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

SIGNATURE STYLE: LEATHER

My Leather Coats and Jackets

I’m so glad I managed to coax my “Signature Style” Pals Cindy and Kim into talking leather this month 😊 as it’s a material I have worn since I was 18. My first ever leather garment (other than shoes 😉) was a pair of leather pants I bought on The Queensway in Bayswater, London back in 1984. How I wish I had them now.. they were stunning! High waist, front pleats, rollable cuff and oh so soft…my daughters would love them ! But they were sold to a recycle boutique a few years later so I could purchase a secondhand electric blue pair (another pair I wish I still owned) 😳 I don’t have a pic of those, but here’s a younger me in my black ones (below left) … proving I’ve never been shy of the camera 😂 btw, I’m happy to say I still have 3 of those bangles and the watch on my arm…and I still wear them! I can still remember where and when I got them all. Brass and Gold from the Camden Market, Ivory bangle from Hong Kong and the watch was left to me by my Grandma (who, btw, I believe is the Orb you see in so many of my IGTV’s 😉). I just love that connection to clothes and jewellery that I have. But I digress, back to leather…


Between the ages of 18-38 I owned several leather jackets and skirts. All resold 😬 But over the last 17 years, I have been more mindful and kept all the leather pieces I have purchased. Even the 2004 black leather skirt that no longer fits! My youngest daughter is keen to have this too-small for me leather skirt altered for herself, which I love since I wore it to her Christening (see above right)! In the pic below I’m wearing a coat I bought in, i think, 2004. A bit tight, but still looking good! I have, however, also owned faux leather… many pairs of shoes in my youth but only two garments … one was a pair of navy Zara pants. They looked great for a short time, but I found the colour wore away in the creases, so they made it to landfill after a season 😬 and the second, a snakeskin trench which is still with me.

Leather Coat circa 2004

So which do I feel better about owning and purchasing? Faux or Real? There is definitely a tug of war in my head when it comes to this as I don’t think the choice is simple…

Faux leather, or pleather doesn’t harm animals directly and its strong and durable. However, the production of it creates the same nasty chemicals produced in plastic 😬 it can also shed harmful micro-plastics into the environment, which we ingest and when discarded, it never breaks down! Plant based leather on the other hand, is made from agricultural waste. No animals are harmed in its production, it is made from a renewable source and it breaks down back into organic matter. Unfortunately it’s not readily available (I haven’t seen any 😳), can sometimes smell and no one yet knows about its long term durability. Real leather on the other hand is made from skins of animals. Cows, calf, lamb, and goat ☹️ Technically, they are a co-product of the meat and dairy industries, not a by-product. Traditional tanning produces toxic waste that makes it into our waterways and vegetable tanning while less toxic, still is! However, it is a natural material that degenerates into organic matter and its durable.

You decide where all that leaves you. The best thing for me to do, is wear what I have and wear it sustainably, meaning “for a very long time”. And if I do chose a new piece, perhaps i’ll look at secondhand first. And if not, at least look for ethically made and sourced real leather.


Which makes my recent sharing of the small Melbourne based leather business Raw by Raw a leather company for me. They are small, they are family based, they are true artisans, they source ethically from a company they have dealt with for years (who have ISO accreditation) and they make right here in Melbourne. No mass production. No fast fashion. Just timeless styles that are wardrobe builders. I already had a pair of their pants, an amazing casual style, that I purchased earlier this year. These are called the Frankie Jogger, they are leather at the front (lined) and a ponty fabric at the back, so they are stretchy, but mould to your shape perfectly and are very comfortable. I bought the Sapphire (a navy- the ones on the left) to replace the faux Zara pair but they are also available in black and olive. Definitely a “buy once, buy well” item, and I must say, I feel incredible in them ! So far, I have worn them in Autumn, Winter and Spring. I’m really liking the idea of trying to wear them casually, like a cotton, linen or denim pant so the outfit on the right with trainers and a tee is quite timeless!


And I was lucky enough to be able to share these gorgeous items from them on IGTV, which I worked as suits in three colour ways. The leather suit.. I actually love that idea!


And if you take another look at my jackets in the first photo, you will see I own the Adeline Jacket in Autumn Leaves (which is an olive) and the same colour in the York Culotte.


