Back to Basics

In the summer, and for a portion of autumn, I went through a style rut; one of those periods when you suddenly hate everything in your closet and everything looks terrible on you and maybe you should move to a remote patch of forest in Germany and wear the same track pants and t-shirt for the rest of your life because who cares.

Maybe that last part was too specific. But you can catch my drift.

There is no immediate cure to a spot of low self-esteem. I encounter them frequently, and while I do have my go-to quick fixes (listening to 80s music, going for a run, watching a good action movie) there is no true solution for it. It takes a bit of time and a dash of inspiration.

For me, that was found in returning to the simple stuff – going back to basics. And I mean that both in a “go back to what you know” way and a “wearing plain basics is awesome” way.

Once you find that space to return to, the inspiration and creativity comes back bit by bit. I’ve become excited about getting dressed again, about planning outfits the night before and putting together looks from head to toe.

It’s the same with this blog. Since I’m working full-time and writing occasionally for Novella, there is little time to come back to the blog, despite how much I love it. But I wanted to, and to come back for the third or fourth time, I decided to go back to the beginning with a simple outfit post on a simple outfit.

Simple, but effective. (I think, at least.)

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I love creating a look based entirely in neutrals, either warm earthy-tones or stark black and white. I matched the outfit almost entirely except for my blue jeans, which add some colour and depth to the outfit. Not to mention, a turtleneck and pair of mom jeans is a classic fall/winter look. Do I look like a 70s ski mom? Maybe. Am I okay with that? Definitely.

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While I definitely love my more outlandish looks (and of course, “outlandish” is a sliding scale dependent on the person) I also love donning my more subtle creations.

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This is a look I would wear absolutely anywhere: shopping, a coffee date, lunch, dinner, work. You name it, this is the go-to I have for it.

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And with the cold weather coming, we have to keep coats in mind. This long coat from Monki goes with everything in my wardrobe and is perfect to chuck on before speeding out the door. I do always love a good outerwear moment, and am impatiently awaiting opportunities to bust out some other coats in my collection.

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Sure, this look isn’t going to go on a Top 10 list. It’s something I feel good in: comfortable and confident, something that puts me in the mindset to create other, more exciting outfits. It’s something that, frankly, works, when nothing else does.

OUTFIT DETAILS

Coat – Monki via ASOS (Similar)

Turtleneck – Anthropologie (Similar)

Jeans – American Apparel (Similar)

Belt – Free People

Boots – Urban Outiftters

Bag – Urban Outfitters

 

Shooting Star

Sometimes, all it takes is one piece. You can find a single item that inspires an entire look, an entire aesthetic.

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This happened to me recently and the item in question was a scarf. The scarf was from Zara, a store I can be dubious about the majority of the time based on a combination of bad press and chaotic business. What I will say is they do good scarves – every time I’ve bought one from there, I’ve lived in it. They’re soft, warm and can easily be converted to a blanket when the moment calls for it.

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On a wandering trip into Zara with Selena, I saw this star-patterned scarf and fell a little bit in love. There’s something awfully whimsical about it, and maybe it’s because I was in a particularly Christmas-y mood despite the fact it was the end of October, but as soon as I saw it, I thought, “This will be the holiday scarf.”

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Other than the classic outfits I see pairing with this guy (i.e. jeans and a tee, black jacket, the usual suspects) I got inspired to create a look with black and gold touches, to correspond with the scarf’s stars and navy.

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A little gold can take a gal a long way, and in this top from Anthropologie, I feel a little badass, a little glam and a little like a shooting star. Throw in a cute skirt and some sparkly eyeshadow, and it’s all golden-holiday ready.

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And yes, I am talking about holiday looks in November, when the high was 11 degrees celsius today but THAT’S JUST HOW I DO THINGS.

Please be advised that this humble blog with becoming increasingly Christmas-y as the month of November continues, culminating in an explosion of holiday cheer and festivity come December.

This has been a PSA. Thank you.

OUTFIT DETAILS

Scarf – Zara

Top – Anthropologie (Similar!)

Skirt – American Apparel

Boots – Shoe the Bear

Tights – American Apparel

 

 

Saying Thanks

Thanksgiving this year, for me, was a rushed affair. I was scheduled to work Thanksgiving Monday, but had the Friday to Sunday before free. So, I decided to join my parents at my brother’s place near Quebec City.

I took the train to Kingston, then drove with my mom and dad. Hella long travel days. Packing last minute. Montreal traffic. It was worth it. It always is, to travel to see family. I hadn’t seen my brother in a while and I gather as many opportunities as I can now to see my parents.

This Thanksgiving was like the ones before in that my mom and I destroyed the kitchen after working in it for hours, I ate far too much and I fell asleep during the movie we watched afterwards, with the top button of my jeans undone. My food baby was twins.

This Thanksgiving was also like the ones before in how I counted things I was thankful for. It seems cliche, maybe a bit tired, but in theory it’s what the holiday is about now, more or less. Once a year when we think of things we’re thankful for: a home, a job, good friends, loving family. These things we have all the time, that we sometimes take for granted, we recognize once a year.

(Other things I am thankful for, such as Netflix and Jared Padalecki’s arms, while very sincere, are not things that affect my daily life so much as my basic relationships.)

I think Thanksgiving should happen more. Not the feast or the holiday, but the openness towards thankfulness. The recognition of the people and things in your life that help make it all bearable. Even great.

It’s a very small thing, but something that I think is important to always keep in mind. Try never to lose sight of who you are and what you have accomplished, and be thankful for all of it.

That being said, Thanksgiving is still a holiday. An event. A meal with family and friends. A gathering. Whatever you want to call it, you need to wear something to it.

Staying true to form, I brought too many clothes with me on this trip, and packed within all of that were two outfit choices for Thanksgiving dinner. One more casual, one a bit more dressed up, both keeping within that sweet autumn colour palette.

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Warm tones.

I ended up wearing the casual option for a couple of reasons:

  1. The top makes me look like a glittery pumpkin. Not only festive, but very on-brand.
  2. Dinner was a casual affair, with close family.
  3. I was wearing it most of the day already while cooking with my mom.

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I live in these jeans now. You can’t tear us apart.

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The shirt was an impromptu buy from H&M. I saw it, and immediately needed it. The girl at the cash gave me a weird look when I got only that shirt and Star Wars socks, but I maintained I was making an investment. How perfect would that top be for Thanksgiving? Even my mom and dad loved it, though I’m sure that may be because it is awfully reminiscent of shirts I used to have as a kid.

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I wore socks within my brother’s house, but when I was thinking about shoes for this outfit, I thought a pair of light brown brogues I got on sale from Urban Outfitters years ago were the perfect accessory. They keep the outfit really casual while also being a step up from a sneaker. (Those shoes are really old. I got them for $10 back in 2012, I’m pretty sure. Definitely no longer available.)

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Not to say the other option isn’t perfect for Thanksgiving. A soft long-sleeve knit with a mock turtleneck. A faux suede a-line skirt. Ankle boots.

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If it’s colder, you can easily throw on tights, change the shoes, accessories, etc. Whatever is done with it, the basic combination definitely gives off “Queen of Stuffing and Gravy” vibes, which was more or less what I was going for.

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This was actually the look I wore to work on Thanksgiving Monday. So, if you think about it, they were both my Thanksgiving outfits. One for the meal with the family, one for the Friendsgiving with the entire store and every customer who came in. Who says retail can’t bring people together?

OUTFIT DETAILS

OUTFIT 1

Top: H&M (Not available – Similar!)

Jeans: Urban Outfitters

Shoes: Urban Outfitters (Not available – Similar!)

Watch: Daniel Wellington

OUTFIT 2

Top: Topshop

Skirt: Nordstrom (Not available – Similar!)

Boots: Shoe the Bear

Watch: Daniel Wellington

Necklace: Etsy, custom made