Day 41 of the Shoe Challenge – Who’s Afraid of the Prada Shoes?

What’s that? This blog post is late? Thank you so much for noticing.  It is not my fault though. Blame these shoes.

Sitting on the kitchen floor like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth they look perfectly approachable don’t they? Appearances are deceptive though, these shoes intimidate me.

My first glimpse of them was while flicking through UK Vogue at the hairdressers.  The editorial that month focussed on sculptural heels and I stopped and drooled at these and was thereafter in love.  That year in Frasers’ January sales, my heart soared when I saw them sitting there – 99 pounds down from 200.  I bought them for love without thinking about what I would wear them with. That is not unusual for me. What was unusual is what happened next.

Usually when I buy a pair of shoes I have a little strange shoe ceremony which involves unwrapping the shoes, pulling out the wee bits of tissue paper (Prada has a gorgeous navy tissue), sniffing the leather  and then trying to matchmake the new shoes to an outfit.   Nothing I could find worked with these shoes – not a skirt, not a dress nor a pair of trousers.  For some bizarre reason the arched aspect to the heel and the Miro-esque colour combinations of patent leather which seem so classic and simple have thwarted me.  Maybe they are just too classic for me and as such I have come to slightly fear them.

However, in the Shoe Challenge fashion I have vowed to wear  and write about all of my shoes no matter how difficult they are, no matter how scary they are.   So I picked the easy, coward’s way out and wore them with skinny black tuxedo pants and an asymmetric black and white semi-transparent chiffon top.  I dressed in black and white like a waitress albeit one in a fancy restaurant. Safe. Traditional. Boring.

It was only when we came to take the pictures for this post that we discovered the best way to present these shoes is …

…tout seul.

Miss Boots – Shoe Story in Instalments – Part 4 of 4 – The Escape Plan

Miss Boots – Part IV

I love my parents, but they were way too strict.

The final straw came on New Years Eve 1999, when I had full intentions to party like it was, ahem, 1999.

Concerned about terrorism attacks and drunken debauchery in general, they informed me that I was spending New Years Eve with the family. I politely declined. This was meant to be MY year, and I was meant to herald in the New Year with the friends who would become my new “grown up” family.

I waved my parents goodbye and jumped into my car to drive off into the sunset, preferably with the sound system blaring.

But my car wouldn’t start.

My Dad had taken the plug leads out, and he had hidden them in his monstrous shed. He refused to tell me where they were. I was goddamned furious.

My Doc’s and I trudged to the home of every wannabe mechanic in town, hopeful that someone would have a spare set of plug leads. But Murray Bridge was deserted. Everyone had already left for their New Years Eve parties in Adelaide.

So I called the police to report my Dad for theft. But the police wouldn’t get involved, saying that it was a domestic dispute and unfortunately I was still under aged anyway.

I spent New Years Eve 1999 with my little brother. In a show of solidarity against my parents we didn’t eat family dinner, ordering burgers instead. With my Doc Martens up on the lounge room coffee table, I sat in sullen silence for 6 hours.

I never forgave my parents for their betrayal.

Early January 2000 my Doc’s and I left home to find a job in Adelaide.

I had been working on a master escape plan for many years:

Marriage.

Coming from such a strict religious family, it was the only choice I had.

I was 4yo when I met my childhood sweetheart and 14yo when we fell in love. We knew we’d get married on my 18th birthday – and everyone knew that I’d wear my Doc Martens.

My 18th crept closer and although I definitely didn’t want a “big stupid white wedding” I still wanted to look nice. One day I discovered “my” beautiful blue wedding dress. I knew it was the perfect dress, but as I looked at myself in the shop mirror, my beloved Doc’s just didn’t look right. They were hardly even black anymore. The soles were worn completely through.

It was rather symbolic. I needed new Doc Martens for the start of my new life.

It was so hard to choose new ones though. No matter which ones I tried on, no matter what size (7 or 8, Aussie or UK) none of them felt right. I finally chose size 7’s but they were never as comfortable as my old Doc Martens.

