May 2, 2016
WARDROBE ESSENTIALS THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK - PART 2: SHOES
By. Tracy Fu
Marilyn Monroe once said “give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world” and this is true – to a less dramatic degree. Shoes can make or break an outfit and feeling good in your shoes will change the way you walk and feel throughout your work day, gala event etc. I love a bold and daring shoe, but in the vein of “simplifying” and budgeting, let’s stick to essentials that every closet needs. With these in your wardrobe, you will never NOT have a great looking shoe to go with your outfit.
This is Part Two of a three-part series – this week is all about shoes:
Flats – flats have come a long way from the ballet variety and some beautiful, more substantial designs (penny loafer, brogue, tassel) can take you from work to dinner without you having to change anything above the ankles. Ted Baker “Cadeen” Flat – pictured ($145), Zara “Penny Loafers” ($59.90), Sole Society Embellished Flat ($89)
Classic Pumps – Black and nude (matte or patent) will generally cover all of your bases. If you have low pain tolerance when it comes to pumps, then try a more comfortable heel. I am personally a glutton for punishment so I will suffer for fashion. If that ISN’T you, opt for low, chunky or wedge heels to keep you from reaching for your flats. Some brilliant designers have even made some stylish pumps with comfort in mind. Sounds too good to be true, but it does exist! Cole Haan “Catalina” Wedge ($170 USD), Aldo “Unenan” ($85) or Michael Kors “MK Flex Mid Pump” – pictured ($138) for a comfy heel
Black Heeled Booties – these are appropriate for more than half the year and worth the investment. They are versatile and look great with jeans, but can also add a funk factor to a cute dress or skirt. I highly suggest you get something comfortable because these are shoes you will get a ton of wear out of. Michael Kors “Brandy” – pictured ($179.98 on sale at Browns Shoes), Aldo “Ransome” ($58 on sale),Zara “High Heel with Pull Tab” ($119)
Nude Strappy Sandals – when you need to add some glam, nothing does it better than the iconic Manolo Blahnik “Chaos” ankle strap sandal. I know most of you would probably rather make rent this month, so I am here to tell you that thankfully there are many other designers making their own version of this shoe for a fraction of the price. These can dress up any outfit and are simple and classy enough to take you through a whole year of special events. Even pair them with jeans when the weather is nice! Steve Madden “Stecy” heels – pictured ($90) or Nine West “Mana” heels ($135).
April 25, 2016
wardrobe essentials that won't break the bank - part 1: clothing
By. Tracy Fu
“I have NOTHING to wear” I pout, as even my dog rolls his eyes (I swear that happened). The worst part is the guilt that overcomes me as soon as those words leave my mouth. This is literally an impossibility, I quickly realize as I stand in front of overflowing drawers and a closet packed so tight I can barely sort through it.
After some conditioning and self-restraint, I got out of the habit of impulse buying and overspending on super trendy pieces and into the habit of “conscious shopping.” I realized that the key to having a wardrobe you love is having one with timeless pieces that are easy to coordinate.
There are a lot of “must haves” for the year, season and month that it becomes overwhelming and impossible to keep up with. Trendsetters with fashion FOMO end up overspending on underutilized apparel. When you can let go of having to own a piece of EVERY trend, I promise you the light at the end of the tunnel is a more organized and always fashionably coordinated YOU. I have created a very short list of my top 12 wardrobe essentials that will take you beyond the fashion crazes and will save you in those times when you need to look fabulous on short notice.
This is Part One of a three-part series – this week we’re focusing on four clothing essentials:
Little Black Dress – I will admit I have more black dresses than one girl needs, but I have also owned some of these dresses for YEARS and STILL get good wear out of them. If you’re on a budget, stick with simple and classy – laser cuts and lace might not stand the test of time. A good LBD never goes out of style and can take you from work to a semi-formal event by just swapping your accessories. LBDs are everywhere, every season, so your favorite store is likely to have one in stock. Zara “Tube Dress with Tie-Up Neckline” – Pictured ($89.90), Club Monaco “Lysa Sheath Dress” ($249)
Dark Denim – In whatever cut flatters your body most, dark denim is good for any non-formal occasion from casual Fridays at the office to a night out. If you’re on a tight budget check out Joe Fresh’s selection of denim. They look good, fit great, wash well and come in a variety of cuts. Joe Fresh “Ultra Slim Mid-Rise Jean” – Pictured ($34)
Black pants – I like a good cigar pant or ankle pant – a slim cut that doesn’t reach past the ankles goes great with flats, heels and booties and are always the perfect hem length. Look for a fabric with some wool in it – these tend to keep their shape and colour best. For a super structured and durable pant, look for something with some polyester. These will wash well and stay a good shade of black longer. Club Monaco “Ranay” Textured Crop Pant – Pictured ($149.50), J. Crew “Paley” Pant ($182 – $208), Joe Fresh “Slim Fit Pant” ($39)
Black Turtleneck – almost everything coordinates with a black turtleneck and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t look great in one. I suggest cashmere or merino wool to keep it luxe, light and appropriate for most of the year. You might have a hard time finding one this time of the year, but when its mid-summer and fall lines start to hit shelves, check out J. Crew, Club Monaco and The Gap.
Stay tuned next week for Part Two, essential shoes for your wardrobe.
April 13, 2016
CONSIGNMENT, IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR
By. Tracy Fu
Imagine this – you’re sorting through the racks at your local thrift store, pushing through hangers of flannel shirts and outdated blouses with shoulder pads, when you see it… the Marc Jacobs drop waist peacock blue cocktail dress from two seasons ago. Your heart starts beating fast and your mind starts racing. “Could it be? But it looks barely worn! Please let it be in my size, please please please…is that really the price? OMG it’s a steal!” You grab it off the rack before anyone else does, run to the change room and laugh with glee when it slides nicely over your hips. Yessssss…it is yours.
We are all on the lookout for that holy grail of fashion finds – the designer label at a fraction of the retail price. As a result, style-savvy and price-conscious shoppers are probably not strangers to the idea of consignment. Consignment allows you to save money while regularly refreshing your wardrobe with luxury or super trendy pieces. These days, not only has consignment been trending, but upscaleconsignment has given “second hand” a new meaning. These specialty stores are often meticulously curated with in-demand designer and vintage pieces – a far cry from the traditional thrift stores that became popular in the 90’s for retro Adidas tracksuits and baby tees. Even some of Hollywood’s biggest fashion icons like Chloe Sevigny, Rachel Zoe and Kylie Minogue are known to shop consignment.
Another amazing side effect of shopping consignment is that you reduce your carbon footprint. Who knew buying Dior could be so eco-friendly?
While you might be familiar with consignment shopping for yourself, what about for the babies, children and expecting mothers in your life? Canada’s newest online consignment shop for kids and maternity, Preshrunk (www.preshrunk.ca) has made it possible to dress them in premium labels without the premium price tags.
Preshrunk noticed a lack of easy-to-shop premium label children’s and maternity wear at accessible prices, so their online concept was born. “Fashion forward parents have trendy kids who are a reflection and expression of mom and dad’s own style,” says Erin Ferguson, co-founder of the company, “but the lifespan of children’s clothing is so short that the spending never ends. Then there is the question of what to do next with that toddler’s Hugo Boss blazer or Burberry dress that they’ve only worn a couple of times.”
Preshrunk focuses on customer service and takes the work out of traditional consigning. “Our inventory is organized and curated. We only accept items that are on-trend and in new or excellent condition,” says Tracy Fu, the other half of the company. “So if you love the hunt for a deal, but can’t be bothered to dig through piles of outdated, heavily worn or damaged clothing, this is the answer.”
Find labels for babies and children ranging from Burberry, Hugo Boss, Armani and Kate Spade to Diesel, Ralph Lauren and Janie & Jack. For the moms-to-be, Preshrunk has chic and stylish maternity and post-pregnancy clothing so you aren’t confined to leggings, track pants and tunics. Preshrunk carries sizes from newborn to 14 years and all sizes of maternity.
If you aren’t shopping for little ones anymore, then selling on consignment couldn’t be easier. It’s a win/win! You’ll be paying it forward in a fashion context, while earning a little extra cash.
Follow Preshrunk on Instagram and Facebook @preshrunk.ca to get the inside scoop on their new arrivals and when pop-up shops are happening. You can reach Preshrunk via www.preshrunk.ca or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in consigning or hosting a chic private shopping party.
February 12, 2016
What's in your hospital bag?
By. erin donnelly-ferguson
What’s in your hospital bag?
The final count down is on! This being my second rodeo, you would think I have a clue as to what to pack, but I don’t really, I'm kind of winging it! I am by nature an over packer, so why would it be any different for my trip to birth a child? As it turns out over packing is not such a bad thing. My hospital bag essentials include:
- Multiple pairs of PJ’s - you never know. What I mean is, your birth plan might include a natural birth, but you might end up needing a c-section, in which case having a pair of jammies that don’t go around your waist is important. And if you end up there for a few days longer then anticipated it's nice to have a couple of pairs.
- A cheap bathrobe and slippers (Ikea - $0.99) that stay behind when I leave. Believe me, you won’t want to take those slippers home after walking around a hospital in them, in my case for days.
- Cozy socks - hospitals are chilly, and if you have had an epidural before then you know how bad your circulation can be once it wears off.
- Something to wear home from the hospital (not pictured). I packed clothes that I wore during my second trimester - a maxi dress and long sweater. Again, in the chance of a c-section you will not want something riding on your waist. Basically, don’t pack the jeans you wore when you found out you were pregnant…you might be a little disappointed.
- For toiletries, I pack travel size bottles which don’t take up a lot of room and that I don’t have to worry about bringing back home.
- Towel and a washcloth. The ones at the hospital are small and scratchy.
- Flip flops for the shower
- Face wipes are great because it might be a while before you see that shower, so it’s nice to be able to “wash” your face.
- Breastpads and a night bra (not pictured). I bought the Madela brand of night bras. I like these because they are cotton and you need something to hold the breast pad in place when you’re sleeping.
- Nipple cream - I didn’t find I needed this until I left the hospital, but it’s good to have just in case.
- ALWAYS maxi pads, granny panties, and Calendula oil. For the pads, the bigger the better in the beginning. As for the granny panties, buy quite a few. UGH, I KNOW! Calendula Oil helps with the healing process. Keep the squirt bottle they give you because it will be useful for a while after you leave the hospital. I put 4 to 5 drops of the Calendula oil into the bottle with warm water. This helps heal if you have had any stitches. DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY. I bought my bottle of Calendula oil at Community Natural Foods here in Calgary, you can typically find this at any Health Food store. I know that Whole foods Carries it as well.
- Last, but not least ladies…. Ibuprofen, and stool softeners for after.
Isn’t child birth a beautiful thing!
FOR THE BAMBINO:
This tiny creature that just arrived to your world requires a lot of STUFF. It’s actually amazing how many things you find yourself leaving the house with just to go for a walk. But for the hospital, this is what I included in my bag:
- A couple of sleepers, some onesies with pants. I like the pants that have the little feet on the ends, this way you’re not loosing their socks. For whatever reason these socks always seem to make their way off their tiny feet and disappear into the abyss. I love the newborn onesies from H & M. They button across the body so you’re not pulling the onesie over their heads.
- A hat and little mitts. I personally found with my first little guy, that using socks instead of mitts seemed to work better. Strange considering I couldn’t keep them on his feet to save my life.
- Super soft swaddle blankets, not just for the baby, but for you as well. If you have visitors, these also serve as a good cover for breastfeeding.
- Newborn diapers - these little people are tiny!
- One of my favourite products is the diaper wash from Honest Company. When the baby is new, their poop is like tar and can be hard to wipe off those adorable little bums. These make the clean-up very easy. I also included my favourite baby wash and lotion from Original Sprout. It is vegan and free of anything that could irritate the baby’s sensitive skin.
- Breastfeeding pillow. A lot of people told me to bring my own pillow for sleeping, but on top of bringing the breastfeeding pillow, I decided to leave it behind. I just asked the nurses for a couple of extra pillows and it worked out just fine. I survived.
- A camera….and the charger. We forgot the charger last time and as great as it is to have a camera on your phone, the quality just isn’t the same.
- Phone charger and Ipad come in handy too, if you remember.
DON’T FORGET THE CARSEAT!
We would love to hear any of your suggestions/additions for “what’s in your hospital bag” and we will post them next week!
February 2, 2016
Pregnancy wardrobe woes
By. erin donnelly-ferguson
Finding out your pregnant means many things. Not only is your world about to change, but so is your wardrobe!
I always find that the first few months are the hardest. You’re pregnant but you’re not really showing, yet your “go to” jeans are hanging in your closet slowly collecting dust with the hopes of being worn again…maybe.
I made up my mind right away that I was not going to become one of those pregnant ladies who wore “pregnant lady clothes” and I wasn’t going to live in leggings (p.s. I’m currently wearing leggings). Why couldn’t I take my style and make it maternity friendly? We already sacrifice wine, sushi and soft cheeses, why give up fashion too? So I got to work. I was on the hunt, determined to find my pregnancy style icon, for some support and inspiration. Who was going to be my go-to, to relieve my wardrobe woes?
And then it happened. I stumbled across the blog, “lovely blonde closet”. This was it you guys, this gal knew what she was doing. I felt as though she was speaking right TO me. Call me crazy but, I just really appreciate when someone knows how to style herself while living with a temporary bowling ball attached to her midsection. Her Instagram @lovelyblondecloset is filled with different looks she pulled together at different stages of her pregnancy. Best of all, the looks were all accessible and affordable! There is nothing worse then flipping through a magazine and seeing the latest celebrity wearing Gucci couture while 8 months pregnant…as if.
My point is, just because you’re pregnant it doesn’t mean you have to give up looking good. Find your pregnancy style - you write the rules. And if you get stuck try searching Google, Pinterest or Instagram. Search for hashtags like, pregnancystyle, babybump, maternity…inspiration is everywhere!
What I wore: Gap Maternity jeans, Aritzia "Babaton" silk top, Zara coat, J.Crew Macalister wedge, Target infinity faux fur scarf, Beret private label (Paris)
What Gunner wore: Gap jeans [pre]shrunk, Gap coat [pre]shrunk, Ralph Lauren cowl neck sweater, Old Navy hi-top sneakers.
Blog Mention: Lovely Blonde Closet www.lovelyblondecloset.com Instagram: @lovelyblondecloset
January 22, 2016
"BABY M's" Nursery
By. erin donnelly-ferguson
As I approach the final weeks of my pregnancy, I am adding all of the finishing touches to "Baby M's" nursery. This is my second boy and I wanted to make sure that this room felt very different from my first little guy's nursery. I started this planning process by doing what we are all guilty of...wasting many valuable hours on Pinterest, but THANK GOODNESS for Pinterest! What did we ever do before it existed?!
I started with an accent piece for the room which was the area rug and I built my foundation from that. I love neutrals with a pop of colour - 'less is more' was my mantra. After scouring Pinterest for inspiration I decided on a "woodland" theme. I knew I didn't want to break the bank and I wanted to stick to a reasonable budget. I already had the crib and dresser/changing table from my first little guy, which I bought on sale at West Coast Kids in Calgary. It was a floor model and discounted at 50% off. It had a few minor scratches, which honestly were unnoticeable unless I pointed them out. I chipped away at his room picking up items from all over the city. I wanted the room to feel eclectic. The chair came from Cherry Four based in Calgary's Kensington neighbourhood and the bookshelf, from Ikea. I switched out the colour of curtains which did a lot for changing the feel of the room. I purchased the curtains, the rod, and the linen pull-down shades from Ikea. Because they are light and neutral coloured curtains, I added a vinyl pull-down behind the linen shades, which I purchased at Home Depot (cut-to-measure in store). I love the idea of having a chalkboard wall to add a touch of "original art" to the room. The quote "let him sleep, for when he wakes he will move mountains" came from a post on Pinterest. My hope is that this baby likes to sleep...unlike my first one...sigh.
As for the accessories, I found most of my wall art at Chapters and Anthropology at Chinook Mall. My absolute favourite accessory is my swaddle scarf from Coveted Things, "Shit Just got real" captures my sentiments EXACTLY, because lets face it, two kids is a game changer and shit really IS about to get real!
WHERE IT ALL CAME FROM: "Stockholm" area rug - Ikea, www.ikea.com; hook on closet door - www.anthropologie.com; artwork on wall - www.chapters.com, marquee letter www.target.com; swaddle blanket/scarf "shit just got real" - www.covetedthings.com, "Valje" bookshelf - Ikea; "Merete" curtains - Ikea; "Racka" curtain rod - Ikea; "Betydlig" hardware for curtains - Ikea; "Befogad" knobs - Ikea, Rocking Chair - Cherry Four, Calgary www.cherryfour.com, storage baskets - Homesense; fox in the crib - Anthropologie, faux sheepskin rugs - Ikea, pouf - Homesense.