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How to get the perfect layered look

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful”.

I love winter. The feeling of snow lightly falling in my hair, the smell of ginger and cinnamon, and, of course, the fashion. I love being cozy, wearing sweaters, scarves, and hats. Sure, it may be cold, but with the right outfit, everything seems warm. For this winter, the trends seem to be heading towards the layered look — an outfit you can wear inside and outside while still maintaining a sense of style.

Here’s what you need to re-create the classic layered look:

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Anthropologie, $98.00


A blouse: This is the “under-layer” of the layered look, if you will. It can be a plan and traditional white shirt with a collar or something a little funkier – as long as the funkier option doesn’t clash with the other layers. These blouses can be worn underneath a sweater with a popped collar and a long necklace or on its own with a cardigan and  a short scarf. Pair with skinny jeans or flare dress pants.

Simons, $39.00
Simons, $39.00

A winter dress: These dresses are made with cotton or wool and look amazing with a pair of warm tights or nylons and an oversized sweater. Pair with some boots or high heel pumps for a more professional look. This type of layered outfit is great for the workplace and for an evening out. Just make sure that you are not going to do a lot of walking in the snow if you opt for more professional heels.

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Anthropologie, $98.00

A sweater: I feel like this one is obvious. A nice sweater can make or break a wintered-layered look. I tend to love oversized sweaters because you can layer more easily, but if you’ve got a body that just screams for more form-fitted materials, go for it!! If you do opt for the more cozy option, make sure it doesn’t swallow you up. There is a fine line between oversize-chic and just too big! Wear these sweaters with leggings and a pair of nice shoes to make it more business appropriate. Remember to accessorize. For form-fitted sweaters, pair with fitted pants and a textured scarf for a more wintery look.

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A cardigan: similarly to the sweater, this one is a closet staple. You can pair it with a blouse as mentioned above, or with a shirt or sleeveless top. It’s important to remember to measure the length of the cardigan according to your body type. Some cardigans can appear rather short on taller women, so make sure it works for you. The trend is to wear the cardigan open, without doing up the buttons, letting it fall in a flattering way.

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A scarf: Because it’s winter, duh. The scarf is the perfect accessory. It protects you from the cold wind while you are outside, and then doubles as a great accent with a shirt or sweater.  It also has the added bonus of being fuzzy. For added texture, pick a scarf that has fringe or intricately woven materials. This will add a more bohemian style to your outfit.

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A hat: This layered look needs a final addition, a winter hat. My personal favourite is a toque or a slouchy hat, something that doesn’t make my hair look ridiculous once I get to the office. The best part about a hat is that if you have a bad hair day, you can always keep the hat on because it’s the winter style!

 

What is your layered must-have? Let us know in the comments below!

My beauty privilege makes me a bad feminist

“He probably just liked what he saw.”

The amount of times I’ve heard my friends and family say this to me after I’ve accomplished something big or small in my life is appalling. Whether it was getting out of a speeding ticket, bagging a new job, or even getting a discount on a new cellphone plan, it’s as if my skills and abilities to function as a member of society is downgraded due to my physical appearance. However, the more experiences I’m gaining as a young adult, the more I’m starting to see that beauty privilege may be an actual thing.

As a feminist, the concept slightly haunts me. Because while I strive for equality and credibility amongst the male gender, I also find myself being inert towards certain projects I take on, knowing that smiling a little brighter and flipping my hair a few extra times will get me the results I’m looking for. And although feminism is defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men, I just don’t think it’s fair to get to that stance by playing on the opposite gender’s weaknesses. Think about it – have you ever seen Hillary Clinton with smoky eyes and red lipstick? I didn’t think so.

I’m not here to complain about my beauty, nor am I here to brag about it. I’m just here to say that I know my physical appearance aids in helping me getting places a nano-second faster and easier than it would have for an ‘Average Jane’. And if you’re in my position, you should be aware of it as well. It’s become apparent that staying young and attractive certainly seems to be hugely important in today’s society. It’s difficult to imagine anyone bemoaning the fact that they’re beautiful; being physically attractive is considered fortunate, and when beautiful people complain about their beauty, it seems ungrateful almost. While I want to embrace it, I can’t help but feel guilty about taking advantage of it.

So while I accept that I have beauty privilege, I’m also willing to accept that I will not have this privilege forever.  The thing about good looks, I suppose, is that they are not permanent. Eventually, even the most well-preserved of females will see their looks fade. And if we don’t know how to fight for equality in sweatpants and a messy bun, how are women to adapt once they are no longer able to rely on their good looks? And while women are perfectly able to conquer the world with our Louboutins, we also need to opt for Uggs once in awhile– just to show society we can succeed in both. And because the foot pain will come back to haunt us.

What are your thoughts on beauty privilege? Let us know in the comments below!

Separate parental leave for dads could become a Canadian reality

Having a newborn is a life-changing and miraculous experience, but can leave parents exhausted if they are forced to split their time between work and taking care of an infant.

Luckily, the Canadian government is looking into granting new dads separate parental leave so that both parents can help raise a new baby together. Currently, the government splits employment insurance (E.I) benefits for new parents, which puts unnecessary stress on the first year of a child’s life. Maternity leave is 35 weeks and is most often taken solely by the mother.

The system of splitting parental leave allows the mother to take the first 17 weeks of maternity leave and the father can take the remaining 18 weeks of leave if desired with E.I benefits. This leaves both parents in a tough position and most often, the mother will continue to stay home during the second half of parental leave.

Quebec is the only province that has a different parental leave arrangement set in place for families. Quebecois dads can take an extra five weeks of parental leave and will continue to make up to 70 per cent of their pay check while they do so. Seventy-eight per cent of dads decided to stay home in 2012 . Federal Labour Minister, MaryAnn Mihychuk will be opening discussions to obtain similar standards for every province in the country.

Changing these standards and encouraging paternity leave more would benefit families, and women. First of all, both parents could take parental leave together. Raising a baby is hard work, especially in the initial years, and removing the need to work right way would lower stress for both parents.

Parental leave is also beneficial for women because it would reduce the stigma that men are more dependable employees because they don’t take parental leave as a mother is expected to. Having equal opportunity for both parents to stay at home would even the playing field in the job spectrum.  Any opportunity that increases gender equality in the workplace and at home is a welcome one.

Furthermore, discussions around parental leave will also potentially allow parents to have 18 months of parental leave rather than 12 months. When a child is only one year old, it is very difficult to  leave them in someone else’s care to return to work. At 18 months, toddlers have reached more substantial milestones such as walking and beginning verbal skills. From experience, it is much easier to leave a child that can walk and communicate at childcare than a baby who is still crawling.

Even if the necessary approvals for separate parental leave lie well in the future, it is exciting that these discussions are occurring at a federal level. The Canadian government is finally moving away from monetary solutions, such as childcare benefits as a replacement for extended parental benefits. Instead, the liberals are seeing the value in staying at home with your kids. This quality versus quantity approach to governing feels like a fresh start for Canada and, hopefully, these discussions will become realities for families in the future.

5 ways to manage stress at work

It can happen to the best of us: you read an email and realize your boss isn’t happy with your work; you made a mistake that costs your company money; you get into an argument with a co-worker over something you know is right. It is enough to make you frustrated, stressed, anxious, and above all else, unhappy.

No matter the job, work can be stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five ways to manage your stress in the workplace:

Don’t respond to your email right away: Businesses are operating in a nearly completely digital world and there is an expectation that everyone should be by their computers or phones 24/7. Just because your phone notifications are buzzing, doesn’t mean you should respond. This is especially true if the email is negative. The problem with email is that the tone of the author is unknown, so people start to imagine possible meanings behind the words written. An email may read negative, but it may be a mere observation or an idea. Take a moment to distract yourself and then return to the email. You may find the message less negative this time and you can craft your response accordingly. If you are really concerned, call or meet the sender in person to discuss their request. That way you can judge the tone for yourself.

Schedule breaks: Everyone does it — works through lunch, stays an hour longer in the evening, or offers to do extra assignments. The “I don’t leave work until my work is done” mentality may be good for productivity, but it isn’t good for your mental health, especially if your goals are set really high. There will always be work to do, so take 15 minutes and go for a walk. Get some coffee, read the news, talk with a friend, or just enjoy the sunshine for a bit. That way, you can return to work refreshed and ready to start your next project.

Breath deeply: Sometimes, you won’t be in a scenario where you can take a walk or wait 15 minutes before reacting to a situation. If you feel your breath getting shorter and your head getting lighter, this could be a sign of stress and/or anxiety. Take a step back (figuratively) and take five deep breaths. If anyone interrupts you, just say you need a minute to gather your thoughts. Then, speak calmly and confidently. Keep your tone neutral if possible. You’ve got this!

Train your body and mind: Exercise, both physical and mental, can help calm the nerves and maintain focus. Doing 20 minutes of yoga or starting your day with a mantra of gratitude can help focus your mind on the tasks you have to do that day, while going for a run or a walk after work (or on your lunch break) can help burn off steam. The body responds to stress in different ways — headaches, stomach aches, and sore muscles are some examples. By keeping your blood moving and dedicating half an hour a day to physical activity, it can help prevent those type of side effects. Not to mention it will keep you in shape.

Try to be more creative: Sometimes it’s not the job, but the job environment that causes stress. Try to make it your own and be more creative with your work. Don’t be afraid to approach your boss with a new idea or project. Most of the time, this gumption will be well received, even if your idea isn’t. When you aren’t at work, do something fun. Simply crashing in front of your television won’t help clear your mind of the activities of the day. Why not try your hand at painting or gardening, read a book, or play a new sport? All of these activities will increase your energy, confidence, and ability to problem solve.

Above all else, remember to be confident in your abilities. It’s okay to make mistakes and to stand up for yourself. It’s also okay to take some time for yourself to ensure you are less stressed and are able to be productive during the hours you do work.

Do you have any tips for relieving stress at work? Let us know in the comments below.

When Should We Start Work?

Monday morning or not, it’s difficult to make it into the office by 9:00 am everyday. The process of showering, making breakfast, feeding your children and the dog, all while squeezing in (or at least thinking about) an intense work out can be tough on anyone.

After the morning routine, it only makes sense to be a little winded when walking into the office at such a seemingly awful hour. Don’t let it get to you though. There’s science to back up the reason as to why you feel so tired.

An Oxford University researcher claims that starting work before 10 a.m. are ‘torture’ and a ‘serious threat’ to your physical and mental health.

Dr. Paul Kelley’s study says that before age 55, our bodies are attuned to sunlight and circadian rhythms, and we can’t be trained by routine.

The cure? Dr. Kelley recommends a start time for high school students of 10 a.m. and university students of 11 a.m. Any earlier, he says, and grades and productivity will suffer. And knowing the sleeping patterns and addictive social media habits of Generation Y, that’s definitely not a bad idea.

At a school where Dr. Kelley was headmaster, he shifted the start time to 10 a.m. and found that the top grades at the school rose by 19 per cent that year.

In the meantime, Dr. Kelley also recommends getting some sleep! There does not need need to be a study to remind us that sleep deprivation takes its toll on our bodies. Turn off your phones, switch off the lights, and get some shut eye. Einstein slept 10 hours/night and napped, too!

What sort of work hours do you hope for? Let us know in the comments below!

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Brrr! 3 Tips For Staying Warm In Your Chilly Office

It’s hard enough getting dressed in the morning. Choosing the perfect outfit can be tough, but the added worry of getting frostbite in your air conditioned office can make the process even more difficult. Opting for a sundress under the scorching heat may seem like the liable option, but when your sitting in your office, suddenly all you can think about are the thermals packed away at the back of your closet. That silk blouse that feels so soft and light against your skin? Yeah, probably not a good idea in the drafty confinements of your cubicle.

Worry not, ladies. We have got you.. err, will get you covered in no time! Try these tips on how to stay warm and stylish in the office and still keep cool during those sweaty trips home.

1. Daze in a Blaze

Beautiful and sophisticated look, Well-tailored blazer makes such a huge impact. Remove the blazer and switch up the accessories to go from day to night.

