Thursday, March 18, 2010

Click Click of the century! Check it out online...

Ok boys and girls this is a quickie but a goodie, and if you haven’t already made a bee-line for your local Witchery store then what are you waiting for? I jumped on-line last night for a bit of a look-see and could not believe my galore from as little as $3.95 and all of them screaming my name. Oh. My. God! I’ve died and gone to budget shopper’s heaven. I must warn you though, what you see on-line may not be available through cyber-space, so if you find yourself a look that has you waltzing through the front door in a hot pair of heels en-route to your next night out with the girls then you better Run Lola Run! Whilst I have no doubt that some of you will gasp in horror and question the sanity of your favourite stylette I am rather partial to the tie-died all-in-one with smocked bodice that has been reduced to $13.95. I’ve already styled it up with my fav big black belt with the patented faux leather panels from Sussan and Wittner platforms, and styled it down with silver and gold sandles also on sale from Witchery, a cream coloured trilby and some chunky jewellery. Unlucky for me it’s not available on line, but lucky for me I spotted it just recently at the outlet store at DFO South Wharf. You might just also be lucky enough to scoop yourself a Witchery loyalty card that rewards you with a $30 credit just for saying hello! I’m not kidding, my gorgeous friend Tanya put me onto it a couple of days ago and we couldn’t through the door quick enough. While you are there, pop into Jacqui E and try on a pair of duds and score yourself another $10 voucher. Yes, my fabulous fashionistas, its shopping heaven out there at the mo. Not only is the next round of mid-season sales in full flight – another 50 per cent off anyone? But retailers are doing what they can to get you to spend your money...even going so far as to pay you!!! Does it really get any better than that?

Check it out:

P.S. Yes I know, I’m way way behind on my I love Sussan appeal but wait until you see what I’m wearing to work tomorrow. You are going to love it!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday night review (on Monday)...Vogue April '10

I am absolutely amped by the April edition of Vogue magazine. I’m seriously considering having it framed and hung shrine-like on my bedroom wall in testament to what could be the publishing world’s realisation that fashionistas around the globe are evacuating Paris-end Collins Street and flocking instead to low-end DFO South Wharf. I kid you not! Gone is the over-infestation of sky-high prices that smacked the average girl-on-a-budget in the head with a $4000 Balencia bag. In its place is an exquisite blend of Prada meets high street that appeals to all the right budgets.

I knew something was different about this month’s fashion fix when I happened upon a full page advertisement for Forever New (p87)...the inexpensive alternate for the girlie-girl who cannot afford an Alannah Hill frill no matter how much coffee she forgoes for the sake of a serious fashion spend. It was just a hop-step-and-jump from the advertisement to a two-page spread of Forever New budget shopper delights (p110-113). Flick a bit further and you’ll cash in on Vogue’s newest fashion feature, More Dash Than Cash. It’s a nine-page montage of what the Brits lovingly refer to as high street fashion, and filled with labels that you know and can afford; Witchery, Portmans, Dotti, Forever New, MinkPink and Sportsgirl etc. What’s more, editor Kirstie Clements is inviting readers to tell her if they would like to see more high-end looks at low end prices on a regular basis. Oh. My. God. YES! I am so in love with the Satin frill tank at just $49.99 on p110, I could cry, and if I was not host to the infamous E cups, I would team this scrumptous strip of satin with the ruffle-front suede jacket (p111, $229.99), Sussan denim skinnies and Angora bow cloche, otherwise known as a woollen hat (p113, $24.99). But, alas these babies are not going anywhere so the tiered two-tone mac for $139.99 or Manhattan jacket will have to do!

But it does not stop there. Throughout this month’s mag you will find cheaper and more affordable items lovingly fraternizing with the rich and famous. The In Vogue (pg48-54), Vogue View (pg57-60) and Vogue Fashion (various from p62-98 ) features are feminine, fun, flirty and fashilious with plenty of tips on what is hot and how to get it. My current fav is the Boy Wonders page (p98), which encourages you to borrow something from “his” side of the wardrobe. Thank you very much, don’t mind if I do...oh yes, I already have! I will admit there is still a generous representation of bibs and bobs that are way on the pricey side, but Vogue wouldn’t be Vogue without them. By the time you hit the double denim spread (p74-75) however, you won’t care because you’ve already got the feeling something is different and different is good. Like the gorgeous Boss Orange chambray shirt for under $200 (g74) and David Lawrence and Trenery cotton trenches for under $300 (p82). Just on denim, if blue is not your colour...then denim shirts and jackets are not and will never be for you. Sorry! Damn!

What I really love about the April mag is its return to accessible style. There were plenty of low-priced options throughout the various fashion spreads that nullify the depressing in-your-face thousand dollar must-haves that plagued the previous months. They also enable you to return to the dreamlike trance of Vogues of old and enjoy pouring over the high-end fashion without crying into your Kleenex because you are never ever going to even come close. The re-introduction of the realistic and affordable added to the overall Vogue experience front to back and I found myself submerged into a number of interesting and thought-provoking articles, reviews and how-tos without really trying. I even marked several pages of looks I love including the Hugo Boss red tunic (p18) and Dior en-som (p25) and worked out how to replicate them with what I already have or what I have seen. Dior be damned, we’ve got Forever New. Vogue April edition. Buy it, you’ll like it.

Check it out:

Hot tip: If you reside in Melbourne, then you will know that the annual L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival is officially underway. Log on to and have squizz at all the wonderful treats you could exposure yourself to over the duration of the next week. If you are on a budget and would rather eat than check out the latest looks off the runways around the world, then do not despair. There are numerous freebies for you to enjoy including the Sidewalk series in Federation Square. If looking after the kids while Dr Love is committed elsewhere, working, studying and writing brilliant and humorous articles for your style blog are chaining you to the kitchen sink, then be there in spirit and use this week to inspire some glamorous looks and feels from within your wardrobe. Why not start with Sussan. Enjoy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I love Sussan outfit #2

This is one outfit that I couldn’t bring myself to layout on the floor; the green carpet would not do it justice so Dr Love and I played model and photographer in the backyard this morning while the kids ran riot in the kitchen. It’s probably the only time I’ll post of a photo of myself like it, because as I am sure you can understand from my posts, I’m the shy and retiring type! Anyway I couldn’t believe how fabulous I felt in this look. So fabulous I really am going to wear it to bed tonight because I never want to take it off! For some unknown reason I’d completely avoided the whole 198Os-boyfriend jacket revisited. I had distinct visions of looking like a card-board box in shapeless polyester until I found myself some killer jeans and a knockout tank from Sussan and suddenly I am queen of the world. As I did not own a boyfriend jacket, I took the meaning to its literal level and swiped Dr Love’s jacket from his side of the smallest wardrobe of the world on the promise I would return it as found so he could wear it to work on Monday. No problem, as long as he doesn’t mind smelling like Coco Mademoiselle! Clearly he did not purchase this particular jacket from Sussan, and well I’d be a little worried if he did, so I cannot attribute its fabulousness to my current goddess of glamour. Everything else to do with this outfit sans the sunnies, shoes, bling ring and intimates can, and if the looks from the street are anything to go by then I’ve hit the chic nail right on its stylish head. What do you think about that you little snippet from behind the sketchers counter, I look pretty damned hot huh? The jeans are the same pair of skinny jeans from yesterday’s casual affair, but with a good airing out overnight. I love how these babies hold everything together. They are just like magic knickers only longer. I can bunch them slightly at the ankle which helps to balance out my KFC thighs and hips and together with the black patent heels – an item every 30 something glamour puss should aspire to own, make my pins look as though they go on forever. Eat your heart out six foot tall supermodel. I added a grey cotton cami with lace details under the tank just to lengthen my torso and keep the whole rack in perspective. You remember this tank don’t you? It’s the one with the twist strap over one shoulder and drape neck that I wore about six weeks ago with an antique white drape cardi (also from Sussan I might add) and gold satin pencil skirt. It is so versatile that I thinking of having it stuffed and mounted when it finally falls apart from over-use. I picked up the necklace last week on sale for $14.95. It’s a fabulous length for any E cup and a great diversion for BB2 when she next attempts to launch herself at my ipod. A simple pair of sunnies and bling-ring just top it all off. Let’s check it out...

Boyfriend jacket borrowed from Dr Love
Sussan tank with twist strap over the shoulder and drape neck, $59.95
Sussan skinny jeans, $99
Sussan necklace, on sale for $14.95
Diva bling ring, $5
Wittner shoes, $30 brought on sale
Basque sunnies, $35 at 50 per cent off
Total cost $243.90

Milla’s hot tip for wearing the boyfriend jacket: If you’ve got curves then my hot tip to looking scorching is to keep it simple and slim underneath to balance out your bod and keep those curves upfront and forward, particularly if your BFJ is a little on the loose side and resembles that cardboard box I talked about up top. My muse Sussan lays claim to a number of fabulously stylish BFJs in the current collection but if your budget doesn’t allow for a new addition to your wardrobe then pop into your favourite op-shop and get shopping. The men’s section is likely to be just as fruitful as the girls. Just remember that the same rules should apply to cut and colour for cast-offs. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I love Sussan outfit #1

I absolutely adore this outfit. I felt so fabulous today I considered leaving it on all night just so I can wake up in the morning and continue to shine in its marvellousness...tomorrow is casual Friday after all, so it’s not as though I’d need to change; shower, wash and possibly iron, but not change. I’d had my eye on the stretch knit t-shirt with French navy stripes for what seems likes months. I’d even gone so far as the change-rooms on more than one occasion, only to return it reluctantly to the shelf after reasoning with myself that the colours were maybe were not quite right when teamed with my vast array of freckles. But the shape of this blouse is every obsessed Francophile’s dream. It has a wide scooped neckline and draping upper bodice that transforms from an empire waist, into well fitting fabric that clings to curves in all the right places. Imagine my excitement when I walked into my local Sussan store recently with a voucher in hand and found it reduced from $59.95 to $19.95. Freckles be damned, it was brilliant! Teaming it with this checked fringe scarf was a marriage of impulse. It would never have occurred to me to team stripped navy with pinks, purples and off-white checks but as I stood mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of colours on an accessory high, it just kind of jumped off the shelf and yelled “buy me”. So I did. The jeans were a purchase from a week ago. You know the perfect jeans...the ones I didn’t expect to find anywhere but a Bettina Liano store. I adore them. They have just enough contrast stitch in the washed black denim to make my chicken legs look like a six foot tall super model, which is technically an exaggeration but you know what I mean. The bag was a bargain at $10 during a Sussan 50 per cent off the lowest marked price not so long ago. It must have been a favourite of store staff because whenever I go into visit, they always comment on how fabulous it is and leave me feeling so happy I usually end up buying something else. Hmm? The bling-bling earring were a purchase from Equip on the weekend. I first spotted them when I was shopping with the wonderful Mel at DFS South Wharf but instead of bling walked out with $130 worth of Abercrombie & Fitch!! I went back the next day and scooped them up. Actually if I’m not mistaken, all I have to do is swap my trusty flats, which desperately need replacing (phew!!) for a pair of fab boots and I’d look pretty similar to the Hiliary Duff look in last month’s Shop Til You Drop. I don’t hear anyone calling her “mumsie” do you? Check it out...

Sussan top reduced to $19.95
Sussan scarf at full price at $29.95
Sussan jeans at full price, $99.00
Sussan bag, reduced from $79.95 to $10
Basque sunnies, $35 at 50 per cent off
Equip earrings on sale at $6.50
Diva ring on sale at $5
Wittner flats that desperately need replacing (phew!!) full price at $109.00
Total spend $314.40

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is style? Where you brought it, or how you wear it?

