Tuesday 29 January 2013

Collar Art

I've never considered myself to be super trendy.  I more or less follow what's going on around me, trying to bring at least a little individuality and personal style to the mix.  My "goal" is not to be trendy, but just to be put together.  As a working mom of three, that is ambitious enough!  However, this VV Boutique adventure has helped me to be more aware of what's going on in the greater style community and maybe just maybe get to the game a little sooner than before.

For example, I've been seeing statement necklaces with button-up tops here and there, alerting my attention to something that might actually work in my world.  Then a recent email from J. Crew piqued my interest and I had to try this trend!  Here was the inspiration:

And here is my take on it:
Bracelets from my closet

The fabric of this blouse is, well, blouse-y rather than button-up-y, so the collar could not hold up to two layered necklaces, but I felt the Peter Pan style collar, the print, and the pretty fabric-covered buttons were the perfect complement to my necklace. 
 Also, these were the clean pants in my closet, so I needed something to complement them!
 This is my preppy expression.
 Reminds me of 80s teen movies for some reason.
Aha!  Maybe it's reminiscent of the boxy button-ups and pearl necklace-brooch combos that we* used to wear.
*Ignore this whole section if you can't immediately name a John Hughes movie.
I got a lot of compliments on my blouse and necklace, and of course I was more than pleased to share that my top cost "a latte" and my necklace is one-of-a-kind!  I liked this trend so much that I will be trying it again with my other button-ups... once I extend some *good will* toward my sis and acquire some suitable necklaces (You know the one.  She and I have a date.  If she's not sold by you know when, she's mine.  Agreed?) 

Sunday 27 January 2013

London Fog Lace

You know what makes for a great day?  Helping someone live out her dreams AND finally having a the chance to wear something special that has just been hanging around waiting for the perfect occasion...
London Fog eyelet lace blazer $3 VV Boutique
And my winning bridal-show smile...

I helped my talented sister of She Does Create at a local bridal fair and wanted to be able to covet model how her funky pieces might look with some silk and lace. 
 Silk BR peplum ruffle top
It was lots of fun to see all the brides-to-be... and then there was the pole exercise display across the aisle which left me speechless with core-strength admiration.  In the breaks between brides, I was able to slowly stalk the jewelry!  This one didn't come home with me but looked awesome with my ensemble...
 I love how this statement necklace echoes the popular bubble pieces in an original way.

And once these two bracelets (mint heart and blue heart) landed on my wrist, they never wanted to get off. 
 You can't blame them for not wanting to leave the arm party.
Love the fluted three-quarter sleeves! 

My thieving accessorizing also provided the opportunity to demonstrate an important concept.  You CAN mix accessories - colours, metals, styles - whatever!  I had some oranges/yellows in my necklace/tank/boots and blues in my jeans/bracelets/ring and some shine in my pearly buttons/necklace/bracelet bling...
Channel your inner bridezilla and just do whatever suits you!  Of course, for an every-day occasion, a VV Boutique budget rather than a bridezilla budget makes that a whole lot easier! 

Friday 25 January 2013


I am finding myself longing for the relaxed days of summer when I had more time to do quality activities like sleeping later, reading more and daily Pinterest sessions.  Instead, I pop on here and there and consider myself lucky to come across pins such as this, pinned by Lindsey Herzog of Ruby Girl blog onto her awesome Faith and Fashion bloggers board.  Lindsey chooses a "pin of the week" from amongst the many (so I'm learning!) inspiring faith and fashion bloggers.  Now I need time to go on Pinterest, find all these blogs, read through all the archives, pin and then stay in my closet for a week to copy copy copy....!  Oh fine, I will just start with the original pin that caught my eye and started me down another amazing tangent of this style journey!
 Chambray, orange pants and shoes all from VV Boutique.
Enormous-looking flipper-feet courtesy of 5yo photography.  Or maybe my modeling skills.

I don't work most Fridays, but I had to work a half-day today so I needed to wear something casual-Friday-ish but funky-professional-ish.  I thought this look by blogger Sarah Barnett of Think Twice Style fit the bill perfectly...

So I copied shamelessly, assuming that my flattering, honest and grateful intentions would shine through my copycat actions!  Of course, the mustard pants and stripes are what caught my attention, and I was inspired to try a button-down under my striped sweater after playing dress-up.  
I chose my orange chinos over my yellow pants because... well, because I am wearing striped undies and didn't want them to show through, since I'm being honest.  (Visible panty lines are one thing, visible panty patterns are quite another.)
The look had it all - three interesting elements up top, colours, neutrals, layering, comfort!  All in all, I was pleased with my successful and stylish copycatting.  And I'm going to do it again, since I'm being honest.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

A *Totally* Different Outfit...

Before you say anything, this outfit is totally different than my secretary blouse.
Sometimes I can't resist being matchy matchy.  Sue me.

Firstly, my cardi is teal not emerald.  Big difference.  Teal has never been colour of the year.  Secondly, this top might be is navy and white diagonal stripe, rather than black-and-white-small-incredibly-adorable-yet-elegant-flowery-acorny-Banana-Republicy print.  This awesome top is not vintage but modern, in a sheer fabric with dolman sleeves, a flattering hemline and refreshing shoulder cut-outs whatever they're called.
$7 VV Boutique

Sure, I'm wearing the mustard tank underneath again because mustard goes with everythingBut I'm wearing different accessories...
Accessorize necklace from my closet, earrings and bracelet from She Does Create.
 I just realized that the reason I love this bracelet so much is because it is like a poem for my eyes.
Yep, I just said that

And different shoes...
I've worn these shoes before.  
$4 Jules and James from VV Boutique.
Though nothing fancy, I love the charcoal colour and the details that make them interesting.

This top is another treasure find that was in perfect condition.  I can only imagine why someone would have donated it???  Were they too short in the torso?  Felt it is too cold to get good wear?  Thought the details might be out of style by the time spring rolls around?  Well I'm seeing sheer all over the place including StyleMint and if only I could locate their top with these same sleeves that I almost bought about a hundred times before starting my VV Boutique adventure, you would know that this trend will be around for a while too.  I'm sure.  As sure as I am that I will wear these pants till they fall apart.  As sure as I am that I wish it were spring so I could start spring styling all these awesome VV Boutique pieces!

Monday 21 January 2013

The Secretary Blouse

Long long ago, there was a new style blogger who thought this classic blouse style was called a tie blouseShe also thought those shorts could exist in her closet, and has since learned better.  Living and learning... After stumbling across the awesome blog B's Goodwill Hunting, I learned the preferred term for this style: the secretary blouse.  She has a collection of secretary blouses and I love how they look ladylike and can be styled up, down and every which way.  Imagine my delight when I found a vintage perfect-condition secretary blouse in a timely pattern and in the hot colours for spring, black and white...
 Vintage Talbots secretary blouse $6 VV Boutique
 Hard to discern the ties in a photo, hence my clever fingers-behind-the-ties photo trick.

At first, I called this my Anthropologie-esque print top, but my style confidante more accurately described it as Banana-Republic-y.  Luckily I had inadvertently followed BR's recommendation to pair my springy black and white print with a bold colour...
This is my "I'm secretary and I know it" we-all-know-who-holds-the-power expression.

Not just any bold colour, but the colour of the year in a H&M cardi that I've had for years because green has been my fave long before Pantone declared it worthy.
To let my secretary self steal the show, I kept my pants to simple black.  We all know my black pants are not great, but I'm making do until VV Boutique provides me with a perfect replacement! 
 Green flats help.  A little.

When I heard that black and white were the trendy colours for spring, I baulked.  But this delicate print changed my mind...
 A close up of my bow.
Note to self: practice tying bows; evaluate bunny ears vs. loop swoop & pull.
Additional note to self: once achieve the perfect bow, never ever ever untie. 
 I love the subtle gathering at the shoulders...

This is a lot of fabulousness for six dollars!  VV Boutique, you're going to make me wear my latest favourite seventeen days in a row again, aren't you?!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Accent Vs. Accident Colours

Several years ago at some home decor show (back before children when I could entertain such fancies) I heard some designer say that an accent colour is an accident unless you use it three times in the room.  I decided to apply this same concept when styling my teal cardi from VV Boutique:
Cleo cardi $4.90 VV Boutique
I let my 2yo take photos for dress-up, and now she screams till you let her do her "job."

