Jana and I trade in secondhand clothing, and so always have plenty to chat about.  This week we talked about attachment, the intrinsic value of some clothing, and how letting go of things isn’t always that easy….

“Oh but you should see my wardrobe!  It is chokka, and there are lots of amazing things in there.  Many of them I don’t and never will wear.  Yes, I could try to sell them but do you know I actually get really attached to some things. I like them too much for what they are, and cannot bear the thought of someone else having them where they might not be appreciated.  I would hate to see them end up in some landfill somewhere because they’re not looked after.  Yes I suppose you could say that I love clothing for its own sake.  Like you might like art or something.  This handbag has particular value to me because it was my Grandmother’s, and she passed away very recently.  I inherited it from her.  The shoes I borrowed from a friend.  They have barely been worn, and are Orla Kiely for Clarkes.  Yeah they’re pretty groovy alright”.

Brooke & Nikaia

It wasn’t planned this way, but when Nikaia tagged along to her Aunty’s real style shoot, we decided to capture both of their styles.  Which happen to be rather similar…

“No, no, we didn’t plan it this way, honest.  I didn’t know what she was going to wear!  Yes, she is my niece, and now that you mention it we do have similar styles.  The beige Wanoa Four jumpers, the white sneakers, the sunnies and the ripped jeans! We both love fashion and the love of it does run in the family.  I think that for us great style is about being contemporary and fashion relevant, but then having your own twist.  Making it your own.  Like this bag, which is actually a Calvin Klein shoulder bag.  I used the shoulder strap to fashion a belt and then turned it into a bum bag”.




I love it that Catherine’s style changes from week to week.  I love it that she swings from vintage inspired, to designer classic to fashion contemporary, and then back again.  This week she shares a more contemporary look, but it’s still Catherine and she adds a contemporary art spin to it…

“My jewellery is by New Zealand ceramics artist Marita Green, a brand we sell at the Gallery.  The little hand is especially cute, and I love the ring, which is gold leaf.  My daughter Bella gave it to me for my birthday.  My bag is from my daughter Aria.  Well, it was a birthday present from me to her!  I sneaked it out to use today.  She will know it now!  Yes, I suppose you could say that my look is quite contemporary-classic today.  Lots of neutrals.  It used to be much more “vintagey”, although I tended to buy new pieces to create that vintage look.  I bought my shoes from Taylors and they were such a great purchase, I love them!  Yes, they are unusual but still quite classic at the same time.”


You know when someone has style when different people, independent of each other, recommend them to you.  This is how I met Dusa!  And this is how she describes her approach to style…

“How would I describe my style?  Well I know what I like, and I like to be different.  I think that’s why I will buy a lot of vintage things.  I am often drawn to something because of colour.  Like this dress, and the vibrant print.  I bought it second-hand and had it altered to fit.  No, it doesn’t have to be second-hand at all.  I do buy new.  Again, I buy things that I really like and often it’s something that stands out for being a little unusual.  I really like Karen Walker, and I love New Zealand jewellery designers like Stolen Girlfriends Club”.


Emily-Rae and I may have plenty of life and style differences, but one thing I see strongly of myself in her is her genuine passion for fashion.  We are kindred spirits in our unabashed fashion-enthusiasm…

“Oh gosh, I could talk about fashion endlessly!  Where do I start?  Well, for a start, it’s hard to define my style into just one category. I love to play with different styles, and I’m inspired by different eras and trends. I dress in what makes me feel confident and in silhouettes that best flatter my petite frame. One day you might see me in a structured chic attire and the next completely boho. I do tend to shop High Street and op-shops a lot, and I strongly believe that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look fabulous.  Like these pants, which were an $8 op-shop find.  Paxton my son, has recently turned one and before having him I had a lot more time to put into searching the op-shops and racks for gems.   These days I tend to shop for more statement pieces that I can match with basics to save me time in the mornings! I also tend to dress in more comfortable outfits now as I am needing to keep up with Paxton”.


I have known Tania for many years now, and have always admired her resourceful and authentic approach to style.  I caught up with her recently to find out a little bit more about it..

“About 90% of my wardrobe is second-hand.  It has always been like that, I think. I have always op-shopped and thrifted most of my wardrobe.  No, it’s not really a money thing.   Or necessarilly a conscience thing, although the environment and ethics of fashion is something that’s important to me.  I think that I just find op-shops more interesting and diverse.  Creativity is a big motivator, I think.  I see potential in things and that makes it more interesting.  Like this coat, which was actually a Kilt coat that had a huge collar and didn’t have these buttons.  I re-fashioned the collar and the buttons are actually brooches from Trade Aid.  I added some mustard coloured stitching to one of them to make it tie in with the coat.  The bag was an op-shop find.  But no, I didn’t intentionally colour-coordinate it with Monty’s leash!”


Shannon is one of my real-style corporate style inspirations.  Curiously, her style has become “Nelsonified” and much less corporate, a subject that we chat about in this week’s style story…


“When I lived in Wellington and worked for the Ministry for Social Development, the dress code was much more formal.  I would wear fitted dresses, suits, and tailored separates.  It was very much the corporate thing.  When I came to Nelson it became quickly obvious that this wasn’t appropriate!  Well, this was partly because of where I was working, Gibbons Construction,  but also the Nelson vibe.  We are much more informal here, and dressing up like that felt a bit wrong.  These days I will dress for the expectations of my working day, and as the business is in construction and I work with a lot of men, I tend to dress down.  No, it’s not a bad thing in terms of my own style.  I still dress for me, but it’s less formal”.






Kellie and I talked about tattoos, hair-cuts and how the image we project may or may not reflect who we are and where we’re at.  I commented to her that her hair cut gave her a hard, tough edge that didn’t seem completely in keeping with the Kellie I know.  This is how Kellie responded…

“I have always had this undercut, but I tend to wear it covered.  It’s funny that you should notice it now!  I did decide to wear my hair in a way that showed it off today.  Yes, I suppose it does make me look tougher and harder.  And I do feel a little bit harder and tougher these days, but I don’t think I am ‘hard’ or ‘tough’!  But then I am wearing a very girly dress and shoes.  What does that say about me?  I don’t know.  I dress and express myself in a way that makes sense to me.  I don’t consciously choose to dress in a way that says anything to anyone else”.


Jacqui and I are both fashion stylists, for Nelson’s ‘Admire’ and ‘Wild Tomato’ magazines respectively.  We also hold down day jobs as environmental planners for the Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council.  You could say, we have a lot in common…

“Yes I do love thrifting like you.  It’s my fast fashion fix.  I will buy things and wear them a few times until I have had my fun and then return them, often to the place that I found them.  It’s a more environmentally sustainable way of getting that shopping buzz.  And I suppose you could say I am a great supporter of local charities!  But no, my style and my wardrobe are not all second hand.  I do also buy new things, and more recently have been making a conscious effort to buy into really good quality foundation pieces.  You know, the ones that form the core of your wardrobe?  They never really date, and all of the fun stuff just works around them.  That way I can just have my fun with second-hand clothing, but also have that anchor of really good quality new things”.