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My Look For The 2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards

It’s been exactly a week since Toronto gathered to celebrate the creme de la creme of Canadian fashion at the 2019 CAFA’s and I am still not over this dress yet. I don’t think I will ever be!  This is one of the rare nights out of the entire year where everyone puts a little extra “sumthin” into their look and does their damn best to wear and support the amazing fashion talent coming out of this country.

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
With Canadian fashion designer and STITCHED contestant Christopher Paunil

Lots of commentary on Instagram stories about what I should wear when I posted stories from Christopher Paunil’s designer, the Toronto based design talent who created this beautiful fit and flare gown. If you’ve ever looked for a wedding dress from a Canadian designer you 100% have come across his work. If you’re fashion obsessed, his name isn’t new to you either or perhaps you may recognize him from STITCHED, the fashion focused competition show that aired last year on Slice. Christopher’s bread and butter if you will is bridal and he absolutely kills the game, but his evening wear is actually my fave. I’ve had a long time love affair with the designer and have worn him many times, but this dress just seemed extra special. Every single piece of clothing I have ever worn that he has designed, has fit like a glove and always makes the decision on what to wear so difficult. There were four looks in the running for CAFA this year and it all came down to the the sexy “Ezra” gold sateen jumpsuit and the stunning “Emmy” fit and flare gown in the end. Both are part of the designer’s current collection and the latter is available by order for $2,250.00.

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
left to right: Stylists Talia Brown-Thall, Liv Judd, and Zeina Esmail
2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
With Nadia Pizzimenti and Talia Brown-Thall
2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter
a quick selfie taken at the Joe Fresh table before the awards commenced

So, this was the second time I shared my outfit options from a designer’s studio on my IG stories and you know what…I actually LOVE you guys weighing in and sharing your perspective on what you feel is the best choice. I am thinking this may need to now become a thing because this time around, it totally helped me make my final decision. Although, so many of you did rally behind the jumpsuit, but not to worry, I am actually going to buy it . To be honest, the houndstooth fabric just looked so stunning when I tried it on and the drama of the large bow and train at the back just took shit to the next level. Because of that, I wanted to keep my make-up relatively simple and opted for a subdued smokey eye and a punch of colour on my lips.

2019 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards - Sasha Exeter

Photography by Chris Cheung and George Pimentel

I cannot take credit for the make-up. I don’t have the skill set to beat my own face like this. My beauty look was courtesy of the amazing team at Charlotte Tilbury. The goal was to create a flawless look, but one where my skin still looked real and not airbrushed like that IG make-up look that is becoming so popular. . My MUA that day, Sidonie, mixed a bit of the Hollywood Flawless Filter as a complexion booster in deep bronze with the Magic Foundation. Guys, Charlotte Tilbury has been slaying palettes lately. I have several eye palettes I die for, but I have yet to purchase any of the cheek palettes. We use Lovegasm on my face last week and it will for sure be my next Charlotte beauty purchase. Even the packaging of it is absolutely stunning.

For the lips, I ditched my original idea of going with Charlotte Tilbury’s “Stoned Rose“, a more neutral colour and decided to go big and bold with a beautiful orangey-red matte lippy called “Tell Laura”. I topped of the look with some custom lashes from Teka Neufville. They are the most beautiful and durable strip lashes I think I’ve ever worn. Super light on the lash line and can last up to 40 wears.

Special thank you to the amazing Christopher Paunil and Sidonie who is part of the amazing team at Charlotte Tilbury Holt Renfrew in Yorkville.

A Night At The Opera(nation)

Well folks, I don’t normally post about events on my site but there was so much love for the dress I wore to last week’s Canadian Opera Company’s Operanation that I’ve decided to post some photos and details on my look here. As soon as I heard that this year’s Operanation party was going to have a whimsical fairytale theme, I’m not going to lie, I got pretty stoked. The concept of formal has seemed to have disappeared over the last few years, which makes me really sad. Somehow denim has made it’s way into events where the invitation clearly cites “formal” and I think it’s time we bring some glam back to the Toronto scene.

COC Operanation - Narces Yasmin Gown
Wearing the “Yasmin” by Narces. Shoes by Rene Caovilla from David’s Shoes. Shot by David A. Pike

In the past, I have been very predictable and safe with my evening wear options. Black, black anything form fitting, oh and did I say black? I promised myself this year I would wear more colour and so far…so good. I love supporting Canadian designers because we have so much amazing talent in this country. I got to wear a dream of a dress designed by the beautiful Nikki Yassemi, the creative mind behind Narces, a Toronto based womenswear line that specializes in bridal, evening and special occasion ready-to-wear.

COC Operanation - Narces Yasmin Gown

COC Operanation - Narces Yasmin Gown

The bestest friend a gal can have and the perfect fairy godmother to Maxwell. Talia Brown has really helped me evolve my personal style during our four year friendship. Talia is in Self Portrait from Fitzroy Boutique.

There were several options, making it nearly impossible to choose, but narrowed them down to about five with the help of my best friend and stylist, Talia Brown. She knows me and my body better than anyone in the world. Yes, even better than Réjean…so outfit decisions for big events are rarely made without her. I was also lucky enough to get instantaneous feedback from so many of you guys when I posted our front runners on IG stories. THANK YOU FOR THAT! It made my decision that much easier and it was also surprising to hear that you all loved the pink belted “Felixa” ball gown with pockets. That one was a no brainer for a fairytale theme, but after much deliberation and the coaxing of Nikki, we went with the Yasmin gown. You can find on her website Narces.com and is available as pre-order dress only. Her stance on it,

“Everyone can do a ball gown, but why don’t you put your own twist on the theme and make it a bit sexy? This is a sexy fairytale!”

And you know what, she was right. This piece of magic is made of the most beautiful colour tulle with a slit that hit at just the right place. The belt detail is intended to be worn at the front, but at the very last minute I decided to switch it up and wear the bow in the back to enhance the train.

Here are some of my favourite photo moments from the evening

COC 2019 Operanation
L to R: Andrew Lovesey, Me, Nikki Yassemi of Narces, Talia Brown-Thall, Nelson Thall
COC 2019 Operanation
The most entertaining plus one ever – Andrew Lovesey

Speaking of amazing dresses and evening soirées…I am in the midst of planning for next week’s CAFA Awards and the gown hunting has officially commenced. You can catch all the dress options and behind the scenes on my stories.

A very special thank you to the talented David Pike who captured the most stunning photos of Talia and I before the event and to Chris Cheung, who somehow was stealth enough to really cool candid moments in the rain, as we entered The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

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


 

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