Fresh Collective Style Profile – Ana Bailão

Name: Ana Bailão

Occupation: City Councillor, Ward 18

Age: A woman never tells 😉

Lifestyle: On-the-go.

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Style Coach Notes: Ana liked this dress so much, after our photo shoot she bought one in the same style but a different colourway. This style just works on most women. The band creates a nice long line from under the bust to the hem and the cut of the skirt just flows away from the body skimming over tummies and hips. The demure tie and collar give it professional polish but the fabric shows off your shape. Very flattering! (Dress: Jayne Zig crimp shirt dress – Mandala Design $138, Shoes: Lonna Mary Jane – Hush Puppies $100, Bracelet: Ch-ch-chains – BurfurtART $45)

What’s a typical day like for you? It starts with a shot of espresso to kick off early morning meetings with stakeholders at City Hall. Followed by council and committee meetings, taking my day into the early evening. It doesn’t end there; even without any afternoon siestas! Usually, there are community meetings schedule weeks in advance for topics such as planning applications, parking upgrades and new community projects. Weekends are just as action packed, with numerous community festivals and events, allowing me the opportunity to better connect with the residents of the area; always making a day of work much more enjoyable. Continue reading

BEST OF Fresh Collective Style Profile – Summer Sale Items

FC Style Profile Best Of SAMSUNG CSC In May, Toronto’s fabulous “Dancing Crossing Guard,” Kathleen Byers, modeled the fabulous Lila Dress from Mandala Design. Originally $158, this printed piece is now marked 40%off  along with all other Mandala pieces – it’s only $94.80! Call your nearest Fresh Collective now to check on sizes and availability!

 

SAMSUNG CSC
This knockout Hourglass Dress (modeled by equal knockout Katherine O’Neil – Independent Consultant and National Vice President for Arbonne International) comes from Obaki. Originally priced at $280, it’s been marked all the way down to $168 and can be snagged from our Roncesvalles or Queen Street locations!

 

SAMSUNG CSCProduction Manager/Stage Manager/Theatre Technician – Pip Bradford looked flirty and fun when she modeled the Annette Dress by Studio Fresh early this May. It used to be $179 but if you stop into Fresh Collective Queen or Roncesvalles you can snag one for only $125.30!

CONTACT A STORE NEAR YOU FOR SIZING AND STOCK INFO

Queen St. West :: 692 Queen St. West :: 416-594-1313

Kensington Market :: 274 Augusta Ave :: 416-966-0123

Roncesvalles Village :: 401 Roncesvalles Ave :: 647-352-7123

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The Swagger Coach – Nesting: An Organizational Tale

swagger coach

If I have one addiction, it’s shopping. I’m a sucker for fun fashion, expressive pieces, cool textures and playful colours. I have a lot of fun dressing myself, and I am lucky to have a partner who indulges me by allowing me to act as his own personal style consultant. I love playing dress-up so very much that I found myself a job with a great company which allows me to play dress-up all day long, and get paid for it. I think I hit the jackpot.

I’ve always sung the praises of items which can transition your wardrobe from season to season, and finding new ways to wear items which you already own. I love shopping, yes, but I also know that we’re real people with real budgets and real rent and hydro and car bills to pay, so I really emphasize the versatility of certain items which will help you get the best bang for your buck.

Last weekend, I was meandering around my apartment, and I realized that I had lots of everything. This everything has a place, yes, but instead of having one area where I keep, say, hair accessories, I had several. One special spot in almost every room. I also noticed that our black-and-white decor which once seemed modern and cool, had become a bit bland for my tastes. I set out, mentally re-organizing our place, room by room. After only a few hours and a lot of garbage runs, I cleared out our junk, sorted the keepers and tidied everything. I was really impressed with the turnout, so during the week, I treated our place to some new bits and pieces, ranging from fun little art pieces to a whole new TV bench. I have planned a painting party for next weekend which will give our place a fun splash of colour. Today, I’ll be sharing some of the simple tips I used to makeover my apartment, and how to create an oasis out of chaos with little pocket damage and only a few hours of work.

