Work to live, I say! Don’t you dare live to work, for if you do, YOU’LL END UP DEAD… Dead I said!

by Tara Osipoff on July 26, 2012

Just your average day at the office

Looks like it’s cocktail hour

Trust me.. if you live to work, you’ll end up dead… dead I said

Okay, I’m gonna dish a little tidbit about me…

First I wanna mention that I’m loungin’ in a big beautiful white bed in a swanky hotel in Montreal, Canada. There is live music playing outside my window and I have a pretty little glass of chilled white wine and a warm glass of Perrier by my bedside… Okay, I know—the last part about the Perrier doesn’t sound so luxurious. But it would be a shame if I left it out, as I do sip on it from time to time to make the wine taste better… Oh and sweet Lord, does it ever.

So here’s the thing.

When I write, the setting has to be just right. The lighting has to be bright but not blinding; inspiring music has to be playing. I love old rock, indie, and folk; I rock to Beethoven and sway to the sweet blues. Okay—I pretty much like all genres. But the music I listen to must suit my mood perfectly.

Here is the other thing: I need to feel pretty when I write. I like to have my hair done, my heels crossed on the linen bed, be wearing some sort of lace, candy-scented perfume, and—of course—lipstick. I think it’s a confidence thing. I’ll be writing in a room alone, but I want to feel beautiful, confident and lovely. The way every woman should feel, in any situation.

So I lay on the white bedspread in Montreal, a city of fashion, passion and love. I have on my new Chinese Laundry shoes, a leather skirt from a thrift store (that I can’t stop smelling… mmmm the smell of leather never fades), and a Patty Smith shirt from H&M. My hair is lightly tousled and my lips are a pretty pink, and of course I am wearing my Pink Sugar perfume from Sephora (that stuff makes me want to eat myself… yum).

Well enough about me… let’s get down to business. That’s what this is about after all, isn’t it?

Yeah… it totally is.

This post is about modern business attire. The outfits in the shoot are intended to take you from the office to cocktail hour.

Office attire has taken so many turns throughout history and has evolved with the rest of the world. Office wear has gone from strictly suits in the mid 1900s to a business casual feel in the late 80s and early 90s.

Where are we now? With baby boomers on their way out, a new generation is emerging. I think “functionality” became confused with “laziness”. That, my friends, has ended, and as I walk down the streets of Montreal and even my own prairie home, it is clear: the lazy days of jeans and turtlenecks are over. And THANK GOD, right? Like my slogan says: “Life is beautiful, dress accordingly.” It doesn’t read “Life is drab, so wear that ugly turtleneck sweater your mom’s aunt gave you two years ago at Christmas that someone spilled red wine on and then shrunk in the dryer.” No, no… it doesn’t say that at all.

Here’s the thing though. Our Western way of living has things all effed up, and pardon my French, but I think we’re pretty real with each other, right readers?
We work too much to take crappy vacations to all-inclusive resorts where we sleep and drink our week away, trying to forget that we have to return to our over-worked society where we barely see our families, don’t make enough time to see our close friends, and have no damn clue what any of our neighbours’ names are. And for a long time, our office attire reflected just that: an over-worked nation that lost its swag. We started to dress as though we didn’t have time to let our personalities shine at the office—why would we have time for that if we didn’t have time for anything else? But I’ll tell ya people, like the great Bob Dylan once sang, “the times, they are a-changin’.” And why? Because we say so! We have to be the change that we want to see in this world. If we don’t, it will be overtaken by people who work so much that they forget they have a first name. Soon we will simply be known as “Worker 1″ or “Worker 23232838″ or even worse, we’ll start to be defined by the cable knit sweaters we wear to the office. “Purple Lint Ball Cable Knit Lady… Number 46474″… Yikes.

We shouldn’t be slaves to the economy, people—that’s what this post is about. It’s about taking back your right to live. Stop working so hard to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t even like.

It starts out small—bring your personality to work. Put on the black dress with a strange cut, lace trim, and shoes that don’t match but that you love. Wear lipstick. Get up early to do your hair, because you care. Go to work to make enough money to do the things you love, whether that be buying books on building paper airplanes or going to too many Tarantino movies at the old library theatre with your girlfriend. Or, if you are me, work enough so that you can buy art… art in the form of clothing. Oh, sweet humans, how I love clothes (drool runs from my mouth). That’s all I am trying to say here. Don’t waste your life away, and have a personality and show it off at the office. Don’t be afraid to change into a swanky evening gown if you and your colleagues are going for a nice dinner and drinks at a piano bar. You can wear whatever you please. Wear the lace tutu dress if you choose. Just please, please start to care, and take back your passion for living…

Maybe that’s why I get dressed up to write. This is my work, this is my life, and I want my personality to shine through like the beautiful sun that beats down on me. People, please—I beg you to listen. If you live to work, and you don’t work to live, you’ll end up dead. You will wake up when you’re 80, or 99, or maybe 67… What I’m saying is, at some point you will realize that you’ve missed out on life. You will wish that you wore that strange McQueen dress to the office, and you will wish that you let your beautiful personality shine.

It’s not too late!

Take back your life!

And start by wearing it to the office. Wear it to the office and pack a cocktail dress in case someone asks you out for drinks, ‘cause you won’t say no, if you know what’s good for you.

And remember, my zombie fashionistas: life is beautiful, so dress accordingly… and you can start at the office.

With love and passion,

Yours truly,

Tara Marie

A special thanks to my wonderful team that turns my blog into art.

The great and talented Mike Phillips—a creative character this man is. Aren’t his photos amazing?

Sara Lindsay—her makeup makes me feel like I can be turned into anything I desire.

Sophia from Salon 306—she understood my vision for this shoot and really made it stand out… or up.

Jess Martorana, my patient model who endures my tugging and pulling and goes along with all my wacky ideas.

Fazio Boutique in Regina supplied all of these clothes. Sarah, the shop owner, has a unique vision that shines through the more-than-beautiful clothing she brings in. The designers she carries are rare, and trust me—you won’t find them just anywhere. Thanks for helping me spend my paycheques.

Photography by Mike Phillips
Hair by Sophia at Salon 306 in Regina
Makeup by Sara Lindsay
Clothing from Fazio Boutique

The fight for freedom through a li’l ol’ dress…

by Tara Osipoff on July 21, 2012

A time of sex, drugs, and pretty dresses"We were just young restless and bored"

“The ‘60s: Back when the air was clean and the sex was dirty.”

…I read that terrible joke on a coffee mug once.

I didn’t live through the ‘60s or ‘70s. Well—not in this body, at least. But I have this feeling that resides deep within my olive skin, buried deep in my soul, which suggests otherwise…

And! And and and… If you ever snoop in parts of my closet, you might think that I robbed a hippie.

I’m not sure if the air was ever clean. But, I do know that in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the clothes sure weren’t. It was a time of freedom and liberty, pushing the boundaries, and dressing to express the inner desire to reclaim our right to be human. It was a time of free-flowing dresses with no bras, and bell-bottoms that covered the lower half of your body, giving your feet something to kick with each step. It was a time where people stood up and said, “we are human, and we’re going to dress any damn way we want. And if you don’t like it, then don’t look.”

A war that had just begun sparked a revolution, and people fought to put an end to the destruction of freedom. People weren’t willing to be pawns anymore. They started to see the bigger picture: they weren’t making their own choices anymore (or maybe they never had been), and people with big money were playing with them like dolls. This was an era when people began to open their eyes and see that they could take back their freedom. The saying “none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free” was starting to hit home. People started to realize that they were slaves to the economy; they were trapped in something that couldn’t be won overnight. It was bigger than the Vietnam War—it was a global fight for freedom. The ‘60s started something big, and the buzz was everywhere. It could be found in classrooms and in dorms, and among the elite, the middle class, and the poor. No race, no gender, and no social ranking could protect you from the fight for freedom.

It seeped into the minds of the people through lyrics and the strum of a guitar, and it hit the streets in the form of protests. And it was, of course, conveyed through a form of self-expression that not a single human being can escape: clothing. The one thing that no one can avoid. You could choose to not protest and you could choose to be indifferent, but everyone needs to get dressed. That alone, whether you liked it or not, said exactly what your stance on the fight was.

Fashion. It may seem simple to some; it may seem unimportant, and you may feel that it doesn’t say a single thing about you, that it doesn’t define you. But fashion is a walking form of art; it is a walking expression of your inner dialogue. The ‘60s and ‘70s proved this. From cutting up army jackets to wearing maxi dresses that barely covered or touched the skin, how you felt or didn’t feel about the politics of the war was written all over your body.

This blog shoot was exactly that. We hijacked a city bus, and we weren’t going to be told no. I dressed my models in cream and white linens, cottons and knits; the purity of peace and love comes through in these shades. The dresses and pairings are all vintage. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on these classic pieces. The maxi dress I wore, although from H&M, was inspired by a time of Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, and peaceful protests for freedom. Even though it is only a few years old, you can feel where it originates from when you have it on.

