Thursday, October 08, 2009

Devour Local Designers

Nourish your need for all things local by supporting independent Canadian designers and retailers

So we’ve stocked our kitchens and stuffed our bellies with local goods, but now what about our closets? As more and more Torontonians adopt the locavore lifestyle by eating only locally grown or produced food, the demand for other locally derived goods is growing. The movement that encourages us to reduce our carbon footprint is starting a new trend, one that moves beyond food and into fashion. Green is becoming the new black so to speak. So why buy local, especially when there is a shiny new H&M around every corner? When you buy local you are not only keeping your environmental impact to a minimum but you are supporting emerging designers as well as other local industries. If that hasn’t got you loco for local consider the accessibility to unique, one-of-a-kind pieces – you won’t be seeing this stuff twice on the streets of Toronto (unlike that mass produced piece of costume jewelry you own.) Make room in your wardrobe because Toronto is full of independent designers and retailers. Here’s where to get started:


Located in the trendy Parkdale neighbourhood, Shopgirls’ gallery-like boutique showcases and sells over 50 undiscovered local and Canadian artists. Its eclectic and charming storefront (which also doubles as an event studio after hours) displays an assortment of unique pieces that include jewelry, accessories and fashion, even home décor items such as furniture and art. Both the fashion savvy as well as supporters of the indie scene will be impressed by this designer collective’s collection of finds. Be sure to check out their covetable selection of Yoga Jeans by Second Denim. Retailing for around $110, Yoga Jeans are noted as being the comfiest jeans on the market and have been seen on the likes of Halle Berry and Jessica Simpson.
(Check Shopgirls out at 1342 Queen Street West,

Freedom Clothing Collective

Tucked in along Bloor, west of Ossington, Freedom Clothing Collective offers an eclectic assortment of arts and crafts, clothing and jewelry and a fine tuned selection of reworked vintage. The store, which is run by a group of local artists and designers, focuses on selling local and sustainable goods that possess a huge amount of creative flair. With ecologically and economically friendly creations by over 60 designers from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and items constructed only from recycled and renewable fabrics and materials, Locavores have made this their favourite fashion spot for over five years. Functioning as an event space, design studio and sales floor the small boutique also hosts monthly art shows and clothing swaps. Stay tuned, as design workshops in silk-screening, knitting, life drawing and other creative mediums will soon be offered.
(Shop eco at 939 Bloor Street West,

Pho Pa

Another west end gem, Pho Pa proves to be anything but (a faux pas that is). Here, the fashion forward and the sustainable savvy can mingle and shop harmoniously. The modern, nature-inspired décor is reflective of the fashion forward Canadian designed pieces that are hung and folded on suspended wood and metal fixtures. The space, lined with a northern chic ambiance, is chalked full with fabulous Canadian made goods like clothing, handbags, jewelry and belts. Canadian labels such as Dinh Bá, House of Spy, Juma, Dagg and Stacey and over a dozen local designers sell at reasonable prices. Young professionals won’t have to break the bank in order to purchase a new outfit, nor will students who choose to pick up a few splurge worthy pieces. Just remember that a sustainable splurge is guilt-free! If you aren’t sold on local designers yet, a trip to Pho Pa will surely change your mind.
(Dress in designer at 698 Queen Street West,

Also Check Out

  • Fresh fashions from Fresh Collective at 692 Queen Street West,
  • And its sister store in Kensington, Fresh Baked Goods at 274 Augusta Avenue,
  • Rock-n-roll inspired designs from Damzels in this Dress at 1122 Queen Street East,
  • Custom jewelry from Made You Look at 1338 or 1273 Queen Street West,
  • Finely styled smart-casual pieces from Comrags at 654 Queen Street West,
  • FashionCan provides local shopping at your fingertips, visit

Out with the old, and in with the vintage

Toronto’s finest in vintage clothing and accessories

Foxy Lady

Foxy Boutique is Toronto’s best kept secret for the woman who loves a sexy and cheap pair of heels and unique quality wear. To this season’s hottest trend, the thigh high boot to your everyday pumps. Foxy’s inventory is stocked with surprises which are worth picking through. Classy and elegant, Foxy’s price range is more affordable than those if the Queen West vintage shops, bartering is also very common. The racks are always packed with fashionable finds and the owner Michelle Bickle, who is very knowledgeable, can always help you pick out that perfect addition to your wardrobe. For the her regulars, Bickle will even set aside pieces that she thinks will suit your needs.

Walk on the wild side

For the eclectic shopper, 69 vintage is a fun alternative to the run of the mill vintage shop. Open concept and spacious, this designer hub carries a wide selection if vintage goods that range from $50 to nothing over $150. 69 vintage also carries a variety of men’s goods from button downs to accented suit jackets. The staff is always friendly and knowledgeable. Devoted to personal attention, they also provide onsite alterations and stunning rent only pieces. Located in the heart of the Queen West art and design district, 69 vintage is situated in prime real estate. 69’s assortment includes a vast variety of dresses as well heels and boots.

Top floor digs

This Dundas street haven is a staple for the intrepid fashionista who loves the designer wears. From Vivienne Westwood pieces to Ungaro, Apartment 909 is fully stocked with gorgeous pieces that are worth the extra buck. Owned by Japanese artist and designer Daijiro Hama, the store carries a variety of pieces from all over the globe that are carefully picked by Hama himself. With every piece a tag is attached with a knowledgeable description of the product. You really do feel like you are purchasing something one of a kind. Located at the ever expanding Dundas strip, 909 holds its own as the fore front of vintage fashion. Despite only being open for two years, Apt 909 has amassed a following among designers and clothing lovers alike.

What’s in your Bag!

Think back to the scene in Mary Poppins when Julie Andrews pulls everything from a lamp to a plant out of her bag, it impressed the children, and perked the interest of the viewers everywhere. Women will always put as much in their bags as they can. Whether it’s a clutch or a tote the bigger the bag, the more you will carry. So how do you keep yourself organized when your Mary Poppins tote is overloaded with items?

