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Picture this...You're meeting with a real estate agent for the first time about to view various properties in the hopes of making a purchase. If you live in Vancouver, this would be substantial money (an understatement). Your Real Estate agent stands in front of you, she smiles warmly..but you look down, threads hang from her suit and the lining of the hem is buckling...You worry...not because she isn't attentive, seems to recycle and drives a hybrid (lol), about her attention to detail. Plum's attention to detail is never in question. Suits that can stand next to any internationally known, high end label at more than fair prices.

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I adore this suit. It's only drawback is, if you're giving a presentation, there is a distinct possibility no one will hear what's been said, so distractingly gorgeous. A stunning addition to your professional wardrobe, with a slight feminine edge.

Tobias double breasted jacket with flared hem (black or pewter) $230

Tobias slim pant with welt pocket (black or pewter) $110

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Maybe it's your first day on the job and it's a traditional suit style you need. This is Plum's latest two button. Just a superior fitting jacket worn here with the matching, paneled, back slit skirt. An office wardrobe basic.

Tobias two button jacket with peak lapels (Merlot and black) $215

Tobias pencil skirt (Merlot and black) $95

 

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Here is an absolutely wonderful addition to anyone's wardrobe. On the left worn with a pencil skirt and Kersh cardi for more of an office look, on the right suitable for casual/weekend times. A wonderful, wool blend mix. Yet light weight enough to be layered and worn as outerwear. A really versatile piece.

Tobias draped front boiled wool coat (black, peacock or purple) $225

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And some co-ordinates to go with your suits. Because embroidered anything is very big right now. From scarves, to jackets to even footwear, you'll find embroidery. This sweet top is allover embroidered georgette lace. And a shell top is an easy match with any suit.

Kersh capsleeve lace top (cream) $65

Plum sleeveless top with high low hem (black or pink) $69

Exchange 'Real Estate Agent' with Doctor, Interior Decorator, Financial Advisor...many professions necessitate flawless presentations requiring the client to trust in, at times, risky endeavors. Stepping down from the seriousness of work attire, however, jackets are also ok on weekends, just double check for the chocolate croissant stains before you step into that meeting on Monday!

Just remember, the quality of your work need not hang by a thread!

Yours in Fashion Passion...

Suzanne M.

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Needless to say Mom's job does not end at 5:00pm....try 5:00am, or 3:00am...whenever needed. A seemingly endless job with no salary (preschoolers make more with their weekly allowance). However then of course, there is the 'outside' job that pays the bills, where an entirely different wardrobe is usually required. The workplace of today is far more transverse than in days past and what was once not appropriate (ie: wearing jeans) has all but changed with sometimes unspoken or unwritten requirements. Then to complicate things, along comes summer and we feel compelled to wear our sandals and tank tops....what are the options? What is acceptable, comfortable...YOU!

Lets have a view at some of Plum's great suggestions for the 'out of the home office' choices:

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Wanted: A dress that can be put to work, or taken out for drinks later....position filled. This dress easily works for multiple occasions and presents a very polished look.  Perhaps the office air conditioner is unpredictable or you're on the road at different locations, easily add a jacket or a cardigan to accommodate various environments.

Simone v-neck flared with pockets (white/grey or white/navy) $129

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Many work environments now accommodate jeans (or jean day).  However, keeping them on the 'neat' side is usually an unspoken rule or offsetting their worn look with a very sleek contrasting jacket and heels. can make it work.  Accessories possibly should be kept to a minimum unless you're working in a creative field. Don't we all wish our office was out in the sunshine! The scarf adds a bit of individuality without being too distracting. And the linen jacket is such a go to piece for this time of year.

Tobias buttonless linen jacket (black, mustard, white) $179

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Perhaps your work place is of the traditional nature. In which case, you feel the need to invest in the ubiquitous trouser. Perfect with a blouse or simple button top and flats or possibly slingbacks.

