Tag Archives: vancouver fashion blogger

Style SEEN: Nicole Bridger’s Love Local Launch

Nicole Bridger Love Local

Last week we had the chance to check out Nicole Bridger‘s Love Local launch event. The idea behind Love Local was to invite in a variety of local designers who share Nicole’s philosophy to also share her retail space to promote for Valentine’s Day.

Jessica Walker, Wholesale Manager of Redfish kids, holding up the double sided bubble dress

Jessica Walker, Wholesale Manager of Redfish kids, holding up the double sided bubble dress

One of the first designers that caught my eye was, interestingly, a children’s wear line called Red Fish Kids. The brand has been around for 8 years and although I have heard of it before, I have never interacted with the product. And it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the line.  Designer Lorraine Kitsos was inspired by an Asian aesthetic, as she had lived in Hong Kong for 3 years. You can see it in her kimono style dresses, mini swing Qi Paos, and use of Chinese button knot closures. We love the Flor de la Vida bubble dress that can pretty much be worn inside out!

Hiroko Kobayashi and Neil Prakash of hk + np studio with Nicole Bridger

Hiroko Kobayashi and Neil Prakash of hk + np studio with Nicole Bridger

We met Hiroko Kobayashi and Neil Prakash, a pair of architects with a knack for their designs to manifest much sooner than the construction of a building, they turned to jewelry design. Hiroko and Neil design the jewelry while a silversmith in Japan creates the final works of art. What I love about hk + np studio is that even without knowing what their background is, you can appreciate the architecture in their designs. I quite enjoy their Twist series, inspired by the ripple effect. What I see is that the meaning of a ring is given much more depth. Traditionally, a ring symbolizes eternity, as there is no defined beginning or end. But the Twist series ring shows an ‘eternal’ fluctuating curvature, which to me signifies ups and downs in a relationship, which is totally natural and should be expected rather than a linear ‘happy ever after.’

Mary Cardi buttoned up twice

Mary Cardi buttoned up twice

Having been a big supporter of Nicole Bridger for the longest time, I finally now own a piece. I went for the Mary Cardi, which I can wrap myself in it about 5 different ways. There’s a button behind the neck which allows the ends of cardigan featuring 2 buttonholes to connect. I debated it for a while: I have about 3 other similar style cardigans in my closet, and who doesn’t know I have a ton of black already – did I really need another long-sleeve drape cardigan? The cincher was the fabric. Made of super soft modal fleece, I felt like I was ‘cheating’ the audience by looking good in so many different ways, when in fact I was wearing fleece! I told just about everyone on the NB team they have to bring back this fabric next fall season; crossing my fingers that they do!

Knixwear packaging

Knixwear packaging

I also tried on a pretty set of Knixwear sweat resistant underwear. Even though I’m not a fan of lace, the Knixy Boyshort and Knixy Thong were super comfy!

Other featured designers at Love Local include AATMA crystal energy line, Urban Body Organics, Mellifera Bees (beautifully packaged honey), Jackson Rowe scarves, and Twenty One Tonnes artisan home décor, and of course for Valentine’s Day, Cocoa Nymph chcolates. These designers get to ‘live’ at the Nicole Bridger store until the end of February, so stop by to check them out!

Nicole Bridger is located at 2151 West 4th Ave in Kitsilano.

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Spotlight on the Designer: Nicole Guzzo Designs

Nicole Guzzo

I was fortunate enough to partake in a fashion shoot featuring five beautiful Asian models, which is how I was first introduced to Nicole Guzzo Designs (NGD).  What made this shoot extra memorable was the special guest star – a boa constrictor who acted as a sexy prop, entwining himself around us while we posed.  This was no ordinary boa either; he was a showbiz snake and an integral performance partner to his owner, an Alice Cooper impersonator.  Having a hard rockin’ snake around was very apt, considering Guzzo’s strong connection to music.

I had the opportunity to wear two NGD ensembles.  All of the pieces were about transforming me into a kickass rocker chick who is confident and flaunts her sexuality.  I particularly loved the bolero leather jacket with a gauzy bow hanging down the back – the leather was buttery soft and the streamlined cropped style kept it fresh and striking.

I met Guzzo again during VALT Fashion Week in November 2013 and thought it was prime time to feature her sexy designs.  I asked her a few questions, and she in turn let me take a peek into her world and what drives her creative mind.

Photographer Celina Lam |Photography Stylist Lily Li |Hair & Makeup Tiana Allinan | Model Alison Nichol

Photographer Celina Lam |Photography Stylist Lily Li |Hair & Makeup Tiana Allinan | Model Alison Nichol

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into fashion design? Where were you trained?

Fashion has always been in my soul so I knew I had to make it my career. After graduating from high school, I completed my degree in Fashion Design & Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, BC.

Both Nicole Guzzo Designs and streetwear line REBEL UP represent a rock n’ roll lifestyle brand for those who wish to stand out and make a statement.  I have shown past collections in Vancouver Fashion WeekMen’s Fashion Week, as well as in various other shows around Vancouver.  My clothing sells worldwide from my online store; I also take custom orders through emails and studio appointments.

What is your design philosophy?

I love to push the boundaries of fashion and always urge people to go against the norm.  I believe style is all about being true to yourself and what you know, rather than blindly following what is “in.”

How would you describe your overall look/style.

The two R’s say it all – Rock and Roll!

Where do you derive your inspiration from?

Rock n’ Roll music is definitely my biggest inspiration, along with influences from high end fashion.   When I’m in my studio, music is constantly playing; some of my favourite bands include Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Guns n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Avenged Sevenfold, and Volbeat.  My biggest guilty pleasure (which really annoys my boyfriend) is Ed Sheeran!  I just love how calming his songs are.

If I had to choose one genre to listen to forever it would be 80’s rock ballads by bands like Whitesnake, Journey, Def Leppard, etc.

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Who are your style icons?

There isn’t one person whose style I admire; rather I generally love the clothes worn by musicians from the 80’s and the groupies who were at their shows.  For example, Joan Jett, Nikki Sixx, and Cyndi Lauper all had badass personal style that was in your face and full of attitude.  They realized the importance of wardrobe and weren’t afraid to spend the time and money to develop a very distinctive style that oozed with sexuality.  I love that! 

Who has been one of your most exciting clients?

My most exciting clients are musicians in general, big or small.  When a musician wears my clothing onstage or in a music video it makes me so happy as that is where my clothing belong.

Canadian pop singer Elise Estrada is a big supporter and has worn my clothing in two of her music videos, along with the back-up dancers.  Fox Seeds winner Pigeon Park wore my designs from head to toe in their debut music video, “Lovelight.”  I created custom pieces for Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless, and I am currently working on pieces for a couple of bands that will be touring with the Warped Tour this summer.

Is your clothing produced locally? Where are they sold?

All of my clothing is designed, drafted, and sewn by me in my studio.  My graphic streetwear line REBEL UP is also produced locally.  You can shop via my online store, or custom order pieces and have them fitted in my studio.  I also sell my clothing at various markets around Vancouver.

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What’s up next for Nicole Guzzo Designs?

My Spring/Summer 2014 collection entitled “REBEL TRASH” is launching in March.  It is a perfect mix of 80’s glam, English punk, and modern rock.

I have been invited to reveal my SS 2014 collection in the monthly RAW Showcase taking place in Sydney, Australia – VERY exciting for me!

I have clothing in two music videos coming out this spring, one for Elise Estrada and one for Craig Smart.  I am currently choosing outfits and styling Melena Rounis and her three dancers for her choreography video set to Beyonce’s “Yonce.”

A REBEL UP streetwear look book was just shot and will be sent to retail stores around town for their consideration.

My second collection of leggings will also be premiering very soon.

Everyday something new happens which keeps my job very exciting!

Nicole Guzzo-5

Interview by Aurora Chan

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

FASHION EDITORIAL

Photographer: Celina Lam Photography
Stylist: Lily Li
Hair & Makeup: Tiana Allinan

NICOLE GUZZO LOOK BOOK

Photographer: Andrea Gurniak
Makeup: Nicole Friesen (nao.friesen@gmail.com)
Model: Miss Morgane

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Jason Matlo Sample Sale: Big Savings on Stylish, Quality Pieces

Jason Matlo sale-1

In a trendy little studio in the heart of Gastown is where you will find Jason Matlo’s studio. When I first arrived, I heard the sound of a sewing machine and shortly after, I saw the two designers hard at work. I thought maybe I was in the wrong suite or interrupting the designers but they were very welcoming and I quickly got straight to shopping. As I scrolled through every article of clothing on the three full racks, I was surprised at the great prices. Everything from fun patterned skirts to elegant sequenced gowns filled the racks; Each garment discounted at 60%-80% off!

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Jason Matlo & Wen-Chee Liu

Jason Matlo sale-2

I found lots of treasures (unfortunately, not all in my size). A beautiful black silk skirt priced regularly at $400 and now on sale for only $20 was my favourite. The gowns were also unbelievably priced, a violet sequenced mermaid gown was down to $580 from $1597. The selection was directed towards work wear and evening wear with a variety of sizing. There is a mixture of elaborate patterned pieces, neutral pieces, and solid bold coloured pieces. I even spotted a one-shouldered dress in Pantone’s 2014 colour of the year, Radiant Orchid. While going through the racks, I noticed the great quality and soft feeling of the fabric that Jason Matlo uses. After trying on a few items, I ended up purchasing a $152 black cotton/nylon tee for only $15! I had a lovely experience, got a nice addition for my closet, and even got a chance to meet the two designers, Wen-Chee Liu and Jason Matlo. Be sure to check out the Jason Matlo sale next time!

Jason Matlo sale-3

Jason Matlo sale-4

Words + Photos by DesireeAnne Holder

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Lords of Gastown Opens New Showroom

Nik Dean & Tyler Hazelwood

Nik Dean & Tyler Hazelwood

Local lifestyle apparel brand Lords of Gastown (LG) held a soft opening of their brand new showroom on January 30 and 31 in East Van, and Style by Fire was there to check it out.  I was aware of LG but their target market falls outside my usual circles so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I ventured into their hidden lair.

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There was an intimate crowd of mostly guys in denim and black leather hanging out, chugging back beer and chatting on top of groovy tunes.  I felt like I had walked into someone’s house party.  Everyone turned around to look at me; it was obvious I was an outsider.  I introduced myself, and the next moment found myself being welcomed with open arms, my hand holding a pale ale, and being taken on a tour of the new digs.

Jill Kacic

Jill Kacic

The LG Compound is called a compound for good reason – the showroom is only one part of the space, and it seamlessly blends into the garage which is used to customize and repair motorcycles.  Right beside the garage is the production area with a screen printing machine and sewing machine where the Co-Designer/Head Seamstress Jill Kacic works.  Down the hallway from the showroom is a spacious bar and lounge area, as well as tattoo parlour.  It became clear that LG is about fostering the motorcycle lifestyle and community by building a one-stop home for its enthusiasts to socialize in and have both their personal style and that of their bikes taken care of.

Who are the Lords of Gastown?  Tyler Hazelwood and Nik Dean, both 34, are long-time friends and share a passion for motorcycles.  They both lived in Gastown and had their routine bars where they hung out on a regular basis, which is how they got the nickname Lords of Gastown.  As a joke, they started getting t-shirts made with this name emblazoned on them.  Before long, their friends also wanted to wear these t-shirts.  They started discussing clothes and what they wanted to see available to buy, which led to designing their signature ‘True OG’ jacket in 2009.  With the help of Kacic, they started producing this jacket which features leather sleeves, denim body and black patch on the back featuring the LG graphic.  Soon they started picking up vintage jackets and re-working them the LG way, sewing on patches and altering the sleeves, etc.  Their popularity grew rapidly, leading them to expand their repertoire of apparel to include hoodies, tank tops, toques, and vests.  They began collaborating with other brands and artists, including LA shoe brand Pskaufman with whom they co-produced a limited edition line of leather boots.  Hazelwood and Dean’s mothers have even jumped onboard to help with producing a side line of children’s wear with miniature versions of the adult apparel.

LG caught the eye of iconic motorcycle brand Harley Davidson, who has picked up the apparel line and now carries it in its Langley, Kamloops, and Edmonton dealerships, with plans to expand to eastern Canada and overseas.  The demand for stock and customized pieces has created the need for the LG Compound to showcase their products to potential buyers.  Kacic is now training a team of seamstresses to take over some of the production work.  What started out as a silly joke amongst drunken friends has grown into the beginnings of an empire – LG is a prime example of the ‘follow your passion and the money will follow’ school of thought.

Besides LG’s astuteness in tapping into a niche in the apparel market, it’s the team’s warm openness that impressed me.  These motorbiking aficionados are affable and laidback, care about aesthetics and design, and look stylish while cruising their Harleys around town.  They made me want to own a bike of my own just so I could hang out at their digs and talk shop with the boys.

The LG compound is located at 49 Dunlevy Avenue in East Van.  Their apparel can also be found locally at the Menu Skateboard Shop in Gastown, as well as online.

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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Barcelona Designer Nerea Lurgain Pops Up at Woo To See You

Nearea Lurgain-2

This past Saturday, February 1st was the only day that Nerea Lurgain made an appearance at the pop-up shop hosted at Woo To See You boutique, the sole Vancouver stockist of the Barcelona designer.

Nearea Lurgain-4

Nerea showed a sneak peek of her Spring/Summer 2014 collection. The designer is known for her looser-fitting garments with touches of detail that aren’t too subtle but don’t shout at onlookers either. In contrast to her dark Perthes inspired collection for Fall/Winter 2013, splashes of colour are featured this time around. The collection is made up of tie-dyed pieces in black overlaid with a brighter colour. The patterns range from exotic animal-inspired prints to what the designer calls Jackson Pollock-inspired abstract designs.

What struck me when I first visited Woo a few weeks ago was that every other piece I picked up was by Nerea Lurgain. There’s something unique about her designs that stand out to a shopper seeking interesting items. Take for example this high-low shirt in a passionate red: it has a zipper in the back allowing the shirt to be worn as a tighter or looser fit. With the zipper undone, the hardware adds interest to the back of the shirt. With it zipped up when I tried it on, even though it was very loose fitting on the bottom, the bust area felt nice and snug. If this shirt is any indication of Nerea’s design skills, I’d have to say she’s a master at engineering clothing for a woman’s body.

Nearea has been designing her eponymous label for 6 years, but before that she was a painter, teacher, and had even worked in finance. When asked whether it was a big jump for her from finance to fashion, she said it was quite natural. Nerea took sewing lessons at night while working with numbers in the day. Indeed, having a strong financial background helps any creative person in business.

In Barcelona, she sells her designs at a boutique in partnership with two other designers. They also carry an array of Spanish designers at the shop. You can also find her clothing in Denmark, Japan, and the Netherlands.

We can’t wait for the Nerea Lurgain collection to pop up for spring at Woo To See You!

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Style SEEN: Ivido Jeans Fashion Show

Ivido Jeans-13

On Friday, January 31st, LuvnGrace Entertainment hosted the Ivido Jeans fashion show at the Waterfall Building. Ivido Jeans is a brand of push-up jeans designed in Vancouver and manufactured in the South American country of Colombia – the same place where hip-shaking songstress Shakira also hails from.

The show had a late start, leaving the crowd in much anticipation of the night’s entertainment. Once Magdalena Lima, designer of Maggie Fu Fashion and Zumba instructor extraordinaire, came on stage with a dynamic Zumba routine, she got everyone swaying in their seats.

Afterwards, when the models started coming out, there was immediately a sense the positive feedback from the crowd. Many people oohed and ahhed at the interesting blue hues of the denim, and of course commented on how good the girls’ assets looked in the jeans.

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Halfway through the show, two models even demonstrated exactly how much stretch Ivido Jeans actually have. They sashayed up and down the runway, bending, stretching, and finally performing the splits in the jeans!

Another highlight of the show was when Ivido founder Ivis Gonzalez performed a traditional dance routine with a gentleman, portraying the flirtatious dance of two lovers getting together.

Ivido Jeans-31

When asked about what exactly pushes up the jeans, Ivis told us that it’s simply in the way that the pattern is cut. This surprised us as we would have easily placed a bet on a padded seat.

Now this definitely intrigues us to go try on a pair ourselves! The Ivido boutique can be found at 638 West Broadway in Vancouver.

Words by Miranda Sam

Photography by DesireeAnne Holder

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Woo To See You x Nerea Lurgain Pop-Up Shop

Nerea-Lurgain-Popup

One of our favourite new stores, Woo To See You,  is hosting a pop-up with one of the designers they carry! Nerea Lurgain, which can only be found at Woo, will be present at the store this Saturday for one day only. I immediately fell in love with her designs, and I bet you will too. Meet her in person this weekend!

STYLE SHEET

  • DATE | Saturday, February 1st, 2014
  • TIME | 11am – 7pm
  • LOCATION | Woo To See You Boutique @ 129-1208 Homer St

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Dakota Group Fall/Winter Clearance Warehouse Sale

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STYLE SHEET

  • What | Dakota Group Sampe Sale
  • Date | TODAY!
  • Time | 10am – 6pm
  • Location | 102 – 256 West 7th Ave

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KNOWSHOW Fall/Winter 2014 Review

KNOWSHOW-1

Established in 2006, KNOWSHOW is a private bi-annual tradeshow which caters to Canada’s top lifestyle, fashion, and action sports retailers and brands.  Every January and August, select brands and their representatives debut new products to retailers and media from across Canada over a three-day show at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  Since its inception, KNOWSHOW has grown steadily over the years and by 2010, over 400 brands were represented and had access to 500 unique retailers.

Style by Fire was invited to check out the latest KNOWSHOW last week.  Admittedly I’m not much of a winter sportive type.  I am a very beginner skier and do enjoy it, but am too cheap to invest in the equipment and lift fees to take up the sport in a serious way.  I don’t know how to snowboard and frankly, the thought of having both of my feet strapped to a moving board scares me considerably.  So needless to say, I checked out the many wholesaler stalls at KNOWSHOW from a very layperson perspective.

KNOWSHOW-2

One thing was immediately clear – unlike regular winter fashion which tends to lean towards the black and neutral colour tones, winter sport fashion is all about colour and lots of it, the brighter the better.  Those who are committed to an active lifestyle want to stand out against the natural environment; the predominant look being ‘cool’, ‘rad’, ‘gnarly’, ‘wicked’….you get the idea.  Amid the kaleidoscope of colour, I found many fun and bold fashion offerings.

MANITOBAH MUKLUKS

Manitobah-5

Manitobah Mukluks combines traditional Aboriginal mukluks and moccasins with new materials and production techniques to create authentic footwear that is modernized to meet today’s needs.  The general styling follows traditional design but is reinforced with a fur lining and high performance rubber sole made by Vibram.  Despite the sole being a modern addition, it still connects to the past by having a traditional Aboriginal story etched onto it in pictorial form.   Started in 1997 by a pair of Métis siblings based out of Winnipeg, the company supports the Aboriginal community while also producing fashionable footwear that are sold in high end retailers such as Holt Renfrew and Browns Shoes.

I loved how cozy and cute the mukluks looked with their swinging pompoms and beaded detailing (their Ugg-ly cousins should take note), and made by a socially conscious Canadian company to boot (har har).  Manitobah is a brand to support!

CELTEK

Celtek-1

Helmed by two brothers in California, Celtek produces a range of outdoor winter accessories, including beanies and face masks.  But it was their gloves and mittens that caught my eye – not only did they come in day-glo and Daft Punk-esque gold colours, some of them were covered in cool graphics and patterns.  You can never go wrong with mittens adorned with a picture of a kitten or panda, am I right ladies?!  Gender stereotyping aside, your hands will probably never look so rad while also staying toasty warm.

Speaking of warm, Celtek also produces heated touchscreen gloves which heat up with a touch of the pad on the back of the glove.  The top-of-the-line self-described ‘Mercedes-Benz’ of gloves features a touchscreen, heat system, OutDry waterproofing, and BOA closure technology.  Polar Vortex? Bring it on!

AIRHOLE FACEMASKS

Airhole-2

Founded by two professional snowboarders in Vancouver, Airhole Facemasks combines fun and functional in producing accessories that protect you against the harsh elements while also bringing fashion to your face.  Both half-mask and full balaclava mask styles are made of lightweight thin fabric knitted by hand that help to insulate heat while also featuring an anti-bacterial coating.  The breathing hole has been carefully designed to be the correct size, shape, and positioning for maximum comfort that allows the wearer to breathe, talk, and drink while keeping the mask on.

The fun prints on the masks were what made me stop and chuckle.  The face of a shark or tiger for men, awesome.  And you guessed it, kittens and daisies for the ladies.  Why look like any boring terrorist or burglar in a black ski mask when you can look like a vicious animal!

PULL-IN

From the brainchild of French engineer and fashionista Emmanuel Lohéac comes Pull-In.  He noticed how much today’s youth is attracted to colours and originality, with the exception of its drawers with their mundane black, blue, and grey colours.  With Pull-In, Lohéac strives to bring style and fun to underwear.  Collaborating with illustrators who design the patterns on the pieces, the mens’ boxer briefs I saw featured such themes as pastel popsicles, Pirates of the Caribbean, tropical fruit explosion, and African safari animals.  These undies are not for the shy at heart, but who wants to be when you can don such whimsical underwear and no one knows about it except you?  It’s your secret wild side that only select close ones get to see and what a great surprise they’ll have when peeling off your pants.

I took home a pair of these colourful boxer briefs and tried them on – comfortable and reasonably flattering!  And mine were covered in ping pong paddles, how appropriate for the Chinese in me.

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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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.

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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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