I can’t be the only girl who is guilty of standing in front of an overstuffed closet and exasperatingly exclaiming, “I have nothing to wear!” Time and time again, when the holiday season rolls around and the party invites start cluttering my corkboard of ‘to-do lists’, I desperately add “BUY PARTY DRESSES” to the list. Despite being kind of a tomboy (read: jeans and converse are my daily uniform) I secretly enjoy getting all dressed up once in a while (however, by the 4th party, I begin to wonder why and long for my trusty Miss Sixty’s). Before the heels start to hurt, your feet and the dress starts becoming uncomfortable, it’s great to shop and find the perfect dress to fête in. Depending on personal style and the dress code of the event, finding the perfect outfit can be quite an undertaking. I know I am particularly luckier than some other girls as I have two sisters who are close both in age and size to me, so in an emergency, we can borrow from one another instead of running out to buy something new. This is saved for emergencies only, though, as we all have very different styles (glamorous, tomboy, flirty). Despite our fashion differences, we have all come to agree on a few favourite stores and styles that flatter every body shape and can even appeal to all of our tastes. Ideally, we would simply go to Holt’s and have our personal shoppers pick out the best styles for us in their dress salon while we patiently wait and sip Dom Perignon, but more realistically, the following shops are where we score the best finds:
Best known for their cheeky tees (“I’d FCUK me”, “FCUK Fashion”) French Connection also has a great assortment of cocktail dresses, shoes and accessories to match. Structured, one-shoulder above the knee dresses (some outfitted with contrasting ruffles) are right on target with the Fall 09 trends and fit the body beautifully (They make an 8 look like a 6… really!) as they highlight the right parts while skimming over the rest. Ruffled shift dresses come in a variety of colours and textures to suit all, but my personal favourite FCUK dress currently in stores is their black and gold sequined flapper-style shift dress. Special enough to wear more than once, this dress needs little accessories as it dazzles enough on its own. Don’t let the $268 price tag scare you away; there is no machine in the world to sew sequins so each piece must be done by hand. If that’s not worth the price tag, try it on and the sparkle of the dress will do the convincing for you.
My sisters and I all love the dresses from this shop because there is such a wide range of styles. My older sister, the glamorous one, loves the sweetheart neckline, Swarovski encrusted bustier dresses or the rich gold and burgundy brocade styles. I personally am a fan of the tough leather and lace combinations or the simplistic body-con styles. My younger sister, the flirt, loves all the designs that accentuate the décolletage and are fringed or sequined. The selection of the shoes perfectly complements all of their styles, but unfortunately, the styles in the States are much broader. (The Eaton Centre has a good selection for a Canadian shop). On-trend mega platforms, open toe booties and bondage style heels call for attention and share the limelight with the dress. With mega sales, you can afford both the dress and the shoes.
Anyone who knows me knows approximately half my wardrobe comes from this Spanish-based fast fashion chain. Boasting trendy and classic styles of clothes, accessories and shoes, Zara gets it right. Their career line, Zara Woman, has great styles for the conservative gal. Zara Basic is great for simplistic, more casual needs while TRF is their trendier, slightly younger collection. All three are affordable and appealing for everyone. If the event in question is sophisticated, Zara Woman will have a demure shift dress or a wrap dress that will cover up enough but still look stylish. Throw on a pair of their lace or dip-dyed ombré tights for some added sex appeal. Zara Basic offers styles with patterns and in simple materials such as wool or cotton to suit a more relaxed event. Need a true party girl dress? TRF has sequined, lace, bustier and brighter styles. The best part? Hardly anything is over $100 so if that cranberry vodka accidentally spills on you, there will be no need for hostility and holiday spirits will stay high.
Last summer, my glamorous sister worked at a Mendocino boutique and I still can’t figure out if it was an advantage or a disaster: this chi-chi shop is teeming with gorgeous and original designs and I definitely benefitted from her employee discount; however, my summer earnings were gone faster than the frozen yogurt I would enjoy in July. One of a kind pieces and lesser known designers are sold at Mendocino shops and their buyer is truly a genius. Garments that fit in yet stand out make the collections special and original; it would not be hard to believe the dress in question was purchased somewhere overseas in a small boutique. More expensive than an average mall-store, be prepared to shell out upwards of $300; but really, who can put a price on originality?
