I am so not a fashion blogger but I do love where fashion, handmade, and creative business intersect. After seeing so many posts of perfectly styled outfits (especially when I was shopping to go to Altitude Summit) I started taking notes for a series called CREATIVEstyle to profile the style of diverse creatives. Around then the beautiful ladies of Poppy Barley contacted me to see if we could collaborate – it was a dream match! Poppy Barley is an Edmonton based Canadian company making the most exquisite footwear custom made to your measurements. Founders Kendall and Justine are sisters as are Caroline and Monica, their business ethic is family focused and all about the craft of custom made. Their shoes are handcrafted in Leon, Mexico and you can read about why they chose their location right here. I thought they would be the perfect sponsor to launch a series all about embracing our unique style and explore new ways of partnering with brands for our marketing madness theme.
Tara Swiger wrote a wonderful post this week about escaping the comparison trap of the internet so you can be your very own version of awesome. We see so many posts and photos of perfectly styled outfits but I wanted to see this community share our every day creative style and the outfits that make us feel confident and wonderful. To start off our series the Poppy Barley team got dressed in some of their favourite outfits (and of course gorgeous shoes) to share their unique CREATIVEstyles and offer us a chance to be the first to own a custom pair of the new Poppy Barley flats launching to the public at the end of May!
What would you define as your personal creative style? My creative style is an understated canvas layered with dimension. Starting with high quality basics (perfect-fitting jeans, killer black pants, luxurious white tees, great shoes), it’s easy to add interest with one remarkable piece, like a bold-printed blouse or an outstanding necklace. Highly versatile pieces designed for layering and transformation allow me to transition easily throughout the day, from a marketing brainstorm, to an investor meeting, to long hours pouring over analytics and statistics, to drinks after work.
What is one outfit that makes you feel amazing and ready to take on the world every time you put it on? Bright lipstick, a pencil skirt, a blazer with attitude (leather-trimmed, gold buttons, unique cut), plus a pair of heels—which is precisely why I can’t wait for Poppy Barley to launch heeled boots this fall!
Is there one bit of confidence boosting style advice you wish everyone would take to heart? Being stylish means taking risks. If your mind even partially thinks an outfit might work, just wear it. Sometimes you might look a little ridiculous—but that is part of the fun. Just make sure it fits. Buy custom, get it tailored, and know what works on your body.
Who are your creative style icons & why? For me, it’s not about a particular style, but rather I admire those that remain relevant year after year: Kate Moss, Carine Roitfeld, Diane von Furstenberg, Zelda Fitzgerald.
Why is wearing handmade, one of a kind footwear and clothing important to you? I love the connection of knowing the person who made it loved making it as much as I love wearing it. I am a huge believer in slow fashion and beautifully constructed clothes and footwear. A well-edited, well-loved wardrobe is way more thrilling than generic, cheap, wear-once-and-toss clothes.
What would you define as your personal creative style? A mix of classic and rock & roll inspired pieces. Boots are my favourite type of footwear because they contribute so much to an outfit. Whether it’s a simple jeans-and-t-shirt look or a dress, a great pair of boots pulls it all together.
Is there one bit of confidence boosting style advice you wish everyone would take to heart? A distinct personal style is almost always well received, regardless of what the style is.
Who are your creative style icons & why? I like Debby Harry and Kate Moss. Both are eclectic but distinctive, and fashion trailblazers.
Why is wearing handmade, one of a kind footwear and clothing important to you? Partly because it is so much cooler to have a unique piece with a story behind it, and partly because the origins of the product—who made it and how—are better and more interesting.
Tell us a bit about the style philosophy behind Poppy Barley boots—how do you want women to feel when they wear your boots?
I want our boots to be the most comfortable, best fitting pair of boots they’ve ever had, AND beautiful and stylish at the same time. I am passed the age of suffering for footwear (90% of the time, at least) and walk a lot, so I care about ease of mobility. To make our boots super comfortable, we only use the highest quality materials. For our Spring 2013 Flats Collection (launching end-of May), we’ve developed a special insole with arch support and a rubber/leather sole for great grip. Our product is unique in that our footwear truly fuses function and fashion; a level of comfort so great that you never want to remove them, in styles that are both classic and fashion forward.
What would you define as your personal creative style?My style is a combination of sophistication, class and comfort. I love my Second Clothing dark wash jeans—I can dress them up or dress them down, and they fit perfectly into my Poppy Barley Classic Riding Boots. You’ll usually catch me in a blazer and an interesting scarf (I have many, many scarves!). I also like to change up my accessories, including chunky rings and various styles of glasses (I recently purchased a pair of Warby Parker’s and LOVE them!).
What is one outfit that makes you feel amazing and ready to take on the world every time you put it on? I feel great in a peplum, dark jeans, my green Miz Mooz heels, a gold necklace, and a splash of fuchsia lipstick.
Is there one bit of confidence boosting style advice you wish everyone would take to heart? Heels can make everything better! Whenever I’m feeling “blah” about what’s in my closet and don’t feel like getting dressed up and going out, it’s amazing what a simple top, slim jeans and a pair of heels can do. Never underestimate the power of a couple inches!
