Spot the Difference

Dress: Jane Bon Bon – (shop sadly closed it looks like)

Shoes: Hush Puppies


There are some items in my wardrobe that are such statement pieces that really you call only wear them one way, and I find it particularly difficult to “mix it up” with dresses. I mean, you can belt them, and wear them with different shoes or a cardigan, but a dress is a dress is a dress, and really unless you’re a master at layering (I’m not) then there’s not much you need to add to a dress to make an outfit.

This dress – with its gorgeous Echino fabric – always gets worn the same way, but as I was looking at the photos I realised… something was different.

Can you spot it?

I’m missing a bloody button! It must have dropped off at some point during the day when I was out and about, because I can’t find it anywhere!

They’re self-covered fabric buttons, and there’s not enough fabric in the seams to make another one, so I’m going to have to a) just leave it – two looks fine; b) remove the buttons entirely, and leave it blank; or c) make a special trip to Buttonmania and replace all three buttons.

I’m leaning towards “c” because I have a huge soft spot for Buttonmania which is located in the gorgeous 1920’s Nicholas Building, and looks like something out of a Mary Poppins book. You take the hand-operated elevator¬† up a few floors, then follow the labyrinthine corridors until you reach the broom-closet sized shop with its wall of tiny drawers. Owner Kate Boulton’s a bit of a Melbourne craft-persons legend and has over three decades of experience in the rag trade. I went with my Mum a few years ago to replace the buttons on her coat, and it was such a fun experience that now I take every opportunity to go back!


That 70’s Frock

Dress: Thrifted via With Love & Swallow

Belt: City Chic

Shoes:  Hush Puppies


One of the reasons I love shopping vintage/thrifted clothes is for the wildly exuberant colours and prints that you find in thrift shops.

I know I’ve rabbited on about this topic in the past, and last year Jessica from Eliza Parker explained that from a manufacturer’s point of view it was really difficult to find printed fabrics. Why is that, I wonder? Are we just naturally more restrained when it comes to fashion than our mothers and grandmothers were? Is there no demand, therefore no supply? Chitra Mangma from Chitra’s Closet told me that – quelle horreur! – she’s practically had to give up on polkadots because they polarised her customers. Some loved them (moi!) but others couldn’t stand them.

Instead we get lots of neutrals, pin-stripes, block colours, and the occasional floral.

I find my statement prints at thrift shops in Melbourne or online at one of Etsy’s many vintage clothes retailers where psychadelic poppies and unlikely colour pairings are rife.

It can difficult to find in plus sizes – in Melbourne particularly, where I discovered there’s a tribe of hipsters who are in the habit of buying larger dresses in bulk and cutting them down to size, inserting elastic waistbands and bringing the hem up to crotch-skimming levels. I find dozens of the mutated poor things at shops like Retrostar which seem to cater exclusively for women with figures like eight-year old boys.

Every so often though, you’ll find a gem, so just keep looking.