Articles Tagged ‘Shop Talk’

SHOP TALK: Escape to Paris this Valentine’s Day


Pont des arts. Photo by Kelsey Kromodimoelijo

Pont des arts. Photo by Kelsey Kromodimoeljo


Paris is known as the most romantic city in the world, with its lights, architecture, food (not to mention the ubiquitous PDA!). If you’re inspired by this famed French metropolitan and looking for a Valentine’s Day gift, then shop for some favourite Parisian must-haves here in Ottawa.


Repetto flat available at Wolf & Zed

Repetto flat available at Wolf & Zed

Les chaussures
It’s easy to spot the tourists in Paris, because strolling through the city in running shoes is a fashion faux pas for the locals. Parisians like to look effortlessly put together and favour a more classic and comfortable style — with an edge. Wolf & Zed in the Byward Market carries Repetto, a longstanding shoe brand that once crafted dance shoes for the Paris Opera Ballet and now famous for its everyday wear ballerines (ballet flats). The Cendrillon shoe has become a fashion staple and was made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the film And God Created Woman. Black is a good choice. Parisians love black. $170. Wolf & Zed, 519 Sussex Dr.


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SHOP TALK: Spooky chic outfits for fall

This article was originally published in the October 2014 print edition of Ottawa Magazine.

Photo by - Christian Lalonde. Styling by Sarah Fischer.

Photo by – Christian Lalonde. Styling by Sarah Fischer.

Step out of the shadows in this statement jacket. Made of Italian silk twill bonded to Italian wool, the J. Crew floral coat will bring warmth and drama to your fall wardrobe. Plus, the neutral colours of ivory and black work well with autumn’s dark palette. $1,114. J. Crew, Rideau Centre50 Rideau St., 613-563-7349.

Featuring trendy cut-outs and a gold-coloured back zipper, these leather Louise et Cie Sarimenta pumps ($200) are an excellent investment for the fall season. Pointy toes and a slim 3½-inch stiletto heel will make them your go-to date-night shoes. For a day-to-evening bootie, look to the Vince Camuto Klayton peep-toe ($180). Simple yet on-trend, this glamorously structured shoe is embellished by the statement zipper. Town Shoes, Bayshore Mall100 Bayshore Dr., 613-596-2378, and two other Ottawa locations.

This versatile Montgomery coat by Maestrami is made in Italy exclusively for Ottawa retailer Armen. The toggle fastenings and dark navy colour lend the coat a casual, rugged look. And with 80 percent wool, this is one topper that will work well into the colder months. $650.
Armen, 100 Murray St., 613-244-3351.

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SHOP TALK: Tights, pants, and breaking the rules

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

I still have a clipping from a paper years ago posted on my cubicle wall bringing attention to the Tights are Not Pants manifesto, which aims to put a halt to the epidemic of pantslessness under the guise of leggings.

“Let’s be clear. The wearing of tights as pants is an abomination.” 

Since then, the discussion about tights vs. pants has continuted — often to hilarious ends.

On the one side, the anti-pants-as-tights crowd says “People don’t wear pantyhose as pants, so why is it now acceptable to wear leggings as pants?”

Pardon the pun, but the argument has legs. If they are tight and show off everything, well, you are going to have people staring at you because you are letting everything hang out. Why not keep your assets covered for others’ imaginations? (For more on this debate, and how yoga pants figure into the continuum, check out this article about yoga pants banned at one Ottawa school — and don’t miss the comments section!)

However, if leggings look like pants — and have pockets on the butt and are thicker than a regular tight, then I’d say this is the limit.

But to each her own! Which is why we took notice when we received work that Canadian retailer Reitman’s is partnering with local fashion celeb and The Social‘s fashion expert Erica Wark on a tour called “Breaking the Rules with Reitmans: The Leggings Edition.”

On their tour, which comes to Reitman’s at Bayshore on Thursday, October 16, Reitman’s announces that “leggings aren’t just for the gym anymore” and their plans to rewrite the rulebook on the dos and don’ts of selecting and styling fall’s favourite fashion essential.

And I gotta admit, Erica is rocking this grunge look!

Erica Wark lays on the layers for a cute grunge look

Erica Wark lays on the layers for a cute grunge look

And so we opened our style sensibilities to other possibilities when it comes to tights, and considered the following:

Erica’s Guide to Breaking The Rules: The Leggings Edition

1. Touch & Feel: Not all leggings are created equal and it all starts with the fabric. The Reitmans leggings are made with thicker ponte fabrics which means they CAN be worn as pants. The haute grunge of the 90s is back: embrace it.

2. Lay on the Layers: Don’t be scared to toss a skirt — or even a dress! — over your leggings.

3. Stop, Drop & Roll: The almighty roll is not just for denim. These leggings are meant to be cuffed so toss on a bootie and adjust that hem for a more casual day look.

4. Rock the Crop: Sporting a legging doesn’t mean long tees are required. Change it up and try a chunky sweater or blouse for a sleeker, chicer style.

5. Let the Shoes Shine: From flats and boots to pumps and mules — the art of the legging is its ability to go with a range of footwear. Bonus? Pack a second (sexier) pair to take a look from day to night.

Love how this outfit lets the shoes shine through.

Love how this outfit lets the shoes shine through.

I like it. The dress + tights definitely works to open up outfit possibilities. Never even considered the roll! The crop, well, maybe it’s not for everyone. And anything that lets shoes shine through is a winner!

For more on tights, pants, and breaking the rules (or playing it safe) head to Reitman’s at Bayshore on Thursday, October 16. Erica’s Shop’n’Style party will focus on the Reitmans leggings collection while highlighting fall’s hottest trends. The post-work cocktail parties — complete with tipples and nibbles — will give customers access to an exclusive shopping experience with Erica, as well as special in-store promotions.

October 16, 6 pm to 8 pm
Bayshore Shopping Centre, 100 Bayshore Dr.

SHOP TALK: American Girl Boutique opens in Rideau Chapters

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

Do you have a young girl in your life that likes dolls? If you do, you have likely already heard that America Girl is coming to Ottawa. Not to be confused with the CanCon-approved Maplelea Girls, American Girl dolls are the biggest thing to hit the doll scene since Cabbage Patch Kids. I’ve heard the excitement at stores in New York City rivals Black Friday madness.

So will Ottawans latch on the idea of dressing up like your doll, booking salon services for your mini-me, and otherwise taking society’s fascination with dolls to the next level? Only time will tell. The store opens on Saturday, October 11.

In this edition of SHOP TALK, OM editor Dayanti Karunaratne explores the culture surrounding American Girl — and gets some tips on getting her own 2-year-old into independent play — through a Q&A with Lesley Nightingale, VP IndigoKids and a spokesperson for American Girl.

American Girls are coming to Ottawa!

American Girls are coming to Ottawa!


What makes American Girl dolls different from other dolls?
The American Girl brand is about a commitment to empower and inspire. The name was derived from the brand’s flagship line of historical dolls introduced nearly 30 years ago; today the brand has expanded into numerous product lines that reflect and celebrate the interests, achievements, and activities of all girls. American Girl is a perfect fit with Indigo — we’ve sold their kid’s books for years, our relationship was built on storytelling, and we’re proud to be their exclusive retailer as we bring the much sought after brand to Canada. — Lesley Nightingale, VP IndigoKids

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SHOP TALK: Holts out, J.Crew in as downtown shopping scene continues to evolve

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

Coveted handbags are a big draw at Holt Renfrew.

Coveted handbags are a big draw at Holt Renfrew.

Shopaholics were aghast at the news that high-end retailer Holt Renfrew would close its Ottawa location in early 2015. And while it’s always been one of those “aspirational” destinations, here at SHOP TALK we were pretty bummed. If shopping can be compared to art, then a visit to Holts was akin to stepping into the National Gallery — it wasn’t so much about filling gaps in our wardrobe as it was about stimulating our fashion senses. And for that, Holts will surely be missed.

That, and the stellar work they did with their window displays! I don’t know who is going into that retail space, but it’s safe to say that corner of Queen Street will never be the same.

From J. Crew's Spring/Summer 2015 ready to wear collection

From J. Crew’s Spring/Summer 2015 ready to wear collection

We reached out to our contacts at Holt Renfrew — ICYMI, Prada pumps featured in our September 2013 issue — and learned that the Sparks Street store that housed Holt Renfrew for 78 years was actually too small to accommodate it long-term. And so we say adieu to Holt Renfrew…

And allo! to J. Crew. One week later, On September 3, J. Crew opened its doors in the Rideau Centre. SHOP TALK attended the breakfast opening and got a better understanding of the brand we’ve heard so much about. And though it’s doubtful we’ll ever get to shop the pieces from that J.Crew showed earlier this week at New York Fashion Week, or even from it’s beautiful ready to wear collection (see left) we were excited to see the diversity of offerings — I had seen it as a preppy brand (no objections there!) but was happy to see some more casual pieces as well.

Sarah Fischer, who has shopped J. Crew before in the U.S., was excited about the fun prints. The Tick Tock blouse, which we spotted on a few staff, spoke to her love of classic pieces — that don’t take themselves too seriously!

Love this blazer!

Love this blazer!

And we loved this blazer — good to see camel staying strong for fall, it’s such a versatile and classic colour.




SHOP TALK: Etsy Roadtrip comes to LeBreton Flats

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

Photo courtesy FASHION Magazine.

Photo courtesy FASHION Magazine.

Cascais dress by Tangente. The local eco-friendly designer Tangente will be at the Etsy event on Monday, Aug. 4.

Cascais dress by Tangente. The local eco-friendly designer Tangente will be at the Etsy event on Monday, Aug. 4.


We’ve been hearing a lot about the revitalization of LeBreton Flats, but other than Bluesfest the area still seems like a bit of a dead zone. But what’s this … the Etsy Roadtrip is coming to town, and setting up shop at the Flats? And since we also hear that the online shopping site is planning world domination, perhaps the time has come for this storied part of the city to shine.

With The Merry Dairy, Streetside Curry, and Bridgehead on board, it’s certainly worth checking out. Another nod to the event is the involvement of Campy Home — that’s the new endeavour by Handmade Harvest co-founder Emily Arbour. Cute candles, nice packaging — seems like a good hostess gift for that next barbecue!

And there’s music! Kelly Sloan and the Claytones. We’re just getting wind of this event now, so not sure about the schedule of events, but it seems like a reason to take a bike through that part of the Ottawa River pathway.

Read more about the tour from our sister mag, FASHION.

Etsy Roadtrip pop-up shop. Monday, August 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lebreton Flats






SHOP TALK: Arrive in style with lightweight layers and colourful accessories

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

Photo by Marc Fowler.

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio/


Panama via Oahu
Keep cool and stylish this summer with a deLux Panama hat ($44.50). Made with eco-friendly ethically sourced materials, it’s a timeless topper (that happens to be on trend right now). Stand out while you sit back: this RJC Hawaiian shirt ($69.50) was made on the island of Oahu and promises a touch of aloha.
Fab Gear, 1112 Wellington St. W., 613-725-1964.

On Deck
A modern update on the classic deck shoe, the Ecco Eisner ($195) features a flexible sole and breathable lining that absorbs moisture — say bon voyage to sweaty feet! Rich leather uppers make it a perfectly acceptable choice for almost every summer outing.
Letellier Shoes, 146 Rideau St., 613-241-6557.

In Vest
This long sleeveless vest is a simple and avant-garde way to add a splash of colour to an outfit, making it a hot commodity for jet-setters. Made of Egyptian mako cotton, the Toni ($295) is substantial without restricting movement — in short, a perfect layering piece.
Ça va de soi, 459 Sussex Dr., 613-789-2828.

Take Note
Inspired by rare finds in the American Museum of Natural History Library, this Natural Histories journal ($15.95) is sure to make writing that next poem (or to-do list) an act of grace. In addition to the eye-catching owl cover, the diary features 192 ruled pages and a ribbon bookmark.
Paper Papier, 18 Clarence St., 613-241-1212.

In Bloom
This colourful Silk Route scarf ($128) is a light wrap that’s sure to brighten up any outfit. Printed with flowers and butterflies, as well as the season’s ubiquitous black-and-white stripes, it’s a versatile accessory that protects shoulders from the sun on hot days and offers practical warmth on chilly evenings.
Clothes by Muriel Dombret, 1258 Wellington St. W., 613-798-0167.

SHOP TALK: Pink Palladium shoes for summer

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.


Love this look! Check out more Flex Collection stylings at

Let me say off the top that I’ve always been wary of colourful shoes. While I have yet to do the Middleton nude pumps, I always figured that black, brown, or metallic shoes offered more bang for your buck. At my desk I keep my “work shoes” — right now I’m looking at three brown heels and one pair of black flats. (Can you say bo-ring?)

Flex Lace Palladium shoes in Pink Lemonade

Flex Lace Palladium shoes in Pink Lemonade

So when the kind people at ZOI agency offered to send me a pair of the new summer canvas kicks from Palladium, I balked at the colour choices. I admire people who have the guts to embrace colour, I just question how to wear colourful shoes. Do you try to match? Do you make them the highlight of an outfit? It’s the kind of wardrobe detail that makes one late for work! So I put them aside.

That was, until I broke my toenail. I won’t bore you with the details except to say it didn’t happen in any cool way and I swore a lot. But the darn thing didn’t fall off, and I’m not one for self-inflicted pain (unless, perhaps, there’s a prize to be won). So I bandage and soak — and walk carefully to prevent the whole thing from falling off.

Pink and green feels like spring!

Pink and green feels like spring! Photo by Sarah Fischer

In this case, physical pain overrides wardrobe anxiety and I looked to my pink Flex Lace Palladiums. With a nice big toe box I was even able to do some lunges without bashing that tender big toe, and they put a smile on my face. (In truth, having  a little girl to dress has endeared me to pink.)

And, as often happens when we’re forced out of our comfort zone, I found these shoes added a skip to my (albeit cautious) steps. They made me feel like a kid again — I grew up at a time when canvas shoes were the thing to wear in those perfect last weeks of school. And most of all, I found they went with everything from girly summer dresses to jeans to shorts. Sure, I take a moment to colour-check, but mostly I’m having fun pushing the envelope with these fun flats.

See how my pink shoes match so nicely with my kid's hoodie-dress? She's wearing off on me.

See how my pink shoes match so nicely with my kid’s hoodie-dress? She’s wearing off on me.

STORE PROFILE: Curiosity shop Wunderkammer expands to feature more home decor, jewellery, and other quirky treasures

This week Shop Talk welcomes guest blogger Ashleigh VanHouten

A 16-foot yellow canoe in the front window (also for sale) beckons shoppers.

A 16-foot yellow canoe in the front window (also for sale) beckons shoppers.

Heard of Wunderkammer? It’s a hidden gem of a place, though not so hidden anymore — the curiosity shop recently re-opened in a bigger and better spot just down the block from their original space on Dalhousie Street.

Tamara Steinborn and Nathan Dubo, partners in life and work, moved from Montreal  a few years ago to open their Lowertown shop and are already enjoying  steady success — to the point where their intimate store could no longer contain the volume of jewelry, home decor, and vintage finds that their customers were asking for.

Wunderkammer’s new spot has the same warm, well-curated vibe as the original, just with a bit more breathing room — and a lot more baubles. The new and improved store houses much more in the way of home decor and accents, including bigger pieces like wardrobes and wall art.

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SHOP TALK: The Prom Edition with Erica Wark

On Caroline: Le Chateau dress $129.99, Walmart sandals $19.99, Caroline's own earrings; on Delaney: Marshall's dress $24.99, The Shoe Company pumps $89.99, Ardene earrings $7.50, The Shoe Company clutch $24.99. Click on photo for more images. Photo by Eric Watters.

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Yes, it’s that time again: prom! Whether you are going yourself, have a son or daughter counting down the days, or just want to relive the joy (and pain) of this teenage rite of passage, this week SHOP TALK talks to stylist Erica Wark about all things prom.

Erica is fresh off a media tour with VISA, who launched a free app called Plan’it Prom. The app aims to keep prom-goers (and their financiers) on budget by monitoring spending. Perhaps the most crucial part is the first step: a set budget. The app then manages all prom-related items, allotting a dollar amount for transportation, photos, etc.

All to say Erica has been in the trenches of prom planning for the past few weeks. Here’s what she has to say about traditions, trends, and money-saving tips.

On Delaney: Envied "Supertrash" dress, $310, The Shoe Company pumps $69.99, Le Chateau earrings $18, Le Chateau bracelets $25; On Caroline: Marshall's dress $49.99, The Shoe Company pumps $79.99, Le Chateau bracelet $18. Click on photo for more images. Photo by Eric Watters

SHOP TALK: What are the big trends for prom 2013?
Erica Wark: Embellishment is everywhere this prom season; try it with jewels, lace overlay or even applique. For colours, I love cobalt blues, bold tangerines and corals, or softer hues like mint and sea foam, blush and off-white. In terms of hem length my advice is do what works for you; if you’ve got great legs show them off with a shorter dress; if you’re looking for uber-glam, go long! You can even do the high-low hem, and have the best of both!

For guys, it’s an easy choice — go with a tux. A classic black and white look in a slimmer fit with a bowtie is right on trend this spring.

ST: If you were going to prom this year, what would you wear?
EW: Haha, oh to be young again. There are so many more options now than there were 10 years ago. I’d probably do a fabulous long dress in a bold colour with cut-out or sheer paneled details a-la-Rihanna.

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