Category Archives: Shopping Blog

Holy Grails of Fashion: The Sweater Dress

Photo by Lance Holroyd

Photo by Lance Holroyd

Do you have specific fashion covets?  And when I say specific, I mean you have a very clear vision of what this particular item looks like in terms of fabric, cut, colour, etc, in addition to how it looks on your body and how it makes you feel like the Queen of the world?  And trying to find this very specific sartorial piece in the real world is an ongoing mission of indefinite time, and you’re not going to quit until it materializes because you’re just obsessively determined like that? I call these the Holy Grails of Fashion.

One of my many Grails has been the Sweater Dress.  Conceptually to me, this item is the perfect solution to winter dressing; the fuzzy counterpart to the breezy summer dress.  It is easy to wear and immediately stylish – just throw it on over your head, add a touch of bling around the neck, pull on knee high boots, and you’re set.  They’re also incredibly comfortable, made of knit, jersey, or cotton with a touch of lycra, which move with you.  Now the tricky part and what has made it to Holy Grail status for me is the fit.  I have a naturally somewhat athletic figure, ie. not fashion model-boyish, which means the dress needs to cling to certain bits but not to others without adding too much overall bulk to the torso.  Ideally it should be body skimming and create an hourglass shape.  The neckline shouldn’t be too tight, but wider with a flattering shape to offset my wide face.

This specific dress has not been easy to find by any means.  Over many years, I’ve settled for various not-quite-it versions which didn’t elevate me to Queen status.  Instead, I would find myself a bit insecure and fidgety in them, constantly tugging here and there to try and re-direct the clingy areas.  But I’ve never given up and always beeline to them whenever I make my shopping rounds.

Aurora sweater dress-2

Photo by Lance Holroyd

On one of these rounds in early fall I was perusing Front & Co. on Main Street, my go to destination for retail therapy, when I came upon this charcoal grey Rachel Roy bias cut cotton/viscose blend dress.  I tried it on and voila, had the Holy Grail of Sweater Dresses finally been found?  Flattering wide neckline, check.  Body skimming without too much bulk, check.  Current and slightly edgy with an uneven hem, but basically timeless in style and colour, check.  Sexy and yet still appropriate for the office, yes.  And finally, at the $35 consignment price, it was a closer.  Praise be to the Fashion Gods!

I have worn this dress several times to work and felt like the Queen of the office…except for the fact that after a few 8-hour days of wear, the knit started to loosen up and not spring back to its original shape, causing it to look increasingly baggy.  I’m hoping that drycleaning will do the trick to bring back the shape; otherwise, there’s always a return to the quest for the Holy Grail…

Words by Aurora Chan

Photo by Lance Holroyd

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Top 10 Reasons Aldo is Your One-Stop Holiday Accessories Shop

Aldo-storefront

This post was first posted on Metropolis at Metrotown’s blog. 

Everyone knows Aldo shoes. Which shopper wouldn’t when there are over 1000 shoe stores in 65 countries? And I’m sure if you know about the shoes, you know that the brand does accessories very well too. With one right here in Metropolis at Metrotown, you don’t need to look any further to accessorize your holiday looks, shop for gifts, and more. Here are a few good reasons why Aldo and Aldo Accessories are your one-stop holiday accessories shops:

Aldo-bling

1. Get Your Bling On

Add some ornamental distraction to holiday outfits with the glitz and glam found in high-heeled pumps, sandals, booties, and the matching handbag. The “GIVENS” strappy sandal would give any look a Gatsby-inspired art deco sophistication.

Aldo-fur

2. Fur Real

Explore the urban jungle with accessories inspired from the animal kingdom. A fur stole, headband, or handbag adds instant glam to your winter wear, while keeping you cozy in the cold.

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3. Bold Black & Gold Accessories

Nothing is bolder this holiday season than black & gold accessories. Go dark for a dramatic edge; go gold to add more sparkle and shine to an already eye-catching outfit. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Aldo-chain

4. Rock the Chain Trend

Heavy chain necklaces are the statement pieces this season. I love the slinky feel of the one shown in the above image – it’s so cool to the touch. Paired with a monochrome dress, these accessories will make much more noise than just monotone sounds.

Aldo-hairacc

5. Haute Hair Pieces

To all the long-haired sisters out there, did you know Aldo is a great place to get hair accessories too? Find hair donuts, add-on hair pieces, with our without braided styles… The possibilities are endless.

Aldo-party

6. Accessorize Your Sparkly Shoes

You just found the perfect shoes to go with your dress – now what? Accessorize, of course! Aldo often makes matching clutches to special occasion shoes. Save yourself the headache of hunting through the entire mall to accessorize your new sparkly heels. Get the shoes, purse, earrings, and necklace all at Aldo!

Aldo-blackwhite

7. Give Your LBD Some Contrast

If you’re not a colourful dresser, that’s cool. Just try giving the black & white trend a chance. Add some white to your LBD to play with the hottest black & white trend this fall/winter season.

Aldo-scarves

8. Trendy Fashion Scarves

According to the staff at Aldo Shoes, some of the top-selling accessories are the cold weather fashion scarves. They come in a variety of pretty neutrals in different knit designs. Layer on a few to make a statement with outerwear.

Aldo-mrb

9. Messenger Bags for the Gents

The “Murse” is no longer a term guys shy away from. Now carried with pride, men’s messenger bags are as essential as a woman’s purse. Check out the Aldo shoe store for messenger bags, as well as a strong collection of military-inspired men’s jewelry.

Aldo-table

10. Great Gifts for Everyone

Shop Aldo Accessories for your mom, sister, BFF, coworker, yoga instructor, or whoever else’s gifts. From stocking stuffers to the primary present, choose from sparkly bracelets, glossy sunglass cases, knit scarves, furry clutches, and satchel bags. If you simply can’t choose from all the great stuff, remember that Aldo offers gift cards too!

Now you have more than enough reasons to shop by Aldo this winter when you’re at Metropolis. Happy holiday shopping & accessorizing!

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Dynamite Rocks the Black & White Trend!

Dynamite Campaign

This post was sponsored by Groupe Dynamite. All opinions are my own. 

If there’s anything I LOVE more this season in fashion, it’s the black and white “trend.” I put the word, Trend, in scare quotes because to me it’s more like a way of life. It started a few years ago when I first started working in fashion, I bought a ruffled white shirt and a pair of black pants with oversized pockets one sunny autumn day I decided to drop $500 downtown. Immediately, I loved how these two tones provided such a stark contrast with one another. I had even went as far to theme my look that season after Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy.” Fast forward to 2013, and I am loving all the black & white looks at Dynamite!

Growing up, this Canadian retailer was one of my favourite places to score unique pieces. As I browsed through the collection, I noticed that this season Dynamite really worked the black & white in interesting ways. Instead of going for the expected stripes or polka dots (both styles which I’ve stocked up on), many of their black & white pieces come in fabulous prints. I’m loving the circle brush strokes painted on scarves, the integrated damask design on the long-sleeve dress, and the casual Aztec design on the knit skirt.

To me, black and white represents a blank canvas, a solid foundation, and a launch pad to help your creative juices get flowing. Meticulously chosen colours in accessories, lipstick, shoes, or tights add dimension to the black & white still shot. I like how this season Dynamite has paired the two tones with toned-down neutrals as well as with a fiercer-looking shiny brown patterned fabric. It just shows you the range that a few key black and white pieces will bring to your wardrobe.

Psst… Dynamite’s online shopping launches in a couple of weeks. You heard it here first!

PS Something exciting is coming our way on November 7th… stay tuned for the big news!

Photos provided by Groupe Dynamite

Words by Miranda Sam

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Window Shopping at The Latest Scoop

Window Merchandising

This time around, The Latest Scoop pop-up shop will be on South Granville for 6 weeks. We peeked into the shop when it was closed and saw how beautifully merchandised everything was. It’s too bad because we would have loved to shop around.

Sneak Peek from outside

From the looks of it, there were lots of colourful summer midi and maxi dresses, light tunics, and an assortment of home decor goods. It reminded us a little bit of the store next door – Anthropologie.

Window Merchandising

I’ve been told the prices aren’t all that cheap, but the next time I’m in the neighbourhood I’ll definitely stop by and report back!

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Hointer: Shop for Denim Without Salespeople

One of the highlights of my recent Seattle trip was a quick stop at Hointer, a new store praised by the media that has combined technology with your typical denim shopping experience. It’s not just a “retail concept” in the sense of design and display, but throughout the way you shop, how inventory is managed, and how product is delivered all without the help of a sales person, if you choose not to.

When a friend and I went, we were the only ones in the store and got a really personal (sort of?) experience of the store with the sole sales associate. As you can see in the photos below, there’s a series of instructions as well as a QR code to download an app. After the download, all we had to do was go around the store scanning anything we felt like trying on! When done with our selection, we set up our “shopping cart” through the app and it let us know which change room number to head into.

In the change room, the jeans were dropped from a chute. You also have an area to put aside your keys, wallet, and other valuables – definitely geared towards the male population! We both tried on a pair of lovely Adriano Goldschmied leggings-style jeans and absolutely fell in love with the buttery smooth texture! The tricky thing, my friend noticed, is that the price wasn’t tagged onto the jeans, as you would traditionally find. The price was on the app but if you head in the change room with more than 2 styles it’s hard to keep track. A buyer behaviour strategy? Perhaps.

Was it people who folded the jeans once we dropped the “no’s” down the other chute? I definitely thought I heard shuffling. Or was it a series of robot-like technology down there? My friend was so sure she heard robotic whizzing sounds. We tried asking the associate after about the inventory “Microwarehouse” inventory system, and he joking said to us we were close – it was either elves or a basketball team throwing the jeans back in order.

I thought this was a beautiful application of technology to the retail experience, especially for tech geeks, but also a transformative operation for the everyday shopper. The third location of Hointer recently opened at Pacific Place Mall in downtown Seattle. Be sure to stop by on your next cross-border trip!

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Sale Review: One of a Few + dace

oneofafewsale-1

Review + photos by Aurora Chan.

In the midst of the bars and single-room occupancy hotels on East Hastings and Main is the working studio space of local clothing designer Dace Moore.

oneofafewsale-3

And in this clean open oasis was the joint One of a Few and dace spring blowout sale over the first weekend in April.

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Selections from past seasons and various bags by Herschel, as well as a few select pairs of fine leather shoes, were deeply discounted.

oneofafewsale-2

What gave the items carrying the dace brand an air of authenticity were the spools of thread and row of patterns hanging at the back of the studio, evidence that all their pieces are designed and manufactured locally. An oasis in the today’s world of clothes shopping indeed.

oneofafewsale-5

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How to Get a Great Short Haircut from Your Stylist

March 2013 Haristyles

I honestly walked into Colour Box Salon asking my go-to stylist, Debbie, for a transitional cut to LONG hair. Guess I just wasn’t ready yet, because when she pulled up her Pinterest board of asymmetrical styles I immediately fell in love with one of the pictures. *sigh* Will I ever go long again?

For those of you even toying with the idea of short hair, I say GO FOR IT! It’s quite versatile. I rocked these 3 styles all within a month’s time. So I’m sure you can think of more. And for the ones who think they don’t have the “face” for a short look, I never thought I had a face for hats either, and I turned out to be wrong. Also, I didn’t think one of my friends could pull off thick framed glasses. I was wrong yet again.

Moral of the story is, you never know until you try. And seriously,  8 years ago people had apprehensions about wearing leggings (oh yes, dig deep in that fashion time capsule memory of yours), but now you can’t shock your mom with those skin tight leg coverings! In fact, she’s probably wearing them right now. So same with hair. If it wasn’t as big of a perceived “risk” way more women would be sporting the short.

My salon philosophy is that you’re best to leave the details to your stylist. You’re the CEO of your head, but your stylist is your VP of Creativity. It’s really rewarding giving him or her a general idea of what you expect and then let them do their thang! You won’t know what exactly you’ll get, but that’s part of the excitement of unchartered territory.

Of course, I’ve done this with completely new stylists before. Though if you’re apprehensive with a short cut to begin with, I’d recommend to get to know him or her for 1-2 cuts beforehand, and then give them the challenge of creating something new for you.

Trust me, as a creative myself, your stylist will want to work harder for you if they know you trust them.

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Date Night Outfits Inspired by Pinterest

4 date night outfit options

Lately I’ve been inspired by the street style on Pinterest – I’m glad the 2.5 hours spent online did not go to total waste.

With school, work, and trying to maintain a retail blog, my wardrobe options have become jeans + whatever shirt I’m least bored of. And being so busy, my real dress-up time that would have been on dates has diminished to almost zero. For the next 3 months I can only live vicariously through these fashionable girls.

Option #1: Neon Brights

I’d probably wear a neon dress or skirt to somewhere in Yaletown. I’m thinking Glowbal or Society or V Lounge with a night of dancing after! That is, if we ever make it downtown since he hates driving in downtown Vancouver and I hate parking in Yaletown.

Option #2: Oversized Sweater + Sequin Leggings

This would be my go-to outfit for a casual cool restaurant like Wilebeest or L’Abbotoir with a round of bar hopping. Yes, definitely a Gastown look. I imagine I can easily find an oversized sweater like that at Oak + Fort, right in the heart of Gastown.

Option #3: Blazer over a Feminine Dress

I love this option because it’s so cute you can network in! A little trendier than biz cas, but all the better to catch someone’s eye. This look would also  be great to go to a more formal restaurant, like Hart House, which we had loved the last time we went.

Option #4: Casual Chic

This light, summery look is what I’m dreaming of to wear to a beach. I realize I live in Vancouver and we’re more than half a year’s time away from REAL summer heat… but a girl can dream, no?

Do you love any of these looks? Let me know in the comments below or if you’ve got great go-to date outfits you’d like to share.

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Retail Innovation: Best Clothing Hangers

Best Clothing Hangers

Note: Read only if you are a retail geek. 

Okay, now that I got the preamble out of the way, I’d like to take a few seconds of your time to rave about these cool hangers I found at Loft 82! Judging by the look, they’re any other metal hanger you’d find in a boutique. WRONG!

velvet hangers

According to Apartment Therapy, flocked hangers “hug your clothes.”

All around the hanger is a thin layer of clear gummy rubber. No difficulty grabbing your clothes from the fuzzy flocked variety, and no oversized wooden bulk necessary… I deem these the perfect hanger. Now where can I get some for my own closet?!

wooden hanger

 

Who needs extra bulk in precious closet real estate?

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Report on lululemon’s Warehouse Sale

lululemon warehouse sale 2013

Photo by: Joyce Cheung

Deciding whether or not to hit up the massive lululemon sale on the last day and want the down-low? Gathering a few perspectives, depending on your level of patience it’s either a waste of time or free stuff galore!

One friend who actually works at lululemon was not impressed with the lineup, and left for dinner instead. Another claimed the lineup to get in was as long as the lineup to pay. The one whom I bumped into at a cafe afterward estimated the lineup to get in was between 15 to 20 minutes near the end  of the day. She walked away with a jacket at $69 and 4 pairs of shorts at $22 each. Lucky her, apparently ladies were entitled to 2 free items (the lowest priced ones in their selection)! So if she wants to average the shorts out, she only paid $11 dollars each!

In a nutshell, here’s my non-participant perspective:

PROS

  • Bag-check = hands-free shopping!
  • Good deals! (unlike another fellow Vancouver retailer that discounts $5 at their sales…)
  • Lots to choose from
  • Change room available (communal style, if you’re okay with it)
  • FREE items!!!

CONS

  • Line-up to get in
  • Line-up to pay
  • No lulu scuba hoodies, bags, accessories
  • Time suck (my friends ended up spending an average of more than 2 hrs there)

Do you have first-hand lulu warehouse shopping experience you’d like to share? Please comment below!

Photos in Gallery by: Aurora Chan

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