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Style Lessons I Wish I Had Learnt Before My 30s

oroton dress, style lessons in your 30s

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I cringe a little inside when I think about my awkward teen years and how insecure I was as a young adult.  I was always interested in fashion but I always felt like I was behind the 8-ball and missed the mark on so many of my outfits.  In high school, coming from a single parent household, there was little money to spend on clothing so I felt like I was playing catch up once I reached university and started earning my own money through my casual jobs.  My naivety didn’t help me make any smart fashion decisions – I just followed the crowd and bought into all the trends I could afford, even if they didn’t suit me.  

It wasn’t until my late-20s that something twigged and I realised I hadn’t properly honed in on my personal style.  The internal shift felt monumental and I stopped caring as much about what was in this month’s glossy spread or what others were buying into.  I started adopting a more considered approach into my purchases and honed in on what suited me and made me happy.   Personally, I find it so empowering now that I’m picky and will only entertain trends that are worth my time and money. 

So here are the style lessons I learned over time, that I wish I knew as a doe-eyed young adult:

Oroton shirt dress (sold out, similar here, here and here), Celine bag, Tony Bianco mules (similar here and here)

Shop Slate Shirt Dresses

#1 – Comfort is the key to being stylish

Personally, I’m not one for showing too much leg or too much skin.  But those shorter hemlines and strapless tops from times past suggest otherwise!  And while I tried my very hardest to “fake it till you make it”, the sad reality is that young Vee never quite made it… in fact, she didn’t even come close!.  Quite frankly, there’s really nothing stylish about fidgeting with a strapless bra, constantly pulling down the hem of a dress or clomping in heels because of the beginnings of a blister.  

I’ve come to realise that whenever I wear something that I’m comfortable in, it allows me to walk and act with confidence.  So ultimately, whether that means jeans, higher necklines and kitten heels, I feel stylish.  

#2 – Less is more

The phrase “less is more” is advice that can be applied to all aspects of our lives, and when it comes to fashion, it evolves depending on the trends of the time.

I pushed the boundaries a fair bit in my 20s and probably went overboard a few too many times, whether it was due to the fact that I often made garish colour choices (hello neon!) or paired too many statement pieces in the one look. In saying that, without trying and testing fashion ideas, I wouldn’t have developed the personal style ideals I have today. These days, I get a lot of joy from wearing pieces with more muted tones and I focus more on flattering cuts and fabrics.

oroton dress, style lessons in your 30s

Shop Pointed-Toe Heels

#3 – The Best Is Yet To Come

…arguably the most important of all the style lessons. I really feel like I’ve come into my own in my 30s.  Naturally, there’s more disposable income (and more responsibility!) but with a sense of self, my experimenting years are behind me and I know what works for me and makes me feel confident. 

I can’t tell you exactly what my personal style will be in another five or even 10 years, but right now, I don’t feel any pressure to know, because my fashion inspiration doesn’t fit into a specific box. The most important thing I’ve learned is to be happy with how you present yourself to the world.

Oroton shirt dress (sold out, similar here, here and here), Celine bag, Tony Bianco mules (similar here and here)

I hope these style lessons provided some insight for you. As always, thanks for stopping by.

P.S. The five classic colour combinations that always work and five A/W wardrobe essentials.

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Nanushka Alamo Coat in Houndstooth

nanushka alamo coat in houndstooth
nanushka alamo coat in houndstooth
Nanushka coat, Reiss knit, Nobody Denim jeans, Gucci belt, Celine bag, Ray Ban sunglasses and Wittner boots (similar here)

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If you haven’t cottoned on already, coats are a big weakness of mine. I’ve got a healthy collection (particularly for someone who lives in a subtropical region) and I justify my collection because coats are such timeless pieces. On a winter-style front, they’re a must. And getting the right coat is key to chilly weather fashion success!

I’ve had this Nanushka coat on my wishlist for over a year. I first saw Hannah of Cocobeautea wearing it and thought it was the ultimate ‘statement’ minimalist coat. So you can imagine how quickly I pounced when the coat was reduced!

The Alamo coat forms part of Nanushka’s permanent line and it has achieved cult status amongst the street style set for the effortless minimal vibes it gives off. It comes in various warm neutral tones, such as camel, stone, cashew and houndstooth (which is a mix of brown and black print).

The coat is a luxurious mix of wool and silk – 90/10 respectively – and feels lush and soft to the touch. In terms of features, it has two patch pockets, dropped shoulders (for a more relaxed feel) and the all important self-tie fastening belt.

I’m petite and I’m wearing a size XS. In my opinion, the coat is large to size because of its relaxed cut. I was initially concerned that it might sit too long on me but with heeled boots, it sits nicely above my ankles (I’m 5’2″ for reference). I’ll need to take the sleeves up as I’ve just folded them under in these photos.

The coats are currently reduced as part of the suite of end-of-season sales we’re seeing pop up and so I’ve linked a few of the currently reduced coats in the houndstooth print and camel below for you to take advantage.

Run, don’t walk!

Shop the Nanushka Alamo Coat

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Five Classic Colour Combinations That Always Work

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Items that were received as PR product are marked with an asterisk * 
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I don’t know about you, but back in the day when I was feeling a little lacklustre getting dressed in the morning, I would always revert to my failsafe all-black ensembles. Colours were just a tad ‘too-hard-basket’ when in a mad rush to get to work in the morning!

And I’m sure you’ve probably been told at some point that the key to picking winning clothing colour combinations is to pick shades that sit on opposite sides of each other on the colour wheel. But that advice isn’t applicable to me because I enjoy wearing a more muted colour palette.

While I opt for more muted tones that may appear to be a bit same-same, there are pairings of colour that particularly stand out. Having these clothing colour combinations to hand makes it so much easier to pull outfits together in the morning.

So the next time you’re in a pickle getting dressed in the morning and you’re about to reach for an all black ensemble for a third consecutive day, here are my go-to colour combinations to inspire you.

#1 – Navy and Camel

Left: Everlane knit*, Uniqlo pants, Everlane flats*; Centre: H&M coat (similar here), Scanlan Theodore skirt, Gucci belt, Vince Camuto heels (sold out – similar here) Right: Navy knit* and skirt* (sold out – similar here) from Marks & Spencer, Prada bag, Tony Bianco mules (sold out, similar here)

It wouldn’t be my list if I didn’t kick things off with something navy, my favourite colour to wear. When paired together, navy provides a solid base, and camel works to lift an entire look without taking too much risk.

Personally, out of the all the shades of brown, I find camel the easiest to style – it fits within the monochromatic shade palette perfectly. In many instances, the camel pieces are ones that are textured (such as a wool coat or a knit) and work to add an another dimension to an outfit.

#2 – White and Khaki

clothing colour combinations of khaki and white
L: Wearing Reiss coat (sold out, similar here), Everlane knit, jeans* and flats*, Gucci belt, Celine bag, Ray Ban sunglasses; C & R: Reiss knit top, Mango pants, Celine bag, Chanel slingbacks (similar here and here), Reiss coat (sold out, similar here)

Proving that it’s not just for commandos and bushwalkers, muddy greens are still enjoying their street style moments with khaki being no exception.

I have always been fond of khaki but I love how refreshing it can look when paired against a crisp white. Personally, I think they look really expensive when worn together.

#3 – Grey and Black

L: Sarah Lloyd blazer*, Acne Studios tee, H&M skirt (sold out – similar here), Vince Camuto heels (sold out, similar here), Celine bag; M: Karen Millen dress (sold out), Tony Bianco mules (similar here), Celine bag; R: The Curated Coat*, Nobody Denim Jeans, Acne Studios Scarf, Everlane boots, Celine bag, Ray Ban sunnies

A monochromatic palette that is far from grim – grey and black just make sense together. And this might be a controversial call, but I think I prefer it to black and white!

Usually I’ll increase the grey quotient as I like how my black accessories pop against a predominantly grey palette.

#4 – Camel and White

clothing colour combinations of camel and white
L: H&M coat (similar here), Cecilie Copenhagen top, Karen Millen skirt (sold out), Tony Bianco mules (similar here), Celine bag; C: Everlane flats*, knit & jeans*, Uniqlo trench (sold out, similar here), Gucci belt, Celine bag, RayBan sunglasses; R: Marks & Spencer linen shirt* and pencil skirt* (sold out – similar here), Wittner slingbacks (similar here), Tory Burch bag

Minimalists have been pairing these tones together for years and it’s high time you gave it a go if you haven’t already! Camel and white always look effortless paired together and brighten up the most relaxed of outfits.

