Sunday 30 December 2012

Top 12 in 2012 by VV Boutique Style

I started this style blog in August and since then, my eyes have been opened!  I am having a blast exploring style, trying trends and indulging my fondness for shopping - all at an amazingly low price.  I sound like a mattress commercial.  I am beyond impressed by VV Boutique and have expanded my wardrobe further than I would have imagined possible on what works out to about $6.17 per item on average.  Now, nearly five months later, I can't imagine ever going back to regular retail.  Even now, I scoff at paying $10 for a top!!  Blessed is what I am.  Blessed is how I feel. 

I don't know about you, but I love me some year-end "best of" lists - best movies, songs, recipes, blog posts.  LOVE IT ALL!  I am l.o.v.i.n.g. the year-in-review posts by all the awesome style bloggers out there.  Now, it is a privilege to share what I consider to be my top 12 purchases at VV Boutique in 2012! 
12.  Wood Necklace $3
In a year of bubble necklaces and all kinds of statement pieces, this one-of-a-king wood necklace embodied exactly what I love about VV Boutique - it is trendy without being the same as everyone else.  As soon as I spotted it, I knew it was "me;" even though I may not have my style exactly figured out, it is delightful to find something that I just know IS my style.
11. Orange Chinos $3
I scored these orange beauties shortly after posting "New Neutrals" and realizing that I had a shortage of orange in my closet.  They were the catalyst for another great post about Styles Per Cost and have turned out to be something I wear a couple times a week, resulting in a great cost per wear.  Plus they're funky - you can't help but be happy and have a good attitude when you're wearing orange pants!
10. Blue Print Cleo top $7
Now that you know how much I love colour and an interesting print and green and cobalt, it should be no surprise that this made the top 12!  It never needs ironing, looks great with everything, is easily layered, has a hint of mustard, and was the first item of clothing that made me identify with Miranda Kerr.  
9. Olive Print Scarf $4
It was a tough call between this and my beloved mustard scarf, but this one won out because of its versatility.  The length and weight of it lend to many styling options in all seasons.  Also, it helped me successfully mix prints and for that, I am indebted.
8. Sperry Top-Sider Hayden Penny Loafers $9.80
I started hearing about Sperry shoes last spring and summer via Ain't No Mom Jeans and figured they would be one of those things, like Frye boots, that I would just have to wait till October 2013 to consider, but lo and behold there they were in my size in the exact style I never even realized I needed!  Fits the menswear and patent trends, my inner British cool, AND they have a sturdy sole perfect for traipsing around slush, snow and ice.
7. Matt & Nat Bag $18
This designer bag was in perfect condition when I bought it.  I liked the edgy detailing and the pocket distribution is a great match for my particular (as in, I'm a picky-pants particular girl about my particular purse) needs.  Then, when I read the inside, my heart did a little cartwheel.

 6. Chambray $7
This is one of the few pieces I did not try on before buying.  I saw, I grabbed.  It is amazingly soft and thicker-weight without being stiff.  At first, I thought I wanted a lighter blue chambray, but now in the heart of winter, I am so glad for the darker wash.  I have worn this countless times and always feel trendy and stylish when I do.
5. Ponte Knit Chevron Stripe Skirt $7
This is the treasure piece of my VV Boutique collection!  It was just sitting there, waiting patiently to be discovered in its full chevron ponte knit glory.  It is my favourite skirt and it will take something pretty darn special to knock it off the podium!
4. Elephant and Dot Print Top $4.20
This sleeveless top earned its fame by being irresistible!  I could not stop wearing it.  Well, it also earned some fame in my local paper - though the photo isn't in the on-line article, there was a sizable photo of these very elephants in the actual paper!  This top is basically exactly 100% like Katy Perry's stylist dude who was with her in the beginning during her rise to fame then landed the most important gig of his life on ANTM.  Maybe we should call these elephants "Wujek."  Sheesh, see, there they go inspiring awesome conversation again.  
3. Vintage Velvet Blazer $7
I had been on the look-out for something with a baroque vibe for a while when I stumbled upon this vintage velvet blazer.  I initially wondered if I would get enough wear out of it...  Well, I needn't have wondered!  I have worn it time and again to work, church, errands and even around the house.  I love it!  The pockets are perfect for keeping my phone handy and the colour is swoon-worthy!  It will definitely be like comfort-food in my wardrobe in the months of winter yet ahead.

2. High-Low Dress $13
I started this second-hand adventure on a whim, which somehow seems more authentic than if I had delayed the start till I quickly shopped for all the pieces I might want... like ankle boots or a mustard cardi (which continue to evade me) or a high-low hem dress or skirt.  I watched enviably as my friends rocked this trend.  And then.  There it was.  In a dark mustard.  Call it turmeric if you want, I don't care.   Whatever you call it, it is just the spice my wardrobe needs!

1. Ann Taylor Skinny Cargos $6
The only thing bigger than my mouth in this shot is my love for these pants!  These awesome cargo pants sealed my commitment to VV Boutique!  In finding them, I really realized the potential of thrift shopping.  You can find what you need and what you want!   

