NEW SPRING ARRIVALS

Hello Sunshine!

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allison blue topTop: “IVY 2” by Monikova – $130
Pants: “PRADA CROPPED JEAN” by Brenda Beddome – $135
Shoes: “RENOWN QUARTER STRAP” by Hush Puppies Canada – $85
Necklace by Kyle Osnack

allison yellow ivyTunic: “IVY” by Monikova – $145
Pants: “PRADA CROPPED JEAN” by Brenda Beddome – $135
Shoes: “RENOWN ANKLE STRAP” by Hush Puppies Canada – $115

jane allison ivy monikovaBoth Tunics: “IVY” by Monikova – $145
Pants: “PRADA CROPPED JEAN” by Brenda Beddome – $135
Blue shoes: “SLUMBER PUMP” by Hush Puppies Canada– $120
Brown shoes: “RENOWN ANKLE STRAP” by Hush Puppies – $115

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Dress: “SUNSET” by Annie 50 – $204
Shoes: “SLUMBER PUMP” by 
Hush Puppies Canada – $120
Bracelet: Kyle Osnack

jane monikovaTunic: “IVY” by Monikova – $145

 

 

julia allison mandala monikovaDress: “ALEXIS” by Mandala Design – $128
Tunic: “IVY” by Monikova – $145

julia mandalaDress: “ALEXIS” by Mandala Design – $128

julia ritaDress: “CHRISTINA” by Rita Di Cesare – $159
Necklace: Kyle Osnack – $280

Swing into Spring with Fresh Collective

 

Yet another stunning photo shoot with some of our amazing friends from the internet! We got some lovely beauty shots featuring the new Great Gatsby-inspired collection from Curious Oddities (all jewellery in the photos below is from the line) and put together some playful spring looks in bright colours! Check it out…dainty1 dainty2

The lovely Nicole of DaintyGirl.ca looks stunning in a coral Lauren Dress from Fresh Baked Goods. This dress is the final design in the now discontinued Fresh Baked Goods line. Available exclusively at Fresh Collective Kensington while supplies last! We paired it with a pair of Hush Puppies Slumber Pump wedges in a turquoise to really boost the bright spring look!

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One of our favourite style/mommy bloggers, Emma of StrollingtheCityinHeels.com makes this simple outfit super stylish in a gorgeous dark denim pair of Yoga Jeans, a white Melow halter top camisole and a fun pair of Miz Mooz Cherry sandals!

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You probably remember our new friends Nat & Marie (we dressed them for Foursquare Day!) We love the bright and bold look of Marie’s fun spring outfit! This great printed purple tank from Things Aren’t So Terrible totally pops against these white Brenda Beddome cropped jeans. Add another bright pop of colour with the orange Hush Puppies Slumber Pump wedges and you’re set for the season!

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First off, we LOVE Nat’s hair. Clearly this gorgeous gal isn’t one to shy away from colour, so we set her up in a totally bold outfit that we absolutely love! This playful polka-dot bouse from Kabuki looks amazing with the aquamarine cropped Yoga Jeans and Renown T-strap sandals from Hush Puppies. BAM!

 

Topping it Off: Spring Jackets to Finish Your Look

High of 14 degrees today? I’ll take it!
Spring has arrived at last, and with it a chance to wear all those cute outfits you’ve been pining for through the cold winter (and early spring) months!

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The finishing touch of any great spring outfit is a fabulous jacket. Adding a stylish topper can be the perfect finishing touch! At Fresh Collective we have a love affair with Soia & Kyo – a wonderful (and proudly Canadian) line of outerwear. Their 2013 Spring collection is  structured, simple and creates a great silhouette. Check out the gorgeous styles we carry below:

The Swagger Coach: Folklore – The Tale of the Floral Pants

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We know the rules. Black is slimming. Choose looser, skimming styles to hide a belly. Keep skirt hems around the knee, and avoid volume. Pick pants with a straight leg to minimize hips.

This leaves me, and other fuller-figured gals, with a rather rectangular wardrobe. Doesn’t that sound like fun? So at the end of the day, if we follow all of these fashion rules, we’ll end up looking five pounds lighter, but we’ll also have the most boring, lackluster wardrobe in the world. Sign me up!

This weekend I was shopping around Toronto, looking to fluff up my spring wardrobe (after stocking up at Fresh Collective, of course. Its hard NOT to shop while you work when you work here), but was not looking for anything in particular. One of the trends I’ve been shamelessly attracted to for the season is those beautiful, lush floral prints. I recently picked up a pastel floral jacket, and even a funky floral pair of wedge heels, but have stayed away from the floral pants for a while, keeping those “fashion rules” in mind.

