As summer winds down, I am trying to get the most wear out of my dresses and strappy heels before the weather is too crisp to even think about putting them on. It’s also around this time that wearing transitional garments is key, in other words, items in your closet that work well for both seasons. A great choice is a dark print, like this French Connection dress. Dark prints have a dark background (either black or jewel tones) unlike their summer counterpart that is usually against white and have neon or pastel florals. This dress fits that bill but the cut is great for the last weeks of warm weather. Later on, it can be easily paired with black tights, a leather moto jacket and booties.
This also brings me to the topic of prints. Anyone who knows my style knows well enough how much I love bold, bright prints. If you think that wearing bold prints will make you look larger or that they are too loud, think again! Prints can actually be utilized to take attention away from certain parts of your body that you want to mask, while injecting a refreshing and colourful spin on any outfit. And especially considering the huge influence the 1960’s and 1970’s are having in fashion right now, injecting prints into your wardrobe couldn’t be more current and fashion-forward!
There are a few tricks on wearing bold prints that I want to share. Firstly, keep in mind that large prints give the impression of a greater surface area, so if you are a bit more curvy, best to stick to smaller patterns that are tightly grouped together. The smaller the print, the smaller the frame appears to the eye. A great way to choose a print, say like a floral, is to make sure the flowers are no larger than your hand span.
And finally, it’s important to anchor vibrant patterns with a strong block colour. A great way to choose which colour is to pick out a colour from the print, like I have done with my accessories here. The black belt and black purse (taken from the black background of the print) anchors the look, while the blue shoes, taken from the same blue colour of the print, creates a cohesive look without adding any extra busyness.
This #OOTD photo series is the first part in my collaboration with the immensely talented Ellen Ho of Hong Photography. Ellen has captured me for different editorials throughout the years and her spirit, talent and vision never ceases to amaze me. Also, a huge thank you to the beautiful Gurveen of Pink Orchid Studio for working her magic on my hair and makeup. Gurveen so effortlessly brought my vision to life and I felt so beautiful. Excited to share more photos coming soon!
Many folks don’t know that I am a major eyeglasses junkie. This is in part due to my substantial blindness (I wear contacts on camera or I wouldn’t even be able to see the person I am interviewing), and to the fact that I absolutely love eyewear. It’s fashion for your face!! I figure if you’re going to be blind, you might as well have fun with it, am I not right!? Currently I own about 6 pairs of glasses, and before you think that’s a bit excessive, it’s a collection that I have curated over a number of years. Each pair works with a different type of outfit or mood that I am sporting. For example, I have super masculine thick-framed glasses for when I am doing more of an edgy look, and a couple classic cat-eyes in different colour combinations for when I want to look fashion-forward and flirty. However, no matter the style of frames, they all work well with my face…an important eyewear rule that I’ve mastered after so many years of blindness.
If you’re in the market to purchase a new set of frames, I want to impart on you what I have learnt. Trying on numerous pairs until you find the perfect one is a given, but below you’ll find my list of top 5 tips on how to best select eyeglasses, which I know will save you time and some of the overwhelming feelings that come with the experience.
Fit trumps trend – If you’ve ever said “I want those insane frames Rihanna wore!!” Stop right there. Before you even consider any pair of glasses, make sure the frames first and foremost fit you well, rather than what’s trendy in the magazines. Let’s face it, eyewear is expensive, especially prescription eyeglasses, and it’s an accessory that you will not be buying often, so make sure it’s the best possible choice rather than the choice of the moment.
Proportion – Speaking of fit, your frames should be well proportioned with the rest of your face. A general rule is that the frames should be about the same width of your face, not too wide that it takes it over, and not too narrow that it cuts off any of your features. The top of your frames should hit your eyebrows. Sunglasses are the exception of course (sometimes bigger is better!). But remember, what looks good as sunglasses not always translates with prescription eyeglasses.
Contrast – Glasses are an excellent way to enhance features on your face that need a bit of help. In order to do that, it’s all about finding something that nicely contrasts with your natural features. For example, if you have rounder features, go for more angular-shaped glasses. On the other hand, if you have more angular features, create the illusion of softness with a rounder shape.
Color – Choose a colour that works well with your skin tone and hair colour. The safe bet is always neutrals, be it black, grey, tortoise or even clear, but sometimes a bright hue can work wonders, like a blue or a red. It’s up to you how big of a statement you want to make. But again, it’s about finding something that works well for you…in other words, a colour that you won’t get sick of, no matter what colour that is.
Quality – Prescription eyeglasses isn’t the area to be cutting corners. A great quality pair of frames and lenses will last you for years, and that’s important for something that has so much repeated use. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean you must buy from famous brand names like Prada or Gucci (as much as I love those lines). I know of some great hand-made, even local brands that produce high-quality and stylish pieces. Also, if your budget allows, try to get the best anti-reflective scratch resistant lenses possible, it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Now that you know some tips on how to select a pair of glasses, it’s all about where to shop! In Vancouver, there is only one place that offers the most stylish selection with a killer customer experience and that is The Optical Boutique in Kerrisdale. This is where I found these amazing J.F. Rey houndstooth cat-eye frames seen here under the wonderful guidance and expertise of owner Sue Randhawa (who also happens to be one of Vancouver’s most stylish women and a dear friend). There has not been one time when I am wearing these frames that I don’t get some sort of compliment…they definitely turn heads! However, in addition to the cutting-edge European labels The Optical Boutique carries, they also have a great assortment of more classic shapes and styles, so there is really something for everyone. Plus, an afternoon chatting with Sue leaves you with nothing but a big smile on your face. I’m excited to report that right now The Optical Boutique is having a moving sale! On September 30th they are moving into their new bigger space in Kerrisdale and until then, they are offering great deals on their current stock. Happy Shopping!
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.
By now it’s pretty obvious how much I love fashion, but especially when it supports something I truly believe in. When I found out that Vancouver-based charity the Cause We Care foundation had teamed up once again with Aritzia to produce a line of their La Notte t-shirts benefitting single mothers and their children in need, I had to get behind it. Since 2007 the Cause We Care Foundation has provided assistance to those dealing with poverty through their community outreach initiatives such as subsidized housing and after-school programs. The Artizia La Notte uber-cool graphic t-shirts share important messages that urge the public to put “Women and Children first”, while proceeds help support the YWCA Cause We Care House. I’ve dressed mine up, pairing it with a Mango lady-like skirt, a vintage jean vest, a vintage clutch borrowed from my mom (had to include a part of my mom in this outfit), a vintage belt from Value Village, and Jessica Simpson pony hair strappy sandals from Hudson’s Bay, but you can easily wear this shirt with just a pair of jeans or as part of your activewear.
These t-shirts also make a great last-minute Mother’s Day gift, and can be purchased here. The Cause We Care Foundation is also doing some other Mother’s Day initiatives, like Coif it up for a Cause this Saturday, May 10 at Halo Salon. To learn more about this event and what Cause We Care does in our community, visit www.causewecare.org.
This time of the year is one of my favourites. Warmer weather means ditching bulky winter coats, but spring breezes along with cool nights means the substitute is chic layered pieces that doesn’t make you feel too hot. As someone who could be classified as blazer-obsessed, I love finding new patterns and colours in this classic shape that elevate it from business to fashion-forward. Plus, it’s my go-to item for creating the perfect spring look that can be both casual yet sophisticated.
To showcase this perfect transitional piece, I teamed up with my favourite local street style photographers, StreetScout.Me, led by the talented dynamic duo (in both life and in business) Sabrina Fenster and Jeremy Levy. Coming from marketing and fashion editorial backgrounds, StreetScout.Me was created to showcase the realistic side of fashion, and show the rest of Canada just how relatable fashion actually can be. I’d say that’s a mandate after my own heart! Sabrina’s older brother is a good friend and broadcasting colleague of mine, and was my principal videographer/editor of the show I created, West Coast Style. For so long I’ve been hoping to collaborate with his equally as creative sister, and was so happy to finally make it happen now that Sabrina and Jeremy call Vancouver home. You may have seen their shots on recognizable publications such as Fashion Magazine, but here is our transitional styling shoot:
It’s no doubt that Vancouver is on the verge of a fashion revival thanks in part to a long list of new retailers popping up in the city. In the last year alone, US heavyweights like Victoria Secret, Tory Burch, LOFT, and Marshalls have opened Vancouver locations, allowing a more diverse offering for Vancouver shoppers. But if big store brands or retailers aren’t your cup of tea, here’s a list of new boutique openings that favour a more exclusive, one-of-a-kind experience:
1.Max Mara ‘s Bridal Boutique, the first in North America (3025 Granville Street)
Tucked away at the back of the new 3,850 square foot Max Mara Vancouver flagship location (previously the Windsor Gallery), the bridal boutique offers an intimate and personalized shopping experience that’s by appointment only. Up until now, brides looking for the iconic Italian brand’s wedding gowns had to fly to Europe, and even then, only to certain locations.
Holding one of Max Mara’s bridal gowns in their new Vancouver bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena.
Today, Max Mara’s Vancouver bridal boutique offers 14 Giambattista Valli-designed gowns to choose from through a prêt-à-porter concept, meaning that all size runs of the gowns are kept in stock at the store, with in-house dressmakers doing custom-fit alternations in as little as one day. This way, no Max Mara bride has to wait months for her gown to arrive before a fitting.
Chic accessories at Max Mara’s Vancouver bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena.
A beautifully displayed Giambattista Valli- designed bridal gown stands at Max Mara’s Vancouver bridal boutique. Photo by Viranlly Liemena.
When touring the shop with Catherine Guadagnuolo, president of Vestis Fashion Group, who introduced Max Mara to the Vancouver market 30 years ago, I was taken by the luxurious fabrics like silk tulle, and the classic simplicity that the gowns offered, proving that head-to-toe beading and sequins aren’t always required for a glamorous wedding day ensemble. Where Max Mara offered sparkle was in their delicate accessories, such as tiaras, headpieces and veils. But perhaps the biggest surprise of my tour was discovering the price points; all the gowns range from about $2,500 to $4,000, a welcome notion when buying probably the most expensive purchase in your closet.
2. Judith and Charles West Fourth Avenue(2207 West 4th Ave.)
I’ve been a long-time fan of Judith and Charles, the Canadian womenswear brand that was founded in 2008 by duo, Judith Richardson and Charles Le Pierrès. What drew me to the brand and keeps me a fan today has always been their extremely well executed tailoring, and fresh approach to modern office attire. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Judith and Charles was opening a new location in my Kitsilano neighbourhood, their third in Vancouver, giving me a dangerous proximity to their gorgeous and timeless pieces like blazers, pencil skirts and day-to-night dresses.
Beautifully displayed separates and sweaters line the shelves of Judith and Charles’ new West 4th boutique. Photo by Hong Photography.
I recently visited Judith and Charles’ new West Fourth location during their launch party, and was greeted by a much larger store, set against a clean white backdrop, carrying the brand’s full collection, including some much-coveted accessories. Read my full Judith and Charles’ experience on Vancity Buzz, in the meantime, here are some highlights from the launch:
3. Obviously Chic Pop Up Shop, Open until April 7(At The Chinatown Experiment, 434 Columbia Street)
Inside Obviously Chic’s Vancouver Pop Up at The Chinatown Experiment.
An explosion of sparkle and girly gorgeousness has made its way into Vancouver’s Chinatown by way of online retailer Obviously Chic. Located at rotating shop space The Chinatown Experiment, Obviously Chic’s first Vancouver popup offers much of what shoppers have come to expect from its fun e-commerce site: shabby chic décor, statement necklaces, flirty tutus, and feminine pieces that beg for a night on the town with your closest girlfriends.
Lovely ladies modelling Obviously Chic’s girly and fun merchandise.
Tutus, graphic tees and statement necklaces make up Obviously Chic’s must-visit Pop Up in Chinatown.
Owner and founder Jessica Cote began doing popups for her online store five years ago in her native Saskatchewan, and has still stuck to her original mandate of providing must-have pieces that are affordable…like seriously affordable, most items are under $100. But hurry, the Obviously Chic Vancouver pop up is only open until Monday, April 7 before taking its gems to the next lucky town.
Today is the first official day of spring, and for my fellow Iranians around the world, the spring equinox also marks the beginning of a new year, known as Nowruz. I love this time of the year, it’s not only a happy celebration full of yummy food and warm visits from family and friends, but it also means for a renewal and a refresh of our homes and closets, something I always look forward to.
My love for the spring season was fully realized when I was asked by Pacific Centre to host and style Sunday Occasion, their charity spring fashion runway show, just held last week. It was such an honour being involved with this event; in addition to having the chance to inspire attendees on incorporating the hottest spring trends using mall retailers, 100% of proceeds went to an incredibly vital organization in our community, Coast Mental Health. I am happy to say that the event was a complete sell out, with 150 fashion-loving guests being treated to an afternoon of delicious food, cocktails and three runway shows from Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen and finally, Pacific Centre retailers (styled by me)!
Coast Mental Health Foundation’s Board of Governors Chair, Shirley Broadfoot, addresses the crowd.
To celebrate the arrival of spring, here is a breakdown of some of my favourite looks from my runway presentation, along with which Pacific Centre retailers I used to create them. My inspiration was simple: I wanted to show men and women simple ways to recreate the hottest spring trends from international runways (Paris, Milan and New York), while using a variety of accessible price points.
Look #1: A Men’s Dressy Look
This look was inspired by mid-century modern styles we saw in men’s runway shows, think 1950’s, 3-piece suits with fluid lines and softer fabrics. We saw that in the men’s Armani runway show and now we see it in a 3-piece khaki suit from Le Chateau. I paired it with a navy polka dot dress shirt from Banana Republic, a brown leather belt from Coach, Ted Baker brown leather loafers from Town Shoes, Tom Ford wafer-style sunglasses from Eyes Inspire, finished off with a fun men’s umbrella from Coach, to be prepared for when the Spring showers hit.
Look #2: A Women’s Dressy Look, Perfect for the Office
This look was inspired by floral and neon trends we saw from Oscar de la Renta and Michael Kors. Don’t be afraid of incorporating neon hues for the office, in a sea of black and grey, adding pops of colour in your work attire is a great way to freshen it up and make it fashion-forward. Here I have put the model in a hot pink and black floral blouse from Banana Republic, a hot pink blazer from Ever New, pencil leg dress pants from Judith and Charles, a black leather handbag and gold pointy-toe pumps from Miss Sixty, finished off with a classic pair of Dolce and Gabbana cat-eye sunglasses from Eyes Inspire.
Look #3: A Casual Men’s Look, the “Jet-Setter”
After a long workweek, it’s time to have fun on the weekend. Casual wear is a perfect chance to experiment and play with fashion. This casual look was inspired by the floral prints we saw (even for the men!) in menswear shows like Prada and Dries van Noten. Gentlemen, if floral is a bit intimidating for you, do it in more subdued tones like Navy and blue (another big trend), seen in this shirt from Le Chateau. It’s put together with pink khakis pants and matching canvas and leather belt from the Gap (pastel hues are also another major Spring trend, more on that in another look), a denim jacket from Mexx, brown leather loafers (no socks!) from Geox, a brown leather duffle bag from Coach (perfect for any spring getaway, and then finished off with Gucci aviator sunglasses from Eyes Inspire.
Look #4: A Casual Women’s Look, “Weekend Sparkle”
For this look, I was inspired by the embellishment trend we saw on runway shows like Marni and Balanciaga. Casual pieces that are transformed with sequins, studs and crystals, either all over or on select places like collars and cuffs. To showcase this I put our model in an embellished denim shirt from Ever New, which can be dressed up or down. I paired the denim shirt with Kelly green trousers and a hot pink thin belt from Banana Republic and finished with Kate Spade + Keds sneakers from Town Shoes that had a fun polka dot pattern and hints of hot pink.
Look #5: A Casual Men’s Look that Screams the Navy Colour Trend
Stars like Kevin Spacey opted for navy suits rather than the traditional black at this year’s Oscars red carpet, and here I’m showing you different ways to wear navy in a more casual look, starting with a lightweight linen navy shirt from Banana Republic. It’s paired with striped navy and cream Bermuda shorts and a cream belt from RW&Co., a red and navy nylon bomber jacket (a bomber jacket is the perfect spring alternative for layering), Ted Baker brown leather loafers with contrast laces from Town Shoes, and finished off with Prada sunglasses from Eyes Inspire.
Look #6: A Casual Women’s Look, “Perfect Pastels”
As mentioned before, spring 2014 runways screamed pastel hues, from accessories to evening wear to coats. This pastel look, also has another major trend I saw on the spring 2014 runways: leather biker jackets in pretty much any pastel colour, not in traditional black! Versace gave us pink pastel biker jackets for women and here I’m giving you one from Club Monaco. The rest of the look played on other trends as well, floral shorts from Ever New, a cotton white tee from RW&Co., white leather wedge sandals from Le Chateau and an Inzi black and white striped faux leather clutch from Town Shoes, demonstrating how easy it is to mix print on print!
Look #7: A Casual Women’s Look, the On-the-Go “Sports Lux”
In Vancouver we love to be active and comfortable, be it walking on the seawall or running around doing weekend errands. But that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice style for comfort or functionality. This is what I am calling my sports lux look, inspired by the rise of chic sporty elements in high fashion. It all starts with this comfortable stretchy zip black and white graphic patterned dress from Club Monaco. I put it under this fabulous, water resistant black polyurethane trench coat from Banana Republic, a neon green baseball cap from J.Crew and neon pink and green New Balance sneakers from Town Shoes. Being sporty never looked so good!
I hope you can take some of these trends and incorporate them into your spring wardrobe. A big thank you to Pacific Centre for their amazing partnership, and to Holt Renfrew Vancouver for dressing me for Sunday Occasion in a Peter Pilotto dress and Jimmy Choo nude heels.
OUTFIT DETAILS || Urban Outfitters hat, Forever 21 leopard-print coat, H&M sweater, J Brand Oxblood Coated Skinnies (bought at Hudson’s Bay), Dolce Vita leather booties, Banana Republic gold chain necklace, Stella and Dot “Renegade Cluster” bracelet, Michael Kors watch and 3.1 Phillip Lim “Pashli” satchel. Photography by Mitra Mansour.
When the sun comes out in Vancouver, just like a caged animal that’s given it’s first taste of freedom, I can’t wait to go outside. I am not a rainy weather person at all (I blame my Middle Eastern blood), and after living in Vancouver for 27 years, you’d think I would have adapted to our wet West Coast winters, but it’s quite the opposite. That’s why when the sun peered its glorious head this week, I had to take full advantage with a stroll in my Kitsilano neighbourhood, which also meant a chance to ditch my scarf and gloves for the first time all year- yes! In keeping with what seemed like a caged animal mindset for weeks, I pulled out my favourite coat purchase from this last season to finish off my outfit of the day: an affordable leopard-print coat from Forever 21 that’s actually quite light-weight, perfect for the changing seasons. Spring is on its way folks!
I am so excited and honoured to announce that I have partnered once again with Pacific Centre to host their upcoming spring trends event, Sunday Occasion. Imagine an intimate Sunday morning filled with delicious eats, sparkling cocktails, and a runway filled with the latest spring looks for both men and women from your favourite Pacific Centre retailers, all benefiting a vital charitable organization in our community…I call that a perfect way to spend a weekend!
Tickets to Sunday Occasion are $50, and 100% of proceeds go to Coast Mental Health. If you already aren’t aware of Coast Mental Health’s important work, they’re a non-profit private organization that supports recovery from mental illness by providing intervention and care, including meal and clothing programs, and supported housing. As a token of appreciation and to get your Spring wardrobe started, all guests will also receive a $50 Cadillac Fairview SHOP! CARD® gift card.
I will be styling and presenting my top Spring 2014 looks, along with Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen in an exclusive runway presentation that only Spring Occasion guests will see. But tickets are limited, so purchase your ticket here.
Lastly, thank you to the amazingly talented Ellen Ho for the beautiful headshot.
At one time or another we’ve all experienced major closet envy of our fashionable friends. Rather than hoping to borrow from their closets, why not just buy their pieces for keeps? Well, this weekend you finally can at The Relovables Pop-Up Shop. Some of Vancouver’s most fashionable men and women have united to part with their gently pre-loved clothing, shoes and accessories, including designer items at amazing prices…and they’ve invited me to be a part of it.
Dickson Li (Dragon/Thirty-two, Snowboard Apparel Industry)
Dexter Dolores (Interior Designer/Style Apparent)
If you’re not excited already then perhaps you will be knowing that the talented Carlie Wong will also be selling pieces from her runway collection at major discount, and as you can see from my West Coast Style feature on Carlie, her creations are beyond chic: