Category Archives: Bags and shoes

Brogue-sneakers for the masses

Great news – my favourite ridiculous shoe trend of recent times has made it into the mainstream. Look what I saw in an Albany Mall shoe shop this morning:


I’m now hoping to see brogue-sneakers everywhere. The cracked out shoe designers at Prada will be so proud! Kiwis, buy them from Overland Footwear and make my day.

Dressing like Glinda

Over at my other blog I wrote a post to tell the world of my plans to go to this year’s Wellington Sevens, dressed as the Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz.

Here’s my girl Glinda in the film:

That’s a whole lot of pink and sparkles – check out the size of her frock!  There’s no way that I’d be able to wedge a skirt like that into a standard stadium seat.  I decided that I needed to find a shorter, floaty pink frock, to enable me to dress as a younger, more casual, more summery Glinda.  I started looking for a suitable outfit yesterday and found the perfect frock on sale for $25 at Glassons.  Result!  Here it is:

I intend to bulk out the skirt to a suitably Glinda-like width by taking a pair of scissors to the stiff tulle petticoat that I wore under my wedding dress, back in the day.  Although it may sound bad to cut up the petticoat in this way, it’s hardly like I’m getting a lot of wear of out it.  I’m going to hem the cut-down petticoat with some sparkly silver ribbon.  I’ll also use some silver ribbon – or a length of glittery organza – as a sash.

I’m going to wear these shoes:

And this necklace:

And I’ll have to buy a crown, a magic wand, and some wings.

The one thing element of Glinda’s look that I shouldn’t have difficulties in achieving is her cloud of red hair.  My hair isn’t actually red (it’s more of a golden/brown/reddy shade these days, with natural silver highlights), but it does get big and curly without too much effort.  Check out this shot of me in Durban a couple of years ago, after a day of humidity had taken its toll:

That’s what we in the business call a ‘fro, people.

Vintage all stars: handbags

Ages ago Carla at Kiki & Me wrote a great news story about vintage and explored why so many of us have a taste for old or old-style fashion and accessories.  She asked people to share details of their treasured vintage items, and ever since then I’ve been meaning to write this post (and its two follow-ups, featuring my vintage jewellery and vintage fashion).  And I was further inspired by this cool post from the Crazy Chic fashion blog on Stuff, a Kiwi newspaper website.  The Crazy Chic blog is great – check out the archives and learn all sorts of useful information about dressing for your body shape, amongst other things.

My love affair with vintage handbags started when I was 18 or 19, living in Wellington and developing a fondness for fairly girly fashion – lots of dresses and little skirt suits.  This was my first vintage handbag, and cost me $5 from a stall in what was then the James Smiths market.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that bag in the past 18 years, or how many compliments it’s earned me.  The colour of the leather is a perfect – and fairly distinctive – rose pink, and for a vintage bag it’s in great condition; even the lining is reasonably decent.

My second vintage handbag was this blue tweed number – I’m fairly sure that it came from a Wellington charity shop (or ‘op shop’, as they’re called in the part of the world), but it may have been a second hand shop find elsewhere in NZ:

Again, people love this bag and always comment on it when I use it – even total strangers on London trains ask me about it (and anybody who has spent much time in London knows how rare this kind of conversation is).

I love the colour, and also the leather detail:

Sadly, the moths got to it at some point and I found a few holes, but I’m  resourceful soul, so I covered them up with beading:

Hilariously, the last random stranger who complimented me on this bag made a point of saying how much she liked the beading, so it just goes to show that moths have their uses, and that making do and mending can pay dividends.

This stylish camel-coloured number was definitely a second hand shop find, and wouldn’t have cost more than $10:

Very Jackie O, don’t you think?  I’ve used this bag a lot over the years – particularly when camel-coloured stuff has been in vogue.

Those three bags have followed me to the UK and back, and been the finishing touch on so many great outfits.

This brown leather bag is bonkers:

It was a lucky find a few years ago, while I was home in NZ for a visit – I was walking past a brand new second hand shop and went in to have a rummage.  The owners hadn’t really opened yet and were mildly perturbed by me being there, but they didn’t actually try to throw me off the premises, so I made myself comfortable.  This bag was one of the first things I saw, and I pounced on it immediately.  Flustered, the shop owners didn’t really have a clue, and I bought it for a mere $2.  Bargain!  It was perfect as a nod to the boho aesthetic a few years ago (and was probably the only boho accessory I ever owned):

It’s also a very handy bag because the strap can be short (as per the picture), or lengthened to turn it into a shoulder bag.  Genius!

Finally, this bag was bought from a second hand trading shop in rural Bedfordshire – one of those places where several market traders gather under the same roof.

It’s handy because it’s actually a decent size and can be a practical choice for a working day (must as I love the other bags I’ve featured, they’re all fairly tiny and require a lot of thought if one is to rely upon them – although the tooled leather bag is a great option for a shopping trip).

This bag is a bit ‘pleather’, but I do like the colour:

I can’t write about these bags without also remembering two bags I’ve loved and lost (or, rather, foolishly passed on to charity shops and then missed).  One was cream leather and one was maroon leather, and they were both that classic ‘old lady bag’ style: the same size as my rose pink bag, but with a more curved rectangular body.  I hope that their new owners loved them.

It’s really hard to find decent vintage handbags now – people have cottoned on to their general fabulousness, and prices have skyrocketed.  To be fair, I have so many handbags (vintage and new) that I can’t justify buying them anyway…

Prada’s brogue-sneakers

The Evening Standard has described Prada’s brogue-sneaker as ‘London’s most wanted shoe’.

This is a the Prada brogue-sneaker:

Yours for a mere £510!  And not at all hideous.  And don’t worry – you won’t look ridiculous when you wear them…

The Prada brogue-sneakers illustrate well the gulf between normal people and fashionistas.  We can all see that these shoes are ridiculous, but, according to the Evening Standard:

…they’re Prada. And in fashion terms, that’s all that matters.

Since appearing on the catwalk in Milan last September, Prada’s brogue-sneakers have been causing a stir. So much so that the shoes – available in men’s and women’s varieties – are now sold out across London.

“Our customers have really embraced them,” says Helen Attwood, the buying manager for shoes at Selfridges, who is expecting another delivery next week. “They’re directional but wearable.”

I think that we can draw two conclusions:

  1. Some designers are having a laugh at the public’s expenses; and
  2. Some fashionistas have more money than taste.

What I wore today: 7 March 2011

Today it was nice and sunny and I woke up feeling all inspired to try wearing a colourful outfit.

The jumper is from LK Bennett and the skirt is from Laura Ashley – I think I’ve had both of them for three or four years.  Here’s a close-up to show the colours:

It’s still flipping cold here, so I added a long, blue coat that I bought at some random shop in Putney nine or ten years ago and a navy-blue scarf that I knitted in 2004:

But I was neutral when it came to everything else (including tights, which were some great ones from M&S that manage to be super-sheer and not shiny or a weird nude colour, but still keep you warm), with my lovely Mulberry bag and some flat shoes I bought from John Lewis last summer:

I really like that skirt – I’ve worn it so much this winter.  It’s actually a far duskier purple than that picture shows and it looks very good with grey.  I often wear it with a dark purple fine-knit roll-neck jumper, actually, for a bit of tone-on-tone action.

This was a really half-hearted version of colour blocking, I realise – the shades were very soft.  Still, I did stand out amongst a sea of black-clad City workers…