What to buy where.

Celebs In Burberry Trench Coats

The Coat, The Bag, The Shoes, The Blouse ***

Made to last a lifetime, these high-fashion designer classics never go out of style. That’s why they make worthy investments—at any price.
Burberry’s London Trench Coat

Celebs In Burberry Trench CoatsI keep fallin’ in and out of love—with the trench coat. That’s just what happens when an iconic piece of clothing rolls back into fashion every few years. Last year was huge for the once-and-still-utilitarian raincoat invented for British soldiers by Aquascutum during WWI. I’ve owned inexpensive versions over the years but been understandably reluctant to pony up $1,300 for a Burberry’s London line long, double-breasted cotton trench with epaulettes, gun flap, belt with metallic D-rings and leather buckle, and a Burberry check under the collar—the coat by which all other trench coats are weighed, measured and found wanting. The great thing about the London trench is that really can be worn over everything from a business suit to nothing but stilettos, if you’re Ellen Barkin seducing Al Pacino in the movie Sea of Love. Read more

Sonja Picard Jewellery

Sonja Picard’s Stunning New/Old Jewellery

Designer Sonja Picard takes your unworn old jewellery and refashions it into stunning new pieces you’ll never take off.

Sonja Picard JewelleryMONEY WELL SPENT | Who among us does not have at least a few pieces of fine-quality old jewellery squirrelled away in the back of a cupboard. Maybe we purchased these items for ourselves way back when; maybe they were given to us by someone special to mark an important occasion; or maybe they were inherited. However we acquired these treasures, and sweet as they are steeped in both history and sentiment, we know in our hearts we’re never going to wear them for reasons as simple as looking unfashionable or as complex as reminding us of a time we’d sooner forget.

Rather than ignore this old jewellery—or sell it for a fraction of its original appraised value—why not combine it all together—gemstones, precious metals, everything—to create new, meaning-filled pieces imbued with the spirit, history and energy of the old ones, contemporary pieces you really will wear. Read more

Icebreaker Bliss Hood

Icebreaker TouchLab In Vancouver

Made from nature’s perfect fibre, Icebreaker wool clothing is so versatile and long-wearing that you don’t need to buy a lot.

Icebreaker Bliss HoodGerman designer Dieter Rams, former head designer at Braun, is known not only for the stylish yet practical appliances he conceived but also for his 10 principles of good design (Good design is innovative, makes a product useful, is aesthetic, makes a product understandable, is unobtrusive, is honest, is long-lasting, is thorough down to the last detail, is environmentally friendly and is as little design as possible).

All of these apply toNew Zealand Icebreaker clothing, now available at the company’s first Vancouver TouchLab store, which opened last week. The garments are made of an ingenious merino wool fabric that is easy care, lightweight and quick drying like synthetics but also breathable, odour resistant and biodegradable. Unlike cotton, it does not hold moisture. Read more

FRYE Boots

Zappos Versus The Mall Buying Boots Online

Of course it’s best to buy local, but sometimes it makes sense to shop on the Internet.

FRYE BootsSHOPPING AROUND | A lot of people I know really do try to shop close to home because they believe in supporting local businesses. But sometimes the price difference between products sold here and elsewhere is too shockingly different to ignore—and you know that as much as you might prefer to, shopping local just doesn’t make sense. Read more

Roots Village Bag In Vintage Tribe Leather

The Village Is The Bag To Collect Right Now

Forget the Baguette and the Birkin, this modestly priced casual bag by Roots is the one to collect right now.

Roots Village Bag In Vintage Tribe LeatherMONEY WELL SPENT | If there were such a thing as an International Handbag Hall Of Fame, the highly coveted Baguette by Fendi, Birkin by Hermès, Speedy by Louis Vuitton and 2.55 by Chanel would be among the first bags inducted. It’s a tribute to their iconic good looks that these stratospherically priced luxury items are respun by their European manufacturers year after year and continue to maintain a “must-have” status.

Of course, it wasn’t hard to come up with this quartet of hypothetical inductees; the selection is so beyond question Anna Wintour will be rolling her eyes when she reads the list. But we do have one more, less-obvious submission some students of fashion insist belongs with this group. It’s a Canadian entry: the Village Bag by Roots. So why do they think this modestly priced everyday handbag deserves the same recognition as these pocketbook giants? Read more

Patagonia Down Sweater

The Coolest—Warmest—Sweaters Are Down

The coolest—and warmest—sweater around is one filled with down.

Patagonia Down SweaterPRICE CHECK | I’m cold, and my husband knows it. That’s why he gave me a sweater vest for Christmas. No, not one of those dorky argyle knitted numbers with big grandpa buttons—like Old School Archie might have worn—but a “down sweater” vest. It’s pretty cool and from the Gap.

Climbers and serious hikers know a down sweater is an ultra lightweight jacket or vest that delivers minimal weight, superb compressibility and superior warmth. Slim, not puffy, a down sweater is most often used as a midlayer or outerwear piece for colder climates, though its versatility and stylish good looks have begun to earn it a place on the street. Lately I’ve noticed more women and men trading in our regional uniform, the light-sucking polar fleece, for a vibrant but no-less-at-home-here down sweater.

Down Sweaters We Love Read more
Holt Renfrew Shopping Bags

Shopping The Holt Renfrew Winter Sale

In hot pursuit of luxury labels at Holt Renfrew’s Winter Sale.

Holt Renfrew Shopping BagsBest For Less | As annual sales go, the January clearance at Holt Renfrew is one of Vancouver’s big ones and absolutely worth checking out if you are looking for luxury brands at up to 70 percent off regular retail price.

Yesterday we cruised Holt’s racks with an insider who helped us home in on some incredible deals, listed below. And while our guide happened to be a personal friend, you could have your own guide too, if you want. Holt Renfrew offers complimentary personalized shopping assistance to customers. On-staff personal shoppers work by appointment, which can be made over the phone or by dropping by the store. Their intimate knowledge of the merchandise and where to find everything quickly has got to be nothing short of awesome for time- and/or budget-crunched shoppers.

What We Found At Holt Renfrew’s Winter Sale Read more
SeaFolly Swimsuit

It’s Time To Swim Down To Bikini Avenue

Laurel Zapke stalks a wild bikini along West 4th Avenue, Vancouver’s one-stop-shopping swimsuit street.

SeaFolly SwimsuitSAVE TIME | I’m just in from Cancun. I went there on “spring break” in December like so many of us timesharing fools do before our week expires. Get ready for your own upcoming tropical adventure with our one-stop-shopping swimwear primer: Kitsilano’s West 4th Avenue is swimsuit alley, featuring swimwear shops from Burrard to Blenheim. Read more

Sorel Boots

Bold, Beautiful Boots For Bargain-Hunter Babes

Fashion writer Laurel Zapke tracks down bold, beautiful and bargain-priced boots for every season and reason imaginable.

Sorel BootsSHOPPING AROUND | In Vancouver, it’s boot season all year long. The Kitsilano Chic girls wear fuzzy boots with bare legs and shorts in the summer evenings, while the uptown crowd wears thigh-highs with five-inch heels in any season. My favourites are soft black leather with a short chunky heel and zipped up comfortably to mid-calf. The only thing I love more than the way they feel is the price tag: less than $100. To help you track down your own favourites, we’ve done the footwork to find the most current styles with price tags under $200. Read more

Leather Hoodie from the Archetype - C. Phaisalakani

We’ve found The Best Leather Bomber In Town

The jacket of the moment is the leather bomber—and the best-priced ones are in Vancouver.

Leather Hoodie from the Archetype - C. PhaisalakaniCHEAP + CHIC | Whoever made up the Fashion Must-Have lists that appeared in Canadian magazines and newspapers this past fall overlooked a must-have that is everywhere on the streets in Europe right now: the leather bomber or members only/British moto jacket cross. Just back from Italy, my friend Amelia says stylish women of all ages were wearing this sort of outerwear in Rome and beyond; ditto, says fashion friend Kristy, who spotted leather bombers around Scandinavia two months ago.

No slouch when it comes to trends, Joe Fresh picked up on the bomber/moto craze, including a $49 polyurethane take on the style in its current collection. And cute though it is, we’re taking a pass because we’ve found a Vancouver jacket we like better made of genuine leather for a killer price. Read more