Amy and I had a lot of fun during this shoot, experimenting with shadows and playful poses.  We also talked about wearing things we own and love, taking risks, and not saving fancy things ‘for best’…

“I have friends who own some beautiful pieces, but they seldom get worn because they think they are too fancy.  Or living in Nelson, they feel they are too ‘out there’ if they wear them to work or whatever.  But I think this is a shame.  Nelson is not Auckland or Wellington but if we all started to be a bit more expressive, it would make things easier.  I mean when someone you know wears something brave it can give you ‘permission’ to do the same.  I think that if you love it, just wear it.  Yes, the jewellery is Black Matter by Benjamin Black.  I wore the scarf to liven up an all-black outfit, which is a bit of a signature of mine. Silk scarves”.


One of the things I love about Maria is the depth and wealth of experience she has in the high-end vintage and second-hand clothing trade.  This week we talked about how things have changed in recent years…

“It’s not the same as it used to be.  There’s an amazing leopard-skin print coat in the shop at the moment and a few years back that would have been snapped up at the price it is at. The internet and on-line sales will have changed things a lot.  My son has his own clothing trade business now and the things he sells? I haven’t even heard of some of them! There’s a real growth in 80s and 90s clothing, and streetwear of that time. So maybe it’s a combination of things, a new generation of clothing buyers who want different things and seek them out in different ways?  Yes, brown was a very 90s colour now that you mention it.  The Coach shoes and bags all match, which is a kind-of dated concept, but also a very 90s thing that’s already coming back in the States”.


It was a surprisingly warm and sunny day when Hannah and I got together to shoot for the real style project.  Summer’s last breath before the icy blast hit…

“I cannot say that my influences are designers or fashion icons. But comfort is a big thing for me.  You will rarely see me in tight, fitted, structured or tailored things.  Except for skinny jeans maybe.  I like it when things are a bit loose and drapey.  It makes me feel comfortable and at ease.  If I had to choose a New Zealand designer or label that makes a lot of sense to me, then Nelson designer Liann Bellis springs to mind.  I like her stuff.  I like the classic, gentle tailoring that she does.  It’s very clever, and you know I think it’s the kind of clever that often falls below the radar.  And I like the brand Lonely Quite different than Liann Bellis.  More youthful, yes and girly I suppose.  Like this skirt.  I wear it all the time”.


Catherine’s look this week had a distinctive 1920s feel to it, from the pearls to the little black dress and the Mary Jane shoes.  We asked her about the inspiration behind it…

“I love vintage looks, although not necessarilly vintage clothes.  I love to dress up and I do like that about looks from the past.  Yes, I would love to see people dress up a bit more.  I don’t have a particular era that I love more than any other, although the 1920s and the 1950s are periods I identify with.  Refined and elegant.  This look is very Coco Chanel in Paris during the 1920s. The dress is by Decjuba and the floral corsage is actually a hair accessory that I got from Portmans.  The pearls came from a Kate Sylvester top that had them attached around the neck as part of the top.  I just took them off and attached the hooks together.  My shoes were my wedding shoes and they are by Australian brand Wittner.  I am wearing a scent by Issey Miyake pour homme.  Because you know, French women know it’s okay to wear mens colonge”.

Silk Purse, Oily Rag Shop!

Well, it’s now official!  Silk Purse Oily Rag has a shop!  I’m putting all of my passion and love for clothes into finding, restoring and reloving second hand treasures.

All you need to do is go to New Zealand’s Trade Me and search “Silk Purse Oily Rag” and all of my listings will pop up.  Give it a go here by following this link Silk Purse, Oily Rag – Treasures

I really hope you will support me, so that I can continue to pursue all of the Silk Purse Oily Rag projects, including our real women, real style weekly posts.


It’s very difficult to pigeon-hole Jana’s style.  While “retro” is a definite constant, there’s great diversity of styles and origins of pieces between (and even within!) the looks she presents each time we get together…

“My look today is really collection of things that I like and even though they might look quite eclectic, everything belongs.  Like, this bag repeats in the shoes, and the cream tones tie all of the accessories together.  My dress is probably early 80s?  The glasses have a definite 70s feel to them, but they are modern, unprescripted lenses.  The gold rims tone with my yellow nail polish.  I got the glasses from a friend, who looked a bit, um… dodgy in them!  My hair is a bit Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Subversive you say?  Yes, well, I guess I like to be a bit cheeky in my approach to fashion”


Our obsession with understanding the why, what and how of a woman’s style has led us to question who we are inspired by and what our main influences are.  This is how Brooke responded to Sonya’s questions…

“Oh I have heaps! Chloe Sevigny, Zoe Kravitz, Erin Wasson, Yan Yan Chan, Kate Bosworth, the Olsen twins, to name a few of my icons.  I’m always looking for inspiration.  But I love my designers too, I mean they have a vision and that can also be what inspired a look.  Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, Rodarte, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, Vetements, Opening Ceremony, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, to name a few… I could go on!  Yes, it’s pretty funny how many I have.  But then, when you are passionate about clothes, you are always looking for new things, for inspiration, and for knowledge”.


Since starting the Silk Purse, Oily Rag real-style project, we have learned that stylish women vary in what or who influences their style, as much they do in style itself!  In Poppy’s case, having a muse or an icon helps her to fine-tune her own taste and develop new looks…

“Yes, I definitely like to have an icon to look towards.  Caroline De Maigret is undoubtedly my number one icon.  I love her style, her look and her attitude towards clothes.  She is French, and she has that casual french-girl thing going on, but in a grown up kind of a way.  Yes, french style.  My clutch is by french label Celine’, and it was a gift from my sister.  It is pretty special.  Accessories are a big part of my style, probably more so than my clothes which are usually pretty understated.  This pendant is very special, as it is in fact a medallion from my Great Grandfather who was bag pipe Master.  It is one of his medallions.”

Poppy’s muse, French stylist and model, Caroline De Maigret


Vintage looks interest us for a number of reasons.  What drives women to seek out pieces from past fashions?  What motivates them to dress differently from everyone else? Sonya asked Kellie about her vintage and retro fashion aesthetic…

“No I don’t think that money was or is ever the reason for liking retro things.  Yes, they are generally cheaper, but I think that it’s because I have always liked to be different.  I have always sought out things that I know no one else will have.  My style used to much more ‘out there’, but as I have gotten older it has changed.  It’s not as extreme I suppose.  I have always liked the 1950s, especially the dresses and that pin-up look.  It’s a silhouette that works for me, but I was doing it long before it become a ‘thing’.  It’s quite popular now, rockabilly”.


Julie is a working Mum, whose style has to fit with lots of different hats and juggling acts.  She’s found a brand and a style that suits her lifestyle and taste…

“I know it kind of looks like I am a walking advertisement for Shine and Elk.  But you know it really is because Elk works for me.  My clothes need to be casual because most of the time I’m not needing to be dressed up that much.  But I like to feel good in what I wear.  And I’m not like 20 or something any more.  So my clothes have to work well for my age too without being fuddy duddy or anything.  When I wear these beads people always comment, and so even though I’m dressed down I feel dressed up.  Yes the pants and tee shirt are both Elk.  Beads too.  Jacket is just from Just Jeans.  Shoes were from Whitwells in Motueka”.