#PAPERWOMEN: Amanda Ashford

#PAPERWOMEN: Amanda Ashford
Amanda is wearing the MAY SHIRT and the GREER BELTED PANT. 


Amanda! Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do, what do you love?  


How much time do you have ;) I work at OMERS Ventures, an early-stage technology investment fund. We have offices in Toronto, New York and Palo Alto, so I visit each regularly and the rest of the time you’ll find me working from my house in the woods, which my partner and I bought during COVID as part of the mass exodus out of the city. Other than that, I lean hard into travel, art and trying to make friends with the various animals around our property (without much success). No kids, two cats and a bit of a shopping problem.  


How would you define your personal style right now?   

I’ve always used fashion as an outlet for creativity, so I’ve never had a style that fits in a sandbox. It changes year-to-year and mood-to-mood, with only one constant - I only buy clothes I love. Whether they’re on trend or not, the only things in my closet are pieces I love having on my body at any given time. Sometimes that means everything oversized, sometimes that looks tailored and tight. I always look for good quality materials, good drape, and things I can turn up or down depending on where I’m going. That’s what I love about PAPER LABEL. I’ll wear the chambray suit with sandals and a baseball cap to the Sunday farmers market, and again the next day with a cute tank and flats on a flight to NYC.   


What aspect of your life gives you the most fuel back? 


Pre-COVID, I traveled a lot - and we’re starting to get back into that now. As exhausting as travelling can be, it’s one of those things that has instant but also slow-release benefits, where the experiences you have end up influencing you in so many ways, months or even years after you come back. I’ve been to so many places over the years (South Africa, Madagascar & French Polynesia being some of my faves) and each one has really influenced me in a different way - style included.  


I also try and get a lot out of my professional life. We spend so much time at work that I’ve always made a conscious effort to make sure I’m getting as much out of my jobs as I’m putting in. It probably goes against the grain a bit of trying to find a work life balance, but I’ve never looked at those things as being in competition. For me, it’s all one bucket, and as long as I’m getting equal value to what I’m giving, I’m in a good spot.  

You’re a woman in her forties in a pretty conservative, male-dominated industry. Do you ever feel pressure to dress a certain way while you’re at work?  


I definitely felt pressure one way or another, particularly earlier in my career, when if anything, it was ‘normal’ to be judged on how you looked and what you wore. On the flip side, the older I get the more eyebrows I raise if I show up to a business meeting in anything that’s outside the ‘business casual’ sandbox (which I do regularly).  But I made a conscious decision early on to always defer to my own judgment when it comes to my style because I wear things I feel good in, and to me that’s the most important thing. There’s a bit of power in dressing for yourself, regardless of whether it conforms to what people expect or not, and people generally read that as confidence.  There’s my rebellious streak shining through ;) 


How does your lifestyle or work impact your style? 


The busier I am, the more I look at my clothes and style as a tool to help me feel good, reduce stress and stay comfortable. It’s one of the reasons I look for good quality fabrics and the right fit. Style should be a mood booster, and that means eliminating what’s fussy or inflexible. It was a PAPER LABEL outfit that gave me this perspective years ago. I remember wearing what would be called a lounge set now years ago and thinking - if I felt this good in all my clothes, I’d be a happier person. I started shopping differently after that. 

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