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

SECOND HAND STYLE: The joy in finding a new colour and how best to wear it 💕


Welcome to another blog post on Secondhand Style. If you’re new, thank you for making the time to be here, if not, welcome back. And if you do think you’d like to comment, simply press the title of this blog now and it will redirect you to the same page with commenting options at the end.

In my last SAVVY STYLE blog, I covered the joy of curating my closet, and in doing so, I discussed colour. And one thing I’ve found, is that when you do know what colours you prefer on you, it makes it so much easier to add to your wardrobe sustainably. And for most of this year, I have stuck to a few familiar ones and built up an incredibly versatile wardrobe doing so. But what I have started to do, is seek secondhand a colour that is relatively new to me. And today I’ll show you what I’ve found in it so far and how I’ve styled and even upstyled it to work with my wardrobe. 😉

And that “new colour” for me, is a Pink! In particular, a shade I would call a dusty rose. What would you call it ? I’m referring to the first one in the line up above. I only became aware that it suited me after I had my colours analysed last year, and since then I always keep my eyes open on secondhand sites and in stores for it. That’s just one of the great things about shopping secondhand, all colours are available! (As opposed to what’s trending in retail) Brilliant! This pink is from my Muted Autumn palette. I primarily wear a Muted or Warm Autumn, but tend to stick with the safe browns and greens I know, so I really am stepping out of my comfort zone with this one… and it’s been a learning experience as I’m about to show you.

Some of you may remember that earlier this year, I found this Catherine Murphy dress secondhand. I wrote about it and some other 2022 treasures here. It is what started me off on this particular colour tangent and since then I’ve been keeping my eyes open for the same/similar shade in a style that suits.


So when I saw the dress below at my local Red Cross Op shop NWT for $25 I thought I’d found it and snapped it up.


Only to discover, that without a small print on it, I feel the block colour overbearing 😳. It wears me! And with this sheen, even more !! Needless to say, I was a bit surprised and disappointed. And since I have, over the last year, carefully curated every item in my closet to suit me, I am very aware that I only want to hold onto garments and accessories I am absolutely in love with on me. So after a bit of thought, I brought out an old pair of pants (and some scissors) and thought, because the dress has such a fabulous collar and cuff detail, would it make the perfect blouse for them? It would certainly break the vast block of “pink” in half and add some interest with the pattern of the pants to the outfit.


Et voilà…. what do you think? I think it’s really smart! And so much nicer on me.


The joy in finding a new colour and how best to wear it 🙏🏻.

And why do I pay so much attention to a detail like this ? Other than to look good in it 😂 …because ultimately my aim with anything I buy to wear is to feel good, in fact so good that I keep wearing and rewearing it, making my sustainable SECONDHAND STYLE even more sustainable 😉

Sarah xx

BTW… watch out for Jane @thesmallfabricofmylife and I next month on Instagram as we’ve signed up for SECONDHAND SEPTEMBER!

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

SAVVY STYLE: Curate your closet to love what you wear everyday 😉


I know I’ve been promising you this blog for a while and here it finally is, although, it is the abridged version, as I’m sure there’s a book in it 😂 But before I launch into it, if you’d like to comment, please press on the title now and it will open with a commenting section at the end.

Back in January, I introduced the idea of SAVVY STYLE with this blog. I like to think of it as a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to capture and create a feel good wabi- sabi life of style. It’s a summary of what I’ve learnt to pay attention to in ”my life” and with “my style” since I turned 50, so I can “feel good”. And in it are 5 pillars (that have morphed into) : WEARING SHOPPING THINKING AGEING LIVING. And “curating your closet” is an idea that came to me from THINKING about the WEARING and SHOPPING blogs as well as the one I wrote on RELOVE. (In fact, come to think of it, most of the blogs I’ve written have had some influence 🤔) and it’s beginning to feel like the purpose of my little hobby blog (other than to leave something for my daughters to read as they age) is to creatively curate a closet in which after 55 years, I always have fun and feel good in 🙏🏻

