Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

Julia McEwen

I don’t pussy foot into trends; I like to take big bites out them.

Fashion & Beauty Director, Canadian Living.

Model: Lara Stone & Abbey Lee Kershaw. Actress: Cate Blanchett. Singer: Gwen Stefani. Album: The Postal Service, Give Up. Designer: Alexander McQueen. Colour: Gold. Astrological SIgn: Scorpio.

A true sartorial superstar. Not one to shy away from making a statement; she has mastered the impressive feat of working the biggest trends yet always staying true to her personal style. She brings this talent to the page as the director behind the shoots and trend stories at one of Canada's biggest publications. Today she shares the deets behind her style inspiration.

Do you prefer to dress for an occasion or for everyday?

Why save your favourite clothes for an event? When it comes to styling myself I treat everyday like a special occasion. I painstakingly lay out my outfit one night ahead of time. Everything is decided on in advanced. From the clothing, accessories, jewellery and even underwear – crazy, I know. Just like you would with a special occasion, I leave nothing to chance – especially VPL.

Would you rather be overdressed or underdressed?

I feel uncomfortable if I'm wearing less than five pieces of flare, so probably overdressed.

Do you have a signature style or do you prefer to keep 'em guessing?

My style statement in two words: High Impact. I don't pussy foot into trends; I like to take big bites out of them. Although I relentlessly try out trends I do stick to a few personal style rules which help me stay true to my signature style.


Your all time favourite outfits:

This is one of the toughest questions ever posed to me. So many favourites, but I'd probably have to go back to 2033, prom night. All my friends and fellow students were going for the shorter fitted dresses in neutral tones. I went the opposite way – playful, edgy and bright. In retrospect it looks a little "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding-esque", but I give myself major bonus points for sticking to my vision of OTT pink. I even had my hair highlighted with three different tones of pink. Commitment.

Your top three celeb style moments:

(In no particular order)

Michelle Williams at the 2006 Oscars wearing a Vera Wang marigold hued gown and a stunning vintage Fred Leighton statement necklace.Cate Blanchett at the 2011 Oscars wearing Haute Couture Givenchy. My style idol.

Joan Smalls at the 2012 Met Gala wearing Balmain. Embellished perfection.

What would you buy with an unexpected windfall?

Hermès Birkin bag in the signature hue at their store on Bloor St. W.

Burberry Prosum studded leather biker jacket,

Vintage emerald and diamond are deco ring, Cynthia Findlay on King St. W.

Eddie Borgo pavé cone bracelet, Holt Renfrew.

Charlotte Olympia wedges, The Room at The Bay.

Heels or flats?

Heels. Period.

Will you suffer for fashion or should it be comfortable? Is there an occasion that you will break this rule?

You should never suffer. If you don't look comfortable then you won't look stylish. However, looking comfortable and being comfortable are two different things. The old adage of pain is beauty certainly rings true with some heels. Either suck it up when you're wearing your YSL Tributes or buy a comfy pair [of] Isabel Marant sneaker heels. Problem solved.

Always stylish or does even fashion need to take a break? Any exceptions?

Sorry, no days off for the stylish. For the lucky ones, style is innate, so how can you take a break from what you possess? Truly being stylish is a way of carrying one self. I believe having good style and having gorgeous expensive designer clothing shouldn't be used interchangeably, they're two different animals.

Team Anna (Wintour) or Team Carine (Roitfeld)?

They both equally inspire and terrify me. But if I had to choose which team it would be Roitfeld because she's a style icon of mine.

Quirky Sunglasses

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