SIGNATURE STYLE : Re think your closet clear-out routine 😉

Welcome to SIGNATURE STYLE, the monthly blog I write with Cindy and Kim. Both ladies have super blogger status in my eyes 🤩, so be sure to catch their spin on “closet clear out” by clicking on the links at the end. And if you think you’d like to comment on this one, simply press the title of it now and that option will appear at the bottom of the post. Let’s get started…


Long time followers will know that over the last 12 months I have done a huge closet overhaul, feel free to scroll back on all the posts I’ve written during this time as they all refer in some way to it. But in my last SAVVY STYLE blog I went through in detail how I CURATED MY CLOSET, you may want to read that here. But what I’d like to revisit in more detail is the 2nd Step, that I call ALTER or PURGE, because I am very much into making the most of what I already have before I think about saying goodbye to it. We all know what a disaster our consuming has caused with regards to landfill. You only have to look at your weekly garbage collection to see this. And if you think clearing out your closet is much different, think again. We have to be very mindful of how we dispose of what we no longer wear as i’d hate to be responsible for contributing to one of the mass piles of unwanted garments we see on the news. Especially if it’s shipped offshore for someone else to deal with! So what I’d like to talk about is what I’ve (and others) have done to inspire you to extend the life of items you may think have past their use by date. And all it requires is a bit of your time and some imagination to ALTER or what I’m beginning to call UPCYCLE !!

UPCYCLING is a form of recycling where instead of turning waste into new materials, you can take a product that you would otherwise throw or give away and give it a new use in life (or as I like to think, a new lease of life). Rather than recycle using a recycling bin, you can use your creativity to update and renew old items. Time and Imagination ✅ and here are a few examples to inspire you to UPCYCLE items from your wardrobe:

DYE YOUR CLOTHES

You all know I’m a huge fan of this. So I’m going to mention it again (and again and again 😂) ! I’ve tried to remember the first garment I ever dyed. And it was actually in my teens. Albeit, the dye came in the form of bleach, and back then I acid washed an old pair of jeans instead of purchasing new ones with the same effect ! And then of course, I got on the the tie-dye wagon. This was in a trough or bucket. I even dyed old sheets and then cut and sewed garments out of them (with Mum’s help). And then in my 20s I had professional laundries dye items for me. These days I’m back to DIY and am an avid user of the DYLON front loader pods after seeing Ciara AKA @the_style_counsellor do it (more from her later 😉). So far I’ve dyed Eight cotton or linen garments and it’s been relatively easy, and I like to think these UPCYCLED results speak for themselves:


ALTER YOUR CLOTHES

This is a no brainer! We have all had items taken in, let out, taken up or let down. I’ve even known people to have had extra fabric inserted under the arm of blouses and jackets to give them extra room. What I’m a fan of though, is taking garments and adapting them to make them look more current or make you wear them. I mean, how many garments do you own that simply don’t get enough wear time? For me, it’s like that with Jeans… so I recently had a few pairs cropped (instead of tossing and buying new) to follow this trend. And in AW, they have the added bonus of showing off your boot. You can see this from the pics below. I have also had long cardigan coats (coatigans) made into gilets, and I’m thinking about doing it to the checked one in the first picture below for next AW here, as t believe they are currently trending in the Northern Hemisphere 😉 I also have a shorter utility jacket I’d like to upcycle into a vest. And a faux fur coat! Oh the possibilities! And you can also have necklines changed, in the second pic from the left, this dress once had a pussy bow, which I removed to convert to the belt you see. And don’t forget about changing buttons. That can make a huge difference. So many ideas, all you need is a bit of time and some imagination. And perhaps finding the perfect seamstress to help you out. I’ve been using the same one for over 10 years, and now Oksana always gives me a nice little discount on every alteration 🙏🏻.


VEST out of a JUMPER

I’ve never done this, but KB aka the_notorious_thrifter on Instagram posted this idea. And the best thing is that there is little skill and no dressmaker fees involved.


BLOUSE out of a DRESS

And if you caught my most recent SECONDHAND STYLE a blog, you will see I did just that.

PAINT YOUR SHOES

This is something I haven’t done since my 40s 😳… perhaps it’s time for it again. I recently saw Ciara aka the_style-counsellor dyeing a pair. She used this shoe dye and they came up so well! I am so tempted to experiment with a black leather/rope heel pair I have and never wear. I mean… what have I got to lose?

The product used was this:

And you can also cut off straps to make your shoes into slides, and yes, these are mine!


ADD FUR TO A MULE

I did this! And while a true GUCCI aficionado would be able to tell the difference, they are a bit of fun…when it doesn’t rain 😉


MAKE JEWELLERY out of JEWELLERY

Perfect for the costume kind! Although I did actually have a solid gold necklace (gift from an ex boyfriend) melted and made into a solid bangle when we broke up 😂. I do have quite good jewellery tools, so it’s easier for me to convert pieces. But there is nothing stopping you buying some if it interests you, it’s so fun 😉. And the beads/chains you have that you don’t wear will be the perfect pace to start experimenting with. My daughter was throwing out some old cheap necklaces she didn’t wear, so I simply joined a few, added some charms from others, et voila. And sometimes removing a few baubles is the way to wearing a necklace! I did that to get on board with the chunky chain trend.


I’m currently awaiting on some Irish linen ribbon to arrive, so I can make another necklace out of an existing one…follow me on Insta to see that happen 😉 I found the ribbon on Etsy.


ADD A BAG STRAP

I once used a belt to convert a pouch into a crossbody:

And added a vintage crochet to a clutch:


So many ideas! And if you have any additional, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. And of course, alterations don’t all have to be done at once. So let’s talk timing.. you can take as long or as short a time in doing this. It’s up to you! I started at the beginning of the year in January, as it’s when the mood took me. But from now on, I’m going to retake a look at my wardrobe at the beginning of Spring, which is now for me, and at the beginning of Autumn. That way, I can look back at the previous season (AW for me) to see what didn’t get worn, ask myself why and perhaps put it in my UPCYCLING basket (or at least make a note), so that when that season (AW) comes around again, I can visit the garment and change it up so it gets worn or dispose of it mindfully. For example, I am currently putting 3 AW coat/cardigan/jacket in it and am about to take out a lovely long white cotton cardigan I placed there last March, that I will now dye for SS 😉

And if UPCYCLING doesn’t appeal to you and you do want to PURGE instead, why not look to companies like UPPAREL who guarantee your donations don’t go to landfill here or overseas. And if you don’t have the funds to purchase this recycling option, they always have sponsored businesses who can help you by taking your unwanted items. Simply give them a follow on Instagram and they always share who they are. Alternatively, you can of course just sell what you decide you no longer have a need for, or even better, give them to someone who you know will wear them. I just happen to find joy in having the “purge” pile sit in a basket until inspiration comes, because I genuinely believe you really can create some great new items from what you have with a little time and imagination.

Sarah xx

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

SECOND HAND STYLE: The joy in finding a new colour and how best to wear it 💕


Welcome to another blog post on Secondhand Style. If you’re new, thank you for making the time to be here, if not, welcome back. And if you do think you’d like to comment, simply press the title of this blog now and it will redirect you to the same page with commenting options at the end.

In my last SAVVY STYLE blog, I covered the joy of curating my closet, and in doing so, I discussed colour. And one thing I’ve found, is that when you do know what colours you prefer on you, it makes it so much easier to add to your wardrobe sustainably. And for most of this year, I have stuck to a few familiar ones and built up an incredibly versatile wardrobe doing so. But what I have started to do, is seek secondhand a colour that is relatively new to me. And today I’ll show you what I’ve found in it so far and how I’ve styled and even upstyled it to work with my wardrobe. 😉

And that “new colour” for me, is a Pink! In particular, a shade I would call a dusty rose. What would you call it ? I’m referring to the first one in the line up above. I only became aware that it suited me after I had my colours analysed last year, and since then I always keep my eyes open on secondhand sites and in stores for it. That’s just one of the great things about shopping secondhand, all colours are available! (As opposed to what’s trending in retail) Brilliant! This pink is from my Muted Autumn palette. I primarily wear a Muted or Warm Autumn, but tend to stick with the safe browns and greens I know, so I really am stepping out of my comfort zone with this one… and it’s been a learning experience as I’m about to show you.

Some of you may remember that earlier this year, I found this Catherine Murphy dress secondhand. I wrote about it and some other 2022 treasures here. It is what started me off on this particular colour tangent and since then I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the same/similar shade in a style that suits.


So when I saw the dress below at my local Red Cross Op shop NWT for $25 I thought I’d found it and snapped it up.


Only to discover, that without a small print on it, I feel the block colour overbearing 😳. It wears me! And with this sheen, even more !! Needless to say, I was a bit surprised and disappointed. And since I have, over the last year, carefully curated every item in my closet to suit me, I am very aware that I only want to hold onto garments and accessories I am absolutely in love with on me. So after a bit of thought, I brought out an old pair of pants (and some scissors) and thought, because the dress has such a fabulous collar and cuff detail, would it make the perfect blouse for them? It would certainly break the vast block of “pink” in half and add some interest with the pattern of the pants to the outfit.


Et voilà…. what do you think? I think it’s really smart! And so much nicer on me.


The joy in finding a new colour and how best to wear it 🙏🏻.

And why do I pay so much attention to a detail like this ? Other than to look good in it 😂 …because ultimately my aim with anything I buy to wear is to feel good, in fact so good that I keep wearing and rewearing it, making my sustainable SECONDHAND STYLE even more sustainable 😉

Sarah xx

BTW… watch out for Jane @thesmallfabricofmylife and I next month on Instagram as we’ve signed up for SECONDHAND SEPTEMBER!

SIGNATURE STYLE: Linen Love 💕

Welcome to SIGNATURE STYLE’s August blog! I’m so glad you found your way here 🙏🏻 Sorry it’s a bit late, I’ve had technical issues 😬 and before you continue, please press on the blog title NOW if you think you’d like to comment, and that option will appear at the end 😉 And please be sure to read what my blogging buddies Cindy and Kim have to say afterwards.

I spy all linen 😉


Linen and me go way back. Not the thousands of years it’s been around, but most definitely back to the 1980s. First it was the linen suit 🤍 I had them in skirts/jackets and pants/jackets and in a myriad of colours. You think it, I wore it… hot pink, elephant grey, embellished racing car red to name a few. Then it was dresses and then in 1995 when we decided to elope, you guessed it… I married in a hand selected cream linen, made into a dress by my seamstress and my husband just happened to wear all linen too (Country Road by memory) 😊 and then when I had my daughters, I remember covering my belly before and after with his big boxy linen shirts! And my love of it continues on to this day. I just wish I had photos of all my linen looks over the decades because, (with the exception of my wedding dress and one Emanuel Ungaro cream linen pantsuit), they are distant memories. But fond ones (as I’m sure you can tell) which is why it’s so lovely writing this post 🙏🏻 But the more I reminisce, the more it becomes apparent that the very looks I’ve described could actually appear current. And I think that’s because the simplicity of linen and the styles it attracts are incredibly timeless. Not to mention extremely chic. So what better way could there be for me (and you) to dress moving forward ? Let’s take a look together…

Embracing the looser, more relaxed version of the fabric, Bisque Traders sells an array of upmarket European sourced garments that have me wanting to uproot and move to where I can wear them and no shoes all year around 😍 which, if that is where you live, I’m a tad envious 😂 don’t you just love the frayed details of this Italian made linen shirt dress? It is currently waitlisted only… so tempted … going to put it on my wishlist and wait 😉


And another very cool, open weave brand is Estilo Emporio. Italian linen, made there, but run by a family based business in Sydney. How lovely is this Frangia jacket? My only dilemma wearing it with the dress above, would be should I wear it open or tie 😉


But if you prefer something loose with a tighter weave, I can’t recommend the Greek Linen Tulip dress by Kiitos enough. I have had mine in the Stripe for 3 years and have found it washes and wears so well. The great thing is it comes in so many colours, you are bound to find one that suits.


