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.

meet rachel saunders

Rachel Saunders Ceramics + {OH} Victoria

Rachel’s ceramics first caught our eye at surf & lifestyle shop, Sitka. We soon tracked the girl down on Instagram and admittedly spent way too long scrolling through her feed and developed what you might call a bit of an obsession (a totally harmless one, we promise). The one-woman show that is Rachel Saunders Ceramics creates playful, expressive pieces that put pottery on a whole new level for us. The lovely Rachel was kind enough to answer a few questions for {OH} Victoria – from a little red Volkswagen to where to get the best BLT in town, here’s what the Victoria-based artist had to say.

Rachel Saunders Ceramics + {OH} Victoria

How did Rachel Saunders Ceramics get its start? 

R: Last year I was fortunate enough to land what I thought to be my dream job in the design department at a clothing company in L.A. I had a desk with a little plant on it and a computer and a salary and I fought traffic and spent the weekends working on projects. I felt like a grown up. But turns out I didn’t want to. I spent the days daydreaming of things I wanted to make with my hands and collected daily inspiration from the colourful world around me. I quit my job, followed my heart and the 101 up the coast home with my boyfriend, our lives packed into a little red Volkswagen, and from there I started putting together the pieces for what I knew I wanted to do next. I still don’t know how, but it all seemed to unfold before my eyes.

Rachel Saunders Ceramics + {OH} Victoria

Three words to describe your style.

R: Ethereal. Functional. Soft.

What’s your idea of the perfect Victoria day?

R: I’m dreaming of summer days right now, so that’d be a good start. I would wake up around 9am, without the help of 7 different alarms, feeling refreshed with maybe a bit of a goofy feeling hangover. Then I would get a BLT at The Parsonage (best in town), and probably run into a few friends there. Although the BLT was so hearty, since it’s summer I would probably get some ice cream at Cold Comfort next door. 10am is a perfectly fine time for ice cream in the summer. From there maybe one of the friends I bumped into would invite me to the beach, and we’d meet up with some more friends and throw towels around our necks and walk to the water. After a good four hours of catching rays, waves, and reading books, we’d all start to get a little hungry, so then we’d all walk to get some cheeseburgers at Beacon Drive-In, a little dazed from the sun. We’d also probably get a milkshake to make sure we got our daily servings of ice cream. After the meal we’d start to feel our skin getting a little hot and itchy, and we’d realize in the midst of all the fun we hadn’t applied the proper amount of sunscreen. We’d walk back to someone’s house who had a TV, and all sprawl out and watch a movie on VHS, probably Clueless or maybe Blue Crush. Being in the sun all day would have really worked up our appetites, so we would have to order two large Brooklyn Style pizzas from Dominos a little bit later. Then we’d have a sleepover and do it all again the next day.

Rachel Saunders Ceramics + {OH} Victoria

What’s next for Rachel Saunders Ceramics?

R: More involvement in my community, more collaborations with artists I love, more learning of how to run a business at 22, and to keep doing what I love.

Where can people find Rachel Saunders Ceramics?

R: I’m currently working on about five collections for a number of stockists across Canada, but right now in Victoria you can find my wares at Sitka and The Milkman’s Daughter, as well as in my online store at www.rachelsaundersceramics.com.

Rachel Saunders Ceramics + {OH} Victoria
You love her now, too, don’t you?