Monday, September 12, 2011

Chanel 2.55 for tots (fake)

Uber cute!

After a bit of an absence, I am happy to be back & there is no happier topic to start with than....Chanel.....

I normally loathe fakes in clothing & accessories and I am expert enough to pick them up at, oh, about a thousand paces.

But this is different.


The fake is a replica of the uber classic Chanel 2.55 bag, but its for tots.

PS: 2.55 stands for the release date, February 1955.

PPS: Here is the grown up version in the Westfield Sydney CBD pop up store window in July 2011. This bag is re created every season in size, shape, leathers, handles etc. Its a life long classic.

Back to the bags for tots....

I found these bags at a kids store in Westfield North Rocks.
They were so cute I had to post about them.

They were $15 each
The day prior they also had a hot pink.

Then I got to thinking about other colours -

black for the classic tot
navy for the chic (French) tot
camel for the Euro chic tot
pale pink for the girlie tot
red for the glamorous tot
white for the nautical tot

Lets not get started on prints, tweeds, sequins etc!

I didnt know what Chanel was til I was about 16 - I remember a girlfriend who worked with me at Grace Bros (the old Myer store) raving about camelias and quilted bags & Claudia Schiffer. So I went & looked up "the look" so I could understand her excitement. I got it.

And so these cute bags are a great way to start a little one on the path of Chanel-dom.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Elegant or Weird? You be the judge.

Elegant or weird? You be the judge.
Madonna v Halle Berry

You may have seen these photos of Madonna this week at the Venice Film Festival.
The event was the premiere of WE, which also was her directoral debut. The movie was about Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII.

Her frock was a custom Vionnet dress in pale blue with red beaded butterflies. Her look was generally applauded buy the fashion commentators (the film makers panned her movie).

They (the fashion people, not the movie people!) said that the dress showed off her toned arms - IMO the extra fabric at the sleeves just looked like bad dressmaking.

Then there are the heart shape.....eyeroll.......they are Miu Miu & frankly it looks like she borrowed them from her daughter's Lourdes' dress up wardrobe. Are they suitable for an event like the Venice Film Festival? even if you are Madonna!!!!!

Plus I wish she had done her roots too! Hairdresser please!!!!!

Now lets look at the back......

They (darned fashion people) also said the extra fabric cut on the bias at the back showed off the curve of her lower spine (ie: bum).

However (enlarge the photo) when I look at the way its gathered at the back, it looks to be like there's a few safety pins holding it together!

Also look at the way the underside of the fabric shows up with the shadows of the butterflies (attached on the good side)....I shake my head. Yucky, yucky, yucky.....

Maybe I am getting old, but this look just did absolutely nothing for me. Overall yucky, yucky, yucky too!

In contrast, the only previous "similar" red carpet dress which came to mind for me is a Valentino couture frock worn by Halle Berry many, many, many years ago.


A column, with red rosettes concentrated at the waist. Similar but beautifully styled and fitted. Say no more.

I realise they are different, but frankly give me elegant glamour over weird stuff any day!!!!!

Books - Michelle Obama, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor

I found these three books on sale today & I pounced. Michelle Obama, Audrey Hepburn & Elizabeth Taylor. Three very different styles. Which one represents you?

Fabulous book on how Michelle Obama mixes high & low to create her own unique look which projects confidence and highlights her best features.

Includes details of her life and her earlier more conservative lawyer style.
Most of all, the book emphasizes that whist her style is integral to who she is, she doesnt let it take over & run her agenda.

A discussion on the cardigan whose status Michelle has single handedly raised to classic power item status.

A chapter on her love of bold florals - Warning - dont try this is you are petite!

This caught my eye - lovely classic look.

What do you think of this?
The event: 20 Summit, Pittsburgh 2009 with Carla Bruni, ex super model & now wife of the French President.
Which dress do you prefer for that event?


Whilst I am not a huge fan Elizabeth Taylor, contrary to her taste in husbands, her style is quite distinct and definite. I love that trait of certainty in a person.

I also liked that this book has some amazing photos of early Liz which show a very different style to her later years.

oohhh, look at this one......I adore polka dots! & it has a collar at the back....

Chic, chic, chic

Never seen a poncho look i liked - but this one is amazing!

I grew up in the these shots call out to me......

Love everything about this Ocsar dress

Another early shot in her pink dressing room

Another early promo, so young....& here style evolved quite dramatically during her career from cute/pretty/feminine to sexy/dramatic.


This book is made up entirely of photos of global magazine covers of Audrey Hepburn.

I love seeing the lesser known photos. But its also a treat to see the common photos being presented & styled differently depending on which country they are from. The country of origin is identified for each cover photos.

