Saturday, January 17, 2009


In the last year I've taken to wearing pants more often, and even bought my first pair of jeans in six years or so several months ago. Now I have three pairs: Grey Supre bootlegs, black Valleygirl skinny legs (emo jeans, I know! I was thinking of developing an emo boi drag character so I justified them on that account ... yeah) and these awesome wide-leg, dark wash Gwendolynne for Target ones. I've also been favouring my Gap navy striped trousers and Dangerfield black cotton drill pants. All second-hand, of course -- five pairs of jeans and pants for under $35 seems pretty good to me! I think part of the reason I'd been sticking to skirts was that it's much harder to find pants I like in my size in op shops -- a skirt that's a size too big will usually just sit a bit lower and be a little looser, but ill-fitting pants look really silly. Besides which there's generally a better selection of vintage skirts than pants.

I also finally got a pair of boots last summer, in a Chinese winter -- flat black lace-up ankle boots, in lovely soft leather, exactly as I wanted except that the lace holes didn't have rivets while the hooks for the upper laces were silver, which was an issue for me until my lover and mother and the sales assistant all convinced me I was being insane. Anyhow, people with size 35 feet can't be choosy. But then I managed to score a pair of black 25-up Docs at Camberwell markets for $10, was given a pair of maroon 10-up Docs from a friend who found them at the tip (!), got a pair of boxing boots at the RSPCA op shop for $1, and dark green knee-high stilettos at Camby markets for $4, so now suddenly I find myself with five pairs of boots and not one pair of the black ballet flats or mary janes that were my default for so many years. In fact, I have no black flats at all. Shock horror.

So mostly these changes in my style have been the result of thrifting accidents, but one thing that's been quite decisive is the hair. In three years I've gone from waist-length to shaved, with stops in between at so many variations of a flapperish bob (I'd visited that station during high school too) and several nameless, indescribable hairstyles thanks to a bunch of friends and acquaintances I've let near my hair with scissors, clippers and razors. From afar, it appears like the whole process (skirts to pants, mary janes to boots, long hair to short) could be described as one of my gradual but insistent "butching up". But then I'm wearing more make-up than ever (not difficult as ever was usually none), more fitted clothing, and definitely spending more time thinking about aesthetics. So butching up, maybe, but dandying up too.

The other thing is that I think I'm more aware of trends than I used to be (when I was so self-consciously counter-culture and alternative and whatever, and would never have subscribed to the Vogue forums) but tend to buy clothes that I could still see myself wearing in several years time. I'm trying to build up my wardrobe to have all the things I consider "basics" (eg white shirt, black blazer, LBD, cream trench, good underwear, bags and belts) and select a few different looks or moods to maintain instead of just buying random novelty items that I can't wear with anything I already have. I still almost never buy retail (except for underwear and hosiery) and I still flinch to think of spending more than $10 on anything.

How has your style changed?

And just so this isn't a text-only entry, here's a pic of me frocked up for a Vulgargrad gig at the Spiegeltent last year. And yes, I can ride my bike in corset, top hat and heels (though I had flats on for dancing that day).


Coco said...

I can't believe anybody would throw out Docs!!

Alice said...

You are amazing. AMAZING.