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.

Aug 16, 2014

Feeling blue - in the best possible way!

Feeling blue - in the best possible way!

Above image source:  Bake Photography

Back after spending another incredible month in NYC. Energized and exhausted at the same time. Happy to be home, but also sad I won’t be seeing the city for a while. New York holds such a special place in my heart for so many reasons. Topping the list is the fact that it allows me spend quality time and make memories with people I love. As usual, this summer brought a rotating crew of friends and family all keen and eager to hit the town - and, believe me, we put in some miles!

It’s true, I always end up making some purchases when I am in New York. But for me, the trip is never really about shopping. People watching becomes a daily sport - on the subway, the street, the markets, the theatre, parks, in restaurants and cafes. Style inspiration is everywhere - in the architecture, galleries, street performances and fabulous window displays in all of the flagship shops and unique boutiques.

I have never been one to advocate buying according to trends, though I do like to keep up with what is “in” each season; and think it is important to have pieces that keep us looking modern and current. My trips to New York are always a good way to see the unveiling of the upcoming Fall fashions.

When I unpacked yesterday and laid out my new items, I realized one of the Fall 2014 trends I had read about in several style blogs had unintentionally infiltrated my suitcase...blue. Every new piece had some shade of or at least a little bit of blue.

My new blue:  pastel blue dress with lace detail (Think Closet, NYC), leather jacket/vest with removeable floral sleeves (Darling, NYC), navy polka-dot waterproof windbreaker (Uniqlo), bold floral skirt (Anthropologie), elephant print blouse (Think Closet, NYC)

So I guess at times when I am missing the city, donning one of these will help me channel NYC and conjure up some of those fabulous moments.

I have always loved this colour, so this was an easy trend to accidentally fall into this Fall.  Good news is, it was shown in such a wide range on the runways from navy, to cobalt to pastel there is something out there for everyone if you are feeling a little blue too!

Apr 12, 2014

I have come to see style as art. I love how basic pieces can be mixed and matched to make new and unique looks. How clothing can create optical illusions and transform the shape of a body. How it allows the wearer to express or take on different personalities.  A beautifully crafted outfit always evokes some sort of response. Firstly from the wearer who might walk a little taller, with confidence (rocking the look) causing others to take notice, perhaps yielding a compliment or two...

Yes I see style as art and people-watching a sport. Style inspiration is everywhere if you look for it.

I am lucky. I can always count on a daily dose the moment I enter the library and see my teaching partner who has such a cool, unique style. A knack for finding interesting pieces and combining them in ways you may never have considered, but just work.

Honestly, I could devote an entire blog to her sense of style. But I know that would be a lot to ask (even of a very close friend). I felt the need to snap a few pics to share this particular outfit as each piece is fabulous, with possibilities to be worn in so many ways.

Leather crop top.

That should be enough said. Leather always adds something to an outfit. Some edge, some texture, some style. This piece could be worn year-round and easily dressed up or down. It would work well with denim, skirts, trousers, or over a full skirted dress. I love how she has layered it over a tank. You can attain the crop look without baring a midriff. The piece is subtle and soft reminding us that leather doesn’t always have to be black. And it has the exposed zipper - an extra detail on the back is always an added bonus.

Slouchy trousers:

The ease of these pants truly make them a wardrobe workhorse. They can be professional, dressed up for evening, or pair well with sneakers for a casual look. Plus they are comfortable (just like yoga pants but so much more stylish and pulled-together). She also has a pair in cheetah print - the kids at school love them...and so do I.

Embellished neutral flats:

Netural flats don’t have to be plain. These are covered in small gold studs which add a pop of metallic (a vibrant neutral). A fun compliment to so many outfits without stealing the show.

A little vocab and DIY:

 Scrolling through twitter the other day this quote caught my eye:

“Somebody who looks totally perfect would be a little bit boring.”

I tend to agree so I clicked the link which led me to a NY times fashion/style interview with a 57 yr old french style-icon, model, author and designer's muse. At one point in the interview she describes how she likes to customize articles of clothing to make them her own. The word used was bespoke (I have to admit that I needed to google the definition).

The morning after reading the article, one of our adorable new teachers came into the library to prep for an assembly showcasing work her students had just completed on polar bears. I couldn't help but notice what she was wearing...

I immediately complimented her on this top - which I think is really cool. Not your typical teacher thematic-wear (which can err on the side of cheesy). What a surprise to learn it is the product of a do-it-yourself creation.

She explained that she had found the image on-line and went to the “Bang On” shop to get transferred onto a shirt.  Because she didn't love the basic Ts available, she sourced out and purchased one in a style she preferred (I believe from the Gap) before returning to complete the ironing process.

A fairly easy DIY and perfect example of bespoke, or customized clothing. Don’t you love that she and the bear are sporting the same glasses? A brilliant illustration of making a piece your own.

*Coincidentally I just returned from a baby shower where someone had done a similar process for a onesie.  The mum-to-be is an avid skier (as no doubt her new little bundle will be as well).  Needless to say this was a hit!

Apr 6, 2014

When I took part in Stacy London’s stylist training seminar in NYC, I had the opportunity to hear several guest speakers from various realms of the style and fashion world. One session I found particularly interesting was with a bra expert who had been part of Oprah’s Bra Revolution and had worked the show where they fit the entire audience in new bras - the transformation was astounding.

We spend so much time thinking about what we wear but sometimes forget the impact foundational garments have on the overall look. Wearing the right bra can make you look 10 lbs lighter (and yes the wrong one can make you look 10 lbs heavier!).

During the session, I realized I was making several mistakes when it comes to bras. Research cited stated 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong bra size. I am pretty certain I am not alone in this so am hoping you find some of the tips I took away useful...

You should be professionally fitted every 6 months. 

This was not the first time I had heard this and, to be honest, I know myself well enough to know I am not going to be fitted every 6 months. It is a good reminder though, that our bodies are constantly changing and that this is something that we should do more frequently.

The lifespan of a bra is 6-8 months.

I fail on this one too. I keep my bras much longer even if I know they are not fitting quite as well, or have lost a little life. This was a reminder that I need to make an effort to replace them more frequently or have a couple more in my daily rotation.

Like shoes you should be aware your bra is on, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable.

This was a good analogy for me. The bra is a support garment so if you can’t feel it, it probably isn’t doing its job.

The fullest part of the breast should fall between the shoulder and the elbow.

When I get dressed, I am eyeballing for this one all the time now. Don’t panic - this is only when wearing a bra!).

Bras can be worn 2 or 3 times before washing but should rest between wears.

It is best if you hand-wash bras or machine wash in a mesh bag. Always hang to dry. Using a gentle product such as Forever New or Ivory Snow will help with the care of these garments.

Signs that you need a new bra:

  • band rides up in the back
  • bust spills over top of the cup
  • straps fall off the shoulder (band probably too wide at the back)
  • underwire digs into breast tissue
  • centre gore of the bra isn't sitting flat against the chest
  • you are wearing a nursing bra and you are no longer nursing...

I always advise clients to consider cost-per-wear with their purchases. Bras are a no-brainer.  Invest in them, they will owe you nothing.  I promise.

Images courtesy of Bake Photography and Woman's Day

Mar 28, 2014

I have always loved pink and am so glad it is having a shining moment in the fashion world right now (along with so many other suagary sweet, powdery pastels!).  

This coat has been hanging in my closet for a few years, but feels like it has breathed in some new life as the "it" pink of the moment.  A great little find from a small NYC boutique while shopping with my friend/teaching partner late one afternoon (after a day spent at a Librarian conference in Brooklyn - yes Librarians love to shop too!).  She spotted it first, but kindly offered it up realizing the fit wasn't right.  

The sign of a true friend.

To be honest, if you saw me close-up, you would realize the fit isn't exactly perfect on me either.  But, it is one of those pieces I throw on and instantly feel pulled together.  It is unique and makes a statement (and often yields a compliment or 2 - great on those days when I am feeling a little blah).  It is the perfect piece for a run-around kind of day.  

When stumbling upon this kind of find, snatching it up is a must (even if the garment isn't technically on your shopping list - you'll thank yourself later...plus you deserve it, right?).  

It feels Chanel-inspired...and this is the closest to Chanel this girl is ever going to get!

Note:  If you love this shade of pink but find it doesn't work on your skin-tone, why not try it in a skirt/pant, subtly in a print, or incorporate it into some fun accessories?

Images courtesy of Bake Photography

coat: Think Closet NYC necklace:  J Crew  skinny jeans: Free people  boots: Gravity pope bag:  Jeanne Lottie from Plenty

Mar 2, 2014

Lessons learned from Cinderella

Lessons learned from Cinderella

My fourth time volunteering at the Cinderella Project and, once again, I was blown away.  The crew work tirelessly throughout the year to create a truly magical and memorable day for these young high school graduates.  I feel so fortunate to be part of the "Boutique Day" experience.  The students have worked hard, overcome much to get to this point and are treated like royalty.

As a Fairy Godmother, my role was to assist one Cinderella put together her entire graduation look - from the dress, underpinnings, shoes, accessories, hair, make-up, photos (and alterations...).  Our journey together lasted about 5 hours.  

Here are a few observations during this process that I feel extend beyond the "Cinderella Project" and are applicable to style in general, or on any shopping mission...

A positive attitude, perseverance and stamina go a LONG way: 

My student easily tried on between 20-30 dresses.  They were heavy, it was hot, and we were having trouble finding the right sizing/silhouette.  We were determined to find a dress she loved.  She was in the changeroom for over 3 hours.  During that time, we learned a lot about what worked on her and what didn't.  It is a real scavenger hunt situation but we kept at it and eventually hit gold.  She could have given up and settled for something that didn't flatter, but she was willing to put in the time to find something that made her shine.  I was so impressed with her positivity.  

Keep an open mind and try a variety of styles:

Some girls came in with a very clear idea of what they wanted, and were sometimes reluctant to stray from this vision.  Often, these types of dresses weren't available, in their size, the right colour, or didn't necessarily flatter their body type.  Once gently nudged to step outside their comfort zones, most found themselves falling in love with a dress far different from what they had expected.  There is a lesson in this for all of us to keep an open mind when shopping and to take more risks when trying on new styles, shapes, prints and fabrications.  

Colour and silhouette make all the difference:

Just because you can zip it up, doesn't mean it "fits".  I watched hundereds of girls try on dresses which further reafirrmed how critical it is to find garments that fit and flatter. Once you check off those two boxes, focus on one that makes you smile.  The triple threat - it makes all the difference.  

Sizing is NOT universal:

Today we tried dresses that ranged in size from 6 - 12 (she had said her regular size was a 6).  Some 10s were a tight squeeze whereas some 8s drowned her.  I noticed some girls focusing on the number and starting to become upset if they needed to size up a couple.  We have all experienced frustrations with sizing.  It can be so psychological.  It is better not to put yourself into a size box, rather focus on finding a perfect fit.  

Accessories add personality:

Once we found the dress, we had such fun adding personal touches with jewelry, shoes, and a handbag to make the look reflect her personal style.  The icing on the cake.

While I waited for her to have her photos taken, I enjoyed reading the messages on the grad wish tree (a few of which I have included in the picture collage).  I concur with the message of thanks above.  Cinderella is "totally awesome" and does "make dreams come true".  I am thankful to be a very small part of it.  

And now, I am thankful to be relaxing on the couch, glass of wine in hand appreciating the styling talents behind the beautiful Academy Award looks.  It's been a day full of fashion.  My kind of day.

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 30, 2014

Bling it up

Bling it up

This time of year, I always end up feeling the need for some kind of wardrobe pick-me-up.  The style blogs and fashion magazines give us a sneak peek of Spring (and fortunately here on the West Coast Mother Nature has gone easy on us and even hinted at it) but we aren't there yet. 

Bold jewelry offers an easy, affordable, eye-catching (and seasonless) way to rejuvinate outfits without shelling out more $$ on winter clothing.  

On trend for a few years now, statement necklaces are a quick way to add visual interest to a look.  I often tell clients that getting dressed is about creating optical illusions.  A statement piece of jewelry can distract the eye from areas you would prefer to conceal by drawing attention toward your beautiful face.  

A statment necklace can dress up a casual outfit, or add some femininity to a sporty look.  The icing on the cake that ties an outfit together by adding some dimension.

Right now, it's not just about necklaces.  Statement earrings are really shining in the fasion world.  I have my eye on a few pairs (and fortunately they won't break the bank and will also serve me well in spring/summer).

Image courtesy of: joliejouel.com

Recently Anthropologie teamed up with the affordable and creative Bauble Bar for monthly jewelry offerings (this is a collaboration to get excited about!).  Check out this month's here.  Loving this necklace...

