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Category Archives: Fashion Accessories for Women

How to Declutter your Closet and Simplify Your Life

The leaves are turning and the balancing act of work, commuting, and after-school programs have returned. Autumn weather can be beautiful, but the reality of juggling schedules is often a chaotic backdrop to nature.

Declutter your closet Pilgrim's laundry

One way that you can reduce your stress levels is to declutter your closet, get your wardrobe working with you by covering the essentials. Then pair your choices with the right accessories to refine your look. Call it a minimalist approach, a closet detox or time to cleanse, the goal is to give your cupboard (and you) a chance to breathe. Here are some helpful tips from fashion bloggers:

Olivia Youngs of Simply Liv & Co had these tips for a spring clean-up, but the same rules apply any time of the year:

  1. Put away your out of season pieces
  2. Donate clothes you haven’t worn all year or don’t see yourself wearing this season
  3. Choose a colour scheme
  4. Ditch the doubles
  5. Rely on a few key statement pieces and keep the rest basic

Vicki Archer spends enough time in France to believe that French women have perfected minimalist style with three (3) effortless pieces – black pants, white shirt and sunglasses. Call it French style; you can read her full post here.

Jill and Luke at Sutton & Grove talk about “Less is More” in this article on minimalism. They ask, “Why do we Try and Keep up with the Joneses?”

Italian Style Declutter Your Closet

Tips on How to Declutter your Closet:

I am not going to pretend it is easy to give your closet a once-over. Sometimes clothes, like photos, can evoke memories. Perhaps you bought that sundress on a beach holiday that you dream of repeating. Maybe that black dress is the one that caught his eye. You paid a lot of money for that pencil skirt, and so on.

Confession: It took six years, a renovation and a house move for me to finally give up my corporate “power suits.”

Artwork California Declutter Your Closet

My tips for wrestling the closet demons are as follows (in no particular order).

  1. Practice closet accounting FIFO – first in first out. If you have had an item for a long time, the chances are high that it either no longer fits or is out of style.
  2. Pretend you are moving or renovating. If you were doing either, you would need to empty your closet and dresser drawers. Now, that you have everything in a pile take a hard look at each item before you put them away.
  3.  One in One out. Just bought something new? That’s great! Now remove at least one item from your closet. I still try to follow this one.
  4. Enlist a friend or friends. Maybe you are not objective enough so invite some girlfriends over for a private fashion show along with some wine (I am sure that will be enough incentive). Let them be your fashion police.
  5. Hire a professional. Sounds crazy? Not at all, you go to a hairdresser, nail salon, dentist, gym and so on. Why not bring in someone who does closet organising for a living?

Now that you have cleaned up your unwieldy closet, simply add a few simple accessories to give your look some punch. Sign-up for our newsletter and download our e-guide to picking accessories.

Cinch it up – How to Tie a Scarf Belt a Video

Colleen Poitras is an Ontario-based fashion designer. Her work marries strong materials; stainless steel, concrete, leather and gemstones into minimalist designs for the “Pretty. Rocker. Chic.” The result is gorgeous one-of-a-kind jewellery, handbags and belts.

Although, she admits her that tomboy side surfaced as a child, her first love remained fashion and style. Poitras studied the art and trade of jewellery making at George Brown College and the Mississauga Living Arts Centre. You can read her full designer’s backstory here.

Artist Statement:
I believe that every day gives us the right to express ourselves, the right to be bold or the right to be subtle. I create each piece as a form of expression. I love when my pieces take a back seat to a fabulous outfit as much as I love it when my creations are the focal point to a look. Every look tells a story, and I am blessed to be part of that very personal journey with my clients. We all have pretty, we all have rocker and we all have chic in who we are. The choice is yours…who or what combination will you be today?

One of the latest Colleen Poitras creations is a scarf belt. Made from soft bison leather this belt is just what you need to tie up your blousy shirt dress, or add some punch to your sweater dress.

How to tie a Scarf Belt?

Download her video here.

Scarf Belt Bison Leather Colleen Poitras

Staying Cool Fashion Ideas for those Hot August Nights

Neil Diamond was not kidding; August can be hot!

However, for those of us who love summer August can also be bittersweet as we know the end is approaching. Hot August nights are a bit of a tease, the days are getting shorter just when the lake water is warm, the corn and beefsteak tomatoes are in their prime, and the mosquitoes are almost gone.

August is for summer living. Bathing suits and tank tops are all you need for those lazy days on the dock or at the beach. However, as the sundowner hour approaches, and you have scraped off the sand and sunscreen it’s time to slip on something carefree. We call it “Staying Cool Fashion.”

Cashmere Vest Artigiani Milanesi Staying Cool Fashion IdeasA cashmere vest by Artigiani Milanesi is a basic that is certain to beat any of your t-shirts for that spot as a “go-to” favourite. This sleeveless top made with 100% cashmere, is breathable and ultra-soft. Available in three (3) sizes and eight (8) different colours this vest will take you from summer into autumn as a great base layer.

Gracie Lacey Cashmere Sweater

The Gracie Lacy Cashmere Cardigan is a delicate sweater intended to turn your casual look into sexy. This sweater works just as well with jeans as it does with a skirt. The intricate lace-inspired pattern gives this cardigan a translucent feel. Throw this dress into your weekend bag and your “what do I wear in the evening?” dilemma is resolved. Available in eight (8) colours.

Silk Shibori Scarves Indigo Lavender Staying Cool Fashion Ideas

Sometimes all you need is a little colour. Morija Reeb a weaver by trade loves to work with silk. For this ultra-light scarf, she used a traditional Japanese technique called Shibori to create textural patterns on cloth. Available in indigo-lavender or burgundy-grey-rust, this silk scarf is easy to pack and provides that layer you might need once the sun has set.

No one said you had to change out of your shorts, after all, it’s still summer. Add a simple necklace or dangling earrings, and you have already updated your look. Browse the selection of beautiful jewellery options here.

Enjoy the hot August nights while they last.

Oh…and why not pack in this bison leather tote bag?

Travel size Tote Bag Staying Cool Fashion Ideas

 

Evolution of Clothing Brand Cassandra Elizabeth and New Direction

We recently spoke to Toronto clothing designer Cassandra Burrell regarding what she describes as the transition from a “young” brand to a universal clothing line.Her enthusiasm is contagious when she talks about an anticipated August launch (pre-orders accepted as of August 1st) for the latest additions to her “Cassandra Elizabeth” clothes. These new pieces are a key milestone in this brand’s evolution, with her vision to flatter a wider audience and ignore the seasons.

Read  her backstory here: Cassandra Elizabeth Designs Eco-Friendly Clothing for Busy Women.

Cassandra Elizabeth Canadian Clothing Brand

A Capsule Collection

Burrell believes that it is time to take her designs “to the next level” while maintaining her basic goals of any size and any season. There are a total of eight (8) new Cassandra Elizabeth pieces.  The new clothing includes three (3) sweaters, three (3) T-shirts and two (2) pants. Described as a capsule collection that will cover everything you need for wardrobe basics. The pieces are all neutral foundations (black and heather grey).

Cassandra Elizabeth Canadian Clothing Brand

Sustainable fabrics, Bamboo and Tencel, factor in the new Cassandra Elizabeth pieces. However, Burrell is also adding hemp and cotton as textiles used in her clothes.  She continually vets her Canadian-based fabric suppliers for their eco-friendly manufacturing practices.  One such example is Burrell’s choice to select a bamboo that is broken down mechanically rather than chemically, a cost differential she feels is worth it for the environment long term.

The new Cassandra Elizabeth collection promises to offer a relaxed fit without appearing slouchy. The pieces can be worn individually or layered to change a look or adjust for the seasons. Burrell has designed for every age group while offering a universal fit and maintaining a minimal aesthetic. She shared this, “I love seeing how people accessorize my clothing.”

A Universal Brand

The launch date of early August is intentional. The objective is for the Cassandra Elizabeth patterns to navigate seasonal changes as a year-round collection. Burrell shared that she began working on this project in February (2017) and to launch date, it will be seven (7) months. A quick turnaround for any designer. According to this Burrell, the scheduling is perfect as it reinforces her brand’s universality (all ages, all seasons, all bodies) and it allows her Toronto-based manufacturers to collaborate with her in their slower periods.

Due to changes in her production process these items are no longer available on Atelier, but please visit her website to place your orders. We will continue to follow the Cassandra Elizabeth creative journey and fashion direction.

GOBLE Canadiana Collection Explores the Landscapes of Canada

The idea evolved from Cindy Goble’s coast-to-coast travels, her vision for a unique design project resulted in the Canadiana Collection. Goble has travelled from the “Rock” (Newfoundland) to Canada’s Pacific shores, in British Columbia. She decided to dedicate her first capsule collection to the landscapes of Canada. So, it is no coincidence that the GOBLE Canadiana Collection appears at the same time as the country is celebrating its 150th year.

GOBLE Canadiana Collection Infinity Wool Scarf Maritimes

As a Canadian, this grouping of designer hand-knits and silk prints will immediately take you back a few years (or more than a few) with imagery of the multi-striped Hudson’s Bay blanket. In 1800, the Husdon Bay Company commissioned the manufacture of these iconic off-white (they call it Oxford White) blankets, with four primary coloured stripes. These wool covers served the purpose of being warm, with the unfortunate addition of also being heavy and itchy.

GOBLE Canadiana Collection Bucket Bag Wool Arctic White

GŌBLE’s Canadiana Collection has nothing to do with childhood memories. Designed as statement pieces and contemporary wardrobe patterns. Colourful interpretations from Goble’s cross-country travels inspired her reflection of Canada’s landscape in four major hues.

GOBLE Canadiana Collection Large Square Wool Scarf RockiesThe Arctic is represented in a bright white evoking imagery of the vast snowy tundra. The Maritime coastal waters appear in medium-blue backgrounds. Captured in a tan shade are the endless expansive wheat fields of the Prairie provinces. And, her selection of dark-chocolate brown suits the awe-inspiring granite spires of the Rockies.

GOBLE Canadiana Collection Knit Beanie Cap Wool Rockies

Goble did not stop at colour in this collection that pays tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary. The grouping includes warm woollen knits for those cold, dark nights that we know will eventually return in the autumn. She uses whimsical touches of fox and beaver fur for design flair. For the warmer months of the year Goble created a playful grouping of bright silk scarves.

GOBLE Canadiana Collection Hand Woven Wool Scarf Prairies

Shop now this collection is only available in 2017.

Tulip 150 Handbag Signature Design to Celebrate Canada150 Milestone

Canada is a young nation relative to its peers (think of the other countries in G7, NATO, EU Zone, Commonwealth and so on). However, 150 years is still a significant birthday it was a milestone worth celebrating.

On July 1st, cities and towns across Canada celebrated with fireworks and live music. The 150 Tulip (or Maple Leaf Tulip) bloomed this Spring – One Tulip One Canada – in time for the annual tulip festival in Ottawa here. (Image credit above: Ottawa tourism)

Canadian designers are marking the year with signature pieces.

Tulip 150 Handbag Red Ostrich Leather

Designing Canada 150

Christine Vonbun’s birthplace is Austria, and where she earned her Master-Craftsman in Handbag Design. For several years now, Canada has been her home. Toronto, Ontario is a place that she enjoys for its ready access to natural beauty.

Tulip 150 Handbag Red Ostrich Leather

To recognise the significant 150th year of Canada’s confederation, Christine Vonbun designed the Tulip 150 handbag, the latest addition to her leather purse collection. This small bag makes a bold design statement to celebrate the milestone of Canada’s 150th birthday year.

Tulip 150 Handbag Red Ostrich Leather

This handbag made with neutral beige leather is the perfect “will go with anything” colour. However, Christine’s design is sensational with the striking black Italian leather bottom, and the red ostrich flower (tulip) appliqué adds that flash of colour that will make others notice.

For the full details on the limited edition Tulip 150 purse click here.

(Note: This sharp red tulip bag will only be available in 2017).

Canada150 in Kingston Discover How Iron Art is Celebrating

We asked Ontario designers Robert & Lisa Aucoin of Iron Art about their plans for July 1st, Canada’s birthday – Canada150.

With everything going on in the world, this celebration has made us think about how thankful we are to be in a country at peace, with freedoms other countries don’t have. There is so much beauty within one nation, and so unique from one coast to the other. You may never be able to explore it all. There is always something in nature to be inspired by as an artist in Canada.  We are thankful to be Canadian artists, living and working in this country.
How will you celebrate the holiday weekend?
We will be celebrating at an art show in Kingston Ontario, the former capital city. Every Canada Day we take part in the Artfest Kingston show which is full of fun for the entire family.  Artists from all over Ontario and beyond participate at the event.
Iron Art RAW COPPER INUKSHUK
What is your birthday gift to Canada?

As a Canadian symbol, I love the Inukshuk. I think it would make a great gift for anyone. I have also been making Canadian Maple Leafs (photo above) out of copper taken from the Parliament Building roof in Ottawa. If there were anything more fitting to give as a Canadian birthday gift, that would be it.

Shop the Iron Art leather and metal collection.

