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…
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 😊
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 😉
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 😉
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:
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:
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 😊
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.
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:
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 😉
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… 🙏🏻
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?
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 😊
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.
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!
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:
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”!
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!
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 😊
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 😉
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 😉
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!
NOW BE SURE TO READ WHAT THESE TWO STYLISTAS HAVE TO SAY:
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 😊
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…
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 😉
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
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 ☺️
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.
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?
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?
Yup! Loose and flowing 😉 I’m wearing a simple 100% organic cotton sleeveless dress, cut well to skim the curves and give me shape. But it benefits from the added layering of this faded denim jacket to add warmth and detail on a cooler Summer morning. But when removed, the simple accessories I have on are enough. A necklace from a friend and collected brass bangles and earrings. In fact, i’m thinking this jacket could look equally cool tied around the waist of this dress. I could have worn open toe sandals but what I’m discovering is a pointed neutral mule elongates my leg, even as a flat! And because its Summer, shades are always needed…
Which brings me to Autumn. And for this season, i’m wearing one of my favourite go-to dresses (another trans seasonal garment). Its 100% merino wool and perfect as it breathes beautifully when warm and keeps you cosy when its cool. It’s quite traditional in style. But by adding my denim jacket, a scarf in complimentary colours but in a leopard print and an ankle boot gives it an edge.
I adore this denim jacket, and I’m so thrilled I’ve explored a few new ways to wear it with my wardrobe. I also love that I had the patience and luck to find it secondhand. Why anyone would ant to get rid of it is beyond me 😂 now I wonder what Jane is planning on styling over four seasons? Let’s press the link below and see 😊
If the most important “lifestyle pillar” to feel good each day is the amount and type of sleep you get the night before, the second most important must be what you eat, drink, and choose to partake in nutritionally. For lack of a better term I’m calling it INTERNAL NOURISHMENT. I didn’t come up with it, I read a chapter about this in Radical Beauty (the same book my GGS – Glowing Green Smoothie comes from, which is old, so look for it secondhand 😉) and I liked the sound of it. And so, I’m making it the number 2 pillar of my own #feelgoodplan. A plan that has me notating the touchpoints in my lifestyle that keep me feeling light, energised and on an even keel while I navigate these mid life years and beyond.
But first, my DISCLAIMER: I am by no means medically trained. And I would always recommend you visit your GP or specialist before embarking on any nutritional or supplemental changes. I visit mine regularly, and did back in July. I had a physical including my full bloodwork done. I actually do this every year as a preventative. (Although I’m going back early November to follow up on my Calcium and Iron – both of which I was instructed to take as supplements 😉). That said, this makes my #feelgoodplan purely personal, and I’m simply writing down what I have done and am doing to feel better, during perimenopause.
We all know that what we eat effects us physically. It shows in our ability of sleep, our energy levels, how our skin and hair looks and how our clothes fit. But what I’m really interested in is how it affects my mood. The Gut-Mind Connection. And what I have discovered is that when I pay particular attention to that connection, it tells me when what I eat makes me feel good and when I feel blah ! So thanks to this plan of mine, I’m finally writing down what I find works for me. Let’s call it (thanks to Sheri Salata from the no longer podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – which I sorely miss!) creating a ”feel good recipe” for my own life. And as I run through mine, please think about your own….
I am a vegetarian. Eating animals isn’t my thing. I am not a Vegan but eating plants makes me feel great! Especially the home grown organic type (thanks Dad 🙏🏻). I get the connection between man and the earth, the care and time involved in the planting and growing, and looking at it this way, instantly makes me feel good! (Bring on my move to a small cottage by the sea with kitchen garden 😉) So it’s what I go with! But in perimenopause, I’m aware that increasing my phytoestrogens (plant oestrogen) intake can only benefit my own hormonal loss during this stage, so I try to include these as often as I can. My faves being tofu, soy milk, quinoa, LSA, and chickpeas. Which means for brunch, which I usually eat mid to late morning, (after my walk) in addition to my usual three veggies and eggs, I’ll add seeds and nuts in some form. This is by far my favourite meal of the day….probably because its when I’m most hungry. While TRE (time restricted eating) or IF (intermittent fasting) is something I try to do, I’m not extreme and find an 8am to 7pm eating window works for me naturally.
I then usually have a smoothie (the GGS – with an added nutritional benefit of a GLOW supplement) and a protein ball or slice mid afternoon ( please see Emma Bardwell’s recipes below). As I am a recovering sugar addict, the choc on top was my idea 😂, but it is 70% dark – I find the Lindt Smooth Blend the best. Eating these curb my desire for the over processed alternatives that I occasionally when tired or stressed.
In fact, I’ve let go of a lot of processed foods over the last 5 years and my mind and body thank me for it everyday. I love this quote from Amelia Freer’s “Cook. Nourish. Glow.” It’s an older book, so again you could probably find it secondhand.
And then dinner is usually early, focusing again on plants and oestrogen rich foods. My kids laugh at me saying eating at 5 or 6pm is for oldies 😂 little do they realise its a perimenopausal superpower! In fact WHEN you eat is just as important, perhaps even more so, than WHAT you eat. Its all about circadian rhythm and I can’t recommend Dr Satchin Panda’s book on this subject enough! My main aim in navigating this second half of my life is to eat less and lighter as it’s my belief it will age me well 😊
Another perimenopausal superpower is to cut down on alcohol and caffeine. Which, fortunately doesn’t affect me, as I haven’t had either for years. No alcohol for nearly 19 years or coffee for almost 11 or is it 12… 🦸🏼♀️ But what I really need to focus on is my water intake. It’s so easy for me to forget this simple feel good tip. So I’ve reintroduced an old habit and am now starting my day with hot water and lemon. It hydrates me first thing, aids my digestion (I don’t have any reflux issues) and extends my IF until my first cup of tea (low caffeine with soy milk). Water and tea, thats pretty much me 😉
Which brings me to supplements. Something that should be taken with expert advice. And often hours apart from each other and sometimes with or without food to increase their absorption. There is a mine field of info out there, and there are side effects to all, so I’m not going to go into everything I take or in what dose. However, I did mention in my last blog that I found Evening Primrose Oil beneficial to relieving my night sweats. And since they have gone away for the moment, I’ve stopped taking them. (EPO, I’ve read, can thin the blood, should not be taken two weeks before a general anaesthetic and should not be taken by people with seizure disorders – which reinforces the importance of taking it under supervision). The other supplement I mentioned taking was a powder that I add to my GGS. It’s called GLOW. It was recommended to me by a friend who had noticed an improvement in her hair (among other things) while on it. And since my hair is definitely thinning thanks to perimenopause, I bought some. I’m currently taking it every second day until I see my Doctor next month. So watch this space…
And that ladies, pretty much sums up my own “internal nourishment” plan . Do I follow this perfectly? No 😬and everyday? No 😬 but I try, I’m only human and often fall off, however, it’s just so great knowing what I can do to get back to feeling fab again. If the only thing you get from this is to look at your own lifestyle and think of ways you can improve it to ”feel good” that’s fantastic! Because that’s what I’m all about.
I’m so glad I managed to coax my “Signature Style” Pals Cindy and Kim into talking leather this month 😊 as it’s a material I have worn since I was 18. My first ever leather garment (other than shoes 😉) was a pair of leather pants I bought on The Queensway in Bayswater, London back in 1984. How I wish I had them now.. they were stunning! High waist, front pleats, rollable cuff and oh so soft…my daughters would love them ! But they were sold to a recycle boutique a few years later so I could purchase a secondhand electric blue pair (another pair I wish I still owned) 😳 I don’t have a pic of those, but here’s a younger me in my black ones (below left) … proving I’ve never been shy of the camera 😂 btw, I’m happy to say I still have 3 of those bangles and the watch on my arm…and I still wear them! I can still remember where and when I got them all. Brass and Gold from the Camden Market, Ivory bangle from Hong Kong and the watch was left to me by my Grandma (who, btw, I believe is the Orb you see in so many of my IGTV’s 😉). I just love that connection to clothes and jewellery that I have. But I digress, back to leather…
Between the ages of 18-38 I owned several leather jackets and skirts. All resold 😬 But over the last 17 years, I have been more mindful and kept all the leather pieces I have purchased. Even the 2004 black leather skirt that no longer fits! My youngest daughter is keen to have this too-small for me leather skirt altered for herself, which I love since I wore it to her Christening (see above right)! In the pic below I’m wearing a coat I bought in, i think, 2004. A bit tight, but still looking good! I have, however, also owned faux leather… many pairs of shoes in my youth but only two garments … one was a pair of navy Zara pants. They looked great for a short time, but I found the colour wore away in the creases, so they made it to landfill after a season 😬 and the second, a snakeskin trench which is still with me.
So which do I feel better about owning and purchasing? Faux or Real? There is definitely a tug of war in my head when it comes to this as I don’t think the choice is simple…
Faux leather, or pleather doesn’t harm animals directly and its strong and durable. However, the production of it creates the same nasty chemicals produced in plastic 😬 it can also shed harmful micro-plastics into the environment, which we ingest and when discarded, it never breaks down! Plant based leather on the other hand, is made from agricultural waste. No animals are harmed in its production, it is made from a renewable source and it breaks down back into organic matter. Unfortunately it’s not readily available (I haven’t seen any 😳), can sometimes smell and no one yet knows about its long term durability. Real leather on the other hand is made from skins of animals. Cows, calf, lamb, and goat ☹️ Technically, they are a co-product of the meat and dairy industries, not a by-product. Traditional tanning produces toxic waste that makes it into our waterways and vegetable tanning while less toxic, still is! However, it is a natural material that degenerates into organic matter and its durable.
You decide where all that leaves you. The best thing for me to do, is wear what I have and wear it sustainably, meaning “for a very long time”. And if I do chose a new piece, perhaps i’ll look at secondhand first. And if not, at least look for ethically made and sourced real leather.
Which makes my recent sharing of the small Melbourne based leather business Raw by Raw a leather company for me. They are small, they are family based, they are true artisans, they source ethically from a company they have dealt with for years (who have ISO accreditation) and they make right here in Melbourne. No mass production. No fast fashion. Just timeless styles that are wardrobe builders. I already had a pair of their pants, an amazing casual style, that I purchased earlier this year. These are called the Frankie Jogger, they are leather at the front (lined) and a ponty fabric at the back, so they are stretchy, but mould to your shape perfectly and are very comfortable. I bought the Sapphire (a navy- the ones on the left) to replace the faux Zara pair but they are also available in black and olive. Definitely a “buy once, buy well” item, and I must say, I feel incredible in them ! So far, I have worn them in Autumn, Winter and Spring. I’m really liking the idea of trying to wear them casually, like a cotton, linen or denim pant so the outfit on the right with trainers and a tee is quite timeless!
And I was lucky enough to be able to share these gorgeous items from them on IGTV, which I worked as suits in three colour ways. The leather suit.. I actually love that idea!
And if you take another look at my jackets in the first photo, you will see I own the Adeline Jacket in Autumn Leaves (which is an olive) and the same colour in the York Culotte.
Now why not pop on over to see what Cindy and Kim have to say on leather in their SIGNATURE STYLE blog post…
When I turned 50 I deliberately made changes to my lifestyle to feel good. I’d hit midlife and knew that if I didn’t become more informed, adjust my mindset and switch up a few habits, the side effects of ageing and the inevitable hormonal symptoms of Menopause may prove a challenge. Which, coincidentally, I have read in Liz Earle’s Book “The Good Menopause Guide”, is key prior to peri- menopause, as making certain changes will help to balance your hormones when going through it. So this is the first of a few blog posts on what I’ve done and continue to do. I’ll call it “Menopausal Musings”, because I find the topic thought provoking and one I often reflect on. Plus, i love a bit of preventative medicine! Disclaimer here, I am by no means an expert on this subject. At least not for others, but I do like to think I am becoming one on it for myself. To pinch a phrase from Sheri Salata (of the now defunct podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – still available, and I do recommend you give it a listen 😉), over the last 5 years I’ve become the “CEO of my own life”, aka ”getting my s*#t together”, and its actually been as powerful as the role sounds.
But before I start, a little background on my menopausal journey to date. I’m now 54 years and 9 months and still officially peri-menopausal. (My Mum hit menopause at 56 – i mention this as while not always an indicator, it’s good to know, as is the fact that the average peri-menopause is 4 years) And until now, I have had very few signs that my body is changing. At 50, I still had a regular monthly cycle. Everything was as it should be 😂 At 51, I noticed that my reading vision started to go (apparently a sign of peri- menopause), but my sleep was still fine. At 52 and 53, i missed one of twelve cycles each year (another sign) and my “readers vision” increased from a plus one to a plus one point five, otherwise all good, with occasional sleepless nights. So I had very few sleep issues to speak of, but at the end of August, at the age of 54 and 8 months I started to experience first hand what they call ”night sweats” (my “oh no 😫” moment). I started waking up several times a night feeling incredibly hot and then, when I fell back to sleep, a hot sweat would wake me again. It was something I had read about, but fortunately, until now, had never experienced. Sleep has been one of my lifestyle focuses for the last 5 years, and after trial and error, I am a strict 9.30pm to 6.30am gal. It’s what I thrive on! So to have this happen, literally exhausted me…I stopped exercising, reached for sugar (the worst kind- Cadburys Turkish Delight 😩) and I just felt incredibly flat and out of control. After about a week of this, I decided to experiment with everything I had read, listened to, seen and heard from girlfriends and family members over the last 5 years or so and actually write down and create my own menopausal #feelgoodplan ! Touch points I can follow everyday to keep me from feeling like i did a month ago…
This post is all about Sleep, the first and most important Pillar for me in feeling good. For years I have said that if i don’t get a good nights sleep the following day is never my best, so I was thrilled to hear Matthew Walker, the worlds leading expert on Sleep state that “Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health”. I discovered him on my all time favourite podcast ” Feel Better, Live More” with Dr Rangan Chaterjee. Another amazing recommended listen! I have Matthew’s bestselling book “Why We Sleep” on order. You could alternatively, get it from your own book supplier…
What I do know is that if I don’t get my 9 hours in bed and at least 8 hours sleep, preferably at the same time each night (great for your circadian rhythms including body temp regulation 😉 – please read Dr Satchin’s Book for further details), I am a mess the day after 😫 and no matter my best intentions, it’s so much easier to slip and fall off my #feelgoodplan leaving me feeling far from how I want to. I’ve actually got into some pretty good habits to encourage a good nights sleep. My bedroom is cool, I have a fan circulating the air all night, my bedding and sleepwear is 100% cotton (even the doona insert), I don’t drink alcohol or do caffeine, I generally eat early, usually finishing by 7pm, wear blue blocking glassses if on a screen before bed, stop everything at 9pm and begin a bedtime ritual. This includes some bathroom self care (i’ll go into what i use on another post) a mist of Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on my pillow and a book… all which worked perfectly well until the menopausal night sweats! So what I’ve introduced recently is taking 2 Evening Primrose Capsules at 7 o’clock. It was recommended to me by a naturopath at my local chemist. The brand I’m taking is Medi Herb and it looks like it’s a practioner only brand. Plant based, it can help with the hormonal imbalance that causes hot flashes in menopause. After googling the side effects and ensuring that they wouldn’t interact with the other supplements I take (I always take my supplements separately and at least 2 hours apart), I decided to start a low dose. Currently that dose is 2 x 100mg tabs. Very low, given the recommendation on the packet is 3 tabs and the RDD is 500mg. Of course, please consult your own specialist if you consider taking this. But so far, its been remarkable. I haven’t had a night sweat since 😳
But its not really all that simple… there is so much science involved, which to be honest, I’m not trained to comment on as it loses me 😬 But what i do know is that to manage my sleep and the hormonal imbalance that causes temperature chaos during menopause, among other things, there are other lifestyle changes i’ve made and follow that help. A big one is what I call my “Internal Nourishment”, aka Diet, which is Pillar 2 of my #feelgoodplan. And this has so many positives for a woman of a certain age. But that will be lengthy, so I’ll save it for another post 😉
“This shirt is old and faded, All the colours have washed away, I’ve had it now for more damn years, That i can count anyway, I wear it beneath my jacket, With the colour turned up high, So old I should replace it, But im not about to try…”
These are the lyrics to the first verse of Mary Chaplin Carpenter’s beautiful song “The Shirt” and the inspiration for this month’s ”Secondhand Style” blog post with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life. It’s a meaningful tale and if you listen in full, its all about how the most ordinary object (a shirt) can hold meaning, memory and emotion (Chapin’s words). Which has me thinking about my own and the garments that have been with me on my journey so far. Are you like that? Sentimental about what you have worn at certain times in your life or garments that have a story of their own? Perhaps you have a shirt? or a pair of shoes? I most certainly attach feelings and memories to the clothes in my wardrobe.. which may explain why i rarely rid myself of any 🤔 but what i thought i’d talk about is a piece i featured on IGTV last year, but have never written about. And since I print each of my blogs out and place them in a file marked: For Annabel and Penelope, “So you thought you knew your mother”, I thought this the perfect opportunity 😂
This coat is not mine, I am just it’s custodian, and have been for a year of so. This coat belongs to my eldest daughter. Last year, after the passing of her Grandmother, my mother-in-law, the emptying of her wardrobe was the emotional task beautifully and meaningfully undertaken by her daughter. At the end of which she thought it would be nice if family and close friends perhaps look at her clothing and choose a piece or two. I took my daughters with me and we each chose a piece. My youngest and I have a bag. Annabel chose this coat, of which i will now tell you what I know….
My husband’s Aunt actually inherited the coat from her Mother-in-law, who, to keep it simple is my daughter’s Great Grandma. (And then gifted it to my Mother-in-law) Her name was Dulcie and this is the story of Dulcies’s coat. Dulcie was a great lady, who loved the best of everything. Tall, beautiful and vivacious, no one enjoyed a party like she did (my late father-in-law’s words about his Mother), she always had a ciggie in one hand and a G & T in the other. She was a Melbourne socialite who married into a successful and very hard working large Irish-Australian Family. The same family I married into. Actually, they are more than a family, they are a CLAN!!
And as a member of Melbourne’s high society, Dulcie had her clothes made by dressmakers. I’ve tried to find out about the maker Diedre Anita Reynolds, but to no avail. Although the address is quite exclusive, so i’m imagining the process involved pattern sketches, fabric selection and perhaps a few other garments ordered at the same time. The coat itself is exquisitely made. The fabric is a heavy weave, lined in the most stunning red, and there is a hand stitched hem. The pattern matching is impeccable! Oh those were the days! Pure couture!
