OTTAWA -- Our lives have changed. Our fashion has changed too.

This week I teased TV pal and CTV News Ottawa anchor Patricia Boal that we, anchors and hosts, are in a very small group of women wearing hosiery and dresses in 2020 and 2021.

Even if most of the world confesses to ‘fake-dressing’ from the waist up for those Zoom calls, sweatpants just don’t cut it in the studio.

Marlene Shepherd, the owner of Shepherd’s Fashions, and a fashion trailblazer in Ottawa for 40 years, says if you want to feel better at home, everyone has to get out of those yoga pants or PJs—at least, occasionally. A stay-at-home order doesn’t mean ‘stay in your housecoat’. 

“Get up and stick to your skin care, hair and light makeup routine. Keeping a sense of routine makes you feel in control and allows you to also feel put together,” says Shepherd.

“Even if no one sees you, you will have a sense of well-being and feel like you are in control. Routine can provide comfort during times when things are unpredictable. Feeling fresh and put together also makes jumping on Zoom or Video calls a snap. Put your best face forward.”

Shepherd's fashions

The Shepherd’s team suggests getting dressed like you’re leaving the house, and make sure you choose something cheery and bright that you love and makes you happy.

“Colour can be an easy way to raise your spirits and goes a long way to set the tone for your day. Maybe treat yourself to a bright scarf or topper that will make you cheery,” she says.

Marlene and her team offer these tips:

  • “Choose clothing that is comfortable for sitting and equally functional for the occasional stretch. We are all doing a lot more sitting these days and comfort rules.”
  • “Try garments with soft waistbands and a drawstring. You can find some really cheery and comfy pieces that will make sitting at your desk a breeze. Make sure you can easily stretch in your garments, as getting up for a five-minute stretch does wonders when working from home and will keep you supple and less fatigued.”
  • The fashion experts at Shepherd’s give yoga wear, the ‘thumbs-downward-dog’.
  • “Try and steer away from yoga pants and gym wear--these are for working out.  You deserve to feel comfortable and well put together.”  
  • Finally, make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and veggies in order to ensure your spirits stay as high as possible. Good nutrition is an essential component to well-being.  
  • Being at home is a perfect opportunity to try some greens and new vegetables during this lockdown...experiment and you may discover a new love. At the very least, make sure you have a nice clean fresh glass of water with you at all times...hydrating is another great way to keep your energy up.

Editing Your Wardrobe

If the walls are closing in and it’s making you want to clear the closets out, Marlene Shepherd and her fashion team suggest bearing this in mind:

  • Wear the right underpinnings and shoes and do your hair and makeup. 
  • The best way to try on clothes is to recreate a real scenario. Will you being wearing the dress/ top/ pants with a sports bra and slippers or a supportive bra, Spanx, and strappy sandals? How will you be wearing your hair and what colour lipstick will you be wearing?
  • Invest in a full-length mirror or 3-way mirror, if possible. To truly judge an outfit you must be able to see yourself from head-to-toe. 
  • When deciding whether to keep a piece, stand in front of the mirror and close your eyes for a few seconds. When you open them and see yourself, what is your first thought? Do you love how you look and feel? Get four boxes to help you organize your giveaway items.

Get four boxes to help you organize your giveaway items

  • Garbage/ recycling: Use this box to collect items that are no longer wearable.
  • Giveaway: Use this box to collect items that are in good, wearable condition. Depending on what type of clothing you are donating, there are many local organizations that accept and then resell used clothing including: Dress for Success, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Ottawa Mission. Be sure to contact your chosen organization to ensure your garments meet their current needs. 
  • Resell/ consignment: Use this box to collect items that are in great condition (maybe even “new with tags”) but will not be worn by you. Ottawa has many great consignment stores you can work with including: Rikochet Resale, the Clothes Secret, and Clothes Encounters. 
  • Tailoring: Use this box to collect items that you will wear but need alterations. 


1. If you haven’t worn it in over a year, it should go! 

2. Wear what fits you today, not when you lose weight and      grow a few inches!

3. HAVE FUN! Playing dress-up can be so much fun. Don’t take it too seriously and don’t be too hard on yourself!