Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween - apparently, not invented by Hallmark

I've never been a fan of Halloween - it's always been a slightly puzzling Americanised tradition I only read about in Sweet Valley Twins books or saw in films. But, my daughter has a really cute Little Red Riding Hood outfit we got for Bookweek a few months ago, and it'd be a shame to wear it only once! So this year, I'm going to suspend my cynicism and just get involved and have fun. My Tinkerbell costume is hanging at the ready (not scary I know, but it's pretty short and my legs aren't supermodel-esque so a few people will be given a fright, no doubt).

Being the curious soul that I am, and also so I can justify this sudden change of heart, I decided to look into the origins of Halloween. It makes the whole dressup, carved pumpkins and faux spider webs seem a bit more classy if you can back it up with a few Stephen Fry style quotations. Plus, it's sure to impress intoxicated naughty vampire nurses/gothic porn star/assorted pseudo-dead types at the pub.

It would appear Halloween originated in an ancient Gaelic tradition known as Samhain (sow-in). This came up on several Google searches, so it must be true. Samhain celebrates the end of the 'light' half of the year and the beginning of the 'dark' half, making the basis of Halloween as about as relevant as snow globes at Christmas over here. But anyway. Other Celts held similar festivals, because it was believed that the border between this world and the next became thinner at this time of year, letting the good, the bad and the ugly of the spirit world pass through. By wearing a mask and disguising yourself, you escaped harm from these spirits; though presumably slutty vampire costumes will attract attention, so be warned...

When the Romans conquered the Celts the incorporated the festival of Feralia, their own late October festival of the dead, into Samhain. When it became fashionable to be Christian, various Popes called Gregory tried to downplay this pagan festival by moving All Saint's Day to Nov 1st. Thus, the eve before All Saint's Day became All Hallow's Eve, which in our lazy lexicon eventually became Halloween.

The carving of pumpkins into Jack-o-Lanterns has various origins. One version involves a greedy old drunk Irish farmer known as Stingy Jack, possibly fuming at what a comical stereotype he'd become, who tricked the devil into climbing a tree, and trapped him there by carving a cross into the trunk. The devil then cursed him to wander forever at night with the only light he had, a candle inside a hollowed turnip. Whether or not the devil is still up that tree is unknown...just as colourful is the story that wives in English villages used hollwed out vegies as lanterns when they were out at night looking for their intoxicated husbands. The men's beer goggles mistook the lanterns for ghouls and ran away in fright, to the great amusement of the wives (although this does defeat the purpose of going out to look for them in the first place). The women thought it was so funny that they and the children continued the tradition.

Pumpkin carving didn't actually catch on until the 1800's, when Eurpoean immigrants headed Stateside. The folk back in Old Blighty didn't actually have pumpkins, so imagine their delight at being able to carve these big orange things instead of turnips! Catching on in the Southern colonies first (those crusty old Protestants up north wouldn't hear of such nonsense), by the turn of the 20th century the whole country was celebrating with mischief, fireworks, bonfires and fortune telling. Unfortunately the KKK saw this time of year as free reign to don their white sheets and hang and burn things with abandon, and many pranks turned into vandalism and crime. The 20's to the 50's saw a move to make the celebration less ghoulish and more about, erm, commercialism. Well ok they didn't say that, but it was developing into the horrific marketing ploy that we know and love today. Buy costumes, lollies, decorations, chuck a party...and according to Wikipedia, in 2006 Americans were expected to spend a whopping $4.6 billion on Halloween. That's a whole lotta pumpkin.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Teresa - Buy Once, Give Twice!

We've got a funky new label on board at Frock You - Baby Teresa, a Tasmanian label (woo!) launched just last month. The range consists of cute onesies and rompers, but with a difference: for each piece purchased, another is donated to a baby in need, anywhere in the world. Aaaw!

They come in nifty little gift boxes, and make an extra special gift becuase you're not only giving a gorgeous little outfit to a baby you know and love, but also to another who you don't know and doesn't know you, but will appreciate it just as much. And, if you know of or are involved in a charity that might benefit, get in touch with Baby Teresa's brilliant creators Kirsty and Sammie - they want to donate a Baby Teresa outfit to at least one baby in every country in the world!

