My Style Story

style story minimal wardrobe
style story minimal wardrobe
style story minimal wardrobe
style story minimal wardrobe
style story minimal wardrobe
style story minimal wardrobe
style story minimal wardrobe

I’ve been thinking a lot about style story lately. What kind of styles do I like? What kind of styles would I prefer to avoid? And how does this mesh with the contents of my current wardrobe?

Wearing Lover lace top (old but love this version and this is a gorgeous option), RUBY zip skirt (old but similar here and this is a black version which is on sale), Charlotte Olympia kitty flats (affordable version here), Celine trotteur bag (affordable option here)

A look back through my archives will tell you a lot that you might want to know about my style story. The key pieces that are repeat offenders in daily looks, to the wardrobe mistakes which are left to languish in the back of my closet, the journey to ’perfecting’ my style has been filled with twists and turns, and a few revelations along the way.

I looked up to bloggers like Rumi Neely, Lulu Chang, Jane Aldridge and Aimee Song, and you could see how their influence clearly punctuated elements of my style. Shopping became a pastime; something that I did for fun or as a means of escapism, neither of which I’d consider inherently healthy.

This will probably come as a bit of a surprise, but I didn’t always have the same love of fashion that I have now. As an adolescent, my daily outfits were dictated by my mum, so I never developed that passion for putting together an outfit, purely because I didn’t have the opportunity. My spare time was spent playing outdoors, reading, or developing storylines for my extensive collection of Sylvanian Families.

Fashion may not have been my first priority, yet I still managed to have a well stocked wardrobe. Growing up with grandparents who had immigrated to New Zealand following World War II, there was a huge emphasis on using and wearing what you had. The vast majority of my wardrobe was lovingly hand made my by Yiaya (who worked for many years as a seamstress), and supplemented by oversized sweaters and leggings that made the perfect companions when climbing trees and clambering across school playgrounds.

Looking back now, mum was always someone that I looked up to growing up; not only was she my biggest role model, but I always admired the elegance of her outfits, which became a huge influence over how I dressed as I grew older. She put a lot of thought and consideration into her daily appearance, and I think it’s safe to say that those are qualities which have rubbed off on me.

It wasn’t until I started intermediate school that I started to have a little bit of an interest in fashion. Mum no longer picked out my outfits, and I found myself expressing parts of my personality through what I was wearing. There was the phase where I wore snap pants and a Janet Jackson tee almost daily with a pair of silver platform sneakers, followed pretty quickly by a phase that saw me wear baggy ‘skater’ pants with oversized skate shoes. It was a look, and I didn’t stray from it; now that I think back on it, I had a pretty strong style uniform, which was based around a few key pieces that I wore on rotation. Mostly, I think I wore whatever it was that my friends were wearing. As a young teen, there’s a lot of pressure to conform and fit in, and as someone who was subjected to an inordinate amount of bullying during those early teenage years, I wanted to blend in with the crowd, and my style was a way that I felt I could do this. And what I wore was pretty basic. Little singlets with dark wash denim and converse sneakers.

It was during that transition from college to university that I really started to experiment with my style. But while I worried less about what others thought, I seemed to be in a real hurry to grow up. My wardrobe started to fill up with items that would form the foundation of a good work wardrobe; classic white shirts, high waisted black skirts, blazers and peep toe heels. Practicality clearly didn’t factor into my outfit choices, given I was a Political Science student at a university known for its steep hills.

As I wrapped up my university years, and moved into full time work, I truly started to find myself experimenting more with my style, whether that was with colour, silhouette, texture and trends. I was living at home, and was being paid a decent wage, a lot of which I was putting into my closet. Not only was I experimenting more, but I was starting to ‘invest’ in my wardrobe, with contemporary brands like Karen Walker, Lover, 3.1 by Phillip Lim, Isabel Marant and Carven. It was a case of quality and quantity, though items were coming into my wardrobe just as quickly as they were leaving it. Simply put, I liked experimenting, but there was no real longevity to the items that I was buying, regardless of how much I’d actually spent. Many of my friends on the other hand, didn’t quite share the same interest in fashion as me.

The biggest contributor to my (ever-growing and ever-changing) wardrobe had to be when I discovered eBay. I started to buy items just because they were a good deal, or because I’d set out to create an archive of items from labels like Lover and Karen Walker. It was also a time that I started to become a little more conscious of what others thought of my outfits, particularly as I added overtly feminine or saccharine pieces to my wardrobe, which were a departure from the previously ‘classic’ style I had focused so heavily on.

And then while looking for new blogs to read, I discovered Dead Fleurette, and slowly as I sifted through the archives of her wardrobe journey, my own attitude towards my wardrobe and style started to shift. Her wardrobe became an example to look up to, of what a minimal closet could look like, and I started to take a much more analytical approach to my wardrobe – more so than ever before. I made lists of what the perfect wardrobe would look like, and started to cull anything that didn’t fit within that vision. My shopping habits hadn’t exactly changed, but what I was shopping had. I started to develop a rather unhealthy obsession with dressing like a Parisian (which I want to delve into further in another post), but often I found that many of the items I was buying which fit the style I was trying to emulate, weren’t quite right for my body. During this phase, I found that I was frequently leaving the house in outfits that I thought I should be wearing, even if I felt uncomfortable wearing a certain silhouette.

Perhaps the thing that still continues to surprise me is just how much my style seems to have evolved in the short time that we’ve been living in Sydney. I sold up a lot of my wardrobe before we moved here, narrowing my colour palette further to focus firmly on neutral tones, which without question, make getting dressed each morning easier than if you had a closet full of colour. I tried out capsule wardrobes, and made an effort to shop with more intention, and be less vulnerable to trends.

In that time span, my lifestyle has changed tremendously. I’ve gone from working in a corporate setting to a creative environment, and from weekends spent shopping or eating lunch at a local cafe, to pottering around at home with our three pets. With that, the needs of my wardrobe have changed. As have my attitudes. I’m less concerned with keeping up with current trends (though I am partial to the odd one), instead choosing to appreciate what isn’t right for me from afar. I’ve put less of an emphasis on investing top dollar in your wardrobe, as I’ve come to realise that price doesn’t always dictate quality – a shift in thinking which has really seen me gravitate towards brands like Everlane and Grana.

Though, if there’s one thing I’m still trying to figure out, it’s where my style story will lead me to next.

During my 20s, I’ve developed a lot more confidence in the way I dress, and knowing what is and isn’t right for me, yet there still seems to be a disconnect between the way I’d like to dress, and the way I’m currently dressing now.

How has your style evolved as you’ve grown older? x

Spring Wardrobe Essential: The Midi Skirt

spring wardrobe essential midi skirt minimal mademoiselle
spring wardrobe essential midi skirt minimal mademoiselle
spring wardrobe essential midi skirt minimal mademoiselle
spring wardrobe essential midi skirt minimal mademoiselle

Hollister top (old but similar here), Lover midi skirt (old but I love this one or similar here), Atmos & Here denim jacket (old but this is the same in a mid blue wash), Senso flats, 3.1 by Phillip Lim bag

Following on from my post last week, I wanted to talk about another spring wardrobe essential; the midi skirt. Warmer weather has been coming in waves, which has had me trying to get on top of my spring wardrobe staples a lot sooner than I’d anticipated.

This white cotton broderie midi skirt from Lover has been a wardrobe workhorse the last few years, as the cut and colour lend themselves well to the spring season, and this year is no different. If you go back through my archives you’ll see my favourite way to wear this skirt is either with a cashmere knit sweater, or a slinky silk cami – two silhouettes I absolutely love, though to mix things up a bit I’ll probably be pairing this with more fitted ribbed tees and off the shoulder crop tops, in addition to simple white tees with embroidery on the bust. I’m not really planning to add to my closet in a big way, so I’ll mostly be making do with what I have.

While I’ll usually throw on a cute mid-heeled sandal, a trusty pair of dressy flats is usually the much more practical option, and this pair from Senso has been a welcome addition to my closet for the upcoming season. As much as I love a black bag, the combination of this outfit called for much softer, muted tones, making my mini pashli bag the perfect pairing (it’s the perfect size for a weekend day bag!). I

Aside from being a great staple at home, I also feel like a midi skirt is perfect for packing in your suitcase for any holiday – I took this one with me to Italy and the US last year and it worked really well for both casual and more dressed up looks, plus it was nice to have something that I could rely on (that wasn’t denim!) when the weather cooled down a little.

I’m planning to share a few more of my spring wardrobe essentials in upcoming outfit posts, but in the meantime it would be great to know what some of yours are! x

My best second hand purchases

Hope Grand Sweater

I think I can categorically say that for many years I spent just as much time browsing eBay as I spent checking my emails (read: a lot). Defining my style and exploring new designers which weren’t readily available in New Zealand, eBay was the #1 destination where I would stumble across a bargain second hand buy, or investment purchase for (much) less. These days, I’m more like to browse The Real Real – mostly down to the fact that they have a return policy – but one thing still remains true; I love a good second hand purchase. It’s that thrill of the hunt, and the best finds always turn up when you least expect them, and honestly, it can often be much more rewarding that buying something brand new. I’ve had my fair share of gems, as well as complete duds over the years, so I thought I’d share and reflect on some of my best second hand purchases to date.

HOPE GRAND SWEATER

Of all the knitwear I have stashed in my drawers, the grand sweater from Hope makes the biggest statement. It’s not hard to see why; the apricot hue, luxe waffle knit, and general oversized nature are what drew me to it in the first place. Mine was a lucky find on eBay, a good fraction of the RRP, and a good investment considering this is a staple style from HOPE – if you’re after one of your own, you can find it here or here, alternatively this option from Everlane is a little kinder on the wallet. I typically tend to enjoy wearing this with milky tones: cream denim, white pleated skirts, or layered over a midi dress. Sizing wise, it’s a large fit. I nabbed it in a EU36 which is the equivalent of an AU8, but you could easily size down if you didn’t want it to be quite so baggy. The only downside is laundering this sweater; you have to do it by hand, then lay it flat to avoid it from becoming misshapen. Hasn’t stopped me from reaching for this sweater whenever it gets chilly though!

