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

SAVVY STYLE: An Introduction…

Hello 55 😊

Welcome to a new blog post. If you are a regular reader, you know I write one on “SIGNATURE STYLE” with Cindy Hattersley and Kim Wheeler, another on “SECONDHAND STYLE” with Jane Gallagher and then my own ageing journey on “PERI MENOPAUSAL STYLE”, although the latter will now be incorporated (into the AGEING pillar) with the one I’m starting today which is called “SAVVY STYLE”.

Are you a deep thinker? I never use to be… I’ve always been a talker 😂 Which is why I think the IGTV medium suited me 🤔 And then, when I started blogging, I found I liked it’s conversational style too. And what I’ve found is that blogging happens to require far more from my thought process 🙏🏻 a process that has more recently taken on a mind of its own in the form of Savvy Style…

So what is it ? I like to think of it a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to create and capture a feel good 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” …. from my more recent Instagram experience and the blog, to what I’ve read, heard and watched, to reflecting on my upbringing, to how I choose to live now …. and it all culminates into five pillars that mindfully allow me to make sense of my world and ultimately myself in a wabi sabi way. For me, it’s the ultimate live well, age well and feel good tool for the time we live in right now. Because, if I can’t control what’s happening in the outside world, I sure as heck can focus on my own little one 🙏🏻 And because it is created from my own experience, I get to choose how it evolves. I think everyone should have their own…

And this is mine, and I call it Savvy Style… But before I go into a quick introduction of the FIVE PILLARS that I have come up with, I must credit a now defunct podcast and lifestyle page called The Pillar Life by Sheri Salata and Nancy Hala. Their weekly chats and words of wisdom are what inspired mine. And if it weren’t for their own pillar inspiration, I wouldn’t have developed mine 🙏🏻 … lets go…

WEARING (or should I change this to USING 🤔) – a pillar that is dedicated to “loving and using” what I already have. With “LOVE” being the optimal feeling I want to have about it all, because if I don’t, I may not find it useful!

LIVING – because as Dr Rangan Chatterjee says, when you feel better, you live more! It’s really all about how and who I choose to spend your days (with). If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s to enjoy my everyday. So I make sure I “live it to feel good”!

I

THINKING – because Joie De Vivre is what I’m all about! My life certainly isn’t perfect and I have plenty of challenges, but how I choose to react to them is key! And if one book can be credited with beginning the ”joy of my own life” mindset, it’s this one, that I first read back in 1995, although this is a revised and updated edition 😊

AGEING – It’s a given, and I’m all for it! So I’m going to do it gracefully and the wellest way I can! …. with a sense of humour😉


And finally SHOPPING – after the last two years, perhaps this is last for a reason 🤔 While I make how I shop, where I shop and why I shop matter to me, the retailer and the planet, I no longer wish for Sarah London Style to be all about this, because there’s so much more to life 🙏🏻

Simple really. Five touchstones that I tap into hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly to simply feel good!

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: Shoes…do you buy yours preloved?

Apparently Not!

Well, neither did I really, or haven’t actively for many years, so when Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life blog suggested “shoes” as a topic for this month, I jumped at it! Not because I own many preloved pairs (don’t worry I have some to show you 😉), but because it’s not my usual “go to” way of purchasing them. And as an avid yet mindful wearer of style, who strives to improve her sustainable shopping habits, I’m very aware that not all I receive NEW from the shoe department is as sustainable (or as my style) in my wardrobe as I like to think. So it got me wondering, can I improve my own sustainability and add to my style by buying “SECONDHAND” shoes instead ? 🤔

Now, for those of you who know my wardrobe, know that I have more pairs of shoes than i’ll ever wear out. (I even recently announced that I won’t be buying or accepting any gifted product until after Christmas) And tbh, to be truly sustainable I should just forget about any new or secondhand and wear these! But being someone who seeks to improve her style, and enjoys wearing and sharing it, I’m also aware that I will add to it too. Which is what I did last year with these #secondhand boots 🤩 …. aren’t they gorgeous? I bought them from a designer recycle boutique (AS IF DESIGNER RECYCLE). Which is definitely one way to get the sustainable “designer” style factor ! And although designer labels are not usually what I gravitate towards, when I first saw these “Valentinos”, I just loved them! And that’s before I found out the brand or cost…. I just knew they would work well with my wardrobe for many years to come…and that is the exact feeling and type of shoe I am after on my feet!

Acknowledging that this WOW provoking purchase was from secondhand vs. new retail got me researching. I downloaded a few popular secondhand shopping Apps (eBay, Vestiare Collective and Depop) and typed in some familiar designer shoe brands that I happen to know my size in. And voila, instantly, the most divine preloved Spanish espadrille wedges by Castaner, iconic heeled Clergeries and fur lined Guccis were available at the click of a button in my size and my price range! Albeit, the higher end… I was actually quite shocked 😳 Talk about improving my sustainability and style! … and btw, when I last looked on VC, my Polka Dot Valentino’s were available in another size 😉

This doesn’t mean that every pair of shoes I look at buying secondhand have to be designer. I just want the wow 🤩 And so with a non-designer price tag, the range is endless. So, to further my research, I focussed on a shoe in my style and colour palette that I wore almost everyday last Winter, but lacked variety in ….the flatter heeled knee high boot. But this time in the brown/tan tones of “suede”… and look what came up 😍 an all leather over the knee mottled, chocolate brown wedge heeled pair of Filippo Raphaels 🤎 clearly worn, but stunning in my eyes just the same! Oh so my colour! Oh so my style! I’m already putting together outfits in my head 😂 and as these are a brand I am most familiar with, having both boots and shoes in them already I may have slipped up and made a “no more shopping” faux pas 😳 … all in the name of research of course 😉! This brand is specific to Australian Boutique Edward Meller, who source them from Spain and Turkey and stamp their in-house label Filippo Raphael brand onto them. They are very well made, and designed to remain stylish for years. The Boutique would have originally retailed them in the $300 plus price bracket. Yet, here they were, albeit aged (but doesn’t suede look better that way?) on Ebayau for $25 plus $15 postage 😳… how could I say no?


And of course, there is always MarketPlace on Facebook. This is where sellers in your area allow you to pick up preloved items, which allows you to see before you buy and avoid postage costs. So, again in the interest of this blogpost, I searched long suede boot 36 (my size) and came up with another amazing pair! This time, from a brand I wasn’t familiar with shoe wise, but had their clothing . Elk is a highly considered slow fashion brand based here in Melbourne, who promote shopping for quality investment pieces that build on your existing wardrobe. So you know, when you buy this brand, you will get quality! Which is what I got with this pair…..


So thank you Jane 🙏🏻, this entire exercise has been quite an eye opener for me. Two stunning pairs of boots have sustainably and stylishly made their way onto my shelves, for the total cost of $100! It’s actually proved to be a really great money saving exercise shopping like this, let alone, a planet friendly one 😊 and if you don’t mind placing your feet in someone else’s shoes, it’s easier than you think. (Fyi… I always wipe (or brush in the case of suede) down the outside and use anti-bac wipes on the inside before wearing 😂). The secret for me, I found, is to stick with my own style (knowing what yours is and following it instead of fashion will always serve you well 😉), stick to my colour palette, seek brands I am familiar with in quality and size, then save and filter these in my online searches. And if I am after something a little high end, from an unfamiliar label that I may want to try (wear socks) before I buy, building a connection with designer recycle boutiques will certainly help. And that’s before I even visit the charity shops! Have I got you thinking? Jane certainly got me…

Which is why I wonder what Jane’s experience holds, be sure to read her blogpost on THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE …that’s where I’m heading now 😊

Sarah xx

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

Colour as a FEEL GOOD….


Isn’t it funny how things we often write about affect us more than what we talk or think about ? That was the case a couple of blogs ago when it came to talking Black and White with Cindy and Jennifer. And boy am I grateful for that 🙏🏻 because it really got me thinking about how these colour choices in my wardrobe make me feel. (And yes, I know black and white aren’t technically colours 😉)

I’ve always loved colour, and the way it makes us feel when we look at it and cover ourselves in it. I personally love green! It’s been my favourite colour since I was a teen (before that it was chocolate brown 😳… which explains my 1970s Burnham Beeches wall mural). Most people have a favourite and (I think) favour it in what they surround themselves with and even wear. Back in my 40’s and early 50’s with young children, I wore a lot of black (because it was easy) and often punctuated it with green (I’ll never forget wearing my emerald green Juicy Couture tracksuit and matching Nikes when meeting my kids at the school gates 😂). I refer to this stage in my style life as my “rock chic” phase, because any excuse to get out of the house “ dressed loud and proud” was my idea of fun fun fun! I wore a lot of black and I thought I was very chic and cool 😎 But now my youngest child is about to leave school and I’m nearing another milestone (55), I find myself reflecting on this colour and style choice. I still have many of these well worn pieces in my wardrobe and am now asking, do they serve me like they use to? Because if they don’t, why am I holding onto and wearing them just because I have them? ….especially when they no longer make me feel good.

