The running shoe is enjoying a renaissance. Sporty, heelless footwear has shown up all over this spring, on high-fashion runways and on the feet of style setters across Toronto. Whether paired with a pretty midi skirt or slouchy boyfriend jeans, runners radiate an effortless kind of cool. (They’re also blissfully comfortable, which is nice.) We’ve picked out our favourite women’s and men’s sneakers of the season: luxe cheetah-print slip-ons, pastel-hued retro runners and subtle leather lace-ups that could even be worn with a suit. These kicks are a far cry from the beat-up Asics stashed at the back of your closet, and can be worn practically anywhere (as long as you don’t actually try to exercise in them).
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If you haven’t worn a backpack since lugging textbooks home in a raggedy MEC tote, it may be time to reconsider the practical springtime accessory. Sleek, urban backpacks are everywhere this season. They’re chic, understated and so exquisitely comfortable that you might just ditch your shoulder bag for good. Here, 10 packs that are anything but dorky.
The arrival of spring stock in stores usually signals warm weather to come (even if, this year, it feels like winter won’t ever relinquish its hold). One of 2014’s best new offerings comes courtesy of Toronto designer Philip Sparks, who recently unveiled his first optical collection in collaboration with Jordan Paul from Junction eyewear shop Optianado. Made-in-Toronto pedigree aside, the unisex glasses have a great vintage look. The rounded lenses and keyhole bridges are nearly universally flattering, and both the lenses and acetate frames come in five different colours. Our favourite? A soft yellow that helps us remember that sunny days are ahead. $295.
Philips Sparks Tailored Goods, 162 Ossington Ave., 647-348-1827, philipsparks.com
In the wearable-tech industry, the coolest gadgets don’t tend to be ones that you can sport without attracting stares (Google’s clunky bionic glasses, for example). The Kiwi Move may be the exception. The movement tracker from Toronto-based start-up Kiwi Wearable Technologies can do an impressive amount of stuff for something the size of a lapel pin. Like other tracking-style devices, it monitors sleep patterns, counts steps and calculates workout stats, but it’s also capable of much more—like automatically brewing coffee before you get out of bed, or turning down the thermostat whenever you leave the house. The gadget also recognizes speech and movement, which means it can identify a song with the wave of an arm, or calculate nutritional stats for a recipe that’s read out loud. And the best part? It’s so small you might forget you’re wearing it. $99. Available for preorder at kiwiwearables.com.
Slippers and warm boots are essential winter apparel, but they tend to be more functional than beautiful. Craftsmanship and coziness go hand-in-hand with the Storyboot Project, a collaboration between Holt Renfrew’s H Project and Métis retailer Manitobah Mukluks. Each pair of shoes is painstakingly crafted by Aboriginal artisans using traditional techniques and materials, including smoked moose hide, rabbit fur and tiny glass beads, which are sewn by hand into colourful, whimsical designs. The shoes are definitely pricier than the moccasin maker’s regular footwear collection, but thanks to a profit-sharing agreement, half of the proceeds go straight back to the artist—which should help assuage any guilt about splurging on cozy footwear. $500-$1,400. Available at Holt Renfrew or online.
Just because foosball evokes dank strip-mall sports bars with beer-stained carpeting doesn’t mean it should. Let’s supplant that image with a new one: this handcrafted crystal and ash or walnut table by the Italian high-design firm Teckell will fit right in with your Eames chair and Noguchi lamp. Such ultra-luxe amusements don’t come cheap (the one pictured here is $15,495), but it’s so gorgeous, you’ll be hosting your own mini-FIFA nights to show it off. Holt Renfrew, Yorkdale, 416-789-5377.
Even experienced travelers sometimes resort to stashing essentials in grocery bags and Ziplocs. Enter Ebby Rane, a Toronto-based luxury travel brand from Sonja M. Salmon, a former corporate lawyer and frequent flyer. The fledgling line’s first product, The Quartermaster, is a marvel of organizational design. Inspired by bespoke Victorian traveling chests, each leather-trimmed case holds a dozen colour-coordinated containers, each earmarked for a specific purpose: bags for laundry, lingerie and wet bathing suits; sleeves for footwear; soft cases for jewelry, cosmetics, liquids and tech accessories; and a leather document pouch that’s stylish enough to double as a clutch. Available in three colour schemes. $1145.
Available for pre-order through ebbyrane.com. $175 off orders placed by December 31st.
North Americans have thus far been spared from one of 2013’s biggest—and most regrettable—trends in Europe and the UK: the adult onesie, which is essentially a baby suit writ large, minus the feet. But, given its popularity among fashion it-girls (Cara Delevigne, Alexa Chung), musicians (Rihanna, One Direction) and even Hollywood hunks (Brad Pitt), it was only a matter of time before the craze arrived on the continent. Last week, Hoodsie, a start-up co-founded by 22-year-old Torontonian Lisa Carole, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of their Pima cotton onesies. Ten days in, they’ve sold nearly 200 sweatpant jumpsuits (including 10 made from show-stopping gold lamé). Carole says the suits’ slim cut makes them “adult onesies you can actually wear in public.” We wouldn’t go quite that far, but the suits do seem like a cozy option for lazy weekend mornings—and slightly less ridiculous than the Snuggie. $55–$150.
Available through Kickstarter.com until January 12.
What to Wear to Christmas Parties: tuxedo blazers, skater skirts and more top trends for the holiday season
The holiday season brings with it a certain set of headaches: wacky relatives coming to stay, panicked shopping trips, and the dilemma of what to wear to the onslaught of parties, tree-trimmings and dinners. We can help with the latter concern, at least. Here, a guide to the season’s most stylish trends—clothes you’ll look forward to wearing well into the new year.
The semi-annual One Of A Kind lands back at Exhibition Place later this week. At the one-stop gift mecca, 800 artisans from across the country peddle handcrafted clothing, art, gourmet cooking oils, jewellery, knick-knacks, toys and more. It’s the easiest way to power-shop your way through your Christmas list in a single day—if you can navigate the hundreds of booths. To help, here’s a shortlist of our favourite products.
Nov. 28 –Dec. 8, M-Sa 10-9, Su 10-6. Tickets $14. Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., 416-960-3680, oneofakindshow.com
Guys around the world start cultivating their lip fuzz today to raise money for Movember’s men’s health initiatives. But not everyone can sprout a ‘stache. For men challenged in the facial hair department (and women who want in on the fun), Holt Renfrew and British designer Paul Smith have come up with another way to show support. The upscale department store is selling limited edition mittens designed by Smith to help meet its goal of raising $100,000 this month. Hands—and upper lips—around the city will be toasty warm this winter. $50.
Available at all Holt Renfrew and hr2 locations and through holtrenfrew.com
In the nineties, sweatpants were outrageously baggy. In the aughts, they were made of velour and had provocative slogans splashed across the butt. Now, loungewear has finally found a sweet spot between those extremes, in part thanks to brands like Toronto-based Lazypants. The company makes ultra-comfy sweats
with smart design details: narrower fits, deep pockets and wide ankle cuffs that give off an oddly stylish harem-pant-meets-long-john vibe. And we’re not the only ones who think so. In the past year, the pants have netted celebrity fans like Mila Kunis and Demi Moore—along with shelf space at upscale retailers TNT and Holt Renfrew. $80–$138.
Available via shoplazypants.com
With the Canadian tuxedo now earning serious style cred, it was only a matter of time before some appropriately patriotic shoes came along to finish the look. Earlier this month, Hudson’s Bay teamed up with Converse to create the ultimate Canadian mash-up: Jack Purcell sneakers (designed by the Ontario-born badminton player) made out of the Bay’s iconic point blankets. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, the shoes have a signature Jack Purcell smile on the toe and thick wool uppers that will keep your feet toasty this fall. Also on offer: a leather-trimmed high-top, for an extra kick of rugged street appeal. $120–$140.
Available at Hudson’s Bay, 176 Yonge St. or 44 Bloor St. W., thebay.com
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If you have the patience to sift through jumbled clearance racks, late summer offers the kind of deals that prompt victory dances at the cash register. If you lack the necessary doggedness, however, don’t worry—we’ve done the legwork for you. Here, a roundup of the very best bargains from across the city.
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The new royal baby already has all the organic clothes that an eight-pound, six-ounce human could possibly need, news that’s likely to spark a chemical-free shopping frenzy among family-minded royal watchers (see also: the Kate Middleton effect). On this side of the pond, our favourite organic cotton onesies and bloomers are by OM Home, a line started by two Toronto moms with a knack for designing gorgeous, modern textiles. To wit: the medallion print on this long-sleeved onesie ($28) and rakish hankie-style bib that doubles as a burp cloth ($14). Both garments come in gender-neutral colours, so you can stock up even before you know if you’ve got a prince or a princess on the way.
Available through omhome.com or at Balafant Boutik, 1360 Bathurst St., 647-347–4588.