Velvet! Ruffles! Sequins! Oh, my!
On the hunt for a head-turning festive getup with all the holiday fixings? It doesn't matter whether you're of the minimalist mindset or you prefer to max out on details—we've got both camps covered.
1. MAKE WAVES
Architectural ruffles build the foundation of a dramatic look—perfect when dressing for a party. This season's ruffles are like stiff waves, still feminine but with a modern twist
Wear a little
If cascading ruffles are too precious for your taste, give the fashion detail a discreet nod on a three-quarter-length bell sleeve.
Wear a lot
A spiralling ruffle snakes its way down from the neckline, doubling as a statement accessory for this simple sheath silhouette.
2. BLING IT ON
Sequins are a holiday essential—there's no getting around it. But not all sparkle is created equal. Use this shiny detail as the star of the show or place it strategically.
Wear a little (right)
If you shy away from sequins for fear of looking like a pageant queen, skip the full-on glitz and team a sequinned tank with sleek white wide-legged trousers. It's chic with a hint of twinkle.
Wear a lot (left)
If your wardrobe aspirations are to light up the night while working the party circuit, look no further than a sequin-covered LBD.
Left: Michael Michael Kors dress, $395, michaelkors.ca. Earrings, bananarepublic.ca. Bracelet and shoes, winners.ca. Clutch, callitspring.com.
Right: Top, $75, gapcanada.ca. Pants, $124, and faux-fur scarf, bananarepublic.ca. Earrings, aldoshoes.com. Watch, michaelkors.ca.
3. HEAVY METAL
Whether they're in cool silver of rich gold, metallic styles can be found everywhere. Try this shiny trend by means of silver slacks or a gilded skirt.
Wear a little (left)
Take an artful approach to metallic threads with a mash-up of unexpected materials, then prepare to rake in the compliments all day (and all night) long.
Wear a lot (right)
You know what pairs great with gilt? More gold. No, seriously. The trick to brining these metallic fabrics together is to choose different textures in slightly different tones. The warmth and the sheen help make the outfit cohesive.
Left: Sweater, $159, linethelabel.com. Pants, $39, joefresh.com. Earrings, bananarepublic.ca. Watch, swarovski.com. Clutch, callitspring.com. Shoes, express.com.
Right: Blouse, $130, winners.ca. Skirt, $90, gapcanada.ca. Earrings, bag, and shoes, aldoshoes.com. Bracelets, hillbergandberk.com.
4. VELVET CRUSH
A perennial holiday favourite, this luxurious, cold weather-friendly fabric instantly elevates dresses, blazers and blouses, giving them an air of romance.
Wear a little
A slightly oversize navy velvet camisole worn with a graceful skirt lends a delicate dose of holiday glam.
Wear a lot
Go big or go home in head-to-toe velvet by pairing a ruby-red blazer with dagger-shaped lapels and swooshing bell-bottoms.
5. AMAZING LACE
This refined fabric walks the line between coquettish and conservative. Its timeless essence adds a little drama and gives new life to just about any outfit.
Wear a little
This ultrafeminine fabric—once reserved for the boudoir, weddings and, well, doilies—has come a long way. Work this ladylike material into everyday attire as a dainty trim.
Wear a lot
Upgrade your little black dress to a jewel-tone lace frock. The magenta hue is every bit as dramatic as black but less predictable.
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Credits: Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Credits: James Tse Source: Canadian Living Magazine: September 2015
From ultra classic to new flavour combinations, we're sharing our very favourite chocolate chip cookie recipes.
Our best-in-class take on this classic treat has a buttery flavour, a chewy centre and a subtly crisp exterior. Oh, and you can tweak the recipe to make them crisp or soft, too.
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Sneaking this wholesome ancient grain into a beloved oatmeal cookie is easier than you think. With just a hint of flavour and a light crunch, it blends in with the oatmeal and adds extra nutrition to a sweet snack. The cookies will turn out little softer and cakier than usual.
Canadian Living has published many chocolate chip recipes, but founding food editor Carol Ferguson's recipe, with a punchy hit of vanilla, is the standout.
Kids of all ages will love topping these chocolate chip–studded dark chocolate cookies with even more chocolate. It's a delicious, messy good time. Drizzle the chocolate using a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off, or just dip a fork in the chocolate and wiggle it over the cookies for a simple and fun alternative.
A chewy, buttery centre and crisp edge make this the ultimate oatmeal cookie. Quick-cooking rolled oats are the key to the well-loved, homey texture, so be sure to avoid instant oats, which will cause the cookies to spread too much.
