Featured Friends

Meet Nicole, an amazing writer with a great spirit!

Meet Nicole, a great friend with a great spirit who just so happens to be the amazing Writer and Owner of Sparrow Writing and Editing Services and an award winning poet and essayist.  Nicole and I met about 7 years and have remained friends ever since….one of my favourite memories of Nicole and I is when we went black Friday shopping way back in 2010, we stood in line outside Bellingham Mall, chattering our teeth away while trying to keep the spirit of shopping alive at midnight in freezing cold weather for midnight madness deals!  Crazy? Perhaps….Awesomely fun? Absolutely….Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

One of Nicole’s recent personal essays, Shame Shame, was published at Hippocampus which is an online literary magazine that is devoted to memorable creative non-fiction, visit Nicole’s blog NicoleBreit.com to see more of her amazing work.

And now I introduce you to my good friend Nicole 🙂

Tell me about the outfits you chose for this post

Purple has long been my favourite colour, but I fell in love with this dress because of the unique design — in particular the knotted peekaboo neckline. I bought it for a special occasion — I recently won a literary award and wanted something to wear to celebrate!
For my first outfit I chose the Cherry Vevlet Daphne Dress from Cherry Velvet Plus. I chose this dress because I feel strong, beautiful and comfortable in it… the cut fits me perfectly with the empire waist and twirly skirt. It also suits my style — or at least what I’m aiming for! Feminine, flirty, fun.
I paired it up with my beloved Fluevog Angel boots, which I have owned for 18 years. I’ve worn these boots to university, to various jobs, to take my kids to school, to parties and concerts — even to my grandmother’s funeral. I’ll still be wearing them when I’m 80.
My second outfit features Diane Kennedy. This is my go-to outfit for a work meeting or conference. What I like about it is it’s casual but still gives a put-together first impression. I want people to get a sense of my personality with everything I wear: in this case, professional but friendly and approachable.
The key piece is the blazer by Vancouver designer, Diane Kennedy, who is also the brilliant mind and talent behind Cherry Velvet. I paired it with a tank top to downplay this businessy outfit a bit — no button up collars for me — and a playful splash of colour. The plum heels are my favourite touch. They dress things up a notch, but with a sense of fun.

Describe your wardrobe choices when you were younger

In high school: Goth light. I wore a lot of black, vintage granny sweaters from thrift stores as well as men’s dress shirts, loose layered Au Cotton fare and florals (it was the late 80s/early 90s) — a combination of ultra-feminine or careless androgyny, each styled with baggy black pants or leggings.

In my 20s: Bohemian/Retro. Loose peasant blouses over tank tops with flare jeans or long broomstick skirts with tiny bells on the drawstrings. I sewed a lot of my own clothes  and rocked a lot of handmade dresses sewn from vintage and contemporary patterns. I also loved gaudy thrift store patterned gowns and shirts from the 60s and 70s.

In my 30s: Stylish professional/cool mom. This was the era of sassy retro-style t-shirts with funny slogans, like a mountain landscape across the chest and “I’m proud of these mountains” written over it. Being a working mom challenged me a little style-wise, because I didn’t have as much time (or clean clothes!). But I knew the power of a good empire waisted maternity dress and still rocked a peasant blouse or two.

Now: Retro modern. I still love retro style, which is why I’m such a big fan of Cherry Velvet (and chose to wear clothes designed by Diane Kennedy today). Form flattering, feminine styles that hearken back to the 50s and 60s. As I’m self-employed I now wear a lot of comfortable yoga pants and tank tops, jeans and t-shirts… and knee-length dresses with my 1998 pair of Fluevog angel knee high boots when the mood strikes!

If you could tell your younger self something about fashion what would it be?

Once you accept your body, you will figure out how to rock your style! I tried to hide in baggy clothes when I was 14 or 15. It was hard to find clothes that fit properly because I had a relatively small waist and wide hips (which is why I loved baggy Au Coton pants, which were so forgiving).

Also: follow your instincts! Digging around thrift shops with my best friend to find something unique that I could mix up with what I had at home was creative, fun, and helped me try new things when what was in the stores could be so limiting.


How did your style evolve?

It evolved over time as a reflection of my life circumstances and evolving character. The common thread I see is a love of vintage styles from the 50, 60s and 70s, but how I wore them and accessorized them changed over time. It also changed as I gained confidence and could take risks, because I knew I looked good in certain styles, colours and cuts. Once you know how to work what you’ve got, fashion becomes fun and you find your “style”.

If you could raid someone’s closet whose would it be and why?

This morning I joked about raiding the closet of a mom at my kids’ school! She was wearing soft black bamboo leggings, a simple black top with a beautiful light-weave sweater over top. She said she shopped at Art Knapps — I know the place! They have gorgeous clothes. They’re not just good for plants and cut flowers!

Where do you like to shop for clothing?

I am absolutely in love with Cherry Velvet and after such a spectacular experience shopping from their Vancouver location I would highly recommend them. How, I wondered, would I ever go back to the mall, which I kind of hate?

I shop Old Navy for jeans and basics and still pop into the odd thrift store on occasion. I’ve had a few good finds at the Salvation Army on Main St. and the Value Village on Hastings. Cleo has nice things from time to time. I don’t shop high end labels… I’ve been known to buy a lot of leggings and yoga pants, and the odd (very beloved) red hoodie from Costco… I would love to go back to sewing my own clothes.
And finally, what do you think of Francesca’s Fearless Fashion?
I love FFF! I love what you are doing for other women who love fashion with a passion, but also for yourself, because this blog is part of a dream — and anyone who follows a dream is an inspiration.

Awe, thanks Nicole! I’m honoured to have such an amazing friend! 🙂
Photos captured by Jon Pernul.