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Let’s Make Flats Great Again

For the last few years I would wake up, look at my closet and would literally be late to wherever I have to go because I couldn’t decide what to wear. The funny thing is, I would stare at the options and continue to pick the same few items and repeat, repeat, repeat. I kid you not, only 20% of my closet had pieces I actually loved and used. I purged a ton this summer and still need to get rid of another garbage bag (or two) worth of items. My plan: To set aside a clothing budget each season and only buy the items I truly LOVE and not pieces that I will wear once and would be thrown in the back of my closet or tossed in our storage.

I have made a commitment to flats this fall. Well, Maxwell becoming mobile and running all over the place actually gave me no choice but to fully embrace them really. I figure, if I am going to wear flats, they better be pretty. I’ve had my eye on this Aquazurra’s for a minute and pulled the trigger. After buying my Gucci loafers, I still felt like I needed a pair of flats that could easily take a laid back look and make it look less casual, if you know what I mean. I did a quick poll during a trip to David’s Footwear a few weeks back when I went to check out the newly expanded flagship location and you guys were adamant about me getting these Mondaine Mules. Well SPOILER ALERT: I listened and got these but I also scooped up the Rene Caovilla open toe beauties ya’ll thought were over the top. But I digress… The new David’s store in Yorkville is now 6,000 sqft and they have added so many new contemporary brands, so good luck walking in there thinking you’re only coming out with one pair.

What I’m Wearing

Shoes: Aquazurra Mondaine Mules  //  Sweater: The Group by Babaton  //  Skirt: Artizia  //  Bag: Gucci  //  Hat: Old but found a similar one here // Bracelets: Vintage

I will be bearing my ankles in these Aquazurra’s for as long as possible. I love them so much, maybe until the snow arrives. This past weekend I wore this outfit not once but TWICE. With no shame at all LOL! The skirt and sweater I picked up on separate occasions from Babaton and Artizia stores respectively and are both available online. The sweater is the coziest and if it wasn’t covered in remnants of what the Maxwell and her cousins ate today, I would probably wear it again tomorrow.

FLARE Magazine ‘Fashion For All’ Campaign in Partnership With Joe Fresh

#BoPo. Yup, I just started a sentence with a hashtag and unless you’ve been living under a rock or have no imprint on social media, this term is not new to you. BoPo, short for “Body Positivity” is a topic that has been swirling around the industry for the last few years but really ramped up some speed in late 2016 with top models, actresses, and other industry insiders speaking up about the topic. An issue that has obviously long plagued the fashion world was finally being brought to light by some very brave souls willing to champion this fight and lead the way for others to openly speak out in hope for change. There’s been a lot of progress over the last year and a half and I have actually been super lucky to be apart of some incredible projects highlighting this topic.

I, like most women, have had body image issues over the years and if I can be honest here, still do from time to time. It’s been an interesting road postpartum getting back into shape after baby to say the least. As a mama to a little girl though, I want to help Maxwell feel good in her skin and be confident in who she is from a really early age.

Shop My Joe Fresh Look: Military Skirt – $34 // Turtle Neck – $19 // Block Heel Booties – $59

Fashion should be for every body – literally. Not exclusive to only those of a certain size, shape or colour. Last month I got a chance to be involved in a really cool project with Flare Magazine and Joe Fresh, which you guys know I have worked extensively with over the years. Their mission was to really show some of the leading faces (and it’s a pretty phenomenal line-up of amazing young women) and how we are redefining style for ourselves – wearing key pieces from Joe Fresh’s fall collection that reflect a bit of our own personal style. I am sure you already know or recognize some of the other faces and if not, this is a great opportunity to learn a bit more these women that each have a distinct voice, perspective and add something of value to the creative community.

Fashion For All - Flare Mag x Joe Fresh

Shot by Robert Caruso. Styled by Ingrie Williams (stylist) and Natasha Bruno (Stylist Assistant). Hair by Kristjan Hayden. Makeup by Claudine Balthazar. Nails by Rita Remark

 

I don’t want to spill all the tea here, so you’ll have to head to Flare.com to see the full interviews from each of us. Not only is it pretty damn cool but it’s also so refreshing to see all this diversity and representation in one campaign. You did good, Flare & Joe Fresh…you did good!

For more on the Fashion For All campaign head to Flare.com/fashion-for-all

My VIP Toronto Film Fest Giveaway with First Canadian Place

Ok, I’ve been dying to share this news. DYING!!!! Film Festival here in Toronto starts next week and I’ve partnered with First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower to gift one lucky follower the ultimate film festival experience. FCP has seriously stepped up their retail game and I recently paid the centre a visit to scoop up some pieces for next week’s events and film premieres.

Toronto International Film Festival x First Canadian Place

Toronto International Film Festival x First Canadian Place

What I’m Wearing: Sequin Dress from Maska Mode // Jewelry by Swarovski // Chanel Rose Gold Sunglasses from Specs & Contacts

So what you’ll win is pretty major. A shopping spree with me (YAY) for the perfect film fest outfit (valued at $1000), plus tickets to a premiere and dinner for two. Craaaaazy right? Contest starts today and ends on September 9th.

Toronto International Film Festival x First Canadian Place

What I’m Wearing: Black Cami Tank from Sisley // Pants Derek Lam from Hangar 9 // Clutch from Judith & Charles // Bracelet from Swarovski // Sunnies are Gucci from Specs & Contacts. All retailers found at First Canadian Place

Oculina Black Organza Top (worn as a dress) by Marie Saint Pierre from Hangar 9 // Emerald Velvet Clutch from Judith and Charles // Jewelry by Swarovski

Toronto International Film Festival x First Canadian Place

Toronto International Film Festival x First Canadian Place

To enter simply share a photo of your ideal festival outfit OR share the contest image on your own IG page tagging @FirstCanadianPlace using the hashtag #MyFCPExFilmFest in the caption and you must follow the First Canadian Place IG account. Winner will be announced on September 10th on both @FirstCanadianPlace and my IG stories. You can find full contest details on myfirstcanadianplace.ca

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!

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