Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Plaid and a Quiz

I really wanted to title this "Big Plaid Boobs" then thought better of it, but you'll understand why soon enough...

So I scored this cute vintage plaid dress a while ago without properly trying it on.  I saw it there, slipped it over my clothes and loved the short sleeves and plaid and the PRICE!  $5.60 for *the* print of the season!  Then, I got it home, removed the shoulder pads...
As big as my head.  If shoulder pads come back, I don't know what I'm going to do.

And lo and behold, the dress doesn't fit well.  I will share the photos anyway for educational purposes and there will be a test at the end... 
Short sleeves = good.  Simple cut = good.
Too big on the bottom and darts in the wrong place with a belt = bad.
Which I would have known had I tried it on.

I've had my black Gap grommet belt and Accessorize pieces for a decade or more, and the cost-per-wear must be pennies.  Quality accessories are worth it, as are quality shoes like my $13 Clarks black booties.
It might not be obvious to anyone but me, but that there plaid DISTORTS as it flows over my bosom.
It made me think and say the word "bosom" which is enough right there.
At this point, I'm thinking I should have left the shoulder pads in...

Ultimately, I added a blazer so I wouldn't look quite so ... booby.
There's no other way to say it frankly.
Black velvet blazer circa 2004.

Now for your test: Please answer the following questions True or False

1. It's okay to skip trying on a dress if it's under $6.   

FALSE, this dress may now become one of my highest cost-per-wear dresses because I'll only wear it once!  Had I tried it on, I would have saved my money for another thrifted find!

2. If you're just buying simple black accessories, might as well grab them at Claire's.   

FALSE, the more you anticipate wearing an item, the higher quality you should buy.  Note: That does not mean spending a lot!

3. I made a mistake purchase.  I should try wearing it anyway at least once.

FALSE, do what makes you happy.  Donate it back and call it a day or give it a whirl to find out how your boobs look in plaid after the fact.  Wait, that's me.

4. When in doubt, throw on a blazer.

FALSE, when in doubt, snap a selfie AND LOOK AT IT before you make your final decision.  Though my blazer helped, I still wasted an opportunity for an ootd I would have liked more. 

5. Get rid of pieces you haven't worn in a year.

FALSE, had I followed that advice, I wouldn't still have that velvet blazer which is a wardrobe staple despite that it didn't fit me for several years!  Keep quality garments and timeless classic pieces as long as your little ol' heart desires!

6.  Shoulder pads are coming back and will be as awesome as scrunchies.

FALSE, nothing could be as awesome as scrunchies.  

How did you do?! 

I trust this whole experience wasn't all for naught! 

Monday, 15 December 2014

"Olive" the Ways to Wear an Olive Dress

I'm blogging late but luckily I did some late-night baking and consumed 3000 calories so now I'm ready for action.  By action I mean sitting on my rear end in bed moving my fingers and burning 4 calories an hour.  Carrying on...

I have been on the lookout for olive pieces for some time.  I am hunting for a good olive jacket, a pencil skirt and olive the other pieces that catch my eye... Well the other day, a pretty olive dress caught my eye and followed me home!
Obviously I couldn't say no.
Ann Taylor $11.90 VV Boutique

Since this dress isn't ready for snow, I knew I would need to winter-style it up, then I got to thinking about "Olive the Other Reindeer" then Rudolf, inevitably, and alas, this week's Monday Style Prompt was borne: wear olive and red!  My first inclination was to use my Shanghai Red Flatter:Me Belt as my pop of red with a fab neutral cardi that also followed me home.  I can't help it, they sense my compassion.
Cardi $6.30, Miz Mooz shoes gifted but thrifted
She Does Create necklace

You think it's just an unassuming cardi then BOOM!
So pretty!  So glad to welcome this piece to my closet!
Love the texture of this cardi!
And look what else you can do with your Flatter:Me Belt...
I'm a big risk-taker; there are no belt loops.

