Jul 21, 2014

How I organise my shoes

The thing about having lots of anything is justifying having so much of it by using it. I could be talking about shoes here, but I could also be talking about endless piles of quilting fabric, pairs of earrings, DVDs, mixing bowls or, in my brother's case, ironlak spray cans. I know that for my part, shoes are regularly and eagerly collected (please, I've had as many people rhyme my name with banana who have called me Imelda so just don't), so I always make sure what I'm adding to my established selection is wearable, goes with clothes I own and isn't superseded by something I already have.

This may surprise you, but a pair of salmon sandals are totally different to a pair of heeled brogues. Take my word for it. There are shoes designed to go with most outfits (I call these coordinates) of which I have 4 pairs. I got some plain wedges by Sandler for this purpose and wear all of them to work where I am on my feet all day. I also have a bunch of other shoes ranging across the whole colour and material spectrum. How many do I have? Currently under 50 pairs (Imelda Marcos has around 3,000, funny people).

Why so many shoes? I feel this question is a akin to someone asking an artist 'why so many paints' or a quilter 'why so many fabrics'. The whole world can't be adequately articulated in grey lead pencils. If you think I should have fewer shoes, I am inclined to suggest that you lack imagination.

There are 2 key things I use when organising my shoe selection and both involve visuals. The first is a complete digital library of my shoes (and clothes etc.) using Stylebook on my iPad. The second is a physical collation of the shoes that partners the digital library.

For the purpose of physically organising the shoes I have used a super simple bookcase from IKEA and bought extra shelves. I would eventually love to put doors on the shoe case, but that is a future project. I adjusted the height of the shelves to suit the varying heights of the shoes (as much as adjustment was possible) and attempted to organise the shoes by height and style, and then by colour. It means I can see all the shoes at once and prompts a more diverse choice when wondering what shoes to wear. I find I am more likely to wear a pair of shoes when I can see them. This is obviously a principle we can apply to having collections of anything. Out of sight means out of mind so remember if you want to use it, keep it someone organised that you can see it regularly. Using clothes is like using your vocabulary: you may know a lot of words, but how many do you actively use?

Shoes (in top image) from left to right, top to bottom:
Darcy in Mint - B.A.I.T Footwear
Vivid Visit Heel - Modcloth

Summer Wedges - Forever New
Vintage Lilac Heels
Heeled Oxford Brogues

Standard Red Patent Classic Heels
Darcy in Pink - B.A.I.T Footwear

Sip of Liqueur Flat in Peach - B.A.I.T Footwear
Tapestry Wedges

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Jul 18, 2014

Chocolate Orange and Northern Hemispherism

I am huge fan of the film (and the book) Chocolat. I love the style of the characters and have been inspired enough by them to start a board on Pinterest in order to get ideas for my own wardrobe from it. View the board here.

Something I loved about the wardrobe in the film was that Vianne wore a very simple range of clothes. She seemed to have a reasonable range of possibly 5 complete outfits which she mixed very elegantly. She had a couple of tartan skirts that she tied in with simple blouses, wraps and cardigans and shawls. I am most interested in the outfit she wore on the night of the birthday party.

Today's outfit is a first attempt at building a Chocolat style outfit and the photos were taken some time ago at dusk in Ballarat when the weather was first starting to turn cold.

I think it would pay to make a note here that it is currently winter in the southern hemisphere, where Australia (and I) are situated. The world has an issue with what could be called 'northern hemispherism'. What is this? It's where out culture, internationally presumes that it is winter at Christmas. This is, for us down south, both strange and normal. It is strange because we're lucky if it is cold enough to sit outside on Christmas day. Usually it is so hot that everyone sits inside in air conditioned coolness. At the same time, root vegetables like those used for roasts are not in season and yet we still consume them like everyone else.

Cardigan: sold out - Review
Belt: Thrifted
Skirt: sold out - Modcloth
Boots: in store, somewhere in Oxford
Location: Golden Point, Ballarat
Photographer: Tegan Barnes

At Christmas time we also have a celebrated fat man in a red winter suit come and visit children. Adults always chuckle at what unfortunate soul has to put on the Santa suit and sweat out the stinking hot weather. Our Christmas decorations are still covered in symbols of snowflakes and we still dress up trees, but there is this constant cognitive dissonance in everything Christmas. It is so odd having a winter solstice festival in summer. It means our long winter has no festivals or excitement to brighten it up and give you something to look forward to and to fight the cold with.

When we were kids we got fake window snow (the sort you buy in a can and spray snow stencils on your window with) and we wrote 'Merry Xmas' on the corrugated iron awning above our lounge room window for the street to see. It melted in the hot sun and damaged the paint on the metal and for 10 years after (until someone painted over it) the merry message remained.

