Browse Category: Look Book

That Girl at the Office

s94 Some days I miss being in an office! But I was never that “typical” girl in the office, I have always been a vibrant colour palette full of prints and colourful heels. You won’t often find me in a traditional black suit, but if you do there’s going to be a pop of colour to accent it. I enjoy wearing clothing that I would call business casual, some would think its more business professional, but its fun and tasteful. Who said that business and “professional” meant boring?!

s93 For me the brighter the better! I am thrilled by loud prints and vibrant palette. Bold jewellery even more so! I often hear at the store women say “its too loud for me” and they walk out wearing the same neutrals or blacks that they came in in. There are so many amazing dresses out there in so many shapes and styles, but women are so afraid of them! Either you love them or you run the other way. For me they are so easy to style but the fit has to be right. I almost always have to take them up an inch in the shoulders and often the hem as well because below the knee is less flattering on my 5’2 height.

s92 “Normal” shoppers often have the idea that I must be good at thrift shopping, they whine that they never find anything, that there must be a trick to it or I am just lucky. They think I must go every single day in order to “find the good stuff”. Which is completely not true. Its not easy, its not a walk in and walk out type shopping experience. You have to be able to envision the look, it has to fit, and it has to be the right price. You wouldn’t believe how many times I said goodbye to pieces I loved because I thought they were priced ridiculously high for what they are. We all have a price we are willing to pay for things and when it comes to thrifting, my price is low and that’s the truth of it.

s91 I also am not above taking chances or risks. I’m willing to cut open a dress to make it fit better, most would not. I’m willing to chance that the item will fit me when I get home if I don’t feel like trying it on. Thrifting is a gamble, but a financially sound one. People would never believe the price I pay for what I wear every day, they can’t believe they spend $180 on the same type of dress at the mall and only wore it once. If I spend $10 and only wear it once I’m content with that… I see women every day consigning brand new $400 purses that they decided they didn’t like afterward. I have no words.


How to dress, when you’ve gained weight

kimchibluedressIts not easy to say those words is it? That word “weight” combined in the same sentence as “gain” just doesn’t feel good to say. Not that weight gain is bad or should be frowned upon, it is just ingrained in us, especially as women, that weight gain is negative and therefore fills us with disgust.

I have, for the most part, always been the same size and same average weight – but more and more as my work consumes most of my spare time, I find myself having less and less energy to do any sort of physical activity. Combined of course with the stress of searching for your new home and all the wonderful goodies that come along with buying your first home… I’m sure there’s a few stress pounds in there too.

Regardless of the reasons why we gain, we need to be able to dress regardless of our size. By all means don’t go throwing out all your clothing that suddenly no longer fits. For all you know this could be a fluctuation which happens in women’s bodies. Sometimes I wake up and can’t fit into a pair of shorts, by the afternoon those same shorts are falling down. This could be just me, but my weight shifts over the course of the day. Continue Reading

Neon Yellow

13240032_863233000473173_3979429039166249576_nHave I told you how much I love yellow recently? Well let me tell you again! Two years ago I would have grimaced at the thought of adding this colour to my wardrobe, after years of listening to the old wives tales about what colours you can or can’t wear I just assumed no one could wear yellow. Since throwing out the nonsense tales of what I can and cannot wear I decided I would wear whatever I wanted, including this colour. Why the sudden love of neon? Who knows.

Maybe this colour has come back in a way I had never seen before, maybe it’s the right shade that does it for me. I picked up this dress a couple years ago with the plan of wearing it on holiday in Cuba. Unfortunately it did not make it out of the suitcase due to it being a thicker fabric – not suitable for such warm temperatures! But for spring with a little blazer, it’s just the right amount of warmth.

It’s also nice to be able to wear some of my brighter statement jewellery that I snatched up on eBay. The earrings have been redesigned so they are less bulky than the original set.

 

Show Me The Denim!

13254522_869579383171868_3443448951467857891_nNow that the warm weather has finally arrived, along with it comes air conditioning! Haha we seem to go from one extreme to the other – personally I am not a fan of AC at all because you wait from October to May to have nice weather and the first thing you do is say “Ugh its hot turn on the AC”…

I have always liked jean jackets when paired with really feminine outfits. For years I was without one and resorted to cardigans but I think they look sloppy on me, I need more structure. I had found one from Cleo, a 3/4 length sleeve with sparkle buttons last year which wasn’t my favourite but it would do for the time being. Recently I found two fabulous jackets, a cropped version (cheap by Digital) and a full length dark denim by Parasuco.

Styling these is so easy, it actually allows me to wear almost any dress underneath whether to dress down or dress up, sometimes make it more country – I even dropped the word Coachella the other day but I was quickly corrected with a “no no far less effort, not the forced look of Coachella!” I find dresses to be the most comfortable thing in my closet currently. I was not built for shorts so I’ve removed them from my summer wardrobe and went back to my beloved dresses.

I snatched up this adorable lavender floral dress by Bar III last week, did a few alterations to make it fit better in the shoulders – story of my life! My lavender statement necklace finally matches something yay!

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Transitioning Your Wardrobe

turquoisereptilecombo Spring and Fall are challenging times in the year, or at least in Ontario, because the weather fluctuates so greatly. One day its warm the next its cold. It becomes very hard to judge what to wear. The mornings are chilly and the afternoons are warm. As much as people complain about this time in the year I actually quite like it because of how I can layer my outfits. I like wearing more spring-summer type shoes, but prefer the layering effect of cooler weather.

yellowgreycomboIn preparing myself for this fluctuating season, I remove the heaviest items – the thick knits that I wear in the winter when its -20 degrees outside. I switch to lighter knits, blazers and double up on my blouse/camisole combos. Scarves are a great way to stay warm as the weather changes as I find when your neck is warm, your body maintains a warmer temperature. I have recently styled up some new looks for this awkward transition featuring lighter blouses paired with fun bottoms and 3/4 sleeve blazers.

I tend to wear panty-hose all year round with my skirts and dresses just so my legs are warmer and it gives a nicer finish. My feet however tend to be cold, but I much before the look and feel of this batch of shoes compared to winter boots that have my feet aching by the end of the day.
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My number one is layers and accessories. An outfit really comes together when you have the finishing touches. I have tried to be a little more daring with my looks lately as well, creating unique colour combinations and playing with textures. For instance, I fell in love with this rich turquoise blouse and knew I had a great bauble necklace by Lia Sophia that would be perfect – unfortunately I had no idea what to pair it with. I was staring blankly at my bottoms and didn’t feel very enthused until I noticed my reptile skirt that I altered previously. To bring out the brown tones in the necklace the skirt really tied it all together. Who knew?

New Look for Spring

talbotscardi

Unfortunately due to my temporary housing situation we are back to the old changeroom mirror photos! Last week was the first teaser of warm weather with lots of sunshine. This week is a typical “spring” day with its ups and downs and lower temperature. Already the complaints about it being cold are heard endlessly. Its Canada – the weather is all over the map!

To keep myself cheerful in my dark workspace I styled up some new outfits including this one. I’m trying out a newly thrifted Talbots floral cardigan, sleeveless blouse from Rickis and some fun Stella & Dot jewellery that was consigned recently.talbotscardi2

In all this moving my clothing is just piled up in rubbermaid bins, some winter, some summer, everything everywhere. Finally last night I buckled down with the most energy I’ve had in weeks and sorted my living space which is my mother’s sewing studio. For the next month or so I have completely taken it over and made it a claustrophobic bachelor apartment! My everyday wears are now organized on my garment rack and my shoes are lined up in a laundry hamper. My mother was gracious enough to hang a bed sheet to separate the hallway from the studio, as my parents do need to continue living and me changing in and out of work clothes may happen at inopportune times!

Friday was such a happy day for me at the store! As you know, its very few and far between when small shoes are consigned at the store. On this particular day, a girl brought in three pairs of smallish size 6’s including these adorable kitten heel coral pink Impo pumps. So far they are quite wonderful! I’m sure she only wore them once but these are such a nice addition to my coral-infused wardrobe.

St. Patrick’s Day Style

Mar17As much as I love green, in fact, I’m fairly certain if I had to choose one colour green would be my favourite. When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day I feel like the green required to celebrate should be a vibrant one, not a soft sage or army green as per my usual. Every now and then I have a great emerald green shirt or dress… currently it looks like all I have is this plaid shirt.

Facebook would remind me today that last year on this same day I wore it with the same jewellery and a pair of jeans… you could think of it another way, this cheap Old Navy shirt lasted an entire year in my closet! Holy moly. If you look back even further you’d see I paired it with a shorter feminine skirt that was also this rich royal blue. I am certainly not a fan of plaid but this one I quite like.

It is comfortable and very easy to make very fashionable. It may also be because of how rich the colours are that it goes so well with my skirts. I always receive compliments when I style it up with this thrifted Stella & Dot necklace and earring set. I had no idea when I picked it up for about $5 at Value Village a few years ago that it was S&D… and a celebrity endorsed one as well! I believe it was Cameron Diaz that was pictured wearing this beauty. To this day its one of my favourites.

 

Hurry Up Spring!

feb19finalWorking in a retail setting that doesn’t follow the mall’s idea of “seasons” where they bring in the summer stock in March and Christmas stock in August… we operate based on the weather so naturally mall shoppers will walk in and assume we are taking inventory for the next season. Our shoppers like to be able to wear the item today, not a few months from now. My greatest peeve all year round is how much people complain about the weather, maybe its just in Canada where our weather fluctuates high and low but that seems to be everyone’s favourite topic. Right now with 5 foot high snowbanks and a record 45″ snow fall this week people are saying things like “well Spring is nearly here!” … sorry to be a realist but if you think Spring is nearly here I would suggest you look outside!

What is tough is following women on Instagram that live in the lower United States, as their seasons seem to look like summer all year round its only their choice of clothing colours that seem to change to define the season. Seems odd to me, if it was sunny and mild all year round you can bet I’d be wearing bright colours all the time!

feb19final2I am however, loving the pastels right now even though its not a reflection of the season. This week has been horrendous with a snow day, pipes freezing in -30 degree weather and daily snow shoveling is beyond exhausting. I wanted to try out a new look that wasn’t planned using this new scarf I picked up at The Store. I won’t go into another rant about the size the arms are being made on blouses but basically two I picked up recently that were MEDIUM I couldn’t fit my arms into – so the original outfit was spoiled – TWICE. New plan was to use another favourite that does fit.

Now matching the colour in the scarf was tricky because I wanted to wear pants (-19 you know) but black was just too stark. I picked up these jeggings by Mossimo in a mini thrift haul last week that have already been a bit of a challenge. I decided last minute to bring a belt as I haven’t worn them before and not too sure how they will stretch. Sure enough I barely got to work before they were falling down. Funny you know, how you can struggle to get these tight pants on in the morning then twenty minutes later they’re falling off your bum. It seems I just cannot win when it comes to pants. These will be the next pair that need to be taken in at the bum!

 

The Many Shades of Blush

feb5finalHow long would you hang on to a unique item in hopes of eventually finding the perfect pieces to match it? 6 months this vintage skirt has been hanging in my closet, front and centre, in hopes of one day finding a matching top. A handful of hopefuls came home but went back out as I searched for the right shade of blush to match this skirt. Sure you could put other shades with it, but every one I tried bothered me. It wasn’t quite right and for this type of skirt I felt like it had to be a certain… je ne sais quoi.

Now I don’t necessarily feel like this top is “the one” I do feel it was a close enough match to warrant a test run in real life rather than being sentenced to serve lonely days in my closet. This sleeveless crochet style top by RW&Co was brought in for consignment last week and I thought, “maybe, just maybe” this would be the right colour. Sure enough it was!

I kept the look low key with a long wrapped scarf and matching earrings (I do have the matching necklace but I thought that would be a bit much.) My nude pumps by Nine West go with everything and I am saddened to know that their time is running out. They were very worn when I got them in the summer and now your foot rolls like there is no sole left. Sigh. One day I will find another pair and you will be mine.

 

Craving Magenta

feb4final This is truly the colour of the season for me I am finding it in so many unique shades throughout the thrift stores. When I was a child a friend bought me a shirt this colour and I believe it may have been the only compliment from her I ever received – but she said this colour looked really nice on me. I must agree! Its that lovely dark pink!

This is a new look I’ve put together featuring two half price day pieces I found last month the top only needed a slight alteration. Unfortunately some of the cutest tops I’ve found in my travels I’ve left behind due to the style of the elastic band around the bottom for this “peasant” style… Looks good on no one by the way. Fortunately for me the elastic was not sewn into the hem so I could remove it with a small snip! My intention was to wear it tucked into a high waisted skirt so the bumpy bottom isn’t so much of an issue.feb4final2

I didn’t have to alter this skirt in any way and it fits really well because of the stretch. It also matches my pumps nicely! I picked up this multi layered necklace from The Store a few months ago, as it had sat in the display case not selling for a few months. I honestly can’t imagine why its a stunning Shopping Channel piece thats a bit on the dressy side that we had priced for just $20.

No bites. Often there are things that I love in the store that sit there without someone to love so I take it upon myself to see what’s wrong with it, why it hasn’t sold. Sometimes I end up absolutely loving it myself and have to introduce it to my wardrobe – other times I figure out right away it was a bad design.

However I think this pairing is absolutely gorgeous! I am always so thrilled with the vision I have for a look turns out better than expected!

 

Glamour in a cozy sweater!

Last night we celebrated my good friend Holly’s birthday with a lovely dinner at Greek Islands followed by drinks at the pub. I have never eaten at that restaurant but I was pleasantly surprised! Since switching to my pescetarian diet I’ve been a lot more conscious about what I am putting into my body and focused more on smaller portions and more vegetables. To be honest I was a little concerned when I started reading the menu and most things were deep fried or breaded. I ended up with a really nice vegetable plate with garlic shrimp! I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a unique place to eat.

jan16final1I wasn’t totally sure what the plan for the evening would be if it was just going to be dinner, if we would end up going dancing afterward or maybe just end up hanging out at a pub. My choice of clothing for these would all be different so I had to settle on a look that was both warm (its -10 degrees!) fashionable and dressy as we are celebrating! I picked up this gorgeous sage green knit tunic by Bench on Friday at The Revolving Door. Normally Bench fits very small so I was pretty excited to see it was a medium. Lo-and-behold it is fitted in the arms and around the bottom but loose in the middle for added comfort.

I spent the afternoon playing with false eyelashes after watching a few tutorials on YouTube explaining that they weren’t the easiest thing but quite fun for a night out. I was determined to figure it out as the ones I had bought for Cuba ended up in the garbage with no luck. As it turns out you need to trim them as they are made quite large! I had no idea. jan16final2So these ones I purchased from Walmart for $6, the brand Ardell was recommended by Shaaanxo I had to trim about three times to get the size closer to what I needed. I bought a clear glue to apply by the same company. I have not mastered the timing and placement – the videos said to do your eye makeup first, but I cannot get it to stick if I do that… You need to let it dry a little bit before applying which is where I struggled, either it was too wet or too dry and wouldn’t take. I found I had luck with one edge but not the other so a little more practice will be required next time.

I was also informed today by a friend who is a Stella & Dot rep that this necklace I thrifted in the summer is actually the Silver Medallion Bib Necklace “Medina” by Stella & Dot which retails for $98! I won’t break your hearts by telling you what I paid but I can assure you I now consider it one of my best finds!

 

A Great Business Suit

jan15-final To explain professional attire we used to say, “look at what the girls at the bank are wearing” until it became a casual environment. In the last ten years, or as I would call it “the era of yoga pants and sweats” we are seeing less and less interest in our appearance. As a child I didn’t know exactly what job title I wanted, I simply wanted to have a position of status where I needed to wear a suit… to this day I love the look, so classy and professional. Any time I have walked into a bank I expect to see this but I rarely do. Financial advisers and I’m sorry to say it, any male staff are in my opinion the only ones dressed appropriately for the level of status I feel their job title has.

Everything now is worn tight, assuming spandex and stretch makes it more comfortable – forgetting the amount of rolls it creates. Dress pants are no longer a staple but rather yoga pants tucked into boots. These are meant for athletics, at home, running errands on your day off perhaps… but trying to pass them off as work attire? Seriously. There was a young hire at a job I had a few years ago and she was showing up in yoga pants and a blazer with dressy flats. The Lululemon logo was painfully bright for me to not notice. Although it was not my place to say a word about dress code I just continued to wear my dresses and business suits. The day finally came when she wore black “toe” shoes that people where for barefoot running. This is right next door to running shoes folks. I decided it was time to inform the owner of the lack of dress code – but before the words came out of my mouth he beat me to it. Thank goodness.

jan15-final2 A business suit is not hard to find, even in thrift or consignment you can get a beautiful tailored suit with no bells and whistles that matches any blouse you have – for a fraction of the cost new. This beauty fits to a T without much in the way of alteration. I am not really big on long sleeved blazers so I created a small hem to bring the arms in a little shorter to expose my wrists – great for wearing bangles! The pants were painfully long on me so I added a simple hem to the bottom so I wouldn’t be walking all over the bottoms.

Its comfortable and works well with so many blouses I already have in my closet. Easy for any style or look you want to create. Pair it up with heels or flats, jewellery and accessories and voila you have yourself a very professional suit and look the part!