Thursday 30 May 2013

Double Dress Day

Until last year around this time, I had only one or two dresses.  I foolishly thought they were too tricky to wear to work or for momming around.  I know better now, so much better that the dress section at VV Boutique is my favourite place to browse!  I have a hard time resisting a pretty dress and see no reason to when they are each unique and affordable!  Unlike children, who can only claim the former.  Here are a couple newcomers to my closet... 
 Banana Republic silk blend shift dress $8.50 VV Boutique
Accessories from my closet

I have had "shift dress" on my VV Boutique hunting list for a while, but didn't exactly know what a shift dress is.  To save you the embarrassment of admitting the same, I looked it up.  You are welcome.  A shift dress is a frock or gown with a "columnar cut and no defined waist" that skims the outline of the body. 
This shift dress is extra awesome because it has pockets to hold allergies.  
I mean tissue.

I loved the colours and pattern of this dress, the short sleeves and button details.  It also happens to look awesome with my Hispanitas and was more, um, accessible for work with some capri leggings ($6 VV Boutique).

The next dress was more expensive because I had to buy it at regular price...
Costa Blanca dress $13 VV Boutique

How could I leave this behind?!  It is sunshine in a dress!  It is cheer on your bo-day!  The fabric is comfy jersey knit AKA jammies.  It is yellow, which goes with everything.   
Teal cardi $4.90 and pointy flats $6 from VV Boutique

I attended a course today that required me to wear my glasses, so it's a good thing the dress felt like jammies because that's what my glasses are used to being paired with.  It was a bit chilly so I wore the capri leggings again (second day in a row, trend fulfilled) and added a cardi.
I completed the ensemble with a mixture of accessories from
She Does Create, VV Boutique and Lisa Leonard

These dresses made for easy mornings and stylin' workdays!  100% comfortable, washable and so much more interesting than plain pants and tops.  Don't believe me?  Hit your favourite thrift shop with a ten-spot in your pocket and see what you can find!  And when your dress collection grows, know you're in good company!
Don't forget to like my Facebook page where I post things like floral pasties and other good stuff to keep it interesting!

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Closet Organization 101

This post needs a warning label: there were no people harmed during the organizing of this closet.  Or photographed.  That being said, I hope you will find it interesting and bonus points if you spot the moustache.

My pal Chantel flatters me in many ways.  First, she reads my blog.  Second, she implements the style advice therein.  Third, she is my friend and she's a baby.  (Well she's 24 and yet she still likes me and doesn't make feel old or crotchety.)  Fourth, she is a super awesome work colleague.  Fifth, she asked me to help her with her closet so I got to play bossy wise big sister for an evening.  We didn't change the whole world of her closet but I think we made serious headway and most importantly, we both learned.  And had fun.  And maybe we shared some wine.


Chantel is single which means she doesn't have to share any closet space with 20 near-identical dress shirts, 50 ratty t-shirts or any other items that aren't hers.  Closet space is of no concern, but organization is!  The closet has a single rod on one side, double rod on the other, ample shelving above and floorspace underneath, and built in shelving in the middle along the back.

Those cases are gone, Baby, gone.
I can barely remember being 24 let alone having a big beautiful closet when I was 24 so right there, all Chantel is going to get is my respect.  While she tried on some pieces she was iffy about, I set to work getting some semblance of organization on the rods.
By grouping pieces into colours and then from light-to-heavy wear, it makes it easy to see that you have 75 old white tee shirts and nothing yellow except a mustard cardi as if to spit in my eye.  Some people organize by style or season, but Chantel does not need to put away clothes seasonally, so why bother.  She's got better things to do, like go to work at 7:30am to help me.


Since she didn't have proper pants hangers, we ended up folding her pants...
and using both rods for her tops so that they were easily accessible and not back into the depths of her closet, though she could certainly put seldom-worn pieces back there.
We also folded her sweaters and weeded out a few.  And I threatened that if she ever wears a hoodie with runners, she's in style-jail.  Yes, Chantel, that counts even in 10-15 years when you're a haggard mother like me.
Chantel is in an in-between style season.  She is no longer a student but doesn't want to dress like an old lady older than her youthful personality.  She is a professional but still needs clothes for concerts, dates, lounging and helping out on the farm.  For which she kept her white hoodie.  I don't understand you young'uns.  
She ended up with a sizable pile to donate - and it is the perfect time to donate to VV considering the stamp card promotion is on now!  (Forgot to mention Chantel, bag this stuff up in grocery bags in order to get max stamps.)

We were able to identify a few holes in her wardrobe (chambray, decent shorts, crop pants for work, lightweight but warm long sleeve winter layering pieces, pink, yellow) and clarify some style direction (no more drab colours, try unexpected pieces together, wear those sweatshirts I covet with your cute dresses or skirts).  We used scarves and accessories to complete an outfit.  We made a bra bet.  We identified the need for some organizational aides:
 These are mine, but Chantel needs 3-4 in her front closet and maybe 2 more in her master closet.
You can also use these for scarves, small bags, hats, pencils, etc.

We agreed that, as a rule, you shouldn't keep clothes in your closet that are too big or too small in case you fit them one day; when you shop at VV or otherwise make smart purchases, it is far more valuable to know you can wear everything in your closet than have your clothes wrecking your day when it has just begun!  We also agreed that if you haven't worn something in the past year, if something just isn't your style even if it was a gift from a loved one unworn with tags on, if it's out of your style, you edit it out EVEN if it was expensive to begin with.  As I discovered during my closet edit, keep memento pieces and do save a small box for special pieces that you just can't part with.  And the last lesson learned: if there is even a remote chance it could be mistaken for a choir or convocation gown, it goes.    

Thanks Chantel for inviting me to your closet and letting me have my way.  Let me know when you decide to go redeem your stamp card and I'll help you find that chambray!

Monday 27 May 2013

Every Woman Needs A Wrap Dress

There was a moment of panic before I started this post because I could not find my camera.  I naturally blamed the kids, but nope, it was me.  I put it with my work bag.  Guess I figured that would be a late night draw.  Foolish. 

Thankfully, I had my wits about this morning and got my ace-photographer to snap some shots as we headed to the van.  I present the dress every woman needs: a wrap dress.
 H&M dress $6.50 from VV Boutique

This dress has a true wrap skirt - meaning it's highly susceptible to accidental reveals - so I wore my trusty and looooong Oxmo tank underneath and felt comfortable all day.   I even knelt down in front of visiting professionals to attempt to pick up the frogs I brought to work.  (I chickened out.  I can't be everything.)
I know this photo is blurry.  Should fire that photographer.
Those 5yo's are so unreliable.
I would have used a different pic but my expression in that one was all

My $7.70 espadrilles sandals were the perfect compliment (and comfortable all day), and, naturally, I added some simple accessories.

Wrap dresses are awesome for many reasons:
  1. They wrap.  Tie it a little tighter, a little looser - it always fits.
  2. The neckline is always flattering to the girls.  No matter your girls, they're going to look good wrapped in a wrap dress.
  3. The tie is always flattering to the waistline.  And then to make things even better, the skirt flows away from the body.
I love stripes, and with the spring black and white trend, this dress is May perfection, for $6.50.
Of course, I plan to wear this fab dress many different ways.  Starting tomorrow no doubt!

Thursday 23 May 2013

Styling an Ugly Pretty Cardi

I tend to think about what I'm going to wear while I'm in the shower.  By then, I've been up for a while and have an idea about the weather, my mood and if I have time to shave my legs.  This morning, I knew what I had in mind just wasn't quite right.  Didn't feel right.  Then I realized what I had wrong.  I like to wear my new pieces a couple times in a row, right off the bat.  I don't know why, but it is a trend.  As soon as I realized that, I knew what to wear.
 MEC skirt $5, Cleo knit tank $4.50, belt $2.10 all from VV Boutique

I had worn this camping skirt once before but didn't talk much about it, and the stripe knit tank only made it onto my Facebook page as an #ootd selfie.  They wanted to go to work with me!  So I dressed them up and took them to work.
Miz Mooz wedges $5.60 VV Boutique
Hair dressed up a la sock bun.

I wore the tank long to cover the casual-style pockets of the skirt, belted it because you can wear a belt even if you have boobs it added interest, then took my inspiration from the gold buckle for accessories.
 Yellow bib necklace gift from my sister, earrings from Accessorize.*

The wind was blowing and the ensemble needed a little something something so I added this vintage cardi, a gift from my sister for working the Mercer MarketI love this cardi.  It reminds me of those ModCloth or Anthro pieces that garner a second glance.  I summed it up for a colleague, and a warning, I'm not going to mince words: "The sweater is borderline ugly but looks cool if you're pretty."  Actually, that's not quite accurate.  I would like to revise my statement to: "The sweater is borderline ugly but looks cool if you wear it with style and attitude."  You pick.
Gold bracelet from Accessorize.  

I really liked how the pieces came together.  You'd never guess that was a camping skirt out on the town with all those other interesting friends.  Styling lessons:
  1. Don't try to match the ugly.  Instead, combine interesting pieces with some common element - for example, the gold accessories or the brown hues.
  2. Include a neutral something as rest and retreat place for the eyes.  OTs you know what I'm talking about.
  3. Go forth with attitude
Pretty easy, huh?!  Now you try and report back!

*I lost an earring.  I am pretty sad about that as I hate to lose any of my Accessorize stuff since it's no longer availableShe Does Create, I will be needing a custom pair of small goldish earrings ASAP.  Get your people to call my people.

Monday 20 May 2013

Camping Wardrobe Essentials

I am Canadian.  I camp on the May long weekend.  At least, this year I did.  It was a great weekend, made even better with two "camping shirts," as I've dubbed them, recently purchased from VV Boutique!  I risk revealing my glamorous life to share them with you now.
Hurley top $2, MEC skirt $5
Hurley in action here - paddling then helping me enjoy a coffee crisp s'more.
This Joe plaid top $2.50 from VV Boutique
helped me on not one but two family expeditions.

What exactly classifies as a camping shirt according to moi?  Lightweight, patterned to hide the inevitable grime, roomy to camouflage any effects of the camping diet (see above) and long to cover my butt crack when I paddle.  Like I said, glamorous.  But what really sold me on these two tops, besides the awesome price, were the pockets!  Both have roomy pockets that sit below my life jacket and held my phone, ample supply of tissue, camera, candy!  Camping wardrobe perfection!   

These two shirts got to experience some cool stuff...
 My 5yo thought we were hired by Hudson's Bay for real.
Wish I had something to scale here because that my friends is a deer pelvis.
Which is considerably smaller than my pelvis.  Who knew?
 Loon guarding her nest.  You don't see that every day.

We have some other camping trips planned this summer and you can bet I will be rocking these shirts every time.  For as many days in a row as I can get away with.  It's all part of the glamour.
Trailer bathroom photography.  Of course.

Thursday 16 May 2013

How to Wear White Pants if You're Not an Old Navy Model

The last time I wore white pants I was in grade 9.  I wore those white Levis button-fly jeans rolled, unrolled and with everything in my closet.  Ah, the good ol' days before many of you were born...  Since then, I have been understandably frightened of white pants.  I have basically been dirty since 2003 when I got my first puppy, and I was relatively clean then compared the the mess three kids incur.  Then there's the old adage that light colours make you look larger.  Maybe that's why fancy models wear all white - so that they can show up.  Then there's the undergarment issue.  Well, I recently found a pair of white denim at VV Boutique for $6.30 and figured that was a fair price to pay to conquer my fears.
 Blue stripe top $4.20 VV Boutique
Red shoes and accessories from my closet

Let's break it down.

Problem one: dirty.
Solution: my go-to for stains is using a bar of Sunlight soap and a toothbrush, followed by a good wash with some oxy.  The other solution besides yelling at your kids to stay away is to wear an apron.  I get dressed before entering the World of Downstairs, and put on an apron as soon as I cross the threshold.  It's like Narnia.  Same thing at the end of the day; I take off my coat and put on my apron.  I realize that makes me sound 94 years old.  Haters gonna hate.  Try it and you will discover the magic of the apron.

Problem two: undergarments
Solution: a little back story... on Mother's Day, there was a woman at the ice cream shop with her three children and I could see her elastic-band thong at the top of her pants.  That's swell for her but ain't happening for me.  Because sooner or later the pants come off and then it's just me and an elastic and that is a hideous visual.  I digress.  My point is that, we know you're wearing panties.  So who cares about panty lines.  I frankly would rather see them than not see them.  That being said, nude or light undergarments under white pants are your best bet for not drawing the eye unnecessarily to your rear.  Unlike what I'm about to do...
I am wearing white granny panties in case you're interested.

I am showing my rear view for educational purposes.  These pants have spandex in them and are prone to stretching and sliding.  This AWESOME incredible Flatter Me belt fixes that pronto without adding any bulk.  For anyone whose pants gape at the back waistband, go get yourself this belt.  It is adjustable from size 2 to 22, shipping is $3 in Canada and the designer is a home-grown local gal.  It's certainly cheaper than altering all your pants, and it looks great "invisible" or as a component of your outfitThe Flatter Me belt makes cheap pants viable.  I think everyone needs one.  Or more. 

Problem three: balance
Solution: White pants are pretty easy to style since they go with everything.  My style mentor does uphold that lighter colours look larger on; I'm not convinced but I can buy the argument for balance.  Maybe that's why I was drawn to horizontal stripes in a dark colour up top.  The stripes balance the bottom-white, the dark navy balances the white. 
 This top had belt loops in the wrong place for me so I just cut them off and wore it like a long tee.
I also added a cardi for more colour, pattern mixing and interest.
Accessories are a given.
 I prefer a trifecta of earrings, necklace and arm party.

White pants, you don't scare me anymore.  I am going to mess you up and wear you out.  In a good way.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

"Neon" Pink Canadian Beauty

So.  I've been wearing the same shirt for three days in a row because I really want to post it but keep running out of time in my day to snap some shots and blog.  That, and I also tend to get my styles per cost completed in succession.  Didn't know that about myself, but I'm learning it's a VV Boutique Style trend If I call it that, it makes me sound less unkempt.

Day 1 was Mother's Day whereupon I received a hand painted (with blue nail polish) washer necklace on neon pink plastic string, which turned out to be the inspiration for my ensemble for the day.  I paired my "neon" pinkish top - $5.60 from VV Boutique - with my blue skirt and headed off on a road trip involving puppies, ice cream and 5 guys.  I took one photo with me in it...
Of course you have the sprinkle cones on Mother's Day.

 And one thousand photos of these guys...
 I'd be panting too if I was nursing 9 babies.

I wore the top again on Monday to work, intending to write a rant about accessorizing.
Light gray belt $2.10, sandles $7.70 from VV Boutique!

You see, I worked at the Mercer Collective On the Spot Pop Up craft sale last Saturday for my sister, the talented designer behind She Does Create so I had all day to style watch.  While the women of Edmonton were dressed nicely for this artsy market, they were generally under-accessorized, IMHO.  Next time, I'm going all Stacy London "surprise" you at the store and style you according to my rules... Boom or bust sales approach, I will let you know.  But I will say this: put on a necklace.  Or a bracelet.  Or earrings.  Just put something on.  It doesn't need to "match."  My theory is that if women buy things that attract their eye then throw them together, they will "go" because it ends up reflecting your personal aesthetic.  And who can argue that it doesn't work?!  That's style, baby!  Anyhoo, no photos besides the one I instagrammed in the bathroom at work.  As usual

Day 3 was today, my Tuesday day off.  I paired the top with a simple denim skirt (Levis $5 from VV Boutique), Hispanitas and of course, I wore a necklace.
Just me and my life of glamour.

This time I got wild and crazy and put two necklaces together to make a more contemporary length...
She Does Create early works.

I could have cropped out my laundry in the photo above but I am continuing my rant illustrating a point.  I have a real life that involves real things, like Mount Laundry.  It's going to happen one way or another, so I might as well express my personal style while I do it.  Why not wear a nice necklace even if you're "only" doing laundry?!  Life is too short to waste nice necklaces.
 "Rare glimpse of the 'mythical' Accessorized Laundry Folder in her natural habitat."

 The necklace did make me feel quite glamorous...

Phew.  Now I can wear a different top tomorrow.  With a necklace, that goes without saying.