Other things that are very different include the summer holidays. We have our longer school holidays over the summer too, but for us this means December and January are the gap between school years. Easter is in autumn, instead of spring. Don't get me started about fashion. At the moment, Modcloth has these great summer things going on and everyone in Australia that loves their website would find it hard to participate in any of the online social sharing that goes on. It's hard to put together a summer look when you're worried about catching pneumonia. I'm lucky as being in Perth offers at least one sunny day per week in which to pretend the weather is mild for photos. This won't be possible in summer (Christmas) as Perth is hotter than sugar on a skillet and rugging up will result in certain unconsciousness.

On the plus side, when the big online brands have sales of their summer stock in the northern spring, we have the chance to snap up bargains before our summer season has even started. Most of the good stock is sold by then anyway, which is a bummer.

Knowing a little over 50% of my readers are from the northern hemisphere, hopefully this will have explained to you why my outfit styles may sometimes feel out of sync with your current season.

- L

Jul 15, 2014

I'm on all the things!

Hey there, spunky!

Do you find yourself sharing similar tastes to me? Want to know how you can further indulge in these similar tastes? I'm on a bunch of platforms and each has something a little different.


Bloglovin is the easiest way to follow my blog. It means you don't have to seek out my blog to keep updated and it is all put in an easy to read feed for you. You can also follow other blogs and you end up with a feed of delicious things that you like. Bloglovin also has an app you can put on your phone or tablet making it even easier to scroll through your feed (available on both apple and android). I highly recommend Bloglovin if you like more than one blog and want to coordinate your reading time.


If you use Facebook more than anything, then following through Facebook would be an easy option for you. I make regular posts sharing each new blog post, photos and a few little updates in between. A great option if you don't follow many blogs and want the blog to 'come to you' so to speak.


I like to share previews of what is coming up on the blog, out takes from blog photo shoots, pics of lovely things I find out and about and share fun things I'm doing. I also love to meet lovely people with similar tastes so come on by and say hi!


Who doesn't love creating mood boards of styles and designs the like. I am no exception. I have boards for everything from visual combinations I like (such as gingham and floral prints) to cycling fashion. The best thing about Pinterest is that you don't have to follow every single board a person has, you can select the ones that resonate with you. Click through to see my boards.


I, like many other people, love to use Tumblr to express and explore my geeky interests. I love Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Princess Bride, Studio Ghibli, Little Big Planet and more!
While I love many geeky things, I use Tumblr for blogging too. This means a taste of the latest blog photos and a custom set of animated gifs for each photo set, like this one below.

I also love finding interesting social points, fashion, human rights, style and elegance. Quite an eclectic combination if you dare...

Modcloth Style Gallery

I'm a Modcloth addict, and often contribute blog pictures to the community and also check out what other people are wearing.


If you're already on Chictopia come and say hi! If you're not on Chictopia, click through and have a look at what the fashion community is about.


I explore photography as a hobby and use Flickr to store and share my pics.


Raw me, tweeting about all the things in real time.

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Jul 11, 2014

Black, White and Bougainvillea

I very recently made the difficult decision to leave a job and a workplace that I loved and this meant parting from some excellent work colleagues. Over the years working together you gather little treasures of information about each other. After all, these are people that you know intimately on a professional level, we may not necessarily know the many personal dimensions of our work friends. I think this creates an interesting relationship of respect, in that, you respect that the person has a completely separate home/personal identity that you do not know. 

There are little things that my work mates know about me, like the fact that I am a cyclist and that I love fashion and writing letters (I would always have colourful hand addressed mail in the external mail). As a parting gift, one of my workmates wrote me a beautiful letter on stationery she had saved from a hotel on Broadway in New York. 

In the letter she told me how when she was in her early twenties, her mother had made her a simple red dress. She loved the dress and wore a simple black brooch with it. At the time, she bought two black brooches, one was a parrot silhouette and the other was a bicycle. The bicycle, she bestowed on me as a parting gift. 

As you can imagine, I was at once happy and sad. All that affection for these people I worked with and here was one reminding me why I had loved working there and why it was so hard to leave. I absolutely adored the brooch and have worn it regularly since. It brings my total of bicycle brooches to 4. 

I was excited when Fleur de Guerre (of the Vintage Mafia) posted the above photo on her Facebook page not long after I received the gift. See the lady in the middle? She is wearing a bicycle brooch identical to mine, except for the colour. 
The teams I had worked with also gave me some vouchers for Modcloth as a going away present, with which I purchased this skirt (which I love very much! Thanks ladies and gents!).

My grandmother passed away last year. She was a prominent figure of my childhood and a great confidante and friend throughout my teenage years. Many Saturday afternoons were spent rummaging through her clothes playing dress ups, dreaming of the day when I would fit into her clothes. 

After she passed away the ladies of the family set to helping my grandfather organise her things by identifying what clothes could be donated, what could be stored and what we should keep. She had a lot of clothes. So many clothes they were practically holding up the walls of the house. There were plenty of clothes we didn't know she had but then among them we would find little gems which I would remember donning in my childhood during dress ups, or sitting next to her in church paying more attention to her brooch than to the church service. 

