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

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

29 July 2011

Inspiration for Life and Wardrobe V2.0

source: streetfsn
I have an undeniable urge to buy striped ribbon and do this to my all my trousers, especially the black, gray and khaki pairs. It is so immeasurably cool, shame I don't have the Louboutins to match too. Haha
source: stockholm streetstyle
I'm digging her relaxed jumpsuit and blazer look. I have a similar one that I rock in summer - mine has no sleeves and cropped legs - but maybe with a black blazer it would work for spring too. Thoughts?

source: google images
Surely the coolest girl to ever rock a white tee and black pencil skirt? Bladerunner is a must-see in my book

source: tumblr
I have developed an obsession with androgyny recently. I love the juxtaposition of the neat blazer, tie and collar combo with her tousled hair.

source: style sightings
This is the colour combo I will be rocking this summer. I haven't been able to get it out of my head since spotting a girl in the Botanic Gardens in Singapore wearing a Breton top with mustard coloured shorts.

source: street food blog
I'm off to eat Turkish food and drink lots of red wine at my favourite restaurant with my favourite people tonight.

Hope you all have a rockin weekend planned too...

28 July 2011


image source: why so sad blog

Next time I say I want to buy something on eBay feel free to cut off my hands and confiscate my credit cards. That’s right, I got scammed. Big time. Remember this post? Well all my excitement turned to dust and unmitigated cursing once the bag arrived. It was fake. All my careful planning and messages too and fro with the seller were meaningless: the receipt was genuine, the bag was not. As far as I can tell this unscrupulous person carried around a fake Celine luggage tote until they could afford to purchase a real one then promptly flogged the fake one off to little old me with the receipt from the real one in order to cover the cost. It is all I can do to not insert a string of expletives here. (Be assured that should we meet in person I will slip expletives into my sentences as casually as a drunken sailor. It’s a bad habit.) Well, anyway, that eBay seller can kiss my nether end because today Paypal fully refunded my money. So at least there is a semi-happy ending.

24 July 2011

No Words Will Ever Make This Ok

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Norway right now. No one deserves this suffering and the death of innocent people is never justified whether it is in Europe, Africa or the Middle East. There is too much pain and suffering in this world of ours.

21 July 2011

Treasure Hunters

Apologies for the slight hiatus ladies, the weather has been so miserable that I just feel like sleeping. Plus I feel like I have hardly been at home! After going to Melbourne I took off to the country to visit my brother and my two gorgeous nieces – one is 3 and a proper ratbag at times and the other is 4 months and so beautiful it hurts. I was teaching the baby to poke her tongue out and she was laughing so hard she was all chubby cheeks and toothless gums. Too cute!

But back to Melbourne and my so far elusive search for the perfect black pants. In the past this search has always proved a struggle – too long, too short, too tight or too baggy. Many times I have given in and just bought a pair out of desperation, only to give them away to a friend or to charity after a year of non-use. I lay my frustration firmly at the feet of the clothing companies that steadfastly refuse to churn out anything other than skimpy hip-hugging pants (for a suit? Really?) or wide legged monstrosities that, unless they are worn with a skin tight top (again, office appropriate? Not with my assets), make one resemble the rear of a bus. No thanks. I know exactly what I am looking for: black, pleated, structured fabric, cropped to the ankle. I have found the right cut many times but there is no way this side of the apocalypse I will ever been seen anywhere in pants made from jersey. Jersey pants are like leggings: not real pants (unless you have the body of a supermodel, then you are legally allowed to wear whatever the hell you want). But I digress. While doing some online research for the grand girl’s weekend, I compiled a list of potential black pants candidates: three pairs that were the right cut and the right fabric but obviously needed to be closely examined for the inevitable flaws…

Except, this time, I hit gold with the first pair. Unbelievable! Where have these pants been my whole life??? They were exactly the shape I was after in a wool/linen blend that is just thick enough for winter but will also breathe sufficiently for the warmer Spring months before the insane summer heat sets in and I refuse to wear anything other than shorts or sundresses. But not only do they look great they are insanely comfortable. I think I wore them four times last week alone! Haha.
black sucks for seeing detail but they have front pleats and tabs on the waistband to pull them in or loosen them - good for after yum cha! source: country road
I also snapped up something I had been contemplating for a while – a plum coloured knit. I loved the colour but was slightly scarred from years of maroon school uniforms to wear it before now. The colour itself is quite neutral, fitting in well with my current wardrobe colour scheme, but also colourful enough to add a little something to my current winter palette of black, white, cream, grey and navy. As with my favourite crimson red pashmina, it adds a little pop without creating too much of a statement – unlike my hot pink pashmina, for which I really need to be in the mood to have everyone stare at me. Teehee.

i love the extra detail in this knit - frontal inside-out seams, shoulder panels and the cuffs are a smaller looser weave knit to the body. source: country road
Unfortunately it wasn’t all sunshiny. The leopard shoes were totally the wrong shape for my feet and actually extremely uncomfortable and difficult to walk in – and I am a well practiced heel wearer! This was a total bummer as I had to go to six different stockists before I found my size, only to be disappointed. *Sigh.* I was rather proud of myself though, in the past I would have just bought them anyway and hoped for the best. It was a small victory but a victory nonetheless! I did find these others by the same brand:

source: tony bianco

However I am still unsure of the shape. I really had my heart set on the pointed ones despite the fact that these suit my feet extremely well and are much more comfortable.

Have you ever compromised on something and found a better investment? Or did you always regret not waiting for the perfect one?

4 July 2011

Inspiration for Life and Wardrobe

I have decided to throw in the odd inspiration post in order to do something slightly constructive with the glut of stylish images clogging up my hard drive. This is what is inspiring me today:
Brady Cunningham's Home (source:
I have so many books that it is getting a little out of hand. So I am always looking for ways to turn my cluttered shelves into something more like an art installation. I currently have a white ceramic skull wearing a race day hat and little white ghost figurines (they're supposed to be salt and pepper shakers but whatever)

source: tumblr
The never ending search for the perfect black heels and the perfect black cigarette pants. This lady just nailed it.

source: tumblr
I wish I could ride a bike to work everyday... No chance as I work miles from where I live and in potentially the least bicycle-friendly city on earth.

source: no idea
I want to dress like Amelia Earhart. This version. Not the big-fluffy-collared Burberry interpretation.

source: tumblr
Hermes. Be still my beating heart.