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:

GOLD:  

Canada

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!

Germany

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.

SILVER:

Norway

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

Sweeden

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.

Spain

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

BRONZE:

Poland

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

Mexico

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

Ukraine

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:

http://mexperts.reinventingm.com/2013/09/23/scarf-basics/

Sep 24, 2013

Wardrobe Bingo - final outfit

Wardrobe Bingo - final outfit

Wardrobe Wednesday came a little early this week (no...that does not mean that Friday is any closer).  My week was looking very full, so in order to get the final outfit onto the blog, I decided I should probably sneak it in ahead of schedule - I knew you wouldn't mind!

I have decided to name this look "monochromatic texture".  I like the way it came together. Doilies on the blazer, doily-esque scarf, lace pants - head to toe navy and black.  Kind of feels like a modern, boho pantsuit.  The textures added some warmth, perfect today when there was certainly a fall chill in the air (and in the library).    

It is hard to believe that September is coming to an end.  Wardrobe bingo is over, but hopefully it has encouraged you to try some new combinations with pieces in your own closet.

I am feeling a little badly about the sad little garments that weren't drawn, left out of the game entirely.  Maybe I will combine them to make one last October bingo outfit.

But not next Wendesday.  Next Wednesday, I have a date with Jon Bon Jovi at Rogers Arena.  There is no way I am leaving that outfit to chance!

Sep 18, 2013

Wardrobe Bingo Outfit #3

Wardrobe Bingo Outfit #3

So here is the 3rd outfit in my solo Wardrobe Bingo mission!  I commented today to Tracy (my very stylish teaching partner, also one of my closest friends) that again, I was generally happy with the outfit, and that I felt that it "goes" eventhough it is something I might not have exactly put together if it weren't for my game.

She agreed.  She liked it.  She is always very complimentary.  

But then she followed that with something like:  Yep it totally goes.  But, you chose the pieces for the game, and, you said yourself that they would probably work even if they weren't the best.  You can usually make most things work...

And then:  next time "for your finale" maybe you should just go into the closet and grab completely blind and see what happens!  

Hmmm - kind of like blackjack?  Still thinking about that one...

Ok, the outfit:

I was happy that the pencil pencil skirt ended up in the mix, it feels so teachery yet stylish.  I wouldn't have normally paired the navy blazer with the lace doily flowers, but I think it works and was an interesting combo of texture and print.  The graphic t-shirt matches nicely with the skirt; but overall, I felt these pieces together give me a boxy silhouette.  Not terrible, just not my most flattering.  The shoes are a good neutral, and I don't mind mixing black and navy.  I like the wooden heel - have had them for ages, but today they hurt my feet.  Some days are like that.

Sep 11, 2013

Wardrobe Bingo Outfit #2

Wardrobe Bingo Outfit #2

All smiles because week 2 of Wardrobe Bingo turned out an outfit that I think came together quite nicely!  And, because my teaching partner (who I rope into snapping the photos) is much more creative/fun than me and suggested a whimsical prop...

Beautiful weather today which resulted in a scorcher in the library.  As a result, my completer piece wasn't needed (I was overheating as I was in long sleeves!).  

I like the way the skirt and the top work together - I hadn't considered pairing them before; but I think the colour combo of blue and green is a good one and, though a pretty basic outfit in terms of pieces...I think the style factor is elevated due to the fact it manages to incorporate print, texture, colour and shine.  

I was so excited that these shoes were drawn - one of my favourite purchases from NYC this summer.  I know they aren't like Dorothy's, but somehow they just make me want to click my heels...

Sep 4, 2013

Wardrobe Bingo - Outfit #1

Wardrobe Bingo - Outfit #1

Well here is the outfit that came together for my first round of Wardrobe Bingo.  

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  And relieved.  Yet, at the same time, a little disappointed that it didn't end up being a little more, hmm...fashion forward?  

The red pants were the first item I drew followed by the blouse.  I actually like the way they go together and had never thought of pairing them before.  I threw this blouse into the mix because, for some reason, I rarely wear it; and was hoping I might find some new combos for it in the game.  