Now why not pop on over to see what Cindy and Kim have to say on leather in their SIGNATURE STYLE blog post…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE : Clothes That Tell a Story

“This shirt is old and faded, All the colours have washed away, I’ve had it now for more damn years, That i can count anyway, I wear it beneath my jacket, With the colour turned up high, So old I should replace it, But im not about to try…”

These are the lyrics to the first verse of Mary Chaplin Carpenter’s beautiful song “The Shirt” and the inspiration for this month’s ”Secondhand Style” blog post with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life. It’s a meaningful tale and if you listen in full, its all about how the most ordinary object (a shirt) can hold meaning, memory and emotion (Chapin’s words). Which has me thinking about my own and the garments that have been with me on my journey so far. Are you like that? Sentimental about what you have worn at certain times in your life or garments that have a story of their own? Perhaps you have a shirt? or a pair of shoes? I most certainly attach feelings and memories to the clothes in my wardrobe.. which may explain why i rarely rid myself of any 🤔 but what i thought i’d talk about is a piece i featured on IGTV last year, but have never written about. And since I print each of my blogs out and place them in a file marked: For Annabel and Penelope, “So you thought you knew your mother”, I thought this the perfect opportunity 😂

The Maker

This coat is not mine, I am just it’s custodian, and have been for a year of so. This coat belongs to my eldest daughter. Last year, after the passing of her Grandmother, my mother-in-law, the emptying of her wardrobe was the emotional task beautifully and meaningfully undertaken by her daughter. At the end of which she thought it would be nice if family and close friends perhaps look at her clothing and choose a piece or two. I took my daughters with me and we each chose a piece. My youngest and I have a bag. Annabel chose this coat, of which i will now tell you what I know….

My husband’s Aunt actually inherited the coat from her Mother-in-law, who, to keep it simple is my daughter’s Great Grandma. (And then gifted it to my Mother-in-law) Her name was Dulcie and this is the story of Dulcies’s coat. Dulcie was a great lady, who loved the best of everything. Tall, beautiful and vivacious, no one enjoyed a party like she did (my late father-in-law’s words about his Mother), she always had a ciggie in one hand and a G & T in the other. She was a Melbourne socialite who married into a successful and very hard working large Irish-Australian Family. The same family I married into. Actually, they are more than a family, they are a CLAN!!

And as a member of Melbourne’s high society, Dulcie had her clothes made by dressmakers. I’ve tried to find out about the maker Diedre Anita Reynolds, but to no avail. Although the address is quite exclusive, so i’m imagining the process involved pattern sketches, fabric selection and perhaps a few other garments ordered at the same time. The coat itself is exquisitely made. The fabric is a heavy weave, lined in the most stunning red, and there is a hand stitched hem. The pattern matching is impeccable! Oh those were the days! Pure couture!


While Dulcie loved to party, play tennis and golf, she was also married to a man who was keen on horse racing. He owned many horses and raced them in Grand Nationals, Steeples and even The Melbourne Cup. The reason i tell you this , is that I can imagine Dulcie wearing this coat trackside. Perhaps a scarf covering her ears to keep out the cold and large sunnnies to disguise the hungover eyes from the fun had the night before….Looking quite the lady I imagine, with her stature and elegant coat as she watched the trainers run their horses. No one in the family can verify this, but its a nice image in my mind. And its how i think of her when i put it on. When I am “wearing clothes that tell a story…”


And for a little more style inspiration, here’s the beginning of the IGTV i featured last year…

I’ll put the full episode up in stories on Instagram.

So, while this post isn’t about my own clothes memories, it has now become so. I’ve attached meaning, memory and emotion to ” Dulcie’s Coat”. A garment that spoke to my daughter and now its story will continue….

I wonder how Jane will interpret Mary Chapin Carpenter’s words. Why not pop on over to her blog now by clicking on the link below..

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

When you know better, do better 🙏🏻

What a delight to have shared two wonderful new brands from my studio with everyone in the last month! Both sustainable and ethical Smitten Merino and Cara Cashmere are the most wonderful companies to be an ambassador for. They believe in everything I believe in, and they have done so way before I decided to become more “consciously aware” in the world of style. So what is that? Both are small Aussie brands that ship globally, both design here in Australia, one supports our manufacturing industry here, the other supports a small free range goat herding family and a family based manufacturer in Inner Mongolia. Both ensure that all the workers (and the animals) involved are respected, treated well and paid fairly. And both companies send their item in recyclable packaging and of course, they both also sell the most incredible stylish natural product garments! Slow fashion 🙏🏻

I was so lucky to be sent a few items by Smitten, to share with you all. A Mary dress (which I love), two styles of cardigans- the Boyfriend and the Drape and scarves! I was blessed enough to be able to keep the dress and have already worn it four times. The Mary Dress was named after the Hobart girl who became the Crown Princess of Denmark 😉 classic, and understatedly elegant it sums up the dress and HRH perfectly! I chose the French Navy because it’s one of my colours (hope you read my blog on colour) and it looks and feels incredible on. Loose, but shapely, the wool falls beautifully into a flare skirt with fabulous deep pockets. I feel utterly chic in it. The cardigans speak for themselves in the pics below, timeless in quality and style!


Cara Cashmere sent me two lovely pieces that will also be with me forever! A wonderful scarf and a wrap. Annie was so lovely, she let me choose colours in both! I chose the True Red scarf, because this is a colour that brings life to my face, and it’s also a colour that I don’t have a lot of. The wrap I selected in a neutral cream, because I know it will just go with absolutely everything in any season. Both of course are available in many colour options. Aren’t they divine?


Talk about both brands being the change you want to see in the world of fashion! Both ethical and sustainable, it’s no coincidence I shared them with you! I’m very deliberate about who and what I promote. One of my favourite quotes of all time is Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” 🙏🏻 I like to think I’m doing this with my blog, my styling page and everyday! So, on visiting the Mary Quant exhibition, I very much wanted to make my “mindful and slow fashion” point by wearing sustainable and ethical clothing. I wore boots I’ve had for over 12 years, my Smitten Merino wool Mary Dress, an old coatigan that is a cashmere/wool blend, aged leather belt, my new ethical Cara Cashmere scarf, a 100% merino wool beret and an old (perhaps 10 years) MUI MUI bag I splurged on ( secondhand) years ago. I mixed it up. Old with new! All “buy well” pieces styled my way. SLOW STYLE. It felt good. In fact it felt fabulous. And I think it looked alright too!

Sarah x

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

SIGNATURE STYLE: Resort Wear 101 🦀🐬☀️


How exciting is this months “Signature Style” ? Resort Wear! The very sound of it conjures up walks along the beach, reading by the pool, sleep ins, dinners out, and if you are like me… a little holiday shopping ☺️ I wonder what it means to Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design and Kim from Northern California Style? Be sure to press the links at the end of my post for further inspiration 😉

And what it conjures up, and what you plan to do, is really how you should pack! That way, you can pack light when you travel. All I need is a small carry on suitcase and a multipurpose tote for 2 weeks away in the Sun ☀️. That way I always return with everything worn 😊 … And my little secret to having the perfect resort wear is colour coordination (or mix and match as some call it). I’ve even been known to pack by a colour palette (I’ve packed Whites, Blues and Brights in the past – see “Brights” pics above).

For walks along the beach I will pack one activewear outfit (something I can easily hand wash and dry in my room each day) and a casual trainer (make sure you wear them in beforehand). Choosing a simple white pair can double up as a day shoe with dresses, as well as be your travelling shoe, so as to reduce the bulk in your suitcase. And chances are I’ll be barefoot on the sand anyway 😊

Reading by the pool will require a fab swimsuit, hat, sunglasses and sarong. I currently own two one piece and usually alternate each holiday. I have one in black/white and another in red. With these I have opted for a high neck but I love the idea of an off the shoulder with tummy control, like the one below. I have a great neutral packable wide brim hat that I wear whenever in the sun. It has a bendable rim, allowing it to be worn wide or curled like a cowboy hat. Very cool 😎 Glasses are also a must to shade the glare and again a neutral can work with anything. I particularly like these sunglasses from Vilo Australia, it is a small sustainable Australian Wooden Frame Sunglass Company who ditch the plastic, have a sunglass recycling and a give back program … OMG! I want all these 😆


And a simple carry on scarf can double up as a sarong (or is that the other way around).. not to mention, the Bec from Get Robed could also be worn out to the beach bar in the evening as it comes with robe ring and tie. And as it’s easy dry, could even be used as a towel. I do believe investing in such a piece that can be used as all of the above is definitely a worthwhile investment! Something else for my wish list!

Sleep ins, dinner’s out and holiday shopping are what fill the rest of my case except for sunscreen and minimal toiletries – I don’t wear much makeup when away, just mascara and a lip to cheek 💋. (It’s actually a great opportunity to give your skin a chance to breathe and even indulge it with some spa treatments!). I must say I do love to spend time lounging around on a beach facing balcony, reading, writing and sipping tea…so I always include a cotton dressing gown in my sleepwear. Just like this one on Etsy… and as it is a Kimono, it can be styled as a duster over loose pants and singlet too ☺️

And then we come to dresses, my favourite item to pack! But I always keep some space for a new one (or two) that I may pick up while I’m away. Nothing too formal, just breathable, airy and cool 😎. And I always include one WOW dress when I pack, for that extra special evening out! And I adore my pink kaftan below! It’s old season and a one size fits all (AU 8-14), but the brand is Miss June Paris and they are available worldwide💕. Here are a couple of inspirational ones available from some Ethical Australian Brands that ship worldwide:


In addition, I always take a pair of havianas (mine are a rose gold), a pair of open toe slides (in tan – keeping them neutral, they will work with everything) and a low espadrille heel sandal. And one clutch. And that’s all I really need for a week or two at a resort 😉 now I have my packing sorted, I just need somewhere to go 😂 but perhaps Cindy and Kim will be travelling soon? Why not find out, by pressing the links below…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Black and White 🖤🤍 …

Wow! I’m just so excited to be joining Jennifer from A Well Styled Life and Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design to talk all things style in Black and White this month. I’m a novice when it comes to style blogs, so be sure to read what they have to say after you’ve read mine 😉 not to mention, they certainly know a thing or two about style!

I must admit I jumped at the idea of collaborating with these two bloggers without even thinking about the topic… BLACK and WHITE … hmmmmm 🤔 Those of you that know me know I don’t do black! Which is surprising since we Melbournians are known for it being our uniform. When I say I don’t do black what I really mean is that I won’t buy it anymore. There is something about it’s cool tone and formal air that no longer appeals to me. I prefer warmer colours, because they appear more relaxed, which suits me and my lifestyle. However, I still have some stunning older pieces that I do wear on occasion, usually softening them by adding olive, tan or cream to the ensemble. Now 🤍 WHITE 🤍on the other hand, I will wear in all shades and it is one of my go to colours in Spring/ Summer, along with a little fake tan 😉 But black and white together… that’s something I haven’t styled up for ages… so here goes!

My secret weapon to feeling fab when wearing black and white is great hair and a bright lippy 😂 The hair I’m pretty happy with achieving myself, the perfect red lipstick is still a work in progress! But here are three different black and white outfits I do have and that I do wear, with fresh hair and a red lip 💋I think they all work on me and this is why:

Picture 1: polka dot dress- this outfit is softened by the use of a floaty chiffon fabric in a relaxed tiered style. In this fabric pattern, the white polka dot softens the block black and diffuses the contrast between the two. Being a small scale spot quietens the dress as do the loose sleeve and open collar. It’s not stiff and formal. And while the white trainers are probably the sharpest part, a current casual elegance is still achieved. Workwear ready!

Picture 2: wool jumper, cotton shirt and leather pants- while the colours sharply contrast, layering the black and white from top to toe, breaks the block colours. The scoop hemline, and the rolled neck add soft lines. And the cropped pant allows for a much needed pop of skin. Contrasting textures of the wool, cotton and leather, give it a natural edge, and even the espadrille sneaker with its row of sisal in the heel contributes. And wearing this as opposed to a boot, creates a smart yet relaxed chic ensemble. Definitely an everyday way to wear B&W!

Picture 3: pants, cape and snow leopard blouse- the solid black of the angular pants are broken by the curved hem of the cape. Tonal and in silk, this floaty blouse with its organic pattern diffuses the sharp triangular shapes of the wide leg pant and cape. Leaving the cape open, softens the outfit even more by exposing the design in the centre as well on the sleeves. While the open neck and long cuffs are still formal, it looks approachable not stiff, classic but chic. And boots not shoes add an edge! I’d only wear this to a formal event!

These outfits aren’t current and they range from 12 months to 7 years old. They’ve all been worn before… but if you do like them, here are some lovely alternatives, $$$, but gorgeous ☺️ ( I like to think of them as buy once buy well). 😉


If you’d like to see how these clothes move on me, watch this introduction to a video I have posted on my IGTV (the rest you can see on Instagram) :

Now be sure to pop on over to read what Jennifer and Cindy have to say on black and white :

A WELL STYLED LIFE

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

Sarah xx

Hello Ladies, welcome to my Studio 😉

The SLS Collaboration Studio, featuring Since I found You

Hello ladies, welcome to my studio! A new concept I launched this month. And I am so grateful to one of my collaborator’s for planting the seed for its creation, my great girlfriend Jackie 😘 for loaning me the vintage mannequin (isn’t she gorgeous? I’ve named her Lady J😉), a little online shopping for my clothes rack and a pre-lockdown dash to source a trusty rug! That’s all I needed (and a spare room) to take my hobby-cum-side hustle to the next level – a small brand 😊 Well, that’s what I like to think I’m doing. Taking Sarah London Style with all its “feel good in midlife vibes” somewhere different, and I’m so excited about where that may be!

So who and what is the SLS brand? Well, it’s simply me 😊 and it’s what I stand for in my wardrobe, on my blog and my social media channels. I’m on all except Twitter 😉. And if you’re a long time reader of my blog, the following will reiterate what you already know. I am a 50 something woman who’s aim is to feel good. And my style has become a big part of that! Not the fancy super influencer kind, but the “I’m stepping out in something that has the shape, colour and style to make me feel good” kind. Everyday style for everyday women somewhere in midlife, all over the world. I LOVE SAYING THAT! It’s about finding what truly works for you, in your life right now! And I do this deliberately and mindfully, by shopping inside and outside my wardrobe. From within it, I share style tips, style ups, my personal collections, and the occasional purchase. All with the purpose to get you rethinking and reworking your own style, starting with pieces you already have in your wardrobe. I encourage the wearing of them, the accessorising of them, and the curating of them, so then, if a new item does make its way into your wardrobe, it suits you and your style! Which is why I created my “Studio” 😊 a fresh, minimal space to showcase pieces that I believe in! They are buy once and buy well. Garments and accessories that I would purchase myself, that I would wear all the time, have for many years, and that are all either from small, local or Australian brands and businesses. This is a my non-negotiable 😉 It’s been a really hard start to the millennium and one place that hurts are the small, local, family owned (I support mainly female) run businesses that sit online and on the local high street. While it is my aim to build a connection with them while showcasing their garments, I’m also creating awareness of an alternative place to shop, so that when you do mindfully add that stylish sparkly new thing, it can make a difference to the owner, who is usually a woman just like you or me. And that helps keep their dream alive, and your supporting me by watching, commenting and liking what I do keeps mine 😊 … now isn’t that the ultimate feel good?

And the showcasing began in my Studio in lockdown #3. Appropriate since SLS was launched in lockdown #1! First I presented a variety of clothes from the gorgeous online boutique Since I found You (my incredibly talented school friend Phillipa owns this) and then came another instalment from the House of Nicholetta (this time Greek dresses from the beautiful, generous and my first ever collaborator, Nicholetta ). I know what I do is primarily a business transaction, but it’s actually more than this. I really enjoy connecting with the owners of these small businesses to share their product. My aim is to showcase well made, reasonably priced garments that I would wear. I keep it informative yet personal, style the selected garments beautifully but casually, just as I would if they were mine. So if you can see yourselves in them too, you will choose to shop from these little businesses as well. It’s a win win 😊.


There are other Australian brands and businesses that (fingers crossed) you will see me showcase in my Studio. I’ve already shown you so much of them from within my wardrobe already, but I’d like to name them as their collaboration has got me to where I am already. They are Kiitos Living by Design (with the magnificent Maria at the helm of her gorgeous Greek linen brand), Deed Bags (owned by the super talented, and my fashionista bestie Emma), Talamaya (the zen Sheridan and her zen product that always make me feel so relaxed), Zia Lozen (whose gorgeous founder Zia trusted me in my early days), Hut Clothing (with the lovely Donna and her perfect linen shirt), Rebecca Thompson (the vivacious, iconic RT) and I Love That Necklace (with the impeccable Leisa and her chic clothes and accessories). Without them and their loan/gift of product, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done so far.

And of course, all this would not be possible if it wasn’t for you – the follower…but I simply can’t call you that 😩 You are so much more than this ladies, you are individuals, with your own style, who enjoy spending time looking in your own wardrobes (and others) to create that for yourselves! Just like me 😊 and like me, you want to feel good in midlife, and your style is a part of that. We are more similar than different. And for you, I am forever grateful 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Sarah xx