Tried and Tested: Levi’s New 501 Skinny Jeans

It’s hard to argue that Levi’s® is not synonymous with jeans. Over the years, the denim market has grown tremendously, and while some brands have come and gone, the iconic denim brand still remains. When we heard about the next member of the Levi’s® 501® family — the new 501® Skinny — we knew we wanted to try them on and put them to the test. Our fashion contributor Liat Neuman got her hands on the SUPERCHARGER wash for women, and our Editor-in Chief Drew Brown was able to try out the HILLMAN wash for men.

Both pairs of jeans are a new kind of skinny jeans, featuring everything we all love about the classic 501® original, but with that skinnier fit. The 501® Skinny adds an authentic, vintage feel to your closet that only the creators of the blue jeans can offer.

“We are very careful when we touch the 501®, and we do it with a lot of respect,” explains Jonathan Cheung, the Head of Design at Levi’s® Brand. “People have been altering their vintage 501® jeans for a snug, skinnier fit for years, so we followed that as inspiration and created a vintage-looking 501® Skinny.”

Liat and Drew headed to Nordstorm and selected items that will take their jeans from day to night and over the weekends.

Drew’s Day look:

For my day time look, I paired the 501® Skinny with a faux fur bomber jacket from Express and a Trovata t-shirt from my own closet. This look can take me from the office to drinks with friends, or to one of the many work-related events. I have been a fan of Levi’s for many years and I love the fact that they always work well with items from my wardrobe, and, unlike the designer jeans I have purchased, my Levi’s still look brand new.

Drew’s Evening look:

I dressed up the skinny jeans with a Paul Smith printed button-up and a blazer for a chic nighttime look. The fit of the jeans and the blazer makes the look sharp and dressy rather than casual. Being vertically challenged, I love skinny jeans because they make me feel and appear a bit taller.

Drew’s Weekend look:

I fell in love with this sweatshirt from KENZO and they look great with the jeans. This look is perfect for brunch on the weekend or running errands around the city. You can style them with a pair of cool white kicks or your favourite pair of shoes. One thing I did notice during this test was not only did the jeans make everything I picked look great but they are also  super comfy, which is a plus.

Liat’s Day look:

Blouse: Theory, Jacket: BCBG, Heels: Bata

During the day, I am usually juggling business meeting and my duties as a mom, so I was looking for an outfit that will be comfy yet put together. You can’t go wrong with a classy pair of Levi’s that creates a professional look. I chose a structure black blazer for a slightly serious appeal and paired it with an office-friendly crisp white button down shirt with cutout details. I completed the look by adding nude glossy pumps for an instant elegant-polished touch.

Liat’s Evening Look: 

Shirt: Robert Rodriguez, Heels: Guess

After a busy work day, the night requires a more glamorous and sexy outfit, so I decided to transform my day look into a night one without changing my favourite Levi’s jeans. I picked up this playful off the shoulder top, since it’s not only a huge trend this season but also very flattering to any body type. To add a gorgeous pop of colour, there is nothing like pair of stiletto heels with floral prints to finish the look.

Liat’s Weekend look:

Shirt:The Kooples, Sneakers: Adidas

During the weekend, wearing a comfy outfit is my first priority. As such, I decided to adopt the classic Canadian tuxedo,  the denim on denim ensemble. It’s effortless, easy to wear, and never goes out of style. I pair the jeans with a embroidered button down denim shirt and a pair of Adidas floral sneakers because of the cool fun-vibe they create. Since these jeans are high waisted, they give my body a great shape and allow me to tuck the shirt in without having to worry about my imperfections.

The new edition will be available for men and women in a variety of finishes and in light to dark washes with the true original 501® button fly. For more information, visit the Levi’s website here.

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The hunt for the perfect party dress during the holiday season can take lots of efforts, mentally and physically. It can get somewhat stressful, trying to find the time to spoil yourself with a new dress (or more…), while taking care of shopping for gifts, attending parties, or planning parties for your own friends and family.

For most of us, it’s the busiest time of the year, so to make things easy for you, I went on a pilgrimage to Nordstrom, searching for the one of a kind dress that will hang off the body just the right way, make one feel special from head to toe. Like in a fairy tale, I used three magic words: fancy, comfortable, and confident. And they were the key to finding a dress’s way into my heart and hopefully into my budget, too. To help you see through the festive period, here are some of the options for the endless parties you are bound to attend.

The LBD Update

You can never go wrong with the little black dress, this is one of the wardrobe essentials that always does the trick. The key is to glam up your LBD so it will look festive and fun. Either dig through your own accessories for some golden assembles that resemble the Christmas and New Year’s eve spirit or find a dress with dedicated metallic details that gives it a glamorous touch. These two dresses are a great way to kick off the party season: Just swap out flats for heels and choose a statement clutch before making your fashionable entrance.

