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.

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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.

friday faves: wardrobe edition

friday faves: wardrobe edition

Sorry fellas, this one’s for the ladies. Unless you’re a guy who suffers from wardrobe anxiety and is occasionally late strictly because you couldn’t decide what to wear. If that’s you, then read on my man.  And we’re sorry for gender stereotyping.

We’re in a wardrobe rut. For who-knows-what reasons, our clothes just haven’t felt good lately. We’re missing those go-to pieces that make us feel really good, and instead we’re drowning in way too many ‘meh’ pieces that have us feeling, well, meh.  Friends, meh is not good enough and these four friday faves are here to back us up on that.

1. A few weeks ago, the internet delivered Matilda Kahl – the wonderful woman who wears the exact same thing to work every day. Her story may be old news by now, but we still can’t stop thinking about how genius it is, and we found her reason for making the switch to a work uniform incredibly relatable.  2. Here’s the lovely Kate of Wit & Delight showing off her take on the uniform.  3. Soon after we read about the uniform, we read about wardrobe capsules. It was like the universe (okay, the internet) was telling us to rid our closet of meh and fill it with what a very smart woman named Mom calls “investment pieces”.  Fashion blogger Caroline Rector is a pro, as proven in this piece on The Everygirl. Follow Caroline’s minimalist process on her blog, Unfancy. Summer capsule planning starts now.  4. We don’t care how superficial this sounds – the right clothes make a person feel good, dammit. And when we feel good we spread that feeling to those we meet. This little post is about cultivating happiness.