Real Talk (and goodbye).

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When I was in Santorini earlier this year, it was a place unlike any other.

Well, actually, it kinda was, but not in a way that I – and probably most of you whom had never been – had actually ever imagined. You see, on Instagram and on glossy postcards in souvenir shops, the Santorini that had ingrained in my mind was of the whitewashed, pastel-domed, blue Aegean Sea variety.

The first stray dog I saw, I thought nothing of it. Then I started seeing more, and more, with each one looking even more neglected and malnourished than the last. Then I read about the poor donkeys; the ones that are forced to trudge up and down that ridiculously steep hill to ferry tourists to and from Fira under duress with the stealth crack of a whip. It was like an arrow through my heart; but more than anything, it shattered this honeymoon image I had of this place. Sure, 10% of what laid before me was awe-inducing, jaw-droppingly magical. But the other 90%? Disappointingly – but understandably so – it’s stuff that you would never see on your Instagram feed.

I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years – that’s a third of my life (yikes!) – and in that time, so much has changed in so many ways. When I started my first blog in 2006, I had in total three readers – three friends who were bloggers themselves. It was like some secret club. It was at least half a decade before blogging became a ‘thing’; before blogs could become a brand; before bloggers became The Next Big Thing; and way before anyone could actually fathom that we could all be paid in some way or another to simply wear clothes.

Back then, we didn’t give a shit if our food looked as unphotogenic as heck. There were no Diptyque candles as props, no peonies in brown paper to serve as Instagram-bait. It was all about forging friendships, meaningful conversation, meeting new people and learning more about each other. Fuck, it was like ten years before we even knew what a selfie was.

Back then, I didn’t care who was reading or how many of you were reading. I was blogging my vegemite on toast, my sneaky lunchtime purchases from Sportsgirl, my wedding speech for God’s sake. Because old school blogging was never about creating a Brand. It was never about wearing gifted clothes, sitting front row at fashion week, working for free in exchange for ‘exposure’, or getting invited to events where once you got there, you sorely wish you were sitting on the couch in your PJs eating potato chips. It was never about making a corner of your home all perfectly pretty when in actual Real Life it looked nothing like the 640×640 frame you’ve just spent an hour meticulously editing. And it was never ever about pimping your pet Frenchie or your two-year-old on Instagram just to acquire those three lauded F’s: Free stuff, Followers and Fame.

What happened to just creating beautiful things for the sake of just wanting to create beautiful things?

Yesterday, Jamie and I did something we hadn’t done in years; creating something personal together that wasn’t for ‘work’. I guess anyone who is a photographer (or any creative) would be nodding knowingly at the thought of this – doing something – anything – incredible and inspiring without having to fill a brief. And only doing it for yourself. So yesterday we threw the camera in the car and drove down to our favourite spot to take a few photos of the sunset, the windswept afternoon and my growing bump with my toes in the sand. Stuff that we used to do (minus the bump, of course) that would set our hearts on fire in our own little ways. This makes me happiest and seeing these photos we created together will mean more to me than any ‘work’ we’ve done together.

The thing is, my life also did a 360 this spring. I’ve lost two close family members in the space of less than 10 weeks. I will never understand how some things can suddenly be taken away from you when you least expect it. Life is so quick, and so intense, and sometimes, too short and unfair for me to be able to ever comprehend. My bones can’t stop shaking like trees and every day has been a hurricane since then. It’s been so hard to carry on as normal, to go about my days without feeling guilty about enjoying them; to let that familiar feeling of loss in again so soon. Too soon. Above, all it has become so unfathomably sad that I will never be able to take that time back to have one last conversation with them.

Which brings me to the point of this post. That all good things, I guess, must come to an eventual end.

After almost a decade of sharing my life online, this will be the last blog post I’ll be making on here to make room for new adventures – things that get my heart racing with the people in my life who remind me to be grateful for just being alive. Or just to realise what a big deal being able to live my life offline a bit more really is. It’s hard to walk away from something that has opened the door to so many amazing opportunities, new friends, and ultimately, a place where I share a part of my life but I can’t imagine anything worse than having a phone constantly glued in one hand while I hold my baby in the other. I’ll still be doing the occasional instagram, the odd tumblr and snapchat from time to time. Oh – and I almost forgot to mention, I’ll still be contributing to Vogue Spy Style for the time being. I have quite a few travel and maternity style posts lined up for the next few months, so keep a look out.

My other baby though – A Cup of Chic (and here!) – will be where I’ll be spending all my time now before I spend all my days nursing another baby in three and a half months’ time. I can’t wait.

As for the Real Talk? Well… You can either go out and chase your dreams or stand by and watch other people chase theirs.

Photography by Jamie Lau.

Dressing the bump: part 3

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The last instalment of my bump dressing series is just a basic rundown of some of the things I’ve bought and loved so far during my pregnancy.

When I was about 16 weeks pregnant, I ordered a bunch of maternity clothes from ASOS (upon the helpful advice of blogs around me) only to be disappointed with each and every single item when it finally arrived in the mail. Everything was so ill-fitting – t-shirts didn’t sit properly, dresses swamped me, the fabric was so cheap and nasty, and everything was so unflattering (granted, buying things sight unseen without trying them on first didn’t help). That pretty much signalled the first and last time I’d be shopping for maternity wear, and I’ve since had much more luck finding non-maternity clothes to fit this growing bump of mine. Go figure, right?

Overall, I’ve found shopping for new clothes when pregnant to be a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. I used to buy over three-quarters of my clothes online but with my body changing every day, it has since thwarted any attempt to conveniently shop for clothes from the comfort of my bed. My options are a lot more narrower these days too (i.e. no jumpsuits – oh how I miss jumpsuits! No zippered-anything and no more seams at the waist, which accounts for 90% of clothes in shops right now). I also shop with post-partum/nursing in mind; buying clothes that I’d happily wear (and fit back into) after the baby comes. For the most part, it’s been a massive exercise in trial and error; I’ve been shopping anywhere and everywhere – which has allowed me to discover brands and styles I never really thought to consider pre-pregnancy.

So I thought this little list of loves that I’ve personally bought and wear will help some of you in a similar predicament, especially if you’re still intent on shopping online. I still am – but I have to be particularly choosy with certain fabrics and styles.

Cut to the basics first though and this is where ‘maternity wear’ has proved immensely useful:

Berlei Barely There Cotton Rich Maternity Bra – 100%  soft cotton, gives a nice natural shape and most importantly, it’s non-underwire. It also doubles as a nursing bra so you’re killing two birds with one stone here – and yes, for the mums out there, the nursing clip can definitely undo with one hand. I had to start buying new bras at around 2 months along because that’s when my boobs started growing uncontrollably and I was wearing exclusively underwire at the time which I heard isn’t the best when pregnant. These particular Berlei bras are the best – they’re SO comfortable that I can even sleep in them (I actually hate wearing bras with a passion, normally). Myer tends to have good sales on Berlei from time to time so I would pick them up then.

SRC Pregnancy Leggings – I deliberated over these for the longest time because they’re so expensive and I knew I was going to buy the Recovery shorts for after birth too (so for both it ends up being back breakingly expensive). Because SRC items are all medically approved, you can actually claim a rebate back if you have private health and your policy (usually it’s top hospital) covers items like these. I have mid-hospital only so I can’t claim anything back on these leggings.

At about 22-23 weeks along though, I started to grow out of my old Nike leggings (I had been wearing these over the bump too, which was getting increasingly uncomfy as the belly was growing). But because my body has allowed me to keep pretty active throughout this pregnancy (I do boxing, pilates and walking each week), I thought it’d be worthwhile getting the SRC ones.

I managed to snag a pair in good condition off ebay for around $80 though, which leaves me with some pennies left over for the Recovery shorts which I plan to buy brand new (just a personal preference here). I’ve been wearing the Pregnancy leggings for a couple of weeks now and love them. They’re as comfortable and practical as everyone says – they’re literally made for pregbots. From about 25 weeks onwards, I have also gotten the odd pain in the pubic region so I’ve been wearing these around the house when I’m feeling achey – the anatomical panels really help to alleviate the pain. The quality is excellent (I’ve been through my fair share of compression/workout leggings over the years) and the best part is that the waist is adjustable to fit a growing belly. Sizing can be tricky (based off measurements I was in between an XS and S) so I opted for the S and I’m currently wearing the leggings on the smallest waist adjustment. Another reason I wish I was pregnant in winter – these leggings are definitely good enough to wear out and about and not just for working out! If I had my time over, I would have purchased these leggings earlier on in my pregnancy and not bothered with jeans or any other maternity tights.

Topshop Maternity Jeans – some people swear by J Brand, but I swear by Topshop. I couldn’t justify shelling out $300+ on a pair of mat jeans I couldn’t try on in store before buying, so spending $70 at Topshop where I could try it on was perfect enough for me. I love love love them. My favourite styles are the Jamie and the Leigh, with the latter more “jegging” like and the Jamie being more thicker and more denim-like. I’ve got 3 pairs – I bought the Leigh black ones instore and once I knew my size, I hopped online to buy these Jamie ones and a mid-blue Leigh pair (Perth Topshop doesn’t have a huge range of mat jeans). Sizing-wise, I’m an 8 in these. It’s best to get these realllyyy snug as they do stretch with wear. I love that they have the usual five pocket styling and look like jeans until you see the elastic waist. Plus, I personally find under-bump jeans a lot more comfortable.

A lovely reader of mine also emailed me recently and after we got chatting about finding stylish clothes to wear during pregnancy, she introduced me to a brand called Storq from the U.S. I LOVE their style and branding and philosophy and they seem to do really good basics for us pregnant ladies. I haven’t placed an order or anything (yet!) but I thought I’d mention it here just in case any of you are in the market for chic maternity essentials. The bundles also make such a thoughtful gift idea for friends who have a little bun in the oven!

NON-MATERNITY CLOTHES

Casual dresses

I’ve been living in T by Alexander Wang and Bassike.

I love love love the t-shirt dresses from T by AW, they’ve been perfect for my bump.The Classic Jersey Mini Dress is my fave (I ordered an M), but the Jersey Maxi Dress would be perfect too if you’re into the more maxi lengths. I find The Outnet has the best prices so it pays to check back weekly for stock updates. Shopbop also has the Classic dress in black and charcoal (I tend to get more wear out of these colours) for reasonable prices.

As for Bassike, my favourite styles so far have been the Stripe Boxy T-Shirt Dress and the Tank Dress II to get me through the long hot Perth summer. The long sleeved styles are also great for cooler weather. Bassike is cut big by the way – I’m a XS or S at most right now in Bassike (and I’m taking a size 12-14 normally!).

Basics from Sportsgirl and Cotton On have also been high on my radar when I can’t afford to be spending $100 on a dress each week. I especially love these tank dresses from Sportsgirl – I have this grey and black one in like 3 or 4 different sizes (XS and S for more dressy occasions and M to L for more casual days). They have a really nice, worn-in cotton feel and are so so comfy – a nice departure from all the fitted bodycon stuff. I’ve been wearing them underneath leather jackets and lightweight trench coats. The black looks especially dressy if you wear them with heels at night!

Other basics

Probably more suited to hot weather, but I’ve been living in Bassike organic cotton tank tops and shorts lately. My faves are the Stripe Jersey Beach Short (they run large, I’m an XS) in black and stripe. I’ve been trying to scour the David Jones sales racks for Bassike and managed to pick up things at 50% off, so I’d head there first.

Viktoria + Woods are also great for good quality basics. I love the Dux skirt as well as the rest of their range. Again, David Jones sales are your best friend.

Evening/dressy dresses

Honestly, the trick here is to look anywhere and everywhere. Stick to stretchy fabrics if possible and if there’s lining underneath the dress, make sure it’ll fit your growing bump too. My favourite styles are shift dresses (they fit a bump perfectly). I also recently purchased the Belize dress by Totême and it’s the most amazing, incredible, comfortable dress for summer (that also looks great if you’re not pregnant!). It’s very resort-style but I’m going to try and make it work for evening events. I purchased an emerald one from The Outnet but I love that navy version from NAP (it’s probably a more wearable colour anyway).

I’ve also been browsing designer consignment stores in Perth and although it’s hit and miss, I’ve managed to come away with a few gorgeous bump-friendly drapey silk dresses by Willow and One Fell Swoop (perfect for pregnant bridesmaids too!). I’ve had some success at Ellery too with this gorgeous dress (but in black) which I nabbed on sale a while back at DJs. Scanlan & Theodore, Zimmermann and Sass and Bide are also great too, but if you’re like me – not so much for the bank account.

A few other random things

I’ve been wanting try this off-shoulder poplin top from Hello Parry because I’m me and don’t want to spend $400 on the Tibi version.

I’ve found Seed incredibly accommodating and perfect for us pregbots – so much elastic waist everything! Hallelujah.

My Cecilie Copenhagen two-piece set is one of my favourite things to wear right now. Elastic waist shorts and a trapeze top – couldn’t ask for much more than that. This dress and this dress are the perfect bump-friendly pieces too – they got me through the first and most of second trimester. Parlour X has a great range and if you’re in Perth, you can buy/try them on at Adam Heath in Claremont.

In terms of swimwear, I stumbled across this one at Topshop recently even though it’s been the furtherest thing from my mind. I’ve never been one to wear a bikini and I definitely wouldn’t be confident enough to be seen out in public in one now that I’ve gained a gazillion kilos so this one-piece with scalloped edging is the way to go for me this summer. I had to size up to a 14 in this though just so it stretches over my torso!

In a random spurt of DIY, I bought this Country Road sleeveless wool/cashmere longline jacket a couple of months ago and turned it into a double breasted tuxedo dress (like the one Eva Chen wore recently). As always it turned out to be a little more involved than I thought (having to buy extra buttons and guess how much I should accommodate for my bump) but the end result was good enough. I don’t know for how much longer it’ll fit me (sad face…) so I’ll try and snapchat it when I get a chance (my username is agirlnamedmish) if you’d like to have a squiz.

For everything else, I’ve been making do with whatever is left in my wardrobe that still fits. From about 14 weeks onwards (when I felt less anxious about my pregnancy going to full term) I separated all my clothes and pulled out all the items that I could still wear to make a ‘pregnancy capsule wardrobe’ of sorts. I dedicated a rack to these clothes so it was easy for me to see at a glance what options I had left and what gaps I needed filling to get me through the next nine months. I loved doing this actually as it also uncovered things I haven’t worn in a while but I could still wear when pregnant. It was also getting way too depressing trying stuff on and not being able to fit into them any more, so out of sight (and out of mind) they went.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of my bump dressing series for a little more gasbagging on my pregnancy wardrobe!

Dressing the bump: part 2

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I’ve always wished for a winter or autumn pregnancy – cosying up in turtleneck sweaters and hiding all those lumps and bumps under stretchy leggings with a warm milo in hand has always seemed much more appealing and comfortable than sweating it out in shorts and flip flops in 40C temps with your feet swollen to the size of a cantaloupe. I mean, throw a coat over anything and you look instantly chic. And a coat will fit you throughout all trimesters, so you don’t have to worry about growing out of it by 32 weeks. Not to mention you’re out the door in 0.0005 seconds. Kim K learnt this lesson the second time around, she’s been throwing a coat over literally every single outfit of hers in 98F temps throughout the LA summer.

Anyway, before I fell pregnant, I had this radiant image of Charlotte Gainsbourg pinned to my Pinterest board, hoping to emulate at least a tenth of her je ne sais quoi when it was my turn to be with child. Because I loved this outfit so so much (and because it was probably far more achievable than Mira Duma’s bump style – though I have to say, I adore this) I promptly went out and bought a pair of maternity jeans (and subsequently two more) until I realised that I had about three weeks’ worth of wear out of them before summer turned up early to the party in Perth. With two more weeks until summer officially starts, I’m still holding out for that freak storm to hit the city so that my maternity jeans aren’t relegated to the back of my wardrobe just yet.

I was fortunate enough to spend my first trimester in winter (July/August) when I was feeling the most crappy and bloated and generally just blergh, so it gave me a little taste of a few firm (non-maternity wear) favourites that would see me through the rest of an autumn/winter pregnancy.

First things first, a black slimline midi skirt.

Possibly even more versatile (and comfortable) than the humble pair of jeans, this is my numero uno bump essential. Preferably in a stretchy fabric with an elasticised waist and a slim/pencil silhouette. I’d have a casual one (like the one I’m wearing above) on rotation as well as one with a front split a la Elin Kling for more dressy occasions to wear with heels. I really love this Topshop one as it’s so lightweight (perfect for summer too) as well as stretchy and comfortable to wear under the bump.

So why not mini, knee-length or maxi lengths? I personally find midi-lengths (both in skirts and dresses) the most practical and flattering but it could just depend on one’s height and body shape. It’s so much more slimming on me as it conceals the thighs and slims the hips – two areas that I’ve put weight on during this pregnancy. Plus, if you’re working in an office, the midi length is the most corporate-friendly on any figure – it looks best with a silk shirt tucked or untucked (like I’ve done above) or with a sweater over the top – she’s obviously not pregnant here but I’ve always thought this outfit on Anja Rubik would be perfect to wear during pregnancy.

A relaxed, button-down shirt

I love pairing these shirts (preferably in silk or cotton) with everything – they look especially chic over a pair of leggings, jeans, cigarette trousers or aforementioned midi skirt. Tucking in button-down shirts is always a bit awkward as your bump gets bigger (I prefer tucking in t-shirts and tank tops) so I like to leave them untucked to flow over the belly.

However, I’m getting to that point in my pregnancy now where my usual size shirts are no longer buttoning up, so I’ve been making do with shirts I’ve bought in bigger sizes (see, I knew it was never a bad idea to cave into the size 12s just because they were cheap at all those designer sample sales!).

I have to say, the cross-over blouse I’m wearing above has also proved to be super practical (just because I don’t have to worry about popping any buttons!) and because there’s excess fabric at the front to accommodate a growing bump. I’d wear this to the office as an alternative to the button-down, it’s so comfortable but still looks really polished if you pair it with slim trousers or a skirt.

An essential jacket or coat

I’ve always loved how a jacket or coat streamlines just about every outfit, adding a more polished element to whatever you’re wearing. Which is perfect when you’re pregnant and feeling really frumpy.

Perth has been seeing some cooler and rainy days during spring so I’ve been rotating through denim jackets, lightweight trench coats, blazers and leather jackets and wearing them with my jeans, midi dresses and skirts.

This season – well, for as long as I can, anyway – I’ve been trying my hand at the humble denim jacket; opting for one that hits between the waist and the hip so that it sits a bit more flattering with the bump (I find when it comes to denim jackets, if it’s too short – it cuts your body in half in not a very good way and too long – it’ll just look like a painfully unflattering tent over your body).

I’ve been wearing my leather jacket to death (such a winter essential!) so the welcome change in colour and style with this denim jacket has been great for variety’s sake as well as still coordinating with all the black, grey and black I’ve been wearing. It’s also perfect on Casual Fridays where blue denim is a bit more accepted in the office!

Flats when you’re feeling frumpy

As someone who isn’t genetically blessed in the height department but who has an embarrassingly low tolerance for heels, pointed toe flats have become my go-to flat shoe for days I want to look put-together without hobbling to the photocopier by the end of the day. Ballet flats also work quite well but I save them mostly for the weekend as I find they’re a lot more casual plus they’re not as lengthening as a pointed toe. These flats I’m wearing above are comfy enough to wear the whole day; they instantly dress up the most casual of outfits; and anything with a gigantic grosgrain bow on them… well, I’m sold.

By the way, I’ve decided to make this a 3-part series in bump dressing, so for those of you interested, look out for my next post which will feature a few more things and brands I’ve loved wearing during my pregnancy.

In collaboration with Topshop | Wearing Topshop Denim Jacket, Striped Drape Front BlousePlisse Tube Skirtpointed suede bow flatsDaniel Wellington Lady Sheffield watch.

Dressing the bump: part 1

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I don’t think anyone (me included) can say they’ve ‘mastered’ bump dressing until they’ve navigated the tricky waters that is the third trimester. Having said that, trying to stay comfortable and true to your personal style when pregnant is challenging enough throughout all trimesters, as you try to get used to your body’s shape and size that changes and increases literally every single day.

I honestly can’t believe how fast time is flying for me at the moment. Some weeks have definitely dragged whilst the rest has flown during my pregnancy (especially once I got past the 20 week mark). I’m about 6 months pregnant now (24 weeks to precise) with only a few more weeks to go until I enter the third trimester. Crazy!

To be honest, I have been consciously flying much of my pregnancy journey under the radar as I feel it’s something I haven’t yet felt comfortable enough to share online – bump watch, ultrasound pics and all. I’m loving being pregnant so far – more than anything else in this world – and it’s been so special sharing these precious moments with just my closest friends and family.

Having received a few emails about dressing my bump from some of you lately though, I thought I’d put together a few things I’ve learnt about pregnancy dressing – mainly what’s worked (and what hasn’t) for me throughout the first and second trimesters.

