Styling a dress for two very different looks

When Sammy from Bargain Bag Lady asked if I wanted to collaborate, I thought “hell yeah!”. I’ve followed Sammy for a while now on Instagram, and I love how we share a fondness for op shopping and bargain hunting. After a couple, well let’s say a few, back and forth emails we settled on the challenge “One Dress styled two ways”.

To see how Sammy styled her gorgeous floral look, see here.

I chose this periwinkle blue dress which I bought from The Wardrobe Green, a second hand online store on Instagram (@the_wardrobe_green). It’s not a typical dress I would purchase, or wear, especially as it’s quite a long length and well fitted. But I fell in love with the colour, and have been determined to style it.

The first look I went for really highlights the long lines of the dress. I wore it as is, with my burnt orange duster (which I wear to death), and colourful scarf. I wanted to keep all the long lines; so the dress, duster coat and scarf all sit at a similar length. Because of my shorter stature I found that I needed to wear heeled sandals with it, otherwise you’d barely see my legs!

duster-coat-blue-dress

 For the second look, I wanted to show how you can style a piece of clothing quite dramatically different to how it’s originally supposed to be worn. I’m a much bigger fan of mini/shorter skirts as they make me appear taller, so I shortened the dress by tucking the bottom section into the top of my tights. Perhaps not the best if you have to go to the bathroom! However it does show the versatility of a piece of clothing. I layered a blouse over the top of the dress, and belted it to highlight my waist, very important if you have boobs and hips like me.

black-blouse-blue-skirt

Outfit Details:

Outfit 1
Dress: No label, from The Wardrobe Green $10
Duster: Bought new (on sale) from Dotti
Scarf: Gift from a friend
Heels: Old

Outfit 2
Skirt: Same dress as above, but shortened
Blouse: Old from Cotton On
Belt: Thrifted $2
Boots: Urban Sole - thrifted from Salvos $18

What piece of clothing have you styled differently? Let me know below! 

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Em xx

National Op Shop Week - Why I Thrift

In honour of National Op Shop Week I thought I'd share what got me into opshopping and why it's now my main source of clothing.

I've always been an opshopper; even in high school my friend and I would rummage through op shops on our weekends. Although we were mostly looking for costumes and dress ups, not everyday clothing. I was never one to dress 'cool'. In fact I dressed very much like a tomboy in high school. Did anyone else live through the "surf wear is cool" look in high school? I definitely did, but fortunately I spent most of my time in uniform, so pictures of me in surfwear are few and far between.

My love for op shopping continued throughout the years but again mostly for costumes with the occasional everyday find. It all changed when I moved to Seattle. I didn't know anyone and my social life was fairly non existent, but I discovered that the Goodwill near my house was open every night until 9pm. For someone with few friends, this was perfect. I'd spend hours at Goodwill, searching through clothes, hats, shoes and even the furniture. And I bought up. Every Goodwill trip I returned home with something. I was so impressed with what you could find.

I challenged myself a few months later to only buying second hand, and again I was surprised how much you could find. Even on our 2 month roadtrip through the US last year (at this point in the story I have a US boyfriend), I found it so thrilling to visit thrift stores in different cities. And once again came out with the goods.

A few of my thrifted outfits

A few of my thrifted outfits

On returning to Australia I wasn't sure if I could continue my thrift store habits but have I been proved wrong. Melbourne has some of the best op shops going around, and the community of thrifters I've met along the way also tells me there are plenty of great finds throughout the whole country.

I've also become much more socially conscious of how my love for fashion contributes to the destruction of the environment and the world. I'm much more aware of what I can do as an individual to try to change the industry. 

Earlier this year I watched True Cost, if you haven't yet seen it I highly recommend it. It might even change the way you look at the fashion industry, it sure did for me. As consumers, I think it's important to understand where our clothing comes from, where is it made, who makes it, how those that make our clothes are treated, and what we can do about it. The fashion industry has changed vastly in the last 10 years and fast fashion is one of the major contributors. If I do buy anything new, I make sure I know where it comes from and I avoid fast, cheap fashion.  

Remember it starts with ourselves. The power is in the consumer. 

Op shopping doesnt just help the environment and our international neighbours, you're also supporting local community charities, and don't forget it's very easy on the wallet!

Interested in thrifting? I've written some blog posts on Op shopping in Melbourne and A guide to Thrifting

What have your experiences been? Have you been inspired to try thrifting for yourself?

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Em xx

One year of blogging

One year ago I posted my first ever style blog post, you can check it out here. Taking photos on the side of my house because I was too self conscious to go outside, water hose and all, and with a camera perched precariously on a chair on top of a table! I'm now happy to say I've invested in a tripod for my camera. 

blue-winter-coat
winter-coat-blue-black-pants

I'd followed fashion blogs for years and always wanted to be part of it. I'd dabbled in blogging beforehand, trying my hand at a baking blog, however it turned out I enjoyed the baking, eating and reading of others more than the idea of writing my own. Two years later I started this style blog Blue Umbrella Lane and I'm proud to have enjoyed and stuck with it for one year already! It's been an avenue to express my creativity, and allows me to map my style evolution, and I can't wait to see what happens next. It's been a great challenge to carve out a sustainable fashion lifestyle, and writing a blog has definitely helped to fuel my passion for second hand clothing, and reduce my fashion waste in the world.  

brunette-bangs-half-up
blue-winter-coat-black-pants

I've often been amazed at the incredible community I've discovered through blogging and Instagram. I've had wonderful conversations with people on the other side of the world, met up in real life :p with local bloggers and instagrammers and immensely enjoyed every single interaction with every one of you. I've even found some fellow op shop lovers to join me! And I've managed to do it while living in one country and then moving back to my own. Thank you to everyone I've met, talked with, laughed with and especially those who have been so supportive and have put up with my request for 'just one more outfit pic'.

Cheers to year two! 

Outfit details

Coat: Tailor made in Vietnam 8 years ago
Shoes: DIY leather upcycle
Bag: Kate Hill (bought new, well worn)
Pants: Old

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Em xx