SIGNATURE STYLE: Home Style Vs Personal Style


Are yours one and the same? Or are they are polar opposites? Perhaps you’ve never even thought of the similarities and differences between them before. But if you are like me, and you think a lot, you probably have. And while I’m thinking mine may not be one and the same, they are definitely more alike than not, so while I steer you through a few of mine, please think about yours and be sure to read what my fellow SIGNATURE STYLERS Cindy and Kim have to say 😉


My home is old. It’s facade is 142 years old to be exact. And while we have a relatively modern extension and garden, there is certainly a well lived in theme that flows throughout. It’s styling is based on my heritage and love of the English Country House (although it’s size and grounds are not that grand). So it’s filled with secondhand, mostly inherited eclectic pieces that somehow seem to work. It’s colour palette is warm and repeated in various shades in different rooms. Both of which I seasonally move and sometimes upcycle to sustainably update. And this Spring, in preparation for a late 2023 sale, I’ve started to curate it. I’m currently pairing it back, simplifying, reducing the colour contrast between rooms and creating a muted palette so it appears tonal. What I want is to feel ease, calm and flow as I move through it 🙏🏻


Sound familiar? My wardrobe is also well worn and full of warm autumnal coloured clothes, many of which I’ve had for ages and found secondhand. And as I curated my closet this year, I’ve already paired it down to only include what I love to wear, which not coincidentally I also happen to restyle and upcycle all the time. And I definitely lean towards more tone on tone. All of which makes it simple and easy to wear. It flows….


So let’s take a look at a few outfits inspired by the COLOURS of my interiors…or is it the other way around? I love cream and gold. I love dusty pink with olive green.


And I love a natural palette of various shades of browns and greens…


And while the colours are similar, so is the fact that some of the furniture (bedhead, sofa, dining table, dining chairs and screen) and some of the clothes (both trenchcoats, the pink dress and all necklaces) are all SECONDHAND. Some bought that way, some inherited, like this four panel Chinese carved soapstone Coromandel screen 😍 It was my Husband’s Aunt’s. And when her estate was divided, we were the only ones that requested it. Isn’t she truly divine? I’m using the colours as inspiration for the toning down of my home’s interior colour scheme in preparation for sale. So oranges and honey golds, beiges and creams, various shades of green with black as an accent. I’ve started by purchasing the olive/sage green linen cushions in the picture above.


Before I had my fringed Kathryn Ireland rust and paisley print ones with the Union Jack. The Union Jack is a cushion I currently have in every room, but am in the process of removing as I attempt to simplify. And note the removal of all the candlesticks and blue and white china vase in this picture from the same angle up above… now it’s calmer. And you might note the switch up in dining chairs… the black bentwoods have gone into storage as the larger loose covered ones are a sister-in-law’s hand me downs 😂


And the plaid ottoman is now recovered and repositioned in another room. Replaced with an Antique American Travel Chest in painted wood that my Dad gave me when I moved out of home 35 years ago. And that I have subsequently given to my eldest daughter when she did the same (although now she’s returned home to save for 6 months, it’s back). And I just added this large long timber bowl to its top. All this reminds me of when at the beginning of 2021 I consciously decided to stop over styling myself by choosing one necklace over 3, smaller scaled prints, muted colours and less pattern clashing in my wardrobe. More similarities as I now apply this to styling my home.


My love of sisal, jute, cane, water hyacinth, seagrass, wicker, raffia and straw and wood in accessories for my home also reflects in my use of natural materials in accessories in my wardrobe. Did you note the cane baskets used as storage in my closet? And the seagrass basket used as a plant pot holder on my dining table? That’s just a sample of what else I have that’s similar…. jute rugs, French straw market baskets, water hyacinth stools, rattan trays. I have a thing for natural and handmade in both my home and on me.


Talking about accessories. I deliberately collect them for myself and my table ☺️ as shown below. Of course, all these will need to be behind cupboard doors and in draws when we sell, but I can’t bare to ever part with them. Note the seagrass placemats..they were once a checkerboard floor rug made up of squares that I unpicked (after it faded in parts), and the plates and bone handled cutlery were mostly picked up at markets and charity shops. Others, including crystal and silver were wedding presents- and like my wardrobe, I use them all ☺️


Oh gosh, it’s been a pleasure talking and sharing something other than my wardrobe 😂 and yes, there are definitely similarities in how both my home and personal style have been built. Slowly, and over time I have collected what I love in my own way. It may not be what you do, or your style, and neither should it, because what you lean towards and what you choose to surround yourself with should be, so think about that. And I encourage you to love it, use it, wear it, feel good in it and enjoy being surrounded by it. That’s my aim always in home and with personal style and especially for the next 12 months before I step out of a rather big family home (4BR plus STUDY, 4 BATH, 3 LIVING AREA – feel free to make an offer any time 😂), and downsize into a small cottage by the sea for the next stage of my life.


CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE : What are you wishing to wear this Season ?


