Better with age: The refined look of 7 Canadians with style in their blood

They’ve honed their look over a lifetime and were born with distinct ideas about fashion.
(Credit: Ryan Faist)

Edith Holder, 69

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

Edith was born in Manchester, Jamaica and came to Canada when she was 18. Growing up, she learned to play the drums and inherited her clothes from her mother, who she describes as a "fashionista". Other than hand-me-downs, her mom would buy material and make their own clothes so she had something nice to wear to church. This fur is one of the pieces she inherited from her mother – she would otherwise not choose to wear fur, and was surprised to know they were even available in her hometown. As she put it, in Jamaica there was "no need 'fur' it", pun very much intended. She considers herself and all of her mother's children fashionistas too. "I got 10 stops yesterday to compliment my fur."

Gloria Sharp, 73

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

"It's all about the quality of the fabrics. There's 'cashmere' and there's cashmere."

Gloria Sharp, who has worked at Holt Renfrew for 20 years, doesn't buy into gimmicks. She is classic in her approach to fashion and believes in buying "investment pieces". Her very first Issey Miyake piece from over 30 years ago is still her favourite piece to wear.

"I've never been a slave to fashion, in the sense that I have to have the hottest and most current thing out there...I love my jeans and t shirts, but there's a place for my jeans and t shirts."

This skirt she is pictured in is one that she says she would wear to the opera, ballet, or a black tie event.

Randy Faist, 63

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

A former professional hockey player, photos of Randy with other NHL players cover his basement walls. We talked as he gathered some freshly chopped wood from his yard and carried it to his fireplace. He wears the sheepskin coat he purchased in 1981 for $700 in Northern Ontario, and the hat gifted to all the players to represent Canada when they travelled to Europe. He wears both on long walks throughout the winter still. He says he's "all about holding on to something and wearing it for decades", and favours it over today's "fast food fashion".

Paul Mason, 53

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

You may know Paul Mason from his Fashion Santa fame. "I love style. If I have an Eames chair, it's not because of the value of it." Paul says he is so much more comfortable with a beard, which he has not always sported. He stopped shaving when his mother passed away 3 years ago. He has been modelling since his 20s, but says the beard has led to a "resurgence – or a rebirth" in his career.

Michelle Dubarry, 85

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

Michelle once held the Guinness World Record for Oldest Drag Queen. She recalls clearly being "dressed up" by her cousins when she was 9 years old, on a farm in Port Hope, and credits this moment for igniting her passion to dress up forever more. Growing up, Michelle watched her mother make dresses for her sister's dances and formals, and eventually went on to become a dressmaker in Toronto. She describes the 50's as a time when women "dressed to impress" and describes the look then as classy and elegant – imagery that she held on to.

Steve Josimovic, 63

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

Style to Steve means "Well dressed, well put together, in good taste." Born in Siberia, he has been style conscious and quality oriented ever since he can remember and cites Dr. Kildare, the well-heeled main character of the 1960's-era TV show by the same name, as a style influence. Today, Steve wears a suit almost daily and keeps his collection simple: blues, navys, blacks and greys. "I love elegance, sophistication...I enjoy getting dressed."

Anna Rouk, 50

(Credit: Ryan Faist)

Anna came to Toronto with her family from Moscow 20 years ago. Through her childhood and teenage years, while her friends favoured wearing jeans and T-shirts, she preferred more feminine dresses. Her sense of fashion has not changed a lot throughout her life, she describes her look as classy and stylish. "My style is one of the expressions of my creativity. When I look good, I feel good." She describes herself as a busy working mom, and says she can't spend "too much" money on clothes, but once in a while treats herself – when she see's a good deal.

"I like beautiful things."

On the jacket she is wearing here: "I chose it because I liked its design and colours; (the) black and white combination is one of my favourites. And because it's warm. I bought it in Moscow a couple of years ago while visiting my parents. And it was much more affordable than most of the winter clothes here in Toronto."

Ryan Faist is an artist living in Toronto.