I have to start somewhere so let’s start with a hat

I created this site, what, 2 or 3 months ago now, and it was thrilling and daunting and scary and I might have lost my nerve and delved too far into my tendency to overthink things. Also, reality has returned to force in my day to day life as I returned to work after 4 months sick leave. The reality was ugly and horrible and just about as far removed from what was needed for recovery. So, yes, time has been taken. But the dream is not dead. It continues to evolve and mature into something that, when realised, will be thoroughly considered and hopefully sustainable and did I mention I overthink things?

Today Mum and I ventured out, as we do, to the best option Canberra presents for original vintage: the semi-regular Frock Out / Way We Wear vintage fair at the always delightful Griffith shops. We always try a small measure of escape from my wonderfulbuttiring children to get along to these. To be honest, I don’t know why Mum does – many of my fashion choices these days  seem to evoke horrible memories of itchy things from her 1950s Tasmanian childhood, but maybe it’s just the rare chance to talk like adults, without the noise of the small people. They have declared this particular outing to be boring. The absence of cupcakes was not appreciated.


I knew it was a small one today but I always believe there is treasure to be found if you believe. I felt stylish but vaguely inadequate in my FABULOUS (but reproduction vintage) Miss Candyfloss jumpsuit and destined-to-be together Collectif jaunty hat. I’ll get better at photos. It was good day. (Red lipstick is nearly always a shortcut on that front.)

And, then, or course, there it was. I guess I knew on some level I’d see it again. The hat. I can’t remembef how long it’s been there for but it’s at least 2 or 3 times I’ve imagined how fabulous my life might be with such a hat. It’s been fleeting; in retrospect, I wasn’t ready for it . I am still relatively new to vintage and still finding my era, my comfort, my own interpretation.

It was easy to start with the 50s fit’n’flare. That’s accessible. It took longer to understand and think through and explore nuance, and to gain confidence alongside knowledge. To also see where my hair wanted to go, as curls sometime seem to have minds of their own. And to connect fashion with my interest in history and where that landed me.  So I’ve spent a lot of time (it seems) in the 40s but it’s like I took that path because I wasn’t quite able to go where I wanted. The 20s seem overdone and, more recently, all Phryned out. Too much sparkle in our modern reinterpretation. Too much bling. My hair knew though – I repeatedly fail at victory rolls and my hair instead leaps at tight curls that, on good days, line up into a more buoyant version of finger waves. So I’ve diverted, almost camouflaged it, with the 30s. Maybe that is where I do land, in what seems to modern eyes an in between time. Between wars. In a time of shortage. One of settling into the slide of wide legged trousers after the scandal of beach pyjamas and finding skirts that are allowed to follow the beautiful curve. I don’t know yet. I have much to learn. I know the 40s will continue to call my name but for now I want to learn more about this time that seems so intensely exploratory and creative in its tailoring but limited in time and resources. Hand craft(wo)manship is clear but we’re on the verge of mass production.

So. This is my hat. My beautiful hat. The tag says 30s and I’m going to believe it and be inspired by it. It invokes the name of Wallis Simpson so I’m going back to re-examine that tale from another angle. And as the seasons are about to change, I’m thinking about what an autumn/winter wardrobe might look like and I’m going to use this amazing hat as inspiration. What I do know for sure: I need more velvet and (as always) I need new shoes.

(How is it that I have told the tale of today without mentioning the boots I bid for and won on eBay??? Next time.)

(hat purchased from the always fabulous Seams Old. No one is allowed to touch the item they have that is next on my wishlist, ok?)

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