Friday, 20 January 2012

Confessions of a Glam Girl: Running to Class in Heels

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 16:22 1 comments
I've touched on Canadian Fashion Girl problems in the past, there are many.  Two were particularly evident this week as we forged through what we're famous for here in the north- cold and miserable winters.  As if it was not bad enough that every morning newscast forecasted the inevitable doom of venturing into this frozen hinterland where every hypothermic breath may be your last, we had to contend with the flurry of small talk and facebook posts that tend to run from January until mid May; "cold out there today", "can you believe this weather", "try to stay warm", "we're staying home and having a snow day", thanks Captain Obvious.  As if limiting intelligent conversation will make us warmer. However dull the restriction of critical thought may be, the real problem is far greater. I am of course referring to the enormous and devastating impact that the dropping mercury has on what we wear. Identifying that Problem 1 is forsaking fashion for warmth, I will spare you any further rhetoric and just tell you that Problem 2 is the significant amount of dialogue I'm seeing on the social media networks actually justifying this behaviour.  How this all amounts to 'Running to Class in Heels?', well keep reading, we'll get to it.

Sweat pants, Ski Pants, Parkas, Sorrels.  The four horses of a fashion apocalypse.  I sympathise that the temperature actually dropped below -30, I was here, I get it.  My point is, and I firmly believe this has been lost on the majority of young girls on their journey to becoming a lady- you should never leave your home unless you are polished and chic.  Crucify me for being vain, emphasising physical appearances, perpetuating that the value of a women is in her looks, that's fine. I have my reasons, which (and I'm speaking to all you feminists about to burn my house down) apply to men equally.  I do not state that we are all intended to look like the cover of a magazine, my statement is simply that you should always dress to impress, to the best of your personal ability.  If you are a college student; dress for class as if you are going to the career you are studying for.  If you are a high school student; dress as if you could be recruited for your part time dream job at any moment.  If you are a professional; well I shouldn't need to tell you. 

Where are sweat pants appropriate?  Nowhere.  Fashionable outfits are available for the gym, there are no excuses for sweat pants.  Ski pants? Should never be worn outside of a chic mountain resort, and only if you are partaking in activities.  The same is true for parkas.  As for Sorrels, why do I still see these?  UGGS and Hunter Boots have been available in most Canadian cities and online for far too long to excuse this faux pas.  I could go on to explain that this week I have witnessed terrible color collabs in outerwear, meshed together because of their ability to protect against the elements instead of a complimenting pallet.  That I was further witness to fuzzy pyjama pants tucked into boots, seen in public- midday, clearly not the result of escaping a terrible tragedy in Ono's home that inevitably dragged them from bed in the middle of the night.  Why have Canadians collectively accepted that these horrific statements are just par for the winter course?

This leads me to problem number two;  someone said it was ok and everyone else agreed.  Did no one listen to their mother when she warned 'if your friend jumps off of a bridge, would you jump too?' SAME THING! The following are two posts, found on facebook, attempting to justify the death of good taste.  These are in no way my words or opinion, and if I happen to offend the writer(s), good, you offended me first:

'layers.. lets see.. tights, 2 pairs of socks, jeans, long sleeved tshirt, sweatshirt, vest. old man touque, scarf, hood on long jacket done up, 2 pairs of gloves.. and i only stay outside for 15 mins at a time tops!'
As if my point was not clear enough, wait, the best is yet to come:

'Fashion goes out the window in the winter, for me anyways. I proudly wear my toque, my coat is ugly but it's warm and my boots don't have spiked heel.'

Who are these people? Why are they so determined to perpetuate a culture of poorly dressed women, undoubtedly the punchline of jokes around the world. 'Oh those Canadian women in their trapper hats (not the cute ones) and lumberjack jackets'. I'm horrified.  May I also point out that we are not the only part of the globe that suffers from subzero temperatures? Europe, for example, in parts is incredibly cold. Do we portray Russian women in their winter wear out in the wilderness hunting for pelts?  NO. We foster an image of Ice Castles, exceptional vodka, chic coats, tall boots with heels (pay attention anonymous facebook author, it is possible), and as my imagination perceives this- these women are warm and eloquent. 

I made a conscious decision this week to set an example. Carefully pulling wool sweaters from my dresser, black coats from my closet, leather gloves and leopard scarves from my accessories, I devised a strategy to combat old man winter.  Layers.  If ugly layers combined equal warmth then why is it such a stretch to believe that layers of fashionable attire cannot equal warmth.  It can and it did.  Confident that my fashion plan would keep me warm, the finishing touch was a pair of black boots- heeled of course, which did not fail me, keeping my feet warm and dry thus proving my theory correct. 

