Aussie Curves – Favourite Colour

2I don’t really have a favorite clothing color, my favorite color is red, but I don’t actually own THAT much red, and as far as clothing goes, I love All the colors and patterns, as you well know! :D But, there is a colour combo that I love together and that is pink and black! There’s something strong and feminine at the same time. and it does remind me of Grease 2… I have to admit that, Ha! Well, I’m feeling better than I was last week with my rant and my fashion show for RAW- natural born artists was a success and I’ll be posting about it soon enough, but it was a wicked night! My favorite thing about this outfit is my turban. I’ve wanted one of these hats for more than 3 years but have never found one. Today I found one in a discount bin for $5. YUP, very happy with it! I’m also wearing my maxi dress I got designed for my grandmother’s 90th a few years ago. I rarely wear maxi dresses (although I did design one for PHO sizzle so some part of my brain must like them?) and did actually blog about this dress at the time, but, some time later I deleted that post because I wasn’t happy with the pics. Anyway, this dress is an exception to my dislike of maxis, and I love the black lace accents against the soft mottled pink. Paired with my new turban and silver accessories, I felt glam as!

6 5 3 4 1Dress: custom made by Red Pearl (now my tech designer for PHO sizzle) Shoes: NO!Shoes Accessories & Turban: all from Fun Accessories

Thanks to my mum for taking these pictures, and thanks to everyone who commented on my last post, I’m getting around to replying over the next couple of days but I really appreciated your advice, thoughts and empathy.

Don’t forget to check out the other Aussie Curves ladies! :D

7xox Jacqui

Rants and Culottes

j1Yeah, I’m wearing head-to-toe (well, not quite cos my shoes aren’t from my brand) PHO sizzle, and if you don’t like it – GET FARKED! Ha, that’s a nice way to start a blog post isn’t it? I’ve got a few things on my mind that are in direct opposite with the beautiful shining sun outside. I should be leaping about like a lamb learning the joys of jumping, but instead I’m frantically planning for the fashion show we’re doing on Friday night and feeling hissy about other things. My sister and my niece are coming over soon, maybe that’ll make me smile.

What are you hissing about dear Jacqui, you ponder. Well, aight, I’ll tell you.

1) Lack of reciprocal blog comments. I’ve bitched about this before, but blogging is not a one way street. It SHOULD be as much about reading and commenting on other blogs as it is about producing your own content. That’s the way I’ve always done it and I quickly stop commenting on people’s blogs who don’t bother to comment on mine. This community of fashion bloggers thrive because we get to know each other and feel like we are friends. If I went to Brazil, Paris or Sydney right now, I know I’d want to meet up with my blogging buddies for coffee because I feel like I know them. I feel embarrassed that in some communities I am a part of, it is so much more about spewing out content that it is about taking the time to look at other blogs. Now, I know people get behind on reading blogs, and for a couple of weeks there, I was super behind on reading my fav blogs cos I was busy with other things, but, I caught up! And, if anyone takes the time to write a comment on my blog, no matter how small, I take the time to check out their blog and comment back. FIN. Oh, and if you don’t have a blog, sorry! Hahah!

2) PHO sizzle’s sizing range. I’ve actually already talked about this on PHO sizzle’s LOVE blog   but unfortunately my brand won’t be continuing plus sizes after this collection. This doesn’t make me particularly hissy per se, but it more makes me really sad for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a minuscule company starting out, I produced sizes 8 to 16 for the first few products of my Teaser collection and actually, that is more of a range than most itty bitty companies who would only do one-offs or just S,M,L. Very quickly people asked me to extend my range, not only smaller women (particularly Vietnamese who felt an affinity with PHO sizzle) but also plus sized women who seemed excited and super keen for our clothes. I felt confident we could make patterns for sizes 18 and 20, but felt after that size we would need to do more fit model measuring and research to increase above that, which we didn’t have the financials for. So, we extended the end of our Teaser collection and all of our Mix n Match Marine Collection to include sizes 6, 18 and 20. I feel sad to cancel making plus sizes after this collection, but, to be completely honest, it isn’t selling! And, that makes me feel depressed. I tried to create a brand that fits most women with the belief that plus size women want to wear the same clothes are straight sizes, and it didn’t work… Maybe because my clothes are too bold for plus sizes? I don’t know, but a big part of me disagrees with that as a fucking statement! Maybe because I didn’t extend above a size 20, but I didn’t feel confident to get the fit right. Maybe because the designs are too niche? But I don’t really believe that either… Perhaps this article says it all more clearly that I ever could, but it really saddens me that I have to cancel this special part of PHO sizzle because it is really close to my heart.

