In Search of Style: Velvet Crush

November 12, 2016 10:46 am

Photography by Ping Hu / Greenery and Décor by Canadian Mountain Weddings / On-Site Assistant: Gail E.P. Gunn

winter-lotus-photography-by-ping-hu-2Feature Image: Winter Lotus Photography by Ping Hu 2 / Fit-and-Flare Velvet Dress by Betsey Johnson $129.99 from The Hudson’s Bay

For the holidays, we’re crushing on velvet. Smooth and soft velvet is a key piece in my wardrobe this season as it adds a hint of the holidays while also translating from work to evening. Go ahead, wear a velvet blazer to the office! Mixing up your style as the seasons change is a sure way to get noticed.


Velvet Preen by Thornton Bregazzi Dress

You’ll note that this season’s reigning motifs are infinitely more opulent. Lustrous velvet, shimmering sequins and glitter infused accessories all in abundance are what makes this holiday season extra special.


Velvet Etro Bag

Get ready to strike a pose in luxurious velvet. The opulent fabric is soft to the touch and has a hint of shimmer, which adds an elegant and upscale element to the overall look. Infuse some style in to your classic work wardrobe with a velvet blazer or a fitted velvet dress for a touch of luxe.

Velvet accessories reigned supreme on the fall/winter runways, appearing on the hottest shoes and bags of the season.

We saw an influx of velvet that’s worthy of investment from Bottega Veneta, Opening Ceremony, Preen, Rochas, Roberto Cavalli and Phillip Lim.

From lush accessories to generous swaths of velvet, there is no limit to this ladylike look.

“Velvet has a vintage feel but a glamourous outcome!”


3.1 Phillip Lim | Adam Selman | Aigner | Akris | Alberta Ferretti Antonio Berardi | Armani Prive | Balmain | Bottega Veneta | Dennis Basso Derek Lam | Desigual | DKNY | Dolce&Gabbana | Dries Van Noten Elie Saab | Elie Tahari | Ellery | Etro | Fendi Gabrielle Colangelo | Giambattista Valli | Givenchy | Gucci | H&M Haider Ackermann | Holly Fulton | Jason Wu | Jill Stuart | Joseph



Kenzo | Luisa Beccaria | M. Martin | Mara Hoffman | Marc Jacobs Marni | Monse | Nicholas K | Opening Ceremony | Oscar de la Renta Osman | Peter Pilotto | Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini | Prabal Gurung | Prada Preen | Rachel Zoe | Ralph Lauren | Roberto Cavalli | Rochas Roland Mouret | Rosie Assoulin | Schiaparelli | Sophie Theallet | Stella McCartney Trussardi | Ulla Johnson | Valentino | Vanessa Seward | Vetements

Celebrating Style For The Working Mom

May 5, 2016 10:12 am

Photo by Valerie Keeler Photography. 

working-mom1 working-mom2 working-mom3 working-mom4


Whether she leaves her home for an office or not, every mom works. The challenge is stepping out in a functionally chic outfit. Finding a balance between fashionable and functional is possible if you have the right pieces to ensure success.



Stuck in a rut? A tailored jacket is a secret weapon. It brings denim up a notch, polishes casual dresses, takes slim pants to the boardroom and can cover up a slouchy outfit. The trick is to find a jacket that suits your lifestyle and then have a local tailor nip and tuck your latest great find. Getting the perfect fit will elevate the final product way beyond its original price tag. As we transition to spring, a cropped trench or a bright blazer are two easy ways to add polish to any outfit.

Winners Cropped Trench



Let’s face it, it’s all about comfort. The key is to find a compromise between a trend and easy-to-wear clothing. A dress is perfect as it can be worn year-round with the addition of tights. Opt for a wrinkle-free material and a cut that is both polished and form fitting. I love the design of this two-in-one sweatshirt dress and it pairs perfectly with casual leggings or leather leggings for date night.

Marshalls Two-in-One
Sweatshirt Dress $399.99




A large structured bag can accommodate all of your necessities. Ensure the top has a zipper to keep everything in place. You’ll often see celebrities opting for a large designer handbag in lieu of a diaper bag. If you’d prefer a stylish diaper bag, Kate Spade’s signature Stevie bag (LEFT) can be worn over the shoulder or tossed onto your stroller handles (thanks to special straps) and comes with a nylon changing pad.



Spring Trend Sneak Peek The Classic Shirtdress

Fashion’s current penchant for shirting brings the classic shirtdress back to the forefront. This classic style borrows details from a man’s shirt creating a sleek design whilst its clean lines provide an ideal canvas for spring’s bold botanicals and vibrant colour palette. Buy it now and wear your shirtdress with tights or knee high boots.

working-mom11 working-mom12 working-mom13
Kate Spade Sunny Daisy
Organza ShirtDress $598
Marshalls Printed Silk
ShirtDress $99.99

Nicolette Mason x Addition Elle Dress

Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexandraGunn

Shoppers Drug Mart’s Enhanced BeautyBOUTIQUE is the Rideau Centre’s Latest Big Upgrade

January 4, 2016 12:02 pm

Beauty lovers arrived at Ottawa’s Rideau Centre for the grand opening of Shoppers Drug Mart’s latest Enhanced beautyBOUTIQUE on December 2. Beauty bloggers and experts were invited to explore the store’s luxurious new environment and its prestigious brand assortment, featuring Chanel, Dior and Paul & Joe.

The upgrade comes as Shoppers continues its commitment to give Canadians the best beauty experience in the retail environment. The 4,000 square-foot beautyBOUTIQUE features new fixtures, digital signage, enhanced fragrance and skin care areas and provides customers with a beautiful retail environment complemented by 16 prestigious brands.

“Our goal is to offer a unique and inspiring experience, leveraging our customer insights in beauty while also integrating emerging customer trends,” said Mike Motz, Shoppers Drug Mart’s President. “Shoppers Drug Mart has always pushed the envelope when it comes to the beauty category and as a result we have become the market leader in mass and prestige cosmetics, fragrances and skin care products and the beauty destination of choice for Canadian women.”

Beauty Expert Lyndsay Craig was on hand to unveil the Spring Collection from Parisian-born, cult favourite Paul & Joe. Each season, Paul & Joe launches a limited edition capsule collection featuring a unique colour palette and custom packaging inspired by that season’s fashion line.

Craig shared her favourites from the upcoming spring collection and what she chose for those on her Christmas list.


Beauty expert Lyndsay Craig (far right) applies makeup to a customer at the BeautyBOUTIQUE’s grand opening.

Alex: Tell me about the Paul & Joe collection that you’ll be bringing to the newly renovated Beauty Boutique.

Lyndsay: Exclusive to Shoppers Drug Mart, Paul & Joe Beauté is a brand that stands out in the newly renovated Enhanced Beauty Boutique. The Parisian born, cult coveted brand is fun-loving, sophisticated, and infused with a relentless joie de vivre. PAUL & JOE products feature luxurious textures and on-trend colours all in unique, retro-modern packaging.  Named after her two sons, Sophie Mechaly launched PAUL & JOE in 1995 as a menswear company. In 1996 she introduced womenswear and in 2002 launched the Beauté collection which includes colour cosmetics, skin care, body care, nail, tools and fragrance.

Paul & Joe is also recognized for releasing beautiful limited edition collections called Collection Sparkles. These are capsule collections featuring a unique colour palette and custom packaging inspired by that season’s fashion line. “Papillons de Printemps” or “Butterflies of Spring” is the next capsule collection launching in Spring. This collection is inspired by the delicate, brightly coloured wings of a butterfly, introducing vibrant pops of colour just in time for the warmer weather. The collection also includes interchangeable packaging for lip and cheek that highlight the Spring Paul & Joe fashion prints.

Alex: How does Paul & Joe stand out from the other brands carried in-store?

Lyndsay: The incredible high-quality and versatility of the Paul & Joe make-up in addition to its nostalgic yet trendy packaging, makes this brand very unique and a coveted favourite.

Alex: What are some of your favourite items from the collection?

Lyndsay: There really are too many to choose, however here are some of my most favourite items from the collection! The Moisturizing Foundation Primer S – This primer has a very unique, hydrating texture that ensures your make-up will last all day! The Gel Foundation, Eyebrow Pencil and Illuminating Touch Pen.

You can find out more about BeautyBOUTIQUE and it’s products at

Fall for Fringe

September 29, 2015 1:58 pm

Seen on virtually every runway this season, including the Burberry, Valentino, Pucci, Ralph Lauren, and Chloe runways, fringe is back and will continue to remain on trend well into 2016. Today’s fringe provides texture and interest to any outfit. This season it’s hanging off the hemlines of pencil skirts, showing up as an embellishment on sweaters and is creating a high-impact look when added to accessories. As with any trend with this much wow factor, it can be intimidating to take on. Here’s how to capture the look in a completely modern way. For those who are more daring with their style, opt for a bold, fringed skirt that really moves when you walk. Pair it with your favourite t-shirt and add a pair of heels to bring the look together. If this trend is too tangled or tasselled for you, then stick with accessories. A clutch or handbag can add the perfect amount of modernity to any outfit.




Alex’s Fall Favourites


Nothing says luxe like a sweep of posh, plush fur when the temperature drops. With so many faux fur options available, this look will continue to remain a style staple for decades to come.
I always purchase a new fragrance with the change of seasons. Right now, I am loving the warm and spicy scent of ‘Mimosa and Cardamom’ by Jo Malone.
Hiking in Gatineau Park is on the top of my fall must do list. I’ll be wearing my brightest pair of runners to take in the beautiful leaves.



Threadbare Politics

QAlex, I’m a new political staffer and I’m still
trying to figure out how important it is to wear
your party colours during election season.
Do I really need to stick to the political
colour scheme?

ARED pencil SkirtHow partisan is your clothing? Like it or not, what you wear may indicate which party you will be voting for on October 19th. With the election looming, each political party is working on getting its message out and many staffers are using their political colour (blue, red, orange or green) as part of their identity. If you’re on the campaign trail, you’ll notice that posters, propaganda as well as backdrops will follow this branding strategy. As any party faithful will tell you, partisan style is the easiest way to express your loyalty and strengthen the image of your team. I’m not suggesting that you only wear one colour for the next few weeks, but rather, try to incorporate your hue as often as possible. A simple way to accomplish this is by wearing a brightly coloured skirt, blazer or bold accessories.

Photos by Valerie Keeler at Valberg Imaging.

alexgunnFollow Alex on Twitter:

Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

July 24, 2015 1:30 pm
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It may feel as though summer is just starting to sink in here in Ottawa, but you shouldn’t be surprised that some of our favourite retailers are already gearing up for fall fashion. You won’t want to miss out.

You can easily stay on trend with Nordstrom’s two week fall Anniversary Sale featuring brand-new, trendy styles available both in store and online. The sale is now in effect but prices go up August 3!

Why should you start stocking up on cool weather clothes while the summer heat is so sweet? Nordstrom has a large array of fall inventory on the shelves and there are some serious deals to be found.

I’ve previewed all of the stellar designer fashion goods and picked out a few of my favourite fashionable finds:

Nordstrom SOFIA CASHMERE1. When cashmere goes on sale, I shop! I picked up this beautiful Sofia Cashmere open-front cardigan with a shawl collar of lush fox fur. I really like the luxe look of the grey cardigan and it is an easy way to dress up an outfit.

The Sofia Cashmere long cardigan is on sale for $444.90 — after sale $665.00.




Nordstrom ESCADA2. I love this elegant jersey dress because it has a flattering, figure-defining waistband and the gorgeous color makes this dress a showstopper.

Pick up the fitted Escada’s ‘Dondi’ Jersey Dress, Sale $579.00 — after sale $950.00





Nordstrom REBECCA

3. Fall is the ideal time to buy a new bag for the fall and winter season. What I like about this classic Rebecca Minkoff leather bag is the exterior zippered pouch to store essentials, like a cell phone and the easy magnetic closure at the top. The depth is also perfect for carrying a stack of paperwork, makeup and a book.

This Rebecca Minkoff ‘Medium MAB’ tote bag is on sale now for $176.90 — after sale $265.00



Nordstrom VINCE4. This rich burgundy leather drape jacket with an asymmetrical lapel is a statement-making coverup that can be worn casually with jeans or it can be paired with a blouse for the office.

This Vince drape neck Jacket is on sale for $659.90 — after sale $995.00





Nordstrom TROUVEIf you’re looking for a budget friendly option, designer Trouve offers a leather drape jacket in black and beige for the sale price $219.90 — after sale $328.00.

The Anniversary Sale began in the early 60s with the acquisition of Best Apparel. At the time, Best Apparel had an anniversary event in place, which originated in the mid 40s. Nordstrom decided to keep the sale and expand it and it has since become the store’s largest and most popular event of the year.

Join the Anniversary Sale conversation online by using #NordstromOTT and #NSale, and tagging @NordstromOttawa.