I’ve enjoyed pairing these tones in many of my S/S ensembles and have transitioned them through to the A/W season to brighten up the chillier days.

#5 – Different Shades of Brown

clothing colour combinations
L: H&M coat (sold out, similar here and here), Reiss dress, Vince Camuto heels (similar here), Celine bag; C: Marks & Spencer Knit* (similar here), M&S pencil skirt* (sold out – similar here), Tony Bianco Mules (similar here), Celine bag; R: H&M coat (sold out, similar here and here), H&M knit, Gucci belt, Scanlan Theodore skirt, Celine bag, Tony Bianco Mules (similar here)

Something happened last year which saw the inclusion of brown into the fashion minimalist’s neutral colour palette. From head-to-toe chocolate brown to mixing different shades of brown together, there are so many varied ways to wear this colour.

In my opinion, wearing them clashing works just as well as going for a monochromatic look. I love the combination of brown melange, camel and chocolate brown and have embraced wearing these warmer neutral tones.

I hope my colour combinations have inspired some outfits for you to style from the existing pieces in your wardrobe. Let me know whether you keep particular clothing colour combinations in mind when you get dressed in the morning and what combos you’ve been loving.

Thanks again for stopping by!

P.S. An updated review of my Gucci belt (after 24+ months of wear) and my top tips for caring for your clothes to ensure they last.

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Everlane 40 Hour Flat in ReKnit

everlane 40 hour flat in reknit, navy flats, everlane curvy cheeky straight jean
40 hour flat in reknit review
Everlane flats* styled with Uniqlo trench (sold out, similar here, here, and here), Everlane knit, Everlane jeans*, Gucci belt, Celine bag, RayBan sunglasses

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

Just a quick glance at my Instagram feed and there’s no denying that I’m a huge fan of pointed-toe shoes – particularly for the office.  They’re an integral part of my outfits for work.  And while there’s no shortage of pointy heels in my wardrobe, I hadn’t really curated a collection of pointed-toe flats before now.  The flat shoes in my collection mainly comprised of practical shoes I wear when off-duty – like sneakers or Birkenstocks – given I have energetic young boys to chase after!   

So it’s been a while since I’ve been this excited over a pair of flats.  Having worn Everlane’s 40 Hour Leather Flats religiously for the past three months since being at home, I jumped at the chance to expand the 40 Hour Flat family and have added the knit version of the flats to my collection – the 40 Hour Flat in Navy ReKnit.

I was lucky enough to receive the ReKnit version of the flats in mid-May (a couple of weeks before their release) and I’ve been giving them a good go. I opted for a navy pair, to contrast with my taupe flats, but also because navy is my favourite colour to wear so it was a bit of a no-brainer. 

I’ve worn these flats solidly for a few weeks now and I’ve been putting them to the test – walks with the family, trips to the shops to pick up groceries and dropping off/picking up the kids to and from school and day care on foot.

everlane 40 hour flat in reknit, navy flats, everlane curvy cheeky straight jean
Everlane flats* styled with Uniqlo trench (sold out, similar here, here, and here), Everlane knit, Everlane jeans*, Gucci belt, Celine bag, RayBan sunglasses

Design

The shoes are made from Everlane’s ReKnit fabric – a breathable mesh knit fabric made from recycled polyester which also includes recycled single-use plastic water bottles. The shoes feature a cushioned insole, leather pull tabs and a rubber sole.

The weave on the knit panels is really lovely. There are hem-like strips that outline the top and sole of the shoe and the weave pattern in the middle features a subtle diagonal pattern.

The navy colour is a real winner for me – it’s not too dark that it gets mistaken for black and not too warm where it can look more like a teal or a marine blue.

There are a few differences to the design of the original and ReKnit versions of the flats – the ReKnit version features a subtle V cut on the sides and the vamp is also cut higher. I prefer the overall aesthetic of the ReKnit version because of these subtle tweaks.

Sizing notes

Sizing is always a bit tricky when ordering online. And in my experience with Everlane’s older style shoes (like the Day Heel), their sizing always ran about a half size small.  The sizing discrepancies were widely known and they have since addressed those in their newer styles with these flats being no exception, advertised as true to size.  

For reference, I’m usually an AU 6.5 / US 6.5 / UK 4 and I have wide feet.  In the Day Heel, which has been around for a while now, I sized up to a US 7 and they fit me perfectly.  In the taupe leather version of the 40 Hour Flat, I went with my usual Everlane size of US 7 but, as I said in my review, if I had my time again, I would have definitely ordered my usual shoe size being a US 6.5 as they are a tad loose. 

As for these Knit flats, I have them in a US 6.5 and they fit perfectly. I can vouch for the fact that these shoes are true to size and you should order your actual size to take advantage of the comfy glove-like fit.

everlane 40 hour flat in reknit, navy flats, everlane curvy cheeky straight jean
Everlane flats* styled with Uniqlo trench (sold out, similar here, here, and here), Everlane knit, Everlane jeans*, Gucci belt, Celine bag, RayBan sunglasses

Comfort

Honestly, these are a dream on my feet.  And unlike traditional leather shoes that usually need a period of time to wear in – these were noticeably comfy from the get-go. I put it down to the fact that they’re made of a knitted fabric – and almost feel like a pair of footlets with a rubber sole!

Similar to the original 40 Hour Flats, the ReKnit version is very lightweight with a flexible rubber sole. I can already tell that this will be a much-loved shoe – for both work and off-duty.

40 hour flat in reknit review
Everlane flats* styled with Uniqlo trench (sold out, similar here, here, and here), Everlane knit, Everlane jeans*, Gucci belt, Celine bag, RayBan sunglasses

Verdict

I’ve been reporting for duty from home for over three months and like everyone else, structured workwear has been cast aside for more casual and comfortable WFH ensembles.  In turn my feet have been given a much needed break from the heels I typically wear when I’m in the office.  With comfort now being key, I still love the ability to elevate my WFH outfits with a pointed-toe flat. 

The 40 Hour Flat in ReKnit retails for $98 USD / ~ $145 AUD a pair (compared to $118 USD / ~ $175 AUD for the original leather version). Personally, I think they’re well priced for a versatile pair of shoes that are comfortable from the get-go.

I can really see these being a go-to pair of shoes in the warmer months – for commuting to and from the office or for wearing on the weekends when out and about with the family. The woven fabric means the shoes are naturally airy and breathable, so I imagine they’ll get a bit of a break when the chill factor really kicks in here. I also think they would make great shoes for travelling (when we’re able to do so) – they’re lightweight, comfortable and would perform well at the airport.

While I was lucky enough to receive these as a gift from the brand, the million dollar question remains: would I buy them? Ultimately, yes. I love the overall aesthetic of the shoe, but I also think they’re well made, functional and a practical choice of footwear for going about your busy day.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section, and I hope that you found this post useful!

Shop the 40 Hour Flat in ReKnit

Thanks to Everlane for sending me this pair to road-test. For full disclosure I did select and receive the 40 Hour Flat in ReKnit as a PR product from the brand, however I was under no obligation to post it or share a review.  All thoughts are my own. 

P.S. My thoughts on Everlane’s new Curvy Cheeky Straight Jean and my entire coat collection!

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Reiss Sale – Up To 50% Off

Reiss blazer, Everlane jeans*, Marks & Spencer top* (sold out – similar here and here), Gucci belt, Tony Bianco mules (similar here) and Celine bag

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

Every astute shopper knows that there are things you buy because they’re on sale, and then there are things you buy when they’re on sale. Case in point – Reiss. It straddles both the high street and luxury given the quality of their pieces and higher price points. I’ve made no secret that I love Reiss for the office, and if money was no object, it would feature much more heavily in my wardrobe! And for full disclosure, this post is not in collaboration with Reiss. I have yet to partner with them on any post (not my choice!) – I just really love their stuff which is why I feature their pieces so often.

And while there are lots of great sales going on at the moment, I personally think Reiss sales are one of the best ones to shop. Their pieces aren’t as trend-based so I always justify purchases with the knowledge that they’ll go the distance. In case you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed as to where to begin, I’ve founded up my favourites from the sale below, which also includes my much loved blazer below.

My Reiss sale picks

#1 – Oatmeal Blazer

(I’m in a size 8 for reference)

#2 – Oatmeal Jumpsuit

#3 – Khaki Blazer and Pleat Front Pants

#4 – Camel Blazer and Tailored Shorts

#5 – Navy Wool-Blend Blazer

#6 – Jacquard Blazer

#7 – Asymmetric bodysuit

reiss sale knit top

#8 – Knit LBD

reiss sale knit dress

#9 – Knit Asymmetric Hem Dress

reiss sale knit dress

As always, thanks for stopping by! And let me know if you do manage to pick anything up from the Reiss sale.