Tobias slash pocket pant (beige, black or grey) $95

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Here is yet another work appropriate dress featuring a lovely, abstract light print. Also great for the Mother's day brunch...you are taking Mom out, aren't you? No pressure! ;)

Numph garland zigzag dress (lavender fog) $145

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Not to be outdone by the ubiquitous pant, is the knee length, peg skirt. The skirt is yoga (which is synonymous with comfort). However Plum has other skirt options, pull-on is another great option for ease and comfort, helping retain the feminine feel if this is your goal, along with providing for a day of movement. Paired with this lovely lace blouse, keeps things light and in keeping with the season.

Yoga pegged skirt (rinse indigo) $84

H&D Lace blouse (black or white) $75

Whatever your workplace (home, office or even your car)...finding the right combination of appropriate work wear is important for being able to put your best foot forward and feel comfortable with who you are and where you are. But lets not forget to call Mom to thank her for helping you get where you are, because no doubt she played an important part.

"Being a full time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs...since the payment is pure love." Mildred B. Vermont

Yours in Fashion passion....

Suzanne M.  ... read the full post and reader comments

 
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Dress for Success Suiting Drive

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Picture this: you're a qualified and eager potential employee looking for work, but you've been out of the workforce for some time, maybe even years. You need suitabe interview attire, but perhaps don't have anything appropriate or the means to go out and buy something new. This is the reality for many women in Greater Vancouver. Plum, together with Dress for Success, is eager to help these women.

Dress for Success is an organization that promotes "the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life." 

Today until November 11, 2012, all Lower Mainland Plum locations will be accepting donations of interview-appropriate clothing in support of Dress for Success Vancouver. Donations can be dropped off at our South Granville, Kitsilano, North Vancouver, Richmond, White Rock, Langley, or Coquitlam locations. For our store hours and locations, click here. Donations can also be taken directly to Dress for Success; check below for complete details.

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Donations can also be taken directly to Dress for Success. I've copied the main donation deets here for you.

"We gratefully accept donations of suits and other business wear (no more than 3 years old) - cleaned and on hangers. Our clients may need to wear their outfit to an interview the next day, so clean, current, stylish clothing is important!...Our test is whether or not you the donor would feel proud having one of our clients wear the suit to an interview.

We are also grateful for donations of handbags, footwear, outerwear and unopened toiletries and pantyhose/knee highs. 

Out of respect for our volunteers' time and our clients' needs, we cannot accept:

  • casual clothing
  • evening wear
  • items older than three years in vintage
  • items in need of repair or cleaning.

Drop off hours - you are able to bring the donations up to our facility:

  • Monday through Friday 9:30 AM until 3:30 PM
  • Saturdays 10 AM until 11:30 AM
  • Please note that we will be closed for drop offs on Saturday March, 10, 2012.
Please call ahead for access instructions. 604.408.7923"

You can check out the Dress For Success Vancouver website here

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The Big Bulletin - Big Brothers Big Sisters

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This week on the blog, I have some very special news to share. And while I'm bursting with jokes about how this is a 'plum place' to work, I'll resist the temptation to pun and just come out and say it.

At the national Big Brothers Big Sisters convention earlier this month, Plum was honoured with the Community Mentor Award for 18 years of continuing support. What does that mean? In their own words, "this award is presented annually by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada to a company that has made a meaningful contribution to a local agency to better serve children in the area with mentors." 

Since 1994, Plum has donated $110,000 to Big Sisters through event sponsorships, auction donations, and  annual in-store fundraising campaigns. Plum also sponsors Big Sisters’ annual volunteer recognition event to show appreciation to the hundreds of women who commit to making the lives of Little Sisters better.

Of course, we would never be able to generate the kind of support and awareness that Big Sisters needs without our fabulous staff and equally fabulous customers. Once again, a huge thank you to anyone who made a contribution during our May-long fundraising campaign! 

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Plum founders and owners, Katie O'Brien (left) and Ed Des Roches (right) with Justine Greene, Executive Director of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.

This award was made possible by the company owners, Katie O'Brien and Ed Des Roches, who wanted to support organizations that would resonate with their employees and customers. Big Sisters aids tremendously in the confidence building and development of women and girls, something we can all recognize the value in. Right on!

 

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Miss Representation

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Last Wednesday, Plum was lucky enough to attend a screening of the documentary “Miss Representation,” by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. This film has been making waves after being shown at the Sundance Film Festival 2011 and on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. As both a woman and a media-conscious person, I was curious to see what it was all about. 

The film analyzes the negative impact the media has on the minds of young girls and women. This, of course, is not new information, per se. However, "Miss Representation" stood out to me because it delved deeper than just saying (I am paraphrasing) 'media representations of scantily-clad women are bad for our daughters because they objectify women.' In short, what I took away from the film is that a culture as a whole is deeply affected by these images, men, women, and children alike.

The point that the film makes is that we all grow up in a society that largely focuses on a woman's appearance rather than her intellectual value, and this is harmful to us all. Children are raised in an environment in which they all learn to believe that women do not make good leaders. When they reach adulthood, few women are prepared to aspire to leadership roles, and there are men who are prepared to quash the ones who do. And then suddenly you find yourself living in a country that is 51% women aaand...represented by only 25% of the parliament. Stat here Yikes!

 

"Miss Representation" celebrates strong female role models with the aim of counteracting the outpouring of negative, sexist messages we are often subjected to. Interviews are conducted with "politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson, and Gloria Steinem." -Miss Representation 'About the Film' page The interviews generally revolve around their experiences as women in the public eye (and under public scrutiny) -the challenges, but also the victories.

My only critique of "Miss Representation" (you may already be able to guess it, based on the list of interviewees) is that it has a significantly American slant. For example, one of the more shocking facts they throw out, hold on to your hats, is that Iraq and Afghanistan both have more female members of parliament than the United States. That being said, the majority of the examples they use are valid the world over, if indirectly. 

Nevertheless, seeing the film was a moving and challenging experience, and I would wholehartedly recommend seeing it, and sharing it! I left the theatre with a new internal mantra: Lead by example and become a role model as a strong and confident woman, not only for your own benefit, but for the benefit of those around you as well. (Hmm yes, Ok, it's a bit wordy, but I think I can make it work).

You can read all about the Miss Representation misson here: Miss Representation Homepage

The film inspired me. Who, or what, inspires you? Leave a comment here or tweet me @PlumClothing!

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Plum Winners!

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There has been a lot going on at Plum this past month! As you might know, each May is Big Sisters month. We campaign to raise money and awareness for Big Sisters by asking customers for a $2 donation. In turn, we match each and every donation we receive up to $25. Our fabulous customers (that's you!) raised nearly $2500 for a very worthwhile organization. Plum DOUBLES this contribution so that we can pay the cost of matching up two girls with a Big Sister each.

Donations from the Calgary and Kelowna locations will go to their respective local Big Sisters locations. 

And since we figured we may as well have a little fun while we fundraised, we also entered everyone who contributed to the effort into a draw to win a $350 gift certificate! Congratulations to Denise, our lucky winner!

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We love supporting Big Sisters because it's a cause that is very dear to our hearts. But this campaign got us wondering about causes that were important to our customers as well. So we conducted a survey to find out, with the incentive of $200 cash to one randomly-selected winner at the end. Véronique scooped up that prize. Congrats!!

Thank you so much to everyone who either made a donation at Plum or took the time to fill out our survey (if you did both then you might just be my new best friend). The survey yielded some very interesting results, and there were a few comments that kept coming up again and again that I'd like to share.

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Here are some samples of the responses we got:

We said: Company decision makers feel they have a responsibility to 'give back' to the community in the form of corporate sponsorship and financial support for non-profits.

You said: 87.13% of respondants either agreed or stronly agreed.

We asked: How should a company tell customers that they support non-profits?

The responses we got for this one were quite divided, but 52% said it should be mentioned at the bottom of all advertising. 


Once again, thank you to everyone who filled out our survey. It almost broke my eyeballs, but I read every single response and they were very enlightening. 

And now enough with the serious stuff. Come and read my new blog post! You can find it here:

Check out the latest No Guru post

 

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