Spring/Summer 2013: Trends (for the laypeople)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Follw Emily on Twitter: @em_rossco

While we’ve all been marveling at the F/W trends on the runways of various fashion weeks, let’s take a moment to not set our sets too far ahead and peep what we’ll be wearing if spring OR summer finally decide to grace us with their presence.  Here are a few trends explained with options from local stores that are a little more in a normal person price range. And hey, if there are any items to skimp on quality with, it’s trendy items. Cause if Project Runway has taught me one thing it’s that one-day you’re in, the next you’re out.


As Erin mentioned, if you’re not already, you should be doing crunches. Gym? Crunches. Grocery shopping? Crunches. Eating bacon? Crunches. You’ll need your abs to be toight if you’re planning in partaking in the crop trend happening this summer. Everything from blouses to basic t-shirts are shrunken to show off your muffin top. So start up Kanye’s workout plan ASAP.

Clockwise starting at top left: TopShop, UrbanOutfitters,  Zara, UrbanOutfitters

90s Grunge

Been hiding your Nirvana fangirl tendencies since 1991? Don’t fret. 90s grunge is back. Seen in subtle prints and cuts, it’s not full on Kurt Cobain, but you’ll be able to infuse a few badass pieces into your flowy summer wardrobe.

Clockwise starting at top left: Topshop, Zara, H&M, Topshop


I feel like this trends has been around for a while. I guess its classic appeal lends itself to most seasons. I love the idea of pairing something so delicate and feminine with say a 90’s grunge piece or even a burglar stripe. They say contrast is the spice of life, right?

Clockwise starting at top left: Topshop, H&M, H&M, Zara

Burglar Stripes

With mod influences seen in every store, it’s not surprising the black and white motif has morphed into a fashion favourite - the stripe. Horizontal, vertical, maybe even diagonal, you’ll be seeing these everywhere with every girl hoping that they will help her resemble Coco Rocha. If only I could rock a full strip pant suit (sigh).

Clock wise starting at top left: Urban Outfitters, Zara, Zara, ClubMonaco

Perhaps this post will have the opposite effect of Murphy’s Law and spring will arrive tomorrow and Erin will be able to wear different shoes. And we will all rejoice by fashioning an on-trend ensemble combining 90s grunge, crop tops, lace, stripes, and cutouts in the most formidable display of power clashing.

Blubird Hearts Partyskirts

Monday, March 18, 2013
Follow Mary on Twitter: @marydotwu

If you know Blubird, you know that it is decadence and edge all in one brightly-lit store -- beautifully packaged Fresh cosmetics, open-backed Helmut Lang t-shirts. There isn't a more perfect place to host the spring launch of Partyskirts, the Vancouver-made miniskirt collection with a colour selection that rivals American Apparel.

Partyskirts was started by sisters Lauren and Mariel Armstrong. You can read the origin story on their website, or in a nutshell...

Lauren & Mariel: HORRORS! There are no miniskirts in our wardrobe!
Their mom: Fear not! I will make two adorable miniskirts for you!
Boutiques/fashionistas everywhere: OMG WHERE DID YOU GET THAT??
L & M: Our mom made it!

Now that the Armstrong sisters have brought Partyskirts to the masses, the launch at Blubird drew in tons of stylish folks to admire, try on, and even buy a skirt or two of their own. As evidenced by the models and mannequins at the launch party, you can literally pair a Partyskirt with anything - cropped leather jackets, sweaters, tanks, t-shirts, floral jackets. 

With that kind of versatility, the $195 for a locally-made luxury item really does not seem that steep. Partyskirts are 100% silk (luxury!), and are specifically pleated so they poof out without a crinoline (fun!). The colours are gorgeous (ooh la la!), and with the right heels, the skirts create the illusion of legs for days. At least, that's the sense I got from all the ridiculously pretty models walking around in them. I'll just go back to stuffing my face with canapés, and dreaming of Partyskirts in oxblood.

Spring/Summer 2013: Plenty to Choose From

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarallin

I recently checked out Plenty’s Favourites Spring 2013 event. Hosted by FASHION Magazine’s Joy Pecknold, and featuring outfits selected by the ladies from The Style Common, the event makes me wish more than ever that spring would actually arrive.

Established in Vancouver in 1989 (just like me!), Plenty stocks a wide variety of international and in-house brands. I’ve always liked Plenty’s mix of brands because they’re great at achieving a balance of on-trend, and classic pieces. This spring’s collection is no exception, and with that, here are my favourite picks:

For the ladies:

I absolutely love this Maison Scotch vest, and need it in my wardrobe ASAP (nickels currently being saved). The photo really doesn’t do all of the details justice. As someone who lives in jean jackets three-quarters of the year, this vest is a much-needed alternative.