And this is me in mine. I actually dyed it to a Teal using half a Dylon Emerald Green Front loader Pod last Summer. So if you have 100% linen (or cotton), keep it in mind, as you could updated yours that way too.

In fact, I am so thrilled with all the linen I own, it really is a wardrobe staple in my closet. Here are some of my pieces :


But if there’s one garment that currently eludes me, it’s the linen blazer jacket. I really would like one in natural to go over all the garments above. I recently saw the two below on Etsy…which has me thinking 🤔 I adore the colours and styles, but as I know from experience that there is such a variation in the quality of linen, should it be something I always try before I buy, especially if I plan on keeping it as long as I do 🤔 🤔


The other way to keeping linen looking timeless, is to look after your garments. I wash all mine with an eco friendly detergent on a gentle cycle in cold water. And often inside out. And I never use anything with a whitening agent in it as that only fades them. And no softeners as this coats the fabric affecting it’s breathability. And they get lined dried. Tumble dryers may shrink, fade and create a fuzzy film on the outer. I press when damp. That way it’s easier to iron out the creases, and on the reverse, so it doesn’t flatten the yarn which can create a sheen. All just common sense really. But that way, they stay soft, in fact, linen softens with every wash. Which is why I rarely dry clean (although those with structure may require it).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little blog, again, apologies for it’s tardiness. Let’s go see what Cindy and Kim have to say…If you haven’t already 😉

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

Sarah xx

SAVVY STYLE: Curate your closet to love what you wear everyday 😉


I know I’ve been promising you this blog for a while and here it finally is, although, it is the abridged version, as I’m sure there’s a book in it 😂 But before I launch into it, if you’d like to comment, please press on the title now and it will open with a commenting section at the end.

Back in January, I introduced the idea of SAVVY STYLE with this blog. I like to think of it as a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to capture and create a feel good wabi- sabi 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”. And in it are 5 pillars (that have morphed into) : WEARING SHOPPING THINKING AGEING LIVING. And “curating your closet” is an idea that came to me from THINKING about the WEARING and SHOPPING blogs as well as the one I wrote on RELOVE. (In fact, come to think of it, most of the blogs I’ve written have had some influence 🤔) and it’s beginning to feel like the purpose of my little hobby blog (other than to leave something for my daughters to read as they age) is to creatively curate a closet in which after 55 years, I always have fun and feel good in 🙏🏻

And what makes me feel so passionate about sharing all of this, is that it if this hobby stylist can do it, anyone can ! It will literally transform what you wear, how you shop and more importantly how you feel about yourself in doing both! And it’s practical, enjoyable and achievable in which I didn’t spend much at all! In fact my “spending” is what got me into a mess to start with. The sheer accumulation of mindless pandemic “add to cart” moments and exciting acceptance of “influencing gifts” over the last two years (that were ironically bought/accepted to ”make me feel good”) were what actually had me falling to the ground last October and thinking STOP…I have so much stuff!!! So much so, that it was confusing my style and generally overwhelming me with what I “should wear” VS “love to wear”. So I simply, took a deep breath and decided to take back the control of my wardrobe and own my spending/accepting habits by SAYING NO to both for a while to concentrate on what I love to wear and rewear. And since then, I have, “curated my closet ” and created the wardrobe of my dreams, in which I always have something I love to wear! And this is pretty much all about how I did that in a blogpost….

INVEST IN LEARNING WHAT COLOURS SUIT YOU !

I can not reiterate this enough! Most of us have some idea of the colours that look good on us through the way we feel in them and compliments received from others. I’ve always loved and bought the colour olive/khaki for that reason. (So please be sure to let others know when you see them wearing their best 😉). But it wasn’t until I started thinking how I wanted to feel good in every colour that I wore that I got stuck. So when Victoria Nelson, an image consultant (also known on IG as stylepixie_consulting) offered to colour analyse me last year I jumped at it! I wrote about that here. But what I also learnt is that there’s more to it than just wearing a certain hue that suits, it’s also how you “contrast” your colours, in accordance to your own skin/hair/eye contrast level, so that what you decide to put with it makes YOU look good and not just your clothes. And knowing all this has allowed me to work over time, on narrowing down what I had in my closet while opening up possibilities of how I could make existing clothes work better to what I should look for in purchasing and perhaps accept as gifts moving forward.

So if you want to look great in every colour that you wear, I encourage you to look into it by yourself or with help. It can be a bit $$$ if you out source, but over time, the investment will be cost saving and life changing……just a thought. But you can do a lot of research yourself and I found Donna Cameron’s book “Colour: the secret to creating a sustainable wardrobe” the perfect starting point. In fact, there are many resources and experts in colour offering their advice free of charge on this platform, You Tube and Instagram. And in case you are wondering, these are mine:

Although, when my hair is very bright, I can slide into a few of these:

And while I’ve curated my current closet based on a handful of favourites. I love that there are “new to me” colours i’d love to explore….


PAY ATTENTION TO THE STYLES THAT SUIT YOUR BODY (shape, proportions and size)

Again, a personal stylist can help you with this OR you can conduct your own research and follow your intuition. Although sometimes the latter may take longer. I’ve been a follower of ”What Not To Wear” and Trinny Woodall for 20 years, so have had plenty of practice in analysing my shape. I am a triangle, a pear. My shoulders are smaller than my hips. My torso is also longer than my legs. I have a waist. I am petite. There is a very old book by Trinny and Susannah Constantine called The Body Shape Bible that I learnt most of my “how to dress my shape” tricks. And knowing them is how I dress to feel good even after all these years, some people may not agree, but when I follow these simple guidelines, it really makes choosing clothes so much easier!

And pay attention to the tips about necks, boobage and calves, it can help with accessories! And when it comes to earrings, I find this helpful.


Although, tbt, even with all this advice, I’m still a work in progress and sometimes fall head over heels for something NQR, only to realise why it never gets worn 😂

ALTER or REMOVE WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Knowing the colours and styles that do suit, it’s time to tackle your wardrobe. This may seem daunting, but if you accept that it will take more than afternoon and aim for a timeframe that works for you, it can be done methodically. You may want to start by season and category.

I started in Summer with dresses. I had about 60! And so many hanging on my rails didn’t get worn, so I pulled them off one at a time, tried them on and then depending on whether their colour and style suited me, separated them into three key piles: KEEP, ALTER, PURGE.

The KEEPERS were laundered, ironed, had buttons fixed etc.. and then hung. On hangers that matched! I am super fussy about this and all mine are in a natural wood. I want my Curated Closet to reflect the feeling I get when I walk into a chic boutique, regardless of the garment being high end or thrifted! My aim is for it to be somewhere I go to shop each day. And you know that amazing feeling you get, when you try on something you love in store?, thats what I’m aiming for each and every time 😍

The ALTER pile is just that. Garments that suit in shape and colour, but need tweaking by a seamstress (or yourself) like a hem. Many of my Maxi Dresses were too long for my 163cm frame so I had them taken up. I suit a midi. Some were too full, so I’ve invested in having volume removed. Some too loose, so I’ve had darts and waists altered. I’ll admit that paying Australian seamstresses to do this isn’t cheap, but if the item suits me and I love it, I want each and every one I own to be a perfect fit. Think of it as closet couture 😉 Because I know from experience, the better you feel in a garment the more it gets worn! I also took all my white dresses (which isn’t my best colour) and experimented with dyeing them. And all the alterations don’t have to be done all at once, in fact, I still have half a basket of alterations from last Summer to be tackled this Spring…. must get onto that 😉 But what I can say, is that in concentrating on wearing what I had and tweaking what I love, it actually stopped me buying new for a month or two. It was also the pause I needed to reset how I felt about what I owned and chose to wear, which has since allowed me to THINK about it and what I wanted my curated closet to be.


The PURGE pile I split into gifting (to family and friends), selling, and donating. In this pile I put garments that definitely didn’t suit, like or fit! And please don’t keep and ”one day I’ll fit back in it” items in your curated closet – they only make you feel bad, if you can’t part with one or two, store them elsewhere for 12 months, and then take another look at them. I’m okay with doing this purge once in a while, but the ultimate aim is to curate a closet that is so sustainable, this is a rare occurrence .

And there is one more pile, that I may have only mentioned once or twice and it simply got rehung. And that is the ARCHIVE. In it are high end or highly stylish garments that I will no longer wear but have a sentimental attachment or I think my children and their children may appreciate the value of down the track. And I keep them hanging as this group is meant to be small but meaningful. Plus, I always welcome my daughters into my wardrobe to wear or pinch anything I own 🙏🏻

ORGANISE, ORGANISE, ORGANISE !

Using your uniform coat hangers, organise your closet into categories. This will be completely determined by the size of your closet and your hanging space vs. shelving and draws. But I do try to keep my warm weather clothing (Spring/Summer) seperate from cooler weather (Autumn/Winter). And in catagories. So Summer skirts, Summer blouses, Summer jackets, Summer dusters, vs. Winter skirts, Winter blouses, Winter jackets, Winter coats. You get the idea. I’ll even do this on the same rod. That way, I can simply bring garments for the particular season to the front. And on my shelves and in draws, all my turtle necks are together vs. chunky knits. And my tshirts vs. singlets. To be honest, I don’t have many separates. A majority of my garments are dresses. My Summer ones stand alone in the long hanging and my Winter ones hang or are folded over a hanger in another section depending on length. I have also started trying to keep them in colour groups in order of the rainbow 😉 My aim is to make what I have easily identifiable and accessible. The same with accessories. All my jewels sit in groups on a chest of drawers. My belts in drawers according to size, my scarves in season piles. And anyone who has seen my wardrobe knows my larger bags/shoes/boots are on display (these are separated according to season) and my clutches are organised in baskets by colour. Having said all this, I am an extremely organised person (perhaps I missed my true vocation 😂)!! So find your own aesthetic…


What doing this also highlights is the amount of what you have in each catagory! Which can very easily help you define your style. As I’ve already said, dresses are what I have the most of because they are what I wear most days. Knowing this, and knowing what I have, I am always happy to look for additional. It’s the same with boots! Which then leads me to…

CREATE A WISHLIST

In my Filofax 😂 I have a page in which I write down garments and items that my wardrobe may benefit from. Notes on your phone is simpler, but I love paper 😉 On it are wants, rarely needs. These are added randomly as they come to mind, often when I’m dressing or inspired by what I see on others. I certainly don’t rush into buying anything on it. I like to sit with it for at least a week or two and think about how it may benefit what I’ve so carefully curated. Sometimes I’ll even risk waiting for it to go on sale, thinking if they don’t have my size, it wasn’t meant to be. And often items get scrubbed 😉 The last thing I need is to bring in is something that will stuff up all my hard work! Currently I have a Camel Coat (which has eluded me now for two Winters), a chocolate brown turtle neck (I haven’t found the right shape), snakeskin boots (I have had an eye on this pair for a while 😉), a pair of rose gold Havianas with a thick strap (to replace the ones my dog ate – probably more a need) and a fine gold chain and charm (random I know, but sometimes I don’t want to wear my chunky ones…). you get the idea. And this week I added another garment, this stunning dress:


What I love about having a list, is that when I am out and about shopping new or secondhand, I always have something in mind to look for. I may not always find it, but it keeps me mindful and less impulsive. And because I now know my wardrobe so well, the result keeps the closet curated! Having said that, and all this, the whole purpose of a curated closet is to…

FEEL GOOD and HAVE FUN IN IT

Which really is what clothes and style are about! And now my closet is fully curated, my current style established and I love everything in it and on me 🙏🏻 I feel happy and confident with all I welcome in “new” and “secondhand”. Because it’s been intentionally selected. No more frenzied “at to cart” moments, no constant accepting of kind gifted offers…… so when Blue Illusion surprisingly offered me the stunning toile dress above after I posted on Instagram how it sparked my interest, it felt like the right time to say YES (it has been 10 months since the last) and step back into the ring of occasionally accepting gifts and sharing them with you. And since it’s been a while, I’m a bit excited 😆. And that’s the feeling I want for you when you have taken the time to curate your closet and then decide to add to it !!

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE : Traveling light 😉

TRAVELLING OUTFIT


Welcome to another SIGNATURE STYLE blog. This month Cindy, Kim and I will be talking travel. But before I do, if you would like to comment, simply press on the title now and a new page will open up with a commenting section at the end.

Whether your trip be close to home or far away, why not enjoy the ease of traveling with minimal luggage only? (I’ve already written about my love of it when I talked about Resort Wear here). And with the current chaos associated with checking it in, and the very real possibility that your bag may not make it to where you’re headed, to me, it makes perfect sense to consider packing for carry-on only. Of course, all this hinges on the cabin baggage allowance. It does vary from airline to airline domestically/internationally and which end of the plane you fly in. Also, how long you go for.. But for me, it’s definitely all I really need for a 4-14 day warm weather trip (trust me, I’ve done it six times already and once was 2 weeks in Greece and Istanbul 😳)… so here are my tips on how to nail it 😂

  • Firstly, when buying a carry-on cabin bag, research the size and weight requirements for domestic/international flights. Then invest in the lightest and most durable you can afford. Mine is the Antler Juno case (above) and qualifies size wise for dom/int’l and weighs in at 2.7kg before I add anything. (It’s since been discontinued and replaced by the slightly heavier Clifton.) And think wisely about colour, you want an easily identifiable bag in the aircraft, most definitely on a carousel and especially if it does get lost! So best to avoid black. Also ensure it’s fully labelled (inside and out) and take a pic of it for your records. And for piece of mind Air Tag it!
  • Secondly, track the weather in your final destination a week or two before your expected stay (temperature, humidity and rainfall) so you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Know your accomodation ammenities. I always check if there is hairdryer/dressing gown/washing facilities available 😉 and think about the activities you’ll be doing. All this will save on packing those “but I might need” unnecessary items.
  • When it comes to how many outfits to pack, my rule of thumb for a 4-14 day trip is: total the number of days you’re away, then half it and add a travelling one (for there and back). But no more than 7. So on a 4 day trip, I’ll take 3. On a 14 day, 7, no more. Plus I’ll wear, 1 coat OR jumper/cardigan OR jacket. Denim is good. And it’s no secret that sticking to a colour palette in which everything mixes and matches is your best bet. I keep scarves (one can double as a sarong) and accessories to a minimum but interesting enough to mix up what I wear.
  • Shoes and bags can weigh in heavy, so choose wisely and base your travelling outfit wearing the bulkiest. This is when a gym shoe doubling as a comfortable sneaker comes in handy 😉 and ensure you wear as many of the accessories you are taking as you can (necklaces/bracelets/scarves) – for what I’m travelling in, retake a look at the top picture 😉. Remember…they weigh your bags, not you! And no more than 2 other pairs (I usually do a sandal and a spare). Heels rarely make the cut 😂 And it’s 1 tote, sometimes a clutch and always 1 crossbody bag. Even better if the crossbody strap is detachable, so it can double up as a clutch. Again, these are chosen to coordinate with my clothing colour palette, that way they will go with everything!
  • I pack 1 set only of workout gear, 1 swimsuit, 1 hat (packable) and 1 sleepwear set. These I find so easy to hand wash and dry in a hotel room. And don’t pack the lulu lemon if you’re not planning on using it!
  • Forget full size toiletries and makeup (this really is a no brainer). Invest in small refillable light plastic bottles. Remember, with carry on, check requirements. Even think ahead and save old clear makeup tubs and bottles or free sample creams for your holidays. And consider a cleansing bar as opposed to a liquid. I found at Christmas time, travel sized versions of my favourite haircare that I now refill. (I’m sorry, but my hair just can’t do the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner tip, but if yours can, yay for you 😉). And I have the most amazing refillable travel perfume atomiser that siphons straight from your own bottle. I found it at my local discount chemist, but there are bound to be plenty of alternative options out there. Make up is usually a BB cream, mascara and lip to cheek (its the only time I use a finger application), I wrote about my lipsticks here, and ditch the fancy makeup bags. I travel with the basics only and in clear ziplock bags. This is the idea… obviously not fully packed yet (and I probably couldn’t take that razor) 😉.


Let’s continue with a few images and explanations of clothing with a specific example. I’m (we are – Mr Style et moi) heading away next week and I am looking forward to 8 days of warm weather in Far North Queensland. It’s an intentionally relaxed holiday (my favourite kind), no events to attend (although I have made note of a couple of markets to visit), no high end restaurants, and we have zero plans for sightseeing other than riding along the beach, as we’ve been there before. Just lots of walks, bike rides, reading by the pool, makeup free and messy hair days, and that’s just me 😂- my husband will be golfing all day, so I’ll be on a retreat of sorts 😉 The weather will be 17-27 Celsius, with high humidity and occasional showers (🤞🏻for none at all). The hotel has all the amenities and facilities I need. Easy! So here’s what I’m packing to travel light …

5 DRESSES

Five airy dresses in cool cotton and relaxed linen. And the palette I’ve chosen is warm and muted. If it suits me in the cooler weather, why not the warmer? I didn’t actually have the right shades needed, so instead of buying new, I simply dyed two vibrant dresses to create it. Using DYLON Expresso Brown, I split the pod contents in half and completely changed the look (I dyed them separately). One thing I’ve learnt, is you never quite know how the dye will take but I’m pretty happy with the results 😊 I’ll be sure to share pics of them styled when I’m away (you can see those on my Instagram). Until then… here’s a peak of the before and after.


The remaining I already had (I EVEN MADE ONE 😳 – see below), except the current olive dress on the far right. Nothing resort like, just casual, interesting dresses that can be worn loose with messy hair, beads and a tote during the day or belted with my hair pulled back, big earrings and a clutch at night. I’ve gone for 2 maxis, 2 midis and a shorter kaftan (this doubles up for beach/pool/bike)…so I have plenty to choose from. I also find the longer hems, higher necklines, and adjustable sleeves a great way to keep sun exposure to a minimum. And I’ve decided to take a linen duster (that I found secondhand – but this and this are nice) instead of denim jacket because there is a bit going on with all the patterns.

And with these, the natural and neutral accessories mix below works best.


This is what I’ve come up with so far. Again, curated from new, secondhand or made by me, all but a few are current. Those being the trainers, sandals and sunglasses. I’d swap out the tan sandals for my Havianas if my dog Billy Ray hadn’t chewed them 😩 and I’m still undecided on the crossbody/clutch, so I may change my mind, in fact, this one has caught my eye… but you get the idea. Not a lot, but enough to mix and match with my dresses. It’s really just what they call a “travel capsule”. And it can so easily be created with minimal cost by using pieces from your “curated closet” (I really must write a blog on how to do this), and some planning.

Pretty much packed! 6.5kg 😉

And that’s it. I’ve never been packed so ahead of time 😂 but before I zip up, I’d be really interested in knowing if you have any light weight travelling tips to add, if so, feel free to comment below (remember, press the title of the post to open up that section 😉). And of course I’ll be paying attention on what Cindy and Kim have to say. So join me in reading that now:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Safe travels,

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: My new “feel good” #curateandcreatechallenge 😉


Welcome back to another blog post on SECONDHAND STYLE! I’m so happy you’re here 😊 Jane is taking the Summer off from blogging to spend time with her family, but be sure to continue following her style journey on The Small Fabric of My Life on INSTAGRAM. I know I will be! Which leaves me to write about what I’m wearing… and this coming month I feel like a new style challenge. One that feels good by encouraging us to wear what we have and if we do add new….. purchasing garments that compliment what we have (perhaps from a wishlist…see below 😉) and from secondhand stores! It can seriously “look good and feel good”… as I’m about to show you 😉


Which is why I’ve created the #curateandcreatechallenge. I’m committing to do it for July and would love you to join me. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know all about my “curate your closet” philosophy. If not, it’s a simple system (see pic above) for creating the wardrobe of your dreams 😉 So using garments from in it, simply create an outfit making sure you add a little secondhand. That’s all the challenge requires… and then post a pic of what you are wearing (flat lays are fine too) onto Instagram. I’m hoping it encourages this platform and IG to mindfully share the rewearing and restyling of existing clothes (instead of always thinking we have to share new) and if something is, make it from what’s already is existence and buy it secondhand instead. Yay for secondhand style!

Wearing what you have is a huge tick for sustainability ✅ ! And with the cost of living rising, economically it’s never made better sense ✅. But believe me when I say that from a “personal style” point of view, wearing what you have and love (since it’s from your curated closet ) and combining it with mindfully shopping secondhand to enhance it is an off the charts “feel good factor” ✅✅✅!!! Why? Because not only are you helping yourself, the planet, a charity or an individual’s livelihood wearing/shopping like this, you are also reaching for what you intuitively love without any marketing/brand influence … which in turn establishes/enhances your own genuine style … which in turn switches on / turns up your creativity … which in a fashion world that likes to tell us what to wear, you are doing the opposite! YOU are simply wearing what you want to wear! YOU ARE DOING YOU 😍 and that is always the ultimate feel good 😉

Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about…

Below are 6 outfits I’ve created mixing existing garments with secondhand. In pic 1, the snake necklace is the only thrifted item. Pic 2 it’s the denim shirt and suede boots. Pic 3 the trench, dress, fur and boots (same as pic2). In pic 4, the turtle neck and bag, pic 5 the brooch, blazer and bag. And finally in picture 6 the blazer (same as pic 5) and boots (same as pic 2 and 3). So you see, I’m rewearing and restyling what I have (in which the garments range from 1 month to 15 years old), with the inclusion of pieces I’ve found secondhand. Head to toe my own wabi sabi style!


And that cropped pic at the top, here’s a full shot. I’m wearing my wardrobe with a new “secondhand” faux fur gilet (from the kids section at Salvos 😳), and it’s what you’ll see on my IG grid today 😊


So thats it, welcome to my #curateandcreatechallenge ! I’m excited, I hope you are too! But most of all I’m feeling really good about it, which is what our Style is about after all 😉

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Lipstick as an accessory!

DUSTY ROSE

It’s SIGNATURE STYLE time again, when CINDY and KIM and I join forces to bring you our thoughts on a topic and this month it’s LIPSTICK 💄! I’m looking forward to learning a thing or two from them, so be sure to read their posts after mine and remember, if you’d like to comment at the end of this, simply press the title of this article now and it will then reopen with a commenting option 😉

If you google lipstick, there are millions of articles on best shades, best finishes, best applicators. And then there’s lip primers, lip liner creams as well as what shades “not to wear” and how “not to apply” to avoid ageing you more. Not to mention custom colour recommendations for your skin/eye/hair combination. It seems endless and if I believed them all, that’s what I’d end up with! Drawers full of worn once lipstick! And given I aim to wear out everything I own and lipsticks have a use by date of around 12 months, it doesn’t really make sense to have too many to me. So what I can share is my experience on how I keep it simple in a beauty world that is anything but! And since (when it comes to anything makeup related), I’m a no frills kinda gal, its easy for me 😂

Which for me, doesn’t mean i’ll slap on anything….anymore (I use to 😂) ! These days I’m paying a little more attention in “curating” what I do choose to wear on my lips, so it works back with my curated closet 😉. What I do know, having played in the past with the lip brush and finger lip to cheek application, is that those two aren’t for me. Way too messy and fussy! As is all the priming and prepping! So what I now choose in a lipstick is:

  1. A traditional twist and pop on! The first lipstick application I ever tried was this, and it appears its this simplicity has had me under its spell ever since!
  2. Warm and Muted Shades. Since I had my wardrobe colours done last year, I know I’m an Autumn with a low contrast level (between hair/skin/eye) so I suit warm muted colours. Which to me, translates to wearing warm or muted colours on my lips too!
  3. Medium Shine. No vibrancy and no super gloss! My mouth is small and my lips aren’t big, so I choose my lipstick to blend and compliment with what I wear, not stand out ☺️

All of which resulted in my finding two lovely lipstick colours I wore over the Summer months (which when mixed together gives me a lovely third). And they are by a natural Australian brand called ”Nude by Nature”. Nude by Nature are both vegan and cruelty-free, their lipsticks (and all other products) are eco-conscious and free from toxins. Nude by Nature products are made with 100% natural ingredients and formulated without synthetic ingredients or preservatives often found in cosmetics such as Silicone, Siloxanes, Phthalates, Sulphate, PEGS, Triclosan, Phenoxyethanol or Parabens, and do not contain Carmine, Talc or Bismuth Oxychloride. All very important, since it’s no secret, we ingest a fair bit of it! They also happen to have a variety of types, are widely available and well priced. I use the following products:

The Moisture Lipstick is my favourite, because its so easy to apply, is non drying and feels really well…..moisturising! I wear 03 Dusty Rose and 05 Pale Coral. Occasionally (if I can be bothered 😂), I’ll first apply their matt lip pencil all over my lips for durability. I use the pencils Rose and Coral. The result being a satin finish..

And look at the rose gold case it comes in! Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s worn well, lasts and has never broken off mid way. And since I buy my lipstick on sale at the local discount chemist, it only costs me $14-21 AU depending on the discount at the time.

And this is what it looks like on my arm. With the combined colour, it does lean towards a pinky shade, but its because I popped the rose on top. If I added the coral last, it would appear more orange.

And this is what they look like on me:


And I’m very happy with them! But what I wanted to introduce is a warm brown, similar to the one I create by mixing the two above, but without that hassle 😂…… and especially for the cooler months. During this time I move to a foundation (as opposed to a BB cream), often add a little more makeup to bring colour to my face, and sometimes even wear darker shades of clothes. And lots of leopard! So addding something slightly browner on my lips makes sense. And while none of the other colours in the Nude by Nature range appeal to me, what did was the brand bare Minerals. It’s available worldwide, reasonably priced at $30AU and also from my local Mecca Store. And knowing I like a moisturising, slight shine, I bought the colour Presence in the Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing range. It has all the vegan attributes of NBN, so again, safe to ingest.

And here it is on me:


Warm and muted, but different enough for me! I told you I like to keep it simple 😉 So that’s it! All 3 lipsticks can be worn by themselves, or mixed with each other should I wish. And they all work back with my carefully curated wardrobe! And in reality, they can actually all be worn across the seasons too.


And chances are you will already have preferences in colours or brands, which I think is great! What’s important is that what YOU choose to wear is what you like on you, works back with your wardrobe choices and together it makes you feel good! That way, your lipstick becomes an accessory in your own SIGNATURE STYLE.

But one colour eludes me…. the right red 🤔… I wonder if Cindy or Kim will share a shade I may like .. lets read on…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: My 2022 Treasures!

How glam is my new “old” belt? This one is a keeper as its perfect to cinch in this tres chic caftan!

Welcome to another fun blogpost that I write with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life and this month we will both put our own spin on our ”latest treasures”…. AKA what we have recently added secondhand to our closets. So be sure to press on the link at the end to read what Jane has to say, but before I continue, if you would like to comment, quickly go back up to the top, press on the title and this post will reopen with that option at the end.

At the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 I vowed to curate my entire wardrobe (which I have pretty much completed) with the aim of knowing it so well that I would only introduce “new” items that:
1. I really love,
2. Enhance my style, and
3. Think are ”WOW” !!
I want to think of them all as treasures, so no matter what I reach for and decide to wear, it makes me feel and look great 😊 This not just encourages me to wear and rewear (yay sustainability👏🏻), it reduces my consumption (aka shopping habit 😉). And today is a reckoning of kinds to see if what I have added to it secondhand does indeed do all of the above … let’s begin with accessories…

Bags, Scarves, Belts and Jewellery are what I look for first when I visit op shops. While they may be a small in size, they often have a huge impact on an outfit. And if you like to wear and rewear your clothes like I do, they are what makes them feel fresh and repeatedly different. So I like a wide choice in them when deciding how to style what I choose to wear each day. Which makes it a no brainer that it’s what I buy the most of. And at secondhand stores, they tend to be on the periphery and it’s where I’m finding I usually start (shoes are what I seek out next…but I haven’t bought any this year). Here’s a look at what has caught my attention:


I do actually love them all! They are definitely me, but do they ALL have the WOW factor? Perhaps not… infact the grid scarf and tan leather crossbody bag fall short 🤔 I feel I already own nicer alternatives. But given neither cost me more than $8 (and it goes to charity), I don’t think them a waste of money. Instead, how I’m viewing these is as impulse purchases that are now taking up unnecessary space in a well thought out wardrobe. Exactly what I’m trying to stop doing! So I’m taking note and the fact I’m writing about makes me more mindful moving forward. Speaking of which, the bag will be gifted to someone who raved about it, and the scarf will remake its way back to a charity shop (if one of my daughters or their friends don’t take it 😉👏🏻)

Now let’s look at the clothes. When searching the rails, I always start with dresses no matter the season, then jackets and coats. I’m not a big “separates” wearer, so I usually avoid skirts, pants and blouses (I may start looking at these since i just bought a ”new” tweed skirt)…although in Winter I will look at vests and jumpers. What I’ve found this year is these:


My salmon pink midi dress in a stunning french viscose. I mean Wow! And a 100% cotton seersucker cream/white maxi dress, simple but just as WOW when worn with tan and raffia accessories. Both my colours, shape and style and the fact that I’m styling the latter without wearing it is always a sign of a good purchase 😂 its a tad cold for it at the moment, but I have worn the midi several ways already…


I did find a fab leopard skivvy/turtle neck that I was coveting for months after seeing it on my SIGNATURE STYLE blogging pal Cindy. Although I scrolled the secondhand sites for this, not aisles! Needless to say, it satisfies all the criteria ☺️


My Mum actually found the khaki trench below (we spend at least a day op shopping each time I visit her – which although a 4 hour flight away, is fairly regularly now I can 😉), and as it was too small on her, I tried it and voila! I think I’ve found the perfect way to wear it. This outfit will be repeated! I found the tartan jacket with her too, but unfortunately as soon as my daughter saw it, up it went into her wardrobe. Which in hindsight is a good thing, as it really is too vibrant and a bit young for me 😂. The leather jacket on the other hand is a keeper, its gorgeous! So it’s a big WOW for two out of three!


Oops I almost forgot… this gorgeous Leopard Coat that I bought back in January was resold (to a lovely reader who rocks it far better than me 😎). It just wasn’t my colour 😉

And that’s pretty much all I’ve allowed in and to stay 😂 …..

What I am particularly happy with is where my wardrobe is now. I absolutely love everything in it, it is all very me in colours and style and together this creates outfits for every occasion that I think are WOW. Which in turn has changed my relationship with my wardrobe. It’s become far more considered. And I’m becoming a much savvier shopper! So anything that does come in, like what I’ve shown you, must match this WOW factor! … after all, it only wears off on how you feel when wearing it. What a feel good! And that this can be created by shopping secondhand makes me feel even better 🙏🏻

Now, let’s take a look inside Jane’s secondhand wardrobe…

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: The Crossbody Bag

If I had to choose my favourite type of bag, it would be the crossbody. I wonder if it’s yours? They are everywhere! And the reason for their popularity, is, I think, you can simply pop your phone, wallet, keys and lipstick in and off you go! Hands free! The funny thing is, I don’t really remember their popularity growing up. I remember bags their size, but they were more often worn on the shoulder. And if one was worn across the body, it was referred to as a traveller, a utility or messenger bag. And it was large with lots of pockets and zips. Anyone else remember them? ….. regardless, because of its practicality, the cross body bag is here to stay so lets check out a few of my current favourites…

But before I do, if you would like to comment, simply press the title of the post now, so the page reopens with a commenting section at the end. And don’t forget to head over to read what my fellow SIGNATURE STYLE bloggers Cindy and Kim have to say afterwards.

I know I’ve featured a few options of crossbody bags over the last few blogs, you can go back and read about the most recent here . So today I might just share a few more obscure ones that I’ve recently come across. All are leather, my material of choice for most crossbody bags, and especially now for my AW22.

Tiggy by Cuddington is an ethical Australian leather bag company who uses craftsmanship in their vintage inspired designs. I don’t own one, but certainly adore their aesthetic. They remind me of one my Mum owned in the 70s… lots of embossing, stamps and stitch details. I prefer the smaller bags but there are larger like my Mum’s.


Mimco is a company that began in Melbourne. Since its 1996 inception, it has changed ownership, but is still synonymous with great quality classic but on-trend designs. A little more urban than the Tiggy’s above.


And then there’s a bag that I always pop in and look at when I walk past Morrison. It’s available in three shapes and two colours, black and tan. I just love the beaded handle that hangs when the canvas strap is used across the body. And it has the added bonus of being handmade in Sydney.

And it wouldn’t be SIGNATURE STYLE if I didn’t feature a couple of my own crossbody bags. Like most of us, I have a collection. This is by no means them in their entirety, but perhaps my most worn….


Which is why I am always interested in adding to it 😉 my most recent crossbody is a vintage Bally. A purchase made to deliberately coordinate with my gold shoe obsession 😂 …. how divine is this! And as its vintage circa 1990, it proves that crossbody bags were around back then….


What I have also done in the past is create my own bag out of a belt and pouch.

And I often create temporary crossbody bags out of ”envelope clutches” if I find it the best option for coordinating an outfit (and if you do watch, safety pins and stitching in a fabric panel have been suggested as a fix 😉):


And as for the said crossbody straps, yes, I am building up a collection of those too! My fave by far is the one below, that I attached to my handmade Greek Lulu by Liana shoulder bag to convert it into a crossbody 😊


You can buy designer straps at most retail stores, but as I prefer no branding, I shop ebay 😉

On that note…lets see what Cindy and Kim’s preferred Crossbody Bag SIGNATURE STYLE is…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: What I’ve learnt from the #sarahjanecapsulechallenge ☺️


Welcome back to the Secondhand Style blog that I write with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life. And this month it’s a recap on what I’ve learnt from my experience of wearing a “preloved capsule” over the last month after writing the last secondhand style blog. But before I continue, if you would like to comment, please scroll back up to the title, press on it and this post will reopen with a commenting option at the bottom. Now, if you did just go back and read last month’s blog, you’ll recognise that I summised with this at the end:

“Capsules help you get creative while simplifying things. They also allow you to create a Wabi Sabi look in your own style. I love that, less about what’s trending and more about what you love to wear… your style! And while I don’t really have a need for them everyday, I certainly love the idea. More so for me when I travel. Regardless, It’s been such fun!”

Still completely on point for me and how I feel about them today. Although I did have a major “aha moment” for my own #savvystyle while reflecting which I’ll share at the end. So hold that thought and take a look at these final 8 creative looks (couldn’t quite reach the required 10) I came up with from 10 preloved garments:


The two outfits at the end are perhaps my favourites. Why? When I wear a pant, I love a dress over them. It’s a look I’ve been wearing since the early 2000’s! And as I’m always saying on IG, I do love the way a self tie belt gives me shape, while not cutting my short frame (163 cm) in half! I could have created more if i’d chosen to wear jeans and the short jacket, but wanting to keep it authentic i didn’t, because that’s simply not my style. Interestingly, when I put all the outfits up on IG stories, the one below was voted as the best by my IG community:


A community who also happened to join in the fun! Thank you so much Belinda @queenbzyb.fashion and Jackie @queanbeenan for taking up the challenge!


I’ve learnt a few practical tips for creating capsules for myself through this exercise. Firstly, if you stick to a colour palette- I used tans and browns with a pop of orange everything is more likely to coordinate. Tonal is key to me. Secondly, use a majority in block colours, and keep any patterns small scale. This will increase the ability to mix and match. Remember Leopard is almost always a neutral so always include a tonal option. Thirdly, choose clothes that fit you and your life and style. Comfort is key! And lastly, great style doesn’t have to be new, on trend or cost a lot of money!

Which makes any capsule (or in this case a 10 item “preloved capsule”) time and cost effective and a great way to “up your sustainability” by increasing the number of wears from garments. And as the garments I styled were those I already owned, I found that in the planning and creating I focused more on what I had to use VS. what I may want to purchase. Which in turn, had me wearing items I’ve had for ages! What was old felt fresh again! Albeit, in a wabi-sabi way. Less influencing “new” and more “style” … which actually resulted in reloving and rewearing my wardrobe on the remaining 21 days. I felt no urge to consume virgin retail or secondhand in April at all 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻! While I try to do this for 3-4 months a year, having a capsule challenge made it easier! Perhaps we should do this again come my Spring, your Autumn Jane? ….just a thought 😉

Which leads me once again to what I’m always harping on about … know your own Style! Because once you do know the shapes, looks and colours that make you look and feel good and you focus on buying only those ….this is my aha……your entire wardrobe can become its own capsule (albeit, a slightly larger version) … a collection of your own style that you enthusiastically and authentically mix and match! Which is what my own “curating my closet” has really been about all year. Working my way through everything I own seasonally, in order to create a harmonious considered collection of clothes that I can wear and rewear for years. So, moving forward, I only “occasionally” pause my wearing to allow in an additional item that will compliment its careful curation 🙏🏻

Which is why i think I’m onto something with this ”curate your closet” mentality… it makes creating capsules for any occasion incredibly easy! And since you’ll only mindfully add items of your STYLE to it, it has the added bonus of these not needing to be ”on trend or new retail” which makes “treasure hunting” (AKA shopping secondhand – I’ve even written about that here) a no brainer! And why in May on my IG page, I’ll be featuring a little bit more of it ….. in of course my style!

Now, why not join me in pressing the link below to read Jane’s recap 😊

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

Sarah xx

Spring Summer Fashion: Curate your own style!


Happy Spring everyone! Or if you’re from my part of the world, Happy Autumn! I hope wherever you are, this blogpost finds you joyful. Which is what reading and writing blogs makes me, especially when I’m in the company of these incredible ladies. Mary Ann, Cindy, Annie, Eugenia, Kim and Rhoda, thank you once again for including me in the Spring/Summer Fashion round up. I so enjoyed last year’s Spring Style Inspiration, which (if you are interested) you can read here. It’s still relevant! And for this year’s posts from these lovelies, be sure to press on the links at the end …. and remember, if you would like to comment on mine, simply scroll back up to the title now, click on it and you’ll find the commenting section opens at the bottom of the post 😉.

If you are a long time follower and reader of mine, you’ll know I recently turned 55. And as this was a defining number for me, I’ve recently spent some time curating my own Spring/Summer Closet. I no longer wanted to wear or buy clothing just because I had them or liked them years before, I wanted to take my wardrobe to the next level, by having a good hard look at what was in it and how I truly felt in the garments. So that moving forward I wear it all and only invite in pieces that enhance what I have and that I truly love. As a result it lead to my true Spring Summer Style. I looked at colours, shapes, lengths (I did have a few alterations made…I’m a big fan of this) and fabrics, was attentive to what I wore a lot of, and as a result (without many purchases) now have a SS closet that suits me, fits me and caters for all occasions, which feels fabulous! But as it’s never complete, it’s also lead to a “wishlist” of garments and accessories that I know will help me coordinate and modernise what’s existing. Which makes shopping for my next Spring Summer purpose driven. This process has made my SS closet so much easier to navigate and a joy to wear (not to mention a time and money saver 😉) I highly recommend this exercise… and if you’re interested in seeing how Autumn/Winter unfolds, feel free to follow along on IG. Now let’s look at a couple of those Spring/Summer wishlist items that have already been fulfilled as inspiration for what you might be currently seeking in the northern hemisphere…


This stunning Sophie Digard bag was a 2020 Mothers Day gift. An indulgent one that helped draw out the monotony of a very long lock down 😉 it’s currently sold out, but take a look here for more work of hers. Her product is stocked in boutiques worldwide, so it may also be worth googling. Sadly, my “Spring Flowers” bag sat unused, until I started curating my SS bag and shoe collection…which is when I deliberately sourced the perfect shoes! I do love the idea of having a coordinating bag/shoe combination…don’t you? It’s a great way to make accessories work with all kinds of outfits – I recently touched on this idea for my Spring Weddings Post. The chocolate linen dress i’m wearing is old season Sally Phillips, you will find similar alternatives here and here. Although this current design of Sally’s would look just as good! I was tempted, but feel the palette a tad bright for me. Knowing your colours, and by that I mean which shades of a “Colour” suit you most, are very much a part of curating your own style. Do you know yours?

Another shoe on my wishlist for SS was the gold mule. I think adding gold accessories (or your metallic of choice, I suit gold 😉) is a great way to elevate your Spring Summer Style. Which is why I added these pictured below. Although don’t limit your choice to mules….. perhaps statement loafers or sandals are more you (pay attention to the styles you wear more of and focus on those). And of course natural or nude are a nice option…


And of course, a lovely bag to compliment the gold would look great. I have a great gold tote that works with my mules, but you don’t necessarily need to match gold with gold. Bags with gold hardware would work too… here’s some more inspiration …


I am loving the bucket bag, ever since I saw the Pot de Miel on KIM almost a year ago 😍


A recent addition to my wishlist is a label Kim also introduced to me called Veronica Beard (you’re fast becoming my stylist Kim 😉). She put the Alessandra dress up on her IG stories and I’m obsessed! What I love is the shape, the length, the small scale pattern and the colours are mine…. and it’s in cotton! Natural fabrics are very much a part of my Spring Summer Style. Do you read the fabric details on labels when considering a purchase?


Talking about natural fabrics, look at these bright bespoke linen Contessa Caftans. How Summery 😍 You can even have them monogrammed or select a Crown or French Crest I believe .… all details are available on Elizabeth’s Blog The Vintage Contessa or her IG page contessa_and_her_pig. There may be some stripes available too…but you will have to be quick as they are selling out!

I’ll finish up by sharing a luxe Australian brand called Camilla. A fun colourful flamboyant label, the clothes are indulgent and in my mind, mostly suited to lavish holidays and celebrations, although I do know someone who wears them daily (because it’s her SS Style). While the label makes a range of clothing, I adore her Silk Kimonos and one day I hope to own one, but for now it will remain on my wishlist 😉


And since I’ve shown you mostly mid-high end items, don’t forget to shop around if you want to save a few dollars this Spring/Summer. All you need is an image and you can compare by using the google app. I wrote about that shopping hack here. I found the Veronica Beard Alessandra dress $100 cheaper on MyTheresa , so I find it helpful! Alternatively, if you do tend to fall in love with garments in this price range, try shopping end of season online boutiques from the opposite hemisphere…..there are loads of SS garments for sale Down Under that would suit the northern Spring Summer now. Even on Sally Phillips. That’s how I bought the Chocolate Linen I’m wearing in the collage last year. And as my budget doesn’t always allow for full price, but my desire to take my wardrobe to the next level does, I put dresses like the “Alessandra” on my wishlist and risk waiting for it to go on sale later in the season. You obviously won’t get the new releases at the beginning of a season shopping like this, but since you already love everything in your wardrobe after curating it, you will have plenty to wear until it does. So why not find some time this Spring/Summer to Curate your Closet so you can establish your true SS Style and purposefully shop that ?


