The Twelfth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

Go shopping and buy yourself something new for fall! Share a picture with the class!

This is the final step of my wardrobe rehabilitation plan. I hit the mall this week, on a mission of great importance. I needed to find these basic fall essentials…

Basic Fall Essentials
 The goal was not to buy the exact items, but to use the list as a guideline to help me stay on track. It can be easy to get frustrated while shopping if you go in unprepared. I followed my own shopping best practices guidelines and the results were impressive. I found everything I needed and managed to stay right in my budget.  Let’s look at the actual items I purchased…
Basic Fall Results
 Most of the items above are the exact items I purchased with the exception of the brand of tights and the flat shoes (I ended up getting metallic flats instead). The coat I purchased is the same style but black. I purchased more tanks than pictured, they were only $5 at Old Navy. I ordered the tank dress and boots online. Since this was essential shopping, I stayed within my basic palette. Now that I have some nice looking black pants, I can wear all the printed tops I have sitting in my closet. Now that I have some warm wool tights, I can wear skirts more often. Now, I can shop for statement pieces without worrying if I have something to coordinate. I have the foundations.Full disclosure, I did buy a few things off my list because the prices were so good! Here are the bonus items I purchased. Each item was around $20…
Bonus Items
  This series has taught me the value of planning ahead before shopping. It took some time to narrow down my needs, but it was worth the effort. When you go grocery shopping without a list, you often buy a bunch of things that don’t add up to a meal. The same applies to clothing. Without a plan, you will have a lot of clothes but you won’t have a wardrobe that works. In the weeks to come, I’ll be turning my attention to accessories and styling these basic items. Bring on the shoes and jewelry!

Shopping For a New Wardrobe: Highs and Lows

In my previous post, I put together a fantasy wardrobe.I thought it would be fun to show how a fantasy wardrobe could be adapted for a lower budget. I’m sure with work, you could find similar pieces at an even lower price point.

High/Low 1

Confession! I hate shopping for clothes. It’s exhausting. I love buying new clothes, but searching high and low for that perfect item is frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when you are over a size 12 because it limits your options further. Boo-urns. In order to minimize my frustrations, I follow some simple guidelines when I shop.

  • Have a vision of what you need to buy: My mind goes blank the second I hit the mall, a list will keep you on track. This is the visual list I’m using today.
  • Maximize your time by hitting the mall: When I have a lot of shopping to do, I like to go where there is a large concentration of stores so I don’t have to traipse all around town.
  • Check store websites before you go: I like to do a preview online to see the styles specific stores are offering up before I actually go to the mall. Prioritize your stops along the way based on what you see online.
  • Avoid peak hours: A busy mall is an annoying mall. Go early on the weekend, or during the day when other shoppers are at work.
  • Wear a shopping uniform: My shopping uniform is a pair of leggings, a form-fitting tank dress, comfortable slip on shoes and an oversized cardigan. I can easily slip clothing over the dress when the changing room line-ups are too long. Don’t bother with jewelry. You will just have to take it on and off when you want to try new pieces.
  • Don’t get too dolled up: Make-up can stain the clothes your are going to try on. Leave the ruby red lips for another day.
  • Shop alone: I always do my serious shopping alone. Shopping with friends can be fun, but it’s not optimal. Serious shopping should be all about you. Only bring a friend if they are willing to dedicate the day to helping you.

What are your optimal shopping tips?

The Eleventh Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

 Fantasize a little (or a lot)! Create a 10 piece fantasy fall wardrobe using Polyvore or link photos. Don’t worry about price, we are dreaming here. Try to pick styles that you would actually wear. You want to use this for inspiration when you go shopping for realistic items. You can use unlimited  shoes/accessories in your fantasy wardrobe, but stick to 10 clothing items.

A little fantasy can be good for the health of your wardrobe. It can provide a wealth of inspiration you can apply to your real shopping. I may not be able to buy a hot pink McQueen cropped jacket, but I could probably find a vintage jacket in the same shade on Etsy . (Note to self, write a post showing how you can replicate these pieces on the cheap.)

The items I picked are very much in tune with my personal style. They also work together in multiple ways. I just had to pick the black and white skirt because it looks like R2D2. I also created an accessory collage to compliment my fantasy wardrobe.
I like my handbags and shoes to be versatile classics and my jewelry to be architectural, humourous and bold.

After completing this exercise, I am ready and eager to shop! I know the basics I’m going to buy because I mapped them out in Step Nine . I will also supplement my basics with fun pieces inspired by these fantasy lists. This weekend, I’ll be hitting the stores. I’ll be sure to share my haul in The 12th Step.


Fantasy Wardrobe

Thakoon Addition cotton dress, 380 CAD / rag & bone chevron print dress, 550 CAD / Joseph cableknit sweater, 575 CAD / Marni draped top, 500 CAD / Meadham Kirchhoff fake fur coat, 6,785 CAD / Acne coat, 1,650 CAD / Alexander McQueen cropped jacket, 2,245 CAD / BROOKE ROBERTS gathered skirt, 295 CAD / Sonia by Sonia Rykiel loose pants, 150 CAD / White + Warren black knee length skirt
Fantasy Accessories

Yves Saint Laurent high heels, 1,050 CAD / Le Silla above the knee boots, 1,030 CAD / Alexander Wang leather motorcycle boots / Marni ballet shoes, 630 CAD / Diane von Furstenberg black shoes, 295 CAD / Leather handbag, 10,525 CAD / Lanvin camel clutch, 2,495 CAD / Yves Saint Laurent , 1,690 CAD / 3.1 Phillip Lim leather satchel, 795 CAD / Alexis Bittar victorian ring, 4,805 CAD / DANNIJO victorian necklace, 945 CAD / Delfina Delettrez tahitian pearl ring, 940 CAD / Cuff bangle bracelet, 785 CAD / Gold dog jewelry, 680 CAD / SHOUROUK tahitian pearl jewelry, 975 CAD / Valentino stud earrings, 575 CAD / Tribal jewelry, 550 CAD / Marni bracelets jewelry, 530 CAD / House of Waris , 330 CAD

The Tenth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

  Let someone else dress you! Have a girlfriend, boyfriend, family member or sales person pick out an outfit for you. It can be from your own wardrobe or you can do it at a store. You can photograph it on or off your body.

I was very resistant to the idea of being dressed by another person. I’ve always had very strong convictions when it comes to my clothing. I’m not always pitch perfect, but I like what I like. So it was with some trepidation that I asked my partner to pick out an outfit for this step of the challenge. He is a talented artist with his own very strong convictions. It did not surprise me when he picked out the one item I was trying to avoid. That damn dress.

Not only did he pick out that dress, but he paired with some wild leggings and a chunky scarf and orange boots! An outfit fit for Harajuku.

I didn’t do a very good job of wrapping the scarf, I look like I have a neck injury.

A funny thing happened when I was taking pictures in this dress. My confidence started to build, so I decided to try wearing it some other ways…not hiding behind the scarf!

 As you can see, by the end of it I was hamming it up and serving up my best Blue Steel. I couldn’t help it, I was feeling good!  The moral of the story, sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help you see yourself in a different way. If your wardrobe is feeling stagnate, let a friend make some suggestions. Even if you don’t wear the exact outfit they suggest, you may find yourself rethinking your own convictions.
Dress: Asos (straight size line)
Leggings: Asos Curve
Scarf: My Boyfriend’s Closet
Leather Jacket: Veda
Boots: Dolce Vita

Holy Grail Products: Foundation, Anti-Chaffing Gel and Sports Bras


When it comes to beauty and lifestyle products, we are always on the quest for the Holy Grail. Holy Grail items are those products so perfect, we need not look any further. I’ve only found the Holy Grail a few times in my life. I’d like to build on that list. Once you find a Holy Grail product, it’s easy to become evangelical about it.  So with that in mind, I’ve decided to start sharing my favourites as I find them. 

Armani Face Fabric ($50):

I mentioned this product in a previous post, because it is the only make-up product I am loyal to.  It’s definitely a luxury product with a luxury price tag that is totally justified in my eyes. This is the best, light coverage foundation product. It blends seamlessly with my skin. It has a matte finish, which I love. Some people prefer a dewy look, if I want shimmer or dew I add it afterwards. The most striking thing about Face Fabric is the texture of your skin after using it, smooth. It has a similar feeling to using a primer. And speaking of primer…

Lanacane Anti-Chaffing Gel ($9)

This is sold in drugstores as an Anti-Chaffing Gel. It does a great job of that. Many women have experienced the pain of thigh rub. It’s excruciating and can ruin your whole day. A liberal application of this stuff can save you some pain. However, that’s not why it’s on my list as a Holy Grail product. The crazy thing about this product is that it doubles as a make-up primer. It is very similar to Smashbox Primer for a fraction of the price. You can buy it in the drugstore. Monistat makes a similar product if you can’t find the Lanacane in your area. As a primer, this is a Holy Grail product. It’s cheap and it works!

Shock Absorber Sports Bras ($60+)

These athletic bras have a terrible name. I choose to ignore that because the quality of support is so great. I have a bra size that is often hard to find, and this company offers a range all the way up to HH. You can actually run in these bras, for real. They have the architecture to keep you secure. I have to order a new one because my old one is a bit too small. You can find a better price on eBay if you are not too picky about colours.

That’s my list for now. I’d love to hear about your favourite beauty and lifestyle items in the comments (and why you like them!).

Make-up for Dumb Dumbs

I am not a beauty junkie. Make-up application is not my strongest skill. I do have a serious looking make-up case from Holt Renfrew, a gift I requested from my mother a few years ago. Right now, it’s full of crusty old products and 3 identical shades of silver nail polish. Once again, my make-up shortcomings are a product of the abject laziness I described in my last hair care post. I don’t really care for make-up shopping. I don’t like trying on products at the drugstore (because eww!). I get overwhelmed after about 2 minutes in Sephora, and slink out empty-handed every damn time. The make-up counters at department stores are a bit better, but I hate being sold things and would rather go about my business shopping without the help of an employee. As a result, I buy nothing.

So what is a girl to do when she wants to step up her make-up game? Internet!
I hit the beauty blogs on a quest for product recommendations and stumbled on the whole Beauty Product Subscription industry. Now you are speaking my language. Beauty products delivered to my house for a low monthly fee? Sign me up!

I signed up for 3 monthly services (Glymm, Ipsy, Glossybox); and one quarterly service (LuxeBox). I’m also on the waiting list for TopBox. Why so many you ask? I thought it might be interesting to review them for my blog. I have brown skin (if you didn’t notice) and I want to see how well the products are suited to darker complexions (and black hair!). I figure, I’m a good guinea pig. I have average skills in make-up application and no brand loyalty. There is only one product I am devoted to, Armani Face Fabric.  That stuff is magical.

Since I only applied for most of the boxes this week, I am not sure if I will be getting November boxes from all the companies. You will be happy to know that I did receive one box today. I’m unpacking it for review tonight! I’ll be sharing shortly.