Retail Therapy

Smythe Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Must-Have ’10×10′ Collection

Fellow Smythe addicts rejoice: the Toronto-based purveyor of must-have blazers is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with a reissue of 10 of its bestselling styles. We’ve been fangirls ever since S’s first purchase back in 2009 so, naturally, we’re downright delighted.

Aptly dubbed ’10×10′, the capsule collection features fresh versions of Smythe’s popular duchess blazer (named after Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, of course), schoolboy blazer, and double-breasted reefer coat. At the top of our wish list? The Dickens blazer in bronze jacquard, hands down.

Retailing from $595 to $895, 10×10 hits Holt Renfrew, TNT Woman and other select retailers in mid-September to early October. Check out the gallery below for the complete collection. Which styles are you excited to have a second chance at snagging?

Images courtesy of Smythe

Retail Therapy

Shop Like A Style Blogger: 15 Faux Fur Jackets to Stay Chic and Keep Warm In

The polar vortex continues, and though keeping warm and looking chic while doing so is proving to be a challenge for some (us!), not so for Stephanie Sterjovski of the self-titled blog. The Toronto-based blogger donned an uber-chic striped faux fur jacket in last week’s edition of The Canadian Street Style Lookbook, and we absolutely loved the look.

There aren’t any fur jackets, faux or otherwise, in our closet, so a quick search for a fab piece or two to fill the void was in order. What we found was 15 glorious faux fur options from which to choose, including chubby coats, moto jackets, gilets and more. And did we mention most of them are currently on clearance, rendering them nearly impossible to resist? Happy shopping!

Retail Therapy

Shop Like A Style Blogger: 10 Bay Street-Ready Pinstripe Pieces

Think pinstripes are reserved for the boardroom? Think again. Vanessa of The Haute Pursuit sported a very sharp-looking pinstripe wool coat in last week’s edition of The Canadian Street Style Lookbook, and it made our hearts stop. Obviously, pinstripes instantly jumped on the wish list.

Want to incorporate pinstripes into your winter wardrobe too? From Zara to Stella McCartney and chic jumpsuits to cute frocks, we found 10 perfect pieces with which to add a touch of Bay Street dapperness to your closet rotation. So what do you think – to pinstripe or not to pinstripe?

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

Shop Like A Style Blogger: 25 Coloured Coats to Brighten Your Winter Wardrobe

When temperatures get bitterly cold, it’s so tempting to retreat into an abyss of black-on-black-on-black outfits, but Kristin of Doll Parade reminded us in a recent edition of The Canadian Street Style Lookbook how much more fun donning some bright pops of colour can be. The Frederictonian’s lovely canary yellow coat sent us on a search for fun coloured coats of our own, and chic options we found aplenty.

The front-runners? J.Crew‘s pale pink topcoat with black contrast collar (US$490), Wilfred‘s cranberry red tweed boyfriend coat ($225), and Nanette Lepore‘s army green fit-and-flare ‘Skyscape’ coat ($448). We’re thinking we can make a case for snagging all three. What do you think of these and our 22 other coat picks in all the colours of the rainbow – will you be embracing coloured outerwear this winter?

Retail Therapy

Shop Like A Style Blogger: 15 Out-of-the-Ballpark Baseball Jackets

Baseball jackets are everywhere right now, both on the field and off. We’d managed to resist their charms until Alyssa of Ordinary People donned a geeky chic plaid version with a vintage feel last week. All of a sudden, we were searching the malls and the interwebs for our very own. Not only did we find some seriously stylish baseball jackets, but we got a tad carried away and came upon some pretty darn good varsity jackets and even bomber jackets too.

Check out the gallery below for 15 of our favourites right now, including an amazing printed neoprene jacket by Clover Canyon for $387 (not for the faint of heart), a Hudson’s Bay Company Olympic Collection varsity jacket that’s on sale for a mere $47.50 (for men’s, but we’d rock it), and the fiercest black quilted leather baseball jacket by Roots Canada for $568 (the very one first worn by Drake!).

Will you be sporting a baseball/varsity/bomber jacket too this fall?

Parlez-Vous Fashion?

Dropping by the Backseat: Smythe Designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe

I have a serious Smythe addiction. If you’ve followed this blog for even a minute, you’ll already know that I have a healthy collection of the Canadian brand’s equestrian jackets and shawl collar blazers in a range of colours and fabrics, and it keeps on growing. Just how many do I have? That’s the very question Smythe co-designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe asked me when I dropped by their studio for a chat recently, and it got me counting. I stopped when I went into the double digits. My official response? “Never enough”.

As Smythe’s #1 fan, I too had burning questions, and Christie and Andrea kindly answered all of them. Read on to find out how they met, their worst fashion pas, and all about that time everyone’s favourite Duchess famously donned a certain chic navy blazer of theirs.

The Backseat Stylers: What’s your earliest fashion memory?

Andrea Lenczner: My mom had a few items that were very glamourous to me, but she didn’t wear them probably because they were mighty uncomfortable. It baffled me that you wouldn’t wear those things every day: they were sexy, super fashionable. My mom was a stay-at-home, but I was like, “why wouldn’t you want to look like that every day?” On my birthday, she would wear what I liked her to wear and come and get me at school in some fancy outfit.

Christie Smythe: My brother Tommy and I used to play dress-up all the time. It helps to have a gay brother who wants to dress up. My mom had things that were to us really fantastical, like a Mongolian coat, which was crazy and Elton John-looking. It was my mom as well who set the bar for my interest in fashion.

Andrea: When I was in junior high, my mom took me to a store in Yorkville called Sublime to buy an outfit for a semi-formal. That was when Dean and Dan [Caten] were designing for Ports [1961] but I think they secretly had designed their own line on the side and were selling it through Sublime. They were ripping open boxes and making me try stuff on. There I was, these 2 fashion wonders, and they were like, “Oh, you have wonderful clavicles.” I’m sure I had buck teeth and braces and frizzy hair, but I was their model for half an hour in the store. That was my first true fashion experience. It was really cool.

How did you two meet?

Christie: We became friends in high school, in math class. Instead of paying attention, we were always talking about what we were going to wear to the semi-formal, what dress we were going to have designed, doing little drawings of them. Then we started borrowing clothes from each other. [Fashion] was a part of our friendship from the very beginning.

How did you get into the fashion industry?

Christie: After I completed my degree at Parsons, I did several internships. First I worked in shoes for Donald Pliner. I did internships with Prada and W. My biggest stint was at Gap in the design office for about 3-4 years.

Andrea: And I just muscled my way into the Holt Renfrew buying office with no experience…and a scrapbook.

Continue reading →

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

Runways and Showrooms

Smythe Pre-Fall 2012 Collection Lookbook

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly fit more Smythe jackets in my already Smythe-filled outerwear closet, designers Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe go and add a whole other collection to their annual offerings: Pre-Fall.

Fall has traditionally been the time of year when I find myself giving in to the temptation of yet another Smythe piece, and now with the creation of a Pre-Fall collection, my pocketbook is certainly going to be in trouble. I’m loving everything army green in this collection. The parka with the fur-trimmed hood and the shawl collar blazer are on my newly created Pre-Fall wish list. I’ll have to make some room in that aforementioned outerwear closet.

What do you think of Smythe’s first Pre-Fall offerings?

xx, S

Images courtesy of Smythe

Street Style

Stylin’ from the Backseat: Superhero Kicks

The Mister, baby and me sported matching Superman Converse shoes this past weekend because, you know, that’s just how we do. We’re the biggest Superman fans around, and what better way to show it then through our footwear choices? Exactly.

The rest of my ensemble was a little less heroic looking. Smythe jackets and Balenciaga bags are pretty super, by my measure, but the Converse x DC Comics Chuck Taylors were obviously the source of my superhero powers. Or so I told the little one.

Want a pair too? Enter our giveaway over here for a chance to win some superhero kicks of your own!

Smythe blazer / T by Alexander Wang t-shirt / J Brand cargos / Converse x DC Comics shoes / J.Crew necklace / Balenciaga bag / YSL ring / MAKE UP FOR EVER make-up

xx, S

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