We spoke to stylist Talia Brown about how to shake up your wardrobe when you feel like you’ve got nothing to wear.
It happens to everyone. You open your closet and sigh to yourself. You have nothing to wear. Even with a wardrobe full of great pieces, we all feel style fatigue sometimes. In favour of putting our best (and most stylish) foot forward, we spoke to stylist and personal shopper Talia Brown for some tips on breaking out of a style rut.
How do you know you’re in a style rut?
Most of us can tell when we’re feeling sartorially uninspired. “You look in your closet and everything starts to look the same,” says Brown, “nothing excites you.” If you don’t feel good about the duds you’re putting on, it’s time to rethink your approach to getting dressed.
You need a quick fix to your style woes
Adding a couple new pieces might just be the quick fix you need to jump-start your wardrobe. Brown recommends adding a pop of colour, especially with accessories, which can go a long way to brightening up (figuratively and literally) a stale wardrobe. “It’s nice to have a few pieces that will catch the eye of others—it will make you feel like a million bucks.”
You wear the same thing day after day, and you’re bored
If you find that you wear the same thing all the time—despite plenty of choice—then it’s time to reevaluate your closet. “If there’s something in your closet that you’re not wearing, there’s probably a reason for it—it doesn’t make you feel good,” says Brown. Evaluate what you like and are comfortable in and try to find ways to update with new colours and textures, or by adding new accessories. “Picture what your favourite little black dress would look like in pink, navy or oxblood,” says Brown.
Tip from Talia: Turn all of your hangers the opposite way (pointing out) and every time you wear something, put it back in your closet with the hanger facing the right way (pointing in). Give yourself a timeline (a month, six months, a year) and if anything is still facing the wrong way, it’s time to think about letting it go.
You find that your outfits look sloppy or unpolished
“This usually happens when we’re trying to hide something about our bodies,” says Brown. Instead of focusing on the negative, think about what you love about your body. It might be as simple as adding a belt to enhance your waist, hemming a skirt to show off your gams or donning a statement necklace to draw attention to your face.
You want to find a new style
Before completely ditching your wardrobe, assess if there’s an important piece missing. Do you have the perfect black pants? Or a pair of jeans you can wear anywhere? What about a classic button down blouse? Figuring out what you’re missing and getting it can really breathe new life into your existing pieces. Having trouble? Find another set of eyes. Ask a partner or friend what they think you could add.
If you’re looking to try something new, Brown suggests heading to your local vintage store or finally splurging on that designer purchase you’ve been eyeing. If you really want to change your style, heading to a vintage shop will introduce you to silhouettes and patterns that aren’t currently in stores. “Sometimes it’s just taking that leap.”
Find a new mantra
Fashion is supposed to be fun—so make that notion your new mantra. “Play with colours and shapes and really find what it is that works for you and that makes you feel good,” says Brown. “Your body is your canvas, so express yourself.”
With winter's worst (hopefully) behind us, tax season is here, and there are many changes that families will want to be aware of.
Tax time is never fun, but it's even worse when you miss out on credits or deductions you may have qualified for. Complicating matters this year are several taxation changes due to a Liberal overhaul of several Harper-era measures.
"I've seen more changes this year than in the past three years," says Lisa Gittens, a tax expert at H&R Block.
Here are eight things families will want to be aware of when filling out their 2016 return.
1. Last chance on certain tax credits
The government is phasing out a handful of tax credits and focusing on larger benefits. The children's arts and fitness tax credits will be halved for the 2016 tax year, and cut completely next year, meaning families will no longer be able to defray costs for things like swimming lessons, ballet and tutoring. For post-secondary students, the education and textbook credits are being eliminated in 2017, although education amounts carried forward from previous years will still be claimable.
2. No more income splitting
Also gone is the Family Tax Cut, which lets the higher-earning spouse transfer up to $50,000 of income to the lower-earner. During the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to cut it, calling it a "tax break for the wealthy."
With the benefit gone, Gittens recommends a spousal RRSP, which allows the higher-earner to contribute to the lower-earning spouse's RRSP and claim the tax benefit. "You may have an RRSP set up, but you haven't thought about setting it up for your spouse. This is an ideal time to use that strategy," she says.
3. Changes to child benefits
The Canada Child Benefit was a signature feature of the 2016 budget, replacing the old Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. It's non-taxable, so you don't have to claim it. However, in order to continue to receive the benefit, both parents must file a return, even if one doesn't generate any income, says Gittens.
Also keep in mind that the benefit started in July, so you still have to claim the taxable UCC for the first six months of the year.
4. New tax rates
New tax rates mean you may or may not be pleasantly surprised by the size of your tax bill this year. If you're in the meaty middle that earns between $45,000 and $90,000, your rate will come down to 20.5 percent from 22 percent.
"Most Canadians will be receiving more money at the end of the day than they were under the old system," says Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Wealth Strategies Group.
However, high-income earners will be paying more due to a new 33 percent bracket for people earnings more than $200,000.
5. Child care expenses
Childcare costs are usually the biggest deduction available for families, says Golombek. But what many people don't realize is that it goes beyond simply daycare. If you have a nanny, you can claim that expense, but also babysitting, if it's during the day, and summer or day camp.
6. Disability tax credit and family caregiver amount
If you have family members with a disability there are certain credits that may be available to you. The Disability Tax Credit is available to people with disabilities to reduce their taxes. For children under age 18, a parent or caregiver may be able to claim the unused amount.
If you're a caregiver to a family member with physical or mental impairments, you may also be able to claim an additional $2,121, according to the Canada Revenue Agency.
7. Selling your principal residence
Selling your home has typically not been something you've had to report on your taxes, because usually Canadians don't get taxed for capital gains on their principle residence. But starting with the 2016 tax year, individuals who sold their principal residence during the year must report the sale. The government is ostensibly doing this to crack down on people who try to pass off income-generating homes as their principal residence.
8. eFile early, get your refund early
Tax deadline is April 30, but if you want to get ahead of the game, file early, before the government is inundated with last-minute returns. You can still file the old paper return, but Gittens says you'll be looking at a turnaround time of anywhere up to eight weeks, versus 10-14 days for a return filed early and electronically.
Breathe new life into this wardrobe staple with a bit of style inspiration.
There's a reason why we love the white button-down. Whether it's oversized, fitted, short sleeve, cropped, silk or cotton, it's always a chic—but unfussy—way to embrace classic style. But, like even the most stylish women, we sometimes get stuck in a fashion rut. Which is why we pulled together some great white button-down shirt looks from some seriously stylish women. Discover new and fresh ways to wear a white button-down below.
There's nothing chicer than a casual white button-down shirt under a blazer. Keep the look modern with boyfriend jeans and patent brogues—extra points for embracing metallic.
You can make this borrowed-from-the-boys piece feminine in an old school way by pairing it with a pleated midi skirt and sharp kitten heels.
If you're worried about a white on white look, just remember to play with texture. The silk shirt paired with crisp denim and leather shoes makes this look a winner.
Embrace the menswear vibe of this piece by pairing it with a classic black blazer and trousers—though we might recommend ditching the tie to avoid any waiter confusion.
Keep this piece cozy by topping it with an oversized knit. We especially love the addition of a statement piece of jewellery.
Pair your button-down with tailored separated for the office. A pencil skirt (in a fun print or colour) plus chic heels is a no-brainer when it comes to professional dressing.
This look is for the bold. Pair statement pants and shoes with a white button-down and a classic blazer. Think of this as business on top and party on the bottom.
Put a little prep in your step with trousers, loafers and fun socks. For the extra preppy, add a fisherman knit and drape it over your shoulders. Very refined gentleman, no?
If a slim-fitting button-down if your choice, play with proportion and pair with wide-leg pants.
One of our favourite things about the button-down is that it can be so easily layered. Under your favourite sweater and jacket, and with jeans it's a casual piece that still looks pulled together.
For a touch of French je ne sais quoi, pair your white shirt with black skinny jeans, tousled hair and lace up shoes.
If your jeans and white button-down combo could use a little edge, might we suggest a trendy faux fur topper?
The button-down doesn't need to be the base of your outfit. Instead, layer it over a turtleneck and tuck it into a fun skirt.
A white button-down can make even your most summery pieces (this printed mini skirt just screams vacation) look polished. Ice cream not included.
The best white button-down shirts to shop now:
Wide cotton shirt, $30, hm.com.
Shirt with ¾ sleeves, $36, zara.com.
White scalloped sleeve shirt, $85, bananarepublic.ca.
Relaxed silk collarless shirt, $88, everlance.com.
New Blythe top in silk, $128, jcrew.com.
Asos Curve oversized shirt with stripe, $68, asos.com.
Babaton Kearney blouse, $110, aritzia.com.
Eyelet white shirt, $65, gapcanada.ca.
Shimmer button down, $129, freepeople.com.
Cooperative short-sleeve shirt, $59, urbanoutfitters.com.
Premium quality silk blend blouse, $99, hm.com.
Keeping a healthy lifestyle is important, of course, but quick fixes and flashy diets that you hear of online aren't the way to go. These trend diets, advertised to work wonders, can actually bring more hassle and danger than benefits to your health.
With flashy food shots and pictures of fitness gurus posted on social media pretty much every second of the day, it’s no surprise so many of us are scrambling to keep up with appearances through strategic self-branding and unhealthy diets.
“People are willing to try and pay anything in the hopes of losing weight. There are many self-proclaimed ‘experts’ on the internet providing health advice that may not be safe or even science-based,” says Andrea D’Ambrosio, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians of Canada. “It’s crucial to be critical of information that we find on the internet to avoid being misled by false, unsubstantiated claims.”
D’Ambrosio says she reminds her clients that despite what personalities like Dr. Oz say, there’s no magical food or diet for weight loss.
Here are five popular diets to be wary of.
Juicing encourages dieters to juice their plant-based meals. It’s based on the idea that nutrients from foods such as fruits and vegetables can be absorbed quicker, and fresh juice gives our systems a rest from digesting fibre. While some claim this helps in weight loss and the removal of toxins, the truth is that the amount of sugar from the fruit you eat to maintain a feeling of fullness can equal more calories, which contributes to weight gain.
“Diets that remove entire food groups run the high risk of leading to nutritional deficiencies unless you make up the lost nutrients in other foods or supplements,” D’Ambrosio says.
2. Low-carb diet.
A low-carb diet requires the restriction of foods high in carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and certain fruits and vegetables. Although dieters don’t need to cut high-carb foods from their meals entirely, the suggested limit being advocated on social media, is 60 to 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. That’s less than three plain bagels.
3. No fat diet.
A fat-free diet sounds tempting, but is it really? When we think of fat, we often think of the bad kind that’s found in junk food, but we can also find it in nuts and seeds, fish and fruits like avocado. According to a publication by the Harvard Medical School, unsaturated fats (the good kind!) supply the body with energy and can even help prevent heart disease.
A positive note, D’Ambrosio says, is that these types of diets encourage people to eat less processed foods, which is healthier and helps weight management.
4. 5:2 diet.
For those familiar with diets, fasting is no stranger. The 5:2 diet is one of many regimens floating around the internet that has dieters eating normally (read: unrestrained) for five days and reducing food intake to 500 calories a day for the other two.
“Eating less than 500 to 600 calories a day on fasting days is very difficult for many people and challenging to sustain,” she says. “Many who attempt fasting or severe restriction also find a corresponding increase in cravings or binging after their day of restriction.”
5. Activated charcoal “diet”.
Touted by both health junkies and beauty enthusiasts on social media, charcoal can be consumed via tablets or used in cooking. Aficionados of activated charcoal claim it soaks up surface fat so that calories are not absorbed into the body, plus they say it removes unpleasant gases and toxins and reduces appetite.
The short-term effects may be tempting for those hoping to quickly shed a few pounds or to maintain a healthier lifestyle, but D’Ambrosio says there needs to be more research conducted for diets that boast impressive results. “If you want to lose weight fast, remember that you did not gain that quickly.” she says.
D’Ambrosio says working with a professional dietitian to ensure nutritional needs are met and healthy weight-loss strategies are implemented is a good plan for those who need a helping hand losing weight. “Forming a healthy relationship with food and a positive body image—regardless of weight—is also important during any weight-loss journey,” she says.
Tip from D’Ambrosio:
Food-tracking apps, such as eaTracker, give you a better idea of what (unhealthy) foods you’re eating and what swaps you can make to increase the nutrition and healthfulness of your diet.
Andrea D’Ambrosio is also the owner of Dietetic Directions a nutritional counselling and education company based in Kitchener, Waterloo.