Trading Places: Leather Jackets and Floral Dresses

As much as I hate to say it, I shop at Zara and I wear all black. I’m basic. Nothing against Zara, I think it’s one of the trendiest places to shop without having to shell out all your savings. The all black may have stemmed from character- or just plain laziness. It doesn’t require much effort and it’s safe. When I pick something off the rack, there’s a guaranteed eye roll coming from whomever I went shopping with that day. I don’t have what they call a “summer wardrobe”.

My clothing choices are predictable and almost always funeral appropriate. Needless to say, it’s now a lifestyle. So when I was paired up with Adina, who comes into the office wearing floral prints and coloured blazers, I knew I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone. I had the peace of knowing it wouldn’t be too crazy with mixing prints and all that, but it would still be difficult. Who knows, I might take something from this. Baby steps people.

DAYTIME OUTFIT:

Adina: I don’t think I’ve ever worn a sheer top before, so this was a new adventure for me. I liked the floral detailing on it a lot, but sheer plus the camisole is not my usual cup of tea. That being said, I think I’d be open to trying sheer things now that I know I can kind of pull it off. The pants were pretty comfortable actually, and I would wear them everywhere. I could have slept in those pants. I wasn’t totally sure if I put the shoes on correctly, to be honest. They were cute but confusing and squished my toes a bit.

Helen: Ok. Because we shop at some of the same stores, I didn’t think our styles would be a total contrast. I knew Adina would put me in patterns and colour, both of which are foreign for me, but I thought I would be fine.  I was entirely wrong, and a little, (a lot) uncomfortable not being in head to toe black. Jeans and a button up top shouldn’t make someone feel this strange but as simple as it is, this was not an outfit I’d ever pick out myself. For one, I don’t own an actual pair of jeans. However, I might go pick up a pair now that I’ve been reintroduced. The top was really comfortable but I still don’t see myself standing at checkout with it. And the wretched yellow bag- sorry Adina but that was painful.

NIGHTTIME OUTFIT:

Adina: You can’t tell in the picture, but those were some seriously high heels. I felt like a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time. The highest heels I own are not even two inches tall. They made the whole outfit feel pretty fancy, but I can’t imagine walking anywhere in those shoes. The dress was more low cut than I usually wear, but since it was loose it didn’t feel super exposing. The leather jacket was my favourite thing out of both outfits. It looked badass and gave this whole outfit a bit of spunkier edge.

Helen: I’m in a dress. I’m wearing pink flowers. I also think my hair got even bigger from being stressed out about all the colour. Ok, that might’ve been a tad dramatic. It’s just that the handful of dresses I own are all the same, a black number with clean lines. This was not that.  I feel like this ensemble makes me look younger, and honestly, I probably would’ve bought this whole outfit if I was past me, before I found myself. I also don’t usually wear denim but this jacket I didn’t mind. You can’t see it in this photo but there was also a dainty rose gold necklace that tied this whole look together, which I would totally wear outside of this little experiment

Final Thoughts:

Adina: I think the only time before this that I’ve ever worn so much black at once was to a funeral. I guess I’ve always thought of black as being boring or for those who are more on the punk or goth side than I. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to find that both outfits had more personality than I expected and that all those black pieces look good together. Both outfits were also much fancier than I normally wear, but it’s opened me up to more fashion possibilities. I’m also gonna go back to Zara when it gets colder so I can buy that jacket.

Helen: Adina’s style is approachable and not too crazy so I didn’t think I would have a hard time leaving the all black uniform for a few minutes. But I still felt a bit self-conscious stepping out of the shadows with that lemon yellow shoulder bag (because people could def see me now). Other than that, I didn’t mind the denim and could probably do with some jean additions in my closet. That being said,  I’ll leave the girl-next-door look to Adina and stick to my Addams Family attire.

What’s In Store? End Of Season Transitional Sale Items

The excitement of end-of-season sales, especially for a shopaholic like me, may lead to unnecessary purchases. However, the temptation to buy dozens of trendy pieces, just because it’s related to two magic words, final markdowns or clearance sale, will ultimately make me end up with a closet full of unworn clothing, hanging there with the price tag still attached and a real guilty feeling.

Before going on a shopping spree, there are a few things you should be aware of. The most important thing is trying to focus on the items worth buying, like fashion pieces that you can still wear next season or basic garments that will never go out of style. One way to control an impulse buy is to ask yourself whether you would wear this piece more than once and if would you consider owning this item if it wasn’t on sale.

To help you approach sales in a smart way, here are five outfits I have tried, from the summer collection, that are worth the investment and will make the transition from summer to fall more smoothly:

Rock ‘n’ roll vibe: Zara

If there was ever a garment that can be worn all season long, while maintaining a cool vibe, I would definitely say it belongs to the rock ‘n’ roll tee and the leather jacket. They are both versatile pieces that look great with classy high waisted trousers, as well with a denim mini or skinny jeans. A leather jacket is a timeless piece for any wardrobe and it’s also an integral part of our fall wardrobe. To make a statement, you can wear it with red jeans, that infuse colour into your everyday wardrobe and can works for multiple occasions.

High quality pieces: Club Monaco

The best time to buy quality and value piece is during end-of-season sales, when the prices are affordable. It’s better to look for trans-seasonal pieces which you can wear now by itself or layer later, when fall arrives. Here is my pick from Club Monaco, a lightweight, 100% silk dress with a unique paisley pattern and a versatile day to night silhouette. You can pair it with flat sandals or sneakers for an effortlessly casual look, or wear it with high heels and a fancy clutch for an after hours look.

Back to basic: COS Store

Buying trendy pieces for half price at the end of a season is tempting, however investing on timeless minimalist pieces will be the smarter option. Try to focus on clothing that will last for a longer period of time and can take into the early days of fall. COS is the perfect place to find clean-lined classic pieces, that will always keep you looking sophisticated. I opted for relaxed fit trousers with pleated hems in green and paired it with a basic top.

Black and white with a little twist: Topshop

You can never go wrong with clean and modern black-and-white look, especially when it’s organized into patterns like checkered or stripes. Since black and white goes with everything, I paired the striped crop top and lace skirt with a furry pink sandals, which injected some fun vibes to the polished outfit. The fluffy material continues to be a big hit for fall 2017 and it also allows you to get in the mood for coziness, that resembles the fall days ahead.

Florals Forever: French Connection 

Floral print, especially tropical ones seem to always be attached to spring/summer collections. By adding cool neutrals, the print can be transferred easily from summer to fall. Additionally, floral print is no longer exclusive to the blooming season, so you can carry your favourite prints into the cooler weather. These statement skinny jeans are definitely suitable for a chilly climate. Simply wear it with a cozy sweater or with a cropped puffer jacket and finish the look with an ankle boots.

 

Trading Places – Crisscrossing Black and Yellow

After four years of Fashion School, I came out with two things: limited job prospects and a wardrobe consisting of black clothing. Depressing as it may seem on the surface, a black palate is both practical and flattering. And frankly, black goes with everything. Win-win, I always thought. Working at Novella, however, I was alarmed by my stylish colleague, Liat, whose brazen wardrobe appears effortless and playful — and terrifying when I envision it on myself.

For the past six years, my new year’s resolution was to methodically incorporate at least one item of colour into my wardrobe. I’d start off slowly by adding just a pop of colour in limited doses, so as not to overwhelm my psyche. So far I have veered into white and light grey — it has been a trying process. New year’s resolutions often become distant memories. Each morning, in a rush and with excuses, I end up wearing black and hoping texture will somehow spice things up. So obviously, the office took one look at me and decided that my funeral-like appearance required an upgrade. So for our second Trading Places article, Liat and I partnered up to revisit basics and wear outfits with colour — even yellow.

DAYTIME OUTFIT

Michelle: The average person simply cannot wear yellow and not look like Big Bird. But, for Liat’s sake, I really tried to like this top. I was pleasantly surprised to see how flounce sleeves could make the yellowness seem intentional and I liked how they added some texture and a playful vibe, which, to be honest, I don’t have. Next, I tried on the gingham trousers, which at first glance reminded me of a picnic table. I have to say though, that these pants were both soft and stretchy and on-point with this season’s trends. Incorporating some black made me feel like I could actually wear them. In general, my daily uniform includes black skinny jeans, and I noticed how much more mobility I had with these pants. I was fresh, youthful and a literal beam of sunlight. Unsurprisingly, I did end up buying the pants to wear with more black. The yellow will have to wait till 2018.

Liat: As a fashion blogger, my biggest fear is looking boring. And for that reason, the oversized sweater didn’t look appealing to me. My first thought was: This is not my cup of tea. But at the same time, I was curious to see how it will make me feel when I pull it off. As for the jeans, I was satisfied with what Michelle picked for me. I adore the fringe details on the buttom because of the uniqueness they add. The boyfriend fit along with the oversized sweater made me rethink my fancy style, especially when it comes to my busy unglamorous life as a busy mom. I love colours, prints, and feminine details like ruffles and lace, but for a casual weekend look, like a day with my kids at the park, I can never go wrong with such a comfy outfit.

NIGHTTIME OUTFIT

Michelle: I’m just going to start off by saying that I hate dresses because they require a certain femininity that I do not possess. Rompers or jumpsuits are just their awkward and unappealing half siblings because when you have to go to the bathroom, ain’t nobody got time for all that work! Needless to say, this romper was a challenge, both physically and emotionally. It was also a full-on floral print with a ribbon tie back, paired with a Supreme Deluxe pizza purse. There was a lot going on. My petite frame was fully submerged and drowning in colour, pattern, and print, and quickly moving through the five stages of grief. Initially, I was in denial thinking, “maybe this works.” I quickly moved to stage two and three, realizing that I had put both legs in one leg of the romper but bargaining with myself that no one would realize my error. I then became depressed, realizing that colour was not for me and finally accepting that only Liat would ever be able to look cool in this outfit. This outfit was way too far out of my comfort zone.

Liat: The black top featuring a built-in corset belt was extremely comfortable and it’s definitely something I see myself wearing with a colourful flowy skirt or high waisted pants. I love the idea that this corset is already attached to the shirt, which saved me the time of figuring out what to wear. Plus, it’s super trendy this season. Pairing it with black skinny jeans and oversized shirt makes it too casual for my fashionista soul, especially as an evening look, since I am the type of person who is always trying to mix things up and create an unexpected combination. Also I was afraid that that the button up shirt looked quite boyish. Even so, it’s not an outfit I’d normally pick for going out. But I must say it looks great together and I am willing to adopt it as a day look. I was really satisfied with what Michelle picked out for me and I think it’s also flattering to my body shape.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Michelle: Despite my pessimistic attitude toward all things colourful or peppy, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun with Liat and this exercise. It made me realize that society does not care what you wear as long as you own it. I learnt to be less anxious about colour and more willing to try something new, so next time I see colour on a rack, I will at least give it a shot. But, I am not sure if I’d ever wear yellow again, so don’t hold your breath.

Liat: As a fashion addict, I am always willing to go on a shopping spree. For me this experience was pure fun. I noticed how I am always looking for outfits that will let my individuality pop up, which leads to a closet that lacks basic pieces like plain t shirts or simple black jeans. I realized that I need to increase the causal department in my closet. It also made me realize that I have too many girly dresses, which I got just because I couldn’t leave them hanging in the store. At the end of the day, I bought the black corset top Michelle offered me because of it versatility.

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Trading Places — Ripped Denim and Navy Cardigan

Of many idioms in the English language, ‘to be comfortable in one’s own skin’ is one of my favorites because it seems to me to express a certain kind of ideal: to be confident enough to be placed anywhere with anyone, exist without the limits of comfort zones. I’m not sure if anyone lives a life like that — maybe Jonathan Goldsmith does —and I certainly try to stay within the boundaries of my comfort zones. Routines are key to this feat; go to the same coffee shop, sit at the same spot, order the same drink; make, of small things in one’s daily life, rituals and repeat them. Or, visit the same shops, wear the same clothes in blacks and whites, and always button the button-up shirt all the way up.

In many ways, we are bound by what we’ve become comfortable with. And it’s difficult to ever really confront them since we’re also bound by the mechanisms of our daily lives and since not all of us can have an Eat, Pray, Love soul searching cruise down the inner-self time off from it. So at Novella, we thought that changing outfits, getting into something you’re not really used to, is a good and simple way to break free from our routines.

Trading Places is our way of trying to see ourselves outside of our usual selves. That our team’s outfits range from flowy flower patterned blouses, classic oxford button downs, and head to toe black to embroidered band denim jackets, sheer polka dot dresses, and short-sleeve jumpsuits make this prison break more exciting. For our first installment, Chris, our fashion editor, and I partnered up to kick each other out of our respective comfort zones.

Daytime Outfit

Hoon: The Metalica tank top was beyond comfortable. I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything that so coyly covered and uncovered my nipples every time I lifted my arms. The breeze, since it was a hot day, was nice and cool and I adjusted well to life at this temperature. Next, I put on the denim shorts. My left foot got caught in one of the artfully ripped areas and for a second it seemed as though it might rip entirely and leave me with no choice but to lead a criminal life of damaging, and absolutely refusing to pay for, H&M shorts. Once on, the shorts let in a lot of air and was not as tight as I had originally anticipated or as Chris had warned, which was a relief. Then I put on the hoodie, which was cut in a way that the front ends of it veered away from my body. This, also, was a new sensation. It was possibly the most daring outerwear I’ve ever worn. I think that had I been wearing my usual pair of long black pants, I might not have felt too out of place in this outfit Chris picked out for me. Something about the ripped denim, as absurd as it is, was entirely contrary to the way I picture myself.

Chris: Although this may seem like a simple white shirt and casual navy blue pants, this was so far out of my comfort zone that it’s almost haunting to see these pictures as I write this. I’ve never been the type of person to opt for what others would consider “appropriate” and “tame” clothing. My personal style, has above all else, remained extremely casual and undeniably very me. So the thought of myself (sorry Hoon) moving over to the dark side of “grown up” dressing was really a step away from anything I would ever do in my personal life. There is one thing that I think I really enjoy about this outfit; the pants. Now I can undoubtedly do without the white button up shirt, but the pants are truly something I could see myself wearing and making my own. Not only were they extremely comfortable, moving with my body rather than against it, they came with andextremely handy and unexpected draw string waist, which would allow me to tighten and loosen my pants as the occasion calls for. Congratulations Hoon, you’ve made me realize that Uniqlo has comfy pants. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

Nighttime Outfit

Hoon: You can’t really see it in the photo but the ripped areas of this particular pair of jeans from Zara are curiously patched with various patterns, the most disconcerting of them all the two leopard prints. The jeans were tight but wearable, which seemed to me to be cruel in that they’re meant to be exactly that: tight and just a snippet short of being unbearable. I fumbled for a while to get them off and, to be honest, I don’t think Chris would really wear this particular pair himself. Chris and I both liked the green, white, and yellow shirt with daisies on them. It has splashes of brightness but was toned down by the dark green, which would make it, were I to go down that route, the gateway shirt to more colourful shirts. The light oversized denim jacket though you can’t see it in this photo, had roses embroidered in the back. But aside from the oversized aspect, once I put it on, I realized that it isn’t too far from something I’d venture to try on by myself if the mood were to strike.

