Rising Canadian Designer Hayley Elsaesser Chats Holiday Fashion Essentials


Photo: hayleyelsaesser on Instagram 

Perfecting your holiday style can be a challenge, as we need to keep ourselves warm and also showcase our unique sense of style as we celebrate the season. No one understands this better than Canadian fashion designer Hayley Elsaesser. Though Canadian born, Elsaesser got her start at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia with a degree in Fashion/Apparel Design before returning to Toronto. Her brightly coloured and flashily patterned designs have made her one of the top emerging Canadian designers at the moment, with celebrity fans such as Katy Perry rocking her designs. Real Style caught up with the talented designer to chat about holiday trends, travel essentials, and dressing for the colder weather.

Real Style: What are some big trends or must-haves for the holiday season?

Hayley: I think a lot of it is about texture. Right now, I’m wearing a fuzzy sweater and a warm knit scarf. I think it always feels nice to wear nice fabrics in the winter time. I like our denim jackets because they’re heavy, but still colourful, soft and stretchy. Colour is not always a big trend during the holidays. I don’t know why people shy away from colour in the winter. Maybe it’s because winter makes them a bit sad. I think that’s a nice way to kind of pep up in the morning: to put on a nice, colourful outfit in the winter.

Real Style: What are your tips for staying warm while looking cute?

Hayley: I think a huge part of that is layering. I wore our overalls the other day with a t-shirt, a sweater, a scarf and a beret. I was super, super warm! Even today I’m wearing really long socks. In a lot of cases, people don’t know what you’re wearing underneath. You could be wearing a long sleeved plain T-shirt which is keeping you warm, but on the outside, you can still look really cute and wear a light weight jacket. That’s what I like to do. I have certain jackets that I like that aren’t super “wintry”, but I just layer sweaters and smaller jackets underneath to make sure that I’m warm.

Real Style: The holidays often involve a lot of travelling. Do you have any fashion travel essentials?

Hayley: I think it’s most important to pack accessories. Come up with a couple staple outfits or pieces that you can mix and match, then have fun accessories like different hats or pins to complete your outfits. I think that’s an easy way to pretend you’re wearing a different outfit, even if it might be the same sweater you wore two days ago. 

Real Style: Do you have any go to looks for the holidays?

Hayley: Not really. I tend to wear a lot of jackets. I don’t know why that’s something I love to wear! I think it’s because I do like layering. I like to have a colourful knit underneath a printed jacket. I think that’s a way to still be fun and colourful yet warm at the same time. When you’re dressing up for a family function or something like that, you still want to look a little bit nice and dressy. Sometimes, dresses can be a bit cold, so layering with a turtleneck or a sweater is what I like to do. Clearly, layering is key! 

Real Style: What are your favourite kinds of accessories for winter?

Hayley: Right now, I’m really obsessed with the berets we have. I remember in first year university, I was obsessed with berets and that was kind of what I was known for. I find that wearing a toque sometimes looks really messy. It can ruin an outfit if you put on a big, bulky toque and that’s not the look you’re going for. I like our berets because they’re super warm, they’re made of wool, but they also look feminine and dainty at the same time. You could wear a beret with a dress and a nice jacket and still look really cute.