Photographed by: Daniela Ciuffa
I met Alexandra Thompson a few year ago at an art exhibit that our mutual friend and fashion designer, Malena Grotrian, was hosting. She had an incredible style sensibility and I was immediately drawn to her warm and friendly personality. I remember it vividly; Alex was heading off to London the next day, on business. She was wearing black leather pants, blue suede strappy heels, a cute fur toque and
oh yeah, she smelled AMAZING!! I’m serious, I fell in love with her scent and couldn’t stop sniffing her. In fact, she smelled so good that when I travelled to Paris, a few months later, I purchased a bottle of that Chanel Coco Noir and wear it to this day! So you see, it’s no surprise that a woman as stylish as she, would end up opening her own boutique. Welcome to Wardrobe Apparel…
When did you start your business and how did you come up with the concept
The idea struck me when I was hiking in Nepal after completing my MBA. I had spent years curating my own wardrobe while travelling and realized 90% of it wasn’t from the city of Vancouver. Every piece had a very specific role in my closet, like the perfect cocktail dress or tuxedo jacket.
Since then, it’s been 18 months of building this concept of helping women to engage and curate their own personal wardrobes.
What can clients expect when they shop in your store?
We’re reintroducing the concept of timeless, investment pieces, but we also carry fabulous seasonal pieces, most of which you can’t shop anywhere else in Canada. We also carry limited quantities so our customer knows they’re only getting the best and most unique
Who does the buying and how do you determine what to bring into your store?
For now, my Creative Partner and I are doing all the buying to ensure the vision is consistent and strong during the beginning of our journey. A lot of what gets chosen has to fit within our criteria. We choose designers that have a consistent aesthetic, beautiful tailoring and overall excellent quality. We want you to walk away with a forever piece.
What’s your definition of being a confident woman?
Owning yourself, your actions and caring deeply for those that support you. Owning your own behaviour and evaluating it regularly will give you a deep respect for who you are in that moment and give you some indication of who you can be.
What are 5 beauty products that you can’t live without?
Chanel Coco Noir, Chanel Sublimage face wash, my colourist, gel nails, and sleep!
Which do you prefer: New York or LA? Paris or London? Coffee or Tea? Wine or Champagne?
You’ll either find me drinking tea (always) and reading the Economist in London or soaking up the arts with a glass of wine in Paris. Overall, Tea is my anchor and champagne is the occasional thrill.
What are the staple pieces you think every woman should have in their wardrobe?
Little black dress, fitted blazer, slacks and a killer pair of heels. I also think there has to be a Gown. You need that piece that makes you feel impeccable and that you can pull out at the drop of a hat.
Based on my 7 Style Sacraments, what would you say that your style category is – Causal, Classic , Chic, Charming or Couture?
We do have casual pieces, but overall everything is a mix of classic, chic and couture. My personal styles trends along a modern contradiction, so the store works well into my closet.
Who are your style inspirations/icons?
It’s always been a combination of Monica Bellucci, a rodeo queen and anything from John Galliano’s days at Christian Dior. Odd mix for some, but when you come in to the store it shows.
What’s the next for WA? Any new projects coming up?
We’re always planning the next big move and developing how Wardrobe Apparel fits into the city. Coming up, we’ll be at Crème de la Crème offering custom Greta Constantine dress options for wedding parties, a relationship we’re proud to share, and lately our focus has been on expanding our online store with the goal to offer shoppers (locally and throughout Canada) access to our designers. Our store is a wonderful hub of energy and collaboration. Come say Hi! You never know where a conversation with us might lead!
Thanks, Alex, for inviting us into your store and letting us play dress up! I’m so looking forward to wearing my new Chelsea Paris shoes at Creme de la Creme on Sunday.
PS.That Jane Carr sweatshirt I picked up…LOVE!
Ladies, if you’re in the market for one-of-a-kind garments to add to your wardrobe, you must stop into Wardrobe Apparel in Gastown and take a gander. No matter the occasion, Alex and her team have you covered!