A look from Khaite's resort 2017 collection.
Although Alessandro Michele makes a compelling case for more-is-more, some of us will always be drawn to restrained, clean designs. These labels are proving that minimal style doesn't have to boring or unimaginative.
This LA-based label shows that minimalism and ruffles aren't mutually exclusive. Everything is crafted from deadstock vintage fabrics, giving the clothes a nostalgic feel.
For those of you who prefer your bikini free of palm fronds and hibiscus blooms, there's Aussie brand Matteau Swim, known for basic maillots and high-waisted swim bottoms in a palette of black, grey and white.
Launched this year by Catherine Holstein, Khaite is a balance of the masculine and feminine. Fans of the capsule wardrobe concept will find that pieces in the line, from structured shirt dresses to fitted denim, compliment one another perfectly.
Alnea Farahbella's label Toit Volant is made in the USA with a commitment to sustainable sourcing and manufacturing practices. The pre-spring 2017 collection is full of reworked takes on shirting, like this striped jumpsuit with a high collar.
This Montreal-based label keeps production local (the clothes are sewn in Montreal and some of the fabrics are printed in North America) and its ethos is similar to most of the other brands in this list: to let the individual add personality to the clothes.
Another L.A. brand with a dedication to North American manufacturing and sustainability, 5-year-old Shaina Mote is known for architectural, un-adorned basics and fluid silhouettes. If you could live your life without ever donning a polka dot or cheery stripe, the neutral colours in this line are made for you.
Founded by Tokyo-to-L.A. transplants Alexander Yamaguchi and Momoko Suzuki, brand Black Crane is an edgier, more street-wise take on minimalism – think cocoon dresses and wrap trousers with subtle origami and kimono inspiration.
Credits: ELLE Canada Source: Getty
Why Brad and Angelina aren't the only long-term couple breaking up soon after getting married.
EVERYONE SAYS THE FIRST year of marriage is the hardest. Half a century ago, this made perfect sense – getting hitched meant big life changes: moving in, merging money and lifestyles, finally losing your V-card and getting pregnant right away. These days, at least in theory, marriage should be easier; three-quarters of us already live together, share bills and beds and are fully committed. Which, of course, begs another question: If you already have all that, then what exactly does marriage mean? Some say it’s just a piece of paper, a technicality with a tax benefit. If that were true, however, we wouldn’t hear those friend-of-a-friend horror stories: finally tying the knot and then watching said knot immediately implode.
This fall, it very publicly happened to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. After 11 years and six kids, Brangelina split just two years into their marriage. This is not a Hollywood-specific affliction for the rich and famous. It happened to three of my friends, including one I’ll call “Jade,” who is willing to share her tale. For 10 years, Jade and her fellow seemed just about perfect. “We were that couple – you know the one,” says the 33-year-old Torontonian. “Everyone said we were destined to be together.” He was her first love at 19, they shacked up at 25, and though there were no external pressures (ahem, pushy parents), a universal feeling crept into their set-up. “Soon I was turning 30 and I wanted to take the next step,” she says. “Even though deep down I knew I shouldn’t, I still wanted to get married.”
Her hesitation wasn’t because of a vague “bad feeling” or the universal “cold feet.” “Three months before the wedding, I literally threw my dress at him and screamed I didn’t want to marry him,” she says. It sounds crazy now, she admits, but big blowouts like this were the norm at their house. Despite outward appearances, Jade and her man hid big problems behind closed doors. They fought constantly about money, sex, communication, intimacy – and spent more and more time apart. Things were getting worse, not better. “I dragged him to counselling, but it was no help,” says Jade. (If their therapist thought they shouldn’t wed, she didn’t say so.) Yet getting married promised a solution. “When he proposed, I thought, ‘Okay, great, marriage means we’re really going to make it work.’ It proved to me that, despite everything, we were for real.”
It’s hard for outsiders to wrap their heads around it, and it’s all too easy in retrospect to recognize huge mistakes in the making, but situations like Jade’s aren’t uncommon. “There’s a distinct phenomenon behind this,” says Lucia O’Sullivan, a psychology professor at the University of New Brunswick who specializes in intimate relationships. “Research indicates that when people who have been cohabiting for a long time finally get married, it’s often because it’s seen as a solution to whatever’s not working in the cohabitation agreement.”
O’Sullivan says there’s statistically less stability in the first years of marriage, but it’s impossible to slap a number on breakup rates. Relationship statuses in Canada are getting murkier and more complicated to track – so much so that Statistics Canada stopped trying in 2008. Its last report found that about 4 percent of marriages break up after one year, 16 percent after two years and 26 percent after three years – the “riskiest year” of marriage, at which point the divorce rate begins to steadily decline.
“Many, if not most, of these relationships have some degree of difficulty before the marriage,” explains Gary Direnfeld, a social worker based in Dundas, Ont., who was also the host of Slice’s fittingly defunct Newlywed, Nearly Dead. The show’s late-night reruns showcase can’t-turn-away, this-could-happen-to-you-level marital collapses – some of the marriages just weeks old. He blames these disasters on a conflicting mix of old and new marital ideals. “Newlyweds are older now, they’re more set in their ways, less flexible and less prepared to compromise,” he says. “At the same time, they all have the old magical thinking that says ‘My partner should fulfill all my needs, read my mind and be forever compatible.’” This thinking has reared its head in O’Sullivan’s research too. “When you survey people these days about what they’re looking for in a partner, many will talk about a ‘soulmate,’” she says. “We’re looking for someone who’s completely in sync and fulfills every possible need for the long term and forever. We’re looking for a fairy tale, just like Brad and Angelina.”
Pressure to find a Brangelina-level love is enormous, as is the urge to display one’s love for the world to see. Social media makes this extra-easy, and Jade continued to present her engagement happily to the world. (“57 days until I tie the knot with this beaut. So excited!!!” she posted on Facebook.) Researchers from Northwestern University found that people who were insecure or anxious about their relationship were more likely to brag about it on Facebook. The same logic applies to the wedding itself. A 2014 study (aptly titled “‘A Diamond Is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales”) from Emory University found that weddings that cost more than $20,000 are three and a half times more likely to end in divorce than those that cost less than $10,000.
Subconsciously or not, hesitant brides and grooms can let themselves be buried and distracted by an ever-bloating wedding culture. “The wedding took over, and I was so busy planning that I had no time to think about anything,” says Jade. Planning a wedding is inevitably stressful, even in the happiest of unions, but the deeper problems of on-the-rocks relationships can be dismissed as wedding stress and wilfully ignored. “Too often, people are afraid to talk about big issues for fear it will raise the tension before the wedding,” says Direnfeld. That tension and those problems aren’t going anywhere. “You’re really just saving them up for later,” he says. “This can mean your problems are actually exacerbated post-wedding.” Still, in the tense months before the wedding, “perception can triumph over judgment.”
For the record, Jade says she had “one of the best weddings ever – and I’m not just saying that because it was mine,” she jokes. She invited 50 guests to her cottage, renting all the nearby lodges. She wore a sweetheart lace dress with a train and adorably incorporated their three dogs. “It was a story we were playing that day. It was all false.”
The higher your expectations, the harder you crash back down to reality. All the problems you had before are still there but with the added pressure of “forever” weighing on them. And all those common-law years of practice might not be as helpful as you’d think. “The truth is, the longer you wait to get married, the more relationship baggage you bring into the marriage,” says Debra Macleod, a Calgary-based relationship and marriage coach who created a popular “Marriage SOS” program for newlyweds. She says there’s a distinct post-wedding comedown that she calls the “post-wedding blues” or a “honeymoon hangover.” “That’s when you get married and you’re so ridiculously happy but then you have to go to work on Monday,” she says. “There’s this feeling of ‘That’s it? Now what?’”
Immediately post-wedding, expectations of marital life often clash. “One person has been thinking ‘Once we’re married, things will be different.’ And the other person’s been thinking ‘Why should I change? You married me this way,’” says Macleod. Jolie filed for divorce for “the health of the family” – allegedly because of Brad’s weed and booze habits and because her parenting style is easygoing while Brad wants to raise the kids with a more structured, traditional family environment – but it’s very likely these issues were there long before. “A fast marriage breakdown like this may just have been two people who didn’t have the same expectations of what life after marriage should be,” says Macleod.
“I’d spent 10 years waiting for him to change,” says Jade. “The wedding was really my last effort to fix everything, but it didn’t work.” Stuck at an impasse, she grew increasingly miserable until she gave up four months later and moved back in with her parents. “I called my friend and said, ‘Please just tell me I lasted longer than Kim Kardashian!’” (With 139 married days, Jade beats Kim’s 72 days of marriage to Kris Humphries by a landslide.) Just like the wedding, this sad-seeming situation is not necessarily as it appears. Jade went back to school, made new friends and healthier habits and is in a promising relationship. “Now that I know what I don’t want, I can see exactly what I do want,” she says. With her new boyfriend, kindness, communication and consideration are deeply appreciated and flow both ways. The lesson took 10 years and an embarrassing failed marriage, she explains, but was worth it nonetheless.
HEADED (NERVOUSLY) TO THE ALTAR? ASK YOURSELF THESE 5 QUESTIONS:
Why are you getting hitched?
There is a wide variety of good answers here. There are also some distinctly bad ones, like: you need to get married, you’re terrified of being alone or you don’t feel secure without a partner.
Are you choosing between getting hitched now and breaking up?
This is red-flag city. Sometimes people get married to resuscitate a relationship that should actually end.
Have you discussed what marriage will be like with your partner?
Oftentimes these expectations are unspoken. If this subject feels too awkward to bring up, that’s a bad sign.
Are you anxious about the wedding or the marriage?
Weddings are stressful times, and having “cold feet” is common. Nerves over the catering are normal—nerves about the rest of your life might not be.
Are you hoping for change after the big day?
For some, that piece of paper means there’s no turning back and they’ll either make more effort or (more likely) less. But for most of us, things won’t change much.
This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue.
Credits: Getty Source: Elle Canada
It's all the rage for a reason.
The word “stopover” generally does not elicit excitement. That’s because they typically involve trudging, jet-lagged and crumpled, through the airport of a city you are not visiting, standing in yet another customs queue and then killing time by buying coffee and overpriced snacks before the scrum to get back on a plane, score some space in the overhead bins and squeeze into your economy seat.
Not so with Icelandair. I’ve had what could be referred to as the opposite of aversion therapy. Conversion therapy? Yes, I’m a convert to stopovers. Especially when they involve magical landscapes, quirky customs and good food.
The airline offers free stopovers for up to seven nights to customers flying between North America and Europe. Seems like a no-brainer for those of us (and we are many) who’ve long had Iceland on the travel wish list but kept demoting it in favour of more cosmopolitan cities or multi-destination European tours. Plus, Iceland is having a moment, so you should probably get on it. Here’s why.
1. You can get a “Stopover Buddy”
Icelandair offers a free “buddy” service – a local who can act as your personal host for a day. The buddies are all airline employees and offer insider intel on where to eat, drink and frolic. I had the pleasure of hanging out with five of them. Touring Iceland with an Icelander is a game changer (and a privilege – there are only 332,529 of them). My buddies were the best dates at the super-cool Airwaves music fest in Reykjavik, where between a Björk concert (#legend) and an intimate Of Monsters and Men gig (ah-mazing), they filled me in on the local music scene. If only I could have stayed long enough to take in some “barn music” – fast-paced acoustic tunes that everyone there knows the words to. (The Stopover Buddy service is available until March 31, 3017; find out more here.)
2. It is highly Instagrammable
Iceland is beautiful in a dramatic and varied way. Where it’s not fairy-tale-like, with vivid green landscapes and frothy rivers and waterfalls, it’s dark and brooding and rough. And when you see the moss-covered lava fields and columns of steam and gas rising from fumaroles (holes in the earth’s crust), it’s easy to see why some Icelanders still believe in elves.
The perfect setting for an insta. Credits: Ciara Rickard
3. You’ll eat really well
Although some Icelandic delicacies are not so appealing to Western palates (I wimped out on tasting their much-loved hákarl (fermented raw shark) after one whiff; think pungent, fishy Windex), most of the food I had in Reykjavik was up to the standard of that of any world capital. A meal at Fiskfélagi (Fish Company) was so good I hit “full” and kept going – which is saying something for someone who doesn’t usually love fish. Other great restos: Slippbarinn (one course here was a mini frying pan filled with melted cheese topped with honey and pine nuts – a bold move but oh so good) and Friðheimar, a tomato farm that serves tomato-themed food, from soup to cheesecake and ice cream.
4. “Swimming” is more fun here
When Icelanders talk about “going for a swim,” they often mean taking a dip in one of the country’s many outdoor geo-thermal pools – basically giant natural hot tubs. The famous Blue Lagoon is a beautiful example, but if you’re not into hoards of tourists (and, really, who is), there are plenty of quieter, more remote options. I had a restorative soak, Icelandic beer in hand, in the Secret Lagoon, which is about an hour and a half away from Reykjavik. Surrounded by bright-green fields and the hollowed-out remnants of the old stone-walled changing house, you literally feel like you’re in a secluded steamy pond full of just-the-right-temperature water. Hot tip: Get a drink at the little bar inside, and take your beer or wine into the pool for extra heavenliness.
Taking a dip in one of the country's many outdoor geo-thermal pools is a must. Credits: Ciara Rickard
5. Their music game is strong
For a tiny country, Iceland has produced an impressive number of international acts – from Björk to Of Monsters and Men. One expat told me that almost everyone she met while living in Reykjavik either played an instrument or had friends and family members who did. Live music – in bars, living rooms, campsites – is part of the fabric of life here, while various music fests throughout the year attract fans from all over the world.
Credits: ELLE Canada Source: www.kimkardashianwest.com
Happy Birthday, Saint West! It’s a big one.
The youngest member of the Kimye family turned one yesterday, and while the joyous occasion didn’t propel Kim Karadashian back onto social media, her family and friends stepped in to mark the occasion on the Internet with lots of photos.
Cue the awwwwws.
Kim’s BFF Jonathan Cheban took to Kim's website to share two “never-before-seen” photos of her with Saint.
Birthday shoutout from grandma.
In aunt Kourtney's arms.
Aunt Khloé had this to share on her website: "I can't believe how quickly time flies! Watching my little Saint grow this past year has been amazing. He's seriously such an angel and could not be more adorable. What a light he's been for our family!"