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.

A Pretty Little Place on Earth, Montreal

by Tara Osipoff on July 27, 2012

Home will always be home. But the earth is big, wide, and beautiful, and it would be a shame to leave it undiscovered.

Humans. We are a funny breed, aren’t we? So complex and uniquely designed. Some of us are nesters, settlers. Others—we are migrators, always wanting to discover, search, and move. It is embedded in us.

I was born in a place called Regina. It is a town that I am sure I will speak of widely throughout my posts. It is gorgeous. At night, the prairie skies could charge money for the show they put on. Pinks, blues, purples, reds, and delectable oranges that you could not paint more pretty. I feel grateful to have been born in such an inspiring place; a place where I could design my outfits based on the colour of the sky that day.

We have all four seasons there; the winters are cold, but they are meant to make you appreciate the summer. They also make for the wearing of gorgeous lush coats, coats that come in all shapes and sizes: itty-bitty ones and long, skirt-style coats that sweep the snow when you walk.

The fall brings with it colours you could only imagine in your dreams. My favourite time of year in Saskatchewan, it reminds me of why I love the earth; that it is a canvas in which we are simply just part of the texture. Fall comes with boots to stomp around in: rain boots and leather boots, browns and greys, purples and burnt yellows. On a fall day, you can go sit in a prairie field, look around, see for miles and miles and be sure you were in heaven.

The spring is slushy and muddy, but it is the earth’s way of showing you its glory; that it is the source of all living things, that it has a plan and you are part of it—and if you treat the earth right, it will keep us all a part of that plan. With the sign of new life everywhere, budding on every branch, sprouting in every pot—the prairies is an amazing place to be in the spring. It makes you feel like life is perfect just the way it is: morning sun, afternoon rain, and cool evenings by the window with a cup of tea.

And then there is summer. Regina’s summers are hot as hell… there is no other way to put it. Summer is the reason our ancestors settled here. It is the reason the winter is so cold; because you know how hot summer is, you understand that the break is needed. Some days the sun is so powerful you want to look it straight in the big eyeball and say, “YA! I GET IT! YOU’RE POWERFUL, YOU’RE HOT—NOW CHILL OUT!”

Those are a few of my favourite things about Regina.

But Montreal… I never knew a place like this existed. It makes me want to put on my most beautiful dress just to walk its streets. You feel honoured and grateful just to exist here. It even smells different; it has a scent to it that you all know—the smell of new clothes. You know when you first buy an item of clothing and it has that fresh, “just-made” scent? Well that’s how Montreal smells, and I know why.

Although the city is old and beautiful, it is ever evolving, ever changing. The people here are innovative, they are creators; the city flourishes with artists and great minds alike. That’s why it smells so fresh and new—because it is. Although it is well aged, it is reinvented daily by the people who live here.

As I got dressed this morning before heading out to the museums and vintage shops that I had previously mapped out, I knew that something was different from my daily routine. Today I got dressed to impress. Not to impress people, other humans—but to impress the city itself. I feel like I owe it to Montreal to look my very best. Out of respect I put on my beautiful Mexx maxi dress that I wore in this photo, because I wanted to feel beautiful for the city. I wanted to feel inspired, and I always feel inspired in beautiful clothes. I have so much to discover here—I can’t say that I have enough time here—but this won’t be the only time I visit this city of culture, this city of design, this city of pure art. It can’t be—I owe this city more than that.

Humans: we always want to discover what we don’t understand, or we fear it. I don’t understand Montreal yet, but I’m not afraid; I want to know it, all of it. I want to be able to list all of the reasons why I love it. I can tell you right now about why I am drawn to it, but I want to be able to share why I purely adore it—all the small things that make me melt about this city, about this beautiful place on earth…

I know one thing for sure: the people that occupy this space—they know fashion. Even the most simply dressed people look as though they have dressed themselves with love—love for their city, love for themselves.

I’m off to do what I do, my dear followers, my sweet humans: I’m off to bask in art, to see the beauty here.

Au revoir,

And remember—life is beautiful, dress for the occasion.

Photography by the one and only Mr. Mike Phillips
Makeup by the lovely Sara Lindsay
Hair by Sheena “The Babe” Huber (she truly is one of the greatest in her field)
Styling by me, of course

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

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