SAVVY STYLE: Wearing 😉

Savvy Style is simply a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to create and capture a life you really love. It’s how “I do me”! By incorporating five pillars into my everyday: WEARING, THINKING, LIVING, AGEING, and SHOPPING, that I can tap into at any time to make sense of myself and my world with meaning. Because, no matter who you are, what you do, where you find yourself or what you are going through, finding meaning in it, IS life. And I don’t want to spend another moment living any other way 🙏🏻

So welcome to another SAVVY STYLE blogpost. Thanks for taking the time to find me and read what I have to say. I’m certainly not a pro at this, nor a trained stylist, lifestyle guru or psychologist but what I have become after 55 years (with some deep exploration over the last two) is a wabi sabi expert on my own “feel good” life and style. And all my blogs are ever intended to do, no matter the topic, is to encourage you to get you thinking about yours. Because when you make the time to think about why ”you do you”, you reconnect with your authentic self and that can be such a feel good 😊 Especially when it comes to your wardrobe and WEARING it…

And today I’m going to write about just that…. what WEARING means to me. (And please note, that Wearing/Using can be used interchangeably depending on what you’re doing). I’ve already written at length on IG and on my last blog post on the importance of “RELOVING” what you already have by looking at what works style and colourwise to CURATE a much loved wardrobe that you will want to wear it again and again and again. If you haven’t read that yet, press HERE. Knowing that, let’s move on to finding meaning it…


But before I lose you, because you think I may be going a bit woo-woo or off on some deep and meaningful tangent, let me explain why I think this important. It’s important because over the last 35 years of my life, I have gone from valuing cherished garments that were coveted, worked hard for and saved for what seemed like forever to overbuying disposable fashion on a whim for instant gratification. In fact, the problem is I’m not the only one doing it 😩 and now the annual wardrobe clear out that I see and hear everyone doing IS becoming someone else’s problem! And while we all make efforts to pass garments on or resell, we are running out of space for the leftovers. And if you think donating them is the answer, I’m no longer convinced. I’ve read that between 60-85% of donated clothes are deemed unusable, which then costs the charities millions of dollars to either bury or burn or worse still, send to third world countries to deal with what is our own mess. A mess that you and I created by “clear outs” ! And you don’t have to be an environmental expert or eco warrior to see it’s currently at disaster status! So I’m here, writing about how I can change my WEARING habits, in order to change my disposing habits. So I can feel good about looking good and perhaps do some good in the process. And one way to do this is to create MEANING in the RELOVED garments you wear.

This first idea may seem simple, but it’s often ignored. And it is to CONNECT with the clothes that you love (i’ll go into more detail on this when I tackle SHOPPING in another blogpost) Look at the brands you own now. Do you put a face on who designed and made the clothes ? How many of you have read the ”about us” section on a website ? I believe that simply by knowing a little bit about your clothes can be the start of such a feel good relationship with them. Take for example, Talamaya. A small Australian company that I fell in love with during my ”influencing” days 😂 My first attraction was obviously what the clothes looked like, but after a little research I discovered it was created out of passion by the beautiful Sheridan because she wanted to make really comfortable clothes. She designs for how it FEELS on the body, by using exquisite fabrics in timeless designs that skim the silhouette perfectly….which is why you feel so darn beautiful in them. You connect with them. And because of my research, I connect with her, her brand, and what she is trying to achieve. And it all sits so well with me…….how feel good is that ? It’s the same feeling I get with Smitten Merino. Although with a completely different aesthetic. The finest quality Australian Merino Wool is sourced for their garments and then made right here in Oz 🥰 and Nicola, the designer creates modern classics which translates on the body to luxurious sophistication. And who doesn’t want that feeling? She also happens to be a girl I went to high school with although I had no idea until the company reached out to me 😊 So, two family owned brands I’ve connected with, whose clothes I own, that now have meaning and will be worn again and again because I love their story, the quality and the connection 🙏🏻


And in case you want to put a face to them to make that connection, here they are 😊

Creating Memories is a feel good no matter what you do. I love to live in them and then reflect. And adding a memory to a garment is one way to add meaning to it . Take for example the dress below left (bad photo i know). One Sunday in Athens I deliberately lost myself in the Monastiraki Flea Markets. One of my favourite things to do wherever I am in the world 🙏🏻 and falling in love with the vibe that is Greece, I bought a relatively inexpensive, all cotton, well made, what I call ”Mamma Mia” dress, costumery really 🥰 but I love it! And when on, it reminds me of then and when I wore it in Santorini (had to drop that 😂). It’s a feel good! I will never get rid of it. But recently, I’ve felt like the colour and its “vibe” aren’t very suburban Melbourne and I wanted to wear it more. So I dyed it! (below right) What do you think? Now I look of it as a fully functioning everyday maxi dress with memories that transports me back to Monastiraki when I wear it on my local high street 😂…


Dyeing and Altering is what I like to call Upcycling and it’s another way to create meaning. Dyeing has come a long way since I last tried it. And Dylon Front Loader Washing Machine Pods make it so easy. I used the Expresso Brown on this dress and simply followed the instructions. I washed the dress first (quick cycle), left it wet in the machine, added an unwrapped opened pod, put it on an everyday cycle at 40 degrees. Let it finish, then removed the empty pod, washed it again ina quick wash with detergent at 30 degrees. Then hung to dry. (You then need to do another wash cycle to clean the machine). A lot of water I know 😩, but it saves me from buying a new dress in the same colour that I’ve been coveting. The above dress is 100% cotton, so the dye has taken to it. The lacework has some polyester threads and elastic, which didn’t take (polyester zips wont either) and I’m glad of that as I love this detail. In fact, I’m really happy with my upcycling efforts! The very act of investing extra time and money in a garment to make it just for you in turn allows you to fall more in love with it. If it works 😂 Here’s another before and after:

Being only 163 cm tall I also have many of my clothes altered, so they fit just right. You can see from the pics above that I had the bottom tier taken up on the Mamma Mia dress. And below, all three gorgeous dresses were taken to my clever dressmaker and altered. I don’t understand it when people get rid of a garment they love because it’s ill fitting, when it can so easily be rectified ! Why wouldn’t you want all the clothes you own to feel like they were made for you… we need to be more savvy! And in upcycling, it only makes you more likely to become more attached to what you wear and the memories you make in them, which in turn will make you hold onto them longer…


Which brings me to the end of this little blogpost on WEARING. I’ll be tapping into this pillar on my blog as I come up with more ideas for it. But so far, its:

RELOVE CONNECT MEMORIES UPCYCLE

and until next time…this book caught my eye, and it’s caption cleverly summarises what all the above is trying to say 😉… I might just have to find a copy!

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE : To “relove” as opposed to “prelove” 🥰

Welcome to a New Year of Signature Style with myself, Cindy and Kim. And we are kicking off January with the topic RELOVE and what it means for each of us in our wardrobes. (Although as I write this, I am thinking how I can apply the concept to all my other “stuff” …from kitchen wear to the Laura Ashley curtains in my formal lounge that I installed over 20 years ago😂). So what I’m asking is this: “Can I RELOVE what I own all over again?” And in the case of my wardrobe, is “RELOVE : to love again” a tool that I can use to elevate my existing wardrobe by curating it to include only items I love and wear, thus reducing the amount I need to purchase, all because I RELOVE what I have? I know it’s a slight side step from our usual SIGNATURE STYLE blogpost and perhaps not for everyone, so all I ask is you have an open mind, read until the end and then listen to what Kim and Cindy have to say 🙏🏻

After a couple of years of seeking comfort and joy externally from frenzied “add to basket” moments, and some serious fashion influencing gifting, I for one, feel ready to S L O W that right down. And there’s no better time to start than NOW. I want to make 2022 the year of RELOVING every aspect of my life, and for the purpose of this blogpost, my wardrobe ! Which, by the way, doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, it just means I have to love everything in my wardrobe and on me! If not… it may get tweaked or find its way to be “reloved” by someone else. (I’m lucky, I have a handful of friends and followers who, like me, are happy to wear other peoples clothes and since I’ve been gifted so many, its nice to be able to pay it forward ) So let’s start….

Being Summer here in Australia, I am currently trying to wear a different dress or outfit that I own each day. And in doing so, I’m tuning into my inner voice, listening to what it says about the clothes, making mental notes on how it feels and fits, and asking, does it still suit? Is it my colour and is it my style? If the answer is YES… I’m then asking, do I love it, or could it be improved ? Perhaps it needs to be mended? or altered to modernise it? A change of buttons, or even dyed … for example, take this outfit, its been a favourite of mine for four years. It’s relaxed and very comfortable. But do I still love it? 🤔🤔🤔

When I initially put it on again, it felt alright…but not great. So the answer is NO I dont! I do love the jacket, that’s a keeper! The bag is crocheted and while the zip is broken, yes, I still adore! The sunnies ✅ but the rest 🤔 And here’s why… Firstly, bright white is NOT my colour (my husband has been saying this for the last 25 plus years, although I have until now chosen to ignore him 😂) and while I have toyed with the idea of dyeing the dress, the only colour I can come up with is Navy and I’m not sold. It’s also the shape… the scoop neck isn’t my friend when worn alone and the gathered fabric around my middle no longer flatters… and those espadrilles 😬 comfortable but I own much nicer shoes that I should just wear instead!

Let’s look at another…white again. It’s ironic, as last year I was raving about my white dress collection, but since I’ve started wearing other colours that suit me more, I find myself steering away from it and more towards them 😂. So what to do with this one? Do I love it?

It’s certainly a pretty dress. All cotton, lovely embroidered detail, It’s neckline is certainly better, the length is good, but still, I’m just not feeling it 😂 by now, you must be getting the idea of how I’m using this blogpost (and btw the rest of January) to “elevate and curate” a feel good (or it’s outta here) Summer wardrobe from what I already have. Now, you may think i’m crazy as the above dresses look quite nice. But what I want is to feel fantastic in every dress I have hanging in my closet. So in order to have some comparison with what I am keeping…take a look at these three lovely garments and I think its obvious why. I absolutely RELOVE them all! And when I wear them, I want to wear them again and again and again. And that’s the feeling I’m after 😊🧡

Another dress I now RELOVE is one I styled back in 2020. It’s a linen wrap in a warm white with a navy toile print. And by simplifying the accessories, I now j’adore it! The first three pics were the original over styled efforts 😂, the last a month ago. What a difference toning it down makes ! And when I did actually wear it like this, I remember saying to myself, why don’t I wear this dress more? And the good news is that if you happen to love it, it was bespoke and can be made just for you, by contacting its creator Maggie Lam.


So, “Can I relove what I own all over again?” Yes I can! And “Can I use RELOVE as a tool to elevate my existing wardrobe and reduce what I purchase at the same time?” Absolutely! The very practice of wearing what you have tricks the mind into focusing on what’s there and not what isn’t! The secret is to slow down and just try it! I am now in my third month of wearing what I have to rediscover what I do in-fact RELOVE. What I’m also noting is what I don’t ! So it’s no more bright white dresses (or overly gathered waists) for me 😂 Which now has me pondering what to do with this vibrant white cotton dress. I’m thinking I may dye it … Khaki? Navy? watch this space 🤔


So far I have only played (yes, it’s actually turned out to be a game for me) with my warm weather clothes and accessories. And while most of them have in fact been reloved, I have offered over 10 Summer garments to family and friends and the local charity shop has received a few bags to relove too. And while the regifting has been a “feel good”, the act of discarding because I no longer like something has not. I know its going to charity, but if my 8 bags are what everyone donates, so much will inevitably make it to landfill because of the quantity. And I don’t want to contribute to that! So, moving forward I need to get smarter on what I bring into it my newly curated space so I won’t have to repeat this exercise for many years… (but more on that in another blog post 😉)!

And of course, RELOVE can be interpreted to mean something completely different to each and everyone of us, so please, join me in now reading what Cindy and Kim have to say on the subject:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Btw… these are the 20yo Laura Ashley linen curtains i’m currently trying my hardest to RELOVE 😉

Sarah xx

SAVVY STYLE: An Introduction…

Hello 55 😊

Welcome to a new blog post. If you are a regular reader, you know I write one on “SIGNATURE STYLE” with Cindy Hattersley and Kim Wheeler, another on “SECONDHAND STYLE” with Jane Gallagher and then my own ageing journey on “PERI MENOPAUSAL STYLE”, although the latter will now be incorporated (into the AGEING pillar) with the one I’m starting today which is called “SAVVY STYLE”.

Are you a deep thinker? I never use to be… I’ve always been a talker 😂 Which is why I think the IGTV medium suited me 🤔 And then, when I started blogging, I found I liked it’s conversational style too. And what I’ve found is that blogging happens to require far more from my thought process 🙏🏻 a process that has more recently taken on a mind of its own in the form of Savvy Style…

So what is it ? I like to think of it a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to create and capture a feel good life of style. It’s a summary of what I’ve learnt to pay attention to in ”my life” and with “my style” since I turned 50, so I can “feel good” …. from my more recent Instagram experience and the blog, to what I’ve read, heard and watched, to reflecting on my upbringing, to how I choose to live now …. and it all culminates into five pillars that mindfully allow me to make sense of my world and ultimately myself in a wabi sabi way. For me, it’s the ultimate live well, age well and feel good tool for the time we live in right now. Because, if I can’t control what’s happening in the outside world, I sure as heck can focus on my own little one 🙏🏻 And because it is created from my own experience, I get to choose how it evolves. I think everyone should have their own…

And this is mine, and I call it Savvy Style… But before I go into a quick introduction of the FIVE PILLARS that I have come up with, I must credit a now defunct podcast and lifestyle page called The Pillar Life by Sheri Salata and Nancy Hala. Their weekly chats and words of wisdom are what inspired mine. And if it weren’t for their own pillar inspiration, I wouldn’t have developed mine 🙏🏻 … lets go…

WEARING (or should I change this to USING 🤔) – a pillar that is dedicated to “loving and using” what I already have. With “LOVE” being the optimal feeling I want to have about it all, because if I don’t, I may not find it useful!

LIVING – because as Dr Rangan Chatterjee says, when you feel better, you live more! It’s really all about how and who I choose to spend your days (with). If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s to enjoy my everyday. So I make sure I “live it to feel good”!

I

THINKING – because Joie De Vivre is what I’m all about! My life certainly isn’t perfect and I have plenty of challenges, but how I choose to react to them is key! And if one book can be credited with beginning the ”joy of my own life” mindset, it’s this one, that I first read back in 1995, although this is a revised and updated edition 😊

AGEING – It’s a given, and I’m all for it! So I’m going to do it gracefully and the wellest way I can! …. with a sense of humour😉


And finally SHOPPING – after the last two years, perhaps this is last for a reason 🤔 While I make how I shop, where I shop and why I shop matter to me, the retailer and the planet, I no longer wish for Sarah London Style to be all about this, because there’s so much more to life 🙏🏻

Simple really. Five touchstones that I tap into hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly to simply feel good!

Sarah xx

PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: External Nourishment : Haircare 💇🏼‍♀️


Welcome to the continuation of my “Pillars for Feeling Good” during the Perimenopausal phase of my life. First was Sleep, then Internal Nourishment (Nutrition), followed by Nature for movement and mindfulness. These can all be read about here, here and here! My fourth pillar is all about External Nourishment or what you put on your body to feel good. Think skincare and haircare… And i’m going to break it up, starting from the top, with hair and how I have learnt to move from living with to loving mine 🥰

Hair. The crown of our style! Although, truth be told, while it is how I would like to feel about my own, it is certainly not how I have always looked at it. I have done everything in my 55 years to torture it (and myself in the process) trying to achieve anything but what it naturally wants to be. I was born with white hair that grew straight and mousy as a child. Disappointed by this, my first perm was at 13, followed by many many more. Who remembers the mini- vague? My 17yo self and girlfriends from that era still laugh about it and the shocking spiral perm at 24yo that made me look like Pixie Ann Wheatley 😂 I’ve had it long and short. Big and flat. Straight and curly. Colours too… aways blonde, brown or black (I’ve never been orange), spending a fortune on products and treatments always trying to look like someone else. Madonna, Meg Ryan in ”You’ve Got Mail”, Gwyneth Paltrow in “Sliding Doors”… i tried them all… oooh and of course Jennifer as Rachel… who didn’t do that? I even went completely natural at 50 and embraced my grey, only to revert back to blonde at 53 because it didn’t make me feel good. And now i find myself at 55, with a hairstyle I finally love, one I can manage and one that feels like me! And this is how I achieve what I’ve discovered is ”the fluffy hair look” 😂

Now, I know writing about “my hair” may seem a tad self indulgent, so I would like to remind readers that one of the reasons I write this page (and share my style on Instagram) is as a partial memoir for my daughters. Aged 22 and 18, they are way cooler than me 😎and not currently interested in what their Mum has to say on the subject, so I write this in the hope that one day they may find the hard copy I’m collating and smile 😀… now, getting back to what is it I use on my hair…

I have dabbled with supermarket vs. salon brands and at this stage of my hair life the salon wins. My hair is coloured. This gives it body. The blonde has been quite bright, probably too much so as it becomes dominant from afar, so my hairdresser is in the process of toning that down with the colours she adds. Please don’t ask me what they are…although, I do know they are amonia free. My hair is also fine, but I happen to have a lot of it. It borders on frizzy/wavy. And when I leave it to its own devices, its a 👎🏻. So over the last 12 months I’ve tried and tested various brands.

And what I currently use is this: wash twice, condition once, towel dry, add the Oleo Curl to the ends.

Then before I blow dry, I spray this to my hair roots to give it a lift.

I then dry my hair with my head upside down, so it basically resembles a frizzy/ fluffy ball, and then section it into 3 layers around my head. And then about 5 sections in each layer. I brush out each small section, before I use my hair straightener to either curl or wave. This has taken me about 12 months to achieve. I started by filming my hairdresser doing it, so I had a reference and even now it works better some days than others. It takes time and only lasts a day, maybe two. On the second day, this spray and a light scrunch with the hands certainly helps.

And sometimes i’ll straighten it completely, which gives me 3-4 days before I have to repeat the process. Although, I do think as I age the straight look can be a little harsh and flat on me, in which case, the above product helps.

And recently (I’ve only used it twice), I have introduced an oil. It can be used as a overnight treatment, a quick 10 minute one before you wash or on the ends after your hair is dried. I really like it. It smells divine and makes my hair feel so soft, which compliments the fluffy look i’m looking for.

And thats it ladies….that’s how I look after my hair, but as I believe we can all learn from each other, please let me know what you love to use 😊

Sarah xx

SECOND HAND STYLE : MEND AND MAKE DO or does REPAIR AND REWEAR sound more enticing?… it’s really how you look at it 😉

Orsola de Castro ”Loved Clothes Last”

It’s by no means a new concept, but in a world where it’s now cheaper and easier to dispose and reconsume, it may seem like an out of date one. So I’m here today to share my positive spin (as I’m sure is Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life …be sure to read her blog after mine 😉) on why the practice I grew up with is making a comeback in my life and how it can be part of yours (if it isn’t already).. all by changing your mindset on how you look at it and your wardrobe 🙏🏻

You’ve probably noticed on social platforms and in the media there is a strong movement towards sustainable wardrobes, with a particular emphasis on buying “secondhand”. And while I say BRAVO to anyone who takes part even in the smallest of ways, when it comes to clothes, I would personally like to see more of the sustainable act that the title of this blogpost refers and ”wear and repair” what you already have 😊 In fact, over the last couple of months that’s kind of where I’ve been going….. (coincidentally NOT for the purpose of this post, although it’s practice was timed perfectly 😉)… but first, a little background… one day last October, when I walked into my wardrobe to prepare to film another ”look what you can buy” video for Instagram, I found myself shaking my head, falling to the floor and screaming “NO MORE STUFF” !! I felt overwhelmed! And it was in that moment that I knew my days as an “Influencer”, albeit an eeny teeny micro one, needed a break. The fun of sharing new designs, while I accumulated more free clothes than I would ever need had to stop. As mindful as I was on the type of product I promoted, the amount was slightly ridiculous (my own doing) and the ”feel good” style that I had previously lived by felt anything but!

Fast forward a couple of months and this is where I am…..I am at peace 🙏🏻 I’ve flipped my “let’s share new” mentality for a practical “make do” one….but in a really ”feel good” way 😊I’ve changed from always “wanting more” to loving “what I own”, which has lead to more time doing what I love in what I love to wear. I have also paid particular attention to what that is and why I love it. Some garments have been mended, some altered to fit me a little better, some made to look more modern and some that just aren’t me anymore, I’ve given away. And what I discovered is that there is definitely a common thread and it is IF I LOVE IT, I am more likely to wear and repair it 🥰 And if you retake a look at the title of the book in the first pic above you’ll see it says “LOVED CLOTHES LAST” 😉

For those long time readers and followers on Instagram, I feel like I’ve reached a full circle moment… I’m back to my first love which is STYLE and NOT shopping 🙏🏻 and I’m back on track refocusing on how I wear what I love and making it mine. And there is so much to gain from looking at what you already have in your wardrobes and doing this. And since I’ve been doing this for a while, here are my tips to get you falling in love with your own style, your own clothes, your own wardrobe, so that you will wear it, repair it and make yours last:

▪️Firstly, consider what you have. Can you revamp a few garments? Alter your garments to fit you well, so that you love how they look and feel on your body. Can u change the length, add a dart or two, loosen the elastic, remove a collar, try a different sleeve stye, make it single breasted, change the buttons? …whatever it is, spending time achieving a great fit and look will not only remove the need to buy something new again and again, it will allow you to naturally fall in love with what is altered, as it feels like it was made just for you! Which in turn, will make you hold onto and mend should you need. Here are three dresses I fell in love with because they were my style and colour, but all needed some alteration to fit well, which is why I now consider them bespoke 😂


▪️Pay attention to the fabrics you like the feel and look of and those that last. I am a lover of natural fibres. Wool, cotton, linen, silk.. they like me and I love them back. Learn to read labels. When you seek quality in your garments, they become less disposable and you are more likely to take care of them and lean to mending down the track. For example, this relatively inexpensive pant suit is 100% linen, it feels fabulous! I did have to have the body of it brought up 2cm to fit and a press stud sewn on so it didn’t gape, but I absolutely love it! Its an example of one garment I have refallen in love with from my own wardrobe.


▪️Care for your clothes. Follow the laundering instructions. Although, not too often if you want to make them last. Then, press, steam and hang on your favourite hangers spaced nicely, not squashed in like sardines (because you own too much)… this makes you more likely to see what you have and wear it! And when you wear clothes repeatedly, you are more likely to love them, hold onto, mend, and alter should you need (Also, hold onto those spare buttons and threads… you may just need them 😉)

▪️Invest in scented sachets and drawer liners to protect your treasured items. Choose pretty fabric bags or paper… distribute them evenly throughout your wardrobe space…this will not only make them smell so nice you’ll want to wear them, it will also reduce your need to mend any pesky moth made holes. And if those holes do appear, don’t discard, quality wool and cashmere is always worth darning!


▪️Pay attention to your accessories. Polish shoes. Reheel and resole when needed. After 18 years, I had a zip replaced in the boots below. And I’m so happy I could. They were my first Ebay purchase ever and I’ve worn them consistently. I even have the perfect colour polish! By the way, keeping knee length boots upright (rolled newspaper does the trick) will extend their life. And does using Suede spray on those of this material !! Rotate your handbags, infact rotating shoes and bags will reduce their need for repairs! Sort your jewellery. Accessible items will get worn! And have a mending kit on hand for any unhooking. It is so simple when you know how…google it 😉


▪️ And from now on, take your time selecting what you bring into your wardrobe. Second hand and new! Choose well. Choose for your shape, style and colouring. If you haven’t already, spend time on yourself discovering what that is instead of shopping. Have your colours done. Know your shape. Have your style personality analysed. Look at your lifestyle! Just do it! In the long term, this will save you time, money and effort in getting ready as you will always have clothes you feel great in it, wear more, are likely to love, hold onto, mend, and alter should you need.

▪️Don’t be afraid to get creative. Repair. Repurpose. Reinvent. Here is a simple example of my own handy work 😉


▪️And lastly, but by no means less important…. connect. Connect with your clothes. Connect with that feeling you have when you wear them. Attach memories to them. Where were you when you bought them ? Where have you been in them? Did you wear the perfect dress for an event? Perhaps a wedding? If it felt and looked fantastic, why not make it your ”event dress”? make that connection … why does everything always have to be new? Elevate the way you feel about what you have, give them purpose and meaning. It will only make you love, wear and be more likely to repair 😉


And that’s my spin on how I have reminded myself to “Mend and Make Do” with my own wardrobe. An idea that may initially have connotations of lack, but one I have proven to myself feels abundant…and if you think this was short but sweet, there will be more as it’s the concept that i’ll be starting 2022 off with on my #savvystyle Instagram program 😉

Because …. it’s all how you look at it..

Sarah xx

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

SIGNATURE STYLE: MY HOLIDAY STYLE

Welcome to my Signature Style “Holiday” post with Cindy and Kim 😊 This holiday season I will celebrate occasions such as Christmas, my Birthday and New Year’s Eve, as well as some get togethers prior to these. I’ve chosen not to overcommit myself this year, so probably only have 6 or 7 celebrations to attend. Regardless of how busy or quiet your holiday schedule is and what you choose to celebrate, what unites us is that we will all be asking ourselves ”what shall I wear?” You may have formal events that require something that resembles a ball gown, or perhaps all your get togethers embrace the “Holiday Theme” and you wear anything red and green (or even a Holiday Jumper), or maybe you are more like me, and lean towards comfortable but casual chic like in the pics above. Whatever your style, this little post will bring you a range of garments that have caught my eye and are currently available worldwide 😊…. ooh, and they are all dresses, because that’s my holiday signature style 😉

Mixing it up… old snakeskin dress, older sequin jacket, chain belt as a necklace!

But before I venture into the world of retail, I do suggest you take a good look at what you do already have. That’s what I’ll be doing this year. The holiday season is the perfect time to dive into your wardrobe like it’s a dress up box and find anything with tule, sparkle or shimmer. You may have sequin garments at the back somewhere that you usually save for good. Get them out and try them on … no one will question you wearing them now, in fact, quite the opposite, wearing them will only spark joy! And if you do feel remotely uncomfortable wearing something you consider “saved for special occasions” don’t be afraid to dress it down. I find so much to love on mixing garments up on Pinterest. There is such a wonderful world of inspiration on there…like these very cool looks I found !

But if you do feel the need to add something new to your own holiday collection, here is some seriously glamourous eye candy 🤩 I have absolutely no where to wear these, but if my lifestyle (and budget) did so call for it, i’d be a repeat customer (like one of my muses Trinny Woodall, who alerted me to the incredible label The Vampires Wife). The dresses are sublime. Made of shimmery delights such as metallic chiffons, iridescent organzas and liquid velvets, they are designed to skim the silhouette and elegantly flatter the figure. It almost makes me want to have a lifestyle that requires them 😳 and gosh, how I would simply love to try one on! Aren’t they truly, truly divine? It’s no wonder the Duchess of Cambridge is also a fan 😉

And if you thought they were indulgent, here are some more truly magical pieces that caught my eye 😍


And of course, all would look incredible with a faux fur draped on your shoulders…

Having tackled the dressing up box with the options above, what i’d really like to share (I’m going to pass on the holiday themed garments as it’s not really my thing 😂) is the style I do like to wear and I’m guessing, what most of us do… the smart but casually comfortable! Gorgeous garments that are just as much at home on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and any other celebrations spent with family and friends. They may appear the simpler option compared with what’s above, but for me, they are more realistic.

Baukjen is a brand to keep your eye on. I love the throw-it-on-and-go simplicity of their dresses and almost all of their collection are ethical and sustainable! Here are three that caught my eye for those in cooler climates. I particularly like the leopard 🐆 (I’m currently looking for a discount code to get this while I can for my AW22). I’d wear it with long camel boots but you could always add killer heels if that’s your thing or an incredible sequin jacket, like my old one in the picture I featured up above to elevate the look!


And for those in warmer places, like me, Flannel have you covered… i’d definitely wear all 3! I’d add flats, gladiator sandals or trainers for a casual soiree, or mega heels and oversized earrings to make a statement (as long as where I was going I could sit down 😂). I have a few dresses by this label and I do know my size. I also know that they have fantastic sales twice a year that start at 20% off and eventually go to 70%, so while i won’t be buying any of these now, I will be keeping my eye on them. (It’s a savvy way to shop and something i’ll be focusing on and addressing on my IG page in 2022 😉)… so who knows, they may be my holiday look for 2022!


And I simply adore this dress, in all colours. It’s called the Cotton Trench Dress by Australian brand Scanlan Theodore and is understatedly elegant 😍 it could take you anywhere… no need for costumery, just tan sandals, high or low, and my signature jewels. Now that is a great look for any occasion. I love it so much, I may have had my hubby splurge on the Moss for my upcoming milestone Birthday. I wasn’t prepared to wait for sale and risk losing it 😉…plus, I’m worth it 😂


Which brings me to what I will actually be wearing. So far this holiday season, the Melbourne weather has been mixed, although I am expecting it to warm up now we are officially in Summer. So depending on the temperature, I have a few ideas in mind. My first priority is to wear something I already own (except on my Birthday…I’ve sorted the perfect new dress for that 😂), the second is that it must comfortable (perhaps an elastic or loose waste… even an empire line) and the third is to wear accessories that mean something. This latter style tip keeps it real for me. It may officially be the festive season, but it isn’t all about celebrating. I spend some of my December remembering loved ones who are no longer with me and one way I do that is to wear something that keeps them close (and long time readers will know I call these my signature jewels). I also like to spend some time reflecting on the past twelve months and in doing so, I’d like to thank Cindy and Kim for the opportunity to be included on SIGNATURE STYLE. I’m not sure where it will take us next year, but wherever it does, I am also grateful to you, the reader, who always takes the time out of your own day to listen to what I (and we) have to say, so thank you 🙏🏻.

While I have shared a few holiday style suggestions, please don’t get too bogged down in what to wear. As long as you feel good in it, I’m sure whatever you choose will be just perfect. Happy Holidays!

Sarah xx

NOW BE SURE TO READ WHAT THESE TWO STYLISTAS HAVE TO SAY:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SECONDHAND STYLE: Shoes…do you buy yours preloved?

Apparently Not!

Well, neither did I really, or haven’t actively for many years, so when Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life blog suggested “shoes” as a topic for this month, I jumped at it! Not because I own many preloved pairs (don’t worry I have some to show you 😉), but because it’s not my usual “go to” way of purchasing them. And as an avid yet mindful wearer of style, who strives to improve her sustainable shopping habits, I’m very aware that not all I receive NEW from the shoe department is as sustainable (or as my style) in my wardrobe as I like to think. So it got me wondering, can I improve my own sustainability and add to my style by buying “SECONDHAND” shoes instead ? 🤔

Now, for those of you who know my wardrobe, know that I have more pairs of shoes than i’ll ever wear out. (I even recently announced that I won’t be buying or accepting any gifted product until after Christmas) And tbh, to be truly sustainable I should just forget about any new or secondhand and wear these! But being someone who seeks to improve her style, and enjoys wearing and sharing it, I’m also aware that I will add to it too. Which is what I did last year with these #secondhand boots 🤩 …. aren’t they gorgeous? I bought them from a designer recycle boutique (AS IF DESIGNER RECYCLE). Which is definitely one way to get the sustainable “designer” style factor ! And although designer labels are not usually what I gravitate towards, when I first saw these “Valentinos”, I just loved them! And that’s before I found out the brand or cost…. I just knew they would work well with my wardrobe for many years to come…and that is the exact feeling and type of shoe I am after on my feet!

Acknowledging that this WOW provoking purchase was from secondhand vs. new retail got me researching. I downloaded a few popular secondhand shopping Apps (eBay, Vestiare Collective and Depop) and typed in some familiar designer shoe brands that I happen to know my size in. And voila, instantly, the most divine preloved Spanish espadrille wedges by Castaner, iconic heeled Clergeries and fur lined Guccis were available at the click of a button in my size and my price range! Albeit, the higher end… I was actually quite shocked 😳 Talk about improving my sustainability and style! … and btw, when I last looked on VC, my Polka Dot Valentino’s were available in another size 😉

This doesn’t mean that every pair of shoes I look at buying secondhand have to be designer. I just want the wow 🤩 And so with a non-designer price tag, the range is endless. So, to further my research, I focussed on a shoe in my style and colour palette that I wore almost everyday last Winter, but lacked variety in ….the flatter heeled knee high boot. But this time in the brown/tan tones of “suede”… and look what came up 😍 an all leather over the knee mottled, chocolate brown wedge heeled pair of Filippo Raphaels 🤎 clearly worn, but stunning in my eyes just the same! Oh so my colour! Oh so my style! I’m already putting together outfits in my head 😂 and as these are a brand I am most familiar with, having both boots and shoes in them already I may have slipped up and made a “no more shopping” faux pas 😳 … all in the name of research of course 😉! This brand is specific to Australian Boutique Edward Meller, who source them from Spain and Turkey and stamp their in-house label Filippo Raphael brand onto them. They are very well made, and designed to remain stylish for years. The Boutique would have originally retailed them in the $300 plus price bracket. Yet, here they were, albeit aged (but doesn’t suede look better that way?) on Ebayau for $25 plus $15 postage 😳… how could I say no?


And of course, there is always MarketPlace on Facebook. This is where sellers in your area allow you to pick up preloved items, which allows you to see before you buy and avoid postage costs. So, again in the interest of this blogpost, I searched long suede boot 36 (my size) and came up with another amazing pair! This time, from a brand I wasn’t familiar with shoe wise, but had their clothing . Elk is a highly considered slow fashion brand based here in Melbourne, who promote shopping for quality investment pieces that build on your existing wardrobe. So you know, when you buy this brand, you will get quality! Which is what I got with this pair…..


So thank you Jane 🙏🏻, this entire exercise has been quite an eye opener for me. Two stunning pairs of boots have sustainably and stylishly made their way onto my shelves, for the total cost of $100! It’s actually proved to be a really great money saving exercise shopping like this, let alone, a planet friendly one 😊 and if you don’t mind placing your feet in someone else’s shoes, it’s easier than you think. (Fyi… I always wipe (or brush in the case of suede) down the outside and use anti-bac wipes on the inside before wearing 😂). The secret for me, I found, is to stick with my own style (knowing what yours is and following it instead of fashion will always serve you well 😉), stick to my colour palette, seek brands I am familiar with in quality and size, then save and filter these in my online searches. And if I am after something a little high end, from an unfamiliar label that I may want to try (wear socks) before I buy, building a connection with designer recycle boutiques will certainly help. And that’s before I even visit the charity shops! Have I got you thinking? Jane certainly got me…

Which is why I wonder what Jane’s experience holds, be sure to read her blogpost on THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE …that’s where I’m heading now 😊

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE : THE TOTE BAG : a large bag used for carrying a number of items 👜

Time to talk “Signature Style” with my buddies Cindy and Kim, and this month we are sharing out thoughts and style tips on bags and my focus is on what I believe, is fast becoming THE new “IT BAG”, the Sustainable Tote ! Whether you like the stylish woven kind, the fabric kind, or even structured leather, there is certainly no shortage of choice out there. And you no longer have to opt for high priced designer versions to find the perfect one. As long as a bag is durable enough to carry the said “number of items” it’s a tote! And we all need a bag like that…

Even Carrie Bradshaw! Rumour has it, her tote of choice relates to the Podcast she now hosts. Time will tell, with HBO SATC remake AJLT airing shortly 😉 And you don’t even have to buy this type, as many companies simply give away canvas (or recycled plastic) bags with their logo on (like Carrie’s) when you purchase. And while reusing these as a “carry all” does have the added eco friendly benefit of being seen as a conscious consumer (ironically perhaps that is a theme the writers of AJLT are promoting 🤔)…. I personally steer away from any free form of advertising and seek a more stylish alternative in which the design is the focus…

AND JUST LIKE THAT..

