Friday 30 August 2013

Mr. Style Scores Some Boss

My husband is a great guy.  He is so enthusiastic understanding accepting of my *need* to go to VV Boutique frequently and even agreed to a quick stop on our anniversary date, if you can believe it, because I wanted to use up my 30% off coupons...  Good thing we stopped because this time it wasn't me that scored, it was him!

While I scoured the store (unsuccessfully) for a chambray, he checked out the menswear blazers and lo' and behold if he didn't find not just one but TWO Hugo Boss wool jackets in mint condition that fit him perfectly, along with a third Italian-wool blazer from custom clothier Sam Abouhassan.
 Navy Hugo Boss blazer $14
 It's like ANTM 2.0 Guys & Girls, VV Boutique-Styled...
Harder than it looks, ain't it, Hon?!

Mr. Style does not wear suits to work daily but he cleans up pretty good when he needs to!  He is just under 6'3" and has extra long arms, perfect for paddling but not-so-perfect for shirts and blazers - usually!
Gray Sam Aboushassan blazer $6.30
Work it!

I don't know how much a Hugo Boss blazer would go for regular retail, but I'm guessing a few hun at least and in any case, more than we can afford.  Same for the Sam Abouhassan; his suits start over $2000, and I'm guessing a blazer would be the 'expensive' piece of the duo.  Though all three jackets fit well, it would be worth the expense to tailor them specifically to Mr. Style given their condition and quality.
Black Hugo Boss blazer $16.80
He was thrilled with his finds and our boys were happy Daddy has a blazer just like them.
You can tell we both went to the same school of Very Serious Posing.

Naturally, he couldn't help but share about his amazing scores with his friends at work.  I would have liked to be a fly on the wall during that conversation...  They were duly impressed, and one even went out the next day and found ANOTHER HUGO BOSS BLAZER for himself from VV Boutique!  I may have just outed them both as thrifters, but I say, shout it from the rooftops because YOU'RE the BOSS!

Thursday 29 August 2013

First Day of School/Work

I may incessantly occasionally crack jokes about professionalism, but at heart, I love my job and feel it is a great blessing to do what I love in a community I love with awesome kids and schools.  Me and my OT/PT/SLP/FSLW peeps work hard to do right by these kids... and what harm is there in looking good while we do that hard work?!  Hence, 2 out of 4 of my work peeps texted me their back-to-work ensembles last night...
 I love everything about these outfits.  Especially my friends wearing them.

Another one made a special trip to the office to show off her mixed neutral print outfit that was regular retail and still under $10!  And the last one is unaware she is sitting on a style goldmine with her oxblood pants.  Pun intended.  Ladies, you all put the "PRO" in professional, and you look fantastic too!   

Looks like we all had blues and greens on the brain because here's what I chose for my first day back-to-work:
 Green Cleo shell $5, and Laundry by Shelli Segal skirt $4.90 both VV Boutique
 Pendant necklace and arm party by She Does Create.
Anne Ross shoes $9.10 VV Boutique
 The obligatory VV Boutique Style bathroom selfie.

I actually got caught for the first time ever taking this bathroom shot, thankfully by my colleague.  Here is the conversation that ensued:

Me: Oh!  You caught me taking bathroom self-photography.

Oxblood pants: Uh, why are you taking a picture of yourself in the bathroom mirror?

Me: (embarrassed) Because I like to.  (with dawning awareness of how bad that sounds)  I mean, I take them for my blog.  

OP: (practically) Don't you get a glare?  You should have someone else take them for you.

Me: (still embarrassed) I'm usually more stealthy about my vanity.  Anyway, it's kinda a tradition.

OP: (quizzically)  Really?!

Me: (gotta know when to fold 'em)  I'm going to leave now. (runs out of bathroom)

Hopefully that will be the last time I get caught because I know it won't be the last time for bathroom photography; it IS a tradition.  I AM a professional.  So there.  The end.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Fall Trends for the Everyday Mom

This time of year is bittersweet.  I hate to see the end of relaxed summer days but new fall routines are rejuvenating!  I am not sure if this is amplified because I work in the school system so I'm heading back-to-school with all the kids and wanting a new pencil box and fancy notebook to go with me.  This is also the one time of year when I actually purchase magazines.  I love to look at them at the library or in other people's bathrooms homes, but I personally don't like to pay more for a magazine than I do for a pair of pants, especially when there's Pinterest, the "magazine" of all time...except for Fall; there is something about the 7-pound fall magazines that I can't resist.
 Stack of happiness.

Last weekend while I camped at the Taj Mawalmart, I studied my mags in order to dutifully report back on fall trends.
 The Klassy family heading to breakfast in pajamas.
Momma Klass is wearing thrifted distressed jeans and shoes!

Behold, what caught my eye in the plethora of fall pages that might actually work for a 39-1/2-year-old everyday mom like me (us?):
  • prints - plaid, animal, polka dot, stripes, colour-block, floral, squares, hearts.  It seems any print can be worn stylishly if it isn't too matchy-matchy.
I liked In Style's presentation of patterns.
  • colour - rich tones like oxblood (why we can't call this burgundy any more is beyond me), cobalt, fuchsia, teal, emerald and on the other end of the spectrum, pastels.  So I take that to mean all colours are in.  You can't go wrong.

Corner folded.  I heart hot pink and can't wait to wear more!
  • ankle crop pants - with or without socks, rolled or flipped or down.  This is good news for me because I need to wear my crop pants with socks in winter.  I was apparently ahead of the trend on that one.  Thanks Canada for the style prompt.
Even showing a little skin, I note...
  • statement necklaces, pendants, layered necklaces - some mags said no to layering but then the ads and layouts still had layered necklaces.  Is this just a ploy to get me to keep buying necklaces?  Whatev, I'm going to anyhow so just be straight with me, Trends.  I think any necklace is better than no necklace so pick something and finish your outfit.
 I don't care if Bazaar says not to layer, I like this look.
Also, I have a lot of necklaces that would like to be worn.
  • menswear vibe - oxford shoes and blazers is about all I will take from this trend.  I noted a lot of models with hair pulled back severely and very structured clothing.  All that would do for the likes of me is reveal my forehead wrinkles and make me feel claustrophobic in my clothes.  Pass.
Blazers I can do.  Because I can unbutton for extra breathing.
  • fifties vibe - full skirts, midi-length skirts, sweaters, simple eye make-up with bright lips.... I'm gravitating more to these looks.

So much for no mid-calf.  Rules schmules.
  • sweatshirts - with interesting details and paired with everything from jeans to fancy skirts.  

I hope people don't realize how trendy sweatshirts are before donating all the cool ones.
  • printed pants - don't throw out your coloured pants because they are still going strong, but pick up pants in just about any print and you'll be the T in trend.  If they are printed AND textured, you can go right ahead and add a "Y" to trend.
 Look at those cobalt pumps!  Swoon.

Well, those are more than enough trends to keep me busy this Fall!  Starting tomorrow, I'm back to work and busier than ever!  And I *may* have a few "new" trendy pieces just waiting to go out!

As for the mags themselves, what has happened???  Am I just getting old?  I found the rip out and pin up looks few and far between with one exception: Red Book.  That mag was worth every penny!  Great style examples, good articles, nice layout...  I won't dis the other mags but I will say, save your money and buy crop pants instead.   

What is NOT on trend?  Well, apparently if you are emaciated and miserable, anything is chic.
 "We are hangry."

For the rest of us, I would venture that none of us will land in the "Glamour Don't" pages if we wear what makes our hearts happy and put some effort into our style - some intention.  Yep, that's it - INTENTION.  The only thing that isn't trendy is portraying an "I don't care about myself" image or vibe.  That's not cool, because YOU are worth time and effort!  

Did I miss anything that everyday women are snatching up this fall?  What trend are you most looking forward to?

Saturday 24 August 2013

Club Wear

This may come as a surprise, but I do a lot of clubbing.  I love clubs so much, I am always trying to convince my friends to go to new clubs.  Every week I have a new idea for a great club.  Now before you call the authorities to report the 39-year-old mom in gold lamé dancing on the tables, I will admit those days never existed are over.  I've never been that sort of club-girl, but I do love book club, Splurge club, wine club, dinner club, restaurant adventure, card club, crop club...  If it is remotely club-y, I like-y.  

This week was a bonus week because Thursday was Splurge Sorority and Friday was Friday Night Book Club and I had the chance to wear some hand-me-down dresses with thrifted pieces.
Black high-low dress passed on from my sis.  Jewelry from my closet.

I had actually worn this dress during the day with a woven belt and casual accessories.  Though I neglected to take a photo, I was pleased at how easy it was to style the dress up or down.  The racer-back fit is surprisingly flattering on big boobs and arms without-muscle tone.  I even found a bra in my drawer with straps that can cross since I am old school and don't like my bra straps showing.  If you "like" my Facebook page, you will know the back-story behind these shoes... 
The Shoes I Didn't Steal $9.10 Anne Ross, unworn
 All from VV Boutique

 Next up is a printed maxi dress, also passed on by my sis
 Shoes from my closet, belt $2.10 from VV Boutique
Earrings by She Does Create

I love red and blue together; throw pink in the mix and I am even happier.  However, when I first put the dress on, I didn't love the fit.
Waistline, where are you?!

Fortunately, a belt saved the day!  Add simple accessories like this coral bracelet from Cuba and I'm good to go!  I also wore my short sleeve poppy cardi but was too busy talking books and snuggling babies to snap a shot.
Proof of my love of blue is my sapphire wedding ring!

There you have it.  Now, a collective sigh of relief that I didn't subject the public to too-short age-inappropriate club wear.  

I should really start a thrifting club...

Wednesday 21 August 2013

DIY Distressed Denim

It has taken me a long time to get here.  What can I say, I'm old school.  I basically think ripped jeans should be recycled into cut-offs or patches, but then I noticed that people are ripping their cut-offs and patches.  Then Anthropologie sent out their little denim teaser and there were A LOT of expensive holes and that just made me determined to get the same look with thrifted denim.  I'll show you, Anthropologie!  SO.  I have been on the hunt for a light-wash relaxed-fit boyfriend-style pair of jeans that I can distress...  Meet Levis:
$9 Levis from VV Boutique chillaxin on my island with no idea what's about to happen...

Next, I turned to the source for all things educational.  (That is a joke.)  You Tube.  I surveyed a few different tutorials, then decided this one looked most promising and gave it a go.
I made two slits with scissors, grabbed my tweezers then started pulling.  Just as the video promised, the blue threads started to come out with surprising satisfaction.  Next came the sanding block.  Also satisfying.  I sanded the knees, thighs (er, fronts that is, not inners since those get "sanded" over time all on their own) and back pockets.
I was happy with the end result until I went shopping with a friend and noted the higher distress level in jeans all around me!!
 My father would not have let me out of the house in these as a child,
despite that the Rag & Bone pair on the left was as soft as butter and cost a couple hun.

I was thinking I might need to distress my Levis some more, but decided denim with holes-at-all was a good start, and I needed to leave actual real-time real-wear distress a chance to happen.  So I wore them for Park Hop 2013 today.
 Go ahead and fall off the monkey bars, my pants are already ripped.
Distressed denim such as these can be paired with anything from pumps to ankle boots to sneakers.  I wore mine with flats and a loose but feminine sheer top and simple accessories from my closet.
 Top $7, shoes $4 VV Boutique

I LOVED these distressed jeans!  They were comfortable for all my park activities...
That balance beam is about six inches off the ground but I hope my dramatic pose has you believing I'm a daring-distressed-denim-gymnast.

And what can I say?  I felt trendy.  And I liked it.  I think the distress-level can vary with, eh-hem, age, and subtler distressing is more suitable for a mature kick-ass-long-slide-sliding mother such as myself.  For $9 and some (very minimal) sweat and tears, I am one happy VV Boutique customerThat is how you try a trend!