The first range consists of two styles, Hieu and Lan, named after two Vietnamese orphans supported by Foundation Lotus Child. The idea is that a onesie, whether it be short or long sleeved, is basically an all-in-one outfit, so you have the opportunity to fully clothe a child in need. So simple, and so worthwhile!

Short sleeved onesies are $29.95, while long sleeved rompers are just $34.95. The feelgood factor, at risk of sounding like a Mastercard ad, is priceless.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Target. Right On.

I am sitting here eating my hat. And my words. And also a piece of banana bread we baked this afternoon. Yum. See, I've finally given in to something I never thought I would. And it happened in a department store.

I haven't even told husband yet (but I should note, he would like me to mention that he is not as cheap as I make him out to be, and thinks nothing of spending thousands on band gear and mountain bikes. A few hundred bucks on a handbag or pair of shoes is a completely different matter, though) - like all good Gen X-ers, I'll just blog it out. Despite getting to view collections 6 months before the general public and being marginally obsessed with all things fashion-y, I find it hard to plunge headlong into most trends; because for one they are just that, trends, and for the most part nobody was to look like they overdosed on Supre; and for another an awful lot of trends just do not suit an awful lot of people, but these people insist on wearing them and thus ruining the illusion for the rest of us. My case in point: harem pants.

We don't exactly live in a fasion capital ,but for the most part there are a decent amount of trendy kids lolling about the place in the latest must-haves. Probably they work at Sportsgirl and therefore have to wear these pieces, but anyway. And I know what you're thinking, harem pants aren't exactly the 'latest' look. One of my friends absolutely lives in them (seriously, prior to this whole thang I never ever saw her in the same thing twice, and I've known her for at least 10 years) but she is tall and willowy and therefore looks pretty good. And she is always at pains to tell me how ridiculously comfy she is.

Maybe I was having a fat day, or just thoroughly enjoying a bit of 'me' time. At any rate, I had one of those awesome Target moments where you walk by an overstuffed rack of reasonably priced clothing, and suddenly spot just one lonesome piece hanging there, not belonging. 'Buy me!' it calls out pitifully. And then it happens to be your size and the only one there and just the style you've been pondering for awhile (which makes it a good buy, not a spur of the moment regret. Truly). These pants were just the shape I thought I'd need if I was to delve into this look - at not quite 5'4 and fairly petite, for the most part baggy pants swamp me and make me look short and wide which is generally not the desired outcome. Should I? Would I, even though I would have to explain to everyone why I jumped on the bandwagon so late? (Yes obviously, 'cos, um, here we are).

So I clutched them under my arm in the manner of a shoplifter and headed off to browse the kidswear, where I had another, and possibly the best Target moment of all - a cute skirt which was admitedly a ripoff of a more pricey one I had my eye on, only one left in my daughter's size, but no 20% off sale this week, for a change. Oh well, not like it was exxy anyway. Passing by one of those red scanner things, I had a juvenile urge to play checkout chick, and to my delight it scanned up at half price! Oh, Target, depiste your questionable tshirt prints and unkempt cosmetics section, how I do love thee.

In the privacy of my bedroom, I slipped into my new pants and turned to the mirror, not quite daring to look. What if my fashion moment turns out to be a failure? But, rejoice! Just the right cut and shape, crotch in the right place (ie not on the floor) and man, they were comfy. Like tracky pants without having to try and look sporty. I've given in, I'll take my seat at the very back of the bandwagon and happily sit there all summer, the breeze rippling through the loosely fitting jersey of my latest wardrobe additions.

So the moral of this rather long-winded story is, don't knock it til you've tried it. Well not quite, as I have tried these previously and never been able to find the right pair. Perhaps, don't knock it til you've tried Target?

Department stores not your thang? Buy online:

Living Doll Drape Harem Pants $39.95

Friday, October 23, 2009

Balenciaga for yer Beaver

Cher Horowitz once said, "you know how fussy I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet." And Kotex listened.

