Moms often ask me not just what wardrobe essentials to buy, but where to shop for them. So, I thought I’d start a new Style File series called Surprising Stores. Us moms have little time to shop, so it’s good to know that there is a huge array of stylish pieces to be found at the shops in your local mall or shopping centre.
This week, I’ll focus on three Canadian staples: Jacob, Suzy Shier and Mark’s Work Wearhouse (yes, you read that right – Mark’s Work Wearhouse!) Read on…
First, Jacob. If you haven’t been into a Jacob store lately, I thoroughly recommend you take a look. The brand, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, is not the store you shopped as a teen. (The company has a separate store for casual, value-driven product called Jacob Connexion.) Yes, Jacob is all grown up, featuring spohisticated suits, demure dresses and classic coats. Ideal if you are a working mom and/or returning to a formal workplace. Plus, for us time-strapped moms, the stores themselves are well-organized into outfits, and feature minimal accessories which coordinate beautifully, making selection simple. Sizes range from 0-13 and prices are reasonable for the quality of the products. To give you an idea, dresses are typically in the $80-$120 range. I also love a store with a good returns policy, and Jacob certainly performs well on that front. Here are a couple of looks from the current Jacob line. Note the versatility of the pencil skirt suit. The jacket would work equally as well with jeans or a patterned skirt, and the pencil skirt itself will look great with fine knits. Also, the addition of the scarf at the neck of this shirt takes the look from subtle to chic.
Suzy Shier stores are packed to brim with everything from T’s, tops and trousers to sweaters, sweats and shoes. The brand is known for it’s fashion forward design and value-driven pricing. In my mind Suzy is perfect for purchasing what I call "one-season-wonders." You know, a sparkly top for the Holidays that you may only wear once or twice, or a strong colour that you love but may not look or feel right in after one season of wear. The plaid jacket featured below is a great example of this. Plaid is hot this year, but will look dated next Fall – who wants to spend a lot on a coat that may only last one year? Save those dollars for the classics. At $69 this one will see you through this season in style, and won’t leave you feeling guilty once you’re done with it. Likewise, this trendy chiffon shirt will bring you bang up to date without breaking the bank – it’s $14.95. Buyer beware – Suzy does not accept returns, only exchanges.
Now for Mark’s Work Wearhouse (note the spelling of Wear) – the purveyor of products for professions such as nursing and construction, has developed its own line of apparel and sells solid brands, such as Denver Hayes. Next time your beloved takes you off to Canadian Tire, pop next door to Mark’s (the stores are often located together) and check out the great range of winter accessories – gloves, hats and scarves – at great prices. There’s also a super selection of basic sweaters, and some sensible, but stylish snowboots. Who knew? I spotted the following on Mark’s website – check out these elegant, equestrian-inspired boots, and classic jacket in brown suade.
Hope this review of three Surprising Stores, helps you update your Fall wardrobe. Next time: Reitmans, Smart Set and Costco (yes, Costco!!)
Katie is host of the urbanmoms.ca Style File. As a public relations professional and a student of style and design, she has helped many retail and fashion clients promote their brands. She is mom to two boys (the best anti-shopping devices on the market) and now indulges her love of fashion by conducting wardrobe consultations, personal shopping expeditions and by participating in media interviews, providing advice on everything from wardrobe must-haves to accessories and footwear. Katie firmly believes that high style does not have come with a high price tag and her shopping philosophy is based on saving both time and money. For more style musings visit Katie at www.realcanadianstyle.blogspot.com