Life Lessons Learned from My Cats

It was a cold winter night when my then boyfriend (now husband) came home after having a few beers with the guys from work (one too many…) with a beautiful black kitten he rescued from a shelter on his walk (stagger) home!

I make him sound worse than he was but truly he was a wee bit tipsy and giddy when he arrived at my apartment with Rita in tow.

Here’s the thing about love, it makes you do silly things. Things you may not have ever done yourself without falling in love with this particular person, like become a cat lover.

Fast forward thirty years to a sad Saturday morning when we said goodbye to Pepper, our beloved cat of 22 years. It was heart-wrenching. She lived with us longer than our son, any time she got sick she bounced back. Until she couldn’t or it wasn’t fair to ask her too.

It was weeks before I stopped reflectively checking the spot where her food dish was to see if it needed a top up. It was months before I felt the desire to fill the lingering quiet in the house.

One Sunday my dad called and asked if I was ready for a kitten. I was, Andrew wasn’t. Without his blessing, I said yes to my father about taking in a super friendly kitten that showed up at his door and two weeks later I was driving home with Tinkerbell in the back seat.

She was friendly, cuddled between us nightly watching Netflix in bed and she purred, holy cow she purred like no cat we had ever owned before.

She was happy. I was happy, Andrew was happy (although he wouldn’t admit it).

And then the morning of her vet appt I noticed how chubby she had gotten in the 10 days living with us.

Yep…

You guessed it; she was pregnant! One week later she had a litter with five kittens, all of whom we fell madly in love with, deciding to keep two ourselves.

 

 

Between momma and her two kitties, this last year has been a whirlwind. An endless battle between me with the squirt bottle and them strutting across my counters, using the furniture as scratching posts and thinking the window screens are for scaling like a mountain.

They have also infused our home with joy, laughter, love and lessons about life.

 

Here’s what I have learned:

1- Be curious. Too often we go about our daily life in a robotic way, doing the same things in the same ways with the same people. Take a different route to work, cook a new recipe, explore a nearby village on the weekend and for heaven sakes ask questions about things that interest you or that you’re curious about.

2- Make time to play. Today at my fitness class the instructor used a set of dice that indicated the time allotment and exercise we would do when one of us threw the dice. The workout was intense and more fun as we moaned, groaned and teased each other after our roll. For me play time might be Saturday mornings dancing in the kitchen to my 80’s tunes as I clean or thrift store shopping with a friend to see what gems we find.

3- Napping is NOT overrated. Personally, I am not a napper, but I certainly enjoy and brag about getting a full 8 hours of sleep nightly and on occasion 10. Sleep is essential for a good overall healthy life, if you can catch a cat nap during the day go for it!

 

 

 

4- Ask for what you want. Wishing for our success, desires or goals does little for the outcome. While I’m all about a positive mindset and dreaming big, it’s action that seals the deal. How often have you left money or opportunity on the table because you were too shy to ask for what you want?

5- Be persistent. If there’s one thing I have learned about life it’s that timing is everything. Don’t give up, be persistent. If at first you don’t succeed try and try again. Believe me, where there is a will there is a way!

6- You are worthy. Of love, affection, forgiveness, friendship and success. We all mess up from time to time. Our path isn’t straight, and our life isn’t meant to be perfect. Allow yourself to see the beauty of who you are the way our pets do. You are enough, you are worthy.

Reminding ourselves of these truths as we make our way through life can be a challenge. Sometimes we lose touch with our true identity, our authentic self. This is my personal invite for you to join Who Am I Now? a place and a chance to rediscover YOU! The woman you are meant to be.


From Classic to Creative: 10 Evocative Special Occasion Looks

Whether it’s for a holiday party, a special occasion, or a last-minute “Want to meet for drinks?” invitation, you don’t want to have to fuss over your outfit.

