Fall Fashion Fete 2013

With a frost starting to chill the air, I realize it’s time to put away the summer dresses and start dressing for the weather. Autumn is a time for layers, leather, suede, leggings, scarves, knits, boots and quilting. It does not, however, mean that colour disappears. I like to keep it neutral with shots of brightness thrown in for good measure. Bold prints such as geometrics, leopard, snakeskin and houndstooth keep things from getting too serious. If anything, you might say that fall’s style is out of this world this year.

Here are some looks that I’ve pulled together with the use of Polyvore:

Autumn Orange 2013

Autumn Orange 2013

Autumn Pulse 2013

Autumn Pulse 2013

Darkness Falls 2013

Darkness Falls 2013

Falling for Layers 2013

Falling for Layers 2013

Falling From the Sky 2013

Falling From the Sky 2013

Now, if only I was so organized when it comes to my wardrobe every day. This is how I aspire to dress when I go out. But, even if I’m half as put together as the styles above, I’m still ahead of the game. If all else fails, keep it effortless with a sweater, leggings, booties, your go-to purse and natural makeup that shows off who you are without going over the top.

What about you? What styles, trends and looks are you hoping to rock this autumn?

Spring/Summer Wardrobe Mix and Match

It’s been a long winter in my city, and while April didn’t exactly bring any showers, I am wishing for May flowers. With spring comes the shedding of winter clothing – no more tights underneath pants, layered sweaters, heavy down or wool coats and shearling lined boots. Bring on the dresses, tank tops, peep-toe shoes and sandals because I’m ready for what’s sure to be too short of a spring/summer season.

Now, I can’t really afford to purchase a brand new wardrobe every few months (perhaps one day I’ll have a closet like Carrie in Sex and the City and lottery winnings to do so). However, I have nonetheless found inspiration for looks that I’d like to try this year. I’ve talked about using H&M’s dressing room feature in a previous post before and I’m going to use it again to show you some of the looks I’ve put together for the next few months.

Look #12

Look #10

Look #35

Look #13

Look #32

Look #23

Look #30

Look #26

Though shops like H&M, Forever 21 and numerous other budget clothing stores gear towards quick trends, I don’t necessarily believe in following them. I think you should wear what looks good on your body and what makes you feel confident. If something grabs your attention, try it on. You might be surprised at how good it looks on you. My one tip: be polished, but don’t forget to have a little fun with some colours and patterns, even if it’s subtle.

I myself am a bit of a hoarder with my clothes. I have items that have lasted me from high school to university and, now, six years and counting from graduating with my bachelor’s degree. What I’ve learned over the years about fashion is that everything is cyclical and almost anything can be reworked down the road. As long as it still fits you well and it’s in good condition and you have the space, keep it. I’m sure with a little digging in my own closet, I’ll be able to piece together similar styles to the ones shown. The different combinations will feel like a completely fresh warm weather wardrobe without having to spend a fortune on anything new.

All that’s left is hoping that the sunshine comes out to play and that the wind eventually dies down, so that we can truly enjoy this time of year that always seems to fly by too quickly for our liking.

Photo sources: All outfit combinations were created by me on H&M.com’s dressing room feature.

Lighten Your Load: Learning to Travel Compactly Through the Seasons

Heys 21″ Peacock Hardcase Luggage

I’ve once again gotten the travel bug. I used to fly away for leisure a few times annually, but in the last few years I’ve been lucky to have the time to take one trip per year. 2012 seems almost an anomaly having been to both Las Vegas and Toronto. Now, I’m anticipating my next holiday, whenever and wherever that may be. What strikes me everytime I’ve traveled with friends or whenever I visit anyone is that they always seem surprised to see how little I pack. I likewise am surprised when I look at their giant suitcases. Why carry such a large piece of luggage when all the things that are necessary can fit into carry-on sized baggage?

The explanations I’ve been given for packing heavy are 1) sometimes you don’t feel like wearing something you’ve packed and options are good, 2) you can never have enough shoes, and 3) you can never be too prepared. My reply is that if you pack properly and think about how you will pair pieces together, 1) it simplifies your days while you’re away from home, 2) you know you’ll look good if you stick to what you brought, and 3) you can pack a small suitcase for a week and still have room to bring a few things home.

In actuality, my obsession with packing compactly started five years ago after I returned home from a six week European bus tour. Being gone for that amount of time I undoubtly took a large suitcase with me. That was proabably a mistake. There is a reason why people go backpacking. Aside from it being a lot less expensive, it guarantees a lighter load. I learned then and there that I never wanted to drag around something so large again. Therefore, no matter where my trips have taken me, my suitcase is now always 21″ or less in size.

It’s come down to a bit of a science. Only the basics for makeup come with me and all other toiletries are travel size. For the days I’ll be on the plane, I wear leggings and a top or a dress with flat sandals or shoes. I avoid wearing metal entirely to help get me through security faster. I usually have a jacket or a sweater in my bag in case it gets cold on the plane or the weather is a bit chilly when I land.

I have a general plan for my outfits before I pack. The pieces I bring can usually be mixed and matched, so I don’t feel like I’m without any choices. Items that are interchangeable, layerable and able to be accessorized are absolutely necessary. Pick clothing that resists wrinkling and is comfortable. Comfort does not mean dressing like you’re heading to the gym though.

The key is to bring a pair of walking shoes – optimally cute ballet flats or strappy sandals that you know won’t hurt your feet – to wear while you tour around during the day and a second pair of dressier heels for nights out on the town. Both should be in a metallic or neutral shade to make it easy to match all of your looks. The second thing is to pick a neutrally colored jacket or coat. Thirdly, choose clothes that can be dressed up or down depending on how you put things together. A great pair of jeans can be worn out to dinner, dancing, a concert or a show when matched with a sequin top. By the same token, a dress that might typically be meant for more formal occassions can be dressed down by wearing a pair of casual flats and a leather jacket. The fourth thing is to color coordinate everything. Your shoes and clothes should be able to be intermixed as if you were at home with your full closet. Bring seven different outfits to give you at minimum seven days worth of clothes. If you are traveling for longer, those pieces should be able to be switched around to create alternate looks.

You can be comfortable without sacrificing style on holiday. Afterall, every city is a new place to show off your personal fashion sense.

With the help of Polyvore I’ve compiled packing blueprints to help you prepare for your next trip. I’ve created each set of suitcase essentials based on the seasons, so that you have a general idea of what to bring depending on the time of year and where you’ll be going. There’s also a special beach/hot weather blueprint for those who are heading to Las Vegas, Hawaii or any other all-inclusive destinations.

Update: My friend has made it known to me that I did not think (I did, but decided to ignore it initially) about the fact that some people have to bring their hair dryers, diffusers, curling irons and hair products with them when they travel. My first thought is that if you’re staying with a friend or at a hotel, check to see if they have those items and if they’ll let you borrow them while you’re there. Those items take up room and increase the weight of your luggage. If it’s not entirely necessary just think twice about it first. If you absolutely must bring those items along, make sure you take a medium sized overnight bag with you as carry-on. I usually stuff my purse into it and pack slippers and a change of clothes and my jacket or sweater, so that I only have to carry the one piece. By putting those items into an extra bag, that frees up space in your main luggage (check-in or not) for more of your hair and product essentials.

Spring

Summer

Fall

Winter

Beach

Do you have any packing tips? I’d love to hear your ideas. Please share in the comments section below.

Clothing Creativity

I’m a big believer in mixing things up to create interesting ensembles. While my own closet is large and a mish mash of items that could probably provide me a different outfit every day for a few years, like many, I find myself wearing certain clothes of mine much more often than the rest.

When I’m stuck in a fashion rut and I need some inspiration I check out H&M’s Dressing Room. The site is updated every so often with some of the Swedish store’s newest products, but it also includes a number of basic pieces that might already be in your wardrobe.

It’s my own version of Cher Horowitz’s computerized closet in Clueless. Putting together various pieces to see what looks I can come up with helps to get my creative juices going with my own clothes.

So, next time you shop your closet or the stores, take a chance; mix and match things you normally wouldn’t, pile on some layers, wear some patterns and just be plain ol’ adventurous because, tomorrow, you can always go back to the norm.

I hope that you find some fashion motivation from some of my latest dressing room ensembles:

Bridesmaids Dresses – A Lesson In Compromise?

I have been to maybe a handful of weddings in my life. But, next year will be the first time I’ll be part of a friend’s bridal party.

I am certainly excited at the prospect of helping to make it the best day possible for her (you have no idea how many times I’ve asked her when we’re going to start looking at wedding dresses). It seems to have been built into my DNA to love planning events, crafting, shopping and cake eating, so I think I’ve got all the bases covered if she needs me.

One discussion we have had a couple times though, is the all important question of what the bridesmaids will wear. I don’t know what is traditionally done. Back in the day I think the bride would buy the dresses for her wedding party. When it was her money, she had all the say. If you came out looking like a cupcake that went home with cheesecake after a drunken night out, well, you just had to live with that.

Remember the horrific closet from 27 Dresses?

I get that the bride doesn’t want to be upstaged. I don’t think that any good bridesmaid would want to do that to their friend. I know I would never want to detract from the happy couple. Yet, in today’s modern society, where many bridesmaids are now having to foot the bill for their own dress, how much say do they have when it comes to what they wear?

I personally plan to be a good maid of honour and intend to be as polite as possible when giving my opinion on whatever we are trying on. The great thing is my friend and I have relatively similar taste in clothes, so the two of us will likely see eye to eye for the most part. However, it will be interesting to shop with the rest of the bridal party and find out how well everyone else does in this situation.

I expect that clashing styles, personalities and body types can mean disastrous shopping trips (fans of Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids will know how out of hand these excusions can get). My fingers are crossed for the best. And, I hope that I walk out of this with a dress that’s fairly affordable and that I’ll actually want to wear again. Those are the only two things I’ve asked for and I think my friend has agreed to that. Hallelujah!

Model, Molly Sims‘ Mismatched Bridal Party Dresses Doesn’t everyone look fabulous and happy?

Do you have any bridal party horror stories? Dress nightmares? What did you make your bridesmaids wear at your wedding? I’d love for you to share in the comments section below.

Photo Sources: Scribbles, Scripts & Such & Molly Sims