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
It’s the middle of winter, we’re all hibernating, and maybe you’re just feeling blah. It’s easy to scroll through your instafeed and Pinterest and get inspired by some amazing outfits and fashion and think a little retail therapy is in order to spice up your life wardrobe.
Sometimes we need to shake things up, and I believe our wardrobe has just what we need – the trick is in restyling the pieces you already have to create something new. Here are three ensembles, or outfit formulas (I think I’m going to use this word way more often) that you might not have thought of but that are easy to create from your existing wardrobe:
monochromatic: maybe you found yourself jumping on the pink train last year, or you have so many neutrals you don’t know what else to do with them – a monochromatic look is always polished, and playful if done in a fun hue. Given my limited wardrobe I kept my monochromatic look in the cream family but if you rock this in anything other than grey, black, cream or navy, major kudos to you.
Coat: Mackage / Top: Judith & Charles from ShopAlfred.com / Culottes: Thrifted but love these / Boots: UGG at Nordstrom / Sunnies: Kate Spade at Merivale Optometric
canadian tuxedo: this classic ensemble should never be underestimated. If you add a feminine element like a heel, interesting jewelry or a colourful neck scarf, your friends with think it’s groundbreaking.
Jeans: Alexa Chung for AG at schad / Top: a hand-me-down from my cousin! But here’s a great option / Booties: Club Monaco / Coat: Value Village but I love this one / Purse: Naked Vice at schad / Neck Scarf: Vintage but here’s a beautiful one / Sunnies: Kate Spade at Merivale Optometric
tone on tone: similar to a monochromatic look, this type of outfit is great if you have a lot of the same colour in your closet. A two tone outfit in a colour that suits you is a creative mix of colours that is still unexpected but easy to pull off. Again – major props if you do this in anything other than a neutral colour.
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!
I hope you are reading this feeling relaxed and happy after the holidays. This time of year is often associated with Pinterest boards full of inspiration, goals of all kinds and lofty ambitions. These days however – and for the stylishly inclined – “inspiration” also comes in the form of a perfectly curated Instagram feed, or those infamous style roundups that are supposed to help us get dressed when we’re feeling “blah”.
I think this abundance of style inspiration is a double-edged sword – on one hand we have an infinite source of ideas for different outfit combinations and styling. On the flip side, it is a constant reminder of the things we don’t have (this article is proof), which can turn into a perpetual feeling of needing more, and that if we acquire what’s in these photos, we too will have a fulfilling closet and will ultimately reach fashion nirvana. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of pressure to put on style – something that’s supposed to be fun.
So for 2017, instead of using social media and fashion websites as a source of envy (which – let’s be honest, I totally do, nobody is immune to the likes of the uber cool style set), I’m going to try and use them instead as what they were originally intended for: inspiration, and only that. Next time I see myself admiring another blogger’s put together look, before going all heart-eyes emoji and clicking on the link that will take me to an opportunity to spend money and acquire more stuff, I’m going to look in my closet and see if I can recreate a similar ensemble with items I already have.
The easiest way to recreate a look or style you love is about obsessing less on one particular item of clothing and paying more attention to the overall formula of the look and how the clothing is being worn. Here’s an example; maybe you like one blogger’s #ootd: a chunky knit worn over ripped skinnies and a cute heel. Instead of lamenting the fact that her skinnies are Paige ($$$) and her knit is a super cute of-the-moment-lace-up-cuff-detail chunky sweater (trend trap!), think of what is actually attracting you to this ensemble. Here are some q’s to help you out:
am I attracted to this outfit’s colour palette?
do I like the proportion play?
do I like the quirky mix of styles (in this case, casual wear with dressy – a high heel)?
do I like how the sweater/pants are styled (sleeves rolled up/pants cuffed? sweater half-tucked in? etc.)
Answering these questions can do wonders for discovering your own personal style, as well as avoiding impulse buys, and going gaga over a purchase that could end up being potentially wasteful (not to mention expensive!).
And dear readers, just so you know – I tried this little experiment prior to writing this post. The idea of posting about it actually came to me when I came across an Olivia Palermo outfit (or 1,034,876 of them, actually) that I really liked and thought – wait a minute, I can make something similar! Do you want to see how it turns out? Come back Thursday to find out what the rest of this outfit looks like and the original pic I used as inspo!
While anything associated with ‘slow’ carries an unfavourable undertone in today’s ‘now’ world, this past year I’ve come to love slow.
It happened after a Dailey Method workout when we were stretching after a session and the sun was filtering in through the trees into the studio. One of those perfect moments where everything is OK and you convince yourself that it’s going to continue being OK because of the endorphin-induced state of mind you’re in.
But that state of mind seemed to stick with me for the very last half of 2016 along with my cemented affirmation and public declaration of slow fashion. As I thought about the owners at the Dailey Method, they seemed to me a wonderful example of being able to work extremely hard to build a thriving business without succumbing to the “i’m-too-busy-to-put-pants-on-and-eat-breakfast” mantra. In other words; to me, they represented great balance in a world where the scales are forever tipped to “busy being an entrepreneur”. Maybe time is doing what it does best (as in, making me older), or maybe I’m delusional. But I know that I’m over the glorification of being busy.
So in addition to slow fashion going forward, I’m going to try and figure out a way to continue to grow in my business/career with grace, love and peace, and live slowly. Forgive me if you don’t see me at every event, or saying yes to every project – paid or creative collaboration. After being taken advantage of to my own detriment too often this year, my only goal in 2017 is to say ‘no’ when it counts the most.
Finally, I want to wish each and every one of you reading this a most amazing holiday season and wonderful 2017. I truly appreciate your eyeballs on my words and images, your support and encouragement, and I don’t think I acknowledge it enough – so thank you. I won’t be posting anything between Christmas and New Years, but will be back to regular twice a week posts (aiming for Mondays and Thursdays) the first week of January.
In the meantime, enjoy whatever this time of year means to you.
Part of a streamlined closet means buying seasonless pieces, or using what you have in different ways to get the most wear, and ultimately the most love – for what you already have. Living where I do, four very drastic seasons make seasonless dressing a little more difficult, but there’s nothing wrong with harnessing a little creativity to get the most out of those summer pieces.
The time leading up to December is seemingly warmer; so I wanted to wear this maxi dress from Tobi in an unexpected way that still suits the cooler season. I’m a big fan of the black stripe down the sides of this dress, as well as it’s simple and classic silhouette which give it major flexibility in wear. I so loved wearing it this way, and I know it will come in handy during a (hopefully!) warm weather vacation. Layering is key for any transitional outfit, so all it took was the sneaky addition of a slim turtleneck and the ubiquitous leather jacket. The sneakers added a touch of playfulness and of course – the unexpected.
Is there a summer piece that you want to repurpose for cooler months? I love how slow fashion takes on serious meaning when you find out a way to wear your summer pieces for another 4 months – would you try it?
As far as I know, most ladies love a fancy night out on their calendar. It’s a special night, maybe you’re bringing a date who is not your mother, and maybe you want to take the time to feel more glam than normal. It’s a fun, and fabulous occasion to channel whatever Sex and the City character you identify with for 24 hours. For all of those reasons, I totally get why you would want to shell out some of your well-earned money to feel amazing for a social soiree.
But I’ve got a little challenge for you: the next time something special comes up on your calendar, shop your closet first to see if there’s not an item already in there that you can Cinderella into something more glamorous. (yes, I just used Cinderella as a verb, she’s a Disney Princess after all) See it as a sartorial challenge if you will.
If you make a purchase with only one intended use in mind, it might end up like closet roadkill. ie; the poor pieces in the back of your wardrobe or on the floor that get completely neglected once they’ve served their purpose. Kudos if you consign or donate that piece afterwards, but what if you had never bought it in the first place, reducing your consumption of fashion just a teeny bit?
I would never offer up a challenge without a little bit of advice to get you started, so here are a couple of tips for a closet that you can count on for a chic evening – a creative alternative to making a potentially wasteful purchase that doesn’t give you the kind of joy a glass slipper really should.
1 – Invest in a few key fancy separates (skirts are useful here) – a long lace number, a fun party or ball gown skirt, or a tulle skirt are all workhorses that you can reimagine again and again. Because they are only one half of an outfit, other elements (like tops, accessories and hair) can make a drastic difference in changing your look entirely.
2 – Layer your floor-length – We typically have a maxi or a jumpsuit in our closet that we wore for a fancy wedding or event and haven’t worn since. Throwing a chic turtleneck underneath or a gamine sweater or button-down overtop can bring new life to those pieces. Don’t forget about changing up accessories too!
3 – Borrow from the boys – If you work in an office, chances are you’ve got a great pair of black slacks, a blazer, or a suit in your closet. If you’ve got a suit – you’re in luck; why not wear it with a sexy cami, some killer heels and sparkly accessories? Otherwise, throw that blazer overtop of a maxi dress or fancy skirt and belt it for an androgynous but killer look. Small styling touches will make a big difference here – roll up your sleeves and cuff your pants to keep it office inappropriate.
There is a lot going on in fashion right now – it’s as though minimalism and maximalism are hanging out at a party together and really getting along. Sleek 90’s turtlenecks and denim collide with whimsical fall 2016 trends; metallics, ruffles, victoriana, and of course – velvet. But if you’re looking to build a smaller closet filled with classic pieces – what should you invest in? Every season, we are tempted by the urge to freshen up our closet with something uber current – which is totally normal – let’s be honest, it’s a great feeling bringing home something new – but it’s a better feeling if that purchase is something that you know will take you through many experiences for years to come. Rather than choosing pieces that are very now, look for pieces with a classic influence that stand the test of time. For yours and the internet’s eyes only; here are some ideas to shop some of fall 2016 trends smarter.
Instead of: Culottes
Buy: a straight leg trouser with subtle detail that you love
Don’t get me wrong, I love culottes – I have two pairs, but they were thrifted a few years ago, and I’ve been wearing them ever since. I wore them because I loved them then and I can see myself wearing them even a decade down the road when another silhouette is having a moment. If you love the way you look in culottes and don’t care about what other people think (which is great, but not always easy to do) then buy them, love them and wear them forever. The alternative however, is a great pant that has enough personality to stand on its own years to come – like these from J.Crew.
Instead of: A metallic bomber
Buy: A metallic pair of shoes
Metallics are awesome. They add character to any outfit, especially if your closet is full of neutrals (they work beautifully with brights too!). Instead of being blinded by the super on-trend metallic bomber, grab a pair of classic metallic pumps or brogues – like these beauties above. Where the dazzling bomber can get old very fast, gold or silver footwear lends a subtle chic factor to every outfit you put on (even denim!) – no matter the season, outfit genre, or decade you’re currently occupying.
Instead of: A crushed velvet top, pants or dress
Buy: A velvet blazer
It is so easy to be lured in by the luxe, sensual richness of velvet. This is a pretty bold texture and a very strong trend, so for it to have a longer life in your wardrobe, take it home in the form of a classic black blazer. An inky velvet blazer like this one by FRAME complements any wardrobe – wear it with denim and a lazy tee for a relaxed look, or belt it over a dress or skirt for something more upscale. Either way, I’ve seen velvet blazers stand the test of time in many a wardrobe, so now would be a good time to invest in one if velvet is something that speaks to you and your style personality.
Instead of: 90’s inspired sweatpants
Buy: A pair of luxe wool pants
I remember wearing Queen’s University sweatpants to a high school house party with a white halter top and my Adidas Superstars. It was magical. At least I thought it was. I’ve since upgraded to a pair of Rachel Roy silk sweats (bought back in 2010) that I wear to adult house parties and secretly hope nobody realizes that i’m essentially wearing pyjamas and lounging around their home. All that to say; sweatpants are tough to pull off because of an overly relaxed silhouette, which is why – if you want to start wearing pyjamas in public – they have to do a lot of work for you and have a luxe vibe. Enter; the wool pant. Same cool factor as a sweatpant, but extra chic – I love the wide leg ankle crop from Club Monaco; the neutral colour makes it easy to wear and it looks effortless when paired with a cozy knit or cool blazer. Because of the ankle action, you can also wear these with a sneaker or flat which is key. (Showing off a bit of ankle makes you look taller) I’m also a big fan of these Merino wool joggers from Ca Va de Soi.
So you’ve been working at your office for a while now, and have re-worn your workwear basics to a point where you may not want to see them again. This is where, with caution and tact, your wardrobe can multi-task for you and stealthily incorporate itself into some of your bolder 9-5 looks. Take for example, the (faux) fur vest. Normally relegated to the weekend-brunch-with-the-girls or “chalet chic” section of your closet, give yourself a good “plot twist!” moment and try it in a professional setting.
As always, when making bolder sartorial choices in the workplace, always think of your environment. If you work in a hoodies and jeans tech company, this look may not be for you. But if you’re in PR, marketing, are your own lady boss which translates to wearing whatever you want, or a generally working within a more liberal environment, this could be a fun look to try. For best results, keep all other elements of your outfit crisp and neutral. You want colleagues to listen to what you’re saying rather than try navigating their eyes around your outfit. I’ve paired this faux fur Club Monaco vest (alternative here since I bought this last season – gasp!) with a simple turtleneck (we talked about this last week … maybe that post was premature?) and pair of pleated culottes (vintage, but these are awesome!). Since it’s still not the most pleasant outside, black tights and no-nonsense pumps make this weather appropriate. You probably don’t even need to wear a coat because … faux fur.
BONUS: Do fur vests make you feel bulky? I used this EXPRESS belt to cinch the waist – never underestimate the power of a good belt!
So – would you wear this outfit to the office? I’d love to know! Thank you for reading! XO