pagan

What’s Your Sign?: Astrological Wear

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I’m an Aquarius. This means many things. I am said to be assertive and independent, inventive and original, opinionated and idealistic, flamboyant and unpredictable. I tend toward the intellectual, a trait that resonates as I work toward completing my doctoral degree in critical theory. It is also said that Aquarians are ‘cool’ and ‘detached’ — that they intellectualize their emotions rather than feeling them firsthand. I’m not sure if I identify with this exactly, but I do appreciate the role that astrology can play in providing a schematic for us to conceptualize our own personality patterns and how we relate to other signs.

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I’ve been reading up more on my astrological sign lately, as I tap back into my interests in lunar phases, solstices, and paganism. Even though I live in a congested city center, in the largest and most densely populated city in Canada, I still long to live my life in a way that is grounded in the earth and the natural cycles governing our planet. As I read more about Aquarius, I learn that there are certain scents — anise star, lavender, rose, and pine — that might be <<lucky>> for me. One source describes my sign’s mantra as “I evolve and encompass all humanity” — a mantra which rings true as I reflect on my life decisions that have lead me to an open place that is fundamentally in flux. Indeed, “The Aquarius ego is said to be the most precarious in the zodiac, probably because Aquarius is the sign of non-conformity” (Astrology.com). The long dark blue and white button down dress with moon imagery featured here is one of my most-loved clothing items. I feel utterly myself when I wear it. I have worn it over a simple black dress, as featured here, as well as over jeans or black pants. I have also worn it with the buttons done up.

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I bought this dress in 2013 from Chosen Vintage on Queen West Street in Toronto. This was the summer of “SEAPUNK,” and I found myself listening to the seapunk band Ultrademon’s album on repeat. Their track “Chatroom for Enya” is one of my favorites (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=653RlZ6_lSc). This dress is adaptable: it could be thrown over a bathing suit for a day at the beach, and could then be matched with a pair of combat boots and a choker necklace at night for a show at one of your local music venues. Here, I am wearing the dress with a crystal-bullet-shell necklace that my sister bought for me from Victoire in Ottawa. The platform sandals featured are from Trippen’s summer 2014 line, purchased at their outlet store in Berlin last summer.

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Here I am wearing a short black dress in an astrological pattern, with a matching head wrap. This dress, which I found at Value Village in Seattle, used to come down to my mid-calf. I decided to cut off the bottom section and make a head scarf and a neck scarf with the pieces of fabric. I often bring this head-wrap with me when I am riding my bicycle in the summertime. I find that, if I have ‘helmet hair’ when I take my helmet off, I can wrap this scarf around my head and my ‘messy hair’ is concealed. I often get compliments when I wear this head-wrap, and it has become one of my most often worn clothing items.

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I am by no means an astrological fatalist, but simply see astrological signs as symbols and guideposts — as a tool to help us make sense of our place in the world, how we relate to other people, and what kinds of personality habits we tend towards. When I adorn myself in moon and astrological imagery — as I do in the outfits featured here — I feel a sense of connectedness to a kind of nature-magic that, even if it is imaginative or illusory, is nonetheless powerful.
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)

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)

Weird Girls, Cool Aunties, and Psychadelic Batwing Sleeves

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What does it mean to be “weird” these days? I’ve been re-watching Friends on Netflix, which has been an enjoyable way for me to turn my brain off for a couple of hours between studying for my comprehensive exams and going to sleep. Aside from Ross Geller’s insidious misogyny, the show has stood the test of time. Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) has long been my favorite character on the show, her quirky ways and eccentricities having inspired little art freaks like myself over the last two decades. It’s true — Phoebe Buffay is the quintessential “weird girl.” Creative? Check. Musical? Check. Vegetarian? Check. Pagan propensities? Check. A well of strange life experiences to draw from in seemingly random situations? Check. Comfortably cool maternity-style dresses? Check. Crystal necklaces? Check. Chokers? Check. Not afraid to speak out about bisexuality and pubic hair? Check.

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Weird girls. Popular culture is full of them. While some weird girls are beacons of refreshing self-expression, others serve a pointed mystical function in male-driven narratives. I encourage you to google “Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG)” and let yourself get lost in an internet vortex for a couple of hours. So what does it mean to be weird, anyway? If you stand out in public? If you dress differently than your friends? If your worldview lies somewhere outside of the hegemonic mainstream? Are you born weird, or can you develop a solid sense of weirdness over time? I’m being tongue in cheek, but I’m definitely curious about the status of the “weird girl” (or weird boy, or weird genderqueer individual … indeed, gender is a spectrum!) in a time when neon armpit hair is a viral feminist trend on Instagram. Is there a necessary shock appeal to being weird? Is “weird” synonymous with “quirky” and “cute”?

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One of the things I loved most about living on the west coast was how welcomed it was to be weird. The slogan of Portland, Oregon is “Keep Portland Weird,” a phenomenon made infamous by the lovable weirdos Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen.

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Flashback to four years ago in Vancouver, BC. I was twenty-two years old, walking through dark alleys with a couple of my close friends, drinking beers out of paper bags, listening to Austra playing from someone’s Iphone, and smoking Djarums (all wonderfully irresponsible behaviors that I do not officially condone!). We were on our way to a party in east Vancouver. My friend turned to me and said, “You look exactly like what an eccentric auntie looks like!” I was swaddled in fabrics of various patterns, colours, and textures, adorned with delicious oddities like my ‘moon face’ earrings and forest green hair. I rocked the “eccentric auntie” look for a few solid years of living on Commercial Drive. Lately I find myself longing for those “eccentric auntie” days of lore. I still cherish my eclectic blouses thrifted from suburban Value Villages out west. These blouses that function as landscape paintings, blouses that depict flying cows and cherubim, blouses that manage to incorporate ‘power clashing’ into their very fabric!

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I have fond memories of going to my first Arcade Fire show back in 2010 wearing my psychedelic bat-swing sleeved dream coat featured here. Me and my black bowl-cut and orange lips, stepping into a stadium filled with hip-looking humans, not feeling very secure in my own skin back then but nonetheless knowing that I loved what I was wearing. A statement piece, one could say. One of a kind. Clothing can definitely function as a conversation starter. This is one of my statement pieces.

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We often hear of the power of scent in invoking strong memories. Our mother’s sugar cookies, our grandmother’s borscht, the patchouli incense you used to burn in your very first apartment. But what about the power that an item of clothing has in taking you back to a very specific time and place in your past? In my own experience, each item of clothing incites vivid memories. My closet is an archive that I can page through at whim.

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)

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)