My husband and I both wore brand new Doc’s Martens on our wedding day. It was bittersweet to be wearing new shoes for the first time in 5 years. We made an excellent decision to have our wedding photos taken at the beach before the wedding (while my first ever “hair and makeup” was still fresh). Then we got hit by a wave and squelched around in wet Doc’s for the rest of the day. My husband was sock-less for our wedding ceremony, as they were too soaked to wear.

So began my new life. School was over, I now lived in the “Big Smoke” of Adelaide and my shiny new pair of Doc’s became my corporate work shoes. They looked quite dressy with a pant suit.

My new Doc’s took me to Big Day Out, trekking in Milford Sound, climbing waterfalls, walking through snow. We visited hot springs and checked out all of the Lord Of The Rings sites in New Zealand. A team as always, my new Doc’s and I climbed Ayers Rock (the walk back down the rock resulting in bruised blue toe nails), we drove ambulances and campervans, crashed schoolies week as a toolie, and went camping at Jervis Bay.

We lived in South Australia, Northern Territory, travelled to Queensland and New Zealand, and finally, shifted to New South Wales.

My escape plan had worked.

One fateful day late in 2005 my Doc Martens and I went to an outdoor music festival. I decided to “dress up”. I suddenly had an urge to feel (*gasp*) like a woman.

I wore a short tartan mini skirt and my Doc’s, with flesh coloured stockings AND fishnets to cover the skin on my legs.

I felt wonderful dancing rhythmically to that pounding music, with so many other people. Suddenly, on a natural high of adrenaline (and at the encouragement of my friends, since it was a 38 degree day) – I did the unthinkable.

I took a big swig of dutch courage and I removed both layers of my stockings.

There I was bare legged in public for the first time in a decade.

My friends still say this is one of their most favourite memories of me… with a short skirt, bare legs and my much loved Doc Martens… dancing… looking happy, beautiful and comfortable in my own skin for the very first time.

I danced for 12 hours straight that day. At the time I had no idea the other revellers were on drugs – I thought they all just loved dancing and were lucky enough to own very comfortable boots like me.

Impressed by my own stamina I decided to “stick it” to my High School PE teachers and finally right the wrongs of my uncoordinated unsporting youth.

The very next day Miss Boots signed up for a 5.6km corporate fun run (having never run more than a 100 metres in her life) and she bought herself a brand spanking new pair of boots.

But that’s another story.

Day 40 of the Shoe Challenge – Jumping Sharks in Shelly’s Square Toed Shoes

Those of you who have been with me since I started writing this blog will recall how the Shoe Challenge began. The blame/credit can squarely be laid on my boss who bet me that I could not wear a different pair of shoes to work every day and write about it.

We were discussing the Shoe challenge over a wee dram on Burns Night.

What” someone asked “is going to happen when you run out of shoes to blog about?”  I came back with some quip about running out of storage space before I ran out of shoes.  There will come a time when I do run out of shoes to wear to work, although not for a wee while yet. The problem meantime is not so much running out of shoes but getting stale and boring you all.

What I have found challenging is to find new poses and places in which to photograph my shoes. These, for example, are a pair of Shellys’ high-heeled court shoes with square toes. (Shellys is a  funky mid-priced UK brand).  Perfectly decent shoes, but you have seen black high-heeled court shoes in this blog before, many times.

Tonight my good friend L. arrived at the door after disappearing off to Byron Bay without telling anyone first. For four days my husband and I had been beside ourselves with worry as we had been past her house, phoned and texted her repeatedly without any sign of life.  However, as she walked through the door, I was in absolutely no position to harangue her. The position that I was in is as shown below.

It not easy to tell someone off after they have caught you being photographed with your backside in the air.

My husband, bless him, is getting quite into photographing my shoes. What started off as me hanging my shoes off the lemon tree in the back garden has turned into a thrice weekly shoe modelling extravaganza. To bless him a second time, my husband is an artist and understands the importance of presentation.

