Monday, November 20, 2017

Five steps to Educated Thrifting...

 
Chanel yellow gold and diamond ring $21,000...
 
 
Hermes scarf in mustard and turquoise tones, silk, hand rolled edge...Around $1,000...
 
 
Pure silk scarf with hand rolled edge in mustard and turquoise tones, champagne rhinestone and faux gold flower ring $1.50 and $3 respectively.

Chanel flower ring used...$2,900...
 

 
...Chanel-esque flower ring used...$3.
 
 
Mid century modern engraved starburst hinged bangle online $65...
 
 
 ...Mid century modern starburst engraved hinged bangle $13...

 
Hermes enamelled geometric scarf ring $350...
 
 
...my enamelled geometric scarf ring $3...
 
 

 
Hermes gold scarf ring $150..
 
 
...ummm $3...

 
Hermes scarf...$750...

 
...my scarf...$7.50...
 
 
...cobalt blue pumps online $40...
 
 
...my cobalt blue pumps $9...
 
 
Vintage blue crystal necklace $65....
 
 
...blue crystal necklace from my sister...free...

 
...Review brand fit and flare Interview dress $35...retail $200+...
 
 
 ....Petal skirt satin and tulle Graduation dress $35...retail $129...
 
 
Jacqui-E wiggle dress...$12-ish...retail $200...


..Here's my Hermes-a-like scarf and scarf ring...
 
And while we're looking good for mere pennies on the dollar, I can actually afford to snaffle a genuine Hermes now and again...thanks eBay...

 
Now the question on everyones lips is probably where...and how...

Vintage, antique and thrift stores, that's where.

Now the how...

I call it Educated Thrifting.
 
I've talked here, and here, about knowing what you're looking for, and being savvy enough to educate yourself in the look you're trying to create. In fact, if you put the word 'thrifting' into my search box on your right, a bucketload of posts will come up that demonstrate how the savvy shopper can save money on all kinds of stuff.
 
I've shared often here on the blog, how I've sourced a particular item I'm wanting, by being patient and never passing up an opportunity to check out a charity shop, no matter where I am.

1. Know what you want and be patient.

I've shopped in charity shops in my home town, interstate, in London, Los Angeles, and Paris. They're everywhere, and generally speaking, the more affluent the area, the more likely you are to get lucky.

I swear there must be a slew of designer loving Divas living in my area, because we regularly strike gold at my favourite local charity store.

2. Search out more affluent areas and shop in their thrift stores.

That said, I can also spot a Review or a Kitten D'Amour dress (Aussie designers that my daughter loves) at ten paces. If there's a Chanel-esque camellia to be had in that junk bowl, I'll find it. My practised fingertips can feel a silk scarf from polyester one in an instant, and I don't even bother looking at anything other than silk, unless it's a design or colourway modelled on my favourites. I know a scarf ring from a thumb ring, and sterling silver bangle, from stainless steel.

Get to know what your most desirable treasures look and feel like, so that you too, can find similar treasures for less.

3. Know exactly what it looks and feels like.
 
And it's not just designer copycats that we find with regularity. So you don't have to be sourcing those if that's not you.

As I've discussed so often this year, it's about knowing your body shape, your lifestyle and what suits YOU.

4. Know what will flatter you and give you the look you're after.

I have friends who wouldn't be seen dead in a thrift store. That's okay. More power to them. More for me too, dare I say.

But if you, like me, have better things to do with your hard earned cash, than supporting someone elses business, take thy head from the clouds, and check out your local thrift store. Not just once. But regularly, frequently, and with a mission in mind. Sort through the racks garment by garment, get them out and really look at them, eyeball the labels if that's your thing, and dig deep in that costume jewellery bowl. You never know what you might find.

5. Be persistent and be prepared to dig for your treasures.

That's it. No big secret. And if thrift stores are voodoo to you, well all the more for me I say...lol!

....Mimi...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why you should learn to love scarves....




I have always loved scarves. Even when it was not particularly fashionable to love them, and I was a young career girl, I loved them. Maybe it's my European heritage, but scarves just seem to add class and elegance to an outfit, be they slung casually around the shoulders, swathed around the neck and fastened with a knot or a scarf ring, or knotted to the handles of a bag.
 
Of course, if you love scarves, then you have to love the ultimate scarf, the Hermes. Oh, how I wish my budget allowed me to indulge in more than one of these gorgeous things every once in a while.
 
This one at the top of my post, is one of my Hermes-like purchases. Once you get to know which Hermes designs you like, and which colourways, you can scout for similar ones in department stores and thrift stores. The real deal would have set me back over $400. My lookalike, was just $7.50.

 
Real (and real expensive) Hermes above...
 
...copycat and inexpensive, below...

 
..worn here with a nautical striped Summer shift, Hermes-a-like scarf ring (more on that in a moment), and (real) Baroque pearl earrings...
 
 
This shift without the scarf, just looks blah. Frumpy and dowdy. However the scarf alters the very ordinary high and round neckline, giving the illusion of a more flattering V, the light colour brings attention to the face, especially paired with the pearl earrings, and the long tails give a long and lean look, that negates the widening effect of the nautical stripe. Worn with the scarf, pearl earrings, and some wedge heels, it's a nice look for shopping locally.
 
This scarf below was my first Hermes. I studied hard, so I knew what to look for in a genuine Hermes scarf, because gosh, there's some charlatans out there.
 
A few tips if you want to invest in an Hermes scarf for yourself...
 
Hermes of course swear that the ONLY way to be certain you're buying a genuine Hermes, is to buy from them. That's okay if you can afford it. I cannot, or at least I cannot afford Hermes and all of the other pretty things I love...hehehe! I guess one day I might be able to prioritise a collection of Hermes scarves above all else.
 
My four Hermes purchases have all been online, and I've been successful in securing some gorgeous scarves for about one third of their retail value. This might be due to the colourway not being currently popular, or the design not appealing for whatever reason. Fortunately for me, I have eclectic tastes so I know when I am onto  a winner.
 
Hermes scarves have a hand rolled and hand stitched edge, folding towards the front.
 
Hermes scarves have a care label that says Made in Paris.
 
Hermes scarves always have an accent over the second e. So not HERMES printed like that. It's always with that little tick over the e between M and S.
 
It will always have a ©Hermes symbol on it, and will not say Hermes-Paris.
 
They will usually (post 1980s apparently) carry the artists signature somewhere in the design.
 
This one is titled Pierres d'Orient et d'Occident.
 
 
I love this one. It's so versatile and goes with just about any other colour in my wardrobe. I love the ornate nature of the design, and it's tigers eye looking border. Quite often the border is what stands out due to the way you fold them, so make sure the borders of your scarves are eye catching, Hermes or not.
The next one I purchased was this one called Farandole Butterflies. I love the buttery main colour and the pretty pastel details in this one. A gorgeous scarf for Spring.

 Having admired the look of this gorgeous (Hermes)  scarf and tassel pendant combo, I was then inspired to go searching for other luxury versions of The Designer Scarf.
 
 
I found Emma Shipley, who if you want my humble opinion, gives Hermes a run for their money...
 
 
This Beauty and the Beast version by Emma Shipley will set you back $270AUD. But don't you just LOVE it?
 
Somehow, the $19.99 version just doesn't stack up.
 
 
I guess if Beauty and the Beast is your thing, not luxury scarves, the $19.99 model might suit you perfectly! It's available here.
 
Here's another by Emma Shipley titled Sirens...swoon...$459AUD though...swooning is all I'll be doing, folks. But as art...wowsers...
 
 
Looking at those two though, I start to see a commonality emerging. I'm liking the graphic feel, the dark outlines, filled with a minimum of colour in these designs. It's almost a hand tinted Sepia look, isn't it? So now I know what to keep an eye out for in Scarf Buying Land, be it online, retail or thrifting. That's a good strategy.
 
Grace Kelly, after whom Hermes named a bag, for goodness sakes, was a scarf wearing Diva...
 

 
She even used an Hermes as a sling for her injured arm...
 
 
You can also wear them like this...almost like a cowl necked shirt...cheaper than buying lots of different shirts, and far more versatile. And you don't get too fat for scarves...hahahaha!
 
 
I like this idea too. How sweet..and you'd only need a $10 cami for this look.


I made this one from a remnant for under $10. I pair it with a vintage cocktail ring purchased for $6. You don't have to spend hundreds to have lovely scarves...

 
Recently enamoured with the idea of scarf rings, I found this Chanel look-a-like languishing at the bottom of a bowl of junk at my local thrift store...

 
The real deal looks like this one below...close enough for me, thankyou...

 
This gold one is a genuine Hermes scarf ring...
 
 
I found a more fun one that had similar etchings for $3 in the same bowl..
 
 
It looks like this with my genuine Hermes scarf. I know. The irony.

 
I loved this Hermes scarf ring with chevron like enamel...but not the price. A few hundred more dollars friends. I do not think so.
Instead I invested a further $3 (yes from the same bowl of tackiness), for this one here...
 
 
I think it's close enough for this suburban Mama...




 Here's that Hermes with the vintage cocktail ring and olive green linen dress...
 

It's a corker I tell you. Worth every single hard earned dollar of my husbands...lol...yes, it was a gift.
 
I have two new scarves coming in the mail. One a vintage Hermes, and one an Hermes look-a-like. I'll share pics of those when they arrive.
 
In closing, here's ten good reasons to love scarves...
 
1. Dollar for dollar, they are better quality than a wardrobe full of dresses, skirts and other wardrobe staples. Three quality dresses and three shirts to wear with skirts and pants, and 15 scarves will give you at least 135 outfit combinations. 135 dresses may well set you back at least $13,500 at just $100 each. You could have a whole wardrobe of Hermes scarves and pair them with department store dresses in solid colours and look a million bucks every day of your life.
 
2. Scarves will always fit you.
 
3. You're never too old or too young to wear scarves.
 
4. You're never too fat or too thin to wear scarves.
 
5. You're never too poor to buy a nice scarf. One of my favourites cost me -50c.
 
6. Scarves come in every variety of fabric, colour, pattern and design. There's a scarf out there for everyone, including you!
 
7. Scarves are always in style.
 
8. Vintage scarves are a great way to get your scarf collection started for very little money.
 
9. Even the most expensive scarf, can potentially be a wardrobe staple for 60 years of your life, and become an heirloom, increasing in value, in the process.
 
10. They are a minimalists dream, taking up one drawer in your closet if you're lucky. Two at most.
 
Have I convinced you?
 
...Mimi...

Monday, November 6, 2017

A New You... Wear all the pretty dresses....


Here above is the first pretty frock I've bought in over 20 years. I would not have looked twice at this frock a year ago. It's only by educating myself on my body shape and proportions, that I realise I truly can wear pretty frocks, and not just tunics and leggings!
 

Ahhh....but not only should you know your body shape and how best to dress for that shape, you also need to have some knowledge on how best to accessorise so that you can look as long and lean as possible, minimising any faults. A trim shaped jacket, a nude shoe with a low vamp, and a bit of confidence go a long way.
 
Flush with success on my lemony print frock above, I went looking for more pretty dresses with which to zhoosh up my neighbourhood.
 
I found this one below, at Navabi. Navabi, along with The French Chic Academy, have changed the way I dress forever. If like me, you're on the cuddly side of the fence as far as size goes, you could do worse than check out their range. Absolutely beautiful. No they're not paying me to say that.
 
You can see this shift dress here. The brand is Samya, and I'm quickly learning that this designer works well for my Apple shape.
When this one arrived, I was not enamoured with it's round neckline and thought I might have a major alteration task on my hands. But instead, I found that when I stitched the odd little neckline pleats flat, turning them into pintucks (a job a child could perform), that it made the neckline slightly wider and more scooped, thus negating any tweaking.
 
 
 Thinking 'long and lean' for my Apple shape as I do these days, I added this double neck chain, echoing the rounded neckline, and the colourways of the print. One chain is silver, one is dark pewter. I think this works to lengthen my torso.
 
 
I styled it here with my denim jacket, which you can read about here. I love this jacket for it's flattering shape and colour, and it's relatively minimal embellishments. I like how it follows the neckline of this dress almost perfectly, and picks up the darker colours in the print.
 
 
I then tried styling this shift (and no way did I think I'd be wearing shifts this time last year!), with my new orange jacket, and what a difference it makes! Again, when wearing a print, keep everything else simple. So no lapels, pockets or other detail on the jacket, and a good long and slender look is achieved with the column of colour centre front.
 
 
Well now I was getting confident. In one fell swoop, I ordered this Wiggle dress from Pretty Kitty in the UK for an upcoming event (I'll be sharing styling shots for this one in the next day or two). I love how the wider shoulder, scooped neckline and narrowing towards the hemline, slim the torso, and the draping across the tummy helps disguise a chunky mid section. Shoes with a low vamp and peeptoes also lengthen the leg. A great flattering look for we Apple shaped girls. I do think this one needs some serious shapewear, so I'll be looking at that too.
 
 
 In a great flurry of dress buying, I purchased this one (also a Samya and also from Navabi)...
 
See it here.
 
This one... 
 ...this pretty little thing by Lovedrobe with it's diagonal looking print...another great trick for Apples...
This one by Studio 8, absolutely at the top end of my budget, but which I'll wear for several special occasions in the next twelve months. This must be a colour for just about anyone...
 
 This one by Velvet Pop, which has the most adorable print, flattering V neckline, and knife pleats all the way around the skirt...
 This Mad Men inspired design by Want That Trend, which I love for it's keyhole neckline and flirty skirt...
 ...and this one by Apart, which just has Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn or even Sophia Loren written all over it's polka dot loveliness...
Now Navabi were having a fantastic sale with additional discounts for existing customers, so I did go a bit beserk, but thanks to knowing my shape, and learning that styling a dress correctly can make all the difference, I feel utterly confident in my $400 splurge (for the last five dresses!!), and it's ability to transform my up-till-now dull wardrobe.
 
I can't choose a favourite. I think I already love them all.
 
And this from a lady who up until 3 months ago, hadn't worn a dress in over 25 years. I kid you not.
 
Honestly. Know thyself. Know your body shape. Know what colours flatter you. Get to know how to style your outfits rather than just tossing them on in the morning. It really does give you an edge, and a great feeling of walking out the door, looking your absolute best.
 
I can't wait to style these and share some pics with you. Which one is your favourite?
 
...Mimi...