Whether or not you're a parent, chances are there's a pint size recipient with discerning taste on your list. To help with the task (something more entertaining than the box and wrapping paper!) we called on some of the most stylish & cool moms in T.O. to share what's hot this season.
At a recent holiday preview hosted by Marshalls, Winners & Homesense, I had the pleasure to chat with, the super lovely, L.A.-based celebrity gifting expert Cynde Cassel, gift giver extraordinaire and the founder of Star Treatment, one of Hollywood’s most successful professional gift services. Think of her as the female, more stylish, Santa Claus with a swanky ‘nice’ list – including George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Lady Gaga, Emma Stone and the Affleck-Garner crew. But, she assures, you don’t need a celeb budget to be a world-class gift giver. Here are her top three tips to get you through your holiday shopping.
Make a Statement
I’m loving jewel tones; we’ve been talking about a pop of colour for a long time but people tend to be safe with their home decor. With gifting it’s nice to give a little something that stands out and has a bit of colour to it: throw blankets, candles, an accent piece; it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s always nice to give something that they wouldn’t have gotten themselves – like they may buy themselves black gloves but get them the colour block ones – and they’ll remember you every time they wear them. Poured Glass
I use my Evernote app, so when I’m out shopping I try to pick up [gifts] ahead of time. For instance, I know the Garner Affleck’s like to gift educational children’s toys to their friend’s with kids. I keep that tidbit in [the] app and add to it whenever I hear about a great new educational game.
I find when I get closer to the holidays, and I have my family to shop for, I tend to overspend on them and then I don’t really pay attention to the other people who I really do want to give a little something to (the pediatrician, manicurist... people who take care of me all year long who I see frequently.)
Go in with a list of who you know you have to shop for starting in priority because it’s easy to get overwhelmed, see something shiny, go in that direction, and forget the reason you’re there.
There are plenty of things you can give that have a personal touch – stationary with a monogram, home tray with a monogram... That’s the big deal, thinking about the person, because it’s not about what you like, it’s about what they like. And that’s the personal touch. As people we want to know that we’re valued, that people se us.
With Christmas only ten days away, we called on some of our favourite industry friends & tastemakers to compile the ultimate gift guide. Packed with super stylish suggestions for everyone on your list – including yourself! – fitness, food, beauty, home, under $20, of course, fashion, and more, is all covered!! Take a moment and indulge – you may want to have a notepad handy, your wish list is about to grow!
THE STYLE MAVEN curated by Sasha Exeter, So Sasha.
THE DAPPER DUDE curated by Jeremy Freed, Editor-in-Chief Sharp magazine and Sharp: The Book for Men.
THE TRENDSETTER curated by Erica Wark, Stylist.
THE MOM INC. curated by Catherine & Natalie, Social Common.
THE BEAUTY BUFF curated by Janine Falcon, Editor & Founder Beauty Geeks.
THE FOODIE & FITNESS BUFF curated by Jen Masseau, Editor & Stylist.
THE GIRL BOSS curated by Catriona Smart, Founder Coco & Cowe.
THE ACCESSORY QUEEN curated by Joy McCarthy, Holistic Nutritionist, Author of Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well Without Dieting.
Someone finally got the memo that winter is cold; like, really, really cold. So fittingly, this season is all about outerwear. No longer relegated as an afterthought, toppers are a key element, if not the star player, of the most stylish cold weather looks. Even some transitional jackets still make perfect sense come winter – it's all in the layers. Think heavy duty yet lightweight: cashmere, tight knit wool and cozy cotton. Stay tuned for a Layering style segment coming up on Steven & Chris (CBC) with Afiya. In the meantime, here are our curated selection of statement coats.
The Robe Coat
Introducing your new "wear with everything coat". This cozy & luxurious number looks equally fabulous over a chunky knit and leather leggings as it does over a cocktail dress and opaque tights. Shop the Look: Zara $189.
The Pastel Coat
Shake up your winter wardrobe this season by adding a sweet delectable shade to your outerwear rotation. Shop the Look: Maje $755.
The Shearling Coat
Tired of bundling up in the same heavy overcoat? Brave the Polar Vortex in style with an all over shearling so fabulous that it just might have you wishing for sub-zero temps. Michael Michael Kors $500.
