it’s that time of year again…

…The time of the year to revive your favourite pair of fall/winter boots, or for those with a little saved up this year, go out and buy a new pair!

As they did last year, Cougar teamed up with 50 bloggers to try out some of their new styles.  Last year, I reviewed a pair of red rain boots that I didn’t really love.  I never did update my post about those boots, but Cougar was nice enough to send me a different pair – Regal rain boots (which are still for sale this year!)

Cougar Rain Boots in Regal (stock photo)

I’ve been wearing them a LOT – rain boots are a HEAVEN SEND for city dwellers.  They were especially useful during those crazy spring slush/hail/rain storms in Montreal, but I’ve worn them around in Toronto as well.  The only downside to them were that they were incredibly heavyMy pace was considerably slower in those boots, and after about 5 minutes, my ankles and lower shins would hurt from having to support the weight of the heavy rubber soles.

So when Cougar contacted me again this year, I was skeptical – one pair of heavy boots is enough for me – but intrigued by their new styles.  Cougar prides themselves on creating boots that keep your feet dry and warm, but don’t compromise on style.

Portico Brown (stock photo)

This year I opted for the Portico boots in brown. [Random tidbit: Portico refers to “a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building.”]

They seemed like a good combo between the warmth I need during the fall and the protection I need in the winter.  They’re suitable in the rain, but not strictly rain boots.

When they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised! The construction of the boots was impressive (unlike the red boots from last year!) and I liked that despite having a similar rubber sole to the Regal rain boots, the Portico boots were much lighter weight and less of a burden on my wimpy ankles.

The outer material of the Portico model are suede for the upper body and “montana” leather (I have no clue that means) for the foot.  The stock image from the company site makes it seem like the leather foot is a much lighter shade than the suede, but in real life, that’s not the case.  They are comparable in shade – it’s simply the texture difference between suede and leather that reflects light differently, so the leather foot area may seem lighter.

1) Nearly indiscernably shade difference between the boot’s upper body and the boot’s foot. 2) Note the perfect alignment of the boot tongue – because it’s stitched in!

But the materials aren’t the only things that reassure me that these are quality made boots.  If you can see, the boots are laced up, which means that in slushy or snowy weather, moisture and precipitation can easily seep into the boot.  HOWEVER — the boot tongue is actually stitched into place in order to keep your feet dry!

However, my sister (who always complains about how her muscular legs can never squeeze into boots) did mention that because of the stitched in tongue, she wasn’t able to loosen the laces enough to allow for her leg + jeans fit comfortably into the boot.  [On the other hand, she did mention that she thought she “looked cute in them.” (her observations, not mine!)]

I have the opposite problem: boots are sometimes too loose around my calves, but the laces on the Portico model do help tighten the boots up.  [NOTE: The laces are more aesthetic than functional –  a zipper that runs from the ankle all the way to the top is the primary way to take the boots on/off.]

The only real problem I encountered with the boots are that the stiff suede material is not very forgiving when it becomes bent (i.e. at the ankle).

A pain in the (foot's) neck.

The creases created around the ankle by the simple act of walking cut into my feet, even through my socks, and I have a scab on each ankle from the abrasions.  I know that this is a common problem when breaking in new shoes, but I’ve never had this problem with my other leather boots – this was definitely a case of the stiff material not being pliable enough.

Another issue of note, is that these may keep your feet warm, but they have a tendency to overheat, almost to the point of discomfort.  I recommend carrying a pair of flats in your handbag if you are going to be in a heated building all day.

Verdict: I am definitely going to be reaching for these boots often this season.  Their neutral colour, functionality, comfort, and style make them a practical choice.  The Portico model retails for around $250 CAD and can be purchased at retailers across Canada.

elle approved

The December issue of Elle Canada features my Bedo dress as a favourite party dress for the holidays. The only thing is that they call it a “bronze” dress, when clearly, it’s a sequined dress wherein each sequin is black on one side and gold on the other. Also, they list it as $189, but I bought it for $169 CDN (+SPC discount).  Seriously – who is their fact checker?

Click to enlarge!

I won’t be wearing this dress anytime during the holidays, as it’s currently stashed in storage as I move apartments, but it’ll make a reappearance soon.  Holla.

my yellow fever’s flare-ing up

I don’t know how or why, but I got the December issue of FLARE magazine in the mail yesterday (I didn’t subscribe to it, obviously).

Not really in the mood to sit down and read the magazine, I just flipped through it to see what kind of editorials they had.  And then something caught my eye that made me ask myself, “Who is this gorgeous girl?”

It was precisely this photo that kind of took my breath away:

It’s not very often that you see an Asian model in mainstream magazines.  And I understand that the genetic propensity of Asians is that we are short, so I get that there are less working Asian models out there.  What makes me so impressed with this girl is that, usually, when an Asian model is featured in an editorial, she’s often exploited for her “harsh” facial features and “exotic” look (they often have bowl cuts or a very strong bang, etc.)

But this girl….wow.  She deserves this 8-page spread.

The entire editorial is her striking fierce poses in hot dresses and flying tresses.  I am just in love with her.  Her proportions are great and she isn’t dead in the face or look angry (a.k.a. trying to be fierce).

I really think she could rival some of the top models out there.

If anyone can tell me who she is, I’d love to know!  I want to see what else she’s done.

EDIT: Silly me.  In all the excitement of seeing and then immediately scanning the editorial pages, I neglected to look at the fine print, where it has all the info of everyone involved in the shoot (duh).  The model’s name is Shiya Zhao from Sutherland Models.  Check out her online portfolio here!

Here’s the rest of the editorial.  Click to enlarge!

fall favourites

I’ve been shopping a lot lately (as you can probably tell from my tweets), and I don’t really have any regrets, because my wardrobe was seriously lacking in some fall/winter staples.  I have always been a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, so I really needed some warmer things.  Alas, I always end up buying accessories, but whatevs.

Deena & Ozzy Lace-Up Tread Bottom Bootie Heel

The tread on sole of the shoe and the stacked heel make for a super comfortable pair of hot fall ankle booties.  I bike in these babies.

 

Groggy Cargo Jacket

Alright, I hate the latest cargo pants trend, but I do love this new jacket I purchased for myself.  I took off the ratty faux fur around the hood, and it makes it so much more appropriate for life in general.  I love the plentitude of pockets this jacket has, and the fact that it has a super warm removable inner lining, which makes it versatile for both fall/winter/spring.

One of my fave features is the side pocket on the left sleeve:

I keep my metropass in there.  No more digging around in my bag to find my wallet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought this bag on a whim, but I’ve been incredibly happy with it.  Perfect for riding around on my bike, as well as just shopping/living life hands free.  And it has a substantial amount of room inside.  I can fit my water bottle, wallet, Moleskine, umbrella, cell phone, and camera – more than enough crap for a day out.

Oh god.  You can probably tell I’m such a Torontonian just from the colours of my recent purchases.  Montreal has yet to infuse colour in me.  According to this columnist from The Gazette, I must lack “joie de vivre”.

nada ss 2009

NADA Shepherd’s latest 2009 collection shown @ Toronto’s L’oreal Fashion Week.  The inspiration was Athena.   Not exactly what I would wear, but still very classy and sophisticated for the slightly older demographic.

I liked the champagne silk cami with the high pant.  And the gold paillette leggins were hot (and heavy, literally).

told you so

I totally called it!

Last night, the first ever Project Runway Australia’s winner was announced, and the fabulous Juli Grbac won!

Juli's Finale Dress

Juli's Finale Dress

I was really happy – Petrova and Leigh are both amazing designers in their own right, but Juli’s collection was more of what the Project Runway Australia winner should be: saleable, commercial, yet unique and glamourous.  I only wished Leigh’s amazing model, Yumi, could have won the model competition as well, since she’s been my fave all along.

Leigh

Leigh's Finale Dress

Petrova

Petrova's Finale Dress

I’m super jealous that the winner gets a Fiat 500 – my dream car!  Well, I have many dream cars, but the Fiat 500 is up there.  I’d say it’s a much better car to win than the crappy Pontiacs or Saturns or whatever the American Project Runway winners have been winning.  But a free car is a free car (excluding taxes).

Did anyone else notice the bumbling Ms. Gale as she tried to comment on Petrova’s collection (inspired by rainbows and butterflies…no, really, it was)?  Listen carefully at 00:35.

Umm, hello…”metamorphis” is not a word.  Well, in Candian English, it’s not (it’s “metamorphosis”).  Maybe it is in Australia…?  (Perhaps its like how the Brits say “ah-loo-min-ee-um” instead of “ah-loo-min-um” when talking about cooking foil [but honestly, why do they add the non-existent vowel in that word?].)  Let’s just chalk it up to unintelligence.

Anyway, I’m glad the show’s over – less TV, more time for school!  Yay…

PS. Sorry about the picture quality – the stills from the show are not yet online.

the aussies know good fashion

WARNING: SPOILERS

So Australia has its own Project Runway now, and I really love it! It’s obviously not as extravagant and full of celebs like the US version is, but it’s still great and the designers are really really talented (dare I say more so than the American designers?).

This week, they FINALLY got rid of that ridiculous Helen Manuell who can’t even seem to dress her own self. She’s a great seamstress and can make well tailored dresses (and for someone who has had no training, that’s pretty great), but her ideas are shit and lack creativity. Also every time she speaks I want to rip out her brains through her nostrils. Is that too harsh? Anyway, she was incredibly self-righteous and had an air of holier-than-thou. I really hate that.

I might also add that Sarah Gale, one of the weekly judges, who is introduced each week as “fashion buyer extraordinaire”, only has the most useless things to say. Her critique and comments are just full of cliches and puns that are NOT funny, and they amount to very little. Even the host, model Kristy Hinze, has more constructive criticism to add than Gale. She’s a little bitchy as well, which I’m assuming is suppose to reflect Nina Garcia’s persona in the US version. But Nina Garcia has credibility – real credibility. She’s the former fashion editor of one of the greatest fashion magazines in the world. Seriously Sarah Gale, anyone can “buy” fashion. Geez.

My favourite designer, purely from personality, is Lui Hon, the “zen master”. My favourite to win is Juli Grbac – a designer whose own personal style is chic and feminine.

Juli's winning design from Week 7

Juli's Winning Design: Week 7