The party’s going down over at the Palais de Congrès this weekend, and all the proof you need is in this gallery of standout outfits from Montreal’s finest cosplayers. Before you head on over to join in, get inspired and dress for the occasion. Everyone else has!
Fashion and Gender Politics: Dresses With Pockets are Like Unicorns
As a woman who has shit to do I have often struggled with the fact that most of my clothing does not have pockets in it. Why a pair of pants would have faux pockets blows my damn mind. The only female clothes that have pockets are usually the smallest cut off booty shorts where the pockets are comically longer than the shorts themselves or old lady house dresses. I normally wear cute skirts and dresses with leggings underneath.
Very rarely do I find fashionable stuff with pockets, I (along with every other female out there) freak out with pure glee when I come across fashionable and practical pocketed clothing, its like finding a fucking unicorn!
Vintage dresses and stuff from Target usually have the best chance of pockets. When we do get pockets often they are not deep enough. It is all about accessibility and accessories.
Women need to buy purses to hold their stuff. We are marketed all kinds of beauty products, life essentials, hand sanitizers, mini perfumes, bags of candy, and all kinds of other random purse MacGyver action items. A man can keep all he needs in his deep pockets. A wallet and cellphone, that’s it, perhaps a tiny little beard comb if he’s fuzzy.
If I wear a fanny pack I am seen as less sexy and lame. I love fanny packs regardless of how cool they are. Putting your giant cellphone in your back pocket is asking for a swim in the toilet. Do I just start carrying my stuff in my snatch? Is it nature’s pocket?
My roommate Lucy has some thoughts on pockets: “Women don’t deserve pockets, we have to load everything into our purses,” as she digs through her purse looking for change. It’s bullshit.
I remember my tiny grandmother having a bad shoulder from carrying her XL handbag. My aunt and mother going into back room Chinatown black-market purse shops trying to undercut designer prices. Watching my mother sit in front of a big screen TV tuned to the Liquidation Channel or the Home Shopping Network, precursors to the internet shopping that my peers are obsessed with. Amazon Prime is a dangerous beast.
When I was a bartender I had to get a bottle opener necklace and wear an apron to be efficient. It is easier for a pants wearing man to carry what he needs. Thank goddess for Carabeaners, I use mine to clip to a belt or sometimes my leggings when I don’t want to carry a stupid purse.
Forever the fashion industry has been run by primarily gay men. Women are hangers, consumers, people who like accessories, told to just spend their husband’s money on mindless junk.
A lot of girls carry things in their bra. I have multiple problems with this. First of all fuck bras! They are another social construct that I do not wish to participate in.
It is embarrassing when my mother calls me out on not having a bra on. It pisses me off that she doesn’t understand that it was just an advertiser who made all women buy these undergarments.
I have had larger breasted friends tell me they need bras for comfort and back issues, I guess that is the exception, if you want to wear bras feel free, I am not judging you, just don’t judge me for not wearing one.
Second part of this is the fact that cellphones are in boobs. I do not want a phone sized titty tumor. Cellphones are evil in general, they are starting to set shit on fire, don’t want that near my boob. Also sweat water damage, I am a sweaty betty. Third problem with bra pockets is sweaty boob money. It is gross, nobody likes to be handed wet smelly money.
I want a pocket like a mother kangaroo carrying her baby Joey. I want my precious cargo to remain safe inside of me. Gender politics and the fashion industry holding back women stops me from being a fashionable female capable of functioning in the fast paced world around us. I don’t need a giant purse holding me back and weighing me down. More pockets need to be seen on the runway, women are demanding them!
Wearing functional men’s clothing is a social taboo. The material our clothes are made of is generally thinner and less long wearing than men’s lines. Besides, fake pockets there are always fake zippers and buckles too, random aesthetics that do nothing to aide in functionality.
Men’s clothing also has more logical sizing. Women’s clothing is complete bullshit, dress sizes are arbitrary and complicated, often meaning different things with different designers, you always need to check out the handy dandy size chart.
In the medieval times both men and women carried bags, but as pickpockets became more prevalent, internal pockets made more sense. Women were still left vulnerable, ready to be robbed.
How dare a woman mess with her beautiful silhouette by having stuff in her pocket bulging. Suffragettes had pockets but Hilary Clinton’s suit does not, what does that say about our society?
FTB Hits Piknic Electronic On Opening Day
The sky was powder blue and the weather perfect for the opening day of Piknic Electronik this Sunday. I met up with my photographer who looked ill in black circle frame shades with gold arms, heathered grey tights and a lace top. Brrrringgg! We got to the party around 5, it was already crazy, so many people in their summer gear smiling and guzzling tall beers.
The music was thumping hard as we approached the makeshift dance floor around the sculpture. The Drifter set was bonkers, the steady rhythmic pulse of good house was causing the crowd to surge in the hot sun. Lots of beautiful people were in the place. There is something of a festival atmosphere around Piknic. That feeling of otherworldliness and excitement you get being outdoors listening to EDM.
It was time to chug some fluid— I met back up with my girl who had been backstage taking photos. We went down by the water behind the party for awhile and ended up sharing oranges and cigarettes with the other partygoers seeking refuge in the shade. We decided to head back up to catch the opening of the Mayssam set. I’d been pumped for it. She opened with 15 minutes of juicy basslines and by that time I was so sweaty and hot I had to call in a marker! We left shortly after for refreshment and repose.
Piknic is a fresh, affordable, high quality event. It’s definitely something to check out in MTL during summer. It’s got everything: good tunes, beer, beautiful people and it’s outdoors. They have a stellar line up for the rest of the summer which includes local and international artists alike. Showcasing the best local talent and bringing us what’s flavourful from around the world is what Piknic is about. Check out their schedule of dates and performers here.
Photos by: Hannah Hackney
Piknic Electronik Opens For 2015
Piknic Electronik is opening this weekend and I am super amped to catch the first show of the year, it’s a sure banger. Werd up. You know how flavourful it can get with all those freshly dressed people dancing hard around that abstract grey steel sculpture— plus Parc Jean Drapeau is lush and spacious.
I’m pumped to catch the Mayssam set, she’s been in New York for a minute, but hails from MTL. Artists who migrate away from home then return almost always throw the best sets. Here’s a sample:
Other acts like Gold Diggerz and The Drifter will be spinning prog house and garage styles into the night. I got a nice pair of shades picked out, it’s supposed to be mad sunny and 25. Right. Find me where the weird kids are and we’ll chill a bit, you know the deal. One.
Photo by: Miguel Legault
Montreal Otakuthon 2014: Inside and out (PHOTOS)
The 2014 edition of Otakuthon, Montreal’s annual anime convention, took place last weekend. FTB’s Gerry Lauzon was there with his camera and brings us a look at some of the best costumes and most interesting scenes both inside the Palais des congres and outside in the streets of Montreal’s Chinatown.
Click on the first image to start the slideshow:
For more of Gerry’s photos, please check out his photostream on Flickr
Sometimes You Need a New Dress: Win a $50 Gift Certificate from Dress 911!
Sometimes, like when the weather finally starts to get warm, and you get to pull your shoes that weigh less than a small cat out of storage, you want something new and pretty. People who don’t wear dresses – please forward this to someone in your life who does!
This post is about Dress911, a company we’re proud to have an affiliate relationship with.
When I need to scratch the consumer itch, I tend to try and avoid physically taking myself to a store or mall and trying on a bunch of too-small things under harsh lighting surrounded by masses of other, better looking people.
The internet exists for a reason – but buying clothes from it has always been a bit of a risk size and fit wise. Most online stores hail from the good old USof A and so we get *screwed* on shipping, duties and returns and it ends up not being worth the effort (ask me about the $65 I spent once on a dress that didn’t fit me *grumble*).
The convenience factor is also sometimes problematic. You have to estimate if something will work for you, take a bet on whether or not it will be delivered as described and then you have to wait. And wait.
But then there was Dress911.
I found them about two years ago and have probably ordered around eight pieces from them since then. They’ve all been fantastic: accurately shown on the site and with spot-on measurements. I’m wearing one right now, I love my draped, green maxi dress!
It’s a Canadian company, the styling is excellent, the clothes are good quality and they’re located in London Ontario, so things usually arrive in under a week. If you ever happen to find yourself in the London Area, I strongly recommend stopping by. It’s a little out of the way, but they have the cutest little store – and it’s jam-packed with pretty things.
Oh – did I mention $5 shipping and free returns in case something doesn’t fit?
Not wanting to keep all of the nice things to myself, I thought I’d see if we could share the fun.
I connected with Michael, a Dress911 team member, and let him know how much I’d been enjoying his company and asked if I could spread the word a little.
Happily, he agreed, and donated a $50 gift card for one of our lucky readers. That’s more than enough to buy many of their dresses.
Entry is easy – all you have to do is subscribe for Forget the Box updates by entering your name and best email in the box to the right, and you’re good to go! We’ll be randomly selecting a winner on May 31st. You can check out all of the contest rules and regulations right here.
And if you can’t wait to start shopping head on over to Dress911 and get something nice for summer.
What about you? Do you shop for clothes online? If not, what has been your biggest hesitation?
So Kim Kardashian made the cover of Vogue
I feel sick and frivolous for even having an opinion, but before I voice it, let me first ask: Who the hell IS Kim Kardashian? Please. Someone. What does she do exactly, besides feed the ego of Kanye West (a.k.a the Spoiled Sociopath of Hip-Hop)?
Has anybody ever watched the Japanese anime movie Akira, where the biker punk becomes so inflamed with himself that he starts mutating into this repulsive monster and swallows everything up in this grotesque pulpy body of mangled flesh?
I think the metaphor is very appropriate for Kanye, for the pun that is Kim Kardashian’s career, and for their strategic celebrity marriage.
The fact that these two have produced an heir named North West adds an element of fear to my growing disgust. These people are capable of reproducing. Of multiplying. Of being named North West. (Is their kid named after a winter-wear line or something? Poor bastard. These people will commercialize anything!)
Anyway, so back to the mystifying paradox of Kim Kardashian’s “career.”
The buzz about her now (before this it was reality television and upscale prostitution, right?) is that she landed on the cover of Vogue Magazine.
You know the woman is a complete trollop in her own right if the people within the celebrity-media-fashion communities can’t even tolerate her gracing their publications.
I stripped off a piece of my soul (meaning I reluctantly sat through Vogue’s short video of the cover-shoot) and also read that Sarah Michelle Gellar tweeted something about cancelling her subscription to Vogue.
Yet still completely perplexed, I began to type into Google “Why is Kim Kardashian Famous?” Before I could type the word “famous,” these options came up for me as well:
“Why is Kim Kardashian a Hobbit?”
“Why is Kim Kardashian never with her baby?”“Why is Kim Kardashian’s bum so big?”
While I was somewhat intrigued about the connection between J.R.R. Tolkien and the Kardashian woman, I still wanted to get to the bottom of this person’s dragging fifteen minutes of fame.
According to Wet Paint (in an article entitled “Sure, She’s Beautiful but Why is Kim Kardashian Famous?”) it all began with a sex tape.
That is just the Hollywood way, isn’t it? I don’t need to read a word more. In fact, I should have just assumed the obvious.
God, get me a handheld and a VHS. I want to be a billionaire too!
When actors, models and designers who bust their balls over their craft see this 3-ring circus celebrity shit storm spray itself all over the cover of Vogue Magazine in a tragic display of farce and self-indulgence, of course it’s disappointing. Of course people want to cancel their subscriptions.
Mainstream media is already a shit-flinging battleground of hashtags, fat Americans, oxymoronic reality television, downright fallacy and ultimate soul-starvation.
Why shit where you eat? Why prolong the proverbial root canal that is the Kim Kardashian industry? Why contribute to the wank-fest that is Kanye West’s “music” career? Why do humans have such a sick black-hole attraction to this sort of stuff? We might as well go back to the coliseum and watch tigers rip apart Christians.
You know what? If anyone needs me, I’ll be sitting with my head in the sand, alone on a desert island.
Village Idiot 3: On The Moustache
Like most men of art in this au courant city, I feel an overwhelming urge to let my facial hair grow out as winter settles in. It’s a rather invigorating show of machismo, a throwback to the golden age of manhood, and a new dandy object to dote on—a velvety pet to stroke into regal submission. It keeps my face warm and it ensures brawn and I’m still keeping it brushed by New Year’s (I suggest a bore head brush, for best results).
But then, of course, the whole ordeal comes with a stack of pitiful worries as well. For one, soup will indeed be strained, as will my patience with every soup, coffee and over-easy egg sandwich gooping my mustachios in its ooze. Napkins are suddenly unrecognizable by the end of meals, and I’m catching myself licking hair, on my face, all the time.
What’s more, while some dames will go weak at the knees and pouty at the lips at the sight of a fine bristly face-scape (and some at the site of a not-so-fine one, too), quite a few more will wonder if a bearded man even has cheek bones and a jaw under there—or worse, they’ll assume he most obviously doesn’t. I do not like being thoughtlessly discarded, or ignored.
These (rather ridiculous) concerns—coupled with (even more ridiculous) the fact that I look like more and more of a shoo-in, with every quarter inch of dark growth, for some Homeland extra work—have me, almost every time, reaching vainly for the trimmer after a few months.
And so, this brave new year, newly single, dates scheduled, I most recently did just that. The beard will have me think myself into the dumbest of corners if I let it, and I’m most willing to buzz my way out of it if I do. I combed the cordless Philips through the shag and my face, chiseled real-life bones and all, emerged from under every stroke. And though I was a little sad about giving up (sadder about my reasons), and none too thrilled about the cold I’d be inflicting upon my cheeks, I was happy to retrieve the resplendence of that old visage of mine.
Then, I came to the moustache.
The moustache is a funny thing. As I trimmed away my best-to-date, sveltest Nation-of-Islam look, I narrowed in on the stache, and started to look more and more like a younger, fitter, fewer chinned, more dapper Juan Valdez, a Colombian bean wrangler for the new world. I looked like there are things I know—sensitive, mysterious, darkly things.
And so, as last year it was the Prince moustache, this year, wax out on a Thursday morning in January, I twisted at the very tips of my luxuriant manifest destiny. It twirled up and stayed, just so, on each side, and suddenly I looked like a million sleazy bucks, and felt like it.
In that moment, I wasn’t Tom Selleck, or even Roger Murtaugh; I was Dali, Bill the freakin’ Butcher—I was the goddamn Soup Nazi. By the time I left the house, I was a regular old first-grade hipster douche in my R.M. Williams Chelsea boots and selvedge jeans and 32 oz. dark navy pea coat, stache readied for any obscure reference, but I didn’t even give a care, because I felt and looked like greatness, and that fateful Thursday was the first day of the rest of my mustachioed life.
Everyone—on the bus, on the street, hustle to hustle—seemed to notice. A moustache that’s required some time and energy does not a frivolous gentleman make. I met smiles, I met wide eyes, I met nervous starers, and even the guy at Café Resonance was noticing.
For instance, I know that when he said “I really dig your half-sleeve, too” he was, beyond his control, referring by omission to my whiskers, who loomed boldly without needing a mention, friscalating face wings soaring right into the westerly sun-drenched glory of that afternoon. And it felt lovely on my face, that sun: bones rekindled in the luminous vitamin, upper lip refracting, a solar panel to the smithy of my soul. It was a mixed metaphor kind of ecstasy, and no one could take it away from me.
In that moment, I would be a man with a moustache forever—outside of race, beyond time, everlastingly beeswax-ed. It lasted straight through Saturday. And it was good.
It seems to me that during this cold weather season, sweaters, cardigans, even snuds are featuring spacious hoods! Yes, hoods! Can you believe it? Up till now, I always thought hoodies were the ugliest fashion statement anyone could make.
I do feel a little bit bad for ripping on hoodies. I know that there are still people out there who appreciate a good zip-up hoodie with side pockets and some garish logo silk-screened across the bust. There are even people who appreciate the ghastly diamante studded hoodie, or the (shudder) velour type that goes with the “Juicy” or “Pink” ass embellished sweatpants.
And let us not forget about men well over 16 years old, who will always wear a trusty hoodie, no matter the season, and will always have to deal with their lovers innocently stealing said hoodies when they are cold or feeling sick.
