Public service announcement

I’ve raved about Arcadia bags before, and now you can check them out for yourself. Winners seems to have gotten a new shipment in last week  – finally – and it looks like one of the biggest ever. This time, it looks like they have more than one bag per store; I’ve seen a few different styles in black and red, including these ones:
Available in black (as shown) and burgundy/red ($119.99)
 Available in black and burgundy/red (not white) ($99.99)
This time around, I’ve spotted Arcadias at both the Downtown and Calgary Trail Winners, but you may also want to check out Mayfield Common and West Edmonton Mall, where they’ve carried them in the past. Just a word of warning – Arcadias tend to disappear quickly.
Speaking of good deals, Nine West is having a big clearance sale right now, with most of its summer shoes and accessories at 70% off. These cute ones are $34.99, and come in black and taupe (a creamy beige) as well:

Happy shopping!

Everything you ever wanted to know about back pockets*

Yesterday, I talked about People Stylewatch’s Tim Gunn-approved guide to wearing vests. The same issue also offered a short guide to back pockets on jeans, which I also found quite handy. When selecting jeans, the focus is usually on the cut of the leg or the wash, but one must not forget the back pockets – they cover a pretty important asset, after all. The type and placement of back pockets on jeans can have a not-insignificant impact on the general appearance of the wearer’s, ahem, behind. So, for example:
– if you want to amp up your booty, flap pockets do the trick by adding extra volume;
– if you want to create a curvier appearance, wide-apart pockets are the way to go – they emphasize the hips;
– if you want a bit of a lift, pick pockets that are placed high up, close to the yoke (waist band) – they draw the eyes upwards;
– if you want a bigger tush, pick pockets that are placed lower – they create the illusion of, well, a bigger tush.
But never, ever go with jeans that have no back pockets. A no-pocket look just serves to highlight any (God forbid) booty imperfections. Frankly, I also think it looks both juvenile and outdated at the same time — a worst combo probably does not exist. Just say “no” to no pockets.
* but were afraid to ask. Not a Woody Allen production. 

The fashion huddle

I was shopping with a girlfriend at Winners the other week, and we made a pit stop to look at sunglasses as she’s in the market for a new pair. As we were picking through the clearance display (naturally), she asked me for my thoughts on picking sunglasses. Ah ha! Time for another fashion huddle.
There are plenty of online guides for selecting sunglasses to suit your face. This is one example. The basic rules are the same: pick frames that help to balance out the shape of your face. Thus, if you have a round face, squarish frames are best; for a square face, rounder styles soften the angles. Heart-shaped faces are complemented by cat’s eye shapes, oval ones by pretty much anything. [The latter goes for hairstyles too — those lucky, oval shape-faced people! May you all have big noses. Just kidding!] I’m not sure that I would rely on these “rules” exclusively, but they can give you a place to start if you’re stumped. The next best thing is to do what my friend did — take a trusted companion with you and try on a bunch of different sunglasses. If you compare the ‘yes’s’ and the ‘rejects’, a pattern will emerge quickly.

Style-wise, there are 3 types of sunglasses that I always end up coming back to:
1) Brown tortoiseshell frames: it’s the classic, every-day style that goes with everything — and it comes in endless variations, so you can easily pick the shape best suited to your personal tastes;

2) Over-size black frames: it’s a little bit diva, a little bit Garbo — for days when you want some attitude, or when you want to hide from the prying eyes of the world. It’s important to pick a size that doesn’t feel overwhelming to you, or swallow up your entire face; no need to look like Mary Kate Olsen [Unless you want to look like Mary Kate Olsen. Nothing wrong with that.]
3) Aviator frames: casual cool — and there is a pair out there for everyone. Take me, for example — for the longest time, I was convinced that aviators were not flattering for my face shape (squarish heart-shape — how’s that for a category?). I was wrong; I just had to find the right pair. The key, for me, was to find one that wasn’t too bottom-heavy, because those would elongate my face while simultaneously widening my jaw. Aviators are not all born equal, so look around for a pair that works for you.

One style of sunglasses I do not like — ever, on anyone — are the super-round ones. The kind of frames that John Lennon used to wear (mostly in his post-Beatles period). You know the ones:

Lennon is a legend, but those glasses were fugly. No amount of hipster street-cred will convince me otherwise.

Turning now to more pragmatic matters, I don’t spend a lot of money on sunglasses. The sunglasses you can get in the $40-70 range are just as good, quality-wise, as glasses priced in the triple digits. For the most part, they offer the same medical benefits and protection. The same company, Luxxotica, makes the majority of sunglasses out there — including those put out by high end labels like Prada, Burberry and Chanel. For an interesting article on the sunglasses industry, check out the Consumerist.

Any questions? Style dilemmas? Send them to or leave a comment.