Sunday, 25 January 2015

Funnel Neck Sunday

What I wish the title said is "Funnel Cake Sunday" but alas my Sunday was cakeless.  However, it was a warm January day for a cozy blackless outfit!
Charcoal sweater $7, skirt $4.20, boots $4.50 VV Boutique
Tights and earrings from my closet

I scored this Italian wool sweater at the St. Albert sneak peek and it has been keeping me cozy despite not being properly blogged till now.  It is the softest wool and over-sized without being dowdy.
Unless you're a size -2 model, oversize can be a bit tricky to pull off.
Better to err on the side of not too oversized.
A "funnel" neck, by the way, is a turtle neck without a fold according to the VVBS Official Style Dictionary.
(Totally made all that up.)

These sweaters seem to be styled simply - not much by way of necklaces in the mags or on Pinterest.  That doesn't mean you can't wear a necklace, but I was busy this morning making gingerbread pancakes which cut into my getting ready time.  Earrings were all I could grab without being even more late for church.
These earrings are B.T. (Before Thrifting) and are amongst my faves!

Anything oversized looks balanced with a fitted bottom...
It was so warm today I didn't even need a coat.

Walking down the lane...
Only to discover my puppy has been snacking on Christmas lights.

I loved the pop of colour in the skirt and the texture of the sweater and tights and boots...
 These boots might not be leather but they're comfortable and versatile!

I wanted to wear this charcoal sweater before the last week of Black Out Style is upon me - I'll be focusing on getting as much colour into the last days as possible, starting with complementary colours for tomorrow's Monday Style Prompt!  It's not too late to join in and forgo black for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate from She Does Create!  Just let me know you're participating to be entered into the draw! 
No black is easy to do with fab thrifted pieces like these!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

Update from the front:

     Days without fever in the house - 0
     Days without complaining - 0
     Days without watching too much Hulk - 0

That's right, since January 5th at least one person in my household has had a nasty fever virus every single day, and we're not done yet.  That means that normal functioning, like a full night's sleep and well-planned outfits, are out the window for the mom.  That's me.  

I wanted to call this post, "What to Wear When You Wish You Were Staying Home With Your Sick Kids" then decided that was overly descriptive.  But the gist of it is, I'm a working mom and a sometimes solo-parent so months weeks like these are about survival while trying not to look like total crap.  And with that winning introduction, here's my OOTD, voila!
Pink cord blazer $9 Salvation Army Thrift Shop
Gap navy cords $4.20, Clarks booties $10 VV Boutique
Heart necklace $2 MCC Thrift Shop
Plain white tee and other accessories from my closet

I have wanted to wear this pink blazer for a while!  I love the details...
The buttons and ruching around the shoulders and pockets won me over!

But everything I paired it with felt too stiff.  So I did a little Pinterest research on blush blazers when I couldn't sleep while listening to my wee ones cough and cough and cough, and the predominant pairing was a white under-layer.  That worked perfectly well for my Wednesday since about all I could manage was a plain white tee...
And an accessory trifecta, but that's so I don't feel naked.
I'm down two photographers, including my best 4yo.
The remaining 9yo likes to take creative shots... of Mommy's roots.

Last weekend during my closet edit with Kristen, we discussed that a blazer is an easy way to upgrade your look, and today that proved to be true.  It was a simple outfit, but the interesting pink blazer made it look more polished and professional and stylish.
Couldn't help but notice I matched the sunrise!
You started off pretty, Wednesday, and finished with one kid on the mend!
Not bad for a Wednesday!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Business Casual Closet Remix

Of all the fun opportunities this thrifting adventure has brought me, working with real life women on affordable style is my favourite!  Today, I met Kristen to go through her closet before our planned thrift shopping trip in a couple weeks.
She is kind enough to give half to her husband.

Kristen is a smart and spunky 26-year-old who is rising through the managerial ranks in the university campus setting.  She is driven to succeed and knows the importance of having a style that reflects her ambition.  Her workplace dress code is fairly liberal, allowing denim and even more casual pieces, but Kristen wisely has been upgrading her style with the goal of polished "business rocker-chic casual."  Yep, we made up that highly technical term!  Kristen's Pinterest style board has a distinct vibe that perfectly reflects her personality.  She is feminine but edgy, tends towards black as her main neutral, and likes contemporary patterns like plaid and stripes.  She has a wide-range of duties and needs to be able to move easily then put on a blazer for a meeting.  Here are some of the looks we came up with from her existing pieces!
This knit sheath dress was the perfect opener to discuss the "rule of 3" - your ensemble needs 3 noticeable elements to be "complete."  This may be a colourful tank peeking from a button up with a cardi or blazer; a dress, jacket and necklace; or swap in a belt, scarf, earrings or bangles for one of those elements.  Try it for yourself - with only 2 elements, things look ... boring mannequin.  Whether you have 3 layers, or a main top + a finishing piece + an accessory, or a dress + 2 accessories, aim for a minimum of 3 for a great look!
Wear a chambray or button-up UNDER a dress for added versatility.
A pop of colour through accessories adds interest!
Kristen is not afraid of wearing black and brown together!
Same dress, scarf and boots, totally different look!
Kristen is also not afraid of wearing blue and black!
We discussed that you can mix and match neutrals freely as a general style principle.
Though we concluded this dress is too unstructured for work, Kristen can still wear it for the rest of her life!
We liked the lace-up boot for a biker vibe, and the tall boot for a more classic look.

Next we moved onto pencil skirts!
Kristen LOVED the plaid shirt/pencil skirt combo!
A quick Pinterest search revealed that this look is a favourite of fashionistas!
Another easy and age-appropriate look: pencil skirt + statement tee + blazer.
A unique and fun print like this space tee is interesting without being *too* edgy.
This grey pencil skirt is totally versatile!

The fourth look features a fairly conservative top.  We discussed that adding some kind of edgy touch to otherwise tame pieces allows Kristen to stay true to her style aesthetic, so she added boots with studs and a neutral skull-print scarf to rock it up!  The fifth look illustrated an easy style formula: short over long over skinny.  Works every time!  

With skirts and dresses, Kristen can wear leggings with booties and boots, or tights with flats to keep the leg line continuous.  Next we moved onto pants!
Kristen has a few pairs of classic skinny work pants.  She only needs to apply the basic style principles to get a look that works.  We discussed that adding "default black" shoes or scarf is a move that anyone would make, but stepping out of the default and reaching for a pop of colour or pattern mix is where personal style starts to show!
Same principles - short over long over skinny, rule of 3, pop of colour!
On the right, Kristen's mix of colours works because they all have similar hues.  Her black belt and blazer anchor the look.
Navy polka dot ankle crops - LOVE!
Swap out the finishing elements for a totally different look!

Kristen has a relatively small wardrobe - relative to me anyway! - yet she managed to create so many looks following some basic style principles:
  • the rule of 3
  • short over long over skinny
  • pop of colour rather than default black
  • mix dressy with casual
  • mix and match neutrals
  • stripes as a default easy-to-mix pattern
  • add an edgy element to otherwise conservative pieces
We also discussed reorganizing her closet - putting all the dresses together, all the blazers/cardis/finishers together then arranging tops by colour.  Put accessories on a cork board or hooks so they are easy to see.  The goal is to make your closet system as user-friendly as possible to take the frustration out of getting dressed in the morning, and Kristen is well on her way!

There are a few holes in Kristen's wardrobe and I can't wait to take her thrifting to see what we'll find!  Stay tuned for the next chapter in our adventure!  Meanwhile, thanks for opening your closet to me, Kristen!  I had a great time and I think you look amazing!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

How to Wear a Vintage Sweater

Not sure if you caught my thrifter-stalker moment on Instagram last week...  You see, Goodwill Alberta has an excellent social media presence, and they have been posting a fun series of pics "Sweater or Sofa" - they post a close up and you guess which!  They posted this last Friday...
And I correctly guessed it was a sweater!!  Ta Da!
I then tweeted Goodwill AB and asked where this beauty could be found, ya know, just in case... As luck would have it, I had just enough time for a thrifting pit stop on my way home from work so I snatched this vintage sweater up before anyone else could snag it!  AND I LOVE IT!  I don't know if it's the dark floral or the easy fit or the indestructible vintage fabric but whatever it is, this sweater has magic!
Sweater $7 Goodwill

Vintage pieces can be a bit tricky to wear because the fit is so... vintagey.  This sweater is fairly boxy and the sleeves are short, which brings me to my first styling tip: roll the sleeves!
Don't let short sleeves keep you away from vintage beauties!
I can hardly stand full length sleeves anyway - they get in my way!

Styling tip #2 for a vintage sweater: pair with contemporary-fit pants.
Ankle crop skinnies fit the retro vibe without being too vintage.

Tip #3: Accessorize.  Today I went for my usual accessory-trifecta of earrings, necklace, bracelet because I didn't want a scarf getting in the way of the beautiful sofa-y print, but generally, a contemporary scarf would make a fine match for a vintage sweater.
Earrings and bracelets by She Does Create, necklace $1.50 from Hope Missions Bargain Shoppe.

Tip #4: Wear makeup.  If the rest of your look is "dowdy" or unpolished, you run the risk of looking as old as the sweater.  Wait, that would make me about 20... never mind that.  You run the risk of looking tired, in the out-of-date manner.
I am tired, in the never-enough-sleep manner.

Same goes for the girls.  Now is not the time for a saggy situation in the front, so if for any reason you have a stretched out old brassiere, don't even think of wearing it with a vintage sweater.  Tip #5: wear your best bra so your curves show in the right way!

And now go forth and thrift your very own one-of-a-kind vintage sweater!  You may think it looks like a sofa, but apply my 5 styling tips and you'll soon fall in love!
I'm so glad I found you, Vintage Sweater!
Thank you Goodwill AB!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

First Base

I had no idea when I issued this week's Monday Style Prompt - to wear short sleeves over long sleeves - that it would be so challenging to pull it off!  There were plenty of inspiring options on Pinterest and I *thought* I had lots of options in my closet.  Welllllll, a day later and two garments lighter, I came up with an outfit that didn't knock it out of the park, but maybe limped to first base...
I tried.
Olive Gap skirt consigned for $13.60 from reFind Clothing
Tights, bangles and earrings from my closet

On Sunday night, I simply ran out of steam to figure out my Monday Style Prompt OOTD and foolishly thought I would have plenty of time in the morning, as if I've never met Monday Morning before.  Well, needless to say, once my first plan didn't work out...
I knew I was in trouble.
As cute as this knit piece is, it's not for me.  I think it's meant for a girl 5 feet tall.
I also got rid of this short sleeved knit - it had a chance and let me down!  
Voted out of the closet!  No room for one-trick ponies!

I turned to plan B and some quick Pinspiration...
Swap the peep toes for boots because it's winter.
Swap the coffee for wine because I took these photos after work.

I think I would have liked this look better with some cute pumps but, honestly, I was too lazy to change my footwear.  Some Mondays are like that... or is it just me?
I do think I managed to capture the relaxed-comfy-cotton vibe of the Pinspiration.

By the time I had this outfit on, it was too late.  I had to leave for work, so I grabbed a scarf and hoped for the best.
"Bird scarf saves the day!"

In the end, I got compliments from one teacher and one little girl who complimented each piece of my ensemble separately.  So I took that for a win!
First base is good enough for some Mondays!

I haven't given up on the idea of short sleeves over long sleeves!  I love all the Monday Style Prompt looks people shared... I will give it another try one day and see if I have more luck.  What do YOU think of short sleeves over long sleeves?  Did you try it?  Did you like it?!!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cozy Weekend Style

I'm going on 7 days of sick so what you're about to see won't win photography fame or style fame for that matter but it's part of my real life style so I'm sharing anyway.  Sometimes I think Pinterest and Instagram set up an unrealistic unattainable standard of living, shocking I know.  Though they usually are inspiring, I also love glimpses into real life.  They may not get as many likes, but they resonate with those of us who sometimes wear boring low-key outfits, who spend our weekends doing laundry and baking cookies, who just don't have it all together all the time.
Gap wool sweater $7 VV Boutique
J Brand denim from my closet

I saved this sweater for Black Out Style, knowing it would be the perfect casual cozy piece! 
Glamour duo.
Now I want one.  And so do you.
Did a lot of this today in a chair as hold as the hills.
Just call me decor queen.
Borrowed the scarf from my roomie!
Loved how it added some metallic dimension to the sweater.
Fireplace selfie.

So there you go.  Jeans and a sweater, cookies and a fire.  Not so bad, huh?
Cozy sweater, cozy fire!