearing in your hair. My vintage dress was op shopped a few years ago (can't remember the price sorry!), my flower earrings are from the Melville Markets, shoes are from Asos and my brooch (which you can hardly see in the pictures) is another one from my Grandma. 

I'll keep you posted with how I go ticking off my goals!