Day 179

June 28th, 2016

# 9 No fast fashion. Learn to develop your own style.


Outfit: Black dress worn forward, over boyfriend jeans, tan MizMooz wedge shoes. Antique rose drop earrings. Unique neck piece, yes, that is made out of doilies. I’m going with it!


Buy style not fads. Current fashion retailers like to tell you that trends are moving fast and that in order to be fashionable you need to pick up the latest and greatest. They do not tell you that the only reason they are moving fast is because they designed it that way. Fast fashion feeds into our need for instant gratification and constant change. In this society where it is hard to stay put for more than 30 minutes at anything that is not on a screen, fast fashion fits right in. The problem is that you could not possibly re-invent fashion so much that it would be so different each time. The proof of this is that they are now re-introducing trends that were in vogue just a few years ago. 80’s and 90’s is cool again? High waist jeans?  Seriously? And they talk about it like it’s the greatest and newest thing since sliced bread. Like nobody has done it before! So what is the solution to this? In the words of Coco Chanel:

“When fashion fades, style remains”.

You must be able to discover what it is that looks good on you. Not only proportion, style and texture, but also what fits your personality and everyday life. A lot of sustainable brands are no longer targeting an age or income demographic, but rather a lifestyle, because this is what will ultimately dictate your preference in clothing.

I want to invite you to watch this video from Cladwell. Remember the company I mentioned a few days ago on building wardrobe capsules? The video does not talk about the business, but about fast fashion and why we should take a different route when approaching our purchases.

Why We Want to (beat) Fast Fashion

 

 

 

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Day 161

June 9th, 2016

Welcome dear Cotton, welcome!


Outfit: New old black dress worn backwards, turquoise stone necklace, black mary jane shoes, hoop earrings.


It’s 35 degrees in the middle of June! Compared to where I used to live in Mexico, this is winter, but for someone who’s been in Canada more than 25 years, summer in June is pretty extreme.

So I had to go to the fabric store and got this fabulous 95%Cotton/5%Spandex poplin, to make a third copy of the dress. I do realize that organic cotton would have been ideal, but once again, you work with what you have available. I left the box pleat open to give it more room for ventilation, and I love the result. I also included patch pockets instead of side seam pockets…not sure which I prefer. Anyway, I think I’m doing pretty good considering I just found out that Sheena (original Uniform Project) had 7 copies of the little black dress.

19 days to go!

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Day 157

June 5th, 2016

Look …it’s shiny!


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, skinny black belt, black chunky boots. Metal studded peter pan collar.


One last trend…I really wanted to show you this one! I don’t usually like metallics. I had a fully striped metallic strapless evening gown that I wore one time to a fancy gala when I was about 17. The dress didn’t fit me very well, it was tight. So I could feel the seams actually ripping and unraveling. It was itchy and uncomfortable and so I think that experience has scarred me for life against metallic fabrics! But shinny stuff is fun, so when I found this metal stud collar, I knew I could make it work. I have made it so it is detachable and it can be worn with other stuff! Love it.1-lanvin-spring-2016-rtw_metallictrend

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Day 155

June 3rd, 2016

Ruffles…but not the potato chips.


Outfit: V neck shift grey dress with ruffle hem, worn under black dress worn forward. Black chunky boots, steam punk earrings.


Ok, so, thus far I’ve illustrated the following points:

 #1: Look for something in your own wardrobe that works as a trend. Day 152, Stripes.
#2:  Incorporate an aspect of the trend, like texture. Day 153, Lace.
#4:  Do not copy the trend ‘as is’ adapt it to fit your style, Day 154, Slip dress

The only point left is #3: Buy only one item per season that is trendy.

The item I am showing you today is probably the one where I would go out and purchase something to exemplify this trend. Only because I feel that the styling of the ruffles showed is a little more frilly and soft than what I have available and what I’m showing you. I might have gotten a georgette shirt with small floral print. Or maybe a scarf that has ruffles in it. Regardless, I would only go out and get one trend per season, so I would make sure that it is the one I like the most.6-j-w-anderson-spring-2016-rtw_rufflestrend
3-balmain-spring-2016-rtw_rufflestrend

I don’t mind the outfit that I put together today. In fact I like the ruffle on
this dress. When I first cut it, I had intended to make it a simple shift dress with a straight hem, but as I was about to sew it, I decided it needed something else, hence the ruffle.

It has taken me from various special celebrations, to work to dinner out, so it has a bit of classic with a bit of flare. Wearing it with boots today, simply takes it to a different place, just for kicks!

 

 

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Day 154

June 2nd, 2016

The slip dress…how exactly do you wear this?


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, over a black slip cut on the bias. Black sash, steampunk earrings, black heels.


jennifer_slipdress
Jennifer Garner in “13 going on 30”

This turned out to be one of my favourite looks to translate a very specific trend into something that even I can wear. The slip dress is not new by any means; simply a rehashing of the 90’s look brilliantly exemplified by Jennifer Garner in the movie “13 going on 30”. I’ve said this before, but if Jennifer can ‘barely’ pull this look off (and I say barely because the woman could wear a sack of potatoes and still look amazing), then what chance do I have to pull a slinky, shinny-show every imperfection-clingy-staticky dress?

In my grandma’s time, everyone owned a slip. They probably owned more than one. A long one and a short one, a fancy one perhaps? The slip was intended to work as a barrier or a protection between your clothes and your skin. It prevented lines from showing on the outside, it covered any imperfection, it made itchy wool less noticeable, and it made see through things look not see through. It was a mark of modesty but also a very handy garment to aid in the look of the outer garment.

1-celine-spring-2016-rtw_lingerietrend
The slip dress, 2016 Spring trend

Nowadays we expect our bodies to do the job that corsets, petticoats and undergarments (including the slip) did for our great-grand ancestors. I do not suggest we go back to wearing corsets at all! No need to loose a rib or die from a punctured lung. But all of those garments and even the fabrication and cut of the outer garments worn in the past, made it so that if you had cellulitis, nobody would know, it was covered. Or if you had a muffin top, the garment would fit in a way that it did not protrude over the waistline (unlike some jeans now!). We used to shape our bodies with stays and wires, and now we expect to shape them with insane diets and exercise. It seems to me that we’ve gone from one extreme to another. I don’t subscribe to either method. I believe in moderation. Especially when it comes to having dessert…or wine.

I do believe that clothing that fits well and is cut in a flattering way will be far more efficient in providing an attractive and pleasing figure than starving oneself in order to fit into the next ideal size.

So when it comes to slips, I will wear them on the inside, thank you very much. I may show portions of them if they are pretty, but I will not be wearing mine out to supper by itself.

 

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Day 153

June 1st, 2016

Lace is always in style!


Outfit: Lace periwinkle blouse worn over dress worn frontwards. Black chunky boots, mauve bracelet.


Ok, so I get that this is not my best expression of this trend. I probably will add something else to make it pop a little more. I am saving some better ones for the end of the week. But in practical terms, my day is just better with less heels and bling today. I have to admit that I really, really like this dress, but then again I’ve always been a sucker for lace, as far as I’m concerned, it is always is style.

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Day 152

May 31st, 2016

Spring Trends my way.


Outfit: Grey and black chevron pattern stripe skirt worn under dress. Black belt, striped infinity scarf, black wedge boots, silver circle earrings.


For the next few days I want to invite you to explore the idea of adapting trends into your wardrobe. As much as I despise the thought of having someone dictate to me what’s in and what’s not, it is a part of feeling current that we need to be aware of. If you are a designer you must be aware of the trends in order to produce a line that sells, but if you’re a consumer it can feel a little intimidating to read all the trend magazines and know what to do with them.

I find it a little ridiculous when the trend reads:  “animal prints, geometric shapes in jewel tones”. I mean, pick something! I must be the anti-thesis of fashion forward, but I’m ok with that. The thing about trends is that it’s basically inspiration. Someone else’s inspiration trickling down the line until it gets to us everyday consumers. In the not so distant past, high end fashion designers would get inspired, often by art or current events and decide they want to design something based on that. Let’s say Karl Lagerfield went to a sunflower exhibition and then decided to emulate Chanel suits in orange. So then once the collections from Haute Couture came out, everyone else that does RTW, would use this inspiration to incorporate in their lines. Until at the end you find the orange suit-like garment in a grocery store brand (ever watched The devil wears Prada?). Nowadays, things are a little bit different. Trends can come from anything or anyone. The first trend to go bottom-up was ‘grunge’ which developed in the streets of Seattle and eventually made it to mainstream couture when Marc Jacobs created a line inspired by it. But regardless of how they get there, they still support the fact that it is someone else’s idea of what’s cool. That’s why I don’t like them, they lack individuality, someone else is telling you what is beautiful. However, if you want to look in style, we must listen to them to some degree. So here’s my two bits on how to incorporate trends without looking like a catalog from a department store:

  1. Look for the trend in your existing wardrobe. Look for something in your present wardrobe that could pass as the current trend. You may already own something that works.
  2. Buy a trendy item that will stand the test of time. In other words buy something classic-trendy. Even though it sounds like the biggest oxymoron, it is possible. You can pick classic fabrics, cuts and colours. The trend can be simply the print or texture or cut.
  3. Buy only one item per season that is very trendy. Ie only one ruffle blouse, or only one pair of flat mules. One item can accent your whole wardrobe and help you look fashionable through the season.
  4. Whatever you do, don’t do a carbon copy of the trend picture. Just because it looks good on the model, does not mean it will look good on you. Keep in mind your shape, colouring and most of all personality. There are some things that will make you shine and others simply will make you look more uncomfortable than a bull in a China store.

I am going to try some of these to illustrate my points.

Here is for instance number 1.

Something I already owned, will work for the stripes trend.2-stella-mccartney-spring-2016-rtw_stripestrend 11-milly-spring-2016-rtw_stripestrend SS16_Trend_Stripes2-1080x676

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Day 139

May 18th, 2016

The art of custom-tailoring clothing.


Outfit: Black dress worn as tunic under crocheted vest. Jean capri’s, brown belt, brown sandals, beaded necklace borrowed from daughter, (no that’s not a feather duster) mock feather purse.


A friend shared this article from The Atlantic, on Facebook and I am so grateful for it (thank you JP). I love the part where the mom tells her she can fix the shoulders of her dress before they go to dinner. So she pulls out her sewing kit and voila! How many of us don’t have that handy dandy sewing kit anymore? Or even worse, how many have the sewing supplies collecting dust in a corner, because: a) you don’t know how to use them, or b) it is cheaper to toss the item and get a new one! Gasp!

From the article: “Like these turn-of-the-last-century ladies, my mother saw all off-the-rack clothing as lumps of clay to be molded and shaped with new buttons, narrower shoulders, or shorter hemlines. She tailored the clothes she had into the clothes she wanted to have. And she did it all by hand. Dresses were reimagined into blouses, worn-out jeans became shorts or skirts, and in one particularly impressive renovation, my aunt’s dowdy Persian lamb overcoat became a chic bolero jacket.
Today, if I buy a dress that doesn’t fit right, I return it. When clothes show signs of wear, they get sent off to Goodwill or relegated to at-home loungewear”

I know I sound like a broken record, but if we are going to survive the mountain of discarded clothes slowly building up in that landfill, we are going to have to go back to some good old-fashioned traditions. And one of the best ones is the sewing kit.

I invite you to read the full article here, and give me your thoughts on your personal favourite part.

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Day 138

May 17th, 2016

Right back to 1960, with Jackie Kennedy-inspired pearls.


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards, black heels. Pearl necklace and bracelet. Grandma Eña’s gold hoop earrings.


Today is the last day of drawing inspiration from the past. I might revive it if something comes my way. Being inspired by past trends is nothing new. It has been done thousands of times.

Merry-Joseph_Blondel_-_Felicite-Louise-Julie-Constance_de_Durfort
Robe en chemise, c. 1800

When I teach History of Costume to my 1st year fashion students, I always tell them that there is nothing new under the sun. It really has been done before. There is nothing wrong with this though, and it does not mean that someone is not being truly creative by re-inventing a past style. Let’s take for instance the styles of the Empire and Regency periods, c.1800-1820. Fashions then were inspired by the classical styles from the Golden Age of Greece as a resurgence of Greek and roman thought and philosophies influenced by  Neo-classicism. greek-woman-with-chiton-t13309The styles were by no means Greek chitons (tunics), but they were the 19th century interpretation of that mode. In turn, the empire waist from that period has been resurrected many times throughout the years, including a bout in 1960 and in many styles nowadays.

Every artist has been inspired by a previous one. Every style has developed from the perfecting of one style and implementing a new form or method. In fashion this is accomplished by using different textures, or colours or even lines. This includes style lines that are perpendicular or lengths which change the proportion vertically.

petticoat breeches
Petticoat breeches

I am a great believer that if you don’t learn from what has been, you won’t be able to improve on what could be. This applies to all sorts of things, but when it comes to creating, it makes you aware of things that have worked in the past and helps you learn from other’s mistakes. For example, I think we can all agree that the styles for men’s breeches in 1740 –called petticoat breeches (this should have been a clue) were so ridiculous that they don’t need to be repeated any time soon.

Yet sometimes, even though trends seem silly to us –thinking harem pants… …MC hammer style, when done again in a new interpretation they become acceptable once more.

maxresdefault modern_harem pants

 

So go ahead, look to the past for inspiration, and as a guide, to realize that some people and styles have in fact “been there and done that”.

 

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Day 137

May 16th, 2016

Welcome to the 70s, flower child.


Outfit: Black dress worn over distressed  denim skirt, sandals, mix long bead necklaces, red and pink scarf.


To stay with the theme of decades past, we’re going to the 70’s today. I quite like the bo-ho look I managed today…at least it’s comfortable.

My youngest child just told me I look like a hippie! So I guess mission accomplished. All of these looks seem to make my kids uncomfortable -proof that they have been brainwashed into the whole cookie cutter routine of everyone following the latest trend, usually from some show on TV. Also proof that I have not been adventurous enough with my daily looks. Obviously this is a good exercise for both me and them to step out of the box.

 

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Day 136

May 15th, 2016

A little bit of vintage in my life…


Outfit: Black dress worn frontwards, white polka-dot pink scarf, black elastic belt.

Georgie Girl items: Fuschia crinoline skirt, black and white saddle oxford 50’s shoes, black cat-eye style sunglasses! Can you say 50’s? 


What do you think of when you say ‘vintage’? For me it evokes memories of my grandma’s closet, all together with her beautiful Chanel suits and 40’s shoes, her fur coats (yes, it’s ok people…vintage fur is admissible), bright red lipstick and cake mascara that had to be mixed up with a brush. 01ba67ff17eb2d9631b8a5d0de0b5145I know it also means shinny round cars with beautiful interiors and for some people it is mint-in-the-box toys and memorabilia. Most people who have a love for vintage associate some memory to it. I think at the core that’s where it starts, but it does not need to have a memory for someone to appreciate it.

I realize not everyone loves vintage, some people think of it as ‘old’ and by some people I mean my kids…(I suppose others too) and I respect that, it is not everyone’s cup of tea (not China anyway). But the thing I like about vintage stuff is that it always makes me think about the story. I guess I am a story teller at heart and I love to imagine where the piece has been and who touched it or used it at any given time. Maybe that’s the reason I can spend hours in a museum, while my husband is in and out within ten minutes. I love to hear how things were done and what it took for someone to perform some of the tasks we now take for granted.

Vintage clothing is usually well made, trust me, if it wasn’t it wouldn’t have lasted 50 years. It has great structure and generally it’s made from beautiful fabrics. In order to be considered vintage, something has to be over 30 years old. Antique is anything from before the 1920s and retro refers to something that imitates a feeling from a previous period. The fact that the 70s are now considered vintage is bizarre to me, since I guess you could call me vintage too! But here is where things get a bit tricky; in the 60s and 70’s polyester was at the height of popularity because it had just been perfected and it was thrown into the market as the latest and greatest. So now we have a bunch of polyester-made suits that are not as luxurious as some of the stuff from the 40s and 50s, however, the cut and the sewing techniques are still superior to some of the merchandise coming out of fast fashion outlets.

