Guys! It was a short week and has now turned into a very busy one, so I leave you with some of the items I took home with me after the Club Monaco New York Fashion Week Collection party last week. If you came out, a huge thank you! If you didn’t; have a look in store – the collection is beautiful and their Spring collection keeps coming.
As you know, I’m not one for “shopping hauls” I hate that term (and I try not to throw the word “hate” around a lot), but I must admit I beefed up my Spring wardrobe with some super versatile pieces from Club Monaco. I took some with me to Boston, and was so pleased with how well they travelled. By keeping everything neutral I was able to create several outfits with a minimal number of garments. The first are these amazing wrap pants – navy blue, amazingly comfortable, which I paired with this textured white sweater and chambray shirt. A new chambray shirt was on my list since my current one was actually a hand me down and didn’t fit 100% right.
Since I’ve added such great classics to my closet, as well as an impromptu hat purchase during our trip to Boston (check my insta @ms_beltempo for a glimpse), I won’t be shopping until I go on vacation to Malta and Italy in July. I think I can do it as I don’t shop often in the first case, but I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, have a great weekend and thanks for reading! xo
In honour of the event I’m hosting tomorrow at Club Monaco Rideau Centre, I thought it would be apropos to roundup some of my favourite looks which include the brand. I’ve always loved the sophisticated yet particular details of Club Monaco clothing – it truly stands the test of time.
Their Spring 2017 collection which just showed at New York Fashion Week is just as romantic and cool as you’d imagine, but in an unprecedented move, the collection is now available to shop in stores. Club Monaco is at the forefront of the “see now buy now” movement, perpetuating their forward thinking ethos. I’m so glad we have a stunning store in Ottawa where the collection will be available for purchase, and that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow night! Chatting about the collection and helping you style and shop it. So don’t miss it – RSVP details are in the invitation below, I’d love to see you! In the meantime, enjoy some of these looks featuring Club Monaco pieces I’ve accumulated over the years.
Club Monaco blazer
Club Monaco pants and faux fur vest
Club Monaco skirt, sweater, and boots
Club Monaco pants (they’re about 8 years old!)
As always, thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow at 6pm! xo
Every time I put on my leather jacket or vintage fur vest, I get worried that I’ll be labeled a hypocrite because I’m a slow fashion blogger and that I strive to maintain a sustainable closet. There are some heavy discussions on both sides of the debate as to what is better for the environment – synthetics or real animal pelts/skins. I have yet to do a deep dive into this research but I wanted to bring it up because it’s something that I’m going to start researching. (With the help of environmental and sustainable fashion expert Malorie Bertrand)
For now however, my philosophy is still that of the slow fashion movement – so that even if I’m buying leather or fur, I know that it will get the utmost use and not be discarded after a few wears – maintaining the garment’s integrity and longevity. When it comes to fur, I try to only buy second hand or vintage. I’m happy to say that this leather and fur combo that I’ve posted today is composed of some of the oldest pieces in my closet. I bought the leather jacket before I got married – maybe 7 or 8 years ago, and the vest is a repurposed vintage fur coat that I bought 8 years ago at the Brooklyn Flea Market. So although animals gave up their life to keep me warm – I feel OK knowing that these pieces will be in my life and closet for a very long time, and I cherish them. Does this thought process justify wearing leather and fur? I think so. For now, I believe it. I also believe that there’s a reason humans having been wearing fur and leather to keep them warm since the beginning of time and I think what has been lost is the respect and appreciation for the animals. I’m not sure that buying a synthetic leather item that I’ll have to discard after 3 years because it didn’t hold up as well as the real thing justifies the chemical process and environmental damage that went into making that synthetic, yet “natural” product. I really don’t know the answer here, but I’m trying to figure it out, and when I do – I’ll let you know from an objective perspective if there is a choice that’s better for the planet.
I don’t know when I discovered a love of vintage, but I remember it being a long time ago, probably around the time when I was introduced to thrifting at the end of high school. Since then, trips to Value Village and Salvation Army have become frequent, and seeking out obscure thrift and vintage shops when I travel has become one of my favourite activities. Now I especially love it, not only for how it elevates my wardrobe, but because it’s less harmful to the environment and perpetuates recycling and a slow fashion cycle. Buying second hand or vintage clothing is an easy way to reduce your environmental footprint and still express your personal style. However, my tiny closet and trying to maintain a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle forces me to choose my vintage and thrifted pieces very carefully.
