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The weight of gender November 13, 2010

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Observations, Personal, Uncategorized.
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Is it a boy or a girl?

It’s the first question someone asks when you have a baby – or even before. These days the gender question might be answered well before birth. It goes along with “do you have a preference for what you have?”

It must be so common to find out the sex of the baby that we had to ask what we’d had in the delivery room because no-one told us.

But since the moment they said “It’s a girl”, I’ve felt the weight of responsibility for bringing up a child of the female sex.

If you had asked me in my younger years whether I wanted a boy or a girl, I probably would have strongly preferred a girl. There are a number of reasons for this – I only have a sister, I went to an all girls school. I didn’t really grow up with boys and I think for a long time I didn’t really ‘get’ boys.

But when it came to realising that we were actually having a child, it mattered less and less. My only reason for preferring a girl was that we could agree on a name – something that eluded us for a boy.

Unlike many other cultures, it seems the preference for girls in western nations is quite common. I was surprised at the number of people who expressed a hope that I’d have a girl and I’ve heard parents almost defending why it’s good to have boys.

The marketing of baby goods is strongly skewed towards girls – go to any clothing department or baby market and the products for girls outnumber those for boys many times over.

I feel real pressure in bringing up a girl child. How do I instill in her the strength she’ll need to stand up for herself in this world where men still have so much of the power and influence? How do I help her to avoid the crippling problems of self-esteem and body image that I suffered? Can I let her know that being intelligent is a good thing for a girl and playing dumb isn’t a way to get through your teenage years?

Perhaps these are all problems that I’d have to teach a boy as well, but having a girl, I directly relate it to my own experience.

But the first issue I have to face is dressing this little being – I’ve never been a ‘girly-girl’. I remember loathing pink throughout my childhood and now I eschew anything that is overly feminine or that might cast me in a role of femininity that is contrary to how I’d like to be perceived.

During my pregnancy I was quite outspoken about my feelings about pink and haven’t been given much in that particular hue. But within me there is still a battle in my mind as to how we dress her.

When she was in hospital, she wore mostly gender neutral suits but on the day we brought her home, I put her in a dress for the first time and it shocked me to have her put so clearly into the gender box. Do I just accept that I dress differently from Chris and that’s the way the world is, or should I avoid the fripperies of so much female clothing? And then there’s the aesthetic part of me that wants her to look good – anyone who’s seen my wardrobe would understand that it’s something I care about and enjoy.

I suppose the only thing I have to fall back on is my own upbringing  In my recollection, my parents never tried to strongly put us in the girly camp. My dad took my sister and I hiking and surfing, and we requested and received more lego, car tracks and sporting equipment than we did dolls – or at least I recall preferring those toys.

Perhaps that’s the model I need to take with my daughter – don’t ask her to be feminine or not, just let her be what she is.




Ugliest ever November 21, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Television.

This outfit was on Oprah’s favourite things for this year so I expect there are now thousands of American women wearing the ugliest pyjama-like creation I have ever seen. Let’s hope it doesn’t make it to Australia. Talk about unflattering!


A Stella day March 12, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Fashion.
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Today marked the first time that Australians have really had an opportunity to experience the ‘designers go discount’ phenomenon. Stella McCartney released her affordable range through Target to scenes of mayhem in many Southern stores.

I am glad to say that things in Brisbane were a lot quieter than those at Bondi. I went to Indooroopilly and my sisters-in- law  went to Brisbane CBD and Chermside so between the three of us, we had the major shopping centres covered. There were crowds of people and the city store racks were cleared fifteen minutes after opening but none of us saw any pushing, grabbing or other crazy behaviour. The lines for the fitting rooms were long but friendly with people offering sizes they didn’t want to those in the queue.

Some may say that Brisbanites aren’t as interested in fashion, but I think it is more about the laid back nature of the city. Sydney is a dog eat dog business world and that spills over into the way people live their lives. We often made this observation when we lived in the harbour city.

The clothes themselves were not as exciting as I thought they might be. The detailing wasn’t as good as that sold through H&M in Europe- there were no Stella McCartney buttons or flourishes like on the jeans I bought overseas but the fit was good and that is what you look for in denim.

For those who still want a taste of dollar design, head to Brookside in Brisbane- at 2pm their shelves were still full!

Secret lives of dresses February 23, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Blogs, Fashion.
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Ok this probably isn’t one for the boys, but if you like bitter-sweet tales from the wardrobe go here.

Fashion disaster December 31, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Uncategorized.

I have to say that our culture shock has taken on a different theme this time. Last time we came back to Australia from Asia the wealth of everything shocked us. This time it is much less lofty and worthy.

All I can see this time is how badly Australians in general dress. Not only is it boring and beige, the clothes are such bad quality and so badly designed.

In Europe, even shops the equivalent of Target had much more aesthetically pleasing, more quality made clothing. Here, I am sorry to say, many people just look slobby. And Australians seem to be much more afraid of standing out from the crowd. It is so depressing.

Trinny and Susannah, Australia needs you to do a whole country makeover!

Emo December 31, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Fashion.
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Oh no. I am really getting old. Last night I had to be told what an Emo was.  When I heard that it was on “The OC” I didn’t feel soo bad but still.

Of course now I know what an Emo is, I have seen them everywhere but just didn’t know the name. That is a sad excuse for an out isn’t it.

Anyway I have to say that Emo is probably the yoof fashion I most like- at least there is a little bit of creativity in there.

High street couture November 12, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Travel Diary.
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It was a big few days on the British high streets this week with two major designers releasing collections in Gap and H&M.

Tuesday saw Gap’s collection by Roland Mouret who designed the Galaxy dress that was seen everywhere in the last twelve months. The Gap range consisted of cute voluminous dresses with pintucks, pleats and the like. I broke my resolution not to go into Gap stores just to have a look. I didn’t buy anything though!

On Thursday we were on the spot to see the collection by Dutch designers Viktor and Rolf go on sale at H&M. The stores opened at 9.00 am and we were there at 9.15. By that time, a lot of the racks were empty and there were about 50 women grabbing at whatever was left and going to the counters with armloads of clothes. I didn’t like this collection as much but it was interesting to be on the spot for the feeding frenzy.

Having designers work with high street labels is becoming a regular thing here but I don’t know that we will see it in Australia because we just don’t have the big high street labels like Topshop, Zara, H&M etc so the market is not as competitive.

Fashion gloat November 7, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Travel Diary.
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How could I have forgotten?

In Amsterdam, in one of the secondhand shops mentioned in the last post, I managed to get some Stella McCartney for H&M black skinny jeans for 40 euro. They are perfect, never been worn and fantastic!

This collection sold out in one hour in London and are now selling on Ebay for much more.

And for those of you who know about my desire for skinny jeans but the worry I had that I would look like a pair of walking legs of Christmas ham, Stella is a genius! I had been trying on jeans for weeks and these looked better than all the rest.

So imagine the tune from the Eddie Murphy ice cream sketch

“I got some Steeeella’s, and you don’t haaaave none”

Actually you don’t have to imagine …


Eddie Murphy ice cream here

If only the Dolce & Gabbana pants in the same shop had fit …

Style Stakes October 14, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Travel Diary.
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Ok my assessment so far is that the style leaders are

in at number 4: New York. Now this may be a bit harsh but although I saw lots of amazing stuff in the shops, I didn’t see as much on the streets. Maybe I wasn’t in the right place?

#3 position goes to Berlin: funky, cool, oh so hip and pushing the boundaries of fashion. Lots of vintage and interesting design. I sooo wish I could get back there before we go home but alas I don’t think it is going to happen.

#2 is Spain. a very different vibe to Berlin with lots of beautiful clothes that I would have to have another life to wear. Much more dressed up than I am used to but some fantastic casual chic as well. We saw the most gorgeous female police officer in Barcelona who looked amazing in her uniform.

#1 has to be Italy- everything is fabulous, clothes, bags and shoes. Again it is high end glamourous stuff and I am more Berlin than Florence or Rome but it was all still beautiful. And I did buy myself a leather bag that will hopefully last me a long time.

*let me qualify the above by saying we haven’t seen enough of France to comment but I wish I could get to Paris … but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen this time.