I love a good print, and this GREYLIN top with bird motif is nice and bright without being too busy. Using this blog as personal therapy side note: I’m slightly terrified of birds, but love all bird clothing and jewelry. Is this normal?

Every summer I make a huge list of things I’m going to DIY, and after about 3 botched projects, I finally give up. These Free People cutoffs embrace my uselessness, and add the lace trim for me. Well worth the investment.

This OBEY hat is a great way for girls to dip their toes into the sportswear trend, with the floral pattern keeping things feminine. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure this is a women’s hat, not that I’ve been stopped from shopping in the men’s section before.

Spring colours even sneak their way into jewelry!

DV Dolce Vita sandals with the slightest of a wedge, so you can sneak an extra inch without your feet feeling it.

For the fellas:

OBEY is one of my favourite menswear lines. This tank is great for summer festivals, or for Americans who want to celebrate the Fourth of July without slapping a giant American flag on their clothes.

RVCA shorts are a good mix of tailored and casual. A nice alternative to the Vancouver habit of guys wearing board shorts everywhere.

Original Penguin makes great button up shirts, and this check has some nice spring colours.

Men take note: women like guys who read. That being said, I won’t tell if you wait to wear this Out of Print Clothing Great Gatsby shirt until after the Baz Luhrmann movie comes out.

With that I am done. Thanks for reading, and for being my bird-issues therapist. Perhaps you’ll see one of the few additional items I picked up at the event on the blog soon (I think I may have a shopping problem, but that’s a whole other therapy session).

Spring/Summer 2013: Trends

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
We've officially sprung forward and temperatures are rising (unless of course, you're here in Ottawa, where after a few balmy 6 degree days, we'll be back sub-zero this weekend. I really just want to wear different shoes, that's all.), so that means the Spring collections are hitting the stores. Here's an idea of what you'll be seeing for the next couple seasons. For more, check out The Cut.

Remember in the 90s when showing your midriff was all about wearing baby-t's and, well, basically clothes that looked too small for you (sorry Clueless and Empire Records)? Well, midriffs don't need to be (that) scary anymore. So hit the gym and work those abs! I should talk - I just at an entire bag of chips...after Emily told me I "looked like Beyonce, but with better abs". Also, can we talk about Marc Jacobs' attempt at midriff bearing power suits?

Marc Jacobs
Charlotte Ronson
Long Shorts
A personal favourite of mine. I have muscular legs so short shorts don't work well on me; so I usually have a hard time finding shorts that don't make me look like I belong on the stage at Brandi's (or Christina Aguilera). I've also found that long shorts tend to not be cut that well, making them much more unflattering than they need to be. But needless to say, I'm stoked that long shorts are being done in the most flattering way they can be (I use the word 'flattering' very loosely).

Mara Hoffman

Jailbird Stripes
Black and white are always in style, but more so now that the Hamberglar look is in style. From horizontal to vertical to diagonal, black and white stripes are everywhere.

Michael Kors

Peek-a-boo Dresses
These have been seen on the red carpet at a few shows over the past year, but they're finally making their way down to us regular folk. But instead of cut outs, we're seeing sheer or lace overlays, giving the wearing the illusion of being fully dressed.

Helmut Lang
Calvin Klein Collection

What trends are you into this season?

Images via Style.com

Worth Coveting: Ora Leather Bags

Monday, March 11, 2013
Follow Emily on Twitter: @em_rossco

Nouvelle Nouvelle is one of my favourite boutiques so its not surprising Ora Leather Bags, another one of my local favourites, hosted their Spring 2013 launch a the little shop on Abbott St.

Keeping to classic lines, shapes, and materials, Ora Bags took the Spring launch as an opportunity to try some new things. Laser cutouts, fringe, and two-tone combos mix-up the line a little bit while still maintaining the sleek, minimalist look this one-woman bag crafter is known for.

All locally made, Ora Bags are handmade one by one and the quality and attention to detail is evident. The smooth buttery leather and slick suedes will make you swoon while coveting every piece from the modern briefcase and tonal totes right down to the tiniest crystal pouch and card holder.

Since browsing the collection after a silent auction, I literally haven’t stopped thinking about these bags and can’t wait to save up my pennies (can I still do that?) to finally have one – this new collection has furthered this obsession. Only eating ramen is normal, right?