Gosh…as usual I could carry on… but I won’t, because like me, you’re probably dying to see the Spring Summer Fashion inspiration my fellow bloggers are writing about. And to do that all you need to do is press on the links below…

oh… and btw.. there a few pics of me in my own SS style at the end 😉

Sarah xx

CLASSIC CASUAL HOME

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

MOST LOVELY THINGS

THE AGE OF GRACE

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

SIGNATURE STYLE : Spring Wedding


Welcome 🙏🏻 This month on SIGNATURE STYLE Cindy, Kim and I are going to be talking wedding attire. But before I do, if you would like to comment, please go back up to the top and press on the title (this should reopen the page in commenting mode).

I’ve only been to two weddings in the last four years, both of which were in the Summer. So I don’t currently have much experience or need for a new outfit for such an occasion. And to be honest, if I did, I’d probably wear what I wore to the last one (if appropriate). A beautiful silk Zia Lozen wrap dress (that’s it in the pic above with hubs – and below). I’ve written about it before, in this blog. For that wedding, the dress code called for ”lounge suit” …which got me thinking 🤔 not everyone might know what that means, so lets start with approaching what you do select to wear with addressing the dress code.

Dress codes vary depending on where you live. Here in Australia, they usually fall under one of five categories. Black or White Tie, Formal, Cocktail, Lounge Suit or Smart Casual. And since my most recent invitations called for LS, let’s look into exactly what that is on this blog post. But before I do, I must say that there are two rules I follow when selecting an outfit. The first is I usually avoid the colours the Bride, Bridesmaids and Mothers of the Bride and Groom wear. Secondly, I always try and keep it relevant and appropriate within the dress code itself. For example, for the Wedding in which I wore the Zia Lozen dress, the Bride was Brazilian and asked guests to embrace colour. There were many Brazilian guests, plenty of latin dancing … imagine a carnivale atmosphere…. all dressed in their version of Lounge Suit. So I felt the above dress sophisticated enough but fun with the statement silver accessories I chose. You can see me in it all at the end 😉

So….. Lounge Suit ….it’s a loose term, but generally it means a suit and tie for men (how easy) and some sort of semi-formal outfit for women. I like it because it doesn’t have you falling into a frenzy about what to wear… let’s look at my interpretation of it….Firstly, depending on whether the event is during the day or evening will indicate the outfit length, heel height and type of fabric worn. During the day knee length works, with a flatter shoe and more relaxed fabric (and even perhaps a hat). For the evening the length could be longer and the heel higher – just an option and neither compulsory of course! For the Wedding I went to in the pic above, I mixed it with a just below the knee length dress and higher heel. Pant suits would be equally acceptable too – although I usually stick to a dress. With regards to fabric, I prefer soft silks or chiffons with small scale patterns. But that’s me and block colours would work just as well. Having said all of that, we are a pretty relaxed bunch down under and as long as it’s smart ”you’ll be right mate” 😉

But just for the fun of it, let’s take a look at some current designs ….

There is a lovely local store in my suburb called ASPIRATIONS, it’s been around for 25 years and has a great reputation for being a place to start looking for a dress for a wedding. If I was after a new dress for such an occasion, I would try these two dresses. I love the style -sleeve length and neckline ✔️, the on trend small scale florals ✔️, the soft flowy fabrics ✔️. Perfect for a Spring Garden Wedding! But they also have the added benefit of being able to be worn to so many other smart occasions. I also feel, while young and fun, I could still wear it well.


We are also spoilt with such great home grown designers on my local high street. CARLA ZAMPATTI is one. Although she recently passed away, her exquiste elegance in design continues, and her Waterfall Dress Collection is timeless. It’s a little more serious than the dresses above but I honestly think this dress could take you anywhere. In fact, I like to think of it as a perfect Mother of the Bride or Groom dress! Sophisticated but soft and feminine. I adore the navy.


Which is why Carla’s daughter BIANCA SPENDER is worth looking at as well. Personally, I love the Reflection Dress 🤍 but these structured designs are a nice alternative to it and the flowing ones I’ve shown above.


And of course, I have to mention ZIMMERMANN. Now this label is incredible! Not quite the small scale pattern kind of look I love 😂 … and you can definitely tell when someone is wearing one without looking at the label! But if you scroll their website, some of the designs fall in the dress code Lounge Suit. Like this and this. But because they have a large following and reputation for “unforgettable dresses” you’d be hoping no one else was wearing the same one, which is what happened when “The Accidental Stylist” Julia Perry wore the Zimmerman Billow dress to Lady Kitty Spencer’s Rome Wedding last year (she wrote about it on her IG page). Here she is in it alongside BFF Maye Musk in D&G … (anyone else just realise Maye is Elon’s mum 😳)…. btw, dress code for that was Black Tie….. aren’t these ladies fabulous? I’ve printed out this pic and popped it on my Future Board for my 60 and 70 year old self 🙏🏻


Which is why these statement dresses are often up for resale….. too noticeable to wear twice perhaps ? Speaking of secondhand, never discount this idea when searching for a dress to wear to a Wedding 😉 Vestiaire Collective has an amazing number and range.


No matter whether you decide on pattern or plain, I do think investing in a fabulous neutral shoe and clutch the perfect accessory to either. I wish I could find a pic of what Julia and Maye had on their feet. I’m guessing gold or nude for Julia and silver, gold or black for Maye 🤷🏼‍♀️ Don’t you just love the idea of always having a shoe/bag combination ready and waiting to go? No matter which dress you choose to wear. And because you always wear them, they become so comfortable 🙏🏻 I do, in-fact I find a metallic shoe and clutch bag are the perfect wedding accessory. Think of them as an elevated neutral…here’s mine 😉 All seasons old I’m afraid, but my bag is Olga Berg and my shoes Castaner. Great brands to start with… and btw, I always bring a sneaker to the reception to change into to dance in 😂


I also have quite a nice gold combination (both could be updated) that I used to style my Peacock Bloom Kimono Dress in back in 2020. Did I mention that there is a matching Kimono Jacket as well?


Gold shoes seem to be everywhere right now. So there’s a huge range out there if you want to jump straight in before your next invitation (there Is nothing worse than not finding what you are after when you need it). Here’s a few to start you dreaming…


And of course you’ll need a clutch, mine above has a chain, so doubles as a shoulder bag too. I like this idea….

I feel like I could keep going, this is so much fun! Probably because dressing this way doesn’t currently happen that often 😂 But perhaps it does for Cindy and Kim, so I can’t wait to find out what they have to say…but before you do, scroll down to see the outfit I wore to the last wedding replicated 😉

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: AW22 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge 🤎


Welcome to March’s SECONDHAND STYLE blog with myself and blogging buddy Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life! And this month we are going to talk about something completely different. A Capsule Challenge for April (great idea Jane 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻) ! In which we challenge ourselves (and maybe you would like to join in on INSTAGRAM ?) to gather 10 preloved items from our wardrobe and attempt to style them in as many outfits as possible. If you would like to join in the fun, simply use the hashtag (when posting a picture on IG) #SarahJaneCapsuleChallenge22 😉 …. and if you would like to comment on this blog, simply press the title of it now to open the page with the commenting option at the bottom.

Capsule Wardrobes are new to me. I don’t think I’ve ever really bought or worn them with that term in mind before. But as I was working my way through my wardrobe gathering the 10 (actually I ended up with 9) secondhand items to mix and match, I had a revelation. This really is how I approach packing whenever I go away. So I had some experience after all…. and this is how I approached it.

When I travel, I always start with knowing where I am going and what I am doing. This will tell me the weather I need to dress for and the styles I’ll need. Not quite what I’m doing this time, but as it’s now Autumn, I’ve based this capsule challenge on cooler clothes (think Melbourne Autumn/Winter) and style wise I’m going for everyday creative casual. Outfits that will suit occasions like a road trip, shopping, visiting an art gallery, lunching with friends, and dining out. Then I decide on a colour palette, and for this exercise I’ve gone with primarily browns and tans, with a touch of black 😳 and animal print 🐆 Using block colours always increases the ability for garments to mix and match and keeping any pattern small scale allows for repetition without making it obvious you’re wearing the same item twice. And since leopard is almost always a neutral, it tends to work with a lot. And for this month’s challenge I selected 9 items (jewellery, hosiery and sunglasses not included).

And here are the garments I selected:

  1. A pair of jeans, that I have had cropped, so they look more current,

2. A dress (which is black, perhaps a tad short, but for some reason i can’t part with),

3 & 4. 2 jumpers, a plain and a pattern,

5 & 6. 1 jacket and 1 gilet.

All are secondhand and vary in age from a few months to 10 plus years old in my wardrobe. I think you can already see from the photos how harmonious they are together.

And for the accessories:

7. 1 crossbody bag (that can double as a clutch),

8. 1 scarf,

9. 1 pair of 19 year old boots ( if I had a flat pair of #secondhand shoes that worked, I would have added them too..but to stay true to the theme I don’t).

Since Jane and I decided that jewellery and hosiery doesn’t count in this challenge, you may wear what you like, but to keep it simple, I’ve opted to repeat the brass jewels below, because that is what I would do if I took this capsule on a holiday.

Capsules help you get creative while simplifying things. They also allow you to create a Wabi Sabi look in your own style. I love that, less about what’s trending and more about what you love to wear… your style! And while I don’t really have a need for them everyday, I certainly love the idea. More so for me when I travel. Regardless, It’s been such fun! So I will enjoy sharing with you the 8 outfits I came up with on INSTAGRAM this month…. until then scroll down for my first look … and be sure to read what Jane is putting together by pressing on the link below:

Sarah xx

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

SIGNATURE STYLE: Readers and sunnies 🤓😎


Let me start by saying that at 55, I am finally finding that age-related long-sight (which is totally normal btw) has settled into my eyes and I am well and truly in need of a good pair of reading glasses no matter the near vision activity. And while my own experience currently requires the use of over the counter pairs, I am looking forward to reading what Cindy and Kim have to say, as i’m totally unsure where they are at (perhaps they wear prescription?) and on that I have so much to learn 🙏🏻 so please join me in reading their blogs after you read mine. And if you would like to leave a comment, press the title of this blog NOW so it will give you the commenting option at the end (hope that works in solving any problems that may have happened in the past 😉).

Welcome to March’s SIGNATURE STYLE! And as you know by now, it’s all about glasses. “Readers” as I call them, are my most recent accessory. I have three pairs, and somehow I manage to coordinate them with whatever I am wearing…. so lets run through the brand and shape that they are and what I think about them….


My first brand was and is (I still have 2 pairs) IPIZI. Designed in Paris, this brand seems to be sold everywhere, so it really is a great one to try before you buy. They have +1 to +3 reading glasses (normal and for screen and sun), plus 😎 sunglasses with and without magnification. They also have a eye magnification guide and face shape style guide on line if you are unsure where to start. I have found their frames flexible and light weight and the lens clear and easy to clean. There are many styles to choose from and are available in many colours. What made me try them first is their reasonable price point. My regular reading glasses are pictured above and below and cost $60 each.


