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Oct 05

Wearing Booties

Based on a slew of Pinterest posts and comments about the difficulties involved in wearing booties, it would seem that many of you find it hard to figure out how to wear them and what to wear them with.

First off, it’s important to differentiate between a bootie and a short boot. Booties go to the ankles or just above. Choosing a pair that rises up to your calves (those should really be called short boots) will make it much harder to wear – unless you are model tall or have really long legs. Booties that stop just above your ankles, however, are easy to style and pull off for just about everyone. Shooties are shoes that completely cover the foot like a boot would but are fitted and do not rise above the ankle bone. Those are super easy to wear but they tend to be dressier than booties.

,2014-10-05 14.45.01 BASIC BLACK HEELED BOOTIES2014-10-05 14.44.30 CASUAL LOW-HEELED BOOTIES2014-10-05 14.45.57 DRESSY OPEN-TOED BOOTIES

So booties… Booties are easiest to pull off with skinnies. The trick is to roll up your jeans or cargoes to just above the boot. The nicest rolls are narrow (they’re most flattering) and a little messy. I like them most when they’re uneven and I go out of my way to make sure the front and back are not exactly the same length. Showing a tiny bit of skin (or sock) in the front makes your legs look longer. Do not tuck in your jeans into your booties or attempt to pull them down over top of them. Booties do not work with wide legged or straight leg jeans.

2014-10-05 17.21.22 MESSY ROLL TO JUST ABOVE THE BOOT

Booties can also be super cute with shorts or skirts. The longer the shorts, the higher your heel should be to elongate the leg. Bare legs are required for shorts to work unless they’re really short and you’re matching them with tights that match your shorts and / or your booties. Generally, it’s easier to do booties with shorter flared or A-line skirts. Longer flared skirts can work but the key is to make sure that there is leg showing between the skirt and the boot. Fitted minis can also work – as long as you’re wearing tights. Match the style of the boot to the clothing. A casual tunic dress needs casual booties with a lower, chunkier heel. A midi skirt demands a dressier bootie, ideally with a stiletto heel. Jeans will do either style so match the bootie to your overall look – dressy clothes for stiletto booties or shooties and more casual looks with flat or chunky-heeled booties.

If it’s cold enough that socks are required (or you’re trying to avoid blisters!), let a tiny bit of bunched down sock show. I like my booties best with thin socks because I can bunch those without having the socks look too heavy for the boots. Shooties need hose or tights if it’s too cold for bare feet and legs.

That’s it. Booties 101. You’ve passed. And since booties and shooties are versatile and sexy  you should definitely get at least one pair. Happy shopping!

Sep 26

Bling News

Everyone needs a bit of bling to round off their wardrobe. I don’t think any woman is fully grown up until she owns pearls, something diamond (be it to wear round her neck, her wrist or her finger or to dangle from her lobes) and at least one more piece that’s uniquely her. I’m drawn to jewellery like the proverbial moth and I own everything from high end designer (Hardy, Yurman, Tiffany’s, etc.) to steals I found at Winner’s or Forever 21 and treasures I picked up on holidays, at antique fairs, and at flea markets. My signature look is an armful of silver bangles that I never take off. Right now, that includes three from Caribbean Hooks that were gifts from my babe, one Yurman rope bangle with pave diamond I treated myself to for my bday, and a chunkier one I found at a consignment store. For a while I was also wearing two beaded ones that felt totally right with all my summer clothes.

2014-09-25 21.15.00

I often add silver cuffs (my fave is from Calvin Klein and is actually a watch), leather, plastic or rubber bracelets in funky colours, watches (I own both feminine time pieces and big men watches), or gold bangles to complete the look.

I rarely wear just one chain and I tend to mix my pearls with silver pieces to toughen them up.

 

2014-09-25 21.19.12

As for earrings I tend to wear one pair for a while then switch them up – but I never take off my two diamond studs. I’m not sure they’d come off now even if I tried.  On my fingers, I rarely wear just one ring. Rather I tend to do three on my left hand and two on my right or wear none at all. And I often wear multiple ones on one finger. The one that means the most to me (a silver, gold and pearl beauty my hubby gave me) I wear every single day.

