Tomorrow is the Lunar (or Chinese) New Year. A new year so close after NYE? I’m down! I don’t know about you, but we’re reaching the point in the new year when resolutions and goals are a little bit harder to stick to, and the malaise of winter is setting in. In other words, I’m glad for day to reset and renew my enthusiasm for the new year!
(Also, I love wearing red, which is good luck!)
2020 is the year of the Metal Rat, and is supposed to be a lucky year for money and new beginnings. I’m no expert on Lunar New Year, which is also the Chinese Spring Festival based on their lunisolar calendar. I do know that years are represented by animals and elements, representing yin or yang energy. I’m an earth sheep, which is supposed to mean that I’m tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive,sensitive, and calm (I’ll take it). You can learn about the traditions and meanings of Lunar New Year here and here.
If you’re new to Chinese astrology, a firm believer, or just looking for an excuse to celebrate (again), we can use tomorrow as another blank slate to welcome in prosperous new beginnings! I’m all for any excuse to celebrate and start anew, so I’ll be wearing red and excited to welcome the Rat! What about you?
I’ve linked to some of my favorite Lunar New Year Offerings below–they’re mainly cosmetics, some great red lipsticks and incredibly indulgent powder from Givenchy (I have it and it’s well worth your time!)
Happy Chinese New Year!
Note: these are affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!
Last year, at Austin Fashion Week, I had the great pleasure of meeting and falling in love with autark, and it’s designer/owner Sophia McMahon. From puff sleeve dresses and tops, to the ethical and slow approach, the pieces in each collection of Autark are just dreamy, and make me feel sophisticated and the little girl in me LOVES twirling in them! Sophia is charming, and we both love our cats and “Law and Order”, and I knew that I wanted to share my love of Sophia’s autark with you!
I got the chance to sit with Sophia and learn a bit about her brand, her story, and where she wants to take us with her fashion:
IP: What drew you to fashion design? How did you get started?
I was always interested in design, but a lot more academically focussed while I was at school. After I finished school and went to university, I worked for a couple of years in a completely different career – I enjoyed it but didn’t feel challenged. After taking some time to consider my career direction, I decided to take a leap and pursue the interest I’d always had, but felt a little to afraid to chase after. I enrolled at TAFE here in South Australia, and started autark straight after graduating in 2016.
How would you describe Autark’s mission? Who do you design for?
My mission is quite lofty – it’s to change the way that consumers think about their clothing. Firstly, I want people to think differently about the clothes they buy – what clothes they purchase and how often, how they care for the clothes that they own, and what they do with them at the end of the life of the clothing. My wish for customers is that they don’t feel the pressure of purchasing more often, that they buy well made, beautiful pieces that they can wear much more frequently, but that last for a long time.
Secondly, I want people to know that slow fashion can be fun, light and fashion forward! The aim for my pieces is that they are versatile and classic, yet with a design perspective or point of interest.
I design for women of all ages, who are interested in fashion and design, ethics, and who know their own mind. I absolutely adore seeing customers in autark pieces – it really gives me a buzz like nothing else.
I know that your line is Eco-friendly. What processes do you use to get your line that way?
I am so proud of our progress in the way that we approach limiting our impact in as many different areas of our process as possible.
All of our pieces are still made here in Adelaide, Australia, which is wonderful – it’s fantastic being able to build relationships with our manufacturers and see their beautiful work in real time. We are also really excited that our next collection will be made entirely from deadstock fabric, which is fabric that was not utilised by its previous owner. And of course, all fabric continues to be 100% natural fibres.
For the future we are focussing on further refining our processes particularly in regards to the sustainability of our practices, and will be exploring different ways of processing our fabric offcuts, as well as the kinds of finishings we use for our pieces. It’s something that we work to improve on a continuous basis.
Take us through the Autark process-design, manufacturing, etc.
We are currently producing one collection per year, so throughout the year I collate inspiration and design ideas. I’ll then start sourcing fabrics and try to match fabric and design ideas together. Next comes the sampling, to see how the fabrics work with the designs, which then flows on to production.
There is a lot of problem solving at every step of the way, but it keeps me on my toes!
If someone was to buy just one piece from your line, what would you recommend? What would you say is your signature piece?
That’s a really tricky one to answer! Can I say an outfit? Probably the Puff Sleeve Bodice and High Waisted Pant. I just adore this outfit – to me it epitomises what I am trying to achieve with the label. Two classic pieces that can be put together as one statement outfit, which can then be broken apart to be dressed up or down. I love this outfit with heels, or sneakers, the pant with a t-shirt, and the bodice with jeans. The possibilities are practically endless!
I know the fashion community in Australia is supportive and welcoming. Is there anything you’d love people to know about it?
I’m so proud of our local industry here in Adelaide, and as a greater whole in Australia. There is so much talent here, and in my opinion a really unique, fresh and easy design perspective. The Adelaide community in particular is creative, proactive and energetic, and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
My favorite pieces from Autark are also the puff sleeve pieces! (You can shop the dress and top) I urge to explore all the collections at autark. The collections are so beautiful, classic, and charming! Sophia, autark, and Australia are things I love, and this month a portion of proceeds from Autark will be donated to the wildfire relief in Australia, so we can all feel great about shopping!
I hope that you love Sophia and autark as much as I do, happy shopping!
Holidays in January are both a relief (the month can seem so overwhelming after the holidays and with all the new goals) and a bit jarring (we’ve just gotten into a new routine!). What January holidays are amazing for? Sales. The first (big) ones since the holidays. A time to get what you wanted last year, and a time to define some of your looks for the coming seasons. These sales are always a favorite of mine, I get to stock up on winter basics, and I get to get new things for spring. A little bit of all of that is on sale, and I’ve linked some of my favorites for your shopping pleasure below. Of course, you can always follow me on social media, as well as ShopStyleCollective and LiketoKnowit to stay up to the minute on all my shopping picks!
I hope that if you got the day off it was exactly what you needed, be it a day of relaxation or a trip or a day with friends. And I hope that if you’re shopping you’re getting amazing deals!
Note: this post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!
At Jcrew both new arrivals and sale are on sale!
Use code LONGWKND for 30% off new arrivals! Shop my picks here
And use the same code, LONGWKND for an extra 40% off sale, shop my picks here
There is nothing more chic than a silk blouse. My favorites are from Equipment, the silk is so soft and the cuts are so classic. And this weekend you can get an extra 40% off sale shirt with code EXTRA40. These are my favorites!
New Year, New Me. I bet money I don’t have that you’re seeing that phrase all over social media and your emails this week. New Year, New Me. What does that really mean? Is it supposed to encourage us to set new goals and go after them? Are we supposed to wake up on January 1st completely new? What if we don’t? My theory: people fall into two categories, those who believe in “new year, new me” and those who think that nothing really changes.
What if both of those categories of people are right?
If you didn’t hear, the beginning of 2020 got off to a slightly slower start than I thought it would.
You can see all about it:
But, the slow start has given me time to really consider my goals, and how I want to get to where I want to go. I’m great at big picture, but can struggle with small picture and action steps, and I’m thinking about how to conquer that. I’m thinking about what I really want and what’s really important to me. And, I’m using this guide from Groom+Style to evaluate my goal-setting techniques.
New year, New me? Let’s do it.
Let’s get real with each other? Along with this being the month of “new year, new me”, this month is essentially one long hangover recovery. Maybe that’s because of all the champagne on NYE, or maybe it’s just the holiday hangover that makes getting back to work and your routine a little harder. After a week of so of a little more freedom, this stretch of cold and what seems like endless work is difficult to jump into. Here at Investment Piece: we’re taking it slow, easing into “new year, new me”, if you will. From here on out you can expect new posts, but we’re working back into our routine and trying to make the first week of the new year feel as easy as possible.
We covered new year, what about new me? I love to think about this blog as a dialog between us. I hope that you get out of it what I love to put in. This year I’m looking to pick up some of my favorite series where we left off: Fashion Stories and What We’re Wearing. More videos. More exciting pictures And of course, my goal is to bring you exciting outfit inspiration. What about you? Is there something you love? A series you would cut? Is there constructive input you have on what we offer? What are your thoughts? I want this space to reflect you, as well as me, so I’m all ears!
In this year I hope we carry forward the best parts of us from 2019. I hope that we start amazing things, and become even more fantastic. And that there are amazing shoes for all of us!
I’ve linked the shopping for each of these looks here:
This post does contain affiliate links, but that does not affect the price for you!
This outfit is the stuff that my childhood dreams are made of! I was a kid in the 1980s, and a bit awkward and chubby, but I longed to be glamorous and fashionable and one of the “cool girls”. I idolized some of my babysitters and actresses and some of the 80s fashion. Yes, there was 80s fashion that was BAD, but the good fashion from the 80s? It’s still good. And it’s back! See pleated jeans.
(Side note, I’ve written a little bit about 1980s fashion here, here, and here)
In the 1980s I would have LOVED to wear an outfit like this. True story, when I was 8 I desperately wanted a pair of jeans like these. The stripe. The pleats. The trouser fit. They were everything that I felt like that the glamorous, older girls would wear. In fact, one time when I was younger, I found a pair of jeans like these, but they didn’t fit. It was a tragedy. Finding these were such a gift! I still love the stripes, and the fit, and while I admit that I had reservations about the pleats (I had some bad experiences with pleats in college). But, as it turns out I love them. (They were fun and flattering!)The best of the 80s and fulfilling a childhood dream? What can’t these pants do?
As a kid I would have most likely worn jeans like these with a shirt (and for the record, any blouse/sweater/sweatshirt would work!), but as an adult I loved pairing it with a “going out top”. (Not a childhood dream from the 80s, but I do love a good statement top) The illusion of a jumpsuit, the ease of jeans, and bits of both the past and today, it’s what you might call a perfect outfit.
I’ve grown a lot since my childhood days, while there are still days I feel awkward, I hope that I’ve finally grown into myself and that overall I’ve evolved a bit (including my fashion sense). Yet, things like this, that the little girl in me loved, still bring me such joy. Maybe the secret to our grown up style is to indulge our childhood dreams now and again.
What childhood dreams and fashion do you hang onto? And how do you dress for them?
These jeans are vintage, but I’ve found you similar and have linked tops!
Note: this is an affiliate link, which doesn’t affect the price for you, though I may earn commission from it! Thank you for your support!
Shop the look here.
Loves, we chat a lot about cleaning out your closet, especially at this time of year. And it makes sense–new year, new closet! I’m a big fan of the big closet clean out, I do it at least twice a year (with tune ups occasionally through out the year), and am planning on beginning mine this weekend. I’ve detailed my method here, here, and here. It hasn’t changed much: I pull everything out, go through it, seperate the clothes into keep and get rid of, and organize. It can be overwhelming–especially the get rid of part, I’m a shopper/clothes lover/can make outfits in my head of anything, I get it, it’s hard to let go’ but I find cleaning out my closet not only leaves me feeling accomplished, it gives me space for new things to love!
Rather than rehash what I tell you, I thought we’d go to the experts and get their takes on closet detoxing! So I’ve rounded up Vogue, Elle, and professional organizers, not only did I love what they had to say, I learned a thing or two!
Every piece we own has a story, and we can tell a story about everything. There’s usually a long version and a short version. I love stories, and I can tell you both versions of anything I own.
The short of it for this look? I challenged myself to think outside of the box for the holiday season (not everything has to be red), I found a designer I love (Johanna Ortiz) was doing a collab with H&M, and fell in love with this dress.
But, has anyone ever known me to leave a story at the short of it?
The long of it:
I wouldn’t say that I hate it, but (as a blonde and someone who’s coloring is not prone to it) I have issues loving the color yellow. I can love it on other people, but not always on me. So when I find something I love that’s yellow, I’m always a little surprised. In Decemeber, I got to thinking about my holiday dress situation. I have a lot of them, and they are all loved. But. There was a recurring theme and them, and being who I am, I wanted different. Holidays can be anything we want them to be, so why not dress how we want?! I was determined to find a festive dress that wasn’t “traditional”.
Johanna Ortiz is from Colombia and when I heard that she was collabing with H&M, I got (maybe a little too) excited. Her pieces are vibrant and full of Ruffles and sometimes a bit out of my budget. This collab is a great chance to get a piece-the dresses are beautiful, the details are stunning, and you will inspire awe (there is more to come from this collab in March and I can’t wait!).
Festive as it was for the holidays (yes, I wore it to Christmas concerts), this print will serve me through spring and summer. A dress for all seasons? That’s a long and short of it I will take.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out some of these details: the buttons, the ties, the slits. While I’ve only worn this dress to events like Holdiay concerts and shoots, I dream of the stories I’ll tell in it at dinners and parties,and the stories I’ll tell of it of those nights.
What long and short stories do you have to share?
I’ve linked all shopping options and this exact dress here. Please note, that is an affiliate link, and while that does not affect pricing for you, I may earn commission from it! Thank you for your support!
Loves, this year isn’t going to plan. I’ve been sick. I’m behind. I was so excited for all of the momentum of the new year, and it just hasn’t come to anything yet. So, I’ve stepped back and thought about a lot. What I want to accomplish this year. How important I think our stories and our fashions are.
For me, I think this year is about holding more than one truth in my pocket, and balancing. This week I plan on resting, and really setting my new year’s intentions. This year I plan on telling our stories, doing all the fashion things, and working towards the world I want to live in. What about you?
Wishing us all a week of hope and amazing shoes! XO RA
Tired: mixing different prints
Wired: mixing the same print in different colors.
Snake two ways? Maybe it is groundbreaking. For me, they just went. (Also I can’t say enough about shirt dresses. Chic, flattering, and endlessly comfortable.) Animal prints aren’t going away any time soon, leopards and zebras and cheetahs and snakes are all over resort, spring, and summer look books. With so many options, why not mix them? Use them as a neutral and mix with almost anything in your closet. Mix them together like this pairing. Mixed.
This dress is from H&M and I’ve found the exact one for you. These boots are from last season, but I have options for you. I would love to know: what are you mixing your animal prints with?
Note: this post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!
Note: this post is a part of my collaboration with Armarium. While all the opinions and suggestions are my own, I may earn discounts from your rentals. And you get something too! Use code RADELICA to get 15% off your first rental!
It’s January. And January has this reputation of being boring in fashion. My loves, it’s not. If anything, January is a time to go wild and bold, try out all the fashion that you want–it’s a new year, after all. (I know, I’m right on the edge of being able to keep saying that! At some point it’s just the year, but let’s bask in its newness for just a bit longer)
This year do you want to be a woman who wears sassy suits? Carries statement bags? Try out gowns? January is the month for it. In fact, no matter what your fashion resolution, Armarium can help! Want to save money? Rent clothes, don’t buy them. You can get more, save on designer items, and there are discounts! Your closet and your wallet will thank you. Want to experiment with new styles? Rent. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep it, you don’t have to store it, and renting opens you up to more styles you could ever buy! Want to clean out your closet and stop buying so much clutter? Rent. No storage, and no clutter.
I think the only question is: who do you want to be this month?
What I’m into this month? Statement bags. Perfect with jeans and a tee, or with a ball gown. And sweater dresses that aren’t basic. Color, cut, I want them all.
Anything you want to be this month: from award show gowns to non-basic basics to accessories, you can get it all at Armarium. And with code RADELICIA you get 15% off your first rental!