Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shop your own wardrobe 101: part one - what I wore on wednesday

Ok boys and girls before we get started let’s get one thing straight. After two babies and a world class chocolate addiction that immerged victorious from a bittersweet battle with my local Fernwood, it is highly unlikely that you will ever see me parading downtown in a knotted shirt that exposes my mid-drift despite what Dr Love might think! But, this is the look that surprisingly inspired the very first lesson in Shop Your Own Wardrobe 101. I’m not quite sure what it was about this look that sparked the most recent surge of fashion creativity, there was after all, not a single vintage turban in sight. Perhaps it was the straight forward and uncomplicated pairing of a simple shirt with an ever-day pair of jeans that caught my attention. Whatever the reason when I waltzed out onto the street in my own version of this en some today, I looked and felt spectacular, and now you can too. So let’s get started.

1. Getting started – the key to shopping your own wardrobe without activating world war three with your own Dr Love who simply does not get it and probably never will, is to flick through a couple of magazines for inspiration. Take it from me going into your wardrobe cold turkey is a daunting experience and before you know it, you’ll be back at your local shopping centre giving your poor credit card a complete bashing.

What I did: Substituted mags for the SATC 2 almanac that I picked up from K-mart for $35 because I’m secretly in love with Carrie Bradshaw and thinking of changing my name to SJP.

2. Identifying the look – chances are you are not going to have an exact copy of a particular piece of clothing in your wardrobe or possess a similar body shape to your muse, so to avoid the melt that will follow these realisations, consider the entire “look” rather than the pieces of clothing that comprise the “look!” (that comes next).

In this example, it is a casual pairing of a shirt and jeans (or pants, don’t forget you can substitute depending on the occasion) with a pair of high heel shoes, bag and one simple but colourful accessory.

3. You’ve got the look, now what? – Now, break the look down into individual pieces in their most basic format and make a check list.

My checklist: (1) Light, almost neutral pair of skinny jeans (2) short sleeve shirt with collar (3) high heel shoes with embellishment (4) highline bag (5) wrist accessory.

4. Shop your own wardrobe – Using your check-list find items in your wardrobe that can be substituted for the originals to create a similar look, but one that is suited to your own shape, style and occasion.

This is how I did it:

(1) Jeans/pants - I don’t own a pair of light coloured skinny jeans and anyone with an hourglass or pear shape figure probably shouldn’t either (seriously people they will just add unwanted weight to your already weighted area), but I do own a pair of taupe coloured skinny trousers that I purchased from Wittner six months ago for $15 at DFO South Wharf (check one).

(2) Shirt - Ditto with the checked shirt, but my burgundy short-sleeve shirt from Cue will look fabulous worn on the outside of the pants and the front tie feature is a great substitute for the knot around the mid-drift (check two)

(3) Heels – my wardrobe is full of fabulous high heels shoes, but my classic black Marc Jacob heels with coloured leather dots are the perfect addition to this outfit and emulate a simple pair of pumps with some embellishment (check three)

(4) Bag – As I wanted to tailor this look for work purposes, my new light burgundy ‘Lucci’ bag purchased from Strand Bags for $34 a couple of weeks ago will do the trick, and

(5) Wrist accessory – take your pick, bangle, cuff or even a sweat band alah SJP if you have one on hand (no pun intended) will do. To finish off my look, I teamed a cute faux leather cuff with Diva diamante bling that I purchased during a 4 for $10 sale and set of bangles from Sportscraft that had been reduced from $59.95 to $22.50.

As it was a bit cold today – understatement of the world, I added my black tuxedo Cue jacket to ward off the arctic blast. As the jacket is one half of a fabulous suit, albeit in black and therefore helped to adapt the look to a work environment, it is also fitted at the waist, which kept the original silhouette of the look in place.

Check it out:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shop your own wardrobe...let me and the girls from SATC teach you how.

Hi kids! MFS has had a style makeover (don’t you love it) and so have I, but not in the way you might think. You see, I caught up with some fabulous friends recently and our conversation touched upon our respective wardrobes – mine of course being the the world...and what to do when you are desperate to restyle and restock but lack the funds to shop. Ahhh, I know it's ripping a bandaid straight from your skin.  Ouch! The obvious solution of course, is to shop your own wardrobe. Not a new concept, nor an original one. I’ve been harping on about it for years, but suddenly it struck me - a little bit like that Prada handbag in the head I’ve often talked about - what exactly does it mean, and how do you go about doing it without throwing everything you own into the toilet in a major style-crisis hissy fit because you have absolutely nothing to wear. It's all well and good me telling you to ‘do it’ really isn't it, but it is high time I actually showed you how and lucky for me I have the perfect motivation. My credit card! You remember the credit card don’t you? It was the one I voluntarily gave to Dr Love late last year because I could not be trusted. Well I have it back now, and guess what... I really can’t be trusted. So with an European holiday on the horizon for inspiration – hello H&M, so nice to meet you - and some serious attempts at reverse saving, I have decided to spend the next few months shopping my own wardrobe by re-creating the fabulous looks from Sex and the City 2 with nothing more than what I own and what I wear (supplemented by a tiny allowance of $30 a fortnight because seriously people, I’m not that strong)!. I start tomorrow with What I Wore on Wednesday...stay tuned, you are going to love it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunday night review on Tuesday...Shop Til You Drop July '10

Ok, I know it’s not Sunday but I really wish it was...what a day! At least I looked good. I’ve got this working from home wardrobe down to a fine art and there was not a trackie dack in sight, although I am some ways off from flouncing about in a full length day gown alah SJP from SATC 2. Truth be told, I had a hard time motivating myself to write a review for the latest Shop Til You Drop. Partly a reflection on the mag itself – I found very little by the way of fashion that aroused my style sense, and partly because after the excitement of all things shapes and sizes that was June– required reading for anyone who dares cross the threshold of their local shopping centre - the July edition of STYD is a return, somewhat disappointingly, to the norm. Took me by complete surprise actually. It started off with all the right fluff and glitter - Alexa Chung, former sidekick from the first series of Gok’s Fashion Fix lounged on the front cover in all her edgy-glam-grunge glory against a back drop of all my new favourite purple-plum shades, whilst words like “how to splurge smart”, “work in fashion” and "426 of winter’s sexist buys” leapt from the page in embossed and appealing delight! Even the light and bright contents page with its glam jewelled bling, killer heels and must have electric blue chairs shouted promises of fashion, lifestyle and beauty like no other. Yet, as I flicked through the pages on the first run I began to realise that there was little that tempted and teased my heighted need to bolt out the door to find the perfect outfit for the lastest girl’s night out. In fact it took me a good two or three determined, never-say-die read-throughs before I found anything that floated my boat. The latest edition of STYD, while still trying to stay true to the tried and fabulously tested method of delivering how-to on a budget – the “how to get the looks for under $50” really do excel against a backdrop of fashion spreads that are almost way out of my age range let alone price range (!) - featured just a little bit too many high priced items for my usual liking and went a long to camouflaging the treasures that did exists even if in part. This is evidenced by a 12-page dedication to the Australian Fashion Week (Sydney) and all things run-way (pg48-59), and a return to buying “luxe” items – now that the GFC has apparently drifted away on a not-so-still breeze. There was for my mind, an over-concentration on pants in this issue. Now don’t get me wrong, I rather like a good pant – actually I love a good pant, my teeny tiny wardrobe is full of them, but the majority of those that graced the pages of the Shopping Spree feature (pg80-89) were rather scary and I really don’t care what anyone says...I can’t see myself in a pair of jeggings anytime in the near future (hmmm didn't I say that about skinny jeans once...something about Colonel Saunders and southern friend chicken legs!) As for leopard print pantaloons – never going to happen!

In fairness, by the third go-around, I found plenty of information and tid-bits that redeemed in part the quality of this likable little fashion mag. In fact, I’m even thinking of subscribing so-as to save myself $31 a year – that’s a half a Vogue subscription right there!! Oh yeah, and to be in with a chance to win a $1000 worth of clothing from Pepe Jeans London. Editor Justine Cullen offers an interesting insight into fashion week – not so glamorous when you are forced to stand for 16 hours in five inch platforms girlies, and I loved the two page tribute to the glam girls from SATC 2...stay tuned for my own take on how to ‘get the look.’ Sadly, I just had to hunt a little bit too hard to find them. Oh well, you can’t win them all. Would I buy it if I was you...yes if you are a true STYD fashionista because like me, you will keep reading the bloody thing until you hit fashion pay-dirt. If not, borrow it from a friend. You still might like it.

Milla’s hot tip: If you decide to pass on the July edition of STYD, then make sure you grab yourself the August publication on sale July 12 for your chance to win hundreds of pairs of shoes – now that floats my boat so much I'm practically flying. To get your hands on a pair of high-end, high heeled glammies (or flat and fabulous cheapies) all you have to do is follow the STYD team on Twitter to find out in which secret locations these little gems have been hiding. Alternatively check it out on

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What to do in a wardrobe crisis

My wonderful friend Mel is having a wardrobe crisis, and as someone who has suffered a number of such crises over the years my own wardrobe bleeds in sympathy. Any sufferer will tell you that a wardrobe crisis is no laughing matter. Dr Love! It can turn even the most creative and stylish of us into a sobbing, heaving mess on the bedroom floor with our body image hovering somewhere near our suddenly over-large ankles. Nothing fits! Everything looks old, worn and so last season. Even our skin has morphed into a canvas of dry, cracked and peeling paint and as for our hair. Well...paper bag anyone? Shopping loses its glossy appeal. We can’t find anything we like. Everything we try on makes our arms look like tree trunks from the Enchanted Forest, only without the fairies and no matter what we do, we still look as though we swallowed our grandmother’s feather bed...ah the memories.

Lucky for Mel, I knew exactly what to do. I had been on that very brink only a few months before and managed to bring myself back from beyond without so much as a single kleenix. The solution was simple. It was time for Mel to bid farewell to her nearest and dearest, and find herself some new stores in which to shop. You see, as humans we are creatures of comfort and by comfort I don’t mean a big, soft cosy couch. I mean, we seek situations, people and places that make us feel safe and comfortable and without realising it, our lives become repetition. For the vast majority of us, we will shop in the same stores, and seek the same look because it makes us feel safe and in some situations, accepted. Our favoured stores and much loved jeans rarely let us down. We have always found what we’ve wanted, or at the very least an acceptable compromise and in turn we’ve been able to go about our business without detriment or drama. For the most part we resist change for any number of self-justifiable reasons - how many times have you got up in the morning determined to wear a dress only to find yourself walking out the door in your trusty denims because nothing else fits?? Then one day without realising it your whole world explodes. It’s a little bit like the time you ate nothing but toasted cheese sandwiches for breakfast for five months, then in the sixth months you burst into tears at the slightest smell of a bit of cheddar because your body craved something else. Same principle. For me, the turning point was the day I had my colours done. All of my favourite stores – Sussan, Witchery, Country Road, Jacqui E...need I go on were full of blacks, greys and white and the odd pop of whatever colour was hot off the runway that season. It occured to me then I needed to change not only the way I shopped, but where I shopped otherwise I would condemn myself to a life of neutral compromise. So I began to look for colour first and then shape and style and suddenly a whole new and glorious world of fashion appeared before me; a world that I now will share with my wonderful friend Mel.

As I text her back to sooth her fashion fears, I was reminded of a great story I once heard (and now paraphrase) about a man who fell down a hole in the middle of the street. He called out for people to help him, but no-one came. Then one day another man appeared at the edge of the hole and asked the first man what had happened. “I fell down the hole,” the first man said. “Can you help me get out?” “Certainly,” said the second man and jumped into the hole. “What are you doing?” said the first man in panic, “now both of us are stuck down the hole.” “Yes,” said the first man, “but I’ve been here before, and I know the way out.”

So Mel, when are we going shopping?

Milla’s hot tips:Ok, so you get the whole new-store-old-store concept but your budget doesn’t allow for a generous or short-term shopping spree. What do you do? grab yourself a friendly style queen in training and shop your own wardrobe. You will be amazed at the number of new en sems you can create with a new pair of eyes. Make sure your SQIT (style queen in training, don’t you just love it) is someone you can trust to be honest. You need someone that will help you decide what goes with what and what looks best for your body shape. If in doubt, immerse yourselves with a couple of fashion mags and set about recreating some of your favoured looks. While you are at it, grab a pen and start to make a list of items you would like to buy to complement your new wardrobe then next time you are out, look for that item – colour and might be surprised where you end up. If you are still not sure about colour, experiment. You'll soon work it out...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gap coming to Melbourne

Hot off the Shop Til You Drop press (July edition, stay tuned for review on Sunday) Gap is finally heading down under with the first store expected to open at the Chadstone Shopping Centre in July/August. I'm so beside myself, I may have to save...again!! More later, it's time to bath the kids. xx

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fashion fantasy of over-embellished love love it!

Watched Sex and the City 2 last night and loved it so much I’m thinking of glamming up in a sequined frock and popping down to the nearest karaoke bar for a spot of power singing in celebration of what can only be described as the ultimate chick flick part 2. From the opening credits, the second big screen instalment of HBO’s fashion phenomenon promised to deliver way more bling and glitter than your average over-dressed Fifth Avenue fashionista. If anyone expected this much anticipated release to be anything more than an exaggerated version of its previous sensational self then they clearly have never had the urge to do the SATC tour when they last visited New York, such is their interest. This flick was nothing more than what it was supposed to be...a fashion fantasy of over-embellished proportions that follows the lives of four Manhattan women with fabulous if not at times slightly weird and scary dress sense, interspersed with exotic locations, hilarious one-liners and adored memories of times gone by...if those teal Manolos from SATC 1 ever appear on ebay, I’m buying them!! Among the glitz and glamour that exploded from the psychedelic mind of one well-known P. Fields and her team of style gurus, various fashion statements (please note that I did not refer to them as clothes, one would never dare) appeared at times a little costumesque. I mean really who does a full-length asymmetrical shirt with hoop and train to a middle-eastern market. Seriously! Rather than detract from the believability of the film, the girls and their circumstance however, the choice of the over-the-top added too the overall site-splitting fantasy that manifested into the new decade. Undeniably one of the strongest style elements that no-one, not even the most cynical of budding fashionistas can the intimate knowledge of what colour and which styles show off four of the best known bods in the modern world and you – yes you, should take note so you too can look like a Hollywood glamour queen of the new decade. For my mind, Miranda was the ultimate stand out, and my wonderful friend Mel will concur – she saw the flick on Friday night and sent me a text well before my eyes opened the following day. Her outfits, Miranda that is not Mel (although she is looking mighty fabulous of those skinny jeans) were elegant, timeless and so drop-dead gorgeous that Mel is considering having a couple of them made and I’m thinking of joining her! Oh except the paisley pant suit with halter-neck on arrival in Abu Dhabi, not such a fan. If I were asked to share with you one negative in a wardrobe of drool-worthy positives then it would be Carrie crossing over to the red side and ditching her signature Blahnik’s for the latest shoe must-have, Christian Louboutin. Now far be for me to diss a good Louboutin, but ever since I saw a local lass trying and failing to strut her stuff in a pair of red specials at my local supermarket, the big C has well and truly lost its gloss. Then again, I do understand her desire to change...I haven’t been into a Sussan store in weeks.

SATC 2, go and see it. It’s fun, funny and fashilious.

Check it out: Love the movie, love the fashion but have about as much chance of owning any of the en sems as being on the receiving end of an all-expense paid holiday to the new middle east courtesy of a dashing sheik, then pop down to your local K-mart store and buy the book. For $35 you could be the proud owner of the complete gloss pot of style as seen on SATC. This fabulous fashion almanac features all the girlie glamour in 2-day glory plus individual breakdowns of Carrie’s most unforgettables – trackie dacks and long-sleeve tees no longer cut it on the couch people! Buying mine tomorrow and then hitting the smallest wardrobe in the world for a little bit of SATC 2 of my own. See you on the sequined side.

P.S. I would normally advise you to go onto the SATC 2 website - it's got a shop, but quite frankly it's a bit annoying so don't bother.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Diana Ferrari...Apple Queen

Took my fabulous and much loved cousin Glennie B shopping the other day. She is visiting from interstate and we have been counting the days until we hit the stores with mutual gusto. Such was my excitement; I even saved for the occasion. Unbelievable! Glennie B is from the same side of the family as my young cousin Kate only without the Brady Bunch tee-shirt. Glennie B was on the hunt for a frock for a friend’s forth coming wedding and it was my job to not only discover the much-sought after said frock, but also to accessorize. I had a free reign to run the fashion gauntlet in record breaking time. I was in heaven. Glennie B is your classic apple shape; rounded on the top with drop-dead gorgeous long legs and a high small bum. Apple shaped girlie girls are quite possibly the only body shape that look super sensational in anything cut on the bias and usually have the rest of us – particularly the hour-glass and pear shaped varieties gaping in awe, groaning in despair and silently wishing they would sprout horns and a tail because we too want a bum just like that, why don’t we, it’s not fair!! Dressing apple shaped beauties however can be rather difficult. For the most part their bodies are more disproportionate and they often suffer with an undefined waist, short neck, tummy and rounded shoulders. For Glennie B, we needed to look for something that widened her shoulders, lengthened her neck, shortened her torso, created a waist, hid her tummy and evened out her lovely legs. Or put more simply, pop a granny smith into an hourglass and add a pair of heels.

We had just over an hour to accomplish this task and both of us were up for the challenge. Dr Love assumed control of BB1, BB2 and the remote control and we hurried off to indulge in a little bit of late night shopping. We spent a few minutes playing around so I could re-familiarise myself with my muse then got serious. There was only one store I wanted to play in that night and she called herself Diana. Diana Ferrari. I’ve dappled on and off with a little bit of DF in the past and will admit have found her a tad hit and miss for the asking price. When I had my colours done however, I began to appreciate this well-known icon in a different light. Literally. Whilst the majority of main-stream fashion moguls continued to subscribe the well known palette with a dollop of colour on a canvas that drowned in neutrals (Witchery, Jacqui E, Country know who I mean), Diana embraced the rainbow in all its kaleidoscopic beauty and instead presented a collection of elegantly constructed classics for the modern girl and all her glory in a myriad of lovely and varied colours. There was a dress I particularly wanted to put Glennie B into...a classic knee length silhouette with high empire waist embellished with bling and wide shoulder straps in a striking and rich teal blue (dolce vita dress). The fabric floated off the body in all the right places, and excess fabric pleated at the bodice and over the tummy created a stunning hour-glass shape by filling out the cleavage, creating a high narrow waist and cleverly disguising a problem mid-section. A thoughtful and quick thinking sales assistant handed over a pair of mid-high black satin peep-toes adorned with diamantes and we watched as this girl lost two sizes and grew ten feet in the space of a few minutes. We hit the jackpot and had this budding stylist in tears of delight. One can't help but wonder it good form to upstage the bride on her wedding day??

Milla’s hot tip: If you want to experience superior customer service and be spoiled for choice then you need to slip into your ballet flats and race down to visit Diana Ferrari at Highpoint Shopping Centre, Maribyrnong. It is a shopping delight for any shape, silhouette or occasion. The helpful and friendly sales staff are unobtrusive and all-knowing. They will pop your garments of choice into the French inspired and might I say, well lit change-rooms, hand you a pair of shoes to complete your look without pressuring you to buy, then suggest additions and add-ons that complement your style. I will admit, there is some inclination to accessorize everything with black – black shoes, black boots, black clutch, black coat, black cardi, so think outside the square and experiment with the gorgeous colours on offer – you are spoiled for choice. I put Glenni B in a stunning purple satin pencil dress that spoke volumes of Hollywood glamour and added a knee-length woollen blend frock coat in deep fuchsia (with waist tie – you should see it with jeans). Our excited sales assistant jumped on the band wagon by complementing the look with a pair of muted burgundy satin peep toes, and we added a vibrant clutch covered in violet sequins. Marilyn Monroe anyone?

Check it out: Glennie B left DF that night with the teal dress, black shoes AND the fuchsia coat. I’m talking her into the purple number with the shoes.
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