De-Glamourizing the Term “Stylist”

When asked in an interview with Vogue what she was most surprised with when becoming an actress, Nicole Kidman’s response is, “99 percent hard work, one percent glamour”. This is a common misconception that we make when seeing those in positions that require them to assume a sense of fabulousness attached to whatever job they have. When distracted by beauty, artistry and images of people in amazing lives, in careers that they seem genuinely happy in, it is difficult to imagine these career choices to be hard and even at times, dull.

I have always adored fashion, as most of my friends did as well. However, as I got older I became more aware of style and how to individualize myself based off of what I was wearing. Of course this influenced my eye for noticing other people’s styles and I (to my friends demise) became the ultimate critic of fashion choices. It didn’t strike me until a few years ago when stumbling across celebrity stylists like Kate Young, Monica Rose, and Jessica Paster that this interest— no— obsession I have for finding cool pieces and making outfits out of them can actually be a career.. a glamorous, meaningful and perfect career.  Images of me attending cool events, sharing with a talk show host my ultimate looks for spring and posting Instagram photos of celebrities that I had dressed consumed me.

Photo from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

In an attempt to get the ball rolling on my pursuit, I began a certificate in fashion styling. Each class brings in a new industry expert to teach us what we need to know about taking this role on. While I initially thought I’d be learning how to put garments together and tricks on buying and fitting (which I can confirm I did learn), the information on the industry itself was all together humbling and a rude awakening as to how difficult it will actually be to get even remotely close to where I envisioned myself prior to these lessons. For those of you who are at all interested in pursuing this career, here is my summary of the most valuable lessons I have learned while studying fashion styling…

1. During shoots, you are a modern handmaid

One of my first experiences in styling taught me this. The models cannot touch the clothing due to makeup, hair, etc. Because of this, it is your job to do everything. I was prepared for this to some extent but not for how demanding of a job this is when trying to get multiple looks shot in very little time. Imagine getting dressed and undressed 10 times- now imagine having to do this to someone else while stressing about getting makeup on the clothing, ruining the hair or accidentally piercing a new hole into your models ear because you need to change the accessories in under 10 seconds. After coming home from a four hour shoot, I slept  as if I had worked a labour job for a day and a half (it certainly felt that way).

2.  No one cares if you can do one thing really well

This is a problem in not only the fashion world but the working world in general. Those starting out in any industry are expected to do more than what they are initially asked. It’s the classic bang for your buck scenario, where employers want to hire one person to do multiple jobs for the price of one. In the fashion world if you are a stylist, some components that you need in order to be respected include (but are not limited to) sketching, designing, photography, writing, photoshop, editing, blogging and social media. Even if your passion is dressing other people, this will simply not cut it on it’s own if you’re trying to get a job.

3. You have to appear to be ‘somebody’ before you can dress a ‘somebody’

Most of the time, a stylist does not get hired simply off of a Craigslist ad. There is a reason why celebrities, influencers and more decide to hire specific people to create looks for them, the biggest reasons being their reputation and recognition. Without a social media handle, a client cannot take notice of your abilities and want you to dress them. Because of this, half of the job with fashion styling is staying relevant and building your following so that people want to work with you. This takes time and creativity to do but is ultimately a huge priority if you want to build your network.

4. Contrary to what you thought, your opinion does not matter

You can have the best idea for a shoot with the most fabulous styling, but if your employer does not like it then it does not matter. Did anybody else watch The September Issue when Grace Coddington produced some of the most amazing looks and Anna Wintour nixed nearly half of them? If Miss Coddington is getting rejected, you can bet that your looks will be too. If your client does not like something, it does not matter how hard you worked to get the garments and put it together, your opinion is not what matters because in the end you are being hired to recreate someone else’s vision — not to produce your own vision on someone else.

5. You have to work for free. You have to work for free a lot. 

A general consensus that was repeated in every class by different people.  There are a ton of people trying to achieve the same things that you are and the only way you can get to where you want to be is by doing it as much as you can. You need to practice and build a portfolio before being taken seriously enough to be hired in a paid position. Many people think they have skills in styling. Many people like to take their best friend or mom shopping and call it “styling”. Just because you like clothes and like to help people with clothes does not make you a stylist. This is the definitive difference between those who deserve to be paid and  those who do not want to stick around long enough to make it actually happen. A stylist will work for free simply because they need to practice their art as well as working with other people. Instead of being bitter about it you have to accept the process and let it inspire you to do as much as possible.

Photo from askmissa.com

It may sound like what I have learned in my short time studying fashion styling has been discouraging to what I want to do. However, I can assure you that it has done the complete opposite. Nothing worth it ever comes easily. Seeing the hard work and patience that is required to achieve what I want makes me excited for not only the final goal but everything in between. Process is important. Hard work and sweat is vital to anything remotely glamorous or else you cannot recognize the true bliss behind the end product — this is ultimately what I have learned.

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A Conversation with Miri of Topaz Custom Jewelry Boutique

Anyone who is familiar with the Yonge and Eglinton area has probably heard about Topaz Custom Jewelry Boutique. Among the unique fashion boutiques in uptown Yonge, there is a charming jewelry store that carries an eclectic mix of of handmade jewelry from local and international designers who are both well known and respected in the industry. The boutique showcases contemporary designs and one of a kind pieces that can’t be found in any other local stores in the city. The wide selection range from bold statement pieces to timeless elegant jewels that will coordinate with your outfit and let you embrace your individuality.

I had the chance to speak with Miri, the owner of the store, on what makes her boutique so special and how she gives her loyal customers the best shopping experience by focusing on their needs and assisting them with creating the ultimate jewelry wardrobe. Her passion and commitment to perfection are definitely reflected in her work. Miri knows how to brings to life any outfit just by using the right accessories.

Phoro: Real Style Magazine

Liat: When did you open the store and why did you choose this location?

Miri: It’s hard to believe that I opened the store 10 years ago, it feels like yesterday. I chose the location because I love the area; I love shopping boutiques; and I really believed that the area could use a jewelry & accessories store. I did not want to be in a mall or plaza, so this location was perfect for me.

L: Who is your target audience? 

M: My clientele has a very wide range; from 10 years old to 80!  There are many fashionistas out there who are all unique and diverse. The majority of my clients fit between the ages of 30 and 60.

L: What distinguishesT opaz Custom Jewelry Boutique from other similar boutiques in Toronto?

M: Topaz Jewelry Boutique is distinguished by the vast array of products. We have over 45 designers in the store. Our pieces are timeless as demonstrated by our many customers who are still wearing pieces from my first year in business. Our customers purchase both for themselves and as gifts. Equally important to the products, Topaz Jewelry Boutique is distinguished by our service. We designed the store with an open wall so that the customers can touch and feel the products and easily try them on. Every associate is a stylist who can offer advice on how to wear and layer the pieces. The customers talk widely about both our product selection and our customer experience.

Photo: Topaz Custom Jewelry Boutique

L: How do you choose the designers and pieces that you want to showcase? 

M: I pick the products on my buying trips. I frequently travel to New York, Israel, Europe in search of the latest styles to purchase merchandise for the store. While I’m buying, I envision my customers and walk through the showrooms imagining what they would like. It’s always important to imagine what your customers want, not just what your personal style is. I’m always looking for unique pieces that are versatile and practical; a good balance between casual, every day and statement pieces.

L: How would you describe the aesthetic of the boutique and does it reflect your own sense of style?

M: The boutique is set up in a way that is easily accessible to the customers. There is an open wall with statement necklaces that are readily available for the customers to touch and try on. On the other side and in the middle, there are cases of merchandise. These are often daintier pieces that are displayed side by side so that customers can compare the items to each other and make their selections. The boutique is warm, fun and friendly, it is definitely a representation of my personal sense of style. I like to experiment with my style, often switching between simple staple jewelry and significant statement items.

Photo: Topaz Custom Jewelry Boutique

L: What are the best sellers in the store?

M: Topaz Jewelry Boutique has many best selling items, and because it is a store that fits with current trends, the best sellers change frequently. Our meditation rings have been a classic, though, some of our latest best sellers are our chokers and earrings.

Photo:Topaz Custom Jewelry Boutique

Topaz Custom Jewelry Boutique is located at 2554 Yonge St. Visit their page at www.topaz.ca and follow them on Instagram here.

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Tried and Tested Coats at UNIQLO

The day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived – Uniqlo, the Japanese retail store has landed in Toronto. The brand is known for its affordable, yet quality, casual wear and everyday essentials. The endless variety of colours and fits, along with the unisex pieces spread across two floors, draws in the entire family for one purpose: shopping. As Toronto weather is unpredictable, it is no doubt that a quality coat is necessary staple in any wardrobe. There is nothing like a new coat to cheer you up when the temperatures are dropTo make your life easier, I went to Uniqlo to checkout the collection and gather some guidelines to help you manage the winter outerwear.

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Photo: Uniqlo.com

The Chic Parka

Parkas are the ultimate winter outerwear, however they can be quite a tricky piece to style due to the chunky silhouette. While browsing the store, I found a chic way bundle up with a long parka.This down coat is a great choice since it’s soft and light weight. The parka made without down packs to eliminate the unwieldy bulk down coats, so you can actually pair it with an heavy knit dress but still look polished and pull together.

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Photo: Liat Neuman

Tailored & Feminine

Blurring the line between feminine and masculine is a great way to spice up your winter look. Without a doubt, this pinstripe wool coat is a great candidate that adds that touch of sophistication to your look while keeping you warm. I love how the masculine details get a feminine touch thanks to the shapely waistline, creating an attractive, feminine outline. I paired it with another androgynous element, which defined the grunge years – the flannel shirt dress. Unlike other flannels, this dress is super feminine owning to the feminine silhouette and the belt that define the waistline.

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Photo: Liat Neuman

Take a Puff

This season, puffer jackets are probably the coolest item you can own in your closet. The runways were packed with endless version of this oversized coat and made us rethink the controversial piece, which we tend to have a love-hate relationship with. Since it can add unwanted bulkiness to your frame, I decided to give it a try. I opted for a crop puffer with a wool blend in black, a slender waistline and shapely silhouette. I mixed it up with a fitted top and pleated skirt

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Photo: Liat Neuman

Winter Bright

This coat is made from a thin, warm ultra-light down material which makes it light and compact, so you can travel with it everywhere and carry it on a compact travel bag. I deiced to go out from my comfort zone, so I picked a bright red coat, which is a fresh and diversify alternative to the dark shades that resemble the winter. The magenta sporty coat caught my attention due the a glossy sheen and the super light metrical. Basically, this is all you need in order to beat the winter blues in style.

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Photo: Liat Neuman

Heavy-Duty

We all agree, we must have a coat reachable when the temperature dips below freezing. A parka that wraps your body up gently is great choice for an elegant look that will keep your entire body warm and dry even on the worst blizzard.  The good news is that the colour and shape go with everything, so you will be well prepared once the frigid temperatures  hit the city.

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Photo: Liat Neuman

Novella Editors Summarize Their Style Using SS17 Runway Looks

Inspired by Vogue, we loved the idea of summarizing our style in three runway looks. Because sometimes we feel like designers can see inside our heads and hearts and feel exactly what we need and throw it on the runway, the fashion team at Novella decided to mood board our style using Spring ’17 runway looks.

Isabel Mundigo-Moore, Fashion Editor

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L to R: Creatures of Comfort (Luca Tombolini, Indigital), Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Rejina Pyo

I love a muted colour palette, loose silhouettes, and pieces that hold their structure and shape. Because I don’t wear too much colour, I like to play around with volume, shape, and layering. I love minimalist pieces with interesting design details–extra large pockets, tiny collars, long sleeves–or pieces that evoke a moment from the past. My style is centred on the idea of investing in pieces that will last forever, pieces that I will want to mend over and over, that are timeless (pardon the cliché). Above everything, I feel most confident when I comfortable.

Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief 

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L to R: Gucci, Raf Simons, Robert Geller | Photos: Vogue

My style changes daily based on mood. I am not a morning person, so picking out what to wear can be cumbersome. It’s important that each outfit can easily take me from day to night if needed. I choose looks from Gucci, Raf Simons, and Robert Geller spring ’17 collections. Each look to me feels effortless but still very fashionable.  I tend to buy and gravitate towards pieces that are interchangeable rather than the current trend.

Celia Fernandez, Fashion Features Editor

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L to R: Beaufille, Valentino, J.Crew

Ever since culottes came back (around three or four seasons ago), I’ve been completely in love/obsessed with them. For the past two seasons I believe I bought around eight, and I’m not planning to stop. Culottes are cool in any format or version, but if we add a high waist and kick flare to the equation, the result is explosive. Given that my body type isn’t necessary curvy, when it comes to dresses, I love clean lines and simple shapes. However, I like the dress to have some character so, if I find an original fabric or a fun color combination, I’m sold! Finally, I have to talk about my dearest denim. Besides oxygen and water, the third element I need to survive is denim – and chocolate, probably -. I will never get enough of jeans and if you are wondering what I’ll keep buying till 2074, the answer is simple: high-waisted and cropped.

Claire Ball, Editorial Contributor

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L to R: Saint Laurent, Band of Outsiders, Yeezy | Photos: Vogue

I tend to stick with what I know, so my style is very repetitive. I often purchase the same item in multiple colours because I know I like it. Overall my style is pretty casual, and I usually go for things that are easily interchangeable with other outfits. I like plain, basic t-shirts, tank tops, and dresses paired with some kind of layer on top, like a jacket or vest. I am really into outwear and layering. Layering oversized shirts (I’m a sucker for plaid), and dresses with hoodies, or leather, jean, or bomber jackets are my go-to. I love wearing all black. Nothing makes me feel more confident and on my game than wearing all black everything.

Jennifer Lee, Marketing Coordinator

L to R: Fendi, Isabel Marant, Christian Dior
L to R: Fendi, Isabel Marant, Christian Dior | Photo: Vogue

I’m often in one outfit from early in the morning until past midnight. Rather than taking too many factors like occasion or practicality into consideration, I try to get through my long days by wearing what best reflects my style. I’m happiest this way. Religiously gravitating towards romantic silhouettes, I find myself pairing blouses and denim or structured shorts like a uniform. If I could mix in all these details to any daily fits, they’d be: ruffles, bows, beaded details, silky PJs, and oversized sleeves. Oh, and all the looks I adore from Zimmermann, Chloe, and Isabel Marant runways.

I am currently layering camisoles and bralette tops over every single piece I pick up from my closet (everyday- it’s become a little obssessive). There are definitely some outfits that make me feel more like “me”, and I’m constantly reaching out to find more of these. My favourite thing to hear is, “you are wearing a very Jen outfit”. It’s one thing to put on clothes for the sake of walking out the door, but there is a distinctive narrative to one’s style, which I believe radiates naturally once one is  comfortable with their worldview towards fashion and the varying ways of portrayal. I remind myself to stay true to my own style, because I really believe in the power of connecting with others using outfits as the medium of message- like the time I wore the same shoes as Celia during my Novella interview!

