2.0 – Style Story

January 28, 2015

Style Bee - Closet Mission - Style Story

Even though I’m still enduring my 30 day shopping fast it’s time to begin the next phase in my closet mission. I’m calling this phase ‘Clarify and Define’ because it’s all about personal style, finding inspiration and really ironing out the ways in which my wardrobe can work harder and better for me.

Late last year a friend mentioned the Wardrobe Architect series created by Coletterie (an incredible sewing and pattern blog). I decided to take a look and was instantly drawn in by the first post of the series Making Style More Personal. I’d been struggling to find a practical approach to defining personal style and this helped me see a clear first step.

I realized that before we can begin to define our style we need to stop and reflect on how our history and experiences have defined us as individuals and how that influences our choices in what we wear. We need to understand our personal style story up until this point.

Style Bee - Closet Mission - Style Story

Using fashion to tell a unique story is the basis of personal style.

Every time we put together an outfit we’re telling the world a bit about who we are. We’re suggesting that we belong to a certain demographic or socioeconomic group. We’re indicating our values, whether it’s as simple as saying ‘I care how I look.’ or ‘I don’t care how I look.’ Of course this is a very surface level, and often subconscious understanding of the story but people are reading it whenever they see us. The point we’re trying to get to on this mission is being able to tell a story that accurately represents who we are, in a way that feels great.

Style Bee - Closet Mission - Style Story

THE STORY SO FAR

A good place to begin is by asking a few questions about prominent factors in our lives. I thought this was a great exercise and it helped me recognize several influences that I hadn’t considered important before. Things like being an only child, wearing a uniform in grade school, being introverted, having artistic but very practical parents and living in Canada are huge influences on my personal style story.

1. PERSONAL HISTORY – How have your past experiences influenced the way you dress?

2. VALUES – Does your philosophy, spirituality or religion impact your style choices?

3. CULTURE – How did your upbringing affect your taste?

4. COMMUNITY – Do the people around you inspire your style?

5. FINANCES – How do your finances impact your choices?

6. LIFESTYLE - How does your day to day life influence your outfit decisions?

7. LOCATION – How does where you live impact your wardrobe?

8. BODY – How does your body image affect your style?


WORKBOOK

Feel free to download the workbook I put together with additional questions that will be a great source for insights going forward.

Style Story Workbook - Printable

Style Story Workbook - Editable PDF


So there’s my take on the first step in defining personal style! It’s certainly not a simple task and I don’t know if the process is ever truly complete, but that’s one of the great things about it! We’re people, we evolve and learn and our values and habits change with time, as should our style.

I’d love to hear which of the 8 factors above has had the strongest impact on your style story. Feel free to share in the comments below. 

Next up: My 30 day shopping fast findings! 

MemoriesLab – WINNERS

January 23, 2015

StyleBee - Giveaway - winners

You guys are amazing! I was totally blown away by all the entries and enthusiasm for this giveaway. Thank you for taking the time to enter! I seriously wish I could send a code to everyone, but alas, the random winner generator got to decide who gets an awesome set of MemoriesLab Prints, and the winners are:

1. Jennifer Trovato (Jmae.dwyer@gmail.com)

2. Adrienne Alice (adriennealice@gmail.com)

3. Mary Dolan (maryhdolan@gmail.com)

Check your inboxes ladies! There’s a nifty little code waiting for you. 

I’m scheming up more giveaways so don’t fret if this one didn’t pan out for you. After all it is Friday and that’s a win for everyone! xo

Look 04 – New Proportions

January 23, 2015

Style Bee - Look 04 - Proportions

Today’s post was meant to be the next one in the Closet Mission series but I’m still ironing out the first step in the Clarify and Define stage. It’s gonna be great, just not quite yet!

So instead I’m sharing a look that is a bit outside my comfort zone, despite it actually being quite comfortable. I usually stick to one oversized element and then match it with something more fitted but I thought what the hell, let’s go all oversized!

Thanks to my current shopping fast I’ve had a chance to explore different combinations and forgotten pieces from my closet. I’ve had these wide-leg pants since 2008 and they’ve somehow managed to escape several closet purges despite the rarity of their use. I bought them during a solo trip to New York and they were 60% off at this amazing little boutique in SOHO (which has since closed, WAH!). They represent one of my first majorly independent trips and style savvy purchases, so I think that’s given them some staying power. I decided to take them for a modern-day spin with a few of my current closet staples.