Why is wearing handmade, one of a kind footwear and clothing important to you? I think it’s important to reconnect with your clothing and the value in how it was made. We are such a fast-paced consumer culture; we are completely disconnected from products. We end up just accepting ill-fitting, lower quality items as the norm, and that’s sad! To be wearing a handcrafted, beautiful pair of boots highlights the process of their creation, making me far more respectful of the product, and I consider the talented cobbler who made them. I take good care of my boots and don’t think of them as something that will be thrown away in a year. Time and attention has gone into making them last, and I love them!
What would you define as your personal creative style? Classic with a modern edge.
Is there one bit of confidence boosting style advice you wish everyone would take to heart? Wear it, love it, own it! Don’t ever be afraid to showcase and be proud of your style, whatever it may be—your style is almost non-existent without a rocking personality to back it up.
What is one outfit that makes you feel amazing and ready to take on the world every time you put it on? I don’t have much of an hour glass figure, so I love being able to find pieces that define a waist for me and give me a little more va-va-voom! Often this entails pairing an awesome belt with a high-waisted pencil skirt or a dress. To add that extra oomph and really feel like I can take on the world, I love to incorporate a young, flirty pattern like animal print or a bright floral.
Why is wearing handmade, one of a kind, footwear and clothing important to you? Aside from the fact that I haven’t always had the easiest time finding things that fit my body tremendously well, I still think the number one reason I love wearing custom attire is because very little makes me more excited than knowing that I can walk into a room and not have to experience the moment every woman dreads—realizing someone else is wearing the exact same outfit as you!
Who are your creative style icons & why? My two favourite style icons are Audrey Hepburn and Lauren Conrad. I admire Audrey Hepburn because her style defines class and is timeless, plus we share the same obsession with pearls! While Lauren Conrad has a more modern twist, I love how she incorporates flirty/classic pieces with a little edge.
What would you define as your personal creative style? I generally go for polished and sophisticated pieces, but sometimes I like to dress with a little more edge (leather jacket, chunky jewellery, graphic tees, etc.). Sometimes I like to wear flirty, girly pieces, too. It all depends on how I’m feeling.
What is one outfit that makes you feel amazing and ready to take on the world every time you put it on? I wear my faux leather pants with my Poppy Barley Classic Riding Boots a lot (just ask the PB team!), and I think it’s a look that can transition pretty seamlessly from the office to a night out. I usually pair it with a colourful silk blouse, simple jewellery, a sharp blazer and my Rebecca Minkoff Messenger Bag.
Is there one bit of confidence boosting style advice you wish everyone would take to heart? Dress for yourself, because most people aren’t thinking about you, they’re too busy thinking about what other people are thinking about them!
Who are your creative style icons & why? I adore J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons’ style, however, I can’t really pull off those bold frames and the mismatched patterns like she does! I’m inspired by stars like Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Kruger and Marion Cotillard—who always look polished and sophisticated, but can be casually dressed down in edgy and fashion forward looks, too.
Why is wearing handmade, one of a kind, footwear and clothing important to you? I think that everyone has a “fast fashion” phase—and it’s tiring. You soon realize that buying cheap and poorly made items that everyone else has too becomes a bigger financial drain than investing in high quality, long-lasting, classic pieces. I believe in one-of-a-kind.
An awesome pair of shoes has always been my confidence booster! I’ve wanted a pair of tall boots since I was a teen but haven’t been able to find a pair that fit my wide feet, strong calves or my shortness. I was so frustrated by trying pair after pair every year that I gave up. The fact that my own custom Poppy Barley boots* are going to fit my body just the way it is makes me simply giddy and is one of the greatest beauties of handmade! I am excited to share my own CREATIVEstyle post when they arrive and to see one of you walking proud in a new pair of shoes. The wonderful Poppy Barley team has offered our community the opportunity to be among the FIRST to own a custom made pair of flats so we can be sweet shoe sisters together (sorry boys this first one is for the ladies but I’ll think of something special for you!).
*I chose the Every Day boot in Kaki-full disclosure, when Poppy Barley wrote me I freely admitted I will work for shoes, we all have our weaknesses right? They also signed up for sidebar sponsorship to support the site making it a win for everyone!
This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Patti Murphy with comment #16! We can’t wait to see how you style your pair of Poppy Barley flats!
Enter to win your own Poppy Barley flats (valued at $165 USD) from the 2013 Spring collection launching at the end of this month by sharing a picture of an outfit or piece of clothing that celebrates your unique #CREATIVEstyle on Instagram or Twitter (be sure to tag @poppybarley & @ohmyhandmade)! Get extra entries by liking the Poppy Barley team on Facebook or following them on Twitter and leaving a separate comment on this post. Every outfit will be added to our CREATIVEstyle board and my hope is to find new creatives to feature for this series from within our own community. We are beautiful and stylish, let’s own it together!
A big thank you to the Poppy Barley team for being so willing to explore this idea with me, taking these amazing pictures, answering all my questions with such style, and supporting OMHG! I would love to know your thoughts on this new sponsorship and collaboration, so we can continue to create partnerships that are fun for everyone. Happy Thursday you stylish wonders!