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
If you’re like me, your Instagram feed is probably blowing up with pictures of tropical destinations and friends or bloggers frolicking on white sand beaches and turquoise oceans. Finding myself immersed in a summer-like trance made me think that traveling is the perfect opportunity to test drive owning less. While traveling only with a carry-on is appealing, a full-size suitcase still limits your wardrobe choices to only what you need, so why not use your traveling circumstance to live with less?
To get you started, here are some of items I always bring on vacation (not necessarily these, but something similar – however, I’m loving the sustainable options below), along with tips on how to style them to get the most out of each piece. It doesn’t take much; a belt here, a scarf there, swap shoes – a whole new outfit is born.
I NEVER leave for a warm weather vacation without a shirt-dress. Like, EVER. If there is one piece of clothing that you wear on the plane in case of lost luggage, it should be a shirt dress. This neutral print number from H&M is great because it will work with any colour scheme, but the best part is that it works with both a dressy sandal and sneaker. Wear it open and unbuttoned over shorts, over jeans, over trousers, with a sweet cami underneath (bring about three camis so you can repeat this). Then wear this same combo with only the top button done up at the collar – it’s a totally different vibe. Throw it over your swimsuit for a cover up. Wear it closed over jeans or pants if cooler, then belt it and roll up the sleeves for a different look. Wear it as a dress – belted and then not. I hated permutations in math, but I feel like I just listed about 1,685,934 different combinations. Switching out shoes, adding a hat or scarf creates an entirely different ensemble as well.
In real life (ie; when I’m not on vacation), I hardly ever wear dresses. But on vacation, a hard working dress like this Zady number means I don’t have to stress about whether i’m chic enough for a certain venue. Clearly this dress passes any sartorial test because of its simple, minimalist yet feminine design. (It also means you don’t have to worry about being rejected from churches or religious sites because of the below-the-knee hemline and long sleeves – bonus!) Wear it with sneakers and a backpack for day, then swap it with a sandal and cross-body for night. It looks great paired with a denim jacket or scarf but truly stands on its own.
Never underestimate the power of a comfortable shoe when traveling. Lucky for us, the athletic trend is still going strong so we can explore limitless landscapes in stylish footwear. These Veja sneakers are made with Tilapia – yes, you heard correctly, and wild rubber. The simple yet rich design wears well with a dress as well as denim cutoffs. I always travel with a covered shoe/sneaker vs. a sandal, even in warmer climes, because I’ve never loved the feeling of having my feet exposed to city dirt, and I like to know that if I randomly have to climb some rocks, or countless steps (you never know what you’ll run into on adventures!), I don’t want to be limited by my footwear. If your vacation is strictly beach; then opt for a sandal.
The only heel I’ll bring on vacation is one I know i’ll be able to wander for hours in, in case there are some interesting side streets or evening adventures ahead. These Coclico sandals are expertly hand-crafted and can stand plenty of pavement-pounding. I have a pair of their cut-out wedges (approx 4 years old) and can say from experience that the elegant, simple design combined with quality and comfort make these shoes a staple in any wardrobe – the dark neutral tone and chunkier heel adds an edge when worn with a dress, or a pair of light pants.
In order to get the most out of your travel capsule wardrobe, the basics should be neutrals, but this fun silk scarf is where the colour boost comes in. Wear it tied tight around your neck a la neckerchief or choker, wear it loosely tied around our neck, as a bracelet, anklet, as a headband or tied onto your purse or backpack for extra flair. The message behind this Round + Square bandana is great too.
Denim shorts are a summer classic, and since I’m always cold (even in hot weather), I like the texture and traditional look of a great denim cutoff. Wear them with your shirt dress (the long over short silhouette is a great proportion play), simple tee or cami. Sneakers go best, but they would also look killer with a chunky heeled sandal and the shirt dress on top.
A basic tee is so …. basic. But when traveling, it’s a great staple – wear it with shorts and sneakers, add a silk bandana and trouser to dress it up, and don’t forget to tie it at the waist or make a tiny sleeve roll once you’re tired of wearing it like a normal tee. Like the cami, bring about two or three neutral colours to swap between. The options are always endless, it just takes some very minor tweaks to make a basic feel new again.
Because camis take up almost no space at all, you can afford to bring three of your faves; I always recommend neutral colours so they work with everything. They’re great layering pieces – under the shirt dress with shorts or pants, under a denim jacket with silk trousers, or best worn on their own.
I’m not one for purses – in real or vacation life. But a pretty cross body makes you feel grown-up and lady-like when you’ve been living out of a suitcase, and comes in handy when you want to be hands free. It’s also a fun way to add colour and spice up your neutral travel wardrobe.
Ok so right now, this doesn’t look like a backpack, but that’s because it’s both purse AND backpack. Which, when traveling (and in daily life, I haven’t stopped using it since I bought it two years ago) comes in SO handy. I swear, this bag is a fucking miracle when you need to be functional and fashionable and worth EVERY penny. As both purse and backpack, it fits my laptop, ipad, DSLR, travel docs and extra underwear when i’m on the plane. I swear. It’s bananas. Because of the rich quality of leather and slightly edgy hardware, it looks just as good draped over a silk dress, shirt dress, or hanging out with cutoffs and a tee. Best part? It’s made in Canada.
Ok, so officially these are joggers, but with the high quality cotton and modal blend, they pass as trousers on vacation, because it’s 2017 and people wear pyjamas in public. So, you know. I love that you can wear them for day with sneaks, a simple tee, cami, and/or shirt dress (or swap out the shirt dress for a denim jacket if you’re cold), and then throw on a pair of heels and wear all the same combinations for night. Truly, there is no simpler styling trick than swapping out a pair of shoes to elevate a look.
If you don’t want your face to burn off, a hat is key. I prefer a ball cap, but a fedora – like the vintage one I found above on Etsy – makes so much more sense stylistically as it works with everything.
I mentioned that I’m cold all the time, so I always bring a denim or light jacket with me. A denim jacket is the most versatile though, especially given denim’s ubiquity, it’s totally acceptable to wear it out, on the plane, with dresses, or pretty much anything. I would wear this with the silk joggers, over the shirt dress styled any way, and over the silk dress … it’s another great chameleon that will work with anything.
And that’s it! Add underwear, a bathing suit, your toothbrush and passport, and you’re good to go! Relax, enjoy your vacation and get ready to apply the creative styling juices you developed with your small capsule travel wardrobe at home with the rest of your closet. Maybe it will result in a purge of items you realize you don’t really need … either way, bon voyage and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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.
Last week I talked about shopping with a list, and if you’re still with me and not hating me for taking all the fun out of shopping (thank you!), here’s the next little trick that I said would keep that fun, spontaneous, indulgent part of shopping alive.
It starts with this Whowhatwear.com article about the 80/20 rule. I love this rule as it is the PERFECT complement to shopping with a list.
If you didn’t feel like clicking on the hyperlink to the WWW article, the 80/20 rule is a technique where 80% of your shopping budget goes to planned, thoughtful, and foundation pieces (ie; whatever is ON your LIST as an investment piece!), while the remaining 20% can be reserved for whims, or trends you want to try. So you can still make those off-beat purchases that you’re not 100% sure about, but you’re doing it in moderation and with a little more thought.
I’ve been trying it, and here’s why I love it:
It’s a great way to keep you on track as you allocate your fashion funds. I’ve started employing it since discovering the article, and I love how it gives a little wiggle room for a spontaneous purchase here and there – it makes me think hard about what’s on my list, and encourages deliberate, thoughtful purchases vs. wasteful ones. I reserve my 20% for vintage shows and fun thrift store finds – that’s my free for all card. I also like how it’s a mindset that can be employed by anyone at any budget level. It’s a fantastic trick to employ if you are constantly surprised by a higher than normal credit card bill; and who doesn’t want to save a little money and get a handle on their wardrobe?
Happy first day of fall! To celebrate the momentous season of PSL-drinking-toque-wearing-indulgence, I’ve had the immense pleasure of kicking off this sartorially charged season at Place d’Orleans (if there were such thing as a mall alma-mater, this would be mine), where their campaign – Fall for a Fabulous Find – challenged, and inspired me to find that hidden gem amongst a plethora of cozy options.
I’ll tell you what I found – although decidedly un-cozy – this tassel necklace from the Hudson’s Bay ($20.00) is so on-point with this season’s trends, I think I may consider opening an instagram account on it’s behalf. #fallready
Next on my list (because I never shop without one), was a grey duster coat. Not only will it work with my current instagram “flow” (no joke – I shop with the ever watchful eye of VSCO Q1/E6 looming over my shoulder. I also simply prefer neutrals.), but it’s super soft, very chic, and is an easy and affordable ($69.99 at H&M!) way to keep my wardrobe current this season. The rest of my purchases include uniform staples – I live in jeans and button downs and I loved these variations from H&M (top and denim, $34.99 each at H&M), but also some little surprises. When the rest of my outfit is neutral (which it normally is), an unexpected accessory can go a long way and injects personality. The pale and metallic combo of this purse and these flats make them easy to wear on the daily, but dressy enough to add polish. Find them at ALDO for $55.00 (purse – on sale! for 27.50) and $64.99 (shoes – on sale! for 32.50)
Finally, there are other little details that truly make an outfit but that often go unnoticed – I also picked up a great faux leather bralette at Forever21 for $19.99 (which, in 3 dimensions can be glimpsed in this outfit) and some beautiful ESSIE nailpolish at Rexall ($12.00)
I’m happy to report that I was able to find a mix of staples and new pieces for the season – this is a look I live in; for work, play, and everything in between. So naturally, we shot it at the Waverly East! A place where all of those things can happen – what a hidden gem it is! The decor alone sets it apart – such a cool place to spend a few hours with good friends. I also got to sample the food (of course), and it’s as good as the awesome wall art behind me in the photo below. My parents live in Orleans, and visits are naturally for indulging in mom’s cooking and dad’s coffee (seriously, he makes a really good cappuccino), so discovering and shooting this look at the Waverly East was such a treat.
And then: take all that inspiration and enter a shopping spree contest! Place D’Orleans is offering up a $500 shopping spree for a lucky lady – the contest runs from September 26 to October 7th 2016. If you don’t already follow them on social media, keep an eye on them for contest announcements and details here: Insta, Twitter, Facebook
Thanks for reading! xxHappily written and participated in partnership with Place D’Orleans.
As much as I claim to wear a uniform, the star of winter 2016 – the turtleneck – made it’s slinky way into my closet. I found it a very useful addition, especially when it came to layering it in unexpected ways. Since winter is on it’s way out (I wore sneakers without socks yesterday, which therefore marks the beginning of Spring … right?), I thought I would take a moment to pay tribute to the garment that appeared on almost every street style star, celebrity, and average person. Here’s how I’ve worn it a bunch of times this past season, some appeared on the blog, others not, but all deserve a little shout out since I think the turtleneck is going to be here well into next year.
Did you jump on the turtleneck train? What’s your favourite way to wear it? I think we still have a few weeks as we transition to Spring …
When I was 2 and my parents asked me what my name was, I would respond with: “Pink!!” Maybe my 2 year old self knew I would be standing in front of a wall clearly inspired by Pepto-Bismol – 28 years later. Or maybe my 2 year old self just liked the colour pink. Either way, I thought Valentine’s Day would be a good time to break out this tonal combination featuring the colour of amour. If you find a red dress too cliché and want to share your love of love at the office withoutlooking like Aisle 2 of the pharmacy just vomited all over you, feel free to continue scrolling.
I found these pants at the EXPRESS showroom in Toronto and snatched them up right away. Equally appropriate for event dressing and a professional environment, I couldn’t let them go. Since it’s winter, a chunky grey turtleneck by way of Banana Republic (on sale now – yessss!) is an obvious go-to but perhaps you wouldn’t think of putting a summery-white blazer on top? This one is from H&M and about a year old, but I found this one, which would do an equally good job of adding a polished layer.
Finally, since being a tad unexpected is fun (it is fashion after all), a pair of yellow Christian Louboutin pumps allow this outfit to walk the line of professional and stylish without causing either camp to flip out.
And isn’t that what we want for Valentine’s Day? For everybody to feel happy and loved?
Thanks for reading and wishing you a beautiful Valentine’s Day! XO
One thing you may not know about me is that I am, in fact, a nerd. At a very young age, when I lived in the UK, I can vividly recall the following scenario as one of my favourite childhood memories: every Sunday, after church, my brother and I would sit in front of the TV in our Sunday best, my mom would put bibs on us, and set us up with mini-tables and trays on which we could eat our Sunday pasta. While we ate our pasta we watched Star Trek, the original series with Captain Kirk and crew. I grew up appreciating the vastness of space through the eyes of a 1970’s sound stage and the enthusiasm of my brother (who, by the way, is a rocket scientist, although he’ll tell you he’s an aerospace engineer … tomato tomahto I say). Because of the influence of our family Star Trek tradition (one which we continued on the airbase in Trenton as Star Trek, the Next Generation aired every Sunday night) and the plethora of space and air-history knowledge my brother spewed on a daily, if not hourly basis, I grew up a very big airspace nerd/geek.
So when the organizers of BoobyBall, Rethink Breast Cancer‘s biggest fundraiser, told me the event is coming to Ottawa THIS Friday the 13th (yay!) AND that the theme for this year’s evening is SPACE (double yay!) I got VERY excited. Maybe I’ll come dressed as a klingon! On second thought, with space as a theme, it’s a perfect opportunity to go sparkly.
Since people might not be able to look directly at you in this outfit if the light hits a certain way, keep accessories to a minimum by way of this chic be-jeweled hair comb (which can be reworn at a wedding, on date night, or even to a baby shower if styled right) and these fabulous Giuseppe Zanotti heels. With tribbles as my inspiration (if the wikipedia article was too dry, here’s a great youtube clip depicting their charm), I added a textured clutch. Because I don’t think we should discriminate and assume all aliens are scaly. Why can’t they be fuzzy? Like tribbles?
If you’re more inclined to wear a dress, this wrap kimono number from ASOS is awesome for many reasons, the primary one being that it is a classic silhouette that will be wearable for ages without aging. Angelina Jolie has been wearing this type of dress repeatedly for years without anyone noticing. Add to it some moon rock-like baubles and a boxy clutch like this ZARA one (which you could literally turn around and wear to brunch the next morning with a pair of jeans), and you’re all set to hop on the next ship to Planet Booby! Which you can attend by purchasing tickets here!
Now that you know how much of a nerd I am, and what I think you should wear, here’s the most important bit: WHY?
Because breast cancer will affect 1 in 9 Canadian women in their lifetime. (source here) And because it’s 2015 (thanks, Justin Prime Minister Trudeau), I believe we should be living in a world that is breast cancer free. Rethink Breast Cancer’s mission is to empower young people worldwide who are concerned about and affected by breast cancer. Rethink is the first ever Canadian charity to bring bold, relevant awareness to the 40s and under crowd; foster a new generation of young and influential breast cancer supporters; infuse sass and style into the cause; and, most importantly, respond to the unique needs of young women going through it. By taking a breakthrough approach to all aspects of breast cancer – education, resources, advocacy, community building, and fundraising – Rethink is thinking differently about breast cancer. To find out more about Rethink Breast Cancer, visit rethinkbreastcancer.com.
It is amazing that this iconic event is coming to Ottawa. This year’s goal is to raise $50,000, and what a privilege it would be to help Rethink Breast Cancer get there. Proceeds allocated will help expand Rethink’s innovative programs for young women concerned about and living with breast cancer. This out of this world evening will feature great music, a stellar photo booth, beautiful gift bags, and the best company (wink wink), among other astronomical goodies.
I hope to see you there, in all your space-inspired refinery.
I heard once that your body regenerates itself every seven years. With that thought I wondered if our style personality changes along with our body. Recently I’ve been craving some more colour in my wardrobe and I’m not quite sure where it came from. My style icons have changed from Emmanuelle Alt to ladies like Jenna Lyons and Blake Lively. Don’t get me wrong though, an injection of colour does not mean I intend to drop hard earned dolla bills on random trendy pieces that will have me making a trip to a donation centre by next season. I still plan on maintaining my classic uniform of relaxed separates via tee shirts and men’s button downs, but will perhaps give it a bit of lift with some playful investment pieces that can add some oomph to my trusted collection of navy and gray sweaters.
I love the pieces I found below for a few reasons. Namely; while being a bit more colourful, they still have a neutral base and can work with everything in my wardrobe. Secondly, each of them represents an element of timelessness: whether it’s a classic silhouette done in a unique shade (like the pants from Banana Republic or that skirt from Chicwish), or a unique piece that will be interesting for years to come (like the adorable overall dress and gorgeous pump), each of these pieces can be seamlessly worked into a wardrobe that already holds both classics and colours alike. If you’re thinking of adding some colour to your wardrobe this season have fun with it! I find it always helps to do a little mental inventory (or you could be super nerdy like me and write it down) of what I have so that I don’t come home with a fab skirt that won’t work with anything in my closet.