Fast Fashion truly thrives without calculated steps from consumers to support local and small designers. I have noticed the ‘sales culture’ is much more prominent in the Australian Plus Size industry. I mean, ‘sales culture‘ is in the Fast Fashion industry in general, but I have found that more straight sized women are supporting local designers than others. I don’t know the reason for this, but I’d like it to change. So, why sales culture in plus? Is it because big fast fashion plus-size giants (without naming names) charge an arm and a leg for something that shouldn’t cost that much so therefore you wait until it is on sale? Yes, and I understand that, hell, we all like a sale, but have you ever stopped to think you’re perpetuating sales culture by doing this? They up the price at the start cos they know no one will buy it at full price, and the concept of ‘SALE’ is so deeply rooted in your psyche that you don’t even consider buying something until it is on sale. So, the cycle continues… What’s up with that? I deliberately have quoted my prices the way they are because I’m not buying into that ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT. I charge $65 a skirt because I make enough profit (although I’m constantly being told I should charge more because of the great quality of my clothes) at that price, but, I feel that if I kept playing this Australian fashion game (at both a plus size and straight sized level), I would have to charge $135 when I release a skirt just so I can knock it down to $65 for a ‘sale’. THAT IS MADNESS. 

And so, yes, it was great to have the ‘option’ of plus size with PHO sizzle, but unless things are actually purchased and the brand is supported financially at the plus size level, the ‘option’ doesn’t pay my bills. Man, I’m all about quotation marks in this rant. I’m not Kelly Osbourne with enough money to continually pour into a business and provide a big sizing range regardless of the outcome. I’m a part time ESL teacher, full time designer and business owner merely trying to get my brand off the ground and see if I have enough money to keep this dream of mine going a little longer. I know everyone connected to PHO sizzle personally because I hand picked them. My tailor and my IT guy were my friends in Hanoi, my lovely logistics manager and graphic designer were my former students. My book-keeper is my fiance. My clothes are made by a lovely little seamstress in Hanoi who works for me and a guy who sells leather jackets, she worked with my tailor before she left for Sweden. There’s no factory, just her sewing with her great skills, occasionally her husband helps by sewing buttons. We pay them well, and they enjoy working for us because we don’t push them to get stuff done too quickly. Actually for wage comparison, I could get my clothes made here for the same price, but, I choose to support Hanoi as my former home and the people in my business because they are dear to me and we want to build this as an International Small Business. Anyway, I got off topic: While I’d love to keep providing more choice for the Australian (and International) women who are bigger than a size 16, I financially can’t compete with the buying practices that are already in place within this demographic. But, that being said, thanks to the wonderful women who have bought my clothes at this sizing range and supported me – you’re amazing!!! <3

Well, I’m all ranted out. Sorry about that… here’s my outfit:

j4 j3 j2 j6Culottes: Smooth Sailing Shorts by PHO sizzle (I’m wearing a size 16 which are too big cos all my size 14s are in consignment shops and stores around Melb) Top: unreleased Cora Crop Floral by PHO sizzle.

