A little (self) respect. In the month of denial, don’t give up on your appearance.

A little (self) respect. In the month of denial, don’t give up on your appearance.

 

Written by: Kate Wallace
Photography credit: Brittney Cousins

Oh, hey, January. It’s you. The month of deprivation. Of cold. Of holiday weight-gain and pale winter-face. Nothing fits right. My frost-frazzled hair has permanent toque dents. Sigh. Blue Monday’s just behind us, but your icy pinch on my soul has only just begun.

Along with giving up booze and sugar - i.e. the twin pillars of life-affirming pleasure - I seem to have also given up on my appearance. Whoever said April was the cruelest month clearly didn’t live in Atlantic Canada in winter.

But wait!

January, I don’t have to give in, devolving into to full-blown slobbery. Even with my Visa on lockdown following the free-wheeling pre-holiday spree, I can clean up my act. Here’s my four-pronged retaliation:

1. MASCARA:

Take my bronzer, take my blush, take every goddamned lipstick in my purse, but don’t even think of touching my mascara. I don’t wear much makeup, but this time of year, it’s the only thing keeping me from resembling a half-blind newborn vole snuffling around its nest.  

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2. BLING

Even the most boring winter outfit (yeah, I’m talking about you, jeans and black turtleneck sweater) gets a boost from some glitter. Like seemingly every woman in Saint John, I love Jeneca Klausen’s original jewelry designs. Ditto over-the-top costume pieces that flip the bird to drab.

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3. DRY SHAMPOO:

When you’re too cold (or lazy, I’ll own it) to disrobe for the shower, dry shampoo is your coif’s best bud. Plus, the not unpleasant stiffness puts me in mind of beach hair and sunnier times. Surf’s up!

4. FUR ANYTHING:

Fake or faux, this is cold-weather glam. I have a grey fur collar that makes even sweatpants look haute-ish. Plus, it’s cozy as all get-out.

My sisters out there in frozen fashion-land, what are your wardrobe and beauty hacks in these dark days?

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Meet Kate

Meet Kate

#THISISKATE

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ELLA: Name, age, provenance.

KATE: Kate Wallace, 42, Saint John.
 

ELLA: Describe your style.

KATE: Preppy-with-a-slight-edge meet pants-eschewing-freelancer-with-a-lumberjack-penchant.

E: Who are your style icons?

K: Zadie Smith. We’re the same age, and I’m in awe of her funky and yet elegant style, never mind her writing. I like the eclecticism of Diane Kruger’s look. And it’s always fun to see what shenanigans ole Chloe Sevigny gets up to.

E: What’s the best fashion advice you ever got?

K: I think it was Coco Chanel who said to remove one accessory before leaving the house. I like that pared-down thinking. And my mother once told me to pack underwear and a bathing suit in my carry-on when travelling south. If your luggage is misplaced, all is not lost. Good tip, mom!

E: What was your biggest fashion disaster?

K: Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, and coming of age in the ’90s provided so many rich opportunities for sartorial missteps. But an image – literally a school portrait – from Grade 5, of a complicated yellow button-down shirt, red skinny tie, and asymmetrical skater ’do rises to the top of the inglorious heap.

E: What kind of shopper are you?

K: Inconsistent. I will spend no more than $3 on a sweater or not less than $300. I will shop every other day or not at all for months. I love Frenchy’s with a passion that should probably be reserved for immediate family members. So many amazing finds over the years, and you can take risks because it’s so cheap. But I love quality, and boutiques, and sometimes you want that standout piece that’s perfectly new, not just new-to-you.

E: Desert island clothing piece? What can’t you live without?

K: Jeans that fit like a glove. I could probably fashion a coconut or seashell bra top, but I need my denim!

E: What trends make you want to scream?

K: Are formal shorts still a thing?

E: Favourite blogs, movies, TV shows, books for fashion and design?

K: Gucci has a series of ads I’ve been noticing that mix up really interesting looking people of diverse ages, ethnicities and vibes. There’s one with a geriatric dandy in a green suit and orthopaedic shoes alongside an androgynous kid in short pants. Somehow it works.

E: If you could give your younger self one bit of advice, what would it be?

K: Just because something is in style, doesn’t mean it looks good on you. If it doesn’t feel good, it’ probably doesn’t look good, either.


Photo Credit: Nienke Izurieta

ONE MONTH OF #OOTDs + ONLY 10 ITEMS

ONE MONTH OF #OOTDs + ONLY 10 ITEMS

one month of #ootds + only 10 items

     
      Thirty outfits with only 10 items. You're probably asking yourself, "is it possible? and if so, how can I do it?" Well, goddesses don't fret as your questions will be answered. 

First up, is it possible? YES - 100%. I went through the highly scientific data and field work myself (so you didn't have to) and found that it is in fact, true. You can get a whole months worth of stylish, versatile outfits with only 10 pieces. I picked out 10 items from Ella The Shop and had Sharell (Ella's wicked awesome visual merchandiser + girlboss) try and re-try on over 30 outfits in a span of only a few hours. Let's just think about the work-out that would be for a second... I struggle to put on one outfit for the day and she managed 30! Instead of CrossFit maybe we start FABRICFIT? Amirite?! I digress... 

Here are the 30 #ootds: 
 


Why care about squeezing the very last lemon drop from your lemon of a wardrobe? Well, for several reasons. For one it is easier on the ol' bank account (win); no longer will you have to fear the luggage scale (win); and for my like-minded minimalist - it is much more visually appealing than a spewing catastrophic mess of clothes you don't know what to do with (WIN!!!).

Here's how to achieve minimalism-greatness in 7 easy steps: 

Step 1. 

Pick out your favourite pair of jeans (Paige denim are my ultimate favs - they are as soft as 363 kittens on a cloud)!

Step 2. 

Pick out a colour palette. Try to stick with neutrals for the most part and then add a couple pops of colour. Or you can make this real easy: ALL BLACK EVERYTHING (my usual go-to).

Your choice. 

Step 3. 

Pick out three additional bottoms. One professional, one going-out, one casual. 

Step 4. 

Pick out a dress. One with versatility i.e. can easily go over top of things or under them. 

Step 5. 

Pick out three tops. This is a good opportunity to add some colour, if you wish. Again, pick out a few different pieces but stick in the same palette. 

Step 6. 

Pick out two 'layer' pieces. A jacket, blazer, cardigan, vest. Anything that can be easily thrown over top of an outfit to change it's look. 

Step 7. 

Start pairing! 


Items featured - Paige denim 'Hoxton - Mona', Tyler Madison Asymetrical hem black belted pants, Tyler Madison wax-coated pants, Dex suede moto skirt, Black Swan pleated dress, Wyldr ivory ruffle top, Z supply black long-sleeve tee, Dex blush pink chiffon tank, Wyldr black blazer with sequin details, and Black Swan nude bomber jacket. 



 

Photography credit: Brittney Cousins

ELLA's Free Guide to Being a THR [Total Holiday Rockstar]

ELLA's Free Guide to Being a THR [Total Holiday Rockstar]

We are thrilled that you are with us, striving to be a total Rockstar this season. And not just any Rockstar, but a Holiday Rockstar! We will be sharing recipes that we have used over the years to rock it out, maximize on compliments, and spread some Holiday Joy without lifting much more than a finger. Besides, you are already a Rockstar without changing a thing.

As a reminder, we will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s this year. We will reopen on Tuesday January 3rd and will be excitedly awaiting your 2017 visit! Also, we are not professional cooks. We are not even foodies. We definitely like to eat, though. We are just average women with very little time and culinary talent. But we want to relieve this pain by sharing our favourite, effortless Holiday Recipes with you. Don’t worry, you can’t screw them up.

Now it’s your turn. We hope you’ll use these ingredients and instructions to help formulate your own Holiday Rockstardom. It’ll be worth it. But seriously, above all else, we simply hope you’ll be surrounded with love and joy this Holiday Season!

Cheers to a fantastic wrap up of 2016, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being a inspirational rockstar and such a special part of our fashion journey this year. We are honoured and proud to have you as a part of our tribe and we look forward to connecting with you in the New Year! Here’s to raising a glass in excitement for what rock stardom is in store for 2017!

Your ELLA Friends,

Brittney + Kelly

Check out our sweet OBA vid!

Check out our sweet OBA vid!

Ella is a movement. We are a community of women unified by one true love - high fashion.

We connect women with each other through a common love of fashion. Fashion that may be found in our shop or in each other’s closets.

Ella - The Shop: How it works

Ella - The Shop: How it works

We learned from users of our app that meeting up to try things on was a bit awkward and sometimes logistically difficult to coordinate.

By opening a physical location can happily offer an elevated shopping experience with proper fitting rooms and the ability to accept all forms of payment, just like with regular shopping! This eases the pain of needing to coordinate your schedules and eliminates the need for trying things on in coffee shop washrooms!

The Flare Pant Revival: Ten Things to Consider

The Flare Pant Revival: Ten Things to Consider

Remember that time in 2014 when you tried to work your way back into our closets but were met with insurmountable rejection? Didn't you learn anything from that? Sure you fooled us in the 70's - there was a lot to be distracted by in that decade - and yeah, ok - you snuck in again at the turn of the millennium - we were vulnerable then too

My Toddler styled two of my outfits

My Toddler styled two of my outfits

These little people understand what it means to give exactly zero fucks about just about everything in life, and I wanted in on the action. So I asked my toddler to style me, giving the approximated zero fucks that he so wonderfully does in his own life.

Represent #Area506 in Sick Style

Represent #Area506 in Sick Style

I have to say though, the moment temperatures rise above 20 C's, I lose all sense of cool, so to speak. And cooling off is a rather tough goal to accomplish when you're consumed with the subordination of pairing the proper crop with the proper skirt, under the proper cardi, with the proper cool-factor enhancing necklace, strappy sandals or open toe booties, and so on.

How to Pack a Tiny Travel Bag

How to Pack a Tiny Travel Bag

If you think like me when you pack, this article is for you. I dove deep to come up with the following 6 tips that you can implement to cut down on your packing volume, and maximize your wardrobe potential, and best of all, fit it all into a knapsack. Yes, I did just say knapsack.

Five types of internet peeps that you secretly want to #elbowgate in the boobs.

Five types of internet peeps that you secretly want to #elbowgate in the boobs.

The internet of things, today is so much to contend with. Usually, if I tell you I didn't receive the message you sent me, it's because I didn't. Or I did, but it was followed so closely behind with some other form of internet-interruption that it left my brain faster than a Stella McCartney at a handbag sale.

Clean Out Your Horrendous Closet in Five Easy Steps

Clean Out Your Horrendous Closet in Five Easy Steps

Usually about 30 minutes before my company arrives I spin around my house like a toupee in a windstorm until everything is conceivably in place. Go ahead, marvel at my clear countertops, organized bookshelves and clutterless sitting room. But if a door, drawer or cupboard is closed, for the love of Prince don't open it!

Quiz: How lady-like are you?

Quiz: How lady-like are you?

I'll admit, I try to be ladylike. Somewhere deep beneath the underbelly of my estrogen centres is a desire to be more put together, have a cleaner house and a better hairdo. But really, I am so much closer to Ron Swanson than Betty Draper.

One shirt: TEN ways.

One shirt: TEN ways.

The white tee, let's consider it for a moment. Aside from a thick layer of sunscreen and something on your feet, it is pretty much the only thing you need in your summer wardrobe (shorts-schmorts, be free bumcheeks!).

Ok so it's still a bit chilly for freedom cheeks, but I can't wait for summer anymore to talk about the white tee ("WT").

The white tee is versatile, comfortable, some might even consider it a confidant - throw it on over your slinky bikini or tuck it into your party skirt for instant security. Either way, the white tee is a friend to everyone. It will do your bidding, it extroverts the introverts. It speaks.

Below, I demonstrate ten of the millions of ways that the white tee can enrich your life and make you a better version of yourself. Most of my accomplishments in life come down to the edginess of my tee.

Many of the items pictured come from ELLA, but not all of them. Shout out to some of my favourites: Urban Shoe Myth, Wear Your Label, and Printworks (who crafted the WT in a lightening fast kinda way).

What is your favourite way to DON your white tee? 

 

One: White tee + plaid shirt + pleather pants

 

Two: white tee + pleather pencil skirt

 

THREE: White tee + black blazer + white skinnies (long live the skinnies)

 

FOUR: White tee + white blazer + black skinnies (that your grandmother wants to patch)

 

Five: white tee + black blazer + distressed skinnies (I told you long live the skinnies)

 

Six: white tee + leather jacket + snakeskin stilhettos that poke through boardwalk boards

 

Seven: White tee + boyfriends + strappy heels that hurt your feet

 

 

Eight: white tee + ridiculously expensive over the knee boots

 

Nine: white tee + some other shit that looks like fall clothes because it's so damn cold

 

Ten: the gala ready white tee

Oh, and by the way: Please consider voting for Don Darling on May 9th.

 

Next week: I let my toddler choose my outfits. Subscribe below.