Saturday, October 06, 2012

Nothing But Vintage

Nothing But Vintage

Toronto’s Best Vintage Boutiques, GTA

Something old, something new…Or maybe not so new. Ok so let’s not call it old either. The word is vintage, and it seems to be appearing in some way or form on just about every fashionista in our urban playground of a city. If you didn’t already know, vintage pieces are like wearable antiques. They can be new, used, borrowed and second hand, but have been designed from our previous era.

Now, if your anything like I am, your constantly scanning the outfit choices that make up the streets of Toronto and noticing vintage more and more every season. The only question that has been making me ponder is where, oh where, are they finding these fabulous finds! Well it’s your lucky day because I’m about to share my favorite vintage shops from clothing to accessories to furniture. First stop…

Kensington Market! If you’re not familiar with the Kensington Market area, it’s located just south of College Street and off Augusta Avenue. Kensington offers well pretty much everything you may be looking for. Anything from cool vintage shops to independent business wear to your every day basic attire. Some of my absolutely favorite vintage clothing stores can be found here and for amazing prices!

Next on the list is the incredible Queen West Antique Centre. What makes this store so unique is that they offer an abundance of great furniture. Here you’ll be able to explore the diverse collection of vintage pieces. If you’re in search for anything like ancient anatomical posters or vintage floor lamps, I can guarantee you’ll find it right next to the stylish 60’s couch or the vintage 50’s bureau. If liking great furniture pieces with history behind them then be sure to make a visit to this incredible vintage shop.

Lastly, be surely not least and definitely on my top three favorites list, is a little store called Cabaret. Again located on Queen west, this boutique is strictly dedicated to bringing us the highest vintage fashion in the GTA area. Offering just about everything they can to our urban population, you name it they’ve got it. They go as far as offering vintage fashion tips, movie glamour, daywear, and bridal. Be sure to check out this boutique next time you’re headed down to Queen, surely they’ve got something just for you!

The previous eras are back, vintage’s the word and it may be for some time. Clothing, furniture and accessories it’s everywhere! I’ve shared some of my favorite vintage areas in downtown Toronto, I hope you’ll take my word and be sure to stop in at one of these fabulous shops. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

Diving into Dundas West—

From fashion to furniture this Toronto neighbourhood has got it all.

   For many Torontonians, the Dundas West strip from Ossington to Lansdowne marked the territory for our humble Little Portugal, but times have changed. Over the past few years the area has seen an urban renewal. Amidst the Portuguese cafes and local grocers, a slew of clothing stores, vintage shops, galleries, restaurants and bars have turned our beloved Dundas West into a local hotspot.
   For fashion lovers the area hosts some of the city’s best independent clothing stores and vintage shops. Lost & Found, the coffee and clothing shop that is bringing a popular New York City trend to the city, ranked number one in BlogTO’s 2011 List of Best New Fashion Stores in Toronto. Don’t let the inconspicuous storefront fool you, Lost & Found has quickly become a local favourite. Owners Zai Rajkotwala, Jonathan Elias, and Justin Veiga focus on bringing in locally-made quality products to their store. With brands such as In God We Trust, Unis, Joomi Lim, and The Hill-Side, Lost & Found proves that you don’t have to look far for well-crafted fashion goods. 
   Standing alongside Lost & Found in BlogTO’s 2011 List of Best New Fashion Stores in Toronto are Woodlawn Boutique, at number three, and Magwood, at number seven. Woodlawn, which shares a similar mantra to Lost & Found, focuses more in offering functional fashion basics. Magwood, owned by Sarah Magwood, carries high-end vintage fashion and fashion accessories. The young owner has managed to epitomize luxury vintage by offering everything from period women’s wear to original designer pieces. These stores are just the tip of the iceberg— Dundas West has lent itself to become the new go-to spot for emerging independent shops.
   Local artisans have also had a part in developing the area. Galleries such has Milk Glass Co. and LE Gallery have helped young artist to break into the national and international art scene, as well as improve the Toronto arts landscape.
   Once you’ve had enough of the clothing shops and artists hangouts, the block also has a lively nightlife. Spilling off of the Ossington strip, bars such as The Red Light, Bambi, and The Garrison have hosted local musicians and DJs, taken part in festivals such as NXNE, and showcased for artist like Azari & III. 
   Dundas West is no longer one of the city’s best kept secrets and condo development is already on the rise— A dead giveaway to the extreme potential the neighbourhood holds. Abacus Lofts are scheduled for completion in the upcoming year. The development marks the first of it’s kind along the Dundas West strip. Although it is a low rise building, one can only wonder how much change it will bring. Local residents have already felt the shift in attention; this once neglected district is now being given the spotlight. Toronto’s most popular west end neighbourhoods, Liberty Village and Queen Street West, are being given a run for their money. Residents have made it clear that commercialism is not something they are willing to support, and in order for Dundas West to remain strong it must keep sustaining local development.

The Nasty Gal Trend – Most Definitely Nasty

An outlook on this year's street style look, and why it's overrated.

As you are strolling down the forever exciting Queen Street West, you’re admiring the cute vintage shops and graffiti art alongside the buildings, all while sipping a freshly made latte from the local coffee shop. You are enjoying the fresh air, relaxing thanks to the chill atmosphere, but then all of a sudden you are faced with it, it being a “Nasty Gal”.

Now, for those of you who aren’t quite familiar with the term “Nasty Gal”, here is a brief introduction. A “Nasty Gal” is a name given to one who dresses themselves in outfits sold on the successful online shop named (you guessed it) Although the website offers a great variation of items, from androgynous loafers to preppy chic attire, the website has deemed the culprit for this years latest fashion crisis.

To differentiate between a “Nasty Gal” and let’s say, a homeless person, is quite easy. Although they do carry similarities through their wardrobe pieces, the “Nasty Gal” typically opts for more of a refined look. They start with the iconic Jeffrey Campbell Lita’s, and move up to high-waist denim shorts. From there, they continue with a graphic tank or crop top with an image of either a) a band logo that they’ve never listened to in their life or b) a cross, skull, or some other symbol of religious affiliation, although they probably aren’t religious. The Nasty Gal then does some final touches, such as adorning a pair of John Lennon inspired sunglasses, even though chances are high they don’t know how he died, and lastly, an unnecessarily large amount of bracelets, rings and watches that don’t match.

From putting this image together, you’re probably asking yourself “Am I looking at a circus freak, or a prostitute”, but neither are correct. You are staring at a full fledged Nasty Gal, ready to go out and browse the vintage stores they wont shop in (because they don’t want to get their hands dirty), and wont go past Bathurst because that just seems sketchy. What has come of 2012’s hottest trend is quite sad, because although some individuals are genuinely expressing themselves through their style, there are others who are dressing this way merely because they are hoping people will think of them as “hipster”, “cool”, or “trendy”.

Although trends are meant to have a significant amount of hype, that shouldn’t mean that everyone be dressing the same. Individuals should be putting together outfits that THEY really like, not what their friends like or what others are saying is cute and trendy. Style is about creative expression, showcasing your wardrobe as your personality and not caring what others say or think about it. From this trend, there is an absurdly enormous number of girls, from pre teens to adolescents, trying to fit this molded look in order for them to fit in. The mind set is “If she’s wearing it, I should too. Everybody thinks she’s cool, so I will be too!” Reality check, just because the popular girl at school is wearing 5” Jeffrey Campbell’s to the mall, doesn’t mean she is cool, it means she’s either a) desperate for attention or b) is simply an idiot.

In conclusion, although the website and its followers pride themselves on their iconic slogan “Nasty Gals Do It Better”, really, they don’t. The trend has now become, dare say, too trendy, with such a large abundance of girls dressing the same, its become quite generic. It’s not to say that the trend has lost its hype, but more so that the trend has lots it fascination amongst street style and the fashion industry, that nowadays people are not fazed by the sight of such an outfit. On a final note, girls, ditch the JC’s and Graphic Tanks, its time to show each other your true colors. Like they say, survival of the fittest.

DIY Skin Saviours

DIY Skin Saviours
The leaves are turning beautifully, we're sipping our pumpkin spice lattes and finally getting the chance to bust out the cashmere. Yes, we are enjoying the sweet joys of autumn, but cashmere can only mean one thing; it's cold out! Although we get the chance to look adorable in our leather boots, the chilly air and approaching winter months not only affect just our wardrobes. Skincare during the colder, end of the year months is just as important, if not more, than any time of year. The harsh winds and temperatures tend to dry us out, seal our pours and just take away that softness and glow we had in the summer time. Here are fabulous face masks that are super easy to whip up in just a few minutes, conveniently from your own home! Best of all, they all use products you probably have around the kitchen and in your fridge, making it perfect for beauties on a budget.
Brighten Up A Dull Complexion- Papaya Rub
Slice a piece of raw papaya and remove the seeds and pulp. Rub the inside of the peel gently on a freshly cleansed face. Focus on problematic areas such as fine lines, crows feet, uneven complexion etc. Let it dry for about 15 to 20 minutes, and follow up with a warm water rinse. If done twice a week on a constant basis when treating complexion issues, the enzymes in the papaya will exfoliate and repair minor sun damage as well as help diminish age spots and give you smoother skin overall. Skin will look brighter, softer and have a more polished finish.
Exfoliate Chapped Cheeks- Honey Scrub
Combine 1 teaspoon of honey wit 1 teaspoon of olive oil. In a separate bowl, prepare a pack of plain oatmeal, only using a small amount of water and stir until a thick paste is formed. Next, add the honey and olive oil mixture to the oatmeal paste. Apply this to your face (also great for the entire body) as a scrub, gently rubbing in small circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Let it sit for a minute or two and then rinse off with warm water and pat dry. The oatmeal in this scrub exfoliates and rids of flakey skin areas, while the honey and olive oil moisturize leaving you with supple, smooth surface.
Soothe Scaly Surfaces- Honey Mask
Mix 2 heaping tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Lemon juice is a good substitute if you don't have apple cider vinegar laying around. Apply the combination to a freshly cleansed face and leave on to sit. After about 20 minutes, rinse with room temperature water followed by another cool rinse. Honey is a natural antibiotic that heals and moisturizes. Apple cider vinegar (or lemon) helps soothe and balance the natural pH levels of skin.

The Sophisticated Geek: A prescription to personalize your style

The Sophisticated Geek
A prescription to personalize your style 
There was time when being a geek wasn’t so chic; somehow this theory has changed and the look is coveted by many.  But let’s not get carried away!  Some of us are proud to be eyeglass wearers; it’s not only our visual lifeline, it’s also an accessory that completes our everyday look.  Others not like it so much; either way, choosing the right style is essential.  Here are some tips to get you started in your quest to be an eye wear trendsetter.  Because, as they say, “just because it’s in fashion, doesn’t mean it’s for you.” 
The eyeglass frame of your choice should complement your face shape.  Ensure the fit is right and works for you.
There are five basic face shapes: square, round, heart, oblong and oval.
Square faces – An angular face with a strong jaw line and a square chin. TRY: Oval and round frames and avoid geometric and square frames, as they tend to accentuate the angles of the face.  Famous Face: Keira Knightley
Round faces – The key is to make the face appear longer.  TRY: narrow frames with angular edges or rectangular shapes.  Famous Face: Michelle Williams.
Heart faces –Your face is a bit broader with a sharp chin. TRY: butterfly shaped frames with airy, thin rims or rimless frames, which tend to be a bit wider towards the bottom.  Famous Face: Rihanna.
Oblong faces – The key is to create a softer look, as your face appears to be longer than it is wide.  TRY: Embellished subtle frames, which will help create some width.  Avoid frames that are too square as they will add width to your chin. Famous Face: Sarah Jessica Parker
Oval faces – You are the envy of all your friends.  With a face that is well proportioned, your options are endless. TRY: Walnut shaped frames, but avoid frames that are too narrow or too round.  Famous Face: Halle Berry
Try to choose a frame that reflects your personality and lifestyle.  This is your opportunity to create your own signature style but look chic. Don’t be afraid of color; eye frames have come a long way and you now have a variety of options.   So if those hot pink frames are what you like? Go for it! Does this seem less difficult than you thought?  With these quick tips you’ll soon be defining your own personal eyes style.

Canadian Cultivated Coats.

where to shop this holiday season?

Where to shop this holiday season? The who; what; why; and not so freaking expensive please.

