Animal Instinct.

Emma Fielden hat, Hope shirt, Lover silk shorts, Chanel ballet flats, Celine Trapeze.

Saturday’s outfit was a far cry from the winter clothes I’ve been shooting all week (including yesterday) for a project. All will be revealed soon, but I have to say that I have a new-found respect for those models who shoot summer clothes in the middle of winter, and blizzard-worthy clothes at the height of summer, without complaint.

Yesterday’s blazing sun, however, gave me the opportunity to debut an Emma Fielden animal print hat I snagged off Matches a couple of weeks ago. Admittedly, it’s more appropriate for winter but the super wide brim was made perfectly to fend off the sunshine.

I’ll sign this post off with a few styling notes related to my outfit:

  • To offset the animal print overload, I opted for a demure, lightweight man-style shirt in a pale, chambray blue.
  • The silhouette of this outfit was inspired by the styling over at La Garçonne. I love the idea of throwing on an oversized buttoned shirt over a pair of shorts that skims the shirt hem.
  • To keep the focus on the hat and the outfit, I kept my shoes, bag and accessories to a bare minimum: black ballet flats, and a handbag in similar shades/tones to the rest of my outfit.
  • Similarly, colours are also deliberately muted and complementary (think the three-colour-rule) to keep the outfit from looking all over the place – and maintain focus on the hat.

A rose by any other name.

Up at half-past five this morning to head to the flower markets for a project I’m working on at the moment with Vogue.com.au. No such luck with finding fuchsia-coloured peonies so I settled for these gorgeous David Austin roses instead. After a brief stint in front of the camera, it was then straight to breakfast with some friends at Mary Street Bakery. I love this time of day when roads are deserted, the morning chill envelopes the air and when the day is only just waking up.

Awkward Boys.

Everlane silk shirt, Acne Studios Needle jeans in Rocca, Dieppa Restrepo oxfords, Chanel caviar classic flap.

As alluded to in a previous post, I’ve started compiling my autumn/winter wardrobe; wildly inappropriate given it has been averaging 38C every day since last week. Growing up in Perth all my life has made me crave summers by each August; but this year has been different. I’m going to the gym less, I’m eating more crap and all I want to do is sleep. With the aircon on. And a blanket to smother me.

So I’m shopping for winter as if doing so will hurry it along faster (kind of like refreshing the DHL tracking page every two minutes because you’re certain it will make your parcel arrive sooner). Pairing these jeans with a simple silk shirt and my weather-inappropriate shoes just made so much sense. If it was 30C degrees cooler, I’d throw an oversized coat over the top. Is it winter, yet?

And one last parting note… to take a leaf out of Alexa Chung’s (metaphorical) book: 

“This is for girls who dress like awkward boys.”

Flat Chat.

These shoes were one of those purchases that needed to be made after a year of deep and thorough contemplation. I don’t know how many times I’ve added them to cart, only to close the tab an hour later because I’ve never been one to invest several hundred dollars in shoes that look much cuter on my three-year-old niece.

But as it so happened, they were further reduced by 70% on Matches last week and in my size, so I finally manned up and bought myself a pair. They’re not nearly as versatile as black but also not nearly as ubiquitous so I’ll go with that one.

P.S. A quick thank you to everyone who has thrown their support behind my Tictail store! I don’t update it often enough and I never know whether anyone actually wants to buy my items but I’m always so pleasantly surprised! I’ll be listing one more thing soon – a pair of brand new Porselli ballets flats – so keep your eyes peeled if you’re in the market for one of these amazing ballerinas.

In the trenches.

Zara trench coat, Country Road silk singlet, Bassike slim tapered trackpants, Balenciaga City, Christian Louboutin Pigalle pumps.

Out to dinner on a chilly Friday night in a few things I haven’t worn since the tail-end of winter.

Dinner at a nice-enough place was on the agenda but after being met with a 2 hour wait for a table at Bread in Common we ended up having fish and chips and me, typically, being completely overdressed for the occasion.

Apiece Apart.

Bassike striped shirt, Apiece Apart ‘Drea’ skirt, Witchery heels, Zara navy raw-edge fedora, Chanel Reissue handbag.

I’ve been spending a good portion of my day today browsing the Apiece Apart sale. If you don’t mind the $55 shipping rate, there are so many gorgeous items to refresh your autumn/winter work wardrobe with.

I particularly love the Julia cape coat, Mariana blazer, Augustina button-down, the white oversized button-down shirt, the Antonia pebble skirt and and Josefina slip dress to see me through the rest of the summer weekends. So, uh, pretty much half the sale stock.

The Drea skirt, that I’m wearing above, is also 50% off. This skirt actually runs large so if you’re a true AU6, the size 0 will be a perfect fit on you.

It’s back to the task for me, but I thought I’d pay it forward and share some sale news, as well as these outtakes from my latest Spy Style post on Vogue.com.au. My husband managed to capture these photos at the precise moment the sun was setting.

Vogue Spy Style: To have and to hold.

My first Spy Style post for 2014 kicks off with 6 tips on how to shop for an investment bag.

Thought this would be a timely topic given the influx of sale emails that have flooded my inbox (and no doubt all of yours!) since Boxing Day. I hope my Spy Style post will take the anxiety and stress out of spending a months’ pay on something you hope to have and to hold for many years or decades to come. They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a forever handbag comes preeeeetty close, don’t you think?

Read the full post on Vogue.com.au.

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The perfect work heel.

So I’ve been working for quite a while now (pushing on 9 years out of uni – yeah, way to feel…old) and in that time I’ve accepted the fact that shopping for work shoes is as painful and futile as shopping for a swimsuit.

I’ve gone through countless high heeled pumps and spent a bucketload in the process, only to be devastated when I can barely make it from my desk to the photocopier by lunchtime. Wearing such shoes every day also precludes me from spending any more than $150 on a single pair as I know the heel will inevitably get caught in a gutter. And then that would be the end of that.

So, what do I look for in an everyday work heel?

Colour: Black

Material: Suede upper, ideally, and it has to be leather lined. Patent leather upper looks polished but I find it to be less comfortable than suede. Matte calf leather is kinder on the feet and lower-maintenance than suede but it’s also not modern and sophisticated enough for important meetings and job interviews (that’s just me, though).

Vamp: Pointed toe (but not too elongated). An almond toe is slightly more comfortable but I find a pointed pump looks a little more professional.

Heel: 70-85mm high. Any higher (or lower – I can’t do kitten heels) and it starts to get wobbly.

Style: A modern low-cut heel that doesn’t scream ‘Hush Puppies’.

Around the same time my husband pulled me up about how necessary it really is to be buying $600+ Christian Louboutin pumps for work (FYI, the 85mm Pigalle patent pump is my dream work shoe…but he had a point), I came across the Kymberly heel at Witchery.

It’s suede and leather lined, has a pointed toe, the heel is a cool 85mm high and it was only $63-something (on sale and post-discount). I would have honestly paid full price for the shoe, though. I’ve been road-testing the heel for a week now and can safely say I can make it to the photocopier without hobbling within a couple hours of arriving to the office.

I, um, bought three pairs as a result.

If you’ve been stuck in a similar work shoe rut as I have, I’d recommend hotfooting it to Witchery and seeing it for yourself. I think the extra 20% off sale items ends soon so best to run, not walk.

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Hello Parry.

Hello Parry dress, Valentino Rockstud clutch, Christian Louboutin Pigalle pumps.

The past week has been an uphill battle for the most part, as I came to terms with the reality of what will lay before me (and my husband) for 2014.

Up until now, my life has been characterised by things that wouldn’t matter in ten years’ time; never thinking that one day there will come a time when I have to run the gauntlet, whether I’m ready or not.

It’s the fork in the road that catalyses life-changing decisions and over the past few days I’ve had to dig deep to realise that growing pains are only temporary, and that this, too, shall pass.

So by the time Friday rolled around, I was looking forward to leaving the week behind and focus on spending time with people that matter to me most in this world. I kicked off the weekend by joining in the birthday celebrations with fashion e-boutique Hello Parry as they turned two. I decided to wear this Gucci-inspired dress I only bought a few days earlier; a purchase spurred on by the ever-impossibly chic Kate Waterhouse.

As part of the birthday celebrations, Hello Parry are giving all of my readers 15% off storewide, with the code ‘AMAFS15’ (valid for 6 months from now). Perfect opportunity to add to cart those things you’ve had your eye on!

Happy shopping!

Leopard never changes its spots.

Country Road silk embroidered spot top, ASOS chambray culottes, Zara navy raw-edged wool fedora, Christian Louboutin Pigalle pumps.

Yes, I admit these culottes are teetering on the edge of pyjama territory, but when it comes to anything calf-grazing and giant spots, I’m like a bee to honey.

Mixing spots and dots can be fraught with danger to the uninitiated. Here are a few notes about this outfit:

1. Black patent pointed heeled pumps (the higher, the better) smartens up the outfit and diverts it away from something you’d find at Peter Alexander. If you want the focus to be on your clothes (in favour of accessories and the like) opt for shoes that won’t dictate the rest of your look.

2. The trick to mixing and matching prints is to ensure some sort of common thread or element. Here, I’ve paired these pants with a top that encompasses same sized and colour spots.

3. Colour theory: I’ve stuck to a classic palette of chambray, black and white for a conservative and subtle take on print mixing.

I’m off to brunch this morning with theupwardglance and jessicatron in this get-up. Polka dot overload, but just the way I like it.

Happy Sunday!

Looking forward.

I’m so excited by what the next few weeks – and months – will entail.

Over the weekend I bought a second hand Orion bike from the 80s which has now become my (ok, and my husband’s!) pet project over the coming days. Investing in a commuter bike has been on the agenda for me for a while now – purely as a way to get from A to B, as opposed to training for the next Tour de France. We’ve also kind of talked about embarking on another self-guided bike tour this year or next through Tuscany, Italy. I did zero training for our last one through the South of France so I’m trying in earnest to be a bit more prepared this time.

To digress, my husband (who cycles regularly) and I compared our Endomondo apps the other day to see how each of our respective workouts stacked up. He cycled 24km for two hours (I think) and burned 320 kcal. I ran 7km (40 mins – yes, ok, it’s more of a languid jog!) and burned 567 kcal. Notwithstanding the fact that cycling is low-impact, it’s plain to see that running is the more time-efficient choice of workout. It can also wreck havoc on your joints, though, so supportive shoes are essential (i.e. instead of running in the Nike Free 3 – which are really just good for walking, by the way – opt for the 5 instead). I suffer from shin splints and other nasty exercise-related ailments quite easily so I’m on the hunt for a new pair of good trainers before I resume boxing/running next week.

But anyway, back to the pushbike. I plan to give it a fresh coat of paint (it’s currently an emerald green) and tossing up between glossy white or black. The gears and the brakes also need some TLC, which is easily done (by my husband, that is). Ha. I’m also on the lookout for a tan coloured leather bike seat.

I’ll be sure to share some before and after photos once it’s all done.

We’re also preparing for a two-week holiday to Japan in March. It was meant to be some small consolation for turning 30 in May so we’ll be celebrating my birthday early, travelling through Hakone, Kyoto and, of course, Tokyo. Whilst my husband has travelled to Japan half a dozen times already, it’ll be my first visit. Coupled with not having a single day off over Christmas and New Year, we really can’t wait to hop on a plane again!

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Europe travel guides.

As an appendix to my photo diaries, I’ll be putting together mini shopping and travel guides for a few of the cities I visited last October. I hope that those of you who will be hopping on a plane en route to Europe over the coming months will find my mini-guides useful! More to come soon.

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Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

On the last day of every year – and usually on a platform such as this blog – I would ceremoniously document the past 12 months in a matter of paragraphs. All my milestones, my hopes and my dreams, my fears and my fortunes; would be laid out before my eyes, because that’s what I’ve been doing all my life. Pleasing others. Pleasing my parents. Pleasing myself. 

2013 was different, though. I no longer had this urge to reflect on the year that was; I’m guessing out of fear that all my insecurities would seep out of my skin and bleed onto a half-painted canvas that I didn’t get around to finishing.

It was a year that has changed me in ways I never imagined, with more opportunities knocking on my door that I had ever thought possible. And although I’ve probably achieved more in 12 months than I have over the past five years, as my head hit the pillow last night, I somehow felt more discontent and unaccomplished than ever.

I remember rushing out of a subway station in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. It was pouring with rain – the kind you’d wait under a shelter for until it subsided. As I rounded the corner, I passed a beggar slumped by the side of the corridor, with an empty tin pail sitting beside him. He was amputated to the knee and to the elbows. Head cowering in the rain, and cold.

I knew in an instant, that that moment would change me forever.

I woke up this morning and decided that there will be no more angst. No more misguided melancholy. It will be the year of letting go and of leaving yesteryear in its wake. This fear of failure will melt away and I will just be happy. And I will feel grateful simply because I am alive.