Christopher Zaghi, Fashion Writer

L to R: Issey Miyake ss17, Comme Des Garcons Shirt ss17, Hopman Design ss17 / Photos: Vogue
L to R: Issey Miyake ss17, Comme Des Garcons Shirt ss17, Topman Design ss17 | Photos: Vogue

In my opinion, personal style is probably one of, if not the most important thing a person must discover if they’d like to work within the fashion industry. Anyone can wear trends as they’re put together by designers, but it’s personal style shows adaptability and freedom. It allows you to put your own personal touch into what’s being sent down the runway, rather than just wearing it straight off of the runway. However, building your own sense of personal style is a difficult talent to learn. Being able to pull things apart to make them your own is a skill that I’m always learning and developing. Often times, it’s hard for me to express my personal style; it’s something that’s ever changing. It’s almost liquid in a sense. One day I may lean towards something a tad bit gothic, other times I’ll lean towards softer, more effervescent looks, while other times it’s athletic wear that catches my eye. It’s this simple mish mash of style choices that truly defines me as a person. That’s why I chose three distinct looks that blend the light and airy colour pallet at Issey Miyake, the gothic elements at Comme Des Garcons Shirt, and a touch of sportswear from the Topman Design collection to truly showcase how flexible my personal style is.

Another aspect of my personal that plays a big part in how I dress is the fact that I’ve never really liked formal wear, so I tend to avoid it at all costs. Luckily, the ss17 collections for men seemed to separate themselves from traditional formal wear for men, and in turn, introduced a new idea for what can be considered luxurious and formal for a man. In the end, It’s really all of these elements that make me who I am style wise. I guess i’m just your average run-of-the-mill 80’s workout wear, suit hating, pastel loving, classic goth appreciating style icon – In my own mind that is!

Liat Neuman, Fashion Writer

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L To R: Chloe, Rochas, Proenza Schouler

During the spring time, I love to wear easy breezy pieces and I also have a weakness to a pop of colour, which I know can add a fresh and playful touch to my appearance.

Chloe: The bohemian and free-spirited hippie vibes always inspired me. I love the delicate pieces, such as the airy maxi dress and  I admire the silhouettes that are voluminous yet relaxed.

Rochas: You can’t go wrong with a slip dress worn over a light sweater in shades of beige and the peplum details on top are instantly adding an edgy sophistication to the feminine springy look.

I adore this cool look from Proenza Schouler spring/summer 2017 collection. The bold colours, statement earrings, and the way they play with proportions are all things on my personal style checklist. This asymmetrical skirt paired with oversize sweatshirt is a great pick for an everyday look.

Chris Smart X TOM* – Street Style Recap

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The Torontonian fashion scene has lately been experiencing quite a few changes. After learning that Toronto Fashion Week was not going to happen this coming season, all eyes were on TOM*. Fortunately, the biggest change that Toronto Men’s Fashion Week has made, so far, is the location. A few steps away from College Park, the former home for the biggest men’s fashion week across Canada, the Mattamy Athletic Centre was this time the location where over 25 menswear designers showcased their Spring/Summer 2017 collections.

Chris Smart didn’t miss a detail of how Carlton Street turned into an outdoor catwalk for all the editors, writers, bloggers, and VIP people arriving to the shows. And once again, this gifted, relentless street style photographer was able to capture the latest trends worn by the most fashionable people in the city.

The minimalism of the total black-and-white looks contrasted with funny bomber jackets that brought back the sassy spirit from the 90’s. As the past is always an inspiration for fashion, one can never go wrong with a vintage outfit that includes a beret or a straw basket bag. Jumpsuits both printed and plain kept proving why they deserve the ‘must-have’ trait for any occasion, and glasses…What can we say about glasses? When it comes to fashion, it’s all about the glasses!

FOREVER BLACK & WHITE

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‘BOM-BOM’ BOMBER

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GO VINTAGE OR GO HOME

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 DEAR JUMPSUIT

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GLASSES X FASHION

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Don’t miss the best street style from Toronto to the streets of NYC at:
www.csmartfx.com
IG: @csmartfx
TW: @chrissmart