Kate Middleton's fave Canadian designers on how to look polished

There’s an art to looking perfect. No one knows how to shine up better than Smythe Les Vestes designers Christie Smythe and Andrea Lenczner. (Kate Middleton is a fan — she’s often snapped in her navy Smythe blazer.) They’ve given us their top tips on being sleek and chic from head to toe.
Smythe Les Vestes's Christie Smythe and Andrea Lenczner Smythe Les Vestes's Christie Smythe and Andrea Lenczner

1. Keep accessories well maintained There is nothing chic about shabby here: Shoes, purses and coats should be repaired, polished and cleaned. We’ve ditched our heavy shoulder bags for sleek oversized clutches by Canadian brand Brunswick+Co. They hold all the necessities and are a smart way to sharpen your look (day or night).

Brunswick and Co Clutch Clutch, $250 each, Brunswick+Co.

2. Borrow from the boys Take advantage of airport delays and get your shoes shined. It’s always men in the shoeshine chairs... and us. Bonus: Are you single? You’re welcome.

3. Create the perfect arch The importance of brows is often overlooked. Take the time to learn about the brow shape that works best for you. It’s your face, after all.

Brow tips: Model Cara Delevingne and political power player Michelle Obama (winner for most-improved brows) have mastered the trifecta of top-notch brows: shape, structure and arch. And with these four simple techniques, you can too.


1) Pluck a few hairs from one brow and then the other. Work on them simultaneously to ensure that you get an even shape on both.

2) Use a dull pencil (it won’t be too dark or heavy) or powder with an angled brow brush to shade in sparse areas and lightly accent the arch.

3) Blend the colour and define the shape with a soft wire brush (usually found on the end of an eyebrow pencil).

4) Finish with a clear gel or wax pencil to tame any fly-away hairs and prevent product from smudging. (Click here for a makeup tutorial on the perfect eyebrows.)

Eyebrow Grooming tools Givenchy eyebrow pencil with brush and Tweezerman tweezers.

4. Take care of your hair We are big on blowouts. With the right tools you can do this at home (or if you’re feeling fancy, hit the salon). But don’t assume that just because the front of your hair looks good on day 2, the back does too. A sock bun or a neat ponytail can hide a multitude of sins.

T3 Featherweight Blow Dryer T3 Featherweight 2 blow-dryer, $220, Murale.

5. Mind your Ps & Qs Poise and good manners are a must. You can be dressed well, but without confidence and a smile, you won’t have grace.

6. Give some lip Lipstick. Lipstick. Lipstick. Christie lives in an orange-red called Marilyn and Andrea swears by a sweet nude shade called Buff (both from Gee Beauty).

7. Bet on the blazer A tailored jacket or coat can make even sneakers and pyjamas look polished. It’s the best fake-out, and the reason we started Smythe. For curvy figures, look for an hourglass shape to emphasize your curves. If you’re short (like us), and want to wear a longer silhouette, make sure you show some skin — even a little leg — so the jacket won’t overwhelm your frame. For the well-endowed, avoid boxy looks because the material will hang off your fullest point. Instead, find something that’s nipped in at the waist.

Smythe Pants, $395, jacket, $595, Smythe les Vestes.


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