This blog post uses affiliate links. Items that were received as PR product are marked with an asterisk * Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR products here.
Look, I love a designer piece as much as the next person, and I won’t even act like I don’t just give in and make the occasional splurge purchase from time to time, but the reality is that for all the luxury goods that are on my wish list every season, only a very small percentage get added to my shopping cart.
Shoes are a weakness of mine, and as much as I’d love to have a dreamy collection of designer shoes at my disposal, it’s just not feasible to do so. So, I mix a few good quality high street dupes with the real deal to build up my collection.
Minimal sandals have experienced a resurgence from the 90s for the last few years but the pair that have always made me do a double take are The Row’s Bare Sandals – there’s just something about the barely there strappy slingbacks that won me over. The designer version retails from around $950AUD but there are quite a few inspired versions if you don’t want to break the bank.
I managed to nab a fantastic dupe by Atmos & Here on The Iconic. For my AU-based friends, they’re on final sale for $43 and come in black and white. An absolute steal and with a leather upper. (I’m normally an AU 6.5/EU 37 but as they’re not offered in half sizes, I went down a half size and bought the size 6. They fit perfectly.) For everyone else, it’s hard to pass up this version by Tony Bianco that also come in white, nude and silver. And at around 1/6th of the price of The Row’s version, it’s hard to pass up.
The straps are so delicate that you might think these would be a very uncomfortable and unsupportive shoe, but I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they were to walk in, perhaps due in part to the manageable 65mm heel. The sandals were so popular a couple of years ago – heels by The Row tend to have that effect – and they’re so versatile because of their ‘barely there’ style. I love how they look here with my jeans but I can picture some chic summer ensembles including a summer dress or a pair of tailored shorts that I also think would work perfectly.
The only thing better than investing in a designer bag is finding one at a discount! It’s a great idea in theory but the reality is that prices of designer bags increase year on year with some designer houses hiking up their prices two to three times a year (I’m looking at you, Chanel… something to do with price harmonisation?). But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. A solution? Pre-loved. I know, I know, it’s a bit daunting if you’ve never gone down this route before, but having purchased a pre-loved Celine bag in the past week and with a few pre-loved bags in my collection, I wanted to share with you my tips for buying pre-loved designer bags.
The fear of being scammed is real – indeed some of the fakes are so good that even a trained pair of eyes can’t tell the difference from the real thing (ie. triple-A fakes). It means you need to be a discernible shopper and arm yourself with a checklist of essentials so you don’t go in blind and risk disappointment further down the track.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my newest #secondhandbutgrand purchase – my Celine Seau Sangle Bag. The bag has been on my wishlist for months but after seeing Emma Hill nab her’s pre-loved in fantastic condition – the hunt was on. Thankfully, I didn’t need to look for very long – a quick broadcast on my Instagram stories and many of you came back to me with pre-loved options. It was the quickest turnaround – in less than 24 hours, I was the proud new owner of the bag that I scored from a local consignment store! It seems there are a fair few of us out there that don’t shy away from a secondhand purchase. I’ll be posting about the bag in a separate blog post soon (after all, it deserves its own time in the spotlight!), but for the purpose of today’s post, I’ll be sharing my tips for buying pre-loved designer bags to help you navigate your search for your dream bag.
So let’s get crackin’.
#1 – Perform your due diligence
As with all spendy purchases, you need to do your homework. That means doing your research to get a lay of the land, comparing prices and getting a feel for the expected range based on condition and year of release and, if possible, popping into a retail store to try the item new so you can get a feel for the piece as well as the features that make it special. These days, there’s a wealth of knowledge available online with checklists of features that you need to look out for to work out whether the pre-loved designer bag you have your eye on is the real deal.
These can include:
the serial number (including its position, font and colour);
where the bag was made (sometimes a particular bag would have only ever been made in Italy and the label might say it was made in France);
the colour, font and position of the designer stamp on the exterior of the bag and the interior heat stamp;
particular features of the hardware;
Basic google searches will arm you with this information for a particular bag you’ve got your eye on, as well as trawling through forums such as The Purse Forum.
#2 – Ask for more photos
In order to assess authenticity, you’ll need to review good quality photos of the bag. Don’t be afraid to ask for more photos if you’re having trouble making your necessary assessments. I almost always ask for additional photos of the designer stamp on the exterior, close-ups of the hardware, as well as clear imagery of the corners on the base of the bag. Sellers will almost always accomodate these requests, and if they don’t – that’s a big red flag!
