Back when the FLARE team shared an IRL office space (RIP to my abandoned aloe plant…), my mornings looked a little something like this: rush to get up the elevators in time for our 8:30 a.m. daily meeting (for which, I admittedly showed up to at approx. 8:32 most days), hit the button on my Nespresso machine, roll my chair over to our meeting table and start discussing the trending news items of past 24 hours with my brilliant colleagues. We’d assign a new story or two, check in on the status of our scheduled posts for the day and then invariably our attention would turn to what new outfit, eyeliner or gadget one of us was debuting.
Since WFH became our new reality, there’s been less opportunity to share sale scores and new obsessions. For one, most of us put a hard stop on unnecessary shopping; and furthermore, we found ourselves wearing sweatsuits much of the week. But now that things are opening up (and we’re opening up our wallets again) we decided to take our conversation online—like everything else right now—and a new series was born. Introducing FLARE Faves, where we’re sharing our top fashion, beauty and home buys from the past month.
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Here, the best things we bought or were gifted in October.
This oversized cable knit beauty is possibly the most fetching shade of blue—somewhere between cyan and aqua—that my eyes have ever gazed upon. It’s the next best thing to sitting on an actual beach gazing at the turquoise ocean. I vow to wear it with a contrasting merlot lip, tuck it into leather pants, and layer a slim thermal turtleneck under it for cold weather patio wine. We’re going to do everything together.
Oversized Cable Crew Sweater, $249, clubmonaco.ca
The price tag on this targeted blemish treatment is not small but its effectiveness is major. Unlike so many spot treatments, it’s not at all drying or irritating (you know when you wake up without a pimple but with a new ring of parched skin?). In fact, the texture is akin to a moisturizer so you just feel like you’re dabbing a lightweight lotion on your irritated area. It contains active ingredients like a keratolytic agent to help eliminate the build-up of dead cells in inflamed areas and borage oil to soothe irritation. And yes, I used it recently on a little effer ready to erupt on my chin (thank you so much, maskne) and it was 100% gone in the morning.
Primary Solution, $250, lamaisonvalmont.com
Best hand sani
I don’t leave the house much but when I do this hand sani is in my belt bag. I’ve been asked at least twice in public (you know, like in line at Shoppers Drug Mart) what the smell is because with notes of citrus and cedar, it is the least rank-smelling sanitizer I have tried. It’s also made in Canada by a female entrepreneur, comes in packaging that is almost too chic for hand sanitizer and made with thoughtful, sustainably-minded materials including a refillable pump format made from antimicrobial plastic and my purse buddy, a travel bottle made with 100% recycled plastic that’s meant to be refilled five to 10 times and then recycled.
Hand Sanitizer, $16, mypaume.com
—Jennifer Berry, managing editor
I’m technically still waiting on it to ship to my home, but I already know it’ll be a fave and I’ll be living in this sweatshirt for the foreseeable future.
Essentials Mock Neck Sweatshirt, $115, ssense.com
Best hair wax
I’ve been itching to do something new with my hair, but the damage I put it through the last time I went on a dye-spree still haunts me years later. I’d rather get my hair professionally done, but I know that I personally won’t be stepping foot in a salon for a while. So this coloured hair wax is a fun substitute! The tone ended up pulling more pink than red on me, but it washes out easily so I didn’t mind the unintended hue. Do take note: This stuff definitely works better on curly hair. I tried it on my straight-haired roommate and it just looked like she stepped out of a painting studio.
Mofajang Hair Wax Dye in Red, $15, amazon.ca
Best wireless mic
It was originally bought as a joke to make video chats and online movie watch sessions more exciting, but it’s quickly turned into the most entertaining way to just casually talk at home. The echo feature is by far the funniest at making mundane phrases turn into unnecessarily long musical numbers. This is definitely a contender for best purchase of the year.
Bonaok Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone, $41, amazon.ca
—Elham Numan, graphic designer
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Remember last month when I said I was ready to wear pants again? That lasted approximately a week. Once the weather turned crisp here in Toronto, it was back to cozies pronto! Just in time for my return to stretchy everything, cult fave yoga brand Sweaty Betty arrived in Canada via Nordstrom, and I couldn’t be more excited about finally trying the leggings that chic Notting Hill moms have been sporting on their school runs for years.
Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Leggings, $169, nordstrom.ca
Best bar soap
I know I’m in the minority, but I much prefer bar soap to body wash in the shower. (For one, important, reason: There is generally less packaging waste.) So I was pumped when Glossier made it cool again by launching an exfoliating bar version of their popular-with-young-millennials Body Hero line. My tub just looks happier with this powder-pink brick on its ledge, and the orange blossom and neroli scent lightly perfumes my bathroom, even while I’m not using it—a delightful bonus.
Body Hero Exfoliating Bar, $17, glossier.com
Originally published over a decade ago in Japan, Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs ended up on international best-seller lists again this year after being translated into English and introduced to a whole new audience. I picked it up and, as the cliche goes, couldn’t put it down: It’s one of the most unflinchingly nuanced explorations of womanhood and motherhood that I’ve read, well, ever. Plus, this cover is just so beautiful—I bought the book on my Kobo reader, but need to get another copy just for my bookshelf.
Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami, $39, chapters.indigo.ca
—Charlotte Herrold, editor-in-chief
Best matching set
If you’re wondering if you *really* do need yet another matching sweatsuit, the answer is yes, and it’s 100% this one. Roots is a pretty tried and true Canadian brand when it comes to the perfect sweatsuit, and this new addition to their line-up is no exception. It’s super cozy, extremely comfortable, and the vintage look of the mockneck and smaller brand logo give it a bit of a more chic edge. Plus, the dried sage colour is really unique and a nice switch-up from the brand’s typical range. And yes, I’ve already watched about 30 hours of Netflix in it. Pro tip: The sizing runs large in the sweater, so definitely size down. (For reference: I’m typically a Small and went with an XS.)
Cloud Mockneck Sweater, $78, and Slim Pant, $74, in Dried Sage, roots.com
Best spot treatment
Maybe it’s the change of season, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s the fact that maskne is a thing, or maybe it’s a combination of all three, but my skin has been going *seriously* bonkers this month, with tons of breakouts, especially around my chin area. While I was initially hesitant to try cult favourite brand Mario Badescu (I’m wary that something this popular is just being over-hyped), I’m glad that I did. The drying lotion is perfect to pop on emerging breakouts during the day or overnight, and has taken several of my pimples down in just a few hours. It’s so effective that I’ve actually started using it in place of my dermatologist-prescribed spot treatment. (Shhh!)
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $23, sephora.com
While purchasing luggage—especially right now when travelling is limited—is definitely a luxury, if you’re looking to treat yourself with something special for your first trip after quarantine (once it’s safe to travel, of course), then I’d definitely recommend the latest collection from Away. I’ve personally been eyeing the luggage brand’s wares for several years, and their latest collection with actor Rashida Jones seemed like the perfect excuse to pull the trigger. The range comes in a series of unique colours that are inspired by Jones’s home in Ojai, California, where she’s been spending time during the pandemic. While the suitcase (which I was generously gifted) is predominantly spending most of its time right now stored under my bed in its super chic dust bag, that hasn’t stopped me from pulling it out from time to time to admire the colour and dream about my next trip.
The Away by Rashida Jones Collection The Carry-On in Copper, $435, awaytravel.com
—Katherine Singh, assistant editor