You may have read in earlier posts, I’ve kind of got a crush on my legs. After hiding them in bootcut jeans for years, I’ve realized that they’re very curvy, but well-suiting, and highlighting them makes me feel sexy, shapely and feminine. I’ve rocked skinny jeans to accentuate my curves rather than hiding them for some time now, but have stuck to mostly dark or mid-rinse denims. So you can imagine that, once I saw those brightly-toned floral jeans, thrown over a rack at a fitting room, I felt a mix of contempt and interest, with an air of challenge. Okay, jeans, lets try this. One leg on. The other one on. Button. Fly. Wiggle.

Pants1They did exactly what I expected them to. They totally brought attention to my legs and butt. And as I looked at myself in the mirror, I wondered how I had gone without them for this long. Yes, they definitely attracted attention to the parts they covered, but what’s so bad about that? I mean, I’ve never been one to think that a well-draped dress can make me look like a size 6, but I’m very aware that dressing for your size is the most flattering strategy of all, rather than trying to fool people into thinking you’re (at most) a size or two smaller than you actually are. So, if the goal is to flatter the body you have, why the heck was I so intimidated by these pants? They were good pants, and fulfilled their job nicely; They covered my butt and made me look like a rock star.

So I’ve been thinking about the concept of “fashion rules” and exactly what they achieve. It must take a lot of effort, time and control to make oneself look so very ordinary, and I wonder what the pull is behind the action. So here’s what I have to say on these so-called “fashion rules”, and ways to observe but challenge them. After all, rules are meant to be broken.

BLACK IS SLIMMING – Yes, black is slimming, and can be a powerful tool in not just drawing attention away from one area, but to highlight a different one! It absolutely breaks my heart to see people dressing in all-dark colours solely for the purpose of appearing thinner. How much more of an impact would they make with, say, a tailored black pant, topped with a vibrant structured top which brings the attention upward? Or a cool black leather jacket to offset textured jeans or a printed skirt? Black, like fudge cupcakes, should be something used (eaten?) in moderation. It’s striking, dramatic, and a great canvas for your brights to pop and take the spotlight, so make sure you’re adding some light to your dark!

Spring colours and prints from Mandala Design!

Spring colours and prints from Mandala Design!

LOOSE CLOTHES HIDE AN IMPERFECT FIGURE – Again, this can be true at times. For example, I have a pair of cropped pants (polka dotted!) which I absolutely HAD to own. They’re very retro, super-slim fitting, but low rise, which I’m not usually a fan of, since they can create an off muffin-top effect. With those pants, I choose longer flowwy tops to create a flattering silhouette. What I do NOT do is pair a wide-leg trouser with a loose-fitting top, and then throw a chunky cardigan over top. Some gals look as though they’re drowning in their clothes, and it ends up attracting more attention (the bad kind) and hides any shape you have under layers upon layers of clothes. Come on, ladies, I’m all for the bohemian tunic trend, but remember to offset a breezy piece with a well-fitted garment to create balance and flow.

PRINTS ATTRACT ATTENTION – True at times, but people seem to forget that prints also camouflage a whole lot too. Panty-lines, that tiny stain from your egg salad sandwich which should have ended up in your mouth but ended up in your lap, baby drool, and all the good stuff life throws at you. All of those can be ancient history if you’re wearing a well-printed garment. Prints also create (what we have lovingly dubbed here at Fresh Collective) “visual confusion” as the eye is attracted to the print itself, rather than the shape of the person underneath. Large, bright prints create interest and drama, while smaller prints in more neutral colours simply add dimension to your look. Many professional stylists advise clients to incorporate SOME kind of print into EVERY outfit to create a focus point, so get comfy, because prints are making appearances everywhere. Pick a printed shoe, jacket, or bag for a “pop of print” or get sassy with an exceptionally flattering allover printed dress to highlight your rockin’ silhouette. Get on with your bad self, girl.

Our friend, Adaline embracing prints at Fresh Collective, then rocking them onstage at Canadian Music Week!

Our friend, Adaline embracing prints at Fresh Collective, then rocking the popular printed pants from Brenda Beddome onstage at Canadian Music Week!

KEEP SKIRTS LONG TO CONCEAL LEGS – Have you ever seen a curvier gal in a below-the-knee-length, loose-fitting skirt? Have you noticed just how much volume that ADDS to the silhouette? Skirts are often a tricky area for many body types including mine. I’m only 5’4″, and I have a long torso, so finding skirts which are flattering on short legs is a bit of a challenge. I’ve found that leaner styles are most flattering on curvier gals, and love my collection of Bionic pencil skirts which channel a bit of Christina Hendricks’ Mad Men style. Alternatively, shorter skirts can flatter just as well, but should be kept flouncy and flirty to make them look sweet and feminine, not as though I’m heading to the club to fist pump until 4am. Snookie happened for a reason, ladies, and we should learn from her. This is a great way to play up the print trend too, pair a fun skirt with a classic oxford for an office-friendly look, or toss on a cute tank and some sandals and hit the downtown core for an afternoon of patios and shopping!

PANTS SHOULD FALL STRAIGHT DOWN FROM THE HIP –  Not always. What kind of look are you trying to create? I’m a fan of playing up my curves, and I’m relatively obsessed with the 50’s, so I typically choose a skinnier pant which accentuates the shape of my legs. That being said, there are plenty of opportunities to rock a wider-leg pant. There’s a big difference between wearing a wide leg pant because you want to create an effect, and wearing a wide leg pant because you think its your only option and the sole shape which will flatter your body. Wider bottoms create a column affect. This can be desirable in menswear inspired pieces, and is also super prominent in the upcoming global fashion wave, but it also eliminates any curves you’ve got throughout your bottom half. I love being a girl, and being shaped like a girl, and I simply can’t imagine hunting down items which negate my curves and make me look blocky, for fear of looking TOO curvy.

Here’s the secret: Your body has already decided what shape it is, and now it’s given you full control over dressing it accordingly and with love and pride!  Take a good long look at yourself in the mirror today, and pick out your best features and parts, and think of ways to play up these wonderful, wonderful attributes. Cutie booty? Shapely legs? Perfectly flat tummy? Be proud of the features which make you look like a rock star/pinup/Superwoman and give them center stage to shine. Having trouble seeing this for yourself? Drop me a line at Jamie@freshcollective.com and I’ll reply. We can chat about ways to create a great sense of balance and self-love through your wardrobe, and discover what sorts of new fashion territory you can cover confidently!

Happy spring, folks! See you next week!

Spring Snacks: Quick Treats for the Gal On the Go

Spring is finally arriving, and with it a desire for restructuring and shedding our old winter skin!

When the weather gets nice I’m immediately inspired to make healthier choices. Ditch the car for the bicycle, freshen up my skincare routine and start packing healthier lunches.

That said, I did a little research and found some fun spring snacks that I can’t wait to make!

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On-My-Way Parfait
Pack this up in the morning to enjoy as a breakfast on-the-go or a tasty afternoon snack!

  • 1/2 cup of your favourite fruit
  • 1/4 cup plain no-fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp toasted sliced almonds

Layer ingredients in a small jar – fruit on the bottom, yogurt in the middle and almonds on the top. Simple, sweet and oh-so-good for you!

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Yummy to the Core
Re-invent your fruit & veggie intake with a new spin!

  • 1 apple, halved and cored with a teaspoon
  • 2 tsps all-natural cruncy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp old-fashioned rolled oats

Slice your apple in half and core it with a teaspoon, then stuff the cored apple halves with peanut butter and sprinkle with oats. Sandwich the stuffed apple halves together and wait to slice them into wedges at your destination.

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Quick & Sweet Treat
A simple snack to satisfy your sugar cravings guilt-free!

  • 2 organic brown rice cakes
  • 1 organic banana, sliced
  • 2 tbsp organic almond butter
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon

Spread almond butter on rice cakes, add sliced banana and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!
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What are your favourite simple snacks? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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What to Wear Wednesday – Terrific in Teal

What to Wear Wednesday - Terrific in Teal

What to Wear Wednesday – Terrific in Teal by freshcollective

There are so many great spring dresses coming through the Fresh Collective doors these days, but with the winter chill still in the air it’s hard to wait… FEAR NOT! You don’t have to! Pair a great new dress with some warm tights and your favourite cardigan and you can start spring early!

Dress: Address Apparel (formally Bionic), Shoes: Hush Puppies, Earrings: Curious Oddities

SPRING ARRIVALS: BRENDA BEDDOME, ANNIE 50, APA DESIGN, ADDRESS APPAREL


It’s MARCH and that means I get to start singing this song in my head to convince myself that the icy blast of winter is losing its power and soon I’ll be strutting around in a sundress and sandals. The next thought that comes to mind? I NEED NEW DRESSES AND SANDALS…
Uh oh…
Conveniently enough, pretty spring dresses, cropped pants, and sparkling spring jewels are arriving at Fresh Collective in full force!
Here’s another peek at what’s new!

BRENDA BEDDOME

Any woman who appreciates comfort, quality, versatility, and flattering cuts in her wardrobe. BRENDA BEDDOME designs garments for all women who care about how they look and how they wear clothing. They are women who want comfort and style, and clothes that fit and flatter their figure – whether a size 4 or a size 16. BRENDA BEDDOME’s designs add versatility to any wardrobe, particularly through convertible pieces which offer customers new options for how a piece can be worn.

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Find BENDA BEDDOME on: Facebook

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ANNIE 50

Inspired by the Fifties, the collections emphasize femininity and a flair for cuteness.  Often snug, cozy, and displaying classic designs of the era, the clothes attract a young crowd with a passion for Rock and Roll as much as a more mature crowd looking for originality and femininity.

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Find Annie 50 on: Facebook

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APA DESIGN

Apa Design is a Toronto based jewellery company owned and operated by principle designer Andrea Apa. Her beautiful pieces are delicate and radiant, and she specializes in custom work clients and helping their ideas come to light.

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Find Apa Design on: Facebook

(Andrea is hosting an event to celebrate the launch of her spring line THURSDAY NIGHT at Fresh Collective Roncesvalles! 7:30 pm! Click here for more details!)

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ADDRESS APPAREL

Since 1998, Toronto-based designer Mark Foreman has worked to create a brand that is unique with its combination of classically-styled elements and fashion forward design.

Creating a name for himself with Bionic, he is well known for his wrap dresses and bold patterned fabrics, Mark has successfully captured the wants and needs of women seeking a flattering cut and style.

Teaming with Kelly A. Blair, a successful designer in her own right, together they reach for the next level with the creation of Address Apparel. Innovative styles along with vibrant colours, comfort and quality make Address a timeless staple for both office or play.

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Find Address Apparel on: Facebook

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Are you as excited as I am? What is your must-have spring item that you just can’t wait to get out and snag for the season?
Let us know in the comments below!

What to Wear Wednesday – Prints & Pinks

What to Wear Wednesday - Prints & Pinks

What to Wear Wednesday – Prints & Pinks by freshcollective

Hard to imagine when the weather is this dismal, but Spring IS just around the corner (we must keep telling ourselves that)! So I put together a look with some hot seasonal trends featuring great new Fresh Collective arrivals!

TOP: The Joan Cowl top from Paper People Clothing adds a bright colour pop to an otherwise black and white outfit. It’s a great way to introduce spring brights slowly (but boldly)!

PANTS: These cropped pants from Brenda Beddome are one of my favourite new arrivals of the season so far! They perfectly capture two of the hottest trends of the coming season: Black & White, and Bold Prints!

CARDIGAN: It’s still too soon to go sleeve-free so top of your look with a smart black cardigan like this one from Mandala to stay toasty.

BOOTS: I would ideally pair this outfit with a cute pair of flats for spring, but today I couldn’t fathom it, so instead, added weatherproof Hush Puppies boots, and I think it’s an unexpected footwear choice that really makes the look!

EARRINGS: These cute studs from Curious Oddities compliment the printed pants just right and really complete the look with a touch of vintage flair.

Spring Arrivals: Curious Oddities, Paper People Clothing, Kollontai, Soia & Kyo

Spring has begun arriving at Fresh Collective and we couldn’t be more excited! Here’s a sampling of some of our latest and greatest for Spring 2013…

CURIOUS ODDITIES:

With her vivid imagination, designer Kat Shura sees a story in everything and seeks to unveil the magic in all she touches. Her current collection features a wide variety of salvaged treasures accented with premium quality, traditionally pressed, antiqued and silver plated brass.
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Find Curious Oddities on: Facebook :: Twitter

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KOLLONTAI:

Kollontaï is the Montreal-based fashion label of Gabrielle Tousignant and a workshop employing over twenty people who share a passion for made-in-Canada fashion apparel! Each garment combines uniqueness, aesthetic appeal, comfort, and quality. The rich interplay of colors, textures, transparencies and lace create a distinctive style inspired by lingerie.

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Find Kollontai on: Facebook

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SOIA & KYO:

Since it’s debut in 2004, Soia & Kyo has made a name for itself thanks to its fabulous fit, intricate detailing and unique styling: oversized buttons, asymmetric and structured collars, wide belts and contrast trims that create looks which are young and trendy with an urban sensibility and retro twist.
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Find Soia & Kyo on: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

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PAPER PEOPLE CLOTHING:

Paper People aims for those versatile items that express the wearer yet are appropriate for any occasion. Customers appreciate the one of a kind nature of the reclaimed pieces as well as the eclectic tonal, textural and print variations within each garment.  Environmentally conscious pieces from new textiles often incorporate contrast from reclaimed materials or screen printed accents adding a touch of the unique, handmade aesthetic.

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To celebrate the arrival of the Paper People Clothing Penny Dress (pictured above), we will be giving one away to a lucky guest at tonight’s Sustainable Fashion Book Launch! There are a few guest spots available so RSVP now!

Find Paper People Clothing on: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest