It’s all in the bag

By Kate MacLennan

Almost a decade ago, back when I was but a fashion kitten (not a full-blown fashion feline), I made the gross miscalculation of wearing a vintage Roots T-shirt whilst strolling through Sydney’s Paddington Market on a trip to Australia. There was nothing wrong with the shirt in and of itself—I even thought I looked pretty cute having paired it with denim capris (which were just gaining popularity then).

But it turned out that Down Under the word “roots” conveyed something entirely different than it was meant on my shirt—not just rude, but lewd. Suffice to say that more than a couple of stylish Sheilas chuckled at my expense that day.

Lately, I’ve been taking my cues from the New York hipster scene—you know, rocking skinny jeans with a vintage black rocker T, ballet flats and an oversized handbag. It’s an easy look. If I lived in the Big Apple my bag would have to be Balenciaga, but as I’m a fashion editor, not a Rockefeller, and I live here in beautiful Vancouver, my lifestyle (not to mention my budget) lends itself more toward Roots.

You see, Roots has gone and grown up on us. These days, the brand is so globally recognizable, wearing it is practically akin to stitching a Canadian flag to one’s pack. By 2009, the company will have over 300 stores in Asia—its newest, in Korea, opens this fall. Vancouver’s Robson Street boutique has the distinction of being Canada’s busiest Roots store, and it’s only going to get busier when the style cognoscenti descends upon its fall bag collection.

Patent-leather styles in black, red and white, including the new Uptown (from $138) and, my favourite, the double-pocketed Village bag ($128) look perfect slung over this season’s knit sweaters and dresses.

Peeking out seductively from under your thick wool knit Giles cardigan this fall will also be your new Agent Provocateur ensemble, of course. The sexy British lingerie company is opening its first Canadian store on Alberni Street, proving that Vancouver is growing up as fast as Roots is. And all this excitement just in time to get you dolled up for the party circuit surrounding Fashion High’s 18 Days of Fashion in Vancouver, which runs September 13 to 30 (fashionhigh.ca). Let the sappy gals have Christmas: as a fashion follower, September is indisputably my favourite time of the year.

Shown: The Uptown bag from Roots.