Monday, October 31, 2011

Frocktober - the final frock!

It was a big decision, what to wear for the final day of Frocktober?  I considered many options, but in the end decided to wear what is probably my most girly, and definitely my most flowery dress, complete with a flower in my hair.

What an amazing month it has been.  The support, financial, emotional and frock-al has been wonderful.  I've loved every moment of wearing dresses, and it has been gorgeous to share them all with you.  At the time of writing, I've raised $3,893.15 and am the second top fundraiser in the country, only beaten by the amazing David Berkelmans who was sponsored to not only wear a dress, heels and earings for the day to work, but also to go out to lunch in his get-up.

Over $90,000 has been raised for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation which is completely brilliant.  This is a wonderful activity to participate in, I know Sue would have loved it and I feel really proud that I'm doing something to help this important cause.

There is still time to donate and help me get over $4,000.  If you are so inclined, you can make a tax deductible donation here:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frocktober - day thirty

I can't believe that the month is almost over.  30 dresses down, 1 to go.  Today's dress was an impulse purchase in the Ben Than markets in Ho Chi Minh City.  I saw it and immediately thought of a friend who loves peacock feathers.  I considered buying it for her, but ended up getting it for me - opps.  I did get her a peacock feather top though.

I still have no idea what I'm going to wear for the last day.  I've considered the votes for a tutu, but I've decided that it would be a skirt which does not constitute a frock in my book, so the jury is still out on what to wear.

Hope everyone has had a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-nine

What was I saying about having no frills in my wardrobe?  I had forgotten the dress that my sister gave me for my birthday.  It has great frilly sleeves, not to mention a full on pattern of flowers and grapes.  It isn't my normal style, the pattern is way out there for me, but I really like it.  And after getting caught in the rain this morning, I can also report that it is quick drying!

It has been one of those real Spring days with everything from rain to hot sunshine, but it is just lovely being able to wander around in short sleeves and a skirt and feel comfortable.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-eight

I don't usually do frills.  I like them - on other people - they have just never made it into my wardrobe.  But when you borrow dresses, you end up with things that are different from your usual and I've discovered that I love wearing fills!  The one on the hem flips as I walk and the fills on my shoulders are such a nice alternate to sleeves.  Maybe I will have to fill-ify my wardrobe!

And now for a gratuitous cake shot because we haven't had one for awhile given the current frock focus of my blog.  It was a colleague's birthday today which of course necessitates a visit to the Flue and resulted in the purchase of this amazing chocolate caramel cake topped with various flavours of macaroon.  I had both a caramel (the white one) and blood orange (the orange one) as well as some cake and it was all incredibly delicious.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-seven

I nearly caved last night.  I got home from a very long day.  It was cold.  I was tired.  And all I wanted to do was put on some trackies and curl up on the couch.  But I stayed true to the course, I did curl up on the couch but in my dress.

As Frocktober heads towards its conclusion I've been thinking a lot about a few things:
  • What should I wear on the last day?
  • What should I wear on the first of November?
  • How can I thank the friends who have lent and given me dresses to get through the month?
For the last day I'm leaning towards wearing something from my cocktail dress collection.  Something a bit special to go out on.  But the first of November, when you would expect I would joyously leap back into pants, is Melbourne Cup day.  The only day of the year when you can get away with wearing a hat or fascinator into the office, so I have a sneaking suspicion that I might just wear a dress!  No doubt that will result in many comments about how I no longer have to wear frocks and I will have to remind people that the reason I own so many is that I actually really like them.   Frocktober really isn't much of a hardship.

But ideas for thank yous, now those I really need.  I'm leaning towards a basket of home-made goodies, but I'm open to suggestions, so let me know if you can think of something clever!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-six

As predicted the early summer weather was fleeting and it is quite cool again.  Luckily I still had one long sleeved dress left in the wardrobe.

I love this dress, it makes me feel like Bernie Dexter.  If you don't know who she is, check her out here.  She is a pin up model and retro clothes designer and I just adore her style.  Of course I'm approximately 5 times her size and she has waaaay better hair and makeup than me, but I can aspire can't I?

If this month has proven anything it is that I definitely own enough dresses, however that doesn't stop me wanting more.  And I think a few of Bernie's designs will be on my Christmas wishlist!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-five

Well the summer weather has disappeared, it is grey, cool and rainy. I'm not complaining at all, we really need the rain, but I do feel sorry for anyone who wanted to see the Queen today when she was visiting the War Memorial.  She was meant to be able to do a walk by which would have been lovely but it has been pouring so I'm sure they shortened everything.

Anyway, it is perfect weather for this dress which is made of a fabric that is somewhere between velour and corduroy.  Normally I hate any fabric with a pile, I have a bit of a velvet phobia, but I like this one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-four

Last week I thought I would not make it to the end of Frocktober with a different dress every day.  However my girlfriends have come to the rescue and supplied me with enough dresses that I will make it - in fact I could go into November!

Today's dress is from a very lovely friend, and I was thrilled that I could squeeze into her dress size, however I've discovered that actually wearing it is different to just standing in front of a mirror.  You see it does fit, but as it is tight when I move it starts to ride up.  I am considerable taller than my friend so this means that the already short skirt become very short, very quickly.  As a result I've spent the day constantly adjusting or risking revealling a little too much to the world.

Earlier today as I headed to the post office in my too tight and short skirt, I saw a couple of women in Islamic dress get out of their car.  They didn't have their faces covered, by they were wearing the hajib and long, voluminous robes. 

The contrast between their very modest outfits and my not so modest one made me think about who we dress for.  It is a complicated question.  Those women (I'm presuming here) dress for two audiences, those at home who see them without the robes and those who are not close family, who see the robes.  But who do I dress for?  Clearly at the moment my driving factor is Frocktober and trying to find a dress every day that is reasonably appropriate.  But what is it that drives me every day to think about what I'm putting on my body?  With my workplace I could get away with wearing a t-shirt and jeans most days, so why don't I?

I've come up with the following list.  They are in no real order, some days one of these will take precedence, other days other ones will.  And of course this list doesn't take into account things like specific events with a dress code.  But I think these are the key factors in what makes me make an effort when I put clothes on in the morning.

Me - I do dress to please myself.  I love clothes, I love feeling girly and feminine.  Some days I want comfort, and on those days I wear trackies and ugg boots - or socks with my dance shoes.  Some days I will plan a whole outfit because I feel like wearing a particular necklace or scarf.  I don't feel the need to be some kind of continually perfectly groomed glamazon, but I enjoy nice clothes and planning and putting together outfits.

S - I'm sure some feminists would chide me for saying that I often choose to wear outfits that my boyfriend likes.  But part of being in a relationship is doing things that each other likes.  Wearing a particular dress because he really likes that one is a very easy thing and he often wears things I like for me.  That said he thinks I'm gorgeous when I've got no makeup on and my hair all crazy, so I know he definitely isn't dating me as arm candy.

Work - As I said before I could wear jeans to work most days, but there are plenty of days where I need to fit the expected look of a professional business person.  It is almost a uniform and dressing to it is a sign of professionalism and an indication of respect for your clients.  I've also found that wearing "work" clothes puts me in the right mind set.  If I look professional, I feel professional.

The World - Yup, I do care what people think.  Not so much that I haven't worn my ugg boots to the local shop, but enough that I get a kick when someone comments on my outfit.  I don't follow fashion trends, I wear what I like but when that coincides with what the world likes it gives me a buzz.

Who do you dress for?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frocktober - twenty-three

Summer has arrived early.  Being Canberra it may disappear again, but today was a gorgeous sunny day, just perfect for a strapless dress.

It may not have been the outfit I would normally choose for doing household maintenance, but it worked just fine as I climbed up and down ladders to put the shadecloth on the pergola we rebuilt recently.  And it stayed up as I did some gardening and cleaned the house.  All in all what one would say a very versatile and highly summery dress for a gorgeous day.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty two

I've had some great supporters this Frocktober, and today sweet Miss Scarlet proved you are never too young to be a frockette.  Scarlet, her lovely mother and I power walked (yes I walked in this dress, if the photo was longer you could see my sneakers) before the ladies frocked up and we went to lunch.

It was just divine, a gorgeous warm spring day, good food, great company and a delightful toddler to keep us entertained (and alert).  Just a lovely way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty-one

Today's outfit might not be the most professional thing I've worn to work.  In fact I think unless you are some kind of children's entertainer or a 1950's housewife, giant polka dots are never going to create an impression of a hardened professional.  However they are very cheery and tonight I'm going to see a production of the Wizard of Oz so I think it will be quite appropriate then.

This outfit also includes a red bow in my hair, a fluffy red petticoat and a string of pearls, so I'm feeling exceptionally girly and will no doubt flounce about happily all day.  I must say, my skirt feels gigantic but I realise it is so much smaller than what women really wore in the 50's.  I wonder how they got things done? 

On a completely different topic I note the current controversy about Julia Gillard (Australian PM) not curtsying for the Queen.  As you may have guessed from the fact that I wear giant dresses, I'm not adverse to such ladylike things as a curtsy and I'm sure if I happened to bump into the Queen down at the shops or something, I would curtsey.  But that doesn't mean that I think the leader of our country should. 

Let's face it, Julia does not seem the curtsying type.  She is the leader of our country, she meets heads of state and various dignitaries all the time and she shakes their hands.  So I think it was perfectly respectful of her to shake the hand the Queen offered.  But there is nothing like a good controversy when the Queen is in town, so I expect that it will bubble along for a few days yet.

Hope you are all having a happy Friday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frocktober - day twenty

Today the Queen is visiting Canberra.  I'm a republican, I believe that Australia should have an Australian head of state.  But I have huge respect for the Queen.  She has truly devoted her life to her role and the Commonwealth.  So even though I was madly busy I decided to head out and see the Queen on what could be her last visit to Australia.

I chose to wear this 30's inspired dress, even though I've discovered it has shrunk somewhat and now the slip shows!  I have had it a long time, the first time I wore it a colleague brought her baby into the office for a visit.  That baby is now in 2nd grade at school.

I headed out of the office at 10am to make sure I was in place in plenty of time which was lucky because car parking was already at a premium on Black Mountain Peninsular.  I had intended to sit at a picnic table and work (I had taken my laptop with me) but the crowds were really gathering so instead I found myself a position near to the lake and sat on the ground.  I actually saw my picnic rug this morning while looking for the hat which would have matched my outfit if I had found it but didn't think to bring it which was a pity because I ended up with numerous sticks and leaves clinging to my pantyhose - they will never be the same.

The crowd was a real mixture.  There were lots of older people including bus fulls from the local nursing and retirement homes, heaps of Mums with young children and babies, but also teenagers who had evidently skipped out of school (they were still in uniform) and uni and a smattering of professional people like me, looking slightly uncomfortable in their suits on the grass.

While we waited we watched the water police whizzing around on their jet skis keeping the few boats in order.  The Queen was quite late but it was a truly gorgeous day so waiting was no hardship.

Finally we could see the crowd on the other side of the lake waving and the official boat (the Admiral's Barge) come into view.  It is normally located in Sydney and had to be brought down to Canberra on the back of a truck earlier this week.  A crane had to be hired to lift it into the water.

And at last we could see the Queen and Prince Phillip.  The Queen was in a lovely lilac outfit, while Prince Phillip was in a navy suit with a straw hat.  They definitely needed those hats with the hot spring sunshine.  The Queen gave us a little wave but Prince Phillip was right into it, with great big, quite un-royal waves.  People waved flags and clapped, it was a very festive and happy atmosphere.

You can't see the Queen so well in this shot but you can admire the Navy men in their very handsome white outfits.

The Admiral's Barge was followed by another water police vessel and the combination of the two made for quite some bow wave which resulted in a mini tsunami.  Everyone was standing or had set up camp chairs right on the edge of the lake and as we all stood up to go we suddenly realised the water was headed our way.  It probably came a meter or so onto the shore, but that was enough to significantly splash quite a few people who didn't move in time.  It was quite a surprise ending to a fun morning out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Frocktober - day nineteen

I've realised I'm nearly out of dresses, I will have to start repeating them soon.  That is not entirely true, if I took to wearing formal, cocktail and costume dresses I could probably get to the end of the month , but that isn't going to happen, the drycleaning bill at the end of the month would be horrific and there is no way I'm going to work in a sailor dress.

Luckily given the gorgeous array that I've worn so far repeat wearings is not something I see as a problem.

I'm thrilled to see that Modcloth has got on the Frocktober bandwagon!  I was so excited to get the notification of their Frocktober promotion in my email this morning.  Congratulations have to go to the Frockettes who started it all and for their ability to get the message going worldwide.  Fantastic work girls.  Unfortunately I don't really like the fundraising dress - oh well, I think I'm going ok in the contribution stakes.

The Queen will be in Canberra from tonight.  I'm hoping I can manage to get out and see her sail by on the lake tomorrow but that does raise an interesting question, what dress to wear when going to see the Queen, even if only at a distance.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Frocktober - day eighteen

Last night was chores night and I did do them all whilst wearing a dress.  I must say I felt quite the 1950's housewife pushing the vacuum cleaner around whilst wearing a swishy skirt - but it makes cleaning the bathroom considerably harder.  One of my chores was to get through the giant pile of dirty clothes that had accumulated while I was busy preparing for Rock your Frock and therefore ignoring all housework.  Several loads of washing later however I realised to my delight that although the washing pile had been huge, the resulting ironing pile is actually very small.  In contrast to the shirts I usually wear all the time, very few of my dresses require ironing.

I don't mind ironing, I would pick it over many other chores.  I do it in front of the telly or while listening to music and I enjoy watching the wrinkles disappear.  Plus I just love the feel of crisply ironed clothes.  But in a busy life any chore that doesn't have to be done is a massive plus.  Just another upside to wearing dresses!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Frocktober - day seventeen

After two long weekends in a row, getting up and ready for work on a Monday was a whole lot harder than usual.  It was made easier by two things, I knew I could bank the proceeds of Rock your Frock and I got to wear this gorgeous dress.

The final tally for Rock your Frock was that we raised an extremely impressive $2,463.15.  While I had been secretly hoping that we could raise above $2,000 I don't think I ever really expected it, so I was absolutely thrilled with the result.  I couldn't have done it without the wonderful sponsors and the help of my fantastic friends Oren and Rob who provided the lighting and sound.  If you have the opportunity to support any of my wonderful sponsors they were:

As I think I've mentioned before, I've generally always been a block colour person.  This dress was one of the first things I've worn that got me really thinking about pattern.  It is lovely and very flattering - the perfect combo and best of all is extremely comfortably to wear.  I hope everyone is having a happy Monday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Frocktober - day sixteen

Rock your Frock last night was extraordinarily successful.  It was a brilliant night, everyone had a great time and we made over $2,300 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.  I couldn't be happier, I probably also couldn't be tireder.  It was a very long day at the end of a very long preparation, so it was nice to have a relaxing day today.

After a sleep in, S and I headed to Floriade (Canberra's spring flower festival) as it was the last day.  The flowers were a little past their prime but it was still gorgeous and a lovely day to be wandering around in the warm spring sunshine.  It has been a great weekend.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frocktober - day fifteen

Today's dress choice was all about functionality.  What would let me run around in to set up everything for Rock your Frock.  This fabric is almost denim like and very easy to move in.  It certainly let me run around the hall, climb under and over tables etc as required.  Everything is now set up and just waiting to be switched on and danced to.

Time now for a quick dinner before an outfit change and we head back to Rock our Frocks!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Frocktober - day fourteen

I used to be a block colour girl, but just as colour blocking becomes all the rage, I'm discovering pattern and loving it!  The red roses on today's dress are making me very happy.  I think it also  brings to two the number of cocktail dresses I've worn to work so far this Frocktober, but I will say it looks a tad more respectable with a jacket over it.

Tomorrow is the biggest day of Frocktober for me - Rock your Frock.  It is a dance party with all the funds raised going to Frocktober that I've been busy organising for the last few months.  It has been a lot of work, but I've managed to get the venue, lighting and sound for free as well as gathered together a fantastic range of donated prizes that will be raffled off and given away.  I've hit all the publicity channels I could think of and it has been featured on the web, in a local free magazine and on radio not to mention on numerous friends' Facebook pages.  Now I just have to sit back and cross my fingers that I get a good turn out!

If you are in Canberra and are free, please do come along.  The details are:

Rock your Frock
Saturday 15 October from 7pm
Harmonie German Club, Jerrabomberra Avenue, Narrabundah
Cost $10 with all proceeds to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Frocktober - day thirteen

It is one of life's eternal questions - why is dirt so attracted to white?  Just like how toast will always fall buttered side down, when the balsamic vinegar could choose to land on the black section you just know it will hit a white spot - and it did.

Oh well, I do love this dress, it has very flattering dots and I think it is very cheerful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Frocktober - day twelve

This is another of The Divine Ms N's dresses, isn't the colour gorgeous?  I however need to remember to take the photo earlier in the day when the shadows aren't quite so unflattering.

I was writing a catch up email to a friend who lives far, far away today.  She has just had an impossibly gorgeous baby and was saying how even in her highly sleep deprived state she is incredibly happy.  It led me to muse on how if you are happy it is so much easier to cope with stresses.  I'm generally a happy person, but I've had down times and I've noticed that there are things that don't rate a mention when you are happy which become a big deal if you are down.

That realisation has made me really try to focus on the important things in life.  If little details change or don't go my way, I try to go with the flow and enjoy whatever the outcome is.  Stuck in traffic - enjoy the extra time listening to the radio or just being zen.  Group picks a restaurant I don't like - find something on the menu and focus on the company.  Shoes not in my size - consider it a savings plan.  There is enough to worry about that really is important without clogging my head and dragging down my mood on the small things.

I think this has made me happier and more relaxed.  All part of the pollyanna syndrome I guess!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Frocktober - day eleven

I have often mused on this blog about how lucky I am to be surrounded by some super wonderful people.  I'm not quite sure how it happened but I've been lucky enough to end up with a fantastic bunch of amazing, caring, brilliant friends.

One of them is my gorgeous friend The Divine Ms N.  When asked to describe her I always use the word lovely, as in "she is just the most lovely person you will ever meet" but I don't think that really does her justice.  She is a ray of sunshine in any room, a generous, big hearted, gorgeous, truly lovely person.

She also has a brilliant sense of style and the most covetable wardrobe you have ever seen which she has built up through superior shopping and e-bay skills.  This is particularly important in Frocktober as the gods smiled upon me by making us the same size.  She was absolutely my savior last year when she let me loose in her wardrobe to borrow away to my heart's content.  When she offered to do the same thing this year I of course leaped at the opportunity.

Yesterday I headed over, a bunch of flowers in hand as my rather pathetic thank you for the support.  I perused her awesome collection of clothes and chose 7 lovely dresses.  She then presented me with the one I'm wearing today.  I had borrowed it last year and she liked it more on me than her so she gave it to me to keep!  I was overwhelmed - see what I mean by generous?

But I couldn't possibly expect what happened next.  I had been home a little while when I got a text.  It read "Hi darling I am loving the extra hanging space so much, please keep all of the dresses you found this morning :-)".   Yes, you read that right, she just gave me another 7 dresses!!!  One of the things I left out from above is that The Divine Ms N is as determined as she is lovely,  I know full well that if I try to return them, they are going to keep coming back, so I will just have to think of something to show my huge appreciation - ideas are most welcome.

And in the meantime, I will just continue to feel incredibly lucky, humbled and overwhelmed by my wonderful friend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frocktober - day ten

There were lots of things I loved about turning 30, but one of the main ones was realising how comfortable I now am in my own skin.  After years of feeling like an ugly duckling, never knowing what I should look like, how I should dress etc, I now feel comfortable in my style and happy with how I look (mostly, I do of course still have days when it just doesn't come together).  Possibly this is why I now seem to have no problem wearing very short skirts and even posting photos of myself on the internet wearing no makeup at all!

Today's dress is another from ASOS.  It has quite a flouncy skirt which doesn't necessarily give me the most flattering waist line, but I love the bounce and sway of the masses of skirt, it makes me feel incredibly girly.  It was complimented by cute burgundy tights by Leona Edmonson and my lovely birthday shoes from S.

Today was my birthday and I was incredibly spoiled by a whole host of super wonderful people.  I have to say, it really was one of the best birthdays I've ever had.  It was a relatively quiet day, but every aspect of it was full of love, happiness, smiles and warmth (metaphorically speaking, it was actually a bit grey and cold meteorologically speaking).  I finish this day reflecting on what a truly lucky person I am.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Frocktober - day nine

Today, under the gaze of angels I listened to music that could have been sent from heaven.  It was a concerto by the National Capital Orchestra and it was just wonderful.  The setting was the All Saints Church in Ainslie which is a stunning building.  The afternoon light was made golden by the stained glass, and the music swelled through the vaulted ceiling.  It was a free event which was amazing for the quality that it was.

I was slightly worried about the shortness of this dress for church wear but I thought my cute stockings made up for it.  My love of Jonathon Aston has been facilitated by some good sales on at the moment, however they were still more expensive that my dress which I got from Target on sale, along with the cardigan.  Oh well, I haven't had tights with sparkly bits since I was a little girl and I just love them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Frocktober - day eight

After complaining about a lack of cardigans for sale, I went for a wander in Target today and found cardigan heaven!  It made this dress even more cheerful.

Now I must go and pick another dress to wear to dinner tonight!

From my birthday dinner later that night

Friday, October 7, 2011

Frocktober - day seven

On Tuesday I was pondering just how long it would take me to wear a cocktail dress to work.  While this may not be a full on cocktail dress, given I've worn it to cocktail parties and a wedding, I think that it qualifies. However I've also taken the sensible precautions of wearing a thermal top and thick tights today.  With rain and a top of 15, I've decided that today is one day I'm not going to freeze!  The colours are actually a fair big brighter than the photo shows, so it is making me cheerful on a grey, cold day.

I was almost caught out this morning by another issue associated with dresses and skirts, particularly where they are made of a soft flowing material.  It is something all women dread and which most of us have seen at some point - the horrific sight of a skirt caught up in pantyhose!  I had been to the loo and was about to leave the stall when I realised something wasn't quite right, I did a quick check, and sure enough if I had left in that state I would have been showcasing my bottom to the world - or at least to the office.  It was an important and timely reminder to me that I must be that extra bit careful!

The flowy skirt will be an asset later today though, as I'm going dancing after work.  This dress is dance tested, so as long as I can keep it out of my tights, hopefully I can avoid showing off my underwear for one more day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Frocktober - day six

It is serious corporate wear today.  I haven't worn this dress since last summer and I had forgotten just how much I like it.  However it is my only dress with a high neckline so occasionally if I don't think about it as I sit down I throttle myself.

I did go dancing in my black and white pansy dress last night.  It has a great skirt for dancing, not too flared and all revealing which is nice.  However the straps didn't want to stay in place so a few times I think I flashed a bit of bra - luckily I was wearing a nice black and white one which matched the dress!  Oh well, such are the issues of dancing in dresses.

Last night was one of those nights which confirms what a magical activity dance really is.  A couple of my good friends had not had the best of days.  One had a day which can really only be described with a string of expletives.  But after a dance or two, they were all smiling and feeling remarkably better for it.  I think it is a combination of the exercise, music and friends - with maybe a little touch of indefinable pixie dust magic - that does it.  I certainly know that even on the nights where I have to pry myself away from the couch and drag myself in, I always have a great time.  Next time, however, I might just dance test my dress first!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Frocktober - day five

I love Frocktober.  I love wearing the dresses, raising the money for the OCRF, being part of the frock community.  And nothing beats the outpouring of support I get from my family and friends.  However, Frocktober does come with some challenges.

As I've already mentioned the weather does not necessarily encourage dress wearing.  There is a good reason why you aren't supposed to plant your tomatoes before Melbourne Cup day (the first Tuesday in November) in Canberra - it can still be damn cold!  As a result, stockings, tights and pantyhose are all very much required, as are jackets, jumpers and cardigans.  This year however cardigans appear to be out of fashion, I can't find a decent fitted waist length one anywhere!

The next challenge is the volume of dresses.  Frocktober is about raising money for the OCRF - not spending it on a new wardrobe, so the aim is that you don't buy anything new.  There is also no rule (unless it is self imposed) about wearing a different dress each day.  However when you are photographing each outfit, it just inspires you to try for variety.  I think it is unlikely that I will get through the month without a new dress (especially when I just saw a whole section in the Target catalogue of great dresses) and there will definitely be double ups, but my saviour is my gorgeous friend The Divine Ms N who allows me access to her AMAZING wardrobe.  You will see plenty of shots of her gorgeous dresses in the weeks to come.

The final challenge probably doesn't apply to most frocketts, but the thing is, I'm a dancer, and more to the point I do a dance style which involves much spinning and dipping.  As a result, the attention one pays to one's underwear must increase in proportion to the now much higher likelihood of it being on public show.  You can be assured that for the next few weeks at least I will be paying as much attention to what is under the dress as what is over it.

You know what they say about a challenge - it makes life that much more interesting!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Frocktober - day four

Owing to the wonder that is a long weekend (and we get another one next weekend - yay!) today is the first workday of Frocktober.  Being a frock lover I do have quite a few work appropriate dresses, however given I have to get through an entire month, I predict it won't be that long before I wear a cocktail dress to work.

I love this dress, it is a simple design, but I accessorise with giant petticoats to give me somewhat of a 1950's silhouette.  You can't see it, but today's petticoat is bright blue.  As a result it has me swishing all over the place and you all know that I do love a swishy skirt.