I have a large collection of DEED BAGS . These bags are handmade with love by a dear friend. They were designed originally because they are the perfect size to replace that of an average plastic bag. So perfect for a simple trip to the store! But since they have internal pockets for keys, wallet, phone and lippy, they can be so much more! They also happen to fold down to nothing, so easy to slip in a suitcase for travel (if you don’t use one as your carry on 😉) In fact, how you do is up to you…but trust me when I say, they can so easily become a part of your lifestyle, in fact, their motto is SHOP| TRAVEL| LIVE ! which is what they do with me 😊 And since they come in so many lovely patterns, colours and designs there is something for everyone. I think Carrie Bradshaw should have one 😉

MORE DEED BAGS

Since “tote style” now makes a huge dent in the fashion bag market, I thought i’d share some more that I love that are currently available Worldwide!

The FRENCH FARMERS BASKET is a classic straw tote. I’m sure you all have one! Originally used to carry the produce one would pick up on a provincial market day, they are now so much more than that! And there are so many variations. Usually made in Morocco from palm leaves, they can be bought at relatively inexpensive stores like Etsy with traditional handles, others long. Some are king sized, and some mini. They can also be found at designer stores like Oroton with to Chloe and pretty much everything in between! My preference is the simpler style…but personalised! I’ve recently seen Kim use hers by adding a simple tassel, which I currently covet and love 😍 and Cindy hers, with a sweet scarf. Aren’t these ideas great?


Another tote I adore, but this time from afar is the TURKISH VELVET IKAT Bag. I first saw this in Istanbul in 2019. The style and shape was everywhere, you’ll recognise it from the Dior Shopper…btw, copies of this were going for a song compared to the real deal 🙄 But it was the vibrancy of the silk velvet in this style that I fell in love with 😍 plus the fact, that I’m not really into wearing labels or logos that scream at you 😫 so it was the silk velvet pattern I fell for. Foolishly, I only bought the mules, but not the bag! But again, it’s online shopping to the rescue, if I decide to go ahead. What do you think? Should I? Is a matching bag and shoes in this pattern just too much ?And is it really me? I’m thinking it could be my go to for Melbourne AW22, but am unsure 🤔


Which brings me to another type of tote, those made in Madagascan RAFFIA STRAW 😍 It’s grown on the island, and is a heavier straw which is very durable and flexible. Naturally its a gorgeous wheat colour, but it may be dyed and then braided coarsely or fine and even crocheted. Which is what one of my favourite artists does. I only discovered Sophie Digard last year, but I pretty much adore everything she makes, including these totes. Every item is handmade, take hours to produce, making it bespoke and a piece of art. Her bags are available from small stores worldwide like Eva’s Sunday here in Melbourne. I’m thinking of treating myself to one for my upcoming 55th birthday 😊

And my final tote of choice would be the ALI LAMU bag. Handmade on the island of Lamu out of recycled sail cloth and rope handles. They are just so cool. I’m not usually one for a logo, but theirs speak volumes to me. LOVE. SURF. SWIM. WILD. What’s not to love about these words on a bag? (I am a CHOOSE LIFE Wham loving 80s gal after all😉) I adore the raw details of the hand stitching and painting. More works of art! And again, sold through smaller businesses like Esplora, here in Australia. I have one, in natural, although they actually come in all kinds of different colours, shapes and sizes.

I really do enjoy searching for something a bit different, so I hope you like this selection. I’m guessing what Tote you need really depends on your lifestyle. Mine is casual and relaxed, but I still like to look and feel stylish and chic….so I currently have little need for the leather structured kind, which is why I haven’t actually featured them. And this last sentence has gotten me thinking, I probably wont use the Ikat silk velvet as many times as I should. So while I love it, it won’t make it to my “IT BAG” collection 😂

I wonder what will make it to Cindy and Kim’s, be sure to press on the links below to read about what they love

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx


PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: Nature for movement and mindfulness 🙏🏻

BIKE TRACK VIEWS 😊

If my first pillar on ways to feel great on my perimenopausal journey is SLEEP and my second INTERNAL NOURISHMENT (you can read about these on previous blog posts 😉) then my third has to be NATURE. The word itself has different connotations for each of us and I’m sure you’re thinking of what it means to you now. For me, its simple…. Nature is my daily go to! For exercise, relaxation and reflection. And along with a great night’s sleep and quality nutrition, getting out into it is a brilliant tool for reducing stress levels and staying calm as my hormones dip and dive 🙏🏻

We also know it’s really important to keep moving as we age and I’ve found the secret to maintaining a movement regime is to find activities you enjoy and just keep doing them. Keep it constant! (Although I must admit during the last 18 months, while constant, my enthusiasm waned) So now we are out of lockdowns, and I have had time to reflect and refocus, what I’ve realised is that, for me, anything that has a water view is what works ! So walks with my dogs along the sand, cycling by the water, strength training on the foreshore and beach yoga are my current loves. I find I can’t wait to get out of the house and see and hear the waves. Embracing the sounds and view gives me instant peace and the appreciation that I’m awake, I’m alive, and that my body can move. In fact, I’ve read that the ocean has actually been proven to reduce stress, aid relaxation and promote compassionate thinking, the experts calling this the “Om” factor 🙏🏻

So my day usually starts with this 😊 a deliberate incorporation of my body moving at the beach. Occasionally I’ll listen to a podcast, rarely music, and more often than not just my own thoughts. I find the thinking time on my solo sojourns a fabulous form of meditation. It’s the best “me time” ever! And on the occasion I’m in a group session or with family and friends, I find the company truly uplifting. There is so much power in MOVING!!

Having said that, I am by no means a natural athlete and I have never been on an “A Team”. I don’t move for Linda Hamilton arms 💪🏻 (or a dress size) and I don’t meditate to “have a practice” …. I am simply investing my “me time” doing both to remain calm, nimble and mindful. I’m also no lifestyle guru, but I do listen to many 🙏🏻 and while they will list the benefits of movement and meditation (especially during perimenopause), to me, respecting the body that you have, being kind to it and about it is really just common sense. After all, the more you look after anything, the longer it lasts 😉 So why not take a deep dive into your own relationship with your own sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress. No matter what stage of life you are at, there’s never a better time than now to begin, continue or tweak it…your body will only thank you ☺️

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: One garment, four seasons 😊

SS2015 Raffa Jacket


I’m always up for extending the life of a garment and nothing does it better than being able to wear it all year round. So please join Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life and I as we choose one garment from our wardrobes and style it four ways, one for each season 😊

I coveted this denim jacket for at least three years before I manifested it into my collection. I saw it at a trunk show back in 2015 and instantly fell in love 💙, but with two kids at home and the cost of everyday life I just couldn’t stretch myself to afford its $489 price tag. But I never forgot about it. I loved the washed faded denim look, its high low hemline, asymmetrical double-zip front and edgy collar details. It was also cut to perfection, skimming the body to add shape in the right places and hide others. So every time I reached for one of my denim jackets, I thought of it and wondered if it would always elude me. So I decided to add Sally Phillips Denim Jacket to my EBay saved searches and I waited. Then in the Summer of 2018, it came up for resale, and while I can’t quite remember the exact amount I paid for it, I do remember going for the “Buy It Now” option! I think it was a quarter of its original price 😊. And since then, I’ve been wearing it in all four seasons.

WINTER

For Winter, I’ve added items from my wardrobe that I purchased new, but over time. The black biker boots I’ve had for many years and cost per wear must be down to a cent. The snakeskin harem pants are three years old and have been worn non stop since I bought them. I particularly like their elastic waist! The beige merino knit was an investment made this year and works back wonderfully with the same colour being in the pant print. But being fine merino wool, it benefits from layering. Add this jacket 🙏🏻, throw a scarf around my neck to balance the darker colours on my lower half and deliberately is colours from the pants and Voila! Winter Styling 😉 I quite like the mix of snake and leopard prints…what do you think?

SPRING

Knowing this jacket works so well with my harems, I actually wear it with all three pairs I have. For Spring, its my leopard pair. I’ve swapped the boots for white trainers, a knit for a white tee, pulled the pants up and rolled the sleeves to expose some skin. Wearing the pants up above my waist, and opening the zip quite high gives the illusion of a longer leg. If you compare Spring with Winter you should be able to see the difference. It’s a common style tip 😉 I’m just glad these pants have an elastic waistband. Truth be told, the older I get, the more comfortable I need to feel. Which is why my style is often loose and flowing…are you like that?

SUMMER

Yup! Loose and flowing 😉 I’m wearing a simple 100% organic cotton sleeveless dress, cut well to skim the curves and give me shape. But it benefits from the added layering of this faded denim jacket to add warmth and detail on a cooler Summer morning. But when removed, the simple accessories I have on are enough. A necklace from a friend and collected brass bangles and earrings. In fact, i’m thinking this jacket could look equally cool tied around the waist of this dress. I could have worn open toe sandals but what I’m discovering is a pointed neutral mule elongates my leg, even as a flat! And because its Summer, shades are always needed…

AUTUMN

Which brings me to Autumn. And for this season, i’m wearing one of my favourite go-to dresses (another trans seasonal garment). Its 100% merino wool and perfect as it breathes beautifully when warm and keeps you cosy when its cool. It’s quite traditional in style. But by adding my denim jacket, a scarf in complimentary colours but in a leopard print and an ankle boot gives it an edge.

I adore this denim jacket, and I’m so thrilled I’ve explored a few new ways to wear it with my wardrobe. I also love that I had the patience and luck to find it secondhand. Why anyone would ant to get rid of it is beyond me 😂 now I wonder what Jane is planning on styling over four seasons? Let’s press the link below and see 😊

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

Sarah xx

PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: Internal Nourishment

If the most important “lifestyle pillar” to feel good each day is the amount and type of sleep you get the night before, the second most important must be what you eat, drink, and choose to partake in nutritionally. For lack of a better term I’m calling it INTERNAL NOURISHMENT. I didn’t come up with it, I read a chapter about this in Radical Beauty (the same book my GGS – Glowing Green Smoothie comes from, which is old, so look for it secondhand 😉) and I liked the sound of it. And so, I’m making it the number 2 pillar of my own #feelgoodplan. A plan that has me notating the touchpoints in my lifestyle that keep me feeling light, energised and on an even keel while I navigate these mid life years and beyond.

But first, my DISCLAIMER: I am by no means medically trained. And I would always recommend you visit your GP or specialist before embarking on any nutritional or supplemental changes. I visit mine regularly, and did back in July. I had a physical including my full bloodwork done. I actually do this every year as a preventative. (Although I’m going back early November to follow up on my Calcium and Iron – both of which I was instructed to take as supplements 😉). That said, this makes my #feelgoodplan purely personal, and I’m simply writing down what I have done and am doing to feel better, during perimenopause.

We all know that what we eat effects us physically. It shows in our ability of sleep, our energy levels, how our skin and hair looks and how our clothes fit. But what I’m really interested in is how it affects my mood. The Gut-Mind Connection. And what I have discovered is that when I pay particular attention to that connection, it tells me when what I eat makes me feel good and when I feel blah ! So thanks to this plan of mine, I’m finally writing down what I find works for me. Let’s call it (thanks to Sheri Salata from the no longer podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – which I sorely miss!) creating a ”feel good recipe” for my own life. And as I run through mine, please think about your own….

I am a vegetarian. Eating animals isn’t my thing. I am not a Vegan but eating plants makes me feel great! Especially the home grown organic type (thanks Dad 🙏🏻). I get the connection between man and the earth, the care and time involved in the planting and growing, and looking at it this way, instantly makes me feel good! (Bring on my move to a small cottage by the sea with kitchen garden 😉) So it’s what I go with! But in perimenopause, I’m aware that increasing my phytoestrogens (plant oestrogen) intake can only benefit my own hormonal loss during this stage, so I try to include these as often as I can. My faves being tofu, soy milk, quinoa, LSA, and chickpeas. Which means for brunch, which I usually eat mid to late morning, (after my walk) in addition to my usual three veggies and eggs, I’ll add seeds and nuts in some form. This is by far my favourite meal of the day….probably because its when I’m most hungry. While TRE (time restricted eating) or IF (intermittent fasting) is something I try to do, I’m not extreme and find an 8am to 7pm eating window works for me naturally.


I then usually have a smoothie (the GGS – with an added nutritional benefit of a GLOW supplement) and a protein ball or slice mid afternoon ( please see Emma Bardwell’s recipes below). As I am a recovering sugar addict, the choc on top was my idea 😂, but it is 70% dark – I find the Lindt Smooth Blend the best. Eating these curb my desire for the over processed alternatives that I occasionally when tired or stressed.


In fact, I’ve let go of a lot of processed foods over the last 5 years and my mind and body thank me for it everyday. I love this quote from Amelia Freer’s “Cook. Nourish. Glow.” It’s an older book, so again you could probably find it secondhand.

And then dinner is usually early, focusing again on plants and oestrogen rich foods. My kids laugh at me saying eating at 5 or 6pm is for oldies 😂 little do they realise its a perimenopausal superpower! In fact WHEN you eat is just as important, perhaps even more so, than WHAT you eat. Its all about circadian rhythm and I can’t recommend Dr Satchin Panda’s book on this subject enough! My main aim in navigating this second half of my life is to eat less and lighter as it’s my belief it will age me well 😊

Another perimenopausal superpower is to cut down on alcohol and caffeine. Which, fortunately doesn’t affect me, as I haven’t had either for years. No alcohol for nearly 19 years or coffee for almost 11 or is it 12… 🦸🏼‍♀️ But what I really need to focus on is my water intake. It’s so easy for me to forget this simple feel good tip. So I’ve reintroduced an old habit and am now starting my day with hot water and lemon. It hydrates me first thing, aids my digestion (I don’t have any reflux issues) and extends my IF until my first cup of tea (low caffeine with soy milk). Water and tea, thats pretty much me 😉

Which brings me to supplements. Something that should be taken with expert advice. And often hours apart from each other and sometimes with or without food to increase their absorption. There is a mine field of info out there, and there are side effects to all, so I’m not going to go into everything I take or in what dose. However, I did mention in my last blog that I found Evening Primrose Oil beneficial to relieving my night sweats. And since they have gone away for the moment, I’ve stopped taking them. (EPO, I’ve read, can thin the blood, should not be taken two weeks before a general anaesthetic and should not be taken by people with seizure disorders – which reinforces the importance of taking it under supervision). The other supplement I mentioned taking was a powder that I add to my GGS. It’s called GLOW. It was recommended to me by a friend who had noticed an improvement in her hair (among other things) while on it. And since my hair is definitely thinning thanks to perimenopause, I bought some. I’m currently taking it every second day until I see my Doctor next month. So watch this space…

And that ladies, pretty much sums up my own “internal nourishment” plan . Do I follow this perfectly? No 😬and everyday? No 😬 but I try, I’m only human and often fall off, however, it’s just so great knowing what I can do to get back to feeling fab again. If the only thing you get from this is to look at your own lifestyle and think of ways you can improve it to ”feel good” that’s fantastic! Because that’s what I’m all about.

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: LEATHER

My Leather Coats and Jackets

I’m so glad I managed to coax my “Signature Style” Pals Cindy and Kim into talking leather this month 😊 as it’s a material I have worn since I was 18. My first ever leather garment (other than shoes 😉) was a pair of leather pants I bought on The Queensway in Bayswater, London back in 1984. How I wish I had them now.. they were stunning! High waist, front pleats, rollable cuff and oh so soft…my daughters would love them ! But they were sold to a recycle boutique a few years later so I could purchase a secondhand electric blue pair (another pair I wish I still owned) 😳 I don’t have a pic of those, but here’s a younger me in my black ones (below left) … proving I’ve never been shy of the camera 😂 btw, I’m happy to say I still have 3 of those bangles and the watch on my arm…and I still wear them! I can still remember where and when I got them all. Brass and Gold from the Camden Market, Ivory bangle from Hong Kong and the watch was left to me by my Grandma (who, btw, I believe is the Orb you see in so many of my IGTV’s 😉). I just love that connection to clothes and jewellery that I have. But I digress, back to leather…


Between the ages of 18-38 I owned several leather jackets and skirts. All resold 😬 But over the last 17 years, I have been more mindful and kept all the leather pieces I have purchased. Even the 2004 black leather skirt that no longer fits! My youngest daughter is keen to have this too-small for me leather skirt altered for herself, which I love since I wore it to her Christening (see above right)! In the pic below I’m wearing a coat I bought in, i think, 2004. A bit tight, but still looking good! I have, however, also owned faux leather… many pairs of shoes in my youth but only two garments … one was a pair of navy Zara pants. They looked great for a short time, but I found the colour wore away in the creases, so they made it to landfill after a season 😬 and the second, a snakeskin trench which is still with me.

