It’s the burning question on every fashionista’s mind right now: What, oh what, will rural Catholic school teachers be wearing this year? Well, ladies (and gents?), your answer is here.

Earlier in the summer, I had a visit from my very own personal stylist, Practical Fashionista (Lisa McLatchie), who performed a much-needed Wardrobe Makeover on my closet.

First, she helped me purge the stuff that needed to go. Next, she gave advice on mixing and matching pieces I already own, instead of my usual (yawn) combinations. To achieve my final goal, Lisa helped me to compile a shopping list of on-trend Fall items to complete my work wardrobe, trying to add to and complement things I have, as opposed to buying completely new outfits.

She later sent me some collages of ideas, working with basic dress pants already in my closet as a base:

Armed with Lisa’s suggestions I hit various malls (always looking for deals of course), and managed to cross most of the items off my list.

Here are the various looks I put together, with Lisa’s inspiration and advice. (Newly purchased items are in bold print; everything else was in my closet.) Keep in mind we’re not analyzing the hair and makeup here, people, it’s all about the clothes.

Look # 1

My Question: Is my tweed skirt still in, and what can I wear with it other than matchy-match brown blouses?

Lisa’s Answer: She said yes, it’s a keeper, and it can be jazzed up with a denim button down and a belt.

Skirt: Ricki’s, Shirt: American Eagle, Belt: Mark’s Work Wearhouse circa 1996.
I KNEW I kept it for a reason!

Thinking that there’s something missing in the photo above? Well, here’s the necklace I was planning to wear and forgot about: (Hey, you try to remember everything while styling and modeling in a photo shoot, being photographed by your husband who was coerced into the venture with the promise of “It will only take a few minutes!”)

Looks # 2 and # 3

My Question: I have a great collection of dress pants in various colours, but I’m sick of wearing pants and a sweater every day. What are some other stylish options for tops?

Lisa’s Answer: Layering using blouses and jackets. She also suggested looking for jackets in standout colours, avoiding the matchy suit look of black jacket with black pants.

(By the way, I saw Lynn Spence on Cityline last week going on and on about how hot blazers are for Fall, so this isn’t just Lisa’s opinion. Plus, my lapels have high notches; a good thing according to Lynn.)

Blazer, Blouse, Pants all Suzy Shier. The top has little keyhole cutouts around the neckline as well, which add interest when it’s worn without the jacket.

Blazer, Blouse, Pants all Suzy Shier
Looks # 4 and 5

My question: How can I take some short-sleeved dresses and extend their lives through Fall?

Lisa’s answer: Jackets, of course, as well as properly fitted cardigans and shrugs.

Cardigan: Sirens, Belt: Dynamite, Dress, Necklace: Suzy Shier
I’ve actually worn the shift dress above the past couple of winters with a long-sleeved tee underneath, but that look has seen its day. Lisa also reminded me that it’s okay to ditch the belts that come with dresses and swap in something more interesting.
Jacket: RW and Co, Dress, Necklace: Suzy Shier

Lisa suggested picking up a modern-style denim jacket, which my husband totally doubted was back “in” until he saw the entire Canadian olympic team wearing them at the Closing Ceremonies! This is the look I wore when I went behind the scenes at Canada AM (though I ditched the jacket for my faux co-host pic sitting at the desk with Marci Ien!)

Sure, I run the risk of being known as “Jacket Girl” this year…but that’s so much better than last year’s “Old Predictable Boring Sweater Girl”. I know, teachers can be so cruel. And I’m kinda pushing the age limits of the word “Girl”, aren’t I?

Look # 6

My question: What can I wear with this gorgeous jacket, given to me by a friend? It’s hard to tell in the photo, but it’s pretty glitzy looking.

Lisa’s answer: A blouse with some metallic threading for underneath, and skinny jeans (or my cream dress pants, if I really want to dress it up). This is something I’d wear for an outing in the big city, probably not to work.

Jeans: Suzy Shier, Blouse: H & M, Jacket: Mac + Jac

Look # 7

My question: Should I be incorporating animal print hosiery (received as a blog freebie), and if so, how?

Lisa’s answer: These tights go nicely with a denim skirt and a solid-coloured top.

Skirt: RW and Co, Belt: Dynamite, Necklace: Suzy Shier, Blouse: H & M, Tights: Secret (the brand name; I’m not keeping the information confidential!)

Look # 8

My question: What colours should I be looking for this season?

Lisa’s answer: She encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone (I wear a LOT of black and brown) and punch up the colour. I thought I did well with this one (my first wardrobe item ever in orange, I believe), though I’ll have to top it with a sweater or jacket for work, of course:

Blouse: Suzy Shier, Pants: Suzy Shier
Anyone else think I look kind of Elisabeth Hasselbeck-y in this one? Just me, then.
As shown at the top of the post, when Lisa put together the collages for me, she picked out several gorgeous bangle bracelets, but between my watch on the left and Pandora bracelet on the right, I feel like my wrists are full enough for regular workdays. I’ll certainly try to jazz things up with a bangle or two for special occasions though!

It was hard to get good shots of the footwear, but here is my collection of flats for Fall, which are animal print, brown, black, grey and metallic, and all purchased at Payless. (I’m almost 5’10” and on my feet most of the day, so flats are my go-to for work.)

While I’m sure I have enough outfits to get me through to Spring now, I will have to do some serious boot-shopping once the weather cools down, because I don’t think Lisa was very impressed with my clunky options!

As you can see from my outfit info, I don’t shop anywhere fancy or expensive for my clothes. Which this year freed up extra money for a ridiculous handbag purchase…which I will share with you next week!

In closing, for those of you who know me well, either in real life or as readers, I ask you to picture this: for the last couple of weeks, as I waited for my “photographer” to prioritize this assignment, all of these outfits and accessories were strewn across my bedroom floor. Can you imagine the steady increase in heart rate and blood pressure? I could hardly sleep with the stifling clutter beside me. I swear, now that everything is hanging properly (because of course I had to do that before I could even think of writing up this post) I’m breathing much easier!

So, there you have it! Feedback, as always, would be welcomed!

6 comments on “This Mom Models Her Back-To-School Fashions”

  1. WOW!!! You should dress in bright colors more often, because you look FANTASTIC!!

    My girls looked at your photos and thought they were amazing as well. Their favorouite is you in the orange halter top.

  2. Love the looks!! The jackets are fab and the colours really suit you. I will be taking my fall inspiration from you!

  3. Great job Kate – you look AMAZING, and I love that you did incorporate some more colour! So happy I could help, but even happier to see the end result when a client does what I suggest, and they look so great (and happy) as a result. 🙂

    P.S. Am loving the animal print flats from Payless – so cute!

  4. Very impressed Kate! Particularly love the orange top on you. And yes you do look like Elizabeth Hasselbeck but I think you are even more of a ringer for Princess Mary of Denmark – check it out.

  5. Thanks, Cathy – of course I had to Google Princess Mary of Denmark as soon as I read your comment…and now that I've seen her, I am going to take that as a compliment!

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