Dresses: Ted Baker

Rock the Ruffles

Here is another playful take on the little black dress — ruffles and frills. They are two of the biggest trends this season and will add drama and elegance to your outfit in a charming way. And that what makes an ultimate evening look. Afraid of looking too tacky? Opt for a structured lace dress or slip on an off-the-shoulder dress that embraces your inner femininity. Pair it with classic heels and minimal jewelry for a sophisticated appearance.

Dress: Cinq à Sept

Shine Bright

Turn up the fun factor with a shiny material that defines the holiday season: Sequins! For all the fashionistas out there, this is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and dress up big time with one statement piece that scream pure fun. I chose this colorful wrap dress because it’s a perfect match for parties. For starters, simply pair the exotic texture with a chunky cardigan or leather sports jacket and avoid wearing it with stilettos.

Dress: Kate Spade

Dare to Wear Pink

Even though red is the signal that the holiday season is upon us, in my opinion pink is the refreshing version of red. Since holiday fashion is all about celebrating the joy of life, I choose fuchsia as the best candidate for the season. Beside the fact that pink has been a dominant colour on the Fall/Winter 2016-2017 catwalk, there is something about this colour that speaks of a desire for the carefree days of childhood. I picked this easy breezy dress because I love how it’s full of movement. It’s a perfect piece that can take you from day to night and it can easily accommodate accessories depending on the event you are aiming for. To give it an edgy touch, pair it with ankle boots and solid colour tights.

Dress: Kate Spade

The Funky Way

If you consider yourself as a fashion forward girl, this dress might be the ideal dress for you. While browsing the women’s department, this dress immediately caught my eyesThe structured party dress, in an hourglass silhouette, with lipstick & mascara cosmetics prints is a good reason to jump out of bed for a night out. Just put on your dancing dress and get into the celebratory mood. There’s a truth to the statement that fashion doesn’t need to take itself too seriously and this is the proof that a sense of humour never hurt anybody, even when it comes to high-end fashion.

Dress: Alice + Olivia

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Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2016

Christmas will officially be upon us in only a few short weeks, so it’s crunch time if you haven’t already put a dent in your holiday shopping. Everyone needs a little help when it comes to gift giving. If you’re unsure what to get the beauty guru and makeup junkies on your shopping list, have no fear, Novella is here to help. From makeup to skin care, to scents and body treatments, we’ve got gift or stocking stuffer ideas for everyone on your list. These treasures are sure to please the beauties in your life.

Mèreadesso Clear/Tinted Lip Treats


These are an awesome gift for someone who loves lip colour and chap sticks. Not only are they lightweight, but they are also a great primer for any lipstick, gloss, or liner. Plus, they’re perfect for the winter because they are super moisturizing! Can someone say mistletoe?

Available at Nordstrom: $28

Laura Mercier Translucent Powder


This powder is the holy grail in the world of beauty bloggers. If the YouTube beauty guru in your life doesn’t already have this, it’s the gift that will make their Christmas.

Available at Sephora: $47

The Good Bar Soap “Goodie Bag”


This little bag of body treats contains the perfect variety of soaps and body care to give your special someone the chance to dabble in a variety of Good Bar Soap products (so they can pick their favourite). Not only are The Good Bar’s soaps handcrafted, and all-natural, but they are also made in Toronto.

Available at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto or at $12

L’aromatica perfume “Dapper” Eau de Toilette


This is the ideal gift for the tomboy in your life who doesn’t necessarily wear a lot of makeup or use a lot of beauty products. This unisex scent is one of L’aromatica’s most popular. This fragrance is masculine, woodsy, and spicy, but sexy nonetheless.

Since it is made from alcohol in Oregon, it can’t be shipped to Canada. However, you can find it at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto: $30

Doe Hair Pact “Bora Bora” hair mask


For the person that is always colouring and changing their hair, gift them with this moisturizing mini escape. The “Bora Bora” hair pact mask contains coconut and avocado oil and is meant to nourish the driest and dullest of hair. Plus, it smells like a mini vacation.

Available at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto, Urban Outfitters, or $17

Kunye Nourish Face Mask


Known as the “green smoothie for your face, this organic vegan face mask is perfect for the health conscious, all natural, beauty lover. Its gentle formula combined with wheatgrass, neem, spirulina, sea kelp, and Canadian bentonite clay is great for all skin types.

