An A to Z spring fashion and beauty shopping guide

An A to Z spring fashion and beauty shopping guide

Consonant Skin+Care Hydrocolloid PatchesHandout

A is for Acne Patches

Treat your pimples with playful hydrocolloid acne patches, available in a range of shapes, colours and styles. The patches absorb drainage from pimples while protecting them from external factors, and may also contain ingredients such as salicylic acid. “So long as you have no allergies or sensitivities to the ingredients used in your specific patch, you should feel free to experiment,” says Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology.

Consonant Skin+Care Hydrocolloid Patches, $12 through consonantskincare.com.

B is for Bangles

Wrists are a key point of focus this season, with designers such as LaQuan Smith and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain using bold bangles to heighten the drama of an ensemble.

Smith’s take on the trend has a 1960s feel thanks to the jewellery’s Lucite composition, while Balmain’s bracelets range from modern and sculptural to elegantly earthy. Stack them or find one that stands out solo, such as Montreal-based Yuun’s intriguing Quanta style.

Yuun bracelet, US$330 through yuun.studio.

Andersson Bell pants.

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Ksubi jacket.

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C is for Cargo Pants

As a closet staple, the cargo pant has maintained its appeal thanks to its utilitarian vibe. “They represent survival and resilience,” says Jason Morikawa, managing director at the Toronto boutique WDLT117. No wonder designers from Marine Serre and Jonathan Simkhai to Tibi’s Amy Smilovic have given these trousers a glossy update, elevating the functional feeling via sumptuous fabrics. We’re also seeing cargo pants with pumped up volume, a nod to the oversized look popular during the raver era. Morikawa has even noticed female customers shopping men’s styles to achieve maximum amplification.

Andersson Bell pants, $895 at WDLT117 (wdlt117.com).

D is for Distressing

Distressed details such as frayed hems and mock moth holes continue to crop up in fashion collections. Denim is still the preferred medium for showcasing how beautiful coming undone can be. Jacquemus’s spring offering included jeans with an all-over stitched effect, and Australian label Ksubi serves up a jacket that looks like it’s been artistically mended. “It adds a kind of personalized feeling to the piece that you can build on by adding your own patches and other details,” says Holt Renfrew’s fashion director, Joseph Tang. “And over all, it speaks to a relaxed, deconstructed mood.”

Ksubi jacket, $390 at Holt Renfrew (holtrenfrew.com).

E is for Extreme Headwear

Heads up! Cute cloches, fabulous fedoras and bodacious boaters are hotter than ever, with the likes of Ralph Lauren touting cowboy hats and Fendi featuring a hybrid visor/bucket brimmed look at its men’s-wear show. But it’s not only silhouettes that captivate in this category. The use of embellishments and prints, such as the one splashed on Brimz’s conspicuous bucket hat, also flip lids in just the right way.

Bucket hat, $45 at Brimz (brimzofficial.com).

Ember Wellness Sculpt & Glow BarHandout

F is for Fit Skin

Move over Peloton and Pilates, facial workouts are the latest fitness craze, with spas and at-home tools providing massage techniques and exercises. Sandrine Silvestre, spas and institutes training and quality director at French beauty brand Guerlain, describes fit skin as having a luminous and toned appearance. “Its texture is smooth and even and facial contours are toned.” She explains that the Imperial Face Sculpt technique at Guerlain Spas includes self-massage treatments that clients can practise at home. “The power of massage is real,” Silvestre says. Indeed, a clinical study from 2018 found that regular facial flexing can improve appearance.

Ember Wellness Sculpt & Glow Bar, $29 through emberwellness.com.

Maguire Boots.

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Par Ici Jewellery necklace.

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G is for Goth

Moodier sartorial moments traditionally appear during historically bleak times. In addition to the perpetual bad news cycle, popular culture has also gone to the dark side and thanks to shows such as Wednesday and Russian Doll, goth is once again of the moment. What’s interesting about this aesthetic is that every era seems to layer in its own nostalgic references. Today, its key ingredient is a 1990s riot grrrl’s confident aggression. Yohji Yamamoto’s collection infused grunge into Edwardian silhouettes while Richard Quinn went full-throttle with nods to early Alexander McQueen and 1960s Hitchcock heroines. Pair Maguire’s chunky-heeled boot with a vintage lace dress to capture the somber attitude.

Boots, $375 at Maguire (maguireshoes.com).

H is for Heart Jewellery

We can all use a little love day-to-day, and heart-shaped baubles are a playful reminder that being enamoured with yourself is really what matters most. Chanel, Versace and Moschino all rendered takes on the tender trend of wearing your heart not on your sleeve, but your fingers, earlobes and neck. Toronto’s Par Ici Jewellery has a selection of pieces to show the world your romantic side.

Par Ici Jewellery necklace, $169 through paricijewellery.com.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighter.Handout

I is for Iridescent Highlighter

Taking the natural highlighter look to new heights is an iridescent glow achieved through liquid or powder applied on the cheekbones. “Going hand in hand with the beauty industry’s ‘skin-first’ approach, we are seeing brands leap into these vibrant highlighter shades while still prioritizing a natural-skin-like finish,” says makeup artist Nate Matthew. Matthew recommends looking for a duo-chrome powder highlighter that reveals an otherworldly colour shift when it catches the light.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighter in Gilded Glow, $58 through charlottetilbury.com.

Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer.Brad Lansill/Handout

J is for Just Say No To Complicated Regimens

“Skinimalism” is a term used to describe today’s preference for a streamlined beauty routine. “I fully believe that so long as you’re using the right ingredients and formulas for your skin’s needs, a brief regimen is totally effective,” says Yadav, who recommends establishing a morning routine that includes a cleanser, antioxidant serum, moisturizer and sunscreen, and an evening routine that can also incorporate a retinoid or exfoliant. Hybrid products, such as makeup that includes skincare ingredients, can also lighten up your morning routine.

Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer, $52 at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and through smashbox.ca.

K is for Knee-Length

Two camps are emerging from lockdown dressing: Those who want to go over-the-top, and those desiring a refined approach. Fans of the latter will be thrilled that this alluring hem option appeared on the runways of Miu Miu, Givenchy and Bottega Veneta. Knee-length dresses radiate a sense of sophistication but the timeless silhouette can also be worn as a skirt with a simple T-shirt for more relaxed affairs.

Osei-Duro dress, $343 through oseiduro.com.

Bead n Butter earrings.

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Menopause Faace treatment.

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L is for Long Earrings

It’s time to drop everything, as lengthy earrings are the scene-stealing accessory of the moment. Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton and Dries Van Noten made a case for letting it all hang with outstretched styles featuring gemstones and metallics, while Winnipeg’s Bead n Butter offers elongated pieces in a mix of motifs and colours.

Bead n Butter earrings, $150 through beadnbutter.ca.

M is for Menopausal Skincare

Beauty brands are increasingly targeting products to those in the perimenopausal and menopausal phases of life, a typically overlooked consumer cohort. Part of what’s been dubbed the menopause gold rush, these products typically focus on restoring moisture and promoting collagen production, which dermatologist Yadav says is something everyone can incorporate into their skincare regimen. “I think it’s wonderful that skincare brands are finally speaking to this demographic of women, who may have felt overlooked in the past, but I do feel like this category is more about marketing than anything else,” she says. “There’s nothing stopping anyone from using these products.”

_faace Menopause Faace, $50 through thedetoxmarket.ca.

imPRESS Premium Press-On Manicure.Christopher Gallo Photo/Handout

N is for Nail Gems

Adding baubles to your manicure is a playful way to experiment with the gem trend without feeling like you’re going to dance the night away at an abandoned warehouse. Spotted on the tips of high-wattage stars Lizzo, Dua Lipa and Jennifer Lopez, the crystal manicure can be as ornate or subtle as you make it. Try applying multiple rhinestones to glamorously embellish a French tip or simply add one gem to its base for a more contemporary look.

imPRESS Premium Press-On Manicure in All My Love, $16.99 through imPRESSmanicure.com.

Living Proof Full Dry Volume and Texture Spray.

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Matinique jacket.

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O is for Octopus Hair

Following in the footsteps of the TikTok viral “wolf cut” is the Octopus, a style that hairstylist and founder of THIC haircare company Morgan Tully describes as being a cross between a shag and a mullet. “This haircut takes nineties layers to a whole new level with lots of volume around the crown and long, wispy layers that frame the face, which could somewhat look like octopus tentacles, hence the name,” Tully says. Instead of mentioning the word “octopus” to your stylist, Tully recommends asking for lots of long, face-framing layers and a few surrounding the crown for volume, which can be maintained throughout the day with a texture spray.

Living Proof Full Dry Volume and Texture Spray, $46 at Sephora (sephora.ca).

P is for Purple

From amethyst to wine, shades of purple will instantly pep up a wardrobe. While the trend forecasting website WGSN named Digital Lavender its colour of the year, don’t let the techy implications scare you off. In suiting, purple can work for the office or summer weddings. Simply seek out well-tailored pieces to ensure these items outlast purple’s burgeoning popularity.

Matinique jacket, $429 at Simons (simons.ca).

Qualitative Beauty.Handout

Q is for Qualitative Products

As awareness around ethical consumerism grows, beauty lovers are looking to engage with products that have meaning. Brands are increasingly expected to operate transparently, sharing honestly about their environmental and social impact as well as taking accountability for product claims and pricing. A company such as Nova Scotia’s The 7 Virtues, which was born in 2010 out of founder Barb Stegemann’s mission of supporting countries rebuilding after war or strife, exemplifies how beauty companies can combine entrepreneurship and ethical consumption with activism.

The 7 Virtues Coconut Sun Eau de Parfum, $110 at Sephora (sephora.ca).

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum.Handout

R is for Retinol

The skincare industry is awash with buzzy ingredients, but retinol is one that many experts agree is worth considering. Clinically proven to treat acne as well as signs of aging, retinol truly works, says Yadav, but it gets a bad rap because of its potential side effects. “Skin needs to build up a tolerance to retinol, and as it does so, it may get irritated, dry and flaky,” she says. For many, however, persevering is worth it, unless, Yadav cautions, you have very sensitive skin or rosacea, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, which are all reasons to avoid retinol use entirely.

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum, $128 through dermalogica.ca.

COS Shirt.

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Acne Studios skirt.

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S is for Stripes

Ready to walk the line? Stripes are making their way across all manner of garments in every direction. On the runway, Ports 1961 featured striping that gave even more shape to ample proportions, and at Prada a sportier lane was taken for its treatment of the look. An extension of the preppy trend, watch for garments that take traditional striping around the bend.

Shirt, $150 at COS (cosstores.com).

T is for Tassels

Talk about feeling strung along. Adding a definitive swish to one’s step, fringe elements could be found on the Giorgio Armani catwalk in luxe crochet looks, and at Victoria Beckham, where a heap of mesmerizing tassels were sculpted into a clutch bag’s design. Acne Studios’ skirt is adorned with enough tendrils to make an impact while still feeling (sort of) subtle.

Skirt, $510 at Acne Studios (acnestudios.com).

Moon Juice SuperBeauty supplements.Handout

U is for Uplifting Wellness

For many, the extensive periods spent at home during the pandemic have redefined self-care rituals. In the beauty world, products that intersect beauty and health, such as emotional, hormonal or sexual wellness, are evolving our approach to inner and outer personal care.

For example, supplements that promote skin and hair health offer an inside-out take on skin and haircare, while tools and products that inspire mindfulness and stress relief will be sought after for their effect on our appearance.

Moon Juice SuperBeauty, $74 through moonjuice.com.

YSL Beauty Vernis à Lèvres Vinyl Cream.

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Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner.

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V is for Vinyl Lips

Ultrashiny and highly pigmented, this lip approach has taken over from the matte look that had been trending for years. “Nothing says plump like a juicy finish,” explains Matthew, who recommends allowing your vinyl-finish product to set on the lips for 30 seconds. You can try layering a sheer gloss over your favourite lip colour to get the look.

YSL Beauty Vernis à Lèvres Vinyl Cream, $49 at Shoppers Drug Mart (shoppersdrugmart.ca).

W is for Witch Hazel

A botanical beauty staple that’s making a comeback, witch hazel is a plant extract with astringent properties, meaning it helps absorb and prevent excess oil, explains Yadav. Although it’s often used to treat ailments such as bug bites, witch hazel may not be suitable as a daily-use toner for all skin types, she cautions. “The natural compounds in witch hazel can cause irritation and the ingredient is usually used in formulas with high concentrations of alcohol, further irritating and drying out the skin.”

Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner, $39 at Sephora (sephora.ca).

Eleven Thirty Shoulder bag.Handout

X is for X-tra Large Bags

After seasons of watching handbags shrink to outlandishly Lilliputian proportions, accessories grow up this spring with an abundance of outsized totes and shoulder bags that emphasize usefulness. “For me, practicality is always at the forefront,” says Alexa Schoorl of the Toronto-based bag brand Eleven Thirty about her designs. “I see it as, you can leave in the morning with confidence that you’ll be prepared for whatever the day brings to you.”

Shoulder bag, from $430 at Eleven Thirty (eleventhirtyshop.com).

Aurum Calming Birch Serum.

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Eliza Faulkner top.

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Y is for Yukon Birch Water

With skin sensitivities on the rise, consumers are seeking out gentler products that reduce inflammation. One such skin-soother is birch tree sap, popular in Korean beauty products for its rich content of amino acids, antioxidants and minerals. This serum by Dawson City’s Aurum uses birch water that’s tapped, treated and filtered from the Yukon’s subarctic trees, known for their ability to endure a harsh climate.

Aurum Calming Birch Serum, $84 through aurumskincare.ca.

Z is for Zesty Hues

Get juiced up with a crop of clothing that comes in citrus-y shades such as lime, lemon and bright orange. Gabriela Hearst, Alberta Ferretti and Sergio Hudson all featured flashy shades in their collections, and Montreal’s Eliza Faulkner is embracing the tart palette with a selection of dresses and separates that are like a hit of tropical sun. “After winter, brightness is such a relief,” Faulkner says. “Give me colour!”

Eliza Faulkner top, $140 through elizafaulkner.com.

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