Tuesday 29 October 2013

Peggy's Closet

I have mentioned many times that I have Awesome friends.  I capitalize that because they are that good.  I am so blessed and grateful.  My favourite Megan has modeled for VV Boutique Style (here, here and over here); she is a big supporter of my talented jewelry-designing sister She Does Create (they even did a parking lot deal once, it was very espionage-esque); she did a child care swap with me for a year and has shared many nights dinners of "sister-wives" (banding together, c'mon people) when our husbands are out of town; and she indulges my big ideas at work.  She's pretty awesome and one of the reasons why she is so awesome is because she has an amazing mom.  Peggy is a mother of four who started law school when baby 3 started school, then found out she was expecting baby 4 just after starting her third year and delivered said princess the day before her last law exam.  Peggy finished law school and has raised her family while climbing the legal ranks.  She has a sweet office, is well read (she's the one in our book club that can give the history and background of the issues off the top of her head), is still sweethearts with her hubby, and is kind and generous to family, friends and community.  I couldn't have been more pleased to help Peggy go through her closet and put some outfits together.

Peggy did her homework and went through her wardrobe and pulled everything that didn't currently fit.  Normally, I would recommend keeping only select pieces that don't fit - at most a size above or below - but Peggy has Rheumatoid Arthritis and the medications wreak havoc on her body causing significant size fluctuations (all of which she handles with grace and a great attitude; so inspiring).  So, Peggy pulled boxes of clothes from her closet but will keep them and swap them out as she changes sizes.  Because of this, I didn't want to focus on styling specific pieces but rather on styling concepts that can be applied to whatever is currently in her closet.  Megan and her little sis came to spectate and give me wine and candy the thumbs up or down.  All in all, we had a blast! 
Peggy has a *section* of leather jackets.  Yet she has 4 belts.
This is what one would define as an enigma.

Peggy has a youthful, funky personal style.  No doubt having a 22yo fashionista in the house (with the same size feet) doesn't hurt, but she is conscious of not trying to look like a 22yo but like the dynamic 55yo she is!  She has an allergy to metal which complicates the whole "accessorizing" thang.  Fortunately, she had pearls and other beaded options on hand, as well as necklaces that can be worn over clothing.
These funky embellished jeans are a great example of Peggy's style.  High quality, subtle details!  Mixing interesting denim with a neutral top, structured blazer and fun finishers like the studded wedge boots and pretty scarf is an age-appropriate fashion formula in the making!
Peggy had this suit made to fit!  
  1. Hounds-tooth or any small print essentially functions as a neutral.  The print does not need to have the colour of your suit in it; it has to go not match!  Here Peggy wears her top untucked with her blazer cuffed and more casual shoes in a deep burgundy - #mixnotmatch!  She would finish this look with hosiery and supportive undergarments, but I spared her the exercise of it during our dress-up session!
  2. To change the look, Peggy tucked and added a belt.  Nope, there are no belt loops - belt loops are not required!  
  3. Swap the shell and add an unmatched blazer to add new life to suit separates.
  4. While we are not matching, why not try pretty teal shoes or any pop of colour in your footwear!  Peggy is under advisement from her therapy team (that would be me and Megan) to avoid heels and fortunately has many beautiful flats to play with!
  1. Peggy has this cozy sweater dress which we styled with leggings or skinny bottoms, and a blazer to fulfill the formula "short over long over skinny."  The pendant adds the third element to fulfill the rule of 3 but a scarf would also work.
  2. If only Peggy had a wide belt, this look would work better!  I just wanted to show her that you can tuck a dress into a skirt to get a different look.
One of the things I love about Peggy is that when she sees something she likes, she buys it in more than one colour.
  1. This dress had such a forgiving fit and interesting details.  Her beautiful belt from China added further definition to her curves and she added the blue pumps herself!  Love it!  (quick study!)  (though let's be clear, Peggy, those shoes are for sitting in your case.  If you don't listen to me I'm going to come over and talk about OT for as long as you wore the shoes + one hour.)  The pretty details on the dress are almost an element in and of themselves, but we added a beaded bracelet just in case, which gave us an excuse to discuss "arm party" and now Peggy has something to shop for.
  2. Swapping the elements - the belt and shoes - and adding a blazer make the dress look completely different.  She had many blazers that would coordinate but was oddly missing an olive blazer, which I envisioned with this dress.  When you're styling an outfit and something doesn't feel right, change up an element before you scrap the whole thing.  Often, my choices depend on the feel of the day more than anything else so don't discard an idea altogether just because it didn't work on Monday.
  1. This navy basic would look great with any blazer but I wanted to demonstrate a more casual look with a cardi.  
  2. And while we're wearing a cardi, let me show you how to belt it!
  3. And while we're showcasing a cold-weather look with boots, we might as well throw on sea foam leather.  And YES you can wear brown boots with navy, or black or anythingMix your neutrals for some layering fun!   
  1. Same concept, non-neutral dress.  BTW the blue of the cardi was nowhere else in the dress but the tones were complimentary so it worked.  Plus it gave me an excuse to suggest her Tory Burch belt which I may have held a little too long for everyone's comfort.
  2. Swapping the cardi for a blazer illustrated that finishing pieces are easily interchangeable. I liked the repetition of gold accents and wanted Peggy to know that you CAN belt over a print. 
  1. Peggy wanted to know how to style a shirt dress.  The same formula of short over long over skinny works well with shirt dresses.  They are so comfy and casual chic, especially in classic chambray.  
  2. But if Tory wants to reverse and go out, oblige!  
  3. Tall boots work well and flats are pretty in warm weather with this look, but ankle boots or she-booties also work.  If you've got leopard print wedges, why not?!!    
  1. Since Peggy is often chilly at work, she can pull of this look of a long sweater layered over a 'fancy' dress to make it more casual.  I would boil.  I loved using a pretty brooch as the third element!
  2. In this look, I wanted to show Peggy that you can layer a blouse over a dress.  It doesn't always work but you never know unless you try!  Lo and behold she rocked the monochromatic trend!
  1. Peggy wondered if she could wear these white pants.  Uh yeah!  They are a contemporary ankle-crop length which leads me to an important point for Canadian women who need to wear socks: try different socks and be adventurous!  You can easily wear a nude trouser sock, but try a tonal crew sock or a light-weight patterned sock too.  Though this particular blazer is too big for Peggy, I wanted to show her that you can even belt a blazer.  Why not?  Tory Burch deserves to be seen and heard!
  2. Purple leather helped to illustrate how you can mix high-end with low-end (the blouse is Forever 21).  In fact, if not thrifting, the low-end stores are a great way to try trendy pieces without spending much.  Peggy's necklace is my favourite bubble necklace.  I would jump up and down all day just to enjoy the music of it!
  1. I saved my favourite for last: distressed J Brand boyfriend denim.  On my swoon!!  Dang Peggy has good taste!  But to make these age appropriate, we added a 'fancier' top and knit blazer, with a cozy scarf and gray suede pumps to finish the look!  LOVE!  
  2. Swap scarf for pendant and a bolder shoe.
  3. Swap pendant for belt and add an interesting blazer.
  4. Any fancier top + blazer (knit, striped, leather, linen) + belt or necklace or scarf = fantastic styling!  You could wear any cute shoe or she-booties with these pants!  Roll your boyfriend jeans to just above the ankle bone - try a she-bootie! 
PHEW!  That was hard work but so worth it with all the fun and interesting looks we put together!  Whether you have a capsule wardrobe like Nadine or a plentiful wardrobe like Peggy, the concepts are the same:
  • you need foundational, fun and finishing pieces; swap within each category to play with your styling.
  • mix prints
  • layer
  • dress + sweater or blouse
  • belt over sweater, dress, cardi or blazer
  • add a pop of colour via your shoes
  • There may be trends, fashion "rules" and guidelines and these vary depending on who's talking.  My perspective - if you love it, if it makes your heart sing, then go for it.
  • The bottom line: give it a try!  You never know how something is going to look until you try. 
Thanks for the fun time in your closet Peggy.  Wait, that sound bad....  Thanks for a great evening of "shopping your closet" - using existing pieces in new ways to expand the life of your wardrobe!


  1. LOVE this idea!!! I may have to hire you my friend:)...for the fun, wine, companionship and dedicated time to this type of endeavor! - mmm

  2. Oh, my, I love your closet, Peggy!! :) You look amazing, and I love all the style combinations you guys came up with! Especially your J Brand jeans - those are awesome & I am jealous & you look great! :)

  3. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in my family you haven't styled... I think we need to get on that in the New Year!!

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