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. 

Nelia Belkova


Founder and Editor, Style Blog.

Model: Cindy Crawford. Personality: Michael Fassbender. Album: The Joshua Tree. Designer: Prada. Colour: Yellow. Astrological Sign: Gemini.

One of Toronto's hottest (and nicest!) fashion influencers, Nelia is not only a top fashion & lifestyle blogger, but a Yorkdale Style Council member and a model to boot. Having collaborated with big name brands, including, Levi's, MOON Apparel, LOFT, Gap, Stuart Weitzman and H&M, Nelia is a trusted authority on the subject of chic. She shares with The Style House what makes her personal style tick.

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

I tend to get really stressed out when I have to "go all out", and usually end up scrambling at the last second. dressing for everyday is more fun to me (and less stressful), because I don't limit myself to what's expected of me, whether it be at the office or elsewhere. I love bending the rules as much as I can, and being creative with the way I dress on a daily basis. It's one of my life's joys.

Would you rather be overdress or underdressed?

Underdressed. I never want to be that person at a party, wearing a gown, while everyone's dressed down. Some have the personality to pull it off, but I would just feel out of place.

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

I am very open to trying new trends and love playing around with different cuts and colours, but I do have an unhealthy obsession with Breton stripes and cigarette pants. I have way too many of both in my closet. But since I wear them so often, I feel that it's somewhat justified.

Your all-time favourite outfits:

1. My wedding reception dress from BCBG. I changed out of my stuffy uncomfortable dress for the reception, and it was the best decision I made that day... Apart from saying "si" to my husband.

2. Moon Apparel dress – worn to a TIFF party. Such a versatile little dress... I wear it at least once a week now.

3. Yellow cigarette pants with black and white stripes – worn to the office. This outfit really embodies my signature style – a striped top with a loud bottom.


Your to three celeb style moments:

1. Jennifer Lopez in that über-sexy green Versace. At the time, I was obsessed with David Duchovny, but even I couldn't take my eyes off JLo.

2. Michelle Williams in a marigold gown with a bold red lip. She looked simply stunning and happy, and still with Heath by her side. I loved that moment.

3. Carrie Bradshaw's "Mille Feuille" Versace gown... I know, she's a TV character, but that entire scene was a dream.

What would you buy with an unexpected windfall?

Chanel Lucky Charms bag that I've been dreaming about for ages, Chanel Matryoshka doll bag, Chanel Lego bag, Chanel Ice Block bag... There might be a pattern there. Also, a Lucian Matis lace gown from his Fall 2012 collection. As for where... Once I'm done shopping in Toronto, my fave three cities to shop in are Florence, Las Vegas, and NYC.

Heels or flats?

Comfortable heels. I'm at a point in my life, where I can't handle the terrible pain of uncomfortable shoes. And although I am still a total heels girl, I prefer mine as comfy as possible.

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

I feel that if you don't feel comfortable in an outfit, it will show. I would definitely suffer for fashion, however, if say, Tom Ford offered me a gown that was a tad too tight. I would just grin and bear it. But in everyday life – I believe you can be both stylish and comfortable.

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

I try to look good no matter the occasion, but sometimes even the most hardcore fashion lovers have to take a break. My exceptions are gym and early mornings. That's when I couldn't care less about fashion.

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

Team Liz Cabral! Liz recently announce that she will be leaving Flare, so I can't wait to see what the future holds for this talented Canadian editor.

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