vintage clothing

Cyberpunk and Bird Songs: Nineties-Inspired Jackets for Spring

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Without a doubt, my favorite seasons are autumn and spring. My constitution favors the moderate temperatures of these liminal states. I want nothing more than to go for a long, meandering walk through the city that I live in (currently Toronto, previously Vancouver and Regina) wearing a seasonably light jacket. At long last, I can shed the cocoon of my ankle-length ‘sleeping bag parka’ and salt-smeared winter boots of frigid months past, boldly emerging like a delirious butterfly beholding the first signs of spring. The birds are back, flittering sweet songs at my window. Final papers are being submitted as students make arrangements to occupy their summer months. I wander outside, wearing comfortable walking shoes and a jacket that fits me quite literally like a glove. I find a spot in the park to sit and read some science fiction, cyberpunk, and cyborg theory: Donna Haraway’s “The Cyborg Manifesto,” William Gibson’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness.”

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The jacket featured here is in my Top 10 Best Value Village finds. I had been a frequent Value Village forager during my time living in Vancouver: my friend Melodie and I would go on regular day trips out to the suburbs (Burnaby, Surrey) and discover wonderful wares in the VVs there. Now, having recently moved to Toronto, I had not yet discovered the local VVs. On our way up to York, my friend Sally stopped by Value Village to find a Halloween costume for her daughter. I decided to join for a quick perusal. This streamlined, shiny black jacket caught my eye as soon as I entered the store. It looked glorious but tiny, and I had assumed it wouldn’t fit. I decided to give it a try anyway.

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Sally told me that I looked like I had walked straight out of The Matrix, which sealed the deal. I would definitely be buying this jacket. The tag signals that the jacket is from Le Chateau in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Made from PVC (polyvinylchorlide), which is a compound similar to rubber, this jacket fits like a glove — like a latex glove used toward kinky ends. I could definitely see this jacket moonlighting as bondage wear. Wearing it makes me feel like I’m a dominatrix-type character in a 1980s-1990s cyberpunk future, circa William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

LINK OF THE DAY: INCLUSIVE STYLE (http://nclsvstrtstyl.tumblr.com/)

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)

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)

Diane von Fürstenberg, Wrap Dresses, and the “F*ck Flattering” Movement

I’ve always been a big fan of the wrap dress. With its cinched waist and its deep neckline, the wrap dress is a form that I have known and loved since I was a teenager. Why, you ask? I have been told that it is flattering for my body type.

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I tend to feel supremely comfortable and beautiful in a wrap-style dress. In 1974, Belgian-born American fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg launched the wrap dress as a fashion style. The wrap dress quickly became Diane von Fürstenberg’s signature dress.

I am lucky enough to own two vintage Diane von Fürstenberg dresses from the 1970s.  I found them both on suburban thrifting adventures when I lived in Vancouver, BC.

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One of the dresses is in Diane von Fürstenberg’s signature 1970s style and pattern (featured on the cover of 1976 Newsweek magazine above), but without the plunging neckline and waist tie.

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As you can see here, the boldly cut collar and matching cuffs place this dress undoubtedly in the era of the 1970s. The pointed collar and cuffs evoke a classy vampire feel. There is something very Morticia Addams about it, which I like.

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The other is a more loose-fitting dress that reminds me of a 1970s country-style muumuu. According to the tag, the dress is quite a few sizes larger than I normally wear: during my early twenties, when I found this dress, I preferred wearing oversized shirts and dresses to form-fitting ones. I often pair this dress with a denim jacket and black leather boots.

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I first discovered the wrap dress in my late teens, when I became conscious of my supposed ‘imperfections’ and sought to subtly hide my tummy. My tummy was my so-called ‘problem area’— the part of me that I didn’t like as much as my arms and legs. On those weeks when I felt particularly off, the wrap dress always managed to help me feel comfortable in social settings. Of course, this was when I was particularly uncomfortable in my own skin, and before I had the community of feminists, queers, and the body positive movement in my life.  Indeed, this was before the “f*ck flattering” hashtag had graced the screen of my Macbook.

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I had never thought to think critically about this notion of wearing “flattering” clothes. I am lucky enough to have a mother who is immensely loving, supportive, and non-judgmental: and yet even she, with all her good intentions, gently guided me into this world of wearing clothes and colours that are “flattering” on me.  For example, baggy pants and boxy shirts hide my “cute figure” (her words, not mine) and should therefore be avoided. Similarly, beiges and pale yellows “wash me out.”  Today I am opting for a middle ground.

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While it can be useful for us to know what types of forms, styles, shapes, colours, patterns, and fabrics make us feel the most comfortable and beautiful, it is also worth keeping in mind the ways in which this discourse of “flattering” prevents certain bodies from being able to wear what they want to wear due to this rather arbitrary and socially sanctioned standard.

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I still wear wrap dresses from time to time, though I’ve also gotten more comfortable with wearing forms that I used to think were “unflattering” on me.  Recently I discovered a red and black patterned wrap dress in my parents’s basement: the dress, reminiscent of the 1980s, was one of my favourite scores from Le Chateau Junior Girl when I was fourteen years old.

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Back then the dress hung off of my thin and boyish frame: I was thrilled to discover that it still fit me after all these years.  Now, at the age of 26, I feel healthy and happy with the way that I look.  Who knew I’d ever come this far?

 

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)

Next Sale – MOONLIGHT + MISTLETOE

T+A xmas poster - web

@ IRON Beauty – 2100 Dewdney Ave. (2nd floor)

Saturday, Dec. 6th  7 pm – 1 am
DJs Brothers + Hardtoe
Cocktails + Christmas Cheer

Sunday, Dec. 7th  12 – 6 pm
33 1/3 Coffee Roasters

Thank you to Colby Richardson for our great poster design! www.colbycolby.co

FALL MAGIK

The time is upon us to let our freak flags fly: all you need to be inspired by the season is throw on some gothy garbs, bust out the black eyeliner and lip stick and maybe throw in a mask or two. Take this striking Moroccan vintage dress below and some big red round shades and you have a haunting Mothman.

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Salute your subterranean overlords in quasi-reptilian steeze.

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Or get the crew together and form a nihilist new wave bandband1

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Wizard play

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Some The Craft inspo

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Orbs

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You never know what magik you will find when dressing like creeps in the park

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