Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. -- Coco Chanel
We each have our own idea about what style is. How we dress helps define our personal "brand" and express something about who we are to the world. Putting on an outfit that makes you look good also translates to how you feel and carry yourself. Give me six-inch heels and I feel instantly like a taller, slimmer version of myself, ready to face the world with confidence! And this goes for men too -- a tailored suit goes hand-in-hand with a confident (and handsome!) suaveness.
But style is not only a matter of personal taste. Even cities have their own unique fashion sensibility. Think how different styles are on the east versus the west coast. While there are factors, like weather, that contribute to the style personalities of various cities, there seems to be something more to it; a cultural sensibility, a shared consciousness in those places.
In the past few years, my company has run initiatives requiring me to travel to New York, LA, Miami and Paris. Although I retain my personal style regardless of where I am, I "tweak" that style to fit with the personality of the place I'm travelling to. For instance, New York feels more fashion-forward and dark. L.A., on the other hand, is more colourful and airy and I'll be more likely to wear pieces that have more flow to them. Paris is more adventurous... I put things together in Paris that I wouldn't wear in any other city!
In each of these places, with their individual charm, style and climate, I can find something a little different that still meshes with my overarching style. From shoes to jewelry (and a lot in between!), here are some of my favourite shopping spots...
New York City
My latest discovery in New York is Treasure and Bond on Broadway, where 100 per cent of the profits go to charities benefitting children in NYC. I also love the IF store, where I can't get enough of Ann Demeulemeester, as well as Margiela and Rick Owens on Hudson. When you find a good sales person who "gets" your style, your shopping experience goes to the next level, Miu Miu also has the best around in Valdez Murati!
My own personal style is definitely in line with a Manhattan "New York minute" darker style. Ever since I can remember, I've always loved wearing black. I'm my most confident in black and feel my most skinniest -- it doesn't matter whether I'm up or down 10 pounds. I also just feel more "put together" in black. I might add a touch of colour here and there with shoes and accessories. Full disclosure right now: I'm notorious for my shoe fetish!
LA's bright and light style is more of a stretch for me. Still, although we don't share the same style sensibility, it's a thrill that I can find a black Balenciaga dress for 70 per cent off on the rack at Barneys in Beverley Hills, while in New York that's the first thing to go.
My favourite shops include Maxfield -- I love their curated collection of vintage and newer pieces -- and the Alexander McQueen store (one of my favourite designers!)... Last, but definitely not least, is everything at Barneys! So many of my all-time favourite shoes hail from the the Barneys on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills.
LA is also a great place to find "regular" sizes. While my LA friends nitpick at lettuce and vinegar, I can indulge in pasta and dessert. And while they wrestle each other for size 0s, I can have my pick of size 8s -- often on sale to boot! Now, that's having my Baker Street Cake and eating it too!
Miami is also considered to be a major fashion centre. I love shopping at The Webster -- between their amazing selection of Alaia and Chanel. Their staff also is the most helpful I have ever had the privilege of shopping with -- staff can really make or break a shopping experience! At Alchemist, I love to browse the great selection of Chrome Hearts, Celine and Rick Owens.
What's there to say!? Paris is one of the global fashion capitals and a place of all things beautiful. My shopping recommendations include Dior, John Richmond, Lydia Courteille which is a fabulous jewelry store next to my favourite hotel, the Costes. Staying at the Costes is one of the best experiences I've had to date in any hotel. If you go to Paris, even if you aren't staying at the Costes, you have to buy their candles and visit their perfumery!
Let's not forget my home town! Although there are incredible places to shop all over the world, Toronto holds its own with some unique finds. At Corbo Studio I shop for killer heels and Rick Owens (you might be catching on that he's a favourite of mine). And, of course, there's Holt Renfrew for all of our not-so-basic needs. I've also found some of my favourite Alan Anderson jewelry pieces at Holts. And for home grown fashion design, I love, love, love Greta Constantine.
But even when I'm not in the air or on the road, online shopping lets me stretch outside my immediate environment and take a little flight of fancy. I adore Net-a-Porter and can always find a fix there when I'm craving something different. No travel required and open all hours -- my definition of heaven!
Wherever you shop, curating your own fashion style is an evolving experience. It's estimated that over a lifetime women dedicate the equivalent of eight years to fashion. Every Friday my blog will be dedicated to fashion, style and the things and places that make us feel good about ourselves, so let's venture on together a la mode!
Check back in on Tuesday to read about how to further define the brand of "You."
Follow Natasha Koifman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/natashankpr