PAINT IT

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The easiest way to re-do a room? A fresh coat of paint. You can add interest with a focus wall painted in a vibrant hue, or add warmth to white walls with a toasty tan colour. Keep the use of the room in mind too. For example, if you’d like your washroom to take on the feel of a calm, spa-like atmosphere, painting the walls a rubber-ducky yellow may not be the most soothing on the eyes. Similarly, painting your breakfast area a dull shade of blue-grey may cast a lethargic shadow on your day. Colour is directly tied to mood, so consider who will be using the room, and when, and pick accordingly. Also, while fresh matte paint is lovely, it can definitely attract scuffs and smudges, especially in light colours. Picking an eggshell or semi-gloss paint will provide low-maintenance walls for years… or until you decide to redecorate again! I’ve become increasingly smitten with vintage-looking furniture too, and a coat of paint can be distressed with sandpaper or steel wool, creating a romantic, old-world feel for your ho-hum furniture too. Inspired by my black-and-white Miz Mooz Patsy shoes, I’ll be transforming my dove grey walls to bright white, with jet-black trim to make our new seafoam furniture pop! Easy and affordable!

INVEST IN CUSTOM ORGANIZATION

 

jewellery

Simple. We use what we like. By investing in organizational items and fixtures, you’ll be far more prone to using them. Forget about the pre-established organizational containers and find your own. Have more necklaces that you’d normally fit into one of those tiny jewellery boxes? (Like I do! I have more Curious Oddities and Sailor Girl jewellery than I know what to do with!) Skip it and find an interesting cork board and fun pushpins and space it out as you need. Loads of purses? Pass on typical purse hangers and opt for S-hooks, hanging them along an easy-to-instal secondary garment rail. Customizable closet organizers are wonderful because they allow you to alter your space to accommodate your needs. That way, you don’t have a gaping space where you’ve hung two long dresses, while the tiny spot for tops is jam-packed. Organizing in a way that works for you is important. If you normally blow-dry your hair in the bedroom, store your dryer and brushes there. If you ONLY read in the living room, placing your bookshelves in the same room will avoid displaced clutter. Do you take your shoes off before you enter the home? Keeping space free for a shoe cabinet will relieve your hallway of old-shoe landmines and streamline your entrance way. Storing things in visually attractive containers will encourage you to sort them more often, and making them easy-access will ensure you get all the use out of the garments and accessories you have.

 

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND

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If you’re like me, you have a lot of little things. Little things which often don’t really have a “right place”. So I will say this once, and I’ll hope that it doesn’t get abused: Having a junk drawer is okay. For the rest of the stuff, even if it IS organized impeccably, any collection of items which is visually accessible can look like clutter. So, rather than storing it away and having to fish for it later, add a barrier to contain the items. For example, having a shelf full of DVDs can take away from colour or themed decor, so placing them inside a cabinet with doors will keep them accessible but out of sight, creating that much more of a neat environment. Rather than having a dozen bottles of perfume scattered across your dresser, place them inside a neat, little, patterned box which matches the theme of the room. I’ve grabbed some cute fabric boxes in patterns similar to our Mandala Design and Annie50 fabrics. Leaving some items free can create a cool effect too, as you’ll read next, but for non-exciting items which have little to no artistic or decor value, keep these guys tucked away so that the focus of the room is on the fun stuff.

BUNCHES OF BUNCHES

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To totally contradict what’s written above, we’ll chat about the few times that bunches of “organized chaos” is attractive in a home. Some of our jewellery designers do this when setting up their cases, to make the small space visually dynamic and interesting. Scattering small clusters of colour co-ordinated items (like books, candles, or vintage-looking glass bottles) can create a warm, inviting and interesting vibe for your space. Typical statuettes and photo frames can easily be replaced by quirkier items, which are intended solely for decor. This does not mean that you should crack out your Mum’s old 60s blender and plop it on a side table, but rather display items you truly enjoy and ones which have a story or history behind them, and can act as discussion topics. No one is fascinated with your son’s collection of toy cars, but they do want to hear about the adorable vintage alarm clock which is sitting on your mantel.

IMPULSE BUY

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Impulse buying happens when a person reacts to a product which they were instantly attracted to. We’re rarely attracted to a neutral, safe curtain, or to a muted throw pillow. If you see something which really grabs your attention, think of how fabulous it’ll look incorporated into your place! Its those instant “wow” moments and the items which inspire them, which are so telling of our style and tastes. For example, our stores always showcase our most vibrant, and exciting items prominently, because we know our customers will love them, and we want to make it easy for you to find what you need. Taking ‘risks;’ on things like coloured rugs, textured vases and oversized clocks can bring about a totally fresh vibe for your home! So, if you’re browsing your favourite home store, and you come across an item which draws your attention, find one in a colour which suits your theme (an accent colour, not a neutral! No cheating!) and bring it home with you! Its those touches of design flare, like a chevron curtain, or a crystal-look chandelier, which give your place character, taste and personality. Go crazy, have fun, and make your space YOURS!