I’ll be spending my entire third trimester in a Perth summer which means an average of 36-42C degrees – I’m dreading it so so much! It was 37C degrees when I took these photos a couple of days ago (plus I had just scoffed down a burger and large fries for lunch – no regrets!) so I thought I was somewhat qualified to speak about how to be comfortable, confident and pregnant in summer. I have to say though, it’s definitely no walk in the park.

So far, I’ve put on about 5-6kgs from my pre-preg weight (I’m averaging a weight gain of about 1-2kgs per month so far, which is normal I think) with pretty much all my weight going to my hips, thighs, belly and boobs. Oh and baby/placenta too, of course. I’ve been so far successful in getting away with wearing no maternity clothes except for essentials like bras, a pair of SRC leggings for working out, and maternity jeans. I’ve just been going up a size (or three!) in non-maternity clothes and mostly in stretchy, breathable fabrics. To most of you I probably don’t look 6 months pregnant but I certainly feel it – I’m taking a size 12 and 14 in ‘normal’ clothes these days and even then, I can’t do up the zip (longer tops are a godsend!) or a size 14 doesn’t fit me around the belly at all.

Whilst I’ve found casual dressing a lot easier and simpler, it’s the dressing for parties and weddings that I’ve found SO hard, especially as you want (and need) to feel comfortable too. Pregnancy is no time to be cutting off blood circulation to your limbs for the sake of looking good. Thankfully for me – though after much trial and error – overcoming these challenges have come with practice and knowing what works/what doesn’t.

Here are a few things that have worked well for me in terms of special occasion dressing so far, especially as the temperature rises:

Off-the-shoulder tops and blouses

One of the best things about pregnancy dressing for me is embracing and discovering different styles of clothing to accommodate my changing shape. I’ve never been a huge fan of off-the-shoulder anything, but as my bump and waistline gets bigger and bigger, I’ve learnt off-the-shoulder tops are seriously flattering and also really chic (which is not a word you throw around often when you’re the size of a whale with raging hormones). For evening/special occasions during summer, the best thing to wear is an off-the-shoulder blouse or dress in a fancy or structured kind of fabric. It cleverly hides those expanding arms (I wish I was going into a winter pregnancy as I hate having my arms out!) as well as those awkward first-second trimester mini beer guts until you properly pop. If you want to conceal your bump, choose something with a hemline that falls to your belly button and then pair it with high-waisted trousers, tailored shorts or a skirt like I’ve done here.

When it comes to an off-the-shoulder dress though, I find the fitted silhouettes way more flattering than those grecian-inspired, flowy tent dresses. As comfortable as they are, they look god-awful-potato-dumpling-like on me so I personally avoid them, preferring something more fitted.

Embrace bodycon anything

Going back to my first point about pregnancy dressing forcing me out of my sartorial comfort zone; the only time I’ve ever felt comfortable wearing something skin-tight is when I look like I’ve swallowed a basketball (and don’t have to suck it in). I personally think baby bumps look SO much more beautiful and flattering in something form-fitting than baggy and loose. If you’re not into the head-to-toe bodycon look (let’s be real here – who is after they’ve just wolfed down a burger and fries) I recommend wearing something loose up top and fitted down below – as I’ve done here with this outfit.

Wear all one colour in simple shapes

Okay, I’ve stayed true to something that has always been a part of my personal style and it’s worked wonders during my pregnancy. No prints, no psychedelic colours and no crazy fancy cuts. I’ve always been a big fan of minimal dressing and zeroed in on this ballerina pink two-piece at Topshop as soon as I saw it. I love the simple lines, the gathered detailing at the shoulders, the midi length skirt with a subtle split, and the structured overall shape. Subtle details with maximum impact has been my pregnancy wardrobe mantra. Head to toe black is also your best friend when pregnant!

I’ve always thought I’d take inspiration from Miroslava Duma’s maternity looks when pregnant lol but I soon found out that simple and minimal dressing is the best way for me to look chic during pregnancy because, er, I kind of forgot that I don’t actually have Valentino on speed dial.

Two-pieces/separates are the best things ever invented. Ever.

I haven’t had much luck AT ALL trying to find a dress for a wedding that fits in all the right (and tight) spaces. These days, when I’m looking for a new outfit, I have to shop for it literally the day or two before the event because I’m growing out of clothes way too quickly now (if it’s not stretchy, I’ll only have 1-2 weeks at most to wear it before I can’t fit into it anymore). I’m also finding I take hours or days just to find something suitable, which I don’t really have time for.

Cue the fantastic invention that is the two-piece. I’m wearing a size 10 top here and a size 12 skirt (I would have preferred a size 14 to be able to fully zip the skirt up but there was none available for me at the time). There’s no way I’d be able to find a non-maternity dress that accommodates a smaller upper body and larger bottom half at the same time (unless it’s 100% lycra), so dressing in separates has become my saving grace for special events and occasions. If there’s a coordinating skirt, then go for it – you can kind of create the illusion of wearing a dress and still look super polished. It’s so much more comfortable and you obviously get more wear out of your separates as you can pair them with other things in your wardrobe. I have Elin Kling’s baby shower outfit on file for inspiration (hello, off-the-shoulder top and split pencil skirt!).

The ultimate slimming effect

I’m in flats and sneakers 99% of the time these days, but as I’ve been lucky so far to not experience a bad back, puffy ankles, pelvis dysfunction or any leg cramps during my pregnancy, I’ve been able to get away with wearing heels on occasion. As I start piling on the weight now that I’m nearing the third trimester (and my legs/ankles get sore easily from all the weight), I spend the majority of events and occasions sitting down and I always pack a pair of ballet flats in my bag when I’m out just in case I end up having to walk really far due to a lack of parking etc. I don’t wear heels any higher than 10cm (these Louboutins I’m wearing are 100mm) because I’m clumsy af and I almost took a tumble in my five inch Charlotte Olympias in front of the mirror the other day.

Having said all that, I’m starting to notice this week that my feet have seemed to increase half a size (not sure if it’s pregnancy hormones or the weather, or both) as some of my shoes (especially heels) have started to feel a little tight. Vanity aside, the key to dressing a bump is listening to your body – don’t stay on your feet all day and don’t wear anything too restrictive if that’s what your body is telling you!

I’m hoping I won’t have to switch up much more of my pregnancy style come the third trimester (simply because there are probably more urgent things to think about like picking a name and doing my kegels!) but who knows. I really do love and embrace my new shape and am in complete awe of the miracles my body is really capable of, but when you fall pregnant you quickly realise your body is no longer yours and that you just have to go with the flow!

In collaboration with Topshop | Wearing Topshop Structured Bardot Top and Split Pencil Skirt, Christian Louboutin nude patent Decollete pumps, Daniel Wellington Lady Sheffield watch.

The Allure of Broome.

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While we’re all traipsing the world in search for the perfect holiday, it’s so easy to forget that heaven’s actually closer than we think. Having spent so much of our travels in far flung places overseas, it was refreshing to explore the natural surroundings that have always been right on our doorstep.

Jamie and I were lucky to have the opportunity to head up to Broome for a weekend in August (staying at the luxurious Cable Beach Club and to attend the Broome Cup as a guest of Allure South Sea Pearls). It didn’t take us long before we were blown away at discovering how beautiful northern Western Australia really is – with all of its ochre red dirt, turquoise waters and fiery sunsets and all.

Each afternoon as the sun set before our eyes and the chill from the Indian Ocean softly blew in, it let us take in the enormity of what lies before us and appreciate what would be the last spontaneous adventure we’d enjoy with just the two of us. Something tells me the next adventure we’ll soon be embarking on will be the most life-changing yet. I can’t wait.

Wearing Allure South Sea Pearls jewellery, Hello Parry Isadora sweater and Morrison Pippin silk dress (available soon).

Styling by Michelle Lau | Photographed by Jamie Lau on location at Cable Beach, Broome.

 

Part 1: How to Pack for Copenhagen.

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Effortless style is in the DNA of all Scandinavians. When it comes to dressing the part on a chic holiday to Copenhagen, the look is all about the concept of less is more: uncomplicated but interesting colours, relaxed tailoring, and simple but sophisticated separates – with a dash of the 70s trend thrown in the suitcase for good measure. Making the case for a certain kind of minimalism involves exuding that Scandi-chic vibe without trying too hard. I teamed up with Country Road this month to share a little of my travel and packing tips for one of my favourite destinations in the world. So with a trip to the Nordic city in mind, what does one pack?

1.  The layered effect

Packed two entirely different pieces that you were planning to wear independently of one another? Make your travel wardrobe go the distance by pairing the two together. Here, I’ve layered the Broderie T-Shirt over the Linen Fringed Dress for a play on proportion, colour, and texture.

 2. Depend on denim

No travel capsule wardrobe is complete without your favourite denim. My take on the 70s trend involves teaming the beautiful Drop Shoulder Blouse to soften these Indigo Flare Jeans. The illusion of height these jeans give are always welcome, too!

3. New neutrals

Although packing light and right for a holiday usually goes hand in hand with black and white (i.e. go-with-anything colours), live life on the edge a little and include other neutral shades that work just as well as monochrome. I always love adding camel to my travel wardrobe mix – not only does it pair perfectly with white but it also looks great pared back with this season’s burgundy.

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4. The easy-peasy playsuit

Something that’s easy to throw on (and wrinkle resistant!) is always one of the first things that goes into my suitcase. Just add a classic wool fedora and a pair of suede ankle boots to give an added 70s vibe to this kimono-esque printed playsuit.

Look out for Part 2 of my Country Road travel series up soon – How to spend the perfect weekend in Copenhagen.

In collaboration with Country Road | Styling by me & Photography by Jamie Lau.

Packing for Santorini.

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Those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning know that the Type A in me loves nothing more than a good packing list.

So I’m really excited that the next three months will see me teaming up with Country Road to share my travel and packing tips from my travels around the world and around Australia.

First up, a summer in Santorini and all my must-have packing essentials for a blue sky holiday.

Head over to the Country Road journal to read the full post.

My little list of style loves.

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On a much lighter note today, I’ve been meaning to put together this post for a while now – just a few of my favourite go-to brands and stores that form the cornerstone of my wardrobe basics, staples, and basically my very non-trend driven wardrobe.

I shy away from trends (say no to flares, people!) and my perfect wardrobe would comprise easy, simple, and wearable classics that transcend seasons and years. That said, finding the perfect this – and that – has really been an exercise in trial and error over the past decade (my shitty looking bank account proves this point beyond any doubt) so the list-maker in me thought it’d be insightful and helpful if I put together a quick reference guide containing my very favourite brands/stores (both high street and high-end).

