Current Fave: Floral Embroidered Jeans

Floral Embroidered Jeans
Floral Embroidered Jeans

I first started blogging about two years ago, as part of a Digital Strategy Certificate I was getting at the University of Toronto. I had a lot of support from family and friends and a lot of input. One of the comments I got was that blog posts can be short and sweet. That’s what this one is!

There’s not much to say about these floral embroidered jeans, other than that I love them and that I get lots of compliments on them, from friends and family. Unsolicited compliments, too!

Floral Embroidered Jeans
Floral Embroidered Jeans

I got these at a local boutique in Toronto. I tried them on and then walked out of the store because I’m not an impulse buyer. But, I walked right back in because I didn’t think they’d last and because they hit a few summer trends: light wash, skinny, ripped, embroidered, and floral embroidered jeans. They’re so easy to style, too: with a plain white t-shirt, scarf, and sneakers; with a navy classic blazer and flats/mocassins; with a long-sleeved shirt in navy or white; and, with tanks and flip-flops.

Floral Embroidered Jeans
Floral Embroidered Jeans
Floral Embroidered Jeans
Floral Embroidered Jeans

And, there you have it. These Elsie Jeans from Velvet Heart are still available on their website via this link. In case you’d like to try this trend, I’ve linked a couple of other options here:

So, how are you doing with the floral and the embroidered trend this summer? I’d love to know.

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The Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers

Adidas Stan Smith Cutout SneakersI’m sure you’ve noticed that fashion clothing and shoes these past few years have been made of mesh, see-through fabrics, and cutouts. I’m not sure what to make of this trend. I think it says something about the need to share even more of ourselves in an effort to be unique. Any deeper discussion on this topic goes beyond the scope of this blog, so I’ll stop right there! Let’s just say that when I saw these Adidas Stan Smith Cutouts, I decided to give them a try.

The history of the Adidas Stan Smith goes back to the early ’60s when Adidas came out with the first leather shoe — intended for playing tennis. In the 1970s, Stan Smith, then ranked as a number one player in the world, endorsed the shoe and it became known as the Adidas Stan Smith. The original Stan Smiths have three rows of perforated holes on both sides of the shoe with a green foam backing at the heel. Adidas has sold over 40 million pairs of Stan Smiths since their introduction.

Although the shoe has waned in popularity over the years and was even discontinued for a couple of years, it was reintroduced in 2014. They have been in such demand that certain models sell out and are hard to find. Kids and adults love this unisex shoe. The fun thing about any of the Stan Smiths is that they’re popular all over the world with all ages. It’s hard to find a trend that cuts across generations the way these shoes do!

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Even though I love these sneakers, I know that they’ll be limited to primarily warmer and drier weather because of the cutouts. I’ve styled them with rolled up jeans, a white t-shirt, and a blazer. Of course, because the shoes are white, they’ll go with almost anything. They’re great for walking in the city and for taking on a trip. I also think they’ll go well with a skirt or dress for a casual, comfortable look.

Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers

Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers
Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers
Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers
Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers

Adidas Stan Smith Cutout Sneakers

You can get the Stan Smith Cutouts at online retailers such as AdidasShopstyle and Capezio. There’s also an Adidas sneaker called the ‘Gazelle’, with similar cutouts, linked here, in case you’d like to try the cutout trend in a slightly different pattern.

What do you think? Do you have a pair of the original Stan Smiths? Which color did you get?

(BTW, a special shoutout goes to the owner of this house, who so patiently let me take photos in the beautiful perennial garden. Isn’t it stunning?)

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Kala Scarves: Wearable Art To Change The Look Of An Outfit

Kala Scarves
Kala Scarves

I consider myself to be a conservative dresser: classic, simple, easy style. One of the best ways to dress up a plain outfit is to reach for a scarf. I have quite a collection of fashion scarves that I tend to wear with plain t-shirts, sweaters, and blazers. And, yes, they’re mainly in blues and browns!

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with the designer and owner of Kala Scarves, a Canadian-based company that makes beautiful, hand-crafted scarves using premium quality natural fibers. After seeing the extensive collection of Kala scarves, it didn’t take me long to consider stepping outside of my comfort zone in terms of color and design.

The word ‘kala’ comes from the Hindi language and refers to the performing arts. Designed in Canada and manufactured in India of fine fabrics like cashmere from India, silk from China, and wool from Australia, Kala scarves are indeed works of art.

The designer finds inspiration from nature, travel, outings such as a visit to a butterfly conservatory, and from observing the colors and tones people wear. After the designs are conceived, they’re digitally captured and prepared for the artisans in India. The designer then travels to India to decide on the best fabrics on which to place her designs.

Some scarves are screen printed, some are digitally printed, and some are hand painted — the latter ensuring that each scarf is a one-of-a-kind piece. Some scarves are tie-died and some use similar techniques like batik and shiburi. Others are adorned with French lace or Swarovski crystals. Only high end fabrics are used such as lightweight cashmere, wool, silk/modal blends, silk/wool combinations, and linen. Each hand-painted scarf is therefore a unique piece of art on a luxury fabric.

When I went to look at the wide collection of scarves, I had a hard time choosing my favorites from all of the beautiful design and fabric combinations. The one thing I learned was to step outside of my comfort zone in terms of color and pattern.

Kala Scarves
Kala Scarves

Naturally, I gravitated towards a blue ombre scarf in navy, black, and blue. I liked that there were a bunch of colors in this silk/wool scarf and that it added a touch of elegance to a plain wool sweater.

Kala Scarves
Kala Scarves

Then I looked at a light blue, net-like print on a cream background which I also loved. The fabric, 20% silk and 80% modal, is very soft to the touch and has an airy feel making it easy to loosely style around the neck. The flowy fabric also lends itself to a simple draping around the neck, with the scarf cascading down past the jacket or top you’re wearing.

Kala Scarf in Silk/Modal
Kala Scarf in Silk/Modal
Kala Scarf in Silk/Modal
Kala Scarf in Silk/Modal

Kala Wearable Art ScarfKala Wearable Art ScarfThe designer also made this pattern in a yellow and cream combination. Because I wear lots of navy, the yellow was the perfect complement. It felt great to wear a pop of unexpected color against a classic navy leather jacket. Swapping in different scarves changed the mood of a classic jeans and leather jacket outfit.

What I loved the most about these luxury scarves is the quality of the fabrics and their unique designs. Look for these scarves in high-end boutiques in the US and Canada and follow along on both my Instagram and Kala’s Instagram, for more inspiration.

Kala Scarves
Kala Scarves

Kala Wearable Art ScarfKala Wearable Art ScarfKala Wearable Art ScarfKala Wearable Art ScarfKala Wearable Art ScarfI’ll be writing another post soon on monochromatic layering with a linen scarf, so stay tuned.

How do you use fashion scarves to change the look of an outfit?

This post was created in partnership with Kala Scarves; all opinions are my own.

[Jacket: Michael Kors; Sweater: Banana Republic; Shoes: Stuart Weitzman]

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The Structured Spring Cardigan

Structured Cardigan by Autumn CashmereIt’s that time of year when you don’t know what to wear: spring. We get bits and pieces of spring in between cold and rainy days, when the weather doesn’t know what to do. But, in Toronto, when spring actually comes, it typically lasts all of 3-4 weeks in a row.

If you’re like me, your closet is set up for one season or another. In the Fall, I put away my warm weather clothing in the basement. Because I’m always cold, my winter clothing consists of lightweight, long-sleeved t-shirts and a sweater or blazer. For six months of the year, I have to wear two long-sleeved layers of clothing, including some kind of wool top. So, when it’s those in-between temps like we’re having now, I find myself turning to thin wool sweaters or thick cotton sweaters.

Structured Cardigan by Autumn CashmereThat’s where the cardigan in this post comes in. It’s a thick-knit cotton cardigan so it has some structure and weight and acts as a blazer-like top, giving the outfit a smart casual look. It’s perfect for wearing now. It might be hard to tell in the photos, but it’s all navy, except for the black 2-inch detailing around the neck, sleeves, and placket. The two-toned knit makes it easy to pair the cardigan with jeans, navy, or black pants.

Structured Cardigan by Autumn CashmereStructured Cardigan by Autumn CashmereStructured Cardigan by Autumn CashmereI’m wearing this with an oxford faux wrap tie top. It’s a ‘faux’ wrap in that the ties in the front are just for decoration. They’re sewn into the side seams of the shirt and you tie them in the front. Otherwise, the shirt is a full button-down under the ties. You may have seen this faux wrap style on other items of clothing this past winter, like sewn into sweaters or dresses. And, you’ll see it in summer clothing as well. It’s kind of a fun detail.

Structured Cardigan by Autumn CashmereAs the weather warms up, I know I’ll be wearing this cardigan with t-shirts and tank tops. I can’t wait!

What do you reach for this time of year as the weather gets warmer?

(Cardigan: Autumn Cashmere; Faux-wrap top: H&M)

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Wax Coated Pants Perfect For Spring

Wax coated pantsIt’s technically spring in North America, but the temperatures outside tell me we’ve got a few more weeks to go before we can wear short-sleeved clothing without a jacket. In the interim, a blazer and wax coated pants are the perfect pairing for this weather.

This navy blazer is a classic. It’s from J. Crew and it’s their ‘Schoolboy’ blazer, now available as their ‘Rhodes‘ blazer. It’s wool, lined, has gold buttons, and can be dressed up or down. I love that it’s wool because it keeps me warm on cool spring days – yet it’s not bulky. I also love that it’s a petite size, so no alterations were necessary. The sleeve and jacket length were just right.

These wax coated pants, though, are one of my go-to wardrobe items, especially in changing weather. They’re Canadian-made by a Montreal-based, socially conscious company called I Love Tyler Madison. I think the best part about these pants is that they’re pull-on, with no zippers or buttons. The founders of this company love that these pants work for many body types and I agree with them. I’ve seen them on others and they look great.

I’ve styled the pants with an untucked oxford shirt under my favorite blazer for a casual yet chic look. Adding pearls makes the outfit that much dressier, as do high-heeled boots. You could remove the pearls, add a scarf, and wear casual boots or flats for a less formal look. You could also take the look to a very casual level by wearing a t-shirt and sneakers.

Although these pants remind me of leather pants, they’re really not comparable. They’re made of rayon and a hint of stretch that is wax coated. It’s a lot easier to wear them without worrying about being too careful. They also come in a cropped version and lighter colors, just in time for the warmer weather.

So, what do you think? Have you worn wax coated pants? I’d love to know what you think.

Happy Spring!

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A Winter For Chelsea Boots

It’s been a relatively mild winter in Toronto this year, which means it’s been an interesting season for wearing winter boots.

If you don’t live in a very cold and snowy climate, then you might not understand that one usually has an assortment of winter boots. For example, you have your ‘snow’ boots, which are higher, warmer, waterproof, and come with a tread sole. You need snow boots for when it’s snowing, when you’re shovelling snow, and when you have to walk on the snow-covered sidewalks, streets, or ravine paths.

But, when it’s cold and dry and the sidewalks aren’t snow-covered, your boot options are practically endless. Translation: you can wear fashion boots! This means the boot can have a smooth sole, be made out of suede or leather, and be as impractical as you want. This is where my obsession for Chelsea boots comes in.

The Chelsea boot is an ankle high boot with elastic side panels, as well as a tab on the back of the boot for easy wear. According to Wikipedia, Chelsea boots were patented by Queen Victoria’s shoemaker in 1851, and meant to be a practical shoe. The boots became known as Chelsea boots in the 1950s and 60s when they were popular in the Chelsea part of London. The Beatles and many rock stars have worn them.

Over the years, I’ve owned a few pairs of Chelsea boots, especially as rain boots. The elastic side panels make it easy to put the boots on and off and the ankle height means they’re easy to wear with pants or jeans. This year, I bought two pairs of everyday Chelsea boots, with a thick, tread sole. They’re the same style because I fell in love with the boots and asked the store to make me another pair in another color. Yup, that happened.

The Chelsea boots in these photos are comfortable and so easy to slip on and off. They’re sleek and form-fitting. They have a wing-tip detail as well as a patent, smooth, and suede leather mix. I love the thick sole because I feel secure in the mild winter weather, even when it snows. They’re almost the only boots I’ve been wearing these days.

Chelsea boots come in all kinds of heel heights, materials, colors, soles, and styles. The popular Blundstones are a sturdy, casual style. Other than with jeans, the more ‘casual chic’ and dressier Chelsea boots can be worn with suits, skirts, and dresses. I’m usually in denim, so I go for the casual look most days.

Here are a few examples of the wide variety of Chelsea boots that you can wear all year round.

Let me know what you think of Chelsea boots, and, fingers crossed, I hope I haven’t jinxed our mild-ish winter!

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Floral Dressing In The Middle Of Winter

It’s the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, and, in Toronto, it’s been an interesting one. One week, it’s below zero, and the next two weeks it’s mild, rainy, and cloudy. I’m not one to complain about warmer temps in the winter, so I’m good. One of the ways to enjoy the winter months is to surround yourself with beautiful things, like flowers!

The pants in this post are so much fun because they’re winter pants with sedate flower patterns, giving one a little pick-me-up this time of year. Every time I’ve worn these pants, I get unsolicited compliments. That’s my favorite kind of compliment!

Floral designs on clothing are usually associated with warmer weather, but they don’t have to be. The fall and winter runways and stores showcased florals everywhere. And, they’re a big trend for spring.

These poly-knit stretch trouser pants are black, with navy and burgundy flowers and dark mustard accents. If you know me, you know I don’t wear black much at all, but the navy in these pants made it easy. That’s because I already own navy accessories, handbags, and shoes!  To keep things light, I chose a grey sweater and added a navy handbag and boots.  With the pants being the center of attention, it’s easy to find a top because a plain colored sweater or blouse would match. Pretty simple.

What do you think? Do you like and wear floral pieces in the winter?

I’ve linked a few items here, in case you’d like to try the trend:

(pants: Cambio; handbag: Banana Republic; boots: Paul Smith)

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Why Joe Fresh Is One of My Favorite Stores

I thought I’d write a quick post on Joe Fresh, a clothing retail store founded in 2006 in Canada. If you’re not familiar with Joe, let me place it for you. Joe Fresh stores are smaller than H&M and Uniqlo, but generally in the same price range and offerings, with Joe showing more collections per season.

I’ve been a bit obsessed with Joe lately because I scored a few great deals over the holidays and every time I wear them, I get lots of compliments.

So, I guess you could say that it’s convenient that there’s a Joe Fresh within a few kilometres of my house! A lot of the stores are located within or right next to Loblaw’s grocery stores in Ontario. This means you could be shopping for food when you come across the Joe Fresh section of the store, say, somewhere between the laundry detergent and canned goods. You take a peek at the seasonal clothing and you end up buying a new t-shirt for about $10. This isn’t a big purchase, doesn’t need a lot of thought, and doesn’t come with much guilt.

And, that’s the idea behind Joe Fresh: treat yourself to something fun, fashionable, and affordable!  Since its inception, Joe Fresh has grown to over 350 Canadian stores, plus a store in New York City, some in Mexico, and some in the Gulf states.

This past holiday season, I ended up buying a 100% cashmere crewneck pullover that was half price. I had first seen the sweater on Miranda Kerr, who was featured in Elle Canada magazine, as Joe Fresh’s face for the 2016 fall and holiday campaigns. When I went in to the store on Black Friday, the sales had begun and I got sucked in to looking around, not that it takes much to keep me in the store! Continue reading

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Fun With Patches

img_2737-1Have you noticed all the patches on clothing these days? I love how colorful and fun they are and how much they remind me of when I was a Girl Scout working hard on collecting all of those badges. Nostalgia aside, we’re talking about patches, not badges, here.

So, what’s the difference between a badge and a patch? According to one Girl Scout website, badges are given for completing competencies while patches are given for more fun activities. Good to know. The fashion houses and stores are therefore supplying us with patch inspiration. It’s the combinations, colors, sizes, textures, and messages that appeal to us.

In researching this post, I came across a great website called Asilda Store. Founded by LA-based photographer Anastasia Petukhova, this website sells patches and has a great blog that covers the history of patches as well as other useful information. For example, there’s a post on how patches are designed and one on how to sew or iron patches on. And, there’s one on the history of patches.

Apart from the obvious beginning of using colorful patches to mend ripped jeans, the Asilda Store post traces the history of patches from the ’70s when peace, love, and happiness were the themes, to the ’80s when the punk movement took place. This year in particular, many designers have added patches to their clothing or handbags. It’s not surprising to see this trend resurface and likely be with us for a while. In a way, these patches are like the emojis we use in texting and communicating – but they are on our clothing and accessories.

Continue reading

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Adding Style With Lug-Soled Shoes

img_3309Lug-soled fashion shoes have been around for the last couple of years and for good reason: they’re sturdy, comfortable, and now come in many styles and options. According to The Free Dictionary, a lug sole is a thick rubber sole with deep indentations that improve the stability and traction of utility footwear such as work boots’. Lug soles are common on hiking boots and other utility shoes but are a big part of the fashion scene now. You can find them on dressy as well as casual shoes, from boots to ballet flats.

I only recently jumped on this trend because I’ve seen them in all the shoe stores and they looked comfortable as well as fashionable. Not something I would normally wear, I decided to try these lug-soled shoes to add a little glamour to my favorite jean outfits. They’re growing on me! I’d also wear these with tights and a skirt or a dress, and I’d wear them with a dressy pant.

The lug-soled pair in this post is made of lightweight rubber, is very easy to wear, and puts a fun twist on a classic leather wing-tip loafer. With the fringe and buckle, it’s a bit dressy and feminine. From above, they look like a regular shoe, but the lug soles extend the perimeter of the shoe just a bit and give it a casual flare. The indentations in the sole provide traction and security when walking. And, the heel is graduated slightly to give an element of ‘high-heeled’ fashion – perfect for me because I’m petite. Continue reading

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