I had a brilliant time working on this shoot with the team. We added it to our Vogue Italia portfolio… hope you guys like it! I actually made the hats in this one too… fun!
Every now and we need a bit of retail therapy. I’m in the midst of purging a TON of items out of my wardrobe and I thought I’d write this little piece on shopping. Or at least my tips on shopping. I haven’t always had a huge budget for clothes, and the budget I do have, gets stretched. You hear bloggers, mags and fashion types say it all the time “Quality over Quantity”. And I have to agree. Going through piles and piles and piles of clothing in the last month, I must have donated about 4-5 full garbage bags of stuff I haven’t worn in forever. Most of it was fast-fashion, F21, Zara. That ilk. There’s nothing wrong with shopping at those stores, not everyone has the budget to run to Holt’s every time they need something new. But if you do the math, and add up all those pieces, even at an average price of $25….YIKES. As I get older, I try to shop smarter. I really think about the longevity of an item. Sure I could go to a fast-fashion retailer and get a whole work wardrobe for $500, but I’ll have to replace that wardrobe so often, it barely makes sense. Most fast-fashion pieces are made to last no more than 10 washes. Looking at what is left over in my wardrobe – quality pieces, that I carefully picked out and I still wear after all these years.
I also read a great article on how fast-fashion is slowly killing the emerging designer. Read it over at Kenton Magazine if you’re interested. With the Street Style and blogging phenomenon since 2005, I think there is an extreme pressure on people (namely women) to always have the newest, latest and trendiest. Bloggers, especially feel like they have to post something ERRRDAY and it has to be new. Does it really though? Do you really NEED 20 pairs of jeans, 50 tees, and countless amounts of sweaters, dresses, shoes you’ll probably only wear once? I’m definitely not anti-shopping, I’m just more interested in shopping smart. I’m becoming a uniform-dressing-minimalist. Slowly but surely. Anyway, if you are interested, here are some things that have worked for my wardrobe.
1. STAPLES: The Bag. You need three. A year-round work bag (go for quality, you use it everyday), a casual weekend bag (something a bit more fun), and an evening clutch (perfect for date night or a gala). If you pick the right three, trust me, you’ll go YEARS before you’ll WANT to replace.
2. SUIT UP. My first two choices for a good suit? Club Monaco (their “Tex” suit has barely changed in years, and it looks as chic today as it did 10 years ago. You can’t go wrong). Judith & Charles (made in Canada, beautiful design, perfect fit – no chance ‘fast fashion’ will create a kock-off – and by that I mean, the quality of fabrics they use will never look or feel cheap. You can’t ‘knock off’ quality).
3. There are blouses, and then there are blouses.I have a huge love of good fabrics. There’s no synthetic that feels like cashmere or silk. It’s worth the investment AND I find if you wait, these fabrics will and do go one sale. At the end of the day, poly-blends do look cheap, feel cheap – you get sweaty wearing them, and no one appreciates pit stains. I threw out a good 30 poly blouses in my purge: avg. $25 x 30 = $750. I collected these over the years – wore each a few times… now if I took that $750 and bought 6-7 blouses I loved, I’d be supporting good design, smaller design houses, less impact on the environment, less waste, more space in my closet… yaddayaddayadda… you get it. Below are some of my faves – tailor your blouse list to your own needs.
From Top left: Club Monaco “Vanessa” shirt – another piece from CM that has been a company staple – NEVER goes out of style. T. Babaton PEYTON Blouse – looks and feels like Equipment! Fits lika dream!; Equipment, DUH – Please go try one on right now, and become a convert. Rachel Zoe; Dolce & Gabbana; Trina Turk;
4. FANCY FOOTWEAR. You don’t need every single shoe ever made. You just need good shoes that fit your lifestyle. Here are my picks for what works for me.
From Top Left: Balmain – I bought mine at a sample sale at The Room (The Bay); YSL – great everyday pumps for the office; Stuart Weitzman – Nine West has a similar style in store right now; Alexander Wang – phenomenal ‘goeswitheverything’ shoe – shorts, skirts, dresses, jeans, you name it!; Adidas – I wear these pretty much every day; Jimmy Choo – I have a version from Halston Heritage – can’t find it online any more, as I bought mine 3 years ago – I STILL wear these pretty much every summer day.
5. EXPERIMENT: I agree my style isn’t exactly earth shattering or novel, but to get a bit more versatility out of a ‘uniform’ style wardrobe, I throw in the odd bit of vintage and the big piece of jewelry or hat. If you focus on accessories, with a ‘clean slate’ type wardrobe, each piece of jewelry you add to the above wardrobe will totally change the feel of it. I scour the Antique Market in Ottawa for one of a kind jewels whenever I get the chance. You can get a great piece of costume jewelry for under $50 AND a guarantee you’ll be the only one who has it. My biggest fashion pet peeve is seeing someone who has my shirt/pant/necklace/whatnot. Adding vintage and costume adds fun and individuality.
From Top Left: Roberto Costa Vintage; Wunderkammer – a great shop on Dalhousie – featuring designs by the owners and many more! (mostly under $100); A vintage necklace I found at a shop in Ottawa; Check out the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show – LOTS of unique costume and fine jewelry to be found there; Kenneth Jay Lane; Ottawa Antique Market - Logan Antiques – first booth in the market has some of the best selection in town;
So there you have it. That’s my shopping style. I really do hope this was somewhat helpful when it comes to discovering your own style. There’s so much more to life than fashion (as fun as fashion is) so the less time you spend shopping (the quicker it is for you) the more time you have for the things that make you happy. After going through my closet and getting rid of so much, and really taking shopping out of my weekly ritual, defining my style, only shopping when I need something, versus wanting every trend there is, I must say I have so much more time to do what I love. What’s your shopping routine like? Do you find more pressure to shop with how much the internet has exploded with style pics? Let me know, I’d love to start a discussion!
I got the chance to work on a fun project last week. My friends Patrick, Amber and I decided to take some classy photos of some classy gents we know for a ‘Movember themed calendar. Below are the results. Hope you like it! (PHOTOGRAPHY JUSTYNA BARANIECKI)