Chris: Here’s the thing. Hoon is one of the lucky few on this beautiful blue planet that can pull off the studious Ivy League valedictorian look and not make it look like the constricting uniform of the ruling patriarchy. I, on the other hand, manage to make this J.Crew ensemble look like a failed attempt at making an aggressive Yale Skull & Bones look approachable and friendly. There’s something about this navy cardigan and grey-slack-dress shirt combo that that looks menacing. It looks predatory. Like a republican who’s smelled the blood of a  lower middle class citizen and is looking for nothing less than to pounce on his unsuspecting victim and rid them of their life force through heavy taxation and a higher cost of living. But if I do look to the bright side, the one thing I may consider wearing out of all three items would have to be the cardigan, just as long as I can have it oversized and riddled with holes and tears.

Final Thoughts

Hoon: The exercise was fun. I noticed how the uneasiness I felt while Chris picked out the outfits would soon disappear and seem disproportionate in retrospect. Goes to show that I egregiously associate certain aspects of myself with the types of clothes I choose to wear. Though I am still pretty certain that I’d not wear the ripped denim of my own accord, I might very well go back to that H&M for that tank top.

Chris: I think my favourite part of this little activity was watching Hoon’s eyes widen and face shoot white as I went through rack after rack, pulling out options of what I was willing to put him in. In retrospect, I did  manage to learn something interesting about how two different people view each other and how we should accept everyone for what makes them different and unique. Props goes to Hoon though. Our outing has inspired me to buy both outfits that I put Hoon in.

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Spring style Revamp: Three Runway Looks For Less!

TEXT: Chris Zaghi and Claire Ball

Gone are the days when the standard polyester pantsuit or pencil skirt were the go-to for every woman at the office. The new 9-5 wardrobe should tastefully represent your personal style, as well as the atmosphere of your workplace. The same goes for your beauty routine. You want to look professional and put together without foregoing some extra oomph to your everyday makeup look.

When looking toward the weekend, most of the times all you want to do is throw on a t-shirt and sweats, but hear us out. Loungewear is great for picking up groceries, walking the dog, and laying about and watching Netflix. But sometimes the weekend calls for a little pizazz! An easy weekend solution is to keep your makeup minimal instead of your clothes. Why not amp up your weekend style with some comfy show stoppers that’ll have all your friends begging you for fashion advice and opt for a minimal makeup look?

Now evening wear and formalwear can be a bit tough. There are tons of rules and guidelines on what’s right and what’s wrong. No white at weddings, no stretch fabrics, avoid things that are too casual. All of these rules can make it almost impossible to find something that won’t be gasped at by the rest of night’s guests. Luckily, over the last few years, how we look at formal attire has changed drastically. Outfits that would have never gone over well at formal events are now slowly being accepted. And more outlandish and gaudy designs are being celebrated at events instead of being shunned. This opens up a lot of doors to what you can wear to a formal event this year. So keep your makeup relatively classic with a bit of a twist and let your outfit do the talking!

Office Ready: Chanel vs. Zara

Photos: Vogue Runway – Zara

Zara Textured Weave Cardigan &  Zara Structured Mini Skirt With Ruffle:

$135.80 online or in store

Zara has a long-standing tradition of providing the fashion-forward masses with reasonably priced and well-made clothing inspired by the world’s most exclusive luxury labels. The clothing you find in most Zara boutiques tends to lean toward a very elegant and trend-positive style. And when looking for the perfect 9-5 outfit, elegance, assertiveness, and freshness are key. For example, Zara has recently added this beautiful tweed set to their lookbook. Elegantly trimmed with a fire engine red hem and buttoned with faux pearl accents. This classic style mirrors the suits Mademoiselle Coco made famous decades ago, but with an added flirty twist. This especially helps with keeping your 9-5 wardrobe fresh and exciting (and you can mix and match the set too!)

