Frocking Friday the Eighth/Shoeper Challenge #4 of 105 – The Clouseau Cheongsam

As I mentioned recently, I have a bit of a cheongsam obsession.

The Frock:                   Black handmade silk brocade cheongsam from China via eBay.

When/where worn:   Friday 25 February 2011

What with?:  Robert Robert stilettos with ankle straps/laces originally worn and blogged about here.

Today I had to acknowledge that I am a subconscious dresser. Whereas some people trawl through fashion magazines for sartorial inspiration, I watch films.

Little snippets of movies stay in my head and bounce around unbidden. Sometimes when I see a pair of shoes or an article of clothing, a little sliver of recognition prods me.  It may not be until later, much later that I realise which film has inspired me to buy something.

Sometimes it takes years for me to realise that I have been so inspired.

Had someone not complimented me on the dress and mentioned that I looked like an evil brothel keeper I would never have discovered which door to  a room in my subconscious was opened when I saw this cheongsam.

Here is that door.

Brothel Scene - Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) dir. Blake Edwards)

Bingo. The root of my cheongsam obsession? Who knows but investigating my subsconscious lead me to one of my favourite film clips. Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) arrives home as a cross dresser in the world’s worst shoes to find that his manservant has turned his apartment into a ‘nookie factory‘.  I love Valerie Leon as the bull whip cracking Tanya the Lotus Eater.

Are you subsconsciously influenced by any films either in your dress sense, lifestyle choices or otherwise?

Birth of a Shoe Obsessive – Guest Shoe Post by Christopher Phillips


Once upon a time on Twitter I would religiously and daily:

  • check my new followers
  • say hi and refollow those new followers who appeared to be real people
  • block the spambots
  • list anyone who looked interesting & visit their blog, website and so on to find out more about them

Through time this has all become  a wee bit hard and without someone @replying me to say hello when they start following me on Twitter, I am unlikely to follow them back.  It is not you, it’s me and my lazy bastarditis.

I do notice lists though.  This week I popped up in two new ones maintained by @shrydar


Shoes and Fashion

This intrigued me.  I wondered why a boy would be interested in shoes and fashion. So I struck up a conversation with Christopher and discovered that he loves high heeled shiny boots as much as I do.

I have never lusted after a man’s shoe collection before.

There is a first time for everything.


Christopher Phillips - Programmer and Digital Artist

Birth of a Shoe Obsessive


I haven’t always worn heels.

Time was, I rarely even noticed what shoes other people were wearing. That’s all changed now.

Back around the start of 2007 I started going to a goth/industrial nightclub that was frequented by a number of my friends.  I’d been meaning to for a while, but it took me a while to get past being a little intimidated by how fabulously many of them were dressed. I needn’t have worried; they were a friendly crowd, and a black t-shirt, black jeans, and black sneakers were easily enough to avoid looking like a tourist. I loved the music and the atmosphere, and started making a regular thing of it.

Amidst all the black t-shirts, black dresses, tight black pants, black corsets, big hair and platform boots there were maybe half a dozen regulars who stood out for finishing off their ensemble with calf length boots with sky high stiletto heels. I made my own impression by being “the guy with the hair” (it was well past waist length at the time), but at that stage I was mostly just trying to blend in with the crowd. I picked up a couple of pairs of designer label bondage pants and a shirt or two lightly sprinkled with D-rings, and was more than happy with my wardrobe.

Coincidentally, that was also the year I supplemented my weekly yoga classes with a weekly adult beginners ballet class – it had been advertised by a friend as being “perfect for strengthening muscles without building bulk, while promoting flexibility and grace…not to mention giving you abs to die for.” All these things were true. She’d also mentioned it being handy for any goths wanting wanting to develop the strength to wear those pointe boots and still be able to dance, but at the time that wasn’t a drawcard for me personally.

Then in December that year a friend ordered a pair of boots online, found they weren’t quite the right size, and put up a for-sale post on the local goth livejournal community. They were black, shiny and calf length, with a two inch platform and six inch heels. I thought they looked gorgeous. They were also my size. I prevaricated a bit, called my wife to say I was thinking about buying some second hand boots but wasn’t sure if my calves were skinny enough (she just asked if I’d looked down in the last ten minutes – I’d forgotten that my ankles are freakishly narrow), and spoke to friends about the shape of the heel. Some thought they didn’t quite suit, and they were probably right (the heels of most of the pairs I’ve acquired since have been slenderer), but despite that I decided to at least try them. Another friend of the seller had bid before me, but graciously withdrew when she heard of my interest. I dropped in to my friend’s house, tried them on, and bought them on the spot.