P.S. Five A/W wardrobe essentials and my updated Gucci belt review after 24+ months of wear.

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My Top 10 Tips for Caring for Your Clothes

Buying clothes built to last is one thing – but there’s a lot you should do in caring for your clothes to ensure they last.  The majority of my wardrobe comprises pieces that require special care.  Whether it be due to the fact that the fabrics are more delicate, such as wool and silk, or they’re pieces that are a bit more special – such as knitwear or suiting.

Here are my top 10 tips to care and preserve your beloved clothing pieces:

#1 – Avoid dry cleaning where possible

The concept of dry cleaning is wonderful – how convenient to outsource care of your favourite pieces to someone else! But it can also be frustrating – it’s expensive, potentially toxic and sometimes it doesn’t yield the results you want. I’ve had too many a time where my pieces have come back to me faded, misshapen or completely ruined from what I thought and trusted to be a professional method of cleaning.

In most cases, if the care instructions say ‘dry clean only’ but the piece is made using natural fibres (such as wool or cotton), then you can usually launder them at home. I usually put these in the washing machine on a gentle cold wash cycle and reduce the spin. Then I lay them flat to dry so they don’t lose their shape. Thankfully, I haven’t had any disasters yet.

I also launder my silk pieces at home by popping them into a mesh washing bag and on a shorter cold wash cycle with very little spin.

Obviously, things like coats and evening dresses will need to be dry-cleaned but for everything else, I will avoid a visit to the dry cleaner where possible.

#2 – Care instructions can be disobeyed

…but be careful.

While some garments recommend warm wash cycles, we put the majority of our clothes through cold wash cycles. It’s gentler, reduces the risk of shrinkage and it’s better for the environment.

I will always reduce the spin for pieces made of wool, silk and linen, just because they’re more susceptible to shrinking. Conversely, pieces made from polyester, nylon and viscose are generally less fussy to care for.

#3 – Treat your delicates like delicates

…and invest in some mesh laundry bags (like these ones or this one), to protect your delicates from snags during the washing process.

I pop underwear in the mesh bags but I’ll also use them for my silk pieces such as my silk shirts and camis.

#4 – Let your pieces naturally dry on the line

We always let our laundry dry naturally on the line and we don’t have a dryer at home. Dryers can be really harsh on clothes and with continual use, will break down the fibres of the fabric and cause your pieces to shrink and age permanently.

#5 – Dry your delicates and knitwear lying flat

We’re always cautious in how we dry our clothing at home too – ensuring delicates and knitwear (that could easily lose its shape) dries flat. My knitwear collection is predominantly cashmere and given it’s an investment in the first place, taking these considerate steps ensures they last.

#6 – Don’t over wash your pieces

Sometimes caring for your clothes means taking a step back. This rings particularly true when it comes to denim and knitwear.  Instead of regular laundering, give them some air so that they naturally breathe. Washing your clothes too regularly will mean that they fade and age in a shorter time frame.

My general rule of thumb is to wash my jeans after about 10 wears, or when they start to smell.

#7 – Stains need to be treated straight away

Any mishaps resulting in stains should be treated straight away. Spot treat stains as soon as you are able and then wash them as you normally would to prevent any permanent marks remaining on your beloved pieces.

#8 – Avoid ironing where possible

Save for suits and business shirts, a steamer can replace ironing when it comes to getting the creases out of your clothes.  Steaming is a much gentler way of preparing your clothes to be worn. 

#9 – Give your clothes some space

A crucial part in caring for your clothes is storing them in a considered fashion. This includes ensuring your pieces aren’t being too tightly packed in your wardrobe. There should be a small gap between the pieces in your wardrobe to ensure they breathe and retain their shape. Coats should be buttoned up and sitting nicely on their hangers. Blazers and suiting should be hung up properly so as to retain their shape.

#10 – Store your knitwear neatly folded

As a general rule, I don’t hang my knitwear but I adopt the KonMari style of organisation and store my knitwear in drawers.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I hope this post was helpful in providing you with tips on caring for your clothes to ensure they last. 

Thanks again for stopping by.

P.S. The rules I applied in doing my recent wardrobe purge and 4 outfits for any type of WFH day.

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