Unfortunately the execution was slightly flawed, thus leading me to my conclusion as well as to how I found myself 'Running to Class in Heels'; as I was prepared to look good in a winter wonderland, I was not prepared to travel in one.  The 20 minutes I left between my front door and my seat in Philosophy, was approximately 7 minutes shy for the ice covered streets and sidewalks.  So there you have it, I find myself moving quickly, gritting my teeth as the frozen tundra crunches under the heels of my boots. I cannot pretend that I am crossing campus at a breakneck speed because I am exercising, no one would dress as I was to go for a run.  It was clear, I was 'Running to Class in Heels'. Just as many of you may run in support of your favourite cause I gained strength with every stride, fuelling my hope that my example would one day solve this epic Canadian Fashion Girl Crisis. A future Canada would be free of 'old man touques' and 'ugly coats' and that the women who perpetuate this justification to others would one day be ostracised and ridiculed until they see the light and discover that they too can be beautiful in the cold!  Yes, I have a dream, and as I race to my class, I realised that with every step my dream, like all the others that came before it is thus one step closer to reality.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Confessions of a Glam Girl: I Dress for Women and I Undress for Men

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 19:53 1 comments
It was only natural that a tweet from Barney's New York would catch my attention this morning; "I Dress for Women and I Undress for Men" a quote from Angie Dickenson followed by a link to a pair of the Manolo Blahnik Orina (a cool pair of cork soled neutral colored strappy sandals). Un important was the treasure at the end of the link (although I was quite pleased by the summer sandals), important was the sexual inuendo, the feeling that arose from it (similar to how I feel when I hear Rhianna belt out 'chains and whips excite me'), and the stream of contemplation and internal argument that consumed the next hour of my day.  Do we really dress for women only to undress for men? Although I like the idea and the way the words play into a phrase I argue that the boys should get a little more credit than this, although there is plenty of opportunity to debate that the majority of them just may not care.

Because this is a confession I'll be honest only to be later crucified;  I have been known to dress to one up another woman, and I have been known to dress to make other women jealous.  This is less evident at events that require signifigant effort to dress for, generally speaking most women look great when dressed to impress as in special occasions, events, on the streets of the fashion cities, etc.  The great divide comes at the gym, the grocery store, play dates, early morning travel and casual engagements.  If this was inaccurate Lululemon would not be an international success, cosmetics of all kinds would not exist in waterproof, DKNY would not have the casual chic Cozy (and the DKNY PR Girl would not own 7 of them), and giant designer sunglasses would not be worn on 6am flights (its not sunny on the plane). Sure we're still trying to one up each other on every other life stage, but its a lot easier to win the battle when your girlfriend says 'yeah love, I'll meet you for a drink but I'm in jeans and flats'.  You cannot tell me that this is not the perfect opportunity to bust out the wedge ankle booties, low cut sweater and my new secret weapon JBrand Coated Denim, only to turn around and say 'no problem, I'm such a slob today too, just threw this old thing on', haha sucker, as if I ever just throw anything on. The mantra of the fashion girl is of course to always dress to impress.

In dressing to impress I have noted that perhaps the opposite sex may actually not care as much as us glam girls would like to think they do (perhaps an isolated Canadian Fashion Girl Problem, but I have not yet evolved into an International Glam Girl). At a very young age, coinciding with my introduction to nightclub life, it was noted by another member of the glam girl club that it was so frustrating to wear fashionable ensembles usually consisting of one or two pieces of signifigant expense only to see every eligible bachelor in the room making eyes at the scantily clad rejects of Jersey Shore.  I sympathized and shared her frustration, but the observation did not deter or change my wardrobe, the reward for me was knowing that I was dressed impecibly and those other girls looked like trash, even if they was more popular with the 18 year old boys they were still jealous of the contents of my closet. 

Later into life and onto a new romantic interest, I uncovered a top that I would not donate to charity (it was hideous and I like to help the less fortunate not dress them as clowns). When I questioned who the owner was the boy stated that it belonged to his ex, and asked if I wanted it, good god no! He was nice but it was over, I realized that we did not speak the same language (Prada) and the relationship would never work.  I mentioned that I had seen this woman once or twice and commented that her style was interesting. Further perpetuating my frustration with the opposite sex, he agreed and said that she had terrible style. Obviously this had not been an important quality to this boy and we were definetly finished. Further to his lack of interest in the well dressed, how could I ever trust his opinion while shopping or prior to a night out.  I wish that this had been an isolated incident but as time went on the names changed but the story remained the same.  How could I date someone if they did not understand that red jeans were better than blue jeans? After great searching I did eventually find one that was appreciative of my efforts and embraced my inner diva, however this great love did lead to many great fights over the mirrors in the bathroom and a bitter custody dispute over the blow dryer, he had an inner diva too.

So we dress for women and we undress for men.  Again a great divide is uncovered (I hope some of you notice that play on words).  The clothes that compete with the gals come off to reveal the attire that we wear to win the boys (interesting that I could also twist this into a vicious competition with every lingirie wearing date that came before me).  This is the department where we must give even the biggest of the neanderthals a little credit; I have noticed that even the most chauvanistic men have stated that you cannot make a whore an angel and an angel will never become a whore. The girls from the nightclubs of my late teens who wear little nothing out at night buy their lingerie at a porn shop and the fashion girls shop at La Perla.  We win this round. I will give credit where credit is due, men appreciate fashion where it is important to them, in the bedroom.  That being said, and the conclusion of my contemplation regarding "I dress for women and I undress for men" is that a cork soled pair of neutral strappy sandals should probably not have been the destination of a link headlined with such a statment.  Perhaps the following pair of Giuseppe Zannotti heels would have been a bit more appropriate (and will look lovely later with my black lace up corset and garter when I play the starring role in what I like to call the Bedroom Diaries)......,default,sc.html#,default,sc.html?start=60&sz=20

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