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Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Bergdorf Goodman gives us spectacular Christmas windows. A girl can dream!

Bergdorf Goodman gives us spectacular Christmas windows. A girl can dream!

I woke up super-early on Saturday morning, even though the night before warranted a proper sleep-in until noon.  But I had a singular purpose in mind and that was to do all my holiday shopping before the madness descended on the mall.  And I can dutifully report, “Success!” 

Here are some of my tried and true ways to keep your sanity and give them what they want, what they reallyx2 want this holiday season:

  • Make a list & check it twice – Now that I’m older and wiser, I have no time for diddly dadlling.  I create a short list of the presents I need to buy and the shops I need to go to get them.  Pick up the easy items you know first (like a specific book) and leave more time for the difficult (that perfect holiday sweater).  Even if you don’t get everything in one shot, at least you will leave with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Wear lightweight clothing – Even if it’s bone-chill cold outside, shopping is a calorie-burning exercise.  I tend to feel overheated and irritable if I pack on the layers while maneuvering many bags.

Remember, to give how you live. I don’t think it’s about how grandiose the gift but the intention.  Getting someone something they would never think to get for themselves is always a crowd-pleaser.  And sometimes you don’t need to buy presents.  Perhaps organizing a holiday brunch or dinner is plenty to spend time with close friends and family.  The best part of the holidays is celebrating.

If you're like me and you confidently buy clothes for loved ones and friends, there are some lovely party dresses at Topshop.

If you’re like me and you confidently buy clothes for loved ones and friends, there are some lovely party dresses at Topshop.

 

For the hostess, why not try a fondue set? It's a subtle hint to your foodie friend, that perhaps they should host a fondue party (jedi-mind trick). Clever, non?

For the hostess, why not try a fondue set? It’s a subtle hint to your foodie friend, that perhaps they should host a fondue party (jedi-mind trick). Clever, non?

For the travel enthusiast that likes a beach conversation starter, try the Hudson's Bay stripe beach towel.

For the travel enthusiast that likes a beach conversation starter, try the Hudson’s Bay stripe beach towel.

Nothing beats a beautiful coffee table book. This one has beauty and depth, Grace: A Memoir

Nothing beats a beautiful coffee table book. This one has beauty and depth, Grace: A Memoir

 

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December 1, 2013   No Comments

Fashionistah Frontlines: Clash of the Patterns

The patron saint of Fashionistah Eccentrics. Dear Iris Apfel, Bless me with "compliments" and those that mock me, may they get it in 5 years.

“Be not afraid of mixing your polka dots, florals and ginghams.” – moi.

I have always been a champion of the fashionistah adventuress; to take risks in wardrobing is always more rewarding than donning a uniform of head-to-toe black. Don’t you want to show your grandchildren pictures of you in your 20’s wearing the trendiest fashions of the times? I lament at my mom’s photos, “Damn, I wish you kept that outfit. That’s vintage!” This Spring has me sooooooo excited because of the variety of styling options and the return of saturated colour.

One trend that I believe will take a while to be embraced by the masses is the mix n’ match of patterns.  Why? Well, it will take a bit of a stylist eye and hella confidence to pull off.  But fret not my dearies.  I am here to guide you through treacherous waters. 

STEP 1)  I Am Style – Just pretend you are the Creative Director of ELLE Decor and your outfit is your living room.  Hrm, would that shade of pink look good on the curtains matched to the coral throw pillows to the stripe divan?  No, maybe, yessss?  YES!  Firstly, where did you learn to be so negative?  Strike NO from your vocab and give it a whirl.  You think Iris would condone this wishy-washy attitude?

The classic silhouette of this Equipment Blouse would do well paired with any print or pattern. Imagine it in an electric cobalt or a tiny flecked pattern. It would totally go. TRUST.

This Alice + Olivia Floral Print Dress is lovely, non? But we can crank the volume by pairing it with a bright purple blazer or jacquard jacket.

STEP 2) Colour Balance – Getting the combination right also has less to do with the motifs you match than with the brightness and contrast of hues you are wearing.  If you wear a bright, best to pair with a bright.  If you wear a pattern in a muted tone, you can probably punch up your outfit with a hot colour.

Remember how I wrote about the rage for Coral Jeans a year ago? Watch out for Floral printed like the Current/Elliott Stiletto Skinny. Tell ya little friends

STEP 3) Accessorize wisely – Since you have already taken risks with your outfit choice, you can take it down a few notches with less obvious accessories.  You can never go wrong with nude pumps or the sable-grey that has become the new neutral.

Delicious: Enjoying the hushed blush tones of this Chloe Poya Patent Bag

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March 2, 2012   No Comments

Breaking News: Polka Dot Is The New Pink

Black & White & Spotted: No slip required at Gucci Fall 2011

…Or should I say, the new stripe?  Hrmm, the first title has a much zippier zing.  It’s the alliteration of the p’s.

I have always been a major fan of the polka dot, from the charming, darling miniscule to the very retro oversize.  Much like the saturation of the stripe of Spring/Summer, you will begin to see the print take over this Fall like a game of connect the dots come to life.  This will be an easy trend to incorporate into your wardrobe as it can be integrated into the fabric of your most flattering silhouette or thrown under your blazer as a basic t-shirt.  One thing is for sure, if you don’t get spotted, you will find yourself among a sea of fashionistahs asking, “Um, I didn’t get the memo.  Is it Polka Dot Day?”

Channel Brigitte Bardot: Oh yes, polka dot capris. So relevant.

The polka dot is retro in spirit but interpretation is what makes it fresh and modern.  If you plan to go black and white with no pop of colour or irony, I have fallen asleep on this trend, comatose with boredom.  Sounds like, “ZZZZZzzzzz”  But I want your name to be the first to go into the snap box (see/ Legally Blonde 2), get complimented by a stranger on the elevator/subway or reach your 3 compliment a day quota.

Colourful Blaze of Glory – Let your colour palette do the talking.  Why not choose a deep navy with a coral dot or pair your black & white dotted chiffon blouse with a cobalt blue mini?  Now, you’re outfit is speaking to me!  Tip:  While black and white dots will likely permeate the stores, opt for a vibrant bright top to go with a black background or choose a paler shade to go with white.

Polka Dot of the Times: The bright hue of this Forever 21 dotted blouse feels right now.

You know what would make this outfit major? A giant Wilma Flinstone coral necklace! Juicy Couture Polka Dot Keyhole dress

My Girlcrush Emma Stone working a serious look in her Marc Jacobs top hat. Convinced yet?

Reminds me of a Mushroom: Marc by Marc Jacobs cocktail ring

Stripes vs. Dots Mashup – Do you dare?  Wearing last season’s stripes with this season’s dots is very French Vogue.  This is for the fashionistah adventuress who unabashedly defies convention, who trusts her instincts when pairing the right stripe with the exact dot…and even if it’s a bit off, she doesn’t care because she’s cool and aloof and you wish you were her.  Wear with confidence.

French Vogue spread Les Peches with Lara Stone. Trust.

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July 27, 2011   1 Comment

Day Dressing For Ladies

Tra La La Ladies: Weeee, isn't this so glamourous and fun

The summer with its warm beams of sunshine is often rammed with social engagements – from weddings and bridal showers to birthdays celebrated on outdoor terraces.  For occasions such as these, forego your usual skinny jeans and forget the flimsy t-shirt.  Dressing up is an integral part of the celebration! You can still be stylish and keep your cool.  Every day, I graciously accept compliments to the point that perhaps I take them for granted.  In a gesture of good will, here are my secrets to lady-like dressing.

Fresh as a Mint Julep – The easiest way to make an impression is to wear a day dress in a jewel tone lightweight cotton or linen.  Both have a tendency to crinkle so make sure your event is of the standing, sipping spritzer and mingling variety.  Vibrant colours often accentuate the glow of sun-kissed skin and make you stand out from the crowd.  I love the combination of bright red lips matched with a sunflower hued dress.  The best are A-line styles that flare at the waist into a full skirt – this is best for lithe girls who want more volume or for those who want to accentuate a tiny waist.  Add a skinny belt in a contrasting colour, presto 25% cuter!  Channelling Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.  Yes please!  

Classicly Refined: Alice + Olivia Grace Blouson Dress

Look Ma, no tan lines: Swish your skirt in this Rebecca Taylor Button Dress

Blinded by the Lights – When wearing a solid coloured dress, make sure to pop with a bold statement necklace.  Use the natural rays of the sun to make your jewellery sparkle.  Clear facetted or bezelled gems often radiate more than naturally smooth stones – it’s the cut that makes them more reflective and glittery.  If you are going to an outdoor party, why not beat the mosquitoes by pinning yourself with a faux insect such as a rhinestone encrusted bumble bee.  It’s a great ‘wink-wink’ conversation piece.  Hi-larious.

