SAVVY STYLE: Wearing 😉

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

RELOVE CONNECT MEMORIES UPCYCLE

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

Sarah xx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

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

Sarah xx

SAVVY STYLE: An Introduction…

Hello 55 😊

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

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

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

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

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

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

I

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

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


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

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

Sarah xx

PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: External Nourishment : Haircare 💇🏼‍♀️


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah xx

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

Orsola de Castro ”Loved Clothes Last”

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

Sarah xx

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

SIGNATURE STYLE: MY HOLIDAY STYLE

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Sarah xx

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SECONDHAND STYLE: Shoes…do you buy yours preloved?

Apparently Not!

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Sarah xx

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

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

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

AND JUST LIKE THAT..

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

MORE DEED BAGS

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx


PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: Nature for movement and mindfulness 🙏🏻

BIKE TRACK VIEWS 😊

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

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

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

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

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: One garment, four seasons 😊

SS2015 Raffa Jacket


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

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

WINTER

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

SPRING

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

SUMMER

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

AUTUMN

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

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

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

Sarah xx