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Sunday, 11 September 2016

SPRING IS IN THE AIR ... WHAT'S ON YOUR FEET?

It's that time of year when we start looking at our footwear for the coming season, and here in the Southern Hemisphere we are seeing beautiful Spring styles arriving in our stores and on line.

Strangely enough while I really enjoy wearing heels to elevate my petite stature, Spring and Summer tend to lead me to flats, or almost flats, that can serve to create wonderful proportions with midi or maxi length dresses, or cropped pants.

To earn a place in my wardrobe, shoes must be stylish, comfortable and they need to work with much of my wardrobe. I have only two pairs of shoes that don't meet that criteria but they are 'going out' shoes, or 'special occasion' shoes that generally get worn for only a few hours at a time.

This season Australian brand Homyped have created a beautiful range for Spring/Summer. The wide range of styles and colours means there is something for everyone.  The range includes ballet flats, sporty sneaker hybrids, sandals, thongs (flip flops), Mary Janes and pumps!  



Ashley (in black) has just landed in my own wardrobe.  She might just be the most comfortable sandal I own!  Ashley is simple, modern and I expect she will become a Spring/Summer workhorse for me.  This sandal will transition from work (smart casual work environment for me) to play, with ease, and will work with most of my neutral wardrobe.

As a working mum, I am on my feet most of the day running here, there and everywhere!  I don't have time for uncomfortable shoes and I won't sacrifice style for comfort.  I decided some years back that 'comfort' was not the dirty word I thought it was in my 20's lol !!
Size wise I found these to be quite generous.  I usually wear a size 6 but sized down to a 5 for a perfect fit 





Homyped are a long standing Aussie company that have been making quality footwear for 48 years ... and are based in my beautiful home town of Melbourne.  Their online store is easy to navigate and all the info you need is there, along with a great size chart you can print to assure you order your correct size.


So... I'm predicting Ashley and I are going to have a wonderful Spring/Summer together!   How about you?  If you are looking to update for the season it's definitely worth checking out the current range.

Let me know what you think.

xxx Deborah

I have written this post in collaboration with Homyped..   All opinions expressed are 100% my own. Items for review are selected by me and I only accept items that I would choose/purchase myself.

Monday, 22 August 2016

THE POWER OF A COHESIVE WARDROBE

In the time since my last post, my young master had a small accident, my mother in law had a 6 week hospital stay and my own mum had emergency surgery ... and that's only some of it so, sadly, blogging has not been at the top of my to do list.

Reviewing the last couple of months I realise how much I appreciate my wardrobe.

When life is happening all around you, you just need your wardrobe to work for you.



During this time I have been able to get dressed without too much thought, allowing my mind to focus on the things that required my attention and direct my time accordingly. I certainly missed the creative process that goes into putting new outfits together and playing in my closet trying different combinations, but having "go to" outfits and combinations that I know work, and items that mix so easily, simply took the pressure off at a very busy time.

I have been sharing recently about how over the past 5 years I have defined my personal style and have been carefully curating my wardrobe.  Minimizing the amount of clothing I have, and making very intentional purchases.   With that came another important decision, that of minimizing my colour palette. The foundation of my wardrobe for many years now has been black.  Over time I have added white, soft grey and ink blue.  Accent colours are cobalt blue, deep red and a cool soft pink. Pattern is muted, abstract and usually black/white/grey.  The end result is that the majority of my wardrobe items work extremely well together.



I believe one of the mistakes we can make is to not focus enough on building a wardrobe of items that work together to create multiple outfits.  Instead, we focus on individual outfits, where the items work well in that one outfit but don't play well with other items in your closet. This kind of wardrobe is great if that works for you, but for me that would be very limiting and frustrating. 



My wardrobe works well across the many roles I play in life...  professional, mum, volunteer, carer, etc.

These days we wear so many hats that having a wardrobe that transitions well from one thing to the other is essential.  Needless to say I don't have the budget for separate wardrobes for each of these roles.  So for me, the skinny ponte pants I wear to work with a blouse and blazer, do double duty for after school sport with a roll neck sweater and coat.  That sweater also goes to work over a long pleated skirt.  The long pleated skirt worn with a crisp cropped white square tee takes me out to dinner... you get the idea.  And when life gets on top of you and you don't have time to think about your outfits, it all still works.



So here is a small sampling of recent work outfits.  On the day I wore the pink jacket, I was exhausted.  It was a no brainer, column of black, and a pretty pink blazer to 'pep' me up and hopefully mask how tired I was feeling.  

If you are working through a wardrobe process at the moment, it will pay off.  I suspect our wardrobes are always a work in progress and are never 'finished' because we are never 'finished'.  Our wardrobes evolve with us, so change is always on the horizon but it is possible to make your wardrobe work for you and have it be one of the little pleasures in life.

A great wardrobe is one that makes your life easier.


xxx Deborah


Sunday, 5 June 2016

ACCESSORISE ME!


Accessories can play an important role in an almost all black wardrobe. Rarely a day goes by when I don't feel like wearing black, however there are days when I feel the need to lighten the black, add contrast to the black or even soften the drama of the black.

This is where accessories come into play in my wardrobe.

Given the relative simplicity of my wardrobe I tend to favour  accessories that create what I call a 'subtle statement'.  Something strong but not over the top.

Like my clothing, when I find the right accessories, I will wear them over and over.


These beautiful (gifted) House of Poly necklaces have been on regular rotation since they arrived a couple of weeks back.  As you can see I haven't strayed from my colour palette with these, and they work with pretty much everything in my closet.  Both are adjustable in length and are hand made in Australia (Canberra).   Both are perfect for adding texture and interest to my all black outfits.  And the black pendant with silver statement hoop is a standout worn with white.

skirted leggings / cami / twist top - motto
boots / hushpuppies
marble monochrome necklace/ c/- house of poly
tunic / birdsnest
leggings / millers
otk boots / target
long black pendant / c/- house of poly

top / decjuba
harem pants / eileen fisher
boots / hush puppies
monochrome marble necklace / c/- house of poly
duster jacket / crossroads
shirt / COS
long black pendant / c/- house of poly


There is something quite special about hand crafted jewellery, and House of Poly designs are unique and modern, and are made with an attention to detail rarely found in mass produced items.  Each time I wear one of these pieces I think of Katrina, House of Poly designer, who lovingly created each piece.  Because of this, I have a connection with these two necklaces that I don't have with most of my other jewellery.  So...just a warning, you will be seeing a lot of them:)

What role do accessories play in your wardrobe? 

xxx Deborah


Items cited as "c/-" have been gifted to Stylish Murmurs, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Garments for review are selected by me and I only accept items that I would choose/purchase myself.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

WARDROBE DETOX : STEP ONE

Two weeks ago, I wrote a little about my experience moving towards a more minimal wardrobe.  Due to the positive response here and on Instagram, I thought I might share the practical process I follow when 'detoxing' my closet.

When I relocated five years ago, I had enough clothing to fill two closets and three large plastic tubs.  For some that may not be a lot, and it may not be too much, but for me it was definitely too much clothing.  It was weighing me down.  And like so many women before me, I was wearing only a small percentage of what I owned. I bought items that were 'near enough' to what I wanted, and I would often 'settle' for a less than perfect item, which of course I would never wear.

Step One was the Big Closet Clean Out!  Now you need to know, it wasn't just one big clean out, I actually had to do this about three times, but each time I was taking steps toward achieving my goal of a smaller, more cohesive wardobe with items that are worn often.


I made sure I had a reasonably free day (and plenty of hot tea and chocolate... just saying) and emptied everything from my wardrobe onto my bed.  I then went through each item piece by piece and asked myself the following questions:
  • Do I find this flattering on me
    Do I like how I look in the item?  It doesn't have to be conventionally flattering, it just has to make YOU happy.
  • Does it fit me properly?
    I would often buy something a size bigger or smaller, because my size had sold out and I thought it would be fine.  It never was.
  • Would an alteration make me want to wear it?
     I have quite a few items tailored to get just the right fit for me. An adjustment in the length of a skirt can make all the difference.  I often have to have dresses tailored because a good fit in the bust area can often mean the hip/thigh area has too much fabric and needs to be taken in.
  • Is it dated?
  • Is it in good wearable condition?No balling, obvious wear and tear.
  • Does the colour and/or pattern suit me?
  • Is it comfortable?I made a decision some years back that I will never wear uncomfortable clothing or shoes
    again.
  • Does the item reflect my current style preferences?This one is really important to me.  I feel very uncomfortable in clothing that doesn't 'feel' or
    'look' like me, no matter how lovely it may be.


I then separate items into categories.

  • Donate
    - these get folded into a pile and then bagged up and taken to my local op shop.
  • Sell
    - these get hung on free standing rack in my spare room and are items that are
      in excellent condition, good brands and have some resale value.
  • Holding Zone
    - items that I am not sure I will wear but have hesitation in moving on.  These are hung
      in my spare room robe until I decide what to do with them.
  • Closet
    - items that I have assessed as being worthy of being in wardrobe.  They are hung
      back in the closet straight away.

My first major clean out saw a lot of clothing returned to my closet  that probably should have gone out.  My holding zone also ended up housing quite a lot of clothing.  As time has gone on I have become more brutal... let's say efficient...and I have much better clarity recognising when it's time to move things on and my holding zone generally only has one or two items.


How much clothing you decide you need/want is a very personal thing and only you know what will work best for you, but definitely considering things like your lifestyle is helpful.  I have very few formal events for example so having three specific dresses in my closet that can be accessorised and worn with other items to make them wedding appropriate, funeral appropriate, cocktails appropriate etc is all I need... but more of this in another post :)

My process is not rocket science, and I am sure it doesn't differ a whole lot to your own. What can be difficult is making a start.  

I would love to hear how you organise your wardrobe and what your process is for deciding it's time to let things go.  

xxx Deborah

Sunday, 22 May 2016

AUSTRALIAN MADE : A SKIRT FOR ALL OCCASIONS

Over the past few weeks, I have been enjoying styling and wearing a black pencil skirt with a detachable black draped panel.  I discovered  Zippy Skirts on Instagram and was fascinated by the concept of a skirt that could be worn creating different looks with zip on panels, and even be worn as a top.

Zippy Skirts is the creation of Australian designer, Chalisa Morrison and the Zippy Skirt was designed out her own need for a multifunctional skirt that could be styled and worn many different ways...i think she nailed it!


leatherette hi-lux jacket / motto
sleeveless top / temt
skirt / c/- zippy skirts
leggings / motto
sneaks / target

I have found the skirt to be extremely versatile.  Over the past weeks, I have worn it casually doing errands around town, styled it with the back elegance panel for a day of work meetings, and worn it as a top over skinny jeans for lunch out with girlfriends.  


chios washed jacket / metalicus
marni shirt & betty belt / motto
skirt & panel / c/- zippy skirts
pumps / wittner



The skirt is a substantial quality fabric, is wash and wear, doesn't crease, and can be folded into a suitcase without need for ironing when you take it out, making it a brilliant item to travel with.  

I chose the black elegance panel because it was most in line with my general style choices, but there are a number of elegance and printed panels to choose from, including a a very cool asymmetric black one.

The skirt also has a wide waistband which allows you to adjust the length of the skirt.  Worn on the waist the skirt sits above my knee, worn lower on my hips and the the skirt will sit on on my knee or little lower.

jacket / peter morrissey
top / c/- zippy skirts
skinny pant / katies
boots / aldi



It really is a clever skirt and has proven to be a fantastic addition to my wardrobe. Most women tend to have at least one black skirt in their closet and if you are looking for one, this is worth considering.  It dresses up, dresses down, and could be a very versatile addition for professional women who have a more corporate dress code.  Did I mention Zippy Skirts are made in Australia!  

Do check out Chalisa and Zippy Skirts and you can also visit them on Instagram.

xxx Deborah

I have written this post in collaboration with Zippy Skirts.  Items cited as "c/-" have been gifted to Stylish Murmurs, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Garments for review are selected by me and I only accept items that I would choose/purchase myself.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

A MORE MINIMAL WARDROBE

Yes, I am talking about minimizing my wardrobe!  Do I have a minimal wardrobe?  Not really.  I would describe my wardrobe as medium sized.  Oh and just in case you are trying to avoid the issue, you know I am not talking about my actual wardrobe,  but rather the amount of clothing it houses right:)
Photo  / Pinterest
Five years ago, I began a project to reduce the amount of clothing I owned. I relocated with my family and once settled into our new home, I managed to fill my half of the walk-in robe, the robe in the guest room AND 3 large plastic tubs. Like so many others before me, I became painfully aware that I was only wearing a small percentage of all of these clothes.

I kept some because they were lovely quality and I paid a lot for them.  Others because 'I might need them', and others because 'when I loose some weight they will fit again'.  There appeared to be some element of security in having all those clothes.

Five years on and I use a moderate sized walk-in robe.  Everything fits in the walk-in.  Even my coats.  My husband very kindly gave me the walk-in a couple of years back and he uses a stand alone wardrobe. 

Photo / Pinterest
The items that were in good condition and were expensive were sold via Ebay,and a garage sale, and I do regular a regular 'pop up boutique' in my home.  I was able to recoup some of my money and see my clothing go to a good homes.  

When I did loose weight (and I did) the clothing I was holding on to was either no longer interesting to me or didn't fit me properly.  Often when we loose weight our shape is not as it was before, so those items were also either sold or donated.

My purchasing has also changed.  I am more intentional and will spend more but will buy less.  A wardrobe that is full of much loved items that are worn often makes me happy.  I suspect the security I found in having a lot of clothes has now been replaced with a sense of fulfillment from having a cohesive collection of items that I am happy to wear over and over. 

In terms of the amount of clothing I have, I don't tend to count my items, I operate more on how I 'feel'.  When I start to accumulate too much, I feel overwhelmed.  Simple as that!  And that is when I will do a quick cull and move things on.  I keep a 'sales rack' and that also acts as a bit of holding zone in case I have been too hasty in my culling.  Occasionally one or two items will make their way back into my closet.

It all sounds simple I know, but it did take 5 years to get here and I am sure I will continue to refine and develop my wardrobe management.  I do feel I am heading to a more minimal situation. There was definitely  some stress, frustration, and disappointment as I worked through my abundance of clothing, but I am pleased to report that it has been replaced with ease, excitement and extreme satisfaction as I face my closet each morning and prepare for my day.

Photo / Pinterest

Sadly none of these closets are mine, but don't they look beautiful!  

How do you manage your wardrobe?  Are you a wardrobe minimalist or maximalist?  What type of wardrobe makes you happy?

xxx Deborah



Sunday, 8 May 2016

ETHICAL FASHION

The question of ethical fashion is one that has been coming up for me quite a bit over the last 12 months.  It’s a challenging topic.  I strongly oppose the ill treatment of workers, their exploitation and the payment of inadequate wages.  However so often clothing that is ethically made seems to sit right outside of my budget, so I feel badly for a few minutes and then continue buying clothing from brands regardless.  I am embarrassed to admit that it has been all too easy to bury my head in the sand and tell myself there is nothing I can do.

Each year, Baptist World Aid produce the Ethical Fashion Guide and 2016’s was released last month.   Companies and brands are graded on their labour rights management systems. Higher grades correspond to systems which, when implemented well, should reduce the risk of modern slavery, child labour and exploitation.


I was pleased to see some high profile brands, along with some great Australian labels, receive a B grading, or higher, including:

Bonds, Cheap Monday, COS, Country Road, Esprit, H&M, JAG, Saba, Sportscraft, Suzanne Grae, Veronica Maine, Witchery & Zara.

I was also surprised to see that that lower end brands like Kmart,  Supre and Rubi and Cotton On (the same group) rated well.

It appears ethically made clothing is actually available at all price points!
One of my favourite labels, Motto, doesn't appear on the list, however investigation supports their ethical stance.  Another of my favourites unfortunately rated only a C+ giving me cause to consider my future purchases.

The Ethical Fashion Guide seeks to empower the consumer to purchase from companies that treat their workers ethically, and I plan to use this as a resource for future purchases.  I am also feeling quite motivated to communicate with those brands/labels that I like, that don't stack up, and let them know that this is an important issue which will impact my future purchasing decisions.

Is this an issue that is important to you?

xxx Deborah

*This guide is a companion to the 2016 Australian Fashion Report