What to Wear Wednesday – Summer Storm Style

What to Wear Wednesday - Summer Storm Style

What to Wear Wednesday – Summer Storm Style by freshcollective

Not every summer day can be 30 degrees and sunny, but who says you can’t be stylish even in a thunder storm? Toss on your rain boots with a cute dress (Mandala Design “Heather” dress $148 – now 25% off) and some fun accessories – brighten up even the gloomiest day!


What to Wear Wednesday – It’s a Wrap!

What to Wear Wednesday - It's a Wrap!

What to Wear Wednesday – It’s a Wrap! by freshcollective
Kongo Wrap Top by Melow – $115, Aquamarine Yoga Jeans – $115, Lela Silk Print Skirt by Mandala – $118, Chaste Skimmer flats by Hush Puppies – $98, Renown T-strap Sandals by Hush Puppies – $105 (ALL NOW 25%off!)

Yesterday in the office THREE staff showed up in the same piece: the incredibly comfortable and versatile Kongo Wrap Top from Melow. All three gals looked great and wore it in different ways!

Laura-Jean paired her green wrap with a bold printed skirt from Mandala Design, Jane’s navy top looked great with lavender Yoga Jeans and our fabulous intern Sally put it together with classic black jeans and a black camisole underneath! This great top also comes in black and black & white stripes.

its a wrap trio

Which look do you like best? 

BONUS: Every item pictured in both the WTWW set and the picture of FC staff is currently on sale for 25% off! Hurry in to snag your size!

 

Have a #PicturePerfectSummer in Fresh Collective: Photos

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Hello there, June!

‘Tis the season for bike riding, sunshine-ing, picnic-ing and general good times.
Have a #PicturePerfectSummer in Fresh Collective!

The Swagger Coach: Putting on the Ritz – an Office-friendly Fashion special

swagger coach
Fashion is fun. Simply put, not only is it a lot of fun, its also one of the easiest ways to make a statement without ever opening your mouth. I’m a lucky, lucky gal to work for a fashion company which embraces all sorts of fashion. Here at Fresh Collective, there is no set-in-stone dress code for our retail staff, and I thank my lucky stars for this every day. You’ll notice, on any given day, that many of our folks are indeed dressed in head-to-toe Fresh gear, but this is because we’re the first to see these clothes, and we often fall in love with them while trying them on… even before they hit the sales floor! Plus, we know and love our designer friends and love giving them our business. We’re customers too! When was the last time your usual chain-retailer offered to have a garment customized for you? When was the last time you were in a big-box store and a designer approached you and thanked you for trying on their garment, and then asked you for feedback? Never, that’s when.

I love a pencil skirt and a blazer as much as the next gal, but I’m not the kind of girl to get gussied up in office wear for sport. Life is good when your wardrobe can be as creative and funky as you like. Its also nice to come home, flop down on the couch and not have to immediately slither out of a suit as though it’s trying to eat me. As much as I enjoy being fashionably free, most of my friends work in corporate environments, which requires modest, straight-laced outfits and that often limits creativity and expression in dressing. Its all-too easy to get caught up in the over-structured, oatmeal-coloured world of crisp lines and classic cuts, and some of us simply fall into this pattern for lack of inspiration, concern over maintaining professionalism, or even inexperience with mixing professional items with more casual ones. A friend of mine suggested writing this week’s blog about dressing for the office, but keeping your sense of self and pushing the bar while still dressing appropriately, with class and style. Janet, this one is for you!


First thing’s first: The “office” has been redefined over the last decade. While the word “office” once conveyed greyscale cubicles, navy pantsuits and buttoned-collar tops, it can now refer to a relaxed environment, some welcoming pets, casual clothes and mid-day social activities for staff members. Depending on your field, your place of work could indeed be quite welcoming of jeans, comfy clothes and sensible footwear. Take a look around you, and use your better judgement to establish the “feel” of your environment. Dressing in a way which reflects your surroundings and team is always appropriate, but dressing just a bit more neatly will convey your attention to detail and commitment to presenting yourself in a flattering light. Coming to work looking groomed, collected and neat reflects your ability to look after yourself, and this is a trait which most managers, supervisors and bosses value, as you’ll likely be able to pay due attention to projects, tasks and finishing touches you’re assigned. Regardless of what kind of environment you work in, there are definitely ways to incorporate unexpected elements of fashion and design in your wardrobe, even if you are one of the few who have to abide by strict and modest guidelines.
As far as fashion goes, there are a zillion gurus out there who preach the wonders of certain strategies and themes in dressing and adorning your body. Personally, I take a bit from each of them, and roll it all up into one big fashion advice ball. One of my personal favourite teachings, though, was from the all-knowing, omnipresent Stacy London, who is known for her femme-chic yet powerful and no-nonsense approach to dressing. On one particular episode of What Not to Wear, she scolded a frumpy woman as she stood in front of the wraparound mirror and claimed that no one noticed her. No one noticed her because she never gave them reason to notice her, and it was sad to see the woman (who was lovely, really, but totally unkempt) express such apathy over her appearance. In a cut-away segment, they showed clips of the woman’s boss being interviewed, and he expressed that there had actually been complaints from other workers who would observe the woman coming to work in sweatpants, sports-team t-shirts and rubber shoes, even though her job description involved recruiting, hiring and general HR duties. She didn’t define her work environment as “professional”, as it was a rather relaxed environment. She knew that her appearance probably left the wrong impression on people who came to the agency to find work, and were greeted and processed by a woman who looked as though she had been abducted from her home at 3am, rolled up in blankets, and dropped at her office bleary-eyed and swathed in fleece. Stacy showed the woman an endless combination of outfits the incorporated comfy, dark-wash jeans in a slack-like cut, relaxed, stretch blazers which wore more like cardigans and simple tops with fun necklines to jazz up the most casual of combinations. While she showed off the garments, she taught the woman about 5 key elements of creating a memorable, captivating outfit that communicates confidence and style. I loved these rules, and wanted to share them, with my own fun twist, for you guys to chew on this week.
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FIT

Blouse by Monikova

Blouse by Monikova

YOUR CLOTHES HAVE TO FIT. They have to fit. There are two routes to getting clothes to fit you perfectly. Both start with the essential understanding that, if a garment is not the perfect fit off the rack, it is NOT an issue with your body, and it is NOT an issue with the garment. No one yells at the square peg for not fitting in the round hole. The issue is simply that the garment is not constructed perfectly for your body… yet. Now, your options are either to search for garments which DO fit your body perfectly, or to alter the garments you find and love to fit you. I’d suggest the second option, to save you from passing up on great items which could be showstopping on you, if a few simple tweaks are made. Clothes that fit well create balance and proportion on your frame, and make the difference between looking sharp and looking frumpy. Hem those pants. Nip that too-baggy waistline. Crop those sleeves.
Play it safe: well-tailored jackets, proper-length skirts and pants, dresses which are shaped proportionately
Push the Limits: Architecture-inspired seams, added volume in choice spots (shoulders, hips) retro-influenced waistlines and necklines, bias hems.


SPARKLE
Sugar Rush Summer Romance Collection

Sugar Rush Summer Romance Collection

Unless you work in a mine, your workplace has a light source. It could be those evil fluorescent lights in your office or the natural warm sunlight which comes streaming in your windows (stop pressing your nose against the glass and just go for a walk, people are staring). What catches light better than a little twinkle? Jazzing up simple outfits with a string of glittering beads, wearing a top with a glittering pinstripe, or wearing a flashy, bright ring will update your look and add a bit of glamour while respecting office dress code. One of the guys, my butt.
Play it Safe: Simple necklace, crystal earrings, a hammered brass cuff bracelet, beaded necklines, metallic-toe shoes
Push the Limits: Subtle glitter-woven garments, sparkly embellishments on lapels and pockets, a blinged-out bib-style necklace over a classic oxford shirt, studded details, bejeweled hair fascinators



TEXTURE

Top by Mandala Design

Top by Mandala Design

Fun fur, pleather pants, and fishnet anything have NO place in a professional environment. None. Scrap that idea now. Done? Okay, good, now we can move on to incorporating fun materials and textures into your wardrobe. Keeping shapes classic, you can get a lot of bang for your buck when mixing and matching fabrics. Keep more playful materials office-friendly by balancing textured pieces with simpler ones, and play them up for night-time!

Play it safe: Linen in fun colours, pairing two contrasting fabrics in the same colour family (pale pink chiffon and cotton twill, or ivory lace and satin), items with accents and decals in fun textures and overlays
Push the Limits: A leather blazer paired with simple bottoms, layering sheers, snakeskin shoes, layering two contrasting fabrics in contrasting colours (red leather with royal blue silk, yellow flocked cotton with violet crochet knit) A stiff peplum top, or panels of various textures incorporated into a skirt



COLOUR

Wrap dress from Address Apparel

Wrap dress from Address Apparel

Everyone can wear colour. the brightness, saturation and amount of it worn are up to you. Colour is a BRILLIANT way to add a splash of fun to an otherwise boring outfit. Picking out garments and accessories in fun colours can also breathe new life into what you own already, and can play up your natural features, like your beautiful blue eyes, your chestnut hair, or your porcelain/freckled/gloriously tanned skin.

