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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Treat Yourself Real in 2017

A couple of years ago, I used to close my eyes and imagine colourful videos. That was my reflection on the brightest moments of my life. Sadly, I notice that it’s getting harder and harder to do the same now. While images keep changing, I see less and less continuous scenes. Life becomes more of a picture rather than a video. A picture in a museum, a picture on the beach, a picture in a new cafe… We are trying to be everywhere and experience everything. But very often, instead of experiencing we get just another picture on Instagram.

That’s why my biggest New Year’s resolution is to capture everything I do, wear, and experience in my heart. Here are some tips on how to treat yourself REAL in 2017.

Musician Oddane Taylor. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Go for Music

You already know how to make Spotify and Soundcloud create a playlist that satisfies your musical tastes. However, you can make your musical experience even more entertaining by actually going to events. The fact that the Greater Toronto Area is a home to many talented producers, singers, and DJs makes your musical discovery not only exciting but also affordable. You don’t always need to spend hundreds of dollars on a ticket to see someone at the Air Canada Centre. A lot of musicians prefer to hit nightclubs. For example, a Brampton-based rapper Roy Woods has recently performed in Mod Club, while Tory Lanez (from Brampton as well) threw a dancehall party in Rebel. A $25-50 ticket for those shows buys you a party and adds many favourite songs to your playlist. The songs that you will have personal connections to.

Bonus: Check Red Bull Sound Select for more inspiration. Last fall, I explored Mick Jenkins and Smino, two cool hip hop artists on one of the Red Bull concerts.

Sousse, Tunisia

Make your travel destination your dream motherland

Instead of hitting multiple places, explore one place in depth. Saying you’ve been all over the world sounds cool, but saying it doesn’t make it real! Your trip doesn’t deserve a quick glance from bus windows or an impressive post on Facebook or Instagram.

Build a relationship with a place. Make a playlist of its music and listen to it on the plane. Meet the locals and go to their parties. Dance with them and listen to them talk. That will tell you a lot about the country.

Ask your new friends (not your tour guide) about the best places to eat, go for a picnic, and party. Keep your head up, don’t let the camera on your neck restrain you from looking around. Pick one or two days for a proper photoshoot, and forget about pictures for the rest of your trip. Breathe, take your time to stop and live in a moment. That’s what will make your travel experience unforgettable.

Last summer I made friends with Tunisian animators during my stay at a hotel in Sousse. I helped them host mini-disco for kids and entertain people on the beach. That experience made me closer to Tunisian culture and added many funny moments to my vacation.

Bonus: Explore the world through volunteering and educational programs. They will help you bring a positive change to the communities and make new friends. Volunteer Forever has recently posted 2017 Best Volunteer Abroad Programs, Organizations, & Projects.

Photo by Olga Rodionova

Build Your Dream Wardrobe

This year make your style iconic by purchasing only high-quality clothes and clothes that will tell a unique story about you. Don’t buy items because they are on sale or because you just need another sweater. Choose something you really love. Most of the time, it will be pricier, I agree. But with hundreds of fast fashion items in your wardrobe, you still complain about having nothing to wear — it’s worth a try.

I noticed that clothes that I usually buy in malls lose their attraction after a couple of weeks. But items such as overalls from Smoke + Ash or a Mischa Lampert fur-pom-pom beanie that I bought years ago, still give me confidence and a sense of beauty.

Items that I got when traveling to other countries make me feel special too. One of a kind leather gloves with orange ruffles that I bought in Venice seven years ago still get many compliments as well as a cheap scarf that I bought in Turkey.

Make your skin your sunshine

It’s fun to smell and try different skin products. But honestly ask yourself: Do you really need all those day and night creams, toners, and serums? Loading your face up with products or using many of them at the same time might cause irritations and breakouts.

Clean your beauty shelf out of everything that didn’t work for you last year and leave or add only those products that make your skin perfect.

If you still haven’t found your ideal skincare, you might want to check Mèreadesso, a new line that Novella reviewed last month.

The creator Linda Stephenson proposes a simple combination of products such as moisturizer, cleanser, and body balm that will replenish all the needs of your skin.

Bonus: DIY beauty hack recipes for fans of natural treats.

Photo: Tullahoma News

Don’t take your phone to the gym

Get better results from your workout by simply leaving your phone in a locker. My personal trainer in Russia always asked me if I was thinking about something else while exercising. He urged me to turn off my brain for half an hour and think only about the areas of my body I was working on. Exercises such as sculpting and stretching need your full attention. Checking your phone and messaging interrupts you from the process and extends your breaks between exercises, which can ruin the entire workout. If you already follow this phone etiquette, try to improve your results by shortening your breaks between exercises.

Photo: Food & Wine Magazine

Go on a food trip in your kitchen

Tired of your standard dinner recipes? Broaden your culinary horizons and take your family on a food trip! Ask your Italian friend about an authentic pasta recipe or get an Irish family to give you the secret for the best Shepherd’s Pie. You can also search for the recipes on the Internet. Write them on pieces of paper and throw them in a bowl. This is your new culinary globe! Each time you aren’t sure what to cook for dinner and thinking about ordering in a pizza, slip your hand into the bowl and cook whatever you get. Moroccan chicken tonight? Hawaiian poke bowl tomorrow? All countries come to your kitchen in homemade goodness.

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Artsy Gifts Under $100

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

A new exhibition at Northern Contemporary Gallery features hundreds of art pieces under $100!

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

Looking for an inspirational gift for your artistic friend? Acrylic Sugar Skull, Coffin Jewelry Boxes, Drake-inspired painting, and many other interesting and affordable pieces are waiting for you at the art-show, Under 100.

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

The exhibition introduces you to talented North American artists and makes your holiday shopping entertaining in itself.

“You can get something that is really unique,” said Emily May Rose who runs the gallery. “Every kind of theme is covered because we did no theme for the show.”

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

Rose said they wanted to make it affordable for people to buy gifts for their friends and family. The artists could submit a work of any theme and medium, but it had to be priced $100 or under.

The idea worked out perfect. The gallery was full with customers on Dec. 8, the first day of the exhibition. They were scanning the walls with juicy paintings, breathtaking photos of Toronto, and funny digital illustrations.

Photo: Jordan Prentice

“People mostly chose to do reproductions of their work like prints because you can set the price a little bit lower for those,” Rose said. “You can’t really do a big painting and sell it for under a hundred dollars.”

Some of the artists decided to use shampoo jars and broken pieces of cups in their mixed-media-works.

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

An OCAD University student Kevin Pham submitted two digital illustrations and one watercolour painting that he did for school. He said the exhibition is a good opportunity for him to show some of his work and get gallery experience.

“This one is about my grandmother,” Pham pointed at his watercolour painting. “She passed away. So this is her caring for thirteen kids.”

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

Rose said her favourite artist in this show is Ann Somers who submitted six pieces.

“She has a very painterly but still graphic style,” Rose said. “She did a lot of pop-culture references like Kim Kardashian or Stranger Things TV show and little Drake pieces. Those were very cute.”

From left to right: Kevin Pham and Chantal Hassard. Photo: Jordan Prentice

The exhibition runs until Dec. 22, at the Northern Contemporary Gallery, 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

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