What I love about this outfit most is the simple colour palette of caramel and white, unifying everything without appearing too matched or contrived.  I also love the way a pair of white canvas sneakers keeps things youthful and streetwise.  I always learn from Julie’s style…

“Yes, this is a new dress, from Country Road, from this summer’s range. I do tend to buy something fresh each season, to update what I have. It keeps me current, and it means my style is always evolving. It has changed in recent years, as I have learnt a lot from being involved with local fashion shows and shoots, like the recent Shine fundraiser for Hospice. When others style you, especially ‘the pros’, you see things differently and learn from them.  This has definitely changed how I dress an shop for clothes.  My bag is from Shine and my shoes were from Trouble and Fox”.


As I grow older, and my wardrobe evolves, I’ve learned to measure value in how much I truly love something, not its label, dollar value or history.  Just the heart of it, and how it makes me feel.  Stealing the words of Japanese lifestyle celebrity Marie Kondo, to keep only that which ‘sparks joy’ is my aim.  A similar theme emerges from Leone’s style story this week…

“I was really feeling my 80’s kid self today.  The stonewash jacket is one of half a dozen I have bought and traded over the years.  To me it’s such a quintessential piece of that decade. I know people who just can’t deal with it, but it’s true love for me!  My jeans are by ‘Junkfood’ which are a label that do my favourite high waist cut. The denim waistcoat has been a long standing member of my wardrobe and became a staple this year, paired with a striped long sleeve. My bat necklace? I paid just a $1 for it at the Nelson market. I got my shoes from Creswell’s in Blenheim and I absolutely adore them. I aim to love everything I own as much as those shoes. They were worth every penny”.

Anete Smith, Richmond Hospice

This month’s real style interview is with Anete Smith, Nelson Tasman Hospice Manager.

Anete and I met through my workshop ‘Second Hand Style – How to Develop the Fashion Eye’ run earlier this year.  As part of the workshop learning, a practical ‘hands on’ shopping experience was arranged at Anete’s Richmond Hospice store.  Anete and I quickly discovered a mutual love of treasure hunting, and passion for more sustainable and empowering-to-women values around fashion and style…

How did you become involved in the Hospice charity?

After a long career as a visual merchandiser for large corporate businesses I wanted to use my skills instead for a good cause. Hospice is close to my heart and I began managing shops for them in Auckland’s North Shore before moving to the Nelson area to manage the Richmond shop.  

What do you love most about it?

Everything!  Creating an enticing shopping environment, making lots of money for Hospice, and the variety of stock we get in – no day is the same.

Who or what inspires your personal style?

As I get older I love simple shapes and natural fabrics  – but when my wilder side comes out I look to Frida Kahlo for inspiration. Colour, Art and Love.

Piece of style advice or wisdom you would want  your younger self to have known?

Keep doing what you are doing and don’t let others impact your style. You look great!

What do you do to be more sustainable fashionably speaking?

I only buy second-hand now. I love the choice and find high street shops far less interesting and varied.

What can you tell us about your store and the proceeds from sales?

Richmond shop sells over 4000 items each month. We process much more than that though with about a 70:30 split of donations being sellable to non-sellable.  We can only sell good quality, clean and working items.  The money raised through the four shops is an integral part of raising the 45% shortfall in funding for Hospice.  We get only 55% of our funding from the local DHB, which means that the fundraising is critical to enabling Hospice to continue to provide services for  free.



One thing I’ve noticed about Brooke is that while there’s something very effortless and comfortable about her chic look, there is a precision and attention to detail too.  I wondered, how much forethought goes into her outfits and how she does she go about dressing each morning?

“I didn’t really pre-plan this outfit or think about it too much.  Usually I dress based on how I’m feeling that day, and what I will be doing.  Today was about comfort.  This dress is so easy to wear, and it has that 1990s Kate Moss thing going on – the strappy slip dress, the snake-skin print.  The rest was styled from there.  My blazer was a second-hand find, and my shoes were bought locally from that pop-up store in Morrison Square.  Gold and silver layers of fine necklaces, well they just worked with the colours.  No, I don’t think you need to compromise style for comfort.  I like to feel good about how I look, even when I’m aiming to be comfortable”


I have known Angela for many years now, the both of us involved in local fashion.  She has always had an independent style sense, one that is self-assured and confidently put together.  I caught up with her to find out more…

“I don’t really like to play too much by rules.  I like to mix things up and experiment with unexpected ideas.  I’ll always go with what feels right to me. Like, black isn’t really meant to be a colour for me, but does it really matter? I love this coat, the details especially, and it works wonderfully with my dress.  Yes, I like to challenge things, sometimes even throwing a hand-grenade to fashion convention. That’s the art of it, I think.   That said, I do think that there is a science aspect to dressing well too.  There are some clothing shapes and styles that just don’t suit certain body shapes, and you can’t get past that.  I do love Trelise Cooper, and yes this dress is hers.  I love her playfulness and rebellious use of fabrics, and even the way she names her garments with that same cheeky rebellion.  This dress is called ‘For Fox Sake”!  Just brilliant”

Just a small one…

…so that I have the space to figure out where the blog is going!  Life (read: ‘being a Mum, holding down a ‘day-job’, being a Fashion Editor for Wild Tomato, and being a blogger, and trying to stay healthy and sane’) has been a bit too full on of late, and I need some time to get my ship together.  I hope you’ll understand, and be there when I return in September.