And what makes me feel so passionate about sharing all of this, is that it if this hobby stylist can do it, anyone can ! It will literally transform what you wear, how you shop and more importantly how you feel about yourself in doing both! And it’s practical, enjoyable and achievable in which I didn’t spend much at all! In fact my “spending” is what got me into a mess to start with. The sheer accumulation of mindless pandemic “add to cart” moments and exciting acceptance of “influencing gifts” over the last two years (that were ironically bought/accepted to ”make me feel good”) were what actually had me falling to the ground last October and thinking STOP…I have so much stuff!!! So much so, that it was confusing my style and generally overwhelming me with what I “should wear” VS “love to wear”. So I simply, took a deep breath and decided to take back the control of my wardrobe and own my spending/accepting habits by SAYING NO to both for a while to concentrate on what I love to wear and rewear. And since then, I have, “curated my closet ” and created the wardrobe of my dreams, in which I always have something I love to wear! And this is pretty much all about how I did that in a blogpost….

INVEST IN LEARNING WHAT COLOURS SUIT YOU !

I can not reiterate this enough! Most of us have some idea of the colours that look good on us through the way we feel in them and compliments received from others. I’ve always loved and bought the colour olive/khaki for that reason. (So please be sure to let others know when you see them wearing their best 😉). But it wasn’t until I started thinking how I wanted to feel good in every colour that I wore that I got stuck. So when Victoria Nelson, an image consultant (also known on IG as stylepixie_consulting) offered to colour analyse me last year I jumped at it! I wrote about that here. But what I also learnt is that there’s more to it than just wearing a certain hue that suits, it’s also how you “contrast” your colours, in accordance to your own skin/hair/eye contrast level, so that what you decide to put with it makes YOU look good and not just your clothes. And knowing all this has allowed me to work over time, on narrowing down what I had in my closet while opening up possibilities of how I could make existing clothes work better to what I should look for in purchasing and perhaps accept as gifts moving forward.

So if you want to look great in every colour that you wear, I encourage you to look into it by yourself or with help. It can be a bit $$$ if you out source, but over time, the investment will be cost saving and life changing……just a thought. But you can do a lot of research yourself and I found Donna Cameron’s book “Colour: the secret to creating a sustainable wardrobe” the perfect starting point. In fact, there are many resources and experts in colour offering their advice free of charge on this platform, You Tube and Instagram. And in case you are wondering, these are mine:

Although, when my hair is very bright, I can slide into a few of these:

And while I’ve curated my current closet based on a handful of favourites. I love that there are “new to me” colours i’d love to explore….


PAY ATTENTION TO THE STYLES THAT SUIT YOUR BODY (shape, proportions and size)

Again, a personal stylist can help you with this OR you can conduct your own research and follow your intuition. Although sometimes the latter may take longer. I’ve been a follower of ”What Not To Wear” and Trinny Woodall for 20 years, so have had plenty of practice in analysing my shape. I am a triangle, a pear. My shoulders are smaller than my hips. My torso is also longer than my legs. I have a waist. I am petite. There is a very old book by Trinny and Susannah Constantine called The Body Shape Bible that I learnt most of my “how to dress my shape” tricks. And knowing them is how I dress to feel good even after all these years, some people may not agree, but when I follow these simple guidelines, it really makes choosing clothes so much easier!

And pay attention to the tips about necks, boobage and calves, it can help with accessories! And when it comes to earrings, I find this helpful.


Although, tbt, even with all this advice, I’m still a work in progress and sometimes fall head over heels for something NQR, only to realise why it never gets worn 😂

ALTER or REMOVE WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Knowing the colours and styles that do suit, it’s time to tackle your wardrobe. This may seem daunting, but if you accept that it will take more than afternoon and aim for a timeframe that works for you, it can be done methodically. You may want to start by season and category.

I started in Summer with dresses. I had about 60! And so many hanging on my rails didn’t get worn, so I pulled them off one at a time, tried them on and then depending on whether their colour and style suited me, separated them into three key piles: KEEP, ALTER, PURGE.

