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

The Ninth 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.

What do you need? Make a list of things that you need for fall. I’m sure we can all think of a zillion things we want, but what are the essentials you must buy for your wardrobe to function for the season. Make a Polyvore of these essential items.

If you are serious about putting together a wardrobe that works, it is imperative that you create a list. Actually, you should create 2 lists but we will focus on this one for now. Your first list should include your basics. These are the basic, standard issue items you need for every day use. Your essential shopping list will be determined by the demands of your lifestyle. If you work in a corporate environment, you may need a new suit. If you work with children, stretchy jeans might be a priority. Think about the missing pieces. When I reviewed my own wardrobe in step 3 , I realized I need jeans and trousers. I have several great shirts, jackets and sweaters but no pants to wear them with! Since the weather is cooling down, I also need wool tights to wear with skirts and dresses. Most of the pieces are not big ticket items; I need a selection of t-shirts and a simple tank dress for layering. You can find these items at any price range.

Since the weather has taken a turn for the rainy and cold, I am desperate for a coat and boots. If you are going to invest in anything, these are the items to splurge on. I would suggest sticking to classic and versatile styles, you can pick the crazy and wild stuff after you have a solid base to work from. I used to turn my nose up at basics, because they don’t have pizzaz (yup, I said pizzaz). Truth is, a closet full of pizzaz can be hard to navigate. You often end up with a bunch of stunning pieces that don’t work together.

I put together a collage on Polyvore to help illustrate my list. Now, when I go shopping I can just refer to this visual for a reminder. That will keep me from wandering aimlessly around the mall spending money on things I don’t need. I’m not going to buy the exact items pictured. These are just suggested styles, the actually purchase may very once I start trying things on. Once I complete my shopping (step 12), I’ll be sure to come back and share my haul so we can compare it to this list.


Basic Fall Essentials

T By Alexander Wang tank top dress, 97 CAD / Short sleeve top, 76 CAD / Scoop neck top, 72 CAD / Acne jersey tank top, 100 CAD / Scoop neck tank, 62 CAD / Edith A. Miller scoop neck tank, 56 CAD / Double breasted coat, 135 CAD / River Island , 7.96 CAD / Old Navy jeans, 29 CAD / J.Crew ribbed tight, 26 CAD / Vivienne Westwood , 70 CAD / Falke opaque tight, 45 CAD / ASOS leather boots, 115 CAD / Madewell ballerina flat, 98 CAD

The Eighth 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.

Confidence booster! Is there an outfit in your closet that makes you feel unstoppable? Describe or photograph it and share with us.

Confession, I am cheating a little with this step by using a picture that is approaching 2 years old. I’m quite a few pounds lighter in the picture, and that is the magic of this outfit. I feel confident in it when my weight is up or down. I apologize for the cut off head and shoes. This outfit can be worn casually with flats or amped up with heels. It looks great on my no make-up days, but it is also strong enough to handle a heavy make-up look. I don’t think I have a more versatile outfit in my current wardrobe.

Leather Jacket- VEDA
Dress- H&M
Necklace- Thrifted
Ring- Stephen Webster

 The goal of this step is to define what type of clothing gives you confidence. For me, the answer is covered up, but not uptight looks. I love comfortable clothes that allow me to move freely from one social situation to the next. These are the types of items I can comfortably splurge on. That is important to keep in mind during the next steps of this challenge. Coming up, I will be preparing for my fall wardrobe shopping. I want to make good decisions, so I’ll be creating a game plan before I hit the stores.

The Seventh 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.

Break your color habit! Now that you have described your safety zone, try something different. Put together an outfit that doesn’t include your default colors.

In my last post, I described my comfort zone when it comes to colours. This week, I challenged myself to break the habit and put together an outfit without black, blue, grey or jewel tones. This was easier said than done. Originally, I had planned to build an outfit around an oxblood coloured H&M dress. I have been wearing the dress a lot lately, but always with paring it with dark items. When forced to match it with something other than black, I found myself at a loss. I took a bunch of trial photos and hated them all. I looked okay, but I didn’t feel like me. Back to the drawing board.

I really had to reach for this one, but I’m very pleased with the results. This is a vintage dress, presumably from the 80’s. I consider it one of my greatest second-hand scores. It’s got an exaggerated silhouette, the shoulders are poofy. In that way, it reminds me of a lot of traditional African dresses.   You will have to excuse my goofy poses. I just bought a remote control for the camera and it’s fun to play with!

Dress: Vintage
Belt: Came with some other skirt
Boots: Dolce Vita purchased at Winners

Now, some of you astute readers might have noticed that this print does have black in it. I apologize for cheating a little. It was either  fudge it a little or go buy something new. As tempting as it is to go shopping, I’m trying to hold off until I’ve worked my way through all the other steps of this challenge. By the end of this series, I should have a very good idea of what I need to buy to make my wardrobe more functional. In the meantime, I’m working what I’ve got!

As a side note, I’ve been experimenting with my hair a bit lately. I have a whole hair post planned, but for now I will explain what is going on in this series of pictures. I spent a couple of hours putting my curly locks in to two-strand twists. That’s a simple, do at home technique that gives me the look of locs without much commitment. It also keeps my hair from becoming a tangled mess, and that is a minor miracle.

Why am I always looking sideways?

In the next step, I’m going to be putting together a power outfit. I’m not 100% sure what that means yet. I hope you will join me and find out!