Wear Out There is Officially a Business!

Hi friends,

I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you so much for your support of this blog. My experiences writing it the past few years have inspired me to become a certified Style CoachTM and launch Wear Out There as a business. I now work one-on-one with individuals to develop a style they love, and host group workshops. I also am available for virtual consultations via skype and will help you determine your body shape and style personality.

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To stay up-to-date with Wear Out There, and connect with me, please visit www.wearoutthere.ca. I’ll be sharing daily on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. for style tips on how to dress for your body shape, follow my Pinterest page as well.

Take care lovelies.

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Stylish Social Enterprises – Doing Good Through Fashion

Our purchases do make a difference. With the holiday season fast approaching, now may be the perfect time to support fabulous causes without compromising on style. My column in this month’s Community Cord discusses how.

See below.

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I’m often asked whether our individual purchases really make a difference, and my answer is always yes. Consumers have more influence over the products that are produced, and future products that are being developed, than we may realize. With every business striving to make a profit, they look to consumer behaviour to drive their innovation, product development, and marketing decisions to increase the likelihood that us consumers will choose their products over a competitor’s.

A 2013 Business Development Bank of Canada study called “Five Game-Changing Consumer Trends” identified a “Made in Canada” advantage for businesses, as social and environmental concerns have become increasingly influential in consumer purchasing decisions.

The commercial landscape has changed for retailers and they must adapt to meet new consumer standards. Canadians do their research before making a purchase and a majority are now trying to buy local, with many willing to pay a premium for goods that boast a Made in Canada label.

As a result of these shifting attitudes, new businesses are popping up that place doing good at the centre of their business model. These are called social enterprises. From Tom’s Shoes, which give shoes to children in need, to tentree, which plants 10 trees for every purchase, shopping for a cause has gone mainstream.

It’s true that it can be challenging to see how our individual purchases make a difference, but Carmen Clubiné, a local jewelry designer, makes it clear that they can. She created her jewelry line, Alfaro Clubiné, in partnership with Joel, a 23-year-old hearing impaired man living in Paraguay who had few options for employment in his community.

“When our friend in Paraguay met Joel, he had a temper because he really couldn’t communicate with anyone,” explained Carmen. “He was frustrated, and it got to the point where his own community didn’t want him around.”

When Joel was young, he attended school for a while, but it wasn’t set up to meet his needs. As a result, he had a lot of time on his hands, and his older brothers taught him how to work with filigree silver. When they moved away to make a living elsewhere, things changed for the entire family.

“Joel wasn’t in a good place when our friend met him, but when he started working, he became a different person,” said Carmen. “For me, that was the wow moment. Alfaro Clubiné is making a big difference in the life of a man, his family, and his community.”

This is one example of a local social enterprise that, with your support, can continue to positively influence another person’s life. Many more exist in Waterloo Region, and with style and impact combined in a business, it is now easier than ever to engage in socially-conscious purchasing.

Our consumption decisions add up, and big businesses pay attention. Our purchases make a difference, and isn’t that a beautiful thing?

A Blooming Affair Fashion Show in Review

Happy Thanksgiving Canadian readers and what a gorgeous weekend it’s been in Waterloo Region. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of YOU for following the blog and sharing your shopping stories with me. It’s truly been an amazing year, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of our wonderful shop owners, reporting back to you on our local shop spots. This week I had the pleasure of kicking off Oktoberfest season in style at the 2015 A Blooming Affair Fashion Show, held at Bingemans Ballroom.

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There was certainly plenty of eye candy at this year’s event, organized and run by a talented committee of 13 community members. The show drew a mixed crowd of young women, sophisticated women and the occasional male companion, all looking for the latest in fall and winter fashions. The styles were hot, with some new fashion features in the show like Gadsby’s Clothing Co. Inc in Cambridge, Plato’s Closet in Kitchener, and Grace the Boutique from Stratford. While La Crème in St Jacobs always puts together a gorgeous collection, this year I thoroughly enjoyed the styles from fb and me, with their youthful and colourful, yet sophisticated designs. It’s definitely worth a visit (especially now) if you’re looking for some new fall items.

Along with the eye candy on stage, attendees were invited to shop till they dropped at Most Magazine’s Boulevard of Boutiques. With some vendors also being featured in the fashion show, it was a great way to bring a piece or two home with you, after checking them out on stage. There weren’t too many familiar faces this year in the Boulevard, an area which I feel could be improved to better showcase our fabulous fashion community. Style may be the focus of the event, but it also does good, benefiting a local charity with a portion of the raffle proceeds. This year, that partner was Lutherwood, a wonderful organization which provides mental health, employment, housing and family support services to thousands of individuals in our community.

Overall, it was a fantastic night, thoroughly enjoyed by attendees and an excellent start to an eventful Oktoberfest season. If you’re already looking ahead to next year, be sure to mark October 5, 2016 (at least, that’s when I think it is) in your calendar for the next A Blooming Affair Fashion Show. Hope to see you there lovelies.

Trip in Reflection – The City that Stole my Heart.

Bonjourno readers, I hope you’ve had a wonderful couple of weeks. While fashion may be my passion, I also love to travel and am excited to share a few photos from my recent vacation with you. My mother and I went on a 7-day Greek Island and Turkey cruise, followed by a stay in Rome – the city that stole my heart.

Check these out!

Island of Santorini – Oia, Greece.

The island of Santorini is completely picturesque. White-washed buildings with blue roofs dominant the landscape in Oia, a place you must add to your bucket list.

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Kusadasi, Turkey.

Ruins upon ruins awaited us in Kusadasi. In the morning, we visited the house of the Virgin Mary and collected holy water. In the afternoon we took in the sights at Ephesus, an ancient city built in the 10th century BC and visited the Basilica of St. John. We had the opportunity to watch a Turkish carpet-making demonstration, while sipping delicious apple tea. Each region in Turkey has its own style of carpets, which are absolutely stunning, although out of our price range.

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Bodrum, Turkey.

This gorgeous coastal town is much more laid back than Kusadasi. A visit to Bodrum Castle and a little shopping in the market is how we spent our day.

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Island of Crete – Chania and Georgioupolis, Greece.

Our tour took us to the ancient ruins of Aptera, a significant place in Greek mythology, before travelling through quaint, and charming towns to Chania. The pictures do not do this place justice, Chania was once known as the Venice of the east.

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Rome

What more can I say, I love Rome. The food is amazing, the sights impressive, and the shopping wonderful. The city comes alive in the evening, with floodlit lamps lighting up darkened alleys leading to bustling piazzas. We walked and explored, and drank wine and ate. We visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican Museums and Ostia Antica (Rome’s ancient port). While Florence may be the heart of Italy’s leather production, you can find gorgeous pieces in Rome as well at reasonable prices.

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There is something truly magical about this city. It is romantic, lively, bustling, and peaceful all at the same time. It’s a place where you can feel completely alone, only to stumble into a piazza full of life. If you get the chance to travel to Rome, take it. You definitely will not be disappointed.

Do you have a favourite city? What are your favourite travel destinations readers?

Adventure is out there.

A Look at the KW Princess Project

Throughout May, I had the opportunity to volunteer with a wonderful local organization, the Kitchener-Waterloo Princess Project!

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Here’s an excerpt from my column in the Community Cord this month.

Prom. It’s one of the most popular scenes for a high-school movie and a vivid memory for most adolescents. It’s an event many individuals spend months organizing, preparing for and worrying (perhaps unnecessarily) about. It’s a time when lasting memories are formed with close friends before taking that next step to college, university, travel or work.

While prom is a milestone moment in our teenage years, many young girls do not attend simply because they can’t afford a dress. In Waterloo Region, many families face this reality for a number of reasons: they may live on a fixed income or are struggling financially due to job loss or other personal circumstances. The Kitchener-Waterloo Princess Project was formed to address this concern and ensure that all girls are able to attend their graduation or prom, regardless of financial barriers. With the mission, “because every young woman deserves to feel like a princess,” this volunteer-driven charitable organization is making a difference in the lives of many in our community.

Inspired by the good work of Kelly Steiss, executive director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Princess Project, and Tori Kaufman, volunteer coordinator, I got involved as a dress day consultant. My mission was to help young girls find the perfect outfit for their exciting event. The Dress Days were held May 5, 6 and 25, at the Victoria Park Pavilion.

“If we help even one girl, as far as we’re concerned, it’s been a success,” explained Kaufman before the first dress day. But many more than one girl were served through their efforts. Over the three evenings, over 100 girls were outfitted for their prom or graduation.

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Thanks to the generosity of local boutiques and individuals, there were racks of gorgeous gowns, divine dresses, sparkling shoes and perfect accessories — all of which were available in every size and colour for the girls to choose from. Whether they wanted a simple design or an elaborate masterpiece, we were able to find something for every girl at the event.

Read more at the Community Cord Edition, or get a hard copy here.

Let me know your thoughts!