Notes for a song

Category: Clothes

What I like

1. Girls dressed as boys

2. Women dressed as girls

3. Woollen baseball caps

4. A bit of sparkle

5. White after Labor Day

6. A pintuck or a pleat


Festival fashion

Everyone looked real cool at the Afropunk festival yesterday.
There were lots of dudes dressed like Tupac.
There were lots of chicks in very short shorts.
There were winged sneakers, creepers and even beepers.
I saw a girl in blue suede platform shoes – I didn’t step on them.
There was a huge spikey green mohawk
that musta taken a dozen eggs to hold in place.

Trying to be discreet

I decided to start my career as a street style photographer.
There are several problems with this career move.
First of all, to be a street style photographer you kind of need some hi-tech equipment. Or you need one of those little point-and-shoots you can clutch whilst clutching your clutch.
I only have my crappy phone camera.
Second, you need to be able to be recognised so you don’t seem like a creep. Like Bill Cunningham. No one would be like, “Hey creep, quit taking photos of me” if Bill was taking photos of them.
Third, you need to be real social and friendly. You need to be able to go up to people and be like, “You look amazing. Can I please photograph you for my blog?” And then maybe have a business card or something.
I’m quite shy. And I don’t have a business card.

So I decided to just be a discreet creep. I saw this beautiful girl wearing a multi-coloured stripey 1930s hat perched on top of her glorious curly up-do. It was kind of like a pillbox or stiff beret. I held up my phone like I was going to make a call and pressed the button. The indiscreet click caught her attention. She turned to me. Not knowing what to do I just flashed her this big goofy smile. Luckily she smiled back.
“I love your hat!” I said.
“Thank you.” She mouthed over the street musicians.

I’m not sure if I will stick to my new career, but I’ll let you know.

Lack of focus

No wonder I can never finish things.

I’m packing up my room today and I have unearthed some treasures.

There’s the beginning of a novel which starts out as a kind of magic realist vampire story and a few pages later is more like pulpy romance.

There are no less than 8 half-full notebooks which shift from poetry to shopping lists to journal entries to short film scripts.

There’s the nude lipstick, the neon orange lipstick, the cherry red lipstick, the purple, the bright pink.

There’s the baseball cap, the sequined hat, the schoolgirl beret.

There’s the start of a Master’s since abandoned… no wonder, I was trying to combine thrift markets, hip hop and internet performance into one cohesive argument.

This a diagram of asanas to be performed each night to aid insomnia. Another diagram of asanas to be performed in the morning to increase energy. I’m not sure which is which.

I am unfocused by nature, preferring to spend a little time on a wide variety of activities. my old school reports I found suggest the same.
I like so many different things, and am passionate about more than a few.

I’m packing to Gang Starr and The Fugees – that hasn’t changed.

The holiest outfit in the world

Isn’t it funny how sounds and smells can evoke memories so strong they seem real? Well I guess objects can do it to.

This is a sad/happy tale of a little black silk singlet I bought in 2006. Now, my choppy and changey attitude to fashion means that clothing items stay in my wardrobe no longer than a couple of years and then get sold/swapped/ebay’d/trademe’d/donated or just plain chucked. But for some reason this little black silk singlet has stayed with me. Actually, I do know why. It’s a very nice shape. It sits under anything. It’s soft, it’s comforting. It’s been with me through major landmark events, it’s survived several transoceanic flights, it’s served as key undergarment to many a sheer blouse. I always thought this little cami and I would be friends forever.

I remember the first time I washed it, I poured tepid water into a bucket and added a tiny drop of washing liquid. I was so careful as I handled the silk, I patted the fabric gently, avoided wringing it, then I lay it on a towel to dry. Over the years I have become lazier, tossing the cami in with other handwashables in a big soupy mess of fabrics, hanging it over wire racks, balling it up in the bottom of the laundry basket and more recently I’ve taken to letting it slip into the machine (on delicate cycle! But still!) Today I reached for old faithful cami and as I lifted it over my head I noticed the holes that had been forming these last lazy years had widened, the stitches at the seam coming apart entirely. To put it simply, old cami is one foot in the grave.

I wore it anyway.

I remembered wearing it on stage at a poetry reading in Wellington. I remembered briefly considering donating it to an op shop in Glasgow. I remembered wearing it out to a club inside a wine barrel on the LES.

On my way out of the house, I noticed three large holes in my wool cardigan as well.

Coffee stain

It’s pouring with rain and I really should just stay indoors but I’m getting cabin fever and I’m not really motivated to tidy my room so I decide to head out, grab a coffee from Cibi, take the tram somewhere. I have a lot of bags. I also have my hot takeaway coffee cup (sorry, environment). I also have my ipod (of course).

I’m sitting opposite a gorgeous Asian girl who looks unimpressed with the weather, the tram, my many bags. There’s also a skater guy who looks bored. They both have ipods. One of the skater dude’s fav songs comes on his ipod and he gets a bit animated. He starts to tap his foot. One of my fav songs comes on my ipod and I start to tap mine. He starts to drum his fingers against his bag. I tap a fingernail against my coffee cup. He starts to bob his head. I start to bob mine. Are we in some kind of competition? Girl opposite looks amused. Everyone else on the tram continues to ignore us. Skater dude starts mouthing the words to the song. I do it too. He bangs out a rhythm on his lap. I start to use my coffee cup as a bongo. The tram lurches. The last of my coffee spills out of the cup and flows all over my backpack and jeans.

Skater dude looks disgusted. Girl opposite flashes me the warmest smile you’ve ever seen and hands me a tissue. I beam back and mouth the words, “Thank you”.

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours…?”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

How to survive fashion week

I won this competition to go to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week last week (you may have noticed my entry on this blog). Big thank you to Vogue and Ausmode for organizing the comp! Having never been to a fashion week, or day, or hour, before, this was all very exciting. A glimpse at the world that goes on outside the thrift stores I usually get my fashion fix from. A world where you can wear 10cm high heels everywhere and no one will think you’re overdressed. A world where a man in towering stilettos and a bright red feather fascinator is a revered figure.

It being my first, and probably last, fashion week I wanted to soak it all in. I learnt a lot. I thought I’d share some of my new knowledge with you, in case you ever have the chance to experience this amazing cultural tradition first hand.

1. Always bring a pair of flats in your handbag. Or just wear your sneakers to the show. True fashionistas suffer through the pain of platforms all day, but luckily for us mortals sneakers are perfectly acceptable fashion week footwear. As long as they have big plastic flowers on them or something.

2. Wear wack stuff. I mean, if you can’t afford some amazing designer trenchcoat with a straw collar, just wear heaps of wack stuff. No one cares if everything you wear comes from op shops as long as you look like a rainbow threw cowboy and soldier costumes all over you.

3. Strong legs do strut down many of the runways. Not everyone is super skinny. Don’t feel bad about shoving down a burger or some sushi just before a show. I’m sure you still look amazing. And if you sneak around the backstage, you’ll see all the models doing it too.

4. If you are a designer and you don’t want your models taking off their too-big heels and spraying cotton wool over the runway, put them in Docs like LF Markey.

5. By the end of the week, most people stop going to the show and you’ll probs maybs get bumped up to the front row.

Getting ready v. going out

Getting ready is when you can play DJ, blast your choice of music (be it Prince, Beyonce, or Wu-Tang, unless you’re like me and then it’s all three) out of your speakers. There’s none of those “filler” tracks you have to put up with at the club.

Going out you might hear something you love but haven’t got round to putting on your itunes, or something completely new. You could hold your phone up and find out the name of the band, or ask a beguiling stranger you’ve had your eye on if they know.

Getting ready you are your own stylist, you can prance around in a million different outfits, imagine yourself gliding across the d-floor in your heels. Going out often ends with your heels slung over your shoulder, or the distinct feeling you would’ve been happier in your PJs.

Going out you get to perve on other people, people-watching is the new porn. Everyone is looking their absolute best (until the night turns and it’s their absolute worst). You get to make new friends in the bathrooms, sharing make up tips or lipstick.

Getting ready you can talk about anything you want, be as loud as you want, drink as much as you want (as long as you live close to a bottle shop). You are with a band of friends, you are invincible.

Going out you might have to raise your voice above the music, then lower it again to avoid looks from the table next to you. You might end up engaged in a political debate with a complete stranger and realize the alcohol’s causing you to lose. But you could also meet someone who says their favorite book is the same as yours and writes their number on the inside cover of another book they are recommending to you.

Getting ready holds all the promise, all the potential, which would all be wasted if we just stayed at home.

Fashion week competition

Tell us in 25 words or less which designer you’d most like to see at Fashion Week

Ellery. Ellery is punchy and daring, a feminine silhouette with a sharp masculine finish. Bold lines compete with frosty pastels and glitsy metallics for attention.


I’m going to Frankston today, I’m excited. I’m almost skipping along to my ipod shuffle as I enter Parliament station. I make my way over to the ticketing booth where the attendant calls me “Sweetie”. I feel a pang for New York. He then informs me on the weekend you don’t need to purchase a zone 2 ticket. He is my new favourite person.

On the train, I set myself up with novel, ipod shuffle, water, notebook and pen all within reach. It’s like I’m going to another world, even though I used to do longer train rides from Croton to Grand Central every day. I try counting the stations until I fall asleep. We pull into Frankston at 11am.

On my way out of the train station I spot two tweens in immaculate Clueless getup, complete with mini backpacks and mary janes. Rats, I think as I see them heading to the Savers. Oh well, they are both much tinier than me.

The Savers seems no better than the ones in the city, but Frankston provides the early riser with an abundance of smaller church thrift stores down little lanes and back alleys.

Unfortunately, all the skinny jeans are all too big for me and the ones that fit are all bootcut, but I do find a pair of lime green capris I figure I can dye later. I find an arts and crafts store that sells iDye (from the Apple domestic products line?). This new-fangled dye can actually be popped right into your washing machine – a bit risky when you have housemates. I pocket some for three times the price of the capris and decide it’s time to head home.

It’s not until halfway through the train ride home – somewhere around Mentone – that I notice the photo of the naked woman on the cover of my novel.

I hope the kindly old ladies sitting across from me don’t think I’m reading porn.