Month: April 2012

Back-to-work shopping … on a budget

I will be heading back to work in, um, less than 3 months now. Yikes! I can truly say that I am not yet ready – mentally, emotionally or, well, sartorially. My new mommy body – much like my mommy psyche – still needs a bit of accommodation. It’s time … to buy new pants. My bottom half is now about a size bigger than it used to be, and I don’t foresee that changing in the near future. Having done a very thorough purge of my closet, I have also decided that it’s time to update my work wardrobe with a couple of new dresses; I am hoping to find something that will transition easily from season to season, and mix well with everything from cardigans to suit jackets. That’s the goal, anyway.

Inspired by one of my favourite features in InStyle magazine, I am planning to offer up a glimpse into my shopping plan and budget over the next 3 months, which will hopefully see me ready to head back to the office by July. You will get to follow along as I set my budget, execute my plan (aka shop) and, hopefully, achieve my goalsĀ  … or not. I have a feeling there will be some detours along the way, as I find my way back to some of my past shopping haunts.

First up, the goal: to buy 2 pairs of dress pants (ideally, one black and one grey), and two dresses (ideally, solid colours, but I am open to prints too). I’ve taken stock of my wardrobe, and I am fairly well stocked up in the tops, skirts, blazers, and sweaters categories; I could probably use another suit or two, but I don’t enjoy wearing them enough to justify the investment at this time. I may need to re-assess my footwear situation down the line, once I figure out whether or not 8+ hours in 3-4 inch heels is a feasible endeavour these days. So, for now, my shopping list is fairly unambitious.

Next, the budget. I decided to set this one, somewhat arbitrarily, at $120. Although I haven’t shopped in a few months, and thus am not aware of any major inflation that may be happening, I figured that this number was not unreasonable in view of my limited list. Back in my bargain-hunting glory days, $30/item would have been totally doable; we’ll see if that is still the case. I do have a secret ace up my sleeve, though, just in case. I am planning to take a sizable pile of clothes to consignment at the end of the month, and hoping to boost my budget a little bit with the proceeds. We’ll also have to see how that works out.

I have decided not to divvy up my budget per month, because I know I would just end up finding that too restrictive. Instead, at the end of each of the next three months (April, May and June), I will post an update showing what I bought that month, and how much it cost. I hope you will follow along my new shopping adventures … and if you hear about any good deals, be sure to pass them on!

Manicure of the Week: Blue Denim

I have almost come to the end of my Chanel collection, and before I wrap up with a pretty special polish, I thought I would detour slightly this week to show you the newest addition to my stash – Dior Blue Denim. I am torn on whether to describe it as a muted cobalt blue, or a dark cornflower blue … bah, I don’t seem to have the knack for describing colours at all! In any case, it is a very lovely blue.
In the bottle, there is a very fine shimmer to Blue Denim, but other than adding some depth to the colour, it doesn’t translate on the nail at all. Application was fairly easy; this could almost be a one-coater, though the formula is a little bit thick and requires some patience and precision.

I love how this blue looks with purple!
Inspired by the colour matching possibilities, I knew there were two different patterns in my closet I wanted to try pairing with Blue Denim. First, a Matthew Williamson for H&M peacock print tank top.
Second, a paisley print Gap skirt.
Because I couldn’t decide, I tried both outfits.

The tank top is my only designer-for-H&M item – how sad is that? I had really hoped to get my hands on some pieces from the Lanvin collection … ah, but that is a (wah wah) story for another day. As much as I’m a sucker for anything peacock-inspired, I haven’t gotten much wear from this top. Perhaps it’s the print after all – too neon for work, too fancy for casual weekends. This one is inching its way ever closer to the swap pile … I like how this outfit turned out, but I’m still not sure I have anywhere to wear it.
The Gap skirt has its own story; it’s been in my closet for over a decade now … possibly the only item that can claim that distinction. It’s been passed back and forth between my mom and me numerous times during that period, and we have both worn it many, many times. I think it’s due for another revival.

Happy Friday (the 13th)!

April (snow) showers?

I don’t think so! Springtime always means flowers for this gal. But you already knew that. Yes, my most recent (and so far only) purchase for the season was a very floral Talbots camisole from Vespucci. It’s funny … as much as I loved the Kors top (and I really did), there really was no contest; that floral pattern was so me, it might as well have been hanging in my closet all along. I really love that I have managed to get my wardrobe to a point where picking a new piece is a no brainer, because there is a well-defined style for it to fit. After years of feeling like I was all over the map, style-wise, this is a nice – and relaxing – change. No more frantic searches for matching pieces, no more early morning marathon dressing-and-changing-and-repeat sessions. My closet is a well-oiled machine. Ok, maybe not the best analogy, but you get the point.

Of course, I would never make such bold claims without backup. The proof is in the pudding … or, rather, the outfits. Three outfits coming atcha!

First, something pretty “safe”. I love – and bought – this kind of camisole for work outfits. Paired with solid colour separates, you could say it’s a kind of uniform for me. Day to day, I’m probably even less stylish than you would think; more sort of style-adjacent. At least I am consistent, right? This is a very “Adina at the office” outfit.

If I am feeling a bit more adventurous on any given day, I like to play with colour. It’s a bit hard to tell from this pic, but my Joe Fresh suit is a muted emerald green.
One thing I also love about these kinds of blousier camisole tops is, well, the camouflage factor. My much-beloved iT cropped jeans are snugger than usual these days, creating a rather unfortunate (mini!) muffin top situation. I haven’t worn them as much for that reason, but I am not quite ready to let them go. This is my compromise.
Congrats to everyone who previously guessed correctly as to which top I bought on my shopping trip to Vespucci. It means you’ve all been reading this blog for way too long (to know my predilections way too well) … and I love you all for it!