This is Story 5 of the Real Style Project. To learn more about the Real Style Project and what it's all about, click here.
Selfless, aspiring, endearing and ingenious.
These are just a few words that friends
use to describe Tanya Puka,
and this is her Style Story.
There's no question that Tanya is a woman of style. And yes, it's definitely possible that you could see her in any fashion magazine for her seamless combination of classic & eclectic pieces, but more than that, Tanya Puka's style is all her own, and that comes from her openness to try new things, a confidence in who she is & what she loves, and a thoughtfulness in what she buys.
As always, I did a bit of an interview with Tanya, which you can read below, but I reached out to one of Tanya's closest friends, Lana Rogers, to help give us a bigger and deeper look in to who Tanya is. Lana gave such incredible insight and I have used some of her knowledge to tell a more well-rounded story, and I have used some of her direct quotes about Tanya throughout.
If you were to see Tanya hanging out at her favorite cocktail bar, Proof, you'd no doubt notice what she is wearing, but you also can't miss the kindness in her eyes, her calm spirit, and the joy in her easy smile that is so often present.
Apart from all of this, Tanya has a wonderful mind for business and she has combined that intelligence with her eye for style and started a high-end consignment boutique called Fond Boutique. After a couple years, Tanya made the decision to join forces with Calgary luxury consignment shop, the upside. I initially met Tanya when she had Fond Boutique and I was bringing in some items to consign. Later on, I remember talking to her after she decided to combine forces with the upside, and it was amazing how she made such a big move with such a strong inner peace. Having my own company, I can only imagine how much thought would have gone into making that change, and she did so with excitement and faith in the fact that it just felt right.
Whether Tanya is organizing weekly photoshoots to showcase the amazing inventory at the upside, styling clients, working on projects at her other career in marketing at Brandsmith, or spending time with loved ones, Lana described Tanya beautifully - "Tanya gives 100% of herself all of the time. She genuinely cares about the success and well-being of others... whether it's styling advice or life advice, Tanya is always there to make someone's day that much brighter."
While being intentional about taking time to unwind isn't first nature to Tanya, she loves to de-stress by socializing with friends and loved ones (and it isn't uncommon to do so over a glass of wine), or she likes to hunker down at home with her man and watch a good drama or intellectual thriller, or cozies up to read a great book (usually anything Harvard Business Review).
To get an even better sense of who Tanya is, I did a short interview with her :
Your style in 3 words.
Classic, tomboyish, with a touch of boho.
What are some items that you seem to always wear?
I'm typically feeling a worn-in pair of vintage jeans, high tops, pop-pom earrings or studs (never without earrings) and a good kimono. Perhaps not all together!
When shopping, are there certain style, colours, accents, etc, that you look for?
I try to trust my instincts rather than search for anything specific. If I feel good in something, I like to think that it's meant to be. Typically, if I can't create at least 5 outfits in my mind, I won't buy it. Also, good tailoring is key.
What is style to you?
I think style is about feeling more yourself in the clothes you're in, as if they are an extension of your narrative. They best styles look lived in - it's imperfect in just the right way.
What drives or motivates you?
Passion and connection. I feel so lucky to have a versatile career I'm passionate about and that provides the ability to connect with many different people in the day-to-day, as well as invest in the meaningful relationships in my life. When I have a balance of both, I have it all.
What are 3 events or people that have helped shape you?
I would have to say my twin sis, who taught me strength and confidence without having to speak a word; living in a van for 6 months with two pals, which taught me patience and sparked my sense of adventure; and for becoming my own boss, which continues to teach me that I can handle (nearly almost) anything.
What was a major style mishap that you look back on and ask yourself "why??"
Oh so many! Skate shoes, knee-high stockings, black lace slips as skirts...what I refer to as my goth days, may they RIP.
There's always a lot of bad & negative issues in the news. Tell me one good or positive thing that you see in our world.
To keep it short and sweet - people are exquisite creatures capable of so much dark and so much light. It's the light that keeps us going. To see good in people is what is inspiring and positive to me.
Tanya is no stranger to accessorizing and while she's initially drawn to silver jewelry, she doesn't shy away from gold, or even mixing the two together. When trying on the delicate stacking ring set and said she'd wear them on her thumb...I knew that she was a girl after my own heart! Tanya also loves a bold earring, but there is something about a pretty, classic stud that draws her in! All of this just goes to show that Tanya doesn't limit herself to specific styles, but she truly goes with what she loves and makes sure that it'll work with more than just one outfit.
While there are a number of things that I've taken away from getting to know Tanya better, here are a few that stand out to me:
- Be purposeful & thoughtful in the pieces you buy. If you can't think of more than a couple different outfits you'd wear it with, leave it behind.
- Kindness and light are more than the words we say and the things we do, it's revealed in all that we are.
- Change is good. Even when you don't have the answers or know how it'll go, you have to trust your gut and do what feels right.
You now know that Tanya Puka is not only a great
business woman, an incredible & loyal friend,
and a lover of people & relationships,
but she is also kind, generous and soulful.
All of this is wrapped into incredible woman that loves
the simple things in life (and a well-made
drink at her favorite local spot).
All photography for Tanya's Style Story was done by Sarah Beau Photography