Hello June! Although summer is just around the corner, in Vancouver we ushered the new month this week with cloudy skies and cooler temperatures. June has traditionally always been a fickle month, one minute it’s hot and sunny, the next minute you’re wondering if we’re back in dreary March. That’s why on weeks like this I always resort to my favourite spring/summer staples- a structured blazer over a blouse, killer distressed boyfriend jeans and sleek pumps. This combo works perfectly for June’s unpredictable weather, while always being chic with that little bit of edge. It also makes for a killer night on the town outfit- BONUS.
When recreating this outfit, I recommend investing in the blazer more so than the other pieces, especially since you can now find great-fitting trendy distressed denim at many fast fashion retailers. I love this pair found at Zara, and you can’t beat the $49.99 price tag. For investment blazers, Judith and Charles, Aritzia and Club Monaco are my top choices.
OUTFIT DETAILS || Blazer and distressed boyfriend jeans: Zara, Blouse: Peter Pilotto x Target (no longer available), Black suede pumps: Kelsi Dagger (purchased at the Army & Navy shoe sale!), Neon satchel: ASOS, statement necklace: vintage. All photography by Streetscout.Me.
To capture my favourite spring/summer wardrobe stables for this post, I collaborated once again with my favourite streetstyle photographers, Sabrina and Jeremy from Streetscout.Me. They always know how to make any outfit shine, and have spent the last few years capturing some of Vancouver’s most stylish people on their awesome website. Here is just a taste…
And now for some exciting news. Right now Streetscout.Me are holding a great contest with Robson Street! For the month of June, they will be street scouting the most stylish strangers on Robson Street to be featured on their website, as well as on the Robson Street blog. The most fashionably dressed will also be rewarded with $50 gift cards each week to one of Robson Street’s retailers. Find out more information and when they will be hitting Robson Street (camera in tow!) here.
I have a confession to make…I am a huge sucker for home décor. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore fashion and beauty know-how, dedicating much of my professional career to uncovering the best in fashion in our city (which I still very much love doing), but late at night when I’m scouring Pinterest before bed, it’s “brass and glass” or “Hollywood regency” or “marble countertops” that seem to go into my search box more often. Decorating my home and injecting my personal taste throughout it these last few years have become real passion projects of mine, and after having lovely opportunities to share my home in Framework Magazine and on my friend Randa’s blog The Unprecedented (in addition to my own), many readers have emailed me asking where I source my items.
I take pride in the fact that many of my treasures are thrift. Although this gives new life to previously discarded items, it unfortunately doesn’t allow for many duplicates. So instead of going through where I sourced each and every item, I’ve complied a list of my top 5 favourite shops in Vancouver for you to check out (both new and thrift) so that you too can find you own special treasures.
1. Lofty Living – 610 Columbia Street, New Westminster
This gem in the heart of New West’s heritage downtown district is full of wonderfully chic and carefully curated accessories and furniture for the home. The aesthetic is glam but with touches of modern, seen in such items as mirrored bedside tables to ceramic stag heads. Lofty Living also has a great selection of customizable, made-to-order furniture pieces from headboards to couches. Did I mention it’s only a short minute walk from the skytrain? BONUS.
2. The Main Sellution – 3206 Main Street, Vancouver
Inside The Main Sellution.
The Main Sellution is a second-hand consignment furniture shop that specializes in antique, vintage or highly unique pieces. They have a really good selection, and often add to their inventory every few days, if not everyday. I find that for the most part, their prices are reasonable, and they do offer affordable delivery for larger items. They also recently started offering painting workshops, so you can now learn how to refurbish your antique find from them as well.
I first came across the new and upcycled furniture and accessories shop L’Atelier Home on a walk in Gastown when they were just opening. The paint was still drying, but owner Linda still made sure to introduce herself and chat about her passion for home décor and design. Since then, the shop has really made its mark in the neighbourhood, even expanding into a larger retail space next door. Moroccan poufs, French provincial settees, Voluspa candles and frame-worthy prints (including a selection from Randa’s I See Noise Prints) line the walls of L’Atelier Home. But it doesn’t end there. Linda also provides more selection to her customers through their online site.
I have been going to Value Village since my teenage years, but more recently I’ve stocked up on home goods just as much as funky belts and purses. The key with shopping for home décor at a thrift shop is to be open-minded. Going there with a specific shopping list will leave you disappointed, as it’s almost impossible to find exactly what you’re looking for since items are so varied and diverse. So it’s best just to be patient and allow yourself a lot of time to discover new treasures. A lot of people ask me which Lower Mainland location is my favourite, and that I can’t answer as I’ve found great things at all of them. Just don’t go on a weekend!
Homesense to me is like drugs to an addict (I don’t mean to be crude, I mean that in the most honest and sincere way!). I crave, obsess and fantasize about my visits, and when they do happen, it’s like a sick high when I find a Lucite tray for $29 rather than the $100 it costs at other retailers. Not joking. If there were Homesense Anonymous I would be their honourary member. “Hi, I’m Mana and I’m a Homesenseoholic”, here’s why: great deals, new stuff every week in all home departments (furniture, lighting, bed, bath, home accessories, kitchen, and garden), and it takes care of my need for treasure hunting. Because that’s what is key, Homesense, just like thrift shops, needs patience, time and a good eye. Don’t expect to find the perfect item each visit, but when you do BUY IT, because it won’t be there tomorrow…or in an hour. Did I mention I was at Homesense too? 😉
Most Vancouverites, expats, and even some of the city’s visitors are aware of Gastown’s cool factor when it comes to being a hub for fashion, design, and chic locales to consume food and drink. In recent years, more and more independent one-of-a-kind boutiques have been popping up in the neighbourhood, proving that if it’s something unique you’re after, skipping the crowds on Robson and heading straight for the cobble streets of Gastown will be your best bet. Speaking of unique, I knew there was definitely something special about Amaly Narong, the owner of Gastown boutique TODAY, when I met her many moons ago. Her effortless bohemian style, passionate personality, and down-to-earth vibe always left an impression, and those are the same qualities that welcome customers when they step through her Powell Street store. On the window it reads, “TODAY YOU ARE SPECIAL”, a perfect tag line for what this boutique offers: contemporary women’s fashions from international and local independent labels (many of which you can’t find anywhere else), displayed in a beautifully designed store, all at a price point that’s affordable. That combination would make any gal feel special, I’d say. On a recent visit to TODAY, Amaly and I chatted all about her love for fashion, which took her from studying fashion design at Blanche MacDonald, to interning at Nanette Lapore in New York City, to being the managing director Oak + Fort, to finally opening TODAY. Here are some of the highlights:
First off, who are your style icons? Stevie Nicks is a big influence for me because she’s so comfortable in her own ways, there’s this unapologetic demeanor about her that I really like. The Olsen twins, I love them. And I like a lot of men’s fashion as well, for example, Johnny Depp, I love the clothes that he wears, and I love how they almost have an androgynous nature too, something that both a male could wear and a female could wear.
How would you describe the TODAY girl? The TODAY girl really values comfort, is definitely fashion conscious, and is consumed by fashion as well, so always researching blogs, looking at magazines, and looking at street style. We really focus on the female who is either early in her career or just finishing post-secondary.
What do you think makes TODAY unique compared to what your competitors are doing? We really do a lot of research on our customer, so we’re constantly on blogs, the same blogs that they’re checking out, the same labels that they’re taking note of. But something that is also really important to us is the morals and ethics of the business, where the designs are made, where the products are manufactured, and who their customer profile is. We aim to bring fashion-forward concepts (before anyone else can) that still align with our morals.
Minimalistic displays and industrial décor highlight unique accessories at TODAY. Photo by Mitra Mansour.
Your store also has a lot of vintage incorporated with the new pieces, why did you want to merge both in your store? I’ve always been a big vintage collector myself, I love vintage. I think a lot of current fashion is influenced by the past, so that’s the main reason we brought it in. We also want to let people know vintage clothes is a sustainable way to live, it gives clothes a new purpose.
Your store not only has beautiful pieces, but also is beautiful to look at. What was your vision when you were designing the interior look of the store? I wanted to keep it really minimal, to have an industrial feel. My boyfriend is a carpenter and when I was first putting the vision of the store together, we collected a bunch of images that inspired us. Luckily, a lot of the job sites that he works on, they dispose of the material once when they’re done with it, so we said, why not keep it, collect it and make something of it. So a lot of the materials that we used in the store are reclaimed. We wanted people to come in and almost feel like it’s a secret, like it was a vacant warehouse that we just put a lot of pretty clothes in. That way, when it’s a minimal environment, you also focus on the clothes a bit more too.