Vancouver International Wine Festival 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Follow Mary on Twitter: @marydotwu

I love wine, and I freakin’ love a good, oaky, creamy Chardonnay. So it’s pretty much the perfect coincidence that my first Haus of Hybrid assignment is covering the Vancouver International Wine Festival, where they were featuring California Chardonnays. On top of that, the Festival’s new charitable partner is your favourite local Shakespeare festival (and my former employer), Bard on the Beach. YOU GUYS. It’s like I was born to attend this!

Even though the VIWF is the biggest wine festival on the continent and has a long history with humble beginnings, this is still my first time attending. Naturally, I did some research before hand and learned the basic tips:
  1. Eat before you get there. Complimentary portion-controlled bread and cheese do not a dinner make. No, not even with ham slices.
  2. This is a wine tasting, not a fancy pub crawl. Don’t be the drunk woman teetering around the Convention Centre. Look at your life, look at your choices!
  3. Go visit the vendors at the tables with no crowds. They’re probably really excited to chat with you and answer questions, and less likely to spill wine on your hand because they’re trying to pour 6 tastings at once (looking at you, Signorello).
  4. If you can snag a ticket for Thursday night, go for it. This is industry and media night, and word is they only sell to 75% capacity to allow more time for collectors and reviewers to chat with owners. Less crowds = less waiting = more tastings all around!
Another tip I read was to bookend your tastings with the feature Region, and try as many different countries in between to make the most out of this international showcase. Obviously, challenge accepted. Here are my highlights:

Last summer, I took a semi-private wine tour through the Napa Valley, and we stopped at a bunch of smaller wineries. While my favourites from that time (Robert Biale, Cuvaison) weren’t at the Wine Festival, California’s feature region status dominated.

1. Cameron Hughes - Atlas Peak Chardonnay 2010 - $22.99
GET IT: If you like crisp yet complex wines, with slightly bitter aftertastes and vineyard names that sound like characters from HBO lawyer dramas.
SKIP IT: If, like me, you are after oaky, well-rounded, creamy Chardonnays.

2. Hess - Select Charonnay 2010 – $19.99
This is such a favourite of mine. I know you’re there to try new and exciting flavours but I could not resist the siren call of Hess.
GET IT: Um, do you love summer and sipping leisurely on a patio? You will love this. It’s my ideal Chardonnay – simultaneously refreshing, citrusy, and oaky. Amazing price point. It took me right back to eating oysters on the Joe Fortes patio last summer.
SKIP IT: If oak makes you want to barf? I seriously have no idea, to me this is perfection. If you are allergic to white wines then I guess you should probably avoid.

3. Signorello Estate - Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay 2010 - $59.99
Signorello was one of the most popular stations at the festival, and for good reason. They have exceptional wines, they were in the featured Region, AND they have ties in Vancouver (the family lives in Vancouver and divides their time between here and Napa). 
The Chardonnay was delicious. Again, creamy with hints of vanilla. The guy spilled some on my hand as he poured it though. It's okay guys, I licked it off. That's like $3 worth of wine there.
GET IT: If you are super serious about Chardonnays and want to spend twice as much as all your friends.
SKIP IT: If you're not super duper picky about your wine. Seriously, the Hess Chardonnay is SO EXCELLENT, and a fraction of the cost.

4. Signorello Estate - Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - $97.99
Let's be real, probably the only time I'm going to get to taste wine this expensive. It was GORGEOUS. Dark and plummy, full tannins, so so good. At almost $100 though, it's an investment, though the guy did emphasize that you can drink it young (heh) OR let it age 10-15 years. 
GET IT: If you are throwing a dinner party with your new BFF Jennifer Lawrence and you need a little pre-dinner fancy wine with the awesome cheese plate she just picked up from Leo's personal charcuterie guy.
SKIP IT: If you do not hang out with famous people and do not need to throw down $100 for wine that's probably going to be consumed with Indian takeout anyway.

Glen Carlou - Classic Chardonnay - $21.99
Did you know that Hess also owns Glen Carlou? That family, man.
GET IT: To complete your Hess obsession. I mean. If you want to surprise folks with a lovely, French-oaked Chardonnay from an unexpected region. The French oak means the creaminess is not as prominent, which is more balanced for some.
SKIP IT: If you can't find it. It's currently not available in BC liquor stores. Dang.

Amalaya Vino Blanco de Altura - Riesling/Torrontes - $14.99
GET IT: If you want to be pleasantly surprised by a Riesling blend. I normally steer clear of Rieslings, they're usually too sweet for my liking, but this was aromatic with green apple, crisp, and quite dry.
SKIP IT: If dry whites aren't your thing. 

