A Toronto Transformation

Fashion

Could You go a Year Without New Clothes?

vintage prom dresses at 69 vintage Toronto What do you mean I don’t need another frothy vintage prom dress?

According to a recent eye-opening and kick in the ass-ing review of my last three months’ spending, I could not.

Which, of course, immediately made me want to try.

To be fair, those three months included my birthday, when I was generously gifted some funds specifically to put towards an “investment piece” I’d been hemming and hawing over for about a year. Still, it was shocking to see just how much I actually spent on clothing in just three short months.

It made me re-examine my view of myself as a fairly financially responsible person. Because the truth is, while I’ve been patting myself on the back for being debt-free, I really haven’t been putting nearly as much money as I could, and arguably should, have been away for a rainy day.

Apparently, no sooner are my essentials paid off for the month, than I head out to spend whatever’s left over on food, clothes and a retrospectively inexplicable number of trips to Shopper’s Drug Mart. I’m like a moth to an optimum points flame. Half the time I just wander in there to see what’s on sale when I need to kill time.

Looking over my spending, not only was I disappointed in how little I had squirrelled away, and what a ridiculous amount of my paycheques was going to retail therapy and lazy food shopping, but I was dismayed to realize that I’d become such a rampant consumer.

When I think about the things I value most in life, of course, most of them aren’t things at all. They’re people, experiences, nature and feelings. And while there’s certainly room there for enjoyment of stuff, fashion stuff included, I was a little crestfallen to realize just how much stuff I was enjoying, and how that might be pushing aside the experiences I’d like to think I value more.

So, while I might not be ready for the challenge of going a year without buying a single new item of clothing that I’ve seen some bloggers sign up for, I am going to make a concerted effort to cut way back on my spending, particularly in that area and go from there. Even cutting my clothing budget in half for a year would be a significant boost to my overall savings.

Luckily I hosted a clothing swap this weekend, and snagged some great new-to-me stuff from my friends, so that should keep the spending wolves at bay for a little while at least.

Baby steps, you know?

Taken in shoes I already own, of course.

Are you guys big shoppers? Good savers? Could you go a year without new clothes? I’d love to hear any saving money/avoiding buying clothes tips you have in the comments!

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Craft Projects for Fall

Crochet brick stitch headband

I don’t know about you guys, but there’s something about that first chill wind of fall that makes me want to head indoors and start one million creative projects.

This week I dove into my trusty bag of yarn and dusted off the crochet skills I picked up as a loner newspaper reporter living in the middle of nowhere, and whipped up the snow white headband pictured above.

Few things are more relaxing and cozy than curling up on the couch with a ball of yarn and a borrowed cat purring away. Concentrating on the soothing repetition of a crochet pattern is still the closest I come to meditation and there’s just something so satisfying about making something with your own hands.

I usually have a couple of creative projects on the go, so I find it especially satisfying to create something I can definitively finish in a day or two.

Although I really want to find some time this fall/winter to tackle the challenge of this pretty boho sweater or this cute throw blanket.

Are you guys crafty? What are you making this fall? Let me know in the comments! Stuck for ideas? Check out my “crafty” board on Pinterest!

Little Luxuries: The Best Top Coat

Seche Vite - The best topcoat I've ever used

Ever since someone gave me a bottle of Little Mermaid peel-off nail polish when I was five years old, I’ve loved painting my nails.

It’s admittedly kind of a silly habit, and I’m not thrilled about the environmentally unfriendly aspect of nail colour, but I have always had a tough time resisting pretty polish.

Unfortunately, while I’m not a bad hand with a nail brush, my home manicures only ever look good for a day or two, maximum, regardless of the quality of the polish I use.

Or at least that was the case before I finally picked up a bottle of Seche Vite top coat last week on a friend’s recommendation.

Whatever mad French scientists came up with this stuff are geniuses! It is, without a doubt, the best top coat I’ve ever used. Not only does it dry quickly, as the name implies, it has actually kept my polish from chipping for a week! Unheard of!

My only complaint is that it doesn’t seem to be carried in my usual beauty supply haunts (Shoppers, Sephora) here in Toronto. It wasn’t until I wandered into a beauty supply outlet that I actually stumbled across it.

Have you guys tried Seche Vite, or do you have another standby top coat in your nail arsenal?

Little Luxuries – A Moonlight for Violet Giveaway

Moonlight for Violet earrings

What’s more luxurious than picking up a new pair of pretty earrings to adorn your pretty ears?

Why, I’ll tell you dear readers, it’s adorning your pretty ears with a free pair of gorgeous studs from Moonlight for Violet.

I recently came across these awesome little gems at Risque on Bloor West and was so enamoured with them that I couldn’t choose between these three pairs. I had to take them all home with me!

I got in touch with Shannon Keheler, the talented, Toronto-based creator of Moonlight for Violet to let her know how much I  love her stuff and she generously agreed to give away two pairs to two lucky Metamorphocity readers.

How cute are these ivory/silver glittery hexagons, or these mint triangles?

For a chance to win, visit Moonlight for Violet on etsy and let me know which pair you’d like to win in the comments below.

For an additional chance to win, follow Metamorphocity on twitter and tweet “Hey @metamorphocity, I’d love to win a gorgeous pair of @MoonlightViolet studs!  http://wp.me/p3hxtl-D0 #giveaway” (you can of course still tweet and gain an entry if you’re already a twitter pal)

I’ll announce the winners at the end of next week.

Good luck!

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to winners Becky Berry and Emily Finta!

Little Luxuries – The Perfect Winter Coat

Soia and Kyo down coat. Now I just laugh at the weather.

Now I just laugh at the weather.

Having a winter coat that is thoroughly warm and weatherproof is an absolute necessity if you plan to step outside of your house during a Canadian winter.

Finding one that keeps you cozy and dry AND is also beautifully designed is a little luxury.

Montreal company Soia & Kyo manages to perfectly combine function and fashion to make my dream outerwear for snowy days. They are on the pricey side for me but luckily the styles are classic enough that you can wear them for years.

I love that their women’s coats are actually designed for women’s bodies. Even the warmest, down-filled ones like mine manage to avoid falling into the Michelin Man trap. AND the pockets on mine are fleecy and instantly warm up my cold little paws.

The best feature on this one though, has to be the huge hood. I used to get staggeringly irate at my old winter coat because the hood wasn’t at all functional. Any gust of wind would blow it off my head, leaving my poor ears to freeze and give me a horrible headache.

Not so, this bad boy. The huge hood snaps up over the collar (which handily zips up to cover your nose) and then it can be tightened around your face so that only your pretty peepers are left exposed!

Now if only I could find a stylish pair of goggles…

The perfect winter coat from Soia & Kyo

Have you guys ever stumbled across your perfect winter coat? Let me know in the comments!

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Little Luxuries – Really Good Boots

Brown leather ecco Hobart boot

These boots were made for walking. Like, actually.

When you are blessed with a combination of shockingly teeny feet and ankles and fairly shapely or muscular calves, it can be really difficult to find tall fitted boots that…fit. Throw in chronic DVT in one of those legs so that it’s constantly swollen, and finding said boots is practically a miracle.

With such limited selection, I’ve worn a lot of sub-par footwear in the fall/winter/springs of my life.

As someone who walks all over this city, I vowed that last year was the last year I would wear uncomfortable, poorly-constructed boots that crumble to dust within a week of carrying me to and fro in my day-to-day life.

So I skipped a couple of nights out and put a little extra money into the boot budget and hallelujah, didn’t I just stumble across a pair of beautiful brown leather “Hobart” boots from ecco, that, with a couple of holes added to the buckles of the left one, actually fit my feet AND legs.

There was no “breaking in” period. They were immediately comfortable. They don’t make my feet or my back hurt even after a full day of stomping around Toronto in them. And they’re attractive enough that I can wear them all day at work if I suddenly realize I am wearing crazy Halloween socks which would look absolutely nuts with my shoes.

With a little TLC (picture, if you will, me crooning softly to them while I give them a lovely mink oil massage), hopefully this little luxury will be one I can enjoy for years to come.

Do you guys think it’s worth it to shell out extra cash for really well-made shoes, or are you still at a point where your feet will accept whatever you put on them?

P.S. Is it my imagination or does my purse look a lot like a robotic frog head in this photo?

 

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Golden Girls and Fabulous Fashionistas

So I’ve developed a mild obsession with the Golden Girls.

I love the feisty, funny, independent characters and the way they support each other through their adventures and misadventures.

Lately it has dawned on me for the first time in a real way that there is a very real possibility that I will never be lucky enough to come across a guy to share my life and raise children with, and while I realize it’s just a silly sitcom, the show makes me less anxious about the possibility of one day finding myself staring down middle or advanced age without a romantic partner by my side.

Worst case scenario, I’ll just gather up a bunch of fantastic women from my fantastic women friends collection and convince them to move in with me so we can take care of each other while maintaining active dating lives and entering various contests and putting on plays at the local community centre.

Problem solved.

Recently, my mom recommended I watch the documentary “Fabulous Fashionistas” which features a group of real-life vibrant, hilarious elderly women who refuse to fade into the background with the rest of the blue-rinse crowd.

I love that none of them have given in to the kind of folding-in that can happen to people as they age, where they no longer go out and discover new things or people, and their world gets smaller and smaller until they are afraid to venture out their own front doors.

I want to always remember that the world is bigger than I can imagine and I want to always be sure to keep my little sphere expanding. I want to hold on to my excitement to learn, discover, and most of all to connect.

Do you guys ever think about how you want to approach old age? Is it weird that I’m thinking about it in my 20s? Check out the documentary if you haven’t seen it already. I’d love to hear what you think!

Stylish Medic Alert Bracelets

Medic Alert Bracelet

It occurred to me recently that a woman with chronic DVT, a previous pulmonary embolism and a clotting disorder should probably be wearing a medic alert bracelet.

I wore one when I was still on blood thinners, but for some reason, once I went off them, I never bothered to update  my jewelry.

The bracelet I had before was fine. It did the job, the words all fit on it. But it was not particularly cute. And one of the links was a bit jagged and kept scraping my wrist. And, call me ridiculously vain, but I’d really like my next one to be cute. And not scrapey.

So far, my dear friend Etsy has yeilded the following prospects (as well as the one above):

medicalert2

medicalert3

medicalert4

I’m not sold on any of them yet. What do you guys think? Have any of you come across any simple, elegant stylish medic alert bracelets?

Also, for the record, I realize there’s probably nothing more dull than hearing about my medical issues, but guys, this is a style issue. Which is totally more interesting…right?

Saving the Bees with Style!

Jenny Bird Bracelet

How cute is my new Jenny Bird Wild For Bees Bracelet? All proceeds from sales of these pretty little things go to the Pollinator Project Canada.

My mom has been expressing her concern for the world’s bee population for years now.

Bees are incredible, industrious little creatures, vital to the earth’s ecosystems and to our food supplies. Oh, and they make plans through dance. Don’t believe me? Ask Isabella Rosellini:

 

And of course, as with most things, my mom is totally right and her concerns are very much valid. Our bees are in trouble. Their numbers have been declining drastically for more than a decade now, and unsurprisingly, it seems humans are to blame.

Between our use of pesticides, and our destruction of bee habitats, it’s no wonder more and more species of honey bees are becoming extinct.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to help stop the destruction of these amazing, vital little guys, like supporting organic farms that don’t use pesticides, planting wildflowers, buying local honey from beekeepers (or, if you’re my mom, just go ahead and make plans to become a beekeeper yourself – if there’s a more proactive person in the world, I swear I don’t know who they are).

We can also make donations to organizations like the Pollinator Partnership, which works to protect and restore populations of pollinator species like bees, bats and hummingbirds!

As an added incentive, right now, fabulous Toronto jewelry designer Jenny Bird has teamed up with Burt’s Bees and designed bee-themed bracelets and earrings with 100% of the proceeds from sales of these little pretties going towards the Pollinator Partnership Canada.

I love mine and have found they’re a great conversation starter to spread the message about the importance of protecting some of the world’s tiniest, most precious little creatures.

On a related note, has anyone read Douglas Coupland’s Generation A? It’s looking more and more like a spooky glimpse of the near future than a work of fiction, no? 

Beauty is in the Critical Eye of the Beholder

Whenever I hear a woman putting down her appearance  or talking about excersising or dieting or “cleansing” with the specific goal of changing the way she looks, my instinct is to model the opposite behaviour.

Suddenly I’m terrifically confident about or indifferent to my own appearance. I’ll talk about how much I love food and how I really only exercise so that I can continue to eat large amounts of it without dying, (and for the endorphins and an excuse to wear stretchy pants).

I tell my friends they’re stunning brilliant and amazing and they don’t need to worry about their looks. I genuinely mean it and I genuinely think it’s insane when any of them lament some aspect or other of their physical appearance.

And yet, I understand it too.

I understand that the cosmetics and fashion industries rely on our insecurities and dissatisfaction with ourselves, our looks or other aspects of our lives to make their money.

I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, making the standards of beauty we are all supposed to strive for just totally crazy. Who decided unibrows weren’t sexy anyway?

You’d think that because I understand that, and because I understand that focusing and convincing women to focus so much on their appearance, not only undermines their acheivements, but can keep them from even trying to achieve in the first place, because I have strong, smart un-superficial role models  it would be easy for me to say no thanks, throw out all my cosmetics, buy only ethically manufactured, comfortable, durable, functional clothing and just opt right out of that system.

I want to be a stronger person, to be secure and happy with who I am, to have enough going on in my life that I’m not left with any time for trivial vanity, and often, or at least sometimes, I am that person. But sometimes I’m not.

So on top of feeling ashamed of the way I look now and then, I also feel ashamed that I care, for being so susceptible to advertising and societal pressure, for being distracted by superficial crap like how long my eyelashes look or what my waistline measures. Double the guilt! Lucky me.

But there are undeniable advantages to being considered conventionally attractive. Beyond the praise that comes along with a trim figure, a pretty smile, or carefully styled hair, studies have disturbingly shown that “good” looks can have an impact on your career, with thin, pretty women earning more and being promoted over women outside of that category.

How do we teach kids or ourselves that it’s what’s inside that counts, when the society we live in and the media we consume are so determined to convince us otherwise?

I don’t really have a solution, beyond teaching children to value kindness and intelligence, loyalty and determination, to prize deeds over looks, to worry about health over hairstyles.

We can teach them to turn the critical eye advertisers would have them view themselves and their bodies with back on to the media and the advertisers themselves.

And maybe they can teach it back to us.

 

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