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.

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