With the hustle and bustle of life, you want to be able to open your closet and effortlessly pull together a memorable outfit that matches—and showcases—your style personality, right? Then all that’s left is hair and makeup, and you’re out the door.

Are you wondering if it could be this easy? Let me help!

Here are some elegant, festive outfit recipes that will keep you true to your style.

1. Reveal your dramatic style. Pick the brightest, boldest tunic top you own, and pair it with a leather skinny pant, a dark ankle-length jean, or a metallic legging. Throw on your most classic pumps, and call it party time.

2. Reveal your classic style. Black and white is always right. Gather your prettiest black and white items and mix and match pieces to see what plays well together. It could be a long black pleated skirt with a white satin blouse, or a column of black separates with a white wool coat or a black tuxedo pant with a fine silk and cashmere top. There you have it: a timeless look that’s always in style.

3. Reveal your funky style. Dress up distressed jeans with patterned or colorful pumps. Add a white silk blouse, and wear it open at the neck to show your statement necklace, dancing in the light. You’ll be dancing, too!

4. Reveal your feminine style. Wear separates in soft, blush tones. Mix up the fabrics to combine shiny finishes and matte surfaces for a lush look. Add your vintage diamonds. Absolutely irresistible.

5. Reveal your bohemian style. Layer a long ruffled sheer floral print dress over an above-the-knee slip. Add black fringed booties and chandelier earrings. Add one more favorite accessory. Your fashion statement is free and full of expression.

6. Reveal your minimalist style. Wear a black turtleneck, cigarette pants, and pointy-toed kitten heels and take the stage. Sometimes less is much, much more.

7. Reveal your creative style. Pull out a silk kimono and wear it with a slim-fitting turtleneck and patterned pants. Add fabric flats and a painted leather purse. You’re a pro at mixing prints, so go for it. Everyone will want to know more about you.

8. Reveal your glamorous style. Think movie-star glamour and pull out a faux-fur coat or cape to wear over a sultry red dress. Add hot-pink lipstick or a shade of red lipstick that blends with—but doesn’t match—your scarlet ensemble. Wear nude pumps to keep attention on your face. Heads will be turning.

9. Reveal your alluring style. Pull out a black leather pencil skirt. Add fishnet stockings and cheetah-print heels. Wear a sheer, billowy blouse with gathered cuffs. Add a couple of cocktail rings. It’s a look that exudes confidence.

10. Reveal your ’60s style. Wear high-waisted palazzo pants with a close-fitting short-sleeved angora sweater. Tie a small, subtly patterned silk scarf at the neck. Stack on bracelets or bangles. Be willing to share your Frank Sinatra playlist at the party.

Do you feel like your personal style is a combination of one or two of these looks? It’s not uncommon. I’d love to help you create outfits that not only match your style but also allow you to enter a room feeling like your best.

Call me – let’s chat about a service that’s right for you!


3 Ways to Wear Your Little Black Dress This Season

 

The most wonderful time of the year… if you have your #LBD.

The Little Black Dress. A classic that never gets old. It is always a good choice and appropriate for most all occasions. The #LBD can be easily adapted to the event, occasion or your style personality. I took one of my little black dresses and paired it with items I already owned to create 3 totally different looks to inspire you this holiday season, whatever your event or style personality. My hair, make up and simple earrings are the same for each look.

I started with a little black dress I found at a local thrift store for $20, paired it with a small crystal drop earring, the perfection foundation to create each of these looks!


  1. Casual Style: You have a holiday party this weekend but you would rather show up in jeans and a plaid shirt. You like to be cozy and comfy. Pair your little black dress with a pair of flats – the red adds a pop of colour & glam for the season, take a blanket scarf, fold it in half to create a triangle then drape the scarf around your shoulders, pull over slightly to one side toss excess over that shoulder and hold in place with a safety pin or brooch.


  2. Classic Style: Any chance to dress up and you are in! You like understated style, sophisticated and elegant. Bring on the pearls, layer up long necklaces and add a chunky bracelet. Hosiery is sheer black, medium height black pump and a soft coloured clutch add that air of interest to your classic look.