Let’s face it, as much as I love a good mosey around the shops from time to time, it can be frustrating spending hours browsing online or walking aimlessly through a shopping mall on a fruitless search for that perfect pair of black pants. It’s always the simple and basic things that are hardest to find and shop for, so here are the styles and brands I reach for time and time again; and quality basics that no wardrobe should be without.

KNITWEAR

Crew or v-neck sweaters – Uniqlo and Country Road merino, both from the mens’ section.  I prefer the merino from CR (so soft and feels nicer on the skin) but it’s also double the price as Uniqlo. There’s a better colour selection at Uniqlo though and they have both crew neck and v-neck. Country Road’s colours depend on the season, and they’re best snapped up when on sale as they’re usually $99.95 full price. I exclusively wear my classic crew neck sweaters from the mens’ department now; I love that they’re a lot more relaxed and slouchy (I take an XS in both Uniqlo and CR mens’ sweaters).

Classic sweater colours for me would be: burgundy, charcoal, light grey, navy, and black.

On a side note, I do find holes in my merino sweaters quite often, but I don’t know if it’s from wear or from those damn moths! I’ve kitted out my closet with a billion Camphor blocks (you can get them from pharmacies I think) so just a word of caution to you as well – make sure you keep those closet doors closed (I’m so bad at this that it always nearly ends up in divorce with my husband) to keep the moths away.

For classic cardigans, I swear by the cashmere at Uniqlo – from the womens’ section, and I always go two sizes up for a slouchier fit. They rarely pill (unless they’re a few years old and even then) and I wear mine almost every day (at home) and they haven’t fallen apart yet – I think I bought mine at the end of 2012. They’re SO warm and soft! There’s no Uniqlo in Perth, so I go on a bit of a binge when I’m overseas. And I don’t know if I was dreaming this – which is often likely – but I swear I walked into Zara (or some other chain store) last week and saw a cashmere sweater for like $400!? I will have to come back to you all on this one. (edit: I went back and checked. It was $200. Haha.)

Moving along, for super special pieces, I recently fell in love with I Love Mr Mittens. It took me a good couple of years or more to bite the bullet and pay several hundred dollars for a beautiful sweater, but given it’s hand-knitted in Perth and made of the most softest, highest quality wool, I thought it could be a classic investment piece. I come from a family of avid knitters lol so I’ve been more and more appreciative of how much time and effort goes into something as elaborate as this! I bought the Cropped Cable Knit in black (torn between this and grey!) and love it so much I’ve been wearing it about 4 days out of 7 past couple of weeks. Funny story, I was at the shops the other day and had 3 girls come up to me wondering where the sweater was from, all in the space of five minutes. Never had that happen before!

COATS

Topshop, And Other Stories, Zara and COS are my high-street favourites. All are exceptionally well-made for the price. To be honest, I usually baulk at paying around $200 for a chain store coat but the above three brands have earned their stripes over the past few winters. If you find them on sale, though, even better! For reference, the coat I’m wearing in the photo above is by Zara, and it’s made from mulberry silk wool so it’s really luxurious on (plus it survived two months around the world with me, so that’s saying something).

For ‘higher-end’, I love Karen Walker for the tailoring and quirky cuts and Etoile Isabel Marant as it ticks all the boxes as an (affordable – no doubt I’d still have to save up weeks for) investment coat. I wish I could afford Max Mara! One day…

BLAZERS

So every wardrobe also needs a go-to black blazer. From the high-street, I make a beeline for COS and Country Road. Witchery are pretty okay too, but only on sale for me. I used to love Zara’s blazers but I find if I pay a little bit more, COS and Country Road give me a little bit more quality and longevity (without a hint of polyester).

When my budget extended that far, I love Acne Studios and Isabel Marant, but I always just buy them when they’re 50-70% off at The Outnet.

Balenciaga are incredible too (fortunately I was able to find one for $250 at Rag Tag in Tokyo once) – they’re lined in silk and the fabric is just to die for. I’d love to own something by Saint Laurent and Balmain one day though. One day!

DENIM

Topshop hands down for a more affordable option. My favourite styles are the ‘Mom’ jeans (I take a 26 in these) and the MOTO Boyfriend styles (try these on before you buy to get the right fit). I actually didn’t own any Topshop jeans before becoming their style ambassador this year (I’ve only tried them on in change rooms) but these two new styles especially are so incredibly comfortable and so flattering – it’s no surprise Emmanuelle Alt counts Topshop jeans as her favourites too (I think her go-to is the Jamie style)!

On the other side of the pricing spectrum, I love love love Acne Studios. My absolute favourite cut is the Needle (I think they’re being discontinued soon though so I’m extremely gutted about that). I find the Needles have everything I want in a jean: tapered/slim leg, high waist, slim through the thighs). In terms of wash, my favourites from Acne are used black and used blue. I usually wait for Matches to go on sale and buy from Acne denim there. Paige make amazing boyfriend styles, whilst Frame is boss at skinny styles whilst being SO comfortable. I also really can’t go past Levis 501s (vintage is best!) in classic blue – every wardrobe needs a pair of these.

A word about shopping for black denim – unless you don’t mind having a gazillion dust particles clinging to your black jeans, you have to be super particular about the fabric composition. Some black jeans don’t attract the fluff whilst others do, so in this case it’s a bit tricky buying online. I’ve found that if it’s a ‘brushed cotton’ kind of denim, then you’ll be fine. But if it’s a ’twill cotton’ kind of denim then steer clear of this. If you have no choice but to buy online, make sure there’s a close up pic of the denim – you can usually tell if it’s a brushed denim or a twill denim by looking at the fibres. If you’re still confused, email me and I’ll show you pics!

SILK SHIRTS

Everlane vs Equipment – this old conundrum, right? For me, I just love the luxuriousness of Equipment (them chest pockets!) but Everlane are pretty much perfect too at a third of the price. I always keep a lookout for Equipment on sale at David Jones, the cheapest I’ve gotten them is $110 or something like that. Otherwise there are always Equipment silk shirts discounted on The Outnet (no prizes for guessing where I procrastishop the most). If you’re a size 6 or smaller, probably best to stay away from Equipment because their sizing is HUGE. For reference, an XS fits a true size 8. Everlane is a better option – the XS fits an AU 6 perfectly.

For something a bit more special and unique, I love Scanlan & Theodore (their styles extend past silk crepe de chine) which are perfect for that desk to drinks situation. Again, wait until they’re on sale if you can – they’re usually up to 50% off.

THE STRIPED BRETON SHIRT

This one has taken years to perfect. And I think I’m almost there. THIS one by Le Mont Saint Michel at My Chameleon is the best one I’ve found – but I always prefer a crew neck and long sleeves, especially for winter. I take a size S in this. And the stripe width is pretty much perfect, too. And I go for navy stripes, always. It’s a science, people. I do still find $140 a lot to pay for a striped shirt (maybe I’m just getting stingier with age…) but it really is the perfect cut. PS I know some of you are a fan but I’ve never tried Saint James as the sizing seems huge!?

Other than that, Bassike is hard to beat if I want a more looser, relaxed fit (the organic cotton is great for plane trips) and the fabric is nice and light for those warmer/spring days.

And Country Road tend to have some great styles from time to time if I don’t want to spend too much (I usually stalk the sales for these basics).

THE T-SHIRT

Like the striped shirt, nailing this one has been hard! My main gripe about t-shirts is that they never really last all that long (a year, tops, and even less if it’s white) so I don’t tend to pay all that much for the humble t-shirt.

I’ve found a few of my favourite go-to brands though – they’re all really inexpensive and such great cuts:

Uniqlo – from the mens’ section in those little plastic packets! I always go for a crew neck. I’ve got this in both charcoal grey and white (I’m wearing the white above). If you go to Japan these are like 7 bucks!

Zara – the linen range is THE BEST. EVER. The short sleeve and long sleeve are my staples – they have a great, round neck and the linen drapes beautifully. Not too see-through either. Try to go a size down in these (or try them on if you can) because over time the neckline stretches out a tiny bit, depending on how often you wear it. They’re about $19.95-$39.95 in Australia, but cheaper overseas (especially in Europe and Vegas).

Country Road – again, from the mens’ section because I love that the shoulder drops a bit longer and the sleeve is slightly longer too than the womens’. They’re cut much like the Uniqlo ones so if you can’t get to Uniqlo, definitely scour CR.

TROUSERS

I am obsessed with black pants. I swear I’ve got about ten pairs in my closet right now, all serving an entirely different purpose of course. I love a good peg-leg and a classic cigarette leg (with the latter the hardest working item in my wardrobe when I was still working in the office).

The best affordable brand I’ve found is Forever New – I popped into a store last week just for curiosity sake and was pleased to see they’re still doing their classic neoprene-y cigarette trousers (I love that neoprene-y fabric because it creases way less, and that’s exactly what you need when you’re sitting at your desk for 8 hours). The Faye and the Grace (this one is perfect for girls under 5’5 like me) look exactly like the ones I love the most.

At an in-between price range, I love COS and And Other Stories. They have such unique but tailored cuts in beautiful colours and shades. One of my most favourite trousers are a pair of pleated front cropped culottes from COS. Love.

For something a bit more luxe in terms of fabric and cut, I love love love Scanlan & Theodore. They do all styles so well – I’ve got high-waisted cigarette pants, low-rise boyfriend black jeans (which can pass as pants in corporate and/or on Casual Friday) and a great pair of pegged trousers on heavy rotation. Those three styles are probably my most worn day to day, week to week. They still look as good as new too, so you do get what you pay for sometimes.

Other than that, I’m always scouring The Outnet as I find Acne Studios and Isabel Marant (or Etoile Isabel Marant) always have classic black trousers heavily discounted.

CHELSEA BOOTS

I’ve been through my fair share of ankle boots and as much as I love my Dickers, I still believe a classic Chelsea boot is a must-have in anyone’s shoedrobe.

High – Acne Studios and Churchs are my very favourites – both so insanely comfortable, well-made and lasts for decades, I swear. Acne is a lot more trend-driven; my current love is the Jensen – which is also my first purchase for this winter! You can snap up a pair of Jensens for the cheapest here at Farfetch or here for the Jensen Grain Leather – with free shipping at the moment! Otherwise Churchs are such a classic – I love the Ketsby and all the studded styles, just great classic English shoes. I buy Churchs from Netaporter.

Low – COS are my favourites, they’re great quality and the cut is often classic with a twist. Really well-made and great quality. I can always rely on Country Road too each winter and the boots from Seed Heritage this season are seriously so comfortable (just wish they weren’t that expensive though!).

BALLET FLATS

I really can’t go past Chanel classic ballerinas – they’re so incredibly comfortable (true to size, by the way) and you can always find a bargain on eBay rather than shell out $700 for them from a boutique. That said, they’re not the most hardestwearing flats (the lambskin on the toe cap scratches/peels easily if you stub it on the pavement) so I would recommend investing in a patent toe cap. I have a pair of two-tone ballet flats (all lambskin) and an all-black (patent toe/lambskin upper) and latter seems to be more hardier.

For a classic black ballet flat, Porselli and Repetto are my two favourites (I’m wearing Porselli above).

So this ‘little list’ ended up being way longer than I had anticipated and I’ve just realised how much I seem to wear the same brands over and over again (sorry!) but if you’re looking to build your wardrobe from scratch, I hope this post gives you a place to start! Otherwise I’d love to hear your go-to brands and favourites as well, in the comments below! Also, if you’re wondering why The White Shirt doesn’t feature in this list, it’s because I’m on this eternal search for the perfect one! By that, I mean one that doesn’t wrinkle within minutes of sitting down! Would love to hear if any of you have found the perfect white shirt!

Mornings are for oversleeping.

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CULTIVER Lila Nightshirt | French flax linen flat sheet in dusk | French flax linen sheet set with pillowcases in charcoal grey

Linen bed sheets are like a crisp pair of 501s.

The best ones are perfectly worn-in, soften beautifully with age, and bear creases in all the right places. They remind me of comforts I often miss about home; the stack of books on my bedside, an Earl Grey before bed, sunlight that envelopes the curtains at exactly the same time and same place every morning. Comfort is the ultimate luxury.

These French-flax linen sheets and their new sleepwear by Sydney-based luxury brand Cultiver (the French word for ‘cultivate’) are truly a thing of beauty. After being commissioned to style and photograph them in my own home recently, it’s easy – and quite frankly addictive – to cultivate luxury in your daily life with just the addition of linen sheets to your bedroom repertoire.

And, if nothing else, spending the morning wrapped in crinkled linen sheets and captivated in a book whilst it’s pouring with rain outside must be one of the most glorious things in the world.

You should love for no reason.

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I’ve had this post sitting in drafts since mid-October so it’s almost a relief that I’ve been able to steal some time this afternoon to share them with you. Finally! 

I received these film scans from Natasja a little while ago (the first post was all digital but hey, #filmisnotdead). It’s kind of a continuation from that post but I didn’t quite elaborate on the what, why and how my personal collaboration with Tasj came about. For those new to my blog, Tasj photographed my wedding (almost four years ago, now!) and thanks to Instagram, we’ve been able to keep in touch since then.

One Sunday afternoon, she showed me the way to one of her favourite spots in Perth and we spent the next couple of hours with just each other, her camera and the sunset. We thought it’d be kinda fun if we shot me in my wedding dress again, though this time, it would be different. So I gathered my Church’s boots, a navy Acne blazer and a couple of sweaters, and wore them with my Marnie Skillings dress. I did my own hair and make-up (though probably not very well) and I almost forgot how much I loved this dress, and still do.

It was the most fun I’ve had in such a long time. Her son Harry helped draw chalk on the black drapey background. Then there’s Tasj, who always makes it so easy, so effortless. And for once, it was just really lovely to know we were creating something simply to inspire something beautiful.

Shopbop’s #Seasontoshine

shopbop gift guide 2014 aminuteawayfromsnowingGetting organised for the festive season has never been a strong point of mine. I’m off to my husband’s Christmas party this weekend and only just decided what to wear (FYI, it’s this two-piece by Alice McCall. I’m stuck as to what shoes to wear though!). I’m always the one booking restaurants at the eleventh hour, finding something to wear at the last minute, or going on a wild goose chase for that perfect present the day before.

I’ve still got a couple of Secret Santa gifts to shop for (the budget is $50 each), so my collaboration with Shopbop.com this Christmas couldn’t come at a better time. After browsing Shopbop’s #SeasonToShine gift boutique, I’ve put together a wishlist of things all under $100 (most are under $50, though!) that I’d love to give (and receive – ha!). As some of you may have noticed, I’ve become so much more about the home and less about the clothes (which does go hand in hand with some pretty big and exciting news I hope to share with you within the next few weeks).

But alas, this wishlist is for your benefit as much as mine, because as part of the launch of their #SeasonToShine gift boutique, Shopbop are giving you the chance to win a $100 Shopbop.com gift voucher*. Simply share your wishlist/gift ideas from the boutique on Twitter (or just by retweeting this) – easy peasy!

As for what’s on my wishlist?

1. Rifle Paper Co. x Garance Dore Greeting Card Set | 2. Jonathan Adler Pop Bourbon Candle

3. Kate Spade Gold Dots Pencil Pouch | 4. C. Wonder Serving Set | 5. Small Mirror Tray

collage by me.

* winner will be chosen at random by me & entries close a week from now – 10th Dec.

A Minimal + Chic Guide to Summer.

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This time of year for me has always called for simplicity, lightness, and uncomplicated essentials for a timeless summer wardrobe.

I was recently asked to style Country Road’s new jewellery collection together with a few high summer essentials that I recently purchased. The beautiful linear, geometric, and clean simplicity of the jewellery paired perfectly with what I plan to be wearing over the next few months: oversized oxford shirts and silk dresses, androgynous slides, a pair of classic sunglasses, and a brimmed hat.

We all know by now it actually takes a lot of effort to look effortless, so I’ve come up with my five go-to tips as a thoughtfully devised guide to a minimal and chic summer wardrobe:

1. KEEP IT SIMPLE + SIMILAR

Refine your style by wearing only one or two pieces of jewellery, and in a similar aesthetic. Here, I’ve paired a maximum of two or three pieces for any one outfit. I don’t mind mixing and matching metals but when it comes to jewellery on the hands and wrists, I always tend to stick to either silver or gold, not both at the same time or on the same hand. I love the way these Country Road pieces embody new relevance and character whilst still staying true to a pared-back aesthetic.

2. A STUDY IN PROPORTION + POISE

Re-imagine classic button-down shirts as shirt dresses by going for a few sizes bigger than what you’d normally buy. It’s the perfect thing to wear at the beach or a casual get-together if the hemline is long enough (think mid-thigh). For this post, I’m wearing all of the shirts in an XL to gain the most length as possible. A small tip though: to avoid re-enacting a classic Clueless moment with your Dad (like I did a few weeks back), a pair of silk shorts underneath your shirt for modesty will do the trick. A study in proportion and poise is also important here to achieve a modern balance: going a few sizes up means the shoulders will be ill-proportioned so roll-up the sleeves to just below your elbow and button the shirt all the way to the collar. I think the resultant voluminous trapeze shape anchored with minimal accessories is such an effortlessly cool and counterintuitive look for summer.

3. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TONES

Don’t stray too far from a natural and neutral colour palette. If one-colour dressing isn’t your thing but you still like that refined, minimal and chic aesthetic, pair colours of similar tones and shades. And if we’re talking accessories, I personally love pairing gold jewellery with soft pinks/creams and save silver for navy and cooler, undercurrent of blues.

4. THE NON-STATEMENT, STATEMENT PIECE

Pick one statement piece with its own distinct character and make that the only focus of your outfit. For me, it’s a great hat (I was drawn to the unique ‘high crown’ and asymmetry of the black raffia hat – with the added bonus of making me look taller than I really am, ha!). Country Road’s jewellery collection embodies an aesthetic approach that’s one of delicacy and simplicity. My favourites are the gold T Bar Bracelet (the epitome of a non-statement statement piece!) as well as the black leather tassels that add edge to the otherwise delicate silver on the Mini Tassel Necklace – I love a good juxtaposition.

5. THINK OF IT AS A MODERN, REFINED SENSE OF LUXURY

Make this your summer wardrobe mantra: comfortable, wearable, and versatile; all of which share a modern, refined sense of luxury. Think crisp cotton shirts, silk cropped culottes, light cashmere layers, and nuanced neutrals. It’s important to note when trying to achieve that ‘minimalist’ aesthetic, that the most special and prized pieces are not always the most memorable wardrobe mainstays. It’s the simple, uncomplicated pieces which are instantly adaptable to different moods and occasions, that always wins out in the end. And it’s the same with jewellery; it’s all about finding something that you can wear every day that embodies the perfect balance of character and longevity.

In this post, I’m wearing:

Gold T Bar Bracelet | Knuckle Ring | Multi Stack Ring | Circle Necklace in gold & silver | Mini Tassel Necklace

Contrast Collar Stripe Shirt | Pink Career Shirt | Bib Stripe Shirt | Woven Baseball Cap

High Crown Raffia Hat | Canvas Print Shopper | Harriet Sandals | Ray-Ban Wayfarers (these items are from my own wardrobe)

Photographs by Jamie. Still-life by me.

Pyjama Dressing.

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 Equipment silk signature shirt in Rosewood, Country Road leather loafers, IKEA sheepskin rug.

Life has been so overrun with work and other things lately that I haven’t found a chance to properly update you all on my behind the scenes (other than The Meltdown) until now. I woke up this morning with no rush to be anywhere aside from a trip to the post office and breakfast with my sister. And it made me realise that sometimes the littlest things can mean so much.

In preparation for the house move, my husband and I have been busy packing up our life in a series of cardboard boxes knowing that we probably won’t be opening most of them until 2016 when our new house has (hopefully) been built. I’ve been pinning like crazy (check out the pseudo-progress here) and so far we’ve decided on these kind of floorboards and this kind of kitchen with a black subway tiled feature wall with these light fittings. I couldn’t be more annoyed/exhausted by it all but I’ll try to keep documenting our progress along the way!

I’m also in the process of another online venture (more on this later!) and embarking on my first styling/photography job later this week.

In the meantime, I’ve also started to take on a bit more marketing work which has meant leaving the house in things other than sweatpants and three-day-old-hair. Though the work is decidedly more corporate than creative, everything else has been so refreshingly casual and chill, making getting dressed in the morning so easy.

I’ve been living in silk Equipment shirts (best places to shop for them are The Outnet and ForwardForward) and a pair of perfectly worn-in patent loafers. Now on the hunt for the perfect pyjama jacket/shirt (similar to this) to take my definitive guide to lazy dressing to a whole new level.

Photographs by me.

Love love love.

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Fuji Instax camera, a beautiful basket from Robert Gordon, Dieppa Restrepo oxfords, and week-old baby’s breath.

I spent the weekend doing only things that make me happy, and it was the best ever.

The Daily Edit.

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A happy and lighthearted post today!

My weekend started yesterday, and the brief time off from working three weeks’ straight without a day off has been just what the doctor ordered. These are a few of my favourite things at the moment – a beautiful saffiano leather monogrammed notebook from The Daily Edited, my new business cards which I’m so proud of because I’m painfully hopeless at things like that, a little luxury via La Mer (more on this soon…) and a classic silk shirt.

