Taking Stock

When I had that attack of mindless consumerism the other day, I figured it was probably a good idea to step away from all the pretty coats distractions and take stock – what are my real wardrobe needs at the moment?


Creating a functional wardrobe is all about being aware of what we already have and mindful about what we really need.

It’s knowing that all our tights from last Winter need replacement, but our Winter trousers don’t because we ended up wearing skirts most of the time.

It’s knowing – and accepting – that buying a pair of Hobes as our casual cool-weather footwear, is probably not the best idea since they’re not hardy enough for the rainy place we live in.


I am at a stage where I can, with a clear mind, recall most items in my wardrobe – and what condition they’re in. But in the midst of excitement around something new, all clarity goes out the window.

I’ve recently found that, when that happens, pen a paper are all the technology I need.

Writing things down helps me focus and achieve a level of awareness that I don’t have when I’m exposed to distractions such as newsletters from my favourite brands, emails announcing new items/promotions, instagram…All those little things that prevent me from thinking clearly about a purchase, and encourage me to obtain stuff that may not contribute to the functionality of my wardrobe.


What do I already have? What condition is it in? Will it last another season? How many new pairings can I create with it? 

These are some of the things I’m currently trying to answer, in the hope that it will help me make better decisions about what to buy this year.

I suspect this may take me some time (and effort). But without a clear idea of what’s going on, it will be a lot harder to make useful contributions towards my wardrobe – and easier to buy stuff that I will regret later!

What about you? Have you taken stock of your wardrobe’s state of affairs lately? How often do you do it?


The Mindless Consumer

I can get really excited about things. If I see something I really like my mind goes like “oh, I Want It! I Want It! I Want It!”. This urge to own stuff makes me anxious and is one of the reasons why I started the journey to become a mindful consumer. But the anecdote I am about to share in this post really goes to show that being a mindful consumer is the journey, not the end of the story.

Last Sunday morning, I was spending some quality time on Polyvore, styling the new Popbasic collection*, when I noticed that all of the outfits that I put together were Winter-focused.

Despite the glorious Summer outside, it made me think about my Winter wardrobe – starting with coats. I proceeded to spend a substantial amount of time looking at the coat collections from some of my go-to places (Mango, Zara, Massimo Dutti) and some new finds (like the one below found at ALAND).

After a while I realised two things:

  1. oversized coats are still in, particularly in ovoid shapes (when you don’t follow trends closely, spotting trends is a really surprising game);
  2. I would like the one in this board, thank you very much. And while we’re on it, those ankle boots too, s’il vous plait.
Winter Coat

After over an hour looking at coats from various European (and Korean) places, wishing I had more options in New Zealand, I started to seriously plot ways to purchase the coat I wanted. When it got to the point where a shopping trip to Europe started to sound like a reasonable thing to do, that’s when it hit me – I was having a serious attack of mindless consumerism.

Time to pull out that guide on how to curb my enthusiasm and snap myself back to a more reasonable ground.

Looking at the guide, I can see I won’t get past the first hurdle. While one of my coats does need replacement, I definitely do not need it now. In fact, thinking about it, it is a coat for a much cooler weather and from my experience of the last 2 Winters in Auckland, I didn’t really need it that often. It is possible that I can make it through next Winter without it.

Time to get my brain to accept the reality: no trip to Europe and no ovoid oversized coat for now.

On the plus side, catching myself being mindless does motivate me to think a bit further about my real wardrobe needs.

I will leave that to a later post, but tell me, what are some of your current wardrobe desires? And how do you deal with that “Must. Buy. Now” feeling?

* Please note this is a referral link. I decided to use it on this post as a way of supporting a small business and a young entrepreneur that I admire. I trust my readers are able to make their own consumer decisions. For more information on Pobasic’s referral program see here. You can also read my disclosure policy here

The Style of Others {OOTD}

Do you know that feeling when you’re traveling overseas or living away from your home-country and see someone who you just instinctively know that they can only be from the same place you are?

Or when you look at a style or design and think things like “that’s very Parisian”, “oh, that has such a Nordic feel” or “that’s very East Coast”?

Well, when I put together this outfit yesterday morning, my immediate thought was “ohh, this looks very Spanish”.

I’m not even sure what that is supposed to mean. But it can’t be just the fact that every piece of clothing I’m wearing here is from Spanish brands such as Mango and Stradivarius!

We may have access to the same stores these days but a Zara in Vienna has a very different display of outfits from a Zara in Paris or Lisbon.1

Despite a globalization of brands and democratization of fashion, we still seem to be able to put things together in very culturally-specific ways.

I guess if we look at our personal styles as a form of expression of who we are, part of our cultural background will come through somehow. Such cultural particularities can then be recognized by others, either from the same or different culture.

I still can’t tell you exactly what it is about this ensemble that makes me think of it as “very Spanish”. Most likely, this is just based on my personal, and very generic (limited?), definition of Spanish style.

But isn’t that what happens when we attempt to narrow-down the common nature of the styles of others?

First Day of Summer {Birthday OOTD}

Well Hello everyone and Happy 2015!

This thing of having Summer during this time of the year is actually pretty good. I really got the sense that I recharged and am ready for a new year.


Stepping relaxed into 2015

A relaxing holiday didn’t “just happen”. I didn’t plan it to the last detail either. But I did have to make some conscious decisions such as how I was going to deal with any work-related stuff (not touch it with a stick was my choice), or the amount of travelling I was willing to make (2-hour drive on a Saturday to get to a beach? Yeah, nah!).

I have found that being clear about these types of things from the onset helps me and my family stay stress-free while on holiday.

This year (last year?), it has also helped that I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do for my birthday. I usually don’t think about it at all and just go with the flow of things. When your birthday is during the festive season, it’s very easy to piggyback on other people’s plans for that day. I didn’t like this but, for many years, chose to be annoyed instead of coming up with my own idea of a good birthday. Honestly, why it took me so long to stop complaining and start doing something about it, beats me. But I finally did and it was awesome – best birthday ever!


Apparently, that’s the oldest store in New Zealand!

We took it easy in the morning, but booked lunch at a place we had been wanting to check out for a while. Not only was the location beautiful but the day was finally sunny – the first proper day of Summer!


This was not the outfit I had planned to wear for my birthday. I actually was looking forward to wear the blue dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. But I left it behind in our garage when we left and just remembered two hours into the drive north!!!


No chance of driving back for that and it took me a good quarter of an hour to get over it. All was forgotten a week later and so, on the sunny morning of my birthday, these shorts and stripes were a natural option.


I wasn’t disappointed with my choices – both to wear shorts and do our own thing for my birthday. It turns out that in life, as when you’re picking out an outfit, you’re probably better off when doing what fits you and your lifestyle.

Did you have a happy start to 2015? How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve – do you feel you have to do something in particular?

Thanks for reading!

xo Rita

 A few more photos I took of the Kerikeri Mission Station. Enjoy!

Last Work Outfit of 2014

Yay – the Summer holidays are finally here.

Yes, I know this sounds weird for some of you in the northern hemisphere. It still feels strange to me to have Summer around this time of the year.

But I’m getting over it quickly. A sunny break right at the end of the year does feel like the best way to wrap it up and gear up for the next one!


Though this is Summer, it was still cool enough to wear my Kowtow Building Blocks cardigan. It’s not as light as I expected which makes it perfect for New Zealand weather.


Yes, yet more stripes. I’m often put off by trends that spread like wildfire. I feel weird about dressing like everyone else. Must be the backlash to all those high school years, when all we wanted was to be as inconspicuous as possible…

But I have been a fan of stripes for so long that it is unlikely I will stop anytime soon, if at all. As I get older, I feel some preferences will go the distance.


Finally, for this last work outfit of 2014, I felt like getting my treasured Cath Kidston handbag out for a spin and give my Cuyana tote a rest. I missed this slice of English loveliness and functional design.

Plus, I was already mixing stripes with polka dots. Might as well add some flowers for good measure. After all, with such an ubiquitous trend, a girl has to express her individuality somehow!

Hope you had a great time with your family over the holidays and enjoy your time wherever you are, Summer break or no Summer break.

Thanks for reading!


Little Snippets of Work Wear

This morning I was trying to recall what I wore yesterday and it took a huge effort to bring back that memory.

This has been an extremely busy time at work so I will use that as an excuse for this fit of amnesia. Cheekily, I will repurposed that as an excuse for the lack of outfit photos on the blog in the last couple of weeks.

But here’s what I’ve been doing instead:


To overcome that lack of time for outfit photos/blogging, I started putting together little Instagram sets of my work outfits.

I decided to focus on my work outfits after reading this post by Sara from Me and Orla.


While I love to see some beautiful posts of outfits that are a perfect display of the most recent trends, sometimes I just want a post of something I can relate. Sara’s post inspired me to walk the walk and start by putting together my own collection.


These little snippets are turning out to be quite helpful in keeping track of what I have been wearing.


And this is not just for the fact that they help me avoid wearing the same pair of trousers two days in a row.



They are also a great source of inspiration when I, unavoidably, ask myself just before bed – what am I going to wear tomorrow?

Do you have any tips/tricks to keep up with what you wear during busy times?