Their new Platinum range offers 'a touch of luxury where you need it most.' I'm not entirely convinced that that time of the month need be shrouded in luxury. Comfort, protection and convenience, yes. But luxury? Maybe "a touch of luxury when you need it most" might be more appealing. Yes, I'm feeling fat and shitey so hell, I will buy these prettily packaged neccessities, GST and all. Do we need luxury down there? It's not exactly a glamourous situation, no matter what spin you put on it. Should your tampon match your tote bag? Vuitton for your vag, Prada for your, well you get the picture.

But what features do these 'luxury' products come with? The tampons have a 'slender design and tapered tip' which although isn't groundbreaking, is reassuring. Not sure I want bling on that. The pads have an 'easy-peel wrapper' so you can undo it all in one swift move, a must for women on the go. It would appear they are not made of cashmere, are not monogrammed and will not be actually seen on a catwalk anytime soon. So are these neccessities really luxurious? Is 'luxury' in this domain really neccessary? Or should Kotex just stop claiming their products are high-end and admit that women like pretty packaging, so that's what they did, albeit a bit OTT?

Regretsy. SO FUNNY!

I've not done much more today apart from ROFL to the max at Regretsy, a hilarious blog about all the horrible shit you can buy on etsy. I heart etsy so much, but not so much as to want to purchase a vampire-printed reusable menstrual pad. Or a child's wall print about abortion. Or a poncho for my chicken. Or a pink made from a turtle's claw (seriously). Actually some of these just sound sick and their makers should probably be arrested. To lighten the mood, here's some shoes someone painted Twighlight-style. Good taste not included.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shock! It's OK to wear the same thing twice!

As a retailer, I really should say that it is not ok to wear the same thing twice, you must always buy something new, or pointy-toed and pointy-nosed people will sneer at you. But, Anna Wintour has actually said that she sometimes wears a dress up to twenty times. TWENTY! That's almost normal! Of course, she wears the same hairdo all the time, but it's almost like her trademark, so she gets away with it, without question. The article also notes that she 1) eats and 2) eats steak, so it seems there is hope for us mere mortals yet. What with the outrage over Photoshopping 'fat' models and a slow editorial drift towards using real sized women (hopefully more regularly than one-off features), is the glossy world of , erm, glossy magazines slowly being unravelled?
Information is so accessible nowdays that we're finally realising that the people who put together these perfect pages for us to aspire to, are not totally untouchable or indeed, out of touch? Maybe. Or should we just be depressed that depsite our best efforts, the planet is still going to to the bogger because influential people think that 'recycling' means wearing a frock more than once? Most likely.
Oh well, chin up - here's a frock you could wear more than once:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mid-season Markdowns!

The retail world at the moment is something of a bargain hunter's paradise. I haven't paid full price for anything in Myer for yonks, if in fact ever. And now, it's mid-season for S/S '09/10, which means *trumpet fanfare* mid-season markdowns!

We've gone through and marked down previous season and 1st summer stock from nearly every label (plus if you sign up to the newsletter you get your extra member's 10% off!) and there are some seriously good buys to be had. So, without further ado here are 5 fabulous finds (note: must get sub editor):
Motel Heidi Dress now $69 this is an awesome party dress for the upcoming festive season - sweet but sexy, it only needs some killer heels to complete the look!
One Teaspoon Frilly Rose Shirt now $49.95 you'll see this look again next season so get in now! Team a floaty blouse with a pencil skirt for the office, with a statement shoulder jacket or a miliraty inspired vest for a cool contrast.
If you're heading to a summer festival, a super cool but not overly heavy pullover (did I just say pullover? Yes Nanna I did. Jumper? Sweater? Why am I having issues with this?) is a must-have for later in the evening. Plus, when winter comes round you can throw it on with jeans and boots for easy casual chic!
Freshbaked Check Shirts now $29.95 a checked shirt over a tee is classically cool - just roll up the sleeves when it's hot! Erm and no cowboy hats/boots please. Please.
Moppit Chloe Top now $29 this is so chic for little girls, and looks great teamed with tailored shorts for a dressier casual option. (Does that make sense? Maybe. Anyway. It's getting late. And Ladette to Lady is on shortly so let's wrap this up people). Not to take away from this garment. It's a proper little lady top in a gorgeous shade of green and thankfully has no random "cutie pie" print or other such atrocity (had a bad experience in Target the other day. So many pointless prints on tshirts.) Wow this has gotten long. Point is, this is a great alternative to a tshirt but slips on and off as easily and works with denim, looks like it costs more than it does, and has a chic designer edge. Score!