As I’ve aged, I’ve changed. My idea of fun, fun, fun is no longer as loud, I shy away from making wardrobe statements and head to toe bright colour. I feel like I’ve done that and it’s no longer who I am or what I seek. I’m far more relaxed, and a more natural, organic way of dressing, where being deliberate in what (and from whom) I choose to buy and hence “wear” makes me feel good! With age comes this wisdom if you let it in 🙏🏻 And with my years, my skin has also changed. It’s no longer as olive and plump as it use to be, the bags under my eyes have darkened (these I inherited 😐) and the wrinkles continue to emerge. While I happily accept this external badge of ageing (I am just so truly grateful to be here), I do look after myself on the inside. I exercise regularly, eat well (I’m plant based), I don’t do caffeine or alcohol and I sleep well ( the positive side effect being I have few peri-menopausal signs). So while I see others fighting what naturally occurs by attempting to reverse the external ageing process, that’s just not me. I don’t want that pressure and I certainly don’t want to send that message to my daughters! So I’m wondering if there are colours I can wear that will give my face a natural lift and glow? Colours that will soften the lines and accentuate the positive just like style can. If so, I’m sure wearing them will not only make me look great, they will make me feel great too! And knowing that black definitely is not my friend, its time to take stock, reassess and begin what I’m calling my:

MIDLIFE WARDROBE OVERHAUL!

(Which has me thinking this whole blog/ Instagram page could be my crisis 😂)

To simplify things, I’ve removed the “rock chic” black (the juicy couture is long gone) from my wardrobe and popped them in a spare room (there was a time when the house wasn’t big enough… now with only 1 child at home, it seems too big). This spare room is now my home studio, complete with lights, cameras, sewing machine, over locker and it’s very own WIR 😉, which stores garments in several categories:

  1. Vintage pieces that rarely get worn but will never be given away (think Grandma’s fur coats, Grandpa’s suede jacket 😉),
  2. Garments that I’m keeping for my daughters 💕,
  3. Pieces that suit me but may need to be altered or repurposed; and
  4. those I’d like to sell !

This overhaul has even worked its way into a short five part Colour Series on IGTV, where I looked at the remaining colours in my wardrobe that I wear during the Winter months and asked, do they suit me? And how do they make me feel? Indulgent I know! But it’s aim, and this blogs is to get you thinking about your own wardrobes and how the colour choices you wear make you feel. Navy, Teal, Olive and Tan are definitely my go to colours. The latter being more of an accessory than a garment (and something I’m going to stick to). I secretly love the idea of a boot and matching bag in every shade of brown😉 I also looked at Gold (knowing it suits me, I removed the silver). But what has been the biggest revelation are the colours red and coral. Never in a million years would I ever consider these as colours I should wear more of. I like them but have never really looked at them with favour. The red I suit is a warmer red, and I own very few pieces in it. I’m not sure if I’ll deliberately seek the shade out, but I am open to it if there is a style that suits. But coral… this colour I only have one Winter item in! and it was bought on a whim on sale last year 🥰 and now I find myself obsessing over it. It’s soft, feminine, romantic, and the absolute opposite of rock chic black 😂 ….so watch this space!

LOVING THE MIX OF TEAL WITH CHOCOLATE ACCESSORIES

While I have always focused on finding my own seasonal colour palette (by trial and error), using IGTV as a medium allowed for an influx of comments and opinions from you all. Thank you! But what I have discovered thanks to yourselves and the kindest follower Vicky @stylepixie_consulting is that I actually fall over 3 seasons. Vicky is a qualified colour analyst, makeup artist, personal stylist and hair dresser! If you are on Instagram, give her a follow. Her colour stories are sublime! And I am beyond grateful for her generosity for gifting this to me. And without giving away too many details of what she does (she fully explained why I can wear 1, 2, and 3), I am primarily a “Warm Autumn” and since these are the colours I have, love and feel good in, it will be what I will focus on from now on.
Here they are:

WARM AUTUMN PALETTE

And I’m beyond thrilled to now have this palette on my phone whenever I go! (Vicky actually sent me a more detailed one, but I won’t divulge her trade secrets 🤐). From my wardrobe, to my studio, to out and about, I now have an accurate updated version of “go to” look good colours! (BTW… this was done virtually from photos without makeup, so feel free to contact her if you are interested in having it done!) It really is incredibly satisfying to have my questions answered! I know which seasonal colour palette I am and why! This is such a FEEL GOOD! So there you have it, my colour journey so far (the abridged version anyway… I could ramble but won’t), truth be told, I feel like it’s really only the beginning of my wardrobe overhaul anyway 😉

Sarah xx

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