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Monday, 30 July 2012

I get a Stylist. Part 1

Don’t you just dream about being made over? You know, someone to come along and make you the most fabulous version of yourself! There are countless reality type TV shows devoted to the notion that most of us have no idea about fashion and what looks good on us, so that we need an “expert” to come along and show us the way. Fix us with new clothes, hair and make-up. My expectations are somewhat lower then that. I just dream of going shopping and coming home with more than just a pair of black work pants, that still need to be shortened. Sigh.

I often get the feeling that the “fashion” industry fails most women. While I get that you can’t be all things to all people, it would be nice to find a fashion label that is genuinely concerned about not just selling the latest neon T-shirt but also ensuring that their fit is consistent across their range, and each season.

I really like fashion. I have a huge stack of fashion magazines that show testament to this passion. Unfortunately it is mostly fantasy. Apart from what is seemingly random purchases, its rare that I can translate by passion and desired design aesthetic into something that a) actually fits my body, and b) makes me feel good, off the rack. And I don’t think I’m alone here. 

I don’t have the perfect body. Who does? I’m short. I have big boobs. I have good great legs and narrow hips. I have a thick waist and carry my fat in the middle. Classic apple. I try to keep healthy with Pilates, yoga and walking but I am what I am. I like food. I like wine.

I have learnt the kind of garments that usually look ok on me, and those that look hideous. I know what colours wash me out (camel, cream, neutral, bone…I swear the next sales assistant that brings me a garment in these colours will be punched in the nose!) but I still struggle to find the kind of clothes I desperately want to wear when the occasion requires it. It seems that the universe is determined to only produce garments that look hideous on me.

So with a new job start date looming I decided I needed help. Surely a Stylist would know:
·      EXACTLY what would look amazing on me
·      EXACTLY what size I would be in each brand available in the Australian market (as well as any secret cool online stores)
·      EXACTLY what colours would suit me, and
·      Be able to translate my need for a working wardrobe that is easy-care, needs no ironing, is funky, cool, stylish, travels well (either on my body or in my suitcase), fits my body perfectly and makes me look AMAZING, whenever I put it on.


Meet stylist at 9.30am. She talks about her hair and her hairdresser and her friends hairdresser for around 20 minutes. Like I give a fuck about any of her and her friends hairdressers. We are here to talk about me. ME!! The person who is paying. We then talk about me and my need to look fabulous instantly (after getting two small boys to day-care) for around 5 minutes, while trying to get across how funky, cool, not-too-dressy, but dressy enough, effortlessly cool and professional I need to look. And I definitely don’t want any suits. Any matchy-matchy buttoned up, corporatey style suits. You know!!!!? And I need shoes. I pretty much hate all the shoes on the market at the moment. WHEN. WILL. THE. PORN. STAR. TREND. END? Any shoes that more classic either don’t fit or are seemingly made of some sort of material made to withstand a nuclear holocaust. So hard.

Off we go.  We start at a shoe shop near where we were having coffee. I tried on classic healed pumps in black and nude. They didn’t fit. Size 36 too small. Size 36 and a half too big. How is that possible? Next: three shops I thought represented how funky, cool, not-too-dressy, but dressy enough, effortlessly cool and professional want to look, which is great. Except I have visited these stores quite recently and tried on everything I thought was a good colour and would suit my body and would fit. And they didn’t suit, fit or look good. But that’s OK because I’m with a professional stylist. And they would have all the secrets. Wouldn’t they?

Well no. She was quite keen that I try on some jeans in the first store we visited. I didn’t specify I wanted jeans. I have jeans. I can’t wear jeans to work. WHY AM I TRYING ON JEANS!! Jeans are ok. Not fabulous. They have a 2cm fly zip and cost $300 and do nothing for my muffin top. Next.

Stylist: What about this top?
Me: I love that but when I tried it on last week it looked like a tent. These pleats separate and made me look like a whale!
Stylist: Oh
Me: (in my head) Why doesn’t she know this!!!!

Next shop…

Stylist: What about this?
Me: (purusing the camel/flesh coloured top) That colour doesn’t look good on me.
Stylist: Oh. What about this? Holding up a high necked knitted orange sweater top (Trinny & Susannah would never have suggested this for me!)
Me: I have big boobs. I need something that is lower in the neck, that shows some of my skin. And I don’t like knitted things. Makes my bulky boobs look bulkier.
Stylist: Oh. What about this? (showing me a skirt and jacket suit)
Me: ummm I don’t really want a suit (we talked about this)
Stylist: Just try it on and see how it looks
Me: (I try it on because she is a professional stylist and I am a 157cm apple shaped 39 year old mother of 2 who may have no idea what suits her). The skirt won’t do up in a size 14 and the jacket doesn’t fit even fit my arms because it is a size 10. Stylist says don’t worry about the size. She just wants to get an idea of the look. Seriously. I look like I might cry.
Stylist: Don’t be despondent. We will find something.
Me: Wondering if I should just go home and cry.........

Do I cry? Do I throw a hissy in the middle of Saba? Part 2 coming soon

Does this resemble your shopping experience?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Playing Tourist in My Own City

Oh it's been a while. I know. Complete slackness really...sometimes you have to leave your home time to get inspired, which is what I did a few weeks ago. I had a flight credit that needed to be used so off I went to see one of my favourite people Jacqui Simpson, who moved to Auckland about 7 years ago. For love. I haven't seen her in 5 years. Again, complete slackness.

We had a lovely time. There was champagne cocktails, which we both regretted the next morning. And red wine. Ditto. There was luxuriating at a day spa (mmmmm....relaxing) and girly shopping to try on things that were a stupid amount of money, and we both needed new boots. Of course. Then cocktails and a girly dinner at one of Auckland's hot restaurants Soul Bar followed by a drink we seriously didn't need in a very trashy bar-come-nightclub where some dancing was undertaken, surrounded by 18 year old males who really should invest in some regular showers and deodorant.

I got back to Sydney on Sunday night after 3 days away (Aiden and Charlie were SOO excited to see me) and Monday was the most beautiful Sydney winters day. I decided that if Tuesday looked to be the same I was going off to Bondi. Being unemployed and all. It's pretty nice to play tourist in your home town, when the weather is so gorgeous.

Most Sydneysiders detest Bondi Beach, preferring any of Sydney's other amazing beaches which are less crowded with tourists. Not me. I love Bondi Beach and the surrounding shops, bars and cafes. All the different people that visit, work and live at Bondi. If we decide to go to the beach, that's where we go. In summer we take Aiden there for a swim. We go late in the afternoon and then have fish and chips at Mongers. In winter, often on Sunday night we head out for an early dinner at The Italian, which I first visited during a work function at Bondi.

I had a really nice day playing tourist. I started with coffee and scrambled eggs at Trio Cafe. I sat outside in the winter sun and watched the world go by.

Campbell Parade
Then I wandered down and sat on the sand at Bondi Beach. This beach has the best people watching. While I was there taking a few shots, these two came down to the beach in front of me and started doing some yoga type stretching as well as some dance moves and acrobatics. I put on my zoom lens and indulged in some pap-style shots of Bondi's beautiful people!

I walked back to the car, along the beach and these two jogged past me about half way along. Such an obscene display of health and fitness!

Winter's day at Bondi Beach
Surfing with your mates, Bondi Beach
Out for a stroll...
Multi-million dollar properties
After Bondi I drove around to Coogee where I discovered a couple of Ocean Baths. These are dotted alongside many of Sydney's beaches and most have been around for generations. I'm a bit fascinated with them. On doing some research, there are apparently over 100 Ocean baths in NSW and there are 4 in Coogee!! If you would like to read more about Sydney's ocean's baths there is a good article here The day I went to Coogee I only found 2, my favourite being McIvers Baths, also known as the Coogee Women's Baths (Beach Street, Coogee). It's a women's and children only pool, the only one left in Australia. It's really beautiful and quite private and sheltered, which would explain the couple of topless women taking in the winter sun. Here is a short blog post about this pool.

Picture postcard taken from the change rooms
Honesty system entry fee. Flash sign!

Book swap going on in the change rooms.  Nice
 After checking out the pools I walked from the North end of Coogee beach around towards Maroubra for a km or so, and then back to the car. I slept well that night!