In all honestly, I think I’ll pair them with a more fitted or slightly less slouchy top next time but that’s a big part of this mission, trying things out and assessing whether or not they work for me. I still really like the chic, bohemian vibe of this look and I’ve managed to mentally reinvest in a great pair of pants. I can’t wait to wear them with clogs, a simple white tee and big ol’ sunglasses when warmer weather eventually rolls around.

So tell me, have you tried any new combos during your shopping freeze?

Style Bee - Look 04 - ProportionsStyle Bee - Look 04 - ProportionsStyle Bee - Look 04 - ProportionsStyle Bee - Look 04 - Proportions

Hat Rag & Bone (size s) || Sweater Aritzia (size s) || Pants old (similar here) || Necklace Biko || Tote Cuyana (short) || Boots Madewell (similar) || Watch c/o Daniel Wellington

For size reference I am 5’7” and 120 lbs.

MemoriesLab – GIVEAWAY

January 20, 2015

Style Bee - Memories Lab - Giveaway

Hooray! It’s Tuesday, but not just any Tuesday because today I get to share a great new brand AND give away some goodies!

So let me introduce MemoriesLab, a boutique photo lab that specializes in creating high quality prints, taking inspiration from Polaroid SX-70 and traditional film. When they asked if I wanted to try out their 12 Integral Edition Print service I thought sure, why not. I’ve used square format, quick-print services before so I was expecting something similar but when the little parcel arrived (super quickly too) it became instantly clear these were no ordinary prints. I was blown away by the quality of the photos, which are processed on a thick and marvellously silky material, not to mention the beautifully handcrafted packaging. It was like opening a little treasure trove of frozen moments.

I’d been unsure where to start with artwork in my office but these were a perfect first step. I made a little gallery wall above my desk and every time I sit down I’m reminded of my favourite moments from the past year.

Now I get to share the photo love! Scroll down to see how you can win a set of your own prints.

Style Bee - Memories Lab - GiveawayStyle Bee - Memories Lab - GiveawayStyle Bee - Memories Lab - GiveawayStyle Bee - Memories Lab - GiveawayStyle Bee - Memories Lab - Giveaway

MemoriesLab generously supplied 3 additional codes for me to give away so you can order your very own set of gorgeous prints! They make a great Valentine’s gift, birthday present or a perfect memento of a great trip.

For a chance to win simply leave a comment below with your email address*!

  • For an additional entry, leave a comment (with your email) on my Instagram giveaway photo (@leevosburgh).
  • Open to everyone!
  • Winners will be selected at random and announced here, and on my Instagram, on Friday (Jan 23rd).

Good Luck! 

*Email addresses will be use solely for the purpose of contacting winners to relay the access code. 

Please note this post was sponsored but all opinions are my own. 

Look 03 – Sweater Dressing

January 19, 2015

Look 03 - Winter - Sweater Dress

What’s black and warm and wool all over? My favourite sweater dress that is!

Sorry for the lame opening, but something about this outfit just makes me happy. Probably the fact that it’s one of the most simultaneously comfy and pulled together looks I’ve come up with to date. This sweater dress is a cozy dream and has more than earned it’s keep (and dry cleaning costs) this winter.

There are a few key elements that make a good sweater dress for me:

  1. Fabric. This one is 100% extra fine Merino wool which makes it super soft and yet really warm. It also has an incredible weight and tight knit that makes it drape just right without getting baggy.
  2. Fit. This goes for any garment. There is always a delicate balance but I’ve learned to err on the side of oversized with sweater dresses. If it’s too clingy everything with ride up and you’ll constantly be adjusting and fussing. Going for a more generous fit, especially around the waist where your tights sit will help disguise any lines too.
  3. Finishes. The details are so important on a sweater dress and make the difference between something you wear for a season vs. years. On this one the thick ribbed hem makes the edges clean and fitted cuffs make it easy to push the sleeves up and have them stay put. I’ve had lower quality sweater dresses before and the hem always goes wonky after a few wears. I also love the large but not ‘cowell’ size turtleneck for extra warmth.

