Carol Ryder

“You want them to remember you look good, but you don’t want them to remember what it is you’re wearing.”

Photographed by Colin Way at ACAD's Illingworth Kerr Gallery. "Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15," organized and curated by Lateral Office, tour presented and coordinated by the Winnipeg Art Gallery. STYLING BY KARA CHOMISTEK. HAIR AND MAKEUP BY TESLIN WARD.

Marie Saint Pierre sweater and cape, both from Blu’s Womens Wear; skirt and Miu Miu shoes, both from Holt Renfrew; jewellery, private collection.


An eminent presence in the city’s cultural circles as chair of the board of the Alberta College of Art + Design and a former co-chair of Contemporary Calgary Arts Society, Carol Ryder’s style oeuvre is exclusively dark and dramatic, built around architecturally inspired minimalist pieces by a canon of go-to designers that includes Annette Görtz, Marie Saint Pierre and Issey Miyake

To that, she’ll add a bold bracelet (or two) by a jewellery designer the likes of Paloma Picasso, Italian-made shoes, Italian-made gloves and a bag pulled from a stash of Vuittons, Bottegas et al. It’s a look that, not surprisingly, had her once mistaken for a New York art dealer.

There’s substance to this impeccable style, though. Ryder’s choices are as carefully curated for comfort as they are for aesthetics — take the sharply pointed toes on all her shoes, which she wears exclusively because she has, as she says it, “pointy feet.”

Over the course of a storied career that started in retail fashion for the Eaton’s group and moved through both magazine publishing and film production, Ryder is at the enviable point of having figured herself out. That confidence overrides even her ensembles, becoming the basis of a trend-eschewing credo that she gives away with a hint of a Cheshire-cat grin. 

“I don’t buy a lot, but what I buy, I buy good,” she says. “I’ve only returned two things in my entire life.”

Lightning round with Carol Ryder


This article appears in the April 2016 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here.


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More Best Dressed

Chelsea Kindrachuk and Ryan Green

“Style is an expression and enhancement of who that person is.” – Ryan Green

Sharie Hunter

“Confidence is a big part of personal style. When I see a confident person, style oozes out of them.”

Liam LaFrance

“True personal style is the way you pull from different influences, muses and trends and take your favourite parts of each and create your own personal trend or style.”

Chenlu Qiao

“A stylish person doesn’t spend a lot of time fussing on their outfits. They dress for themselves, not for other people.”

Paul Lavoie

"Someone stylish is someone who makes an effort, and they do it instinctively.”

Jenny Steele

“True personal style is all about confidence. When you exude confidence, you’ll look more put together, no matter what you’re wearing.”

Wilson Wong

“Style to me is when a person is comfortable in their skin and their clothing is just a reflection of that.”

Alexandra Gibson and Jennifer Gibson

“Alberta Ballet influenced my style at lot. My fellow dancers hold me to a higher standard.” – Alexandra

Elliott Thorpe

“One style icon who isn’t famous was a guy my sister was friends with. He didn’t have the same style as me, but, to me, he had style. He lived it.”

To help us choose this year’s 10 best dressed, the Avenue editorial team consulted with a crew of Calgary’s style elites (Hedkandi Salon and Butter Beauty Parlour co-owner Wray Bokitch, fashion blogger Chloe Cappelletto, creative director and stylist Kara Chomistek, interior designer David Crosson and publicist Todd Hawkwood) to find out who is on their radar. The conversation was lively and uplifting, and we all came away feeling a little bit more excited for Calgary’s fashion scene.


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