                So you wanna shop till you drop? Or maybe you don't because you're a broke student and you dread holiday shopping but.. it's that time of year, you know December and Christmas/ Hanukah, for PC's sake don't forget kwanza is approaching! And once you have decided who you are going to be spending those hard earned dollars on, its time hit the streets and answer the even bigger question where to shop? From the bargain savvy student to the American Express black card carrying business man, we can all appreciate one thing, the importance of getting exactly what you are looking for, the perfect present!
Yes, it's the thought that counts, but really there's nothing better than seeing a loved one's face light up when they open a present you've gone out of your way to hand pick for them. Let's be honest, that's when the thought really counts, *hint* *hint*.  And you want them to notice your hard work, so we've got a couple suggestions to keep you from  meandering around malls with terrible Christmas sing-alongs.  You can thank us later ;)
Queen Street West:
The vibe: fun, youthful, hipster, unique, and surprisingly scenic!
The price point: $$ moderately expensive, varies by store
What to expect: A great place to come for funky shoes, and all things clothing. Also some great vintage/second hand stores Tribal Rhythm 248 Queen St West, and Black Market 256 Queen St West.
 Kensington Market:
The vibe: definitely funky, out there, great for vintage and hard to find items, not for the faint of heart!
The price point: $ super inexpensive!
What to expect: two words..hidden treasures! trinkets, antiques, furniture, vintage clothing, rusty spoons (not kidding!), vintage clothing, jarred food items, homemade candy, and jewelry. The biggest appeal about this place is the likelihood to find something extra original for a fraction of the cost. This is the place to find a stunning vintage fur vest for $50, you might just have to dig through a dusty trunk to find it first.
Bloor Street West/ the 'Mink Mile':
The vibe: busy, bustling with shoppers, high end, chic
The price point: $$$ with the exception of about 2 stores, it's all designer all the time!
What to expect: An abundance of beautiful and high end designer goods. Clothing (lots of clothing), shoes, accessories, jewelry, fine china, kitchen wear, household appliances, and electronics. The great thing about Bloor St is that due to the quantity and diversity of stores, it could be your one stop spot to find for everyone on your list! From roommate, to grandma, to boyfriend, Bloor has the best of brand name everything.  Great must sees, for all things culinary Williams - Sonoma 100 Bloor St West, Bay Bloor Radio Manulife centre, and how could we not mention the holy grail, Holt Renfrew 50 Bloor St West.
Hopefully you will find this list helpful, and make the quest to shop for your friends and family this holiday season a little easier!  If not, you know where to go for your own Kwanza wish list.. and we say, if the shoe fits, buy it!

Internet It-Girls

Internet It-Girls

Move over Nicole Richie and the Olsen twins, fashion bloggers are among the new flock of style stars. Here we profile four of the finest.

In this time and age where the Internet reigns supreme and the blogosphere is overflowing with an endless supply of fashion blogs, there are only a handful that are truly It-worthy. Individuality and longevity is key in enticing new as well as keeping current followers loyal. Here we have handpicked four bloggers that have managed to do just that.  Each chosen for their superb sense of style, charming personal commentary and beyond enviable wardrobes, we felt it would only be selfish to keep these leading ladies a secret.

Style By Kling
Thanks to a keen eye for fashion and an enviable collection of thoughtfully assembled ensembles, blogger/editor/stylist Elin Kling proves she’s a true industry pro. The Swedish beauty that heads the magazine StyleBy is a fashion force to be reckoned with. Collaborating with H&M on an exclusive collection has placed her in a category along with names like Stella McCartney, Alber Elbaz and Donatella Versace. Much like her professional life, Kling’s approach to dressing is thoughtfully planned and perfectly executed. With a minimal and slightly androgynous aesthetic, Kling opts for classic basics with an edge. Thankfully there’s nothing minimal about the inspiration this triple-threat has to offer.

Caroline’s Mode
Caroline Blomst has created a source of street style photography that oozes inspiration. In addition to her blog Caroline’s Mode, this stylist also edits the industry favourite site Stockholm Streetstyle. Her alluring shots of her own wearable looks have admirers infatuated.  This innovative blogger claims she doesn’t read any other blogs, and we believe this, as her style stands out in a world of trend fanatics. Mixing luxury pieces with inexpensive basics, Blomst truly embodies good taste. And may we add she does a fabulous job of consistently blending fellow Scandinavian designers such as Filippa K into her effortless ensembles.  Ms. Blomst takes casual-chic to another level.

The Haute Pursuit
Creating The Haute Pursuit was a growing process that allowed Vanessa Hong to find a style all her own. This chic canuck keeps it personal when it comes to her online contributions, giving readers a peep inside her life as a self professed fashion freak. The former model and Aritzia sales associate distinguishes herself as one of the few Canadian bloggers with a serious global following. Even with a minimalist approach to dressing, the garments she acquires are anything but simple. Her striking ensembles inspired by Alexander Wang, Theyskens’ Theory and Givenchy have readers smitten.

The Man Repeller
From overalls to harem pants – she loves everything that most men hate. The Man Repeller, a tongue-in-cheek blog fashioned (no pun intended) by writer and Parsons graduate Leandra Medine, turns fashion on its head and makes the unusual cool. “If Alexa Chung and Hamish Bowles had a baby, that would be my style,” declares the self-deprecating blogger. With signature phrases such as “vive le neon” and “more is never enough”, Medine has crafted an envelope-pushing style that has attracted big brand collaborations with Rachel Roy and Barneys. Maybe her style repels men, but it sure does attract us!