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Charcuterie Board & Burgundy Plaid

I can't believe the first month of the new year is already done! It's been an pretty packed month with lots going on but that will likely be the case for the rest of the year. I have lots of exciting things planned and can't wait to share it so take this super lengthy post as a preview of what's to come!

In the moments of the impending wrap-up to a pretty successful 2017 project, I struggled with ideas for my next project. I didn't feel done with fashion photography but at the same time, wanted to pursue something further. I sifted through old photos from both Vintage and Fashion projects and realized I wanted to zero in on the props shots -- some examples:





Shooting with models, going to various locations, and trying to work with what's provided to me was challenging in it's own way. But it'll be really cool to create the sets and have complete control over what comes out on camera. Kind of a throwback to my traditional pencil + paper days, creating something from nothing. A totally different challenge! From the little taste I got from shooting the few props shots in the vintage project, I know this won't be an easy undertaking, but it's definitely an area I want to develop. I haven't focused on this area before so I'll try my best to push myself to create magazine-esque shots of product and lifestyle photography. Here's an example of my aspirations: release the kraken.

It'll be a while before I reach that level but I got an early opportunity to try my hand at a small get together with friends. They brought out the charcuterie board and champagne and I helped arrange it nicely -- but it didn't actually occur to me to take photos until they all pulled out their phones for their Snapchat stories. After laughing along with the many filters, I decided to snap up some shots of my own.

"Alright, move aside ya filthy casuals." -cue more laughter-




Although I'm pretty happy with these photos as a first formal attempt at lifestyle/product shots, I quickly realized that regardless of how many photos I take (could be 10, could be 50), it's really noticeable which ones stand out as the top 3. And so I struggled thinking that while yes, it'll be a lot of work to create the sets and shooting will likely be a long process of constantly nudging something a little to the left, then tilt it a little to right, yada yada... at the end of the day, I'll only have 3 shots to show for it, and I wouldn't have much to write/blog about if that was the case.

I thought about what more I could do in addition to the lifestyle photos. After the last year's project, I feel extra inspired in thinking about fashion. And while I have lots of fun playing personal stylist for others, I still struggle with my own fashion problems. My biggest struggle is and always has been trying to reconcile the different aspects of my personalities into one cohesive style. When I look at my clothes, they're either casual for weekend outfits, or vintage for vintage looks, or super business-y and only work 9-5. I'm constantly struggling with all these doubts if I even had a personal style or if I just play dress up based on whatever mood I'm in. I feel unsure and uncertain, like I lacked a clear fashion identity. How could I tie everything I have together, and could I include this process as part of my project?

So after a sleepless night of tossing and turning, I had a lightbulb moment: to have a singular theme or focal point, and create two separate outfits to compare and contrast the different fashion styles in my daily life ('lifestyle' photography remixed!)

To kick it off, I've chosen a combination of an old favourite, the colour burgundy, mixed with a current trend, plaid print. Here are the two outfits I came up with:

Outfit 1 (left): Plaid double breasted blazer from LOFT, Burgundy turtleneck from Zara, Black moto pants from Zara, thrifted moto boots, thrifted graduated pearl necklace
Outfit 2 (right): J Crew cashmere flare sleeve sweater, thrifted vintage plaid pleated skirt, preloved graduated pearls, thrifted Cynthia Rowley booties

Outfit 1: The Blazer

Plaid blazers have been on trend since autumn, but with any trending item, I wanted to hold out until I found the perfect one with the details that spoke to me. This one is double breasted (ding!) and has a burgundy stripe (ding!), and was on sale at LOFT (ding ding ding!) -- winner winner chicken dinner!



I love the "borrowed from the boys" vibes of this outfit and the rockin' moto details from the pants and the boots, but thought a classic pearl necklace and smart tortoiseshell frames (computer glasses for all the time I spend staring at a screen) would soften the look a bit and make it more work appropriate.

Outfit 2: The Pleated Skirt

I picked up this vintage plaid skirt at a recent VV sale and was instantly smitten. The mini-houndstooth is more seasonally appropriate, plus, it has a intricate vintage button on the back! The plaid print is smaller and more subtle compared to the blazer but there is similarly a burgundy stripe -- which is why I thought this would be a great compare/contrast piece!

tiny Molly peeking in the corner!
I did have minor reservations about the skirt, despite everything I loved about it, I was concerned that the pleats would look too "school-girl". I picked a dressy fine-knit sweater with fun flared sleeves, to draw attention to the upper body, and also more "grown-up" lace-up booties with an edgy track sole to add some texture to the look. Finishing touches included layered set of graduated pearls and a vintage watch.

In defense of my initial concerns, here's a bonus picture of how younger-me might have paired the skirt:

add a tie and complete the throwback to them Avril Lavigne days
Thankfully, I've since outgrown both Avril and the prep-school look. Looking youthful is great but not at the expense of being taken seriously at work, wouldn't you agree?

I hope you enjoyed how I styled both outfits! I tried to create looks that would be appropriate in an office setting, but also have enough of my personality if I had meet a friend after work to hang out. Looking back on the photos, I leaned pretty hard on burgundy as a crutch for my first post. But I really love how it works with the cooler grey in the blazer and also the warmer brown in the skirt! Its versatility is one of the many reasons why it's my favourite colour.

Whew, congrats if you made it to the end of this post! I really wanted to share my thoughts on the process of choosing my yearly projects, and fashion is definitely one of those things I can go on and on about. I'm honestly super excited for both aspects of this project -- although I have to admit, the flat-lay photos were so much more difficult than I had imagined and also the self-portraits were harder than I expected, even with the new remote app for the Fuji (no more running back and forth at least!) Fingers crossed it'll get smoother with practice.

Thanks for reading! :)