Fashion… In the Eye of the Beholder?

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. One thing about fashion that I absolutely love is all the varied looks a person can put together, how diverse people are and how fantastic it is to walk down the street and see humans from all walks of life wearing something different. Fashion pushes the limits. You will see things on the runway that you will rarely EVER see worn out in everyday life. You can mix and match items from different time periods, and create something innovative that looks fresh and appealing. You can stand out from the crowd and not blend in with the trends in the magazines (though it’s totally cool if you want to wear those too!).

However, the fashion industry is booming and it waits for no (wo)man. It’s relentless. Trends flash by in the blink of an eye and before you know it, that item you just bought isn’t ‘in style’ any more. I’ve also begun to consider fashion from a feminist perspective. AKA, feedback from others on what an individual is wearing. We struggle with many feminist issues in society, including but not limited to sexism, body-shaming, and slut-shaming. Each of these issues is a gigantic weight of a problem in itself, and it’s really easy to pass judgement on others without even realizing it – especially when it comes to their clothing choices.

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School Dress Codes

These have always bothered me, and not in a “I’m a rebellious teenager let me wear what I want!!” kind of way. I don’t understand why skirts/shorts/dresses had to be of a certain length to be considered appropriate, or the tank top strap width of 2 fingers wide was a rule. I don’t understand why all hell broke loose over visible bra straps, especially when all or most preteen/teenage girls ARE wearing bras – primarily for the physical support they offer. Overall, it just seems like female students are being punished solely for having female bodies. These clothes are viewed as “inappropriate for school”. I have to ask, why though? The reasons given for those rules are confusing to me. Because it’s distracting? Because they’re too ‘young’ to show that much skin? If anything is a distraction around here, it’s the fact that females are being asked to cover themselves (yes, even in very warm weather) in order to prevent distractions. I’d like to know who they are supposedly distracting – classmates, teachers? For one, teachers shouldn’t be looking at students’ bodies, and especially not hard enough to be ‘distracted’ by normal body parts like thighs, stomachs, and shoulders. The same rule applies for classmates, when these apparently offensive body parts are only viewed as offensive if they are connected to a female body. I consider this extremely sexist, especially as there are no gender-specified dress code rules for male students.

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Body-/Slut-Shaming 

This is something many of us do (or have done previously), probably without even considering the impact it can have on someone else. When comments are made about a larger woman such as “She should wear clothes that fit” or “She’s too heavy to get away with something that short/tight/revealing”, we are essentially saying that another human being is too visually unappealing to wear the clothing she likes. I’m sure that she looked in the mirror before she left the house that day, and felt happy and confident with her reflection. Ergo, we have absolutely no right to comment on what someone “should” or “should not” be wearing in regards to their body type. No right at all. The same applies for comments about skinny women, such as “I can see her bones, that’s gross”. Especially if the weather is warm, people are going to dress to reflect that – negative comments about their weight, regardless of what size they are, have no place here. I’m hoping this can become widely accepted within the fashion industry. The same types of awful comments are made about those whom choose to show lots of skin, warm weather or not. “She looks like a slut.” “If I were her parents, there’s no way I’d let her out of the house in that outfit.” “Aren’t your boobs supposed to stay inside your shirt?”  Why are we so determined to shame women for showing their body? We all have the same body parts, and it’s a personal choice whether or not you want to expose them. It doesn’t make it right to insult women for making that choice, although it may be different from yours. Nobody claims there is anything sexual about male shoulders, male stomach, or male legs – yet they’re ‘too’ sexual to be viewable on a woman? Not to mention, breasts are basically just fat and their primary purpose is to breast-feed after childbirth. There’s nothing too sexy about that. Yet a low-cut top that shows cleavage is a ‘slutty shirt’. This is the way society views clothing, this is how we have been trained to think. We need to put an end to shaming of all kinds, and very much so in the fashion industry where most of us have a critical eye for clothes.

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You tell her, Laci!

“Bad” Outfits

We’ve all seen them – the lists in magazines, on television, and social media discussing ‘Hot or Not’, ‘Who Wore It Best’, and ‘x amount of Worst Outfits Worn to This Public Event’. Most recently, there’s been a lot of hype regarding the Swarovski-studded gown Rihanna wore to the 2014 CFDA Awards. Many are calling it disgusting and offensive due to the see-through nature of the garment, which again leads me back to the body sexualizing in the above paragraph. I personally think she looked incredible, and was too entranced by the glistening design to even notice much else. So why do we have these lists? Does it make us feel like we have to balance out our favourite celebrity outfits by naming the ones with the “worst” fashion choices? Or do we simply feel like we need reasons to tear beautiful people down? This idea of pitting outfits against each other seems silly. Our comments aren’t just directed at celebrities, however. How many times have you or a friend pointed out someone’s outfit only to call it hideous? Or to say that they look like they got dressed in the dark? All too often, we let our own personal fashion choices dictate what we think is appealing, which in turn affects how we view others’ apparel. I maintain that if you feel good in your outfit, that if you feel confident, comfortable, and happy, then that is what you should be wearing. No one should make you feel inferior, especially when it comes to something as simple (yet as expressive) as clothing.

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Online Shopping Spree at NastyGal

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying this slowly-warming weather. Here in Toronto we’re supposed to hit 10 degrees tomorrow, and that’s pretty exciting to me! I also have a job interview in the afternoon, so it will be nice not to have to bundle up over my interview attire.

So my 2013 tax refund came in this morning, and it was a pretty decent chunk of change. So like any responsible, fashionable girl would do, I paid all my bills for the next month in advance – and then treated myself to a shopping spree! I have most of the money tucked into savings, but I couldn’t resist stocking up on some super-cute summer items.

NastyGal is my absolute favourite online shopping site. The clothing ranges from edgy to feminine to casual, and there is never a moment I don’t have a wishlist the size of my elbow. I’ve had my eye on a few pieces since they first became available on the site, and most of them were even on sale! So I’ll be sharing with all of you the newest additions to my summer wardrobe. ❤

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Cat Scratch Velvet Moto Vest: http://www.nastygal.com/product/cat-scratch-velvet-moto-vest

I don’t currently own any vests and have never been a huge fan of them, but something about this one pulled me right in! I love animal prints generally, however leopard print is my absolute fave. I’m already visualizing the outfits I can style this with – I’m a big fan of mixing edgy with cute!

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MinkPink Third Base Metallic Tee: http://www.nastygal.com/product/minkpink-third-base-metallic-tee

This gorgeous tee was a major steal, priced at $17.40 (regularly $58)! Most of the items I’ll be showing you guys were on sale, but I think this item is where I reaped the biggest savings. I prefer my tops to have a looser fit, especially as I wear a lot of leggings and tighter-fitting skirts. Metallics are another personal favourite, and the shine of the shirt gives this classic style a modern face-lift.

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Life Of The Party Skirt: http://www.nastygal.com/product/nasty-gal-life-of-the-party-skirt

I’ve had my eye on this skirt since it first came out, but I just got around to buying it now. I find the pastel balloons to be almost painfully cute, and skater skirts tend to be flattering on most body types. I’m so excited to dress this up!

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Maybe Baby Maxi Skirt: http://www.nastygal.com/product/maybe-baby-maxi-skirt

I have always preferred short skirts/dresses to long ones, but last year I borrowed a maxi dress from a friend and it was the ultimate in comfort! However, it takes a lot for me to step out of my style comfort zone so I hadn’t purchased anything maxi until now. But it was so pretty, in a lovely shade of mint and a side slit, that I just couldn’t resist. Hope I don’t regret it!

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Hyper Fluoro Dress: http://www.nastygal.com/product/hyper-fluoro-dress

I fell in love with this dress the moment I saw it. Typically florals don’t do it for me, but whenever they do, it hits me hard. I have always been drawn to short, strapless dresses and this beauty is no exception. Packed full of vibrant colour, this is a definitely must-have for summer 2014 – plus, it’s now 30% off!

