Holt Renfrew’s Vice President of Executive Services, Lisa Tant, offers style insights and shares her own story of a risk taken and a lesson learned. Listen up!
What’s your favourite standout on the runways this season?
I love all the artistic patterns, there’s a very global perspective now. That’s what helps bring the season’s fashion to life.
How will that impact your personal wardrobe?
I do a lot of meetings, presentations and media appearances, and there are expectations. So every season I buy a jacket and dress that will translate for those events, like a blazer-style top in a great pattern or a conversational print. It’s so different, it gives people something to focus on, and whether you’re a lawyer or an accountant you need that.
Rather than another solid black something or the other (and I have a lot of black in my closet), I need something that stands out in a crowd. I’m not a wallflower, so that cements my position in a group. Right away people know who to focus on.
What classic is still here?
Red is such a great colour. It can be intimidating to some people, but to me it’s a neutral—it goes great with everything: grey, black, brown, navy…. Whatever your core colour, try a red shoe or red lipstick or dress.
Do you remember your first “investment piece”?
A Calvin Klein coat and it was dreadfully expensive. My dad bought it for me when I moved to Toronto [from Vancouver] 17 years ago. I wore it to death, I wore it out. And I got it at Holts.
Which investment pieces should we all buy?
Your core wardrobe is an investment—suit, pencil skirt, tailored jacket, trousers. When it comes to fabric, buy the best you can afford, then the piece isn’t going to sag or bag, it will hold its shape and last a long time.
I bought a Prada bag when I started at Holt’s. I took my laptop and magazines with me and found one that fit everything perfectly…I use it daily.
What colour should the statement bag be?
That depends on your core wardrobe. I bought black for fall, and I’m getting one in a dark Bordeaux wine colour, too.
How much should it cost?
When you’re starting out or have financial pressures, you must be creative on a budget. A bag is a piece that a young woman of influence should invest in. People notice your bag—and your shoes.
I would spend $1,500 on a good bag. But I get my bag cleaned, I get it repaired, I take care of my bags. You can spend $500 and still get a good one. But under $100, it could lose its shape and start to wear out at the seams…
Is one enough?
Listen, you’re talking to a fashion girl. I have more than one of everything. I don’t believe in ones. I believe in 10s.
Even when it’s the right size, clothes don’t always fit “right.” Why?
Get items tailored immediately. It’s rare that you can buy clothing off-the-rack and wear it right away. Most people need tailoring….that’s the final finishing touch that makes it perfect.
Ever made a fashion mistake?
It was a Friday. I was working as the Editor-in-Chief of Flare magazine [at the time, Canada’s largest fashion magazine]. I had no external appointments booked that day, so I wore jeans. They were dressy jeans, but still…
My publisher pulled me into a meeting with an advertising rep from New York City and I could see right away that they weren’t impressed. It was embarrassing. People say what you wear doesn’t matter, but it does. It matters so much. Right away they didn’t listen to what I said; I had no credibility with them. I learned that lesson once and never made that mistake again.