Check out the Sale section for all the new markdowns, and don't forget to browse through Last One Left to make sure you don't miss out on a must-have piece!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Celeb Fashion Collections - Why?!

It's not news that for whatever deep-rooted biological and/or psychological reason, we've all been conditioned to want what celebs have, wear what they wear, pay use the products they are paid to tell us to use.

What is news, or at least a small ripple, is that finally the tide is turning and people are speaking up and saying "hang on, for the most part these celebs know bugger all. Why do we care so much?" Hurrah! Vogue editor Kirstie Clements was suitably horrified that Peaches Geldof was a 'reporter' for London Fashion Week, imparting such wisdom as "yeah i like the shorts and stuff. It's stuff I'd wear". Clements wrote, "is it only in the fashion world that people let uneducated morons have their say?" Fashion journalism might not oust political corruption or lead to world peace, but imagine being one of the articulate, educated writers who really know their stuff, working your bits off to cover show after show, only to have people skim over your words in order to see what Peaches and Pixie and ZanyStardust utter in their uber cool contemptoous way.

Not to mention being a designer. Imagine the years of work, training, the strenous creative process and ultimately the part you can play in social history (clothes maketh the man, yes?), only to have Linday Lohan come onboard, not as the 'face' of your brand but actually a creator, and a month later present a collection. To say she's no Kate Moss is pretty fair. We're talking about a chick who gave us Mean Girls and Leggings-as-pants.

LiLo came on board as Ungaro's 'artistic advisor' and the collection was kindly labelled by WWD as "cheesy and dated". Apparently the show also involved "glitter heart pasties". Um. To be fair, expectations probably weren't all that high to begin with, and to read that Lohan came out for her bow with tears in her eyes softens the snickers a little. At least she had the decency to be a bit embarrassed and admit the whole collection was a rushed job.

Maybe its a result of the GFC, but is our spend-and-consume-instant-gratification mindset slowly slowing down? Quality not quantity, dahlings. Can a product be judged on it's own merits, instead of the popularity of the celebrity endorsing it?

Speaking of celebrity endorsements, this gorgeous white dress has been given much love (and some editorial) by the classy ladies at Shoptilyoudrop magazine. Ok, so they're not really celebs, but they sure do know a thing or two about frocks:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Party Like it's...Tupperware Time

Despite free worldwide shipping at Net-a-Porter, a great Woodford & Co sale at buyinvite, and 25% discount codes for Asos, my biggest purchase this week has been...wait for it...Tupperware. Seriously. Dubious spelling and all (Pack'n'Stor? CheeSmart? And I still can't work out what's so rock'n'rollin' about Rock'n'Serve). Put it down to age, an increasing need for transportable plastic storage that toddlers can open themselves, an overflowing wardrobe or plain old 'turning into your mother' syndrome, but they're some nifty shit in there. And lots of colour. All they need to do is introduce a sparkly range and I'd take up selling it myself. The Tupperware website even has a "Party Inspiration" section for gawd's sake!

Not that I go near Tupperware parties, unless there is free wine/cheese/SingStar on offer. A friend who has a friend who sells her TuppStuff (hey I'm copyrighting that) gave me a catalogue to browse through, no strings attached. I can't stand the obligation one feels to buy hundreds of dollars of essentially pointless crap. Avon is much the same, Linen parties, handbag parties, and the list goes on. You become the 'cheap' friend if you don't buy anything, and resentment kindles in your gut at the acquaintance who forced you to go along. It's psychological warfare. I thought I'd be a clever dick and buy it online, but lo and behold, all you can do online (aside from eBay) is request a catalogue/get a local representative to call you. Which is the same as asking Jehovahs in for morning tea.