When the pink blazer became the next item, I wondered if I would look like a valentine?  But, I do quite like the colour combo of the red, pink (and burgandy accents in the blouse).  And wouldn't have chosen it myself.  I was excited about the shoes - they are a good neutral; yet, I like to think, they kind of give off a stylish librarian vibe (notice how I didn't say school marm?) Yes, I am standing in my school library.

My one cheat is I decided to take a pass on the statement accessory category, as the blouse has the ruffle detail making it tricky to wear a necklace.  

Hope it doesn't disappoint - maybe next week will result in something a little more "creative".

But, maybe this illustrates that playing games like this in our closets doesn't have to be scary...

Aug 29, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

I came across this photo the other day lodged between the pages of an old book. Obviously taken at Disney.  Remember those days when you were so excited to see those characters walking around - even when you were 20? Or maybe that was just me...  

Here I am with my good friend Christine (my partner in crime at UBC), my brother Chris and his friend Eric.  

I always coveted Christine’s wardrobe and spent countless university days wearing her clothes.  I don’t think we were really ever the same size.  Back then I didn’t think about fit.  I just thought that Christine was so cool.  She always looked good (still does).  And I wanted to look like her.  

We are basically dressed the same way (even down to the red scrunchies in our hair).  

When I look at this photo in terms of style, a couple of things jump out at me:

Chambray 

This summer, two favourite pieces in my wardrobe have been chambray (which we are also both wearing here in 1992 - I probably copied her!).  What Christine and I are wearing could still be worn today; and would be versatile and current.  

Let's not talk about what my brother (who, trust me, actually has really great style) and his friend are wearing...

Hair

The hairstyle (mine in particular) is another story.  This photo reaffirms the impact hair can have on a look.  If in a style rut, sometimes a visit to the hairdresser is the answer.  An updated do can work wonders in making our overall appearance more modern.  Highly recommended before spending hundreds of dollars at the mall.  

Here is a more recent photo of me sporting chambray.  Again, trying to get a photo of something with fur!  Note absence of the scrunchie please.



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 22, 2013

Fall 2013 Colour Report

Fall 2013 Colour Report

I've been doing my fashion homework, and here are the colours I have been seeing for Fall 2013.

If you love gorgeous leafy fall shades, and they flatter you; then you should definitely continue to wear them - any time of year.  And, they are still modern and on trend for Fall.  However, if your complexion does not shine with that particular palette, there are plenty of other options for you too.

Emerald Green

Pantone’s colour of the year for 2013 was Emerald Green and green continued to be prevalent on the Fall runways.  If the vibrancy emerald isn’t for you; mossier, softer greens are everywhere right now too.  

White

White can definitely be worn after Labour Day and is making a real statement right now.  Purses, shoes, ankle boots and head-to-toe monochromatic winter white looks are peppered all throughout magazines. If you are going to try the all-over white look this Fall, try incorporating different textures to give your outfit some dimension.  

Grey

Grey is definitely a key player.  If black is your typical go-to, you may want to think about updating one of your closet staples in this hue.  Grey works well with cooler undertones, so if you have always felt on the sidelines in Fall when browns are taking the spotlight; this is your time to shine.

Pastels

I know, I am really breaking all of the traditional stereotypes for Fall colours here, but, pastels are also dominating this season.  Powder-like sugary shades are cropping up in everything from statement outerwear, blazers, trousers to a wide array of accessories.  Pair with traditional cooler weather pieces like wool trousers or a dark turtlenecks - they will look soft, fresh and unexpected.

Cobalt Blue

I love the electricity of cobalt and what a great pairing with all of the other hues mentioned on trend this season! Add some vibrancy to your looks with this shade in your pants, shoes, purses or blouses.

Good news is, regardless of your colouring there is something out there for you this season.  If you love one of these shades and they don’t flatter, there are other ways to incorporate into an outfit.  The trick is to keep it away from your face such as in a skirt, printed pant, belt, or bag.  

But for now, please tell me that you are out basking in that summer sun - my mags and I are about to hit a deck, of course with my sunglasses and SPF 60 in hand!