Beautiful Basics

Fail-safe tan shoes! Both by Natasha. Super comfy & I wear them everywhere!

In a world where the fashions are always changing, and style is influenced by personal taste; you can never go past a solid foundation of basics to ensure your wardrobe never tires! Whether you spend a decent sum of money ensuring you have something quality or whether you grab a bargain basic that looks amazing; investing in the following is always a fashion must!

The Jacket

Now no matter where you live, it’s either going to get cold at some times of the year, or you will be going to an event where they feel the need to crank the aircon. A simple, well cut jacket adds omph to any outfit and is great in the cooler months. We’re not talking leather, denim or snow jackets. We’re talking your classic black jacket that easily goes from formal, to work, to a smart casual. The guidelines for a jacket that won’t age?

Number one: get the right fit. Too many people buy jackets because they are a bargain deal. Sorry to break it to you all, but no matter how cheap it was, if it doesn’t fit then the price won’t make it look any better. At least, not to others. The arm needs to fall straight from the shoulder pad. A jacket is not like a t-shirt. If a t-shirt is too big or too small it can still look good. Jackets that are too big make you look like a pre-pubescent teenager, whose mother has bought a suit with the hope you will, “grow into it”. So if it’s clearly too big and you’re no longer growing, get a smaller size. If the jacket is too small, you’ll simply look like you’re Hulk-ing out of it. If the material running between each shoulder is pulling then it’s probably too small. You should be able to move in the jacket, but not a ridiculous amount. You’re not meant to do the YMCA in it, so don’t bother trying.

Secondly, don’t go for a cropped or long jacket. When the fashions or your tastes change, your once perfect basic jacket will become redundant! It should fall about the middle of your hip done and make sure it doesn’t pull across the hips or look too baggy. After the fit on the shoulders, the length is the next important thing. Jackets can be easily altered; however, some are cut in a way that won’t allow you to alter the length, so don’t forget to ask the salesperson serving you! If she/he doesn’t know, perhaps it’s best to take a photo and show a dressmaker.

Thirdly, as I said before, jackets can be altered. So while you want your arm length to fall between your wrist and your thumb knuckle, don’t fret if it doesn’t. Jackets have extra material, so you can take them in or let them out. Arms are the easiest to alter, and if the jacket fits your shoulders perfect but is slightly loose/tight around the stomach, it can be fixed.

Next is the colour. Black is best, in a wool blend as this is one of the better (if not best) materials to buy a jacket in. Otherwise for women go for a pale grey and men can try darker charcoals.

Once you’ve sorted out all these issues, it’s up to you to find the cut that suits your body best. If you’re not sure keep looking. The perfect basic is not always easily found!

The Jean

The search for jeans always seems to be such an arduous task. Some people hate shopping for jeans so much they just don’t own a pair. So whether you’re looking to buy your first pair of jeans in a while, or adding a great fail-proof pair to the collection here’s some tips. Jeans are classically your blue denims, so when you’re looking for a timeless pair of jeans, go for a blue. Your best bet is a darker hue such as indigo, they’re flattering and you can mix it with a lot more colours than a lighter pair will allow. One thing I always force people to do when trying on jeans is to try the size you are, one size up and one size down.

Different cuts of jeans means you won’t always fit the same size, and ill-fitted jeans can get ridiculously annoying. If you’re petite like me, go for a straight leg jean; if your average to tall in height and average size, go for a bootcut leg; and no matter what your height, if you’ve got curves go for a wider bootcut jean. Flares are a fashion jean, skinnies are a fashion jean. A timeless jean can be thrown on and always be in fashion. And over the number of years jeans have changed fashions, straight and bootcut seem to always be popular.

Never worry about the leg length unless you’re really tall and need that extra bit of material. Alteration services are god, they can fix those dragging hems in a tick!

There are three ways I tell if jeans don’t fit. Firstly, I always ask myself are the jeans firm but not uncomfortable? Jeans will give 1/2 a size unless they are 99-100% cotton, but even then they will give a little. If you’re not uncomfortable and can sit without too much difficulty, you’ve tried the sizes up and down, you’re probably good to go. All jeans will take about 30mins-1hr to loosen, if you get them too baggy you’ll look like 50 Cent. Too tight and your blood will be constricted, which is very unhealthy.

Secondly, is the crouch of the jeans. If you look like you can fit a little something extra in there, the waist is too big. Good fit jeans should be snug, but never uncomfortable. Pull the jean out from your waist and see how much room you have. Doing this generally makes the crouch area tight and lets you know if they’re too big or just right.

Next, the back. At the top of the thighs is one of the final spot I check my jeans. Jeans are generally tighter at the top of the thigh, and loosen as they go down the leg. If the jean area at the top, back side of your thigh isn’t sitting flat and has more than three pull lines, they’re not fitting correctly. The other back area you’ll notice if your jeans are too big is the lower back. if this gapes too much, then your jeans will probably fall down in an hour.

The Shoe

My fail-safe shoe is and always will be a nice tan sandal with around an 8-9cm heel. This one is entirely up to how you like your shoes. Just make sure the heel width isn’t too skinny and ones that buckle around your ankle always work wonders. Tan goes with pretty much anything. I have tan heels & flats so that whenever I’m stumped for what to wear, I just grab them. I also have a lighter shade than the Natasha ones I’ve shown here that match my black clothes. They’ve just had so much use they’re a bit too beaten up to show you.

Basically, you now know what kind of jacket, jeans and shoes is hard to go wrong with. You can add a simple white tee under this look for a smart-casual evening or day outfit, or wear it all separate. I’m still in the process of finding the perfect jeans and jacket, although I think might have found a nice Cue jacket and a pair of Citizen of Humanity jeans. I’m now just searching for the right size.

The Chain Store Dilemma!

I’ve recently discovered while holidaying in Airlie Beach, that telling myself, “I really like that top but we have this store at home so I can just wait and buy it there”, results in disappointment. There is something about buying an item on holidays that has more appeal – despite the fact it may be the same stuff from the same store, just in another city.

Now I don’t often buy cheap clothes these days; however, on the occasion I do it’s either from Cotton On or Supré. The price generally reflects the quality as most items are $10-$50 and really don’t last many months; a much better deal than the surf stores who charge $60+ on stuff that lasts the same (or less) amount of time.

During my weekend trip to Airlie Beach I discovered that the town had gotten both since the last time I visited. Airlie is quite a small town, so other than spend all day on the beach relaxing (or tanning as the case may be for my not-so-sun-safe-friends) or pay money for an expensive cruise to one of the surrounding islands (which we forgot to book before arriving therefore couldn’t afford it) is to go shopping. I didn’t buy Airlie clubbing appropriate clothes, so I bought in a cute simple navy dress from Supré for $20. While at Supré, I finally discovered a flattering pair of black denim shorts that I had been searching for in vain for months. Considering they were the good version of stretch denim, $40 was a steal, but they were a fraction too big in the XS, however had run out of XXS. So I figured, “No don’t buy them here; otherwise you will get home, realise there are XXS sizes at Supré at home and then you’ll seriously regret it.”

So after getting home yesterday, I trailed through all the Supré stores today only to discover that Airlie Beach has such a small store they only stock basic Supré gear and therefore I can only buy the shorts at that store and not even online. Great, my picky-ness has now bitten me in the butt. Such discrepancies confuse me. Surely the basics should be found at any Supré store and only the specialised stuff can be found in the larger stores – that’s generally how the system works.

So now I’m wondering if there is some sort of formula the big chain stores use to determine what stores get what stock? Basics always sell, one would think that all stores get the basics. The more specialised gear, however, should be distributed to the stores it will sell best in. I worked at Jeans West for 4 years and this is generally how it worked. Every store got the core wall jeans and the tops that were a part of the 2 for $40/3 for $50 deals, the stores who made the most money got the fashion lines.

To be honest though, now I cannot find those shorts, they have partially lost their appeal. Because when you’re on holidays there’s something about finding a piece of clothing that grabs your attention above the rest. It adds to your experience and memories, it’s not the same as buying the same thing at home somehow. The thing that caught your eye in a window or display enough to make you want it more than the other lovely things in the same area. A piece of clothing does not just cover or reveal certain parts of the body. It evokes a memory, a time, a place and the feelings surrounding it. Walking through the busy streets of Sydney, a relaxed afternoon at the shops with my father, the fun I have at work with the girls dressing customers and discussing what stock we like. The situation surrounding the time you buy or try on an item seems to have an impact on whether we something or not. A shirt I tried on in Cotton On in Airlie seemed so laid back and so in tune with the beach and the vibe of the town. At home it’s just another shirt and I become unsure it is something I want. This does sound like I am merely indecisive and have short-lived impulses and while I am glad I didn’t get the shirt and now have an extra $20 in my pocket; I still believe shopping is something more than just a want of pretty materials. People shop for fun, for necessity and even for comfort after a stressful day or rough break up. So next time you’re looking into your wardrobe, think about the stories behind your clothes. If you’re trying to be good and donate clothes to charity, try to separate liking an item of clothing, or liking the memory behind it which stops you from giving it away. If you’re indecisive about buying an article of clothing, ask yourself if it’s actually something you want or whether there is an emotional reason behind wanting it. Figuring this out could be beneficial in the long run.

Before I finish my blog post of random ramblings. Have you ever heard of a free sale? In Airlie Beach there is a store called Beachworx and over the weekend they celebrated their birthday (it was either their 12th or their 21st, I wasn’t paying very good attention) and in celebration they had this big section of the shop all for free. Not buy 1, get 1 free – get 1 free and get the 2nd 50% off! Now of course there was a catch, you couldn’t return it and while the deal ran for 3 days, only once during the 3 days could you get it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the nicest of stuff. All cheap overpriced surf stuff that I presume they couldn’t move and therefore, were giving away. A risky move, because I know some small business retailers wouldn’t do it, solely because it runs the risk of people (like me) thinking you’re incapable of moving large amount of stock and also sends a bad message to your suppliers. However, great advertising ploy! There were lots promotional of mens shirts and singlets (although many women bought them too) that were printed especially for the event reading, “Airlie Beachworx, the best surf shop in the world, gave me a free shirt”. I got a Billabong skirt for myself, as it was the only free thing that was both nice and fit me, and a promotional Beachworx singlet for my boyfriend (apparently he’s gotten me a present from Europe so I thought I should get him an Airlie present).

In all, a fun trip to Airle, a few clothing realisations along the way and many more adventures to come 🙂 ♥

Health Lab Wisdom sandwich store we found in Airlie!

The free Billabong skirt I got from Airlie Beachworx

Gorgeous necklace I bought at the Airlie Beach Markets

The singlet I bought for my boyfriend from Airlie Beachworx

Camel rides on the beach during the Airlie markets