I debuted my new boots at New Years Eve, first at a friends house party (drinking copious quantities of iced water to stay cool – knee highs over bondage pants in the midst of Australian Summer is not particularly sensible even after sunset), then later that evening at another friend’s birthday bash at Luxe Bar. I was rather pleased to discover all those yoga and ballet classes had paid off – not only could I walk in them, but I could manage a quite passable gothic two-step in them too (the nearest many of us ever came to dancing).

That marked the beginning of something of an obsession. Over the following three years I acquired another dozen or so pairs, ranging up to a 7.5″ heel, all in black, usually with a heel to platform difference of four or five inches. Some have been second hand or hand-me-downs, others mail order, and a few of the pricier pairs from boutique and department stores. I’ve started occasionally splashing out on leather or suede, and the styles now range from elegant to the bizarre. Nowadays it just feels wrong to be dancing in anything under 4″ high. I spent six weeks traveling in 2009 with nothing more than hand-luggage, but still managed to fit two pairs of boots into my cabin bag. That’s without counting the suede pair with patent accents I picked up at Guess in Las Vegas, and had to post home before I even had a chance to wear them.

I still wear flat shoes or bare feet five or six days a week, but there are entire social circles who rarely see me thusly attired, unless I’m going out of my way to confound the expectations I’ve built.

I’ve had varied reactions from friend and relatives, and the occasional double-take from passers by. “But, those are women’s boots aren’t they?” Or, as a lady friend bluntly remarked at the birthday gathering I mentioned earlier, “You’re so gay!”

The thing is though, I don’t identify as a cross dresser (and, of course, even if I did that wouldn’t necessarily imply anything about my sexual preferences). I do engage in genderfuck (“the conscious effort to “fuck with,” play with, or mock traditional notions of gender identity, gender roles, and gender presentation.” )

Primarily, though, I just reject the classification of shoes along gendered lines. Walk into any alternative clothing store with a decent range, and you’ll see a selection of chunky creeper-soled boots labelled unisex, and some gorgeous heels labelled as women-only. I just refuse to stay on ‘my side’ of the aisle. Usually I’ll pair them with skinny unisex pants and a “guy’s” shirt – it makes for a gentler transition as people’s gaze goes from my feet to my beard – but I’m still toying with the rest of my wardrobe. Rewardingly, I’ve had more than a few remarks from people saying they can still tell I’m not actually trying to dress as a woman.

Not so many decades ago women wearing pants were denigrated for being “unladylike“. There is still the occasional office workplace demanding their female employees wear skirts – fortunately this is usually something I only hear about when said employer is being laughed out of court. In earlier centuries high heels were a mark of the upper class rather than of a particular gender; I just want to reclaim them for me, and perhaps introduce others to the idea that people can dress outlandishly by the standards of the day without the sky falling on our collective heads.

I wear heels because I love the look, because I like playing with expectations, and because it’s a great conversation starter. Mostly, though, I wear heels because I can.


To see more of Christopher’s footwear acquisitions click here

Shoeper Shoe Challenge #3 of 105 – Pee, Poo Ups & Stiletto Ankle Boots

The last time that I wore these boots the house smelled of pee.

Actually the house still does smell of pee.  My new photographer (see previous post) doesn’t lift the toilet seat or the lid when he relieves himself first thing in the morning.

He does not remember to switch the camera off at night after he has finished taking pictures of his nostrils either.

Accordingly, today’s photo is brought to  you by iPhone. Atmospherically the composition is flawless.  Ahem.

The Minx finally did toilet train herself. At least, during the day.  At night, she is still in ‘poo ups’.

The ‘poo ups’ are dry every morning but she insists on wearing them. Without the extra layer of dryness she wakes up three or four times in the night petrified that she is going to pee herself. She then wakes the rest of us up to tell us about it.

So the saga continues.  I have to keep these boots, just to see what is happening in the general arena of bodily functions this time next year.

Or maybe I should take the hint and give them up?


Today’s boots brought to you from somewhere in Canada via thrift. I have no idea who made them and when. They appear to date back to the 80s. The inner sole is a gold embossed leather which has worn away through time. The last few letters of the brand emblem are the stylised letter ‘ina’.  If you recognise them, please let me know.

