OOTD Review Idaho dress (1)

When I first noticed this REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress many months ago on the rack at my regular (and fast becoming a favourite, after defecting from CUE) REVIEW boutique I tried it on but thought I didn’t look as good in it as a REVIEW dress should. It is a nice dress, don’t get me wrong, but there was something about the shape of the dress, the cutting, and the colour that I thought did not quite suit me nor flatter my body shape (which I had recently found out matching clothes to body shape is an art and science). Maybe it needed to be long sleeved? Maybe it needed to have a contrasting white collar? Or maybe it was my hair colour and skin tone: the black lace dress certainly looked better if I was blonde (which I am not), I thought. So I left it.


But whenever in walked past the REVIEW boutique in the in following few weeks I found myself looking at it again. Again every other time I looked at it and tried it on again and looked into the mirror I didn’t think it flattered me to the extent a REVIEW dress should. Then one evening I saw it again on someone else’s Instagram post. And I must admit I wanted that dress after seeing that post.


So the next day I hurried into my regular REVIEW boutique. They sold out, so I found myself criss-crossing the city over the next few days until I found one in my size. For some funny and inexplicable reason I still wasn’t too convinced I looked good in that dress when I tried it on one more time, but I bought it anyway. My doubt disappeared when I got home and put it on again – I actually love that dress.


Their description is that ‘the Idaho Dress in Black & Cream is this season’s monochrome must-have. It features delicate black and cream lace with short sleeves, a contrast collar with self-tie bow and a scalloped hemline. Dainty, neatly tailored and sophisticated you’ll love this dress for special occasion dressing.’


I don’t think I need for a special occasion for an excuse to wear this dress, so here I am wearing it to the office to work today.

OOTD Review Idaho dress (2).JPG


Occasion: Office/ work



REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress (available here)

CUE black leather belt, designed by Peter Lang (available here)








Today is the first day of the Lunar new year (also known as Chinese New Year). The lunar new year is major event in the Far East, a bit like Christmas in the West, but bigger. From China to Hong Kong to Taiwan to South East Asia, major celebrations dominate the day. And oh, it is also a public holiday. The ethnic Chinese diaspora overseas do not have the benefit of a public holiday, but it doesn’t mean the festival is not observed. So even though I have to go to work today, I have been brought up to observe certain traditions.


Among the many traditions (which I will not go through here – I am sure there are better blogs out there where each and every tradition is listed), firstly, red is worn (to signify good luck). I ran through my wardrobe last night and the only new item I had close to the colour red is pink: this sleek and elegant pink VERONIKA MAINE dress. Pink and red may be two different words in English, but in Mandarin pink is essentially formed of two words: ‘pastel red’. So I convinced myself I had observed tradition.

OOTD-lunar new year (2)

OOTD-lunar new year (1)


OOTD- lunar new year (5)

But just in case (in the off chance pinks isn’t quite red…), I decided to wear a red bra underneath: this particular flattering piece from DITA VON TEESE, which she describes:

“I love contrasting satin and lace, and I really wanted an elegant, smooth bra that also creates voluptuous cleavage. The wide-set straps leave the front of the chest very bare, which is very, very sexy.” – Dita Von Teese

OOTD-lunar new year (3)

OOTD-lunar new year (4)

The first tradition upheld 🙂


Wishing everyone a prosperous and happy lunar new year, and the year ahead! 🙂


Occasion: Office/ work




DITA VON TEAEE ‘Star Lift’ bra






OOTD – Summer wedding

There is something very very romantic about getting married and having a wedding reception in a scenic vineyard in the warm summer months. My friend Sara did just that. So for my first post of 2018 I decided to blog about what I wore to this romantic wedding. With an invite in my hand and a suitcase of dresses, heels, and make-up, I drove for four hours south after work yesterday in the setting sun, still in my work clothes, just to get to the hotel well after dark. By the time I checked in and got into my hotel room I was so tired I was ready for bed. If only the vineyards were closer to the city…


I naturally wanted to sleep in this morning, but I cannot. I haven’t even decided which dress I wanted to wear (hence a suitcase full of dresses), so I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn:

  • to walk around the venue in the light to see what it looks like (it was all dark when I got there last night)
  • to try to get a sneaky peek at the wedding cake (success!!) and wedding rings (failed!!)
  • to unpack and go thru the various combination of heels and dresses and decide what outfit should I wear.


As for my outfit I shortlisted a few, including this breezy floral dress from CUE which I love so much in the warm summer months which I previously wore, and another versatile boardroom to bar zip-front dress from CUE which I sometimes wear to the office and also on the weekends, but in the end I chose a dress I have never previously worn despite having bought it: a classy and breezy Jayson Brunsdon ‘black label – poppy field’ floral dress.

Jayson Brunston 'black label - poppy field' dress at wedding (1)

Unlike some of my clothes which no longer fit me (especially my skirts- I must have put on weight lately), this dress still fits me perfectly. This Jayson Brunsdon ‘black label – poppy field’ dress has a corset top held up by spaghetti straps (which I prefer over strapless dresses as strapless ones have a tendency of accidentally slipping down and exposing my breasts – risky!) and a well-below knee length hemline, fulfilling the ‘classy, not slutty’ rule of wedding outfits. Furthermore, I love the flowing pleated full skirt, which is perfect for sashaying about in heels. Bright floral prints on a dark background give it an understated classy look. Perfect for special occasions, or events such as a wedding. If it gets chilly (highly unlikely in this summer heat) I have my Oasis fitted blazer jacket handy.

Jayson Brunston 'black label - poppy field' dress at wedding (4)

Jayson Brunston 'black label - poppy field' dress at wedding (3)

Trying on a few different pairs of heels including a pair of suede black pumps, I decided to go with my pair of sky-high Salvatore Ferragamo. My feet might hurt even before the wedding reception starts but hey, even though I am not the bride I deserve to look good too.

Jayson Brunston 'black label - poppy field' dress at wedding (2)




Occasion: Summer wedding



Jayson Brunsdon ‘black label – poppy field’ dress

OASIS black fitted blazer jacket

Salvatore Ferragamo heels

wedding venue

wedding decor

wedding cake


Natalie_CUE_skirt_Rhodes_Beckett_blouse_DiorOOTD (2)

Well, the title may be a tad misleading. I wished I was on holidays and in Melbourne only for the Dior exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, but in actual fact it is actually another business trip that brings me to this marvellous city.

Natalie_CUE_skirt_Rhodes_Beckett_blouse_DiorOOTD (1)

I haven’t been travelling as much as I used to (when I say this it conjures the impression that I am one of those jet-setting executive frequent fliers who whizz around the country on Qantas business class seats, but in actual fact for me it is only a handful of times a year, and when I do so it is usually accompanying my boss travelling on the cheapest economy Jetstar seats on hand carry-on luggage only – I let you readers judge whether or not the company is a cheapskate), so despite this when this last minute offer of 2 days away came up I took it without hestitation. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it is because of the romantic notion conjured from telling someone I am travelling on business. Maybe it is because I need a (much-needed) break from my life stresses in Perth. In any case I knew I wouldn’t be able to see much of Melbourne in the 2 days- it’ll just be long hours spent attending meetings and note taking and entertaining some clients.


As I am a creature of habit (with clear favouritism tendencies), for my wardrobe this business trip I stuck to classic skirt suits wearing my favourite pieces. As you may already know I am a fan of skirt suits. I think well fitted skirt suits are professional, polished, and unmistakeably feminine. Today I am wearing a fitted crisp white shirt from Rhodes and Beckett paired with my favourite CUE black pencil skirt and Ninewest heels.

Natalie_CUE_skirt_Rhodes_Beckett_blouse_DiorOOTD (3)

I’ve heard from friends that the Dior exhibition is really good and is unmissable for anyone interested in fashion, but the gallery is already closed by the time I finished work. It is on until November, so in the mean time I’ll have to schedule another trip to come back before the exhibition wraps up.




Occasion: Office/ work – Business trip meetings



RHODES & BECKETT fitted long sleeved button-up white shirt

CUE pencil skirt

OASIS black fitted blazer jacket






It’s hard to move away from my obsession with black and white as my go-to colour for my office wardrobe. There is a certain elegance, I think, in plain black and white. A crisp white blouse/ top matched with a black pencil skirt, like the outfit I am wearing today, is just timeless. Don’t get me wrong, while I love florals and bright colours, I am just not in a mood for that today. The chilly winter temperature, and a (often unreliable) prediction for some rain, make my trusty old black trench coat fitting for throwing over my black and white outfit today.


white CUE top black CUE skirt

Occasion: Office/ work



ZARA black Trench coat (a couple of seasons old)

CUE off-white button-up top featuring a V-neckline with a layered collar and asymmetric concealed button down placket (available here)

CUE black pencil skirt

Kurt Geiger Black suede High Heel Court Shoes (available here)

OOTD – The white shirt compared

During the cooler months long sleeved shirts don’t only give a polished look to the office outfit, but also helps keep me warm. With premium office clothing retailer Rhodes and Beckett on the (accelerated) path to closing down, this may be a good time to browse thru the aisles of heavily discounted garment to add to the office wardrobe. Discount aside, how do their shirts fit? Are they well made? Are they comfortable? In the interest of public service, I have decided to take on the timely task of comparing the Rhodes and Beckett white shirt with one from my favourite label: CUE.


‘Why compare the two?’ You may ask. Well for a start both seem to have a line that is catered towards the office wardrobe of the corporate woman. Both make similar looking white shirts. And both also seem to target the premium end of the market, matching each other’s prices (I recently paid full price for a new Rhodes and Beckett long sleeved white shirt is $159 and within the same season bought at full priced a CUE white shirt at $159, I didn’t realise before that they were matched for price until I pulled out the old tabs as I write this).

RB tag

Followers of my blog will know I am a big fan of CUE (and not, I am not paid by CUE to say this, although I probably should – hint, hint). CUE’s skirts and dresses, like their shirts and blouses (which is the subject of this post), are well fitted and flattering. Their fabric are quality fabric, and some items are made in Australia (although not all). Their workmanship is also towards the better end of the spectrum (so definitely no H&M quality here). But mostly, I am a big fan of CUE because of how their garments fit me and flatter my body shape- I never cease to feel good wearing their dresses, shirts, blouses, skirts, jumpsuits

cue tag

Despite their strengths, the one annoying thing about CUE is that they don’t actually have an enduring line of classic wardrobe essentials that spans the seasons for the corporate woman. The long sleeved with shirt (and the pencil skirt too) that has become my favourite abruptly ended many seasons ago. Searching high and low for a new one as my current ones start to head towards replacement age is a futile attempt: such wardrobe classics are simply discontinued after each season.


So of course in my search to replace classic wardrobe essentials I started to stray. White Rhodes and Beckett coming onto the horizon, I decided to give it a try.


The product comparison:


Appearance and finish:

Rhodes and Beckett white shirt is made in China. The description of the shirt as ‘white satin stretch’ is truly only for the ‘stretch’ and the ‘white’; it is cotton and certainly doesn’t look satin. The material looks very thin, but putting on the shirt it is surprisingly not ‘see through’ (which plaques many a cheap white shirt). Quality appears mediocre, definitely not up to the standard as CUE.

CUE’s shirt is made in China too. The material looks as though it is of a better quality than the similarly priced like-for-like comparison product from Rhodes and Beckett. It feels thicker and finished better.


Cut and design:

Rhodes and Beckett’s shirt has a masculine feel to it: the lack of ‘fitting’ in its fitted shirt (see below), the awkward button positions… there is definitely a suggestion that their women’s shirts are nothing more than men’s shirts made a few sizes smaller.

CUE’s design definitely shows that their shirts are sewn as women’s shirts right from the start.



Rhodes and Beckett’s sleeve length is awkward, and so is button position. Leave one button unbuttoned and it reveals too much cleavage; close it up and it looks overdone. More annoyingly, Rhodes and Beckett definition of ‘fitted’ is definitely not what I expect of a fitted shirt. While the shoulders are exact, the garment sits on the rest of my body like a poorly defined shirt (i.e. too loose), necessitating some alterations on the weekend to make it more ‘fitted’ (thank to mom on her trusty sewing machine!) to my body shape. The point is I don’t expect to have to do some sewing after having paid $159 for a shirt.

CUE, on the other hand, fit my body perfectly. There is little loose material over the bust and waist. Sleeve length is near-perfect, and button placement position is spot-on.



Both Rhodes and Beckett and CUE shirts feel alright when worn. There is enough stretch in the fabric to allow movements and both feel comfortable enough in an air-conditioned/ heated office.


The verdict:

Premium office clothing retailer Rhodes and Beckett is on the (accelerated) path to closing down, and one can see why. Their shirt are overpriced, poorly designed, fit poorly, and definitely doesn’t flatter. Premium boutique fit out and oversized check-out carry bags cannot save it from its critical flaw: poorly designed and finished clothing that is priced way above what it is worth. Its no wonder they are going bust. I’d pick it up if it were on sale and heavily discounted (but probably not online, in case it doesn’t ship now that is is closing down), but I’d still go to CUE any day for office fitted shirts.




Natalie’s current season fashion wish-list

I’ve been out and about in the shops lately, and I thought I might share with everyone my must-have fashion shortlist for the season so far:

Natalies wishlist 2017


  1. Rhodes & Beckett Flame and Atlante Paisley Pencil Shirt Dress

As the weather gets cooler with winter, Shirt Dresses become both stylish, practical and comfortable to stay warm in the office. I am not usually a Rhodes and Beckett fan (as CUE does better cuts and style for the similar money) but this shirt dress just looks gorgeous and I fell in love with it at first sight. Until I can afford it with my next paycheck, I’ll keep eyeing it every time I walk past the Rhodes and Beckett boutique!


  1. NineWest ‘Xenos’ pumps

Firstly it’s the colour I love – contrasting black and white. Secondly it’s the little bow at the front. And thirdly the heel. The pair of pumps looks contemporary and smart, while a practical 6cm petite kitten heel ensure comfort in the office. 🙂


  1. Dita Von Teese ‘Star Lift’ Balconnet Bra

I just had to fall in love with this bra. It’s both sexy and comfy. If only it came in white so that I can wear it under my white shirts and blouses…


  1. CUE Check Pencil Dress

Regular followers will know I am a CUE girl. CUE is pretty much my favourite when it comes to updating my wardrobe, be it for work (such as here), or the weekend (here). This classy sleeveless pencil dress I am sure will become one of my favourites, suitable for both the office and the weekend.