Things I love Thursday

Heeeere’s Thursday!  I’m feeling so ready to leap into this week’s installment of Things I Love Thursday, so let’s just get right down to it.

This week I love:

– The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit.  I started watching this adorable program on Netflix and I’m addicted.  Kimmy is so wonderful and I wish I had a roommate like Tituss.  I’ve been humming the theme tune to myself ever since I started watching it.

– Surprise visits from my Mum and her dog.

– My new Doctor Frank N Furter tee shirt.  So fierce.

– Taking a sick day.  I feel so guilty whenever I take a day off work, even if I’m on death’s door.  But after one hour at my computer on Monday my head was throbbing and my sinuses were fit to explode.  So I decided to be a grown up and just take the day off.  I had a great rest and came back to the office on Tuesday with a clear head.

-Treating myself to pretty underthings.  I was in dire need of some new undies so I splashed out and bought some gorgeous handmade ones from Cherry Lingerie London.  I am so happy with them.  Not only are these knickers super cute, but they are gorgeous quality and so comfortable.

I chose a mixture of sexy and cute designs, and they are all outstanding. I will definitely be buying more from Cherry.

– Slippers at the end of a long day of work.

– Making time for blogging again.

– Home made spaghetti bolognaise.

– Getting a surprise parcel from my grandmother filled with vintage scarves.  There are some stunners among them and this Malta scarf is one of my favourites.  My ex-boyfriend’s grandmother was Maltese and she was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  She passed away years ago and I confess that I still miss her sometimes.  So it’s nice to have this scarf to wear in her honour when I’m missing her.

– Lighting the heater.

– Walking to work in the morning air, which is pleasantly chilly but not yet frightfully cold.

– Bidding a fond farewell to one of my most special friends, who is heading off for a year in the UK.  I’m going to miss his goofy face, but I’m so proud of him for leaping into this great adventure.

What do you love this week?

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Things I love Thursday 21/11/2013

It’s been two whole weeks since I’ve written a Things I Love Thursday post.  I’ve got so many things that I’m grateful for and so many things that are making me smile that I barely know where to begin!

This week, I love:

-Having my first house guest since I moved to my flat.

– Getting a surprise letter from my Nana’s best friend, filled with her memories of my Nan and stories from when the two of them were teenagers (boy, did they get up to some antics!)

DSCF9121-This beautiful necklace-holder.  It was a gift from Miss Fairchild and I just adore it.  I’ve been looking for a way to display my necklaces for a while now, and this is the perfect solution.

– Cold cream cleanser.  It might be the best thing I’ve ever used on my skin.

– Hot oil hair treatments.  My hair has never looked shinier or felt softer.

DSCF9122-Finding this fantastic pink pillbox hat in the Salvation Army store last weekend.  I’ve wanted one just like it for a while now, so I was very excited when I saw this.

– Dancing to Gangnam Style with my nearly-two-year-old cousin Abbey.  She’s got the most adorable dance moves.

– Baring my shoulders, which are (in my opinion) my sexiest body part.

DSCF9127– Watching Miss Jelly give herself a bath.

DSCF9123-Very special jewellery.  This ring is my Nan’s eternity ring.  She left this for me when she died.  It’s particularly special to me because my Nana always wore this ring, every single day.  When we would hold hands in church or in the car (Nan’s hands were always chilly, and she’d often take my hand to warm up) I would feel this ring biting into my hand.  She only removed it a week before she passed because she’d lost  a lot of weight and she was scared that it would slide off and she’d lose it.

DSCF9125Nana wore this ring for more than 35 years, so you can imagine how honored I am to have it now.  It’s a bit too big for me, so I’m planning on having it resized so that I can wear it.

DSCF9126Nan also left me this crucifix.  It was a gift from my grandfather on the last Christmas before he died.  Again, Nan always wore this, so it’s particularly special to me.  I’ve been wearing it quite a lot this past week.

– Peep Show starring Mitchell and Webb.  It took me a little while to get into this show, but now I’m totally hooked.  It’s awkward but hilarious.

– Finishing off a bunch of Christmas orders for my etsy store.  I love making something that I know is going to be unwrapped halfway across the world on Christmas morning.  It’s very exciting!

– Planning how I want to decorate my flat for Christmas.

– Cous cous salad and yerba mate tea.

– Laughing with my brother.

– Balmy evening walks

What do you love this week?

Daily outfit 2/10/2013

As this is the first outfit post for October, and for me October is all about exploring costumes and alter-egos, I thought I would put together a rather un-me outfit.

I usually wear quite a lot of colour.  I’m not afraid of brights or wild prints and it’s unusual to see me in blacks and neutrals.  If I do wear black, it’s usually with a pop of colour on top of it.  But not today…

DSCF8819I am wearing:

– Black merino wool jumper from Cue

– Black maxi skirt from Target

– Black cotton tights from Target

– Black brogues from Rubi shoes

– Floral burst hair slide (gift from my friend Adam)

DSCF8820I do need to apologise for how grainy these pictures turned out. I’m still experimenting to find the best place in my flat to take outfit photos.

I decided to go with a very minimalist outfit today.  I love the combination of this jumper and the long skirt.  I was worried that they’d look a bit conservative together, but the overall effect is pleasing.  The form-fitting shape of the skirt and the fine knit helps the outfit to look sophisticated and chic rather than Amish.

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To offset the starkness of my outfit, I added a little bit of bling in my hair and a swipe of red lipstick.  Defined brows and polished skin finished off the look.

DSCF8822This jumper was a gift from my grandmother.  She bought it for herself a while back, and when she gave it to me the original tags were still on it.  It’s a beautiful fine knit, and the price was more than I paid for the entire contents of my knitwear drawer.  It’s such a gorgeous addition to my wardrobe, and I imagine that I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of it.

DSCF8826Although I love my heels, I have quite a collection of flats as well.  I like finding flats that are cute and fun, and these brogues are one of my favourite pairs.  They were really cheap and they go with everything.  Every girl should have a pair of sweet man-style shoes, I think.

Today, I challenge you to wear something that you wouldn’t normally wear.  If you’re normally a pants person, try a dress for a change.  Experiment with a colour or a print that doesn’t usually find it’s way into your outfits.  Wear an incredible piece of jewellery that you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Go on, try something different.  I dare you!

Pulling yourself out of a winter clothing slump.

I’m officially sick of my winter wardrobe.  I’m tired of being so bundled up in coats and socks that I’ve forgotten what shape my body is.  I’m fed up with having to wear at least four layers to stop myself from freezing.  You too?  Read on.

The bad news is that there’s still another month of winter to go (not counting the chilly weather that’s likely to stick about until Spring finally rears it’s head in earnest).  The good news is that you can break out of your winter clothing slump.  Here’s how:

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Embrace cute accessories

Winter brings with it a host of accessory options that just aren’t available in the warmer weather.  Woolly hats, chunky scarves, sleek gloves and fuzzy earmuffs are all great compliments to your winter wardrobe.  If you’re into vintage styles, this is the perfect time to experiment with hats and vintage gloves.  If you’re feeling crafty, you could even try making some of your own.  It’s the perfect way to keep busy on a cold wintry night and you’ll be able to smugly state, “Oh yeah, I made this” whenever anyone asks about your fantastic new scarf.

Treat yourself to some quality thermals

Thermals don’t have to be ugly, itchy or unappealing.  There are a host of thermal underwear options out there that are comfortable, stylish and fantastically warm.  Thermals come in all kinds of colours, so pick up a few pairs in black, grey, white or neutral tones that will blend in with your regular wardrobe.  Choosing a selection of sleeve lengths and necklines will ensure that you’ve always got something on hand that will look great underneath your outfit.  I’m a huge fan of bamboo thermals, which are super soft and are perfect for layering underneath other items.

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Wear something other than pants

When the temperature starts dropping, I tend to wear pants more often than not.  That’s fine, but it tends to get boring after a while.  Pants aren’t the only cosy clothing option when the weather gets cold.  Try a long skirt with leggings or tights layered underneath.  Wear a short skirt with boots and a long jacket.  These items can be just as warm as jeans and they’ll inject a bit more interest into your outfit and perk up your spirits.

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Go op-shopping for knitwear

Good quality knitwear can be very expensive.  But it doesn’t have to be.  If your wardrobe is lacking in gorgeous knits, take a trip to the local op-shop.  You might find some awesomely fun jumpers and cardigans for only a few bucks each.  Embrace your inner Bill Cosby and rock out in an ironically ugly sweater. Sometimes, a new jumper is all you need to pull you out of a clothing rut.

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Play about with layers.

Layering is the key to getting more wear out of your wardrobe.  If you’re not afraid to work some layers, then you can wear your sheer summery tops in winter, and make all those floaty gypsy skirts work double time when the weather starts to cool down.  You might like to read this post I wrote a while ago about layering, and then have a play about in your own wardrobe to see what you can come up with.

How do you pull yourself out of a clothing slump when you’re sick to the back teeth of your winter wardrobe?

Where to find cheap clothing.

So, here’s the thing.  I love having a wardrobe full of fun clothes to play with.  But I don’t have a huge budget.  So in order to be able to support my shopping habit and still afford things like food and hot water, I’ve had to find places where I can get awesome clothes on the cheap.

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So today, I’m going to talk about some of my favourite places to find cheap clothing.  Buckle your seatbelts, and away we go!

Op shops

Op-shops are probably the best place to look for cheap clothes.  Charity stores, second hand stalls and opportunity shops are bursting at the seams with budget clothing options.  It’s true that you might have to wade through piles of awful garments in order to find a treasure, but when you do, it will be worth it.  Op shops are also great for shoppers who love delving into styles from the past, and fashionistas who want clothes that are more unique than what you’d find in your average store.  If you want more information about thrifting, you might like to check out my e-book, Nessbow’s Guide to Second Hand Shopping.

Discount stores

I used to have a real problem with shopping at stores like Target and K Mart.  The fact that every second person on the street was sporting their clothes really turned me off.  I like to stand out from the crowd and the thought of wearing something that was on the back of practically every person in town did not appeal to me.

It took a while for me to realise that even if you buy something that’s commonplace, you can style it in a really unique way.  All you have to do is pull on a pair of fantastic shoes, add a vintage scarf and some handmade jewellery and nobody will guess that your gorgeous dress came from Big W.

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This entire outfit came from discount stores.  No joke.

Discount stores are also a great place to stock up on basics like plain-coloured shirts for layering.  Buying from discount stores is a good way to dip your toe into new trends without wasting a whole lot of money.  If you do find that you love wearing a certain style, you can always invest in a better quality version down the track.

Clearance racks

They’re messy, they’re crowded and they’re a pain in the neck, but clearance racks are one of the best places to find cheap duds.  You have to be very patient, flipping through the racks until you find something in your size, but you can save so much cash if you’re willing to put in the time.

Clearance shopping isn’t for you if you like to be outfitted in the latest trends.  But if you’re happy to wait a few months for the items to come on sale, then this might be a good option.  Get to know the retail ‘seasons’, which are different to natural seasons.  Typically, new-season stock will start arriving in stores 6-8 weeks before the actual season begins.  It’s around this time that the old season stick will begin to get marked down.  Visit your favourite stores regularly and get friendly with the sales staff.  They’ll be able to give you a heads-up when a big sale is about to begin.

Factory outlets

Factory outlets and sample sales can be a goldmine for fashion bargains.  Often, they only cater for very small sizes as sample garments are usually made as small as possible to save costs.  However, if you’re petite, then these outlets can be a fantastic place to stock up on cheap clothes.  While some of the stock may be damaged, most of it is totally fine.  Some of my favourite fashion finds have come from factory outlets and seconds sales.

Sample sales are also a brilliant place to look for shoes if you have tiny feet.  Many of the shoes at these sales are a size 5 or 6, so they’re perfect if you’ve got dainty feet and struggle to find small sizes in regular stores.

Friend’s wardrobes.

Never underestimate the value lurking in your fashion-forward mate’s closet.  While I don’t suggest hassling your friends to give you their best clothes, it’s worthwhile asking them to give you a heads-up when they’re going to have a wardrobe clear-out.  Before they throw away/ donate/ sell their cast-offs, ask if you can have a look to see if there’s anything there that might work for you.  Your friend will probably be relieved if there are a few less items for them to dispose of, and you’ll walk away with a bunch of new threads.