As I was admiring this look, I caught a glimpse of a belt that's been hanging in the queue for months waiting for an opportunity to shine, so I grabbed some different pieces and came up with another look...
Plaid belt $2.10, necklace $2 VV Boutique
Handmedown tights and shoes BT (Before Thrifting)

I imagine the belt got separated from its extremely-shoulder-padded suit-dress and made its way into a donation bag.  Whatev, your donation is my gain because plaid is having a moment and this festive plaid is perfect for the Christmas season!
Next time, this belt wants to go out with Mustard.
Oh, and look what you can with it too...
I pretended that wearing a belt would deter me from the festive office snacks.
Nope, that's what belt holes are for.

Which look do you like better?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, when your photographer is a child, you just keep smiling and hope for the best.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know which look won the #ootd but you may not know why...
This was the last look I tried and I wasn't confident I could get the "one-size fits all" tights 
off without losing my sh--... dignity.
Real life style brought to you by Olive and Red, mean to be together no matter who else tags along!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Vintage Corduroy Dressember

I'm still on cloud nine after the CTV Live at Five "Merry Thriftmas" story aired on Thursday!
It is so much fun to get a glimpse of the TV process - filming, interviewing, the final product!  I am so impressed by Edmonton's TV personalities like Erin Isfeld and Ryan Jespersen who make it seem effortless - putting people at ease, bringing out the best in people they interview, making it interesting for viewers!  They are so talented and we are lucky to have them in Edmonton!  If you missed the story, find it here!  There is still time to thrift some gifts for Christmas AND shop local AND support handmade designers and artists - don't forget to check out She Does Create at the St. Albert Indoor Market on Saturday and at the On the Spot Pop Up Makers Market at Latitude 53 on Sunday AND check out the Edit Shoppe Sunday to use the $10-off code VVBSTYLEMake your Christmas shopping meaningful this year!

Another way to make December meaningful - continue to show support for Dressember!  Wear dresses throughout December and consider a donation to support victims of trafficking and exploitation.  It's easy to do and the funds go where they say they're going!  A shallower reason (!) to wear dresses this holiday season: no waistband.  Dresses are good eating clothes!  I wore a vintage corduroy (oh yeah baby) Woodwards dress all day yesterday at work then to a Christmas party last night and was comfortable the whole time!!
Dress $4 from Goodwill
Leather belt $4.20 from VV Boutique
Miz Mooz shoes $7.70 from VV Boutique
Tights from my closet
And the cutest wood earrings by She Does Create!
I felt like a Charlie's Angel all day.

It is not easy to find a shirt dress with buttons that stay closed!  I had only one incident of an extra top button opening at the party, but I just said I was bringing the seventies to the scene and sauntered away.
Love a good vintage find!  Especially in perfect condition and FOUR DOLLARS!

The dress came with a tie belt which miraculously hit me in the right place! 
Styled differently with a wood necklace $3 VV Boutique

Dresses with pockets rock.

I ended up swapping the earrings for some dangly navy earrings from She Does Create and adding a simple gold necklace for the party.   All in all, my vintage Dressember look made for a fashionable Friday!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Thrifted Winter Outerwear

Tis the season for snow!!  When you live in Alberta, you can expect snow on the ground from October to April with a few outlier snowfalls on either end.  That is all the reason I need to make outerwear one of my automatic stops when I'm thrift shopping.  If I'm going to be contending with snow for 7 months, I might as well have some cute options to convince me to leave my bed laptop wine home, and thrifted prices make a coat collection possible for an everyday woman's budget!  I have three thrifted winter coats so far and, though I've captured them on Instagram a few times, they've never been photographed in their natural habitat... till now!
Sutton Studio wool cashmere coat $16.80, boots $10.50 VV Boutique

This coat is lightweight but cozy and in the perfect shade of red - I love love love it!  AND it was in perfect condition!  But, I bet you hardly noticed the coat...
All I see is mitten perfection!

These amazing mittens are the artistry of Toronto-born, former Edmontonian, Vancouver designer and stylist Joanne Maharaj Lewis of Edit: Stylish & Sustainable AccessoriesJoanne and I share a mutual love of thrifting (and Instagram!) but she shops for an even greater purpose than amassing a nice coat collection.  Joanne embraces style and sustainability by using vintage fabrics and repurposed materials - including thrifted pieces - to create beautiful mittens, scarves, accessories and more!  I enjoy browsing her Instagram posts of all her stunning pieces, and was blown away by her kind offer to gift me a pair of mittens in the perfect colourful pattern - thank you Joanne!  I love them!  They are cozy, warm and stylish! Please read all about Edit here, find them on Facebook here AND peruse all the amazing pieces at the Edit Shoppe here.  Joanne is continuously restocking with new and unique pieces and plans to post her latest and greatest on Saturday night AND is offering friends and readers of VV Boutique Style $10 off your purchase on Sunday December 14th!  Simply use the code VVBSTYLE and treat yourself or and someone off your Christmas list to a beautifully-designed, sustainably-made one-of-a-kind gift!   This Christmas, show your support for local designers, handmade goods and sustainable sources! 
You know what they* say... the mittens make the outfit!
Can't resist a mitten-selfie!
*I'm "they."

Back to my coat collection!  This next coat is a vintage robe-style coat with fur collar that I scored last season for $9.  NINE DOLLARS!!!
Did I mention it's wool?!
This coat makes me feel like a movie star!

The final coat for now is another vintage wool coat that I scored FOR TWO DOLLARS this summer from the Goodwill in Great Falls, Montana!
As soon as I spotted it, I knew I *needed* a pretty pink coat!
Joseph Seibel boots $12.60 VV Boutique
Wearing boots and a coat that cost less than $15 combined makes me smile.

So, that makes three quality coats for $27.80!!  
They are totally different and I needed them all!

Don't wear the same coat all winter long!  Try thrifting, or better yet, thrift a coat for someone off your Christmas list then select some Edit mittens to go with it for the perfect gift!
One last glimpse of the mittens as I hold Olaf's nose.
My photographer forced me into it.

Not sure what to think about shopping second-hand, shopping local or shopping upcycled for Christmas?  Tune into CTV News at Five tomorrow December 11th to see me and She Does Create chat with Erin Isfeld all about how to have a Merry Thriftmas! You don't want to miss it!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Classic or Boring?

When I first considered this week's Monday Style Prompt - dress with a long cardi - I had in mind a "new" cardigan I thrifted last week after filming my CTV interview with Erin Isfeld.  I have been looking for a loooooong cardigan with the hope it will turn me into an Anthropologie model... 
What I think I look like...
Reality: photo bombed by a dog while trying on purchases.

Sighhhh.  Something about the colour and shape of this long cardi just isn't working for me so I plan to return it and continue my hunt!  That left me with exactly two long-ish cardigans to choose from - my long taupey one seen here or my $4.90 J Crew cardi.  From my extensive research on Pinterest (why can't that be my job), I hoped to create a look with the cardi and dress at the same length.  Alas, my dresses aren't short enough (I KNOW I'm not 39 anymore) and my cardis aren't long enough.  Instead, I made do with a boring classic look. 
Denim sheath dress $11.90, Clarks loafers $10, belt $2.10 VV Boutique
Tights and accessories from my closet

I have mixed feelings about this outfit.  It was comfortable and functional for a long day.  On the other hand...
Are you asleep yet?

I ended up wearing this handmade (not by me) scarf most of the day...
A scarf makes everything better!

So what do you think?  Is this outfit 
classic or boring?
or BOTH?!!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Merry THRIFTmas!

Yesterday was no ordinary Friday.  First off, it was the conclusion of Coloured Tights Week, unless I start repeating the colours, which I likely will because now I'm sold!  Here's my coloured tights look from Friday...
Liz Claiborne dress new-with-tags $11, Fly London fab shoes $13.30 VV Boutique
She Does Create accessories
Tights from the Man Walmart (see disclaimer here)

I liked how the neutral black let both the tights and accessories be in the spotlight.
She Does Create pendants are little works of art.
My black dress framed this tiger agate piece like an exhibit!

Wearing coloured tights definitely added some fun to my week, and upped my little-girl-compliment quotient by a thousand!!  My Monday through Friday looks...
Need a little boost?  Wear coloured tights in an elementary school.
I have several new friends to play barbies with.

Have YOU tried coloured tights yet?  Did YOU take on the Monday Style Prompt?  I encourage everyone to try it!  Why not?!  Even if you don't dwell among 7yo little girls, they are sassy and fun and will put a smile on your face every time you look down!  ("What snow?  I see only my hot pink legs!")

The second extraordinary Friday feature was having the great pleasure of meeting up with Erin Isfeld from CTV to film an interview on my Second-Hand Christmas Challenge!!  Though this thrifting adventure has taken me to all kind of exciting opportunities - being in the Edmonton Journal several times, being on Breakfast TV twice, taking people shopping, Fashion's Night Out, Edmonton Shop Hop... - I have never actually filmed at Value Village!  So much fun!!  Special thanks to Paula, the manager of the 34th Ave location, for welcoming us and giving free reign in the store, and always my gratitude goes to all the employees who are without exception friendly and helpful.  Now that is extraordinary!!

Watch for Erin Isfeld's "Thriftmas" story next Thursday December 11th on CTV.  I can't wait!  Meanwhile, here are some ideas of gifts you can thrift for Christmas!
Christmas cards and wrapping!  Why pay full price when you can thrift NEW cards and wrapping?!
 Christmas decorations and decor.
It's always nice to have a little novelty and if you want to completely change your tree or colour-scheme, find everything you need thrifted!  Erin and I saw beautiful vintage decorations, new decorations and everything in between!
 Christmas mugs filled with candy, Starbucks Via, cake-in-a-mug recipe or fixings make the perfect little gift for teachers or friends.
These mugs come with a festive beverage recipe right on them.  Handy.
There are plenty of Christmas knick-knacks and other unique items in the home decor aisles.
Shop no more!  Everything you need is right here.
Kidding, but you never know what you might find that would be perfect for someone who has everything or is hard to buy for.
Chapters has throw blankets for $30 - $80 but the huge selection here is much cheaper!
Just wash with vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser and wrap with a pretty ribbon.
Many of the handmade afghans are stunning and in perfect condition.
Find a pretty frame and print a photo for a personalized gift.
There are also candles (new) and many other treasures in the bagged section.
 Vintage cookware or unique kitchen pieces!
 I don't know what this is, but you had me at bacon.  Who doesn't love bacon?!
 One look at Pinterest and you'll have a million mason jar gift ideas!
Sports equipment, toys and kids furniture can all be found thrifted!
 New pajamas are always fun!
 Special brooches, watches and accessories make great gifts!
The 34th Ave VV location has a great selection of belts as well for both men and women.
 I spotted Fossil and Matt&Nat wallets in perfect condition!!
There's something for everyone!  Bags too - thrifted makes it possible to have a nice collection!
Scarves are a perfect gift - they fit everyone!  There's also an impressive selection of ties.
 Oops, I might have accidentally bought myself a pair of Miz Mooz shoes for $7.70 while shopping for gifts!

Other ideas:
  • books - coffee table books, art books, cook books, children's books, fiction, classics - find them all thrifted and in perfect condition!
  • games and puzzles can be found in the toy section and near the books
  • DVDs - I always look for Disney selections since you can't get them on Netflix
  • if you're feeling bold, you can always thrift clothing items!  I would love a new coat or cardigan (fresh out) which are easier to estimate the size than bottoms.
Thrifted prices are already great, but most thrift stores hold promotions during the holiday season - sale days, colour tag sales, and Value Village has a card promotion where you get 30% off with a filled stamp or sticker card (you get stamps for purchases and stickers for donations).  It it so worth it! 

Christmas giving is not about spending the most or giving just for the sake of it.  Christmas giving is about expressing love!  Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ who loved everyone!  That's why, for me and my family, doing a Second-Hand Christmas Challenge is no big deal.  We want for nothing, we are so blessed.  It doesn't matter where the gifts came from or how much they cost; what matters is the love between the giver and receiver!  I am finding that "Second-Hand Christmas" is challenging me to think more about the gesture than the gift itself, so I already consider it a success!  I hope you'll watch Erin's CTV Thriftmas story next Thursday, be inspired to thrift some gifts and experience the love of the Christmas season more fully!

Merry Christmas and Happy Thrifting!