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The Top 10 Items You Loved From my Recommendations

gucci belt and celine belt bag styled on petite woman in blog post about best purchases of 2020

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Items that were received as PR product are marked with an asterisk * 
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I recommend a fair few things here on the blog and I thought it would be interesting to share the items that have been the most popular among all of you.  For the most part, I haven’t been surprised by the items that you’ve loved the most. They are the pieces that form core wardrobe staples and do double-duty one way or another. But there are a few surprises that I unearthed when going through the numbers! I find the data quite insightful in framing the type of content that I think you’ll like.

So here are the top 10 most-loved items by you:

Mango Relaxed Khaki Pants

If I wasn’t in jeans, I’d be in these pants. I bought these before the pandemic hit us all hard and these became my trusty WFH trousers. A lot of you bought these for the same reason too! They’re incredibly soft, in a go-with-anything khaki hue and are a comfortable relaxed cut.

Mango pants styled with Reiss knit, Gucci belt (review here), Chanel slingbacks (affordable dupe here (AU) and here), Celine bag (review here)

Everlane White Straight Leg Jeans

These white jeans have been an amazing discovery this year. My fellow pear-shaped pals have found the curvy version of Everlane’s best selling cheeky straight cut jeans to be a real winner. They’re incredibly flattering with a mid-high rise, the white denim isn’t see-through and they go with just about everything!

Everlane jeans* styled with Acne Studios scarf, The Curated coat*, Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Gucci belt (review here), Celine bag (review here; preloved here and here), Ray Ban sunglasses

karen millen forever dress styled on petite woman in blog post about best purchases of 2020

Karen Millen Tailored Dress

Now I’m not at all surprised that this dress has made the most popular items list. I receive so many DMs and questions from you all about sizing and fit and equally, I receive a lot of messages from many of you sharing your positive feedback having received the dress.

It’s a magically cut dress that is truly transformative when worn. A must-have for anyone who works in an office.

Karen Millen dress (size 8), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Gucci belt (review here), Celine bag (review here; preloved here and here), Ray Ban sunglasses

collage of 4 images featuring petite woman wearing gucci belt featured in blog psot about best purchases of 2020

Gucci (Mens) Belt

Opting for the mens version of this iconic belt has been one of the best decisions I’ve made for my wardrobe! I’m not surprised with how popular it has been among many of you who have reached out to me after you’ve bought it to say that it was totally worth the splurge. 

While you’ll see lots of bloggers promoting the thicker 4cm width belt, the mens version is a tad thinner at 3cm and a little less ‘in your face’.  It’s an accessory that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wearing to both work and when off-duty.

See my comprehensive review of the belt

Reiss Knit Dress

As far as knit dresses go, this one sits at the very top of my all-time favourites. The draping, the colour, the cut – it’s an incredible dress that does double duty for both work and off-duty dressing when you want to look a bit dressier. I would even wear this to an A/W wedding, it’s the perfect neutral canvas.

Reiss dress (review here) (size S), Gucci belt (review here), Celine bag (review here, affordable dupe here), Everlane flats* (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses

reiss lorna knit with everlane put together pleat shorts

Reiss Draped Knit Top

The top version of my favourite knit dress is just as dreamy. I opted to get it in white so that I could easily style it with the other pieces in my wardrobe. It’s a sophisticated cut with its asymmetric neckline that is also an extremely cosy and soft knit. A fair few of you baulked at its hefty price tag, and rightfully so, but a lot of you have reached out to let me know that you glad you made the splurge given how amazing the top is!

Reiss knit, Everlane shorts* (on sale!), Gucci belt (review here), Dior slingbacks (preloved here) and Celine bag (review here)

Acne Studios Scarf

My oversized Acne Studios scarf is deliciously oversized so it doubles as a wrap when I’m sitting at my desk and the grey hue goes with everything. And, from a look at my stats, a fair few of you agree! Considering how often I’ve relied on this scarf to keep me warm when out and about and wrapped around me while working at my desk, it’s a no-brainer as one of the best luxury purchases I made in 2020.

Acne Studios scarf, Uniqlo trench (sold out), Celine bag (review here), Everlane flats* (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses

Designer bag inserts

I found these bag inserts over on Etsy for a fraction of the price that the majority of bag inserts typically retail for. I shared these over on my Instagram stories and I’m so surprised at how many of you picked these up for yourselves! So many of you loved these too!

If you have a larger bag, I cannot recommend these enough. The compartments keep the interior of my bag organised and the organisers help my bags to retain their shape while being stored.

Shop my bag inserts

Everlane Suede Ankle Boots

I can’t say I’m shocked that these Everlane ankle boots were much loved by you all this year. They truly are the quintessential boot – the heel, the premium suede, the hue, the overall look – they’re the perfect ankle boot.

Everlane Western boots* styled with Jac & Jack tee (sold out, other colours here), Marks & Spencer Trench Coat*, Gucci belt (review here), Nobody Denim jeans* (international link here), Celine bag (review here, affordable dupe here), Ray Ban sunglasses

gucci belt in blog post featuring best purchases of 2020

Brown Overcoat

The last best seller on this list is this brown coat… well not this exact one because it’s sold out, but the dupe that I found has been a surprise hit and incredibly popular! A lot of you have messaged to let me know that the dupe is fantastic quality and I’m so pleased to have found a similar item for one of my much-loved pieces in my wardrobe.

Brown overcoat, Reiss knit, Gucci belt (review here), Nobody Denim jeans (international link here), Tony Bianco mules (sold out), Ray Ban sunglasses

Thanks again for stopping by and that’s a wrap for all things 2020 related!

You can see my other 2020 round-ups here including my Top 10 style favourites, my favourite outfits of the year as well as the best and worst luxury purchases.

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Everlane Way High Skinny Jeans

Everlane Way High Skinny Jeans* (sz 26), Everlane knit* (sz XS), Nicholas Kirkwood flats, Celine bag (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses

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Items that were received as PR product are marked with an asterisk * 
Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR products here

I’ve been really enjoying our mild summer here in Sydney.  It means my jeans and knits are getting a bit of use.  I’m sporting the new Everlane Way High Skinny Jeans in Vintage Blue – one of their latest denim styles that feature a high rise (11.7” to be exact) .  If you’re on the petite side (like me), or you have short legs (also me), wearing high rise anything is a great way to elongate your legs.  The majority of my bottoms are high rise for this very reason. 

Everlane Way High Skinny Jeans* (sz 26), Reiss knit* (sz S), Nicholas Kirkwood flats, Celine bag (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses

In a nutshell, the Everlane Way High Skinny Jeans:

  • are extremely comfortable due to the soft and stretchy denim (almost to the point of ‘jeggings’ stretchy)
  • offer a clean finish at the front (thanks to the lack of pockets)
  • come in two washes – a vintage blue wash and a black wash – and in two different lengths – regular and ankle
  • are true to size (I’m in a size 26 and am normally a size AU 8/9 in jeans)
  • also come in a wide leg style – the Way High Wide Jeans that come in four different washes – vintage indigo, distressed, coal (a washed black) and flax (an off-white)

As always, thanks for stopping by! 

P.S. Have you seen my review of Everlane’s Curvy Cheeky Straight Jeans? They’re a great option if you’re pear-shaped like me!

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My Top Tips for Caring for Your Handbags

open cupboard showing designer handbag collection in blog post about caring for your handbags so they last

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When it comes to spending money on items in my wardrobe, handbags are the one item that I’m willing to splurge on.  I don’t consider mine to be a vast collection, but it’s a healthy one that I’ve built gradually over the years.  If chosen well, designer handbags have the ability to retain their value over time particularly if you show them some love and take good care of them. 

That being said, handbags tend to fall under the radar when it comes to needing some TLC.  They’re unassumingly durable so it’s hard to imagine that they need any sort of maintenance.  Be that as it may, a little of love goes a long way, so I’m sharing with you my tips to take care of your handbags so they last.  

Storing your bags

Handbags need protection from dust and direct sunlight and it can be a bit tricky to work out appropriate storage as most of us will often have several different types of bags in our collection that come in different shapes and sizes. 

close up photo of inside wardrobe with designer handbags and accessories in blog post about caring for your handbags so they last

Top row (L – R): Gucci belt (review here), Sunglasses (these Ray Bans and these Celine frames), Chanel Classic Flap (M/L at front, Jumbo size behind), Chanel Boy Bags (both in Old Medium sizes, both purchased pre-loved)
Second row (L – R): Celine Seau Sangle Bag, Celine Cabas Tote, Celine Belt Bag

Here are my storage tips:

  • Keep your bags stuffed – this is particularly important if your bag is on the larger side or less structured.  It’ll ensure your bag retains its shape over the years.  For the handbags that don’t have a handbag organiser inside, I will usually use the dust bags that come with each handbag and tissue paper to stuff the bag.
  • Store bags sitting, rather than hanging – I strong advise against hanging your bags as you risk damaging the handles or straps, particularly when it comes to more delicate pieces.  
  • Make sure the hardware of each bag isn’t touching each other – you want to ensure there is a sufficient space between each bag to avoid scratching of hardware.

Personally, I keep my handbags in a small cupboard separate from the other items in my wardrobe.  

While using your bag

It’s important to be mindful of how you treat your bag when in use.  Here are the things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overstuff your bag – you’ll risk misshaping the bag
  • Compartments, compartments, compartments! Keep cosmetics in a separate pouch.  Make sure your pens are capped to keep the lining clean.  Handbag organisers are fantastic if you work well with compartments. I’ve only recently jumped onto the bandwagon having bought this organiser for my Celine Seau Sangle Bag and this one for my Celine Belt Bag – completely lifechanger!
  • Beware – corners! Be cautious of the corners of the bag, they tend to wear out quickly as they’re most prone to being bumped into. 
photo of celine bag with bag organiser in blog post about caring for handbags so they last

Celine bag (review here, preloved here and here) and the bag organiser that I’ve enjoyed using

And there you have it, my tips on caring for your handbags so they last.  Bags are so important in pulling an outfit together, so it’s definitely worthwhile ensure they last the distance.  Do you have any tips on how you take care of your handbags? I’d love to know in the comments! 

Thanks again for stopping by!

P.S. My top tips for buying preloved handbags and my designer bag regrets (including the bags I’ve sold and why).

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Clothing Items I Returned in 2020 and Why They Didn’t Work

My blog is my happy place, so naturally, I focus on the pieces that I enjoy wearing and the items that suit me.  That said, I don’t always make the right purchasing decisions and more often than not, will take advantage of a store’s friendly returns policy if things don’t work out for me.  I share a few of these mishaps over on my Instagram stories but I thought I’d delve into a few recent ones here because I figure it’s always a bit of fun to read about the things that don’t work out and the reasons why. 

So here are a select few, in no particular order:

Tony Bianco Hiranni Sandals

Wearing Tony Bianco sandals, Everlane Knit* (sz XS), The Frankie Shop Bea Trousers, Celine bag (review here, preloved here)

In theory – these seemed like a home run to me.  A fantastic dupe for the Chanel Dad Sandals, which I appreciate is a take-it-or-leave-it situation, but considering I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks for yeeeears, there was no doubt in my mind that they’d work.  When the Black Friday sales started last year, I pounced as they had just been restocked and my size was available.  

My first impressions of the sandals when they arrived were glowing.  Exceptionally made, pillowy quilted straps and a cushioned footbed.  How could I go wrong?  Unfortunately, the umming and ahhing started as soon as I put them on.  Aside from the fact that they make my feet look bigger than they actually are, I ultimately didn’t think my style aesthetic was “cool” enough (for lack of a better term) to pull them off.  So – back they went where they came from, and another lesson learned that just because items look fab on others, doesn’t always mean they’ll suit my style.

Country Road Compact Knit Suit

Wearing Country Road jacket (sz XS), Country Road skirt (sz S)

This one warrants a bit of a back story for context.  

Earlier last year, pre-Covid dramas, I took advantage of my free lunch breaks to test out the different varieties of crepe knit on offer.  When it comes to crepe knit, I’ve made it no secret that I’m fangirl numero uno to Scanlan Theodore’s fabrication.  It reigns supreme.  It’s been around for yeeeears, and contemporary brands have finally caught wind of the fact that it’s a great fabric (particularly for workwear) so in the last couple of years, the likes of Country Road, Saba and Portmans have all released their take on it.  I haven’t yet tried any of Portmans’ pieces, but I did take it upon myself to test out Saba’s version (known as Milano Knit) and Country Road’s version (known as Compact Knit).  I wasn’t overly impressed with Saba’s fabric, it was unflattering and didn’t sufficiently mask my post-childbirth wobbly bits (technical medico lingo, I know), however, the Country Road version did have me doing a double take.  

The Country Road compact knit is not as thick or stretchy as Scanlan’s crepe knit, but it’s still decent quality and very well priced, coming in at less than half the price of Scanlan’s knit pieces.  The Country Road Wrap Jacket is an incredible dupe for Scanlan Theodore’s Wrap Jacket (with the friendly CR sales associate neither confirming nor denying that the CR designer responsible for the compact knit range is a Scanlan alumna… ahem) and the bow detail on the jacket is particularly lovely.  

Wearing Country Road jacket (sz XS), Country Road skirt (sz S)

I couldn’t help myself when Country Road ran one of their periodical Spend & Save promos and I bought myself the compact knit suit, justifying the purchase as being a nice back up to my Scanlan suit.  Ultimately, I sent it back, because while it’s a decent quality suit, I’ve already got the same style suit and considering how well my one is made, I really didn’t need a near-identical back up. So while this wasn’t a purchase that didn’t suit me, it was one that reinstated the fact that I don’t need to have duplicates or back-ups of pieces in my wardrobe that still have lots of wear left.  

Everlane Cropped Alpaca Cardigan

Wearing Everlane cardigan (sold out, similar here), Nobody Denim jeans, Everlane flats*

The final piece that I’ll feature in this round up is Everlane’s Cropped Alpaca Cardigan.  Now, I’ve only ever heard great things about their Alpaca wool, so I was really excited to give this one a try.  While the fabric is as dreamy as everyone raves on about, the style I chose did not suit my frame.  While I ordered my usual size XS, the oversized silhouette still overwhelmed my petite frame.  The billowy sleeves and cropped boxy cut just looked all sorts of wrong and given I’m pear-shaped, I felt really frumpy in this one.  Despite it not suiting me, it was a really popular item and sold out completely in all the colours it came in. I ended up letting this one go on Depop in a most recent wardrobe clear out, currently my favourite platform to sell pieces.

And that’s a wrap on some style mishaps from last year.  I’ll be sure to share more of these in the future! 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Some relaxed outfits I’ve been sporting recently and my favourite outfits of 2020.

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My Style Goals for 2021 + Setting Clothing Budgets

karen millen forever dress styled with the curated coat in blog post about setting clothing budgets

This blog post & shop widgets use affiliate links.  
Items that were received as PR product are marked with an asterisk * 
Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR products here

The beginning of each year is always abuzz with excitement, and I’m definitely feeling it this year thanks to the annus horribilis that was 2020.  Turning over a leaf in a new year is always a great way to set goals for the year ahead – whether they be financial, career or style focused.  I’ve given consideration to all of these, and in this post, I’m going to share with you my style goals for the year. 

Karen Millen dress (sz 8), The Curated coat* (sz XS), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Celine bag (review here, shop pre-loved here and here, micro size version), Ray Ban sunglasses

Before setting any style goals, I always have my financial goals set for the year – it’s something my husband and I square away at the start of every year.  With dependants and more responsibilities in the mix, I can confidently say that I know where all our money is going which helps us inch closer to realising our goals, and most importantly – provides clarity as to how much I can spend on clothing for the year!  That hasn’t always been the case and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t always have the healthiest approach when it came to my finances.  When it came to spending money on clothing, particularly in the early years of my career, the proportion of my take-home pay that I used to spend on clothing was substantial (ie. all). 

Karen Millen dress (sz 8), The Curated coat* (sz XS), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Celine bag (review here, shop pre-loved here and here, micro size version), Ray Ban sunglasses

There’s a lot of literature out there from financial advisors about budgeting and the amounts to allocate to clothing.  The usual ranges are between 2 to 7% of your income, with most financial advisors saying around 5% of your take-home pay.  Finding this exact dollar amount is simple – multiply your take-home pay by 0.05.  (For example, if your monthly take-home pay is $5,000, you should be spending no more than $250 per month and if your take home pay is $10,000, you should be spending no more than around $500 per month.)  I recognise everyone has a unique financial position and you’re best placed to judge what’s best for your situation, but if you’ve yet to go through a budgeting exercise, I find the 5% guide to be helpful when setting clothing budgets, particularly if you succumb easily to temptation when having a browse at the shops.

