fashion

3 WAYS TO WEAR IT: OVERSIZED BLAZER

Happy Sunday guys! In this post I am showing you how to style one of this season’s most popular items in multiple ways: an oversized blazer!

LOOK 1: Layered over a dress

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For my first outfit I’m showing you how you can use it to add an extra layer over a dress. The light colour of this blazer was just calling for some white so I chose to wear it with this cute summer dress. The dress is plain besides the fun lace-up waist that adds an extra detail. I added my platform white sandals to match the dress and it created an adorable look for spring! Adding a blazer to a dress like this is great for the spring when it’s getting warmer but not quite hot enough to wear the dress on its own yet.

LOOK 2: With jeans & a T-shirt

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In this second outfit I’m showing you how a blazer like this can just as easily be dressed down as it can be dressed up. Again, because the blazer is light-coloured I opted for a light pair of denim and a white T-shirt. Both of these pieces add really fun texture and detail to the look with the distress on the jeans and the graphic on the shirt. For my accessories, I could have definitely finished it off with a pair of converse sneakers but I felt like making it a bit more feminine. To do this, I wore my pink point-toe heels and added a pearl barrette to my hair.

 

LOOK 3: Adding a belt

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For my final look, I took advantage of the oversize of the blazer and used it as a shirt on its own. I added this belt to give it an extra edge and detail and to create this trendy look. I let the accessories take the focus and just added a simple pair of black leggings for my pants. These cat-eye sunnies are very chic and added to the look I was going for with this outfit so they were perfect. To finish, I kept my shoes simple and just wore these plain white sneakers.

Which look was your favourite? How do you style an oversized blazer? Let me know in the comments!

 

Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie


Look 1: Dress: H&M / Blazer: SheIn / Shoes: JustFab
Look 2: T-shirt: Zara / Jeans: SheIn / Blazer: SheIn / Shoes: Zara / Hair clip: SheIn
Look 3: Blazer: SheIn / Leggings: Garage / Shoes: Ardene / Belt: H&M / Sunglasses: SheIn / Earrings: SheIn

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Mental Health

TOOLS FOR FIGHTING DEPRESSION

Depression is a very serious, deadly illness. It takes many lives each year because one of the hardest things you can do is fight your own brain.

The illness is like a dark virus that creeps into your head and replaces all your happy thoughts with feelings of despair and hopelessness. It is a thief that steals your hopes and dreams and feeds you lies until you believe that you will never find success in your life, and that you’re no more than a burden to everyone around you.

And because of the stigma around mental health, there are not enough tools and resources available to those struggling. Most of the time, depression will make you feel like it’s invincible–that you are a slave to it forever, and the most you can do is to try to keep breathing. That’s not true. You may have the illness for most of your life, but that doesn’t mean that it has to stop you from living a good life.

Here are some of my personal tips for how I fight my depression, and I think it can help you too.

My first tip is to stay ahead of it. On the days that I wake up and the depression is no higher than a 6, I know I have to take my remaining strength to fight it. Most days when it starts off slower, I’m able to keep the severity from increasing by keeping myself busy. For me, that means I clean, I cook, I go for walks, I do whatever small things need to be done. Creating a to-do list on those days can really help you keep your mind on the right path. The busier you are, the less time you have for your thoughts to get clouded and become dark.

However, there are inevitably days when I wake up and find my dark cloud has not only already begun to rain, but it is actually a full blown heavy thunder storm. On the days when I wake up an 8 to 10 on the scale of severity, I barely have enough strength to get out of bed. So all I can do is try to create a peak through the dark clouds for the light to shine through. I do that by doing activities that bring me comfort and tranquility.

Some examples:

A movie. Movies/TV shows can be a great way to focus your mind on something other than your pain, but it should also be one that’s extra special to you. My movie is Meet the Robinson’s. For those unfamiliar to it, it’s an animated film about a kid genius inventor. One day he gets a visit from a kid who claims he’s from the future and there is someone trying to mess up the future so he needs his help. Not only is this movie adorable and funny, but it has an ending that is so happy that it makes me feel like things are gonna work out in my own life and it will be okay. Find the movie that does that for yourself and re-watch it as many times as you need.

