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