There is just one more "top" for 2012 that I need to mention.  The absolute top find in all my VV Boutique shopping is the amazing joy I have experienced in connecting with friends, feeling good about myself, and seeing my friends feel good about themselves!  This little hobby of mine has turned out to be about much more than great style at a great price and I am grateful for it allCheers to VV Boutique Style!

Friday 28 December 2012

Still Green (Plaid)

I've seen plaid shirts all over the place lately, and the decent selection at VV Boutique reflects the trend, interestingly enough.  I don't know if that means the trend is on it's way out or that people are buying so many that they're donating anything but the latest favour, or maybe, like me, they have trouble getting a good fit in the bust and up donating if it shrinks a smidge or pulls once they try on at home.  Whatever the reason, it was inevitable that a nice plaid would come home with me one day:
 Ben Sherman green plaid $5 VV Boutique

Before mustard, there was green.  There still is green.  When asked, what's your favourite colour, my first response is still "green."  Followed by mustard, stripes, gray, pink, cobalt, Bordeaux, etc.  But green is and always will be number 1.  There's something reassuring in actually having a favourite.  Green is also a trendy colour for 2012 and 2013 - hunter, emerald, teal.  They're all on my radar!  Naturally then, I snatched this up to try on and was delighted that it fit well - no pulling across the bust, long enough in the sleeves.  Seemed like good quality though I had never heard of the label "Ben Sherman."  Looks like it's mostly men's wear but here's what Zappos says:

" the Ben Sherman brand has been embraced by almost every youth culture or style movement since the mods and is worn by the bands and fashion leaders of the current decade. Ben Sherman now presents a full lifestyle offering—from chinos to sweaters, tees to outerwear—and continues to embrace a heritage of modernism."

Another site shows a plain white Ben Sherman button-down for $100 and says:

"Ben Sherman for women is the embodiment of classic British cool. Born in the 60’s and coveted by The Mods in swinging London, we love Ben Sherman for its effortless style. The Ben Sherman range for women produces feminine garments of exceptional quality and attention to detail. Classic pieces with an edge, and perfectly matched with our mens range of Ben Sherman online."

I have no idea how this shirt came to land at VV Boutique, but no matter the reason, I am grateful because I love it!   
Houndstooth scarf $2.80 VV Boutique
Holla for mixing patterns!

I didn't even know about its "classic British cool" when I paired it with oxford patterned socks, my patent Sperry's, a houndstooth print scarf and my fave J Brand denim!
It is hard to take blog photos in public places.
Next time, I will embrace my celebrity and just keep taking photos till I get a better one!

I decided that I would differentiate this Ben Sherman plaid from my other fuchsia-y plaid-ish shirt by renaming the latter "gingham."  Not to be confused with gangnam, even though the two might be combined at some future date in a living room dance party.  I digress.  Clearly, I *need* both.  And for such a great price at VV Boutique, why not?!  Can't wait to style this green plaid more ways and indulge my inner British cool!

Monday 24 December 2012

My Favourite Things

Hand design necklace that speaks its own message
Fresh water pearls with sparkly cross
These are a few of my favourite things

Gray textured tights that are my only pair
Babybliss iron puts curls in my hair
Mustard Frye boots never fail to impress
These are a few of my favourite things

Making cookies!
Wrapping presents!
Christmas E-eve church...
I simply wear all of my favourite things
And can't help but feel so blessed! 

My 7y.o. stopped his Angry Bird board game to snap these!
This dress, this blazer, this necklace - meant to be together!
Can you wear a statement necklace and dress while enjoying the relaxing endeavour of baking with your children?
Might as well look stylin AND mess with icing and candy.  Good + good + good.
My 2y.o. photo-bombed my bracelet shot.  So funny!
Sure, this bracelet from my She Does Create collection looks awesome,
but it is my favourite because of what it represents.  

Merry Christmas!


Friday 21 December 2012


Big day yesterday.  Last day of work before the Christmas holidays.  Preschool Christmas party.  School Christmas concert.  Major proposal due at work.  (Well, I don't know if you could say "major."  I don't generally do proposals at work so this one felt major because of its uniqueness.)  Today was the perfect day to wear one of my favourite pieces I scored on Monday's 50% off sale - a piece that combines two of my favourite things: stripes and fireworks.
 Firework sweater $3 VV Boutique

Brown, orange, chartreuse and sparkles.  What else could a girl need?
This awesome top revealed a problem in my wardrobe, however.
Disgruntled expression due to extremely unflattering pants.

These wide leg trousers are my only brown pants.  They look better in real life.  At least I think so thought so.  They are higher-waisted, which I told myself was avante-garde.  But it's undeniable.  They look like crap in pictures and they're probably not doing much for me in real life either.  I believe it was these same pants that inspired my last pants shopping.  Looks like I'm going to have to go again and narrow my search for brown work pants specifically.  In the meantime, let's just pretend I'm not wearing a 12" rise pant and appreciate the fireworks...
Sing it with me!  Baby you're a Firework!
Come on show them what you're worth! 

The pants will be donated to VV Boutique and maybe I will wear this fabulous THREE DOLLAR sweater when I go on my next pants expedition!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Winter Maxi

I tried.  I really did. 

