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You asked | What to wear to work?

When I give trend presentations, one of the audience questions that often comes up is: What to wear to work? It’s hard, I know, to balance personal style with professionalism. And to make things even trickier, some gigs require pantyhose. I’ve always been lucky enough to work in very creative environments so to answer the what-to-wear-in-a-cubicle question, I turned to Breanne of Proper & Pink

Ready to work hard without looking like you tried too hard? Get your pen an pad and get ready to take note.

1) Pencil Skirt
Even your work outfit should speak to your personality, so don’t settle for drab. Sure you can go for pants, but a pencil skirt adds a bit of feminine flair. I love this pencil skirt from H&M because it’s fitted perfectly and it’s affordably priced, so you can focus on getting that paycheque and upgrading to something more expensive later.

2) Blouse
Now that we have the perfect pencil skirt, it’s time to complete our look with a blouse. has a super refreshing tie-neck button-front blouse that comes in several colours (one for everyday of the week perhaps?). The tie gives you a little variety — it can be tied like a bow or worn loose.

3) Blazer
A blazer isn’t essential for your work look, but it is great to have for meetings and more professional settings. Plus, a longer boyfriend blazer is casual enough to wear off duty too.

4) A New Handbag
Your work look wouldn’t be complete without a fancy new handbag. I love this bag from Aldo because it’s professional looking and it’s not too big, which makes it perfect for carrying to work. It has enough pockets and compartments to house everything you need. It’s can be worn with just about any ensemble, on or off the clock.

5) Jewelry
Some workplaces call for jewelry that’s stylish but not overbearing. This bamboo-like bangle from will do the trick nicely.

And just like that, your work will stand out and your outfit will complement it.

Thanks, Breanne!

P.S. For inspiring offices, take a look at The Anthology’s Workspace series.

Workspace | Shannon Molenaar of 8FOOTSIX

The Anthology’s Workspace column takes us inside the creative spaces of some very creative people.

The moment I saw Shannon Molenaar’s workspace on the Steven & Chris Show, I invited her to share her home office with us. It’s so proper! So personalized! In her own words, the Toronto-based interior decor blogger behind 8FOOTSIX takes us through the space, which is overflowing with objets and books and somehow manages to be very, very tidy.

Plus, how pretty is that wall colour?

1. I blog from our upstairs office. I enjoy spending time in here because it is filled with my favorite things – books, plants, art, and my collection of milk glass vases!

2. When I look around, everything has a story. Most of the furniture came with us from our condo.

3. The desk (Pottery Barn Kids), the leather chair (Mitchell Gold) and the two black end tables that hold the colour photo printer are a few of the things we didn’t want to give away when we moved, so we shoved them in the office – and it works!

4. I bought the tallboy dresser from Craigslist.  It was a gorgeous wood grain but smelled musty/fishy.  So I sanded it down and painted it white.  It holds… well… everything!

The picnic basket on the chair by the door was given to me decades ago by my sister-in-law and is now stuffed with felt scraps.

5. There are tons of accessories scattered around the room. There is a wooden fish on the wall from Bilbao, where I spent a summer studying Spanish.  There is a pencil crayon drawing of naked chickens (don’t ask) that I made in high school, along with my son’s first painting.

6. Treasures I brought back from Paris flea markets, like my little brass hedge hog, are sitting on the bookshelves, alongside things I found at local thrift stores.

P.S. Get a peek at Shannon’s latest projects here.

P.P.S. Creep the creative spaces of some very creative people, like Erin Shaw of Shaw TVErica Lam of The Style SpyNiki Blasina of A Haute Mess, and Anya Georgijevic of I’m the It Girl in The Anthology’s Workspace column.

P.P.P.S. Know someone whose Workspace should be featured? Send a note to

Art | Become a playwright; get a makeover

I met Shannon Rupp years ago when I was a young arts writer and since then she’s become a friend and a mentor. In this guest post, the culture critic shares the odd experience of watching an old friend portrayed on stage by a dashingly handsome actor.

As an arts journalist I’m used to interviewing performers who are nothing like the characters they play but I just had the reverse experience. Watching an actor play someone I know very well and sort of polish him up.

My old pal Mark Leiren-Young turned his Leacock Medal-winning memoir, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, into a one-man show featuring Zachary Stevenson as him — a rookie reporter in his first job.

It’s just so weird hearing those funny stories I’ve heard forever coming out of some stranger’s mouth. Mark spent that first year of his career toiling at the Williams Lake Tribune and dined off the stories ever after.

It’s very funny. At 22, Mark was a naïf who was pranked by an editor trying to tease the gullible out of him and terrorized by beauty contestants known as Stampede Queens.

He thought he was going to a sleepy little town to earn his spurs as a reporter and he found he had landed in B.C.’s crime capital. He ended up covering stories he could sell all over the world. It’s a great story about growing up professionally, but a bit disconcerting for his pals because Zach and Mark look nothing alike.

And they sound nothing alike. And as Zach practically danced around the stage portraying a dozen characters in addition to Mark, I realized they dance nothing alike. Mark, whose two left-feet are legendary, would have tripped and fallen off the Granville Island Stage.  So I asked him what it was like seeing someone else acting out his life and, in some ways, being a better him.

“Oh, so weird,” said the journo-turned-author. “I had trouble watching at first. But then I figured that it was like getting an extreme makeover: Zach is way cuter than ever was.”

Stampede Queen runs until May 25 at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage and readers of The Anthology get $10 off tickets(!) with the promo code “buddyholly.”

Pin Test | The Wraparound Braid

Sure you scour Pinterest for ideas, but how often do you actually try them? In The Anthology’s brand new Pin Test column, my sister Larissa takes her pins for a spin.

I spend hours perusing Pinterest for home decorating ideas, fun crafts and more recently, hair and beauty. So I’ve decided that instead of just looking at these pretty pictures, I’d actually put some of the tips and tricks to the test.

First up, the wraparound braid pinned from the ladies who run the blog Oh so Pretty The Diaries. On the left is their result, on the right is mine.

Turns out this ‘do is simple. Perfect for holiday parties, destination weddings, and a dead-easy way to work with second-day hair. Even though my braid didn’t turn out perfectly the first time, that’s part of the charm (it helps if your hair is a little wavy).

Want to test it out yourself? You’ll find the tutorial here.

A-List | Fiction to curl up with

Amanda writes:

I’m such a big fan of your blog! You have amazing style and I look to you for a lot of my own outfit inspiration. I especially love reading about your travels, from your vineyard trips to outings with your adorable doggy. From a recent book post, I decided to take Glamorama and The Beautiful and Damned on my last trip. Thanks for the great suggestions!

Thanks, Amanda! Hope you’re going on another trip soon because Katie Burnett has compiled another reading list, perfect for fall…

Fall is upon us, and that means it’s back to school and work, drudging through the books and other documents that are forced upon us. Since the weather is turning, and the movies won’t be interesting till Oscar season [except for Looper. It’s amazing! — Kelsey], relaxing with some fiction will be just what you need. Here are four great fiction novels to bury your head in.

1. Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion

Joan Didion is a famed essayist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter and altogether legend. Her books of essays never cease to dazzle and engage me, and her novel “Play It As It Lays” is a disturbingly good look at Hollywood in the 1970’s. A best-seller when it came out, it follows the troubled actress Mariah as she recovers from a breakdown. Slowly but surely we learn about her life in Beverly Hills with her husband, a director, and how a life of glamour and glitz isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Further reading: Try Didion’s essays like the collection “The White Album” about life in California in the 1970’s, or what is perhaps her most famous work, “The Year of Magical Thinking”, a harrowing and eloquent book about loss.

2. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

This is both a formidable film and novel, and I can assure you even if you’ve seen the film, it’s worth reading the book. From the first page it will possess you and I can assure you, you won’t want to put it down! Part of Cormac McCarthy’s “Border Trilogy” novels, this one takes place along the US-Mexico border and follows three very different men – a sociopathic killer, a sheriff, and a war vet – as their lives intersect after a drug deal has gone awry. It is an engrossing and brilliant novel that is so beautifully written, it’s no wonder the author has won a Pulitzer Prize!

Javier Bardem is still hot as a psycho in a funny wig: Even if you’ve seen the film before, it’s worth a watch after reading the novel – the Cohen brothers, in top form as always, did a phenomenal job of capturing the mood and brilliance of the novel.

3. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

Set in New York City, “The Emperor’s Children” is a dazzling novel and social satire focused around a group of friends who haven’t quite achieved all they’ve wanted to by 30, and a troubled college dropout who goes to stay with his uncle in the Big Apple. Naturally, trouble ensues as everyone’s lives intersect, and it’s an incredibly multilayered story that is as captivating as it is troubling.

Fun to note: Noah Baumbach has long been attached to direct a film version of the book!

4. Savages by Don Winslow

You may have seen the Oliver Stone-directed film “Savages” this summer, based on Don Winslow’s book, which had its moments, but the book is phenomenal. Completely engaging, the story follows two best friends in California who grow and sell weed, while also sharing a girlfriend. When the Mexican cartels want a piece of them and they decline, their girlfriend is kidnapped, and they have to go rescue her. The book is written in a prose that is super unique and you won’t be able to put this down. In fact, I picked it up at a bookstore and was so into it, I had to sit and read it all in one go. It’s a fun, fast and entertaining read, and even if you’ve seen the film, I promise you’ll want to read the book for more details and twists, and a very different ending.

After you’re done: Don Winslow has recently released a prequel, “The Kings of Cool.”

P.S. Catch up on Katie Burnett’s earlier dispatches, like her recent recommended reads and add to your “When I’m in London” list: Sundays on Brick LaneSaturdays in Camden TownFriday nights at the theatre, and East Coast nostalgia.

Trippin’ | Disneyland for Grownups

You know how everything these days seems to be described as “Disneyland for grownups?” Well what if you go to Disneyland as a grownup, and not as a chaperone for small children? In this guest post, my sister Larissa does just that…

On a recent trip to California we were flying through LAX and I thought, why not stop in Anaheim for the day and have a date at the happiest place on earth? Would Disneyland actually be as happy as I remembered?

I hadn’t been to the mother of all theme parks since I was a small child. Turns out Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain are just as exciting as I remembered, though Space Mountain was even more terrifying. You know what’s changed though? The lines. Sometime between my childhood and now, they introduced the FastPass which means you can choose to skip certain lineups by inserting your ticket, getting a new one, and coming back later.

Kids these days really do have it all.  Then again, so do grownups.

Bookmark | The Fancy

In The Anthology’s Bookmark column we explore some of the most inspiring places on the wild, wild web. This guest post is written by Carlle Chatten, a Vancouver-based fashion student whose writing class I recently lectured at.

The Fancy, a new e-commerce website, is giving Pinterest a run for its money. Not only is it filled with inspirational pictures of food, clothes, beauty products, and places you want to be, but if you really fancy something, you can buy it. Yes, everything is for sale.

The Fancy organizes your favorite things, and you can follow and browse other people’s profiles too. When you first arrive at the site, you can scroll endlessly, past high-definition images of jaw-dropping costume jewelry and infinity pools on the Isle of Crete.

No more lining up for mini doughnuts at the fair or hunting down those sought-after Alexander Wang Kolfinna Boots. The Fancy is an inspiration board that lets you collect things you love. Online and off.

If feel like impulse-buying, sign up for an account and bookmark The Fancy.  And if you haven’t already, bookmark The Anthology too.