This single standing dress shop on Queen Street West has been featuring in nearly every Canadian fashion magazine and for good reason: if their unbelievable window displays don’t draw you in (currently, mannequins were made into rotating swans complete with tutu-style frocks, a sparkling snowfall, massive, grand mirrors and enough accessories to make your head spin) the gorgeous, hand-made, one of a kind dresses will. More appropriate for a gala than a typical holiday party, Fashion Crimes makes dressing up fun (think along the lines of Betsey Johnson). Unpretentious and colourful, these dresses will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop. If your event doesn’t call for something quite so extravagant, check out their in-store made accessories: at least you can dazzle with their cocktail rings if not a cocktail dress.
Decorating your home and choosing new furniture is all based on your personality. Modern furniture is what screams out individuality. When purchasing furniture to decorate a room, you want something that has an exceptional sense of unique style. Something practical, yet stylish. Furniture all depends on what type of theme you wish to incorporate into your room. It is supposed to bring out your personality and creativity. Furniture is more than just a fixture in a room, it can be very plain and simple, or it can have a dramatic design.
Today’s furniture fashion is categorized in major types of styles. Basically, there is the traditional look which is more a look of formal elegance. If you are an individual that loves the conservative look, than you most certainly want to stick with the same colours. Combining rich, dark wood finishes can add a lot of detail in your furniture. As for fabrics you admire there are brocade, and chintz. The traditional look is best for show rooms which are strictly used for taking photos. The type of wood used for this furniture is generally the most expensive type. The most expensive and formal types of wood that you would have to look for are anything along the lines of cherry, mahogany or oak. The type of style and cut of the furniture is the ancient Victorian look; which had generally first come out of England. As for fabrics, they usually tend to be patterns like jacquard.
Do you want a more laid-back type of furniture? If this is the case, you are basically looking for something that relates to your lifestyle and hobbies. For example, if you like sports, you would want a more comfortable, easy to clean type of fabric. For fabric you want to stick with very neutral colours such as beige and creams etc. Materials best suited for this would be suede and other soft materials. Using soft material will bring more warmth and coziness to your home. If you want to create a home theater atmosphere, focus on big leather sofas. You may also want to invest in recliner sofas. As a different style for the furniture, many find sofas’s that have material and wood incorporated together. If you notice that there are pieces of wood, try to match the same type of wood that is on the love seat with your coffee table, they will complement each other if you do so.
Finally, you have the modern look, meaning you are looking for furniture that will make a bold statement. Look for sharp direct clean styles. If you want a nice contemporary look, instead of having wood incorporated into your furniture go with steel, glass or chrome. This gives a different look and can also compliment the surroundings. When looking at fabric’s look for simple but classic bold colours such as blacks, gray’s and even whites. If you don’t prefer a cloth material due to the fact that it can get dirty faster and the colour can diminish, I suggest you go with leather, it’s the next best thing. However, commonly the modern look goes with the simple leather and microfiber styles.
Depending on the individual, you can be suited for different types of trends. All around the world, many companies are coming out with new, exciting and fresh looks for furniture. Formerly it was always the paint or little fixture’s that made a room complete, but now it’s all about the furniture that invites your guests into your room and entices them into a sense of tranquility. Listed below are different types of idea’s to change your surroundings and home furniture décor. This should open your mind to different options.
- “Eco-friendly” Many communities are now taking action by “being green”. Individuals are being encouraged to be more “green” by sticking to organic or reusable resources. Therefore, you can have interior that is environmental friendly by using organic products, such as linens, rugs, and pillows. You can use reclaimed wood as décor, like bamboo sticks and wheat boards. This can help with your indoor air pollution and also don’t forget you can use recycled parts for fixtures.
- “Bursts of Culture” If you enjoy European culture or African backgrounds, then consolidate your culture or fascination with the certain type of civilization that has been incorporated into your life. For example, if you are intrigued by the whole safari/African theme, then incorporate them in your furniture in order to give it a new modern look. Use drums as a side table. If your interest is into the whole Europe setting, add sculptures or another option that could be a bit pricey would be to have your furniture imported from a different country.
