A bit of vintage and a bit of street – a style interview with Sarah-Jane

by Sylvia

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Sarah Jane, aka saramaijewels, is taking Instagram by storm and is charming people around the world with her unique style, beautiful photography, humour and adventurous spirit. She is encouraging women to embrace their wrinkles with the #mywrinklesaremystripes hashtag and to dress in any way they please. I have become a raving fan so of course I wanted to find out more about this amazing woman!

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I was born in England in 1955. I was schooled and attended Sheffield University in England and started my Antique jewellery business in London in the late 1970’s. I moved to Australia in the early 1980’s. I have twin children who are turning 26 this week.

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As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

Of course! 16.04.1955. Age 60.

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Can you tell us a bit more about your instagram and business Saramai Jewels

Although I have been dealing in Antique jewellery for approximately 40 years, the existing model for Saramai Jewels (the brand) has been in place for approximately 10 years.
I have had the Instagram account @saramaijewels for just over 1 year.

As a child in England I had a secret shoe box filled with ‘old things’. Pieces of pottery, clay pipes, coins, tokens and trinkets which I discovered in our recently ploughed back-garden. These objects fascinated me because of the stories I felt they could tell, and soon they became my very own talismans.

In my teens I began exploring the markets of London. In the 70’s Portobello Road was my playground, where I found the exotic, the inspirational, the bizarre.

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Later, when I travelled to distant lands I was delighted to realize that just like me, people around the world had a quest for beauty and meaning, and I was enthralled with the symbolism found in jewellery everywhere. I collected many objects as I travelled, and to support myself, I traded my way around the world; swapping, buying and selling, unwittingly gathering information along the way.

Eventually I landed in Australia. During the 80’s I made many trips between Australia and the UK, where I purchased hundreds of pieces of Antique Jewellery. I soon became one of the biggest wholesalers of Antique jewellery to the trade in Australia. The Saramai jewellery collections evolved from handling antique jewellery over a number of years.

During my time as an Antique Dealer I would also buy one-off stylish new pieces. The demand for certain items, such as Art Deco earrings, far outweighs the supply, so I would enjoy designing new versions of these iconic pieces.

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Saramai pays homage to the Master jewellers from centuries past.
Inspiration is drawn from craftsmen and women who, over time, have understood the meaning of beauty and wearability.The collections in turn are, evocative, charming, whimsical and classic.

The @saramaijewels Instagram account started off as a vehicle for me to share the jewellery, but, like the rest of my life, developed organically into more of a Daily Diary for me.

Since publishing a stunning photo of yourself in adidas clothes, your Instagram has exploded and now has more than 30,000 followers. What impact did that have on your life? And what changes did you make to your Instagram?

The explosion of the Instagram account has had no real impact on my daily life. I am the same as I ever was. Of course I have made new friends and contacts. But I am still the same person and certainly not in any way a celebrity, or famous or anything like that.
To think any differently would be foolish and absurd. Really there has been no major impact on my life other than that I now take a few more pictures.

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My Instagram account is simply a Daily Diary, where I share thoughts, clothes, opinions and hopefully a little humour.
It is in no way contrived, but it seems that my life is interesting to people so I am happy to share snippets of it on Instagram.

I noticed that you now pay a lot of attention to great photography, collaborate with photographers and have published the most stunning pictures. Can you tell us a little more about that?

I am a visual artist so the attention to the Photography comes natural to me. I am the same in my environment, at home. The Visuals are everything to me. It isn’t difficult, it’s just the way I see the world.

My husband enjoys photography so he takes a lot of the pictures, I generally see the shot and then edit and adjust settings once he has taken it. But this is a speedy process for me, as everything is in my head and only needs to be transferred to an image. We have worked together on various house renovations so he understands and trusts my aesthetic.

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The photographers I have collaborated with are all people who have approached me via the account and asked to work with me. Generally I will check out their work before agreeing. I don’t want to be contrived or compromised in a shoot. It’s important for me to keep it real.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t even understand this word ‘Style’.
I like clothes that are comfortable, colourful, natural fabrics, a bit of vintage and a bit of street. I just mix things up.

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What would you consider the most important components of your style?

Comfort and honesty. And not revealing too much flesh.

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Where do you live and how does that influence your style?

I live wherever I happen to be at the time. I live in Australia, in India, in the UK, and more recently in the USA.
I try to be respectful of the cultures of the countries I visit. I don’t expose large areas of bare flesh. It’s not necessary.
I adore colour. I mix up all the cultural and historical references of all the places I have traveled.

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I loved the great variety of outfits you wore during your travels to the US. Can you tell us a bit more about your travelling lifestyle and how you pack for trips?

I went to boarding school from the age of 5 – 15, so I am a great packer! My idea of a perfect pack is to use everything I have taken and to need nothing I have left behind.
I generally start by choosing a colour palette and then work from there.

I mix patterns, items, layers, scarves, but all within a pallete of colour. I also wear one item in many different ways, scarves as belts, head wraps, neck bows, etc.
Jeremy Scott wings from Kicks can be worn as a head piece, Leggings as a head-wrap, etc etc.

It’s all about the colour and layering in different orders. Sometimes a Jacket will be worn close to the body rather than on the outside, I mix it up all the time.

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Do you feel you have a signature style?

No. I’m a chameleon.

What inspires your outfit choices the most?

Comfort and colour.

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Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?

No idea what colour profiling means.
And I don’t understand the question re. body type.
I wear over-sized clothes a lot. I wear boy’s clothes, I shop in the Children’s section in Adidas…

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Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

No. I was always a modest, unusual dresser. I still wear clothes I had when I was 18.

Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

I don’t think about it and therefore I don’t get it! It means nothing to me,
I dress how I want to dress, not how is deemed appropriate for my age, my colour, my socio-economic status, etc etc..

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Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

I’ve never been interested in fashion. I never will be. I am anti-fashion. I am anti-commercialism and all for individual expression. Fashion kills individuality. It is all about consumerism not individuality. I never buy or read magazines, or follow any fashion shows etc. I am not interested in predictions for the next season etc. etc. I will not be dictated to in that way.

Why is the way you look important to you?

Because it is a reflection of my mood. Often I will dress to be invisible.

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Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?

No. None.

Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?

No. I wouldn’t presume to advise people on how to dress. I would hope that by the time they reach 40 they would have a sense of who they are, what they like to wear, and the best way to put an outfit together. And, realistically, I don’t think many people would want to dress like me anyway!

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What are your plans for your Instagram account and business and how do you see it develop over the coming years?

No plans. I take each day as it comes. See what the world throws at me and choose which path to take.
I may take the instagram account down if I get bored doing it. I may stop dealing in jewellery, or I may start dealing in a different genre of jewellery. Who knows what journey I will be on over the coming years.

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Anything further you would like to add?

Thank you for your interest!

Be sure to check out Sarah-Jane’s Instagram for many more spectacular photos. All photos were taken from there and you will indiviual details for each photo there. You can find her business website here.

Which of Sarah-Jane’s outfits is your favorite?

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Patti

Sarah-Jane is fabulous, one of my favorites! I adore her hair as well as her style, and we are only one month apart in age.

Christine Dodd

I love the adidas vest and combats – a great look

Jill

I think this lady is one awesome woman! You can see her zest and zeal for life reflected in her style and grace. Loved this interview and the pics! Love this blog!

Ann

Fabulous, zesty and an inspiration of creativity! IG is opening up the number of women who can show their style. Yes!

Jodie filogomo

Definitely unique and fun!!

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas

Oh, WOW! Thank you for introducing Sarah Jane to us mere mortals! I was fascinated reading about her. She really is an artistic lady, and I feel a wave of inspiration just looking at her photos!

As far as my favourite look here, I keep coming back to the red and white sports jacket with black and white. Totally cool!

Lisa M

I have fantasies of being that much of a free spirit. Great interview!

lisa

Whether she knows what style is or not, she sure has it by the bucket loads! She really expresses who she is through what she wears. I love her and have been a fan for a while. Super interview, Silvia.

sjw

Sylvia, I have to compliment you on your perseverance with this interview. I think she is correct, not many would want to emulate her style, but I can appreciate the photography and interaction of her clothing and the artsy vignettes she puts together.

Greetje

She often dresses to be invisible…. haha … never. She will never be invisible. And I would absolutely love to dress like her. I would love it. I admire her hugely. But I haven’t got her creativity, it would never work. Her way of dressing is heaven to me. Unreachable and beautiful.

Ravina E.

Oh I just love LOVE her style..Very confident to be who she is!! Keep us posted!!

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She has her unique style that’s for sure! It suits her and her spirit. It’s not hard to see her past from her style. 🙂

What’s encouraging is that she doesn’t let age stop her from expressing her sense of style. It may not suit me but the spirit is educational.

I am 10 years behind Sarah Jane and have a different aesthetics (you can see mine in my website) but I would like to continue to evolve in my style and won’t let age keep me in “safe” clothes.

Agnes Araujo

Oh ! Wonderful WOMAN !! She is really Free. Her beauty comes to the soul and the heart. She isn’t a commercial person. My all respect

Natalie

Thank you for Sarah-Jane’s interview. Another fearless woman which I love. I’m too conservative for her choices but I admire her individuality. As a 25 year old in a 61 year old body, I am trying my best to embrace the wrinkles.

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