  3. Street Style: You are anything but average and don’t mind standing out in a crowd. Your style is edgy. Why would you wear anything but black? Add a choker, leather/ faux leather jacket, patterned or fish net stockings, kitten heeled booties and a studded clutch for the win.

 

This is my niche – my zone of brilliance. I live for re-working the pieces I’ve already got. Sometimes I’m surprised by the hidden gems I find in my own closet. I hope you feel inspired this holiday season to test out your #LBD and play a little dress up in your own closet.

 

 


3 Tips for Exploring Your Mid-Life Awakening

I often say that when women reach their 40s, they don’t have a mid-life crisis; they have an awakening.

Or, at least, that’s what happened to me!

I was having way too much fun celebrating my fortieth year to stop and listen to the stirrings of my awakening but, by the time I reached age 42, there was no denying them any longer.

I had a good life, a happy marriage, a great business and social life, and yet I kept feeling the pull of the word MORE. I need to be MORE, do MORE, create MORE.

I ignored it for a while. “Don’t be greedy. Be content with where you’re at!” I would tell myself over and over again. I mean, who was I to think I could possibly have MORE?

But MORE took over. My curiosity and creative nature led me to do some soul-searching. I began to question my purpose and to realize which activities fulfilled me and which drained me. Ultimately, it led me to transitioning my career in the beauty industry as a master hairstylist and salon owner to an image coach and consultant – a move which has continued to allow me and my business to expand, blossom and grow. MORE!!

Have you felt the stirring?

Maybe the kids are off to college and you find yourself cooking the ‘usual’ Tuesday supper and thinking, I don’t even like tacos.

What do I want? What do like? Who am I now at this stage in my life? These are some of the many questions I pondered when I embraced my awakening, and you may be asking similar ones yourself. Here are 3 of the things I did to help find the answers:

1. Get off the hamster wheel.

And I don’t mean hop off for a quick 10-minute meditation and expect all the answers to your questions.

Stop, unplug, and listen.

Getting away from your usual surroundings works best. At the very least, take an afternoon off and go to a park or a secluded area on the beach, sit under a tree and just BE. No phone, no books, no magazine – nothing that will stimulate the mind. Just sit there or lie there, and breathe.

(That sounds glorious and scary, doesn’t it?!)

The brightest clarity and greatest ideas and ‘Ah-ha!’ moments have come to me when I’m not ‘thinking.’ Do bring a notebook and pen with you, and when your own thoughts, inspirations or ‘Ah-ha!’s surface, jot them down.

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2. Press play, record and erase.

Start to track how you feel in social groups, activity or club settings, and with people you are surrounding yourself with. Are you feeling stimulated, or drained?

Often, we just keep doing the same things we’ve always done because, well, that’s what we’ve always done!

If you find yourself bored or craving a different scene, that is totally OK. Having new experiences and meeting new people is exciting. Begin to explore by joining something new or reaching out to someone you’ve wanted to get to know better but is outside of your ‘regular circle.’

3. Find your inner child.

The popularity of adult colouring books is proof we’re craving simple ways to be creative again, like when we were kids!

Think back to the things you loved to do as a kid. How can you bring that into your life now?

When I explored this, 3 activities surfaced for me:

  1. Baking with my grandma: I’m still an avid baker!
  2. Playing “store”: Well, I’m an entrepreneur and I owned a spa.
  3. Entertaining/performing: BINGO! As a kid, I loved putting together dance or gymnastic routines with my friends for our parents, or singing in the school choir.

I’ll admit, I’m not the most graceful or musically talented, but it brings me JOY! So, when I got asked to join the community theatre, I said yes!

Now, I know that thinking about doing even one of these 3 suggestions can feel overwhelming. So many thoughts, fears, and reasons to not do anything can start bubbling up to the surface faster than we realizing what’s going on!

