The September issues may be out, but if this glorious hot weather in Vancouver is any indication, summer isn’t over YET. And while I may be pinning up my fall fashion wish list, I’m still going to soak up every last bit of summer by wearing my summer attire until it’s too damn cold to do so. My favourite piece of choice? A romantic summer dress of course! This Self Portrait lace dress just begs for those hot summer nights and twirling at sunset. This dress is from SIMONS Park Royal, which has a great selection of both affordable fashion (including their in-house lines I adore like twik and Icone), as well as designer labels like Self Portrait amongst Moschino, Carven, Elizabeth and James, and Mary Katrantzou, just to name a few.
With this dress having such a bold floral lace pattern, I wanted to keep the accessories I paired with it quite muted so that the dress was the focal point. A simple suede tie choker from ALDO and a thrifted black satin clutch does the trick. Taking inspiration from the black, white and soft baby blue colour palette of the dress, I also paired it with these black and white pumps from Town Shoes, which were the perfect pop on my feet while cohesively bringing the whole look together. Pssst…both the choker and shoes are also from Park Royal Shopping Centre!
I love the fact that a dress in this timeless feminine style, with its curve-hugging silhouette and a-line frill bottom, is something I can wear for seasons to come. And when the colder months do arrive, I can easily transition it to Fall with a simple white t-shirt or turtleneck layered underneath (hello 90’s!!!), finished with a black blazer or moto jacket worn on top.
Speaking of Fall, if you want to see more fabulous looks from SIMONS and Park Royal, then be sure to tune into CTV Morning Live next week as I bring you two Back to School Fashion segments, all from fabulous Park Royal retailers! On Wednesday, August 31 I showcase great looks for those cuties aged 6-12, and on Thursday, September 1, it’s all about the hottest looks for teens and college students! Plus, I am excited to announce that I have partnered up with SIMONS to giveaway a $100 GC through my Instagram, perfect for snagging a back to school outfit for your little one or perhaps a perfect fall piece for yourself!
It’s official: summer is finally here on the west coast! For months us ladies wait patiently to bust out our warm-weather wardrobe, body-con dresses, low-cut t-shirts, off-the-shoulder tops, backless boho rompers…sounds divine doesn’t it? Not so much when figuring out what bras to wear under those delightful pieces seems more difficult than navigating the Bermuda Triangle. This conundrum is one that so many women face at this time of the year: how to still rock these fashion-forward pieces with the proper undergarments as a normal healthy-sized woman and not a waif-thin model. If you’re larger chested like me, going without any support is not an option, but visible straps or unsupportive miniscule bras that don’t hold the girls up doesn’t sound very appealing either. Now what’s a gal to do??!!
Enter the perfect fitting summer bra, from the experts that have been doing it for over 30years, Diane’s Lingerie. I first began shopping at Diane’s Lingerie about 6 years ago, and it was truly life changing. For so long I was unable to find a proper fitting bra for my small frame and large cup size. The big box stores automatically think that if you have a large cup size you must be 200 pounds, therefore you don’t need a small band size at all. Not the case! Upon my first fitting experience at Diane’s, I learnt that almost 80% of women wear the wrong sized bra (I know, it’s utterly shocking) and even with my extensive knowledge on the subject, I still was off with the fit I had at the time. Thankfully the lovely staff at Diane’s outfitted me with the proper size and the proper shopping know-how. I immediately came home, put all my old bras in the charity bin and I haven’t looked back since.
If I had challenges with finding the right bra, I know that other women definitely have them too. That’s why I was so excited to partner with Diane’s Lingerie to host an intimate event this month that tackled the summer undergarment problem, while also teaching women the tips and tricks to find the perfect fitting t-shirt bra. It was wonderful to have Diane’s Lingerie filled with female media and digital influencers of all different shapes and sizes, all with different sets of concerns that we could tackle and solve in one evening. As Diane’s motto so perfectly states, every body is unique and we fit them ALL.
For those you didn’t get a coveted spot to the Summer Ready event, I want to share with you the knowledge that was the cornerstone to my presentation for our guests. Firstly: how to find the perfect t-shirt bra. In order to find the perfect one, you must first know what “perfect” looks like. A great-fitting t-shirt bra is one with smooth and seamless cups, and that is completely invisible when worn under your t-shirt. For fit, here are the top things to look for:
The bra band should fit snuggly because it provides the majority of the support. The bra band should sit lower down on the back (parallel or lower than the front of the bra), and it shouldn’t be riding up. Most women are wearing the bra band too loose, which causes it to ride up the back while the front of the bra tips forward. This creates an unbalanced silhouette. It also causes the back to not look smooth under a t-shirt. When the bra band is too loose, it also means you are getting no support from the bra.
The placement of the wires should include all of the breast tissue.
The cups should hold all of the breast tissue, no gaps or spillage.
The center gore should sit flat against the chest.
The shoulder straps should have the proper tension and stay in place on the shoulders. That means no falling straps when you move your arms.
Highlights from the event’s fashion presentation, with Diane’s Lingerie’s Store Director, Lynda Barr
A flattering fit always comes first when choosing a bra, but if you’ve got the fit down pat, then it’s time to have some fun! Never before in fashion have bras become a fashion piece themselves; no longer completely covered up, bras and bralets are peeping through see-through lace, worn alone under blazers and vests or as a top to high-waisted skirts and wide-leg pants. At the event I wanted to play with this concept and provide some fashion inspiration for our media guests. I styled two fashion forward summer outfits as part of my presentation, which had the bras on full display! First I styled a blue and white gingham-printed Marie Joe bra as a top (that can also pass as swimwear!), worn under a white long sleeveless vest and paired with a printed high-waisted skirt with a fun hemline tassel. The next outfit had a strapless bra peeping through a gorgeous beach coverup (both from Diane’s Lingerie) that can be dressed up with jeans and heels (as seen on our model) or dressed down with shorts or a bathing suit for the pool. When you have a proper-fitting, great quality bra, trust me, you’ll want to show them off!
Posing with Diane’s Lingerie’s President and Owner, Sharon Hayles and our two models who are wearing the fashion looks I styled, all using bras from Diane’s Lingerie.
The last bit of knowledge myself and the staff at Diane’s Lingerie wanted to leave our guests with was what bras make up the perfect bra wardrobe. As women we all have underwear drawers filled with pieces we either never wear or have only worn a handful of times. That’s simply money down the drain! Instead, the staff at Diane’s recommends having the following must-have pieces:
Seamless bras (for those t-shirts and tight-fitting dresses)
Multi-way bra (aka a bra with straps that can be manipulated and changed to accommodate different straps or halters)
Special(Just for you) bra- something lacy and fabulous! And while you’re at it, get the matching bottoms too.
Some last words of advice on your bra wardrobe…even if you know your size through and through, you should still be fitted once a year. Factors like weight change, pregnancy, and hormones can cause breast size to change.
The Summer Ready x Diane’s Event was such a treat to be a part of, and I happy to be able to share the knowledge we provided here on Style by Mana with all of you. For highlights and more tips from the event, be sure to follow @DianesLingerie on social media and look up the hashtag #summerreadyxDianes.
June in Vancouver is notorious for having unruly weather…one minute it’s nice and summery, the next, it’s cold and wet. And if the last week or so is any indication, June sure has been standing up to it’s “Juneuary” moniker. For a casual outfit, the fix is easy, throw on a leather moto or a military jacket, some cute booties and you’re off. But what about a work wear ensemble? Wearing a coat or even a trench can be too warm, but wearing too little and your freezing all day. This #OOTD is the perfect solution to both, stylish, airy and work appropriate, but warm enough for those grey June days.
I was recently inspired by Chanel’s 2017 Cruise collection, presented in Havana, Cuba at the beginning of May. A historical occasion, not only for the fact it was the first time an international fashion line was presenting there in decades, but also because it paid an homage to the vintage Cubano gentlemen style of the 1950’s, filled with cropped jackets, wide-leg pants and lots of fabulous neck ties. And that’s exactly where I took my inspiration from for this work wear ensemble, mixing a bit of high and low, with a few thrift pieces thrown in (duh!).