A blazer, that is.  There’s nothing like the woolen goodness of a blazer to keep you warm. Throw it on over a sleeveless dress to prevent you from getting goosebumps down your arm. Wear a light colour, such as the white one (pictured above), to keep you cool when you step outside. Now you can concentrate more on getting that report done and focus less on how nice it would be to sit under a palm tree on a warm, sunny beach in Aruba. Mmm….coconut water would be a nice addition to the office.

2. Opt for pants 

Boho. Love the look.... If I can ever find a pair of these pants that fit me right!!

Sometimes, you just need some fabric around your legs. The extra layer can be all you need to keep you from shivering during your meetings. Wearing a dress may look cute, but is definitely not ideal when the air conditioner is positioned right across from you. Opt for a printed pair like these to look trendy. The material is light, the fit is lose – – it’s the closest you’ll get to wearing pj’s to work! Besides, it also allows you to skip your shaving session for an extra day… we won’t tell if you won’t.

3. Accessorize with a scarf 

Adorable, especially the rolled-up sleeves on the tee.  Via:  What I Wore: Cobalt and Mint, Jessica Quirk, whatiwore.tumblr.com/

 

They come in all shapes and sizes, materials and patterns, and look good with any outfit! A scarf is a great way to add a bit of flare to your outfit and also acts as a barrier against the cold artic wind of the air conditioner. Whether you choose to wrap it around your neck or use it as shawl when you’re extra chilly, a scarf is an excellent option to keep you warm. Who says you have to wait until fall to rock them?

There you have it ladies. Have any tips on how to stay warm in the office? Let us know in the comments!

Stay warm!

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Confessions of A Creative Woman

It’s the top skill discussed in an interview, the ability most highlighted in my resume, and the characteristic I’m most known for by my friends and family. I laugh at my own Instagram captions and marvel at how witty my tweets are. I take an extra 20 minutes to make my meals look presentable only to eat it a few seconds later. The stationary section at Chapters is like my Disneyland and overpriced lattes are my chardonnay.

If I just told your life story, you my friend, are creative. We’re often misunderstood. We’re often ‘self-employed’. But we’re also a lot of other things. So it’s time I sat down and confessed why we are– the way we are.

  1. Our life is an organized chaos

I have a laptop case in my purse without a laptop in it. I have a wallet too, but my debit and credit cards are usually in the side pockets. When I’m hungry, I indulge in the smell of gum wrappers and dig through to find a few tangerines…at least that’s what they used to be.  Give me a ring while my phone is in my bag and I will need at least 3 missed calls before I can pick up. And after a long day of searching and stuffing things in my purse, I like to come home and throw the said purse on my bed, on top of the clothes that I tried on but did not approve of when I got dressed in the morning.

 

You may see a mess, but this space is a reflection of what goes on in my head; an explosion of thoughts and opinions waiting to be organized into smaller, more comprehendible messages. Don’t get me wrong; I put those clothes back in my closet using colour coordinated hangers spaced out to perfection. My credit and debit cards are eventually put in my wallet in each assigned slot. Although we creative people have a hard time keeping organized, we have a process that can’t be interfered with. Picking an outfit, slaying at work, or just getting through the day is all a form of art to us. At the back of our minds, we know that blue tank top is somewhere in the pile of our rejected #ootd. So try to fix our ‘mess’ and we’ll spin out of control.

  1. The snooze button was invented with us in mind.

 

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Morning people rejoice at this fact. The birds chirping, the coffee brewing, runners running– it’s a different world, really. However, it’s a world I’m not familiar with. The only reason for my 5 a.m alarm is because it takes me 3 hours to get up in the morning. Creative people can relate to this ‘flaw’ of mine. We are essentially allergic to this part of the day. Why wouldn’t we be? Whether you’re up at night writing your next bestseller, sitting on your floor creating your artistic masterpiece, or just laying in bed thinking about what your next big thing should be, bedtime is no earlier than 2 a.m. Anyone is bound to be a little tired with this type of work ethic. We don’t mind at all, though. Juices flowing, words creating, imaginations wandering– it’s also a very different world. But this time, it’s a world I’m all too familiar with.

  1. Deadlines are impossible to meet.

“Wait, when was that due?” is my catchphrase. Whether I have 3 months, 3 days, or 3 years to finish a project, my prime time to work on it is the night before. The pressure to create something wonderful becomes so significant, it is only at this time when my creative juices start flowing. Missing deadlines is a way of living on the edge. Before this deadline, we almost always ‘lack inspiration’ or have ‘writer’s block.’ As Adam Douglas so accurately said, ”I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Managers may have a hard time with this life motto of ours, and although we apologize for the inconvenience, we can’t really help it. So the best advice we can give is to embrace the fact that a deadline is really the official date for us to ‘get started.’

  1. We have impeccable fashion sense.

Style. Everyone has one. Yes, fine; sweatpants and hoodies are a form of style as well. If that’s what you feel confident in, then you work those grey palettes! Basically, you have your Britney Spears and you have your Taylor Swifts. Us Swifties (is that what they call themselves?) like red lipstick, dresses, and Pinterest-worthy hair. Our wardrobe is well thought out and requires hours and hours of hard work – and shopping. We think through every little detail, from the colours to the accessories to our shoes. You may not notice, but the neon coloured fringe of my earring matches the tip of my shoes. Unfortunately, we’re often shunned because of the effort we put in into looking good before walking out onto a dirty, smelly sidewalk.

 

Personally, the effort I put into my appearance isn’t because I look forward to strangers asking me where I got my pants from. I don’t want to tell you where I got my pants from. Because that would put me at risk of being unoriginal. Although it is flattering that people are interested in my fashion sense, the clothes I wear, to me, isn’t fashion. It’s a statement. Whether its putting on a maxi dress to showcase my free spirit or toughening up in a leather jacket to show my edgier side, my attire is my personality. I want you to see it. I need you to see it. Creative people don’t have to tell you they’re creative, you know. You’ll figure it out as soon we step out in front of you.

  1. Our friends have deemed us the quirky one.

Sometimes I’m the life of the party. Other times, I’m the girl in the corner, observing what’s going on around me. “She’s in one of her moods.” I often hear my friends say. I find it rather difficult to identify as an extrovert or introvert. But fear not fellow Lost Souls, this is a mere sign that you’re a woman of a creative nature. You see, we don’t have a work-life balance. Our work is our life. Our life is our work.

 

The conversations I have with my mom, that strange encounter I had at the coffee shop, thoughts I have while showering; it all factors in to the work I produce. So the next time we’re hanging out and I seem to be in a daze, it’s because I’m thinking of how to incorporate what just happened into my next story. Or I’m redecorating your living room in my head. Or I’m hungry and wondering why I haven’t been offered food yet. The possibilities are endless.

Creativity. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

Featured Image Source

A Message To Those Who Attended #CropTopDay

Students took to a Toronto high school yesterday to protest a dress code after one of their fellow classmate’s choice of attire was deemed inappropriate. After feeling uncomfortable over the way teachers were ”judging her”, the student took to Facebook to create an event called #croptopday.

“I told [the principal] I had a lineup of outfits planned out because this was my birthday week,” the student stated in an interview for the National Post. “Because I wanted to feel very beautiful, look very beautiful and feel very confident in myself and be happy — and they were sexualizing my outfit.” She will be turning 18.

Although the event received an overall positive response and attracted the attention of social media platforms and news outlets across the nation, a spokesman for the Toronto District School Board reiterated the same thoughts in a statement saying ”students need to dress appropriately for school and what Halket wore wasn’t considered appropriate.”

And while the students showed great initiative by taking a stand in something they felt passionately about, I too, have some thoughts on the matter. So below is a brief message for those that attended Crop Top Day:

In all honesty, I think the school board has a right to implement a dress code. It’s essentially an institution where students go to gain knowledge and learn skills that will help them become an intregal part of society. Jeans and a t-shirt are perfectly acceptable forms of attire in this type of environment.