Anyway, seriously I’m tired after getting all those thoughts out of my system, and I have to go back to writing product descriptions…

j5

Happy HUMP DAY y’all!

xox Jacqui

 

Little Witch Pop, Jupiter Queen

6Yeah you know, a couple of things happened this weekend. Me and my sister found a Turkish Restaurant in walking distance which serves breakfast. This is a marvelous discovery for me, and I was pretty flattered when they owner said my Turkish pronunciation was better than his daughters’! Ha! After breakfast we went exploring into a variety store. You know the ones – fake flowers, weird ceramic frogs singing and an abundance of Tupperware. There was also a dodgy nail polish and lipstick section where I picked up this gold lipstick for a whopping $3.50! I got the pearl stickers there too…

2The other thing that happened this weekend was I have been listened to A LOT of Azealia Banks in preparation for PHO sizzle‘s next runway show this Friday as part of RAW Melbourne’s current show.  I’m using three of her songs from Fantasea for catwalk music and one of the songs, Atlantis, has been stuck in my head nonstop! I was raving about the lyric ‘little witch pop jupiter queen’ to my friend Nikki yesterday and decided that I’d do a post interpretation of that lyric, cos after my Anastasia Screamed in Vain post I guess that is what I’m doing these days – hearing a random lyric and basing a whole post around it! So, here it is! And you may wonder why I’m wearing a fur jacket when it is clearly too hot, but I haven’t had a chance to show it off yet cos I lent it to the Divine Miss K from Horror Kitsch Bitch shortly after I bought it and got it back recently, so, I needed to quickly do a post before summer seriously comes to kick our arse!

1 3 4 9 8 10 12 11 7Jacket: thrifted Dress: Glassons Glasses: Jay Jays Hat: Dangerfield Boots: I don’t know… 

Anyway, this is what I reckon a little witch pop jupiter queen would look like. Listen to the song here!  Happy Sunday everyone!!!!

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xox Jacqui

 

Aussie Curves – Skirt

1Yesterday I did a teaser on my facebook page and instagram showing this picture, promising I was going to explain why I need to fake tan when my hair is platinum (as opposed to various pastel hues) . I honestly think the pictures speak for themselves! If I hadn’t had a mystic tan from my friend’s shop in the CBD called Glow Station (I reviewed them here) I would have the same colour hair, skin and clothes! Ha!

10Instead I look like an uber brown goddess! Well… no, not quite, but there is certainly something Grecian going on with these pictures. This week Aussie Curves have the theme ‘skirt’, and, since I’ve shown most, if not all, my skirts before I thought I’d show my brand PHO sizzle‘s luxurious faux wrap around Beach Maxi made of lightweight white linen and pair it with the fast selling Cora Crop which is made of the same fabric. This combo looked awesome on the model at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and it looks just as awesome on me for a lovely lightweight summer white out look – when I am tanned! Haha! Thanks to my friend Kristie for taking these rather creative pictures, and thanks to my mum for letting me steal one of her protea‘s for a prop! :D

2 8 3 5 13 7 11 12 6 9Skirt: Beach Maxi in size 14 from PHO sizzle Top: Cora Crop in size 18 (for an oversized look-it is meant to be quite fitted normally) from PHO sizzle Jewelry: all from Fun Accessories a closing down clearance store on (around) 210 Brunswick Street Tan: Glow Station

Anyway, since I rarely would wear a complete white out look, I’m glad I showed it off and pretended I was on Santorini instead in Melbourne, and I’m loving the white skirt that is part of this collection, it makes me REALLY wanna go to the beach!

Don’t forget to check out the other Aussie Curves skirt looks :)

aussie curves 2

4xox Jacqui

AND HAPPY FRIDAY!! YEAH!!

 

 

Fern Gully

1Ahhh, Victoria; the only place where a horse race equates a state holiday! Not that I’m complaining too much, I mean, I like having the day off and chilling in my friend Bear’s ferny garden, eating far too much cheese and fruit and drinking champagne, but the horse race? Don’t fucking care… In fact, I more than don’t care, I actually disagree with horse racing as a sport, and, this year two horses died so we can continue this FINE tradition of pushing animals to their physical limits so we can place money on them ‘winning’ for our entertainment. And if you drive past Flemington on this day, you’ll see hordes of inebriated people – drunk women who carefully teeter about in uncomfortable heels and obnoxious hats assuring themselves they look classy, others that have abandoned their shoes and fasincators all together and sit on the curb scowling with heatstroke as they wait for ‘hubby’, who’s just as soused up, to try and hail a cab by stepping directly into the middle of traffic – cos, fuck yeah, he’s a white-3o-something-male who’s had too much booze and how dare the cab don’t stop for him!! Hmm, so, yeah, as you can see, I roll my eyes pretty hard at Racing Season, but, I am grateful to be able to hang out with my friend on her public holiday.  We discussed photography and an up-coming lookbook for PHO sizzle as well as how amazing nature, and the colors of nature are. These ferns looked so pretty when we took these pictures, the dappled sunlight painting them different vivid shades of green. Lovely.

