Stumped about what to get your mom, sister or daughter for Christmas? Consider an afternoon of style and self-discovery.
It’s all about mom with a personalized two-hour Style on Purpose Workshop. Participants will discover their own personal sense of style, colours that are most flattering to their skin tones, fashion cuts that accentuate their silhouettes, and much more. Each client receives a personalized workbook, colour swatch fan and a Style on Purpose coffee cup. Most importantly, each spends a fun afternoon learning about themselves and tips to look chic and stylish for any occasion. I’ll share information on how to maximize your existing wardrobe, how to add selected pieces and eliminate those that don’t work, how to “shop on purpose,” and how to look and feel great.
If purchased before December 25th, save $50. Workshops are $149 – just in time for holiday giving. For more information please click on “book your session,” above.
To order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
December and January tend to be busy months for Christmas parties and year-end celebrations, not to mention New Year’s Eve.
If your social calendar is starting to fill up, you’re probably wondering what to wear. Many party dresses are sleeveless – which is great if you live in Arizona. In the frozen north, however, it’s tough to look dressy and keep warm.
Here are some ideas to sparkle-and-glow your way through party season:
- The Little Black Dress (LBD) is a staple in any wardrobe. If your dress has sequins or other sparkly embellishments, but sure to keep jewelry to a tasteful minimum.
- Colour is a great way to stand out in a sea of LBDs. Jewel tones work especially well at this time of year.
Lacy dress, David’s Bridal
- Look for luxurious fabrics. Silk, cashmere, suede or leather lend an upscale feel to any outfit.
- Hot this year are dresses, blouses and sweaters with built-in embellishments, such as faux necklaces sewn right on the garment. Be sure to strike the appropriate balance with jewelry: mustn’t overdo.
- Make a statement. Choose a focal point for your outfit, such as a statement necklace, chandelier earrings or a sparkly cuff. Choose one only.
- Classic and elegant are always in style. Avoid very trendy or deconstructed pieces that might appear to casual for the occasion.
- Carry a wrap. This is a much more elegant way of keeping bare shoulders warm than a jacket or sweater.
- Heels are always appropriate for dress-up parties. Choose pumps as they are much more in keeping with our winter climate. Slinky sandals can work if you wear boots to the event and change into your shoes. Carry a drawstring bag into which you can put your boots and check the bag with your coat.
- Consider slimming shapewear to ensure a smooth silhouette.
- Mature women should avoid miniskirts. At or just above the knee with a killer pair of heels is very sexy.
- If you’re not comfortable in a dress or skirt, consider loose, wide-legged trousers paired with a tuxedo jacket. Very of-the-moment and perfectly appropriate if styled with a gorgeous piece of jewelry. When wearing trousers, heels are de rigeur in order to maintain the feel of elegance.
If you’re unsure what the dress code means for your next event, check out my previous post on navigating dress requirements: http://styleonpurpose.ca/2013/10/17/what-to-wear-when/
Bloomingdale’s 2013 holiday display, New York
When I was a kid, the department stores in Canada used to put out elaborate store window displays. Animated elves and reindeer, trains packed with toys, and merchandise set ‘just-so’ that you were compelled to step inside.
Woodward’s store display (date, location unknown)
Woodward’s – a department store headquartered in Vancouver – even had direct “phone lines” to Santa, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph! As part of the Christmas display, this was 1970s interactive – pick up the phone and Santa would speak to you. When you’re 8 or 10 years old, it’s truly magical.
Display at Eaton’s (date, location unknown)
Sadly, Woodward’s and Eaton’s – two famed Canadian department stores – are no longer in existence.
Most stores in western Canada have abandoned these elaborate (and likely costly) displays in favour of boring mannequins decked out in party attire. Ho hum. It’s the same stuff you can see at any time of the year.
Contrast that with New York, where the major department stores recently held window unveiling events to kick off the holiday shopping season. Bergdorf & Goodman required RSVPs, Bloomingdale’s had Josh Grobin along for some live entertainment – and everywhere there was a sense of holiday magic. These hotly anticipated displays drew huge crowds of shoppers willing to stand outside and wait for the special reveal. The excitement is palpable. (That these events drew such enormous crowds is remarkable when you consider that now you can simply walk by and view the windows anytime…)
Store windows do more than display merchandise. They reflect the special magic of Christmas that we loved as kids. They take us back to a simpler time when a toy train or phone line to Santa was worth a special trip to the store all on its own.
Retailers have to realize that the experience of shopping is paramount. If you can make my day at the store a little more magical, I am more inclined to visit in person than to shop online. It needs to be about more than just selling stuff – it needs to be a memorable experience that I want to repeat, bring friends and family, and making an outing out of it.
