Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What To Wear In Vancouver?

Let's switch the conversation over to RAINGEAR, yes? Yes.

Hi ESB, 

When I got engaged last year and became suddenly interested in the wedding industry, I found your blog and have been reading it regularly every morning since. I neeeeed my morning snark.

Anyways, no real wedding drama to report, just wanted to ask you for some wardrobe advice. I am getting married on October 1st, and guess where we are going for the honeymoon afterwards: VAN-FREAKING-COUVER! Since we will be in the area, and you happened to post about it, the hubs and I are going to come to your film screening on October 7th.

Here's the deets: we are outdoorsy people and are looking forward to exploring Vancouver. Since I planned the wedding I let (begged) my man plan the honeymoon. I think we are going to go kayaking, hiking, skydiving if the weather cooperates, and now also seeing All AgesOther than that, I am happily oblivious to his plans.

Here's a general breakdown of where we are going:
Flying into Seattle and spending the first night there
Vancouver Island for 3 days
Vancouver city for 3 days
Drive back to Seattle and fly out after exploring the city some

So... since you're obviously going to be there at the same time, what kind of stuff are you going to be wearing? More to the point, what should I pack for the trip? I know the weather will be a bit chilly, so I'd really like to get a sweet pair of flat boots to walk around in but my large calf muscles always seem to crush my dreams of that. That's as far as I have gotten as of now. Clothing and any other Vancouver related advice would be much appreciated (restaurants to check out?)

I'll hold up a No Crying banner for you,
Vancouver Bound


Here's what my friend L had to say about Vancouver fashion:

The thing with Vancouver, is that if you're outdoorsy and you like fashion you kind of have to have a split personality because it's hard to marry the two. A lot of people ride their bikes etc. and it rains all the time. Although I will say that in my neighborhood the hipsters manage to still look fashionable on their bikes (maybe not in the pouring rain though), and they couldn't just hop off their bikes and go hiking — nope that wouldn't work. My two-cents: outerwear is very important and shoes, and a collapsible umbrella (cuz even if it looks like it won't rain, it probably will).

Rubber boots are very popular here, Hunters especially are pretty ubiquitous, but I still like them. Got to get me some after those other stupid ones I bought for $100 got holes in them. Of course early October may not be rainy, but then again it might, but it won't be cold yet. Thin layers are the way to go, no need for warm coats yet. But I've lived here for like 17 years and I still have a hard time getting the temperature thing right. I'm usually overdressed and I get hot and sweaty, but I hate being cold too. You kind of have to be prepared for anything.

L never got around to sending me a list of her favorite restaurants.... She's 8 months pregnant and she's like quilting an entire nursery, so.

But Leanne sent me these restaurant recommends via Twitter:


also the granville room. super douchey plc but their tenderloin steak is AMAZING, its $22.get it with the potato gratin. 

&the diamond in gastown amaze dumplings&cocktails, also the beef short rib sandwich is unreal. ask to go in the back, they have a secret bar

(Authentic Vancouver fashion photos by/of Leanne herself)

p.s. Thanks for plugging my movie! I couldn't have done it better if I'd written in with a fake Dear ESB. And I can't wait to meet you!! And YIKES WHAT SHOULD I WEAR??


  1. Have a great time in Vancouver! I will be there early next year too! I love it there, especially restaurants in Yaletown!

    xox Mrs. Châtelaine in Paris

  2. I live in Seattle and my ginormous calves won't fit in flat, tall, Hunter-like boots either, so I wear ankle boots. They keep out the water, are cute, and can be really comfy.

    As for food, you MUST try Cru. AMAZING!

  3. @JCole what sort of ankle boots? like ankle wellies? we need more dets!

  4. May not be everyone's style but the Teva Montacito boots are super comfy and fit my lumberjack calves. I have the black leather and they hold up well in snow and rain.

  5. these are pretty awesome and they're available at gravity pope which is IN vancouver:
    melissa vinyl brogue boot

    also, if you don't want to feel like shooting yourself in the face, don't go to the granville room. you know those people who tore the city apart when our hockey team shit the bed in game 7? the granville room is on granville street where those people go to meet and breed on the evenings and weekends.

    instead, try the mantou or shao bing at bao bei (they also make awesome cocktails), or the beef carpaccio at boneta, OR the awesome BC wine list and charcuterie at
    salt tasting room. wine is something we do really well in BC, but nobody knows because we're boozehounds and we drink it all before it can cross the border.

  6. I live in Seattle. It's been cold, rainy and wet here the past couple days. I'd suggest a rain coat (obviously), and comfortable shoes (I think the rainboots are for tourists, but whatever) I wear my frye's (water proofed of course) or sperry deck shoes.

    Any raincoat will do. Wool smells weird when it gets wet... wear cotton. Today I wore:
    Knee-high Shirley frye's
    black skinny jeans
    black LNA tee
    cotton cardingan
    gortex raincoat

    So I'm boring and wear that almost every single day (except on the rare occasion that there is no chance of rain)...

  7. One good thing about getting dressed in Vancouver is that you don't have to be too dressy to look nice compared to the rest of us- we're apparently the third worst dressed city in the world!

  8. I grew up in Vancouver and now live in Victoria (on Vancouver Island), and I'm going to assume you mean you're coming here, too!

    I was home in Van last weekend and managed to hit up some favourite spots: La Taqueria on Hastings, Burgoo on Main, Meat & Bread on Cambie, and GO to Hawksworth at the Hotel Georgia if you're looking for something special (if you can get a reso), or just go for a drink at the bar. Lovely lovely. Also, depending on where you're staying, check out either Thierry or Thomas Haas for bitchin pain au chocolat.

    As for Victoria, you must eat fish & chips at Red Fish, Blue Fish, which is right on the water. We also love Ferris' Grill, The Pink Bicycle (amazing burgers), the Superior, and Ulla for something extra special. Also, Pizzeria Prima Strada is out of this world! I could go on...let me know if you want more!

  9. I have the hunter short lace up wellies. Perfect for a larger calfed girl, even cuter than the tall ones (in my opinion) and more comfy since they aren't so heavy/hot.
    Google "hunter combat ankle boot"

    Also, check out for her rain cape. Waterproof, cute, made for biking (and designed by someone from Seattle, perfect).

  10. I really like having waterproof shoes. Something like this
    would be great for keeping your toes dry (in the rain or on the beach!). It is nice to have something comfy that can easily transition from wandering around the city in the rain/shine to kayaking.

    I'm also really like keeping around a light rain jacket (with a HOOD people, it must have a hood), a windproof fleece, and a scarf to throw on when it gets chilly. As others suggested you probably won't need a heavy coat and layers are key. My guess is that it will rain a couple days you are there but not the entire time. We've had a pretty spectacular September in Seattle as far as I'm concerned.

  11. skinny jeans, waterproof boots, scarf, rain jacket, t-shirt and light layers. keep the bottom of your jeans dry is KEY.


  12. Seconding the skinny jeans! Whatever you wear on the bottom, you're going to need to tuck into your boots. Nothing worse than soaking wet jean ankles - blegh! Layers are key: a silk blouse under a wool sweater under a rain coat will get you through the day fine.

    Couple lunch suggestions: try the Vancouver Art Gallery cafe (especially if you hit a sunny day), the famous Japa Dog street cart at Burrard and Smithe, and Smart Mouth Cafe in Gastown for the best carrot cake of your life.

    Oh and if you're grabbing a bite before "All Ages," Nuba on Seymour and Davie (a couple block away) has the most delicious Lebanese wraps.

  13. Oh, and hey honeymooners, check out a burlesque show while you're in town! Vancouver's burlesque scene is booming. Fun and sexy time.

  14. The Pac NW hasn't gotten that cold yet, though it looks like next week is going to be drizzly - it's gorgeous right now! - but my outfit of choice is often a dress or skirt with tights or leggings and boots, perhaps a shrunken vintage wool sweater. In my opinion, it's still too warm to be wearing any kind of wool socks. Don't be mistaken into thinking you're coming to the Frigid White North.

    Vancouver is a lovely city - enjoy it!

  15. I live in Seattle, and I'm gonna report that while it's gotten a little chilly, we haven't had too much rain yet (however, on the few days it has rained... it RAINED). I would recommend definitely having/getting a coat with a hood, or finding comfy layering combinations that include a good hood. Umbrellas are cumbersome and annoying. People do use them, so if you love umbrellas, you won't be labeled an outcast... hoods are just so much more convenient IMO.

    Also, socks. If tall boots don't work for you, find some warm knee-high or thigh-high socks that do & wear them with ankle boots. It's also common to layer tights with socks, especially if wearing a skirt. You'll be surprised with how much warmer you'll feel having your calves covered.

  16. I grew up in Vancouver, and even though I now live in Toronto (by way of Montreal) I still get back there regularly to visit the fam. I also go back regularly to EAT. So many hip, nummie restaurants, many of which have already been mentioned by other readers: Bao Bei, The Diamond, Salt Tasting Room and Boneta are all good. However, this group is very condensed within a small, albeit incredibly "happening", area of the downtown core (Gastown/Chinatown). If you have a bit of cashola and want to treat yourself, make a reservation for the counter at Tojo's ( simply the best Japanese you will ever eat. Ever. It's located just outside of Kitsilano.

    And if you do end up eating out in Gastown, you should also check out my friend Michelle's clothing stores One of a Few and Two of a Few ( She will be able to hook you up with the perfect "Vancouver" outfit.

  17. P.S. I needed to comment on Leanne's suggestion to ask about the back room at The Diamond.... they are quite tricky, if not jerky, about it. My husband and I were thinking of holding our wedding reception at The Diamond last year, and even though I had been to the back room in the past the owner outright lied to my face and told me there was no back room. Still a sore spot! :)

  18. I live just outside Seattle and my daily wardrobe right now is basically the same as Anonymous 6:53 - jeans, a tissue tee (or tank), a cotton blazer or cardigan, a rainproof jacket, and a pair of sandals OR badass ankle boots (it might be raining and it might be perfectly sunny)

    and get a photo of ESB for us, will you?? :)

  19. Avoid Granville and Robson streets. All the tourists go there and I have no idea why. Make reservations at Grub. It's tiny, it's cheap, it's amazing. A fresh menu everyday and nothing I have ever eaten there is ever short of fantastic. Zipang for sushi, always. Just do it. Grab a burger at the Pourhouse. It does not at all seem like the place to get a burger but you will never regret the decision to do it. If you can find Crab park, drink some beer there, it's got my favourite view in all of Vancouver. Let your man pick up some spiffy new married man stuff at Mr. Lee's General Store and get the best haircut of his life downstairs at the Belmont Barbershop, while you sip an espresso at Gene down the street. Check out Lark, the Block, Eugene Choo, and One of a Few for clothes.
    Keep in mind that hobos and drug addicts and well-to-do's all intermingle in our town, so don't be scared of gastown for a few junkies, you'll be fine. They aren't zombies.
    For outdoorsy, head to North Van, a quick seabus ride from gastown for amazing hiking and beautiful views.
    Best pie in town is heavily debated...acme or aphrodite cafe.
    Have breakfast at Medina (get there right at 9am if you go on a weekend or you're going to wait forever for a table), or at Nelson the Seagull.
    Find a flyer and go to an art show to watch everyone looking to see who's looking at them instead of looking at the art.
    Go to the Museum of Anthropology, it'll give you a chance to see the UBC campus (which is gorgeous) and it's one of may favourite nerdy day activities. Even though it won't be summer, take the stairs down to Wreck Beach. It's known as Vancouver's hippy, weed smoking, nudie beach, but it's actually also the most beautiful beach in town (and it's easier to realize this without a sea of old men in t-shirts and no bottoms (porky pig?). Just be sure that your cardio is up to snuff for the trek back up the stairs (don't be one of those people who takes rests, please).

  20. Oh!! And pick yourselves up a nice wedding present for your home at Old Faithful....sigh, I love it there.

  21. Friend L here (who never got around to sending the eating in Vancouver suggestions because she is 8 months preggers and quilting a nursery — true story),

    Molly's suggestions are right on the money in my opinion, but then I am heavily biased toward Main St./ Mount Pleasant. GRUB on Main St. is hands down my favourite restaurant, everything is delicious, and they always have meat, fish, chicken, vegetarian and vegan entrees every night! Decor is great, best wallpaper ever. It's small so call ahead.

    Main St. from about 7th to about 30th is full of fantastic little independent shops and cafes, definitely worth a long stroll.

    For cheap, healthy and yummy I also love Nuba. Several locations (but there is of course one on Main St.). Tasty, tasty Lebanese.

    I'll second Medina as a great brunch spot. It's the little waffles with milk chocolate lavender sauce...

    If you've got some $$$ in your wallet, go to Vij's — famous for it's fresh take on Indian food. And if you have less $$ in your wallet go to Rangoli, the cheaper Vij's right next door and have the portabello and red bell pepper curry — it is heaven. Neither take reservations.

    As for what to wear: today it's 14 degrees celsius (what is that in American?) and sunny and they're forecasting rain for the next 5 days.

  22. I couldn't agree more with Jillian. Avoid Granville Street at all costs. Bao Bei is amazing as is peckinpah for delicious bbq and locally brewed beers followed by drinks at the diamond.

    layers. rainboots. have fun!


  24. ...and when you get there try the buck buck mule. (Or try the penicillin, which is my favourite. Though the only way to describe it is the taste of moccasins soaked in lemonade, so it may not be everyone's bag.)

  25. @ESB are you still searching for the perfect leather bag? because I just got
    this one
    and it's the perfect combo of humongous purse/modest tote bag. and I'm not just plugging it because it has such an awesome name.

  26. @nikki i bought a bag!! i so owe you guys an update.

  27. Oh my god. It's kind of late, but I must speak up about the best pie in town. Go to West Van, it's a drive, but if you love pie it's worth it. It's called 'Savary Island Pies' and it will make Aphrodite's look like Safeway pie. Actually, I would stay away from Aphrodite's all together. I worked there once upon a time... they had a serious rodent issue then, and I've had one too many crappy meals there in recent years.

    But Savary Island, for real. It was our wedding pie, and might be the best decision we made. My friends go there regularly now. I might go today. That's exciting. Yes, I will go today.

    Also, I have to second L.'s suggestion of Vij's. I want some right now.

    If you like whisky, The Whip has a great selection, and an easy going (if somewhat hipster) vibe. It's our favorite neighborhood joint.

    Finally, do take a stroll around Granville island market... the food is so pretty, and it's a classic Vancouver afternoon. Then maybe get some fish and chips at 'Go Fish Ocean emporium' on the wharf.

    OR (and better yet)

    Go visit the Tacofino truck at Robson Square or Burrard and Dunsmuir for delicious street food... try the tuna ta-taco's and the chocolate diablo cookie... with ice cream and chili's.

    Go for a walk on the endowment lands at UBC, or head to Jericho beach at sunset.

    Have a great visit! Wear layers, talk to our friendly cab drivers, go hiking near Squamish and visit Cathedral grove on the Island.

    Or, you know, just figure it out as you go... I'm sure your hubby has it all sorted out.

    See you at the screening :-)


  28. Oh, and I second the Museum of Anthropology... GREAT nerdy day-trip.