Available at The Cure Apothecary in Toronto or $38

L’Oreal Telescopic mascara


I know drugstore mascara seems like a rather unconventional gift for the holidays, but mascara is arguably one of the most important items in any girl’s makeup bag. This mascara is the gift that keeps on giving, but without the scary price tag.

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart: $15

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Surprise! Toronto Fashion Week is (sort of) back?

Photo: CAFA

When it was announced that Toronto Fashion Week (TFW) had been cancelled, the reaction was a mix of sadness and acceptance–most people had seen it coming and were not surprised. But on October 16 and 17, 2016, Toronto’s fashion industry were treated to something almost exactly like TFW: FashionCAN. Hosted by Yorkdale Mall, in partnership with The Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA)if you hadn’t known fashion week had been cancelled, you may not have been able to tell at all!

Photo: CAFA

Toronto Fashion Week favourites such as Greta Constantine, Stephan Caras, Jennifer TorosianUNTTLD, and Mackage (who opened a store in the mall) showed marvellously on a catwalk constructed in the newest Yorkdale expansion. Spring/Summer 2017 collections from Canadian designers, including all-stars Maison Marie Saint Pierre and Pink Tartan, worked brilliantly in the beautifully-windowed space with Nordstrom and Uniqlo as the tempting backdrops. All the usual bloggers and Toronto editors and photographers (even George Pimentel!) were present and even Jeanne Becker was at centre stage, interviewing designers after each show.

Photo: CAFA

Without the tents and the chaos, this mini TFW disguised as something entirely new was actually a very pleasant way to see the pieces. The setting was intimate, no more than two rows, and between shows you could sip tiny bottles of champagne, explore the FashionCAN pop-up shop, or even slip into the mall.

Photo: CAFA

A shopping mall may seem like an odd place to host a “fashion week” (well, two jam-packed days), but it was oddly fitting. The event showed the guests that the talent coming from Canada cannot be stopped and that a new way to show that is possible. We look forward to what will come next.

All photos sourced here

ICYMI: I’m So Fancy! Nordstrom Has Arrived in The Great White North


TEXT: Jonathan Hiltz

#NordstromTO is probably the scariest phrase Toronto department stores will hear this fall.  The mega-chain has finally descended on Canada’s retail centers, and its clear goal is to make a big splash and get attention.

The company announced plans to come to Canada back in 2012, but it took some time for the corporate execs to find just the right locations, considering prime retail space is much harder to come by than in the U.S.

The challenges of good real estate aside, the time finally came and Nordstrom now has stores in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver and most recently Toronto’s landmark Eaton Centre and Yorkdale.  A third link in the Nordstrom GTA chain will be the Sherway Gardens location opening in the Fall of 2017.

The recent gala at the newly opened Yorkdale store was an exercise in opulence.  The stunning white and silver space had interior design detailing that flowed through every corner. This made the location as much of a curiosity as the latest fashions on display.

Guests of the event were allowed to shop and purchase items before the store officially opened to the public on October 21st. There were many attendees who left with more than one Nordstrom bag in hand, along with the perfume, gourmet candy and iced coffee guests received as they headed out the door.

The atmosphere of the celebration was a unique combination of many different elements. For example, braised beef and other gourmet hors d’oeuvres were served alongside bars that provided top-shelf alcohol, which made you forget that you were actually in a department store.


The piece de resistance of the night was a fashion show that took place, where the models showed off the latest styles and brands while going up and down the escalators.  Among others, the designs included Valentino, Brandon Maxwell, Chloe and Canadians Steven Tai and Vejas.

Novella Magazine caught up with Steven Tai while he was in his original Canadian home of Vancouver. He now lives in London, England.  We asked his thoughts on Nordstrom coming to Canada and what it means for Canadian designers.

“Nordstrom has got such a great history in America, because of how they run their business,” he said fondly of the company after working with them for one season.  

Tai made his departure from Holt Renfrew to come to Nordstrom and he couldn’t be happier.  “We’ve done quite a few exclusive pieces for them. The fact that they are really excited about fashion and the product itself for the client, made me think about things differently as well.” He went on to add that Nordstrom’s approach and presence is refreshing. “It brings a new energy to Canada.”

Nordstrom seemingly is supportive of new Canadian designers as well according to Tai. “Vejas [for example], he’s very new and they’re stocking him.” He went on to joke that he feels like an older brand because he sees the new kids coming in, but it also allows him to witness Nordstrom’s interest in fostering talent. “Vejas being [his] first couple of seasons being stocked by Nordstrom, that’s huge.”

Nordstrom’s arrival may be worrisome for some and wonderful for others, depending on what side of the stitch your career lies on. One thing is certain, if the Yorkdale opening gala represents what’s to come for the chain in Canada, we’re going to need a lot more champagne.