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California Cowboy High Water shirt

The Beans and Rice

The High Water shirt by California Cowboy takes all the best elements of Hawaiian shirts (bright colours and bold patterns, the comfort, the shameless expression of easygoing fun) and elevates them above the competition. So far, in fact, that the only reason not to buy one is that you’ll never want to wear any other subpar Hawaiian shirts in your closet again. Its soft terry cloth lining feels like you’re draped in a beach towel. It’s got a pocket that can hold a frosty 12-ounce. bottle of beer (or other refreshing beverage of your choice) and its waterproof, zippered “dry pocket” can hold your cellphone. It is – and I say this as a long-time aficionado of Polynesian beachwear – the single greatest shirt ever made. (US$135 through shop.californiacowboy.com)

– Dave McGinn


Arc’teryx Vertices hoody

Handout

I love it when I can repurpose a purchase for another part of my life. Pulling on this Arc’teryx Vertices ski layer is like wrapping your torso in a warm silky hug. But what I really love is its ingenious design: the full neck pulls up over my head and nose for an impromptu balaclava. (Its wee zippered pocket is too small for a phone, but it does keep me from losing my lip balm.) Made for the slopes from a breathable synthetic fabric, the hood and neck warmer fit well under a ski helmet or a parka hood, perfect for days when the wind blows hard and your breath makes icicles on your eyelashes – and you have to wait for public transit. ($130, through arcteryx.com)

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– Catherine Dawson March


WindRiver Heritage traditional double-knit socks

Handout

I am one of those people that, postsummer, puts off wearing socks for as long as I can. I made it to Nov. 2 this year. However, in a surprising turn of events, after discovering these ultrasoft double-knit socks from WindRiver, I am looking for any excuse to make my feet more cozy. The double knit on these cabin socks create a plush lining on the interior, keeping my feet extra warm (but never hot) and the non-binding cuff means the socks stay where they’re supposed to without leaving an imprint on my legs. It’s the small comforts I look for to get me through the depths of winter: mulled wine, fir candles, and, now, a great pair of socks. ($11.99 at Mark’s)

– Maryam Siddiqi


Oofos Fibre low shoe

Christina Palassio/Handout

The first time I slid into these sport shoes, I couldn’t help but sigh the same play on words Oofos has embraced in its brand name. The shock-absorbing foam bed in its flip flop and pool slide styles is a godsend to runners, skiers and even high-heel wearers who routinely put a lot of stress on their joints. The thick foam soles make them a little fugly, but the label’s new covered shoe is more city savvy. And yet when that soft foam cradles your arches, when your ankles and knees stop aching with every step – it’s amazing how fashion forgiving I can be. Super lightweight, Oofos shoes also travel well. ($200 through oofos.ca)

– Catherine Dawson March


Vessi Footwear Cityscape sneaker

Handout

This autumn, I have violated my no-more-shoes vow not once, but twice – with two versions of the same shoe. Since moving to Vancouver, looking not dorky while wet has been the fashion bane of my existence. I have multiple pairs of rainboots, but what to do on a warm rainy day when you don’t want to burden your feet with big, heavy galoshes? Or a day when there is a lot of walking to be done? Vessi Footwear, created by three Vancouverites, has become my answer: comfortable, lightweight, attractive knit sneakers that can be worn in all types of weather – even slush and snow, they say. Puddles? I walk through them and emerge with dry socks. I always say that when you live in Vancouver, you can’t let the rain stop you. In my Vessis, I can go, go, go – in comfort, dryness and style. ($135 through vessifootwear.ca)

– Marsha Lederman

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Xtratuf 6-inch Ankle Rain Boots

Handout

The landscape, the weather, the wildlife – just about everything in Alaska is a showstopper, including the locals’ favourite boots., dubbed the “Alaskan sneaker” and created for the wet, slippery world of offshore fishing. I brought home a pair of Xtratufs, not just because they are 100-per-cent waterproof and shockingly comfortable, but because this six-inch version is adorable. Warm and snug, the boot liner wicks away moisture and deeply grooved treads mean they grip the wet, icy city streets. When the really deep snowfalls arrive, I’ll trade my Xtratufs for something taller, but, in between, I step in puddles of slush just for the fun of it. And there’s no need to book a trip to Alaska to buy them. I recently discovered that Xtratuf is sold at some Canadian retailers, including Mountain Equipment Co-op. ($109.95 at Mountain Equipment Co-op)

– Catherine Dawson March


Province Apothecary facial dry brush

Handout

My husband walked into the bathroom, saw me brushing my face and walked out claiming he’d seen it all. I explained I was actually “dry” brushing, and despite his skepticism I’m convinced Province Apothecary’s facial brush makes my skin glow, my moisturizer go on smoother and my wrinkles less pronounced (the latter might be wishful thinking). The brush is made of goat-hair bristles and it feels like a gentle loofah on the face and neck. The eight-step process (which takes about one minute) might look weird but it’s a morning ritual I can’t live without – as necessary as that first cup of coffee. ($52 through provinceapothecary.ca)

– Gayle MacDonald


Bio Oil

Handout

There are three items that never leave my overnight bag. My toothbrush, toothpaste and Bio Oil. My mom put me onto this miracle oil years ago and since then it’s become an indispensable, multitasking skin-saver that I use daily. It is a formulation of plant extracts (including chamomile and lavender) and vitamins (A and E) suspended in a pretty pink oil base. What I love is that it smells faintly of lavender and, most important, isn’t greasy, which means you rub it in and within seconds it’s gone, leaving your skin feeling smooth, not slippery. I use it after my shower as a full-body moisturizer and also for chapped lips, wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, as a makeup remover and a hair mask. When I’ve been in the ocean or a chlorinated pool, I massage Bio Oil into my scalp, wait half an hour and wash it out. It works wonders with frizz. ($36.99 for a two-pack (200 mL and 60 mL bottles) at Costco)

– Gayle MacDonald


Fixer shampoo and conditioner set

Handout

I haven’t bought a bottle of shampoo in half a year. No, that doesn’t mean I’ve turned into a caveman; it means I got sick of seeing a dozen plastic bottles littering the shower floor and decided that this little environmental atrocity had to end. Instead, I learned that my local supermarket in Rome was selling shampoo in the shape of a soap bar for the equivalent of $6.50. The packaging consisted of a simple cardboard box and zero plastic. But would it work? The ladies in my family aren’t entirely convinced it’s the right product for their long thick hair, but for my manly mane (ie, short, skinny hair), it’s perfect – and guilt-free. Bar shampoo is available in Canada, produced by Unwrapped Life and others. ($35 through unwrappedlife.com)

– Eric Reguly


Solid dish soap

It’s the little things that make a difference, and I’ve certainly found that to be true when it comes to my efforts to minimize household waste. I put a compost bin beside the trash can in my bathroom for instance (tissues are compostable), which has done wonders for the amount I send through the garbage chute of my building. In the kitchen, I recently swapped out the bulky plastic bottle of liquid dish soap for a packaging-free block of dish soap from Toronto-based Eco and Amour. Made with natural ingredients – water, olive oil, coconut oil and essential oils for fragrance – it lathers and cuts through grease just as well as traditional liquid soap. It can also be used on countertops and for spot cleaning on textiles such as clothing or carpets. Apply it by rubbing your dish cloth or sponge against the soap and wash away. ($18 at Eco and Amour)

– Maryam Siddiqi


Dr. Cohen’s Mini AcuBall

Handout

I sit at a desk way too much, so it’s no wonder I have a perpetually stiff neck and sore hips. I was at the gym one day and saw a guy laying on a little blue ball with spikes. He told me it works wonders for smaller muscle groups, including the upper back, forearms, feet and hands (mine ache from typing all day). That was five years ago and I use my little blue AcuBall that fits in the palm of my hand to work out nagging kinks every week, including standing on it to relieve arthritis in my feet. It goes in the car for long trips and I have an extra one that goes in my carry-on for long-haul flights. ($19.99 through acuball.com)

– Gayle MacDonald

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Ikea’s Symfonisk WiFi bookshelf speaker

ikea/Ikea

I hadn’t given much thought to my stereo until I got a Symfonisk WiFi speaker from IKEA. Available in black or white and slightly bigger than an old-school phone book so it can sit on a bookshelf, all its installation required was shuffling some books around to make room before setting it up through the Sonos app (the speaker is a result of a collaboration between the furniture retailer and the electronics company) and hitting play. I started thinking about my stereo; namely, why do I still have it? The understated design means the speaker blends into its surroundings – as a piece of technology it is barely noticeable. The rich sound from just one speaker easily fills my condo; for bigger spaces, the Symfonisk can be paired with any other Sonos speaker. I use it daily, unlike my stereo system, which is in desperate need of a good dusting. ($149 at IKEA)

– Maryam Siddiqi


Castle Panic board game

Handout

With cold weather upon us, we are indoors more than usual. This often means finding ways to occupy two kids, especially the sporty eight-year-old whose cherished pastime is kicking a soccer ball against the living room wall. The current method is Castle Panic, a fantasy-themed board game featuring archers, knights, goblins and orcs – perfect for fans of Lord of the Rings. Working together, we strategize how to best protect our castle from invading hordes of monsters. It’s a race to kill them all before they take down the castle. We win as often as we lose, which only makes us want to play again and again. Every turn is action-packed. Every game play is a totally different experience. And because it’s us against the monsters, there’s none of the whining between siblings about who won and who lost. (US$35 through firesidegames.com)

– Angela Pacienza

Visit tgam.ca/newsletters to sign up for the weekly Style newsletter, your guide to fashion, design, entertaining, shopping and living well. And follow us on Instagram @globestyle.

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