Canadian retailers would do well to consider next year’s effort, and consider the interest and crowds they could attract with the right window displays.
After all, who doesn’t want to be “Santa’s Store?”
Winter is here, whether the calendar says so or not. Snow, wind and dryness wreak havoc with our skin.
Here’s how I cope with the challenges of winter.
I love Estee Lauder products.
I start each day with Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, which brings a renewed freshness to my face. Over top, I dot on DayWear Crème SPF 15. Even though the days are shorter now, sunlight and glare reflecting off the snow can be problematic. I wear DayWear year round not only as a moisturizer but also as a sunscreen. It has a fresh cucumber/melon scent that’s lovely.
Upon arrival home, I remove my makeup as soon as I can. Estee Lauder’s Perfectly Clean foaming cleanser is both refreshing and moisturizing. I dot Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex around my eyes. Next, I smooth on Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Complex II on my face and neck. I follow up with Resilience Lift Night Firming/Sculpting Crème. It has a soft rose scent that is lovely and calming. The richness of the products means that I only use small amounts, but they make a huge difference.
I personally believe that it’s important to use a skin care system. In other words, match products within the same brand as opposed to using several different brands. Many are designed to work together for maximum benefit.
I also admire Marcelle skincare for their unscented, hypoallergenic products. Especially for people with sensitive skin, these products work very well.
Finding the right products that suit your skin type and condition is important. Many brands have questionnaires you can complete online, or you can consult an in-store beauty specialist.
Marcelle cosmetics and skin care are known for their gentle, hypoallergenic formulations. Recently, the company received the Canadian Dermatology Association’s Skin Health Program seal of recognition for five of its skincare products. These include:
-Soothing Cleansing Water
-Eye Make-Up Remover Cloths
-Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover Lotion
-Eye Make-Up Remover Pads
The five products above have the same key characteristics in common:
-Recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association as part of the Skin Health Program
-Tested under dermatological control
-Tested under ophthalmological control
-Hypo-allergenic and perfume free
-Devoid of: parabens, sulfate, oil and soap
This is great news for women of all ages.
There is often a disconnect between the marketing a store or brand puts out and the real-life experience of the customer.
Most stores and brands tout “friendly, knowledgeable customer service” as a main selling feature. Yet, many times the in-store experience couldn’t be further from the hype. Advertising that is directed out of Toronto is clearly out of the loop with regional experiences across the country. When customers arrive at stores expecting the “expertise” described in print and TV advertising, they are often sorely disappointed.
Here’s what I don’t like when shopping:
- Clothing racks that are so jam-packed you have to fight to pull out an outfit on a hanger
- Stores that use their showrooms as warehouses – for the love of Pete, put excess inventory in the back, not the aisles
- Stores that don’t adequately train (and retain) qualified, knowledgeable staff.
- Disinterested sales staff who shrug when you ask a question.
- Sales staff yakking with their colleagues while customers fumble around on their own.
- Out of stock or no inventory. Seriously? You’re a STORE.
Here’s what I appreciate about shopping:
- Attentive sales staff who are actually helpful and knowledgeable.
- Staff who offer to find me a different size while I’m in the change room.
- Staff who can recommend accessories or additional pieces to complete an outfit.
- Staff who have the ability to make things right, in the moment. Customer recovery is a lost art in most stores these days.
- Staff who appreciate my business and are sincere.
I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here. In fact, when I shop at higher-end stores in the US (Saks, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales) these are the precise service standards I experience there.
When is the last time you were really “wow’d” at a store?
There’s something magical about shopping online. I spend hours each week combing through my favourite sites. Saks Fifth Avenue is probably where I spend most of my time. Even if I don’t buy something, I love looking at the designer fashions and seeing the new arrivals.
When I do order something, I’m like a kid at Christmas! I anxiously anticipate the package delivery and tear through the outer wrapping like birthday and Christmas rolled into one.
The best part of online shopping is the access you have to anything and everything. For years, shopping in Canada was limited to bricks-and-mortar establishments. But, with online shopping, the world is at your fingertips (literally).
I’ve never had to return anything due to sizing concerns, and that partially due to the ease with which retailer websites make assessing the correct sizes. I also know how certain brands fit (Eileen Fisher – very large, Burberry – quite small) and I compensate accordingly.
Waiting for my packages reminds me of when I was a kid and all manner of things arrived by post. Bills. Letters. Gifts from distant relatives. Catalogues. Today you can get your bills delivered via email… but the delicious online orders still have to arrive by delivery. Sounds perfect to me.