Image credit: George Pimentel
Ann Taylor has officially landed on Canadian soil. This week, the New York-based specialty retailer finally opened the doors to its first international store, at none other than Toronto Eaton Centre. Having attended both the fall and holiday previews over the last few months, I’m rather excited to finally be able to get my hands on the collections.
At the very top of my wish list? Several gorgeous pieces of statement jewelry, as well as a few pairs of chic shoes, all of which is fairly pocketbook-friendly. In fact, Ann Taylor pricing in Canadian stores will be the same as in their U.S. counterparts. Yes, you read right: the price tags will be the same no matter which side of the border you happen to be on. Cause for celebration? I should think so.
If you want in on this Ann Taylor action but aren’t anywhere near Toronto, don’t fret, my dear fellow Canadians. The retailer is currently working on expanding its online shopping site to include Canada, and is expecting to launch in the spring of 2013. In the meantime, check out the gallery below for snaps of Ann Taylor’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebrations at Toronto Eaton Centre earlier this week.
Me, T, Nelia Belkova and Kimberly Lyn with Lisa Axelson, Creative Director of Ann Taylor (Image Credit: George Pimentel)
FASHION Magazine’s Caitlin Agnew
Blogger Anita Clarke checking out the – what else? – shoe section
Kimberly Haire Giddens, Regional VP at Ann Taylor
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Me with designer Rachel Roy
Last Thursday, September 27, Rachel Roy flew into town for a public appearance at The Bay‘s Toronto flagship to launch the fall collection for her diffusion line, RACHEL Rachel Roy. As a fan of the New York-based designer, it was an event I wasn’t about to miss, so I donned the newly-arrived Aimee dress, grabbed T, and set off for The Bay to meet Rachel.
“I feel like a hobo next to you,” I told her (rather inarticulately) when we met, and I meant it; Rachel is absolutely stunning in person. I would have felt intimidated if not for the fact that she’s also incredibly charming and warm. Our whole conversation was a blur of Rachel generously complimenting my personal style and suggesting that I share more of it on the blog, and me, well, just being rather starstruck.
I wasn’t the only one who came away from the event with a girl crush; every single person in attendance was gushing over how gorgeous and sweet Rachel Roy is. She also happens to be fantastic at what she does: design. Always a reliable source for on-trend and reasonably-priced apparel, shoes and accessories, the latest offerings from RACHEL Rachel Roy include several pieces I’d like to add to my fall rotation.
To meet the designer herself, I chose the bouclé sheath Aimee dress (as did Nelia Belkova!), but there were plenty of equally enticing options. The eggplant boat-neck Sybil dress, black sequin Lara jumpsuit (that Aliya-Jasmine Sovani sported that night) and beige fur-trimmed Lara dress were also in the running. I’ll certainly be making a return visit to The Bay for all of those…and then some!
MTV’s Aliya-Jasmine Sovani in RACHEL Rachel Roy
Bloggers Nelia Belkova, Kimberly Lyn, me and T
Rachel Roy with models in RACHEL Rachel Roy Fall 2012 collection
FASHION Magazine Online Editor / DJ Randi Bergman
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Justyna Baraniecki of Chameleonic, Ottawa
Denim, denim and more denim took over the Canadian street style blogwaves this week. While jeans are year-round fare, the ensembles featured have a distinct transitional feel to them. Fall is just around the corner, but perhaps it’s not all bad news.
Dani donned a full-length denim jumpsuit that was all kinds of amazing, amplified by a gorgeous statement necklace and stunning hairdo. Zoe and Julia kept things simpler, but no less chic. Zoe’s blue denim shirt and pink jeans combo and Julia’s colourblock sweater and black denim pairing are getting us excited for fall dressing.
It seems that the solution to end-of-summer blues just might be a new pair of jeans or two. See you at the nearest Gap?
Dani Roche of Kastor & Pollux for Lookbook.nu, Toronto
Ania Boniecka of Ania.B, Calgary
Julia Monson for Lookbook.nu, Toronto
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Me, Kimberly, LOFT Store Manager Dyanne and Nelia
It’s the last segment of our #StylishRoadTrip saga! To refresh your memory, Kimberly Lyn (of The Souls of My Shoes) and Nelia Belkova (of Style Blog) and me made an easy 4-hour trek to The Somerset Collection in a swanky yellow Ford Focus a few weeks ago. I’ve already chronicled the damage we did at INTERMIX, Saks Fifth Avenue and Madewell, among other stores, but we obviously couldn’t leave Troy, Michigan without a sneak peek at two retailers arriving in Canada for the first time later this year, Ann Taylor and LOFT.
From what we saw (and shopped!), the two sister specialty chains, both owned by Ann Inc., will be more than welcome additions to the Canadian retail market. The way we see it, Ann Taylor has us (yes, petites included!) covered from Monday to Friday with its chic office garb and cocktail party-ready dresses, while LOFT has all the cute casual wear we’ll need for fun weekend outings and date nights.
Nelia, Kim and I all took full advantage of the opportunity to raid both boutiques before they open up shop in Toronto in a few months. At LOFT, we each bought the exact same striped sweater. Fashion blogging triplets! For the record, I found the sweater first, but who’s really keeping track? At Ann Taylor, it was the accessories that caught our eyes. The neon necklaces and easy-to-wear cuffs made for fun pops of colour, and we couldn’t leave Troy without taking some home with us.
Now that we’ve had a taste of what LOFT and Ann Taylor will be bringing with them north of the border, we can’t wait to shop their new boutiques in a few short months! Check out the gallery below for more photos of what’s in store for us, Toronto, and start getting excited.
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INTERMIX is one of my favourite shopping destinations. Whether taking a stroll through Yorkville in Toronto, window-shopping in Soho in NYC or browsing online, I never pass on the opportunity to intermix (definition: to shop until one drops at an INTERMIX boutique).
Such was the case as well on my recent road trip to Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan. When Nelia Belkova (of Style Blog), Kimberly Lyn (of The Souls of My Shoes) and I drew up our shopping plans, a visit to INTERMIX Somerset was high on the priority list.
And for excellent reason. We arrived at the store to find a whole gaggle of cheerful, friendly staff waiting to welcome us, with champagne and Godiva chocolate-covered strawberries at the ready. Assistant Manager Irene Yeldo and her lovely staff had also pulled aside their top picks of the new fall arrivals for our perusal, helpfully suggesting pieces that would fit our respective styles. In short, they spoiled us (thank you!). We weren’t complaining, but our pocketbooks were on high alert.
With gift cards generously donated to the cause (i.e. my fall wardrobe) by Somerset and INTERMIX burning a hole in my pocket, I scoured the expertly-curated offerings for pieces to bring back with me to Toronto. There were plenty of worthy candidates: a gold tone lacy cuff by YSL, an indigo Proenza Schouler PS1 (a bag that’s been on my wish list since I first laid eyes on one), and a pair of strappy B Brian Atwood snakeskin booties.
In the end, I decided that the one item I just couldn’t live without was a pair of exclusive rag & bone/JEAN for INTERMIX white skinny jeans with black tuxedo stripes. In fact, they fit me so well that Nelia pointed out, in an impressed tone of voice, that I didn’t even need to get them hemmed. To which I replied, “That’s because they’re supposed to be capris!” Hashtag shorty problems.
Capris or not, kudos to INTERMIX for filling a hole in my closet I never even knew existed. And please be sure to keep a YSL Arty ring (yes, I need a second one) and one of those Equipment blouses with the snakeskin print trim aside for me. With fall just around the corner, I’ll be back for them very soon!
Me with the lovely INTERMIX Somerset team
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We’re always reporting on the most stylish looks at the swankiest shindigs in Toronto, and we finally have the opportunity to do the same for our own inaugural event, Three Years of Style, co-hosted with Nelia Belkova of Style Blog and Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes on August 7 at the Thompson Toronto Rooftop Lounge. With $650 worth of prizes on the line in our style contest, guests showed up in their Tuesday evening rooftop party best, and we just couldn’t stop snapping.
Attendees brought their sartorial A game, and we’d expected no less from the most stylish blog readers and supporters out there. Glam Canada Editorial Director (and grand prize winner!) Aya McMillan‘s Clover Canyon printed pairing was a unanimous favourite, but the decision wasn’t easy with runners-up Jessica Chiu in fierce neon orange Christopher Kane and Liane Fong in a lovely mint green, pleated confection.
Also showing up in style were Hamilton-based blogger Jentine Gootjes of My Edit in a lovely lace frock, The Genteel Editor-in-Chief Mona Chammas in a geeky chic get-up, and PR extraordinaire Vanessa Morcom in a fabulous coral ensemble. Rocking impressive arm parties and sky-high stilettos, ours was one of the most stylish crowds the Thompson rooftop has seen.
Admittedly, that put a bit of pressure on us as hosts. What do we wear to throw one of the biggest blog bashes of the year, to be attended by many of Toronto’s most sartorially gifted? After much deliberation, S donned a summery white frock by Judith & Charles, and accessorized with Marni for H&M jewelry and – what else? – Christian Louboutin pumps. T stuck to her staples for this summer: green skinny jeans, a crisp white shirt and sharp burgundy brogues.
What did you wear to Three Years of Style? Check out the gallery below for 28 style snaps from the Thompson rooftop – you might just spot your stylish self. Missed out on the fun this time? Give our event recap a read and start counting down until next year’s soiree!
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I’ve never been one for road trips, mostly on account of the guaranteed bout of carsickness and bad memories from childhood bus tours. But when it comes to shopping, there isn’t much I’m unwilling to endure, as you know (case in point: that bitter cold wait for Lanvin x H&M), so when Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes and Nelia Belkova of Style Blog suggested a shopping road trip, naturally I was in.
As for the destination? I decided it was high time my fellow Toronto fashion bloggers were introduced to one of my absolute favourites: Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan.
Me, Nelia and Kim with our sunny Ford Focus
After an easy and smooth 4-hour drive from Toronto to Troy with Kim behind the wheel of our sunny yellow Ford Focus (what a trooper!), the three of us checked in at a local hotel and readied ourselves for a good night’s sleep in preparation for what would turn out to be an epic 10-hour day of shopping at Somerset. Yup, you read right: 10 hours!
Somerset Collection is clearly no ordinary mall
How do 3 shopaholics spend 10 hours at one mall? Quite easily, actually. Especially when said mall is Somerset Collection. With two glorious boutique-filled buildings separated by a street and connected by a bridge, Somerset’s over 180 stores range from Neiman Marcus, Intermix and J.Crew on the North end to LOFT, Madewell and Nordstrom on the South side.
Lacoste shoes (gifted) for our epic day of Somerset shopping
In short, more than enough stores to fill an entire workday’s worth of shopping, and then some. What kept us going during our marathon Somerset visit were the sustenance from J. Alexander’s (the fish tacos are highly recommended!), our cute and comfy Lacoste shoes and, of course, our iron will.
Oh hello there, Neiman Marcus shoe department
Detailed accounts of our escapades will follow, particularly our visits to Intermix, Ann Taylor and LOFT, but suffice to say our day at Somerset was a resounding success, thanks to the well-curated store directory, incredible customer service and excellent timing on our part (the very end of sale season!).
Incriminating evidence of a shopping expedition gone a little too well
As impressive as Somerset was the Focus’ ability to hold three shopaholic fashion bloggers, our suitcases, enough road trip snacks to feed the Canadian women’s soccer team, and all of our shopping bags. Somerset Collection x Ford Focus turned out to be a road trip made in heaven. I simply can’t wait for round #2. So, who’s in?
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We’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Nelia Belkova of Style Blog and Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes on a joint 3-year blog anniversary shindig at the Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge this upcoming Tuesday, August 7 – and you’re invited!
The event will feature over $1,200 of prize giveaways sponsored by Danier Leather, eLUXE, LINE Knitwear, Nella Bella, Roots, and Yorkdale Shopping Centre, street style photography by You Just Got Spotted, and gift bags generously provided by Ardell, eLUXE, essence cosmetics, FLARE Magazine, Goody, John Frieda, Nella Bella, Roots, Tweezerman, vitaminwater and more.
Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge, 550 Wellington Street West, Toronto
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Twitter: @backseatstylers, @kimberly_lyn, @styleblogca, @ThompsonToronto
Bring your sartorial A game! Prizes will be awarded to the 3 best dressed ladies and 1 best dressed gentleman. And come early, as gift bags will be provided to the first 50 guests to arrive.
Guest list is in effect and space is limited, so send your RSVP asap to Sheila Hui at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The countdown is officially on! We have exactly 7 days to figure out what to wear, as do you. We look forward to seeing you all in your colour-blocked, mixed-printed, and statement jewelry-adorned glory!
S & T
Vanessa Hong of The Haute Pursuit, Vancouver/Beijing
At the last signs of winter, I packed away my fur, leather and wool. And then slowly but surely, the leather pieces came back out of hibernation, even as the temperatures soared. On days like this one, I was sweltering in my little leather shorts, but I didn’t mind. All for the love of leather, right?
Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that way. Vanessa donned a head-to-toe black leather get-up that literally rocked my world this week. Her perforated peplum top was simply divine, and her pants fit like a glove. The accessories, a Chanel bag and Alexander Wang shoes, were right on point. She looked as ridiculously hot as she probably felt wearing the ensemble in balmy summer weather…pun intended.
Despite the fact that there was no leather involved, Kassandra’s denim shirt and floral pants combo also knocked my socks off this week. Her necklace was perfectly placed, and her smile (the very best kind of accessory) simply brilliant. They’re contagious, I hear, and I find myself grinning right back at my laptop screen.
I propose we start a revolution: more smiling and less thoughtful gazes into the distance (I know, I’m guilty too!) in personal style posts from now on. Who’s in?
Kassandra Camponi of Kastles, Edmonton
Gracie Carroll of Gracie Carroll, Toronto
Kimberly Lyn of The Souls of My Shoes, Toronto
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Me with Rodarte’s Laura and Kate Mulleavy
The Bay still knows how to throw a party. After several quiet months, Toronto’s social and fashion set returned to The Room at The Bay last night for a shindig in honour of Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy. With their Fall 2012 collection in tow, the sisters charmed the likes of socialites Suzanne Rogers and Stacey Kimel, editors Bernadette Morra and Mosha Lundström Halbert, as well as bloggers Anita Clarke and Kimberly Lyn.
Yours truly spent the evening photographing the city’s most sartorially endowed, sipping champagne with my fellow media types, and chatting about Kirsten Dunst’s unexpected Met Ball dress (Rodarte, of course) with the designers themselves. Clad in a Manish Arora dress (fit for a hippie wedding) and navy velvet Loeffler Randall shoes (something blue?), I sought to rectify the Rodarte-less situation happening in my closet. When I asked the design duo about any upcoming collaborations, though, the answer was a disappointing no: “Right now, we really need to focus on our next collection,” Kate said. I’ll take that as a ‘maybe’.
In the meantime, The Room at The Bay is the source for all things Rodarte. And with The Room’s spring sale just around the corner (a little birdie told me so) and my pocketbook at the ready, I may just get my hands on my very first piece of Rodarte yet.
Flare’s Ryan M. Cheung, Glam Canada’s Aya McMillan and Flare’s Fiona Green
Kate Mulleavy, The Room Creative Director Nicholas Mellamphy and The Bay Fashion Director Suzanne Timmins
I Want – I Got’s Anita Clarke and Front Row Mag’s Michelle Bilodeau and Rachelle Saevil
Me with The Souls of My Shoes’ Kimberly Lyn
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