Have You Looked at Coach Handbags Lately?

IMG_5693As a purchaser of Coach handbags over the years, I’ve noticed a style change in the past 2-3 years.  Perhaps you have, too.

During my first few weeks at university, one of my friends was carrying a sleek, elegant handbag that I thought was a bit too fancy for college.  It looked like a slim briefcase but in a ladies’ purse version.  When I asked my friend about it, she was very proud of the fact that she had worked all summer and treated herself to this handbag.  It was from Coach.

Coach has been around since 1941 when it started as a family-run business in New York City.  An iconic American brand, Coach ‘went on to define “accessible luxury” for a generation’.  This year, Coach turns 75 and you can read more about its history and reputation as a quality leather house here.

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So What If Saks Fifth Avenue is in Canada Now?

Saks Fifth Avenue Eaton Centre
Saks Fifth Avenue Eaton Centre at Queen and Yonge St, Toronto

Saks Fifth Avenue opened its first store in Canada last week at the Toronto Eaton Centre and opened its second Toronto store today at Sherway Gardens.

So what?

Well, if you’re a shopper like myself, you follow these openings with interest for the simple reason that having more places to shop is a good thing!

While I could talk about the department store and its future (not very promising according to some experts), I’m not going to because I happen to love department stores and want them to be around forever.  An excellent article on The Business of Fashion website talks about the challenges and changes coming for department stores.

Instead, I want to talk about why I think Saks Fifth Avenue has arrived in Toronto at just the right time for both the retailer and the consumer.

Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue Eaton Centre

Firstly, can we talk about our Canadian Dollar and the fact that it’s trading around 70 cents US for the first time in the past 13 years?  What’s more upsetting is that the currencies were at par only 3 years ago.  Now all I hear is my family and friends outside Canada wanting to come shop here because ‘it’s such a good deal’.  Of course it is at that exchange rate.  I’m expecting Canada to be packed with visitors this year!

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Mini Love Crossbody Purse from Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Love Crossbody
Mini Love Crossbody in Latte by Rebecca Minkoff

Mini purses are an interesting fashion item.  Every time I see one, I ask myself: how practical is this bag?  Even though I think the answer is that it’s not practical most of the time, I do think that there’s a time and a place for a mini purse.

The purse in this post is from Rebecca Minkoff, an American designer that makes clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry.  According to a September 2015  article in Glow magazine, her company has 12 deliveries a year, meaning there’s always something new to consider.

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Love Crossbody
Rebecca Minkoff Mini Love Crossbody

This ‘Mini Love Crossbody’ bag is the ‘mini’ version of the larger Love Crossbody bag.  It’s a classic looking, leather, quilted front-flap bag with a turn-lock closure.  The chain and leather strap can be worn long, making the purse a cross-body.  Or, it can be shortened and worn as a shoulder bag.  What I like most about this bag is the Chanel-inspired look.

Admittedly, this mini purse can pose a challenge because of its limited use.  It’s really more practical for an evening out, a quick trip to run errands, or on occasions when you don’t want a huge bag like an afternoon at the movies or a neighborhood walk.  In other words, it’s not your everyday purse.  Instead, think of it as a purse for lots of different special occasions.  For example, it’s a great purse to take on a trip if you need a dressier evening bag and you are limited for space. Also, it can be a perfect purse to take to work because it is not bulky and can be easily carried along with a laptop/briefcase. Continue reading


A Winter Dress With Details

Marc Cain Dress
Marc Cain Dress with Details

For those of you who know me well, you know I don’t wear a lot of dresses. There’s a simple reason: when I got my first job and wore skirts, I would rip the pantyhose on the bottom of my desk and I was always buying new ones. Another reason is that I just feel more comfortable in pants. When I shop, though, I take a quick look at dresses and sometimes I even buy one!

In one of my summer posts I was wearing a dress but here I want to show you one that I bought for cooler weather.

This dress is from Marc Cain, one of my favorite European designers.  Based in Germany, Marc Cain has a reputation for stylish and on-trend clothing that is made of quality fabrics. In particular, most of their t-shirts and jersey cardigans are made of 94% cotton and 6% elastane. This finely woven cotton fabric washes and wears well.  Marc Cain makes their clothes to last and look good for years.

When I first saw this in the window, I noticed the cotton top for which Marc Cain is famous. Even though the cotton/polyester bottom of the dress has an A-line silhouette, it still manages to be slim-like and figure-hugging.  Marc Cain also added pleather patent accents on the skirt to make it look like there are pockets.  And, there’s top-stitching along the hem and front of the dress that make this plain dress look more tailored.  It’s these little touches that Marc Cain does really well.

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Navy Suede Ankle Boots By Paul Smith

Paul Smith Kendall Boot
Navy Suede Boots by Paul Smith

In my last post, I introduced you to one of my favorite shoe stores in Toronto, Studio D Shoe Boutique.

Today I’m showing you the cool ankle boots that I got there.

I’ve been looking for a pair of navy casual boots for some time now, but the color navy is hard to find.  Usually you are looking at a sea of black and brown boots when you go shopping, although navy has become more popular over the last couple of years.  It was really big this past fall.  And, it’s usually big in the spring.

These Paul Smith ankle boots are so stylish that even my kids complimented me the first time I wore them.  I’m not sure if it’s the in-set stacked heel, the height of the boot, the suede/leather combo, or the cool orange grips on the sole.  If you live in the land of snow and ice, these grips also add a safety element.

Paul Smith is a British designer known for designing ‘classics with a twist’, meaning taking classic styles and infusing them with some quirkly details.  For example, this could mean taking a classic tweed material and making it with unexpected colors.

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Studio D Shoe Boutique: Europe in Toronto

Studio D Shoe Boutique
Shoe Wall at Studio D Shoe Boutique

By now, you probably know that I love the color navy, celebrating with family and friends, baking, and shopping.  What you may not know is that I especially love shoes.  I’m always looking for stores that carry high quality shoes and exclusive brands.

Studio D Shoe Boutique in Toronto is one of these boutiques.

Derrick Adams, the owner and visionary behind the store, opened Studio D in the Spring of 2015 in the north Toronto neighborhood of Yonge and Eglinton.  Nestled among boutiques where many local residents walk to pick up coffee, groceries, stationery, clothing, and pet food, Studio D is a shoe lover’s dream.

Upon entering Studio D, you feel like you are in a peaceful place.  The floors are a light beige hardwood, the walls blue, and the shelving mainly glass or suspended.  There are featured paintings (for sale by the artist) on the walls and a sitting area in the back, with a couch, chairs, a coffee table, and an espresso machine.  You feel like you can stay a while, chat with Derrick, try on shoes, admire the art, and sip your coffee.

Derrick opened Studio D after more than 20 years in the shoe business including time at Zola Shoes and Holt Renfrew.  As the owner, every day is different and offers the chance to be involved in all aspects of the business, from the buying trips to the merchandising and from the business side to building client relationships. Continue reading


Mixing Things Up With A Sweater Vest

Sweater Vest
Mixing Things Up With A Sweater Vest

Ever get tired of wearing sweaters all winter long?  Have you tried a sweater vest to mix things up?

I own a couple of sweater vests and I love them because they can be worn in many ways: on their own, over a tucked shirt, or over an untucked shirt.  They can be worn with pants, jeans, leggings, skirts, and even dresses. Sometimes you just want to see more variety in what you wear, right?

Sweater VestSleeveless or short-sleeved sweater vests are a simple and great addition to a winter wardrobe.  Here’s what vests can do for your wardrobe:

  • Add color, texture, elegance, and interest
  • Add warmth and layering without the bulk of a sweater
  • Can easily be taken off if one gets too warm
  • Be thin enough to wear under a suit jacket
  • Make packing easier by providing an extra outfit option during travel
  • Change the look of a pant or skirt outfit
  • Be worn on their own if short-sleeved

In these photos, I’m wearing a short-sleeved sweater vest over a jersey oxford shirt, making it easier for the vest to lie smooth.  The purple color of the vest adds interest to an otherwise plain white shirt.  And, the vest is wool and cashmere, which adds warmth. Continue reading


A Leather Jacket – Finally!

Navy leather jacket

Leather jackets have always been an interesting clothing option for me, mainly because I’m always cold and I didn’t think I could wear one for more than a few days a year here in Canada.

But, I changed my mind when I finally found a leather jacket that I loved.  It’s navy, of course, and it’s pretty classic and simple.  I think most people own one leather jacket that they love and keep for years.  I plan on keeping mine for a long time.

So far this fall and winter, it’s been relatively mild and people continue to wear their leather jackets well into the season.

Here’s what I like about mine:

  • It can be dressed up and worn out to dinner
  • Or, it can be dressed down and worn to a sports event or concert
  • The jacket looks great with jeans and a plain t-shirt underneath – that quickly put-together, relaxed look
  • The jacket can be worn all year round with either a t-shirt, an oxford, or a light sweater
  • The classic look of this jacket will be in style for years to come

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Delicate Mesh Clothing

IMG_2472There is something about mesh clothing that I’ve always liked.  It’s sexy while trying to appear conservative.  It’s interesting to the eye.  Long sleeved pieces appear lighter with mesh.  And, it feels cool and breathable to wear.  By mesh, I mean clothing made of material that is see-through, finely woven, or netted. You see a lot of it in stores and in magazines.  Take a look:

I own a few pieces of mesh clothing, some more see-through than others.  For this post, published on one of the warmest November days we are seeing in Toronto, I am wearing a navy woven cotton sweater with mesh inserts in the yolk and sleeves and down the center of the back.  No jacket required. This sweater and mesh detailing are perfect for days like today.

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Wearing Navy and Black Together

Photo by Lauren R

In an earlier post, I talked about how navy is my black for the simple reason that navy just goes better with my coloring.  Well, wouldn’t you know it: after all of these years, I somehow managed to buy a black dress this fall!  Let’s be clear, though: it works on me because it is mesh and because it has a blue lining underneath it.  I guess you could say this is MY version of an LBD.

After I bought the dress, I noticed that lots of stores and designers were showing black and navy together.  Take a look:

The combination of navy/blue and black works for several reasons:

  • The two colors are close enough to look good together –  in almost any shade of the two
  • Navy and black are associated with being formal
  • Both are classic, timeless colors
  • Navy and black are season-less and therefore versatile
  • The colors not only go well together, but adding neutrals, mesh, or bling provides even more options
Photo by Lauren R
Photo by Lauren R

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