Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cocktails & Cupcakes

I had the most divine afternoon on Saturday, spending a few hours with some of Melbourne's premier female fashion bloggers.

We shared stories, laughter, ideas and our experiences regarding blogging and how to keep things interesting!

The unpredictable Melbourne weather had me in a spin as I flitted between a lovely light cotton tea-dress or a warmer, high waisted skirt and jacket. In the end, the warmer outfit won and in true Melbourne fashion, on arrival at our stylish venue (complete with faux grass and waiters in tennis gear) the clouds gave way to brilliant sunshine. Oh well. My tea dress will keep for another sunny day!

I had such a lovely time in the company of women who were all so different, so stylish and so talented. I highly recommend you drop by the blogs of each - they give a multi-layered perspective of how diverse Melbourne is. They each add unique colour to the rainbow of style found in and around our city:

Lady Melbourne & Super Kawaii Mama

Circa Vintage, Fashion Hayley Hits Home, Peeptoes & Pedicures, AusStyle

Super Kawaii Mama, Esme & the Laneway, Porcelain Blonde

Esme & the Laneway with Ditta Von Tesse's new book

The always glamorous Super Kawaii Mama

Stylish Stockings of Esme & The Laneway

The perfectly shod feet of Porcelain Blonde

Fashion Hayley doing what she does best!


Viva Bris-Vegas!

I had the pleasure and privilege to be hosted by the lovely people of Brisbane Marketing on a two day whirlwind tour of the city for those in the events and marketing industry.

And so I entertained the dilemma of every style conscious girl when taking a short trip - what do I pack?

As I really only wished to take that which would facilitate the need for carry-on luggage only, I went out and found my version of the over-night bag (click to enlarge):

This over-sized Jag handbag is 48 cm long, 20cm wide and 20cm deep. Perfect size to fit:

One change of underwear, one floral print jersey maxi-dress (for dinner) a black & white cotton skirt, one pair of flat sandals, black short cardigan, light 3/4 sleeved top, one bikini (you never know....) and of course room enough for the essential beauty kit.
I can't tell you how proud of myself I was. Usually I am a chronic over-packer and always end up stuffing at least two full outfits that I never end up wearing (to say nothing of the shoes I take "just in case").

By limiting the size of my case, I forced myself to be economical with my travel wardrobe, which in turn allowed me to breeze straight from the aircraft and into the cars that whisked me off to my destinations. No more luggage carousel angst for this black duck!
And let me tell you, even in the aftermath of the recent storms, Brisbane is a wonderful and beautiful Australian city, full of life, fantastic food, wine, architecture and culture. I cannot wait to return to fully immerse my self at GOMA and spend more time exploring this lovely city.
Above, detail of The Powerhouse (cultural precinct) and the scrumptious high tea at Conrad Treasury Hotel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gone A Bit Dotty

I have found that over the years I have avoided polka dots.

Sure, they can be cute in small amounts, but I don't think I've ever had the confidence to choose the right piece that would last more than half a season. They tend to be one of those flash trends that only last a couple of months and then they are... well... dated.

I broke my own rules with this skirt, thanks to a couple (or three) glasses of Champagne and eBay.

What hooked me in were the massive white button detail on the back of it (remember, you can click on the pics to enlarge them).

Teamed with a black turtleneck and skinny belt, I hoped to move the outfit away from the cutesy to something a little more sophisimacated for work.

So tell me - What trends do you try to avoid (no matter how many times they raise their trendy little heads)?

Skirt - eBay
Turtleneck - Susan
Belt - Country Road
Brooch - Velour on Barkly St St Kilda

Monday, November 24, 2008

*sob* You really love me *sob*

I don't think you could imagine my delight to receive a blog mini-accolade from the very divine Miss Red at Peeptoes & Pedicures:

First, I gave a girly little squeal, then I composed myself in a very mature, lady like way (naturally). She has rated Vintage Verve a big black "E" for excellence, what a lovely surprise!

And now, as a recipient, it is my dutiful pleasure to pass this award onto just some* of the wonderful blogs that inspire me all the time:

Lady Melbourne
Super Kawaii Mamma

I'm Not Anti-Social, Just Short Sighted

*There are so many funny, interesting, inspiring blogs written by so many talented women that I read just about every day, but I'm having a bit of a Sally Fields at the Oscars moment and the stage manager is frantically cuing the music to stop me rambling... x mwah!

Wedged In

What a weekend the people of Melbourne have just had! I had all sorts of grand plans to bring you pictures of my adventures in the CBD on Saturday (cute lane ways, shops in mosaic and cobblestoned malls), but alas the wind, rain and hail conspired against me :( Maybe another time. I did manage to go to The Way We Wear vintage clothing fair on Sunday afternoon, but the gorgeous Super Kawaii Mamma has described it much better than I ever could, so read all about it here.

Today is a lesson in comfort and style. I give you:

The Wedge:
The main benefit of this style of shoe is the extra height it bestows upon the wearer, without much of the associated pain directed into the ball of the foot. If the shoe is a true wedge - where the whole sole touches the ground from heal to toe tip, the wearer's weight is shared across the length of the foot rather than focusing it on the ball. Ouchy!
The best thing about this style of heel, is the range of styles it comes in!
From the extra special statement shoe:

Right through to ones you can wear to smarten up a more conservative outfit:

I have at least five pairs of wedges in my wardrobe as they are just sooo comfy and even though I am a reasonably tall girl (around 5ft 10") I just love to wear heels where ever I can! These allow me to stand for longer than when wearing traditional high heeled shoes.

Although not strictly within the bounds of fashion etiquette (Shhh, lest I be scolded by Lady Melbourne) as I am wearing patent leather before 5pm, my Midas wedges pictured above are my new favorite way to show off my pedicure. I think even LM would approve.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Two reasons why I have already booked my tickets to see Baz Lurhmann's new epic "Australia":

1. This costume by Catherine Martin:
Here is it as photographed for American Vogue by Annie Leibovitz:

2. This man.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Velvet

On Tuesday Night Mr TMS and I joined his parents and their friends for a nice casual dinner at Lau's Family Kitchen in St Kilda for their 8pm seating. If you have an opportunity to dine there, I recommend the Patagonian Toothfish - Mmmm delish!

Now even though I wear mostly dresses and skirts, I also happen to be a fan of jeans. I believe they can be incorporated into a look that says casually classy and can be as feminine as you want to be. You just need to team them with a key piece and the right accessories.

I've already established my love of wearing pearls, so I won't bore you with that again, but my particular statement piece for this outfit is the black velvet blazer:

I teamed it with a lace top and some red high heels (all girls should own at LEAST one pair of red shoes) and embellished the blazer with a vintage brooch that I constantly swap onto just about everything black that I wear.

Below is a close up of the detail of lace top:

Peep toe heels go well with a pedi and jeans!

Close up detail of vintage brooch:

Remember, you can click on any of my photos to see them enlarged.

Lee jeans - South Melbourne Market
Shoes - Tony Bianco (via eBay)
Lace Top - Witchery
Velvet Blazer - thrifted
Freshwater pearl necklace & earings - brideslave gift from my sister years ago!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Mirka Mora

was born in Paris in 1928 and immigrated with her husband Georges to Melbourne, Australia in 1951.

Her early training was in mime and drama at the Ecole Jean-Louis Barrault, but she had already begun to focus on painting by the time she reached Australia. She and Georges were instrumental in the re-establishment of the Contemporary Art Society in Melbourne from 1953, with their apartment on Collins Street being the meeting place and gallery for the CAS in the early years.

In my opinion, she has been one of the key drivers of what has come to define Melbourne as an Australian City. Her influence on Australian Art and Melbourne culture has cannot be understated.

She was a colleague, mentor, muse and friend of artists including Arthur Boyd, John Perceval, Joy Hester, Charles Blackman, Laurence Hope and Dawn and Ian Sime and John and Sunday Reed. The Reeds founded the Heide Museum of Modern Art located in the then outskirts of Melbourne in Bulleen.

Georges and Mirka were largely responsible in bringing sophisticated European dining to 1950s Melbourne, opening the Mirka Café in Exhibition Street in 1954, then the Balzac in East Melbourne in 1958 (the first Melbourne restaurant to receive a 10pm liquor licence) and finally Tolarno in St Kilda in 1965. In the photo of Mirka Cafe above, you can see Mirka in the centre of the shot, her hand on her face with Georges crouching down.

They were the originators of the true bohemian and artistic flavour of St Kilda, with the heart based at Hotel Tolarno.

Guy Grossi, one of Melbourne's premier Chefs opened his homage to her at the newly refurbished Tolano Hotel in 2007 naming his restaurant after her: Mirka

Mirka Restaurant is a living, breathing canvas-in-progress of Mirka's work, with her whimsical and instantly recognisable friezes and murals decorating the walls of the Fitzroy St eatery:

The food is wonderful, the service sublime. I highly recommend a intimate dinner here with those you love.

In a wonderful interview with Andrew Denton in 2007, she discussed her life, her loves and her philosophy. In a moving moment she told the tale of how she managed to escape the Holocaust and endeared the audience with her explanation of some of her more outrageous public behaviour:

"I don’t like to follow order. And the director of the tapestry workshop, with all due respect to her, had told me what to do when my turn would be to pull the curtain... And when my turn came I said, "I can’t just pull the curtain like all the other people. I have to do something funny." So I organised myself to drop my pants..."

To know about her is to be delighted by her.

Sunburned but happy, here I am at Mirka Restaurant after the races earlier this month.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking it to the Max

There is one particular style that seems to be in all the stores at the moment, I for one am loving it:

The Maxi Dress.

It's good news for the bigger Vintage Vixens amongst us as there are lots of different styles in stretchy jersey that hug your curves in all the right places and natural cotton/linen to keep you cool during the glorious spring weather Melbourne is having at the moment.

The best thing about this style is that you can either dress it up or down with your accessories. As this dress is strapless, I chose to bling it up a little with a chunky necklace, brown belt and bronze flat sandals. The messy 'up do' was inspired in part by the Grecian goddess look. I might need to work on that one a bit methinks!

Dress, Necklace and belt from Instore, Carlisle St St Kilda
Shoes from boutique on Hayman Island

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day Time Sequins?

Now, I'm not too sure if I've made a fashion faux pas. Today I wore sequins to the office:

I do believe I got away with it as they weren't the bright shinny bling type of sequins and hopefully the simple tunic they are attached to looks a million miles away from being a victim of a "Bedazzler".

It has a pretty Mandarin collar that dips down into a modest open v neckline, which I find perfect for showing off a nice piece of jewelery.

My shoes have some floral details to give them a feminine flourish (not that I've seen many heels with a masculine one...) but best of all, their soft pink tone puts them into the 'neutral' category which means they can pretty much be worn with any outfit one chooses to sling on in the morning.

So what do you think? Should one avoid sequins during daylight hours? Perhaps you are a Magpie like me who just loves bright and shiny things and says "to hell with convention - I like it and I'm gonna wear it!"
A-Joy Sequin Tunic - Unique in Acland St St Kilda (ages ago)
Portmans trousers - My sister's hand me down
Shoes - eBay
Silver Coral pendant and matching earings - Christmas gift from my boy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Clutching At Straws

I was recently in the market for a new clutch purse to complete my "40's Glamour' outfit for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

I needed to replace the leeetil satin one that I had been using up to that point with one that was large enough to fit all the necessary accouterments that every lady needs:

  • House keys
  • Mobile phone
  • Cash/Cards
  • Lipstick
  • Compact mirror
  • Pen
  • Raceday first aid - band aids, Hollywood tape, aspirin

And then I found one:

This cutie actually has a hard outer shell, so it protects all your girly must-haves and closes with a magnetic clasp.

I was rather pleased with my find!

The lining of the bag was a lovely combination of black and white striped and polka dot material. The inside also contained a secure zipper compartment as well as a little pocket for your phone and another for your tickets.

The black raffia clutch has sensuous curves that make it so comfortable to hold (or you can use the sweet chain link strap that comes tucked inside)

Morgan & Taylor Clutch - Corner Closet, Acland St, St Kilda

Skirting The Issue

What's a girl to do when faced with a sudden heat wave?

Melbourne was a sweltering 33 degrees celcius on Wednesday so a taste of Summer was certainly sampled.

I decided to dress for comfort for the office in clean, crisp black and white.

Cool cotton blend is the way to go and I love how this skirt sits. It has a bit of strench (which is always handy for the larger vixens amongst us) and has interesting detailing including piping down the front. The paisley print avoids looking like bad 70's wallpaper by remaining monchrome.

Faux pearls dress up the plain sleeveless top for work and my simple black shoes have very cute little bows in contrasting white. Apologies for the shoe shot, I'm not too sure how to turn it around for easier viewing and I wouldn't want anyone to get a crick in the neck on account of me!

Skirt - Swish in Clarendon St South Melbourne
Top - Country Rd
Shoes - eBay

Horses? What Horses?

One of the most fabulous things about Melbourne in November is of course the Spring Racing Carnival.

The shops are brimming with lots of soft, feminine dresses, hats, fascinators of all shapes sizes and colours, to say nothing of the multitudes of matching shoes and handbags.

I have been the lucky guest at racetrack car parks and marquees over many seasons and they keep telling me there are actually horses there somewhere. I don't believe them though.... Too many pretty things on two legs to look at!

Now as a seasoned race-goer, I must admit that I have also seen the very worst of the worst over the years in terms of what some young ladies consider as appropriate race wear. In many instances I have wanted to grab some poor unsuspecting girl , shake her by the shoulders and shout "nightclub wear is NOT race ware!!" But I digress...

My theme for this year's Carnival was "40's Glamour"

Now, you will have to excuse these reasonably non-descriptive photos as these were taken before I decided to start Vintage Verve, so I have no shots of the stockings, shoes, clutch purse or other close up details!

Sinmay, feather and netting fascinator - David Jones (from about four seasons ago)
High waisted skirt with button detail - Miss Hussy Clothing (eBay)
Sunny Girl Blouse with ruffled detail and ric-rac edging - InStore Clothing, Acland St
Witchery Black wool swing jacket - consignment store in Elsternwick
Faux pearl necklace - Corner Closet, Acland St