Note:  If you are looking to infuse a little bling into your wardrobe why not think about hosting a Stella & Dot party?  One of my clients, Marla, recently became a rep and is keen to show off the amazing new pieces.  After a recent closet shopping session, we sat and admired the collection and dreamed up wardrobe possibilities. You could earn some incredible discounts...contact Marla (mlm2484@telus.net) if interested.

Photo collage image sources:

kendi everyday, Stella & DotBanana RepublicAnthropologieClub Monaco

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)


Jan 6, 2014

2013 Trends I Loved

2013 Trends I Loved

I'm fessing up.  I began this post with a statement along the lines of:  I have never really been one to shop according to trends.

Quickly realizing I would have a hard time justifying things I have worn such as:  rugby pants, stirrup pants, leg warmers, an oversized acid-washed jean jacket (the list could go on) to any family member or longtime friend who may read this...I started again.

Ok, over the years I have bought in to trends.  I have always had a love of style and fashion and been keen to participate in what is going on out there.  

When I now work with clients, I suggest they don't get bogged down or fixate on trends.  While I think it is important to stay current and modern when it comes to our style, a particular trend may or may not work for us.  When looking at what's "in" here are a few things to consider:

  • Can a trend be worn in a way that will flatter your body type?
  • Does it align with your personal style?
  • Does it suit your lifestyle?
  • Is is possible to syle in a way that is (gulp) age appropriate?   **fortunately the answer to this is yes more often than not.  Especially if you love a trend, then we can definitely find a way to make it work!

That being said, here are a few of my favourite wearable "trends" from 2013 that I am glad to say appear to be sticking around:

Plaid:  The 90s had a huge comeback in the world of fashion last year.  I have always loved tartan and was excited to see it in pants, skirts, sweatshirts, dresses, jackets, blouses, and even shoes.  The flannel shirt is a constant star, but I also enjoyed some of the more delicate versions prevalent in 2013.  Note:  I usually steer clear of matching outfits, but I do get a kick out of this picture of my brother and I taken over the holidays.  No, it wasn't planned.  (My $49 plaid blouse has gotten a lot of mileage so far as you can see by the collage above, or if you've spent any time with me recently).

Peplum:  Peplum stepped into the limelight around the end of 2012 and continued to gain momentum in 2013.  While (admittedly) it may have been a little overdone last year, I am personally glad it seems to be sticking around due to its figure flattering benefits on a number of body types.  

Pink:  Pastels (pink in particular) were huge this fall.  If fashion forecasts ring true, this continues to be the case in 2014.  As someone who has a hard time pulling off the traditional autumn colours, I have personally loved these powdery options; and seeing them in and paired with richer fabrics and textures.  No matter what colour seems to be having a moment, it is always important to make sure we wear the right tone and shade close to our face.  If it doesn't flatter there are other strategic ways it can be incorporated.

Sparkle:  Yay!  If you know me, you know I love things that sparkle.  This year sequins and shimmer became commonplace in everyday wear (scarves, t shirts, sweatshirts, skirts, shoes...).  Paired with more casual or neutral pieces, sequins can easily be toned down for day; and always add some glam visual interest to a look.  Dare I say I bought 2 pairs of sparkle heels this year?

Note:  If sparkle isn't your thing, interesting details such as leather accents, studs, and exposed zippers/seams have found their way onto garments everywhere.

The Fashionable Sweatshirt:  Comfort is huge in Vancouver.  I get it, I like to be comfortable too.  And, yes, I have a drawer full of Lululemon and I love it (for workouts, walks and lounging).  This year I was excited to see the sweatshirt kick it up a notch in the style department.  Now we can be cozy, yet be fashionable and pulled together.  Some of the sweatshirts out there can even be styled in a way that is work appropriate.  And who doesn't love that?

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and stylish 2014!

Image Sources:




Nov 30, 2013

Rod Style

Rod Style

I was lucky enought to zip away with my mum last weekend for a quick Las Vegas getaway.  She has wanted to see Rod Stewart perform there for a long time...so we decided to go for it.  And am I glad we did.  Rod was incredible.  Every moment of the trip felt like we were experiencing what was sure to become a precious memory.  Especially when my brother Chris arrived as a surprise from Toronto.  Magic.

Wherever I go, I can't help but check out the style.  It really is a form of entertainment for me - and Vegas has it all!  One afternoon, my mum and I took a break at the Bellagio chocolate shop and I suggested we watch how many people passed by before we found an outfit that actually fit and flattered; or looked fairly put together.  It is no exaggeration to say that hundreds cruised by before a girl in well-fitting dark jeans, ankle boots, cute blouse and blazer offered light at the end of a long (and often smoky) tunnel.  Here is the majority of what we saw:

- girls in tight, short, ill-fitting cheaply made dresses with sky high heels (they couldn't walk in) that actually looked like stilts.  If you've been to Vegas you know what I mean (kind of like Granville street on a Saturday night).  

- many looked like they had just rolled out of bed and were still wearing their pyjamas.  I guess this makes sense if  you don't plan on sleeping for 48 hours.

- the namebrands - dressed head to toe in labels

- logo or vacation-style t shirts

- oversized clothing (which many think is slimming but actually makes the wearer appear larger)

- the #1 accessory?  a huge slushy-type drink in hand. Which I didn't mind...I mean, it is Vegas!  

Top style marks of the weekend went to Rod with his 3 costume changes.  All with impeccable fit and tailoring; and with a combo of colour, print, texture and shine.  And the hair - talk about a signature accessory.  Yes it is very 80s, but it's Rod.  

He capped off the evening with "Do Ya Think I am Sexy".  Behind him a huge banner with a Rolling Stone quote:  "I don't want to be singing 'Do Ya Think I am Sexy' at 50 and become a parody of myself". In front of those words the 68 year old rocked it.

 Now that's style.    

Oct 27, 2013

Calling all Wardrobe Bingo Contestants!

Calling all Wardrobe Bingo Contestants!

November Wardrobe Bingo Challenge:  Win a “Shop Your Closet” Session

Since playing Wardrobe Bingo in September, several people expressed how much they enjoyed tuning in to see the weekly outfit results.  The motivation behind the game was to illustrate some of my beliefs when it comes to fashion and style.

  • It should be fun.
  • Sometimes the best outfits are made from unexpected combinations.
  • Anything (or almost anything) can work with confidence and a smile!  As long as it "fits"...

We all get into style ruts and fashion funks.  We have pieces in our wardrobes we love, but we tire of them.  Usually because they are worn too often or in the same way.  The cure doesn’t necessarily need to lie in another trip to the mall.  Sometimes the best shopping trips start in our own closet.  

Wardrobe Bingo gives that gentle push to mix things up a little - step out of the comfort zone...

This November, I am looking for players to join me in the game for a chance to win a “Shop Your Closet” session.  I will take you shopping in your own closet to help you discover new outfit possibilities.  

How to Play:

1)  Pick 3-5 items for each section of your body

-tops, bottoms, completer pieces (blazers or cardigans), shoes

* dresses can be substituted in for tops and bottoms, feel free to accessorize as you wish

2)  Within each category number the garments

3)  Randomly draw a number from each category - this will become your outfit!

To Enter:

1)  Choose the day of the week you are going to play (do what works best for you!) 

  • some of you may choose to play on the weekend
  • I played on Wednesdays for some fun in the middle of the week
  • casual friday may be an option...

2)  Pick your pieces.  E mail me at lori@stylesmarts.ca to let me know you are playing

3)  Snap and send me a photo of your outfit each week (note:  these could very well end up on my blog)

To qualify for the prize, players must play once a week throughout the month of November.  Winner will be drawn at the end of the month.

You do not need to live in the Lower Mainland to take part...”Shop Your Closet” sessions work very well on Skype or Face Time!

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing some of the weekly combinations.  Feel free to encourage friends, family and co-workers (games are more fun when you aren’t playing alone!).


Oct 5, 2013

Scrimp. Spend. Splurge:  Ankle Boots

Scrimp. Spend. Splurge: Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are everywhere right now.  Stylish and versatile - what's not to love?  Appropriate for work or weekend, can be styled casually or dressy; and will walk you through multiple seasons (fall, winter, spring, repeat.  I don't see this trend ending any time soon.).  Pair with skinny jeans, leggings, skirts and tights (think colour and texture), flirty dresses, printed pants, leather, cords...hmm - the possibilities are endless!

Here are a few that have caught my eye:

Scrimp/Save: Budget friendly

If you are looking to participate in this trend without breaking the bank, the Josseline from Aldo ($90) is an absolute steal!  When you get compliments (and you will), you can wow them even more with the great deal you scored.  No need to feel guilty...

Spend:  A good investment

I have always loved the quality, comfort and style of Camper.  These Annie Brock ankle boots ($210) definitely meet the criteria of my "cost per wear" philosophy.  You will wear them so much - they will owe you nothing!  At Gravity Pope and Umeboshi.  

Splurge:  Treat yourself

I have a little bit of a crush on Rachel Comey boots and keep visiting this Mars ankle boot style ($425).  A higher-end pricepoint, cost-per-wear definitely comes into play (you need to LOVE them, but if you do, pretty sure they will get worn - a ton).  And sometimes you just need to treat yourself.  No apologizing.  Also at Gravity Pope and Umeboshi.    

I have hi-lighted classic black with a bit of a heel, however, there are so many colours and styles out there right now - something for everyone.  If you need a hand shopping, or in the styling, I am always happy to help!

Sep 28, 2013

Style me Smart:  How it went down...

Style me Smart: How it went down...

You may remember back in April I partnered with the incredibly talented and generous ladies at Bloom Essentials for their Spring contest which they so cleverly named "Style Me Smart".  

There were so many fabulous and deserving entrants; but it was Keri-Anne Livingstone's creative You Tube application that ultimately won us over.

Part one of the prize package also contained a little treat for me...Keri-Anne and I each received the shop's signature Picasso Pedicure.  While the Bloom magicians turned our feet into works of art, we reviewed her style homework.  

She had recently lost over 30 lbs and was keen to learn how to dress her new body.  She came ready to learn and with the perfect attitude.  Her "dare to suck" mantra allowed her to approach this opportunity with "passion, fun, fireceness, confidence and with a sense of adventure" (her words which she clearly exudes in all aspects of her everyday life, as well as in her work as a powerhouse Life Coach).

From the inspiration images she collected, it was evident her style aesthetic matches her vibrant presence.  She showed me looks that were bold, dramatic, full of life and visual interest.  It was clear we needed to take her wardrobe from a "plain, lazy and safe zone" (as she referred to it) to one that aligned with her personality and lifestyle. 

We met at her home for the continuation of her consultation.  She was eager to learn the science and art of style.  We determined her optimal colour palette, balance points for necklines and jewelry, as well as the best shapes/silhouette for dressing her body type.

Fueled with knowledge from these assessments, we got down to business in the closet. A piece by piece evaluation.  We created new combinations and made a detailed list of gaps in the wardrobe.  Any pieces that were in good condition but not right for Keri-Anne, were set aside for Dress for Success.

Here are two coats from her closet.  While mohair is technically in this Fall, her beloved "cookie monster" coat clearly doesn't provide the most flattering silhouette (but was kept for sentimental purposes).  The black coat on the other hand, got the stamp of approval.

Last Wednesday, Keri-Anne and I got together for the final phase of her style prize.  We met at the mall.  Her:  armed with energy and enthusiasm.  Me:  armed with her shopping list and a $500 Visa card from the Bloom girls.  Amazing.

A few photos from the changeroom - ignore the piles of clothes in the background.  It was a whirlwind!  Keri-Anne had fun experimenting with different lifestyle appropriate looks that suit her body type and personality.  She purchased some key pieces from her list, but also allowed herself to splurge on some special statement pieces (with a gentle nudge from her stylsit).

Of course the entire process would not have been complete without a celebratory glass of wine!  An extra perk for me?  Some amazing conversation about Keri-Anne's passion for her coaching business and a sampler mini-session as we swapped life stories.  

I smiled when I received a text from her the next day detailing a few more purchases since our shopping excursion.  "You've lit a little fashion spark in me".  

Well...am always happy to help light that kind of spark.  The rest, Keri-Anne is all you!

Thanks Kim and Nicole for your vision for this contest - will be visiting Bloom very soon :)

Oh, and I am pretty sure you also have a new client for life in Keri-Anne...

Sep 27, 2013

Scarf Basics

Scarf Basics

There is a chill in the air!  Scarves are an easy way to add visual interest and up the style factor of a look.  Check out my latest article for mexperts: