If you told an American you were putting on your “toque”, they’d probably give you a mighty confused raised eyebrow.
Well, we’d kind of like to keep it that way. Since Toronto Fashion Week begins this week, we wanted to give a nod to some of the iconic fashion items we have so lovingly kept distinctly Canadian.
From toques to the Roots sweaters, Canada has truly earned its unique place in the world of fashion. We hate to admit that sometimes our European friends often overshadow us but we have certainly made our mark with at least 10 iconic clothing and accessories straight from the Great White North.
You may own a piece or two so we encourage you to style it with your favourite designer pieces if you plan on attending one of the many exciting runway shows during Toronto Fashion Week. Tweet us your iconic Canadian pieces at @HuffPostCaStyle.
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It keeps you toasty warm and is equally stylish. The toque, known to Americans as a “beanie” is a knitted winter hat that comes in endless styles, colours and embellishments.
Even celebs such as Justin Bieber have been known to embrace their Canadian roots by sporting a toque or two. But Canadian celebrities aren’t the only ones who love some good toque action. British model Cara Delevingne has become the patron saint of toques, wearing one almost everyday of her life.
Roots Leather Backpack
We’re really glad backpacks are back in vogue so we can go out and pick up another iconic Canadian accessory, the Roots leather backpack. The high quality, 100 per cent leather backpack has been part of Canada’s fashion history for as long as we can remember (it’s made entirely in Canada too) and we can’t think of a better way to support a brand so near and dear to our hearts.
Roots Crew Sweatshirt (The One With The Beaver On It)
We remember wanting a Roots sweater so bad it hurt. It was the ultimate in cool and guess what? It still is! The classic Roots staple with the beaver icon will forever endure in Canada’s fashion consciousness. It’s one piece we’ll be able to hand down happily to the next generation without a sneer and a big “ew” from our children.
Hey, Rihanna wore it and she’s the ultimate in cool.
The Hudson Bay + Smythe Blanket Coat
“The O.C.” actress Rachel Bilson and Canadian fashion icon, Jeanne Beker wore it, therefore, the Bay’s blanket coat, designed by Canadian label Smythe, is iconic. The feminine silhouette paired with the Bay’s classic stripes make this coat a memorable and enduring piece for all closets.
Canadian Olympic Mittens
The Canadian Olympic team’s signature red mittens are always a hot commodity. The latest edition of the mitts for 2014 was just revealed, featuring a white maple leaf in the palm and a big declaration of Canadian pride with the word “CAN” on the other side.
The ever-popular red mittens, which debuted in 2010, even spawned a column in The Vancouver Sun aptly titled, “The Red Mitten Diary,” which featured various important people and celebs wearing the mittens. Look! It’s NBC’s Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer showing some love to Canada with their red mitts.
Canada Goose Parka
The Canada Goose parka made a huge splash in Canada and the U.S right off the bat. (Maybe it was because it looked so darn good on dreamy actor Paul Walker in his movie, “Eight Below.")
As a result, we can now legitimately place the Canada Goose parka in Canadian fashion icon territory. It’s been featured on an almost nude Kate Upton for the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition and a wealth of celebrities like Blake Lively, Emma Stone and her boyfriend Andrew Garfield have flocked to wear the Canadian export.
When you see mukluks, it’s hard not to immediately think: Canada. The iconic boot was recently given as a gift to one celebrity who doesn’t even know he’s a celebrity yet, Kate Middleton's son Prince George.
The mukluk boot, traditionally made from hide by the First Nations community, is designed for warmth and flexibility which are key features for braving cold Canadian winters.
Similar in style to mukluks, moccasins were traditionally made of tanned leather by the indigenous people of North America.
Although moccasins didn’t originate strictly in Canada, it’s another item that is strongly associated with our history. We’re happy to see the moccasin is alive and well, having been reincarnated into modern versions and sold in many of our favourite stores.
Plaid is probably one of the biggest trends on the runway this fall but its roots are kind of murky, having strong ties in Canada, Scotland and America.
Regardless of where plaid was born, the popular criss-cross pattern somehow became strongly associated with Canadiana. In fact, there are a whole bunch of registered Canadian tartan/plaid patterns.
Pop your head into any store and you’ll see that there’s definitely no shortage of plaid shirts kicking around. So, we encourage you to sport your plaid/tartan duds this fall for that unmistakable Canadian je ne sais quoi.
Lululemon Yoga Pants
Okay, perhaps Lululemon’s form fitting yoga pants haven’t quite reached icon status but we just couldn’t leave the Canuck company off the list.
The Vancouver-based yoga empire has virtually taken over the world when it comes to yoga attire. Although the comfy (but sheer) Luon pants have recently been recalled, we’re confident this won’t stop our Canadian juggernaut from hugging more hips all over the world.
We don’t suggest wearing yoga pants to Toronto Fashion Week events but kudos to you if you can make them look runway worthy. Let the challenge begin!