Channeling a cashed up female retiree...

Do you ever visit the "ladies co-ordinates" or "ladies items" department in your local department store?  You know the one I mean, the department where your grandmother shops?  I do, as I find that they are a mecca for striped tops.

I passed through the other day - initially just for fun, but I ended up buying this tee:

The top is from the brand Jump and I purchased it from David Jones for $69.95, which is a lot more than I would usually pay for a tee on the spur of the moment whilst supposedly shopping for a Wedding card... but I liked the fit, and was experiencing a tough day at work, so I bought it.

It's a linen/viscose blend and the stripes are actually printed - so in time I think the stripes will take on a weathered appearance. I hope the top doesn't stretch too much like linen usually does. [Who am I kidding? I know it will.]

I know that the sequins are a little circa-2009, but at least it doesn't have shoulder pads...

My US shopping list - the items which need replacing...

This time next week I will be in the midst of packing... In the meantime I am seriously starting to think about the types of things I want to buy during my travels.  The items in my wardrobe that need replacing are the first to make it on to my shopping list.

A.P.C Fancy Mariniere Tee, Boy. By Band of Outsiders striped  cotton-blend top, MIH Jeans breton striped cotton top, Etoile Isabel Marant Ina coat, my Country Road dress, Repetto BB leather ballet flats

Black ballet flats.  I have worn my ballet flats so much that there is a hole worn through the sole.  Usually with my absolute fave leather soled shoes I take them to the cobbler to have a TOPY rubber sole protector applied.  On this occasion I didn't bother because I wasn't entirely happy with the fit of the shoes to invest a further $30 into them.  Nevertheless they became a workhorse in my wardrobe.  I am not intending to spend mega bucks on a new pair but I am after a good quality leather pair.

Black leather biker boots. My Country Road biker boots are also well worn out - to the point that there are holes in the leather lining at the heels. Given that the retail stores in the US are now starting to stock Summer attire, I am not holding my breath that I will find the perfect pair - but I'll be on the look out.

Black pumps.  My go-to black pumps are pretty much wrecked. They are looking overly stretched, they are totally scuffed up and the back of one heel is damaged. Black pumps are supposed to make a woman feel elegant - but these make me feel like I can't afford new shoes (even though they are comfortable). Time for a replacement pair!

Black leather biker jacket.  My beloved jacket is so well worn that the lining is starting to fall to pieces. I will not throw it out though - it will become the jacket that I keep in my car in case of emergencies.  I would love to find a new black biker jacket which is perfectly fitted, not too cropped and made out of soft smooshy leather just like the one which has served me so well for all of these years.

Black silk dress with sleeves.  My current Country Road number (pictured) has developed holes under the armpits.  To avoid peek-a-boo moments I always now have to wear this dress layered over a black sleeved top.  The replacement dress will need to be suitable for the office, but fancy enough to transition into Friday night drinks.

Striped tops.  I donated the one long sleeve black and white striped top which I owned because I disliked the neckline, the ruching on the ends of the sleeves and the fact that it was starting to pill.  I will be looking for a number of  new striped tops to add to my collection, especially plain 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve striped tops in black and white, grey and white and red and white with either boat necklines or soft scooped necklines.

Dark coloured wool coat.  I'll know it when I see it, maybe there is a lucky find waiting for me on a sale rack somewhere.  I'm after something in black or dark grey.

Black work appropriate handbag.  My Chloe Heloise is currently at the repairers for the second time... I guess nothing lasts forever if you use it almost everyday and use it to carry cans of tomatoes home from the supermarket! 

Cozy knitwear dreaming...

Ahh, knitwear... what's not to love about a warm woolly cardigan? When it adds pounds, swaps your frame, pills like crazy (a topic which by the way has its own Wikipedia entry) or makes you itch like you have fleas - that's what!

A good number of my knits were recently (immediately) culled - no qualms whatsoever, for the following reasons:
  • I got rid of ALL my skivvies and turtlenecks as I find them to be suffocating.  I am uncertain about how it is that I managed to build up a collection of 7 such styles if I despise wearing them.
  • A long line grey cardi seemed like the ideal addition to my wardrobe one Winter, but in wearing it I discovered that it just clung horribly to my hips and crept up over my bottom - not a good look. 
  • Another long line 'lounge wear' type cardi made me feel like a desperate housewife (of which I am neither), so it was culled before I even got to wear it. It was way too drapey and and a little too "homely" even though that's what I desperately seek from a cardigan.
  • Knits with extreme piling - I'm looking at you acrylic. 
  • I sadly threw out a couple of knits which quite clearly due to not being worn for an extended period of time had become delicious meals for moths.
  • Culled also were a couple of short sleeved knits (one with a turtle neck even!) a concept which I do not understand.  If you are cold enough to wear a woolly knit, why on earth would you want bare arms?

A small pile of knits survived my cull sessions and now sit folded neatly in my drawer.  Nevertheless, due to fit and quality issues, all but a few are destined to be culled in the future as soon as I upgrade and buy replacements.