So the pictures are getting saucier and the blog hit statistics are looking decidedly healthier but I am a wee bit concerned. It may be that in an attempt to keep this blog fresh dear Readers, that I am in danger of jumping the shark as the Not Drowning Mother has mentioned elsewhere .  One minute I am writing about shoes and the next thing posting pictures of myself with my arse skywards.

I am a great believer in following the ebbs and flows of life.  So the next someone asks me if I am going to give up blogging when out of shoes I am going to reply – Naaaaah! You aren’t getting rid of me that easily. I’ll start writing about handbags…

The Burning Questions

The Haggis

People, meet the Haggis.  The Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish. It is an acquired taste, a bit like say parsnip & Jerusalem Artichoke soup with gorgonzola.  Or oral sex.

On Monday night  just gone by my husband and I with the help of a  Scottish chap (called Scott) introduced a bunch of non-Scottish to the concept of the Burns Supper.

Pardon the puns but the Burn-ing questions of the evening were (in no particular order):

Who was Robert Burns and why are we having a supper for him?” It has been said that the haggis is a timid mythical creaure that roams the Scottish Higlands. Robert Burns was born at or around the time of the first sighting of this strange and wonderful creature. According to Scottish legend, which has borne the test of time, the best way to capture a haggis alive is to:

(a)   read it the poetry of Robert Burns; or

(b) play the bagpipes to it until it falls over in delight and waves its little legs in the air.

You then have a short window of opportunity in which to leap upon it,  truss it up and chuck it into a pot of boiling water. Otherwise it goes off. Or bites you.

Do you really eat Haggis?” Yes you do and we did. One or two people actually came back for seconds. James came back for thirds. It is particularly delicious when you pour a measure of neat malt whiskey over it beforehand. In fact, if you have a Burns Night without vast quantities of single (not blended) Scotch whisky neither the haggis nor your guests will be happy.

How did you match your shoes to the Haggis?” I didn’t. I matched my shoes to my kilt which was predominantly red with a few green checks, as they usually are. The kilt label suggests that it is the Lili (Mac)Gaufrette tartan. Obviously to protect my anonymity, I won’t be divulging whether or not it is my clan tartan.

Are you wearing your kilt according to customary Scottish military tradition?” That was for me to know and you to find out.  If you didn’t get the chance to do so you will just have to come along next year.

Miss Boots: A Shoe Story in Instalments – Part 3 of 4 – My Life Uniform

Miss Boots – Part III

Early in my first year of High School I came into possession of the first brand name item I had ever owned – a pair of brand spanking new Doc Martens.

On that very first fateful day, I took my Doc’s home and lovingly re-laced them in my own special unconventional style.

Miss Boots, a creature of habit, officially had a new uniform. From 1995 to 2005 I wore Doc Martens every single day.

The only items I ever changed over the next few years were the colour of my Doc laces, the colour of my hair, and my underwear.

My life-uniform consisted of Doc Martens, button fly boot leg jeans and a long sleeved top. I hated my skin so much that I never wore short sleeves for any reason. I prided myself on being able to survive 40 degree heat while still wearing my self appointed uniform.

The only time I mixed it up was with the substitution of a floor length black skirt (instead of jeans) on the days we went to church. You can’t imagine the uproar it caused when the church gossips realised I was wearing boots under my long skirt.

One day we had a sermon about how dangerous it is to follow the fashions of the “non-Christian world”.

“Did you know that some people of immoral lifestyles… homosexuals, practisers of witchcraft, and believers in the occult… these people may use their clothing style to indicate their beliefs? For example, I’ve been told that the group known as goths or punks… these people may wear black clothing and metallic jewellery along with black lace up ARMY boots. People affiliated with this violent, drug abusing group may even think that it is appropriate to wear clothing like this to CHURCH!

Oh, how our dear Lord must frown upon these disrespectful sinning souls!”

