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What I Wore To Derby Day

8 Nov

I only had a couple of days to pull an outfit together for Derby Day.  I got the call up to go along to the Saturday event on the Wednesday.  Because I was busy helping others put together their outfits, I didn’t have any shopping time and needed to work with something I already had hanging in my wardrobe.  Fortunately I had all the pieces I needed, but despite that, I was still sewing at 11pm the night before.

Derby Day is traditionally black and white dress, so that worked in my favour, given 70% of my wardrobe is black. I knew that the marquee I was going to, given it was being hosted by a corporate group, would be relatively conservative, and kept that in mind when I put together my race day ensemble.

Here’s what I wore..

A vintage black silk skirt.  I bought this from an opshop for $10 a couple of years ago and it’s been hanging in my wardrobe unworn til now.   It started it’s life as a floor length evening skirt, but I cropped it (& hemmed it by hand myself the night before) to the knee.

A Zara blazer with a black body suit underneath.

A belt around my waist that I made from a piece of ribbon from Spotlight and a *buckle I’d taken off a jacket I threw out about a year ago.

I’m not really a hat person.  I wish I was, but because I’m quite petite they swallow me up, so I prefer, if I wear anything, for it to be something  little.  I pulled fluff and feathers (that I would never have worn on my head) off this headpiece I’d had for years but never worn and simply added some net and a vintage brooch I bought in a little fishing village in Massachusetts over 15 years ago.  A very sentimental piece, which is always a lovely thing to add to your outfit to make it feel special.

The bag I carried is a vintage cream snakeskin clutch I bought on Etsy.

My shoes were black patent leather open toe heels from Zomp.

And on my toes I wore my favourite nail color – Rouge Noir by Chanel

*When you decide to throw a piece out of your wardrobe, before it hits the rubbish bin look it over and see if there’s anything you can keep and re-use.  Sometimes dresses come with belts.  Belts that could be worn with different dresses or over tops or cardies.  Jackets come with great buttons. Buttons that could be taken off and used to reinvent another jacket.  And tops have lovely beading.  Beading that could be added to a collar of a shirt or a little vintage bag.  Just because the item has run it’s course in your wardrobe it doesn’t mean it’s embellishment has too. 

(I have even been known to salvage items from a clients wardrobe that were destined for Vinnies or the garbage bag, because the fabric was lovely and I thought it could be used as a cushion) 

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How To Choose A Winter Coat

11 Jun

As much as I grumble about it and dislike the cold, grey aspect of winter, I do love the chance to rug up and wear some of my lovely warm coats.

I’ve been collecting them for years now.  I thought I’d show you a few.

The green cashmere and fur coat above was found in a charity shop in South Melbourne.  It’s vintage Christian Dior.  It needs a bit of love and attention before I can wear it.  The lining needs replacing and I want to have the arms and the back taken in.  The alterations, my tailor said, will cost me about $200, but given it only cost me $40 I think it’s worth it.

The green, black and white tweed is also vintage.  The label says it’s Made in France and I bought it over a decade ago from a little store in Melbourne’s Royal Arcade called Anonymous Posh.

I think you need at least one coat that you’ve saved for, that you’ll have for years and years to come.   Something classic, that will still be in style in 5 – 10 years time and that goes with 95 percent of your wardrobe. That’s my black Kors by Michael Kors coat below.  I picked this one up in the sales a couple of years ago from Bluefly.

And finally the camel hair and fur coat was discovered in a little vintage shop in Yarraville.  It’s in impeccable condition and incredibly warm.

Vintage coats are great for adding something interesting and unique to your wardrobe without spending a lot of money.  I know that there’s not much chance of anyone having anything like it.  I do however – despite how cheap they might be – make sure they are clean and aren’t smelly or stained when I buy them.  *Always check the lining to see what condition it’s in.

A new coat on the other hand, can be quite an investment so you want to make sure you get it right.

Given that some of you will wear it every day during winter, you want something you put on and it makes you feel great – not just some old ill-fitting, bally thing that does the job.

It needs to flatter your body shape. (Unless of course you are embracing the over sized trend then the style will not necessarily be conventionally flattering – yet style stylish)

Match your style & personality.

Be comfortable and versatile.  There’s no point having one purple coat in the cupboard if it only goes with 10% of your wardrobe.

Think of a coat like a couch.  If you buy something in a neutral tone you can make it look different by changing your accessories.  Just like adding a few cushions and a rug to change the look of a couch, you can add some gloves, a scarf and a bag or boots, to make the coat look different each time you wear it.

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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
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The Legacy My Nan Left Our Family

7 Oct

My strongest and fondest memories of my Nana Smith, my Dad’s mum, are her beautiful garden where she’d take us exploring to pick flowers, her lovely thick wavy hair and her big brown eyes, how she played cricket with us in her backyard – with a homemade cricket bat, the way she boiled water for our baths, given that her and Pop didn’t have hot water in their home, how she chatted to her daily visiting magpie, who wandered in her always open back door, the Nestle Coffee & Milk she would make us for breakfast, along with toast cooked against the open fire, after a sleep over, her made with love knitted cardigans and jumpers and her love for the Geelong Football Club.

It was my Nan, after growing up in Winchelsea near Geelong and supporting The Cats herself as a young girl, who passed on and instilled in us a love of football and of her beloved team.  Even before I was born she’d knitted me a navy blue and white striped football jumper.

Each Saturday she would listen on her little transistor, until the game got close and she would turn it off and go out for a walk around the backyard.  Her nerves would get the better of her.  And after the games, Nan would cut snippets and posters out of her local paper about the players and their performance and send them to my sisters and I to read and stick on our bedroom walls.

When new people come into my life, it often takes them a little while to understand my fascination with football.  Why is such a girly girl, obsessed with all things fashion and beauty, so passionate about a football team? You see for me, it’s so much more than the actual game of football.  It’s about the connection I have to my family.  A special bond I’ll always have with my Nan, my Dad, my sisters and my nieces.  I savour the precious moments and the memories we now have together, of our time spent at the football.  Last Saturday we all met at Southgate for breakfast, after which we caught a water taxi down the Yarra River to the MCG.  We cheered together, we sang the song together and afterwards we celebrated together.   It was the perfect day.

My advice is that if you can find something that connects you with your family, whether it is a love of camping, sport or food, you’ll be very fortunate indeed. You’ll have something that will bind you together forever.

When my Nan passed away, at her funeral we put a Cats scarf on her coffin and played the Geelong theme song as she was carried out of her little church in Trentham.  The Cats meant the world to her.  I still think of my Nan when the Cats win today. The saddest thing about Geelong winning the recent premierships is that our Nan isn’t here to experience it with us.   She would have been so proud.  She would have cut out the posters and stories about the players and sent them to us in the mail like she did when we were little girls.

**NB: Take lots of photos of your loved ones.  When I went looking for a photo of my Nan this was all I could find.  At least I know it was taken on probably one of the happiest days of her life – her only child, her son’s wedding day.

Details of my personal styling services (Including prices) here

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