Retail Therapy

Coveting from the Backseat: Ela Handbags Calf Hair M.I.L.C.K. Clutches

It’s official, we have a new obsession: her name is Ela and she’s got gorgeous (calf) hair.

Toronto-based Ela Handbags has fast become a bag rotation staple, and the latest incarnation of the brand’s ubiquitous M.I.L.C.K. Clutch is as covet-worthy as its predecessors. For Pre-Fall 2014, it’s adorned with calf hair in 3 luxe colourways: deep red, grey, and a spotted black and white print. Each is a must-have in its own right, and all 3 have shot to the top of our Fall wish list.

The clutches, retailing at $548, are available at Holt Renfrew here in Canada and at Saks Fifth Avenue south of the border. Our fingers are also crossed that they’ll be restocked over at, where they’re currently showing as sold out. Which, of course, just reinforces the fact that we need to get our hands on one (or two, or three…), stat.

Images courtesy of Ela Handbags

Retail Therapy

Holiday Gift Guide: 35 All-Canadian Items For The Fashion Lover In Your Life

Christmas is so close we can taste the turkey, but if you’re anything like us, you’ve barely made a dent in your holiday shopping. Three days is plenty of time, right? No need to panic (yet), because we’ve gone ahead and done you a solid: we’ve rounded up 35 of the very best made-in-Canada gift ideas for the fashion addicts in your life. Your mom/sister/friend/boss is guaranteed to love what you got them, and you’ll also have supported a local or national brand. It’s a win-win, really.

Take a gander at the gallery below for jewelry from the likes of Jenny Bird, Biko and Niki & Lola, handbags from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, ela and Mackage, accessories from Quill & Tine, Danier and ALDO, and much, much more. Good luck and happy shopping, fellow procrastinators! See you on the other side.

Retail Therapy

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: 18 Covet-Worthy Gift Ideas for the Fashion Set

As I ran around a largely deserted mall on December 24th last year, I vowed to myself – for at least the fifth year in a row – that I would never leave the task of gift buying to the very last minute ever again. Next year, I promised myself, I’ll be one of those extremely prepared folks who get to brag about having finished their holiday shopping weeks – months even – in advance.

Well, it seems the moment of truth has come, and while I have exactly zero presents purchased to date, I do have a stellar gift guide prepared with a whopping 18 incredible items for only the most fashionable females on your list. Now, all you and I have to do is print out this blog post, get to the nearest computer or mall, and get shopping like the proactive, stylish elves we are. Good luck!

1. Nicholas Kirkwood Floral-Embroidered Sandals ($1,695), Holt Renfrew

Kirkwood’s metallic floral-embroidered mesh sandals are nothing short of perfection. Sealed with a bow, this exquisite shoe is perfect for soirées this holiday season and year round.

2. Banana Republic ‘Breanna’ Bow Flat ($120),

We all need a break from heels now and then. Banana Republic’s bow-embellished, pointy-toe flats are so chic that even the most devoted of stiletto fans won’t be able to resist them.

3. Christian Louboutin ‘Decollette’ 554 Pumps (US$625),

A surefire way to a shoe addict’s heart? Christian Louboutin, obviously. Whether it’ll be her very first pair or her 50th, these black patent leather stiletto pumps with those signature contrast red soles will become footwear rotation regulars.

4. Jason Wu Lace-Trimmed Cape ($3,305), The Room at The Bay

As far as outerwear is concerned, it doesn’t get much more luxurious than Look 21 from Jason Wu’s Fall 2012 ready-to-wear runway show. With its lace overlay and of-the-moment oxblood shade, it’s the perfect cape for the superwoman in your life.

5. LINE Knitwear ‘Uptown’ Knit & Leather Jacket ($550), Holt Renfrew

Wrap the edgy LINE Knitwear ‘Uptown’ in a box and put some fierceness under the Christmas tree. This black leather jacket with knitted panels will keep its new owner toasty warm and looking über-chic.

6. 3.1 Phillip Lim ‘Pashli’ Satchel (US$895),

Every woman needs a chic everyday carry-all, and Phillip Lim has created a fabulous option in his ‘Pashli’ satchel. Marrying fashion and function, the street style favourite is available in a range of sumptuous colours to complement any wardrobe

7. Tiffany & Co. Coin Purse ($85),

The mere sight of that unmistakable shade of Tiffany blue will put a smile on any girl’s face. Slip a Tiffany & Co. bauble into this lovely patent leather coin purse for an extra special gift.

8. ela Editor Pouch ($188),

Whether she’s a fashion editor or merely one in her daydreams for now, she can look the part with ela’s edgy Editor Pouch. The studded clutch is available in several colours, but silver mirror is our favourite by far.

9. MAKE UP FOR EVER Backstage Collector Bag ($359),

Featuring 28 of MAKE UP FOR EVER’s most popular products, this exclusive is both the perfect face paint introduction for a neophyte and a makeup lover’s dream come true.

10. Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura Eye & Cheek Palette ($85), Holt Renfrew

Lagerfeld fans will love his latest collaboration with Shu Uemura, which includes lipsticks, fun faux eyelashes, a mini brush set and more. Our pick is the eye & cheek palette in smoky velvet or prestigious bordeaux, featuring the Kaiser’s whimsical muse for the collection, Mon Shu Girl, on the compact.

11. Nixon ‘Kensington’ Leather Watch ($150),

Timepieces are always great holiday gift ideas — what better way to count down the clock on New Year’s Eve? — and this classic leather watch by Nixon is no exception. The no frills design makes it a handsome, versatile option that will go with any outfit.

12. FALLON for eBay Stud Charm Bracelet (USD$88),

FALLON designer Dana Lorenz churns out to-die-for statement jewelry like nobody’s business. Her holiday capsule collection for eBay is the perfect opportunity to add some edge to any arm party.

13. Lauren Elan ‘Abagail’ Choker Necklace ($195),

Toronto accessories designer Lauren Elan mixes Swarovski pearls, chains, crystals and rhinestones to create a stunning statement necklace that serves up a whole lot of bling for your buck.

14. Tibi Penguin-Intarsia Sweater (US$375),

Who says a holiday knit has to be tacky? Tibi’s exclusive penguin sweater for Net-a-porter is anything but. Whether she wears it casually or edges it up, this is one adorable piece the lucky recipient will be wearing non-stop this winter.

15. MOON Apparel Lace Dress ($89),

The MOON Apparel crochet lace dress is a go-to for me, and this season the Canadian brand has recreated the popular piece in eye-catching turquoise. It’s a very ladylike and versatile design that is sure to become a closet favourite.

16. Smythe Herringbone Equestrian Jacket ($595),

No one designs jackets quite like Smythe’s Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe (just ask Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge!). Their classic equestrian blazer is a wardrobe essential that will be worn for years to come.

17. “The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited” by Karl Lagerfeld & Carine Roitfeld ($102.50),

This beautiful coffee table book is a fantastic present for any fashion lover. Pair it with a classic black tweed jacket by the design house and that Chanel devotee on your list will be over the moon.

18. Neiman Marcus x Target x CFDA Holiday Collection Ornaments by Jason Wu (US$49.99 for 3),

For the gal pal with the most stylish of Christmas trees, these limited edition ball ornaments and their lace-print trim are both festive and fashionable. Available starting December 1.

xx, S

Retail Therapy

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2012: 10 Red Hot Accessories to Set Her Heart on Fire

With only 5 days remaining until Valentine’s Day and men all around the world scrambling to find the perfect gift for the loves of their lives or those in the making, we’ve decided to generously offer a helping hand. We’ve put together a gift guide filled with our 10 favourite shoes, bags and jewelry, all in the loveliest shades of red. Men – pay attention. Ladies – this post can very conveniently be sent, via email, to the men in your life, as a not-so-subtle hint. You’re welcome, all.

From left to right, top to bottom:

1. Valentino rubber bow flip flops ($243) – Slip in a pair of plane tickets to a hot, exotic locale for an extended Valentine’s Day celebration.

2. Ela Handbags MILCK clutch in red ($280) – This gorgeous clutch will charm the pants off the lucky recipient…figuratively speaking.

3. Tiffany & Co. ‘Kisses’ book ($55) – To write down all your sweetest nothings for her.

4. Michael Kors small rose gold-plated chronograph watch ($250) – For the trendy gal you’re trying to woo…or keep.

5. Swarovski ‘Intervalle’ red bangle ($180) – Crystals can be a girl’s best friend too, especially crimson Swarovski ones.

6. Thomas Sabo sterling silver heart pendant ($69) – A pretty pendant that will remind her that she’s the love of your life, all 365 days of the year.

7. Sonia by Sonia Rykiel silk-crepe collar ($70) – Not a conventional gift by any means, but for the whimsical gal in your life, it might just do the trick.

8. Tiffany reversible suede and metallic leather tote ($655) – 2 gorgeous bags in 1, for the chic and practical lady in your life.

9. Proenza Schouler PS11 classic iguana in lipstick ($6,825) – Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you this incredible PS11 bag, which is sure to knock her socks off.

10. Charlotte Olympia Masako silk-satin pumps ($875) – Her very first pair of Charlotte Olympias? She’ll love you forever…or at least until next Valentine’s Day.

xx, T & S

Image Credits: As linked

Retail Therapy

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Oh Canada!

I prepare holiday gift guides in the same manner that I do my holiday shopping: last-minute. With only a week left to find the perfect presents for the fashion-minded folks in your life, and perhaps buy yourself a treat or two, we’ve rounded up our all-Canadian picks for this holiday season. Because we have a feeling we’re not the only procrastinators who’ll be scrambling for gifts this week!

Clockwise from left to right:

1. Ela Handbags M.I.L.C.K. clutch ($280) – With just enough room to fit the essentials (money, ID, lipstick, cell phone, keys), this clutch is the perfect pop of colour to your outfit. Comes in a range of colours, including purple suede (our favourite!) and black fur.

2. Biko Jewellery Adoria spike necklace  ($175) – I’ve been wearing this Biko classic non-stop since I bought it (see herehere and here). It’s an incredibly versatile piece that adds just the right amount of edge to any outfit.

3. Smythe tweed riding jacket ($650) – I’m obsessed with Smythe’s smart-looking blazers and equestrian jackets. I think every woman should have at least one in her closet. They don’t come cheap, but they’re investment pieces she’ll be wearing for years to come.

4. Flare Magazine and FASHION Magazine subscriptions – What could be an easier stocking stuffer than renewals to a gal’s favourite Canadian fashion magazines? Both are must-reads.

5. Philip Sparks mountain sheep muff ($350) – It doesn’t get much more luxurious than this (in my world, anyway) when it comes to cold weather accessories. This muff was at the top of my wish list after I attended Sparks’ Fall 2011 presentation earlier this year.

6. Lauren Elan ‘Aaron’ bracelet ($35) – The arm party is still going strong! Add to it with this lovely, rather affordable piece from one of our favourite Canadian jewelry designers.

7. Nella Bella Miami weekender bag ($150) – I’ve been daydreaming about this bag ever since the Toronto-based brand’s Fall 2011 preview. It’s from the men’s line, but it can be a great travel piece for women too.

8. Hudson’s Bay Company Collection striped sweater ($300) – What’s merrier than classic HBC knitwear? The fact that it’ll keep her warm through the winter is an added bonus.

9. Brave Leather Roshana bow belt ($140) – A chic statement belt for the lady in your life who loves bows, ruffles and all things frilly.

10. Pink Tartan gold tulle skirt ($395) – This is perfect for New Year’s Eve festivities, as well as parties throughout the year. Who doesn’t need a gold tutu? I know I do.

11. ‘A is for ALDO’ fragrance ($45) – ALDO’s new range of fragrances has a scent for every personality type. Is she a Blue, Yellow or Red?

12. Maryam Keyhani necklace – This piece is at the top of my holiday wish list. I wrote to Santa about it; here’s hoping I find one under my tree on Christmas Day!

Happy holiday shopping everyone!

xx, S

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