Tit for Tat

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Top: City Chic

Skirt: Target

Shoes: Carla Milani

Tonight we ring in a new year, hoo-bloody-rah! It’s a good time to take stock of the previous twelve months, to gird your loins for another year, and to set yourself some resolutions if that’s your thing.

My friends R, JC and I have always preferred to set a theme for the upcoming year rather than individual goals. Themes like “Expand Horizons”, or “Take Chances”.

My theme for 2013 was “Survive”, 2014 was “Rebuild”. I’ve done both of those things, and I’m in a much better place today than I was twelve months ago. My sister is well, I’m surrounded by a network of incredibly loving and supportive people. I have a home that I love and a job where I feel challenged and valued. New people have come into my life who are enriching it every day. I’m happy. Hopefully 2015 will continue on the same trajectory, so my theme for the year will be something along the lines of new growth, building momentum, having direction.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that a few months ago I gave myself something to remind myself to value the person that I am.

I call myself Lilli, but most of you know by now that the name on my birth certificate is Lian. It’s a Chinese name in honour of my Chinese grandfather, and it means “The Graceful Willow”. This is a bit of a running joke with me, because I’m not particularly graceful, and I’m certainly not willowy. At the start of this year I discovered a Chinese constellation called The Willow and it inspired me to research what my name actually symbolised.

It turns out my Mum got it right. In Chinese mythology the willow tree stands for strength, but it’s a strength that comes from being able to bend without breaking. It’s a tree that can withstand great storms and survive. It also symbolises resilience, because it has deep roots that allow it to recover even after it’s been cut back.

I thought about it for a while, consulted some friends, did a few preliminary sketches, and then finally handed everything over to the talented Melanie Knight at Forgotten Son who designed and inked this wonderful, permanent reminder of something I should be very proud of having: Strength and resilience. An abiding and unwavering sense of self. Deep convictions. A strong network. The ability to withstand challenging times and recover from setbacks.

Frocks and Frou Frou Starry TattooSo. That’s the serious stuff done, now on to the fashion! Do you like my top? I somehow missed it on the City Chic website, and it wasn’t until I saw it being worn by someone on the Aussie Curves FB page that I spotted it. It reminds me so much of this Marlies Dekkers bra that I couldn’t resist. It’s sexy and strappy, and a bit edgy, and not something I thought I’d be able to pull off, but I really like it.

Frocks and Frou FrouI’ve worn it today in an all-black ensemble with a floaty skirt from Target and some great new Carla Milani flats that I bought en-masse from a little stall that had set up shop in Melbourne Central.

Carla Milani FlatsThe guy who served me was a total riot, and I ended up walking away with three pairs of ballet flats, but they’re soft, leather, kid-lined (no socks required), cheap, and he promised they wouldn’t give me blisters (which they haven’t) so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

My bangle is very important to me too. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about why yet so I’m just going to put up a photo of it and let you admire it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy New Year, my lovely readers, and here’s to a wonderful and fulfilling 2015 for all of us.

Love, The Graceful Willow.

Stars in her Eyes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dress: Vintage, via Style & Salvage 

Shoes: Shoebuy

I discovered this dress on Etsy months ago. Vintage, in my size, and in the most perfect star-print fabric that I’ve seen. It didn’t take me long to talk myself into buying it. I had to have it altered when it arrived, but since then it’s become a favourite part of my wardrobe.

Vintage dresses are nigh impossible to find in larger sizes. Possibly it’s because in thriftier times they’d be cut down for younger siblings or children, or because we’re simply larger these days, or possibly it’s because of all the unscrupulous scavengers who buy them up, lop the hems off, whack in an elasticised waist and add a zero to the price-tag before selling them on to knobble-kneed teenagers at hipster craft-markets.

None of the vintage clothing stores in Australia seem to have much on offer for larger sizes, apart from the specialist stores Bombshell Vintage, Hey Fatty, and the occasional lucky find at the A+ Markets.

Online I’ve found the best place to look for plus-size vintage is actually Etsy. Size is Just a Number is a good place to start, or Re/Dress Vintage.

If you see something you like you should snap it up straight away, because I can almost guarantee you won’t find it again anywhere. I’ve missed out on a few pieces because I hesitated, which is why I jumped on this dress almost immediately.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It has a cunning speckled star print, mother of pearl buttons and a sailor-style collar.

I’ve been wearing it with the beautiful Andromeda Earrings that Sian Giplis, founder of The Jewel Collective sent to me in November, and which I’ve been wearing pretty much non-stop since then.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Andromeda Earrings: The Jewel Collective

 These lovely earrings are made from rose gold and pink sapphires and are named for the Greek maiden who was transformed into a constellation of stars by Athena.

Sian told me that she left her PR this year to pursue her life-long passion for jewels and pearls and launch The Jewel Collective. She explained that “It was important to me that the jewellery we designed was high quality and beautiful yet still affordable for customers. I wanted to provide stylish women with another option for their accessories collection, other than just costume jewellery or expensive, unaffordable pieces.”

They arrived stunningly packaged in a felt pouch and keepsake box. This was also a deliberate choice from Sian, who understands that running an online business it’s incredibly important to create a good relationship with customers. She says “First impressions speak volumes about a company and we want people to say “WOW” when they open a package from us.”

I certainly did! The box sits on my dressing table, and I’ve taken the pouch with me on my last few interstate trips as it’s the perfect size to tuck a few pieces safely away in my suitcase for wearing later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 I’ve got my eye on the gorgeous Charis necklace now, and I think I’ll have to treat myself once my bank account has recovered from Christmas!

jewel_collective_deep_etch_14