Monthly Archives: April 2012

Living in Black and White – Accessories

Life isn’t always straight forward or as simple as black and white but when it comes to fashion, living in Black and White is easy! Hopefully we have looked at a few pretty cool options for all facets of a b&w lifestyle this past week.

Now we just need to check out some great accessories!

As usual, I have cruised around the blogoshpere and found vintage pieces that I love and think will work well with just about any  style…or maybe just my style! I have tried to provide the links to each of these items for your ease in further investigation should you so chose.

Black and White Beaded Collar – I can not begin to tell you how much I want this!! I think it is amazing but because I am on my shopping fast, I am sharing it with all of you! I just imagine how great it would be with a strapless black or white dress. It could be a very simple dress that would become stunning with this collar added. A really handy piece to have when you want to go from day to evening. It would work well over any dress, strapless or not. And image what it would do to a plain white t-shirt or silky tank! I go all dreamy just thinking about it.

Black and White Bowtie – I think this would be really cute to wear with a tuxedo jacket and a crisp white shirt. The floral print gives it a feminine touch but still allows for the masculine lines of the tuxedo look. Tres Chic.


Black and White Cowboy Boots – You didn’t think I could get through this without some kind of cowboy boot did you? I love this pair and as they are vintage, they are already broken in for you! However, if you really must have your own brand new, I would like to recommend you have a look at They have tons of styles to choose from, the prices are reasonable and the shipping is international. I like wearing my cowboy boots, as you have seen, predominately with midi and maxi skirts but will often pull them on to wear with tailored pants to work in the winter.

Black and White Leopard Purse – How cute is this handbag! Again it’s a little quirky but it certainly has style! You may have noticed that I am currently loving square handbags. To me they are soooo vintage and capable of making a style statement without shouting in your face. When the shopping fast is over I want to add a black bag to the wardrobe. If this one is still around at the start of July…it is soooo mine!

Black and White Crystal Bracelet – This is a lovely bracelet but I would buy three and wear them in multiples. Certainly if one is this pretty then three would be spectacular! It’s just the right amount of bling to put on when you are heading out for a night on the town with friends or your Fashion Mister.

Black and White Geometric Print Headband – I like the retro feel of this headband. With its geometric print it is very 60s and 70s. Plus with my hair getting longer it is nice to have something to hold all the curls out of my face. It would be cute as for the weekend or lunch with the girls and how perfect for the day you are running late for work and the hair just won’t cooperate!

As always, I could go on forever but hopefully this has inspired you to find some cool black and white  accessories so you can continue living the black and white life!

So which accessories are your favourite? Any others you have found that you couldn’t live without?


Derby or Darby – It’s All Black and White to Me!

It’s not spring racing carnival time here in sunny Australia…but it is in the US and England. Or at least it will be soon enough.

In the US you have the Kentucky Derby (pronounced der-bee). When I moved to Australia, I quickly found out that there is Derby Day (pronounced dar-bee). Even though the Kentucky Derby is part of the US’s Triple Crown of Racing and huge racing event for the country, I’m afraid it can not compare to the spectacle of the Spring Racing Carnival here in Victoria and one of the big racing days is the traditional Derby Day, where the focus is on Black and White.

And if you aren’t familiar with horse racing in Australia, can I tell you it is a big, BIG deal! I’m sure I’ll go in to it more at sometime as I love horse racing but part of what I love about it here in Oz is how they get the women involved by making fashion such a focus at the races. That was some smart marketing!

So Derby Day, it’s the first race day in the week-long carnival and as I said, it’s all about the black and white. Which means that I can’t help but think of the scene from “My Fair Lady” when Audrey Hepburn was heading off to the races in her black and white attire trying to impress everyone with her manners and style. Kind of the same thing happens here! Myer, one of the large retail stores here sponsors the Fashions on the Field competition at each race day and let me tell you it is taken seriously! Women spend big money on outfits hoping to win the car, the tens of thousands of dollars in prize money and all the other goodies and perks that come with.

Obviously some things have changed since Eliza Doolittle went to the races. As seen here hats are still a must have item for race day but size varies dramatically. Even though styles are of each contestant are different on Derby Day it is best to play off the classics. Each of these looks is lovely and ladylike. The big surprise was seeing the fabulous #197 do as well as she did in the comp wearing slacks! I thought that was fantastic! She looked great and would still be comfortable heading down to the stables to get a good look at her horse before the race! Keep in mind, these are the regular girls getting frocked up, not a bunch of celebrities.

On the right, we have some celebrity looks from Derby day. Over the past couple of years some of the ladies have been putting a bigger influence on white, but the LBD remains a race day staple. Although stilettos are beautiful and most of the ladies will wear them, because I do like to get closer to the racing and be down on the lawn for some of the races, I tend to work with either chunkier heels or wedges so I don’t sink into the grass! If you are a celebrity spending the day in the birdcage you don’t need to worry about being on the lawn so stilettos are fine.

Unfortunately, Derby Day is one of the race days I have not yet attended but hope to remedy soon. It won’t be this year because we will be in Spain but maybe next year. By then I should come up with something amazing to wear! Not that I would ever dream of going in the Fashions on the Field competition, I just want to fully embrace the spirit of being dressed in proper race day attire.

Have any of you attended Derby Day? What would you go with the LBD, LWD or some variation?

Paint it Black and a Whiter Shade of Pale – Pt. 2

More black and white you ask – YES, I answer – Let’s paint it black and a whiter shade of pale!

We looked a five black and white outfits from my wardrobe yesterday and believe it or not, I have five more for today. And still have barely scratched the surface. However, I won’t bore you with all of them…this should do!

Black and White Tuxedo Look – These pieces have all been purchased at very different times but I think they come together nicely to provide a bit of a tuxedo look for those dressy nights out when you just don’t want to wear the LBD (little black dress). The black pants are pin-striped and from a suit I had made. On top is a plain white fitted button-down shirt and the Glassons black and white jacket. I absolutely adore all the black trim detail on the jacket, especially the lapel. I borrowed the Fashion Mister’s black bow tie and added in a pearl necklace for a little girlie bling factor. The handbag is a little silver leather clutch I have had for years and I used the white and grey, 40s style cut-out mid-heel to work with the menswear vibe going on. I think next time we go somewhere dressy, I’m bringing out this look! Not likely anyone else will be wearing the same thing!

Whiter Shade of Pale – I really wanted to make sure that I mixed it up a bit with these looks and that they weren’t too reliant on black. So for this look I have used the Halston Heritage pants and simply matched it with a white Ralph Lauren sweater. For contrast I have used the white and grey clutch and the black and white 40s style t-bar pumps. The black scarf helps pull it all together and adds a bit of warmth. This is perhaps my favourite sweater because it can be worn with everything and in a number of ways. You could add a belt over top for a more fitted look.

Black and White, Zig or Zag? – This shirt from River Island is quickly becoming a favourite. The cut out shoulder provides a subtle sexy factor and if you are afraid of horizontal stripes the zig-zag is a good alternative. I have matched the shirt with my trusty Ralph Lauren wide leg trousers, the scarab necklace, laptop size Olga Berg bag and my Prada penny loafers. I think this makes a good work outfit as well as a good weekend outfit. What do you think?

Black and White, Town & Country – This look is a little bit country and a little bit city, and technically it is a dress. But again the length felt too short for me so I always wear it with pants or leggings. In this case the plaid shirt/dress is worn over white skinny jeans. To play up the country factor I have added the bandana scarf and my fav…black cowboy boots! Just to give the pattern clashing a good run I have grabbed the leopard print Mulberry bag to make three patterns in one look. As with yesterdays mix of patterns, it’s a great way to play with pattern by sticking to patterns in black and white.

A Little Bit Rock and Roll – This look started with the leather pants and rather than match it with the standard white t-shirt I have put them with a black and white striped t-shirt. The Mulberry bag, a black scarf and total rock chic black suede wedges complete the look. Definitely a weekend look in my book…but a weekend with attitude!

So over the two days, which looks are your favourite? Any you would style differently?

Paint it Black and A Whiter Shade of Pale

You know by now that I have lots of clothes that fit this category. Which means it should be easy for me to paint it black and find a whiter shade of pale.

And that would be true except sometimes too much choice is not a good thing. I really don’t want this post to run on for days or to throw a hundred looks at you. I’m afraid you would become bored and all the black and white would put you to sleep. Or me to sleep!

So I have made a concerted effort to narrow down the options to my favourites…or those that I feel are truly worthy of you.

And even at that, this is going to be a multi-part posting!

So we may as well start with skirts and dresses. Trust me, this is nowhere near all of the black and white options I had piled up to work with but I’ve picked  five that work best for me and are pretty easy to work with if you want to try something similar.

The White Dress – I have started with a white dress, midi-length (Antipodean, purchased from I like that it has leather trim around the arm opening and pockets.I have added a black belt and vintage handbag, which I think play toward the 40s vintage look and to make sure the 40s thing is full on the mid-heel t-bar black shoe with white trim. Just for fun I have put a white and silver scarab pendant on a piece of black and white ribbon to wear as a necklace (purchased in Egypt).

  • Black and White for Work – A simple black wool pencil skirt, topped by a white button-down shirt with pleated shoulder detail (shirt from Hong Kong, skirt tailor-made in Hong Kong). Matched with the old Target $25 handbag, black pearl necklaces and bracelet, plus white and grey cut-out mid-heel shoes.
  • Black and White Zig-Zag Print Skirt – Here’s another look that can be worn to work. I did something similar when looking at Gypsy Chic using a different skirt and boots. You know I love the ruffled shirts! Matched up with a fitted vest and my zig-zag print skirt it all comes together looking pretty sharp! Add in the Target bag (again), an art deco necklace from Egypt and the ballet flats it’s good for a busy day at work. You may remember the skirt was purchased at a discount store in the US.

Black & White and Leather all Over! –  Even though it is subtle, I wanted this look to be a mix of prints. I have used the black leather bomber/varsity jacket and the black boots to tie it all together. You will notice that the shirt is striped, the skirt is a  fine plaid and then the scarf and handbag are two more prints! Four prints in one look and I think it works pretty well. It’s a great way to get used to mixing prints if you haven’t yet gotten into that trend. I really like this look and am sure that I’ll be wearing it soon…maybe to the CFC breakfast in June.

  • Black and White Fun! – I love the 60s vibe of this white eyelet lace dress. Trouble is, it’s too short for my old lady knees! So I have matched it up with a really cool pair of leggings I purchased in Hong Kong. I love how the pattern in the leggings kind of mimics the pattern in the lace. I worked on New Years Day this year and wore this to work as a bit of a celebration! Add in some black and white jewelry a big black bag big enough to carry the laptop and ballet flats and you are good to go. With a little black cardigan it would make a great airplane look – chic yet comfortable.

There will be five more looks in part two. Just in case you haven’t had enough black and white!


Tag – apparently, I’m It!

So, it seems I have been caught.

Remember those days, or summer evenings as I remember them, when all the neighbourhood kids played together? Running around, enjoying being young, carefree and homework free. Summer evenings spent playing tag were so much fun.

It was such a challenge to hide and not be found. Of course this became more difficult as the days went on because people soon figured out where all the good hiding spots were. So then the game became about how sneaky or fast you could be about getting back to base without getting tagged.

I’m not as fast as I used to be. And it seems I have been tagged by ! She has asked me a question that I am to answer and then ask 11 of you questions. So if you are chuckling at my luck right now, you had better scroll down to see if you are in my sights and about to get caught before making it safely back to base!

The Question:

As a fashionista bloganista what is your take on the LBD … and favourite vintage find?

The Answer:

(If I can stop chuckling at being called a fashionista bloganista – fit the bloganista bit much better than the fashionista!)

