March 31, 2017

Project 333: Week 6 OOTD

Well folks, it seems I've made it! This will be my final update for my Winter Capsule Wardrobe and my first Project 333 Challenge. Although the weather in Ottawa is being incredibly stubborn (it's snowing as I write this...) I have decided to end my challenge updates. I will likely still continue to wear this wardrobe for another week or so depending on the weather, but hopefully the odds will be forever in my favor .

For another week I somehow managed to come up with unique outfits using only the items from my winter capsule wardrobe. I did go ahead and dig out some of my spring/summer shoes (Native Footwear and Toms) but I don't include footwear in my 33 items so I'm not cheating! Many of my outfits this week were built around the same Joe Fresh t-shirt that I own in three different colors. These t-shirts have been a part of my wardrobe since 2012 (I bought them when I was pregnant) and although they are not a sustainable brand, I have worn them so much over the years and they have held up amazingly well. I am very supportive of companies who take a slow, considerate, deliberate and sustainable approach to their design, manufacturing and distribution practices, however, I realize that tossing out all the clothing that I purchased in the past that I love, and replacing it with items that meet that specific criteria is neither ecologically-friendly, nor financially realistic.

I am super stoked to dive into my spring/summer wardrobe. It is not completely set in stone (I am a procrastinator by nature) but I imagine that I have enough to work with for now. I hope that this project was helpful, inspiring, opinion-forming and whatever else it could be. I love styling outfits, shopping, talking about fashion and helping anyone I can feel good about what they wear. Which is why I have created a forum on my page, I would love to encourage a community of fashion-lovers to have a place to talk, ask questions and help one another find answers. The link for my Fashion Talks Forum is in the menu bar at the top of my website. Feel free to start a thread and engage a conversation with other readers from around the world. Thank you for your continued support and I hope to connect with you there!

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March 24, 2017

5 Spring Wardrobe Essentials

When I think of spring, I am always hit with a wave of nostalgia. That initial burst of warmer weather, after months of cold and snow, it's what dreams are made of. Just the smell of spring on the breeze (a mix of grass, mud and flowers) is a euphoric experience for me. Spring also marks the beginning of a new wardrobe, whether it be the stuff you put away when the leaves started to fall or new items you can't wait to introduce to your closet, it is an exciting time.

In the spring, I usually like to incorporate lighter clothing (both the fabric's weight and color) pastels, bright colors and bold patterns eclipse my usually neutral-dominated closet. Since the beginning of 2017, I opted to go with a seasonal capsule wardrobe, containing 30-50 items. This allows me to focus on items that are seasonally appropriate, everything goes together and I am able to minimize my daily decisions.

This spring I plan to incorporate color and pattern for my top half but I will stick to mostly black, white, grey and light blue when it comes to my bottom-half. This will allow me to easily coordinate bottoms with tops in my capsule. In the past I would've written this post based on this season's must-have trends; that is, after all, what most of us look forward to at the start of the season. But since there are plenty of bloggers who write about this, I decided to take a different approach. Here are the items that, in my opinion, are important staples for any spring wardrobe (capsule or otherwise):

Favorite t-shirt:
There's nothing wrong with being a 'basic beech",  a simple outfit can make a big impact. Having clothing that you want to wear over and over is a good thing, whereas buying things that don't go with what you already own means you won't wear it; essentially a waste of money. T-shirts are crucial pieces, you can wear them year-round and they come in every color you can think of.  My favorite t-shirt for spring is the Synergy Tissue Knit Boyfriend Tee in washed denim.

Patterned scarf: This s a great transitional piece that can be worn year-round. As the temperatures start to creep up, you will want to shed the bulky coat in favor of thinner layers. A scarf in a bright color or pattern is a great accessory to add to an outfit when the mornings and evening are still a bit chilly and can be removed and stowed in your bag when it warms up. I prefer patterned scarves like this Denim Passion by Passion Lilie which is 100% vegan, hand-block stamped with plant-based dyes, fair-trade made in India. It ties together an otherwise basic outfit together and can help incorporate coordinating colors.

 Photo Credit: Good Cloth

White denim: White is a color that to me screams spring and summer. It is bright, goes with everything and looks great with sun-kissed skin. You can wear white in fall/winter but the warmer months is where white really shines. Having white jeans or a white denim jacket (or both) is a definite staple for any spring capsule. The only downside of white is that it's white, and if you're a slob like me, you'll need to make sure you always have some OxiClean on-hand. Check out these beautiful white jeans by Levis from Arc Apparel (a Canadian online retailer):

Photo Credit: Arc

Slip-on shoe: This may seem boring; but my shoe of choice is usually flats (even the name isn't exciting). But after 6 months of wearing the same pair of winter boots, these flats seem to me like a roller coaster ride of risk and reward. I am not a huge heels lover and since I am average height (5'7") I don't feel the need to be taller so flats are my go-to shoe for spring. Even if you do like wearing heels at the office, try wearing flats for the commute and then switching to heels at your desk, your feet will thank you! These flats by OKA B are ethically produced in the USA, they are washable (dishwasher or washing machine), one-piece durable design, recyclable, ergonomic and come in a bunch of colors, love these!

Lightweight cardigan: This item has similar benefits to the scarf. Did you ever notice how overly air conditioned some places can be in the summer? Yep, me too. That's why I pretty much always have a cardigan on-hand, that way when I go somewhere cold I don't have to suffer. A light-weight cardigan, like this organic cotton one by Synergy Clothing is a great layering piece for spring because it will go easily under a blazer or trench. A soft, thin cardigan like this Tissue Knit Wave by Synergy Clothing  is a piece that can stay in your wardrobe throughout the year.

Photo Credit:

There are so many other items that can be named for spring but for me these are the foundation of a coordinated wardrobe. I hope you enjoyed this article and please share below! Happy Spring shopping everyone!

Note: This post was not sponsored and I did not receive any compensation for featuring these brands. 

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March 20, 2017

Project 333: Week 5 OOTD

Wow, I cannot even believe that I have made it through another week of my Project 333 Challenge with no outfit repeats! This is definitely my longest challenge, and also the longest I have ever gone without wearing anything new.

 In my last update I mentioned my purchase from Synergy Clothing of some new staples for my spring capsule, I am so happy with all the items I chose. Want to hear the crazy thing about this last purchase? The old me would be constantly checking my tracking status, going out to the mailbox in search of packages and thinking about the new clothing 24/7. That's how bad my addiction to buying and receiving new things had become. This time, I was mindful that it was coming, I was excited to receive it but I wasn't "needing" it like I used to. I did try the clothes on right away to make sure they fit properly (thankfully everything fit perfectly) but now they are sitting patiently in my closet as I curate my next capsule and and wait for spring.

As this first closet challenge comes to a close, I am able to reflect on what I liked and didn't, what I have learned and what I will do differently the second time around. My favorite part was just that; wearing all the things I truely like rather than trying to rotate through all the items I own out of guilt. Putting away things I'm not crazy about doesn't mean that I'm getting rid of them or will never wear them again. It means that they aren't right in my current capsule, which has it's own theme and color palette, but they may work beautifully in a capsule down the road.

I did find it much easier to get dressed in the morning, I was often excited to go and choose my outfit each night for the next day. Posting daily on Instagram has challenged me to think of new combinations and also to re-discover my love for the app. I wasn't as strict in this challenge with shoes, accessories and outerwear; if I'm honest I may have had more than the 33 items if I totalled it all up. Next time I plan to have closer to 50 items but it will include my shoes and accessories (this may be hard to narrow down as I have way more summer footwear!)

What I have come away with is a better understanding of my relationship with my clothing. I am now making more of an effort to appreciate what I have to buy fewer and better things (that's actually the Cuyana slogan but it is true for me) and I think I am feeling less of an urge to shop because after watching The True Cost, I know that Fast Fashion isn't what I want to spend my money on anymore.

Have a great week and feel free to tweet me any questions you may have!

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March 18, 2017

5 Tips for Curating a Spring Capsule Wardrobe

So you're fed up with the constant closet conundrum; heaps of clothes but nary a thing to wear. You've spent countless hours and probably close to a million dollars shopping for clothing, shoes and accessories but the options are always scant. The problem isn't that you have nothing to wear, but rather too much and your brain in sensory overload; enter the "Capsule Wardrobe".

A "Capsule Wardrobe" can be described as a collection of classic garments which do not go out of style. Since these items are timeless, they can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. This type of  wardrobe is designed to be small (30-50 items is a good starting point) but interchangeable, giving you an (almost) unlimited amount of outfits without an extensive amount of clothing. Think of a capsule wardrobe as an apple; it consists of a "Core" (basic items that are wearable year-round; jeans, leggings, t-shirts, cardigans), the "Fruit" (seasonal items; dresses, skirts, shorts, heavy knits, jackets), the "Peel" (trendier pieces; featuring this year's must-have pattern, fabric or style). The "Core" remains throughout the year and the "Fruit" and "Peel" change based on the season and trends. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are five points to consider when you create your capsule wardrobe:

Color Palette
In order to achieve a cohesive wardrobe (to have all items coordinate)  choose items that fall into similar color families; they can be solid colors or patterns but the more items you have that go well with one another, the easier it will be to put together an outfit. Pay attention to the
shades of each color; incorporating light blue and navy blue into your wardrobe, for example, can offer a sense of continuity, especially if you are going for monochromatic.  Buying pants, skirts and shorts in neutral colors such as black, brown, navy, beige and white will give you more mileage, they go well with everything. There are really no rules when matching colors but some combinations triumph over others, for example: blush and grey is way better than orange and brown.
Typically people prefer to wear darker colors in fall/winter and lighter colors in spring/summer but I don't believe this must be strictly adhered to.

Weight of fabrics
The "Core" of your Capsule should consist of basic pieces that can be worn in any season. This will vary depending on your climate; in Ottawa, for example, the temperatures range from -35 Celsius (-31 F) in winter to +35 Celsius (95 F) in summer Having items that can be easily layered or worn alone will work for you no matter what the weather is doing. T-shirts and tank tops in organic cotton are great as they are lightweight, breathe well, are soft and can be layered under knits. Jeans are a staple for any wardrobe, as they can be worn year round. Full length denim can be easily rolled up for spring and summer or you can go with cropped denim, which can then be covered with socks and tall boots for fall/winter. Lightweight, knit cardigans are essential for your core wardrobe, they are perfect transition pieces between seasons and are not bulky, perfect for layered looks.

For the "Fruit" of your Capsule go for heavier knits for winter (if your climate is cold enough) wool and bamboo are nice natural options. A warm coat or jacket is an essential piece to have in colder weather; buying a jacket that keeps you toasty means that the layers you wear underneath can be minimal. Tanks and tees are covered in the core but you can also add more patterned blouses to your spring/summer wardrobe in nice lightweight silk (sustainable fibre in terms of production but is not silk-worm friendly). Shorts, skirts and dresses are an essential part of any wardrobe; depending on your occupation and your climate, these may be part of your "Core" Capsule but for others (like myself) these items are for spring/summer (aside from the odd special event/holiday). Choose fabrics that breathe (essential for those sticky, humid days), are comfortable, and will wash and dry easily. Shorts and skirts that require ironing or steaming every time you wear them are not my cup of tea (I'm a lazy girl after all).

Quality of garments
You should always aim for quality in the clothing you choose, you are spending your hard-earned money and deserve to take home items that will last. Taking proper care of your clothing plays a big role in how long a garment will last (I have been guilty of this offense). Hand Washing and line-drying whenever possible (time-consuming, I know) will greatly extend the life and overall quality of your clothing. Pieces in your "Core" should be top notch, these are the "investment" pieces, the ones that you want to last in your wardrobe for years.

Items purchased for your "Fruit" should also be good quality; although they are worn seasonally, you will want them to last; for example, I purchased a black, wool and cashmere Mackage coat, it cost me $700 (the most I've ever spent on a single item) I still have it, I still wear it and it is still in great condition. Buy cheap, pay twice.

For the "Peel" items; those must-have trends; think "Pyjamas as clothing", "ath-leisure", "velvet", "furry items", and the list goes on.

Size and fit
This can be tricky; they always say, "dress for the size you are, not for the size you want to be" and I tend to agree with that. For obvious reasons; you need clothes that fit and are comfortable. I have had two children so my size has changed a bit over the last 4 years but luckily I have maintained a consistent weight. I understand for others this is an ongoing struggle and I always hope that people are able to achieve the body they desire but also to feel comfortable and secure in the body that they have. That being said, I think that you should buy for the body that you have right now, this may involve more money spent as you move towards your goal but you must be comfortable, the fit must be right and it must suit your body type, clothing that doesn't fit (whether too big or too small) looks weird and draws attention or the wrong reasons. This can be the problem with trends or fads; they may not suit your body-type, or your personal style. It is ok to pass on a trend, not every trend will be for you. No love lost, really.

This can be tied in with the section on quality but it is more about the style of the garment. Discovering items of clothing that are "classic" can be difficult in this fast world of fashion we live in. Some brands only design for the "here and now" but there are others who are thinking "long-term". If we could go back in time, we would see that our ancestors didn't have the luxury of shopping daily, weekly or even monthly for clothes. There were wars and depressions and one income families; money was tight. Buying items that you treasure, won't get bored of and won't fall apart just makes good sense!

I trust that these tips will serve you well as you build your Spring Capsule. Enjoy the process and send me some pics of your choices on Instagram :)


March 11, 2017

Project 333 : Week 4 OOTD


I have reached week 4 and I have to say, this is very likely the longest I've ever stuck with a challenge. I am not usually one to stick with extracurricular personal endeavours but this one has been relatively easy and the fact that I have been documenting it daily on my Instagram has kept me on track. Coming up with new ways to wear my capsule wardrobe has been a bit difficult at times but I am still managing to wear unique looks every day (minus one day when I mistakingly wore an exact replica of a previous weeks outfit, but no biggie).

I may try doing some interesting layering for next week so get ready for some weird outfit combinations! I think that repeating outfits wouldn't be a big deal if it wasn't for my everyday posting, but the fact that I do is challenging me to think innovatively of new ways to wear the same items.

This week I started making plans for my spring capsule wardrobe. As I sat in my closet looking through all my spring/summer clothing, I felt a bit dejected. There is a part of me that says," You need to incorporate these items you already own into your capsule wardrobe. They are all paid for, they are in perfectly good condition and you liked them at one point."  There is another part of me that wants to scrap everything and start over. This is my problem EVERY spring. I want to be "out with the old, in with the new" but it's not good from a financial or ethical standpoint. It is a natural inclination to "clean house" and bring in new recruits for the coming season (spring is coming to Ottawa I swear to you!)

Recently, I placed an order online for new clothing (my first clothing purchase since fall 2016) the spring collection from Synergy Clothing was way too tempting to pass up. I purchased their Tissue Knit Boyfriend Tee in Washed Denim; their Bella Dress in Dusty Rose; their Kyra Skirt in Black; their Ocean View Shorts in Black; their Tissue Kit Metamorphose Cardigan in Phantom; and their Tissue Knit Muscle Tank in Rose. It took me quite a few tries at filling up my cart and then emptying it again before I decided on the right items for me. I want to be more mindful going forward, when it comes to my clothing purchases. I now make sure to read the About page for each and every brand before I even look at their merchandise. I want to ensure that each brand that I buy from shares my values; they have sustainable initiatives in their textiles, productions and delivery. They have ethical business practices; they pay their workers locally and abroad fairly, and ensure they have a safe work environment; and they care about their community; this means that they give back to those who are struggling and could use a helping hand. Here's a 15% off code for anyone who would like to purchase some new spring threads: .

My plan is to add a few more brands to my capsule wardrobe, this time I will have 40-50 items (as I will have this wardrobe from April to September). I am going with a color palette that includes; blush, white, grey, navy, light blue, black and rose. I have incorporated some patterns and also solids; I hope that this will give me a wide range of outfit options to choose from. Spring is something to get excited about and although it is not warm yet here in Ottawa, I am optimistic that by the time I have my Spring capsule wardrobe finished, the weather will have turned nice and warm!

Have a wonderful week and please leave me a comment below if you like this weeks outfits or are doing a similar challenge!



March 06, 2017

Ethical Brand Spotlight: Synergy Clothing

Have you ever wanted to go against the status quo? To step outside the box and follow a different path? This is something that as kids we tend to do naturally, until we reach adolescence and we realize that we can be targeted for being different and going against the grain. Then we enter college or university and the cliques disburse (ok maybe not but it's a much bigger pond) and we are free to experiment with being ourselves. Then we become adults, maybe we get married or have kids or both or maybe neither but we are more or less free to be our own person, to stand out as an individual.

So why then do we find ourselves heading to the same stores every season to refresh our wardrobes with the dress we saw on a billboard? The dress that thousands of women around the world are also buying. The dress that will be "out" by next spring. This is what I like to call the "cheap thrills" mentality, one I have been guilty of possessing more times than I can count. It still catches me off guard every now and again. It's a little voice that tells me I want new things, it could be from any store, that detail isn't important. As long as it's inexpensive, cute, and I can have it ASAP then I'm happy. After a few washes, reality sets in, the garment shows it's true colors (wonky stitching, loose threads, little holes, pilling, fading, etc.).  I'm disappointed with myself AND my purchase.

Synergy Clothing

As soon as I came across this brand during my research for sustainable, ecologically-friendly and ethical clothing companies I knew it was a perfect match. Their campaign photos are romantic, they make me want to travel, to be ship wrecked on a deserted island. They give the sense of a woman who is secure in herself, who is beautiful but doesn't wear too much makeup, who is fit, (runs, does yoga or pilates) but doesn't overdo it. Who is ready for adventure and has a beautiful, high-quality, comfortable wardrobe which is ethically made, friendly to the planet and affordable but never cheap.

Synergy Clothing came about after CEO Kate Fisher travelled to Nepal and India (in her second year of college) where she discovered a wealth of beautiful textiles and clothing. This trip and the connections that she formed would inspire her to create a company with the commitment to help create opportunities and empowerment for everyone within their supply chain. Synergy is a Santa Cruz-based, family-run business. Both Kate and her husband Henry are heavily involved with every aspect of the company and manufacturing process both in the US and overseas. They have succeeded at combining their passion for clothing with sustainable initiatives to create a business that they can be proud of, hopefully for generations to come. (Source: Synergy ClothingDisclaimer: This post is not sponsored, it is my own opinion of this clothing brand and I do not receive any compensation for featuring this brand on my blog.

Sustainable and ecological initiatives:

  • A green America certified business
  • GOTS certified organic cotton
  • Textiles are processed using low-impact dyes
  • Eco-friendly screen prints using water-based inks (rather than plastic Plastisol ink) allows ink to soak right into the fabric rather than sitting on top
  • Living wages & responsible factories; loomed in India; ethically sewn in Nepal
  • Empowering communities and local businesses in Nepal and India (specifically women and children)
  • Recycled Polyester collection; Synergy Clothing diverts old polyester and used plastics bottles from landfills and non-biodegradable waste from oceans. It is turned into a fabric used to make beautiful tops, skirts, dresses and pantsuits
  • Dedicated to quality; instead of pumping out clothing designed to fall apart, Synergy Clothing employs quality, trained artisans to sew and applique all their garments
  • (Source: Synergy Clothing)

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Let me know what you think of their collection and which pieces are your favs!  I just placed my first order and received a coupon code for 15% off that I would like to share with my readers: Happy shopping and please share any of your fav pics with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!  Here is a list of my top choices from Synergy's new arrivals:



March 03, 2017

Project 333: Week 3 OOTD

 This week has shown me why this is a "challenge". I am starting to get a bit bored of the same items all the time but luckily I picked my favorite items for this Project 333 Challenge. Trying to think of new ways to wear the same 33 items for three months will be difficult but I know that I can figure it out! Doing this challenge is great from a minimalism and sustainability perspective (two things that I consider important to me) but when you rely on clothing to express yourself everyday and want to share that on Instagram and a blog I think it helps to have more than just 33 items.

The typical duration of this challenge is 3 months, however, since spring is on the horizon, I will likely be swapping out my current capsule wardrobe for a spring/summer version sometime in April.
Since my body shape and size has changed a bit over the last four years (having had two children) I will need to purchase some new pieces; shorts, cropped jeans, a dress and a skirt. I have a few brands in mind that I have been researching and I will be posting about them in an upcoming article!

One of the things I have learned since undertaking this project is that I DO have favorites. There are not many items of clothing that I miss from my "full" closet, maybe a few things from my "summer" wardrobe but that's it! The things I chose for this challenge are the pieces which fit me best, which are comfortable, which make me feel confident, and which go well with the other items in my closet. The idea of having a seasonal or semi-annual "capsule wardrobe" makes so much sense. I would say my top 40 items (not including shoes and accessories imo) is all one individual really needs.

The difficult part for me, would be not adding heaps of new items every time at every wardrobe swap-out. This is likely due to the heavy marketing that happens in the spring and fall; we see all the new seasonal patterns, the trends, the must-have items and we want an entirely new wardrobe. We see a beautiful, famous, fashion blogger or Instagram style-influencer and we want to copy the look but we don't have the right items so we need to go buy them. I love to shop and it's been a bit hard to adopt a minimalist approach to shopping.

Spring is taking a looooong time to reach Ottawa compared with the rest of the Northern hemisphere so I'm still forced to gear-up in my parka, boots, hat and gloves every time I venture outside. I'm lusting after spring in a bad way so please send some warm vibes over my way! Hope everyone has a great week and please send me your feedback on my outfits and let me know what are your must-haves for spring!

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