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).

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Shopbop Purchases: Review

Online shopping is risky. I have made my share of mistakes in the past. But I seldom make them now. Once you know which brands, styles and fabrics work for you, stick with them. In my view, online shopping is not ideal for experimenting with a new trend. I buy online chiefly because I can't find the brand here in New Zealand. And I typically time my purchases to when a special offer is running.

My two latest Shopbop purchases (one was a gift from Paul) are an example of savvy e-purchasing.

The Citizens of Humanity Arielle Jeans are a departure from my usual Avedon style. But because I know the brand well and they are still skinny jeans, this increased the likelihood of my liking them. The jeans are lovely. Slightly thicker denim, mid rise (not my go-to low rise) and a more faded worn-in look. Different to the norm but not radically so. They work with everything I would normally wear with skinny jeans.

My new White + Warren cashmere wrap was more of a risk. I asked myself "how can you go wrong with a plan grey cashmere wrap?". But it was more about the size and thickness for me. I wanted a full scarf/wrap but not so thick as to be uncomfortable around my neck. This scarf is 100% cashmere, and so is half the weight of merino. It's light, warm and so very soft. It will be excellent on the plane and I can finally retire my old merino wrap! It's also stylish in the heather grey shade I purchased. And - it goes with everything, from a Breton top to a white tee to a black sweater. Pure. Love. Can't wait for it to get colder so I can wear it!

By making use of a superb 25% discount (and free shipping), and buying classic styles from trustworthy brands, my hard-earned money (and Paul's!) was well spent.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Black Tie

Top: Gregory |  Trousers: Gregory  |  Shoes: Mi Piaci  |  Earrings: Found Jewellery  |  Ring and Bangle: Country Road  |  Sunglasses: Karen Walker 'Deep Freeze'
All Images © Copyright Sara Mole

Friday, 10 April 2015


I ended up getting the White + Warren cashmere wrap which I'm very excited about. Also purchased:

Because I need more striped tops. This one is soft and more form-fitting than my Saint James tops and a great price. If you buy online, size up.

Because I need more ballet flats. Soft and comfy (not for long walks or all-day shopping however). These flats are perfect for the in-between seasons. Tempted to get them in the grey too.