Sonya xx


Everyone has different motivations or drivers behind their style choices.  For Nicky, being an individual, a little different, is very strong.  It has shaped her style over many years and continues to shape it today.

“I love colour, but I do also love black.  I would dress more in black but the trouble with black is that so many women wear black and they don’t always wear it well.  Yes, it’s an interesting motivation I suppose.  I like to be different, or more to the point, an individual.  That is a big thing for me, always has been. Playing with colour has so much possibility, and more opportunity to be different from others!   My pants were from Stacey and my shoes from Whitwells in Motueka.  I bought my bag from Shine and my necklace was from Jellicoe.  I bought my top from Marshalls.  It has closed down now.  No I wouldn’t say it was a shop I went to often but I find things I love everywhere”


I just love this woman’s style.  It’s inspiring, courageous and most of all, original.  What I love about originality is that it delivers newness and freshness. Originality is the stuff that sparks new trends and new ways of thinking about fashion, as well as pushing us to reconsider normal.  This is why I love Leone’s style so much.  She’s a fearless original…

“Lately, I have really been experimenting with myself and using fashion to do so. I know who I am and have always felt confident in expressing myself with fashion, but testing my comfort zone, well, that has been fun! Today I decided to channel my inner mermaid because, well, why not?! Winter gets a bit doom and gloom, so to combat that vibe why not add some sparkle to mine and other peoples’ days?  I was unsure of my boots at first, mostly the shape.  But I love the studs and how I feel when I wear them. The hat is part of a marine’s army uniform, and I am wearing it with everything right now!



It takes some courage to wear fur, even vintage fur, although most of us wear leather on a regular basis (and cruise the meat isle at the local supermarket without batting an eyelid).  Maria has never been afraid of her truth, which is to acknowledge a place for vintage fur, a topic she discusses in her style story….

“Vintage fur is something I love and always have done for myself and for the shop.  I know that it is a sensitive subject, but I maintain that when it comes to vintage fur, you are not buying into modern exploitation.  I certainly don’t support the trade of anything that represents modern unethical treatment of animals or illegal hunting of endangered species! But with items that are 60 or 70 years old or older, I feel that I am simply honouring a bygone era.  Hiding these things away doesn’t change anything!  This is vintage ocelot fur, and back in the day it was something for film stars and the very wealthy.  I bought the bag from an elderly local woman, some years ago now, and the coat came from a wealthy Auckland estate.  They are both beautiful pieces, and they are real treasures.”

The dress that’s older than what I was when I first wore it

My Style

It’s true.  This dress is older than what I was when I bought it.  It’s the oldest thing in my wardrobe, bought over twenty-three years ago. It’s a dress that has so many memories attached to it, from my first steady boyfriend (bought for his sister’s wedding) to the weddings of close friends and relatives.  It’s been to many a formal dinner, nights out, and a long list of special occasions I no longer remember.

It’s a great example of something that was not ‘in fashion’ when I purchased it, thus it transcended the fickly fashions of two decades.  There are lots of other things about it that have kept it in circulation too.  It’s a 4-season dress that works during the day and some evening occasions, it’s good quality and it flatters my figure.  Mostly it has the X-factor, that undefinable attribute that’s helped it get past every wardrobe edit, personal style overhaul and life-changing milestone since 1996.

Sadly, and somewhat poetically, it breathed its last breath on the day I wore it for these photos!  I blew out the armpit (!) which while possibly repairable, I will not fix.  It is time to lay it to rest…

Styling Notes

If I ever get around to teaching a workshop on outfit styling, there will be sections on principles of styling with ‘colour’, ‘texture’, ‘detail’ and ‘creating a look’.  In this outfit, the first three themes are well covered.

The dress is the hero, and from it everything else flows.  Colours represented in the print repeat, from the cardigan and shoes to earrings and handbag. The floral print itself is repeated too in the patterned hosiery detail and earrings.  Textures of the cardigan knit and patterned hosiery provide a depth and character in a way that ‘flat’ textures would not.

This outfit is simply a collection of items that work well together.  There’s no ‘look’ or theme, just harmony of elements…

About ‘creating a look’, this outfit is not a good example of one.  It’s simply an outfit, which while working well, doesn’t try to emulate a fashion theme or character.  It does not have its roots in any icon, theme or period.  It’s just a collection of items that work well together.

My dress was bought from a Hamilton fashion boutique in late summer of 1996, and the label is David Pond.  My cardigan is one by Elk from Shine, and my shoes were purchase a few seasons back from Tango’s shoes.  My bag is my trusty favourite from Trouble & Fox, my hosiery and earrings were red dot sale items from Farmers.