You know the saying: when in Rome, dress as the Romans do. OK, we’ve modified it slightly so that instead of offering up local tips for navigating the winding, bustling streets of an ancient city, we’ve compiled an insider’s cheat sheet to help with that other sartorially cumbersome terrain:
Toronto Fashion Week
The runway experts at ELLE Canada reveal their go-to sartorial staples for creating front-row ready outfits from head to—get this—comfortably cushioned toe.

1. Fashion week fashion tip: Dress for the backstage marathon

In the final hours before curtain call while models are getting primped, fashion and beauty editors are busy backstage interviewing makeup artists and snapping the runway looks that will influence the season’s upcoming trends—not something that should be attempted in heels.

“Jumping from backstage to the runway room, I need to be able to strip down, so layering is key,” says Ally Dean, ELLE Canada’s associate editor. “I also like to be comfy, so I opt for my own version of day-time pajamas: black silk harem pants with a black silk blouse.” Variety is key and Ally selects from an army of black blouses (with either a necktie or gold buttons or ruffle accents) and adds a leopard cashmere cardigan from BCBG to top off the look. Just keep it fun: “My fashion week uniform is usually some variation on a little leather jacket over a blouse and a brightly coloured mini skirt over opaque tights,” says associate editor Alannah O’Neill.

Have a few pieces on hand that can be easily paired together before dashing off to morning shows. “I definitely keep it simple,” says senior web editor Jennifer Weatherhead, who usually opts for black skinny pants—or a pastel shade like
pink this season—with an over-sized white button up and chunky scarf.

For more style savvy fashion week tips, read on…

PA-str-V-RS12-47321.jpg2. Fashion week fashion tip: Mix up your workwear
“I love to snap behind-the-scenes shots of the shows, so wearing a skirt or dress is impractical for me,” says web editor Noah Lehava, who usually pairs a chic blouse with super-slick tailored pants for the show. Add pieces that inject your own personality to these staples. “I’ll put on a great pair of heels—as comfy as they can be— and my favourite pair of vintage earrings,” says Noah.

3. Fashion week fashion tip: Wear comfortable shoes
From backstage coverage to running between shows, a practical, wearable shoe is essential. “I often start out the week in high-heeled ankle boots,” says Alannah, about her go-to pair of sienna-coloured Topshop boots, hand-picked by the British retailer’s creative director Kate Phelan after a recent interview. But that only lasts for a few days: “I inevitably end up in a pair of sensible oxford flats,” she adds. The menswear-inspired shoe seems to be the saving grace of fashion week feet. “I’m already tall and admittedly not great in walking in heels,” says Jennifer. “So I need to have my oxfords or loafers!” When it comes to backstage style, for once, comfort trumps all: “Wedges are key to staying on your feet all day without wincing in pain,” says Ally, who satisfies both in Minelli black wedge booties.

4. Fashion week fashion tip: Dress for the environment
“The biggest mistake I ever made was bringing a strapless purse,” says Noah. “Have you ever tried juggling an SLR camera and an envelope clutch? Not fun!" While the runway looks hit stores this upcoming fall/winter season, take advantage of the rising temperatures during show time. “Since it’s so warm, I’ll ditch my coat and go with a striped blazer,” says Jennifer. For a final pop of colour? Accessorize. “Add either a turquoise or coral thin leather belt,” says Ally. “And make sure your nails are properly manicured.” You never know when style trendsetters may turn the lens on you.

Read more:
Toronto Fashion Week: Greta Constantine Fall/Winter 2012
Spring 2012 fashion trends: Extremes

Spring beauty: Runway blushes

Spring 2012: The top fashion trends