The French Girl Effect.

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I know things have gotten a little quiet around here.

And maybe a little stale.

I guess I’m missing the old me. And in some ways, my old life. Weekends spent just the way I like them to, instead of making friends with shadows on the wall on a lonely Sunday afternoon, with the screen of my laptop staring back at me. Talking about my day without worrying if it’s “on-brand” (yes, that brand thing). Knowing what I want to do with my life, instead of worrying about what tomorrow will hold. And most of all, coming home from a long day at work and falling into bed without feeling an ounce of guilt about it.

They say doing what you love is a great to earn 30K a year, and it couldn’t be further from my truth. When this blog suddenly became a means to put food on the table and a roof over my head (I’m still not letting my husband pay my bills), I think my passion for it died along the way. Because when you’re working until 3am in your Paris hotel room, it’s hard to love your job.

In all honesty, I could see it coming. My husband keeps reminding me why I chose this path. But when it hits you like a bus, it gets hard to dust yourself off and keep moving. I’ve spent the past few weeks in a state of there’s-more-to-life-than-taking-photos-of-myself. Because right now, I’m grappling between setting the world on fire without sending this blog up in flames. I gotta keep moving. Keep hustling. Stay humble.

Or, I could go just buy a burger after this.

Photographs by me.

Here comes the sun.

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This weekend has been all crisp, fresh sheets, window sill light, and things I’m looking forward to wearing this summer.

1. A pair of worn-in vintage 501s

2. A crisp white carry-all tote

3. Creased button-down shirts

4. Summer slides

5. A new wardrobe hero

If you happen to be in Perth later this month, my friend S from Hello Parry and I will be doing a spring clean and setting up shop at Many 6160’s Blogger Market on Saturday 25th October. There will be a treasure trove of things from our own personal (and overflowing) wardrobes including Celine, Alexander Wang, Givenchy bags and shoes. I’m moving back into mum and dad’s soon (another story for another day – my husband’s coming with me, in case you were wondering) so I’m hoping to find a lot of my clothes, shoes, and bags lovely new homes! Save the date and see you there!

Photographs by me.

A Cartier Fairytale in Paris.

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Nothing worth it ever came easy, and none more so than my recent collaboration with Cartier and Vogue.

Whilst in Paris last month, I had the opportunity to look to some of the most fabled (and my favourite) parts of the city to serve as the backdrop for the centenary celebration of Cartier’s iconic panther jewel with its new ‘Panthère de Cartier’ collection – the biggest in the French maison’s history.

But there is always a stormy undercurrent to fairytales. Haughty princesses are kissed by frogs; tales are riddled with runaway slaves and lions with thorns in their paw, and sleeping beauties and a cursed eternal slumber; fables tell of lost slippers and wicked step-mothers; there is a story of a mermaid who gave up everything for love but lost her beautiful voice; and Aesop’s tales that teach us that although it’s tempting to envy another person’s life, their life is rarely as great as it seems from a distance.

Though I can’t quite begin to describe how much of an honour it was to work with such an iconic brand so steeped in a fabled and bejewelled history, it was our most challenging assignment yet for various reasons. We ended up with only fifteen minutes to shoot the entire editorial (when usually we set aside an hour or two) and I’m sure most photographers can emphathise when I say I feared these photos would be confiscated from us at one point!

But like all fairytales, mine had a happily ever after, so it goes without saying that I’m so pleased (and relieved!) to be able to share my latest Spy Style editorial with you. It’s not every day I’m in working in Paris, alongside Cartier (and my husband!), and wearing a bracelet with a price tag equivalent to a small apartment.

See the full post on Vogue.com.au here.

Photography by Jamie and Michelle; post-processing by Michelle.

Spring essentials.

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The turn of spring has had me reaching for some new wardrobe essentials.

I picked up this striped Isabel Marant Etoile shirt from Merci a few weeks ago in Paris. Perfectly lived-in, probably way too oversized for me, but just the right amount of insouciance, to get me through this in-between weather. I’m planning to team this shirt with my light blue 501s and a pair of kitten heeled pumps.

The rest of my spring uniform consists of white and grey tones, in all manner of light merino wool mens’ sweaters from Uniqlo and button-down shirts with the sleeves cuffed the Jenna Lyons way, along with – my new favourite accessory – a Celine Cabas tote.

What are your spring essentials? Any new/old favourites?

Food Fashion Love.

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During the blur that was my early-mid twenties, I went through two or three summers wearing nothing but Fleur Wood maxi dresses (spurred on by my close girlfriends – you know who you are! And I still have photo evidence!). It was so easy, so clean, and so chic without really having to try. And back then, no one did floral maxis, ballet-inspired cocktail dresses, or Miu Miu-esque eyelets as beckoning as Fleur.

So needless to say, I was so happy to be graciously sent an advance copy of Fleur Wood’s beautiful and whimsical new book, Food Fashion Love whilst I was away.

With each page thoughtfully devoted to Fleur’s love of glitter and old lace, heritage and food with soul, love-heart lockets and picnics in the English countryside; the book is something I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of over the coming months for a much-needed inspiration boost. I love starting my weekends with a spark of creativity.

Heart it races.

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Wearing COS dress, Daniel Wellington watch, and Porselli ballerina flats.

A super quick update today, before the notoriously sketchy French hotel wifi gives way. The fading Helsinkian light was too lovely not to capture last week, in a COS dress that I bought in Berlin.

Europe has been all 8:30pm peachy sunsets, bundling up in scarves and coats (though Dijon has been pleasantly summery) and surprisingly above-average coffee (more on this later) and – less pleasantly – waking up at 6am my time to work (for 12 noon, your time). For all the fun and games, though, you can keep up with the rest of my travels here. Hoping to have a slew of Parisian posts lined up for when we arrive back into the city from Dijon on Wednesday!

Photographs by Jamie.

In love and war.

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Right before this photo was taken, my husband and I sat on the edge of the jetty for almost an hour waiting for the sun to start making its way towards the horizon. It’s a photographer’s curse – there’s either too much light, or not enough of it.

In any case, now that we’ve all officially heralded the start of spring (in the southern hemisphere, at least) here’s a closer look at one of my favourite looks from my latest Spy Style post for Vogue Australia. Alex Perry has me at lace on lace this summer. Here’s the full post in case you missed it.

Speaking of, my husband and I are saying goodbye to Helsinki and hello to Paris tomorrow, specifically to work on a beautiful project with Vogue and Cartier. With my husband behind the lens and me taking care of everything else as is always the case (hair/makeup/wardrobe/creative direction/excessive pedantries) I can already sense the tension (let’s just say Jamie and I love/but probably mostly hate working with each other) but am quietly hopeful everything will be just fine. Can’t wait to share this pinch-me moment with you all!

So much to tell you.

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We’re off exploring Tallin, Estonia today (the land of Skype and Eurovision contests! Plus, it’s only a wonderfully two hour ferry trip from Helsinki!) but if you’re interested in reading an interview on me, I’m featured on The Cut this month, after spending some time in Melbourne recently with the gorgeous Farage team. My Q&A covers careers (specifically marketing and blogging – and how they’re interrelated), and the inspiration behind the name of my blog – it’s a question I seem to always get asked!

The feature’s here and this perfectly cut shirtdress I’m wearing above can be found here.

Photographs by Jamie Lau at The Olsen, South Yarra.

Vogue Spy Style: Spring Summer ’15.

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Even though Jamie and I went to hell and back to get the perfect photos on the perfect day with the most perfect weather (we shot a couple of the photos at 6am on the day we were due to fly out to Europe because it had rained all week), my latest Spy Style for Vogue Australia is without a doubt my favourite post to date.

I was lucky enough to team up with Myer this season to style and shoot my favourite trends for spring summer 2015. My can’t-live-without-pieces? The divine jewel-toned jacket by Ellery and Aurelio Costarella’s ostrich feather cami. A dramatic tulle maxi skirt is also hard to beat!

See the entire post over at Vogue.com.au.

Melbourne in a day with Farage.

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How does one ought to spend 36 hours in a city that boasts the best coffee (and cafes with the most Instagram handles) in the world?

This is how: hand-dipped doughnuts for breakfast, raspberry Ispahans for lunch, and popcorn macarons for dinner.

After all, when in Rome…or in this case, the capital of coffee supremacy, Melbourne.

I love this city. Heck, I was ready to pack my bags if it wasn’t for this guy I had just met (who, erm, also happened to take these photos). But it’s the grey sky on a good day, the electricity in the air down Flinders Lane. The pour over and the stirring of a Synesso on any given streetcornered cafe; and the places and spaces in all their white-washed glory. It’s the appreciation and celebration of which – according to Market Lane – making coffee for the city that loves drinking it. It’s this paying-it-forward that kind of makes me want to wear my heart on my sleeve, too. Above everything else, it’s the doing what you love and only what you love, that speaks to me now, more than ever.

Meeting the wonderfully inspiring and uplifting team at Farage during the time I spent in Melbourne last week made me realise how staying true to yourself teaches us something about survival. And aside from the two things that struck the world for me (the very fact that the incredibly lovely and down-to-earth Joe & Katy have been in the business for a remarkable 17 years and Farage have never been stronger; and that all the beautifully crafted clothes are still made right here in Melbourne) that maybe it’s not always about charisma, but instinct. Honesty. Trusting yourself. And being okay with making mistakes. As I got back on the plane en route to home, it gave me so much food for thought.

Speaking of, I wasn’t about to come home without my take on tuxedos (men’s silk bow tie essential) as well as my mini-guide to Melbourne’s best sweets, best coffee, best brunches, best everything. Next time, I shall be bringing friends.

Bon appétit!

Sweet Tooth?

LuxBite | 38 Toorak Rd, South Yarra | @luxbite

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio | 647 Chapel St, South Yarra | @burchpurchese

Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier | Claremont St, South Yarra | @ilovezumbo (the popcorn Zumbarons!)

Doughboys Doughnuts | Mercat Cross Hotel, 456 Queen St, Melbourne | @doughboysdoughnuts

Chez Dre | Rear of 285-287 Coventry St, South Melbourne |  @chezdrecafe

Gelato Messina | 237 Smith St, Fitzroy | @gelatomessina 

 

Notable Coffee

Market Lane | 109-111 Therry St, Melbourne | @marketlane

The League of Honest Coffee | 8 Exploration Lane, Melbourne | @LeagueofHonest

Bluebird Expresso | 134 Johnston St, Collingwood | @Bluebird3066

Proud Mary | 172 Oxford St, Collingwood | @proudmarycoffee

Industry Beans | 3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy | @industrybeans

Barry | 85 High St, Northcote | @barrycoffeeandfood

 

And if you have more than a day…

Tall Timber | 60 Commercial Rd, Prahran | @tall_timber

Top Paddock | 658 Church St, Richmond | @toppaddock (the pancakes!)