All 200 members of the congregation turned to look at me. I was only 15. And incidentally, I wasn’t a goth.

My boots caused me trouble with my school teachers too.

According to school policy, shorts and sneakers had to be worn to our compulsory Physical Education classes.

I explained to them that I could run just as fast in my Doc Martens, because the rubber and leather had in fact moulded perfectly to the shape of my feet. I respectfully advised that I refused to wear shorts. I assured the teachers that I definitely wouldn’t get heatstroke, and I wrote my own release form (including legalese I’m sure they didn’t understand) to indemnify them. I even asked my classmates to sign a petition to allow me to participate in PE, wearing my own clothes.

Despite my efforts, they refused to tolerate my non-conformity. This led to much time spent in detention… reading and philosophising with my fellow delinquents. It also led to a severe lack of sporting ability and hand eye coordination.

My Doc’s didn’t just cause me trouble at church and school. Sometimes the police would stop me on the side of the road and ask to check my Doc Martens for stolen items and drugs.

It seems that all types of authority are threatened by people that are a little different.

By the second year of High School my Doc Martens fitted me so perfectly that I didn’t need to tighten or loosen the laces. By the third year of High School I realised that the special braid in my laces was in fact “dreadlocked” and ergo impossible to undo. Not that I ever considered undoing it anyway.

Me and my Doc’s were inseparable. Throughout the whole of High School I had a second job as janitor for the local Primary School. Instead of physically scrubbing the little boy’s toilets and urinals by hand, I’d fill up buckets of detergent and boiling water and hurl it at the walls. My Doc’s protected me from water scalds and chemical burns.

With a vacuum cleaner and a mop, my Doc’s and I trekked miles and miles of school corridors. The hardest job was sweeping and mopping the indoor gym with its double basketball court.

Together, me and my Doc’s saved enough money to buy my first car (at age 14). Then we spent the next two years doing up the motor, repairing and respraying the body, and chroming every possible chromable surface. Heated pieces of metal from the angle grinder and welder would fly off and embed themselves in the leather of my Doc’s. Tiny specs of my much loved car forever melded with my much loved boots.

At 16 my Doc’s and I learned to drive (legally, on the road) and the day I turned 16-and-6-months we went for my P-plates and got them first go. Pwned!

Having a licence opened up a world of adventure and possibilities. And a little mischief.

I wagged school one hot summer day, and my car broke down on the freeway halfway to Adelaide. By the time my not-at-all-impressed Dad arrived to rescue me, my Doc’s had melted into the bitumen on the road. Little pieces of gravel were stuck in the soles forever.

They were good times. My Doc’s and I faithfully lined up for the midnight showings of the re-released Star Wars movies, we drove endless “maineys” up and down the main street of town and, on special occasions we drove up to the Big Smoke.

Around this same time another life altering event happened to me:

I discovered fake tan.

I started wearing short sleeved tops, much to the shock of every one in town.

For our Year 12 High School formal, my friends and I hired a limousine. The whole of Murray Bridge lined the street outside our Town Hall.

When I climbed out of our limousine wearing a strappy (but still floor length) dress, everyone went quiet and stared at me in speechless awe.

That night, even with both parental chaperones in tow, me & my Doc’s danced til way past midnight.

Day 39 of the Shoe Challenge – What would Barbara Windsor do?

Dear Barbara Windsor

When I started writing this blog five months ago a wise woman told me to enjoy the writing and ignore the statistics.

It is impossible to ignore the statistics. When I look at my WordPress Dashboard I cannot help but notice the search terms used to find my blog are overwhelmingly Barbara Windsor-centric. Please see below:

  • The Number 1 Search Term used to find my blog is:  Barbara Windsor
  • The Number 8 Search Term used to find my blog is: Barbara Windsor breasts

More people have happened across my blog looking for you, Barbara than looking for stiletto heels. That must mean something.

Someone in Old Blighty told me this morning that you were looking rather ravishing on the National TV Awards last night (20 January 2010). I had a look. You were indeed quite ravishing although I did not get a good keek at your footwear.

