Friday, 26 June 2015

My Go-To Pieces: Part 2 - Citizens of Humanity Jeans

Citizens of Humanity (CoH) Avedon and Arielle skinny blue jeans.

Where From
In New Zealand, you can buy CoH from Fabric. Online, there are many options but for free shipping Shopbop and Revolve Clothing are best.

Expect to pay around NZ$290.00 full price for Avedon and around $315.00 for Arielle.

The Avedon low-rise skinny was my introduction to CoH jeans, about two years ago. I took a real leap of faith. Finally getting my weight under control, I wanted a pair of designer jeans so after a bit of research, chose the Avedon. I like my skinnies to sit on the ankle and these are the perfect length. I own two pairs in slightly different mid-blue washes ('Cannes' and 'Cruz'). I later added a pair of Arielle mid-rise skinnies to my collection (in 'Weekender' wash).

Why they Work
Of the two styles, the Avedon has thinner, softer fabric and a much lower rise than the Arielle. They are so incredibly comfy for jeans and they have held their shape very well despite my wearing them a great deal. The wash goes with everything, and the cut of the rear is amazingly flattering. The most versatile and hard-working jeans I own and so worth the money.

The Arielle cut is mid-rise which at first took a bit of getting used to. Not high-rise like mom jeans but definitely not low-rise. The fabric is slightly thicker than the Avedon but still soft and comfortable. Shorter in the leg than the Avedon. Again, like the Avedon, just a cool and versatile jean. Cut well on the butt and legs and CoH has (in my opinion) the best range of mid-blue washes that work with everything.

Buying Tips
I wear a size 32 which is a perfect NZ 14. I have a tummy and no butt but both the Avedon and Arielle work well for my shape. Go for your normal size. If you are super tall (I'm 5' 10" with long legs) and want a full-leg length, these are not the jeans for you.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

New Zealand Gets FCUKd

Forgive the title of this post (crass but irresistible).

After weeks of keeping my beady eye on Nuffield Street, on my Tuesday morning coffee walk I noticed that the French Connection store fit-out is finally underway. The website says that the store will be open in June 2015. A month later than the hype earlier this year suggested, but underway. My Air NZ Kia Ora magazine a couple of weeks ago said that the store opened in May! No doubt newsletter subscribers will receive an email announcing the grand opening.

The arrival of French Connection comes hot on the heels of two other international brands (Topshop and Seed Heritage). This is great news for the NZ fashionista, and a good shake up for some tired local brands (Glassons and Max I'm looking at you).

So what does French Connection have to offer the 40-plus woman? A lot as it happens. And their sizing goes up to a NZ 16. FCUK is more about casual wear, but some items can be interpreted as work wear with some imagination. Here are my picks from the current collection. All prices in AUD:

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Getting Some Inspiration

Since late last year I have been working from home three days a week. I'm fortunate in having a career (and an employer) that makes this possible. Although I love the flexibility and work/life balance, there has been one surprising down-side.

I have only two days in which to dress for work (and one of those days is casual Friday).

I know I have a choice. I could go into the office more. But the benefits of my arrangement far outweigh any negatives. To be honest, I have found it harder and harder to get outfit inspiration and I'm certainly not shopping as much as I once did. Add to that the fact that Sara (my photographer) has been unavailable for outfit shoots since the start of the year!

I follow many fashion blogs but most are curated by younger women (based in the US) so whilst I enjoy them, I rarely get inspired to recreate those outfits. And many items are brands that do not ship to New Zealand.

After last weekend with my sister, and perusing the stores (which I haven't done in a while), I decided to open my mind and be inspired by fashion once more. I thought I would start with the Pinterest board I started a while back. Many of these outfits I could recreate using items I currently own...

Grey sweatshirt under leather jacket with blue skinnies and heels

Chambray shirt and loose bun

White and black

Leather pants, stripes and tan sandals

Slouchy but polished

Spring outfit/full pants/structured top


Sandra Bullock in Michael Kors | Tom & Lorenzo

Monday, 1 June 2015

Wellington Sisters' Weekend Purchases

Success! I managed to pick up some very cool pieces (as well as a few gifts for family and friends). Here's what I bought for myself:

Maygar Sleeve Top
This cute funnel-neck top from Country Road is beautifully soft. It drapes so well and is one of those minimalist pieces that is easy and works with most things. Reminds me of Calvin Klein's collections from the 1990s which I always admired.

This long-sleeved tee from Lonely Hearts has killed two shopping birds with one stone. First, I always wanted a slogan tee but never found a slogan I liked. This one features lush embroidered text (not a print) and it's not controversial. Second, I wanted a long-sleeve tee for the cooler months that drapes well and allows for the perfect front-tuck into skinny jeans. Hey, that's harder to achieve than you think - not all tops do it! This one I'll be styling with skinny jeans and pointed-toe black heels for casual Fridays and with jeans and white sandshoes on the weekend.

My first Hush Puppies purchase! These boots plug the 'weekend boots' gap in my closet. The heel is low but not flat, and they're perfect for running around in.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

My Go-To Pieces: Part 1 - Saint James Minquiers 10 Breton Top

Over the past 18 months, I have thought hard about what I truly love to wear and what works well for me.

De-cluttering is a big topic right now. There are books a-plenty teaching you how to escape 'stuffocation'. One of the concepts I really like is from Marie Kondo who says "discard anything that doesn't spark joy". This is probably a good place to start when embarking on paring down your wardrobe because, if it doesn't fit, flatter and make you feel great it won't get worn.

I am a minimalist in life, but it's actually taken me a long time to apply this trait to my closet. At the tender age of soon-to-be-44, I think I have finally cracked it. It's about quality over quantity, and learning to identify what it is about a piece of clothing that makes you reach for it again and again.

This is the first part of a series where I explain why key pieces of my wardrobe work so well for me.

Saint James Minquiers 10 Long-Sleeve Breton Top in White/Navy (Neige/Marine)

Where From
In New Zealand, a small range of Saint James tops is stocked in Karen Walker boutiques. Online you can order direct from Saint James in France.

Around NZ$110.00.

Why it Works
The combination of perfect shades of off-white and navy, a neck somewhere between crew and boat, and a boxy over-sized cut make this the perfect breton top. The cotton is super-soft making it a great lounging item, but it also looks fabulous as a casual Friday piece with skinny jeans and heels. I have worn mine half-tucked into a pencil skirt and with jeans and white sandshoes or ballet flats on the weekend.

I get about a year out of one top but I wear mine a lot. It washes like a rag in the machine, but slowly shrinks over time. I find that the sleeves and body get shorter and shorter as time goes by. I always cuff my sleeves so it's less of an issue. The upside is that these tops make excellent shoe-polishing rags at the end of their wearable life!

Buying Tips
This unisex top is meant to be oversized, not fitted. I am a standard NZ 14/36C and I wear a size L in this top. I find the M too short in the arms and body.

Side note: Saint James also makes a short-sleeve version of this top which I also love. Perfect for layering under a blazer (see bottom photo).

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Annual Wellington Shopping Sisters Weekend

It's that time of year again! Next weekend, my sister Tanya and I will be descending on Wellington and the Wairarapa for some serious shopping, eating and general sisterly high-jinks.

This is our 11th year. Over time, our shopping habits have changed a lot. In the beginning, we would start at the Lambton Quay end of town, working through the high-street shops, spending ages in each. Our measure of a successful day? Bags full to the brim with cheap tatt.

Lately, we begin in Wakefield Street and Cuba Quarter, spending more time in boutiques that offer something different. Our budgets are roughly the same as they ever were, but we buy less and spend more time laughing and having coffee.

Interestingly, both Tanya and I have nothing absolutely vital that we want or need. But I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for:

  • Black skinny jeans
  • A faux leather jacket
  • A black coat
  • Low-heeled ankle boots
  • Work pants
  • A white cotton shirt
  • A dress for work

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Cold Enough for Cashmere

The new cashmere scarf had its maiden outing today! I am in love with this scarf. I decided to tie it in the pretzel tie and it looks great! Watch this cute video (the pretzel tie technique is at 1.17).