The KEEPERS were laundered, ironed, had buttons fixed etc.. and then hung. On hangers that matched! I am super fussy about this and all mine are in a natural wood. I want my Curated Closet to reflect the feeling I get when I walk into a chic boutique, regardless of the garment being high end or thrifted! My aim is for it to be somewhere I go to shop each day. And you know that amazing feeling you get, when you try on something you love in store?, thats what I’m aiming for each and every time 😍

The ALTER pile is just that. Garments that suit in shape and colour, but need tweaking by a seamstress (or yourself) like a hem. Many of my Maxi Dresses were too long for my 163cm frame so I had them taken up. I suit a midi. Some were too full, so I’ve invested in having volume removed. Some too loose, so I’ve had darts and waists altered. I’ll admit that paying Australian seamstresses to do this isn’t cheap, but if the item suits me and I love it, I want each and every one I own to be a perfect fit. Think of it as closet couture 😉 Because I know from experience, the better you feel in a garment the more it gets worn! I also took all my white dresses (which isn’t my best colour) and experimented with dyeing them. And all the alterations don’t have to be done all at once, in fact, I still have half a basket of alterations from last Summer to be tackled this Spring…. must get onto that 😉 But what I can say, is that in concentrating on wearing what I had and tweaking what I love, it actually stopped me buying new for a month or two. It was also the pause I needed to reset how I felt about what I owned and chose to wear, which has since allowed me to THINK about it and what I wanted my curated closet to be.


The PURGE pile I split into gifting (to family and friends), selling, and donating. In this pile I put garments that definitely didn’t suit, like or fit! And please don’t keep and ”one day I’ll fit back in it” items in your curated closet – they only make you feel bad, if you can’t part with one or two, store them elsewhere for 12 months, and then take another look at them. I’m okay with doing this purge once in a while, but the ultimate aim is to curate a closet that is so sustainable, this is a rare occurrence .

And there is one more pile, that I may have only mentioned once or twice and it simply got rehung. And that is the ARCHIVE. In it are high end or highly stylish garments that I will no longer wear but have a sentimental attachment or I think my children and their children may appreciate the value of down the track. And I keep them hanging as this group is meant to be small but meaningful. Plus, I always welcome my daughters into my wardrobe to wear or pinch anything I own 🙏🏻

ORGANISE, ORGANISE, ORGANISE !

Using your uniform coat hangers, organise your closet into categories. This will be completely determined by the size of your closet and your hanging space vs. shelving and draws. But I do try to keep my warm weather clothing (Spring/Summer) seperate from cooler weather (Autumn/Winter). And in catagories. So Summer skirts, Summer blouses, Summer jackets, Summer dusters, vs. Winter skirts, Winter blouses, Winter jackets, Winter coats. You get the idea. I’ll even do this on the same rod. That way, I can simply bring garments for the particular season to the front. And on my shelves and in draws, all my turtle necks are together vs. chunky knits. And my tshirts vs. singlets. To be honest, I don’t have many separates. A majority of my garments are dresses. My Summer ones stand alone in the long hanging and my Winter ones hang or are folded over a hanger in another section depending on length. I have also started trying to keep them in colour groups in order of the rainbow 😉 My aim is to make what I have easily identifiable and accessible. The same with accessories. All my jewels sit in groups on a chest of drawers. My belts in drawers according to size, my scarves in season piles. And anyone who has seen my wardrobe knows my larger bags/shoes/boots are on display (these are separated according to season) and my clutches are organised in baskets by colour. Having said all this, I am an extremely organised person (perhaps I missed my true vocation 😂)!! So find your own aesthetic…


What doing this also highlights is the amount of what you have in each catagory! Which can very easily help you define your style. As I’ve already said, dresses are what I have the most of because they are what I wear most days. Knowing this, and knowing what I have, I am always happy to look for additional. It’s the same with boots! Which then leads me to…

