Found! The perfect breton top which won't break the bank...

Whilst wandering around Myer on Friday night (aimlessly looking around for a housewarming and Christmas gifts), a breton top caught my eye from afar.  I tentatively approached, expecting to see a hideous print on the front, an odd repugnant ruffle or a beastly spotted bow hanging off one side (as has been the case in my search for a breton top which is plain and simple). But no... I was pleasantly surprised.  What I saw was exactly what I have been looking for: thick cotton/elastane blend fabric, boat neck, 3/4 sleeves and the perfect length to boot.  My only criticism - it only comes in one colour way being navy and off-white! I have been wearing the top all weekend like so:
Breton top - Weekend by Jane Lamerton ($49.95) (own image)
Pants - J.Crew
Bag - SABA
Boots - Isabel Marant 'Dickers'
Earrings - Mimco

I enjoyed wearing it so much on Saturday, that when I saw that Jane Lamerton was on sale this weekend (30% off), I bought another one for myself and one for my Mum as a Christmas gift. Greedy much? The first time in a long time that I have bought multiples of something.  I should add that I was with my boyfriend and whilst paying for the tops he was muttering "I knew you wouldn't be able to resist shopping until we arrived in NYC..." Haha, he knows me too well.

Images source: Net-a-Porter, SABA, Mimco

Set yourself a goal...

If you are like me (whereby you can only save money to spend money) - I think that there is nothing more effective than booking a holiday (or buying a new car... or saving a deposit for a home... or renovating a house) in order to get one's butt into gear to start scrimping and saving.

In exactly 3 months time I will be in the United States.  My first stop is New York City!

I have never been, so just writing these words makes me all giddy.  Of course the thing that makes me more excited is that I plan to shop till I drop... but for the time being I need to STOP shopping.  I keep telling myself that every dollar saved now is an extra dollar that I can spend in the US (sorry Aussie economy).

Over the next three months I plan to do a lot of wardrobe planning to best prepare myself for the biggest shopping spree of my life.  Hopefully I can also find the time to document events on my blog.

My wardrobe planning will involve:
  • Completion of my wardrobe culling and cull diary. I am eager to see at the end how many items I have eradicated.  Like I said in my last post - I have a long way to go...
  • Creatation of my wardrobe inventory list (a complete list of the items in my wardrobe). Ideally I would like this to be both a written and visual record. In doing so I also plan to critically analyse each item in my wardrobe in terms of frequency of use, adaptability for all seasons and occasions and each item's cohesiveness in terms of the other pieces in my wardrobe. I would like to do this to better understand the types of clothes I should be buying over those that I buy because they just look great, but then don't get worn. I'm interested to see how many pieces I own.
  • Determine exactly what it is that I want my ideal wardrobe to contain. The missing items will comprise my US shopping list (again, just writing the words "US shopping list" gets me all excited). I want to shop smart and not like a shopaholic maniac.
  • Creation of the perfect travel wardrobe, for travel across the US in March... I gather layering is the key?  I also need to keep in mind that I will need lots of space for my shopping! 
Image source: myfdb

The cull diary - the big pre-Summer cull

A few weeks ago I wrote that I had spent an entire day culling. I basically emptied the entire contents of my wardrobe and then tried each item on to determine whether it was staying or going.  I'm far from finished as that weekend I only managed to sort through my wardrobe.  When I get around to the culling AND the writing, I will document the items culled from my shoe closet (IKEA Billy bookcases), chest of drawers and tall boy.

That weekend I culled:
  • 1 black skirt (chain store bargain)
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • 15 dresses (mostly Summer party dresses, but a few well worn workhorses too). 
Number of pieces culled that weekend: 21
Cull tally since starting this blog: 81

I ashamedly admit that many of the items that I culled are now too small on me presently, albeit most were well worn *phew*.  I did notice however that out of the six bottoms I culled, only two pairs of pants could be classed as "pre-loved", the other three pairs of pants hardly worn (read: two pairs of pants were NEVER worn).  The skirt was an impulse purchase off a Witchery sale rack.  I remember that I forced myself to wear it a few times last Summer, only to discover that - yes, there was a reason why the whole range of sizes was still available even though the skirt was 80% off RRP...

The Twilight Zone

Upon finishing my cull I had a few pieces floating around in what I will refer to as "the twilight zone". I was very undecided about whether or not to officially throw the items on the cull pile:
  • Kate Sylvester black military detail linen dress
  • Veronika Maine cream shift dress
  • Witchery grey linen blend pants
  • T.L. Wood black silk shift dress
  • T.L. Wood khaki linen 'safari' suit
The reasons why these items survived the cull is because these pieces totally represent my style... (unfussed and easy to wear) but the only thing stopping me from wearing these pieces tomorrow - are my giant hips! I hope that one day (I give myself until 1 March 2012) I can fit into these items again.  After all, without hope, we have nothing...
I also decide to "archive" a few pieces (I mentioned this in my last post about how I plan to organise my wardrobe).  These are the pieces which hold sentimental value to me. A separate post me thinks!

Wardrobe organisation

Even though I have culled quite a bit of stuff (I'm not finished yet) and bought a few new things, I'm finding that I still have issues finding things to wear each day. Why? I think my under-utilised and disorganised wardrobe is the problem.  Considering how much storage space I have, it's disappointing indeed that my wardrobe is in such a state of disarray.

In the bedroom there is a big built-in which is 3 metres long and about 2.5 metres high with lots of hanging space, a 4 drawer chest of draws, a six drawer tall boy and 3 medium IKEA Billy bookcases (with doors) in which I keep all of my shoes. In the hallway there is the same sized built-in as in the bedroom, but apart from one short hanging rail for coats, it is all shelving - perfect for linen and household items (and handbags!) etc. Add to this my IKEA Pax in the spare room! 

I have set myself a goal to get through the majority of my culling (including selling) prior to Christmas, so that over my break (a blissful 3 weeks off work!) I can organise my wardrobe and the rest of the house (don't even get me started...).
I'm thinking about organising all my clothes by occasion.  This meaning, that all my work and everyday wear will be stored in the bedroom wardrobe and all the off-season and "going out" items of clothing will be moved into my IKEA Pax.  I have decided that shoving aside party dresses (that are worn only a few times a year) each morning is not conducive to getting dressed for work quickly, nor coming up with brilliant outfit ideas the night before.  I think I struggle because my eyes are overwhelmed with choice - and not all appropriate choices.  Furthermore I plan to hang everything back grouped by type - eg. pants, skirts, tops etc grouped together.

Ideally EVERY item of my clothing would be hung, however because I have to share the bedroom closet with my boyfriend, it can't be. And although it could all be hung in the IKEA Pax, I do not want to store everyday wear in the spare room.  I just know that if I do this, clothing will end up on the floor of the bedroom once worn - simply because I will be too lazy to go into another room to put it away (I know I'm hopeless).

Also I am going to "archive" the few pieces of clothing that I want to keep but that I no longer wear (be it too small or not fashionable anymore). By archiving clothing I mean to place in a space bag and then hide it out of sight. This is another trick to hopefully streamline the contents of my everyday wardrobe so that the only items before my eyes each day are the ones that can be worn.

Image source:

I wasn't kidding when I wrote that my next purchase would be a new bicycle...

Ok, ok you got me! I have delineated and bought a few new things to wear before I bought the bike (but no bottoms as promised to myself).  Nevertheless though, and most importantly I did like I said and I bought a bike to help me loose a few pounds (ok, more than a few).

The first ride on the new bike was from the bike shop to home - about 12 kms (that's 7.5 miles). I have a sore bottom now... and here I thought I had a lot of padding in that area! Clearly not enough, so my next purchase will most definitely be a pair of padded bike pants.

When bad things happen to good clothes...

It's a sad day here at mycatssaymeow.  My beloved Country Road metallic linen cropped jacket split at the back seam today. This is the second time that the seam has split in this location.  It was kindly repaired late last year by my boyfriend's mother.  She said to me to be very careful when wearing it as the back seam was a flat seam and there was not much (read: no) give in the fabric. I tried and I failed...

It makes me very sad to see this jacket damaged like this. This prized piece has miraculously survived multiple wardrobe culls to make way for new less shiny things which are probably long gone now anyway.  This jacket has clearly been a staple in my wardrobe, but it seems that the end is near for this wardrobe trooper... It seems that when I do wear my clothes, I really do WEAR them!

Seeing my treasured jacket in this dismal state made me realise today that it's one of a handful of pieces that that I have truly "worn out".  It joins my Witchery black skinny jeans, Witchery black leather biker jacket, Marc Jacobs black leather pointy flats and heels in the same design, Country Road black leather biker boots, Country Road grey wool shift dress and Country Road black silk dress - all of which have been worn out in the last 12 months.  The difference though between this Country Road metallic linen cropped jacket and the aforementioned pieces, is that this special jacket cannot be replaced with something similar because it was more a 'statement' staple rather than a 'basic' staple.

Having previously been a hopeless shopaholic, there were times I would on-sell items before even wearing them once(!), nevermind actually wearing items out to the point of having to discard them!  Now that I'm actually wearing my clothing I am discovering that things really do wear out! (Haha, do I sound like a nutcase?) I've been asking myself today, how do people who maintain only a capsule wardrobe deal with things wearing out on a year to year basis? Especially if all that some people buy are well considered 4-5 pieces, if for example they follow the 4-5 piece French wardrobe method of dressing.  Do these people actually wear their clothes, like properly, like to work and grocery shopping? Am I just doing (wearing) it wrong?

So now I am sans my favourite summer weight jacket but the air-con has kicked in and my office is akin to an ice box. Although these last few months have taught me not to make do anymore when shopping, I can't be too discerning about what I buy because I'm missing my staple (and I'll freeze). Agh, what to do?  The conundrums of an ideal wardrobe builder...

Image source: google images

Wardrobe culling and the revelations that come with it...

Now this post is not about what I culled over the weekend (I will write about that in time), but rather it is about how I culled and the horrible realisations that I made immediately after and in the following 24 hours.

In the past I would cull my wardrobe bit by bit.  I understand now that this is the noncommittal way of doing it. Yes, you will successfully cull your wardrobe slowly over time, but you will probably not make any revelations about the "state of play" of things - to put it tactfully.  It will be a rather painless and unemotional experience with nothing being learned about yourself or your shopping habits.  So if you are reading this and thinking 'gosh, how ho-hum' or 'but I'm a fashion masochist' - then do it my way! Read on...


On Sunday morning I found myself suffering from an upset stomach (I blame a funky olive that I ate) and hay fever - both excellent reasons be anti-social and to stay at home.  I decided to undertake a pre-Summer cull.  I did this by removing EACH AND EVERY item from the hanging rails in my wardrobe and I tried each item on.  Let me tell you... my next purchase will not be a silk top or tulip skirt - it will be a push bike!
The number of pieces that were hanging in my wardrobe that were slightly too tight or TOO SMALL was staggering (granted I've owned some of the dresses I culled on Sunday for many years and as we get older our bodies change... or so I tell myself).  No wonder I have been finding it tough to find clothes to wear each morning if for every one item there are two that fit poorly!

Even though I have known for months now that I need to loose a few kilos, there is nothing like seeing a MOUNTAIN of too small culled clothing on the bed to spring one into action!
During my culling process on Sunday I documented each item on a spreadsheet, be it staying or going... I found this to be a very interesting exercise indeed and I'm surprised by exactly what I own and in what quantities and whether each item it's actually a truly perfect piece (a post for the future I think).


There is that philosophical question which makes one question human perception and the knowledge of reality: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" .
In relation to one's wardrobe, this question can be phrased in whatever manner currently describes one's situation and way of thinking, but for me it goes something like: "If I get rid of all these clothes so that I can't try them on anymore (to see exactly how much weight I've gained) and buy new clothes that fit, does it mean that I don't really need to loose any weight?"
I realise now that before this day I saw one of the benefits of culling to be a self-validating experience.  In that in some cases one culls so that they can continue on their merry way of exercising the same behaviour until the next big cull. 

My Oprah-style light bulb moment came last night, about 24 hours after I had finished my cull.  A friend posted pictures from Saturday's garden wedding on Facebook... I don't think I need to write the words here, but suffice to say I was upset with what I saw (I hope it was mostly the angle).  So a mountain of culled clothing plus horrible Facebook pictures and I realised something which I have subconsciously known but consciously denied for a year... I need to shape up again.
Another realisation that I made about the state of my wardrobe is that I don't like the style and fit of the majority of skirts and bottoms that I own (which actually isn't that many).  I have always found it difficult to buy the perfect bottoms.  This realisation helped explain why there are no less than 30+ dresses hanging in my wardrobe and why I own some beautiful tops that have hardly been worn.


In reading the preceding paragraphs one may think that I'm going to hold on to my "skinny clothes". I am not.  This is my action plan going forward:
  1. I have decided to sell or give away almost everything that I culled on Sunday.  A lot of the pieces are pre-house acquisitions meaning that they are getting a few years old now anyway.  Furthermore a lot of the pieces aren't exactly classic, so not to my current liking.  If I cut my losses now, while most of the items are still in style and the brands are coveted, I may actually make a little bit of money.  If I wait but inevitably cull everything again down the track, I may miss out all together. 
  2. I will keep some of my favourite, more special "skinny clothes".  I think though these items need to be moved into my spare closet, so as not to confuse me each morning into thinking that they are an outfit choice (when in fact they are not).
  3. I am returning both skirts that I have bought in the past week to the stores they came from. Neither are perfect and furthermore each skirt is one or even TWO sizes bigger than the clothing I culled on Sunday.  Although one of the skirts is quite flattering to my current shape, by buying new clothes in my current size I am in effect accepting a figure which quite frankly makes me unhappy.
  4. I must stop shopping for the time being and focus on the bigger picture (see next point).  I have decided that I will not buy anymore pants or skirts in my current size.  I will make do with what I have.
  5. Lose weight (but because this is not a weight loss blog, I will not go into, how, what and when).
So there you have it, hardcore wardrobe culling and the revelations that come with it.

What I wore to a garden wedding

Very hot weather here yesterday... I had planned to wear one of my long sleeved cocktail dresses, but instead given the humid weather opted to wear my Zara floral dress.

Dress - Zara
Bag - Saba
Shoes - Marc by Marc Jacobs
Cuff - Basque from Myer
Bangle - David Lawrence
Nail Polish - OPI "Suzi Says Feng Shui"

Although, I've always had the bags and shoes all figured out, it's only recently that I started wearing costume jewelery on a regular basis....  My watch and stud earrings were as extravagant as I ever got! Anything more and I felt like a Christmas tree.  I've noticed though that a couple of well thought out pieces really do help pull an outfit together. And even more interesting is how the wrong piece can totally ruin an outfit. For example, last week I tried wearing a very tribal turquoise neck piece with a Chanel-style boucle jacket... wrong, wrong, wrong! I opted for a strand of pearls instead ;)

Back to answer a reader's question

My blogging hiatus has been due to work, social and eBaying commitments... but I'm back to it as of now and thought I'd re-start by answering a reader's question asked recently. 

Wendy has asked: Has [the culling] process helped you control your impulses or perhaps just given your wardrobe more room for new items?

I guess the best way to answer this question is to explain what started me off in the first place. To summarise for those that cannot be bothered reading the rest of this post:
1. I moved house (twice).
2. I put on a little bit of weight.
Here are some of the disturbing tales from both of my moves which have played a part in my commencing culling.

Moving Tale No. 1

I threw out about 3kg/6.6lbs of old makeup and skincare!

Newsflash to all the women out there who "collect" makeup - it's akin to collecting food - it goes off eventually! 

I threw out about 30 lipsticks and lipglosses ranging from Dior to Revlon and almost untouched bottles of foundation because they weren't quite right.  I couldn't bring myself to calculate the 100s of dollars that I was throwing out into the bin. I vowed at that point not buy anymore makeup unless I really needed it and most definitely not to be sucked in by GWP promotions.

Over the past year I have polished of bottles and tubes of foundation and tinted moisturiser, a pressed powder and I've hit pan on a couple of eyeshadow - not to mention I'm about to finish a MAC lipstick!
Maybe I'm a weirdo, but finishing a tube of makeup or skincare actually feels really good - a real feeling of accomplishment!

Moving Tale No. 2

I had to make A FEW trips in a STATION WAGON to move all my shoes and clothes.  I had more clothes and shoes than other household possessions!

Moving Tale No. 3

I used to store all my shoes in their original box at one point.  Unfortunately I did not have room for said shoe boxes in my new house... When I went to discard one of my shoe boxes (belonging to a pair of sneakers that I last wore in high school, AKA a long time ago) - I found a redback spider nesting in there...eek!

Moving Tale No. 4

Earlier this year when I was moving for the second time, I found myself moving the same box and the same two space bags filled with clothes from when I moved the first time!  I lived at my place for exactly a year and for this whole time I didn't feel the need unpack this stuff! Mind you these are the very bags and boxes which started the culling process. I culled the majority of the contents bar an old favourite or two which I re-discovered at this point.
Furthermore, and I'm not sure whether this point is more disturbing than the last, but I found myself moving items of clothing and shoes that I had not worn since before when I moved the first time!!!
Both moves made me wonder 2 things about the possessions that I was moving:

1. Why did I buy this? (If the item had never been worn or used.)
2. Why do I still own this? (If the item wasn't being worn or used anymore.)

Fast forward 6 months and 5kgs extra on my hips and again I found myself asking the same question about the same things that were still hanging in my wardrobe that now in addition to not being worn ever, did not even fit anymore! SO WHY DO I STILL OWN THIS!?!?!?!?

More frustratingly was a wardrobe full of clothing that was uninspiring, ill-fitting and old (I stopped/slowed down my shopping when I ploughed money into my renovations) - hence I made the decision to cull and re-invent my wardrobe.

My aim has NOT been to turn into a minimalist. Kudos to those who get by with owning 3 pairs of shoes, but being a minimalist does not interest or excite me at all.  I don't even think I need to say this, but I enjoy buying new things now and again (or every week).

My one and only goal has been to eradicate all the things in my closet that I do not wear anymore (for whatever reason) and to replace those things with a few items that I will wear.

Another behaviour which I am trying to adopt is to get rid of anything that I buy that does not quite work on me and does not quickly become a regular go-to-item. For example, just last week I decided to cull my Witchery animal print dress that I bought only a couple of months ago .  I like the dress, but I do not feel awesome wearing it, so it must go!

I'm over allowing my shopping mistakes to hang in my wardrobe for eternity to mock me each time I look inside.

In terms of the lessons I have learned from my culling adventures:
  • No more sky high heels. No matter how much of a bargain they are!  Given that I am not a spring chick anymore, mega high heels are seldom worn. I have decided that it is better that I only own a few pairs of truly great or comfortable shoes rather than many uncomfortable heels that just end up standing around looking pretty. 
  • No more cheaply made garments from cheap chain store brands. Not that my wardrobe was ever been filled with such garments, but I admit that sometimes I would succumb to a Sportsgirl or Miss Shop sale only to be dissatisfied with the polyester top that I ended up buying for a bargain - it's not a bargain if it's never worn or only worn once.  That my friend is classified as a waste of money...
  • YES to Country Road, Cue and Veronika Maine dresses ... great quality and re-sell well.
  • YES to designer bargains... (that fit well and that I can see myself wearing).
And yes, the culling has made room for lots of new purchases that I'm excited to wear ASAP - no more of this hanging around with tags still on!

Long weekend snaps

This weekend I took a break from culling, eBaying and shopping... my boyfriend and I hit the road.

If you haven't yet visited Australia, you should because it is beautiful!

Lorne, Victoria

Lorne, Victoria

The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Cape Bridgewater, Victoria

The Petrified Forest at Cape Bridgewater, Victoria

Robe, South Australia

Robe, South Australia

Additions from Witchery: "around the house" clothing

Culling clothes, wardrobe organisation (post coming) and eBaying call for comfy pants...  Out go my 8 year old lilac purple trackie dacks (which sort of give me camel toe and in which I wouldn't be caught dead in taking out the garbage) and in comes something a little more stylish:

 Witchery "Space Dyed Fashion Jogger" in Grey Marle

They feature exposed zips at the cuffs and slit pockets on the backside.  They are surprisingly flattering and only cost $17.95 - bargain!

Buying these pants got me wondering - when lounging around the house, cleaning and what not, what do you wear? Do you buy specific around the house "lounge wear" or do you begrudgingly wear the things that didn't quite work in public and that you should have culled (read: given away or thrown out) years ago?

Traditionally I have fallen into the latter category.  I've noticed of late, however, that even these "around the house" clothes are having a negative effect on my psyche.  When I come home from work and *slip into something more comfortable* I want to look good and feel good.  The last thing I want, is to be reminded that what I'm wearing makes me look fat, but that for some reason I bought it anyway.  I think it's high time I got rid of the majority of my around the house clothes - ONLY the majority though... I'll keep one or two lovingly worn out pieces :)

Inspiration - what to wear with red jeans

I was planning to wear my red jeans quite simply - with a loose white top and black wedges and maybe to give colour blocking a go (I was thinking magenta purple).

The images below, however, are especially inspiring me to try wearing blush shades and primary hues with them.  Further the last image proves that red jeans can work in cooler weather too!

Images source (from left to right):  

Here's what the NAP stylists have come up with:

Images source: Net-a-porter

Additions from Shopbop

So I bought some red jeans...

I really liked the ones in Witchery, but they were too low rise for me... I took a punt and ordered the Ksubi ones online - they fit perfectly :)

The cull diary prequel...

As promised here is a post devoted to a list of the pieces I culled since starting this blog on 22 May 2011 before the inception of my "cull diary" on 30 August 2011.

Item culled
Beige wool vest
Seldom worn.

Navy military style blazer
Seldom worn.
Although I liked this jacket, I found the shade of navy difficult to match to other items in my wardrobe.  Black looked too heavy and the whole time I owned it I never managed to match another navy piece to it.
Black denim jacket
Seldom worn.
Because I mostly wear jeans casually, this was not worn often as I don’t do double denim. Verdict – denim jackets are not my thing.
Striped cropped blazer
Worn to death, time to let go.
Gold linen blazer
Worn to death, time to let go.
Navy blouse
Too small.

Plaid cap sleeve blouse
Seldom worn.
I never found the right occasion to wear this. Too casual for corporate wear, too corporate for casual wear... if that makes any sense?
Red knit
Seldom worn...
... plus my partner said it was horrible (!)
Black short sleeve knit skivvy
Seldom worn.
Not sure why I purchased this.  I do not understand the concept of short sleeve skivvies.
Black wet look shell top
A piece with no longevity - no place in my ideal wardrobe.
I would like to avoid buying into 'trends'.
5 x white shirts

Too small.
Black shirt
Too small.

White printed tee
Never worn.
I’m not really a tee person.
Cream bow cami
Not suitable for my current figure
Made me look like I had giant bazoombas.
2 x blue denim jeans
Too small.

Grey houndstooth skinny wool pants
Even though these pants were lined to the knee, whenever I wore them I developed an itchy rash.
Beige pencil skirt
Wrong cut.

Black pencil skirt
Wrong cut.

Black bow front skirt
Not suitable for my figure.
Because I have a bootylicious figure with a sway back, the excess fabric at the front made me look thick through the middle.
Beige pants
Online purchase – did not fit.

Pink/brown/beige toned pleated skirt
Seldom worn.

Orange body con skirt
Fraction too small and too short.
*sigh* both skirts were fab.  A bit sad that I decided to let them go, but I’m standing by my decision to start afresh.
Black sequinned sirt
Fraction too small and too short.
Cream tank dress
Online purchase – disappointing in reality.

Black asymmetrical work dress
Too small.
Black Designer LBD
Too small across the bust.
Animal print dress
Too figure hugging and short.
Must avoid buying figure hugging dresses!
Batwing dress
Too figure hugging.
Silk beaded evening gown
Never worn.
It was literally hung in my wardrobe unworn for about 6 years!
Black shirt dress
Too small.

Magenta silk with billowy sleeves dress
A piece with no longevity - no place in my ideal wardrobe.

Black knee high heeled boots
Too high.
Black suede OTK boots
Too high.
Black studded biker ankle boots
To be upgraded.
Black high heeled ankle boots
To be upgraded.
Witchery ‘Simone’ ankle boots
Already replaced with Isabel Marant ‘Dickers’.
Black block heel peep toe pumps
Not flattering on my feet.

Black mid-heel t-bar pumps
Not flattering on my feet
 I bought them 'cause they were comfy...
Black and white peep toe pumps
½ size too small.

Black and white round toe pumps
Not balanced properly.

Black waist belt with silver buckle
Too small.
Black waist belt with antique gold buckle
Not worn in a bazillion years.
Beige leather tote bag
Seldom worn.


Since starting this blog I have culled 60 items from my closet!