  • I have all this laundry to fold
  • Where am I going to find the time to do any of that? I already have way too much on my plate.
  • What if I find the answers I’m looking for, but my husband/parents/friends won’t support me?

Sound familiar?

This is why I am creating a program to help women navigate this life transition in the near future. To get more details about the upcoming program and be added to the wait list sign up below!


Does Your Image on the Screen Represent Your Image Behind the Screen?

by Emily Crookston

 

I finally made it to the salon this week to get a cut and color. This is kind of big deal because I rescheduled the appointment 3 times (#freelancerlife). It’s also a big deal because I’m trying a new stylist and salon after a somewhat disastrous experience at a different salon back in December.

 

My new stylist absolutely blew me away! She talked with me for 15 minutes before she even moved me to her chair and she took the time to explain everything she wanted to do with my hair. As a result, I have a cut and color that I love for the first time in years. What an amazing first impression!

 

After my experience, I realized something: What I project in my virtual image is directly connected to how I present myself in my daily life.

 

I had been putting off finding a new salon because, as a freelance content writer, I don’t often have face-to-face meetings with clients. So, it’s not a high priority for me to look my absolute best all the time. However, looking and, more importantly, feeling confident definitely helps me do my best work, even when my work goes on behind a computer screen.

 

First impressions are gold in business.

 

We all know someone who owns whatever room she walks into. These people always land the best jobs and find the right dates. Far from being born lucky, these successful types have figured out the right formula for making an amazing first impression. The good news is that anyone can learn these psychologically tested and proven skills.

 

Victoria rightly points out that it only takes 7 seconds for people to make a judgment based on a first impression. But in the digital age, first impressions mean something different from what they once meant. Depending on your industry, you are more likely to make that first impression virtually than in person.

 

This is certainly true of my work; most of the time I must rely on my virtual image to get my message out and build credibility. The problem is that I sometimes rely too much on my virtual image.

 

I love the flexibility and independence of being a freelancer. But too often that flexibility and independence manifests itself in wearing yoga pants, not wearing makeup, and throwing my wet hair up into a scrunchy (okay, I haven’t worn a scrunchy since the 90s, but you get the idea) as I run out the door to work in the coffee shop.

 

My experience feeling more confident after finding a great stylist made me stop to reflect on few points that might help you too:

 

  1. Consider all aspects of your brand.

 

Does your online image reflect who you are in the real world? Some days, I allow myself to wear what’s comfortable and that’s perfectly okay. I mark off content days in my calendar and spend these days hiding out in the coffee shop or co-working space just cranking out content. On these days I know I won’t be meeting with clients and my appearance won’t reflect back on my brand.

 

Other days, however, I will be networking and representing my business. During these times, I know that the people I meet will be considering not only my look, but also how I speak and what I say as they ask themselves whether they want to do business with me or refer me to others.

 

It’s always important, though, to make sure all aspects of your brand from the images on your website, to your business cards, to your 30-second spiel align with your brand and present you in the way you want to be perceived.

 

Quick take-away: You can’t afford to hide behind a vague description of your work or project a lack of confidence in any aspect of your brand whether in virtual or meat space.

 

  1. Your next client could be at the grocery store with you.

 

Does your line of work require that you project a certain type of personal image? Like it or not, image is highly subjective. This means that your industry, your position, your gender, even your personality and attitude can affect how others perceive you.

 

Stereotypes and assumptions abound. Whereas it may be fine for me to bump into a potential client at the grocery store or coffee shop sweaty after my hot yoga class, my realtor friend may lose a sale because she popped into the pharmacy after taking a run in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world, we would all be able to drop clients who have unreasonable expectations and who would judge us for getting away from our desks during the weekday. But in the real world where we all want to succeed, we need to be at least a little mindful of others’ expectations.

 

Quick take-away: Your next client could be right in front of you and you are making an impression without even knowing it.

