City Living: Boutique Shopping in Toronto

The need for a new fall wardrobe has us dreaming of the shops of New York, L.A., Paris and London. We’re not saying Toronto is lacking in the shopping department, our office is just a stone’s throw away from many great stores on Queen Street after all, but the appeal of stores like H&M and Zara begin to wear thin when you show up to work and three other girls are wearing the same shirt as you. Here are three boutiques that we think will satisfy your craving for a shopping vacation.

Uptown: Canopy Blue (2582 Yonge St., just north of Eglinton)


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For those of us who live north of Bloor, it’s always a bonus to be able to get our shopping fix right in our own area. Squeezed in between Gap Kids, West 49 and Chocky’s, Canopy Blue is a shopping oasis in a desert of big chains and family friendly stores. Since opening in 2008, owners Nicole Bitove and Candice Ilton have created a store with a laid back vibe and selection of designers that rival any boutique in L.A. From T-shirts to black tie, designers include Smythe, Herve Leger, J Brand, and Jay Godfrey, to name just a few.  

Midtown: The Narwhal (8 Price St., Suite 101, just south of Summerhill station)

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We think you’ll agree that The Narwhal has brought shopping in Toronto to a new level. Situated a little off the beaten shopping track, you can find the store directly across from the Summerhill LCBO in Rosedale. When walking through the doors of the Narwhal, you are immediately surrounded by all things beautiful, and we don’t just mean the clothes. With a background in interior design, co-owner Sydney Wills has created an environment worthy of the clothes it houses. With designers like Acne, Dolce Vita, Helmut Lang, House of Harlow, and Haute Hippie, we warn, you may want to take out a loan and buy everything in the store; we did.
Downtown: Jonathan + Olivia (49 Ossington Ave., at Queen)

We just about died when we heard there was going to be a store in Toronto that sold Topshop. Excited by the prospect of getting to shop at our favourite London-based store, we got there as soon as humanly possible and were not disappointed. While Topshop was the initial draw, the designers that continue to fill the racks like Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs and Pamela Love make it hands down one of the best boutiques in the city. 

When it comes to shopping, these stores really are a breath of fresh air. We guarantee you won’t miss the big crowds, annoying sales associates and impersonal experience of big box store shopping.  You may need to spend a little more, but it’s worth it. 

What’s your favourite boutique in Toronto? Tweet us @rockitpromo or comment below.

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Fashion-able: What to wear to a holiday party

When picking outfits for holiday parties, it can be hard to choose between all of the rich colours and sparkly pieces that show up this time of year. It’s a great opportunity to make a statement, but your audience still must be considered. What works for your family party will look a bit understated for a bash with your friends, and for work, keeping the boss in mind is important. 

Here is our guide for getting dressed for all of the great parties between now and the end of December. Hopefully, you’ll have an excuse to wear all types of outfits this holiday season.

Work Parties
Work parties can be tricky to dress for. You want to look great and show off your personal style to the people that you spend most of your waking hours with. It’s a perfect time to get more dressed up than you normally would for a work function. But, your boss will be there, and you still need to hang on to the respect of your coworkers (right?). 
Our solution is the LBD. Every girl needs a Little Black (party) Dress, and it’s a no-fail base outfit for the white wine and sliders you’ll munch on while trading work gossip. 
Diane von Furstenberg’s Arita Leather Dress ($595) with jersey paneling is the perfect LBD for any work holiday party. With padded shoulders and a scoop back, this dress can be worn for either a day or night event. It’s simple enough for a corporate party, but the panels and leather add a bit of interest. 

If you need to cover up to feel comfortable, try a knockout jacket like Thakoon’s fabulous Ruffle Cropped Jacket ($2,585). Covered in lovely layers of chiffon ruffles and lined in silk, this jacket is just right for a merry dandy holiday. Buy the real deal, or use it as inspiration for something more affordable.

Friends Parties
This is where you go all out. Holiday parties are the best chance to show off your amped-up style. Forget wearing basic jeans or a LBD here. Anything goes with your crew. 

The romper/jumpsuit trend has hit runways from Stella McCartney to Alexander Wang, and now is your chance to work it like Agyness Dean. We like BCBGeneration’s Cut-Out Sleeveless Jumpsuit ($49) to celebrate the holidays with friends. Be sure to pair with heels to keep your legs looking long and lean.
For a major splurge, top the jumpsuit with Alice + Olivia’s Luiza Embellished Jacket ($796) for a look that’s hip and shimmering. The sequined and double-breasted jacket has padded shoulders and extended front hem. Wear this outfit and cause major fashion envy.

Family Parties
Holiday season is sequin season; the more you wear, the better. Sequins add glitz to your otherwise more conservative style when hanging with your aunts and uncles.
To shine at a family party, try this Sequin Jersey Skirt by Kensie ($58). Wearing opaque black tights will keep you looking covered up, even with the slightly shorter length. Style it in an unexpected way (and keep it grandma-friendly) by pairing it with Helmut Lang’s Cropped Sweater ($360). 
For a black classic that’s anything but basic, this sheer knit sweater with hole detailing features ribbed edges and long sleeves. Your sister will surely have her eye on this dazzling skirt and cool sweater combination. Beware, she will raid your closet.
What are you wearing to holiday parties this year? Tweet us: @rockitpromo.