SECOND HAND STYLE: Why I shop this way 😊


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….

That’s me in the middle in my secondhand stiletto winkle pickers and trilby 😂


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….

Recent secondhand and forever acquisitions 😊

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 🙏🏻.

Oooh… Valentino on my feet 😉 thank you as.if.designer.recycle 🙏🏻

Now please pop on over to Jane’s blog and read about why she shops this way.

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Spring Dresses

I’m super excited to be joining Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design and Kim from Northern California Style on this month’s SIGNATURE STYLE. These women are not only superior interior stylists (you should see their homes 😍), they also have an incredible sense of what looks good on them and what they like to wear. And while their personal styles differ to mine, I do find myself oohing and aahing over clothes they wear, looks they put together and their style suggestions 🙏🏻 So it’s such a treat to chat Spring dresses with them both….in my Autumn 🍂

To be honest, no matter the season, I could talk dresses all year long. They are, by far, my fave garment in my wardrobe. But not just any dress, I lean towards the long dress, not the formal ball gown but the casual looser kind. So much so, I got married (actually I eloped on a Kenyan beach) in a linen midi dress. I adore most styles of midis (where the hem hits at mid calf) or maxi’s (where the hem hits the ankles) these include kaftans, the shirt dress, the wrap dress, the strapless, the off the shoulder, the empire waist, and the kimono. They all have my attention and pride of place in my wardrobe. In fact, every time I’m out and about and walk past a shop window I can’t NOT look to see if there is a dress in it I fancy 😊. And while I really have no need for any more, I unapologetically will never promise that I won’t add to my collection. Why? Because they are my “go to”, they get worn most days and that is how we should shop… for what we wear most days 😉

Custom Made Linen “Wedding” Midi Dress circa 1995

My current Spring/Summer Dress Collection stands at 45 (including my wedding dress). Sounds like a lot, but I have been wearing (and hence) collecting them for a while. That’s the thing about maxis and midis, if you choose carefully, they become timeless (just look at my 1995 dress above). They transcend trends, are stayers in your wardrobe and get repeatedly worn. And gosh, I love that! But instead of showing you what I have (you can see that on Instagram), I thought I’d share what is currently on my radar for SS21. New brands and businesses that I am currently looking at and that ship worldwide! I haven’t bought from any of these (yet), but when I feel the need … I may 😉 and you may notice a colour theme 🤍

It’s no secret I love linen and I’ve admired Seaside Tones from afar for a while now. This highly successful global brand was established in Poland in 2015. The Australian arm Seaside Tones Australia followed in 2019 and their garments are available from local stockists. They offer high quality ethically made garments in natural fabrics (but mostly Baltic linen). Below are three dresses that have caught my eye…

A style I’m quite well known for wearing is the patterned maxi. I have so many! These I pick up on my travels as well from a couple of small local boutiques. However, as my style evolves, I find myself leaning now towards simplicity. A quieter look and feel in which the cut of the dress speaks volumes and not the print (this also increases the chances of a dress being timeless). Below is a dress from Indecisive the label. This brand caught my eye in 2020, and I now have myself drooling over them in 2021. Established in 2015 this brand is sustainable and their products are made in Australia 🙏🏻 again, the design epitomises casual chic. No styling needed… superb, isn’t it?


My obsession over the white Spring/Summer Dress isn’t new.. I filmed an IGTV about earlier this year (below is the intro), and if you have time you can pop on over to my Instagram and scroll down to February 4 to see the rest of my Collections episode on White Dresses… you may just notice that there isn’t a white linen 😉

I really hope this has you thinking about the Spring Dresses in your own wardrobe and really looking at the styles, colours and patterns you repeatedly wear. This may help you establish an idea of what you should be looking at adding and also what you need no more of. Doing this, will help you only purchase those dresses that will get worn repeatedly and be with you for years. Now why now pop on over to see what “Spring Dresses” Cindy and Kim love…

Cindy Hattersley Design

Northern California Style

My Top 5 Spring Picks from Down Under !

What a buzz it is to put the SLS spin on Spring Style Inspiration (in my antipodean Autumn), by joining stylish US bloggers (in order from the photos above 😉) : Eugenia (The Age of Grace), Mary Ann (Classic Casual Home), Kim (Northern California Style), Cindy (Cindy Hattersley Design), Rhoda (Southern Hospitality) and Annie (Most Lovely Things). And my spin is to introduce you to 5 small Aussie brands or businesses that I love, frequent and wear in Spring (and beyond as Melbourne has a temperate climate) and they all happen to ship worldwide!

And these are in no particular order of adoration 😉

1. Hut Clothing – the shirt

I’ve been wearing the Hut Clothing Linen Boyfriend Shirt for a few years now and am happy to say I have a few 😊 I am a size AU8 top (US 4/UK 8/EU36) and wear an XS or S. These are a must have in my Spring Wardrobe. The brand was created by the gorgeous Donna (and Marc) who have a lifetime of fashion industry experience and simply wanted to make quality, classic and casual styles for the Australian Woman! And they succeeded 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻. It’s no secret that I adore Linen (although the Boyfriend Shirt Style also comes in cotton) and the fabric in this shirt is super soft against the skin and incredibly easy to launder (as it’s been pre-washed to prevent shrinkage). The style has an oversized fit, is wide, loose and relaxed. It has chest pockets (great for hiding a bra), long sleeves with a button tab and a scooped hem. And it’s available is so many colours 😍 I style it in so many ways. Sometimes I’ll front full tuck, sometimes half front tuck, sometimes no tuck. Sometimes I knot it at the front. Sometimes I’ll roll and tab the sleeve, sometimes I’ll do what I call the “Linda Wright”, sometimes I’ll button it at my wrist. All of which you can find on my IGTV 😉


2. Kiitos Living By Design – the pant

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Maria’s Greek Linen or the beautiful Maria! Her lifestyle store and brand bring a joy to everyday living 🙏🏻 And so worth a visit to get you in the “Spring” frame of mind… You can see my fave Kiitos pants in Navy in the pic on the right above. It’s called the 620 Pant and I also have them in Army (below left) and Stripe (below right). Trust me when I say, once you own a pair, you will go back and buy more! They also come in black, white, beige, mustard and rust! Again, a stunning linen that is soft and so easy to launder. Again, RELAXED… (I think you are getting a pic of how I like to feel when I dress). They come in a size S/M (AU 6-14) M/L (AU 14-18) and L/XL (AU 18-20). I wear the S/M and am a AU10 bottom (US6/UK10). And because these pants are wide in design at the thigh and have a soft stretchy elastic waistband, you really can’t go wrong with sizing! Linen really is such an amazing fabric, especially as you age. It’s cool, absorbent in the heat, it’s sturdy, timeless and because it’s generally worn loose, extremely forgiving 🙏🏻 You can see me style these pants all over my IG account as they really are a staple in my wardrobe… …oooh and they are stylish… so much so, I’m currently considering adding them to my wardrobe in the beige 😉


3. DEED Bags – the tote

Hand made in Melbourne, these bags are bespoke! They are handmade with a big heart in the small home based studio of the super chic Emma 😍 Initially designed as a stylish alternative to replace single use shopping bags, they have grown to become so much more than this in my wardrobe! To me, they are the perfect tote! Available in a large range of fabrics (all of which is saved from landfill by being sourced from dead stock, off-cuts and end-of-runs), each design is unique and made in limited quantities, which makes some limited edition! What I love is that each is embellished with the DEED bag twist of the perfect ruffle, bow, pom or heart😍 in fact, you can contact Emma direct and have your own designed! In addition to the sustainable feel, with designer appeal, with each bag sold Emma donates $1 to the education charity Ardoch, of which she is a Literacy Ambassador 🙏🏻. There is a wide range of designs and I’m sure you will find the perfect Spring option in the DEED bags collection. From hearts to bespoke and everything in between, I have a few in my wardrobe (you can see the luxe in the pic, above left, which I take to the supermarket) and when I can, around the world because as PRETTY, PRACTICAL, KIND bags … they really are my “IT” bag ! But remember they are handmade..so the wait will be worth waiting for!


4. House of Nicholetta – the maxi

Spring is the time to start thinking about one or a few fabulous dresses! I adore the longer styles, the midi and the maxi. And in the warmer weather they are my “Signature Style” and my “go to” boutique for these is The House of Nicholetta. Nicholetta has a particularly good eye for finding printed boho inspired pieces. And I always seem to find one or two I love from them! One such brand is Miss June Paris. Designed in Paris and with registered designs, you will get a style that is unmistakably them. Usually in sheer fabrics and with slips, each dress also has a mini and blouse version in the same fabric. So if the longer style isn’t for you, there is always a wonderful alternative. Another stunning brand Nicholetta stocks is Greek Archaic Kori. And again, shorter and blouse versions are usually available in the same fabric design. I love the way this style makes me feel with the change in weather… chic, relaxed and ready to welcome the sun! And while both labels are only available from small local boutiques like House of Nicholetta (who ship everywhere), these brands are also available from others worldwide 😉

5. Talamaya – the everything

There isn’t anything I wouldn’t wear from this lifestyle label. Developed with an extensive fashion background on her resume, this yoga teacher has cleverly designed a brand steeped in wellness and sunshine 🙏🏻 and that is how it feels when it is on. I don’t want to accessorise it, I simply want to connect with the way it feels. As luxe loungewear, each garments composition prioritises organic and natural fibres. The styles can work alone or you can layer with other pieces in the collection to create trans-seasonality. Which makes it the perfect Spring addition to your wardrobe! Early spring may see you wearing an oversized Daily Catch Cardi over the Seascape Organic Breezy Pant and matching High Low Tee (LOOK 1) only to be replaced as the sun warms mid season with the Beach Break Poncho over the Seascapes Organic Flow Pant and Swing Singlet (LOOK 2). All have a relaxed fit and are incredibly soft against the skin. When I wear anything from this small Aussie Brand (that has an LA connection 😉) I just want to kick off my shoes, slow my pace and be one with the air, wind, sea, sun and sand. It takes me to where I am truly happy 😊


And on that note, why not find more Spring Style Inspiration by reading what these lovely ladies have to say:

Eugenia THE AGE OF GRACE

Mary Ann CLASSIC CASUAL HOME

Kim NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Cindy CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

Rhoda SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

Annie MOST LOVELY THINGS