What does your body armour look like?

I think we all have outfits that make us feel AWESOME. But let’s take it up to the next level, shall we? When getting dressed there are elements that make us feel protected, safe, and warm. There is the kind of outfit you wear to work on a tough day, or out with friends when you’re feeling shy about meeting new people. This is your body armour. And while it might not look like the same thing a knight would wear, it’ll make you feel just as protected.

My “armour” is soft with an edge. I wrap myself in soft layers so that it practically feels like I’m wearing a blanket. And then I accessorise with spikes and leather. It gives me an edge and makes me feel bad-ass.

What do you wear when you need that little extra OOMPH added to your day?

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The Best Clothing Hangers EVER

I started obsessing over hangers because I wanted to have a pristine closet with uniform hangers that looked IDENTICAL. So I started researching, and came up with very little. The only posts I could find that compared clothes hangers seemed to be advertising their own product. Through trial and error, I finally found the perfect hangers for me – after trying two that didn’t work. I will outline all the details below (prices in Canadian dollars) and you can decide which option might work for you.

First I tried the IKEA BUMERANG hangers in white:

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$6.99 for 8 hangers, making them $0.87 each.

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Being made out of wood, these hangers had nice weight to them. They were not TOO expensive, and the white colour had a very clean minimalist feel. However, the hangers were not 100% identical. Some of them hung a little lower (maybe 1mm or so) and it drove me crazy. Also, they were a bit thick and difficult for my tiny closet to accommodate. And even though they’re pretty inexpensive, I needed about 60 of them, and $55.92+tax is not the world’s cheapest option. They’d have to be perfect. I ended up moving these hangers into the hall closet to use for coats. They make nice coat hangers.

Next I tried a higher class option. I had hoped that if I spent a little more money, I would be happier with the results. I purchased the Whitmor 6026-343 Natural Wood Collection Dress or Shirt Hanger, Set of 5 for $11.99, making them pretty pricey at $2.40 each. But hey, you get what you pay for, right?

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Meh. I was pretty underwhelmed by these hangers. I was expecting perfection because they cost more than twice what the IKEA hangers cost. They were nice, but they were not PERFECT. And I demand perfection! Like the IKEA hangers, there were subtle differences that became apparent when I had ten of them hanging in a row – one might hang a millimetre lower, and that just drives me nuts. So I returned them. I will say that they shipped quickly and had a hassle-free return process. Worth a short if you think you might be less obsessive than me and don’t need to buy 60 (which would cost you $143.88+tax).

Don’t worry folks – this story has a happy ending! I kept my eyes peeled, and was determined to find hangers I could live with. I had wanted wooden hangers, but decided to broaden my horizons because wooden hangers seemed to have inconsistent manufacturing. Maybe cookie-cutter identical plastic hangers were the ones for me. (Note: I had considered the lovely black metal velvet hangers, but I’ve had them before and I don’t like the way some shirts cling TOO MUCH to the velvet and make it difficult to slide onto the hanger.)

I actually found the perfect hangers for me at WALMART, can you believe it? And the irony is that I must’ve bought these hangers at some point in my past, because I actually already had some! And they had been a favourite of mine for a time, but I would never have been able to recall where I bought them. May I present to you, dear reader, the Neatfreak 30 Pack W Clothes Hanger:

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30 hangers for $7.77, making them a screamin’ good deal at $0.26 each. Heck yes.

I love these hangers because clothing goes on the hanger smoothly, and the shape doesn’t leave weird indents on the shoulders of my long-sleeved tops. I love that they’re inexpensive, so buying 60 only costs me $15.54+tax. I love that they’re lightweight yet feel solid, and most importantly… THEY ARE 100% IDENTICAL. This satisfies me immensely.

The only downside would be that they’re plastic, not wood, so you miss out on that lovely bit of aesthetic. Also these hangers are not suitable for heavy coats or full suits, because they will bend a bit and possibly snap. They’re perfect for your shirts and tops though.

There you have it! If you’re aware of a clothes hanger option that can beat these, please let me know. It’s been quite a journey but I am getting a lot of pleasure out of the result. You can think that’s weird, but you’re the one reading this post, aren’t you? 😉

Good luck on your own hanger search!

 

 

Asking for a Raise is Like Asking for a Cartier Ballon Bleu

You’re probably aware that women often get paid less than men. This is common knowledge. What you might not know, is that sometimes this is simply the result of women not negotiating for more money. We can be too quick to accept whatever we’re given, or too nervous to ask for a raise. Let’s be assertive, ladies! And perhaps the power of visualization will help you.

There is countless advice online about how to ask, and when to ask. I’m not going to repeat what’s been said countless times already. Instead, I’m going to focus on how to muster up the enthusiasm to put yourself in this position; it can be really hard to get the courage to negotiate! Here’s what I do:

  1. I research to determine what is competitive, and how much I want to ask for.
  2. I then pick an item that I dearly desire that costs roughly the same amount that I am asking for, and then I tell myself I will purchase that item if they say YES.

For me, I last used the Cartier Ballon Bleu to bribe myself into action. I told myself that if they said yes and gave me an extra $5,000… I would buy the Cartier Ballon Bleu. Now, I’m a practical gal, and I most definitely did not buy the Cartier Ballon Bleu when they said yes. However, knowing that I could felt INCREDIBLE. There was suddenly “free money” on the table that hadn’t been there before!

It doesn’t really matter whether you buy the item or not. Just dangle a carrot in front of your face that makes sense to you. Maybe it’s a trip to Mexico, or a Birkin bag. (And you can still celebrate even if you don’t want to break the bank. Instead of Cartier, I ended up buying myself a Breda watch that was on sale for $30 at Winners. Score!) Come up with a reward that will motivate you to push yourself to action. You can do it!

Go to Ask a Manager for more ideas on how to ask for a raise. Photo from World Tempus.

How Can You Tell if You Have Signature Style?

After seeing Amy Schumer dress up as Anna Wintour, it made me realize something:

If I can’t dress up as you for Halloween, then you don’t have signature style.

Anna Wintour is a lovely example, because it is rare for you to see her without her dark sunglasses, colourful colette necklaces, and cap-sleeved shift dress. Even Kim Kardashian has dressed up as Ms. Wintour.

Think of all the examples that support my theory: superheros and anyone else in a uniform are very easy to imitate. Beyond that, people in the public eye who are known for their fashion are very easy to emulate. (That’s also how trends get started.) These folks are easy to mimic, precisely because their sense of style is so finely tuned. Think of Audrey Hepburn, Steve Jobs, Marilyn Monroe, and other iconic celebrities.

This is now my new threshold. I will know I have achieved a specific, authentic-to-me look if I know it would be easy to dress up as me for Halloween.

Do you think this is awesome, or boring? Is it great to have a streamlined look, or do you prefer to have more variety?

Photo from Vanity Fair.

Parisian Style 101

I’ve read so many excellent posts on what makes Parisian style. I’ve come to the conclusion that while I have no idea what real Parisians actually wear, I’m quite in love with the North-American interpretation of Paris fashion. Here’s the quick and easy version:

  • Be comfortable.
    • This means wearing flats not heels, and clothing that is fitted but not so tight it looks painted on.
  • Look effortless.
    • Your hair is not teased within an inch of its life – it is in loose waves or a casual up-do. If you have highlights or colour your hair it all, it looks natural. You never look overdone or obsessed with yourself. It is the perfect white shirt with the perfect pair of skinny jeans.
  • Neutrals are your friend.
    • Black, beige, white, navy, cream, nude, grey, and sometimes red. You wear solids, not prints, with the exception of navy-and-white stripes.
  • High-quality materials are a must.
    • Your fabrics should be made of natural fibers (silk, cashmere, 100% cotton) instead of synthetics (polyester, rayon, etc.) Your boots should be leather, not pleather.
  • Wear items that will be in style for decades, not months.
    • No fast fashion for the Parisian look! You wear classics. The things that will be in style for decades. Take a look at Audrey Hepburn – her style is still going strong.
  • Less is more.
    • Chanel famously decreed: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Do this. Less accessories, less make-up. Less fuss. Your look should be natural and easy. Stick with the basics and let your presence speak more loudly than your clothes.

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This is what I’ve picked up from my research. What do you think? Am I missing anything?

Photo of beautiful Olivia Palermo from here.

How to Grow Out Your Bangs

Just do it.

Seriously – you just have to commit. Aren’t you tired of your bangs being messed up by every little thing? I mean, the wind will make them look all crazy, sleeping on them can make them look bad, if they grow too long or get cut too short: bad! And if you’re not careful, they make you look like a small child. Not to mention the fact that bangs often get greasy before the rest of your hair does. There are so many instances where bangs look awful… but they certainly do a good job at covering the forehead. It’s the reason I’ve had bangs for YEARS. And then I decided I’ve had enough. After over ten years of getting my bangs trimmed once a month, and having horrific experiments at home when I attempted to trim them myself… I’ve said ENOUGH. I’m growing them out. And I’ve got a plan.

Loads of women with long oval faces go without bangs, and they look great. Their secret? THE SIDE PART.

The side part creates an optical illusion, confusing the viewer and making them think your face is not actually as big as it truly is. Hooray! Annoyance of bangs, be gone! Side part, welcome to my life.

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As you can see with my beautiful model Sandra Bullock, a side part is gorgeous on those with a longer oval face and large forehead. A part down the middle is not as flattering. Other tips to be mindful of: super long hair will make your face look long. I know you want long flowing locks but consider a sassy and more Parisian length of haircut. Short is hot. Rock it. But make sure to have body or volume on the sides, to give your face the illusion of width. Straightening your hair will – you guess it – lengthen the face. Avoid, please!

And a big shout out to my gal Kandee Johnson, for inspiring me to say farewell to my bangs. She rocks the side part so good.

Hopefully these tips make it easier for you to get rid of the bane of your existence your bangs. If that’s what you want.

Say Goodbye to Must-Have Capsule Wardrobe Items

I’m constantly honing my capsule wardrobe. It’s a labour of love and an ongoing project. My goal is to have a super-minimalist and re-mixable selection of clothing. I read a lot about fashion in order to get inspiration, and to discover if my small collection of clothing has any gaps. In general, the key components of capsule wardrobes tend to be basically consistent, with a few changes (example from The Capsule Project):

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As much as I love getting ideas, I’ll admit – it drives me crazy whenever I see a “must-have” item that I really actually hate to wear. Examples:

  • Trench coat (like the J.Crew one posted above)
  • Leather jacket
  • Black heels
  • White t-shirt
  • Skinny jeans

know these are fashion staples. Objectively, I agree that they will suit most people and work in most capsule wardrobes. But that does not mean that I have to like them. I hate trench coats because they make me feel like Inspector Gadget, I hate leather jackets because I’m so fair-skinned and a leather jacket makes me feel like a wannabe bad-ass, I can’t walk in heels for very long and they turn me into a 6-foot-tall giant, white t-shirts never stay white for long, and skinny jeans hurt my calves.

So guess what? I find other options. I find staples that work with my body and my own personal style. I’ve shut out the voices that say I need this/that/or the other. It’s empowering.

I love the post on Into-Mind about not dressing for your body type. I want to take the independent thinking a step further: stop feeling like you have to buy so-called wardrobe staples. Buy what you like. Leave the rest. Done.