Dragons’ Den Auditions: Your Big Sister’s Closet

My friend and fellow blogger, Karen Ward aka The Curvy Canadian, is also the shop owner of Your Big Sister’s Closet  – a lovely little plus sized botique in The Junction (Dundas/Keele area of Toronto).  She and her husband, Peter, are hoping to meet The Dragons in The Den!

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Dragons Den is a CBC TV show where where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts and products to a panel of Canadian business moguls who have the cash and the know-how to make it happen.  Launching a business is no small task. No matter how big an idea you think you have, it still takes a lot of work and a ton of cash. It takes more than passion to convince these boardroom giants that your idea is worth their attention.  The Dragons are ruthless and rightly so – it’s their own personal money on the line.

Your Big Sister’s Closet’s first audition was this past Saturday – March 1st. This audition is preliminary – meaning it was with the show’s producers – these are the people who determine if we are a good fit for the show and pitching to the Dragons.  Karen and Peter auditioned last year, but were not selected for the show.  This time around they were prepared to blow this audition out of the water by bringing them a gorgeous fashion show – something really visual that will translate well for TV and will really WOW them!   That’s where ME, along with several other plus sized beauties come in 😉

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Karen & Peter needed models to show off their botique’s lovely clothes and walk in a runway-style show for the audition.  We each needed to come into the store once before the audition for a fitting to determine what we’d be wearing.   A simple request right?  Right.  Now, how could I visit this lovely botique ofnunique-pieces-of-fabulous and not do a bit of shopping?   C’mon…ya’ll know I didn’t leave that shop empty handed!

Here’s my mini-haul from Your Big Sister’s Closet:

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I fell in love with this purse and giant pearl necklace immediately upon seeing it in the Curvy Canadian’s recent blog post! I lost a night’s sleep knowing I wouldn’t be able to visit the shop until later that week…so I left a blog comment and  FB messaged Karen & Peter demanding that they hold these pieces for me STAT!  And today…they’ve come home with me!  Yaya!

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Then during my sytle appointment, I found this Pin Up Perfection Hi-Waisted Pencil Skirt — I wore the bow in the front, but I think it would look great off to the side or even buttoned up in the back – super cute!  I’ve been coveting this skirt for many moons… it was actually one of the first things in pinned in my Pintrest closet, and now it’s in my ACTUAL closet!  Below pics are just me trying it on in the change room … I think when I do wear it out-out it’ll be with a loud-splash-of-colour top, like hot pink or fire engine red.  Huh…thoughts?

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Ok…back to Saturday and the Dragons’ Den Auditions!  We – the curvy models – were each styled by the lovely Karen at her boutique prior to Saturday. My outfit choice was narrowed down to two lovely looks:

1.  Professional Business Woman – this black and white houndstooth peplum dress with a lovely black tweet blazer with a single silver studded accent down the shoulders  (a safe look I often create myself for the office with a bit of an edge),

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2. This Lady-Like Purple Lace …. with a ton of girlie girl accessories including the lovely giant pearls and giant pink facinator!

On the actual audition day, we met bright and early in the atrium of the CBC building downtown (250 Front Street West, at John Street) for 9am with our hair and make-up done as we usually do it.  They brought our planned outfits and we changed there via a clever pop-up changing tent they brought along. (Brilliant!)   Part of the WOW-factor to keep this audition memorable to the producers was that we were going to carry body positive picket signs that said things like “Plus Size and Proud”, “Curvy and Confident”, etc.   Similar to the #BoPo Art Installation I was apart of in February for the store’s 1st year Anniversary Party.

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I arrived at the CBC Studio a little before 9am, half-asleep with a Starbucks and  post-wedding hair (was a bridesmaid in a gf’s wedding the night before – stay tuned for blog post about that fabulous night), to find Karen and Peter just unloading their car with all our lovely outfits.  They gave me the important task: Sign them in for the auditions and report back!  We were lucky #21 on the list.  As you can see (above pic)…there were a ton of entrepreneurial hopefuls who got there hella early all with the same wish: to be selected to pitch to The Dragons on the show.20140301-153606.jpg

This was my first time “cat-walking”. I mean, I strut down the street all the time, buuuut I was terrified with a fear of falling onto my face whilst a giant #BoPo picket sign fell on top of my head.  Dun dun dunnnnn…   Happily, we all strutted our stuff to perfection  once in front of the producers.

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The camera crew really seemed to LOVE our little possy of plus-sized lovelies!  They got tons of footage of us practice our strutting choreography as directed by Peter, whist Karen rehearsed her pitch for the Dragons.   They even asked us to do several cheering clips – so much so that I can still faintly hear us chanting “Dragons’ Den! Dragons’ Den!” for much of the afternoon.

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What a fantastic way to kick of the month of March!  The morning was spent with such a great group of women – some of whom I’ve met before and others, meeting for the first time.  Shout outs to my new blogger sistas: Alex of  Not Afraid To Wear Heels and fellow WordPress-er Hanna of Classically Curvy.

Fingers crossed Your Big Sister’s Closet gets selected for the show….weee!  You can count on a follow-up blog post from moi if we do! 🙂

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How I got The Look:

EVERYTHING is from Your Big Sister’s Closet – 3126 Dundas Street West in Toronto

My watch is Michael Kors and the ponty-toed nude pumps with mint toe are from The Hudson Bay Company (Queen & Yonge Sts)

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#OOTD + Scarborough Town Center

Only two more weekends before my gf ties the knot with her lovely fiancée! Weeee!   This weekend we – the Bridesmaids – are taking the Bride out for some special girlie time, followed by a joint evening-o-fun with friends of both the Bride & Groom.  

I needed to make an outfit that’ll be lady-like appropriate for High Tea, yet able to go straight into an evening of Off-Key Karaoke Singing at their Stag & Doe.  All the while keeping in mind that all of these shenanigans are taking place in the depths of Scarborough … which is a huge factor when considering shoe options in the cold winter weather of February…(I’m soooo sick of boots…sigh.)

This was the first time I was travelling into Scarborough via TTC since moving to the Queen West hood.  It was a journey and a half!  But upon arriving at Scarborough Town Center – I was dazzled by all the renos.  This mall has really stepped it up since my highschool days of being a mallrat.  Since my ride was running late, I had ample time to explore both levels of this mall and even took advantage of some of the winter clearance sales and beginning of Spring deals too.

My mini-kill-time-in-the-mall-haul consisted of:

  • Laura Petite – where I scored fabulous deep green leather gloves for $19, a silver chain for $9 and earrings for $7;  and
  • Old Navy – picked up ANOTHER pair of my fav Diva pants are back in this great floral black with white pipping  $25 plus this cute Navy skirt with red anchors $17

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Some of you may remember this dress from a previous post [see Making Old, New Again].  Well, I finally got the hem of this dress shortened and now it’s perfect! 20140221-230744.jpg

So for my Outfit of the Day (OOTD), here’s what I’ve come up with:

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Prior to getting this dress hemmed, I’ve often worn it with a longer open cardi…either my cream long-sleeved knitted one from Winners OR my brown short-sleeved one from Reitmans. 

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But this time around, I decided to change the look slightly pairing it with a short grey cardi to hide the peekaboo cutouts on the back of this dress.  Saving them for the evening look instead 🙂 

Curious about what peekaboo cutouts I’m speaking of….and want to see how great this dress can look when you’re not limited to winter salt-stained covered boots?  Scroll to the bottom of this post to see some of the lovely shots of JUST this dress from the creative eye of Rebecca Northcott. (Oh blue suede platforms, how I’ve missed you old friends…sigh.)   

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How I got The Look:
Groovy polka dot dress from Forever21+, Toronto Eaton Center
Tall grey boots from Payless
Grey v-neck cardigan from Old Navy, Toronto Eaton Center
Carmel/beige floral fascinator from Your Big Sister’s Closet (Dundas W/Keele Sts)
Odette Cuff + Odette Earrings from Stella & Dot

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Photo credit: Rebecca Northcott, Rebecca Northcott Photography

#BoPo Art Installation

20140209-151746.jpgEarlier this month I blogged about my friend Karen and her hubs, Peter’s store anniversary party.  Their store, Your Big Sister’s Closet turned 1 this month and I was asked to be a window model for their Body Positivity Art Installation.  The concept was to make plus sized women more visible and to address what is not usually addressed.

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I have to admit, putting myself out there in the “real world” was harder than in the virtual one I’ve created via this blog, but it was a great opportunity to make a statement.  Me, along with a few others, were asked to wear  whatever fabulous clothes we looked and felt great in, and were to stand in their store-front window holding up a sign that has either displayed our weight or measurements or some other indication that we were a curvy, bodacious lady, and an adjective that describes ourselves.  So for instance,  Karen’s sign read: Size 20 & Fabulous!

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Originally when Karen reached out to me as “one of the most #bopo ladies in the city she knows.”..  I have to say, I didn’t know if that was a good thing or bad thing.  And upon researching ‘bopo’ via Urban Dictionary, I was very alarmed at its definition. But Google said #bopo stood for Body Positivity, which relieved my initial concerns – once I stopped laughing hysterically.  (Wanna know what was so funny? Check out Urban Dictionary’s def here … Ahem! No doubt that would certainly draw a crowd and make the news! But for all the wrong reasons, haha!)
Karen lined up a designer who came from NYC for a trunk show called Curvy Couture – showcasing bras right up to H cup – Hooray!  Along with a full candy bar, coffee and complimentary hair touch-ups and nail care all day from event sponsor Donato Salon + Spa.  Check out my “before” and “after” shots – big thank you to Michelle & Tracy for making and keeping me pretty all day!
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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet amazing, positive and beautiful women!
Even networked with other plus fashion bloggers and hob-knobbed with Toronto celebs like Sheena Snively from MTV and the Full Figured Model, Ophilia Alleyne.
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Together we brought awareness to the public promoting a simple message: ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES!  My sign read: Curvy & Confident! 

Sizeism is widely considered to be the last socially acceptable form of prejudice. Body shaming happens every day, all over the city.  This Art Installation entitled “There’s No Right Way to Have a Body” was meant to bring awareness surrounding our society’s obsession with size and size shaming.

Overall, it was a Saturday well spent being ogled as a full-figured beauty in the window of Your Big Sister’s Closet! 🙂

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How I got The Look:
Mint & black lace sheer hi-lo top from Carpe Diem, Your Big Sister’s Closet (Dundas W/Clendenan Sts.)
Black crop top from Forever21+, Toronto Eaton Center
Solid black leggings from Old Navy, Toronto Eaton Center
Grey tall boots from Payless
Silver Medina bib necklace from Stella & Dot
Silver sparkle drop earrings from Bitter Sweet
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Your Big Sister’s Closet – Anniversary Party

Oooooo! Guess who’s just been asked to be a Body Positive Window Model for this fantastic Curvy Fashionista boutique in The Junction next weekend? 

MOI!!!

Karen and her hubs, Peter, are celebrating their store’s 1st Anniversary!

Make sure you stop-by for some  candy, refreshments, fab deals on shopping and of course to wave to me.  I’ll be the chick in the window 🙂

Hope to see you there! xo