Ditch Em Monday

It has become evident that I have far, far too much stuff in my house.

Here is some stuff:

here is more stuff.

My garage, my house and my life are repositories for more stuff than is healthy for a person.

In an effort to make myself more mindful about my acquisition of stuff, I am conducting an exercise in the removal of stuff.  Things are going to be given away, sold or chucked out.

As part of this exercise, I asked my six year old son to stop taking pictures of himself

and start taking pictures for me to send to friends whom I am trying to foist my clothing related stuff on.

If any of you want any of these dresses, let me know overnight. Otherwise, they are getting eBayed, Etsy-ed or ditched.

The One Teaspoon Evil Rose Not-Quite-A-Dress Dress

The Mink Pink Wrapped Up Like a Chocolate Box Dress

The Abigail's Party Dress

and finally

The First Summer I Spent In Sydney I Was 2 Stones Heavier But It's Really Pretty Dress

The First Summer I Spent In Sydney I Was 2 Stones Heavier But It's A Really Pretty Dress Dress

On a separate note, not bad photos for a six year old, what do you think?  I’ve offered him a gold coin commission on every sale that I make off the back of his work on eBay in the future.

Shoeper Shoe Challenge – #2 of 105 – Dumond Bronze Strappy Sandals

Frocking Friday the Seventh was also the Second Day of the Shoeper Shoe Challenge 2011.  The second pair of shoes snatched from the jaws of the red wheelie bin are these bronze Dumond sandals

This is a Brazilian brand that I was not previously familiar with. I found these in one of my favourite thrift stores, one that seems to specialise in selling on high heeled party shoes that have been worn once. These sandals are quite hard to walk in quickly. I suspect that dancing in them would be a wee bit tedious after the first ten minutes. As it is I kicked them off and carried them home from work.

The heel shapes for Dumond shoes and sandals are quite elaborate and that makes me interested in adding a few more to my collection.

To see what everyone else wore for the Shoeper Challenge click here Personally I think that Veronika’s pig is about the cutest accessory a girl could have for a pair of lace up boots.


Dumond Sandals

Dumond Tan Stiletto Platform Pump

Frocking Friday the Seventh – Urban Camouflage

Did anyone else have a crush on Loretta Swit in M*A*S*H?

How about Radar O’Reilly?

If the answer to the above is yes, you’ll like today’s frock.

Apparently, according to my husband, Radar is exactly who I look like.

I can’t for the life of me remember what Radar’s catch phrase was. He was cute though, right?

You won’t find me in khaki terribly often. I have olive skin and green tones make me look and feel wee bit sallow. However the sandals that I have on are predominantly green in tone. That meant that I had to find clothes to match them with.  Green clothes.

There’s not a lot else to say really. Except that perhaps in wearing khaki I have finally reached the stage where I am prepared to admit my paralysing crush on John Le Mesurier in Dad’s Army.  Never has a man worn olive and insouciance so well.

Shoeper Shoe Challenge 2011 – #1 of 105 Dealing With The Bump

Before Christmas I decided, after seeing a beach photograph of my white and not especially smooth thighs, to start running again.

This went well for a couple of weeks.

Then it didn’t.

While running across a pedestrian crossing at 6.45 am, a car appeared rather suddenly to be bearing down on me. I changed direction. My Achilles tendon didn’t.

Since then I have been doing some rehabilitation – walking up & down in salt water, calf raises Vrksasana and other one legged balances on the PowerPlate at Tiaki Pilates, running for the train in high heels …

There is a kind of funny gristly lumpy protrusion on the back of my left ankle. I am convinced that it is there forever now.

It ain’t pretty and when I touch it I feel a bit like spewing.

However, one thing I have discovered about the bump is this – I can suddenly wear slingbacks again without the slingbacky bit sliding off over my heel.

AA Milano for Allessandro Dell'Acqua

Hooray for bumpy protrusions.

When:  Wednesday 15 February 2011

What: AA Milano for Alessandro Dell’Acqua Baby Pink Sling Backs

Why:    For Work

The Shoe Challenge 2011 – 105 Pairs of Shoes

In October 2009 my life changed forever. No longer would I look at my shoes quite the same way ever again. Every working day involved a double challenge – to wear a different pair of shoes and to write about them.  The first Shoe Challenge Post was fairly short and concise.  As time went on, I started to feel the need to write more and the posts became considerably more complex and time consuming to write. Bearing in mind the time that it took me to write posts, it is probably not surprising that  I officially failed to complete that challenge.

