Saturday, 31 January 2015

Relatively Easy

Over the last 18 months, I have had to replace most of my old clothes and I realised a couple of months ago that I now have a summer wardrobe that is more or less complete. It feels great to know that I can easily choose items from my closet and create outfits I feel good in. It also feels great to have a sense of peace about my appearance and not feel that I just need to buy "x" in order to look OK. And it means that I can use my clothing budget to save for special items that I love, not just functional items that I need.
                                                             Crop: ScanlonTheodore
                                                             Shirt:Veronika Maine
This top is a bit of a wild card for me. Bright orange is not a colour I have a lot of in my wardrobe. It does fulfil a number of my clothing choice criteria, though. It is cropped and loose, which is one of my favourite styles this season. It is made of a thick fabric that has structural integrity and does not cling to my body. It looks good with my other, mostly neutral clothes. And it can be worn back-to-front, thus providing length variation that increases the versatility of what I can pair it with. The skirt I am wearing here is from the two-piece dress outfit I wore at Christmas, and the shirt is the self-patterned floral one that I showed you a few week ago.
I wore this out to dinner with my girlfriends and felt great. I am looking forward to wearing the crop top in winter, when it is bleak and dark and a splash of colour is just what is needed to lift the spirits. And I am enjoying getting to a point where choosing clothes and putting together outfits has become relatively easy.

I also wanted to share with you a glimpse of our anniversary gift to each other: photographs taken by the very talented Juanita of Broderick Photography. We are delighted to have such beautiful images to mark a special milestone. Whatever happens in the future, it is lovely to record this time when we are happy, healthy and having fun.

Relatively Easy by Jason Isbell

Friday, 23 January 2015

Undercover Angel

I love summer in Brisbane. The days are warm and long, and there is so much happening in the city. This week I went to another fashion exhibition, but one with a bit of a twist. Undressed is an exploration of 350 years of underwear in fashion! The exhibition was enormous fun and it was so interesting to see changes in gender roles, laundry facilities, fibre technology and clothing production reflected in what people wore under their clothes. One snippet that made me laugh was the evolution of lingerie from being merely practical to  being pretty, and the exhortation by a writer in a women's journal that "it is the duty of all women to wear pretty lingerie to save their husbands from the sin of adultery"! Whilst I certainly do not miss the difficulties I used to experience finding a bra that would actually fit, be supportive and be comfortable, I do miss the opportunity to wear the pretty, feminine creations designed for that purpose.

On the first anniversary of my surgery I decided to address this by buying myself a bra. Given that this is a completely decorative item now, I wanted something that was fun and interesting. I chose this one by Helmut Lang and whilst I don't think it would have been supportive enough for me when I had breasts,  I can now enjoy the asymmetry and the novelty of a bra that is purely for show.
Asymmetric bra: Helmut Lang
Top: Veronika Maine
Pants: Country Road
Shoes: Wittner
This is what I wore to the exhibition and I felt like I fitted in perfectly! The mesh top gives me enough exposure to showcase the bra but is covered enough to prevent an arrest for public indecency. It does not in any way camouflage the flatness of my chest but in this kind of outfit I like that. I think that with breasts this would look quite provocative. However, with a flat chest, baggy pants and flat shoes, the outfit avoids blatantly sexy and becomes more interesting and playful. Which is sexy in a different way.
That's my story, anyway. I felt quite daring and cool, without feeling at all exposed or inappropriate.  Do you have underwear that makes you feel especially good about your body?

Undercover Angel by Alan O'Day

Friday, 16 January 2015

Turning Japanese

One of the fun outings I had over my Christmas break was a trip into the Gallery of Modern Art to see the "Future Beauty" exhibition, an exploration of 30 years of Japanese fashion. I loved every part of it, particularly the different approach Japanese designers take to how they present the human body. Many European designers emphasise the shape of the body and create clothes that fit closely. However the exhibition explained Japanese designers use ma, or negative space; the space between clothes and the body.

It struck me that in many of my outfits, this was exactly what I was trying to create: a structural look that did not reveal my body, but that hinted at it's underlying relationship with my clothes. This was the look I was trying to create with my trapeze tops and I realised my dissatisfaction with them was due to the lack of structure in the fabric rather than the shape itself.

                                                             Top: ScanlonTheodore
                                                             Pants: Country Road
This is the top I bought with the gift voucher that was my husband's Christmas present to me. I think it captures the spirit of ma perfectly and I absolutely love it. The fabric is thick and slightly stiff and the shape is constructed with darts and tucks that create volume and structure. It has a trapeze shape but, unlike my tops in softer fabrications, it sits aways from my body and obscures the shape of my torso.

It was quite exciting to me to be able to not only see such a beautiful exhibition but to also learn things that I could immediately implement in my own wardrobe.  I never really thought about fashion theory before, but one taste and I am hooked! I loved the simple elegance that the Japanese designers created with beautiful fabrics and origami-like folds and will be looking for a similar aesthetic in the tops I purchase for my winter wardrobe. Do you have any ideas that inform your choice of clothes?

Turning Japanese by the Vapours

Friday, 9 January 2015

Beautiful Darling

This week, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I have spent more than half my life with him now but I think that in this period of our lives we are having more fun together than we have since we were first married. No longer having the pressure of raising small children, having a home where we have put down roots, having jobs that we both enjoy and a sharpened awareness of how easy it would be to lose each other, has resulted in us appreciating the things that we each bring to the relationship in a much deeper way. So although I am posting an outfit today, you will also have to tolerate my musing on a quarter of a century of marriage.
                                                     Top:Veronika Maine
                                                     Jeans: Just Jeans
                                                     Sandals: Wittner
This top has two layers, with the overlay having gathering at the neck. There is a lot of fabric and I was concerned that is was slightly overwhelming, but it is  quite light and I think the volume works well if paired with more structured bottoms as I have done here.
Here is a closer view of the neckline of the top and a snap of the "25" charm my husband bought me as an anniversary gift. He received the traditional wedding anniversary present of a home-made lemon meringue pie. I would have taken a photo, but 2 days later very little remains!

When we got married, we stood before our family and friends and made a series of promises that neither of us knew we would be able to keep. "For richer or poorer" is possibly not a big stretch when you are a 22 year old student and have never had a lot of money, but the reality of "in sickness and in health" is almost unimaginable to young, fit, healthy people who have never suffered anything more serious than a cold. Likewise, there is a happy naivety in promising "in good times and in bad" without having any understanding of how bad things could be.

However, I think those vows expressed not only blind (some would say foolish) optimism, but also a faith in each other. Faith that our spouse would be there, even when our world was falling apart. Belief that we had the strength to face whatever troubles life brought to our door. Trust that our love and commitment to each other would be enough. And so far, it has been. Thank you, my beautiful darling, for believing in us.

Beautiful Darling by Kate Miller-Heidke

Friday, 2 January 2015


Happy New Year to you all! Because we are old and boring, we spent New Year's Eve watching the second series of Borgen, and got up headache-free on New Years Day to lift weights in a nearly empty gym. I was looking at my blog post from this time last year and have realised that many things have changed in the past 12 months, mostly for the better. Cancer and mastectomy place some pretty significant strains on relationships. Embodiment, self image and sexuality all take a hit in such a radical alteration of appearance and sadly, negotiating a way through that takes work and pain. Happily, it appears that my year of difficult conversations is over and I am looking forward to the joys and challenges of 2015.

                                                   Shirt and pants: Veronika Maine
                                                    Sandals: Wittner
These are pants I bought on sale at the end of winter and they are perfect for those days when it is a little too cool for shorts. I love the pleated,  80's style of the front. The shirt is boxy and cropped, one of my new favourite silhouettes and has a subtle floral self-pattern. One of the recommendations I have read for disguising a flat chest has been to wear a busily patterned top, a tall order for someone who loves neutrals and plains. I think this is an excellent compromise.

It is common at this time of year to make promises to oneself about making changes to your life. One of the suggestions on the Precision Nutrition  Facebook feed has been to choose a word to encapsulate your goals for the year, rather than a resolution that may or may not be kept. I love this idea, and have chosen the word "presence". Living in the moment and enjoying the present is something I find difficult, but probably the practice that will most enrich my life this year.  Worrying about the future and regretting the past are ultimately futile activities and I really don't have enough time to waste it on things that are neither productive nor fulfilling.What will your word for this year be?

Firework by Katy Perry