You are quite a style inspiration to me (please see this blog post for further information). Today, as I contemplated getting dressed for another hot,  humid Sydney day I stopped and I thought and I wondered: “What would Barbara Windsor wear?

I thought that for a disgustingly hot day you would ignore the heat and go for the raunch. I also thought that you would temper the raunch with a pair of classic mules. I got these nude pumps in a Gary Castles sale. I am sure that you would approve.

One question remains, will you blog for me Barbara Windsor? You have a lifetime of shoe stories waiting to be told.

Yours,

Caveat Calcei

Day 38 of the Shoe Challenge – Now for good luck, cast an old shoe at me

This week I am pushing my luck.

We finally took down our Christmas tree on Monday 17 January. Bearing in mind that it is considered bad luck if  Christmas decorations of any kind are left up after twelfth night we are in luck deficit by five days.

Today, I am wearing old shoes that once belonged to someone else, my maternal grandmother. Old shoes play a big and often contradictory role in superstitions and folk stories. For example it is said variously that old shoes should be burned:

  • for good luck or for bad luck (depending on which book on superstitions you read)
  • to cure fits and fever caused by voodoo spells (Hyatt, Marry Middleton, Hoodoo – Conjuration – Witchcraft – Rootwork (1496))
  • to banish toothache (if you breathe in the smoke from the shoe while it burns) or to cause a toothache (presumably depending whether or not you started out with a toothache)
  • to drive away your enemies.

It is apparently a bad idea to borrow or acquire someone else’s shoes not least because if you accept a gift old old shoes you will walk in the former owner’s troubles.  Not that I have much time for superstitions – I used to deliberately seek out black  cats and walk under ladders to tempt fate – but I do get the heeby jeebies wearing second hand shoes. You may remember that Sarah Ferguson (Duchess of York) fell out with Diana, Princess of Wales over a veruca that Fergie apparently acquired after borrowing a pair of the Princess’ shoes.  That story put me off the whole idea of vintage/second hand shoes irrevocably. I do, however, have one pair of second hand shoes that I treasure.

The summer that I turned 21 I spent living with my maternal grandmother Helen in her apartment at Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, New York. I worked at various temporary jobs during my University holidays to make enough money to do the Great North American Road Trip. (In my case this turned into the Great American Greyhound Bus Trip involving several unpleasant stories about public toilets, drag queens and heroin addicts but that is another story). While I was staying with her she gave me this pair of shoes:

These are black suede slingback mules with a slightly rounded toe and a V-shaped vamp.  The mules were made by an Italian company called Geppetto and I believe that my Grandmother bought them in the 1960s. She bought two pairs at the same time – a mushroom coloured pair which she loved and these which she did not.   I don’t think that she ever actually wore them outside. The original box is long gone now sadly; it is a terrible tragedy when good shoe boxes go missing as I like to keep them all. I suspect that I left the box at her apartment at the end of that summer. Since my grandmother and I fell out quite spectacularly at the end of that summer, I cannot remember the details. Although we spoke on the phone after that, I never saw her face to face ever again.

The Australian climate has been cruel to the elastic at the back which is starting to disintegrate. Other than that they are still very pretty, have aged well and remind me of my elegant, chainsmoking, comfort eating, grande dame grandmother in a good way.

To this day, I hate to leave bad feeling in the air after a disagreement with anyone whether it is between a friend or a family member. One never knows if the cross words are going to be the last words that you ever exchange.  

Day 37 of the Shoe Challenge – Caged Ankle Boots

One thing that has always intrigued me is the male attitude towards the mini skirt. Before an interview for a seriously kick ass academic job I was having a coffee with a male friend.

“If I were you” he said, leaning towards me “I would wear a really short skirt for the interview. It will make  a positive impression on the interview panel”.