DSCF5658That gorgeous pink scarf came from one of my bestie’s wardrobes.

You can also do this with your mum’s or grandmother’s wardrobes.  I’ve got so many gorgeous pieces that used to belong to some of my relatives, which I’ve re-styled and given them another run around the block.

Where do you shop for cheap clothes?  Any tips that you’d like to share?

Epic vintage haul

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thrift shopping is so much better in the country.  While I was living in the city, it was really hard to find a decent find in a thrift store.  Most op-shops have been heavily picked over, and the best stuff normally winds up in vintage boutiques or trendy pop-up stores which sell their wares for massively over-inflated prices.  In the country, thrifting isn’t as trendy as it is in the city.  The stores aren’t scoured by vultures, looking for treasures to kit out their shops.  It’s actually totally possible to find incredible loot in thrift stores, and to pay less for them than you would shell out for a cup of coffee.

 

Yesterday, Ross had the day off work, so we decided to hit up the op-shops.  We came home with a bundle of swag, giant smiles on our faces and not a whole lot of cash missing from our wallets.

 

To begin with, my mother dropped a bunch of kitchen stuff over to our house.  Most of these things were part of her glory box, or things that she and my dad owned when they first got married.  As they’re re-done their kitchen, and have bought heaps of modern stuff to kit it out, they didn’t need these vintage treasures.  Mum thought I would like these because I like “funny old things”.

 

Mega-cute sugar and coffee canisters.

A 70’s teapot to match.

A brown biscut barrel (which I was an expert at sneaking cookies from when I was a kid)

A delectable dinner setting, circa 1976.  My mother bought this for her glory box when she was 16.  She told me that it took her four months to pay it off layby, and after a year of using it, she hated it bitterly.

Glass flip-top jars, for storing rice, flour etc.

In addition to these glorious 70’s treasures, Ross found heaps of uber-cool kitchen stuff during our op-shopping adventure.

Coffee mugs with sweet black cats gambolling all over them.

A set of three brandy balloons.  The purchase of these prompted our decision to have a cocktail hour every Friday night.

A faux crystal decanter.  Lord only knows what we’re going to put in this, but it’s very shiny.

These little glass dishes are going to be perfect for desserts.  We got a set of 6 for $10.

I am completely smitten with this jug and cup set.  There are 6 little cups in the set, and you can lift them out of the plastic casing, so they can be used as shot-glasses as well.  I can see us drinking iced tea out of these.

After Ross had pillaged the kitchen-ware, I started sifting through the clothes.  I found some incredible finds.

Beautiful Versace jeans.  I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but my backside looked divine in these.  They’re a perfect fit, and they cost just $5.  You’d never see that in Melbourne!

This white stole is ridiculously warm and soft, and set me back another $5.  Before you flip out and get all preachy, rest assured that this is totally faux fur.

This sweet pearl brooch is going to look amazing on my black turban.

I’ve been looking for a floral dress just like this one for ages.  It is beautiful on, even though it doesn’t really look much just flopping about on a hanger.  I have big plans for this baby.

So that is what Ross and I thrifted in one trip.  The total damage for all this: just $70.  We couldn’t be happier.

The Dreaded Wardrobe Purge

This is my definitive how to guide for cleaning out your wardrobe, dealing with the stuff you don’t need and organizing the stuff that you do.

In The Beginning…

First of all, you will need to empty your entire wardrobe.  Put on some upbeat music and get to work.  Take everything off hangers and dump it in the middle of the room.  Empty every drawer, every cupboard and every rack.  You should now have a very bare cupboard and a teetering mound of clothing on the floor. 

Before you start sorting, vaccuum out your wardrobe and drawers.  Replace any drawer liners and wipe out any areas that are looking a bit dusty.  Now it’s time to get down to business.

Pile it up

You will need to go through your clothes one item at a time.  This will take ages and you might need to have a few breaks before you get through it all.  Put on some catchy tunes and pour yourself a glass of wine to fortify you.  Now, sort the items into two piles.  The first pile is “stuff i wear“.  All your favorite items go in this pile.  If there is something you wear on a regular basis, automatically chuck it here.  You don’t need to get rid of these.  The other pile is the “stuff I don’t wear” pile.  If you have even the slightest hesitation about an item, throw it on this pile, and scrutinize it later.

Get organized

The “stuff I wear” pile goes straight back in the closet.  However, before you start putting things away, take a good look at your closet space, and think about how you could best set things out so that things are neat, organized and easy to find.

Here are a few tips:

– store like items together.  All your short-sleeved tops together, all your skirts together, all your shoes together etcetera. 

-fold t-shirts and jumpers carefully and stack them, so that you can see each item in the pile.

– Don’t use wire hangers!  They stretch clothes out of shape and poke holes in delicate items.  Instead, invest in some thick wooden or plastic hangers, or padded hangers if you are feeling rich. 

– think about clever ways to use your space.  Use tie hangers to store scarves or necklaces or ice-cube trays to keep earrings.

– some people like to colour-code their wardrobe. I once tried this, but i have so many clothes that are in bright, multi-coloured prints that i didn’t think it was helpful.  If you want to try this, you can, but I generally don’t bother with it.

Time to get selective…

Ok now, you need to carefully examine each item in the “stuff I don’t wear” pile and sort it into a few small piles. 

The first pile is made up of the stuff that doesn’t fit you.  If you have outgrown something, or your body shape has changed, you might find that some of your old clobber doesn’t hang so well any more.  Try each of these items on and look carefully at yourself.  If something is too long or too short, or a little tight, there might be hope that you could have it altered. If so, put it aside.  If you have lost weight and are finding that some items are too big, you could try experimenting with scarves and belts to pull things in.  Anything that is dramatically ill fitting should go in the “getting rid of” pile.  Don’t hang onto things in the hope that you will one day fit into them again.  It is a waste of space.

The second pile is for items that you would wear, but that need repairing.  Put it somewhere prominent so you can’t ignore it, and either spend an evening doing some running repairs, or take them to a tailor ASAP for some TLC.  It seems like a hassle, but just think of how much wear you can get out of these clothes once they have been restored to their former glory.

Pile number three is for items that are just worn out.  This pile features items such as holey socks, floppy t-shirts, saggy bras and undies that are only being held together by their stubborn under-stains.  Comfy and sentimental as they may be, this stuff is just rubbish, and should be binned immediately.  See it as a jumping off point for buying more cute stuff to replace it!

The final pile is the most challenging and the most fun.  It’s for items that you like, and would like to wear, but you aren’t sure how to wear them.  These are often impulse buys that you liked in the store, but in the harsh light of day, you just aren’t sure that they are ‘you’.  Look at each item carefully, and ask yourself why you don’t wear it.  Try it on, and play around with the rest of your wardrobe to see what you already have that you could wear with it.  I like to keep a ‘inspiration box’ of stuff that I haven’t worn in a while. Each day, I take an item from this box and build an outfit around it.  You could do this if you want.  If you feel that an item is too revealing, try layering it with other items to cover up any exposed flesh.  If it’s too bright, try wearing it as a pop of colour with an otherwise all-black outfit.  If you just can’t figure out what to do with it, get rid of it. 

Dealing with the fallout…

So now you have a wonderfully tidy wardrobe full of clothes that you wear, a pile of injured clothes that have been repaired and a stack of rejects.  What do you do with the misfits?

There are a number of options.

– there are some things, like socks and underwear, that you should just bin.

– if your clothes are in really good condition, or are a particularly interesting piece, you could try selling it on ebay. 

– Do you have a friend who would like an item?  You could even hold a clothes-swapping party to get rid of your unwanted gear.  Your trash could be another person’s treasure.

– if all else fails, bundle it all up and give it to a charity shop. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.

 Taking care

Finally, make it your mission to take good care of the items that you already own.  Repair things as soon as they get ripped or broken.  keep storing things using the system you have devised.  Don’t revert back to your old habits.

Wash things carefully.  Any delicate items such as bras, stockings, lace, wool, silk or beading should be carefully handwashed and hung out of direct sunlight to dry.  If you don’t like handwashing, don’t buy delicate items that will get shredded by your washing machine. 

Good luck and take care