Know first who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly - Epictetus

22 August 2011

Like a Cat...

Every now and again I buy completely out there things that can in no way shape or form be considered ‘pared back’ but I still like to think of them as ‘classics’. A prime example of this is my leopard print faux fur coat. It is gorgeous and I love it, a real wardrobe ‘hero’ so to speak. I found it at a vintage fair I was attending and I like to think it was fate that led me to it. I had been stalking eBay for a number of weeks but nothing was really what I wanted or was just phenomenally expensive. US$8000 for a real leopard skin coat? No. Just, no. On so many levels, no. In any case most of the ones I spotted (no pun intended) were really furry. Like Animal-the-Muppet-style furry and I have no desire to look like a teddy bear. I know a two-year-old with one of those super furry leopard jackets, she looks super cute. I would look ridiculous.

So anyway, I was faffing around trying on some hilarious vintage hats when I spotted it. It was perfect. Late 50s/early 60s boxy style, cropped sleeves, furry but with a close trimmed pile and small spots. Even better it had big leather covered buttons. Like the kind my dad has on all his height of fashion 70s cardigans. In other words: leopard print perfection. And it fit like a glove. I remember standing there like an idiot staring into space and wondering how close the nearest cash-point was when the shop owner came up to me and said these magic words “It’s $110 but if you’re undecided I can knock it down to $90?” I think I may have actually squealed out loud. Very embarrassing. I couldn’t get a good photo so you will have to imagine how it looks… Sort of a cross between these two beauties:
source: teen vogue
source: the gloss

And when I wear it I feel like this:
source: handbag fairy

Or this:
source: glamamor

Or even this:
source: delicatessen!

(I’m slightly hyper today, in case you hadn’t noticed)

On a more serious level, I find that the kind of wardrobe I am aiming for needs to have the occasional stand out or hero piece to stop it from stultifying. As mush as I love my new pared back approach, I sometimes want to be a bit frivolous and that is where this coat comes in. Not that I wear it out with a vinyl catsuit and matching leopard print stilettos… Though that would be quite a sight to see I would imagine. Haha. Underneath my clothes are the same, usually my black merino sweater and a black pencil skirt or my new(ish) black pants for work or over jeans and a tee for casual. It also looks pretty cool over shorts with tights and loafers for a bit of a grunge twist if I’m feeling that way inclined. But mostly I love the sense of old school glamour it instils in my wardrobe, I certainly always feel elegant when I wear it. And let’s face it ladies, it’s not like leopard is going out of style anytime soon!

Is there something in your wardrobe that is a real standout that you just love? Or even just makes your feel a bit screen goddess-ish?

16 August 2011

A Break in Transmission

With all the horror happening around us in the world right now somehow this particular tragedy has slipped past under the radar.

"Convoys of minibuses are making the trip back and forth from the Somali border to refugee camps in Ethiopia, as people flee the worst famine in years.
UNHCR Head of Emergency Operations Jo Hegenauer said the death rates in the camps are 'extremely high and they worry everyone'."

"Figures are as high as ten per day in some camps.
'If we don't respond quikly to this..I think we're going to have serious long term problems', he said.
The UN warned last week that almost 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are facing a humanitarian emergency as the region struggles to deal with its worst drought for 60 years." - SBS News

Why are none of these images on the news?


Please donate all you can to the UNHCR or your charity of choice. Does it matter if you can't buy those new shoes with this pay check? As little as US$150 can buy an Emergency Assistance Package to give a family the essentials for survival and shelter

10 August 2011

Inspiration for Life and Wardrobe V3.0

I was recently browsing the What Elle Wears blog and was pleasantly surprised by the pared-back style that most of the staff was rocking. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, but having based most of my fashion-office-wear assumptions on The Devil Wears Prada and various streetstyle photos of editors wandering around at fashion week, I was expecting something a little more intense and 'fashion-y'.

By far the stand out for me is the style of Emma Sells, the fashion features director. Pared back, lots of my favourites: shirts, blazers and brogues, in a healthy mix of high street with a touch of upscale designer thrown in for good measure.

all images:
Inspired, I wore my khaki pants rolled up at the ankle with my brogues today. Loving it.

Who's style are you girls loving right now?

31 July 2011

A Few Things to Consider

 “French women don't try to look like anyone else other than themselves. They know who they are and make the most of what they have.”  
Nathalie Rykiel, daughter of designer Sonya Rykiel.
source: i like, i wish, i heart
There have been a few very interesting posts floating around in the last week or so about people stopping shopping all together or even just moving away from the whole 4-5 piece French wardrobe concept in an effect to curb their spending (again). And I have to say I feel a fair amount of affinity for what these girls are saying. I too set out on my blogging journey in an effort to define my personal style uniform and cure my chain-store-tourettes. And my bad habit of accumulating clothes in a manner that vastly resembles that of a schizophrenic monkey on acid. But I feel like I have gotten a little lost on the journey and I am struggling to prevent this blog from turning into a shopping list of things that I think should belong in the perfect “French Woman’s Wardrobe” rather than the search for style that it was always meant to be. Although I believe I have achieved a slight victory though in cutting down my accumulation of crap for the sake of shopping – my mother commented rather archly the other day, while listening to the news, that the current woe the local retail market is suffering has mysteriously coincided with my shopping hiatus. Very funny mum.

source: the fash pack
So let’s look at what I have bought this year:

-White silk shirt
-Blue checked shirt
-Merino boat-neck black jumper
-Merino boat-neck grey jumper
-Merino Breton jumper
-Merino panelled plum jumper
-Linen navy/gray stripe top
-Black wool/linen pants
-Leather shorts ($10 vintage eBay DIY)
-Faux leather ra-ra skirt (another eBay bargain)
-Taupe suede boots

Also some staples/replacements:
-Black loafers
-Breton tops x 4
-Jeans x 2
-Grey tee
-White tee

I can honestly say that for everything that I have added I have culled much more chaff. Some things were replacements – the loafers replaced a very dead pair of black ballets for example – and some things signified a slight realignment of my style back to what suits me and what I actually enjoy wearing. Having mostly avoided shirts, due to the aforementioned difficultly with my womanly parts, I have since embraced them with gusto – despite the current cold snap requiring constant scarf wearing, resulting in irritatingly squashed collars. In fact the only item I have not worn to death since I bought it is the linen top but that is because, after I bought it, the weather instantly became too cold to wear it and the shape doesn’t lend itself to wearing as an additional layer during our sub-zero mornings.

source: the cheap girl
Unfortunately, what I notice most is that there are still way more things on this list than I am happy with – for seven months of controlled shopping at any rate. In fact, I’m not sure that I am really shopping less, one of the aims I set out when I started this blog. However, that said, I am definitely shopping smarter. Every item on this list is honestly something that I will wear until it is threadbare and falling apart. While not everything is classic – ra-ra skirt and leather short I’m looking at you – they all fit together to make a definite style uniform that I am proud of and am fully utilising. On Friday night for example, there was no prevaricating over what I would wear out for dinner and drinks, no staring at my wardrobe thinking desperately ‘I should have bought something new’. Instead I instantly reached for my trusty high-waisted black jeans, my white silk shirt and my khaki blazer. Add to that some heels, a big colourful scarf to protect from the cold and the gorgeous (early birthday gift) necklace my good friend had given me earlier that day and I was good to go. Sure the other girls were more – for want of a better word – flashy than I, but I felt great: confident and sexy. And ultimately that was my aim when I set out on this little journey. No more stressing about my wardrobe and having ‘nothing’ to wear and certainly no feeling uncomfortable and out of place because my outfit was unbecoming and/or not my style.
An Evening at Chez Dumonet

All in all I have noticed a refocus in my attitude, now when I walk through most shops I don’t see fun, on-trend, must-haves. I see cheap, poorly-made, future-landfill.  A bleak outlook sure, but ultimately my style (and my wallet) will thank me for it... I think!
Have you ever had a major style rethink?
And was it worth it in the end?

 “French girls know themselves; they don't follow trends.” 
Lou Doillon
source: oh... a sparkle