jeans: AG / Sweater: Ca Va de Soi / Purse: WINNERS
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about managing a minimalist wardrobe, its that how you style your limited number of pieces matters. As much as buying quality over quantity plays a role in developing sustainable shopping habits, so does recognizing the versatility of a piece and taking advantage of it. Even if we’ve asked ourselves all the right questions, with busy mornings, and building an empire, etc. there isn’t much time to dedicate to playing around in your closet and coming up with new ways to wear what you have.
But restyling what you already have is a huge part of maintaining a sustainable wardrobe; it freshens up old pieces and makes you feel put together, polished, and stylish – resulting in higher wardrobe satisfaction (I don’t have facts to back this up, except for my experiences working with people and their closets for the past few years), and therefore winning at life. Or at least a small part of it. Because when you’re already happy with what’s in your closet, the need to shop dwindles.
So dear reader, since it’s February and the month of love – show some self love and do this trick to keep falling in love with your closet over and over again: plan your outfits in advance to get the most out of your wardrobe.
Maybe it’s 10 minutes before bed at night (once you get the hang of it, it really doesn’t take long and you’ll find yourself coming up with different ways to wear things faster) or maybe you spend an hour on the weekend planning your outfits for the week. No matter how you choose to do it, you’ll find that spending a little more time with your clothes will have you coming up with new ways to wear them. Not only are you perpetuating slow fashion by appreciating the clothing you have, you’re helping the environment by not buying into the thought process of always needing something new, reducing the crazy constant demand put on retailers to over-produce.
Remember to keep your iphone or vision board close so you can use those pictures for style inspiration and not envy. And have fun! In the end you will find you’re getting the most out of your closet. It’s great tricking people into thinking you’re wearing 3,457 different outfits when really you’re only working with a few key garments. Insert wink emoji here, and have a great week!
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!
Have you recently gone all “minimalism is the shit” and rid your wardrobe of everything except your underwear, only to realize that clothing does play a fundamental part in our daily lives and isn’t just for satisfying insatiable retail cravings?
Then welcome to today’s blog post!
Today, I’m talking about the basics of your closet. Like, the bare bones – if Maslow had made a pyramid about fashion, this stuff would be on the bottom of it. Regardless if your style is more feminine or androgynous, polished or bohemian, the items that every woman should have in her closet are the building blocks to creating your personal style. And when it comes to creating a capsule wardrobe, or at the very least a closet full of pieces you actually wear, having these foundation pieces which you can restyle multiple ways is key.
After going through several closets, styling enough shoots and putting together TV-worthy outfits, these are the items I’ve found always come through, no matter what type of style you’re trying to portray. And because of my new sustainable direction, I’ve done my best to feature brands that are focused on sustainability, slow fashion, and/or ethical practices.
Even if you don’t spend your 9-5 in a traditional office setting, the white button down is one of the main workhorses in a minimalist wardrobe. Why? The styling options are endless – wear it open over a tank and ripped shorts, or tied at the waist of a printed maxi skirt if you’re a boho chick. Button it all the way up to the collar and cuffs and top off with a chunky necklace for the prep inspired or wear it unbuttoned low with a peekaboo lace bra for the glam. Plus about 3,457,812 ways to wear it, which, if you like, I will start featuring on the blog.
Every season online magazines tell us that “insert new trend here” is the new denim, or that a new denim silhouette is hot so everything else should be hidden away in shame. Well – I don’t care for fashion’s schizophrenia anymore and neither should you. What I’m saying is – for this foundation piece, fuck whatever trend is happening and buy a silhouette that is most flattering for your body type. Pick a medium wash so it’s good for all seasons. My favourite denim is AG, and I recently learned they use ozone technology which is less harmful to the environment, so – bonus!
This is another basic that is totally customizable to your personal taste and style. Prefer a feminine touch? Grab a pointed flat for optimal cuteness. Prefer menswear inspired looks? A brogue will suit you best. Whatever you choose, make sure they’re comfortable, well made, and in a neutral colour. These adorable grey flats are from Canadian designer Poppy Barley!
Nothing elevates a look like a great black heel. It doesn’t need to be fancy – the right cut and classic toe – like these Manolo Blahnik BB pumps, are eternally chic. A stiletto heel may not always be the most on-trend, but it’s always visually appreciated. My favourite place to score designer items like this is on consignment – I look to therealreal.com (on most occasions the affordable price justifies the duties) and Valamode.com. If you prefer a little more drama, a patent finish can work wonders and is still very versatile.
As prissy as it sounds, a pair of pants that fit beautifully are a great addition to any wardrobe. When worn with a simple tee and sneakers, they’re on-trend, and when worn with a slick pair of heels and your favourite shirt or blazer, they’re perfectly proper. A classic trouser is also a grown-up alternative to denim when you just want a change.
A timeless wrap dress is a great way to incorporate print or colour into your wardrobe. Make sure you pick your favourite colour (make sure it’s something you won’t get sick of), or print (if it’s a print, keep it classic like a polka dot, tartan or stripe), and soak in the compliments. A wrap dress is universally flattering and eternally stylish. I have truly not found a wrap dress that fits and travels like a 100% silk DVF dress. It may not be traditionally sustainable, but for me – a dress that has lasted almost 8 years without the slightest hint of aging (both from a trend and construction perspective) is worth it.
A classic layering piece – choose a crew neck or v-neck depending on your body type and sense of style. The best tees are lived in and comfy – grey and/or white are the best colours to start with. I’ve had great luck with H&M’s conscious line, but I also love Splendid and Michael Stars.
Before building your sweater collection make sure you have a medium knit a neutral colour. The best fabric is merino because of its seasonless attributes; merino keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Choose a v-neck or crew-neck based on your style personality. Quick stylist’s tip: larger busts can rock a v-neck as a crew neck can make us look top heavy.
Whether its real or faux, a moto jacket adds attitude to any look, and the best part is that whether your style is preppy, feminine, androgynous or goth; a moto jacket complements each of these genres with its versatility. I love this one from ThackerNYC because of its simple yet flattering cut, and the absence of embellishments and hardware, making it more timeless.
A men’s-inspired watch:
image c/o therealreal.com
Most women who always look put together are wearing a cool watch. This is what I’ve noticed anyway. Whether you wear it to tell the time, or to simply make a statement, a masculine-looking watch says polished-cool. I’m having a moment with this vintage Gucci …
Keeping in mind this is the very base of your capsule wardrobe, do you think there’s anything missing? Living in Canada, I do believe outerwear requires its own list as we are subjected to about 346 different types of climates throughout the year. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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
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!