Budget bangs for your buck. Accessories.

Budget bangs for your buck. Accessories.

Accessories enliven the outfit possibilities in your wardrobe, without buying up expensive or unnecessarily. This reduces your environmental impact and saves you money. It’s also a way for your creative style and individuality to stand out.

Expanding your array of outfit mix-ups with a few handy accessories can be a great deal of fun. So, what works best? Well, that’s up to you and your personality – and the choices are only limited by your imagination!

Scarves, shoes, hats, belts, bangles, beads, brooches, earrings, bags, glasses and hair trinkets can be found at great prices at all op shops and markets – they’re almost guaranteed to be on-offs and allow you to steer away from following the trend crowds.

A scarf can be worn around your neck, on your head or in your hair, wrapped around a handbag handle or worn as a layering piece (if it’s big enough). Play with textures, patterns, block colours, ones with tassels and ones with furry bits, velvet, wool, silk; ones that wind around your neck, ones that drape, ones that fold into bandannas and ones that elegantly hug your shoulders or hips. Woo hoo…a scarf opens up swathes of possibilities.

Hair trinkets like vintage, retro, Bakelite or ceramic clips, hair bands and pins, and colourful and textured scrunchies can add some fun colour and focus points.

Belts – large, small, wide or narrow – can be worn at the waist or the hips to enliven a plain outfit, and take day wear to hitting-the-town wear in a second. Especially if it’s beaded, metallic or adds a little bling! Winter or summer a chunky belt over knitwear can dress up a casual look or pull a lightweight shirt dress into an elegant piece.

There are some amazing hats styles around, and so many find their way to markets. Hat colours and styles serve up such a wide choice. Pick a hat that you feel comfortable in and it’ll add some pizzazz to your outfit and have you feeling like a million dollars. Choose hats that are classics and that compliment your hair and facial skin tones.

Glasses or sunnies are a fabulous accessory. If you wear glasses for medical reasons it can be a great way to have some fun – the styles can change your look (excuse the pun!) instantly. And, sunnies – well, the sky’s the limit!

Shoes. Now, this accessory along with multiple coloured leather bangles for every outfit is my personal favourite. Your outfit can be taken from casual to smart, classic to retro, chic to boho simply by a change of shoe style. An outfit changes if it’s worn with ankle boots, knee high boots or over the knee boots. A block colour dress or jeans and tee combo can be instantly enlivened with a different colour pair of shoes and scarf – great for travelling or when a capsule wardrobe is happening. Shoes and boots are a great way to add patterns, prints or colour you may not ordinarily want to wear in bigger amounts. Whilst animal print is everywhere at the moment it’s a classic, and some say, a neutral colour. A scarf, hat, bag or shoes in print can look fab. Chunky shoes or boots can add a quirky feel to a soft floaty feminine dress or a conservative pant suit.

Being inventive with what you’ve already got in your wardrobe opens up a whole world of options. And, knowing what you’ve got and where your gaps are can make market rummaging so much easier. Need an orange scarf, a retro pair of psychedelic earrings, or a pair of animal print brogues…a market’s the place.

If you’re travelling or want to carry something small to change up a day to evening outfit straight from work, jewellery like earrings, bangles or necklaces can be perfect. Add a smear of your favourite lippie and it’s a whole new look. What about a different earring for each ear? Or if you’ve multi-ear piercings, the combos can be numerous and so much fun. Experiment with dangly versus gold or pearl stud earrings; colourful resins or glass earrings or bangles; leather accessories are funky and I find personally that a leather bangle the perfect solution to eliminating the jangling on my work desk!

And, last but not least, bags. We all know that a bag can be a real focal piece on an outfit. Adding a scarf or tassel can be playful and add some colour. It’s a whole other world if you don’t mind moving all your essentials (!). Bags in bright colours worn across the body or as backpacks are handy as well as funky. Handheld clutches are elegant, and larger bags over the shoulder are casual and practical if you’ve lots to carry. There’s no end to the options and you’ll be spoilt for choice at markets where you can pick something you’d not ordinarily wear and take a risk.

It’s a wonderful playground!

Thanks to ideas from stylists Anna Mabin and Amy Richmond and ABC Life by Kellie Scott

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10 sassy quotes on sustainable and fast fashion

10 sassy quotes on sustainable and fast fashion

Fast fashion is like fast food. After the sugar rush it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  — Livia Firth, ethical fashion advocate and founder of sustainable fashion consultancy Eco-Age

As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy. — Emma Watson, actress and ethical fashion advocate

Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you express by the way you dress and the way you live. —Gianni Versace, fashion designer

What if we started by slowing down and not consuming so much stuff, just because it’s there and cheap and available. It’s amazing how that process makes sense financially, it makes sense ethically, it makes sense environmentally. — Andrew Morgan, filmmaker and director of ‘The True Cost’

One day we’ll wake up and Green will not be the new black, it will be the new invisible. Meaning, no longer will sustainable be the exception or something that’s considered au courant; instead it will be a matter of course – something that all designers incorporate into their design ethos. — Summer Rayne Oakes, world’s first ‘eco’ model and serial ecopreneur. From her book Style, Naturally

Consumer demand can revolutionise the way fashion works as an industry. If everyone started to question the way we consume, we would see a radically different fashion paradigm. — Carry Somers and cofounder of Fashion Revolution. From Safia Minney’s book Slow Fashion: aesthetic meets ethics

When you wear vintage, you never have to worry about showing up in the same dress as someone else.
— Jessica Alba, actress, author and entrepreneur. From her book The Honest Life

Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will. — Anne Klein, fashion designer

Become an active citizen through your wardrobe. — Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age

Clothes could have more meaning and longevity if we think less about owning the latest or cheapest thing and develop more of a relationship with the things we wear. — Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.

Jennifer Nini 2018 – ecowarriorprincess

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It’s All About You: Rework Your Wardrobe

It’s All About You: Rework Your Wardrobe

Have you heard the term – curated closet? In her book, The Curated Closet, Anuschka Rees talks about not following trends or buying into a standard list of wardrobe essentials or must-haves. Instead, it’s about creating your wardrobe to work perfectly for your style and life. Having a wardrobe that is about you and not about fast fashion or trends is a great start to a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe. The idea is that if you’re buying clothes that really are ‘you’ you’re probably going to want to keep them for years. It’s a way to break the cycle and stop buying into the ever-revolving fast fashion trends. So, rework your wardrobe to work with you not against you!

It’s not about not heading out on a fun shopping trip with your girlfriend or daughter – it’s great retail therapy and at times, just simply a good laugh.

The Curated Closet is a wardrobe that’s perfectly tailored to your unique personal style and your life. It contains everything you need to feel confident and inspired every day – no more and no less. It is not based on trends, style typologies or a one-size-fits-all list of wardrobe essentials. Your life isn’t the same as everyone else’s, so why should your closet be? Anuschka Rees

Rees says, know you colour palettes and make distinctions between accent colours versus neutrals, basics pieces, key pieces, and accent pieces. Accessorise with bangles, beads, earrings, scarves, nail polish, lipstick or even hair colour. While the goal is not to complicate, it is to help you to have a plan so you don’t waste time or money on items that stand out like the proverbial, that you might aspire to but never get the chance (or, to be honest with yourself, you feel comfortable) to wear.  By getting an idea of what colours you like and for what types of pieces, it allows for a lifetime of simplicity.  Rees explains that by zeroing in on your own unique style, you are never caught up in fashion trends. It’s great to update your wardrobe every few years, and as we all know, some things never go out of style. White t-shirts and jeans will always exist, so will basic black.  Mix things up to avoid being a carbon copy of everyone else. Enjoy running away from the pack.  It’s one less stressor in life! As Rees says, being fashionable is totally optional – you get to choose.

She makes a great analogy comparing fashion to music. You wouldn’t force yourself to listen to a song because it’s in the charts and music ‘insiders’ tell you it’s popular. You listen to the music you like and enjoy. So why not do the same with clothes – buying things you like and enjoy wearing rather than what’s ‘hot right now’. There is absolutely no point in buying clothes which don’t work for your lifestyle.

Fashion is a form of art, and you want your clothes to look good, but you also need them to feel good and be practical because you spend your life in them. You have stuff to do, places to go, and people to meet. A functional wardrobe is one that supports you in all that you do, rather than making your life harder.

If you enjoy a visual guide, there are tons of curated wardrobe flowcharts to help. Find your own; one that suits you, or, venue better, create your own.

Discovering your personal style and building a versatile wardrobe will mean you always have something to wear. Your style will likely continue to change and evolve. A reworked wardrobe doesn’t restrict you, it is one which grows and evolves with you. After all, it’s all about you!

The Sustainable Edit and Anuschka Rees

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High Fives: 5 handy tips for moving clothing on.

High Fives: 5 handy tips for moving clothing on.

Sitting around feeling frustrated as you contemplate what to do with your unwanteds after you’ve had a seasonal clearing of your wardrobe? When seasons change that itch to sort and clear out your life to make way for a ‘new you’ style can become insatiable. Welcome to the seasonal high five.

Whether you opt for the clean out or you’ve been struck down by the KonMari bug clearing out your wardrobe is all fun and satisfaction until it’s been two weeks and that bag of unwanted clothes is still glaring at you from the corner of your bedroom, laundry or garage; or it’s rolling around in the back of your car.

Rather than leave it until you can no longer look at it and dump it blindly at your nearest collection point, here are four alternatives that’ll extend your pumped-up feeling.

Swap it. Your unwanted clothing is currency at swaps. The premise is simple – gather up your clothes and head to or organise your own swap event over a champers or G&T; browse the racks of everyone else’s contributions and swap yours for a garment that attracts you. It’s a sustainable way to update your style with pieces you may actually wear. But, if you don’t…swap again.

Organise your own swap event over a champers or G&T!

Go to market. Selling your clothes at a market is a terrific and fun way (even though I say so myself!) to get some dollars in return for your unworn but not so unloved or quite donatable pieces. Hiring a stall at your local market is easier than you’d think, although you’re likely to have to book a few weeks in advance so this isn’t your spontaneous quick-fix move! Depending on where you’re located, expect to pay anything from $40-$80 for a stall, but joining with your friends is a great way to bring costs down as well as collecting a variety of items (sizes, styles and so on) to attract your shoppers. Don’t remain too attached to your pieces and be committed to offer them up at prices to sell so you don’t go home with them.

Consign it. If you’re not into eBay (the photographing and listing efforts may put you off) consider taking your good quality items to a local consignment store. At some, you’ll get 50% of the sale price in the arrangement, but they do all the work once you’ve dropped it in. All you need is for them to accept a minimum of 5 items. Again, it’s not a quick fix and patience is needed, as it can take up to 3 weeks before you see your items on the racks and they’ll display them for up to 7 weeks so if your item doesn’t sell it can be on the shelf (pun intended) for up to 10 weeks yet still come back to you.

The less obvious…parcel it up and donate further afield. From social textile and op shop enterprise projects in outback Australia to passing on your no-longer-fitting bras to domestic violence programs and third-world countries (where the possibility of a female being raped is reduced if she’s wearing a bra as it’s a sign of wealth) your donation can have a big impact on someone else’s life.

The obvious…donate it locally. But this comes with a big BUT. Since the KonMari bug has hit, charity shops have been overwhelmed with it-no-longer-brings-me-joy stuff and are increasingly having to dispose of unusable donations. Op shops always need donations but the items should be well considered. Think to yourself, would I give this to a friend? And, it’s a great please to find new-to-you pieces too.; they’re no longer the stuffy, funny-smell places people thought they were!

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Fast Fashion Facts

Fast Fashion Facts

Vivienne Westwood, punk rocker from way back, summarised the future of clothing consumption well when she said buy less, choose well and make it last. It’s not about not shopping. We all love clothes (and shoes, and accessories) and new-to-us pieces. We all crave retail therapy at different times, for different reasons. It’s just a case of being more mindful; more aware; and less fashion trend driven.

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The good, bad and ugly of preloved shopping

The good, bad and ugly of preloved shopping

Sort the good from the bad and ugly when buying secondhand and preloved clothes with this handful of fast tips:

1. Pick your time. A change of season is when people usually have a clean out of their wardrobes – there are generally great bargains to be had. You’ll also find some terrific bargains at clothing markets by visiting an hour before everyone starts packing up. Stallholders don’t want to take their clothes home with them! And, on days with inclement weather, or on blistering hot summer days, stallholders don’t want to lug their collections back to their cars so are likely to be more open to negotiation and can offer (like 3 for 2… etc) great deals!

2. Pick your area. On the one hand, out-of-town community markets may have particularly good bargains, whilst at city markets near more affluent suburbs you might just find some amazing designer or ordinarily-too-expensive-to-justify labels going for a song.

3. Think outside the box. Find out what’s happening in your area. Pick up clothes from fetes, garage sales, op shops, consignment shops, car boot sales, vintage shops, clothing markets, and swaps and friends. 

4. Scan. If you get overwhelmed with the quantity of collections and stalls, try scanning. Know what piece is missing from your wardrobe and look for that black fitted T or infinity scarf. Focus on finding particular colours that you know suit you or patterns and fabrics that pop. This way you’ll get to traverse a market more quickly and effectively.

5. Buy it right, buy it once. Having an eye for quality is key to scoring great unique pieces. A classic designer trench, tweed jacket or handbag may be something you can’t afford new, but it will always be in style. Apply the thought… ‘I’m too poor to buy cheap’.

6. Take style risks. If there is a new trend you’ve been eyeing but not sure if it’s you, buying it secondhand is the perfect way to give it a go.

7. Don’t be afraid to haggle. Most stallholders at markets just want to see a little money back from their initial investment; this puts you in the perfect place to have some convivial fun haggling. This form of haggling is usually reserved for markets. Bargain with a smile yields the most successful results, but don’t start too low.

8. Go with an open mind. If you don’t mind the slow wander and the market’s open for a few hours (and you’ve nowhere to be in a hurry) keep your options open and don’t be specific about what you’re hunting for – you’ll likely find gems.

9. Prepare to rummage. If you have the time, have patience. There’s so much fun in rummaging through over-stuffed racks and bargain baskets. Look for fabrics that catch your eye.

10. One in, one out. When you buy something new, pass on a no-longer-loved piece – simple as that.

11. Always try it on. Sizes vary widely between brands and eras, and the label won’t always tell you what you want to know. If it looks like it fits, give it a try.

12. Inspect it. Missing buttons or a small tear can be tidied up. If that’s not for you, though don’t be tempted unless it a must-have piece. There are local seamstresses that will do their magic even if it adds a few dollars to the bargain. It’s likely to be well worth it in the long run.

13. Upcycle it. Seen something amazing that you can’t live without, take it to a local seamstress and they’ll revitalise it to create your unique piece. It’ll most probably still be much cheaper than buying the piece new.

14. Look for vintage. Clothing from the 60s and 70s hold their value and were often well made. You can release your inner wild hippy or stick to classics. They’re great for onselling too once you’ve had your fun!

15. Go online. Facebook buy/sell groups, eBay and Gumtree are fertile ground for secondhand clothing.

16. Get clothes swapping. A group of friends, a bottle of bubbles or two and a bit of a laugh…perfect for a clothes swap. Bring all the clothes you haven’t worn in a while and use this as your currency or collateral to swap for someone else’s unwanteds. Anything left can be donated or sold at a market stall.

Adapted from an article by Penelope Quinn, Lifestyle.

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