(Photos courtesy of f8 Photography)
Shopping can be a bit of a nightmare for most. One reason for that is our bodies always seem to be in some kind of a transition, making it difficult to know what size we are, what size we should look for, and if what we’re buying even suits our current shape. The hardest thing to shop for is also the item of clothing we wear the most – denim. Shopping for jeans can be difficult and confusing amidst so many different styles, rises, washes, fabrics, and brands. So what do you do if you’ve gained a few, lost a few, you’re in a transitional phase, or maybe you just have a hard time finding anything that fits your body type?
The key to a great pair of jeans will always come down to the fit, and finding the right fit has everything to do with your body shape – not your current weight. It can be tricky to determine where your body fits in a category of shapes. For women, you are used to hearing pear, apple, hourglass, and athletic. Men probably haven’t heard much of anything except stocky or skinny. Most of the issues with finding denim that fits properly has to do with waist size, hip and leg size, and of course, our behinds!
There are three common issues with women on a daily basis: the waist gap, the sagging bum, and the muffin top.
Women who struggle with fitting their waist usually have a larger hip to waist ratio. The great thing about this shape is your enviable curves mean you look great in all styles of denim. The issue becomes fitting the bottom half without having three inches of extra fabric at the waistband. If you’ve got some booty on you and a short torso, low-rise denim in a straight or skinny leg is the way to go. The low rise will hit you below your waist, and hug your curve instead of hiding it in excess fabric; however, if you’re longer in the upper body with shorter legs, mid-rise denim is what you will want to search for. When you’ve got a smaller waist in comparison to your hips, you want to look for a jean that hits you just slightly above the hipbone.
When you have no bum, you probably find it’s much easier to wear spandex than denim, and that’s because spandex hugs your bum and your legs rather than hiding them in loose fitting denim. If you have no bum, you probably are a little larger in the mid-section with minimal waist definition and very slim legs, which means when finding jeans you’ve got a constant muffin top if anything comes even close to fitting your butt. Look for skinny jeans with a mid-rise and a lot of elastane in the fabric content. You want to be able to fit your bum and legs without any sagging or excess fabric, but you also want to be able to breathe! The elastane will allow for a softer waistband and tighter fit in your smaller areas. A skinny jean will show off your legs and bring more attention to your mini curves.
Everyone gets a muffin top in new jeans – that is just the way it is. Denim stretches and conforms to our bodies as we wear it, and that needs to be taken into account when purchasing denim. It is okay to have a mini muffin top the first few times you wear your jeans; however, if you do carry a little extra weight around your mid-section, choose a rise that covers the muffin. A low rise is not what you should be wearing. Also, look for back pockets that sit higher on your bum for an added lift to your tush.
Men can be separated a little easier – you’re usually either stocky (muscular or not), slim (lean or skinny), or somewhere in between. Regardless of your shape, the most important thing is that your bum looks good and your thighs are not drowning in a cut that is too wide or suffocating in a jean that is way too skinny.
If you’ve got a thicker lower body, avoid the skinny jeans and go for a straight leg. The straight leg will give you additional room in the thigh but keep the look fresh and clean. If you’ve got shorter legs, the straight style will help elongate your stockier body and give the illusion of height and length. With a stocky shape, you may find yourself in a gapping waist situation. Fit your thigh first. If you have to go up a size, get the waistband taken in rather than buying a pair of jeans that are too tight or too big.
For the thinner bodies, you can opt for a skinny jean. With all men’s denim, it is best to have a little room through the thigh and never wear something too tight. Pocket placement is key on leaner bodies because you don’t want to lose your bum in a denim style that is too wide for you. Stick with a skinny or straight leg so your bottom half doesn’t disappear. No one wants to look like they skipped their leg workouts at the gym.
Make sure you take an honest friend with you when you’re looking jeans. Remember that first and foremost, you have to feel comfortable in what you are wearing and look amazing. Be conscious of your own body issues with fit and try lots of options on. Don’t buy jeans without trying them on! Your body is unique, but there is a perfect pair of jeans out their somewhere. You may just need a little help finding them.
Gena Rotstein – Dexterity Consulting
I had the wonderful opportunity to witness grassroots philanthropy in action this weekend. And it was fun! Thank you to Megan Szanik and the team at Espy for such a wonderful afternoon at the #NakedEspy event in support of Prostate Cancer research and support services. The short of it – guys raise $100 and they get $500 worth of clothing provided by Fidelity Jeans and Designal. They were also styled by Espy Stylists – (see photos below of two the best in the city: Clark Whetstone and Jinan). Joining the festivities were some of the YYC Food Trucks, CTV anchor Camilla de Giuseppe, Molson, and Limitless.
I went with Arleigh Vasconcellos of The Agency and we hooked up with the Espy group to chat about why it is important for small business to create and get involved with events like #NakedEspy. Along the way we socialized with some of Calgary’s finest looking men who were baring it all for this cause.
“As a business owner why wouldn’t I use my resources to address a critical issue that has affected my friends, my family and my customers personally? If I can leverage what I have access to and actually make a difference why wouldn’t I? As a result of today we raised a lot of money, but more importantly, we raised awareness about a disease that doesn’t get a lot of public play because guys don’t talk about their health until it is too late,” says Megan about why this type of event is important. “I believe that by connecting my suppliers directly with my customers around a cause, it is good for my business, it is good for my suppliers businesses and it is great for community.”
Recognizable Calgarians included Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra from Ward 9. A “full-frontal” celebration is exactly what brings community together. As Alderman Carra said, “This event is not just about raising awareness for Prostate Cancer. Look around – this is a street level event. Look at all the people that were lining up along 9thAve. What I campaigned on was grassroots community activism; events like #NakedEspy are just the type of occasions that make Calgary a vibrant city.”
Of course, an event in Calgary with beautiful people in support of Prostate Cancer would not be complete without participation from W. Brett Wilson. Capitalizing on this opportunity, and as I had just published the review of his book, I snagged a chance to have a conversation about Brett’s take on what Megan is doing. We also chatted about the success of his book (which, after the first week of sales was #1 on Amazon out selling fellow Dragons – Jim Treliving and Kevin O’Leary).
As for Mr. Wilson and his thoughts on the 3rd Annual #NakeEspy event? “Each year it gets better and grows because we learn from the previous year. I help Megan out, not only because of my own personal experience with Prostate Cancer, but also because that is what business leaders do, we help each other out and for something like this, why wouldn’t I help out?”
Looking to his book, Brett says that he is measuring success not just by the numbers, but also by what his kids are telling him. So perhaps some of the varnish that is Brett’s brand is starting to thin and the real man underneath emerge.
Prostate Cancer touched Megan’s family personally, when her father was diagnosed with the disease. Until 10 years ago, men’s health, especially health below the belt, was not discussed, let alone discussed in public. Because prostate cancer can be successfully cured if caught early, the need to raise awareness and talk about the disease aloud is what makes this event unique, fun and highly effective.
Clark, an Espy Stylist shared why he and the rest of the Espy team get behind Megan and this event (in fact they get behind most things that Megan does, #bikiniespy is the summer version for women focusing on Special Olympics, another personal connection for Megan), “We just do. It’s fun and we believe that we can make a difference, so why not? That is what being a team is about.”
Megan further commented, “We have grown each year, and next year is going to be even larger. I am looking for a corporate sponsor to really suit these guys up… I want them all in Tuxedos!” So there’s the call out to other businesses in Calgary – join in on the fun and connect with Megan on being one of next year’s #NakedEspy sponsors and let’s get these guys clothed in some fancy duds.
So here’s to Megan and all the other small business owners who are doing amazing things in our community, leveraging their networks and pushing the needle on issues that are important to them. I look forward to participating in other Espy events and maybe by this summer I too might end up bikini ready… Ha!
Move over “Movember” — Take a hike Polar Bear Swim!
One hundred nippy men in the community of Inglewood bared not much more than their briefs in the third annual “Naked Espy” for prostate cancer.
Some of the determined dudes began lining up along 9th Avenue S.E. after 6 a.m., outside of Espy clothing store.
The first 100 guys to raise a minimum of $100 for the Calgary Prostate Centre will not only contribute to a good cause but they’ll get styled later on by the store’s retail fashionistas.
Further, the men will get to keep $500 worth of new duds from the fashionable shop.
Each year the event gives the annual “Movember” fundraising challenge an extra run for its money — as proceeds raised for the former go directly to Toronto’s research headquarters.
But Espy proprietor Megan Szanik thought something creative, motivational and fun was needed to raise funds right here at home. She started the event after her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009.
“It was the first time the “Bic C” hit the family,” she says.
“For me, it was kind of like, ‘well, if my dad who is “Mr. Healthy” can do this — everybody can.”
Once she started to see how many people she knew had a personal connection to prostate cancer “the idea just kind of blossomed and grew from there,” says Szanik.
She adds her event is a fun way to talk about her store’s mens’ clothing while piggybacking it with the theme of men’s health.
Red satin onesie-clad participat Josh Fernando says he’s prepared to go the freezing distance to raise money for his brothers with a prostate.
Standing outside with his boxered-and-briefed brethren for eight frigid hours is enough to make any grown man tough.