This cropped tuxedo jacket is such a great addition to any closet, not only can it be worn dressed up or down, but it’s a great layering piece to dresses and midi skirts (especially vital for any petite or short-torso gals like me). This jacket also makes for the perfect layering piece for the unpredictable June weather, but can easily be taken off to just have the blouse and gingham pants work well alone.
With any black and white ensemble, I always love injecting a pop of colour, since the neutrality of those two shades together work perfectly as a backdrop to any colour in the rainbow. This time it came in the form of a deep red pony hair and leather handbag, from the Flare x Aldo Fall 2012 collection designed by one of my favourite Canadian stylists, Elizabeth Cabral. I will forever love this bag, and I still get compliments on it too!
Summer’s heat may be still MIA, but we might as well look good while we wait patiently for its reappearance. 😉
Outfit details: Cropped jacket- Alexander Wang from The Room at Hudson’s Bay, white blouse with black neck tie- Forever 21, gingham flared trousers- Zara, black leather belt, brooch and black suede pumps- Value Village, red pony hair/leather handbag- Flare x Aldo collection.
By now, you’ve probably heard that fashion statistic rolling around the internet or on blogs that women often wear only about 20% of their wardrobe. Well if that’s in fact true, then a leather jacket and something with black and white stripes would definitely be in my 20%. I have spoken time and time again about how important it is for all women (no matter your style or age) to have a moto jacket in their wardrobe (I’ve even included it in my recent feature on closet staples in BC Living), so it’s a no brainer that it’s my go-to jacket for spring. This one from Zara was a great find…affordable, done in a soft lamb-skin leather and had all the signature features of a traditional motorcycle jacket…a staple I can’t live without! You’ll probably see a lot of this baby on the blog and on my Instagram, and now you know why.
Speaking of spring staples, a black and white striped blouse, sweater or t-shirt is a must when wearing other spring pieces in your wardrobe, especially with other prints! I love mixing prints, and I find that black and white stripes act almost like a neutral, allowing for bolder prints like florals to be infused in. Plus, florals are having a huge moment in fashion right now…and more tropical the better!
But perhaps my favourite part of this spring #OOTD is the pop of hot pink from my Proenza Schouler PS11 Tiny cross-body bag. I love designer purses, but like most women, their insane price tags usually sway me away. The same story applied to this Proenza Schouler, I lusted over the PS11 Tiny for about 5-6 months but waited until I saw it on sale and then immediately snatched it up. I got a $1600 purse for $400 people!!
I noticed that over the years, I had become somewhat of a connoisseur in knowing when and how to look for major deals when purchasing designer purses, knowledge that led me to this hot pink bundle of joy and knowledge I will now share with you:
Get on newsletter lists for major department stores regarding rare seasonal sales (For example, The Room and Holt Renfrew both send notices about when their seasonal sales are to their email lists first). And, don’t forget to keep visiting. I always go at the beginning of a sale then back 1 or 2 days before the last day of the sale for additional discounts.
Be open to purchasing designer purses in unique colours or seasonal variations…this is where you’ll find the best deals. A popular designer bag in black or grey will never go on sale (unless it’s damaged in some way or discontinued). My hot pink PS11 Tiny was unique and in a colour that was featured for that season…at first I was weary of buying the bag I wanted so badly in such a bold colour, but it’s become such a fun element in my wardrobe, and the perfect piece to add a pop of colour to an otherwise subdued outfit.
Visit Marshalls and Winners OFTEN…both stores have small designer sections and they do get great designer purses from time to time. I’ve seen Valentino, Gucci, Givenchy, Proenza Schouler, and Alexander McQueen purses in mint condition at these retailers. The only thing is, you can’t really think about it or they’ll be gone the next day. A solution, buy it on your TJMaxx card and you’ll have 30 days for a return, so plenty of time to make your decision.
Visit designer consignment shops for second hand purses in great condition. My favourite location in Vancouver is Turnabout Luxury Resale. They accept only items that are in really good condition, plus their team is experts in detecting the real thing (if you are worried about getting a fake). If the price is still too steep, check the date on the tags of when the item hit the floor. Consignment items get discounted for every month that they are not sold.
