Friday 30 November 2012

Fame has Arrived

I've been joking about it, and now it has happened: my fame has arrived!  VV Boutique Style is featured in my local paper, the Edmonton Journal, as part of their series on thrifting.  Fun fun fun!

In preparation for having my head included* in potential photos for the story, I held a couple *high-fashion* photo shoots...

The Greatest Day Home Provider Ever took this shot of me after work in what I was wearing that day!  She has gorgeous d├ęcor and a clean house all the time, ready for photo shoots; I'm in awe.
Love 21 blush top $3
Trousers $9
Grey decorated flats $4
Accessories from my closet archives.
All from VV Boutique, Total = $16

The next high-fashion shoot took place later that night when my hubby got home from a work function, i.e., jammie and wine time, but I held off in honour of style. 
Ann Taylor skinny cargos $6
Black pointy flats $7
Elephant and dot print sleeveless top $4.20
Double strand gold necklace $4
Bangles are second-hand-me-down from my sister.
All from VV Boutique, Total = $29.20.

*Don't get used to my head.  With 4 and 7-year-old's doing most of the photography, something's gotta give!  There's freedom in cropping!

I had a great time as usual playing around with my now-ample selection of VV Boutique pieces.  The Journal's original theme was to find a thrifted outfit for $50 or under; these two combined are under $50, and just a small sample of all the wonderful possibilities from my wardrobe!

Since starting this adventure, I've discovered a lot of people that love thrifting as much as I do!  It's so much fun, and feels great to know you're doing a small part supporting Value Village's non-profit partners.  The staff are without exception friendly and available!  All in all, it is a wonderful shopping experience that I hope many more people explore!

Thursday 29 November 2012

Snow Leopard Style

Last Sunday's home jewelry party featuring the fab creations by local She Does Create (and co-hosted with My Favourite Megan - who BTW is shrinking as we speak thanks to the Game On Diet which she raves about - we're cheering you on Megan!) took me down style-memory-lane.  We had magazines out for people to do the "determining your style" exercise by the awesome ladies at Ain't No Mom Jeans.  I did this exercise in early spring 2011 and came up with these:

Themes: skinny belts, clean lines, neutrals with colour, interesting necklaces and not-too-obvious matching.
On the left: Stripes + solids + interesting details.
On the right: cargo, blush, arm party.
Neutrals with interesting or unexpected details.
Pairing colour-contrasting accessories with neutrals.
Bold colour!!!!!!
Yay orange!!
Colourful prints, interesting layers.

I had not looked at these in ages; not since I caught the Pinterest bug, and not since starting this VV Boutique adventure, but it was so cool to see how the themes are playing out in my VV Boutique selections:
I plan to do this exercise again with current magazines that might reflect the winter season better.  Though I love Pinterest and frequently look to it when playing with my clothes, there is something about real magazines that capture the essence of the exercise, I think.  However, rather than calling it "determining" your style, I would call it discovering my style.  It's like unfolding, unwrapping, finding new variations that speak to you and capture your you-ness and make style ... enjoyable!  No matter if you shop regular retail or VV Boutique, style is a privilege of providence that ought to bring joy!

It was the first style collage that inspired me this morning - the cardi, skinny belt, clean lines and interesting necklaces were calling to me!  Just after seeing this post by another inspirational style blogger J's Everyday Fashion, I found an Ann Taylor snow-leopard print cardi and cried tears of happiness!
Ann Taylor cardi $7, green Talbots sweater $10, DKNY teal cords $9, teal belt $3 and pointy flats $7
All VV Boutique! 
Teal leopard necklace by She Does Create
I love these pants - so warm and cozy and perfect for a day like today when I'm home with the kids then travelling for work, then off to supper and Bible study.  Busy days require sturdy warm comfy clothes!  Though I like the colour mixing of green and teal, I didn't like the different collar lines on these pieces, so I swapped out the green for a scoop neck blue Gap sweater from my closet.
 We'll call this the monochromatic trend!
Better, don't you think?!