I read the Ain't No Mom Jeans fabulous-as-always post on wearing a maxi skirt/dress in winter and felt so inspired!  I had been looking longingly at my maxi dress the other day and was so excited to have "permission" to wear it in winter that I immediately tried it several ways.

First up, I tried layering it with a sweater and vest, just like ANMJ but felt I needed a belt to give me some shape.  This is my "I am warm and cozy" pose.  You don't see that on America's Next Top Model.
Max Studio maxi dress $26 Winners
Vest hand-me-down from my closet
Fuchsia belt $4 VV Boutique
Mustard Frye boots of awesomeness 

With a basic black cardi and animal print tee.
 Playing with textures with a silky blush top and wool cardi.
 Swap out the mustard for an emerald cardi from my closet!

Awesome!  So many possibilities!  I could hardly choose which one to try first.  Which look is your favourite?!

Before I reveal which I wore, let me explain a couple things.  Unlike the ANMJ scenario, it is winter here.  As in, so much snow that I've been stuck in my own driveway more than once.  It is cold - and that was one of the appealing thoughts about this look - layering up coziness under the dress, which I did and I enjoyed.  Also unlike ANMJ, I am not a petite woman.  I have small wrists and ankles like Spongebob, but I'm fairly tall and that's a lot of fabric carousing around.  I tripped on my way down the stairs and all-in-all felt that adding layers to this dress just made it seem like there was a whole lotta me billowing about.  Not really the chic effect I was hoping for...
As Eminem says, you only get one shot do not miss this opportunity.
That's what it's like when your 4-year-old is in charge of fashion photography.

Here I am in said driveway on my way to work late as usual, freezing with my coat open so I could show off the pretty blush (I was feeling the monochromatic vibe that morning).  Unbeknownst to me I had spilled coffee on my top in my haste to the van.  One shot, not missed.  Coffee spill however was missed. 

It was just too much.  The skirt, the boots, the tights...  I had a low key day in my office but even when I shed the sweater and scarf, I still felt like the sound of my movement was deafening. My skirt dragged in the snow and against my dirty van.  I did not feel at ease going about my day.  

It's okay though.  Nothing ventured nothing gained and it was fun to play dress up with so many of my VV Boutique pieces!  But let me save you some effort by sharing this: if it is dark around 4pm where you live, save your maxi dresses and skirts for warmer weather when they can shine on their own and billow in the sunny breeze rather than the blizzard snow!  This public service message brought to you by VV Boutique Style.  You're welcome.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Sunday Seasonal Style

Back in August when I started this VV Boutique adventure, I was already looking forward to the challenge of finding a Christmas festivity ensemble... As it turned out, both my and my hubby's work parties were low key lunch affairs so no party dress required.  Boo.  Our other Christmas affairs were also pretty casual, like our fun line-up today: the kids' Sunday School concert and family party with friends!  I thought I would dress up a little from my usual Sunday jeans...
Vintage Bordeaux velvet blazer $8 VV Boutique
"Statement" necklace $3 VV Boutique
From my closet: Striped Calvin Klein dress from Winners, 
Oxmo leggings, Miz Mooz boots and bangles. 
I love each of the three key pieces of this ensemble - the dress, the blazer and the necklace and I loved how they came together! 
It surprises me how versatile the velvet blazer is - comfortable and classy.  Maybe just maybe Stacy and Clinton know what they're talking about when they tell every single woman to get a blazer...
Maybe just maybe I'm a slow style learner!

I also love that just ten bucks from VV Boutique can invigorate my wardrobe and help me celebrate the season in style!

Friday 14 December 2012

Let's Get Real

Somehow sick kids and long work and tragic news just make style seem a little ... frivolous.  But you know what?  It isn't frivolous.  There is a whole heck of a lot that we cannot control in our little worlds, but we are in control of what we put on our bodies, how we express ourselves, and how we respect reality but choose our attitudes.  So, with that, I share reality for moi at 9ish on a Friday just before I slip into something a little more comfortable (Christmas jammies):
Cleo tee $3.50 VV Boutique
Trousers $9 VV Boutique
Gold double strand necklace $4 VV Boutique
Accessorize brown necklace from my closet
Awesome bracelet, gift from my talented sister

I have already "slipped" out of my contacts and my pants are wrinkly and I didn't even bother freshening up my make-up or hair.  Turn away if you must.  However, my good attitude says thanks to this forgiving top for getting me through a busy day and looking at least a little bit interesting along the way.  It is ruched on the sides, the colour is chartreuse-y-mustard and burgundy-brown (that's a lot of good colours) and looking at this photo I realize how much I love a short sleeve tee (discovering my style!). 
Bordeaux Merino wool cardi $7 VV Boutique
 Love the short sleeves, but it's winter and I'm cold.
Miz Mooz Pauly Wedges $5.60
No socks, you note?  Why no, I had to remove them after I stepped in ... reality... earlier tonight. 

I'm in jammies now, sipping wine and thinking about my many blessings, including (and not trivially) this ensemble for $29.10 and my joy in VV Boutique!