Friday, 31 January 2014

Go Primary or Go Home

January 31st.  Last day of Black Out Style.  I issued a colour challenge earlier in the week and put together my most colourful outfit yesterday because I had stuff going on and felt it might be cheating to put a super colourful outfit together for Friday that nobody would see.  Yesterday, I wore it out and about and waited to see if I would get sideways glances (is she a package of crayons?).  The good news is no one put on sunglasses upon seeing me.  The better news is I felt great and full of colourful joy on a cold January day!  AND I finally got to wear my thrifted vintage blazer!
Red vintage blazer $3, leather booties $7 VV Boutique
You don't even notice the snow in the presence of such bright primary colours!

My outfit wasn't premeditated!  In fact, I followed my own steps and was running late as usual so I just grabbed the three truest primary colours in my closet and added the scarf because Anthropologie makes everything okay.  
 My scarf, my love. xoxox

I tried a few different accessories then settled on subtle.

Maybe a bit crayola, but it turns out I wasn't the only one who went for primary colours!  Several stylish ladies took the challenge within the challenge and boasted their best brights!
Yellow and blue were meant to be.
Thanks to Colour Crazy challengers She Does Create, Clothes But Not Quite, Loop Looks, Style on Target, Sunshine SLP and my other friends!  I know there are still a few gals yet to share a shot of their closing statement on January Black Out Style, and be sure to check out my co-host Sarah's Real Life for her last look

Here is the final list of Black Out Style Sisters:
Did I miss you?!  Because tomorrow I will be putting all the names and bonus entries into the hat and drawing for the winner of the White Fox Pendant necklace!!!!  For everyone who set black aside and jumped into this challenge, THANK YOU!  It has been a blast to see all the tweets and Intagram pics and has infused much needed warmth, colour and fun into bleak January winter! 

How did YOU find the Black Out Style challenge?  For me, it started off hard but got easier and easier and I now think I could keep going!  But I won't because tomorrow is BLACK SATURDAY and I have a new challenge in mind for February!  Stay tuned!
 Black Out Style may be over, but I'm not done with all these colourful pieces!
See you soon!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

40 Going On 24

To be more accurate, I should say 39 & 25/26 going on 24.  (Give me my last two weeks in this decade.)  In any case, I snatched this dress up while shopping for Black Out Style because I loved the colours and pattern, and only once my expert 3yo photographer snapped these shots did I ponder if it might be a bit on the short side for an old broad like me a lady of my maturity.  Judge for yourself:
One Clothing dress $11.90, Hispanitas shoes $3.50, belt $2.10 VV Boutique
Tights, accessories and red Gap tee from my closet
Having your head in the photo is optional if your photographer is 3.
Also, let's just pretend there's no static cling happening.  Tks.

I tried the dress with leggings but don't have quite the right colour (and I'm not even sure what the right colour would be, therefore I must immediately go and get every colour).  I tried the outfit with different shoes to see if that made any difference...
Still pretty short but I love these gifted thrifted Miz Mooz so I wore them.

I ended up wearing the leggings anyway, then stripping them off when I dropped my kids at day home with "cute outfit" trumping "reasonable length."  Then I spent the day at work avoiding bending and hoping no one would call me out.  I also found a reason to remove the cardi because the back of the dress is interesting...
The cut-out is positioned to cover a bra safely!
Which is good because I haven't got time to mess around with fancy bras.

I will get a few more wears before I give this dress up to a shorter friend.  Thoughts on the length?  Did it work or did I look like a 40-year-old woman trying to dress like a 24-year-old?
 Be nice now.  
This whole new-decade thing is enough to process!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Colour Challenge

Okay okay, I did say that Black Out Style does not necessarily mean going colour-crazy but for those of us who are into our fourth week of no-black, the last few days could be the hardest.  SO, to keep you heading down the homestretch, I have a(nother) challenge for you: put together the most colourful outfit you can!  This will depend on what you have in your wardrobe though I by all means endorse hitting your nearest favourite thrift shop for colourful pieces!  Let's say that if you share a pic, you get a bonus entry for the fab fox pendant!  So comment here, email me, tweet me, post on Facebook or Instagram with #BlackOutStyle to increase your chances for accessories.  You can also connect with my co-host Sarah (please picture us walking on stage at the Academy Awards, that is the image I'm aiming for) and keep reading her awesome Black Out Style posts!

Need a little colour inspiration?  Turn to my colour muse, Elisa Nalin!  I have studied photos of her impeccable style and can only discern one uniting theme... go forth with attitude!  She obviously wears what makes her heart happy, and this true style is what makes all of her crazy colour combos work!  Here's a few of her looks piquing my interest tonight...
 This is making me want to move to France.

Here is a step-by-step guide to this challenge:
  1. Grab some colourful pieces that make you smile.
  2. Put them all on together.
  3. Go forth with attitude.
  4. Talk French or Italian if you can.
This challenge is due by Friday, just in time to wrap up Black Out Style!  If you like planning ahead, get ready for Black Saturday where we bring black back!  It will be epic.

Leaving you with a couple shots of my "conservative colour" from the other day...
Accessories from my closet
 Not *exactly* Elisa Nalin but comfy slouchy tealy awesome all the same.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Favourite Things Party

Last weekend was full of fun!  Friday night was the kick off for the third round of Splurge Sorority featuring a Favourite Things Party!  Each person selected a favourite thing ($20 limit) then brought two of it to the party.  We then put our names in the hat twice, each drew two names and gave our two favourites to those ladies.  You walk in with your favourite, and leave with two of someone else's favourites!  This is my, er, favourite, kind of girly party and can easily be adapted for other situations and price points.  I once hosted a Favourite Things bridal shower, and every year I try to con encourage my work colleagues into a Favourite Things Christmas party.  I have never taken the same thing, and never seen anyone bring the same thing as anyone else!  It is always intriguing seeing what everyone selected and hearing their reason behind it.  Great way to get to know new Splurge Sisters and learn more about old friends!  Here are the Favourite Things of SS3:
She Does Create Arm Party piece and my current favourite lip product - Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain in Romantic
Fresh cut flowers - tulips especially!
Necklaces from Laura and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Via (not shown)
If bubbly is your favourite, you're in the right group!
If chocolate and scarves are your favourite, you're in the right group!
Fancy ponytail elastic and the perfect shade of O.P.I. pink - Senorita Rosalita!
Ice cream sundae care package!!  
Gotta love a sista that buys pistachio almond ice cream by the 5-gallon bucket!
Lipstick Queen surrounded by Kiehl's and Jo Malone perfume samples!
When your favourite hobby is crocheting, beautiful handmade scarves are a natural choice!
Now we all want a wallet like this.
Starbucks, cozy socks and a "Best of My Days" calendar to capture all the awesome from 2014!

Love love love seeing all this!  After we exchanged favourites, we had an extensive discussion about other favourite things including...
And so on...!   

Now it's your turn!  What is your favourite thing?  We want to hear about it so comment away and share the love for your favourite things!
My favourite things are orange pants, outfits inspired by Instagram and using selfies to add some spice to laundry.
Oh, and did I mention thrifting?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Contrasty For The Win

If you follow me on Instagram, you know there was a show-down Thursday night between matchy, clashy and contrasty outfit options for Friday - I had a presentation to deliver and wanted to look  knowledgeable and trustworthy yet also like a fun and playful pediatric professional.  I also had been housebound with sick kids for a few days and was basically plotting my stylish escape.  In the end, I chose contrasty and only after my presentation did I realize why...
Calvin Klein purple sweater $7, red wool skirt $4.90, red necklace $2 VV Boutique
Thrifted and gifted red Miz Mooz shoes; tights from my closet
Turns out I inadvertently dressed to match my Powerpoint.  
I think that classifies me as Super Nerd Professional.

My style advisor cautioned against over-dressing for the crowd but in the end, I decided the purple/red combo felt right.  (Because it matched my slides...)  Anyhoo, I "tamed" it down a bit by pretending that purple was my neutral and keeping everything else red, in other words, embodying the matchy-matchy inclinations that would resonate with most people.  
I had a hard time getting good photos with this sweater.  The slouchy lightweight fabric is super comfy in real life (albeit slightly see-through, something else I didn't realize till after).
My photographer just wanted to cuddle, as it turned out.
 I had a relatively big crowd and therefore opened with a joke about taking a picture of the audience because this was my rock star moment.  Three people laughed politely so I decided against that.

This skirt is such a nice light wool, but the lining is snug.  To get into my van, I stood perpendicular then did a little bum leap rather than stepping in.  In retrospect, this should have been a warning sign.  Later, during the movement break of my presentation, I felt a little "release" of the lining and after that, every time I sat down, I heard a little tear.  I made my colleague listen.  ("Come listen to my skirt rip, it's so funny.")  Super professional, remember.
Changed to red pants for Friday night by necessity.
$2.50  from Hope Missions Bargain Shoppe. leather boots $7 VV Boutique
About to be photo bombed.

It was an eventful day that's for sure and I have more to share later - because now is time for the Week Three Recap of Black Out Style!  This week, Sarah of Sarah's Real Life joined the challenge with some great pieces and her usual masterful mixing!  My fave look of Sarah's so far is her contrasty ensemble that has left me wanting a yellow sweater.  Might have to pop into VV tomorrow...  Here is the Black Out Style List #3...
I am so impressed that almost everyone is sticking with the challenge to the end!  Thanks ladies!  Even better is knowing that everyone is having a great time getting dressed during this loooonnnng month, and even venturing into uncharted territory (oxblood tights anyone?!!).  You all earned another entry to win the foxy prize!

It's not too late!  Challenge your colleagues, encourage your friends, threaten your family to give up black for one week!  Just one week!  After three weeks, that seems like a cake walk!  The rules of Black Out Style are as solid as the lining of my red skirt: 
  •  wear anything but black (lucky you if your closet is full of navy)
  •  you are allowed two-ish passes per week - for hosiery, footwear, or a subtle pattern including black
  • for every week you go without wearing black and sticking to 2 passes max, you get an entry to win the grand prize
  • for every week you pass on the passes, you get a BONUS entry!
Basically, if you give it a go, let me knowEmail me, comment here or on Instagram or Facebook, tweet me, use the #BlackOutStyle hashtag.  Connect with me, Sarah and the other Black Out Stylistas and get your black-less outfits on!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Closet Expose

My sister recently made a request.  She asked: can you show how you organize your jewelry and closet?  I revealed my closet once before during my first official closet edit but that post was more about the editing process than the closet itself.  I like a good challenge so I ordered my sister over for some closet edit advice then let Closet take the spot light.
Would be more interesting if it led to Narnia, but I will take my ample closet as a close second!

I know, I am very blessed to have a huge closet.  I would work with a smaller space if I had to but since I don't, I have evolved my organization within this glorious reality.  I do allot some space for Mr. Style on the right side, but I have taken over the left and the back.  It wasn't always this full but thrifting has allowed me to indulge my style and fill my closet without stretching my budget.  Basically, this closet was MADE for a girl who thrifts!

What you're about to see followed an afternoon of difficult closet cuts.  I followed the same process as my last closet edit but this time, I thought more about the "air time" that I would be able to give pieces; even if I still liked them, if I couldn't secure them a spot on the court, I let them go.  

Shall we start the tour?!  First up, accessories!
For as long as I can remember, I have used a plain bulletin board for my earrings.  I use straight pins then hang 'em or stick 'em right in by the posts.  I try to loosely group by colour but am not too particular.  About that.  I use s-hooks on my closet rail to hang bracelets by colour.  I used to have bracelets and bangles all in one big box but could never find what I wanted.  I do have some necklaces up by the bracelets for the sole purpose of keeping them out of reach of little girls.  For my necklaces, I attached an inexpensive Ikea rack to my closet bars using heavy duty zip ties then again used s-hooks to group my necklaces loosely by colour.  In the past, I put some over the rack rather than using the s-hooks but found it cumbersome to have to undo the clasp!  (man am I ever a diva)  I only recently put my belts on a d-ring and I love it.  It is so easy to get to what I want and they take up much less space.  My organizational goal is to make it fast and easy to accessorize!

Next up, the left side of my closet!
This area has space for longer items.  I stash a shoe rack under the dresses for off-season or seldom-worn shoes.  I generally put dresses from lightest weight to heaviest weight or longest to the right!  My pants are in no particular order; since I've ousted all capri pants, I don't need heavy duty organization here.  I store other pants on the shelves under my hanging tops.  I just have to part the tops and reach what I want; I think of Moses and the Red Sea every time.   Here's the rest of my pants, seas parted.
 My half of the dresser.  Been on the right for the past 15 years...

Above my dresses and pants, I store folded items and baskets on the shelves...
Though I don't change over my wardrobe seasonally, I do rotate my scarves.  Don't question; it works for me and that's all that matters.  Next up, the prime closet real estate, the Beverly Hills of my closet... the back racks! 
Of all the wardrobe pieces, I have more tops than other pieces and need to be able to see them easily while I'm brushing my teeth and choosing my outfit for the day...  There are many different ways to approach closet organization and I am not suggesting that by colour is the best.  It's the best for ME and MY closet but another approach might work just fine for you.  Now excuse me while I put the reds in their proper ROYGBIV order...

I don't keep outerwear in my closet except for a couple lightweight coats.  Remaining shoes, scarves and coats are split between our two entry closets.
I converted one entry closet to be used specifically for shoes.  Everyone gets his/her own hanging shoe holder and there is room underneath for the kids' boots and my growing collection of she-booties.  I use the same Ikea rack as for my necklaces for scarves, where they hang out and greet me every morning!

There you have it.  That's all my clothes.  Or should I say "all" my clothes?!  I'm guessing that some people have more clothes, some have less than me.  I say, it's not the volume that counts but the organization!  Can you find what you're looking for?  This isn't a U2 song!  If you have only 5 minutes to get ready, every organizational detail helps!

What about you?  What are your favourite closet organization tips?!