My net-a-porter order should be here on Friday. My Tupperware, probably next month. No doubt your mum has cupboards full of plastic containers she acquired aeons ago with the intention of sorting and labelling her pantry, but then it became to time-consuming to transfer the weekly groceries from it's plastic packaging into your plastic packaging so it just sat in the cupboard storing dustmites for eternity. It's nice to know such retro affectations can continue. I reckon it will be worth the wait!

Taking your tupperware on a picnic? Impress it with a pretty patterned frock: Birds of a Feather Monet Dress, $119.95

Monday, October 12, 2009

Running In Heels

It all started so innocently. A dear friend suggested we make the most of all the fabulous shoes we'd been buying and hiding from husbands, frock up and have a nice posh dinner. The 'frock' bit was quite specific, and you'd think, considering my line of work, wouldn't be an issue. But then I delved deep into the dark corners of my wardrobe, trying to find something suitable that would not only match my awesome pink shoes, but would also hide some winter kilos. Patterned maxi dresses, too casual. Yellow/pink/green/blue cocktail numbers, too much colour (depsite the colour-on-colour trend we're all meant to embrace this season). LBD's....have trotted them all out on previous occassions and can't get away with the GFC-shame of wearing again. Did I call on Frock You? You betcha, and the one dress that would be perfect, was, in fact, perfect, almost got a run until I ditched the opaque tights and was blinded by my legs.

"Run to the tanning bar!" I hear you say. "Piss off!" I yell back. Shades of orangey-brown and me just do not match. Nor does me and running. Or, so I thought.

To end the party story and satisfy your undoubtedly bubbling curiosity, my GRAB Rushcutters in double black and a few silky layered tank tops did the job nicely. My eyeliner had a party of it's own all over my face but by the time I noticed I'd had too many expensive wines to care.

Sunday morning brought an urgent need for eggs and bacon, coffee, and eye makeup remover. It also led to a nice brunchly convesation with the Mr about how all my friends have a Wii Fit and I didn't and I couldn't wear a frock cos I'm toooo fat and pale and ghastly and it's all his fault for being chronically cheap and insisting we register the cars and pay the rent and shit. See, if I had a Wii not only could I say "wiiiii" alot and giggle, but I would have nice toned legs and arms (still pale, but at least I would've noticed them in order to apply tanning moisturiser in time for important social events, instead of covering with jeans and tights and letting them wallow in their whiteness all winter). His suggestion, being the sensible type, was to suggest I join him in a weights programme he found online (for free) using the good weights we already have (owned for years). Between that and the daily pram walk I ahem, aim for, (push a 3 year old up and down some hills in a pram with a constantly flat tyre and tell me you can't feel the burn!) I might get a little fit. But not muscly fit, just healthy fit. So I agreed. And I've been doing it and it does feel great.

Unfortunately it also invloves several factors that are quite foreign and scary to me, namely, sweat, trackpants, and concentrating on just one thing for a whole ten minutes. Sweat can be relieved with a healthy iced water and a nice shower with lots of neccessarily luxurious beauty products. Trackpants are made bearable when you brave Supre and realise their Sporte section sell ultra ultra comfy leggings and pants you can match with a rainbow of $10 tshirts. Concentrating on just one thing? Still working on it. But I'll get there in part, because one of my friends loves telling me about her jogs around Wii Island. Yes, such a fantastical place exists! And in the comfort of your loungeroom no less. I've asked Santa for a Wii Fit Plus, the new version out this week, and I'm hoping beyond hope it's customisable to such an extent that I could jog away to my hearts content and window shop at the same time. You could place a 70% off sale at the end of the task to make yourself get there within a certain time! Oooh then I would concentrate on a run. And I'd have to get new shoes. Running shoes, but new shoes.

I do get distracted easily. Here, let me wave something shiny and new in front of your face, in a new end-of-blog section I like to call "stuff we sell": the really really cool Minty Meets Munt Riveted Skirt, $89.95.