“We’re on Hour Three right now — we’re prepared for it; we’ve got heaters, our coolers, coffee, everything that we need,” says Fernando.
And Andrew from Vancouver claims he loves the initiative and wanted to help.
“Why not? It is chilly but we came with blankets, down-filled jackets and tuques,” he explains.
“Warm thoughts is all we’ve got…[and] maybe two pairs of underwear. It will be good.”
If I were to start a list of the hottest annual events in Calgary… This event, which took place on Friday, would be at the top of the list.
The perfect fusion of charity, shopping, club, drinking and of course sexy half naked men!
Naked Espy deserves to be listed as #1!
The event, which is as much about raising money as it is about raising awarness for prostate cancer, once again saw guys line up outside of the store several hours in advance jockying to be in the top 100.
The first 100 guys in line willing to make a minimum $100 donation for the cause would receive $500 in free clothing.
Denim, t-shirts, button-ups, blazers and even outerwear were fitted on each of the 100 guys by the amazing styling team at ESPY.
This year, thanks to the help of Mr Wilson from the prostate cancer foundation, I was able to make a donation to be listed as a corporate sponsor.
And although I was able to skip the line this year, I decided I would drop my pants for a photo-op in support of the cause.
Afterall, when Espy pulls in huge sponsors like Bjorn Borg, you want people to see your wears!
And the event invites everyone to participate!
Happily, this year the event took a gentle turn (unlike prior years of making the men suffer in the cold) and sponsor Desigual hosted a pre-dressing party in the neighbouring furniture store, Limitless.
And the party wasn’t without appropriate ‘man champagne’.
Molson made an amazing donation of unlimited ALE !
Performances inside and food trucks lining the street outside, guest started to join the party and the night ended in another yearly success.
I have to admit this was the best charitable event I have ever been to.
Megan, the creative mind at Espy behind this annual men’s event, continues to offer selfless support raising awareness for the disease and brings our community together to celebrate!
Thanks for all you do!
What an amazing event!
Mr. Fab oxers or briefs
Dozens of Calgary men are expected to drop trou for a good cause, and for some free clothes, during this weekend’s third annual #NakedEspy.
Owner of espy Megan Szanik said they ramped up this year’s event as it becomes more popular, by having the event kick off in the afternoon with a party in the evening.
While the store doors won’t open for styling until 4:30 p.m., Szanik said she expects eager participants will be lined up all day.
“People have been telling me there going to be there at 8 a.m.,” she said, adding many customers have already been fundraising and some have raised more than $1,000.
“That is so exciting because it’s a whole other level from where it has been before.”
Szanik said she’s hoping to double the $9,200 raised last year for a cause she holds close to her heart.
“My super healthy dad…he got prostate cancer, and that was the first time the big C, cancer, had hit our family and it really hit home,” she said. “The whole point ofMovember and events like these is to get a conversation started about men’s health.”
The first 100 guys in line will also be guaranteed entrance, with two guests, into the#nakedespy party, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
Boxers or briefs? Everyone can find out at naked espy, taking place this Saturday. The first 100 men that line up in their undies by 3 p.m. receive $500 in clothing in exchange for a donation (minimum $100) to the Calgary Prostate Cancer Center. It’s all going down at espy experience boutique in Inglewood.
The third annual event is a fundraiser for the Calgary Prostate Cancer Center. Last year, the event raised more than $9,200, but organizers are hoping to top $20,000 this time out. While they’re waiting, those in line will enjoy tasty treats (including core-warming coffee) and snacks, a mini-workout and some potent potables. (Participants should dress for the weather; they only have to strip down at 3 p.m.)
When espy’s doors open at 4:30 p.m., the first 100 men in line and their guests (two each) will attend a party in the boutique. The skivvie-clad lads will then be clothed and styled. An after-party will feature food, drink, live music and a burlesque dance performance.
And the Prostate Cancer Center’s Man Van will be parked out front at the event, so interested males over the age of 40 can have an on-the-spot PSA blood test. The forecast says sunny and 3C, so don’t forget the sunblock!
While most men are grooming their mustaches for “Movember”—mustache November—this month, others are preparing to strip down to their skivvies for the annual #nakedespy event at the Inglewood-based unisex apparel store espy.
“[It's] a fun, charitable event to raise money for the place that all of our dads, brothers, husbands, and boyfriends will go if they are diagnosed,” said espy marketing coordinator Tianna Stevenson.
Entering its third year, #nakedespy was started by espy owner Megan Szanik as a cheeky way to raise awareness of prostate cancer. After her father was diagnosed with the disease, she decided to come up with a creative way to support the cause while connecting the the local fashion community.
The result was #nakedespy.
On the day of the event, men line up outside the store in their underwear. The first 100 guys in line to donate $100 receive $500 worth of clothing from the store from premium labels including Fidelity, GSUS, Bjorn Borg and more.
“It’s a traffic stopping kind of event,” said Stevenson.
“The point is to raise awareness about the importance of getting checked – and what better way to do that then ask a bunch of guys to get (almost) naked?”
Billy Romeike participated in last year’s event and is eager to strip down to his unmentionables, once again, for this annual public display of nudity.
“It supports a great cause and I can participate without having to grow a cheesy mustache,” said Romeike.
“The free clothes are nice too, but really it’s just an opportunity for me to get naked in public.”
Last year, #nakedespy raised over $9,200 and saw special local guest Brett W. Wilson (who happens to be a prostate cancer survivor) as well as players from the Calgary Stampeders football team in their underwear. This year, Stevenson hopes to see the event raise at least $15,000, but believes that the true success of the event lies in raising awareness.
“If stylish clothing and guys in their undies can raise awareness for prostate cancer and encourage men to get tested, then it’s a success.”
By: Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
CALGARY – Thinking about donning head-to-toe blue denim or Daisy Duke shorts during Stampede this year? Calgary style mavens say no siree.
Alexandra Gabris, a stylist at the boutique Espy, says the “Canadian tuxedo” is not a good look.
Instead, she suggests delving into one of this season’s hottest trends: colour blocking. Try pairing a brightly coloured pair of jeans — in a turquoise or coral hue, for instance — with a similarly vibrant blouse. Then throw a more subdued blue denim jacket on top.
“This is a great way to do denim-on-denim without being too matchy-matchy. That’s something you don’t want to do for the Stampede,” said Gabris.
Oversized, boxy plaid shirts are best left at a Pearl Jam concert in 1991, and have no place at the Stampede in 2012.
Fellow Espy stylist Amelia McIlmoyle suggests pairing a lace camisole with a form-fitting leather vest for a sexier, more updated cowgirl look.
“That’s just going to give your body a little more shape. You’re not going to be so dumpy. It’s going to be cuter.”
For the few Calgarians heading into the office this week, it’s a fine balance between getting into the Stampede spirit and going overboard.
“The ‘Daisy Duke’ look, it doesn’t fly in most offices. I would avoid that,” says Brian Guichon of western wear store Riley & McCormick.
Instead of ultra-short cutoffs or miniskirts, a dark blue or black pair of jeans is more appropriate.
Or, McIlmoyle says, a flowy, feminine dress that skims the knee paired with a western-themed scarf, belt or jewelry.
Jen Huxtable, a stylist at Holt Renfrew in Calgary, suggests incorporating one or two Stampede-esque items into a work outfit.
“I think the biggest thing is not dressing for a theme Stampede party and rather picking one traditional Stampede style and working that into your everyday wardrobe,” she said.
That could be a plaid blazer with a simple black pencil skirt, or a classic plaid jacket with dark denims.
There are also ways to add a twist to perennial Stampede pieces, said Huxtable. Instead of blue jeans, why not paisley print pants?
“Rather than your classic cowboy hat, try doing a straw fedora instead,” she said.
Many Stampeders, however, are still going for the basics.
Riley & McCormick’s Guichon said his downtown Calgary store has been twice as busy this year compared to other years due to the Stampede’s 100th anniversary.
“Boots and hats and shirts and jeans and belts and buckles — everything is going.”
There are cheap hats aplenty around Cowtown during Stampede, and a lot of people just pick one with no intention of wearing it once the festival is over.
“After a couple of days of heavy partying it kind of looks like they didn’t pay a lot of money for it. They get beat up pretty easy,” he said.
A decent wool cowboy hat will cost between $70 and $125. The best quality hats are made from rabbit or beaver fur, and will run you upwards of $180. They may be pricier, but they’ll last longer and keep their shape better.
A hat has got to fit just right, said Guichon.
“The wind’s not going to take it off, but it’s not going to give you a headache,” he said.
If you’re Stampeding all day long, happy feet are a must. A cowboy boot with a rubber sole is durable and comfortable, but the downside is that they can get hot.
“Personally, I like an all-leather boot because leather breathes and leather is more dynamic. It’s a natural fibre,” said Guichon.
Jeans, Guichon said, are “a given.”
“Denim is pretty consistent with sort of the cowboy uniform…You’ve gotta have some jeans on,” he said.
“To men, I’d say don’t be afraid to try on a pair of slim fit jeans.”
By Alicia Gerrior
Where can you find 100 girls wearing only bikinis and cowboy boots and eat a gourmet breakfast, all in the name of a great cause? #Bikiniespy, that’s where.
