Thursday, February 4, 2016

Antiquing


I've never been a fan of places like Value Village. To me, walking in is like stepping into a big warehouse where old things are just lumped together on racks. I'm not willing to put the effort into this "thrifting" that everyone talks about. I recently strolled into Valley Antiques in Hamilton and was pleasantly surprised at what an independent shop can do.

There's something charming about a bit of organized clutter. Displays organized to showcase, intrigue, and occasionally go "hey, I have that...I wonder how much my old crap is worth!" They really don't make stuff like they used to.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New buys for the new year


It's a new year, and a lot of people think it's a good time for "a new you". I don't think you should have to reinvent yourself every year, but it is a good excuse to treat yourself. What better time to get some new fashion favourites than during the January sales? The holiday season might be over, but winter certainly isn't. In fact, it's getting colder in many places around the world. Snow has been a bit thin on the ground in some places that usually have plenty, but it seems to have finally arrived. So it's time for me to start wrapping up a bit more with some of my new year fashion must-haves.

Chunky-knit Sweaters

I love a sweater when the weather is on the colder side. It's great to have something to snuggle into, and you can pair them with lots of other items. A chunky sweater goes well with a cute dress, a pair of jeans or a skirt. I don't think they have to have much shape to them either. They can look great if they're a bit baggy and oversized, and there's more room to wear an extra layer underneath. The only thing is, you need to be able to fit them under your coat.

Snow Boots

When the snow starts to fall, you need to protect your feet. They should look good, of course, but they also need to be warm and dry. Not only that, but you need to make sure you're not going to slip and fall over too! Since I'm weaning myself off wearing heels, winter is an excellent reason to get some comfier shoes into my wardrobe. If you're somewhere snowy and slushy like me, rain boots are a good alternative if you don't want big Ugg-like snow boots.


Roomy Bags

It's a great time of year to buy a new bag. All the stores and fashion websites have sales on, so you can grab a bargain. One of the bag trends for this winter is timeless elegance, which is definitely something I can get behind. A smart bag is perfect for using at work or for taking out and about. While little bags are cute, it can be better to have one that has room to put more things in. If it won't hold anything other than my wallet, it's not big enough.

Statement Accessories

If you're going to get wrapped up for winter, you might as well do it in style. You can find some great statement winter accessories for the season. Why have a boring and discrete scarf when it could be long, wide and with an eye-catching design? I prefer a bigger scarf because you can do more with it. Wrap it around your neck or shoulders, or pull it over your head when it's cold. If you don't want to mess up your hair, I recommend a stylish pair of earmuffs.

If you can't treat yourself for the new year, when can you? It's the perfect time to add some new items to your wardrobe.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Unfit resolutions

Damask dress c/o CNDirect | Boyfriend blazer from H&M / Knee-high boots from Le Chateau

I've got some beef with New Year's resolutions. I'm glad that resolutions have shifted from "lose weight to look better!" to "get fit to feel better!" but we're not quite there yet. Still, we found ourselves bombarded with cereal commercials and yoga studio promos telling us that getting fit is the key to your new year happiness. But guess what? Going to the gym doesn't fix everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for promoting health. But don't let the guise of inner beauty fool you into believing that these companies aren't obsessing over vanity.

Where are the commercials for makeup for that girl who wants the illusion of a thinner nose? Or the number for a cosmetic surgeon for the guy who thinks the scar on his shoulder is unsightly? It sounds ridiculous and we can't target every person's veiled insecurities. So let's focus on something else: Acceptance. Instead of messages about having to love every part of your body, I want messages that say "Hey, we all have our crap to deal with. And that's cool. As long as you don't let it run your life". There's nothing wrong with being aware that you dislike something about yourself.

But that's a lot harder to sell, isn't it?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kinda corporate

Custom drop waist zipper dress c/o Lurap / Black boyfriend blazer from H&M / Heeled boots from Le Chateau

It's been unseasonably warm this winter and I've started a new job - all the more reason to smile in this post, which is a rarity. But before you get excited, I'm smiling because these photos were taken on the weekend when I don't have to deal with the mundane banalities of corporate culture. 

I used to work in a super relaxed environment. I used to go to work in sweatpants. I used to wear whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Gonna be honest, I spent a good week sulking over my wardrobe because the majority of what I own is now deemed inappropriate for work. Like this brand new dress from Lurap. I love the zipper details, but I should have gone with the custom option to make this dress longer because it's definitely too short for work. So unfortunately, it will be banished to weekend wear only. 

