Last month, I worked with Catherine on tweaking some of her favourite work and casual outfits. In the course of doing that, one of the things we determined was that her wardrobe might  benefit from an injection of colour (and prints) to shake things up a bit. A shopping trip was in order!

The two places I suggested that we start were Winners and Vespucci’s; I picked both for the same reason – an eclectic selection that would hopefully offer Catherine a wider array of options in terms of both labels and styles. Vespucci’s is one of my favourite consignment stores in the city; they offer a good mix of mid-range to high-end labels, and also consign clothing from other boutiques, like Who Cares. We were able to find some beautiful, unique pieces that will add a lot of personality to Catherine’s wardrobe. She also had considerable success in that respect on her own; a trip to Vancouver yielded some great finds … and great bargains too!

With a ton of new material to play with, Catherine decided that a follow-up style session would be in order so that we could test some ideas for incorporating it all into her existing wardrobe. The goal was to  put together at least two different looks for each piece … a mixology primer, if you will.
First up, a beautiful skirt we found at Vespucci’s:
Skirt, Taifun ($48); shoes, Aldo ($20);
belt, Ardenne

There are few combinations more classic than black, cream and red. The detail of the skirt’s overlay adds a touch of elegance to an otherwise simple outfit. The two-tone peep-toe pumps have a bit of the same retro vibe as the skirt, but are still very versatile. Catherine’s new belt ties it all together, and emphasizes her waist.

But the skirt is not a cocktail-hour only proposition. Here it is re-mixed for the office:
Blouse, Winners ($7); cardigan, Merona ($18)
The turquoise colour  of the blouse looks phenomenal on Catherine, and the cowl neckline adds visual interest – no necklace required. Initially, Catherine was concerned because the blouse is quite long and loose, without any particular shape. However, the problem was resolved by tucking it in. The plum handbag adds a nice contrast, but doesn’t compete with the rest of the outfit. This is also a practical look for the colder season, with the addition of the black opaque tights.
Here is another take on the blouse, also featuring a second skirt from Vespucci’s:

Skirt, Mexx ($18)

In order to keep the skirt from looking too prim, we used a braided belt and denim jacket to add a bit of a funkier, more casual vibe. We went even further with a second outfit, and substituted a T-shirt for the blouse, adding a scarf for a splash of colour.
With boots (and the appropriate outerwear), this is an outfit that can easily transition between the seasons.

Speaking of transitions, this dress is a wonderful chameleon:
Dress, Tahari ($80)
There is no rule that says that your go-to dress has to be black, as long as the fit is perfect, and it makes you feel like a million bucks. This plum-purple is a timeless colour that looks amazing on Catherine, and is just as easy to accessorize as black. On its own, this dress is all dangerous curves and sex appeal; but this doesn’t mean that it can’t look just as great at the office as at it would at a cocktail party – it’s just a question of accessories.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to pairing colours; light blue (especially turquoise) works really well with most purple, as do certain shades of pink and red. Have fun experimenting!

Next up, a wardrobe staple:
Cardigan, Merona ($18)
Yes, you can never go wrong with a black cardigan. I encouraged Catherine to get this one, even though she already had another black cardigan at home, because it fit her really well and its ruffle detailing down the front (which, sadly, can’t be seen in this picture) gave it some visual interest that her other piece lacked. And, of course, the price was right. Here, we paired it with a skinny red belt – another recent acquisition – for a polished office look, one of the many that Catherine can put together with this piece.

However, the cardigan is also an after-hours powerhouse.
 
Top, Smartset ($20); cardigan, Merona

This mixed-print top is one of the pieces that Catherine picked out on her own shopping trip, and it’s fabulous – and very ‘on trend’ right now (love the hound’s tooth next to the floral print). The cardigan, skinny black jeans and stilettos complete the look, perfect for a date or night out on the town.

In Vancouver, Catherine also bought this skirt:
Skirt, Plum ($98)
I love the exaggerated volume of the tulip shape, but it can be a tricky style to wear. Generally, you wouldn’t want to overwhelm it by adding lots of volume on top as well. Despite not being very structured, his blouse still works, though, because the high waist of the skirt reins it in, while at the same time creating an hourglass shape. The above-the-knee length combined with the high waist also adds height by elongating Catherine’s gams.

In this case, a cardigan offers the best cover up option:

Whereas a jacket might be too boxy, a cardigan will hug the body without adding any bulk. Yellow is a fantastic accent colour, especially when paired with black and grey. Some people are reluctant to wear it, thinking that it’s a difficult colour, but almost everyone can wear it – it’s only a question of finding the right shade to complement their skin tone. 

Got a style question? Want your own style session or shopping trip with me? Contact me at bluecollarredlipstick@gmail.com or on Facebook.