The Collecting Gene

The last time I saw Sarah-Jane, she entered her husband’s birthday party with a tower cake drizzled in chocolate. Despite appreciation for the sweet treat, all were instead enraptured by her super soft and statement-making pink feather topper. The texture danced with each friendly embrace and guests admired the adventurous choice, regaling each other with tales of past SJ ensembles. Simply put, Sarah-Jane has fun with fashion. That is why I was surprised when she commissioned me to create a classic white linen blazer. Upon further contemplation, I realized that the wild pink jacket was grounded with an all black outfit, pearl earrings and a sleek center-part chignon. Sarah-Jane knows what many fashion icons know; memorable style is equal parts staples and statements. For this instalment of "Wears It Well", I asked her to elaborate on the balance she strikes not only in fashion, but in life as a mother, Merchandise Planner, wife, and antique hunter.

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What inspired the styling for the shoot?

I thought it would be fun to show the versatility of the jacket and I will use any excuse to pull out my gold pants and bold earrings.  We are still working on décor around the house but we are quite happy with our living wall and I thought it would provide a nice backdrop.  I brought the pots over to Plant in Inglewood and they whipped them together in just an hour and they have been going strong for over a year now.  My most favourite piece of furniture in the house is the floral settee from my Grandmother.  I always loved it as a kid and even though the fabric is wearing in parts I am determined to maintain it as best I can even though Chloe now uses it as a trampoline.  While it doesn’t look terribly comfortable it is frequently used for visiting and even the odd nap. 
 

Your eye for antiques is apparent. What got you interested? Why do you collect?

My mother is a pretty serious antique enthusiast so I got this “collecting” gene from her.  She used to drag me to antique shops and markets as a kid and I used to dread it until I was older and started to find more clothing and pop culture stuff.  Now, besides looking at clothing, jewellery and accessories I tend to go for the kitschy novelty items that are not terribly valuable but have a lot of character.  I have some lady head vases that I always keep an eye out for, vintage Avon ‘western themed’ cologne bottles, and various décor items such as picture frames, chairs, kitchen canisters, lamps etc.  We have talked about opening a shop of some kind but the distance in between us is a challenge.  Who knows what the future might bring 😉.

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You are definitely a collector and that is apparent in your wardrobe as well. Can you talk a little bit about your stash of jewellery and clothing?

I loved to play dress-up as a kid and I still do as an adult.  I love the “hunt” of the find especially at vintage/consignment/thrift stores because you never know what you might come across.  I am hugely sentimental which makes it difficult for me to part from things… especially now having a daughter.  I also love a theme – so in addition to vintage dresses I have a pretty good stash of seasonal themed items (Stampede, Halloween, Christmas, 90’s Disney, and sequins for all occasions!). 
 

Yes! I have personally been the lucky on-loan beneficiary of your array of sequins items! I'm sure Chloe will also enjoy your collection if you let her get her paws on it as she gets older! How do you manage to keep your closet in such good shape, especially the colour white?

White definitely shows day-to-day wear faster but I find it is easy to clean for the most part.  I always have Shout wipes in my purse and if needed a touch of watered down bleach can solve most persistent stains.  However, for items like this the occasional dry-cleaning is likely safest.

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You are totally one of those well-prepared mothers I wish I could be! How do you manage to stay so organized despite the demands of work and motherhood?

I am incredibly lucky to have a daycare located right at work.  I have to say I was feeling uneasy about spending less time with my daughter and wondered how she would adapt to her new surroundings when I went back to work a year ago.  It turns out she loves daycare and I enjoy feeling productive and back in the swing of things.   I think it’s important for parents to work together and make sure each one is getting at least a few hours each week to pursue their social/active/personal interests.  We do our best but sometimes things get busy and those times get cut short.  Work together; life is a balancing act but it helps when you have support.

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Photography: Ken Heinbecker
Model + Stylist: Sarah-Jane Christiansen