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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

 

Degree UltraClear Black + White: The Secret to Keeping Clothes Looking New

The most important thing I put on every morning may not be what you think it is. I’m sure most women claim it’s their favourite lipstick, a supportive bra or moisturizer but for me it’s my antiperspirant. I have experimented with deodorants for years, struggling with their lack of sweat protection and until discovering Degree’s Dry Spray Antiperspirants  just over a year ago when I got first got involved in their #BeTheMotion campaign. Engineered with Motionsense technology, it releases extra body odour protection the more you move (key on those long work days that end with a workout) and is formulated to provide 48 hour protection but didn’t really tackle the issue of those embarrassing and annoying white marks that too often get left behind on our favourite garments.

Degree Ultraclear Black + White Dry Spray Antiperspirant not only packs the power of coverage like it’s predecessor, but now also is designed to keep clothes looking new – so good riddance to nasty white marks on your go-to blacks and yellow stains on your favourite summer whites, all done with the subtle scent of rose, lily and fruit that lasts all day.

Photography by JessBaumung.com

Want to keep your blacks, black without your vibe being killed by white deodorant marks? Head to DegreeDeoderant.ca to learn more.

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!

Up Close & Personal With Yours Truly in LouLou Magazine

Through SoSasha.com and social media I get a chance to share parts of my life and amazing experiences with my followers, but I have come to realize that although you all love the brand experiences and story telling, you’re also very interested in learning the little things about me…the quirks, idiosyncrasies, guilty pleasures, what motivates me or how I stay motivated and a bit more about my personal life. I sat down with LouLou Magazine not too long ago, for a rapid-fire Q&A session where I got to dish on what’s in my handbag, my favourite workout partners, what makes me “happy”, The Kardashians and much more.
#366DaysOfLooks
In case you missed it, I am currently collaborating with the magazine on their #366DaysOfLooks project. Catch up on all my favourite OOTD’s by heading to LouLouMagazine.com/SashaExeter.

Stutterheim Raincoats x Hudson’s Bay Collaboration

Stutterheim x HBC

Leave it to Hudson’s Bay to make rainwear look chic. This spring the Canadian heritage brand joined forces with iconic Swedish rainwear label Stutterheim to launch an outerwear piece so dope, not only will you not mind getting caught in inclement weather, you probably won’t wait for rain on the forecast to wear it either. Stutterheim is world renown for their handmade raincoats in rubberized cotton inspired by Alexander Stutterheim’s beloved grandfather’s original fisherman rain jacket he found abandoned in a barn. Realizing the classic shell’s understated coolness and potential, Stutterheim decided to update the practical piece with a few contemporary touches making his jackets relevant and wearable for years to come.

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Taking design cues from the brand’s most classic style coat, appropriately named the “Stockholm”, HBC team adapted the piece for their widely popular multi-stripe collaboration collection by giving it the classic green, red, yellow and blue colours, which embodies the wool-point blanket stripes of North America’s longest standing retailer. Typical for Stutterheim, there is quality in every single detail, with extra long sleeves, snap front and deep pockets to ensure both you and your belongings stay dry during the worst rain fall. You will even find swatches for each colour blocked panel in the inside of the jacket. Best part, if you’re clumsy like me and have difficulty keeping your fave outerwear clean, this rain slicker is machine washable.

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stuttterheim x Hudsons BayPhotography by Jilly Botting and Leslie Woods c/o WRG Magazine

I have somehow been lucky enough to snag one of the 160 exclusive unisex coats alongside some of my friends at WRG Magazine in Montreal and look forward to making dark rainy days a bit more brighter in my jacket. The Stutterheim Raincoats x Hudson’s Bay collaboration is available right now for purchase both at @HudsonsBay stores and online for $400.

#LoveMyHood East Toronto Neighbourhood Guide Sneak Peek

LoveMyHood

I feel so grateful to live in a city rich and diverse in culture and with so many neighbourhood pockets, each so different and unique. I’ve lived in many areas of Toronto and in other cities all over the world, but recently I’ve been calling Leslieville home with my love. The area really has that “neighbourhood” feel and we enjoy the fact that our fave spots are within walking distance. With my busy lifestyle, I really appreciate anything that makes my life easier. Some days get so hectic with what seems like a million meetings, events and other commitments. This means I generally turn to easy basics that can be mixed and matched and see me through the entire day. This is one of the reasons I love Bench so much. Simple, oversized tees, classic sweatshirts and hoodies, outerwear plus cozy sweats that I love to wear with my custom Nike Huaraches.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

Bench3_edit

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHoodPhotography by Danielle Reynolds (@daniirey)

Since my move, I have been asked about some of the places I frequent in my new hood, so I am going to be teaming up with Bench Canada for their #LoveMyHood campaign next week to show you guys just how cool the east side is with all the details on my fave spots and staple pieces from Bench. Stay tuned!

Sentaler | Canada’s New Leading Luxury Outerwear

Sentaler

If you live in a city that has sub arctic temperatures between the months of November and April, chances are you take your outerwear very seriously.  I used to believe I had to sacrifice fashion for function to keep warm during the winter, until I was introduced to Canada’s luxury outerwear brand, Sentaler. Over the past few years I have seen Sentaler’s beautiful coats made from Peruvian Alpaca, on women all over the city and started to become intrigued about this little Canadian brand that has started to make a splash internationally.

Sentaler

Sentaler

Sentaler

Fast forward a couple year’s and I had a chance encounter with the beauty and brains behind the brand, Bojana Sentaler, this past summer. Funny enough, our paths did not cross at a fashion event, but rather on a track day at Mosport Racetrack with Cadillac, where I was learning to race cars and Bojana was filming a video feature for the luxury automotive company’s Dare Greatly campaign. Not too long after the event, we connected back in the city at the designer’s minimalist office. Here we chatted all things Sentaler and discovered our joint love for fashion and cars. It’s not often do I meet another young lady who admires cars as much as they do clothes. Or better yet, prefers to drive a manual stick shift over automatic transmission vehicle. Similar to myself, Bojanna finds parallels in vehicle design as she does with clothing, part of why she agreed to collaborate with Cadillac on Dare Greatly. The Dare Greatly campaign  sought out Canadian leaders in their field who dare to drive the world in their field and naturally she made the cut as a hot, emerging designer. Here’s a sneak peek at the designer’s story shot earlier this summer courtesy of Cadillac.

As part of a way to get out of the office and get better acquainted, I took the beautiful Toronto designer for a spin in the new Cadillac ATS V Coupe, the same vehicle we both had on the track back in June. Finding similarities in different areas of design has always intrigued me. It’s interesting that the same level of care Bojana takes creating her designs, is very similar to what Cadillac’s design team does with the vehicle’s interior. The cut and sew treatment of the interior’s leather is an element the team borrowed directly from the fashion industry.

Sentaler

Sentaler

Sentaler

Cadillac ATS V Coupe

SentalerAbove in Sentaler’s long coat with baby alpaca fur collar (limited edition) 

In 2009 Sentaler was born. But not from the fashion educated roots of most designers. Pre Sentaler, Bojana was worlds away in Dubai working on economic investment reports (yep you read that correctly). While living way out in the luxurious desert region, she had an opportunity to meet and chat with Karl Lagerfeld and this conversation left her so inspired that she had decided that she wanted to finally pursue her passion within fashion. After leaving Dubai, Sentaler then headed to South America where she came across the alpaca fibre and spent time in Peru learning all about the alpaca fabrics amazing qualities and how to design with it. “When I launched my first collection six years ago, I loved my product and truly believed in it. I wasn’t considering failure as an option because I was so passionate about what I was doing”.

SentalerSentaler’s Shawl Collar Poncho Wrap 

So why has Sentaler’s outerwear been gaining so much notoriety as of late? Personally, I think consumers have dabbled in quick and fast fashion for such a long time and have so much access to trendy fashion at high street stores but are coming to understand again the importance of a proper investment when it comes to classic and chic outerwear. These coats are far from a seasonal fad and one can last you a lifetime. However, if you ask the likes of “Suits” actress Meghan Markle, “Sex and the City’s” Kim Cattral, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and yours truly, one Sentaler coat is just not enough. I am already plotting on what I am going to acquire next after getting the label’s uber functional hooded wrap coat in grey. Sentaler’s full collection is ultra versatile and there is literally a style that suits any body type and style preference. The thing I love the most is that each piece can also be toned down into a more casual look depending on what you pair with it. On another note, alpaca seems to be trending as of late. On a recent trip to Quebec City I visited an Alpaca farm and learned a bit more about these cute animals that produce such excess soft fur that is now being used for everything from socks, sweaters, gloves and jackets. Like most, I always thought wool was the warmest fabric but surprisingly alpaca is much warmer but lighter in weight, making it an easier fabric to wear during transitional seasons. Bojana uses only baby alpaca for her Sentaler jackets which comes from the first shearing of a young alpaca.  This is the softest and most desired fibre – which makes Sentaler coats so silky and soft to the touch.

SentalerSentaler’s Hooded Wrap Coat

The future is bright for Bojana and I am excited to see what 2016 has in store for this young and super talented woman that I am now lucky to call a friend. Busy filling stock and custom orders for the current season, Sentaler is also keeping herself busy designing her next collection citing that she draws most of her inspiration from her travels, “Inspiration comes from everything around me. And when I step away from my everyday work, my mind is free and my creative thoughts arise.”

SentalerPhotography by Danielle Reynolds

Sentaler’s fabulous collection can be found at Holt Renfrew locations across Canada, the team’s Toronto showroom and online, where she ships internationally – thank God! For more information on Sentaler, to view the entire collection and to purchase online head to Sentaler.com.

Staying Dry and Fresh With Dove at Fashion Week

WMCFW Dove Dry Spray

I am often asked questions around which beauty products are the most important in my daily routine or items I can’t live without and people are often stunned when I mention my antiperspirant. Most women would normally call out a cult fave concealer, the season’s “it-colour” lippy or a super hydrating moisturizer – which in actuality are all great too, but with my crazy busy and active lifestyle, I can’t express the importance of having adequate protection from my deodorant.

WMCFW Dove Dry Spray

What I’m Wearing: Leather Jacket by Rudsak // Crop top & Skirt by Artizia // Shoes by NikeSportswear

Dove Dry Spray

WMCFW Dove Dry Spray

I have been given the opportunity to begin testing out Dove’s latest innovation within beauty over the last week  – a dry spray antiperspirant. With a hectic schedule last week with travel, photo shoots and World MasterCard Fashion Week, it couldn’t have been a more opportune time to try out this new way to stay dry. If you attended any of the shows in the tents at David Pecault Square, you probably saw that the brand had set up shop giving out samples to Toronto’s most fashionable to test out at home. Pretty brilliant idea on Dove’s part actually as complaints about deodorant residue are not uncommon in the fashion industry; especially from stylists, editors, models and designers. I flew in just in time to catch the Rudsak Fall/Winter 2015 show with my fashion friends. Known for their drool-worthy outerwear and leather pieces, Rudsak is truly one of my fave Canadian brands and a show I look forward to each season.

RUDSAK_FW15

Rudsak_FW15

RUDSAK_FW15Photos by Nathalia Allen – amillionminds.ca

Yes, eliminating visible residue is a great bonus for sure but personally I am more concerned with making sure the deodorant I use works with my body chemistry and can provide me with the protection I need to get me through a busy day of meetings, events, workouts at Equinox and runs with my crew. Truth be told, in the past I have stuck to stick deodorants in fear that a spray on antiperspirant would leave behind a sticky or wet feeling, but  Dove’s extensive R&D team have found a way to make this product go on instantly dry when it touches the skin. With a long day of travel and being under stress rushing to the tents for photos, interviews and the show, I was astonished that not only was I kept dry and smelling great the entire day, my black clothing did not reveal a trace of white residue.  For all you other women “on-the-go” like me, you will be happy to know that Dove Dry Spray has been formulated specially to provide us with 48 hour protection and 1/4 moisturizer technology, making sticks and gels a thing of the past.

I am going to continue testing out Dove’s Dry Spray for the next couple of weeks and will be reporting back on my thoughts, so stay tuned. Dove’s four Dry Spray variants; Beauty Finish, Cool Essentials, Revive and Original Scent can be found in most Drug, Food and Mass retailers now across Canada and retails for $5.99. Join in on the social conversation with @DoveCanada by following along on Twitter and Instagram or posting your Dove Dry Spray images by using the hashtag #TryDry.

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