Meet Ellesmere Lingerie

We’re all about feeling equal parts powerful and beautiful, so when we heard about Vancouver-based Ellesmere Lingerie we nearly stripped down on the spot to don their handmade skivvies.

Modern and yet reminiscent of another era, the delicate pieces “celebrate the beauty of a woman dressing for herself and feeling confident in what she wears,” says Ellesmere founder, designer, and sole sewer Julia Rechel. The message is evident in Ellesmere’s debut look book, one that snubs photoshop in favour of raw beauty, scars and all.

We recommend you take a peek, and we won’t be at all surprised if these photos inspire a pants-off dance party.

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The demi bras, bralettes, bikinis, and high waist bottoms are made locally and ethically, ranging from $48 to $140. Find stockists here, or visit Ellesmere’s shop on the world wide web.

will you be my valentine?

Valentine's Day Gift Guide - {OH} Victoria

Whether you’re shopping for your boyfriend, your girlfriend, or your best friend, our favourite Victoria shops have just the thing you need. From gifts that say ‘You’re mine’ to trinkets that say ‘Hey, you’re cool’ our local shopping guide is here to inspire. We might just treat ourselves…

  1. The Pyrrha Soul Mates Talisman Necklace ($162) signifies eternal bond. Available at Violette (1303 Government St.).
  2. Leah Alexandra Jewelry Spark Studs ($70) are handmade in Vancouver. Available at Violette (1303 Government St).
  3. The Tanner Goods Notebook Set ($22) for the budding novelist. Available at Still Life (550 & 560 Johnson St.).
  4. Get intimate with the Emma Lace Bralette ($74). Available at Knickers Lingerie Boutique (561 Johnson St.).
  5. Pamper someone with the Grown Alchemist Amenity Kit: Lip Balm, Hand Cream & Hydra-Repair Day Cream ($40). Available at Still Life (550 & 560 Johnson St.).
  6. For him or her, the Daniel Wellington Sheffield Watch ($295). Available at Still Life (550 & 560 Johnson St.).
  7. For your favourite gem, the Meridien Earrings ($82). Available at Little Gold (560 Johnson St.).
  8. Feeling cheeky? Give the Explorer’s Press Hard to Love Lapel Pin ($8). Available at Still Life (550 & 560 Johnson St.).
  9. Say Good Morning Beautiful with spritz ($28). Available at Picot Collective (2000 Fernwood Rd.).
  10. Wild Heart Body Butter ($30) is handmade in Vancouver by Harlow Skin Co. Available at Picot Collective (2000 Fernwood Rd.).

For more advice on how to navigate the day for lovers like a pro, check out do250 where the amazing Melissa MacFarland of State of the Heart has curated the ultimate guide to Valentine’s Day. xo

meet Jovee Handcrafted

Alexis Kastner of Jovee Handcrafted

If you’re anything like us then you grew up thinking that beautiful leather bags were reserved for big city women with executive jobs and fat pay checks, and you wanted to be her so badly. You’ve lusted after a designer purse like it was your soulmate, and at least once in your young-adult life you seriously considered spending an entire month’s rent on an accessory.

As it turns out, grown-up us isn’t so into dropping stacks of cash on designer bags, but our lust for leather hasn’t diminished at all. So where’s a girl to go for affordable leather goods? The answer is Jovee Handcrafted, a tiny shop/studio tucked away in historic Fan Tan Alley.  Leather dreams come true at Jovee, where bags and accessories are designed and handmade with endless love and dedication and priced to fit a modest budget.

The woman behind this little gem is Alexis Kastner, and to spend five minutes with her is to know what passion and hard work looks like. The Ontario-transplant first started making and selling jewelry as a teenager, and eventually worked pieces of leather into her creations. Over the years, leather became her true love and jewelry turned to bags, accessories, and even custom motorcycle seats. All the while, Alexis was working in – get this – finance. She recently bid adieu to her 9 to 5 to take on leather-making full time, and we’re so glad she did. One look at her bags and you’ll be glad, too.

Jovee Handcrafted

Find Jovee Handcrafted at 104-3 Fan Tan Alley, Victoria.

cycle style: our top le vélo picks

Le Velo
A bike is a great way to get to work, to coffee, to dinner…but who wants to show up in head-to-toe cycle gear? We’re firm believers that a girl can commute on two wheels and still do it in style. It’s easy to go from bike to brunch with any of Victoria-based Le Vélo‘s fashion-meets-function bike accessories, so we’ve done you the favour of sharing our favourites. Trust us when we say it was hard to pick just seven.

1. Cape Ruby ($149) // We may be west coasters, but that doesn’t mean we’re okay with rubber rain gear. This bright blue beauty will look good and keep that favourite sweater and those go-to jeans dry.   2. The Professor Classic Pannier ($347) // Made for the urban professional, your colleagues will never guess you rode to work when you walk into the office with the Professor in hand.  3. Asungtaba Shopping Basket ($76) // We can’t help but see ourselves cycling home from the farmer’s market with this handwoven basket filled to the brim with local vegetables and fresh flowers. Idylic, yes, but totally doable.  4.  Skinny Rise Denim ($129) // We love to cycle to everything from brunch to cocktails, and we want to arrive looking our best. Made with performance fabric stretch denim, these jeans will help us do just that. Now what to do about that helmet hair?  5. Fredie Classic Satchel ($347) // Okay, so maybe we have a thing for classic leather bags, but who doesn’t? Just because a girl’s on two wheels doesn’t mean she can’t have a beautiful bag, too.  6. Bidon au vin ($45) // Do we really need to explain why this is on our list? Picnics are a bit of a Friday night tradition for us, and we’d be lying if we said they weren’t planned around wine. The Bidon au vin leaves room in the pannier for all that cheese.  7. Cento-Rattan Bicycle Basket ($90) // Beach towel, book, sunscreen, sandwiches. Just a few of the items we’ll be throwing in the cento-rattan basket when we head to the beach. Or the lake? Really, we can go anywhere with a basket like that.

Find Le Vélo online at levelovictoria.co or at a special pop-up on Saturday, July 18th from 11-4 at 455 Sitkum Rd.

bathing beauties

Julia Church, founder of Nettle's Tale

Human? Oh cool, so you have insecurities too, then. For many of us (like, all but maybe three people in the world) those insecurities are amplified with the arrival of summer. We don’t care who you are – there’s nothing easy about shedding your sweats and dawning lycra. Whether you’re cursed with short legs and an abnormally long torso (thanks, Dad!) or you’re still carrying that extra weight from Christmas ’05 (honey, you’re not 21 anymore – let it go), you still have to live your life. Bonus points if you feel good doing it.

Enter Julia Church, the force behind Vancouver-based swimwear brand Nettle’s Tale and the fine lady in red. Nettle’s Tale launched last year with an impressive Indiegogo campaign that filled a gaping hole in the fashion industry: swimwear that celebrates all body shapes and sizes modelled by everyday women. Today, the west coast brand is expanding beyond e-commerce with a brand new brick and mortar location at 4301 Main St where shoppers can book intimate one-on-one consultations and fittings, or just pop in to check things out. The fact that each swimsuit is made in Vancouver is icing on an already pretty decadent cake.

Our favourite thing about Nettle’s Tale might be the lookbook.  We can’t help but see ourselves in it – and we certainly can’t say that about any other swimsuit catalog.

Nettle's Tale Swimwear
Nettle's Tale Swimwear
Nettle's Tale Swimwear
Nettle's Tale Swimwear
Nettle's Tale Swimwear
Nettle's Tale Swimwear

Ready to drop those sweats? Yeah, us too.

Find Nettle’s Tale Swimwear online at www.nettlestale.com or in person at 4301 Main St., Vancouver, BC.