The Outnet
Beauty & Health, Fashion

Friday Finds: 100% Pure, R+Co, Got Wood and The Outnet

This week’s finds are all about being a little bit experimental…

100 Percent Pure Fruit Pigmented Foundation

Without a doubt one of the more interesting products to ever grace my bathroom, 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Water Foundation is neither a cream nor liquid foundation but more like a gel-cream and as you may have guessed from the name, it’s 100% natural (and vegan). The finish is more tinted moisturiser than foundation, but for the rather curious texture and purity-factor alone, it’s worth a try. $40 AUD via Nourish Life (or order a sample pot for $10 AUD).

R and Co Analog Cleansing Conditioner

Haircare brands are a dime a dozen these days, and frankly it’s down to personal taste as to which one scores a spot in your caddy on any given month. So it’s a refreshing sight to see a brand doing something a bit different. Don’t get me wrong, R+Co have the same stable of sea salt sprays and shine shampoos that you’d expect, but they’re getting their rebel on with products like the Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner ($30 USD). It’s got the texture of a mousse and doesn’t lather, so offers a rather interesting option for those intrigued, but not quite ready to take the plunge into the giving-up-shampoo-altogether club.

Got Wood Toothbrush

For filing under “why didn’t anyone think of this sooner”, is Got Wood. Very simply, they’re chic, minimal, biodegradable, fair trade, sustainable toothbrushes. Really, how didn’t anyone think of this sooner? $6 AUD.

Finally, it’s only a tiny innovation and they’re certainly not the first, but purveyors of discount luxury goods The Outnet (top) now do free returns. Thank me later.

Stonemen Underwear
Style

101 Things To Buy Before You Die: Boxers, Bras, Briefs and Lingerie

If you haven’t seen the previous posts in this series, I’m taking Maggie Davis and Charlotte Williams’ book 101 Things To Buy Before You Die and updating it to give you my go-to for each category they originally outlined. Today’s category? Undergarments.

The originals: boxer shorts and bras (and later ‘panties / knickers’). The update: boxers, briefs and lingerie.

I’m not going to lie. Calvin Klein is still going strong, and with good reason. They’re simple, they’re comfortable and they last. For something a little more modern though, I’m a big admirer of Australian label, Stonemen (top). A range of cuts to suit any bloke (or babe, they do women’s, too), these folk partner with photographers all over the world to create limited edition prints on their seam-free styles for maximum comfort and collectability. (Yeah, I said collectability… who knew jocks could be considered collectable?).

Bodas Lingerie

For women, Calvin Klein is a pretty reliable place to start too, but if you want to choose from every imaginable cut and shade for your knicker basics, Bodas (above) is where you go. With several kinds of ‘nude’ to choose from and lots of styles too, you’ll be hard pushed to not find what you need. They even make skintone look sexy, with semi-sheer fabrics.

For something more special-occasion however, Eres (below) is the only label to know. These Frenchies have the balance between feminine and simple down to a fine art. Not so cut-out and frilly that you can’t wear them under anything in your wardrobe, yet not so minimal that you’d call them basics. Everything they make is undeniably divine, but you can expect a price point to match.

Eres Lingerie

Everlane Cotton V Tee
Fashion, Style

Found: The Perfect White Tee

I love investing in good wardrobe basics. Sartorially speaking, they stand the test of time and, when chosen carefully, last long enough that you’ll notice they haven’t gone out of style. Of course, everyone has their own idea about what constitutes classic wardrobe staple and I’m not about to tell you what should make your cut. Universally however, they all have this in common: finding your go-to is like finding the holy grail – a deceptively difficult journey which may actually never occur in your lifetime.

Personally, the one that has eluded me for what feels like eternity is the simple white tee. I’ve written before about the myriad of ways to wear a white t-shirt, yet never actually managed to find the perfect one myself, until now.

As it turns out, my perfect white tee (shown above and below), comes from a label I’ve written about before – Everlane. It’s slim but not snug, long but won’t be mistaken for a nightly and just a tiny bit sheer yet not so much it’ll make my colleagues feel uncomfortable. And it’s just $15 USD.

Now to find my perfect pair of jeans…

Everlane Cotton V T-Shirt

Adriana Degreas
Fashion, Style

101 Things To Buy Before You Die: Swimwear

It was an idea that made sense at the time: revisit Maggie Davis and Charlotte Williams’ book 101 Things To Buy Before You Die and give you my go-to for each item outlined therein. It’s a mammoth task and it’ll take a while so I’m taking it one piece at a time. Today’s installment… swimwear.

The original: bikinis. The update: swimwear.

Marysia Swim - Honolulu

One piece, two piece, cut outs and mis-matched pairs. They’re all on offer these days.

For minimalist but edgy, head to Marysia (shown above) for styles that are simple at a first glance, but clearly aren’t run of the mill.

For a more no-holds-barred extreme gypset-meets-bombshell approach, you can’t go past Brazillian label Adriana Degreas (top).

Finally, in an industry overflowing with options, Zimmermann (below) has stood the test of time. Australian women have been clamoring for their feminine pieces fusing fashion and swimwear since the early 90s. Fortunately, they now ship (and stock) internationally so you can have your fix wherever you are.

zimmermman

Want more? Read the first installment in the 101 Things To Buy Before You Die series.

 

Thom Sweeney
Fashion, Style

101 Things To Buy Before You Die: Suits

Some years ago I found myself in possession of a novel book called 101 Things To Buy Before You Die. It’s basically a directory of the best-of-the-best across a range of lifestyle categories – from alarm clocks to wallpaper, this book has it. Much of it has stood the test of time, for example Birkins and Bayswaters are still a damn good place to start for a kick-ass, eyewateringly expensive handbag. Does Revlon still make the best lipsticks however? Probably not. For that matter, I’d argue that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have lovely things.

So I thought I’d take the time to share with you my go-tos (and updates where applicable) for each of the categories laid out in the original book.

Frivolous? Absolutely. But a bit of fun, too. Here’s the first instalment…

The original: bespoke suits. The update: suits.

Sure, you could spend the price of a round-the-world ticket on a bespoke suit, but when an off-the-rack number with a few alterations or made-to-measure has the same effect for a fraction of the price, it seems more silly than splurge.

An impeccable suit is however, worth splashing out on. For men or women, the pieces that make up a suit are as relevant when worn together as they are as separates. Jackets dress up denim for both sexes, but for men the trousers can be worn on their own with a casual shirt and rolled sleeves for a look that sits squarely in the ‘smart casual’ category. Women can pair their trousers with a chambray shirt, heels and a statement necklace for much the same effect.

The point is, they’re worth investing in. Buy yours in black, navy blue or a mid-grey.

My picks for suits? For women, head to Joseph (above, left) and Stella McCartney (above, right) – both images from Net-A-Porter, which stocks both labels.

For men, Thom Sweeney (top) is a very fine place to start – they produce not just bespoke and made-to-measure suits, but have also just released their first ready-to-wear collection. You can’t buy online from them directly though – if you wish to do so, head to Mr Porter.

 

Great Skin Ingredients
Beauty & Health

The ingredients for great skin

I get told often enough that I have great skin. This isn’t a brag, it’s a fact. The other fact however is that I don’t have great skin. I have terrible skin, but I spend a lot of money to make sure it looks as good as it can (and even then it never seems enough).

I’ve written before about some of my bargain beauty buys, but here are the products that are on the higher end of the cash money spectrum which make up my routine…

(Left to right, above…)

ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub ($40 AUD) – used twice a week in the mornings.

Cosmedix Define ($100 AUD) – used nightly.

Cosmedix Simply Brilliant ($70 AUD) – used every morning under moisturiser.

ASAP Moisturising Daily Defence ($55 AUD, SPF 30+) – every. single. day. It has UVA and UVB spectrum coverage.

This Works No Wrinkles Eye Repair ($80 AUD) – morning and night.

Of course, over the counter products and a diligent home care routine only gets you so far. On top of this, I’m a big advocate of:

  • Medi-facials – these are the kind you need to see a dermal clinician for and generally aren’t very pleasant (unless you’re a bit like me and feel that pain = gain). They involve things like extractions, microdermabrasion and peels. I used to have them every month but have lightened up to every 2 – 3 months.
  • Laser – not the hair removal kind. The brightening kind. It softens pigmentation, freckles and age spots. For me they have to crank that machine up to within an inch of its capacity and I still don’t get the blackening they tell you to expect, but everyone is different. This, as with the medi-facials are NOT things to skimp on. You get what you pay for and a lot of damage can be done by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Finally, you know that old adage ‘you are what you eat’? It’s true. You’re also what you drink. Focus on getting a lot (and I do mean a lot) of fruit and especially vegetables in your diet, often and with variety. Drink four or five times the amount of water than anything else.

 

The Kettle Black
Travel

A local’s guide to Melbourne in a weekend

We had friends visiting from interstate recently, and whilst Melbourne isn’t my hometown I’ve lived here for some years now, and thought I’d share with you my go-to checklist when I’m trying to show the place off. Minimal tourist traps, maximum real deal.

Brunch
It’s a very well documented fact that few cities take their brunch as seriously as Melbourne (even our northern siblings aren’t nearly quite so particular). Seldom alcohol fuelled, the Melbourne brunch revolves around the city’s beverage of choice: coffee. Steer clear of those in obvious hotspots and instead do your homework and find something in the ‘burbs (or at least not on a main road). A wait is almost inevitable (20 minutes or more isn’t unusual), but you’ll increase your likelihood of scoring a table fast if you have no more than four people and arrive between 9 and 9.30am. There are literally hundreds of worthy contenders, but I’ve recently enjoyed The Kettle Black (shown above), Cornershop and Ora Specialty Coffee. Mart 130 has stood the test of time for a reason (and not just because of the novelty factor; it’s located in an old tram stop).

Events
I’m not sure any other city in the world is quite so busy as Melbourne. No matter the time of year you visit, there’s a sporting or cultural event to get into. In very rough chronological order, in any given year Melbourne plays host to: The Australian Open (tennis), Laneway Festival (music), Footscray East Meets West Chinese New Year Festival, White Night (arts), St Kilda Festival, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion WeekMelbourne Food and Wine Festival, Formula One Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne International Comedy FestivalAFL season and grand final, Taste of MelbourneMelbourne Spring Fashion Week, Spring Racing Carnival (horse racing), Boxing Day Test (cricket)… and they’re only the biggest ones which immediately spring to mind. The point is, whatever your persuasion and no matter the time of year you visit, there is undoubtedly a world class event scheduled. On top of these there are also countless major art installations (check out , concerts, shows, open air cinemas and other such joys to discover.

Trenery

Shopping
To be totally fair, with the advent of online shopping, any particular city can hardly lay claim to having the market cornered on this one. If you’re travelling though, it makes sense to me that you’d want to return with something you can’t get at home. Take it from me, Toorak Road (Toorak) and High Street (Armadale) are the new Chapel Street, filled with beautiful multi-label boutiques and flagship stores of Australian designers. The laneways of Melbourne city are also most certainly worth a wander. If you’re visiting from overseas, Australian high street stores Saba, Cue, Sportscraft, MarcsWitchery, Country Road and Trenery are all worthy of a visit.

Lucy Liu

Hit the town
It’s been a seriously long time since I’ve been to a nightclub, so my version of hitting the town now involves cocktail lounges and delectable dinners. It seems every few weeks there’s a hot new restaurant in town, so rather than trying to cover the latest I’ll tell you my current favourites… Maha (Middle Eastern), Ezard (Australian Freestyle), Pastuso (Peruvian), Red Spice Road (South East Asian), Hutong Dumpling Bar (Hong Kong dumplings!), Mamasita (Mexican), Lucy Liu (Multicultural Asian… still not sure exactly what that is, but a delicious sample above) and Woodland House (Modern Australian). As for those cocktails, be sure to check out Eau De Vie (if you can find it), Sweatshop Bar, Madame Brussels (extreme kitsch) and Lui Bar (extreme decadence). Like kick-ass restaurants though, there are many so if cocktails are your thing too, there are many more to choose from.

Get out
Yes, our weather can be crazy unpredictable. It’s not an exaggeration to say we experience all seasons in a day. But in those beautiful moments Melbourne has a lot of outdoors to offer. I’m a big fan of the running tracks around the botanical gardens (The Tan) and Albert Park Lake (also where the Formula One Grand Prix track is located). If you like a good garden, Carlton Gardens are pretty gorgeous too. In the warmer months Melbourne also has a number of outdoor cinemas. Check out Moonlight Cinemas in the botanical gardens, Ben and Jerry’s cinema on St Kilda beach and Rooftop Cinema at the top of Curtin House in the CBD. In the very same months, you’ll also find a bunch of hawker type markets, like the Night Noodle Markets at Birrurung Marr and the Night Market at Queen Victoria Market.

Leave
Finally, if you’re so inclined there’s a rather lot of awesome not far outside Melbourne. Making my list is Daylesford (spa country!), strawberry champagne jam at Domaine ChandonMontalto winery and olive grove for a picnic and viewing of the outdoor sculpture exhibition, the Peninsula Hot Springs and of course… the mighty Brae.

 

Ayu - Fragrance
Everything Else

Friday Finds: Outdoor Voices, Ayu and Suite One Studio

This week I’m all about making the ordinary extraordinary.

Outdoor Voices – By all means, walk your dog in your holey tracksuit and old tshirt… but wouldn’t it be that much nicer a start to the day if your outfit were just a little more chic? Outdoor Voices offers simple, stylish and minimal high-end activewear that will make you hope you run into your ex / hot neighbour / boss during your workout. Made in the USA, prices from $55.00 USD.

Ayu – Some years ago I sat next to a girl in a school uniform on a train and was dismayed to discover she was wearing the same fragrance as me. Since then, I’ve considered seeking out less mainstream fragrances an absolute must. Enter Ayu. Australian-made and ethical, this intoxicating find is quickly becoming a favourite. Their first fragrance – Souk – has just been released, and offers rose, jasmine and sandalwood notes in the blend (amongst others). $89.95 AUD.

Suite One Studio – Sure, you could go and buy some Plain-Jane dinner set from your local department store (all in white, because… it’s easy to clean? I don’t know… why do people buy white dinner sets anyway?!). Or you could add some serious style to every meal you have (even if it’s on the couch or sitting on the kitchen bench), with a beautiful set from Suite One Studio. All pieces are limited run though, and tend to sell out so a) treat your collection carefully and b) get in quick. The store is replenished every Tuesday. Prices from $30.00 USD a piece.

 

The Edit
Everything Else

How To: pare-back, declutter and simplify your life

If in doubt, throw it out (or donate or give away or return…). This has long been my mantra. I live for a good cull. And whilst it’s definitely a work-in-progress, based entirely upon casual observation, I’d argue I have a lot less stuff in my life than your average first-worlder (if you’re reading this, that’s probably you).

Whilst generations before us lived in a time of proper economic depression characterised by true austerity, most of us today have never taken measures like drawing a line up the back of our legs to give the illusion we were wearing stockings. The fact is that for the most part, we’ve enjoyed a lifetime of abundance and availability, no matter our financial situation. When else in history have you been able to spend anything from $3.00 to $300.00 on a t-shirt?

But if luxury is simply about having what the masses do not, then it was only a matter of time before more is more became passé, and the ‘less is more’, ‘quality over quantity’ and ‘curated’ type movements had their time in the sun.

Whether it’s an idea that resonates with you for the mental peace, environmental benefit, luxurious, anti-consumerist statement or some other reason, you’ve made it this far so… here’s how I go about making it happen.

Cuyana - Lean Closet

Ask some tough questions

They’re tough because sometimes you want to keep stuff for no good reason. Here’s how to tell when you’re holding onto it out of habit.

  • Does it make me or my family actively happy?
  • Would it pass the burning house test (see below)?
  • Have I used or looked at it in the last year? Do I foresee any reason I’d use or look at it in the next month?
  • Is it still ‘good’? That is, can still perform the purpose for which it was intended?

Come up with a plan

Not quite ready to say goodbye? Work out a farwell plan and make it happen. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are some of my favourites.

  • Put everything you’re not sure about in a box and stash it somewhere out of the way. If after a set amount of time (no more than 6 months) you haven’t fished anything out of the box, proceed directly to your the nearest donation point. Whatever you do, don’t look in the box.
  • If you’ve culled as far as you’re willing to go at this point, implement a 2-in-1-out system. It’s a simple premise: for every item you acquire, you get rid of two of the same calibre. For example, if you want a new juicer, you have to lose the rice cooker and the waffle iron. I find this a great way to work out whether you really want (or need) something or if it’s just a fleeting fancy.
  • Discover how much you really use things with this technique: take all the hangers in your wardrobe and turn the hooks so that they face you. Each time you wear a piece, turn the hook around the other way. After 6 months, donate anything with the hanger still facing forward. This works with almost anything in your house. For books, put a sticky dot on the spine. Put kitchen utensils in a box and return them to their home after use. You get the idea!

Make it last

Once you’ve made the cull, you’ll discover it’s rather easy to gradually end up back where you started. To prevent this, I work with a 1-in-1-out system. As per the above, it’s pretty straightforward – one item in means one item out.

Want more inspiration? Here are some places to start…

1. The Burning House – what would you take with you if your house was burning down and you only had the time to grab a few, precious things? This blog takes photo contributions from folks all over the world.

2. Daily Connossieur – Jennifer L Scott is a living embodiment of the 10 Piece Wardrobe and shares not just the 10 pieces that make her seasonal cut, but living with them day-to-day.

3. Cuyana – a brand who’s ethos is ‘fewer, better things’ (and their price point makes it very achievable). Their blog provides a how-to plan for achieving your version of a ‘lean closet’.

4. Project 333 – experiments in living with less.

The Beach People - Ahoy Trader
Eat & Drink, Everything Else, Fashion

Friday Finds: The Upside, 12 Health, The Beach People and Coffee Not Coffee

It must be a new year thing, but this week the finds are all about healthy living. I’m feeling for a February full to the brim with successes and stories.

The Upside – Is it the Lululemon effect or something? It seems that the world is suddenly awash with gorgeous boutique activewear labels. And even in that sea of lovely, The Upside stands out. I’m making eyes at the printed yoga tights… not boring but also not too outlandish (there’s only so much you want to attract admiring glances when you’re in lycra after all).

12 Health Muffin Mix

12 Health – The real problem with the whole clean eating thing is that it’s thoroughly time consuming. By the time I’ve been at work for 9+ hours, walked the dog, been to the gym, meditated and handled whatever else the day throws at me, it’s honestly a miracle that I remember to eat at all. And this is why I’m newly enamoured with 12 Health. Low carb, protein-rich, sugar, dairy, wheat and mostly (except one product) gluten free, I can knock out a week’s worth of delicious breakfast muffins in under an hour. Prices from $9.99 AUD for a packet that makes 6 muffins.

The Beach People – Because Turkish towels have had their time in the sun (see what I did there?) and now it’s about round, printed towels that have a little magic carpet ride flair about them and double as sandy-side picnic rugs. Towels, $99.00 AUD.

Coffee Not Coffee - Hot Cacao

Coffee Not Coffee – At the heart of this brand is coffee packed with a nutritional punch, but to be totally honest I bypassed all of that and made a beeline for the hot cacao. It’s sugar free, so not sweet in the way you’d expect of hot chocolate but still somehow hits the same spot. 14 sachets for $24.00 AUD.