JUNE 17TH 2016

BALLOONS & BUBBLEGUM

FASHION

Lake Nipissing. CALLANDER, ON. CANADA.

It's 5 am and I'm standing alone on a small rock completely surrounded by water. Glancing down, it's impossible to miss the Barbie-pink heels on my feet and bright lime halter dress blowing softly in the wind. Set against the dark blue water and soft pastels of the sky the contrast is striking. I doubt there are any other people on the water at this hour, but what would they think if they came across such a random sight? What on earth is that girl thinking wearing a dress and heels out in the middle of the lake?! I simply don't fit in. It's hilarious and fantastical - it doesn't make sense. Welcome to the life of a fashion blogger living in rural Northern Ontario, Canada

I live in a small town of about 1000 people. It's mainly a farming community where sweatpants and overalls are commonplace, so let's just say I stand out like a sore thumb - to put it mildly. Since my earliest memories I've had an interest in fashion. I remember a time when I was fourteen years old begging my mom to let me buy my first pair of heels, to which she replied "Where are you going to wear them Vanessa? To prance around in the back field?" My love of fashion just wasn't practical or suited to my surroundings, and ten years later nothing has changed. Where did I get this passion for fashion? I have no idea! I wasn't born in a fashion capital by any means - in fact it doesn't get much more obscure than this - and yet here I am blogging about clothing.

I started this blog about a year ago. I needed an outlet to express my creative passion for photography, writing, and most of all, fashion. I was following several bloggers at the time, and while I enjoyed reading their content, I felt discontent about my fashion-ignorant surroundings. I needed to do something fashion related. So, with the encouragement of my husband, I began to form my blogging identity; at least there were people online who shared my passion. From the get-go it became apparent that my blog would be different...not necessarily by choice so much as necessity. It would be impossible to forge the glamorous lifestyle of New York or Paris with their architectural wonders and couture shops. I am surrounded by lakes, fields, and forests - every outdoorsman's dream - but I happen to love playing dress up so I decided to utilize the countless "beauty spots" of my hometown and area. I grew up in a family of six children so in my younger years my older sister's closet was where I "shopped." In addition, big families can really rack up a grocery bill so buying new clothing was reserved for birthdays and Christmas. This being the case I learned to thrift...really well. To me there is a serious thrill in finding beautiful, sometimes even designer finds for pocket change.

This leads me to what I'm wearing in this photoshoot; a post that I came up with specifically for a global fashion blogging contest. In collaboration with Man Repeller, Bloglovin' and H&M are looking for the next "Breakthrough Fashion Blogger." The only real requirement is that you have to style one article of clothing from H&M. Here's the kicker - it can be thrifted! Again, not by choice so much as necessity, I went thrift shopping in search of the perfect H&M piece to style (as their nearest retailer is three hours away). It was at my favourite local thrift store that I found this gorgeous, lime creation with frills cascading down each side producing a playful silhouette. My favourite features however are the tie-up halter neck, which can be fashioned into a beautiful bow, and the pockets! I feel like more dresses should have pockets... 

Not only is this dress a fantastic find as it is both beautiful and comfortable, it is also good for people, the planet and your wallet as part of H&M's Conscious Collection. (**for more info see bottom of the page)

From the moment I saw this dress I knew that I wanted my outfit to be girly and vibrant so I paired the dress with the following items, which I conveniently already had in my closet!

(For outfit total $$ see page bottom. You're not going to believe what I spent?!)

 - A pair of bright pink heels, which I'm certain Barbie herself would covet

 - Over-the-top earrings that parallel Holly Golightly's costume jewelry while somehow managing to conjour "The Little Mermaid" and   

    "That 70's Show" vibes

 - A vintage ivory clutch with clean lines, sharp stitching, and a round, gold accent button to top it all off

 - Hot pink lipstick

 - Dramatic false lashes 

In addition, I decided to use some "props" to add more visual interest, whimsy, and girliness to the photoshoot. I bought some fuchsia helium balloons and a blast from my childhood past: Hubba Bubba. 

I have been conducting blog shoots out in nature for a year now and let's just say I have gained a whole new level of appreciation for the difficulties involved with these types of shoots. When you only see the finished results the tendency is to say "Aww that's so pretty" and think nothing of it. A lot of preparation, uncomfortable moments, and sometimes downright sketchy situations go into outdoor shoots. For example, navigating slippery rocks in high heels and standing in 3 degree temperatures wearing a light summer dress takes a certain level of crazy. That being said it's always a great experience and the results are usually well worth the effort. I am proof that no matter how obscure or out of place your dreams may seem, there is always a way to make them a reality. While BeautySpot is a great way for me to showcase my love of fashion, my writing encourages women to focus on being the best version of themselves inside and out. My mantra: Stop comparing yourself to others, emphasize your strengths, identify what makes you unique and stick with it, or as Taylor Swift put it, "If you're lucky enough to be different, don't ever change."

I don't plan to. 

"If you're lucky enough to be DIFFERENT, don't ever CHANGE." -

Taylor Swift

**For more information about H&M's growing commitment to sustainable fashion click the following link: http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/hm-conscious/conscious.html

Ironically enough one of the first comments that was written in the comments section - where this contest was originally posted - was someone trashing H&M in the area of unsustainable fashion. Big change first requires small steps. You have to start somewhere and I think that this Conscious Collection is a great step in the right direction!**

Remember FASHION IS AFFORDABLE!

 

What I Spent on this Outfit: $27

WHAT I'M WEARING:
CLUTCH:
Vintage $4
(thrifted)
HEELS:
Suzy Shier $8
(thrifted)
DRESS:
H&M Conscious Collection
$10 (thrifted)
EARRINGS:
Suzy Shier $5
(thrifted)

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2015 Vanessa Lynn Miller
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