Leather Coat circa 2004

So which do I feel better about owning and purchasing? Faux or Real? There is definitely a tug of war in my head when it comes to this as I don’t think the choice is simple…

Faux leather, or pleather doesn’t harm animals directly and its strong and durable. However, the production of it creates the same nasty chemicals produced in plastic 😬 it can also shed harmful micro-plastics into the environment, which we ingest and when discarded, it never breaks down! Plant based leather on the other hand, is made from agricultural waste. No animals are harmed in its production, it is made from a renewable source and it breaks down back into organic matter. Unfortunately it’s not readily available (I haven’t seen any 😳), can sometimes smell and no one yet knows about its long term durability. Real leather on the other hand is made from skins of animals. Cows, calf, lamb, and goat ☹️ Technically, they are a co-product of the meat and dairy industries, not a by-product. Traditional tanning produces toxic waste that makes it into our waterways and vegetable tanning while less toxic, still is! However, it is a natural material that degenerates into organic matter and its durable.

You decide where all that leaves you. The best thing for me to do, is wear what I have and wear it sustainably, meaning “for a very long time”. And if I do chose a new piece, perhaps i’ll look at secondhand first. And if not, at least look for ethically made and sourced real leather.


Which makes my recent sharing of the small Melbourne based leather business Raw by Raw a leather company for me. They are small, they are family based, they are true artisans, they source ethically from a company they have dealt with for years (who have ISO accreditation) and they make right here in Melbourne. No mass production. No fast fashion. Just timeless styles that are wardrobe builders. I already had a pair of their pants, an amazing casual style, that I purchased earlier this year. These are called the Frankie Jogger, they are leather at the front (lined) and a ponty fabric at the back, so they are stretchy, but mould to your shape perfectly and are very comfortable. I bought the Sapphire (a navy- the ones on the left) to replace the faux Zara pair but they are also available in black and olive. Definitely a “buy once, buy well” item, and I must say, I feel incredible in them ! So far, I have worn them in Autumn, Winter and Spring. I’m really liking the idea of trying to wear them casually, like a cotton, linen or denim pant so the outfit on the right with trainers and a tee is quite timeless!


And I was lucky enough to be able to share these gorgeous items from them on IGTV, which I worked as suits in three colour ways. The leather suit.. I actually love that idea!


And if you take another look at my jackets in the first photo, you will see I own the Adeline Jacket in Autumn Leaves (which is an olive) and the same colour in the York Culotte.


Now why not pop on over to see what Cindy and Kim have to say on leather in their SIGNATURE STYLE blog post…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: SLEEP

When I turned 50 I deliberately made changes to my lifestyle to feel good. I’d hit midlife and knew that if I didn’t become more informed, adjust my mindset and switch up a few habits, the side effects of ageing and the inevitable hormonal symptoms of Menopause may prove a challenge. Which, coincidentally, I have read in Liz Earle’s Book “The Good Menopause Guide”, is key prior to peri- menopause, as making certain changes will help to balance your hormones when going through it. So this is the first of a few blog posts on what I’ve done and continue to do. I’ll call it “Menopausal Musings”, because I find the topic thought provoking and one I often reflect on. Plus, i love a bit of preventative medicine! Disclaimer here, I am by no means an expert on this subject. At least not for others, but I do like to think I am becoming one on it for myself. To pinch a phrase from Sheri Salata (of the now defunct podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – still available, and I do recommend you give it a listen 😉), over the last 5 years I’ve become the “CEO of my own life”, aka ”getting my s*#t together”, and its actually been as powerful as the role sounds.

But before I start, a little background on my menopausal journey to date. I’m now 54 years and 9 months and still officially peri-menopausal. (My Mum hit menopause at 56 – i mention this as while not always an indicator, it’s good to know, as is the fact that the average peri-menopause is 4 years) And until now, I have had very few signs that my body is changing. At 50, I still had a regular monthly cycle. Everything was as it should be 😂 At 51, I noticed that my reading vision started to go (apparently a sign of peri- menopause), but my sleep was still fine. At 52 and 53, i missed one of twelve cycles each year (another sign) and my “readers vision” increased from a plus one to a plus one point five, otherwise all good, with occasional sleepless nights. So I had very few sleep issues to speak of, but at the end of August, at the age of 54 and 8 months I started to experience first hand what they call ”night sweats” (my “oh no 😫” moment). I started waking up several times a night feeling incredibly hot and then, when I fell back to sleep, a hot sweat would wake me again. It was something I had read about, but fortunately, until now, had never experienced. Sleep has been one of my lifestyle focuses for the last 5 years, and after trial and error, I am a strict 9.30pm to 6.30am gal. It’s what I thrive on! So to have this happen, literally exhausted me…I stopped exercising, reached for sugar (the worst kind- Cadburys Turkish Delight 😩) and I just felt incredibly flat and out of control. After about a week of this, I decided to experiment with everything I had read, listened to, seen and heard from girlfriends and family members over the last 5 years or so and actually write down and create my own menopausal #feelgoodplan ! Touch points I can follow everyday to keep me from feeling like i did a month ago…

This post is all about Sleep, the first and most important Pillar for me in feeling good. For years I have said that if i don’t get a good nights sleep the following day is never my best, so I was thrilled to hear Matthew Walker, the worlds leading expert on Sleep state that “Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health”. I discovered him on my all time favourite podcast ” Feel Better, Live More” with Dr Rangan Chaterjee. Another amazing recommended listen! I have Matthew’s bestselling book “Why We Sleep” on order. You could alternatively, get it from your own book supplier…

What I do know is that if I don’t get my 9 hours in bed and at least 8 hours sleep, preferably at the same time each night (great for your circadian rhythms including body temp regulation 😉 – please read Dr Satchin’s Book for further details), I am a mess the day after 😫 and no matter my best intentions, it’s so much easier to slip and fall off my #feelgoodplan leaving me feeling far from how I want to. I’ve actually got into some pretty good habits to encourage a good nights sleep. My bedroom is cool, I have a fan circulating the air all night, my bedding and sleepwear is 100% cotton (even the doona insert), I don’t drink alcohol or do caffeine, I generally eat early, usually finishing by 7pm, wear blue blocking glassses if on a screen before bed, stop everything at 9pm and begin a bedtime ritual. This includes some bathroom self care (i’ll go into what i use on another post) a mist of Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on my pillow and a book… all which worked perfectly well until the menopausal night sweats! So what I’ve introduced recently is taking 2 Evening Primrose Capsules at 7 o’clock. It was recommended to me by a naturopath at my local chemist. The brand I’m taking is Medi Herb and it looks like it’s a practioner only brand. Plant based, it can help with the hormonal imbalance that causes hot flashes in menopause. After googling the side effects and ensuring that they wouldn’t interact with the other supplements I take (I always take my supplements separately and at least 2 hours apart), I decided to start a low dose. Currently that dose is 2 x 100mg tabs. Very low, given the recommendation on the packet is 3 tabs and the RDD is 500mg. Of course, please consult your own specialist if you consider taking this. But so far, its been remarkable. I haven’t had a night sweat since 😳

But its not really all that simple… there is so much science involved, which to be honest, I’m not trained to comment on as it loses me 😬 But what i do know is that to manage my sleep and the hormonal imbalance that causes temperature chaos during menopause, among other things, there are other lifestyle changes i’ve made and follow that help. A big one is what I call my “Internal Nourishment”, aka Diet, which is Pillar 2 of my #feelgoodplan. And this has so many positives for a woman of a certain age. But that will be lengthy, so I’ll save it for another post 😉

Sarah xx


SECONDHAND STYLE : Clothes That Tell a Story

“This shirt is old and faded, All the colours have washed away, I’ve had it now for more damn years, That i can count anyway, I wear it beneath my jacket, With the colour turned up high, So old I should replace it, But im not about to try…”

These are the lyrics to the first verse of Mary Chaplin Carpenter’s beautiful song “The Shirt” and the inspiration for this month’s ”Secondhand Style” blog post with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life. It’s a meaningful tale and if you listen in full, its all about how the most ordinary object (a shirt) can hold meaning, memory and emotion (Chapin’s words). Which has me thinking about my own and the garments that have been with me on my journey so far. Are you like that? Sentimental about what you have worn at certain times in your life or garments that have a story of their own? Perhaps you have a shirt? or a pair of shoes? I most certainly attach feelings and memories to the clothes in my wardrobe.. which may explain why i rarely rid myself of any 🤔 but what i thought i’d talk about is a piece i featured on IGTV last year, but have never written about. And since I print each of my blogs out and place them in a file marked: For Annabel and Penelope, “So you thought you knew your mother”, I thought this the perfect opportunity 😂

The Maker

This coat is not mine, I am just it’s custodian, and have been for a year of so. This coat belongs to my eldest daughter. Last year, after the passing of her Grandmother, my mother-in-law, the emptying of her wardrobe was the emotional task beautifully and meaningfully undertaken by her daughter. At the end of which she thought it would be nice if family and close friends perhaps look at her clothing and choose a piece or two. I took my daughters with me and we each chose a piece. My youngest and I have a bag. Annabel chose this coat, of which i will now tell you what I know….

My husband’s Aunt actually inherited the coat from her Mother-in-law, who, to keep it simple is my daughter’s Great Grandma. (And then gifted it to my Mother-in-law) Her name was Dulcie and this is the story of Dulcies’s coat. Dulcie was a great lady, who loved the best of everything. Tall, beautiful and vivacious, no one enjoyed a party like she did (my late father-in-law’s words about his Mother), she always had a ciggie in one hand and a G & T in the other. She was a Melbourne socialite who married into a successful and very hard working large Irish-Australian Family. The same family I married into. Actually, they are more than a family, they are a CLAN!!

And as a member of Melbourne’s high society, Dulcie had her clothes made by dressmakers. I’ve tried to find out about the maker Diedre Anita Reynolds, but to no avail. Although the address is quite exclusive, so i’m imagining the process involved pattern sketches, fabric selection and perhaps a few other garments ordered at the same time. The coat itself is exquisitely made. The fabric is a heavy weave, lined in the most stunning red, and there is a hand stitched hem. The pattern matching is impeccable! Oh those were the days! Pure couture!


While Dulcie loved to party, play tennis and golf, she was also married to a man who was keen on horse racing. He owned many horses and raced them in Grand Nationals, Steeples and even The Melbourne Cup. The reason i tell you this , is that I can imagine Dulcie wearing this coat trackside. Perhaps a scarf covering her ears to keep out the cold and large sunnnies to disguise the hungover eyes from the fun had the night before….Looking quite the lady I imagine, with her stature and elegant coat as she watched the trainers run their horses. No one in the family can verify this, but its a nice image in my mind. And its how i think of her when i put it on. When I am “wearing clothes that tell a story…”


And for a little more style inspiration, here’s the beginning of the IGTV i featured last year…

I’ll put the full episode up in stories on Instagram.

So, while this post isn’t about my own clothes memories, it has now become so. I’ve attached meaning, memory and emotion to ” Dulcie’s Coat”. A garment that spoke to my daughter and now its story will continue….

I wonder how Jane will interpret Mary Chapin Carpenter’s words. Why not pop on over to her blog now by clicking on the link below..

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

There’s a Spring in my step..


We are halfway through the first month of Spring! Yay! Warmer weather is on the way 😊 and i just realised that i haven’t written much about what’s been going on behind the scenes of my little Insta page…

The biggest change social media wise is that I’ve taken myself off all platforms except this blog and Instagram. I felt like i was spreading myself too thin and I wanted to claim some “real life” back. I even took the month of August off from shopping and ”sharing” new product. This gave me time to step away, go within, think and reevaluate why i spend so much of my time on here and what i want to achieve from it. I needed the break to do this. I felt like i was on a hamster wheel…does that make sense? Share, style, promote, share, style, promote … you get my drift. And while I know that is how I’ve grown this page, and i do love doing this, sometimes it becomes about too much “stuff” and ladies, that’s not all I want this to be about….

Speaking of which, the most delightful bundle of fur came into our lives this month. Meet Billy Ray, a brother for four and a half year old Joseph. What a joy he has been and oh so needed! With lockdown after lockdown, he has been the most welcome distraction 🙏🏻 Although, tbt, ive been thinking and looking for another Spoodle for about a year, in fact he was named in August 2020 and he has been on my ”futureboard” since January…so it was just a matter of time 😉 and that time, thanks to the universe 🙏🏻 was Now. Great time for a new pup, lots of nice weather for outside play, and with lockdown, lots of house training opportunities 😂 10 more days and he’ll be fully vaxed and another walking buddy for me 😊

I do love to walk! So i got myself a new pair of trainers, thanks to the generosity of Cinori Shoes. I know it’s not the most flattering stance, but these Woden Pernille leather sneakers above (in bright white) have been on my feet quite a bit. They seem to go with everything, and the cork innersole makes them shock absorbent. So for everyday casual wear and short walks to run errands, they are perfect! Cinori kindly gifted me the sandals in the top pics too. You will see them on my feet a lot this SS21. I do believe that for the warmer months, all I need are variations of these three neutrals in my shoe shelves.

Taking August off from ”sharing new product” allowed a different kind of sharing 🙏🏻 and I was lucky to be selected by African Fabrics Australia to take part in their creativity search. I chose a lovely batik fabric called Binta, an artisanal hand dyed cotton from Senegal. Being in “Lockdown”, I creatively drafted a simple pattern in newspaper from an old kaftan and managed to make a delightful one myself. It had been a while, but it was definitely satisfying sitting back in my sewing seat. And it was the reason i picked the Asailor in natural sandal from Cinori.


I also performed a couple of creative alterations on bags:


And there has been a little wardrobe rearrangement, in anticipation of warmer weather! And while I wait for that, it’s been so nice to dust the shelves, polish shoes and prepare for the new season. And since we are still in lockdown, i certainly have had the time! These four walls bring me such joy. Especially now we are homebound. I walk through this room from bed to bath several times a day. It’s a thoroughfare. But to me, its more than that, it’s my dressing room, my hobby and my passion. I really do love it and all it brings everyday.



And now Spring is here, and i’m ready for it, thanks to the wardrobe refresh, my break and the fact that I’ve recently embarked on a #feelgoodplan…but more on the latter in another blog post…

There’s certainly a spring in my step 😉

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Jeans 👖

My Jeans Collection… interestingly, all dark denim 🤔

This month on SIGNATURE STYLE Cindy, Kim and I are talking Jeans 👖 ….

Did you realise that there are more pairs of jeans on the planet than people? I heard that statistic on a podcast recently 😳 so then I started wondering what the average number women own is 🤔 and I discovered it’s 7 ….and the very same Ms Average apparently buys two new pairs a year! So together, with my current intention to be an under-consumer, this has me feeling pretty good when I admit to you that I own only 5 pairs (although I never wear the black skinny Dr Denim’s anymore) ! Which btw, range from my 10 year old (that’s a guess) thrifted Citizens of Humanity flared hipsters, to my 4 month old 1964 Denim Company high waisted bootlegs, meaning I average out at a new pair every 2 years. While all these facts and numbers mean something to some and nothing to others, it tells me I’m not really a Jeans buyer nor a Jeans wearer. I may use them a bit in my styling, but truth be told, they don’t get many “real” wears, hence I purchase them minimally. And considering denim is far from the most sustainable textile because of the required chemicals it needs, thousands of litres of water used and huge energy consumption to produce the finished product it’s a WIN WIN for me and the planet 😊 however…..

The good news is there are loads of Jean producing company’s addressing these supply chain issues to produce incredible sustainable and ethical denim garments and I’m going to share some of my current favourites with you 😊 and in doing so, will focus on what I would buy (or at least try) if I needed a new pair. And that is the wide leg. I covet comfort above all things, and being an A Shape Body Type (thighs being my largest area), I need the leg width to fall from the top of my thigh rather than cling to it, otherwise every time I stand up, I feel like I need to pull my jeans down from this part of my body. I’m sure there are readers out there that get this 😉 and it also explains, why all my denims are dark. I do look better when I dress my bottom half in a darker colour and my top half lighter! So, if I was to be looking for a new pair, I would be interested in trying these…

In addition to being A shaped, I have shorter legs and a longer torso. So ideally, a full length jean with a heel is a great casual leg lengthening look on me (if I don’t have to walk far or stand for too long…. I’m seriously loosing my interest in heels!) I do however, still wear a wide cropped jean, it doesn’t look too bad if I wear a flat form style shoe or trainer, although it’s certainly not leg lengthening! And thanks to COVID lockdowns, a little thigh hugging 😫 Here are a few looks of me in my jeans.


The 1964 Jeans Company bootlegs are a pair I ended up buying new this year. While current, they no longer seem to be available. The higher waist is flattering, the stretch fabric comfortable and I can almost talk myself into them being sustainable if you read the label and the blurb on Big W’s website (but at $24 I have serious doubts). I do think they look quite good. Press here for the new design for SS21. When I wear a boot leg jean, it usually involves a longer cardigan or coat worn over the top. So I’m not one for fancy back pockets, because no one usually sees them. With fitted jeans, I go for “illusion” dressing. Wearing a long length top disguises where my bottom ends and my shorter legs start. It’s a style habit I picked up from Trinny Woodall years ago. Wearing a dress over them looks great too, but I haven’t done this for ages…. although it’s now got me thinking 🤔 And if you head over to Pinterest, there are lots of inspiring pics like the ones below. It looks to me, like the secret is not to wear a dress too voluminous or structured, and the length of the dress long, although on me, I think calf length (midi) is probably best. The jean also appears to be straight, which is a style i don’t own, and slightly cropped or with the hem rolled above the ankle. It’s certainly a look and idea that i would enjoy to play with. It may even make me wear jeans more and look at them differently. Plus I really like the idea of this with sneakers!


