Photographed by: Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Where do you go when you’re looking for a fantastic outfit and accessories that are unique, on budget and will make heads turn?  You go to Barefoot Contessa Boutique, naturally!  We spent the afternoon playing and shopping with our friend and boutique owner, Eva De Viveiros, at her charming little shop on Main Street, in Vancouver.

Eva and I have admired each other’s businesses from a distance, through word of mouth and via social media for years!  We have several mutual friends and recently become friends after finally connected in person over coffee at Matchstick Cafe on Kinsgway, right next to her other quirky little boutique shop called Whiskey and Cake Home.  What was expected to be a one hour business meeting turned into a four hour catch up session with what felt like a long-time pal!  In discovering that we have so much in common, I was instantly drawn to her positive energy, charisma, love for vintage shopping and openess to share ideas.  As an entrepreneur myself, I admire Eva’s enthusiasm, passion and work ethic, and HAD to highlight her business on my blog so that YOU could get to know her too!

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

When did you open your boutique and what was your inspiration for it?

Barefoot started in the summer of 1999 and it was an expression of all the things I love. My mother was a talented seamstress and my bedroom doubled as her sewing room, so my love of fashion and pretty things started very early on.

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

What is your style philosophy?

It has always been “wear what you love!”.  I encourage wearing a mix of vintage and new, high and low, to express your individuality.  Fashion is one thing,  Style is another – and style is personal and enduring.  Style is what you are aiming for.

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

What are your five beauty must-haves?

I won’t name any brands but I will say an essential is eye cream and a very good quality moisturizer.  I was fortunate to have my mother encourage me to use eye cream early on so I have her to think for that.

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

As a buyer for your shops, how do you decide on what merchandies to carry in your stores?

What I look for when I’m out buying for my shops is what I have come to call the “ooooh!”  factor.  If something makes my heart happy, then I believe it will make my clients’ hearts happy too.

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Give us three tips on refreshing your look while staying on a budget.

I think my most important tip for a wardrobe refresh is to find a good tailor. Not enough women make use of finding a seamstress or tailor that they can trust who will help them alter their items to fit and flatter their bodies best. Find the hem length that suits you best, that you love best, and stick to it. Never regret the cost of having a dress fitted, it will take something off the rack and make it look more like a couture item and is the cornerstone of great personal style.  Seriously. Do it.
Don’t be afraid to mix high and low fashion. What I mean by that is, more expensive pieces mixed with less expensive items and or vintage. That is another cornerstone of personal style.  Learn how to play with your wardrobe, have fun and explore, try new things.
Do not be afraid to edit. Try everything on, look in the mirror and see if it can be redeemed with a visit to the seamstress or if it’s time to let it go.  If you don’t love it you won’t wear it.  There’s nothing worse than having a closet full of clothing that you don’t love and you never wear.  Better to have less that you love and always feel fabulous.

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

What are some essential pieces that ever woman should have in her wardrobe?
I believe in having a few quality investment pieces and think women do not have enough eveningwear pieces in their wardrobes.
A little black dress that you feels fabulous in!  One that is more sedate for conservative events or family functions, and another that is more cocktail/flirty for those functions where you really wants to stop the show.
A cashmere cardigan is wardrobe staple!  Vintage or new, it will go from day to evening and will be a much loved item in your wardrobe. It is actually very easy to care for if you hand wash and should last you years and years.
An evening shoe that you adore!  In keeping with my views on eveningwear, I think it’s also important for women to have beautiful evening shoes.
A beautiful evening bag.  I tend towards vintage for evening bags because I think they’re more unique and are truly an investment item that brings a lot of style to your outfit. If you go for a simple black beaded bag you can always pin a rhinestone brooch or silk flower to it to change up the look and coordinate with the season and dress.

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Nadia Albano, Barefoot Contessa, Daniela Ciuffa Photography

Thank you, Eva, for having us at your adorable shop.  Your style tips are great and I love everything I purchased.  My wardrobe is now complete for my Euro trip!  Let me know when your new inventory comes in, ooh and let’s do a thrift shopping day together before I leave too!

You can visit a Barefoot Contessa Boutique and Whiskey and Cake Home on Instagram or at the following Vancouver locations:

MAIN STREET LOCATION: 

3715 Main Street
Vancouver, B.C. V5V 3N8
604.879.8175 main@thebarefootcontessa.com

COMMERCIAL DRIVE LOCATION

1928 Commercial Dr
Vancouver, B.C. V5N 4A7
604.255.9035
commercial@thebarefootcontessa.com

Monday to Saturday 11am – 6pm Sunday noon – 5pm
WHISKEY AND CAKE

623 Kingsway
Vancouver, B.C.
604.879.5025
Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm Sunday noon – 5pm

xo,