The Kettle Black | 50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne | @kettleblackcafe

Hammer and Tong | Rear 412 Brunswick st, Fitzroy | @hammerandtong

The Grain Store | 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne | @GrainStore517

Supernormal | 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne | @supernormal_180 (the lobster rolls, the white cut chicken, everything, really.)

 

Photographs by Michelle & Jamie Lau. Creative Direction & Styling by Michelle. 

I’m wearing the Scarlet tuxedo, men’s silk bow tie, Monica silk shirt and the Goldie soft pink trouser from the upcoming Farage SS14/15 collection.

Thank you Farage, Emily/WM Media & The Olsen.

Falling in love falling apart.

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The year of falling: Falling in love and falling apart. Of living earnestly and honestly in sun-dappled everything. The year of letting it flow through me like rain, like honey. Like nothing. The year of memories stored in biscuit tins, office cubicles, and happily ever afters in the half-tones of day. Waiting for the toast to pop as I draw the curtains and throw the covers off. The year of leaving it all behind. Of taking a left turn. Setting my life on fire. And seeking those to fan my flames. The year of letting in pain more than the light. Because if there is one thing my 20s have taught me; it is suffering which gives us the most valuable lessons. The year I discovered I wanted it more than I was afraid of it. Being so content I could cry. Of smiling at people I’ve never spoken to. Coffee with those I’ve never known. Taking the road less travelled. The year of making peace with myself, right here, right now. The year of running ’til we see the sun.

Thank you Natasja. I love them all.

Waking up slow.

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Some things are worth waking up for. For me, it’s cream cheese on toasted bagels and sunlight on the window pane.

Actually, you know what’s making me really happy right now? The very fact that today, I was able to shut the laptop, sit on the couch and spend thirty minutes catching up on celebrity gossip (well played, Marlon & Delta. Also, will Jay Z and Beyonce make it to Paris unscathed?). 

The only other thing that’s bringing a little joy in my life is Country Road’s Spend & Save, which starts today. I’ve got my eye on some silk shorts from the new spring arrivals as well as some homewares. The S&S ends Aug 24th, which also happens to be closing date for the #COUNTRYROADSTYLE competition (remember to tag your CR outfits, homewares and flat lays #countryroadstyle when sharing to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win a $1000 CR gift card – enter as many times as you like).

The Tapas Bread Plate (above) has had no chance to gather dust in my cupboard, even if I came home with it in, erm, three different colours.

A little something something.

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Whilst preparing to post some pretty cool content this week (think Paris travel guides…) I also thought it was time to find wonderful new homes for some of my designer bags that unfortunately rarely see the light of day anymore.

My pale sky blue Celine Trio, Alexander Wang Emile, YSL BDJ clutch, some Valentino Rockstud and old-school Balenciaga are now the newest and probably chic-est ever additions to my Tictail store, all from my personal closet.

You can discover it all for yourself HERE.

P.S. I’m also offering FREE express post (within Australia) on all handbag purchases made within the next 24 hours and gladly accept PayPal.

Spearmint Dreams.

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I’ve been spending the sunny weekend in mint coats, oversized shirts and bare legs, whilst also adding a plethora of new items to my Tictail store.

A bit of Lover, a lot of Acne, some chambray, winter coats and knits, as well as some of my denim favourites by Scanlan & Theodore & Saba are now live on aminuteawayfromsnowing.tictail.com. Would love for you to check it out and perhaps even snaffle up a bargain or two!

In the meantime, here’s a small preview of an upcoming post. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking of my spring wardrobe!

Style File: The Black Pants

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Whilst thinking about what to pack in my suitcase for next month’s Europe trip that has quickly crept up on me, it occurred to me that the one thing I never get on a plane without is a pair of go-to black pants.

I unashamedly own about a dozen black pants in all sorts of sizes, cuts and for all occasions and are invariably the first things I reach for when I’m having one of those ‘I have nothing to wear’ days. Tasked with quickly putting together an outfit in the morning, I almost always end up with a black pants, striped shirt or sweater, and leather lace-up oxfords (or ballerina flats) combination.

With the Matches sale in full swing, I thought I’d do the hard work for you and pull together my pick of the bunch – from Isabel Marant sweatpants (I own a pair and they’re seriously good) and quirky 3.1 Phillip Lim ankle-grazers, to high-waisted relaxed pants (I love wearing a billowy silk shirt with them) and finally to the infallible cigarette/matchstick trousers that have seen me through god knows how many years on office rotation. Wardrobe essentials and staples like these are always worth investing in, but I tend to wait until sale season starts to really get my money’s worth.

1. 3.1 Phillip Lim Polka-dot silk-cotton cropped trousers

2. Acne Studios wool-blend Karma tailored trousers

3. Isabel Marant Étoile Kiana cotton sweatpants

4. Lover high-rise tailored trousers

5. Sportmax tapered tailored trousers

I can also always rely on ASOS for decent quality and well-cut black pants for work, that’ll still give me loose change for my morning coffee! These are a few of my favourites:

Clean Peg Pants | Tailored Pants with High-Waist (or buy two and save) | Slouch hammered crepe peg trousers 

Meet Maria.

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Everyone, meet Maria Van Nguyen, an Oslo-born Parsons student and Acne sales assistant. For years, she’s been unknowingly doing the rounds on my tumblr dashboard and it wasn’t until last night that I finally stumbled across her blog. And it was love.

As an aspiring fashion designer with an unwavering minimalistic personal style and weakness for all things Jil Sander, her post on Wardrobe Checklists and T-Shirts struck a chord with me, and I’m certain it will for some of you, too, so I thought I’d share.

She’s the kind of girl that makes you roll out of bed with a certain dishevelled-ness, fling the doors of your closet wide open, and ask yourself, what would Maria do?

60,000 + counting.

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Country Road lip print silk wrap shirt and snap-through midi skirt, Chanel handbag, Christian Louboutin nude patent Décolleté pumps, Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses.

It’s been almost ten years since I first stepped foot into a Country Road store.

It was 2005 and I was a freshly baked graduate. It was also two years into Sophie Holt’s tenure, and the only reason I remember that is because I wrote a 40 page thesis on Country Road’s brand rejuvenation for my third year marketing unit.

As I stood at the counter, I remember buying a black skirtsuit, because that’s what all grads did and wore back then for their first-ever cubicle jobs. It was made of Italian wool, not to mention the most fanciest and expensive thing I had ever bought for myself. But it always made me feel like a million bucks whenever I wore it. Back then, buying a suit made all of us feel extra-important; I was one of many who graduated without a job lined up but my skirtsuit was this beacon of hope and a wistful token of success; symbolising a dream that we’d all grow up, go to work and live happily ever after. My suit saw me through my first ever job interview, the subsequent rejection (the first one is always the worst, but I still remember it as clear as day), and then the next six years of job interview after job interview.

So with nearly a decade of Country Road clothing sitting in my wardrobe, and as a passionate supporter of minimising my contribution to landfill by donating/re-selling my clothes, I’m excited to be teaming up with Country Road this year; throwing my support behind their annual Donate Clothes to Win campaign.

Starting today until this Saturday 5th July, the campaign is calling on all of us, with a CR obsession as perilous as mine, to clear out our wardrobes and drop any Country Road clothes that don’t see the light of day anymore into a local Red Cross store. In doing so, you’ll go into the draw to win a $100 Country Road gift card, with five lucky winners drawn each day. The more Country Road pieces donated, the greater the chance to win (more info can be found here).

From those shoestring longline camisole dresses circa 2008 (my long-time readers and fellow mystylediarists – remember those?) to some of my more corporate pieces that stand no chance next to my current uniform of yoga clothes and tracksuits; I’ve dug them all out to contribute to the 60,000 (and counting) items of Country Road clothing already saved from landfill since the program began in 2010.

In its place, I’m making room for lip prints and midi skirts, which (yes, I’ve already decided, whilst wearing three pairs of socks on my feet and shivering in my igloo of a house) will be on high rotation come spring. I had been eyeing the blouse for the longest time and like my Charlotte Olympia flats, its quirkiness has quickly grown on me. I love that I can pair it with a pair of black cigarette trousers or loosely tucked into a relaxed white skirt – two outfits that will work perfectly for the skirtsuited office job I’ll return to someday.

Photographs by Jamie and Michelle.

How to: shop for work basics.

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Get the look: Acne Studios black blazer, Acne Studios Patti cotton shirt, Isabel Marant black trousers, Acne Studios knitted sweater, Church’s leather Chelsea boots.

Following on from yesterday, I thought I’d put together a more in-depth glimpse into the whys and hows behind my own work wardrobe.

As you can tell, I’ve always placed a pretty big emphasis on ‘investment dressing’ for work, simply because getting the foundation right – regardless of whether you’re building a house or a work wardrobe – will give you a firm footing, unassailable structure, and clear focus to build something that will withstand the test of time. 

The blazer

I have one in navy, one in classic black, and one in anthracite because I’m not one for the pantsuit look and the dark grey seems to do a great job at  breaking up the monotony. Slim sleeves and a relaxed body is my preferred silhouette and I always reach for blazers with a structured shoulder and good lapel – those, to me, are the foundations of a great blazer. I also prefer longline blazers (a hip-grazing length or slightly longer) as I find these to be much more flattering and versatile.

The classic button-down shirt

I prefer mine with a large, pointed collar and slightly oversized through the body. I avoid viscose like the plague (creases!) so I opt for cotton poplin or linen, and wear it buttoned to the collar, most of the time. White and pale blue wins every time.

The pants

Heavy wool for winter, always. I’m drawn to pants with belt loops and think those that sit on the hip are as indispensable as pants that cut high on the waist (I love a good tucked-in shirt with a blazer and brogues look). Also, try cuffing the hem of your pants to above the ankle rather than at the ankle – it gives a completely different look and feel to the outfit!

The sweater

It’s hard to go past a good turtleneck, but a generous round-neck allows you to layer a button-down shirt underneath with the pointed collar peeking out. I always gravitate towards natural fibres (soft brushed cotton, merino, or cashmere). Throw a blazer over it and the humble sweater looks instantly dressed up. It’s my favourite winter trick in the sartorial book.

The shoes

Cold feet always makes me so unproductive. Polished ankle boots are something I tend to reach for on cold mornings. Flat Chelsea boots are always worn with a hint of ankle showing whilst my heeled leather pointed boots elevate my statement skirt and sweater combo to new heights. An almond toe or pointed toe boot is always more flattering and professional looking.