Here are two straight leg jeans in a shade that i quite like. Both would work with the dress over jeans idea. Although, when it comes to jeans I definitely have to try before i buy and being in lockdown i don’t think that will be anytime soon.

So until I up my style game, I’ll keep wearing my bootlegs like I do. But I also have a wider leg jean. These “pant like” denim jeans are about 4 years old. I love the depth of their blue. They feel and look quite smart. When I wear these, I’m more likely to expose the back, like in the pics below. In the first, I’m full tucking a linen shirt, the next is with a turtle neck with cashmere wrap. As it’s no secret I love a loose pant, these are probably my current favourites. And the bonus is they also look great with a flat shoe!


So that’s my Jeans style 😉 I wonder how Kim and Cindy wear theirs? And what they have to say about their Signature Style on Jeans? Best pop on over and see… that’s what I’m doing next 😉

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

Sarah xx

SECOND HAND STYLE: Why I shop this way 😊


Welcome to a new blog and a new monthly instalment called “SECOND HAND STYLE”, this time with blogger and charity shopper extraordinaire Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life. Each month we will be talking about a “second hand” topic from our own perspective… and today it’s a little introduction of how we started shopping this way 😊

I can’t really remember a time I haven’t owned something second hand. Whether it be handed down, salvaged or intentionally purchased. My home is full of curated treasures! So it’s no surprise that my wardrobe is too 😉 Since I started this blog and the Instagram page that accompanies it, I like to think my “second hand style” has slowly made its way from the back to the front of Sarah London Style. And all quite naturally, firstly I introduced you to the clothes in my wardrobe and now I share with you the way they get there.

I love old! I was brought up to love old! (Its no accident i’m a History Major 😉) Although if you asked me when I was ten, if I’d rather wear the old hand me downs from Di and Sue (family friends daughters who were a couple of years older than me) or be taken to the local shopping centre, I would have chosen the latter. You see, my parents were (and still are) thrifters! I grew up with them frequenting antique auctions, markets, garage sales and the advertised section of the newspaper, all in search of what they needed, and when they found what they were after, they always managed to make it work! They rarely threw things out, always chose to repair and often repainted, reupholstered and repurposed. Talk about sustainable! But this was the late 70s and it wasn’t uncommon then, and because my family happened to be good at it, it was fun!

And then I turned 14! December 1980 and I got my first job at the local delicatessen… and an instant cash influx and my parents love of thrift turned into mine. Trash and Treasure Markets at car parks were my favourite! These were the days when I could find a pair of 1960’s winkle picker stilettos for 99cents (I did), vintage was everywhere and it was cheap because with the emergence of Fast Fashion, no one really wanted it. Except me and my 80s gal pals! We were music crazy and always wanted to look like some star on the cover of UK mag Smash Hits! I was a “Mod” 😂, and my friends were “Punks” and “New Romantics” and where did we find our clothes? We bought and repurposed from secondhand….

That’s me in the middle in my secondhand stiletto winkle pickers and trilby 😂


Fast Forward forty years, and while my style no longer replicates a “mod” or those on the magazine covers 😂, second hand clothes are still an important part of who I am. Yes, I have dabbled with Fast Fashion, I’ve even worked in it! (thank you Myer Miss Shop). And I’ll even admit that I got on the Zara bandwagon for more than a few years 😩. All because I loved clothes and it was easy and cheap. But at the same time, I’d never forgotton my roots and the “upcycling” style habits of my upbringing. So markets on the weekend, op shopping, designer recycle for the “it” bag (albeit a couple of years late) and eBay have remained constant. But now I have more time (thank you mid life and COVID), I find myself reflecting and “deliberately” going back to what I was brought up to know….

Recent secondhand and forever acquisitions 😊

And that is, you create your own style! You wear what feels like you and you wear it your way! Which to me, means pulling together an outfit from various sources. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to love it! And most often than not, one item I decide to put on will be second hand! And while I could attribute it to sustainability, going green, saving from landfill, the environment and all that, I won’t… I simply shop like this because it’s what I’ve always known. And it’s freeing. No ties to having the latest trend, just adapting which ones you like from what you have, and dare I say, even creating your own! The aim is to feel good! And shopping this way does that! Take for example the photo below.. all secondhand! The coat I picked at a consignment store. The scarf a local op shop, the jeans and boots from designer recycle. All aged from 12 months to 14 years old. All my style, in my wardrobe and still being worn by me 🙏🏻.

Oooh… Valentino on my feet 😉 thank you as.if.designer.recycle 🙏🏻

Now please pop on over to Jane’s blog and read about why she shops this way.

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Skirts 🖤

It’s that time again… SIGNATURE STYLE with Cindy, Kim and me! And this month each of us dive into the style of skirts…

If you asked me if I wear skirts, I’d say “sometimes”. If you asked me if I like them, I’d say “sort of”. If you asked me if I owned any, I’d say a couple. So when I actually went into my wardrobe to take a deeper dive, it was a surprise to me that I actually own nine!!! What is no surprise is that they are all in natural fabrics: Linen, Cotton and Leather 🤍. (Although I did own, until recently, a couple in polyester, but in a deliberate move to try and create the perfect sustainable wardrobe, I cleared them out by selling them and donating the funds to charity).

SS2018 Shanty Corporation Linen gathered waist skirt with a high low hem in Natural

I am the biggest fan of linen, so much so, I featured “linen skirts” as my first episode on my 2020 IGTV Series “Collections” I love the way linen feels against the skin, the fact it breaths beautifully in hot weather, softens when worn and washed, and that it always looks so Euro-chic! Above is a favourite linen skirt of mine. A Shanty Corporation linen gathered skirt. I picked it up on sale a few years ago and took it on an overseas trip. I find the creases in linen perfect for a summer holiday. It relaxes me 😂 I let go of trying to feel so “perfectly ironed and pulled together” and I just take it easy and go with the flow…. I think it looks wonderful with white, whether it be a singlet, tshirt or shirt (and a little fake tan). Press here for a similar updated alternative. There is something about linen that looks understated and elegant. Perhaps it’s the timeless, ageless sustainability of the fabric! So it’s no surprise my linen skirt collection now totals four…


And then we come to my leather skirt. A buy once, buy well purchase. I can’t imagine there will ever be a time without it in my wardrobe. I adore it. The colour is incredible. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is superb. I feel good about the fact that it’s 100% ethically sourced leather, and from a socially responsible Scandinavian label Gestuz. I found it at a wonderful samples store that I frequent called The Wooden Hangar. They are primarily a fashion agency who distribute amazing European labels to high end boutiques. But the benefit to we the consumer, is that they sell off their samples to the public at a fraction of the price! If you live in Melbourne, there are two stores under their name and an online samples store called Faith which also has an outlet. A great store to keep popping into for European style inspiration. I think there is a size 12 still available here. Press here for a black ethical alternative.

So while my skirt styles vary, I do wear them mostly in Summer. And while I’m not actively looking for another, there is one type of skirt that currently eludes me: the denim skirt! This is one that I will keep my eye out for, and until I find it, here is a little luxe inspo:


My fave is actually the tiered Chloe! It’s divine and looks like a much lighter denim than the others. I also think it would look the best with flats! Out of my reach for the moment 😂, it has inspired me to wait until I find the perfect design ! Although, this one has caught my eye on eBay.au :

But is it just right? The style is, but the shaded denim isn’t. The old Sarah would have said, but it’s only $30 and placed a bid…but now I don’t! In fact, how I look at anything I purchase now, is that it must be absolutely stunning in my eyes, not just okay 😑, looking at adding new garments like this means I actually buy less and wear more of what I have! Not to mention when I do find it, all the money I will have saved on “okay” purchases will have piled up so I can say yes! Mindfully purchasing ☺️ (and mindfully styling) That’s part of my SIGNATURE STYLE…. Now, go read what style of skirts interest:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE


And then watch my introduction (full video on Insta later today 😉) to my skirts collection here:

Sarah x

When you know better, do better 🙏🏻

What a delight to have shared two wonderful new brands from my studio with everyone in the last month! Both sustainable and ethical Smitten Merino and Cara Cashmere are the most wonderful companies to be an ambassador for. They believe in everything I believe in, and they have done so way before I decided to become more “consciously aware” in the world of style. So what is that? Both are small Aussie brands that ship globally, both design here in Australia, one supports our manufacturing industry here, the other supports a small free range goat herding family and a family based manufacturer in Inner Mongolia. Both ensure that all the workers (and the animals) involved are respected, treated well and paid fairly. And both companies send their item in recyclable packaging and of course, they both also sell the most incredible stylish natural product garments! Slow fashion 🙏🏻

I was so lucky to be sent a few items by Smitten, to share with you all. A Mary dress (which I love), two styles of cardigans- the Boyfriend and the Drape and scarves! I was blessed enough to be able to keep the dress and have already worn it four times. The Mary Dress was named after the Hobart girl who became the Crown Princess of Denmark 😉 classic, and understatedly elegant it sums up the dress and HRH perfectly! I chose the French Navy because it’s one of my colours (hope you read my blog on colour) and it looks and feels incredible on. Loose, but shapely, the wool falls beautifully into a flare skirt with fabulous deep pockets. I feel utterly chic in it. The cardigans speak for themselves in the pics below, timeless in quality and style!


Cara Cashmere sent me two lovely pieces that will also be with me forever! A wonderful scarf and a wrap. Annie was so lovely, she let me choose colours in both! I chose the True Red scarf, because this is a colour that brings life to my face, and it’s also a colour that I don’t have a lot of. The wrap I selected in a neutral cream, because I know it will just go with absolutely everything in any season. Both of course are available in many colour options. Aren’t they divine?


Talk about both brands being the change you want to see in the world of fashion! Both ethical and sustainable, it’s no coincidence I shared them with you! I’m very deliberate about who and what I promote. One of my favourite quotes of all time is Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” 🙏🏻 I like to think I’m doing this with my blog, my styling page and everyday! So, on visiting the Mary Quant exhibition, I very much wanted to make my “mindful and slow fashion” point by wearing sustainable and ethical clothing. I wore boots I’ve had for over 12 years, my Smitten Merino wool Mary Dress, an old coatigan that is a cashmere/wool blend, aged leather belt, my new ethical Cara Cashmere scarf, a 100% merino wool beret and an old (perhaps 10 years) MUI MUI bag I splurged on ( secondhand) years ago. I mixed it up. Old with new! All “buy well” pieces styled my way. SLOW STYLE. It felt good. In fact it felt fabulous. And I think it looked alright too!

Sarah x

SIGNATURE STYLE: A Winter sombrero and berets!

It’s all in the handcrafted details of this Alberta Gomez Sombrero

Today on the blog I’ll be discussing Winter Hats, the ones I wear and a few I wouldn’t mind trying on my head now the weather definitely calls for them here in Melbourne! Cindy and Kim on the other hand, are in the throws of a heatwave, so will be putting their personal spin on Hats to wear in Summer… be sure to press the links at the end for their inspiring style!

I have to start by saying I have a love hate relationship with hats 😂 I do absolutely love them, especially when they are crafted to perfection, by means of design, material and detail! But on my head, this artistry can be a bit hit and miss! While there are many style guides out there on the best hat shapes for face shapes, I have found them contradictory and that trial and error is perhaps my best guide. I have a round face, so strictly speaking I should be trying to elongate my head and not flatten it. So a sombrero with a crown (mine below is 12cm) higher than the brim (mine below is 9cm) is perfect! And this handcrafted Mexican beauty of mine that is available in various colours and styles from Esplora Australia is perfection! This is a forever hat, one that deserves the best of care and a box of its own. Hand blocked in wool, it is one of only 600 hats that leaves its workroom in a little corner of Ocotlan de Morelos each month to be shipped to suppliers globally. I consider it a piece of art.

If I do intend to elongate my face in a hat, strictly speaking I should steer away from the snug head hugging type, but I find there is so much to love about this type of hat! The beret has been worn for centuries, from the floppy felt peasant, to stiffened military, to chic Parisian and everything in between, (including the tam’o shanter – which I wore as part of my Winter school uniform 😂). A beret is definitely my go to for Winter. Because it is just so easy to pop on and style in so many ways. It can be worn over the forehead, back on the crown, over the ears, behind them, straight or on a slant. And that’s before you come to the different types! Regardless of the material or style, I always tend to wear my hair down. In my personal collection I have a khaki cotton one that I have been wearing for about 10 years and a recent rabbit fur beret from House of Nicholetta. The latter is available in 4 colours!

A rare glimpse of me with my girls circa 2012!

This Winter I invested in a wool pom-pom beret in one of my favourite colours, Navy! It’s a stunning slouchy knitted beret made from certified pure merino wool. Knitted in a geometric cable stitch with a cute pom-pom at the top, it’s finished with a rib band. It is the loveliest of textures and although sold out in Navy it is also available in burgundy and cream. It’s called The Clover and is from Australian hat and bag label Helen Kaminski. It has started to get very cold here in Melbourne, so it’s time to add a warm layer to our heads.

My HK Clover Beret

Helen Kaminski is an Australian hat and bag designer, who started by making raffia hats to protect her children from the harsh Aussie sun in 1983. Her love of natural fibre lead to her selling the raffia hats and then bags. While the company has grown, and Helen has stepped back, the quality remains and its now renowned worldwide! The brand is synonymous with natural fibres, craftsmanship and sustainability. It’s a definite go to… and here is what else has caught my eye (Winter Hat Wise) on the website 😉


Bisque Traders also have a great range of rabbit skin hats that are made in Australia. They have an aged and well worn appearance, very “Buffalo Girls”! I adore the stitch details, the imperfections, and that “I just got off a horse” look ! Very cool indeed 😎


When it comes to buying Winter hats, I am no expert, but what I have learnt is that if you stick to what you love and in colours that suit you around your face, chances are you can make them work! So if you aren’t a hat wearer, I do encourage you to give it a try 😉 They certainly ooze style!

Summer hats are a different story for me, and while I’ll save that for another season, you don’t have to wait as my Northern Hemisphere gal pals are onto it 😊 Please click on the links below to see what has caught their eye…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Colour as a FEEL GOOD….


Isn’t it funny how things we often write about affect us more than what we talk or think about ? That was the case a couple of blogs ago when it came to talking Black and White with Cindy and Jennifer. And boy am I grateful for that 🙏🏻 because it really got me thinking about how these colour choices in my wardrobe make me feel. (And yes, I know black and white aren’t technically colours 😉)

I’ve always loved colour, and the way it makes us feel when we look at it and cover ourselves in it. I personally love green! It’s been my favourite colour since I was a teen (before that it was chocolate brown 😳… which explains my 1970s Burnham Beeches wall mural). Most people have a favourite and (I think) favour it in what they surround themselves with and even wear. Back in my 40’s and early 50’s with young children, I wore a lot of black (because it was easy) and often punctuated it with green (I’ll never forget wearing my emerald green Juicy Couture tracksuit and matching Nikes when meeting my kids at the school gates 😂). I refer to this stage in my style life as my “rock chic” phase, because any excuse to get out of the house “ dressed loud and proud” was my idea of fun fun fun! I wore a lot of black and I thought I was very chic and cool 😎 But now my youngest child is about to leave school and I’m nearing another milestone (55), I find myself reflecting on this colour and style choice. I still have many of these well worn pieces in my wardrobe and am now asking, do they serve me like they use to? Because if they don’t, why am I holding onto and wearing them just because I have them? ….especially when they no longer make me feel good.

As I’ve aged, I’ve changed. My idea of fun, fun, fun is no longer as loud, I shy away from making wardrobe statements and head to toe bright colour. I feel like I’ve done that and it’s no longer who I am or what I seek. I’m far more relaxed, and a more natural, organic way of dressing, where being deliberate in what (and from whom) I choose to buy and hence “wear” makes me feel good! With age comes this wisdom if you let it in 🙏🏻 And with my years, my skin has also changed. It’s no longer as olive and plump as it use to be, the bags under my eyes have darkened (these I inherited 😐) and the wrinkles continue to emerge. While I happily accept this external badge of ageing (I am just so truly grateful to be here), I do look after myself on the inside. I exercise regularly, eat well (I’m plant based), I don’t do caffeine or alcohol and I sleep well ( the positive side effect being I have few peri-menopausal signs). So while I see others fighting what naturally occurs by attempting to reverse the external ageing process, that’s just not me. I don’t want that pressure and I certainly don’t want to send that message to my daughters! So I’m wondering if there are colours I can wear that will give my face a natural lift and glow? Colours that will soften the lines and accentuate the positive just like style can. If so, I’m sure wearing them will not only make me look great, they will make me feel great too! And knowing that black definitely is not my friend, its time to take stock, reassess and begin what I’m calling my:

MIDLIFE WARDROBE OVERHAUL!

(Which has me thinking this whole blog/ Instagram page could be my crisis 😂)

To simplify things, I’ve removed the “rock chic” black (the juicy couture is long gone) from my wardrobe and popped them in a spare room (there was a time when the house wasn’t big enough… now with only 1 child at home, it seems too big). This spare room is now my home studio, complete with lights, cameras, sewing machine, over locker and it’s very own WIR 😉, which stores garments in several categories:

  1. Vintage pieces that rarely get worn but will never be given away (think Grandma’s fur coats, Grandpa’s suede jacket 😉),
  2. Garments that I’m keeping for my daughters 💕,
  3. Pieces that suit me but may need to be altered or repurposed; and
  4. those I’d like to sell !