Inglewood boutique, Espy Experience is hosting the unique fundraiser in support of Special Olympics Calgary.
“It’s really special to us. We actually have two athletes that have Down syndrome that work at Espy,” marketing coordinator, Tianna Stevenson said.
The event is an offshoot of #nakedespy, a fundraiser that saw 100 skivvie-clad men outside the boutique to raise money to fight prostate cancer.
“After that, we had so many women say, ‘when are you going to do this for us, we want to get outside in our underwear,’” laughed Stevenson.
The first 100 women lined up outside of Espy Experience July 7 will be outfitted in $500 worth of free designer duds. A minimum donation of $100 to SOC is suggested.
For more information visit espyexperience.com.
Photography: Shannon Irvine
Models: Jeannette Brown, Meghan Rae, Candace McLellan
Stylists: Clark Whetstone and Tianna Stevenson
Photos courtesy of Jordan Gooden
Stylist: espy’s own Clark Whetstone
By Christina Kuntz
Photos courtesy of Leah Hennel for HERS Magazine
Stylists: Karen Judge and Christina Kuntz
Article by Christina Kuntz
Tired of all the Stampede stories yet? Good. Neither are we. After all, it IS the 100th anniversary, which kind of makes it a big deal. And that means all those parties and pancake breakfasts are going to be even bigger and better than usual for this centennial celebration.
So what’s a stylish Calgarian to wear to all these fabulous Stampede soirees? Denim, say the hip ladies (and lad) at espy. And not just any old ratty pair of jeans. Anyone who has been to this Inglewood boutique knows they’ve got a great selection of jeans on hand and they’ve sorted out some outfits to show us non-Wrangler types just how cool this Stampede staple can be.
Take the photo of CTV presenter Camilla Di Guiseppe, for example, where funky accessories and colourful jeans add a twist to the classic denim and plaid look.
“For women, mixing in coloured denim is a great way to keep the look really fresh and you can still pair it with cowboy boots or cool plaid styles,” says espy’s Tianna Stevenson.
For those corporate Stampede parties, Stevenson suggests a great-fitting pair of boot-cut or trouser-style jeans for a more polished, professional look.
Skinnies are where it’s at if you want to show off your cowboy boots or do something a little more trendy, as you can see in the photo below of espy’s Alexandra Gabris.
“With the rolled-up jeans and the leopard-print pumps, she looks really modern,” says Stevenson. “Everything about it is Stampede, but she has it pulled together in a way that it doesn’t look like she’s just coming off the farm.”
And there are plenty of other ways for you to dress up your denim without having to go all-out western (if that’s not your thing).
For more Stampede style inspiration, check out espyexperience.com or simply head over to the shop for a denim-fitting session with one of their stylists. After all, it’s much easier to enjoy The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth when you’re not worried about how your butt looks.
Article by Rita Sirignano.
Photography by Jared Sych
By: Katie Turner
With the countdown officially on until the 2012 Calgary Stampede, Ashley Barber, stylist, fashion buyer and personal shopper with espy experience in Inglewood helps prepare western looks for fashion-conscious Calgarians. She says a stylish Stampede outfit can be achieved with a few staple items.
What’s your biggest tip for woman wanting to achieve a stylish western look?
I think for women, and for a lot of us who aren’t totally country, it’s fun to embrace the Calgary Stampede but take a little bit more modern approach. Use the stuff that’s a little bit more current now but also that’s a reflection of the past and accessorize it with a cowboy hat, cute cowboy boots and a little bit if leather here and there.
What about for men? What’s your No. 1 tip?
They definitely don’t have as many accessories as the ladies but they can still do a nice pair of leather shoes or cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. They can also look for more detailing in dress shirt….You could have a plaid shirt with a paisley detail inside the collar, inside the cuff and add some leather cufflinks. Its all about looking for the details.
Is there one must-have item to have in your closet for Stampede time?
For women, something with a floral print, which has been huge for the last couple spring and summer seasons, like a floral button-up or a floral print T-shirt. You can pair that with jeans or jean shorts and cowboy boots, throw in a leather belt and you’re pretty much set.
Must have item (for men)? Probably a Bertigo plaid shirt.
Style and the city
Welcome to our newest fashion content, which sees local fashion maven Jane Ravvin seeking out the secrets behind the style of Calgarians – whether or not they’re part of the fashion industry. Do you know someone who deserves the spotlight? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He’s not exactly known as a style icon. In fact, he favours hoodies and mismatched socks and interchanges his runners. He does, however, have what some might call some serious swag. Which means he can sport just about anything he wants.
“It bothers people to no end,” W. Brett Wilson says of his approach to style. “It’s fun to mess with them.”
So, is the business guru a style risk-taker?
“Some would think so, because I’m not mainstream,” he says.
“I stopped wearing suits concurrent with my cancer diagnosis. It was just too stuffy. It’s very rare that I will wear a suit, (but) I will wear one to show respect.”
Mostly, however, Wilson, who is now cancer free, wears what makes him feel comfortable – and that includes shopping at home. Despite his jet-setting lifestyle, he remains loyal to his favourite stores and brands.
“Eighty per cent of my shopping is done here in Calgary. I have no trouble getting what I want here.”
How has Wilson been growing his empire most recently? First, he’s added a stake in the Nashville Predators. In the highly unlikely situation of the Flames and the Predators going toe to toe in the playoffs, who would he root for?
“The Flames have my heart, but the Predators have my heart and wallet. Heart and wallet always wins,” he says.
Wilson’s other new addition has definitely won his heart. J. Cash is his recently adopted four-year-old standard poodle, short for Johnny Cash.
The dog’s previous owner, Wilson’s friend, desperately wanted a good home for his dog. So once again, Wilson walked away with Cash.
You can see Wilson on his TV show, Risky Business, currently airing Monday nights on Slice. In the meantime, here’s his take on fashion and style.
Q. How would you define your personal style?
A. Rugged casual.
Q. What’s the most prized possession in your closet?
A. My Robert Graham shirt collection. I have a vintage vest collection that I can wear casually or under a tux.
Q. Do you have a favourite designer, brand name or label?
A. Armani – from casual wear to my tuxedos.
Q. Boots or shoes?
A. Runners by John Varvatos. I have four custom-made pairs of shoes by Oliberte, made in Uganda. I met him on Dragon’s Den.
Q. Who makes your favourite suit?
A. My what?
Q. What’s your favourite brand of jeans?
Q. Would you say your closet is streamlined?
A. If a painter’s wheel of colour can be streamlined, then yes.
Q. How often do you purge your closet?
A. Every two to three years.
Q. What’s your rule when deciding whether to purge something?
A. Have I worn it in the past year? Will I wear it in the next six months?
Q. What’s your greatest extravagance?
A. My sports jacket collection: A third are Armani.
Q. Are there any celebrities whose style you admire?
A. Anyone comfortable in jeans – Richard Branson.
Q. Is there a health or beauty product you can’t live without?
A. My beard trimmer.
Q. Who is your hairstylist?
A. Jerome. Q. Do you have a signature scent?
A. John Varvatos.
Q. What are your favourite shops in Calgary?
A. Espy, Paul Hardy, Henry Singer, Harry Rosen and O’Connors.
Q. Do you shop online?
A. Rarely, maybe novelty gifts. I most recently purchased electric, heated pyjamas for my three children for Christmas.
Q. Favourite restaurants? A. Muse, Brava and Jaro Blue.
Q. Your favourite cocktail?
A. Virgin Caesar, O’Doul’s Amber.
Q. Brew or buy? What’s your coffee stop of choice?
A. Chiasso and Waves: quad shot decaf espresso.
Q. Can you share a hidden “lifestyle” treasure in the city with us?
A. Sandy Beach with Cash.
PERSONAL STYLIST AND FASHION EXPERT JANE RAVVIN PROFILES CALGARIANS WITH FASHION FLAIR EVERY MONTH IN REAL LIFE.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Can you feel the love? If it feels funky and like it might have great style, it’s probably coming from Espy in Inglewood. This weekend, the boutique is hosting #spreadloveyyc, which includes four days of fashion, art and parties. The guests of honour, other than all of us of course, are Pepe and Eva, the street art duo born in Amsterdam and based in New York City. The pair is in town creating art in Espy’s fitting rooms and working with local artistAdrian Huysman for an installation in Espy’s back hallway.
The big art reveal happens Thursday night at the #yycnyc Art Party from 6 to 11 p.m. It isn’t a party in a boutique without shopping. New Spring 2012 collections will be for sale. And, Pepe and Eva will have original art available for purchase at prices ranging from $45 to $100. Or, for $39 buy a T-shirt and have the New York duo customise it while you wait. All that with the beat of DJ Miss Tropez spinning in the background.
Friday’s activities include a Couples Shopping Night with wine and appetizers from Sugo, as well as a musical performance from Pepe and Eva — they form the band EVENi. Also Friday, drop in between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. for a quick art class from Huysman who will teach you how to use watercolours and a positive message to create a work of art. Kids art classes will be held Saturday and Sunday, but pre-registration for the little ones is required.
If you can’t make it down to the store, Espy will be rolling out styling lessons on their Youtube channel every day at noon. The videos will teach you everything from how to apply false lashes to how to dress for a petite figure.
