Fashion Fun Friday: Summer Blazer

A well-made blazer can make denim dressy, party dresses polished, accentuate curves or make us look five pounds lighter! White is a hot colour for blazers this season – making me ahead of the trend as I spent much of last season searching for one with no luck. This season that all changed! White blazers are in abundance and I was elated to stumble onto the perfect one at Simons.

Turns out my perfect white blazer is the Yang to my favourite black blazer: 3/4 sleeves, winter white, rounded hem. Side note: The word Yin comes out to mean “shady side” and Yang “sunny side”.

Blazers have joined the ranks of t-shirts as a style-staple, meaning every woman should have a few in her arsenal. Here’s what to look for:

  • It should be fitted across the shoulders, but not stretched tight.
  • A classic fitted business style blazer hem should skim your hipbone.
  • If buying a full sleeve, they should hit mid-thumb when your arms are straight in front of you.
  • You should be able to button it without pulling, but it should retain its silhouette when worn open.
  • If you are between sizes, or any part of the blazer is too small, size up and hit the tailor.

Rack up some serious style points this season and grab yourself one of these beauties:

FLORAL KIMONO BLAZER available at Simons

HANOI BLAZER available at Simons

'Poppy' Double Collar Blazer

TopShop ‘Poppy’ Double Collar Blazer available at Nortstrom

Image 1 of CREPE BLAZER from Zara

Crepe blazer available at Zara

Image 2 of FRAYED SHORT BLAZER from Zara

Frayed short blazer available at Zara

PAINTERLY FLORAL JACKET available at Simons

Fashion Fun Friday: Toques

Spring is on its way. Or at least that’s what the latest issues of magazines like LouLou and Glamour are telling us. Their glossy pages show bright colours, fun playful heels and light jackets that are the new must-haves for spring. Meanwhile here in Canada, at a balmy -20C, we’re still choosing what toque to wear with our parka.

Funny thing about the toque; it’s a Canadian thing. Eh? According to this National Post article about Canadian-isms, the word toque is only used by Canadians. Apparently every culture that has cold weather (and access to sheep) has some national variant of the knit cap: Afghans have pakols, Americans have beanies, ski caps and toboggan caps; and we Canadians have our toques.

Did you know that toques were popular from the 13th to 16th century in Europe? Although they didn’t look exactly the like the toques we know today, I can see the resemblance. Can you?

Portrait_of_Philip_II_of_Spain_by_Sofonisba_Anguissola_-_002b

Did you also know that the toque was worn in France? By chefs? They chose to wear white toques as it was deemed “more sanitary”. The chef hat we know today was called a toque blanche aka white hat. Feeling smarter yet? According to the ‘all knowing’ Wikipedia, the modern toque was credited to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême, who was thought to have created the original toque blanche. Take that and stuff it in your French beret!

Of course today’s toques have come a long way from the puff-pastry looking chef’s hat. Thankfully for those of us living in sub-zero temperatures right now, there is a plethora of styles to choose from. Check out these Canadian sites below for playful, fashionable and patriotic options. Happy shopping!

The Canadian Pook Toque. Bonus: it’s reversible!


PookToque2PookToque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is the classic maple leaf toque from BC’s Toque.ca. Also reversible!

CdnFlagToque

And for a more hipster look, there’s the Ginger Snapped Toque from the WhistlerHatGallery.com. (Also available in grey.)

24_55188_GingerSnapped_Brown_medium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion Fun Friday: The Humble Cardigan

As the temperature drops, I’ve noticed that the cardigan sweater has become a wardrobe staple of women working business-casual environments. A friend of mine commented on her growing collection of cardigans as a testament to the length of time she’s been working for the government. Office workers, especially government office workers, don the cardigan on a daily basis. Now that I find myself working in a business casual office, I am acutely aware of the number of cardigan wearing peers. The blazer is something I’ve fully gotten behind. Ask anyone I work with and they’ll confirm my love of a good black blazer. In fact, I currently have five black blazers in full rotation.  The cardigan however is not a staple in my wardrobe. Or so I thought.

Over the years the humble cardigan has evolved from its knitted beginnings with buttons; to zippers, different fabrics and, as I discovered, a more modern version that just hangs open by design. These I have in abundance (in black, of course), so imagine my surprise to discover I’ve been on the cardi-wagon all along! When done right, the trusty cardigan can look like a million bucks.

