leather boots

Clowning Around with Onesies

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.
http://www.laurenfournier.net

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)

Witchy Boots and Handpoked Tattoos

My mother always told me that shoes make or break an outfit. This was a rather traumatic realization for me, as I had stubbornly despised going shoe shopping from a young age and resisted my mother’s coaxing into this world that, according to the plots of rom-coms, all women were supposed to love. Shoes, chocolate, and wine — these are things that adult women are made of. I tend to spend more of my money on the latter two than I do on shoes, though I’ve grown to appreciate the pivotal role that shoes play in forming an outfit.

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While I am not a fetishist, connoisseur, or avid collector of shoes, I do have a soft spot for a really interesting boot. I found these Victorian-style lace-up heeled boots, which I lovingly call my “witch-ay boots,” at Chosen Vintage on Queen West in Toronto. The detailing on the leather is incredible. My favourite part of these boots is the dramatically pointed toe: wearing these makes me feel like I have supernatural powers.

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The “witchy boot” style works really well with 1990s-style dresses, both long and short. Here I am wearing mine with a long red paisley-patterned number from the nineties, recently gifted to me from my mother’s closet.  It’s pretty great when you get to wear your mom’s hand-me-downs!  The dress strikes that precious balance between loosely flowing and comfortably form-fitted: something I always look for in a dress.

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If you prefer wearing pants, witchy boots look great with a pair of high-waisted Levi’s jeans (for a vintage feel) or tight black pants (for a more contemporary feel). I suggest rolling up the bottoms of the jeans so that more of the boot can be seen.

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I’ve noticed that I’ve mentioned my mother a number of times in this post. Perhaps it is this perpetual mention of witches.  I am lucky enough to be very close with my mother, but there are certain points that we disagree on.  There are two things that I have to hide from my lovely Christian mother. One is my fascination with witches and paganism, and the other is my stick-and-poke tattoos.  Both of these things are taboo — especially in the context I was raised in.

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Stick and pokes have become quite the fashion trend.  Indeed, I just came across an article that has been making its way around Facebook: the article states that, if 2014 was the year for septum piercings, then 2015 is the year of the handpoked tattoo. My friend Eva, a Vancouver-based artist and stick-and-poke tattooer, gave me three handpoked tattoos: a crescent moon on my thigh, a female sign on the inside of my finger, and two hands on my shoulder (seen here).  Apparently I am not alone in my inherited shame complex, as Eva’s tumblr page can be found at “makeyrmomsad”.  I suggest you browse through Eva’s whimsical tattoo art — she travels up and down the west coast, so perhaps she’ll be in your area soon!

http://makeyrmomsad.tumblr.com/

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As a young woman and artist studying feminist theory and performance art, I am intrigued by the cultural weight that ‘witchery’ possesses (pun intended) in our society. In the worlds of both alternative and mainstream fashion, witchery is being taken up as a style — gothic pagan wave, for example, is my jam! In the awesome queer-feminist art circles that I frequent, witchery is being re-appropriated as a radical way of viewing ourselves in relation to nature, astrology, animals, and our bodies. I have found peace in my love of witchery. This Easter weekend I will be performing a femi-pagan piece with my friend Jen MacDonald entitled No Future Fertility Ritual at White House Studio Project in Kensington Market in Toronto.  Come by and check it out if you’re in the area!

 

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)