Tag Archive | clothes

This is why I stay out of the shops

I ventured into a shopping centre to buy some thick tights. The leg brace has pulled holes in my two pairs. I could have waited until next winter but I wanted to take two pairs to France to wear with skirts and my boots.

I only like the Italian brand, not the cheap Chinese copies that are not as smooth and silky, not as long lived. The Italian brand are about $24 each.

I went to a larger shopping centre, not my normal small, local centre as I also wanted to check out flat dressy shoes for work. I won’t be wearing high heels again this year and I can’t wear my boots for many of my work outfits. I had already looked in my local centre and they didn’t have anything that appealed to me.

I ran into a neighbour who works in my preferred department store. She offered to use her staff discount.

All this is a long-winded preface to say, needless to say, I didn’t just buy stockings.

Three tops; three pairs of shoes; a scarf; a pair of jeggings and two pairs of tights.

I might availed myself of some discounts but thank god I have been saving money; I can cover this splurge. Yet all my principles of sourcing socially and environmentally just clothing went out the window. Opps.

Here’s a peak at what I bought, minus the scarf and pants.

I’ve been dressing like a man

I've been wearing the same pair of boots for three weeks. Usually I wear different shoes for different outfits. I do have several pairs, OK lots of pairs, of "work shoes", shoes with a slight heel, shoes with a high heel, shoes in different colours, that I only wear at work. And then there's all the flats and sandals and runners and heels I wear when not at work.

But while I have to wear my leg brace, I need shoes with support, that are comfortable, that stay on firmly, that don't have a heel.

So, no court shoes. Nothing with a kitten or small heel. Nothing with straps. No ballet flats.

These fit the bill.

The leg brace limits my clothing choice as much as footwear choice. I have to wear something that fits under or over the brace. The brace also catches on clothing and pulls threads. I don't want to wreck all my clothes so I can't wear them all.

The boots also limit clothing choice. Black tights and boots require a certain look. So no pretty and floral clothing.

Do you know what?

I haven't missed swapping shoes and clothes. It has been freeing; thinking what to wear has been simple. I rotate between two skirts and one pair of leggings. No thinking. No clothing dilemmas. No "what to wear" thoughts in the morning. No finding the right top for the desired skirt.

I know I will enjoy wearing my other clothes when I can again. But I will miss the excuse the brace gives me to wear the same three items over and over again.

A bonus: normally I wear these boots with jeans, so they are never really seen. Now with skirts, they've truely been admired. I've been asked where I bought them.

London. They were the only thing I liked and could afford at Liberties.

PS. People have questioned why I'm wearing heels. The boots don't feel like high heels to me. The heel is solid and large, and compared to my normal work shoes, don't feel high. Also I need to bend my bodgy leg so the heel takes the pressure off the ball of my foot.


There’s a primordial power, majesty and spookiness about rainforests. 

The trees are so tall and so straight. I’m in awe of their age. 

Photos of trees often don’t give you the sense of the size. But how about this one with cars and Mr S for perspective?

Mr S and I went for a walk on a skywalk, a structure that takes you into the canopy. You could see through the grate to the ground. The skywalk swayed but not as much as the cantilevered one that looked down on the creek. 

In the photo below the centre tree is growing on a small rock in the creek! How can it be supported with such a small root base? It’s like it is balancing on a ball. Can you see the base right down the bottom middle of the photo? The second photo gives a closer view of the tree balancing on a ball! 

A second walk through another section of rainforest was in order. I love the shapes of the strangler figs, the strange growth on trees, the burnt out sections of trees and the enormity of trees. 

The roots formed a natural sand pit or wading pool

The roots always seem too shallow to support a massive tree

I was on the hunt to see a platypus in the wild. The sign said the area was restricted to protect the platypuses. But obviously platypuses don’t read and didn’t know they were meant to be there. We saw none in the waterhole even though it was just before sunset. 

Let me tell you, a rainforest at dusk is a spooky place. The rustling in the lead cover by unseen things, the strange squawking. We hightailed it out before it was totally dark and headed to view the sunset over the caldera.   

It’s a magical place. The rich volcanic soil (that you can see in the photos with the horses) makes the mountain perfect for gardeners. My mother’s garden grows wild in a tame way. (Wish my garden would grow the tame way! Lol) 

It’s a perfect spot to read, and snooze, and day dream, and chat, and mindlessly surf the Internet, and watch the birds in and around the bird feeder. It’s strange how quickly the days pass when you are relaxing and going at a much slower pace

(Oh and apropos of nothing to do with rainforests, I bought some Queensland-y clothes. Bright and light and colourful. As two items had tiny holes in them, I got them free!!! Apologies for my poor styling. I do these clothes no justice. The one with the pink fringe is a shawl-like open cloak-y thing. So unlike me. But I will waft around wearing it. The sequinned top is so me. I know, I know. I am meant to be decluttering and saving for my year off and my travel and my renos.)

We fade to grey

I have a higher standard of “worn out” for items that are worn in public than for those I wear at home, and under the covers of my bed sheets. I’m sure you’re happy to read that, considering my last post. 

I just popped this coat in the op shop bag. 

I really like it and am sad it no longer meets my standards. I’ve tried to ignore that the white is not white. It has become grey from washing with the black. Poor dying chemicals? Anyway without the crisp contrast, I just feel schlompy. Others mightn’t notice it. But there you go. I do. 

I’ve put it on several times, felt not quite right and put it back in the wardrobe for another time, telling myself I am just being picky. Each time has been the same. It’s good. Just not good enough. 

(And the lining is slightly ripped along the back seam. But that wouldn’t bother me, cause it doesn’t affect the wearing or look.)

It’s not like I am going to be cold. I have a thing for coats. Five or six or so more in my wardrobe. But you see, each is unique and each one fits a purpose, fits different outfits. 

Goodbye my zebra like coat. I hope you make someone else happy. 

Do you have a thing about the whiteness of white?

Fashion plate

I feel I must immediately counter the impression given by my Struggle Street trackie dacks in an earlier post. After all, this blog is about my journey to gorgeousness, and those pants definitely don’t even have an economy class ticket for that journey. 

I am not one who follows fashion and buys what is “on trend”, so in that respect fashion plate may be inaccurate as a title. 

However, I do like beautiful clothes and buy quite regularly. I like to look well-put-together, classic, feminine. (Which may make it all the more difficult to comprehend my need to hang onto my worn trackie dacks?)

Ages ago I started posting a stocktake on my dresses. I lost interest as I was taking photos of the dresses when I wore them for real. Time passes and yadda, yadda, yadda. 

So here’s some recent images for you. 

Daytime weekend dressing up. A spring wrap dress with a flattering neck line.c(I have had this dress for about four years. Haven’t worn it much but liking it again so am thinking this will be this year’s spring, dress-up dress.)  A rich navy blue. What you can’t see is the leopard print on the shoes match my sunnies. And I have two bluish-green bangles that tone in with the handbag, which unfortunately I am holding backwards so you don’t see the detail. 


Casual wear. And a colourful print top which lightens up jeans. The top is a bit twisted as I am up close with a friend. The clasp thingie (repurposed from a dead handbag) sits on my hip. Those (as in Fiona and Sarah) who are aware of the colour in clothing divide will understand when I say I bought the pink top in Queensland. 


Middle aged hip. And my current favourite edgey look: black leather jacket with black tights and back ankle boots, glammed up with a sequinned top. 

For those who like detail the black leather jacket is Muubaa, sourced cheap from The Outnet when the Aussie dollar was good for online bargain hunters.  The jacket is the softest and lightest leather. I know I’ve said it before but it is worth repeating. 

The boots are Italian, bought at Liberties. (Jet-setter, that I am. OK, the only pair I could afford in the shoe department.) 

And the tights? 19 years old. How can I be so precise? Cause I bought them when on maternity leave with my youngest. Made in Australia with such thick material.  I wear them in winter as thermals when skiing. (They don’t make clothes like that anymore, the old lady moans.) Oh, you weren’t amazed at how long they’ve lasted, but expressing concern at my clothes hoarding tendancies. Well, we know I am trying to address that. 

But there you have it. Not all trackie dacks and uggies. 


Wear it out

I have a pair of tracksuit pants that make me look like an extra from Struggle Street.

They are stretched and  baggy; the waist elastic is gone, the seams worn, with extra holes just about to appear in the knees and backside. 