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4 7 8 3 6Top: handmade – fabric from Spotlight Skirt: thrifted Earrings: borrowed from my sister

Thanks to Bear for taking these photos and providing a lovely afternoon of delicious food, inspiring conversation and lots of giggles.

 

5xox Jacqui

 

Leader Of The Pack – Alt Curves

1Yeah, it’s a new month for #alternativecurves, which means a new challenge! Last month we did Alternative Fairytales and I retold Pavel Bazhov’s versions of one of the fairytales from the Perm region in Russia (where I lived once upon a time). It was about The Mistress Of Copper Mountain and was certainly the longest post I’ve ever written! This month the theme is Leader Of The Pack, which for me originally conjures up amazing images of the Pink Ladies, Wanda from Crybaby or perhaps even the amazing Teddy Girls from 50s London.  Now, this is gonna be amazing and I can’t wait to see what the other ladies come up with, but, for me, see, I’ve already dressed as Wanda. And, it’s too hot to go as a Teddy Girl, so, I went a bit further with the loose ‘girl gang’ theme and went with ’90’s girl gang’ in a salt-n-pepa-girlfriend-pretty-fly-for-a-white-gal kinda thang… Yeah… you dig? I gotta add, I was in hysterics editing these pictures – I’m so out of my comfort zone with this outfit and the fact I decided a milk crate would make my backyard suddenly be good enough to look like a street corner is making me lose my mind! Ha! Enjoy, I’m gonna go listen to Ain’t Nuthin But a She Thing and None of Your Business now (my two fav Salt-N-Pepa songs).

5311108742126But, you know, I am the leader of a pack of two?

9Hugo’ll be in my pack any day. :D

Make sure you check out the other Alternative Curves gals when they add their look, and don’t forget to follow them on instagram too under the name @alternativecurves.

xox Jacqui

 


Monday’s Child Poem

So, YAY! I’ve finally finished my #childrenoftheweek series based on the poem Monday’s Child. You’ve probably seen all these looks separately, but I thought I’d pop them together for one post. Just click on the link to be taken back to the original post!

mon

 Monday’s child is fair of face,

 

tues

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

 

wed

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

 

thur

Thursday’s child has far to go,

 

fri

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

 

sat

Saturday’s child works hard for a living

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But the child who is born on the Sabbath day,

is bonny and blythe and good and gay.

 I had so much fun with this series and I’m happy I finally finished it! 7 looks for 7 different days and 7 different children! :) xox Jacqui

But the Child Born on the Sabbath Day…

15Yes, I’m a slacker. Sunday’s Child should have been done week’s ago but I was kind of stuck. In case you didn’t know I’m doing a series of posts based on the children’s nursery rhyme Monday’s Child and have done all the days except Sunday. You can see a summary of the days I’ve done and links to them on Saturday’s Child Work’s Hard For a Living . Anyway, onto Sunday’s child. Born on ye old Sabbath day… hmmm. Bonny, AND blythe AND good AND gay!? hmmm. That’s a lot to put into one child. I was playing around ideas of dressing all in white and trying to look angelic, or, just wearing a rainbow jumpsuit, but in the end I decided on this kaftan you’ve seen before here  and went with some of Miss Hannigan’s orphans’ advice – you’re never fully dressed without a smile. For Sunday’s child, a big happy smile seemed paramount!! So, where was I going to get a huge happy smile from? I remembered this post in Senegal, and the final photo of me smiling like a child on Christmas morning, see, my fiance can make me smile like that, but, he’s not here… :( So, for this post I set up the automatic timer on my camera and played a wonderful game of ‘make believe’ (probably the kind that happy Sunday’s child a.k.a Pollyanna would totally be down for!) . I pretended my fiance was here. In my garden, taking these happy happy photos of me, and, to a certain degree, it worked. :) So, here you have Sunday’s Child:

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“But the child born on the Sabbath day, is bonny and blythe and good and gay.”

14 10 7 11 12 9Kaftan: Kashkha Shoes: Payless Shoes Sunnies: Jay Jays

Whoa, my series has finished! Wow!! Talk about completing something I start! BOO YAH! HUZZAH! I’ll do a summary of all the children of the week tomorrow, but if you have instagram, I’ve hashtagged the pictures I’ve uploaded for them there as  #childrenoftheweek

Hope you have a lovely Sunday – I’ll be at Rose St Artists’ Market selling PHO sizzle all day :)

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xox Jacqui

One Year Ago

1Holy Guacamole, Batman! It’s been 365 days since I left Hanoi! 365 days since I left my home for more than 3 years, my full time ESL job, my gorgeous duplex with beautiful red sofas and glorious balcony, my lovely friends, my amazing hair dresser, my hilarious xe om driver, the most talented tailor in the world (who I snaffled for PHO sizzle), my students and my fiance…well, he left a few weeks after I did and we met up again in Senegal last December.

So, yeah, this is going to be one of those ‘reflective’ type posts, be warned! I can tell you this – 1 year ago I didn’t think I would have a clothing brand that I would dedicate most of my time on. Seriously, PHO sizzle was perhaps in the deepest caverns of my brain a year ago, but it certainly wasn’t planned. I thought I would come back to Melbourne for a little while, go to Senegal, then, probably find a country where me and my fiance could live together easily. After job searching and realizing we probably should have stayed in Vietnam or moved to China, I decided to pursue another interest, as, quite honestly, ESL was boring to me. You get to a certain level in any job and you realize there is no where else you’d like to go. No higher that you’d like to climb, and that was how I felt with education. I think when you get to a certain level of experience then you are expected to move into these other roles instead of just teaching. And, after 7 years of teaching and experiencing all the little niches of ESL (general, kids, business, actual niches like teaching shop assistants, academic) I think I was expected to want to move into either curriculum development, assessment and testing or IELTS stuff, PD, student support type roles, or, (a gazillion shudders) management. And, you see, fuck that! I like teaching! Not the mumbo jumbo wank and corporate jargon, just TEACHING.  And I’m damn good at it! So, I figured I’d take a break for a while and then, voila, PHO sizzle was born. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do still casually teach ESL in Melbourne a few days a week, but, it is just that. Casual Teaching. I come in, I do a great job, I go home. No work plans. No pressure (well, very little pressure) .

So, I’ve got the best of both worlds now. I can do what I wanted which was pure teaching with no bullshit and work full time on my brand. If only a decision would be made on my fiance’s visa then I’d be the happiest gal in Christendom!

3 4 5 2Dress: custom made in Hanoi Hat: Dotti Shoes: thrifted Sunnies: Jay Jays

One year is a long time, especially when you’re waiting on visa approval, but, this post has made me realize, it also isn’t that long, and hopefully if I keep concentrating on my brand and work hard, before I know it, my fiance will be next to me in Australia. :)6

until he comes though, I have Hugo to make me smile.

Happy hump day!

xox Jacqui

Aussie Curves – Secondhand

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Last year for the Secondhand week for Aussie Curves I dressed in head-to-toe thrift and loved it but I figured it would be kinda boring if I did that again. You see, if I have to draw a pie chart of my wardrobe (which I’m highly tempted to do now cos I love me a good pie chart) it would comprise of about 1/4 secondhand. Half of it would be custom made clothing from when I was in Vietnam and the final quarter would be typical fast fashion evilness that is  intent on destroying our local designers with their low low prices, shoddy manufacturing ethics and horrible ‘sales’ culture. Ha! That escalated quickly! But seriously, I’m trying to eliminate that final 1/4 and build it into ‘small businesses whose clothes I like and want to support’ instead of buying those cheap basics on sale from brand x.

