Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Pink Shirt Day

If you don't have kids or work in schools, you may not be aware that today, February 26 is Pink Shirt Day On this day, everyone wears pink to "symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere."  I don't really need a reason to wear pink, but I am more than happy to wear pink intentionally on this day to show my support for a bullying-free environment and lifestyle.

I like pairing pink with its colour-neighbour oxblood rather than another usual neutral, plus it was the perfect matchy-matchy opportunity to wear this beautiful Anthro scarf, a 25th birthday gift from a great friend with great taste!  Normally I would add a blazer or third element to my ensemble, but today, I just wanted the pink to take the spotlight! 

I was also pretty happy to finally have an outfit befitting these gifted Arnold Churgin boots, thrifted for $6.40!!!!! 
 Excellent condition, comfortable to wear all day, and worth $150 - $200 or more lands these in the VV Boutique Style Hall of Fame!

It was wonderful to see children and staff all decked out in pink today!  This is my second-year of enthusiastic participation, and I've already noted in my calendar to shop for something pink for me and my kids for next year's Pink Shirt Day!   

Monday, 24 February 2014

Purple Pumps and the Sock Society

Mondays feel like refreshing new beginnings!!!!!!!  Just kidding.  Mondays are usually hard starts in the VV Boutique Style household, especially following a couple extra-long weekends and, amongst other things, waking up to minus-gazillion degrees while my email box is flooded with spring promotions.  Monday morning can't handle the juxtaposition.  So, with all this in the backdrop and not-enough-coffee, I contemplated how to style my Grab 'n Go piece for today, a little Mexx blouse gifted but thrifted for $5.60.
 I liked the shades of gray and nondescript pattern.

First I tried my red pants, but they were, in fact, not clean.  Then I tried my fuchsia dress but decided the cowl-on-cowl action was too much for Monday morning.  I finally settled on my trusty $3 orange chinos and purple suede shoes.
 My photographer recommended the toy-debris in the background to add ambiance to the shoot.
Oh and yep, that's also a half-eaten apple.  Life of glamour.

Purple, radiant orchid and all the variations are on-trend right now, so I was happy to score these shoes for $8 at VV Boutique.  They got me thinking though about the red hat ladies and how they just seem to march to their own red-and-purple beat, Pantone-colour-of-the-year or not.  That was the moment I decided to wear socks with my shoes. 
Who needs a head in photos when you've got purple shoes?
 I'm 40 now.  I can wear socks with my pumps if I want.

Orange pants make me happy.  Purple pumps make me happy.  Socks on a freezing day make me bitter but that's besides the point.  They kept me warm and felt a little like style, in the self-acceptance march to your own rhythm awesome kind of way.  Hmmm, if the Red Hat Society is for women over 50, maybe the Purple Pumps and Sock Society should be for women in their 40s...
 Just kidding.  I'm losing those socks as soon as the snow melts. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Brocade Blazer

Is it ironic to wear a fancy brocade blazer while bribing a 3yo photographer with promises of lollipops and listening to Everything is Awesome on repeat?  Hope not, but maybe I subconsciously thought this blazer deserved better than my everyday life, because I've had it for months and just wore it for the first time, thanks to Grab 'n Go Style.
Chico's blazer $7 VV Boutique

I bought it because I loved the subtle metallic print, single button design and peplum-y hem.  I also love a bracelet-length sleeve because, um, I love bracelets and want to give my arm parties primo air time.  However, I wasn't really sure how to style this blazer.  Pinterest suggested a statement tee but I wanted something less casual, so I applied my strategy for styling problem pieces: pair them with a contrasting pattern or colour.  I went with a contrasting pattern and kept the colours consistent...
Paired with Land's End polka dot top $3.50 VV Boutique and She Does Create accessories and...
Gap navy skinny cords $4.20 and BCBG Girls she-booties gifted but thrifted for $6.40
Turns out those shoes ain't made for walking fast.  Or much.  Sorry FitBit.  

The strategy worked again, at least as far as MY personal style aesthetic goes, and I have several more outfit ideas in mind for my brocade beauty!   
I'm smiling because my entire ensemble was $21.10.  At that price point, who cares if my fab photographer smears me with peanut butter or if I get paint on my blazer at work!  Thrifting means fashion freedom!  I HEART THRIFTING!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Thrift Champion

I'm so grateful to the Alberta government for putting a long weekend shortly after my Valenbirthday because it has been a whirlwind and I need an extra day of rest.  Someone please remind me not to do homemade valentines with my kids next year.  Also please put my kids in the "underachieving parents" class so I don't have to look at any more 55-step paper-crafted concoctions.  Also could we all agree to stop giving loot bags on Valentine's Day?  Store bought paper valentines and maybe a kiss.  That's enough, People.  Okay, I'm done my rant. 

After bribing coaxing threatening encouraging my children to finish their foam-sticker valentines, I  managed to have a wonderful day at work and a fun party in the evening wearing a fab fuchsia dress that I had just enough time to Instagram.
Not too shabby for an old broad.

Yesterday was a fun-filled celebration in honour of Mr. Style's birthday next week, and more importantly, something to keep me occupied until the real fun today for the first ever Edmonton Thrift Championship.  Not all of us can be Olympic athletes, but today saw the finest of thrifters gather at the Sherwood Park VV Boutique to battle it out for the title of Champion.  We had 3 hours and $40-ish dollars to spend before facing the Russian judges conferring regarding results at Starbucks... 
Started the day with my Grab 'n Go Style piece, $4.20 Ann Taylor coral cardi,
Paired with stripe tee from my closet, $6 black denim and chain strap quilted patent bag on loan from She Does Create.
I'm not sure what was more heartbreaking: that none of us fit these, or that someone somewhere does...
Only an incredible person would stop by and bring me a happy-birthday Jelly Modern donut on HER birthday!
Thanks Su!  You are super in so many ways!  
My finds included BCBG Girls black leather she-booties for $6.40, bomber jacket for $5.60 and Arnold Churgin leather boots for $6.40!  
I went over budget even with my birthday Super Savers Club Card 20% discount.
I have no defense except that I *needed* it all.
Didn't exactly realize that would disqualify me but I guess the "birthday" clause doesn't hold up to stringent Championship guidelines.  Sheesh.
 My Splurge Sister Suzanne scored jeans, accessories plus 3 amazing dresses that can be dressed up or down for all her lawyering or upcoming vacay to San Diego. 
 Another Splurge Sister scored a basic black tee, new with tags metallic-sand she-booties and Toms in fantastic condition.

It was a difficult deliberation between the two finalists.  On the one hand, 3 versatile dresses (one new with tags) is worth a whole lotta happy.  However, when we checked the sand she-booties, we realized they were regular $178 from ANTHROPOLOGIE!  The end, winner declared!!!
 Congratulations Colleen!  Your dedication and training paid off! 
 Special thanks for She Does Create for accessorizing our thrifter, who is wearing a top knot, blazer and pumps.  Perfection.

I had so much fun!!  I can't wait to get dressed this week and see the Thrift Champion trophy displayed on Colleen's front room mantle.  The trophy will be in safe keeping with Colleen until the next Thrift event.  Will YOU be the first to knock her off the pedestal?  Have you found a new-with-tags thrifted item that's even better than Anthropologie?  Get training ladies and maybe one day, this highly coveted statue will be yours!!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Thrifter's Remorse

Even though most of my wardrobe was between $2 - $12 per piece, I still have occasional buyer's remorse.  I have come face to face with that fact after trying to style my way through problem pieces with the February Grab 'n Go Style challenge.  This morning was the worst yet.  My hubby, the official grabber (in more ways than one, hee hee) grabbed another summery piece.
 Stylemint $30 including shipping

I bought this from Stylemint back in the fall, intending to use up a Stylemint credit and get something cute for my vacation wardrobe.  Turned out I didn't wear it in California.  If you don't wear a light sweater in sunny warm California, chances are it won't work in frigid cold Canada.  But I am committed to the challenge, so I tried!!!
The pieces themselves are good. Together, they are incongruent.

Finally I conceded that it looked plain old silly in -25 degree weather.  I folded it up and put it away till summer.  Moved on to sweater no. 2, a little something I picked up for $4.20 in honour of Black Out Style.... once again, I didn't wear it in January and here we are middle of February still not worn. 
 I must have been caught up in the thrifting moment because the fit on this is not good.
It hits at exactly the spot you don't want to draw attention to.
I even tried tucking in the sweater, tried it with several skirts.  No go.  It needs to go to someone else. 

So there I was standing there naked wondering NOW WHAT?  My grabber was gone.  Then, duh, I remembered I could grab my own piece!  So I grabbed this vintage blouse...
 $4.20 at VV Boutique
So much better!
 Paired with $3.50 GAP cord skinnies.
 Mint and true green make me happy.
 Scarf $4 VV Boutique.

So there you have it.   Three tries to find a workable outfit.  Two pieces under two circumstances (thifted vs. Stylemint) at two price points that I regret.  Next time, I will take my time and pay attention to fit.  Speaking of next time, what are YOU doing next Sunday?  Want to join me Sunday for "the $40 Thrift Shopping Championship."  Check out details on Instagram or Facebook. 
Hope you can make it on Sunday!
I need to redeem these thrift shop regrets!!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Style Prescription

It seems my husband is favouring the area of my closet with all the pieces that I've been avoiding because he grabbed another problem piece yesterday.  I dealt with that with a total cop out temporary avoidance and layered it under a sweater.

You wouldn't think a simple top in a popular colour would be hard to style, but this one has bib-like ruching detail and funny sleeves that make it tricky.  I bought it months ago for $2.50 at Hope Missions Bargain Shoppe thinking I would have no difficulty getting my money's worth.  Turns out, sometimes even incredible bargains like this aren't all that; compared to my JBrand denim (worn more times than I could count, originally about $115 half-off) this oxblood top has a higher cost per wear, so far anyway. 

In the interest of testing my strategy for problem pieces, I decided to wear it again today and this time pair it with a contrasting colour or pattern.  Guess what?  It worked again.
 Teal boyfriend blazer $7, belt $2.10, Clarks she-booties $10 VV Boutique
Icebreaker wool skirt and tights from my closet
Blurry shot from a 3yo Diva Photographer "I SAID DATS GOOD"

I admit I started this outfit with some help from Pinterest...
A few trends packed into one look: oxblood top, dirndl skirt, and the ever-popular bootie. All from ASOS.
But I prefer my version with the contrasting colour; so much more Elisa Nalin...
Elisa Nalin - red, turquoise, yellow
Wish I would've worn yellow shoes!
Close enough!

I consider my strategy now verified and plan to apply a healthy dose of Pinterest plus a cup of contrast to any problem piece from here forward!  
I love being right it when my ideas are successful.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Styling "Problem" Pieces

I know I'm not alone in certain matters, like unfortunate mishaps, and in wardrobe matters, like having pieces in my closet that I never wear.  I have a little section in my closet of pieces that are waiting to be blogged, and some of them I can't wait to wear and others I just never get around to it - they're not "blog-worthy" or I'm just not sure how to style them in an interesting way.  That's where Grab 'n Go Style comes in handy - no more avoiding!  If it's grabbed, it goes out for the day!  My hubby already pulled one piece that I had been stalling on, and today he picked another - an argyle cardi that I picked up weeks ago at Hope Missions Bargain Shoppe for $2.50:
I thought it was a classic that would be kinda preppy but every time I went to wear it, snooze fest.  Even Pinterest wasn't very helpful with ideas of how to style argyle... Then last night as I was helping my fave Chantel go through her closet and style her problem pieces, I figured it out.  With these more sedate pieces, you need to pair them with something contrasting in pattern or colour otherwise they look like a truly bad case of Matchy Matchy Syndrome, in the Sears catalog kind of way.  

With that in mind, I tried a few things out with my cardi...
First up, mixing patterns...
 Next up, neutral chambray and gray tee with mixed pattern scarf and matchy scarf.

In the end, I went for a bit of both pattern mixing and matchy...
 Striped tee $4.20, teal scarf $7, leather booties $7 VV Boutique
JBrand denim again.
I have no idea why this pic is fuzzy.  It's likely the "snotty finger" filter.
Guess what?  I liked it.
 Never leave home without a necklace.
This one's from Accessorize back in the day.

In fact, I liked this look a lot!  So much so that I can't wait to apply this strategy to my other problem pieces!!  And I encourage you to do the same!  Take your problem piece, pair it with something contrasting and be amazed as everything falls into place and you start wearing it all the time! 
 Bring it on, Grab 'n Go Style!