Here’s a thought; dress-codes are implemented in the workplace as well. Men and women are to wear professional, conservative attire. Not because it’s ”distracting” in the workplace to wear crop tops – but because its just inappropriate.

If we, as adults, can come to terms with the dress-codes implemented in our workplace, you, as teenagers should be able to come to terms with your dress-codes as well. Trust me when I tell you this: covering your midriff at school will not hurt your ability to retain information and get better grades.

The fact of the matter is, it’s school. There are rules. Save your crop tops for when you’re sneaking out of the house at night. Or wear it to your birthday party, Alexi.

As a 20 year old feminist myself, I can ensure that you are not being sexualized by your teachers. Your male classmates are told to pull up their pants and wear shirts to school as well. You’re not being oppressed by being told what not to wear. You’re being disciplined because you are, whether you like it or not, at the bottom of the hierarchy. The popular girls aren’t at the top of this hierarchy– your principals and teachers are.

So do us all a favour, and cover up a little. A t-shirt, a blouse, a burqa; there’s so many options!  You will be respected by teachers and classmates, take less trips to the principal’s office, and most importantly– you’ll still turn heads in the halls. Because you’ll still look beautiful, even with your midriff covered!

6 Looks to Try At Work This Summer

The sun is shining, the grass is growing, and the temperature is rising. Summer is here, ladies. So you may be finding it a little warm under that blazer for the next couple of months. Follow these quick tips on how to stay cool and still look fashionable for work this summer.

Sun’s Out, Gun’s Out
White sleeveless button-up and trousers. The perfect professional summer outfit.

 

After all those bicep curl ups at the gym during the long winter months, it’s finally time to show off those results. A sleeveless button up top like this one is professional yet comfortable for the summer heat. Pair it with nice, structured dress pants and take on a day at the office looking chic and tailored. Dress up the look with simple accessories or keep it effortlessly fabulous with a sleeked back up-do.

Maxi, Maybe? 

blue silk shirt and maxi skirtWho says maxi skirts are only for a day at the beach? With button down top, a stylish blouse, and a structured bag, you can bring street style into the office with some easy accessories. Be ladylike and powerful with this flowy piece. Play with different colour schemes and try out different looks as a maxi skirt is probably the most versatile item to look forward to this summer.

Pop Star 

black-women-in-fashion

 

Bring out the colour! Black blazers and grey sweaters are behind us now. Whether it’s a coral pink or a vibrant orange, a pop of colour can be all you need to transition your wardrobe from winter to summer. Don’t be afraid to wear bold shades and mix and match with prints and patterns. Why should you sacrifice fun summer fashion during your day at the office?

 

Classy and Sassy 

Love it- would add tights and a blazer for winter!

 

Channel your upper east side persona with this girly look. A bright coloured skirt and a neutral top is sophisticated and feminine. Have fun with your accessories and jazz up your outfit with some fun flats or heels. The trick to looking like you walked off the runway into the office is to wear your outfit with confidence.

 

Less is More 

7 plus size work clothes combinations you can copy - Page 6 of 7 - women-outfits.com

 

Dresses. They’re light, they’re airy, they’re effortless. Choose a structured dress or rock this flowy number with ease. Finish your look off with a statement necklace or a belt and strut your way down the halls in comfort. Dresses have a way of creating a stylish, feminine look with minimal effort. The best part; they can take your outfit from day to night with a quick change of shoes. (Don’t forget to leave your work at the office!)

 

Pretty in Palazzos 

BCBG pants, Aritzia Top, Zara Shoes - Spring 2013 www.minkandivory.com

Ladies, whatever you add to your summer wardrobe this year, make sure it includes palazzo pants! Here’s a little secret: they’re a little more comfortable than pajamas. Not only do they add some texture to your outfit, but they’re also incredible fashionable at the moment. Hot off the runways this season, palazzo pants can be worn with a simple button down top or a tshirt and blazer. The look will turn heads and you’ll be the most comfy you’ve ever been. Ever.

Work wear doesn’t have to be boring. With these tips, you can make be the powerhouse of your office in style. Be a top employer and fashion icon this summer! Good luck!

 

*All photos have been taken from Pinterest*