Jan 10, 2018

Outfit Planning

Image courtesy of Pretty Chuffed

One thing I have been working on (and will hopefully continue to improve on in 2018) is weeknight meal planning. It's never been my thing.  Maybe because I was single for so long, I would just sort it out on the fly (frequent visits to the corner sushi shop or the local soup guy).  And, let's be honest, my creativity lies more in the closet than in the kitchen.  But now it's no longer just me, we have been working on being more organized so we don't have to grapple on a daily basis with the "what's for dinner?" question.

So many of you have this down.  Organized, creative and whip up delicious dinners with ease.  I love learning new tips and getting inspiration - slowly, I'm getting there.  

Many people experience their quandry at the start of the day.  Blankly staring at the closet:  "what am I going to wear?".  "How can I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?".  This - I can help with.

As with meals, some advance planning can lead to stress free mornings, getting you out of the house feeling pulled together in a timely fashion.

Set aside time:

On Sunday, before the start of the work week, I set aside some time to put together outfit combinations. This takes me about 20-30 minutes but feel free to give yourself more or less.  Have fun with it - this is a time to be creative and shop your closet.  It is difficult to feel inspired and come up with innovative ideas first thing in the morning.  Planning ahead usually results in more interesting looks and maybe even help you gain a few extra zzzzs...

Check the weather:

I would do this anyway.  I like to know what to expect for the week.  Before puting together outfits, I always do a quick weather check so the looks I set aside align with what is going on with the elements.  If it is going to be really chilly - maybe some cozy sweaters. If the temps look like they are going to climb (it will happen), maybe some layers.  You get the idea.   

Start with a few looks at a time:

Above:  an example from my closet.  In the corner, I always set out a series of outfits.  Here I have:  1)  printed embroidered dress with printed bomber jacket 2) red striped blouse with pinstriped pencil skirt 3), metallic sweater, black shell blouse, animal print pencil skirt, pendant necklace 3) embellished cardi-style jacket with knit dress 4)  over sized blue suede cardi, black knit dress, plaid fringe scarf

Starting with a week's worth of outfits might feel too much when you are getting started, so maybe begin with 3.  I usually set aside at least 4, so I have options in the morning depending on my mood.  I may have put an outfit together, but for whatever reason, am not feeling it on a particular morning.  Mid week - I look at the outfits that remain and how I've been feeling and quickly add in a look or two.

Consider the 20/80 principle:

I know you've heard this and when I work with clients I've found it to be pretty accurate:  most of use wear 20% of thier wardrobe 80% of the time.  When planning outfits you will definitely have your basics and go-to pieces.  But, this is a time to bring out those gems that you have (but rarely wear) and try and work them into a look.  Planning outfits might lead you to start to wear more of the garments hanging in your wardrobe.  Shop those before spending more $ on new pieces!  Also, if you are taking the time to make outfits and still don't wear these pieces, it's probably a sign to let them go.  

Complete looks:

When putting outfits together don't forget to add in a completer piece (this could be a blazer, cardigan, light bomber jacket etc.) to add dimension to the look.  Think about your accessories (this is where you can express your personality) and footwear.  


If creating outfits doesn't come easily, remember you can always look to others for inspiration.  Magazines, blogs, style apps all can help.  A lot of my clients are loving the virtual closet - they look at outfit combinations I've made for them using their own clothing via an app they can access on on their devices.  It's like I am in the closet with them, they just need to pull the outfits that speak to them each week.

Above:  sample outfits on ipad using the Virtual Closet service

Fail proof looks on hand:

It's good to always have a couple of go-to looks at the ready that you feel amazing in and that are easy to throw together.  These could be comprised os some of your favourite basics or neutrals.  Some mornings, all you need is comfort and something familiar despite your fabulous pre-prepared outfit creation.  

Let me know how it goes - hopefully if you set a side a little time in advance, the start of your days will go that much more smoothly.  And I will continue to work on my evenings (with a little help from Jamie Oliver - my New Year's gift to myself).



Oct 9, 2017

Virtual Styling Subscriptions - a personal style coach at your fingertips

Have you ever considered hiring a personal stylist, but weren't sure if you were ready to invest the time and effort?  But, then somehow you end up aimlessly walking through shops, or wish you had a second opinion in the fitting room?

I'm here to help.  Based on feedback I've been getting from my clients who have been using the Virtual Closet service and app I provide, this is a tool that definitely makes getting dressed and navigating the wardrobe so much easier.  

I am offering virtual style subscriptions on a monthly basis.  This is a light introduction to working with a stylist on your own terms - and from the comfort of your own home.

Here's how it works:

1) click on this "let's get started" link and fill out the questionnaire so I get to know a bit about you and your style needs

Let's get started!

2) I'll send you a link to your own "virtual closet".  Set aside a bit of time to photograph everything in your wardrobe.  Once you've taken the photos I'll take it from there!

3) I'll sort the items in the closet and start to make outfits ("looks") for you - in the subscription service you will get 5 new personalized looks every month.

4) With this service, you can email me questions about looks you are putting together, send photos from the changeroom or text me your style quandries.

5) I will be keeping a close eye on your wardrobe and making recommendations on pieces you might want to consider for your next purchase.  These recommendations will come to you on a personalized shopping list with direct links - so you don't even need to leave your house!

Monthly subscriptions start at $20 a month.  

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.  Look forward to chatting with you!  Lori xo

Sep 24, 2017

Nostalgia and the Closet Edit

What to do with Great Aunt Gladys' squirrel fur coat? This has been a question in my family for over 25 years.  

My aunt passed this on to my mum sometime in the 80s when I was a teenager.  My mum always talked about how it had been so fashionable when my aunt donned it.  It was very expensive.  High quality.  Perfect for a small-town mayor's wife to wear to dress up functions.  That sort of thing.  

It's true, my aunt was very particular, had good taste, and liked to wear nice things.  So - I did kind of believe her, even though it was made of squirrel.  And in my eyes, very ugly. 

My aunt stopped wearing it in her senior years and gave it to my mum.  I made it very clear that she absolutely could NOT to wear that coat in public.  My 14 year old self would die of embarassement.  She agreed - but did opt to wear it on chilly winter mornings while pulling the garbage bins down the driveway...it was "just so warm".  I was thankful she was fast at that task, and hopeful no one would notice.  Or, on the occasional winter power outage this was definitely her garment of choice.

To be fair to the coat, my aunt was almost 6 feet tall and my mum barely 5"3 so it was overwhelming on her frame to say the least.   I tried it on this weekend, while visiting with my dad.  I'm also around 5"3, so you get an idea of the fit - oversized.  

sOver the past few months my dad and I have chatted about what to do with this coat.  But, have never gotten beyond that point, because even though no one in the family has really ever liked it, there is some true nostalgia and humour wrapped up in the whole thing.  

I come across nostalgia pieces so often when working on closet edits with clients.  There are usually those garments that take up space, aren't being worn; but carry some powerful memories or emotion.  Depending on where the client is with the piece, I often recommend setting it aside in a separate area of the closet (or in a box) with other memorabilia pieces such as: grandma's old scarf, grad dress, bridesmaids dresses etc.  Eventually clients know when they are ready to part with something, but in the meantime it is good to move it out of prime wardrobe retail space.

This piece hangs in the downstairs coat closet in the family home in Squamish.  We are ready to part with it and now have devised a bit of a plan.  Research has shown it was custom made by a local furrier who had a shop on Robson street in the late '50s through early "70s.  I am guessing my aunt probably wore this one throughout the sixties.  I absolutely love her embroidered initials on the lining.  That's special and kind of cool.  

There are a few Max Dodek Furs on vintage sale sites and on Etsy.  Before the year is out, for the fun of it, I plan to list this one to see if there are any takers.  My aunt was a huge supporter of the Red Cross so if happens to sell, we'd donate the $$ to that cause (I realize it won't be much, but I think both she and my mum would like that plan).  

If it continues to sit both physically and virtually, I do have a friend who does a yearly play in her Grade 2 class about a wolf - this coat may be destined for theatre...

In the meantime, I feel good that we are getting a little closer in having a plan for this piece.

I just wish I had a photo of my mum wearing it on one of those cold, winter garbage days.  But, I do have it etched in my memory - it's vivid and always makes me smile.  

Jul 12, 2016

The Comfort Walking Sandal - Womens

The other day I went on a search for the perfect walking sandal for an upcoming trip to Italy - hopefully one that had at least some style.  Click on the link for my findings which are displayed in catalog format.  If there are any that catch your eye - click the image and it will direct you to the retail link.


Happy Summer!

Nov 8, 2015

My Fall Fashion Misstep

When it comes to making purchases, I am methodical.  I follow the advice I give my clients.  I take stock of what I have each season and make a focused, intentional shopping list.  This usually consists of one or two staple pieces which could be more of an investment (cost-per-wear) as well as a couple of less expensive which may encompass a trend so my wardrobe feels more current and updated without receiving an entire overhaul. 

I do my homework. 

That being said, I feel compelled to share my 2015 fall fashion flop.  Hoping my reflection might help in your thinking process when debating whether a future item is right for you.  

On my list this fall, was a new blazer or cardigan.  Something versatile with visual interest.  I was in J Crew during a weekend sale and found what I thought was the perfect piece.

Link for sweater on J Crew website

My rationale:

  • looks like a jacket but is actually a sweater; comfortable, could easily be dressed up or down
  • has Chanel-type vibe
  • I love navy and black, this has both.  The metallic threads also were a selling feature.  I envisioned it pairing with my work trousers, skirts, dresses and jeans
  • the fringe detail made it feel current - I always look for interesting details

I snapped it up, feeling triumphant with the flash weekend sale price and my additional teacher discount (love love love that J Crew celebrates teachers).  I went home envisioning all the ways I would wear my new go-to piece.

But this didn’t happen.  I’ve had it 2 months and worn it twice.  Both times, I haven’t loved it (or really even liked it).  I paid $110, I am at $55 per wear.  

My issues:

  • I liked that fact that it is a cardigan, but when it isn’t fastened, the shape is boxy (as you can see from the image)
  • rather than buttons, there are hooks.  I hadn’t thought about how these hooks would catch on my staple pieces such as lace trousers or textured skirts.  Leaning over, I get stuck.  Statement necklaces also get tied up in the clasps
  • when buttoned up, it has more shape but feels very warm.  The hooks pop open easily, another frustration

Admittedly, the kiss of death for this sweater probably came when I was watching a recent episode of Young and the Restless.  A guilty pleasure.  I enjoy a lot of the styling on this show and can align my taste with a few of the characters.  But, I was horrified when the least stylish character (Esther, the longtime maid who rarely gets to wear anything other than a traditional black and white maid uniform...and when she does her outfits are usually devoid of style) was called to testify in a jury trial and she stepped up wearing...my J Crew cardigan!

Image courtesy of The Young and The Stylish

How had I missed the mark so terribly?

I’ve gotten over that shock and am still not giving up on the sweater.  

I’ve since read reviews that reveal other customers experiencing the same frustrations.  On-line reviews for stores like J Crew or Anthropologie are very useful, if you are ever on the fence about an item this is definitely a great resource.

Despite all this, it is now part of my current fall/winter wardrobe and I am determined to drive down its cost-per-wear.  

Sometimes we miss the mark.  This fall misstep is forcing me to work the same sort of magic I attempt with my clients’ wardrobes when they can’t figure out how to style a garment they’ve purchased.  I always enjoy that challenge, so am keen to put this sweater to the test.

I'm going to take a page from style guru, Tim Gunn and try to "make it work".  

Wish me luck!

Nov. 10 - update

Gave it a go today...cost-per-wear down to $36.66 

Apr 2, 2015

3 Ways to Try Trends This Spring

Are you feeling springy? Ready to incorporate something new in your wardrobe this season?  The options are endless whether you decide to try a fresh print, revisit a past decade, or experiment with a modern silhouette...

Here are a few trends for Spring 2015 that might pique your interest!

1)  The print: Gingham

Floral continues to be big this spring and I continue to love it. But it isn’t anything surprising for this time of year. Gingham made a real statement on the runways this season and is a current, fresh print to incorporate into your look. This print is classic, and will serve you well over time. So many possibilities: pants, blouses, dresses, shoes, skirts, jackets or bags. Here is some inspiration from style blog, Style Me Lauren.

Images courtesy of:  Style Me Lauren

2)  The decade: the '70s

The ‘70s are certainly having a comeback in the world of fashion and style. There are several ways you can incorporate this trend in your wardrobe without looking like you are going to a costume party. Wider leg pants are in, but they aren’t as dramatic a flare as worn in the past. Rather, the width builds gradually from the knee creating a more modern version of the '70s silhouette. Personally, I am enjoying the suede or fringe pieces that are inspired from this era. Colored suede is a nice way to bring in soft texture and a luxurious look to an outfit (and it doesn’t have to be expensive). Fringe can be fun and certainly can make a statement depending on how its worn, but does not need to overwhelm a look - it's all in the styling and should reflect your personal taste. Adding it in an accessory can add a bit of whimsy or movement to a look.

Images courtesy of Stylecaster

Image courtesy of:  9to5chic

3)  The Silhouette: Culottes

This silhouette might not work for everyone and you have to ensure the right fit for your body type. But, if you can nail that, culottes are a piece that could add a new shape to your wardrobe and make you feel very NOW (and kind of fashion forward). The right pair could be easily dressed up or down, and take you right through to fall. 

Images courtesy of Wendy's Lookbook and The Corporate Catwalk

Image courtesy of:  collagevintage.com

Trends should never break the bank.  There are plenty affordable options out there right now at stores such as Zara, Forever 21, H&M, Loft, Joe Fresh and Old Navy.  Think about the pieces you already have in your wardrobe and which of these might combine well, or liven up what you already have.  

Remember, always know what's already hanging in your closet and try not to hit up the stores unless you have a list and a plan.  This lessens the chance of wasting your hard earned $ on pieces you don't need and probably won't wear.  We work too hard to make those mistakes (you know what I mean, it's happened to all of us).

Happy Spring everyone!

Mar 12, 2015

Jeans: My top picks for splurge and save


I was shopping with a client yesterday, replenishing her jean collection was her top priority.  When we went through her closet, she showed me several pairs she had bought inexpensively, but was now unhappy with the fit.  The primary complaint?  They don't hold their shape.  Because skinny jeans are a staple in her wardrobe, for casual or dressy; she felt ready to make an investment purchase (rather than continue to throw money toward cheaper pairs that aren't quite right).  

While the price of an investment pair of jeans usually sends one's head spinning, we did talk about cost-per-wear, of which I am a solid believer.  I would rather see a wardrobe with fewer pieces that fit like a glove and are actually worn regularly (and make the wearer feel amazing), than a closet jam-packed with ill-fitting clothing.  If you spend the money on something you love and will wear for years, it will end up owing you nothing.  But investment pieces require some research and time.

Her concern with the jeans bagging out couldn't be avoided with the ones she had in her closet.  In order to avoid that problem, the elastane/lycra content of the fabric should be no more than 2%.  This allows for some stretch, but will not relax as much as those with a higher percentage.  Most of the higher end jean companies, seem to follow this formula.  Several inexpensive lines also use 1 or 2% lycra, but it is worth taking the time to check.

When you are ready to invest, it is good to go to a store that carries plenty of brands and styles so there will be lots of selection for your body type.  We headed to Holt Renfrew where they have an incredible wall of jeans and fabulous service, but you can also find many of the same brands at Hudson's Bay (or if the dollar was better...Nordstroms, Macy's etc).  

She tried on a variety of brands all which looked terrific:  Rag and Bone, J Brand, Citizens.  But, the pair that ultimately won out was a pair of dark wash skinnies by Paige Denim.  When we chatted with the salesperson about our concerns with the perfect fit, she said we had to try Paige's new TRANSCEND technology.  This fabrication is soft, luxirious, and apparently features an innovative formula that will not stretch out.  There is even a guarantee.  

These look and feel unbelievable.  She went for the Skinny Skyline style which am showing here, but the TRANSCEND technology is available in various styles and washes.  These are worth the splurge.  It took everything in me to resist trying on and getting a pair myself.  When I am in the market for a new pair of jeans, this will definitely be my go-to.  

As amazing as these jeans are, we are not cookie-cutters.  It is always important to ensure that every aspect of the garment fits to perfection for you.  Almost every element of these worked for her, but she still perferred them tighter around the ankle than how they were sitting on her.  Solution?  We asked for the in-house tailor who was able to show her how they could be taken in a titch so they would be the perfect custom-fit.  Tailoring is essential at any price-point and makes all the difference.  


As we move into spring/summer, in addition to our black or dark-wash denim, it is nice to infuse some lighter hues into the rotation.  This is where you will want to look for a save - and I think I have found the perfect steal - the Old Navy Rockstar reg price under $45 and currently on-sale for $30 (and the lycra content is only 1%).  These come in a variety of washes, rises and styles.  If you want to infuse some white, pastel or distressed into your wardrobe for a season without breaking the bank, these would be my top pick.  Maybe you are contemplating giving the on-trend '70s inspired flare a whirl at $30 these will hopefully owe you nothing and could make a fun style statement!

Mar 3, 2015

Some Simple Stylist Magic

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting we stop exercising, or alter any dietary routines.

But, over the past few days I have come across two examples illustrating what I know to be true through my work with clients of varying body types - properly fitting clothes can make you look you slimmer.

I was at a client's home the other day and we were chatting about her husband's wardrobe.  Last year, I worked with him on a closet-edit and we revamped both his work and off-duty looks.  He had a lot of great quality pieces.  Still, we got rid of a ton.  Most of it was far too big; outdated in either shape or style.   His outfits didn't convey the successful, intelligent, cool guy that his wife and daughters know him to be. 

He now gets frequent compliments on his wardrobe, and people are asking if he lost weight.  The difference?  Clothing that fits, as well as reflecting his lifestyle and personality. 

And, I'd like to think, his work with a stylist. 

A few little tips and tricks about what works can make such a difference in how we present ourself, how we are perceived, and ultimately, how we feel.

Which brings me to my second example. 

Yesterday, a friend sent a photo my way of motivational speaker, Tony Robbins. This did not resemble the same Tony I'd watched in a TED talk a few months ago who wore an oversized, wrinkled suit jacket with ill-fitting jeans. Even my boyfriend who doesn’t normally comment much on style, was distracted by Tony’s look.

This Tony looks sharp, lean, modern and stylish. His clothes fit. Maybe he has lost weight, maybe he hasn’t (and his Florida lifestyle probably doesn’t hurt).

But I am pretty sure he’s consulted a stylist.

When trying to look a little slimmer, a common tendency is to dress in loose fitting, baggy clothing which actually makes the wearer appear larger. Stylists have a cure for this. An extensive tool kit of tricks.

As an Elementary school teacher, I love that it all starts with the ABCs. Through various optical illusions, a stylist can teach how to Accentuate your best features, Balance your frame, and apply Camouflage techniques. And, as in education, it is all so individual.

Obviously, it is not all about dressing to feel or look a little lighter.  It is about connecting what you wear with who you are as a person.  This brings to mind a quote I love by celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe. 

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak".

A stylist can help you figure that out.

photos courtesy of:  Wikipedia Creative Commons and Ocean Drive

Feb 3, 2015

Bon Jovi Birthday

I just had a birthday and my new(ish) man hit it out of the park.  Not only did he treat me to the most fabulous day, to top it off, he excitedly presented me with a Bon Jovi shirt from the offical fan store. If you didn't know, I am the ultimate fan.  

It got me thinking about different ways to style concert shirts (or any other graphic tee in a wardrobe...I do have a few fun librarian ones such as "shhhhh" and "read" that could definitely be worked into rotation on a more regular basis).

Here is a little inspiration from a style blogger:

Images courtesy of:  Babble

And from the styling team at Lucky Magazine:

a) styled for weekend; b) styled for dinner out; c) a relaxed work environment

We went out the other night with friends, I was excited to bring out Bon Jovi.

What I did learn from the cut of the shirt, is some fans are probably more comfortable rocking a little cleavage (I tend to be ultra-conservative in this department).  So, I pulled out the "backwards stylist trick" I referred to in my last post.  

At the end of the night, we realized we hadn't taken pictures.  Apologies for the poor qualitiy of these, a few that we took at the beginning of the night when texts were flying around with girlfriends regarding wardrobes for the evening (ie: What are you wearing?  Should I wear a dress or jeans?  you get the jist...).  

Guess I'll just have to wear it again soon - but until then this gives the idea:

It's rare that I wear all black. But throw in a little texture, shine and the spirit of a fabulous '80s hair band I've loved for 30 years, I am good to go.  And very happy (and not just because of the shirt).  

Jan 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

I have always considered myself a rule follower. Perhaps this is because I grew up with the ultimate rule follower, my mum. Though we’ve given her the gears about it over the years, it certainly has its perks. Not only does she follow rules; she listens, and is a stickler for detail. She is the #1 fan of Stylesmarts; internalizing every tip and trick I’ve picked up along the way.

Here is the icing on the cake. She is also one of the most thoughtful and generous gift-givers I’ve ever met. While I am definitely happy with my own sense of personal style and ability to find unique pieces that align with my taste, personality body type etc. If I am being completely honest, the ones that garner the most compliments are usually met with this response, “Oh thanks - it was a gift from my mum” or, “My mum found it in a little boutique...”.

So after another wonderful Christmas, I am beginning 2015 with a few new, lovely gems to add to my wardrobe courtesy of Stylist Mum (though I shouldn’t forget to mention my dad; her amazingly patient sidekick who is there for backup, morale support and chauffeur services).

Because I spend a lot of time in overflowing wardrobes which I believe make it more difficult to put outfits together, I have this rule for myself. Whenever I have a few new pieces to add to my closet, I must also get rid of (and hopefully donate) some in order to avoid the overcrowding/confusion problem. The new year is a great time for this. For some of my tips for a closet edit check out my recent Q&A with the North Shore News.

Here is an unusual stylist trick I’ve been experimenting with lately to try to breathe new life into some pieces that I have been perhaps avoiding due to overall fit or unflattering neckline. I’ve found with some dresses, tops or sweaters; wearing them backwards can actually work better for me. Not saying it works for everything or everyone (obviously not pants...and you really have to play around with it), but give it a try with something you may be on the fence about before tossing it on the donation pile.  Plus, it is always fun to experiment with new silhouettes.

Backwards stylist trick:  photo credits 1 and 2, photo credit 3, photo credit 4

For those pieces that do ultimately make it in the pile, I am so glad I have a colleague at work who is always keen to give them a new home. I love seeing them styled a different way. Clothing in good condition that I know won’t work for her, is always donated to a local charity either in the bin or Dress for Success.

Always a good rainy day activity and chances are there will be a few of those in the weeks to come.

As I write this, I am receiving fashion blog links and updates from Stylist Mum via text and email- maybe it’s time she start her own business...I'll share the link if it ever happens.

Oct 5, 2014

Making A Statement

photo credit:  Bake photogrpahy

On the last few days of my stay in New York City this past summer, I stumbled upon an adorable little boutique that for some strange reason all my prior research failed to uncover.

This place is a gem (Darling NYC). My eager shopping partner and I purchased a couple of unique, reasonably priced pieces (that we fell in love with) and decided to go back once more before heading home as we overheard the owner chatting about a new shipment. Our curiousity was piqued.

When working with clients I always suggest considering the following when debating whether or not to purchase an item. Note: if it fulfills all the critera my instinct is usually to go for it, even if it wasn’t technically on the shopping list...

  • cost per wear (does the price justify the amount of times it will be worn?)
  • fit
  • versatility
  • visual interest (colour, print, texture or shine)
  • does it reflect your personal style?
  • you don't currently own something that is basically the same (or very close)
  • you love it!

When we returned, a collarless, zebra print coat caught my eye. Less than $150, could be worn for at least 3 seasons of the year definitely over several years, fit like a glove, could easily be worn to work, on the weekend or dressed up, I loved it.

Sadly, I walked away. It was hard to wrap my head around buying such a warm piece on a hot, NYC August day. Imagining it fitting inside my already stuffed suitcase was another concern.

But now the weather is changing and I am seeing all of the fabulous statement coats out there, I continue to think about how well it would have worked with my wardrobe and lifestyle.

I wish I’d followed my advice on this one.

A statement coat is an easy way to take a basic outfit to the next level. There are so many to choose from right now at terrific price points. Here are a few that have caught my eye:

Animal prints:

Animal print never goes out of style and is an easy way to add visual interest to an outfit.

Zebra coat (that I should have bought!), BB Dakota; top right Joe Fresh; bottom right Loft

The Robe Coat:

The wrap or robe coat is very on trend right now. Easy to wear. I have shown them here in grey, but they are cropping up in every colour or in interesting textures as well.

Left:  Zara; Right: BB Dakota 

Colour and texture:

Shearling or faux fur is very on trend at the moment (I always love a little texture!). Infusing colour is also a way to add personality to a look. Pastels continue to be having a moment and are quite refreshing as the weather gets cooler.

Pink swing trench: Anthropologie; Mint mohair: Zara

A couple of additional picks:

Couldn’t help zooming in on this sweater coat from Anthro - knitwear is everywhere right now, so cozy and stylish.  This raincoat caught my eye. Let’s face it - it gets wet here, and we might as well embrace it in style. 

Left:  Anthropologie, Right:  French Connection

And here are the statement coats I do I have and love because I actually followed the above criteria. So glad I did.  Will keep in mind next time before walking away.

Feb 19, 2014

The Crop Top - yes you can!

A very stylish friend (and colleague) walked into the library the other day looking so bright and cheery in this bold, floral top.  It immediately made me think of Spring.  I loved the softness of this flowy, eye-catching piece.  But, I was even more excited when I realized she was actually sporting a crop top.  They are everywhere right now.  And you don't need to walk away from them just because you are over the age of 18.  

Here are 3 ideas if you are interested in trying this trend...

1)  Follow my friend's lead:  Layer

Layer over a longer lightweight or sheer blouse/shell, or over a structured shirt.  You get the look without baring your tummy.

2)  Fake It

A dress like this from Anthropologie gives the illusion of wearing a crop top and skirt but is actually one piece (no need to concern yourself as to whether you are baring the midriff plus it's that much easier to get dressed).

Wear a crop over a shift dress.  It will give the illusion that you are actually just wearing it with a high waisted pencil skirt.

3)  Opt for a higher waist

This could also be a fun way to play with a new silhouette and trouser style in your wardrobe.

The words of Project Runway's fashion mentor, Tim Gunn, are ringing through my head:

"Make it work."

Well Tim, thanks to some inspiration from my friend, I think we can!

Image sources:  popsugar; Anthropologie; the classy cubicle; style caster

Feb 15, 2014

Bill Cunningham New York - An Inspiration...

Image source:  Joana Avillez

How is it that in all the time I've spent in New York, I've never spotted Bill Cunningham zooming around on his bike, yet I have crossed paths with the "Naked Cowboy" three times?

This week, I finally got around to watching the award-winning documentary, Bill Cunningham New York (2011) about the life, passion and work of the legendary New York Times street-style photographer.

Bill is the original.  The thousands of fashion bloggers out there have Bill to thank.  And so do I.  Fashion and style seem more accessible, interestng and attainable because of his work.

When this was filmed, Bill was 80 yrs old.  He demonstrates more enthusiasm, energy and work ethic than most at the start of their careers.  He is endearing, charming and quirky.  From his bikes, filing cabinets, room at Carnegie Hall, and his trademark blue jacket (which he apparently buys at French hardware stores dirt cheap)...I am quite certain you will fall in love with Bill as I did.  He was not at all what I was expecting of someone so revered and successful in the sartorial world.

Images sources:  New York Times, Zeitgeistfilms

This film is about so much more than fashion.  It is about a unique man, an extraordinary career, a city, relationships, culture and society.  


I have been replaying scenes in my mind all week.  Here are a few quotes that stuck:

  • "The best fashion show is definitely on the street.  Always has been, always will be."
  • "I'm not interested in celebrities and their free dresses.  I am interested in clothes."
  • "I let the street speak to me."
  • "We're in the age of cookie-cutter sameness.  There are few that are rarities, someone who doesn't look like 10 million others."
  • "Fashion is the armour to survive everyday life."

I watched this documentary on Netflix - highly recommended.  

This summer, I will be on a mission to find a way to meet the man himself.  Does anyone know if there a stage door at the New York Times?

Wish me luck!

A sample of one of Bill's "On The Street" spreads from the New York Times

Feb 13, 2014

Maternity Style

Nope - I'm not pregnant.

I received a message on Facebook the other day from my adorable cousin.  Her message:

"Can you help a pregnant girl out?  Feeling huge and just blah these days.  I see other pregnant people and think they look so cute.  I need a few do and don't rules for maternity clothes."

Another cousin (equally adorable and also pregnant) also expressed enthusiasm for this pregnancy style quandry.

Well, I am pretty sure when people see you ladies they actually think to themselves how cute you both look.  But, I have some ideas and am always willing to share... 

Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who has never personally experienced the challenges of maternity dressing.  I'm not pretending to understand.  But, I've heard a lot and definitely try to be a cheerleader where I can.  

I love and am interested in style.  And don't think this needs to be sacrificed for the duration of a pregnancy.  Who needs to feel blah when you should be glowing?

Accessorize:  Dress comfortably but maintain your sense of personal style

During your pregnancy you will want to invest in some everyday, comfortable basics. However, whether your style is feminine, creative, trendy, classic, sporty or dramatic; accerssories are an easy way to add visual interest to a look and express your personal style.  Be creative with scarves, statement jewelry, fun flats, wedge sneakers, hats and sunglasses.  Bonus: these pieces will take you beyond your pregnancy.  Why not splurge on a few bold manicures?

Don't forget to layer:

Layering is an easy way to add dimension to an outfit.  Cardigans, wraps, vests, jackets (which will need to be left open) help make a look seem more structured, fitted and pulled-together.  Colour, print and texture always increase the style factor of a look.

Flatter your figure:  

Opt for flowing or fitted clothing such as blouses, empire waistlines, A-line silhouettes, maxi dresses/skirts, long tanks, leggings, cardigans or cropped jackets.  Be careful not to drown yourself in overly loose or baggy garments.

Go shopping!

Treat yourself to a few new pieces that make you feel fabulous during this very special time in your life.  Stores like Zara, Old Navy, Gap, H&M and Topshop all carry maternity lines with on trend clothing at a moderate price point.  

A few links from girls that have been there...

Jill's Good Life for Less (Maternity Style post)

My Doctor's Closet (my bump style)

Images courtesy of:  Huffington Post, Harper's Bazaar, Just Jared, Today's Parent

Feb 8, 2014

Olympic Style

The universe aligned this week landing the opening of New York Fashion Week and the Winter Olympics at the same spot on the calendar.  Don't get me wrong, I love NYFW and keep popping on to style blogs to check out the latest runway shows; but yesterday I was glued to the TV watching with enthusiasm as the athletes excitedly, proudly (and for the most part) fashionably marched through the stadium.  No matter what they were wearing, it is hard not to look stylish when you are donning a beaming smile and have attained such an accomplishement.

That being said, here were my top picks for uniform style:



I know I am probably a little biased here, but I thought Team Canada looked spectaular.  Very sharp in the heritage HBC red duffel coats.  Yay Canada!


There has been a lot of speculation as to the bright, rainbow coloured uniforms of the German team as to whether they were sending a message (apparently there is no connection).  Regardless, thumbs up for visual interest and these certainly caught my eye.



Points for colour blocking, powder blue and those silver hats.


Love the cobalt blue/yellow combo and jackets with asymmetrical zipper.  On the fence about the leggings but they are an interesting print which is a plus when it comes to fashion.


What can I say?  They just look so classy.  Structured, tailored and cool hats.



Perhaps the colour could have been bolder, but great sartorical choice with the use of ombre on the jackets.


Similar to Spain, a classy look.  I like that it is a cardigan.


Again on the fence with this one, but they used a loud print and paired it with a neutral. I think I like it.

And how about the snowflake/bubble (not really sure what they were) escorts that introduced each team?  Felt a little reminiscent of a costume from the Hunger Games.  Either way, they certainly caught my eye.

Enjoy the games - Go Canada!

Images courtesy of:  mashable.com; popsugar.com; huffpost.com/ca

Jan 8, 2014

And the 2014 Colour of the year is...

Radiant Orchid

2012 it was Tangerine Tango.  2013 was the year of Emerald Green.

Pantone, the authority on all things colour, recently named Radiant Orchid the colour of the year for 2014.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute describes it as “an enchanting harmony of fuschia, purple and pink undertones.  It inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.” 

Here are a few possible combinations:

To determine the colour of the year Pantone does extensive research looking at colour influences in the entertainment and fashion industries, at artists and art collections, and technology to name a few.  Seems to be no accident that almost every character (who lives upstairs) in Downton Abbey wore a shade of purple at some point during this season's opening episode this week.  And as an aside, the costumes were incredible.

(photos via pbs.org)

This year why not try incorporating shades of purple in clothing, accessories or make-up.  Eiseman also notes that Radiant Orchid "intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination".  

Intrigues the eye?  Looks like I may need to invest in some Radiant Orchid for my dating wardrobe.  Sounds like a plan for 2014...

Image sources:  

thelittlestylefile.com (Radiant orchid pairings #1)

pinkchocolatebreak.com (Radiant orchid pairings #2)

candicelake.com (blogger image)

hotbeautyhealth.com (blogger image)

converse (purple sneakers), zara (blouse), bauble bar (earrings), antropologie (faux wrap collar)


Aug 23, 2013

Nina Garcia Saves Wardrobe Bingo

I know this was my idea.  And really, I am having fun in the planning.  Since I decided to give this a go, I have been quite excited to play my own game of Wardrobe Bingo.  But, as September draws near and I face the possibility of a bizarre, mismatched outfit - I have to admit I am a little apprehensive.  

I will just try and remember that ANYTHING looks better with a smile.  Style is definitely about confidence.

I quite enjoy shopping my own closet, trying to come up with new combinations.  Over the past few years, I have become much more creative in my mixing of colour, prints, texture, shine and overall silhouette.  But still, I have creative control.

Since I have yet to receive an e mail that someone is actually going to take this leap with me, I had a momentary thought that I could let this quietly disappear...I mean, who is really keeping track of what I am up to?  Well, I know my mum; but she is supportive in anything I do, bingo or not...

But, this morning I saw that fashion guru, Nina Garcia (editor of Marie Claire and Project Runway judge) tweeted "I've created some of my best outfits by re-mixing or reaccessorizing my separates on a whim".

 Wow Nina, I think you are speaking to me.  And you would fully support my game.  

So - today I started to lay out my pieces (note: these could easily change by Sept!).  It is hard to know what the weather is going to be like in the upcoming weeks, chances are I may not actually need the "completer pieces" (please sun keep shining!). 

I had the urge to throw a basic white tee in the mix because it goes with everything.  But that would be cheating, right?

So here is what I laid out so far:

I have tried to incorporate some colour, shine, print and texture.  For sure, this will result in looks I would have never put together (and maybe never will again), but I think those are the ones Nina is talking about.  

Nina would be laughing at me if she saw this.  This is probably just how she gets dressed.  Which is explains why she is a fashion editor, and I am not.

A friend asked if there needs to be 5 pieces in each category.  Nope.  Try this however works best for you.  Pick your categories and number of garments in each.  If you know me, you know I am pretty flexible!  

I will be playing Wardrobe Bingo Wednesdays in September.  

Note:  floral bedspread not in the mix

Aug 20, 2013

Making it personal

People often confuse what I do with fashion.  Don't get me wrong, I love fashion.  If you stopped by for a visit you would most definitely find a pile of fashion magazines on my coffee table.  But what I like is how we can take what is out there in the fashion world and translate it to our own personal style.  

One of the things that I love is personalized jewelry.  Whenever I wear a piece that has a bit of history, a story, or represents me; I feel more individual in what I am wearing and more connected to the piece.  It doesn't hurt that they also make for great conversation...

Here is a necklace that I have been wearing lately - a combination of two I already had.  I like what both represent for me individually, but am enjoying them even more when worn together.

Tiffany Horseshoe

I received the Tiffany horseshoe as a gift from my two longest, closest friends for my 40th birthday.  Those two reasons are enough to feel a special connection.  But, it also holds a funny memory.  Just prior to my 40th birthday, I went through a breakup.  Never easy.  Turning 40 isn't particularly easy either, so being newly single I probably wasn't in my most upbeat, positive mindframe.  My friends were amazing and rallied to throw me an incredible bash.  The day of my party, I was telling them how my parents had said they wanted to get me something really special, and to let them know what I thought I might like.  I explained how I had gone out looking, but was in such a haze I couldn't come up with any ideas (ordinarily, I am sure I could have easily produced a list).  I remember saying something like, "I walked through Tiffanys. But didn't see anything..." I think that was about the time they laughed and handed me the beautifully wrapped Tiffany's bag with the necklace.  I was mortified and they thought it was hilarious.  They weren't worried.  They know me so well, and knew I would love it. They were right.  I love the horseshoe and what it represents, that it hangs slightly askew, and that it came from them.  It really feels like me. And the memory of that moment always gives me an added chuckle.  

Fashion Is My Boyfriend 

Those same two friends spotted this necklace when we were shopping in the Chelsea Market in NYC a few weeks ago.  We all agreed I had to have it.  For obvious reasons.  My love of fashion and style will always be there.  And, when I do eventually find a boyfriend I am sure he will be happy to share that title...

Do you have any personalized pieces that you are wearing and loving?  

Aug 16, 2013

Fix Your Fashion Funk

Check out my latest article for mexperts - hope there are some useful tips here!


Aug 14, 2013

Cronut Style

Back from another stint in New York - one of my most favourite places in the world!  I hit the ground running in NYC and never seem to slow down.  But, somehow I come back energized despite the lack of sleep, the heat, and the number of baked goods/divine meals and cocktails I manage to consume.  Thank goodness for the hours of walking (the best people watching), bike rides in Central Park, and shopping (considered a sport - right?) which helps to balance some of that out a bit. Happy to be home but somehow seem to leave another part of my heart in that city.

I always have an internal struggle during my stays in New York. I have my list of favourites which I always like to revisit, but I know there is so much more to be discovered so I need to make time to add more to the ever-growing "list" (which I am always happy to share if you are ever visiting the city!).

This year I added a real gem thanks to my friend Mo, who was determined that we experience the "Cronut" craze with a visit Dominique Ansel's bakery in Soho.  I do love my treats and am always curious to sample something that is creating such a buzz.  Not as exciting though, was the thought of hopping the subway at 6 am to line up for almost 3 hours for just the possibility of getting our hands on a Cronut...which usually sell out by around 9 am.  

We arrived around 6:20 am and the line was wrapped well around the corner.  There were close to 100 people, and we had a moment of panic we may be too late as our research had revealed that about 200 were made each day.  Some quick calculations and skulking around the line led us to believe we were in good standing so we committed to our positions.  

If you are not an early riser or a pastry lover, this all probably sounds crazy. But even the cronut line became a trip highlight for me.  The people-watching, chatting with others, the building anticipation, the pastry samples and the professionalism of Dominique's staff ensuring an orderly, calm line. A truly unique experience.

When I finally caught sight of Dominique himself, I felt a little starstruck. And so exciting when the line started to move and people started coming out with their cute little cronut boxes, maximum 2 sold per person.  At the door we asked the guy from Toronto behind us to snap a photo (in return we offered him one of our extra Cronut allowances as he was kindly bringing them back to his friends who were sleeping off a big NYC night out - what a nice guy!).  Dominique held the door, welcomed and thanked us for coming.  

 I always hate being that person asking for a photo with a celebrity but I couldn't resist getting one with Dominique.  I was so completely impressed with him.  Not only is he uber-talented (and his pastry abilities go far beyond the Cronut - I also tried his frozen s'more and the signature DKA, amazing! ), but he gives off such a genuine, welcoming, humble vibe despite all the hype.  In a situation that could easily become chaotic, Dominique's calm permeates; making the Cronut experience such a pleasant one...even before you've tasted it.  And when you've tasted it - yes, the 6 am morning seems to disappear...very worth the wait! So much so that when my mum, sister-in-law and good friend arrived the following week I braved another morning and repeated the entire process (yes - that good), of which I know they were so grateful.

Yes this is a style blog and I have spent perhaps far too much time talking about my experience with and obtaining a now-famous pastry.  But I was thinking about style the other day and Dominique Ansel came to mind.  Which is strange because I have never seen him in anything other than in his white pastry chef duds.  For me, so much of style is connected to personality.  It isn't really about the clothes - they should compliment your lifestyle and allow you to shine.  In his warm, gentle manner Dominique showed so much style and class - something I always appreciate.

Still - I am a little curious as to what he wears outside the bakery (if he ever leaves)...