I really long for one of those gorgeous cozy knits (sans all the problems listed in my opening paragraph and the above list) that ends up becoming my 'go to' on a cold Winter's Saturday or Sunday.  I've had a quick look online and the styles below take my fancy if money was no object (but it always is).

Top row: La Garconne 'Moderne' alpaca handknit sweater in black, heather grey and cream, Etoile Isabel Marant 'Claire' cropped pullover, Crumpet raglan sleeve cashmere sweater, Bottom row: Chinti and Parker striped knitted organic sweater, Peter Jensen waffle knit cardigan, J.Crew fisherman cotton-blend cardigan and Hope 'Ease' cardigan

The cull diary - bags and belts

Today's efforts saw me tackling my handbag and belt collection,  managing to cull 2 shoulder bags, 3 clutch bags and 10 belts.

For the record, this brings my cull tally to 208... including the Bettina Liano skirt I culled last month (donated to my Mother by the way).

Sadly I have decided to let go of my Mulberry Emmy bag - beautiful as it is, it sits on it's shelf hardly used.

If only it was black not brown...

I'm also moving along one of my Chloe bags.  It is well loved but in need of a new home as I have started to look at it and resent it that it's not a different bag (I can be a real cow sometimes).

It's not you, it's me...

I spent the rest of the day washing, steaming, ironing and photographing clothes for eBay.

To tell you the truth I will be happy to see the back of my wardrobe culling and eBay listing efforts. I feel like it has taken over my life (or at least my spare time).  The next few days will see the remainder of my Summer items listed, and prior to leaving for overseas I hope to find the time to schedule some Winter listings to finish upon my return.  I foresee that the cash injection will be welcomed as I expect to be broke upon my return from my holiday :)

ETA: Make that a total 213 things culled since starting this blog.  I forgot to include a further three pairs of shoes I culled (there are actually a couple more pairs on the chopping block) and a couple of dresses that were sitting in my "to mend box" for the past year. Clearly the task of mending them was too arduous for me, so out they went!

The perfect white t-shirt

James Dean

I think the *perfect* white t-shirt is the quintessential wardrobe staple. The appeal of this piece lies in its simplicity yet versatility, easily taking one from day to night to weekend.

I've been on the hunt for the perfect white t-shirt for many years now and for years I have not found it.  Sure I have owned the odd white t-shirt, but it's never been perfect.  In fact it's been far from perfect.  Never would I dare to wear any of my white t-shirts to work, and on a few occasions just catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror wearing one of these t-shirts has resulted in swift outfit changes and the relegation of said t-shirt to the around-the-house-and-pyjamas drawer.  

So what is the perfect white t-shirt (in my opinion)?  I'm looking for a t-shirt of the perfect length - not too short and not too long.  I would like the fabric to be a super soft cotton blend, with just the perfect amount of fluidity and drape. I want it to hang on my body so that it flatters. It cannot be too loose and it has to be a little nipped in at all the right places... but it cannot be clingy!  I would like the neckline to be femininely scooped and not too casual. This is important if I am ever going to wear it to work.  I might settle for a t-shirt with a breast pocket, but any other feature details such as prints, bows and ruching and it's going back on the rack.  The sleeves?  Don't even get me started about the sleeves...  Most importantly though I want it to be reasonably priced, because after all it is JUST A T-SHIRT.  Am I asking for too much?

Net-a-porter's selection of white t-shirts

Do you own what you consider to be the perfect white t-shirt?

If not, once you do find it (if you are looking), I suggest that you buy another and then also the same style in the black and the grey and the blue... at least.

The ultimate packing list - in my makeup and toiletry bag

I have this zany idea to only pack sample sizes or almost finished cosmetics when I go overseas (in less than 3 weeks time now) - idea being that I can bin each item as I polish it off leaving room for newly acquired items (make-up wishlist post is under construction).  So really this make-up and toiletry bag packing list is only suitable for those who plan on splurging on beauty products on their holiday or those who use minimal cosmetics.

Sample size me!

I will be packing the following cosmetics:

Foundation and tinted moisturiser.  I have a small sample tube of Stila Sheer Colour Moisturiser.  I may or may not take the remnants of my current foundation depending on if there is any left. 

Biotherm Light Catch concealer.  I think by the time March rolls around it will be almost finished.

Make Up For Ever loose powder.  I have been using this for years - as in I bought it when this brand was still sold in David Jones and I question every time I use it whether my face will fall of that day.  It hasn't fallen off so I guess it's ok.

MAC eyeliner.  I will probably take a brown one as it is softer for day.

Clinique High Impact mascara.  This is the current mascara that I am using.  Come the end of my holiday it will be four months since I opened it (shock horror - I will have used it for longer than the obligatory three month self life once opened).  I will replace it with a new mascara at some stage during my travels.