What I discovered in the process of failing is that every challenge must have rules. I like rules.  It is the lawyer in me.

Rules provide certainty and structure and clarity.   If  rules are generated and applied by someone else, that is even more of an incentive for me to comply with them. It is even more fun if I get to draft a complex legal document for no reason whatsoever other than my own amusement (see below).

Deed of Acceptance of Shoe Challenge

With that I hereby solemnly declare that I, Caveat Calcei, being of reasonably sound mind and with level blood sugar:

1.    officially failed my 2009 Shoe Challenge.

2.  have joined the international cavalcade of shoes being marched out  and hitting a pavement near you hereafter referred to as The Shoeperwoman Shoe Challenge 2011 or Challenge.

By entering the Challenge I hereby acknowledge and agree that the following Shoe Rules will apply:

(a)  I will wear every pair of shoes/boots in my possession and control (as further specified in the Schedule attached hereto) before the end of the Challenge;

(b)   either I or my authorised representative will take photos, of me wearing each pair of shoes.  Only full length outfit shots are acceptabe: photos of feet in shoes or just shoes constitute a breach of the rules) (Evidence);

(c)  any shoes that I haven’t worn by the end of the Challenge must be disposed of;

(d)  that I will email Shoeperwoman a link to my Challenge blog posts weekly.

The unabridged Official Shoe Rules are posted here and are hereby incorporated brevitatis causa.


Number of Shoes and Boots:  105 excluding thongs (flip flops), shoes worn solely for taking out the rubbish and running shoes

Commencement Date:  14 February 2011

Duration of Challenge:   12 months from the Commencement Date.


Shoe Cupboard at Work

Boots in Shoe Cupboard at Work

When our office was broken into about a year ago all I could think about was whether or not the robbers had been in my office shoe cupboard.  Luckily, no prisoners were taken.

Total Number of Shoes/Boots – 11

Home Shoe Cupboard #1  (14 pairs)

Part 1

Top Shelf:

Bottom Shelf:
Schuh Minnie Mouse Shoes (1990s) Fiordiluna Patent Pumps
Giamarco Lorenzi Perspex Heeled Platforms Embroidered Silk Slides (new from thrift)
Gold vintage Springolators® John Fluevog Hepburn D’Orsay Pump
Missi Jackson Leather Pumps Alan Pinkus Bejewelled wedges
Urban Sole Strappy Sandals + another  6 pairs to the left hand side

Home Shoe Cupboard #2 (in the portion of the hall where our ghost hangs out)

19 Pairs of Boots and Shoes including (from the front left:

Amanda Starr Silk Leopard Print Sandals

Gianmarco Lorenzi Patent Leather & Turquoise Suede Platforms

Zu Snakeskin Peep Toes

Back Row (from right)

Robert Robert Ankle Strap Stilettos

Animal Print Peep Toe Platforms (Mystery Designer)

Roberto Vianni Navy Suede Peeptoe Platform Pumps

Home Shoe Cupboard #3 (Wardrobe 25 pairs)



Then there is the garage. I am pretty sure that there are another 15 pairs of shoes and boots in there. I am scared to go in there as the shoe boxes are mixed in with the Christmas Decorations and something could go horribly awry if I try moving anything. So I won’t.

This brings me to my next topic. Shoe storage solutions. For this I shall be doing some serious movie research and shall revert shortly.

Meantime, have you entered the Shoe Challenge? If so and you have ended up here via Shoeperwoman’s Participants List, please say hi.  Down there <points>



Frocking Friday the Sixth – The Central Station Pervert & Up the Creek Shift Dress

So there is this architect guy.  He’s 56 years old. On Thursday Transport Police at Sydney’s Central Station find him taking pictures of women’s nether regions using a digital camera attached to the top of his briefcase. Apparently on his camera were more than 1100 images of female bottoms and private parts.

My boss brought this headline to my attention yesterday.

You do realise” she said ” that there is a reason behind the Office Dress Code Policy. No good comes from letting men get a look up your skirt“.

The Office Dress Code, dear readers, stipulates that no dress or skirt should be above mid-thigh. What on earth is mid-thigh particularly when one is 5 foot 4 inches in old measurements (as I am)?

My friend Louise reminded me tonight that at her high school the teachers took a standard measurement from the knee to the hem of the skirt. This is not something that I remember as for most of my life I have worn floor length skirts whenever possible. It has only been in the last twelve months that I have worn anything over the knee at all.

That said, I have noticed that schoolgirls in these summer months are wearing pelmets rather than skirts and I wonder whether they are having the self same conversations with their parents as I am having with my boss.

Should one dress to avoid falling prey to perverts?

I take the view that it is quite impossible to tell what a pervert is likely to be interested in. Some perverts like women (and young girls) in very short skirts. Other perverts may well get just as excited with a pair of bare feet in flat sandals. Yet another pervert’s boat may be set afloat by a pair of skin tight jeans or the fact that one is wearing rubber gloves to do the gardening.

However, if one was to dress to avoid the perverts, surely this would be the dress to do it in?

Smocks of any description including but not limited to maternity smocks are probably the most comfortable and least sexually appealing of any dress style.

I am aware, however, that there are gentlemen out there that find pregnant women highly appealing. My husband is one of them. “I saw this cute little girl with a HUGE belly hanging over her jeans” he will say to me now and again. I stare at him. “I don’t want any more children” he says quickly and not very convincingly “honestly“.

Hmm. This is just as well. I hated maternity dressing.

Not being pregnant, I now find unstructured smock dresses very problematic to wear.

Even when I was pregnant I preferred tightfitting clothes to ensure that people knew that I was actually WITH CHILD and not just carrying a wee bit too much abdominal weight.

So putting this silk softly draping Witchery dress on for Frocking Friday this week, I really really wanted to tie the accompanying thin navy silk sash around the midriff.  Just so that the world (and Central Station’s perverts) would know that I was NOT PREGNANT.

But then again, would that make a blind bit of difference?

I mean if one had an interest in maternity knickers that is:

which, I should point out, I did not even when I was pregnant.

I should also point out that I am very lucky that I have any blog photographs at all this week as I completely forgot about my husband’s birthday.

Baby brain lasts a long time but I think that as an excuse it was a fairly lame one. So I bought my husband an “oh dear, I stuffed up ironic gift“.  This would be the gift:

Up Sh*t Creek x Jon Campbell

He didn’t say much. He did take the pictures though. I suspect that I might be wearing the above next week.


When Worn: Friday 11 February 2011

Dress:   Witchery silk blend (95% silk, 3 Elastane)

Shoes:  Dolcis – Silver Grey Satin & Diamante


Frocking Friday* the Fifth – Silk and Plukes

This weather is atrocious.

I moved to Australia to get some sunshine, among other reasons.  Most of the time the sunshine is rather nice. For the first time this year, for example, we have actually managed to a get a couple of full days at the beach. We have also learned that the way to get sunscreen on the wean is to paint them with this stuff:

Instead of the whole ‘now it’s time for sunscreen’ shrieking match we now have a face painting session.

That leaves the rest of the day for having fun and more face painting and no cancer skin damage. Accordingly this year is the first year for about six years  where I have anything approximating a healthy glow because we can spend more than 30 minutes on the beach.  Of course dermatologists and other wise people will tell you that there is no such thing as a healthy glow from the sun.  So for six years I stayed out of it.  My chiropractor told me that I should either take Vitamin D supplements or get out in the sunlight.

But what about the skin cancer warning?” I bleated “Pale is where it is at, white is in, only completely suicidal lunatics go out in the sun“. “Oh for fuck’s sake” she muttered under her breath. Or at least, I think she did.

So that brings me to the dress of the day. Its a silk sundress.  There are little straps and lots of flesh on display.  It was being worn (on Friday 4 February 2011) because it is really rather stinking hot here.

This is not a dress to wear with white skin and back or chest plukes really is it?

For those of you unaccustomed to my Scottish vernacular a pluke, dear reader is a spot. A zit if you will. I have loads of them due to the Sydney heatwave. What I am not going to do here is to rehash my previous post on pluke picking.  What I will do is to direct you to this rather excellent Taxonomy of Zits (a comprehensive guide to pimples) by Jezebel magazine.

Yes, I am disgusting but just tell me how many times you have found yourself on a train behind someone, anyone with back plukes and not thought for just one moment about reaching forward….

Dress:  Myer Miss Shop Brand Silk Hankerchief Hem Dress from eBay


Plukes:  Author’s own.

Date worn: Friday 4 February 2011

* For more Frockees visit the Frocking Fridays Facebook page