Office Makeup look: Blush(ing)

Photos: Vouge – MAC Cosmetics

MAC Casual Colour in Hi Jinks: $31.00 in store or online

In case you were absent during the ’80s, now is the time to embrace a retro throwback in your beauty routine. The spring/summer runway was both subtly and extravagantly reminiscent of the decade and one of the most popular makeup tributes to it was bright blush and lips. Designers like Kenzo, Reem Acra, and Adam Selman all participated in various versions of the retro blush. This look from the Chanel spring/summer 2017 runway features a strong, bright coral cheek contour with a hint of coral on the lips to evenly brighten up the face. MAC has a line of creamy multipurpose lip and cheek stains that are perfect for recreating this look for the office on your own! Just trace the cream colour up the cheekbones, and around the eyes. If you’re really feeling the 80s vibes, finish it off by dabbing a little bit on the lips for an added pop of colour. This beauty look screams springtime while also keeping it professional and pretty for work.

Weekend Chic: A.P.C vs. ASOS

Photos: Vogue Runway – ASOS

ASOS Denim Crop Jacket with Ruffle HemASOS Ridley Skinny Jeans

$138.62 + Shipping

Weekend outfits often tend to lean towards whatever is the most casual (and clean) that’s laying around your room. This can lead to some serious drab moments when going out and hitting up the town. Luckily, ASOS has a slew of different dressy yet uber-casual options for you to beef up your weekend wardrobe. Now, most people don’t want to wear a blouse on the weekend. No problem. Denim is your best friend in this case. The denim jacket and jeans give you the same refined, high fashion silhouette that the A.P.C ensemble gives you, just without the high fashion price tag. The pulled in waist and ruffles paired with matching skinny jeans give this look a fresh and expressive take on your traditional Canadian tuxedo.

Weekend Makeup look: No-Makeup Makeup

Photos: Vouge – Sephora

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20: $55.00 in store or online

The bare skin “no-makeup” look has been seen before, but this season it seems that it was more popular than ever. With designers like Isabel Marant, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Christian Dior all displaying a minimalist approach to makeup on the runway, there is no denying the obvious appeal of the “no-makeup” look. Radiant, clear skin like this look from the Stella McCartney spring 2017 show, is the perfect way to keep it casual, fresh, and chic on the weekend. Just apply a good tinted moisturizer, like Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with SPF 20, to even out your skin and bring out your natural radiance with a dewy glow. If you need to cover some blemishes, just touch them up with a little bit of concealer and blend it out. To complete the ultimate natural look, brush up your eyebrows and you’re good to go!

A Beautiful Evening Out: Gucci vs. Free People

Photos: Vogue Runway – Free People

Garden Life Maxi Dress$327.50 online or in store

Evening wear can be a tricky thing to get right. With all the guidelines surrounding what to wear, most people opt for something black and that’s that. However, modern evening wear doesn’t have to end up being so uptight. One big trend we’ve been seeing are florals — explosions of colourful blooms completing outfits in exotic prints and embroidery. And that’s just the right amount of punch your closet needs to fulfill all your formalwear desires. Free People does a wonderful job of merging elegance and hippie-chic in a neat little package, and the Garden Life maxi dress does just that. Mirror the beautiful blooms seen at Gucci this season. The dress is perfect for this year’s upcoming wedding season and any other spring/summer event that requires a little evening magic. Who knows, maybe you can even turn a dull winter party into a tropical paradise if you have the guts to do it.

Evening Makeup look: The Smudgy Eye

Photos: Vogue – Sephora

Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner: $31.00 in store or online

This “still wearing last night’s makeup” look is the new smokey eye. The spring/summer runway was all about the smudgy eye. Runway looks from Rag & Bone, Christopher Kane, and Balmain featured similar versions of the black, ashy, smudged out liner look. Pairing this makeup with the floral Garden Life Maxi Dress adds an edgier vibe for a perfect night out look. The best part about this beauty trend is that you no longer have to stress about drawing a straight line! Use Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner to rim your eyes, and using a smudging brush, Q-tip, or your fingertip, smudge out the liner to create an “already worn out” smudged and smokey look.

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