It looks like summer is here to stay in Toronto at last! Goodbye three seasons in one day and hello warm weather clothes. Judging by the looks of my wardrobe, it’s quite a tornado’s hit. But it has a system to it! All the cold weather clothes are shoved up on the shelf, blouses are hung on the left, and dresses hung on the right. Oh, and there are sections in the back where I exile clothes I don’t wear often but don’t have the heart to get rid of. We all have those clothes we buy thinking “omg this is totally fetch“….and a week later, we realize fetch isn’t gonna happen. (At least you tried, Gretch) Anyways, I decided to flex my styling muscles and show these forgotten garments some love! Continue reading “Outfit Challenge – Styling 3 Underloved Garments”
Differences from Toronto in Fashion & Lifestyle
I had the liberty of studying abroad in Manchester, England with my best friend (who is still thankfully my best friend after living together). Observing, not in a creepy way of course, Manchester’s street style and how people lived was a huge part of my experience. Fashion is not just about what people wear, but also how they live- how they shape themselves to interact with the world around them. The combination of all these differences is what makes Manchester seem like another universe.
Dressed to impress the cashier
One of the first things I noticed was that a man in Manchester City Center without a suit was a rare sight. It didn’t matter if they were a young professional or a seasoned mogul. They were always dressed to impress in and out of the office. You’d never find anyone caught dead in sweatpants and a hoodie. Needless to say, people living in Manchester take style very very seriously.
Heels for default
I was quite delighted to see so many fellow tall gals unafraid of wearing high heels. Even on a regular day, the streets were filled with all sorts of heels- chunky ankle boots, classic pumps, knee high boots, wedges ect. Not even the endless cobblestone paving can stop Manchester ladies from rocking it. However, I never quite mastered the art of not tripping every ten steps.
What’s with the coffee??
It was very jarring to learn that drip coffee I’ve taken as a given is considered an “American thing”. Every single café served espresso based drinks. It felt like a luxurious experience drinking lattés every day instead of my usual black coffee. We did manage to find regular coffee at Burger King.
The colored hair trend
Contrary to the super conservative image of England, quite a lot of people in Manchester sported bright hair. I actually noticed that more people in Manchester had colorful hair than in Toronto at that time. Colorful dyes were even more accessible there! Drugstores there had lines from L’Oreal, Schwarzkopf, and Bleach London that aren’t sold here.
Toronto has always been hectic to me. You’d blink find yourself left behind. Like you’re constantly working and rushing to the next place. Life in Manchester was about consistency. More importantly, it was about breathing. There was a set time when all students had a lunch break. We were told to treat our studies like a full time job and learned to take ownership of managing our schedules. Even when school was its busiest, there was still time to go on trips over the weekend or just lounge for hours. Walking down the street everyday, I’d look up and see ornate architecture in even the most ordinary building. Perhaps the course load there wasn’t as intense, or maybe it was the relaxation of travelling, but I never felt rushed in Manchester as I do here. It was the second city (the first was Toronto) that I fell in love with, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
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So here’s the deal. I live in Canada, the land of winters so freezing that the rest of the world jokes about how we all live in igloos. Some days when the weather outside is -20 degrees celsius, I want to just curl up next to a friendly polar bear. Sadly, there’s no cuddly-wildlife-rental service here (yet), so the next best thing is sweatpants and hoodies. When you’re a busy student , it’s easy to fall into the trap of wearing the most shapeless (but comfortable) clothing in the dead of winter. And the fact that you can still pass as fashionable enough if you wear all black doesn’t make it any better. A few days of sacrificing silhouettes for the sake of productivity doesn’t hurt, but this year, I fell hard into that slump. As someone so connected to style, when I look blah, I feel blah too. You know that saying, “give a woman the right lipstick and she’ll take over the world”? That’s totally me, except I’d accidentally burn down the world attempting to make the largest ever creme brûlée. I’d assume that your mood is influenced by your style too, since you’re reading from the fashion tag. Well, here’s a few simple tricks I picked up to stay reasonably stylish over the rest of winter.
Colourful hair and/or bold makeup
I know that not everyone is in a profession where it’s okay to have crazy hair, but if you are and always wanted to look like a fabulous alien, go for it! Winter is honestly the best time to have bright hair. I’ve been wanting to tone mine silver for the longest time, but I’m sticking with turquoise until winter ends. Makeup is one of the best ways to up your look without even wearing anything fancy. Remember that bit about the lipstick? 😉 It’s virtually impossible to go about your day frowning when you have a bold lip colour on.
Heeled snow boots
But won’t you slip and break something? Good quality heeled snow boots all have traction. Mine saved me from falling on my butt while walking down the driveway this morning. They don’t even need to be 5 inches high or stilettoed. An extra 2-3 inches would be enough to add that oomph to your step, and make your outfit look classier. I recommend thick heels or wedges if you have to deal with a lot of snow (I know I do).
They’re sweaters for your legs! Whoever says you can’t wear dresses and skirts in the winter has never heard of sweater tights. I usually pair mine with a dress since it’s the easiest thing to throw on. But I’ve seen girls wear them with their summer shorts too! No more separating winter and summer wardrobes. Get one in black or charcoal grey as a “safe” colour and also one in an accent colour like wine red or turquoise.
Ditch the black winter coat
This feels like the most no-sh*t-Sherlock thing to say ever, but here it is. In places where a down parka is an essential, there are countless colour and style choices. One girl in my year has this cropped coffee-coloured coat that works insanely well on her, even though it’d make me look like a paper bag. Know which silhouette works for you, and choose a colour that makes you feel energetic. Red is forever my power colour. Bonus: you’ll also be easier for drivers to see at night! Another bonus: you can get away with wearing all-dark bottoms.
Chiffon layered with sweater
One of the styling tips I’d go to the grave with. A flowy chiffon can make any sweater look instantly more sophisticated. And they give that extra back coverage if you’re wearing leggings. You could wear a sleeveless chiffon top if you don’t want to risk the sleeves all getting bunched together. It doesn’t have to be a cropped sweater- chiffon would go with any sweater that is significantly shorter than it. My chiffon goes all the way down to mid-thigh.
But then again, if you’re anything like me and have those days where you can’t be bothered to put in more than minimal effort, there’s always the black jogger.
(Images from pinterest and anajayne.com)
So I didn’t want my new fashion blog to start off on such a serious note but I feel like there’s a lot to address with this fairly recent product.
If you haven’t seen it already, AR wear is a line of underwear/shorts (looks like shorts to me) that prevents women from being raped. The garment can’t be ripped or cut off, and the button can’t be forced open. It can be worn quite seamlessly under regular clothes. The purpose is to help prevent rape when women are on a night out, on a run, need to travel at night ect.
Despite the mixed comments and criticism AR Wear received, it reached it’s funding goal of 50k. Meaning, it was pretty darn successful. To be honest, there are things about AR Wear I don’t particularly like, but at the end of the day, I’d still buy their products.
Starting off with what I think is wrong with this idea, it shifts the responsibility on women. After years and years of fighting back against “she shouldn’t have worn that!” this clothing that’s designed to protect women becomes mainstream. Has it become up to women to prepare themselves for the threat of being raped? Doesn’t this mean that advocating for not raping in first place isn’t enough? And then, there’s also the fact that young women aren’t the only demographic being sexually assaulted. Men, children, and transgender peoples get raped too. To be fair, AR Wear is still a developing brand and it’s entirely possible for them to design for other groups later on.
Statistically speaking, two thirds of rapes aren’t caused by complete strangers looking for a victim at the club or on the streets. They happen with friends, or acquaintances -someone who was thought to be trusted- in an environment where guards aren’t up. Still, does this make people any less wary of the night life or dark streets?
I also question what is wrong with today’s society that we’ve come to a point where people feel a legitimate need to arm themselves so much. Shouldn’t we keep pushing anti-rape campaigns and keep rejecting victim blaming? Then, I put myself in the shoes of a parent about to send their daughter off to college. Or the shoes of somebody who has went through a sexual assault and is essentially scarred for life. AR Wear is designed so that it can’t be ripped, can’t be cut, and can’t be forced open. It would certainly make me feel safer, and would certainly give me peace of mind if I were a mother knowing my daughter is wearing it when she’s out partying. Heavens know my mother worried about me when I started university.
In reality, AR Wear isn’t the first of its genre. There’s been a nail polish designed to detect date rape drugs in drinks. There’s been cat-ear keychains designed to hurt an attacker. I even carry a small blade disguised as a key! Since forever, women have been arming themselves against potential danger. (Also note rape whistles and pepper spray) Still, it feels like undergarments that prevent rape is an extreme that’s a step back in helping the cause. Although there’s been so many campaigns, initiatives, services, ect. that help rape prevention (for example, bars that take initiative to help people if they feel unsafe), it still happens. There’s still along way to go. So on the debate of AR Wear, I support them, but I’m not happy that I feel this way. I would rather society be in a place where these precautions aren’t needed in first place.
Initially, I wanted to write about something less serious this week- like bizarre runway makeup trends. But rape prevention is something that I genuinely care about, so I wouldn’t have been happy keeping quiet.
Let me know in the comments what you think of AR Wear and if you think it’s a step forward or a step back.
Learn more about AR Wear here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ar-wear-confidence-protection-that-can-be-worn#/
*insert snappy good-bye line*
For years, I’ve been encouraged to start a blog about whatever it is I’m passionate about. You know the quote “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink?” The way I see it is that nobody would have fun doing something just because someone else said so.
I used to be scared of getting a lackluster reaction or, even worse, talking into the void. I still am, but I remember something a friend once said while I was having stage fright. When you’re doing something you love (for me, cosplay is one of them), think about it as simply sharing a part of you. When you perform to share yourself, things like “what if I get a bad response?” or “what if I mess this up” become secondary. So going along with that, my blog is simply me sharing what makes me happy- fashion and beauty trends. And I hope to see what you’re sharing about yourself too. Hopefully, I’m not just talking into the void here that we really will get to know one another.
My story of how I got into fashion is, no lie, something right out of a book. Imagine that weird little girl in school with the strange clothes and choppy haircut. Yep, that was me. Even in middle school, I knew I wasn’t “attractive” but I never considered myself to be bad-looking until a boy I liked called me unattractive behind my back. So cue a movie montage of me picking out my own clothes, refusing to let my parents cut my hair, picking up my first tube of lip gloss, and essentially going ham “re-vamping” myself. When I first went to a different high school than the rest of my classmates, it felt like I could be a much better version of myself just because I was called pretty for the first time. Looking back, it was pretty ridiculous to go off on such a rampage to change my appearance just because of what one guy said. And it was pretty unhealthy to base my worth off compliments from others. However, that’s when I realized the clothes and makeup we wear are more than what meets the eye.
Now let’s fast forward a few years to when it was time to decide what to do after high school. I applied to over 6 university programs and got accepted into nearly all of them. I finally decided to move to Montreal, take an arts program at a prestigious school there. The plans were made to leave Toronto and my mom told everyone about it. But suddenly, my offer for a fashion program in Toronto rolled in last minute, and that derailed everything. I had applied to so many programs, so many alternate choices, but I knew my future was here. In my grade, I was the only person among future engineers, pharmacists, doctors, and business people to choose fashion. I should’ve known I’d choose it when I fell in love with a Taiwanese drama about a stylist who changed the lives of women. I cried about 8 times watching that drama…and it was supposed to be a romcom.
So fast forward another few years and here I am- this girl on the internet who’s introducing her style blog. And even though it sounds super cheesy, I feel like there’s much more to come. Anyways, at the ripe age of 21, I’m starting my first legit space to make legit posts on legit fashion, which is wayyy overdue. But hey, it’s never too late to start something. And a year later, I’d wish I would have started today.
That’s a bit about me and my story. Anyways, actual posts about fashion will start shortly! One update a week sounds reasonable. I hope nobody’s thinking “darn it, I’ve been misled!”
*insert catchy good-bye line*