100 9 Ave. S.E., 403-457-3779, espyexperience.com, @espyexperience
Spread Love YYC went down from February 2nd until February 5th at ESPY in Inglewood.
Artists Pepe and Eva, originally from Amsterdam but now residing in New York, came to Calgary to showcase their art.
Calgary-based Adrian Huysman, was also featured at the event for his innovative digital-collage-inspired prints. Huysman also hosted several art-classes for eager artsy children and adults.
The concept of Spread Love is simple: uplifting people through the use of art.
Painted fitting rooms with inspirational quotes from the likes of Coco Chanel and uplifting slogans filled the store.
The inclusive setting prompted the question: Is Calgary ready for a cultural take-over?
While ESPY has remained unique in its approach to culture, event participants agreed that the ESPY experience is something that the city is ready for.
Food, art, fashion, and music. Instead of promoting one-or-the-other, ESPY oftens combines all of them to give Calgarians an all-senses-engaged experience.
By Lorraine Hjalte
By Katie Turner
Jaelyn Molyneux. November 2, 2011.
Some men will do anything for a shopping spree. At least that is the hope this Saturday at Espy Experience. The Inglewood boutique is hosting its second annual prostate cancer fundraiser, #nakedespy wherein nearly nude men strip down to their skivvies and line up for free clothes.
The first 100 men dressed in just their underwear and with a $100 donation to the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre (CPCC) will get a shopping spree. The first 50 in line will get $500 worth of clothes with the next 50 getting $300. Guys 101 to 200 will get 50 per cent off their purchases on Saturday with a donation to CPCC.
Doors for the shopping spree open at 10 a.m., but there are pre-shopping festivities including free hot breakfast fromMelrose Cafe and a flash mob workout at 9 a.m. led by CrossFit Ramsay. While no snow is expected, the high for Saturday is only a balmy 2°C and a few jumping jacks might help keep the blood pumping.
#nakedespy takes place Saturday, November 5 at Espy, 1009 9 Ave. S.E., 403-457-3779.
By Sarah Sussman
Meghan Jessiman. November 2, 21001.
Once again we are embarking on Movember, the month that sends shivers up the spines of the world’s female population. Not only does the weather take a turn for the worse, but the men in our lives start sprouting patchy, furry attempts at facial hair. Boys will be boys—with or without their sparse moustaches—so to celebrate and support the goal of raising as much for prostate cancer research as possible, the newly renovated Espy Experience is hosting Naked Espy on November 5.
The first 100 men to arrive at the store Saturday morning, strip down to their skivvies and make a $100 donation to the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre will land themselves a free shopping spree. Melrose Café will be on hand serving up hot breakfast to the nearly nude dudes, DJ Jon Spade will be spinning and $40,000 worth of free clothing will be given away to the brave male participants. Naked or not, this fun charity event is not to be missed.
Naked Espy goes Saturday, November 5 at Espy, 1009 9th Ave. S.E. Breakfast is served at 9 a.m. (but the lineup starts as early as you like) For all the details visit nakedespy.com.
Melissa Ramsay. November 4, 2011.
A local clothing store is raising money for charity this weekend by asking patrons to come shopping in their ginch.
The following 50 men in line get $300 dollars in free clothes.
Store owner Megan Szanik tells 660News the inspiration for the event, which is in its second year, came from her personal life.
“My dad got prostate cancer,” says Szanik. “It was a really big wakeup call for me and my family. My father-in-law had also just had prostate cancer, so for me it was one of those things where [you think] ‘wait a second… every guy can get this’.”
“What it came down to was, this is something I can talk about and I can have a little fun with… but it’s also really, really serious. Everybody talks about breast cancer, and everybody talks about all those other types of cancers… but nobody really talks about prostate cancer. I thought this would be a really cheeky and fun way to do that.”
The event raised $3,500 for prostate cancer research last year, and this year Szanik says their goal is to raise $10,000.
You have to be there before 10:00 a.m. to take part, but you’ve got to get there early to make sure you’re one of the first hundred line. ‘Stripping down’ is required by 8:30 a.m.
And the minimum suggested donation for the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre is $100. Good luck boys!
We’re officially four days into Movember, and there are already a ton of events and fundraisers going on, but there are probably none that involve hundreds of men standing outside in their underwear looking for free clothes.
Tomorrow will mark the second annual Naked Espy, an even that sees at least 100 men in their underwear standing outside of a boutique shop Espy, guaranteed to get to get a free shopping spree. All that’s requires is a miniumim donation of $100 to the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre.
The first 50 fellas in line outside of Espy the morning of Nov. 5 will receive $500 worth of designer duds, while the next 50 will walk away with $300 of stylish new threads, all courtesy of event sponsors scott james, Fidelity, Mavi, 7 Diamonds, GSUS and more.
I went last year, to look at who would be brave enough to battle cold Calgary weather in order to get free clothes and I was so impressed with the guys who showed up in order to support such a great cause! Styling and clothing giveaways begin at 10 a.m., but the boys are sure to be lined up outside well before 8. For those who aren’t among the first 100 people in line, all purchases throughout the day on Nov. 5 will be 50-percent off with a donation to the CPCC.
Even though the temperatures are supposed to be quite chilly, don’t call social services just yet. Melrose Cafe will be there providing breakfast for the guys and rumour has it celebs like Brett Wilson will be there to help keep the crowds nice and warm!
Last year’s #nakedespy event raised $3,500 and saw only 30 men outfitted for free. This year’s goal is to triple that tally while giving away $40,000 worth of clothes to local men in need of some style.
If you want a sneak peek at the clothes up for grabs, visit the Naked Espy site.
If you have a Movember-inspired event, let me know and I’ll be sure to include it!
I’m Mr. Fabulous
immrfabulous. November 4, 2011.
This month furry faces will be taking over the country as Movember, a charitable prostate cancer movement picks up steam.
Last year I grew the one and resembled Matt Damon in the Informant.
I ended up raising a cool $500 in donations and on December 1st rinsed that fur down the drain.
This year I decided to sponsor and leave the ‘van outside the elementary school’ mustaches for others.
Here are 2 ways I will be giving money!
#1 Naked Espy.
Tomorrow Espy will give the first 100 guys who line up outside their store in underwear FREE clothing! The first 50 ppl will get $500 and the next 50 ppl will get $300. But it doesn’t stop there! Everyone else who shows up in their underwear will get 50%off thier purchases! All they ask is that you donate a minimum $100 towards the charity. So get on your ‘manties’ and I’ll see you there!
No passion for polo gear
Full-time student and mother of two trades golf shirts for new hip style
BY THERESA TAYLER, CALGARY HERALD OCTOBER 25, 2011
Stacey Doney tries an outfit with the help of stylist BR Pirri of BRIOstyle at espy experience in Inglewood during her Herald makeover.
Photograph by: ,Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald, Calgary Herald
There’s nothing wrong with polo shirts. They’re especially useful when you’re playing golf, tennis – and polo.
But when Stacey Doney opened her closet to find not one, not 10, but 20 black polo-style tops staring back at her, she had an epiphany: it was time to update her look.
“I told my husband I thought I could use some new clothes and he – gawd love him – lovingly replied with an off-the-cuff comment: ‘Gee dear, it’s a good thing daggy is in.’ Daggy, being the Australian slang for frumpy,” Doney says with a laugh.
Daggy wasn’t the reaction the busy University of Calgary education major and mom of two was going for. “I think I just got into a rut with style,” she says.
Which is why Doney caught our attention during the makeover call for the fall issue of HERS magazine (calgaryherald. com/hers).
Because there wasn’t room for two makeovers in the magazine, we moved this one to the newspaper, with a package that included a new do from EvelineCharles Salon at The Core, a personal style session from BRIOstyle’s BR Pirri, a new look from espy experience in Inglewood, and a makeup session with professional makeup artist Karen Bathen.
When she’s not hitting the books, Doney is taking care of her six-year-old daughter, Ella, and eightyear-old son, Jack.
On the rare night she doesn’t have homework, Doney and her hubby enjoy socializing with friends.
That means Doney needs clothes, hair and makeup that can take her from the classroom to a PTA meeting and then out for dinner, no fuss.
First stop was EvelineCharles, where Angela Steele, a senior stylist and creative team member, cut, coloured and highlighted Stacey’s hair, transforming her long locks into a simple and modern style.
Steele gave Doney face-flattering, natural-blond highlights and took several inches off her tresses.
“She can style and blow-dry this look in a few minutes,” Steele says.
EvelineCharles also provided Doney with a brow tint and wax to highlight her facial features.
For the new wardrobe, Pirri focused her efforts on clothing that Doney can wear day or night to almost any social function.
“Because Stacey has a very fun personality, we wanted to find her a look that would rock her outside the same way she rocks her inside. She has a vibrant personality, and her clothes weren’t reflecting that,” says Pirri, who found Doney’s perfect fit in a new pair of Silver jeans and several flowy tops and sweaters in a variety of colours, all from espy experience.
The Calgary-based stylist suggests Doney layer tops and sweaters over form-fitting tank-tops, then work more detail into each of her outfit combinations by adding layers such as jackets and accessories.
“Because she carries her weight in her upper body more than the lower, I chose tops that would camouflage that area,” Pirri says.
Doney came away with several outfit combinations from espy, a store that caters to all sizes, from size zero through plus.
“When you really break it down, every time you see someone who looks well dressed it’s in the layers they use. That’s how you finish an outfit,” Pirri adds.
Doney’s complexion was complemented with a smokey-eye look built up by applying natural, skin-toned colours to her lids.
“I’ve used a salmon colour and bronze on her eyes. Because her shirt is very colourful, I’ve kept her makeup neutral. If you use too much colour it will make things look tacky,” Bathen says. “For (Stacey), we just want to highlight her look. She has beautiful skin, so very little foundation is needed.”
Out of the golf duds and into some chic mom-on-the-go attire, Doney says she feels 100 per cent better about her new – sans polo shirt – look.
“The outfits are comfy, but they’re still stylish. I can wear them into a classroom and still feel like me,” Doney says.
“I’ve realized that it’s a lot more important to dress so that you show off your personality than to worry too much about your body’s shape.”
Stacey Doney’s look comes courtesyof these local businesses:
Hair cut, colour, highlights and brow-tint and wax by EvelineCharles at the CORE: evelinecharles.com, 403-571-5666
Clothes and makeup from espy experience: espyexperience.com, 403-457-3779:
? RD sleeve shawl pullover sweater $53
? Tua top in black $37
? RD long seamless tank $19
? Silver indigo jeans $120
? RD striped V-neck top $49
? Akira boots $109
? Lovely Girl necklace $23
Makeup by Karen Bathen: louissaintartistry.com
Professional style session by stylist BR Pirri, BRIOstyle: briostyle.ca, 403-669-8331
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
I’m Mr. Fabulous
Another post by espy model and Calgary blogger Mr. Fabulous about our ZEBRA Party held on September 16, 2011.
Last night at ESPY, was one of the best retail openings I have ever been to. The party titled ‘Zebra’ hit all the right points; an attractive guest list, great DJ, delicious food, a selected charity and of course all the bubbles a boy could drink. They pulled out all the stops, but the entertainment didn’t stop there. They had a Safari photo booth, contortionists, dance interludes from ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ contestants, a Chef, and live mannequin models.
The best part was that this was not a big chain retailer that had a million dollar budget; but instead a local, well-respected company that has built a solid foundation through creating great relationships with their community and the people who shop with them.
They are known as the ‘Jean Experts’ in Calgary and carry a very liberal range of sizes and styles. They can find a perfect fit and style for any age and body type.
I was there for the first time since they took over their new location at 1009 9th Ave SE (in Inglewood), and I introduced a few of my girlfriends to the store. They were not only in love with the space but shocked on the very reasonable price point.
Although ESPY carries a wide range of designers, they only pick a few special pieces from each collection; keeping their stock low and thus fairly original.
If you are looking for the perfect pair of jeans or something fabulous to wear on your next date night, this is the place to shop.
And if you need help, trust these women (and one guy) they know what they’re talking about!
Thanks again Mr. Fab!
The espy stylists
Press Plus 1
Ben Tsui of Press Plus 1′s coverage of Pride Calgary 2011 includes a lot of espy faces! Thanks to espy stylists Clark Whetstone and Odessa Bennett and the Lit Cosmetics crew for participating. Click here to read Ben Tsui’s work on Press Plus 1!
(Photograph and story by Ben Tsui)
(Calgary — Sept. 4, 2011) Press+1 had a blast this past Labor Day long weekend at the 2011 Calgary Pride Parade and Street Festival! We helped spreading some fabulous positivity, diversity and unconditional human equality to a city of one million. The annual event was an opportunity for people of all genders, sexual orientations, and walks of life to unite and march together. According to the organizers, there were over 15,000 participants attended this year’s parade and after party.
Adorned with party beads, twittering cell phone and a purple t-shirt that declared “Straight but not narrow”, Calgary’s new mayor and Pride Parade Marshall Naheed Nenshi bantered cheerfully with onlookers along downtown Stephen Avenue and at nearby Shaw Millennium Park. He welcomed open-minded citizens of all persuasions and creeds. The Calgary Flames hockey team also sponsored one of its nearly 40 colorful floats.
On the street level, local indie film actress, model, fashion stylist & straight housewife Odessa Bennett and her business associates from espy Fashion Boutique were more than ecstatic to doused the crowd with shimmering glitter. “We were so impressed with the turn out! The energy on the street was fantastic. By the time we reached Millennium Park, we were almost out of our 8 large squeeze bottles of glitter too!” reflected Bennett. “Espy teamed up with lit cosmetics for the pride parade. We had squeeze bottles of glitter and doused willing audience members. It was great to see people running after us for more glitter — ‘No glitter, no glory!’” She giggled. “We love to shop with our Cis and trans gendered clients alike. What it comes down to it, everyone deserves to look fabulous and feel amazing in their skin.”
Calgary Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival programmer and Publicist for Pride Parade’s Jessica Dollard also couldn’t agree more. She credited the tremendous turnout to both the mayor and the Calgary Flames hockey. “Our festival greatly exceeded its 33% attendance from last year. Mayor Nenshi is a great leader and as he stated on Sunday, ‘He represents all Calgarians!’ His active participation in our event as Grand Marshal made the entire country sit up and notice… and then look how the Calgary Flames followed suit. They’ve sent representation to the parade and supported the cause as well. The statement they made, both nationally and internationally, was that Calgary is diverse. It reminded and sent the message that you don’t need to be gay to support gay rights, or more accurately –human rights. The turn-out numbers were great but more importantly – volunteers, participants and audiences were thrilled with this year’s events. The general feeling was exactly what Pride should be: celebratory, positive, inclusive and all in the name of building an important community within Calgary,” observed Dollard.
Bennett added, “It feels like we’ve reached a tipping point in Calgary. The parade and festival will only grow from now on. I anticipate many more allies to join the parade following in Nenshi and the Flames’ lead.”
As a media journalist and human rights activist, I was very satisfied to see Calgary’s mainstream embraced the local alternative arts, cultural and body politics scene so harmoniously as well!
espy was so proud to be apart of this event!
The espy stylists
Jaelyn Molyneux of Vitamin Daily wrote a cute little “ode” to espy! Check out her acrostic blog about the espy experience:
AN ODE TO THE INGLEWOOD BOUTIQUE THAT IS NOW BIGGER AND BETTER.
S is for space. Espy shuffled down 9th Avenue a few blocks to a space that is triple its old size.
H is for his and hers clothes.
O is for the ogling that comes with a Stop Staring dress.
P is for personal shopping with stylists coming to your home to audit your wardrobe.
E is for events like the VIP shopping party on September 23 or the Curvy Girls party on October 4.
S is for the sale room, tucked away with easy to access deals.
P is for the piles of up to 1,500 jeans kept in stock.
Y is for the youthful glow that comes from Espy’s own mineral-based vegan make-up line.
Adorable! (and just a heads up, the Curvy Girl Party at espy is OCTOBER 13!!!)
the espy stylists
I’m Mr. Fabulous
Check out blogger Mr. Fabulous’ experience as a model for espy:
A few months back I was contacted by a fellow model and stylist Odessa who works with the team at ESPY. The old store was moving to a new location and they needed some models for their new in-store and web marketing.
Now I have done a lot of great shoots in the past but never one for fashion so I checked out the work of the photographer, Stuart Robinson and jumped at the opportunity.
Next, horror set in when I was asked to come in for a jean fitting. On every other shoot I was used to ill fitting clothes being clipped, cropped, or touched up in final edit; the clothes have never been the focus, so it was all very unimportant. This being a clothing retailer, the fit was going to be very important and my body is not an easy one to dress.
After 3 days of fasting I was in the old location and being given the once over by a stylist. Hiding in a fitting room, denim started furiously flying over the top of the door. With a sigh I was ready to squeeze my killer thighs into the jeans and show them what they were getting into.
To my shock, jean after jean, I was strutting out feeling pretty confident. Espy and their stylists are known as the ‘jean experts’ and for good reason. I was looking bootylicious
Six bazillion jeans later they had picked their favourites and after trying on a few tops for size I was on my way home.
A week later it was time to shoot. We arrived at the unfinished store location and one of the largest teams of stylists, hair, make-up artists and production staff wipped us all into a frenzie of fashion models.
The photographer knew what he wanted and how to get it, it was the most efficient, quickest moving set I had been on. Very few shots where taken but the end result was perfect.
I have not included my ‘crotch shot’ in this post, I decided to leave you something additional to discover while you’re shopping.
Thanks to the entire team at Espy, I was very lucky to work with your amazing team!
Mr. Fab uper model
Thanks Mr. Fabulous! We loved working with you too! Click here to read more of his blog, I’m Mr. Fabulous.
The espy stylists
Check out the Binzento Vincente blog about espy’s ZEBRA PARTY!
The Espy Experience Grand Re-opening
oh Zebras…I heart you..
The Espy Experience, located in Calgary’s next fashion hub Inglewood, had a grand re-opening event past Friday. Before I begin to tell you guys how thrilled I am with this new store…
Please meet the Espy Stylists!
The Espy Team
Right: Megan Szanik
Tianna Stevenson; Clark Whetstone
Ashley Barber; Meagan Fitzpatrick
Now that you’ve seen most of the stylists of the Espy team, you may ask: “so what?”. Well, Espy is not an ordinary fashion boutique where you just walk-in, and fulfill your “shopping your feelings” moment. In fact, Espy do more just that; it provides an experience, whether if it’s educational in fashion labels and beauty products or to share knowledge about styling and fashion trends.
The whole concept of Espy is to build a positive relationship with the customer by understanding their needs. Espy also provides service to help their clients to find their most appropriate products at an affordable price. In addition, they promote fashion labels that are not well recognized in the community.
Right: Blogger Mr. Fabulous
The grand re-opening night starts out with a red carpet event and models showcasing Espy products. The room was packed with guests, giving a great opportunity to mingle with new people.
Parties like these never go without wine, catered snacks and DJ music, but what’s unexpected was the live dance performance, a well thought of idea to warm up the crowd.
friends: Jacqueline and Tomi
In terms of clothing, I am most impressed with the denims they offered: Levi’s, Mavi, Fidelity, Cookie Johnson…Made in good quality and some using high grade Japanese jean fabric.
Above: Tomi, Mike Addams, Domingo and Jacqueline
with Live Cosmo: Mike Addams
On me that night: Hat: Zara; Asymmetrical Hoodie: Vivienne Westwood; Pants:K-2 Factory; Necklace: Unknown designer (from Alberta)
with Brett Wilson (previously on Dragon’s Den)
Surprise guest Brett Wilson (from reality show: Dragon’s Den) made an appearance. Brett said he has been a big supporter of the Espy.
Naked Espy Promo (photo courtesy: Espy Experience)
with Megan and Linda MacNaughton from Prostate Cancer Centre
Espy also reached out to the community by helping prostate cancer organization. In November of the prostate cancer month, Espy will be holding their original “Naked Espy” in YYC. First 100 guys goes to Espy store in their underwear will receive free fashion styling/clothes.
They are currently offering promotional events and cool deals too. Visit their website: http://espyexperience.com/for the details.
Seriously cool blog from a seriously cool fashion star in YYC! Follow Vincent on twitter @SimplyVincent and check out his blog Binzento Vincente!
the espy stylists
Never underestimate the allure of a pair of really good blue jeans. For those of us who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, customizing and distressing our own jeans, which really only came in two styles -regular or bell bottom, was the only way to get cool jeans that really fit you. Nowadays the many styles and fits, not to mention the fabulous prices, can be intimidating for many people.
If you are in need of an upgrade, or if you’re in the category of hard-to-fit jeans, I have the shop for you. espy is located in the Inglewood Business Revitalization Zone at 1217B 9th Avenue S.E., in a beautiful old building. Owner Megan Szanik chose the location because it reminded her of Montreal, where she used to live.
The store has high ceilings with those big old tin-patterned tiles and 100-plus-year-old hardwood floors. Megan used to own her own company when she lived in Montreal and travelled the world choosing new clothing brands and introducing them to Canada.
These days she enjoys working closer to home and family. She still does some of that international shopping as evidenced by the interesting and affordable designer clothing in her store. But good jeans are now one of her passions.
“I used to run a $20 million company and loved it, but now I get such joy out of helping a woman get a really great pair of jeans,” she says.
In addition to designer clothing at pretty reasonable prices, espy specializes in pairing customers with excellent fitting jeans.
The employees are trained stylists who take fit seriously. Shelby, Ashley and Caitlin looked me over (very forgivingly too, I might add, so I didn’t feel at all intimidated) then set to work.
They took all the frustration out of trying to discover which styles might fit and were quick to rule out poor fits and to explain what was wrong with each.
espy carries a variety of brands, and a range of sizes. For women they have sizes 0 to 18, in lengths 30-36. espy carries men’s jeans in sizes ranging from small to 4X.
espy hosts private parties, if you are a member of a gaggle who needs to upgrade their jeans wardrobe and would enjoy some music and fun at the same time.
Go to www.espyexperience.com for more information about their VIP shopping parties.
Annie MacInnis is the Executive Director of the Kensington Business Revitalization Zone
Wildrose Leader Gets Liberal with Fashion, and Gives Me the Skinny on Style Policy
Who would have thought! Danielle Smith likes to shop at one of my all time favourite Calgary boutiques, espy in Inglewood. We may not agree on much to do with the Oilsands, but I’d go on a shopping date with Danielle any day of the week. When the news of Danielle’s involvement with Blu’s Role Models Campaign broke last week it caused a bit of a stir. But, as Danielle notes, women in politics are judged by their appearance, it’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. So, why not have some fun with it and take some pride in her stylish side? I couldn’t agree more.
Danielle Smith leader of the Wildrose Party, is the new Blus role model face of fashion, in Calgary on March 30, 2011(Photo by Christina Ryan, Calgary Herald).
By Theresa Tayler, Calgary Herald April 2, 2011
When it comes to her wardrobe, Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith is eager to explore her liberal side, even if her politics remain right of centre.
It turns out the conservative politician is as much a threat on the catwalk as she is to the ruling Tories. Smith recently traded in her sensible shoes and power suits for some sleek new looks, including a sexy LBD, part of a fashion shoot for Blu’s Womens Wear.
The 40-year-old politician flashed her pearly whites for the company’s Role Models marketing campaign (see blus. com), which features successful Alberta-based women wearing designer lines such as Hugo Boss and Michael Kors.
Smith says she isn’t worried about how the photo shoot will affect her political reputation because it’s all in good fun.
And, the born-and-bred Calgarian said she was eager to help support the Alberta-owned chain of boutiques.
We’ll leave the political questions to our colleagues in the Herald’s City section. Instead, we grilled Smith on her fashion policies.
Q: Why did you agree to take part in this marketing campaign?
A: (Owners) John and Jennifer Leavitt are local entrepreneurs. I met with them over a year ago; they had offered to do sponsorship for our (annual general meeting). . . . They had this idea about how they could introduce professional women to their audience through these Role Model profiles. I love their clothes, so I said yes.
If people read my little profile on the Blu’s website and get inspired to enter into political life I think that’s a positive. I think more women should be looking at a life in the public service, and if I can provide and opening for more women to consider that, that’s a good thing.
Q: Do fashion and personal style interest you?
A: I understand how important (personal style) is now. I came from a big family, so whenever we did our shopping it was at the beginning of the school year, when you outgrew your clothes from the previous year.
Shopping, style, it’s not something that comes naturally for me, or that I have talent for. So, I’m more than happy to rely on the experts. I often go to espy (a boutique in Inglewood). The girls there help me a lot. They’ve introduced me to dresses and lots of new and interesting accessories . . . I’m trying to funk things up a bit more.
Q: Does style matter in politics?
A: I think it does. I remember reading an autobiography of Margaret Thatcher. She actually had an assistant keep track of the outfits she wore to big public events so that she didn’t wear the same outfit to the same kind of event twice. That’s the reality women face in politics, which men don’t.
People notice what you wear. I couldn’t possibly imagine a male politician saying, ‘Oh no, I wore that suit at that trade conference, so I can’t wear it again.’ That’s just not in the realm for them to consider. It’s not fair that we have different fashion rules for women.
But, it is a reality. I’m not complaining.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing you wore as a teenager?
A: Ah, this is easy: Leg warmers. I mean, really? Who ever thought that was a good idea? Purple leg warmers, incredible. I hope there are no pictures of that.
Q: You’re often seen wearing a power suit. Is this a look you’re drawn to, or it is a necessity given your job?
A: I feel most comfortable when I’m in a suit because when you’re in a business meeting, you are usually in a room with men as well as other women who are in the same line of work. If you dress too casually it can be misunderstood that you don’t take the meeting seriously.
Q: We often praise women on the sidelines of politics – Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni and Kate Middleton – for being fashionable. Often that doesn’t apply to women in leadership roles. Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Belinda Stronach’s looks and clothes were focused on as much as their political wherewithal. Do we harshly judge women in positions of power for caring about fashion, or for letting their sexy side show?
A: It’s a reality, there are different standards for women in politics verses men in politics. That’s the way it is . . . people spend time commenting on their outfits. I don’t know any woman in the political realm who gets away without that kind of scrutiny.
It’s important for female politicians to not be afraid to look feminine. People don’t want a female leader to pretend that she’s a man. I’m not pretending to be a man; I wear dresses and I wear skirts.
Q: Do you have any style tips for women working in male-dominated industries?
A: There is a balance between having an interesting style and dressing appropriately. There are things you can do to offset (the conservative nature of a suit). You can wear nice colours, accessories, interesting blouses and dresses. Pair interesting fashion items with suits and you get a great look.
We think this ranks as one of the more questionable groups of statistics that has come across our desks for Valentine’s Day – the dating website Fastlife.ca has come up with a list of neighbourhoods that are Calgary’s sexiest, based on the number of “positive responses single men and women received to a second encounter after meeting at FastLife.ca’s speed-dating events.”
Scientific? Not exactly.
Fun? Well, possibly.
According to a press release from FastLife, “single ladies in search of the man of their dreams would stand the best chance of finding him in the residential district of Altadore, while single men seeking out sexy bachelorettes would be wise to pay a visit to the city’s artistic community of Inglewood.