When organizing your bag start by sorting out your must haves into groups. Make-up, whatever items you don’t leave the house without, this could be just a lip stick and mascara or it could include your entire make-up bag. Your essentials, everyone has items to keep themselves clean and healthy, tide-to-go, hand sanitizer, bandages, moisturizer, sunscreen, anything that you might need throughout the day. Your electronics, your camera, headphones, memory sticks, etc. Your hair items, brushes, clips, bobby pins and brush. Anything else you keep in your purse can go in their proper groups. If you have any items you use on a regular basis, Lip Gloss, gum, cell phone or iPod they can be put into their own group so you are not digging for them.

Once you have everything sorted make sure you are not carrying things you don’t need, and you have what you will require, if you are heading to work or school a day planner and pen are probably required, but if going out for a day of shopping with your friends you probably won’t need these items. You are allowed to change the items in your bag for different occasions. A good tip as well is to clean your bag out every few days; everywhere you go you pick up a new collection in your bag so throw out what you don’t need.

Once you are organized small travel bags are the perfect tool to keep things in order, using bags with different pockets helps too for smaller items. They come in an assortment of colours and designs and usually come in sets so everything in your bag can match. Try to keep the bags in different colours or shapes so you know them apart, it would be defeating the purpose to have to open 3 bags to find something. Know what you put in each bag, and try to keep them that way, your make-up bag will always carry make-up. Once all the small items are separated into bags you can add your bigger items, book, bottle or water, anything that might take up extra space.

Organization is easy, stick to the basic rules and you can take it from your purse to every aspect of your life. The main idea is to keep similar items together, know what you need and use organizational tools. Keep it simple and it’s easier to stick too. Keeping yourself organized will help you in every aspect of your life, and your bag is the best place to start, it’s with you everywhere you go and needs to keep you ready for anything.

Why DIY?

Lucky though we are to be located in the Great White North during this current economic crisis, everyone can benefit from being a penny-pincher now and again. And with the access to fashion trends continually expanding along with advances in technology (read: online shopping for supplies of any kind via the internet), the question really is: why not DIY?


Dov Charney's 80s inspired incarnations always keep us jonesing for the next perfectly executed throwback to (probably ill-advised) fun fashion moments from our childhood. And while scrunchies might be taking it a little too far, acid wash fits right in with fashion's current biker-chic aesthetic. Grab some household bleach, your garment of choice, and rubber gloves to protect your skin to DIY. Depending on what look you're going for, you also might want to pick up a squirt bottle for less liberal distribution of the bleach.

Step 1: Wet your garment. Ring some of the water out.
Step 2: Squirt or pour bleach on random areas, wherever you like, and then scrunch the t-shirt a bit to spread it around. Continue until you've achieved your desired look.
Step 3: Leave it alone and keep checking on it. When you are happy with the colour, rinse off the bleach and throw it in the washing machine for a cycle.


Distressed denim in various forms has been spotted on the likes of Katie, Reese, Rachel, and just about everyone else. And although we can find it at many different retail locations, sometimes it's nice for your wardrobe to have a more personal touch. Follow these simple steps and rip, tear, and rub your way to a new pair of perfectly on-trend jeans that won't look like anyone else's.

Step 1: Place a block of wood under the part of the denim you want to distress.
Step 2: Use a steak knife or cheese grater to create holes, tears, and simulate signs of typical wear-and-tear. Don't use scissors, as this will create a less realistic, unfrayed hole.
Step 3: Use sandpaper around pockets, knees, hemlines, or any other area that would naturally wear out faster than other areas.
Step 4: Use a sponge to lightly rub bleach around the outer edges of holes to create a faded look.
Step 5: Wash your garment.


We all collectively lost our minds when we first caught a glimpse of Balmain's incredible glam-rock inspired Spring 2009 collection, and the studded looks were carried right into the Fall/Winter 2009 collection, along with the collections of many other designers as well. And although we don't have access to the very softest lambskin leather or the skills of a professional atelier, we can still channel the toughness of an 80s rocker without the upwards-of-a-thousand-dollar price tag - with some basic sewing skills, a few craft accessories, and a quick stop at a couple of stores.

Step 1: Buy a basic leather (or fake leather) jacket at Forever 21, H&M, or find one second-hand.
Step 2: Select embellishments to affix to your garment. Sew, hammer, or snap studs on according to manufacturer's instructions.

Currently, the shoulders are a great location for studs, especially on blazers and leather jackets, and on jeans, be careful around the back pockets, so as to avoid looking like you were attacked by a rogue Bedazzler circa 1983. Take care in your application of studs on basic tees as well, as small or glittery pieces of any sort will look dated and cheap. Go big or go home - use larger, heavier studs, so that your garment will look like it gives you street cred rather than look like a home arts and crafts project. have a great selection of studs that look more hardcore than kitschy and a great selection of tools.


Now that our coordination and creative abilities have evolved past the days of childhood tie-dye parties, perhaps it's time to give this one another whirl - who doesn't love having an article of clothing or accessory that you can claim full artistic responsibility for? Use dark dyes such as grey or black, or just stay monochromatic to make your piece more season-appropriate. Grab a t-shirt or similar item, rubber bands, tie dye powder, and soda ash to get started. Nowadays there are plenty of places to get tie-dye powder and soda ash, and even tie-dye kits that contain everything you need (at craft stores or online).

Step 1: Bunch your garment into a ball and bind with several elastics. Randomness is key; try not to be too specific about it. You're not trying to create the same rainbow rings of colour we did when we were kids; in order to modernize this look it has to have a more distressed, haphazard look to it.
Step 2: Soak your garment in soda ash dissolved in water for at least 20 minutes.
Step 3: While your garment is soaking, mix the dye and create the colours you intend to use.
Step 4: Do not rinse the soda ash off before applying the dye. Apply the dye to your soaked bundle in a random pattern, using spots, lines, or covering larger areas with colour.
Step 5: Place your bundle in a plastic bag for 24 hours.
Step 6: Unwrap and rinse the garment under warm running water until the water runs clear, and wash the garment right away, in the washer with warm water and liquid soap. After the first wash, your garment can be washed with other clothing items.

Walk that Shame Girl!

It’s the morning after a fabulous night of Toronto clubbing and you’ve awoken in the arms of the last night’s prizewinner. As you lie in bed reminiscing about the amazing time you had, a million thoughts run through your head.

Where am I? What time is it? Where is my cell phone? What was his name? He looks so good when he’s sleeping! --- And suddenly it hits you! Your doomed to walk the infamous ‘walk of shame’!

As most of us have experienced, the walk home in last night’s sequins and smeared make-up can be most embarrassing (especially if that morning happens to be a busy weekday!). It’s not hard to stick out like a sore thumb in your high heels and short skirt when you’re stuck in an elevator full of businessmen in their suits. So how do you avoid this shame?

The answer to looking your hangover best is the motto “be prepared”. Who knew something that was instilled on you since your Brownie Girl Guide days would come in handy during your nightclub era? Before the drinks are even poured, make sure your clutch is packed with a few survival essentials.

You won’t want to layer up when the majority of your night will be spent on a sweaty dance floor, but bare legs in the morning during the middle of winter is plain ridiculous! You’re going to need to stuff this seasons brilliant thick, knit pantyhose into your clutch. These tights will draw attention away from your high heels and keep you warm during the walk home.

You’re going to need to grab some extra bobby pins. Luckily messy hair is in style so no brushing is necessary. All you have to do is smooth away any fly-a-ways and braid your bangs to the side with a pin.

For make-up you will only need 3 things: lip balm for those chapped lips to look fresh and plump again, eyeliner to replace what ever got smeared off, and concealer to camouflage your red alcohol induced cheeks. You don’t need to over do it and you skin will appreciate the light make up compared to last nights extravagance.

What about that shinny sequin dress that looked splendid on you late last night but now seems ominous and silly to wear in broad daylight? Not to fear! That handsome man sleeping beside you is bound to own an over-sized wool sweater or dress shirt that you can slip into. Add a belt to snitch in your waist (either from his closet or maybe from your outfit last night) and your look is complete!

Now you can work that ‘walk of shame’ with your head held high! Foreign stares from strangers will no longer be looks of disapproval. Instead they might wonder, “Where did she get that great outfit?” Most importantly, if you enjoyed the alluring company of a certain significant other, don’t forget to leave your number on the bedside table!


5 Reasons to Get Excited About Denim Again

Jeans have come a long way since the beginning of the century. Denim has gone from being a staple in the coal miner and cowboy’s wardrobe, to a staple in the modern day fashionista’s. Even though styles have changed over the years and seasons, denim can get a little…dull. Don’t wear yourself out (just your jeans!) by looking for ways to make things interesting; here are 5 trends that go beyond the basics and make denim the hottest thing on your bottoms this season.


From skinheads, to punk, the acid wash jean is a throwback to the 80’s. The acid wash trend has been spotted on celebs such as Rihanna and Kate Bosworth, and doesn’t seem to be fading any time soon. If you missed the trend the first time around, rock it this time with a pair of super high heels and a boyfriend blazer, without the big 80s hair. Find the perfect pair at Over The Rainbow.

It seems that it’s time for trends to collide when leggings and jeans come together. Since leggings became a staple in your wardrobe, how could these two wonders not get along? These super stretchy skinnies seem to be catching on, and quick. Dress your pair of jeggings up with a pair of heels, or down with a pair of tattered converse. Either way, they give your tired skinnies a break. Pick up a pair at American Apparel.

Have you been hanging out in your beat up jeans lately? Well, you’re right on trend for this season. Nothing is more comfortable than a pair of worn and torn jeans, and stars such as Katie Holmes and Lindsay Lohan seem to agree. Pair your distressed denim with a feminine top, or even a plain v-neck tee, and give your outfit a liberated, not lazy, edge. Pick a pair off the rack at Urban Outfitters.


Who said ornaments were just for Christmas trees? Though embellishments on jeans this season aren’t quite a big as a Christmas ornaments go, they are still prominent on a downtown edgy denim style. For a wearable look, studding around the pockets is the way to make a bold, but not over-the-top 70’s disco, statement. Check out Miss Sixty’s runway look.

The best way to get excited about denim is from behind. Calvin Klein, and sexy spokeswoman Eva Mendes knows that the most important view when it comes to denim is from the back. These new wonders will be on the top of your favourite fit list in no time. What makes these jeans different is a curved back yoke and pockets designed for a perfectly contoured fit – can you say instant butt lift? These jeans are part of Calvin Klein’s new Body Collection, and sell for only $100.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What`s in Your Purse?

The Little & Big Wonders That Should and Always Be In Your Bag

We’re on the move; always in a rush. Go to school, go to work, go out with friends; only come home to sleep and shower. So what things will you survive with for all of your outings and adventures? Every girls different but these are the basics of surviving a life with eight a.m to four p.m classes and work from five to ten. Here are a few things that a busy girl should always lug around with her no matter what.

Gum & Good Ol’ H2O. For those times when you work a long shift and have a date right after. This is for those times when you’re dying from dehydration because work won’t let you take a break. These are the only things that’ll keep you full when you’re starving of thirst and hunger. Unfortunately, it’s crazy how girls can haul around 2 litre bottles of water in their bags.

Lip gloss, Lipstick, or Vaseline. For those times when you don’t put anything on your face because you’re running late for class. This is for those times when your lips look chapped and brittle. This is for not being the girl with the dry lips. The Vaseline is good for removing makeup after looking like a raccoon and not being told for after a couple of hours.

Bobby pins, safety pin & a tweezer. For those times when you have a bad hair day and are constantly being looked at for what you don’t exactly know. This is for those times when you spill coffee on your shirt and try to hide the stains. This is for being the one who can fix your broken bracelet, even when you’re not a jewellery technician.

Deodorant, mist, body spray or perfume. For those times when you are on public transit and the person beside you smells viciously potent to what you cannot pin-point exactly what can smell like that. This is for those times when you’ve worked nine hours straight and have yet to take a break after sweating bullets from running around all day. This is for not being one of “those” people on public transit.

$$$, Plastic Cards, & a Phone. These essential things anyone nowadays cannot leave the house without. Maybe sometimes forgotten but who can honestly survive without one of these necessities? How are you going to eat? How are you going to pay for books? How are you going to meet up with your friends? How are you going to BBM?!

These items are pretty much what you’d find in many girls bags and purses. Now guys stop asking why we carry large bags. Not only does it hold our essentials but it can also be a weapon of mass destruction. Who said girls need to carry around pepper spray for protection?

Follow The Rainbow

Which colors of the season will you fall into??

FALL 2010

Fall is here and it’s time to put away those blacks and greys and reach for a little spice in your shades that can brighten anyone’s day. Choose from falls trendy colors below and “follow the rainbow” for ways to enhance your wardrobe and recharge your color palette.

Saffron: This golden yellow hue can brighten any outfit. Pair a beaded cardigan with a little black dress or add a little color to a neutral outfit and go with a leather clutch and gold chain strap to add a punch to any outfit.

Pine: A ruffled top in this rich green will add instant style to your everyday look. Wear this outfit to work with a pencil skirt and switch to a pair of dark denim and brown heels for a night out on the town.

Pumpkin: Accent a soft khaki outfit with autumn orange accessories such as a chunky necklace or clutch or a blazer to add jolt to your basics. Tossing this color in the mix is feminine but also sophisticated and chic. ss

Wine: Add finishing touches to an outfit by wearing a strappy heel, a rhinestone pendant, or a pair of denim in this jewel tone hue to add a bit of edge to an outfit. Pair the strappy heels with a LBD, add the pendant to a simple top for a splash of color, or wear this burgundy inspired shade in denim with a black t-shirt for a more casual, but sexy look.

Run It? Own it!

The 3 Commandments to the Takeover of your night! Why be in that crowd watching them strut right through V.I.P.? Transform yourself into one of them! Run Your City!

I: The Attention Grabbing Attitude

Whether it is Caribbean Princess Rihanna or the Classy Goddess Beyonce, the attitude in which you have is the basis on the impact you will make on the rest of the world. The classy, businesswoman by day, and sexy, sultry, bad-girl seductress by night is the dominant look going for the IT-Girl look.


The attitude of Beyonce is defined as conservative and caring. She is one of the highest respected music idols within the last decade and, prides her career on making great music as well as keeping a low-profile relationship.

Rihanna had started her career being the Caribbean princess with an island-based music genre, pumping in the hottest clubs within all of North America. She evolved into one of the biggest household names to women, men, boy, and aspiring little girls.

Grasp The Feeling

The attitude in which to obtain ownership of your city and become one of those CEO’s of your major firm is to have confidence. Confidence itself will give you the power to control and influence those around you as well as advance your knowledge of life.

Try it. It really works.

II: The “Image”

Capture that feel of envy evaporating from the crowd’s bodies as you walk and they gawk.

Home from work and headed right back out the door? Whip off the business suit and briefcase and slap on your ultra mini sequin dress and those Louboutins and head out for a night on the town. Achieve this look with throwing up your wind-blown hair into a low messy bun and a rich pink lip-gloss. This brings the real superstar out of you and Voila! You are ready for your big debut.

The key to match your face to your outfit and keep it looking as fresh as the day is to limit the eye makeup to a neutral, and apply just eyeliner and mascara. Doing this prevents clumps and heaviness to your face.

III: Let’s Get This Party Started

Passing the line, Straight to the V.I.P, and No One can Stop You? Prove it!

So, your night is almost complete with your attitude and slamming style. The only thing that could complete your night more than ever is beginning and ending your night at one of the hottest clubs in the city. Its either Go Big or Go Home. Order that booth to fit all 20 of your followers, followed by bottle service with nothing less than the best, and dance your night away. At the end of it all, you were the one they were looking at.

You get this shot once a week, so make it memorable EVERY SINGLE TIME.

How Will You Run Your City Tonight?

La Petite Coquette

Say goodbye to last year’s conservative recessionista approach to fashion; this season, designers revel in all things slinky, seductive, and just plain sexy! This ultra feminine look is all over the Spring 2010 runways, and we’re here to give you the low down on our favourite designers’ shows inspired by it-- and of course, how you can wear it too. Be it through lace, ruffles or silky, sheer fabrics, this look is a must for the warmer seasons ahead!

Lace Up!
Lace was seen at fashion weeks all over the world this season. Our favourite display of this however, was Dolce and Gabbana’s show (for obvious reasons), which included many a lacy, lingerie-inspired look. Lace blouses, skirts and even lacy bloomers were seen in abundance on the runway. D&G played with various ideas, from delicate, lady-like laces, to more gothic, fishnet lace, even going as far as mixing lace together with denim jackets. Almost all of the shoes used in the show were red, along with some red handbags, and the jewelry was kept relatively simple, in black and gold hues.
How You Can Pull this Off: When out for coffees and a bit of shopping with your girlfriends, slip on a lacey blouse with your favourite pair of jeans and some gold bracelets… oh, and don’t forget your red shoes!

Ruffled Feathers
Sticking to a more neutral palette of nudes and light greys, Valentino also uses quite a bit of lace, however more prominently on display is their flirty use of ruffles. Everything and anything was covered in them, from blouses and dresses, to jackets and skirts. With either a few large ruffles, or hundreds of them covering an entire dress, Valentino makes our favourites list for their ability to take such a sweet, girlie element, and make it grown up. Like Dolce and Gabbana, almost no jewelry or accessories were used in the line, allowing the clothes to speak for themselves, and the shoes to shine. The models strutted down the catwalk in feathery or ruffled heels, as well as a few pairs showing off the signature Valentino bow.
How You Can Pull this Off: Spice up your work suit by replacing your plain white oxford with a flirty ruffled blouse, or even a ruffled jacket. And if you’re feeling bold, why not go for a pair of feathery heels?

Sheer Drop
Sheer is in at Threeasfour this spring, from swimwear, to leggings, to dresses. Almost every outfit in the collection had some element of sheer to it. Like Dolce and Gabbana, Threeasfour stuck to black and white when it came down to colours. The collection was simple, chic, and ultra sexy, again focusing on the clothing, rather than using any accessories. Threeasfour make our favourites list because despite the fact that they are relatively new on the fashion scene, they have managed to effortlessly hit the target on one of the season’s biggest trends. Their collection seamlessly ranges from architecturally structured pieces, to sheer, flowing dresses, all paired with silver platform heels.
How You Can Pull this Off: Going out for cocktail hour? Pair a flowing black dress with cut out leggings. If you aren’t too comfortable with all that skin on display, wear a black slip underneath, so you can walk proudly in those killer metallic heels.

From Boring Basics to Bold Sensations

From Boring Basics to Bold Sensations – how to dress up your basic closet pieces to make them runway ready.

Everyone has those closet classics, consisting of everything from plain v-necks and that little black dress to the classic white tank. Every basic piece of clothing can be dressed up to appear fabulous; it just takes the right accessories.
How to make your classic v-neck into a closet classic? It’s all about your choice of accessories. Be sure to check out different kinds of vintage brooches. Brooches can truly dress up any basic by adding flare and drawing the eye to a certain area on the shirt. Drawing the eye to the accessory will make the shirt appear extra dressy. Another tip on how to dress up a classic tee is to add a scarf to your neckline. Adding a colourful scarf will give a dull v-neck a bolder and more refreshing look.

The little black dress is an “anytime classic”, no matter what the occasion. Every woman should have a classic black dress in her closet. Even though, by definition, the little black dress is plain and basic, there is always room for improvement. To update your classic black dress, try adding a belt and see what happens. Instantly you have a defined waistline. Is this some sort of miracle? No, the belt helps define your waist and adds emphasis to that area of your body. I know what you’re thinking! If you are heavier and don’t want to draw attention that that specific area there is a simple solution for you. Add a chunky bold necklace instead. By adding a belt your eye is drawn to the waist but adding a necklace draws the eye upward and helps to frame your face.

The tank top is a classic piece that I am sure almost every woman owns. When I think of a tank top I instantly think summer; but it doesn’t necessarily have to be summery. A tank top is usually a piece of clothing that is worn under other garments. A classic tank is usually what’s hiding under that designer cashmere sweater you purchased last season. There are many ways to make a basic tank top a signature piece that will be vital to your wardrobe. As I said earlier, every basic piece can be dressed up to appear fabulous; it all depends on the accessories. To turn a boring tank into a bold showstopper, all you need is a length of colourful ribbon of your choice. Tie the ribbon into a bow on the strap of the tank; this instantly adds character. The second step to a fabulous tank is to add a long chain necklace giving the tank a rocker edge without taking away from the rest of your outfit. A decorated tank can be worn during the fall and winter seasons under a coloured solid cardigan. Remember, your tank top is no longer your basic it’s your vocal piece.

Now that the winter season is fast approaching, think before you blow your entire paycheck on new fast fashion pieces. Remember the style basics that are hanging up in your closet this very moment. Update them by accessorizing them and I guarantee that you will be the most fashionable chick in town!

Digging for a Diamond in the Rough

Torontonians peruse the city’s vintage havens looking for the greatest deals on time-honoured pieces of fashion history.

A large number of Toronto’s fashion crusaders have taken a liking to antique-like clothing and accessories, practically living by the phrase “what’s old is now new again”. Whether looking in classic vintage areas like Kensington Market, or trendy areas like Queen Street West, Fashionistas all over the city are sure to find precious gems in the great vintage shops that Toronto has been harbouring.

One of Toronto’s greatest vintage shops is located in none other than Kensington Market, a staple community for renewed classics. “Courage My Love”, located at 14 Kensington Avenue in the heart of the market, has been opened since 1975 and has accumulated great pieces from around the world, along with a great reputation. “Courage My Love” is famous for exotic beads and jewellery, along with classic gowns and vintage casual wear. The owners also construct their own felt and cashmere sweaters, showing a great collaboration of old and new pieces.

On the West end of the city, Torontonians swear by “Public Butter”, located at 1290 Queen Street West. This Parkdale shop is one of the newer vintage locations, recently created by the owners of “Black Market Vintage”. This store has an array of vintage merchandise ranging from retro clothing to rare pieces of furniture and its own collection of classic bicycles; displayed in front of the store. “Public Butter” even has silk screen custom printing, located in the back, giving customers an opportunity to create their own unique designs. Looking around the store there are paintings and photographs courtesy of local Toronto artists, allowing Toronto’s art scene to mesh perfectly with the vintage clothing craze.

Vintage brand names from well-known designers can all be found at “The Paper Bag Princess”, located at 287 Davenport Road. This vintage destination harbours the creations of high end designers such as Jimmy Choo, Prada and Chanel. Definitely the fanciest vintage in the city “The Paper Bag Princess” has a Parisian feel to it, allowing all customers to feel like they’ve hopped on a plane to Europe. The boutique also has a sister store in Beverly Hills which also carries out the Parisian feel, catering to everyday shoppers and celebrities alike. Both locations do appraisals and have private purchasing appointments available, setting them apart from quite a few vintage shops.

Whether looking for a vintage lunch box, an antique bicycle or even a designer gown, “Courage My Love”, “Public Butter” and “The Paper Bag Princess” should definitely be at the top of the public’s to-do lists during this vintage craze. Re-inventing classic items have really given these establishments their time to shine and to show the public that what is old can be made new all over again. Checking out all of the these stores will give anyone interested in classic clothing the perfect vintage shopping experience.

Fashion’s power tools

So maybe the girl has perfect skin, silky hair and a great body. But what about the clothes she wears? “You have a better life if you wear impressive clothes.”- Vivienne Westwood once said. So whether it’s a date with a really hot boy or going out for lunch with the girls, there is an outfit for that. Here are 5 luminous pieces every girl should have in her closet.

Tailor made: Blue Jeans
So jeans can be the hardest thing to shop for. They either don’t fit you right or they fit too tight. But girls always have one pair that they adore, cherish, LOVE! They make the girl feel sexy, and confident. A pair of dark wash, skinny’s or boot cut always win first place. Pair them with a pair of flats for a casual look or take out those stilettos for a more sophisticated look. Either way, bring on those compliments!

Put your best V forward: V-neck tees
You wake up in the morning, 10min to get ready and your world is crashing to a halt. You don’t know what to wear and now you have 8min. Solution? Pick out your favorite tee, but not your ordinary plain t-shirt, go with your v-neck to add a bit more, attitude. Pair it with your favorite jeans, shorts or even leggings and your good to go with just minutes to spare.

Belle Noir: Little black dress
Every girl knows your little black dress can’t hurt anyone. Whether you're Evelyn Mulwray from the movie Chinatown(1974), wearing a black dress with crimson lipstick and sexy heels to seduce your enemy’s or your Kristen Stewart modeling a little black dress in Vogue with a pair of chucks. Whichever way, your little black dress cannot disappoint you.

Bottomless pit: A big purse
Wallet, make-up, gum, lip gloss, cell phone, iPod, tampons, nail filer, cigarettes, mirror, receipts, snacks and the list goes on. Fit all your essentials into one big purse! What every girl needs for a great accessory! Be bold and flashy with bright neon colours for your simple v-neck and jeans or match a neutral bag with stripes and tights.

The “F” word: Flats
Heels are the bad boys that never last and flats are the good boys we want to keep. And really, how many girls last in a relationship with someone called 5 inch? Flats are more practical and fun, comfortable yet fashionable. Pair them with any old jeans or spice it up with your favorite dress. They have equal or even more variety then heels does using creative designs (E.g. bows, sparkles, studs, ruffle etc) in all the colours of the rainbow. Step aside Barbie, Ken has had enough.
Ruffle Some Feathers
There’s nothing fowl about this flirty fashion. Twitter isn’t the only way to express yourself this season. Add one of these four tweet-worthy trends to your wardrobe.

Feathered Frocks
Feathered dresses don’t have to turn into fashion nightmares like Bjork’s swan dress of ’94. While feathered dresses are far from practical, feather prints are perfect for everyday. Take flight in an adorable feather printed dress. Keep it casual with prints on cotton, or take it into the evening with sexy silks. These dresses are sure to make you want to shake your tail feathers. And remember - feather prints aren’t limited to dresses. Stay in style with feather printed tank tops and t-shirts too.

Where to find it: Check stores like H&M and Zara for feather prints.

Flights of Fancy
Conjure up the birds of paradise with this season’s colourful new shades. Exotic purples, blues, and greens are among the hottest hues to add a pop of colour to your look. Pick up a peacock-inspired eye shadow for bold beautiful eyes. For those who are a bit less daring, add a hint of tint with blue or purple mascara, or brightly coloured liner. Nail polish is another great way to bring a splash of fun, and with so many colours to choose from you can sing a different tune every day.

Where to find it: Sephora and M.A.C. offer an array of bird inspired shades.

Pretty Plumage
Tired looking tresses? Break out of your bland cage and add some glamour to your locks. Give your look a dose of instant chic with feminine feathers. The charm of the '20s is back in full swing with colourful hair accessories adorned with peacock and duck feathers. Bring out your inner flapper with a feathered headband, or use a hair comb or barrettes to become a sexy siren. No ugly ducklings here!

Where to find it: Accessory departments of H&M or Forever XXI

Give a Hoot
Who’s been popping up everywhere? Owls – definitely the must have of the season. Seen on everything from t-shirts to accessories, owls are on trend. T-shirts are featuring both realistic and cartoon owls and are the perfect pairing for your new boyfriend jacket. As for accessories - necklaces, earrings, rings, you name it – owls have taken over every accessory you can think of. Can’t get enough of your owl? Bring owls home on a cute picture frame or quirky clock and accessorize your nest.

Where to find it: Urban outfitters is a good place to start for owl tees and home accessories.

A note of caution – While we love the feathered look, we don’t want the fashion vultures swarming around you. Don’t overdo it. Limit your look to one feathered item to keep it chic and stylish.
Shop till you Drop!
Discover five of the City’s hottest spots to shop!

Yuppie Yorkville!
In the mood to splurge?! Come on down to Yorkville! If you’re looking for exquisite designer handbags and specialty boutique stores Yorkville is where you want to be! You can find the hottest designer labels such as Dolce Gabana, Gucci, Versace and Prada just to name a few. Yorkville offers you the latest trends and events in today’s fashion. It’s also home to the ever so popular Holt Renfrew. Holts is known to carry every designer name that every fashionista craves! When going to Yorkville make sure to check out the main shopping attractions: The Holt Renfrew Centre, Hazelton Lanes, Manulife Centre, Hudson's Bay Centre and Cumberland Terrace.
Shopping in Yorkville is a treat to many but to some an everyday routine, but keep in mind being a Yorkville addict can certainly take a toile on your wallet. So please shop responsibly.

Quirky Queen St!
Queen st West is Toronto’s hippest, trendiest and one of a kind shopping centres! Here you will find everything from black market shops to big corporation stores (H&M). The price range can vary from affordable to outrageous! If you’re looking to pick up some style tips and you don’t want to purchase a fashion magazine, just take a quick walk down Toronto’s fashion inspiration; Queen West.
Queen st shoppers are young, outgoing and fashion conscious consumers. They know what’s HOT and know where to find it!
Off Price Orfus Rd!
Yes! We said off price! Expect to find everything on Orfus road to be dirt cheap! This is Toronto’s discounted clothing market full of outlets to serve you! Here you can expect to pay anywhere from $1 (t-shirt) to $100 (leather) for all merchandise. Orfus rd consists of outlets and liquidation centers, so the styles might be a few seasons back. If being fashion forward is not a priority for you than this is where you want to be!
You can expect to find labels like Roots, Le Chateau and Bikini Bay here.

Electric Eaton Centre
This is one of Toronto’s biggest attractions, the Enormous Eaton Centre. It has over 230 stores and 1,600,000 square feet of shopping space; you can find everything from apparel to home furnishing. The Eaton Centre offers a convenience of shopping with the latest trends. It has two departments stores connected to it: The Bay and Sears. You will find only chain retail stores here, so if you’re looking for unique styles look elsewhere!
Due to it being a tourist attraction, The Eaton Centre operates on all statutory holidays; expect Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
Captivating Kensington!
Looking for vintage goods? One of kind pieces? An experience when you shop? Then take the Spadina streetcar to the most diverse hub in the city; Kensington Market! The market is one of the most multicultural nooks in the city, so expect to find pieces that express diversity! You can find a lot of vintage shops, independent designers and clothing from all over the map here.
The main influence of fashion is retro, classic, vintage and funk. One thing you won’t find here is chain retail stores; expect culture and creativity when entering The Market.

Coco and the City

“A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous”, stated the infamous Coco Chanel

A famous fashion mantra that still holds true today. With the recent release of “Coco Avant Chanel”, a biographical movie depicting the early life of the french fashion designer, there has been much hype surrounding the world renowned brand. Coco was known for her simple and elegant taste, as well as being responsible for revolutionizing the way women dressed. Still today, girls everywhere aspire to achieve the “Chanel look”. There are many ways women today can exude the look, while keeping it youthful, modern, and suitable for city living. Whether running off to a meeting, dressing for an internship or getting ready for a night out, you cant go wrong with the elegance of a re worked Chanel inspired look.

A bold monochrome head to toe black look embodies the essence of the classic brand and is the basis for the look. To add some youthful edge, add a subtle pop of color. Maybe in one of this season's hottest shades, such as a deep purple or blue. An eye catching scarf, or bag will break up the look and keep it current.

A Chanel jacket will always be in style. For a more up to date look, ditch the dated tweed for a streamlined, fitted blazer, preferably in a monochromatic color. Blazers are making a comeback this season and work perfectly into this look. A tuxedo jacket can also be worn in it’s place for night. Coco loved anything with a slightly androgynous edge.

“Fashion is architecture, its a matter of proportions” Coco once said. One of the main keys to modernizing this look is to play with proportions. Take for example, the classic Chanel pairing of a button down shirt and fitted pants. To revamp it, try tucking the shirt into super high waisted pants, or wearing an oversized mens shirt with the ensemble.

Chanel preferred classically shaped heels and menswear inspired boots. Try wearing a tall equestrian boot with skinny black pants for daytime. For night, girls today can get away with pairing sky high heels with a Chanel inspired little black dress.

Coco detested frou frou. She was endlessly inspired by menswear and thought that overly girly touches made an outfit vulgar. Despite this fact, pearls and bows have become synonymous with the brand. Avoid looking overdone by picking one to accessorize with. A pearl necklace or a bow adorned headband for example. Top the look off with a purse influenced by Chanel. Look for anything quilted with a chained strap.

Our world is constantly changing and fashion changes right along with it. The trick to keeping any look alive is to allow it to evolve with the times. Iconic looks can sustain in present day as long as they are constantly being infused with new and modern ideas. After all, fashion should be a reflection of society and the world around us. As Coco Chanel herself once said, Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Systematic Spending

Systematic Spending

A Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Season in Style

From a very early age we learn all what it feels like to receive a gift, and we like it. Whether it is a birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas or Hanukah, there is nothing quite like the guilty pleasure of getting something for free. Unfortunately, as we grow, we learn that, at some point, someone needs to pay for those gifts. Around the holidays there is nothing quite like spoiling a friend or loved one, but nobody is made of money and the endless gift buying, let’s face it, can drain your funds.

Maybe Scrooge was onto something. Nowadays, the holidays can seem more like one giant expense than ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ Not to mention, the combination of shopping for others as well as outfitting yourself with enough getups for all those holiday events is nothing short of a your Visa bill’s worst nightmare. What if I told you there was a way to survive these holiday humps and still have some room left over for style, would you read on?

Now as much as we still like to get into the spirit of giving we can’t forget about the spirit of style come this holiday season. After all, even Santa makes sure to don a snappy suit in loo of the holiday season despite providing gifts for all. One shouldn’t have to stress about getting caught in the same cocktail dress twice. Really, the question is: How do I budget?

First and foremost, like any future plans in life, we must set goals that are defined by realistic outlines and limitations. For example, I have X amount of dollars to spend this holiday season and Y amount of people to purchase gifts for. Now, because foregoing the LBD in French Connection or the faux fur at H&M is not an option we need to figure out how much we can afford to spend on ourselves.

So, multiply 15% by X to get Z (Z = the amount of money you are allowed to spend on yourself). Now, subtract Z from X and divide Y by Z to get W (W = the amount of money you should spend on the gifts needed for others). I know this may be confusing but once you figure out the math it really is quiet simple.

Here’s an example budget. I have $500 to spend and 10 people to buys for.

Now I divide 500 by .15 and I get 75. I now have $75 to spend on myself (Yahoo!). The remainder, 425, divided by 10 leaves me $42.50 to spend on those 10 people.

Obviously, if Z represents thousands of dollars then immediately stop reading this article and head right over to Holt Renfrew on Bloor and indulge in the finest of Toronto fashion. However, for the others not to fret because we shall find some steals so scandalous they seem worthy of a lump of coal in your stocking.

So, go on and spend your ‘Z,’ whatever dollar amount it may be. At least this way you didn’t blow through your savings and have still added a little holiday cheer to your wardrobe. And because advice is always free, sequence tops, lace, leather, or fur are four ways that can ring in the holiday and New Year at multiple price points with great style. Happy shopping and receiving.

Winter Wonderland
`Tis the season to avoid…the freezing, never-ending winter weather!

This season, we’ll give you the run down of the key pieces you’ll need amongst those extra layers for winter.

The Essential: It’s all about keeping warm in this classic military inspired fashion statement. This piece shows a sense of confidence yet elegant and sexy. Falling well past your knees with buttons trailing to your neck (double-breasted or single); the coat is bound to get you set for those frosty nights!

Where to buy: Aritzia is one of Canada’s trendy retailers that carry exclusive labels such as Wilfred, which is currently selling their wool/cashmere blend, double-breasted coat that come in traditional hues such as black, beige and grey. These are great colours for this season -- they just never go out of style! Price $375

How high are your boots? – Casual or dressy, flat or heeled. What would winter be without boots? Making them the hottest shoe trend for women this season, over-the-knee boots are dramatically tall boots that reach up to your knees. They can be worn with your faux leather leggings, dark-wash skinny jeans, a pair of shorts or a full skirt.

Where to buy: These daring over-the-knee boots are sold at Nine West; one pair in particular come in a taupe and black suede with a laced tassel design at the back rim of the boot. These sassy kicks can give your simple, casual look a little va voom! Price $149

Strut those legs: This key piece is definitely a must! Leggings now-a-days are available in all kinds of patterns, fabrics and colours. We decided that black faux leather leggings gives an outfit that edgy and bold look that we love! For a girl’s night, slip them on with a pair of your killer boots that rise halfway up to your thighs and adding on sequenced tunic or wear them during the day with a loose v-neck, bright coloured pumps and a pair of dark shades. This season is all about showing off your striders!

Where to buy: American Apparel sells fabulous faux leather leggings that also come in different textures such as classic cotton spandex, nylon tricot, faux denim, satin, and even in eel (just the feel of it!) Price: $32 - $46

Get even comfier! : Can’t get any warmer than this! If comfort and warmth is the ultimate luxury during this wintery weather, what could be better than a put-it-over-everything knitted cardigan? The boyfriend look would be better to consider just because it’s a piece that can make your whole outfit look effortless but yet city/casual.

Where to buy: It’s best to look for an over-sized knit cardigan that contains a wool blend; just so you can keep that body of yours warm and cosy. Zara carries great wool blend knits that offer gorgeous styles and textures. F.Y.I, their thick knitted cardigans are so in for this season. Price: $39 - $59

Winter Wonder-Wow!

Love the season’s trends but don’t love having to retire them after 2 months? Here are five trends that will have you looking fabulous no matter what the season.

Denim Today, Denim Tomorrow

Snag a pair of the seasons raw denim. With no whiskers, fading, or distressing, these must haves will keep you chic (and warm) amid winter winds. Pair with boots and a sweater for day or killer heels and satin top for nightlife. An alternative to dresses; go for a skinny or straight leg cut to keep it modern. Deliciously dark and fabulously fresh, you’ll be wearing these denim duds well into the New Year.

Cozy for Cashmere

The lush feel is a seasonal favourite that can also carry your wardrobe into those chilly Spring days. Basics like cardigans, sleeveless dresses, scarves and even leggings are good investment pieces. Layer a cardi for winter and then wear with a lighter tee or tank for the spring and plush leggings will protect your gams through any weather. Go for a neutral colour for an easy transition from season to season.

Glove Love

Slide on the sexiest gloves of the season. The perfect finishing touch to your winter wardrobe, these gloves are equal parts practical and polished giving your paws a pop of colour. Warm enough keep out the winter cold, yet light enough to sustain the spring winds; you can sport them for a lighter look. The bright candy colours also make them ideal for both seasons, adding a pop of colour to your wardrobe. Soft leather and in oh so many mouth watering colours your only problem will be choosing just one.

Hats On

Keep your noggin numb free and stylish in Winters coolest wool hat. Essential for the season, this knitted baggy beret easily completes any winter look. Pair with your parka or peacoat for a classic look with added edge. So easy to throw on to keep luscious locks in check, you’ll never want to take it off. The lightweight fiber is perfect for those cold winter days, but also necessary for that unpredictable Spring weather. This hat will transition seamlessly into your Spring wardrobe, pair with a leather jacket and ballet flats for a look that exudes urban coolness.

Bootie and the Chic

Every girl needs a little black something in her wardrobe, and this season it is the little black bootie. Claim it in paten, leather or suede, it doesn’t matter, these killer heels will have you strutting your stuff in style. Throw them on with skinny jeans and a sheer top for a winter night on the town. Or pair open toe booties with opaque tights and your favourite party dress to beat the chill. For more fling in your Spring, keep the dress but ditch the tights. These booties won’t be going anywhere, and you won’t want them too.

The Great Dame Meets The Femme Fatale

Attention fashion lovers! If you're ticked off about the expiration date stamped on each season's 'it look' then you're in luck. Here are the top four trends that will have you looking ravishing from season to season. Whoever said rebellion chic and feminine opulence did not match was sadly mistaken!

Pearly Whites
Audrey Hepburn, circa 1961. The epitome of class and elegance. Simple white pearls paired with a classic black dress. Daphne Guinness, circa 2009. Satin black dress matched with an oversized pearl necklace. From classic to modern chic, the evolution of pearly whites has definitely transformed into something of pure contemporary opulence. From day to night, this transitional piece has become a representation of true glitz and glamour. So whether you're going for the simplicity of a pearl studded satin sandal or the excitement of an oversized pearl trim necklace, be prepared to be stopped! Because girl, you look fabulous!

Lace du jour!
Traditionally, lace has been the staple of absolute femininity. The delicacy and softness that each intricate detail of fabric brings creates the desire of romance. Taking a turn for the modern edge, lace has reinvented itself into one fierce must-have. Whether it is through unexpected shapes and trimmings of a classic lace dress or the soft use of lace piping on your favorite pair of black trousers, this trend is defiantly here to stay. So those of you who want to add a punch to that classic look, go explore the modern twist of lace-mania!

The perfect staple item in any woman’s wardrobe, the little black... something. From runway chic to the street, black has definitely become a predominate wave in fashion. Transitioning that classic blazer for that black silk blend jacket paired with a quilted pencil skirt, how could you go wrong? Since the dawn of time, black has been the go-to color. By adding your personal flare and style to the once traditional hue, there is no telling where you may end up! So whether you're paired with an embroidered black satin skirt or a more traditional wool cardigan, you're sure to look ready and fabulous for any occasion.

Beauteous Leather
Leather has unquestionably entered the world of fashion in full force! We're talking, the leather biker jacket, the cheeky embossed leather bag or the classic leather dud. We have seen the once bulky leather jacket transform into a downright sexy but sophisticated look. Faced with classic stream lines, ornate detailing and modern trims, leather has come back with a zest for flare and glam. So whether your a modern maven or classically elegant, dive into the wonderful world of leather with no fear!