Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ANZAC Special 2008

April 25th is Anzac Day, a public holiday for Australia and New Zealand as we commemorate the ANZAC soldiers who died in the Gallipoli offensive (Turkey) in 1915. The phrase of the day is "Lest We Forget". The theme is the red poppy. Every community, large or small, that has a cenotaph will host a wreath-laying ceremony attended by military and civilian personnel.

I've put together an Anzac outfit that is trendy and traditional, vintage and modern, appropriate as we remember those who died so long ago for the sake of our freedom. [I apologize for the blurry images. My usual camera is not available this week.]

The crinkle satin blouse was purchased from Ezibuy this summer. I love the cute, buttoned sleeves (which ensure a perfect fit), the neat way the collar sits, and the fact that the shirt doesn't need ironing.

I found this handmade crocheted shrug on a half price bargain rack (NZ$20) at Pagani in October. I removed the button (the fit was poor), threaded the borders of the garment with beaded satin ribbon from Spotlight, and beaded the ends of a satin ribbon to tie the front closed to exactly the right fit. The garment can also be worn hanging open (see Songuine on St. Patrick's Day).

The skirt is a cosy polyester knit with a slight sheen, topped with an asymetric layer of burnt-out velvet knit sprinkled with silver glitter. Taffeta lined. A Boutique Narelle creation.

These sheepskin lined leather boots are good for the frosty/foggy/frigid 5am Dawn Parade at the Cenotaph.

Strappy heels are better for the indoor events. I love the timelessness of this style -- it echoes the past and the future. I do advise against purchasing this textured velveteen surface if you want long-lasting quality. With very little wear, small patches of velvet wore off where the toes and ankles rubbed against each other. This is fine if you want to look vintage, but not if you're aiming for high class!

Attending the 5am ceremony isn't everyone's cup of tea, but even the 9am Anzac Parade needs an extra layer or two to combat the weather. Two years ago Anzac Day presented our region with a layer of snow on the mountains, 6 weeks earlier than usual. This cosy polarfleece dual-zip jacket with a built-in lining (dual layered fleece) was found at The Warehouse. Much wearing hasn't yet diminished it's style.

Everyone who sojourns in a cool clime needs a quality top coat. This cashmere three-quarter length coat came from Max Fashions for about NZ$200. It came with a detachable hood -- great for the casual occasion. The charcoal gray is less severe than black, yet blends with black and everything else as well.

The designers set the lowest button at the hip, which allowed the length to flip open and let in the cold, so I added another button and buttonhole lower down. Coat buttons bear a lot of stress, so extra strength stitching is required. Because all the buttonholes are set in a hidden placket on the right side which only goes as far as the last button, I had to place the buttonhole on the left side and stitch the button inside the right. Securely fastened, it created a dent on the outside of the fabric, but fortunately that's not noticable to most people. I'm just picky. ; )

A top coat is expensive, so choose wisely. What colour and length will be most applicable for your lifestyle and wardrobe? Select a coat that won't go out of style -- if it's good quality, it could last twenty years or more.

To top off the outfit, how about a trendy hat? This style suits my face and is a good alternative to sunglasses for those who wear spectacles. On this occasion it happily reflects the uniforms of World War I era. The cap is cotton-lined wool, with a gold stud each side of the band, and was purchased from Glassons for NZ$20, an excellent buy. I wear it constantly throughout the winter.

Need further fortification against the chill? Add black merino wool/possum fur gloves (Norsewear) and a cheerful red scarf (The Warehouse) and you'll be snug as a bug in a rug at an Anzac Parade.

In the evening I'll be performing at the Fountain Theatre in the Anzac Concert. For this occasion I'll wear a Boutique Narelle creation, a blend of sea and sky, joy and sorrow, youth and memories.

My songs are "Never Say Goodbye" and "No More Night", and I'm privileged to be leading the audience in the New Zealand National Anthem at the close of the program. There are more details at Songuine.

Enjoy your Anzac Day, and live like you'll never forget that freedom is precious and must be nurtured like a delicate seedling if it is to survive.

25% discount off all clothing at Ezibuy -- online and in-store only - April 24th to 27th.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Skirt Portfolio 4 - Australian Hems

I've been surprised at how difficult it is to locate Australian online skirt shops. If you've got knowledge that isn't included in this post, please share it with us!

A friend told me about, which isn't particularly modest -- especially if you judge by the models! -- but they do have a few long skirts.

Shop at (also under the Capture label for the following skirts. Check the other Ezibuy labels for more skirt options.
These 2 dresses can be worn with a camisole, t-shirt, or poloneck underneath. For extra warmth, pop a pair of trousers on the bottom, or wear with high boots.

Skirt hems are noticeably rising. The predominant theme of the above skirt options is gray/brown. It is a fashion trend, so be prepared for a deluge of gray. I'm sighing over this, because my winter environment is so frequently gray I don't wish to add to it through my wardrobe! A recent passage through Christchurch Airport initiated me into Air New Zealand staff's current grayness - making the fluorescent-lit airport seem even more gloomy than usual.

We should be thankful that the last few seasons have provided us with a selection of long skirts in pretty colours. I have been able to find a few other options that mostly avoid one or the other of these factors.

Ezibuy's summer sale includes the following:

This skirt comes in several bright colours and is described as being half-lined. You can see the half-way hem in the picture. This would be easy to fix: cut out a cotton or taffeta lining the same shape as the made-up skirt and stitch it to the top of the half-lining or the waistband.

If you like the following sundress colours but wouldn't wear the style as a dress, buy a size that will allow the empire waistline to sit down on your hips, chop off the bodice, and turn under the raw seam to make a skirt waistband -- the presence of a side zip means you don't have to figure out a way of climbing into the garment. If you want extra warmth, add another lining while you're at it.

The following 2 outfits are from

The following 3 skirts are from, available in a range of colours.

Hemp Co Environmental Clothing specializes in natural fabrics that are cool and comfortable. Some of their products have been drastically reduced for their Easter Sale.

The following colourful selection (10 images) is from is the only maternity store I've found so far that caters for the woman interested in modesty and beautiful femininity. I hope you're as delighted as I am by the following 4 delicious examples!

This is the longest (modest) maternity skirt I've been able to locate, and it's found at
This frolicky-fun item is found at

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