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Where I Learnt About Tailoring

1 Dec

Much of what I know about tailoring and how clothes should fit, I learnt from Jose.

He’s been doing alterations to my clothes for about 15 years – while I’ve been observing and absorbing everything he does and asking him hundreds of (possibly annoying) questions, quizzing him on why he’s doing what he’s doing, what can be done, what can’t be done, where should a shoulder sit, a sleeve finish, etc, etc)

If you need anything made or altered go and see Jose Zarpan and tell him I sent you. He’s on Level 3 in the Nicholas Building, Swanson St, Melbourne.    (You can read what some of my clients who I have introduced Jose to, said about working with him on my Facebook page here)

*This is not a sponsored post, and I don’t receive any “kickbacks”/commission from Jose, I just think he’s very good and am very happy to highly recommend him.

READ: “What I Learnt About Style From My Mum” here

Details of my Personal Styling Services are here

Follow me on Instagram here & Facebook here

Read what my clients have said about working with me here

Are You Stuck In a Hairstyle Rut?

7 Mar

image via here

I know I’ve talked about hair before, but I think it’s something some of us need a gentle little nudge and reminder about, so I’m going to talk about it again.  The reason that we need to focus in on our hair from time to time is that like anything to do with most of us women  – how we look, how we live our lives – many of us get stuck in a rut and it’s not until a lovely friend or family member (or friendly stylist)  suggests we take care of ourselves and put ourselves first for a bit, that we sit up and take notice and make US a priority.

For me it’s cooking and eating.  It’s not that I don’t eat  – I do…I love food – it’s just that I can go for weeks and then I stop and think, Goodness, when was the last time I ate a piece of meat or sometimes I’ll be running around the shops all day and at 4pm remember that I didn’t stop for lunch.  It’s not intentional, it’s just that I don’t make it a priority and I forget sometimes, until someone (like my lovely friend who arrived at my place yesterday with a coffee, a muffin and some sushi for my lunch, because she knew I was working solidly and would more than likely forget to stop to eat) pulls me up and reminds me I need to take the time and cook and eat properly.

For others it can be that we need reminding that we’re neglecting our image and our look – which of course, in turn makes us feel lousy and bad about ourselves and affects our confidence.  For some it’s clothes, others it’s make- up and too often it’s hair.

  • We don’t have time to sit still in a salon for 2 hours
  • We don’t trust anyone to touch our hair
  • We’re waiting until we lose weight before we worry about what our hair looks like
  • Everyone else in the family needs… a fancy birthday party, an iPod, a new pair of the latest sport shoes, piano lessons, ballet classes, gifts to take to birthday parties and haircuts, before we do
  • We’ve had the same, safe style for so long, we’re too scared to change it
  • We hate spending that sort of money on ourselves
  • We think nobody looks at us anyway. We may as well just tie it up and forget about it

We can all relate to one of these.  Until recently I hadn’t had a haircut in about 6 months.  My hairstylist went on maternity leave and I didn’t trust anybody else.  So I colored it myself and cut my fringe with my nail scissors.  Not a good look – particularly for a personal stylist.  I hoped that nobody noticed my lopsided fringe , but I’m sure they did and were too polite to comment.  I was also putting all of my money into my business and not wanting to spend any on myself – which in actual fact was affecting my brand – which is me.

I realised when my hair stylist came back to work and I visited her for a much needed overhaul, just how much better I feel about myself and how much more confident I am when I’m happy with how my hair looks.

While Suzi was attempting to fix my hacked at fringe, I told her about one of my clients who has not cut or colored her hair in more than 40 years – which was aging her beyond her years and preventing her from seeing the possibilities – and I asked her for some advice as to how I could guide my clients who feel they want to update their look but feel too nervous to, and this is what she said:

“A really great way to update your look is to shift the colour with the changing seasons. It could be as simple as warming up the tones in Autumn and going into winter! Also consider going lighter in the cooler months, when we are wearing lot’s of dark clothing, and slightly deeper in the warmer months when skin is glowing and bright. A new hair look doesn’t have to come about overnight. You can gradually change your hair over a few visits to the salon. Whether with your existing stylist, or a new one, develop a “plan’ for your hair to evolve.”

When was the last time you updated your (hair) look?

READ: "What Does Your Hair Say About You?'' here
Details of my personal styling services (Including prices) here

Get to know me and my style on Facebook here

..& Instagram here

How To Find A Unique Piece In An Op Shop

19 Jan

I was in the neighbourhood of one of my favourite op-shops in Melbourne yesterday so thought I’d pop in on the off chance I might discover a treasure.

And I did.  This embroidered shirt – for $5.

