If my closet could talk…

by Tara Osipoff on August 19, 2012


If my closet could talk, it would tell you that it hasn’t always been glamourous, but it has always had character

My closet would tell you it has seen many come and go, but more have stayed than left


My closet would tell you it’s seen days of rock and roll, and pretty in pink, and sometimes together

My closet would speak with pride of the fabric it holds, from places far away, far from its home


If my closet could talk…

I’m sure you would need a coffee to sit through the tales it would tell, and you may need to add Baileys.

It would sit you down on the hardwood floor with a record playing in the background.

There would be incense burning, and even if there wasn’t, it would seep from the clothes that it holds.

It would speak soft and graciously, laugh sweetly occasionally.

It would be educated, for it hold fabrics from all over this great earth, and for years all it has done is listen attentively to the tales of the fabric, the hands that have stitched them.

If you had time it would tell you of the colours it holds, not bragging, but gushing with excitement, from mints to plush purples and ravishing reds.

It would never be condescending; it knows wisdom is humble. It contains articles that have lived through eras of trying times and great leaders.

It knows that its contents are inspired by great books, fantasy and fiction, film and theatre, art and music; it would speak highly of all its inspiration.

You would be laughing as it told you of the days of disaster, where I would pull out item after item in search of a piece that fit my mood that day.

It would have you on the edge of your seat, telling you tales of how some of the items came to be in that closet: thrift stores, sale racks, bargaining, and beautiful boutiques.

Your nails would be chewed off when it walked you through all of the style phases I have gone through, and then came back to and then left again, while fully knowing I would return to them once more (or nine hundred times more—a phase can be repeatedly repeated).

It would shock you with the shirts it holds from rock concerts attended in all parts of this world. It may give you a heart attack if you knew who had signed some of them.

It would have you in tears while it spoke of the days where I wasn’t comfortable with myself. Those days it would tell of with a gentle tone, expressing that I was lost, and I didn’t visit the closet with the passion that it knows I have. You would weep for those tales, the tales of no self worth; but it would tell you not to worry your pretty little head, because those days are gone, and have been gone for a long, long time, and are never coming back.

It would tell you stories that you would be sure were fairytales, stories of the dresses it holds—dresses that drape the floor, dresses that kiss the tips of my shoulders down to my teeny toes. Lace and linens, crinoline and tutus, strapless and shoulder pads—dresses that Cinderella would dream of. Alexander McQueen and Dolce have graced its presence; you would feel honoured to hear it speak of the great artists it has been so grateful to hold.

My closet would never tell you its life has always been glamorous; it has seen hard times, for every collection has a beginning, and this one had one as well. There were days of growth, days where money was tight, and although there may have been days where the items it contained were few and far between, my closet was never drab. The pieces were always ones that had character; it always had character and it always had pride, even when times were tough. That, my closet would tell you, is important.

If you could have a conversation with my closet, it would tell you all of this, I am sure of it. It would be a rollercoaster of emotion, but it would always leave you wanting more. And knowing the full story couldn’t be told with just one cup of coffee, there would always be things left unsaid, items you wish you could hear more about, or dirty little secrets of stitching and alterations—but my closet would never stitch and tell.

I will tell you this much for free: if you could spend an afternoon with my closet, the one thing I am sure of is that you would leave feeling inspired, a bit quirky, and certainly with a smile on your face. It would have a pretty little tale to tell.

As I get older, and my closet sees more and more, I think I would save my chat with my closet for a day much further away, when I am old and gray and have some time on my hands—time to laugh and cry and just sit and be still with an old friend, my dear closet.

The fact is, though, my closet can’t talk. But although it can’t tell you of the dirt I’ve just dished, it is not just a hole in the wall, a rectangular shape in which people toss fabric; it holds many tales and it has an imagination. This is just a story of what it might say, if it had your attention, for just a little while. I think that above all it would tell you that it doesn’t hurt to be a dreamer—it doesn’t hurt to live a fantasy—because I do, and it does, everyday.


For this shoot I pulled all of the clothes from my very own closet. Thanks for sharing with me, old pal.

Photography by Scott Goodwill, a lovely guest photographer whom I admire and you will see featured here. His work is splendid and quite his own. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram @scottagoodwill.

Hair by Salon 306

Styling by me, of course

Remember: life is beautiful, be good to your closet, and dress accordingly.

Much love and wackiness to you all.

Now I must do what I do, read.

Chat soon my lovelies.

Wakie Wakie, It’s Back to School Time

by Tara Osipoff on August 16, 2012

“Wakie wakie, rise and shine, you had your sleep, I had mine! BRIAN AND TARA, IT’S TIME TO GET UP FOR SCHOOL!”

