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Tania van Spyk

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I get noticed. I hate blending in.

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

I love any bold, bizzare and aggressively unique women. Annie Lennox, Grace Jones, Isabella Blow, Michelle Williams, Daphne Guinness, Beth Ditto, Anna Piagi, love em all!

5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?

Nope. The biggest gift Seth gives me is to insist on me trying on anything, even when I am dead-set against something. He really has an interesting mind for design and wants me to give things a chance. He's more adventurous than I am!

6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?

I think I would recommend my clothing style to anyone. I think people should be more open about their clothing and choices. We are our own construct, or at least we should be. Who cares what anyone else thinks?
Dresses are the most comfortable and easy things. Jeans are uncomfortable, and unstructured clothes are deeply depressingly unflattering.
We need formal and fancy to make life special. That's why we are all donning zombie/steampunk/cosplay/bandshirt looks. We want to stand out and we want to be interesting and a part of something special, something outside just work and regular life.

7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?

Seth has been the biggest influence. I was stuck in avant-garde punky 90's looks, but the more he showed me about art, history and what is interesting in the world, we have been talking about and looking for charm. Charm is the antithesis of cool. We lost a lot when we lost charm.

Cool is dull because it's pretty uniform.

Charm is that specialness - the little extra thing, the detail and thought. Charm can be sexy, but not always. It's about interest in things and details and creativity and a playfulness with taste. There is so much detail to the best items.

8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.

I'm looking for perfect simplicity, but Seth thinks I'm a hedonist. I've tried to simplify into a life I can see myself in as an old lady. Clothes and all!

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

Dress sets are the perfect thing. They are a designer's dream of what should be. They are a girl's dream of sophistication and you don't need to figure out what to wear with it - there's the matching jacket! Some even have belts and gloves or shoes. They are feminine, fit wonderfully and are so perfectly interesting. So many colours, fabrics, designs! I always get excited to find something new and unusual. I never buy exactly the same unless it's another colour and fabric.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

No, I never felt like I really identified with anyone well enough.

14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?

The second I got paid. Because I got paid, and then immediately went to Toronto!

17. Please describe your mind.

Fascinated by people.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Melancholic and happy, which go together more than you may think.

19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

Since I am about to get on the treadmill, I will spare you the details.

23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?

I think I have had the great luck to learn taste from my european background and amazing husband. Style is something I have built out of that to be myself.

It's not important to everyone, but sadly neither is art.

Fashion is art to me. I feel like a collector, loving every item, and wanting to show each piece at it's best. My body is the canvas, and I like to see how the designers (and I do mean Sears and Marks and Spencer journeymen too) wanted the world to look.

26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?

No. Fashion is my art interest. Seth handles the rest, and it's been wonderful to give such an artist a free hand to transform our house and lives.
He continues to inspire me.

27. Can you recall some times when you have dressed a particular way to calm yourself or gain a sense of control over a situation that scared you?

I guess all of life and talking to others used to scare me. That might be where it comes from. I was quite introverted for the first 30 years...but as a receptionist and later a hairdresser I had to change how I handled things. Clothes went from armor to a way to interest people.

37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

I wear a uniform I've chosen, so there is little to think about, just like the sets. I have a load of white and blue salon uniform pieces from a place in the UK called Inline. White socks, white shoes and away I go. Brilliant!

On the weekends, it's the fun process of figuring out the weather, and how dressy. Then comes the purse, hat and shoes to consider.
I guess it's a bit crazy, but I love finding a completely different outfit somewhere, and ending the day looking different.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

I have a striking look.

53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?

Mesmerised! Haha.
I guess it's naccisstic, but I'm also trying to figure out who I am.

55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?

Never, because I can transform more easily in my dreams.

56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?

Whatever is now. It's always a losing game, the items are awful and cheap, so I have zero interest.

60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?

Just vanilla. That's all I like, since I love pastries!

62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?

It's a part of it, but my face was never my focus, nor my hair. I'm doing more with them now, but it's a part of the whole.

65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?

Can't pick, but for jewelry, I am obsessed with the brash bold styles of the Husar D czech necklaces. Very queenly!

66. Tell us about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don’t you wear it, and why do you keep it?

PVC ballgown and gloves. Because that was me, but not me now. It's a lovely memory, like an old wedding dress. I suppose I was marrying myself....

71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?

A black pvc ballgown and black pvc opera gloves from Northbound. I own them for sentimental reasons. (My first paycheque!)

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Every chance I get. Just keep digging, because I only need one thing to make my day!

79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?

It is all about how I want to be. I dress to display how I feel and who I am on that day. Lots of things I have are named, some for movie characters or actresses or just ideas.

81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?

Nope, love to change it all.

83. Do you remember the first time you were conscious of what you were wearing? Can you describe this moment and what it was about?

It's hard to remember an exact moment, I think I was always curious about my mom's clothes and why they were different than mine. She is a bombshell and I was a bit of a gawky thing. I wanted to be like her.
She hand sewed a "little-house on the prarie" style dress for my birthday, and a matching dress for my barbie when I was about 9. She did the same again with crochet another year. I guess it was clear to her before I knew.

The things I remember most were Gaultier, Grace Coddington, Paco Rabane, etc on FT and Vogue when I was a teen. I loved any avant garde style - it was in my eyes a way to get attention and be attractive without competing with my mom. I thought I could be a "creature unlike any other".

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

March 17 1975
Born in Orangeville, raised in Guelph. Still in Guelph.

What kind of work do you do?

Barber. I love it.

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?

Married to Seth. Too lazy to have kids.

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