Interestingly, this book confirms that her style stayed true throughout her life.

Breakfast anyone? at Tiffanys of course.....

Lovely modelling shots!

Navy & white - totally classic (I adore nautical looks)

Au revoir! Until next time.....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Banjo & Matilda cashmere warehouse sale - Sydney

Today's retail excursion was at the Banjo & Matilda warehouse sale.

Commencing in Sydney's Surry Hills at 9 am, I arrived at 8 am, found convenient parking and went to pie face for a morning hot beverage and a sweet.

The sweet was required to give me the energy to elbow others out of the way so I could get the best cashmere bargains. Seems reasonable, in fact, its smart planning.

I then said a little prayer of thanks for the full glass frontage so I could spent time studying the layout with great concentration.

Cashmere pieces along the two long walls of the premises.

Cashmere pieces along 2 racks running down the centre of the room.

This piece was there in black, grey and natural. Long in the back to cover the bum - like that!

A massive basket of $50 pieces along the back wall. Yes! Cashmere at $50.
Turns out this basket had tops of various styles.
(pssttt, that's why I go to warehouse sales people)
There was even cashmere sleepwear and trackies - I think Mia Freedman was recently raving about the B&M cashmere trackies....

Register and mirrors along the back wall.
The Banjo & Matilda mascot cashmere ball was at the front window - cute.....

Hmmmm, well organised.
Well lit.
Prices were indicated by coloured tags. $50, $100, $200, & $300
Most of the loot was flagged at $50 & $100, some at $200 and a bit at $300. Hello? that's why I go to warehouse sales people.

I saw stuff I wanted on both the left wall and the right to be in 2 places at once....that was the challenge.....

At about 8.40 am, Belynda and Ben Macpherson arrive with baby Macpherson and they introduce themselves and are super friendly. That was nice. Frankly, if it was me, I would have been mad as hell that the woman took the last legal car parking spot in the vicinity.

In case you are not aware, Ben is Elle Macpherson's brother and understandably, Elle is photographed wearing B&M alot.

I am sure no one noticed that they had to prise me from clutching the door frame (so I could be first in) and remove my nose and body pressed against the glass (seriously, I was mentally categorising the stock and planning the order of priority of the loot). Belynda and Ben also had to get in & do that last bit of merchandising for the normal (non obsessive) customers.

Early start, early bird, worm

Here's where it gets delirious. Once they opened the door, they left it open....I could go in. It was about 8.45 am. Party time.

And there was no one nipping at my heels.
This meant I could grab the loot from the left wall and not have to worry that someone else was doing the same to the loot on the right challenge of being in 2 places at once was solved.

It is very rare that warehouse sales open their door early - too often they just arent organised enough, or are just plain terrified of the vultures at their door, but I'd say based on my personal experience, one in fifteen open early. [This statistic was determined by me while driving home & peeking over at my cashmere loot at every light stop.]

The die hard shoppers make sure they are there earlier than the official start time, to be at the head of the queue and maximise their early bird benefits.

The Plan

So what was I there to achieve?

Like any project, you need a plan.

1. Research

You need to have researched the brand to understand what they offer and their normal prices.
That way when you are presented with something at the sale, you know whether its truly a bargain or not. This can be done on line - in the early pre online days, you had to pound the pavement.

2. Wardrobe gaps

You need to know the general gaps in your closet (eg: work wear, smart casual, loungewear etc) with particular regard to whether this brand may be the type to fill these gaps.

3. Specific items

You need to know if there is any specific piece made by the brand that will make your wardrobe complete.

No 1 - expert
No 2 - I have no gaps
No 3 - Yes, their classic cashmere scarf (in black and navy) with the ribbing along the centre length

I hope no one noticed that of the answer to No 2 is a No, then you are lying if the answer to No 3 is a Yes.

Ode to the Breton top

I am a nutter for breton tops, you know, the nautical striped tops that Chanel used to wear.
And to top off my wardrobe obsessive compulsive behaviour, I tend to buy a thousand variations of simple pieces. You know, a black & white version, a navy & white version, a reverse stripe version, a wide stripe, a narrow stripe, a varying width stripe, a version with horn buttons on the shoulder, a version with gold buttons on the shoulder, buttons at the side seam, a boat neck, a crew neck, a scoop neck, a turtleneck, a mock turtle neck, a version with the stripes from the shoulders, a version with the stripes starting at the bust, etc etc. Then all the same in a red version....I kid you not. This is my wardrobe life. Please do not suggest I need to see a therapist. This works for me and has been working for many many years. So nick off.

This is merely one of the many Bretons that B&M had at the sale.

Having done my research, I knew B&M do loads of Bretons & I could see many styles through the glass, but their "white" is actually cream/off white.
Cream/off white are hospital colours for me.

I spoke to Belynda about this and she said its hard to get a white-white with cashmere as it involves alot of bleaching which isnt very eco friendly.
However they are working with a factory to find other (more eco friendly) means of getting white-whites.

So I stayed strong and said bye bye to all the striped pieces I had picked up - tops, cardis, a scarf...all TDF, but hospital colours for me.

TIP: Go into a sale & grab eveything in sight that even remotely interests you. You can discard later. Do not ponder & come back to grab it - it wont be there any more.

This means you need your hands free to collect loot and a bag that you can carry on your shoulder. Leave your shopping in the car. Give the kids to hubby to look after.

All these photos were taken around 9 am. I dont want to imagine how busy it would have gotten later than day, especially as the sun came out and it turned into a lovely day.

See the pink cashmere this lady is holding? It was the only really vivid colour....I grabbed it first and when I realised it was too small, passed it to her....see? another benefit of being first in.

see the coloured balls on the poster in the back?
thats a key of the price points green for $50, yellow for $100 etc.
Makes it east to figure out how much you are investing - thats a good thing.

Making friends - kindred spirits

Soon after my entry, a young girl walked in who had been second in the queue at the Jac+Jack Warehouse Sale (see post on 14 July 2011). We both seemed to like similar things. Thankfully she was about 4 sizes smaller than me otherwise I would have had to drug her and chop her up into little pieces so she wouldnt compete with me at future retail excursions.

Another one of my precious statistics is that out of about one in four sales I attend, someone recognises me from a previous sale.

This networking has benefits - you get to find out about other sales. Girls who love to shop, LOVE LOVE LOVE talking about shopping.

Was I successful?

Yup. There was only one of the classic black scarves with the centre ribbing. Only one. And I got it. None in navy.

I am convinced that if I hadnt picked it up in those first minutes, someone else would have.
The classic stuff in neutrals always goes first. Ditto anything really precious, handmade, truly special. These things are the "worms".

On the web the scarf is AU$299.
My price AU$100.
Happy dance.

Here it is from the web site, in an apricot that shows the ribbing.

The thing i like about the B&M scarf is its ends are finished well. It doesnt look just like a cast off was done (unlike other brands). There is a proper structured finishing. Looks so much lovelier than alot of other brands on the market.

The risk?

The risk at sales (any sale, even in store) is that you will buy stuff just because its cheap & you wont wear it because the colour is wrong, the fit is wrong or its just bad for your body shape.

Let is be said that I LOVE navy as much as I love black.

But my best navy is a dark navy and 99% of my navy stuff is dark.

Well, B&M had a bamboo (85%)/cashmere (15%) long scarf in a lighter navy & I bought it.

Bamboo gives it a lighter finer feel, probably more so than silk.

Note to self: Figure out if bamboo is washable

Here she the photo she looks too cobalt-y. In real life she is a bright navy.
The double X is the logo embroidered on one corner of each B&M piece.

I am rationalising this on the basis that it will work well in summer and it will work especially well with black (very French, non?)

It also had a double layer of a pointelle (teeny holes which form part of the knit) on each end - like I said above, the ends dont just look they are cast off plainly, but instead tend to have a special finish.

Price was AU$50.

These are the tags. Just like I am obsessed with packaging, I retain all tags too. They will go in my "tag" drawer which also has spare threads, spare buttons etc.

Note to self:
Ask Belynda why the B&M's dont come with thread swatches.
Note to self: Ask Belynda how the company name came about.

Total spend: AU$150

Level of happiness: Very very high

My new B&M babies are now playing with my other cashmere babies.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Girl crush - Olivia Palermo

Olivia Palermo - this girl usually gets it right both on and off the red carpet.

A couple of looks using the same top that I liked. That will help get her cost per wear (CPW) down and give her better value for money on the purchase.

Top: Susan Woo
Clutch: Hermes
Shoes: French Sole
Ring: ASOS

and a very recent one,

Top: Susan Woo
Skirt: Tibi
Shoes: French Sole
Bag: Anya Hindmarch

Figure va va voom - Nicole Kidman

Look at Nicole Kidman at a recent New York screening of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

She is in Elie Saab Resort Resort 2012 and her figure in particular looks amazing.

The dress emphasises her bust (beautifully) and gives her lovely curves around her hips.

Nicole is a stick figure, but with this dress, you'd never (ever) know.

We all know with photography, sometimes we can be deceived. But in this case the loveliness has nothing to do with the angle, nor the pose. Its simply a matter of having chosen the right dress for the body.

