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2019 Spring Fashion: Pink & Purple

I've lamented in the past over how Ottawa doesn't have a real spring season and it jumps very suddenly from winter to summer, usually in May-June, right around the annual Tulip Festival. This year, however, we got some sort of pseudo-spring, with the frequent rainy days and fluctuating temperatures. The weather gods must be smirking down on me with their little practical joke but joke's on them because I was super motivated to come up with cute spring outfits! So here goes my very first Spring Fashion post, whoo-hoo!

The theme for the outfits below are two colours that I've had a longstanding struggle to wear: pink and purple. I've mentioned in previous blog posts that growing up a tomboy meant rejecting a lot of pink and purple, that even to this day, I'm finding it a challenge to incorporate both colours into my wardrobe. A lot of historical attempts have always felt a little bit like playing dress up, as opposed to actually utilizing pieces that were an integrated part of my actual style. That's why I'm very pleased to showcase 5 outfits that I felt comfortable in and genuinely represent me (I would have wanted more but that's about as many as I could muster).

Just to be clear: all these photos were of the outfits I actually wore out that day and not like "I dressed up just for these photos and changed immediately after". As a bonus, at the end I have two extra outfits of my close girlfriends as additional style inspos for the same theme! So without further ado, let's get to the good stuff :)

There were some real chilly temps even when it was deceivingly sunny out, and I found myself repeatedly reaching for my Lindawanna pink bomber from last year.

Lindawanna pink bomber from Club Monaco
Grey lace top from American Eagle
High-waisted jeans from RW&Co
D'orsay flats from Franco Sarto
Sunglasses from Kate Spade
Scarf from Coach

A couple pieces from this outfit are new and instant-loves: first up, these high-waisted jeans are the perfect shade of casual blue without any distressing (side note: I was shocked at how hard it was to find cute jeans that didn't have any distressing! It was like jeans were either mom-style or torn-up festival style, very few in-between). I've been looking for high-waisted jeans for a while now since a lot more tops (and even jackets like this one) are made in the cropped length. Power to y'all brave enough to bare your midriffs but I do not yet possess that level of self-confidence haha.

Secondly, I love these nude flats from Nordstrom! Needed to include this second photo to show off the cute d'orsay design and the ankle strap that make them easily walkable. I was looking for flats that would work for the weekend and not just the office, basically a slightly more polished weekend option over sneakers or sandals. Plus, they're the right shade of nude for my skin tone, which can be a tricky thing to find with nude shoes. Definitely fell in love with these at first sight!

Another style-hack I use to keep warm yet still look seasonally appropriate is to wear maxi or midi skirts. I find as long as my legs are covered and protected from the wind, I'll mostly be okay.

Mock-neck crop top from Forever 21
Snakeskin pleated skirt from H&M
Waist belt from Gucci
Suede slides from Banana Republic

I had been trying to add a snakeskin print piece to my wardrobe for quite some time now, but every previous piece I tried (tops, dresses, shoes, etc.) all ended up being returned. I went to the store after I saw this skirt reviewed by Extrapetite, one of the bloggers I follow, and found this skirt worked perfectly for what I wanted! The snakeskin print somehow acts as a good neutral and paired well with the lilac/mauve-y top. I really like this outfit as a chic business casual option that transitions well from work to weekend.

On the topic of transitional pieces, I was wracking my brain how to wear floral spring and summery dresses in an office environment, trying on all different combinations of jackets, when I finally had my "ah-ha!" moment: the white blazer.

White blazer from H&M
Vintage Japanese brand floral dress
Skinny belt from RW&Co
Suede flats from Coach

This vintage Japanese floral dress is just one of many cute light and breezy dresses that I love to wear and twirl in, but it's quite casual on its own (in all honesty, I felt like I looked like a Japanese housewife or school teacher, oops!) I found that a white or cream blazer is a great topper as it adds structure -- unlike a cardigan, which would've added to the housewife/teacher vibe -- but without making the outfit feel dark or heaviness the way a black or navy blazer would.

I've featured a number of vintage items throughout my blog posts but one thing I'm very conscious in trying to do is to blend the vintage pieces seamlessly into everyday outfits.

Origami collar blouse from ASOS
Vintage floral skirt
Suede pumps from Aldo
Berry trench from Burberry
Purse from Chloe

With this skirt, I felt it was an easy way to change up regular date night by throwing in some vintage romantic vibes. I draped my trench for the cooler temperature in the evening as we were heading out to dinner, going for a complementary colour palette with the berries and olives in the skirt (berries and olives -- sounds like I'm making a salad!)

These beautiful blossoms were actually right outside our building -- feel so spoiled to be so close to such pretty trees!

Speaking of pretty flowers, the annual Ottawa Tulip Festival is always sight to behold. After dinner one night, we went out for a stroll by the Dow's Lake, where there are a lot of the tulips (featured in my last blog post on Ottawa).

Traditional Chinese outfit from Hangzhou
Vintage straw purse thrifted from VV
Flats from Coach

pressed flower earrings from street market in Chongqing

I bought these traditional Chinese pieces last year during my China trip and was amazed at how many young girls were dressed in these traditional outfits all along West Lake (in Hangzhou) just out and about, posing for casual photos. I was a little nervous and self-conscious at first wearing this in Ottawa but everyone who passed us by was nice and smiling smiled and I quickly overcame my shyness. It really means a lot to me to be able to wear this outfit in Canada without fear of being rejected.

Special bonus outfits:

I took these photos of Joanna the same day as my first outfit (a sharp eye might recognize we both have the same teal wood background in our photos hehe)

Flowy trench coat from Downtown Underground at 613flea
Vintage floral dress from Frankie Finds Vintage at 613flea
Flats from Stuart Weitzman

Necklace from Forever 21

I love love love a flowy trench even though I haven't found one that works for me (both my trench coats are more stiff and structured) but I think it's super lovely how Jo paired a longer vintage dress underneath for romantic feminine look that's still chic and modern.

Even after Ottawa's blossoms were past bloom, we were lucky to find lots of gorgeous trees in Parc Maisonneuve during a weekend trip in Montreal!

Tank top from Vero Moda
Soft pant from Dynamite
Booties from Aldo
Vegan leather jacket from ONLY

Bracelets from Coach & Kate Spade
Purse from Michael Kors

I have a pair of soft pant as well but I think this shade of darker blush/slightly mauve that Amanda has is sooo pretty! I also appreciate how she effortlessly combines flirty and feminine with modern and rockin' all in one outfit.

Both of these ladies are dear dear girlfriends of mine who constantly inspire me with their unashamedly feminine style and personalities. Every time I see them, I'm reminded of how it's okay to give in to the girly side of me. Even though I've still got lots of work to do to undo the toxic mentality against being feminine that I've held from my younger days, I know I'm growing and changing, and it's amazing role models like these awesome ladies that are helping me along!

I know I said this in the beginning but I want to reiterate again how this post is such a milestone for me in terms of advancing my fashion as well as fashion photography, and also personal and emotional growth. I'm grateful every day for the people who are supporting me in all aspects of my life and I'm happy for this platform to help document my progress!

Hope you enjoyed these photos! Thanks for reading :)