 

  1. Be ready for anything.

 

Even freelancers work for others and can find themselves at the whim of other people’s schedules. Plans change. You could be called into a last-minute meeting. I once had a client call me out of the blue, months after our initial meeting and ask me to meet with her in her office in 30 minutes.

 

Sure, I could have bought myself some extra time to run home and change; however, being able to run over to meet her when she wanted me to definitely scored me some brownie points.

 

With video conferencing being so important to doing business today, the last-minute video meeting is another possibility. It helps if you already have on a decent shirt and your hair hasn’t been tossed up in a sassy bun. Plan your morning to put your best business face forward, you’ll more prepared to tackle the day.  

 

Quick take-away: Plan your outfits for the next day each evening and toss your favorite make-up essentials in a bag that you keep with you all the time, so that you never miss an opportunity to put forward your best self.

 

Above all: Treat yourself like a professional.

 

Treating myself like a professional this week made me realize how much my outer appearance affects how I feel on the inside and how much how I feel on the inside affects the quality of my work. As often as I preach to my own clients about how their marketing content affects their image, I finally connected the dots for myself.

 

Going forward, I will definitely be paying more attention to my professional image both on the screen and behind the screen. Does your online image need a boost? Contact me and let’s chat about your content marketing needs.

 

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Emily Crookston is the owner of the Pocket PhD (thepocketphd.com). She is a copywriter, former professor, and pocket resource for your business. Emily specializes in creating captivating content that converts, influences, and sounds like YOU on your best day. When she’s not writing intensely, she’s most likely practicing yoga intensely.


6 Ways to Beat the Mid-Winter Blahs That Don’t Require a Tropical Vacation

The weather outside is still frightful!

Going from bitter cold and snow storms, to rain with dampness that chills us to our bones – and it’s the middle of February! Sunshine has not been our friend this winter; usually I prefer the cold days with snow, as long as the sun is shining. Just the other day we had gorgeous, sunny weather and I could feel everyone’s energy lifting and becoming happier.

According to the groundhog, we still have 6 weeks left of winter! So, if you aren’t hitting Caribbean beaches this year for that extra boost of warmth and sun, here are some of my favourite, sure-fire ways to take those mid-winter blahs and kick them to the curb:

1. Add a pop of colour!

Our eyes (and spirits) have already seen enough black, grey, brown, maroon and navy this year. We are craving COLOUR in our lives.

Shake it up by adding colour in your ensemble. I have broken all the rules and pulled out my summer turquoise purse. As I frequently wear black, this works as a statement piece and I get a ton of compliments.

P.S. My toenails are a hot pink (just for me)!

2. Freshen up your ‘do.’

This is the time of year when I get the most requests from clients for “something different.”

The power of a fresh new cut, colour, or a few hilites, is often all you need to feel perky and put that extra bounce in your step.

Swapping out lipsticks from the rich darks or neutral tones to brighter shades will both enhance your new do and add that pop of colour you’re craving.

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3. Buy yourself fresh flowers.

Adding a spring bouquet or even a single daisy to your desk, work area, or bedside table will bring a smile to your face whenever you look at it.

4. Bring your sexy back!

That frumpy feeling from being bundled up in several layers of winter clothing needs to go!

Embracing your feminine, sexy side is fun and builds confidence. Try wearing a lacy bra and panties, just for you. Join a pole dancing class; it’s a great way to get in touch with yourself, plus you get an incredible workout.

Or oil up your partner and take turns massaging each other. This is the month of love, after all! #loveyourself

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5. Get outdoors.

Don’t roll your eyes at this one – I know you dread the thought of doing anything more than getting into and out of your car in weather like this! 😉

Trust me, spending time properly dressed for the elements and getting some fresh air will do wonders. A 15-minute walk or shovelling your driveway will increase your energy and improve your attitude.

6. Be sun-kissed without the sun.

Grab a self-tanner, bronzer, or an illuminating cream, spray or foam, and give your skin that golden glow without exposing yourself to harmful rays.

Read the directions to be sure to get the right shade and to avoid streaking.

Do you have any other tricks for beating the mid-winter blahs? Tell me in the comments!


Fashion: It’s not only about the clothes!

By Kay Habib

Do you see your personal style reflected in your home?

If so, you are not the only one! It’s quite natural, as fashion and interior design go hand in hand.

Fashion is not only about clothes and shoes anymore: fashion is a form of self-expression. What we wear says a lot about who we are, but it doesn’t just stop at our wardrobes. Trends in fashion are constantly impacting the interior design world.

Homeowners and designers are taking more risks to create the interiors that truly show their personal style. A huge contributing factor to this is the ever-growing influence of social media. As soon as Fashion Week ends, the latest trends are all over the internet and our inboxes.

Of course, some trends are accepted more than others. The ones that have a captivating story behind them tend to have the most impact, as it relates to our personal story and style driving an emotional response. Every fashion or celebrity event evokes a discussion in the media (and in our homes) about the guest lounges, the after-party décor and the outfits.

These discussions hold such influence that it takes only days for the same to show up in the retail stores. As a result of this, attitudes about interior design are changing, and interiors are becoming a place where we embrace rapid change and feel excited to openly express ourselves!

Open any home style books for 2016 or 2017, and you’ll see styles reflecting what is predominant in the fashion world:

  • Jewel tones with greys and blacks.
  • Chevron and geometrical patterns placed with beautiful florals.
  • Patterns and fabrics typically used for dresses and gowns being used for decorative pillows, drapes, and wallpaper. (This reminds me of 18th century fashion and interior design, although not as intricate or heavy!)

It’s safe to say it’s time to stop looking at the worlds of fashion and décor as two separate entities. If you’re a fashion diva, there’s no doubt your personal style is reflected in your home décor!

Subtle Ways to Reflect Your Personal Style in Your Home Décor

On a daily basis, I witness my clients becoming more and more interested in staying on-trend and making sure their living spaces are as current as their wardrobes. Here are some ways you can do the same:

  • Use a luscious velvet for throw pillows or drapes in homage to a luxurious evening gown
  • Pair rich colours like purple or emerald green with greys and gold tones

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No More Beige!

No more sticking with white or beige walls with mellow drapes! It’s time to stop avoiding bold colors or patterns in your upholstery. Now, if you like black and white stripes, you can happily wear it as a skirt, top or a dress, or have a gorgeous rug or accent chair in the same pattern, and still pull it off!

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Kay Habib is an Interior Decorator and Certified Home Stager, and owner of SkillDecor. She is passionate about helping her client create beautiful spaces keeping in mind the purpose behind it, such as selling a home or customized interior decorating. Kay also has a line of custom decorative pillows that are produced in London, ON. To learn more about Kay and her services, you can find her online at www.skilldecor.com.

 


How to Create a Beautiful Holiday Tablescape with Items You Already Have!

By MaryAnn Skaro

tablescape1One of my favourite ways to decorate a table is by using things I find around my house.  For a last-minute holiday look, I went into my recycling bin to see what I could find.  I picked up a few empty beer bottles, one empty wine bottle, and a string of white lights I found in our garage.  I was going to let these few items guide my inspiration.  Of course, I had my doubts, but I didn’t let that stand in my way of creating something my family was going to love.

Using these and other items I already had in my home, here’s how I created this festive tablescape:

I already had a red and green festive tablecloth that was going to serve as a backdrop to my creative scape.  On my way into the kitchen, I noticed martini glasses that I knew would somehow add to the ambiance of my table.  

Next, I soaked the beer bottles and peeled off the labels. I had a feeling they were going to act as a vessel for my lighting.  I knew I wanted greenery, so I cut off a few fresh branches from our Christmas tree, and grabbed some pine cones I had lying around in a decorative bowl on my coffee table.  I had left over gold and silver ribbon that I was going to use, as well.