Mmm, this has an Antique Flavour: Aqua Pearl Necklace with Brooch

Bzz Bzzz: A Bumble Bee Ring for extra flare. You can often find these inexpensive pins or rings in Kensington Market.

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July 11, 2011   No Comments

Resort Report: From Chi-Chi Marbella

Darling streets like postcards: Marbella-ella-ella hey hey.

If there was a type of attire, I would most love to wear year-round it’s definitely Resort.  Why, you ask?  Well, it would mean perennial vacation on beachy shores in warm climates.  Dreamy, right?  Hot on the heels of my proclamation that Mallorca is the classier, more stylish sister of Ibiza, I bring you the inside scoop on her well connected, wealthy cousin Marbella.  A coastal town situated on the Costa del Sol, Marbella rivals its neighbours in glitz; once known to be Spain’s answer to Monte Carlo, it is an enclave of the rich and chi-chi poo poo, vacation home of movie stars and Arab gajillionaires.  Past decades have seen its decline but it is quietly making a comeback as a jetset destination.

While some detractors claim that the beaches are overrun with hen parties and Chavs, the charm of Marbella lies in the maze of shop-lined streets in Old Town, the scenic boardwalk and the local bodegas that serve authentic tapas.  Here you will find Spaniards and European visitors alike reclining on bistro chairs, slowly taking in the scenery while sipping on a generous glass of vino blanco.  Watch the sun set at the Deportivo Martimo in the many outdoor bars overlooking the bay or listen to the DJ spin chill out mixes at Puro Beach or Nikki Beach.

Le sigh: Quaint white houses on narrow streets, mountains on the horizon.

Got yacht? West of Marbella is the flashy Puerto Banus.

Save the Face in this Aqua floppy hat accented with a vibrant blue sash

White on White: Layer your crochet with eyelet and linen. OMG, your tan looks gorgeous when paired with white!

Na-ran-jas! 'Oranges', the new 'Bananas.' Pair your French Connection Lark Dress with espadrilles.

Deja vu in Old Town: Don't throw out last season's Pucci or Chanel.

Michelle Obama chooses a printed one shoulder and oversize sunnies for her stroll through Marbella last year. Well played.

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June 20, 2011   No Comments

Florals In Massive Bloom

All The Pretty Girls Wearing a Garden Variety: Stella McCartney SS 2011

While it’s no surprise that Floral has made a return this Summer as a print that adorns many a top, bottom or dress, it’s the way in which you interpret your flowers that makes the bold difference.  Through my travels, there appeared to be a “go big or go home” trend on the streets and in the magazines, with PYT’s (pretty young things) pairing various garden motifs in one ensemble.  Daring, yes.  Impossible, no! 

Let me impart some loving words of wisdom on the matter:

  • Clash of the Rhododendrons – In nature, it is common to see lillies growing alongside roses and daisies.  Actually, it is quite lovely when you observe the wildness of these disparate florals come together.  Very English garden.  Alas, I digress.  Why not try a chiffon top in miniscule pattern with a maxi skirt in an abstract?  To subtley reduce the visual tension of these prints, keep the fabrics in the same family (ie. silky or chiffon) or try colours that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel (ie. red-purple-blue).  Another trick to soften the look is to wear a few solid colours in between – a simple ribbed tank top, a camel coloured belt, a neutral wedge, etc.

Who's That Girl? Knock their socks off with this Aqua Floral Printed Gown

Count your blessings: If God giveth you twigs for legs, try these DKNY Floral Silk pants. Ruche them to your ankles and sport some sandal stilettos. Trust.

  • This Old Thing – Florals have a vintage-y sentiment attached to them.  If you feel ill prepared to have blossoms running wild all over your outfit,  try accessorizing with a gauzy scarf, a dainty cocktail ring or a cabbage rose sitting atop your very chic chignon.  Oh yes, I am campaigning very adamantly for a giant floral headdress revival.  Wait for it!

Forget your Buffalo Check for a Moment: Tie this Accessorize 50's Floral Silk Scarf in a bow and channel your inner Stewardess

Tell tall tales with this Accessorize Catwalk Flower: "I took a siesta in the garden and when I awoke this was sprouting from my head."

Painter Meets Muse: Loving the look of this Free People One Desert Floral Maxi. Dress it up. Dress it down.

Alhambra in Granada: The legend of the Generalife Rose Gardens is that princesses would have secret rendez vous with suitors among the many mazes of roses. (Dreamy) Le sigh!

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June 15, 2011   No Comments