Anyway… as I was saying before I began ranting, since 1/4 of my clothes are second hand, it made this challenge rather easy and I thought instead of picking 1 thing that is secondhand, I’d pick 3 items that I care so much about and explain their magic to you. Also, you may also be wondering about my epic glasses in these pictures, and well, yes, if you ever find yourself pretty soused at Section 8 at 4pm in the afternoon, (not that I would know what that feels like) there’s a gorgeous lil shop in Chinatown called Pink. They were $15. That is all. Onto my treasured second hand pieces!

My Nana’s ‘Mourning’ Tartan Cape

1 2 6

 The Stewart Clan (meaning my immediate family- Hahah) actually have two very similar capes with Stewart Tartan prints on them, both made of thick thick wool that make you feel like you’re wearing a blanket. I prefer this one cos it’s reversible and I LOVE anything reversible.  My Dad’s mother owned these and handed them down to her daughters and daughters-in-law and then finally they trickled down to me. MWA HA HA! My mum calls it the ‘funeral tartan’ cape as she said that many tartans with black in them are the mourning version of the tartan, and since one side has Royal Stewart tartan, then the other prob has mourning Royal Stewart, so, you know, you can just reverse it when you’re at a funeral… this is all unsubstantiated hearsay at this stage, but I am trying to find out more about ‘mourning tartans’ as I type. Right! A long amount of time and a deep wikipedia binge has happened between those 2 sentences!!!  I have found out the reverse side of this cape is merely called Black Stewart Tartan, not mourning tartan, but no where have I found when you are meant to wear it… So, I’ll conclude by saying the purpose is for me to wear it during Melbourne winter and withdraw my hands inside against the wind and thank my Nana for having such good taste in capes!

Other posts featuring this gorgeous cape:

My Dad’s Alpaca Wool Cardi from Peru

9 10Mum and Dad went to South America and the Caribbean after they got married but before they had kids, you can see some pics of them in my post That 70’s Inspiration: My Parents. Somewhere along their journey of teaching and touristing Dad picked up this extremely warm cardigan made from Alpaca wool. Its obviously hand-made with tribal and Aztec designs. Dad wore it a lot when we went camping to cold places when I was little and as well as handmade ‘thumb holes’ that Dad probably made for easy ‘cold mornings fishing’ purposes, it’s obviously been fed to evil moths over the years of hiding in a closet because by the time I got it earlier this year to take to Adelaide it had many moth holes and was falling apart! I was so sad that I went to the local knitting shop near my house and asked the kind lady there whether it was salvageable. She found me a wool that would suit the colours and explained to me how to fix all the holes. I’m really happy I fixed it because now it will last a lot longer and hopefully I’ll be able to hand it down to my kids one day. I also kept the thumb holes. :)

 Other posts featuring this amazing cardi:

My Great Grandmother’s Red Riding Hood Cloak

8 7My mum found this cloak in her grandmother’s closet when she was 17. Her grandmother had used it as a dress-up for red riding hood costumes at some point. Mum, being a radical teen growing up in the late 60’s snaffled it and wore it all through her university years at La Trobe. It was, in her own words, “part of my signature look. People saw me and I bet they thought, ‘who’s that short-arse blonde with the weird glasses, red riding hood coat and peace sign pendant round her neck?” The fact that this cloak is, as I’ve said before in other posts featuring it, probably from the 1920s means it is probably close to 90 years old. Isn’t that so amazing? And my mum wore it continuously for her time at uni and now, this past winter I’ve been wearing it too. I have to fix the sleeves a bit with some very careful hand sewing when I have time, but what a beautiful heirloom! If I have children I’ll be passing down this beautiful velvet cloak to them, even if it is just for dress-up parties.

Other posts featuring this lovely cloak:

So, there you have it – My three most treasured secondhand pieces that mean a lot to me and my family and that I will keep and hand down to my children. Don’t forget to check out the other Aussie Curves ladies second hand posts! And thanks to my Mum for taking these and reminding me of the history of these garments.

aussie curves 2

3xox Jacqui



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