But given a majority of my reading, blog writing and streaming is done on a screen, I did find myself in need of reading glasses with specially crafted lenses that block or filter out the blue light given off from digital screens. And I chose Caddis as they claim:

“Our frequency lenses block the most blue light (45%) at, and surrounding, the most harmful wavelength (455 nm) with a nearly clear lens (this is really hard to do).

Importantly, our frequency technology is engineered into the lens material. The blue light protection is infused in, not coated on. It won’t rub or scratch off. This alone is enough to make Frequency lenses better than any coated lens on the market.”

The primary benefit of this for me is that in reducing the high energy frequency that blue light emits, it enables the release of serotonin which in turn allows me to use a screen before bed. Of course, ultimately, no screen time before sleep would be more beneficial. So the following pair of glasses are my current ones:


I can’t quite remember how I came across the brand CADDIS. Perhaps it was on someone else 🤔 but what I loved was the frame thickness and colour. These definitely make more of a statement and because they are tortoiseshell in colour, they also seem to go with anything I wear so are often used as a regular reading glass instead of just a screen reader. They are marginally heavier than the IPIZI, definitely more rigid, but the lens clarity is comparable. The range isn’t as large, but it’s very different! My D 28’s were $149 and I wear these more than the others I own.

Which is why have these Caddis Miklos blue bloc readers on my radar, I just can’t decide which colour 😂 if the comments link works, i’d appreciate your input!

This brand and style also has magnification sunnies, so that’s something to think about for the next beach holiday 🤔 speaking of which, last year I wrote about Resort Wear. You can read that here. In it, I featured a pair of sunglasses that I actually bought myself. They are by Vilo:

Made sustainably from wood in New Zealand, they are lighter than plastic! and the lenses have amber polarised UV400 lenses to protect against harmful UVA/ UVB rays. This brand also has a range of blue bloc and glasses you can have your prescription made up in. And they weren’t that expensive at $129. Here I am in mine:


I’m not a frequent buyer of sunglasses or one that follows the “whats in” trend, so I tend to rotate the ones I already have. And since I’m somewhat of a collector, I have a few. Here are the ones on current rotation:

And while these are all old season and no longer available, here is a pair that have caught my eye….excuse the pun! I love the transparent look… they remind me a bit of the Caddis MIKLOS readers that I shared earlier. Perhaps that narrows down which readers I will get next …. definitely acetate 😂

And here is another pair that are quite lovely 😊 albeit, quite high end!


Gosh! If only my budget would allow for a major glasses overhaul 😂 but that’s not really what MY SIGNATURE STYLE is about … what is, is to wear what I have, and maybe put a pair on my wishlist, sit with it for a while and wait for the universe to deliver 😉. I wonder what Cindy and Kim’s SIGNATURE STYLE on glasses is.. let’s take a look 😊

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SECONDHAND STYLE: Treasure Hunting


Welcome 🙏🏻 This month, my SECONDHAND STYLE blogging buddy Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life became a Grandmother for the second time 😊 Congratulations Jane! So she is taking a break from writing to focus on what is really important! And as it’s just me, I thought I’d share some thoughts on how I find looking for secondhand (and all shopping really) like hunting for treasure 😉

Treasure Hunting is a wonderful expression. For me, it conjures up an adventure ! Which is one of the things I love the most about seeking anything secondhand. Whether it be the search for something I’ve seen on someone, or something for the home, there is definitely an excitement and a rush when embarking on it. As you never quite know what you will come across along the way or when you will actually find it 😂 …. which is a refreshingly good thing! Because in this world of instant gratification, seeking secondhand often brings patience and a “delay on getting things” back into my life. Which is treasure in itself 💛

I rarely embark on a treasure hunt without having a “so called” map. Which is where my Wishlist ( that I always talk about on IG ) comes in handy. Handwritten on a page in my filofax (yup, still use one!😂) are the sought after items …whether they be for my wardrobe or my home, I jot down specific things I’d like to bring in over time. None are urgently required, and they are definitely more wants than needs, but if I feel they would benefit me, they are put on my wishlist ! I find having a list in itself mindful as its something to refer to and reduces those random purchases 🙏🏻. And once an item is on it, what I choose to do, is sit with it, because sometimes that item isn’t what I was seeking after all and I mindfully remove it 😂 this also removes the urgent ”Ooohhh… want that” we all feel. But if some things stick (like the garments below), I actively embark on hunting them down. And over the past six months, I’ve happily managed to acquire three gems on the list, two have been found secondhand (and one new, although I did patiently wait 12 months for these to go on sale 😉) Of course, that doesn’t mean I always stick to the list… sometimes something just stops you in your tracks and you go WOW 🤩 like these gorgeous bangles I found at SAVERS:


The total of which cost me $17! Which of course, is the absolute bonus of waiting and buying preloved! It will be cheaper than RRP! And if you don’t stray too far from your style you will save money. See how well they accessorise with one of my fave dresses:


And as I’m getting wiser at purchasing less and better, I rarely make costly mistakes. I’m a stickler for the longevity of an item, so I always examine it carefully, read tags, and if online google alternatives and original prices. Remember, buying preloved doesn’t mean you have to settle with the quality! A great way to know what an item (or those like it) is worth is using a picture. I wrote about that here (it’s also about an item that wasn’t on the Wishlist 😉)

Two of the items on my Wishlist that I have crossed off over the last few months are these. The Zara gilet isn’t rare or new in design as I’ve seen it styled on many for a few years. It’s fabric composition is wool, viscose and polyester. Now I know this brand isn’t the highest quality, so to me, it’s something that certainly doesn’t warrant the original $219 RRP tag, and finally after about 12 months of coveting, last September, one came up on Depop, NWT 😳and in my size! You can imagine my excitement 😂 It was asking $100, I offered $90 and it was excepted! So I grabbed it!! YAY FOR ME ! I’m really looking forward to wearing it (with a top underneath…not just a bra 😂) as its a great alternative to a coat!

And it will look so cool over the Ganni turtleneck that I have coveted many times on my SIGNATURE STYLE blogging pal Cindy Hattersley (so it came recommended)….which is now mine! Well, it’s in the mail, as it only hit my radar last Sunday. Again, purchased on Depop, I offered $10 less than the asking price, and it was accepted. I am super looking forward to it. I continually wear turtlenecks throughout the cooler months, so to know that I will have this one in my repertoire is GOLD!

So waiting patiently and choosing to treasure hunt vs. racing to retail cost me $169 instead of $414. But it’s not just about the price, it’s also fun! Checking in on secondhand sites, perusing the charity racks for the exact or similar is a kind of game. It keeps me focused on what would add value to my wardrobe while waiting patiently delays the gratification which somehow makes them something I will treasure!

I’m not quite sure when my next gem will be mined although I do currently have one item on my Wishlist (a midi length silk or cotton slip in a skin tone). I have located one new, but as there is no urgency, I might just treasure hunt it instead 😉

If you would like to leave a comment, press on the article’s title and you should be able to at its end.

Sarah xx


SIGNATURE STYLE: Leopard is a neutral 🐆

My new “old” leopard coat !

Welcome to the February SIGNATURE STYLE blogpost with Cindy, Kim and I. Thanks for stopping by and reading what all of us have to say 🙏🏻 And i’m thrilled we are writing about leopard print this month as I am a bit fond 😂 but isn’t everyone? If you look at what is in the stores, you would think the world is leopard mad! But it hasn’t always been that way…

So here’s a little story of how I fell for it and it only happened about 10 years ago. (And keep in mind, back then here wasn’t an awful lot of leopard print around except on old ladies and cushions 😂) I was only 45 and my style was quite different to how it is today. I wore a lot of black… as did my then business partner. She thought it elegant, chic and the simple backdrop in clothing needed to work in the Interior Design industry. (That way anything we showed clients wouldn’t clash). But what she always did, was add a bit of leopard … because as she always said “leopard is a neutral” … scarves, a cuff, a coat, a blouse, a shoe… there was always “just a bit” and the result was pure sophistication. And I was sold! I wanted that, albeit, my twist was more rock chick than her Euro Chic 😂


This does not mean I own a ton of it nor wear it head to toe, but whenever I do slip on a leopard garment, I can’t do so without thinking of Isabella 😍 So when I purchased this old season Top Shop coat (for $50) in the top pic secondhand recently, I knew she’d approve. And it would definitely work with one of her all black ensembles! But as you know, I’ve said goodbye to most of my black so using my existing wardrobe, I’m wondering if I can style it a few ways to look more Euro chic than rock chick 😂

For my first look, I’ve gone for an everyday run around outfit. Trainers, leather leggings and an oversized knit. All great for a cooler day indoors, then throw on the leopard coat to jazz it up with a pop of pattern when you head out…


And for work…i’d choose similar colours. Black bottoms, but this time a pair of culottes. A lovely merino wool turtle neck and some flat boots (also purchased secondhand.. you can read about how I bought those HERE 😉). It’s a little more tailored…


And for the evening I’ve pulled out an ancient dress. I really like the pattern and texture clash between the dress and the coat. The dress however is no longer my best length so it’s since been put in my alteration pile as I think it may make a great blouse, with the belt as a pussy bow …. unless I can find another secondhand somewhere to add an extra tier🤔


If you do happen to like this coat, you may find it on a secondhand site. I actually saw the exact same one on the UK Depop site while writing this. It may have gone by now. Alternatively, there is a similar one HERE, but its way more expensive and more blue than grey. Regardless, its a very common leopard print, colourway and style, so it wouldn’t be hard to replicate. And you can always use my image in the top pic and ”shop it with the google lens” in the GOOGLE APP. I wrote about how you can do this on my last blog post that you read HERE.

The wonderful thing about leopard print is that it is now a staple, so will now never look ”old lady” or strictly be for cushions 😂… and below are a few of my previously shared looks that I will continue to wear and repeat 🐆😊 Interestingly, all are for the cooler weather 🤔


Which made me take a look at my Summer wardrobe…. and I only have one garment, a blouse, which you can watch me style in this video:

Now … I do wonder what my blogging pals have to say:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

SAVVY STYLE: SHOPPING HACK: through the google lens 😉

Do you shop through GOOGLE? Chances are you’ve typed into the search bar what you are looking for. But have you tried shopping by adding a specific image of what you are after instead ? I was shown how to do this late last year, and now before I buy anything online I use ”shopping through the google lens” as a research tool. I use it to see if there are similar items are out there on line, to see whose copying what and of course price comparison! It’s taken a while for me to share this SHOPPING HACK as it’s NOT the most ethical way to purchase. But when I did in fact get ”influenced” by this faux leather leopard coat recently, I thought, in order to remain authentic I would share. Plus, I believe that as consumers we need to SHOP SMART, so we can be as savvy as we can about what and how we purchase. Some may love this hack, some may hate it. Regardless, I didn’t create it and it’s savvy. And please, no judging comments on my FF purchase, I may be a mindful shopper, but I never said I was perfect.

I’m not particularly techie, so I’m going to go through, step by step how I “shopped it through the google lens” (and for those much better at technology than me, apologies for the basics in advance 😉).

First, go to the App Store and download the GOOGLE APP.

Then open the App (press on it) and you will see this page.

Pressing on the camera button will open up your photos, so you can either select one from your screenshots, images ….or… you can also take a photo here of what’s in front of you should you be in a shop (but forget about that last bit for this exercise… and it may be a tad rude doing it in front of the salesperson). I’m going to insert the circled image.

And when you do press on the image, it opens it up in Visual Matches in ”Search”. If you slide the words to the left, you will find the ”Shopping” option…

Then you can swipe up and look at the options. For what I was looking for, the difference in price was crazy. $327 AUD (minus 10% for the influencer’s discount) plus shipping from CANADA or $86 AUD plus shipping from CHINA. And it looks like exactly the same coat. I’m unsure as to whether the fast fashion Chinese Brand copied it, or whether the Canadian Brand bought from a Chinese supplier. But given neither of the two sites I visited had any details on the fabric or where it was made, the latter seems most likely…if so, it’s really just a piece of Fast fashion 🤔 albeit a WOW piece in my eyes (on screen anyway) 🤩

The problem I have buying from the cheaper brand like this, apart from the obvious, is that you can’t try before you buy, so you have no idea if what you will get matches the image. For example, the item description said snakeskin, but the image is clearly a leopard 🤷🏼‍♀️ Delivery times may also differ significantly, since the Chinese brands may not have it made and wait until they get a certain number of orders before they bulk sew. And sometimes they cancel your order as they didn’t get enough interest and can’t fulfil it. It’s how they roll… 😏 But of course, if you pay more by opting for the other brand, this shouldn’t happen.

However, a couple of years ago, I did buy a similar style PU trench in a snakeskin from a small local boutique. You can see it below… and please excuse the poor styling, this was at the beginning of my IG style journey (I like to think I’ve come a long way since then 😉) After “shopping through the google lens” I’ve found it’s also available this way. I can imagine that the above leopard would be of similar quality in it’s fabric, stitching and size. I’ll let you know IF it ever arrives 😂 and if you like “leopard” 🐆 watch out for next week’s SIGNATURE STYLE blogpost 😉

Sarah x

SAVVY STYLE: Shopping

Welcome back to another blogpost on how I look at my life to make me feel good. And today I’m tackling the pillar that really grew SLS, so I hope you like what I have to say now I’ve pivoted 😂 once again 🙄, although its more of a 350/360 degree pivot as it’s brought me back to being the mindful stylist … so with that in mind, lets talk SHOPPING!

Tackling being the appropriate verb 😩 as I have (until now) had a love/hate relationship with SHOPPING, from how I see it on instagram (don’t start me on the haul mentality) and it’s contribution to our over consuming world, to my own flawed ”add to cart” moments and serious fashion influencing over the last 18 months (yes, I am guilty of contributing to the problem). So the new year has me slowing it right down and questioning my intentions on what I should buy (and share with you) SHOPPING wise. And this little blog is simply about that, written down (primarily for my very cool ethical daughters to read in the future), but in the mean time, hopeful some of what I say and do resonates with you, so together we can all be the change we need to see. This is the beginning of my own return to SLOW fashion (albeit wabi-sabi) story 😊


Slow Fashion is an approach to producing clothes which takes into consideration all aspect of the supply chain and in doing so aims to respect people, the environment and animals. It also means spending more time on the design process, ensuring that each piece of apparel is quality made. It is the exact opposite of Fast Fashion. What I love, other than all of the above, is that it teaches you to be more thoughtful and intentional about your clothing. More mindful styling… 🙏🏻

Thanks MsBeltempo 🙏🏻


I’ve already written about RELOVE and about WEARING here. With all this in mind… it’s Slow Fashion that makes me “feel good” about shopping “new” as my style is NOT ALL about wearing what you have or buying PRELOVED clothing. Although they are my ”go to” and I always feel good about those 😍 I also love to hunt down new WOW garments in my colour and style that flatter me and coordinate with my current carefully curated closet 🙏🏻 So my aim is to share some small amazing designers out there, who use quality, ethically sourced fabrics, and pay their workers a fair wage. And today I’m going to talk about Catherine Murphy The Label.

I’ve never met Catherine. And until early 2018, I wasn’t even aware of her brand, despite her being a Melbournian who’s been in the industry for more over 20 years! But one day on my local high street a dress caught my eye in a small boutique. The attention to detail blew me away, the cut, the embroidery, the scalloping, the contast fabrics in body and fluted sleeve. The silhouette that hugs the bust, but covers it, the high waist that makes my legs look longer and the A-line skirt that skims the hips. And not much volume, which I’m learning suits me more than the tiered dress I often lean towards. No alteration needed (which is rare) and after a quick try on, I was sold, not on one but these two dresses. It’s like her designs are made for me!


Since then, I’ve followed her designs each season and luckily picked up another forever dress at the end of 2020. Even more forever since I dyed it Dylon Expresso Brown 😉


But let’s look at the Catherine Murphy story, because as you all know, I like to connect my clothes to the people who design and make them. Catherine designs for the luxe bohemian, which as I age, is how I like to feel. (Although, I do not see any 50 plus models on her site 🤔) She definitely has quality made garments, in exquisite natural fabrics with sophisticated details. She uses local artisans and manufacturers limited quantities of each size here in Melbourne. All of which I love 🙏🏻 It may bring the price up (although keep in mind, there are other Aussie brands that mass produce offshore with similar prices), but I would rather own less by buying better, knowing that these garments in my wardrobe are thoughtfully made and then mindfully purchased to serve my style well over time. And personally, i’d rather rewear one Catherine Murphy dress like this, than alternate four disposable mass produced chain store ones (which I have in the past).

Having mentioned price. Lets talk SHOPPING her brand. I did actually purchase all mine on sale from small local boutiques. So I’m currently looking for her stockists to keep my eye on their sales. Their sales will often differ to those from the designer’s own website. Although, I’m not having much luck, so I’m beginning to think she may only sell direct now 🤔 The SALE section on the CM website currently includes Summer season. It only just started.( So I’m making a note of the date to see if a pattern forms… that’s savvy 😉) But remember, given the limited quantities of each dress made, size may be an issue if you do wait ! Which is why 10% off full price from her website for first time orders appeals for new season. Some stockists may have this offer too. But this doesn’t mean that i’ve given up on prelove, as I also have Catherine Murphy as a “saved search” on eBay just incase any older season comes up or someone else’s wrong size purchase works in my favour. I’m currently contemplating this ONE. It is very old season, but timeless in my mind. And quite iconic given it was worn by Nina Proudman in Offspring 😂 I feel confident bidding on this because I know the quality will be great, I know how her style suits me, I know my colours and I now know my size in her brand. I absolutely love SHOPPING all these ways because it’s just so savvy 😉


So wish me luck🤞🏻…. and on that note, I’m so looking forward to what CM creates for AW22 😊

If this way to shop does in fact resonate with you, why not look at a garment you adore in your wardrobe and research who designed and made it and see if buying from them makes you feel good 😉 If it does… why not get on board with shopping the savvy style way?

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: Accessories 😊


I am crazy about accessories! Jewellery, Bags, Belts, Shoes, Scarves, Hats … well maybe I’m slowly getting there with hats… 😂 But I’m all in when it comes to the others and I always have been. In fact, since I find a great accessory can either make or break an outfit, I’m always on the lookout for something different . And one way to find that is to shop secondhand! So welcome to a SECOND HAND STYLE blogpost on just that! Well at least the Jewellery bit for now 😉 and what and where I look for my costume jewellery. And be sure to read what my secondhand blogging buddy Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life has to say about her secondhand accessories after reading this 😊

A mix of secondhand on the lid of my secondhand (hand me down) jewellery box 😊

You can find secondhand accessories everywhere. And a great place to start is your local thrift shop. It truly is a treasure trove for costume jewels, as it seems people are more than ready to discard them! In fact, I really have no idea why you would want to look anywhere else for fun but cheap bangles, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches and the like. Those discount mass produced pieces you find at your nearest Westfield make it to your local secondhand shop pretty quickly. And if you are a jewellery creator like me, you will find all kinds of beads and pendants you can pull apart and redesign. Just like the pieces below. I use my tools, and then mix bits and bobs from various jewels to create bespoke pieces. What is becoming harder to find at these stores though is quality retro or vintage, (although some shops do) and these you will usually find behind glass and you will pay accordingly. But its always good to look. And remember..all proceeds go to charity!


I do find quite a few quirky jewellery pieces at local markets. Think trash and treasure, car boot sales, garage/yard sales. The price may be a tiny bit more than the charity shop, but the quality is usually a little better. And don’t be afraid to barter here! What I find are items that people don’t necessarily want to give away, but because they are here to make money, they may take a little bit off the asking price. Although you will get some people reselling what they have bought at Op shops. So be prepared for that and keep your eyes open for something different. I found this lovely brass statement necklace at my neighbourhood market one Sunday morning years ago. It gets worn often and I can never imagine not having it as an option. The other I made with a pendant I found 😊


I also have a thing for Ebay 😂 I have shopped it more than any other secondhand online platform. The only downfall is that you don’t actually get to see before you buy, so I tend to stick to brands I know. The giraffe patterned bangle in the top picture was bought on Ebay, it’s Mimco and was relatively cheap. I have a thing for what you could call neck plates. Large necklaces that cover part of the chest. Sometimes they are on trend, sometimes not. But I keep mine handy and wear them regardless as I find them handy when a garment’s neckline doesn’t suit. They can be a bit pricey new, so I have found shopping old season on Ebay a great way to build my collection at a fraction of the price.


Another place I look for secondhand jewellery is Designer Recycle stores, although I have only ever bought one necklace this way. And while it still wasn’t cheap, it was significantly less expensive than new. You have to be careful here and always ask for authenticity. This is my Marni necklace. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it before I had any idea of its brand. And I think it makes this outfit.

And then of course there are Antique Jewellers, Auction Houses and Pawn Brokers where there are many bargains to be had! Although they tend to focus on valuable secondhand jewellery rather than costume. I actually have a secret to share here about my own engagement ring….. yup! It is actually secondhand! I don’t think I’ve told many people that 😳

And lastly, inherited pieces 😊 jewels worn by loved family members and now by you. I am lucky enough to have such pieces and I adore the stories I have discovered behind every one. In fact, I must write them down as it can be hard knowing all the details because it’s usually too late to ask. Take the watch in the top picture. It was my paternal Grandmother’s but that’s all I know 😢

The lovely thing about buying secondhand is that there are so many different ways to do it. Not to mention the bargain factor, that I have actually mentioned all the way through 😂Regardless, what I love the most is the fun had while doing it….you never really know what you’re going to find. Sometimes nothing, sometimes treasure … which is actually what next month’s topic might be on 😉 But until then, join me in popping over to read what Jane has to say.

Sarah xx

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?