Monday, July 13, 2015

Your full-proof shopping checklist - Part 1


Can you relate to the following scenario more often than not? 

Nothing seems to fit. 
It's morning and you've tried so many things on and it's all on the bed (& the floor) not on your back. 
You can't even remember what's at the dry cleaners & you are about to scavenge through the laundry basket. 
Basically, what were you thinking when you bought all these clothes?
Even worse, why did you buy so much loot which doesn't fit, doen't make you look good nor feel good about yourself? 


In contrast, how often can you relate to this scenario?

When you need to look extra smart at work, you reach for your favourite navy suit. On normal days you mix & match the pants, skirt and jacket with other items you have. On casual Friday, you wear the jacket with jeans (or the pants with a denim jacket). For that last minute invite to dinner with friends, you pop on the LBD of that suit and a denim jacket with a couple of nana's sparkly brooches and you're ready. You have ballet flats, low heel pumps & high heel pumps, all in black, which are at the ready for anything. 

These clothes are go-to clothes for you. You know they make you look good and when you wear them, your confidence goes up and you can enjoy yourself without feeling self conscious. 

Wouldn't it be great if you could be in scenario #2 all of the time (or most of the time)?

That doesn't mean we all need a LBD or a navy suit in our closet. Far from it. You can substitute pieces which are your go-to items based on your lifestyle, body shape, height etc.

Scenario #2 is definitely possible for most western women who have a job or are capable of getting one. 

However, & it's a big however, if you're not already there now, you need to make some changes. After all, if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. 

In a series of posts, Style into Action will give you a full proof checklist which will allow you to get to scenario #2.  

The checklist is designed to be applied to every potential purchase so that you can weigh up whether the item needs to be in your closet. 

The checklist requires you to make some hard decisions about who you are and more importantly, who you want to be. 

Are you ready?


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Supersoft v Target - you get what you pay for

On a regular basis, SIA hears people say things like:

"I saw the exact thing elsewhere for half the price."


"They come from the same factory. They're the same quality."

Fact: Most people's powers of observation are not fabulous. 
Fact: Most people are glued to a small screen and can't see the details, even if you place the items side by side. 
Fact: Most people are so hell bent on bringing down the tall poppy designer item, they don't want to see the differences. 

So let's look at an example. 

SIA recently saw a "comfort shoe" at Target for $55. It looked remarkably similar to a Dianna Ferrari Supersoft version which has been around for ages for approx $110. 

So she put them side by side. 

1. The leather feels the same. 
2. The shape of the uppers looks the same EXCEPT for the toe area.
3. The bows are identical. 
4. The metal trims are identical. 

 5. The backs look the same.

6. The stitching on the footbed looks the same.
7. Both are made in Vietnam. 

8. The rubber sole looks the same thickness 
9. The tread pattern differs slightly. 

When considering the big picture, the only material difference is the toe area. The Supersoft version has been raised up by sewing an insert of leather which means that the toes (especially the big toe), won't create a stretching out of the leather in that area. 

The difference in the toe area is material. It's the difference between a $55 item and an $110 item. 

The big toe imprint is one of the commonest wear & tear scenarios which cheaper ballet/flat shoes will encounter. Supersoft have gone the extra mile to ensure it isnt an issue and their product lasts longer than cheaper versions.  

Whether that difference is worth $55 [$110 - $55] to you, is a personal matter. But please don't try to tell me that these are the same quality or because they may (?) come from the same factory, that they are the same quality. 

Unless you pick loot up on sale (and sale stalking takes time), you won't find quality at a bargain basement price. Because you get what you pay for. 

[PS: After this post was researched, SIA found Blue Illusion has a suspiciously similar shoe without the toe adjustment. Again made in Vietnam. Priced at $100.]

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dion Lee hits the Target

The Dion Lee for Target Australia 36 piece collection launched in store today. 

The collection is outstanding. By far the best of ANY Oz Target collaboration & there have been many. 

For a trip down memory lane, SIA has lived through Target Aust adult collaborations with Alice McCall (2006), Tina Kalivas (2006) and TL Wood (2006) - these three were dropped concurrently, Gail Sorronda (2007), Yeojin Bae (2007), Josh Goot - Aussie wool pieces (2007), Zac Posen (2008), Collette Dinnigan lingerie (2008), The Veronikas lingerie (2008), Stella McCartney (2007 & 2010), Dita von Teese lingerie (2011 & in 2013 moved to Myer), Roberto Cavalli (2013), Missoni (2014), Desert Designs (2014), Dannii Minogue petites & accessories (2014 & ongoing).

The Dion Lee collection is outstanding in the following ways: 

1. The fabrics are of great quality - the knits are double thickness & the extra weight helps to hold everything in, the neoprene is thick, alot of items are lined, there are lovely silks and cottons, even the viscose has a lovely feel to it. As a comparison, the knits are much better than the Missoni knits which were quite thin & flimsy. 

2. The patterns & textures are very good. From laser cut, perforations, mesh, logo prints, a fabulous element print with neon peach and cobalt blue accents, I wouldnt have expected so much from a discount store collaboration.

3. The making of the items is wonderful. The seams, the lines, the finishing, the trims, all terrific. No crooked seams, no dodgy closures. 

4. Prices? Similar to Runway to Rack, so on the more expensive end of Target, but still within a discount store range. Affordable high street.

Those who know Style into Action, know she is a hard marker & has high standards. 

Social media
The collection seems to be getting quite a bit of flak in social media. People are not happy with the thin, tall model being used in the advertisements and they are claiming it doesn't work for a typical Target customer. Partly because the clothes "look skinny" and partly because the items are "too fashion forward". 

Style into Action's response to these issues are:

1. Re: Tall thin model doesn't look like typical customer

If you expect to understand how a garment will fit you based on how it fits a model, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of shopping heart ache.  Models pose with toilet rolls down their back, with pins & bulldog clips all over the garment outside of our view. 

The real tests of whether a garment is worth trying on:

a) What is my body shape?
b) What is my height?
c) What is my colouring?
d) What styles/colours suit someone with a), b) & c?
e) If the item aligns with the styles identified in d), then try it on. 

Part of this process is to look at photos. Not the model photos, but the catalogue photos (no model's body is included here) which dont have a human being in them. 

The model & her looks are irrelevant. They are there to sell the clothes but only if you ignore them do you have a fighting chance of finding something that flatters you. 

2. Re: Why should we support a retailer who is using overly skinny models?

If you want to, you can protest the use of models by boycotting the retailer. But if we all did this, the retail trade would come to a halt. People would lose their jobs. retailers would close down. 

The fact is that the industry understands that more healthy habits need to be instilled in models. But it also sees that the use of skinny girls sells more loot. People want to see skinny models. So the retailers use these models. Despite their complaints, the consumers are driving this.  

3. Re: Too fashion forward? 

Let's talk Target. 
At the most basic level, Target's main customer is a mother with kids at home. It's main labels for this market are its Target Collection (which has work pieces & dress up pieces), Life & Style (which has relaxed pieces) and essentials (which has the basic cheaper pieces you would wear around the house). 

On the plus size, there is Belle Curve (ex Moda). On the petite side there is Dannii Minogue's range. 

But it has many other groups of shoppers too - single young teen girls up to 20 yo (Lily Loves), fashion forward women in their 20s (Runway to Rack) and empty nesters who love classic elegant pieces (Yours Sincerely). 

The important thing is that all these groups can & do cross over. That means that there is no reason why any girl can't have pieces from most or all of these labels in her closet. 

Let's talk Dion Lee. 
Dion's look is minimalist, athletic sporty with jolts of colour. 
There is no reason why every Target demographic can't have one piece of Dion in their closet. 

Even if you tend to buy the floral or preppy pieces in Target Collection, you can still include Dion in your closet.

If you love the boho edge of Lily Loves, there is no reason why you cant include Dion in your closet. 

If you love the trendiness of Runway to Rack, you can include Dion in that mix. 

Obviously there is a more limited cross over of Dion with Dannii Petites and Belle Curve because size wise the items don't match. 

The important thing is that no single collection or label will cater for every Target customer at any point in time AND it would be very strange if any customer only purchased from one label. 

To be truthful, if you stay within your comfort zone over the medium term, stylewise, you will look stale & dated. Incorporating carefully selected pieces over a number of labels adds interest & youthfulness to your look. Well dressed women pick & choose what suits them & their lifestyle. 

Well dressed women choose style not fashion. 

The social media people who think the Dion range should work for everyone is looking at shopping through rose coloured glasses. 

The easiest way to "cross over" (code for mixing labels in your closet) is with accessories - the sneaker, the backpack & the tote. Think of them as a OSFA. 

The other way to cross over (& include Dion in your closet) is to choose the simple pieces are easier to wear & less complex in their construction - think the tailored pants, the knit tops, the LBD or the hoodie. In contrast, a body con dress, the leggings, a cut out blouse, crop top or bomber may be harder to wear especially as you get older.  

In summary, Style into Action believes this collection is wonderful & has pieces which will suit a wide variety of people if carefully selected. 

Individually, the pieces in the collection are: 

Fabulous fabric - doubled up fabric.
Thick keeps everything in its place.

Fabulous fabric - doubled up fabric. 
Thick keeps everything in its place.

Fabulous fabric - doubled up fabric. 
Thick keeps everything in its place.

Great pencil shape, love the side split.
Fabulous fabric - doubled up fabric. 

Thick keeps everything in its place.

The bustier top has adjustible wide straps.
The faux wrap skirt is longer than it looks and is lined!
$59 (top), $79 (skirt) 

Fabulous for booby girls.
Lined, wide adjustible straps.


Fabulous for booby girls. 
Lined, wide adjustible straps. 
A cross over piece.

Ribbed stretch halter with open lower back.


Fabulous laser cut bomber.
Beautifully inserted zip & plain hem/cuffs/yolks.

Stunning & beautifully made, pure silk
Hand wash & towel dry flat - never dry clean
A cross over piece (as long as you suit the colour)


Fabulous laser cut pencil skirt
with shorter element print lining.
Back split by opening zipper.


Stunning & beautifully made, pure silkHand wash & towel dry flat - never dry clean
Another cross over piece


Neoprene totes with signature straps & blue bonded interior.
The bottom has corners - subject to easy wear if used daily.
A terrific cross over piece.

Gorgeous neoprene bucket bag & convertible to backpacks.
Blue bonded interior.
Leather trim.
This is a great cross over piece.

Neoprene 10 cm heel with leather sockbed.
A great day to night piece.

On trend neoprene sneakers.
Another terrific cross over piece. 

Workout worthy oversize tee with reflective strip.

Tailored pant, skinny leg.
Will emphasis thighs if worn by a pear.
Another terrific cross over piece.

Stretch tee shirt dress, easy to wear but
some showed initial signs of pilling

Cute tailored jacket in the same nylon
fabric as the tailored pant & 3/4 pant.
Laser cut design on back.
This could cross over too.

Simple racer back knit top in a lovely viscose with eyelet & ribbed knit
(I didnt know I would ever say a viscose was lovely, but this one is!!!)
Also in black
Hello cross over!


3/4 stretch pant, narrow leg, not good for pears.
Another cross over piece.

Gorgeous cotton/silk shirt with doubled up yoke
Beautiful stitching although the hem band may
make shorten the body a touch.

Back - gorgeous. 

Gorgeous heavy knit dress in a fine & an open weave.

Stunning heavy weight hoodie with fabulous
texture & fabulous edge finishing.
The grey has yellow undertones so best for warm complexions.
More cross over.

Back - love, love, love. 

Simple racer back knit top in a lovely viscose with eyelet & ribbed knit
(I didnt know I would ever say a viscose was lovely, but this one is!!!)
Also in cobalt
Lots of cross over potential

This viscose tank has a wider cut than
the cobalt version, both front & back.
More cross over potential


Gold layering piece - totally see through.
Love the wide elastic hem & cuffs

Fabulous detail on the elastic 

Activewear, $39 (top) & $45 (shorts)

Performance leggings
Gorgeous running jacket

Updated exercise tank
Has wicking qualities and a built in mesh top

Back - love how the binding is joined at
the back & in a similar place for
both the black & the blue sections.

Neoprene cap with mesh & logo trim

Great layering - this is the ribbed halter top
with the mesh top over it. 



SIA bought the backpack (x 2) & the black tailored jacket.

So what do you think of the Dion collection?
Are you considering any purchases?