Style Profile – Mandy Armstrong

Mandy Armstrong is the designer behind our best selling line, Mandala Design.  Women love her clothes because they fit and look fantastic and because they are just the right mix of retro fun and wearable chic.  Mandy has been selling her line with us since the early days of both Mandala Design and Fresh Collective, and her line’s success has been a huge part of our success.  She is an excellent designer, a smart businesswoman and a genuine pleasure to do business with.  I have learned a lot from watching how she runs her business, and I look forward to building many more stores for her to sell her line in!  – Laura-Jean Bernhardson, Founder and CEO of Fresh Collective

Name: Mandy Armstrong
Occupation: Clothing Designer
Age: Let’s just say that I remember the 80’s too well to consider it vintage.

Lifestyle: A work in progress.  While I’d be quite content to hole up and work most of the time, I also want to get out into the world and see what’s going on.  Visit new places, try new food, experience new adventures.  I know I’m a bit too introverted for my own good, but I’m working on it!

scaled_image (6)

This really is Mandy’s motorcycle and how she gets around town. She often brings Fresh Collective new deliveries of dresses on her bike!
Dress: Lila dress – Mandala Design, $ 158
Shoes: Ellie shoes – Miz Mooz, $ 155

Style Coach notes:  With Mandy’s dark hair and light complexion, strong colours look best on her.  This dress is a great alternative to Mandy’s typical studio look of jeans and a tee-shirt, and would be perfect for an interview with a magazine, to meet a client or for date night with her hubby.

What’s a typical day like for you?  Wake up, get dressed, get on the computer to ‘work’.  Spend way too much time looking at funny animal videos.  Walk around the corner to my studio.  I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else! Go home for lunch, walk our dog, Tristan.  Back to the studio.  Sing along (badly) to songs from my youth.  Go home, walk dog, make dinner, ‘work’ – in this case it usually means research and development which is code for reading a book or magazine, watching TV or a movie or visiting the local pub for a pint.  Who knows where that next spark of inspiration will come from, right?!

 What in your life is really important to you?  Family and creating pretty things.


scaled_image (5)

Here Joe, McKiernan, Style Coach and Store Leader at Roncesvalles, styles Mandy’s outfit.

Did you know all our Style Coaches (that’s our staff!) provide personalized styling services?  They are experts in helping women look amazing and feel confident through building a wardrobe they LOVE.  
Book your complimentary Perfect Fit Makeover today!  


What would you like to be remembered for?  There’s no way to answer this question without sounding cheesy so here goes… I’d like to be remembered as someone who made clothing that made women feel good about themselves.  I’d also like to learn to be the best knife thrower ever.  I should probably get started on that.

scaled_image (4)

Dress: Iris dress – Mandala Design, $ 158
Shoes: Pepper shoes – Miz Mooz, $ 150
Bracelets: Myka, $169 each

Style Coach notes:  We chose the shoes because the black borders echo the borders on the dress, and the bracelets dress this look up enough to go to a summer wedding.  This dress has just enough shape to skim a woman’s curves and not so much that it clings or restricts.


What role does fashion play in your life?  Huge. Not because I always dress well (I’m huddled away at the studio most days in jeans and tees – don’t ever let anyone tell you that the clothing industry is glamorous – it ain’t), but because it’s what I love.  Ever since I can remember I’ve loved clothes.  I love the fabric, the buttons, the details, the construction.  I especially love vintage clothes, the stories they tell and the ones I make up for them.

