Incorporating Trends, Take Two: Peplum

The peplum trend made its first appearance (or comeback from the 80s) earlier this year.  This is another trend that can easily be incorporated into your wardrobe, especially for work.  A peplum top can be worn with a pencil skirt or pants and it's easy to throw either a cardigan or blazer over top.  I quite enjoy the peplum silhouette as it hugs you right around the smallest part of your waist and then flows out nicely around the hips. This adds the appearance of curves and is perfect for those who have more of a boyish figure. Heck, it even flatters those with a more voluptuous frame (see Kim Kardashian).

The point of incorporating trends such as peplum and printed pants (see previous post) into your office wardrobe is to add a little bit of interest to an otherwise boring outfit. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and go out of your 'cardigan and pencil skirt' comfort zone and wear something that stands out. Trust me, people will notice and you'll feel great!

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Peplum Top - Zara; Cardigan and Skirt - Jacob; Boots - Calvin Klein (Winners); Belt - Loft 82; Tights - Unknown;  Cuff - Unknown; Earrings - The Bay


Incorporating Trends: The Printed Pant

A great way to spice up a drab work wardrobe is to add a few trendy pieces.  Each season there are several fads that show up on the runways and in the stores that are extremely cute and fun but end up disappearing after a few seasons. Due to their high chance of extinction, you should never break the bank when purchasing these items. Its better to invest in classic pieces such as collared blouses, versatile black pants and good quality blazers.

One such trend is the printed pant. These prints range from floral themes to geometric shapes to actual animals! I am currently loving this trend but am weary about buying anything too crazy, especially if it is to be worn at the office. Hence, the spotted pants below.  I was drawn to these because they aren't your basic black (instead, navy) and the pattern isn't too wild. When paired with a cream coloured blouse (yes, this was an investment piece for me) and some basic pumps, they are styled perfectly for the office!

Blouse - Marc By Marc Jacobs (Holt Renfrew); Pants - J Crew; Pumps - Franco Sarto (The Bay); Jewelry - Rox On by Karina Miller


Matchy Matchy - Casual Friday Edition

I tried this orange belt/earring colour combination for a casual Friday outfit.  I added a bright colour to counter balance the neutral coloured sweater and black denim.  I may have even tried wearing a matching lipstick, so that adds up to three matching items (see previous post for my three maximum rule). Anything else and it really would have been too much.

Notice the big comfy sweater (alternative for a hoodie) and always flattering belt cinched at the waist.

Thanks for reading and please join my blog if you have a gmail account! I'm also planning on trying a few different things on here so keep checking back!!

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Sweater - Fred David (Dots!); Belt & Earrings - Unknown Brand (Urban Woman); Skinnys  - Parasuco (Winners); Shoes - Madden Girl; Black Top Underneath - Jacob


Matching Mint

A great way to make a work outfit a little more interesting is to colour coordinate with accessories.  There are so may different ways to do this. You can...

  • Match bracelets with shoes;
  • Wear a matching necklace/bracelet combo;
  • Colour coordinate shoes with a belt;
  • Paint on nail polish to match a skirt;
  • Sport an earrings and belt colour combo;
  • Similar coloured rings and shoes!
The list goes on and on. If you're confused about how to do this, start by picking one item of clothing (which is coloured, of course) and match that item with one piece of jewelry in the same or similar colour.  From there add one more accessory (belt,clutch, ring) in the same shade.  Then stop. I think three accessories is the most that should be matching for one outfit. 

I started with a mint green skirt, added a few similar coloured bracelets, then finished the look off with some matching earrings.  

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Skirt - Loft 82; Top - Jacob; Belt - J Crew; Shoes - Madden Girl; Earrings - Rox On by Karina Miller; Bracelets - Rox  On by Karina Miller, JCrew, Other (Gift); Necklace - Tiffany & Co.


Summer Skirts In Winter

Continuing with the winterizing summer clothes theme, its also very easy to accomplish with a skirt.  The one I chose is of the high-low (often called mullet) variety.  As the name suggests, these skirts are shorter in the front and longer in the back. This type of skirt is great for the office as the longer back side balances out the borderline too short front side.

The same rules apply for winterizing a summer skirt:
  1. Add tights.
  2. Add boots (or booties).
  3. Add a belt and sweater.
I paired this fuchsia skirt with a snake print blouse, white belt and added a touch of professionalism with a sweater vest.  

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Skirt - Material Girl (The Bay); Blouse - Mendocino (Store in Toronto); Sweater Vest and Belt - Jacob;  Tights - Unknown; Boots - Locale; Earings (Poland)


Winterize A Summer Dress

Is winterize even a word? Who knows. What I do know is that you don't have to pack away your summer work clothes during the winter! For those of you who live in places where all  four seasons are experienced, you know that its imperative to have work clothes that suit all of them.  This can be quite inconvenient and expensive, especially if you're like me and on a strict cash budget!

Well fret no more because its actually quite easy to turn some of your summer clothes into winter attire. Take a flowy, light dress for example.  All you have to do it throw on a pair of tights underneath, a belted long sweater over top and a pair of your favorite knee high boots! See, its as simple as that! Complete the look by wrapping a long beautiful scarf around your neck.  Not only will a scarf add a touch of class to any outfit but it will also keep you extra warm on those cool winter days.  There are many different ways to tie a scarf, depending on what you are wearing and what kind of a look you are going for. I came across this video a while ago which I'm sure a lot of you have seen. If not, click here to learn 25 ways to tie a scarf in 4.5 minutes.

Because winter came early here, I am also dedicating my next post to winterizing summer clothes so check back in a couple of days for that!

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Dress - Club Monaco; Sweater - Zara; Belt - Loft 82; Tights - Unknown Brand (Winners); Boots - Locale; Scarf - Loft 82; Hat - Jacob


Reader Question - Work Appropriate Boots For Canadian Winters

I recently received the following question from a reader.

Love your blog Joanna. Great ideas and tips.
I as well have to bus it downtown to work everyday. I would love to see something on footwear for winter. I wear heels everyday, as I am only 5 feet tall. In the Winter it seems like I wear the same black 3" heel boot everyday. I'm sick of them. I swear 1 day I am going to break my neck running for the bus when it's icy out. I need something practical for winter, still look good and not make my pants drag in the snow. Any ideas? 


As a matter of fact, Heather, I do happen to have a few ideas for you! If you're looking for something other than your usual black boot but also want practicality for these cold, snowy, Canadian winters, you should try a cute pair of ankle boots with grips. I found these on Beyond the Rack but this lace up style can be found in pretty much any store that sells shoes right now. This boot goes far enough over your ankle that it will keep the snow out and the grips on the bottoms will give you more traction on those icy sidewalks. They're also not black, which you mentioned you're sick of.  The heel is tall enough that your pants won't drag in the snow and it looks like there is some insulation on the inside to keep you warm. These boots are not only practical, but also stylish and very appropriate for work in the winter!  Try changing things up and wearing them with leggings and a big comfy sweater on those really chilly days!

Here are a few other options that I came across...

What I like about the ones above is that they have a thicker heel but give the illusion of a thin heel.  They also have grips on the bottoms and are not your typical looking boot.  I would try a different colour than black for the pair on the left. These are both from Pravda.

Another option is to go with a wedge heel. The one above has a rubber wedge as well as grips. It will still prevent your pants from dragging as well as make you less likely to fall than a regular heel. You can find these at Town Shoes.

Hope this helps Heather!


Hoodies Are Never Ever Office Appropriate

Yes, you heard me. Let me say it LOUD and CLEAR! Don't ever wear a hoodie to the office, even on casual Friday!

Some people think that casual Friday is a free for all for wearing whatever they want to work.  Well, its not. Plain and simple.  I completely understand that hoodies are comfortable and easy to throw on in the morning but there are quite a few other options out there that are comfy and informal yet still professional looking. A few of those include:

  • A nice cardigan
  • An over sized sweater
  • A sweater dress (*will post about this in upcoming weeks*)
  • A flowy, un-tucked blouse
A nice touch to the above it adding a cute belt to accentuate a small waist. For bottoms, skinny jeans go well and balance out a loose fitting top. Add a printed pump to complete the outfit.

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Sweater - H&M; Belt - Club Monaco; Skinnys - Jessica Simpson (The Bay); Pumps -  Ralph Lauren (Winners); Earings - Gift; Lips - M.A.C Red by MAC


Denim Done Right

Who says you can't wear denim to work during the week? Just make sure its on top!

There are a ton of cute and professional chambray/denim shirts that are very work appropriate. You can substitute your regular blouse for a button down, collared denim shirt as long as you keep it professional on the bottom.  Pair the shirt with cropped or flared black pants and a neutral pump. For an additional touch, layer the shirt with a coloured blazer with rolled up sleeves. You can even keep the shirt un-tucked if you like.  It's fun to mix different fabrics and colours and it keeps things interesting.

My one caution about wearing denim/chambray shirts is to make sure that they are not ripped, faded or worn. Dirty denim is never appropriate at the office!

(Photos By Yvonne Ho)

Denim Shirt - Jessica Simpson (The Bay); Blazer - H&M; Black Cropped Pants - H&M;  Pumps - Franco Sarto (The Bay); Bracelet - Rox On by Karina Miller; Ring - Silpada: Earings - Unknown