Worst of all is the realization that the corporate world is exactly like you see on TV, and exactly like high school. But instead of Abercrombie, people walk around in Armani. I bought a pair of oxfords to bring some androgynous menswear (and comfort) to my days, but the lack of click-clacking coming from my high heel-less feet was actually kind of unnerving. When you're supposed to dress for the job you want in a highly corporate world, where does that leave room for individuality? 

Oh, and wearing bold necklaces doesn't count because everyone does that. When everyone does it, suddenly no one is special. 

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Menswear musts



For the past few Christmases, I've used it as an opportunity to slowly transition The Boyfriend's wardrobe into something...more acceptable. For guys who hate the thought of shopping and trying to look put together (and for girls who want to update his style), I've put together a list of staples that every guy needs in his closet. These pieces can be completely mixed and matched, which extends the range of his looks.

Realistically, guys only need 3 standard pairs of pants in their wardrobe: khakis, fitted men's jeans, and dress pants. Khakis and jeans are versatile for any and every day. Face it, no one is gonna notice if you wear the same pair of pants over and over. Depending on his job, he may or may not use the dress pants on a regular basis, but every guy should own dress pants in case special occasions pop up. 

I suggest getting classic shirts in a few colours, but in terms of basics, guys need four key tops: a plain t-shirt, a sweater, a dress shirt, and a blazer. Bonus points if you can get a dress shirt that can be dressed up or dressed down, like a classic striped shirt. Wear these tops any day, or add instant refinement by throwing on a blazer overtop. 

I say that this is a menswear post, but this actually works great for girls too. Maybe if I listened to my own advice on owning minimal classics, my closet wouldn't be overflowing.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Make it personal


Now that I'm done Black Friday shopping for myself, I've calmed down enough to realize that we have less than a month to gather Christmas presents. We all have that person on our list: That person who claims that they're the easiest person in the world to buy for, but you really have no idea what to get them.

Say hello to Onecklace.

Whether it's your mother, sister, aunt, or daughter, personalized jewelry is a great gift anyone will appreciate. Today, I'm featuring two items from their sterling silver collection: A monogram name bracelet and an engraved initials bar necklace.

Both items are very timeless and dainty. They're one of those pieces you could wear everyday to match everything - subtle, but since it's personal to the wearer, it makes a statement. Both the necklace and the bracelet I ordered were in the company's "child size" chain length. However, I found that there was still enough room to slide the bracelet off my hand without using the clasp.

Overall, I found the quality to be well worth the price. I really love my buys and would recommend Onecklace in a heartbeat. A big plus is that their standard shipping is free everywhere! We need more of that. I hate when shipping ends up costing more than the actual item.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Seeing green

Green scarf / Navy windbreaker / Brown tweed skirt from H&M / Faux leather backpack from Target

Let me tell you a story I like to call, "The best worst job interview ever".

I had just come back from 2 weeks in Europe. I'm terrible jetlagged. I want to cancel my job interview, but I decide to drag myself to it. My plan is to slip out of work to the interview during my lunch hour without anyone noticing. Should be easy right? It would have been, but my office decided to have an impromptu pizza party. So I had to say, "Sorry guys, I'm not going to eat free pizza" by lying that I had a chiropractor appointment. 

Pizza-less, I hopped onto the subway. But thanks to good ol' reliable Toronto subway delays, I arrived downtown already 5 minutes late for my interview. I dashed up to the 29th floor, only to find the name of a different company on the door. I called the interviewer and discovered that HR had actually given me the wrong address. The wrong address?? You have got to be kidding me.

So there I was, dashing from building to building in heels, trying to find the right "tall black building" that people were trying to direct me to. Have you seen Toronto? It's not exactly easy. Finally, now half an hour late, I breathlessly arrived at the right office. "I said I wanted to make a lasting impression, not a good one."

After such a crazy experience, at least I can say that I have a new job! Haven't started yet, but I'm pretty pumped. 

Oh, I also got a little lesson in karma. Remember how I lied and said that I had a chiropractor appointment to get out of work? Well while running in heels, I messed up my hip and really did need a chiropractor to stop the pain. And that kids, is why you shouldn't lie.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Adjusting my fashion for fall


It's starting to get just a little cold. We haven't hit super low temperatures just yet, but I'm already dreading the thought of blizzards and frostbite. Even though I prefer the weather to be a bit warmer, I do love swapping my wardrobe around. I've already started wearing some comfy boots for fall, and the rest of my outfits have begun to get a little warmer too. I like to be comfortable (not too cold), but style is still a focus too. Although I'm not too worried about looking...shall we say "casual", as long as I'm warm. Here's how I like to choose my look once the leaves start falling.

Summer Dresses for Fall

One of my favourite things about fall is getting to find new ways to wear my summer clothes. Some people put them away when they feel the first hint of a chill in the air, but not me. Why shun summer clothes to a corner of your closet once the temperature starts dropping? A chunky pair of tights or some leggings and a think sweater are perfect for making use of your summer dresses all year. You can wear an extra layer underneath them and some practical shoes, and they're good for fall and winter.

Scarves

What's one of the best things about fall and winter? That's right, wearing scarves. In the past, I have been known to turn a scarf into a shirt occasionally. But in the fall, they serve their primary purpose really well. You can wear a scarf all year round, but colder weather gives you an excuse to have a large collection of them. If you own lots of scarves, it's time to start getting them out and switching them up. And if it's time for some new ones, find a reputable supplier of 100 pure silk scarves for a classic staple of quality. If you buy a silk scarf, you can wear it around your neck, on your head, or even around your wrist or waist.


Fall Boots

Fall is the perfect time to give heels a rest and get some comfortable shoes on. Comfortable doesn't have to mean ugly, and you can get some gorgeous boots. I love wearing a pair of stylish ankle boots, maybe paired with a dress, some tights and a chunky knit cardigan. They're much more practical, and not to mention safer, once it starts to get a bit frosty, then snowy and icy. I much prefer being steady on my feet!

Bags

I always carry a bag with me, but in the fall I often find I need an extra big one. Or I need one that's easier to organize. There are so many things I find myself needing to carry around, from chapstick to tissues. Plus, the weather can be all over the place. One minute I might be wearing gloves, a hat and a scarf and the next I'm too warm. I need somewhere to put those accessories when I take them off. So an oversized bag is always a good addition to my outfit.

Getting out my fall outfits has been fun so far. I just hope I don't have to start bundling up too much anytime soon.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A little too little

Chunky sweater from Forever 21 / Lace slip dress from Smart Set

I'm gonna keep this post short.

I'm jetting off to Paris to Rome to Barcelona in less than a week, so if you have restaurants or must-see sights/shops, definitely let me know!

I bought this slip dress because I thought the lace and print was absolutely demure, but decided that it was a little too close to a nighty. Thank goodness for big sweaters and easy return policies. Relax, I just wore the dress to take these photos, it's not like I wore it outside before returning it.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Phasing out the heels

Image via Erica Pelosini

I used to be the kind of person who would wear heels every single day. Okay, maybe not heels, but some kind of height. Making your legs look longer is a big bonus, but I think I also like being a tall giant. In a crowded group of people, I'm tall enough to have air. And when you're running for a bus, people get out of the way a lot faster for a woman aggressively sprinting in heels.

I would tell myself that I was comfortable in heels, that I was skilled. And I still am. Except that I did something uncharacteristic this summer - I wore sneakers. And holy tuna on a cracker, I've discovered what real comfort feels like. I'm at that age where I'm starting to realize how much of an adult I am. No, not because I have a real job and complain about the shambles of the economy, but because I'm breaking. Who is has knee pain, back pain, neck pain, and a clicking hip? Just me? Okay nevermind.

Clinging onto my youth, I haven't completely given up on cute shoes yet, so I've been trying to find ways to incorporate comfier shoes into my wardrobe. Lucky for me, my comfy shoe revelation happened at the perfect time. I wore out my heels for as long as I could in the summer, but now that it's finally cooler, I've been happily shlepping around in low ankle booties. There are few items that I consider to be truly classic (hello, even jeans go in and out of style), but the black ankle boot has survived season after season after season.

But the real perfect timing is in what's been trending lately. Sneakers with everything? Yes please. I don't have to worry about seeming too casual at work since sneakers and skirts seem to be the newest thing. It might be a little strange, even for an office with no dress code, but I feel a lot better getting away with it because it's in. I've been loving this look lately. Something about the mix between the busy professional attitude and the more active lifestyle work so well together.

So I'm fully on board with comfort. I've said hello to orthotics and goodbye to knee pain. Because I can't totally give up on heels, I've been using Zappos coupons to score chunky heels, which are still mildly uncomfortable, but hey I'm allowed to treat myself.

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