YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS ARE NOW ON SALE!

winter header picIt’s not even the middle of winter and already the sales have begun! For someone that can make the most menial excuse to purchase seem extremely justifiable, you can imagine when I see a serious sale price, I convince myself I am actually saving money.

I know sales from your favourite designers can lead even the most sane of us to act like a crazy person, so earlier this year I wrote a Fashion 101: How To Shop a Sale guide to help.

Here’s a few of my favourite designer threads already on sale, more top brands will follow suit in the coming weeks. The items I have chosen are either timeless and will be sought after winter after winter, or they are trans-seasonal stunners that will work in your wardrobe year round. Now they may go even cheaper, but you risk missing out on them all together, such is the gamble of the designer sale season!

Juliette Hogan Roll Neck Sweater, was $459 now $359.
w.sale juliette hogan sweater
Twenty Seven Names Clairmont Coat, was $550 now $385.
w.sale 27names coat
Chaos & Harmony Momento Boots, was $339 now $203
w.sale chaos & harmony Momento
C&M Cape Cod Cardi from Sisters, was $359 now $251
w.sale camilla & marc cardi-216-r
Twenty Seven Names Stripe Dress, was $270 now $135
w.sale 27 names dress

DOES YOUR DRESS CODE MATCH YOUR AREA CODE?

Soon a good friend of mine is heading on an amazing trip to Italy and Greece, making me reminisce about my own honeymoon in Greece a few years ago. As I was looking through photos of the trip, I noticed that every outfit I wore mirrored the landscapes palette of white through to varying shades of blue and green. In all honesty I do vividly remember packing for the trip and only taking outfits I thought in my mind suited the ‘honeymooning in Greece’ atheistic I was going for!
final greece 111It got me thinking, have I always matched my outfit to my location? I’ve lived a in several cities around New Zealand, and on reflection my fashion sense has certainly changed too.

When living in Christchurch I certainly felt I dressed a little too over the top at times. The norm felt a little conservative, like people wanted to blend in with the crowd for fear of standing out or getting it wrong. I would sometimes get stared at, and not necessarily in a good way for what I was wearing.

In contrast when I lived in Auckland everyone wanted to stand out. It was quite freeing, I could wear anything I wanted! Of course a lot more emphasis was put on your personal style choices, designer threads were a lot more apparent, the words “who are you wearing” heard often (a little too often for my comfort).

Now living in Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty I find many have mastered the ‘polished casual’ style. Colours often reflect beach side living. There’s certainly less emphasis than Auckland about your appearance, but no judgement if you want to step outside the norm. (Although perhaps I’m just getting older and care less about others opinions!).

Some may say it’s more lifestyle that dictates your look, but when living in Auckland I worked in Sales and Marketing for a clothing designer that was stocked in boutiques throughout New Zealand and very obvious themes emerged each season as orders came in from around the country. In the deep South orders favoured black, dark tones and lots of layers, Christchurch was still quite dark, a little conservative, but with the odd pop of personality and colour, Wellington chose the more dark, edgiest pieces of the collection, the Bay of Plenty was quite casual and didn’t shy away from colour and Auckland wanted everything and a lot of it, showing it’s diversity and willingness to invest heavily in designer threads.

I’d love to know your experiences. Have you noticed a shift in your wardrobe when changing cities, does your dress code match your area code?

BLEEDING HEARTS – CHAOS & HARMONY AW15

c&h 2I first discovered Chaos and Harmony many years ago, but it was a long distance, one sided affair. I would lust after their shoes but never invested in them. That changed last winter when I visited their newly opened store BlakChaos alongside renowned clothing label Blak, in Mount Maunganui. The lust turned to love, and I ended up walking out with not one but two pairs! What struck me most was their ability to create shoes that felt like instant wardrobe classics, but still had a uniqueness and edge to their design to make them feel truly special.

It came as no surprise to me that lead designer and managing director Bec Anderson studied in Italy at the Instituo Europeo di Design, the beautiful quality leathers used and faultless construction of their shoes are hallmarks of Italian design.

c&h brochure

This seasons range Bleeding Hearts was inspired by the captivating work of artist Ruben Ireland, known for his contrast of humanity mixed with abstract conception. The result is a collection that too plays on contrasts, light and dark, strength and softness. Beautiful leathers and gorgeous textures shine in a palette from stark black and white to rich wines and blush pinks.
artist collage

The range has started dropping instore and online already, with injections of new styles throughout March and April. I was lucky enough to be shown some of the samples that aren’t quite in store yet, you can view the full Bleeding Hearts collection here, but below are my favourites…

These Shadowbox ankle boots in white are stunning and beautiful croc leather features around the ankle. I’d feel a little fancy doing the school run in these for sure!
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The Ingrid boots are the absolute perfect everyday heel for winter, comfortable enough to wear all day and a stunning woven leather contrast on the ankle.
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I love the rounded toe on the Allegiance boots and the strap detail gives it the needed edge,(this sample wraps around the ankle three times, but the one in production will wrap around twice) it can also be removed for a more streamlined look. Due April 16.
ch final allegiance
Ahh how hot are these Momento boots!? They are definitely going to be my first purchase this season. The pointed toe, the cracked leather, what’s not to love! Due March 30.
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I have been looking for the perfect pair of black pumps for ever, every woman should have at least one pair in their wardrobe. I think I’ve finally found mine in the Rosette. The cut of these shoes is just stunning, the heel height is perfect and the cracked leather gives the needed point of difference to the classic black pump. Due in store today.
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Almost a work of art, the Enlighten heel is captivating. Made from patent leather in the richest pinot coloured hue, these heels are guaranteed to turn heads.
ch final enlighten

Chaos and Harmony design for a type of energy in a woman; creative, unique, independent, rather than a specific age group or being heavily focused on trends, allowing their designs to have longevity. Although it’s their stunning aesthetic that catch your eye, it’s the incredible quality of design and construction that will make your investment one you will never regret.

FIVE WINTER FASHION PIECES WORTH INVESTING IN

Winter is without a doubt the most stylish season. It’s when fabric, cut and construction shine in exquisite coats, lush knits and the softest leathers. I know with the stunning weather still gracing our days, it’s hard to to believe but the latest winter collections from the country’s best designers are dropping in store now. This is when I like to start planning the few investment pieces I buy each season, like most women I know, I can’t afford to purchase everything I’d like to (not even close!), I have to be very, very choosy. If designer prices are out of reach, consider waiting until around June when they start to go on sale, or search second hand shops and trade me to find your favourite brands at a fraction of full retail, as you are looking for pieces to last years, who cares if its a season or two old. To get your started, here’s five fashion pieces definitely worth the investment.

coat montageYour winter coat will arguably be the one item you wear the most over the cooler months. If you are wanting just one coat to work with every outfit you need to choose a neutral colour like black, dark blue, grey or camel. Choose a classic cut that won’t date in seasons to come, if you choose wisely you should be able to easily still be wearing this coat in five years. Brands that are renowned for their gorgeous coats include Juliette Hogan, Twenty Seven Names, Kate Sylvester, Workshop, Country Road and Witchery. A new coat is on my list to buy this season, here’s a couple of favourites I’ve seen so far…
coat final 27 names 2 Twenty Seven Names Pembroke Coat $750

coat final 27 names Twenty Seven Names Clairmont Coat $550

coat final witchery Witchery Wrap Blanket Coat $450

leather montageLeather Jackets have been a staple of any stylish wardrobe for many years now, and they aren’t going anywhere fast so it’s definitely worth the investment. From the most casual look- think jeans, a tee and converse to a night out in your favourite cocktail dress, a beautifully cut, soft leather jacket is the perfect way to complete your look. I got mine about five years ago from Moochi and it’s still in fantastic condition, in fact I think it’s still their most popular style.
leather jacket final moochiMoochi Piper Jacket $749

leather jacket final witchery Witchery Double Zip Biker $699

knit collageThe difference between a quality knit and a cheap knock off is extremely obvious within the first few wears. A quality knit will feel cosy, soft, stay pill free and keep its shape season after season. Choose a shade that best compliments your skin tone and eye colour, I normally choose greys, blues and greens as they compliment my eyes the most. Brands like Workshop, Juliette Hogan, Kate Sylvester, Witchery and Country Road always do stunning knits. My absolute favourite already is this stunning jersey from Juliette Hogan.
knit final jho 1Juliette Hogan Roll Neck Sweater $459

knit final country roadCountry Road Maxi Cardigan $199

bag montageI haven’t bought a new bag for 8 years and I think it’s time. Deadly Ponies is New Zealand’s best in my eyes, they strike the perfect balance of style, function and quality. Yes they are expensive, however if they last 8 years like mine current one has, the cost per wear is cheap as chips. I’m tossing up between getting another Deadly Ponies bag or one from Kate Of Arcadia. Katie Smith, the woman behind Kate of Arcadia happens be one of the original designers of Deadly Ponies. Other brands that I’ve heard fantastic things about are Saben, Mimco and even Kathryn Wilson has also bought out a great bag this season. If like me you are after just one bag to work everyday, just like a winter coat, choose a neutral shade that will go with every look in your wardrobe, colours like black, dark ink blue and camel would work well.
bag final dp 1 Deadly Ponies Mr Fill & Zip $750

bag final dp 2 Deadly Ponies Mr Fill & Zip $750

bag final loa 1 Kate of Arcadia Mickey $395

bag final koa 2 Kate of Arcadia Manx $525

boots montageThe perfect blend of comfort and style, the best boots will feel like your favourite Converse but give your outfit the needed edge. Last Winter I bought my first pair of Chaos and Harmony flat ankle boots and they were worth every cent. This season I can’t wait to see what they are going to do, other brands that always get it right are Beau Coops, Kathryn Wilson and if you are really wanting to invest a mortgage payment or two check out Anine Bing and Modern Vice.
boots final beau coops Beau Coops Beau5 Ankle Boot $389

kathrynwilson Kathryn Wilson Frankie Boot $379

boots final modern vice Modern Vice Jett Classic Ankle Boots $530

boots final bing 5 Anine Bing Boots $900

One final piece of advice, only invest in quality pieces that speak to your sense of individual style, forget ‘fashion’, forget ‘cool’ – your style is timeless and pieces you love will be worn season after season and make your investment worth every cent.

MY STYLE: BEACHSIDE MORNING DATE

Who ever said ‘date night’ had to be reserved for the evenings? I love sneaking a few hours when we can when our toddler is at preschool to enjoy time together. This morning we had a lovely morning in Pilot Bay, the perfect excuse to give my new Chaos and Harmony Cascade Sandals their first spin! Their gunmetal finish means they suit pretty much any colour they are matched with, so mixing with your existing wardrobe is easy (This was another way I justified their purchase!)jumpsuit1

The warm, breezy weather was ideal jumpsuit conditions. I am loving how comfortable jumpsuits are, and the fact that like a dress there’s no need to mix and match separates. The only negative is the reality of getting in and out of it is kind of a mission, especially this one from Neon Gypsy with over a dozen little buttons down the front. Here’s a free hot tip – don’t wear this while drinking a few wines as you will find like me on Christmas evening, you spend way to much time trying to redress yourself in the bathroom!

Today I styled this look with my chocolate Deadly Ponies bag (8 years old and still going strong) and my every day essential accessories – Lindi Kingi bracelets and Kirstin Ash fine rings.

jumpsuit2jumpsuit5

CHAIN STORES: YES THEY ARE CHEAP, BUT ARE THEY WORTH IT?

A few days ago I was checking out local chain stores looking for a cheap pair of sunglasses (I have a talent for both breaking and losing them, so cheap is a necessity). I was struck by how great the clothing looked, but once I took a closer look at the quality, it had me second guessing my initial excitement. Yes the clothes are cheap, but are they worth it?

chainstore collage

Chain stores have fashion buyers who regularly travel internationally to ‘research the latest trends’ aka buy clothing from overseas stores and then completely copy them. The factories they use can produce these knock offs incredibly quickly and have them ready for sale instore in a matter of weeks. At first glance the clothes may look fantastic, just like in designer boutiques or from the pages of your favourite fashion magazine, but look closer and you’ll often see poor quality fabric or questionable workmanship. I mean think logically, if a top is $20 the labour costs, fabric, thread, buttons and company overheads like retail staff, marketing, advertising etc have to equal much less than half that amount. So how is that even possible?

Who made my clothes?
Earlier this year Francis Hooper, designer and co-owner of World, did a really interesting documentary about the horrific conditions often found in the factories used by our most popular chain stores. Workers are paid incredibly low amounts to work extremely long hours in awful and frequently dangerous conditions.

He was glad the worlds media took notice in April 2013 when 1133 people were killed and over 2500 injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, but commented:

“Consumers got to see an insight behind the veneer of glamorous fabulous fashion, the underbelly. But that was just one factory disaster. They happen every week. Not to that same extent in terms of numbers, but it’s true there are frequent, deadly episodes in the clothing manufacturing business.” I encourage you to view the 15 minute documentary here, such an eye opener.

I couldn’t ignore the reality of what my need for cheap, instant shopping satisfaction really meant. I tried to find out if my favourite chain stores were involved, it was actually really hard, but this article by Consumer has the most comprehensive list I have found on major brands and where their clothing is made.

To keep the end retail price competitive, even the chain stores that do act ‘ethically’ still have to keep the labour and fabric costs extremely low. This inevitably means hourly rates for labour are shocking and the quality of the fabric is typically poor. Even if you love what you see in the dressing room, after a few washes the quality issues can start to show. This has happened to me so many times!

Chain Store (Glassons) vs Designer (Helen Cherry)
I really loved grey knits over winter and found what I thought was a great boyfriend style knit cardigan from Glassons for $50. Then on a girls trip to Wellington I fell in love with a grey mohair Helen Cherry jumper from Workshop for $240. Yes it’s a major price difference, but the current state of them is also majorly different. The Glassons cardigan has awful pilling all over it, is misshapen and the overall colour is washed out (yes this is possible even with it being grey!). In stark contrast the Helen Cherry jumper looks and feels as stunning as the day I bought it. I will be able to wear it season after season, but the Glassons number is now donated to charity.

Chain Store (ASOS) vs Chain Store (Cotton On)
I bought a plaid shirt online from ASOS for $60, and a similar plaid shirt for my teenage daughter from Cotton On for $30. We have both worn and washed these shirts regularly over the last few months. My ASOS shirt has worn very well, with no pilling or fading, my daughters Cotton On shirt is now badly mis-shapen and has holes the size of my hand in it.
shirt3
shirt 2Exceptions to the rule
Like the ASOS plaid shirt showed, there are those gems that really are easy on the wallet and wear very well. I’ve found a few I can trust like Just Jeans singlets (they are usually 2 for $30 each summer), Witchery shirts, Country Road knits and Cotton On jeans. Unfortunately it does feel a little like a fashion version of russian roulette with it being impossible to tell the difference until it’s in your wardrobe and too late for a refund!

So what’s the answer?
Unless you discover a long lost great aunt has left you a hefty inheritance so you can dress designer head to toe, the reality is you’re going to have to mix high and low fashions, so keep these tips in mind…

1. Designer Threads – Buy the best quality you can afford, yes even though this will mean having less in your wardrobe. I invest in a few designer pieces each season, pieces I LOVE and know I will wear year after year.
2. Trademe – Most of my clothing is bought from Trademe. I’d rather buy a second hand designer piece still in great condition that I know is constructed well with quality fabric, than spend the same amount in a chain store. To make it quick and easy I have saved the searches of each of my favourite New Zealand and Australian designers, and am emailed any new listings each morning. Find out what designers you like, what size you are in their ranges and what styles suit you. I take a quick look each morning over a coffee and will only bid on an item that is in new or near new condition.
3. Opshops – I’m not fantastic at opshopping, I don’t have the patience or the right eye, but I do have a one friend who pretty much buys all her clothes from opshops and she is one of the most stylish woman I know! Think of it like a physical Trademe store.
4. Chainstores – These are still a really good option for items you or your friends know will wear well, for accessories or for trend based items that you are happy will only last a few months.

FASHION: GET SHORTY

With December just a few days away, it’s well and truly time to start thinking about your summer wardrobe. One trend I’m really loving is print shorts. I found this pair at Moochi recently, the fabric is an abstract animal print in neutral black and grey with a pop of vibrant neon yellow. I’ve worn them several times already (trying to get the cost-per-wear price down!), with a plain tee and converse for a casual look, to heels and a dressier top for a night out. One styling tip I think is very important if you are showing a lot of leg, keep your look balanced by covering up more of your top half, think more tee’s and shirts rather than a strapless or low cut top.

Recently on a date with my husband I wore the shorts with a sheer Shell Tee and Crop Top both from Moochi (it was an expensive day prior to my shopping ban!) and black gladiator sandals from Loeffler Randall.
shorty6 1shorty2shorty4shorty3

A new feature I’m going to showing on the blog is ‘Jane vs Jane’, presenting shopping options from both sides, Sensible Jane will show affordable options and Label Lusting Jane will show the most fabulous she can find regardless of the price tag .

First up Sensible Jane has put together this selection of print shorts from New Zealand chain stores and all but one pair are $50 or under!
sensible jane short guide
Top Row: Spotted Waffle Shorts, $50 from Glassons | Ikat Double Layer Shorts, $44 from Dotti | Print Shorts, $25 from Jay Jays
Second Row: Wrap Shorts, $44 from Dotti | Lace Trim Shorts, $88 from Witchery | Stripe Shorts, $38 from Glassons
Third Row: Flirty Short, $25 from Cotton On | Spliced Print Shorts, $44 from Just Jeans | Print Shorts, $25 from Jay Jays

Label Lusting Jane is like usual, acting like money ain’t no object and has put together a selection of stunning but pricier shorts from some of the country’s top designers. I’m pretty obsessed with the Juliette Hogan floral pair personally!
label loving jane's short guide
Top Row: Sports Shorts, $240 from Moochi | Bill Culottes, $275 from Twenty Seven Names | Raven Shorts-Secret Garden, $249 from Juliette Hogan
Second Row: Cub Shorts, $250 from Moochi | Feather Silk Shorties, $199 from Superette | Raven Shorts-Jagged Silk, $289 from Juliette Hogan
Third Row: Palm Beach Culottes, $299 from Twenty Seven Names | Camilla & Marc Lorenzo Short, $190 from Sisters & Co | Julian Danger Lucy Shorts, $175 from Sisters & Co

What’s your favourite pair?