5 Style Resolutions for a Better 2018

TEXT: Peter Minkoff

It seems that that 2018 can’t arrive soon enough, what with all the bad things that have happened to the world in 2017. Every new year fills us with hope that once the sun rises on January 1st, we can get a clean slate and are able to start fresh. In order to do so, many of us still put pen to paper (or open the notes app on our phones) and create a list of all the things we’re going to change. Most of them we don’t stick to, but the more items we put, the likelier it is that we will do some of them.

Now, as awful as the year has been in many aspects, it has been a fantastic year for fashion and the runways have given us plenty of food for thought. Life is too short to stick to the same styles, and one of the best traits of the millennial generation is their refusal to conform. They mix, match and experiment with not only different cuts, patterns, textures, but also aren’t afraid of putting diametrically opposing styles into a single outfit. This year, be that level of fierce, and make sure that at least a few of these style resolutions find their way to your wardrobe.

Say Yes to Plaid

Plaid is one of the most interesting, but, for a long time, under-appreciated patterns out there. However, this pattern is a total chameleon. Why? Because it’s conspicuous, which makes it incredibly suitable for statement pieces, but still subdued enough that you can mix and match it with different patterns as well as with basics. The best part is, it looks amazing on both men and women. If you’re not sure which plaid piece to add to your wardrobe this year, a double-breasted blazer is a great way to start, although it’s a tough call since plaid pants look ultra-sophisticated yet relaxed at the same time. So, when in doubt, go for both.

Don’t Beat It, Join It

By now, it is obvious that athleisure isn’t going anywhere. The trend turned lifestyle has even made it into the official dictionaries. So, yes, it is here to stay. Some have been fighting it, but why should you keep fighting? Athleisure is all about stylish convenience, comfort, and versatility, and there is absolutely no need to shun it: Embrace it already. Start with a great pair of Adidas Gazelle sneakers — a brand like this is always a good way to go — and once you go down the athleisure rabbit hole, before you know it, you’ll be wearing your pressed button-downs with hoodies and track pants with polished blazers. Give it a try — once you go athleisure, you just might never go back.

A Show of Support

One of the resolutions that will combine your love of fashion with your social-awareness is going local. By this we mean shopping from small designers and local shops. This way, not only will you be helping local economy, but you will also allow young artist and visionaries to be more visible. It’s not just noble, it’s good for the evolution of your style. New designers and small brands offer pieces that you won’t see on everyone else. Plus, they have insanely innovative and unique designs that are bound to help you step up your style game and assert your individuality.

Show No Fear

Most people never experience the joy that comes with playing with different colors, and that’s a damn shame. Fashion is supposed to be playful, it’s supposed to bring joy and fun. So stop perceiving clothes as purely utilitarian and actually start having some fun with them. Try colors you haven’t dared to try before. Who knows, you might actually end up discovering that you ‘pop’ in colors you never even dreamed of putting on your body. After all, it’s not like a chemical experiment, so even if you fail a few times, what’s the harm? At least you dared to step out of your comfort zone.

That Being Said…

Most of the times the sentence ‘I have nothing to wear’ comes as a result of having too many options that clash with one another. Statement pieces are amazing, they are the cherry on top of the sundae of each outfit; they tell a story. But if you layer too many at the same time, they will cancel each other out and create a busy hot mess. Therefore, it’s paramount that you take the time to go shopping for some quality basics (emphasis on both quality and basics). While statement ones are the cherry, basics are the pillar of every outfit, and once you have enough you will never be pegged with the question, ‘What do I wear today?’ ever again. Shop for simple tees and sweaters in neutral hues, dark jeans, simple outerwear. This is the foundation, and you should never forget it. After all, you can’t eat the cherry on top without the sundae, right?

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Sympli: Real Women, Real Bodies

Shopping for clothes can get frustrating and leave women feeling inadequate about their bodies. Often, we find ourselves adjusting our body shape to fit the clothes and not the other way around.

Jan Stimpson and Abbey Stimpson, a dynamic mother daughter duo decided to challenge the norm by coming out with a universal line for women of all shapes and sizes. Jan had been designing clothes for 40 years prior, and Abbey soon followed. From helping lay fabric on the cutting board to working with her mom in between soccer practices as a teenager to make some extra cash, she grew up in the business. Together, they built their BC-based brand Sympli, which stands behind positive body image and caters to all women. Sympli was the first Canadian brand to design a universal line for women of all body types and ages as well as introduce a plus size line.

Behind its success is the long and time consuming process in creating a line that was accommodating to all kinds of bodies while still maintaining some shape to it. When asked about creating the line, Jan Stimpson stated “I had always designed clothes for every woman but as the years went by, the style just got a lot more form fitting, a lot tighter. It was very difficult for women, and I’m not talking full figured women, I’m just talking average women, to fit into anything.”

The name Sympli, refers to the everyday, simpler style of clothing the brand produces. It really is about designing a comfortable line that accommodated as many women as possible with cuts that were flattering for their body, as opposed to putting themselves in boxy t-shirts. This is how Sympli started,with some t-shirts and a few pants. They offer a slim fit, a relaxed fit, and a tunic fit that accommodated everyone. It was a nicely fit t-shirt that came in a variety of necklines and sleeve lengths.

That’s where they thrived. “Women loved it. They could finally shop and look great and feel great. Like the basic t-shirt that’s not just a box for somebody who had had a few kids and didn’t want to wear a skinny t-shirt.”

Along with the basics, Sympli now does tops and lighter weight jackets. Their first line of outerwear coats came out last year.  Their market reaches those who embrace the practicality of the line. Abbey states “Once women get around their 30s, they become a lot more open to the fact that fashion should be durable. They make more long term choices and they have more ethical values as to how and where their clothes were made and how long they last.”

Local production is an integral part of the process. The fabrication and local manufacturing allow for superior quality. “We’re not fast fashion so we don’t design our clothes to rotate off the shelf every couple of weeks. We will look at trends that are approachable in a body friendly way and try to include it in a way that won’t be out of style next year. Local production is really important to us and its gotten us to where we are today.”

Jan recalls the the hardest part of taking this approach to fashion is the process to actually accommodate all different body types and the rigorous process to do it authentically. More time is spent picking garments than actually designing them. The garments are fitted on a number of size 4s, 8s, 10s, 16s, etc. Even within size ranges, each body is different. It’s much easier to take the template form of the super thin model sitting in front of a white background. It’s easier to execute, cheaper and more readily available. “People know what’s working out there and they just essentially copy it. Our process is challenging and very time consuming,” says Jan. Around 95% of Sympli’s pieces are not computer generated.

Sympli also works with the Looking Glass Foundation and youth suffering with eating disorders. An automatic match with the message behind Sympli, the Looking Glass Foundation was founded by three mothers whose daughters had suffered from eating disorders. It was started in Deep Cove in Vancouver, where the Sympli got started as well. Passionate about people moving toward a healthier version of body image, the organization’s holistic approach to treating disorders is something both Jan and Abbey believe in. Their Hand in Hand program encourages a real support system between trained survivors and those who are suffering now. This allows for a more organic approach and support system for their journey to recovery.

Sympli challenges other companies to have the guts to display unique bodies, and a variety of healthy bodies. Jan states, “For women to embrace their own bodies and to enjoy it and be healthy and love yourself, the change starts from the way we feel within ourselves. As much as we like to blame the media, we have to take a look at what we stand for and what we’re attracted to, and what we try to be.”