CREATE A WISHLIST

In my Filofax 😂 I have a page in which I write down garments and items that my wardrobe may benefit from. Notes on your phone is simpler, but I love paper 😉 On it are wants, rarely needs. These are added randomly as they come to mind, often when I’m dressing or inspired by what I see on others. I certainly don’t rush into buying anything on it. I like to sit with it for at least a week or two and think about how it may benefit what I’ve so carefully curated. Sometimes I’ll even risk waiting for it to go on sale, thinking if they don’t have my size, it wasn’t meant to be. And often items get scrubbed 😉 The last thing I need is to bring in is something that will stuff up all my hard work! Currently I have a Camel Coat (which has eluded me now for two Winters), a chocolate brown turtle neck (I haven’t found the right shape), snakeskin boots (I have had an eye on this pair for a while 😉), a pair of rose gold Havianas with a thick strap (to replace the ones my dog ate – probably more a need) and a fine gold chain and charm (random I know, but sometimes I don’t want to wear my chunky ones…). you get the idea. And this week I added another garment, this stunning dress:


What I love about having a list, is that when I am out and about shopping new or secondhand, I always have something in mind to look for. I may not always find it, but it keeps me mindful and less impulsive. And because I now know my wardrobe so well, the result keeps the closet curated! Having said that, and all this, the whole purpose of a curated closet is to…

FEEL GOOD and HAVE FUN IN IT

Which really is what clothes and style are about! And now my closet is fully curated, my current style established and I love everything in it and on me 🙏🏻 I feel happy and confident with all I welcome in “new” and “secondhand”. Because it’s been intentionally selected. No more frenzied “at to cart” moments, no constant accepting of kind gifted offers…… so when Blue Illusion surprisingly offered me the stunning toile dress above after I posted on Instagram how it sparked my interest, it felt like the right time to say YES (it has been 10 months since the last) and step back into the ring of occasionally accepting gifts and sharing them with you. And since it’s been a while, I’m a bit excited 😆. And that’s the feeling I want for you when you have taken the time to curate your closet and then decide to add to it !!

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE : Traveling light 😉

TRAVELLING OUTFIT


Welcome to another SIGNATURE STYLE blog. This month Cindy, Kim and I will be talking travel. But before I do, if you would like to comment, simply press on the title now and a new page will open up with a commenting section at the end.

Whether your trip be close to home or far away, why not enjoy the ease of traveling with minimal luggage only? (I’ve already written about my love of it when I talked about Resort Wear here). And with the current chaos associated with checking it in, and the very real possibility that your bag may not make it to where you’re headed, to me, it makes perfect sense to consider packing for carry-on only. Of course, all this hinges on the cabin baggage allowance. It does vary from airline to airline domestically/internationally and which end of the plane you fly in. Also, how long you go for.. But for me, it’s definitely all I really need for a 4-14 day warm weather trip (trust me, I’ve done it six times already and once was 2 weeks in Greece and Istanbul 😳)… so here are my tips on how to nail it 😂

  • Firstly, when buying a carry-on cabin bag, research the size and weight requirements for domestic/international flights. Then invest in the lightest and most durable you can afford. Mine is the Antler Juno case (above) and qualifies size wise for dom/int’l and weighs in at 2.7kg before I add anything. (It’s since been discontinued and replaced by the slightly heavier Clifton.) And think wisely about colour, you want an easily identifiable bag in the aircraft, most definitely on a carousel and especially if it does get lost! So best to avoid black. Also ensure it’s fully labelled (inside and out) and take a pic of it for your records. And for piece of mind Air Tag it!
  • Secondly, track the weather in your final destination a week or two before your expected stay (temperature, humidity and rainfall) so you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Know your accomodation ammenities. I always check if there is hairdryer/dressing gown/washing facilities available 😉 and think about the activities you’ll be doing. All this will save on packing those “but I might need” unnecessary items.
  • When it comes to how many outfits to pack, my rule of thumb for a 4-14 day trip is: total the number of days you’re away, then half it and add a travelling one (for there and back). But no more than 7. So on a 4 day trip, I’ll take 3. On a 14 day, 7, no more. Plus I’ll wear, 1 coat OR jumper/cardigan OR jacket. Denim is good. And it’s no secret that sticking to a colour palette in which everything mixes and matches is your best bet. I keep scarves (one can double as a sarong) and accessories to a minimum but interesting enough to mix up what I wear.
  • Shoes and bags can weigh in heavy, so choose wisely and base your travelling outfit wearing the bulkiest. This is when a gym shoe doubling as a comfortable sneaker comes in handy 😉 and ensure you wear as many of the accessories you are taking as you can (necklaces/bracelets/scarves) – for what I’m travelling in, retake a look at the top picture 😉. Remember…they weigh your bags, not you! And no more than 2 other pairs (I usually do a sandal and a spare). Heels rarely make the cut 😂 And it’s 1 tote, sometimes a clutch and always 1 crossbody bag. Even better if the crossbody strap is detachable, so it can double up as a clutch. Again, these are chosen to coordinate with my clothing colour palette, that way they will go with everything!
  • I pack 1 set only of workout gear, 1 swimsuit, 1 hat (packable) and 1 sleepwear set. These I find so easy to hand wash and dry in a hotel room. And don’t pack the lulu lemon if you’re not planning on using it!
  • Forget full size toiletries and makeup (this really is a no brainer). Invest in small refillable light plastic bottles. Remember, with carry on, check requirements. Even think ahead and save old clear makeup tubs and bottles or free sample creams for your holidays. And consider a cleansing bar as opposed to a liquid. I found at Christmas time, travel sized versions of my favourite haircare that I now refill. (I’m sorry, but my hair just can’t do the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner tip, but if yours can, yay for you 😉). And I have the most amazing refillable travel perfume atomiser that siphons straight from your own bottle. I found it at my local discount chemist, but there are bound to be plenty of alternative options out there. Make up is usually a BB cream, mascara and lip to cheek (its the only time I use a finger application), I wrote about my lipsticks here, and ditch the fancy makeup bags. I travel with the basics only and in clear ziplock bags. This is the idea… obviously not fully packed yet (and I probably couldn’t take that razor) 😉.


Let’s continue with a few images and explanations of clothing with a specific example. I’m (we are – Mr Style et moi) heading away next week and I am looking forward to 8 days of warm weather in Far North Queensland. It’s an intentionally relaxed holiday (my favourite kind), no events to attend (although I have made note of a couple of markets to visit), no high end restaurants, and we have zero plans for sightseeing other than riding along the beach, as we’ve been there before. Just lots of walks, bike rides, reading by the pool, makeup free and messy hair days, and that’s just me 😂- my husband will be golfing all day, so I’ll be on a retreat of sorts 😉 The weather will be 17-27 Celsius, with high humidity and occasional showers (🤞🏻for none at all). The hotel has all the amenities and facilities I need. Easy! So here’s what I’m packing to travel light …

5 DRESSES

Five airy dresses in cool cotton and relaxed linen. And the palette I’ve chosen is warm and muted. If it suits me in the cooler weather, why not the warmer? I didn’t actually have the right shades needed, so instead of buying new, I simply dyed two vibrant dresses to create it. Using DYLON Expresso Brown, I split the pod contents in half and completely changed the look (I dyed them separately). One thing I’ve learnt, is you never quite know how the dye will take but I’m pretty happy with the results 😊 I’ll be sure to share pics of them styled when I’m away (you can see those on my Instagram). Until then… here’s a peak of the before and after.


The remaining I already had (I EVEN MADE ONE 😳 – see below), except the current olive dress on the far right. Nothing resort like, just casual, interesting dresses that can be worn loose with messy hair, beads and a tote during the day or belted with my hair pulled back, big earrings and a clutch at night. I’ve gone for 2 maxis, 2 midis and a shorter kaftan (this doubles up for beach/pool/bike)…so I have plenty to choose from. I also find the longer hems, higher necklines, and adjustable sleeves a great way to keep sun exposure to a minimum. And I’ve decided to take a linen duster (that I found secondhand – but this and this are nice) instead of denim jacket because there is a bit going on with all the patterns.

And with these, the natural and neutral accessories mix below works best.


This is what I’ve come up with so far. Again, curated from new, secondhand or made by me, all but a few are current. Those being the trainers, sandals and sunglasses. I’d swap out the tan sandals for my Havianas if my dog Billy Ray hadn’t chewed them 😩 and I’m still undecided on the crossbody/clutch, so I may change my mind, in fact, this one has caught my eye… but you get the idea. Not a lot, but enough to mix and match with my dresses. It’s really just what they call a “travel capsule”. And it can so easily be created with minimal cost by using pieces from your “curated closet” (I really must write a blog on how to do this), and some planning.

Pretty much packed! 6.5kg 😉

And that’s it. I’ve never been packed so ahead of time 😂 but before I zip up, I’d be really interested in knowing if you have any light weight travelling tips to add, if so, feel free to comment below (remember, press the title of the post to open up that section 😉). And of course I’ll be paying attention on what Cindy and Kim have to say. So join me in reading that now:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Safe travels,

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: My new “feel good” #curateandcreatechallenge 😉


Welcome back to another blog post on SECONDHAND STYLE! I’m so happy you’re here 😊 Jane is taking the Summer off from blogging to spend time with her family, but be sure to continue following her style journey on The Small Fabric of My Life on INSTAGRAM. I know I will be! Which leaves me to write about what I’m wearing… and this coming month I feel like a new style challenge. One that feels good by encouraging us to wear what we have and if we do add new….. purchasing garments that compliment what we have (perhaps from a wishlist…see below 😉) and from secondhand stores! It can seriously “look good and feel good”… as I’m about to show you 😉


Which is why I’ve created the #curateandcreatechallenge. I’m committing to do it for July and would love you to join me. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know all about my “curate your closet” philosophy. If not, it’s a simple system (see pic above) for creating the wardrobe of your dreams 😉 So using garments from in it, simply create an outfit making sure you add a little secondhand. That’s all the challenge requires… and then post a pic of what you are wearing (flat lays are fine too) onto Instagram. I’m hoping it encourages this platform and IG to mindfully share the rewearing and restyling of existing clothes (instead of always thinking we have to share new) and if something is, make it from what’s already is existence and buy it secondhand instead. Yay for secondhand style!

Wearing what you have is a huge tick for sustainability ✅ ! And with the cost of living rising, economically it’s never made better sense ✅. But believe me when I say that from a “personal style” point of view, wearing what you have and love (since it’s from your curated closet ) and combining it with mindfully shopping secondhand to enhance it is an off the charts “feel good factor” ✅✅✅!!! Why? Because not only are you helping yourself, the planet, a charity or an individual’s livelihood wearing/shopping like this, you are also reaching for what you intuitively love without any marketing/brand influence … which in turn establishes/enhances your own genuine style … which in turn switches on / turns up your creativity … which in a fashion world that likes to tell us what to wear, you are doing the opposite! YOU are simply wearing what you want to wear! YOU ARE DOING YOU 😍 and that is always the ultimate feel good 😉

Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about…

Below are 6 outfits I’ve created mixing existing garments with secondhand. In pic 1, the snake necklace is the only thrifted item. Pic 2 it’s the denim shirt and suede boots. Pic 3 the trench, dress, fur and boots (same as pic2). In pic 4, the turtle neck and bag, pic 5 the brooch, blazer and bag. And finally in picture 6 the blazer (same as pic 5) and boots (same as pic 2 and 3). So you see, I’m rewearing and restyling what I have (in which the garments range from 1 month to 15 years old), with the inclusion of pieces I’ve found secondhand. Head to toe my own wabi sabi style!


And that cropped pic at the top, here’s a full shot. I’m wearing my wardrobe with a new “secondhand” faux fur gilet (from the kids section at Salvos 😳), and it’s what you’ll see on my IG grid today 😊


So thats it, welcome to my #curateandcreatechallenge ! I’m excited, I hope you are too! But most of all I’m feeling really good about it, which is what our Style is about after all 😉

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: My 2022 Treasures!

How glam is my new “old” belt? This one is a keeper as its perfect to cinch in this tres chic caftan!

Welcome to another fun blogpost that I write with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life and this month we will both put our own spin on our ”latest treasures”…. AKA what we have recently added secondhand to our closets. So be sure to press on the link at the end to read what Jane has to say, but before I continue, if you would like to comment, quickly go back up to the top, press on the title and this post will reopen with that option at the end.

At the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 I vowed to curate my entire wardrobe (which I have pretty much completed) with the aim of knowing it so well that I would only introduce “new” items that:
1. I really love,
2. Enhance my style, and
3. Think are ”WOW” !!
I want to think of them all as treasures, so no matter what I reach for and decide to wear, it makes me feel and look great 😊 This not just encourages me to wear and rewear (yay sustainability👏🏻), it reduces my consumption (aka shopping habit 😉). And today is a reckoning of kinds to see if what I have added to it secondhand does indeed do all of the above … let’s begin with accessories…

Bags, Scarves, Belts and Jewellery are what I look for first when I visit op shops. While they may be a small in size, they often have a huge impact on an outfit. And if you like to wear and rewear your clothes like I do, they are what makes them feel fresh and repeatedly different. So I like a wide choice in them when deciding how to style what I choose to wear each day. Which makes it a no brainer that it’s what I buy the most of. And at secondhand stores, they tend to be on the periphery and it’s where I’m finding I usually start (shoes are what I seek out next…but I haven’t bought any this year). Here’s a look at what has caught my attention:


I do actually love them all! They are definitely me, but do they ALL have the WOW factor? Perhaps not… infact the grid scarf and tan leather crossbody bag fall short 🤔 I feel I already own nicer alternatives. But given neither cost me more than $8 (and it goes to charity), I don’t think them a waste of money. Instead, how I’m viewing these is as impulse purchases that are now taking up unnecessary space in a well thought out wardrobe. Exactly what I’m trying to stop doing! So I’m taking note and the fact I’m writing about makes me more mindful moving forward. Speaking of which, the bag will be gifted to someone who raved about it, and the scarf will remake its way back to a charity shop (if one of my daughters or their friends don’t take it 😉👏🏻)

Now let’s look at the clothes. When searching the rails, I always start with dresses no matter the season, then jackets and coats. I’m not a big “separates” wearer, so I usually avoid skirts, pants and blouses (I may start looking at these since i just bought a ”new” tweed skirt)…although in Winter I will look at vests and jumpers. What I’ve found this year is these:


My salmon pink midi dress in a stunning french viscose. I mean Wow! And a 100% cotton seersucker cream/white maxi dress, simple but just as WOW when worn with tan and raffia accessories. Both my colours, shape and style and the fact that I’m styling the latter without wearing it is always a sign of a good purchase 😂 its a tad cold for it at the moment, but I have worn the midi several ways already…


I did find a fab leopard skivvy/turtle neck that I was coveting for months after seeing it on my SIGNATURE STYLE blogging pal Cindy. Although I scrolled the secondhand sites for this, not aisles! Needless to say, it satisfies all the criteria ☺️


My Mum actually found the khaki trench below (we spend at least a day op shopping each time I visit her – which although a 4 hour flight away, is fairly regularly now I can 😉), and as it was too small on her, I tried it and voila! I think I’ve found the perfect way to wear it. This outfit will be repeated! I found the tartan jacket with her too, but unfortunately as soon as my daughter saw it, up it went into her wardrobe. Which in hindsight is a good thing, as it really is too vibrant and a bit young for me 😂. The leather jacket on the other hand is a keeper, its gorgeous! So it’s a big WOW for two out of three!


Oops I almost forgot… this gorgeous Leopard Coat that I bought back in January was resold (to a lovely reader who rocks it far better than me 😎). It just wasn’t my colour 😉

And that’s pretty much all I’ve allowed in and to stay 😂 …..

What I am particularly happy with is where my wardrobe is now. I absolutely love everything in it, it is all very me in colours and style and together this creates outfits for every occasion that I think are WOW. Which in turn has changed my relationship with my wardrobe. It’s become far more considered. And I’m becoming a much savvier shopper! So anything that does come in, like what I’ve shown you, must match this WOW factor! … after all, it only wears off on how you feel when wearing it. What a feel good! And that this can be created by shopping secondhand makes me feel even better 🙏🏻

Now, let’s take a look inside Jane’s secondhand wardrobe…

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

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

Sarah xx