Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Summer Wardrobe Essentials!

It finally feels like summer is here! The weather has been absolutely beautiful over the last week and I've been out enjoying it! Chris and I spent an evening on the patio at Bellwood's Brewery (which we've been meaning to check out for ages!), we took in a comedy show (Moist Theatre at the Comedy Bar, hilarious!) and attended an indie play (Witchboy Theatre's, Love and Human Remains, which I can't recommend enough!). 

Warm weather and busy weekends means lots of opportunities to wear all my favourite sundresses and new summer clothes! And while I plan on blogging a bit about the best of summer's fashion trends, today I want to pay attention to some of my summer wardrobe essentials. I'm talking about the things that help your outfits really come together. For example, is your everyday t-shirt bra going to cut it when you're wearing a backless summer blouse? And will your oversized leather purse compliment your little cotton sundress? 

My summer essentials are the few things that I pick up every year in the month of May or June to help compliment and support all my favourite summer outfits. So without further ado, here is my short list of essential items and where you can find them.

A Cute Straw Bag


I think the perfect compliment to a sweet and understated summer outfit is an equally cute and simple straw bag. I love when I see photos of celebrities carrying a purse that they picked up in Chinatown. It makes them seem instantly cool and approachable. Summer isn't the time to show off your big black leather Marc Jacobs bag. Keep it chic and easy with a casual carryall. 

I always find my bag at Plaiter Place (384 Spadina Ave, just south of Nassau St., Toronto). It's a great Chinatown shop that carries mainly straw and bamboo items. Forget going to HomeSense to pick up those overpriced trendy baskets, Plaiter Place has got you covered! Find anything from bamboo mats (good for outdoor spaces), bamboo blinds, straw bags, paper lanterns and baskets galore! 

My bag cost $10 and will likely last me one summer (they tend to start to fray after a few months). Pick up a few different styles and sizes and you'll have the perfect bag for an outfit or any occasion. 


A Strapless and Backless Bra 



Here's another Chinatown find that I couldn't live without, the FreeBra! I was first introduced to the wonder of the FreeBra by my friend Anastasia. It's not an everyday bra, but it is quite the miracle solution for all those dresses and blouses that are strapless, backless and/or lightweight sheer fabric. It is basically two silicone cups attached by a small clip in the middle. The cups have a sticky interior that adheres to your skin. 

The FreeBra comes in cup sizes A-D and costs only $10! I have found many similar 'braless' solutions at department and lingerie stores and they always start at $40 and go up from there. The FreeBra is such a find! It's inexpensive and it makes all those crazy backless dresses actually wearable! I know what you're thinking: how does it say on? It just does. I have worn mine all day long, through a shift at work, through a night of dancing, and it has never once fallen away from my skin or moved out of place! 

It sounds like I'm writing a commercial for this product... 
I'll stop hyping it now, but seriously, it's pretty amazing. Find the FreeBra at U & Me Import and Export Trading (346 Spadina Ave just south of St. Andrew St, Toronto). I like to pick up two of the bras when I'm there, as they are prone to breaking (the clip in the middle is what goes first). But at ten bucks each, for $20, you'll have a 'braless' solution to last you all summer! 

Lightweight Make Up


Summer is a time to approach the world with a fresh face. But if you're like me, you don't want to go completely without makeup. Here are my favourite lightweight, barely-there makeup finds.

I always read in magazines that in summer it's best to just skip the foundation or liquid makeup all together. And I wish I could do that, but I always get a bit of redness in my skin, so I like to wear a powder foundation that gives me coverage and evens out my skin but isn't too heavy. At this time of year my go to  is Estee Lauder Double Wear powder foundation, it is powder light on the skin, and it covers redness while staying in place for eight hours. 

I constantly like to have colour on my lips (with my pale skin I can easily look washed out without lip colour), but in the warm weather wearing a lipstick seems a bit stuffy, especially for daytime. My favourite solution is a combination of products. I use a lip stain (my usual is Revlon Just Bitten, it comes in many shades) to stain my lips with a rich ruby base colour, and then I follow it up with a rosy coloured lip balm (I like Lip Smackers Dr. Pepper or Burt's Bees Pomegranate balm). The balm evens out the stain, protects my lips and helps the colour to last. 


It's not a long list, but these are the products that I purchase summer after summer! Hope your warm weather wardrobe will be made a bit better by these finds. And if you're not in Toronto, tweet me or message me (or just leave a comment at the end of this post) if you know a great place to find a FreeBra or cute straw bag in another major Canadian city and I'll be sure to update this post to include that info. 

I've got some more fashion posts planned for the upcoming week, so be sure to come back to the 11th apartment to check it out. And as usual, don't forget to follow along on Instagram!

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