These days I’m wearing it with neutral but contrasting elements like an oatmeal coat and suede boots. I also bought it in the light grey (shown here) and it’s great to have an alternate when one is at the cleaners. I know, not very “less is more” but I’m working on it!

Look 03 - Winter - Sweater DressLook 03 - Winter - Sweater DressLook 03 - Winter - Sweater DressLook 03 - Winter - Sweater DressLook 03 - Winter - Sweater Dress

Sweater Dress (s/o) Aritzia (wearing a size s) || Tights Uniqlo || Coat Old Club Monaco (similar here and here) || Bag Baggu || Boots Sam Edelman (size 6.5, normally I wear a 7) || Necklace A Delicate Deer || Rings Laite Atelier

1.0 – FAST – Check-In

January 17, 2015

Style Bee - Shopping Fast - Check In

I can’t quite believe it but I’m already 1/2 way through my 30 day shopping fast. I’m not sure I went that long without shopping throughout the entirety of 2014 so I’m pretty pleased with myself and my willpower. Of course there have been pangs of lust for a few items here and there but overall I feel a sense of relief. Relief from trying to keep up. Relief from having to add to and improve my wardrobe. Relief from the fear of missing out on something new or better. It’s been a great time to clear my mind and start paying more attention to the things I want to accomplish this year, and of course, closet contentment is one of them.

I’ve been using my little workbook (printable or pdf) and it’s been a big help to keep track of my progress. As it turns out my journal has been a perfect place to jot down the clothes I’ve been wearing and get a sense for the items I gravitate to most. I’ve also tried wearing a few pieces that were otherwise forgotten and it’s been great to re-invest in them and re-invent how they work for me.

I certainly cannot take all the credit for my mid-way success though. The fact that so many of you decided to join me and that we’ve established this little support system has definitely made all the difference. We keep each other on track and accountable which is hard to do alone. It feels so great to read your comments and emails expressing your interest in this mission and how you’re glad to not be doing it alone. If the previous 15 + days are any indication, I’ll dare say we’ve got this!

Read More

1.1 – Triggers

January 15, 2015

StyleBee - Closet Mission - TRIGGERS

Today it’s time to take a look at some of the reasons why we overspend and impulse shop.

You’re a smart, savvy, level headed person and so am I, yet, we’ve both been there. That moment when you look at your visa statement and feel your heart sink. What? No, it can’t be. But how? If you’re like me you’ve over spent on things you don’t need on more than one occasion (okay fine, on many!) and it’s not something you’re terribly proud of. Sometimes logic gives way to desire but nothing kills the new shoe buzz like realizing your visa bill is more than double your monthly mortgage payment.

Maybe you don’t get into too much overspending trouble but you’re inclined to pick things up on a whim. Then get home or get the parcel and realize it’s not really you or it doesn’t go with anything or a long list of other undesirable options. Whatever it was ends up in your closet for 6 months or more and, with the tags still on, eventually finds it’s way into a clothing donation bin. Not the epic journey you had in mind for it originally. That pesky fear of missing out gets the better of us all!

The good news is we’re ready to make a change for the better. So let’s take a look at some shopping triggers because knowledge is power and it’s time to get savvy!

Read More

Look 02 – Everyday Luxe

January 12, 2015

Style Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday Luxe

After having a tough time deciding what to shoot for my second look of the year I finally decided to style up a few of my go-to winter pieces. The first item was my leather pants. These were one of my biggest splurges ever and instantly became one of my favourite wardrobe items. They’re also surprisingly practical. They go with anything, need no washing, don’t collect dog hair and are legitimately way warmer than jeans. No to mention the fact they’re leather pants and have badass superpowers.

While they’re right for so many reasons these ones are slightly cropped on me so I’ve had some trouble finding the right boots to wear with them these days. Rag & Bone’s to the rescue (another worthy splurge)! They are just tall enough and conceal the not-so-chic super thick socks I’m wearing all the time.

Next up is a classic cable knit. This fella has been working hard for more than a few winters now. When I first bought it it was slightly oversized but after one unfortunate and very wrong setting on the washing machine it’s a lot more fitted. Despite it’s vast resizing capabilities it’s been a winter closet workhorse for me. It’s a wool/cashmere/viscose blend which means it’s “next to skin” acceptable.

Toss those three pieces together and throw a big black coat on top and BAM! That’s a simple but luxurious winter look right there. Because I just can’t seem to help myself, I added some warm tones with a red lip and bag.

Style Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday LuxeStyle Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday LuxeStyle Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday Luxe

I’m starting to get the hang of my new, shorter ‘do but if anyone ever tells you short hair is less maintenance than long hair, slap their lying face. It AIN’T true! Sure it takes less time to blow dry but at this length there’s little chance of waking up and walking out the door without at least a bit of effort. I’ve come to terms with that now and I honestly love having shorter hair. I’m just so damn lazy. That said, when I do style it, it takes half the time and I love how much more polished it looks in the end. Long hair is gorgeous but unruly and always a little cumbersome. Okay, hair rant complete.

Style Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday LuxeStyle Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday LuxeStyle Bee - Outfit 2 - Everyday Luxe

I hope your week is off to a good start! I’ll be talking about shopping triggers and how to avoid the pesky buggers and divulging findings from the first 1/2 of my fast later this week. Stay tuned!

Coat old from J.Crew (similar here) || Cable Knit old from Club Monaco (Similar here) || Leather Pants Madewell (size 0 but fits like a 2) || Boots Rag & Bone (TTS 7) || Bag Vintage

For size reference I’m 5’7″ and 120 lbs.

1.0 – FAST

January 8, 2015

StyleBee - Closet Mission - FAST

Ready to dig into this shopping fast with me? Here goes!

Why start with a fast? Many of the ‘Lean Closet’ tutorials I’ve read dive right in with a big closet purge. While that’s an integral part of the process I wanted to start my mission with more of a mental closet purge to clear my mind of all the ‘must-haves’ and ‘wish list’ items floating around in my brain. Not to mention letting the holiday spending dust settle and my VISA balance calm down significantly.

I also think it’s critical to begin any life change with a pause and some introspection. We’ve been cultivating our shopping habits for a lifetime and they won’t change overnight or with the simple eradication of old jeans and ill-fitting sweaters. This closet mission is as much about getting to know yourself as it is about building your dream closet. I believe the better you know yourself the better choices you’ll make when the time comes.

What are the rules? There are no official rules and I’m just learning as I go here too. This particular ‘fast’ is focused on 30 days free of clothes shopping (and/or beauty products if you want cut back in that department too). It’s just about the non-essentials so if all your tights have runs, pick up a new pair, you won’t be disqualified. Really it’s about taking time to simplify and gain a little bit of perspective.

Here’s where I’m at. Technically my 30 days are up since I stopped shopping for myself at the end of November but I wanted to hit a true reset button and carry on through January. I can say I survived the first fast but with all the Christmas shopping (though not for myself) I’ve got to be sure I wasn’t getting a vicarious fix. So as far as this mission is concerned I’m on day 8 of my shopping fast. Working on this project has been a great distraction so far but we’ll see how that changes as I settle back into my routine at work.

StyleBee - Closet Mission - FAST

Fast Objectives:  

Go 30 days without buying any clothes (and/or makeup).


Save money.


Take a brief stock of closet pros and cons.

What items do you always reach for? Which ones haven’t seen daylight in months? Years?


Take notes.

This might sounds kinda lame or hokey but it matters. On a good day you might not even think about shopping once. On a bad day you might feel frustrated, anxious and annoyed about this whole mission or you might even cave and that’s OK. It’s all part of the process but it’s not in vain if we can learn from these moments.


Clear your mind.

It’s time to let the things that matter come to the surface. Often shopping is a distraction or a method of procrastination that blocks us from thinking about or doing things we’ve been putting off.


 

It’s Easier Said Than Done – 10 Tips

No shopping for a month, no big deal! Erm, not so much actually, so here are 10 tips that I’ll be testing out to help me remain successfully shopping free for 30 days.

  1. Small Steps. Start easy with just a three days of no shopping and see how it goes.
  2. Repeat. If you go three days without shopping, awesome! Let’s try that again.
  3. One resolution at a time. This is the only New Year’s resolution I’m working on right now. The work out regime and healthier eating habits will have to wait.
  4. Write your goal down. Put it somewhere you will see it often like your planner or desktop. Heck plaster it on your bathroom mirror if that helps!
  5. Record your experience. Keeping a little journal makes a big difference and will prove an invaluable resource when it comes time to make any wardrobe decisions. I made one you can download below!
  6. Fast Friends. Moral support is key to making any lifestyle changes and it could be really fun to do your shopping fast with a friend or coworker. Plus you’ve got me! Feel free to reach out at any time and I’ll be happy to hear what you’re thinking.
  7. Eliminate temptations. Unsubscribe and unfollow brands and touch points that leave you feeling insufficient or wanting. Don’t take a leisurely stroll down the street your favourite boutique is on. You get my drift.
  8. Pick an alternate activity. At first I found this ‘tip’ a bit patronizing but then I realized that it’s exactly what I’m achieving by doing this closet mission. You’ve got some free time for the next 30 days so why not take a course or work on a project you’ve been meaning to start?
  9. Visualize. Just picture that savings account balance growing or the weekend trip you’ll be able to go on.
  10. Reward Yourself. This one is a slippery slope so watch out. Consider rewarding yourself with something other than shopping, like a great dinner with your fella or a spa day with a girl friend. But be weary of the material reward, it might just lead to a relapse. If you’re confident you can keep it under control then go for it!

 

StyleBee - Closet Mission - FAST

Workbook

I’ve put together a little workbook that I’ll be using to take notes and stay on track (sorry it’s a bit late!). It’s also something I think will provide some insight when I’m ready to start defining my style. It includes all the objectives and tips noted above along with a 30 day journal and a few other little exercises to get you thinking about your closet and lifestyle. You can print it out or download the editable version. Next week I’ll be sharing some of my daily reflections and a quick mid-way analysis.

StyleBee - Closet Mission - FAST

FAST WORK BOOK – Printable

Simply print, crop pages down the centre (there are 2 per sheet) and clip together.

FAST WORK BOOK – Editable PDF

Simply download the pdf and use Adobe to edit fields and save your notes digitally.


So what do think? Are you up for it? Have any questions, concerns or other ideas? Please feel free to share!

Look 01 – Major Players

January 5, 2015

Style Bee - Outfit 1 - Chambray Shirt

Ah! The first outfit post of 2015. The new Closet Mission has commenced and I was blown away by the amount of support and positive feedback it received. Thanks so much for your comments and for joining me. We’re onto something good, I know it!

Right now I’m focusing on a shopping fast, where I don’t buy any clothes for 30 days (all of January). I’ll be sharing some tips on how to successfully fast later this week and I’ll dig a bit deeper into triggers and what makes us crave the shopping fix so often. I’m aiming to expose the pesky reasons behind impulse buying and be better prepared to spot them when they try to get the better of me.

Since I’m on a spending hiatus, I’m looking at my wardrobe as it is now and working with what’s there. During these 30 days I’m trying not to think too hard about outfits and to simply follow my instincts. This will probably lead to frequently repeated outfits and not so occasional mornings spent staring blankly at my options, thinking I have very few. But that’s ok. It’s kind of the point actually. To get a better sense of what’s in my wardrobe and take stock of it’s strengths and weaknesses.

As such, I’m kicking off 2015 with a look featuring my strongest closet players. A chambray shirt, black skinnies and black leather boots, a combination I can imagine wearing for years. It’s simple, comfortable and effortlessly chic. Right now I’m topping it off with a wool coat, textured bag and wrapping myself in a paisley print scarf to battle with winter cold. This is a truly failsafe look.

Do you have an outfit like this in rotation right now? Take a moment to jot it down for those mornings when you’re drawing blanks on what to wear.

Style Bee - Outfit 1 - Chambray ShirtStyle Bee - Outfit 1 - Chambray ShirtStyle Bee - Outfit 1 - Chambray ShirtStyle Bee - Outfit 1 - Chambray ShirtStyle Bee - Outfit 1 - Chambray Shirt

I’ll be adding the size I’m wearing to my source links in each post to help anyone wondering about fit. For reference I’m 5’7” and 120 lbs.

Chambray Shirt Everlane (Size S) || Black Denim Rag & Bone (size 25 but fits like 26)|| Acne Pistol Boots (size 37) || Coat Aritzia s/o (Size S) || Bag Primecut || Watch Daniel Wellington || Rings Laite || Sarf old from Club Monaco

Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie