Morning dressing guidance

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Even with the best intentions, getting ready in the morning can sometimes be stressful.

I’ve collected a few pointers over the years that have consistently come back to me in my mornings of need and have helped me focus through the stress haze that seems to be unique to such times.

From I HEART Your Style by Amanda Brooks

A good starting point for the morning is to ask and remind yourself:
What am I doing today?
Where am I going?
Who do I have to be today and who do I want to be?

From A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style by Tim Gunn

Look at your itinerary for the day, see which appointments you have and with whom, and dress for the highest level of expectation for that day.

And also don’t wear a completely replicated outfit as you’ll miss out on an opportunity to experiment with your other pieces. Throw on a different necklace, a clashing bracelet, big earrings or a scarf. Wear different shoes to the last time, see if it makes the outfit feel different. (I often fallback on tried and true outfits when stressed but this comment by Mr Gunn reminds me to explore my wardrobe and to give other pieces a day out.)

From Style by Lauren Conrad

Something as straight forward as a blazer can be interpreted a 100 different ways.

And from an unknown source

Remember that you have everything you need in your wardrobe, it’s just about mixing old things up and finding new ways to present pieces that suit the day.

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Instant laundry solutions

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The power of water can never be underestimated. And in a clothing spill situation, water and the lightning speed reactions of a superhero, can save a piece and keep you feeling confident all outting long.

Yesterday I was enjoying a bowl of Honey Soy Hokien noodles and felt the familiar plop of a dark sauce falling right into my lap; on my bright tangerine dress!

As inconspicuously as possible, I poured a little of my drinking water into my palm and then worked it into the sauce. Tada! The sauce lifted almost completely. Besides feeling good about not walking around all day with a brown spot on my dress, it was such a relief to know that I wouldn’t have a lot of repair work to do at home!

Yes, I had a little bit of a wet patch in an area that may have looked like I’d peed myself but I knew that that wasn’t the case, so who cares. I’d much rather save my dress than worry about being embarrassed. Plus 97% of the time the patch has dried by the time the bill needs to be paid so it’s usually not a big deal.

I can’t think of any spills where this technique hasn’t helped in some degree. So don’t be embarrassed! Do your laundry as the spills occur and save effort and time in the long run.

Lounge wear criteria

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My attention was drawn to my lounge wear the other day because the stacks were becoming untidy. Sorting through the stacks I realised that it had unwittingly turned into a dumping ground. Items of clothing that had been downgraded from other parts of my wardrobe were now hanging out with genuine lounge wear. A pair of jeans, not good enough for casual weekends but maybe I’d use them if i ever had to do some painting (this is so rare an occasion I don’t know why the thought continues to pop into my head); a print shirt, with a red wine stain that I may one day stop seeing; and a daggy shirt that I don’t know why I bought.

One reason that this dumping ground has occurred is because my resolve to get rid of unsuitable items immediately was in need of a refresher.

I felt guilty for not having used these items as much as I could have or for having bought them at all so I instead tried to repurpose them. When this works it’s great but unfortunately I’d lost sight of the purpose of lounge wear. To relax in!

My lounge wear is roughly three outfits made up of a combination of purpose bought and repurposed pieces, that are comfortable and funky. A specific criteria that I have for lounge wear is to ask myself the question “would I be embarrassed if someone rang the door bell and I had to answer wearing this?” Doing this lets me weed out items that don’t work and helps me focus in on how my lounge wear supports me feeling good at home.

Clearing the dumping ground allowed me to go through the items and properly let them go. Lounge wear that feels relaxing and good is what I want; what I don’t want is to be worrying about future paint jobs that may never occur!

The symbolism behind removing labels

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I was having a pedicure the other day and my eyes fell upon the bin in the corner. It still had the label on it, one of those ones with a bar code and a handy image of a bin in action in an office space. My initial reaction was ‘why wouldn’t you just remove the label before putting the bin to work?’ and I immediately ran through how easy it is to get those things off with a little tea tree oil.

Further thinking on the bin’s predicament (not much else to do really while my toes were being pampered and primed) made me consider the effect it had had on me. I felt like the presentation of the spa had slipped; there was a rushing feeling around it which cheapened the spa design and feel. The bin didn’t feel like a part of the spa, it felt like it still belonged somewhere like Big W and the information contained on the label was rather distracting.

As Marie Kondo states in her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, which I reviewed a month ago,”by eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” Removing the printed labels off of supportive items (bins, plastic tubs and other storage devices), allows these items to work seamlessly with the space around them rather than ambushing users with redundant visual information.

The same goes for removing tags from new clothes. When I buy a new item I remove the tag immediately and find a place for it alongside my other clothes, this act, as Kondo points out, ‘welcomes the item into your home’. The intention is there that they will become a part of your life and space. I find it incredible that people have items in their wardrobe that have never been worn AND still have the tags attached. The fact that those tags are still attached makes me question whether those clothes ever had a chance to become a part of a wardrobe’s rotation. As Kondo says “in order for your clothes to make the transition from store products to personal possessions, you need to perform the ritual of cutting the “umbilical cord” that links them to the shop”.

So go on, perform the ritual, help your purchases feel at ease and encourage them to be a part of your space and life.

Thinking literally about leather

Leather is skin. Literally.

I knew this but it wasn’t until a shoe repair man compared the needs of my shoes to the likes of my daily skin care routine that it really hit home. Very matter-of-factly, he said ‘It’s skin, it’s like your face, it needs moisturising to keep it supple.’ Well it’s something that has stuck with me and now every three months I treat my shoes and handbag to a ‘facial’.

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NOT the shoe repair man quoted.

This facial involves taking a microfiber cloth, applying a small amount of leather conditioner and working it into the leather in a circular motion. These ‘facials’ work wonders; before my eyes the items revive, becoming smoother and more plump.

Another leather conditioning tip is that if you have tight leather shoes, some frequent moisturising can loosen spots to perfection. This is something I wouldn’t want to try on my face though.

Do you have a spare button or two?

Collections sometimes do accidentally happen. Collections of marketing pens, collections of makeup samples, collections of spare buttons. They sneak up on you with their ‘I could be useful one day’ vibe and their ‘I’m so small, I won’t take up too much space’ promise. But once they group together they become problematic.
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This post came about after a coincidental chat with a friend, who on the same weekend as me, was trying to decide what to do with her accidental spare button collection. We agreed that it seems like a considerate gesture of the clothing manufactures to include a spare button but we wondered if enough people actually use them to justify such an effort.

I think a poll is required!

Do you a) keep your spare buttons or b) throw them out along with the price tag?

If you tend to go with the first option, do you then a) keep them all in the one box or bag? or b) organise them?

If you didn’t follow the path of ‘all in together’ – how have you sorted them? We want to know! So please respond in the comments below 🙂

My friend and I both had the idea of making notes on the packaging and then attaching it to a coat hanger which would then be dedicated to the clothing item. This was deemed too time consuming and logistically problematic though. Jumping on Google, it was revealed that this is actually a genuine first world problem and many people do not know what to do with these button collections.

My search led to a few viable solutions but by far my favourite was from the website Modern Parents Messy Kids where they have a nifty free template to use in conjunction with easily obtainable business card pockets. Amazing!

In the end I decided that my collection was too far gone, I couldn’t recall what most of the buttons were for so I picked out the buttons that were recognisable and binned the rest. Decluttering wins once again my friends.

Jewellery heaven

I love accessories. Bangles. Necklaces. Earrings. Rings. I love them all. They complete my outfits and they often collect me the most compliments.

For the past five years I have used this Howard’s Storage World solution to manage my necklace collection. I can clearly see my necklaces and as I see them on a daily basis they all get regular outings.
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I enforce a fairly strict one-in-one-out policy; all my necklaces must fit in these 44 pockets and if I buy a new necklace, another must be let go to make room. Sometimes the sizes of the pockets make it tricky to fit unique shaped necklaces but I haven’t had to resort to alternative storage means as yet. A unique necklace is simply an invitation to use creativity to work out another way to make the solution work, such as folding it or inserting it in the pocket upside down.

I use a similar solution to this for my earrings. It’s a tad fiddly when applied to stud earrings but much better than simply having them all jumbled together.
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I picked my ring holder up as a souvenir on an overseas holiday but I have seen similar ones at Howard’s Storage World. At the moment they have these in stock but I prefer the design of mine as it holds my entire ring collection and allows for easy access.

I recently re-purposed paper towel holders as a method of displaying and organising my bangles and so far I’m very happy with this new set up . The only annoying aspect is that if I want a bangle that has made it’s way to the bottom of the holder I have to take all of the others off to get to it. Having said that though, it does reshuffle the order and reminds me of the other fantastic bangles I own.

Adapting and maintaining these solutions keeps my jewellery organised and ensures that I use everything I own frequently. I’d like to think that this has created an environment of mutual respect between my collection and myself – I keep them organised and they continue to support my outfits. It really is jewellery heaven.

Keeping stay ups alive for longer

pantyhose-309057A couple of months ago I went with a friend at lunch time on an emergency mission to buy replacement stay ups (you know the ones with the self supporting silicone hem and wide lace floral trim?). The pair she’d worn to work that day had been slipping down since morning tea time and were driving her nuts.

Lamenting to the store assistant that she hadn’t really had them all that long, the store assistant advised something radical – Once a week, wash only the feet of the stay ups in shampoo and then leave to dry.   

Well, my friend was flabbergasted. It made perfect sense. The stay ups didn’t need to go into the washing machine! The only parts that ever got really dirty were the feet so why subject the whole self supporting mechanism to a brutal spin? It only shortens the life of the silicone hem!

With profound advice in hand we returned to work and although my friend did buy a leave-at-the-office-pair of stay ups, just in case, to date they haven’t had to be employed.

Quick! I have a wrinkle!

The other day I found myself confronting a huge wrinkle down the middle of a silk shirt I was wearing. Standing in front of the mirror, I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t that bad, that no one would notice but I didn’t feel right and the wrinkle continued to mock me. I tossed up my options, which would be easier? Putting together a different outfit or dragging out the ironing board and waiting for the iron to warm up? Then I recalled this travel tip from one of my favourite YouTube channels, Sonia’s Travels.

Feeling confident, I headed to the bathroom and in under a minute the wrinkle was gone.

My poor little travel hair dryer has stayed at home since this tip convinced me that having full power while travelling does matter. To be fair though, I didn’t need that much convincing, my hair and travel hair dryer haven’t ever been a match made in heaven.

Check out Sonia’s method below:

How do I tie thee? Let me count the ways…

Scarves… I love them. I have a lot of them in an array of colours, lengths, widths and weights and I use them throughout the year. I’m often adding to my collection and I’ve made it a habit to look at the sale racks, even though I will need to enforce a ‘one in one out’ policy very soon.

A scarf brings out different elements in an outfit and depending on texture and colour can change an entire outfit’s vibe. I’ve used scarves to formalise an outfit, make something more casual and up the rock chick or preppy look or alternative feel of another. Plus I’ve found them useful for covering up an ugly neckline or stain, making previously unuseable tops employable again.

In winter, scarves offer another cosy and warm layer and I rarely leave the house without one. I also find that scarves serve to make the same winter coats look different throughout the season which has often saved me from boredom.

In summer, a light scarf protects me against the sun and comes in handy when moving between the heat of outdoors and the freezing air-conditioning at work and shopping centers. I’m never without one when I go to the movies in summer – there’s a reason tickets sell out on heat wave days – bbbbrrrrr!

When I travel, scarves become my blanket, an emergency eye mask, a pillow, an easy way to accessorise, and of course they provide warmth or sun protection depending on the season.

It’s easy to find yourself putting on scarves the same way over and over again. Learning a few different ways to wear scarves not only helps you shake up your routine but also lets different elements of a scarf play out (colours in prints, fringes etc). This Youtube clip has been around for four years now but is still a great resource for inspiration. My favourites are the Bunny Ear, DIY Infinity, the Celebrity and the Waterfall. Pick one and give it a go this week! Think of it as a scarf challenge…