Like building a house, putting together a wardrobe of clever, investment pieces is the most expensive and most critical part of the process. But, like a good foundation for your face, starting with a flawless canvas (that you probably wear every day) allows you to mix it up with less expensive items that you may not use every day (for me in terms of make-up, it’s eyeliners and for the wardrobe, it’s the seasonal, trend-driven pieces).

And planning a wardrobe is much like everything else in life: focus on the things that matter the most, and know when to scrimp on the things that don’t.

Shop the classics.

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For those of you who are in a shopping-in-my-pjs kind of mood today, I’ve added a few new items to my online store. There’s a bit of Acne, a dash of Helmut, my striped ASOS coat (yes, that one) and this COS black blazer I’m wearing above). All wardrobe classics that will see you through many winters to come.

Shop here.

Spy Style: Cotton Candy

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It was written in the sartorial stars as soon as Carven and Rochas (and most recently, Burberry Prorsum) sent a flurry of cotton candy coats down the runway. If my (and most likely, your) Instagram feed is anything to go by this season, pastel coats are certainly having their fun in the (winter) sun.

My latest post for Vogue.com.au this month is an ode to the pastel coat – and how to wear one without looking like you’ve just emerged from a fairy floss machine.

And keep an eye out for my next Spy Style post, particularly if you’re travel-minded!

Let there be light.

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I’ve always shied away from photographing the inside of my home too much; simply because it’s always been a work in progress but mostly because it’s a two-bedroom that looks like it’s half falling down from the outside. It’s hard to feel inspired, because of it, but we’re planning to move out in (hopefully) a years’ time to a home we’re currently designing and building just around the corner.

But to our current – temporary – situation: it’s not conventionally perfect and it’s not the home of my dreams. It’s hard to become emotionally attached to something that I know won’t have my heart forever. I’m also not the most fastidious and eager home decorator (due to lack of space, funds and inspiration) but I must admit, I like the simplicity, the imperfection and the sparseness of my home. The bedroom is one of my favourite spaces – it’s all mismatched IKEA bed linen, unmade beds, wrinkly doonas, hand-me-down furniture, pillows that don’t match, a gigantic print I don’t have space for… but the light. Oh, the light. I’ve always believed the best thing you can buy for your home is an abundance of light.

Because on days like these, with paperbacks and coffee stacked up on either side of me, and with the light streaming in, it’s the best seat in the house.

The road less travelled.

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Monday sleep-ins are such a rare commodity. Fortunately I’ll be getting to do just that tomorrow morning, as it’s a long weekend for us here in Perth. Still, it amazes me how quickly Sunday rolls around – never mind half the year that has already flown by.

I’ve spent nearly the entire weekend flicking through Cereal’s travel pages and booking flights, train tickets and hotels with my mother in-law’s famed baklava to keep me in high spirits. Close friends of ours live in Germany, so my husband and I are taking a couple of weeks off at the end of August to see them live happily ever after in the heart of Europe.

Having never been to Germany before, we’ll be spending some time in Berlin, as well as extending our travels through to Paris and Helsinki – the latter of which I can’t wait to start planning for. Finland’s the kind of place people ask why we’d even bother visiting, but that’s it, isn’t it?

Because it’s always when we take the road less travelled that memories seem to linger in our minds so much longer upon returning home.

The Little Things.

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There’s something so easy, so uncomplicated about the humble zippered pouch.

There’s no fumbling with tiny credit card slots, no messing around with a multitude of compartments. Mine quadruple-duties as a purse, a travel wallet, a cosmetic pouch, and a clutch for a quick nip to the coffee shop in the morning.

Most of all, I love that they’re a homage to every day essentials; enticing you to carry nothing more and nothing less.

It may be Benah’s influence, but zip pouches are slowly replacing the need for my old-fashioned continental wallet. That latter seems too hard, too cumbersome.

And simplicity and straightforwardness is always appealing.

Photograph by me.

A New Attitude.

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I’ve been inspired by a few good women lately: Barbara Casasola, Chloe Sippe, Talia Shuvalov… for the simple fact that their personal style is (almost) as anonymous as they are.

For the most part, I admire them for the way they are completely okay with wearing essentially the same thing every day to work: an unassuming uniform of t-shirts and sweaters; blazers and ankle boots. There is honestly something so appealing about pinpointing and distilling your personal style to such a degree that makes you feel so comfortably at ease with never really wanting to wear something better or something different from yesterday.

For whatever reason, getting dressed for work has taken me more time and energy than necessary lately. I have approximately 10 minutes each morning to find something to wear for the day, which sounds like ample time if 1. I wasn’t getting dressed in the dark (so as not to wake my husband who leaves later than I do) and 2. If my style wasn’t so damn schizophrenic.

I’ve always loved to wear something different every day – not because I worry about what other people think – but mostly because new-ness and variation always, unfailingly, puts me in a better mood. Some days are better than others – though never consecutively. And interestingly, I’ve noted that the sartorial stars seem to unfailingly align on a Monday, probably because I’ve had the weekend to recharge my batteries.

Turning 30 has also led to a subtle and subconscious shift in my style; gently encouraging me to enter the next decade of my life dressed like a proper grown-up (whatever that means/entails). I suppose the desire to live simply and without drama or clutter in my life, is probably a better way to describe it.

So, over the past couple of weeks, I took the opportunity to re-organise the contents of my wardrobe and make a mental wishlist of what would form part of my perfect, every day ‘uniform’:

everyday

Isabel Marant Etoile linen t-shirts in white and black, and Bassike men’s boxy cotton tees

Two such distinct styles, but it means I have my bases covered; I generally prefer a crew neckline, longer sleeves and the way organic cotton/linen drapes, but I’d also like the option of a t-shirt with a lower scoop neckline and slim sleeves.

Merino wool sweaters

Country Road makes the best ones, especially if we’re talking mens’ section. I buy them in an XS (the sleeves are a tad long, but the rest of it is a perfect, slouchy fit) and have taken to wearing these with my leather trousers or over a dressy, statement skirt to see me through the transition to winter. I’ve found black and grey marle to be the most versatile colours for work. I’d also love to eventually get my hands on Uniqlo cashmere as an equally comfortable and well-cut alternative. I’m currently living in their cashmere cardigans around the house and I’ve found the quality to be excellent.

The black blazer

I’ve found that the ever-present search for the black blazer requires a bit more time and financial investment than the rest. The one I’ve always had a keen eye on is Lover’s Infinity Tuxedo black blazer, which has also proven to be the most elusive (trust me, I’ve been stalking eBay for a year to no avail). In the interim, my Dion Lee black silk crepe cape blazer is proving indispensable, as is a slightly oversized Isabel Marant anthracite blazer which I recently purchased for a steal from The Outnet. My main objective is to gradually but ultimately ‘upgrade’ from my chain-store mainstays (that are generally inferior in cut, fabric and quality) to pieces that are more refined (i.e. made from wool, not polyester/viscose) and, of course, exceptionally well-cut.

Acne Studios black denim 

After months of ‘research’, I’ve narrowed it down to the Flex and Pin 5. I’ve been hooked on Acne denim ever since making my first purchase from Matches earlier this year (the Needle in the Rocca wash). I’ve always shied away from denim for the simple fact that I’ve never found a pair comfortable enough, but the 92% cotton, 5% polyester, 2% elastane fabric composition is such a dream to wear.

Leather skinny/slim cut trousers

I swear by J Brand – the buttery lambskin is second-skin soft and never stretches out of shape. The initial outlay was heinous, of course, but I wear these almost every second/third day so thankfully it’s been money well spent. Given the creative nature of my job, I’ve been lucky to get away with wearing these to work – simply adding a black blazer or a silk shirt to make it a little more office-appropriate.

Cigarette trousers

For as long as I can remember, matchstick/cigarette cut pants have always been the hardest working items in my wardrobe. I recently purchased a pair of Acne black ankle-grazing trousers to serve as an ‘upgrade’ from the Forever New Erin trousers I’ve worn (and loved) to death. For me, it has always been about investing in a quality fabric with a certain heft to it (such as wool). I find better quality fabrics also leave less creases when sitting (such as around the back of the knees).

Statement skirts

My pencil skirts have taken a back seat ever since I started my new job as I find them slightly too austere for my liking – and for the role I’m in. For days when I’m seeking variety from pants, the statement skirt seems to pull through. I’ve been mostly wearing my Lover Rosebud lace black skirt to the office, anchoring it with aforementioned sweaters and longline blazers. Dressing down a fancy skirt has long been one of those tricks up my sleeve that’s never failed me. My Apiece Apart calf-length ‘Drea’ skirt is also keeping the Lover Rosebud in good company; I love teaming this skirt with an oversized knit and ballet flats on lazy days.

Church’s Chelsea polished brogue boots

They’re hard to come by, but deciding what colour to invest in is proving to be much more difficult! Smokestudded, or oxblood? I’ve been wearing my Chloe studded ankle boots and Isabel Marant Dickers to the office, but have been thinking about investing in a more understated, inconspicuous pair of boots to see me through the next few months.

Based on the above list, there are still a few gaps to fill. Such items – like the Chelsea boots and denim – will be gradually added to my every day repertoire when I’ve saved up enough to afford them or once I’ve had the opportunity to try them on.

No matter how foolproof my plan is, though, I’ve still got such a long way to go in terms of shifting that always-wanting-to-wear-something-new mindset. I’ve gotten into the ruinous habit of buying something new each week and my husband was suitably horrified when he found out. So something’s gotta give. And admittance’s the first step to recovery, so they say.

Home.

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It was grey and sullen last Sunday so I took the opportunity to shoot some still-life whilst the light was still decent. After all, cloudy, rainy days are unfailingly best spent like this:

White t-shirts and lived-in denim, bobby pins precariously hitching a tousled bun in place, nails to be painted a fairy floss pink, Sigur Rós on loop, and tea in one hand with a camera in the other.

I’m wistfully wishing all mornings ran along similar lines like these.

Photographs by me.

Morning Situation.

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You and I both know that I would ordinarily put hundreds of dollars towards a pair of shoes, so it even surprises me that these Bang & Olufsen headphones were one of the most treasured purchases I made in Japan.

I wanted something to get me comfortably through the long flight back to Perth, so I took the plunge and picked up these headphones on my last day from the monstrously huge Bic Camera store in downtown Tokyo. I deliberated for the longest time (I’m talking weeks here, haha) whether to opt for the tan leather or give into timeless, classic black (like I always do).

In the end, I decided to live life on the edge with the tan. The buttery soft lambskin (and, um, the sound quality…of course) ultimately won me over. They’re so practical too; for long-haul flights (I happily and comfortably wore this for 8 hours on the plane) and long, languid walks on the beach.