The Boyfriend Coat
One of our favourite outerwear trends of this season. Paired with a Thinsulate jacket underneath, drape this topper over a lace slip dress and ankle boots for a killer borrowed from the boys ensemble and nod to the mixed material look! Shop the Look: Mango $190.
The Bright Coat
A bold shot of colour will beat those winter blues and stand out from among a sea of drab outerwear. Shop the Look: Ted Baker $470.
The Faux Fur Coat
We have yet to encounter a leopard coat we didn't love... or anything leopard for that matter. This Talula number (from homegrown label Aritzia) is no exception. Shop the Look: Talula $198.
The Blanket Coat
Wrap yourself up in one of the season's hottest and coziest trends with this Burberry stunner (left). Not feeling warm and fuzzy about this #Splurgealert, no worry, many fast fashion brands have already adopted the trend without the matching price tag. Shop the Look: Zara $249.
So deeply ingrained as a fashion faux pas, socks & sandals – the long held domain of tree planters & male tourists, it's almost style sacrilege to whisper both accessories in the same phrase. But here we are, several seasons in under the influence of "ugly shoes" – see Céline, Prada, et al. and socks & sandals seem a viable, downright chic, combination. Teva is making a strong case, complete with a genius collaboration with Woolrich and big name stylists, Kira Sheppard & Elizabeth Stewart. I recently worked with Teva (sold exclusively, in Canada, on ShoeMe.ca) to present their spring collection to media, and sported some socks & sandals myself, along with styling on model. I'm convinced. Personally, I like tone-on-tone neutrals – grey, my favourite; but even if you can't fully commit, Teva on their own feels fresh & current for spring. Here's how I'll wear on cold dry days:
Calling all shoppers, it's time to get your game face on! The long established bargain extravaganza of our southern neighbours has made its way this side of the border and there's no better destination to get your shop-on than Yorkdale Shopping Centre. To help you take part, I have a $50 Yorkdale Shopping Centre gift card for one lucky winner. Simply visit my Facebook page and 'Like' the post.
Mega deals are to be had but you need to have a plan to ensure efficiency and true fab finds as opposed to frenzied purchases that you may later regret. Here are my tips:
Make a List
And stick to it. Should you come across an unimaginable piece, at a price that dreams are made of, give yourself a pass. Should you come across two, put the second one down. Lightning doesn't strike twice. You've succumb to Black Friday Madness and have lost perspective.
Wear Second Skin Layers
Leggings and a tank top are perfect under pieces to try garments on overtop and to avoid waisting precious shopping time waiting in crazy change room line ups.
Perfect to securely keep cash & cards close without the bulk of a tote.
Choose Comfortable Flats
Keep Hydrated and Take Breaks
If you're in it for the long haul, water & food are necessities.
Leave the Kids at Home
For everybody's sake. Black Friday Shopping is not fun for anyone too small to carry their own shopping bags.
Monday afternoon slump? Give a listen to this better-than-coffee mix by Down With Webster's Dave Ferris aka Diggy the DJ.
From pale nudes at Helmut Lang to Vera Wang's gunmetal digits, sophisticated nail shades replace bold brights this F/W. Here are our picks, straight off the runway, to upgrade your mani game.
Like your favourite pair of boyfriend jeans this true blue hue (say it five times) goes with everything! Nars in La Notte, $20.
Into the Nude
Nude nails are clean and classic and this season's paired down subtle shades do not disappoint. Dior in Pied De Poule, $25.
Lady in Red
Add a bit of glam to your look, day or night, with this deep ruby shade appropriately named Dress to Kilt. Essie Nail Polish in Dress to Kilt $8.
Ultra rich dark jewel tones are right on trend this season. Opt for a purple hue for a luxurious and regal take. 3.1 Phillip Lim Nail Polish in Crossroads, $20.
Shades of grey worn head-to-toe is a major trend but, if you're not ready to take the full plunge, test drive the hue with a mani. L'Oreal in Grecian Goddess, $5.
Pretty in Pink
Blush pink is a mani fave and this season is no exception. Michael Kors in Coquette, $18.
For an instant Fall update dip your digits into a milk chocolate hue – a great nude for darker skin tones. Marc Jacobs in 152 Bark, $18.
Miracle Gel helps this trendy gold metallic hue stand up to wear & tear. Sally Hansen in Game of Thrones, $10.
Images via Harper's Bazaar.
Beach trips and the twinkling sound of the ice cream truck may now seem distant memories – but we got a dose of summer love when Canadian summer/spring '15 collections landed in Toronto at the WMCFW tent. High-buzz debut designers (hello Hayley Elsaesser) and veteran red carpet faves (looking at you Mikhael Kale) made it one of the strongest season's to date and a reason for fashion watchers to get excited for upcoming shopping months – go Canada! It was a tough job, but here is our roundup of the 10 most noteworthy moments:
From paisley prints to wide leg silhouettes, there is no mistaking the 70s vibe at Kim Newport-Mimran's show. Our biggest takeaway: fringe is in and need that wrap pronto!
Joe Mimran proved – for approximately the 100th time – why he is one of the savviest in the fashion game. Forgoing a runway show altogether, the orange label instead treated lucky guests to a swanky party and DJ set by fashion favourite Solange Knowles – who set bulbs flashing in a Joe Fresh outfit – natch. We still haven't lost our post party glow (nor fully recovered from a late Monday night). How does one follow up? If you're listening Joe, we suggest a SolangexJoe Fresh collab!
The fashion set came out in full force to support this homegrown talent (and make a shopping list). Exquisite craftsmanship, edgy yet feminine style – Mr. Kale, you had us at "hello".
Sid Neigum [N-'I'-gum]. Remember the name, because if you haven't already heard of the season's Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition winner, you're going to a lot more after WMCFW. His modular origami-inspired collection already dazzles us, what he'll do with his $30,000 cash prize and industry mentorship intrigues. Can. Not. Wait.
Her collection is kooky, playful, energetic and possibly the most fun show we've seen. It's not for everyone, but it makes a statement (of the best kind) for cool kids with the chutzpah to pull it off. Miley Cyrus needs to know about this line and we think the Beckerman's would be brilliant in it.
The crowd favourite transformed the showroom into an electric avenue with florescent lightbulbs lining the runway. The unfortunate volunteers left to guard said floor-bulbs from high heeled enthusiasts in search of their seats in dim light may disagree (as chaotic as the sentence reads), but it was one of the best moments of the week. Bold brights (fuchsia, cobalt and lemon, thank you), perforated leather and relaxed fits – we're thrilled to see the sport utility trend continue into 2015, especially done Mackage style.
Minnie Mouse Presentation
Each designer from the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition was invited to create an ensemble inspired by everyone's favourite fashionable mouse. Alongside Disney Brand Ambassadors Sam & Calli Beckerman and Disney execs, Afiya was honoured to sit as a judge in the competition. It was one thing to see the pieces on mannequin earlier in the day but to watch them come to life on model was magical. Eliza Faulkner, Laura Siegel, Valerie Tolila of Vaiken, Chloe & Parris Gordon of Beaufille, BLAK.I each knocked it out of the park with their interpretation but it was Sid Neigum's dress made of 1928 laser cut nylon minnie mouse shapes that earned him the mouse ears crown.
Adorable kids, Bullseye the dog, confetti and skipping, it was certainly the cutest show of the season. The stylish looks were pretty much a (welcome) bonus.
The unexplored & imaginary deep sea was the inspiration behind the designer's scuba-like dresses and bold palette. We dig it.
To sit alongside fellow panelists Tracy Moore, Grace Lee (Maybelline, WMCFW Lead Makeup Artist), Cindy (Redken, WMCFW Lead Hair Stylist), actress Lauren Conrad – Saturday was an especially exciting day at The Style House. Afiya had a ball chatting about the looks from each of the five showcased designers (Hilary MacMillan, Hayley Elsaesser, Elan + Castor, Christopher Bates, Matthew Gallagher), getting a backstage peek at the pre-show frenetic activity and chatting with audience members and The Style House fans!
A car with serious cred, it's no surprise that Mustang celebrated its 50th anniversary with swagger: a 15-shirt limited-edition collection realized by Anna Sui, Rogan, Paula Cademartori, Pamela Love, and CO|TE.
100% cotton, made by Loomstate in the U.S., each designer interpretation was inspired by the car and its history. While I wouldn't kick any of the shirts out of my closet, it was Rogan's simple hand-drawn sketch that captured me. I had the pleasure of meeting Scott Mackinlay (of Rogan) and he explained that he (and partner Rogan Gregory) were inspired by the raw American heritage expressed in the modern, high-tech Mustang. Sounds good to me. Here it is in all it;'s glory.
$39 (U.S.) each. Available at Gilt.com