I don’t really do anything by halves. When I decide I like something I really bloody commit and get into it y’know? I’ll remember how much I like quesadillas then have nothing else for dinner for a week. I go to watch one Vine Compilation but that always turns into ten. I still get obsessed with new bands and crushes like I did when I was 14, making myself dizzy and losing my appetite with butterflies and imaginary futures of us intertwined.
And it’s much the same with fashion.
I’ll avoid something for years, decreeing it’s not for me, roll my eyes at the relentless onslaught of it all over ASOS, then, eventually, I’ll dip my toes into the shallow waters of the style or item, and BAM! I’m hit. I’m obsessed. It is suddenly MY THING. I go bloody nuts on it.
Tassel earrings was one example. Horizontal stripes another.
And it seems I have a new ‘UM, MAYBE JUST GIVE IT A REST NOW?’ item – dungarees.
Side note. I was trying to give this post a nice lil pun on dungarees. I keep wanting to call them FUNGAREES. But that’s too much like fungus innit? Shame that, FUNGAREES is cute. I think I’m going to go for DUNGADREAMS…no, wait, DUNGADREAMZ instead!
It all kind started last Summer when I bought my first dungaree dress (dungadress? IDK why do I keep wanting to make up new dunga words?). I wasn’t yet at the point of feeling comfortable enough wearing proper dungarees, something about lack of confidence in my legs, trusting my ability to successfully wear trousers, but a skirt based version I felt comfortable with (this is always a good thing to remember, you don’t have to go the whole hog right away, it’s okay to start in a way you feel comfortable with).And so I got a sale dungaree dress off ASOS and loved it so much I wore little else all summer. I loved how easy it was to wear over a tee, or togs for the beach. It was casual and comfortable, hardy, low maintenance, but still felt like a cute put-together look.
Since then my confidence has grown, I’ve continued to experiment and test different ways to wear the style, and I have since expanded to actual dungarees with *GASP* legs! Wow turns out my legs can go into trousers after all. Who’d have guessed?!
After a visit to my favourite vintage clothing seller last weekend, who bestowed on me a new set, I got home, and realised, shit, I now own three styles of dungarees. I have done it again. I’ve gone from zero to SLOW DOWN in a short space of time. I swear I didn’t mean to. My gently dipped toes in the pool of casual all-in-one attire, has become a full blown cannonball dive into the deep end, and you know what, I’m still thirsty for MORE.
So before I drown this a sea of distressed denim, in a style synonymous with toddlers and Dexy’s Midnight Runners (nothing to be sniffed at), I thought I’d take you through my collection to date, in the hope I might be able to inspire you to join the Good-Ship-Dungaree. I mean, yes, I’m biased, but it really is a good time. Come on in. The water is lovely and comfy.
1. THE CLASSIC
Ok these aren’t quite classic classic, due to their extreme wide leg and drop crotch. But so far these are my Dungaree 101.
These are the ones I got last weekend. You see, my favourite vintage seller, in the world, Carmel, who has a stall every now and then at the Arts Centre Market, now knows me so well, she always has a little stash of items she’s put aside for me, knowing they’ll be perfect. She knows me better than I know myself, and pals, it’s a lesson in why it’s good to frequent and support your local retailers – they appreciate and get to KNOW you!
So last weekend I rock up, and Carmel hands me a mystery bag of pre-selected goods. And inside were this most incredible, unexpected, pair of mint-condition, 1990’s, oversized, dungarees. The legs so baggy, the groin area so free and loose (no wedgies here) that as soon as I got them home and put them on I felt like they had come with me from a past life, and I never wanted to take them off. I feel Ike I could be in a 90’s all-girl R’n’B group.
I am wearing these with one of my trusty $7 K Mart body suits, mainly just cos all my other tees were in the wash, but it worked really well so it’s a paring I’m gonna do more often, I reckon.
These are proper vintage, but like all of Carmel’s items, only cost $20. I know that if a trendy vintage store in a bigger city got hold of these, they’d be on the rack for more like $150. But again, this is the perk of buying local and with a small supplier. If nothing else, I hope it’s an example of how good quality vintage can still be found in markets and op shops, for very reasonable prices. If you find one of these rare gems of a seller, latch onto them, and support them. They will always look after you in return!
2. THE ETHICAL HIPSTER
I wrote about my Lucy & Yak’s a wee while ago, their classic, original, dungaree style in the loveliest plush cosy corduroy. And since then my love for the brand has only grown to epic proportions. A pair in the lighter weight linen, as well as a dress version, are still at the top of my fashion wish-list. Not to mention their amazing communication and customer service, and ethical ways, they really give a damn y’know? And it feels so good to support makers like Lucy & Yak. I don’t pretend to be a fashion saint – I get my fair share from ASOS and the likes – but life is all about balance, and if you can, when style and budget allows, support an independent, sustainable maker like this, it is a great thing to do.
In my Lucy & Yak’s I feel like a proper Luxury Toddler. But also a hipster. But also a bit of a hippy cos they’re just so ethical and a Right Consumer Choice. And none of these things are bad. In short, they all combine to make me feel Very Cool.
I wear them with a tee, and sometime a chunky cardigan over top. But also have found that an oversized thrifted men’s shirt underneath is also a winning combination.
I am a little distraught though as a month or so back I decided on a whim to clean my bathroom vanity whilst wearing them, and must have leaned up against the edge of the counter during it, as I now have bleach lines across the legs. It’s not the end of the world, it adds to the character and history of them (even if the history is as boring as I CLEANED THE HOUSE IN THEM AND RUINED THEM) but still, GAHHHH DAMMIT.
I also recently acquired my first pair of Saltwater Sandals and I am IN LOVE. If I had my way, I’d live my life in bare feet. In lieu of being able to do that, my Saltwater Sandals are a great alternative, feel like bare feet, and look SO CUTE with all of my dungarees!
3. THE DUNGADRESS
After the rip roaring success of last years’ dungaree dress that I got from ASOS this season I did need a new pair that fit a bit better, in a slightly tweaked style. So I on-sold last years’ to a loving new home (see I’m not a total trash bag wasteful consumer) and reinvested in a new pair from ASOS. ASOS has a really great range of styles and sizes of the dungaree dress, and with free returns and good sales, they are a great place to try the style in a safe way. Mine are from the ASOS denim range and the quality is fantastic. They fit true to size and the denim is a lovely weight and quality.
This style is something I NEVER would have worn in the past. Mainly cos of the length. I’d almost go as far as to call it a mini-dress. But you know what, on a hot weekend day, it feels flipping fantastic to have my legs out and be nice and cool and feel so unrestricted.
Not to toot my own horn too much (even though it’s totally okay to do so and I encourage you do toot your own horn cos no one else will unless you do) but I look at photos of myself in these and I do think HELLO LOOK AT THOSE HAPPY LEGS. Which is such a milestone. I went all of my teens and 20’s hiding my legs. I grew up, and spent so much of the past being told by people around me that I thought cared about me, that I did not have good legs. I had ‘no knees’. I was too heavy. Only skinny girls are allowed to show leg. That you either had good tits or legs, and you chose which it was, and it was never both, so you only got one to show.
And so, even when I was 25kg lighter than I am now, a size 8-10 (note, a very unhealthy one), literally running half marathons, I still could not bring myself to expose my legs anywhere above the knee. I just couldn’t see them for what they were. Poor lil baby me. I just wanna give her a big hug, a pair of tiny denim shorts, and a piece of cheesecake. Oh and to dump all of those negative people from her life IMMEDIATELY.
But life, and fashion, and body acceptance, is a journey, and I got there in the end. And today, as I wear my mini dungadress and FEEL CUTE, I am especially grateful for what I have.
I don’t care about the shape of my legs anymore. Or how prominent (or not) my kneecaps are. What I care about is that my legs are strong and healthy. I can walk miles on them. They support me. They are pain and injury free. I have a LOT to be grateful for. So I’m gonna wear that dress. And just accept them for what they are. And not overheat this summer!
P.S. This is Chewie, my amazing, most adorable, lovely, Wheaten Terrier, he decided to make a rare modelling appearance, which is quite the privilege. He’s the real style star in this household.
So there you go. Now you can see that despite having now acquired THREE types of dungarees in my wardrobe each are very different and have their own meaning and personality for me.
And I reckon there’s room for more, if the opportunity arises.
Sure I might outgrow this phase and if I do, I might minimise my collection. But the beauty of fashion is that as you leave a style behind, someone new and adorable will be just getting into it, for you to bestow these items onto. Look at my vintage baggy dungarees. I bet whoever originally owned them back in the early 90’s had no idea I would inherit them now in 2018, and be discovering them for the first time, and loving them as much as they probably did some 25 years ago.
Fashion is bloody wonderful and eternal like that. Don’t let anyone diminish it, or tell you it’s frivolous. Everything has it’s purpose, story and meaning. Reuse. Recycle. Experiment. Get your toes wet. After all, what’s the worst that will happen?