While Dulcie loved to party, play tennis and golf, she was also married to a man who was keen on horse racing. He owned many horses and raced them in Grand Nationals, Steeples and even The Melbourne Cup. The reason i tell you this , is that I can imagine Dulcie wearing this coat trackside. Perhaps a scarf covering her ears to keep out the cold and large sunnnies to disguise the hungover eyes from the fun had the night before….Looking quite the lady I imagine, with her stature and elegant coat as she watched the trainers run their horses. No one in the family can verify this, but its a nice image in my mind. And its how i think of her when i put it on. When I am “wearing clothes that tell a story…”
And for a little more style inspiration, here’s the beginning of the IGTV i featured last year…
I’ll put the full episode up in stories on Instagram.
So, while this post isn’t about my own clothes memories, it has now become so. I’ve attached meaning, memory and emotion to ” Dulcie’s Coat”. A garment that spoke to my daughter and now its story will continue….
I wonder how Jane will interpret Mary Chapin Carpenter’s words. Why not pop on over to her blog now by clicking on the link below..
We are halfway through the first month of Spring! Yay! Warmer weather is on the way 😊 and i just realised that i haven’t written much about what’s been going on behind the scenes of my little Insta page…
The biggest change social media wise is that I’ve taken myself off all platforms except this blog and Instagram. I felt like i was spreading myself too thin and I wanted to claim some “real life” back. I even took the month of August off from shopping and ”sharing” new product. This gave me time to step away, go within, think and reevaluate why i spend so much of my time on here and what i want to achieve from it. I needed the break to do this. I felt like i was on a hamster wheel…does that make sense? Share, style, promote, share, style, promote … you get my drift. And while I know that is how I’ve grown this page, and i do love doing this, sometimes it becomes about too much “stuff” and ladies, that’s not all I want this to be about….
Speaking of which, the most delightful bundle of fur came into our lives this month. Meet Billy Ray, a brother for four and a half year old Joseph. What a joy he has been and oh so needed! With lockdown after lockdown, he has been the most welcome distraction 🙏🏻 Although, tbt, ive been thinking and looking for another Spoodle for about a year, in fact he was named in August 2020 and he has been on my ”futureboard” since January…so it was just a matter of time 😉 and that time, thanks to the universe 🙏🏻 was Now. Great time for a new pup, lots of nice weather for outside play, and with lockdown, lots of house training opportunities 😂 10 more days and he’ll be fully vaxed and another walking buddy for me 😊
I do love to walk! So i got myself a new pair of trainers, thanks to the generosity of Cinori Shoes. I know it’s not the most flattering stance, but these Woden Pernille leather sneakers above (in bright white) have been on my feet quite a bit. They seem to go with everything, and the cork innersole makes them shock absorbent. So for everyday casual wear and short walks to run errands, they are perfect! Cinori kindly gifted me the sandals in the top pics too. You will see them on my feet a lot this SS21. I do believe that for the warmer months, all I need are variations of these three neutrals in my shoe shelves.
Taking August off from ”sharing new product” allowed a different kind of sharing 🙏🏻 and I was lucky to be selected by African Fabrics Australia to take part in their creativity search. I chose a lovely batik fabric called Binta, an artisanal hand dyed cotton from Senegal. Being in “Lockdown”, I creatively drafted a simple pattern in newspaper from an old kaftan and managed to make a delightful one myself. It had been a while, but it was definitely satisfying sitting back in my sewing seat. And it was the reason i picked the Asailor in natural sandal from Cinori.
I also performed a couple of creative alterations on bags:
And there has been a little wardrobe rearrangement, in anticipation of warmer weather! And while I wait for that, it’s been so nice to dust the shelves, polish shoes and prepare for the new season. And since we are still in lockdown, i certainly have had the time! These four walls bring me such joy. Especially now we are homebound. I walk through this room from bed to bath several times a day. It’s a thoroughfare. But to me, its more than that, it’s my dressing room, my hobby and my passion. I really do love it and all it brings everyday.
And now Spring is here, and i’m ready for it, thanks to the wardrobe refresh, my break and the fact that I’ve recently embarked on a #feelgoodplan…but more on the latter in another blog post…
This month on SIGNATURE STYLE Cindy, Kim and I are talking Jeans 👖 ….
Did you realise that there are more pairs of jeans on the planet than people? I heard that statistic on a podcast recently 😳 so then I started wondering what the average number women own is 🤔 and I discovered it’s 7 ….and the very same Ms Average apparently buys two new pairs a year! So together, with my current intention to be an under-consumer, this has me feeling pretty good when I admit to you that I own only 5 pairs (although I never wear the black skinny Dr Denim’s anymore) ! Which btw, range from my 10 year old (that’s a guess) thrifted Citizens of Humanity flared hipsters, to my 4 month old 1964 Denim Company high waisted bootlegs, meaning I average out at a new pair every 2 years. While all these facts and numbers mean something to some and nothing to others, it tells me I’m not really a Jeans buyer nor a Jeans wearer. I may use them a bit in my styling, but truth be told, they don’t get many “real” wears, hence I purchase them minimally. And considering denim is far from the most sustainable textile because of the required chemicals it needs, thousands of litres of water used and huge energy consumption to produce the finished product it’s a WIN WIN for me and the planet 😊 however…..
The good news is there are loads of Jean producing company’s addressing these supply chain issues to produce incredible sustainable and ethical denim garments and I’m going to share some of my current favourites with you 😊 and in doing so, will focus on what I would buy (or at least try) if I needed a new pair. And that is the wide leg. I covet comfort above all things, and being an A Shape Body Type (thighs being my largest area), I need the leg width to fall from the top of my thigh rather than cling to it, otherwise every time I stand up, I feel like I need to pull my jeans down from this part of my body. I’m sure there are readers out there that get this 😉 and it also explains, why all my denims are dark. I do look better when I dress my bottom half in a darker colour and my top half lighter! So, if I was to be looking for a new pair, I would be interested in trying these…
In addition to being A shaped, I have shorter legs and a longer torso. So ideally, a full length jean with a heel is a great casual leg lengthening look on me (if I don’t have to walk far or stand for too long…. I’m seriously loosing my interest in heels!) I do however, still wear a wide cropped jean, it doesn’t look too bad if I wear a flat form style shoe or trainer, although it’s certainly not leg lengthening! And thanks to COVID lockdowns, a little thigh hugging 😫 Here are a few looks of me in my jeans.
The 1964 Jeans Company bootlegs are a pair I ended up buying new this year. While current, they no longer seem to be available. The higher waist is flattering, the stretch fabric comfortable and I can almost talk myself into them being sustainable if you read the label and the blurb on Big W’s website (but at $24 I have serious doubts). I do think they look quite good. Press here for the new design for SS21. When I wear a boot leg jean, it usually involves a longer cardigan or coat worn over the top. So I’m not one for fancy back pockets, because no one usually sees them. With fitted jeans, I go for “illusion” dressing. Wearing a long length top disguises where my bottom ends and my shorter legs start. It’s a style habit I picked up from Trinny Woodall years ago. Wearing a dress over them looks great too, but I haven’t done this for ages…. although it’s now got me thinking 🤔 And if you head over to Pinterest, there are lots of inspiring pics like the ones below. It looks to me, like the secret is not to wear a dress too voluminous or structured, and the length of the dress long, although on me, I think calf length (midi) is probably best. The jean also appears to be straight, which is a style i don’t own, and slightly cropped or with the hem rolled above the ankle. It’s certainly a look and idea that i would enjoy to play with. It may even make me wear jeans more and look at them differently. Plus I really like the idea of this with sneakers!
Here are two straight leg jeans in a shade that i quite like. Both would work with the dress over jeans idea. Although, when it comes to jeans I definitely have to try before i buy and being in lockdown i don’t think that will be anytime soon.
So until I up my style game, I’ll keep wearing my bootlegs like I do. But I also have a wider leg jean. These “pant like” denim jeans are about 4 years old. I love the depth of their blue. They feel and look quite smart. When I wear these, I’m more likely to expose the back, like in the pics below. In the first, I’m full tucking a linen shirt, the next is with a turtle neck with cashmere wrap. As it’s no secret I love a loose pant, these are probably my current favourites. And the bonus is they also look great with a flat shoe!
So that’s my Jeans style 😉 I wonder how Kim and Cindy wear theirs? And what they have to say about their Signature Style on Jeans? Best pop on over and see… that’s what I’m doing next 😉
Welcome to a new blog and a new monthly instalment called “SECOND HAND STYLE”, this time with blogger and charity shopper extraordinaire Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life. Each month we will be talking about a “second hand” topic from our own perspective… and today it’s a little introduction of how we started shopping this way 😊
I can’t really remember a time I haven’t owned something second hand. Whether it be handed down, salvaged or intentionally purchased. My home is full of curated treasures! So it’s no surprise that my wardrobe is too 😉 Since I started this blog and the Instagram page that accompanies it, I like to think my “second hand style” has slowly made its way from the back to the front of Sarah London Style. And all quite naturally, firstly I introduced you to the clothes in my wardrobe and now I share with you the way they get there.
I love old! I was brought up to love old! (Its no accident i’m a History Major 😉) Although if you asked me when I was ten, if I’d rather wear the old hand me downs from Di and Sue (family friends daughters who were a couple of years older than me) or be taken to the local shopping centre, I would have chosen the latter. You see, my parents were (and still are) thrifters! I grew up with them frequenting antique auctions, markets, garage sales and the advertised section of the newspaper, all in search of what they needed, and when they found what they were after, they always managed to make it work! They rarely threw things out, always chose to repair and often repainted, reupholstered and repurposed. Talk about sustainable! But this was the late 70s and it wasn’t uncommon then, and because my family happened to be good at it, it was fun!
And then I turned 14! December 1980 and I got my first job at the local delicatessen… and an instant cash influx and my parents love of thrift turned into mine. Trash and Treasure Markets at car parks were my favourite! These were the days when I could find a pair of 1960’s winkle picker stilettos for 99cents (I did), vintage was everywhere and it was cheap because with the emergence of Fast Fashion, no one really wanted it. Except me and my 80s gal pals! We were music crazy and always wanted to look like some star on the cover of UK mag Smash Hits! I was a “Mod” 😂, and my friends were “Punks” and “New Romantics” and where did we find our clothes? We bought and repurposed from secondhand….
Fast Forward forty years, and while my style no longer replicates a “mod” or those on the magazine covers 😂, second hand clothes are still an important part of who I am. Yes, I have dabbled with Fast Fashion, I’ve even worked in it! (thank you Myer Miss Shop). And I’ll even admit that I got on the Zara bandwagon for more than a few years 😩. All because I loved clothes and it was easy and cheap. But at the same time, I’d never forgotton my roots and the “upcycling” style habits of my upbringing. So markets on the weekend, op shopping, designer recycle for the “it” bag (albeit a couple of years late) and eBay have remained constant. But now I have more time (thank you mid life and COVID), I find myself reflecting and “deliberately” going back to what I was brought up to know….
And that is, you create your own style! You wear what feels like you and you wear it your way! Which to me, means pulling together an outfit from various sources. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to love it! And most often than not, one item I decide to put on will be second hand! And while I could attribute it to sustainability, going green, saving from landfill, the environment and all that, I won’t… I simply shop like this because it’s what I’ve always known. And it’s freeing. No ties to having the latest trend, just adapting which ones you like from what you have, and dare I say, even creating your own! The aim is to feel good! And shopping this way does that! Take for example the photo below.. all secondhand! The coat I picked at a consignment store. The scarf a local op shop, the jeans and boots from designer recycle. All aged from 12 months to 14 years old. All my style, in my wardrobe and still being worn by me 🙏🏻.
Now please pop on over to Jane’s blog and read about why she shops this way.
It’s that time again… SIGNATURE STYLE with Cindy, Kim and me! And this month each of us dive into the style of skirts…
If you asked me if I wear skirts, I’d say “sometimes”. If you asked me if I like them, I’d say “sort of”. If you asked me if I owned any, I’d say a couple. So when I actually went into my wardrobe to take a deeper dive, it was a surprise to me that I actually own nine!!! What is no surprise is that they are all in natural fabrics: Linen, Cotton and Leather 🤍. (Although I did own, until recently, a couple in polyester, but in a deliberate move to try and create the perfect sustainable wardrobe, I cleared them out by selling them and donating the funds to charity).
I am the biggest fan of linen, so much so, I featured “linen skirts” as my first episode on my 2020 IGTV Series “Collections” I love the way linen feels against the skin, the fact it breaths beautifully in hot weather, softens when worn and washed, and that it always looks so Euro-chic! Above is a favourite linen skirt of mine. A Shanty Corporation linen gathered skirt. I picked it up on sale a few years ago and took it on an overseas trip. I find the creases in linen perfect for a summer holiday. It relaxes me 😂 I let go of trying to feel so “perfectly ironed and pulled together” and I just take it easy and go with the flow…. I think it looks wonderful with white, whether it be a singlet, tshirt or shirt (and a little fake tan). Press here for a similar updated alternative. There is something about linen that looks understated and elegant. Perhaps it’s the timeless, ageless sustainability of the fabric! So it’s no surprise my linen skirt collection now totals four…
And then we come to my leather skirt. A buy once, buy well purchase. I can’t imagine there will ever be a time without it in my wardrobe. I adore it. The colour is incredible. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is superb. I feel good about the fact that it’s 100% ethically sourced leather, and from a socially responsible Scandinavian label Gestuz. I found it at a wonderful samples store that I frequent called The Wooden Hangar. They are primarily a fashion agency who distribute amazing European labels to high end boutiques. But the benefit to we the consumer, is that they sell off their samples to the public at a fraction of the price! If you live in Melbourne, there are two stores under their name and an online samples store called Faith which also has an outlet. A great store to keep popping into for European style inspiration. I think there is a size 12 still available here. Press here for a black ethical alternative.
So while my skirt styles vary, I do wear them mostly in Summer. And while I’m not actively looking for another, there is one type of skirt that currently eludes me: the denim skirt! This is one that I will keep my eye out for, and until I find it, here is a little luxe inspo:
My fave is actually the tiered Chloe! It’s divine and looks like a much lighter denim than the others. I also think it would look the best with flats! Out of my reach for the moment 😂, it has inspired me to wait until I find the perfect design ! Although, this one has caught my eye on eBay.au :
But is it just right? The style is, but the shaded denim isn’t. The old Sarah would have said, but it’s only $30 and placed a bid…but now I don’t! In fact, how I look at anything I purchase now, is that it must be absolutely stunning in my eyes, not just okay 😑, looking at adding new garments like this means I actually buy less and wear more of what I have! Not to mention when I do find it, all the money I will have saved on “okay” purchases will have piled up so I can say yes! Mindfully purchasing ☺️ (and mindfully styling) That’s part of my SIGNATURE STYLE…. Now, go read what style of skirts interest:
What a delight to have shared two wonderful new brands from my studio with everyone in the last month! Both sustainable and ethical Smitten Merino and Cara Cashmere are the most wonderful companies to be an ambassador for. They believe in everything I believe in, and they have done so way before I decided to become more “consciously aware” in the world of style. So what is that? Both are small Aussie brands that ship globally, both design here in Australia, one supports our manufacturing industry here, the other supports a small free range goat herding family and a family based manufacturer in Inner Mongolia. Both ensure that all the workers (and the animals) involved are respected, treated well and paid fairly. And both companies send their item in recyclable packaging and of course, they both also sell the most incredible stylish natural product garments! Slow fashion 🙏🏻
I was so lucky to be sent a few items by Smitten, to share with you all. A Mary dress (which I love), two styles of cardigans- the Boyfriend and the Drape and scarves! I was blessed enough to be able to keep the dress and have already worn it four times. The Mary Dress was named after the Hobart girl who became the Crown Princess of Denmark 😉 classic, and understatedly elegant it sums up the dress and HRH perfectly! I chose the French Navy because it’s one of my colours (hope you read my blog on colour) and it looks and feels incredible on. Loose, but shapely, the wool falls beautifully into a flare skirt with fabulous deep pockets. I feel utterly chic in it. The cardigans speak for themselves in the pics below, timeless in quality and style!
Cara Cashmere sent me two lovely pieces that will also be with me forever! A wonderful scarf and a wrap. Annie was so lovely, she let me choose colours in both! I chose the True Red scarf, because this is a colour that brings life to my face, and it’s also a colour that I don’t have a lot of. The wrap I selected in a neutral cream, because I know it will just go with absolutely everything in any season. Both of course are available in many colour options. Aren’t they divine?
Talk about both brands being the change you want to see in the world of fashion! Both ethical and sustainable, it’s no coincidence I shared them with you! I’m very deliberate about who and what I promote. One of my favourite quotes of all time is Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” 🙏🏻 I like to think I’m doing this with my blog, my styling page and everyday! So, on visiting the Mary Quant exhibition, I very much wanted to make my “mindful and slow fashion” point by wearing sustainable and ethical clothing. I wore boots I’ve had for over 12 years, my Smitten Merino wool Mary Dress, an old coatigan that is a cashmere/wool blend, aged leather belt, my new ethical Cara Cashmere scarf, a 100% merino wool beret and an old (perhaps 10 years) MUI MUI bag I splurged on ( secondhand) years ago. I mixed it up. Old with new! All “buy well” pieces styled my way. SLOW STYLE. It felt good. In fact it felt fabulous. And I think it looked alright too!
Today on the blog I’ll be discussing Winter Hats, the ones I wear and a few I wouldn’t mind trying on my head now the weather definitely calls for them here in Melbourne! Cindy and Kim on the other hand, are in the throws of a heatwave, so will be putting their personal spin on Hats to wear in Summer… be sure to press the links at the end for their inspiring style!
I have to start by saying I have a love hate relationship with hats 😂 I do absolutely love them, especially when they are crafted to perfection, by means of design, material and detail! But on my head, this artistry can be a bit hit and miss! While there are many style guides out there on the best hat shapes for face shapes, I have found them contradictory and that trial and error is perhaps my best guide. I have a round face, so strictly speaking I should be trying to elongate my head and not flatten it. So a sombrero with a crown (mine below is 12cm) higher than the brim (mine below is 9cm) is perfect! And this handcrafted Mexican beauty of mine that is available in various colours and styles from Esplora Australia is perfection! This is a forever hat, one that deserves the best of care and a box of its own. Hand blocked in wool, it is one of only 600 hats that leaves its workroom in a little corner of Ocotlan de Morelos each month to be shipped to suppliers globally. I consider it a piece of art.