Sorry to keep harping on about Sussan, but I simply must tell you this story. You see, I was shopping with my lovely friend Anna on the weekend and she mentioned to me she had been the recipient of a very thoughtful gift in the form of a personal stylist; a real life living breathing, did-not-exist-on-the-latest-40-inch flat screen personal stylist. Wow! I was in awe. I devoured these gurus of style as they worked their magic on TV every day for breakfast; Trinny & Susannah, Gok Wan, Tim Gunn, Rachel Zoe and the downright scary but fabulous Patricia Fields to name but a few. It’s the latest must-have vocation for under the 25s, far surpassing the power-suit dressing days of the budding trainee accountant of the early nineties and aspiring public relations spin-doctor of the new millennium. Although still fitting into the aforementioned categories but somewhat older than the new trendy young fashionistas, I rather fancied myself a member of the style team as I navigated my way through my family's wardrobes and defective fashion genes. But, I had yet to meet anyone that had actually procured the services of one who did not exist in a one-dimensional format. I asked the lovely Anna a million questions and soaked up every tasty morsel, until she got to the part where she was banned from ever buying anything at Sussan ever again. The romanticism of life on the other side of the smallest wardrobe in the world vanished like raspberry Clinique lip-gloss on the rim of a decaf soy flat white. What? Why? What was wrong with Sussan? Had this mysterious but idolised woman not seen the Weekend in Paris catalogue? What was going on? First the little snippet behind the counter at Sketchers and now the personal stylist! Was it a conspiracy, or were they related to each other? Excuse me for saying so, but isn’t style about the outfit you wear and how you wear it, rather than the store you purchased it from? Personally with my mortgage, the only time “the store” or more recently “the brand” should rate a mention is if they are having a sale; a very, very big sale.

So in Sussan’s defense I am going to dedicate five outfits over the next week to the I love sussan appeal and by doing so, prove to the doubting self-imposed stylettes of the fashion world that style is not where you brought it from or the label stitched upon it, but how you wear it. Starting now, check out I wore it to work today...I had planned on revisiting the black shift dress and burgundy blouse from a couple of weeks ago, which is why I didn’t bother with ‘What I wore on Wednesday’ but changed my mind at the last minute. Don’t you love it? The skinny pants and jacket represent the new tuxedo suit I purchased from Cue recently for a ridiculous $156. More importantly check out the gorgeous teal blue trapeze top underneath (albeit a bit crumpled from the day's wear), silk and bead rosette and silk scarf adorning the handbag. Guess where I got them from?...Yep, Sussan! Let’s take a look...

Cue suit reduced from $440 to $156
Sussan trapeze stop on sale for $30
Sussan silk and bead rosette, $19.95
Sussan silk scarf, on sale at 50 per cent off the lowest marked price, $7.95
Necklace from Ritual, Harbour Town WA $10.00
Bling-ring from Diva $7.50 (not their best work, it broke and won’t be worn again!)
Wittner heels reduced to $30 two years ago.
Guess handbag, gift from Dr Love, nil.
Total price: $261.40

Check it out: Before you say anything, I know...the outfit as fabulous as it is mostly black. Normally I wouldn't advocate wearing so much black and my style goddesses of all time, Trinny & Susannah would probably roll-over in their exceptionally incredible wardrobes because I've mixed it with a bright colour, but the cut of this suit is so incredible that I simply had to have it and had to wear it. Similarly, the pull of the fine teal fabric was too great to resist even for me. Sometimes your clothes just talk to you, and when they do you should listen!

