The Fashion Conspiracy

Felicia Ann Ryan

#REALLIFESTYLISTADVICE

Real Life Stylist Advice
& Other Amusing Things

Between Takes


It's no secret that our mood is so easily influenced by our surroundings

and our clothes so heavily influenced by our mood.

It's a dance each morning between the weather and our closets.

We're the third wheel, the friend who comes onto the scene once the plans

have already been made.



 

 

 

Despite the season, gloomy days with a breeze cool enough to question the length of every garment are inevitable. We think that we are in charge, that we call the shots but we are just along for the ride.

 

Each morning our mood has been given to us, by the colour of the sky, the feeling of the air, the amount of sun that seeps through the clouds, the dreams we had (or didn’t have) the side of the bed we slept on and whether an alarm was the reason we are awake.

 

In an instant, from one look outside and and a tip of a finger in the air, 
our mood can change completely, and so can the plans for the day. 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when the rain falls, and the mist gathers, the wind blows and the puddles become obstacles strategically placed to challenge the shoes on your feet not meant for wet weather, embrace the moment. You can’t change the weather, but you can fight it with the right umbrella and a pop of colour.  

 

 

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The Little Dreamer

THE LITTLE DREAMER

She dreams with her eyes open, her mind awake 
and if you follow her gaze you won't see what she sees, 
but you will wonder what it is that makes her smile so 

 

 

The words to describe The Little Dreamer flowed out of me as though they had already been written and I was reciting a phrase that had been memorized. They were familiar as I wrote them, reminiscent of the many times someone had followed my gaze only to see nothing of significance, as I was lost in thought seeing  what was in my mind not what was in front of me.

 

That distant look, so easily mistaken for detachment and boredom. It’s the feeling of a smile slowly spreading across your face as a flash of a memory rushes across your mind’s eye, or the sudden outburst of laughter at something someone said days earlier, followed by the confused look on the faces of present company curious as to what is so funny in obviously not funny circumstances. The times I stared at a television not paying attention to what was on, just to have a place to focus my gaze as I played in the playground of my mind.

 

 

 

Getting lost in the alleyways, twists and turns and undiscovered corners of my mind, strolling down streets of self discovery and revisiting details that may have been missed the first visit.

 

 

 

Discovering myself let’s me discover my style

 

 

 

Designers have found a way to allow self expression not only in what we wear and how we look but also in the story behind our clothes, where they are made, why they are made, and how they are made adds dynamic to the layers of our personal style. What we know about our clothing is as important as how we look in the mirror, and suddenly when people as where it is we bought that jacket we have more to say than just the store in which it was purchased or the designer responsible. We know the story behind the garment and what motivated us to purchase it. There’s a new kid in town and her name is clothing with spirit. Like a magnet, those who clothing and self identity go hand in hand are drawn to her, they get to know her and her story, build a relationship and are a loyal friend. Suddenly why something was purchased is as important as how it looks and a connection to who we are at our depths is made; a bond from ourselves to ourselves to be communicated to the world.  The self expressive styles of Biko , the positive vibes and self acceptance that Lesley Hampton infuses into her brand, the strong story Hilary Macmillan tells, and the personal touch and quirky personality of John Fluevog shoes, all Canadian designers, speaks to my need to cultivate the relationship I have to who I am to myself and subsequently communicates this relationship with myself to the world. When we cultivate our relationship with ourselves, it is inevitable that our true selves will effortlessly be communicated to everyone around us … and we just get to … be ourselves.

 

 

 

Without making a conscious choice, clothing has always been how I silently communicated with the world, and it’s only recently I realized I was actually just communicating with myself through clothing. What other people see is a reflection of how I feel, not necessarily what I want to say. But some days it is about what I want to say. And some days, it’s about what I don’t want to say. That’s the beauty of it.

 

I’m in a love affair with everything local right now and to share my undying love, this entire editorial was styled with all Canadian Designers found in Toronto, Canada. Or online if you’re a down the road a little too far. In fact, these images inspired  The Great Canadian Edit  , proof that Canada has more to offer than maple syrup, over apologizing and bitter cold winters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wardrobe Credits on magazine images / Designers Biko, Mondselle, Hilary Macmillan, Lesley Hampton, Hendrixroe, John Fluevog, Resurgam, Stephan Caras, Atelier Ruzica

Behind the Scenes images taken by Felicia Ann Ryan, copyright The Fashion Conspiracy

Photos published in LUCY MAGAZINE / photographed by Lenaic Sanzlena @sanzlena, styling and fashion direction by Felicia Ann Ryan, Makeup by Toru Gallardo @facesbytoru, Hair by Melanie Guille @melanie.g_, Muse is Alexa Jones from Elmer Olsen Models Toronto @a1exajones

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Slip Into It

The slip. Why hide it. This one in particular has helped share my many shades to the world; one day it’s cheeky with a graphic tee under the straps and metallic gladiator sandals, the next, feeling more polished, paired with a pleated skirt and lace up boots, letting the soft silk of the slip peek out from under the heavier fabric of the skirt. I’ve worn it to a wedding, the debut of the slip, that time covered with a vintage lace vest I found in New York and flat sandals that promised not to aerate the lawn. A few times I’ve found myself reach for it as a quick cover up, nothing over or under it, just me and the slip and a quiet house sipping coffee in  warm sun just beginning to peek through the windows.

 

The mood this time warranted a mix of black accents and textures. My go to platforms that are the stereotypical “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” material being 100% more comfortable than they look; an all day walking shoe better than some of my flats with the added benefit of grocery store independence with no top shelf out of bounds. I slowly started layering until I found the right mix of texture with fishnets, a black patterned sailor blouse and patent leather skirt.

 

 

Layering a short skirt over a long one has become my new layering obsession

 

Finding interesting ways to layer breathes life into the pieces that I have been wearing the same, gives them an entirely new mood and makes them feel new again. Clothing is just an extension of what you feel, and since our mood isn’t always the same, why wear the same thing, the same way.

 

Images captured by Adil Ali + Felicia Ann Ryan

The look / Slip from Saks Fifth Avenue, Bespoke Textured Sailor Top by Adam X Atelier, Platforms fromNine West

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The Great Canadian Edit

 

Canada has so much more to offer than parkas and maple syrup. It shook me how proud I am of our Canadian talent while working on a recent editorial. Everything from the shoes to the accessories that I styled were pulled from a Canadian designer, and from all ends of the style spectrum. Perhaps it’s the long winter; lack of sunlight and warmth causing creatives to hibernate in their creative caves, only to emerge with a line of wondrous wearable imaginings, or maybe there’s just something in our Timmies coffee, but one thing is for sure, Canada has a stash of designer talent that I wouldn’t mind hoarding. So, inspired by this Canuck Conundrum, I put together an edit of some of my favourite (yes, that’s favourite with a u) Canadian Designers including: Maram, Mackage, Smythe, Biko, Erdem, Eleven Thirty, Sentaler, Hayley Elsaesser, Maison Birks, Aritzia, Markoo Studios, Mikhael Kale and Beaufille

 

 

ONE

http://www.beaufille.com/ss18/

TWO

https://mikhaelkale.com/products/fitted-draped-asymmetrical-crewneck-dress

THREE

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/striped-pants-with-loop

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/striped-crop-ruffle-shirt

FOUR

https://www.mackage.com/ca/en/raffa-double-handle-satchel-with-removable-crossbody-strap/RAFFA.html?dwvar_RAFFA_color=COL150&cgid=Bags#sz=12&start=17&cgid=Bags

FIVE

http://www.markoostudios.com/collection/the-knot-dress

SIX

https://www.maisonbirks.com/en/birks-rock-pearl-yellow-gold-pixel-bar-ring

SEVEN

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/off-shoulder-camel-crop-sweater

EIGHT

https://www.maisonbirks.com/en/birks-gold-and-pearl-ring

NINE

https://erdem.com/en-gb/blue-gold-cat-eye-sunglasses-edm4c7sun.html

TEN

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/poplin-dress-with-eyelets

ELEVEN

https://sentaler.ca/collections/coats/products/wrap-coat-with-ribbed-sleeves-chamois

TWELVE

https://www.hayleyelsaesser.com/collections/accessories/products/white-sunburst-choker

THIRTEEN

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/asymmetric-cape-with-fur

FOURTEEN

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/embroidered-leather-runners-shorts

FIFTEEN

https://www.aritzia.com/en/product/eckerd-blouse/68430.html?dwvar_68430_color=1275

SIXTEEN

https://www.ilovebiko.com/products/penny-moon-dusters-gold

SEVENTEEN

https://www.maisonbirks.com/en/birks-rock-pearl-yellow-gold-pixel-v-shaped-ring

EIGHTEEN

https://shopsmythe.com/products/box-pleat-blazer-2?variant=2124362776586

NINETEEN

https://erdem.com/en-gb/xen-top-blue-ss18-5715blsj.html

TWENTY

https://shop.maramparis.com/products/embroidered-lamb-leather-crop-top

TWENTY ONE

http://www.beaufille.com/ss18/

TWENTY TWO

https://www.kqk.ca/shop/

TWENTY THREE

https://www.aritzia.com/en/product/faun-pant/68195.html?dwvar_68195_color=12629

TWENTY FOUR

https://eleventhirtyshop.com/collections/romy-tote/products/romy-salt-and-pepper

TWENTY FIVE

https://erdem.com/en-gb/catalog/product/view/id/2723/s/hoop-hand-earring-ps18-1225yc/category/31/

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Sometimes You Just Need One More Thing

Sometimes you just need one more thing. Maybe it’s an extra minute of silence to take the moment in. Another teaspoon of sugar in your bitter coffee. Or another layer of clothing. Just one more thing to make it sweeter, memorable, better than it was. Suddenly you are in the moment. The coffee that was too bitter to drink becomes sweet. The outfit becomes you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s taking a dress and adding just one more thing over and over and over again.

 

Captured by Adil Ali

Outfit Details / Vest by Gerry Weber / Dress from H&M / Wide Leg Pant by Pink Martini / Shoes from Nine West

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The Colour Gods AKA PANTONE

 

 

Each season, magical colours with divine names seemingly fall from the sky (and then into our wardrobes) and even the most unobservant can see a pattern of repeated hues lining the racks and screens of shopping hubs. These colours, kindly bestowed upon us by the colour gods, also known as Pantone, will dominate every aspect of clothing and accessories as designers use the Pantone colour palette as a reference for their lines. Here is a mini edit of a few of my favourites for Spring 2018

 

 

 

 

ONE

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/jackets-blazers/contrast-buttons-blazer_21063696.html?c=06&n=1&s=prendas.familia;4,304

TWO

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/shirts-blouses/lapels-flowy-shirt_21037030.html?c=05&n=1&s=prendas.familia;14

THREE

https://shop.mango.com/ca/plus-size/shoes-heeled-sandals/suede-straps-sandals_23057647.html?c=99&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;42,342,442

FOUR

http://www2.hm.com/en_ca/productpage.0359909012.html

FIVE

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/trousers-loose/jogging-trousers_21025657.html?c=12&n=1&s=prendas.familia;26,326

SIX

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/jumpsuits-long/oversize-organic-cotton-jumpsuit_21097708.html?c=37&n=1&s=prendas.familia;34

SEVEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/trousers-loose/high-waist-palazzo-trousers_21067032.html?c=80&n=1&s=prendas.familia;26,326

EIGHT

http://www2.hm.com/en_ca/productpage.0583362001.html

NINE

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/shoes-heeled-sandals/polka-dot-strap-sandals_23015697.html?c=15&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;42,342,442

TEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/sunglasses/cat-eye-sunglasses_23030573.html?c=99&n=1&s=search

ELEVEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/more-accessories-hair-accessories/hairclip-set_23075009.html?c=61&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;41,57,58,59,457,45

TWELVE

MARITERASE

THIRTEEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/trousers-loose/pleat-detail-cotton-trousers_21027708.html?c=05&n=1&s=prendas.familia;26,326

FOURTEEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/shoes-heeled-shoes/see-through-panels-stilettos_23043041.html?c=15&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;42,342,442

FIFTEEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/plus-size/bags-handbags/pocket-round-bag_23090451.html?c=99&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;40,340,440

SIXTEEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/shoes-heeled-shoes/laser-cut-heel-mules_23035708.html?c=99&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;42,342,442

SEVENTEEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/jackets/pocketed-soft-fabric–jacket_21085736.html?c=37&n=1&s=prendas.familia;4,304

EIGHTEEN

https://shop.mango.com/ca/plus-size/bags-handbags/raffia-tote-bag_23075692.html?c=99&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;40,340,440

NINETEEN

http://www2.hm.com/en_ca/productpage.0638458001.html

TWENTY

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/trousers-loose/belt-line-trousers_23085631.html?c=05&n=1&s=prendas.familia;26,326

TWENTY ONE

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/jackets-blazers/contrast-buttons-blazer_21063696.html?c=06&n=1&s=prendas.familia;4,304

TWENTY TWO

https://shop.mango.com/ca/women/shoes-heeled-sandals/geometric-heel-leather-sandals_23055707.html?c=CU&n=1&s=accesorios.accesorio;42,342,442

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Put Some Shine Into It

There is a distinct possibility that these pants, in all their elasticized glory, were thrown over shorts as I ran out the door, late for my yoga class earlier in the week, only to be paired with a blazer and tie blouse a few days later for a quick pulled together facade. We are in the times of double duty, and as my foundation is replaced with tinted moisturizer and I look in the rear view mirror on my way home from work to find that only one of my eyes was lined black with liner (I went all day like this?!) it is hard to deny that my morning rituals are slowly being widdled to bare necessities as my tiny little clones gobble up the time I used to dedicate to lining both eyes each morning. And so I am smitten with anything capable of doing double duty without sacrificing style.

 

OUTFIT DETAILS

Pant by Lululemon, Tops by Lord & Taylor, Hat from H&M, Boot by Steve Madden, Blazer by Guess by Marciano

Images captured by Adil Ali

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Rules Were Made To Be Broken

 

I faintly remember the rules. They’d be whispered in a hushed voice if someone had forgotten them – passed down from mother to daughter like Aunt Greta’s antique ring or the family’s casserole recipe with the secret ingredient that wasn’t so secret. They were sacred, a code followed by women who were polite, had respect for traditions and as a rule always followed the rules. No white after Labour Day, this was the first rule I learned from the “Fashion Code of Conduct” an apparently unanimously followed  list of things to check before heading out the door – because God forbid you were clad in what had the ability to cause a serious amount of embarrassment. Rules decided long before my time, my mother’s time and even before her mother’s time by a group of women who wanted to quickly differentiate a lady who had respectable old money from one who indeed may have an incredibly beautiful and expensive gown but purchased it with vulgar new money. In a nutshell, rules that started as an unspoken secret code to exclude others. So as they were whispered back then from one woman to the next, spread around to save the embarrassment one may experience from not following the rules, they were whispered to me as well, in the tone of a favour, as though by somehow having this information put me into the “in crowd” of fashionable society, like I was a lady with old money in the 1800’s showing up at the opera with the right length of sleeve and the proper corset on. However, like most rules that serve no purpose other than to ensure there is a differentiating line between two sets of people, the whispers fell on closed ears and were never a part of my daily check in with myself. Instead, I chose (and still do) to live by a different set of rules when it came to fashion; Like, “Never wear anything uncomfortable.” Although hoodies and sweatpants are nice, they’re not what I mean. I mean I’ll never put something on my body that doesn’t sit right, that I have to keep pulling down over my belly or up over my chest. No pain, no gain would never be a reference for my footwear and my outfit would always represent who I am, that I was comfortable in how I looked and that I wasn’t trying to be something or someone that I wasn’t.

Because personal style doesn’t come with a rule book.

 

Breaking more rules; you may have heard of them “Always match your shoes to your belt” and “Never wear black and brown together.”

 

All images taken by Adil Ali

OUTFIT DETAILS

Leather Jacket an amazing find from Value Village almost a decade ago, Shirt dress from Saks Fifth Avenue, Vegan leather leggings from Aritzia, Black leather boots from Nine West, my trusty work bag with crossbody straps and built in laptop holder from Michael Kors, Belt a serious find from Second Nature Boutique and Sunglasses from Joe Fresh

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All Bundled Up

 

 

 

I actually already wrote this post before, but through a series of unfortunate events, much less dramatic and exciting than the book series, I have lost it. However, I will never lose what I felt when I wrote it or how the clothing felt when I wore them so I will attempt to re-write with the same emotion albeit different words. Because for me, every outfit is a feeling, clothes are emotional and they either make me feel a certain way or I’ve chosen them because I feel a certain way, and feelings are hard to forget.

 

 

On this particular day, it was cold, bitter cold and I wasn’t ready to dress for the cold. I had things that I still wanted to wear before Mother Nature deemed them inappropriate for maintaining an adequate body temperature. Instead of giving in to a parka and pants I bundled up and layered my original look, adding thick woolly socks, an oversized tassel scarf wrapped around twice over a large wool coat and used a brown leather belt, the type I normally reserve for high waist denim, to secure the coat shut so that not a puff of cold air made it into my warm haven. Of course I put on a hat, since we know from the constant chiming received as children, that most of the body’s heat is lost through the top of our heads.

 

 

Layering, I’ve found, is how I get through the transitional periods between really freaking cold and really freaking hot. It allows me to wear my hot weather clothes deep into in the next season and then again much sooner than I could wear them alone. Layering also allows a sense of individuality, putting things together that no other person is likely to own in their closet –   but it also does something even better – it allows me to justify the designer purchases I make when I know I can break seasonal trends and wear the pieces longer.

