If we were firebirds that we could rise above what people see...

I laughed my arse off and WAS nodding in agreement recently whilst reading one of Vix' magnificent posts, this one where she starts off with " You'll often find me scrutinising the seams of dresses in Marks and Spencer and tutting over the shoddy waY they've been made, harrumphing about the outrageous price of new stuff in shops..." as I do this all the time...... 

As a sewer, for a start, I'm quite nosey about the way a garment is put together, and the rare times I actually look in a new clothing shop (likely about 5 times in the last 10 years) I am appalled at the standard! Once I was with a friend who was keen on a particular Australian design duo, and as I liked their designs, I was keen for a look..........not only were their garments made with cheap shitty fabric, the were made badly, with wonky seams, threads hanging, and the prices were well in the hundreds for the crap!!!
Why wouldn't you buy second hand or make it yourself?!
If I make a frock and the hem comes down, it's only my fault, and I probably bought everything I made it with for bugger all secondhand....if I pay a fiver for it at the opshop and it falls apart, who cares for that price?! I'll just fix it.
I really can't imagine how people can actually afford to buy new, considering the price of living.
Since paying off our mortgage I'm thrilled that I can buy the odd thing I desire, but I'm really a cheap skate and balk at the stupid prices, waiting for a sale, or for it to crop up at the opshop.

Then Vix goes on to express her disgust/distaste at a feature in The Guardian highlighting the current style hits and misses......hits currently being trainers and "american tan tights" (WTF?!) and misses being huge, donut shaped topknots.
Who the hell has nothing better to do than a) make up this shit, and b) take it as gospel?!
And worse, c) rush straight out and buy said trainers and tights?!

Bahahahaha frigging baaaaaaahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

I was born with an uncontrollable urge to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
Whilst this has occasionally got me into trouble, it has the bonus of meaning that I was never bothered by peer pressure, and I simply cannot not wear whatever is deemed "fashionable".
I'm really am fecking thankful to not feel the desire to be one of the flock.
Besides, I can't bear being told what to do!

On the other hand, I've been on the receiving end of a lot of nasty criticism over the years, been laughed at, had things thrown at me, you name it.
I don't do it for attention. 
I literally cannot help it. 
I just don't want to look like everyone else, and I really don't think I could if I tried!
There's been times when I've thought how much easier it would be if I could fit in, to not be noticed; that to think, act, breathe like everyone else would bring me peace and bloody quiet and I could just get on as lemming-like and unquestioning as most of the human race.
So many say "o, I'd love to dress like you, but I'm too scared...blah, blah..."
Damned right you're scared.
I've been scared when strangers have thrown things at me from cars, when I've been threatened with getting my head smashed in for daring to be different.
But at the end of the day I am proud to be different, proud to stand out, proud to be considered creative.
I would rather slit my wrists than be like everybody else.
I'm more scared to not be myself!

As Desiree says, "it's my art".

Bring on the topknot.
(Or big bulging hair thingy made of old tights stuffed in there, in my case!)

I'm wearing:
Frock-made it myself using a retro sheet I opshopped for a dollar and a zip from Vix (one of a bunch she'd found at a jumble), and a late 40's reproduction pattern.
Belt-garage sale, for free, or maybe a dollar, I think
Shoes-Trade Me, I think they were a tenner, including postage, but they're bloody PAINFUL and I've popped them in a bag now to go to the opshop
Handbag-it's a 60's or 70's knitting bag I got at a market for five bucks
Cape-Dashfield Vintage for not much as it's had the lining ripped out...one of these days I'll replace it!
Sunglasses-Catch a Thief
Earrings-Vintage Pip
Necklace- a handmade gift from Kristalicious!

That was an unusual amount of blither from me, wasn't it?!
Usually I leave the sensible scribbling to those wiser and more eloquent than I.

I'll finish with a couple of pix from a quick overnight trip we did to Oamaru when one of G's bands (One Legged Dog, they'll have a Facebook page up soon) was offered a gig at The Penguin Club.
It's a rather infamous club in our part of the world.

My boy's in back, behind the drumkit!!!
It was a jolly good night, well worth the 5/6 hour return trip and a nasty hangover on my part!



Brooke F said...

Too bloody right! Life is too short for blending in with the crowd (why would you want to?) and not being yourself. I think you always look ravishing and pity the fools who dare to think otherwise. I can't believe people have ridiculed you or thrown things at you. I love anyone who can say "This is me. I love me and I want to be just as I am!". And I am not even going to get started on how much badly made crap is out there in shops - that is why second hand op shopped (but quality!) clothing rocks! XXX

Carina Rosenholm said...

I wish that moore people could and dared to think and dress like you , that they could stand straight and be there own art !
But people are afraid to stand out ... me - im not that colourful but my workmates often asks me when i shall start dressing like other grown ups , the answer is - well im no other people im just me and this is me .
Love to you queen of colour !

pastcaring said...

I LOVE it when you go blithering on, do more of it, darling!
Anyway, if it's something you feel passionate and vocal about, you are entitled to say whatever you like, and I wholeheartedly applaud you. Can you hear me, I am cheering right now!
Underpaid, exploited workers in China or Bangladesh, making instant fashion out of crap fabric with inferior construction for idiots who want to look like everyone else, before they chuck it away? No thank you, that's not for me.
Wankers who are rude and aggressive to anyone who dares to look different and not follow the herd? No, they aren't for me either, in fact I am appalled that anyone would behave so dreadfully. I don't like how lots of people dress, but I manage to keep thought to myself and not throw anything at them.
You are a magnificent creature of superb individuality, creativity and style! Of course you can't be anything other than yourself, a drab, everyday, look-like-everyone-else Helga is unthinkable! Be you, sweetheart - you are bloody good at it!
Gorgeous frock, delicious cape, the shoes look amazing even if they hurt like a bugger, and your top knot is top notch!
Love you hugely, my darling! xxxxxx

Sue said...

I always dressed opposite to the trends when young, then trialed the idea of so called fashion and didn't overly enjoy it. But thanks to gorgeous gals like yourself I am doing my own sort of thing again and loving it. I intend to grow old wearing whatever I like and I am so going to rock long hair! Love you Helga, you are the best!

freckleface said...

Helgita! I like this more vocal you! In fact, this post had ME chuckling. Can't believe you've been subject to such awful abuse. What on earth is the matter with people? You do have a unique look, which is fantastic and i love to see what you put together. In real life if I'd seen you on the street, I'd have been too shy to approach you, but through your blog, i've got to see how kind and sweet and funny you are, as well as looking amazing. The haters are missing out. I love this outfit, that self-made sheet dress is sublime, as is that great cape and all that wonderful colour. Don't ever change. We love you just the way you are! Xxxxxxxx

Malayka said...

Oh I've missed you dear Helga! I haven't had much of a chance to catch up with all my favourite old blogs over the past year so it was so nice to finally pop over to yours and see you wearing your (my) favourite Dashfield cape!
Oh my goodness and you are so absolutely right about the ridiculous cost of shoddily made clothing. All my very best clothes are second hand ones because they come from way back when clothing was actually made to last! I shudder every time I have to go to the mall. Why waste all your hard earned coin on paying to look like everybody else??

Fiona said...

Nobody should be afraid of being themselves ...if they prefer to blend in with the crowd or not. Personally I was happy to blend in until I was middle aged and whilst I'm not exactly out there, I don't want to age as one of the beige brigade. Why people cannot accept others who are different beats me, how dull the world would be otherwise hey? I hope you gave those morons who abused you a few choice words or maybe a disdainful look down your nose? I'm not a sewer more's the pity but yeah, there's a lot of high priced tat out there. xxx
PS I'm a cheapskate too.

Renia said...

Piękne u Ciebie zawsze kolory:)))wyglądasz ślicznie:))cudne buty:))Pozdrawiam serdecznie:)

Indigo Violet said...

I think they deliberately make them shoddily so they have built-in obsolescence. It doesn't matter to me, I have more clothes than I know what to do with, and they are almost all 2nd hand. But I feel bad for the suckers who throw something away because a button has fallen off and they don't know how to fix it.

señora Allnut said...

you're gloriously bright, not only because your fabulous dress and sunnies and pretty color combo are like sunshine, but also because you're f*ck*n' right about expressing ourselves through our own style and Art!! oh yes, and never bear anybody to told us what to do!
And my life would be easiest if I never wear a headpiece or crazy sunnies, but I can't avoid it!!, that's the way I dress!!
Stay sparkling, dear sunshine!!
besos & fabulous sunnies!

OP SHOP MAMA said...

Hear hear!!! Great rant - loved it!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Feck I LOVE it when you give the world a piece of your mind, especially when you're wearing a flippin' GAWWWWWWWWWJUSSSSSSSS cape, sheet-dress, knitting bag, orange tights and PINK shoooooooooozzzzz!!!! Throw things at you? Only flower petals on the ground before you, or to watch them gently fall on your top knot!!! FECKING FLINGOS - LOVE!!!!!! I find that when we have something that is bursting inside us to blurt out to the world we usually become very eloquent as you certainly are here Helga. Consider yourself well and truly groped my good woman!!!!!!! xoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Two fabulous capes in one post?!? Now you are just rubbing it in. They are both fab- but I especially like the last one-pretty, pretty colours. I know what you mean about people being rude, scary and pig headed. Small minds, small hearts and small others to boot. I love that you have re-appropriated that knitting bag to a handbag- far too much fun for sitting at home. xx Shauna

P.S- if you want to catch up whilst you are here for Helgstock drop me a line mmsutherl@optusnet.com.au

PinkCheetahVintage said...


Angels have Red Hair said...

I like your blither … you just blither away anytime you feel like it.

Vix said...

Hear, hear! I love a rant!

I don't understand why anyone could walk into a shop, see a rack of identical looking dresses and be content to buy one and risk being in the pub with three other women wearing the same thing.
I loathe the way people go on about being animal lovers but think nothing of buying clothes from Primark, H&M, Matalan and all those other shit holes that subscribe to sweat shops. Like rabbits matter more than people?

Don't get me started on strangers saying I'm "brave" for wearing the clothes I do. That they're "too old" or "too fat" to wear a psychedelic dress but think nothing of a tee shirt with a rabbit on.

The other day a woman in sweat pants and fake Uggs asked me what the fuck I was wearing. I was flattered. The day I want approval from someone like that will be the day I'm committed.

You look fecking wonderful despite the bastard shoes crippling you, don't ever change!

Love ya! xxxxx

Sandra said...

Oh I adore you Miss Helga! I adore what you wear, it makes me happy, it makes me happy when I see people happy, it's a happy domino effect of life! and then it makes me sad when there is such fear to embrace what can make us happy - your writing is awesome, your outfits are awesome, and you are magnificent x x x

Sheila said...

Adding my voice to the chorus of "hear, hear"s! I've always dressed a little oddly, and am a devotee of second-hand shopping. The quality is superb!

Speaking of quality: you=awesome.

thorne garnet said...

I have no idea what "American tights" are. People make shit up to sell you crap you don't need. A new (chain) second hand store just opened in town, it caters toward collage age kids. One of my student took clothes to sell and was told her stuff was "out of date". She can't be more than 22, so how "out of date" can her clothes be? I see her almost everyday and she does dress retro or vintage. Retail is insane

Catherine said...

Helga, you have hit the nail on the head for i think the whole vintage/ colourful etc dressing community. Who would want to follow the trends and be a sad little sheep? Why, when there are so many beautiful clothes out there, in excellent condition. why would you want to give up colour for tan tights and sneakers?
I think a lot of the people who dress according to what some nob in an office says, either doesn't have any confidence to make their own choices in life or is to scared or they aren't able to get to know themselves well enough to think about what they might WANT to wear! Wonderful people like us who have been put through the ringer know ourselves better. what we look good in, how to style etc because we've spent years getting to know ourselves and understanding how to make us happy, not the bitches in Supre.

you are fabulous Helga and thank you for including two outfit photos! yay! xoxo

PepperReed said...

You Fecking ROCK!!! Word to the WORD to the MF WORD!! I don't dress really fancy the majority of the time, I wear a lot of simple stuff. But no matter your style, the crap they sell in the stores is just Unbelievable... just GROSS. I remember being in Boston on vacation and went into some really High End stores; supposedly top stuff by the designer names on the labels, and it was just naff... made of the same cheepo shite polyester stuff that they have in the dollar stores but for $$$. Seriously, I saw a blouse from a major label for $237. Really? That shit should be silk not poly!

Keep on Rockin' the FABulousness, Helga! Those bright colors and fun outfits make life interesting and it's too damn short, and too damn boring for the most part, to not enjoy yourself and make folks around you smile at the beautiful gloriousness right in front of them.

PepperReed said...

Oh and pastcaring's right!! I have no desire to harm folks in 3rd world countries who are trying to feed their families in sweatshop hells! We've forgotten the Triangle Fire here in the US and ignore the issues as long as it's not happening to us. A great book on this subject is Overdressed. http://www.overdressedthebook.com/

Krista Gassib said...

Do you see how excited you have made us all! I love a good ole bitch fest and wow where cheap fast fashion is concerned there is so much bitching to be done! I think all of us who dress differently than the the rest always get singled out good and bad comes at us for sure, but what other choice do we have. I feel like I dressed to get attention from men almost my whole life. Breaking myself of that awful habit was the best thing I ever did for myself, I WAS REBORN into the REAL ME!

I think you are beautiful and I would want to be a fast friend if I saw you anywhere. Keep on doing you honey no one else can. You and Vix have helped me to expand my fashion horizons and I love you both dearly for your positive influence in my life.

Tilda said...

Helga---you ARE an artist. Only you could make a tartan cape, a yellow flowered dress and a pink and yellow floral bag go together so spectacularly! Its your special superpower!

Beth Waltz said...

Hear! Hear! And brava! One does rally to the Cause when both Vintage Vixen and Helga decide to let down their splendid coiffeurs and vent!

Those shoes are too artistic to be worn, except by those who do not walk. ?! A fashionista of a certain age rolls through my workplace in a wheelchair, dressed in glorious vintage (size XL) and sporting footwear with impossible heels.

Says she: "Nobody can walk in these things! They're for looking! I can't walk anyway, so I wear them. Enjoy looking!"

Teresa said...

Tan tights? Seriously?!?!

Keri-Anne Halliday said...

I think you are fantastic! Don't stop being you :)

Mariela said...

Looking fab as always! I have often done the same thing. Modern clothes aren't put together worth a lick and they don't last nearly as long they should.

The Grande Dame said...

What a great post, blither away all you want, I completely agree with you. Sometimes I feel a bit self conscious about whatever I'm wearing but when someone else says they wish they could wear things like that I think well why don't you?? Much better to dress for yourself and sewing things to wear is so much fun and cost effective! I love using old sheets and quilt covers for dresses.

Ariane Lasalle said...

Amen! so happy that you took the time to write this magnificient post!
Makes me feel proud!

I was so schocked to read that people would throw things at you?
I got laughed at the other day, i felt like saying what the f$?%% is your problem and had the urged of showing him the middle finger, but i didn't- I will not waste good energy on human stupidity

Stay the way you are!

You are beautiful Darling


Hollie "Jet" Black-Ramsey said...

I had no idea that older women get "picked on" for being different. I always assumed that once you hit a certain age, society no longer cares about how you dress and you're free to dress however you want without so much as a second glance from the public. You're an amazing woman to say "eff you!" and keep going! You're too awesome for words!

Van said...

Love the glasses, necklace, whole thing! Colors!

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I loved reading this post Miss H....it's hard for me to imagine anyone NOT appreciating your style. I adore everything about it. You are so creative, you know what suits you & you are bold. I'd like a piece of anyone that's dissed you for it. I am constantly amazed at the uniforms being worn out there. Here it's all about the cut off short shorts. Drives me insane, everyone looks the same! I was at a vintage fair today & it was so refreshing to see everyone dressed individually, in their preferred styles. Inspiring. As you are. Love you! Xx

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear sister! I couldn't agree with you more. This morning as a treat I decided to buy a glossy fashion mag to read while I drank a coffee. I was instantly reminded why I don't normally buy them. As I flicked through the pages of the latest "trends" I couldn't help but roll my eyes. "How dull" "What, more beige?!" and "Blimey, I'd be bored shitless wearing that" were just a few of the thoughts that went floating through my brain as I read.

I love your unique fashion. I love wearing things that make me happy without worrying too much if they're "trendy" or "flattering". And I hate paying more than a couple of dollars for new clothes. Cheapskate fashionistas of the world unite!

wardrobeexperience said...

love your both of your plaid capes ...

liz said...

Yes yes YAAAS! Couldn't agree more. With all of it! You continually inspire me!

Forest City Fashionista said...

I rather like you when you "blither on" like this - I can just hear your lovely voice now! I agree with everything you said, and while I never had things thrown at me (except snowballs once when I was in my 20's) I received my share of catcalls and rude comments when I was in my 20's and wearing all kinds of crazy thrift store finds with my almost shaved head. "Dyke" and "freak" come to mind. Now I find people are more complimentary and I get a lot of the "Oh, I wish I was a brave as you..." comments. Because we're not afraid to stand out in a sea of conformity, people see us as brave. After all, when you are highly visible, you are often a target.

I admit to buying a few new things now and then from my friend's store where they carry stuff made by independent designers. Usually the stuff doesn't fall apart ;)

Julie Delves said...

You're fabulous! I am totally the same about new stuff. Hate it. My latest fab acquisition is a gorgeous pure wool machine knitted ski dress from New Zealand!!! I got it for free because there is a tiny hole in the front. I embroidered a rosette over the hole.
You actually always look truly beautiful. Glad you don't let the turkeys get you down. Mwah, mwah!

Carol said...

Absolutely love this post - and the other day, I went to Goodwill and bought a 'frock' for spring - you inspiring person, you!

In the Ruins of Berlin said...

very good post! I totally agree ! I had so much problems in my youth in the East german dictatorship because of my different style and it has nothing really changed in the heads of the business people today... but like you: I don't do it for attention. I literally cannot help it... Stay as you are - you´re soo fun-tastique babe! xxx

Sufiya H. said...

Dear Helga: I was struck by the fact that I could have written this post; I completely AGREE that people have to be OUT OF THEIR MINDS to pay top dollar for the unspeakable CRAP that is being fobbed off on the public; And don't get me started on this BS "deconstructed" trend; you can be SURE that it was invented to give clothing manufacturers an excuse to sell POORLY MADE CRAP and call it "trendy" ("Why no; I'm notwearing badly produced pieces of shit; it's the very latest thing: they're deconstructed' " BIG HUGE EYE ROLL.

Buttercup Rocks said...

Ms Helga, I totally love your blog and your inimitable style , (though up until now I've been a lurker) and couldn't agree with you more about not wanting to look like everybody else. I have hated it since childhood.

But...and this is a big but, (or, in my case belly and boobs), there are very good reasons why some of us mightn't buy secondhand or make it ourselves.

Personally speaking I'm a size 22 and have like zero talent with a needle. I do buy second hand on the rare occasion I find something in my size that's awesome, and I haunt the local chairty shops on a twice weekly basis. But most fat women in the UK hang onto their decent clothes till they're in shreds for fear of never finding anything cute to fit them again, thus thriftable gems surface rarely in in my country.

And if you think straight sized clothing has shoddy workmanship, try the majority of plus-sized offerings, some of which can be three times the price, just as badly made and in nasty nasty fabrics to boot. You would be horrified.

I also hear you on attracting negative attention. Now I'm in my dotage, drive-by trolls mostly ignore me but, in my youth I was regularly catcalled and snarled at. Somebody once yelled, "You're not real!" at me.

Buttercup Rocks