Monday, December 31, 2012

Starts with New Year's Resolutions...

Prada pointy pumps, Prada, holt renfrew boxing day

When the first of January rolls around in a few hours, there will be a collective scrambling across the world from folks promising to start anew. I'm no different. Except this year, in addition to resolving to continue to eat better and challenge myself fitness-wise, I'd like to add a few style resolutions:

1. Look in my own wardrobe first:  from restyling a thirteen year old dress to re-wearing a cherished statement necklace this year, I've realized how much potential lies in my closet. This year, I'd like to challenge myself to accessorize more and refresh existing pieces, and only purchasing new items to incorporate trends and styles I don't currently have. 

2. Embrace colour: Though I usually gravitate towards neutrals, this year I incorporated green, oxblood, and orange into my wardrobe. In the new year I'd like to continue this streak (and start with those impulse colour purchases in my closet that still have tags on them). 

3.  Continue to build and improve my blog: With six months under my belt, I've learned a lot thus far about blogging but acknowledge that I have a long way to go. I look forward to learning more and sharing more in 2013.

Happy New Year to you and all the best for 2013!

Starts with Inspiration: Year in Review

Today marks the end of 2012, and what a year it's been. Below are some of my top blogging moments of this year.


In July, Starts with Style  is born. After a year-long hiatus to allow me to plan my wedding (and get married!), I finally realize my dream to launch a refreshed and updated blog dedicated to personal style and fashion.


By sheer luck, I'm in Las Vegas during Fashion's Night Out. On this night of fashion being celebrated around the world with parties, sales, and amazing shopping, there was no better place than Las Vegas to take it all in. Champagne at Marc by Marc Jacobs, desserts at Tory Burch, and 30% off a H&M - it was the perfect way to end the trip! 


The peplum trend of 2012 was one I embraced with elation. Feminine, eye-catching, and versatile, I relished moments when I could wear my peplum tops. This was by-far one of my favourite ensembles of the year and I was so happy to wear this to a dear friend's wedding.

With the new year on its way, I look forward to sharing many more style moments with you as I continue to build my blog. What were your favourite style moments of 2012?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fashion News: Toronto Boxing Day Shopping!

Boxing Day shopping has been a standing tradition I share with my best friend. For the last ten years, it has been a standing date that we reserve to spend the morning with each other and end with a delicious lunch celebrating our purchases. 

While there's nothing quite as exciting as scoring a coveted item on sale in-store, the online chase is equally enthralling, without the hassle of communal change rooms or long lines. Here is my list of top Boxing Day shopping locations, both in-store and online:

Holt Renfrew: Boxing Day sale currently on with up to 50% off select Fall/Winter merchandise, additional 20% on December 26th. Stores open 7am on Boxing Day, Winnipeg opens at 10am, Quebec and Montreal open at 1pm. (No online shopping available)

Aritzia: 20-50% off Fall/Winter Merchandise. Stores open 7am on Boxing day with other in-store specials. Online and in-store

The Bay: 60% off Women's Fall and Winter collection, starts December 25th. Online and in-store

Banana Republic: Up to 50% off. Online and in-store

J.Crew: Currently additional 25% off final sale items. Online only with promo code TINSEL. 

SSense: Currently 50% off select items. Online only

Intermix: 50% off sale items, 15% off regular-priced items in-store. Boxing Day only.

TNT: All sale items up to 70% off. In-store only.

Sephora: Up to 40% off select items with other select items for $12. Online and in-store ($12 items available in-store only)

Davids Footwear: Fall sale currently on. In-store only.

Happy shopping!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Starts with Inspiration: Gifts for Her

Last minute shopping for a special girl in your life? Whether it's the love of your life, your BFF, or fashionable little sis, here are three gifts that any girl is sure to love. And if the Mister is reading this - wink wink nudge nudge.

The Hudson's Bay Company Collection woven cashmere scarf is soft, cozy, practical, and a great way to add a bit of colour to a winter wardrobe. This iconic symbol of Canadian heritage is perfect for the girl who's always cold (me!) and believes in function and fashion. Available at The Bay.
Hudson's Bay Company Collection, gifts for her
Something sparkly has never failed to elicit a smile. This statement bracelet from J.Crew has been on my wish list for a few months, and is perfect for the girl that loves arm candy and layering her jewelry.

J.Crew classic pave link bracelet, gifts for her

The ultimate luxury gift, the Gucci 1973 top handle bag is a classic shape and in this season's hot oxblood hue. For the girl who has everything, this is surely a piece that will be admired and treasured for years to come. Available at Holt Renfrew.

Gucci 1973 top handle bag, gifts for her

Image credits from top: The Bay, J.Crew, Holt Renfrew

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Starts with a little black dress...

The Little Black Dress. It's the ubiquitous staple on every "Wardrobe Essentials" list and it never never goes out of style. I purchased this strapless dress from Club Monaco thirteen years ago. It has clean lines and almost no embellishment at all, save for the satin tuxedo stripe down the side. The simplicity of this dress provides a neutral palette for dressing-up and dressing-down and it has gone from high school semi-formal (you read that right!), to cruise ship formal, to multiple weddings, and most recently,to my company holiday party. Even though its zipper finally broke a few weeks ago, I caved and had it fixed - I just can't let this go!

holiday outfit, little black dress, Club Monaco

Dress: Club Monaco (old)
Shoes: Elie Tahari
Jewelry: Cards & Presents (Queen St. West, Toronto) necklace, Tiffany & Co bracelet
Purse: Chanel

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Starts with holiday style: Tips from Anya Sarre, Celebrity Stylist

I am truly honoured to introduce Anya Sarre, one of Hollywood’s most influential trendsetters as a guest blogger today. A nationally recognized celebrity stylist, Sarre is known for her impeccable eye and ability to tie any look together with the perfect accessory. Named “Best Television Fashion Stylist” for her appearances on Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and countless other media outlets, Sarre is the go-to fashion expert for Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.

With holiday party in full swing, there's no better time than now to start thinking about how to make an outfit pop with festive flare while still keeping warm in the chilly weather. I was so pleased that Anya agreed to share her style advice with us, read on to find out more.

Shoedazzle, Anya Sarre, celebrity style, holiday style

Sparkle at Holiday Gatherings This Year with Winter-Wonderful Styles

As the weather cools and thoughts turn toward the winter holidays, you may be wondering how to dress for those holiday parties and family gatherings on your calendar. As always, be sure your clothing is warm and comfortable. Then check the full-length mirror to make sure everything is in place before you leave the house, and you’ll be on your way to turning heads all holiday season long.

Does this sound a little too easy? It really isn’t. Top designers to the stars know that the best way to look great on the red carpet or runway is for a star or model to feel good in an outfit. When people feel comfortable and confident, their inner beauty shines through, complementing their style.

This year’s winter fashions offer something for every woman to feel cozy and comfortable wearing. A top look currently is texture layering, which offers great ways to stay warm while sporting high-end fashions in cold weather. Quilted fabrics, knits, fur or faux fur, leather looks and more feature as some of the year’s hottest textures, and pairing two or more results in hot-off-the-runway fashions perfect for the holidays.

A popular quilted jacket pairs great with a short leather skirt and opaque tights. Add a little holiday fun to the mix by pairing festive shoes with this outfit. A pair of metallic pumps will work great.

Sweaters and other knit items keep women warm and fashionable this year, and holiday time is a great time to take advantage of sweaters featuring metallic threads and embellishments. Complement the sweater with matching jewelry in similar metallic colors, and add a pair of boots with fur embellishments to maximize texture.

Layering sweaters over button-down tops or mock turtlenecks is another great way to stay warm while playing stacking textures for maximum appeal. A silk scarf in festive colors added to this combination steps the outfit up just a little for another fabulous holiday style. This outfit can be completed with a pair of jeans, tailored pants or a classic pencil skirt.

With lots of popular textures available for winter wardrobes this year, style possibilities are endless. Have fun mixing and matching articles of clothing and accessories as you dress to impress for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wishlist: Etre Guernsey sweater

I'm a fan of nautical stripes (as evidenced here and here), but the damp chill of a Toronto winter means that filmy t-shirts and tanks are no longer viable wardrobe choices. When Dan from Etre contacted me a few weeks ago and introduced the 2012 Autumn/Winter collection I was immediately drawn to this sweater. Hand-crafted in the British Isles from worsted wool, this sweater is the perfect way to keep warm. The best part is that this sweater is unisex, which is perfect for those who gift-shop like me: "one for me, and one for you". 

Image credit: Etre

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fashion News: Aritzia now offers online shopping!

Aritzia online shopping, Aritzia new website, Aritzia

This morning, one of my favourite imports from Canada's West Coast (the other being Purdy's chocolate, but let's stick to fashion here), Aritzia, presented their new website along with....(drumroll please) shopping! 

You may have seen from my previous posts that a few many of my pieces are from Aritzia, namely their house-brands like Wilfred and T.Babaton. Their pieces are well-made and fit petite frames like a dream. In addition, there are the tried, tested, and true brands like Mackage, J.Brand, Citizens of Humanity and Paige that make Aritzia a go-to shop for wardrobe basics. 

Online shopping also means that come Boxing Day this year there's no more fighting the crowds and  no more communal fitting rooms!

Happy Shopping!

Image credit: Aritzia

Monday, November 26, 2012

Starts with with a leather top...

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend!

leather sweater, leather top, leather jacket, leather trend, Mackage leather jacket, Zara, Chanel classic flap, Louboutin Ron Ron

I love, love, love leather details. I think they add a great unexpected twist to pieces, and really helps add some edge. This green faux-leather sweater is currently one of my favourite pieces and it can be worn dressed-down for weekends, or paired with wool cropped dress pants for work. The plain front lends itself well to adding a statement necklace, but the leather detail also works well on its own.

leather sweater, leather top, leather jacket, leather trend, Mackage leather jacket, Zara, Chanel classic flap

For this particular weekend I paired it with a geometric statement necklace and a slim leather jacket. This jacket has actually been a staple in my wardrobe for a number of years. Its clean lines complemented by its eye-catching stitching helps keep it timeless while being chic.

leather sweater, leather top, leather jacket, leather trend, Mackage leather jacket, Zara, Chanel classic flap

I can't wait to find more ways to wear leather this season!

leather sweater, leather top, leather jacket, leather trend, Mackage leather jacket, Zara, Chanel classic flap, Louboutin Ron Ron

Top: Zara ( here, or similar here)
Jacket: Mackage for Aritzia
Bottom: J Brand
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bag: Chanel
Jewellery: Tiffany & Co gold necklace, Club Monaco black necklace (old), J.Crew bracelet

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wishlist: Yves Saint Laurent Arty Ring

YSL Arty Ring, Yves Saint Laurent Arty, holiday outfits, Net-a-porter

A few posts ago I talked about dress-shopping for the upcoming holiday season. But, should a new frock not be a line item in your budget, how about sprucing up an existing one with statement jewellery instead?  

I recently mourned the final end of a tried-tested-and-true little black dress. It was over thirteen years old (yes you read that right) and it's just not worth the money to have it repaired. Its clean lines and simple strapless style allowed this classic and eternally chic dress to be reinvented dozens of times. In fact, if I calculated cost-per-wear, I'd likely be in the pennies. For each event that I wore this dress to, I ensured that my accessories were different and where possible my hair style as well. Now that I'm shopping for a new staple LBD for my wardrobe, I'm also considering different ways to wear it. 

The YSL Arty ring has been on my radar for some time. But being as indecisive as I am I've never been able to commit to one style of this iconic piece. With the holidays coming up, maybe Santa will surprise me with one? I'm not picky - any one will do.

Image credit: Net-a-Porter
YSL Arty Ring available from Net-a-Porter and SSENSE (free shipping for limited time with code FREESHIPWW)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Starts with a graphic print sweater...

Happy Monday! This whimsical sweater takes the term "leopard print" to a whole different level. As a big fan of animal prints, how could I resist the print of literally, an animal?

Fall fashion, graphic print sweater, graphic sweater, leopard print sweater, Garage, Banana Republic, Artizia, oxblood pants

 Fall fashion, graphic print sweater, graphic sweater, leopard print sweater, Garage, Banana Republic, Artizia, oxblood pants

Fall fashion, graphic print sweater, graphic sweater, leopard print sweater, Garage, Banana Republic, Artizia, oxblood pants

Paired with my fall-favourite oxblood skinny pants, this is perfect for weekend lunches and casual Fridays. 
Hope you all have a great week!

Fall fashion, graphic print sweater, graphic sweater, leopard print sweater, Garage, Banana Republic, Artizia, oxblood pants

Sweater: Garage (also loving this version here)
Blazer: Banana Republic
Bottom: Aritzia
Shoes: Cole Haan
Jewellery: Marc Jacobs watch (old), Hermes bracelet, Tiffany & Co necklace
Sunglasses: D&G

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wishlist: J.Crew Collection framed bow dress

J Crew, Collection framed bow dress, black and white, holiday dress

Holiday party season is right around the corner and with it comes the familiar excitement of finding that perfect dress. Leading the race is this dress. It's chic, feminine, and perfectly exemplifies Fall's black and white graphic trend. The black framing creates the illusion of a slim waist, while the oversized bow provides an eye-catching and memorable dimension. No other jewellery is required with this dress - the details speak for themselves. 

Image credit: J.Crew

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fashion News: Joe Fresh launching online e-commerce

Fashion isn't just what you're wearing now - it's also what you're planning on wearing later. In this new segment, I hope to share with you fashion news that inspires, intrigues, and excites me. 

First piece of news? Joe Fresh is finally launching e-commerce! I've often drooled over a piece online only to find out when I visit the store that it's no longer in stock or no longer in my size. As reported by Glamour magazine, as part of a deal with JC Penny, Joe Fresh will be available online starting Spring 2013.

Until then, Joe Fresh is available to Canadians in select Loblaws stores, Real Canadian Superstores and standalone stores.

Better late than never, right?

Joe Fresh

Image credit: Joe Fresh

Starts with tangerine accessories...

Fall's ode to tangerine is either a blessing or a curse depending on your comfort with bright colours. For colour-phobes (like me), it's a good push to try something new. That's not to say you have to go all out at the gate - here are a few ways to incorporate tangerine (or as I like to call it, "electric persimmon") into your ensemble.

Starting small with accessories in this stand-out hue is a good, albeit more conservative approach to incorporating colour. 

For the truly faint of heart, a tangerine bangle is a good start:

wearing orange, Chanel classic flap, Zara, Fall Fashion, J.Crew

For the determined novice, a statement necklace in this stand-out hue:
wearing orange, Chanel classic flap, Zara, Fall Fashion, J.Crew


Ready for more? A tangerine scarf is the perfect way to elevate an otherwise neutral ensemble.

wearing orange, Chanel classic flap, Zara, Fall Fashion, J.Crew

Colour Pro

Finally, a tangerine cardigan paired with golds and browns will make any Fall day seem sunny. Because of the cardigan's stand-out colour, I've opted to keep accessories simple to let the colour really speak for itself.

wearing orange, Chanel classic flap, Fall Fashion, J.Crew, riding boots

wearing orange, Chanel classic flap, Fall Fashion, J.Crew, riding boots

wearing orange, Chanel classic flap, Fall Fashion, J.Crew

Jacket: Zara (old, loving this luxe version here and this fun version here)
Cardigan: J.Crew (currently on sale)
Blouse: J.Crew
Jewellery: Tag Heuer, Hermes, Tiffany & Co, custom pearls, J.Crew
Sunglasses: D&G
Scarf: J.Crew
Belt: Gap
Bottom: J.Crew
Boots: Cole Haan

Monday, November 5, 2012

Starts with a faux fur scarf...

Things are definitely getting chilly. In place of a statement necklace this weekend, I opted for a statement neck-warmer instead.

fur scarf, fall fashion, winter fashion, faux fur scar, winter coats

I paired this wonderfully cosy accessory with an otherwise neutral outfit for a brisk afternoon stroll.

Sometimes cold-weather dressing can be tricky. How can one elevate outerwear and make seemingly repetitive ensembles look different day to day? After all, one can only own so many coats. 

fur scarf, fall fashion, winter fashion, faux fur scar, winter coats

One way I do this is to keep a small collection of  outerwear with pieces that are distinctively different from each other but still highly functional. I have a warm parka for extra frigid days, and three wool coats: one short, one medium-length, and one long. Each wool coat is also a different colour from the other and with a unique detail (like a funnel collar or leather trim). The varying lengths also ensure something for every occasion. 

This olive wool jacket for example, has a great oversized collar for extra warmth and frames the fur scarf nicely.

fur scarf, fall fashion, winter fashion, faux fur scar, winter coats, Louis Vuitton Neverfull, over the knee boots
fur scarf, fall fashion, winter fashion, faux fur scar, winter coats, Louis Vuitton Neverfull, over the knee boots

In addition, I use scarves and other accessories to dress-up or dress-down the coats, allowing for even more versatility. And don't forget about bags and boots! As I rule, I tend to not spend too much money on expensive winter boots, as I know inevitably they will get damaged by the salt and slush.   

For those of you in chilly climates - how do you combat winter outfit blahs?

fur scarf, fall fashion, winter fashion, faux fur scar, winter coats

Scarf: Zara (this year's version here)
Jacket: United Colors of Benetton (also loving this version here)
Top: Joe Fresh
Bottom: Abercrombie & Fitch
Belt: Gap
Boots: Expression by The Bay (similar here and splurge-worthy version here)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Starts with Inspiration: Banana Republic's Anna Karenina Capsule Collection

On November 1st, Banana Republic is holding an After 5 event to celebrate the Anna Karenina Capsule Collection. 

Starting at 5 o'clock, all pieces from this collection will be 25% off (or 35% off for BananaCard, GapCard, or Old Navy Card holders). As I like to be ever-prepared for any kind of sale, I've scoped out the collection and picked out my top 3 pieces:

The lace front cardigan. The black on white contrast perfectly showcases the detail of the lace and offers an unexpected, feminine way to wear Fall's black/white combo trend. 

Banana Republic Anna Karenina, Fall fashion, lace cardigan

The Sonia faux-fur stole. An affordable and animal friendly version of my favourite Fall/Winter accessory to date. Perfectly cosy, supremely chic and surprisingly versatile, I envision wearing this for weekends layered with a leather jacket, or for work with a chic wool trench.

Banana Republic Anna Karenina, Fall fashion, fur scarf, fur stole, faux fur

The black faux-fur vest. I've found it hard to find an affordable but high-quality fur vest this season. This version looks to be well-made and is different from others I've seen with its adjustable waist (a definite plus to avoid looking too boxy) and pockets! This could be worn alone, or for colder days, layered underneath a contrasting trench or leather jacket for an unexpected way to fight the cold. 

Banana Republic Anna Karenina, Fall fashion, fur vest, faux fur

Find your closest Banana Republic to shop Thursday's sale here
See the rest of Banana Republic Anna Karenina Capsule Collection here

All images from Banana Republic

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wishlist: J.Crew Crystal-encrusted collar necklace

J.Crew crystal encrusted necklace, statement necklace, Fall accessories
I've never been shy about my love of statement necklaces, and now is not the time for whispered adoration. This crystal and jewelled beauty is the perfect accent piece for Fall burgundies and navies and the perfect amount of glam juxtaposed with edgy leather. As my mother always told me, "If you can't wear a nice statement necklace, don't wear anything at all". (Or something like that, right?)

Necklace available here
Image source: J.Crew

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Starts with a wool cape...

Halloween is around the corner but there's nothing wizardly or witch-like about the wool cape. It's the perfect transitional piece before the big coats come out, and the cinched waist on this version helps keep the wearer from looking too overwhelmed by the layers.

Fall Fashion, cape, Barney's Co-Op, Smoking slippers

Fall Fashion, cape, Barney's Co-Op, Smoking slippers

Leather trimming, satin lining,  and an exaggerated collar also add dimension.

Fall Fashion, cape, Barney's Co-Op, Smoking slippers

Fall Fashion, cape, Barney's Co-Op, Smoking slippers

In the season of pumpkin-spiced lattes and colourful leaves, there's nothing like a cozy coat to help make chilly walks that much better.

Photobucket Photobucket

Cape: Barney's Co-op (old, similar here and here)
Bottom: Paige
Shoes: Banana Republic
Jewellery: Michael Kors
Wallet: Marc Jacobs