This cardi has some pretty details like a slight ruffle (bilaterally, I would say in my daytime vocabulary) and wide hem band.  It is also in perfect condition and my shopping partner splurge sister that day took home the identical raspberry one!  I have tons of options that would match this teal perfectly, but I'm still inspired to try harder...  When selecting what to wear with it, I thought the slight polka dot pattern of the button-down shirt echoed the pretty ruffle, and the red is across from teal on the colour wheel, following colour-blocking rules!  As for the mustard tank, it is well-established that mustard goes with everything.
 Mustard tank $4.20 VV Boutique, already worn a hundred times
Teal belt, gift but originally $3 VV Boutique
Trousers $9 VV Boutique 

So here we have three colours that don't "match."  To make them "go," I made sure each colour was somewhere on my decor ensemble three times.  Enter accessories.  The bracelets pick up on the teal, yellow and red...
 Bottom bracelet from the ancient archives of my closet.
Top bracelet hand made and designed by my talented sister She Does Create
The earrings pick up the mustard and though the diamond stone is more like a marble gray, it looked teal-y with this outfit...
My current fave earrings also made by She Does Create.

The last pop of red came in my cap-toe shoes...
By now, I had to coerce my 5yo to put down his skateboarding video game to take photos.
I'm impressed he even took one photo.  Mommy's clothes can't really compete with Tony Hawk.

To recap...

  1. cardi
  2. belt
  3. bracelet and half point for the earrings
  1. button-down top
  2. bracelet
  3. shoes
  1. tank
  2. bracelet
  3. earrings 
I think it works!  No one looked at me funny at least.  My ensemble was interesting and comfortable for a long busy day, and I felt like my style was *no accident*!

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Blazin' Orange

A few years ago, I heard someone proclaim "Orange is the new pink."  I don't think so!  And it doesn't even matter - we need both!  Orange is warm sun glow, fire, spice, creamsicle, citrus, munchie mix!  So of course, this orange blazer had to come home with me.
 Orange blazer $5 VV Boutique

I initially reached for my Jones tuxedo blouse for this blazer's inaugural wear since it has an orange-ish fleck in it and would coordinate nicely.  However, being freshly inspired from my dress-up session on the weekend, I put it back and decided to deliberately choose something that didn't "match."  I am insanely adventurous and therefore chose this black striped long sleeve Gap tee and a pink belt that doesn't go with anything in this ensemble.  Crazy.
What you are seeing is wild style; those are brown pants ($2.45 VV Boutique) with that black striped top.  Come on, I know others can identify with this being a (hopefully former) style stretch!!  I wore my Miz Mooz Pauly wedges and added a bold necklace just in case people needed somewhere to look besides the orange. 
I like the band and button detailing and the crop fitted style of this blazer.  I originally got all excited because I thought it was a ponte knit.  No such luck, but it is still awesome and with all the talk about coloured blazers, I think it is a great addition to my VV Boutique wardrobe!

Sunday 13 January 2013

Playing Dress Up

I get the awesome emails from Ruche and find myself inspired to do crazy things like put a few pieces together that don't seem to go at all and then carry it all off with fashionista attitude.  It almost seems like that's what makes style; it's easy enough to match things up and pair a bottom with a top, but figuring out what goes and adding more to the mix takes some time and talent...

Yesterday I had some girl time with my fave 2-year-old and spent some of it playing dress-up based on Ruche's feature on fall layering.  Here is how it translated to my VV Boutique wardrobe.

First inspiration...
Layer 11
I like the layers and cropped pants and everything about this look right down to the mustard purse.  Here was my first attempt focusing on the floral print...
Although I never would have thought to layer these two tops without Ruche, I wouldn't exactly say it works.  So I took a second look at the inspiration photo and noted the "ingredients:" Peter Pan collar under a high neckline second layer + cropped pants + belt in coordinating colour + bangles.  I only have one piece with a Peter Pan collar and nothing sleeveless with a high neckline besides my elephant print top and that did not work, take my word for it.  I wanted a short sleeve to let the pattern of the bottom layer have more presence, and finally stumbled upon...
I have worn this Jones New York blouse before with my orange pants, though I didn't snap a photo.  It was $5, one of my treasures from the Hope Missions Bargain Shoppe.  These are my skinny cargos + plus bangles + white heart sweater.  Again I wouldn't have thought to pair these pieces but I like the retro-vibe result.  Doing something wild and crazy like putting a belt around the sweater is the unexpected touch that adds style, I think.

Next up...
Layer 10
I was already wising up by this point and breaking the outfit down before trying to recreate it.  This look features a dress + belt + 2 outer layers + statement necklace.  Here's my take with what I have in my closet:
Or from the vantage of my 2-year-old who insisted on being the photographer...
I only have one cardi vest and after trying a few under-cardis, I realized I needed something with a bit of a collar.  Luckily, VV Boutique had provided the very piece I needed months ago.  I wouldn't have reached for this necklace first (which was a gift from my sister ages ago) but I was trying to mimic the model.  I ended up really liking how it wasn't so matchy matchy.  Add some tights and boots and I'm good to go!

Next inspiration...
Layer 9
This is one of those ensembles where it appears that nothing matches yet it looks cool, in my opinion.  Here's my take on skirt + grandpa cardi + scarf:
I added boots because I live in real winter, not pretty fashion winter.  I felt a bit frumpy until all the elements were in place, and then it was okay.  Not slimming, but at least more interesting than my usual fare.  I don't reach for skirts that often in real winter, though there's no reason not to when you add leggings or heavy tights.  If I had coloured tights, I might employ them here!

Next up, skirt + sweater + interesting jacket + statement necklace:
Layer 5
My version:
I would not have paired these pieces together, but I like that the necklace picks up on the plum in the jacket and I love the bold collar on the jacket.  My chevron ponte knit skirt is visiting Nana for some minor mending otherwise I would have thrown it in the mix!  Nonetheless, I was pleased with the outcome here.

Next: tie ("secretary") blouse + stripe sweater + crop cardi + trousers with no apparent matching scheme...
Layer 4
My first take:
Although I appreciated the end result, I wondered if what they were trying to emphasize was the mix of polka dots and stripes, so I tried again...
Red polka dots and blue stripes aren't a huge style stretch, but the boat neck with collared shirt was new to me.  At first it felt a bit stiff, but once I cuffed the sleeves and got everything straightened out, it was okay.  I don't have a cropped cardi and even if I did, I am skeptical it would work.  Instead a necklace or other bold accessories would be the "third."

Next inspiration: dress + shirt + belt + big scarf:
Layer 2
My version:
I have struggled with styling this $7 H&M dress since I bought it last summer before my VV Boutique adventure started.  It has an empire waist and flowy skiry and just didn't look right with a jacket or cardi.  I hadn't thought of adding a button-down but liked how that allowed me to "move" the waist line.  I liked mixing the colours up, then wondered if a monochromatic look might work better...
And it did. 

Next look: Dress + shirt underneath + outer layer + necklace that seems out of place.
Layer 1 
 My take:
I don't have a shift-style dress as in the inspiration photo.  I typically reserve this black sleeveless dress for summer and was pleasantly surprised by how it looked with the chambray under it. 
The snow leopard cardi fulfilled the "rule of three" and looked even better.  Hard to tell with the window sill taking photos on 10-second delay, which was only marginally better than my 2-year-old photographer who, after one outfit, only wanted to take photos of the floor.  I wish I would have tried a belt on the outside and will do that when I actually wear this look!  I tried a couple necklaces but felt the print and three collar lines were plenty busy without adding a busy necklace.  

Next look: 
Layer 12
The waistband on this skirt reminded me of the knit hem on my ambivalent animal print tee, so this is how I replicated the outfit:
The not-exactly-matched skirt was more interesting than a straight black pairing, and rather than an outerwear piece, I chose an outer layer with ties to (loosely) echo my inspiration. 

Thus concludes my dress-up time!

I was all prepared to write how I learned a good lesson about my style and how I don't like a mixed-up layered unmatching style vibe buuuuuttttttt now that I see the photos, I'm going to hold off on that statement!  I actually DO like the unexpected mixes; what I am not yet sure about is how comfortable they would be for real life hustle and bustle!  I need to be able to move freely and stay warm.  So.  What I will do is try some of these ensembles out and see how they fair when they're taken out of play and into real life.  Stay tuned!  One thing is for certain: without VV Boutique, there is no way I would have the range of clothes to mix and match.  My wardrobe never fails to surprise and impress me with the new and interesting ways it can be remixed!