I'm not a huge a fan of the idea that we need to dress for our size or dress for our body type outside of wearing, ahem, the right size and choosing pieces that we love and feel good in. If it fits and you feel great, that's all that matters to me. Full stop.
Have you ever been invited to a fancy event or accepted a new job, only to question what that dress code really means? Casual, smart casual, business, business casual, business formal… the list goes on. But what does all of that even mean? After being asked by a number of friends and even a few of my students what the difference between Business Casual and Smart Casual is, I decided to get to decoding all those dress codes. I hope this helps!
Don’t mistake beach to mean bathing suits! “Beach Casual” means summertime comfort — think shorts, tanks and sandals. Both guys and gals can safely choose shorts and a tee-shirt. In short: picnic attire.
Casual does not mean frumpy. This is your opportunity to pull out your favourite jeans! You can opt for a simple, comfortable tee-shirt or dress things up with a fancier top, funky jewelry or even a blazer if you wish! Guys can wear jeans, tees and sneakers or step it up a notch with cargos, a polo shirt or a Henley. Depending on the event, you can choose sneakers, flats, heels or boots.
Head to shops like American Eagle Target, Wal-Mart, Gap, and H&M to get casual picks for both the gals and the guys.
Business Casual is the typical office-wear of the times. Both men and women can wear slacks, dark denim ,and dressy tops (collared shirts for men and blouses for women). Patterned shirts and dress shoes are a fun way for men to dress up their look, while the ladies might like to dress it up with heels and jewelry for a put together look.
Both guys and gals can head to stores like Gap, H&M, Old Navy or Banana Republic.
If Business Casual and informal dress codes had a love child it would be Smart Casual. A blazer or sport coat with dark denim or slacks, the look as a whole is sharp, stylish and neatly put together. Ties, vests or sweater vests with dress shoes for men; ladies may also choose chic, clean dresses and heels or dressy boots or flats.
Stores like Banana Republic and RW & Co. have stylish, work-appropriate styles for men and women, while Smart Set has loads of great picks for the gals!
Business or Informal:
Informal here is a bit of a misnomer as “business” dress codes call for some formality. Both men and women will want to wear business suits or separates (ladies might choose a business style dress instead) and smart shoes.
I like stores like RW & Co. and Banana Republic for my work wear — plus they cater to men and women!
More dressy than Smart Casual since jeans are off limits, but not as dressy as Formal Black Tie (Optional), the Semi-Formal dress code calls for a classy, sophisticated look. Guys will want to pick dress pants in neutral shades and button down shirts, with or without tie, and sport coats. For ladies, this is the perfect opportunity to wear your little black dress or other elegant cocktail dress.
Formal/ Black Tie (Or Black tie Optional)
Formal/ Black Tie (Optional) is the time to bust out your fancy pants, dresses and shoes! Think of “penguin” if you’re a man — a tuxedo with all the frills or a black suit, white shirt and conservative tie. Shiny black dress shoes encouraged, and men can wear a coloured tie to match their date if so desired. Ladies are safest in floor-length evening dresses, though a very fancy knee-length dress may also be appropriate.
Need to shop? Men and women alike can shop at stores like Le Chateau for Semi-Formal and Formal styles!
Thanks for stopping by! Did you know that a Canadian fashion designer is working to make fashion more accessible to everyone? You can read it here. Another designer made this character look beautiful on the big screen, and it was awesome. See you next time!
Think of how tough it is to get into some of the clothes in your closet — not because they’re too small, but because it’s just hard to do — like the zipper on the back of a dress.
Now imagine every article of clothing like the zipper on the back of a dress — the arching, the contorting, the oooooh-I’m-so-close-ing — and you can almost (but only almost) imagine how tough it can be for someone with a physical disability to get dressed.
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Now think about the way your clothes just don’t look quite right when you’re sitting down — the bunching or the pulling, the discomfort you might feel depending on the cut and any extras like zippers or buttons. The average article of clothing is not made for the seated body, and many just aren’t easy to get in and out of when your range of movement is limited.
But thanks to Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri’s IZ Adaptive line, fashion is now accessible to those living with physical disabilities. The line features on-trend pieces, tailored to the L-shaped (or seated body), and boasts affordable prices to boot.
After designing a cape for journalist Barbara Turnbull, Camilleri recognized a need for functional but fashionable pieces, and IZ Adaptive was born… after a bit of trial and error.
“It’s been very experimental,” Camilleri says. “It took years to find the common thread in terms of what worked for most people. Now, it’s become a matter of personal preference for most clients.”
In addition to being “easy to wear," the collection is nothing shy of beautiful. From floral pants to sexy moto-jackets for ladies to smart suits and dapper sweaters for men there’s something for every personal style. And have I mentioned affordable? Yup; that too.
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“I could never do custom-work as it’s just too costly and many clients are on fixed incomes,” Camilleri explains, in regards to her common-thread approach to styles. “I strive to create on-trend, quality pieces at affordable a prices. ”
No matter how you slice it, (dis)ability shouldn’t mean you can’t feel beautiful and Camilleri is making that happen every day with fun styles that perfectly marry fashion with function, and help put the person before the physical challenges they live with.
“I am so humbled by my clients,” she tells me during our phone conversation. “It’s the most inspiring work I’ve ever done, and I’m reminded every day how good the right piece of clothing can make you feel.”
Ain’t that the truth.
As if her 30-year career of dressing A-listers like Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie wasn’t impressive enough, Camilleri has another feather to put in her oh-so-fashionable cap: her IZ Adaptive line will be showcased at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)!
Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting is a new exhibition opening at the ROM on June 21, 2014 showcasing Camilleri’s innovative, fashionable, functional — and (I’ll remind you again) affordable!—designs that are among the first in the world created exclusively to meet the needs of women and men who use wheelchairs. Displayed alongside Camilleri’s designs are 18th and 19th century fashions from the ROM’s renowned collection, also created for a seated, L-shaped body. How cool is that? Seriously.
And since it’s not every day that I get to chat with internationally-acclaimed fashion designers, you know I had to ask about her take on fashion and what her favourite pieces are.
“I’m not a flashy fashion designer,” Camilleri told me. “I’ve got a great pair of Frye boots that I love, but I’m pretty low-key and I only dress up when I have to.”
Her advice for creating your own personal style?
“Stay true to you. If it doesn’t feel right or make you feel good, pass.”
You can learn more about and shop Izzy Camelleri’s IZ Adaptive line exclusively online at www.izadaptive.com. And this is where you want to be if you’d like more information about the exhibit at the ROM.
Now, put on *your* favourite outfit and boogie your butt to the ROM for me, would ya? #LivingInHalifaxProbs
Thanks for stopping by — I hope you’re as excited about IZ Adaptive as I am! Do you know what else I’m excited about? Glasses! Check out my tips for picking the right frames for your pretty face, or find out what brand of denim I’m absolutely crazy over! See you next time.