Wednesday, July 27, 2016

An Audrey Hepburn Inspired Look and a DIY Embellished Purse with Thrifted Finds from Value Village

Bridesmaid Dresses London
I am an avid supporter of sustainable fashion and I have incorporated a number of sustainable practices in my wardrobe, which are reflected in my every day outfits. I buy less and wear more; I buy vintage and thrift; I don’t buy fast fashion (ok, sometimes I do, but I limit my fast fashion purchases to very few items); I buy from local designers and I’m a big supporter of the Canadian fashion industry; I dress outside the box, whenever the design of a garment allows it (some of the clothes can be worn beyond their original scope, like a dress worn as a skirt or a skirt worn as a top or a blouse); I let myself inspired by the right side of my walk-in closet, incorporating some of my husband’s clothes into my outfits (I’ve worn the Boyfriend Shirt look, the Boyfriend T-Shirt look, the Boyfriend Shorts look); I mend, alter and refashion clothes, giving them a completely new look and/or a new purpose.

One of my favorite ways to practice sustainable fashion is by buying thrift and vintage. I have been an avid thrift shopper for a long time now, and Value Village is my favorite place to go to thrift shopping. Over the last few years, since I became a frequent thrift shopper, I’ve found some amazing and unique items on the racks at Value Village, which I absolutely love and wear dearly. 

#RethinkReuse is a philosophy that I have adopted in my wardrobe and now I am very considerate as to how I wear and take care of my clothes. I am saddened to see how many clothes are being discarded and end up on the landfill every year as a result of overconsumption in our Western society, when in fact they deserve love and proper care. Most of the unwanted clothes that get discarded are still in good shape and perfectly reusable, and they could get a second life in another wardrobe if only we were willing to make an extra effort to give them that second chance, instead of simply discarding them. And, besides the fact that I’ve become a greener shopper and more environmentally conscious while buying from Value Village, I also love the thrill of the hunt when I go thrift shopping!

To prove my point, I partnered up with Value Village to show you what great items can be purchased while thrifting, both in terms of clothes and accessories, so today I am going to show you an outfit made up entirely of Value Village finds (except for the shoes and eyewear). My mission was to create an outfit inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s style. My intention has not been to recreate or copy her looks, but rather use her as an inspiration that spoke to my own style.

So a few days ago I went to Value Village to find the items that I would use to create an Audrey Hepburn inspired look. I was after a black dress, a colored blazer, a purse and jewelry. When I was done with my thrift shopping, this is what I got.
The dress
It’s a Cleo bandage dress. This picture of the dress on the hanger may not tell you a lot, but wait until you see me wearing it. I love bandage dresses and tops due to their silhouette slimming effect. I actually have another bandage black top, a White House | Black Market, which I also scored at Value Village a couple of years ago, and which makes me look awesome and I absolutely love it. The dress was new, and it still had the original price tag attached to it. You can find many new items at Value Village, with the original price tags still attached to them, which is great of course. The only thing that makes me sad about it is that it’s a pity the person who had bought this dress in the mall didn’t enjoy it at all, didn’t wear it even once, and donated it to Value Village without wearing it – it’s a gorgeous dress, why wouldn’t you want it! Why did she bother to buy it if she was not going to wear it, such a waste! But, if she didn’t want it, now it’s mine, and I am happy to add it to my wardrobe.
The blazer
Considering that I wanted to create this look with a black dress, I thought to brighten it up with a colorful blazer, and I found this one – both its color and its style are gorgeous!
The purse
I also wanted a black purse for my outfit, so I added this one to my shopping cart.
Another purse...
That day I also bought this little cutie, because I love vintage inspired embroidered purses, however I’m not going to include this wristlet in this story, I bought it because thrift shopping is so fun and I love a good treasure hunting, and this is just a little side item that I got for myself, besides the ones that I was after for my Audrey Hepburn project.
The jewelry
As to the jewelry that I wanted to include in my Audrey Hepburn inspired look, I thought to go with a couple of bags of jewelry like these that are available at Value Village. When jewelry items don’t sell individually, they are grouped in bags for a second chance to be sold. I have always wanted to buy these jewelry bags from Value Village, because of the thrill element of discovering what beauties I could find inside. It’s like subscribing to beauty boxes – you are sure to receive great beauty products with a beauty box, but you never know what’s gonna be inside. I never bought this kind of jewelry bags from Value Village before, because I would always choose specific jewelry items that I liked on the display rack. But these jewelry bags have always been a wish item for my thrift shopping at Value Village, so now I thought it was a perfect occasion to buy them – with all the jewelry pieces included in two bags like these, I would surely find something inspirational to create the look that I wanted. I chose these two out of all available at Value Village on that day, because they looked the most promising. I was also after a pearl necklace, and one of these bags seemed to have what I wanted.

I could hardly wait to come home that day and open my jewelry bags, to see what I am going to find inside, and this is what I have found inside.
Bag #1
Items that I liked the most from bag #1
Bag #2
Items that I liked the most from bag #2
In my mind, I already knew how my Audrey Hepburn inspired outfit should look like, but I wanted to add an extra flavour to it and accessorize it a little bit more, especially since I had all these jewelry pieces that I could use! What I mean is a little DIY project, and I decided to embellish my black purse with some of these jewelries. I chose this necklace for my purse embellishment purposes.
What I was going to need for embellishing my black purse was the necklace and the purse (of course), and a few tools -- a pair of small scissors, a cutter, and black thread and a needle. If you don't have a pair of small scissors, like this one, you can totally use a regular size or a bigger scissors for such a project, but I prefer to use my small scissors for this kind of delicate embellishment projects. All of these tools can be found at craft stores like Michael's.
For what I had in mind, I didn't quite like the necklace the way it was, I thought those bows were too much, so I decided to remove the bows, for a cleaner look. I carefully removed the bows from the necklace, using the cutter.
I may use the bows for some other DIY projects, so I kept them, but now I like the necklace better than its original version. Then I stitched the necklace to the purse from inside, and this is the end result.
Everything that I needed for my Audrey Hepburn inspired look from Value Village was ready, so all I had to do was to wear my new outfit. I wore it earlier this week, when I met a friend downtown Toronto. The jewelry that I chose to complete my look was a pearl necklace and a black bead bracelet. First I was tempted to add a couple more pieces, but then I remembered what Coco Chanel said -- before you leave home, have a final look in the mirror, and remove something; and this is exactly what I did, so I kept it simple with one necklace and one bracelet.
Photo credit:

Alexandra Wren (the look)
Victoria West (the items) (Audrey Hepburn)

This story is a collaboration with Savers/Value Village. The Savers family of thrift includes Value Village, Village des Valeurs and Unique Thrift, with more than 330 awesome locations in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to Pull off the Boyfriend Shorts Look

Bridesmaid Dresses London
I have shared with you on previous occasions that I like to dress outside the box. One way to do it is to wear some clothes beyond their original scope, when their design allows it. As such, I wore dresses as skirts and skirts as tops. Another way to dress outside the box is to let yourself inspired by your boyfriend’s wardrobe, and I wore some of my husband’s shirts and T-shirts as my own, and I created feminine outfits while incorporating a masculine piece in those outfits, that is a shirt or a T-Shirt

Today I am venturing into my husband’s wardrobe again, and I would like to share with you how I wore his shorts to create the boyfriend shorts look. This summer I didn’t bother to buy new shorts, because I figured I could wear some of my husband’s. The rule is the same – keep one masculine element in your outfit, while the other pieces should be feminine, to achieve a balanced look, so I combined the boyfriend shorts with a feminine top. Remember, you want to be inspired by your boyfriend’s/husband’s wardrobe, not look like him.

Last week we took the RV outside the city, for a quiet and relaxing weekend outdoors. I must say I totally enjoy our weekends with the RV – I can press “pause” on everything for two or three days. I don’t have to worry about anything, about any work to do, or about house chores; I don’t have to clean the house or do laundry, I don’t even have to cook! And that’s because while we’re outdoors with the RV, we mostly grill and cook steaks for meals, and it’s my husband who takes care of the barbeque, hence the cooking is mostly up to him during our RV weekends. Pure bliss! I can totally relax during these weekends, and I enjoy myself by watching a movie or reading a book, which are almost luxuries during my day-to-day life, as I never seem to have time for a book or a movie, so at least I try to enjoy them as much as I can during our RV weekends. And we also get to play with our RZR. :) My son Alex is also very happy when we do these weekends with the RV and the RZR.
What I am showing you today is a very casual and laid back look that I adopted for a weekend outdoors with our RV, in the green of nature, far away from the city noise and day-to-day craziness. As you can see, I don't have any jewelry, considering that I spent this weekend in the woods, so I thought jewelry would be unnecessary for this outfit. However, you can totally make such an outfit look even classier by adding jewelry to a boyfriend shorts look, when about town on a weekend. Shorts don't have to be worn in the woods only, they can totally be worn for a weekend in town when going out to a movie for instance. In fact, I did wear the boyfriend shorts look on a weekend when my son and I went out to see a movie earlier this summer (the new Angry Birds movie), and I added jewelry and accessories to my outfit -- necklaces and bracelets, and a nice purse and high heels of course.

My outfit: 
Top – Cleo 
Shorts – husband’s 
Running shoes – Nike 
White socks – Walmart 
Eyewear – Oakley

Photo credit: Victoria West