Month: October 2010

Readers contest – only 3 days left!

Just a quick heads-up: don’t forget to enter the BCRL readers contest by signing up to follow the blog and friending BlueCollar RedLipstick on Facebook. You might be the one to win a really nifty prize (more details here). You will also be up-to-date on new posts, shopping deal alerts, and much more.
The contest is open till October 18. 

Friday wrap up

Some people love Winners; others don’t have the time of day for it.
I fall into the first camp. I think that’s explained by two things: I love a good bargain, and I have a “treasure hunter” shopping mentality. This explains why I enjoy the shopping experience offered by places which other people avoid like the plague (like consignment stores and, yes, Winners) – I don’t mind rooting through piles of mismatched, misplaced things in search of the perfect (and perfectly affordable) item. As frustrating as it can be when the search proves to be fruitless, there’s nothing like the high of finding a gem amidst the chaos.
My new Michael Kors skirt is a good example of the latter.
Skirt, MICHAEL Michael Kors; jacket, Diane von Furstenberg;
tank, Tristan; belt, Club Monaco; shoes, Stuart Weitzman.

This skirt was an orphan hiding among the disheveled racks of the Calgary Trail Winners store. It has many things going for it: it’s a pencil skirt (I can always use another pencil skirt), it’s got a fabulous print (a teensy bit reminiscent of Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2010 “alien” collection), and a lovely, classic colour scheme (browns and blacks – what could be easier to accessorize?). Its price tag made it truly a “winner”: $39.99.

The importance of belts

One thing I quickly learned in doing the BCRL styling sessions is that belts intimidate more than a few people. I do understand; I’ve been there. For anyone who doesn’t boast Situation-worthy abs, adding a belt to the mix seems like a really questionable idea – it might draw attention to the wrong thing, add bulk where it’s not wanted, and generally be a pain in the, er, side. I avoided belts for a long time, and it wasn’t until I started to push myself to be more adventurous (having a style blog will do that to you) that I began to appreciate the power of belts. Because make no mistake – Wonder Woman is not the only one who can benefit from a kick-ass belt.
A belt is a true multi-tasker. First and foremost, it will define the waist and balance proportions. If you’re not comfortable wearing a belt, start off by trying one under a jacket or cardigan (make sure that your cover-up choice is tailored or streamlined); although the sides will be obscured, the eye will still perceive the same waist-enhancing effect. A belt can work miracles on a looser top or dress, which will often benefit from the added structure.

If you’re not afraid to go bold, belt everything … as long as you can do so comfortably, without the layers getting the “bunched up” look. The thicker the layers, the wider the belt will have to be to avoid that.

A belt can also change the whole vibe of an outfit. Take this one for example:

There is nothing wrong with this, but it’s pretty basic. A belt can make a subtle, or a not so subtle difference.

Here is another quick belt-makeover:
Switching up a belt can transform the whole feel of an outfit. Belts themselves have distinct styles, which will interact differently with different looks

A few words on picking belts. You can almost never go wrong with a skinny, red patent leather belt; depending on your proportions, it may be worth investing in one you can wear at the waist and one that fits around the hips for pants. A braided belt is also a good investment, as it is generally more accommodating that one with notches; black is a great stand-by (of course, it goes with most things), but a cognac brown is also a versatile choice with a more casual, boho vibe. Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid extra bulk – buckles that stick out, extra hardware (anything that clinks as you walk is a good rule of thumb), thick belts (as opposed to wide). A skinny belt in the same colour as the pants in your outfit will create a monochromatic look that visually “smooths” away any tummy concerns. 
Keep an eye out for more ‘belt magic’ in upcoming style sessions.