Saturday, 20 December 2014

What to Wear for Christmas Dinner

Tis the season for festive Christmas meals!  If you're like me, they're starting this weekend and it's not unheard of to have a lunch or brunch in the day and another gathering in the evening.  Unless you're lucky enough to be pregnant and wearing panel pants, this raises the inevitable question:  

What should you wear for Christmas dinners?

Short answer: a dress!

Long answer: 
Dress $7 Salvation Army Thrift Store
Leggings, socks, earrings and red bracelet from my closet
Elephant pendant and two bracelets from She Does Create

Dress because there is (usually) no waistband so you're basically wearing a nightgown.

Patterned dress because patterns camouflage, even horizontal stripes.
I can eat half a ham and 3lbs of potatoes and you'll never be the wiser.
Thanks, Pattern! 

Stretchy leggings because it's winter and/or you may have been in holiday mode and not shaved your legs.  You could also wear tights but ensure they are big enough to come all the way up to your ribs (like a maternity panel - there's no shame) and/or are the cotton stretchy-kind like leggings.

Accessories because you need to distinguish this look from your nightgown, not to mention, give all your cute accessories some wear-time.
Them: "Nicole, are you wearing pajamas?"
Me: "DUH, no!  I'm wearing an accessory trifecta therefore my outfit is *nothing* like pajamas." 

Patterned socks because they add pattern-mixing and interest to your ensemble, and as I mentioned, it's winter, at least it is where I am; if it's not where you are and you wear shoes indoors, then skip this part.  Then invite me to come stay with you.
I hosted Christmas dinner last night and really did eat half a ham, etc.
This fashion-formula had me thinking I was ready for a snack by 9:30pm!!  

I like this Christmas-Dinner-Fashion-Formula because there are endless variations.  If your family is formal for Christmas dinner, choose dressier pieces.  If your family wears sweats, you can go for a sweatshirt or jersey dress.  No matter what, people tend to see "dress" and think "fancy" so you'll be dressed to impress either way!

I did a little Thriftmas shopping earlier today and snapped some shots of other dress options to prove my formula.  (Get it, that's a math joke.)
 Though these dresses have a "mid-point," I wouldn't call it a waistband because they're all stretchy and accommodating!
And yes, they're sleeveless, so throw on a cozy cardi and be ready to take it off - FOR THE WIN - when you get the meat/sweet sweats.
Some other good patterned options.  

You can thrift all of these dresses and more right now at a thrift store near you!  Prices range between $7 - $16... so affordable you can hardly blame me for picking up a couple more dresses...
Left Esprit $9.10, right BCBG $13.30!!

These beauties have been washed and are drying as I write, waiting to go out to the next Christmas dinner!  What will YOU wear to Christmas dinner?!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Plaid and a Quiz

I really wanted to title this "Big Plaid Boobs" then thought better of it, but you'll understand why soon enough...

So I scored this cute vintage plaid dress a while ago without properly trying it on.  I saw it there, slipped it over my clothes and loved the short sleeves and plaid and the PRICE!  $5.60 for *the* print of the season!  Then, I got it home, removed the shoulder pads...
As big as my head.  If shoulder pads come back, I don't know what I'm going to do.

And lo and behold, the dress doesn't fit well.  I will share the photos anyway for educational purposes and there will be a test at the end... 
Short sleeves = good.  Simple cut = good.
Too big on the bottom and darts in the wrong place with a belt = bad.
Which I would have known had I tried it on.

I've had my black Gap grommet belt and Accessorize pieces for a decade or more, and the cost-per-wear must be pennies.  Quality accessories are worth it, as are quality shoes like my $13 Clarks black booties.
It might not be obvious to anyone but me, but that there plaid DISTORTS as it flows over my bosom.
It made me think and say the word "bosom" which is enough right there.
At this point, I'm thinking I should have left the shoulder pads in...

Ultimately, I added a blazer so I wouldn't look quite so ... booby.
There's no other way to say it frankly.
Black velvet blazer circa 2004.

Now for your test: Please answer the following questions True or False

1. It's okay to skip trying on a dress if it's under $6.   

FALSE, this dress may now become one of my highest cost-per-wear dresses because I'll only wear it once!  Had I tried it on, I would have saved my money for another thrifted find!

2. If you're just buying simple black accessories, might as well grab them at Claire's.   

FALSE, the more you anticipate wearing an item, the higher quality you should buy.  Note: That does not mean spending a lot!

3. I made a mistake purchase.  I should try wearing it anyway at least once.

FALSE, do what makes you happy.  Donate it back and call it a day or give it a whirl to find out how your boobs look in plaid after the fact.  Wait, that's me.

4. When in doubt, throw on a blazer.

FALSE, when in doubt, snap a selfie AND LOOK AT IT before you make your final decision.  Though my blazer helped, I still wasted an opportunity for an ootd I would have liked more. 

5. Get rid of pieces you haven't worn in a year.

FALSE, had I followed that advice, I wouldn't still have that velvet blazer which is a wardrobe staple despite that it didn't fit me for several years!  Keep quality garments and timeless classic pieces as long as your little ol' heart desires!

6.  Shoulder pads are coming back and will be as awesome as scrunchies.

FALSE, nothing could be as awesome as scrunchies.  

How did you do?! 

I trust this whole experience wasn't all for naught! 

Monday, 15 December 2014

"Olive" the Ways to Wear an Olive Dress

I'm blogging late but luckily I did some late-night baking and consumed 3000 calories so now I'm ready for action.  By action I mean sitting on my rear end in bed moving my fingers and burning 4 calories an hour.  Carrying on...

I have been on the lookout for olive pieces for some time.  I am hunting for a good olive jacket, a pencil skirt and olive the other pieces that catch my eye... Well the other day, a pretty olive dress caught my eye and followed me home!
Obviously I couldn't say no.
Ann Taylor $11.90 VV Boutique

Since this dress isn't ready for snow, I knew I would need to winter-style it up, then I got to thinking about "Olive the Other Reindeer" then Rudolf, inevitably, and alas, this week's Monday Style Prompt was borne: wear olive and red!  My first inclination was to use my Shanghai Red Flatter:Me Belt as my pop of red with a fab neutral cardi that also followed me home.  I can't help it, they sense my compassion.
Cardi $6.30, Miz Mooz shoes gifted but thrifted
She Does Create necklace

You think it's just an unassuming cardi then BOOM!
So pretty!  So glad to welcome this piece to my closet!
Love the texture of this cardi!
And look what else you can do with your Flatter:Me Belt...
I'm a big risk-taker; there are no belt loops.

As I was admiring this look, I caught a glimpse of a belt that's been hanging in the queue for months waiting for an opportunity to shine, so I grabbed some different pieces and came up with another look...
Plaid belt $2.10, necklace $2 VV Boutique
Handmedown tights and shoes BT (Before Thrifting)

I imagine the belt got separated from its extremely-shoulder-padded suit-dress and made its way into a donation bag.  Whatev, your donation is my gain because plaid is having a moment and this festive plaid is perfect for the Christmas season!
Next time, this belt wants to go out with Mustard.
Oh, and look what you can with it too...
I pretended that wearing a belt would deter me from the festive office snacks.
Nope, that's what belt holes are for.

Which look do you like better?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, when your photographer is a child, you just keep smiling and hope for the best.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know which look won the #ootd but you may not know why...
This was the last look I tried and I wasn't confident I could get the "one-size fits all" tights 
off without losing my sh--... dignity.
Real life style brought to you by Olive and Red, mean to be together no matter who else tags along!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Vintage Corduroy Dressember

I'm still on cloud nine after the CTV Live at Five "Merry Thriftmas" story aired on Thursday!
It is so much fun to get a glimpse of the TV process - filming, interviewing, the final product!  I am so impressed by Edmonton's TV personalities like Erin Isfeld and Ryan Jespersen who make it seem effortless - putting people at ease, bringing out the best in people they interview, making it interesting for viewers!  They are so talented and we are lucky to have them in Edmonton!  If you missed the story, find it here!  There is still time to thrift some gifts for Christmas AND shop local AND support handmade designers and artists - don't forget to check out She Does Create at the St. Albert Indoor Market on Saturday and at the On the Spot Pop Up Makers Market at Latitude 53 on Sunday AND check out the Edit Shoppe Sunday to use the $10-off code VVBSTYLEMake your Christmas shopping meaningful this year!

Another way to make December meaningful - continue to show support for Dressember!  Wear dresses throughout December and consider a donation to support victims of trafficking and exploitation.  It's easy to do and the funds go where they say they're going!  A shallower reason (!) to wear dresses this holiday season: no waistband.  Dresses are good eating clothes!  I wore a vintage corduroy (oh yeah baby) Woodwards dress all day yesterday at work then to a Christmas party last night and was comfortable the whole time!!
Dress $4 from Goodwill
Leather belt $4.20 from VV Boutique
Miz Mooz shoes $7.70 from VV Boutique
Tights from my closet
And the cutest wood earrings by She Does Create!
I felt like a Charlie's Angel all day.

It is not easy to find a shirt dress with buttons that stay closed!  I had only one incident of an extra top button opening at the party, but I just said I was bringing the seventies to the scene and sauntered away.
Love a good vintage find!  Especially in perfect condition and FOUR DOLLARS!

The dress came with a tie belt which miraculously hit me in the right place! 
Styled differently with a wood necklace $3 VV Boutique

Dresses with pockets rock.

I ended up swapping the earrings for some dangly navy earrings from She Does Create and adding a simple gold necklace for the party.   All in all, my vintage Dressember look made for a fashionable Friday!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Thrifted Winter Outerwear

Tis the season for snow!!  When you live in Alberta, you can expect snow on the ground from October to April with a few outlier snowfalls on either end.  That is all the reason I need to make outerwear one of my automatic stops when I'm thrift shopping.  If I'm going to be contending with snow for 7 months, I might as well have some cute options to convince me to leave my bed laptop wine home, and thrifted prices make a coat collection possible for an everyday woman's budget!  I have three thrifted winter coats so far and, though I've captured them on Instagram a few times, they've never been photographed in their natural habitat... till now!
Sutton Studio wool cashmere coat $16.80, boots $10.50 VV Boutique

This coat is lightweight but cozy and in the perfect shade of red - I love love love it!  AND it was in perfect condition!  But, I bet you hardly noticed the coat...
All I see is mitten perfection!

These amazing mittens are the artistry of Toronto-born, former Edmontonian, Vancouver designer and stylist Joanne Maharaj Lewis of Edit: Stylish & Sustainable AccessoriesJoanne and I share a mutual love of thrifting (and Instagram!) but she shops for an even greater purpose than amassing a nice coat collection.  Joanne embraces style and sustainability by using vintage fabrics and repurposed materials - including thrifted pieces - to create beautiful mittens, scarves, accessories and more!  I enjoy browsing her Instagram posts of all her stunning pieces, and was blown away by her kind offer to gift me a pair of mittens in the perfect colourful pattern - thank you Joanne!  I love them!  They are cozy, warm and stylish! Please read all about Edit here, find them on Facebook here AND peruse all the amazing pieces at the Edit Shoppe here.  Joanne is continuously restocking with new and unique pieces and plans to post her latest and greatest on Saturday night AND is offering friends and readers of VV Boutique Style $10 off your purchase on Sunday December 14th!  Simply use the code VVBSTYLE and treat yourself or and someone off your Christmas list to a beautifully-designed, sustainably-made one-of-a-kind gift!   This Christmas, show your support for local designers, handmade goods and sustainable sources! 
You know what they* say... the mittens make the outfit!
Can't resist a mitten-selfie!
*I'm "they."

Back to my coat collection!  This next coat is a vintage robe-style coat with fur collar that I scored last season for $9.  NINE DOLLARS!!!
Did I mention it's wool?!
This coat makes me feel like a movie star!

The final coat for now is another vintage wool coat that I scored FOR TWO DOLLARS this summer from the Goodwill in Great Falls, Montana!
As soon as I spotted it, I knew I *needed* a pretty pink coat!
Joseph Seibel boots $12.60 VV Boutique
Wearing boots and a coat that cost less than $15 combined makes me smile.

So, that makes three quality coats for $27.80!!  
They are totally different and I needed them all!

Don't wear the same coat all winter long!  Try thrifting, or better yet, thrift a coat for someone off your Christmas list then select some Edit mittens to go with it for the perfect gift!
One last glimpse of the mittens as I hold Olaf's nose.
My photographer forced me into it.

Not sure what to think about shopping second-hand, shopping local or shopping upcycled for Christmas?  Tune into CTV News at Five tomorrow December 11th to see me and She Does Create chat with Erin Isfeld all about how to have a Merry Thriftmas! You don't want to miss it!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Classic or Boring?

When I first considered this week's Monday Style Prompt - dress with a long cardi - I had in mind a "new" cardigan I thrifted last week after filming my CTV interview with Erin Isfeld.  I have been looking for a loooooong cardigan with the hope it will turn me into an Anthropologie model... 
What I think I look like...
Reality: photo bombed by a dog while trying on purchases.

Sighhhh.  Something about the colour and shape of this long cardi just isn't working for me so I plan to return it and continue my hunt!  That left me with exactly two long-ish cardigans to choose from - my long taupey one seen here or my $4.90 J Crew cardi.  From my extensive research on Pinterest (why can't that be my job), I hoped to create a look with the cardi and dress at the same length.  Alas, my dresses aren't short enough (I KNOW I'm not 39 anymore) and my cardis aren't long enough.  Instead, I made do with a boring classic look. 
Denim sheath dress $11.90, Clarks loafers $10, belt $2.10 VV Boutique
Tights and accessories from my closet

I have mixed feelings about this outfit.  It was comfortable and functional for a long day.  On the other hand...
Are you asleep yet?

I ended up wearing this handmade (not by me) scarf most of the day...
A scarf makes everything better!

So what do you think?  Is this outfit 
classic or boring?
or BOTH?!!