Buy off-season items…bright spring purses or beach totes bought in the winter months will most likely be on discount. Same goes for clutches and evening pieces in the heat of summer, as most of those items come out in the holiday season.
I hope those tips will lead you to your very own designer purse on discount!
Outfit details: Leather moto jacket, black and white striped sweater and floral trousers- Zara, black lace-up pumps- Hudson’s Bay, Proenza Schouler PS11 Tiny cross-body bag- The Room at Hudson’s Bay.
There’s nothing I love more than a whole lot of lust-worthy SHOES, which is why I am excited to return once again as host of Hudson’s Bay Vancouver’s Spring Shoe Event! And guess what…YOU ARE ALL INVITED!
On Thursday, May 12, 2016 from 6 – 8 pm, the second floor women’s shoe department will be the site of an exciting evening full of complimentary food and drink, an exclusive fashion show full of this season’s hottest shoe trends (hosted by yours truly), and the chance to win a $500 shopping spree! There will also be amazing event-only sales going on for just that evening.
As this is a private event, you’ll need a ticket to get in, and at just $10, it’s a steal…but if you buy ANY shoes that evening, you get $10 off with your ticket. So basically it’s a no brainer to come! Here’s the official event poster:
Tickets can be purchased by visiting the women’s shoe department at Hudson’s Bay downtown Vancouver anytime from now until before the event, however I am also giving away 3 pairs of tickets via my Instagram!!
Just look for the below photo on my feed and follow these steps:
Follow Me! (@ManaMansour)
Tag a girlfriend or a special lady who you’d love to bring as your date to the Spring Shoe Event.
You’ll get an extra chance to win if your date also follows the above steps and tags you back!
That’s it!! The winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 11 after 5 pm.
Oh suede…how do I love thee?? Let me count the ways! I’ve been LOVING how this soft luxurious fabric has made its way onto the top of the fashion trends these last few seasons. It’s also the perfect fabric to throw on during April’s unruly weather…one minute it’s sunny, the next minute it’s as nippy as an October day. Believe it or not, I have had this jacket since grade 11! Yep…it’s a miracle it’s lasted this long (and that it still fits!). When I dusted off this baby from the back of my closet, I was not only giddy, but I saw the perfect example of how cyclical fashion can be. With its grommets and bomber shape, the 1970’s is what this jacket pays a nod to, and we’ve seen that era’s influence in fashion come and go throughout the years. Just proves that if you buy a special piece of high quality that you love, KEEP IT! No need to buy another one…you never know when it will come back.
Since this jacket is sooo 1970’s, I took that influence into the other parts of my outfit. These brocade wide leg trousers matched the colouring and 70’s vibe of the suede perfectly, and they were a super affordable find at the Zara end of season sale. What 1970’s outfit is complete without a turtleneck, am I not right?? A turtleneck is a great layering piece under a suede jacket as it’s lightweight enough to not feel bulky but warm enough for cool spring days. I still wanted a polished look to my 1970’s disco vibe, so I paired it with sleek black accessories in the form of classic black pumps and my favourite oversized satchel handbag.
Since suede (and even faux suede) has made such the fashion comeback…tell me, how have you incorporated this fabric into your wardrobe??? Share in the comments below!
Outfit details: Suede jacket- Stone Ridge (bought when I was 16), black turtleneck- Zara, brocade wide-leg trousers- Zara, gold drop necklace- Ann Taylor, black pumps- Turnabout Luxury Resale, 3.1 Phillip Lim ‘Pashli’ satchel- Holt Renfrew, sunglasses- Forever 21.
We’ve had some pretty NASTY rain on and off in Vancouver these last few weeks, and despite having spring right around the corner, it sure doesn’t feel like it. Maybe it’s my Persian blood talking, but if it feels as cold as it has been, there’s no way I’m ditching my warm outerwear, no matter what month it is! However, a conundrum still remains: despite it not feeling like spring, the longing for spring colours is still there. Enter this textured fuzzy coat in this neutral tone. There’s something fantastical about a piece that reminds you both of high fashion and the Muppets, isn’t there?! This beauty of a coat does exactly that, and all for only $30, yep you read that right! More on that in a minute…
I had seen these fuzzy, Muppet-like coats on the runways the last few seasons, as well as on the top European fashion bloggers, but despite being immediately drawn to them, I wasn’t sure if my petite five-foot frame could sport them without looking like cookie monster’s long lost cousin…not the cute one either. So my heart kept longing for one of these terrifically textured babies for my closet, I even tried on a few different varieties, but it always ended the same, with me putting them back on the rack. It wasn’t until I saw this one on clearance at Forever 21 did I take the plunge.
Yes, the super affordable price made it easy to consider, but believe it or not, it was also because it was the first one I had tried on that had ANY shape. All the others were in that cocoon boxy shape, which may look great hanging off a tall waif model, but any girl with an actual figure ends up looking like a bit of a mess. This one was cut closer to the body, going in at the waist, and flaring slightly out. And the fabric was thinner than the previously heavier versions I had tried on. I also loved how the beige colour of the coat was the perfect neutral tone to go with multiple things in my wardrobe. Did I mention it was also only $30??? Score.
To counterbalance the heaviness of the coat, I wanted to pair it with lady-like vintage pieces. This polyester printed blouse came straight from my mom’s closet (purchased in the mid-1970’s), and this saddle cross-body bag I got from an amazing vintage store in Portland, Oregon. I had almost forgotten about this bag until the Chloé “Drew” bag recently revitalized the popular handbag silhouettes of the 1970’s, propelling imitations everywhere. Seeing these bags in almost every retailer this last year reminded me to bring this bag out from the back of my closet…I figure if you can’t afford a Chloé, a vintage bag is the next best thing! The jeans are the perfect feminine stretch skinnies jeans, finished off with my favourite nude pumps. Call it “Working Girl” meets street-style!
So tell me, would you sport a perfectly textured Muppet coat? 😉
Outfit details: Textured fuzzy coat- Forever 21, printed blouse- vintage (mom’s closet), denim skinny jeans- AG Jeans from Nordstrom, leather saddle bag- vintage, Saint Laurent nude pumps- Holt Renfrew
With a few more weeks of winter to endure, my warm coats and outerwear are still due for heavy rotation. But if you’re like me, the end of February is about the time when I long for a bit of variety. There’s only so much love I have for throwing on the same few coats over and over again, even for this winter wardrobe fan. So, to inject some much-needed diversity with my outerwear, I decided that playing with layering, specifically with denim, might be just the thing. As we all well know, denim jackets are not the warmest item, so I wanted to create an outfit that was layered in a way that allowed for a unique spin on my more lightweight denim pieces, while still keeping me toasty.
Full disclosure, a couple years back, I saw a fashion week streetstyle photo on WhoWhatWear with a very stylish women wearing a denim jacket under a single-breasted wool coat. Immediately I pinned that baby and kept it as a source of inspiration, hoping to recreate something similar. And I did just that with this OOTD, but added my own spin, a great black turtleneck underneath (which should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe) and some leopard print!
Enter Mana’s version of denim on denim, winter-style. I’m proud to say that everything in this outfit aside from my purse was purchased quite affordably, but when placed cohesively together, look far more expensive. In order to achieve that, I made sure my denim jacket and denim jeans were from the same colour family, and I kept the entire look fairly simple…sometimes less is more (just Google Emmanuelle Alt, the EIC of Vogue Paris to understand what I mean). If you want to try a multi-layered look with denim for your winter outfit, just make sure your top layer is fairly thin but roomy enough that it gives you enough space and comfort to wear a denim jacket underneath.
A last word on this fantabulous Givenchy purse I found at Marshalls…I hardly ever buy designer pieces at full price anymore, thanks to killer end of season sales and discount retailers like Marshalls or Winners. The key to this is PATIENCE…you’re not going to always find something with every visit, but when you do, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not you can match the piece with multiple outfits in your wardrobe. Often the designer pieces that head to discount retailers are only of that season, so they may be in funky patterns or colours that are not staples (staple colours like black etc. rarely go on sale). The discounted price, albeit tempting, may not be worth it in the end if you can’t get a lot of wear out of it. This purse was in a very neutral tan colour that I knew would go with pretty much anything in my closet- in other words, a great find!
Outfit details: Leopard coat- Forever 21, black turtleneck- Zara, denim jacket- American Eagle, denim skinny jeans- Zara, hat- Urban Outfitters, black loafers and Givenchy purse- Marshalls.
Today is my birthday, but funnily enough, growing up I always longed for a summer birthday…my envy for fellow classmates whose June or July birthdays allowed for backyard bbq’s or amusement park parties led to a bit of resentment for my winter birthday month. Not only were indoor activities a given, but freezing my tushy off wasn’t all that fun when celebrating. Now, that resentment has turned into pure excitement, and I have fashion to thank. I may not be frolicking in cute beachwear to ring in my February birthday (in Vancouver), but this season provides so many cute coats and layering outerwear to play with. Take this Sandro coat I purchased last winter, which has turned into one of my best purchases to date.
I pined for this baby for close to 6 months before scoring it at an end-of-season sale. It’s one of those coats that can easily be worn dressed up with a skirt and heels, or dressed down with jeans and some cute sneakers. I love the silver hardware mixed with the different textures of leather and fur on an otherwise standard a-line silhouette with a hood- it provides an edgy yet classic feel. In this birthday OOTD, I wanted to showcase exactly that, an outfit that’s somewhere in the middle between casual and elevated. Plaid sweatpants with booties anyone?? This combo somehow works when paired with some metallic accessories like this clutch (one of my favourites that I wear ALL the time), and a pretty handkerchief scarf. And the best part is I am still warm!
Cozy can be cool…it’s just a matter of finding some killer outerwear and adding some standout pieces.
Now where’s that birthday cake????? xx
Outfit details: Sandro coat- Hudson’s Bay, black sweater- H&M, plaid wool sweatpants- Zara, patent-leather booties- Winners, handkerchief scarf- Value Village, silver clutch- Town Shoes.
Nothing beats the thrill of a good fashion find…especially at a thrift or consignment store. Better yet when it’s in mint condition and at a wallet-friendly price. By now it’s no surprise to you all how much I love incorporating stylish preloved garments and accessories into my wardrobe, but I still get many of my readers and viewers asking, “how on earth do you find those gems Mana??!!”. Thrifting takes patience, practice, and an open mind. Also multiple visits, as stock is replenished frequently (daily for most thrift stores like Value Village, and weekly for more boutique consignment stores). Not all treasure hunts will amount in bounty, but if my last few visits to Value Village are any indication, there are hidden gems everywhere!
Case in point, this 70’s inspired outfit that was almost completely sourced from Value Village. The only exception? The blouse, taken from my mom’s closet (purchased in the actual 1970’s though!). But everything else, and I mean everything, was found on a thrifting adventure at Value Village. The standout piece is of course the fur and suede jacket, which was only $36. You should have seen the sheer excitement in my eyes when I spotted this gem, but funnily enough it was not in the coat section, but just hanging randomly within sweaters (a little side tip, keep your eye out throughout the store, and don’t overlook areas around mirrors where people have tried stuff on and left them). The jeans are mint condition J Brand bell bottoms, which were priced at $12, and with some minor alterations to the length costing $18, the total price came out to a bargain $30 (a huge win considering these babies retail for $250 brand new). The purse and brooch were both under $10 each, but their unique details give the entire look a very designer-esque feel. Total cost of the outfit: under $75!
So preloved fashion equals stylish and affordable, but the cherry on top? The benefits it has on our planet. Saving perfectly new clothes from being dumped in a landfill is an important choice that I encourage everyone to practice regularly. It will make you feel good on multiple levels, I promise!
Now that you have some inspiration, I want you to share your fabulous finds for the holiday season with me! I have teamed up with Value Village for an Instagram holiday contest, with the winner taking home a $100 Value Village gift certificate, good for use at any location! Use it for yourself or to help you pick out some unique gifts for the under the tree.