Thursday, 8 October 2015

2015 Goal: Dress Better- Fashion Challenge Work Wear

One of my goals for this year was to experiment with fashion. I usually wear jeans and t-shirts all the time so I wanted to try something different. I asked my friends to help me so that I could  branch out and try things I wouldn't normally wear. 

I have asked my friends to play stylists for me and I told them I would go along with whatever they chose. I have planned $200 per outfit so that I can get be dressed from top to toe. Some may say that it is an expensive amount to spend on an outfit but I think that is a reasonable price range and I want some quality when it comes to the clothes.

My friends were  excited about being able to play dress up with me.  My friend Mika loves to dress up and take extra attention to her outfits. My friend Tina is very practical and conservative so I think she’ll put me in something sensible. My next friend Jenny is four years younger than me and likes preppy clothing. 


I've decided to ask them to go shopping with me individually so that I can get different outfits. My friend Mika is starting off because she’s known me the longest. She always wanted me to dress up a bit more so she was particularly excited about this challenge. I asked her to help me create an outfit for work. I am currently a substitute teacher and I need to be ready for anything. One day, I'm teaching grade one, the next day I'm teaching Physical Education.

The choices she chose for me weren't what I would normally wear but as they met my guidelines I went along with it. We found most of the outfit in Target. Mika selected a blue patterned shirt for $20.00, a tartan poncho for $40.00, black slip on dress shoes for $40.00 and a digital watch for $7.00. We also bought some trousers at Suzanne Grae for $59.95.  Grand total of $166.95.

At first I thought the tartan poncho and blue shirt were too clashing but now I rather like it. I think they go together well. I wore the outfit to school and I got complimented on the poncho. The outfit is really comfortable too.


Tina and I have known each other since we were in high school. Tina is one of my most sensible and practical friends. I can always go to her when I need someone to talk to and she’ll always gives me her honest opinion. Tina is a person who is always super busy with her family and her career but she always makes time for me, which I really appreciate.

When Tina and I went shopping, I was surprised by her strong opinions about what I should and shouldn't wear. It was as if she’d been holding back for years! I don’t think I'm a terrible dresser, Tina is very conservative and follows most of the old fashion rules. For example, I like putting mixed prints together because I think it’s fun and it is a style trend but Tina thinks it’s too busy to look at. She believes that you should only wear one pattern at a time so no stripes and spots at the same time. 


Here's a really good blog post on clashing patterns also called mixed prints:

Tina suggested we get something that I could mix and match with my current wardrobe. She wanted to create an outfit that I could wear for work and out and about. Tina chose a navy woollen sweater from Factorie for $19.95, a silver necklace from Lovisa at $16.99, black straight leg jeans from Target $20.00 ,black sneakers from Spendless Shoes for $29.99 and a black and white striped shirt at Suzanne Grae at $49.95 . In total, Tina’s outfit was $136.88.

Tina’s outfit is really comfortable and practical. I normally don’t wear a lot of dark colours so it was a change for me. I did wear her outfit to work as well and I found it easy to move around in. I did take off the necklace though because it was swinging around every time I moved.  I have since worn different pieces from the outfit many times since. 


Jenny was the most decisive out of my friends when it came to outfits. When I went out with Mika and Tina, they had me try on many things and they would look me up and down and take some time deliberating about it. Jenny did that as well but she didn't take as long.

Jenny chose a blouse with butterflies on it from Big W which was $29.00 and a rose gold bracelet for $12.00. After that, we went in search for some trousers to go with the outfit. A sales clerk convinced her that white trousers would be perfect . I wasn't thrilled with getting white jeans though because white clothes are hard to keep clean. I was also afraid of sitting on something dirty and having a big stain on my butt!

Fortunately, we weren't able to find any white pants in my size. We also got a watch from Lovisa which I love. It’s a copper minimalist watch and it was $23.00. The only problem is that there is no numbers on that watch which makes it difficult to tell time. There’s only four lines which represents 12, 3,6 and 9. I like the watch because it’s a statement piece and modern and simple.

We got some black skinny jeans from Best and Less for $20.00. I don’t normally wear skinny jeans because I don’t find them comfortable. I asked Jenny to find me a different type of jeans. She selected a pair of wide leg navy jeans which were more comfortable. Jenny thought I needed a different colour jean though because the blouse was blue so having blue jeans would be too much blue. So I said I would get the black skinny jeans if she insisted. She said, “I insist” so I got the jeans she wanted for me. Afterwards, she selected some sandals for me from Williams for $49.95.

I think Jenny’s outfit is very much what Jenny would wear. I think her outfit is comfortable and nice as well. I'm still getting use to skinny jeans. The jeans fit alright, in that I can zip them up with no problems but I'm not use to having my legs so constricted.

What I learnt from this experience is that everyone has their own ideas on fashion and what is flattering for body shapes. During the challenge, I let my friends make most of the decisions, the only things I did object to is anything I thought was revealing. I also learnt that I should try on clothes before I buy them as I found that I can fit into a variety of sizes. Normally, I just buy things in my size without trying them on and most of the time that works out of me. Sometimes, that means that items are a tad too big or small for me but I don’t count that as a major loss.

I'm also grateful for having such good friends. They readily agreed to help me and were so thoughtful when they were playing stylists. At first, it felt like wearing costumes when I started wearing the clothes but I have now incorporated the clothing into my existing wardrobe.  I also learnt new things about my friends too. I learnt that Mika is willing to suffer a bit when it comes to fashion. She doesn't mind clothes that are a bit restrictive and can bear with an uncomfortable shoe as long as it’s a stylish one.

I want to continue the fashion challenge next year but next time I’ll style myself. I've written of list of looks that I want to try out so I can explore fashion. This will be a private venture as the only opinion I want to trust is my own. I want to be more daring with my clothing choices and I know not everyone will understand. Next year, I want to have a bit more me time and this can be the thing that I do for myself. It may sound indulgent but I do believe I have to start looking after myself more. 

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