Every year at Ballarat Heritage Weekend I go on the steam train with my mum. It’s become an annual part of our calendar, especially since we end up going on Mother’s Day. This year is the third time that I’ve done a blog post about the steam train and you can see the pictures for those posts here and here. Each year, the steam train posts ends up being my most popular blog post. Because of that, I really struggled coming up with an outfit that would match the stand out style of previous years.
It wasn’t until I spent time hanging around with Charlotte while she presented the Darnell Collection that I had my first proper wave of inspiration for the shoot. In the collection on the Saturday she talked about Dior’s 'New Look', which included a broad brimmed hat. Each year so far I have worn a hat, and I really liked the idea of doing another one, also straw, but in a different vibe to previous years. Trousers are also very different to the previous styles.
So I planned out my outfit and organised to train journey with mum. We missed the first intended train as I was so late, so we ended up hanging out around the train station together. We got ourselves a light breakfast and took photos around the station. I got a tea and we waited for the train to return. As it came back towards to station, mum and I walked up to meet it when a gust of wind grabbed my hat from my head. My hands, occupied by holding tea, weren’t free to catch it. I called out in surprise as it tumbled to the ground and then everyone watched as another gust swept it off the edge of the platform and onto the tracks.
The train was far enough away that there was a long and sad wait while we all watched it draw closer and the watched the hat disappear beneath the steam engine. It’s never safe to jump onto train tracks, so we all stood by, resigned to the situation.
In a happy coincidence, some friends of ours were in the carriage right where my hat had disappeared. We got to say hello to them and then they helped get the attention of station staff to attempt retrieving it. I peeked under the train and there it was, its brim still over the track, otherwise mercifully intact. Station staff retrieved it and we inspected the damage. The front brim, the most important part for this shoot, was lightly mangled. The rest was still nice, although wet and grubby, so I wiped it down and put it on backwards.
If you look at the photos, the ones without earrings are before the hat blew away. The ones with earrings, you can see damage to the brim at the back from some angles.
Also, hilariously, this year again I got entitled comments from an older man. What’s a visit to the train station without one, right? This time, a chap said ‘Oh ho! What are you doing after this?’
‘A fashion parade, I think,’ I replied.
‘Oh no,’ he says, now speaking to my mother, because I’m not standing right there or anything. ‘She doesn’t get what I’m saying.’
I laugh humourlessly. ‘A fashion parade.’
‘She needs to watch more James Bond,’ he then tells my mother. The irony of someone suggesting to my mother that they know more about James Bond than I do was not lost on us. The thing that struck me most from his unsolicited comment was that he assumed that a pick-up line would be a compliment, because he felt I was dressing to impress him or other men. How strange that he would think himself so important in my world that I would consider the value of his gaze when getting dressed.
Let me be bell-on-a-boat-in-the-night clear: the only person I dress to impress is myself. I enjoy the conversations I may have with others over my style or love of style, but the last thing I think about when getting dressed is the affirmation of others. When I did at times dress that way when I was younger, I found that dressing for affirmation hampered creativity, hid identity and cultured tall poppy syndrome. I dress to celebrate myself. The only person I need at that celebration is myself. End rant.
Earrings: c/o The Peach Box
Top: can't recall. Similar.
Trousers: Glassons - sold out. I think Voodoo Vixen may have some very similar in their new collection. The navy set is yet to hit their online store but here they are in a print.
Location: Ballarat Railway Station with Steamrail Victoria on Ballarat Heritage Weekend
Photos/shoot assistant: My awesome mum