About Sarah


Sarah Francis is a fashion addict with a serious shoe fetish and a penchant for shiny things.  She's the Director of Real Life Runway and Official Stylist of Vaughan Mills. Her work has appeared in some of the country's top magazines, newspapers and TV shows.  Oh, and she loooves to shop. Obviously.


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Entries in Fashion Trends (4)


These 35 Accessories Will Get You So Excited for Spring

via Dynamite

-24ºC overnight tonight and it's March. I feel for you Sudbury. The sun might be out but it's not really doing its job. The light's on but nobody's home. Like, if the sun had a boss, it would be so fired, amirite? And so, I feel like today is the perfect time to talk spring. But instead of teasing you with cute sandals and flirty little dresses which you have no hope of actually wearing for the next few months, I'm sharing loads of fun accessories to brighten your day.

Colourful, fun and affordable, the new accessories coming into stores right now scream spring but don't require warm spring weather to wear them. Replace your heavy knit scarf with a pretty new pastel version. Let a pair of shoulder-skimming earrings get the spring party started, even if you're still wearing your toque. And nothing takes advantage of those sunny winter days quite like a new pair of mirrored sunglasses - I'm personally partial to pink.

Happy March and happy accessory shopping.  -24ºC: um yup, you totally deserve it ;)


THE EDGE | A Conservative Girl's Guide to Achieving Street Cred

Photo via Olivia Palermo on Instagram

Pressed, primped and pulled-together is one thing. But cool? Now that's a real challenge for conservative girls. While some are just born with it, most of us have to work a little harder to get an edge. Luckily, the right pieces can score you that street cred you crave. We've pulled together some of our fav ways to add instant edge to your wardrobe this season, no extra piercings required. Phew. Happy Friday!


HOW TO WEAR THEM: Every girl knows the power of a great black ankle boot. But if you're a super conservative girl at heart, you probably only ever wear them with pants, right? Next time a dress or A-line skirt is on your wardrobe rotation, why not pair it up with your ankle boots to add some edge? We've shown higher booties here which work well if you've been blessed with thin legs but if you've got more muscular calves, opt for a lower-profile shootie instead. We're loving these.

OUR PICK: Made in Italy Leather Pointy-Toe Ankle Boot, $189.95, Le Château


HOW TO WEAR IT: Neon? On you? If you think bright beanies are only for teens, think again. Loads of street style goddesses use this little styling trick to look like they're waving their hands up in the air like they just don't care. Oh, and in case you're wondering, that's a good thing. 

OUR PICK: Neon Ribbed Knit Beanie, $19, American Eagle


HOW TO WEAR THEM: If you're a play-it-safe dresser, you probably only bust out your statement earrings for a) weddings, b) girl's night out, c) Christmas. Come on! We're a big fan of earrings for winter since we're usually too bundled up to show off our necklaces anyway. This season, try inherently edgy matte black earrings or ear crawlers, the newest long version of the ear cuff. And it bears repeating, be sure to wear them before the sun sets.   

OUR PICK: Statement Earrings, $12, ALDO


HOW TO WEAR IT: There's nothing wrong with perfectly tailored pieces but one perpetual conservative girl challenge is trying to loosen up. Whether it's a cool oversized sweater, a pair of chic drapey pants or this season's must-have - a big coat - an extra-oversized piece works wonders at making you look more chill. 

OUR PICK: Sklar Oversized Biker Coat, $899, Danier


HOW TO WEAR THEM: If you've already got leather gloves in your closet, now's the time to expand your repertoire. Mixed media is the message this season, made especially cool when leather and knit are paired up together. 

OUR PICK: Leather and Knit Long Gloves, $34.90, Smart Set


HOW TO WEAR THEM: Sneakers used to be seen as a gym-only shoe. But since everyone's started wearing them with everything from jeans to skirts, we've fallen in love with the super comfy kicks. You'll find versions of the leopard sneaker in almost every shoe store right now but we're partial to NYC go-to sneaker brand, Superga.  

OUR PICK: Superga Leopard Sneaker, $75, Aeropostale


HOW TO WEAR IT: Fashion icons like Olivia Palermo and Emmanuelle Alt rely on their fringed handbags to catch the paparazzi's collective eye. Why? The way fringe moves when you're walking adds loads of edge to any look. Black is always a fail-safe choice, especially if fringe is already out of your comfort zone.

OUR PICK: Quinn Soft Leather Fringed Hobo, $149, Danier


HOW TO WEAR IT: Right now, it's ALL about the blanket, from blanket coats to blanket shawls. A blanket-inspired scarf is an affordable way to latch onto this cozy trend and gives you the chance to add some pretty prints to your closetful of solids. But this season, don't stop at simply tying it in your go-to knot and going outside. Check out this quick but awesome scarf slideshow from Harper's Bazaar for three of the newest chic ways to tie your scarf right now.

OUR PICK: Plaid Blanket Scarf, $29, American Eagle


HOW TO WEAR THEM: There's nothing over-the-top edgy about these sunglasses, which is exactly why they stand out as a perfect choice for the conservative girl. Wayfarers, by nature, are completely cool and universally flattering, but it's the extra intense tortoiseshell that makes these beauties really pop. Honestly, you'll be amazed by how much cooler you'll look the minute you put them on. As with any sunglasses, trying on is a must until you find your perfect colour - luckily Wayfarers come in endless colour options to flatter every face.

