Browse Tag: dress

Dress For Yourself

Kismet DressThere are days when we try very hard to get dressed, be fashionable and feel confident but it simply doesn’t work. I have these every now and again, usually due to the realization the outfit will be too warm or too cold, which then sets me into a frustrated state trying to come up with something more appropriate. On this particular morning, I had let some negative remarks made by others (jealous perhaps) get to me and it completely brought me down. I had curled my hair, then heard their negative opinion regarding my hair in my head – I ended up washing it out. I styled up my outfit, then heard the negative comments about the jeans not being their favourite. All these road blocks just from hearing other people’s opinions that were not my own.

I try to promote dressing well in general. I’m not trying to say what you should or shouldn’t wear, but rather help those that need inspiration on how to style the pieces you have or clothing you like. Maybe the jeans you’re wearing aren’t your friend’s favourite, but the point is, they’re yours. They don’t realize you like them, you like the colour, you like the way they feel and how you feel when you wear them. People are very opinionated.

This outfit came from a morning of tears and frustration, negative remarks I overcame with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I was given this green and light pink print dress by Kismet a few months ago in hopes I would be able to create something with it. I decided to try it on and wouldn’t you know it – aside from the length it was actually a very flattering dress! To my surprise I instantly felt more slim, the lumps and bumps were minimized by the wild print… I plunked down at the sewing machine and took it up a few inches to a more flattering length and voila!

I had not worn my pink Danier leather jacket since last spring but I would need a warmer layer for at the store. It really did wonders to pull the pink out from the dress! Styled up with a cozy knit scarf and my DIY leg warmers! I had this American Eagle sweater for a few years – I tried wearing it a few times but ultimately it was too short and probably shrunk. I hung on to it for no particular reason, maybe thinking one day I’d be a size 3 again – but in a matter of seconds, the decision was made and leg warmers were made! A quick stitch around the edge to hold the yarn together and chopped the sleeve away from the sweater. Done and done!

Discovering Endeavour

Navy Lace DressAs you may have noticed I have been away for most of October this year, an exciting adventure fell into my lap and it was simply an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I spent two weeks touring Cairns, Australia! Now for those of you in Ontario like myself, you can imagine its a long haul – 4 full days of flying and transfers as you can imagine.

Once settled I realized on day one that my summer dresses suitable for Ontario were not going to cut it here due to the powerful 30+ degree sunshine as their season changes to spring. It was something I did not even consider, the fact that our temperatures (although Ontario does get up to that warm in the summer) would be a completely different type of heat. I spent a fair amount of solo exploring time on the trip, excited to see if there were any nearby local markets or thrift shops I could check out.

On my first venture out I found Vinnie’s which in Kingston is known as St. Vincent de Paul Society. Although a very small shop with the expected thrift shop scent, I did find some neat items that were priced under $6.00 with no tax. On that note, one of my favourite things about being in Cairns was not having to calculate tax on every purchase!

EndeavourI popped into a local travel shop to ask about other possible shops in the area to which they responded with two. One block down was a boutique supporting individuals with disabilities called Endeavour and another a few more blocks down the street called Lifeline. I instantly fell in love with Endeavour, not only the size of the store, but the modern signage making it easy to find.

I spent most of my spending cash in this store I will admit. The prices were excellent, the clothing was unique and it was clean! Although the staff informed me that most of their product is purchased from last season’s stock from stores in Europe, the US and Canada, I was still thoroughly impressed at the variety. They had a couple racks dedicated to brand new Zara stock, priced at about a third of the retail tag.

On my first trip I picked up this navy blue lace dress. In typical Pam-fashion, I didn’t try it on in the store but man is it comfortable! What I didn’t realize about the dress, due to the lack of full length mirror in our hotel room, how short it was! But fear not, I’m on holiday and I don’t care! I wore it to one of our excursions called the Ultimate Party Bus – and no we only made it half way through before decided 10:00pm was bedtime!

Zara BlouseThe shimmery gold clutch I picked up from a cute shop named Red Ginger (and yes I wanted to buy something from them based on the name!) went perfectly with my outfit for the evening. On my last available shopping day in Cairns I popped back in to thank the ladies for having such a great shop and how I will certainly miss it when I leave. They had just put out new stock including this blue silky print top by Zara that I couldn’t pass up. It was an extra large, but I never pay attention to labels or sizes, and could wear it easily as a dress. It instantly became my favourite find of the trip. Sadly now that I’m heading into winter in Canada I won’t see much of it until the warm weather returns.

Bridesmaid Dress Alterations

Wedding AlterationsA friend of mine had planned a rather “quick” wedding, as in, she didn’t spend a year deciding on a location or colour palettes and all the extra details of what seems to be the trend nowadays. She fell in love with a simple strapless light powder blue dress that all of her bridesmaids agreed on.

During their first official try-on session, they all decided they did not need any alterations. Then a few short weeks later, the week of the wedding as a matter of fact, they began to realize they weren’t quite perfect. The girls were all a different size and different height.

My friend sent a text on the Tuesday asking if I would be able to look at them for her, to which I of course replied with a self-assured: “I’ll have a look!” Honestly not knowing if I had anywhere near the skill level required to make whatever alterations would be required. When the bride and one of her girls came to my home I was not sure what to expect. But I was thankful it wasn’t a floor length sequin filled gown!

After lengthy discussion we decided to try lowering the hem on one of the dresses so that it fell to the same place around the knee that the second one did. It was simply due to the presentation, the 5’8 girl looked slightly more scandalous with the short length compared to the 5’3 girl.

My mother decided up front that I was insane, not something new to me of course! But a friend needed me so by-golly I was going to find a way to make this magical transformation happen! Haha – okay I may have exaggerated, lowering a hem may not be that exciting. The process took four hours that same evening all done by hand. The saving grace of this project was how poorly the dresses were made in the first place if you can imagine that. As awful as it sounds the zipper seams had already opened with one try-on session, the overlay for the crinoline wasn’t even sewn down. I’m sure if I had just left the zipper seams as is, you would see the crinoline exposed!

So first step was to tackle the hemline, which was pinned over and over just to make sure the poofy hemline was not disturbed. I used the unwanted sash that came with the dresses to add a layer underneath which would be sewn into the lining and connect the bottom, while hiding the crinoline which remained untouched. Using this extra piece I was able to lower the hem by about three or four inches! A relatively simple fix actually all said and done. Hand stitched in place so guests would be none the wiser that any change had been made.

In this photo you can see the crease from the lowered hemline.

Striped Maxi

Xhilaration MaxiDon’t you love half price deals?! I picked up this gorgeous maxi by Xhilaration yesterday at Value Village for their two day super savers sale for only $5! It was one of those daring days when I just had to have it, no interest in trying it on because quite frankly, I figured I could alter it if need be. When I put it on for work in the morning I was beyond thrilled that it fits perfectly! Not a single alteration required!!

Now I know Xhilaration is available for pretty cheap at Target so I kept that in mind when thinking about the price… but for $5? You don’t have to think too hard! To finish the look I paired it with bright turquoise accessories and new go-to Wild Diva gladiator sandals.

Oversized SweaterBecause I work in an air-conditioned environment, I came prepared with an alterative look: an over sized black knit sweater top!

Parisian Inspired Looks

blackwhitepinstripesRight now black and white stripes are HUGE in my summer wardrobe! Anything with stripes that comes into the store I get all giggly! If you’re like me and you’ve always been afraid of stripes, fear no longer! I’ve put together three looks recently that are simple, fun and Parisian inspired that show how you can easily wear stripes – if they are the right stripes!

This top is a beautiful long sleeved dark navy and white striped number by Jones New York – I was a sucker for the gold button detail on the shoulders! Black capris by Le Chateau, low heel wedges by American Eagle paired with red acccessories! This look was extremely flattering especially for my wide hips! Who knew?

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One of my faves lately, a long pinstripe maxi skirt with no label, white tshirt by Reitmans (again with shoulder buttons!), mini belt, new flats from ACo and mixed gold white and black bangles. Now this is everyone’s favourite new dress by La Classe Couture, although painfully short, I simply chopped a pair of black leggings into shorts and voila! I have been painting flats lately and these used to be coral but was itching for a pair of red ones. Couldn’t find any at the Ardene or thrifting so I decided to paint these up!

Feminine Details

American Eagle Crochet DressI had tickets to see Royal Wood in concert in Belleville Friday night. I took my mother as my date and as the thrifty woman she is, suggested we pop into Value Village since we were early anyway. I found two pairs of vibrant flats by H&M that I hmm’d and haaa’d over but couldn’t bring myself to pay $6.99 a pair when I wasn’t 100% sure I would wear those particular colours. I did luck out however in this beautiful crochet style dress by American Eagle Outfitters. I was even more impressed when I tried it on the next day for work and I can honestly say it is now one of the most comfortable, feminine and all around beautiful dresses I own. Continue Reading

Vintage Redesign!

Vintage RedesignI finally wore my vintage redesign project dress out on the town on Saturday night and it occurred to me I had never blogged about this wonderful creation of mine! To be honest I was very surprised at how comfortable the dress turned out to be! It all began with a very dated dress from Value Village. On half price days I like to pick up what I call  “project dresses” that I can redesign and create into very stylish new pieces. This dress is one of my greatest challenges and successes.

The dress I found was a high neckline (which I love!) and 3/4 sleeve with a lovely shimmery black and pearlesque print fabric. Although the dress was several sizes too large I spent several hours making adjustments the the shoulders, removing shoulder pads first off – then stitching them into a somewhat Lady Gaga effect.

Now the original dress was awkwardly long and simply had no appeal for me. The second thing to go was the black section at the bottom. Conveniently the dress was made in such a way that was easy to alter. The great challenges arose when I decided to make it an open back. Unfortunately I felt disheartened by my sewing skills and inability to structure it the way I wanted to. Due to the mass of fabric and lack of strength within itself, I was forced to add strips of lace to the back to keep it from sagging.

Vintage RedesignIts amazing what a few lace details can do for a dress! I opened up the sleeve slightly as I often find the upper arms on tops and dresses too tight. The bottom of the dress was finished easily with a black lace trim which was also added to the arms. It was certainly a lot more work than I had originally anticipated, but I feel that it turned out beautifully!

Laundry by Shelli Segal

Laundry by Shelli Segal Laundry by Shelli Segal

It’s not often I thrift only one item, but who could pass up a gem like this?! There was a dress consigned at the Store a month ago that had a unique chain print on it, although I wasn’t a fan of the dress I was interested in the print that was on it. As I was doing a quick pass through the dresses at Value Village I happened to notice a unique print that completely grabbed my eye.

Although it isn’t actually a chain design, it gives the illusion but with added gold and peach colouring. Once again I wanted to make it slightly longer so using the same cream coloured lace as I used in my H&M Bow Print Skirt, I added a very sweet trim to the bottom that seemed to continue the mixed print flow.

Now to wear the dress to work for the first time I wanted to tone it down and make it easier to do all the up-down lifting and walking around. I’ve never actually had the opportunity to wear this 3/4 sleeve navy blue knit top from the GAP until now! It has a very cute shoulder button detail too which is a nice touch.

I added a belt with gold buckle to create more shape and of course, added some gold necklaces for bling!

Blackbirds

Blackbird Dress This morning was one of those rotten moments when you are upset with yourself, your body isn’t right and none of your clothing seems to fit the way you envision it. Being a visual girl, its exceptionally frustrating when I can see the look I want, but am unable to achieve it either because of the way it is fitting or maybe I’m missing one key accessory or clothing to work with the outfit. After several “failed” outfits I grabbed this beautiful dress out of the closet because I knew it was comfortable and easy to match due to its limited colour palette.

Not as vibrant as I like to be normally but based on the rough morning I was having I thought this was the safest bet. This is the first time I’ve worn the dress too! Paired with a black cardigan and matching tan belt, the look came together quite easy. The only downfall I experienced was the length of the dress due to my long body. Unfortunately I’ve been noticing an issue with things being too short more and more recently. Lucky for me, I am somewhat skilled with a sewing machine, needle and thread so I can adjust items as I see fit.

Next time I wear this outfit you’ll see the most recent adjustments I have made to make it longer!

Vintage Redesign

Vintage DressI have a keen interest in re-inventing dated styles and turning them into modern fashionable pieces. My latest find was based on fabric alone. One of my favourite colours is mint, and this dress by Quintieri has a beautiful mint blue and pastel yellow print. During my recent Ottawa thrifting adventure I found this vintage dress deep in the mess of dresses at Value Village.

Surprisingly when I actually tried it on at home it fit almost perfect without alteration! I did take in the shoulders a bit due to the seams beginning to shred and decided I wanted it raised up to a more flattering knee height. Silly me didn’t measure properly, as I tend to do because I do it by pinning the dress while wearing it, so when you bend over you end up making it shorter than you think.

Vintage DressI was excited at the thought of having a scarf of the same fabric, but after cutting and hemming I realized it was way too short. So I scrapped the additional scarf idea and began sewing the remaining trim fabric into a rippled effect along the bottom. Now the detail at the bottom of the dress is feminine and playful.

Because the fabric is quite light I decided to pair it up with a brown sparkle sweater from Urban Behaviour to wear to work. When I returned to Kingston I popped into Value Village and saw this light yellow vintage necklace, normally I would debate price but I just had to have it for the finished look!

Happy Accidents

Le Chateau DressTo the untrained eye, this is just an adorable pleated skirt. Now let me fill you in with the story behind it.

I am guilty of not often bothering to try outfits on at the store, usually the reason I do spend the time is because I think the price might not be worth it. This particular dress by Le Chateau I did take the time to try on. I was instantly in love with the bottom of the dress with the three rows of adorable pleats.


Le Chateau DressLe Chateau Dress


Well the dress fit just fine in the store but I wasn’t too crazy about how the sleeves felt. I get home try it on again and decide that the sleeves needed to be redesigned. I spent about an hour first thing in the morning adjusting the sleeves, essentially removing them altogether and adding the design elements back on afterward.

Once the sleeves were complete I tried it on ready to wear to work. It was like the top half had doubled in size. A thought occurred: I had tried it on wearing two tank tops and a thicker padded bra. If this was to fit I’d need a pair of DD’s which isn’t happening any time soon! But I was still infatuated with the bottom, so in typical Pam style, I grabbed the scissors and make a drastic design decision.

Le Chateau Dress Le Chateau Dress

Within moments I had created the beginning of a vest and skirt both cute but in a whole new way. At this point I was going to be late for work if I didn’t sort this out so my quick and easy solution for this new skirt was to pin the unfinished-freshly-cut top to a thick belt. Voila! Totally cute and one of a kind pleated skirt.

You’ll never guess how many compliments I received all day long. Now when anyone comments I have a great story to go along with it!

Bohemian Chic

Boho Chic Today’s look is a little more boho-casual than my usual but man is it comfy! I have been aching to wear my spring and summer dresses but with the chilly weather still hanging on I’m forced to layer up. My boss mentioned that I hardly ever wear my hair up these days so I thought a little more casual look with a hint of girly meets cowboy was in order with this messy updo.

The over sized sweater top from Forever 21 is one of my favourite thrift finds this year as it is so comfortable and such a nice look. The dress underneath is by Absolutely & Faith, one of my favourites from The Revolving Door. The top half is lovely ivory lace and the bottom skirt section is a lovely sheer peach. To complete the layered look I added another gem I picked up in Medicine Hat on one of my first thrifting excursions after my move, a super cute and dainty ivory scarf. The belt I swiped from an H&M dress I bought last summer, it just goes with everything!