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14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I remember the time when I came into my own style, in grade seven. I went to school near Kensington Market in downtown Toronto. It was a revelation. I soon got addicted to vintage clothes and rainbow tights and coloured hair and rainbow crinolines. But I think what I was truly addicted too was the sense of freedom from the clothing choices of my mother and my new found ability to express myself with style.
High school. I realized, wait a second, these people are kids. I can do whatever I want and it won't matter what they think. I guess that was an advantage of being a weirdo. Once I found an inch of bravery I started wearing 30's and 40's industrial wear and shaved my head, and this was in Hawaii, to give you some context of how weird it was.
Yes, I would when I started graduate school I began thinking about dressing for the job I wanted.
My style has always been like rock n roll-lite, but I moved more into making comfort a
priority once I had children, and once I developed chronic fatigue syndrome. When the kids were small, chasing after them cut heels out of my life for the most part, and then when my daughter was 5, I became sick, and that made me leave the house less. Now I'm more in the “Yoga pants are awesome!” camp, ha.
When massively pregnant I went to an event where I was to receive a prize and I wore a hot pink dress. I saw the photos, and swore off hot pink forever, even post-childbirth. I've been plump in life and I've been bordering on scrawny. Styles adjust.
I think that's often a part of growing up. How I felt as a person and how I perceived my general appearance and place in school, family, life, etc. definitely made me adapt different styles at different points.
I have a feeling I'm in the midst of an evolution. I turn thirty in a year, and suddenly baby doll dresses feel ridiculous. I want to dress like a woman for the first time in my life. Of course, that brings up the question, what does a woman dress like? I'm still trying to answer that.
in 5th, 6th and 7th grade I made up elaborate costumes every day for school, all blue one day, fake flowers tied at my ankles the next. by the end of 7th grade I buckled under serious bullying by a classmate who kept at it until I left in 10th grade. before I left in 10th grade, I joined the herd of punk rock/mod kids to be different and still fit in better than I had before. After that I lost my appetite for the negative attention from girls and other women when you stand out too much.
I would say my style is always evolving – I used to wear keith haring shirts religiously – like, it was my “thing” in college. Now, you can't pay me to wear a t-shirt. The fit on my body simply is not flattering.
When I finished high school I went to Oxford for one year. There I learned not to care for other people’s gaze, because there no one cares for how you dress, and thus experimented a lot. When I came back to France I was shocked at how normalised people’s dress were, and in parallel, realised I owned too many clothes. I got rid of most of my wardrobe and tried buying less, better, and worrying less about how I look.
When I went away to college, it was the time of grunge. I went from wearing very small town matchy stuff from the mall to a very grunge look (flannels and ripped jeans from the thrift store). I overheard my mother tell my current boyfriend that I “used to be so pretty.”
Teenage rebellion naturally.
I grew breasts at 40. Had to adapt.
Once I went through short sexy phase full of miniskirts and pink and tiny tank tops because I wanted to fuck a boy and I thought that’s how you get to fuck them. I was still a baby then. Also, once, I cut off my hair because I was mad at a boy. I was even more of a baby then.
My style changed dramatically as I was finishing university. During the 1990s I wore a lot of clothing I found in my parents’ closets. My brother and I used to fight over clothes. By the early noughts I started wearing clothing that fit properly because I began buying more clothing rather than scavenging it.
When I was a teenager I wanted to fit in but still feel unique so every six months or so I would change my fashion to reflect that of another group. There was a rave phase, a goth phase, a hippie phase. It was silly.
I found this really great pair of black pants. Because of them, and of riding my bike, I went from dressing in a lot of skirts, and dresses- very girly- to what I would call “glam androgynous”. Like, really inspired by men’s clothes, a lot of simple, straight lines, my long hair piled up on top of my head, no makeup, except really bright red lipstick!
Buuuut the shift to “glam androgynous” (?) was also accompanied by some fairly unhealthy weight loss (I’d say an eating disorder, in retrospect). The straight lines looked amazing on me, but it was because I was too skinny. Now that I’ve gained some weight back, I can’t quite pull off that look the way I could (which ashamedly makes me really sad), but I’d say my style’s found a middle ground between what I’d call traditionally “masculine” and “feminine” looks.
I moved to NY in 1989, went to Domseys (clothes by the pound in a warehouse near the Domino Sugar Factory) and bought a bunch of old 40’s housedresses. All of the sudden I just wore them all the time. With bustiers underneath. And orthopedic shoes. I was wearing the same clothes as my neighbors on Devoe Street, except I was 17.
At age 13, in 1990, a Jane's Addiction cassette tape changed my life and my wardrobe. It was my entreé to a world of what was then college radio, punk, "alternative music", and grunge. I started thrifting and shopping in the men's section. I was no longer attempting to assimilate an idealized femininity. Instead, my goal became to embody rebellion.
My first office job changed my style drastically. And moving to New York—but these two things happened at the same time. For a few years after college I was kind of all over the place. I was a kayak guide for a while, a waitress, a hostess, and I worked on a couple farms. There were less clothes, because I was moving a lot, and they were all a little rattier than what I own now—just frayed cuffs, or sloppy seams I'd sewn myself. Corduroys. Overalls. I had this halter top I'd made by cutting up a little boy's shirt I got at a Goodwill. Anyway, I was in Vietnam when I made the decision to move to New York—I wanted to write and didn't know any writers, so I decided to move to where I thought the most writers and writing jobs were. My friend Dana went with me to a tailor called Yaly in the town of Hoi An. The town is known for inexpensive bespoke clothing and tailors line all the streets. I picked a pale grey fabric and decided to get a three-piece pantsuit made: pants, blazer, vest. Hoi An was very hot and humid and I sweated through the suit when I went for my fitting, which made me feel cranky and dumb and like I would never get a job. When I moved to New York it was the only suit I had and I kept it in the bathroom so the steam would keep the wrinkles out. I wore it to job interviews until I got one. I was always overdressed. Now my clothes are somewhere in the middle. Mostly dresses.