I’m a huge fan of cuff bracelets. In fact, I think every woman should own at least one. I’ve lost count of how many I have but each is unique and interesting. With cuffs, it’s all about scale and colour. I own a gorgeous black one that looks amazing in its box. I’ve had it for years and I’ve yet to wear it. It’s too dark for my skin tone and too wide for my arm. So it sits… Hmm – I really should find someone to give that to.

Another of my favourite things to do is to wear brooches.They’re wonderfully old-fashioned somehow and there are so many out there that you’re bound to find one or two you love. I like mine a little chunky and not too girly and I love anything art deco, but there’s also something appealing about cameos or very dainty, feminine ones. You can go old-school and wear them pinned at the neck of a button-down or a blouse but I’d rather play with mine. I like using them with scarves for example. They’re great to old a loose scarf knot together and stop it from slipping or to pin a scarf to your top so it stays in place. I like wearing a few brooches at a time – three seems to work really well. Just look for some that are similar sizes and colours or go with a theme (like flowers for example) to tie them together. A trio of funky brooches can personalize a t-shirt or a sweater – or even a hat. And, in a pinch, they can make a great pendant too.

2014-09-25 21.23.44  2014-09-25 21.29.01 (Long vintage scarf tied in a loose tie knot secured with an antique pin)

By the way, I also collect tie pins and they can serve the exact same function.

I think jewellery is most interesting when it’s worn in slightly unexpected ways – pearls with boyfriend jeans rather than a pencil skirt, or a chunky silver necklace with a floaty dress or a silk tank for example. It’s really about what you love and what feels like you; jewellery should be an expression of who you are and how you feel. It can draw attention or be totally discrete and it can totally upgrade an outfit. And there’s no problem with mixing metals either. That old rule has gone by the wayside – thank god! You can mix and match to your heart’s content!

Like in clothes, jewellery trends change every season and picking up new pieces is an easy way to update your outfits. The new things for fall include butterfly motifs (brooches, rings or pendants) and front and back earrings. If you really want to drool check out the August issue of “In Style” magazine for really high end samples of butterfly jewellery. My favourite was the “Lucifer Vir Honestus” piece made with diamonds, tourmaline, and 18kt rose gold for only a little over $25 000.00 (below). Look how beautiful that is… Yummy if stupidly expensive!

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gg-style-stealer-pearls1www.thefrisky.com

I’m still searching for the perfect pair of front and back earrings (I like the ones above!). Since they are so trendy, I’ll be looking at cheap places like Ardene and scoping out Winners, Forever 21 and H&M in hopes of a score. Obviously, those pieces won’t last very long but for something this trendy you don’t need them to. And when you’re hunting for the perfect piece, don’t ignore retailers such as Coach and Michael Kors who both do jewellery lines that are far cheaper than you’d think – and, while not of heirloom quality, will easily last a few seasons!

As for me,  I’m going to keep dreaming about this baby which is on my ultimate wish list… Sigh!

luciferLucifer Vir Honestus Millefedi Ring ($6,600).

Sep 18

Sneakers on the Runways

Sneakers are hot… When practically every model in the Chanel Fall / Winter 2014-15 Ready-to Wear show is in sneakers you know they’re trending big time. Check it out for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLDUXZ4X5b8&noredirect=1

This is excellent news for those of you who hate walking around in heels. The best way to wear them is a little tongue-in-cheek with more classic pieces or with girly clothes – particularly if you’re hoping to take advantage of this trend for work. Try menswear inspired trousers with a white button down and a cute jacket with Keds instead of oxfords. Totally cute and totally office appropriate – unless you work on Bay Street. Or match a girly dress with a chunky sweater and sneakers instead of boots. Again, this can go to work on Fridays in more casual environments and would look stunning for a work retreat for example. Just choose a sneaker in a “quiet” colour instead of opting for neons or brights.

la-modella-mafia-Rihanna-in-Chanel-at-the-Fall-2014-fashion-show-in-Paris-3Rihanna at the Chanel show (lamodellamafia.com)

For the weekend, replace boots or ballet flats with sneakers for a much trendier look – and feel free to go wild with a retro looking pair in wild colours.

For those of you ready to embrace this trend, check out this Italian website in order to personalize your sneakers which will be made for you in Italy and shipped within 20 days (they say). I haven’t ordered any so I won’t attest to that but I did design a pair that I would dearly love to buy (and may yet!). If nothing else, it’s a fun thing to play around with…  http://www.personalshoes.it 

If you’d rather shop American, Adidas will also let you customize your sneakers. You can choose your colour for pretty much every part of the shoe and often choose the type of leather used as well. Neat!!! http://www.adidas.ca/ Nike will let you do the same (http://www.nike.com/) as will Converse http://www.converse.com/ and Reebok (http://shop.reebok.com/). I’m not sure why I’ve been buying my sneakers at Running World and settling for colours I didn’t really like or which didn’t match my work out clothes. No more! From now on, it’s personalized all the way… And I’m thinking a cool pair of Converse for bumming around on the weekend would not be out of the question… I just designed a pair in red, navy and green with a graphic print which would work really well with denims. Hmmm… I think I’m hooked.

Sep 14

My Fall Shopping is Done!

So the weather the last few weeks was not conducive to sitting around on the boat (I’ve worn sweaters or sweatshirts all summer long it seems and I was kind of done with it!) but it was great for fall shopping. I’ve scored some treasures that will fill some wardrobe holes and help me look right on trend. Here’s what came home with me this season:

  • black casual Steve Madden booties with a cowboy heel
  • a BCBG khaki button down with a really cool abstract print mixed with a tiny rose and burgundy floral print
  • 2014-09-14 17.00.22
  • a BCBG tuxedo-inspired navy and black jacket (So yummy and on sale to boot!)
  • 2014-09-14 17.02.47
  • a Max Studio knit flared skirt in a black and cream graphic print
  • a BCBG black and cream striped T (to match with the knit skirt among other things)
  • navy Marc Fisher suede pumps (I justified these because navy pumps are REALLY hard to find and I have tons of navy in my wardrobe.
  • a charcoal wool high waisted pencil skirt with a simple black check pattern by Amanda and Chelsea (to replace my old grey one that is running on 15 years old – not a word of a lie!)
  • faded Ralph Lauren skinny jeans in the perfect “go with everything” blue
  • a blue Max Studio fit and flare dress
  • dressy sweatpants in grey fleece with cream accents (from some Italian sounding brand I’ve never heard of)
  • a caramel open weave chunky knit hooded sweater (for $19.00!!! at Marshall’s)
  • two fun scarves – one in a cobalt and navy snakeskin print and the other in basic grey

It was definitely a BCBG year and my credit card bill is going to hurt some as the jacket, button down, and navy pumps, were not on my shopping list or in the budget really (but were just too good to pass up)! However, even with that, because I shopped Winners and Marshall’s for the most part, I’m still well under $1000.00. The only thing left on my list is a pair of casual burgundy booties… By rights, I should let them go since my budget is blown, but if I see the perfect pair I might just have to succumb. (Since I first wrote this, I have found the booties and they are now sitting pretty in my closet.)

Sep 06

Activism and Toronto Fashion Week

Well, I’m disappointed though I’m sure many activists among us feel they scored a point for equity, tolerance and justice. As you may have read in the papers, L’Uomo Strano, a clothing line by a Toronto designer, was cut from TOM just prior to the event. TOM executive director, Jeff Rustia, insisted the line was cut because it was badly constructed and of poor quality. What you may not know is that after screaming intolerance, sexism and homophobia relating to its androgynous collection, L’Uomo Strano was re-instated and showed at Fashion Week. The show sparked a controversy and a slew of comments on Facebook and on blog posts. Some called it ludicrous, ugly, and a disgrace. Others insisted that it was cutting edge and, like “haute couture”, was never meant to be worn as is but rather to inspire and make a statement. Having checked out the line, I’m not sure what that statement was suppose to be.

L’Uomo Strano showed women’s clothing on male models. It was a collection of skirts and tops (mostly) with weird collars and hats. There were a few bizarre jackets, tunics and vests thrown in there for good measure. The colour scheme is reminiscent of the 80’s – as are the big shoulders of the black coat, over the top hats, and shiny fabrics. In fact, as I watched it I couldn’t stop thinking of Grace Jones when she starred in Bond’s “A View to a Kill”.

There is nothing iconic or forward thinking about putting men in skirts. Jean-Paul Gaultier did it in 1985 (there’s that decade again – maybe it WAS intentional after all!!). I certainly don’t object to it. If it’s good enough for Gaultier and Tom Ford (not to mention generations of Scots) it’s certainly fine by me. Men have as much right to traditionally feminine clothing as we do to “traditionally” male clothing. And there are definitely loads of men out there who have the legs to pull off a skirt. I say go for it! The point is that showing men in skirts on the runway is not innovative or new enough to be a statement in and of itself. Possibly L’Uomo Strano attempted to push the envelope by styling all of the looks to be as stereotypically female as possible with their necklaces, blouses, cropped tops and girly hats (and all those weird ruffles). And maybe there is a sort of statement in that. Maybe it’s even a statement whose time has come.

However, if there was a message in the line it was seriously distorted by the lack of finesse, artistry and attention to details. The line looks tacky and cheap and, I’m sorry to say, ugly. The fabrics are hideous. The colour scheme is old-fashioned. The cut and fit makes even the male models look unattractive. I actually felt sorry for them. What hope is there for the rest of the male population or any women out there who might want to give some pieces a try?

How did such a “collection” deserve to be shown at TOM? What does that say about Canadian fashion and our industry? How are we to be taken seriously on the world stage if we allow clothing of that quality (or lack thereof really) to walk down our runways. Fashion Week should showcase the best that we have to offer. It should be about true innovation and style and how Canada truly can offer quality lines to the word market. It should not be about badly constructed and tailored clothing that only claims to be forward thinking. I’m a little embarrassed and more than a little appalled. Have we become so worried about offending anyone that we kowtow to any cry of inequity without verifying the accuracy of the claim? And shouldn’t the executives of Fashion Week be much more concerned about the quality and marketability of what shows on their runways? This is, after all, THE Canadian fashion event of the year. They have a responsibility to advance Canadian fashion, not turn us into laughing stocks. It’s truly disappointing.

As for the claim that this line can be compared to haute couture that is nothing but absurd. Haute couture is mostly hand-made by artisans who labour over every stitch. It is clothing that blows your mind with the level of detail and care that goes into its construction. In short, it is nothing like L’Uomo Strano. Please!!!

And to all of the activists out there who may have raised a glass in celebration when L’Uomo Strano hit the runway, just a word of caution. I don’t know for sure why the line was pulled or why it was re-instated. I would just urge you to remember the little boy who cried wolf. If too many people pull the stunt of claiming inequity when, in truth, they have themselves failed to produce a quality product then it will inevitably lose its power to move people. Had the line been removed from the show because of the nature of its message that would indeed be wrong. But if it was allowed to show simply because of an implied threat, with no concern for appropriateness in terms of the event, quality, style, fit or construction, then it did not deserve to be there – and that is inequity in and of itself isn’t it?

Sep 06

My Take on the Fall Runways

I watched a lot of shows again this fall and my least favourite was Chanel’s. Now I don’t say that often. Usually, I’m blown away by the construction of the clothes – how they hang, the seaming, the details – even if I wouldn’t personally wear them. This time I liked almost none of it. It was too sporty, too casual, too many pants layered under skirts, and there were too many sneakers!!! I like sneakers as much as the next girl but I expect more from Chanel. The venue was cool (a huge supermarket where the models walked the aisles, many with shopping baskets, and for which the items on the shelves were custom designed) but otherwise it was a disappointment. Sigh!!!

However, I fell in love with Ralph Lauren. Though I usually find his stuff too classically “American” and a little boring it was, by far, my favourite show this season. It was chock full of perfectly layered outfits with glorious sweaters and skirts – and some pretty nice boots as well! My favourite outfit of the season was one of his – a long, fluid maxi skirt with a sweater in the same colour and a fur scarf. Yummy!!! I would wear it exactly like that though I bet the skirt would look totally cool with a plaid shirt or a white button down as well.

images(Ralph Lauren / www.vogue.com)

Dolce, however, scored my favourite accessory of the season. I want those studded thigh high boots. There are two pairs – the first is embossed and has a detail on the knees that looks like armour. Beautiful. The second (the ones I would sell my soul for) are studded all over with the same armour detail. Wow!!! I don’t even want to think about how much they’d set me back; I bet Visa would let me get them and it’s going to be hard to talk myself into being rational where these babies are concerned.

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(Dolce and Gabbana – pinterest / runway gallery)

Michael Kors scored the best fur accessories (scarves and vests) – which is nice because he sells at a lower price points that many designers. Bonus!!

In terms of theatrical productions, Dolce and Gabbana win again. Moody and romantic, it brought fairy tales to life. Beautiful! McQueen was a close second. His show was darker but visually stunning as well and the music was great!

Many of these are on my “We’re in love” page. Check them out. Chanel, of course, didn’t make the cut this season.

 

 

Sep 01

Stylish Fitness Tracker

It seems everyone is into tracking their fitness these days. I hadn’t heard of Fitbit at all and then all of a sudden everyone is checking how many steps they’ve taken, how long it took them to fall asleep and whether they stayed that way, and how many calories they’ve burned. But the bracelets are so not attractive. Never fear… Tory Burch has your back ’cause she’s collaborated with Fitbit to create a brass plated metal hinge bracelet to hide your Fitbit Flex. Yep… now you can track in style! Check it out at Fitbit. http://www.fitbit.com/

Aug 23

Socks With Shoes – A Fashionista Do or a Total Don’t?

So last season, many designers once again showed pumps and strappy sandals with socks. Chanel did stiletto pumps with mid-calf socks in the same colour that really looked like boots. Tons of others showed strappy sandals with bright coloured socks all bunched up at the ankles. This season Ralph Lauren was all over it and “In Style” actually ran a short article on how to wear socks with your shoes in their special fall issue. There’s no question that the socks and heels look is trending now and it’s undeniably hot. But should you wear it?

According to “In Style”, if you are going to try this trend, there are three ways to do it right, right now. Pull a Chanel and use tight fitting calf-length socks that match your shoes to duplicate boots. Use light-weight, bunchy socks with Mary Janes or booties. Or roll up tall, wooly socks over thick strapped sandals. Ralph Lauren, for his part, showed wool socks bunched down with strappy, chunky sandals and skirts. In all cases, heels are a must.

I like bunching my socks with booties. And I love a strappy sandal with tights (as long as the toes are the same colour and don’t stand out in any way from the rest of the tights). I liked Chanel’s “boot” look for spring but I wonder why the models couldn’t just be sent down the runway in actual boots. Ultimately, it comes down to what you can pull off. If you can do this look a little tongue in cheek, have long legs, and you’re relatively young then I say go for it. It could look totally cute with shorts and a sweater, a tunic and lug-sole sandals, or a soft, floaty skirt.

If you’re no longer that young, have shorter legs or, let’s face it, just just aren’t that hip, skip it – and wear actual boots and booties! It’s far too easy to have the socks that are suppose to make you look super trendy actually come off as though you’re trying too hard, have really short legs, or are totally not dressing your age. For most of us, the old rule applies. It’s a don’t!

Aug 18

Jewellery Binge in Quebec City

A few weeks ago now we hopped a train (or two) to get away to Quebec City for a few days. We ate amazing food (you haven’t really lived, I don’t think, until you’ve had sugar pie with ice cream), toured museums and wandered happily through the old town admiring the view, people watching, and taking more than a few pictures. While we were at it, I jewellery shopped. I know, I know… normally I don’t shop while on holiday because there’s so much else to do. But popping in and out of artisans’ booths, cute little boutiques, and funky markets is part of the charm of wandering the streets of Old Quebec. Who am I to argue???

It was a jewellery extravaganza. Everywhere I went I fell in love with necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets… It was so hard to choose. Some of it was really high end. Most was cheap and quirky. So much of it was adorable, and I love mixing high and low end to create a look that’s totally me, so I picked up a cute little silver plate ring in the market by Place d’Armes for $12, two adorable pinkie rings in Lower Town with little tiny pearls on them which I’ll wear layered up ’cause they’re so delicate, a beautiful and unique designer ring of white gold with a pearl which I’ll wear always (because my partner bought it for me – There are truly so many reasons why I love him!!!) and a stunning resin and silver bracelet by Anne Marie Chagnon. She’s a Quebec designer based out of Montreal. Glorious stuff she does!! Truly. I would have bought the lot. I couldn’t resist her the last time I was in Quebec either and wore that bracelet to death (It quite literally fell apart from overuse after 3 years of almost constant wear!). I will wear this one with denims and T’s as well as dressier work clothes. It’s such a great mix of materials and pearls are hot right now. Check her out. You might just find a treasure you can’t live without. (And, just for the record, I found out the elastics come with a lifetime guarantee. They’re fixing my old bracelet as we speak!) www.annemariechagnon.com

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Anne Marie Chagnon from Atelier La Pomme in Quebec City

2014-08-12 17.11.19 “My hubby loves me ring” from Joallerie Jules Perrier Quebec City