It gives Nicole curves where she definitely has no curves.

Dear readers, this is one of the mantras of "Style into Action" - that the right clothing will highlight your good bits and minimise your bad bits.

If you understand your body shape (know thyself), you can shop with this mantra in mind to produce very flattering results.

The mantra also gives you the strength to stay away from trends that arent suited to you, no matter how hard those shop assistants are pushing you.

Keep this photo of Nicole in your mind when you shop - I know I will be.

PS: Here is Elie's Resort 2012 look book photo of the same dress.

And a couple more photos from the same collection....dont be surprised if you see red, beige, black stripes in a few of the high street retailed Down Under for next summer.

another one I like, nicely translated with a cover up.....

Photos from Elie Saab
Photo of Nicole from Coco Perez

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jac+Jack warehouse & sample sale

I went to the Jac+Jack warehouse and sample sale this morning.

Purely for research purposes of course. So that I can blog about it and provide a community service announcement for shoppers.

It was the first day and it was starting at 8 am.

So I arrived at the city end of Oxford St at 6.45 am - see how devoted I am to my followers? I was there early to make sure I could get in first for YOU dear readers.

PS: The traffic was a breeze and I found (non meter) parking nearby which started at 9 am (which meant I didnt have to get back to the car til 10 am), but that had noting to do with my early start.

Slight problemo - I couldnt see any signs up - and i was seriously wondering whether I had arrived on the date wrong. Hmmmm....

So I went and got a cuppa and breakfast across the road at pie face. It was freezing BTW.

At around 8.20 am, two girls walked out of a non descript door and put up a poster and a sandwich board....thank heaven!!!! I found it.

By 7.45 am, about 8 girls were waiting - most were city workers taking advantage of the early start time (tick -very handy for the office girls).

By 8am - around 20 ladies walked in.

The loot

Lets just say the sale was fabulously stocked and that is an understatement.

We saw mens & ladies wear.

Ladies loot

Pretty scarf rainbow- my weakness.......

& jewellery and accessories (on left)

also showing the cushions and throws on left & on low table

Mens loot

There was summer and winter stock.
Loads of colours & all the natural tones the brand is known for.

I'd estimate that the mens was 40% of the stock, womens was 50% and homewares was 10%.


Samples were dispersed amongst the main racks.

I ADORE samples.

PS: I love samples because they are generally made better than production items. In theory, the production should be the same quality as the sample - but since samples are used as the "model" from which production occurs, and made within the head office in conjunction with the design team, in practice, they can often have a better quality than the outsourced production.

There was also a rack of Philipa K (a Scandinavian brand which Jac+Jack used to distribute with a similar aesthetic of simplicity and quality).

Prices - rock bottom!!!! WOO HOO!

There were scarves, tops and bottoms for $10 - loads of them, in many colours and styles.
Ladies cotton tees originally $100+ were down to $30, pure cashmere singlets for $80 from $300, pure cashmere sweaters for $180 from $380, silk dresses for $80 from $300+, pure cashmere thick jackets for $300 (normally $600)....

I know some of these prices may see like alot, but the fabrics used by Jac+Jack are top of the line, super soft and feel wonderful against the skin.

The way I see it, especially on the pure cashmere items, you will be wearing it forever and cost per wear (CPW) will plummet accordingly over time. And you feel wonderful in it.

Minimalist & transeasonal - the thing I love about Jac+Jack stuff is the minimalist slant & the easy way it all can be worn back against each other and other things already in your wardrobe.
This type of versatility just helps reduce CPW further.

What else was great about the Jac+Jack sale?

* Well lit (both change rooms and stock area)
* Plenty of staff
* Decent sized change room & racks/mirrors
* Fabulously organised stock
* Great eye level signage of the various groupings of merch (love that word we use in the "biz")
eg: pure cashmere, summer tops, winter tops, winter pants, scarves, mens shirts, mens tees, anyway I am sure you get the picture.
* Stroller friendly (through the back door)

This photo from the web showing Lisa "Jack" Dempsey (right) and Jac Hunt (left), the owners.
Smart, lovely ladies.

What did I buy?

I was there to scout for you my dears...not in any way for my own selfish purposes.
But if I was to buy something, it was 2 tees ($30 each), a Philipa K dress ($80 originally a $500 spend) and a cotton scarf with pom pom tassels ($60).

My recommendation

Go, dont walk, run, fast.
Its on til Monday, but the sooner you go, the more likely you'll get the better stock in colours and sizes.

Have a look at their Facebook page (Jac+Jack) for the hours & exact location.

What's next?

Premium cashmere brand Banjo & Matilda - starts this Saturday.
Stay tuned for another blog on Sat afternoon.