Leather Handbags Christine VonBun Shares her Design Story

One of our goals at Atelier is to communicate our designers’ artistic journeys. However, it’s even better when they share the design story behind their leather handbags.

Handbag Design Story Hope Ostrich blue leather

Holiday Discount

Before diving into this designer’s story, we want to make sure you don’t miss this generous offer.  To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Christine VonBun is offering 40% off any ostrich handbag (in stock) from now until July 1st. Take advantage of this fantastic offer and use coupon code Canada150Handbag at checkout.

Handbag Design Story Ostrich Harper Blue Leather

Dedication

In our view, anyone who has chosen a creative path is brave, for many reasons. Work with raw materials is intensive and in some cases quite physical. Mastering a craft can often take years of trial and error.

Christine Vonbun Leather Handbag Design Story

Designers must first turn their creative vision into an attractive outcome. The Financial Times published an interesting article on “How artisans across the world are crafting a living” by Jonathon Foyle. The process of finding buyers for small production, handcrafted goods can be daunting. The potential sales channels are limited by available time. You will encounter artisans manning booths at craft markets, and in bricks and mortar retail outlets. On top of that they need to establish an online presence and dabble in the virtual world of social media.

Luxurious ostrich leather handbags

Christine VonBun works exclusively with high-quality leathers and speciality skins. VonBun trained in her native Austria and achieved a master craftsman certification in leather work. Her work in South Africa at a renowned design house gave her the confidence to create her line of handcrafted leather handbags. Spend a few minutes reading her designer backstory here and the detailed process required to fashion a leather purse here.

These luxury leather handbags are signature accessories, pieces that you will use for many years.

Christine Vonbun Leather Handbag Design Story

During the “Originals – The Spring Craft Sale” in Ottawa, Ontario, Christine VonBun was interviewed by CTV about her beautiful bags. Watch Christine share her design story with CTV here.

Bella Leather Handbag Morris B Design Story Christine Vonbun

Italian leather handbags

Christine VonBun’s Morris B collection is an Atelier exclusive.  Made with exquisite Italian leather these bags share the same details as her ostrich handbags. However, the price point is more affordable due to the relative ease of working with Italian leather vs. ostrich – explore the Morris B collection here.

Christine has to say about her Morris B Collection,

“User-friendly on-trend bags which work for the wearer from day to night. Uncomplicated, stylish with a twist of fun.”

To celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, Christine VonBun has designed an adorable purse she calls the Tulip 150. This small bag makes a bold design statement to commemorate the milestone of Canada’s 150th birthday. This sharp red tulip purse will only be available in 2017,  order your’s today. (Note: this handbag is not included in the Canada150Handbag offer)

Tulip 150 Leather Handbag Design Story Christine Vonbun

5 Rules for Calgary Stampede Rodeo Fashion Style and Accessories

Rodeo fashion style did not exist in 1886, for Calgary’s first organised agricultural event – the Calgary and District Agricultural Society. It was 1912 when American Guy Weadick organised a livestock performance, a Wild West rodeo that morphed into today’s Calgary Stampede. This annual 10-day rodeo and festival is a magnet for international cowboys and cowgirls. For many, the Calgary Stampede embodies its tagline the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Denim

Outside of the rodeo arena, there are few rules during the Calgary Stampede (July 7-16, 2017). Work takes a backseat to pancake breakfasts, boozy lunches and line dancing. If you want to look the part, western attire is de rigour.

What are the rules for Calgary Stampede rodeo fashion style?

If you want to mimic authentic cowboy and cowgirl’s effortless fashion style, here are the five (5) wardrobe musts.

  1. Denim – Anyone who is riding a horse, bull or participating in a Stampede event will be in jeans. Clearly, this clothing selection is a practical choice when attempting to stay atop high-spirited livestock. However, these men and women typically establish their style with form fitting dark denim blues and blacks. For the spectators’ denim choices are not as prescribed. You can expect jeans of every colour, denim shorts, sundresses dresses of every length and a more than a few miniskirts. Fashion tip: white jeans are acceptable, but watch where you sit…just saying.

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Denim2. Boots – In the same vein as denim footwear choices around big animals and dusty arenas should never include open toed shoes or high-heals. Leather cowboy boots and lace-up ropers are the standard footwear options. Often these boots have been custom built for the owner and worn so many times that they fit better than slippers. Not planning to ride any livestock? Cowboy boots are still a practical footwear option in the event of rain (sadly that does happen), and in the beer tents where the dance floor can turn into a sticky mess. Read about Alberta Boot Company here and how you can order your pair of boots.

3. Cowboy Hat – The brimmed western hat serves a clear purpose for keeping the sun off the face and rain out of the wearer’s eyes. The bonus is almost everyone looks better in a cowboy hat. Your hat choices range from breathable straw to warm felt material. Read about the Smithbilt hat makers here.

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Hats4. Shirts and Tops – Western shirts are far from prescribed. Theses tops cover a broad gulf of styles including fringes, leather touches, beaded designs and much more.

Calgary Stampede Style Cowboy Shirts5. Belt Buckles – These are a status symbol of sorts. Any cowboy or cowgirl who has won a notable rodeo event proudly sports a large metal belt buckle commemorating the occasion. Bigger is considered better in the buckle department.

Western accessories for this year’s Calgary Stampede.

Designer Nancy Newman works with vintage fabrics, handwoven pieces of cotton and soft leathers to create gorgeous one-of-a-kind bucket bags. It is her finishing touches, the accents of nickel conchos and rivets that give these handbags an authentic western flavour. Giddy up cowgirl!

Black Leather Bucket Bag Nancy Newman

Step into your favourite jeans and finish the look with a hand cut leather belt (available in a range of colours) and a shiny belt buckle of your own. Designer Robert Aucoin at Iron Art makes these belts and buckles in Ontario.

Gold Heart Metal Belt Buckle Iron Art Pink Heart Metal Belt Buckle Iron Art

French Fashion Style How to Wear a Scarf like a Parisian

French women have a reputation for their understated fashion flair. Runway models and Paris Fashion Week aside, the image of a well-dressed Parisian woman is a combination of effortless make-up and that striking accessory.

French scarf fashion know how

 

Buying a new suit or coat is an investment in your wardrobe. Cost and practicality should determine that you want these pieces to last more than a single season. Sure, you expect styles to change after a few years, but given the expense of these items, you certainly hope to stretch their use longer than a few short months. A scarf is a wardrobe lifesaver that does not break the bank.

Silk Chiffon Scarf Accessories

According to silk fashion designer Léa Petitjean of Petitjean Paris

“Around your neck, your head, or even your bag handle, there are plenty of ways to wear it: there can be no limit to your creativity.”

A bright silk scarf adds softness and a flash of colour to any outfit. Versatile and easy to carry the lightweight scarf packs a fashion punch.

How do you tie those knots?

 

Check out the Petitjean Paris website to view images of the more common ways of tying a carré (square) scarf.

Fashion powerhouse Hermes developed a smartphone App to help guide you through options for tying silk knots. All you need is your phone and a scarf.

Designer scarves and shawls

 

Canadian artist Cindy Goble’s rectangular (20″ X 70″) silk scarf is available in six (6) colour options. Lightweight and elegant the chiffon fabric does not wrinkle or fade. The multi-hued tones in these Goble scarves allow you to mix and match with several outfits. Shop this easy to pack must-have accessory.

Silk Chiffon Scarf Cindy Goble Design

Also from the Goble collection is a large square scarf in 100% wool. These bright scarves will dress up a neutral outfit with a strong punch of colour. The oversized square scarf (53″ X 53″) is meant to be worn as a top layer – the statement piece. Choose  a selection of beautiful colours: serenity rose, blue lagoon, caramel blush, red hot and tempting crème caramel.

Oversized Wool Scarf in Red Hot Colour

Handwoven Freedom Fringe Shawl is the knock-out wardrobe accessory that you can throw on as the sun sets. Cindy Goble designed these shawls with a rich combination of merino, alpaca, silk and mohair wools. Go ahead make some heads turn!

 

Freedom Fringe Hand Woven Shawl Wine Stain Colour

 

Weaver Morija Reeb loves working with silk. She tells us that there are always a few pieces on her loom at various stages of progression. Methodically woven by hand, her silk scarf is a timeless piece that is sure to be your favourite for years to come. Silk is like wool, warm in the winter and cool in the summer yet always soft against your skin. Explore Morija’s natural wild silk scarves here.

Morija Reeb wild silk scarf

Cashmere is luxurious. The ARTIGIANI MILANESI Maxi scarf is 220cm long 60cm wide. This wrap is a beautiful and luxurious scarf and shawl all-in-one. Weaved by hand on Bowen Island this Italian designed scarf will become a wardrobe essential. Although, the scarf is quite a good size the lightweight cashmere ensures it is not bulky. Order yours today.

Cashmere Maxi Shawl Artigani Milanesi

 

 

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