White lies, fresh starts and stupidly expensive handbags.

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Is it just me, or is one of the best things about moving overseas is the opportunity to completely reinventing yourself?

When in New Zealand, I would often live my dream life out when I went to a hairdresser. It sounds crazy (it is), but my reaction to a complete stranger asking me a million questions about my life was to lie. I would tell them I was an actress, or I had twelve brothers, or I was currently writing a murder mystery novel, or whatever took my fancy that day. Unfortunately I found a hairdresser I really liked and wanted to keep seeing, so found myself tangled up in a web of lies. It’s the real reason I upped sticks to Europe. It was getting a bit hard to keep up with.

I digress, basically I like that this life change is giving me the chance to start fresh, like the first page of a notebook. And, as any good stylist knows, the best place to start when reinventing yourself is your wardrobe.

Upon leaving my studio flat in the heart of Auckland, I got rid of almost my entire floordrobe. (Apart from shipping over a few of my absolute favourite pieces). I juice cleansed my fashion “system” (but with less spinach). So, I’ve arrived ready to fill my new wardrobe with all the right choices. And I recon this list is a good place to start…

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A White Shirt This closet classic is a crime to be without. It can be dressed up, or down, and easily taken from the office to…well anywhere you might want to go after the office. Mine (already purchased – it’s that important) is a crisp linen with beautiful, delicate shell buttons. It’s simply gorgeous. My favourite way to wear it is with drainpipe black jeans, chelsea boots and a chunky necklace.

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Black Trousers Whether you prefer your trousers tux style, or skinny (like me), it’s important to have these. You don’t have to spend the earth, but they should fit you well. They’re pretty boring to buy, and yes those pineapple print jeans are SO much more exciting (I may or may not have bought them too*), but believe me – a pair of black trousers will see you through not only seasons, but a million different occasions too. They are pretty much the bread and butter of fashion.

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A Great Handbag Now, this one IS worth spending some money on. I would say that though, because a certain handbag is by far the most expensive thing I own. But it’s also timeless and still in perfect condition despite its nearly five years in my possession. I’ve decided (look away now mum) that upon getting my dream job here in London, I will celebrate by buying a very nice handbag. Despite being swaddled with all of the worlds best designers here, I’m still going to opt for a Deadly Ponies number – those guys make the best bags around. No question. Don’t fight me on this guys. I will take you on, and I will win. **evil glares**

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Ankle BootsI’ve already mentioned chelsea boots, and they are my go-to. The trick here is to start with the basics and go for a brown or black leather with a low(ish) heel. Once you have the basics covered, go nuts with any and every colour/material/embellishments that take your fancy.

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A Coat I’ve just purchased a textured navy coat that’s sort of a blazer come coat. It’s perfect. When I recover from the above bag purchase however, I will buy this…ok, I won’t, because unless I win the lottery I don’t have that much money… But I live in London now, so every coat dream that I’ve had to put on hold in toasty Auckland can now be played out (in my head). Plus everyone needs a camel coat. Like duh.

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Ballet Flats I’m all for heels. But, if you can’t walk in them – take them the hell off. Now. Because there is nothing more painful than watching some poor woman trying to walk in heels and failing. Every inch of elegance is snatched from her. So, ladies, embrace flats. My faves are actually these. Basic, cheap, classic and insanely versatile. Plus you feel like a dancer. WIN.

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Jeans This doesn’t need explaining. Even my Gran (aka my current flatmate) has a pair. If you don’t own any then you are just a crazy person. Sort it out.

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Knitwear If you have a wee bit of extra cash, cashmere is the best choice. Investing in a quality fabric here will mean that your jumper doesn’t loose its shape and can be worn for years and years (and maybe some more years). Try to have at least one lightweight, fitted option in your grasp before you start introducing cable knits or crops. I’ve just welcomed this baby into my wardrobe. It may not look exciting, but the wool and silk blend is so soft, and the style means it is perfect for layering.

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A Tee See this post dedicated to my love of all things tee and shirty.

