Fashion Fun Friday: The Humble Cardigan

As the temperature drops, I’ve noticed that the cardigan sweater has become a wardrobe staple of women working business-casual environments. A friend of mine commented on her growing collection of cardigans as a testament to the length of time she’s been working for the government. Office workers, especially government office workers, don the cardigan on a daily basis. Now that I find myself working in a business casual office, I am acutely aware of the number of cardigan wearing peers. The blazer is something I’ve fully gotten behind. Ask anyone I work with and they’ll confirm my love of a good black blazer. In fact, I currently have five black blazers in full rotation.  The cardigan however is not a staple in my wardrobe. Or so I thought.

Over the years the humble cardigan has evolved from its knitted beginnings with buttons; to zippers, different fabrics and, as I discovered, a more modern version that just hangs open by design. These I have in abundance (in black, of course), so imagine my surprise to discover I’ve been on the cardi-wagon all along! When done right, the trusty cardigan can look like a million bucks.

Here’s a couple ways to rock your cardi at work:

  1. Wear a skinny belt on a light-weight medium-length cardigan. Bonus Points: over a pencil skirt for a classic corporate look.
  2. Layer a longer cardigan under a cropped leather jacket.
  3. Pair a floor length cardigan with a short skirt and tall boots.
  4. Tuck a fitted, waist-length cardigan into high-waist skirt or pants.
  5. The draped open-front cardigan (my fav!) looks sharp when matched with skinny jeans, tank and kick-ass heels. Bonus Points: Add a statement piece necklace.

Now it’s time to rock our brains! When someone compliments your awesome cardi-look, segue into this history lesson:

The cardigan was named after James Thomas Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who introduced what came to be called the cardigan jacket in the mid-1800s. (Thank you Encyclopedia Britannica!) Cool right? It’s gets better…

Brudenell was also the British general who, in 1854, led the charge of the light brigade of the British cavalry in the Battle of Balaklava. This battle was the memorialized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”


Fashion Fun Friday: Winter Boots

Winter is here. Which means parkas, toques, scarves, mittens and, of course, winter boots. Dressing for winter can be a challenge as it seems that this is the one season where functionality and fashion are not mutually exclusive. Like any gal, I like to look fashionable, but as the years have passed, I will admit that if I have to make a choice, I’d rather be warm than fashionable when it’s -20c outside.

There are many articles right now on how to stay warm and look fashionable when the temperature plummets. These articles talk about wearing layers, cute sweaters and scarves. That’s great and all, but I live in CANADA where winter weather can be unforgiving, with high wind-chills, heavy snowfalls, blizzards, freezing rain and extremely cold temperatures. And it can last for almost six months depending on where you live!

So let’s talk about what you are going to wear on your feet with that cute outfit when there is 15+ cm of snow on the ground and the windchill puts the temperature at about about -35c. As every Canadian knows, a thick pair of socks can only take you so far… Then you need to invest in a good pair of winter boots.

photo 2As someone with a healthy shoe obsession, you might be surprised to hear that I only have five pairs of winter boots. (I don’t count those is my 65+ pairs of footwear.) Some are for pure function, like my Merrell hiking-style winter boots that I use for walking my dogs. Others are for warmth for long stretches of outside activity where I want to look a little more ‘stylish’, like my glorious Joan of Arctic Sorrels (which I tend to pair with an Under Armour thermal base, skinny jeans, a winter leather jacket and a crocheted hat).

But when traveling to work, or meeting up with friends for indoor stuff, these babies are not going to cut it. Sorrels are very warm and perfect for being outside, but not that functional in a restaurant! That’s when I break out my high-heeled rubber soled faux-fur lined boots that are a bit more I picked these babies up at a shoe sample expo. No idea who makes them. If you know, let me know.

Even though we say winter is here – you know, because of the all the snow and freezing temperatures – the first official day of winter isn’t actually until December 21 the date of this year’s Winter Solstice. If you didn’t already know, the solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice a year as the sun reaches its highest or lowest point relative to the celestial equator. The Winter Solstice is when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Huh, what?

Let’s try something easier…

Remember last year when everyone thought the world was gonna end? What really happened was that the 2012 Winter Solstice coincided with the end of the Mayan calendar.

Now you are probably wondering how is this related to winter boots? Isn’t it obvious? Life is short but it can feel like the end of the world with cold feet.

Fashion Fun Friday: Whoooo?

I like things with owls on them. I’ve liked them for years. It started when a previous co-worker asked me why I didn’t have any personal nick-knacks on my desk at work. So I hit the Dollar Store and bought some weird owl figures that I thought were hilarious. When it was time to get a new case for my iPhone, I grabbed the owl one because it was cute. And then came the owl socks… And the owl ring… It may seem like I have a problem here, but folks I was just ahead of my time! Owls are in. In a big way.

Here’s an interesting fact about owls: Their eyes are pretty much fixed in their sockets, which means they must turn their entire head to see in a different direction. Contrary to popular myth, an owl cannot turn its head completely backwards. But it can turn its head 135 degrees in either direction; it can thus look behind its own shoulders, with a total 270-degree field of view!

Here’s some head-turning owl items that are worth fixing your sights on: