off to the races // cheap race day looks

The Melbourne Cup is now only two weeks away and the Christchurch Trotting Cup and Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup follow swiftly behind, so the pressure is on to find the perfect outfit.

If you were organised (like me) you would have been planning/obsessing for months and would already have your outfit sorted. But if you’re still trying to figure what to wear to the races, fear not. I’ve got you covered.

Let’s break this down piece by piece.

The Headpiece

If there is one thing you can’t skip, it’s the headpiece. It’s an essential component of a race day outfit.

gold leaf headband tiara fascinator

I love this gold tiara for two reasons: it’s cute, and it’s $10. This is actually the one I have ordered for myself. You can get it here from AliExpress but be warned: shipping could be anywhere from two to four weeks. If you’re not willing to take the risk, you can get an identical one for $22 here on Showpo.

gold leaf fascinator crown

The Iconic has a huge range of fascinators and headpieces from $28 up to a couple hundred dollars – click here for price: low to high and happy hunting. Shipping is super quick, and some of them are really cool like this funky Monroe Headpiece. I mean, yeah, it’s a little different... but I can’t stop myself from loving it.

marilyn monroe headpiece fascinator morgan taylor

Other cheap places you can look are $1-$8 shops at malls (they usually have a pretty good selection!) and places like Lovisa.

The Dress

I’ve been having this never-ending battle with my BFF where she sends me links to completely inappropriate dresses she’s seen online and I have to gently, lovingly tell her no.

The races is a daytime event, so the dress code sits closer to a garden party than an evening out.

Translation: this is the only time, ever, that an LBD is inappropriate. 

Of course, fashion is up to interpretation but if you can, stay away from black and keep your lengths knees and below.

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Jumpsuits are always an option – like this gorgeous one from Boohoo. It’s $45 but they always have sales.

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This one is a little steeper at $80 but it’s pretty reasonable if you get in while the 50% off sale is on. This would look super cute with a gold tiara.

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Of course, you can’t go wrong with rummage rack finds like this off the shoulder number from Pagani. Online it says only size 16 is available but if there’s a Pagani near you, go have a dig through the sale rack. It’s $25 – hard to beat.

The Shoes

Possibly the most frustrating part of putting together a race day outfit is finding the right shoes. You don’t want to be too matchy-matchy but you also want them to make sense with the outfits.

A simple rule to follow: match your shoes to your headpiece – unless your headpiece is the same colour as your dress, then match them to your handbag.

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If your outfit is light but not white, these shoes from The Iconic are cute – and they’re only around $50.

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If you prefer a chunkier heel and have a little more money to spend, I love these Lipstik shoes from Hannahs. They’re $100 but they’re quite versatile so you’d get more than a day’s wear from them.

hmprod

If you’re really stuck for shoes that go with your outfit, go black. This is also appropriate if your headpiece, dress and bag are already one colour and you’re afraid of cascading (if you’re unfamiliar with the term “cascading”, it means dressing head to toe in one colour – we all did it at primary school and we’ve all sworn never again). These shoes are only $30 from H&M so they won’t break the bank.

You can also check out Kmart, The Warehouse and Number One Shoe Warehouse for cheap options.

I hope that this helps some – if you are going to the races and your outfit is sorted, I’d love to know what you’re wearing! Leave me a comment below!

 

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and everything I have written here I believe to be true. This post is not sponsored in any way.

how to tell if your man is actually a fuckboy

Ah, fuckboys. With their chinos, and their Tinder profiles, and their inability to put a label on your relationship… I tend to treat it quite simply: if it look like a duck, and it quack like a duck, it prolly a duck.

But it can be hard to tell in the beginning of a relationship if your man is a fuckboy because it’s so easy to get swept up in the romance of late night “what would you be doing if I was there” texts (eye roll).

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If you think you might be dealing with a fuckboy, here’s a simple checklist of 10 signs to watch out for.

  1. The ball is always in your court and he makes you come to him. He asks you to hang out but instead of making plans he says “let me know when you’re free”, or he makes plans with you but then doesn’t follow up the day of and when you text him he acts like it’s your idea
  2. You can’t be “boyfriend and girlfriend” because he “doesn’t like labels”
  3. He’s always texting when you’re together and yet it takes him about eight years to reply to you when he’s out with his friends
  4. He never calls your relationship a “secret” but he doesn’t post online about it or do anything public and he doesn’t like it when you do either
  5. He won’t take a photo with you
  6. He doesn’t want you to meet his friends or hang out with them as a group
  7. When you’re out together and you bump into someone he knows, he doesn’t introduce you (or if he does, he doesn’t introduce you as his girlfriend)
  8. He disappears for several days at a time and won’t answer your messages and then slides back in like nothing happened and won’t acknowledge that he ignored you for, like, three whole days
  9. He doesn’t like it when you go out without him but he goes out without you pretty much every weekend
  10. He bitches about his female friends and ex-girlfriends (does “she’s crazy” sound familiar?) to discourage you from making friends with them (probably because he’s seeing them, too)

If you related to some or all of these signs, I’m sorry but your man is probably a fuckboy. It’s up to you now if you want to pursue the relationship, but personally, I have one simple rule when it comes to fuckboys and it’s don’t.

what to expect at sydney imats 2017

Cozzette imatsIt feels like just yesterday that I was walking back to my hotel from IMATS with my loot bag in tow, feeling exhausted but happy and already excited for the next one – even though it seemed so far away. Surprise, bitch. IMATS Sydney 2017 is this weekend, so I felt like it was time for a refresher course on what to expect if this is your first time.

Read my original complete guide to surviving your first IMATS – Sydney edition here

  1. Wear flat shoes and short sleeves (for swatching) but bring a light jumper because the room is big and drafty
  2. Bring a bag (for all your purchases, holding many shopping bags is less comfortable than it looks in the movies and you want your hands free) and inside that bag, you’ll want your own makeup wipes and tissues
  3. Bring a snack and some water, nobody likes you when you’re hungry, tired and cranky
  4. Bring CASH – lots and lots of cash (I spent just over AU$500 and all of it was cash, nobody takes card)
  5. Get there about half an hour to an hour early if you want to be among the first in line, have your ticket and ID ready
  6. If you are going to go to one of the big ticket booths (like MAC or Nyx that have big lines) pick one and go there immediately. The lines for these stalls were so long, I honestly didn’t even bother.
    IMATS sydney guide
    Click here to see the floor plan and exhibitor list
  7. Watch some of the demonstrations – even if you’re only there for the shopping! You just might learn something.
  8. If you’re going with a friend, make an arrangement to split up if you want to go to different stalls. You don’t wanna miss out on getting what you want because your friend just had to stop and swatch 800 identical lipsticks.

 

I hope that this helps! If you guys have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them!

flatlays part 5: how I edit my Instagram photos

How to edit photos for Instagram If you’re anything like me, after staging a little selfie or flatlay shoot you end up with about a hundred identical photos.

How to edit photos for Instagram The first step is you have to cull the ones that aren’t gonna make the cut. I usually will look at them as thumbnails first, because that’s the size that people are going to see if they’re looking under a hashtag you’ve used or they go onto your page. I choose the ones that are the best looking in that size or the ones that make you wanna click to see them bigger. Then I just pick my favourite out of those ones.

How to edit photos for Instagram I use Snapseed to edit all my pictures – the first step is I add my watermark. This is super important cause some terrible people like to steal your photos and this is the only way to semi-protect yourself from it (I mean, they’ll still do it, but at least you have a way to prove it’s yours).
I take my flatlays on the table (as discussed in my post about backgrounds) with one foot on the table and one foot on a chair so I can get the best angle. So, if I can see the edge of one of my pink fluffy slippers or the edge of my backdrop, I have to crop the image. 

How to edit photos for Instagram Then under “Tune Image”, I tap the magic wand to auto adjust and occasionally correct the white balance if I think the picture needs it. If it doesn’t look significantly better with either of these steps, I skip it. Less is more when it comes to editing.

How to edit photos for Instagram

I finish off in the Instagram editor, I usually go +10 brightness, +10 contrast, +10 highlights and -10 shadows. But this is about the extent of the editing I do. If I get the light right, I don’t need to do anything else.

I never use filters – I think that my feed looks much cleaner and nicer without them.

This concludes my series on flatlays – part 1part 2part 3 and part 4 are here – I hope that you guys have enjoyed it!

flatlays part 4: best props for flatlays

Flatlay props Props are, quite possibly, the most important thing in your flatlay – equally as important as the feature. Props are what give your photo personality and life, they’re what makes the photo yours.
I personally think that props are the difference between an average flatlay and a great flatlay. With props, you have a “styled image” – without, you just have a picture of a thing.

Flatlay props roses

I have three boxes of props and I’m forever putting stuff aside that I think will look nice in a picture – notebooks, jewellery, foil wrapped chocolates, stuff like that. I just pick out whatever I think goes with my theme and away I go.

There are a few staple items that appear in pretty much all of my flatlays – the first is a bunch of fresh flowers. I buy myself flowers every week, the colour gives a sense of continuity to my feed without being too samey and it’s a nice way to treat myself. I won’t use fake flowers or plants unless I can absolutely help it because I just hate how childlike and plastic they look.

Best props for flatlaysAs for my all time favourite/most used props, number one would definitely be my heart-shaped wire fairy lights to add some warmth. Closely followed by my fake reading glasses if there is a book or a magazine in the picture and since I’m usually drinking one while I’m taking photos, I often use black coffee in a plain white mug (although I do often need to refill halfway through taking photos…).

Best props for flatlays I try to make the props that I’m using relevant to the theme of my photos. Like when I got my Too Faced Sweet Peach palette I used real peaches as props.
Props are where you can really let your creativity run wild – have fun with it! And when in doubt, use fairy lights and flowers. With those two, you can’t lose.

Read next: how I edit my instagram photos

Part 1: flatlay inspiration

Part 2: best light for Instagram photos

Part 3: best backgrounds for flatlays

flatlays part 3: best backgrounds for flatlays

best flatlay background

One of the most important things in constructing a killer flatlay is the background. You need a good, clean background. A grubby counter top doesn’t work and neither does carpet (for some reason, carpet is just super not pleasing).

I tend to stick to the same three backgrounds. My favourite, the hexagonal marble tiles, is actually gift wrapping paper from Whitcoulls. I keep it on the roll and when I go to take a photo, I just unroll enough for what I’m doing and then when I’m done I roll it back up. It’s cheap, and it’s lasted me a really long time.

best marble flatlay background

I also have a roll of marble contact paper which is from Kmart. You can stick your contact paper onto a board or something but I like how easy it is to store when it’s rolled up. The only drawback to keeping it on the roll is it occasionally has ripples when laid out flat.

If I’m using either my wrapping paper or my contact paper, I drag my kitchen table up to the window (for the light) and lay them out flat.

best background for flatlayOtherwise, I’ll go into my bedroom and use my white bedsheets or taupe linen duvet cover. I like the way the folds in the fabric cast shadows. It also looks a bit more natural for outfit flatlays – because you could believe that I’d laid my clothes on the bed before getting dressed. You don’t often wander out to the kitchen and lay your clothes out on the counter, so I try to stay away from marble for outfit posts.

The only trick with choosing a background is to make it look natural. I don’t want it to look like wrapping paper, even though it is. 

Read next: how I edit my instagram photos

Part 1: flatlay inspiration

Part 2: best light for Instagram photos

Part 4: best props for flatlays

Part 5: how I edit my instagram photos

flatlays part 1: inspiration

flatlay photography inspirationIt’s no secret that I love a good flatlay. If you’ve ever been on my Instagram before, you’ll already know.
But when you’re trying to post daily, it can be really hard to keep coming up with good content. I definitely don’t want all my photos to look identical. If every post looked the same but with different products, it would be boring.



Sometimes inspiration comes from the product I’m shooting – I might do a colour theme to match the packaging, for example – and sometimes the inspiration comes from my props.

Flatlay photography inspiration I like to use magazines as props because A) I love magazines and B) I can style my image around the colours on the page. So, say I’ve just picked up the latest issue of my favourite mag. I’d use props that match the colour, then just see where my imagination takes me.
Inspiration can also come from other Instagrammer’s flatlays – I love scrolling through my feed and bookmarking pictures I particularly like. Some of my favourite flatlayers are Phoebe SoupAnna RemarchukKiara KingStacey White and Laura Mills.

If I’m really stuck, I’ll look to Pinterest. Obviously, I don’t recreate the picture exactly, but I think about what it is that I like about the picture – is it the colours? Is it the backdrop? Is it the way they’ve spaced everything out?

Once you’ve figured out what you like about it, you can incorporate that feature into your own image. For example, if I like the way someone has laid out their clothes, I might do the same style but with my own fashion sense. Make sure that you know the difference between taking inspiration and copying – nobody likes a copycat.

There are lots of places to find inspiration, what are some of yours? I’d love to know in the comment section.

Read next: best light for Instagram photos

Part 3: best backgrounds for flatlays

Part 4: best props for flatlays

Part 5: how I edit my instagram photos