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Layers — the solution to this crazy Canadian climate

Dear Canadians,

We live in a wonderfully weird country where the snow falls in the morning, the sun blazes in the afternoon, and the wind howls in the evening. One day it could be -28 degrees outside and then the next it will feel like a balmy autumn afternoon.

There are no other words to describe it: the weather in Canada is frustrating, annoying, and just plain crazy.

The challenge becomes this: how to dress for your workday when the temperature can change at the drop of a hat. The solution, dear readers, is layers.

Coats, Jackets, and Cardigans

The key to layers is putting together an ensemble that is warm and professional at the same time. A long-sleeved cardigan paired with a sleeveless printed shirt is the ultimate winter professional look. You can also try a long-sleeved shirt or turtleneck with a blazer — both cover your arms and it makes it easy to shed a layer if the heat in your office is blazing.

If it’s going to be a very cold day, you can always put a jacket over top of the cardigan, over top of a sleeveless shirt. This look can get a bit complex for the inexperienced, but I promise the outcome will be worth it. Keep the layers light so that if you are taking public transportation you don’t sweat through your clothing. One layer is sleeveless, the second is a light cardigan, and the last layer can be a something a little thicker like wool or cotton.

Long cardigan - true black
Gap Canada, $69.95

 

Le Chateau, $139.95
Le Chateau, $139.95

 

The knit sweater

Knit sweaters used to be something you hid in the back of your closet, but now it’s time to bring them out. Pairing a colourful sweater with a pair of dress pants and a white blouse as an under layer — collar showing above the neckline — can be a professional and transformative look. If it starts to get warm out, just remove the sweater and reveal the business-ready you!

Another option is to wear a tank top under a knit sweater with a pencil skirt and leggings.

H&M, $59,99
H&M, $59,99

 

flashesofstyle.blogspot.com
flashesofstyle.blogspot.com

Wrap a scarf around it

Sometimes, all it takes to stay warm is a good scarf around your neck. A thicker wool scarf can be paired nicely with both a winter jacket and a light sweater or cardigan in the office. Or change it up and wear a lighter scarf with a thicker sweater. The best part about scarves is that there is something for every outfit — whether you like silk, shine, matte, fringe, wool, patterns, or knit-wear, a scarf will always be there for you. They are the easiest of the layered accessories.

Artizan Fashion, $19.99
Artizan Fashion, $19.99

 

Le Chateau, $89.95
Le Chateau, $89.95

 

If all else fails, remember that it’s okay to bring an extra pair of shoes to leave at the office. No one wants to walk in 15 inches of snow with heels, or spend the entire day in waterproof boots that make their feet sweat. It’s okay to leave one “layer” at work while sporting the other on the road.

Do you have a favourite layered look? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

Blaze up! Six business looks for the winter

Are you going to a job interview? An important meeting with a client? Maybe even a work party? In this uncertain weather, it’s hard to commit to heels and a pencil skirt. Instead, try a blazer with a patterned or brightly coloured shirt.

But, blazers are a bit boring and dull, aren’t they? Wrong! The blazer is the perfect accessory — it can be incredibly professional, powerful, sexy, and it can have as much personality as the person who wears it. Here are some options for those of you who think the only way you can wear a blazer is with a pencil skirt or a well-tailored power suit.

The free falling blazer: This type of blazer has a classic notch collar and boyfriend styling, making it the perfect accessory for both a business meeting and a night out. It is perfect for women that are petite or who have curves, because there is no need to button it up. Let your blazer hang loosely, and professionally.

Le Chateau, $89.95
Le Chateau, $89.95

The academic: Nerdy is in! Try your hand at some tweed, corduroy, or a blazer with some coloured elbow patches. This look is clean, professional, and adds just a bit of cheek into your wardrobe. Your colleagues will see you as smart, clean, with a little bit of edge.

Zara, $89.90
Zara, $89.90

The vest: Some may say the vest is “out of fashion”, but I say otherwise! Pair it with a blouse or a funky longer shirt. Wear it open for a more relaxed, artsy look, or button it up with a skinny tie for a chic business look. For women with a bit of shape, a blazer can be daunting — the sleeves are either too small, and then if they fit your arms, the shoulders look like they swallowed you whole. The vest is the perfect compromise.

Convey, $258.00
Convey, $258.00

The crop: Not all blazers have to look…well, like blazers. This cropped and zippered jacket works in a business setting or an afternoon with friends. It will make you look chic, elegant, and put together. The best part about these neutral coloured blazers is that you can pair it with a high patterned legging or pant and heels for a more polished look.

Additionelle , $120
Additionelle , $120

The pattern: Luckily, there are a lot of options for those who may not like the traditional blue, black, or brown suit jacket. This type of blazer is a lot more feminine, and features a strong collar and a zipper instead of the typical round buttons. This type of blazer would look amazing with a pair of dark jeans and converse shoes, or a pair of fitted black dress pants and heels.

Judith and Charles, $237,50
Judith and Charles, $237,50

The wild: Need a little more colour in your life? Try one of these multi-coloured blazers. I don’t suggest wearing them with a patterned shirt, but they are the perfect compromise for those with a bit of a wild and fun side. It looks professional, but doesn’t scream “I live in a cubical.”

Aritzia, $90
Aritzia, $90

Do you have a favourite blazer in your closet? Describe it or send in a picture using the comments below!

D.I.Y Craft Projects: How to glamorize your wardrobe on a budget

Do you have an old pair of jeans or a t-shirt that you love, but they are looking a bit plain or out-of-style? D.I.Y fashion projects are a great way to revitalize your wardrobe while saving money! It can also turn into a fun afternoon with friends.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few fun D.I.Y projects that will leave you walking away with some great new pieces for your closet:

http://luneblog.com/

Bleaching your shirt with a funky phrase: Bleach can be a pain to work with, but it also has serious craft potential. Transform a simple, plain t-shirt or tank top into an original one-of-a-kind piece of clothing by creating your own quote or phrase.

  1. Place a flat sheet of cardboard inside your shirt. This will provide an even surface for your design and will stop the bleach from bleeding through. With a piece of white chalk, sketch out your design. Don’t worry if you need to smudge out chalk lines. They wash out once your painting is done.
  1. Secure your shirt by folding the sides under the cardboard, using elastics or clips to keep it from slipping. Prepare a small bowl with non-diluted, fabric safe bleach. Have your towel on hand to wipe up any drips.
  1. It’s time to make your design permanent! Dip your brush in the bleach and drag it on the edge of the bowl to eliminate dripping. Use steady strokes to trace the chalk lines of your design. For an even bleach line, you will need to reload your brush every two inches. You will quickly see your design appear, like magic!
  1. Continue to trace your design until you reach the end. Take a break, and return in a few minutes once the bleach has had time to react with the fabric of your shirt. Are there un-even spots or light areas? No problem. Simply go back in with your bleach filled brush and even out the design.
  1. Once you’re pleased with how your shirt looks, let the piece sit in the sun for an hour or more. This will allow the bleach to process and lighten. Depending on the cotton content of your shirt, the color of your design will range from dark red, to orange, to pink, all the way to white. Rinse and hand wash your shirt, and hang to dry. Your design is now permanent, safe to wash with like colors, and ready to wear.

Adapted from http://luneblog.com/

 

DIY-2

Studded converse shoes: Converse are a pretty hip shoe, but their plain-Jane style can get a bit boring after awhile. Here is a way to glam up your shoes on a budget and also cover up any mud stains if you have a lighter colored shoe.

  1. You’ll need around 40 studs per shoe for a 7.5 size shoe and some E6000 glue. This strong glue will ensure those studs stay on despite the rain and much it may travel through.
  2. In a well-ventilated area glue your studs onto the outer edges of your shoe, working your way from the bottom to the top. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before wearing them. Save a few extra studs in case you lose one at some point. If any are going to fall off they’ll probably go in the first day or two!

Adapted from http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/11/make-your-own-studded-converse.html

D.I.Y cut-up back: There is nothing sexier than a shirt that reveals a bit of your back. SweetCandyLine teaches D.I.Y lovers how to covert a regular tee into a masterpiece using a pair of scissors and a little bit of ingenuity. Watch the live video to learn how!

Posted by SweetCandyLine, adapted from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTO_Atwt8ThyDAvLrvAZ7kQ

DIY 3 headband12

Celtic headband made from old t-shirt: Here is a great D.I.Y that uses an old t-shirt to make a beautiful headband. It is a great way to recycle old clothing and create inexpensive accessories from your hair.