Now that I'm satisfied with my outfit, I better get on with my day!  Happy Thursday everyone!

Sunday 25 November 2012

Grey Cup Sunday Shopping

This is a special Sunday for Canadians - it is Grey Cup Sunday, which usually involves comfy clothes, long football on TV and good snacks!  Though this is fun even for those of us who aren't exactly football fans, this year, something even better was in store for me and my friends - a home jewelry party featuring accessories designed and hand-made by my talented sister Shannon of She Does Create.  I obviously value the idea of supporting local business and today's experience only reinforced that!  We had a great time visiting, snacking and doing a little fun exercise to explore our style.  Most importantly, we had fun circling the table of earrings, bracelets and necklaces, discovering something new with each pass!

I selected my ensemble for the day with the intention of having a blank canvas to showcase the fab designs and represent what would be a fairly typical look for many women, to then show how you can change your look with accessories - and stretch your wardrobe!  So, I wore a black scoop neck 3/4 sleeve top with a navy cardi.  The gals at Ain't No Mom Jeans say that black and navy are interesting together and I agree wholeheartedly!  Here are some of my favourite pieces from the party!
This mustard and gold beauty came home with me, of course.
The Flatter Me belt allowed me to change up the look -
belted over the cardi, under the cardi, high or low or through the loops of my J Brand skinnies
Long blue leopard and fancy stone, with gold and coppery strands.
Came home with me too.  Crawled right into my purse, full of "goodwill."
I like the *serious* buttoned cardi with the *wild* pendant print!
This multicoloured strand closes by putting a tiny dove through a wreath. 
Hard to get a close photo but it was delicate yet versatile and interesting.
This turquoise statement necklace is stunning!
If it doesn't go to a good home before my next Splurge Sorority gathering
(where Shannon will bring her wares again!), I'm sure it will follow me home.
"Here Turquoise Turquoise!  Come to your new mommy"
This is my touched by an angel shot!
Featuring a new design with interchangeable charms!
My cup runneth over!
Here my smart and stylish friend models the layered look,which I LOVE! 
I love love love mixing and matching accessories,
exercising my creativity, exploring my style and getting more wear from my jewelry!
And here is my layered look with white, teal, silver and sparkle! 
My arm party layering!
Chances are, most of us have been to a big name jewelry party and, though their pieces are gorgeous, there is undoubtedly something special about the hand-designed, hand-made touch.  Most of these pieces are one-of-a-kind and feature unique beads with a story!  The individualized attention is somehow evident in each piece!  You won't find your necklace on anyone else...  Come to think of it, it's like shopping at VV Boutique!  There is a story behind all my VV Boutique pieces; whether I know it or not, I can sense it, and that makes them special!

Friday 23 November 2012

Styles Per Cost

People keep asking me if I am shopping more or spending more now that I have undertaken the adventure of shopping second-hand for myself for a year.  The short answer is: no.  I estimate I'm spending about the same or less, and going shopping about as often as usual.  The long answer is: it's complicated.  Until recently, I was still fluctuating in my efforts to get back to pre (three) pregnancy size and I didn't really know what in my wardrobe would fit once I landed in a comfortable place.  Or what I would like.  Since last spring, I've been working through my old wardrobe, weeding out unflattering pieces and incorporating some new pieces.  Then I had my first turn in Splurge Sorority and did some hard core shopping - for the me I find myself at now!  (see, told you it was complicated)  What I'm saying is, I didn't have a real shopping baseline before I started this, so it is hard to make an accurate comparison.  But yes, VV Boutique has allowed me to augment my wardrobe in ways I never would have otherwise; I do not have the budget, and I could not justify the cost of regular retail.

Take for example these pants:
Orange chinos $3 VV Boutique
Scored at the 50% off sale - awesome!!

I love me some coloured pants, but even an inexpensive (regular retail) pair might not get enough airtime for a good cost-per-wear finale.  However, at the VV Boutique price, I'm certain to get cost-per-wear under a dollar - which is my goal for all pieces (regular retail and thrifting), with the exception of special occasion pieces (e.g., Christmas dresses).  I also like to consider how many ways I can wear a piece.  Before this adventure, I would aim for 5 ways minimum; now I like to find at least one style per dollar cost.  So here are three ways to wear my $3 pants:
 Striped Gap tee $6, gray V-neck $10 Joe and scarf $5 H&M
Gray flats $4 VV Boutique
This one is based on this pin...
orange pants + stripped shirt + sweater + scarf
I tried to be all casual about showing my under-layer just like this model.
But in reality I would straighten things out.  Just wanted you to know it was on purpose.
Style #2 - Colour blocking! 
Blue Gap knit tee circa 2007
Black velvet blazer from Target circa 2004
Sperry Top-Sider Hayden Penny Loafer $9.80 VV Boutique!!!!!

Based on this pin...
Just got orange pants!
Me and Jess are samesies.

 And last, colour blocking and camel...
Camel sweater circa 2007
Fuchsia belt $4 VV Boutique
Green flats circa 2007
Based on this pin...
i am so loving ORANGE right now...yes, i want me some orange pants!

And that is just the tip of the orange-pant iceberg!!  I actually wore them to work with a different top last week but didn't have time to snap a photo...

Conclusion: these orange pants are a great VV Boutique buy and welcome addition to my wardrobe!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Layers are as Easy as 1-2-3

I'm guessing anyone stopping by this place is getting tired of seeing my giant pink snow pants.  Luckily I have some awesome new inspiration thanks to the 50% off sale yesterday at VV Boutique!  I joined two of my Splurge Sorority sisters and scored 6 tops, 1 pair of pants and 1 pair of shoes for $28!  AND I was *least* successful!  My gals made out like bandits!  So. Much. Fun.

I have a hunting list saved on Work Flowy to guide my shopping, but when thrifting, you need to be prepared to grab what draws your eye and give it a try.  Hence, I will *need* to go again because, believe it or not, there are some deficits in my wardrobe.  Woe is me.  Fortunately, this VV Boutique adventure has allowed me to build up my wardrobe with interesting pieces to practice my layering skills.  Here was my process today...

One layer:
Floral top $7 VV Boutique
Oxmo leggings $40 C'est Sera
I've been debating about this top.  Though it's a favourite, it's a little shapeless on its own.  Also, it is winter here.  I am cold.  So I added a second layer:
Might not be your thing, but I like the red popping out from the 3/4 sleeves.  Still missing something, so I added layer 3:
Charcoal cardi $10 VV Boutique
Last touch, some accessories...
Red seed necklace $2 VV Boutique
Earrings by my talented sister...
Today was a casual day for me.  I wanted to be able to chase my kids at their library program and be comfortable all day... I felt like I was in my jammies.  Think I will hold onto this floral top for the time being!
Of course, I cannot wait to start wearing my new finds so I snapped some shots while choosing an outfit for tomorrow.  I have a presentation for work in a small rural school that I don't often consult to.  Not the time to pull out the yellow pants.  Here's one layer: 
Same Gap long sleeve tee in blue $6
Teal belt (gift) $3 VV Boutique
Black pants from Costco circa 100 years ago.
I think they were $20.  They no longer fit well and the style isn't very contemporary
but they're my only black work pants so they'll do.

The teal belt jazzes it up and picks up the colour in what I really want to wear...
Violet & Claire floral peplum ruffle blouse $3.50 VV Boutique

I know this screams winter, so obviously I had to layer up to make it work.  Here's 1 + 2 + 3 (my vintage Bordeaux velvet blazer)...
$8 VV Boutique
Bangles, gift from my sis
The belt is still there in case the peplum flutters about as I deliver my earth-shattering talk!  I might even throw on my teal necklace and/or a scarf if I get wild and crazy (or cold).
Not earth-shattering, but pretty mix of textures and colours!
I know, floral and November seem incongruent (yet I've done it one day), so let's just call that my Wednesday rebel call!  For less than a latte, I am certain this blouse will earn its keep tomorrow alone and I will, in fact, be indebted to it by the time spring rolls around!

