Five Dollars for the Memory

This is my challenge this year: to spend no more than $100 on each item of clothing I purchase, while still looking like an epic babe.

Enjoying some gelato colours as Melbourne (finally) warms up. I was off to drinks for a darling friend’s birthday. So nice to brighten up my habitual grey and black!

Black coated jegging (Country Road, $99), grey t-shirt (Dotti, $19.95), mint blazer (Forever New, old), coral purse (Kmart, $10) & taupe flats (Joanne Mercer, old).

Advanced Style: Why I Will Wear Purple

I was just checking out Advanced Style today, Ari Seth Cohen’s blog depicting some very fashionable older women. It made me long to be one of these women when I’m older; they’re artists, and their wardrobes are their carefully curated collections. 

I particularly loved this quote from one of the women photographed

 "…Fashion today is all about ‘me, too; me, too.’ Style says ‘only me.’”

I love how these women dress for themselves alone. I wonder if that freedom from other people’s expectations and standards comes with age, or if these women have always been brave enough to trust their own vision. 

The other thing I love that’s consistent in the blog is the attention to detail that the women have. Hats, gloves, shoes, bags, accessories - they’ve thought of it all. It’s something my generation is losing a bit I think, and while I appreciate that no one expects me to wear lipstick while buying milk, I miss the attention to detail.

Anyway, it inspired me to take more risks and be more authentic. I hope that inspiration lasts. In the meantime, check out the awesome blog.

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(Photo: Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style)

Hi guys! Gosh it’s been a long time since my last post. Life gets stupidly busy and then you make excuses, yada yada yada - the point is, I’ve been wearing clothes for months and not telling the internet about it. Unforgivable.

Here are some photos from a sunny day. We don’t have too many of those in Melbourne, so it was lucky that Claire Wolfe was there to take some beautiful photos. Claire said that this outfit reminded her of an old fashioned cheerleader, with the stripes and athletic grey, and there is something really 50s and sporty about it. 

I bought this fantastic t-shirt on my trip to England from a boutique in Manchester for 10 quid. I love how it fits around the shoulders, and it’s delightfully baggy over skinny black jeans too. This outfit for me shows how you can experiment with combinations in your own wardrobe. I pretend to be my own stylist just by taking half an hour to mash a few pieces together. It might be a disaster, but it might be fun too. 

'Hero' t-shirt (boutique in Manchester, £10) and striped skit (Zara UK, £20). 

Claire Wolfe and I shot these photos before I gallivanted off to England. I have to say, there’s a reason that everyone and their mother has started acquiring chambray shirts - they’re amazing. Like denim, they’re relaxed but go with everything. I hunted for a long time for one I was happy with and found it in an unlikely place. It’s rarely left my back since!

Chambray shirt (Jay Jays, $29.95), leopard shoes (Zu, on sale) and leggings (Lorna Jane, old). 

I’m currently on holiday in England so it will be a few weeks before I post again. Don’t worry, I am shopping up a storm! Currently in Manchester and delighted to see so much independent, local and sustainable fashion. Here’s a few snaps for you!

I’m currently on holiday in England so it will be a few weeks before I post again. Don’t worry, I am shopping up a storm! Currently in Manchester and delighted to see so much independent, local and sustainable fashion. Here’s a few snaps for you!

What a lovely cold and sunny day at Southbank with Claire Wolfe! Melbourne is so pretty. Eighteen months on and I’m not over it.  

I was wearing my uniform - grey jumper/t-shirt, black skirt/jeans and a statement necklace. I don’t know why, but I’m always drawn to that theme. Something about utilitarian grey and colourful jewellery, the contrast between not-trying-too-hard and trying-so-hard. Somehow that feels just right in this city.

Grey wool jumper (Big W, $19), PVC skirt (Dotti, $49.95), necklace (Sportsgirl, old), bracelet (Design Studio, old), Vans Lace Up Trainers (ASOS, $74.90) and satchel (Princess Highway, $50 on sale). 

Most of the time on this blog, I show you what I wear on my weekends. But I had a request to show you what I wear to work. My profession has a pretty conservative dress code so I have to be creative. In my opinion, the best way to express yourself and still be office appropriate is to keep the outfit low key and play with accessories. 

Here I’m wearing what I like to call the “little black column”. I often wear a black skirt and black top and put a fun cardigan or jacket over it, or even a scarf worn as a shawl, to keep warm in the office air-conditioning. If you stick to a few neutral pieces as the basis of your office wardrobe, you get to spice it up with all your statement necklaces and earrings that double for the weekend.

Lovely photos courtesy of Claire Wolfe Photography.

Black wool top (Witchery, old), black pencil skirt (Zara, $45.95), shawl (Witchery, old) and glasses (Dolce & Gabbana). 

THE FIVE DOLLARS GUIDE TO HIGH STREET SHOPPING
If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll realise that my aim for this year has been to spend no more than $100 on any item of clothing (or shoes or accessories for that matter). So where do I source my less expensive clothes? And what tips do I use to sort through the cheap clothes to find the gems?
Obviously op shops and craft markets are great places to pick up one-of-a-kind items. I’m incredibly lucky to live in a city that has both those things, and I can certainly provide my recommendations to anyone in the Melbourne area who is interested. But I also buy a lot from chain stores because the clothes are inexpensive and on trend, not to mention easily available. So here are my favourites of the high street brands that deliver value for money.
1)      COTTON ON
Admittedly, some of their stuff is not great quality. But I love the jeans, they have some really cute knits for winter, and the sunglasses are ridiculously cheap. Take a discerning approach with Cotton On – don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. Feel out the fabric, try it on, and don’t be disappointed if you only get one season out of it.
PROS: On trend, affordable, accessible.
CONS: Sometimes of questionable quality.
2)      ASOS
The giant online retailer dominates for a reason. It’s affordable, ships to Australia for free, and I find that the sizing is some of the most consistent for online stores. I love that you can watch videos of the clothes coming down the runway. Always use that function, it tells you so much about how the fabric moves and will sit on you, which makes online buying much easier.
PROS: Offers local returns in Australia. If it doesn’t fit, you send it back to a NSW address, not the UK.
CONS: The website is huge and can be overwhelming. Either stick to searching for specific items or check out the “New In” section regularly, rather than trying to wade through the back catalogue.
3)      COUNTRY ROAD
So this isn’t a dirt cheap brand. But the loyalty programme is the best I’ve joined. You can get bargains and “spend and save” offers that make good quality basics more affordable. I love the waxed jeggings and the pure wool cardigans, especially for travelling.
PROS: Excellent loyalty offers and good quality basics.
CONS: An older customer base means a lot of longer hemlines and sizing that runs very large.
4)      BIG W
OK, hear me out on this one. The Big W ‘fashion’ brand, Emerson, was introduced to the store to be more trendy and frankly it’s worked. I wear a lot of the stuff on this site and for good reason.
PROS: Ridiculously cheap. So cheap.
CONS: Quality varies wildly. Be discerning.
5)      MARCS
Another more expensive brand, with absolutely gorgeous clothes that suit my more preppy moments perfectly. But given my $100 limit, I can barely afford a t-shirt there at the moment. Luckily, the online store has great sales. Seriously, if you love something at Marcs, try it on and then cross your fingers that it goes on sale in your size. I’m not talking 80% off here, but a $300 dress can certainly come down to a more palatable $150-$200.
PROS: Good quality fabrics in fun colours and great cuts.
CONS: At the more expensive end of my budget.

Next week, I’ll put up a blog about how to shop inexpensive clothes – what to look for in fabric and fit so that you don’t suffer buyer’s remorse. Look out for it!

THE FIVE DOLLARS GUIDE TO HIGH STREET SHOPPING

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll realise that my aim for this year has been to spend no more than $100 on any item of clothing (or shoes or accessories for that matter). So where do I source my less expensive clothes? And what tips do I use to sort through the cheap clothes to find the gems?

Obviously op shops and craft markets are great places to pick up one-of-a-kind items. I’m incredibly lucky to live in a city that has both those things, and I can certainly provide my recommendations to anyone in the Melbourne area who is interested. But I also buy a lot from chain stores because the clothes are inexpensive and on trend, not to mention easily available. So here are my favourites of the high street brands that deliver value for money.

1)      COTTON ON

Admittedly, some of their stuff is not great quality. But I love the jeans, they have some really cute knits for winter, and the sunglasses are ridiculously cheap. Take a discerning approach with Cotton On – don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. Feel out the fabric, try it on, and don’t be disappointed if you only get one season out of it.

PROS: On trend, affordable, accessible.

CONS: Sometimes of questionable quality.

2)      ASOS

The giant online retailer dominates for a reason. It’s affordable, ships to Australia for free, and I find that the sizing is some of the most consistent for online stores. I love that you can watch videos of the clothes coming down the runway. Always use that function, it tells you so much about how the fabric moves and will sit on you, which makes online buying much easier.

PROS: Offers local returns in Australia. If it doesn’t fit, you send it back to a NSW address, not the UK.

CONS: The website is huge and can be overwhelming. Either stick to searching for specific items or check out the “New In” section regularly, rather than trying to wade through the back catalogue.

3)      COUNTRY ROAD

So this isn’t a dirt cheap brand. But the loyalty programme is the best I’ve joined. You can get bargains and “spend and save” offers that make good quality basics more affordable. I love the waxed jeggings and the pure wool cardigans, especially for travelling.

PROS: Excellent loyalty offers and good quality basics.

CONS: An older customer base means a lot of longer hemlines and sizing that runs very large.

4)      BIG W

OK, hear me out on this one. The Big W ‘fashion’ brand, Emerson, was introduced to the store to be more trendy and frankly it’s worked. I wear a lot of the stuff on this site and for good reason.

PROS: Ridiculously cheap. So cheap.

CONS: Quality varies wildly. Be discerning.

5)      MARCS

Another more expensive brand, with absolutely gorgeous clothes that suit my more preppy moments perfectly. But given my $100 limit, I can barely afford a t-shirt there at the moment. Luckily, the online store has great sales. Seriously, if you love something at Marcs, try it on and then cross your fingers that it goes on sale in your size. I’m not talking 80% off here, but a $300 dress can certainly come down to a more palatable $150-$200.

PROS: Good quality fabrics in fun colours and great cuts.

CONS: At the more expensive end of my budget.

Next week, I’ll put up a blog about how to shop inexpensive clothes – what to look for in fabric and fit so that you don’t suffer buyer’s remorse. Look out for it!

Here’s the thing - I’m a Queensland girl, which means that I’m used to humid summers and sunny winters. I didn’t own an overcoat until I was 18, and I still don’t understand the concept of it being cold but also raining. I moved to Melbourne almost 18 months ago and, once my whining about the cold began in earnest, people would nod at me wisely and say mysteriously, “layers”. 

I had no idea what they were talking about. In Queensland, layers mean you put on a cardigan that you’ll discard by lunchtime. Slowly, I’m getting used to the idea of “layers”, because it really is dynamite. You want to get some tights, leggings and thin wool or cotton shirts that you’ll pop under everything in your wardrobe. You should incorporate pure wool cardigans (natural fabrics breathe) and you’ll top everything with a scarf. 

That’s what I did with this cute 60s looking dress from ASOS. It’s actually sleeveless but is perfect for autumn because it layers so well. I could easily wear a coat over this, or ditch the tights if it warmed up. So versatile! 

Photography by Claire Wolfe Photography and makeup by Allen Gyan - you can find them both on Facebook. 

Colour block dress (ASOS, $76.54), black thermal (Big W, old), vintage ring (Paddington Antique Markets in Brisbane) and black boots (Rubi, $39.95). 

A longer post with Claire Wolfe Photography is coming later this week, but in the meantime I’m feeling Parisian in my stripes and glasses. And yet I’m eating Italian food. What can I say, I’m not good at geography!

Striped top (Cotton On, $10) and glasses (Dolce & Gabbana).

A longer post with Claire Wolfe Photography is coming later this week, but in the meantime I’m feeling Parisian in my stripes and glasses. And yet I’m eating Italian food. What can I say, I’m not good at geography!

Striped top (Cotton On, $10) and glasses (Dolce & Gabbana).