We live in a world where we can wear anything we damn please- hoodies, cardigans, hijabs, yalmukes, burqas, and no one has the right to judge us for doing so. However, I’m usually someone who believes that hoodies should only be worn if you are:
a. Going to the gym and/or working out, going for a run, etc.
b. Running an errand
c. Facing a personal tragedy
d. Convinced that hoodies are actually cool and are wearing one out of your own free will
But after acquainting myself with hooded pieces over the past few weeks, I started to feel a certain appreciation for them. These warm feelings that would surge through my heart, the smile I would automatically get on my face after finding out the pleasant surprise of a beautifully knitted, spacious sweater containing a hood.
Then, the outfit fantasies begin. High-low cut, supple knit fabric with loose sleeves and ribbed cuffs paired with high waisted skinnies and ankle booties- hoods up! A hooded cardi over a little black dress and tights- hoods up! A hooded cardi with boyfriend jeans and docs and coffee and a cigarette – you guessed it, hoods up.
I don’t really know how long it will take for hoods to catch on, or maybe they’re already over and I missed the boat. After all, I did notice that Vogue was convinced of their comeback in September. But, I am definitely looking forward to welcoming a classy hoodie or two into my closet. I’m thinking shale, pure cashmere, with dolman cut sleeves. That’s the stuff.
So let it be known, fellow hood shunners: it’s not too late. Welcome a helluva hoodie into your wardrobe this winter. They provide extra warmth, they look weirdly chic, and they can cover up a bad hair day. I’ll be scouring retail street for mine this week.
Scoldings for the Halloweek
“In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, I’m sure this Mean Girls quote is of the most recognized in our modern culture. When I first watched this movie almost ten years ago at the ripe age of 15, I laughed hysterically and was like “OMG SO TRUE!” and sure enough, the following Halloween, I’d donned my shortest skirt, tightest top, and a pair of improvised cat ears for some lame high school party. Done. I don’t even think my face was made up to look like a cat- but I was a sexy kitty with pretty hair so what did it matter?
Ladies, haven’t you ever noticed how strange it is that as children we were encouraged to dress up elaborately for Halloween, yet as soon as we hit puberty, we start taking advantage of the holiday as a time to reveal our tatas and what not? The other day, the well known PolicyMic social justice writer and a dear personal friend of mine, Elizabeth Plank, pointed this out when she uploaded a picture of kids costumes and sexy costumes side by side in a store. The caption of her photo read: “This #halloween shop wants to make sure little girls know exactly what’s expected of them later. #NotBuyingIt”. My favourite feminist makes a point: In the past, I myself along with plenty of other women in my age group (and beyond) went from dressing up in our childhoods as innocent cats, witches, and princesses to sexy cats, sexy cops, sexy nurses… Dorothy becomes sexy Dorothy- thank you for ruining my childhood. A bee becomes.. a sexy bee? How the hell does that work? What’s so sexy about pollination!?
I’m not bashing the desire to look hot on Halloween, ladies and gentlemen. This holiday is a day of release, and in our culture, it is a day where most rules should be forgotten. However, we have the right to look hot every day, not exclusively on a holiday. Really, a woman should be able to dress like a “total slut” if she wants to every single day of her life, and no one should say anything about it because it’s HER choice at the end of the day. But we should take a minute to think that for the most part, women are being encouraged to strip down for Halloween, and this should be a choice, not an expectation… and frankly, the whole lingerie+bunny ears thing is getting kind of boring.
So as long as you’re still procrastinating your costume… why don’t you keep these tips in mind.
My List of Commandments for creating your Halloween costume:
-Thou Shalt Not Buy Into Media Induced Expectations (We’re living in the 21st century, after all.)
See rant above. If you want to look like a “slut”, do it, but know that you don’t HAVE to. Lingerie+animal ears aren’t the only option you have. College freshmen/women under 20, I’m looking at you.
-Thou Shalt Not Dress Offensively: sure, you have the right express your inner self (blah blah blah) on Halloween, but come on. Don’t blackface yourself. Don’t add detail to your eyes to turn Asian. A race is not a costume. And please, for the love of God, and this is coming from an Arab: PLEASE. Don’t dress as a terrorist. It’s not funny, it’s rude. Be considerate of who you might offend.
-Thou Shalt Not be Wasteful: If you must purchase something for your costume, choose wisely and welcome it into your wardrobe. We all know the drill: you buy one of those shitty packaged Halloween costumes that you wear once, spill beer on, never wash, and never wear again. That’s totally wasteful. You would be surprised with the treasures you could keep from Halloween costumes past! One year I was.. well, something that involved a leather skirt, Doc Martins, a short black wig, and a whip. I’d purchased a pleather corset top from Cruella especially for the occasion. Three years later, I’m pairing that top with high waisted, long billowy skirts and calling it my “Carrie Bradshaw”outfit. It has gone from costume to respected staple.
-Thou shalt raid thine closet: You’ll be surprised with what you can come up with, especially if channeling an iconic figure like John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, or Bob Dylan.
-Thou shalt respect the classics: Whatever happened to being a witch, a ghost, a pumpkin, or a ghoul on Halloween!! Did we throw all those costumes away to become nurses and pop stars? I’m personally bringing the witch back this year, and I’m so excited. I haven’t been a witch since I was 8 years old!
-Thou Shalt Own It: Own what you wear, honey. Strut your stuff, and be creative. Halloween is the funniest night of the year, after all.
And the final commandment: Thou Shalt attend the Glam Gam production, Tales from the Crotch on October 31st at 10pm!! I’ll see you all there, and if you’re wearing a costume, it’s 10 bucks admission. If you’re being boring, the price to pay is 15. nyahahahahahahahaha!!
Alright my pretties, have yourselves a wonderful Halloweek, and don’t forget to enter Forget the Box’s costume contest. See the link below for more details!!!!