Whichever your preference, 40s, 50s, 70s or not vintage at all, it cannot be denied that unique vintage pieces can be a conversation starter, become a favourite accent piece or hold an invaluable memory that comes to mind every time it’s worn.

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Day 135

May 14th, 2016

 Georgie Girl inspired me!


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards.

Georgie Girl’s items: Miz Mooz turquoise platform sandals, black chain belt, blue heart earrings.


In the spirit of looking to the past for inspiration, this week I get to show you some looks taken from the decades gone by. It started yesterday with the 80’s dance, and for the next two days I’ll be sporting some awesome pieces from Georgie Girl, downtown, Kelowna.

Georgie Girl is a vintage store-slash-consignment store- slash all kinds of beautiful jewellery store-slash the list goes on store! Angie, the owner, has such a keen eye for interesting and unique pieces that it’s really not like anything you’ll find elsewhere. Certainly not at the mall! It is awesome to talk to someone who appreciates old fashion quality like she does. I couldn’t help but admire the old portable Singer’s she has on display and she told me she used to sew with one of them. I bet you that sewing machine still works and probably far better than some of the plastic ones I see now.

For today’s look, Angie styled me in a 60’s feel. She said she couldn’t stop thinking the dress instantly has a mod sixties style. I want you to check the fabulous platform sandals from Miz mooz, I was only able to take the photo with them, they are so awesome, so they are available at the store…but wait, I might beat you to them.

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Day 131

May 10th, 2016

Last day with Carmen


Outfit: Black dress worn over as tunic, black sandals

Carmen’s items: Turquoise dress, silver pendant, turquoise bracelets.


This is the last of Carmen’s stuff. I actually don’t have the dress to wear today, so I’ll wear the accessories, but I wanted to show you the whole look.

The accessories are unique because they each have a story. The first turquoise bracelet is painted wood from Bali. She has it in several colours and it’s just beautifully artisan. The silver pendant and the round bead bracelet were apparently made by a Greek ship cruise captain who did it as a hobby. He started to sell the jewellery on the ships just for fun. His stuff became so popular that he eventually opened shops in Greece to sell it.

I always feel when it comes to accessories, I rather have something with a story than something mass produced. It makes me feel like I’ve included someone else into my day and it reminds me of the place or situation I got it from.

Thank you Carmen for sharing your wardrobe and your memories with me this week! It was a blast!

 

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Day 121

April 30th, 2016

Fads and trends can be ridiculous!


Outfit:  Black dress worn backwards, crocheted vest, two long necklaces: hand made copper leaf and blue and green beaded one, gold and mauve glass bracelet. Brown boots, embossed earrings. 


Talking about ridiculous fashions and fads/trends that stay for a long time, I was teaching History of Fashion the other day and we were studying the Middle Ages. Now, this is a time where fashion moved pretty slowly, specially the years 300-1100 AD. Pretty much the same looks. From about 1200 to 1300 you start to see some faster trends and by the 15th century there were styles coming in and out every 30-40 years. Not fast enough for our standards of every 2 weeks, but compared to the previous period, it was quite the change. It was during this time that a very peculiar trend took place. Poulaines, or Crakowes were pointed toe shoes with mysterious origins. They were in style for almost 100 years. And some of them got so ridiculous that sumptuary laws (a type of bylaw to enforce dress codes) were declared to stop people from wearing them. All to no avail, the young people were determined to wear them for status purposes as well as to be rebellious (apparently there was a lot of hidden meaning in the shoe). The points of the shoes were so long sometimes that they had to tie them up to their knees because they couldn’t walk, let alone work. And apparently they finally did get outlawed when an aristocrat was killed because he couldn’t outrun his assailant due to the shoes.

I tell you all of this to prove the point that just because it is in style, it does not mean it’s not ridiculous. We have plenty of dumb trends nowadays, but we’ve had our share of dumb trends in the past. I only have to think of plucking the eyebrows and forehead in the Middle Ages or using mice skins to fill in for eyebrows in the 18th century. And that’s not even going into the countless types of corsets and stays. So, I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that fads come and go, and some are more extreme than others. Yet, dressing well and in a classic style is never in danger of falling into the ridiculous. You can adapt your own style to accommodate some trends, but you don’t need to buy into the extremes that some of them suggest. After all, if we do, we end up looking back at pictures that we’d rather burn or having to tie our shoes to our knees, pull up our pants beyond our hips or work out the teased knots out of our hair.

