Cashmere Wrap & Macadamia Nuts

On Fashion, Travel and Lifestyle.

Letting go is NOT easy… part II

Letting go is NOT easy part II

The previous part ended with a reference to an art collector, who invests time and effort into selecting all artworks belonging to the one special collection. This approach is not only useful when buying additions to your wardrobe, but also when going through what you already own. Be critical when you review a status of your wardrobe. Take a closer look at all pieces and most importantly their quality. Even if a particular item fits you and resonates with your style, you may remember it is made of synthetical yarn what makes it unpleasant to wear. So ask yourself a simple question – is it worth to hold onto it if having it on makes you so uncomfortable? How about that turtleneck made of acrylic, it is your colour and length, but even though it seems to be thick and warm, it is very unreliable, because you are either too warm or too cold whenever you wear it. You probably see my point. Be brave and firm saying goodbye to those less than perfect pieces. Wardrobe detox is a process, so don’t expect to be done in a day, however – if that is your plan and you have the motivation, just go for it. The ultimate goal is to review each and every item in your wardrobe, shoes and accessories included, in a defined period of time. Yes, you should always limit how much time you allocate to the detox, otherwise you may never finalise the process. Once you did a good clean up letting some fresh air into your wardrobe, it is time to see what is missing and what should be replaced.

When searching for new garments, be selective and demanding, if possible – prepare in advance and make some research. This will hopefully help you to gain a distance and not act on an impulse. Some pieces appear to be “it” at the first glance, but when you look closer and apply your knowledge, you may discover their obvious flaws. It is not only fast fashion brands that use cheap fabrics and cut corners on craftsmanship. On more than one occasion I found acrylic sweaters sold by an otherwise reputable brand with a price tag worthy of a merino wool. Always read all info and composition, don’t go for a “nice to touch” impression as your only criteria in assessing quality, because you may be fooled easily. Look closely at seams, lining, buttons and button-holes. If possible, turn the garment inside out and judge the finishing from this perspective. If you find a great silk shirt that is perfect in all but buttons, you may take a risk and replace them, this is easily done, but if a major quality like lining or fabric is not up to your standard, leave it be and do not buy.

Be very picky and demand the best for the budget you have. Always allocate an amount that you can spend and do not get carried away, much less reach for a credit card. Spend the money you have, buy only what you can afford. If your goal is to find a good quality handbag, you don’t have to go for a high end brand, but look for more affordable one. It is a good idea to research second hand market and internet auctions, a well worn Mulberry can be a good alternative to an off the shelf Furla. However, no matter the brand, one solid and well made leather bag is usually a much better investment than four badly made cheap bags in faux leather. Anytime I would pick one beautiful cashmere or merino wool sweater over five made of a synthetic yarn, because one top quality garment will wear well and be a companion for many seasons to come. Personally I am a fan of an understated, classic elegance, but we are all different, the key is to define your own style and buy items that you want to keep and wear for a long time. They do not have to be classics per se, but your own staples that you want to wear over and over again, year after year. With this you will hopefully be able to define what resonates with your individual sense of style and handpick items that are of the finest quality. How to define your style, so you don’t have to redo the detox process every season? The third and last part will offer some advice on the matter.

Photo: pinterest.com

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Paris, Paris…

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It seems there is a French theme continuing over the past few weeks, which is not coincidental, because I look for an inspiration on how to refine my style and make it more colourful and exciting. Sandro Paris is one of those brands that I look at, their designs are intriguing and feminine, at the same time uncomplicated and with a classic cut. After this long and quite exhausting winter I look forward to chances of showing more individuality and most of all – wearing high heels again. While waiting for the snow to melt, some looks from Sandro Paris lookbook to bring an air of spring.

Photos: us.sandro-paris.com

LifeStyle Mix. March.

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“Where is the spring?” was probably a question asked most often in March. Despite optimism and high expectations, this month was very cold and ended up on sub-zero notes, white Easter in the city was not appreciated. Apart from the unusual weather, things slowly fall back into their place. Short excursion to Gothenburg was a much needed diversion. Now I look forward to April, as it will bring a happy reunion with a dear friend and another travel to a “first time” destination. I only cross my fingers and hope that the spring arrives to Norway in time for both.

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

Gothenburg Travel Diary.

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It wasn’t my first visit to Gothenburg, but as I am almost ashamed to admit, it was the very first one when I saw more than just insides of shops. I used to be so obsessed with bargain hunting that didn’t allow myself to explore and enjoy places that I travelled to. Fortunately that changed and now I am much more conscious and happy to explore new places. For the first time I visited charming Haga district, where I enjoyed coffee breaks, picture taking and browsing through Haga Hem, from where I brought back home decorative ceramics. I took a stroll down Linnégatan, an elegant venue that reminded me of Stockholm.

Pictures I took during my stay are a little bit gloomy, but the weather is still a disappointment and at the end of March there are no signs of spring, to the contrary – morning in Gothenburg was white, because at night there was a snowfall. I was very happy to get away from Oslo, if only for a while. Now I look forward to my upcoming excursion scheduled for April.

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Letting go is NOT easy… part I

Letting go is NOT easy

Would you be able to list all things that you own? Sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? So how about we look at your closet, can you name all garments that you have in there? Still nothing? Perhaps all tops or bottoms? If you feel like your head is spinning and my ideas are bordering with insane, you probably have way too much in your wardrobe. No judgement, abundance is no crime, only a burden.

Material possessions keep us in their power. It is a spell that is so difficult to break that we are ready to live in denial only to avoid facing the problem. We are willing to dedicate our precious time to keep and maintain them. We give away our living space, allowing them to occupy our territory. Why is that so? We feel bound by sentiments or memories connected to them. We do not want to loose money spent when purchasing them. We do not want to be wasteful, waiting for the opportunity to use them again or offer to someone else who may need that particular thing. Fair enough if you keep that great cashmere cardigan that became too loose to hand it to your friend who is one size bigger than yourself, but worst if you hold onto it for years even if you hate it and every time you see it hanging in your closet you are overwhelmed by a sense of regret for spending so much money on something that isn’t your colour and doesn’t even fit you properly, yet you can’t part with it because… well, because of what? And what about that silk dress that you bought in 2002 and still keep, even though it makes you uncomfortably conscious of changes to your silhouette, because the last time you were able to zip it up was back in 2006. And now imagine a closet that is filled with your favourite peaces, each of them a good friend that makes you feel comfortable, fits you well and flatters your body. When you look inside the closet, clothes are hanging neatly, there is enough space to move hangers, while other items are elegantly folded on shelves or inside drawers. Every garment has own space and you know well what is where, all in perfect harmony with your sense of style, needs and lifestyle. Doesn’t this sound fantastic? Sure it does, but why is it so hard to achieve that many give up trying before they even begin?

I am hardly the first person to say that you should only own and maintain those possessions that make you happy, agree with you and feel right or are necessary to keep from practical reasons. I believe this is an important message that should be repeated time and time again. All that doesn’t fall into “so me” and “so necessary” should find its way to an internet auction, charity or in worst case – a garbage bin. I am not an extreme minimalist who would give a formula on how many wardrobe items to hold on to, my belief is that as long as you regularly use what you own, it is good enough indicator. To use a parallel, some people hang only one special painting on their wall and enjoy it as a centrepiece of their living space, others go for several paintings adorning one wall, both ways are fine as long as you like what you see and are set on seeing it everyday for many years to come. Nothing in your closet should be random or purchased without reflection, behave like an art collector – invest in what is meant to last, chose wisely and with a long term time perspective. More on how to refine your wardrobe in part II, so this subject remains to be continued.

Photo: pinterest.com

From the Bookshelf. “Love Parisienne: The French Woman’s Guide to Love and Passion.” by F. Besson, E. Amor and C. Steinlen.