Play it Safe: Vivid shoes, colourful stacked bracelets, a playful headband, a pop of colour on your earrings, a bright hued top under a classic suit
Push the Limits: Contrasting primary colours (red jacket with a blue skirt and yellow shoes) tone-on-tone layering in slightly different shades, Matching garments to makeup (turquoise blazer with a bold streak of the same colour lining your eyes, or a mandarin orange lipstick which matches your pants) colour-family stacking (all pastels, all brights)



PRINTS

Printed pants from Brenda Beddome

Printed pants from Brenda Beddome

You guys know I love a good print. But how to incorporate a print into office-friendly attire? Simple. Balance. If you work in a creative field, bright, wacky prints can be totally acceptable. If you work in a more conservative environment, subtle prints will be your bff. Prints can add a playful touch, they can draw the eye and shape the body, or they can simply add dimension and interest to solids. Pick your favourite print, pair with matching accessories, and have a blast!

Play it safe: Pinstripes, small polka dots, subtle stripes, soft florals, pairing a print with a basic, layering under/over solids
Push the Limits: Combining two contrasting prints in similar colours (white and navy stripes paired with white and navy dots), double-exposed prints (large polka dots on top, small dots on the bottom), loud prints, allover printed garments, colour-blocked accessories (pink and green printed dress with bold green shoes, pink bracelets and a pink and green necklace) Pairing a print with ANY of the above mentioned (sparkle, texture, colour)

There you have it folks! Challenge yourself to incorporate one of these fun strategies each and every day next week, and see heads turn!

What to Wear Wednesday – Ring in Spring

What to Wear Wednesday - Ring in Spring
What’s that? Sunshine? ABOVE ZERO TEMPERATURES? Could it be… SPRING!?!?
I’m afraid to say it out loud, lest mother nature hit us with another ill-timed snowstorm, but it seems this time it may actually be true!
Finally we can break out our new spring dresses, bold colours, floral patterns and flats (at least with a sweater and some tights).

Dress: Brand new arrival from Mandala
Shoes: Hush Puppies
Necklace: Curious Oddities

Looking for more outfit ideas? Check out the WTWW archive

What to Wear Wednesday – Happy GALentine’s Day!

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh it’s only the best day of the year! Every February 13th my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just kick it – breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair… minus the angst… plus fritattas.”
– Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), Parks and Recreation

 

We are ALL about ladies celebrating ladies and so – we at FC are totally taking on the Parks and Rec way of life! HAPPY GALentine’s DAY!
What to Wear Wednesday - Happy Galentine's Day!

What to Wear Wednesday – Happy Galentine’s Day! by freshcollective featuring cardigans

Sooooo the perfect Galentine’s Day outfit? It mixes comfort and a little sass! Wear your favourite pair of comfy black Yoga jeans with a brand new Kollontai tunic (just arrived THIS WEEK!). This tunic is flirty and romantic, but still manages to be casual over jeans and paired with sweet Chaste Skimmer flats from Hush Puppies (also brand new)! Toss a Mandala cardigan over top to keep warm and you’re ready for a night out (or in) with your best gal pals!

Unsure of what to do for Galentine’s? Why not grab a girlfriend and bring her down to Fresh Collective Queen St tonight at 7:30 – You’ll have a blast shopping with our style coaches, seeing our new spring arrivals and meeting even more great gals!

Even more fun: We’re GIVING AWAY 2 pieces from the Kollontai spring collection!

Click the photo below for event details and to RSVP!

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New items now available ONLINE!

If you haven’t checked out our online store lately, you will be happy to know that our lovely online store gal, Kristin, has added a BUNCH of new product for you to peruse!

Maybe you don’t live downtown Toronto, maybe you’re under the weather and don’t feel up to going out, or maybe you just do your best shopping in your PJs! Whatever the case, you can now find wonderful pieces from your favourite FC designers online!

Now Available ONLINE at freshcollective.com

Now Available ONLINE at freshcollective.com

These stunning pieces (and more!) are now available. Check out our online store for more goodies!

We’d also love your feedback, which designers/styles would you like to see more of in our online store? Sound off in the comments below, let us know on facebook or tweet @FreshCollective !