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!
The other day I pledged to incorporate more colour into my fall wardrobe. Today I’m telling you that I firmly failed on that attempt as the two new pieces I added this season are both grey. The 5050 Stuart Weitzman boots have been on my shopping list for the past five years so I’m very happy I finally took the plunge and bought them. I surprised myself by buying them in grey (with the original “want” being black) and am still surprised at how much I enjoy them. They have already gotten, and will continue to get plenty of use.
My second piece is the ubiquitous vest seen on everyone, courtesy of Simons. I don’t normally shop trends, but this one I nabbed because it fits seamlessly into my everyday uniform of jeans + shirt or sweater. It has the simplicity of menswear which I love but the long line keeps it feminine enough to feel like me. Despite the fact that it is very identifiable to this season (a trait I normally try to stay away from when making a purchase), I’m comfortable wearing it well after it’s had a moment in the spotlight. And therein lies today’s thought: buy something if it feels like “you” and if you’re comfortable – not because it’s “everywhere” or because you saw Olivia Palermo rocking it.
If you live in Ottawa, you’ve heard of the Wine and Food Festival. It is an amazing culinary event that gets errrbody out of their houses and into an exhibition space filled with restauranteurs, sommeliers, amazing culinary experiences and good fun. People dress up for the occasion, which always makes me happy because I believe in dress up.
This year, because the festival is happening over Halloween weekend (starting tomorrow, Friday the 30th, and happening until Sunday, Nov 1), the event organizers are encouraging guests to take their dress up game one step further and make their outfits #HauteHalloween appropriate. What is #hautehalloween you ask? Good question. My interpretation of it is as follows: wearing an outfit that is still socially appropriate for an evening out but which includes elements that would be considered too “costumey” for regular evening wear. For example, a giant banana costume would be awesome, but quite cumbersome for the purposes of drinking wine and mingling in a very popular space. It’s hard to make a giant banana chic and festival-ready.
Despite the giant banana musings, my thoughts on the subject were wanted on local TV so I was delighted to do a segment with the Wine and Food Festival’s producer, Joan Culliton, for CTV Ottawa Morning Live. I was asked to provide some outfit inspiration for the upcoming weekend and had a really great time doing it. Because I don’t like scary things, I based my looks on fashion and pop culture references and took them a little further.
On the left, Black Swan was the influence (as well as simply wanting EVERYBODY to show up wearing tutus because, have you seen tutus worn in real life??? They’re amazing). This was an easy enough look to achieve with some help from Brio Bodywear who specialize in dance clothes. I finished the look off with a small fascinator for STUNNING! and a simple black pump from Brown’s Shoes at Bayshore Shopping Centre. To add another ballet touch, I wrapped the model’s ankles with fancy ribbon. NOT recommended for a standard evening out, but totally appropriate for this occasion. To totally blow everybody away, I would highly recommend getting adventurous with makeup. Taryn Miller and Anthonia Bejide did a phenomenal job bringing these looks to life with their magic makeup hands. If you’re wanting to add an extra touch of glam to your look, give either of these ladies a call.
My second look was inspired by the goth and Victorian themes that were on the runway this past season. Since this is about as close as I’ll ever get to “ghoulish” (Did I mention I don’t like scary stuff?), the makeup was dark and vampy and I found some boots that reminded me of what I saw in previews for “The Craft” (because I was too scared to actually watch the movie – not kidding) to finish the look off. Of course, the For Love and Lemons dress that I found at NRML Select was the perfect mix of Victoriana and modern day glam.
Finally, for the sunshine happy people in all of us, there was nowhere else to go except back in time to the 60’s. When I found this For Love and Lemons dress hanging out beside the last one at NRML Select, I grabbed it, added some silver accessories and watched Taryn transform our model into someone who belongs in 1969.
Close up makeup looks are below and make me want to spend more time experimenting with the stuff.
Below is myself, Taryn and Anthonia with our gorgeous models. We had all been up since 5AM so I am proud that we were all able to stay upright for this photo.
Below, we’re with Ottawa Wine and Food Festival producer Joan Culliton and CTV Ottawa Morning host, Lianne Laing.
Hopefully these pictures and looks will help you put something fun and spooky (please keep it PG-13 for my sake) together for this year’s Wine and Food Show. If you purchase an Arrive After Five ticket, walk the red carpet and get the chance to WIN an AMAZING trip for two to Barbados for the Food, Wine & Rum Festival there. You can find more details and watch the full segment here.