  1. Cut a strip from the t-shirt and stretch it until the material is thin.
  2. Cut the strip into two parts.
  3. Tie into Celtic knot (pictured above)
  4. Tie the headband together and as an extra option, cover with another piece of material to hide the tie.
  5. Enjoy your new hairpiece!

Adapted from http://www.jsonline.com/features/fashion/Old-T-shirt-becomes-DIY-headband-bracelet-230900631.html

 

Add-a-little-bling-to-your-collar

D.I.Y CD Bling Collar: CDs are becoming a thing of the past and this D.I.Y provides a creative, easy, and seriously fashionable way to re-use the groovy tunes.

  1. Place CDs in hot water for five minutes to remove plastic covering.
  2. Cut CD in half.
  3. Remove plastic coating on the CD.
  4. Cut up CD into pieces (be careful not to hurt yourself).
  5. Use crazy glue to stick the pieces onto a collared shirt (or make a shape on another shirt).
  6. Voila! Here is your new blinged up shirt!

Adapted From http://followfashion.nl/diy-fashion-report-pimp-je-kraag

 

 

These (heeled) boots were made for walking

Do you despise slushing through the miserable grey snow in the Canadian horror we call winter? Do you wish you could feel light as a feather and as chic as a French model during Mode à Paris?

Well, you are in luck. I’ve mastered the walk of the winter goddess and have decided to share my secret. It is called the high-heeled winter boot.

For many, it seems insane, maybe even stupid, to wear high-heels in the winter. This is an unwise assumption. The proper high-heeled boot is the smartest and safest way to rock the pedestrian look, not to mention you can manage a confident and sexy swivel while you traverse the terrors of Canadian terrain.

Every year I go on a shopping bonanza for the perfect winter boot. But, I don’t buy just any boot! First and foremost, the boot must have a thick heel. I don’t want to see any women with skinny eight-inch-heels. They will snap on the ice in -30 degree weather. You will die. A sturdy thick heel doesn’t just look sleek, but it also lifts the buttocks, makes your legs look awesome, and maintains your personal safety.

The boots must also be constructed of thick materials such as pleather (a cheaper and more animal friendly alternative to leather). You must also ensure the fabric is waterproof. I also recommend getting insoles to further protect your feet from the cold concrete. Insoles are usually sold at most shoe stores. One of the best arguments I can make for wearing heels in the winter is that the foot remains mostly elevated from the ground. This creates less contact with the snowy cold surface, therefore your feet stays warmer and the women in them stays much happier.

The other reason I love to wear high-heeled boots in the winter is because I can get a grip on the icy surface while I walk. Contrary to popular belief, the heel can actually stabilize the boot on a slippery surface because it hooks into the ice. Taking a tip from the majestic goat of the mountains, a hooked heel helps to be more grounded and stable, rather than slipping while wearing a flat toed shoe and ending up face first in a snow bank.

Finally, the boots look great. Especially if you purchase the protective spray that guards the boots from the winter salts that seem to be hell-bent on destroying nice footwear. Being able to strut down the street during a blizzard helps morale and warms the heart. During the tough winter months, this is a necessity. Happy winter perusing comrades — stay sexy and toasty.

How to rock this year’s holiday fashion

It’s the week before Christmas, and that means last-minute parties and get-togethers with friends. But, what should you wear? It’s the typical dilemma: We don’t want to dress to casual, but we don’t want to overdress either. Yes, the ugly sweater may be all the rage, but for those of us who don’t want to look like a knitted nightmare, here are some festive options for your next work party or holiday smash:

 

The glittery shoe: It doesn’t matter if you wear a simple black dress or a pair of jeans — the shoes make the outfit. Dazzle your friends with a pair of silver or gold-studded heels and watch as all the attention is drawn towards you. The best part about the particular shoes pictured below is that they have mesh, which will give your feet a bit of extra support. The glittery shoe does not have to be ten-inch stilettos. As long as they sparkle, you are golden (pun intended).

Le Chateau, $89.95
Le Chateau, $89.95

The classic red dress: You can’t go wrong with the red dress — it’s sexy, flattering, and eye-catching. Most people would go the ‘little black dress’ route, but not you! You are daring, confident, and sexy. And you want the world to know you are here.

BTKA_14495192548311_1442e6beb5b369232d3522b0f24b69
Rosie the Rebel, $95

The sleeveless party top: Sometimes, a dress is just too much. If you are heading to a semi-casual party with some friends, this top is the perfect festive attire. Pair with a pair of black dress pants or with a ripped pair of jeans. It’s perfect under a nice jacket or blazer as well.

Additionelle,  $55
Additionelle, $55

The handbag: A purse is just too much during the holidays — people bump into it on the bus, crowded streets are a nightmare, and you have to weave in and out of stores holding it close to your chest so you don’t accidentally break a priceless item. We are all better off with a small handbag, especially in the evening. This bag is typically only big enough for the essentials: cell phone, money, ID, and emergency lipstick.

Zara, $25.90
Zara, $25.90

Knitwear: If you must wear something knitted, make it something unique and stylish. A knitted shirt or dress can be paired with funky tights for colder weather, or with boots as seen below. It’s a great casual outfit that just screams “I just threw something on, but look how fabulous I look.” Much better than the ugly sweater!

Zara, $59.90
Zara, $59.90

 

What’s your favourite holiday outfit? Let us know in the comments below!

5 stylish winter coats for the not-so-winter season

Tis’ the season for winter coats — well, maybe not yet. It’s been unusually warm in Canada this December, but I’m still dreaming of a white Christmas. Eventually, the temperatures will drop below zero and small white fluffs of frozen water will descend from the sky. Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared?

Winter coats, especially those made for typical Canadian winters, can usually look a bit frumpy. The sensible among us will get the thick overcoats that make us look like the Michelin Man. However, not everyone wants to feel puffy when heading to work or for a night out with friends.

Here are some good alternatives to keep you warm, and stylish, when winter finally arrives:

 

The toggles: My sister came home with a coat similar to this one last week. Apparently, toggles are the newest coat fashion trend. Rock the militarized look with multi-coloured palettes. Just make sure that the coat has a zipper underneath those chic button accessories. It’s important to make sure the seams can withstand snowfall.

Hudson's Bay, $189
Hudson’s Bay, $189

 

The long and insulated: I am an absolute fan of the long winter coat. Not only is it fashionable, but it also provides the maximum protection from the cold. Don’t worry, this coat won’t make you look like the Michelin Man. The shape of the jacket pinches in just the right place to show off your curves, and the fur-rimmed hood adds a little colour and style.

Canada Goose, $775
Canada Goose, $775

The professional: This jacket is perfect for a business meeting or an interview. Tied at the waist, this coat will flatter just about everyone. One of the best features includes a shawl collar, which can be worn with a sweater or a turtleneck shirt for effect. It’s the epitome of the professional outfit.

Le Chateau, $225
Le Chateau, $225

The unique: There are a lot of coats out there that don’t meet the typical criteria for a winter jacket. These items are sleek, fashion-forward, and one of a kind, although they may not be as warm as the other options in this piece. This particular jacket, however, is multi-layered, which means that it is just as warm as it is stylish.

Zara, $199
Zara, $199

The faux-fur collar: Instead of fur-rimmed hoods, the trend is to have a full fur collar as an accent to a simply designed coat. Paired with some warm boots and leggings, this coat is perfect for a night out with friends. And you won’t even have to wear a scarf!

00146053-02

Forever 21, $115
Forever 21, $115

Do you have a favourite winter coat? What do you think of our choices above? Let us know in the comments below.

3 simple ways to wear a blanket scarf

It’s that time of year again; days where you choose to skip the gym and hide under big sweaters in the name of fashion (and cookies). Blanket scarves are the new trend this winter, but the size can definitely be overwhelming. With the right tips and tricks, you can turn this warm, versatile item into a work of art. Check out how to wear them below:

1. Be A Sophisticated Turtle 

Wrap your blanket scarf around your neck once and let the two ends hang for a big, cozy look. Resembling a turtleneck that’s more ”I woke up like this” than ”grandma made me wear it,” this type of look goes great with a leather jacket and a pair of leggings. Be sure to contrast the colour of your outfit with your scarf to really make it pop! Make this look work-appropriate by opting for a blazer, some nicely tailored pants, and your favourite hand bag. Finally — a look that screams chic while still keeping you warm during the week!

MonicaxGuan blanket scarf leather jacket
Image by: Monica Guan

2. Baby, Let Your Hair Down 

There’s nothing like a warm cup of tea and your favourite blanket after a long day at work. Throw on your favourite sweater and wear your blanket scarf like a shawl for the perfect outfit to lounge around in. For a more effortless look, let one side drape over your shoulder and the other side drape over your shoulder. Either tie the two ends together to keep them out of the way or let them hang in front for more coverage. It’s perfect for a night in with your friends or a quick date at the coffee shop. Embrace the blanket part of the blanket scarf without being caught! To pull it all together, wear this look with a pair of cute shorts or pull on a pair of leggings for those days you think you should be doing yoga, but decided not to. Don’t worry, we won’t judge.

MonicaxGuan blanket scarf square sweater heather grey crochet shorts-15
Image by: Monica Guan

3. Make The World Your Runway

Straight outta Milan is what you’ll feel in this high-fashion look. Great for a day out in town or a stylish walk in the park, using your blanket scarf as a shawl or a batwing-style sweater is a sure fire way to turn some heads – if not all! Cover your shoulders with the scarf and let the fringed ends hang evenly down both of your sides. No knots or tying required! You can belt your scarf down to create an open-sleeved cardigan for a more put-together look. However, to truly master this outfit, it’s important to accessorize. Match your scarf with a basic top underneath and pair with a floppy hat and some thigh highs. Update your look for an extra chilly day by ditching your tank for a cute turtle neck, a pair of dark denims, and some ankle boots. Bam! The key to pulling this off is simple; confidence.

MonicaxGuan scarf poncho knee high wide brim hat-2
Image by: Sandun Dissanayake

 

There you have it: three easy ways to wear your blanket scarf. Warm, fashionable, and cute. It’s like wearing a hug throughout the day! Have some other great ideas on how to wear a blanket scarf? Share them with us in the comments below.

 

5 boots to keep you warm and stylish this winter

Don’t be fooled by the warm weather this week. It’s fall, almost winter, and it’s time to start dressing like it. Get ready to throw away the light scarves in exchange for the thick-knitted one your mom made you. It’s time to store those sandals in the back of your closet and buy some fuzzy socks.

But, don’t worry. We know that it’s important to look presentable, even if the temperatures starts to drop. To help, here are five of the top boot trends for 2015:

 

The ankle-boot: I’m thrilled that the stylish and professional ankle-boots are back in style again. Nothing looks better with a good pair of skinny jeans and a blouse then the ankle-boot. They are also undeniably more comfortable than those black wear-every-day-to-work pumps.

ALDO, $145
ALDO, $145

The suede heel: You can’t go wrong with a good pair of knee-high boots, especially in this chilled weather. Not only do they add an extra layer of warmth to your legs, but they look amazing with both jeans and tights. Just make sure you buy some protective spray for the material. We all know how wet these Canadian seasons can be.

Le Chateau, $119.95
Le Chateau, $119.95

Knit insides: Canada knows how to make warm and stylish boots. Most of the 2015 designs will have a knit layer inside the boot, and then pair it with lace and zippers to make it as stylish as it is weather appropriate. They are also the perfect casual boot—pair it with jeans and a light knit sweater, and you are weekend ready.

Call it Spring, $59.99
Call it Spring, $59.99

Fringe: We always seem to come back to the fringe-style: in the 60s, then the 90s, and now in 2015! I’ve always loved fringe, the way it swishes as you walk. Turns out, I’m not the only one. Most stores carry a few stylish and trendy fringe options, and they are worth checking out.

Nine West, $295
Nine West, $295

The totally Canadian winter boot: Come December, our cute boots may not be able to cut through the slush and snow. This boot, however, was made for a Canadian winter. A hearty waterproof sole, a plaid knit top, and a maple leaf on the back—just in case it’s not clear that we are Canadian.

Cougar Boots, $160
Cougar Boots, $160

How to Rock The Boho-Chic Look

With maxi dresses, palazzo pants, and fringe taking over stores all across the nation, it seems Coachella never really ended this year. Although immensely comfortable, sporting a Boho style can be tricky. There’s a fine line between loose and flowy and baggy and frumpy. Here are some tips you can follow to perfect the Boho-Chic look:

One at a time 

If you wear a loose top, wear fitted pants. Similarly, if you wear loose pants, wear a fitted top. This will prevent you from drowning in your clothes. After all, you wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear you.

Boho Chic Outfit Idea by Happily Grey

For an urban twist, pull your hair back. Leaving your hair down can scream teenager at a music festival. A nice, structured bag like the one shown below can add some much needed shape to your look. It’s all about balance!

#street #style summer / pattern print maxi + crop top @wachabuy

Play with prints 

The best part about rocking a boho-chic look is being able to wear different types of prints. The colours are usually warm, with yellow and brown hues, which looks good on any skin tone. Tribal prints, aztec prints, or anything with some colour can take your look from drab to fab.

Boho Beauty Dress - 70s, hippie-inspired colors and patterns make this comfy maxi really great.

Less is more 

Focus on one thing at a time. If you decide on a boho dress, skip the fringe shoes. Instead, pair it with some flats, or heels – for a more dressier look. Pro tip: Add a floppy hat to everything and anything this summer for an added flare to your outfit. Love it!

Chiara Ferragni in wide-brim hat and boho-print mini dress

Accessorize 

Accessories are everything. Whether you opt for a drapey shoulder bag, or these cute sandles from Free People, choosing the right accessories can even take a simple t-shirt and jeans from street meek to boho chic.

Free People / Ivy Ankle Sandal. This is a very cute gladiator style sandal that I love!!!

Whatever look you opt for, its important to own it. Boho is all about comfort. So if you’re rocking a look you don’t feel comfortable in, you’re definitely not doing it right.

Good luck!

Brrr! 3 Tips For Staying Warm In Your Chilly Office

It’s hard enough getting dressed in the morning. Choosing the perfect outfit can be tough, but the added worry of getting frostbite in your air conditioned office can make the process even more difficult. Opting for a sundress under the scorching heat may seem like the liable option, but when your sitting in your office, suddenly all you can think about are the thermals packed away at the back of your closet. That silk blouse that feels so soft and light against your skin? Yeah, probably not a good idea in the drafty confinements of your cubicle.

Worry not, ladies. We have got you.. err, will get you covered in no time! Try these tips on how to stay warm and stylish in the office and still keep cool during those sweaty trips home.

1. Daze in a Blaze

Beautiful and sophisticated look, Well-tailored blazer makes such a huge impact. Remove the blazer and switch up the accessories to go from day to night.

A blazer, that is.  There’s nothing like the woolen goodness of a blazer to keep you warm. Throw it on over a sleeveless dress to prevent you from getting goosebumps down your arm. Wear a light colour, such as the white one (pictured above), to keep you cool when you step outside. Now you can concentrate more on getting that report done and focus less on how nice it would be to sit under a palm tree on a warm, sunny beach in Aruba. Mmm….coconut water would be a nice addition to the office.

2. Opt for pants 

Boho. Love the look.... If I can ever find a pair of these pants that fit me right!!

Sometimes, you just need some fabric around your legs. The extra layer can be all you need to keep you from shivering during your meetings. Wearing a dress may look cute, but is definitely not ideal when the air conditioner is positioned right across from you. Opt for a printed pair like these to look trendy. The material is light, the fit is lose – – it’s the closest you’ll get to wearing pj’s to work! Besides, it also allows you to skip your shaving session for an extra day… we won’t tell if you won’t.

3. Accessorize with a scarf 

Adorable, especially the rolled-up sleeves on the tee.  Via:  What I Wore: Cobalt and Mint, Jessica Quirk, whatiwore.tumblr.com/

 

They come in all shapes and sizes, materials and patterns, and look good with any outfit! A scarf is a great way to add a bit of flare to your outfit and also acts as a barrier against the cold artic wind of the air conditioner. Whether you choose to wrap it around your neck or use it as shawl when you’re extra chilly, a scarf is an excellent option to keep you warm. Who says you have to wait until fall to rock them?

There you have it ladies. Have any tips on how to stay warm in the office? Let us know in the comments!

Stay warm!

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