This overhaul has even worked its way into a short five part Colour Series on IGTV, where I looked at the remaining colours in my wardrobe that I wear during the Winter months and asked, do they suit me? And how do they make me feel? Indulgent I know! But it’s aim, and this blogs is to get you thinking about your own wardrobes and how the colour choices you wear make you feel. Navy, Teal, Olive and Tan are definitely my go to colours. The latter being more of an accessory than a garment (and something I’m going to stick to). I secretly love the idea of a boot and matching bag in every shade of brown😉 I also looked at Gold (knowing it suits me, I removed the silver). But what has been the biggest revelation are the colours red and coral. Never in a million years would I ever consider these as colours I should wear more of. I like them but have never really looked at them with favour. The red I suit is a warmer red, and I own very few pieces in it. I’m not sure if I’ll deliberately seek the shade out, but I am open to it if there is a style that suits. But coral… this colour I only have one Winter item in! and it was bought on a whim on sale last year 🥰 and now I find myself obsessing over it. It’s soft, feminine, romantic, and the absolute opposite of rock chic black 😂 ….so watch this space!

LOVING THE MIX OF TEAL WITH CHOCOLATE ACCESSORIES

While I have always focused on finding my own seasonal colour palette (by trial and error), using IGTV as a medium allowed for an influx of comments and opinions from you all. Thank you! But what I have discovered thanks to yourselves and the kindest follower Vicky @stylepixie_consulting is that I actually fall over 3 seasons. Vicky is a qualified colour analyst, makeup artist, personal stylist and hair dresser! If you are on Instagram, give her a follow. Her colour stories are sublime! And I am beyond grateful for her generosity for gifting this to me. And without giving away too many details of what she does (she fully explained why I can wear 1, 2, and 3), I am primarily a “Warm Autumn” and since these are the colours I have, love and feel good in, it will be what I will focus on from now on.
Here they are:

WARM AUTUMN PALETTE

And I’m beyond thrilled to now have this palette on my phone whenever I go! (Vicky actually sent me a more detailed one, but I won’t divulge her trade secrets 🤐). From my wardrobe, to my studio, to out and about, I now have an accurate updated version of “go to” look good colours! (BTW… this was done virtually from photos without makeup, so feel free to contact her if you are interested in having it done!) It really is incredibly satisfying to have my questions answered! I know which seasonal colour palette I am and why! This is such a FEEL GOOD! So there you have it, my colour journey so far (the abridged version anyway… I could ramble but won’t), truth be told, I feel like it’s really only the beginning of my wardrobe overhaul anyway 😉

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Resort Wear 101 🦀🐬☀️


How exciting is this months “Signature Style” ? Resort Wear! The very sound of it conjures up walks along the beach, reading by the pool, sleep ins, dinners out, and if you are like me… a little holiday shopping ☺️ I wonder what it means to Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design and Kim from Northern California Style? Be sure to press the links at the end of my post for further inspiration 😉

And what it conjures up, and what you plan to do, is really how you should pack! That way, you can pack light when you travel. All I need is a small carry on suitcase and a multipurpose tote for 2 weeks away in the Sun ☀️. That way I always return with everything worn 😊 … And my little secret to having the perfect resort wear is colour coordination (or mix and match as some call it). I’ve even been known to pack by a colour palette (I’ve packed Whites, Blues and Brights in the past – see “Brights” pics above).

For walks along the beach I will pack one activewear outfit (something I can easily hand wash and dry in my room each day) and a casual trainer (make sure you wear them in beforehand). Choosing a simple white pair can double up as a day shoe with dresses, as well as be your travelling shoe, so as to reduce the bulk in your suitcase. And chances are I’ll be barefoot on the sand anyway 😊

Reading by the pool will require a fab swimsuit, hat, sunglasses and sarong. I currently own two one piece and usually alternate each holiday. I have one in black/white and another in red. With these I have opted for a high neck but I love the idea of an off the shoulder with tummy control, like the one below. I have a great neutral packable wide brim hat that I wear whenever in the sun. It has a bendable rim, allowing it to be worn wide or curled like a cowboy hat. Very cool 😎 Glasses are also a must to shade the glare and again a neutral can work with anything. I particularly like these sunglasses from Vilo Australia, it is a small sustainable Australian Wooden Frame Sunglass Company who ditch the plastic, have a sunglass recycling and a give back program … OMG! I want all these 😆


And a simple carry on scarf can double up as a sarong (or is that the other way around).. not to mention, the Bec from Get Robed could also be worn out to the beach bar in the evening as it comes with robe ring and tie. And as it’s easy dry, could even be used as a towel. I do believe investing in such a piece that can be used as all of the above is definitely a worthwhile investment! Something else for my wish list!

Sleep ins, dinner’s out and holiday shopping are what fill the rest of my case except for sunscreen and minimal toiletries – I don’t wear much makeup when away, just mascara and a lip to cheek 💋. (It’s actually a great opportunity to give your skin a chance to breathe and even indulge it with some spa treatments!). I must say I do love to spend time lounging around on a beach facing balcony, reading, writing and sipping tea…so I always include a cotton dressing gown in my sleepwear. Just like this one on Etsy… and as it is a Kimono, it can be styled as a duster over loose pants and singlet too ☺️

And then we come to dresses, my favourite item to pack! But I always keep some space for a new one (or two) that I may pick up while I’m away. Nothing too formal, just breathable, airy and cool 😎. And I always include one WOW dress when I pack, for that extra special evening out! And I adore my pink kaftan below! It’s old season and a one size fits all (AU 8-14), but the brand is Miss June Paris and they are available worldwide💕. Here are a couple of inspirational ones available from some Ethical Australian Brands that ship worldwide:


In addition, I always take a pair of havianas (mine are a rose gold), a pair of open toe slides (in tan – keeping them neutral, they will work with everything) and a low espadrille heel sandal. And one clutch. And that’s all I really need for a week or two at a resort 😉 now I have my packing sorted, I just need somewhere to go 😂 but perhaps Cindy and Kim will be travelling soon? Why not find out, by pressing the links below…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Black and White 🖤🤍 …

Wow! I’m just so excited to be joining Jennifer from A Well Styled Life and Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design to talk all things style in Black and White this month. I’m a novice when it comes to style blogs, so be sure to read what they have to say after you’ve read mine 😉 not to mention, they certainly know a thing or two about style!

I must admit I jumped at the idea of collaborating with these two bloggers without even thinking about the topic… BLACK and WHITE … hmmmmm 🤔 Those of you that know me know I don’t do black! Which is surprising since we Melbournians are known for it being our uniform. When I say I don’t do black what I really mean is that I won’t buy it anymore. There is something about it’s cool tone and formal air that no longer appeals to me. I prefer warmer colours, because they appear more relaxed, which suits me and my lifestyle. However, I still have some stunning older pieces that I do wear on occasion, usually softening them by adding olive, tan or cream to the ensemble. Now 🤍 WHITE 🤍on the other hand, I will wear in all shades and it is one of my go to colours in Spring/ Summer, along with a little fake tan 😉 But black and white together… that’s something I haven’t styled up for ages… so here goes!

My secret weapon to feeling fab when wearing black and white is great hair and a bright lippy 😂 The hair I’m pretty happy with achieving myself, the perfect red lipstick is still a work in progress! But here are three different black and white outfits I do have and that I do wear, with fresh hair and a red lip 💋I think they all work on me and this is why:

Picture 1: polka dot dress- this outfit is softened by the use of a floaty chiffon fabric in a relaxed tiered style. In this fabric pattern, the white polka dot softens the block black and diffuses the contrast between the two. Being a small scale spot quietens the dress as do the loose sleeve and open collar. It’s not stiff and formal. And while the white trainers are probably the sharpest part, a current casual elegance is still achieved. Workwear ready!

Picture 2: wool jumper, cotton shirt and leather pants- while the colours sharply contrast, layering the black and white from top to toe, breaks the block colours. The scoop hemline, and the rolled neck add soft lines. And the cropped pant allows for a much needed pop of skin. Contrasting textures of the wool, cotton and leather, give it a natural edge, and even the espadrille sneaker with its row of sisal in the heel contributes. And wearing this as opposed to a boot, creates a smart yet relaxed chic ensemble. Definitely an everyday way to wear B&W!

Picture 3: pants, cape and snow leopard blouse- the solid black of the angular pants are broken by the curved hem of the cape. Tonal and in silk, this floaty blouse with its organic pattern diffuses the sharp triangular shapes of the wide leg pant and cape. Leaving the cape open, softens the outfit even more by exposing the design in the centre as well on the sleeves. While the open neck and long cuffs are still formal, it looks approachable not stiff, classic but chic. And boots not shoes add an edge! I’d only wear this to a formal event!

These outfits aren’t current and they range from 12 months to 7 years old. They’ve all been worn before… but if you do like them, here are some lovely alternatives, $$$, but gorgeous ☺️ ( I like to think of them as buy once buy well). 😉


If you’d like to see how these clothes move on me, watch this introduction to a video I have posted on my IGTV (the rest you can see on Instagram) :

Now be sure to pop on over to read what Jennifer and Cindy have to say on black and white :

A WELL STYLED LIFE

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

Sarah xx

A deliberate pivot …

Peponi Hotel, Lamu circa 1995 facing Shela Beach complete with Dhows 💙

I can’t believe that I’ve already published 12 posts on this blog (and on May 11 it will be 12 months since my first IGTV 😉) What started as a “feel good” narrative on my styling journey is now a lovely way to share my shop small, shop local, shop Australian business message to a wider audience. But what I’ve found doing both, is that as my style evolves, my message does too, and it’s time to reflect on what that was, is and will be…. 🙏🏻

You know I like to wear my clothes repeatedly (aiming for at least 30 wears a garment), I have many pieces that are very old, I buy new items for the long term (knowing I want to be wearing them for years to come) and when I do buy I look for quality fabrics and well cut garments in timeless styles. And while I’m hesitant to use the words “sustainable” and “ethical” about my style (I prefer mindful 😉) I can honestly say these words are now at the front of my mind and have been for a while. Last month I purchased a pair of jeans which (I thought) was neither, and although I love how they look and feel on me, I didn’t really like the way they made me feel when I bought them 🤔 So I decided to do some some research, and I discovered that the company I bought them from, is in fact a lot more caring about the planet than I thought. Their story respects human rights, sources responsibly, and addresses living wages in their offshore factories. In fact, they have so much information on their site about how they have and are making sustainable and ethical decisions that it got me feeling good about the purchase… which has me thinking that I should adopt this approach too!

So while reflecting about last months shares, I am thrilled to say I featured a sustainable and ethical brand. Frockk is a small Australian company, who design here but have their garments ethically made in the villages of Bali. They support a wonderful group of sewers, talented fabric printers and dyers who all work comfortably from their homes, not factories! Frockk sustainably source natural fibres, with a strong focus on linen (the ultimate sustainable fabric) and produce limited quantities, making their designs unique. Their colour palette is muted and their styles are ageless. All of which results in a beautiful product that you will wear for a lifetime. I was lucky enough to meet with the owner, Kathryn, in her small boutique and then share two skirts in my studio. Aren’t they lovely? 💚💚


Another wonderful brand I shared is Ali Lamu 💙. Although not Australian, they are distributed in Australia by Esplora. Ali Lamu is a hand and heart made company that recycles dhow sails into bags and paints them (truly sustainable) all by hand. Each item is bespoke, unique and ethically made in the village of Shela on the small island of Lamu off the Kenyan coast. So far, I have a pouch, a clutch and a tote, although I’m sure my collection will grow. I adore the handcrafted up-cycled element, not to mention the heartfelt message on each, plus, it’s where I honeymooned (see top photo.. not the best, but it was pre-digital 😂). So when I use these bags I am transported back to a beautiful place and time. Trust me when I say that these bags are just as magical as the location they are made (Shela Beach is by far, the most beautiful unspoiled beach I have ever been to). We are so lucky to have companies like Esplora who roam the planet to find such treasures and share them with us 🙏🏻


And these two sustainable and ethical brands are examples of what I would like to “deliberately”share from now on. Of course I will remain loyal to those small businesses that have supported me from the start, but I will be more inquisitive about their stock. So now, I find myself editing my shop small, shop local message from my intro to add these questions: Where are these clothes made?, by who? and are they paid fairly? And if the answer “feels” right with me, I may just purchase and share. It’s a deliberate pivot in my “feel good” direction 😉

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Spring Dresses

I’m super excited to be joining Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design and Kim from Northern California Style on this month’s SIGNATURE STYLE. These women are not only superior interior stylists (you should see their homes 😍), they also have an incredible sense of what looks good on them and what they like to wear. And while their personal styles differ to mine, I do find myself oohing and aahing over clothes they wear, looks they put together and their style suggestions 🙏🏻 So it’s such a treat to chat Spring dresses with them both….in my Autumn 🍂

To be honest, no matter the season, I could talk dresses all year long. They are, by far, my fave garment in my wardrobe. But not just any dress, I lean towards the long dress, not the formal ball gown but the casual looser kind. So much so, I got married (actually I eloped on a Kenyan beach) in a linen midi dress. I adore most styles of midis (where the hem hits at mid calf) or maxi’s (where the hem hits the ankles) these include kaftans, the shirt dress, the wrap dress, the strapless, the off the shoulder, the empire waist, and the kimono. They all have my attention and pride of place in my wardrobe. In fact, every time I’m out and about and walk past a shop window I can’t NOT look to see if there is a dress in it I fancy 😊. And while I really have no need for any more, I unapologetically will never promise that I won’t add to my collection. Why? Because they are my “go to”, they get worn most days and that is how we should shop… for what we wear most days 😉

Custom Made Linen “Wedding” Midi Dress circa 1995

My current Spring/Summer Dress Collection stands at 45 (including my wedding dress). Sounds like a lot, but I have been wearing (and hence) collecting them for a while. That’s the thing about maxis and midis, if you choose carefully, they become timeless (just look at my 1995 dress above). They transcend trends, are stayers in your wardrobe and get repeatedly worn. And gosh, I love that! But instead of showing you what I have (you can see that on Instagram), I thought I’d share what is currently on my radar for SS21. New brands and businesses that I am currently looking at and that ship worldwide! I haven’t bought from any of these (yet), but when I feel the need … I may 😉 and you may notice a colour theme 🤍

It’s no secret I love linen and I’ve admired Seaside Tones from afar for a while now. This highly successful global brand was established in Poland in 2015. The Australian arm Seaside Tones Australia followed in 2019 and their garments are available from local stockists. They offer high quality ethically made garments in natural fabrics (but mostly Baltic linen). Below are three dresses that have caught my eye…

A style I’m quite well known for wearing is the patterned maxi. I have so many! These I pick up on my travels as well from a couple of small local boutiques. However, as my style evolves, I find myself leaning now towards simplicity. A quieter look and feel in which the cut of the dress speaks volumes and not the print (this also increases the chances of a dress being timeless). Below is a dress from Indecisive the label. This brand caught my eye in 2020, and I now have myself drooling over them in 2021. Established in 2015 this brand is sustainable and their products are made in Australia 🙏🏻 again, the design epitomises casual chic. No styling needed… superb, isn’t it?


My obsession over the white Spring/Summer Dress isn’t new.. I filmed an IGTV about earlier this year (below is the intro), and if you have time you can pop on over to my Instagram and scroll down to February 4 to see the rest of my Collections episode on White Dresses… you may just notice that there isn’t a white linen 😉

I really hope this has you thinking about the Spring Dresses in your own wardrobe and really looking at the styles, colours and patterns you repeatedly wear. This may help you establish an idea of what you should be looking at adding and also what you need no more of. Doing this, will help you only purchase those dresses that will get worn repeatedly and be with you for years. Now why now pop on over to see what “Spring Dresses” Cindy and Kim love…

Cindy Hattersley Design

Northern California Style

My Top 5 Spring Picks from Down Under !

What a buzz it is to put the SLS spin on Spring Style Inspiration (in my antipodean Autumn), by joining stylish US bloggers (in order from the photos above 😉) : Eugenia (The Age of Grace), Mary Ann (Classic Casual Home), Kim (Northern California Style), Cindy (Cindy Hattersley Design), Rhoda (Southern Hospitality) and Annie (Most Lovely Things). And my spin is to introduce you to 5 small Aussie brands or businesses that I love, frequent and wear in Spring (and beyond as Melbourne has a temperate climate) and they all happen to ship worldwide!

And these are in no particular order of adoration 😉

1. Hut Clothing – the shirt

I’ve been wearing the Hut Clothing Linen Boyfriend Shirt for a few years now and am happy to say I have a few 😊 I am a size AU8 top (US 4/UK 8/EU36) and wear an XS or S. These are a must have in my Spring Wardrobe. The brand was created by the gorgeous Donna (and Marc) who have a lifetime of fashion industry experience and simply wanted to make quality, classic and casual styles for the Australian Woman! And they succeeded 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻. It’s no secret that I adore Linen (although the Boyfriend Shirt Style also comes in cotton) and the fabric in this shirt is super soft against the skin and incredibly easy to launder (as it’s been pre-washed to prevent shrinkage). The style has an oversized fit, is wide, loose and relaxed. It has chest pockets (great for hiding a bra), long sleeves with a button tab and a scooped hem. And it’s available is so many colours 😍 I style it in so many ways. Sometimes I’ll front full tuck, sometimes half front tuck, sometimes no tuck. Sometimes I knot it at the front. Sometimes I’ll roll and tab the sleeve, sometimes I’ll do what I call the “Linda Wright”, sometimes I’ll button it at my wrist. All of which you can find on my IGTV 😉


2. Kiitos Living By Design – the pant

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Maria’s Greek Linen or the beautiful Maria! Her lifestyle store and brand bring a joy to everyday living 🙏🏻 And so worth a visit to get you in the “Spring” frame of mind… You can see my fave Kiitos pants in Navy in the pic on the right above. It’s called the 620 Pant and I also have them in Army (below left) and Stripe (below right). Trust me when I say, once you own a pair, you will go back and buy more! They also come in black, white, beige, mustard and rust! Again, a stunning linen that is soft and so easy to launder. Again, RELAXED… (I think you are getting a pic of how I like to feel when I dress). They come in a size S/M (AU 6-14) M/L (AU 14-18) and L/XL (AU 18-20). I wear the S/M and am a AU10 bottom (US6/UK10). And because these pants are wide in design at the thigh and have a soft stretchy elastic waistband, you really can’t go wrong with sizing! Linen really is such an amazing fabric, especially as you age. It’s cool, absorbent in the heat, it’s sturdy, timeless and because it’s generally worn loose, extremely forgiving 🙏🏻 You can see me style these pants all over my IG account as they really are a staple in my wardrobe… …oooh and they are stylish… so much so, I’m currently considering adding them to my wardrobe in the beige 😉


3. DEED Bags – the tote

Hand made in Melbourne, these bags are bespoke! They are handmade with a big heart in the small home based studio of the super chic Emma 😍 Initially designed as a stylish alternative to replace single use shopping bags, they have grown to become so much more than this in my wardrobe! To me, they are the perfect tote! Available in a large range of fabrics (all of which is saved from landfill by being sourced from dead stock, off-cuts and end-of-runs), each design is unique and made in limited quantities, which makes some limited edition! What I love is that each is embellished with the DEED bag twist of the perfect ruffle, bow, pom or heart😍 in fact, you can contact Emma direct and have your own designed! In addition to the sustainable feel, with designer appeal, with each bag sold Emma donates $1 to the education charity Ardoch, of which she is a Literacy Ambassador 🙏🏻. There is a wide range of designs and I’m sure you will find the perfect Spring option in the DEED bags collection. From hearts to bespoke and everything in between, I have a few in my wardrobe (you can see the luxe in the pic, above left, which I take to the supermarket) and when I can, around the world because as PRETTY, PRACTICAL, KIND bags … they really are my “IT” bag ! But remember they are handmade..so the wait will be worth waiting for!


4. House of Nicholetta – the maxi

Spring is the time to start thinking about one or a few fabulous dresses! I adore the longer styles, the midi and the maxi. And in the warmer weather they are my “Signature Style” and my “go to” boutique for these is The House of Nicholetta. Nicholetta has a particularly good eye for finding printed boho inspired pieces. And I always seem to find one or two I love from them! One such brand is Miss June Paris. Designed in Paris and with registered designs, you will get a style that is unmistakably them. Usually in sheer fabrics and with slips, each dress also has a mini and blouse version in the same fabric. So if the longer style isn’t for you, there is always a wonderful alternative. Another stunning brand Nicholetta stocks is Greek Archaic Kori. And again, shorter and blouse versions are usually available in the same fabric design. I love the way this style makes me feel with the change in weather… chic, relaxed and ready to welcome the sun! And while both labels are only available from small local boutiques like House of Nicholetta (who ship everywhere), these brands are also available from others worldwide 😉

5. Talamaya – the everything

There isn’t anything I wouldn’t wear from this lifestyle label. Developed with an extensive fashion background on her resume, this yoga teacher has cleverly designed a brand steeped in wellness and sunshine 🙏🏻 and that is how it feels when it is on. I don’t want to accessorise it, I simply want to connect with the way it feels. As luxe loungewear, each garments composition prioritises organic and natural fibres. The styles can work alone or you can layer with other pieces in the collection to create trans-seasonality. Which makes it the perfect Spring addition to your wardrobe! Early spring may see you wearing an oversized Daily Catch Cardi over the Seascape Organic Breezy Pant and matching High Low Tee (LOOK 1) only to be replaced as the sun warms mid season with the Beach Break Poncho over the Seascapes Organic Flow Pant and Swing Singlet (LOOK 2). All have a relaxed fit and are incredibly soft against the skin. When I wear anything from this small Aussie Brand (that has an LA connection 😉) I just want to kick off my shoes, slow my pace and be one with the air, wind, sea, sun and sand. It takes me to where I am truly happy 😊


And on that note, why not find more Spring Style Inspiration by reading what these lovely ladies have to say:

Eugenia THE AGE OF GRACE

Mary Ann CLASSIC CASUAL HOME

Kim NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Cindy CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

Rhoda SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

Annie MOST LOVELY THINGS

SIGNATURE STYLE: Sneakers – a soft shoe worn for sports or casual occasions; a trainer.

I call them trainers, Cindy calls them sneakers. They really are the same thing. Trainers, sneakers, plimsolls, runners, joggers, kicks… and there are probably a few other names that refer to what Cindy Hattersley and I will be talking about this month in “Signature Style”.

This style of footwear has obviously been around for decades! But interestingly, it wasn’t until late 2017 that I finally got on board with the above pair of Stan Smiths (the first pair of Stan Smith trainers was launched the year before I was born, 1965). I’m not sure why it took me so long to wear a white trainer again, perhaps it’s because I wore them so much as a teen myself (anyone remember the Dunlop volley?) or that in the 80s women embraced them for the commute to work only (then popped on power heels once there) ? or even that my own teenage children were wearing the very same brand at the time 🤔. Whatever the reason, since putting this pair on my feet over 3 years ago, I’ve become a convert ! Initially because of the comfort factor, but more recently because my lifestyle has changed. It’s never been so relaxed and casual. And this is the perfect shoe option for just that, (As Balenciaga’s CEO Cedric Charbit said “sneakers…they blend nicely with the way we live” 😉), plus I do believe a pair of trainers/sneakers (you choose what you wish to call them) do make whatever we wear in midlife look and feel fresh. And that is certainly a good thing!

So what do I wear my trainers with? I’m definitely a dress girl and think nothing looks more modern than a maxi (or midi) with a clean crisp trainer. I also love them with my linen pants, with my jogger pants and jeans. I also wear them with skirts. In fact, I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t wear them with. Infact, I took my silver pair with me (in a small black bag) to a Wedding recently, where I took off my killer heels and donned them for dancing. So much easier and so much fun, not to mention a great idea!

In my own collection, I now have quite a few pairs. A mix of looks, from laces to loafers and beyond. Mostly white or off white, I find they work with so many outfits. I wear them most days, and in every season, alternating the colours and styles so I don’t feel like I’m wearing the same ones, which also happens to extend their life! I’ve bought from small and large businesses and a couple from below are still available. Click here and here to find those 😉

If you haven’t bought a pair yet, or are interested in a new pair, here’s what I look for:
1. I prefer leather, because I find it reasonably easy to keep clean (as opposed to canvas, which I learnt the hard way). I use a household product called Gumption to do this, although I have heard that the Magic Eraser does a great job too!
2. At 163cm (5 foot 4 inches) I like a flat form, which is a flat platform. I like the “bulk” of it, which gives me height and helps balance out my chunky calf. But if you have finer calves and are taller you may suit a lower pair.
3. I prefer mine unbranded, as I’m not a huge fan of large advertising logos on anything, so I steer clear of these. In fact, for the past 3 years I have lent towards simpler plainer styles, and for these I shop around.

But now I am comfortable with my base collection, I’m beginning to step out of my comfort zone and look for more fun additions. You might have spied the fur ones above 😉, these were a recent purchase. Called the Unisa Fulvia, I can’t seem to find them anywhere online… but here’s a video of my styling them in my wardrobe last month.

And if my budget would allow, I’d step further towards cool and choose these chunky wowsers 😮:

Trainers really are a wonderful shoe alternative any time of the year. Perfect now for Spring in the northern hemisphere and for Autumn here in the southern. They are extremely comfortable and so versatile, they go from day to night, from work to play. They are the “it”shoe of the moment and have certainly become a part of my Signature Style… but I do wonder what Cindy Hattersley thinks of them 🤔, press here to find out!

Sarah x

Hello Ladies, welcome to my Studio 😉

The SLS Collaboration Studio, featuring Since I found You

Hello ladies, welcome to my studio! A new concept I launched this month. And I am so grateful to one of my collaborator’s for planting the seed for its creation, my great girlfriend Jackie 😘 for loaning me the vintage mannequin (isn’t she gorgeous? I’ve named her Lady J😉), a little online shopping for my clothes rack and a pre-lockdown dash to source a trusty rug! That’s all I needed (and a spare room) to take my hobby-cum-side hustle to the next level – a small brand 😊 Well, that’s what I like to think I’m doing. Taking Sarah London Style with all its “feel good in midlife vibes” somewhere different, and I’m so excited about where that may be!

So who and what is the SLS brand? Well, it’s simply me 😊 and it’s what I stand for in my wardrobe, on my blog and my social media channels. I’m on all except Twitter 😉. And if you’re a long time reader of my blog, the following will reiterate what you already know. I am a 50 something woman who’s aim is to feel good. And my style has become a big part of that! Not the fancy super influencer kind, but the “I’m stepping out in something that has the shape, colour and style to make me feel good” kind. Everyday style for everyday women somewhere in midlife, all over the world. I LOVE SAYING THAT! It’s about finding what truly works for you, in your life right now! And I do this deliberately and mindfully, by shopping inside and outside my wardrobe. From within it, I share style tips, style ups, my personal collections, and the occasional purchase. All with the purpose to get you rethinking and reworking your own style, starting with pieces you already have in your wardrobe. I encourage the wearing of them, the accessorising of them, and the curating of them, so then, if a new item does make its way into your wardrobe, it suits you and your style! Which is why I created my “Studio” 😊 a fresh, minimal space to showcase pieces that I believe in! They are buy once and buy well. Garments and accessories that I would purchase myself, that I would wear all the time, have for many years, and that are all either from small, local or Australian brands and businesses. This is a my non-negotiable 😉 It’s been a really hard start to the millennium and one place that hurts are the small, local, family owned (I support mainly female) run businesses that sit online and on the local high street. While it is my aim to build a connection with them while showcasing their garments, I’m also creating awareness of an alternative place to shop, so that when you do mindfully add that stylish sparkly new thing, it can make a difference to the owner, who is usually a woman just like you or me. And that helps keep their dream alive, and your supporting me by watching, commenting and liking what I do keeps mine 😊 … now isn’t that the ultimate feel good?

And the showcasing began in my Studio in lockdown #3. Appropriate since SLS was launched in lockdown #1! First I presented a variety of clothes from the gorgeous online boutique Since I found You (my incredibly talented school friend Phillipa owns this) and then came another instalment from the House of Nicholetta (this time Greek dresses from the beautiful, generous and my first ever collaborator, Nicholetta ). I know what I do is primarily a business transaction, but it’s actually more than this. I really enjoy connecting with the owners of these small businesses to share their product. My aim is to showcase well made, reasonably priced garments that I would wear. I keep it informative yet personal, style the selected garments beautifully but casually, just as I would if they were mine. So if you can see yourselves in them too, you will choose to shop from these little businesses as well. It’s a win win 😊.


There are other Australian brands and businesses that (fingers crossed) you will see me showcase in my Studio. I’ve already shown you so much of them from within my wardrobe already, but I’d like to name them as their collaboration has got me to where I am already. They are Kiitos Living by Design (with the magnificent Maria at the helm of her gorgeous Greek linen brand), Deed Bags (owned by the super talented, and my fashionista bestie Emma), Talamaya (the zen Sheridan and her zen product that always make me feel so relaxed), Zia Lozen (whose gorgeous founder Zia trusted me in my early days), Hut Clothing (with the lovely Donna and her perfect linen shirt), Rebecca Thompson (the vivacious, iconic RT) and I Love That Necklace (with the impeccable Leisa and her chic clothes and accessories). Without them and their loan/gift of product, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done so far.

And of course, all this would not be possible if it wasn’t for you – the follower…but I simply can’t call you that 😩 You are so much more than this ladies, you are individuals, with your own style, who enjoy spending time looking in your own wardrobes (and others) to create that for yourselves! Just like me 😊 and like me, you want to feel good in midlife, and your style is a part of that. We are more similar than different. And for you, I am forever grateful 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: My Necklace Constitution…

I always look forward to collaborating on style with Cindy Hattersley Design and this month we are talking necklaces! One of our favourite things to wear… and collect 😉 we both love a statement, have had pieces for years and use them to define our signature style.

In my wardrobe, I wear three types of necklaces, the long dangly kind, a structured bib style and my signature jewels (heirloom pieces, that have been inherited). These are in a mix of materials such as wood, stone and metal, all neutral in tone and interestingly, I own very few in colour 🤔 The first falls from around the neck usually finishing with a pendant mid body, just above my bellybutton. While I adore this for it’s casual relaxed look, it also helps reshape my proportions. When worn on a dress, this not only draws attention to the smallest part of my frame (my waist), it also happens to elongate my legs by finishing just above my long waist. My bibs also aid in redefining my proportions. This necklace ties around the neck like a collar and tends to cover quite a significant area of my chest. Being big (on my frame), they help balance out my larger bottom half and because they are quite statement, draw the eye up to my smaller top half and away from my larger lower. Who’d have thought an accessory can have such an effect? But that’s not the reason why I wear them, I wear them because: 1) they are what I am attracted to, 2) they feel right on me …and (like my signature jewels- which do nothing to alter my proportions), 3) I love them 😊


When I wear which style can be determined by the weather. On warmer days I favour longer looser necklaces as my clothes are often less structured and suited to this style. I also don’t want anything too heavy around my neck, strangling me in the heat! On cooler days, it’s the opposite. A chunky bib necklace can make quite the statement over a crew or v neck. Because of this, all my necklaces get worn, I never tire of them, and they constantly change up my outfits. Last year, during lockdown, I started styling on IGTV and used all of them far too liberally! In fact, I admit, on occasion, for the sake of entertainment, I probably went a bit too far 😳. Wearing more than a few at a time, I experiment with the Iris “more is more and less is a bore” approach. But after taking a good hard look at where I want to take my style, it became quite obvious, that (on me) this bordered on costumery. And while I love the drama of this style on others, it isn’t really me. So, to counteract the overstyled look, I’ve come up with my own necklace constitution 😂 a few simple guidelines that I can follow to ensure my overall look appears more stylish:

  1. Consider the neckline of the clothing and choose a complimentary necklace shape/length. (I usually wear turtle, crew, and v necks, or small collars so this makes my three necklace types easy to wear).
  2. Pay attention to the pattern and print of the clothing. (If it is large in scale and busy- the focus will usually be on the clothes, so there is often no need for a necklace. If it is plain, it will probably benefit from a lovely one). THIS IS A RULE I CONSIDER BUT OFTEN BREAK ON A PRINTED MAXI DRESS.
  3. When making a statement with a bib necklace, it should sit by itself. (I rarely go for a matching set of necklace and earrings – so I will choose a smaller complimentary earring, allowing the necklace to shine).
  4. Whether it long or short, one is good, two necklaces are company, but three is usually a crowd (I have a small frame so this makes sense).
  5. Steer clear of chokers. (On my short neck they do just that- choke me).
  6. When adding a waist belt (other than self tie), consider a fine necklace or no neckpiece option. (On me, no necklace and larger earrings are a much better look)- note hip belts are a whole other story!
  7. Avoid matching. Coordinate instead. Mix your metals and materials to create an eclectic look. (This is my challenge, as I love a bit of matchy-matchy 😉).
  8. Be aware of your overall appearance, making sure that what’s on your wrist (watch and bangle/bracelet) and sunglasses don’t over style the look!
  9. Feel free to experiment and break the constitution rules as you see fit 😂

This is a great guide I found online for which style of necklace works with which neckline. It’s rather traditional, but if you choose accordingly and then follow points 2-9 above, I think it makes sense.

So how does this translate in my own wardrobe? A picture tells a thousand words.., so follow left to right…On a dress without a belt (or a self tied one) I will usually wear long beads or a bib (which means on a dress with a statement belt, I usually go without). I wear small collars or none, so this allows for a bib-collar necklace to be placed over the top, a long dangly necklace to fall down over the placket, or an inherited signature necklace to shine with an unbuttoned look. If I wear a V neck, I may fill the space with a similar shaped bib, or again, cover it entirely. If you’d like to see more ideas, please watch my latest IGTV on “Collections – the bib style necklace” 😊


But what about with jeans and pants? I go back to my guidelines. If the blouse I choose is tucked and there is no belt I may wear one or two. Like in the image below. If I had added a belt, I would have gone with my small signature jewel. Below right is a bib style necklace I picked up on EBay, worn with a tucked white tee, my fave linen pants and a second hand utility jacket (from my daughter’s wardrobe). If I wore the top untucked and loose over the pants, I’d probably wear a longer dangly necklace. You get the idea. And I do too! In fact, that is why these looks and the way I wear them have become a part of my signature style… 😉


Now, why not read about what necklaces Cindy likes to wear (and her signature style), by pressing here.

Sarah xx

Deliberate: done consciously and intentionally, careful and unhurried…

And this is my word of the year 🙏🏻 It succinctly describes how I will choose my wardrobe and it’s adventures this year. From what I wear each day, to what I style, to what and how I choose to purchase (and showcase) … all will be deliberate choices based on what I have, what I need and where I want this journey to go😉

With this is mind, I chose not to partake in any New Year Sales 😳 and chose instead to reexamine my wardrobe for what I needed. And this resulted in some deliberate purchases from two activewear brands. Both stores were local, but not small and only one Australian. Frustrating as that is, I simply can’t buy these clothes from online sites. I need to try before I buy!

