Brand Spotlight | Matt & Nat

I, like many other ladies, am always on the hunt for the perfect handbag. The word ‘perfect’ in regards to purses means different things for different people, but for me it means spacious (to carry my toiletries and all of the things a nomad like myself needs), well made, durable, stylish, and made out of eco-friendly materials. Montreal-based brand Matt & Nat knocks it out of the park on all counts when it comes to their line of vegan totes, backpacks, and purses. Even their clutches fit more than some of my shoulder bags! Their aesthetic is exactly my style – timeless, streamlined, with just a touch of quirk. And just when you think that it can’t get any better, not only does this brand dish out a mean selection of arm candy, but they also design some of the cutest shoes I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying something because shoes are kind of my thing. Since 1995, founders Indi Bedi and Manny Kohli have stuck to their vision of designing gorgeous accessories that are ethically made out of vegan (and often recycled) materials like nylon, cork, and rubber. Their pieces are beautiful inside and out, both figuratively and literally. Sure, the linings are almost as pretty as the bags themselves, but they are also designed with the belief that the well being of the environment and animals should never be sacrificed for fantastic style. And as someone who has decided to forgo animal products from her diet, I hold those values close to my heart as well. It makes sense for me to support brands and to buy products as frequently as possible that do not harm our furry friends. There are a lot of great vegan brands out there and Matt & Nat is one of the best. If you haven’t yet heard of this Canadian label, get ready to drool over your screen. I know that I do every time I peruse their selection.

MATT & NAT PICKS

1 // Jasmine Bag in Glass

2 // Obe Bag in Quartz

3 // Blake Weekend Bag in Olive

4 // Abiko Clutch in Coral

5 // Chanda Backpack in Azur

6 // Drapeau Slide Sandals in Black

7 // Suave Slide Sandals in Quartz

8 // Villeray Sandals in Tan

9 // Orford Tote in Koala

10 // Griffintown Mule in Tan

xoxo,

Alicia

Photos via Matt & Nat

Formally Informal






Velvet is a fabric that I do not wear enough. I wore a ton of velvet when I was a kid, in the form of frilly, itchy flower girl dresses and headbands but haven’t worn it much since. In the last few months, velvet has recently seen a resurgence in popularity and this luxe fabric has transcended from being strictly used for formal attire to something that can be worn casually as well. Think velvet smoking slippers, cropped tops, and shorts. The line between high-end and low-end is blurring and I love the idea of adding a bit of opulence to an otherwise humdrum ‘jeans and tee’ ensemble. Velvet is a surprisingly versatile fabric and can be edgy or prim and proper depending on the way it is styled. If you’re not quite ready to fully adopt this trend but want to give it a try, accessories are a great place to start. I bought a pair of black velvet loafers recently and they make every outfit feel a little more special and luxe. With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite velvet pieces that I can’t wait to add to my own wardrobe. 


VELVET BUYS

1 // Pretty Little Thing – Tasmine Blue Velvet Choker Bralet 

2 // Mango – Velvet Top

3 // Jon Josef – Gentry Black Velvet Smoking Loafer

4 // Rose Gal – V Neck Velvet Tunic Dress

5 // Emilio Pucci – Velvet Shorts

6 // Kc Jager – Jenner Velvet Shoulder Bag

7 // River Island – Green Velvet Deep Frill Bardot Crop Top

8 // Steve Madden – Carrsonv Pink Velvet Ankle Strap Heels 

Xoxo,

Alicia

6 Trends & 6 Bags for Spring 2017

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Fashion trends change faster than the weather and it’s not always worth it to splash out on a whole new wardrobe filled with the season’s latest ‘must-haves’ and fads. I rarely buy a piece simply because it’s trendy. Style is such a personal thing and just because magazine editors are telling you that you need something, it doesn’t mean it’s going to look good on you (I learned that the hard way with culottes). If you’re unsure if a bold new style is for you, accessories are an easy way to test the waters. As we are now officially in spring (the first day of spring was Monday), it’s time to revamp our wardrobes. With this in mind, I have rounded up six designer handbags that encapsulate six of the season’s hottest trends. Scroll down and take a gander at some serious arm-candy.