Here’s a couple ways to rock your cardi at work:

  1. Wear a skinny belt on a light-weight medium-length cardigan. Bonus Points: over a pencil skirt for a classic corporate look.
  2. Layer a longer cardigan under a cropped leather jacket.
  3. Pair a floor length cardigan with a short skirt and tall boots.
  4. Tuck a fitted, waist-length cardigan into high-waist skirt or pants.
  5. The draped open-front cardigan (my fav!) looks sharp when matched with skinny jeans, tank and kick-ass heels. Bonus Points: Add a statement piece necklace.

Now it’s time to rock our brains! When someone compliments your awesome cardi-look, segue into this history lesson:

The cardigan was named after James Thomas Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who introduced what came to be called the cardigan jacket in the mid-1800s. (Thank you Encyclopedia Britannica!) Cool right? It’s gets better…

Brudenell was also the British general who, in 1854, led the charge of the light brigade of the British cavalry in the Battle of Balaklava. This battle was the memorialized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

 

Fashion Fun Friday: Hats! Hats! Hats!

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a hat person. It’s not that I don’t like hats. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I love hats and want to be a hat person. But for those of us with small pea-sized heads, wearing a hat can make us look like a kid playing dress up. And as we all know, the golden rule for wearing a hat is to make sure you only wear ones that fit your head. If you’re in love with brimmed hats, as is the case with me and my fedora obsession, then it’s doubly important to find one that is scaled just right for your face and body. Aside from the obvious functional nature of protecting your scalp from the sun, a hat can change the complete look of an outfit. It can be that one accessory that sets you apart, whether you’re at a formal event or you’re just running some errands.

Thankfully it’s summer; and summer is about hats. Which means there was hope yet for this girl!  Here’s what I’ve found to date that fits my wee head:

Nine West: $35
This Nine West brown with gold thread fedora style hat is “packable”, meaning it’s flexible and bendable enough to shove in a suitcase. The sole reason I snagged this sweet hat is that when I tried it on, I immediately felt glamourous – like I should be vacationing somewhere in the southern France … on my yacht. But my backyard will have to do for now.

photo 4

Forever 21: $15
This fedora is natural straw with a black band and small black straw rim.  It even comes in two sizes: small/medium and large. (Obviously this girl snagged the smallest option.)  As this is a smaller hat, you can wear it farther back on your head – a la Lisa Bonet in her Cosby Show years – or “normally”. I chose the Lisa Bonet look, because why not?

photo 3     bonet

Interesting fact about the Fedora: It first appeared in 1882 as a ladies hat. It debuted in the play “Fédora” by the French author Victorien Sardou whose main character Princess Fédora Romanoff wore center-creased, soft brimmed hat. The hat was soon a popular fashion accessory for women but after 1924, when Prince Edward of Britain started wearing them, the fedora was adopted by men. (History of Fedora) How about that!?

Fashion Fun Friday – Guilty Pleasures

Do you ever use online discounters? Sites like Fashionjunkee.com and BeyondTheRack.com (which I’ve talked about in previous blogs) are two off my favourites.

A couple months ago, I saw a commercial for another discount retailer called Gilt.com, so naturally I decided to check it out. This is the spot for serious designer label shoppers as they offer drool-worthy items from Christian Louboutin, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Chanel and Alexander McQueen – at 60% off! And as if it wasn’t easy enough, they have an app so you can shop safely anytime, anywhere.christian-louboutin-shoes

Like most flash sales sites, quantities are limited so you need to be ready to make a quick decision to avoid disappointment. As most of you have already ascertained, I LOVE shoes…. and all this girl wants it a pair of Jimmy Choos and a pair of classic black Christian Louboutins. In size 8. Is that too much to ask for?

They have them…

Even though I just found out about this site thanks to their big marketing push this year and their cool television campaign, Gilt.com has been in existence since 2007. The site is the brainchild of Kevin Ryan who, according to their website, “recognized a market opportunity to start online flash sales in the United States and introduce consumers to a new, exciting e-commerce experience.” You can read more about their story here. And it looks like this company is expanding as there are a ton of job opportunities there right now.

Are you ready to experience a little gilt today?