Thrifting Me Fabulous with Kimba Likes

Last weekend I happily gave myself over to be experimented upon. The wonderful Kim-Marie Williams from Kimba Likes ( http://kimbalikes.com/) was looking for guinea pigs for her new business idea – The Kimba Likes Thrifting Tour and I was more than happy to answer the call. The prospect of an entire morning child free to shop and drink fine coffee with some lovely ladies was too alluring to resist.  So I abandoned Dadabulous and made a rare pilgrimage  over the Anzac Bridge to meet up with RoboMum (http://robomum.wordpress.com/) and Girlzed (https://twitter.com/Girlzed) at the hip La Grande Bouffe cafe in Rozelle.

The point of rendevous

The point of rendezvous

Finding a niche and going for it.

If you’ve spent any time traipsing around the Aussie blogging landscape then you’ve no doubt encountered the delightful corner of cyber space that is Kimba Likes (http://kimbalikes.com/).  Kim-Marie’s world is all about fashion, friends, frivolity and of course her gorgeous menfolk  (her adored husband and son).  It’s a blog that radiates joyfulness at all the good things in life. Even if fashion is not your thing, its difficult not to be charmed by her enthusiasm and passion for beautiful things.

Recently the Kimba Likes blog has become a platform for a germinating business concept. The idea of hosting thrift shopping tours had been rattling around in Kim’s mind for some years but with her 40th birthday looming large on the horizon she decided now was the time to get started.  She took a leap of faith and resigned from a job that was making her stressed and miserable.  She knew that she dearly wanted to make fashion her livelihood but it was a question of exactly how to go about it. Kim-Marie had already established a reputation as a “master shopper”. Her friends would frequently seek her advice and “book her in” for shopping expeditions. Even strangers asked her for her stylist card. Meanwhile her blog was taking off and had attracted the attention of the bigger plays like Andrea and Fox in Flats (http://www.foxinflats.com.au/) and Nikki from Styling You (http://www.stylingyou.com.au/). It was simply a case of finding a niche and running with it. For Kim-Marie, the answer was thrifting – or breathing new life into second hand clothes.

Kim-Marie is lucky enough to live in Rozelle,  a thriving suburb in Sydney’s inner west with loads of character. Rozelle not only boasts funky cafe’s and edgy upcoming restaurants and bars it is home to the in Kim-Marie’s words “the Golden Triangle of Thrifting”. The cross formed by Darling St and Victoria Rd is abuzz with op shops, classic vintages stores and weekend markets. Kim-Marie knows this terrain like the back of her hand and loves nothing more than the thrill of chasing down a bargain whilst making a friend look and feel amazing at the same time. The idea of Kimba Likes Thrifting Tours was born!

Quirky cool at Rozelle markets.

Quirky cool at Rozelle markets.

Too much bling is never enough

Too much bling is never enough

The thrifting experience

On the morning of the tour we steeled ourselves with caffeine and headed off like a pack of cougars on a mission. As you would expect Kim-Marie had the low down on every store on the strip and directed us towards the best “hits”. The Rozelle Vinnies, though unassuming on the exterior was a hidden treasure trove of amazingness. The jumbled racks were crammed with labels, sweetie labels – designer fare at a fraction of the original cost. Kim-Marie scanned everything with her “magpie eyes”, quickly calculating whether any particular item was a bargain and assessing how it could be given a new lease on life. She also encouraged us to step outside our fashion “comfort zones”, encouraging us to play with new colours and styles.

I picked up this elegant woolen dress.  It’s nylon, angora, silk blend and is fully lined. Its very flattering to my figure type and I actually feel sexy in it ( a rarity indeed).

This angora blend dress is stunning on

This angora blend dress is stunning on

I also picked up this sequinned jumper for a little day time sparkle.

Find my inner sparkle

Find my inner sparkle

Having exhausted Vinnies, we headed to the sunny side of the street to check out the Salvos and U-turn.

U turn here for bargains!

U turn here for bargains!

Here I picked up this cute Tommy Hilfiger blouse.

The cuteness.

The cuteness.

And this Marks & Spencer linen vest in excellent condition.

Its the WOW at $6.00

Its the WOW at $6.00

I couldn’t resist this striped Chanel style cardigan and needed only the most gentle prompting from Kim-Marie to snap it up.  There may be a few similar items in closet-abulous but what can I say – I fetishise stripes almost as much as shirtless British actors.

I'm crushing on my Chanel style cardigan

I’m crushing on my Chanel style cardigan

By this time I was loaded up like a pack horse and decided to switch off the cashflow. The others intrepidly braved the Rozelle markets after refuelling at the Rosebud cafe.

Overall it was a fantastically fun morning. Kim-Marie is every bit as vibrant in person as she is online and I thank her for giving me a much needed injection of fab.  I came home with five “good as new” items for a total of around $120.00 and a successful bargain hunters glow.

To find out more contact Kim-Marie at styling@kimbalikes.com.






Who Do You Dress For?

I love the fashion bloggers. They are taking the esoteric world of Haute couture and demystifying it for everyone. You don’t have the connections of Anna Wintour, the body of  Gisele Bündchen or the budget of Gina Rinehart to join in the party. Whats more the likes of Kim-Marie (http://kimbalikes.com/), Rachel (http://www.redcliffestyle.com/) and Mama Stylista (http://www.mamastylista.com/) all have an infectious exuberance. I’ve not met any of them but they seem like they’d be a fun addition to any gal posse.  They obviously get so much enjoyment from fashion whereas my relationship to clothes has been fraught.

Being style challenged is a consummate first world problem. I’m sure that the boat people would love to have the opportunity to struggle with accessories.  Nevertheless during my younger days, from the black clad wanna-be gothic teen years, through to my office life where I tried to balance the corporate uniform with a touch of individuality,I could never quite “nail it”.  The thing I “nailed” was attracting boyfriends who were quick to point out exactly what I was doing wrong. I was not sexy enough for some or elegant enough for others. Some deemed my neither sexy nor elegant. For a young woman this kind of criticism is confidence shaking. I sheepishly admit that there were occasions where I put money and time into meeting my ex-paramours’ exacting standards. If I could borrow the keys to the TARDIS I’d go back and give these jerks the middle finger with a resounding STFU.

Still I learned from these experiences. My former flames’ respect for me did not increase with a make-over. They would quickly move on to something else to criticize. Also I noticed that the response I got from the wider world didn’t change greatly based on what I was wearing. A brief stint where I played the hawt babe with towering heels and short skirts did not transform me into a man magnet. My relationships with my male friends remained grounded in humor and shared interests. It didn’t seem to matter much to them whether I was wearing jeans and flats or a bum grazing mini. On the other hand revealing outfits provoked the occasional snide remark from females.

These days I dress for no one other than myself. I wear what I feel comfortable and happy in. Trinny & Suzannah, Gok Wan and Carson Kressley can all sod right off. I intend to ski the downhill slope to old age in a blaze of colors, patterns and quirky fabulousness.

Case in point.

I’ve just invested in a super sized hat. It’s the kind favored by middle aged matrons who have nothing to do but schmooze around resorts all day. You will observe the leopard skin scarf and the oversized turtle shell retro sunglasses.  This combination feels like I’m wearing a satellite dish and a car windscreen. Nevertheless it makes perving on young hunks undetectable.

I’m picking up Foxtel with this.

Shorts are mandatory for kid wrangling in the summer months. Here is my latest purchase. They were the longest ones I could find. The pattern is busier than Charlie Sheen’s dealer but at least it takes attention away from the cellulite just beneath the hem line. I ask you why hide a round butt when you can swathe it in fab and shake it about?

Hell yeh – my butt looks big in these.

I live in a Sydney beach side suburb that is not Bondi and I’m middle aged. All roads are leading to the kaftan! I’ve recently topped up the collection with these two.

I got the blues.

The next one hails from that mecca of hippidom – Tree of Life. It came with the dubious claim that “one size fits all”. On my vertically challenged frame it is more like a Mum tent but its a Mum tent of magnificence.  I can’t wait to be mistaken for the girls’ grandmother as I waft around the kiddy pool in this flowing cascade of chiffon.

Mumabulous Mum tent.

Would any fashion post be complete without footwear? Why is that even a question? Here are my brand spanking new Mary Janes from Shoes of Prey.  You can see I’m taking my style cues from my five and a half year old. Pink and silver all the way.

I heart you MJ.

Ladies, no matter what your personal style groove happens to be – hot n’ sexy, sleek and stylish, free-range and feral or retro and rockabilly I hope you’re rocking your look just for you.

Get your glam on.


The Surprise Beginning


Advancing My Style

In 2008 a new style bible exploded on the scene – How To Not Look Old by Charla Krupp. This tome of wit and wisdom advocates, lightening your hair, bleaching your teeth, brow plucking, constricting yourself, bondage style into shape wear and botoxing the be-jeepers out of your face. It is basically an instruction manual on how to look like Charla Krupp. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Charla Krupp looks great. Its just that if everyone followed her sage advice we would all look like the inhabitants of info-mercials and morning TV. Designer sunglasses would become mandatory to protect us from the glare of everyone’s dazzling white teeth. Its not the kind of world I want to live in.

A year or two back I kidded myself that I could somehow postpone aging and Charla’s work was of profound interest. Mind you I was not interested enough to spend Dadabulous’ hard earned. I borrowed the book from the local library. Unfortunately I couldn’t get through it. I found myself increasingly irritated by her insinuation that I needed Spanx and a high end hairdresser. Despite all the money, time and effort we put it, we will all one day look old and that sure as hell  beats looking dead.  In a recent post I spoke about my intention of morphing into a groovy granny or a senior hippizen. I fully intend leaving sexy on the shelf and bringing quirky back.  Now firmly entrenched in middle age I have taken the first baby steps on this journey towards disgraceful aging.

I present the following items as evidence for the prosecution your Honor.

Exhibit A: 

Red Vans sneakers. Chase toddlers, go anywhere with happy feet.

I see red, I see red, I see red.

Exhibit B

A hat that will take me from the beach to the bowling green.

I hide my bad hair life under this.

Exhibit C

Over sized sunglasses. Who needs botox when you can cover crows feet with fabulousness? They also conceal shameless perving at gorgeous men young and old.

My windscreen.

Exhibit D

The bedazzled kaftan. This item is de rigueur for an eccentric old bat on the beach.

This kaftan is busier than I am with two pre-schoolers.

Exhibit E

The retro cardigan. The cardigan is the most unfairly maligned garment in the fashion universe. How cute is this Mary Poppins print?

Mary Poppins – perfect in every way.

Exhibit F

Vintage leather jacket. I picked this up from the Randwick Vintage Clothing fair. Its a genuine 1970s leather jacket. If I ever wanted to be an extra on the TV series Life On Mars this is what I’d wear.  It makes me feel too cool for school.

This pre- dates disco!

And finally Exhibit G

A butterfly print wrap dress. I recently purchased this at the mecca to drippy hippidom – Tree of Life. A senior hippizen could easily be outfitted by that store alone. I cant wait to flutter by in this.

Hippie chic.

The fabric’s ready for its close up.

Being middle aged and married is surprisingly liberating. I can wear what I want because heck nobody cares (if they ever really did). Freed from the shackles of having to be a smokin’ hawt babe, I can have fun with clothes just like my girls do.

Charla Krupp has been permanently consigned to the library shelf to be replaced by a new Bible – the wonderful megablog (dare I say Blog Buster) Advanced  Style (http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com.au/)

Over to you Mumrades. Are you still still rocking the sexy or enjoying the descent into old age like a fair ground slippery slide?

Stay Gorgeous


The Surprise Beginning