My Style

I’m gonna have to say, I’m just not that into this outfit!  It’s funny because it used to be a favourite.  Yet somehow I now find it vaguely boring.   Perhaps I wore too often last year?  Or maybe my style has evolved in recent times?  Who knows.  But I chose to photograph it anyway.  There are some great styling concepts illustrated by it, and it’s an example of a weekend look that involves the styling of contemporary pieces in a way that’s still ‘me’.


Styling Notes

Sometimes when I get dressed I just throw something on.  Usually these ‘throw on’ moments are when I’m not in the mood to give things too much thought, or I’m running out of time.  When I’m feeling like this, I reach for tried and true combinations – outfits I’ve worn before and I know they work.  This outfit is one such throw on outfit.

In essence it’s a very safe outfit.  Jeans and a contemporary top.  I’ve attempted to make it a little more interesting by throwing in a vintage neckscarf, worn at the neck.  Styled in this way the neckscarf it’s great for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it’s a nice addition to the one-shouldered top I’m wearing, making it a little less skin-baring and complementing the neckline.  Secondly, it introduces a few other colourways such as beige and black, to the blue and white of my core pieces.  Using the scarf as my colour palate, I accessorised…

Use a multi-coloured, patterned scarf to unite or ‘tie together’ all of the colourways represented in your outfit.

The extra wide cuff is a quirky interpretation of the cropped, ankle breezer length trousers trend.  I also I wanted to make my jeans look more summery, casual.  And big cuffs are a great way to show of shoes.

My jeans are by NZ designer brand Workshop, but along with my scarf and handbag, they were a second-hand find!  My hat was bought from Cheryl Mackie and my shoes, from Andrea Biani (no longer in Nelson, sadly).  My necklace is a staple, a silver Karen Walker pendant I wear almost daily.  And my top is a Mesop treasure that I bought from Shine.


The Great Christmas Market is just around the corner (this Sunday!). It’s a market dedicated to the wares of local makers, creators and artists.  I caught up with its founder Paula Ossevoort to chat about the joys of making.  She shared some thoughts on sewing her own clothes that contribute to her style…

“I love making my own clothes!  So much, that it gets to the point where I feel frustrated if I don’t find the time to sew for myself. Working for Papercut Patterns part-time is always a huge source of inspiration.  Most of the time I’m there I’m dreaming up my next project. My skirt is my own take on one of Papercut’s new dress patterns.  It was a little tricky to manipulate as it’s all cut on the bias.  But I love the way it falls. I’ve made two of the original dress versions for myself too. Hunting for fabrics and bringing a concept to life is hugely satisfying.  My bag and slides are from my trip to Bali earlier this year and my necklace is from Cathy Pope.  The stone is a Carnelian”.


I admire women who make things that contribute to their style. There’s something special about a self-made item.  Perhaps that it is even more authentic and unique because it was created by the wearer from scratch?  I was surprised to discover that not only did Laura make her top, but some of her jewellery too.  Clever lady!

“I love to make things, to create.  I think it is because you get something new and fresh, and I like the idea of actually doing it myself.  I made my top, a pattern from Sewing Revival.  I also made my bangles.  They are resin, and I made them here in New Zealand although I learnt how to do it in a workshop that I went to in Sydney.  The silver rings are also self made.  Yes, they are silver and each represents a member of my family.  I went to silversmith course in Thailand.  No, I don’t think I want to take it up as a hobby, it’s quite precise and fiddly and I can be a bit impatient!  I like to make things fast.  I think that’s why I enjoy sewing at the moment.  My bag was a Trade Me treasure, a tooled doctors bag.  Yes, it was a pretty amazing find!”

Morrison Styles

Maxime Noir, Portman’s Store Manager

Unsurprisingly I am obsessed with clothes, and style.  But to be more precise, I get excited by people and things of style that inspire me.  And so I am always very curious about those things that inspire others’ style.  It was really neat to be able to catch up with Maxime again, to ‘dig a little deeper’ into what influences and inspires her…

“My style is a bit of a mish mash.  It’s a little bit of lots of different styles and looks made up of elements I’ve admired from other people’s style.  But yes there are definitely some women I look up to for inspiration.  Like Miroslava Dumas, an international fashion influencer. She is petite like me and she knows how to dress for it! I also like the twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.  They are also tiny and their personal style pushes the boundaries of fashion for the petite. And I watch so much Korean drama that I can’t help but be influenced by their fashion too!  My wardrobe?  Well it’s full of dresses actually.  I really do love dresses, and it’s one of the things that I love about the Portmans brand.  Oh yes, funny that I’m not wearing a Portmans dress today, though I often do!”

Maxime wears jacket ($169.99), pant ($99.99), top (89.99 and sunglasses ($44.99), all from Portmans and available from their Nelson store at Morrison Square on Hardy Street.


My Style

I made this skirt out of a curtain, the material purchased simply because I loved it.  Vintage curtain materials have a quality you can’t easily find in modern dress-making fabrics, being somehow heavier, richer and more detailed.  I was inspired to make the skirt from it after seeing a street-style image of a woman wearing a similar full and long floral skirt.  She was sipping coffee and reading a newspaper in a Parisian cafe’.  I wanted to be her, or be there with her.  But instead, I copied her clothes…

Styling Notes

Everything about this outfit revolves around my curtain-skirt, my one-of-a-kind piece that I think of as ‘wearable soft furnishings’.  With the basket, high-heeled sandles and cropped top it was shaping up to be a marvellously feminine combination. Girly-girly at its best!

But hyper-femininity? It’s just not me!  So I had to bring the look back to something that was.  I added an overtly masculine jacket, a vintage suede one, purchased on-line from the States.  And I wore a hat.  A nice mannish one, with plenty of substance to give me that boyish swagger I seem to be drawn to.

Balance is an important concept in fashion styling.  In this week’s outfit, I balanced highly feminine pieces with masculine ones…

Because there were so many strong key pieces, I didn’t really feel any need to do much with jewellery or make-up.   I wore a simple plaited leather belt, gold studs, my wedding ring and a brown leather watch.  My make-up was ‘no make-up make-up’.

The skirt was self-made, but I found the curtain material for it at Richmond Antiques and Curios.  My suede jacket was a wonderful treasure I discovered on Etsy, a gobal handcraft and vintage site for independent sellers.  It was sent to me by a dealer in the USA! My shoes are by NZ shoe designer Kathryn Wilson, and I bought them from Taylors shoes in Nelson.  My hat is a Brixton gem bought from Trouble & Fox and my top bought from Stacey in Richmond.  My bag and belt are second-hand pieces bought from charity shops.


Sustainability in fashion is a hot topic at the moment.  Julie and I talked about how investing in pieces that ‘speak to your heart’ is a way of taking a long term approach to buying clothes.  Fewer clothes, but ones that fit with your lifestyle, you love more and you keep longer…

“I saw this jacket in a shop window in Hanmer Springs while on holiday a couple of years ago.  The shop was closed, but there was something about the jacket that had me coming back the next day for another look.  And I ended up buying it.  In the beginning I wasn’t too sure how I would wear it and what to wear it with!  But since then I have built a few looks around it.  It’s something that grabbed me from the start, for reasons I don’t really know.  Yes, a kind of heart response.  I wear a uniform to work, so I am ‘off-duty’ when I dress up.  This is the perfect piece for that.  It makes practical sense as well as appealing to my style”.

Tessa J

I met Tessa behind the scenes at a Shine fashion show.  I was instantly struck by her independent yet well developed sense of fashion, which I admire.  This is less common in younger women, and so I am very much looking forward to photographing Tessa as part of the real style project…

“I would say my style is generally quite casual with a slight boho flair. I enjoy combining more modern pieces with second hand items, including those pinched from Mum’s wardrobe! The blouse and belt I am wearing are both about thirty years old and I found them in her wardrobe.  Of course I love the fact that they have the sentimental value, being Mum’s, but also the colours and print of the shirt are beautiful when you look closely. Also, despite their age, both pieces are in perfect condition, being really high quality and well looked after.  That is probably the most prominent lesson learnt in the last few years – Buy pieces that you really love and buy quality that you know will last.  Disposable fashion is definitely not the future!  Fashion is important to me because I like to feel comfortable and confident in myself, and what I wear makes a big difference.  I also love art and see clothes and jewelry as an extension of this”.

My Style

This outfit is one I’d like to think of as a ‘grown up’ outfit.  To me, it’s very sensible, and in keeping with the expectations of how I ought to dress.  Not necessarily boring (I hope!), grown up dressing for me is about playing by the rules.  Social-cultural ones, the unwritten ones that relate to our age, peer group and place of work.  Fitting in.  That said, I’d like to think that although it’s not very adventurous, it’s still very ‘me’ and has that essence of individuality that I admire in others…

Styling Notes

I chose to work my colour palatte from the silk top.  I wore a pink lip-stick (a rarity!) and  a green cardigan, which are accent colours in the silk print.  My anchor colour was black (shoes, earrings, bag) and grey is a natural companion this, perfect for my pants.

My earrings were really the statement piece for this outfit – they are Ronja Schipper earrings, that I purchased from Nelson’s Red Gallery.  They are made from re-cycled bicycle inner tubes!  It is rare that I buy spontaneously, but when I saw these I was struck by how clever and beautiful they are.  Once in a while, it’s good to follow your heart, and these earrings are a heart piece.

Give recognition to pieces that for whatever reason speak to your heart.  Filling your wardrobe with ‘heart’ items will guarantee you a fabulous personal style

My bag is an old favourite, although it is starting to show signs of serious wear and tear! I love it for many reasons, most of all that it is a vintage crocodile-skin handbag from the 1950s (an educated guess).  I had the chain strap added for practicality.  I like to be hands free!  Sometimes the signs of wear actually add value to me.  They say ‘authenticity’ and ‘character’ and I rate these two values highly.

Both my cardigan and my silk top were purchased from Shine, the silk top by Nelson designer Julian Danger.  My trousers are also by a Nelson Designer Liann Bellis, a designer who features well in my wardrobe.  However cheekily, I was actually  lucky to  pick these babies up second-hand!  My bag was purchased some years ago from Tula & Niles (no longer running, but cute in its day), and my shoes are ballerina flats that I found at Hannah’s.  As noted, my earrings were from Red Gallery, and my greenstone ring is a vintage piece I discovered at Eclectic.



Catherine and I talked about her recent trip overseas and how the right outfit really can help us to feel more elegant, stylish and beautiful.  Like this week’s ensemble, one bought in Rome, which makes her feel a million bucks.  And it really does show, as the photos prove…

“It certainly is an experience, shopping in some of those high-end designer stores overseas.  Many of them have doormen, that are a bit like bouncers I suppose!  Very intimidating.  And when we were there I was always dressed as a tourist, with sneakers and jeans.  Not really a picture of their typical customer!   But the assistant in the shop was incredibly helpful and the outfit is just perfect in so many ways.  The fit, styling and quality of the workmanship is amazing.  I honestly feel transformed in it.  It is from Dolce & Gabanna!  My husband adores their marketing imagery, their campaign.  I am not so sure this outfit screams ‘Dolce & Gabanna’, but I plan to have it forever.  No, the earrings are not from them, but you are right, they could be!  I got them here in Nelson, from Shine”

Morrison Styles

Ligliana Garwood, Merric Sales Assistant

I know of Ligliana through her daughter Isabella, who modelled for Admire magazine when I was Fashion Editor there.  Both Isabella and Ligliana are stunning, naturally photogenic women, although Ligliana is not convinced and needs to be reminded of this!  She was a reluctant style subject, but as I am sure you will agree, she shouldn’t be…

“I have always loved fashion.  I have Italian heritage and a love of style is a big part of my upbringing and culture. From an early age I would raid my older sister’s wardrobe for clothes.  She was a couple of years older than me, and some of her things were much cooler than mine!  So it isn’t that surprising that I have long been involved in fashion retail.  I really do enjoy what I do.  I especially love talking and interacting with customers, helping them and getting to know them a little bit.  The best buzz is when someone comes in asking for ‘this, that and something else’, and I can go and find pieces for them.  I like to help them with outfit styling, and in making choices that are the best for them. It really is fantastic when you feel you’ve made someone happy and made a positive difference, however small.”

Ligliana wears top ($39.99), 7/8 stretch pants ($49.99), and black mesh tie up jacket ($29.99), all from Merric at Morrison Square.  Her necklace ($15.00) and ring ($10.00) are also from Merric.