As you can glean from the style goals I set for myself last year, I keep things pretty general.  For me, it’s setting a general approach to shopping and personal style that ultimately frames my style-related decisions for the year – whether it’s adding new pieces to my wardrobe, shopping my wardrobe or selling pieces to make way for new items that align better with my style.  Setting style goals for myself enables me to make the most with what I’ve got, and keeps me on the path to staying within my budget and on track with our family goals.

So let’s get to it. 

karen millen forever dress styled in blog post about setting clothing budgets

Karen Millen dress (sz 8), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Celine bag (review here, shop pre-loved here and here, micro size version), Ray Ban sunglasses

#1 – Shop second hand

More often than not, I fall in love with the fancier things in life that do always not fall within my budget! While these luxe pieces may have been on my wishlist for some time, it doesn’t always mean that they will one day form part of my collection – it is a wishlist after all.  That said, the secondhand market puts a lot of these items within reach.  And with a surge in secondhand purchasing (particularly during our respective lockdowns) and a boom of secondhand stockists and consignors – it’s a great way to shop and it’s thoroughly rewarding.  

Last year, I managed some amazing secondhand purchases – my Celine Seau Sangle Bag and my Dior J’Adior slingbacks.  Both pieces have been a joy to wear.  I also contributed to the “circle of life” (ahhhh savenyaaaa) and bid farewell to my Celine Luggage Tote and Prada Saffiano Bag as they weren’t getting the wear they deserved.  And while there are obvious setbacks to shopping second hand as it requires you to be a more discerning shopper in order to navigate the risks, I consider the pros far outweigh the cons.  You can see my tips for shopping pre-loved bags here

#2 – Consider my actual life, not my dream life

I’ve made this mistake a few times (particularly since having kids) where I buy pieces for a dream existence, which are rather impractical in reality.  I guess this forms part of the equation when your personal style boundaries shift as your lifestyle evolves and for me, the biggest shock to my personal style was having kids which invariably meant that my body had changed.  While I was in denial for some months (and struggled with my changed body and the loss of my style identity for some time), I’ve since embraced the more casual nature of my off-duty style and evolved my wardrobe to suit my actual life.  

Including this point as a style goal just means that I’m going to keep at the forefront of my mind that I should be dressing for me, my shape and my lifestyle.  Dressier dresses and occasionwear, as glam as they are, just don’t work for chasing after the kids!

#3 – Prioritise the key pieces

For me, this means investing in and maintaining the key pieces in my wardrobe and conducting regular wardrobe purges to ensure I get the most wear out of the pieces that matter.  In conducting regular wardrobe clear outs last year (with all the increased time at home), it allowed me to hone in on the pieces that I enjoy wearing the most – like knits, tailored pieces and elevated basics. 

I’d love to hear of any style goals or resolutions that you’ve made for the year and whether you set clothing budgets for yourselves.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

P.S. My favourite outfits of 2020 and the best (and worst) luxury purchases of 2020.

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Style Diaries: December 2020

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Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR products here

My last monthly style round-up for 2020 and what a year to farewell! December saw me reflect on my favourites of the year, including my best and worst luxury purchases. Admittedly the entire month was a bit of a blur and while Christmas didn’t quite go to plan as we were unable to travel interstate to spend it with family (as I’m sure many of you can relate), I’m grateful that we were able to celebrate Christmas with a big feast at home. I hope you were all able to enjoy the holiday season as much as you could. I feel so thankful for our health and happiness at the end of an uncertain year. Sending much love to those who have struggled during the year. Here’s to 2021.

Style favourites

Style posts

Reflecting on 2020 with my Top 10 Style Favourites of the year

…and continuing reflections on the year that was with my best and worst luxury purchases of 2020

Sharing a review as well as the ways I’ve enjoyed wearing my Frankie Shop Bea Trousers in my styling series, One Item, Four Ways

I recently parted ways with another designer bag in my collection, my Prada Saffiano Double Tote, and I share with you the reasons why I decided to sell it (and the questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to keep vs sell)

A review on the new Everlane Oversized Wool Blazer: a new fabric and colour released for one of their hero staples

I share my Top 10 Everlane Favourites for 2020, a brand I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wearing throughout the year of WFH and relaxed outfits

The three things I recently purged from my wardrobe (and what they have been since replaced with).

In between monthly diaries you can check out my featured looks here on Instagram and you can shop my wardrobe here.

As always, thanks for your support.

P.S. Check out the style diaries for October and November.

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