P.S. Happy Birthday Babe!

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Day 120

April 29th, 2016

More goodies from the oldie’s vault.


Outfit: Green crepe, peasant dress with border, worn under dress as tunic. Skinny jeans, brown/green heels. Gold embossed earrings. Gold damascene medallion from Toledo, Spain.


Another dress I made back in the day. This one was for my friend Michelle’s wedding. It was longer then. I have worn this one to death. Yet it’s still ticking. I’m sure some of my friends would like me to retire it. It’s been in enough pictures. But it makes me smile when I wear it. It’s one of those pieces that just feels great. So why should I retire it then? As long as it works for me and I don’t look ridiculous I guess it’s staying.

 

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Day 108

April 17th, 2016

Last day at Jen’s


Outfit: Black dress worn as a jacket

Jen’s Plus 14 Items: Black and white georgette maxi dress, black strappy wedge sandals, turquoise stone necklace and bracelet.


Thank you to Jen’s 14 Plus for the wonderful items. Really loved them all! Got lots of compliments especially on the great shoes. If you haven’t heard of Jen’s store, you gotta go. In addition to being a great looking consignment store, they specialize in plus sizes. So you’ll find anything in size 14, 16, and up. But I even found some sizes 12 and 10 in a few items. Also, because size is so relative depending on brand, you really have to try the item before determining if it will fit or not.

Jen has a great selection of jewelry and shoes as well as handbags and scarves. So there is lots of stuff to complement any wardrobe. To top it off, they are great people! Jen and Shelley are super helpful and nothing short of awesome!

So thank you ladies for a great week! We’ll see you again in the future.

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Day 105

April 14th, 2016

Look who’s talking 2…


Outfit: Black dress worn backwards

Jen’s Items: Off-white high low sweater, black pleather leggings!, chain and wood necklace, black and tan flats. 


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this outfit by the way! Even the pleather leggings. When Shelley first brought them for me to try, I was like…not. But it just shows once again, that you don’t know unless you try.

I got a call from Molly checking up on my progress! It’s good to know I’m still going strong. Have a look at the article she wrote. KelownaNow article

 

 

 

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Day 99

April 8th, 2016

What is Cost per wear?


Outfit: Black dress worn forward, brown high boots, soft ruffle tan cardigan, hand knit infinity scarf.


Cost per wear is the amount of times you’d be able to wear a garment before it fell apart/went out of style/you stopped liking it. Considering that cheap fashion is generally disposable, or ill-fitting, those ‘great deals’ end up in the pile that never gets worn so their cost per wear is often the price tag! The calculation for cost per wear varies but a very basic one is as follows:

#of times item will be worn ÷ by cost of garment= cost per wear

You can calculate the number of times you anticipate wearing something by weeks, months or years you’ll keep the item. Either way, you divide that amount by the cost of the garment and that gives you the CPW.

Fashion sustainability supporters use the cost per wear formula as a guideline for buying investment pieces. It is a better way to evaluate whether or not an item is in fact ‘so expensive!’, which is the most common response I get when I encourage people to buy outside ‘the box’.

For some great insights on what it is like to purchase something with cost per wear in mind, read this article by Chris Gayomali  of GQ magazine.

Or for a different approach and great examples, see this link by Zady.

 

 

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Day 91

March 31st, 2016

Tips to improve your shopping experience at a Thrift Store.


Outfit: Black dress worn forward.

Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift store items: Brown animal print ruffle blouse, black wedge boots, brown faux reptile skinny belt, sage stone earrings.


Now that you’ve undertaken to recover from being a thrift store snob, the next step to becoming a successful thrifter, is to get past the merchandising. A lot of people get overwhelmed when they enter a thrift store because they are generally really packed and not organized like some of the stores in mainstream malls. Big box stores spend thousands of dollars on visual merchandising that displays garments by themes, colours and ‘stories’. You don’t get that in a thrift store. You’re lucky if you get colour coded and category. But there’s no mannequin showing you how to put together an outfit, and there are no size ranges, you get what you get in your size.

More than once I’ve heard friends say they don’t know where to start when they go into a thrift store. It is not like things are already grouped for you. No clear trends here. You are on your own. And that’s the problem, we’ve been conditioned for so long to simply buy what’s on trend that we may not even be able to recognize when that trend does not suit our own personality or body type.

In a thrift store, however, once you start really looking it’s amazing what you can find if you have a good eye. And I think that’s the trick. You need to figure out what is worth it and what’s not. You need to look for quality, style and fit. So here are a few tips to happy thrifting:

  1. Spend the time: First of all, when you are just starting make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Once you become a ‘seasoned’ thrifter you can go in and pick a garment without a second thought, but at the beginning you’ll need lots of time to look through, inspect and very importantly: try on! There’s no point in buying something that does not fit or even worse: does not fit right!
  2.  Look for quality: This is where learning the difference between a good or bad sewing finish or what a high quality fabric content is, comes in handy. Sometimes looking at the brand name will help because there’s no denying that something made by a designer brand is usually better made than a garment from a fast fashion source.
  3. Style: Insert personality here. This is where you get to decide what you shine in. What are you most comfortable wearing? And I do not mean comfortable sweat pants! We are talking fashion pieces here. Things like line and shape or colour and texture. It does not have to be limited to only pants or skirts or dresses, but if you do prefer one of this categories, that says something about your personal style too. So do you like long and lean or do you like flouncy and delicate? Or is it loud prints and bright colours? Dainty florals or basic pieces. You decide. And once you know what happy looks like for you, then make sure it is flattering.
  4. Fit: and a flattering look go hand in hand. Proportion plays a huge part in the fit of something being right for you. Look for things that fit your shoulders, torso and waist. Remember that hems and sleeves could be altered and some side seams could be taken in, but unless you have a basic understanding of alterations, make sure that the garment fits before you buy it. Otherwise you’ll never wear it again and you’ll curse your experience.
  5. Bring a buddy: This only works if you like a second opinion. But if you are a ‘solo’ shopper this might backfire especially if your buddy is on a time limit.  So on this note don’t bring someone who’s not interested in being there: i.e. your children or husband.

Most of all, have fun with it. In the famous words of Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get!”

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Day 86

March 26th, 2016

Outfit: Dress worn under tangerine georgette tunic. Grey belt worn over. Black chunky boots, chandelier earrings.

Colour me Beautiful.

One of my favourite looks lately. It’s just bright. I have to say that even though I’m used to wearing a lot of black and I like the ease of wear with it, I do miss the bright colours and soft shades that come with spring.

Have you ever had your ‘colours’ done? It was very popular to do this in the nineties, and I had mine done when I was in college. We did it as an exercise in colour theory. It is a test where they put different shades of cloth against your face to determine whether you look better in a cool or warm hue tone. It is divided into four seasons. Two of which are cool and two are warm. The cool seasons are: Winter and Summer, and the warm seasons are Spring and Fall. It was interesting because everybody thought I was for sure a ‘Fall’ because of my red hair. But to our surprise, I was a ‘Spring’ because of my skin tone. Now, if you are in either warm or cool tones, you can wear either colour from both seasons, but you’ll ultimately look better within your real season. Having your colours done, helps you determine what colours look best on you and it is handy to avoid colours that drain your natural tone. This applies mostly around the face, because if you wear something different than your tone as a bottom it is far enough.

Black, navy, white, kakhi and grey are all neutrals and suit most skin tones. Of course some people look better than others with dark tones.

If you’d like to find out more about colour theory, here is a blog I found that explains it a bit more.

 

 

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Day 81

March 21st, 2016

Outfit: Black dress worn frontwards, grey curly scarf from Carol, black booties and socks, grey fingerless gloves.

Men do it all the time!

“What’s the big deal, I do that every day!” has been the most common reaction from the men I’ve told about my project. Apparently, a large portion of the male population, don’t think this is innovative. They wear the same thing (usually jeans and t shirt), for days on end and do not think twice about it.

I want to be extra clear that I did not say ALL men, because I am aware that there are some very fashion forward boys who take their appearance very seriously. I do not personally know any, but I hear they are out there… just kidding. I do know a few.

However, for the majority of men, shopping is a chore, clothing is all the same and they tend to wear a similar outfit day in and day out. Need not go any further than my husband, whose favourite t-shirts come in packs at Costco in black or white (the last one was black, so that’s the look now), jeans and his quintessential black shoes. I have a friend (Ch.), who wears, a black top, jeans and white or black New balance shoes every single day! And hey, there’s nothing wrong with a uniform, some of the most notable successful people of our time opted for this, think Steve Jobs for instance, who would wear his iconic black turtleneck as his signature look.

The interesting thing is that there seems to be a double standard when it comes to women and men wearing the same thing every day. You may have heard the stories about the news anchor in Australia who wore the same suit as solidarity towards his co-host, who had been criticized for wearing a dress twice. He wore the suit for one year, and nobody said anything! The same thing happened not too long ago in Coquitlam, BC where the mayor decided to wear the same suit until somebody commented on it. He went for 15 months!

Why is it that we notice women’s clothing more than men’s? Well, for one thing, there’s infinite more variety. Take any department store for example; the ladies side is easily twice as big as the men’s. Women can wear skirts, dresses, shorts, and trousers. Just there we have men at a disadvantage. A man’s suit is meant to be a staple that changes mainly with a shirt or tie, but the overall look is meant to be classic. So I think that just visually it is easier to notice a woman’s outfit more.

That being said, there’s no reason a woman should be judged on her attire simply because she wears the same thing often. What are we, neanderthals? I think in the end it should be about individual choice. And there are many women out there who do choose to wear similar or staple clothing. But those in the limelight are the ones who are at the mercy of the critics and under pressure to look like celebrities. And that, may be the biggest mindset to change.

 

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Day 75

March 15th, 2016

Outfit: White off shoulder T shirt, denim skirt, black dress worn open, black socks and short chunky boots. Borrowed item (from Renée): neck tie necklace.

Finding your true style.

I cannot believe that it’s day 75. I am literally flying by the seat of my pants here. Wondering at what point I will run out of ideas or options. But while I can, I will continue to beg and borrow friends and family’s items to make the outfits interesting.

So this week is dedicated to my friend Renée. Renée has a lot of nice things that sometimes she gets from her aunt R. and if I’m lucky sometimes I get some of them too! Aunt R. has really nice taste. Take this necktie necklace for instance, I love it! I don’t think I would have chosen it out of the blue, but for this challenge I’m up for anything, and the results are really new and interesting looks that I’ve never tried before. It is kind of freeing to try something out of your comfort zone. I’ve said it before on this blog, but it doesn’t cease to amaze me what you find out once you try it.

I have been asked on occasion to help friends streamline their closets or to shop for a special outfit. It really shouldn’t shock me how tightly we stick to what we are used to and have a really hard time trying something outside of our comfort level, we are creatures of habit. That is why we end up having the same haircut for years, or the same sweater set style every time we go shopping. You can be a very disposable shopper and yet buy the same canvas shoes in 10 different colours, so you end up looking the same. It is not always our fault though, we’ve been conditioned to follow specific trends.  Retailers love to sell you the same version of a craze every 2 weeks. You’ll find the same cookie cutter sweater at three different stores, usually because the same manufacturer has made it. And you are stuck looking like everyone else.  Yet, it is small moves beyond of our usual that make us look fresh and unique and it may surprise you how great it feels. I’ve had the experience of people saying they would have never tried something if I hadn’t suggested it (which is where product knowledge comes in by the way).

So here’s my advice: next time you go shopping or look at your closet, try something 10% different from what you’ve always done. Maybe wear the socks up like I did today. (I’ve never done that before), maybe try a different colour other than black or grey, maybe wear a skirt instead of pants, try a scarf, or earrings, or a necklace…the options are endless. And they don’t have to be new or expensive or even the norm. They can be as individual as you are. After all, fashion and style are meant to be an expression of ourselves. What does that look like for you?

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