Fashion Finds: Be All That You Can Be

Hi, it’s me, Carla (a.k.a. De Facto Redhead), back for Week 2 of Dear Edna’s fall fashion review! Two weeks ago, I was in love with the lady-like silhouette, and now, two weeks later, my focus has shifted to the other end of the spectrum and into the tough look of military-inspired pieces. To me, it seems like this is a “trend” that has been around in its various incarnations since I was 14 years old and reading Seventeen magazine, but as I say that, it’s important to keep in mind that this style has evolved enough that buying a pair of camo pants and calling it a day is now considered a very bad idea. Honestly, is there anything worse in style terms than blue and white camo-print? *Shudder*

Backing slowly away from the camouflage, and walking out the door into 2010, it’s pretty easy to participate, head to toe, in this season’s military styles. And as the calendar turns to November, there’s no better time to purchase a high-collared coat, a double-breasted jacket, metallic-buttoned ANYTHING, knee-high leather boots, leather gloves, or a handbag and shoes/booties with a structured, tough look. Each of these options (and more) are great reflections of a turn in the season, as well as of a fashion sensibility that keeps the military look modern, but doesn’t create an unfortunate diversion that harkens back to the 1990s. I open my eyes wide and fill them with earnest to tell you, truly, there’s another way to work this style that doesn’t involve a stop at the army surplus store, and it starts with not taking the trend too literally.

Pearlescent Stud Earring Set Forever21 $3.80; Funsie Onesie ModCloth $47.99; Coolest Girl in School Jeans ModCloth $64.99; Long Oval Ring Forever21 $4.80; Hilovsky shoe bootie Aldo $110; Lady Obsidian Jacket ModCloth $84.99; Bowron tote Aldo $48

Voila! One of the easiest ways to try this trend out is to find a fabulous jacket or coat that says “soldier” in some way, and to me, the strongest military piece in the pictures above is the wonderful coat that comes with a double-breast, but that also gives off a distinct Victorian feel that plays well with the floral-patterned jeans. The coat has definite structure, both simple and complex, and there are other subtle style lines within the outfit that also read “military” to me (I picture a Victorian lady doctor wearing this coat while riding out into the field of war...). I, however, would also wear the ring above for its armoured look, and the booties come into the mix as simple and utilitarian, while the handbag’s buckles and shape remind me of a horse’s saddlebag. As far as the earrings go, I would choose to wear the largest studs to perk up the outfit from the front since that side of the onesie is just a scoop neck. You could also add a simple, skinny bangle or two. Now for another scenario: arriving at a party and shrugging off the coat to reveal the sequined back of this top – oh, yes, how I love this outfit (and big reveals)!

So, this is how I would wear “military” without going overboard in the literal details. How would you change it, or make it your own?

Runway Collage Image Credits: BecomeGorgeousTrend HunterElle

In the Navy

Dear Doily Totes are now available in a gorgeous navy blue! I'm really happy with how these ones turned out. I think the white doily and monogram really pop against the dark blue. Plus, it's a colour that goes with almost anything, especially jeans. I hope you like them as much as I do! Available for purchase now in the shop.

Return To Sender

Check out what just arrived in my mailbox! A custom return address stamp from babyjewels. I think it looks great and can't wait to start using it on all my packaging.

Office Space

You may remember me mentioning my office redecorating project here. As a full-time editor and part-time business owner, I spend the majority of the day (and night and weekends) here, so this space is very important to me. From the start, Mikey and I had a clear vision of what this room would be: office/library/lounge, something we've both always dreamed of having in our home. We made a lot of changes in a short amount of time and then quit. A year later and we've decided to revisit the room and put the final touches on it. However, the more we thought about it, the more we realized how much has changed in the last year and how our original vision simply was not practical anymore. A year ago our dining table was not being used as a cutting board, there wasn't a trail of thread going up the stairs, and our closet was full of bedding, not fabric, pillow forms and packing supplies. We need to make this a functional space for Dear Edna.

I'm not gonna lie, it was hard to part with the vision of a dreamy library that I've had for almost two years. But, the more I sat with the idea, the more it made sense and the more one plan was exchanged for an entirely new one. Besides, as a good friend of mine pointed out, how many places do you need to read? I've been scouring the net for inspiration. Here's what I'm thinking...

A beautiful, feminine, antique writing desk for my computer and my day job. This is something we've been searching for from day one. The trouble is finding an antique writing desk that has storage and is wide enough to keep my wide-screen monitor far enough from my face that I don't go cross-eyed.
Sources: feminine reveries, design*sponge, Homes & Gardens

I'm also constantly drawn to rustic/industrial wood furniture and am seriously loving this set from Anthropologie. However, since the condo began as a bachelor pad, I'm constantly trying to lighten it up and add some femininity. The office is my chance to do it, so perhaps I should stay away for dark wood and steel hmm?

I'm always lusting after big shelving walls. It goes along with the library love. These two gorgeous rooms got me thinking about putting a few high shleves on one wall, with either a long desk or console underneath for my sewing machine and cutting mat. Sources: design*sponge, House & Home

Here are some beautiful examples of classic long tables and desks. Daisy Jane's tall island (lower centre) got me thinking about putting a table in the middle of the room rather than against the wall. A table with fold-down capabilities could be especially functional here to allow more space for entertaining when needed.

I clearly have some more decisions to make and furniture stores to search, but I think it's a step in the right direction. And my excitement over being able to contain my business (and my mess) all in one organized area has eased the momentary grief over losing a lounge.

I'm a terrible decision-maker, so please help me out, weigh in on my ideas so far and/or share your home office decor stories in the comments below.

Fall Fashion: A Classic Affair

Remember the days when you prayed for a 4-day work week? Now it seems I'm left scrambling to make up the extra 24 hours. So, after a very hectic week, I have a special treat for us all -- a fantastic guest blogger! Carla from De Facto Redhead will be joining us here every second Friday for the next little while to get us all up to speed on this year's Fall fashion trends and the first theme is the lady-like silhouette, a personal favourite of both of ours. Please give her a warm welcome by taking a moment to say hello in the comments below.

From ads for Bic Razors to blogs big and small, everywhere you look, there are throwbacks to women’s fashion of the 1950s and 1960s, and I know it’s been said before, but who else is there to thank for this ongoing revival other than the women of Mad Men? Christina Hendricks (a.k.a. Joan Holloway) is consistently written about in magazines not only for her character’s fashion and makeup choices, but also for her own curvy, classic body. Her silhouette can be seen emulated page after page in the September and October issues of Fashion magazine, and fall ad campaigns from Louis Vuitton to Sears all feature everything from knee- and calf-length skirts and dresses with nipped waists, wide skirts, and pencil-skirt lines, to gloves of varying lengths, classic leopard-print EVERYTHING, pearls, tidy watches, beehive-inspired hairdos, flouncy ponytails, dainty bows, hand-held purses and bags, and pretty much any other retro-style-inspired look you can think of. October’s Fashion even has an entire spread titled “A classic affair” whose lead copy reads, “ladylike suits, pearl strands and structured handbags turn stolen glances into a runway romance.” The sight of the clothes in the photos made my heart melt, but, unfortunately, my favourite ensemble (above on far right) makes use of clothes by Dolce & Gabbana, shoes by Roger Vivier, and jewelry by Miriam Haskell, and therefore costs at least $6,605. No joke. But hope still floats for recreating the essence of this photo shoot…

Dress, ModCloth - $115.99; Shoes, Aldo - $80; Coat, Forever 21 - $37.70; Purse, Forever 21 - $14.80; Earrings, Aldo Accessories - $8.00; Bracelets, Forever 21 - $6.80

The above combination is not “for the mall,” to quote a favourite phrase of the America’s Next Top Model judges. This look could work for day or night, and the addition of tights with suggestive lines sewn down the backs could be the perfect way to dress up this outfit even more. The fur on the collar and cuffs of the coat add a bit of retro glamour, and another way to take this look even further would be to consider the impact of a red lip against the red of the coat. Just think of the big reveal once the coat comes off. Amazing!

What I also like about this outfit are the accessories because they have a vintage feel, but keep the look modern at the same time. I mean, come on, who doesn’t like owl jewelry? Also, the contrasting textures of fur, rhinestones, patent leather, Lucite, and alligator combine for a look that could, indeed, turn into a “runway romance.”

Note: I chose this set of bracelets because you could sub one in for the other, depending on which shoes and accessories you prefer for your personal style, but in this case, I would wear the single black bangle for a simple, chic look that doesn’t take away from this fabulous dress.

Not Your Grandmother's Tea Cosy

Friends of mine know that this item has been in the pipeline for as long as Dear Edna has been in business. I've been tweaking the design for months. So, with no further ado, I'm proud to finally introduce the newest member of the Dear Edna family, the tea cosy, now available for purchase in the shop.

Don't be fooled by the title, these are not your grandmother's cosies. They are fully reversible, with my bestselling hand-painted doily and custom monogram on one side and one of two elegant patterns, a black and white damask and a floral silhoette on a pale pink pin stripe, on the other. I've lined the cosies with quilt batting, to ensure your tea is kept toasty for as long as possible. Practical, pretty, and personal. A perfect holiday gift for any tea lover on your list (wink).

Please let me know what you think in the comments below and visit my shop for more details!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada! This has always been one of my most favourite holidays and I have so many great memories surrounding it: family hikes and building leaf houses in the yard, non-required reading and the smell of baking, wooly sweaters and slippers, full bellies and belly laughs. As per tradition, I plan on spending the day with my family, eating myself into a turkey coma. I also intend on taking advantage of the long weekend by accomplishing a lot of errands and Dear Edna-related tasks, but at least I know that one day will be happily stress-free. Here are a few of my Etsy favourites that express what this holiday means to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the Great North and happy weekend to everyone else!

Montreal Clam Chowder

It's been tough to get out of bed this week. That lovely Fall weather has very suddenly turned on us, with bitter cold mornings, dark grey skies and constant damp drizzle. We've been forced to layer wooly hats, scarves and coats on top of the sweaters we just pulled out of storage. If I enter hibernation mode now, it will be a very long winter, so I'm trying my best to stay positive. The weather man promises that the sun will be back later this week, just in time for a Thanksgiving walk with your family. And in the meantime, I have a delicious clam chowder recipe to keep you warm and cozy, courtesy of my beautiful friend Sabrina, who made it for us at her home in Montreal a few years back (hence the name). Bon appetit!

                                                  Shopping list
☐ 2 tbsp. flour
☐ 1 tbsp. parsley
☐ 1 tbsp. basil
☐ 1/4 tsp. pepper
☐ 1 tsp. onion salt
☐ 1/2 tsp. celery salt
☐ 1 medium onion
☐ 1 celery stalk
☐ 3 medium potatoes
☐ 3 6.5 oz cans minced clams
☐ 1 cup light cream
☐ 2 cups milk
☐ baguette (optional)
☐ bacon (optional)

1. Dice and saute onion and celery in butter until tender.
2. Add diced potatoes and juice from the cans of clams.
3. Simmer for 15 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, mix flour and 1/4 cup of cold water.
5. Stir flour mixture into simmering vegetables until thickened.
6. Season with parsley, basil, pepper, onion salt, and celery salt.
7. Add milk, cream, and clams. Salt to taste.
8. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

*Tip: Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
         Add bacon for a smoky flavour.

Serves 6 to 8... or 2 with LOTS of leftovers!