If I had to choose my favourite type of bag, it would be the crossbody. I wonder if it’s yours? They are everywhere! And the reason for their popularity, is, I think, you can simply pop your phone, wallet, keys and lipstick in and off you go! Hands free! The funny thing is, I don’t really remember their popularity growing up. I remember bags their size, but they were more often worn on the shoulder. And if one was worn across the body, it was referred to as a traveller, a utility or messenger bag. And it was large with lots of pockets and zips. Anyone else remember them? ….. regardless, because of its practicality, the cross body bag is here to stay so lets check out a few of my current favourites…
But before I do, if you would like to comment, simply press the title of the post now, so the page reopens with a commenting section at the end. And don’t forget to head over to read what my fellow SIGNATURE STYLE bloggers Cindy and Kim have to say afterwards.
I know I’ve featured a few options of crossbody bags over the last few blogs, you can go back and read about the most recent here . So today I might just share a few more obscure ones that I’ve recently come across. All are leather, my material of choice for most crossbody bags, and especially now for my AW22.
Tiggy by Cuddington is an ethical Australian leather bag company who uses craftsmanship in their vintage inspired designs. I don’t own one, but certainly adore their aesthetic. They remind me of one my Mum owned in the 70s… lots of embossing, stamps and stitch details. I prefer the smaller bags but there are larger like my Mum’s.
Mimco is a company that began in Melbourne. Since its 1996 inception, it has changed ownership, but is still synonymous with great quality classic but on-trend designs. A little more urban than the Tiggy’s above.
And then there’s a bag that I always pop in and look at when I walk past Morrison. It’s available in three shapes and two colours, black and tan. I just love the beaded handle that hangs when the canvas strap is used across the body. And it has the added bonus of being handmade in Sydney.
And it wouldn’t be SIGNATURE STYLE if I didn’t feature a couple of my own crossbody bags. Like most of us, I have a collection. This is by no means them in their entirety, but perhaps my most worn….
Which is why I am always interested in adding to it 😉 my most recent crossbody is a vintage Bally. A purchase made to deliberately coordinate with my gold shoe obsession 😂 …. how divine is this! And as its vintage circa 1990, it proves that crossbody bags were around back then….
What I have also done in the past is create my own bag out of a belt and pouch.
And I often create temporary crossbody bags out of ”envelope clutches” if I find it the best option for coordinating an outfit (and if you do watch, safety pins and stitching in a fabric panel have been suggested as a fix 😉):
And as for the said crossbody straps, yes, I am building up a collection of those too! My fave by far is the one below, that I attached to my handmade Greek Lulu by Liana shoulder bag to convert it into a crossbody 😊
You can buy designer straps at most retail stores, but as I prefer no branding, I shop ebay 😉
On that note…lets see what Cindy and Kim’s preferred Crossbody Bag SIGNATURE STYLE is…
Welcome back to the Secondhand Style blog that I write with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life. And this month it’s a recap on what I’ve learnt from my experience of wearing a “preloved capsule” over the last month after writing the last secondhand style blog. But before I continue, if you would like to comment, please scroll back up to the title, press on it and this post will reopen with a commenting option at the bottom. Now, if you did just go back and read last month’s blog, you’ll recognise that I summised with this at the end:
“Capsules help you get creative while simplifying things. They also allow you to create a Wabi Sabi look in your own style. I love that, less about what’s trending and more about what you love to wear… your style! And while I don’t really have a need for them everyday, I certainly love the idea. More so for me when I travel. Regardless, It’s been such fun!”
