Name and occupation?
My name is Francesca Morfini, and I’m the marketing manager at Saks Sherway Gardens.
What does your day-to-day look like at work?
I work with the brands that are available at Saks to make sure that we’re activating on the floor to help generate store sales. There are a lot of meetings. I work in the executive offices, so I aim to look more professional and put together while also staying comfortable for when I’m walking on the store floor. I like to talk directly to the associates in the store to see what we can do together, so I’m probably leaving my office and walking around the store three to four times a day. I have to be in very comfortable shoes. Sometimes I bring a pair of loafers or flats.
Does your office and/or industry have a dress code?
I don’t. As a manager that works in the executive offices, I like to dress a bit more formal. This is an unspoken rule that I’ve given myself. I don’t wear sneakers. I don’t wear sweatshirts. Before this job, I was freelancing, and before that I was at an agency so I could dress a lot more casually. Now I wouldn’t wear a denim jacket to work.
What do you wear to work?
Everything I wear is always super comfortable just because I’m moving around a lot at the office and because I usually do something after work. I wear boyfriend blazers a lot. You can put them on something that would generally be considered quite casual and it’ll just look polished. It’ll maybe hide a little stain or if you didn’t iron or steam your shirt or whatever. And it’s cold in my office – we always need a jacket.
I’d say 60 to 70 percent of my wardrobe is vintage. I stopped buying fast fashion four or five years ago and haven’t gone back. Everything is either super sustainable or second-hand or it’s a designer piece that I saved up for.
“I stopped buying fast fashion four or five years ago and haven't gone back.”
Where do you vintage shop?
On Dundas West. My three favourite stores are Penny Arcade at Dundas and Ossington; Chosen, closer to Brock Street, which is amazing; and the Wanderly, which is a mix of vintage and new pieces (but I only ever got their vintage). I also do the vintage crawl that happens twice a year in Toronto. It’s a must. It’s like the event of the year for me.
I feel like a lot of people want to move away from buying fast fashion. The issue with buying vintage clothing is that it often looks, well, vintage, but your aesthetic is really modern. What do you look for?
The number one thing is fabric. You can’t buy synthetics, like acrylics and polyester – you can’t buy it from Zara and you can’t buy it vintage. It’s just not going to last, and it’s going to be really hard to look polished. Look for silks, cottons, wools, things like that. Wool is also great because it’s self-cleaning, so you don’t have to wash it as often.
“Don't buy synthetic fabrics, like acrylics and polyester – you can't buy it from Zara and you can't buy it vintage. It's just not going to last.”
Do you have to do a lot of tailoring?
I do tailor them a bit. Sometimes it gets expensive. When I buy things, I also consider the cost of tailoring. For example, I bought a floaty skirt for $10 in Quebec, and the tailoring for that was, like, $30, but now it’s perfectly fitted to my body. Last week, someone thought it was Proenza, which is amazing. I don’t even know what brand it is.
And then I also make sure that it fits with things that I already have in my wardrobe. Or, you know, sometimes I used to do this thing where I would buy things and I would already have something like it. So I make sure that when I buy something, it’s because I don’t have something that can be worn the same way.
What about shoes?
Most of my shoes are designer because I invest in them more. These boots are Celine. I bought them three years ago and still wear them all the time. I always make sure that I get the sole of the shoe reinforced, because I find that it maintains them better. My ex’s mom did it to all her shoes – she inspired me.
How do you maintain the blazers?
I pretty much never dry-clean my blazers. If there’s a stain, I spot clean. I don’t like dry-cleaning because it produces a lot of waste. A lot of the time you don’t actually have to dry-clean things they tell you to dry-clean, unless it’s a really delicate silk. I usually take whatever item (not blazers) feels really delicate, and I fill my sink with room-temperature water and a tiny bit of detergent and let it soak for 15 minutes, then I hang it.
What are some shopping mistakes you’ve made?
Definitely all the fast fashion. I used to get really carried away by the sale price of things and then didn’t actually wear them. The first designer piece I ever bought full price was a pair of Acne boots, and I love them, but they’re half a size too small and they’re patent leather and have a really pointy toe. Every time I wear them, half my foot is numb. I’m just going to have to sell them. I was in Paris, and I was like, “I should do it.” I didn’t realize they were small on me.
Any other advice?
The key is to be really comfortable in what you’re wearing. I hate those moments when I put something on because I’m trying to do something different. And then I leave the house and feel really uncomfortable. I try to avoid that feeling.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter