I walk to and from work in the Melbourne CBD every single day. It doesn’t matter if the wind is howling, whipping my scarf across my face and turning my fingers to little ice blocks with every step that I take. I don’t care if it’s still dark out, the cars are covered with ice and people are outside with their kettles trying to defrost their windscreens. I only stop for the rain. I can’t handle it when my umbrella flips inside out and I have to trudge to work with my hair all frizzed and water in my brogues. I don’t like having to pull the foot of my tights to wring out the rain in the toilet cubicle. No, it if is raining I catch the tram.
Either way, in winter, the most important thing in a corporate Melbournian’s life is her coat. It doesn’t matter how many hours you spent in the mirror in the morning, styling your work outfit and perfecting your hair. When you leave the house, when you leave the office for lunch, you are wrapping yourself in your scarf, pulling on your warmest coat and thrusting your hands into your pockets with your head down to avoid the wind.
We have hit the middle of the Melbourne winter hoorah! That means we are halfway to it being over, but it also means SALES, and I am still trying to find the perfect winter coat. A warm coat that will withstand the drizzly misty mornings and keep the wind from cutting through. But I also want something that is nice, something that has a bit of style and reflects who I am. Something that doesn’t just cry, here I am, I am a corporate Melbournian going to my office job on a Wednesday morning. Is that too much to ask?
I have been keeping an eye out on the streets looking for inspiration. There isn’t much. Most of the coats out there are as dreary and drab as the weather. Black and grey are the favourites perhaps reflecting the mood of Melbournites at this time of year. The weeks and months between the Queen’s Birthday and Melbourne Cup tend to stretch out. It is depressing. Time to go on an express lunch time shopping trip for a bit of a retail pick me up.
Alice Euphemia – Shop 6, Cathedral Arcade / 37 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
My first stop was Alice Euphemia. A little shop in Melbourne’s lovely, stained glass, Cathedral Arcade.
Alice Euphemia carries some fantastic designers like Kuwaii, Romance was Born and more. These are clothes you are not going to find on your usual Myer/David Jones/Bourke Street Mall lunch time shopping stints. What you will find are statement pieces like beautiful printed silk dresses and thick gorgeous jumpers in luxe fabrics. They are having a ‘Garage Sale’ at the moment so the usually high price point has become a bit more affordable.
I got a little distracted on my coat search and spotted this ‘Tokyo Nights’ silk printed dress as I walked through the door. I can see it now, the perfect casual Friday dress (with tights of course), and then the perfect Friday night drinks and dumplings dress for later on. I want.
But I was on a search for a coat. I found this oversized man style wool/cashmere coat. At $680 I was told that I had picked up the only item that was not on sale in the entire store – of course. It is because it is “transeasonal”. It comes in our Melbourne corporate uniform of grey and black. It is a really light coat and a very loose fit. You could definitely wear a suit jacket under this baby on your way to a business meeting across town. It wasn’t for me though, too masculine, too drapey, and definitely too light for my winter walks to work.
Lady Petrova – Shop 3, 237 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Oooh I love love love stepping into this shop. It is like a taking a deep breath of fresh fashion air. Lace, colour, print, bows and a friendly smiley shop assistant with flowers in her hair. All my favourite things. It even smells good in here.
Every single item in this shop is feminine and beautiful. Delicate silk and velvet dresses in all the colours of the rainbow, brightly coloured printed tights, headbands adorned with peach coloured peonies and lilac unicorns painted on the walls. Coats however, I did not find. What I did find, hanging on the delightful Lady Petrova racks, was the Melbourne cape. Gorgeous, heavy capes in electric blue, Italian wool check and stripey burgundy and black.
My general view about capes is this. I love them, they are gorgeous, look fantastic on the body with tights or skinny jeans and definitely make a statement but they are impractical! I mean really, how are my arms meant to stay warm! Luckily, I really don’t think that staying warm will be a problem in these Lady Petrova capes. They are big, bulky and cuddly. When the wind blows, you can just draw your arms into that gorgeous warm fabric and hide away. Like a little snail retreating into its own built in hidey hole. Perfect for a Melbourne winter. They were a contender.
Alpha 60 – GPO, 350 Bourke Street Melbourne
If Lady Petrova is the pretty, feminine girly girl of the Melbourne CBD, Alpha 60 is her edgy, darker older sister.
Here you will find a great collection of wool dresses, t-shirts, skirts and knits in electric blues, plums, mustards and greys. Again, no downy winter coat to keep the wind and rain out in here. Only long loose fitting knitted cardigans and once again, the Melbourne cape.
Alpha 60’s capes are absolutely beautiful, 60% wool wonders. The cape sits so well on the body and is structured beautifully from the squared shoulder right down to the folds in the material as they fall and skim against the body. A beautifully tailored piece, it just feels so well made. These glorious garments look even better on than they do on the rack. I was giddy, smitten like a school girl. I had to buy one.
It’s not what I was looking for and it certainly didn’t tick all the boxes, but I couldn’t help it. Being warm and dry is overrated anyway :).