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Put your hand in the air if you ever dreamed of being Parisian and living the fantasy of a chic existence filled with stylish adventures, liberation, sexy encounters, charming bistros and great clothes. There you see, we have all been there. The City of Lights and its magic holds the universal power to inspire and amaze, while Parisian women are considered to be arbiters of elegance and allure, as well as certain life wisdom. This universal desire to be more French is a graceful subject for publications. Now, after a success of “How to be Parisian wherever you are” and “Love. Style. Life.” , comes “Love Parisienne: The French Woman’s Guide to Love and Passion.”, a funny and comprehensive guide to l’amour according to three friends with Parisian zip codes and decades of dating and relationship experiences.

The book is divided into three parts – for single and dating, for those entering into a serious relationship and finally for seasoned couples. Each part offers smart, witty and helpful advice on how to enjoy each phase of dating and staying in a long lasting relationship, at all times being true to oneself and going through life with self respect and grace. This is no self-help book, but a take on love life from Paris that will bring smile to your face as well as some moments of reflection.

LifeStyle Mix. February.

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Day follows day and hour follows hour, life goes on even in a face of most tragic events when heart aches and reason can’t understand “why”. It seems almost inappropriate to laugh, but you do laugh when something is really funny. Sadness blinds you to beauty, but when you spot something special, you stop to take a picture. Routines seem so insignificant, but you follow them like a lifeline, because they keep you going. Slowly, reluctantly, with an effort. You begin to enjoy a morning coffee, treat yourself to that favourite dark chocolate, remember to water flowers, look forward to a lunch date with a friend… Time goes by, pieces of puzzle fall into place, even though nothing can cure the hole in your heart caused by a loss of the loved one. My grief and sorrow, I hope they slowly melt like snow.

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

Isabel Marant This, Isabel Marant That…

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There are few brands better associated with Parisian style than Isabel Marant is. Praised and admired for her designs, she makes clothes for women who want to be alluring, bohemian and youthful no matter the age or status. This uncomplicated style appeals to both women and men, combining feminine and sexy with nonchalant and simple. Perhaps the key to her success is designing for real women living real lives rather than focusing on an imaginary “la femme”. Whatever it is, Isabel Marant knows how and does it well.

http://www.isabelmarant.com

La Parisienne – Sophie Marceau in “Une Rencontre”.

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A few days ago my husband and I re-watched “Une Rencontre”, one of my favourite French movies. I love the story, but this time my full attention was on the main character Elsa played by Sophie Marceau and her fantastic costumes, which make a perfect introduction to the Parisian chic know-how.

Elsa is a Parisienne, a single mother of three who tries to balance her writer career with a family life and a somewhat complicated love life. In the movie we observe Elsa in many different situations – spending time with her teenage kids, attending parties, travelling, meeting friends. Her outfits are well adjusted to each situation, natural and nonchalant by day, sexy and feminine by night, all in perfect harmony with the character who is smart, independent, bit chaotic and charming. Sophie Marceau is very real as Elsa, you can almost believe she is an actual person whom you may accidentally spot when visiting Paris, because all about her seems to be so genuine – her hairstyle, clothes, smile, apartment… Elsa is comfortable in her own skin, conscious of her femininity and spontaneous, perhaps this is what makes Parisian women so intriguing, a harmony between body and spirit. If I ever encountered Elsa, I would definitely invite her for a glass of white wine, it would be great to sit together talking about style and her adventures.

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Photos: allocine.fr

Parisian Chic with Sandro.

I believe that being Parisian and living the Parisian look is one of the most common fashion fantasies that women from all around the world share. It is no wonder – French women inspire and impress with their sense of style, poise, allure, elegance and that special “something” that is difficult to define, but nonetheless noticeable. Some call it nonchalance, some call it effortlessness, but the fact remains – they are almost born with it, while the less fortunate not native to the City of Lights have yet to discover it. Some French brands have the inimitable French chic and can help with a quest on becoming more Parisian than… here you can supplement with words that come to mind when you think about yourself – Scandinavian, sensible, business like, grey, careful, …

Let’s take a look at Sandro Paris, an intriguing brand with a truly Parisian DNA. Their lookbook is almost a guidebook on how to dress in a Parisian way, being chic, modern and feminine, doing so in a comfortable and youthful way.

Photos: us.sandro-paris.com