The Real Housewives of Toronto’s Ann Kaplan is best known for her eclectic and enviable style. Not one for buying a gown and wearing it as is, she layers pieces, mix and matches with dresses on top of pants, throwing a big belt over the whole look, wearing in-season newly sourced heels, and has even added on materials she sources on her own to designer pieces.
In a new series for StyleDemocracy, we take you into the closet of the multi-hyphenate (Finance CEO, wife, mother to 8, TV personality, style icon) lady whose lust-worthy clothes and pieces all tell a tale about her relationships, her travels and the inner workings of her always-active mind.
I was greeted by Ann at her breathtaking home in the Bridal Path area, a couple doors down from where Drake is building his new home. She just moved in last month. After we have salad out in her garden and catch up, I ask her to lead me to her closet. “Which one?” she asked, and I laughed, because her humour is one of my favourite things about her. Sharp. Witty. Sarcastic. But she wasn’t kidding.
We started off down in the basement where she has a closet specifically for costumes. According to Ann, “Any occasion that there’s a theme for,” is her favourite ‘event’ to get dressed up for. She told me that her and her girlfriends often get together for themed nights at their homes, including a once-a-year tradition where they get dressed up to watch and sing along to Mamma Mia! This costume closet was filled with bags, each with various (and impressive) costumes that she and her kids have worn, and some which they haven’t yet.
Then we headed to her main hallway closet, filled with jaw-dropping jackets, furs and the like for the colder seasons. “This piece I bought after a particular argument with my husband,” she laughs as she pulls out a luxurious Russian Sable coat by RinDi.
Her upstairs hallway closet houses garment bag upon garment bag filled with the most beautiful evening wear gowns, many from her go-to store in Toronto, The Room, where she’s shopped for years (she loves their sales), and an equal amount from her travels. “I’m not someone who likes to just buy a dress and wear it,” she says. “I have to change it and add to it.” My eye is drawn to an off-white dress that she saw in Seattle. She didn’t buy it but when she got back home, she was still thinking about it so called the store, bought it and had it delivered to Toronto. “I loved the dress, but I added netting to it over the shoulders,” Ann said, showing me how she changed it up. “Sometimes my friends ask why I’d ruin a perfectly good designer dress, but I don’t see it as ruining. I just tell them that it’s my dress and I’ll do what I want with it.”
We head to the master bedroom and she walks me into her most precious closet, the one she shares with her husband (though, based on what I saw, it’s mostly hers.) Everything is remarkably organized. She has all her various shoes together. “A pop of colour in shoes make such a difference in the outfit,” she says as she holds up a pair of fun, playful Dolce and Gabbana shoes from this season. Then she has a section dedicated to business looks for the office, which are all in black (think pant suits and more conservative wear for her job in finance), surrounded by a seemingly never ending collection of skirts, blouses, tops, dresses, belts, purses, hats, etc.
Her signature look, which is very over the top, but in all the right ways, is a big, full skirt with tighter tops. As we’re playing in her closet she’s picking up various pieces and telling me stories about where they came from and why she chose them.
For a woman who loves fashion, the art of clothing and getting ready, she’s incredibly humble and generous. She said that after she wears some pieces she thinks of who told her they loved it and who she thinks would feel really good about a specific piece, then gifts them with it. A big joy for her is having friends of hers getting to experience what it feels like to put on a piece of art, and how what we wear really has an effect on our psyche and self-confidence.
Her role model when it comes to getting ready is Jennifer Lopez. “I look at people like Jennifer Lopez: her makeup, her jewellery, her hair. It’s all part of the same look. She’s an inspiration because she is always changing it up and creating a whole new look each time. She doesn’t do her makeup first. She has the outfit and goes from there, having her makeup and hair match the outfit and whole look, instead of the other way around.” Ann does the same, by first choosing and putting together pieces that she wants to wear, for herself. “I’ve never tried to look like anything. People are always commenting on how I’m always dressed up, but it’s just a part of who I am,” she says.
With the colder months ahead, she says the only thing we can expect from her in terms of fashion is wearing various pairs of gloves and jackets with belts laid over them, but in terms of big fashion moments or pieces that she’ll be debuting, she’s going to keep us on her toes, as she always does.
Featured Image: Kayla Rocca
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