Tag Archives: shopping

Go back to school in style

22 Aug

Summer is winding down, sadly, and before you know it, bells will ring to mark the start of the fall school semester. Whether you’ll be shopping for a student or are a student yourself, this back-to-school wardrobe shopping guide will help make the transition a little easier.

Back to basics

While clothes shopping for school, it’s essential to find comfortable separates that can be quickly mixed and matched for stylish ensembles. Basics such as solid coloured tees and sweaters, button-up dress shirts and denim are classic options and can be easily paired with trendier pieces for a more fashion forward look.

This Zara girls denim jacket is a perfect transition piece from summer to fall.

The item that should be in any student’s closet is a pair of jeans. Denim pants have become so ubiquitous on- and off-campus that entire wardrobes can be built around them. For girls, skinny jeans are still very much in style and are verging on classic status. Jeggings are also popular with their combination of a skinny fit and soft, flexible material. For boys, it’s all about straight leg jeans or a slim cut. Coloured denim is hot for all ages but can limit outfit options. To get the most use out of a pair of jeans, go for a darker rinse — they go well with everything and can even be worn to dressier events. For an alternative to jeans, try corduroy pants. Stores usually carry a wide assortment of fun fall colours; it’s also durable and perfect for active kids.

Bundle up with layers

Sweaters are another staple for back-to-school. Whether it’s a simple crew neck or a cardigan, there’s a sweater for every style and it makes a great layering piece for chilly classrooms. Try patterns such as stripes or argyle to add some panache to casual outfits. This is when tees come in handy for the cooler months. Wear them under itchy wool sweaters or pair a graphic tee with a cardigan or hoodie. Stores try to get rid of their short-sleeved tops in August to make space for fall items, so this is the perfect time to load up on T-shirts and tanks while they’re on sale.

A striped sweater, like this one from ASOS, makes for a practical and stylish layering basic.

For students starting post-secondary, the preppy collegiate look never goes out of style. Try pairing casual pants or jeans with blazers over a tee for a more polished look. For girls, finish off the outfit with flats or even boots if the weather is cool. The guys can complete their blazer ensemble with sneakers such as Chucks or Vans. I know fashion may fall to the wayside when you’re dealing with exams and getting to class on time, but starting a new semester also means making a lot of first impressions — on teachers and fellow students. Sweatpants may be comfortable but it’s just as easy to throw on some jeans.

Look classically polished on campus with a grey marled blazer from H&M.

Add some trends

Whether the student is in elementary school, high school or college, incorporating colour and prints into the school wardrobe will help brighten up dreary fall days. Neon’s been big this year and is surprising easy to wear in small doses. Include a splash of highlighter pink or DayGlo yellow to an otherwise neutral outfit. Accessories and sneakers are a simple and great way to add some bright colours and individualize your look.

Tangerine was the “It” colour of spring and summer, but for the fall the trend is blue — especially cobalt. Much easier to wear than tangerine, pair blue with black if you want to channel runway looks. The black and blue combo was spotted in a number of designer collections such as DKNY and Stella McCartney.

A pair of girls cobalt coloured jeans hits multiple trends at once. This pair is from Old Navy.

Most contemporary fashion stores have a kids’ line so shopping for younger ones is made simpler at all price points. Check out Joe Fresh, Old Navy, H&M or Zara, for example, and your child will be scoring aces for school style.

[Article first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of Richmond Review.]

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Spring forward: Accessory trends for the bright new season

20 Feb

Whether you’re the type to pile on jewelry or adhere to a minimalist approach, accessories are a simple and cheap way to spruce up your wardrobe as we transition into the next season. And as spotted on the runways for spring, there are plenty of accessory trends to fit every style.

Pretty in pink… pastels

The look was ladylike and demure on the pastel-shaded runway at Louis Vuitton. Dreamy lace outfits were accentuated with candy-coloured handbags and pointy mules in combinations of metallics and light hues. Easy to wear, a pale purse or oversized envelope clutch will brighten up any outfit without stealing too much focus from the rest of your ensemble.

Art deco glitz at Gucci's spring show

Make a bold statement with oversized earrings, as seen at Dolce & Gabbana

As part of the 1920s throwback to the Great Gatsby trend emerging this year, art deco-inspired accessories are cropping up for spring. Seen on such runways as Milly and Alexander Wang, art deco fashions may be easier to incorporate through jewelry. Look for embellished pieces that use geometric designs and patterns in bold colours. A bonus if they’re oversized art deco earrings — you’ll be getting two trends in one since ear accessories are in vogue for spring and have become the statement jewelry for the Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana shows.

It’s a jungle out there

For those wanting to take on a bolder style as the weather starts to warm up, look for accessories inspired by tribal prints and materials. Burberry sent their trench coat-clad models down the catwalk accessorized in tribal belts, heels, bags and hats. Over at Michael Kors, the focus was all on safaris — his collection of earthy sandals strapped up the calf looked fit for an expedition in the wild. The key to a good tribal-inspired piece is multiple textures and vibrant patterns. Look for accessories that incorporate wood or beads for that extra flair.

Show some arm candy with this beaded tribal bracelet from Jewelmint.

Tribal patterns translate well for nails too. Whether done by a professional or painted at home using a nail brush, tribal designs will be sure to attract attention to your fingertips. As for other nail trends, a lot of designers opted for neutrals on the runway such as nudes, French manicures and pale pinks. Retro neon shades are also hot for polishes: classic reds in the style of Mad Men, bright corals and Pantone’s colour of the year, Tangerine Tango.

On your Marc, get set, go!

Another big theme for designers this spring is athleticism. Sporty ensembles graced the runway at Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs, and along with that came the return of backpacks as accessories. This isn’t a revival of the mini-backpack trend that was all the rage 15 years ago though (I still have a patent leather one in pristine condition stored away in my closet). The ones popping into stores for spring are larger and are fashioned in an assortment of colours, shapes and exotic skins. But for those who feel their knapsack days are over, another simple and fun way to sport the athletic trend is through brightly banded, rubber wristwatches.

Not your average schoolbag -- sporty backpacks were featured at Alexander Wang.

Sporty punchout backpack from ASOS


Put a spring your step

If you’re looking to buy an ‘it’ shoe, go for heels with a platform. We’re not talking about platform boots typical of the Spice Girls, but something more understated. Look for vivid sandals or pumps with a slight platform. Comfort won’t be compromised too much in higher heels because of the heftier sole.

You’ll be standing tall and trendy with these platform pumps from Zara.

Accessories are a good starting point for experimentation with a trend or style not typically your norm. Don’t be afraid to branch out but try not to incorporate too many trends into one outfit. It’s also not necessary to dress in one trend from head-to-toe. Sometimes it’s more eye-catching if you’re wearing a basic ensemble accessorized with one or two statement pieces. Most important of all is to have fun with it — a good accessory can take your outfit from drab to fab.

[Article first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of Richmond Review.]

Profile: Vancouver style blogger LADYFRANSTAR

22 Feb

As the fashion blogging world continually expands to include new style sites cropping up, readers may find themselves overwhelmed. But having a variety of options translates into greater resources when searching for fashion inspiration. As a part of this site, I’ll be profiling style bloggers around the city. First up is LADYFRANSTAR.

LADYFRANSTAR

A hip-hop dancer, former punk-rock bassist and fashion lover – Vancouver visual merchandiser and stylist Frances Ignacio is the face behind style blog LADYFRANSTAR.

Take a bow

Though her fashion site is a relatively new endeavour, Ignacio has been blogging for  years – she said her previous blogs were written mostly for fun and used as creative outlets. It wasn’t until her friend Stephen Pham, another visual merchandiser and style blogger, suggested writing about fashion that Frances decided to pursue it.

“With my previous blogs, it was hard to consistently keep up with it and keep posting, so this one’s a lot easier for me because it’s focused on fashion,” she said. Her website documents her outfits, new purchases and thoughts on current trends.

Oh na na, what’s my style?

For Ignacio, her style influences are celebrities, other fashion bloggers (Street Peeper, Face Hunter and Style Bubble are tops on her list) and individuals she meets from different countries. Her style’s constantly changing:

“Back in high school, I had a really funky look – it was a lot darker. But since then, I’ve been out in the world and seen all these people [who have influenced my style],” she said. “So it just keeps changing, the things I like keep changing or I travel and get more inspiration.”

"I put the streaks in just to liven things up and make it fun."

But Ignacio’s main fashion influence is a certain pop singer who used to share the same hairstyle as her.

“My biggest style icon is Rihanna – I love her,” she said. “I just like that she has this edgy look and it’s not boring. I love something that’s edgy, fun, colourful.” She also lists Nicole Richie, Korean girl group 2NE1, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen among her style icons.

Rockstar 101

Ignacio loves that she gets to use her creativity while working for H&M as a visual merchandiser. One of her favourite tasks is styling the mannequins.

“What I eventually want to do is do styling for music videos or celebrities.”

"Recently, I've been obsessed with harem pants - they're just so comfy and I just love them."

As for her blog goals, she just wants readers to have an appreciation for street style:

“Vancouver is very laid-back. They all like to dress very, very casual. There are certain people out there who love to go outside the box and dress extravagant but I just want people to have more awareness of street fashion and that not everyone has to dress the same. Just go for what inspires you, go for whatever you love to do. I hope people get inspired from my blog.”

Ignacio’s new project, “Be Inspired,” will be spotlighting individuals who are passionate about what they’re doing.

Run this town

Ignacio’s favourite places to shop in Vancouver:

Ignacio’s favourite online stores: