OOTDs: New, old and pre-owned

It seems I have a bit of a theme recently, in trying to pull out pieces that I would usually think of as fairly summer-y and giving them life in winter. Then I realised another theme for this was: some of my favourite pre-owned pieces.

This dress I bought preowned. I adored it in the stores, and was severely tempted to purchase it several times, but alas it sold out before I really made up my mind. Of course once I couldn’t have it, I regretted it so much! T and I call it the “neutrophil dress”, haha. It popped up on eBay (possibly even new with tags, actually…) and I jumped on it! It doesn’t wash so well and has shrunken so I’m disappointed in that, but I am planning to try and unshrink it when I have time (I should also steam it so it’s less wrinkly… but in reality I wore it like this, so I won’t pretend otherwise, haha). It’s sleeveless so I normally don’t think to wear it in winter… but having acquired the cream cableknit jumper recently, I’ve decided the jumper goes with everything and ties in summer pieces for winter. Speaking of the jumper, I love it! I realised it’s a tad short, but the cotton cableknit material is so comfortable. I’ve worn it a fair bit already. This coat is the oldest coat in my collection… I purchased it in the first year of university and it was expensive at the time, but now into it’s eighth year, I’m still not sick of it and it’s still going very strong. Good job, young me.

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Jumper: Uniqlo | Dress: Marcs (pre-owned via eBay) | Coat: MNG | Scarf: David Lawrence

The next thing I pulled out was this skirt which I absolutely adored all summer (one of my favourite pre-owned buys). But I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty floral, haha. I also decided to pair it with the cableknit and think I got away with it? I’m also trying to show off (not very well) the lining of this Ted Baker coat – another one of my best pre-owned finds. It was an absolute bargain and I’ve worn it quite a lot since getting it a few months ago. I’m always drooling at Ted Baker coats.

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Jumper: Uniqlo | Skirt: Marcs (pre-owned via eBay) | Coat: Ted Baker (pre-owned via eBay) | Shoes: Joanne Mercer

Lastly I was going somewhere over the weekend and really wanted to carry a small and light bag. In that category I only have one bag. There’s a long story behind the hunt for this bag – I wanted that particular season’s colour, and I also ended up buying it pre-owned (it was fairly stressful!). Sadly, I don’t wear it enough and I’m really trying to change that… by even bringing it out in winter! Isn’t that dedication? I’ve decided I’m really not fussed even if the bag doesn’t really “go” with winter attire. I am going to happily wear her more often.


Coat: Ted Baker (pre-owned via eBay) | Bag: Mulberry (pre-owned via eBay)

Fashion: My best cost-per-wear clothing item

Sometimes unlikely clothing items end up being the most worn and best cost-per-wear pieces in the wardrobe. I got this short sleeved “t-shirt” blouse from Marks & Spencer in China in early 2014. I don’t get much clothing from Asia and I was unsure about the quality of M&S clothing since we don’t have it here in Australia. It also converted to roughly AU$30 so for a little polyester top, it wasn’t exactly too cheap to pass up. Anyway, because of the cute (fake) collar and flower print which I fell in love with (and it’s pretty “me”), I decided to just grab it. I would probably not regret it, right?

As it turns out, it is probably my most-worn top in the past few years. It’s been super versatile. Because of the light material (even if it’s not as breathable as natural fibres) and colours (the white, the navy and the little bits of pink), it transitions into cold or warm months. It also goes with many colours and outfits. It’s especially easy to use it to add a pop of interest to a neutral or dark toned outfit. It also washes amazingly – I can toss it in the wash on any cycle and it comes out looking perfect. The polyester material means no wrinkles, ever. I see no obvious discolouration anywhere and it’s never bled. It’s the epitome of “wash and wear” and it has been absolutely no fuss at all. I just can’t get over how easy it is to wear and to take care of. More importantly of course, I already love the style, print and colours.

If I had to hazard a guess, I must have worn it at least 200 times by now, bringing this $30 top’s cost-per-wear to less than 15 cents. That’s pretty good for this unlikely hero that is still going so strong and definitely has many more washes and wears in its life!

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Top: Marks & Spencer | Skirt: Hi There by Karen Walker (pre-owned via eBay) | Bag: Kate Spade New York

Review: Ziera Stanford boots

Review: Ziera Stanford boots

I’m just going to say it because it’s not something I can help so I shouldn’t have to be ashamed. I have problem feet. Almost all the shoes in the world are uncomfortable for me. They need to meet at least most of my shoe criteria, and even then half of them will turn out to be uncomfortable after a while. I also walk like an elephant and have bunions, so all in all finding shoes is difficult.

I discovered Ziera at the end of last year (a New Zealand company, formerly Kumfs), as they are supposedly known for comfortable and quality shoes. Initially I noted a lot of shoes had partial or full inlays that were removable for personal orthotics. While I don’t have orthotics, this indicated to me that they were indeed more of a specialty shoe brand geared towards comfort shoes and people who might struggle with finding shoes for their particular feet issues. I’ll admit that half the shoes don’t look very “cool”, but there are also a lot of classic looks and more stylish pieces. I’ve picked up three since I discovered them late last year!

For this winter season I wanted to get a pair of simple black flat boots that would be good for walking around in everyday. Initially I had my eye on the Lana in black. When I tried them on, the front looked too wide (almost square) and the brown wooden-looking soles weren’t really my style.

Then I found the Stanford. While I don’t care for the curved stitch running across the front, I don’t dislike it.

shoes ziera stanford boots

shoes ziera stanford boots

This is an orthotic-friendly ankle boot. It contains a full inlay that is fully removable for orthotics. It has a leather outer, synthetic inner and PU soles. Depending on the colour, it is available in either wide or x-wide or both. For example this black leather is available in both widths.

shoes ziera stanford boots

I tried on both the 37.5 x-wide and 38 wide. Width-wise I couldn’t feel a difference in store, although I expect after prolonged wear my feet might. While on, the difference in widths was not obvious visually, and in fact I think the extra width comes from the top more than the sides, so actually it doesn’t look like a wide-fitting shoe at all. Hence I opted for the 37.5 x-wide as the 38 was a little long. (Ziera shoes tend to run a tiny bit small for me. I am usually a size 37.)

The first two days, these shoes felt a bit tight on the sides of the feet where shoes are narrowest and the leather was really stiff at the back of the heel, which caused some painful rubbing. The third time I wore them though, the leather all over had softened a lot and now they are incredibly comfortable – I’ve worn them a few more times since and no rubbing anywhere and overall they are just less tight.

I don’t really feel the inlay and haven’t tried to remove it. It gives a slight arch support which seems insignificant but I know they will make a huge difference by the end of every day (and will be much appreciated). The soles of the shoe are PU which is (according to Ziera) “ideal for comfort and flexibility”, and “millions of tiny air bubbles fom within a PU sole to give unbeatable shock absorption”. The inlay and soles together don’t provide a cushy feel, but I haven’t felt soreness in my feet and definitely notice less pressure and good flexibility on the soles of my feet as I walk. These are the kinds of things which are insignificant at the start of the day but a saviour by the end of the day. The soles have average grip and are sturdy, but not hard on the feet. Annoyingly they squeak on a particular floor surface, but if the soles don’t wear down drastically I don’t expect I should have any slip issues. I may or may not get them soled depending on how they wear on surfaces over time. The sole is 6mm and the heel height is between 20-25mm (slightly curved so the heel is higher at the back of the foot). But when the sole height is taken into account, the heel is actually only 15-25mm. It’s basically flat, but gives a tiny bit of height.

shoes ziera stanford shoes

shoes ziera stanford boots

These boots have an elasticated side and a zip on the other side, and are relatively easy to get in and out of but a bit tricky to do hands-free.

I quite like the look of the shoe. Most of the flat and comfortable looking shoes I came across were very low cut at the ankles. I really like how this one comes up a little higher. On top of aesthetics, it is just more practical as rain will be less likely to get into my shoes and get my feet wet. I dislike pointed toe shoes, but this style is between an almond and pointed toe, and somehow I find the look quite versatile and I would be comfortable to dress these with almost all my usual outfits.

shoes ziera stanford boots

The leather is smooth and overall the shoe is amazing quality. I got some specks of mud and rain on it recently, and after wiping with wet tissues, the shoe looks as good as new. I expect the comfort and style of these boots will take me through many years.

shoes ziera stanford boots

shoes ziera stanford boots

Ziera Stanford boots via Ziera $249.95 (online purchases not available)
Ziera Stanford boots via Stride Shoes $199.95 (only stocks W, but extra 9.6% cashback via CashRewards!)

For first-time shoppers, Ziera gives a $10 discount on signing up. Overall discounts are few and far between, but they occasionally have promotions like discounts for buying two pairs. Generally, season sales would be the best bet – I picked up sandals during summer sales for 25% piled on top of 20% (or close to that). The Ziera outlet also has many lines discounted, including these Stanford boots but in older seasonal colours.

OOTDs: Easter long weekend

Belated Happy Easter! We enjoyed a four-day long weekend from Good Friday to Easter Monday and it makes me wish four-day weekends were the norm!

Friday: I didn’t do very much at all. I was under the weather all morning and basically only emerged from bed, half human, around mid afternoon. I went to have dinner at my parent’s house, so essentially it was the epitome of a lazy day. I threw on some comfortable leggings and a baggy tee and couldn’t really be bothered beyond that. This tee from ASOS is horrendous quality and was probably the second last time I ordered from them. It’s so sheer for black fabric, and it seems to get a new tiny hole every time it goes through the wash. I’m always vowing to throw it out, until I think about the next time I could be feeling sick and miserable and only want something easy, light, comfortable and long to throw on…

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Top: ASOS | Leggings: Uniqlo | Shoes: Nike via The Iconic

Saturday: We went for a day trip down to the Mornington Peninsula for a few small walks. In the morning it drizzled but by the afternoon it was sunny and and mostly blue skies! I wore my Uniqlo cotton cashmere blend sweater, which is so incredibly cosy (review to come I hope) and soft, but it ended up being a bad idea because I got too warm. Whoops.

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Rain jacket: Kathmandu | Top: Esprit | Sweater: Uniqlo | Leggings: Uniqlo | Shoes: Nike via The Iconic | Bag: Kate Spade New York

Sunday: It was another super lazy morning, and I only left the house to go find food, although most places were shut so there was very slim pickings. In the afternoon I went shopping for some new shoes for the colder seasons. For dinner, we met up with friends and hung out a bit. I tried to make it to the Haagen-Dazs pop up store but it was closed.

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Top: Esprit | Skirt: Marcs | Shoes: Joanne Mercer | Bracelet: Kate Spade New York | Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs

I’m realising that this skirt doesn’t fit very well at all. I was intrigued by it because it looks red from afar but if you’re up close the colours are actually orange and purple threads! Unfortunately the bracelet was ditched later in the day when I discovered it was pulling strands of the thread out. I am also amused by how floppy and unattractive my bag looks here, haha!

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Monday: I had planned brunch for Monday and I had been looking forward to it for days! In the end, apart from brunch I didn’t do anything else all afternoon, except get groceries for the week and then in the evening I cooked and cleaned the whole apartment down.

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Top: Marcs | Skirt: Country Road | Shoes: Supersoft by Diana Ferrari | Scarf: Witchery | Bracelet: Kate Spade New York | Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Money: Shopping habits and goals for this year

Since moving out, the majority of my pay has been going to the bank (mortgage repayments) and towards living expenses. I’ve also set myself an aggressive savings plan with the remainder of the money, so I have even less to spend on myself than a year ago.

I don’t think I’m too spendy. I would love to be, but in reality I’ve always had aggressive savings plans. I consider most purchases for a long time, I buy beauty products when there are promotions or sales, and I can think of less than five fashion items I’ve ever purchased full price. Most would be purchased after at least two sales markdowns. Nonetheless I often get overexcited about a bargain and end up with unnecessary or poorly thought out purchases. This year I hope to change that.

I have been thinking about what my wardrobe lacks. I don’t buy seasonal or fast fashion to be thrown away as the season changes. I rarely get rid of items because they are too old, but because I never wear them anymore. I’m really bad at clearing my closet out. Usually old clothing that gets donated is several years or even over a decade old. I need to be better about clearing stuff out that I don’t wear. I occasionally pull out purchases I regret that are barely worn (or still new!) to be sold. While this “culling” process is fine and should be more brutal, I know that most likely less than half my wardrobe is in regular rotation and this signals to me that I’m not thinking hard enough about my purchases and there is wastage going on.

I’m not keen on fast fashion so that’s not the culprit. I often browses my favourite stores so that when there are sales and extra markdowns I already have an idea what I like. Unfortunately I still fall victim to finding sales bargains on other items and snatching them up as well or instead! Usually they aren’t terrible pieces but I’d like to make an effort to stick to well thought out purchases. If I’ve thought about it long enough and am confident it will be a great addition to the wardrobe, then I should make myself worry less about the sales reduction. I’ve heard people go on about “quality over quantity” and “pieces to last years and years and years” but it tends to come across as justification more than a good shopping habit. My poor shopping habit is buying a lot of pieces that I now realise are not great staple pieces. I also tend to buy things like tops and skirts because the fit is easier to work with (and I’m more excited about the print). What I lack are good quality pants, blazers/jackets and jumpers that pair well. I think I can attribute that to being frustrated with and having more difficulty finding those items, so I tend to avoid shopping them altogether. Even skirts and tops, I think I lack staples that pair well.

This year my shopping goal is to write down the clothing and shoes I’d like to add to my wardrobe, browse these items online/in store and try them on if possible. I’d like to take time to decide if each will be a good purchase by considering the fit, if it’s a staple piece, whether it pairs well, its quality and the wash and maintenance. If it’s one of those “it’s okay but it’s not great, so maybe only if it’s reduced really heavily…”, I will NOT buy it if it later becomes heavily reduced. If I am aiming for a pricier item (like a coat), I will shop around to find the one, then work towards it instead of being fearful of biting the bullet and just buying five smaller things instead. And never give up! If I don’t find something perfect this year, the hunt will continue.

My goal is not minimalism or having a capsule wardrobe, but working towards better shopping habits that will translate to a more practical and ultimately better wardrobe. This, in term, should translate to less consumption wastage.

In terms of makeup and beauty products, I don’t feel like I need to change my habits in this department. I have one/two of any product open at a given time and almost always use it up before moving on (unfortunately things don’t always work out but that’s not unexpected). These products don’t go on seasonal or end of line sale like fashion, but I buy (or stock up on things I’m faithful to) when there are promotions or during the rare sale.