How did we get here? Why you should shun the puffa parka this Winter.

I was standing in the Melbourne rain recently, observing the passersby in my newly gentrified inner city suburb. The realisation hit me that perhaps, people think they must wear these hideous things, because that’s what has been offered up in volume by some of the recently arrived international chain stores.

Rail after rail after rail after rail of down puffa parkas. Not exactly tempting to the style conscious, no matter how many colour ways they come in.

My once, edgy home town has become plagued by ordinary people in puffa parkas.

How can I convince you not to buy one?

To me it looks like you’re wrapped in your own personal piece of landfill. You have become part of the consumption army, a gullible gaggle of down clad geese. Don’t do that. Don’t resign yourself to puffa parkas. There is no upside, other than practical warmth, and I will only forgive the need for practical warmth in extreme conditions, like the snow, and even then I will always go cold over accepting anything made with polar fleece.

What if you don’t like wearing old or secondhand clothes worn by strangers?

My father-in-law who is visiting from Hobart, returned from a rainy walk this week with an $80 overcoat trench from one of the better Fitzroy vintage stores Yesteryear. It’s a quality pure wool tweed, in mint condition and made somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Around half of my own wardrobe consists of amazing pieces from my Grandmother and stepmother’s personal collections from the 1940s-80s. The rest I’ve source myself in  vintage stores from Collingwood to San Francisco to Knightsbridge. I like to think of it as the better half of my wardrobe, with each article bringing the sauce to any outfit.

If you don’t like the discarded clothes of strangers, raid your mother’s wardrobe at once! The cuts and prints are often better than anything you can buy now, and tailors can affordably fix pieces to fit you properly. Less seen prints are better than easily identifiable ones, which may inadvertently put you in some kind of Gorman girl gang (a short-lived, frenzied, hype-buying cult brand from Melbourne).

Mel Dark Mofo
This vintage leopard print rain coat keeps me warm and dry on rainy days, but the days are never dull. It belonged to my Grandma.

Buy a stylish raincoat or wind breaker to wear over your outfit.

They don’t have to cost the earth, and they’re better than puffa parkas. Stutterheim is my latest obsession, but I also like Gorman windbreakers and Adidas for street pounding. However, I’d like to see the demise of the foil polka dots, for good, so keep those off the streets for now.

Stutterheim for Whistles: Collaboration Image Source:

Invest in your foundation separates, and show your sense of style with lighter fashion pieces.

  • Good quality, breathable fabrics will see you through at least two winter seasons.
  • Throw out your ladder addled stockings and start again.
  • Choose high denier (thickness), or cotton tights. Go easy on the rainbow colours, unless you are a member of The Wiggles. Be wary of mustard or cack brown shades.
  • Scoop neck long sleeve tees and skivvies in basic tones (navy, black, white, grey marle) can be applied to any outfit and provide layered warmth, without wearing a doona as outerwear. Choose wool blend or pure cotton over acrylic, or your body warmth will ruin the underarms. My favourite brands for these are Gorman plain skivvies, Ambra
  • Layer your scarves with a clashing pattern coat and fun sunglasses. Take THAT, cold weather!
  • Install some printed sweaters or hoodies into dressing strategy. They should be fitted, not slouchy. Toasty street styles (check my Dark Mofo hoodie above).
Mel Gorman skivvy
A pure, light wool skivvy by Gorman, layered with a grey ruffle dress, tiger brass & white nails.



There are no words to describe my disdain for a ‘warm pile lined skirt’. If it doesn’t look any good on a mannequin, it won’t work on a real body. End the madness.




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