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5 Long Black Dresses That Won’t Break The Bank

A “Little Black Dress” is the one item every woman is encouraged to always have in their closet. Perfect for every single occasion I am sure we would all agree. A few months ago I started thinking it was time that I add another kind of LBD into my wardrobe. A long black dress! It’s always good to have options for any type of ever that can be thrown your way. My closet is chock full of options for semi-formal stuff but if I had to go to a red carpet thing or formal shindig last minute and couldn’t pull a dress from a designer in time, I would be S.O.L. In anticipation of a few weddings we had coming up, I decided to step outside my normal ‘few inches above the knee’ bodycon box, because let’s be honest I am still rocking a bit of a mum tummy, and start shopping for full length dress options. Before baby I would spent oodles of time going store to store – trying on options until I found the one. However since Maxwell, I don’t really have that luxury. Funny enough, I have spent a considerable amount of time online shopping while breastfeeding so it took no time at all full length dress options that are perfect wedding season, the holiday season and any other formal event in between.

5 Long Black Dresses That Won't Break The Bank - So Sasha

5 Long Black Dresses That Won't Break The Bank - So Sasha

5 Long Black Dresses That Won't Break The Bank - So Sasha
Photos by Jess Baumung

This one shoulder dress I scooped from Lulus.com looked like it could have cost $1000 but believe it or not, it was under $100. Literally a steal! With all these dresses under $200, it’s guilt free shopping at it’s best.

More “Long Black Dresses” That Won’t Break The Bank

 

LOFT 2017 Winter Collection Media Preview

After almost 20 years in the retail game, LOFT has become known for their affordable head-to-toe looks and easy to wear separates, especially amongst women in the corporate world. In their earlier years, what I like to refer to as LOFT 1.0, the brand was more one dimensional and appealed to a more narrow demographic. However, over the last several years, the classic American brand and become more versatile in their product lines, producing more trendier pieces, allowing them to get on the radar of younger consumers.

A few weeks ago I got a chance to preview LOFT’s upcoming Winter 2017 collection before it hit stores in advance of my co-hosting gig at their press preview last Tuesday night at Lac Beauty, Toronto’s  premiere beauty and skincare boutique. What I found on the racks during my meeting was a little something for every woman.  The perfect skirt suit for the corporate go-getter. Bold prints and tons of stripes for the girl who is not afraid to stand out in a crowd. Statement sleeves on dresses, blouses and sweaters for the fashion forward chick and outerwear that even has me excited for cooler temperatures. It is clear this is no longer the LOFT we once knew. This is LOFT 2.0…cooler, younger, and more versatile than ever.

LOFT - Sasha Exeter

The lovely Erica Wark, stylist and on-air fashion expert of The Social TV and Your Morning, and I got to co-host an intimate evening of fashion and beauty for the city’s top editors. who got treated to a beauty service of their choice (eyebrow threading, manis, pedis and even eyelash lifting) and spent some one-on-one time with each of us to get a rundown of the collection. Guests were also treated to a portrait session by Ryan Emberley that was used to create personalized memes for everyone by the ladies behind @MyTherapistSays. The highly anticipated pieces will be hitting stores three times throughout the season with two drops in October and the final one mid November, so there will be plenty of options for the holiday season.

We kept the racks this time around more minimal than at previous previews with only the key and stand-out items selected. Erica and I both had a chance to to highlight our own favourite pieces from the collection on each floor of the multi-level space. With our own personal style being so different, we were the perfect dichotomy to represent what the line has to offer this season.

Stylist Talia Brown in LOFT’s most popular editor’s pick

My personal faves were not hard to identify on the racks. I loved the oatmeal coloured knits, sweaters with shoulder cut-outs, a jewelled jacquard dress pant that just screams “holiday season”, the navy suede shift skirt (paired with a chunky knit is just perfection), leather pants and seriously just about every single outwear piece in the collection. I actually own the navy military coat but have my eyes set on the fur collared army jacket and the blue fuzzy coat.

Photography by Ryan Emberley (RyanEmberley.com)

What I’m Wearing: Faux Leather Wrap Skirt c/o LOFT // Cutout Shoulder Sweater c/o LOFT

On Erica: Striped Wrap Skirt c/o LOFT // Striped Boyfriend Sweater c/o LOFT

 

The Perfect Maternity LBD

Cooking a baby in your belly for nine months doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your style. I decided very early on to not lose a sense of my personal style and actually have fun dressing my bump. Finding a little black dress before getting pregnant was a simple task that I could do with my eye clothes but the further I got into my third trimester,  I started to find it a bit more challenging to find “LBD” options that not only did I love but wouldn’t break the bank.

Boohoo Maternity LBD

Maternity Little Black Dress

Maternity Little Black Dress

Boohoo Maternity Little Black Dress
Shot by JessBaumung.com at 38 weeks pregnant

Black is an easy colour and always flattering for pregnant women (or any woman for that matter)  but the key to finding one that is perfect for you is understanding your new body shape. There may be some newly acquired assets you have grown to like more since your body has changed — hello new boobs and rounded bum, so why not take the opportunity to flaunt them? I found the perfect  maternity little black dress from Boohoo.com for a recent event that had enough give in the fabric to make me comfortable but also had enough elasticity to give my belly and breasts support throughout the evening. I only wish I could say the heels were as comfy but we can’t win them all I guess. You can however score my off-the-shoulder bodycon dress from Boohoo.com on sale for under $30 right now if you act fast.

SHOP ITEMS FROM THIS LOOK

My Current Faves in One Look

I have blossomed out of nowhere it seems within the last 4-6 weeks. That mini baby bump I was rocking in the second trimester has long gone my friends and now it looks like I have swallowed a damn basketball. Truthfully, I don’t remember the last time I saw my feet. The fatigue is really setting in now. Partially because its exhausting lugging around all this extra weight and at night sleep is becoming non-existent, with aches and pains that wake me up periodically. I was just mentioning last week on IG that some times (like today!) I wish I could just stay in bed and sleep/eat my way to the finish line. But no such luck…I still have a few more weeks of work before I can take a much needed break before Bean comes.

So Sasha - Hatch Collection Harbour Dress

So Sasha - Hatch Collection Harbour Dress

On a more positive note, the best part about being in the third trimester during this time of the year is the clothes. I don’t know what the hell I would have done if this was December. The thought of having to get outwear two sizes larger than what I normally wear and being confined to tights, maternity jeans and sweaters for an entire season freaks me out. To say I’ve been enjoying wearing cute dresses, flowy maxi’s and off-the-shoulder anything, is an understatement. I wore this Hatch Collection Harbour Dress I scooped up a couple months ago from Ani & Wren last week to meetings and got so many compliments from both pregnant and non-pregnant women. It has been one of my favourite pieces this summer and it’s currently on sale, so here’s your last chance to grab yours before it’s sold out!

So Sasha - Hatch Collection Harbour Dress
Photos by Jess Baumung

Wearing:  Dress |  Sunglasses |  Bag


Shop My Fave Hatch Collection Pieces

 


 

Casual Chic in Breton Stripes

Breton stripes somehow always reminded me of French fashion, so when I found this chic little Hatch Collection dress, I immediately snatched it up for my recent trip to France. To be honest, I hadn’t realized exactly why I associated stripes with the capital of fashion but during my visit I learned that the Breton stripe originated in Bretagne (pronounced Brittany in English), a region in the North West coast of France. I just so happened to spend a couple days in one of it’s small towns, La Gacilly, with Yves Rocher. The original knitted Breton shirt with blue and white stripes was made for the French army and the stripe pattern is so closely linked to Bretagne, that their flag even contains the Breton stripe pattern.

Sasha Exeter - Hatch Collection

Photos shot by JessBaumung.com

WEARING: Jacket (similar here) |  Dress |  Boots (similar here) |  Sunnies |  Bag | Hat (vintage)

While non-maternity fashion has dominated majority of my looks during my pregnancy, I have stumbled across some brands with pieces so great, that I couldn’t resist getting – and truthfully, if I didn’t tell you they were maternity, you would have no clue at all. If you’re expecting you NEED to check out Hatch Collection for their cult fave dresses, jumpsuits, tops, denim and swimwear. I picked up this Hatch 3/4 Dress from Ani & Wren here in Toronto.

SHOP MY LOOK


 

Chic + Easy Travel Style | Paris Edition

Packing for my trip to Paris this time around was not an easy feat being six months pregnant. I had no doubt in my mind that I would have to leave ample room in my suitcase to bring things back home with me. This meant three things; pack smart, pack light and choose pieces that could easily mix and match to create multiple outfits. If you have seen at any point in the last few months, chances are I’ve been wearing this black jumpsuit because it’s so damn comfortable and miraculously has worked through all stages of my pregnancy so far. Réjean on the other hand, is not so fond of this romper (probably because of the drop crotch and close resemblance to a child’s playsuit) and I wouldn’t be surprised if wearing it one more time would totally push him over the edge from my repeated overuse. But you know what, as ‘Man Repelling’ as jumpsuits may be for some men, I put a high value on being comfortably stylish.

Sasha Exeter - Pregnancy Style

Sasha Exeter - Pregnancy Style

Sasha Exeter - Pregnancy Style

Sasha Exeter - Pregnancy Style

Sasha Exeter - Pregnancy Style

But seeing as though I’m in  Paris and Réjean safely 6000+ miles away home in Toronto, I’ve worn this Zara piece happily as three completely different outfits; on it’s own sans jacket for lunch and sight seeing, with an oversized distressed denim jacket and paired with a white sequin bomber and hat. Each working well with either a simple black heel or Adidas Stan Smith – which seems to be the official sneaker of Paris. Truthfully, I would have worn these three looks exactly the same whether I was pregnant or not, meaning expecting or not, these outfits for work for anyone. And the best part, I didn’t pay a dime over $20 for it.

Sasha Exeter Pregnancy Style

Sasha Exeter - Pregnancy Style
Shot on location in Paris by JesBaumung.com

What I’m Wearing: Black Drop Crotch Jumpsuit from Zara (no longer in stock) // Oversized Denim Jacket from Zara // White Sequin Bomber Jacket c/o H&M (old) // Black Pumps c/o Express // Adidas Stan Smith c/o Adidas Canada // GG Marmont Mini Chain Bag from Gucci // Hat (vintage)

My Zara jumpsuit may no longer be available (sorry!) so here’s a few other jumpsuit options that I’m also loving:

Taking My Look from Day to Night with First Canadian Place

Toronto’s Financial District is famously known for its architecturally stunning office towers, restaurants and as the shoot location for cult fave legal show “Suits” but unbeknownst to many, the city’s best kept retail secret lives underground inside First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower. I discovered this gem a couple years ago while trying to seek refuge from the cold winter temps after a workout at Equinox down in the PATH. What I found that day below the cluster of buildings was almost another world in itself, with stores satisfying all one’s needs.

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

First Canadian Place #MyFCPEx

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

It is not unusual for me to not have time to go home between work and evening events, so I make an extra effort to dress in an outfit that can easily be transitioned from day to night with just a few simple edits – like the change of a jacket, accessories and lip colour. Located conveniently in the downtown core and close to many of my client’s offices, First Canadian Place has become my one-stop shop for clothing, footwear, accessory and beauty needs when I’m on the go.

The success of a transitional look for me starts with colour. Blacks and neutrals are by far the easiest to dress up and dress down – and seriously nobody ever looks bad in black. Second, you can never go wrong with leather when it’s done right folks. Leather pants and skirts, the latter at an appropriate length of course, has become acceptable for daywear in the office and with just some minor changes to your outfit can be chic and even sexy for the evening. Last but not least, a black turtleneck will always be a standard item in my closet. It works well no matter what proportion you’re wearing on the bottom. They are light enough to be layered under a warmer coat but generally warm enough to be worn under a leather moto jacket. These two looks were pulled together in a pinch from two of my go-to boutiques at First Canadian Place – Hangar 9 and Sisley/Benetton.  If you were born in the 80’s and the 90’s was a time you got to first express yourself with fashion, you will remember Benetton for it’s classic Rugby shirts and colourfully diverse campaign ads. The brand’s older, more refined sibling, Sisley, is the perfect spot for office separates and more. If you have yet to step foot into Hangar 9, then I highly suggest you rank it high on your list of things to do this month and brace yourself friends, you will be overwhelmed by the pieces from Derek Lam, Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Missoni, Iro Paris, Helmut Lang, Carven and more carefully curated by the boutique’s owner Rachel.

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My Rag and Bone leather jeans, turtleneck from Sisley and black shoes works quite well for my day to night look. I paired a long vest as my outerwear for my day look and since I am not a fan of briefcases or standard laptop bags, I opted for this beautiful oversized clutch, that is actually large enough to fit my MacBook and other small personal items. And of course sunnies. I never leave home without a pair (or two) and this Chanel pair has a dramatic mirrored lens that I love.

First Canadian Place

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

FCP

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

Opting for more a more street than chic look for after work cocktails or an event, I replaced the long coat with a buttery soft pink lambskin leather moto jacket from Iro Paris and ditched the oversized clutch for a smaller bag for evening that comes with the cutest fur accessory. And even though the black Chanel’s would have worked well with my night look, I just couldn’t resist these Miu Miu’s and it’s pink velvet case. If you love sunglasses as much as I do, you will find endless pairs you will want to add to your collection from Specs and Contacts, also inside Exchange Tower.

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

First Canadian Place

First Canadian PlacePhotography by Lindsey Drennan

What I’m Wearing: Leather Jeans (Rag & Bone), Black Coat, Leather Iro Paris Jacket, Handbags courtesy of Hangar 9. Turtleneck courtesy of Sisley, Sunglasses (Chanel and Miu Miu) courtesy of Contacts and Specs all at First Canadian Place

Close to Toronto’s financial district? Make First Canadian Place your first destination for all your shopping needs this holiday season. For shopper’s convenience, First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower will be open Saturday’s starting this Saturday November 19th until Saturday December 17th with FREE parking . Retailers will be open from 11AM – 5PM. Enjoy the holiday shopping without the holiday stress!

The Meghan Markle for Reitmans Collection You Need This Fall

I think a common goal for most women-on-the-go is to build a closet full of wearable pieces that can seamlessly take them from the “desk to dinner”. We actually wear only 20% of our wardrobe, 80% of the time, so it only makes sense to arm ourselves with classic items that we can shamelessly keep on heavy rotation all season long.

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Meghan Markle is legitimately one of the kindest people I know, happens to be a lead characters on one of my favourite TV shows (Suits), and has such amazing personal style, the beauty has teamed up with Reitmans for the second season as a design collaborator on a capsule collection. And the results…quite amazing if I do say so myself! The collection features everything you need for the fall/winter season. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for ReitmansPhotography by JessBaumung.com for Reitmans

Reflecting Meghan’s personal style, the 5 piece collection consists of cropped pencil pants, white boyfriend-style blouse, a ridiculously gorgeous cashmere blend poncho and what everyone is going to want – a leather pencil skirt that literally hugs every corner of your curves and a super versatile turtleneck bodysuit. And not only are the pieces good quality, the price point is affordable, making the collection attainable for so many.

Based on this look, I am anticipating that the Meghan Markle Fall Collection is legit going to fly off shelves. It will be available both online and in select stores across Canada as of November 3rd, but my friends at Reitmans are graciously giving you exclusive access to pre shop the line. Click here to learn more and to become a registered shopper for early access to the collection. Get updates and style inspiration for Meghan Markle for Reitmans by following the hashtag #MMxReitmans on Instagram and Twitter.

Canada Goose Opens First Flagship Store in Toronto

If you live someplace where you must endure freezing cold temps between the months of December and March, you have probably become very well acquainted with Canada Goose. I’ve collected various styles from the Canadian born Arctic luxury apparel brand over the years that has allowed me to survive some of the coldest winters in history and brisk spring weather without sacrificing style.

Canada Goose opens its doors in the city it calls home (CNW Group/Canada Goose)

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Last night Canada Goose opened the doors to it’s first flagship store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto’s premier retail destination, which is getting a ton of press lately for it’s highly anticipated luxury retail expansion. About 10x’s larger than it may have appeared on my Insta and Snapchat stories, the 4,500 sqft space features Canadian design elements that help to bring the brand’s story to life. Canada Goose Canadian roots are clearly on display in the store with bespoke design elements that connect the space to it’s Canadiana roots; like the ridiculously stunning, oversized single piece marble desk, which was commissioned all the way from B.C. Plus the handmade, down filled upholstered furniture from Montreal based company, Montauk Sofa. And there is no shortage of options to choose from inside – trust me! With well over 100 different styles in 40 colour ways, Toronto’s flagship will house the largest variety of product anywhere in the world.

Canada Goose opens its doors in the city it calls home (CNW Group/Canada Goose)

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

And if you’re going to drop upwards of $1000 on a winter jacket, you deserve a first class shopping experience, right? If you’re in the market for premium outerwear this season, you can expect nothing but first class service from the store’s brand ambassadors; who are also more than happy to hold your purchases while you continue to shop the mall and will give you store carry-out to car or ship-to-home service if requested.

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Opening Ceremony for Canada GooseWearing Opening Ceremony for Canada Goose exclusive black Chilliwack bomber

Photos by Jess Baumung

And I’m sure you’re all wondering whether or not special collaborations will be available in store. Everyone has been chatting about the brand’s recent work with Opening Ceremony and star Blue Jay player José Bautista and lucky for us Torontonians, both are expected to be available here in addition to exclusive in-store only styles, prints and colours. Get a glimpse at vintage pieces from the Canada Goose six decade archive and purchase both classic collections and new pieces at the flagship, which is open to the public now!

8 Carry-On Essentials for Light Air Travel

For years I’ve always envied people who are able to travel with only carry-on luggage. And to be honest, I was not only envious, but also confused. Very confused. How can women travel for more than one night with a 21″ rolling case? I mean, how does she manage to squeeze in all the unnecessary outfits that she will never wear during her trip? Doesn’t she want to bring her ionic blow dryer? Isn’t it tough to pack multiple shoes, especially with high heels? And what about ALL her beauty and skincare products? *gasp*  During my travels on numerous press trips, I have learned a few tricks that has allowed me to join the club of savvy travellers who are not chained to the bag carrousel at their destination. This learning curve has allowed me to fit all the necessities into just one carry-on bag, although I do also bring along a backpack or large tote along as my handbag to cram in anything else that may not fit in my rolling luggage. So since “sharing is caring” here’s some of carry-on MUST HAVES that makes me feel like I have the basics covered:

  1. Rimowa Limbo Multiwheel 22″: Traveling with carry-on can only be done if you have the right bag. I’ve long been a fan of Rimowa luggage for it’s aesthetic, functionality, durable materials, and superior quality. No matter the size or type of bag, Rimowa always offers tons of storage components it’s internal set, taking away some of the anxiety of traveling with one piece of luggage. The multiwheel feature allows the bag to glide seamless in tandem by your side or pulled from behind.
  2. Dermalogica Skincare: On shorter trips, I have learned to edit down my skincare to just a few products. This is a huge feat seeing as though I use anywhere between 15-20 products a day on my face at home. Traveling can cause stress, skin accumulates dirt and debris and we all know that cabin air during flights wreak havoc on skin so it’s important to travel with some options to keep your skin clean, clear and hydrated. Clear skin all lies in how you cleanse. Before washing my skin, I use cleansing wipes (not pictured above) and Dermalogica’s Precleanse. The latter’s nourishing olive, apricot, and kukui nut oils removes make-up, sunscreens and oil-based debris. Also, I love multi-duty products like Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Thermafoliant. This powerful, self-heating skin polisher has chemical and physical exfoliants to not only refine your skin’s texture but also promotes skin firmness and enhance the penetration of vitamins into the skin. The best part, it’s formulated without artificial fragrances and colours. $55 CDN for Precleanse $77 CDN for Multivitamin Therafoliant
  3. The Esteé Edit “Beam Team”: Ummm this product is absolutely brilliant if you dropping majority of your skincare products like third period French class to be able to travel checked-in luggage free. Beam Team is a double duty daily moisturizing lotion. The tube contains a lightweight illuminating and hydrating lotion and wait for it, if you flip the cap top you will find a flattering for all skin shades, highlighting balm. $42 CDN
  4. Jo Malone “Wild Bluebell” Cologne: Who doesn’t love scents by Jo Malone? The brand has a wide variety of colognes ranging from; citrus, floral, fruity, spicy, and woody that can satisfy just about any scent palette. One of my go-to’s when traveling is Wild Bluebell in the 1 floz (30ml) bottle. The size couldn’t be more perfect for travel, plus the light, fruity scent won’t overbear your in-flight neighbours. $65
  5. Hermés Belt: Why travel with multiple belts when you can have just one chic, reversible option. I love my double sided Hermés belt kid. I’ve had it for years. I have misplaced it three times and literally felt my heart stop beating each time I did. The epsom calfskin leather strap in black (with tan on the reversible side) with gold plated metal buckle, literally goes with everything. I can’t say it’s cheap but hey, it’s essentially two belts for the price of one, so it’s all about perspective right? $1,405 CDN
  6. Apple 11″ MacBook Laptop: Size matters. When I am not traveling I love have access to a desktop monitor or larger laptop screen when I’m traveling, the 11″ MacBook has become my trusty companion for both work and play (I mean, I still have to stay up to date with my fave shows when I am on the road). It’s much thinner, lighter, faster, and sleeker than it’s predecessors and also have improved graphic performance. If that’s not enough, up to 10 hours of battery life.
  7. The Barest Lip Colour by The Esteé Edit: You don’t need to travel with an army of lipsticks and lip pencils, trust me. When I have limited luggage space, I stick to just one lippy that I can easily rock from day to night. Loving this neutral shade by The Esteeé Edit which is available at Sephora.ca. $26 CDN
  8. Shoes – a flat and a heel option: I don’t care whether it’s business or pleasure, I think every woman should travel with both a heel and a flat. I love these neutral shoes from Ann Taylor (left) and Loft (right) which are sadly from their summer collections and no longer available.

Interesting in learning more of my skincare secrets? Stay tuned as I will be sharing my skin story with Dermalogica Canada over the next few weeks. Follow along by using the hashtag #MyFaceMyStory on your favourite social channels.

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