Friday, 31 January 2014

January Wrap-Up

Well, it is the end of January and I have officially failed in my attempt at the 5 piece French wardrobe. I gave it a good go, I gave it my all, but still my shopping impulses kicked into overdrive! The only good thing I can say is that at least I'm still being really picky about what I buy- thinking about how it will fit in to my wardrobe, if I'll actually wear it etc.

I've realized how much shopping is a part of my day-to-day life. Window shopping, trips to the mall or popping into H&M after class, reading style blogs and especially ONLINE SHOPPING. I think I go online "window shopping" almost every day. Really, before I can follow the 5 piece French wardrobe rules I need to tackle HOW I shop and how shopping fits into my life.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A Touch of Blue

When I was a kid blue was my favorite colour, and sometime in my teen years pink took over as the colour I bought everything in. I still absolutely love pink, but I'm thinking about adding some cobalt, navy, baby blue pieces into my wardrobe. It is after all the colour I get complimented on wearing the most (probably because of my blue eyes), and it is definitely a better wear than pink when you aren't having the greatest skin day!

A Touch of Blue

Friday, 24 January 2014


If it was financially possible, this is the kind of outfit I would be wearing day in, day out. It is pretty much my perfect outfit!

Black on Black

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Basics.

I have been writing up a list of my basics and I think I've got it to the point where this is all I would need to get dressed day-to-day and look put together. I'm sure I've left a few things out, but I think looking at this I really see my style in the simple pieces I've chosen. I have some of these things and some I have yet to acquire:

*blue, black, pink skinny jeans
*structured skirt
*crisp shorts in black, pink print

*white slouchy t-shirt
*zara grey, black slouchy t-shirts
*white structured t-shirt
*american apparel 50/25/25 track shirt in grey
*h&m black slouchy sweater
*grey sweater
*cotton tank tops (for layering)

*black knee-high boots
*black ankle moto boots
*black ballet flats

*little black cocktail dress
*black casual shirt-dress

*Viparo black leather jacket
*black winter coat

*black pashmina scarf
*leopard print scarf
*black leather tote
*Fossil rose-gold watch
*oversize silver heart bracelet with engraved 'M'
*black leather belt
*black tights
*pink nail polish

Friday, 17 January 2014

Wardrobe Challenges

If you aren't ready to hop on the 5 Piece French Wardrobe bandwagon, there are many other ways you can maximize your wardrobe while coming closer to a better vision for the way you dress. For anyone who wants to rethink how they shop or downgrade their shopping habit, one of these wardrobe challenges could be up your alley.

To participate in Project 333, you need to choose 33 items of clothing, hide away the rest of your wardrobe, and only wear your 33 chosen items for 3 months. Basically, you will be creating a capsule wardrobe that you can wear for 3 months at a time before you can switch out to another 33 items (if you so choose). This challenge is about learning to live with less, and slowly removing and donating clothes you realize you no longer need or wear.

The 6 Items Challenge is going to test your creativity and reliance on fast fashion by challenging you to choose 6 items of clothing and wear them over the course of lent (about 6 weeks). You read that right, the creators of this challenge want people to consider the way we shop today, raise awareness about the working conditions for garment workers around the globe, and decrease your reliance on fast fashion. (And don't worry, the 6 items don't include shoes, underwear, or work-out clothes). They'll be beginning the challenge this March and you can participate along with them on the blog.

The point of the 30x30 clothing remix is to create new and exciting outfits out of clothing you already own- 30 outfits with 30 garments, to be precise, and to not shop for 30 days while you take the challenge. This challenge was started by Kendi of when she wanted to start shopping her closet instead of purchasing new clothes all the time. In this blog post you can see all 30 outfits Kendi created during her fifth time taking the challenge.

The Unworn Clothing Challenge
In a bit of a more easygoing approach, Janneke began this challenge by dumping all the clothing she hadn't worn in the past 6 months, and proceeded to wear only things from the pile for the entire 30 days. Any unworn clothing was donated at the end of the month. She has included cute drawings of all of the outfits she put together over her time doing the challenge. This would be a great one for anyone with a closet full of unworn clothes that still have tags on them.

After doing one of these challenges you may realize your closet has a lot more to offer than you once thought. I think there is a chance I might try the 30x30 Clothing Remix in the near future- I see a a lot of possibilities for creating some new outfit combinations I haven't put together yet.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

2: ASOS Swing Dress In Red Animal

I caved and made my second purchase of the year- this leopard print swing dress from ASOS. I've come to really like swing dresses, although I wouldn't want to fill my closet with them; I still appreciate a good dress that's nipped at the waist and shows your figure. But I had been watching this dress for awhile and it finally went on sale, I couldn't let it get away! I can't wait to wear it with my leather jacket and some boots.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Upgrading Your Basics

I love t-shirts. And for a long time I have envied those fashion bloggers with seemingly perfect oversize, slouchy soft shirts. That perfect t-shirt epitomized the laid back, rock n' roll I-Don't-Care-And-I-Look-Awesome look I was after. I was of a mind that I could never be one of them and kept buying stiff, scratchy tee's that I didn't get much use out of- but no more. I finally took the plunge and bought the Oversize T-Shirt from Zara in black, grey and white. When they arrived in the mail I almost jumped for joy!

I'm not totally sure if I'm going to keep the white shirt yet. I've already worn the grey T a few times and I know both that and the black one will get a ton of wear, but I feel like I want to find a white shirt that is in a different cut than my other shirts. I think I will keep looking for a perfect white t-shirt in a slightly more body-hugging style, but for now, I'm going to continue feeling like the coolest chick around while wearing these two.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Curating Your Wardrobe: how I began

I don't remember where I read about curating your closet the first time, but I do remember feeling as though I had had a revelation. The 'perfect' wardrobe had been elusive to me for quite some time- and I kept buying more and more, thinking that I was one purchase away from having the most enviable wardrobe in town. But I never arrived there. My closet ended up filled with poorly constructed garments from fast fashion stores, a few thrift store pieces I kept meaning to DIY, dresses that were too short that I promised myself I would wear because they were so cute (sometimes I did, but having to constantly make sure my crotch and ass were covered meant I never felt comfortable). Instead of buying a pricey piece I loved because I felt the cost couldn't be justified, I ended up spending the same amount of money on various items that I didn't really care about.

Somewhere in there I knew I wanted to be laid back, cool, and chic. And yet I was none of those things.

Closet Curation opened (a very polished and well sorted) closet door to the possibility that yes, the perfect wardrobe was in fact within my grasp. One of the very first websites I began reading about it was, where I learned from blogger Megan that:

  • the curated closet is often edited
  • the curated closet has a vision
  • the curated closet shops with intention

and after that, Geneva Vanderzeil's blog A Pair & A Spare; with the blog post Wardrobe Rehab - 6 Steps To Your Perfect Closet:

  1. Cull
  2. Define Your Style
  3. Gather Your Essentials
  4. Organise Your Closet
  5. Choose Color Palette
  6. Focus Your Shopping (Quality over quantity)

Geneva goes into much greater detail with each of these steps on her blog. Seeing this all laid out in simple steps felt so exciting, and yet so calming knowing I could have a potential great wardrobe in the works, with less stress and anxiety about getting dressed each day.

In terms of the second step "Define Your Style"; I felt I had been doing that for years, but also while accumulating more and more that didn't stick to what I really loved. I feel that before you begin the 5 Piece French Wardrobe, you really need to define your style explicitly. How can you only buy 5 pieces each 6 months without knowing exactly what is going to work for you and your wardrobe?

I also feel like you really need to decide for yourself what your 'essentials' are. I've always been annoyed at those lists that tell you that you NEED to have a black pencil skirt, a white button down shirt, a black blazer etc etc (it's always the same list, wherever you go). But what if you don't need those things? What if they have no place in your lifestyle? You need to figure out what you need, what works for you, and not base it on what anyone else thinks you should have.

All in all, this should be a fun process, because in doing it you are getting closer to having a great wardrobe and closer to really personalizing your look. Go for it, with abandon!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Currently Coveting: Leopard Sneakers

I am still kicking myself (with my bare feet) over the fact that I missed out on The Gap's leopard slip-on sneaker- it even went down to half price. Argh!

Now, I am hunting the web for the perfect slip-on leopard print shoe; I'm surprised that I haven't been able to find that many, given how popular they've been over the last year or so. I even considered creating custom Vans with leopard print, but the print they have just isn't up to par with The Gap's!

The shoe that I missed out on from The Gap

River Island
Steve Madden

It seems likely that I'll go after the Steve Madden slip-ons, given that they're not too expensive and I like the print. I'm still going to be heartbroken over The Shoes That Got Away from The Gap for quite awhile now, though.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Journey Continues...

Now that I have commited to doing the French 5-Piece Wardrobe I am at a loss as to what I feel my wardrobe needs next. I still need to go through and continue curating my wardrobe, which will probably reveal some holes that will want to be filled.

I have also been mulling over the fact that generally buying only 5 pieces of clothing every 6 months means you should buy higher quality, more expensive pieces; and for someone who shops almost exclusively at Forever 21 at H&M, will I be able to drop down the big bucks for a better wardrobe? My gut clenches a bit at the thought of paying $100 for- well, anything.

Also, those Forever 21 gift cards I got for Christmas- when I use those, do I need to count each item as one of the five? Should I just purchase basics? Isn't the point of this to buy really nice quality basics to have for a very long time? Can I go from maximalist to minimalist? Will the questions ever end?

As someone who loves shopping almost constantly and with not too much money, I think I'm going to be thinking all this over for awhile.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

1: Mango Faux Shearling Biker Jacket

My first purchase in following the French 5-Piece Wardrobe is this tough but beautiful Mango Faux Shearling Biker Jacket. I was in need of a winter jacket, one that spoke a little more to my style (instead of the prim and boring Old Navy coat I've been wearing). I have been a bit nervous since I have never bought anything from Mango before although I've admired their clothes as seen on certain style bloggers for quite awhile. Here's hoping it will fit properly and look good when it arrives. And hey, it's still available (and on sale, too).

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Journey Begins...

My journey began, sometime last year when I opened my overflowing closet and thought that I had nothing to wear.

Or maybe it began a few years before that, when I was hauling a trash bag (or two) to the thrift store every few months, and then popping in to buy a few more mismatched items.

Or maybe it was sometime in between then when I would try to recreate outfits I saw on style blogs using things I owned and realized none of my clothes worked together in fit or proportion.

I think over the past few years I had the idea that the more clothes I owned, the more creative I could be with my wardrobe. Anytime I want to create a whole new outfit, voila! There it is! I could go from a bohemian princess, to a punk rocker, to a chic and polished lady all in the span of a week just by changing my outfit.

It has slowly dawned on me that this is not the case.

Where I used to love getting dressed and putting together outfits, I started to become anxious and nervous- I needed to find the PERFECT outfit- there were many times when my floor and bed would end of covered in clothing (yet looking at my closet you didn't see a dent) trying to figure out what to wear; when I found a top that looked good, none of my skirts matched. I would decide to wear jeans, but they wouldn't go with the top. And on and on. And the amount of STUFF- clothes, accessories, jewelery- it was starting to stress me out. It was really messing up my zen. I used to get a kick out of putting together an outfit with pieces from all over including that one amazing "I found it at Value Village" scores; but now more often than not walking out the door in head to toe Forever 21 (boring!). Where was I going wrong?

And then I decided that I had had ENOUGH. It has taken me years to realize I am not content to be a clotheshorse, that I actually gain satisfaction from living on less. Last year I stumbled upon the phrase "curated closet", and had an a-ha! moment. I began unburdening my closet of various unworn, unloved garments with abandon. Since then I have read about the capsule wardrobe (no thanks...) and the French 5-Piece Wardrobe and have become event more committed to the task.

You guys, I think I may be a FAST FASHION convert. Here's hoping...

Monday, 6 January 2014

What is the 5 Piece French Wardrobe?

What the 5 Piece French Wardobe is:
1. Buying clothing with intention.

What the 5 Piece French Wardrobe isn't:
1. Dressing like a French person. (Beret optional)

French women are renowned for their timeless, effortless and chic sense of style, and shop completely differently from us North Americans. Instead of stocking up on fast fashion, they invest in clothing they will wear again and again over the years- things that speak to their sense of style and that will always be in style.

So in comes the 5 Piece French Wardrobe, meant to downsize your closet and upsize the quality of the garments you own. Here are the rules:

1. Basics don't count (a basic t-shirt is always allowed).
2. Accessories don't count. (personally, if I am spending a good chunk of money on an accessory I would count it in the 5)
3. Shoes do count.
4. Socks and underwear don't count.
5. Everything else counts.

The idea here is that you need to upgrade your basics, and over the course of 6 months only purchase 5 items to add to your wardrobe- these must be timeless, of good quality, and representative of your style.

Now for someone who considers shopping a sport, the 5 Piece French Wardrobe is a tough one. Instead of impulse buying everything in sight, I now have to stop, consider, and mull over each purchase I make (even the basics!). I am excited at the challenge yet partially fearful that I will fail miserably. The thought of opening a closet full of good quality pieces that feel special to me instead of a closet full of jumbled crap fills me with joy; and I will have to keep that in the front of my mind when those cheap n' trendy pieces start calling to me.