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Fun Future Dress: http://www.nastygal.com/product/nasty-gal-fun-future-dress

This is actually my second try at this dress. It was part of my previous NastyGal order, and going off previous NG experiences and my general sizing, I ordered it in a medium. Unfortunately, the fabric doesn’t stretch at all and it was very tight-fitting. I couldn’t get it on entirely. So, I cut my losses and sold off the dress to a friend. I hadn’t realized until recently that the item was still available on the site, and in larger sizes too! So I threw in a large dress with the rest of my order, and I’m hoping for the best that it fits me this time around. It was no longer on sale for $20 as it was when I first purchased it, but considering the original price was $118, it was still a deep discount and only cost me $35.40!

Like what you see? Check out http://www.nastygal.com for more amazing gear at great prices!

That’s all for now lovelies, see you next time! ♡

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show

So yesterday afternoon, a friend of mine and I attended the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show. They hold it twice a year in the Toronto Metro Convention Centre, once in September and once in March. I signed up for email notifications back in the fall, so a week before the show I received a coupon for $2 off admission – a perk of being a subscriber to the event. Regular admission is $10.

There were so many booths we honestly had no idea where to start. Finally we just picked one and tried to wrap a square around the room, and then weave in and out between the aisles. I was amazed at all the variety. One booth sold strictly vintage designs of famous designers – Dolce and Gabbana, Betsey Johnson, and Valentino, just to name a few. Not to mention, all clothing was 50% off the ticketed price at that same booth!

One of my favourite booths had to be one that sold almost exclusively jewelry. Better yet, it was cheap! I scored a lovely necklace for $14 and a pink glitter bangle for only $4! 

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I also came across this crazy shirt at one of the booths. I didn’t buy it, as it wasn’t my style, but this is a piece from a collaboration between Lanvin and H&M. It had all sorts of embellishments and extra details on it – the eyelashes are sequins which are partially sewed on, so you can move them around if you want to! I just found this really interesting and wanted to share it with you guys.

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Another vending was selling vintage clothing and handbags, but there was also a crate of old advertisements and magazine spreads taken from vintage issues Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. I fell in love with the fashion pages, but unfortunately couldn’t take all of them home with me! So I settled for this absolutely stunning photo featuring a sleeveless fur housecoat by Mainbocher, from the October 1937 issue of Vogue. Now all I need is to find the perfect frame for it!

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These are some photos of some of the vendor layouts, and the items they had for sale. Lots of shoes and handbags!

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I didn’t end up purchasing any clothing myself, because as luck would have it, everything I fell in love with was either too big or too small! Such is the way of vintage shopping, unfortunately. But the two items I WOULD have gotten, had they fit, were both skirts. One was a deep blue suede, pencil-skirt style, with a small slit in back. The other was a 60’s-style miniskirt, and let’s just say that ‘mini’ was definitely the right way to describe the length – it was supershort! The skirt was a lovely teal hue, and had two black squared pockets on the front. Maybe next time I’ll have better luck with sizes.

Are you guys a fan of vintage things? If so, where do you like to shop? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Until next time! xo

World Mastercard Fashion Week: Melissa Nepton, Claudette Floyd, & Helmer

Hello everyone! So as I’m sure you all know, this week was Toronto Fashion Week which will wrap up tomorrow night. There was a ton of shows going on but with my busy school schedule, I was only able to make it out to three of them. Of course they were incredible, and I have lots to share with you all!

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Tuesday: Melissa Nepton at 8pm

My friend Carrie (designer of BlakBlak) and I arrived at the tent shortly after 7pm and checked in. Upon entering the premises, we were each given a Globe Style bag filled with free Maybelline goodies (pictured above). Nothing kicks off an evening like free gifts! We milled around for a while waiting for the show to begin, and as we got in line, I bumped into my friend Bobby! I hadn’t seen him since before Christmas as he’s been in Mexico, so that was a nice surprise. The show was so packed that Carrie and I ended up in the very back, so it was difficult to get good camera angles of the runway. However Bobby ended up taking a whole bunch of lovely photos, which he has graciously allowed me to share with all of you.

You can also check out his blog and see his Fashion Week entries here! http://www.bobbyraffin.com

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I attended Melissa’s show for her fall collection, so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed with her latest designs. One thing that she appears to keep consistent is her colour choices, opting for black and whites, greys and neutral tones. In the first photo, the outfit has a sort of triangular print, which had repetition on other designs throughout the show. There was a lot of tailored tops and trousers, pockets on many of the designs, and open cut-out backs in tops and dresses. Many textiles were mixed, and there were hints of mint blended into a few of the looks. Many models carried oversized clutches as they walked. Fur was another common design element within this collection. The second photo was actually my favourite piece in the whole show – I’ve always been a sucker for strapless anything, not to mention skirts and dresses that have pockets! Overall, it was a fantastic collection… but I was a little confused by the hairstyling choices. It really looked like the models’ hair has just been washed and left to air-dry in a messy pile, which didn’t complement the outfits at all. I was there to look at clothes though, not hair, and in that area I was left satisfied.

Thursday at 3pm: Claudette Floyd (Rush Couture) and Helmer

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These two designers are friends, and decided to combine their shows together in one! I didn’t take any photos at this one other than the one above, because I got into the second row this time and got an amazing opportunity to get an up-close look at the designs. Needless to say, my time was spent observing and taking notes. But I’ve included a 9-second video clip at the end that I got, so you can catch glimpses of some of the designs.

Helmer: I noticed with this collection, embellishments seemed to be a main focus. Lots of lace overlay, lots of embroidered beading, with some outfits giving the impression of being ‘patched’ with design elements. There was printed, fitted trousers along with fitted jackets, and very full skirts were another collection favourite. My favourite outfit was a supershort strapless black dress with an extremely poofed out skirt, with what appeared to be layers of sheer tulle fabric layered over many times. There were black feathers all over the dress & going up the skirt to the top, giving off a peacock style effect. It was stunning, and I definitely regretted not having my camera at the ready for that one!

Claudette: There was a golden-bronze shimmery fabric that seemed to be the main design concept of this collection. It was used in skirts, dresses, shrugs, and tops. Long flowing skirts and dresses were another consistency I noticed throughout the show. Not unlike Melissa’s pieces on Tuesday, a handful of Claudette’s designs has the open-back concept, though she also did low/open necklines as well. Given the nicer weather that is (hopefully!) on its way and the repetition throughout Fashion Week, I can definitely see this being a trend for fall 2014. There were also some gorgeous jackets featured in this collection.

That’s all I have for you guys tonight. But I’ll be checking out the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show this coming Sunday, which means you’ll of course be hearing about it soon!

An Afternoon at the Bata Shoe Museum

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http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/index.html

On Saturday, I headed downtown to check out the Bata Shoe Museum with a friend of mine. I had been once before during the Nuit Blanche festival in 2010, but with ever-changing exhibits and accompanied by someone new to Toronto, I thought I was due for another visit.

For those of you who haven’t been, the museum is located on Bloor Street, near St. George subway station. It is visually stunning from the inside and out, and the exhibits are both informative as well as interesting.

My favourite part of the museum is, of course, the celebrity shoes that reside there – these are my favourite celebrity shoes in the current exhibit.

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Just like many stylish women, Marilyn favoured a classic red pump. Elizabeth Taylor was a shining star on the silver screen, and definitely worked that in this strappy silver pair.

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I was awed to see Margaret Atwood’s heels as a part of the exhibit. The woman is a personal inspiration to me, as well as many other people I know. I was extremely pleased to see her being acknowledged on the same level as movie stars and musicians, for I feel she is an extremely important contributor to society.

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Now, here we have a case of shoes belonging to famous musicians throughout history. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be laid out in any specific order, so it was a little hard to tell what shoes belonged to which star… although some were dead giveaways – hello, who but Elton John would wear those platform boots? I’m also going to take a moment here to raise my eyebrow over the fact that Justin Bieber is being featured in such a prestigous exhibit. The “work” he has done (and I use the term ‘work’ loosely) is nowhere near parallel to that of the other people you see in this case. Alas, I am not the museum curator, and so I will be moving on now.

Bata’s newest exhibit in the museum is currently “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture”. I couldn’t resist taking a peek despite sneakers not being my thing, and there were actually some gorgeous designs! Here are my top 4 favourite sneakers from the showcase.

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I am a HUGE Louboutin fan, so it’s no surprise I was drawn to these spiky sneakers. With the shining gold colour and edgy embellishments, these shoes are sure to turn heads wherever you go.

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As far as sneakers go, if I have to wear them, I go Converse every time. While I tend to favour the basic black, I found this butterfly design incredibly appealing. I find butterflies to be delicate yet complicated, and intrinsically beautiful (I even have a butterfly tattoo). Overall, I find these sneakers to be really cute.

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Jimmy Choo is another favourite shoe designer of mine. I tend to wear more black than other colours, so this is why I was led over to this pair originally.  However, the paisley print and the female silhouettes were what made me fall in love. Although the sign states that the sneakers are ‘unquestionably masculine’, I would wear the heck out of these!

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And lastly (but certainly not least), we have the Lanvin sneakers. The patent leather provides a glossy sheen, and the basic black makes them easy to go with everything – if only they fell into my price range! I never thought I would be able to categorize a pair of sneakers as classy, but now I know it only takes one exceptional designer to change the course of style history.

That concludes my afternoon at the shoe museum. If shoes are your thing (and really, aren’t they every woman’s thing?) then you should definitely check it out. There’s more stunning shoes and shoe history where all of this came from!

See you next time!

Introducing BlakBlak

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BlakBlak is the newest fashion sensation to hit the goth and alternative scene here in Toronto. The company opened the doors to its online shop on March 3rd, 2014, and already had quite a following on most prominent social media websites.

Carrie Holmes is the mind behind the designs, and is the creative director and owner of BlakBlak. She is currently a fashion management student at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus, and will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in April 2014.

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Carrie attributes her decision to foray into fashion simply because she enjoys it, and states that she wasn’t all that content with the clothing options available to her. Below is an interesting article Carrie says describes her relationship with clothes.

http://www.thestylecon.com/2014/03/03/trauma-fashion-armor/

“The name BlakBlak comes from a joke, well known in the Goth community: “My black is blacker than your black. I call it black-black.” This anecdote came up, years ago, in conversation with a friend. We both agreed it would make a great name for a Goth clothing company. I maintain, even years later, that with its use of repetition coupled with the “inside joke” reference, the name has a great deal of appeal, whether the buyer “gets” the joke or not. The spelling was changed to add interest, and appear shorter for text and print.” – Carrie Holmes

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty excited to see what’s next in store for this flourishing designer!

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Carrie modeling her Spiked Patch top
Photography by Breila Rose Photography
Makeup by October Grimm
Hair by Abiguaelle Elea Dion

Follow BlakBlak on your social media sites for news and updates!

RAW artists hit Toronto with their Awakening showcase

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http://www.rawartists.org/toronto/awakening

On Thursday (February 27th), I had the great pleasure of attending the Awakening event put on by RAW for an evening of great art, great music, and cutting-edge fashion. It was held at the Revival Bar on College Street, and the dress code was cocktail attire. So I donned my red sateen Dynamite strapless dress and some black heels, and headed out for what was sure to be a night to remember!

Two of my good friends were actually featured in the show, which is how I first found out about it. Breila Rose Rathlou is a skilled photographer from Guelph, Ontario, and Michael Archibald is talented painter located right here in the city. I was incredibly proud to see their work on the walls of such a busy, high-energy event. You can check out their work below, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! 

Breila Rose – http://www.breilarosephotography.com/ 

Mike Archibald – http://www.michaelarchibald.ca/

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My favourite part of the evening would definitely have to be the runway shows! These were the three designers were featured in the fashion show at this event, along with some photographs I snapped of my favourite designs.

Lesley Hampton:  http://www.rawartists.org/lesleyhampton

Katrina Mior:  http://www.rawartists.org/totallywaisted

Rachel Chan:  http://www.rawartists.org/racheljchan

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There was even a hoop performance out on the runway.

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Overall, just a really amazing night.  I was so glad to be a part of it, and I hope there are many more RAW events to come!

-Laura

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