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1 //  TREND: Reptile Patterns & Patchwork

I am not someone who wears a lot of animal prints. If done wrong they can look cheap and trashy. When done right i.e. with a bit of discretion, they add just the right amount of primal sexiness to what might otherwise be a humdrum outfit. Reptile prints have been making an appearance in clothing, shoes, and accessories the past few seasons, and while I don’t have enough Rhianna-like swagger to pull off a python print dress, I would be more than happy to tote around this slinky leather hobo bag. It’s subtle enough to carry everyday, even to the office, but packs a sultry punch that makes me want to channel my inner jungle girl.

Badgley Mischka – Taryn Snake Print Panel Leather Shoulder Hobo Bag

2 // TREND: Colour Blocking

When I look at street style photography, what always grabs my attention is the way colours are mixed in a way that is totally unexpected. Colour blocking is a ‘trend’ that is definitely prevalent this season, but never really seems to go away. It’s also a quick and easy way to reinvent your wardrobe without having to buy anything else. Instead of pairing your coloured pieces with safe neutrals, mix your brights for a look that is fresh and striking. You’d be surprised at how often bright colours complement rather than compete with each other – yellow and cobalt blue is one of my favorite combos. If you’re not quite ready to break out all of your brights, a colour blocked bag will help you dip your toe into this bold trend.

Lana Marks – Frozen Chain Top Handle Ostrich Bag

3 //  TREND: Backpacks & Applique

It’s always a magical thing when function and fashion go hand in hand. Backpacks have been huge lately, with every major designer, from Chanel to Gucci, creating their own luxurious versions of this practical piece. Applique has also been prevalent in the collections of a string of heavyweight designers such as Roberto Cavalli and Giambattista Valli. Put these two bold trends together and you get this masterpiece from Carrie Bradshaw’s beloved Fendi (‘It’s a baguette!’). I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a canvas number from Herschels unless I found myself hiking, but this bad boy? Take. My. Money.

Fendi – Embellished Floral Applique Mini Leather Backpack

4 // TREND: Fanny Packs & Nautical Stripes

For eons fanny packs have been terminally uncool and associated with judgement impaired tourists, hipsters, and socks and sandals wearing dads. Like everything else in fashion though, what goes in style must go out of style and vice versa. It’s the basic law of fashion physics. While the only one who can truly look good wearing a fanny pack is Leonardo Dicaprio, designers have been doing their best trying to make the dorky style less geek and more chic. This bag from Clare V. is the best version I’ve seen so far and earns extra style points for its nautical navy and white stripes – a timeless print and another huge trend this spring.

Clare V. – Supreme Striped Fanny Pack

5 // TREND: Top Handle

Quintessentially lady like styles have been given a major reboot this season, with movies and TV shows like Carol and Downton Abbey inspiring the collections of couturiers such as Lanvin and Jil Sander. Designers have been breathing new life into prim and proper styles – think asymmetrical cuts, luxe fabrics and edgy embellishments – and I am loving it. Top handle bags are THE it bag this season and they instantly lend a polished, demure feel to any and every outfit.

Givenchy – Real Trapeze Crocodile-effect Leather Tote

6 // TREND: Embroidery 

Did you know that February was National Embroidery Month? Embroidery is HUGE this season, with designers like Naeem Khan and Tanya Taylor splashing stitched patterns all over their couture collections. Let me tell you, this ain’t your granny’s needle point. From sweet florals to punky candy skulls, unexpected motifs are being stitched onto denim, clothing, outerwear, shoes, and handbags. This gorgeous piece from Gucci combines two of this season’s biggest trends and has a feminine, Old Hollywood-esque glamour that evokes images of Marlene Deitrich and Katharine Hepburn. Swoon.

Gucci – Sylvie Embroidered Leather Top Handle Satchel

What do you think of these trends? Do you have any favorites? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

made-of-plastic

Made of Plastic

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Although so many of the products we buy are made of plastic, it’s not very often that we see that as being a plus, especially when it comes to fashion. When I think of plastic, it conjures images of landfills and trash heaps. I don’t associate synthetic materials with luxury or style – instead the words that come to mind are ‘cheap’ and ‘tacky’. And yet some of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world (think Givenchy, Chanel, and Marc Jacobs) love to use it in their collections, crafting clutches out of translucent plastic, heels out of Lucite, and jewelry out of candy-like beads that are so far from the elegant strings of pearls and diamonds that we normally associate with couture, that it’s like the designers are playing a joke on us all. There’s something that is kind of perverse about a plastic bangle costing more than most people’s rent but there is still a certain charm about it. It’s almost so vulgar and tacky that it becomes luxurious and desirable. Although a lot of us turn our nose up at man-made materials, plastic has its merits as well. Because it’s synthetic it can take on textures and finishes that natural materials simply cannot. A lot of the time plastic can be recycled as well, so it’s not the total enemy of the environment that we often think of it as. I have to admit, I am kind of seduced by this season’s love affair with plastic. It pays homage to the bold mod looks of the 60s while also looking ahead with a futuristic, spacey feel – all in all a combination that is refreshing and relevant. This trend is all about contradictions, much like fashion itself. Plastic as a material can be thought of as both old and new, it’s cheap and luxurious, its tacky yet elegant, it’s disposable but is also sustainable. While my heart will always prioritize leather, silk, and real gems over their synthetic substitutes (the real thing is always better in my opinion), plastic definitely has its place in fashion and in my closet.

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1 // Go Jane – Beyond Clear Chunky Lucite Heels

2 // Valley City X – Zero UV Mod Oversize Sunglasses

3 // Alex Bittar – Lucite Faceted Cocktail Ring

4 // JAPONESQUE – Alligator Hair Comb

5 // Moschino – Metal and Lucite Floral Necklace

6 // Go Jane – Call Me Maybe Square Lucite Clutch

7 // Kate Spade New York – Rumsey Plastic Strap Watch

8 // Armani Jeans – Plastic Mesh Shopping Bag

9 // LaVieHippie (Etsy) – Vintage Marbled Lucite Earrings

xoxo,

Alicia

 

Floral Fare

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I’m a shameless girly-girl in every possible way, so I have always loved florals. Whether it’s a bouquet of fresh blooms, an ultra-feminine flowery perfume, or a floral printed fabric, I am more than happy to incorporate flowers into every aspect of my life, from fashion to home decor. And while flowers for spring might seem like a cliche, classics are classics for a reason. Even if you’re not willing to wear a sugary sweet floral dress, anyone can channel their inner flower child by toting around one of these gorgeous handbags. Florals have been given an edgy update this season with stylized pop art-inspired motifs and tough-as-nails studs and metallic hardware. These styles are fresh, fun, and anything but frou-frou. Before you dismiss spring flowers as being saccharine and boring, take a gander at these 9 pieces of arm-candy. In the words of Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada, ‘Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking.’. Minus the sarcasm.

1 // Dana Buchman – Lucille Tote

2 // Orla Kiely – Giant Flower Leather Fairfield Bag

3 // Go Jane – Flower Walk Quilted Chain Bag (only $32!)

4 // Lavani – White Flower Emblem Crossbody Bag (only $25!)

5 // Calvin Klein – Saffiano Leather Tote

6 // Orla Kiely – Summer Flower Canvas Zip Around Purse

7 // Go Jane – Vintage Vibes Floral Faux Leather Clutch (only $35!)

8 // Yasbukey – Embroidered Flower Patch Flap Bag

9 // Coach – Embroidered Flower Crossbody Bag

xoxo,

Alicia

Saturday Inspo

From a 3-ingredient strawberry sorbet to an off-beat illustrator that I found on Instagram, here are few things that have kept me inspired this week.

  1. Natalie Foss

Instagram is an amazing resource when it comes to looking for inspiration in fashion, art, decor, beauty etc. I found Natalie Foss, an artist from Orlo, Norway, while scrolling through my feed. Her style is quirky with a slightly dark, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. With bright colours and an aesthetic that reminds me of the psychedelic sixties, @natillustration is a must follow.

2. Vancouver-inspired candles

Okay. I have a candle addiction that borderlines on out of control. There’s nothing I love more than unwinding at the end of the day with some scented candles, a good book, music and a bath. I discovered Vancouver Candle Co. by chance when walking into a delightful little boutique in Abbotsford called Montrose and George. With a range of scents inspired by different parts of Vancouver, neighbourhoods like Kitsilano, Fairview, Mount Pleasant and Gastown have been interpreted into different fragrances. I have always had a soft spot for historic Gastown and love the amber, tobacco, and leather scent that truly does evoke images of century old brick buildings and rustically stylish cafes and restaurants.

3. Ridiculously yummy (and healthy!) three-ingredient sorbet

I love icecream. I really do. So much so in fact, that I have started making my own so that my figure doesn’t reflect my addiction to frozen dairy. This recipe is ridiculously easy. All you need is a blender, frozen fruit, sugar, and water (or coconut milk or yogurt depending on your taste). Simply blend and freeze in a container. It really is delicious and if you swap the sugar for stevia it is actually super healthy.

4. Five awesome tips for a salon-worthy manicure at home

While I love the indulgence of getting my nails professionally painted, I rarely take the time to get it done. One reason being that I have a tendency to chip my nails within minutes of getting them done. Luckily, I am pretty good at doing my own nails and have found that with a little bit of googling and tutorials from Youtube, the manicures I give myself are nearly as good (cost free). It’s also a fun way to relax at the end of the day. I typically paint my nails while indulging in a Netflix binge. This site has a lot of great tips on how to get salon-worthy nails at home.

5. The perfect minimalist, everyday handbag

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via ARE Studio

It’s sometimes said that you are either a shoe person or a handbag person. I definitely fall into the bag lady camp. I once lined up all my purses on my bed and took a picture. I definitely have more bags than I need but I can’t help but fall in love over and over with different brands and styles. ARE Studios, a brand from Los Angeles, makes the most amazing, sleek, minimalistic styles that are perfect for everyday. For drool-worthy arm candy, no one does it better than the brand’s designer Cecilia Bordarampe.

xoxo,

Alicia

Kelsi Dagger Summer Essentials

KDB summer essentials

After searching for a long time for a classic black leather bag, I found the incredibly sleek, structured Northside Crossbody bag by New York based accessories label, Kelsi Dagger. While a simple black handbag sounds like it would be easy to find, the minimalistic, high quality bag I had in my head was surprisingly hard to come by. With just the right amount of space for all of my essentials (it is time to retire my clunky, diaper bag sized purses) and a timeless design, I fell in love with this bag, (and the Kelsi Dagger brand) knowing that it was the kind of superb quality, classic bag that would last me years and years, perhaps decades.

After doing some digging on the Kelsi Dagger website, I found a few pieces that I knew I would have to add to my summer wardrobe. These pieces are on trend while still having an element of timeless elegance (true to my style). Here are my summer essentials from Kelsi Dagger.

1. Northside Crossbody Bag

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Utterly chic in it’s simplicity, this bag is crafted out of glossy, premium leather and is the kind of bag that one can wear day in and day out, regardless of the season or occasion.

2. Tara Sandals

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The Tara sandals are extremely comfy and stylish in an unusual way. A cross between a great peeptoe bootie and a pair of gladiator sandals, these come in a buttery camel shade as well but there is something about the inky black leather and structural design that appeals to me. A great pair to slip on with everything from a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to a summery dress or romper.

3. Reena Vachetta Clogs

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Until I laid my eyes on the exquisite Reena’s, I had never been inclined to buy a pair of wooden clogs. There was something about the design that I felt was a bit costumey and trendy. The Reena’s are a little bit more understated in their design and while they definitely reference traditional Swedish clogs, they are a little more contemporary and streamlined while still creating a subtle statement. They also come in black but I adore this creamy shade of fawn. Pair with a fitted blouse and culottes for a Parisian inspired look.

Happy Monday!

xoxo,

Alicia