How To Find A Style Uniform, According To A Toronto It Girl

With 54,000 Instagram followers and climbing, Toronto-based sartorial sensation Dani Roche is no stranger to grabbing the spotlight. But after years of indiscriminately piling on a medley of clothing, these days her outfits are decidedly more uniform and grown up — she loves to let a great pair of platforms or a dazzling statement earring stand out against a simple tee or turtleneck. At 26, Roche is committed to letting her outfits and her accomplishments do the talking. “It’s not about coming up with a groundbreaking outfit every day,” Roche says. “It’s about figuring out what you’re comfortable in, because comfort breeds confidence.”

And as the founder of creative agency Kastor & Pollux, she’s got confidence (not to mention a killer work ethic and a unique artistic take) in spades. In addition to running her agency out of a 800-square-foot downtown coach house, she’s also the creative director behind Biannual — a Montreal-based outerwear brand that’s vegan and 100% unisex. “The idea was to create a more conscious take on an outerwear brand because Canada is so cold,” she says. Though that’s not to say that she doesn’t have time for fashion — a great pair of high-waisted pants or a brilliant bauble, like those in the new collection from Swarovski, will always catch her eye. Below, Roche shares her top fashion tricks and hacks, how adopting a daily uniform will save your sanity, and why you can never go wrong with a handmade holiday gift.

*All prices listed are in CAD.

Tell us a bit about how your creative agency, Kastor & Pollux, came to be?

"It started as a fashion blog in 2011. Since then, the brand has taken many pivots. I decided to relaunch as a creative agency in 2016. At the time, the digital space seemed to be really accepting of anyone who had a voice and things they wanted to share. My background is in graphic design — I always wanted to create things. Creative director is the easiest way to describe what I do, but the reason that Kastor & Pollux takes on so many different projects is because I’m trying to figure out what the opportunities are. So I’m learning how to build a set one day, style food another, and, on the third, take a picture of an outfit."

Were you drawn to fashion as a kid, or did that come about as you got older?

"It really started as I began to spend time on the internet. I’ve always been interested in identity and subcultures, so when I got on the internet I was suddenly surrounded by all of these different subgroups of kids who had such different looks. It made me want to be more mindful of how I put together outfits. Signing up for Lookbook.nu in 2008 was when I really got into documenting what I was wearing."
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How would you define your style?

"I’m very much about a uniform and a simple silhouette with eye-catching accessories. I’m a jeans and T-shirt girl and dress that up with a wild piece of outerwear, crazy statement earrings, or platform shoes and a whacky bag. Mixing statement jewelry with wardrobe staples is a simple way to dress up a casual look. I've always been a big shoe person, but adding some sparkly jewelry into the mix never hurts."

Was that always your look?

"No, my style has changed so much in the past 10 years. I used to have the approach that more is better, so I tried to dress really crazy, but that wasn’t practical. It also caused me to consume a lot of fast fashion. These days, I’ve really tried to pare down my wardrobe to things I can wear in a lot of different ways instead of in just one crazy outfit. Now when I purchase things, I either go for vintage or I try to splurge on designer pieces that I know will last. An elevated black T-shirt is something that still fits with my uniform but looks fancier and more timeless than something trendy just for this season."
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Swarovski Sparkling Dance Star Stud Earrings, $89.00 Buy
In addition to jeans and tees, what else do you consider to be core foundation pieces?

"Black trousers, of which I have many variations. They’re either the standard straight leg or something super oversized. I’ve also always been a shoe person. The platform-shoe look is good for me because I’m 5 foot 3 inches and like to feel that I’m taller; I can’t walk in stilettos every day."

It sounds like you’re also a big lover of vintage shopping.

"There are a bunch of cool vintage stores in Toronto, where, as opposed to New York City, nothing is curated. It’s just about sifting through the piles. I also shop for vintage online, but that takes serious hours of searching. I tend to get things in any which way, but I’m always on the lookout for things that fit my fundamental uniform but have a fun twist."
Swarovski Sparkling Dance Star Ring, $139.00 Buy
Swarovski Sparkling Dance Star Stud Earrings, $89.00 Buy
How do you approach accessorizing?

"I’ve recently gotten a lot of ear piercings, so I’m into big, bold earrings. I love these Swarovski earrings because they add subtle sparkle to an otherwise casual look. I love playing with different textures and pairing dramatic accessories with more subdued silhouettes. While I styled them here with a variety of textures — an alpaca wool hat, lace shirt, pleated hat — I can see myself wearing these with anything from a baseball cap and jeans to an oversized dress. When it comes to my wardrobe, I'm all about dualities."

With the holidays just around the corner, any tips when it comes to gift giving?

"I love giving jewelry. Because it can be so subjective, it's the thought that counts. I also like to write a nice card."
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Swarovski Sparkling Dance Star Ring, $139.00 Buy
Do you approach dressing in a different way when you know you’re going to be photographed for an Instagram post? Are you conscious of a specific way you style yourself?

"I put on an outfit, go about my day, and if I’m hanging out with someone who I know will be down to take my picture, we look for a background or a wall. I want to be comfortable in what I’m wearing versus first scouting a location and then picking a look. For a while, I had the pressure of creating posts all the time as a fashion blogger, and I found myself losing touch with what my style actually was. I was dressing for pictures rather than actually dressing for real life."

You were born and raised in Toronto. Does the city inspire you?

"Definitely. There are a lot of people on the streets who have amazing style. What’s great about Toronto is that it feels like both a big city and a small town. You can see familiar faces walking up and down the street, especially if they have good style. I walk everywhere. That’s the time I have the opportunity to decompress and just look at things."
Swarovski Fit Long Pierced Earrings, $139.00 Buy
Swarovski Sparkling Dance Star Ring, $139.00 Buy
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