Omnia mea mecum porto*: the backpack edit

Omnia mea mecum porto*: the backpack edit

*All that is mine I carry with me

They say that there are two type of women – those who can get away with carrying only essentials in a small to medium purse and those who need to carry their whole life in a bag… Well I do love small purses and find them extremely pretty, but in reality I’m really that latter type.

It’s probably also a reflection of my lifestyle and years of carrying stuff around – and lots of it! Textbooks & notebooks for school and university, my DSLR around during trips and for my freelance gigs (or – let’s be honest – I used to carry it around pretty much everywhere), laptop for work and for what-not… But let’s leave more details to what’s in my bag post 😉

Trying to cater for all my needs, I experimented with tons of different bags, but I’ve always returned to a solution that is much more comfortable and back-friendly than a full tote bag or even a crossbody – a backpack! If the first associations that come to your mind are backpacks for hiking (which would definitely fit your whole life in it) or school girl hello kitty backpack – don’t worry, backpacks can be just as stylish and trendy and meet all your [fashion] soul desires as any other bag. They vary in size, they don’t give you shoulder pain if the straps are right, they come in different finishes and styles… they are definitely an ingenious invention of humanity and one might even call it a full on wardrobe staple.

But in the times of abundance of choice, how do you pick your perfect backpack? Here are some things you would need to consider.


Back straps

This is one element that you should never underestimate. To make backpack last for years and make sure you enjoy wearing it, it’s crucial to pick one with straps that are not too thin and attached quite sturdily attached on the top.


Obvious, but the size of the backpack depends on your needs. For instance, if you know that you will probably need to take your laptop frequently, it won’t hurt to check the measurement of a potential backpack – because there’s nothing more painful than trying to close the zip when a laptop barely fits.


I have a personal preference for leather backpacks (genuine or high quality vegan leather), just because it is generally more durable and gives a backpack more of a city look. However, if it’s not your thing, go for waterproof textile. Suede or nubuck do look classy, but may be difficult in care and maintenance unfortunately. Natural materials like straw, wood, bamboo are very hot this season and look very cool and breezy in summer, however, a natural backpack would probably not be a long-term investment piece (even though they are pretty cool!).

Zippers et al.

Here the same rules apply as to clothing: do pay attention to hardware on your future backpack. Cheap zipper can ruin a look of an, otherwise, very decent looking backpack or bag. Plus you probably wouldn’t want it to break at the least appropriate moment, e.g. when you’re trying to fit in a barely fitting laptop (see “Size” section).


Since we’re talking basics, I would also recommend to go for a basic colour that will go with majority of items in your wardrobe. Think of: black, grey, off-white, beige/ tan & other neutrals.


With fashion moving more towards minimalism and comfort in the past few seasons, if you want to be on trend and yet keep using it for the next few years, you would probably want to go for a more classic looking model with minimum décor which would work in classic, romantic, or even sport chic outfits.


Having all this in mind, I made a selection of my favourite 10 backpacks on the market RN (including one very exciting Russian brand!).

Beauties from ARNY PRAHT for lovers of minimalism and simplicity (BONUS: these backpacks are made vegan, come in different sizes and colours, downside – they ship only to CIS countries)

Blue backpackBrown backpack

A few faves from Matt & Nat – because it was impossible to pick just one. Again, a wonderful example of sustainable fashion of great quality for a chic look

Blush pink backpack  Tan backpackOff-white backpack

A never-getting-old classic backpack from Liebeskind from black leather

Black leather backpack

Or another stylish one by Picard – for those of us who loves gold hardware

Black backpack

For those who wants to infuse some logo mania in a classy manner – this backpack by Joop! (potentially) inspired by LV may save the day and some money 

Logomania backpack

A bright red backpack by Calvin Klein for those who do want to infuse some colour 

Red backpack


Last but not least, this pricey but amazingly elegant and functional backpack by P.MAI that could be a worthy investment for those of us who carry lots of s… stuff 🙂

Black backpack


I’m genuinely a really – really – big fan of backpacks, and I hope that I can convert you too!

Perfect match: how to find a trench coat of your dreams & my 8 faves on the market

Perfect match: how to find a trench coat of your dreams & my 8 faves on the market

You probably noticed how I often talk about importance of having the right basics in place over having a trendy wardrobe that constantly needs to be renewed. Well, the thing is that it is not actually that easy to find the right staple piece that would be your 100% which would guarantee its permanent spot in your closet for many years to come.

I’ve been in search of a perfect beige trench coat which is to me the number one wardrobe staple that suits everyone. Seriously. Men, women, children – everyone needs to have a trench coat in their life. Or at least, this is what I am a firm believer of 🙂

The magic of a trench coat is that it is flattering for any body type and skin colour and it can be incorporated into pretty much any personal style. BUT… as there is always a but. There are certain things that you need to consider while searching for the one [trench coat], and not any coat will look equally as good on everyone. And I would not be me if I didn’t share with you the tips on how to make your trench coat hunt successful.

So, what do you need to think about?


Length is one of the criteria that can make or break the deal when choosing your perfect trench coat. The most classic option would be a midi trench, however, this can mean different things depending on your height and proportions. For instance, if you’re a petite girl, that perfect midi can turn into a blanket covering you all. 


Sounds like a no brainer, but it is important to pick the right size – whatever it means for you personally. Be it the just right oversize or figure hugging fit, you’re choosing your potential wardrobe staple and you want to be able to wear it for many coming years. In this case, it may not be a bad idea to tailor the trench coat to make it even more perfect.


Straight or figure fitting, here you can choose either to your liking. The key here is to think of your overall style and how this fit will go with your clothes. For instance, if majority of your clothes are more relaxed, a figure fitting trench might look a bit like an alien in your closet.


If we are talking about the staples of the staples, you probably want to get a beige trench coat. However, this doesn’t make the search easier, because, as you may know, there are so many shades of beige out there. The key here is to determine your skin colour tone – whether it is more warm, cool, or neutral – and pick the colour based on that. As the trench coat is something that would be in a close proximity to your face, you do want to pay attention to this stuff, because a wrong colour can easily make you look too pale or even ill.

Quality/ Material

This doesn’t mean that you should only look at the luxury or middle-market brands and completely disregard mass market. The truth is that you can find great high quality pieces anywhere, as long as you check the composition (yes to natural materials!) of the item and and stitching. Another pitfall that you want to avoid is getting a trench coat that is too thing and has no lining, because in this case it will not be as warm and it will easily show all the structure of whatever you wear underneath it. This in itself can make your whole outfit look cheap and less figure flattering.

Decorative elements

If we’re talking about a basic piece, then you would probably want to avoid any prominent decor. However, don’t be afraid to get creative and make a piece with decorative elements your personal basic – as long as you can match it with majority of your wardrobe and you’re sure you won’t change your mind about it in a month 🙂

After considering all of these, you can happily dive into online or offline shopping. To give your some idea where to look, here are my affordable favourites.

A very affordable basic trench coat by H&M

classic trench coat H&M

…. and its more pricey brother from Premium collection.

classic trench coat H&M premium

This & other stories trench coat in a beautiful mustard…

Trench coat & other stories in mustard

…and this linen beauty.

Linen trench coat & other stories

This easy-breezy Monki trench coat with a minimalist vibe…

Monki trench coat straight fit

… and this chic trench coat from Whistles with amazing finishing touches.

Trench coat Whistles

This Helene Berman trench coat with a twist…

Helena Berman trench coat

… and this stylish & sophisticated coat from Arket.

Arket trench coat

So, guys, which one is your favourite?

reasons to love the colder time of the year 

reasons to love the colder time of the year 

In my experience winter time is often the least favourite season for majority of people. No one really likes short days, cloudy sky, wind, and rain, or snow, depending where in the world you are. However, it’s not actually all doom and gloom, it is really the matter of perspective. Like with many other things in life, you can keep focusing on the negatives and go into seasonal depression mode every year, or you can look for the positives instead.

Growing up, I always excitedly waited for the first snow. It would often happen over night, so in the morning I would jump out of bed to look out of the window just to confirm that the whole neighbourhood is finally covered with a pristine white snow blanket. My childhood memories of getting 10 layers on before leaving the house, warming hands on a hot cup of tea after coming back home, or just peaceful moments of watching snowflakes dancing outside from the warmth of our home fill my heart with joy and love for that least favourite season of the year.

As I grew older and my love for fashion grew, I’ve also found that dressing for colder seasons can be just as exciting – if not more – as dressing in spring or summer. And if you’re not with me on being slightly more positive about winter, I hope I might just slightly change your mind 🙂

So, why is dressing in winter not so boring?

Layering fashion close up street styleLayering 

When, if not in cold weather, can you pull off a layered look without dying from a heat stroke? You can go as simple as a turtle neck under a dress, or as elaborate as you wish really. Key thing – it will definitely keep you warm.

Image taken from


Close up image of a midi skirt and high bootsHigh boots

This fall/ winter trend which will also keep you warm and comfortable when the temperature drops. Great to pair with skinny jeans and chunky knitwear or with midi skirts and dresses which will create an interesting overlay.

Image taken from


Blogger Aimee Song in a white total lookWhite

Yes, that’s right – wearing white and off-white palette never looks as good as in winter months. For the very brave once I totally recommend a total look in off-white – it looks super elegant and classy. Just try to avoid coffee the day you wear it!

Image taken from


A girl wearing balaclavaHats

This accessory can make or break an outfit (and make your mom happy that you finally keep your head warm). Every fall/ winter designers come up with plenty of variations on more classic and more our there hats providing you an opportunity to experiment, like this year – with bucket hats, balaclavas and caps you have plenty of choice to make your statement. Or not.

Image taken from 


Girl with a scarf "MADE IN ENGLAND"Scarfs

Another accessory that will protect you from the wind and finish your look with another layer. Whether you go for a matching colour or a statement piece (like the slogan scarfs), it will be definitely a trendy response to cold.

Image taken from @wethepeoplestyle

…and this list can be continued, so as I said – look for positives and keep experimenting!

top 5 dupes that made it (too?) close to the original

top 5 dupes that made it (too?) close to the original

In the world of fashion you cannot always afford everything you want to have. Simply because the majority of us makes X amount of money each months, we have bills to pay apart from fashion bills, and we all need to eat (this is probably my other passion outside of fashion). On top of that – there are many luxury items out there that are very far from being affordable anyway. 

Naturally, these are known facts that lead us to the simple truth of modern world: demand creates its own supply. If there are many people out there wishing to get designer items (or even medium segment) they cannot afford, there will be brands and producers that will make something similar to those items at a fraction of the designer price. This is where dupes, and copies, and fakes come into play. 

In the past couple of months I came across a few really interesting ones which I would love to share with you. Just as a side note – all the items I list here are highly on trend, so, even though I only mention pairs, you will easily find something very similar in pretty much all high street brands.

  1. Checkered blazer


Price tag: 385

Material: 64% viscose / 20% wool / 12% polyester / 4% polyamide

Sandro checkered suit


Price tag: 79,99

Material: 64% viscose / 20% wool / 12% polyester / 4% polyamide

H&M checkered suit

Here we go with my favourite dupe couple: blazers from Sandro and H&M. What do we see here? Two checkered blazers that come with matching skirts. The amazing thing is that checks are identical and so is composition! The only difference is in fit – Sandro’s blazer comes double-breasted, while H&M is single-breasted with two buttons. The question is – is double-breasted fit worth 300 euro difference?..

2. Snakeskin ankle boots


Price tag: 700 dollars (300 on sale)

Material: real leather

Acne snakeskin ankle boots


Price tag: 99,95 euros

Material: real leather

Zara snakeskin ankle boots

If you missed out on Acne snakeskin ankle boots when they just came out, or you just didn’t want to spend 700 dollars on them – Zara will happily provide you a decent alternative. In this case you can clearly see the difference in the heel design and the front of the boots, but you can also easily see how much inspiration Zara got from Acne, including the colour of snakeskin. With a slightly higher heel (8 cm in Zara boots and 7 cm in Acne) and a significantly lower price tag, you can get a great and oh so on trend alternative!

3. Leopard print midi skirt

Realisation par

Price tag: 180 dollars

Material: 100% Silk Satin

Realisation par leopard skirt


Price tag: 29,99 euros

Material: 100% Polyester

Loavies midi animal print skirt

Let’s be honest this Realisation Par skirt became a real it-skirt of the season, so, of course, many other more affordable brands came up with something of their own (e.g. I’ve got mine from River Island). So why have I picked a skirt by Loavies as a not-so-subtle dupe? Mainly because of the product name, which is “Realize me” – I really liked this pretty obvious reference, even though the colour and the pattern differ from the original. In addition to that, here we are also talking about different materials, where 100% silk will always win over polyester which will be obviously reflected in the price. However, if you’re looking for a trendy piece that you would not want to invest in… you know what you should do 🙂

4. Crossbody saddle bag


Gate bag

Price tag: 1700 euros

Material: real leather

Loewe brown leather bag

Looks like summer

Nina bag

Price tag: 175 euros (87,99 on sale)

Looks like summer brown leather bag

I think bags are the most frequent candidate for copying – not many people can afford designer bags while many want to own one which opens a niche for producers of similar (or very similar) designs. When the Nina bag from Looks like summer popped up on my Instagram, I was very surprised, to say the least. Let’s put it this way – it is difficult to say that it was just inspired by Loewe. However, there are differences in colours that these bags come in and the finishing – Loewe Gate bag come with more of a matt finish, while Nina bag is made of more glossy leather. You can also spot a difference in shape despite a very close resemblance. But, all in all, both are real leather bags with a very similar unusual design and a significant difference in price (just think of 90 euros versus 1700!), and for the rest – you can decide whether you feel like it is fair or not.

5. Letter pendant


Price tag: around 300 euros (as seen on Vestiaire Collective)

Material: Gold plated (?)

Celine alphabet pendant

*Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the letter pendants on sale anymore which probably makes sense now that a new creative director Hedi Slimane is out and about. However, you will be find them on resale sites, like Vestiaire… if you’re quick enough 🙂

DesignB London

Price tag: 13,99 euros

Material: Metal

DesignB London letter pendant

The original Celine pendant is one of the last pieces made while Phoebe Philo was still a creative director of the brand and it quickly became a must-have with many influencers featuring it in their accounts. As per usual this has become a trigger for others brands to come up with more budget alternatives. For this pairing I picked a letter pendant by DesignB London which is not a straight copy, but most certainly makes a reference to the original. Both pendants are gold, with the one of Celine actually being gold plated and DesignB London – just simple metal which you can expect for the price. 


And this concludes my list of dupes that I picked from some of this season’s favourites! I would love to hear from you: is this topic interesting for you? How often do you buy dupes and do you ever specifically look for them if you like a certain design? 

summer in the city – how to spend staycation in style | the style part

summer in the city – how to spend staycation in style | the style part

I hope I got you a bit inspired about spending your summer in the city  – really curious to see though what ideas were your favourites? Or did you already try any of them? Please leave your comments on this 🙂

As you could notice, I called the post “how to spend staycation in style”, but I didn’t quite cover the style element. So, I’m making up for it guys! 

What are the things that come to your mind when you think of summer? 

What clothes you imagine when you think of your dream summer wardrobe? 

Hey, you know what – there are no wrong or write answers here, because we are all different and the season cannot fully determine your style. You should do you. However, there are some things that are universal (& a bit of a common sense) and there are things that can help you shape your summer style, but not determine it. So, let’s dive into this summer [in the city] style guide!

Some universal summer rules:

Let your body breathe

You want to wear natural/ breathable materials like cotton, linen, silk – heat can be already quite stressful for your body, why increase it by overheating in polyester?

Open up in moderation

I know in some cities it can get so hot that you would want to wear as little as possible, but what can be appropriate at a resort or by the beach, does not always work in a city setting. For instance, a. this can bring across a wrong message to your fellow citizens, b. you risk to burn in the sun, c. there are so many other ways to stay cool & stylish at the same time!

Sun protection

Everyone is talking about the harmful effects of the UV on our skin, so make a sunblock your main summer accessory.

Check the weather forecast

A bit obvious, but it helps you to determine how many layers to wear. That’s why when I create my summer looks, I think of both possibilities – options for both hot and more chilly summer days/ nights.


Summer trends

If you are into fashion, it’s always a good idea to be aware of what is trendy this season and cherry pick the trends that fit your personal style. More on how to deal with fashion trends in my older blog post.


I really believe that you can find your style only through experimenting – so take advantage of the summer weather and go for it! And to put you on this creative styling wave, I’m sharing with you some of my summer outfit ideas – maybe it’s something for you, or maybe it’s completely not your thing – let me know in the comments!

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my thoughts on [fashion] learning and impressions from Summer.Style workshop by Margarita Muradova

my thoughts on [fashion] learning and impressions from Summer.Style workshop by Margarita Muradova

If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that just about a week ago I went to Kiev, Ukraine. My main trigger for that trip became a fashion workshop “Summer.Style” by wonderful Margarita Muradova, or @greenteanosugar. Sounds a bit crazy, right? I mean, who would really travel to another country to attend a workshop? Well, here is the thing… nothing can stop you if this is your passion and you are eager to learn.

greenteanosugar, fashion workshop, summer style, margarita muradova, fashion event, creative quarter, Kiev, lecture, margarita muradova, stylist, ootd, outfit of the day

As much as I can remember myself I was a good student. You know how some people have talents – studying is definitely one of mine. That is probably why after finishing my Master’s degree  in Communications just as I turned 23, I realised that I was not just a good student, I was more of a study addict – I just kept craving more and more. 

I also already wrote before that my fashion addiction started a long time ago – so long that I cannot remember how it really started. Growing up I was dreaming of being a fashion designer while making clothes from anything, from more conventional materials to newspapers & plastic bags (by the way, the newspaper outfit was… erm… interesting to say the least – I will certainly try to find that photo). 

Long story short (and many many years and useless & useful things learnt) my two passions, or addictions – you name it, came together. I took a personal styling course, graduated, started practicing and… continued learning! Books, magazines, additional courses, museums, events, etc. etc. … And the “Summer.Style” workshop has become a cherry on my fashion pie. Well, actually, not just a cherry – a top up of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles – basically a recipe for a heart attack in a good way.

The emotions that I went through that day cannot be compared to anything. As I walked in the Creative Quarter, my heart was pumping from excitement and, perhaps, from a speedy walk through the city center of Kiev, though I’d prefer to say excitement rather than admit that I’m out of shape. I looked around – and there it was, everything you could imagine for a perfect day with the girls: coffee & healthy treats, breathtaking view of Kiev, energising music, a make up stand from Givenchy, some cool hand picked clothes by Sandro, Maje, and Zadig & Voltaire, lots of laughs and smiles… It felt really magical!

greenteanosugar, fashion workshop, summer style, margarita muradova, fashion event, creative quarter, Kiev, lecture, margarita muradova, stylist

I got to my seat and looked around again – when I saw Margarita and went to talk to her, I got so nervous as if I was at the most nerve-wracking job interview, or the most important exam in my life. I never knew how I would react if I met anyone YouTube/ Insta famous in person, but trust me, guys, I would never think that I would be that lost for words.

However, apart from all the cool things, great atmosphere, and meeting your fashion teacher, the best part of the workshop was the workshop itself. I didn’t know what to expect exactly, because you can interpret the main topic “Summer. Style” in many ways. However, having already taken a Personal Stylist course and knowing how extensive and highly professional Margarita Muradova was with all the study materials & lectures, I could sense that it would be special. And oh yes, it was. 

greenteanosugar, fashion workshop, summer style, margarita muradova, fashion event, creative quarter, Kiev, lecture, margarita muradova, stylist

We didn’t just talk about the fashion trends for summer 2018, we looked at how we can bring across a certain message with the way we dress, how this message can be life changing for some or, if not life breaking, but obstructing in one or another sphere of life. We discussed how trends can be brought into your wardrobe and how you can pick the trends that would still reflect your mood and communicate that right life-changing message. We laughed, we talked, we practiced how to apply this knowledge… We really had a blast! 
If someone asked me if I’d repeat it or if I’d participate in another workshop – hell yes! Not just because I’m fashion crazy or because I have extra money to spend, but because I believe that if you found your passion, you should just go for it! There is nothing more satisfying than learning about something that you are truly interested in and something that you love. 

greenteanosugar, fashion workshop, summer style, margarita muradova, fashion event, creative quarter, Kiev, lecture, margarita muradova, stylist

(c) Photo credit goes to Roman Yeremenko

how to dress for a fancy soiree and not to go bankrupt – men’s edition

how to dress for a fancy soiree and not to go bankrupt – men’s edition

This blog post was inspired by a comment of Olivia to my previous post which reminded me of a story that happened a couple of months back – et voila! – a new post idea was born. 

Have you ever been invited to a work party or wedding or any other kind of gathering that required dressing up? If yes – you know the struggle. But imagine if you found out about the dress code element last minute?..

…I knew that my boyfriend was going to have a work party and all the employees got to take their +1’s. No reason to stress – just a work party, right?* 

*I guess here I need to explain that we live in the Netherlands and generally it is okay to not overly dress up for a work function – it may not be applicable to everyone, but this is what my experience has been so far.

This time it wasn’t all that simple. He came from work one evening and announced: “Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you – remember that work function I mentioned to you? It’s a fancy dress event – all guys at work are going to wear suits. Any idea what I could wear?” And this news was coming from a suitless guy next to me within a week before that party… 

This right here – quite a puzzle to solve, huh? Here are some solutions I could think of:

Option 1 Buy a suit

This is probably the most obvious one. If you don’t own a suit and you have an occasion coming up that would require one, this is probably a moment when you might consider buying a suit – just because there will be more events when you would need it.


  • Suit is quite a classic element of men’s wardrobe, there will be days when you will definitely need it
  • Well-fitted suit can give you a sleek & expensive look and boost your confidence


  • Suits can be incredibly expensive
  • We are all different and it will take time to find a perfect fitting suit – it may even require some tailoring services
  • Depending on your lifestyle, you may use it so rarely that it would be difficult to justify time & money investment

Option 2 Rent a suit

What if you really need/ want to wear a suit for an event, but you don’t own one and you are not sure how often you would need it in future? Then you may consider renting a suit.


  • This is your life saviour when you need to have a suit for one time
  • It is much cheaper than buying a suit (even the least expensive one)
  • It would be higher quality than the cheapest suit that you would buy in mass-market


  • It wouldn’t be tailored to you and might potentially look like a suit off someone else’s back
  • It wouldn’t be an investment into something that you could use in future which is a reason to think of whether it would be money well spent

Option 3 Get creative

This is my favourite option! Essentially you try to create an outfit from your existing wardrobe and buy 1-2 additional pieces to dress it up and use afterwards. Don’t get me wrong – this will probably not replace an actual suit, but if the dress code allows to get away with it, it’s definitely worth trying.


  • It saves you money & time
  • You invest into pieces of clothing or accessories that you would be able to wear afterwards
  • It challenges your imagination


  • You would need some styling experience and you would need to think out of the box
  • It won’t work if you have no items that would be more dressy/ semi-formal

In our case, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money and renting a suit felt like unworthy expense. As you can guess by now, I decided to get creative instead.

I broke down my approach to achieve this into steps on how to dress for a fancy soiree and not to go bankrupt: 

  1. Select your potential outfit base from existing wardrobe. For starters – majority of guys have at least one or several dress shirts, chino’s or other kind of pants other than jeans, and semi-formal shoes. The key here is to select items that would suit a formal happening.
  1. Analyse your selected items, try to put together an outfit & identify missing elements. Try to ask yourself: Do these clothes go together? Is it possible to combine some of them into an outfit? What would I need to add to complete the look?
  1. Make a shopping list of the missing elements & do a quick check online. The Internet makes shopping so much easier, especially if you need to find something specific: do a quick online research to find the items that would complete your outfit. Ideally, I would try to find the  missing elements that would be possible to dress up and down in future. 
  1. Pack your outfit and go to the store that you pre-selected from your online research OR simply order the missing pieces online. This one really depends on how much time you have. If you have some serious time constraints I would opt for going to a physical store and trying on a complete outfit together. This would save you from the risk of ordering something that would look nice & suitable for your idea online, but looking not so great or simply not working in your outfit in reality. 

In the end of my story, we picked a black shirt, beige chino’s, brown suede shoes from my boyfriend’s wardrobe, and finished off the look with a newly bought camel blazer & a bow tie. And you know what? This look totally worked!

evening outfit, going out, night out, couple dress upevening outfit, going out, night out, couple dress up

(c) Photo credit goes to the photographer at the Rosefield party

So, tell me now – would you rather break the bank or get creative?