I did not buy them. They were a “gift” from my mother – a hand-me-down as they didn’t fit her anymore. 

Yet I struggle to let them go. 

I never wore them in public. And still don’t, you’ll be pleased to know. They have been PJs. So who cares about the holes? A friend says I should have more self-care and self-respect and wear nice things at night. 

It is the frugal and green me that wants things to be used to death. 

Seems like we all have different definitions as to what constitutes death for clothes. 


Worn knee of trackie dacks

Should I perservere and wear them until there are actual holes in the backside? Or should I release them?

BTW: 42 days of not buying clothes. 


I wear them for work. 

By stockings I mean tights. No straps and suspenders. But even without all that palaver and itchy, pokey things, I still find them uncomfortable. Some more than others. (BTW I use tights to mean the thick ones that are opaque and warmer.)


Not a Halloween decoration. My stockings/tights.

Anyway now we’ve got that cleared up, here’s the thing. I am not a fan of nylon on nylon. My skin cringes at the thought. Some stockings I can wear all day, no probs. but when I get home I have some had enough. And I can’t wait to rip the stockings off. Sometimes the nylon lining of a skirt against the stockings sends me barmy. And I struggle through the day.  Other stockings I feel the horrid sensation from the start. 

Last week I had one of those days. I couldn’t stand the feel of the particular stockings I had on. I was all non-ladylike and whipped them off in my second-in-charge’s office. 

The good thing about having a blog is (not that I get to reveal how strangely I behave) but I can keep a record of which ones not to buy again. 

Buying stockings is like buying wine. I forget the names of the ones I like or dislike and get the two mixed up and end up buying the ones I don’t like cause the name is familiar. So for the record here’s my reminder:

Do not buy Voodoo stockings again. Ever. 

I will keep this pair in my stocking drawer for emergencies. (How can I have a stocking emergency? With very white legs, in winter it looks wrong to have bare legs and it is an emergency when I find I have no stockings without ladders.)

Anyone else have strange touch hypersensitivity?

Wear it out

Remember how I went on The Great Wardrobe Diet in 2013?

No? Well, I’m not replicating it but am adding another challenge to my current list. I have Use It Up for cosmetics and Out With Boxes for boxes. And since the beginning of June I have been attempting to Wear It Out for clothes and shoes.

Part of Wear It Out has been to stop clothes coming in and wear items until they are dead.

What consitutes dead? Holes, pilling, worn thin, raggedly looking, saggy/baggy, unreapairable heals, unrepairable scuff marks, tears, non-elastic elastic.

See, I have too many clothes.

How many is too many? The amount of clothes I have.

No number. I started an inventory of dresses and skirts but lost count with my tops.

But when clothes cease fitting in their allotted space, you have too many.

I do like new clothes. And buy some regulalrly. But have trouble releasing my old clothes. Mainly because I love what I have.

So my goal is to wear more of my old clothes that are on the just wearable stage and then release them. I will try to stop buying.

Since the beginning of June I have said goodbye to a soft woollen cardie. A lovely shade of pink. It had holes. I wore it a couple of times this winter under a suit jacket, averaging once every second week this term. But the holes were now too noticeable. If I took the suit jacket off, it wouldn’t be a good look. So in June it had its last outing as an item of clothing. I cut it up and turned it into polishing cloths. 

Same thing happened to an Alannah Hill skirt. Mr S was shocked when he saw me taking to it with the shears. It was a rich purple and a thick knitted material which would have had many years left. But the lace overlay on the bottom flip part of the skirt was manky and holey and hanging. Last year I gave the skirt an extended life by cutting the overlay off the front but the trim on the back was now just too sad. I also wore out a pair of woollen socks that I have had for years. They have been sent to the shoe polishing box.

I also farewelled a pair of shoes. From the outside they looked OK but inside the leather was flaking away and every time I wore them, my feet would turn a nasty shade of dirty back-brown which was hard to clear from my feet. The dye soaked in!

Since the beginning of June only four new items have entered my wardrobe. Two ski pants (don’t make me feel guilty, yes they were cheap and they were probdbly produced with externalities), a dress at a wonderfully reduced price and a pair of thermal pants. At least some are leaving. Here’s the new dress:

Have you worn out clothes? Or do you change with changes in fashion? When you’re board with an item? If so, do you donate them before they die?

