It’s Terminology Tuesday again and this week in the spotlight is…

Gaiters, Spats and Spatterdashes!

Check out these! Aren’t they just gorgeous!

It’s a crying shame that Les Frivolites appears to have stopped making them. Perhaps someone knows more? I so badly want some. Might need to get handy with my leather stock.


photo source:

kneegaiterslsdemone2 by Les Frivolites


photo source:

gaitersummerblack4 by Les Frivolites

These are awesome for the men folk. Though more ankles cuffs than gaiters. Still…

New Spatsphoto source:


But now to the point of the post…


Giallo rosso blu... Yellow, red and blue...

The Pope’s Swiss Guards.

Photo source: Flickr 23008537

Coverings for the legs and ankles, made of cloth or leather and buttoned, buckled or laced at the sides, secured by a strap under the foot.

Worn by men from the end of the 18th century to the early 20th century, the gaiter protects the leg and ankle from the dirt and grime of the wearers environment. Originating in the military, the gaiter was later adapted for civilian use.


A carved panel from The Arc de Triumphe, Paris depicting an artistic representation of significant french military history from late 1700’s to mid 1800’s. Spatterdashers or long Gaiters clearly worn by figure in right side of panel.
photo source:

[Unidentified young soldier in Union sack coat, forage cap, and white gaiters with sword] (LOC)

Unidentified Union Solider. date unknown. American Civil War 1861 to 1865.

photo source:


From 1820 to 1840 (Victorian times), women and children also adopted the gaiter and then again in the 1890’s until the early 20th century.

Children's Costumes, May 1849Children’s Costumes, May 1849

Photo source:

In the very groovy 1960’s the gaiter was again revisited in vinyl, leather, and cloth, though now for predominantly fashionable reasons.

Well that’s what the powers that be tell me but do you think I could find a suitable image to insert??? No siree.

However we can enjoy this lovely collage of 1960’s footwear…

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Slithering snakes can inspire such fear, yet up close there is so much beauty in the way the scales and colour variations meld together.

I love this wall, to me it speaks of reptilian inspiration, which I love in the built environment. So this is a take, on a take if you like.

Best on…

Deep Autumn (Warm, muted and dark) colour inspiration #3 colour inspiration #3 colour inspiration #3 colour inspiration #3 

Sadly with the demise of Polyvore this compilation is no longer available.

Discover your inner viper.


For more colour inspiration click on the colour category in the “Let’s talk” cloud at the top right of the home page.


click here to go to my last Photobomb friday post.


All of the garments featured have been selected for their aesthetics only. Items vary dramatically in price and I make no claims as to their ethical or non ethical standing. For your entertainment and inspiration only. 


For the next in my series of colour inspirations, I wanted to choose something quite different, something bold, bright and energetic.

So best on…

Cool Winter (cool and clear)

Deep Winter (cool, clear and dark)

Clear Winter (cool, clear and bright)

Clear Spring (warm, clear and bright.

stick sculpture

stick sculpture

Color by COLOURlovers stick sculpture

Sadly with the demise of Polyvore this compilation is no longer available.

Yay! Be Brave today!


For more colour inspiration click on the colour category to the right in the tool bar or click here to go to my last photo bomb post.

Do you know your Derby’s from your Oxfords? Or you Boater from your Breton? Or in fact your plaid from your tartan? There is so much fashion terminology that we hear bandied about and it can get quite befuddling.

In the interest of…………….. well… interest, and clarity in moments of discourse regarding costume, I hereby officially pledge to share with you on Terminology Tuesday, each week a quick explanation of a quirky or curious costume term.

First up is:

The Mortar board



You know the one. This is the funny looking head wear of university and college graduates. It consists of a large square black brim attached horizontally to a cap.

Commonly worn with an academic robe featuring the colours representative of the faculty of study, this academic dress, has been in use since the 14th century.

Over time and in different cultures the rules and customs governing its use have diversified.  However in many customs the large centrally attached tassel is positioned to the right before graduation and switched to the left afterwards. (So yep he has graduated.)

Other names used to refer to this item include: cater cap, corner cap, cornet, Oxford Cap, trencher cap, and square cap.

Go here to read the Wikipedia and a more comprehensive lowdown.

Happy Tuesday,


Beach BBQ

Best on Soft Summer / Cool, Muted and Soft and Soft Autumn / Warm, Muted and Soft but also good on Cool and Light Summers. Beach BBQ

COLOURlovers palette. Beach BBQ by Stylemetamorphosis

COLOURlovers palette. Beach BBQ by Stylemetamorphosis

Sadly with the demise of Polyvore this compilation is no longer available.

Happy late Summer weekend.



I grew up on a TV diet of “Countdown”, “FAME” and “The Muppet’s”. Yep! Says it all really. Oh, also David Attenborough and Harry Butler.

It all comes together in the long run. Nature, Biology, Costume, pop culture…. love it.

The Muppet’s have stood the test of time. Even my technology savvy children love the Muppet’s. The daggy jokes, on the money characterizations and ridiculous sketches. They, of course, get the added bonus of laughing at the out of date fashion. We do have to explain who the stars are, Leo Sayer is their favourite, and why wouldn’t he be? For the uninitiated, here is a classic episode of The Muppet’s featuring Leo Sayer and some spectacular Miss Piggy tantrums. It’s a full episode so only click if you have time. If not here is a quick bit of nostalgia to get you in the mood.


Now for the Lessons (In no particular order):

10. Sam The Eagle


photo credit :
click for original image source.

Species: American Bald Headed Eagle.

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Cool Winter (I’d rather say Ice Winter but there’s no such thing.)

Physical characteristics: Ice blue grey fur and feathers, balding on top of course. Bushy black knitted brow, prominent frowning beak, and saggy, eye bags.

What Sam’s style tells us about him: Given that he wears no clothing this is a bit of a challenge. However he does like on occasion to drape the American flag over his shoulders or at least use it as a backdrop. Sam sees himself as the upholder of America’s values of “goodness and wholesomeness” on the show. When you combine his patriotism with his cold, conservative, old age associated colour with that frowning, grumpy expression and you know immediately he’s going to be an inflexible, uptight, conservative pedant.

Here is one of my favourite Muppet scenes where Sam concedes to assisting Rowlf with a song. Something Sam considers well beneath him.


Lesson: No matter what you’re wearing if your body language says you’re a grumpy, stuck up, pain in the posterior, no amount of sunshine yellow and smiley faces will save you.


AnimalS1photo credit :

click for original image source.

Technically a member of Electric Mayhem but he’s kinda special so he gets a spot of his own.

Species: um pass… Neanderthal? Ok, human but behaving in an animalistic (sic) manner, hence the name.

Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Clear Spring / Warm, Clear and Bright

Physical characteristics: Wild, orange and red feathery hair with purple highlights. Bushy black eye brows, bulbous red nose, crooked white teeth and an enormous mouth.

What Animal’s style tells us about him: Well, for a start if its necessary for you to be restrained with a neck collar and chain then the message is pretty loud and clear.

Watch out! We have a LIVE one here!

Wild, uninhibited, feral and quite possibly mad, Animal is the delightful embodiment of the primal urges in all of us. One of the Muppet’s most popular characters and certainly one of mine. Animal’s look is seriously feral rock and roll of the 70’s kind. Tight leather, stomach revealing rope tied top, and rope belt, he’s like an out of control rock and roll pirate. Reminds me of a certain legendary wild man of music’s recent foray into film!

Lesson: All that crazy hair, revealing clothing, and use of leather and rope, Animal’s look is sexual, on the edge and easy to recognize. I think the greater lesson however is more in Animal’s immense popularity rather than his look. So many people can relate to the completely puerile, instinct driven, pleasure-seeking life view of Animal. In other words whilst we might not all dress like Animal, we’d like to be that free.

Reportedly, Frank Oz, who originally brought Animal to life, once said he had his character down to five words: sex, sleep, food, drums and pain.

He also said, “You don’t mess with Animal. He eats glass, man.”

The lesson….. embrace your inner Animal, its liberating. And don’t mess with a man who eats glass.

Perhaps we should all get ourselves a piece of rope for a belt and a neck chain?


P.S. I love Animal.


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The Arts Centre Melbourne, Performing Arts Collection presents The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush, an exhibition. At the Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery One, 6th July – 27th October 2013


Geoffrey Rush is an actor with a thorough grounding in the art of theatre making. He has clowned, acted, directed and written for more than forty years. Featured on stage and screen, here and abroad, he has created legions of diverse characters and memorable film moments.

In the process he has received many accolades, including: Four academy awards nominations (with one win), three Bafta’s, two Golden Globe’s, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, an Emmy, a Tony, a Helpmann, two Green Room Awards, the AFI’s Raymond Longford Award and The Australian of the Year 2012.

He is also the only Australian to have won the “triple crown of acting”, an Academy award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. Sure seems like enough to keep one young man busy and out of trouble!

It is this depth of experience and passion for his craft that is evident in his contribution to The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush exhibition, offering a rare insight into the wonderful world of the mechanics of this working actors mind. For me, of particular interest and that which I wish to discuss here, are the snippets of insight regarding the influence of costume in his development of character.

Curated and presented by The Arts Centre Melbourne’s Performing Arts Collection in collaboration with Rush, The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush is yet another outstanding exhibition bound to be added to their list of popular successes.

Covering 200 years of performance history and consisting of approximately 510,000 items, housed in vaults under the grassy knoll between The Arts Centre spire and Hamer Hall, The Performing Arts Collection is highly significant, documenting our live performing arts history. Whilst the collection has been relatively unknown to date, its profile is growing through the passion and guidance of The Arts Centre Collections team and high-profile advocates such as Barry Humphries and Geoffrey Rush. In recent years the collections team have produced and toured highly successful exhibits celebrating some of our iconic artists such as Kylie, Nick Cave and AC/DC.

As you enter the exhibition one of the first things you encounter is a film montage of a selection of Rush’s work. A highly enjoyable creation, I particularly appreciated the manner in which links were created between each clip, focusing on a particular aspect of performance common to each work e.g. laughter, spitting, emotion, kisses, tenderness,  welcomes, gun craft, and fire!, …

Seeing each character and film presented in this rapid, linked chain of images showcased the diversity of Rush as a performer but also brought home the humanity and normality of the individual. It highlighted the nature of this craft that takes a person and transforms them through mannerism, posture and voice but also costume, setting, script, soundtrack and cinematography to create entirely different identities.

“for him, the key to a character’s personality is often found in specific shapes of their appearance, such as posture, costume components or overall silhouette. The shapes of his characters are simultaneously literal and fanciful.”

page 14, The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush Exhibition Catalogue.

A director, costume designer, or actor may be responsible individually or collaboratively for what we, the audience see on stage or screen as the character’s clothing. It is easy to underestimate the extent to which a selection of items, their colour, shape and design can influence an actors performance, and in turn our interpretation of who they are and the role they play in the story. Many costume designers would argue that the most successful costumes are those that go largely unnoticed, those that blend with a story and character so seamlessly that they become one entity. It is wonderful to be able to reflect upon Rush’s interpretation of his costume, and the way in which it effects his development of the character, that we in turn interpret for ourselves.

If there was ever any doubt, anywhere, that a collection of items of clothing on a person create an image and an identity, that we as individuals and as a society interpret and project meaning upon, then these examples of Rush’s process should dispel that doubt. Read More

Ladies Day at the Races 1976.

Just found this on the Victorian Arts Centre’s, Performing Arts Collection blog.

What’s not to love about the Dame?

Though I think she could have found a bigger hat.


Book Description (from Publisher Harper Collins)

“Coming at a time when the global financial crisis and contracting of consumer spending is ushering in a new epoch for the fashion industry, TO DIE FOR offers a very plausible vision of how green could really be the new black.

Taking particular issue with our current mania for both big-name labels and cheap fashion, To Die For sets an agenda for the urgent changes that can and need to be made by both the industry and the consumer. Far from outlining a future of drab, ethical clothing, Lucy Siegle believes that it is indeed possible to be an ′ethical fashionista′, simply by being aware of how and where (and by whom) clothing is manufactured.

The global banking crisis has put the consumer at a crossroads: when money is tight should we embrace cheap fast fashion to prop up an already engorged wardrobe, or should we reject this as the ultimate economy and advocate a return to real fashion, bolstered by the principles of individualism and style pedigree?

In this impassioned book, Siegle analyses the global epidemic of unsustainable fashion, taking stock of our economic health and moral accountabilities to expose the pitfalls of fast fashion. Refocusing the debate squarely back on the importance of basic consumer rights, Siegle reveals the truth behind cut price, bulk fashion and the importance of your purchasing decisions, advocating the case for a new sustainable design era where we are assured of value for money: ethically, morally and in real terms.”

I confess this book has been sitting on my desk now for some months, awaiting me finding the words to express how I feel about it and what I have learnt. In the meantime disaster of the nature Lucy warns struck a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, bringing home the truth of her message in great stinging style.

This book was first published back in 2011 and Lucy has been writing a weekly column on ethical living since 2004 for The UK’s Observer newspaper. She has many other credits to her name, a well-known researcher, writer and campaigner for an alternative fashion industry that replaces “turbo fashion with sustainable and equitable style”.

I found reading this book a profound experience, it has helped to consolidate my thoughts and influence my buying behavior. However more change is required, not only by myself but by thousands of others. For me, I need to reread this book, take copious notes whilst I do and fully investigate what options are available to me to make better choices and proactively contribute to positive change.

One of the most difficult things about issues such as these is that for many of us it requires thorough knowledge to inform and convince us, and considerable effort on our part to change our habits. Without a personal experience of the problem we might feel distanced from it, and wonder what impact, if any, our efforts alone could make on change.

For this reason I would like to share a couple of segments that rang big bells for me and encourage others to read this book and seek further knowledge.

Here are my experiences related to these issues. Read More

Culture: Stories of dress and cultural context

Ah… the Bohemian, a romantic image that conjures ideas of art, creativity, free thinking, adventure and excitement. The notion of a kind of life that is lived fully, to the hearts desire, no matter the consequences. I adore the idea of this life, yet my innate practicality and sense of responsibility does not quite allow to me to follow such a path. Perhaps this explains my penchant for clothing with a decidedly Bohemian feel thoroughly mixed with a good dose of practicality.

So, when a dear friend called upon us recently to help her celebrate her birthday in “Bohemian style” I was understandably keen. Frida Kahlo it turns out is a long-term love of hers and she was beautifully adorned on the night as Frida complete with authentic Mexican bodice. It fascinates me how we identify with people, styles, periods or even football teams that strike a chord with us. I hadn’t known of my friends appreciation for Frida before, but once I learnt of it struck me as wholly appropriate to my knowledge of her. Of course you would love Frida, my dear, of course!

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1940. See discussi...

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1940. See discussion of her works below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Always curious to learn more of the history behind the social conventions of dress, I have put together a partial history to share this learning. Read More