- “High Dining Room Table” The new look for 2009 is to have a higher Dining room table and modern high chairs, with a suede cushion. This gives your dining room/kitchen a fresh sense but also still a traditional look.
- “Bar Stools” Add bar stools to your kitchen island or if you have a contemporary mini bar, situate the stools near by to give it a complete look.
- “Japanese Bath Tub” If you want a different look for your bathroom and you don’t have a lot of room to work with, then a Japanese bathtub would be your best bet. This is a tub that is round and has a seating area all around the tub that goes deep, very much so like a hot tub, but smaller of course.
- “Multipurpose Furniture” Whether you live in a house, apartment or condo, it is always a great investment if you purchase furniture items that have a multipurpose. For example, you can buy a modern ottoman that can flip open and either be storage for photo albums or a coffee table.
- Theresa Sebastiano
A kitchen’s primary focus is no longer only to perform cooking tasks. It is a room that brings family or individuals together. It should not just be considered as a room that is used for the basic essentials, but as a room that is filled with love, creativity and the desire to make genuine cuisine. In a room that contains the majority of your larger furniture that tends to take up a lot of space, you should design or redecorate your kitchen keeping in mind these 5 main schemes. First off, the brand name and warranty of an appliance is very important. When making a major investment on an appliance that you know you will be using every day, you want to make sure that it is a reliable brand with a good warranty attached.
Second, you want to make sure that wherever you plan to put your appliances, there is no place for clean lines to show, which brings me to my third point. To avoid clean lines, invest in built-n appliances; this also gives you more space without any bulky objects sticking out.The fourth element is to not position your appliances in any awkward corners that would draw the human eye. Finally, coordinating your colours is very important. If you decide to go with a stainless steel appliance, it is important that the rest of your appliances follow that pattern.
Cabinetry – To give a different look to your kitchen you can put in different types of cabinetry in it, so not all of the cabinets will solely be solid wood. If you want a more contemporary chic look; mix your cabinets with glass, wood, or frosted glass. This will give your cabinets a different look and add texture to your room by providing variety within. Also, when it comes to cabinets, you are better off purchasing cabinets that pull out to allow for more storage space. Types of wood to choose for your kitchen can be oak, maple, cherry, pine etc. Oak is said to be the strongest and toughest type of wood, however the most popular choices when it comes to wood and cabinets are cherry and maple. Pine wood is not as popular because it is known to be a soft type of wood that is more inclined to leave scratches or dents.
Counter tops – Counter tops are very important because they are the most dominant part of your kitchen. They are also important because each type of countertop has a varying life expectancy due to its surroundings. The main types of countertops are Soapstone, Laminate, and Granite. Laminate is the least expensive route to go, it comes in different colours and is easy to maintain. However, if it is exposed to any type of heat, the laminate material will ruin and it is also prone to get scratched and stained. So, yes, it is affordable but very hard to maintain. Soapstone is the next cost efficient suggestion. It has a rich smooth look, however, if the soapstone does get a crack in it, it is impossible to fix. Finally, the most expensive type of counter top is Granite. Granite has a sophisticated look to it and it comes in different colours. It is a tough type of material that cannot easily be scratched or cracked. However, using such chemicals like cleaning products on granite can ruin the surface.
Colour – Colour in a kitchen is very important, however it is always hard to choose which colour is best suited for a kitchen as opposed to picking out a colour for another room. You don’t want to mismatch your colour schemes because it can ruin the décor of your whole house. It has been said that painting a kitchen a certain colour will have a specific meaning. For example, painting your kitchen yellow tends to make people feel happier, whereas a shade of red can increase your appetite. The most popular kitchen colours of 2009 were the shades of beige, peach, yellow, and brown. White has always been a popular colour and still remains to be one, but with white comes problems with keeping it that colour.
Back Splash – A back splash is not mandatory but can be used to add a special touch to your kitchen. There are different types of styles and methods for creating a back splash. You can use large tiles to give it a bold statement, or you can use tiny metallic tiles to give it an extra sparkle. Also, another type of back splash you can do is by using the same type of counter top material. So, if you are using granite for you counter top you can consolidate the granite for your back splash as well.
- Theresa Sebastiano
A kitchen wouldn’t be unique unless you create different features in it. The sky is the limit. There is so much that you can do when decorating your kitchen. Think of add-ons that can simplify your life or benefit you. Kitchen’s used to be plain and simple; they only had a fridge, sink, and a stove because back then that’s all that was needed. However, nowadays the kitchen has expanded to include many other options. A selection of appliances that were never used before are now necessities to us, the most common ones being dishwashers, a fan to go with your stove and a pantry for storage etc. Here are some add-ons that will surely spice up your kitchen:
Kitchen Island – A kitchen island is very rewarding because it’s multipurpose. Not only does it contain storage, but you can use it to prepare your meals or as a bar area. Pull up some stools in the morning and use the island as a breakfast eating area.
Kitchen Canopy – Create a kitchen canopy that will divide the room from every other room around there. Use pillars to provide a different look to the kitchen. This idea works specifically for a high ceiling kitchen.
Lighting under the cabinets – There is no such thing as too much light. So go all out and include lights under your cabinets that will shine right on your spectacular countertop. This will give you more of an option if you wanted to turn on just the cabinet lights on as opposed to using your main ceiling lights.
Pantry – Having a pantry is the ultimate storage space. It is convenient and is normally hidden away which is great because it isn’t visible to your guests.
Glass Backsplashes – The newest trend in kitchen fashion is creating a glass backsplash that creates a more modern look for your kitchen. The glass should be placed from the countertop all the way to the top cabinet. To give it a more sophisticated look you can also add an LED light to the backsplash.
Do you have an old grungy bathroom? Need idea’s to touch up fixtures or create a different look? No need to stress because this article is completely dedicated to renovating your bathroom. It’s wild how just some trendy accessories or a different colour of paint can change your whole look. Bathroom Renovations can be minor items like painting and changing the theme of your bathroom or they can be major renovations like redoing tiles, plastering a wall, or even adding an expansion to your bathroom.
So, what to do first? First off, it is important that you evaluate the room; is there a lot of light, is it to small, or is there just simply way too much clutter? Anything can be fixed, it all just depends on what you are looking to change. Once you have decided what needs to be changed about your bathroom, your next thought should be how much it will cost you, and if there is an alternate way to fixing it. Many tasks can easily be done by yourself and with technology these days you have all the information you need in the palm of your hand. However, if you simply need the job done right away, then your best bet is to hire someone who can finish the job accurately and timely. This page is designed for different tips and information that you will need for any type of bathroom renovation.
Before renovating your bathroom, it is also important that you consider many different factors. You need to understand that the experience of renovating your bathroom can be very intimidating and costly. It can be high-priced because you may need plumbing or electrical which is not only expensive but can take a while to complete. To save some time and money, you’re better off creating a blueprint of your vision. Purchase all your utilities and hire a professional on the side. However, make sure before selecting a renovator, you receive a few different quotes in order to get the best deal.
There are many items you need to focus on during this process. An important element to remember is to keep your remodeling simple and to the point. Especially if you have a budget it is important that you just focus on the big items that need to be repaired. Always remember to set aside approximately 20% of your budget for hidden costs that you may need. However, if you would like to refurbish everything at once, your only way to save a significant amount of money is by purchasing all your fixtures and necessities at the same location; this will decrease your costs. Forthwith if you are making a large purchase, be sure that it is something that will benefit you and will last for a significant time period. Investing in vanity drawers will enable you to have more storage than a cabinet with doors. However, if the room that you’re working with is small and you don’t have enough room to create more vanity drawers, then you could always add a pantry cabinet to your bare wall. This adds more texture to your room, and does not take up unnecessary space.