The Art of Accessorizing: The Good, Bad, and the Garish
Sometimes, I feel as though accessories are not taken seriously enough. I am aware that accessories are meant to be personal statements that highlight outfits of choice, and I should respect everyone’s choice to accessorize the way that they want, but I must admit.. over the years, I’ve been annoyed by people who overdo it. Those who wear huge sparkly chunky belts with a tacky double C at the buckle- (way to ugly up Chanel, ladies.) Well.. those, along with other thick belts, are actually the only accessories that piss me off. Everything else is alright, but within reason.
That being said, first lesson of the day.
Keep it classy versus obvious: Accessories are meant to lightly highlight your outfit. They should be effortless touches, and they should accentuate your shades and overall mood. For example, these days, I’ve been in love with The Boyfriend look. This is a masculine meets feminine style that creates a classic 20th century male silhouette. Slacks, vests, ankle boots, blazers- you know the one.
This look is already powerful enough without having to add too much to it. Because I don’t enjoy walking around looking like a character from The Great Gatsby every single day, I try to avoid making my outfit look too costume-y. I encourage you to find your balance between being aloof and desperate.
Accessories should reflect your taste. I don’t believe in trendy accessories. Personally, I wear mismatched earrings, not only because I almost have no choice but to do so, (since I’ve lost a the mates of most of my pairs) but because I find that it’s an edgy touch without trying too hard. If your lobes have multiple holes, you could literally create a story on an ear. Have FUN with earrings, people. Don’t take them too seriously!
That being said, here are my two cents on other basic accessories.
Bracelets: I’ve been crazy about the idea of taking an old, awkwardly short necklace and turning it into a bracelet. It’s easy- all you have to do is double loop around your wrist.. and it dangles in the most darling fashion. I’m personally down with understated, simple, precious looking bracelets that have a delicate chain and a simple charm. Maybe teamed with a thin bangle… but you’ll want to avoid huge cuffs. They’re too Real Housewives of Beirut/2008.
Necklaces: Is it weird that I’m over necklaces? I just don’t feel the urge to wear them anymore- I don’t know why… I’ve always been partial to one or two long chains with a simple charm like a key or a leaf hanging down, but I can certainly respect someone who dons an intense neck piece across their breastplate. Remember though, not every outfit needs a necklace! Sometimes it’s just not necessary. Respect the outfit you long to wear… and if you feel that you really want to wear a necklace and it just doesn’t go with your outfit, then stop fooling yourself and CHANGE the outfit.
Bags: This is my favourite part. Bags are a complex accessory- the most complex, because it really depends on the occasion and the level of maintenance you’re willing to pay to your bag at that time. For example, if you’re going out with your friends to get crunk on a Saturday night, you’re not going to want to take a gorgeous tote because some asshole could spill beer on it, it could get jacked.. and you’ll have to take in account that you’ll probably be wearing it all night- so really, the smaller the better. It will take over your outfit.
However- if you’re walking down the street on a busy day- if you’re going to work, going shopping, maybe grabbing a coffee with that cutie you met at the gym… then work it, sister! I have personally been IN LOVE with buckle bags. They look so retro, chic, and fit in with the coveted Boyfriend look.
I’m a pusher for bags to be in lovely, soothing tones that would look awesome against your outfits. Don’t just stick to black or brown, go for a nice mustard yellow, burgundy, or teal. I have a very good feeling about those three colours these days. Check out Beyond the Rack’s collection- they know just what I’m talking about. Even Aldo has a couple of cute totes.*Aldo and Little Burgundy also have some adorable accessories… including big knitted circle scarves which are an essential.
Respect your outfit, but more importantly, respect your accessories. While I encourage for them to be understated and low-key, they should really reflect your inner self, and the intentions of your outfit. Yes, your outfit has intentions. Respect those intentions, and don’t deny yourself the cherry on top of a perfect ensemble.
Raiding Mom’s closet: Fall 2013 and the ankle boot
So apparently, these days, the typical “mom” look of 2002 is back again. You know the type, people – just think sitcoms like Will and Grace or the lower budget, bad laugh-track types with the lead female role acting overly cute and awkward with exaggerated hand gestures and flippy hairstyles with streaks and butterfly clips (remember those?).
Fall 2013 has been so confusing in terms of what’s been hot and what’s been not. It seems to me that local magazines will say whatever they want to say about what’s currently “in” and “out”, but I found that the best discoveries I’ve made were by observing people around the city. And the conclusion? Raid your mom’s closet, ladies.
Mom jeans (a.k.a. bootcut) rolled up at the ankles, plain cotton t shirts, tanks, whatever – (basics), Kimonos, dust-sweepers, and loose, long, button-less cardigans. I remember wearing a similar outfit last winter to a family function and my sister wrinkling her nose and turning up an eyebrow at me sneering, “that’s a little too 2002, don’t you think?”
Not going to say “I told you so,” but I was right about Kimonos, wasn’t I?
Something I was NEVER expecting, however, was the heeled ankle boot craze. A couple of weeks ago, I felt so confused and stubborn about the fate of shoe fashion, that I actually went out and bought a pair of leather wedge ankle boots that would have been fine in 2010 – but when I took them home, they looked like they belonged on Minnie Mouse’s feet. Seriously. All I needed to complete the look was a garish pair of white gloves and a ridiculous red polka-dotted dress.
I had a difficult time accepting the heeled look, even though the preferred heel is nothing extreme, I just kept thinking back to this specific pair of ankle boots my mom has in her closet and wears religiously around the Fall. I was never crazy about those shoes, but now when I think of them, they seem kind of cool. I actually want to borrow them next time I visit home. This thought scares me a little.