The sun is leaking through my light blue drapes and I can smell the scent of the coffee seeping up the stairs. My mom pushes open the door of my light blue and yellow room, where even on a gloomy day it seems as though the sun is still shining.

The wakie wakie? Oh, that’s my mom, Cheryl. I hope as you read that you imagined a high-pitched tone with a strong EEEE! at the end of wakie, ‘cause that’s how she would sing it as she giggled, coming in and stealing our blankets or crawling in beside us to try and annoy us. She is a morning person that woman, I tell ya, and she’d be damned if she was going to let us get away with being grumpy when we opened our eyes.

I love September. I am not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I am sort of a self-proclaimed nerd. September meant going back to school. Whether it was high school or university, it meant it was time to get back to the books, and no matter how you may feel about school by the middle of the year, it is undeniable that the first month is always fun. You get to see all of the friends you haven’t seen all summer, and the ones you have seen way too much (the ones you can’t wait to see so you can talk to them about all the kids you haven’t seen all summer). You get to buy all of your brand new supplies—new pens, backpacks, and pencils—that you will lose in a week, and new books to write your name on, as if someone would actually want to steal your notebook full of math equations. But most importantly, the real reason for wanting to back to school (and let’s be honest here, we both know the real reason I loved going back to school) was for the CLOTHES.

The month before school would start I would go to every store in the city, scoping out what clothes would be hot for the fall. My parents would always give me X amount of dollars to spend on back-to-school clothes growing up. Unlike a lot of my peers who would take a portion of their back-to-school clothes fund money and spend it elsewhere, I could never fathom doing such a thing. I had every dollar planned out for items that I had been eyeing up at select stores, waiting for my school clothes fund to be in my hand. I had tried on every article and knew how versatile it would be, how many different ways it could be worn, and if it was in style that season or if it would be for the entire year. Though my parents were not wealthy, my brother and I never went without; my dad, who I admire to the utmost, worked two jobs to make sure that my brother and I could always have and do the things we wanted to as children. This in turn made me very grateful for everything we owned. It also helped that my mother, the beloved morning singer, loved clothes as much as I did and was the same size as me. She had the latest in everything.

I noticed at a very early age that I had a peculiar choice of attire. If it wasn’t mentioned to me, I brought it to my own attention. I wore mismatched items that still seemed to flow, and my hair was always doing wild things. Inspired by books, music, movies, and art, my style was a reflection of all these things, and at times it was quirky and animated. My brother Brian and I loved film; we would watch all genres and then have intense debates on directors, actors, and style. A popular outing for us as children was a trip to the theatre, whether live or film; my mom would always join and it would usually turn into a scene, my brother and I trying to embarrass her in any way possible. Thus it is no wonder that my sense of style is heavily inspired by one of my favourite directors, Tim Burton. He is a creative genius who is not afraid to push boundaries and be his odd self, in both his work and personal life. That was sort of my family—odd and creative.

So as I entered high school and slowly discovered that I marched to the beat of my own drum, I found it hard to find pieces that I liked at the typical department stores. My brother, who had an innovative, alternative grunge feel to his style, found a local store he fell in love with called Tiki Room and World of Trout. The owners were local people and extremely personable; that was more my style. Rather than a chain store, I wanted to find one that suited my diverse need in clothes. The owner of World of Trout started to make a lot of her own clothes and brought in designers that were not as easily found in Regina at the time. Although you could find many top brands there, a wide selection was available for every day that ended in Y. I think a big portion of my back-to-school-clothes fund was spent there, and my parents didn’t mind—they enjoyed the owners and knew we looked up to them.

As I grew more comfortable with myself and realized that being whoever I was was just fine, my style evolved and became more defined. I started to shop at more locally owned stores and found that when a store was locally owned, there was a passion behind their product—a story behind their pieces—turning shopping into the fairytale in which I live. I found that a lot of times, local owners put time and effort into the clothes that they put on their shelves. I wasn’t just another customer, and neither were you; they cared about what the people of the city wanted and they brought in items that suited their own style as well as that of the people they served.

For this shoot I used clothes from some of my all-time fav shops. If I am going to shop in Regina, I like to go local first, and these guys have been in the biz’ for a long time and know what’s hot. They know how to make you look unique and how to keep you fresh. World of Trout, Tiki Room, and Norwood: their eclectic sense of style allows youth and adults to have choices in their swag. They allow their customers to be able to beat to their own drum and have a sense of self; the people who work at these stores are stylish and helpful.

This year I’m diggin’ letterman jackets, crisp jeans, and graphic tees for back-to-school trends. I love a really polished, indie feel on a guy, perhaps some rolled up pressed pants and a tucked-in button down. Tiki is carrying this dope pair of jeans that I recommend picking up; it is a limited edition jean by Levi’s and Nike! The model that wore these for the shoot had trouble giving them back to the shop; he knew he wanted to have a pair. A collaboration like that doesn’t show up everywhere and doesn’t happen often, so be sure to get down to Tiki and check out these sick jeans while they still have them. Our to-die-for dresses were easy to find at Norwood. I walked in, and knowing that I only had two females to dress for this shoot was difficult, as all of the dresses in the shop could make anyone feel pretty. It was a serious challenge to pick only two. I am in love with a cool pair of cords on a man with a Hawaiian-inspired shirt; one of my models wears it well in this shoot. It is such a sexy, casual way to spend your day, feeling fly looking like a beach boy with sway. Ha. Don’t be afraid to wear a closed-toe shoe and roll up your pant leg, whether it touches the shoe or not.

As my style evolves I know that I need to stay true to myself; my quirky style never leaves. No matter where I shop, I make sure I’m never pressured into wearing something that doesn’t reflect who I am. Some days I can be found in head-to-toe pink, and other days I couldn’t be bothered to see the colour. I like pretty dresses with bows some days and other days I want to rock a military outfit with a bowtie. No matter where you shop, stay you—never change who you are no matter what is trendy. There is always a way of pulling it off with your own swag. You are the most beautiful, the most fashionable, when you are exactly who you are. Style isn’t defined by where you shop; the brand you sport is all in how you wear it. Be comfortable, be creative, and be you.


Y’all know I have nothin’ but love for all y’all. I think you are all absolute in your own form; I wouldn’t change a single thing about any of you—that is, if you are exactly who you are.

I love to shop online and I like to pop into department stores to see top designers, but it’s important to remember to shop local. They know the city best; they live here, they know the climate and the trends that are in, and what works best with the seasons and the colours. Most importantly, we should always support people that take chances, to see their dreams through. A city depends on the success of local storeowners; it is what makes a city unique. It is what defines a city—the people who reside here, their work, their passion. So yes, find your digs worldwide, but the sickest style for this city can be found in this city. #shoplocal

Okay my lovely readers, I am off to shop, but what else is new?

Photography? You know who, the one you’ve come to know and love, Mike Phillips

Hair? Oh come on, who else do you know that can do hair this fly other than Sheena Huber from Elements

Styling? But me, of course

Remember this year as you are shopping for your back-to-school-gear that life is way too beautiful to wear that sweater you spilled juice on last year and that your mom can’t get out. So toss it in the Goodwill, and dress accordingly.

Yours truly,

Tara Marie


You are the only you I know, and God, you’re good at it

by Tara Osipoff on August 4, 2012

Cut outs are just fine by meThe days where suits had style are back

I’m gonna tell you all a secret today…

Truth is, I’m not really sure if it’s exactly a secret, but I am absolutely sure that it’s something that most of you don’t know. That, my friends, I am sure of. So that kinda makes it a secret, right?
So, someone needs to tell you—someone needs to let this secret out, let this sucker spread.

I don’t know how I found this secret out, but I will tell you this much for free: finding out was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

So now I know what’s going through your head. You’re sitting there at your computer, sipping your coffee, impatiently reading and saying to yourself, “Tara, tell me the damn secret already! If I’ve been waiting my entire life to hear it, stop fart’n around and spill the beans.”

Not yet. I’m going to tell you a story that will lead me to the point of this post.

There was once this little girl.
She was born into a family, a lovely family. She had a momma and poppa, a big bro, and a cat named Bill. She grew up a daddy’s girl, she loved to read, and she couldn’t get enough of being outdoors. She liked to put on high heels while her mother cleaned the house and dance around to Van Morrison and The Beatles. She had a brother who she adored. She was smart, and she loved to discover whatever the world was serving on its platter that day.
She was wonderfully weird and sometimes awkwardly funny.
As she grew up, she went through many stages: grunge, skater, hippy, and even a pretty-polka-dot-dress phase.
She started to realize that being beautiful was a very important attribute to have in the society in which she was living. So she tried everything she could to be perfect. She wanted to fit into that neat little box that she viewed as the most important thing to be a part of. She did anything she could to be in that box. She tried dieting—an apple a day keeps the belly away. She tried wearing makeup—well, she stole make up from her mother—because makeup, she thought, would get her into that box.
If she could just make it into that box, she would be popular, and popular people don’t have problems. She wouldn’t be weird, and all the things she loved to do would change into the things that would make her loved by the people who love the box. And the whole world loves that box; everyone wants to be in it, and when you’re in it, life must be perfect, she thought. So out with the grunge and in with the tight, skinny-minny pants, and the tops that cost too much and that 9834 people in the city own. But I mean, if they all have it, then people in the box must have it too.
This was all really hard for her. She was very unhappy, and no matter what she did it wasn’t good enough to be in the box. No matter how many apples she didn’t eat—it didn’t matter if she brushed her hair 567 times—when she bought the latest digs from the coolest stores, she just couldn’t get into the box where she dreamed to be.
It was depressing, and no matter what she did, nothing was ever good enough.