The only problem with long weekends is that I spend the rest of the week in a strange fog of confusion as to what day of the week it is.  This was compounded today when I got into the office and for awhile didn't realise that none of the office clocks had been changed to allow for daylight savings.  Everything is now updated and I seem to currently have a handle on the time and date but I'm sure it won't be that long before I trip myself up again.

I hope you all had a fantastic long weekend and are feeling very relaxed on this gorgeous spring day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Frocktober - day three

The sun made an appearance today, so there are bare arms in the photo!  However the wind was chilly so the reality is that S was holding my jacket while he took the photo.

Today is a public holiday which means I have had three days of sleep ins in a row!  What absolute bliss.  I love public holidays, they are so relaxing.  When the day off is coming out of my holiday leave I feel like I have to get the most out of it, take real advantage.  But a public holiday, well that is just an excuse to be lazy and relaxed.  Which is exactly what we are doing today.

I hope everyone who has the day off is enjoying it too!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Frocktober - day two

My second dress for Frocktober is one of those great items of clothing that come with a story.  It is a cute strapless mini dress with a black background and an electric blue bamboo pattern.  Being a cold, wet and windy day it needed a jumper over it, however a jumper was the last thing on my mind when I bought it.

This dress was bought on a hot steamy evening in the night markets in Siem Reap in Cambodia.  My friend Rob and I were wandering through the markets when I spotted its vivid colours.  Rob pretended to be my husband who didn't want me to spend money to bargain the price down which I think meant I got it for just a few dollars.  It is fun and cheerful and every time I see it reminds me of that great night in Cambodia.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Frocktober - Day One

It is the first day of Frocktober, so the weather has helpfully put on a cold, wet and windy day, just what you want to inspire you to wear a dress.

But Frocktober isn't really about wearing dresses, it is about raising money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.  Choosing a charity to support was never an easy thing for me.  I'm pretty passionate about education, so that sort of inspired me as does support of human rights.  I've sold badges for Amnesty International, Jeans for Genes Day, Red Nose Day and Hawaiian Shirt Day, I've door knocked for the Red Cross, I've donated money to all sorts of charities and volunteered for charities and non-profit groups.  I did all these things because as someone who lives a very comfortable and privileged life, I think it is important.  However I must admit I never really felt really, deeply passionate about a cause.

What a difference personal experience makes.  Losing my Mum's best friend to ovarian cancer has made me really passionate about a cause.  For me Frocktober is about saving women from a terrible disease that I watched kill someone I love.  It is also about healing.  About dealing with Sue's death and just how much a part of my life she was.

This is the story of Sue's illness.  It is not a happy story, but it is an important one, so I'm breaking the happy only rule that runs this blog for one day.

In May 2010 my little sister got married. On the morning the house was full of excited women, there was the bride, bridesmaids, my Mum and her best friend Aunty Sue. Sue may not have been related by blood but she had been a part of our family my whole life and I don’t think you could have been more excited than she was. In fact Sue had spent more than twice as much on her dress than Mum had on her mother of the bride outfit.

Mum had been worried about sitting alone at the front of the church while we all did our bits in the ceremony. She needn’t have. Sue held Mum’s hand as Dad walked Jessica down the aisle, she was one of the first to congratulate the newly married couple and she danced the night away at the reception.

A couple of weeks later Mum and Sue had a week away at the coast to recover from all the wedding excitement. It was then that Mum discovered Sue was having some abdominal pain and when she had a massage the massuse suggested she get her ovaries checked out. It didn’t seem right, so Mum insisted Sue go to the doctor.

Doctor’s appointments followed. On the 6th of July Sue had a scan which showed metastatic masses in both ovaries. By 13 July we found out that she had tumours on her liver and in her stomach. On the 2nd of August she was admitted to hospital for surgery. She never went home, she never ate another meal. After several weeks in the hospital and some very difficult decisions about what treatment to have or not have, they moved her to Claire Holland House, Canberra’s hospice.

Sue died on the 17th of September 2010, just two months after she was diagnosed. She was laid to rest in the dress that she had worn to my sister’s wedding and danced the night away in four months earlier.

Before Sue was diagnosed I didn’t know anyone who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but since talking about it, I’ve discovered just how common it is, and just how hard it is to diagnose.

Frocktober is for me a tribute to the wonderful woman that Sue Gane was, and this is why Frocktober isn't sad for me. Sue was a talented dressmaker and made me some of my most memorable frocks. Through Frocktober I have a way to remember this fantastic woman and honour her memory.  So it doesn't matter what this weather throws at me, I will be rocking my frocks!