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Meet the Vancouverites eschewing our city's yoga-pant reputation for something a little more fun.
We searched high, low and between endless racks of stretchy spandex for Vancouver’s most style-savvy folks, who, over two whirlwind, outfit-change-filled afternoons, taught us that dish towels are for wearing, oversized is the new fitted, and “utilitarian witch” is definitely a look—sorry, lewk—worth emulating.
Day job: Interior designer
Personal style: I like an effortless, minimal look with a bit of whimsy.
What clothing or accessory can you not live without? A little black dress and silver or gold bracelets or earrings—they’re effortless, timeless and help you achieve a low-key look.
When did you start developing your sense of style? When I was in my early teens, my mother would buy me issues of American and British Vogue—that’s how I discovered the fashion world. She also passed on to me her love of fine linen, cashmere and wool, which has come to inform my fabric choices in clothing and furniture.
In your opinion, what “makes” an outfit? Confidence, the details and the tailoring.
Are there any past looks of yours that make you cringe? Twin-sets! I must confess that I also once wore a custom-made outfit that looks very much like a controversial La Croix logo-esque piece of public art in Yaletown.
Who is one of your favourite fashion designers? Phoebe Philo. Old Céline. No explanation required.
In your opinion, what popular fashion trend needs to die? The comeback of overstated brand names. Nobody needs to know who you are wearing to that extent!
What’s been your biggest style-related splurge? A dusty-rose wool gabardine Dries Van Noten coat that was featured in the Dries Van Noten—Inspirations exhibition at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2014.
Day job: Freelance marketing specialist
Personal style: Fearless and funky!
When did you start developing your sense of style? My earliest fashion-related memory is me taking my mom’s black high heels when I was in the fifth grade, and wearing them underneath my desk while I was studying.
What clothing item or accessory would you not be caught dead in? Crocs and Uggs. I just can’t.
Who is one of your favourite fashion designers? Simon Porte Jacquemus—his designs are deeply rooted in and reflect the south of France, where he is from, and I love that he named his brand after his mother’s maiden name. I also love his sensual, feminine and conceptual aesthetic.
What’s an item in your closet that everyone hates but you absolutely love? My significant other hates this strappy triangle bag I have (he told me it looks like I’m wearing a dog leash!), but I am madly in love with it.
What’s been your best fashion-related bargain find? My red off-the-shoulder dress. I got it in Korea for around $15, and it is great quality, durable and stylish.
In your opinion, what popular fashion trend needs to die? Ugly dad sneakers. I prefer timeless pieces over short-lived and “hip” items that will make me cringe 10, 20 years from now.
What was your most recent style-related purchase? A ginormous floppy hat!
Day job: Founder and creative director at Evan Ducharme, and co-host of the Fashion Hags podcast
Personal style: Femme-of-centre utilitarian witch—think Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in Practical Magic.
Where are your favourite places to shop for clothing and accessories? Community Thrift and Vintage, Mintage Mall and my own archive.
In the event of a fire, what three items would you save from your closet? The grey crewneck sweater my mom wore while she was pregnant with me; a green striped shirt that belonged to my mémère, Lavallée; and the perfect blue jeans that my mom wore before she had me.
If you could raid someone’s closet, whose would it be? Tilda Swinton’s or Solange’s. I constantly gravitate to them when it comes to personal style.
What was your most recent style-related purchase? Some beautiful handmade jewellery, including some deer-hide drum earrings by LadyBear Designs, from Indigenous artisans at the Squamish Nation Youth Powwow.
In your opinion, what is an underrated garment or accessory? Fun, sexy underwear that you wear for no one else but yourself.
What’s the oldest item in your wardrobe? A fur coat I inherited from my great-aunt, which she originally received as a gift in the ’40s. I have a number of pieces from my family that are now firmly part of my archive.
Day job: Marketing at a home-decor company
Personal style: Colourful, a little bit preppy, chameleon.
Describe your go-to everyday outfit. A great jumpsuit! Or jeans, a vintage tee and a bright jacket. I also love bold, bright shoes.
Who or what inspires your style? I find inspiration in many things, including editorial content and folks on Instagram and the internet. I have a soft spot for Teddy boy style from the ’50s as well. Art, photography and music affect my mood and style outlook.
In your opinion, what is an underrated garment or accessory? A motorcycle jacket—it offers so many opportunities for the wearer to share their personal style. You can go for one that’s super-cropped, oversized or a vest; depending on the colour and finish of the jacket, you can also convey different moods through it. It’s one of my favourite pieces to play around with.
If you could raid someone’s closet, whose would it be? Rihanna’s. Her taste and access to shops and designers mean there would be an excellent mix of haute and cool. Plus, I want to know what her favourites pieces are!
What’s the oldest item in your wardrobe? I have a vintage dress from high school that I wore during my first visit to New York City. To me, it represents how far my dreams can take me.
What was your most recent style-related purchase? I found a great pair of About Arianne pink mules for my wedding. They feel a little bit French courtesan, a little bit dandy. I love them!
Day job: Digital content author
Personal style: Effortless, confident and always fun.
Where are your favourite places to shop for clothing and accessories? Vintage stores, my mom’s closet and small independent shops that I find while travelling.
When did you start developing your sense of style? Very early on—I grew up in a farm town in a rural part of the northern Philippines, where fashion isn’t as available. For special occasions, my mother would often have her dresses custom-made by the local seamstress. I made sure I went with her on every one of these trips because I got to collect all kinds of scrap fabrics from the seamstress’s floor, which I later hand-sewed into Barbie dresses.
In your opinion, what “makes” an outfit? Attitude, always.
What clothing item or accessory can you not live without? A crisp white button-up shirt. It’s classic and will always be in style. You can dress it up or down, and if you’re lucky, you can eventually pass it on to others. I’ve collected numerous white button-up shirts from the ’80s and ’90s from my mom and dad, all of which I wear on heavy rotation.
What’s been your best fashion-related bargain find? I bought a mustard-yellow leather circular bag from Milan when I was there in 2017. It was what I call “love at first try”—it was a steal for the price and has definitely paid for itself through the mileage I’ve gotten out of it.