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Statement Bling Some people will probably disagree that this is a “staple”, but I think popping your personality into any and every look is completely vital. I don’t mean wearing something crazy, just find a piece (or a few) that work for you. I love rings. All the rings, on all the fingers, at all the times. It’s my personal statement and yours could be different, but it’s a great way to add some of you to your outfit.

Armed with this list, I’m off out to spend up large (except not – damn being a poor unemployed traveler).

*I totally did. And I don’t regret it at all.

True love, new dresses and shouting.

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So, this time next week it’s valentines day! And as much as I have a general disdain for days that get every woman’s hopes up and every man instantly in trouble for not living up to them, I do, however, like occasions in which I can pick out a new outfit (even if it is only mentally, due to lack of plans and lack of funds). 

Valentines day this year is extra special because we have a double excuse to spend time with those we love (and by “those we love”, i mean clothes – apologies to the boy). It’s a night of heading to a nice eatery with a man friend in a nice new dress or angry shouting with girlfriends over cocktails in a nice new dress (are you seeing the link here). It’s also the day Ruby’s latest collection hits sores on (I told you it was coming asap) and there are quite a few nice new dresses.

Get your v-day outfit sorted right here, right now (well, right…next Friday).

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Mondayitis

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I don’t know if you all know this, maybe you’ve read some of my blog post or something. (Or maybe you have been just ignoring blatantly). But… guys, guys, guys… I am moving overseas in T-Minus four weeks.

Yup.

In 29 days I’m getting out of here (sorry mum).

One of the things involved in getting ready for this seriously giant adventure is selling (almost) everything I own. And I mean everything. My mismatched jar collection (that may or may not still have almond butter remittance in it), my scuffed green brogues that are pretty much children’s shoes (my feet are freaking tiny) and every handbag I own (sad face).

Don’t tell the boy or anything, but in the midst of all this selling, its hard for a gal like me not to decide what my next purchases will be. And the conclusion I came to?

Everything from the latest Ruby collection. And I mean freaking everything. There is nothing like your favourite designer making an amazing Pre-Fall collection to give you premature home sickness.

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And the worst bit? The actual Autumn and Winter collections (images coming asap) are insanely amazing too.

But worse that that? All my money is going to be spent of Typhoid jabs and anti-diarrhoea pills, so there literally isn’t any spare change for me to frivolously spend on soothes I really don’t need. (I can actually hear the collective sigh coming from the boy, the bestie and the mum.)

So, on this Monday, my dreams are filled with white lace tops, vertical striped sweaters and knitwear. But my reality is a fridge full of DukOral and a very sore arm.

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Crotch less panties, Liv Tyler and the men in your life.

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I remember the first time I watched Empire Records (a classic 90s movie you should probably go and watch right now if you haven’t), and during the scene where a young Liv Tyler takes off her clothes I wanted to have a freaking party. It wasn’t because she was bangin’ (although she was), it was because she was wearing mismatching underwear. Bring on the streamers, balloons and banners that say “hell yeah, REALISM”. Because it takes a super special occasion for me to think about wearing pants that match my boulder holders, and it takes an even specialer occasion (yes, that’s a word) for me to consider buying a set.

There is a part of me that thinks only grown-ups wear matching bra and briefs. It’s something you do when you iron your socks or even simply learn to put your freshly laundered delicates in a draw rather than in a crumpled heap on the ground. (No, mum, I most definitely don’t do that*.) And I’m not ready to grow up!

But there is something about Lonely Hearts lingerie, in the latest collection (pictured) and all the ones before it that makes me want to be one of those strange ‘together’ people. One of those crazy adult things.

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I once went to a party where everyone got drunk and stripped down to their underwear (no, mum, I most definitely didn’t do that**). Now imagine if, in that moment of vodka fuelled madness, I’d been wearing a pair of Lonely Hearts underwear rather than some faded ‘Wednesday’ knickers (it was Saturday) and a ill-fitting polka dot bra. My life would probably be completely different now***.

Lets be honest, these babies aren’t really everyday wear. Or at least they aren’t for people who need hefty support (although this season they have introduced an underwire to some of the cuts). But what this impeccable collection of underwear does do is give you a sense of sophistication, creativity and fun. You magically feel playful in the unusual colour choices whiles also feeling mature in whimsical lace and interesting styles.

Gone are the days of nylon red bras and crotch less panties that are bought by men, for men (well actually for women, but usually women don’t want them much) and make you feel tacky. Because this underwear is undoubtedly sexy and will leave you feeling confident, beautiful and just a little bit flirtatious.

And that’s what you (or the men in your life) want out of underwear right? That and an actual crotch.

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*Ok, that was a lie.
** That was also a lie.
**Or it would be the same but slightly less embarrassing to admit to the blogosphere.

Heartbreak and drama queens.

You know what I hate? I hate it when you see something (usually in a magazine) and you love it. Instantly. Love at first sight. So you make the mental commitment right then and there, you will buy it. You will cherish it. You will take it out to countless restaurants, parties and lavish events (the ones that you are always going to, you are definitely not just sitting on the couch in your cat pajamas on a Friday night).

Then you find out your one true love is no longer available.

It’s like a break up, but worse. (Me? A drama queen? Never!) Without ever having experienced any of the bad shit in the ‘only in your head’ relationship to make you go “you sucked at taking out the trash, I hate you for that” or “man, your breath really sucked in the morning”, you have no grasps of negativity to cling too. All you have is the potential. All those occasions you could have gone to. You would have looked amazing. People would’ve cheered as you walked passed dressed in that one truly perfect garment.

Well, today that happened to me. I fell in love with a dress by Miss Crabb. I thought it was effortlessly chic. Loose, long, feminine, delicate and floaty made of a gorgeous nude fabric juxtaposed with the bright neon flower print. It was perfect.

MissCrabb Image from Viva and nzherald.co.nz

It was also sold out.

Heartbreak.

Alas, the relationship for Miss Crabb and I cannot be, and I have to move on from this unrequited love.

I’m not quite sure how to get over a break up in the throws of a sugar detox. Can a heart even heal without chocolate ice cream?

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I have been keeping my eye on a certain New Zealand fashion label for a while. It has been increasingly demanding my attention through its intricate prints and effortlessly slouchy perfection.

Ketz-kes spring collection has really got me excited.

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I’m loving the pastel tones with delicate bolts of colour that Jenny, the designer, is playing with this season. My pick from all of the pieces (available online already – woop woop) has to be the white peek-a-boo style trackies. Oh and the cool illustrated tees. Oh, oh and the printed trousers. Ok, pretty much everything here.

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Also, where can I get me some mint lace ups? Can’t you just picture yourself strolling down the street in the height of summer in those babies? Well I can, and it’s beating my Monday morning blues.

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Get your boobs out (or in).

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Did you know that up to 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra? Well if you didn’t, you probably should, because that statistic has been doing the rounds for years. I’ve known it for a while, which is why last year, when I got fitted, I wasn’t that surprised to find out that I was too. The slightly overbearing lady in the Smith & Caugheys lingerie section gruffly told me that I was a 10D. Having worn a B or C my entire life (by ‘entire life’ I obviously mean post puberty, I was not a 3 year old in a bra, unless my parents have something to own up to) I was very surprised. I diligently followed the advice given to me and stocked up on D cups and toddled off home.

Yesterday however I hand an entirely different bra experience. Yes, a bra experience, you didn’t know they existed did you? Well they do. For those of you who live in Auckland, they are very close to home (for those of you who don’t, theres a website – but I will get to that).

I will set the scene for you…

Down a back street full of dingy looking eateries and back doors, sits a gem. The window has over sized neon ice creams suspended in mid air and the decor is fresh, light and looks the way you want your knicker draw to look. I am talking about Rose & Thornes ‘fit studio’.

