Spring Summer Fashion: Curate your own style!


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

Sarah xx

CLASSIC CASUAL HOME

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

MOST LOVELY THINGS

THE AGE OF GRACE

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

SIGNATURE STYLE : Spring Wedding


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: AW22 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge 🤎


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

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

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

And here are the garments I selected:

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

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

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

5 & 6. 1 jacket and 1 gilet.

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

And for the accessories:

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

8. 1 scarf,

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

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

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

Sarah xx

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

SIGNATURE STYLE: Readers and sunnies 🤓😎


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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SECONDHAND STYLE: Treasure Hunting


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah xx


SIGNATURE STYLE: Leopard is a neutral 🐆

My new “old” leopard coat !

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

SAVVY STYLE: SHOPPING HACK: through the google lens 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah x

SAVVY STYLE: Shopping

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

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


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

Thanks MsBeltempo 🙏🏻


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: Accessories 😊


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Sarah xx

SAVVY STYLE: Wearing 😉

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

RELOVE CONNECT MEMORIES UPCYCLE

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

Sarah xx