Black & Blue

Happy Monday!! For those of you who celebrate the Lunar New Year: wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! I may or may not still be recovering from the weekend’s festivities in the form of a food coma…

Unlike this weekend where the Lunar New Year tradition is to wear red, today’s outfit is quite the opposite. I once read a “rule” that said not to wear black and blue together. I don’t know why, but this fashion rule stuck with me for years. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to make my own rules and paired these colours together. Plus, I didn’t want to run around the city wearing a Canadian Tuxedo (full blue-on-blue denim).

chambray shirt winter outfit
outfit details: Arvo watch & circle scarf
outfit details:
denim curved hem top: c/o J.Jill (exact)
jeans: J Brand (similar)
booties: All Saints (similar)
woven stripes scarf: c/o J.Jill (exact)
watch: Arvo (exact)
vintage Coach legacy purse: thrifted (exact)

vintage Coach legacy purse


One tradition for the Lunar New Year is to wear a brand new outfit to start the new year off. This Coach legacy crossbody purse is the newest vintage bag added to my collection. When I thrifted it earlier this month, the bag was in pretty worn condition with many dry patches of leather. Even though this is not technically a new piece, the love and attention to restoring it to it’s current state makes it feel new to me.

Unearthing these J Brand jeans, which were purchased either in 2013 or 2014, was also an amazing find in my own closet. These jeans have actually been sitting in a “to donate” bag for a while, but every time the bag filled up for donations, I would purposefully take these jeans out, set them aside, and donate everything else. Why? I have a bit of a soft spot for these because they were one of the first pairs of “premium denim” jeans that I bought for myself. I had outgrown them less than a year after buying them (I know, I know…) and always hoped to be able to fit them again.

That time is now! 2017… the year I fit back into pants from 3 years ago. And wear blue and black at the same time.

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Winter playground

As much as I complain about being too cold in the winter, this season is the first time in years that I’ve been really excited about snow!

About 4 years ago (maybe even 5 years, at this point), I bought a bunch of snowboarding gear with the intention to go regularly. Since all of my friends are fearless snow bunnies who can shred runs like no other, I figured I would tag along with them for every trip out to the mountains in hopes of improving my own riding abilities. (Note: I had zero skill to start when I first committed to buying a board. I had been snowboarding once or twice before going all in.) Needless to say, after a couple trips to Mt. Baker and Steven’s Pass, feeling pretty defeated because I couldn’t pick up the coordination skills as quickly as I had hoped, my snowboard sat in the closet for the next couple years collecting dust.

Everything changed in December of 2016! After spending the Spring/Summer goofing around on my fiance’s skateboard, plus my fiance deciding to buy his own snowboarding equipment, we’ve found ourselves on a mountain almost every other weekend for the last two months.

Snoqualmie Summit - snowboarding in Washington
Snoqualmie snowboarding (more…)
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Remixing old favourites with the new

This month has been filled with challenging myself to get creative with pieces that I purchased towards the end of last year and learning how to remix them. One piece that I really wanted to remix was the twist front crop top from my holiday party outfit. I wanted to style it in such a way that worked with my everyday life instead of the initial intention of using it for a party outfit.

missguided cropped moto jacket
eShakti midi skirt moto jacket outfit
outfit details:
cropped moto jacket: MISSGUIDED (similar)
twist front crop top: Topshop (similar in blush)
grid print midi skirt: c/o eShakti (exact)
leather booties: All Saints (similar)
vintage Coach legacy purse: thrifted (exact in brown)
geometric necklace: Maslo Jewelry (exact)

The crop top and high wasited skirt combo never seems to fail! This grid print midi skirt has the perfectly sized pleats that make it so easy and flattering to wear. Bonus points for having pockets! Although eShakti is known for their size and design customizations, I chose to go with a standard size 4 for this skirt. While I have submitted custom measurements for personally purchased eShakti pieces in the past (like this cheetah print dress from 2012), I kept to the standard measurements for this skirt and so glad that I did!

thrifted vintage coach legacy purse
With the two newer pieces – crop top and skirt – that were introduced to my closet towards the end of 2016, I wanted to balance this outfit out with my longtime favourite closet pieces: cropped moto jacket and thrifted vintage Coach purse.

Even though we’re still in the first month of 2017, I think I’m ready to say that this will be one of my favourite outfits of the year. It feels the most “me”, and I love it!

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Why I choose to thrift

I’m starting today’s post off with a few personal thoughts before diving deeper into the topic. After sharing that majority of my clothing purchases in 2016 were actually thrifted, it sparked some really great dialogues (thank you!!) asking how I got into thrifting and why I continue to buy secondhand.

To be frank, my response to “Why do you thrift?” is two-fold:
1. From a financial aspect, it can be more wallet friendly to buy secondhand. I say “can be” purposefully, because it is very possible to spend more on rare pieces than buying new at retail (e.g. vintage designer purses). For the most part, it’s wallet friendly.
2. There’s a huge negative environmental and economical impact to countries who export fast fashion labour that goes widely unspoken of. Many people who work in factories producing clothing sold to consumers as dirt cheap prices get paid dirt cheap wages. Often, many of these factories do not meet safety standards, do not provide healthy work environments, and don’t treat their labour force fairly. For these very reasons, I have a hard time continuing to support businesses who exploit human labour and am actively learning what it means to be a conscious consumer.

In an effort to spend (and save) more consciously, I’ve decided to own less pieces in my closet and get creative with thrifting the majority of the new-to-me pieces that get added as I rediscover gaps in my wardrobe staples. Instead of filling the landfills with more unwanted clothing, I’ve been shopping consignment, Goodwill, eBay, and Poshmark to hopefully reduce the amount of waste produced. Some of my favourite pieces – many of which you’ve seen on the blog – are thrifted treasures!

the demure muse // vintage Coach Legacy purse
thrifted vintage Coach Legacy purse from Falling for monochrome post, Sept 2016

Thrifting is something that’s been part of my life since I was a kid. Because I used to spend a couple weeks every Summer living with my grandparents, my grandma used to take me along to run her daily errands. Aside from learning how to pick the best produce at the grocery store and the Chinese names of my favourite dishes at dim sum, my grandma taught me how to be a smart thrifter. It was her passion for finding good deals and patience for waiting it out for the perfect piece that helped to shape the way I thrift today. I have so many fond memories of going to Goodwill stores with her, which is probably why I have such a positive association with the stores as an adult today.

As a blogger who has felt the pressures of trying to stay up to date with trends in the past, I have definitely fallen victim to supporting fast fashion. As I’ve grown older and have started to settle into my personal style that isn’t heavily influenced by the window displays of stores, I have gotten better about thrifting pieces based off of the styles more than off the labels.

I know that thrifting and buying secondhand isn’t for everyone. There have been many times that I’ve talked about thrift finds to people who gave me the stink eye about buying used items, but to each their own! I personally love the thrill of finding unique pieces and knowing that I’m helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

If you’re ever curious about learning more about the “cost” of fast fashion, I highly recommend checking out the documentary The True Cost.

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Cabin fever

This past weekend, my partner and I took a short road trip to Crystal Mountain (~2 hours outside of the city). While I usually opt to stay indoors on chilly Winter days, we’ve found ourselves on a mountain snowboarding almost every other weekend since the end of December. Even though I was still recovering from the last snowboarding trip, I tagged along for the drive to enjoy being outdoors in the powder. I go a bit “crazy” (aka have too much energy for my own good) when I get cabin fever!

pnw outfit
This has got to be the most stereotypical west coast, Pacific Northwest-er, outfit I’ve ever worn! I call it my “cabin outfit” because I dream about wearing it to a cabin on a winter getaway. In reality, I wear it to work on an almost weekly basis. I love this outfit because it incorporates: a thrifted piece, a gifted top from my family, and a borrowed beanie and backpack from my fiance (what’s his is soon-to-be-mine, right? haha!). I haven’t owned a flannel buttondown since I was about 10 years old, which my grandma bought to help me brave the winters as a kid who hated being outside at recess. Over the holidays, my family (back in Toronto) decided it was about time for me to own a flannel shirt since apparently not owning one and living in Seattle is a faux-pas.

Seattle winter hike
UGG Cecile boots styled
outfit details:
plaid flannel buttondown: American Eagle (exact)
cable knit cardigan: thrifted via Goodwill
UGG Cecile boots: c/o J.Jill (exact)
leggings: Lululemon (similar)
Especial Primo backpack: Timbuk2 (exact)
beanie: borrowed from the fiance ;)

how to style flannel
If you’re wondering what’s up with my thigh-high snow legs, there’s a funny story behind that. You might’ve already read it on Instagram over the weekend, so feel free to gloss over this paragraph if you did! While we were taking these photos, there was a really cute spot I wanted to walk further over to. T was asking if the snow was packed enough to stand on, since he was only wearing sneakers after having changed out of his snowboarding boots. “Trust me! It’s packed solid!” was my response and then not a moment later after making that statement, I fell through into thigh-deep snow!

Of course, we couldn’t stop laughing about it and that’s how we ended up with this set of silly photos. Moral of the story is to never trust me as your snow tour guide. I will get too excited jumping around in it and end up with soaking wet socks for the 2 hour car ride home from falling through non-packed piles of snow.

… aaaaand blooper! This was taken right after falling through the surface of the snow into thigh-deep powder. As you can tell, I was having a splendid time with snow down my boots!! This is my, “hey can you help me out of here?” face.

plaid flannel outfit - blooper
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