the okanaganista

I have some very exciting news!

A few weeks ago Rhys forwarded an email about a contest being run to find the Okanaganista, the guru on all things fashionable in the Okanagan Valley.  This sounded right up my alley, but it could not have come at a busier time in my life. With thoughts of a wedding coming up, marathon training and a busier-than-expected work schedule, I wasn’t sure I had it in me to put together a great entry.

It’s times like these that I’m so thankful for a supportive fiance! Despite me being tired and stressed, Rhys encouraged me and sat by while I, with half opened eyes put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keys) and wrote out my entry.

Last Friday I was contacted with news that I had made the shortlist of finalists. I was so excited to be considered, and quickly set up a meeting for an interview with a panel of judges. The interview went fantastic! The judges were all so nice, and I kinda forgot it was an interview because, well, how can fashion be anything but pleasure?

I was dying waiting to hear the results…and then I got an email with the subject line:

“Congratulations on being chosen as the Okanaganista!”

AHHHHHH! I am so excited to be given this role!  And what does this role entail, you might ask?  Well, once a week I will have a column on, Kelowna’s biggest local news and web portal, as well as weekly guest spot on the Morning Show with Kevin and Sonia on SunFM to talk fashion!  And if that wasn’t enough, I will be working with Orchard Park Shopping Center with various projects!

My first posts and radio spots start next week, but I was introduced live on the radio this morning!

And if you’re interested in reading my winning submission, here it is below:


“When I wore this outfit to Easter dinner, my soon-to-be mother-in-law said “oh, I didn’t know we were dressing up”. My reaction? Of course we’re dressing up!

I wasn’t always this way; the dress code in my Albertan hometown didn’t stretch too far beyond flip flops, flared jeans, and a (not necessarily) clean t-shirt. I don’t know exactly how I went from this kinda girl to one without enough closet space, but boy have I reformed.

Okanagan fashion is often dismissed as being too casual and beach-y; this is true to a point, but we know how to take the summer casual to the next level. Feather earings, mesh maxi skirts, jean vests, high tops, and cat eye sun glasses can turn the typical outfit to something more. We amp up our outfits by adding in a few of these statement pieces. Easy. Simple.

Take this outfit from Easter; each piece on its own is pretty simple and straightforward. I just loved the tie-dyed pattern on this otherwise casual dress (tie-dy is really hot right now), but is immediately dressed up by adding the grey boyfriend blazer. By adding the gladiator sandals and chunky accessories, this outfit goes from “going to the office” to “going OUT!”. And the best part is, it can take very little effort to put something like this together! Fashion truly can be simple!

Here’s my theory: buy pieces you love, wear what you feel good in, and dare to try new things. Most of the time I have no rhyme or reason when I get dressed; I scan my closet and grab something that jumps out at me. Then I start trying things on…wondering does this leopard jacket go with this shiny knit sweater? Sure, why not? And let’s throw on that pink tutu with it!

Well, okay, there are a few things that shouldn’t go together. But this Okanaganista can’t spill all her secrets yet, now can she? ;)


  1. lisa wrote:

    congrats, alana!!!!! thats AWESOME!!!! totally deserved – cant wait to see your column!!! :D

  2. Jon wrote:

    Amazing news Alana. You will do an incredible job!

  3. Congratulations, what exciting news! You entry was wonderful and it's no wonder that you were chosen. Looking froward to hearing more about your exciting new role!

  4. Jess Michael wrote:

    Proud of you!!! Super excited for you too!!

  5. Dani wrote:

    Congratulations! Yayyyy!

  6. Val wrote:

    LOVE this! You are such a good writer. This is just the beginning I'm sure!

  7. Court wrote:

    WOW Alana! this is great! I remember Leanne saying you should apply to be the Okanaganista and I was like for sure! But then I totally forgot.. This is so great, you are the perfect person for the job!!!

  8. Robin wrote:

    Alana! You look like such a professional in your radio pic!

  9. Brett Denham wrote:

    A-Bomb Drops! Way to go look forward to hearing you on the Radio!

  10. Congrats!! I love your submission, especially since I totally relate to it! I grew up in rural Manitoba, but now love fashion something fierce! And I always just buy things that I love, it all comes together in the wash and I've never been short combinations!
    LOVE your tutu skirt and shiny sweater… and the coat. k, I just love the whole outfit! Too pretty! xx

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