A song. I would recommend something light and uplifting. It can even be fully instrumental–my calming song is a piano composition. It’s called River Flows Through You by Yiruma. If you’re looking for your special song, I recommend listening to this one. Lay in bed, close your eyes and let it envelop you. Breathe and focus entirely on the song. When I am at my worst and have difficulty taking a breath, I listen and my entire body relaxes. It’s like magic.

Read. The avid readers among us will already know the superpower a book holds to allow you to ‘escape’ from your worries. If you have never been a big reader, I highly recommend you give it another try. If it’s not for you, that’s fine. But if you find the right book and succeed in getting lost in the world that you’re reading, then you will have gained a life-long skill and passion to help you deal with life’s difficult times. There’s nothing quite like it–there’s a reason people always say, “the book was better than the movie”. It’s because you can rarely duplicate the special experience that a book gives you.

Go outside. This one may be harder to do on the really bad days when the energy has been sucked out of you, but gather up any remaining strength you have and get out there. We live in such a fast-paced chaotic world now, but nature continues to move slow. So even when you’re in a good mental place, try to set aside some time every week to go for a walk in a trail. Leave your phone in your pocket, take your headphones out and breathe in the fresh air that the trees gives us. Take time to listen to the rustling of the trees, and the songs of the birds. When life gets to be overwhelming, that can be the exact thing that you need and I truly believe doing this can make a big difference in your day-to-day life.

Workout. I’m sure it’s the one you’ve heard the most. We are always being told that working out helps improve mental health, among it’s many other advantages. But there’s a reason for they say it; it’s because it’s true! Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make us happy! So find out what works best for you–whether it be going to a gym, or following workout videos at home. There are all kinds of different types exercises and a choice of the level of intensity to choose from so you can find your own preference. One of my personal favourites is yoga. On days when I want to work out harder I can choose a higher level, but I also have the option of a slower kind of yoga to help me relax and get centered.

Spend time with your loved ones. I’ve left this one for last, but it is probably the one that helps me the most. Depression can be a very lonely and isolating thing. Sometimes you don’t want to leave your bed and you don’t want to see anyone; and it’s okay to do that at times. When you do, you can use the other tools I listed to help yourself get into a better place. But you should never completely isolate yourself, because your friends and your family can be a great help. Not only can they distract you from your pain and keep your mind occupied on something happier, but they can also be a great comfort when you need to cry or to vent. Don’t be afraid to let the closest people to you in; they love you and they want to help you. They may not always know the exact right thing to do, and sometimes they’ll even say the wrong thing, but it’s always so much better than being alone with your darkness.

 

I hope this helps someone out there.
Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie

 

fashion

STRIPES & POLKA DOTS

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As soon as I saw this dress, I was obsessed. I love everything about it: the mix of prints, the length, the slightly puffed sleeve. And the cherry on top is that it’s so comfortable!

My favourite way to style prints like these is to add colour! I think the best outfits are ones that have fun prints with a pop of colour. So to create this effect, my yellow belt seemed like the perfect option.

When it came to the shoes, I didn’t want something too flashy but still a shoe that would add a fun detail. These black lace up flats were just what I needed.

For my purse, I went with my black pearl one because it seemed to be the perfect match for the polka dots on this dress.

And finally, I added one last accessory in my hair with this adorable pearl barrette. Hair clips are the biggest hair trend right now and I absolutely love it. There are so many options to choose from and it’s such a fun detail to add to any outfit.

Yours truly,

Fashionably Natalie


Dress: SheIn / Shoes: H&M / Bag: Aldo / Belt: Ardene / Hair clip: SheIn

environment

MY EARTH DAY 2019 COMMITMENTS

Happy Earth day!!!

This day is one of the best days of the year because it’s a day solely to give our planet the recognition, love and dire attention it needs. Although the earth should be treated this way every day of the year, it’s great to have a day like this once a year to reflect on our personal lifestyles, and anything we’ve been doing that is harmful to the earth.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing today. I’ve given it some thought and here is a list of the ways I intend to better my lifestyle to help protect the earth.