“Other neighbourhoods housing Calgary’s finest bachelors include the popular Inglewood and the residential borough of Douglas Glen, while Cowtown’s hottest ladies can also be found in the Banff Trail and Connaught districts.”
And how’s this for a slap in the face?
“Single women would be wise to avoid the neighbourhood of Wildwood, home to the least attractive men in Calgary, while the least attractive women are in Martindale.”
“On a national scale, Vancouver’s Granville entertainment district was found to have the sexiest bachelors, while Toronto’s entertainment district was home to Canada’s sexiest bachelorettes.”
So there you have it…according to FastLife. What do YOU think?
When fashion is your livelihood, it’s all about the details. So when Megan Szanik, the owner of Inglewood’s espy boutique, and James Cuff, a software developer with Critical Mass, decided to get hitched in Maui, the bride made no secret of the importance of nailing “the look.” “A huge portion of my friends are in the fashion industry so, frankly, for me it was all about the photos,” explains Szanik. “We bought and returned 17 pairs of shoes on zappos.com trying to get perfect pink, but in the end we took the typical photo-shoot route—spray-painting black ones to fit the bill.”
With her sights set on a retro ’50s pin-up vibe, Szanik sourced the groom’s James Bond-inspired smoking jacket, the sleek bridesmaids dresses and her custom-made tea-length gown on websites from around the world, saving a pretty penny in the process. “The elements of style were important, but James and I decided that the majority of our budget should be spent on renting an amazing mansion in Maui for eight of us to stay in for the week and to act as the location for the entire wedding,” she says. “There’s no need for decorations when you have an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and walls of flowers as your backdrop.”
Traditional wedding fare just wasn’t going to cut it for these self-proclaimed “crazy foodies,” so Szanik and Cuff enlisted Fedwell Catering to create a feast of sesame-crusted roast pork loin with chili pineapple compote, spicy Korean-style barbecue chicken and freshly caught local fish for their 45 guests to indulge in. While the pair opted out of a first dance in the traditional sense (Cuff only dances in the kitchen), they decided to splurge on a DJ rather than going the iPod playlist route: “We gave him a list of hundreds of songs and he created this amazing mash-up,” Szanik says. “I needed to hear ‘I Like Big Butts,’ but I only needed to hear about 30 seconds of it, and there certainly wasn’t going to be any chicken dancing at my wedding.”
The bride cautions those planning Hawaiian nuptials to get the party started early—a strict sound curfew will have the authorities knocking on your door after 10 p.m. “Our day was perfect, but it may have been the shortest wedding in history and certainly one of the few to have copious amounts of booze left over for the rest of the week!”
Photographer & Invitations: Alix Broadway and Jai Bentau, aera.ca.
Custom Vintage-style Dress: whirlingturban.com.
Custom Tuxedo: indochino.com.
Makeup Artists and Stylists: Courtesy of espy, espyexperience.com. 1217B 9th Ave S.E., 403?457?3779.
Originally published in Swerve magazine Feb.11.11.
About Michaelle LeManne
Calgary City Editor Michaelle LeManne believes that every writer has to have a bit of an ego to think that others truly care about what they have to say. She promises to keep hers in check however, and simply tell it how she sees it out in the wild west.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Calgary, Canada (Dec.01.10)
Us girls, we like to play dress-up. Whether it’s pair after pair of jeans (searching for the ones that hug our butts just right), dresses that will sparkle in muted lighting at our Christmas parties, or trying on every conceivable outfit in our closet that will go with our just-purchased Very Volatile grey suede ‘ski-bunny’ boots ($159), playing dress-up is simply inherent to our female DNA.
(It is true that some men like to get their inner ‘Ken’ dolls on too. My advice? Hold on to those boys as tight as you can…they are a rare breed indeed…)
It was with this in mind (and rapidly approaching holiday parties and get-togethers), that a bunch of girlfriends and I booked a private shopping party at my favourite boutique in the city, espy.
Much wine was consumed—yes dear readers, I too have finally ventured into the land of vino. Not sure what tipped the scales in wine’s favour, but it has suddenly stopped tasting like rancid vinegar when in contact with my taste buds—dare I say I may be developing a palette?
My newfound wine appreciation aside, we sipped and noshed our way through various fashions (some hot, some hotter) and wound up giving a plethora of new pieces good homes.
So if the next few weeks see you in need of that perfect party dress, or just something fun to hang out in with your friends, my girlfriends and I offer the following choice cuts that made the grade—happy shopping!
Boyfriend blazers by Class Couture ($43), jeggings by Mavi ($99), grey silk top by Cocolove ($49). What’s a couple matching blazers between friends?
Frigid Fun by the Calgary Sun
Monique Cameron snuggles with James Burchnall to help keep him warm Saturday as he waits in his skivvies. He was one of dozens of men who braved the cold to line up at espy in Inglewood to get a free makeover and raise money for prostate cancer research.
Mike Drew/Calgary Sun
Check Out the espy Fashion Show @ Oscar Lopez
We try and make the stop at fave Inglewood designer discount shop espy a weekly endeavor. And now we’re sharing five favourites (with images online) from our most recent excursion:
With fall around the corner, we can’t wait to rock these cute black ruffle Friis Company booties ($89).
Dresses with pockets – a design detail worthy of our highest praise. This charming Supreme Being dress ($79) does them justice.
Elastic waistbands are our friends – especially when they are attached to this super cute plaid pick-up skirt by Supreme Being ($49).
Soft, flowy and feminine, our favourite jeans will pair perfectly with this St- Martins butterfly-esque silk tunic ($79).
1217B 9 Ave. S.E.
Ready to Wear
Calgary boutiques and personal stylists are changing the face of shopping by offering style experiences By Theresa Tayler, Calgary Herald June 15, 2010 We’ve all been there, staring into the changing room mirror wondering, Is this a good idea? Before you know it you’ve got a shopping bag full of trendy tops and skinny jeans that look better on the rack. Those impulse buys will sit in your closet for months, until you make the annual trip to the nearest Goodwill bin and donate that bundle of unworn polos, trousers and ill-advised pantsuits.
Megan Szanik — owner of espy Boutique, on 9th Avenue S.E. in Inglewood — and her staff don’t want to see you suffer in the name of fashion any longer. The style expert brings a wealth of expertise as a buyer and marketer in the North American fashion industry to the table, and will have you fitted — and in fashion — in a jiffy. “It used to be that people would walk into a store and they get a girl behind a counter, just standing there saying ‘Can I help you? Can I help you?’ That’s not what you get with us. We know how to find the right clothes that fit you and make you look fabulous.” says Szanik.
When a customer comes into espy, she’s given the full shopping experience. In fact, Szanik — whose boutique offers its own line of makeup and, coming soon, clothing, accompanied by women’s and men’s brands such as Aaiko, Boxfresh, Bionic, Ben Sherman, Gsus and Yumi — scoffs in the name of traditional retail. “I’m not going to try to sell somebody something they look bad in. It’s not good for business when they go home and their friends say, ‘Why did you buy that? It looks horrible.”
Style advising, as opposed to selling, is a trend taking off across the city. Discerning shoppers see quick-sale retail as a thing of the past, according to Jason Krell, a Calgary-based fashion marketer and public relations consultant. “People are looking for style advice rather than heading out and blowing a grand on something then not knowing how to wear it. There are also more trunk show-type sales that are popping up all of the time,” he says.
Krell says fashion industry insiders — from designers to retailers and small boutique owners — are beginning to custom-fit their clothes to suit the client’s body and lifestyle. Retailers and shop owners are becoming increasingly aware that it’s time to embrace all body shapes and help people feel good about how they look, he says. He points to recent examples such as Laura Caravaggio’s Lola and Gigi Toronto-based online boutique and travelling sale show, which visited Calgary on June 9 at Fashion Central. Caravaggio offers style advice and clothing lines for plus-sized women.
Other examples include: – Local stylist Kim Flanagan, who operates her Mommy Wear Daily web-site (mommywear. square-space.com)and style consulting business. Flanagan advises women (pregnant and not) how to dress to suit their bodies.
- The Calgary Denim Clinics, which take place sporadically at Fashion Central (fashioncentral.ca).
People attend the workshops to be fitted for custom-made jeans, starting at $145 a pair.
- Chic Calgary-based designer Shae Barry, who recently opened his flagship design studio-boutique downtown. Barry, who has over 25 years experience as a couture designer, has geared his new shop toward custom fitting and tailoring for each client’s shape and preference.
It all adds up to the new trend: being tailored to wear rather than ready to wear.
Carol Tuttle is an alternative psychotherapist and the author of Dressing Your Truth: Discover Your Personal Beauty Profile and several other style and self-esteem books. She says women and men want their fashion sense to define them and add to their self confidence — people still have a lot of self-esteem issues in the change room.
From weight to body type, bustline to beltline, Tuttle says she hears it all from clients who feel horrible about how they look. “It makes sense to me that Calgary boutiques are beginning to offer personal styling as a regular thing,” says the Utahbased author. “There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t happy with their bodies. If they’re not happy about themselves, well they’re not going to buy clothes.”
It’s not just weight issues. Tuttle says people are inundated with style options and popular media that spread the message, “we need to be fashionable.” Szanik agrees that if stylists, boutique owners and retailers are going to remain successful, they must stop paying attention to trend and brand and begin looking at clothes based on how they fit a client’s lifestyle and body type.
espy will soon will offer a 12 and up sized section, and this summer the shop will begin stocking curvy-fitted Cookie Johnson Jeans (designed by Magic Johnson’s wife), up to a size 38.
“We’re less concerned about what brand it is and more concerned about shape,” says Szanik.
espy is a good place to go for someone who’s not sure what they want, or maybe doesn’t like shopping. the owner is essentially stacy from ‘what not to wear.’ i went in and tried a couple of things on, and she said she had a dress coming in that would suit me. she picked up on my style immediately and she’s essentially size psychic. she knows what will fit and look good. the clothing is good quality. the one i bought was cotton. i wore it to a party and was accosted by people demanding to know where i found it.
Girls Gone Wild
cal gal Calgary, canada (Dec.16.09)
Women love to shop. Women love to shop together. Throw in some wine, hors d’ouvres, and discounted designer clothes and shoes, and you’ve pretty much created a portal into what we hope heaven is like.
Which is pretty close to what last Friday night was like at espy boutique. When I saw that one of my favourite shops was starting to host private shopping parties, I jumped at the chance to get some of my closest girlfriends together for a night of retail therapy. (Who else is going to talk you into some thigh-high suede boots? You’re welcome Gloria.)
For four hours we nibbled delicacies from Bite and delectables from Nectar Desserts, and shopped until some of us dropped. While some of us tried on things that we couldn’t even begin to imagine to where we would wear—the one-piece short/halter combo comes to mind—, we all tried on the seeming nemesis of anyone that’s not a tween or supermodel. Yes, I am talking about jeggings–the love child of jeans and leggings.
After virtually being dragged kicking and screaming to the change room by shop owner Megan Szanik, I begrudgingly convinced to try on a pair—but not before I forced my friend Beth to try them on with me.
We emerged in what can only be described as a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants moment—they hugged our curves in just the right places, elongated our legs and tightened up our rears instantly. Had it not been for the fact that my butt-crack was making an unwelcome appearance before I even sat down, I would have walked away with at least a couple pairs.
That being said, the evening was fruitful for most (especially espy), educational for some, and motivational for me–I’m off to find a pair of jeggings with a high enough rise that I might be afforded the luxury to sit down while wearing them.If anyone has any leads, let me know!
In Inglewood, Monday May 10 from 6 till 9 pm, we celebrated all things feminine with our neighbours! For espy that includes: styling, make up application with espy make up, getting “LIT” with Lit Cosmetics, and skin care samples for all! Refreshments will be available, espy style!
Most of the other shops in Inglewood participated, and these are just a few of our peeps that were in the “hood!”
A little mix of everything is the key to a girl’s heart. At least that’s the philosophy of new Inglewood boutique espy, a mecca of all things a woman wants, even a little something for her man.
At the front of the shop you’ll find a range of mineral makeup, sparkle from Calgary’s
Each price tagincludes a suggested retail price and below it, the much better looking espy price – it’s like a sale every day.
Now that’s a sure way to a woman’s heart.
espy, 1217B Ninth Ave. SE, Calgary, 403-457-3779
We love a fashion bargain. Of course, it’s only a bargain if it’s something that we actually covet. At the just-opened espy boutique, finding something we don’t desire has become the challenge of the day.
A shop chock full of unique, high-end, lesser known designers and brands, owners Lisa Marie Sikina and Megan Szanik source out designer clearances and offer their incredible finds at a fraction of the original cost. We immediately spotted a variety of just-arrived trench coats: the slim-fitting steel-grey and eye-glass patterned coat by Gsus($183), and bright orange Nick & Mo ($109) instantly made our outerwear wish list. But what to wear underneath? Our hands quickly grabbed the cute n’ sassy black spaghetti-strap Yumi sundress ($93). (Sun Gods, hear our prayers – and don’t render this purchase null and void with more rain.)
With colour-coded sizing tags and a weekly stream of stock, designer discount shopping has been made as stress-free as possible.
Now that’s a great deal.
1217B 9 Ave. S.E.
Read more: http://sweetspot.ca/national/sweet_nothing/10451/cal_fashion_frugal/#ixzz0MlgdArAX
Accidently brushed upon this store while checking out Nectar Desserts across the street. The shop was a flurry with activity, seems it was closed for the evening but they were getting ready for Xmas night in Inglewood which will be tomorrow November the 19th.
Although store was closed they were very pleased to have us come in and browse their wares. I was so surprised that every single item both men and women’s clothing was amazing. Being involved in the fashion industry in Mexico before moving here I was like what the &^%$%$##? I couldn’t believe my eyes; clothing had avant garde design, was very fast forward and in luxurious fabrics and appealing colors. The prices are a little upper end but not what I would expect from what I saw in this store, items could have easily been priced double.
There are actually only 4 staff members who work there, but there is such good energy in this store, that friends agreed to come and help the folks at espy out.
Megan who was obviously the manager knows her merch inside and out. She was incredibly friendly and so on her game around styling and mixing and matching. She claims she can dress any body type that comes into the store and make them look fabulous. She was such a kind, attentive and convincing salesperson that of course we walked out with a great short set.
If anyone wants to step up their wardrobe and add pieces from high end exclusive designers from North America and the UK, definitely come here. This is one of the best shops I have seen in Calgary for fashion inventory with reasonable pricing and excellent sales staff.
Check it out on her blog, but if you missed it, here is what she said!
By Theresa Tayler Fri, May 21 2010
Do we really need to categorize ourselves?
Well, yeah, kinda… how else are we going to suss-out which jeans fit our figures best? We’re all different shapes and measurements, there’s no one fit all LBD, blouse or jean. So, we’ve got to learn how to work within the boundaries of apples and pears. Megan Szanik and business partner Lisa Marie Sikina to rescue.
The two bright minds behind espy Calgary will have you fitted, formed and in fashion is less than a New York Minute. They’re the owners of espy boutique, located on 9th Ave. in Inglewood. Sikina and Szanik bring a wealth of expertise as buyers and marketers in the Canadian fashion industry to the table.
Not only are these fashionistas well versed in personal shopping and fitting (they can take one look at you and figure out exactly which pair of pants will trim your thighs and hide your love handles). The ladies offer their own line of espy makeup and soon to be espy line of clothing.
Szanik’s years of experience working in places such as New York, Montreal and Vancouver have afforded her some pretty amazing contacts in the industry. Her motto is buy low, sell low. That means BIG savings on jeans and designer dresses, tops, belts and shoes for you.
Think Winners or Designer Depot with better brands and without the hassle of lines and communal changing rooms.
Next time you take a trip to Inglewood stop in and let the ladies work their magic on you. You’ll pay less and weigh less by the time you leave. I let the girls have their way with me and now I’m set for summer.
How much did I spend?! Not telling, my mom reads the blog. But, let’s just say — I SAVED A BUNDLE!
Kelly Doody — The Calgary Sun: Saturday, April 24th, 2010
I’ve just had my first espy Experience. And ladies, if you’re not aware of the concept behind the unassuming shop on 9 Ave. S.E., you might want to listen up.
Having driven by espy on the way through Inglewood my fair share of times, I assumed, judging by the flirty mannequins dressed to the nines in the window, it was just another high-priced clothing boutique for people with a lot of disposable dough. Not So.
Thanks to more than a decade of experience as a fashion industry buyer in a smattering of cites across North America, owner Megan Szanik knows exactly how not to pay full price when buying fantastic clothes, shoes, bags and accessories for her eight-month-old store.
The ‘espy Experience’ being a free, full-service personal styling session with Megan — the visionary of affordable designer fashion, creative guru Lisa Marie Sikina or pro stylist and part-owner Theresa Bagan.
From helping pick out a few fab items for you, to cheering or frowning when you step out of the change room, these ladies aren’t lying when they say they want every customer to leave content.
“We’re not about vanity sizing,” said Lisa. “We’re not trying to change you, we’re dressing you for your body types, and we want you to leave a happy customer.”
With men’s sizing ranging from small and skinny to uber-XL, and ladies sizes and styles meant to fit every body from in Megan’s words, “Little mini to hourglass pear to straight up and down to volleyball player with a 38” inseam,” it turns out her reputation as Calgary’s Stacy London isn’t much of a stretch.
Not only will you leave knowing you scored a great deal on one-of-a-kind designer duds, but you’ll have had some serious guidance and good hard advice.
Two things that combine to eliminate both the problematic muffin top and that nasty thing called buyer’s remorse.
Making espy that much sweeter are the private shopping parties, open-late hours on Thursday and Friday, and the fact that, for every person you refer to the store, a $7 credit goes into your account.
Bid adieu to big-box discount and go get your own experience. Head to www.expyexperience.com for more.
Kelly Doody — Calgary Sun
Address: 1009 9th Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0S6
Hours of Operation:
Mon, Tues, Wed: 10:30 - 7
Thurs & Fri: 10:30 - 9
Sat: 10:30 - 6
Sun: 11 - 5