Thanks, Carlle! I’m bookmarking The Fancy — and your Tumblr — as I type.

[All images from The Fancy, obviously.]

Workspace | Anna Cohen of Simply Stylish Mom

The Anthology’s Workspace column takes us inside the creative spaces of some very creative people.

I don’t know how mommy bloggers do it. And I especially don’t know how mommy bloggers do it when they’ve just upped and relocated to Scandinavia. And yet, somehow Anna Cohen of Simply Stylish Mom manages to do it all.

In her own words she takes us through her waterfront workspace — passports, frenemies, toy trains and all…

My family and I relocated to Denmark this month and moved into a lovely river cottage (a converted stable!) My makeshift workspace has been a simple wooden trestle table under one of our cottage’s eaves. I haven’t had much of a chance to decorate so what is featured is either a recent find or something that came in my suitcase from Vancouver.

1. The Vintage: I love myself a good thrift store and so find pieces here and there on my travels. I love this ridiculous sign and these old coffee tins – a nod to my new country of residence and my old frenemy: caffeine.

2. The Electronics: My trusty old MacBook – it’s been given a pretty good workout over the last 5 years and hasn’t let me down yet and our last electroinic acquisition before we left Vancouver: the X-mini speakers I purchased at Caya, these produce a huge amount of sound for their size.

3. The Family: When they’re not nearby, I treasure pictures of my three boys. I love these images taken by  Meagan Baker just before we left Vancouver in the UBC endowment lands.

4. The beauty products: work time (aka my son’s naptime) is also pampering time for me and so I take this time to fix my nails, hands and apply lippy. My current picks are Make-Up Forever (Rouge Artist Natural No. 35), Revlon’s Neon Nail Art, Lippy Girl (Nonplussed) and L’Occitane.

5. The Classics: I can never leave home without a trusty novel in my purse and especially a classic (adult or kids!) that can be read over and over again.

6. The Flowers: Nothing is quite as wonderful as freshly picked (or gifted!) flowers in a room, these were given to me by my husband’s new employers.

7. The Essentials: as we’ve been doing so much travelling and filling out of arrival documents lately, my passport has been handy and while waiting in many airport/town hall/ visa offices queues, I’ve been enjoying reading the Danish Ikea catalogue getting ideas for decorating our place and the WorkinDenmark booklet in hopes of getting a job soon! And even though I live in the iPhone age, I will never part with my Pierre Belvedere daytimer.

8. The Train: when you have two boys, it is unusual for there to not to be a train on surfaces in our house!

P.S. Click your way to Simply Stylish Mom to see how a new-to-Denmark mother does it.

P.P.S. Check out the first post in the Workspace column and find out how Niki Blasina of A Haute Mess smells when she blogs. Click through the second post to find out where Anya Georgijevic of I’m the It Girl started her footwear obsession. Find out how Kumiko Ide of Tribal DDB keeps her workspace fresh to death. Take a look at jewelry designer Justine Brooks’ works in progress and her favourite places to work very, very remotely. And take a look at Lisa Wong of Solo Lisa’s cat-decorated desk.

A-List | Must-See Summer Flicks (nope, not the superhero ones…)

In The Anthology’s A-list column (“A” stands for Anthology, in case you haven’t had your coffee yet) we tabulate a few of the very best things in life. Here, writer and actress Katie Burnett shares her favourite summer films…

I love the beach as much as the next person but I can’t do it every day (unless I was in Hawaii. Then I could do it every day. If you’re in Hawaii, go back to enjoying the beach). But when it’s boiling hot and you need an alternative, there’s nothing I love more than an afternoon at the movies. Thanks to crazy publicity and marketing, we know the usual ones that are coming out – Spiderman, Batman, Avengers but let’s not forget there are some brilliant indie movies out in theatres and on the horizon that are also worth your $10.

And hey, they’re usually only two hours, so you can still catch some rays after!

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson delivers another classic film that is so beautiful, so entertaining, so heartfelt, so funny it is not to be missed. If you haven’t seen it, go now. Like right now. It’s a wonderful story of two 12 year olds who run away together, but it is so much more than that. If you know Wes Anderson, you know all his films are so detailed and artistic you want nothing more than to climb in and be a part of one. I’d personally like to climb into this one and hug Edward Norton. Just saying.

Need more Wes Anderson after seeing Moonrise Kingdom? Check out “The Darjeeling Limited”, “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic!”

The Intouchables

Straight from France is The Intouchables. Based on a true story, it tells the tale of a paraplegic man and the unexpected friendship he forges with his live-in carer. Francois Cluzet, one of my French crushes (he joins Jean Dujardin, Guillaume Canet and Gilles Lellouche!) stars alongside Omar Sy (who beat out Jean Dujardin at last year’s prestigious Cesar awards) in this unforgettable film that is one of France’s most popular and most successful. You gotta trust a country that can give us Brie, L’aduree and Marion Cotillard, right?

Looking for more French cinema? Try “Tell No One”, “Little White Lies” or “2 Days in Paris!”

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Come August, I’m really looking forward to seeing Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg as a divorcing couple who try to maintain their friendship while dating other people. Looks messy, looks funny, and it had great reviews coming out of Sundance. Who’s coming with me?

Magic Mike

Okay, so it’s not an indie movie, but have you seen Magic Mike yet? Why not? Come on. Seriously. No, like go right now. DROP EVERYTHING AND GO RIGHT NOW. (And tell your boyfriend it’s because you love Steven Soderbergh.)

P.S. Catch up on Katie Burnett’s earlier dispatches, like her favourite spots in Paris, her list of must-reads, her East Coast nostalgia and her favourite ways to spend time in London —  Sundays on Brick LaneSaturdays in Camden Town, and Friday nights at the theatre.

Workspace | Anya Georgijevic of I’m the It Girl

Workspace takes us inside the creative spaces of some very creative people.

Daphne Guinness quoted her in her book(!). Still, Anya Georgijevic maintains she is not an It Girl. She does, however, maintain the blog I’m the It Girl, plus, she’s western editor of FLARE, a fellow editor at Vitamin Daily, and has a dog with lopsided ears (the best kind).

Here, my favourite It Girl takes us through her workspace in her own words…

1. My glossy cream desk is by a Minneapolis-based design firm, Blu Dot. I love its minimal, crisp design, although most of time, it’s in a state of complete mess. Next to my laptop is whatever I’m working on at the moment. Today it’s FLARE, but often it’s a slew of beauty products waiting to be reviewed.

2. My monogrammed Castelli notebook was a gift from my Vitamin Daily publishers, and I jot down all my notes in it, exclusively with my trusty Muji pen, which I stock up on whenever I go to New York or Hong Kong.

3. I can’t work without music or some type of background noise (sometimes I play stylish films for inspiration — see the “Screen Style” posts on my blog) and sound doesn’t get better or chicer than with Harman Kardon speakers. Whenever I get stressed, I indulge in some aroma therapy. Currently on the menu: Laduree. My dog Bun is my office mate, so he demanded that his picture be included.

4. Above my desk is where I keep my essential literature. Whenever I feel uninspired, books are my place to go.

5. This frame is the girliest thing I own and holds a picture from my wedding.

6. The two ceramic figures are from my two grandmothers. I loved this silly-looking dog as a kid and I always used to play with the little Turkish shoe (sometimes to my grandma’s annoyance). Now I’m a dog person that owns a lot of shoes, so…thanks.

[Photo of Anya by Sherry Lu.]

P.S. Click your way over to Anya’s blog I’m the It Girl, where if you’re lucky she’s writing about Cher’s Clueless style.

P.P.S. Check out the first post in the Workspace column, Niki Blasina of A Haute Mess, and find out how she smells when she works.