Today specifically:

Today is a special day so it calls for extra action. On this day I’ve gone out of my way to make sure I’ve done the least harm as possible, such as:

  • No driving – I either walked or took the bus
  • No one-use cups or straws – I made my coffee at home
  • No plastic bags – I opted to carry my items in my hands when I went to the store
  • No lights – we’ve kept our lights off all day until the sun goes down
  • No meat – making a vegan dinner tonight!
  • Talked about earth day, the importance of it, and encouraged everyone to get involved – I created activities at work to celebrate earth day & encourage change and talked about it with my followers on Instagram and my blog

For the rest of the year:

Now here are some of the things I’m setting as goals to change by Earth day 2020 ON TOP of the things I already do (because there’s obviously a lot more than this):

  • Become at least 50% plant-based
  • NEVER take the plastic options offered – always bring my reusable straws, cups and bags. If I’ve forgotten them, I will either carry my items or not get the drink/food
  • All of my beauty/cleaning products will be 100% environmentally friendly & cruelty free
  • At least 60% of my clothes will be made of recycled materials – this one is trickier because trendy pieces are hard to find in this category. However this is also one of the most important goals because fast fashion is one of the biggest polluters in the world. Luckily, brands are getting more environmentally conscious and hopefully there will be many more options in the next year so people like me don’t have to choose between their two passions anymore!

These goals aren’t anything big, but if everyone made a list like this we could create such an impact on the world. And I cannot stress enough how desperate it is for us to make a massive change as a population starting right now. So this list is to show you that you don’t need to completely cut out every food you love or go live in the forest and create no pollution, these small things can become big things if we all do them together.

Have you created a list of your environmental commitments for the next year? If so, let me know what’s on it!

Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie

Mental Health

WHAT DEPRESSION FEELS LIKE

The reason I’ve decided to share this most vulnerable side of myself–as incredibly scary as it is–is to raise awareness for mental health. In today’s post I am writing about what depression feels like in my own personal experience. This isn’t to say that every person feels this exact way because depression can be different in everyone. But whether it’s a different experience or not, I think it’s still good to share. By sharing this, I hope to help those who have never felt depression understand what it truly feels like, and also to let those who do deal with depression know that they are not alone in how they feel.


It feels like walking through a dark tunnel. You can hear people on either side of the walls talking, laughing and making plans for their lives. You want nothing more than to join them, but you as hard as you try, you can’t find an exit from the dark, lonely tunnel.

It feels like walking on the edge of a cliff. Sometimes the road is smooth and you walk with ease and without worry, but eventually you turn a corner and the road gets smaller and pushes you closer to the edge until you’re barely hanging on.

It feels like your eye sight being dimmed. The colours you once saw and the beauty you used to see in the world have disappeared. Everything is grey.

It feels like frustration at not being able to do the simplest tasks; tasks as easy as getting my body out of bed. I was once a person who never hit snooze, who got up right when I needed to. Now, it’s much harder to do when there is the weight of a thousand bricks on top of me.

It feels like shame. You know research shows it is a real illness, but part of you always feels like you should be able to fight it, and you’re weak because you can’t. No physical part of you is broken, shouldn’t you be able to get out of bed?

It feels like fear. You’re constantly afraid people will found out your dirty little secret: that you’re not the happy, bubbly and carefree girl they know you to be. Because of the stigma, you’re terrified every time you have to admit your truth to someone new; prepared for them to voice your inner thoughts that you are weak. When they tell you the opposite, it is the best feeling on earth.

It feels like helplessness. You see the ones who love you suffer along with you because they don’t know how to help you, and you wish even harder that you could be happy for them.

It feels like being two different people. Your first face is the one that the public sees: it’s your happy face. It’s the smile you show to strangers, and the one that lies about how you’re doing inside. It’s the face that shows no sign of internal pain and makes people believe that you’re doing good in life. Your second face is the one that’s crying behind the smile.


Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie

fashion

COZY & GIRLY

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One of the (few) good things that come out of the coldest months of the year is being able to get warm and cozy with sweaters. When the sweater is both super soft and the prettiest pink, there’s just no way to resist. This pink treasure has been my favourite sweater this season and one I just never want to take off because it is so comfortable.

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Because it’s such a cute pink, I thought it would be perfect matched with a skirt. When I have a solid colour piece I love to pair it with a fun pattern to create the perfect balance, and this polka dot skirt was exactly the right mix of fun and girly. This skirt is also super comfortable and has been such an exciting addition to my wardrobe because it’s been so fun seeing how I can mix and match it.