Ideally, there is a long list of how I like my activewear wardrobe to look: a warm down puffer coat ✅, a puffer vest with detachable hood (needs to be replaced), 3 x long thicker leggings for Winter (I have one), 3 x 7/8 leggings for Spring/Autumn, 3 x 3/4 leggings for Summer, 3 long sleeve tees(got 2/3), 3 x singlets (still need 1), 3 pairs of socks✅ and 2 pairs of cross training shoes (need replacement). I rarely go out and purchase all at once, but it’s been a while so I did in fact, purchase three items, which I’m happy to report completes my need for 3/4 and 7/8 leggings. And these are my fave pair:

I’ve delved quite deeply into my style this month, focusing on what suits me and my lifestyle. This allows any purchases I make to be deliberate and intentional. There really is nothing worse than buying or styling just for the sake of it. That means nothing to you or me. And i’m all about leading a meaningful life 😉 So far i’ve looked at my linen skirts, denim jacket, trainers and my belts. These are items that are timeless, ageless and great pieces to collect. Hence the “Collections” series. They are items I will always look at picking up any time of the year if the right style, fit and colour comes along. Watch this space for some new trainers!

No longer in lockdown, I do find myself with a social commitment (or two) each week. They are usually casual affairs, but it has been nice to plan the outfits ahead of time with my “Good, Better, Best” series. This not only creates the look well in advance (taking any stress involved away) but also creates looks for future events. It allows me to consciously rotate what I wear and choose pieces that I haven’t worn that month, this upping the number of times an item gets worn. I’m still aiming for 30 wears a piece 😉 and am happy to say that since starting my Instagram page, I’m certainly getting there.

Focusing on style that suits my shape is one way of consciously shopping. This month I looked at face shape and earrings. Having a round face I have decided to let go of wearing a hoop and now wear more a drop or chandelier. I featured this on an IGTV, and can honestly say, when I look back at video of myself, I can see when it looks right or wrong.

I had a wonderful collaboration event with a small Australian linen label called Kiitos Living by Design. I was invited down to Barwon Heads to their main store to share my love of the product and how to style it. A new experience for me and something moving forward I am going to say yes to. It was wonderful to see a few followers pop in to say “hi” and to support this small local business.

Around the middle of the month, I launched an additional blogpost. Called SIGNATURE STYLE, it is a collaboration with a muse of mine 🙏🏻. Cindy Hattersley is an incredibly stylish and experienced blogger and I’m thrilled to be a part of her style world. This blog will be dedicated to the style in our wardrobe. This month it was “How I found my Signature Style”… you will have to wait until mid month to find out what February’s feature will be 😉

I’ve also started to focus on tweaking my style moving forward. While I will always wear a collected look, I’m currently playing with the idea of parring it down, wearing a more casual ensemble, adding less volume, focusing on coordination as opposed to matching, styling tonally, and fingers crossed 🤞🏻 the finished result is beautiful and unhurried. I’m looking in a more refined direction. This may mean I’m in my wardrobe less, but please be reassured I’m here behind the scenes, deliberately creating 😉.

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: My Style Philosophy…

Welcome to a first for me, a monthly collaborative blog on style with the collected look herself, Cindy Hattersley. Cindy kindly featured me in her “Ageless Style” Blog last year, in which she asked me some revealing questions that will give you a little background into me and my style. So, if you missed that post, and before I dive deeper into this months topic, “how I found my style”, it may be a good idea to read this 😉

Style. That is always my focus. Why? Because style is the manner or way I dress and that never fades as opposed to the latest fashion. My style has evolved over time, and while I’m always experimenting, I like to think it falls somewhere within the classic realm, but with a bohemian, artsy (and always feminine) twist, so I call it eclectic. I invest in pieces I love, with colours and shapes that suit me, pieces that will complement my existing wardrobe, that I will wear for years and that ultimately make me feel (and look) good. And then, I add my style twist (usually with an accessory) to wear them my way.

I’ve always had Muses and #1 is my Mum. An incredibly stylish lady, who, when I was young was given the title Princess Grace (by my Grandma, her Mother-in-law). And it stuck. Not because she looks like Grace Kelly or is styled like her, but because she dresses beautifully and carries herself gracefully. No matter what she wears, be it a home made kaftan and beads (she’s a talented seamstress and avid jewellery maker – as am I) or a safari suit from the thrift shop (she introduced me to this joy), she always looks great! So much so, that as a teen in the 80s, my friends and I would raid her wardrobe and wear it 😂. Although her style mellows as she ages, it continues to evolve and she recently announced that on her 80th Birthday, she would be “unleashing her inner flapper girl”. I hope I’m as adventurous!

Having my Mum and various artists as muses, I spent my teens and twenties experimenting with various looks, usually copying some celebrity outfit for outfit (big mistake but thank you sewing skills). But boy have there been fashion faux pas along the way, just ask my friends 😂 And then in 2001, the iconic makeover show What Not to Wear introduced me to Trinny & Susannah. Two stylists with extremely good taste! And I can honestly thank them for opening my eyes to dressing for my body shape and wearing colours that suit me. This was the pivotal moment when I took charge and started owning my own style. Knowing my shape (I’m a pear…like my Mum 😊) was a game changer is establishing the signature pieces in my wardrobe that have become my style. Maxi Dresses is colours and prints, preferably A-line to skim over my proportionally short legs and larger hips and thighs. Wide or flared legged jeans, to skim or balance out my saddlebag. Statement neckpieces to draw attention to the smaller top half of my body. The belt, to cinch me in and show off my best asset – my waist. And the wedge, chunky heel or long boot to balance out or cover my fleshy calf (although these days I tend to opt for a flat form trainer as it achieves the same effect). And colours that suit my skin tone (I’m a warm) think Autumn… And while I sometimes stray (more mistakes 🙄), knowing all this has enabled me to create a wardrobe I love and wear everyday. These are my staples, they suit me, make me look good and subsequently feel good. That is my ultimate aim with my style. To feel good, as my bio says.. when you feel good everything else just falls into place. But my secret to personalising this style is to add your own twist to these staples…

And that is done with an Accessory. They are the key to styling a garment in my wardrobe my way. And I have more than a few. I collect them on travels, handmake some, pick them up at markets and second hand. I love them all. Scarves, Necklaces, Belts, Earrings, Bags, Brooches, Bangles. And while I wear them constantly, what I love most about them is the story behind when and where I got them, which transports me to a lovely memory when I wear them. I still have a wooden bangle from my Kenyan childhood, bracelets from my teenage travels, necklaces from my honeymoon, and clip on earrings from the 90s! All still worn (well, maybe not the clip ons). But my most loved accessories are my simplest. I call them my “signature jewels”, a few gifted and inherited pieces, collected over the last 30 plus years from my family and friends. When I wear them, I always have a sentimental moment and that makes me love them all the more. Which, if you read the article above and follow me on INSTAGRAM at sarahlondonstyle, you will know is the key element of how I wear what I have. I called it styling mindfully. And it’s definitely “feels good”!


But more recently I’ve taken my style inspiration from my lifestyle. Perhaps that’s a sign of my age (I’m 55 this year) and the times we live in. I no longer work full time (no need for smarter attire or heels), I exercise more (stylish activewear is a daily must have), I prefer a lunch over a dinner (a dress and flat shoes preferable) and a beach holiday to a sight seeing one (lucky I live on the coast, as I’m not going very far in the near future). So the detailed eclectic style I often wear is currently being pared down. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to fade away 😂, I love my style too much! I will still wear my floaty maxis, but with flats not wedge heels. I’m leaning towards colour and tone rather than pattern and print. I love a statement belt, but the detailed ones stay in the drawer and I choose something simpler. My neck pieces are worn on occasion, and I now reach for one necklace, not two. And I’m now more mindful than ever about what comes in and what goes out of my wardrobe. I no longer feel the need to over consume, am more than happy to wear what I have on repeat, and when I do purchase, am more aware of how it will complement what I already have. And I now deliberately seek well made garments in natural fibres from small, local Australian boutiques and brands.


And that is how I found my Sarah London Style, although I’m quite mindful that it may be that is how my style found me. I believe our style is the product of what we love and how that makes us feel. Everyone has their own. It’s unique. Sometimes it just takes time to identify and implement it. And if you haven’t found yours yet, but are interested, go back to the “Ageless Style” link at the top and start by deeply thinking about and answering the questions Cindy asked me 🙏🏻

Now, why not take a look at Cindy’s Signature Style?

Looking for a Silver Lining… (excuse the fabric pun)

And just like that 2020 is over. It was supposed to be my year of “ease and flow”. Words I chose back in 2019 of how I would like my year to be. And while it’s been far from the “ease and flow” year I expected, it’s ironic that during a pandemic, using these words to slow down, go within, breathe, accept and think has somehow organically created what it is that I really love to do…

If I could spend all my days surrounded by beautiful designs from small, local Australian brands and businesses (not to forget preloved 😉) and share them by filming a styling session in my wardrobe I would. I simply adore doing it. It’s no secret I love clothes. I always have, just ask any of my nearest and dearest. But what i’m really enjoying as I age, is being more mindful about the pieces I’ll allow into my wardrobe. They must suit me, work with pieces I already have, be well made, and of quality fabrics. If I can find out a little bit about the business or brand behind the item, even better. Ultimately what I’m after is a connection to each and every garment. Because this elevates shopping and wearing clothes to much more than just that. It gives it meaning and purpose. Which in turn, makes me feel good. And isn’t that what we all want? …

While I’ve collaborated with a few designers this year. The most recent collaboration with http://www.talamaya.com resonated with me. This brand is the brainchild of a beautiful soul who started her own label because she couldn’t find what she wanted in the industry she worked in. It’s fabrics are of exquisite quality, natural organic cottons and the softest yarns, it’s designs are casually chic, as well as comfortable and draping in all the right places. It’s become my lifestyle brand and since I’m most comfortable barefoot and makeup free, I feel so at home wearing it.

Talamaya Seascape Organic Cotton Breezy Dress in Salt

And home for me is the beach. I was born and raised by the ocean and am my happiest here. So a six day pre- Christmas break on the surf coast was the perfect December lifestyle choice. If you follow Sarah London Lifestyle, you’ll know my favourite way to start my day is with a walk along the sand, and with superb weather, I enjoyed these each morning, followed by days reading on the sand and afternoon siestas before dining at Lorne’s finest restaurants. This is my idea of the perfect holiday. And I feel so lucky to have such destinations at my doorstep. Plus, it meant I got to #shopsmall #shoplocal and #shopaustralian 🙏🏻

Being at the beach enabled me to discover two regional businesses who supported me during lockdown. http://www.deluxelorne.com is a small local business in Lorne that helped me source a mask for a piece of clothing during Stage 4 restrictions. The owner, really went above and beyond by messaging me when an extra one came her way after it was sold out. I wanted to say thank you by showing her little store to the world in my series Boutique Discoveries. Another store I featured in the series was http://www.kiitos.com.au This is a store I have been meaning to visit since I first bought their Greek linen elsewhere. Maria, the owner and designer, really has been one of the kindest, most generous business owners I have had the privilege of working with. So when I rocked up on the spur of the moment to her gorgeous Barwon Heads store, it was no surprise that she welcomed me with open arms, a hug, and a warehouse where I could film up whatever I wanted to. And this was when I had the epiphany that this was really what I wanted to do. I was surrounded with beautiful garments from a small, local, Australian business, and I had the opportunity to share them with the rest of Australia and the world. I was in my element..

Kiitos Mia Top in Stripe, Talamaya Organic Breezy Pants in Deep Blue, Django & Juliette Sina Trainers in White

Shopping small, local, prelove and Australian is what I’m really about. This message is what keeps me on my SarahLondonStyle IG page. It feels grounded, authentic and true. (It didn’t start off this way, but soon pivoted when I began to question my pages purpose.) And that purpose was to make what I do in my wardrobe feel better. I started to call myself the MINDFUL stylist. Encouraging wearing clothes at least 30 times each, talking about fashion repeats, buying once and well, and creating meaning in what we wear. All with the intention of wearing what we already have. And by promoting small, local, preloved Australian businesses mindfully suggesting that any further purchasing be from shops like them. And now, as a new year dawns, I find this page becoming my own little side hustle 😊 and with it the offers to advertise product grow. So it’s a good feeling, to know that anything I choose to showcase will be mindfully selected. They need to fall under the “small, local, preloved or Australian” umbrella. And they must be something I would buy and wear! Or I simply won’t do it! Why? Because this is what keeps me authentic, brings me joy and gives my page the meaning and purpose I need for spending so much time on it and in my wardrobe … now what will my word for 2021 be? 🙏🏻

Wishing you all the very best for 2021.

Sarah xx

Write your own story…

… and trust the universe to deliver it 🙏🏻 My transition from lockdown to my new normal has gone surprisingly well. Actually, I’m not surprised, because if you’re like me, you ask or write the story of how you would like things to be….. and I always like thing’s to unfold organically in the right direction, and at the right pace, which is how this month has been. No hurrying, no feeling pulled apart, just ease and flow, all in the direction of feeling great (and I managed to play more in my wardrobe than I thought).😊

Peacock Bloom Wrap Dress by Zia Lozen

My love of discovering and promoting brands that align with my philosophy of shop small, shop local and being mindful about both continues and this month I was incredibly blessed with collaboration opportunities. Zia Lozen http://www.zialozen.com.au is a luxe brand I featured over 3 days in my Boutique Discoveries series. Zia’s clothing is designed and made with a sustainable focus, here in Melbourne. Her colour palette is exquisite, her prints fresh and feminine and the silk fabric she uses feels fabulous. All this culminates in a luxurious label feel without a hefty price tag. Hers are clothes worth investing in as they are timeless and will be worn again and again in my wardrobe over many years. They actually fall under the mantra “buy once, buy well”, one I’ve adopted from HRH Prince Charles. To me, this means asking myself before I buy anything, will I have this in my wardrobe in 5, 10, 20 years? Will it wear well? Wash well? Outlast a trend? If the answer is yes, chances are you will only need to buy it once for a very long time. This is true Of Zia Lozen. It is true too of Australian linen label Hut Clothing http://www.hutclothing.com . I became a supporter of Hut, before they started supporting me. The cut of their Boyfriend Shirt defines casual chic, and that its organic linen is pre-washed to avoid shrinkage, that it softens with wear and somehow still manages to look so darn cool every time it’s on makes it the perfect “buy once, buy well” piece, …. although it’s available in so many lovely colours, you may want to buy a few.

And not all purchases have to be new. I’ve showcased designer recycle boutiques, second hand sites and op shops this month. Shopping this way is a genuine love of mine, and has been for the last 40 years. So it’s only natural to encourage others to consider joining in the fun. There are such treasures to be found in pre-love shopping, and it’s a sure way of finding something you genuinely adore without the marketing hype telling you what you should like..

Pre-loved brooches 💕

“Buy once, buy well” …as I was repeating this in my mind, out came “live once, live well”… and my mind has taken me back to lifestyle, the very reason I started this page nearly 4 years ago, and to my very first Sarah London Style Instagram post ever:

And so, after very little thought … and because it’s ultimately what makes me feel so good, I’ve decided to launch an Instagram page called Sarah London Lifestyle. Dedicated to everything (other than styling clothes 😉) that does in fact make this 50 something woman feel great in her life, it’s really just a scrapbook of pics and motivation for me, no IGTV, just feel good snaps … but follow along if it’s your thing…

It’s really when I’m my happiest.. no makeup, no style, just exercise and sea air 💙

At the beginning of every year I write a list of things I’d like to achieve during it. And while 2020 has lead to many items on it being transferred to 2021, an important one has recently been ticked off. Number 5 read “to work 3 days a week”. While I work 2, my magic work number is 3. I know this because anymore and life becomes chaotic, and I am in fact pulled in different directions and any less, I’m looking for ways to fill the day. So what a wonderful surprise it was when Nicholetta from The House of Nicholetta asked me if I’d be interested in working a day a week for her in her boutique. And I’ve got my little styling page to thank for it… isn’t that wonderful? All this styling during lockdown (making good use of my time when I couldn’t work) ended up with me being offered a casual position for the day a week I was after. So don’t be afraid to write down what you want in life (and as we are nearing the end of the year, it’s perfect timing to consider new beginnings) and then trust the universe to deliver it…. I’ve already written the story of what I’d like December to bring 😉

In the doorway of The House of Nicholetta wearing Anannasa Taj Dress

(btw… a few other biggies on my list were manifested too)

Sarah X 🙏🏻

A little bit about what lead me here…

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Hello Ladies and welcome to my blog. I’m more a natural talker than writer, so please forgive any grammatical errors that I’m bound to make… I’m just hoping you find the message in this more important than how it’s being written. And what is that message ? Well, ladies, it’s all about how I made the change to start feeling really really good. With myself, my life, and my everyday… despite outside circumstances…. and it all started a few months before my 50th Birthday nearly 4 years ago.
I like to think I’ve always been reasonably upbeat, but turning 50 is a milestone and while the thought of it wasn’t particularly daunting to me, all I seemed to hear was “oh my god, you’re turning 50… how do you feel?” implying that I was old, and that I had already experienced the best years of my life….both the opposite of upbeat and feeling good. And it really got me thinking… how do I feel? Certainly grateful that I was here (one of my favourite quotes is “ old age is a privilege denied to many”)… but what I wanted to feel was better than just grateful, I wanted to feel good! 

Being aware of this was my starting point, and having Oprah as an integral part of my 30s and 40s, I began rereading many of the books from guests she’d had on the show. Cheryl Richardson, Ilanya Vanzent, Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra … you name them, I got my hands on their books. But one book that wasn’t new to me and a book I had always kept on my nightstand…. was Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance” .. this is a life changing book about gratitude and before children was something I lived by (but like many women who have young kids, you get so busy with their lives that you neglect your own) so it sat there for many years untouched…until I was 50 and I was lead to it once again and this time I made a change. Instead of writing down things I was grateful for each day, I started posting a pic about what I was grateful for, what I loved about my day, or what caught my eye onto a public Instagram page. Three and a half years later, I still think of the page as a scrap book of moments I love in my day….. and it’s why I’m beginning this blog.. to share more.. more of what I love, because sharing makes me feel good 😊