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

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


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

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

DYE YOUR CLOTHES

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


ALTER YOUR CLOTHES

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


VEST out of a JUMPER

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


BLOUSE out of a DRESS

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

PAINT YOUR SHOES

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

The product used was this:

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


ADD FUR TO A MULE

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


MAKE JEWELLERY out of JEWELLERY

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


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


ADD A BAG STRAP

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

And added a vintage crochet to a clutch:


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

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

Sarah xx

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

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!

SAVVY STYLE: Wearing 😉

Savvy Style is simply a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to create and capture a life you really love. It’s how “I do me”! By incorporating five pillars into my everyday: WEARING, THINKING, LIVING, AGEING, and SHOPPING, that I can tap into at any time to make sense of myself and my world with meaning. Because, no matter who you are, what you do, where you find yourself or what you are going through, finding meaning in it, IS life. And I don’t want to spend another moment living any other way 🙏🏻

So welcome to another SAVVY STYLE blogpost. Thanks for taking the time to find me and read what I have to say. I’m certainly not a pro at this, nor a trained stylist, lifestyle guru or psychologist but what I have become after 55 years (with some deep exploration over the last two) is a wabi sabi expert on my own “feel good” life and style. And all my blogs are ever intended to do, no matter the topic, is to encourage you to get you thinking about yours. Because when you make the time to think about why ”you do you”, you reconnect with your authentic self and that can be such a feel good 😊 Especially when it comes to your wardrobe and WEARING it…

And today I’m going to write about just that…. what WEARING means to me. (And please note, that Wearing/Using can be used interchangeably depending on what you’re doing). I’ve already written at length on IG and on my last blog post on the importance of “RELOVING” what you already have by looking at what works style and colourwise to CURATE a much loved wardrobe that you will want to wear it again and again and again. If you haven’t read that yet, press HERE. Knowing that, let’s move on to finding meaning it…


But before I lose you, because you think I may be going a bit woo-woo or off on some deep and meaningful tangent, let me explain why I think this important. It’s important because over the last 35 years of my life, I have gone from valuing cherished garments that were coveted, worked hard for and saved for what seemed like forever to overbuying disposable fashion on a whim for instant gratification. In fact, the problem is I’m not the only one doing it 😩 and now the annual wardrobe clear out that I see and hear everyone doing IS becoming someone else’s problem! And while we all make efforts to pass garments on or resell, we are running out of space for the leftovers. And if you think donating them is the answer, I’m no longer convinced. I’ve read that between 60-85% of donated clothes are deemed unusable, which then costs the charities millions of dollars to either bury or burn or worse still, send to third world countries to deal with what is our own mess. A mess that you and I created by “clear outs” ! And you don’t have to be an environmental expert or eco warrior to see it’s currently at disaster status! So I’m here, writing about how I can change my WEARING habits, in order to change my disposing habits. So I can feel good about looking good and perhaps do some good in the process. And one way to do this is to create MEANING in the RELOVED garments you wear.

This first idea may seem simple, but it’s often ignored. And it is to CONNECT with the clothes that you love (i’ll go into more detail on this when I tackle SHOPPING in another blogpost) Look at the brands you own now. Do you put a face on who designed and made the clothes ? How many of you have read the ”about us” section on a website ? I believe that simply by knowing a little bit about your clothes can be the start of such a feel good relationship with them. Take for example, Talamaya. A small Australian company that I fell in love with during my ”influencing” days 😂 My first attraction was obviously what the clothes looked like, but after a little research I discovered it was created out of passion by the beautiful Sheridan because she wanted to make really comfortable clothes. She designs for how it FEELS on the body, by using exquisite fabrics in timeless designs that skim the silhouette perfectly….which is why you feel so darn beautiful in them. You connect with them. And because of my research, I connect with her, her brand, and what she is trying to achieve. And it all sits so well with me…….how feel good is that ? It’s the same feeling I get with Smitten Merino. Although with a completely different aesthetic. The finest quality Australian Merino Wool is sourced for their garments and then made right here in Oz 🥰 and Nicola, the designer creates modern classics which translates on the body to luxurious sophistication. And who doesn’t want that feeling? She also happens to be a girl I went to high school with although I had no idea until the company reached out to me 😊 So, two family owned brands I’ve connected with, whose clothes I own, that now have meaning and will be worn again and again because I love their story, the quality and the connection 🙏🏻


And in case you want to put a face to them to make that connection, here they are 😊

Creating Memories is a feel good no matter what you do. I love to live in them and then reflect. And adding a memory to a garment is one way to add meaning to it . Take for example the dress below left (bad photo i know). One Sunday in Athens I deliberately lost myself in the Monastiraki Flea Markets. One of my favourite things to do wherever I am in the world 🙏🏻 and falling in love with the vibe that is Greece, I bought a relatively inexpensive, all cotton, well made, what I call ”Mamma Mia” dress, costumery really 🥰 but I love it! And when on, it reminds me of then and when I wore it in Santorini (had to drop that 😂). It’s a feel good! I will never get rid of it. But recently, I’ve felt like the colour and its “vibe” aren’t very suburban Melbourne and I wanted to wear it more. So I dyed it! (below right) What do you think? Now I look of it as a fully functioning everyday maxi dress with memories that transports me back to Monastiraki when I wear it on my local high street 😂…


Dyeing and Altering is what I like to call Upcycling and it’s another way to create meaning. Dyeing has come a long way since I last tried it. And Dylon Front Loader Washing Machine Pods make it so easy. I used the Expresso Brown on this dress and simply followed the instructions. I washed the dress first (quick cycle), left it wet in the machine, added an unwrapped opened pod, put it on an everyday cycle at 40 degrees. Let it finish, then removed the empty pod, washed it again ina quick wash with detergent at 30 degrees. Then hung to dry. (You then need to do another wash cycle to clean the machine). A lot of water I know 😩, but it saves me from buying a new dress in the same colour that I’ve been coveting. The above dress is 100% cotton, so the dye has taken to it. The lacework has some polyester threads and elastic, which didn’t take (polyester zips wont either) and I’m glad of that as I love this detail. In fact, I’m really happy with my upcycling efforts! The very act of investing extra time and money in a garment to make it just for you in turn allows you to fall more in love with it. If it works 😂 Here’s another before and after:

Being only 163 cm tall I also have many of my clothes altered, so they fit just right. You can see from the pics above that I had the bottom tier taken up on the Mamma Mia dress. And below, all three gorgeous dresses were taken to my clever dressmaker and altered. I don’t understand it when people get rid of a garment they love because it’s ill fitting, when it can so easily be rectified ! Why wouldn’t you want all the clothes you own to feel like they were made for you… we need to be more savvy! And in upcycling, it only makes you more likely to become more attached to what you wear and the memories you make in them, which in turn will make you hold onto them longer…


Which brings me to the end of this little blogpost on WEARING. I’ll be tapping into this pillar on my blog as I come up with more ideas for it. But so far, its:

RELOVE CONNECT MEMORIES UPCYCLE

and until next time…this book caught my eye, and it’s caption cleverly summarises what all the above is trying to say 😉… I might just have to find a copy!

Sarah xx