I looked at him with horror “But I have terrible legs and also, won’t they think that I am a complete slut if I turn up with a mini skirt?”  He thought for a moment “There is a risk” he said “That you might come across some women on the panel who will take a dim view of a short skirt but” he said pausing for emphaisis “it is well worth the risk if you get a couple of dirty old men on the panel”.

Dear readers, I ignored my friend’s advice and wore a knee length skirt. I lost that job to a young, extremely handsome gay man.  Perhaps the short skirt would therefore have made no difference whatsoever but I will never know.

Since that day I do wonder about skirt lengths and whether or not it is a bad idea to wear a very long skirt.   At the moment the maxi dress is popular again.  Maxi dresses literally cover a multitude of sins. Do they similarly cover up any vestige of allure that a women possesses?

My husband is firmly in the maxi skirt length camp – in his opinion the maxi dress is intriguing and divine. He tells me that (on me) what is hidden is more interesting than what is displayed constantly.  For many men, however, the display of vast amounts of leg flesh is extremely appealing.

Personally, I do love a long skirt. I find longer lengths regal and elegant and ladylike.  That said, you do have to match a long, long skirt with an appropriate shoe.  The caged ankle/gladiator style boots that are currently in vogue appear to be a good match.

This morning I was pleased to find that I found another maxi skirt fan – I was late for my train and the carriage doors had just closed.  The conductor however,  caught a glimpse of my ankles as I clattered down the station steps, and shouted “Hey darling, quick over here!” and opened the train doors just for me.

Miss Boots – A Shoe Story in Instalments – Part 2 of 4 – Doc Martens

12yo – Me, my Doc’s & the Sperm Donor

Miss Boots – Part II

I spent months dreaming about and saving up for my first Doc Martens. I would visit the only shoe shop in our small country town, and stare longingly at the Doc’s through the shop window. At least I kept Murray Bridge’s lone window cleaner (my uncle) in business.

Considering my hard earned pocket money was only $5 a week, and I had other “necessities” to purchase (aka cassette tapes to bootleg Barry Bissell’s Top 40) I began to despair of ever owning my dream boots.

Then, early in my first year of High School, a miracle occurred. The Sperm Donor called my Mum and requested permission to travel all the way from Queensland down to South Australia to meet me.

The Sperm Donor hung out with me and my family for a few days, but there was no real connection or moment of epiphany for me. I think it was this lack of affection for him that allowed me to do something I had never done before:

Ask someone to spend a ridiculous amount of money on me.

On the last day of his visit the Sperm Donor said that he wanted to buy me something special. He was thinking of something girly, like a necklace or pair of earrings. But I took a deep breath… and told him that the only thing I had ever wanted and the one thing I needed more than anything else in the whole entire world was a pair of Doc Martens.

The price tag on the Doc’s was $165.

$165 was, to all of us, a small fortune. My real Dad was a mechanic, and $165 was half of his weekly wage – which provided for a family of four.

As for the Sperm Donor, he had never been gainfully employed, and could definitely have put the money to better use. Perhaps by purchasing new essential organs for himself. For example a liver, kidneys, pancreas, appendix et al. Or perhaps plastic surgery to shorten his eyelids to enable him to keep them open and/or skin grafts to cover the track marks on his arms.

When he saw the $165 price tag, the Sperm Donor had a small heart attack. Then I did something that I have perhaps done only one other time in my life – I begged and grovelled. I promised him that I would never, ever, under any circumstances ask for anything from him ever again.

I’ll never know for sure whether my Mum raised an eyebrow at him and wordlessly hinted at the 12 x years of unpaid child support. But the Sperm Donor acquiesced and bought me the Doc Martens.

I thank my lucky stars every day.

They were the first brand name items I had ever owned. Owning something so expensive dramatically elevated my high school caste. Overnight I went from “penniless loser” status to being “that smart but quirky one”.

I wasn’t popular, but the bullies left me alone. I found out years later that I was something of a hero to the rest of the poor kids. My fast talking and lone ranger/maverick position on the food chain averted many bully attacks. The popular kids weren’t quite sure where I fit in, so they just avoided me completely. Poor kids would sit near me, seeking protection by default.