Monday, March 8, 2010

OMG! I love to shop...and all for under $200

I had every intention of telling you to rush out and buy the latest edition of Vogue – far be for me to take credit for a complete about-face on the hysterically high-end bells and whistles in favour for the much more affordable (not kidding, review on Sunday), but I had such a cracking weekend of shopping, I simply had to share. Now, everyone who knows me understands that I love to shop. It’s practically emblazoned across my forehead in thick black texta and when I die will be embossed on my headstone; here lies Milla, wife and mother who loves to shop. I can spot a sale at 100 feet and smell a bargain up-wind. When I get it into my head that I could do with something new the line between need vs want evaporates like perfume in an over-heated change-room that’s usually not much bigger than the smallest wardrobe in the world. And so I found myself at DFO South Wharf on Sunday with the wonderful Mel at my side. Nothing unusual about that except I was also there on Saturday helping my lovely friend Anna find a rocking outfit for an impending gig that would turn her from mum-on-a-budget into uber-edgie glamour puss.

Anyway, Mel and I had a hankering to find ourselves some half-price bling and spent a fabulous couple of hours wandering around our favourite stores. We hunted through bargains and marvelled at sales and spent 30-minute indulging in Veronika Maine with some of the most beautiful day dresses ever known to gorgeous girl-on-a-budget. Don’t you just love 50 per cent off sales? Ironically, neither a day-dress or bling-ring was in sight when we concluded our expedition, but I did acquaint Mel and reacquaint myself somewhat excitedly with the all-American icon of casual wear Abercrombie & Fitch, available at Frat House; a clearance store for the American-obsessed laid-back fashionista-at-home just like myself. I first fell in love with A&F and its little sister Hollister two years ago whilst on holiday to the USA. The 5th Avenue store in New York is something to behold with its night-club layout, lighting and pumping music and 20-something male models wearing nothing but a pair of low-slung jeans and an open jacket. Six-pack means a whole lot more than a few tins of beer when you are standing in line to secure yourself some style heaven!! As I don’t do ‘just around the house’, casual wear for me, as it should be for you is as important as what I wear on the street. Only with a lot less bling! Twenty minutes later I emerged with two, three-quarter length tee-shirts, one brown and one forest green, two lacy singlets in grey and brown and two tank tops in burgundy and blue. The latter of which I secured for a fabulous $5 each. Each item went a long way to fill the void created by the great cull that followed the birth of BB2. So satisfied was I by my purchases that I declared to Mel that I was ready for home! Two hours later however, I wandered into Sussan with a $50 voucher burning a hole in my pocket and walked out a pretty cotton teal trapeze top, french inspired striped and fitted tee-shirt with bat-wings and a checked fringe scarf. As for the bling, I brought it today...a simple but bedazzled pair of ear-rings, and black and gold square cut ring from Equip.

Hot tip: With A&F it is all about the layers, and this is the tip to looking uber-cool in a casual about-the-house kind of way. By adding a touch of lace and colour, you can style-up a day that would be otherwise be spent scrubbing the toilet and washing the floor. Add some bling and a big pair of sunglasses and you can walk out the door without worrying about what to wear next. The added advantages of any A&F purchase is most of their tee-shirts and singlets are long-lined and can be bunched about the waist to hide the post-baby belly, and the quality is fantastic. Feels like silk and rarely loses its shape even if you do wear it when you are nine months pregnant. Love it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunday night review (on Thursday...oops!)...Shop Til You Drop March edition

I can’t believe I’m about to say this but shopping is really getting in the way of my blog. I kid you not. I’ve had so many fabulous fashion experiences and style treats to share with you, but I’ve been so busy visiting my friend Sussan and paying my respects to her friends and enemies that I’ve barely had time to put fingers to keyboard. I so wanted to chat to you about the March edition of Shop Til You Drop, which I know is a little on the late side - the April edition is about to make its appearance on the supermarket shelves, but for the sake of helping you decide to buy or not to buy, it’s only fair I share. So here goes....

My new friend ‘An affair with fashion’ – oh my gawd, I love that name...why didn’t I think of it?...mentioned to me that like so many other glossy fashion mags, STYD is slowly and surely migrating to the dark side. Where there was once a concentration of low to mid looks that appeased our budget conscious desires, we are now teased with an over-abundance of high-end get-ups and glitter that we are never going to consider much less afford. Whilst the Feb edition could be excused for its OTT prices in favour of feeding the kids, its over-all look and feel in all the right places made me want to rush to the shops without passing go to replicate the next big fashion spend. On the surface, the latest glossy lacks the avant-garde flamboyancy of its previous month’s counterpart and requires a strong fortitude to search for the buried treasure that exists. But it does exist. You just need to get past the Roberto Cavalli bag ($2595) and Ralph Lauren shoes ($1195) on p25 of The Reporter to get to the plethora of bargain basement gems you oh so desire, starting with a Hilary Duff inspired en-some on p20. Just make sure you read the fine print otherwise you will miss it.

Despite the latest obsession with everything that has a couple of zeros behind it - it was a good 12 pages of Top ten buys and ‘latest must haves’ before anything remotely within my price range makes an appearance, this a bib necklace from Sussan for under $50 (p32), this magazine offers some cracking advice on what fabulous fashion treats to look out for and how to wear them at very reasonable prices. It also takes a high-end look with more brands than a LA housewife and teaches you how to replicate it. In fact it’s a little bit like a text book only not so boring or expensive. Case in point; the cutsie China doll spread (p48-55). Its vibrant colours and clashing prints are way to exy for my budget, but I discovered I could create a much cheaper version of the yellow Marni dress ($1995) and red Trelise Cooper military coat ($895) on p48 from the Barkins catalogue stapled to the spine at p66 for only $140.00. Do check out the Tony Bianco suede ankle boots ($189.95) however, I’m so in love with them, I want them now!

There is a ripping feature on bras and knickers on pg72-81 that everyone will love, and the Shop Style feature (p84-92) provides great advice on what looks are hot this season and how to wear them. The secret to making this section work for you is to ignore the featured items of apparel which are way to pricey and find your own. It won’t take as long as you think. By the way, just on bras and knickers, this is one area of fashion I try not to skimp on and if you’ve got E cups as famous as mine, neither should you. Take it from my mum who got a right ticking off when I realised she was still wearing bras from the 80s that were at least two sizes too small...a good fitting bra will change your life AND your wardrobe! You’ll find more affordable goodies throughout the Cheap & Chic (p103-116) although the fabulous people at STYD might want to re-think the opening far as myself and anyone else is concerned a lolly-pop pink leather jacket that retails for $599.95 is not cheap or chic! To finish it off, The Accessories Guide is the best thing ever invented since they whacked a DFO at South Wharf(p129-149). There are so many fabulous and affordable delights featured across this section that I may need to re-mortgage the house, starting with the blue suede ankle books for $149.95 from Siren Shoes (131).

So, as April is nearly upon us, my advice is this...if you are a STYD fan but have been feeling less than satisfied from your recent spend...stick with it! At least until the Devil actually does start wearing Prada. The secret to this fashion bible for the budget shopper is to use it as a guide to finding the best looks for the best prices. Most of the higher-end pieces can be replicated simply by sifting through the glamorous glossy pages and marking your fabulous finds. Who needs the bally ankle boots from the opening credits of the last’ve got Siren!

Oh yes, it also comes complete with its own little mini-mag for men with Robert Patterson on the front. If he was into fashion, which sadly he's not (cough cough) I'm sure Dr Love would like it. He'd just have to prize it from my fingers first!

Check it out: Ok, so you’ve got your latest STYD and you’ve found a look that you absolutely love but cannot afford or reasonably justify hiding from your husband in the wardrobe for six months. What do you do? Start sifting, and by sifting I mean pouring over each and every page until you find similar pieces that recreate the whole look for a whole lot less. Cut them out and stick them in your look-book if you must, but give it a go. It’s not going to be exact but it will be close enough and you might even surprise yourself by realising its better than the original because you put it together all by yourself and didn’t have to mortgage the house to do it. It’s the easiest and best way of ignoring what’s not in your price range and rediscovering what is and why you loved STYD in the first place. Enjoy.
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