I placed all these items on the table and, before long, a rustic theme emerged!  

tablescape2I filled the beer bottles with the white lights, and filled the martini glasses with the evergreen cuttings and pine combs.  I used the leftover ribbon to wrap the wine bottle, which became my candle holder.   I also decided to mix and match the placemats, so I ended up using festive green and red napkins. (By the way, my kids ended up loving these placemats the best.)

To be completely honest, I surprised myself with the quality and the aesthetics of our holiday table!  I turned on the lights, and the subtle yellow glow from the beer bottles transformed our dining experience.  It was a fun table, a great conversation piece, and, best of all it was easy, effortless, and inexpensive.

About MaryAnn Skaro:

 

maryannskaro-headshotAs a joy coach, I’m here to inspire you through great food, delicious conversation and elegant ambience.

I host healthy, beautifully crafted luncheons for busy Moms who are ready to pause, find their joy and reconnect to the things that matter most. As a busy Mom myself, I know the importance of recharging my body, mind, and soul.

As your hostess, I am ready to feed and serve you, so that you leave my table feeling inspired and filled with a sense of purpose to fuel the success of your business. You can find me online at www.maryannskaro.com.


How to Crack the Dress Code on Event Invitations

 

Has a wedding or event invitation ever left you confused as to what to wear? Themed events and parties are on the rise; Great Gatsby, Disco Glam or Back to the 80’s just to name a few!

These decade-themed parties are pretty straight forward, encouraging a guest to go ‘all out’ in an outfit or costume. Weddings, cocktail parties, galas, fundraisers and New Year’s Eve can be a bit trickier to decipher the language on the invitation. Here’s how to crack the code so you’ll never feel over- or under-dressed again:

Wedding Attire Etiquette

First rule of thumb: as a guest at a wedding, remember that today is ALL about the bride! The beautiful bride is the star, so dress and act accordingly. Although wearing black is no longer considered a faux pas, white should absolutely be avoided. Every religion and culture has customs and traditions; when attending a wedding outside your own culture, reach out and ask for specific guidelines. Your host will appreciate it and you will feel so much more comfortable!

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“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

Tom Ford

Black Tie

This indicates a very formal event and usually means it is an evening affair.

For him: A tuxedo, a black bow tie, a cummerbund, and patent leather shoes.

For her: A long evening gown or a chic cocktail dress.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

This event is slightly less formal but still suggests dressing accordingly.

For him: A dark suit or tuxedo; conservative, not flashy.

For her: A long dress, chic cocktail dress, or dressy separates.

Semi-formal / Smart Casual / Dressy Casual

This one is a lot trickier to decipher! Take cues from the time of year and time of day during which the wedding or event is being held.

For him: A suit – light or dark, depending upon the season; colourful, trendy shirts and ties. A vest can also be worn as an alternative to a suit jacket.

For her: A cocktail dress, maxi dress, skirt with a top, or dressy pants and a blouse.

Beach Formal

This suggests an elegant beach wedding, so dress to impress while still keeping sand and exposure to sun in mind.

For him: A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants or khakis, and sandals.

For her: A maxi dress, a lightweight summery cocktail dress or a dressy sundress, and sandals.

Casual

Consider the purpose of the event when deciding what to wear! Jeans, t-shirts, and shorts are acceptable when a casual dress code has been indicated for a friend’s birthday BBQ or a Euchre tournament at the community centre. When it comes to attending a “casual” wedding, unless specified as acceptable on the invitation, steer clear of jeans and shorts!

For him: Dress pants, chino with button-down shirt or polo shirt.

For her: Dress, skirt and top, or a blouse with dress pants.

When in doubt, remember this advice from Karl Lagerfeld:

“One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress.”

Do you have questions about what to wear to your next special event? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with me!