Kirribilli Market: Week 208

Secondhand clothing stalls at the Kirribilli Market: Sydney, Australia

Sydney loves its weekend markets. I have been to quite a few so far, but since I live on the south side of the harbour, I don’t make it to the north too often. That’s probably the reason why it took me two years to discover the Kirribilli Fashion Market.

It was established in 1974 and it takes place on the second Sunday of every month. The location couldn’t be better either- a grassy park that at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I arrived there in the late morning and the place was already buzzing with fashionable women with money to burn. The clothing stalls closest to the bridge were more formal booths with sun canopies and business cards.

Secondhand clothing stalls at the Kirribilli Market: Sydney, Australia

The plots further out on the lawn were cash-only operations run by hip college students with crooked racks of clothes and beer-money dreams. Their school friends clustered nearby in felt hats and platform sandals and rolled their cigarettes. These kind of booths were the best to bargain with late in the day.

Kirribilli Art and Design Market: Sydney, Australia

There was also an arts and design section of the market that was held in a massive tunnel under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. All of the food carts were located close to this area, which helped keep Barret distracted while I browsed.

Kirribilli Art and Design Market: Sydney, Australia

I could have stayed longer, but I didn’t bring my hat and I could tell the top of my head was getting too much sun. However, I didn’t leave empty handed- I bought a pink work blouse for work and a sea foam colored silk cape for I have no idea what. I’ve just always wanted a little cape and this is also attached to a vest- sounds like I got my money’s worth.

How to get to the Kirribilli Markets: Catch the T1 North Shore line to Milsons Point. Exit the station in the direction of Bradfield Park or Luna Park.

Paddington Markets: Week 100

Polaroid of Paddington Market: Sydney, Australia

The afternoon was measured in sips of iced coffee and conversation. In between forkfuls of strawberry crème sponge roll we chased the wandering shade with our picnic blanket.

We were at the Paddington Markets, the most popular and longest running markets in Sydney. The beautiful clear summer skies and close proximity to a stone-hewn church meant the setting was ripe for an Agatha Raisin mystery in the British Cotswolds. I’m pretty sure every good British fete is in the vicinity of an old stone church and every good amateur sleuth must attend said fete at some point.

The sun began to gently filter across my shoulders; time to shift our blanket again. Across the way a magician drew a small crowd around his booth.

While the bread and butter of craft stalls were represented (i.e. handmade soaps, candles and bad landscape paintings), there was also a significant presence of young and edgy designers showcasing jewelry, accessories, men’s and women’s clothing.

“This shirt has a different colored back because I didn’t have enough fabric.”

That’s not something I often hear when shopping. The clothing in question was made in Sydney by a young designer named Ly Yin. Her label evyie was fashion-forward in a minimalistic, feminine regard. While I never need an excuse to support local artisans, I really did need a new shirt for work. After trying a gamut of Australian sizes, I chose a sheer floral top- the same one Yin was wearing.

Polaroid of the Paddington Resevoir Gardens, Sydney Australia

Walking back from the markets we passed the Paddington Reservoir Gardens. Once a vital part of water supply in the 1800s, the original structure has been salvaged and thoughtfully incorporated into a modern, sustainable garden.

I know it’s not the Cotswold, but if M.C. Beaton ever wrote about Australia she could easily use Paddington as a background. Not only is there an old church, but the cool shallow waters of the Reservoir Gardens would be a good place to find a corpse. How twee.

How to get to the Paddington Markets: 395 Oxford St,  Paddington NSW 2021

How to get to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens: 251-255 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021

Fashion Advice From Mom: Week 80

“I have the most beautiful silk shirt for you,” my mother declared as she stroked the polka dotted black fabric.

“Mom, it’s a large. It’s too big.”

“No!” Then, with a tone of gentle persuasion she explained,“It’s a Ralph Lauren and it was only three dollars.”




“Stephanie. It looks stunning on you.”

“I don’t need it.”

“Fine,” my mother conceded as she put the shirt away. “I just don’t know your taste anymore.”

My mother is tenacious though. Despite frequent rejections she sends clothes in care packages, picks out items for my boyfriend, and every guest at our house leaves with heavier luggage.

It was during my last week at home, when my mother was trying to convince me to take her woolen pageboy cap back to New Zealand, that I thought: what if I just went with it? What kind of outfit could my mom really create? I had never given her that much power over my wardrobe, so I decided to throw down the gauntlet and issue a challenge: produce three complete head to toe looks using her personal styling collection. The winning look would be the one I wore for the rest of the day.

Here, in my mother’s words, are the outfits she chose for both Wellington and Manassas, VA.

Our model’s first look addresses nature; taken into consideration are weather and terrain concerns, and the suitability of the garments relating well to frolicking amongst goats in Manassas and sheep in Wellington. The model is at home in her woodland setting, and is stylishly protected from head to toe against the elements; not so the goat who unfortunately disintegrated shortly after the fashion shoot.

The second look, with a nod once again to nature begs the question: what would a young lady wear on a Tennyson’s summer’s day beside the Occoquan River? The answer lies in a light and flowing dress, mimicking the mood and colors of the river. The sunlit sparkle on the water’s surface is captured by the model’s necklace. “And by the moon the reaper weary, piling sheaves in uplands airy, listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott.”

But even fairy models have to earn their keep. Ours must emerge from her forest dwelling, and take that long walk down the road to gainful employment. Our model looks both fashion forward and purposeful in a dynamic, darker color palette. Her hair is swept up, her shoulders and arms unexposed. She wears sensible yet feminine footwear. She is perfectly ready to do battle in a political campaign in Manassas, or to cheer on hobbits in Wellington.


As my mother said, “both cities exude an air of practicality and an affinity for nature.” Considering river nymphs and goat frolickers are an unusual sight at the post office, I picked the third choice. My mom was happy I was wearing her clothes and I was happy I didn’t look like a clown. Maybe she does know a thing or two about fashion, just don’t tell her I said that.

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