MAC lipstick.  I will probably take the shade "Fanfare" with me, as it is a good everyday shade.  It also looks great for evening with thick layer of shiny gloss over the top.

I am taking the bare minimum make-up brushes with me - the MAC 217 blending brush for eyeshadow and the MAC 187 duo fibre brush, which I use for powder.  I am undecided at this stage whether to pack a blush brush... hmm.

Note, that I am packing no eye shadows or blushes as I will purchase both products on my holiday.  Although I wear blush on a daily basis, I can totally do without it.  If I do get absolutely desperate for cheek colour, I can use my lipstick.

I am packing the following toiletries:  
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Dry shampoo (travel sized)
  • Eye makeup remover (deluxe sized sample from Biotherm)
  • Cleanser (deluxe sized sample from Biotherm)
  • Moisturiser (deluxe sized sample from Biotherm)
  • Eye serum (sample from Clinique)
  • Comb
  • Hair ties
  • A hairpin or two
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Fragrance (a tiny 5ml bottle of Chloe).

Lastly, I have decided to pack my makeup and toiletry bag into my suitcase.  As "Anonymous" commentator pointed out with respect to my last packing post - the less for customs to check through, the better.  Though the few items I specifically listed in that same post (to battle the four Ds) I'm definitely taking on board the plane (unless the powers that be stop me).

Next up my clothing packing list... the most challenging of them all.

Where the culled things go...

I don't know what took me so long, but I have finally decided to link my eBay seller's page to this blog..

Now you can actually see for yourself exactly what it is that I'm culling and selling and the true extent of my past shopping addiction.  I say this jokingly of course.  I was never an addict - just footloose and fancy free when it came to shopping.

I'm not encouraging you to buy my stuff (but please do if you see something that will fill a gap in your life)... instead I'm encouraging you to looking inside all of the nooks and crannies of your house (starting with your wardrobe) and to purge everything that does not add value to your life.  Sell all of this accumulated "stuff" and instead add value to your savings account.

The cull diary: letting go of expired cosmetics

I'm at it again... culling that is - but this time I am tackling my cosmetics "collection".

Introducing the cosmetics cull bucket:

Cosmetics manufactured when I was still young and didn't need to use them...

I wrote about collecting makeup and cosmetics as being akin to collecting perishable foodstuffs in this post... at the time of my move I neglected to sort through my *ahem* collection of unopened products.  Let's just pretend that I didn't throw out an unopened cleanser that was manufactured in 2003!!!

Yes, I confess that on many occasions I have been sucked into buying an extra product just to qualify for the 'gift with purchase' only to never use all my free gifts, let alone the extra product (which I didn't even need in the first place).  So what you can't see in the picture above is the bottom of my cosmetics cull bucket - 3 bottles of Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (does anyone out there actually like this stuff?) have been laid to rest tonight.  Also featuring heavily are half used fake tans... in my old age I have learned to accept my pale skin.

So anyway, it's true. Cosmetics expire.  You can check the manufacture dates of branded cosmetics that you are slathering on your skin on this site

Happy cosmetics culling! x

The ultimate packing list - in my cabin bag

I do not travel much, so I do not have much experience as to what to pack when going away for an longish holiday to the other side of the world. Actually I have not traveled overseas since I was a little girl, and in my old age I have a habit of over packing each time I fly interstate *just* for the weekend.

So after scouring the Internet and some of my old magazines (and given I am off to the US for a month in a month's time!!) I have come up with what I think are the ultimate packing lists for an overseas holiday suitable for a TRANS-SEASONAL climate.

Without further ado, here is the list that I have complied as to what to pack into my cabin bag (my old and faded, but trusty Kenneth Cole handbag): 
  • Purse.
  • Travel papers.
  • Toiletry/make-up bag including hydrating facial mist, lip balm and hand cream.
  • Tissues.
  • Anti-bacterial wipes.
  • Hand sanitiser gel.
  • Hat and gloves (we arrive in New York after 9 pm, so I can only imagine that it will be cold. The last thing I want to be doing is rummaging through my suitcase looking for these items). 

To combat the four D's of travel: dirty hands, dry hands, de-hydrated face and dry lips.  Pictured is MAC Fix + Rose, Jurlique Rose Hand Cream sachet, Jurlique Moisturising Hand Sanitiser and Biotherm Aquasource Moisturizing Balm for the lips.

Special items for a long-haul international flight:
  • A couple magazines - I know that they are heavy, but magazines on a plane is a bit of a ritual for me.
  • Pashmina - I will use this as a blanket on the plane, but it will also double as my scarf throughout my travels. 
  • Sleep aid widgets such as an eye-mask, neck pillow, earplugs (in case there are crying children in our vicinity) and sleeping pills.

The in-case-our-luggage-goes-missing items:
  • Change of underwear.
  • Thick woolen socks.

Also coming on the plane with me is my camera bag which will contain my DSLR camera and my compact camera (along with their chargers).

What have I forgotten???