I had the pleasure of spending last Friday afternoon with one of the nicest people I’ve met!  Jaime is the sister of Riki, another amazingly nice woman I helped discover the joy of thrifting almost two years ago.  Riki passed my name along to her sis quite some time ago, but I, being the technical wizard I am, had no idea a message was sitting there waiting for MONTHS!  It’s testimony to her niceness that when I finally discovered it and responded, Jaime was still game to go!  She wanted some help to her “shop her closet,” style some problem pieces and identify any gaps in her wardrobe.  Sounded like the perfect Friday activity to me!

Nice to meet you, Jaime's closet!
Nice to meet you, Jaime’s closet!

Like so many of us, Jaime put herself on the back-burner in the midst of taking care of her two young daughters.  The youngest is almost two and Jaime finally has some time and energy to dedicate to taking care of herself!  It was clear within moments of stepping into Jaime’s home, she has a joyful personality, joyful heart and a joyful sense of style that permeates her life and home!  In fact, she has many “joyful” pieces already in her wardrobe and all that was missing was a few tips for wearing those pieces on an every day basis to bring joy to her everyday style!  Here’s a photo diary of our process!

The first piece we tackled was this leopard-print knit sleeveless top.
The first piece we tackled was this leopard-print knit sleeveless top that Jaime loved but didn’t know how to style for a casual look.  Tip #1: leopard print is a NEUTRAL which means it goes with everything – other neutrals, colours and prints!  Tip #2: Rule of 3 – your outfit needs 3 elements of interest in order to feel complete and put-together.  So, top + blazer = incomplete but top + blazer + necklace = perfection!
Jaime, like so many of us, tends towards M.M.S. (Matchy Matchy Syndrome) - right down to necklace and earring sets! However, personal style is developed and displayed when you put your OWN spin on things! So, instead, when choosing accessories, go for balance - smaller earrings with a bigger necklace, or otherwise, pieces that bring balance to your overall look!
Jaime, like so many of us, tends towards M.M.S. (Matchy Matchy Syndrome) – right down to necklace and earring sets! However, personal style is developed and displayed when you put your OWN spin on things! So, instead, Tip #3: when choosing accessories, go for balance – smaller earrings with a bigger necklace, or pieces that bring balance to your overall look.
leopardtopgoldnecklace
This outfit looks just as good with a longer gold necklace and hoops because… leopard is a neutral that goes with everything AND the Rule of 3 is fulfilled either way!
The leopard top also looks fab with her teal blazer and since it happens to have a jewel-tone lining, why not cuff the sleeves (Tip #4 for adding a casual, youthful vibe to your blazers) and add some jewel-tone accessories?!
The leopard top also looks fab with her teal blazer and since it happens to have a jewel-tone lining, why not cuff the sleeves (Tip #4 for adding a casual, youthful vibe to your blazers) and add some jewel-tone accessories?!  Looking polished with brown pointy pumps!
The leopard top also looks fab with her teal blazer and since it happens to have a jewel tone lining, why not cuff the sleeves (Tip #4 for adding a casual, younger vibe to your blazers) and
It was at this point I discovered Jaime’s gold GUCCI shoes and told her to wear them every moment of every day from here on out!  Jk (sort of), I told her they would work great with any jeans outfit because, Tip #5 – pairing “fancy” pieces with casual pieces balances them out for everyday wear.
Another option for fancy pieces is Tip #6 - keep the rest of your outfit subdued to let the statement piece have the limelight!
Another option for fancy pieces is Tip #6 – keep the rest of your outfit subdued to let the statement piece have the limelight!  So we swapped in a black cardi and simple necklace – same base pieces, entirely different look!
Next we headed into ankle boot territory. Jaime has some FAB booties (as they're also called, just FYI) but wasn't sure how to wear them...
Next we headed into ankle boot territory. Jaime has some FAB booties (as they’re also called, just FYI) but wasn’t sure how to wear them…
Tip #7 - wear ankle boots with cuffed jeans.
Tip #7 – wear ankle boots with cuffed denim.
You can do a skinny cuff, turned up a couple times or a wide cuff folded up once, like this. (Take a moment and swoon over these boots!!)
You can do a skinny cuff, turned up a couple of times or a wide cuff folded up once, like this. (Take a moment and swoon over these boots!!)
Tip #9 - "Model behaviour" - throw on your casual ensemble like a chambray and black denim, but add in a high-quality statement piece like the boots! So chic!
Tip #8 – “Off-Duty Model” – throw on your casual ensemble like chambray and black denim, but add in a high-quality “statement piece” like the boots! So chic!
Or, Tip #8 - wear ankle boots with cropped leggings.
Or, Tip #9 – wear ankle boots with cropped leggings.
And BTW, don't limit yourself to black ankle boots. Jaime hardly wears these gold-ish ankle boots that are AH-MAZING but look how good they look here!! They pick up the colour in the top and are a great example of a stylish fancy/casual mix
And BTW, don’t limit yourself to black ankle boots. Jaime hardly wears these gold-ish ankle boots that are AH-MAZING but look how good they look here!! They pick up the colour in the top and are a great example of a stylish fancy/casual mix.
These are a statement piece and if you've got it, wear it! Jaime's stylin hubby bought her these to go with a gorgeous dress, but that is by no means the only time she should wear them. The point of having statement pieces that spark joy is to WEAR THEM! Don't save them for a special day; wear them to make an ordinary day special!
These boots are a “statement piece” and if you’ve got it, wear it! Jaime’s stylin’ hubby bought her these to go with a gorgeous dress, but that is by no means the only time she should wear them. The point of having statement pieces that spark joy is to WEAR THEM! Don’t save them for a special day; Tip #10 – wear them to make an ordinary day special!
Whenever you might be tempted to wear a basic black shoe, try swapping it for your favourite statement shoes!
Whenever you might be tempted to wear a basic black shoe, try swapping it for your favourite statement shoes!  This outfit also demonstrates the Rule of 3 and Tip #11 – the no-fail fashion “formula”: long over short over skinny!
Jaime loves all things animal print, and this casual tank would look great with any kind of denim and those boots!
Jaime loves all things animal print, and this casual tank would look great with any kind of denim and those boots!
I should say, Jaime loves all things ANIMALS! Her home was filled with amazing decor including this Noah's Ark dresser. LOVE!! This ain't no ordinary soccer mom I was talking to! This woman has serious style, her own unique aesthetic and tapping into that with her wardrobe allows inside-outside congruency. Style rules are less important than how you FEEL in your outfit.
I should say, Jaime loves all things ANIMALS! Her home was filled with amazing decor including this Noah’s Ark dresser. LOVE!! This ain’t no ordinary soccer mom I was talking to! This woman has serious style, her own unique aesthetic and tapping into that with her wardrobe allows inside-outside congruency. Style rules are less important than how you FEEL in your outfit.  A woman who has an ARK in her bedroom won’t feel content in a bland outfit – Jaime is meant to shine!
Speaking of shining, let's talk about Jaime's accessory collection. I may have met my match!
Speaking of shining, let’s talk about Jaime’s accessory collection. I may have met my match!  This is a mirror jewelry case (and now I want one!).
Another of Jaime's jewelry cases - filled with stunning pieces that are both stylish and sentimental.
Here is another of Jaime’s jewelry cases – filled with stunning pieces that are both stylish and sentimental.  Jaime’s sister is going to help her organize her accessories and I shared a couple of recommendations: 1. Move the cases closer to her closet so that all her outfit elements are easily accessible when getting ready in the morning.  Jaime has plans to move in the next few years, but that is too long to have a non-functional space. 2. Group like pieces together – silver bracelets in one drawer, gold in another, jeweled pieces together, and so on. If it takes too long to find accessories, we tend to give up and wear the same old same old, day in and day out, and that would be a shame for all of Jaime’s other beautiful pieces.  
Which leads me to the arm party!! Jaime was new to this term but is a natural-born bracelet layerer! With arm parties, just start stacking bracelets of different colours and textures till it feels right!
Which leads me to Tip #12 – the arm party!! Jaime was new to this term but is a natural-born bracelet layerer! With arm parties, just start stacking bracelets of different colours and textures till it feels right!  You can wear an arm party on one or both wrists.  I work with small grabby children every day and have small grabby children and have never had a problem with my bracelets getting in the way.  If I can do it, so can Jaime!
As for other accessories, the same goes for statement necklaces as statement booties - if you got it, wear it! The easiest way to style a statement necklace is to pair it with a casual top. I guess I'm not really surprised to learn Jaime doesn't have any plain tees!! We'll get to her shopping list later!
As for other accessories, the same goes for statement necklaces as statement booties – if you got it, wear it! The easiest way to style a statement necklace is to pair it with a casual top. I guess I’m not really surprised to learn Jaime doesn’t have any plain tees!! We’ll get to her shopping list later!
Jaime usually reserves these pretty floral pumps for church but they look perfect with a colourful cardi and jeans - fancy/casual wins again!
Jaime usually reserves these pretty floral pumps for church but they look perfect with a colourful cardi and jeans – fancy/casual wins again!
And a quick word about scarves - throw one on to help almost any outfit transition to Fall. This scarf picks up the colours in the shoes and adds a fun little element of pattern-mixing: Tip #11 - you can mix pretty much any classic patterns with a common colour - polka dots, stripes, florals and checks (plaid or gingham).
And a quick word about scarves – throw one on to help almost any outfit transition to Fall. This scarf picks up the colours in the shoes and adds a fun little element of pattern-mixing: Tip #13 – you can mix pretty much any classic patterns with a common colour – polka dots, stripes, florals and checks (plaid or gingham).  P.S. You CAN wear a scarf and necklace, that way if you remove your scarf you won’t be naked (accessories-wise)!
Or this popover top and jeans with the floral shoes!
This popover top and jeans with the floral shoes! xoxoxo
Jaime wanted some ideas of how to wear this colourful square silk scarf... I loved how the dark denim blazer picked up the blue in the scarf.
Jaime wanted some ideas of how to wear this colourful square silk scarf… I loved how the dark denim blazer picked up the blue in the scarf.
Or some easy pattern mixing!
Or some easy pattern mixing!
Jaime asked about another tricky piece, this cowl-neck top. You can still wear a necklace with a cowl, and it looks great with jeans! The pattern is very concealing, not that Jaime has much to conceal!
Jaime asked about another tricky piece, this cowl-neck top. You can still wear a necklace with a cowl, and it looks great with jeans! The pattern is very concealing, not that Jaime has much to conceal!  
Jaime also asked about these cute Ugg wedges. They work great with ankle-crop denim, simple top with necklace and a casual blazer.
Jaime also asked about these cute Ugg wedges. They work great with ankle-crop denim, simple top with necklace and a casual blazer (Rule of 3)
Throw on a scarf if you like - this one picks up the purple in the shoes!
Throw on a scarf if you like – this one picks up the purple in the shoes!
One last tricky piece - the polka dot pencil skirt! My first instinct is to tuck or knot a chambray! As for shoe selection, sure any black flat or heel would work, but I wanted to show Jaime Tip #12 - you CAN wear ankle boots with skirts. This is a great option for winter-dwellers like us!
One last tricky piece – the polka dot pencil skirt! My first instinct is to tuck or knot a chambray! As for shoe selection, sure any black flat or heel would work, but I wanted to show Jaime Tip #14 – you CAN wear ankle boots with skirts. This is a great option for winter-dwellers like us!  If ever you doubt this look, simply search “ankle boots with skirts” on Pinterest and you will find hundreds of great examples!
And THEN, Jaime started showing her true colours! SHE put this blazer with the polka dot skirt and it looks great on her, because her true style was starting to come out!
And THEN, Jaime started showing her true colours! SHE put this blazer with the polka dot skirt and it looks great on her, because her true style was starting to come out!
I also see this blazer paired with a simple tee, jeans and ballet flats.
I also see this blazer paired with a simple tee, jeans and ballet flats.  Gorg!

Phew!  Jaime and I accomplished A LOT in a few short hours!  Now, it’s a matter of Jaime taking the tips and applying them to other pieces in her wardrobe!  She has plenty of options for everything from the stylish joyful grocery run to date night to church!  However, there are a few pieces Jaime could consider adding to her wardrobe…

  • Delicate short length gold necklace
  • Basic black cardi
  • Plain black/white/grey/olive (any colours will do) tees
  • Small silver hoop earrings
  • Classic denim jacket
  • Coloured ballet flats
  • More skinny jeans in different washes since they look good with everything!

I would LOVE to take Jaime thrifting – I think she would have a blast discovering all the statement pieces that thrift stores have to offer!  However, it can be a waiting game to find a good-quality basic tee when thrifting, so instead, I suggested to Jaime that she look for an ethical sustainable option for buying some basic tees, like Winterberry Apparel locally or online options like Everlane.  There are plenty of local jewelry designers, and she can thrift the other pieces or look for brands made in Canada or the US, like my personal favourite, J Brand.  Just look at the labels, Jaime!  We discussed fast fashion a bit and I recommended that Jaime watch The True Cost on Netflix as a starting point for understanding fast fashion.  Oh, and of course, avoid known fast fashion retailers like Gap, H&M and the like.  Luckily, Jaime clearly has very good taste and is drawn to quality pieces that are less likely to be fast fashion.  By shopping sustainably, Jaime can join the growing movement of conscientiousness consumers and #purchasewithpurpose!

We didn’t get to play with all Jaime’s clothes, but I hope she feels empowered to try the tips, look to Pinterest for styling inspiration and above else, go forth with attitude – no matter what you wear, a confident, joyful attitude is what makes you look great!  Jaime, you are a beautiful person inside and out – thanks for inviting me into your closet!

4 Comments

  1. Thank you to you and Jamie for this wonderful learning opportunity for us your readers. You have inspired and stimulated our creativity by again visually showing us what is possible from just using what we have already in our clothes collections. Thank you for all the helpful tips and practical applications. Truly you are one gifted individual who enjoys bringing joy to your clients and your readers. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom.

    • Rose, your comments make my day! Thank you for your kind words! It was so much fun to “play dress-up” with Jaime and all her great pieces – kindred spirits! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

  2. Love this post! Helpful and inspiring. You have shown how much we can do with what we already have.

    • Thanks Elisa! It’s always amazing to find how many new outfits there are in pieces we already own! Thanks for reading!

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