Then one day, some things happened in that girl’s life; some things that seemed really bad at the time, but later in life would prove to have been the best thing to ever happen to this wonderfully odd human. These things that happened unleashed a really, really big secret, a secret that changed her life.

Well, after those things happened, she realized that the only one who decided whether she was in that box or not was HER. That the box, after all she had dreamed it to be, was imaginary. The expectations of getting into that damn box were all made up in her pretty little head. She realized that if that box were real, she was WAY too big for that box anyway. She realized that the people she wanted to be like were people she could never be like—because she was she, and they were they. She finally realized that the only person she could be the best at being was herself. She didn’t have to be a size two, four, or double zero; she didn’t have to wear pink if she didn’t want to; and she didn’t have to pretend to love reality TV, because she realized there was no point. No one was judging her; if the box she wanted to fit in was all made up—if the expectations to get into that box were all crazy expectations she had imagined herself—then there was no one to impress. There was no one to whom she could show that she was “normal” enough to get into the box, ‘cause that box wasn’t damn well real. Wow…what a bloody relief that was. She only had one person to be, and that was easy: she was good at being herself.

Look, here’s the thing. I wanted to do a swimsuit edition; they are the one thing that every girl dreads. I wanted to do it because swimsuits have come a long way. The bosomy Barbie, barely-cover-your-nipple days are over. Swimsuits are back, and with class. You can be whatever size you are and feel rockin’ in swimwear once again. Why? Because there are swimsuits with mad style out there right now. It is a really special time for swimwear. ‘50s-style swimwear is back, and suits with structure and design are everywhere. One-pieces and two-pieces that don’t show off your na-nas (cause your na-nas are meant for you and the select few), one-piece suits with cutouts and, if you have noticed the suits that we are rockin’ in this shoot, one of them even has a hood. Thought is actually being put into the style of swimwear. The days of two triangles and a barely-there bottom with no real art put into it are done, and thank God; not every body and not everybody wants to wear something they can’t feel comfortable walking along the beach in, wondering what parts of them might accidentally be showing.

The thing is, people, we are all unique. My big secret I wanted to share is this: I don’t think you know how absolutely effin’ stunning you are. Yeah, YOU! How do I know? ‘Cause I know—I’ve seen you, and man, you are beautiful! There isn’t a thing about you I would change. You don’t have to be a size two—you are so gorgeous the way you are. When is the last time you looked in the mirror in a swimsuit and said, “Yeah, you’ve got it! You’re a beautiful human being, ‘cause there is no one else like you!”… Well, if it’s been a while—or if you NEVER have—then do it now. It feels reeeeealllly good.

I am okay with myself, whether in an itty-bitty cutout swimsuit or in a grungy Nirvana shirt with my favourite jeans and heels that could kill a man if need be. The point is, there isn’t a box with a bow on it that you need to fit into; you are bigger than that box, you are greater, and you were made to come out of that box and show the world what you’ve got. Be you, okay? Be free, and be the best you that you possibly can be, ‘cause that’s the way I like you best. And you know, no one else does you better than you do.

There isn’t another one like ya’.

So get out your ‘50s-style swimwear, grab your two-piece or your onesie, and get it on and get out into the water, or maybe even cook some dinner in it. Do whatever feels comfortable to you, because the only person allowed to judge you is you, and we both know you look great.

Remember, life is beautiful and so are you, so dress accordingly, ‘kay?

Photography by the genius Mr. Mike Phillips
Makeup by the one and only Sara Lindsay. Fab job, eh?
Hair by the numero uno Sheena Huber—she rocks mad styles
Models: Alex Beautiful Martin (beautiful isn’t her real middle name but it should be) and Nicole Drayton (what a babe)…Oh and yeah, me
Styling by the girl from the story… ooops… moi
Swimwear: Black cutout by Victoria’s Secret; Black hooded suit by American Apparel; two-toned suit by American Apparel

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Chaelah Webster: you inspire me to be me, and it’s people like you that make this world a more wonderful place to be. You are truly beautiful, inside and out.

Life is Beautiful, Dress Accordingly is a Blog by Tara Osipoff

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