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Guelph with Lee Vosburgh

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Visit Style Bee – Photos by Jacklyn Barber for The Style Line

“After having spent the better part of a decade in

Toronto living in Guelph has definitely helped me embrace a slower pace of life,” Lee Vosburgh relayed in our interview below. “Everything just feels a little more laid-back and a little less stressful.” From London to Los Angeles, we’ve had the opportunity to peel back the layers of some of the world’s most dynamic major cities, but in the case of today’s Neighborhood Story, we’re excited to shed light on a small town whose residents truly have big hearts.

Enter style blogger and creative professional Lee Vosburgh. Our interviewee’s thoughtful approach to both life and style has captivated us for quite some time. In fact, Lee prides herself on maintaining a heavily curated collection of clothing that boasts an impressive assortment of contemporary ethical and independent designers. Lee’s goal is to offer a unique a point of view and support emerging designers who she believes are contributing to something more than just our outfits. As she stated in our interview below, “I think Style Bee serves people who are looking to take a step back from what has become a frenzied approach to fashion and shopping and speaks to those who want to shop with intention and embrace their personal style thoughtfully without feeling the need to constantly keep up.”

With that in mind, we wanted to further explore Lee’s approach to style and learn how this thought process has translated to all aspects of her life in Guelph. From living in a major city like Toronto to embracing the pleasures of small-town living, explore the city of Guelph through Lee’s eyes and discover more of her thoughts on life in Canada, finding (and celebrating) personal style, and Guelph’s position on fostering a sustainable lifestyle. Also enjoy exclusive snapshots from our afternoon captured by Jacklyn Barber for The Style Line.

*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MARCH 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT AND INTRODUCTION

Hi! I’m Lee Vosburgh,

a Guelph based creative with an unabashed love for furry friends and house plants. When I’m not glued to a screen I’m probably out on a walk with my pup, hashing out home renovation ideas with my partner Dave, riding my cruiser along the river, listening to a record or enjoying a delicious meal. As much as I love visiting my favorite shops and new spots around town I’m a homebody at heart, so a night in with a glass of wine, good friends, and a fun game is never a bad idea to me.

Walk us through the evolution of Style Bee. What about fashion resonates with you the most?

Style Bee started in 2013 as a creative outlet and a way for me to explore my love for style and fashion. Since then, and particularly over that last year, it has evolved into a place for me to explore my relationship with shopping and fashion on a deeper level than just the latest trends. I’ve fallen in love with the artistry behind clothing and how different designers can create pieces that have a profound impact on my daily life.

Based on your experience so far, how has Guelph as a city helped cultivate your ability to maintain a simplified approach to style? Is there anything you’d like to see change?

After having spent the better part of a decade in Toronto, living in Guelph has definitely helped me embrace a slower pace of life. Everything just feels a little more laid-back and a little less stressful. It has really helped me feel more at ease about my personal style and I think my current wardrobe reflects that. We don’t really want for much but it would be great if we had more restaurants with really good food. There are a few gems but not like in Toronto.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

Hmm, that’s a tough one! But honestly, one question that is always great to hear is, ‘Would you be interested in collaborating?’ When a partnership is a great fit it is always exciting to say ‘Yes!’.

What is one thing/ideal you always find yourself discussing amongst fellow city dwellers?

So often I find that we slip into a conversation about our mutual affections towards Guelph. We acknowledge its need for slightly better shopping, nightlife, and restaurant options but we love its character and agree that we’re very lucky to call this city home.

What’s one thing you think people should be more aware of when looking to get involved in a creative field in Guelph?

You’re not an island! There is a wealth of people interested in hearing what you’re doing and eager to share any insights they can. Don’t be afraid to reach out because you never know where new connections might lead. Truthfully, I need to take my own advice on this topic more too.

“I just put the finishing touches on my home office after a long renovation and I’m so happy with the final result. I love working from home and feel so lucky to have such a fresh, inspiring space to work in every day.”

[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]

Red Brick Cafe

Address: 8 Douglas St, Guelph, ON N1H 2S9, Canada

“The Red Brick Cafe is a mainstay in Guelph. It’s always bustling with people meeting friends, reading the paper or catching up on work. I love the energy in the cafe and the coffee is always delicious and plentiful.”

Shop Lee’s Look: Scarf Blockshop Textiles |  Jamie + The Jones top | Pants Elizabeth Suzann | Boots Rachel Comey | Bag Opelle Creative | Cuff Young Frankk (similar) | Necklace Stvdio Brooklyn

We love Style Bee’s point of view. With this in mind, how do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Style Bee playing in this shift in thinking?

Thank you! I was lucky to grow up with two very artistic parents, so creativity was always highly valued and embraced in our house. I think everyone has some level of creative ability and when we tap into it that’s when we’re able to see things differently and challenge the norms. One thing my blogging experience has taught me is that as soon as you stop saying the same thing as everyone else, people start listening. I think Style Bee serves people who are looking to take a step back from what has become a frenzied approach to fashion and shopping. It speaks to those who want to shop with intention and embrace their personal style thoughtfully without feeling the need to constantly keep up. If I can give my readers useful tools to feel empowered in their style choices then I know I’m doing something worthwhile.

How would you characterize the collective personal style of Guelph dwellers and what is one thing you’d like to see change?

There is a really broad range of personal style in Guelph, from the university students to the arts and music scene to more professional industries. I’d say overall people dress to be comfortable but with a little bit of flare, like a great coat, a statement scarf or vintage pieces. It’s cold for a lot of the year in Guelph so I’d love to see more creative approaches to winter style. Parkas and rubber boots are practical but not the most sartorially pleasing.

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Outpost Vintage

Address: 175 Woolwich Street, Guelph, ON N1H 3V4, Canada

“Outpost Vintage is easily one of my favorite shops to pop into. Carolyn the owner is lovely and she always finds the best vintage gems. I never go with anything in mind but something usually finds me.”

Shop Lee’s Look: Elizabeth Suzann top | Madewell jeans (similar) | Biko Necklace (similar) | Outpost Vintage bag (similar)

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?

I take my dog for long walks around our neighborhood and try to leave my phone at home so I can be present with him and my own thoughts. During these walks, I’m able to clear my head and ideas always seem to rise to the surface. I’m most inspired by the color palettes and textures in nature like dark fluid hues in the river, deep forest greens on the trees and fresh bright whites from new snow. I also love the old stone buildings throughout the city and how the neutrals all work together. Almost every time we come home I try to jot down a new idea for a look or blog post.

There’s no doubt that there is a rising number of ethical/values-driven creative companies coming onto the scene – what are your thoughts on this movement and do you think Guelph is playing a role in fostering this?

I think it is wonderful! I’m just a little weary of the fact that it’s a big marketing trend right now. With that in mind, I try to look past the messaging and focus my interest more on the pieces themselves and always look a bit deeper into the story and people behind the brand.
I’d say Guelph has been ahead of the game in fostering support for locally and sustainably made goods. We have some great vintage and thrift options and lots of shops carrying Canadian-made and ethical brands. The farmer’s market is always a zoo and the Aberfoyle Antique market is my favorite place in the summer. We even have a new series of night markets that showcase all the best local makers along with ceramics markets and art fairs in the summer too.

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Sweet Violets

Address: 38 Wilson St, Guelph, ON N1H 4G5, Canada

“Sweet Violets is my happy place. I love coming in here after brunch on the weekends and picking out a few fresh stems or a new green plant for my office. It’s almost impossible to leave without something!”

Shop Lee’s Look: Rag&Bone denim jacket| Elizabeth Suzann crop top (similar) and pants | Madewell shoes (similar) | Millay Vintage bag (similar)

Can you see yourself in other cities – if so, which ones and why?

I often think about living on more land, further outside the city but I could also see myself somewhere coastal, like Vancouver or Halifax. I love experiencing all four seasons though so that’s a must wherever I live.

How do you celebrate personal style? 

I try to embrace each day or event as an opportunity to be creative in what I choose to wear. I get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction in putting together an outfit that’s truly timeless, comfortable and chic. I don’t always pull it off but when I do I feel like that’s when I’m celebrating my true personal style.