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Finally, to finish off the look I kept it simple. Firstly I added this pink bag to match the sweater, then I added some neutral details with this little necklace and my faux leather booties.

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As much as I have been enjoying this sweater, it seems that spring is finally arriving and I’ve gotta say I am excited to ditch the sweater for pretty floral dresses again! I will get my final wears of out my sweaters until I gladly switch them out for short sleeves.

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Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie


Sweater: H&M / Skirt: SheIn / Necklace: SheIn / Shoes: H&M / Bag: Forever21

Mental Health

The Hidden Side of Me: My Life with Mental Illness

We first met when I was 13.

The moment I met you, I was afraid. I didn’t know a thing about who you were yet, and what a lasting effect you would have on me, but already I knew that you were going to change my life.

Before I met you, I was a kid full of life. I was a kid full of light, and full of smiles. I had a genuine love for life and excitement for every day ahead. The biggest worry I dealt with was if my parents would let me go to my friend’s house to play after school.

When you, an uninvited stranger, stepped into my life that all changed. Suddenly I didn’t want to go to my friend’s house anymore. All I wanted to do was sleep; I would come home from school and go straight to my bed. During the day, I walked around like a zombie. I bounced around from numb to extreme anguish every day. My parents noticed there was something wrong, but I shut them out because I didn’t know how to talk to them about it. I confided a little in some of my friends, but for the most part I felt terribly alone in a sadness that I could find no true cause for.

I had been blessed with a wonderful life. I was born into a wonderful and loving family, I lived in a big beautiful home surrounded by forest for me to play in, I had the greatest friends who I laughed with until we snorted milk out of our noses, I went to a good school and we were comfortable with money. I had everything I needed and more. And yet, you had managed to come into my life and turn everything to sadness even while I still had all these wonderful things around me. Of all of it, this was the most frustrating part about you: that I could see no explanation for you.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned your name: Depression.


Since the beginning of my illness, I’ve had many ups and downs. There have been some really great moments in my life: like when I realized my best friend was the love of my life, when we moved to Toronto together to pursue our dreams, when we adopted our dog Nina, and many more great days in between. But there have also been some really terrible days. At my lowest point, the depression made me see so dark that I tried to take my own life. The illness convinced me that everyone would be better off without me, that the future held nothing good for me, and that it would never get better. My friends and family saved me and after spending some time in the hospital, I began to work on getting healthy. I am still working on that today.

Through the years my depression has followed me–even on my happiest days when I was surrounded by everything that should have brought me eternal joy.

That’s the thing with depression–it follows no rules. It discriminates against no one; it takes who it wants, when it wants. It doesn’t care how successful you are, how happy you have been feeling or how many goals you have for your life. It is like a virus that comes without being called and takes everything. It is a darkness that seeps into your brain and turns every positive thing you had into a negative. It feeds you with lies that everything is hopeless until you start to truly believe it.

Depression is not something that can be entirely cured–there are many ways to reduce it to a level that can still allow me to live a good life, but I have had to come to terms that it will be with me for my entire life. That’s not to say that I won’t still have some great moments in my life, but it just means that I need to be prepared for the harder moments when my illness takes over again and learn how to fight it.


So, now that you know my story, I want to tell you why I’ve decided to share it.

Putting this story out there for everyone to see is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done. It puts me in a spot that is more vulnerable than I have ever been. For years I’ve hid this illness, only letting those closest to me know, and perfected my mask of the happy girl. Now I am taking the mask off and showing the public my inner demons for the very first time.

But as terrifying as it is, I’m doing it because I think that it’s important. As I started to open up to more people about my illness, I found that they started opening up to me. These were people that I always envied for seeming so stable and put-together, while in reality, they were fighting internal battles just like me.

For years, the stigma around mental health has stopped people from being open about their illness and made them feel ashamed. I myself am not immune to that. For as long as I have had it, I have felt the need to hide it because I believed people would see me as a lesser and weaker person for my illness. This is something I’m still working on, but I realize now that the only way to end this stigma is to start talking about it.

So that’s why I’m adding a mental health section to my blog. My goal is to normalize speaking about mental illness the same way we would speak openly about any other physical sickness we have. With time, I hope people will stop feeling ashamed of their illness and realize how real it is and how strong we all are for fighting it every day. A person with any other sort of illness will celebrate their wins against the disease, but those of us with mental illness never get to celebrate because it’s all happening in our heads and no one sees it. And I think it’s so important that we celebrate.

I hope you will follow along on this new journey as I post about my experiences, tools I have learned, and more. If I can help even one person by doing this, then it will all be worth it.

Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie

fashion

A TRENDY LOOK

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Trends are what run the fashion world.

Once the designers and brands announce the newest “it” piece, it’ll be seen everywhere–until the next biggest thing hits the stores. While some fashionistas do prefer to opt out of running after the trends choosing instead a closet full of classic pieces, I like the never ending chase of the hottest new trendy piece. It means there’s always something new and exciting, and that’s what I like about fashion.

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Just like these bell sleeves that have grown large since a couple seasons ago, this pattern that has been all-the-rage, and these exaggerated cat-eye sunglasses that became an instant hit and are now hard to find in stock due to high demand.

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These pieces will probably mean nothing in a year, or two, or three from now but I still enjoy wearing them right now.

I think that as long as you still make the pieces your own, there’s nothing wrong with wearing the pieces everyone one else is. Because I think it’s even more interesting to see each person’s individual take on it–the way they incorporate this mega trend into their own style and personality.

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Fashion is just all about expressing yourself and your own sense of style so have fun with it! After all, like I always say, life is too short to wear boring clothes.

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Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie


Dress: H&M / Coat: Dynamite / Boots: Zara / Bag: H&M / Sunglasses: Zara
fashion

DON’T JUDGE CLOTHES BY ITS LOOK ON THE HANGER

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A remark that I get quite often from people about my clothes is, “I never expected that to look so good on compared to how it looks on the hanger!” And so today’s blog post is to tell you never to judge a piece of clothing before trying it on. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this later. Many of my favourite pieces looked terrible on the hanger.

This dress is an excellent example of this. Sitting there hung up on the rack in the store, it did look quite frumpy and the florals seemed a bit overwhelmed. However, following my own rule, I tried it on anyway and realized I was in love. Once it was on, it fit really nice and looked great once I figured out how best to style it.

 

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What this dress needed was (clearly) not anymore prints, but instead some colour. The pattern offers me a few nice colours I can play with, but for this blog I decide to accentuate the red/orange because I had the greatest coat to go pair with it. Adding a full bold coloured coat was the perfect compliment to this dress because it helps tone down the busyness of the floral pattern.

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I then finished off with a matching purse, and tights with tall boots to add extra warmth.

What do you guys think?

So remember – don’t dismiss items on the rack so quickly, because you are likely missing out on some really great pieces!

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Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie


Dress: H&M/Coat: Zara/Boots: Forever21/Bag: Steve Madden/Sunglasses: Aldo
fashion

ALL ABOUT THE SLEEVES

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Happy Monday!

Today I’m here to talk all about sleeves. Last year, the plain old simple sleeves were gone in an instant, replaced by another style that took up its long reign in the spotlight: the bell sleeves. And while they were fantastic (and still are–so don’t fret, you can still rock your tops from last year), with fashion being as fast as it is, there is now a new star in town.

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This season it’s all about dramatic and over-the-top sleeves. Meaning bell sleeves are still in, but they’re even bigger and better and have made friends up in the spotlight. Sleeves like the ones on the top I’m wearing in this outfit are everything. Look in any fashion forward store and you’ll see a wide range of them. They’re everywhere, and I’m loving it.

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This top that I’m wearing I especially love because it also has such a strong colour. Red has always been one of my favourite colours to wear because it’s so bright and bold. However, wearing a colour like that means the rest of my outfit can’t be too loud or it will be overwhelming.

Therefore, I styled my top with this black skirt that is cute but simple and my black knee-high boots. At this point I felt I was able to sneak in a bit of extra fun to the outfit, so I added my fishnet tights.

I finished off the look with my matching red handbag and red lip.

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What are your favourite sleeves this season?

Yours truly,
Fashionably Natalie


Top: H&M / Skirt: Zara / Boots: Forever21 / Tights: Bizou / Bag: H&M