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. 

Kate Daley

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If you buy the outfit, the event will come.

Web Editor (Style & Home), Canadian Living.

Personality: Marion Cotillard. I'm also obsessed with Paul Newman and Eddie Vedder. Album: Ten, Pearl Jam. Designers: Céline, Chloe & Phillip LIm. Colour: Navy or black. Astrological Sign: Taurus – I'm stubborn, can't you tell?

This born & bred Toronto gal has been in the fashion editorial game for five years now with a turn at Chatelaine, More magazine and now Canadian Living. Always well turned out in polished simplicity, Kate jokes that she's easy to spot at fashion events as "the only one actually eating the canapés" – a testament to her lovely unpretentious personality with the style to match. Today she shares the deets of her personal style inspiration with The Style House.

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

It's easy to fall into a routine and throw on a uniform to head to work everyday. Dressing for a bigger occasion is an excuse for me to finally take the tags off those special pieces. I find if you buy the outfit, the event will come.

Would you rather be overdressed or underdressed?

Being overdone makes me feel awkward – but in the world of fashion that's how people roll. Because I'm usually running from the office or a photo shoot to nighttime events, I stick to the basics and add a brighter lipstick to look more done up.

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

I jump on the trend bandwagon every once in a while but the older I get the less I veer away from "my look". I don't want to feel like I'm wearing a costume. Everyone says their style is classic but I'd say mine's more like uptown modern preppy. I love a good LBD, a quality khaki trench and a pair of leather riding boots. I feel like I'll dress the same way when I'm 90.

Your all time favourite outfits:

One of my all time favourite outfits was a silk salmon-coloured dress by Montreal designer Andy Thê-Anh. I bought it for no specific occasion, just because it was gorgeous. I finally wore it to a good friend's wedding. It fit like a glove and, even if I never wear it again, having it in hanging in my closet makes me happy.

Your top three celeb style moments:

1. Kate Moss's wedding dress by John Galliano.

2. Jackie O. in the inaugural parade (or any of her outfits – especially with pearls and a pillbox hat).

3. Marilyn Monroe in any of her skirtsuits.

(Modern day celebs)

1. Jessica Chastain at the 2013 Oscars.

2. Mila Kunis in Elie Saab at the 2011 Oscars.

3. Diane Kruger in Elie Saab at the Venice Film Festival (and basically anything she's ever worn, especially by Chanel).

What would you buy with an unexpected windfall?

I'd buy an Alexander McQueen bag, Ferragamo flats, an entire season of Equipment blouses and some Hermès accessories. When it comes to shopping, I stock up on staples at J.Crew, Club Monaco, and Joe Fresh. For trendy pieces, I'll hit up Zara or H&M. Some of my favourite pieces come from vintage shops (or online vintage sites like Soop Soop) and I like to pick up accessories in foreign countries.


What's on your spring shopping list?

A few really good pairs of patterned and textured shorts (I've already picked up an awesome lace pair), a Splendid maxi dress, some new heel and colour blocked dresses for upcoming wedding season (suggestions welcome!), a pair of perfect black booties (from Rachel Comey and a bright sleeveless Equipment blouse.

Heels or flats?

Flats. I'm pretty active and I like to walk everywhere so I've started investing in higher quality leather flats and boots that will last for more than a few miles. Also, I consider things like, can I run down a set of stairs if there's a fire? Can I walk home if it's raining and I can't get a cab? If the answer is no, then I usually won't consider that footwear for daytime.

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

I will only suffer for fashion for a very short period of time. If something is too tight, doesn't breathe or squishes my toes I'll wear it once but likely never again. Also, nothing is more frustrating than something that has the illusion of comfort but actually ends up being horribly painful – I have discarded many a pair of shoes for this reason.

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

Some say fashion never sleeps but it definitely takes a vacation. At my cottage you'll find me in a uniform that involves a pair of sweatpants and an old tee.

How long does it take you to get ready on an average day? How about a special occasion?

My mornings are all about multi-tasking so it's hard to say. I'm usually making a smoothie while waiting for my iron to heat up while moisturizing my legs. It's a flurry of activity so no one better get in the way. It takes about a half hour or more from showering to blow drying to running out the door. For special events, I give myself extra time to curl my hair and play with new beauty products I don't get to wear on a regular basis.

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

Definitely Team Carine. Her look is so not me but I love everything about it. I have a serious style crush on her.

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