Dreaming and pondering and doing

It’s been a while.

Sometimes it’s hard to achieve all of our ambitions, no matter how much joy they bring. This blog is constantly on my to do list, for that day when I feel inspired and there’s enough quiet to let it run through me. Ha. Today I am just going to write, instead of waiting for some mythical perfect circumstance.

This week I’m pondering what the future of Ducky looks like. I spent some time at the fabulous three sixty fashion market here in Canberra over the weekend, sharing my beautiful things with gorgeous people and trying to understand better how I can find that sweet spot between my own passion for vintage clothes and, well, making some money. Actually, it’s not really about making money. It’s about spreading beauty and sharing the love. I know how much better I feel when I’m wearing fabulous clothes. Sometimes, over the past couple of years, the only thing that’s gotten me out of the house/bed is the thought of wearing something fabulous. It’s empowering and it makes my soul feel like it’s speaking to people. The fact that I get stopped during the course of the day by women telling me they love my shoes/dress/bag/hair/red lipstick gives me a sense of connection to the world. I like to think that the way that I present myself, a little outside the norm of a government building, brings a little bit of colour and life to other people’s days. I first gained the confidence to dress as I wanted at work during a challenging time in my workplace. I worked with beautiful people who were struggling with a lot of change and it was my intention to give them a little joy in their day. It feels a little arrogant but (a) it worked; and (b) I truly think that a lot of women love vintage fashion – its silhouettes, its quality and its inherent stylishness. In an era of massively disposable fashion that is rarely quality, it evokes something more; something special and something that is enduring.

I want to do something with these feelings; to make them grow and spread. It’s just figuring out the how.

I’m a woman who likes a plan. I like to be organised and I like things to be tidy. OK, so I’m a perfectionist and a control freak. Order makes me feel good. It relaxes me. Well, that’s the way I’ve always lived. It turns out that that’s not been working for me so well of late so I’m trying to find new ways. The Ducky dream is pretty much the embodiment of that in my life; I’m trying to let it grow organically, without a plan. So what is next? What are the ideas that don’t quite need to fit into an excruciatingly detailed plan. I’m going to keep doing my sewing lessons because I know I still can’t find all the clothes I want to wear (wide legged pants anyone?). I’m going to keep collecting and restoring beautiful original vintage pieces, and follow my love of the 1930s in particular on that front. I’m going to keep offering people help to find the sorts of pieces that they’ve always dreamed they might own, but don’t know where to start looking for them. The final piece of the puzzle is determining where best I can sell things, that also provides me with a means to deepen my understanding of what people want. I have a hunch that there are more people out there like me – in particular, those that don’t necessarily dress or shop “vintage” but that want that perfectly cut jacket or trousers or skirt for their work wardrobe. The pieces that are a little different to, and more lasting than, what they can get in their local shopping centre. The pieces that it’s hard to find online amidst all the cheap disposable crap. I like markets, I like talking to people and seeing what makes their eyes light up, but I’m not sure I’m reaching quite where I want to with that just yet.

So, for now, I’m also going to work a little more on this blog and see if I can’t make it into something else to reach people with. If you love vintage clothes, if you just love beautiful clothes, feel free to reach out and tell me what you’re looking for, and where and how you want to be able to find it. My dream is a big one – I want women to feel beautiful, to live like the special elegant creatures they are, to walk through life with that power and confidence we have when we feel fabulous, so I think I’ve taken on a long term task that might take some experiments and a whole lot of dreaming to achieve. These are the (vintage) dreams I’m dreaming.

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?)