The handling of her clothes gave us all the chance to share strong memories we had of her and to remember everything she was to us. This is one thing I really love about vintage clothes. This hat I inherited from my grandmother but it came with a story of travelling out from England with a black and caramel suit.

The hat is a part of my family history and these markers help me to remember who I am, and who the family are that we can now only cherish by memory. Vintage clothes are as much about timeless style as they are about timeless love.

Hat: Inherited from my Nan.
Top: C Wonder
Brooch: Gift
Shoes: Sandler
Location: Hyde Park
Photographer: Stu Rapley

 - L
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Jul 4, 2014

Gingham and Floral

I have a new bicycle! I picked up this 6 speed bike from Reid Cycles with matching helmet for short trips to the shops and to tide me over until I can save up for the more upmarket bike that I have my eye on.

They are reasonably priced for entry level bikes. If you want a quick bike to get you out there and riding, but worried it won't be worth investing in a bike in case you don't do it as often as you think you might, this is the sort of bike I would recommend looking at. They are fun, come in a great range of colours, are light (great for hills and storage), and even come with a basket. I find having a bike that looks inviting is half the battle. This is an entry level bike, so it doesn't come with lights or locks or skirt guards. The basket is extra and it does have a partial chain guard.

I had a few funny moments with the bike as I've only had it a week. My other bike has a skirt guard so I've had a few moments where I plan what I'm wearing out then it dawns on me that a long and loose skirt might not be the best idea and I have had to get changed. The bike was set up in store, clearly by a chap who rides road bikes. This meant that my butt was up level with my handle bars, and higher than my basket and I was leaning forward like I wanted to become more aerodynamic. See below image for illustration.

After taking the bike for a short spin to the nearest post box to send some letters and having my weight on the handle bars, the handlebars suddenly gave way. They hadn't been tightened enough and I found myself with handles pointing towards the ground trying to steer a bike in traffic that has a heap of weight over the front wheel already because of the basket. I was suddenly all over the place. It was like trying to ride a wheelbarrow and lift the handles at the same time. Luckily I was going up hill so stopping was fairly easy. 

I have now tightened the handlebars and set them a little higher so I can sit upright... like a lady ;)

Blazer: Academia Ahoy Blazer by Modcloth
Shirt: sold out - C Wonder
Skirt: Floral Aura Skirt sold out - Modcloth
Shoes: sold out - Sandler
Belt: Thrifted
Heart sunglasses: sold out - Sportsgirl (try eBay)

Now to keep riding while it isn't raining...

- L

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Jun 27, 2014

In the Navy

In Perth this week it has rained constantly. I'm used to the sort of rain that you can walk around in. In my hometown (3000km away), rain and cold are usual. People live with it, they are used to walking around in it, riding in it. This week in Perth, the rain has come in with storm fronts, billowing on the wind, pelting everything from every angle. You would get less wet standing in a shower.

This has meant that I didn't want to go outside and take photos. I would have had to either make someone stand outside in the rain with me, or leave my camera on a tripod with a timer, and that would mean getting the camera wet. After a week of rain this weekend we had a brief reprieve and headed to the historic streets of Fremantle. It seemed only appropriate that my attire was themed in the colour navy as we watched a navy ship trace the coastline.

We had lunch at Bread in Common, and I had to show you a picture of my dessert. The banana has been fried in toffee so the sticky, browned side has a crunchy crust of crisp caramel sugar. The fried white squares are marshmallows and there is also meringue and lemon curd on the bottom. The dish is topped with caramel ice cream. If you haven't been to Bread in Common, I highly recommend going. Don't be surprised if you have to wait for a table on the weekend. It is worth the wait. Expect to share the ambient space on big communal tables, especially if there are more than 2 people going.

Even though the sun was out on Sunday, it was still cold so I wrapped myself up in my favourite coat from Review. I'm glad I did because while it was sunny, most of the time we were in the shadows of the tall, historic buildings.

This dress was a birthday present from my Dad a few years ago. I used to wear it all the time until the thread from the hem came loose. The last I wore it was in Paris with my sister. I finally took it out of the sewing drawer and repaired the hem. I can't believe I went without wearing it for so long. 

Wearing the dress in Paris

When I originally put this outfit together I paired it with pink shoes. I didn't like the lighter colour and was going to go with a tan pair, but then I spotted these ones on Modcloth. They aren't the exact right shade of navy I needed, but I think they look exceptional. I can't get over just how elegant and classic they look. If you are looking to get yourself a pair of blue suede shoes before you die, give these ones a try.

Dress: Vintage from eBay (ahka vintage)
Cardigan: sold out - Valleygirl
Handbag: inherited
Belt: sold out - Glassons
Location: Fremantle, WA
Photographer: Stu Rapley

Ideally, I wish I could have had a navy bag to go with the outfit. I have my eye on this bag in particular which I hope to acquire. 

- L

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