WARNING: This blog may cause serious bargain-hunter envy. As many of you know I am a die-hard proponent of vintage and second-hand gear. It helps the environment by reducing land fill. It can also be great for your bank account, because as you’ll learn below, second-hand or vintage designer is farrrrr cheaper than brand NEW!

So here are my favourite wardrobe items bought from op shops, consignment stores, markets and more but they are all pre-loved.

1) Nude Maxi dress by Paper Scissors Frock

You would have see me wear this dress in nude many times on Instagram and on shoot here with one of Singapore’s best photographers. The truth is, the dress was from Good Sammy on Albany Highway for just $10. Shamefully, I still have the price in black artline pen on the inside tag! Even though the original price was only $69.95, the way this dress falls and drapes makes me feel elegant yet the low cowl reveals my décolleté and makes me feel sexy at the same time. I also love anything in nude because it reminds me of JLo back in the noughties. HOT.

2) Basket Bag

This was bought in Toronto while trawling through the amazing thrift and vintage shops the city had to offer. Canada has without a doubt the coolest vintage stores I’ve ever shopped in and the people of the city love to wear the funky styles loud and proud (unlike Perth where people are generally really conservative). I love this basket bag and wear it with breton stripes and nautical espadrilles a lot!

3) Vintage Levis

These are from the Gossamer Project in Fremantle in Perth. They are the perfect lazy 90s fit (high waisted, cut short above the ankle and cuffed). They make me feel like Winona! They will be worn everywhere, even though boys hate them!

4) Fendi Black and White Leather Stacked Spiked Heels 

These shoes were only one season old and I scored them at the Melville Markets for $40. They were originally $750. Enough said. Plus they are Italian-made, so super comfortable and the monochrome means they go with loads of things in my wardrobe.

Images: Shoesini.com

5) Vintage Chanel 2.55

This was a gift from my dearest Uncle in Singapore and was bought from Dustbunny Vintage. They have an array of second-hand designer handbags that are in great condition!

6) Carla Zampatti Light Weight Trench Coat

This was also from the Melville Markets and was a steal at $30 with the original price being $699. I love how classic it is and that it goes with lots of things and fits me really well.

7) Real Fur Snow Leopard Wrap

This pieces is from the 50s and I am not a supporter of real fur BUT as this piece was before the time when real fur became prohibited, in a weird way, I feel I am giving the poor animal’s death another decade of purpose. I got this piece from a vintage store in Donny Brook in regional WA (of all places!) It’s great for red carpet occasions over a cocktail dress.

8) Turkish Choker

Turkish-style jewellery is enjoying a renaissance teamed with simple clothes like white t-shirts and drop-crotch pants. This necklace was sitting innocently in the special items case at a Good Sammy op shop on Marmion Street (Perth) next to my mother’s nursing home. I spied it and left it, then went back for it. It was $10. I love it with a few DIY chains. You can also see the full tutorial here.

9) Vintage Ivory Lace/Crochet 1950s Headpiece

This piece was also from Toronto and I wore it to a few events in Dubai and I just don’t have the heart to get rid of it. I love it and I suppose I have some misguided fantasy of one day wearing it #AudreyHepburn style to my own wedding. Remember when Audrey turned up to the train station with cropped hair and a fascinator in Sabrina?

10) Vintage “H” Monogram Belt

I love this belt because it belonged to my father. While recently cleaning up my mother’s house I found this leather lovely discarded at the back of the garage. What a shame! “H” is for Heng. Actually, “Heng Khoon Meng” to be precise, which is Dad’s Chinese name (my Dad died back in 2004). We still can’t find his rolex but once I get a new belt hole put in, I’ll be wearing this 80s baby with pride.

Let me know which Vintage stores you LOVE around the world!

Simone

xoxox

I wish I could claim this tutorial as my own but it’s actually from one of my favourite DIY blogs Park and Cube. I bought the book “Adorn” by the blog’s author Shini Park. It’s one of the best DIY books I’ve ever seen. This DIY is so quick and looks so effective. However, it really is reliant on a gorgeous scarf. The next time I find a gorgeous piece fabric, I won’t hesitate to make this top again!

For this, you’ll need a vintage scarf (mine are from thrift shops), cheap gold chain necklace (mine are from Kmart), large safety pins and needle and thread.

Start by folding the scarf into half into a triangle.

Place your safety pins like this, pinning together both pieces of fabric:

Fold the fabric over the chain necklace where the safety pins mark the distance:

Fold the triangular fabric neatly under and pin.

Finish by stitching into place. I made a second blouse with another vintage scarf:

Thankyou so much to Angeline Lloyd from Love Thread for the images and Maurice Meade for my hair.

Ever since Dylanlex took off on Instagram, layered silver jewellery has been everywhere! Filtering down to the high street and sending DIY fashionistas into thrift shops to cut up and revamp old pieces. I was no different. The hero piece in this necklace was from the Good Sammy next to my Mum’s nursing home. I was so excited as I had seen Beyonce wear something similar recently.

The next one I want to try is inspired by Xvena’s amazing pieces which use more Swarovski type embellishment.

For this DIY you will need: Pliers, H&M layered necklace, 1 lobster clasp.

Remove the tail of the necklace.

Place the first lobster clasp on the exposed jump ring.

Close up the clasp with your pliers.

Repeat the same on the other end of the necklace to the base of the coin collar.

That’s it…

Years ago I watched the film Priceless (in French Hors de Prix) and fell in love with EVERYTHING Audrey Tatou was dressed in. She looked elegant yet sexy and I decided when I could find the right base dress that I would DIY this gown:

Something to do with the combination of the grey with the gold…well it just drove me mad. Audrey has a body for sin and no fat so her version is very tight. Mine on the other hand is a little more forgiving. It’s a thrifted ASOS dress from a Fleas and Trees pop up sale in Paragon in Singapore. This is what it looked like originally:

For this project you will need: A base dress (halter or spaghetti strap works well), needle and matching thread, pins and gold cord.

Just a side note on my gold cord. I looked high and low for some great gold cord and Spotlight here in Australia was dismal. Their gold looked brassy and orange so I turned to my trusty friends at Wander and Hunt (more on my work with them soon…super excited) and they shipped from Hong Kong for me a perfect length of gold cord that would make even Audrey Tatou swoon.

Begin by flipping your dress inside out and folding over a piece of fabric that is wide enough for your cord to fit comfortably through. I didn’t want to cut the dress’s original straps away so I can convert it back to the original halter if I want. Pin down the perfect width.

From here I lightly tacked the pieces over (once again so I can remove the cord and unpick when I choose and wear the dress as originally intended).

Thread the cord through like this:

The loop will go around the back of your neck and the front will end up looking like this:

Pull the two front strands up and tie around the back:

I added a waist strap as there was enough cord:

I wore the dress out to Nobu here in Perth. Here’s a few instagram pictures (follow me there @simoneheng):

Me holding my latest magazine cover out in Singapore now:

I wish I had taken more pictures in it but hopefully I will have more time soon.

Hope you liked this. Many thanks to Wander and Hunt for the gold cord and do keep your comments coming!

Since I moved away 10 years ago…Perth got a lot more hip and cool. Despite people making loads of money out in the mines, it seems that plenty of Perthites do still want to save money. Some fabulous vintage clothing stores have found their way onto William St in Northbridge and wonderfully each has its own strength. Here is my review of the best four:

Siam Temple is located at 263 William St in Northbridge. The store has a mix of new vintage-inspired items and real vintage stock. For me the real pleasure of vintage is the real deal and there is a treasure trove in their back section. Bargain racks for $10 also have loads of treasures. I loved the friendly Thai lady who owned the store, she was fabulous. You can give them a call on 0430 860 482.

And this is the stunning 1960s Japanese beach dress I got from this store. My shoes are from Adolfo Dominguez in Singapore and the bag a vintage piece from Toronto.

Just a bit further down William St at 267B is the classic Vinnies which is my top pick for absolute vintage gems. You won’t find any re-worked or vintage lookalike pieces here. Everything is the real deal.

