Fashion-able: Mint is the new black.

If you’re anything like us, you’re sick of the sea of black winter coats and are ready to re-inject some colour into your wardrobe. This season, pastels are back in full force and we’ve selected some spring must haves for you. Now, we can already hear Miranda Priestly in our heads, “pastels for spring – how original.” But listen, we aren’t just talking about any ol’ pastel, we are talking about the pastel of Spring 2012: mint green.

These cropped beauties from ALC ($640) offer a fresh take on the classic tuxedo pant. Pair them with a crisp white shirt for a look that can go from office to a night out. If you’re feeling really bold, you can sport it with the matching jacket.

This sheer blouse from Zara ($59.99) is another great option. We especially love the knot collar detail.

Accessories are an easy way to add a pop of colour to an outfit. This perforated leather backpack from ASOS ($60) combines seafoam green with another popular spring trend – athletic wear. We can already picture ourselves sporting this while out for a spin on our bikes.
Acne can do little wrong in our eyes, and these crinkled-crepe shorts ($210) are no exception. We especially love that they’re named after one of our favourite silver screen stars – Lauren Bacall.
 
Not sure if you’re ready to give up your beloved black and white yet? Then this colour blocked dress from Tibi ($350) is the perfect way to inject a little bit of pastel into an otherwise monochromatic outfit.

Are you on board with the pastel trend?

Fashion-able: To ruffles or not to ruffles

Carly tackles the challenge of recreating a high-fashion runway look on a more realistic budget (i.e. $100). Can she do it?
If you are like some of us on the fourth floor (ahem…), you would skip lunch for a month to buy Elizabeth and James’ Laurette Blouse in Night Sky print. You wouldn’t hesitate to give up your latte habit for J Brand’s Mid-Rise Skinny Leg jeans in red. You’d do it again when you notice the blue ones are just as cute. 
If you are like us, your piggy bank is always empty by the end of the season. So when presented with a challenge to recreate a look from the runway that had all the fashion editors talking, you take it. 
With a budget of only $100, I’m aiming to make all my Jil Sander colour-blocking dreams come true. We begin with a look at my inspiration board (that’s right, Oprah is not the only girl with one of these).

Image Source.
Image Source.
Take notes: we’re going simple and white on top, bold colour on the bottom. The runway look featured a ruffle, while Kate Bosworth worked it without one.  Decisions, decisions…

Without the luxury of time to Shopbop my heart out, I head to one of my favourite places in the city, the mall.

After waiting only 30 minutes for a parking spot (score!), I set off in search of a maxi skirt in a bright shade, with a little volume. I find my JS-inspired skirt at Zara. Long, flowing, hot pink, and retailing for just $59, it’s a keeper. I hand over my card, and debate getting an Air Miles reward card. Wouldn’t this skirt look even better in Miami?

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With no ruffles to be found on my skirt, I take a trip to the store for wardrobe basics, Gap. There, I face a tough choice. Do I dare to replace the skirt ruffle with a top ruffle?


While usually I’m not one for truth or dare, this time I do dare. I choose Gap’s white tee with ruffle sleeves. Ticket price is $29.99.  At checkout, my bill comes to only half my expected total.  Lucky me, I’ve hit a half price sale. My horoscope predicted a three-star day, and I’m one happy Aries. 

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Back home, I toss on the basic top, add one colourful skirt, and end up with a look that totally says Spring 2011 Fashion Week. Not too bad for $85. Eat your heart out, Kate Bosworth. Fashion success.    

Carly’s version of the Jil Sander maxi skirt.
Pretty fashion-able, non?

Fashion-able: Bags vs. Clutches

If you like to peruse fashion blogs (and by “like to peruse” we mean “are obsessed with”), you might have come across the online debate about bags versus clutches. The Bag Snob likes, well, bags. And The Man Repeller prefers clutches. It’s a fascinating debate that seems to have online peeps pretty evenly split. It got us chatting about this choice up on the fourth floor, and we were pretty evenly split as well.
We know that many of you will not be purchasing $2,000 purses, but we couldn’t have a post about bags and clutches without mentioning some heavy-hitters in the accessories world! But, we also mixed in some affordable alternatives. Here are some options to satisfy all of your bag and/or clutch needs, whether high-end or high-value.

Clutches

Serious splurge: Derek Lam Evie Studded Clutch ($589 – sale price at Barney’s! Regularly $990)

 
Work this lovely little piece of heaven for a look that’s rock-and-roll chic. With a flap front and magnetic closure, this clutch comes with cool metal stud embellishments. Lined in fabric and featuring Lam signature ram hardware, the clutch has also has great woven lace-up trim detail. Perfect for day or night, this Aries-inspired clutch will take you from brunch all the way through to dinner and dancing. 
Score a save: Matt & Nat Sondre Wallet/Clutch ($75)

Vegan (and Canadian!) line Matt & Nat has been producing gorgeous bags, clutches and wallets since founder Inder Bedi was challenged to become vegetarian for 30 days. Each piece produced is environmentally friendly, with linings made from recycled plastic bottles. This pretty little clutch doubles as a wallet, and has a similar studded design as the Lam clutch above, but without the hefty price tag. It also comes in a cool peacock blue.

Serious splurge: Hunting Season Leopard Envelope Clutch ($1,432)
If you aren’t already completely decked in this season’s must-have print, then we have the clutch for you. Hunting Season’s luxe Leopard Envelope Clutch ($1,432) is made of patterned calf hair and trimmed in black snakeskin. With bold prints and a ladylike shape, find this clutch in the pages of Vogue and Elle.  

Score a save: Club Monaco Emily Clutch ($198)

Incorporating leopard into an outfit with an accessory is a subtle way to rock a trend, and won’t set you back a ton. This clutch from Canadian favourite (well, formerly Canadian) Club Monaco is sleek and simple, ensuring that you’ll have it around for a few years.  
Bags

Serious splurge: Marni Goat Hair Leather Bag  ($1,500)

 
Because a girl can never have enough fur in her closet. This quirky Marni leather cross-body bag’s goat hair is shaggy in the front and shaved in the back. With all the “it” factor a Marni girl could want, the bag has an adjustable strap and black leather trim. If you are already on PETA’s wanted list, then this bag is surely for you. 
Score a save: Zara Faux Fur Handbag ($59.90)
 

We think this Zara faux fur option is pretty cool, even though not exactly the same as our Marni pick. It will make those who are PETA-friendly feel good about carrying something that resembles fur, and will add some edge to your look. The colour palette will go with almost any outfit, but steer clear of wearing anything else fur related. 

Serious splurge: Miu Miu Leather Hobo Bag ($1,186)



Words cannot express our love for fringe, but let us tell you in the words of Rachel Zoe – it’s mah-jor. Carry this statement piece in the season’s neutral colour palette of choice. Embellished with leather fringe trim, this nude-hued bag is timeless, cool and original. Designed with a fold-over flap and clasp closure, the bag comes complete with an adjustable and removable shoulder strap and strategically placed pockets. Bag lovers, make room in your closet for this fringe take on a Miu Miu classic.   
Score a save: Danier Leather Fringe Purse (on sale for $69, regularly $139)

Though not as fringe-tastic as the Miu Miu purse, this Danier version is still really pretty and very chic. Made from soft lamb leather, the purse is a cute size, with just a bit of fringe detailing, meaning you won’t get sick of it in just one season. The braided handle adds a fun bit of subtle boho. It’s also available in black and grape. And the sale price is impossible to beat.

After weighing all of our great bag and clutch options, our verdict in the great debate? Go for both! You can never have too many choices.

Fashion-able: Winter Wear Splurges and Saves

Winter is all about loads of hot chocolate, snowballs, cozying up by the fire, and of course, amazing outerwear. A great jacket can be an investment piece that you’ll wear forever, but some people prefer to change it up every season.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on luxe labels or save with cheap and chic options, we have the right jacket to fit your budget. Here are our top picks for this season.
The Shearling Jacket
Luxe Label: Rag & Bone’s Finch shearling-lined bomber jacket ($1875) is simply sheer genius. Featuring a bias zip closure and contrast black leather trim, this jacket comes in a rich burgundy hue. Made from suede shearling, the bomber has side buckle straps and snap cuff closures.
Cheap & Chic: Topshop’s faux Sheepskin Biker Jacket ($126) is 100 per cent cool and at this price, you can still afford a cute knit toque and mitts.
The Fur Vest
Luxe Label: Elizabeth and James’ Woodland goat fur vest ($725) is simultaneously downtown cool and bohemian chic. Fully lined with 100 per cent silk, this sleeveless black fur vest is longer in the back than the front making it perfect for keeping your bum cozy. Fasten the front hooks or wear it open; either way, this vest is fabulous. 

Cheap & Chic: The Long Fur Waistcoat Vest ($95.90) from Zara has all the trendy factor without the price tag. We love the chic grey hue and would wear this to brunch or for a night out.
The Cool Cape
Luxe Label: Alice + Oliva’s Emory Cape with Embellished Shoulders ($495) puts a glamourous touch on a classic winter cover-up. With chain, crystal and bead embellishments, this cape has two front pouch pockets perfect for cold hands. 

Cheap & Chic: Available in navy and khaki, asosWarehouse Wool Mix Military Knitted Cape ($59) will keep you on trend and on budget. 
 These make us excited for long, cold days ahead. At least we’ll look cute while we stay warm.

We’re Not Just Pretty: Carmite Cohen

Carmite Cohen knew from a young age that she’d somehow do something in the entertainment industry, because she was always filled with useless pop culture trivia and seemed to know everything about movies and TV shows.
She grew up in Israel, and spent her childhood in various countries, including Iran, Haiti, Rwanda, Niger and finally, Canada. Movies and TV shows were always a fascination, no matter what language they were delivered in.
After graduating from The University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Film Studies, Cohen moved to Toronto and completed the Seneca/York joint program for Radio and Television Production. 
Working (for free!) on commercials, TV and film productions in order to gain experience, she was hired at Alliance Films in 1997 as a production assistant. By 1998, she moved to Licensing and Merchandising, and secured and developed book, toy, apparel and video game deals.  
In 2001, Cohen transitioned to the Home Entertainment department as director of Marketing & Promotions (DVDs were just entering the market – exciting!). She was promoted to vice-president of Marketing, Publicity and Promotions of Home Entertainment in 2005, then joined the Theatrical Publicity and Promotions department as vice-president.
Some of her favourite things: hanging with family and her two awesome kids, travelling, good friends, magazines, The Biggest Loser, a good burger, shoes, New York, and going to the movies, of course!

Alliance Films
How long have you been in your current position?  
Just shy of four years.

How does your company leverage PR?
Alliance has a very diverse slate of films, from commercial fare to smaller art films, so we approach each one as if it’s a product launch and assess its needs. The question we always ask is, “how do we start the chatter and generate as much awareness pre-release as possible?”


Depending on the film, we try to generate opportunities for awareness with tastemaker and word-of-mouth screenings, stunting events, grassroots efforts and promotions, on-campus programs, strategic third party partnerships, and now, more than ever, engaging with our audience through various social media opportunities.
 

Access to talent and content is the easy way for us to generate press for our films; building a PR campaign that will get everyone’s attention (including media) is always the challenge. But, that’s what makes it fun and if we’ve done our job well, the proof will be in the ticket sales on opening weekend.

  

What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member?  
Industry experience is a given, but as important: confidence, passion for what you do, the ability to think on your feet, a great personality and a sense of humour. Because, lets face it, when you’re wrangling talent at 3 a.m. on day five of the Toronto International Film Festival, if you can’t laugh about it on some level, you’re in the wrong business.

Who is your mentor or professional in the industry you admire?
I’ve been fortunate throughout my career, having worked in various parts of the film business, to have met some incredibly talented and creative people – marketers, publicists, filmmakers and studio execs. I’ve learned something from all of them. I’ve learned to really listen, be a sponge, and absorb as much of their expertise and advice as I can, and hopefully use it to benefit my own personal and professional growth.

What are your feelings about how PR has been positioned in the media in more recent years, on popular TV shows? 
It’s fun to watch, but I think it’s a little misleading because most times, the job is glamorized and perceived to be one big party after the next. You never really see the grunt work it takes to put together that event. PR has many perks, but the reality of it is that most of the time it’s highly stressful and not glamorous, it’s hard work and long hours, but if you’re committed, you’ll succeed.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior? 
No matter what the situation, always be professional and remember that it’s not personal, it’s business and “crazy and unreasonable” come with the territory.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love that I get to go to work everyday and my job is to promote movies! I still get giddy with excitement when I see a new trailer for a film that I’ll be working on. After all this time, it’s still fun, I’m still learning something every day, and I get to do it with a great group of people.

A little more from the fourth floor (a list of your favourite things):
Website: Deadline Hollywood Daily, Huffington Post, InStyle, and for my trashy gossip fix, Perez.
Designer: Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney.
Store: Want, Kitsch Boutique, Zara and anywhere that sells shoes.
Book: They Can Kill You But They Can’t Eat You by Dawn Steel (first woman to run a major U.S. movie studio), Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Snack: Apples with loads of almond butter.
Season: Summer.
Sexy: The look and style of the women of Mad Men.
Inspiration: New York City.
Drink: A really nice Malbec.
Motto in two words: It’s all about convenience (that’s four, I know!).
Idea of perfect happiness: Glass of wine, stack of magazines and a quiet house (even if it’s just for a little while).
Indulgence: Boots.
Celebrity crush: Bradley Cooper.

Favourite tweeter to follow: Denis Leary, Eat This Not That, Dr. Oz, Skinny Jeans, Funny or Die, OMG Facts.