I spotted it soon after I walked into the store, which is what usually happens when I browse through op-shops.  I’m not one to spend hours going through every single item on the rack,  I can generally spot a beauty instantly.  My eyes go into quick scanning mode.  Here’s what I look for:

  • Stand out fabric – beaded, embroidered, velvet, silk, vintage brocade, sequined or beautifully colored
  • Label – I like to see where and by who it was made and whether it might be vintage.  I’m not looking for a County Road or Sportsgirl t-shirt, I’m looking for something unique.
  • Quality of cut and fabric.  Not interested in anything that looks cheap and artificial.
  • In Fashion – I keep my eye out for styles that I know are currently fashionable (At the moment it’s vintage Levis 501’s which I might be able to customise)
  • Flaws – if I’ve found a beautiful fabric and pulled it off the rack, then I give it a once over to see if there are any noticeable flaws or stains…or whether it smells.
  • Accessories – I look at both the womens and mens belts, bags, scarves, sunglasses and jewelry

You also need to use your imagination when you shop in op-shops, to determine whether something you find has potential.  One-of-a-kind pieces are hard to come by, but a good tailor isn’t.  You don’t want to walk away from a gorgeous 1950’s chiffon dress you saw for $20, just because you didn’t like the length or the neckline.  Grab it and then take it along to your tailor to discuss possibilities.

Of course we do need to remember that op-shopping is like all shopping.  You don’t want to just get caught up with the price, think it’s a bargain and then suddenly you’re filling your wardrobe with unworn junk.  There needs to be something about it that you LOVE.  It’s need to be flattering (or altered to become flattering) and it needs to represent the image you want to portray.  (ie. no point buying a beaded vintage caftan if you’re a strictly Classic dresser – it won’t get worn)

When I think about it, what I love about op-shopping is the thrill of the find.  Discovering something that is unique and interesting.  Finding a piece that I know nobody will have – like this vintage Christian Dior coat. (Found in a charity shop in Sth Melbourne for $40)  *It needs to go to my tailor to be restored to it’s former glory.

*This article was written in 2011.  I have since had the sleeves of this shirt cropped so they sit about my wrists.   You can see me wearing it here.

READ: “What I Search For On Etsy and eBay” here

Details of my personal styling services (Including prices) here

Get to know me and my style on Facebook here

..& Instagram here

How To Survive The Spring Racing Carnival In Style

25 Oct

image via here

I’ve been going to the races since I was a little girl.  My mum & dad would take me and my two sisters to the Melbourne Cup every year.  It was a big family outing to the city from where we lived in what was then, the country.  As a little girl, holding my mum or dads hand wandering through the crowds, the races were a visual feast for my little eyes.  We’d stand outside the Members Enclosure and peer in at the glamorously dressed ladies, marvel at the big beautiful colored roses and we’d find very entertaining the jokers dressed as superheroes or in cleverly designed outfits made out of beer cans.

It was this introduction by my parents, as a little girl, that fueled my love and fascination for racing and a racing social event, today.  I’m quite the seasoned racegoer now, but as a young woman in my twenties, beyond excited by a day at the races with my friends, I learnt the hard way.  I left home looking lady-like and came home red as a beetroot, shoes in hand, with the early on-set of a monstrous champagne headache.   Not a good look.  So I thought, after years of experience I’d pass on the things that I’ve learnt about surviving the races in style.

  • You don’t need to dress traditionally.  You don’t need to wear a hat.  You should, however, try and dress so that you feel comfortable, chic and stylish – not exposing too much flesh and not like you’re going clubbing or the beach.  Remember it’s an event held during the day, so the dress is day wear, not evening wear.
  • Don’t carry an enormous handbag.  Carry a small clutch or wear a small shoulder bag.   It’s more elegant than lugging around your big every day, carry all sack.
  • Don’t overdo the fake tan. Remember the aim is for you to look naturally tanned, not resembling a mandarin.
  • Carry lipstick, band-aids, painkillers and a couple of safety pins….just in case.
  • Don’t wear shoes that haven’t been worn in – even if it’s just around the house while you do the housework.
  • Don’t wear brand new, never worn shoes.  You’ll last an hour and you’ll want to go home.  If you don’t love or are inexperienced in wearing high heels, opt for a wedge – particularly if it’s raining.  The heel won’t sink into the grass and they’re much more comfortable than a stiletto if you’re on your feet all day.  Consider wearing gel cushions in your shoes and maybe even carrying a little pair of fold up ballet slippers  in your bag for the trip home.  DO NOT LEAVE THE RACECOURSE CARRYING YOUR SHOES AND WEARING NOTHING ON YOUR FEET.
  • Wear shapewear so you don’t need to suck in your tummy all day.
  • Slather on the sunscreen.  You don’t want to have to back up on Oaks Day, after Cup Day, with a sunglasses mark on your face.
  • Take something to throw over your shoulders (a trench, pashmina or Nana’s fur cape)…..just in case it gets cool…..& put them in the cloak room.  Don’t forget to collect them at the end of the day.
  • Have a very big breakfast and then don’t forget to eat during the day.
  • Don’t have your first glass of bubbles til at least midday and alternate each glass with a glass of water.   It might seem like a great idea at the time to make the most of the free flowing drinks, but nobody wants to open the Herald Sun the next day and see a photo of themselves looking like this…..


Details of my personal styling services (Including prices) here

Get to know me and my style on Facebook here

..& Instagram here
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