Things I’ve learnt – fashion

I much prefer the high street shopping experience in England. Which we’ve lost in Sydney, being overrun by mega shopping centres. Not that London doesn’t have mega-complexes. 

From the outside, London Westfields was the same concrete windowless behemoth as any Australian Westfields. Inside, I was lost in a time-space vortex. Felt I could have been at any Westfields in Australia.  Same shops! Same outlets!  (Though the London Westfields was a reverse Tardis – looked larger on the outside than it did on the inside!)

I had hoped for more difference in fashion. Yes, we access online shopping. And yes, the trends are global. And yes, many clothes are made in the same factories in China.  Still … One can hope. 

But there’s definite regional differences out on the street. 

I have never seen so much black, grey and khaki as on the streets of London.  Look at the people on Piccadilly. 


And on the Tube. 


OK, maybe I need to come back when everyone is not in their coats?

I would still say Australians dress more colourfully. I know that those from south-east Queensland dress more colourfully than Sydneysiders. But by golly, Sydneysiders are peacocks to the residents and tourists of London. 

Still it is heartening or soul destroying (depending on your view) to note that I saw manky teenagers who could slip right into Blacktown. 

More stuff?

I hit the Christmas sales. Yes, brought more stuff into my house. Not all necessary but lovely nonetheless.

I was only going in to buy a set of sheets for one of my sons, a backpack for our travels and a book for book club. But the first store I walked into was a handbag shop.

Look! How could I resist this?

Such a lovely shade of aqua. And so shiny. With a beautiful sparkly clasp. And the lining is so cute with handbags and shoes and hats and hat boxes. Makes me smile just looking at it.

Then I went looking for sandals. I always look for shoes because I have very particular needs and tastes so can rarely find what I want. No high heels, no ballet flats, no thong style, nothing beige, nothing that looks like it is “comfortable” and made for old ladies with cankles. What I want is something for everyday in summer. Not too blingy, not too boring.

No luck in a few shops.

Given it is sale time I went it my favourite department store, DJs, to find the sheets. No luck. Not much range for king single beds. And I am not paying hundreds of dollars.

While I’m in DJs, I might as well try on some heavily discounted clobber. So I tried on a heap of clothes. Ignoring the “only 4 items in the change room”, I must have been in there a while as someone knocked on my door a couple of times to check it was in use. Anyway, I decided to be strong and NOT buy clothes (as I had already ordered 6 items online from an English clothing company – mmmm, I know, I’ll share those later – and I am meant to be saving for our trips overseas).

But I didn’t resist this top, I mean just look at the sparkles! I had admired it previously but couldn’t justify the price. On sale it was OK.


Got two bags for travelling at an outdoors shop, Kathmandu, that always has sales. If you buy anything full price there, you’re mad. Just wait a week. They’ll be on sale. Anyway I needed a new backpack. And then I thought I’d like one that goes over the shoulder rather than a full backpack for London. Still want to carry my water bottle, snacks and purchases but not walk around with a backpack. Low and behold, Kathmandu had just such a bag. Perfect I thought. Lots of little sections for being organised. What do you think?


Anyway, I got home and found out the over the shoulder bag is a nappy bag! Oh well, it fits my purpose which definitely has nothing to do with nappies.

Found my book.


Struck silver (not gold, not quite what I had in mind, but still very happy) with these sandals. And look at the cute polka dot sunnies.


Visited the ABC Shop, as I had a $10 voucher and I always look out for full cast radio plays from the BBC. Not easy to get. Located one! Just one among the audio book readings. And another DVD for my back.


Being a bit weighed down from all my purchases, I visited one last shop for the sheets. Bingo. Got a nice set. And look! A beautiful cushion! So I bought two for my bed.


And then I toddled off home, to share my good luck and good taste with Mr S.

(And my beautiful online stuff? Four skirts, a top and a jacket from Boden. Gorgeous colours, so well made, so me! I showed a friend and she asked if my wardrobe was like the Tardis, ever-expanding. No! But I had a year off, remember? And some clothes, particularly skirts that are over 10 years old, are due to be retired. I just can’t face that yet and will wear them a few more times.) The new skirts are properly lined, with the lining being reversed hemmed.

Here’s the four skirts – two for summer, two winter.