 

 

The inner agony I felt when confronted with the option of re-writing this post was enough for me to forget about it and move on. I didn’t remember the images I used or the context I had wrote in and I definitely didn’t have the time, but even I can’t convince myself to forget about something that is left unfinished. If you read this post the first time, I hope you gained a different perspective with the same message the second time around, or if anything learned like I did, that even when something is taken away, if it’s worthwhile to you then it’s worth doing again.

Oh, and of course, I hope you got a thing or two out of it about layering, how it allows custom uniqueness combining pieces that only you own together; because that’s when you harness the magic of making an outfit your own, with a deeper meaning that others can see, but only you can feel.

 

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You can’t find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for

I step out of the shower my mind already on to the next task at hand. It’s before 8 am which means I’m focused on one thing and one thing only, getting out the door. Before my wet feet even get the chance to find the mat, my eyes are scanning the bathroom counter for my morning ritual heroes. My eyes lock in on the brush, I grab it and run the bristles through my wet hair conjuring a mental replay of every “Easy hairstyles in five minutes or less” video tutorial I’ve ever encountered browsing Pinterest; simultaneously my hand grabs for what else I’ll need to piece together a facade of togetherness. Deodorant from the drawer, toothbrush and toothpaste, plug my straightener into the wall (I’m delusional for thinking I’ll even have time) and moisturizer. Moisturizer. Huh? Where’s my moisturizer.

   

 

I feel a quick skip in my heart as I begin panicking, I can’t get this going without my moisturizer, it’s the first step before all the steps. I also don’t have a moment to spare. I drop everything, my arms that were working like mindless machines going through the motions of my morning routine are now awake and tearing through everything on the counter. I look in the shower, under the cupboards, on the floor; I even lift the lid of the toilet knowing full well it didn’t make any sense to look in the toilet. I was desperate. I’m in a blur; if there was only one thing, ONE THING that I could use on any given day, it would be my moisturizer. I give up, I don’t have the time.

 

  

  

 

The feeling of defeat sinks into my skin (like I wish my moisturizer would) and I have to give myself a quick pep talk to stop this first world problem from snowballing into a bad day. I’m going to be uncomfortable, my skin is going to itch, I’m going to be moving my mouth around in unnatural and probably borderline scary ways to alleviate the tight feeling my face will experience all day …and I’m going to have to get through it. I made it through the day (obviously, not like it was a life threatening situation) and came home to the catastrophic state I had left my bathroom in after rushing around to get my kids and I ready and out the door. As I’m picking up loose bobby pins from the floor and putting away the straightener I never ended up using (what a pipedream that was), my eyes land on a little blue bottle.

 

     

 

It sits unobstructed from view within reach and right next to that pesky little hair tool I never have time for. It’s my moisturizer. But the thing is, it doesn’t look like my moisturizer. My moisturizer isn’t in a blue bottle – it’s been in a silver tube for years. But there it is. I had forgotten that I had decided to give this little blue one a go and after using the same product for so long I was looking for the silver tube – I wasn’t looking for a blue bottle. And that’s it, this entire time it was there – within arms reach but I couldn’t see it. I didn’t know what I was looking for and so I couldn’t find it. Somehow this Earthly problem quickly turns existential for me. It hits me hard, right in the pit of my stomach – we can’t find what we don’t know we’re looking for. If we don’t know what we’re looking for looks like, how the heck are we ever going to find it. Suddenly the motivational reads and law of attraction theories focused into one real world analogy for me. I didn’t know what I was looking for and so I was not able to find it even though it was sitting there right under my nose. A new perspective and knowing what I am looking for will ensure I find it. And so it makes sense to me that it’s important to first discover what we want (in an abstract way not in finding a literal object kind of way) such as in life, or in a partner, what we want in our career, in order to find a way to get it. We have to become familiar with ourselves and be clear about what would make us happy in order to find ways to make that happiness possible. Or else, there just may be something there, right in front of you, exactly what you’re looking for – but you haven’t yet decided what it is you want to find … and you’ll miss it.

 

     

 

Styled by Felicia Ann Ryan and images taken behind the scenes on set with photographer @leah_vlemmiks_photo, MUAH @cd.makeup, Model @abakumchik  by Felicia Ann Ryan on iPhone

See more behind the scenes at feliciaannryan.com

 

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