Montreal a la Mode

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The weekend before last was quite an experience for me, and I was lucky enough to get a taste of fashion outside of my realm of “expertise.” I decided to spend my fall break in Montreal with some of my sisters through a school trip. What I found was very interesting, and quite different from the melting pot of the United States. Standing out in color seems to be much more in an American line of thinking. Montreal is a very industrial and business-oriented city, with a thriving nightlife.

We spent the first day mostly shopping after arriving in Montreal at about 10 am. Wandering les Rue, I was taken aback at the priciness of the clothing. However, I reconcile my opinion with the fact that most of the clothes we looked at seemed to be of high-quality and were well-made. Becky and Tammy made it of utmost importance to make a stop at Zara, which I found to be more out of my fashion element, although I was impressed at the store in general. It was interesting to me that Tammy was actually overwhelmed by the store, and much preferred the selection online to the bustle of the Canadians and tourists. Zara clothing seems to be very structured to me, a perfect blend of classic essence with the edginess of minimalism. Stir in dashes of trendiness and avant garde and you get very mature pieces that transition well in any situation or location.

A very popular store we noticed all over the city was Bedo, which perfectly encapsulated Montreal fashion in its window displays: monochromatic, typically dark-colored, minimalistic clothing. Personally, I think Bedo is much more edgy than Zara, which has a high-fashion business air about it. Leather is very prevalent, as are classic preppy prints with a darker spin. Jackets are very important, whether they are clean cut moto jackets or matte blazers.

It was very easy to find classic staples to build up your wardrobe in Montreal; Tammy purchased a fetching tailored military jacket, and Katie bought adorable leather ankle boots. Becky, who was recently offered a position at Deloitte, was looking to expand her work wardrobe with some fierce pieces. Myself, on the other hand, I like to mix up my wardrobe; defining my personal style is a process. It always interests me to see how people analyze clothing while shopping, including how they think pieces will assist in creating a more fluid personal style.

The big thing I was looking for was a black dress, very sleek and with cutouts or sheer pieces, something that doesn’t need a print to make a statement. I hopped from store to store, analyzing the perfect ratio of regular fabric to cutouts or sheer paneling, as well as whether I wanted another skater-skirted dress, or one more of the bodycon/form-fitting style. I tried on two dresses, and here are the differences between the two.

2013-10-19 black dress 1This dress at a store called Dynamite! was almost a must purchase. I love that the sheer panel in the middle is tasteful and gives the dress a little ‘oomph’. Knowing my general body shape, it is always a good idea for the skirt to taper as it goes down, giving me an actual shape (yay!) The only thing was the necessity to wear the dress with strapless lingerie, but other than that, the dress was pretty great. I don’t exactly think it is easy to transition between day and night, however, so I passed it up.

2013-10-20 black dress 2 frontFor me, this dress I found in Sirens was much more interesting/daring fashion-wise, but I think it was just much too scandalous for me. I love the high-low skirt, which perfectly fits the current trend in an edgy way, and that the top is leather. However, the cutout in the middle is unflattering for pretty much everyone who doesn’t have a washboard stomach. Also, the back of the dress was a T-strap that I couldn’t even zip up myself. Very edgy, but it was a pass.

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Overall, however, Montreal fashion is very wearable to me, and I think that I will definitely be taking some tips when I transition my wardrobe for my semester in Italy. Having multiple pieces that can be used again and again is definitely important, especially when traveling. I really liked the nightlife in Montreal, and people were very accommodating and had interesting stories to tell. They weren’t as different as I thought they would be, and it was exciting to visit another country and use a little bit of foreign language (Je voudrais une caffe, s’il vous plait!) What is the most interesting fashion you’ve noticed while traveling? Stay cultured, everyone!

 

 

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Taste the Rainbow: A Look At All Things *Coral*

Ever since I walked into Lush one summer day and decided to try on some new lipgloss, I have been obsessed with all things coral. To me, coral is red and orange’s sweet, more playful little sister, transitioning well from day-to-night, and from warm seasons to the newly-crisp fall weather. Coral makes me feel a little brighter and a little bolder every time I wear it. Whether it’s my beloved Tommy Hilfiger bag slung over my shoulder, or my loose and comfy sweater from the Loft, I can’t get enough of this saucy shade in my wardrobe.

945186_10201148199761566_1958386450_n My fave sweater – plus, my bff Mimi rocking the polka dot trend

There are many different shades of coral; whether you favor a more orange, red or even pink version is up to you. Coral is flattering on pretty much any skin tone, as I have come to realize. The other day, I was delighted to find one of my sorority sisters Sarah sporting this dark coral sack dress, and I just had to snap a photo of her. The style is simple with just enough distinction (shoulder cutouts) to be flattering; the real fashion gold is in the color. The color really pops against Sarah’s ivory skin, and the muted tones in her shoes and bag allow the focus to stay on her outfit (it’s even prettier in person!)

Sarah

Coral was a very popular color on the red carpet early in 2013 and the runway in spring of 2012, and has only become more prominent in the fashion world. While coral is primarily a color that conjures images of island beauties and pretty petals, coral is a chameleon that tones down the sexiness of red and bypasses the quirkiness of orange for a passionate impact. On the cool spectrum of colors, mint has caught the eye of designers everywhere. Which color is more you?

I have to say that coral lipstick has become a staple in my everyday look. While I believe there is a shade of red out there for every lady, coral gives me a pop of color while maintaining a soft and glossy look. My favorite brand of coral lipstick is Electric Orange by Maybelline. I don’t even have to put on chapstick underneath because it goes on smooth and doesn’t flake on my lips. Personally, their “coral” shade is too pink for me, while the orange matches a similar color I tried on at Lush.

Coral Collage

How do you rock this fun color trend? Do you throw a coral sweater over a pastel tank to add contrast your outfit, or do you wear coral jewelry over a brown dress to go from neutral to fab? Drop a comment about your favorite coral piece(s) and why you love this trend. Stay fresh, everyone.

OOtD: Graceful Green (so this is a day late…)

OOtD: Graceful Green (so this is a day late...)

In case I haven’t already made it obvious, I love dresses. Dresses are so easy to put on and almost always make you look more presentable in any situation. I had the pleasure of having costume design class at the Cleveland Museum of Art yesterday, as we were working on renderings of paintings to work on proportions and how clothing falls on bodies. This photo was taken by a very sharply-dressed Asian woman who was visiting with her young son and elderly mother for the first time. Too cute.

The thing I like most about this dress is that it is very movable, and much like the skirt from the previous post, has a billowy and pleated upper layer, and a stable, black underskirt. For a figure like mine, emphasis on the waist is key. The loose bodice area and sweetheart neckline creates the illusion of a fuller bust (which doesn’t bother me one bit!) It’s so important to take your body type into account when buying dresses. For instance, most strapless dresses do nothing for me because I have a smaller bust area, whereas the same dress on my roommate Sasha would be gorgeous and show off her ample assets. The right shape in a dress can make you look sexy and more mature, or sweet and playful. It all depends.

I love pops of color mixed with black in all of my outfits, so the green here becomes a sultry emerald. The dress looks even prettier with the lace straps, and the sheer lace back which shows just enough skin to spark the imagination. Lace has become a wonderful trend within the past few years, and I love it because lace is so inclusive of an edgy but feminine style. I think that understanding how fabric can be utilized and how it falls on the body is really important for projecting a certain image of yourself, if you so desire.

I’ll be dedicating a whole post to this, but I don’t go anywhere now without my Tommy Hilfiger purse. The coral color looks good with pretty much anything, and with a versatile strap, it transitions for anywhere necessary. I appreciate how the logos on the bag are not too gaudy or distracting, but add a pleasant print and texture over the exterior. The purse was fairly inexpensive too, completely a lucky find. I love love love this purse so much.

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I’m so excited that the blog is taking off. I really want to branch out and include useful content, and display other styles besides mine. I am always inspired by someone who has a very cohesive and defined personal style. I should be talking to her later, but my sorority sister Emily has one of the classiest, preppy wardrobes I’ve seen in a long time. I swear she should be a Kate Spade model; she knows how to take regular clothes and make every outfit fabulous. Whether it’s tossing on a strand of pearls, or pairing her pastel outfit with a bold ultramarine blue bag, Emily is effortlessly chic and inspires me to look at fashion from a different angle.

Do you have any friends or family whose style differs from yours but still manages to awe you? Drop me a comment, I love to hear about other peoples’ inspirations. Stay hip, everyone.