Wardrobe Renos by Kay: Blog and Business

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Fall Lookbook - Outfit 3 - Night Out

Photography: by Sandra Enns, Fleuri Photography
Hair: by Donna Melo , Hair-Quality Hair Design - Donna's Facebook Page
Makeup: by Gigi, Gigi's Esthetics

While our fall lookbook outfit #1 and #2 featured the black capris, this outfit showcases an A-line brown skirt. I love this dressier chic outfit; it pairs the very feminine top with the sassy, ruffled pleather jacket, creating for a very fun outfit for out on the town. I could easily casualize this outfit by replacing the skirt with a pair of slender, figure defining dark wash jeans. Let’s look at the styling guidelines that specifically apply to this outfit:

When creating my outfits I like to keep to three colours but in this case I have four, all of which are featured in the top (brown, orange, purple and cream). I love the warming combination of the brown and orange. The gold coloured bangles pull out the orange tones in the top. When I have an item I want to wear that has three or more colours I pull in accessories that contain only those colours. Sometimes that's hard to do especially with jewellery. For example my necklace is silver but because it's so muted and since the brown pendant is the focus, the silver blends in nicely. So always try on your outfit before stepping out the door to make sure the colour combinations create a striking but blended outfit.

This beautifully patterned top is most definitely the focal point while the browns create a complimentary muted backdrop.

By having these photos side by side I hope you can clearly see that the tucked in top is much more flattering that the untucked, flowy top. When the top is tucked in, it allows the skirt to more clearly define my waist. However, when the top is untucked my waist is not evident and is a less flattering look. To present a feminine shape my shoulders, waist and hips should be clearly defined.  I could have created balance by swapping out the A-line skirt with a slim pair of plain cream or dark brown pants while leaving the top untucked. Alternatively I could have worn a pencil skirt, which is much more tapered than the A-line.

Whenever your outfit contains a pattern your  jewellery needs to a solid colour so it does not compete with the patterned item. Jewellery can be multi-coloured granted that all colours in your outfit match and do not exceed four colours. I love this delicate dressy pendant because it nicely fills this space and compliments the elegant mood of the top. So consider the mood when you are choosing your jewellery. If it doesn't match or compliment the mood of the most striking item in your outfit (in this case the most striking outfit is the top), your outfit won't seem quite right. For example, if you were to replace the pendant with a wooden necklace, it would likely create a heavier, more casual look and would clash with dressier top. It's trial and error. Before heading out the door do a dry run in your outfit; stand back from the mirror to see yourself from head to toe.

As women I think we tend to be very intentional about downplaying certain areas. In this case the dark brown skirt does a great job. It's harder to see a shadow against a darker colour so wearing dark colours will downplay contour and the shape created by our wobbly bits. Alternatively, like the orange in my top, use bright colours on your flattering areas. These vibrant colours  will also draw away the attention from your problem areas. 

Seasonal Adaptations:
         Cardigan: I would likely still wear my jacket on a cooler spring/summer evening but during the day would replace the jacket with a short, solid light coloured (either in cream or orange), light weight shrug or cardigan to showcase the top.  A longer cardigan would create a shortening effect. Being 5'5 I always opt for the shorter versions.
          Leg and Footwear: Although I love the snuggly effect of my knee high boots I miss the humid summer air brushing against my legs. I would do away with the tights. However, during the cooler spring days I would wear the truly nude hose that make it seem as if you have bare legs (and do away with the ones I wore for the photo shoot). With the onset of spring I would replace the boots with a solid pair of delicate sandals or ballet flats. I do love my nude coloured ballet flats, but could also pull in a pair of solid gold or textured delicate flats as long as they don't have a pattern that conflicts with the top. 

       Cardigan: Again I would add in a brown, fine knit cardigan/shrug. I may add in a solid coloured scarf that has a delicate and/or soft feel. However, I would avoid my cream scarf that has a lot of creases and lines in it, which may conflict with the top.
       Leg and Footwear: In place of the hose I would wear a thick pair of dark brown tights to extend the dark brown. 

Outfit Details: Pleather jacket (unknown), Top (Mexx), Skirt (Jacob), Boots (Rockport), Bangles & earrings (Joe Fresh)     

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Party Wear

If you're like me, when I start planning my Christmas party outfits I tend to want to dust off my little black dress or a sparkly red blouse from my closet.  However, I want to show you that you can create a christmassy party outfit using non-christmassy colours.The pink blouse and brown pants below are tangible examples from my own closet. Let’s look at the styling guidelines that specifically apply to this outfit:

For this outfit we have three colours: browns, beiges/golds and pink.

I would typically wear this blouse and pants for work, but add in some gold accessories and you have created a classic christmassy outfit. As you create your outfits choose one metallic colour for your accessories, either silver, pewter or gold. Another option is to use clear crystals which are usually accompanied by either silver, pewter or gold. Add in these accessories using as little or as much as you're comfortable with. 

In addition to wearing metallic coloured accessories I have added in various soft and striking textures that create an elegant christmassy effect.
      Shimmery Pearls: Earrings, necklace & bangles
      Patent: Purse & shoes
      Fur: Stole
      Pashmina: Scarf
      Note: Either the scarf or stole could be worn. I have shown both options.

I have detailed the sources for all of the accessories below. The pashmina scarf is the only one sourced from an international website. Check out the Favourite Accessory Boutique in Waterloo, Ontario. They have a super selection of solid coloured scarves & pashminas in their store.  All other items can be purchased from these Canadian retailers' stores or websites. 

Blouse (Anne Klein)
Pants (Next)
Pashmina/silk Wrap - thepashminastore.com
Faux fur two tone scarf  - Le Chateau
Cezanne euro wire earrings - The Bay
Cezanne 3 row Pearl twist necklace -The Bay
Cezanne multi-stretch pearl bracelet - The Bay
Bellezza evening bag clutch - The Bay
Town Shoes strap taper shoes - Shoe Company

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Fall Lookbook - Outfit 2 - Night Out

Photography: by Sandra Enns, Fleuri Photography
Hair: by Donna Melo , Hair-Quality Hair Design - Donna's Facebook Page
Makeup: by Gigi, Gigi's Esthetics

While our fall lookbook  #1 was perfect for a night out you might be looking for something just a little bit dressier. I would still wear this on a date out with my hubby to a nice restaurant but adding a solid coloured suit jacket makes this a great outfit for the office too. Just remember that bare shoulders aren’t the best thing for the office so keep that jacket on with a shoulderless top like the one I am wearing here. Let’s look at the styling guidelines that specifically apply to this outfit:

                                                                                  FOUR OR LESS COLOURS:
I've kept this outfit to 2 colours. Adding a solid splash of any 3rd colour would have also worked well. The choice is unlimited because all colours match with white and black. For example I could have replaced the black boots and purse with dressy red boots and/or an elegant red purse. Just remember that if you want to look taller keep your footwear the same colour as your pants.

This subtle poka dotted halter top takes the stage. However, there is also a pattern and added texture in my bag but because the beading and purse are black, the bag does not distract from the patterned top.                                                              

DARK COLOURS FOR PROBLEM AREAS:             I have always been conscious about my hips and thighs. It didn't help that my two younger brothers nicknamed me "thunder thighs". Typically I wear solid dark colours on my bottom half, although this summer was the first that I wore white pants! The point I want to make is that everyone has their comfort zone; most of the time time I believe it's important to honour that otherwise you may feel uncomfortable and possibly lacking confidence. But don't be afraid to be experiment.

The fit of an item can make or break an outfit. Clothes should fit so that all elements of the feminine figure are clearly defined and so that the material flows over these parts without pulling. This top showcases my shoulders, defines my bust and waist without bringing attention to my tummy. And the pants flow off my hips, without hugging them. Julia Roberts is a wonderful example of both of these extremes in "Pretty Woman".

Top (RW&Co)
Capris (Gap)
Belt (unknown)
Purse (unknown)
Knee high boots (Rockport)
Pearl earrings & bracelet (Joe Fresh)
This top is patterned and thus becomes the focal point of the outfit. So all other components of the oufit including the jewellery should blend and compliment the top. Ideally each piece of jewellery should contain only one colour without any distracting texture.  My bracelet is solid black and my pearl earrings pull out the white from the top. With this particular outfit I could also have worn a bracelet and/or earrings that contained white and black, but it may have distracted from the top. When you experiment with these elements, ensure you stand back from the mirror to see the outfit as a whole to make sure that all the components blend.                                                                                                  

ACCESSORIES SHOULD BE PROPORTIONAL: Belts, jewellery, bags etc. should be in proportion with your body size. In this case the purse is on the small side for me but compliments the dressier mood of the outfit.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Friday, 22 November 2013

Passing & Failing Examples of Foundational Pants

Last week we talked about what makes a piece foundational. This week we are going to get more specific and look at some pants from RW&CO and Mexx. We’ll look at two pairs that make the grade of being foundational and two pairs that don’t. Hopefully these examples will better equip you to choose great additions to your wardrobe.

As a recap these are the 5 things that make a pair of pants "foundational":
1. Fine knit material.
2. Small pockets
3. No pockets on the remainder of the pants
4. Straight lines
This week I'm adding:
5: No visible zippers
6. Solid neutral colour: The neutral colours are white, black, brown &  grey. Each of these colours match with all other colours.

These first two pairs of pants meet all these requirements. These two pairs of pants (or any other pair that meets these requirements) could be worn year round. By changing up the pairings you can create multiple looks spanning a variety of occasions - a casual event, for work or a night out. A myriad of footwear options will nicely pair to create the desired look and mood ranging from ballet flats to pumps to stilettos to knee high boots and almost everything in between. However, to choose the pants that will work for you, you must also consider your body shape and the hem length you need. We'll dive into guidelines related to body shape another day.

Mexx -  pants with black sheen/pattern

These are beautiful pants - very elegant, sharp and chic! To some these patent pants might seem a bit too dressy, but these pants can certainly be tastefully dressed down! These would be great to wear during the upcoming holiday season! A great choice for a foundational pair of pants :)

RW&CO: High density Hepburn fit pant

These are classic through and through. They will never go out of style, and they are simply beautiful. This fit should flatter all body types! You can never go wrong with a pair of pants like these! Another great choice for a pair of foundational pants.

The following two pairs of pants are great pants, but don't meet all of the 6 criteria above, therefore they also do not have the range of wear that the previous examples have.       


If it weren't for the silver zippered pockets these would likely have a passing grade despite the casual silver button and the slightly overly skinny legs. You could confidently wear these with casual pairings only. 

If you already have a foundational pair of black pants you could consider adding these to your wardrobe in time for the Christmas season. They're fun & funky! However, they do not make the grade as a foundational pair because the ingrain pattern is distracting and always acts as the focal point in the outfit. A patterned top will always conflict with these pants, resulting in a disjointed outfit. (Click on the link to see the pattern better).

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Fall Lookbook - Outfit 1 - Night Out

Hi Girls,
(All from previous seasons):
Point Zero Jacket,
Laura top, Belt unknown,
Gap Black Capris,
knee high boots,
Joe Fresh earrings,
Fab red necklace (www.fabgirlboutique.com)

Today I'm focusing on three things:
1. What makes a clothing item a "foundational" or staple item
2. Why black capris can be classified as a "foundational" item
3. Components of this first outfit featuring the black capris; this outfit is classified as a "night out" outfit

a. Can be worn for a variety of occasions: You can create an outfit deemed either: casual (weekend wear), smart casual (night out) or work wear... but not necessarily appropriate for very dressy wear e.g. black tie/gown.
b. Pairs well with multiple styles: You can pair it with a myriad of tops despite the style/mood of the top, with the assumption that the colours match.
c. Is a Bottom piece: e.g. pants or skirt/dress
d. Is solid/plain, not patterned: the item works like a blackground or an blank canvas to showcase a more elaborate, patterned item.
e. Has straight lines versus fluffy, poofy, rounded contours.
f. Consists of fine knit material:  Instead of loose knit material.

a. Solid neutral colour: They contain only 1 colour of thread (black). Multiple coloured threads although they don't have a pattern they tend to distract from a distinctly patterned item. (The neutral colours are: white, black, brown, and grey).
b. Fine knit material: Fine also lends itself to creating a dressier look but not limited to a more casual look.
c. Small pockets: Small pockets on the hips tend to be more dressier while keeping bulk in the hips to a minimum.
d.  No pockets on the remainder of the pants: Pockets further down on the pants tend create a casual look e.g. cargo pants, which prevents one from pairing dressier items, thus only being limited to create a casual outfit.
e. Cuffs: Cuffs tend to create a dressier effect but can also extend to a more casual look.
f. Straight lines e.g. versus balloon pants (in the 80's that had a more rounded bottom).

This is the first of three night out outfits, and I intentionally made this one more casual than the others. But it's still dressy enough to go out for a date night with my hubby or out with the girls. The sheer top sets the stage for evening wear (although you could certainly pair it with a jean jacket to obtain more of a chic day look).

Stylin' Guidelines that make this outfit work:

a. Maximum of 4 Outfit Colours: I've kept this outfit to 2 colours. Restricting an outfit's colours to 2-3    
colours tends to create a dressier, striking and put
together look. As an example red carpet outfits tend to be restricted to two or three colours at the most.
b. One pattern: Only one patterned or multi-coloured threaded item in the outfit
c. Sleek/Items that create a distinctive dressier look: black sheer top and sleek black boots (versus chunky or clunky).

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Preview of my Fall 2013 Lookbook

Hi Girls,

I can't believe fall is here! I must admit that I love the slightly cooler weather that allows me to pull out my favourite knee high boots and various jackets and blazers.

Over the course of the next couple of months I'll be showcasing a few of my fall outfits. I'll create a fall lookbook that will feature two items: a black pair of capris and a brown A-line skirt. Each item will have multiple, unique pairings to create different looks appropriate for: work wear, weekend wear (more casual) and date night or girls' night out. I hope to show you that you can grow and build a very functional, mix and match wardrobe with just two foundational pieces, and how you can showcase your own personal flare. I'll describe why the black capris and the brown skirt work so well as foundational pieces and I'll break down each outfit so you can understand how to create a dynamic fall wardrobe for yourself!

To pique your interest I want to share this video from my recent fall fashion shoot in Paris. A big thank you to the following girls for their fantastic services:

Photography: by Sandra Enns, Fleuri Photography
Hair: by Donna Melo , Hair-Quality Hair Design - Donna's Facebook Page
Makeup: by Gigi, Gigi's Esthetics



Try our video maker at Animoto.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Summer Wardrobe part a

Hi Girls,
Well believe it or not summer starts next week! Normally we'd have been wearing shorts for a month+, but not this year!! So if you are looking to complement your current summer wardrobe, check out these items below. This week, during my research, I noticed that there are some great sales to take advantage of.
My goal for writing about a summer wardrobe is to demonstrate the importance of using one or more neutral bottoms and blazers/cardigans (white, beige/light brown, brown, grey, and black) to create a truly mix & match wardrobe, which I like to call a foundational wardrobe. And why do we need to do this? - Because most of us are everyday ordinary women who have to be creative with the budget that we have. That's not to say that we don't buy those special one off pieces that don't fit into this category; but this is the starting point, or the foundation on which to add the more elaborate/patterned bottoms and/or cardigans/blazers.
These are the minimum items that create a mix/match summer wardrobe, so that when you buy something you are guaranteed to have other items with which to pair it, and which creates at least 3 outfits.

  • 1 pair of shorts in a neutral colour (casual or dressier, depending on your preference)
  • 1 pair of pants in a neutral colour likely the same colour as your shorts (casual or dressier)
  • A variety of tops (casual & dressy) but make sure either the shorts and/or pants are dressy
  • 1 blazer or cardigan in a neutral colour (until you build on cardigans of other colours this is a fall back colour that will give you a more completed look)
  • 1 blazer or cardigan in a colour that is prominent in your tops
  • 1 dress (particularly a little black dress: it's important that the fabric is appropriate for all seasons of the year, otherwise you restrict its use - all of the ones I've chosen seem appropriate, but without actually seeing them in the store I cannot be 100%).
  • (potentially 1 skirt in a neutral colour (casual or dressier, depending on your preference) (I did not include skirts due to lack of time).
Although it may seem boring, keeping to the same neutral colour for your 1 pair of shorts, pants and blazer/cardigan will give you optimal opportunities for mixing & matching, and adding in fun accessories, tops and shoes to create distinctive & creative outfits.

You could continue to add to your first neutral colour by adding in dressier or casual versions that you do not already have. Or another option is to then start building on a 2nd neutral colour.

So I think the next question is, which one or 2 neutral colours should I start building into my wardrobe? Black is always a good option unless you really don't like black. But before you make a decision be sure to lay out some of your most favourite tops, scarfs, and possibly your jewellery to help you determine which colour to start with.

The other thing to consider, especially if some of your minimal items are different neutral colours, is to know which neutral colours match. You know that the neutrals match every colour, but not all the neutral colours match.
  • White, beige, grey and black match each other.
  • Brown works with beige but not with white, grey and black
Sometimes you will see someone wear black & brown together and it make look good, but I think this is more an exception than the rule.

Have fun looking over these items which I have chosen from various canadian retailers' websites. To view the retailer, item details/price, click on the collage of photos. Then my polyvore.com page will load containing all of these items and their associated detail (by either hovering over an item, or looking at the list of items down the right side of the screen). If the retailer's price is not listed, click on the item's link for the retailer's site. This link will take you directly to that item, and you will find additional details and the price.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to add a comment or email me at kayclaresaint@gmail.com. Please note that there is another blog entry below because I ran out of space!

Below are examples of shorts and capris/pants in casual and dressier styles - in neutral colours.
I was unable to find dressier brown shorts and dressier brown pants. If I come across some, I will add them. For the black pants - there's a fine line between the two of them; both could be considered dressy, the "casual" ones are more fitted/skinny jeans, whereas the other ones are still fitted, but a bit more dressy.

1. Again back to the issue of budget, I recommend you buy a pair of pants that you can wear year round. For example, the fabric would be more on the heavier than lighter side.
2. Choose pants that have 1 colour, not 2+ colours/tones e.g. a pair of brown pants may have a light and slightly darker brown or a pair of pants that have a pin stripe in a slightly different colour. When you have two colours it creates a sort of pattern and no longer represents a clean/fresh backdrop and will compete with your focal point item e.g. patterned top.
3.If you have to make a choice between casual or dressier shorts or pants, I definitely recommend leaning towards the dressier versions. You can typically wear a casual top with a dressier pair of shorts/pants but the converse is not true; you cannot get away with wearing a dressy top with casual shorts/pants. However, in saying that, you also have to balance that with your lifestyle and comfort.

(rows from top to bottom: casual shorts, dressier shorts, casual pants, dressier pants)
summer shorts and pants


A variety of colours and styles are represented here. I absolutely love the Joe Fresh t-shirts. This spring I haven't purchased any, but the fabric, stitching, colours and pattern options are fantastic considering the price of approx. $10.

Summer tops