Fabulous Hat Friday

fabulous hat friday kate winslet the dressmaker

Kate Winslet – The Dressmaker

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Wise Words Wednesday

elizabeth-arden

“Every woman has the right to be beautiful”

-Elizabeth Arden

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Travelling In Style: Luggage

“Your various pieces of luggage are useful servants, but they are very indiscreet ones, for they reveal your social situation even more clearly than does your attire.
-Elegance: A Complete Guide For Every Woman Who Wants to be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux (1964 Edition)

Almost exactly 2 years ago I was working on a series of travel posts (you can click on the links to see my previous “Travelling In Style: Fashion” and also my Travel Etiquette Series  ) and with just 7 weeks to go until I fly out to Paris I thought it was time to dust off my books (or more precisely, unpack them) and pick up the series again with a bit more enthusiasm as FINALLY it can apply to me! vintage paris travel poster

Paris!

“Whether you are going on a long journey or a motor trip, or  merely spending a week end with a friend, your first concern is your luggage, which should look nice and give little trouble. Nothing makes a worse impression than broken-down bags and numerous carry-alls and bundles.”

– Emily Post’s Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage (1945)

I won’t lie. Like any vintage loving gal I dreamed of all matching Samsonite luggage, with matching train, hat & shoe cases.

vintage-samsonite-advertisment

*drool*

But the reality of two shoulder injuries last year, a bum hip and travelling solo, sadly, made me decide against vintage luggage. I needed something I could roll. If I had to go modern, maybe, just maybe I could go vintage inspired? After all the Glamorous Dita Von Teese (my travel style icon) uses these beauties…

Globe trotter luggage

Globe Trotter Luggage 

Vintage inspired, leather details and handles! But alas, for the cost of a return flight to Paris I could have bought one single case. Beautiful, practical…but too expensive.

What did I need in luggage? That seemed to be the place to start.

First up I wanted light. So my dreams of leather or hardcases went out the window. I didn’t want to use up my precious luggage limit on the case.

Secondly it had to be able to roll. This is pretty standard these days unless you are investing in some beautiful Louis Vuitton cases and then I assume it doesn’t matter as you will no doubt have an entourage to make sure you don’t have to lift a thing!

Vintage Train Travel

I’ll just keep on dreaming….

I needed something that wasn’t too cheap and flimsy, but at the same time…I really needed to be able to afford it.

And lastly…I wanted to be able to get the pieces I wanted all from the same line so they matched.

“From the briefcase stuffed with papers, a toothbrush, and a razor, carried by a busy executive on a lightning business trip, to the mountains of strictly matching white leather bags carried by a crew of porters in the wake of a famous movie star who drips with mink and clutches to her bosom an alligator jewel case, there exists a wide range of more or less elegant luggage. It is rather rare, except in the above case of the film celebrity, to buy an entire set of matching luggage at one time. Moreover, a complete series of obviously new bags always seems somewhat nouveau riche, except when they accompany a newlywed couple on their honeymoon. It is smarter and less onerous as well to buy one or two pieces at a time, according to your needs, if not of the identical design, at least the same color scheme-beige and tan, for example, or all black.”

-Elegance: A Complete Guide For Every Woman Who Wants to be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux (1964 Edition)

So I started my search. I had decided leather trimmed canvas in tan or cream was the dream. Surely that would be easy to find? It would never go out of style and I could easily add pieces as I went a long. After spending at least 3 weeks looking for this magical luggage collection that wouldn’t give away that I was actually poor and would be easily recognisable on the baggage carousel (black luggage is out for me…it all looks the same and I always end up picking up a bag that doesn’t belong to me!), I threw a tantrum and gave up. After all my trip wasn’t til October. I had plenty of time!

Sabrina Fairchild and luggageMy namesake looking decidedly chic

“You will be tempted to buy expensive, matching cases. Before you buy, consider the number of times you will have to watch your precious cases drop from trains and railway platforms, slide down hatchways ect.

Make certain your cases are sturdy, not to heavy in themselves- and sacrifice some glamour for future ease of mind. 

Don’t take huge trunks, and try to take only luggage you could manage by yourself in an emergency”

-Woman’s World M.A. White (date unknown, probably early 60s)

I can always count on “Woman’s World” (Australian) for some down to earth advice.

In the end it all happened in about 3 minutes. I walked past “Strandbags” on payday and they just happened to be having a 60% off sale. I fell in love with a beautiful teal lightweight suitcase The Lanza Voyager X’Lite 75cm expandable trolley case (3.7kgs) and the matching 48cm wheeled bag (1.7kg) that is perfect for taking on the plane (and for my 2 night trip to Fontevraud Abbey) and it even slots on top of the big suitcase.  On sale it all came to just under $100. I even took it on a test run to the Gold Coast and packed two weeks worth of clothes for 6 people in the large suitcase and our toiletries and misc. chargers in the roll on.

Miss Fairchild's Luggage

It even matches the colour scheme in my bedroom! Also I really, really need to vacuum!

It’s light weight. It is strong. 7 year guarantee. It’s not nearly as neutral as I had imagined…but who cares when it will make my trip of a lifetime (literally … I have never been outside of Australia, and there is every likelihood this may be my only trip ever). And all that money I saved on luggage can be spent on goodies to bring home!

If you had all the money/options in the world…what would your dream luggage be?

Miss Fairchild xoxo

PS: For those less practical than moi…

“All the cliches are true. A Bombshell en route is ready for anything and has the luggage to prove it. Even a just-moved-in Bombshell with no furniture will have enough luggage to, say, sit on or use as a coffee table. 

A Bombshell doesn’t know the meaning of travelling light. That mini Louis Vuitton suitcase she’s just wheeled off the plane is just the beginning. Wheels are not the first consideration of the Bombshell when selecting luggage. She goes for looks, matching pieces: suitcases in several sizes, a vanity and a trunk. In addition to Louis Vuitton, the Bombshell favors classic luggage, the kind you can sit on, in pale ivory or tan with dark brown or black leather trim. Occasionally the Bombshell goes for a colour to match her lipstick. Marilyn Monroe had a set made in leather-trimmed red canvas by T. Anthony. The Bombshell does not own duffel bags, anything in hard-shell plastic, tapestry or nylon. 

The Bombshell travels with what might seem an excessive amount of luggage, not because she is a prima donna, rather she has no idea what may happen and has bought everything. Because packing is always left to the last minute – indeed, the whole trip may be last minute – Bombshell packing rarely involves folding or rolling. The Bombshell is a sentimental packer. Climate is rarely an issue. Who cares if it’s thirty below where she’s going? She feels so happy in the backless red lame. Surely there’ll be an occasion for that.

All of life counts to the Bombshell, coming and going, boarding, disembarking. You never know who’s looking.Most importantly, she wants to feel good about herself. Needless to say, Bombshells always travel in style. While travelling, she will brush her teeth, give herself a facial in the bathroom, apply lotion where needed, spritz on perfume. She knows the best way to arrive looking well rested is to drink plenty of water – she swears by Fiji – but has been known to slip in a little champagne. She doesn’t believe in jet lag; therefore, it doesn’t show. All Bombshells throw their coat over their shoulders, never put their arms through, when stepping off the plane, train or cruiseship. 

The Bombshell will carry some of her own luggage – her makeup bag for instance, that mesh bag the dog goes in and possible the aforementioned Louis Vuitton, Otherwise luggage throws off her entrance. Sky caps and fellow travelers are quick to heaver her luggage onto one of those rolling luggage racks. How could she possibly be expected to do it in those shoes?”

-The Bombshell Manual of Style by Lauren Stover

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Reinvention

Some of the most fabulous women out there are the ones that constant reinvent themselves. I have always admired women who have said “nope…this isn’t me anymore.” Then actually did something about it. That was the purpose of this blog reinvention into a more glamorous and elegant version of myself. But mainly I just liked to make snarky comments about the stuff contained in all my charm school “text books”.

My favourite reinvention story is that of Miss Sabrina Fairchild. A “plain” (dress her down as much as you want…Audrey Hepburn was a one of a kind. Nothing plain about her) chauffeurs daughter madly in love with a member of the wealthy family her father works for. She gets shipped off to Paris to attend culinary school and comes back a sophisticated and charming young woman. Not only determined to win her man, but also confident in herself.

The last 5 years have seen a lot of changes happen in my life. I was once a busy wife and mother and business woman and board member and charity president who was always running around doing something. Then I had a nervous breakdown, lost all of my friends, we started homeschooling our daughters, made new friends, started millinery, separated from my husband (though we still live and raise our beautiful, intelligent, emotionally magnificent daughters together – we are still puzzling how we ended up with such happy and well adjusted children when we are such fuck ups!) and came out. I tried dating (girls have soft lips!). I let go of some of my vintage purist ideals for things I actually wanted to wear. Then the biggest thing that happened was my brain broke. I started disassociating and ended up literally being part completely new blank slate person and party old me. It’s pretty weird.

This is reinvention.

I was stumbling for a bit. Trying to do things old me liked to see if it would jolt back into place. Some of it has…some not so much. Things are mostly settled now but it turns out I just couldn’t reattach myself to my name.

Now is my chance. My chance to completely reinvent myself from my name up. I asked my ex to start calling me random names anytime he spoke to me. I asked the internet. And eventually I asked my best friend. I really should have started there. She suggested two names. Both were on my list.

Catherine.

Catherine the Great. Catherine De Medici. Cate Blanchett. Katharine Hepburn. And Saint Catherine….the patron saint of Milliners.

The other, Elizabeth (some more fabulous Queens) and my beloved Nana’s name. My second daughters middle name.

Catherine Elizabeth. 

Of course I couldn’t actually give up my birth middle name. Anne. Sort of a family tradition. First born females on my fathers side have Anne as a middle name. My eldest daughters middle name is Anne. I couldn’t lose that connection.

Catherine Anne Elizabeth.

I am currently in Sydney with my best friend who named me. She had surgery yesterday and I am here to help out. Yesterday, even when overcome with drugs and pain, she called me Cate when she talked to me. I realised in that moment that I had a true friend. One that loved me entirely as I was…even when that person changed. I love her a lot. She gave me something very precious and I will carry it with me probably for the rest of my life.

Change is inevitable. Reinvention is beautiful. And now if I ever decide to change my last name I have something that goes with “Fairchild”!

Miss Sabrina Fairchild xoxo

(but you can call me Catherine)

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Falling Down & Get Back Up: Ending, Outing & Beginning

I am sure it comes as no great surprise that as soon as I posted about my goal to work through “Glorify Yourself” and the play I was working on and getting fit – I hit a wall.

First I am going through a PTSD episode and am finding everything triggering. It seems every show I watch and every time I read something online or hit twitter there is yet another rape story. I was sexually abused by my best friends brother when I was 5, My stepfather when I was 12 and finally I have spoken out about being raped. It’s been traumatic. I cry and take a lot of valium.

After stalling it for way to long my marriage is at it’s official end. It is slightly complicated by the fact that financially we can’t live apart, the fact that I need a carer and also that neither of us could bare to have the kids just half the time. So cohabitation is our only option for now. My play was also cancelled so my fledgling career as a costumer has been put on hold.

Also – Hi world! My name is Miss Fairchild and I am a big, fat Lesbian. I always have been…I just fell in love with a man. As that man is no longer in the picture and I thought about beginning dating I realised I had zero interest in men (Unless William Powell or Fred Astaire magically come back from the dead and aren’t zombies – then I will reevaluate). So I am out of my hetro life and am dating women. I am dating! Seriously though, I am too old for dating. I have met lovely, lovely ladies. But I just can’t see a future with another person at the moment. Plus dating makes me leave the house. It’s awkward enough dating when I live with my ex…asking them to come to my place where I will likely be hiding in my bedroom crying is not really going to turn many people on.

I am starting my life over. Beginning again. Can you begin again when you are in the middle? There isn’t a rewind button (and despite all the horribleness I am the person I am today because of that – so rewinding isn’t an option) on life.

I try whenever possible to think of my business mentor talking about “sunk costs” when making life decisions. It’s pretty much don’t throw good money after bad. If you have stuffed up – it’s too late to get that time/money/life back and sticking with it just because you have already invested so much doesn’t do anything but delay the inevitable. So just because I invested 15 years into a bad relationship doesn’t mean I should keep doing so in the desperate hope it gets better. I have done that before and all it did was eat up precious time. I would rather be alone, than with someone and lonely.

I have decided to push Miss Fairchild Millinery back a year…possibly two. Let’s see how I feel after final year!

I am beginning again. Like I always seem to do. I fall down and get back up again. It seems I just don’t know how to lay down and admit defeat.

I have started my final year in Millinery. I booked my first trip overseas (Paris here I come!) for October. I saw a new psychiatrist (it went very badly….but I will find another one eventually). I confronted my dr about some things rather than avoiding him forever and getting a new dr. I have an online dating profile. I have had sex again (was kissing always good? Or was I just not doing it right….or at all). I am trying to reconnect with my friends after last years hibernation.

Life is a bit of a rollercoaster. But at least I will get a crazy picture of me screaming at the end of it…

Miss Fairchild xoxo

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