OOTD – IN MELBOURNE FOR DIOR

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Wearing:

 

Occasion: Office/ work – Business trip meetings

 

Wearing:

RHODES & BECKETT fitted long sleeved button-up white shirt

CUE pencil skirt

OASIS black fitted blazer jacket

NINEWEST heels

 

Xoxo

Natalie

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OOTD – ENTRENCHED IN BLACK AND WHITE

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

 

Wearing:

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

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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.

 

Fit:

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.

 

Comfort:

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.

 

xoxo

Natalie

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.

xoxo

Natalie

PART 4: UPDATE – A FIRST FOR 2017: ONLINE FASHION SHOPPING

So here I am again, writing a continuation and the final instalment of a first for 2017: online fashion shopping.

 

When I unpacked the shirt, the first thing I noticed was that unlike in the picture on Rhodes and Beckett website, there were no buttons or fasteners for the sleeves.

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Comparing what I received (left) with that on their website (right) I thought to myself is that an oversight? Did they forget to send it? Was it sent along with the shirt but dropped out of the box?

online shopping Rhodes&Beckett (2)

I needed answers, so I emailed the Rhodes and Beckett team. They reply promptly, much to my surprise given the company is under receivership. Unfortunately, the reply stated ‘cufflinks are purchased separately and are shown for display purposes only.’

online shopping Rhodes&Beckett (4)

What? Isn’t that misleading advertising?

 

There was nothing on their website that said stated ‘cufflinks are purchased separately’ nor did they mention on check-out that picture on their website are for ‘display purposes only.’ I felt kinda cheated, to be exact.

 

When I actually measured the shirt the second thing I realised was that their sizing guide was way off. Yep. On their guide, I would have been maybe a size 10, but I ordered a size 8 and found that I could probably do even a 6. The inability to try on something like a clothing is really not going to give much joy in terms of fit.

 

The third thing I noticed was when I actually tried the shirt. It says it is a ‘satin’ and ‘fitted’ style: well it isn’t what I’d call satin because it is really more cotton than satin. And the term ‘fitted’ when used by Rhodes and Beckett is ‘loose’ when used by CUE: yes Rhodes and Beckett should try one some shirts from CUE to see what ‘fitted’ actually means.

 

You will already have noted that convenient as it may be, I was not a big fan of online shopping. I must admit I with my first online shopping experience, I still am not. Disappointment? Definitely. Maybe I should report this to ABC’s the Checkout: the TV program that ‘…tackles issues that face all of us when we open our wallets – identifying ways consumers are being taken advantage of, manipulated and ripped off…’

 

Xoxo

Natalie

PART 3 UPDATE – A FIRST FOR 2017: ONLINE FASHION SHOPPING

A number of things happened in my personal life of late, which is why there is an extra long gap lately between by posts. But I am hoping to put all that behind me now…

 

So here I am, as promised, a continuation of A first for 2017: online fashion shopping. You will already have note that convenient as it may be, I am not a big fan of online shopping. But despite Rhodes & Beckett going into receivership I must admit I did receive my online shopping merchandise.

 

It came in a plain, brown box.

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Upon opening the box, delivery paperwork appeared next.

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Then the shirt, in its packaging with labels attached.

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The presentation is somehow, compared to shopping at a physical boutique, lack-lustre. I bought a new top from REVIEW this week and you got to admit, shopping at a physical boutique is still more attractive. At least the shop assistant takes the effort to carefully fold up and wrap up the garment, making it so much more extra special.

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What about everyone else? Are you a fan of online shopping or are you, like me, still prefer to go into a physical retail shop? Leave a reply, send me a message, or email me what you think!

VALENTINE’S DAY – AND I’VE GOT A SECRET ADMIRER!

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Valentine’s day usually isn’t a big deal for me. Sometimes it’s not by choice – when I am single there isn’t actually a point in celebrating, is there? Anyway, rather unexpectedly, I received a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s day! I say rather unexpectedly because I recently became single again, so I wasn’t expecting anything. As much as I try to keep it to myself the word that I am single probably went around…

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So the flowers were delivered to my office, and with it a card with my name. No small gesture I say, sending flowers straight to my workplace. I don’t yet know who sent it, but I could probably make a guess. So far I’ve narrowed the suspects down to a small handful… so for me there’ll be more detective work over the weekend, unless someone wants to own up!

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And finally, given this is after all a (mostly) fashion blog, I am wearing:

NINEWEST heels

RHODES & BECKETT button-up long sleeved fitted white shirt

CUE pencil skirt (black)