You need to comprehend that when renovating your bathroom you have many options to choose from. You need to grasp that a bathroom needs a lot of space because it is a multipurpose room. It serves many daily functions, therefore, you can always add more to your bathroom because chances are you will use it. On that account, if you have the space, be sure you use it. If you are remodeling your shower, ask yourself if you would like a steam or mist type of shower. Steam, normally after several years, can cause the paint in your washroom to deteriorate, causing you to have to paint your washroom again. On the other hand, if you choose a mist shower, there is still water left for those who need it while someone else is showering. Another thing to consider is different types of tiles. Stick on tiles are always cheaper and with the material that it is made with, the human eye can’t really tell the difference. This is because the text of the tile can still be the same as a regular cement tile. Using tiles is especially beneficial if you have indoor heating because the warmth will spread throughout the room.
“Green” is everywhere these days. While changing everything around you to “green” may be costly, you will save much more in the end. Now “being green” can mean different things, for example, if you need a new sink you can just take an old one and revamp it with a new faucet. Or “being green” can also mean taking out your old bathtub or shower and giving it to and organization or facility that can reuse it. By giving things away to someone you know will reuse it is not only a step in the direction towards “becoming green” yourself but can also let others know what they can do “become green” as well. Becoming an individual that wants to create a “green” bathroom can benefit you in so many ways in the future as it also allows you to become energy efficient and eco-friendly. Typical ways are:
- “Becoming green” will allow you to use less water. To save on hot water, you can always create a dual toilet and a low pressure shower head. By doing this you save money on energy and electricity because you are conserving water rather than using electricity to pump your clean water whenever needed.
- When redoing your bathroom it is important that you choose a good form of lighting, something that gives a lot of light but won’t devastate your electricity bill. Try buying fluorescent lights or an LED lighting fixture. These tend to be slightly smaller but they still give out the best amount of lighting for the room and you save just about 45% on the use of them.
- “Becoming green” will lower your organic compounds. This means all the heat and chemicals your bathroom stores due to hygiene products can be reduced with proper ventilation. This can save you from doing other work on your bathroom in the future and can also prevent health problems.
- Finally try to consider all “green” products, like organic cotton linen for your bathroom to match your organic, natural cosmetics.
Just like any part of your home, your bathroom is an essential area that you visit on a regular basis, so why not include the luxury of a five star hotel and make yourself a permanent guest! Accessorize your bathroom with a splash of the ocean, a touch of Victorian times or a lush forest feeling.
It is fairly typical to incorporate blue, but to make it more interesting you can have complementing colours to the lavatory look by hanging up pictures with a blue-green background and a pink seashell on the fore ground for brightening purposes. Additionally, you can purchase teal coloured shot glasses from the dollar store, fill them up with sea salt and place fragrant tea lights in them. If you’re feeling a little arty crafty over the weekend, you can also stencil out an ocean inspired design like a seahorse or a line of waves to embellish the walls with. Place some bath pearls and shell/fish shaped soaps for the finishing touches for this marine ambience.
Black & White with a vintage feel
If you enjoy new-age modern decor with the sharp appeal of black and white, yet also appreciate an era of historical art, then this is certainly the look for your bathroom.
- Choose a shower curtain with an intricate vintage design, be it with roman pillars, a paisley print or classic floral.
- To transform back to a Victorian period, a baroque mirror or decorative items like stone carved cherubs would certainly add to the classic sensation.
- The bathroom can be accentuated by black and white wall art of your favourite classic masterpiece into a black wooden frame with gray or white mounting.
Living the city life but craving nature on a cold winter’s day? Begin your day in the Brazilian rainforest by integrating simple changes to your bathroom for a zen state of mind. Refresh , Rejuvenate and Relax are the three words that will describe your new home spa.
- Besides having leafy green shower curtains, a great decoration piece is a simple flat plate with a scented flower candle over smooth stones.
- If space permits, add a plant or two, preferably artificial ones as there would not be much natural light. Fake foliage will certainly set the mood and bring out the refreshing green theme.
- Choose your towels, bath lilies and rug with natural tones like olive green, sky blue or an earthy brown.
Whichever theme you decide to go for, be sure to let it reflect your own personality and taste. Feel free to add fun bits and pieces like a mini bookshelf (if you do happen to be the occasional bathroom reader!), picture frames with appropriate bathroom quotes, towel ladders, a nice selection of miniature hand creams/ bath cubes and anything else that floats your boat. Happy Showering!
Supriya Arora, Writer STYLE.CA