Still completely on point for me and how I feel about them today. Although I did have a major “aha moment” for my own #savvystyle while reflecting which I’ll share at the end. So hold that thought and take a look at these final 8 creative looks (couldn’t quite reach the required 10) I came up with from 10 preloved garments:
The two outfits at the end are perhaps my favourites. Why? When I wear a pant, I love a dress over them. It’s a look I’ve been wearing since the early 2000’s! And as I’m always saying on IG, I do love the way a self tie belt gives me shape, while not cutting my short frame (163 cm) in half! I could have created more if i’d chosen to wear jeans and the short jacket, but wanting to keep it authentic i didn’t, because that’s simply not my style. Interestingly, when I put all the outfits up on IG stories, the one below was voted as the best by my IG community:
A community who also happened to join in the fun! Thank you so much Belinda @queenbzyb.fashion and Jackie @queanbeenan for taking up the challenge!
I’ve learnt a few practical tips for creating capsules for myself through this exercise. Firstly, if you stick to a colour palette- I used tans and browns with a pop of orange everything is more likely to coordinate. Tonal is key to me. Secondly, use a majority in block colours, and keep any patterns small scale. This will increase the ability to mix and match. Remember Leopard is almost always a neutral so always include a tonal option. Thirdly, choose clothes that fit you and your life and style. Comfort is key! And lastly, great style doesn’t have to be new, on trend or cost a lot of money!
Which makes any capsule (or in this case a 10 item “preloved capsule”) time and cost effective and a great way to “up your sustainability” by increasing the number of wears from garments. And as the garments I styled were those I already owned, I found that in the planning and creating I focused more on what I had to use VS. what I may want to purchase. Which in turn, had me wearing items I’ve had for ages! What was old felt fresh again! Albeit, in a wabi-sabi way. Less influencing “new” and more “style” … which actually resulted in reloving and rewearing my wardrobe on the remaining 21 days. I felt no urge to consume virgin retail or secondhand in April at all 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻! While I try to do this for 3-4 months a year, having a capsule challenge made it easier! Perhaps we should do this again come my Spring, your Autumn Jane? ….just a thought 😉
Which leads me once again to what I’m always harping on about … know your own Style! Because once you do know the shapes, looks and colours that make you look and feel good and you focus on buying only those ….this is my aha……your entire wardrobe can become its own capsule (albeit, a slightly larger version) … a collection of your own style that you enthusiastically and authentically mix and match! Which is what my own “curating my closet” has really been about all year. Working my way through everything I own seasonally, in order to create a harmonious considered collection of clothes that I can wear and rewear for years. So, moving forward, I only “occasionally” pause my wearing to allow in an additional item that will compliment its careful curation 🙏🏻
Which is why i think I’m onto something with this ”curate your closet” mentality… it makes creating capsules for any occasion incredibly easy! And since you’ll only mindfully add items of your STYLE to it, it has the added bonus of these not needing to be ”on trend or new retail” which makes “treasure hunting” (AKA shopping secondhand – I’ve even written about that here) a no brainer! And why in May on my IG page, I’ll be featuring a little bit more of it ….. in of course my style!
Now, why not join me in pressing the link below to read Jane’s recap 😊
Welcome 🙏🏻 This month on SIGNATURE STYLE Cindy, Kim and I are going to be talking wedding attire. But before I do, if you would like to comment, please go back up to the top and press on the title (this should reopen the page in commenting mode).
I’ve only been to two weddings in the last four years, both of which were in the Summer. So I don’t currently have much experience or need for a new outfit for such an occasion. And to be honest, if I did, I’d probably wear what I wore to the last one (if appropriate). A beautiful silk Zia Lozen wrap dress (that’s it in the pic above with hubs – and below). I’ve written about it before, in this blog. For that wedding, the dress code called for ”lounge suit” …which got me thinking 🤔 not everyone might know what that means, so lets start with approaching what you do select to wear with addressing the dress code.
Dress codes vary depending on where you live. Here in Australia, they usually fall under one of five categories. Black or White Tie, Formal, Cocktail, Lounge Suit or Smart Casual. And since my most recent invitations called for LS, let’s look into exactly what that is on this blog post. But before I do, I must say that there are two rules I follow when selecting an outfit. The first is I usually avoid the colours the Bride, Bridesmaids and Mothers of the Bride and Groom wear. Secondly, I always try and keep it relevant and appropriate within the dress code itself. For example, for the Wedding in which I wore the Zia Lozen dress, the Bride was Brazilian and asked guests to embrace colour. There were many Brazilian guests, plenty of latin dancing … imagine a carnivale atmosphere…. all dressed in their version of Lounge Suit. So I felt the above dress sophisticated enough but fun with the statement silver accessories I chose. You can see me in it all at the end 😉
So….. Lounge Suit ….it’s a loose term, but generally it means a suit and tie for men (how easy) and some sort of semi-formal outfit for women. I like it because it doesn’t have you falling into a frenzy about what to wear… let’s look at my interpretation of it….Firstly, depending on whether the event is during the day or evening will indicate the outfit length, heel height and type of fabric worn. During the day knee length works, with a flatter shoe and more relaxed fabric (and even perhaps a hat). For the evening the length could be longer and the heel higher – just an option and neither compulsory of course! For the Wedding I went to in the pic above, I mixed it with a just below the knee length dress and higher heel. Pant suits would be equally acceptable too – although I usually stick to a dress. With regards to fabric, I prefer soft silks or chiffons with small scale patterns. But that’s me and block colours would work just as well. Having said all of that, we are a pretty relaxed bunch down under and as long as it’s smart ”you’ll be right mate” 😉
But just for the fun of it, let’s take a look at some current designs ….
There is a lovely local store in my suburb called ASPIRATIONS, it’s been around for 25 years and has a great reputation for being a place to start looking for a dress for a wedding. If I was after a new dress for such an occasion, I would try these two dresses. I love the style -sleeve length and neckline ✔️, the on trend small scale florals ✔️, the soft flowy fabrics ✔️. Perfect for a Spring Garden Wedding! But they also have the added benefit of being able to be worn to so many other smart occasions. I also feel, while young and fun, I could still wear it well.
We are also spoilt with such great home grown designers on my local high street. CARLA ZAMPATTI is one. Although she recently passed away, her exquiste elegance in design continues, and her Waterfall Dress Collection is timeless. It’s a little more serious than the dresses above but I honestly think this dress could take you anywhere. In fact, I like to think of it as a perfect Mother of the Bride or Groom dress! Sophisticated but soft and feminine. I adore the navy.
Which is why Carla’s daughter BIANCA SPENDER is worth looking at as well. Personally, I love the Reflection Dress 🤍 but these structured designs are a nice alternative to it and the flowing ones I’ve shown above.
And of course, I have to mention ZIMMERMANN. Now this label is incredible! Not quite the small scale pattern kind of look I love 😂 … and you can definitely tell when someone is wearing one without looking at the label! But if you scroll their website, some of the designs fall in the dress code Lounge Suit. Like this and this. But because they have a large following and reputation for “unforgettable dresses” you’d be hoping no one else was wearing the same one, which is what happened when “The Accidental Stylist” Julia Perry wore the Zimmerman Billow dress to Lady Kitty Spencer’s Rome Wedding last year (she wrote about it on her IG page). Here she is in it alongside BFF Maye Musk in D&G … (anyone else just realise Maye is Elon’s mum 😳)…. btw, dress code for that was Black Tie….. aren’t these ladies fabulous? I’ve printed out this pic and popped it on my Future Board for my 60 and 70 year old self 🙏🏻
Which is why these statement dresses are often up for resale….. too noticeable to wear twice perhaps ? Speaking of secondhand, never discount this idea when searching for a dress to wear to a Wedding 😉 Vestiaire Collective has an amazing number and range.
No matter whether you decide on pattern or plain, I do think investing in a fabulous neutral shoe and clutch the perfect accessory to either. I wish I could find a pic of what Julia and Maye had on their feet. I’m guessing gold or nude for Julia and silver, gold or black for Maye 🤷🏼♀️ Don’t you just love the idea of always having a shoe/bag combination ready and waiting to go? No matter which dress you choose to wear. And because you always wear them, they become so comfortable 🙏🏻 I do, in-fact I find a metallic shoe and clutch bag are the perfect wedding accessory. Think of them as an elevated neutral…here’s mine 😉 All seasons old I’m afraid, but my bag is Olga Berg and my shoes Castaner. Great brands to start with… and btw, I always bring a sneaker to the reception to change into to dance in 😂
I also have quite a nice gold combination (both could be updated) that I used to style my Peacock Bloom Kimono Dress in back in 2020. Did I mention that there is a matching Kimono Jacket as well?
Gold shoes seem to be everywhere right now. So there’s a huge range out there if you want to jump straight in before your next invitation (there Is nothing worse than not finding what you are after when you need it). Here’s a few to start you dreaming…
And of course you’ll need a clutch, mine above has a chain, so doubles as a shoulder bag too. I like this idea….
I feel like I could keep going, this is so much fun! Probably because dressing this way doesn’t currently happen that often 😂 But perhaps it does for Cindy and Kim, so I can’t wait to find out what they have to say…but before you do, scroll down to see the outfit I wore to the last wedding replicated 😉
Welcome to March’s SECONDHAND STYLE blog with myself and blogging buddy Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life! And this month we are going to talk about something completely different. A Capsule Challenge for April (great idea Jane 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻) ! In which we challenge ourselves (and maybe you would like to join in on INSTAGRAM ?) to gather 10 preloved items from our wardrobe and attempt to style them in as many outfits as possible. If you would like to join in the fun, simply use the hashtag (when posting a picture on IG) #SarahJaneCapsuleChallenge22 😉 …. and if you would like to comment on this blog, simply press the title of it now to open the page with the commenting option at the bottom.
Capsule Wardrobes are new to me. I don’t think I’ve ever really bought or worn them with that term in mind before. But as I was working my way through my wardrobe gathering the 10 (actually I ended up with 9) secondhand items to mix and match, I had a revelation. This really is how I approach packing whenever I go away. So I had some experience after all…. and this is how I approached it.
When I travel, I always start with knowing where I am going and what I am doing. This will tell me the weather I need to dress for and the styles I’ll need. Not quite what I’m doing this time, but as it’s now Autumn, I’ve based this capsule challenge on cooler clothes (think Melbourne Autumn/Winter) and style wise I’m going for everyday creative casual. Outfits that will suit occasions like a road trip, shopping, visiting an art gallery, lunching with friends, and dining out. Then I decide on a colour palette, and for this exercise I’ve gone with primarily browns and tans, with a touch of black 😳 and animal print 🐆 Using block colours always increases the ability for garments to mix and match and keeping any pattern small scale allows for repetition without making it obvious you’re wearing the same item twice. And since leopard is almost always a neutral, it tends to work with a lot. And for this month’s challenge I selected 9 items (jewellery, hosiery and sunglasses not included).
And here are the garments I selected:
A pair of jeans, that I have had cropped, so they look more current,
2. A dress (which is black, perhaps a tad short, but for some reason i can’t part with),
3 & 4. 2 jumpers, a plain and a pattern,
5 & 6. 1 jacket and 1 gilet.
All are secondhand and vary in age from a few months to 10 plus years old in my wardrobe. I think you can already see from the photos how harmonious they are together.
And for the accessories:
7. 1 crossbody bag (that can double as a clutch),
8. 1 scarf,
9. 1 pair of 19 year old boots ( if I had a flat pair of #secondhand shoes that worked, I would have added them too..but to stay true to the theme I don’t).
Since Jane and I decided that jewellery and hosiery doesn’t count in this challenge, you may wear what you like, but to keep it simple, I’ve opted to repeat the brass jewels below, because that is what I would do if I took this capsule on a holiday.
Capsules help you get creative while simplifying things. They also allow you to create a Wabi Sabi look in your own style. I love that, less about what’s trending and more about what you love to wear… your style! And while I don’t really have a need for them everyday, I certainly love the idea. More so for me when I travel. Regardless, It’s been such fun! So I will enjoy sharing with you the 8 outfits I came up with on INSTAGRAM this month…. until then scroll down for my first look … and be sure to read what Jane is putting together by pressing on the link below:
I am crazy about accessories! Jewellery, Bags, Belts, Shoes, Scarves, Hats … well maybe I’m slowly getting there with hats… 😂 But I’m all in when it comes to the others and I always have been. In fact, since I find a great accessory can either make or break an outfit, I’m always on the lookout for something different . And one way to find that is to shop secondhand! So welcome to a SECOND HAND STYLE blogpost on just that! Well at least the Jewellery bit for now 😉 and what and where I look for my costume jewellery. And be sure to read what my secondhand blogging buddy Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life has to say about her secondhand accessories after reading this 😊
You can find secondhand accessories everywhere. And a great place to start is your local thrift shop. It truly is a treasure trove for costume jewels, as it seems people are more than ready to discard them! In fact, I really have no idea why you would want to look anywhere else for fun but cheap bangles, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches and the like. Those discount mass produced pieces you find at your nearest Westfield make it to your local secondhand shop pretty quickly. And if you are a jewellery creator like me, you will find all kinds of beads and pendants you can pull apart and redesign. Just like the pieces below. I use my tools, and then mix bits and bobs from various jewels to create bespoke pieces. What is becoming harder to find at these stores though is quality retro or vintage, (although some shops do) and these you will usually find behind glass and you will pay accordingly. But its always good to look. And remember..all proceeds go to charity!
I do find quite a few quirky jewellery pieces at local markets. Think trash and treasure, car boot sales, garage/yard sales. The price may be a tiny bit more than the charity shop, but the quality is usually a little better. And don’t be afraid to barter here! What I find are items that people don’t necessarily want to give away, but because they are here to make money, they may take a little bit off the asking price. Although you will get some people reselling what they have bought at Op shops. So be prepared for that and keep your eyes open for something different. I found this lovely brass statement necklace at my neighbourhood market one Sunday morning years ago. It gets worn often and I can never imagine not having it as an option. The other I made with a pendant I found 😊
I also have a thing for Ebay 😂 I have shopped it more than any other secondhand online platform. The only downfall is that you don’t actually get to see before you buy, so I tend to stick to brands I know. The giraffe patterned bangle in the top picture was bought on Ebay, it’s Mimco and was relatively cheap. I have a thing for what you could call neck plates. Large necklaces that cover part of the chest. Sometimes they are on trend, sometimes not. But I keep mine handy and wear them regardless as I find them handy when a garment’s neckline doesn’t suit. They can be a bit pricey new, so I have found shopping old season on Ebay a great way to build my collection at a fraction of the price.
Another place I look for secondhand jewellery is Designer Recycle stores, although I have only ever bought one necklace this way. And while it still wasn’t cheap, it was significantly less expensive than new. You have to be careful here and always ask for authenticity. This is my Marni necklace. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it before I had any idea of its brand. And I think it makes this outfit.
And then of course there are Antique Jewellers, Auction Houses and Pawn Brokers where there are many bargains to be had! Although they tend to focus on valuable secondhand jewellery rather than costume. I actually have a secret to share here about my own engagement ring….. yup! It is actually secondhand! I don’t think I’ve told many people that 😳
And lastly, inherited pieces 😊 jewels worn by loved family members and now by you. I am lucky enough to have such pieces and I adore the stories I have discovered behind every one. In fact, I must write them down as it can be hard knowing all the details because it’s usually too late to ask. Take the watch in the top picture. It was my paternal Grandmother’s but that’s all I know 😢
The lovely thing about buying secondhand is that there are so many different ways to do it. Not to mention the bargain factor, that I have actually mentioned all the way through 😂Regardless, what I love the most is the fun had while doing it….you never really know what you’re going to find. Sometimes nothing, sometimes treasure … which is actually what next month’s topic might be on 😉 But until then, join me in popping over to read what Jane has to say.
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 😉
I’m so glad I managed to coax my “Signature Style” Pals Cindy and Kim into talking leather this month 😊 as it’s a material I have worn since I was 18. My first ever leather garment (other than shoes 😉) was a pair of leather pants I bought on The Queensway in Bayswater, London back in 1984. How I wish I had them now.. they were stunning! High waist, front pleats, rollable cuff and oh so soft…my daughters would love them ! But they were sold to a recycle boutique a few years later so I could purchase a secondhand electric blue pair (another pair I wish I still owned) 😳 I don’t have a pic of those, but here’s a younger me in my black ones (below left) … proving I’ve never been shy of the camera 😂 btw, I’m happy to say I still have 3 of those bangles and the watch on my arm…and I still wear them! I can still remember where and when I got them all. Brass and Gold from the Camden Market, Ivory bangle from Hong Kong and the watch was left to me by my Grandma (who, btw, I believe is the Orb you see in so many of my IGTV’s 😉). I just love that connection to clothes and jewellery that I have. But I digress, back to leather…
Between the ages of 18-38 I owned several leather jackets and skirts. All resold 😬 But over the last 17 years, I have been more mindful and kept all the leather pieces I have purchased. Even the 2004 black leather skirt that no longer fits! My youngest daughter is keen to have this too-small for me leather skirt altered for herself, which I love since I wore it to her Christening (see above right)! In the pic below I’m wearing a coat I bought in, i think, 2004. A bit tight, but still looking good! I have, however, also owned faux leather… many pairs of shoes in my youth but only two garments … one was a pair of navy Zara pants. They looked great for a short time, but I found the colour wore away in the creases, so they made it to landfill after a season 😬 and the second, a snakeskin trench which is still with me.
So which do I feel better about owning and purchasing? Faux or Real? There is definitely a tug of war in my head when it comes to this as I don’t think the choice is simple…
Faux leather, or pleather doesn’t harm animals directly and its strong and durable. However, the production of it creates the same nasty chemicals produced in plastic 😬 it can also shed harmful micro-plastics into the environment, which we ingest and when discarded, it never breaks down! Plant based leather on the other hand, is made from agricultural waste. No animals are harmed in its production, it is made from a renewable source and it breaks down back into organic matter. Unfortunately it’s not readily available (I haven’t seen any 😳), can sometimes smell and no one yet knows about its long term durability. Real leather on the other hand is made from skins of animals. Cows, calf, lamb, and goat ☹️ Technically, they are a co-product of the meat and dairy industries, not a by-product. Traditional tanning produces toxic waste that makes it into our waterways and vegetable tanning while less toxic, still is! However, it is a natural material that degenerates into organic matter and its durable.
You decide where all that leaves you. The best thing for me to do, is wear what I have and wear it sustainably, meaning “for a very long time”. And if I do chose a new piece, perhaps i’ll look at secondhand first. And if not, at least look for ethically made and sourced real leather.
Which makes my recent sharing of the small Melbourne based leather business Raw by Raw a leather company for me. They are small, they are family based, they are true artisans, they source ethically from a company they have dealt with for years (who have ISO accreditation) and they make right here in Melbourne. No mass production. No fast fashion. Just timeless styles that are wardrobe builders. I already had a pair of their pants, an amazing casual style, that I purchased earlier this year. These are called the Frankie Jogger, they are leather at the front (lined) and a ponty fabric at the back, so they are stretchy, but mould to your shape perfectly and are very comfortable. I bought the Sapphire (a navy- the ones on the left) to replace the faux Zara pair but they are also available in black and olive. Definitely a “buy once, buy well” item, and I must say, I feel incredible in them ! So far, I have worn them in Autumn, Winter and Spring. I’m really liking the idea of trying to wear them casually, like a cotton, linen or denim pant so the outfit on the right with trainers and a tee is quite timeless!
And I was lucky enough to be able to share these gorgeous items from them on IGTV, which I worked as suits in three colour ways. The leather suit.. I actually love that idea!
And if you take another look at my jackets in the first photo, you will see I own the Adeline Jacket in Autumn Leaves (which is an olive) and the same colour in the York Culotte.
Now why not pop on over to see what Cindy and Kim have to say on leather in their SIGNATURE STYLE blog post…
Welcome to a new blog and a new monthly instalment called “SECOND HAND STYLE”, this time with blogger and charity shopper extraordinaire Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life. Each month we will be talking about a “second hand” topic from our own perspective… and today it’s a little introduction of how we started shopping this way 😊
I can’t really remember a time I haven’t owned something second hand. Whether it be handed down, salvaged or intentionally purchased. My home is full of curated treasures! So it’s no surprise that my wardrobe is too 😉 Since I started this blog and the Instagram page that accompanies it, I like to think my “second hand style” has slowly made its way from the back to the front of Sarah London Style. And all quite naturally, firstly I introduced you to the clothes in my wardrobe and now I share with you the way they get there.
I love old! I was brought up to love old! (Its no accident i’m a History Major 😉) Although if you asked me when I was ten, if I’d rather wear the old hand me downs from Di and Sue (family friends daughters who were a couple of years older than me) or be taken to the local shopping centre, I would have chosen the latter. You see, my parents were (and still are) thrifters! I grew up with them frequenting antique auctions, markets, garage sales and the advertised section of the newspaper, all in search of what they needed, and when they found what they were after, they always managed to make it work! They rarely threw things out, always chose to repair and often repainted, reupholstered and repurposed. Talk about sustainable! But this was the late 70s and it wasn’t uncommon then, and because my family happened to be good at it, it was fun!
And then I turned 14! December 1980 and I got my first job at the local delicatessen… and an instant cash influx and my parents love of thrift turned into mine. Trash and Treasure Markets at car parks were my favourite! These were the days when I could find a pair of 1960’s winkle picker stilettos for 99cents (I did), vintage was everywhere and it was cheap because with the emergence of Fast Fashion, no one really wanted it. Except me and my 80s gal pals! We were music crazy and always wanted to look like some star on the cover of UK mag Smash Hits! I was a “Mod” 😂, and my friends were “Punks” and “New Romantics” and where did we find our clothes? We bought and repurposed from secondhand….
Fast Forward forty years, and while my style no longer replicates a “mod” or those on the magazine covers 😂, second hand clothes are still an important part of who I am. Yes, I have dabbled with Fast Fashion, I’ve even worked in it! (thank you Myer Miss Shop). And I’ll even admit that I got on the Zara bandwagon for more than a few years 😩. All because I loved clothes and it was easy and cheap. But at the same time, I’d never forgotton my roots and the “upcycling” style habits of my upbringing. So markets on the weekend, op shopping, designer recycle for the “it” bag (albeit a couple of years late) and eBay have remained constant. But now I have more time (thank you mid life and COVID), I find myself reflecting and “deliberately” going back to what I was brought up to know….
And that is, you create your own style! You wear what feels like you and you wear it your way! Which to me, means pulling together an outfit from various sources. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to love it! And most often than not, one item I decide to put on will be second hand! And while I could attribute it to sustainability, going green, saving from landfill, the environment and all that, I won’t… I simply shop like this because it’s what I’ve always known. And it’s freeing. No ties to having the latest trend, just adapting which ones you like from what you have, and dare I say, even creating your own! The aim is to feel good! And shopping this way does that! Take for example the photo below.. all secondhand! The coat I picked at a consignment store. The scarf a local op shop, the jeans and boots from designer recycle. All aged from 12 months to 14 years old. All my style, in my wardrobe and still being worn by me 🙏🏻.
Now please pop on over to Jane’s blog and read about why she shops this way.