OUR PICK: New Wayfarer Sunglasses, $164.95, Sunglass Hut


HOW TO WEAR THEM: Dark wash jeans are a wardrobe standby but if you're like us, you might be getting bored with plain, dark denim. Our solution? Waxed black skinnies - as versatile as your other jeans but thanks to their shiny, leather-like finish, so much edgier. We also love the similar aesthetic of leather or faux-leather leggings especially when teamed up with a chunky sweater and slip-on sneakers.

OUR PICK: Skinny Coated Jeans, $49.90, Smart Set


HOW TO WEAR IT: Stuck deep down in a fashion rut? One quick and easy way to get out is to head right over to the men's section. Street style experts know that there are loads of treasures to be found if you expand your territory to menswear, from classic button-downs to perfect plaid scarves to fun, oversized hats. I mean, seriously, how cute is this fur-lined trapper hat?!

OUR PICK: Fjallraven Nordic Heater Hat, $80, American Eagle


HOW TO WEAR IT: If you look at any group of under-25'ers, you'll know that plaid shirts are a big deal right now. But whether you're 22 or 42, a great plaid shirt is a wardrobe workhorse. The newest way to rock it? Tie it around your waist, yes even under your coat or blazer, so just a little bit peeks out. Voila! Instant cool-girl cred is only a plaid piece away.

OUR PICK: Plaid Boyfriend Shirt, $46, American Eagle


HOW TO WEAR IT: If you're a buttoned-up kind of babe, accessories are the easiest way to score yourself some edge. The topper at the top of everyone's list this fall is the wool fedora and will make you look 'street' with little effort. Oh, and in case you need help justifying the buy, it acts as a sunscreen, a bad-hair-day-hider and fashion accessory all in one. Um, yup. Must.

OUR PICK: Volcom Emcee Fedora, $40, Boathouse


HOW TO WEAR IT: Fine and dainty's just fine but the of-the-moment way to wear jewelry is all layered up. Luckily, you don't need to be a styling expert to get this look. We're loving this pre-layered beauty for adding some shine to our tees, blazers and sweaters this fall. The bonus? They've mixed the metals for you so you can confidently dare to bust out of your usual matchy-matchiness.  

OUR PICK: Layered Necklace, $12.98, ALDO


HOW TO WEAR IT: If you're a stick-to-the-rules woman, the idea of wearing black and blue probably makes you cringe. We're here to tell that the ONLY rule in fashion is to break all the rules. This navy blazer with black trim would look amazing at work over a white button-down, done right up to the top, waxed black skinnies and pointy-toe pumps. Oh, and over just about anything on the weekends, too, btw.

OUR PICK: ONLY Isolde Blazer, $59.99, Jean Machine



HOW TO WEAR THEM: These tomgirl jeans are ripped and torn in all the right places, without the sagginess of a boyfriend jean so your prim and proper self can rest assured that you'll never look sloppy. Love!

OUR PICK: Destroyed Tomgirl Jeans, $35, American Eagle



TUNE IN: Festival Essentials

Photo via American Eagle

I'm embarrassed to even talk about it. I hesitated before writing this post because I don't want you to judge my coolness based on the concerts I've attended over the years. But now I kind of have to tell you, don't I? Okay, fine, here goes:

The Bangles (first concert ever at Canada's Wonderland)

Celine Dion (free tickets - please don't judge me...)

Meatloaf (free tickets. dressed up. hilarious)

Ozzy Osbourne (free. this is getting worse, isn't it...)

Coldplay (free. way before the conscious uncoupling)

Jack Johnson (not free)

Sarah McLaughlin & Dixie Chicks & Sheryl Crow (at Lillith Fair)

Backstreet Boys (free courtesy of, to add insult to injury, my newly-ex-boyfriend) 

U2 (free but unfortunately way past the point of them being cool)

You see, here's the thing...my dad worked for a classic rock radio station so I was given many free concert tickets over the years. When you're 15 and broke, any concert seems cool.  Then, I worked for a magazine so was again given the occasional concert ticket amidst all of the fashion shows. Of course, I rarely ever got free tickets to any of the cool shows. Nobody ever said, 'Hey, I have 2 tickets to Arcade Fire...can you please take them for me?' Or 'Jay Z is in town and nobody else wants to go. Will you do me a huuuge favour and come with?' Except for the one time when my boss took me to Coldplay, we got front row and Chris Martin handed me his water bottle. Does this excuse my abysmal concert history? No. It really does not. But here's the thing: until recently, it's always been a question of spending my extra money on concerts or shoes. And as you can probably guess based on the above list and my area of expertise, shoes always won. And I expect they always will. Which is why I am all about dressing like a Coachella-regular with a wicked playlist on my iPod and the deep, dark, highly embarrassing secret of that free Weird Al Jankovic concert I once attended (front row) when I was 13. Yup.

Whether you're crossing the border for Bonnaroo, staying local at Northern Lights Festival Boreal, or just want to dress like a festival regular (like me), these rockstar-worthy pieces will help you look the part all spring and summer long. Oh, and if you happen to have any free tickets to any good concerts this summer, you know who to call...