You can’t feel more simply beautiful or more subtly pretty than when you have on a linen babydoll, a long maxi dress, or a loose fitting knit with a skirt that kisses the ground.

This shoot was simple because it was free; there was nothing to stop us from laughing and having smiles plastered all over our faces between pictures.
We had fun. We were shooting on a moving bus with people jumping on and off between stops—bells ringing, interferences. But not once did we feel stressed that we weren’t going to get the shots. We knew that the clothes spoke for themselves here. Aren’t they beautiful? They are just that—simple and pretty.

If you aren’t sure if a boxy babydoll dress or a maxi with no shape is your style, then toss on a belt, or maybe two. Pull out a pair of boots and you will suddenly feel it come together. Know this, though: with this look, anything goes. You can wear boots if you wanna; you can wear a jean shirt overtop, or a vest if that’s your thing. Wear brown, wear blue, wear floral, wear you— ‘cause that’s the point of this look, isn’t it? If someone doesn’t like it, then they should simply not look. But lets be real—who wouldn’t love this look? It is as timeless as a Fleetwood Mac record.

My last piece of advice when putting together this look is to have no fear. Whatever you put together, believe in it. Believe that what you have on works, because you are the one that decides. That’s the thing about fashion—the best look that you can wear is your own. So express your inner freedom fighter, express your right to be human, and express your freedom of speech through the clothes on your back.

That’s all for today, my fashionista readers—I have books to read and music to listen to. But don’t worry sweet sweet humans, this won’t be the last you hear from me. Until my next post, remember: life is beautiful, so dress accordingly. Much peace and love in your direction… Yeah, YOU.

Photography by the one and only Mike Phillips
Hair by Sheena Huber – go see her if you know what’s good for yah
Models: Mia, Janel, Jess, Breanne, and of course, li’l ol’ me
Styling by Yours Truly

To find out what everyone is wearing, please see the individual shots for an outfit breakdown.



Let’s talk about prints, baby. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be…

by Tara Osipoff on July 13, 2012

Perfectly mis-matched

Okay fashionistas…

Let’s get the elephant out of the closet. Or shall I say, let’s get out the floral, the cheetah print, and the bird pattern… Let’s get ‘em all out! Let’s get ‘em out, pair them up, and rock them on that sweet bod of yours like it ain’t no thang.

I think that prints tend to scare the typical human. They’re loud, they’re out there, and they’re fabulous. I know what you’re thinking: you need a flat, matte solid to pair them with. Well, my friends, that’s EXACTLY what I want to talk to you about. The days of pairing prints with solids are over!!! Scream it from the rooftops, dig out your mismatched prints, and let’s put ‘em together!

My totally awesome photographer, Mike Phillips, and I hijacked a dingy motel for this shoot. We walked in with a camera, lights, and a suitcase full of prints and patterns that certainly would not match; and what better place to shoot in than a room where the patterns themselves couldn’t be more beautifully, horrendously fabulous? Whoa, that’s a mouthful.

Remember the time you thought that a beautiful pink blouse wouldn’t go well with ripped jean shorts and cowboy boots? Yeah, that was a funny time—and it’s over.

Put on a pair of skull leggings (I just ordered a pair from Nasty Gal that I am impatiently awaiting to arrive) and throw on a pretty floral tank that hangs loose, dude. Toss on some high heels or gladiators if you are sportin’ a skirt or a cropped pant.

Prints were introduced to the European fashion world by India in 2000 B.C. European fashion designers scratched like animals at the door of India’s fabric world to get their hands on these floral fabrics. Until the late 18th century, printed fabrics rarely strayed from this typical structured floral pattern. However, it wasn’t long before new exotic printed trends began to hit the streets. Everything from landscapes to animals and skeletons were seen. Thus, the beauty of a print lies in its origin; through prints, you are able to see the innovation of an exotic culture walking down your very own city street. The other beauty of prints is simply their beauty.

So have no fear! Prints are here… and everywhere. So run, walk, or crawl like an animal to get a printed blouse, a fab print boot, printed leggings, shorts—you name it. Get ‘em on you and do it soon (or later—because prints are here to stay). So be fabulous, be you, and rock out your mismatched pairings. Just remember one thing: Own it.

So be kind, be printed, and be fabulous. ‘Cause life is beautiful, so dress for the occasion.

From one fashion-lover to another, xoxo

Bird print top by Max C London
Ripped shorts with floral inserts from Forever 21
Floral stitched boots by Old Gringo

Makeup by Sara Lindsay
Hair by Sheena Huber
Photography by Mike Phillips

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

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