Saturday 17 November 2012

The Elle Woods of Snow Pants

When I first started this adventure of shopping second-hand for myself for a year, I didn't really think through all my potential clothing needs for the upcoming year.  For example, early on, I decided to draw the line at undergarments, though I do appreciate that VV Boutique offers undergarments (often new) for those who can't draw that line. 

Recently, I realized I was lacking a critical article of clothing for Canadian winters: snow pants.  For as long as I can remember, I've been either squeezing or floating in my husband's spare pair as I've trudged through winters at various stages of pregnancy and post-pregnancy (it once took two of my sisters to pull them on and off of me for New Year's Eve fireworks viewing!), but this year, they are simply too big to be functional.  I admit, I initially thought to hit a sporting-goods-type store to pick up a svelte new pair.  Then, I remembered that I'm not exactly a ski bunny and VV Boutique might just have something that would suit my needs, at a much better price point...
 Pink ski pants $10 VV Boutique = AWESOME
There was not a large selection of women's snow pants, but my only real criterion was "warm," though afterwards I realized that I prefer the overall-type than pants-type because they are warmer and stay on better!  I don't wear snow pants that often - for outdoor play and cross-country skiing with my family.  I am not exactly, er, athletic, so you won't catch me in those intimidating body-hugging ski uniforms.  I'd rather have a bit more bulk to cushion my falls.  I don't have a proper "ski jacket", but I do have a couple old, warm puffy coats that I typically wear for these activities - one pink and one purple.  Here's the purple: 
I remember "splurging" on this coat in 1995 when I was a student in Montreal.
It was $99 from Bedo.
Wow, I'm it's old.
My daughter was with me when I went shopping for snow pants, and when I bought these and told her that mommy now had pink snow pants just like her, she literally cheered.
I think the colour is awesome!  But I love colour, and I would even venture to claim I'm capitalizing on the colour-blocking trend!  A side advantage: easy to spot in the snow (for those times when I lag a kilometre behind or fall and can't get up and await rescue from my 40 or 4 year-old).  It is a lot of pink though, so I'm going with Rule #5 ("Go Forth With Attitude!") embracing my inner-Elle-Woods and heading outside for some fun!

Thursday 15 November 2012

White Heart

Before my trip to the Hope Missions Bargain Store, I had a severe shortage of white in my wardrobe.  Here was my white inventory:
  • old Gap white cotton tee
  • white layering tank
Adding this retro gem increases my whites by 50%!!
White heart sweater $4 Hope Missions Bargain Shoppe

I did some hasty homework on how to style white in winter and it turns out that white-on-white is chic for winter...
This is my *favourite* photo that turned up when I googled "white winter style."
Though if that were my bod, I'd wear crochet pants and white panties too.  Every day.

But entirely impractical for those of us actually in winter, which is less white than muddy slush.  Not to mention cold.

I also had to consider that Thursday is a dual-purpose day for me: half the day at home with my awesome kids, half the day working with other people's awesome kids.  So, though I loved the look of white and denim, I didn't want to wear jeans for work.  I also considered the interesting design of this sweater - a necklace or belt would either obscure or distract from the heart!  I ended up taking my inspiration from this photo...
7 Denim Outfit Ideas To Try This Fall, Courtesy of Hanneli Mustaparta

White and cobalt are a very famous couple on Pinterest. 

Here's my version in full 4-year-old-photographer glory:
Gap cobalt chinos $6 VV Boutique
Cobalt belt $4 VV Boutique
Patterned socks from Old Navy
This pretty bracelet was an obvious choice.
If you think it's too obvious, please refer to this and come back when your heart has grown 2 sizes. 

The print of this sweater would classify as an "quirky offbeat sweater" according to Ain't No Mom Jeans and fulfills my desires for an "interesting sweater," which has been on my VV Boutique hunt list for a while.  Of course, at $4, I could always use another for the truly cold and not-so-white LONG winter ahead, AND there is a 50% off sale at VV Boutique on Monday November 19th so I think I will wait to cross it off my list!