Wednesday 23 October 2013

Do-Gooder Wardrobe

I had no idea that this second-hand style adventure would lead me to meet so many interesting people!  One day, it's a cool farmer, the next it's a Savvy Do Gooder.  For those who are not familiar with Nadine of The Savvy Do Gooder, allow me to introduce her.  Nadine is a young woman, small business owner, public speaker, AUTHOR, blogger, wife and mother.  (Etc.)  She wants to do good in the world and help others do their best good too!  Nadine had the fabulous experience of working with another smart, savvy woman, Shirley Borrelli and wanted to expand on that by building her post-baby wardrobe through second-hand sources.  That's where I come in!  Nadine requested my help to go through her closet and in a few weeks we will hit VV Boutique along with her sister in order to address this:
Nadine's current wardrobe.
The number of words in my post title is more than the number of clothes in Nadine's closet.
Nadine's accessories and sweaters.
I spy jewel tones and statement pieces!  Things are looking up!

Nadine's general approach to "stuff" is less-is-better.  Nadine explained that truly "ethical clothing" is difficult to find in Canada, though there is at least one local retailer, Lucid Lifestyle that focuses on ethical clothing.  Nonetheless, each of us can make one choice at a time towards a do-gooder wardrobe.  For Nadine, that means having a smaller wardrobe that she wears out before replacing.  This approach is a natural fit with a tiny or capsule wardrobe and shopping second hand. 

Nadine's priority for our closet consultation was to share her wardrobe and style with me to inform our upcoming shopping adventure.  My priorities were to suggest as many options as possible for styling her pieces specifically, and generally sharing styling concepts that can be applied to other pieces so that her "capsule" wardrobe can be as interesting, stylish and expressive as NadineOutside matches inside!  I also had a secret objective...more on that later!  (mwahahaha)  Here are some shots from our time together:
  1. This flattering stripe dress looks great on its own or styled simply and easily with a cardi.  The picture on the left shows the dress with one of her two cardis after I got wild and crazy and suggested another look by belting the whole shebang.  We added a necklace to fulfill the "rule of 3" - you need 3 layers or 3 elements up top to complete an ensemble.  We used my sea-foam Flatter:Me belt to style Nadine's looks; Flatter Me does ethical manufacturing and has local roots!  A belt defines your shape whether well-endowed or under-endowed (!) and makes the length from waist to toes appear longer.  Nadine feels she has a long torso (I didn't notice because I was too busy gawking at her 12-week-post-partum-FLAT torso!) so the belt allowed her to disguise it. 
  2. Another way to wear a dress is to put a sweater over top.  As it turns out, almost all of Nadine's sweaters have a cowl, smoker's jacket or v-neck collar, so it is inevitable that the dress will peek out the top.  Though Nadine was hesitant about that aspect, I loved it - looked like a layering tank and added another element.  The necklace adds that third element and illustrates something important: you CAN wear a necklace with a cowl.  Nadine may choose not to, but I wanted her to know that she could if she wanted!
  3. You can also wear a cowl with a scarf.  Nadine's scarf has such rich colours, I couldn't resist!  Yeah, it may be a bit hot for right now, but give it 2 days months.  I also like how the scarf brings in ... wait for it ... another print.  Stripes and floral GO and make an outfit more interesting.
  4. Same dress different sweater.  It looked great both with and without the belt.  I wanted Nadine to know that you CAN belt a sweater.  These are ways to get more mileage out of capsule wardrobe pieces.
  1.  Nadine felt the ring might make this dress too date-night, so we added a layering tank in a bold colour for interest and a necklace.  
  2. This dress looked so comfy and chic with leggings and a short sleeve sweater.  This was one of my favourite looks - perfect for at home but polished enough for errands, social outings and more casual events.
  3. Nadine had many scarf looks pinned on her style Pinterest board, so we tried out several scarves throughout our time.  The cobalt was a nice contrast to the dark green...
  4. as was the red, though it had a distinct holiday feel!  See you in December!
  1. Nadine debated about donating or recycling this long velvet dress.  On its own, it looked dated but I wanted to find a way to style it in a contemporary way so we added a knit tee (with silky back), fitted cardi and statement pendant.  I envision this with the boots I hope to find for Nadine soon!  She could pass the dress along but its Baroque vibe earns it a couple more wears.  (It's also perfect for #afraidofpants.)
  2. This sheer tunic is from Lucid Lifestyle.  Nadine usually wears a dark solid colour underneath but I wanted to see it with colour since it's more fun than classic.  I will be hunting for a printed long sleeve layering piece for Nadine that she could use with this look.
Did I mention Nadine's baby is only 12 weeks old?  Yep, she looks AH-MAZING.  I would be jealous if she wasn't such a... a... do-gooder!  Like her other dress, this hounds-tooth can be styled with a cardi, sweater, necklace and/or belt.  Add tights or leggings and boots to winterize it.  I must say, Nadine's wardrobe may be small but she has some great foundation pieces!
Nadine's cowl animal-print shell is another basics+ and adds interest to a simple sweater.  Animal print is a neutral; it looks great with all colours and is often better in small doses, like at the neckline and hemline.  I would like to see Nadine finish this outfit with a knit blazer or some small dangle earrings. 
  1. Same shell, different outer layer!  This flattering dress is a soft jersey-like fabric and looked casual chic with leggings.  
  2. Nadine could  add a cardi and could belt it.  If she had a belt.  Which she will soon if I have anything to do with it!
  1. Nadine rocked the monochromatic trend in shades of gray.  I also showed her an important truth: you don't have to use the tie the sweater came with.  You can switch it up to add interest.
  2. Another dress, this time with a statement tee over top.  This isn't really a winter look but is another styling option.
  3. Nadine's one blazer had pretty lace detailing and a tie closure.  Though the lace adds texture and interest, it makes it more difficult to style.  I suggested pinning the ties inside and wearing the blazer open with any print or solid underneath.

  1. Nadine was going to pack away her olive tee with summer things but it makes a great layering piece.  Green/purple is one of my favourite colour combos.
  2. Nadine is smiling because she had neglected to mention her leather jacket!  Take that, wear it with everything.  The end.
  3. Illustrating that scarves can change the look of an ensemble and extend your wardrobe.
This collage could be called "The Necklace Wars."  In the made-for-TV movie 'Necklace Wars' I'm played by Charlize Theron who successfully convinces her client played by Rachel McAdams to layer necklaces.  IRL I barely could snap a photo before Nadine removed these gorgeous pieces!  Once again, I just wanted her to know she could change the look of her ensemble by changing the accessories.  Plus, many of her pieces have sentimental value and deserve to be worn!  Sure, you have to be mindful of baby's grasp, but I made it through 3 kids and hundreds of preschoolers and have never had a necklace broken or earring yanked out.  So I'm going to go ahead and call the caution unwarranted as tested by Charlize/Nicole since 2002.

Styling Summary:
  • mix prints
  • layer
  • dress + sweater
  • belt over sweater, dress, cardi
  • There may be trends, fashion "rules" and guidelines and these vary depending on who's talking.  My perspective - if you love it, if it makes your heart sing, then go for it.
  •  The bottom line: give it a try!  You never know how something is going to look until you try.  
It was a great process to work through a small wardrobe!  Nadine has foundational pieces that will work for the "classic fun" look and now we know what to look for at VV Boutique - jeans, boots, belts, skirts, and sweaters - that will give her the casual chic vibe she is looking for. 

Have you been reading, waiting to find out my ulterior motive?  Well I actually have two!
  1. I challenge you Nadine to wear necklaces and, one day, to wear two necklaces at the same time!  Find classic pieces and just do it.  You won't look like you're playing dress-up, I promise; you'll look like you have style!
  2. I challenge you Readers to watch Nadine's book launch video, to learn more about doing good, and why we are drawn to different areas of do-gooding.  If you like, share your insights on my Facebook page.  I learned a lot from that video and would be happy to share my own insights so I'll make y'all a deal.  Once 20 people share their thoughts on the video - doesn't have to be personal or deep - I will reveal my own insights.  I think 20 hits on You Tube is worth a couple necklaces, don't you?!!  (Mwahahaha told you it was a sinister plan)  (BTW, Nadine didn't ask me to promote her video, I just think it is thought-provoking and so worth watching!  I can't help but want to share good stuff!)
 Final view of Nadine's closet.

Nadine, it was fun to style my way through your closet!  Thanks so much for having me and I look forward to tripling your wardrobe shopping together soon.


  1. so fun! i love the pieces she has already (striped and houndstooth dresses esp) cant wait to see what you can find to add to this
    nadine looks SO GREAT -
    will look fwd to part two of this adventure!
    su :)

    1. Thanks Su! It is going to be EPIC! Have you watched her video before? It's quite thought-provoking and I'd be interested in your comments! (don't have to be personal, but you're a do-gooder yourself so I'm just curious!)


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