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?  I’ve been a part of the Collective for so long and it’s such a big part of my business.  Shopping there is always a joy!  I’m so amazed at the creativity that can be found right here in our very own city.  It’s been a fabulous experience getting to know the staff and other designers and sharing in everyone’s successes.  I’m at the shops almost every week and it’s a real struggle not to succumb to the urge to buy something EVERY TIME!

scaled_image (9)

Top: Ronda linen slouch top – Mandala Design, $ 64
Pants: Val snake capri pants – Mandala Design, $ 124
Shoes: Athena Shoes – Miz Mooz, $ 145
Necklace: Ch-ch-chains bracelet with extender- BurfurART, $65 plus $18 (for extender)

 Style Coach notes: This slouchy linen tee is a great with these awesome snake print pants.  The top is neutral, sophisticated and tones down the va-va-voom factor of the pants.  As well, the loose fit on top works as a contrast to the slim fit on the bottom.  We completed the look with a bold chain necklace because, well, it just worked.

What do you have that you want to promote?  One of the things that has been in the forefront of my mind these past several years is the state of the clothing industry – both overseas and right here in Canada.  While I’m proud to promote the fact that all of Mandala’s clothing is made right here in Toronto, as a consumer I feel it’s my obligation to support the brands and companies that are making a real effort to curb the bad practices used by some larger corporations.  Shopping local and knowing where an item comes from are just a couple of ways that I’m striving to change my purchasing habits.  I think that we are becoming much more aware of the conditions that workers endure and I’m hoping that with increased pressure, we can look forward to a day when all employees both here and abroad can enjoy a living wage in safe conditions.

Is there anything else we should know about you?  We recently adopted one of the cutest rescue dogs in the world (that would be Tristan), I have a 17 (almost 18, yikes!) year old son, I ride a kick-ass cherry-red Suzuki VS800 Intruder motorcycle and my favourite colour is green.



Ready for a new you through fashions like these?  Tempted but not sure if it’s really “you”? Book your complimentary Perfect Fit Wardrobe makeover with a Fresh Collective Style Coach today.  We sell confidence and self-expression and are committed to having YOU look and feel your best. 





Style Profile – Terri-Leigh Holbeche

In the fifth edition of our Style Profile series, our very own Terri-Leigh, Style Coach at Fresh Collective Kensington, shares what she does in her “off” hours, her derby lifestyle, and her love of fashion, while featuring some of our fabulous outfits in real life.

Style Profile

Name: Terri-Leigh Holbeche

Occupation: Style Coach at Fresh Collective Kensington

Age: 31

Lifestyle: 9 to 9 and back again!

Top: Queen wrap top by Address Apparel. Regular price, $80 now 40% off, so only $48.00!  Skirt: Mandala Design Selma Static Pencil Skirt. Regular price, $68 with 40% off it's now $40.80! Boots: Miz Mooz October Boot.  Regular price, $170 now just $85.  Necklace: Burfurtart from The Simples Collection $38.

Top: Queen wrap top by Address Apparel. Regular price, $80.00 now 40% off, so only $48.00!
Skirt: Selma Static Pencil Skirt by Mandala Design. Regular price, $68.00 with 40% off it’s now $40.80!
Boots: October Boot by Miz Mooz. Regular price, $170.00 now just $85.00.
Necklace: The Simples Collection by BurfurtART $38.00


What’s a typical day like for you?

Full of planning! I have to look at the start of my day at Fresh Collective and where I might be going afterward whether it’s karaoke, trivia club or on a date. Typically, with just one outfit, some accessory options take me easily throughout the day and evening. I’m on the go from sun up to sun down and I love it!


What in your life is really important to you?

Family – and friends; especially the ones that are more like family now – are most important to me.  I want to make sure everyone I love gets to have time together. It’s a great recharge for me; an energy boost.

Dress: Andy Drape Dress in Emerald by Rita DiCesare. Regular price, $169 now 40% off makes it only $101.40.Necklace and Braclet: Burfurtart - Past season

Dress: Andy Drape Dress in Emerald by Rita DiCesare. Regular price, $169.00 now 40% off makes it only $101.40.
Necklace: Burfurtart – Ch-Ch-Chains collection – Past season


What would you like to be remembered for?

I don’t know if I’d want to have a lasting legacy, but I do want to be remembered for the happiness I bring to the people around me. A smile and wave can do a lot for the heart!


What role does fashion play in your life?

Fashion is part of me. I find it in everything I do. How am I presenting myself as a Style Coach at Fresh Collective? How am I presenting myself as an authority on the flat-track? (I’m a Roller Derby Official.) It is how I carry myself when I walk out the door to coming home at night.

TL - holly dress

Dress: Holly Dress by Kabuki. Regular price, $179.00 now with 40% off makes it only $107.40.

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

Supporting our designers is a major reason why I love Fresh Collective. I know I can be out in a crowd and noticed for the unique and intelligent design of the pieces I am wearing, because our designers take so much care in making these decisions. And, I love that I can chat up our shop to everyone I meet!


What do you have that you want to promote? 

I am a Roller Derby Official and my league, Hammer City Roller Girls, is entering into their 9th season. Our Season Opener is May 3rd.  We come from all walks of life (just like our fabulous customers!). I want to celebrate in the fact that we are all different shapes, sizes, ages but everyone is an amazing human being, capable of truly captivating things!


Is there anything else we should know about you?

I have a penchant for high-waisted undies that show off my curves, I can be found singing at karaoke weekly, and I like to dance to  great tunes from the 50s & 60s (and a little Wilson Phillips too).




Love Letter from Laura-Jean


Editor’s Note: Read through to the end to find Laura-Jean’s giveaway for a complimentary Wardrobe Makeover!

Helping a customer during a Wardrobe Makeover last week, I saw a transformation happen before my eyes.

She came in looking like a 23 year old hipster.  Lovely, fun and awesome, but not necessarily someone you would trust with a $100,000 marketing budget or assume she could ensure a staff of 7 would get a project done on time.

A couple hours of her trying different looks in the change room and I saw her differently.  This cool and colourful young woman started to look to me like an Art Director with a capital A, a Marketing Manager or a Filmmaker who could make the film, on time, on budget AND accept an award for top grossing independent documentary.

It was a TOTAL transformation in who she seemed to be, and all this was in line with the career she wanted to create over the next few years.

I’ve built Fresh Collective over these years to provide women in Toronto a place to find the outfits that allow them to project the best version of themselves.  Like it or not, fashion is a language.  It’s like hanging a sign around your neck telling the world who you are.  When we think of it that way, what does your sign say? Is there something you’d rather it to be saying?

When we do a Wardrobe Makeover, we start with a Style Profile.  You fill out a quick survey that tells us about what your style preference is, what you want it to be, and what your lifestyle is like.  We specialize in awesome looks for real life. We know how to create looks that work for you and work with you.

We set an appointment to work with one of our Style Coaches who pre selects looks based on your style profile. All the browsing is done for you to make it easy and simple for you to find whatever you’re looking for. When you show up for you appointment, the fun begins.

Many women book a Wardrobe Makeover when their life is changing, but it can be done anytime, and the holiday season is a perfect time for women to use the service to find the perfect holiday wear.  One of the biggest advantages is learning what works and doesn’t, and having an experienced professional help you build a wardrobe that all works together.  Too many women experience that old cliche: “A closet full of nothing to wear.”

We help you make smart choices, choosing versatile pieces that work together, fit and are comfortable so you have fun creating new outfits and getting a lot of wear out of each piece.  We also help you stay focused on dressing for that life you are creating!

You’re newly dating and you want romance?  Dresses, fun and colour are what we’ll steer you towards!  The Wardrobe Makeover is time set aside for you to experiment with this new language of fashion and watch yourself transform in the mirror.  Women often surprise themselves, saying things like “I didn’t think I could wear this colour!” or “I usually wouldn’t try something this bold but I LOVE IT!”

Want to jump start your career?  A polished yet creative look positions you as a leader, a problem solver and someone who can be trusted to get things done.  We’ll choose the pieces to help send that message out into the world, everywhere you go.

Think it’s too expensive to build a fantastic wardrobe?  Take a look at your closet and add up how much you’ve spent on clothes you didn’t like, never fit right or didn’t go with anything.  We’re committed to wardrobe building- choosing quality pieces you love that you’ll wear for years to come.

Worried it’s too much work to look good?  I am the laziest dresser out there.  I have NO time to spend on primping and fussing.  I throw on a dress, a cardigan, a bracelet and boots and fly out the door.  With a son, 3 dogs, 2 businesses and taking classes in the evenings, I’m just like so many of our customers.  Each season our store staff take on making my life easy by putting together the perfect looks for me to get ready in a second.

If you’re in the market for the perfect holiday dress, or maybe the perfect wardrobe to kick off your career in 2014, I’ve included our style profile form for you to complete. We’ll pick three lucky ladies who have completed this form, to participate in a complimentary wardrobe makeover at any of our stores. We’ll notify the winners by November 30th.

If this sounds like something you want for yourself, please fill out the style profile and let’s get to work!


Creating and Styling Versatile Looks For Your Lifestyle

Guest post by Jennifer Fukushima of Paper People Clothing

Do you ever feel like your wardrobe has a split personality? 


For many of you, this might sound familiar:

You have your generic office wardrobe.  It allows you to fit in and look professional.  It serves a purpose.  Then you have your real life clothes.  The ones that feel good when you put them on and help you to express who you truly are.  They make you stand out rather than fit in.

Here at Paper People Clothing, we know you demand a lot from your wardrobe, so we create versatile pieces to suit your lifestyle that can transition from the office to real life.  Here are some things we like to keep in mind when creating our unique, one of a kind and few of a kind garments:

  • Layering – If you can layer it, the possibilities are limitless
  • Uniqueness and wearability – This is a delicate balance.  Creating “unique” garments is always fun for us designers, but if it’s not down to earth enough, the versatility is limited.  Loud prints, short skirts and excessive fabric are not work appropriate for most people.
  • Comfort & function – This is a big one, and can easily get lost in the creative process.  So it looks good, but how does it feel and function?  Is the garment too constrictive to move in or is there excess fabric that gets in the way?  Can the wearer perform everyday tasks?
Left: Meaghan is all ready for a lunch meeting.  She pairs her Elaine Vest with a silk blouse and grey slacks.  Right: Jenn is cute and casual, pairing her Elaine Vest with a whimsical lacy long sleeve top and floral print cords.

The Elaine Vest
Left: Meaghan is all ready for a lunch meeting. She pairs her Elaine Vest with a silk blouse and grey slacks.
Right: Jenn is cute and casual, pairing her Elaine Vest with a whimsical lacy long sleeve top and floral print cords.


Paper People’s Elaine Vest is the perfect fusion of quirky yet office appropriate. The suiting, collar and welt pocket detailing are classic and timeless, but the asymmetric cut, curved hemline and sweater fabrication update the look and add some personality.


The Jacqueline Dress
Left: Meaghan uses a cute, cropped blazer and lace up shoes to transition her look to the office.
Right: Jenn layers up with textured scarves, tights and boots, creating a bohemian look.

Paper People’s Jacqueline Dress is another fun yet versatile piece.  This dress provides enough coverage to be work appropriate and the generous drape of the skirt and stretchy fabric allow for plenty of comfort and movement.


The Maude Blazer
Left: Meaghan is ready to seal the deal. She pairs her Maude Blazer with a traditional button down shirt and grey slacks for a polished, professional look.
Right: Jenn just wants to have fun. She layers her Maude Blazer over a paisley mini dress, cable knit leggings and knee high riding boots.

Paper People’s Maude Blazer is a favourite for many and there’s no question why.  This piece fuses a crisp, classic suit detailing with comfy sweater fabric to create a polished yet versatile look.

I hope we’ve demonstrated how transitioning from office to real life isn’t that hard at all.  It’s all about choosing unique yet versatile pieces.  Come visit us at Fresh Collective today for a wardrobe makeover.  We promise that with the addition of a few of these key pieces you’ll look forward to getting dressed for work in the morning.

The Elaine Vest is available at Fresh Collective Roncesvalles and Fresh Collective Queen.

The Jacqueline Dress is available at Fresh Collective Queen and Fresh Collective Kensington.

The Maude Blazer is available at all 3 Fresh Collective locations.

See all of the Paper People Clothing 2013 Fall Winter Collection here!


What Should I Wear? – The Eternal Fall Weather Dilemma

Monika from Monikova Design shares with us how she feels about fall, and what she keeps in mind when dressing for the season.

fall coloursI enjoy fall. I embrace the change of seasons as it is a most wonderful thing; as change is good, and all things can be considered new and refreshed.  It reminds me of a rebirth, of youth and energy, which are all positive.  This change alters the fashion scene big time.  I embrace fall fashion changes, and fashion always changes – so play with it. I love the chance to change it up with sweaters, boots, and the drama you can create with layers of clothes, shawls and hats.

So what are the rules for how you should dress this fall?  No rules, please!!! In this area we don’t like rules.  I suggest you build on your own individuality – as individuality is the biggest trend this past decade.

We are all unique and different, so embellish it.  Do what suits your needs. Don’t be afraid to mix, play, and combine colours, textures and prints – you never know what you may come up with!  But remember – never be afraid of layering, fall is sometimes tricky, with the warmth of the day, and the cool of night, which also makes the mornings freezing.  We’ve created our blouses so they’re perfect as a part of this layering, perfect for the warm weather during the day and easy to fit under a sweater, vest, or the fitted jackets that we love this fall.

Monika from Monikova wearing the Ivy blouse paired with a waist cinching belt from Susana Erazo and the new Lonna Shooties from Hush Puppies

Monika from Monikova wearing the Ivy blouse ($190.00) paired with a waist cinching Kimono belt ($160.00-$185.00) from Susana Erazo and the new Lonna Shooties ($137.00) from Hush Puppies

So as you play and layer, try to stay true to your curves. There can be a tendency to look boxy or to lose your shape when it comes to fall layering.  Whether you are young, middle aged or mature everyone looks good showcasing their curves.  And as with all fashion, trendy has its limits, and not all trends are for everyone. So choose what the best look is for your body type.

Another big part of looking good is feeling comfortable in what you are wearing.  This is one of the main reasons why I always choose natural fabrics for the Monikova line, which feels nice next to the skin. So when choosing, pick something that feels nice to wear.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to play with colour, and the brightness of colour as the season progresses. Perhaps a royal blue or gold sweater or dress may brighten your fall day and those around you with your originality!


This is a new season, see it as new start. Be yourself, and play with it, you will be amazed at your own unique creations.  Flaunt your sense of style and send me pictures of your creations at



Fresh Events: From Day to Night

Maybe you just got a job that involves lots of post-work events (Congratulations!), or twice a year, you’re expected to show up at a big corporate event where the memo booms “all hands on deck”.  If it stresses you out how to take an outfit from office to party, then this is your event. If a simple black dress is your thing, great.  If you like a funky tunic with bold pattern, awesome…day to night event

About Your Style Coach:

liz coach

Liz is the Foundress of LIZPR (, a company that promotes and styles classical musicians.  Liz prepares her clients for the stage, photo shoots, and auditions, but she loves styling anyone who wants to make a statement (from conservative to edgy) with his or her apparel. Liz encourages her clients to step out of their comfort zone and try something on they never would have chosen.  With every outfit you try on, be prepared for this!

This Events Featured Designer: Desserts And Skirts

This Fresh, Fun, Fabulous event is also your opportunity to preview the new 2013 Spring line from Desserts and Skirts! You’ll have a chance to shop the collection (and the entire store) before and after the styling session!
BONUS: Desserts and Skirts designer Nicole Boudreau will be giving away a piece from her spring collection!
rsvp button