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!
Being stylish doesn’t mean wearing the latest trends or sporting the season’s “it” bag. Having style means possessing a certain “je ne sais quoi” – something that exudes confidence and charm far beyond what fashion can provide. There are a few stylish ladies that I know who possess this stylish charm, and I decided you should all get to know them a bit better too. In the next little while on the blog, I’ll be featuring some super chic businesswomen who always look fabulous but who, more importantly, are experts in their field and have been able to thrive in style. I’m throwing the spotlight on these women because their work does not involve “fashion” on a daily basis in the traditional sense. Yet each of them adds it to their daily mix with finesse.
Without further delay, I’d like you to meet Joelle Zagury, an Optometrist at Merivale Optometric. I met Joelle through none other than the national style sensation Erica Wark, and I’m always floored when I visit Joelle’s Optometric practice because she looks fab, somehow manages to run a successful optometry clinic (with help from her equally amazing and stylish team) AND has two adorable kids. #lifegoals
1 – Have you always been so stylish? When did you really start paying attention to how you dressed and what image you wanted to portray?
The first part of this question makes me laugh, I don’t think I was ever considered stylish! Growing up in Montreal, everyone was so fashionable. My mom is a hair stylist and my dad has a luxury eyewear store in downtown Montreal. I was always the unkempt bookworm. I spent a lot of time as early as 5 years old in my mom’s hair salon reading Vogue quietly, I would say that is when I started to admire fashion. I was always drawn to looks that gave women an easy confidence, elegant without being overdone. In the 8th grade I started to pay attention to the fabrication, quality and fit of footwear, purses and clothes. I started being involved in buying luxury eyewear the summer after 10th grade and that made me think a lot more about how I dress and how people perceive me. I got to help design my prom dress with Kevin Allwood a Canadian-Jamaican designer now based out of Toronto, he was fabulous to work with and it was tons of fun.
I think my image now is a marriage of corporate casual and bohemian, for example I might pair distressed jeans with a dress shirt and “fancy” shoes. I like to mix flowing and structured fabrics and I love high heels and handbags, I have glasses and sunglasses to go with nearly everything, it really completes an outfit, you can have a basic t-shirt on and add a nice pair of specs and a stack of bangles and now its a an outfit, I call that 3 dimensional dressing (eye nerd term).
2 – How do you manage to always look fab AND be a mom AND run a successful optometry clinic?
The answer to this is that I do not always look fab;), I have a fantastic husband who supports me, he is wonderful with our children and is a partner in the truest form. I am no island, our team is amazing, we have a flat corporate structure, we are casual and cooperative, everyone on our team is professionally trained and responsible for an element of clinic operations. I feel lucky to have them.
3 – Where are your favourite places to shop?
I can write a book about this! I am a high/low mixer. I have always been a big fan of attainable luxury brands like Kate Spade and Coach from glasses to purses and office supplies! I love inexpensive Canadian stores like Dynamite, gives you H&M type prices but with less stuff/square footage so you can be in and out in a flash. Holt Renfrew & BCBG for shoes, accessories and evening. Jeans from Aritzia. Work wear, I mix Banana Republic and J. Crew with local shops like Victoire, Green Tree Eco fashion & Vien Avec Moi. When I am stuck for ideas on a busy work morning I like skinny black ankle pants and a blouse with a long necklace, pointy flats & awesome glasses (that’s my fake it uniform).
4 – What or who inspires you in the morning?
My co-workers! The ladies & guys at my office always look amazing. I shop with some of my colleagues. I have some co-workers who have mastered mixing prints, now that is advanced & they all have nice glasses. In a perfect world I have the wardrobe of Olivia Pope and Olivia Palermo at work and the street fashion of a Parson’s design student.
5 – What is the best part about your job?
As far as I know Optometry is the only industry that mixes math, physics, biology, psychology and fashion. I love being a clinician and I love seeing my regular patients year after year and hearing about their lives. I love the challenge of solving vision problems while keeping the patient’s physical appearance in mind, from designing a contact lens or thinking of a pair of glasses that might minimize the look of a hight prescription. When you work with people you are never bored!
If you loved reading about Joelle’s personal style, there’s even more great news! She and her team are hosting a Ladies Night Event on Thursday, September 24th at 4PM. The evening will include some beautiful eyewear collections along with discounts, mini manicures, makeovers, and great company. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds will go towards Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.