Finally, after what seems like the longest Autumn Winter, I’m really excited about the “new season”, let alone what’s on it’s style wishlist 😂 Spring has sprung here in Melbourne and I’m not sure if it’s my age or that my own signature style has been fine tuning itself this year, but this “new season” I’m looking at how I add to my wardrobe with fresh eyes. Previously I’d be checking in on the various fashion weeks, scrolling style inspo and checking out the new trends from my fave brands and stores, all with the intention of staying up to date and on top of my style game. So this month’s SIGNATURE STYLE will be a little bit different from me. I’m not sure how Cindy or Kim will approach it, but I’m sure, you’ll be heading over to their pages once you’ve read mine. And if by any chance, you think you’d like to comment, simply press the title of this post now and you will be redirected to the same page with commenting options at the end ☺️

I think it’s probably a combination of both midlife and loving what I have already (plus my current secondhand shopping habits) that leads my “new season” wishlist on a slightly different path. And to be honest, it’s really quite freeing to no longer feel the pull the “trends” once had over me. It’s like I’ve finally found my own groove when it comes to style… and now instead of coveting garments seasonally, my focus is on fine tuning my overall personal style whatever the time of year!

And the way I’ll be doing that now in Spring (which is my “new season”), as well as over the coming Summer, Autumn and Winter 😉 is to lean towards a more tonal look. What I’m after is less contrast between the layers of colour I wear. I find it such an ageless and timeless look on others that I’ve found myself wanting a bit of that too! So over the last two seasons I played with this idea with what I had in my wardrobe. And I’ve found a simple long coat the key! Adding it in a similar tone to what’s underneath has me moving in the right direction. Although not strictly “tonal”, my looks below mix different colours, but of a similar muted tone. Btw, I’m wearing a preloved olive trench that I found earlier in the year, and it’s the inspo for more to come 😉 Here is a similar one, in a brighter green. And another in sage. Olive boots and belt are on my list for next AW 😉


“Tonal” usually means wearing the same block colour head toe. But it can be in a pattern, which I think adds interest and personality. As does texture 😉 and here I am wearing my 2022 AW Coat, which despite being a bit of cheap fast fashion, has proved an absolute winner!


And while I was playing with the tonal look, I wrote the SS blog on linen, which then lead me on the search for a linen trench, similar in shape to the olive coat above, but in a natural colour, to wear over all my cream linen and cotton pieces. Below is the one I found secondhand on Depop. It’s a great addition to my curated closet for Spring and definitely more the tonal look I’m leaning towards. This is a similar one, as is this but both being new, have a much heftier price tag than the $95 I paid.


And since I love both these lighter trenchs so much, I am keeping my eyes peeled for similar coats in colours I wear, like Caramel and Dusty Rose. They are the best layering garments for the transitional weather, and because I’m not shopping trending colours, I can wait until they show up on sale or secondhand. And guess what? One just did… and a steal for a worn twice price of $85 on Depop 😉 It’s from the Veronika Maine 2018 Spring Collection, but it will prove timeless in my wardrobe! There is a similar one here and here.


Dressing tonally is something that can be achieved quite easily all year around. And achieving it in my case is about establishing your most “love to wear” colours (AW: Cream, Brown, Tan, Burnt Orange, Olive Green, Teal and Navy Blue , and SS: Cream, Brown, Tan, Olive, Teal and Dusty Rose for me 😉) and then slowly building up over time layers and textured garments in them from head to toe. I’ve mentioned SS coats today, but think wool ones for AW. Similarly, tees/singlets/blouses for SS, turtlenecks/Jumpers for AW. You get the idea…

And talking about toes…..if I hadn’t already purchased these sneakers in Winter, I would have added them to my “new season” wishlist. It’s another way I’m fine tuning my style. While I do like to wear and rewear the timeless garments that I have, I do find sneakers/trainers one of those items that date (and dirty) quite quickly. So I find a new pair can freshen up an older outfit so easily! Investing in a pair (or two) a year is something I’ve learnt to do. And for 2022 The New Balance 327 is it. It comes in so many colour options, that I’m sure there is one for you. I actually bought these, about a month apart. The first pair were so comfy I knew I had to have another 😂


And I have found they add a cool casual vibe to so much of what I like to wear, whether it be tonal or muted tones 😉


And that ladies, is what I’m wishing for this SS season! A more tonal look. I hope it inspires you to think about styling a few garments you have tonally to see if you like it. And perhaps even find some lovely new pieces to help you this season. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with on IG over the coming months! And since I know a lot of you are heading into AW, here’s a few more tonal outfits I’ve been playing with:

And these Navy boots (or similar) are on my AW23 wishlist too 😉

Sarah xx

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

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

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


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

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

DYE YOUR CLOTHES

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


ALTER YOUR CLOTHES

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


VEST out of a JUMPER

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


BLOUSE out of a DRESS

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

PAINT YOUR SHOES

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

The product used was this:

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


ADD FUR TO A MULE

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


MAKE JEWELLERY out of JEWELLERY

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


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


ADD A BAG STRAP

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

And added a vintage crochet to a clutch:


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

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

Sarah xx

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

SIGNATURE STYLE: Linen Love 💕

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

I spy all linen 😉


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

Sarah xx

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: 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