So when it came to this leopard coat that a lovely fashionista posted on Instagram, it was a no brainer – a leopard print coat had been on my list for a few years, it’s a classic print that can add life to my minimalist wardrobe, and it’s in pristine condition. Because it’s loud, I wear it mostly with relaxed basics. I like the juxtaposition of ripped denim with is beautiful sheen and texture, and likely won’t wear it with formal pieces because I don’t want it to look costume-y. When it comes to vintage, I always wear it with something current or classic – I think this way it adds a more subtle style statement. If you’re new to shopping and wearing vintage, pick something that you know will work with plenty of pieces in your closet (more on this here) and that is easy to wear – maybe it’s a silk scarf, or a cool belt. Then once you get comfortable with accessories, a leopard coat is in your near future!
So what do you think? Will you try vintage or second hand shopping anytime soon?
Coat: vintage / jeans & shirt: H&M / pumps: four years old, but I’ve had great experience with a similar pair of Schutz / sunnies: Dior at Merivale Vision Care
Some mornings, I wake up and think; “today’s the day I’m going to put a whole bunch of pieces together in different ways and wear something wildly bold!”
But then I d0 – I play in my closet, I belt some blazers, I put shirts on backwards (just kidding, but sometimes this is actually a good idea!), I put on a skirt (gasp!) or a dress (double gasp!). But then I realize, as I’m looking at myself in the mirror, that I’m just not quite as comfortable in these ensembles. Sometimes, they’re warranted: a spin around an event, a meeting, or a photoshoot… but if I think hard, the outfits that garner the most compliments (real life compliments, not just virtual likes on social media) are the ones that are, essentially, my uniform. Shirts and jeans. Of course, it varies as the seasons change, but there’s not much that a good pair of denim and men’s shirt can’t accomplish (for me, anyway).
I realized since I started consistently wearing an outfit formula, and having less in my closet, I struggle less with analysis paralysis – after managing a luxury boutique, I realized that customers made more deliberate and satisfying purchases when they had less choice. Too many options, and they’d get overwhelmed and walk away frustrated. An outfit formula makes life simpler, while allowing you to stay true to your personal style.
So here it is, my uniform – I’ve added snakeskin booties for a bit of a classic twist, and my moto jacket is an extra must-have layer in this cold … What’s your uniform? Do you have one? Do you think it’s just an excuse to be lazy and wear the same thing all the time? I’d love to know!
I recently discovered a common element in all of my favourite style icons.
It’s the unexpected.
I love the first impression of confusion – a lace skirt with a rock concert tee? A pinstripe suit with a pair of old sneakers? Yes, and yes. Because there is absolutely no discrimination between labels, brands, or origins of clothing, styling options are endless. When creating an outfit from the clothes you already have, mixing and matching high and low pieces is a great styling hack. I think it also gets us into the habit of realizing that no matter where they were purchased, or how much they cost, no garment is disposable, or should be seen as such. All of our clothes should be worn with love, creativity, and above all – they should make us feel great! What do you think, am I going overboard?
Anyway, this week’s #ootd features a mix of highs and lows. Some jeans bought at the Hudson’s Bay (about 2 years old), a white blazer that I purchased at H&M two years ago – and still going strong – plus some of my favourite Nordstrom purchases; a Toria Rose boa and AGL booties. Both of which were on the higher end of the budget and purchased last fall.
But wait, isn’t this supposed to be a sustainable style blog? Yes – and in this case, for someone just beginning to explore the world of sustainability in fashion, sustainability to me also means “slow fashion”. As in, purchasing pieces that you love and can see yourself wearing for a long time. If you’re still not sure this is what you’re into – read here.
Also – a quick note regarding the boa; I purchased it knowing that it was real fur, but knowing that this was a piece I would have absolutely forever. Still, as I had purchased it last season and prior to my new focus on sustainability, I took the opportunity to write Toria Rose, the company who produces these scarves to ask about sourcing and production. And wouldn’t you know it, the owner himself called me from Chicago. I felt better after being told that the animals used for these scarves are also used for meat – a more holistic approach to sourcing, and that the supplier is a trusted supplier in China whom the designer has been working with for 5 years without any issues. While I will be more mindful of fur going forward, I’m not going to let go of this item simply because it isn’t “certifiably” ethically sourced – the fact that the owner called me and gave me all of his honest knowledge on the production is a testament to the research, diligence, and care that went into making this product. I’m not perfect – I don’t think anybody is – but this was a great learning for me and my quest to continue learning about sustainability.
When I helped promote the Braderie de Mode Quebecoise in Gatineau this past fall, my eyes were opened to what felt like hundreds of Canadian (Quebec-based) designers. I always knew our neighbours to the east were super stylish (Montreal, I’m looking at you!), but to see so much talent gathered under one roof was pretty amazing.
One of the Canadian designers who completely captured my heart is Nadya Toto – her Italian background translates to minimalistic, yet sophisticated designs, but what I love best is the touch of whimsy and femininity. I walked away with this simple long sleeved sheath dress in burgundy. I’ve worn it many times already because it checks off all my boxes; effortless, relaxed (it’s so comfortable), and chic. This is one of those pieces where you truly reap the power of a good investment purchase. Not only is it classic, but it’s a great foundation piece from which to build so many great looks.
Give her website a browse; it will be worth it. I often fall into the trap of thinking that sustainable style and ethical fashion mean scouring the web for hours to find the right combination of style and sustainability (plug for shopeitheror.com where you can find Canadian-made clothing all in one place!) when we have some amazing Canadian designers in our own backyard.
Dress: Nadya Toto // Boots: AGL at Nordstrom (old, great alternative here) // Scarf: Toria Rose (old, alternative here) // Coat: Mackage, old and altered, but love this one // sunnies: Kate Spade at Merivale Vision Care // Good hair day (sorry, felt like it had to be mentioned!): Fiorella at Rinaldos (the power of a great cut – this is what it looks like 4 months grown out!) // pics by: Melody Iafelice
On Monday, I wrote this post about using Instagram and social media for fashion inspiration instead of envy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy, I am guilty of lamenting my lack of textured, personality-infused, and seemingly effortless pieces that invade the wardrobes of my favourites; Olivia Palermo, Blake Lively and Emmanuelle Alt. But as promised dear readers, here’s my example of pulling inspiration from a whole look and how it was put together vs. simply going bananas over each piece that creates that look. Ya feel me? Here’s an ensemble that I stumbled upon and loved, brought to us by the inimitable Olivia Palermo:
I had never thought of pairing my faux-fur vest with a simple white shirt. This is ludicrous because I wear my white button downs with literally EVERYTHING (including sweatpants), but I loved that this inspired me to put it together instead of run out and buy another white shirt or fuzzy vest. My pants aren’t leather, my boots aren’t as edgy, but I liked how the ensemble was polished enough for the corporate world and think a simple black pant and bootie achieve this look.
What do you think? Would this type of thing make you more frustrated that your outfit isn’t the same, or would you be satisfied that you were able to pull something together with your own spin on it? Or maybe you’ll realize you’re missing a staple button down … I’d love to know your thoughts!
It’s so simple. It occurred to me the other day when I had the buttons changed on my navy Mackage peacoat … the military trend is one of my favourites and is a silhouette that I’ve incorporated into my looks over time (if Emmanuelle Alt rocks it, then so will I … or I’ll try to anyway), and when the buttons started popping off on my peacoat (after only 2 seasons – what’s happened to you Mackage?!) I thought it would be a great excuse to replace them with gold, nautical themed buttons (for a total cost of $15+tax) to give my peacoat a more military-inspired style.
And THEN I thought; holy shit this is so simple, everybody with a black, navy, red, forest green (heck, any colour peacoat really) coat can swap out the buttons to catch on to today’s trend. If yours already has epaulettes then go wild and throw a shiny button on there too. If you’re super crafty and want to take the look up a level, grab yourself some felt in a contrasting hue and put it under your lapel. (I didn’t do this, I am NOT that crafty, but maybe in a year or two, when my coat needs more love, that’s what I’ll do instead of donating it)
So instead of spending money and perpetuating the speediness and wastefulness of trends that you’re not even sure you like, go to Fabricland and have fun in the notions section for a bit. Changing up simple details on garments is an affordable, and environmentally friendly way to save pieces you may be tired of.
Every now and then a new LBD crops up in my closet – I know they’re getting old, and we’ve seen many a case made for the LWD (little white dress) and the LRD (little red dress), but nothing beats a little black number in my opinion. Something that you can just throw on and feel great in. I found my LBD update with this Tobi number and paired it with a blazer to make it a bit more fall-weather appropriate. It’s simple, has a great neckline with some satin detail and the length is modest but still sexy. It’s my updated LBD which I’m sure I’ll have for a very long time to come.
Dress: ShopTobi.com // Thank you Melody Iafelice for the photos!