The start of the holidays is a time that’s joyous but in many ways also stressful. We all know the obvious- conquering that never-ending gift list, but another stress inducer that plagues most women at this time of the year is what on earth to wear to all those holiday parties!? And there’s not just one occasion to worry about, finding something appropriate, classy and festive for both your work party and your boyfriend’s mother’s house, while also not looking like every girl in the room, can be quite the challenge. For this week’s fashion find, I’ve compiled my go-to party dress stores that will guarantee you something perfect that’s not necessarily offered at all the retail chains.
1. Barefoot Contessa
Locations: 3715 Main Street and 1928 Commerical Drive, Vancouver
My love affair with Barefoot Contessa has been a long and committed one, dating back to the store’s early days when they only had one store on Main Street in the early 2000’s. What’s kept me and many other shoppers coming back for more is owner Eva de Viveiros’ eye for picking out pieces that we dreamed of dressing up in as children. Sparkly party dresses, colourful costume jewelry, and flirty coats that have the right amount of vintage throwback. Every holiday season, Barefoot Contessa stocks up on their already great party dress selection to provide Vancouver women with playful yet statement-making options for their seasonal fête (I even did a television segment on the subject for my show West Coast Style). But it doesn’t stop with just dresses and jewelry. Barefoot Contessa provides affordable occasion footwear and clutches that can pull an entire ensemble together, as well as the proper undergarments to make sure the goods are tucked and in the right place.
Location: 2868 West Broadway, Vancouver
If you’ve ever shopped near the busy intersection of West Broadway and MacDonald, you’ve probably walked by Lakshmi boutique, tucked between a few boutiques right before Safeway. This hidden gem is owned by sisters Preetka and Sarah Brar, who used their cultural background and world travels as inspiration for their women’s boutique. The name for the store came from Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and the embodiment of beauty, and if the name is any indication, Vancouver women can definitely add a touch of beauty to their wardrobe thanks to a visit to this boutique. Lakshmi was built on providing women occasion wear that didn’t break the bank (most items are under $100) and for Holiday 2013, they’re keeping that tradition alive. Along with cute party dresses, Lakshmi also has a great assortment of accessories from around the world (picked up from the sisters’ travels), which can add that unique touch to a more traditional-cut dress.