Monday, February 06, 2017

Celebrate Canada's 150th…in style!

While 2017 may have started off on a grim note for many places (lookin’ at you, neighbours to the south), Canada was geared up to start the celebrations for its 150th birthday. The country is celebrating with various events taking place across the country such as giving free admission to all national parks and a big celebration-taking place at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. But what about those who wouldn’t be caught dead camping or for those of us who can’t make it to Ottawa for the festivities? What about those who love to shop? And treat every day as if it’s a fashion show? Luckily, there’s more to Canadian fashion than just plaid shirts and the iconic ‘Canadian tuxedo.’ Read on to find out some famous and not-so-famous Canadian labels and brands. You’ll be celebrating your country in style!

Erdem: Erdem, born in Montreal, has established himself to be one of the most popular couture/high end designers. His super feminine yet edgy designs are a hit with everyone, from royalty (Kate Middleton is a big fan of Erdem!) to supermodels (Gigi Hadid).
Pink Tartan: Launched in 2002 by Joe Mimran, Pink Tartan has established itself as a brand known for its preppy and classic clothes with a girly twist. This popular Canadian line can be found in Holt Renfrew and Saks Fifth Avenue, or you can head down to its Yorkville flagship store to get your fix of this brand.

Roots: Probably one of the most iconic Canadian fashion brands, Roots is known for its sweatpants and sweaters. Upon its launch in 1973, Roots has expanded from a footwear company to the apparel company it is today. They sell women, men, and children’s apparel. So if you and your partner want to be #couplegoals…grab yourselves their iconic grey sweaters, and look super cute while representing the Great White North!
Lululemon: This brand was originally a yoga studio in Vancouver before it was transformed into its first store. With hundreds of stores across the country, anyone can be fit and look great while working out.

Foxy Originals: This line was created by two former students of University of Western Ontario. Their jewellery line is known for its fun, trendy, and colourful (and affordable!) designs. Their products have been featured in countless magazines and publications such as InStyle US and People StyleWatch and seen on celebrities such as Paris Hilton.
Jenny Bird: If you’re looking for something more understated and classic, you may want to check out Jenny Bird. Her line is filled with elegant pieces with a boho twist. It may be a bit pricier than Foxy, however if you purchase from her site then you’ll get free shipping. Or if you prefer seeing the jewellery in person before purchasing it, you can check and see if your local Indigo carries her collection.

Victoire Boutique: With three stores between Ottawa and Toronto, it’s easy to get your hands on one of the many Canadian designed apparel they sell. If you aren’t in Ottawa or Toronto, they have an online shop with their products. This store prides themselves on selling mainly Canadian-made products and aims to support the Canadian fashion industry.

Drake General Store: Drake General Store has various pop ups in many Hudson’s Bay locations as well as a flagship store in Toronto. While they’re known for their kitschy products like enamel pins of Drake and emoji inspired accessories, they sell tons of Canadian themed clothing. If you want to represent your home province/territory, you can grab one of their toques or you can get one of their infamous onesies.
  Canadians Cultivating Creativity, Eh!
Where to shop if you like supporting maple leaf brands with a mission.

The Saltwater Collective
Helping to save the oceans one swim suit at a time. This Toronto based brand is drawing attention to the water we dip our toes in. In an effort to preserve our oceans through their swimwear, they’ve teamed up with Oceana; donating a portion of their proceeds from every sale. Since 2001, Oceana has been the largest advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation. The condition of our oceans is vastly taken for granted; it is assumed that pollution only impacts a small percentage of lady blue, where in fact it’s quite the opposite. Only about 4% of our oceans remain untouched by man. It’s amazing to see a small company so dedicated to a noble cause. In addition to their pun-tastic one-piece swim suits, Saltwater Collective also sells men and women’s graphic tees, hats and all natural soaps. All product manufacturing is done locally in Toronto to minimize the company’s carbon footprint.
Slip in to one of their suits the next time you decide to take a plunge in some salt water.

Two Birds Apparel
From organic materials to bike couriering, Two Birds Apparel has a mindful approach to all aspects of their company. The fashionable and comfortable clothing offered by Two Birds is made from organic bamboo/cotton blends and is manufactured just outside Toronto. 1% of profits are donated to the David Suzuki Foundation. An organization well-recognized for their involvement in environment preservation. Their stylish sunglasses are made from only salvaged, recycled or FSC certified wood and for every pair sold, Trees of the Future will plant a tree. Cool shades creating more cool shade!
Another unique aspect of this apparel brand, is their use of bike couriers. Two Birds uses Turnaround Couriers, a courier company that recruits at-risk youth for all their deliveries and office staff, thus giving youth the opportunity to gain job experience and meet financial needs.
It’s clear to see how much thought goes in to every company decision, and they seem to have found a unique solution to every problem.

It’s all about the fibres with this sustainable-concious Canadian brand. Their apparel business in British Columbia is built on the belief that clothes should be made to last. Too much waste is created through the discarding of garments. That’s why the creators of Miik thoughtfully selected bamboo, flax and beach wood pulp to make the fibres for their clothing. When made into fabric, these plant materials do not fade, stretch or pill the way other natural fibres do, meaning your garment will continue to look new, wash after wash. Miik offers a wide variety of casual, playful dresses, structured jackets, flowy cardigans, trousers and leggings. Bamboo, in addition to being a highly sustainable crop, has an incredibly soft texture.
You’ll be so comfortable in Miik clothing, you’ll never want to take it off let alone throw it away.

La Canadienne
If you’re willing to spend the extra money on a good pair of leather boots or pumps, then La Canadienne is the brand for you. Based in Montreal, La Canadienne uses leather that is a by-product of the food industry, meaning cattle are not being killed for their hide. Dyes used in the tanning process are all natural; never harsh chemicals, thus reducing pollution and maintaining a safer working environment for production workers. Styles range from pirate boots to classic stilettos, and everything in between. In addition to shoes, they also carry handbags and small accessories. Footwear quality is essential and with La Canadienne no detail is overlooked. Each shoe is carefully inspected by trained professionals before being hand-packaged in boxes made from recycled materials.

Your toes and peace of mind will both be happy with these stylish shoes.

What Brands To Shop This Spring: Vegan Edition

What Brands To Shop This Spring: Vegan Edition

As time goes on, more people are turning to a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle. Below are a few brands to shop this spring that are 100% vegan, or offer vegan products. Yes, you can still be a fashionista without wearing leather!

LEAF-ther Accessories

Although most clothing items are vegan, accessories are often made of leather. If you are vegan or looking to shop vegan it can be more difficult to find items such as purses, shoes, and jewelry. If you are looking to shop a 100% vegan brand that offers a wide variety of faux leather handbags, wallets, briefcases, and much more for men and women, Matt & Nat is a great Canadian brand to shop. Well-known brands that also offer faux leather accessories, as well as garments such as jackets at a lower price point are Forever 21, H&M, and Zara. Designer Stella McCartney offers products made with vegan leather and she also does not use fur, for anyone looking for a higher end brand that offers vegan and cruelty-free items.


A brand that offers vegan leather shoes at a moderate price point is Steve Madden and their sub brand Madden Girl. Steve Madden also offers other accessories however this is a great brand to shop for a vegan shoe addict because they offer a wide variety of boots, shoes, heels, etc.!

Beauty Without Cruelty

Reasons to switch to vegan makeup

There are so many popular makeup brands out there today that consumers cannot wait to get their hands on. From brands such as Sephora and MAC to extremely sought after makeup such as Kylie Jenner Cosmetics. Women today are willing to pay the price for good makeup. The cosmetic industry is doing better than ever, but many are still not aware about the growing trend of green beauty. Here are some eye-opening reasons to switch your makeup to all natural, cruelty free, vegan cosmetics: 

Saving animals one brush stroke at a time  

You would be taking a major step to helping stop animal cruelty. Makeup brushes are commonly made from products such as squirrel, mink and sable which are all products from the cruel fur industry. It is important to switch to synthetic hair brushes that are still high in quality but do not harm animals at the same time. Elf Cosmetics is an example of a makeup brand that has teamed up with PETA to sell synthetic brushes as well as many other cosmetics that are vegan friendly. 

Your skin will thank you 

Vegan beauty products not only support animals, but they are also better suited for sensitive skin types. By using all natural ingredients, you can avoid using beauty products with chemicals in them that may irritate and harm the skin. Therefore, if you are struggling with acne or blemishes it is important to use vegan cosmetic brands that contain safe ingredients which are approved by the FDA.

Leading by example 

Celebrities and popular makeup artists are all getting on board with vegan friendly makeup. Kat Von D Beauty is a widely successful brand of makeup that has switched all of its products to be completely vegan. The brand even marks all of their beauty products with #VeganAlert hashtags to indicate that the finished product is 100% vegan. Kat Von D never tests on animals and she has even eliminated the use of ingredients such as beeswax used in lip balms and Carmine which is a dye made from beetles’ wings. Her makeup line is hugely successful and her products basically always sold out. With well known names like Kat Von D making major changes like reformulating her entire makeup collection to vegan, it is time for us to take a closer look into our own makeup bags.

Vegan going mainstream 

In Toronto, just like the vegan food movement, vegan makeup also has a loyal following. Here are a couple top places in the city to buy cruelty free and organic makeup: 

Province Apothecary 

If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to visit an all natural, organic beauty shop called Province Apothecary, located near the intersection of Dundas St. West and Dufferin. The owner, Julie Clark wanted to create pure products with all natural ingredients that will benefit even the most sensitive complexions. Her mission was to make people feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin. The name of the business comes from the fact that they source organic goods from each province across Canada and put it into their wide selection of products. Some examples of favourite ingredients being used are organic seaweed from Nova Scotia, maple syrup from Quebec, organic sunflower oil from Ontario, and organic beeswax from Alberta. Province Apothecary is vegan, proudly Canadian, completely cruelty free, and their ingredients are ethically sourced. Trying these products is a great way to use high quality skin care products while remaining animal friendly.


Located on Queen Street West, Bite Beauty is one of Toronto’s proudest natural cosmetic companies. The brand uses ingredients such as agave nectar balms, and even matte lipsticks that are derived from orange peels. By buying their products you know organic ingredients are used which means not only is their lipstick long lasting but it is also safe enough to eat. Bite Beauty even has Lip Labs where you can sit down with artists and create your own personal lipstick with custom textures, colours and flavours. The process only takes about half an hour and you can be walking out with a personalized lipstick that best suits you, and more importantly is completely vegan. 

Next time you pick up a new mascara or lip gloss, take a quick look at the ingredients and check for markings that prove it is cruelty free and certified vegan. After all, cruelty free vegan makeup has become a beauty trend and it’s benefits are worth switching products for.

Intimate Details

Over multiple fashion decades, the runway has seen the trend of bringing what we wear to bed onto the runway.  Now looking forward into fashion, 2017 says a visible bra strap is no longer a fashion taboo nor is wearing what’s underneath on the outside. Couture designers like Alexander McQueen and fashion moguls like the Hadid and Jenner sisters are showcasing women’s best intimate details as everyday wear.
(US Weekly)

Spring Slush
In Canada, our springs can be described as winter’s leftovers; slushy, cool, and uncomfortable. Wearing nothing but a satin slip, a bustier, and a pair of Puma Fenty fur slides may be quite cold for a few of us. So, when choosing to wear your sultry intimates, pull the look together with a leather-motto jacket or another runway comeback for 2017 the trench coat, to keep it Canadian weather friendly.  

Lingerie  Layers 
(Huffington Post)
Another way to ace the intimate trend is to layer. Layering bra tops or corsets over crew neck t-shirts or sweatshirts seem to be coveting the streets and giving the age-old advice “picture the audience in their underwear” a whole new meaning. Trendsetter Kim Kardashian shows no shame of flaunting her waist trainer over her Yeezy oversized sweatshirt. Instead of an oversized sweatshirt- and not much else, try one of spring 2017’s biggest runway trends and pair your corset with an open jumpsuit or sleeveless sweater. 
(Vogue US)

Sheer Perfection
Comparable to many of Kim K’s outfits, some intimate pieces can be quite harsh for a work or school setting, mixing fabrics and textures balances the bedroom and the classroom into one look. Mixing sheer, high-neck pieces with ruffles or lace with a pair of classic blue jeans will simplify the seductiveness of your intimate details or pairings.  

The Mini Slip
(Where to Get)
After work or school comes play, and going out on the town in Toronto is nothing short of a fashion show and showing a hint of what’s underneath will turn more heads at one of city’s hotspots if done correctly.  The maxi slip dress dominated throughout the 1990’s and made its big comeback just in time for the previous holiday season. Now that spring has sprung, the mini slip dress has come back out to play as the newest trend in party dresses. Dominations of the slip can be seen on popular websites such as Tobi, Urban Outfitters or even your Instagram feed on a Saturday night.  A pair of thigh-high suede boots and slicked back hair paired with your satin or silky slip is the perfect pairing for a night out.

Wearing your most intimate details on your sleeve is possible for any Canadian, and with these runway to real life examples, you’ll be ready to showcase what’s on the inside once and for all by making a statement and looking confident. From corsets over sweatshirts, or a satin slip as a party dress, intimate fixations are here to stay, and not to be slept in, for spring 2017.

Cleaning out your closet - where to start and how to do it

Where to start and how to do it

            With the warmer weather coming, we all get that itch to do some spring cleaning. Although thinking about cleaning can make us want to crawl into bed and take a nap, the thought of actually seeing our bedroom floors sounds kind of amazing. Before committing yourself to properly cleaning out your closet (without cheating and shoving clothes under your bed), be sure to clear at least two days in your schedule. Seriously, doing this takes time – especially if you haven’t done this in over two years (yikes).

            Doing a proper closet cleaning doesn’t mean you have to throw away all of your clothes and become a full-on minimalist. There is a method to this madness – and a reason why everyone holds on to clothes that we don’t need. Mainly, we’re all too lazy to do this proper closet cleaning and are constantly struck with the thought, “I might want to wear this one day”... But, my borderline hoarder friends – it’s time to make the plunge and get that organized closet you’ve always wanted. Let this be your ultimate guide (or bible, if you will) to getting your goal closet.

            The first step of this process is to take everything out of your closet, seriously. I mean it. This way, you can separate your clothes from how they look in your closet and analyze them properly. If you’re feeling extra motivated you can separate your clothing into pants, shirts, sweaters, coats, scarves, etc. Next, is the harder step. You will then need to go through each item and ask yourself the following questions:
1.     Does it still fit?
2.     Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
3.     Would I wear it again?
4.     If I saw it in a store now, would I buy it?
5.     Do I love the way it looks on me?
6.     Is it damaged?
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, it’s time to toss that piece and move on.

            Once you have separated all of the clothes that you are keeping, it’s time to neatly place them in your closet. Using hanging drawers, matching hangers, and shoe racks is a great way to make your closet look top notch. Another way to make your clothes look more appealing is to colour co-ordinate or organize by style – because if you’re more likely to see it you’re more likely to wear it. Also make sure to fold heavy sweaters and clothing that may lose its shape on a hanger in a way that makes sense to you and reminds you of all the clothes you have that you love.

            So now you probably have a pinterest-worthy closet, but there is still the looming pile of reject clothes that need to be tended to. The great thing about getting rid of clothes is that you can most likely get some cash and help out someone who needs them more. Donating to second hand stores, the Salvation Army, or Goodwill are some great options if you’re feeling charitable. If you have some coin worthy pieces that you want to sell, apps like Varage allow you to post your pieces and communicate with buyers.

            Open your windows, let the fresh air in and look at that glistening bedroom floor you haven’t seen in months. Your clean closet is going to result in many more outfit options for you, and a fresh spring feeling that you’ve been hoping for. To maintain your clean closet – be sure to use that hamper and leave your closet doors open so you will feel guiltier if you slip up on your organizational skills. For more information on tidying up, read up on books such as:

The Life Changing Magic if Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Minimalism: Leading a Meaningful life by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus