Styling black and white print leggings

Photo by Jordan Abel

Ages ago—like four and a half years, to be precise—my mom bought me these leggings in a black and white print for Christmas and I have hardly worn them since.

It’s not even that I don’t like them—the leggings are both comfortable and opaque—but I am the sort of person who finds it difficult to think of leggings as actual pants. No shade on those who like wearing them that way, but I just personally don’t. So for the longest time, I was fixated on the idea that if I could just find the perfect sweater dress to go with them, all would be well. But there is no perfect sweater dress and these leggings aren’t getting any younger.

So I decided it was finally time to face this personal style challenge head on and raid my own closet to see what I could come up with. It took a couple of tries, but I think I finally found two—only two—possible outfits.

The first pairs the leggings with my favourite black tank top and my sheer silk blouse, left unbuttoned.

Photo by Jordan Abel

The second outfit pairs them with a shiny blue top I’ve had for a long time and my black velvet kimono.

For both outfits, I wore my black booties and a necklace I got from Warehouse One.

I like the first outfit the best but, honestly, have no idea where I’d wear either.

What do you think of the outfit combinations? Any ideas of where I’d wear this?

My six favourite new wardrobe essentials

Photo by Jordan Abel

I’ve been working on adding some essentials to my wardrobe lately and below are some of my favourite recent acquisitions—along with rambling little anecdotes, ’cause that’s how I roll.

If you’re so inclined, you can see me actually wearing them on my Instagram.

1. Black cardigan
Contemporaine, $39.95

I had a black cardigan that I loved very much, for many years, but I finally had to say goodbye. I’d successfully ignored the rattiness of the sleeve cuffs for a while, but once there was a hole in the front, I had to face facts.

I tried on a lot—and I mean A LOT—of cardigans before I found one that was the right length and fit for what I wanted. I’m also very happy I ended up with this one because it’s 100 percent linen.

2. White blouse

I actually recently bought two white blouses, but I want to feature the silk one because it’s my favourite. I wanted to add a white blouse to my wardrobe because it’s a pretty obvious essential, but I also had this other issue that came up after moving back to Edmonton: sometimes you need to dress up when it is -30°C outside (#yegproblems).

But then I was watching this video from Shea Whitney, where she suggests a silk blouse, and I decided to kill two birds with one stone: buy a white blouse that could act as an essential while also giving me something lux to wear out when it’s cold (underneath a thick coat, obviously).

I got super lucky and found one for under $80, but then realized even an inexpensive silk shirt is a precious one and decided I also needed something that could handle early morning rush and the very real possibility of coffee spills—so I also grabbed a cotton one for $19.99.

Sadly, neither shirt is still available on the Simons website, but you may still be able to find them in store.

(Note: I know silk isn’t vegan. While I prefer to follow a plant-based diet, I’ve tried to stop using the word vegan because I do occasionally eat omnivore food and I do buy silk, wool, leather, etc.)

3. Dark wash skinny jeans
Warehouse One, $49.99

These are the same jeans from my spring outfit post and, as I said, I was always afraid wearing skinny jeans would make me look like an ice cream cone, but I’ve found I really love them and I’m going to have to buy a second pair eventually—maybe in black.

4. Black skirt
Contemporaine, $59.95

I got to a point where none of my skirts fit me anymore except one of my costume pieces so I was on the hunt for something simple that could be styled a number of ways, and I found this great skirt at—where else?—Simons. (This is probably a good time to mention that this post is NOT sponsored.) It’s also super comfortable.

5. Trench coat
London Fog, $150.27 – 176.99

I’ve been wanting to add a trench coat to my wardrobe for a while now, and living back in Edmonton, with a chillier spring, it seemed like the perfect time to finally get one—and I was right.

While shopping for this coat I quickly discovered that the classic camel colour did nothing for me, but blues like this one are very popular this season. It took me a while to find this one though. The first few trench coats I tried on just weren’t right somehow (even though they technically fit) and I’m so glad I hung out for this one because I love it!

(Note: I got mine at Hudson’s Bay, but they seem to be sold out on their website, so I linked to Amazon instead. Might be worth checking in store though.)

6. Statement belt
Simons, $39

I’m not big on belts. As someone with wider hips, they just spark anxiety. For instance, the chain belt trend is one I would totally like to get in on, but after trying a bunch of them at three different stores and not finding one that fit, I gave up.
Still, there’s something to be said for having a statement belt in your wardrobe, and I’d been seeing this Gucchi one around that I thought was really cute. But then I found out it costs hundreds of dollars and I was like, “I don’t think so.” Luckily, Simons has this double ring belt that I think has a similar effect, with a much lower price tag.
(Note: The belt is real leather. See above.)

Bring on spring

Photo by Jordan Abel

What counts as spring in the north, really? I mean there’s no snow on the ground and it’s above zero, but if you’re looking for spring flowers Edmonton is going to disappoint.

Rather than wait on the weather for spring colours, I decided to be proactive and introduce some spring shades to my wardrobe. Here’s my outfit of the day:

Astoni earrings from Aldo Accessories

I didn’t even make it out the door of my apartment building before getting complimented on these. They are pretty, feminine, and to be honest, a little heavy, but I was in the mood to try something big and colourful when I bought these.

twik mini embroidery blouse from Simons

I love Simons so very much, which is why Hubby bought me a gift card for my birthday that I have been slowly using up. This shirt was actually something he picked out and I really love everything about it.




Olive military-style jacket

My actual jacket is one I bought on clearance at American Eagle years ago, but they’re still very much in style right now and easy to find. Check out this twill field jacket for women at Old Navy for $31.97 as a possible dupe.

Women’s ink wash skinny jeans from Warehouse One

For a long time I was afraid that if I wore skinny jeans I would look like an ice cream cone, but wearing these pants people actually believed I had lost weight, so I’m kind of sad I let myself be held back. The crucial thing for me with these was the “subtle whiskers.” Ideally, I’d prefer no whiskering at all, but that seems almost impossible to find.

Abound’s Vivian block heel Chelsea boot from Nordstrom Rack

This is actually my first pair of Chelsea boots—go figure. They are very comfortable and with the block heel, I’m able to walk around quite a bit in them. Sadly they seem to be sold out, but here‘s something similar in vegan leather.