View the original blog post here

KAREN WALKER FRILL TOP

There are a few items in my closet that I spent years trying to track down – no exaggeration – and this simple frill top was one of them. Hailing from my favourite Karen Walker collection to date, ‘The Believers’, I’ve always been drawn to the combination of the sheer floral patterned silk, keyhole detail and frill hem. This is a good ten years old now, and while it looks a little weathered and worse for wear, I can’t help but love it all the same. A wardrobe addition that was truly years in the making, it’s one that I know I’ll continue to cherish for years to come. If you’d like to see this piece in action (as I can’t seem to find a snap of it on…), I featured it in my Summer 2016/2017 Wardrobe Lookbook which you can watch here.

Willow Leather Skirt

WILLOW LEATHER SKIRT

I knew I wanted a leather skirt from Willow just weeks into starting a job at David Jones. During my lunch breaks, I’d take the lift down to level 2, and make a mental note of all the ‘investment pieces’ I’d love to add to my wardrobe (Celine cashmere… anyone?). But somehow, I managed to leave that job without the leather skirt of my dreams, and shortly after, Willow become defunct, dashing any chances of buying one of their iconic a-line leather skirts brand new. But, luck has been on my side and I’ve found not one, but two of the old Willow leather skirts on eBay, a simple silhouette which has become something of a uniform for me, particularly during these cold winter months.

View the original blog post here

Valentino Tango Pump

THE VALENTINO TANGO PUMP

I bought these almost two years ago now from The Real Real, after stumbling across a pair in my size, like new with rubber soles applied. These cost a pretty penny when buying brand new (the beige patent is lovely though…), so as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to score these at more than half off. They’ve turned out to be a real wardrobe staple, a shoe that I know I can rely on to make any outfit look chic. And even though they’re on the narrow side, I don’t find them to bring too much discomfort to my wide feet – at least no more than other shoes! In terms of quality, they really are exceptional and have held up well, despite being worn many times on my daily trek to and from the office.

View the original blog post here

Lover Wiccan Lace Midi Dress

LOVER THE LABEL WICCAN MIDI DRESS

The final second hand purchase I wanted to mention is one which I hunted on eBay for seven years. Seven. I first became obsessed with Australian label Lover at 17; aside from Karen Walker it was one of the few brands whose collections I would pore over, season after season, and still all these years on, their ‘Black Magick’ collection seems to have made a lasting impression on me. I finally managed to track down this dress via eBay in my size, at the start of this year, and have been saving it for those special occasions. The same French lace as my wedding dress, it’s as delicate as it looks, and miles more beautiful in person. I suppose good things really do come to those who wait… x

View the original blog post here

An outfit from my weekend in Canberra

minimal white and grey outfit
minimal white and grey outfit
minimal white and grey outfit
minimal white and grey outfit
minimal white and grey outfit

Grana cashmere sweater (10% off with the code JAMIExGRANA), Lover a-line skirt (old but this is cute & I like this option), Vaneli two-tone pumps, 3.1 by Phillip Lim mini pashli

It feels like it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but I wanted to share this outfit that I wore a couple weekends ago while we were visiting my family in Canberra. We can probably all agree that it was perhaps not the most practical of outfits to wear while wandering down dirt tracks and rocky roads on our way to each wine tasting, but I get the feeling that I couldn’t wait to throw on one of the latest additions to my wardrobe; a new pair of Chanel-inspired shoes (at a fraction of the cost), which have been coming with my literally everywhere.

I’ve been reaching for this grey cashmere sweater from Grana for those cooler days when it starts to feel a bit like Autumn here in Sydney, which turned out to be a welcome surprise in the small suitcase I packed for our long weekend in Canberra. While I gravitate towards the darker pieces in my wardrobe as soon as the temperature starts to drop, I love the combination of this mid-grey and creamy white wool skirt – a colour duo I’ll probably try to replicate a little more as we head towards winter. Admittedly, I probably could have done with a couple of extra layers, but sometimes when you’re packing light, you have to make do with what you’ve (hastily) stashed away in your suitcase…

01.02

lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress

Lover wiccan lace midi dress (old but I LOVE this option, and this is gorgeous too!), Dior marble patent heels (these are a cute alternative), Kate of Arcadia leather clutch (similar), Kate Spade earrings

Celebrating becoming a year older in one of my favourite labels – Lover. I managed to stumble across this beauty on eBay just a couple weeks ago, after being on the hunt for it for seven (!!) years, and there was no way that I could pass it up. Besides, is there any other way to celebrate a special occasion than in Lover? While this beauty might be no longer available, I’ve had a ‘shop’ around for some of my favourite lace dresses which you’ll find below; can you guess which ones I have my eye on? x