Now because you have called me a fashionista I’m going to assume the LBD you are referring to is “Little Black Dress“, not Lewy Body Dementia (even though I am getting older), or Laser Beam Detector (just threw that in for any readers who are into the tech arts), or Latest Book Discussion (for the intellectuals who still read!).

I think the LBD is one of the greatest gifts Madame Chanel gave fashion and non-fashion loving women. There wouldn’t be too many women that didn’t own at least one LBD. Certainly there are many reasons to have one in the wardrobe, but the reason I think you should have one is that you need that dress that can be versatile, is a classic and the go to piecen when nothing else seems to work. It’s what you wear when you don’t know what to wear. Hard to go wrong with the LBD. Well you can go wrong with it, too short, too tight, too revealing. However, if you have purchased well a simple black dress can be styled in so many ways to work for any occaision. If you don’t believe me check out Uniform Project .

In fact my recent decision to stop buying things for 90 days, blogging about the experience and the Uniform Project have inspired me to look at my LBD in a whole new way. More about this next week…in fact, all of next week!

As for my favourite vintage find, that is much tougher to answer. I’m a fickle girl and my favourite anything changes with my mood of the moment! So I have been thinking seriously about this. Was it the first maxi skirt I purchased last year that made me look tall and thin as? Love it but not my favourite. Maybe scarf that is red, orange and pink that cost $1.99 and pulls together some of my favourite colours to colour block? It was a bargain, but favourite? Not quite.

Honestly, my favourite vintage find would be from an day spent with my mum about 10 years ago just before I left the US and moved to Australia. We were going though some of her things. I had mentioned that I had recently purchased a couple of pieces of vintage jewelry and she brought out her jewelry boxes! I was actually surprised because my mum is very minimalistic in her jewelry choices and I had only ever seen her wear a couple of pieces other than her wedding ring, so to find that she had three jewelry boxes was a bit of shock!

We spent a few hours going over each piece in the box and I was lucky enough to walk away with many new (to me) pieces of jewelry. Some costume, and some the real deal! Some had been my mums and some had even belonged to my grandmother. Again a surprise because one of my grandmothers was a humble, unadorned woman. Although the other was not so humble, I had never met her and it seemed so strange to hold something in my hand that had belonged to her. I wear these pieces all the time and am always excited when they work seemlessly into my look of the day.

Hopefully that has answered the question.

Now on to asking! – Where/How did you develop your great eye for all things beautiful? And what one thing best depicts your personal style? – Now that you have taught us all how to hold a hamburger properly. Where do you go to get the BEST hamburger? – When pontificating spontaneously do you prefer to rant or roll? – What do you hate more, getting up for bootcamp in the morning or yourself when you sleep in and don’t go? – If I offered to buy you any piece of fashion past or present, what would it be? And why? – Are you really the girl next door? 🙂 But seriously, what style lesson have you learned that you think will be with you when you are 50? – Yas, is your sense of style nurture or nature? If nurture, who taught you to be so stylish?! – Who is your favourite author? And why? – While fighting the frump within, do you ever just want to give up and let her win? – What are your top 5 things to do in Melbourne? (make that 10 so you can hopefully include a coffee shop for me!!)

Living in Black and White

Living in black and white is not as boring as you think. Or at least it doesn’t have to be!

Look at this little wardrobe collection here. It is entirely black and white yet there is nothing boring or dull about it! In my mind I see a million possibilities and everyone will work because of the palette. Imagine how easy it would be to get dressed in the morning. Find something to cover the top, bottom and put on your feet then add a few accessories…you could do it in the dark!

It wouldn’t take much thinking to pull together an amazing outfit like any of these if your wardrobe was full of black and white basics and a few stunning statement pieces.

Which is exactly why when I began the rebuild I made sure I had a heavy infusion of this colour combination.

And in the fairness of disclosure, I should let you know that I’m also a fan of the Collingwood Football Club. Club colours? Why black and white of course! This photo was taken a few weeks ago at the Hall of Fame – Season Launch dinner. As a good team supporting woman, I was dressed in black and white. Plus, as you now know, I have tons of it in the wardrobe!

No, unfortunately, these aren’t mine but I do wish a couple of them were! I really love the piece on the far left and the bottom left. And, I have to admit, there is something very cute and whimsical about the dress on the right with the white dress detail on it. Even though it reminds me a little of those novelty aprons with the hot bikini body on them, I think there are lots of girls out there that could so rock that dress. I’d have to put it with boots…probably army style…just to balance out the cutesy factor.

Hope some of these photos have peaked your interest and that you come along for the ride.

Well, time to head on down the highway…after all…it’s black and white too!

Speaking of down the highway. The Fashion Mister and I were in Melbourne for the football over the weekend. We’re heading back for the big ANZAC Day game. We attended the President’s Luncheon before the game, and of course I wore black and white. White and black tuxedo jacket from Glassons about $50, Black and white zig-zag print shirt from River Island on sale about $15, Black pants Ralph Lauren purchased at the DFO in Essendon – on sale about $70 three years ago, Black wedges Novo  about $80 and necklace from a jeweler in Egypt – priceless!

Good Morning Sunshine!

I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Award!

Sunshine Award rules:

      • Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog.
      • Answer 1o questions about yourself.
      • nominate 10 other bloggers.
      • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
      • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

It doesn’t seem a long list so may as well get started!

Most importantly, I’d like to thank my sponsors…oh wait…I don’t have any of those! However, I would like to thank the lovely ray of sunshine who nominated me…Olga, you little designchickee ( how absolutely awesome can one chickee be?! It was a huge surprise to be nominated, especially by someone whose blog I so totally and completely love! Thank You!

Answers to the 10 questions about myself:

  1. My favourite colour: Currently, Orange – it is everywhere. In my home furnishings and wardrobe!
  2. My favourite animal: Kookaburra – (king fisher, love their song that sounds like they are drunk with laughter).
  3. My favourite number: 3 – it’s just a pretty number
  4. My favourite drink: Tall, skinny latte – and make it full strength!
  5. Facebook or Twitter: Facebook – I can share pics with all the friends back in the US all at the same time.
  6. My passion: Travel. How many stamps can I get in my passport before I die? Not that I plan to die any time soon!
  7. Prefer giving or getting presents: Depends on who is giving and who I am giving to.
  8. My favourite pattern: Love a good paisley.
  9. My favourite day of the week: Whatever day I have off – usually Monday or Tuesday.
  10. My favourite flower: Peonie followed closely by lisanthia.

And for bringing sunshine right to my laptop every day, here are my Nominations for the Sunshine Award:

  1. Who Planned This? another Laura, on the other side of the world who is sharing her great style and clever self with the rest of us.
  2. Miles at Obsessions, . A fellow traveller on the path of dressing out of our own closet. She has been at longer and has a better sense of humour about the whole thing!
  3. Helena Handbasket, , she is smart, funny and brave. Sharing her life’s ups and downs with the rest of us…and always with a smile.
  4. Fashion Mashie, . One more traveller on the road to mixing and matching what we already own. Haven’t seen a post yeat that wasn’t lit up by her smiling face. Very supportive co-traveller.
  5., Housewife Downunder. I have felt her pain. Packing up and moving to a new country. Leaving the US behind to come from the land downunder. She is very well spoken and has amazing insight.
  6. One of my Australian Fashionista friends, Turning Heads Downunder, Covering the fashion world with a special focus on the Brisbane area. Viva BrisVegas!
  7. Ahhhh, Dana at Fashion Tag, . So kind and supportive. And such great style. You’d hate her if she just wasn’t so darn good at covering all things stylish!
  8. Jody from  Thrift Shopping Buzz, . You have to love a lady who has committed to shopping green and looking good while she does it!
  9. She’s a writer, designer and creative thinker…meet Jensine at Jensinewall, .
  10. And finally, my favourite ladybug who chatters on about high heels and pinot grigio! She also has the best bob after Anna Wintour, .

Reading these blogs warms my heart which is why they have been nominated for the Sunshine Award! If you haven’t visited them, I highly recommend you remedy that now! 🙂

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