#3 – Buy from a reputed seller
I don’t consider myself a seasoned expert in the world of designer bags, so I tend to stick to the reputed sellers that offer authentication services and/or an authentication guarantee as part of the buying process. Vestiaire Collective is a store I’ve shopped from several times but there’s also Fashionphile and Farfetch. You’re looking for a seller that provides a ton of information and imagery and offers complete transparency about the bag. After all, they should have nothing to hide.
My most recent pre-loved designer bag purchase was via a Sydney-based consignment store, Trading In Style. They have their bags authenticated via Entrupy and each bag comes with a valid authentication certificate. Having never shopped from them before, the authentication provided me with the necessary level of comfort and it should be something that you seek if buying from similar consignment stores.
#4 – If in doubt – just don’t
And if you have any qualms – just don’t. It’s honestly not worth the trouble. More often than not, your instincts are probably right, and for the serious amount of money that designer bags command, whether pre-loved or not, it’s not worth spending your hard-earned cash to be potentially met with disappointment down the track. While it used to be my go-to, I’m dubious of eBay now, and will generally avoid the free online listing sites like FB Marketplace – particularly for high-end items.
I hope my guide was useful to any of you looking at buying pre-loved designer bags. Let me know if you’ve recently purchased a pre-loved bag recently and I’d love if you shared this with anyone who you think might find this handy!
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.
Spring has sprung here in Sydney, and while it will be a spring like we’ve never experienced, it’s Spring jacket weather – and I’m always excited about outerwear! Wherever you are in the world, and whether you’ve just started Spring or Autumn/Fall, you may be finding the weather teetering between warm and cool which can make it a little confusing getting dressed in the morning!
While I love getting rugged up in a coat and scarf during the winter, there is a sense of freedom that comes with ‘lightweight jacket’ weather and not having to drape yourself in a million layers before stepping foot out the door.
Here, I round-up the best transseasonal jackets that will help you navigate these next couple of months with ease.
If a lightweight trench doesn’t scream that Spring has sprung, I’m not sure what does? That said, my Uniqlo trench has managed to weasel its way into my winter wardrobe, on those sunny winter days. I’ve been considering adding a navy version to my wardrobe for a bit of variety given how much wear I’ve got out of this beige number this year.
The most versatile of Spring jackets will always be the blazer. A piece that can take you from desk to drinks? Look no further.
You can’t go wrong with a double-breasted style at the moment, with its ability to be worn both traditionally and belted. We’re still seeing a wide offering of blazers at all price points making them a great investment style to add to your wardrobe.
A classic blue denim jacket offers versatility in spades. Similar to blue denim jeans, the jacket version pretty much goes with anything. I’ve had my J Brand Denim Jacket for years. It’s a classic vintage wash, a tad oversized and slightly cropped. I’ve linked similar classic styles below.
Every woman’s wardrobe needs to have at least one leather jacket. My one is my Oak NYC which I purchased around five years ago on Shopbop. It’s hard to go past the traditional biker style with all the bells and whistles that come with it. Personally, I look for cropped styles that don’t overwhelm my petite frame and for the arms to be more fitted.
I’m a bit of a dag but I always feel like a cool cat traipsing around in leather!
Shop leather jackets
And that’s a wrap of my edit of transseasonal jackets!
If you’re anything like me, you love to read interviews of successful women answering questions about their busy lives, daily routines and how they make an impact in the world. The wisdom from those reflections is always inspiring.
So too can inspiration and understanding come from ourselves. Recently, Joanna Goddard urged us all to pause and reflect on how our lives are going in light of all the challenges.
I really loved the idea of bringing these ideas together and reflecting, with some successful women of fashion, on how we’re all navigating this difficult period of our history.
How are our lives right now? How have things shifted? How are we passing the time?
So, after taking a moment to reflect myself, I reached out to six inspiring women and asked them to share the joys and difficulties that the past few months have brought to their lives. Their responses are lovely to read – heartwarming and poignant – I’m so excited to be featuring these women along side me in this post.
Here are the questions I posed:
Where in the world are you?
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)?
Are you working or passing the time in other ways?
What are you finding difficult right now?
What’s bringing you joy?
I hope you enjoy what these inspiring women have to share.
Let me kick things off with my answers:
Where in the world are you? Sydney, Australia
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I’m with my brood of men – my husband and our four (energetic) boys
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I work four days a week and deal with kids, housework & whatveewore on my days off – there are never enough hours in the day!
What are you finding difficult right now? It comes in waves but the lack of certainty the pandemic has caused has made me anxious in the past few months. I’m worried about my parents’ health as well as the kids. It’s a bit maddening when I think about it for too long so I try to stay positive.
What’s bringing you joy? Family time and FaceTiming with loved ones, reading books and my favourite blogs (some of which are featured here!), listening to podcasts (This Is Love with Phoebe Judge has been a favourite), devouring my husband’s freshly baked goodies and snuggling up on the couch with my husband watching something fun after the kids are in bed.
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? My husband Paul and my fur-senior Kalu (aka Old Mate)
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I’m working! Finally let go of my FT role in July to focus 100% on my styling and content creation business.
What are you finding difficult right now? Being away from family. My parents are stuck overseas due to Covid and what was meant to be a couple of months away has stretched into nearly a year apart with no end in sight. I know we are all in similar situations so just focusing on the things I can control- and being grateful for FaceTime!
What’s bringing you joy? Ahhh it’s always the little things isn’t’ it? Being ‘stuck’ in iso with my two best friends, decorating our new apartment, working on my dream job!
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I live with my husband, six-month-old son, and our three pets – two cats and a dog!
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? People are always a little surprised when I share that I didn’t take any maternity leave. Working freelance, I’m generally “on” most of the time. It’s been a challenge finding balance between running a business/meeting client deadlines (along with updating my blog, Instagram and YouTube channel), and spending every possible second with our wee boy. I’m literally obsessed, and have become that parent who looks at photos and videos of him after he’s gone to bed for the evening. I’ve also taken on the task of starting up a childrenswear brand, so that’s also been keeping me busy during the little downtime I have.
What are you finding difficult right now? Being so far away from family. My husband and I both grew up in New Zealand, so the majority of our immediate family is there, however the circumstances with the pandemic mean we’re currently unable to travel home. I still FaceTime with my grandparents at least twice a week, but am desperate to see them (and for them to meet their first great-grandchild). We were fortunate enough that my husband’s parents were able to visit early on in the year, just before travel restrictions were put in place. And my dad and siblings live in Canberra so are only a few hours away. But distance from our loved ones is definitely the thing I’m finding hardest right now.
What’s bringing you joy? Cuddles and spending time with our baby boy; seeing the brand I’m building from the ground up come to life; getting to a local park at least once a week for a few hours in the winter sun; having my husband work from home every week; vanilla matcha lattes; and indulging in a glass (or two) of red wine over the weekend.
Where in the world are you? I am living in Asker, Norway
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I am living in a house full of men! My three sons under six, my husband and Wally our new labradoodle.
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I spend more hours than I would like to admit on The Curated but otherwise I am trying to dedicate more time with my children and our home.
What are you finding difficult right now? I am incredibly close with my mother, so to not be able to travel and see her or vice versa is hard, especially at Christmas time.
What’s bringing you joy? My children are always bringing my joy (and pain), our new puppy Wally and I get so much joy from our growing team at The Curated and our community. It really gives me joy to connect with all kinds of people around the world.
Are you living on your own or with others? With my husband
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? Working from home since mid-March (apart from the 3 weeks between stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions)
What are you finding difficult right now? Not being able to spend much quality time my father (my mum passed away last year so this is very challenging for him) and not being able to travel to Brisbane to visit my brother and his family. Generally speaking, not being able to see family is very hard.
What’s bringing you joy? I’ve finally got around to starting an IGTV channel. Having to cancel all client appointments overnight (twice!) has meant I’ve had to find new ways to share and demonstrate my styling skills. Instagram has actually been the silver lining of Covid as I’ve found a whole new, highly engaged and supportive audience through my styling videos. I am confident my business will continue to boom after this is all said and done… and I have the attention of my styling mentor Trinny Woodall so who knows what might come of that.
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I’m living with my boyfriend Steve who I met on Portobello Road in London 3.5 years ago today! I like how it started off all romantic Notting Hill and went downhill real fast once the pandemic started and the ugly, stretchy track pants came out.
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I’m very grateful to be working non-stop at the moment. I’ve been working remotely for M&S for the past 2 years as my office is based in the UK, so my day to day routine hasn’t changed too much. I’ve found that I’ve been even busier since Covid, as we’ve had to pivot to keep the brand relevant in the current environment.
What are you finding difficult right now? Lack of travel! Last year I spent a third of my time in London to attend press showings and reconnect with the wider M&S team. Steve and I were actually there in March when it all kicked off and had to cut our trip short, it was a surreal experience. I remember the day of my flight back to Sydney, the British Prime Minister was on every TV screen and radio announcing the closure of all public venues. I was alone as Steve had taken an even earlier flight home to avoid the two week quarantine, and I stole a moment to go and visit my favourite park and soak it all up as I wasn’t sure when I’d be back. Closer to home, I also miss my family who all live in Queensland. This whole pandemic has really made me appreciate air travel, I can’t wait to get my hands on a soggy Jetstar cheese and tomato sandwich again.
What’s bringing you joy? Helping my little brother start an online business during the pandemic. It’s crazy, scary, and exciting all at the same time but it just made sense to establish his business online. Something like half of all Aussie small businesses do not have an online presence so I definitely see that as an opportunity for both businesses and digital marketers like myself who want to help.
Where in the world are you? I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I live with my husband.
Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I’m an accountant and have been working from home since mid-March. Thankfully I already had all the hardware and tech to work from home so it was a smooth transition. I’m in a fortunate position that I can work from home and I’m grateful for that.
What are you finding difficult right now? I’m definitely suffering from Zoom fatigue. It’s tough having so many Zoom calls and many times back to back Zoom calls. It can feel relentless and I sometimes end up with a numb bum from sitting in the same spot for hours on end! I miss travelling and spending time with my family that don’t live in the UK.
What’s bringing you joy? Spending time with my family that live nearby brings me joy. With restrictions loosening I’ve been able to visit my mum and dad which has been amazing. Eating together and catching up face to face has brought me so much joy. Taking day trips with my husband to explore areas of Scotland we haven’t visited before has been brilliant. As we live in the capital city of Scotland you can sometimes forget how vast and scenic Scotland is.
So, how is your life right now? I hope that wherever you are in the world, you’re staying positive amidst all the challenges that we’re facing.
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.
When it comes to wardrobe staples, it doesn’t get any more classic than a silk shirt. It’s a bit of a fashion no-brainer and every woman needs one in her wardrobe. No matter the occasion – a serious day in the office, date night, drinks with friends – its versatility is undeniable as it moves seamlessly from 9-5 to after 5.
I’m sporting the Everlane Clean Silk Relaxed Shirt in blue and white stripe. While it’s more of a relaxed cut, it has all the features you’d expect of a classic silk shirt – ie. traditional point collar, front button placket. Recently, I’ve been relying on this shirt to elevate my work-from-home style as it provides the perfect amount of polish for a day of back-to-back video calls.
The fabric used in the Everlane Clean Silk Relaxed Shirt is crepe de chine silk which has a matte look and is velvety to the touch. I much prefer the finish of crepe de chine as opposed to the glossy lustre of charmeuse silk (I’m not huge on the satin-like finish). Another added benefit of crepe de chine is that it’s less prone to creasing. On that, because of the stripe print, creases aren’t as visible on my shirt – one of my biggest bugbears when wearing a white silk shirt after sitting at my desk for a couple of hours.
As far as fit is concerned, the relaxed cut is my preference. I’ve previously owned slim-fit silk shirts but I found that they didn’t drape as nicely over the torso. Personally I find the relaxed fit offers more styling options and looks great when worn loose and when tucked in. I’m wearing a size 2 and I’m a true AU 8 (FYI – I’m 158cm/5’2″).
I’ve been mostly folding the sleeves up to my elbows and tucking my shirt into whatever it is I’m wearing down the bottom, but the round hem on the shirt means it looks great worn untucked as well. As for the sleeves, when not folded up, they fall past my wrists. I usually just cuff them once on the days I feel like wearing the sleeves long.
While the care instructions say to dry clean only, if you’ve read my post about caring for your clothes, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a rebel and will launder most of these items myself! When it comes to washing my silk shirts, I’ll pop them into a delicates bag and put them through a cold hand-wash cycle in the machine, with reduced spin. It saves on dry cleaning costs and is a much gentler way to launder, ensuring your silk lasts longer. Silk is one of those fabrics that can last for years if you maintain it well.
Before wearing the shirt, I’ll usually give it a quick steam to freshen it up. It takes less than a minute and not needing to iron is always a plus – I try to avoid ironing wherever possible!
Shop silk shirts
Silk is so luxurious and there’s an increasing offering of accessible high street options given the hefty price tags on high-end silk shirts. Back in my mid-20s (when I treated my income as completely disposable!), I bought myself a few Equipment silk shirts to wear to the office. They’re still in great condition today but I honestly cannot tell the difference in the quality of the silk used in the Equipment and Everlane versions. Equipment shirts retail for upwards of ~$380 AUD (~$250 USD) but Everlane’s silk shirts are priced from ~$137 AUD ($98 USD), a fraction of the price and much more accessible. The shirt I’m wearing retails for ~$154 AUD ($110 USD), with a small premium added due to the print. I think the Everlane shirts are great value in light of the quality of the silk and the fact that they’re well made.
I’ve been getting a fair bit of wear out of this shirt since being stationed at home. I’m on a fair few video calls throughout the day so my blouses and knits are getting a bit of a workout! This shirt looks effortless when paired with denim or my relaxed trousers but I’ve also loved playing around with ‘clashing’ prints by teaming it with my checked skirt as you can see in these images. Wherever you choose to draw inspiration from when styling a silk shirt, there is one thing that’s certain – whatever you want it to be for you, it can. Be it polished, casual, effortless, tailored, smart or masculine, it is the chameleon in your wardrobe.
If there’s one thing I have a soft spot for, it’s a black Celine bag. To me, they epitomise understated luxury, particularly the bags that emerged from Phoebe Philo’s creative direction. Their styles are simple, don’t feature any prominent logos and often you can’t really tell who makes the bag unless you’re familiar with the designer. It’s fair to say that when Philo’s departure was announced and when Hedi Slimane debuted his first collection, Céline lovers had a lot to say about it all. In the wake of the change, Céline’s resale values skyrocketed, with #oldceline lovers trying to snap up their share of Philo-era Céline bags.
I’ve got 4 black Celine bags in my collection that I’ve accumulated throughout the years to mark milestones in my life and career. They’re all Philo designs with 3 purchased during her reign and the last one purchased shortly after the É was removed (boo!). While the overall aesthetic of Celine has changed since Slimane took over as creative director, Philo’s classic bags have survived the changeover… to the relief of many!
Without a doubt, my Celine bags are my most used bags. They’re unfussy and minimalist and just go with everything. And I didn’t realise it at the time, but the purchase of my first Celine bag all those years ago was the beginning of my personal style evolution and transition to a wardrobe of timeless pieces.
So, here they are, in no particular order, my Celine bag collection as at 2020:
One of my most favoured bags for work, and the youngest addition to my Celine bag collection, is the sleek and ever-so-practical Belt Bag. I’ve got the mini size, which contrary to its name, is the largest size on offer. It fits all of my daily essentials, and then some. The Belt Bag had been on my wishlist for years and I initially had my heart set on the taupe colour. However, after trying it on in store, I found the colour didn’t match my skin tone and after having a play with all the colours on offer, including Amazone, Celine’s version of forest green, as well as Navy, I couldn’t go past the versatility of the black. I’ve shared a comprehensive review of my belt bag after putting it to good use.
I love the simplicity of the Cabas tote. It’s bereft of all the bells and whistles that can sometimes overwhelm a designer bag. I have the small size which I find suits my petite frame, though I’ve found the interior to still be impressively roomy. My Cabas tote is over six years old and the calfskin exterior has held up amazingly in that time. You can read my comprehensive bag review where I go in-depth about sizing and prices here.
Don’t be fooled by the Trio’s small exterior – it packs a punch when it comes to capacity! I’ve previously shared an in-depth review with my thoughts on the bag after five years of use. If you’re after a cross-body bag, I think this is a must-have. It’s classy and chic with a polished exterior, while the long and dainty messenger strap keeps things versatile and cool.
Needing no introduction, the Celine Luggage Tote is arguably one of the most recognisable bags of modern handbag history! Released in 2010, it became highly sought after and amassed long waitlists at the height of its popularity. I bought my micro luggage in black calfskin five years ago and it was the ultimate carry-all for work. It’s robust too, great for those who don’t like to baby their bags.
I haven’t reached for it as much recently, since working from home necessitates the need to use, well, any designer handbag really! But when I was travelling into work, the luggage tote was on my rotation of bags to wear when I wasn’t carrying a laptop.
What I’d love to add to my Celine bag collection
At the top of my Celine wishlist is the Sangle Bucket Bag in black (I know right, I’m so predictable!). I don’t have a bucket bag in my collection yet and from what I’ve heard, the thick cloth strap is very comfortable to wear throughout the day. I’ve also had my eye on the Classic Bag in the medium size. It carries a hefty price tag but it is so sophisticated with its distinct box shape.
Are you a Celine lover like me? What Celine bags have you got in your collection? And what bags have you got your eye on? Let me know!