Every now and then a new LBD crops up in my closet – I know they’re getting old, and we’ve seen many a case made for the LWD (little white dress) and the LRD (little red dress), but nothing beats a little black number in my opinion. Something that you can just throw on and feel great in. I found my LBD update with this Tobi number and paired it with a blazer to make it a bit more fall-weather appropriate. It’s simple, has a great neckline with some satin detail and the length is modest but still sexy. It’s my updated LBD which I’m sure I’ll have for a very long time to come.
Dress: ShopTobi.com // Thank you Melody Iafelice for the photos!
You see, sometimes “eco-fashion” or sustainable shopping sends our thoughts immediately to items that are made of hemp or some seemingly unattainable fabric and that seem high in price (more on that later, as I do believe that our price sensitivity has drastically changed since the inception of fast fashion, and also that the eco-friendly options out there are multiplying and quite stunning) – but if your budget doesn’t allow, or your personal taste hasn’t jived with any of the eco-friendly designers out there yet, thrifting is an excellent way to reduce your environmental footprint and save money. It also means you have a 10000% chance of not looking like everybody else – which I believe is a bonus, especially in an office environment.
So – on my way home from a meeting one day, I stopped into The Paul – the higher end version of Ottawa’s beloved St.Vincent De Paul Charity shop, and made away with (I’m saying it like that because I literally felt like a bandit who had to run out as soon as I made my purchase because it was too good) this 100% silk Babaton blouse for $15 (pictured, and happened to be on my list), and a pair of REAL suede pants for $20 (pictured, and which I’ve already worn about 3 different ways to multiple engagements), which I then had hemmed to an awkwardly ridiculous height to make them look a little more interesting. Which brings me to a next point – thrifting is an opportunity to tailor your clothes to exactly how you want them.Because the initial price is a little less than what you would pay retail, there is some cushion to customize. And in an age where we praise individuality but everybody seems to look the same, this is key.
My shoes are secondhand Manolo Blahniks that I found on therealreal.com. If you haven’t checked this site out yet – do, the product and prices are usually good enough to justify the shipping costs. My bag is vintage Burberry, courtesy of my mom from when we used to live in the UK.
What’s your favourite thrifted find? I’d love to know!
If there’s one thing a small closet needs to achieve; its duplicity. Not the backstabbing, alternate personality gossipy kind we craved on Gossip Girl, but the multi-tasking sensibility of a simple garment. Take for example, this off-the-shoulder dress I found on Tobi.com. I’m not one for trends, but this is a dress I could see myself wearing for a while, and it satisfied my need to be able to wear it multiple ways. In fact, I was more excited about how I would style it for cooler temperatures and alternative situations that didn’t involve cocktails and an equally ubiquitous choker.
For one; I tried this piece the dressed up, more traditional way; with a feminine pair of heels, small bag and choker. Perfect for a night out, urban wedding or vacation.
Next, I tried it for the office. The hard working button down came out, and, when done up all the way to the collar and paired with a sensible vintage burberry bag and nondescript pumps, it looked quite corporate. Still worried? Throw on a blazer and make sure accessories are smart and chic (read: SIMPLE). I even added a broach because nobody will question a woman wearing a brooch; the Queen and Margaret Thatcher being two prime examples.
Dress: Tobi, Shirt: EXPRESS, shoes: ZARA, old, love these as an update, blazer: H&M, old, but this is a great substitute
I’m a big believer in finding all sorts of ways to style one garment – it keeps the fun and creativity in getting dressed, but also helps us fall in love with our closets over and over again so that – hopefully – there is less of that “need to shop” feeling. It sums up this great quote I found on Pinterest: “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.” (If anyone has the source for this quote, please let me know!) How would you style it?
I remember buying my firstexpensive winter parka – I had always complained about the cold, and the big frenchman practically forced me to spend more money than I normally would on something that would actually keep me warm. I think he might have been tired of hearing me complain all the time. You see, I am perpetually cold (even in summer months, unless it is above 26 degrees, I’m typically wearing jeans and a long sleeve tee), and at the time, my commute was a 15 – 20 minute walk to work.
That was almost 7 years ago. And it was around that time, that I began to appreciate and bend my shopping habits to accommodate slow fashion. I’m happy to say I got a lot of wear out of that parka – I was never cold, and 7 years is a good amount of time to hang onto something that faces the crazy elements of an Ottawa winter. So when this Colmar Originals coat came into my life; I was insanely pleased. My original parka only has about a season left – what excellent timing to learn about this brand which uses sustainably sourced materials and proper practices to keep us warm. Based in Italy, and with a history in sport wear – this urban inspired coat is compact but packs a serious punch.
Here’s what I love about this Colmar Originals piece:
Style: the classic black puffer style and sleek silhouette is timeless, giving the item longevity, but the architectural peplum is both unique and interesting enough to stand on its own and not become dated down the road.
Warmth: A water repellant exterior and 90% ethically sourced duck down represents the best of fashion technology to keep me warm through the winter.
Function: Although I don’t have a daily walking commute anymore; I am almost always running around the city schlepping or meeting clients, so I really appreciate that there is zero bulk to this coat. It’s so lightweight and easy to move in, and yet traps my body heat so well. These coats are thoroughly tested for wear and durability. I know that not only will this coat be fashionable in 5+ years, but it will still be serving its purpose well.
Wearability: It’s my favourite fashion colour – black. A no brainer for winter, it will work with almost every colour scheme I have in my closet (mostly neutrals), and will look equally rad with an ankle bootie and sleek turtleneck (as I’ve styled it here) or with my big winter boots and a fuzzy tuque and scarf.
While I hope that I won’t be having to face the full force of a long Ottawa winter for much longer (life plan: spend winters in hot places – am I alone here!?), I’m happy I have this Colmar Originals jacket to keep me warm when I do.
Coat: c/o Colmar Originals / turtleneck: Club Monaco / jeans: William Rast / Hat: Soia & Kyo c/o Simons / boots: UGG
Contrary to the title of this post I did not get flown to Paris in a private jet to watch the technology inspired SS2017 Chanel show.
That would have been a dream.
But – I did come pretty close when I met with Dia Shams, owner of Valamode, and we chatted all things designer and of course – Chanel. As a luxury consignment matchmaker, Dia feels and looks like luxury. She is both a product and a reflection of her brand, and it suits her.
A dedicated and hard worker from a young age, Dia is an immigrant of Iranian descent, and has always had an eye for what works stylistically. She was able to nourish her passion for luxury fashion during her time at Holt Renfrew, and it’s there that a little bud of an idea started (don’t you love it when that happens?) … She saw that Ottawa had both the supply and demand for a luxury consignment player, and after Holt Renfrew left town and she had spent a few years subsequently working in the corporate world plotting her luxury world take-over , she struck out with Valamode. Dia’s cache of designer consignment is as well-curated as it is vast, which is a tough balance to achieve in the luxury market. It’s a mix of being on constant alert to trends, scouting what people are buying in stores, and always being ready to serve her clients.
So – what is it, exactly? Valamode is an online luxury consignment store, but there have been a few very successful pop-ups at Bayshore Shopping Centre too. Perhaps it’s her Iranian background, but Dia meets with her clients personally as often as possible – a unique characteristic in a world where most retail transactions are done via login and “add to cart”. It’s part of her “luxury matchmaker” status … clients can sign up with an item (or 5!) of what they’re looking for and Dia will keep her eyes and ears peeled until you get what you’re looking for. (I was impressed when I consigned my Louis Vuitton Artsy bag and it sold within 2 weeks because she already had a few clients in mind who were looking for it)
As someone who keeps a tightly-edited closet, luxury consignment is key for being kind on my wallet, good to the environment, and a subtle yet significant way to perk up my uniform. I styled this gorgeous vintage Chanel with a dressed up version of my daily ensemble which includes some of my old faves. A belted blazer (it’s seriously so old – remember that suit I told you that I bought when I was 16? Here’s the top half), my trusty patent pumps and Alexa Chung for AG jeans. The whole thing feels very french and very glamorous so my Jimmy Choo frames from Merivale Optometric without makeup felt right. Very French. Almost as french as Paris Fashion Week runway show. Almost.
I’ve figured out a way to keep summer alive amongst all the fluffy sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes of fall.
It’s a super simple trick, really.
Treat yourself to a pair of sunnies and wear them all the time. Even on cloudy days. Even on rainy days. Even AT NIGHT.
Because they’re so awesome and they’ll remind you of heat waves, beaches and UV indexes, while still upping your outfit game. I’ve donned these Caroline Abram’s from Merivale Optometric to give this pale pink sweater dress some interest and tie the black elements in this look together. I also have yet to own a solid black pair of sunnies – they’re very celebrity-esque – and these fit the bill for a timeless twist on an outfit that can be seen as confusing – what with the pants under the dress and all (a great trick for using season’s old denim that needs a refresh).
Dress: Forever21, Jacket: Nordstrom, Jeans: William Rast, Sneakers: c/o Browns Shoes, Sunnies: Caroline Abram at Merivale Optometric
For your wallet and social life’s sake; I’m going to leave this pretty little invite here … a perfect opportunity to spoil yourself with some sunnies … I’ll be posting more about this event in a few weeks time with a parisian inspired look. Stay tuned!
We often hear the words “shop local” but acting on them isn’t always easy. In the next two weeks however, you’ll have your chance at the Braderie de Mode Quebecoise on October 7/8 at the Hilton Lac Leamy in Gatineau.
Imagine this: a room FULL of fashion from sumptuous designers hailing from Quebec – discounted anywhere between 50-80%. Not only is this a great occasion to increase the Canadian content in your closet, but it’s an opportunity to meet the designers. You’ll recognize some big names like Mackage and Soia & Kyo, but I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of the other designers and have put together a little sneak peek – a fashion preview if you will, with fall fashion trends in mind and how to wear them:
Graphic sport, athleisure – comfortable style has been increasingly popular season after season; Proenza Schouler did this so well on the fall runways, and here – Melissa Nepton has a fabulous take on uber wearable style with her signature classic undertones. This graphic black and white dress is swingy, and made of a fabric that feels too comfortable for real life. Seriously. To transition this dress to fall, I’ve added a turtleneck underneath and underscored the geometric feel with a pair of earrings from Anne-Marie Chagnon – who, by the way – needs to be on your list of discoveries; not only because she spent 10 years creating jewelry for Cirque du Soleil, but because her pieces are truly works of art. I’m loving the mixed textures of these earrings – leather, gold and pewter – a stunning combo.
Dress: Melissa Nepton, Turtleneck: Lord&Taylor, Pumps: Rachel ZOE at schad, Blazer: H&M, Sunnies: Kate Spade at Merivale Optometric, Earrings: Anne-Marie Chagnon
Ca Va de Soi
Knitwear becomes popular as the temperatures drop, but this season knits came back in a big, lovely, romantic way; whether in comfy sweater dresses or demure cardigans, Balenciaga and Chanel had head to toe knitwear looks, and I’m a BIG fan. So naturally, Ca Va de Soi pulled through (pun totally intended) with this fabulous oversized sweater which I wore as a dress paired with over the knee boots. You will find how versatile knits are; toughen it up with some ripped denim and a killer heel, but always remember; these classic sweaters make the perfect backdrop for an eye-popping accessory.
Sweater/Dress: Ca Va de Soi, Necklace: Anne-Marie Chagnon, Boots: Stuart Weitzman at Browns Shoes, Sunnies: Kate Spade at Merivale Optometric
Keeping it ethical – friendly fashion is very much de rigueur; Stella McCartney is notoriously conscious about her materials, and if you’re a conscious shopper, you’ll love Message Factory and OOM Ethikwear for their sustainable fabrics and oh so comfy pieces. I LOVED the versatility of this neckline – it can be worn as a cowl neck but I’ve worn it off the shoulder for an on-trend take on this piece.
Dress: Message Factory, Shoes: Winners, Sunnies: Rayban at Merivale Optometric
Friendly fashion also comes in the form of footwear – that’s right, friendly footwear that is. Ahhh! Mes Pieds specializes in foldable flats that are perfect for on the go lunch errands, or relief after an event in heels. After trying on this pair, I couldn’t help envisioning super chic travel attire.
Of all the trends on the Fall 2016 runways, lingerie is likely the hardest to pull off. Slip dresses, lace, silk – what is typically reserved for bedtime has now come to the forefront of many a style blogger’s look, but a little can go a long way. Enter Blush Lingerie – their bralettes and bras are so sweet, you’ll want to show them off. I’ve paired a bralette with a deep V-neck sweater – the juxtaposition of textures and flats keep it from looking too vampy. Give it a whirl – you’ll be so glad you did.
I am so excited to report that this is only a small taste of the designers you will find at the Braderie; over 60 designers will be participating so you can bet there will be plenty to explore – it’s a fabulous opportunity to discover some solid Canadian fashion – I can’t wait to see you there!
For more info visit: http://www.braderiedemodequebecoise.com/
I’ve always considered vacation to be the best time to experiment with new clothing and outfits. In a different country, where the vibe is different and the people will likely never see you again, an opportunity arises to become whoever you want to be – stylistically of course. During my summer trip to Spain, Portugal and the UK, I brought along this phenomenal maxi dress from Shein.com . I’m normally not a big dress person – I prefer separates, especially when traveling because there are more mixing and matching opportunities, BUT. One always needs a showstopper (that goes for on and off vacation) and the geometric print and silhouette of this dress fit the bill.
I love the unique print, the voluminous top and asymmetric hem with slit up the middle. It was the perfect date night dress in Lisbon, and then doubled as a sweet day dress for the UK. Both times, I belted it as I think it gives the dress a rich look. I must say, I was impressed with the value from Shein, and they were a pleasure to work with. The top part of the dress was more voluminous than pictured, but in the end I love that look.
Summer is SO not over, so if you’re looking for a dress to wear to a wedding or summer event, I highly recommend this number. But as with the internet, as one can often get lost down the rabbit hole, the site has some lovely maxi choices – from the quirky and sweet to the sultry. Happy shopping!
There’s sun, a sweet vibe, music and a chilled glass of something delicious at your fingertips. I’m talking about Springtime – patio season, that wonderful time of year when hibernating locals come out to play and enjoy some of Ottawa’s finest food and drink. For a small city, we have an innumerable number of patios to enjoy. In case – like me – you’ve been a hermit for the past few months and need a perusal of what Ottawa has on offer to kick off the season of love and warmth (as I like to call Spring and Summer), I urge you to enjoy the bounty that is Eat Drink Spring! The sister event to Ottawa’s coveted Wine and Food Festival, Eat Drink Spring boasts a roster of local vendors that will guarantee to put you in a Springtime entertaining mood.
From featured artisanal and small batch distillers to free gardening and patio decor workshops, this is an event that will no doubt get you in the mood for entertaining and thoroughly enjoying this summer season. Check out their Facebook page and website for more info – you’ll want to be at this one, I promise.
As with all fun stuff happening in the city, including the changing of the seasons, I’ve put together a look that is my Springtime uniform and my go-to patio hopping outfit. Ripped denim at this time of year is given an extra fun edge, and means my kneecaps won’t freeze. Bonus. When in doubt, double denim is always a fun option, and I’ve added a heel and cute thrifted bag to elevate the look a bit. Ottawa patios are perfect for people watching – give them something to look at!
jeans: ZARA // Top: c/o Nordstrom // Shoes: Schutz // Purse: Thrifted // Sunnies: Kate Spade at Merivale Optometric
As a big fan of androgynous dressing, I totally get the allure of incorporating pieces from the opposite sex into my wardrobe – for one, a baggy sweater makes me feel and look smaller – bonus – but a little revelation the other day made me realize that more than anything, lenses do the best job of blurring lines between masculine and feminine style. Specs and sunnies are truly (in my opinion) one of the only accessories that can’t be claimed by either gender. You see, anybody can weara tie, but it’s history and traditional use associate it with menswear. But a thick pair of black frames? Both Yves Saint Laurent and Nana Mouskouri rocked and owned those as an inherent part of their personal style. How many times has your mom or grandma swiped her hubby’s reading glasses to check the menu at a restaurant and looked super chic doing it? The ease at which eyeglasses can cross back and forth between men’s and women’s style makes them my new go-to accessory (how did I not realize this before?!), and I think you should consider their merits too.
Totally apropos therefore, is Merivale Optometric’s 4th annual trunk show to benefit the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind happening on Thursday May 12th. That night, you can view the complete collections of Rayban, Dior (which has been killing it in the land of sunnies – I’m talking about theeessseee the Dior So Real) and Fendi, which have awesome selections for both men and women, although, we’ve just established that anyone can wear anything in this department. Not to be missed either are the four legged guests of honour, their wonderful trainers, and exclusive discounts.
It’s an evening I never miss, and to give you some ideas of what they’ll have on deck, I took some outfit photos in a pair of scholarly Dior lenses (paired with an uber sport look to show how versatile they are and keep confusion alive) and a classic pair of Rayban Aviators. In both of these cases I looked for a gentleman to pop the frames on but didn’t find any obliging strangers, but trust me when I say that both of these frames would also look pretty awesome on a gent.
Below, some lenses that are a bit more masculine … but I think anyone can wear any of these frames and feel like a rockstar… hopefully you’ll join us on May 12th so you can see for yourself! For more eyesight awesomeness, follow Merivale Optometric’s Facebook Page (seriously, the articles they post are super interesting), and check them out on Insta too!