Last week I learned a few things about myself thanks to the lovely folks at Mark's. First, I'm way more competitive than I thought, particularly when the prize is free clothing. Second, I adore playing stylist. Third, I would totally shop at Mark's this fall. Yes, that place I used to believe only sold Dad's long underwear.
This newfound knowledge was mine after Mark's invited The Hip & Urban Girl's Guide and a host of other style bloggers to preview their fall / winter 2011 and compete in a super fun "marksover" style challenge.
Even though colder weather is the furthest thing from my mind, I was pretty impressed with the versatile collection that featured cool weather essentials like cozy cable knit sweaters and crystal button cardigans alongside office wear staples like *my favourite* never ever iron shirts.
Please tell me why I wasn't aware of such things when I was working in cubicle city and painstakingly pressing crisp shirts for Monday morning? Trends were gently incorporated with floral print blouses and subtle equestrian and even punk rock influences, and did I mention the footwear?
Mark's smartly transfers all amazing features found in their heavy duty work boots into very stylish boots, oxfords and booties, which means comfort and fashion are pretty seamlessly blended. Accessories also included chunky necklaces, bags that offered a pop of colour and mittens and scarves in a range of colours. Once I learned I could win an outfit including these aforementioned goods, my game face was totally on, plus I was determined to bring home a win for hug.
After learning more about the collection, we were challenged to create a look pulling from Mark's fall pieces and I admit, I struggled a bit at first. I was stuck in my own head thinking... "I so don't shop here." After changing my direction a few times, I pulled together a more casual look that's still appropriate for girly me. The model is wearing my look above.
I'd totally wear this on the weekend, especially since a cute hat means low stress hair. My favourite pieces in this ensemble (besides the wool cap) are the slim fit denim that are constructed with a four way stretch that holds everything in and promise to retain their shape wash after wash. I cuffed the denim so you can't tell but they even have little zippers at the ankles. I love! The booties, of course, are my other favourite. The distressed finish is fabulous and the fact that they're comfortable makes them even better.
Everyone did a really great job styling the very lovely model and I was proud to just one one vote away from tying the winning 90's inspired look created by the very sweet @pliving. I was jealous, but hey, he found the leatherette vest first. How could I compete? Cute updated grungy rocker beats preppy boho in the school yard and in the marksover challenge.
The fall / winter collection will trickle into stores over the next few months and in the meantime, I'm preparing myself to head into Mark's without recalling painful family shopping trips past. Perhaps all I need is the promise of a new styling challenge and a willing model. If you'd like a Mark's stylist, holler at me. I'll be happy to accept these booties as payment.
- Tamika Auwai is a fashion junkie, splurge-a-holic, and founder of Shop Socials.