Remember playing dress-up as a kid? My sister and I would go through this antique chest in our basement filled with my mother’s clothing items that she no longer wore — dresses with shoulder pads, large glasses without their frames, lycra body suits. We’d cover our little bodies with different fabrics, textures, cuts, and colours — wearing whatever configuration suited our mood that afternoon.
Once we were dressed, it was performance time. I would put a song on the CD-player from one of the few albums that my parents owned — The Proclaimers or the soundtrack to My Best Friend’s Wedding — and my sister and I would put on a dance show in front of my parents and whoever else might have been at our home that day. My sister would run as fast as her three year-old body could around our oval coffee-table, while six year-old me would mouth the words to every song, providing accompanying arm movements and expressive hip shakes for emphasis. As we grew up, my sister and I continued to play dress-up — albeit in a not-always-consensual way. She would take an item from my closet and I’d take an item from hers, both hoping that the other person wouldn’t notice the other wearing it at high-school that day. The (blessing and) curse of wearing the same size as your sister.
Since moving to Toronto, I’ve found myself dressing more conservatively than I did when I lived in Vancouver and Regina. Nowadays, I tend towards black on black on black, with little colour or pattern deviation. This is starting to change, as I rediscover some of the fascinating items hidden in my own closet. Take this stylish black pant suit-style onesie that ties up in the front. When paired with a floppy black hat and witchy boots, you get an outfit circa Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice (1988). Since summer is quickly approaching, I’ve decided to wear the onesie pant suit with my Trippen platform sandals, wonderfully eccentric and surprisingly walkable shoes from the Trippen outlet in Berlin.
I found this black and white polka dot onesie at Little Miss Vintage on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Somehow, I feel both classically glamorous and comfortably clownish in this outfit. Wearing this makes me feel a bit like Marilyn Monroe, especially when I wear it with bright red lips. I love that the top of this onesie is a tube top — a style which I anticipate will experience a resurgence this summer as the 1990s continue to inform the latest fashion, makeup, and design trends.
This grey onesie is my personal favorite. The fabric — 100% rayon — feels phenomenal on my body. I found it at Community Thrift and Vintage in Vancouver’s gastown, a store with excellent selection that also functions as a Social Enterprise initiative in which all profits go towards PHS Community Services Society in the Downtown Eastside. For those of you in the Vancouver area, donations are accepted at the Community Unisex shop located at 41 West Cordova (http://www.communitythriftandvintage.ca).
Wearing each of these onesies reminds me of how much fun it can be to play dress up in our everyday lives. I encourage each of you to play around with clothing items that you might not typically wear … it can be a lot of fun, and you’ll be building character in the process.
Thanks for tuning in! Until next time — Lauren ☾
Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.
Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)