Monday 19 August 2013

Recap Reveal #1

When I went shopping last week with Sheri Landry,we made fast friends with the brand new Value Village in Sherwood Park.  I had the pleasure of recapping our experience over on Sheri's blog, This Bird's Day.  The general gist of it is that... I love thrifting!  Surprise!  And now that I have some fall pieces, I can cope with the impending doom of August-end.  No more night owl, no more lazy weekday morning cuddles with my kids, but at least I will have nice ensembles to look forward to.... Oh fine, also the routine and rejuvenation that September brings, not to mention my awesome job (as a pediatric Occupational Therapist LOVING working with so many cool kids including ones like Max) and crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, etc.  I think I now win an award for being the earliest to mention PSL.  Sorry, or you're welcome??  Anyhoo, after my shopping trip with Sheri at the new VV Boutique in Sherwood Park, I am the proud new mum to 12 fab pieces, including this cobalt beauty.  Cobalt is a hot fall colour trend, so I was thrilled to find a cobalt piece with stripes, my fave:

  Old Navy top $4 VV Boutique
Flatter Me belt $31 on line

I worked with my jewelry-designing sis She Does Create at the St. Albert Farmers' Market on Saturday and got to spend all day long with pretty accessories, like the green turquoise beaut I'm wearing here.  Um, seeing it here, Shannon, I may *need* you to set it aside for me...  It's not my fault; it bonded with my blouse and now my blouse is lonely.
 Gray flats $4 VV Boutique

I paired my stripes with an old clothing-swap printed skirt from my closet and layered a tank, not just for looks but so I could shed a layer for the exerting endeavour known as "taking down the tent."  The tent almost won.

While I was "working," my pal Janelle of Riverbend Gardens popped by.  Janelle is a farmer now but once upon a time she was the best Occupational Therapy Assistant a girl could ask for.  Aside from excellent therapy, we also complimented each other on style and maybe even included that as a team goal.  I am very very schmery professional.  (I actually am, but I know team comes from joy and better work comes from more joy... you get the idea.  *Please don't fire me.)  Anyhoo, Janelle gave me the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how to accessorize a simple tee.  I neglected to take a before pic so close your eyes and envision a plain black v-neck tee and jeans.  Now open:  
 Janelle is Farmerette-Plus in these accessories!

You don't have to have all these elements to get a look that works, but I was pleased to see that a basic tee could pull of the accessory trifecta (earrings, necklace, bracelet) plus a belt and bag.  How you put it all together in your own unique way is what gives style!  Thanks Janelle for being a guest model on VV Boutique Style.  I mean, Janelle, is it okay if I publish pictures of you for all the world to see?  (I love you! xoxo)
Last but not least, how could I resist this mirror-photography moment?!  I did however resist pocketing the pretty necklaces as I parted them... Very big of me not to steal (more) from my sister.  (I love you! xoxo)

Thursday 15 August 2013

M.I.M. (Mom in Maxi Skirt)

My love for maxi dresses in summer is a well-known fact but for some reason, I scoffed at the idea of a maxi skirt even though the fashionable ladies of Ain't No Mom Jeans keep featuring them as viable options for busy moms.  That might have been because I didn't have a maxi skirt...until recently.  Lo and behold on a recent drive-by of the skirts at VV Boutique, I found a maxi skirt in great neutral colours, flattering stripes and great fabric that will leave all I got going on underneath to the imagination, where it belongs.
Arcadia skirt $6 and Black sandals $7.70 VV Boutique
Pool noodle and hose are part of my glamour shoot.

Now, ANMJ depicts the maxi skirt in action at the beach, at the park, at festivals, running errands - doing everything we moms need to do in a day.  So, I figured I would give my maxi skirt a mom test drive.  I wore it while friends came over, to the grocery store, to clean up fifty thousand messes during the day, and to play...
Yeah, I have a pink basketball, what of it?

It was a warm humid day so I wanted something sleeveless and decided a fitted top was better balanced with the maxi.  And, er, this was basically my only clean option. 
Er, seems a little busty now that I see it in a photo, so I will explain.
I was sucking in, apparently excessively.
*Posture not natural.
A little arm party never hurt an ordinary Thursday.

Upon further examination of the ANMJ inspiration, maxi skirts are almost always paired with looser tops.  Oops.  Next time.  I will happily report that the maxi skirt was indeed comfortable and easy to wear throughout my day.
And I made the shot!