J. GARCIA CARRIÓN - Viña Arnáiz Reserva 2007 - $25.99
GET IT: If you love Old World, almost jammy, super drinkable wines. I had it right after a plate of ham and cheese, and it was so tasty. The vineyard is in Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's major wine regions. Remind me to do a wine tour in Spain.
SKIP IT: At $25.99, the price point is a little steep for something that's so drinkable and not super complex. But, it's certainly crowd-pleasing.

There are other vineyards in New Zealand besides Oyster Bay?? Heck yes!
Stoneleigh - Sauvignon Blanc 2012 - $17.99
GET IT: If you love easy summer in a glass. This is super crisp, very citrusy, and all around refreshing. I actually tasted all four of the wines that Stoneleigh was sampling, and the wines increased in both price and complexity. The more expensive wines also sourced their grapes from a much more concentrated region. This one, being the cheapest and having the widest region of grape selection, was actually my favourite.
SKIP IT: If you're looking for something fuller, with more flavour notes. 

Santa Margherita - Processo Superior Valdobbiadene - $21.99
GET IT: Do you love feeling like you're drinking the stars? Do you love a bubbly, dry, crisp, refreshing prosecco that's incredibly versatile? In the words of the lovely man representing Santa Margherita, "You can drink it as an apertif, with light food, or at 10 AM with a sandwich. I won't judge you." I tried real champagne later in the night. This was better.
SKIP IT: If bubblies don't do it for you. Or you hate celebrating. You jerk. 

At $95 per ticket, the VIWF is not exactly cheap. But, when you think about the average $10-$15 tasting prices at vineyards, plus the diversity of the regions and winemakers you are getting access to, it's not a bad price at all. Check it out when it comes around next year! 

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara Collection

Monday, March 4, 2013

Last week I wrote about the feature that L'Oreal Paris is having in retailers across Canada.

The Dress Your Lashes promo features 4 of the top selling mascara's from the Voluminous Collection. I was fortunate to receive the full Dress Your Lashes collection to try out (just in the nick of time because I was running out of mascara!).

Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara
First up was the fiber mascara. For those of you who don't know, fiber mascara have filaments (such as silk, nylon, and rayon) added to the mascara formula, so that rather than sit on top of lashes, the formula coats the lashes, almost in tubes. This provides not only a lengthening effect, but also a volumizing one.

This one fell a bit short for me. The product didn't clump or smudge, but it didn't provide the false lash effect I was hoping it would. I've experienced this problem before with fiber mascaras, so it could just be me.

Voluminous Power 24H Mascara
I was actually already using this mascara. I kind of got hooked on it after Eddie Matler did my makeup in the Fall. However, comparatively, this one is probably my least favourite of the bunch. While I'm able to get nice long lashes, I generally have a lot of problems with massive clumping when using volumizing mascaras. But, it could just be me, because when Eddie used it on me, it didn't seem to be that clumpy. But then again, he's also a professional.

Pro tip: When using volumizing mascaras, apply a lot to the base of your lash, because if you apply a lot to the ends, the mascara will weigh down your lashes, getting rid of any curl.

Voluminous Original Mascara
This is the basic Voluminous mascara. It's easy to apply, but it didn't make me all tingly (at 6:30am) when I had to apply it. It was kind of just....there. Sure, it lengthened my lashes, but...meh.

Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
My hands-down favourite. This mascara uses one of those rubber brushes I love. Application was a breeze, there were no clumps, and I felt that my lashes were super long. I really felt as though I had a million lashes. Yep.

The past few months have been my first real foray into L'Oreal Paris, and I must say that I'm impressed. I have a tendency to use a lot of waterproof mascaras (or the Anastasia Lash Genius) because I was always experiencing smudging, but last week, I experienced no smudging, even with the massive snowfall we got in Ottawa.

Images via L'Oreal Paris

L'Oreal Paris Dress Your Lashes

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The L'Oreal Paris feature "Dress Your Lashes" began today in various retailers across Canada. This campaign runs until March 13, and features 4 of the L'Oreal Paris Voluminous top-sellers: Voluminous Original Mascara, Voluminous Power 24H Mascara, Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara, and Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara.
With these 4 products, make-up lovers can build their own ultimate lash wardrobe, mimicking looks from 4 of the spokespeople: Freida Pinto, Liya Kebede, Doutzen Kroes, and Claudia Schiffer.

Stay tuned to find out which of the 4 is my favourite!

The Oscars 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013
Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarallin

The Oscars, or as they were known this year, The 10th Anniversary of Chicago, are a total bore to watch, but one of the best nights of the year for fashion. It’s basically the prom of Hollywood. Who brought who as a date, who dressed like a total skank, who’s knocked up, and who spiked the punch. With that, here are my picks for best and worst dressed.

Best Dressed
Charlize Theron
I love the minimalism of this dress, and appreciate that she didn’t feel the need to compensate with extra accessories. There is going to be a whole crop of girls who think Charlize looks so great tonight, that they’ll go out and get that haircut. And 100% of those girls will later go home crying because they don’t look as good as Charlize.

Also, what do you bet Miley Cyrus thinks she looks just like Charlize Theron with her haircut?

Naomi Watts
What makes this dress so great is the fact that this dress could have gone so wrong. Naomi wears this Armani Privé so well, while another actress who could end up looking like a robot.

Jessica Chastain
Having your dress and your hair be the same colour would look awful on anyone else, but is amazing on Jessica Chastain. I love the beading too.

Sally Field
Everyone always talks about how Helen Mirren is a hot old lady, and poor Sally Field gets overlooked. Seriously people, this woman is 66, and looks like a total babe. Most “age-appropriate” dresses seem to fade into the background, but this Valentino dress doesn’t at all.

Kerry Washington
The formal nature of the Oscars can lead to dresses getting boring, but Kerry Washington’s dress is just so fun. She’s been consistently one of the best dressed all award season.

Ben Affleck and George Clooney’s Beards.
I’m just saying, if you can talk about how great someone’s body looks in a dress, you should be able to talk about how great someone’s face looks in a beard.

Worst Dressed
Brandi Glanville
Just because you want Eddie Cibrian to regret ever leaving you for LeAnn Rimes, doesn’t mean you have to show your areolas on the red carpet.

Anne Hathaway
I know people say fashion works in a 20-year cycle, but I am not prepared for the mid-90s look Anne is wearing to come back any time soon. Also, nipples.

Halle Berry
Please refer to my best-dressed section about actresses looking like robots.

Ottawa Fashion Week

Friday, February 15, 2013
Last weekend I attended Ottawa Fashion Week. As I explained, from attending the opening party, I was pretty hopeful about what the weekend would hold. And for the most part, I was actually impressed with the production value (and even the clothes). There were a few things that confused me, including an entire Fall/Winter collection of barely there skirts and shirts (but more on that later).

While the event was 3 days (evenings) long, I only attended Saturday night. Friday left me homebound, thanks to some residual effects of Nemo, and quite frankly, having an event from 6pm-10pm (not accounting for the lateness of fashion shows), without open bar or canapés, is a lot to ask. The last thing I want to be doing at a fashion show is during an "intermission" (I was confused too) to be stuffing my face with pizza. What's wrong with going from 1pm-5pm?
Images via Jacob Durjan 
But back to the fashion.

Ariel Wu was ok. The clothes aren't my jam. Perhaps that's an unfair judgement, but you can only see so many drop-waist dresses in raspberry, olive, and khaki before you check out. The one highlight from this collection was a cream coloured shirt with a built-in cape. The built-in cape is the thing right now (think Andrea Risborough's chainmail).

Iman was a solid collection, but also not my jam. It was Iman's first time showing and there's a lot of potential there. The collection used a lot of bright jewel tones and was definitely culturally inspired. But it also had a medieval feel to it. Where it fell flat for me was that it used a lot of satin, and lace and sheer overlay.

Jana & Emilia Fashions showed a collection inspired by the First Nations communities. There were some cool pieces, like a yellow jacket with a massive owl appliqué on the back. However, the collection was showing Fall/Winter, and there were a high number of barely-there skirts and fur front-only tops (tied with leather pieces). But aside from that, the outwear was the standout. Well tailored pieces with interesting details on them.

Nyira was my favourite collection of the night. The show opened with a fantastic fuchsia water-colour suit. The same amazing pattern was used as the lapels on a extra-long tuxedo-inspired jacket. The collection was based in black, but there was a lot of gold brocade used too - including a gold jacket. I very rarely attend local fashion shows and want a piece from a collection, let alone the entire collection.

Dare opened their show with an African drum performance. The collection was nice. No hugely standout pieces, but the collection was solid overall. Think jersey dresses: maxi, short, wrap-dresses, with Angelina slits, turtlenecks. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't entirely understand the tie-in with the drummers.

On the whole, I was pleasantly surprised by my whole Ottawa Fashion Week experience.