Friday, August 30, 2013

#restyle2013 Photo-A-Day Op-Shop Challenge fail

Well it is August 30th and I have run out of time to finish the Perth Fashion Festival Restyle Challenge. I found many clothes in time for the challenge, but not all.

I will lay down my excuses now: downed by the flu, training for the City to Surf and now Mike has the flu! So I've been flat out every weekend and have not been able to complete the challenge.

Sadly you'll never see the pictures of me in the neon cocktail dress I bought at the local op-shop for $4. At least you'll sleep better without that horror picture having crossed your eyes :-)

Possibly Perth Fashion Festival will do something similar next year? At which point I'll give it another go.. Oh well, goodbye August, hello Spring!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I've been stumped over the theme for #restyle2013 13th August: 'Tying the knot' for a while now. It's easy to walk into an op-shop anywhere and find an old wedding dress, some nice and some not. Either way, I won't be buying one, or anything vaguely bridesmaidsy either.

Having contemplated buying ANYTHING with a knot (macrame anyone?) today I walked into the Salvos store on Barrack Street in Perth City and what do I find? A beautiful bridal display, so I surreptitiously took some photos to show the kind of fab items you can find when walking in just about any op-shop around.

Tying the knot
Just about all accessories on open display are under $5

Leather and other belts

These are only the black shoes - there were racks and racks of shoes!
So although it can be overwhelming when walking into a large op-shop it's best to break down the store into sections... and sections into racks, so you can peruse the items in a relaxed manner. Go! Shop! Enjoy!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Today's post will cover August 10th, 11th and 12th of the #restyle2013 Photo a Day Op-Shop Challenge. If the challenge was to take a photo every day I've already failed(!) however I'll continue uploading my photos as I get organised enough to take them (cue first self-portrait taken in a rush last night!)

August 10th was for blazers: I so rarely wear a blazer that I had to dig deep into my spare wardrobe to find this ol' chestnut. Considering it has been over a year since I last wore it, the blazer has gone straight to the top of my 'outfit to donate back' pile; as usual I bought it too long ago to remember which op-shop I bought it from or how much I paid for it.

August 11th was for colour blocking which is another look I don't do a lot of. I've realised through this challenge that I am addicted to pattern and print, whether it's a wild polka dot or a subtle paisley, I'll always choose a patterned piece over a plain one. This DOES make for difficult mix and matching so I sometimes have to go op-shopping for 'single colour tops' or neutrals that will increase the amount of times I can wear my patterned pieces.

The photo on the left is my attempted self-portrait and shows me wearing an op-shopped skirt with a blouse from basque. Originally this skirt had a drawstring tie at the waist but since I like to wear close fitting tops I didn't like the belly bulges it gave me. I removed the drawstring and slipped a line of elastic through the waist band instead; then hand-stitched the elastic together and the slits closed. With a top worn out instead of tucked-in the hand-stitching is invisible.

Lastly I've already shown you my floral dress which I customised to make the bodice fit better and this dress represents August 12th: florals. This time last year I can honestly say I did not own ANY floral dresses (and hardly any floral patterned pieces at all). To me, floral equalled grandma, and yet, I had an awakening, a realisation that floral could be so much more.

Where? Why? At last year's Restyle on the Runway show! I LOVE vintage fashion and what I saw was a myriad of floral dresses, worn with heels and cute little cardigans and I fell in love. THIS is what had been missing from my wardrobe! So out I went with abandon to find all the cute floral dresses I could.

And now, one year on, I've embraced a new pattern and learned more about myself on the way.
Thanks Restyle! x

Feedback patterns: order from chaos leaves no room for free will

Last night Mike and I watched a good documentary called The Secret Life of Chaos which described how natural patterns occur (like leopard skin) seemingly spontaneously when cells in a system are able to feedback information to each other. (It'll make more sense when you see the documentary).

The amazing thing is the cell in a system can be represented in a much larger way: a bird in a flock, a horse in a herd, even a star in a galaxy. The natural pattern (the order) forms in a completely unpredictable manner each time (the chaos) and this is true for all humans too. We are just a playing out of the natural pattern from chaos.

Every cell in our body is a part of the pattern and each individual human (me, you) are all part of the pattern of humanity. It looks more and more likely that when the initial conditions of the universe were set in motion, the evolution of life and our species was just one outcome among trillions of possible outcomes.

If we are merely cells forming patterns via a feedback loop, I guess the big question is, who are we feeding our information back to? The collective human species? Something else? Maybe Bill Hicks was right all those years ago and "we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively".

Whatever the case, it is more evidence that we have no free will, after all, our cells are just self-organising themselves, so isn't it the same for our thoughts? Our choices?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A new project!

Over the weekend Mike and I pulled the HUGE chair out of our garage that we liberated from a front verge a few years ago. We've been keeping the chair for years because the style is so beautiful and unusual, we knew it would make a spectacular piece of furniture, once restored.

I only realised what a big project this will be after completing my upholstery course recently and looking at the chair again over the weekend. Here is one 'before' picture although it doesn't show the split in the wood on one arm that will need to be repaired ASAP. 

It took me nearly an hour just to pull out the staples holding the row of velvet shown on the top back rung - I wonder how many months the project will take in total?! I'll keep you updated as I go.

Since I'm still catching up on my #restyle2013 posts here are my pics for 8th and 9th August: a scarf and bag. I have bought MANY scarves and even more bags from op-shops over the years but here are two that I use very regularly. 
The scarf is a fab 70s print and is made from polyester; the bag is a Fiorelli purse that reminds me of a miniature bowling bag. I've owned both items for too long to remember how much I paid for them but I can guarantee it was well under $10 for each.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#restyle2013 catchup

wow I have fallen behind. But the good news is I have lots of photos to show you just how good op-shopping can be!

The Perth Fashion Festival has released its programme dates and I can't wait to attend the Restyle on the Runway show again this year. The Op-Shop Challenge for August 6th was accessorise and since they already have separate days for belts, shoes and bags I decided to buy a beautiful little brooch from The Salvos in Morley (cost: $7). 

August 7th called for customised items; clothes that may not be 100% perfect but are able to be updated to suit your wardrobe.
I've already shown you my customised pink trousers which were originally flared when I bought them. After a few years of less and less wear I have now taken in the legs to make them straighter.

Another (and far easier) example of customising an item that you like but doesn't fit perfectly is the floral dress shown here. I loved the blue/teal floral pattern on this white dress but the fit was made for someone far bustier than myself. After playing around with the gaping bodice a few times I realised that a quick and easy way to take in the excess fabric would be to hand stitch in an extra pleat. All this required was a couple of stitches which changed the neckline from v-neck to sweetheart; removing the gape at the same time.

Here's a closeup of the stitches.

I'll be back with more op-shopped goodies tomorrow!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Downed by the flu

I've been 'offline' for a few days, both literally and metaphorically as I've been laid up by the flu for three days straight. Now I'm back in the land of the living I'll have to slowly get back on track with my #restyle2013 pics since I'm quickly falling behind...

The 4th of August called for 'mixed prints' which is a look I love although it can be tricky to pull off (unless you wear everything with confidence - then clash away!) Once again I already had a dress in the cupboard that was op-shopped years ago that I specifically bought because it had two mixed prints in the one dress.

The sea-green colour is gorgeous and the overlay is slightly see-through (as you can see at the knees).

Sorry I don't remember where I bought it from or how much I paid (for either item shown); the second item described is for the 5th of August the theme of which was 'sequins'. 

I've already shown you my completely over-the-top sequinned butterfly top so here is a much more sedate sequinned top: this black t-shirt uses chain-links to give a sequin-effect and is comfortable as well as easily dressed up or down.

Layering it under a cute jacket with tight jeans and heels lifts this shirt beyond the ordinary tee.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Saying no to shampoo - can I do this while working?

Recently I've been reading quite a few articles and blogs about people who have given up shampooing and I'm keen to give it a try. Why? The usual reasons are health and reduced consumption (of plastics, petro-chemicals etc.) and frugality since we spend thousands of dollars every year on similar products that we only need to use because we already use them (i.e. give up your hair's dependence on shampoo and you won't need to buy it ever again).

I'm sold on all these reasons and have one of my own to add: I don't have ANY local stores that sell shampoo (or any other hair care products) that are vegan and not tested on animals. So I currently buy these products online and have them shipped to Perth - the postage means more fuel is used to ship, drive or fly my product to me. It seems I either have to hate the planet or the little bunnies enough to have them tortured, in order to buy shampoo in the Perth eastern suburbs?!

NOT needing to shampoo is the perfect option for me and I've read on a few links such as these below, that there can be about a month period of greasy hair as your scalp re-balances to it's normal level of oil production. The problem is I work on reception and NEED to look nice every day - how am I supposed to get away with a MONTH of greasy hair?! Eek!

I think I need to think this through for a little longer before I take the dive...

On a separate note I need to take some more photos of my outfits for the #Restyle2013 Challenge - I was away over the weekend and have fallen behind.

The style required for 3rd of August was 'white shirt' and once again I already owned a white op-shopped shirt, so I don't remember where I bought it or how much it cost. I don't work in a corporate environment so I don't need any button-down collared white shirts, this one is a bat-wing white T-shirt with a sequinned butterfly on the front - so '80s!

My boyfriend just about died of shame when I bought this home and I've only had a couple of occasions to wear it out (usually for brunch with friends or something similar where I don't mind dressing quite flamboyantly) so it's going on the 'maybe' pile for something to donate back at the end of August.

Friday, August 2, 2013

#Restyle2013 Op-Shop Challenge Day 2

The Op-Shop theme for 2nd of August is polka-dots. I LOVE polka dots and have a myriad of clothes featuring them including a pair of spotty trousers which make me so happy I have to sing a 'spotty trousers' song when I wear them.

For this challenge I wore one of my favourite ever op-shopped items of clothing: a swallow and polka dot print dress. The dress originally came with a matching fabric belt but I never wore it so eventually cut it up to make a headband (of sorts). Here is me in the dress and a close up of the pattern; the dress has a ruffle detail down the centre front and a soft fabric collar.

This is another item I've had in my wardrobe so long, I'm not sure where I bought it from or how much it cost me. The print is just SO much my personality, if I'm wearing it casually I'll go out dressed as shown here but I have also 'dressed up' this dress with some high heels, flash jewellery and a black belt.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Restyle Photo-A-Day OpShop Challenge Begins!

Not only did I have an awesome excuse to go op-shopping over the weekend, as usual, I found some amazing pieces and had a blast at the same time.

Now it is the first of August and I get to show off the first of my opportunity-shopped wardrobe. I've been an avid op-shopper for years, so many of the pieces you'll see here I've had for months or years, so I don't remember how much they cost me. However any of the items I've bought for #restyle2013 I'll tell you how much they cost and where I bought them.

Let's begin! The first of August calls for pink - not a colour I wear a lot of and not usually something I steer towards in an op-shop. So I was surprised to find I already owned a pair of pink op-shopped trousers. I bought these trousers years ago and the lining is nearly thread-bare. They are a deep pink and white woollen tweed fabric and were originally flared.

Now that slim fitting trousers are in fashion and I wasn't getting much wear from these pants I decided to take in the fit. This was my first ever attempt at taking in trousers (that's the great thing about op-shopped clothes, if you ruin them then it's not the end of the world). On the first attempt the crotch looked REALLY weird so after some unpicking and another go I am happy with how these pink op-shopped trousers turned out!

To start #restyle2013 with a bang I've taken a picture of me in top-to-toe op-shopped clothes including a close-up of the pink trousers described.

The worst part of this experience so far was making my boyfriend take pictures of me! That is why the second photo here is a self portrait taken in front of my bathroom mirror. How does everyone else take such professional looking photos?