What Our Editors Bought This Month
From vintage shorts to a birth watch.
Helix Acacia Desk, $399
In the excitement leading up to my move a couple of weeks ago, I may have gotten a little trigger-happy when it came to ditching furniture. And so, the media unit went up on Craigslist and the 30-year-old Billy bookshelf was traded on Bunz for a temperamental house plant….and on moving day, our new living room floor was covered in books and photo frames and Nintendo games because I forgot that we actually needed those shelves to, you know, hold things. Oops.
But we didn’t suffer for long. The next weekend, we made the trek to CB2 for a Helix bookcase with Acacia wood shelves (a solid step up from the Ikea number I had been dragging around from apartment to apartment my whole life) and a matching mini-desk version to hang on the wall opposite for a work station. They’re beautiful and sculptural and, most importantly, keep my books off the floor. I should throw everything away more often.—Stacey McLachlan, Executive Editor
Kinies Messenger Bag, $72
My first Kinies bag was a Christmas gift from a friend back in 2010. When the canvas eventually wore through to some pretty heavy-duty use (including a safari in Tanzania), I spent a year trying to find a bag as useful, and then realized I COULD JUST BUY THE SAME BAG. Slow on the uptick on that one. I’m now on round three, this time upping the game to a waxed canvas, which has a bit of a leather look and is oh-so-well-suited to this rainy city I live in, but it’s the interior pockets that really rock my world. Only on Etsy will someone figure out that I need at least six for lipsticks (yes, plural), cell phone, business cards, Gravol (the woman who never grew out of her motion sickness), keys, headphones…really, this purse does nothing to help my pack-rat nature, but it does help me feel more organized.—Anicka Quin, Editorial Director
I have a habit of buying classy winter shorts (to pair with tights and crisp long-sleeve button-ups) and then NEVER WEARING THEM, but I think that’s because I’ve been waiting for the perfect specimen to come along. Enter, the Main Exchange. Perhaps a bit lesser known than Main Street’s Front and Co., the Main Exchange is a small consignment boutique down the street with a highly concentrated mix of vintage designer, high-end denim, Aritzia and Jillian Harris’s Love It or List It closet—plus any clothing you sell to them you can get a higher-than-market-price return back in store credit. BUT I DIGRESS. Last week I popped into ME and spied a pair of vintage Valentino high-waisted black satin shorts in fabulous shape for $45 (it was a “Start the Car” moment!) and I can’t wait to take them for a test drive.—Julia Dilworth, Associate Editor
I’ve never been a fan of souvenir shopping while travelling. It’s not that I dislike shopping—heck, I love shopping—it’s that I’m always after a non-souvenir, souvenir. Forget the mass-produced shot glasses and overpriced tees with city logos, I opt for local handcrafted gems that I will cherish as decor staples. Past gems I’ve picked up: woven reed baskets from coastal Belize, an antique oil painting of Paris’s Sacré-Cœur, and ceramics made from Mykonos’s local terra cotta. You only have so much display space, fill it with memories instead of meaningless commercial goods. Spiel done, fast forward to day eleven of a twelve-day trip to Peru…Machu Picchu mist still lingering on my coat, the softness of alpaca wool on my fingertips, no purchases made. Fine. Stuff isn’t worth lugging home if it’s not worth carrying by-hand in my already overweight carry-on. Last free evening, one more market area to wander through, here we go. My friend rifles through some woven blankets, all commercially made. I’m beckoned into stall after stall full of the same ubiquitous stuff. No thank you, I don’t need your “maple candies in a mountie tin” I think to myself. Finally, I spot a small woven rug hanging in one booth. Its motif depicts a traditional Peruvian woven scarf while having colours more subtle than tradition dictates in this part of the world. It’s unusual. It’s mine. —Natalie Gagnon, Associate Art Director
My partner and I have recently come to terms with our not-so-smart spending habits, so shopping has been low on the priority list these days—but no matter what budget we put on ourselves, we’ll always find money to spend on new books (because how else would I make it through my 20-minute commute every day?). This month, I picked up A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena. I won’t spoil too much, but it’s about a woman accused of murder; the only problem is she can’t remember anything because she was in a car accident (and suffers from a severe concussion) shortly after the alleged crime occurs. Did she do it? I’m about 60 pages away from finding out. And then it’s off to the bookstore to find my next page-turner. —Kaitlyn Funk, Online Editor
I’m the resident watch guy at the office, which, these days, means I’m one of the few people who actually wears a watch. I had been thinking about the concept of a birth-year watch—buying something vintage from the year you were born—for a while, but it wasn’t until I dropped my everyday watch, cracked one of the hands and found out that I’d need to send it to Switzerland for three months (!) for repairs that I began to hunt for a birth-year watch in earnest. I was born in 1971, which isn’t exactly a pinnacle for great watches. Luckily, unlike most watch nerds, I like the oddballs and it doesn’t get much odder than this baby I picked up from an Italian seller on Ebay earlier this month.
So a brief history of watchmaking from a very lay person: first there were manual wind watches the require you to wind frequently to keep them running (collectors love these); then there were automatic watches, which relied upon the wearer’s movements to power their movements (collectors really love these, too) and then there were quartz watches, which use a battery to send a circuit through a quartz crystal that oscillates to keep time. They’re cheap and way more accurate—and collectors hate them.
This watch is a missing link. Before quartz came along there were a few makers—notably Bulova and Omega—who used a tiny tuning fork incased inside the watch to keep very accurate time. Most of the very high-end Swiss makers—Patek, Vacheron, Rolex—stayed away (although they succumbed to quartz a few years later). But IWC dipped their toes in and this is the result. I love this watch, especially the crazy “Electronic” listed on the face. The sweep of the hand is a thing of sublime beauty and one of the hallmarks of tuning fork watches is that if you put your ear to the case you can here the vibration of the tuning fork (watch geeks call them “hummers” for this reason). This watch came with hideous lime green band which I swapped out for an impractical but cool looking suede number, but other than that she was good to go out of the box. Given that vintage watches are one-offs pricing can be tricky. For $500 to $700, you can probably score an Omega F300hz (the name of their tuning-fork watch) and an IWC will be a sight more than that—but still a fraction of the $7,500 that most new IWCs start at.
Now to find a birth year Aston Martin…—Neal McLennan, Travel Editor