Shelley, the store manager, is a local icon. I mentioned my virgin trip to the store to someone and they knew her by name. I bought a couple of pieces here and have to say felt better about my vintage addiction knowing that all the proceeds went to St. Vincent De Paul. www.vinnies.org.au.

I bought a couple of amazing pieces from here which I am so excited to wear out soon. I have been searching for eons for the perfect vintage kimono and saw this the moment I walked in. It’s silk and from Italy. Swoon:

And this 1980s bolero which works as a full jacket on my tiny frame. Can’t wait to wear this out too.

The third store on the strip is owned by a lovely fash-school graduate called Fiona. She’s selling new items as well as re-worked vintage and pure vintage. The upstairs of this store is full of amazing antiques and I dream of hosting DIY workshops in such a fabulous space during Winter. Located on 289 William St, Fi & Co is a hipster girl’s dream.

Last but by no means least, right at the end of William St, where basically you think you’ve walked too far, you’ll find Neon Pony. The store co-owner Bridget was a delight and decked out in, yes, you guessed it, neon. I was delighted to see Neon Pony exhibiting just days later at the Polka Dot Vintage market I visited (but more on that later).

Neon Pony has loads of new stock, vintage and vintage-inspired pieces and also designer-inspired jewellery. Colours are bold and bright and the sale rack out the front divine!

I found this blue dress there which fit absolutely perfectly and was a joy to snag for just $40.

If you’re reading in the United States, Dubai or Singapore, I hope I’ve convinced you that my home town is filled with great fashion at awesome prices.

Thanks to Mica Nelson and Sven Berlinger for .the photography

 

So I am very lucky that sometimes my day job and my blog collide. I was approached to interview Khloe Kardashian for my show on Virgin Radio and then at the last minute was given a surprise interview with Kourtney. I had already interviewed Kourtney once before but on this interview she was lively and most surprisingly extolled her love for her sewing machine!

It’s definitely been a highlight for the blog. Khloe is in town on Sunday and I will be meeting her, it’s all for the launch the Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy in the UK and the Middle East. Listen to the audio in the video for all the goss on her designs for the brand!

Here are some of the amazing pictures (shot by none other than Terry Richardson) from the kollection:

It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Kourtney. Take a listen:

More to come on the Kardashian Kollection for Lipsy soon!

 

A little while ago I was approached by Christine at the GEMS Maker Day she said she’d like Cheapnchic.net to exhibit and do a demonstration of a fashion DIY.

Check out the pictures of this amazing community day at Dubai Silicon Oasis:

A highlight of the Day was meeting HRH “Green Sheikh” Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi who I spoke to about advocating young women to upcycle and thriftshop their clothes as opposed to buying more and it ending up in land fill. It was a great moment.

Here are some of the amazing upcycled fashion items made by the fashion school students from Sharjah who exhibited on the day:

On top of that, loads of Cheapnchic.net fans showed up for the DIY Fashion demo. I’ve got the full project on here soon.

Thankyou so much to my intern Poroma Pant who set everything up. She’s amazing!

Thanks GEMS Maker Faire for asking me to be involved.

The Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest horse race. In Dubai, we really like to do things BIG. I was really flattered to be asked last year to judge the Jaguar Style Stakes 2013 which is the annual fashions on the field contest which accompanies the race every year. Women fly in from all over the globe and it’s a huge deal for those competing and of course for me judging.

My co-judges include stylist Mandi Kingsbury and global fashion week founder (including creator of Australian Fashion Week), Simon Lock.

I made several DIY hats in preparation for the event and will showcase them for you soon soon but I wore a store bought hat for the press conference on Valentine’s Day just gone. I wore a dress from Singapore and the Robe Raiders event I attended, it’s by Tibi and a completely reused yellow classic.

I was also shooting part of an upcoming show for CNN International, I can’t say much more for now but will fill you in soon.

The Dubai World Cup will be taking place on March 30th and I’ll have all the images for you from the major event then.

Sincerest thanks to Jaguar, Meydan, CNN and Goldfish Photography and Video for the amazing images.

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