Mellow Yellow

July 13, 2015 12:00 pm

Fun, fresh and often associated with the warmer months of the year, yellow is a worn-to-be-seen colour that will liven up your wardrobe this season. The sunny shade was seen on the Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Burberry Prorsum and Naeem Khan runways and the statement shade is also a sunshine basic at budget-friendly stores. Whether you opt for canary yellow or prefer a more subtle splash – lemon, maize or mustard yellow – there’s a shade of yellow for everyone. Prefer to dabble in this trend before committing to clothing? Start by accessorizing with a novelty handbag or style your outfit with bold jewellery.



From left to right: Addition Elle Yellow Necklace $40, Joe Fresh Yellow Sweater $29, Joe Fresh Yellow Scarf $12, Winners Printed Sundress $59.99, Winners Novelty Wicker Handbag $129.99, Joe Fresh Yellow Tank $16, Winners Enamel Bangle $59.99, Joe Fresh Yellow Flower Skirt $39, Kate Spade Pineapple Purse $348.alex-gun-blue

So how do you strengthen your image? Stay clear of a fashion rut by keeping up with trends, while maintaining a classic look. A wrap dress is a great option as it’s flattering on all shapes and sizes.

Kate Middleton has given this style a royal stamp of approval and set off a fashion frenzy around the world by stepping out in a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress. DVF is renowned for her signature wrap dresses and this bright blue wrap that I’m wearing can be worn to the office or for a night out. Don’t forget to accessorize your work uniform with a statement bag and always have a tailored blazer on hand. A crisp white blazer is a fresh alternative to the traditional year-round black option. The term ‘power dressing’ is about honing a professional look that is current and portrays an image that you’re resilient enough to manage whatever is thrown your way.








From left to right: Kate Middleton in a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, Marshalls Collarless Blazer and Crop Top $34.99 and $59.99, Kate Spade Harmony Tote $298.

Purchase Alex’s Two Looks at Nordstrom: Right: Diane von Furstenberg Petal Dreams Wrap Dress $458.00, Gold Michael Kors watch $300.00, Kate Spade Blue Jean Pumps, Ted Baker dark blue purse $325.00. Feature Image: Diane von Furstenberg lemon gold blouse $251.00, Tory Burch Callie skinny pant $240.00, Steve Madden sunglasses $38.00, Sam Eldelman nude strappy heels $168.00, long necklace $205.00, yellow bracelets $36.00

Photography: Valerie Keeler, Valberg Imaging Inc.
Hair: Stefania Capovilla

In Full Bloom

March 31, 2015 2:29 pm
Above: Kate Spade / Michael Kors / Kate Spade / Michael Kors / Kate Spade

Never Have Florals For Spring Felt Fresher

From Kate Spade to Michael Kors, floral prints are all over the spring/summer runways. From graphic to abstract, the trend is easy to incorporate into your current wardrobe and can be applied by wearing the print all over or simply by adding pretty blossoms into accessories. To wear this runway look in the office, pick a vibrant print and pair it with neutral separates. A blazer is an easy addition and can change your entire look while maintaining a professional appeal.


nordstromExpect to see bright blossoms at the new Nordstrom in the Rideau Centre this season. Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom’s Fashion Creative Director, says “Fashionable flowers will bloom in every variety imaginable, from retro roses and countrified posies, to exotic jungle orchids and bright bold blossoms. Footwear and bags will also be part of the growing floral trend, so a woman can start with a few flowers to accent her solid apparel pieces.”

The natural beauty of flowers is a fresh and fast way to add an instant pop of bright and bold colour to your current day or weekend look. Make the pattern the focus of your outfit with a sleeveless dress, like the above drop waist option from Cece by Cynthia Steffe found at Nordstrom.

Ask Alex: Resort Style

Q: I’m planning a spring vacation with a group of friends to Hawaii. What stylish essentials should I pack?

A: Start with a focus on footwear. Select sandals that can be worn to dinner at night but will hold up during a full day of touring the sights. Pack a few pairs that have embellishments or a striking colour and then decide on clothing that will match. Secondly, spend some time finding a couple bathing suits that you’ll love to put on. Right now, full piece bathing suits are on trend and they’re a far cry from frumpy. Not only do they offer a bit more coverage, but they now come in bold designs that feature cut-outs, graphic prints or include full length sleeves so you can surf in style.



Celebrating Nordstrom: Ottawa’s Pre-Opening Gala

March 5, 2015 2:00 pm
Lovely Shoes

Nordstrom certainly knows how to throw a party.

Model mannequins, live entertainment and spring fashions had shoppers smiling from cheek to cheek as they walked through the front doors for the pre-opening gala celebration inside the store at the Rideau Centre. Food and drinks stations lined the two floor upscale retailer with staff on hand to help customers pick the top fashions of the season.

The sold-out event was already deemed a success before the doors opened with over 1,800 shoppers who had purchased their tickets months in advance to not miss out on the much anticipated preview and to do some shopping all for a good cause. The gala, put on by Nordstrom, benefitted the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and United Way Ottawa, raising $180,000 for the charities.

It was a fashionable affair with more than 30 mannequin models, each wearing some of the season’s hottest looks from Akris Punto, Escada, Max Mara, Nordstrom Signature, Caroline Issa, St. John, ALC, Helmut Lang and Rag & Bone, all available at Nordstrom Rideau Centre when the leading fashion specialty retailer will officially opening its second Canadian store on Friday, March 6.

Ottawa’s most fashionable were in attendance along with fourth-generation Nordstrom family members to celebrate alongside store staff and the corporate team behind the glitzy gala.

Erik Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct, said the company had long been looking at Canada as an option for expansion. “The nice thing about Canada is that its population is fairly concentrated. Ottawa is certainly one of the bigger markets and it passes all the demographic tests. The hardest part was getting the space. The mall (Rideau Centre) needed some refreshing so it really helped that they put a plan together to bring the mall up to modern standards.”

With recent store renovations and new high scale store openings at the Rideau Centre Mr. Nordstrom believes Nordstrom will still offer something different from their competitors. “Our merchandise will carve out a unique space. We have a broad range with a common thread based on current fashion. From top designers to more middle price points — we think those things really work together (for our customers). A lot of customers don’t buy just one designer and dress head to toe, seven days a week in that designer. They mix and match. If we’re doing our part, our sales people will offer service to our customers so that they feel current but at the same time find fashions that fit who they are.”

For shoppers who have never ventured into a Nordstrom store will be pleasantly surprised not only with the selection offered, but also with the experience. “Retail is a humbling business,” says Mr. Nordstrom. “We first and foremost aspire to customer service. The definition of service is the customers definition. Whatever the customer is looking for, be it a quick and convientant experience or a deep three hour appointment with a stylist, we need to be able to deliver on all of that. We want to have the best fashion available and we re-work the flow of merchandising all the time, so service and merchandise are the two main things.”

With an ever changing local market, the Nordstrom team is focused on the long term for financial projections. “We’re in it for the long haul. We don’t get hung up on short term issues” says Mr. Nordstrom. “Our success won’t be for quite some time and we will know a lot come Friday.”

More than 600 employees will be on hand for the big store opening on Friday, March 6 at 9:30 A.M.

Fast-forward to Fall

October 1, 2014 2:05 pm

Bright hues, chunky knits, sumptuous coats – fall 2014 is full of easy-to-wear pieces you’re going to love.

When it comes to colour, fall fashion is all about breaking free from traditional autumnal hues in favour of more unexpected ones. Pantone Color Institute’s Leatrice Eiseman says that, “colour transcends time and place. It takes you in an entirely different direction. Designers… understand that customers want to get a little fun and creative with their wardrobes.” So, go ahead and have fun.

Say hello to chunky knits, from boxy and cropped to lean and long, nothing is too big or too intricate. Make the transition into your fall wardrobe with this easy staple, the crème wool cardigan from H&M, it’s thick and long enough to keep all of your assets covered. Mark Jacobs, Sonia Rykiel and Mark Fast are just a few of the designers who put knitwear front and centre in their collections. There are a variety of ways to be creative with this classic style. While head-to-toe knits were all over the runways, keep it simple and stick to one piece. Be sure to add light layers underneath, like peek-a-boo shirttails, a tissue- thin t-shirt, or a flowy silk dress. What to wear on the bottom? Team your big knit with skinny jeans or dark slacks and get your flat boots out of storage to complete the look. A rule of thumb: The bulkier the fabric, the leaner the cut should be.

Fall Orange

Ready for a reboot? The fiery hue has been spotted all over the fall/winter 2014 ready- to-wear shows. From deep tangerine to vibrant orange, designers have borrowed this summer hue and used it in unexpected ways for the fall palate. But before you say “not for me,” know that there are different shades for every skin tone — from juicy, bold brights to subdued, muted hues. The runway collections show just a few of the ways the colour can be paired and how it’s a show stopper all on its own.

fall-trends3BAG LADY

The easiest way to switch over into fall is by changing your purse. If you’re carrying a summer bag, now is the time to consider something that will pair with your fall wardrobe. When in doubt, stick with a black bag. If you prefer a large carry-all bag, opt for something with structure or detailing such as fringe.

Drake General





The Drake General Store is now located within Hudson’s Bay on Rideau Street. Alongside unique, eclectic items sourced from Canada and around the world, the store will also carry its growing in-house lifestyle brands.

Cream of the Crop Top

May 27, 2014 1:15 pm
crop top 3

You can’t go into your favorite store without noticing a large selection of shirts seem to have… shrunk.  Along with the sleek styles that emerge from the runway, each season brings some challenging shapes and styles as well. This season, the ‘it’ trend has been revived from the ‘90s and has been deemed the crop top.

The resurgence first became apparent on the runway and then was quickly picked up by celebrities and with that, retailers.  As you can discern, some celebrities (or their stylists) have a better sense of what is too much (and bordering on tacky) and what will come across as understated and glamorous.

crop top 1

If you dare to bare and wear this new trend, you won’t need to look far to find a top suitable to your style. I will caution that this look isn’t for everyone. Although it certainly has a youthful appeal, the trend doesn’t necessarily require you to show off your toned midriff, but rather, the secret is all in the subtlety.  The trick is to pair a crop top with a suitable skirt that reveals just a hint of skin.  When teamed with a ladylike A-line skirt the look can be quite modern and not over-the-top.  If you’re second guessing yourself in the mirror, take a pass.

Ready to crop till you drop?  Retailers such as Zara, Forever 21, and even Winners have an array of flesh-flashing options that will keep you covered… or not so much.

How do you wear it? Tweet me at @OttawaStyle!

crop top 6

Pastel Perfection

May 2, 2014 2:30 pm
Burberry Runway

This spring look forward to peeling off your winter layers and slipping into macaroon pastel shades and lace pairings. Designers went for a modern twist on the traditional pastel palette by extending it to lace, prints and swaths of organza. Burberry was right on the mark with its runway collection, featuring a mixture of gentle shades from pink to pistachio with an opulent selection of lace. A candy-coloured floral appliqué foldover clutch adds an instant pick-me-up.



The freshest way to wear them is top-to-toe in one hue. Look to fabrics like lace and leather to add an edge to pretty pastels. Texture is critical. Looking to tone down the colour? Start with separates and add in pale hues or rich greys, like slate. Want to take the trend one step at a time?


Slip on a pretty soft sorbet hue in a strappy sandal or pick up a handbag to update your accessories.



White Out Street StyleWHITE OUT

Spring fashion is straight up simple with a return to crisp white blouses and blazers paired with unique statement separates. Clean and crisp, white continues to be a major trend. What’s new? Wearing it head to toe. Celebrities always gravitate to this look every season as it’s easy to dress up or down.

White Out at Target

Ask Alex: Call of the Wild

February 28, 2014 10:08 am
animal print

Q: Alex, I’ve been seeing animal prints everywhere lately. Is it too late buy into this look?

A: Animal print is not going anywhere any time soon. It’s just one of those trends that won’t go out of style. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already been spotted wearing this trend you’re definitely missing out.

Leopard Purse

Leopard, tiger, and zebra prints are like neutrals since they’re made up from beige, brown and black which makes these prints seasonless. That’s why you’ll be seeing these bold prints making a statement year round and why there are an abundant collection of options to choose from.

Zebra heel

It’s easy to harness the come-hither magnetism in large or small amounts.  If you’re as bold as Diane von Furstenburg, try the print from top-to-toe or you can start slow with a printed blazer or shirt as seen on the Tracey Reese runway.  Designers have been running wild with animal inspirations and will continue to update classic styles and silhouettes for years to come. That makes this trend more of a classic especially if you’re mindful of choosing a classic style print in small doses. You can’t go wrong with accessories, like these shown here, and they can be just as eye-catching as an all-over look.



In search of Style

January 29, 2014 2:36 pm

askalexcollage1 copyNew Year, Fresh Skirt
If there’s one key piece of clothing to update in your 2014 wardrobe, it’s the skirt. From A-line and pencil to trumpet and fit and flare, there’s a skirt silhouette to flatter every figure. Take your pick and pair it with a sweater or cardigan for a stylish alternative to the basic blazer. When choosing your skirt, try a bold-printed pencil skirt or say it with pleats in midi and mini styles or, better yet, go for leather. Don’t forget footwear. Keep a pair of fancy flats or heels under your desk so you can switch out of your winter boots to complete the look.

askalexcollage2Blue Streak
Designers were feeling the winter blues in a big way. From coats and sweaters to shoes and handbags, watch for eye-catching cobalt to come on strong, breaking up muted fall colour palettes with a punch of saturated colour. Get on trend by swapping out your black gloves for a pair of striking blue gloves. Bold colours appeared on the spring/summer 2014 runway at Ralph Lauren with bright, almost fluorescent hues. Statement colour gowns and statement separates will merge into warmer months so strike while the iron is hot and splurge on a colour-coded statement piece.

askalexcollage3What I’m loving right now: Leggings
I never thought I’d say it, but I wear leggings. Not just any leggings, but full leather leggings or paneled leather leggings. Luxe leather was spotted on the Rag and Bone runway and celebrities such as Olivia Palermo, Victoria Beckham and Miranda Kerr have been seen wearing them with biker boots and oversized knitwear or with pumps and a blazer or shirt for a more elegant look. Just remember, opt for a shirt or sweater than falls below your derrière.


Year in Review with Lisa Tant

December 18, 2013 3:00 pm

It’s without question that Lisa Tant is a fashion insider. With over 16 years of publishing experience at Rogers working as the Editor-in-Chief at Flare and Chatelaine and as the Publisher at Hello!, Tant has become a recognizable name and one to follow. Tant has made the leap from magazines in the past year and has since signed on with luxury fashion retailer Holt Renfrew.  Even though she asks to not be called a ‘fashionista’ on her Twitter profile, it’s hard to imagine her being anything but just that.

OLM’s Fashion Editor Alexandra Gunn caught up with Lisa Tant to find out what Canada’s top fashion insider will be gifting this year and how she will spend her holidays.

OLM: Lisa, the Christmas season is a magical time of year for most Canadians. What are you most looking forward to?

Tant: I love to see all of the major movies that are going to be nominated for Academy Awards.  I will be seeing American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street and August Osage County. I go to a lot of movies. I love pop culture!


OLM: A few of those are on my list as well. Let’s talk about gift-giving because there are only a few days remaining.  What will you be gifting this year to family and friends?

Tant: I always look for things that are unusual and that I would really love myself, because most people already have so much because they’re in this business and they collect things along the way. I will be doing some of my shopping at Holt Renfrew. I really love the candle-holders from Fornasetti and anything from Lanvin – iPhone covers, tablet covers… there’s also a snow globe.  I love all of those. And of course, cashmere. We have cashmere in so many different colors and I think that’s such a lovely, soft, warm gift.


OLM: You live in Toronto, but will you be going home to Vancouver for the holidays?

Tant:  I won’t be going home to Vancouver as we just finished shooting our Spring catalogue. We spent about a week in Vancouver last month, so I’m going to be staying in Toronto.

OLM:  Yes, I saw some of the behind-the-scenes photos on Holt Renfrew’s and your Instagram newsfeed. The OLM fashion team is looking forward to the Spring/Summer fashions. Let’s get back to how you’ll be celebrating over the holidays. Is there a favorite dish that you like to cook?

Tant: I make the best reservations!  I do not cook (laughter). I can always be relied on to bring great chocolate to parties. My husband does all the cooking. He’s a really good hearty cook and he does a great traditional turkey.

OLM: Tradition is a wonderful thing. Will you be sticking with tradition on Christmas Day as well?

Tant: Yes, we’re very traditional in that way. We celebrate quietly at home with the three kids and our dog. And for New Year’s Eve, we have friends who have an annual party so we will be going to that.

OLM: I’ve been waiting to ask… what will you be wearing on New Year’s Eve?

Tant: Something sparkly! That’s the plan. I always build all of my outfits from my shoes. I’m looking at wearing a sparkly pair of Manolo Blahnik’s and then I will build it up from there.


OLM:  When you look back on 2013, what are some of your fond memories?

Tant: This was my first year at Holt Renfrew. That was a fantastic introduction into that side of the business and we did some amazing photo shoots in Canada. We went to Montreal and Vancouver – they really stand out in my mind. It’s also always exciting to work with incredible models who are the top ten in the world. On the personal side, I went to Scandinavia for the first time in the summer. Going to Stockholm and Oslo was just incredible!

OLM: What’s in store for 2014?

Tant: I have a couple of trips that I’d like to do in 2014. I’d like to go to Hawaii and Hong Kong. Those are in the planning process right now, but looking ahead it’s mostly work and travel for me.


OLM: Do you have any NYE resolutions? What do you have in mind in terms of fashion resolutions for yourself?

Tant: In terms of fashion, I always say anything goes.  I’m not the kind of person who feels they need to be more adventurous or that I need more color. I do all of that. For me, it’s more about the attitude. It’s about living in the moment. Laugh harder, smile more, relax and then I guess, I should probably learn to cook! Realistically though… that’s not going to happen. It goes on the list every year, but I’m not holding my breath….

Follow Lisa Tant on Twitter @LisaTant

Mad for Mod

August 20, 2013 9:16 am
Photography by: The Fashion Group International

Want an edgier look? Stylize your final weeks of summer with a nod to the mod squad.

This trend originated in London, England, peaking in the early to mid-1960s, with multiple resurgences since. There’s no denying why this trend continues to pop up on runways and this season, there’s no better time to give the look at try. If you’re looking to change up your style, opt for a breezy shift dress to beat the Ottawa heat and pair the look with bright accessories. This mod look has morphed from an underground style to a more commercialized fashion, complete with miniskirts, bold graphic prints.

mod 2

Modernize the trend by taking a page from the looks seen on the Michael Kors, Moschino and Louis Vuitton runways.  Whether you take on the styling of Louis Vuitton with the checked print, or stick with one hue – like a bright pop of yellow as seen on the Michael Kors runway for the spring/summer collection.

mod 3

Need inspiration? Look no further than Edie Sedgwick, Peggy Moffitt, Jean Shrimpton or Leslie Lawson (Twiggy). Sarah Smithers, Winners Fashion Spokesperson says “Edie Sedgwick’s iconic mod style is having a moment with short and sweet shift dresses, cute kitten heels and oversized sunglasses topping spring must-have lists.”  You’ll be mad for mod before you know it.

mod 1

Q and Alex

June 4, 2013 11:32 am
Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 10.57.20 AM

Q: I’m a woman in my fifties and I’m trying to navigate the new styles. I’m hearing that white & black is going to be popular and that it’s appropriate for all ages. Is this true?

A: You can rarely go wrong when opposites attract. The black and white trend is in full force this season and it’s no surprise why. Not everyone can get behind the futuristic look of the graphic print and others have a hard time justifying the fluorescent trend that may not stick around. We’re taking note of the collection that Marc Jacobs brought to the runway which featured high-contrast black and white stripes as a key feature in the line up. Louis Vuitton and Jil Sander are also bringing this classic and easy to wear design to those who are looking for timeless investment pieces. Whether it’s featured through polka dots, florals or stripes, you’d be making the right choice by focusing on the always ageless reemergence of this top trend. Taking a trip to the Rideau Centre? Stop by Judith & Charles for classic pieces that will help to fill those gaps in your wardrobe.


BW Printed Denim $29.99 Marshalls


Jil Sander S/S 2013 Runway

Jil Sander S/S 2013


Marc Jacobs S/S 2013 Runway

Marc Jacobs S/S 2013 Runway


H&M shorts

H&M shorts


Angelica dress from Judith & Charles $395

Angelica dress from Judith & Charles $395

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton


Ask Alex: Break from Black

January 23, 2013 11:55 am
Black Featured

Q: My closet has morphed into 50 shades of grey, but I’m reluctant to take part in the bright colour trend.  I usually wear all black but I’d like to purchase one statement piece in the New Year. Can you suggest something that will update my all-black wardrobe?

A: Black will always be a classic. You don’t need to step too far out of your comfort zone to update your look with a modern piece. I like this modern tailored blazer from Canadian designers Judith & Charles that can be paired with any black separates you currently have in your closet. Next time you go shopping, look for muted graphic prints, stripes or floral prints even if you continue to stick to neutral shades.

Judith & Charles Virginia-B Jacket $410

Send Alex your fashion & style dilemmas to

Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexandraGunn

Alexandra Gunn is the Lifestyle reporter for Sun News Network.

Recent Posts