Lima Al-Azzeh

Vancouver Fashion with Blogger Nicole Soon of Le Mode du Jour

In Vancouver Style on September 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Photo by Ace

Photo by Ace

Photo by Ace

Growing up I was all shades of tomboy. Sure, I’d sport a girly accessory or two, but my wardrobe diet was restricted to comfortable shoes, a single pair of jeans and dozens of hoodies. I rarely sported a skirt or a dress outside of a particular occasion. At the time, I could have desperately used the assistance of Vancouver fashion blogger Nicole Soon, the adorable style guru behind Le Mode du Jour, and let’s face it I probably could have used more friends too.

Nicole was kind enough to invite me down to an event held at Obakki, one of those impossibly chic, minimalist-looking Gastown boutiques. It also happens to be the subject of a video she created for FASHION Magazine‘s “Great Canadian Vlogging Contest” as her pick for favourite Canadian designer – a well presented video that earned her a pass through round one and on to round two of the competition (was it any wonder?)

I met up with Nicole and her equally fashionable friend Adela at the Obakki event and watched her methodically peruse through the merchandise, running her hands over all the fabrics, taking items carefully off the rack to inspect them closer. She finally eyed a gorgeous sheer white blouse that suited her style, and her love of layering-proficient basics. We then braved the first truly Vancouver rainy day of the season to grab a warm cup of coffee at the nearby Starbucks and talk, what else?, fashion.

I, Vancouverite: When and why did you start Le Mode du Jour?

Nicole Soon: August 27th, 2009. I was actually just looking back to my first post to figure out when I need to do my anniversary post, I didn’t just know that off-hand.

I attempted to start a shopping blog before, maybe five years ago, but back then I was just thinking of trying it out. Social Media has come a long way since and sites like Facebook have become so much more advanced and interactive. Of course, Twitter has come into play too and so more recently I realized there are so many more avenues to promote yourself, so while the initial blog faded and died, I still saw some benefits to starting up again.

Blogging and fashion both provide me with a cathartic experience – you’re not restricted, you make your own rules, and you don’t have to answer to anybody, so it’s only natural that the two feed into one another. I just didn’t realize much how time it would take! It’s practically a full-time job for me.

I,V: How long does it typically take you to get ready?

NS: That depends on a few factors, evening? day? work? fancy dress party? I like to have an hour in general including showering and drying my hair. If I really have to, I can get read in half an hour, like I usually do for work, because I don’t like to be rushed. I want to make sure I look the way I want to or planned to look.

Sometimes though, it’s fun to be rushed because then you’re forced to not overthink and all of a sudden you just grab a bunch of things in your closet to layer and then you look at yourself in the mirror and think “Why haven’t I tried this combo before?” – I love the process of discovering and creating new things.

I,V: Are you one of those people who plans what she’s wearing beforehand, or do you sort of just wake up and pick something out? What’s your styling process?

NS: That depends. If I bought something and I’m excited about wearing it I’ll go for that, otherwise I’ll usually have an outfit loosely picked out in my head to match the occasion. Other times, it’s more or less a process of elimination, I just stand in front of my closet for a while and stare at the things in it wondering “How long ago did I wear that? Is it too soon to wear it again?”

I always feel chronically under-dressed though, for all my planning. It’s hard with Vancouver weather. This morning I was on my way to a meeting with Style Spy Editor-in-Chief Erica Lam and I was in shorts but decided at the last minute to change into jeans because the weather seemed like it was getting colder. I was late for my meeting, but she understood! Sometimes I stuff leggings or an extra sweater in my bag just in case, and I always carry a pair of flats in my purse in case I’m going to work on a shoot or something – I value comfort over style … sometimes, but honestly who can wear heels all day? That takes so much practice!

I,V: Can you tell us, from your experience, what basic items every girl needs in her closet?

NS: A loose white t-shirt, a nice button-up blouse, a “boyfriend” shirt. You always need a good foundation to start off with and then layer and accessorize. I show that in my post “one blouse, six looks”. Layering basics go a long way in terms of versatility and comfort, I’m the kind of girl who wants to get the most bang for my buck. I also recommend a great pair of skinny jeans and a pair of nude pumps, they elongate you and go with everything.

I,V: You’re also a contributor for The Style Spy – can you tell us more about the site and how you got started writing for them?

NS: Erica Lam started the site in 2007 and I found it online and applied to write. At first I didn’t hear back, but later on Erica ended up partnering with shopping malls and various shops to start fun shopping-related events. now that she has a full-time day job she needed help with Style Spy and that’s when I started.

The Style Spy is a site that caters to women who are typically 18-34 years old. It’s not meant to highlight high-end fashion finds, but a large selection of bargain shopping everyday deals as well that cater to every girl’s desire.

The group of girls that contribute to The Style Spy are like a second family to me. Erica does all the events prep herself, she’s a powerhouse! I can honestly say I really admire her work ethic and her drive. I look up to her professionally. She’s a Social Media Strategist for Cossette now. I hope I can work up to her level of achievement some day.

I,V: Where are your favourite places to shop in Vancouver?

NS: ZARA! They have so many shoes! You may have noticed there’s a little bit of Zara in all my blog posts, they’ve really stepped up their game in terms of better quality shoes. They’re also great to find staples at, and their turnover rate for clothing is higher and faster so you’ll seemore new stuff. That way, not every girl is going to look like a cookie-cutter image of the next. I also love H&M because I find great deals tehre. I actually rarely buy any high-end items, except for my Marc Jacobs bag, that Adela half bought for my birthday. I also have a pair of Loeffler Randall shoes I bought in LA that I couldn’t resist.

To be honest, if you just can’t afford that stuff, you can totally find designer-inspired things. To me, fashion is more about the look you create than “who” you’re wearing. I doubt anyone is going to call you out for wearing an “imitation”. I do invest a bit more in my basics, I’ve purchased some Alexander Wang tees because they fit well and are very well made which is great because these are the things that last me the longest and that I wear most often.

I’m also a huge fan of Preen in terms of high end wear, but I saw a pair of pastel coloured silk shorts that were priced at $998 and couldn’t believe it. Why would you put $998 on your ass? If I had bought them I would have tried to wear tights under them so I could wear them in the winter too, I don’t care the they’re not a winter colour. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t spend that much on a single item, I’d rather, you know, use that money towards rent, or travel, or basic sustenance.

I,V: Do you think that Vancouver has a specific style and do you have any favourite local designers?

NS: I think the majority of what’s considered “dressy” in Vancouver is jeans, heels and a decent top, which isn’t bad but it definitely lacks variety. I rarely see anything really risky or outlandish. There’s a completely different street style in Europe that seems to have seeped into Montreal and Toronto cultures more so than Vancouver. Everyone here definitely opts for comfort, which is kind of sad. It’s nice to make an effort to express who you are through your clothing, rather than just wear something because you can’t go out naked.

I wish I could tell people in Vancouver that it’s not that hard to put a little stlye into your everyday clothes, they can even be really simple touches. Like for guys, it can be a simple thing like a pocket square, I love that tiny bit of effort, it says a lot. I feel like we’re starting to get there though, slowly. Vancovuer’s fashion industry is still learning, still growing, we’re taking baby steps, but in reality, we’ll never catch up to Europe simply because you won’t find the same retailers here and things aren’t easy to import because of taxes and duties.

As for local designers, I’d have to say that Lynn Steven and Obakki are my favourites. Lynn Steven has a great selection and I love how socially concsious Obakki is. The company sponsors a foundation where proceeds from a large selection of specific items go towards children in Africa. I’m not even talking part of the proceeds, they give up all the money from those purchases. I love that Canadian designers are making gorgeous stuff but they’re also really philanthropic – they’re not just in it for themselves.

You can connect with Nicole Soon of Le mode du jour via Twitter and Facebook.

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  1. […] NS: That depends on a few factors, evening? day? work? fancy dress party? I like to have an hour in general including showering and drying my hair. If I really have to, I can get read in half an hour, like I usually do for work, …Page 2 […]

  2. […] my hair. If I really have to, I can get read in half an hour, like I usually do for work, …This Blog Posted in: fancy dress party|Franklin Drake|Comments ( 0 […]

  3. Thanks for interviewing me again!! It looks great and reads well! And thanks for all the mentions and link backs to my blog, I really appreciate it! I look forward to reading Mijune’s interview!! xo

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