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Once inside, and a little in awe, Sue (the owner and creator) told me the story of her little brand from the moment it was just a twinkle in the eye to right now. I could tell you all the details, but to be honest, they are superfluous. Because at the end of the day, does it matter what the story behind something we wear is? A conscious buyer would like to know that whomever stitched was paid a decent wage and that no animals were hurt to give us what we are buying. After that, its just down to how we feel in it, or how it feels on us. Right?

Well, I’ll tell you, it feels bloody good. Sue, unlike her slightly grumpy predecessor, was great at fitting me. She delicately told me that D was a little on the large side for me (read: I was scammed into to buying heaps of bras) and got me into something that felt great, looked even better and came in at a mere $25. Seriously. On the walk to work I was trying to do the calculations in my head of how much it would cost me to chuck out all my other bras and buy up large at Rose & Thorne – AND IT WASN’T EVEN THAT MUCH.

So, I could go into insane detail about the brands great system of finding a cut that suits you (I am a ‘Curvylicious’), to allow for easy and speedy purchasing. Or I could just tell you to go to their website, or The Warehouse (where they are stocked) or (even better) to their fit studio.

Which I will. Go to them. They are great. I feel like I have found “my” bra.

Oh and when you pop in, say hi to Sue for me (there is nothing like getting your boobs out to make you feel connected to someone)!

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Mondayitis

I have a bit of a history with handbags. By history, I mean love affair. It started with my Grandmother, she loved them, and loved that I did too. She would buy me books about the history of clutches, hand stitch beaded beauties for me to take to school balls and gift me Victorian age purses from her personal costume collection at Christmas.

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to surround myself with as many treasured tokens, rich with culture, as she did. But everything I have to hold my endless supply of half used lip gloss and chewed pens is still ever so loved. On a trip I took to Europe a while ago I saved up all my pennies and snagged a Mulberry (yes, a real life Bayswater). Before that budget busting investment I was hauling around a rather over sized vintage Kate Spade number I dug out at the recycle boutique. On my current rotation is a rather gorgeous studded backpack style Saben piece.

One day my collection will rival my Grandmothers (and probably include large chunks of hers).

So when I fall for a bag, its a serious (take home to meet the parents) thing. I have not only fallen in love with a bag here, but an entire collection, an entire brand. The only thing that will make this wind beaten Monday morning worth getting out of my footsie pajamas is Mr Mini Robin (in cobalt – of course), by the breath taking Deadly Ponies.

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Excel and pretty knickers at the ready.

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I always wait with baited breath for good old Karen’s collections to come around. I’m not always heading for the credit card, or creating excel spread sheet budgets on how to both afford food and clothes (yes that is a real thing that I may or may not have done multiple times in the past) but I almost always find something to lust over. She is a fabulous kiwi designer and although I still wish that she would make her first collection shows a New Zealand affair (rather than a New York one) I grow more and more in love with her boxy, bold and crisp design aesthetic each season.

I think Karen Walker usually creates amazing prints and always produces them in gorgeous sweats or tees that are an easy way of getting a designer hit without selling your life on Ebay.

My lust for her latest resort collection has to be the amazing denim dress. With a dungaree feel, billowy skirt (the kind that would totally show your knickers if you twirled) and pockets, I think this is the ultimate dress for summer.

Now, where did I save that that spread sheet….

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For the full collection go here.

Mondayitis?

Varsity dressing has really taken over, and (as with most things I pine for) its a style I fear wouldn’t suit me. But being the brash, slightly misguided and fool hardy woman that my parents bought me up to be, I will wear the hell out of it anyway.

There are two ways to embrace this style (really there are a million ways, but I think, in my ultimate wisdom, these are two of the best ways), either go all out and make like the college kids it’s styled after, with sneakers beanies.

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Or, pair with fabulously feminine pieces to balance those bold typefaces and bulky cuts.

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Option number two has me completely besotted. So, to achieve this, I’m starting with Kate Sylvester’s perfectly slouchy, drop shoulder, grey marl sweater to beat my Monday blues.

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