The buttery-rich flavour of the macadamia nuts adds to the sweetness of these easy and classic drop cookies. The dough can be portioned and frozen to thaw and bake another day, making freshly baked cookies a possibility at any time.
These blueberry-studded cookies are a staff favourite at Canadian Living headquarters. Finely ground almonds replace some of the flour in the dough, adding extra nutty flavour.
These cookies may look intricate, but they couldn't be simpler to make. To create the green centres, place a log of the mint dough over top of the chocolate dough, and roll up. So easy!
Sweet chocolate chips and crunchy toffee bits give these buttery cookies a festive touch.
Rich dark chocolate and fragrant orange zest make these cookies ultra-sophisticated. Cardamom adds an aromatic note, but if you don't have any on hand, you can simply leave it out.
This straightforward recipe for the classic cookie has been in Canadian Living's recipe archive for decades. For a larger cookie, simply double the amount of dough per cookie and increase the baking time by a couple of minutes.
You will need to make this three times in order to have enough to make the fireplace. Bake and work with one sheet at a time, while it's still warm, cutting out the pieces for the fireplace. Once cooled, these cookie sheets are too brittle to cut smoothly.
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
Bars and squares make a fun addition to any cookie exchange.
A thick layer of creamy mint icing is sandwiched between a crumbly chocolate cookie base and smooth dark chocolate ganache in these irresistible squares.
Get the recipe: Mint Chocolate Squares
The decadent flavour of butter tarts in the form of easy-to-make squares.
Get the recipe: Butter Tart Squares
The pride of Nanaimo, B.C., these bars have a crumb base layered with a creamy custard filling and a chocolaty topping. Best served at room temperature, the bars keep well refrigerated or frozen.
Get the recipe: Classic Nanaimo Bars
Enjoy these Australian squares just as they are, or dip them in a mug of hot cocoa for the ultimate treat. While they're traditionally made with sponge cake, our version uses easy-to-make chocolate pound cake instead, making them a sinfully indulgent dessert for chocolate lovers. To retain their moistness, store the squares in the fridge.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Lamington Squares
Sweet-tart cranberries are cooked with a hint of orange to make an easy jam-like filling, then sandwiched between layers of crisp almond pastry. Freshly ground almonds are crunchier than the storebought ground variety, so whirl whole nuts in a food processor for the ultimate nutty crust.
Get the recipe: Cranberry Almond Squares
The inside-out version of this classic square offers a classy white chocolate top with a rich dark chocolate centre. Use a vegetable peeler to make the chocolate shavings.
Get the recipe: Reverse Nanaimo Bars
These layered bars are like three desserts in one! Using a candy thermometer ensures you have the right consistency of caramel (not too soft and not too hard).
Get the recipe: Gooey Peanut Butter Squares
If simplicity is your style, look no further than these six-ingredient squares, made with ingredients you'll likely already have on hand. If you prefer, use seedless raspberry jam instead of strawberry.
Get the recipe: Crumble-Topped Jam Squares
A smooth and silky no-bake filling comes together in a matter of minutes for this easy crowd-pleasing treat. Be sure to top the squares with peanuts quickly, before the chocolate sets.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake Squares
Each layer of these bars is a delicious treat on its own; together, they become the star of any goodie tray. To make them gluten-free, be sure to use oat flour that's labelled as such. If you choose not to use pasteurized egg whites, whisk a fresh egg white until frothy and measure out one tablespoon.
Get the recipe: Sugared Pecan Fudge Squares
Vanilla wafer cookies, raspberry filling and white chocolate lighten up the traditional colour – and flavour – of the classic Nanaimo bar.
Get the recipe: Pink Berry Nanaimo Bars
Classic pecan pie gets a bite-size makeover with these crunchy pecan-packed squares. Toothsome shortbread is the perfect base, adding a delightful contrast. Chill the squares before cutting for a smooth, easy slice.
Get the recipe: Honey Pecan Pie Squares
Trust us, these easy-to-make squares will be the hit of your holiday parties and family gatherings. Wrap them in cute little boxes and hand them out as hostess gifts at all of your festive get-togethers.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Hello Dollies
Sweet glac? cherries and vivid pink icing give these sumptuous brownies a nostalgic retro look. Make them a couple of days ahead, then spread on the fruity icing just before serving.
Get the recipe: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Sweet butterscotch squares hide a layer of crystallized ginger and velvety milk chocolate. These are pretty when packaged as gifts and are the perfect holiday treat to add to a bake sale.
Get the recipe: Ginger Butterscotch Squares