Transitions

LogoI live on the Canadian prairie where we have very distinct seasons. As a result, I have two distinct wardrobes, summer and winter. Sadly, it will soon be time to pack away my shorts, capris, and all my other warm weather gear and prepare for the cold months ahead, but tucked in between summer and winter are the shoulder seasons, spring and fall. Times of transition. What do you wear when it’s 5ºC (41ºF) first thing in the morning and 30ºC (86ºF) that same afternoon? That’s the kind of weather we’ve been having this week and that’s why there are some pieces that stay in my closet year round.

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My new Graph Blouse from Cabi will be one of them. Though it’s from the Fall 2017 Collection, it’s floaty layers make it a perfect stand alone item for summer days and warm autumn afternoons.

To ward off the morning chill, I’ll simply add one of the lightweight cardigans that spend the summer at the back of my closet. As long as my shoulders and upper body are warm, I’m comfortable.

When winter arrives (I hate to think of it!), the Graph Blouse, tucked in or worn loose as shown here, will continue to serve me well under warmer sweaters and jackets.

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Stepping out of your fashion comfort zone

LogoDo you ever feel like you’re stuck in a fashion rut? Are you tired of looking in the closet and seeing the same old, same old? Are you unhappy with what you see in the mirror? Perhaps you’d really like to try something new, but you have no idea where to begin. Maybe it’s time to step outside your fashion comfort zone!

Most of us get stuck in a fashion rut from time to time. I know I certainly have. There was a time when almost everything in my wardrobe was some shade of blue or brown! How boring is that?

Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be scary. Take it slow. Experimenting can be fun, but this doesn’t mean that you should try to change everything at once. Small changes can make a big difference.

The first step might be to look for ideas and inspiration. Though magazines can be a good source, I like to read fashion blogs written by real women just like you and I. You can find several of my favourites here. If you do a bit of searching, you’ll find others that may be more your style, especially if you’re significantly younger than I am.

People watching is another fun way to gather ideas. Try sitting in a mall for a little while and really looking at what the women who pass by are wearing, especially the ones who seem to exude confidence. You won’t like everything you see, but you might pick up some ideas that you’d be willing to try. Don’t make the mistake of trying to copy exactly what you see someone else wearing though. You want to put your own stamp on an outfit and allow your unique personality to shine through.

The easiest way to step out of your comfort zone and switch up your style is to try wearing a colour that you typically wouldn’t wear. If red isn’t part of your present wardrobe, that would be a great place to start since it’s a popular colour this season and there will be lots to choose from in the stores. For advice on how to choose the right red for your complexion, see my post from last Friday.

Accessories are a great, budget friendly way to update your look. Adding jewelry or shoes in a style that you haven’t worn before will instantly take your outfit to a new level. Be adventurous! I remember reading of one woman who admired hats on other gals. Eventually she bought herself one. She told of sitting in her car outside the mall, hat on head, terrified to get out and be seen because this was such a new look for her. I don’t remember if she ever wore her new chapeau into the mall or if it stayed behind in the car. I really hope she wore it!

Sometimes a wardrobe update is as simple as embracing a new, on-trend version of your favourite fashion item. I spend a great deal of my life in jeans and I admit that I’m not always quick to adopt the newest cuts. It took me awhile to accept the low rise variety and now that I’m accustomed to them, waistlines are rising again!

Stepping out of your fashion comfort zone doesn’t have to involve shopping for something new. Sometimes it can be as simple as combining items that you already have in new and different ways. Again, be adventurous! You might find several new looks right there in your own closet!

Are you waiting to lose a few pounds or to get in shape before you try to climb out of your fashion rut? Please don’t! Instead, begin by dressing the body you have. Again, look at the women around you. Not one of us has a perfect body, but by stepping out of our fashion comfort zones we can begin to feel better about ourselves just the way we are and maybe by doing so, we’ll be challenged to take the necessary steps to make those dietary changes or to join that gym.

What changes will you make this fall? You’re worth it!

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Fashion trends for fall 2107

LogoAs one who loves summer, I’m hoping that I don’t have to make my seasonal wardrobe switch to fall and winter wear for awhile yet, but it’s time to start thinking about it. Although I’ve been retired from teaching school for ten years, my many years in the classroom still have an impact. When the end of August and the beginning of a new school year approach, my mind automatically goes to fall. Of course, the stores have already been gearing up for the new season for some time.

So, what are the trends that we should be watching for this fall? Let’s take a quick peek.

Sofa Print Florals

Floral patterns never seem to go out of style, but this season I’m seeing a lot of the large floral prints that the fashion industry often refers to as “sofa print” or “couch” florals. Deep, rich colours and dark backgrounds seem to be particularly popular this year.

Red

Pink was the popular colour for summer this year, but its big sister, red, is taking over for fall and winter. Everything from shoes and boots to overcoats are being seen in red, but if you’re not sure that it’s the colour for you, try it in small doses first. Consider adding a pop of colour with red accessories.

If you plan to wear larger expanses of red, especially near your face, it’s important to choose a shade that compliments your complexion. If your skin has warm undertones, you’ll look best in an orange-based red, while those of us who have cooler, fair complexions will look better in reds with blue undertones.

Plaid 

One of the most popular looks on the runways for this season was grey plaid suiting, but brighter plaids (remember the 70s) are also popular. This plaid shirt from Cabi is on my wish list.

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Velvet

Velvet is back in many different hues and not just for formal wear. Skirts, pants, blazers, even hoodies, shoes, and booties are being seen in velvet this year!

Shoulder pads

Shoulder pads are one returning trend that I’m not sure I’m ready for! I can handle something small to give a garment structure, but no football player shoulders for me, please!

Midi skirts

Below the knee, but above the ankle, mid-calf length skirts seem to be the most popular for the upcoming season. Silhouettes vary from pencil skirts to those with more volume, but this can be a tricky length to get just right. When it comes to midi, there’s a thin line between flattering and frumpy. A skirt that hits the widest part of your calf will visually shorten your legs, so instead, you want the hemline to hit the narrower spot just below your calf muscles.

Do any of these trends appeal to you? Which ones will you consider adding to your wardrobe this fall?

We aren’t what we wear

logoI recently had an interesting conversation with two young women that I tutor. Members of the Old Colony Mennonites who have been relocating to Canada from Mexico in recent years, they wear traditional dresses and kerchiefs. I’ve been teaching them to read, a skill they didn’t have the opportunity to learn as children. One of their many reasons for wanting to learn to read  is so that they can read the Bible, so we’ve been using a children’s Bible story book as one of our texts.

“Do we have different Bibles or do we just understand it differently?” M asked me after one of our recent sessions. “Our Bible says that we should wear dresses and cover our heads,” she continued. She was clearly referring to the fact that I don’t dress that way.

So what does the Bible actually say?

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” Deuteronomy 22:5

We talked about what that might mean and M was quick to point out that though we might both wear blue jeans, her husband would never wear a top like I was wearing. No one would confuse me with a man because of the way I was dressed!

There was a time, not too long ago, when regardless of what they wore during the week, everyone dressed up to go to church on Sunday morning. Heaven forbid that a woman should wear pants or a man show up without shirt and tie! Thankfully, for many of us, that has changed.

Several years ago, before it became commonplace, I made the very intentional decision to begin wearing blue jeans to church. I don’t wear them every Sunday, but I do make a habit of wearing them quite often.

Why?

There were several young families in our church at the time who were struggling to get their teens to come to church on Sunday mornings. One of the issues of contention was what they wore. The kids rebelled at the idea of having to dress up. It always boggled my mind that anyone would consider one fabric (blue denim) less holy than another and rebel that I am, I felt that if I, sometimes considered a leader in the church, wore jeans, the younger parents might feel more comfortable allowing their kids to do the same.

Who knows? Maybe someday my young Mennonite friends might feel comfortable dressing more casually too. In the meantime, they wear their dresses and I wear my jeans and we have a wonderful time together! After all,

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Fast fashion is not frugal!

logoI almost never buy “fast fashion”, or disposable clothing as I like to call it. Fast fashion refers to a phenomenon in the fashion industry that sees retailers introducing new products as often as multiple times a week. Garments are manufactured quickly and inexpensively allowing consumers to fill their wardrobes with trendy styles without spending a great deal to do so. These clothes are usually characterized by shoddy workmanship and low quality fabrics.

I seldom enter retailers like Forever 21, H&M and Zara that specialize in fast fashion, but I made a rare exception about three months ago. Walking through the mall, I spotted the cardigan that you’ve seen before here on a rack at the entrance to one of these stores.

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On a dreary February day, it was the blush pink colour that caught my eye and made me think of spring. At $15, it was definitely an impulse buy and one that I knew wouldn’t last long, but after just a handful of wearings, look at the way the fabric is pilling!

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Fast fashion has also come under criticism for contributing to poor working conditions in developing countries where these garments are churned out, not to mention the garment factory disasters that have claimed the lives of many workers. It also has a very negative impact on the environment. Producing the staggering number of fast fashion garments that are sold worldwide requires tremendous amounts of energy and releases enormous quantities of harmful bi-products into the environment. In addition there’s the problem of disposing of the used garments which, like my cardigan, don’t last long and aren’t worth passing on to the second hand market. Instead, they end up in the landfill where the mostly synthetic fibres take hundreds of years to break down.

I’m proud to refer to myself as a frugal fashionista, but frugal is not buying cheap, poorly made garments; frugal is buying quality items at bargain prices. Buying fast fashion is definitely not frugal!

Butterflies on your boots

logoSince I mentioned my new rubber boots in a recent post, an ad for patterned combat boots from Goby has been showing up on my Facebook newsfeed quite frequently. Available from Amazon, they come in several different designs, but these ones are my favourites.

 

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Ivory & Blue Watercolor Butterflies

I have a very narrow foot, so I don’t order shoes or boots online, but if I saw these in a store I would definitely try them on. I have no need for combat boots, but they appeal to my sense of whimsy! I can’t attest to their quality, but the online reviews are favourable.

Perhaps combat boots aren’t your style either, but what about rocking a monochromatic outfit or a little black dress by adding a patterned pair of heels? These ones are also from Goby, but there are many other options available.

What about you? Do you wear patterned shoes? Would you wear butterflies on your boots?

Play clothes

logoI grew up in an era when girls wore dresses to school and changed into play clothes when we got home, but what do I wear when I take my grandchildren to the playground?

We picked up grandsons, Sam and Nate, from school yesterday afternoon and headed off to Start with Art, an annual exhibit at Deep Cove’s Seymour Art Gallery that encourages young people to appreciate, collect, and curate their own art collections.

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After perusing the the work of numerous different artists, narrowing their choices and finally making their selections which will remain on display until the show ends next month, we were off to the nearby playground.

It was a crisp spring day; too warm for a jacket, but perfect for my light denim waterfall shirt from cabi’s fall 2016 collection worn open over a striped tee and a white cami. Though Nate was comfortable in shorts, I was glad to be wearing my dark wash jeans from Old Navy.

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“I’m almost as tall as you Gram!”

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“Am I taller?”

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The waterfall shirt (unfortunately no longer available) is a great layering piece but can also be worn alone as a button-up shirt. Its stand up collar and ties set it apart from similar shirts and give it greater versatility.

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