Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Its not the size that's important. It's what you do with it!

I was standing in front of my wardrobe yesterday contemplating my work-from-home-attire when it struck me that maybe...just actually believes it really is the smallest wardrobe in the world. If it was, I hear you ask, how you do continually roll out outfit upon outfit upon ensemble with reckless abandon and still lay such a claim? Simple, I tell you. It just takes good planning, fabulous organisation that you will not see replicated in any other part of my house (or life, seriously I’m so aesthetically relaxed it’s beyond ridiculous!) and a lot of sharing with Dr Love! You see, my wardrobe measures a paltry 99cm (39“) from wall to wall and only half of that allows for hanging long garments such as dresses or jackets. I also own 57 pair of shoes. Not many by Emelda’s standard, but still takes considerable amount of storage space never-the-less. Now I will admit that because Dr Love has storage issues of his own, we splashed out last year and acquired a little two door locker from the shop around the corner. This has afforded me another 43cm (17”) of hanging space which I reserve for my dresses, and room for approximately 10 pairs of shoes. Oh yes, and there is also the built-in single wardrobe in BB2s room, which Dr Love and I share with BB2 in a collage of winter coats, evening dresses, miniature frocks and smocks and other baby-type paraphernalia that is no longer in use. Even with a combined total of 172 cm (98”) it is hardly appropriate for a budding style queen from the suburbs, but what is a girl supposed to do? This...

I store all of my shoes in boxes, so I can stack them one on top of the other, although it does mean sacrificing long garment hanging space in the main storage area, affectionately known as the you-know-what. Flip flops and other summer sandals with little substance are thrown (with great care) into a basket that sits on top of the shared cupboard from the shop around the corner. All of my shirts, blouses, tops and cardigans that cannot be reasonably folded into the one draw that is currently operational in the shared cupboard hang off slim wooden coat hangers procured from the reject shop for $2.50 for a bunch of 5. I don’t do wire or plastic hangers because they are nasty. Trousers and skirts hang off double metal clamp hangers in a two-for-one kind of way, and jeans and trackie pants and tops are folded and sit on top of the little set of built-in draws which allow for approximately two sets of bras, three knickers and a hanky such is their relevance! Day dresses I hang in the shared space alongside scarves. A few months ago I purchased three French inspired coat and hat hooks that I attached to the side of the shared space, which provide a fitting home for my in-use handbags, a few hats (that I never wear) and the fabulous winter coat I brought from Cue for 50 per cent off the lowest marked price. Other handbags and clutches hang out in second storage space above TSWITW together three pairs of boots, which all require the kitchen ladder whenever I decide to use them. Belts and necklaces hang from an over-the-door rail also purchased from the reject shop for $2.50 and socks, tights, stockings and gloves are stored in a wicker cube with lid that I brought from target about six year ago that also serves as a door stop and mini table for a book and box of tissues!

But that’s not all. I’m a huge advocate of seasonal storage and three years ago began to pack up all my anti-seasonal attire that cannot be realistically accommodated in the varying degrees of hot or cold weather. A simple suitcase stored under a bed is a perfect solution. Storing your fluffies when it’s hot or your next-to-nothings when it’s cold is a great way of forgetting what you have and then getting excited when you find it again. It is also a fantastic way to help you part with something you should, but can’t like those favourite pair of jeans or the Alannah Hill cardigan you spent a fortune on that faded, stretched and unravelled in the wash despite following all instructions. Put it away for a few months and when you eventually pull it out, you wondered why you kept it in the first place.

So, there you go. It’s not the size that matters but what you can do with it!
Happy organising.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shop your own wardrobe 101 part 3: From urban limo to desert camel. What are the odds!

It is fair to say that I do not own a pair of skinny jeans embellished across the bottom with row upon row of diamante-bell-bling. But, my sojourn into the smallest wardrobe in the world over the weekend was so successful that even without a friendly bedazzler, I very nearly didn’t come out! I’m not kidding, I had such fun and created so many outfits I wouldn’t be surprised if I broke the record for the world’s longest glamathon! It all started Saturday night when in the middle of the dishes, it occurred to me that not only had it been over a week since I’d had the chance to post on my blog but the whole reverse saving thing I’m putting myself through is pure torture. Made all the more unbearable by the discovery of the on-line Anthropologie store that delivers to Australia for a small fortunate as introduced to myself by my wonderful, if not evil friend Mel! It was either hit the wardrobe or bust, and with a couple of fabulous friends popping over tomorrow it was a perfect excuse to frock it up for a long overdue chin wag. So I hit the shop...I mean wardrobe with the SATC 2 almanac in one hand and a supportive glass of wine in the other.

I had an idea of what which outfit I wanted to create in my new favourite fashion fantasy...SJP stepping out of a white limo en-route to a camel in the middle of the desert. The overall look is laid back glamour with a zesty infusion of Arabic inspired bling consisting of a kaftan or frock in chiffon over trousers with a peep-toe heel and blazer. Nothing really matches but looks good anyway. Bit of a stretch for me really. I’m a throw back from the 50s and bit partial to top and tailing where my accessories or garments on the top match my accessories on the bottom. Open yourself up to the possibilities of rag-tag with non-mix non-match however, and you’ll be kept blissfully busy for hours. Just ask Dr Love.

Let’s break it down:

Skinny trousers/jeans with ruching and embellishment: Skinny jeans that bunch around the ankle are a great substitute for what I consider to be the signature piece of this look, and far more readily available than the bedazzler.

Tunic or dress in partly transparent fabric: I was completely spoilt for choice with this part of the outfit. As luck would have it, I have a blue tunic in almost the exact same colour and texture. What are the odds! Granted, it’s a left over from my maternity days but it has such a lovely cut and empire detail that I simply could not part with it and well to be honest... if I didn’t tell wouldn’t know. In lieu of this particular gem however (I accidently pulled off one of the ties in my excitement and it requires mending), a gorgeous thigh length tunic dress brought on sale and worn to the opening night of SATC 1, is a fabulous substitute and helps to personalise the look away from SJP and toward MFS.

Blazer: I have three blazers in various shades of brown that I could have used for this look, but you can substitute whatever colour you have at hand. I went with a soft muted brown with a faint pin stripe, which is one half of a suit. Instant ensemble to wearable separates. What a way to make the most of your wardrobe.

Peep toe platforms: The original peep toes as worn by SJP were a stunning pair of ivory Giuseppe Zanottis with diamante heels. Nice! I substituted with a dark purple suede pair I purchased from Betts for $30.

Clutch: Easy peasy Camp easy...I have a selection to choose from and went with the black satin with vintage inspired jewelled clasp my fabulous sister-in-law Carol gave me for Christmas. What a good woman.

Silver cuff: I don’t have a silver cuff, so I decided to match up with the black satin clutch and put a black wooden bangle I brought from Bardot for $5 together with a beige plastic bangle I purchased as part of a set for $20 from a funky little boutique in Anglesea whilst on a mum’s group weekend away. Ah, the memories.

Fan: Yes, you read right. SJP has a fan and guess what? So do I courtesy of a pre-wedding honeymoon to Madrid in ’03. Not that I need carry a fan in this weather, but what the hey...I’ve got it so I might as well use it.

Pendant: For a colour contrast against the blue fabric of the tunic, I went with a gold and burnt orange accessory I purchased from Sussan for about $10.

Lime green hanky with red trim poking out from the blazer pocket: I opted out!

Check it out...I included both variations on the tunic for your viewing pleasure. Love it so much I’m wearing the light blue variation to work on Friday. Doesn’t it look glam!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I went shopping today and didn't spend a cent!

A funny thing happened on the way to the smallest wardrobe in the world today. That scrumptious monochromatic look that adorned SJP on arrival in Abu Dhabi that I replicated on Monday suddenly morphed into a completely new and fabulous outfit without me breaking a single nail. Not that I should be nails aren’t that long and more’s what happens when you start to shop your own wardrobe. Inspiration floods your otherwise disregard for anything that isn’t new, while visions of glamour grandeur unexpectedly pop into your head and you can’t get home quick enough to frock up and brag about it to Dr Love. It all started with the brown empire dress from Diana Ferrari. I was lamenting over the weather and how long it would be before I could step out in style in my fabulous new outfit, when in the safety of my style obsessed mind, the dress hooked up with the dark denim skinny jeans I purchased from Sussan a few weeks ago for $39.95. I used to be a huge advocate of the frock-over-the-pants kind of look. Very forward thinking of me if I don’t say so myself because it would be another five years before I discovered Trinny and Susannah from What Not To Wear and learned it was a particular favourite of theirs when dressing those of us with good old fashion child-baring hips. Somewhere along the line however, I lost my frock-pant mojo thus denying myself and my thighs the Trinny-esque pleasure of a lengthened leg until a couple of weeks ago, when I pulled on said pair of skinny jeans under a teal wrap dress because let’s face it, it was frigging freezing and a pair of tights was simply not going to cut it. I added a pair of gorgeous DF shoes that I have been stalking ever since re-discovering the Notebook magazine several months ago, and picked up that week for the grand sum of $28 when all I was looking for was a bunch of semi-ripe bananas and pack of sausages. Go figure! Suddenly, my Moroccan inspired gold cuff (diva special) joined the party as did a pair of plain hooped ear-rings and fail-safe Guess handbag. For a bit of extra warmth I grabbed my banana yellow cardi with the three-quarter length sleeves that I brought for $12 from one of those disposal stores on the ground level of my local shopping centre and for all my shopping efforts, I didn’t spend a cent. Who says you can’t have style in the suburbs on a budget!!!

check out the close-ups:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shop your own wardrobe 101, part two: From Halston to Diana Ferrari, how you can do it too

I decided to play around with turbans today in honour of SJPs gorgeous little pink do on arrival in Abu Dhabi. Rather brave of me actually because I have a flat head. I’m not kidding, I inherited it from my mother , the back of my head is almost completely flat so anything that interferes with my big hair is a recipe for absolute disaster. Lucky for me, I know that when you emulate the outfit of one of the world’s most famous and fabulous fashionistas you do so knowing how to adapt the look to suit your own body shape, and your head people, is no exception. This was actually a fun and surprisingly easy look to imitate despite the fact that I do not own an asymmetrical kaftan and have said flat head. The trick with shopping your own wardrobe is not to replicate an exact outfit – seriously, do you know anyone else who owns such a number other than the fine folk from SATC 2? It is to reproduce the ‘look’ by substituting the individual pieces with items that you already own. In this instance, we are replicating a monochromatic outfit (meaning an outfit comprising of pieces in different shades of the same colour) where the central piece is a silky floaty dress, accessorized by a head scarf, or if you are the proud owner of a normal head, a turban. Here is how I did it:

(1) Floaty silk or satin dress in one colour – no problem, I just brought a gorgeous chocoloate brown satin knee length frock with empire waist from my new favourite store Diana Ferrari (sorry Sussan, sad but colourfully true). It was a complete bargin. Reduced from 169.95 to $40.00.

Now, it is important to note that as a busty hourglass – remember the E cups, a trapeze dress or kaftan – one that falls from the shoulder or neck in an A-line cut, such as the one that adorns the oh-so fabulous bod of our good friend CB, no matter how much I wish it, will look simply ridiculous on my curvaceous frame. Those of us with curves, need shape through our frocks to emphasis our teeny tiny waist, which may be high or low, or we will end up looking as though we have chowed down on an African elephant over brunch. Not a good look by anyone’s standards. This type of frock best suits those with limited curves, or those girlie girls with an inverted triangle shape as it evens out the widest part of their body – usually the shoulders with their lower half. An empire cut will show off an hourglass or pear shaped body’s smallest area (beneath the bust) and by keeping it soft and floaty will make a perfect substitute for the real thing.

(2) Vintage turban – now that we’ve established my deepest darkest secret, a turban is not going to work with my flat head. But if I wrap my Sussan scarf in shades of blues, black, ivory and beige so it crosses over at the crown and then tie it an inch or two behind my left ear, I am free to boof out my big hair and continue to keep the world in the dark. The colours of the scarf, as with this look are in contrast to the brown frock. As with the frock, I have tailored this particular accessory to make the most of my finest assets. Big hair.

(3) Strappy heels – I only wish I had a pair of strappy Manolos, but alas the smallest wardrobe in the world cannot brag such a coup. Unfortunately for me, nor do I own a pair of brown strappies so I have made an allowance and gone with a cute pewter pair for good luck. For a slightly original look, I could also use my chocolate wedges that I purchased from Wittner for $30 two years ago but between you me and the back fence, I am getting a little tired of teetering on platforms and could do with a break.

(4) Thin gold cuff – again, no go on the cuff, but I do have a vintage oroton bracelet I rescued from a Mother Fox garage sale. Really woman, do you remember you have a daughter with a fashion obsession!!

(5) Gold necklace with sparkles – As I have opted to go with silver – not my colour but one can compromise, I have matched my bracelet with a silver necklace with miniature bling. Nice touch.

(6) Sunglasses – I only own one pair...and I call myself a style queen in training!! So it’s the bargain Basques brought for 50% less the RRP during the post-christmas sales whilst on holiday in Perth, which incidentally has a silver blingy bit on the side...what luck, and finally

(7) Handbag – an unusual little brown number created from a placemat made from twigs, which I brought from a market on a whim several years ago. Forgot I had it therein lies the beauty of shopping your own wardrobe.


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