I can only imagine where I’d be if those Doc Martens hadn’t entered my world at the perfect time. My career options in Murray Bridge: Woollies, BP or the Meatworks.

The only other lifestyle choice: actively breeding and cultivating the next generation of Austrayan dole bludgers.

My Doc Martens changed my life. They probably saved my life.

Shoe Muse – Neutral Pumps – Friday 15 January 2010

As you will have gathered, I am an incredibly nosey person particularly when it comes to shoes. I am very curious about how, where, when and why other people buy shoes. Most people buy shoes for comfort, functionality occasionally to make an impression or an outfit sparkle with life.  When I buy shoes it is usually for love. For inveterate shoe collectors the shoe transcends being a mere accessory, it becomes an objet petit. At some later stage an outfit may or may later be based around our object of desire, but it is not the reason for buying the shoe in the first place.  This is probably why (prior to the Shoe Challenge) many of the shoes that I buy were worn so seldom – the right occasions did not arise for them to make an outing.

So when people ask me my views on which shoes to wear with which outfit, I am flattered but perplexed.  Many of you may find this odd but I find that I have much more luck buying clothes to match shoes than vice versa.  Also, I am probably not as well dressed as you think I am since most of my life is spent in yoga pants and singlet tops.  Being a lawyer, I would always seek to get a second expert opinion on a major shoe decision. There are some experts out there who who have generously invited me into their shoe purchase problem solving strategies.   One such person is the delightful Liceri. She has kindly offered to divulge her style secrets to you in the first of hopefully many future shoe masterclasses/workshops. I loved her neutral, patent leather platform pumps. If you have a pair of these and a pair of black pumps you will have covered pretty much the basic must-haves of any shoe collection. These are exquisite.

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Hello, readers of this blog. My name is Erica. You may also know me as @liceri on Twitter, or as Erica in real life, or as Erica in an alternate dimension. I enjoy eating, drinking, and swanning about Melbourne pretending to be wealthy (I’m not). I drink far too much red wine and have an unhealthy obsession with cheese, sparkling Shiraz and sunbaking.

The event was a family friends’ 21st at The Point in Albert Park. The dress code was cocktail, and I was in no mood to go shopping for a new dress, so I pulled out one of my favourite pieces – a cream Thurley number purchased for the 2008 Caulfield Cup (incidentally it cost me almost a week’s salary at the time, and this 21st is only the third time I’ve worn it). I fell in love with the dress when I spotted it all those moons ago. Cream silk, and the top panel is ever-so-slightly quilted, has intricate cut outs, and is covered with pearls and bronze studs.

I went without my mandatory diet of wine and cheese for a few weeks to be able to afford her, and she’s been totally worth it. Being a 5′ 2″ size 12-14 girl, it’s not always easy to find a dress that works, but as soon as I put this one on, my girlfriends and the shop assistants yelled “THAT’S IT!” – decision made. And so began my love affair with this dress.

When I wore it to Caulfield, I wore tan leather heels with three straps across my instep, and carried a matching tan leather clutch. I’ve also worn it with creamy/nude heels, incidentally made from vegetable leather (please don’t confuse me for a vegan – I’m quite the opposite). But on the day of the 21st, I was out with my darling mother and I spotted these impossibly high, nude patent leather, platform stilettos with stitching detail. They’re on the pink side of nude, really, and very close to my skin colour, giving the effect of very long legs. They were subdued enough to wear with a dress that had as much detail as this one.

The clincher was that they were on sale. And, to my surprise, I wore them all night. (Actually, I’m not going to lie – I sneakily took them off once or twice while I was sitting down, and I changed into metallic sandals to walk to get a cab home – but on the whole, they stayed on). I carried a metallic clutch purchased for $4 from an op shop which always gets plenty of compliments, pearl drop earrings, and my outfit was complete.