I’ve come to realize, though, that it’s all about pairing. After I came to my senses (and was more than halfway done with my antibiotics, curing both my fever and temporary delusion) I returned the ugly, out of date shoes and used the refunded cash to update my look a little. It took some research and hunting, but I ended finding these reasonably priced gems at Spring. In my opinion, the sister store to Aldo and Little Burgundy offered an impressive selection of the new style at the most realistic prices. My choice was the ideal ankle boot that I had made peace with in my mind.
After accompanying other friends to find their ideal ankle boot, I had constructed these guidelines to consider:
1. Imagine the ideal outfits you would want to wear your ankle boots with. Picture accessories, hairstyles, and general attitude as well. What kind of vibe or silhouette are you aiming to create?
2. Black, brown, greyish green, burgundy. What’s your flavour? (I personally chose black because I figured it would go with most of my eclectic choices, and I believe that black shoes always make my legs look longer when paired with tights and mini skirts.)
3. Lace up or side zipper?
4. Texture is very important! Not only because we live in a city with harsh climate, but because you’re going to be stuck with these shoes. Due to the economic crisis (again.) we should all consider a level of frugality when adding a new trend to our wardrobes. Can you make peace with the fact that studs and spikes may be tacky by next fall and you won’t ever want to see them again? In my opinion, go for something classic and timeless, like leather or suede.
5. Watch out for that thick, elastic-looking material. It makes your shoes look cheap.
6. Make sure they’re comfortable! If they ain’t comfy, they ain’t worth it – but remember, they will break in beautifully after a week of wearing them. New boots tend to pinch!
That being said, I love my new ankle boots. After giving the trend the real college try, I’ve come to accept the mom look that goes along with it. It just… works. It’s also really comfy, low maintenance, modest, and conceals those extra added pounds that don’t want to be advertised. Perfect for the upcoming holidays!! Happy shopping!
Daniel Marin: The Barber of Blue Dog
Have you ever craved some Hair of the Dog in the middle of getting a haircut? Dream no more, because it’s become a reality.
Yes, to all of you curious voyeurs! It isn’t just a gimmick! The Blue Dog Motel, a bar wedged between many others on the populated and always busy St Laurent Boulevard, won’t judge you for ordering a gin and tonic with a side of haircut, day or night.
Perhaps for some dutch courage? Relaxation? Social lubrication? Whatever the reason may be, we should all bow down to Montreal born Daniel Marin who had a vision, and pioneered the concept, bringing a bit more fun onto the urban block.
Daniel, a talented hair barber and local ambassador for the Californian water based hair product Layrite, started off giving cuts at the last St-Laurent street sale. The concept really caught on and so his chair was moved from the sidewalk and into the infamous platform level of Blue Dog that once resembled the trippy living room from A Clockwork Orange.
The space has been transformed into a comfortable yet edgy mini salon that suits the atmosphere of the bar. In it, there is the station where Dan works his magic, and a mini bar stashed to the side offering different types of liquor. The bottles are stashed away at times and liquor service is generally offered at the bar itself.
Daniel is a versatile artist who seems willing to work with many different hair types, regardless of length, fullness, texture, or gender. The “no problem” look he gave me when I asked if he would be able to tame my unruly waves was definitely assuring.
“To me, it’s very personal,” he replied when asked where he draws the line, “they tell me what they want, and I let them know if it’s possible beforehand.” He also takes walk ins, which is ideal for those who are feeling impulsive.
As the night progressed and I watched him work his magic, Daniel’s talent with hair really shone through. I witnessed him transform a burly hipster with mop hair into a sleek looking gentleman (with tamed scruff) and a soft looking, slicked back style that I felt tempted to run my fingers through.
I couldn’t help but notice that one of Daniel’s other customers, and Daniel himself, had this similar haircut that resembled heartthrobs of my childhood days. When I asked him if this style was in any way reminiscent of the mid 90s, he scoffed and said “it’s from the 20s and 30s!”
This seems to be the effect that the combination of Layrite and his creative genius have on men’s hair. The product gives an end result of hassle-free hair, is easily washable and holds for just as long as its petroleum jelly based ancestor.
In my opinion, whether it’s 20s, 30s, 90s, trendy, or merely crafted from Dan Marin’s mind, I have nothing against the lads of Montreal walking around town with hair like Leo DiCaprio.
So, why should we start going to Blue Dog to get our hair cut? Well, it’s the only liquor licensed barber in the city and who wouldn’t want to do shots in the middle of a makeover? Also, it’s very economical, since Dan has already done the haute salon scene and doesn’t care to overcharge people for a new look.
“What I wanted to do is be one of the lowest on the block,” he said, “25 bucks for men 35 for women.”
If requested, (or if he likes you) he’ll whip out this super nifty head massager called The Hangover Cure. When this device was demonstrated, I didn’t want to leave it alone.
Some may think this establishment could be a road to disaster, but Daniel gives off a super professional vibe. He never works past midnight, appears to be super sober as he’s doing his job and dims the lights/restricts the Barbier area of the bar when he’s off duty, “unless it’s a busy night and space is limited. Then we turn it into a VIP area.”
In my opinion, this establishment is a fun and fresh idea. It’s nice to know that we have the option to knock back a couple while getting a haircut. It’s a super fun concept, and besides, Blue Dog is planning on getting a striped Barber Pole for the occasion.
Do people think this is going to go far? Daniel’s lovely girlfriend and fellow hair stylist Maral definitely thinks so: “this isn’t a pop up shop, it’s gonna get bigger, I feel it.”
* photos by Chris Zacchia
Why be a Black Sheep when you could be a Caniche Noir?
It’s all in the family and all about fun and quirky fashion at Le Caniche Noir. The Montreal born online boutique that has been buzzing on peoples’ newsfeeds is all about “not taking yourself too seriously” but exploring the “elegance, independence and intelligence” of the modern woman.
When I met with Dilara Dzafic, the birth mother to the brand, I knew right away that I could relate to her style. I absolutely loved her outfit. The Eastern European/Middle Eastern Poodle was rocking this moderately 80s inspired Power Look with a twist: a beautiful white ruffled cropped sleeve top that was paired with flared trousers I have always wished I had enough guts to pull off, and those mid 90s, slightly pointy toed, classic black heels that looked just like the kind Corporate Barbie would wear. Dilara’s butter blonde hair was chopped and cropped into a modern pixie cut and she sported gorgeous, black cat eye glasses. She exuded non threatening, natural glamour. “Fashion is my escape! I’ve been doing it forever.”
Bicontinental Dilara, who has a background in marketing, commutes between Germany and Montreal, and has worked for brands such as L’Oreal and Nivea, launched the business in 2007 after completing her MBA… and it was an instant hit!
“We would have photoshoots to market the clothes, and they would sell out before we could even post them on the site!” chuckled the site’s marketing manager and brother, Dzaner. Thankfully, the Dzafics don’t have to worry about that anymore, as they have a warehouse in Montreal and everything on their site is ready to order. Dilara designs the “first draft” of many of the pieces, others are bought in straight from Europe.
Though Le Caniche Noir is proud to be a Canadian brand and is situated in Montreal (plus offers same day deliveries, no customs shipping within Canada, and free returns), their apparel doesn’t only cater to a North American consumer audience. With influences that trace back to the founders’ roots, their sales skyrocket in other continents and their international style is apparent with concepts that wouldn’t necessarily be overly marketed in North America.
“European style is sleek and simple, but very powerful,” dishes Dilara, “the point of our clothes is to empower women, especially those behind the work force. There are a lot of powerful women out there who want to look classy and feminine but fun business casual attire is more difficult to find.”
At the end of the day, Le Caniche Noir’s ultimate objective is to inspire the lady behind the desk to think outside the box when dressing for success. They want their ladies to look good, feel good and be original!
Their website is super comprehensive and helpful, dividing their apparel into sub categories that relate to the browser’s mood. Femme Fatale, Weekend Glamour, Dare to Bare and Gypsy Queen are only a few to mention.
Notable pieces in their collection that I personally covet are this beautiful red cross back romper, a silken middle eastern inspired tube maxi dress, this backless, black mini dress with a pearl studded design at the shoulders (for that edgy 21st century look) and a piece that was named as the season’s best seller (and was generously gifted to me by the designer) this absolutely stunning, flawless coral button down blouse with a lace back.
In my opinion, these pieces sum up the theme Le Caniche Noir tries to convey in their clothing. They are versatile and classic pieces with a twist, that can work for any occasion.
Le Caniche Noir is definitely different than anything else out there. The Dzafics are all about adding the extra “oomph” and personality to their pieces. As Dilara puts it, “the average girl could wear a long black dress and keep it simple. Our girls would wear that long black dress with a big red hat!”
They’re also harmlessly kooky, yet tasteful: “We love to have fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We were bored at work once, so we made a sex tape.” I tore my sides in laughter as she immediately pulled out a masking tape that had the word “Sex” scrawled across it in red marker.
The quirky Dzafic quality is illustrated all over the brand, with their entertaining photoshoots that could initially raise an eyebrow, but would bring a smile to even the most prudent person’s lips at any time. Concepts that are so cheesy yet so charming, like Fashion Addicts, or Fashion Crimes, turned into photoshoots to promote their product. “We’re even having a Christmas party… on September 21st! Since Fall is like, Fashion Christmas,” Dilara said with a cheeky smile.
Why Le Caniche Noir? I think this boutique sets a positive example to women today. Even the concept behind naming the brand is inspiring. I originally thought it was named after Dilara’s adorable black poodle, Kiki (who is also the mascot of the brand), but there is a lot more to it than that.
“To us, Le Caniche Noir translates to a fashionable black sheep,” explained Dilara, “a woman who gets a little extra attention in a good way. The poodle, like our consumers, is elegant, and they are the second smartest canine breed. We aim for our clothes to cater to a strong, smart, elegant, and independent female audience.”
What’s next for Le Caniche Noir? They don’t plan on marketing men’s clothes, but “we’re thinking of making doggy clothes! Ones that would match some of the outfits we sell!” Isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever heard?
They also daydream about opening up an actual flesh n’ blood boutique, but maybe somewhere in Europe. “Actually, we want to open up four different boutiques that cater to different moods: Office Look, Party Girl, Hangover Chic and Look at Me. This would probably be done in Europe, but the idea expresses how eclectic the brand really is, and how it encourages it’s buyers to shop for their mood!”
Become a Caniche Noir girl and visit LeCanicheNoir.com or, call them at their adorable phone number 1-855-7-POODLE (I just love it, I don’t even know why!!)
Nasty Put Some Clothes On (or just go shopping at Nasty Gal)
I am going to kick this off by saying I’ve been a bad girl. A Nasty Gal, some might say.
See, for a while now, I have been getting notifications on my Facebook news feed regarding new items of clothing this online store, Nasty Gal, has produced. When this gorgeous midnight blue, floral Kimono caught my eye, I decided to actually visit their website and explore what they have to offer.
Nasty Gal is an eclectic online store that has something for everyone (but mostly for those lucky women who have experienced the joys of being a size two, or curvier ladies who aren’t afraid to pull off the cut-out look). But what I’ve noticed about Nasty Gal, is that everything they have on their menu are the hippest, trendiest pieces you would see the likes of Rihanna (gag me) sporting.
First of all, let me just say that I’ve noticed that black is back. The web store is infused with little black dresses, black maxi dresses, black cut out dresses, and black skater dresses. It looks great, classic, and sexy, but I think it’s safe to say that black will be making a huge splash in our autumn wardrobes.
Now, KIMONOS. I’m just going to take the opportunity to announce to my friends and family who doubted me two years ago that I told you so. Kimonos have made a comeback and my investment from 2011 was not a mistake, so eat my dust, Mom. Kimonos are fabulous and Nasty Gal has them beautifully fluttering around their website. I am strongly considering being unreasonable and purchasing one.
They do have one trend littering their pages that concerns me, however and no, it isn’t overalls. I sincerely hope that we’ve gotten that one out of our systems.
Has anyone heard of this “peplum” business? Well, if you don’t know, the peplum detail is extra material that flairs out at the waist of a dress, jacket, skirt, for added accentuation, I suppose.
It is supposed to give the wearer an hourglass feel, though I personally think it makes everyone look like they just stepped out of The Jetsons. I think the detail can be cute on a dress, a skirt, maybe even a top that flares out peplum style, if you’re into that, but pants? Come on.
Honestly, I could be negatively judging the peplum pants because I’ll never forget the whole “skirt attached to pants” phase that was huge in 2002 and can’t help but wonder if we’re trying to bring it back in a more futuristic way. But for all I know, people will start rocking the pants with killer chunky heeled booties, a tight cross-back bustier top, and high blonde ponytails. Hey, Judy!
Nasty Gal looks like a fun place to shop from home. It’s web design is eye catching black and white with pink detail, making you feel like an adult kid in an adult candy store. Personally, the colour scheme makes me crave shoes.
To be honest, it’s quite pricy, and since I haven’t actually experienced wearing any of their apparel or (knowingly) witnessed any of it face to face, I don’t know if their prices are worth it. I did pretend shop there, however, and noticed that they don’t charge taxes.. which is weird, possibly illegal, and I could be completely incorrect about it.
Maybe they’ll just end up pulling an Ikea: wait till the last possible minute, then BAM! $100 extra has been added to your subtotal. Their shipping costs are decent, though.
Their collection is definitely something pretty to look at. If you feel like window shopping on the net, if you’re stuck at home on a rainy day, if you’re looking for some outfit inspiration. Would you buy anything? You’d probably want to, but it depends on your own personal budget and money spending ethics.
That being said, both my budget and money spending ethics are pretty low, so I’m off to purchase that Kimono and solve the “no tax” mystery. You can do the same at NastyGal.com
Style by Neighbourhood: Downtown Montreal
As we approach the end of summer, the steamy hot days and humid nights that sometimes force us out of our beds mid slumber just to ice our heated bodies start to cool down. In turn, people start to put some effort into their outfits again.
That’s the thing about living in Montreal; extreme weather=don’t give a shit about what I’m wearing, as long as it accommodates the temperature. In winter, we’re covered from head to toe so that we may brave our inevitable treks through the snow and -20+ weather (Oh, Canada.) and in the burning hot months of June and July, it’s all about short, loose dresses, tanktops, shorts… basically, leaving the house wearing as little material as you possibly can.
In between times are perfect- Indian Summer, Spring, Fall, because you can play around with more looks: shorts and a blazer, perhaps… or long skirts with tank tops. Long pants with T-shirts, and scarves also make a cute comeback at this time.
This was apparent when the temperature dropped in the past week. As we strolled up and down centre ville’s busiest street, rue Ste Catherine, I zealously approached people hoping to capture their outfits on film.
Like a sexually charged adolescent boy seeing a naked woman for the first time, I initially appeared as clumsy, desperate and aggressive when approaching the busy and introverted civilians who had better things to do than get their picture taken on a dreary, grey Wednesday afternoon.
For the sake of inspiration, my talented photographer and I moseyed on down to the popular boutique Editorial. Wedged in the middle of Stanley and de Maisonneuve, Editorial has been coined by local residents as the Mecca of urban fashion and cutting edge style.
Urban and cutting edge it is. It is also a bit on the pricey side, but their apparel is of such good quality.
Like an overflowing coffee cup, the store is brimming with hot trends. It’s filled with pieces that play on classic themes, logos and looks, with a completely new and loud look.
They have chunky heeled ankle booties with both downtown and by celebrity street styles. There are graphic tees that play on brands like Hermes (turned into Homies and Hotmes), studded and spiky shoes, earthy yet edgy bustiers and pieces that would mirror an overall look of 90s rap videos with an haute couture twist.
And then, it was like catching bees with honey. The beautiful people of downtown Montreal have adapted a similar style, but manage to stay eclectic at the same time.
We found that studded and spiked touches on accessories such as bags, shoes and shoulder pads were popular. Futuristic looks with chunky moon boot sneakers and blazers, funky hair and sailor moon jackets with knee high stockings.
It’s like Downtown Montreal is a can of mixed nuts where everyone is doing their own thing, but it feels consistent since it all looks so “tough guy” yet lovingly… 2013.
Side note: I wish I could pull off this long red skirt. Work it, Baby.
*photos by Nicole Small, for the full Downtown Montreal Street Fashion set, check out our Facebook page