Month: May 2011

Hello, good-bye

Can you believe it – Blue Collar Red Lipstick is one year old today! And this is its 300th post! And, for this blogger, what a year it has been. I had little idea, when I started, of the enterprise upon which I was embarking, and I’ve been overwhelmed at times by the positive support and encouragement I received from my readers. As the last couple of posts have demonstrated, I’ve had a lot of fun over the last year experimenting with my style … and shopping my tush off! Who knew, a year ago, that I had stumbled on the perfect excuse to indulge all my fashionista dreams? But I feel most fortunate about the opportunities that writing this blog has afforded me to meet some truly fantastic people. To all of you who have been following my ramblings over the past year – I love writing for you, working with you, answering your questions, sharing my own style dilemmas and adventures, and just learning more about all the cool, amazing people and things happening around our city. Thanks for being part of it all!!
As many of you know, I am about to start a whole new chapter in my life. I ain’t gonna lie – it’s a little scary! But I’ve never been one to shy off from high ledges and big leaps, so I think I’m as ready as, well, anyone can be. Naturally, I’m expecting some big changes over the next few months … and I’m not just talking about my size! So it’s with mixed emotions that I have decided to do the practical thing and put the blog on hiatus for the time being. I would love nothing more than to be able to continue writing it – hey, don’t they have wi-fi in the delivery room these days? – but sadly that’s a commitment I’m too likely to break over the next few months. I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to do with this blog up to now, and – as they always say in the entertainment biz – it’s always better to leave on a high note.
Not that this is a permanent good-bye. After all, it’s not like I’m leaving on an intergalactic flight to the outer reaches of the universe. [Please tell me that parenthood is not the equivalent of that!] I’ll still be around – whether as a sounding board, shopping buddy, or dilemma solver – and I hope to still hear from y’all. If you haven’t already, feel free to add BlueCollar RedLipstick as a friend on Facebook, and stay tuned for more style news and updates.
And then get ready – come fall, BCRL will be back with a vengeance … and a whole new licence to style 😉

A year in review – part 3

After finishing my last post, I decided that I couldn’t wrap up a retrospective of the last year without mentioning what were some of my favourite memories – the personal styling sessions I worked on. So I want to take this opportunity to thank again all the beautiful (and brave) ladies who opened their closets to me – I had so much fun working with each of you, and I learned a thing or two in the process. Especially about belts 😉
So, without further ado, here are some of my favourite collaborations:
Laura:

Catherine:
Robyn:

Geeta:
Rachel:

Shanna:

Sarah:

And, hey, if you are interested in your own style consultation, it’s never too late – just drop me a line at bluecollarredlipstick@gmail.com.

A year in review – Part 2

With all the shopping I did over the last twelve months, it’s not surprising that this past year has been filled with cute outfits – over 200 documented on this blog alone. I can honestly say that this has been the year when I discovered how much fun clothes can be (especially when you stop watching fashion from the sidelines, and start playing with your own style), and I owe that in large part to the blog – nothing like being under the gun every week for getting the creative styling juices flowing.
When I decided to look back through the many (many!) outfits that have been featured on the blog (only a fraction of my total wardrobe output), I quickly realized that ranking favourites would be impossible. Clothes are an emotional, as well as aesthetic, choice and they’re a magnet for memories – good and bad. How can one possible pick one day, one experience, or one memory over another? 
So, in no particular order, here are (some of) the outfits that have made my year:
Skirt, BCBG ($45); top, Diane von Furstenberg ($20); cardigan, Mexx (gift);
necklace, Banana Republic ($12), shoes, Stuart Weitzman ($150)
This BCBG skirt was one of my most inspired impulse buys; I’m so glad that I wasn’t deterred by the bold colour, which turned out to be the best part – talk about a “statement piece”. I love it so much, here is another take on it:
Cardigan, Old Navy ($20); tank, H&M ($8);
shoes, MICHAEL Michael Kors ($67).
2010 was the year of my love affair with cropped skinny pants. I’m not much of a trouser person, but I wore these ones a LOT. This was one of my fave looks – it has a little bit of a garconne vibe, not my usual girly-girly style. I got a ton of compliments on it – go figure.
Cardigan, Joe Fresh ($20); shirt, Joe Fresh ($12); pants, GAP ($55);
shoes, Stuart Weitzman ($39); necklace, Banana Republic ($45);
belt (too old to remember).
Speaking of a style 180 – I love the over-the-top exuberance of this Tahari dress. I wish (actual) maternity wear embraced more of this aesthetic … as well as the quality. This outfit features not one but TWO shopping victories – scoring my dream Alma, and scoring a pair of maternity leggings for under $40.
Dress, Elie Tahari ($39); leggings, Motherhood Maternity ($29);
sunglasses, Miu Miu (swap); bracelets, Nordstrom Rack ($12); shoes, Taryn Rose ($36).
Considering how much fun I’d been having with my clothes, the gradual “loss” of my usual wardrobe over the last 6 months has been, understandably, a bit sad. This Tocca dress made it a little bit easier; I love the whimsicality of the polka dot pattern – in fact, a bump is a good accessory for this dress, giving it the full effect. This was also, hands down, one of the cheapest outfits I have ever put together.
Dress, Tocca ($11); jacket, Joe Fresh ($15); necklace, Banana Republic ($15);
shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo ($28).
And speaking of great deals, this next outfit is also pretty cool. I’d never thought of myself as the type to wear a leather jacket, but I changed my mind when I saw this cropped style. I love the funky collar, which takes out of the realm of “motorcycle mamas” and into fashionista territory. The taupe colour is perfect for accessorizing – proof that you don’t need black to make an outfit work.
Jacket, Danier (gift); top, See by Chloe ($12); jeans, Guess ($60);
shoes, Stuart Weitzman ($39).
My Christmas office party look for 2010 was an exercise in last minute shopping – one that, contrary to the rules of shopping, had a happy ending. The dress I was originally planning to wear fell out of contention through no fault of its own; I was a couple of months along at the time, and the (hot pink) silk dress felt a little snug in all the wrong places. This draped, jersey-esque number was a far more comfortable choice. An improvised necklace, greige nail polish, and some red lipstick and voila – no queasiness for this lady.
Dress, Club Monaco ($70); shoes, NIne West ($35);
necklaces, Banana Republic (gift) and Tristan ($15); brooch, vintage.
Going from glam to casual, I love the nerdy-cute factor of this outfit. With the exception of the shoes, all the pieces are new acquisitions, and all are super versatile. The cream cardigan, in particular, has gotten a huge amount of wear in all sorts of combinations – with pencil skirts, jeans, pants, dresses … in fact, it could probably work with practically everything in my closet.
Blouse, Marc Jacobs ($12); cardigan, Banana Republic ($30);
skirt, Zara ($25); shoes, BCBG Girls ($40).
Another piece I absolutely adored (and wore to death) this year was my pair of cropped grey iT jeans. They are super soft and comfy, fit like a dream, and look cool to boot. It’s not often that a repeat an entire outfit from head to toe (I like to mix things up), but this one was an exception. I like the contrast pairing of the grey skinny denim and this silky, slouchy camisole – comfy and casual, but still “put together”; one reason you will rarely (never say never) see me in sweatpants on the weekend.
Jeans, iT ($18); camisole, Jacob Connexion ($12); belt, Joe Fresh ($6);
jacket, Marc by Marc Jacobs ($40); flats, Joe Fresh ($19); bag, Winners ($80).

Going with the wearability factor, I got a ton of wear our of my paper bag-style BCBG skirt this year. The bagginess of the cut gives it an interesting edge, without looking sack-like – a nice departure from my much-loved pencil skirts. This style is also great for apple shapes, as I’ve come to discover in the last 6 months, as it’s forgiving through the mid-section and hip area while still showcasing the waist. I loved pairing the skirt with this cropped jacket I snagged at the Vespucci shopping party this year – a piece I first fell in love with at the mall a couple of years before, and which I regretted not buying ever since. It’s funny how clothes, like people, can sometimes come around more than once in a lifetime.
Skirt, BCBG ($40); jacket, Tristan ($32); hat, Nine West ($30);
tights, Hue ($20); booties, Nine West ($120).

Sometimes, the things you fall in love with can be unexpected. Take this pair of boyfriend chinos. They slouchy and baggy – not qualities I normally appreciate in pants. Luckily, the colour drew me in and I tried them on … and I was sold. This outfit is one of my favourite takes on what I call the “Gwyneth” look.

Pants, Banana Republic ($30); tank top, Winners ($20); 
jacket, RW & Co. ($50); shoes, Nine West ($35).
To round out this list of favourite outfits, it’s only appropriate that I go with one I wore very recently – and which made me feel like a million bucks. Talk about finishing a year of style on a high note!
Dress, Moda International ($26); shoes, Enzo Angiolini ($120);
bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs.