Get Hallo-weird

There’s nothing wrong with getting a little weird, a little freaky.

And there’s no better time to do so than Halloween.

The entire month of October is reserved for the creepy and mysterious, the strange and inexplicable. The sky is grey and the wind picks up. Leaves crunch under your feet and perform a ghostly tango in front of your very eyes.  It is, to me, one of the best times of the year, after Christmas naturally.

(Though, I am of the opinion that September-December are the best months.)

I like creepy things, to an extent. I like getting scared and uncovering mysteries and eating enough mini boxes of Smarties that I feel close to exploding. I love Halloween a whole lot, and this year, like every past year, I wanted to make sure I marked the holiday with as much enthusiasm and merry-making as I could.

With this in mind, I went to Ottawa.

I could’ve stayed here in Toronto, but I got this idea in mind where I wanted to visit friends from university. So I packed a bag, hopped on a train and crashed with my friend Selena. She has a very comfortable couch.

Because I was only there for the weekend, I didn’t get to see too much of the uni crowd, but I got to dress up, go out and get a little weird, and those are usually the main H-wizzle goals.

The thing is, I had no ideas for a costume. I’m horribly uncreative when it comes to Halloween costumes, and I needed something ASAP that wasn’t going to be too expensive or you know, a bright yellow tube dress that passes for a Minion costume. (Things I actually saw in the shops.)

I decided to work with what I had, and what I had was witch-y.

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Enjoy my costume in high-contrast glory because I thought it was a great idea to use the flash.

Once I got the witch idea in my head, it was easy. A black dress with wide sleeves from Urban Outfitters I already had. A couple of chunky silver rings. A dark lipstick.

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All I needed was a hat, and I ended up getting one last minute from Shopper’s Drug Mart. I’m sure Jessica Lange wouldn’t have approved the cheapness of it all, but maybe would have allowed the sentiment behind it.

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All in all, it was easy to put a costume together. It wasn’t the most brilliant, but it was fun, I loved it. And anyway, dressing up as a witch was pretty on-brand for me.

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Now Selena got a bit creative. A couple of days before I visited, she texted me costume ideas based on food puns, such as “a grape time” and “a rice guy.” Aside form making me snort out Pumpkin Spice Latte, these ideas serve a higher purpose, as Selena ended up going with the particularly well-thought-out “bitch peas.”

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The best moment was having drunk people guess what it was, and then their faces when they realized. Endless entertainment for the evening.

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General tom-foolery that was too good not to share.

So we did the monster mash. And laughed, and talked. I tried to do the Thriller dance in Selena’s kitchen when I realized I actually had no idea how the dance goes. Alas, I think I failed my parents in that moment.

The next day saw a Halloween-sized hangover, a gleeful viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a quiet night in with Frankenstein and candy.

And tonight, on the actual All Hallow’s Eve, of all things I have to work. Until 9 p.m. So no trick or treater’s here, except for me with more fun-sized candy, probably, and Halloweentowns 1-4. Does that sound a bit sad? I don’t think so. I had my partying time, but now it’s Monday, I have work and apparently I’m getting old because I’m still a bit tired.

Whatever plans you have, whether you’re with me under a pile of blankets or venturing out into the wild night, play it safe, play it cool and don’t be afraid to get a little weird.

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Latest Faves: Mid-Autumn Edition

Seasons change, etc. etc.

I’m still unsure if I will make seasonal favourites a regular occurrence, but for now I continue to enjoy things, and those things continue to change as time goes on.

Without further ado, here’s a selection of various clothes, beauty and random things I’ve been into lately.

Friends, I use natural light for my pictures so they’re a bit terrible.

Fashion

Urban Outfitters “Girlfriend” Jeans

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This is one of the most obvious favourites I could’ve picked. These jeans have featured in nearly every outfit post lately, and it’s because I love them and no one can deny true love.

When I first tried these on, I was so shocked at how well they fit that there was a near breakdown in the fitting room. Jean shopping always seems like a losing battle, but that day I felt like Patton. Or something.

I always wear the black pair, but you know I also bought them in a blue wash. Because obviously.

Free People Knit Sweater

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Knit sweaters for fall? Groundbreaking.

Listen, folks. It’s a seasonal staple for a reason. It’s getting colder, so you wanna snuggle up in some thick, warm goodness, but it’s also that perfect time where I can wear a sweater like that with no coat over it.

This guy from Free People is amazing. Perfect colour, perfect length, super cozy. Say what you want about that store, but they kill the sweater game.

*Moonwalks away humming Sweater Weather*

American Apparel Denim A-Line Skirt

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When you are a person with hips and a butt, a-line skirts are a mere dream. An urban legend, something you’ve only heard but never experienced.

If you don’t know, here’s why:

Unless that skirt has a hella lot of stretch, there’s no way you can get an a-line to fit both the booty and the waist. You’ll have to size up hugely and get half of the damn thing altered and at that point the skirt is twice as expensive and you stand there in a Topshop shaking a fist at the heavens for both the blessing and curse of a bodacious bod.

Anyway.

I found this skirt in an American Apparel, and it fits perfectly. It’s a-line, and the little bit of a flair at the bottom is enough flair so the whole thing just works. This has truly been the month of me finding clothes that properly fit and nearly weeping from satisfaction.

Brandy Melville Velvet Choker

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This time of year is about those possibly-witch-possibly-vampire-definitely-dangerous-and-sexy vibes, you feel me?

This choker fits the bill pretty well. Velvet is badass any time of year and I was super into the black/burgundy colour when I first saw it. Wicked accessory when I’m feeling my outfit is just not the place where I need it to be in terms of drama.

Beauty

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipsticks + Lip Insurance

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I’ve been around the block with a few liquid lipsticks. I’ve got my faves, but I hadn’t tried any of Too Faced’s until recently. More to that, I hadn’t tried any of Too Faced’s products until recently.

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I was recommended the brand’s lip primer, but while grabbing that I was waylaid by the beautiful matte liquid lipstick shades. I was intrigued, and picked up two vastly different colours to try. One is a pinky-browny colour, basically that colour every brand has their version of lately, called ___ and the other is a deep, rich burgundy called ___.

I’ve tried both shades, and have put them through various tests (i.e. drinking a coffee, eating a salad, wearing for an entire shift at work). They’ve really impressed me.

With the lip primer, they’re not too drying on me and stay put until I have to forcibly remove them with makeup remover and a cotton pad.

10/10.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-H Blush

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I’m not a massive blush person, which kinda sucks, because that’s a whole other area of makeup to explore. I went through a phase over the summer where I wore bronzer and highlighter always. No blush.

But recently, I’ve only been wearing blush, and this Tarte one is the reason for it.

I wanted to try a different fall look, one with a simple, darker blush that I can wear into the colder months. I’ve heard good reviews of Tarte blushes for years, and went searching for that perfect fall shade.

I found it in a little fella called Risqué, and I’m crazy about it. It’s a gorgeous shade that wears so well for the entire day. It looks like I haven’t used much, because it’s so highly pigmented you really don’t need a lot, but I’ve worn it nearly every day since I got it.

The Body Shop Honeymania

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Starting to think this may become my new signature scent. There’s something about it I really like.

There are other fragrances I like to wear sometimes for special occasions or whatever (read: partying) but the body butter and eau de toilette from this collection are part of my daily routine. It’s to the point where some of my clothes smell like it.

Idk guys, but it may be a mix of genuinely enjoying the scent and also wanting a daily reminder of our very important friends, the bees.

Culture

Estee Lalonde: Bloom

I’ve been subscribed to Estee Lalonde’s YouTube channel for a little while now, and I think she’s great. I’m not sure what drew me in the first place, maybe the Canadian connection, maybe the makeup videos or just her personality in general. Either way, I’m a fan. When she posted a video saying she was releasing a book, at first I was a bit dismissive because it was, unfortunately, at a time when I was seeing lots of YouTubers publishing books. I have my own opinions on that, but when I saw a couple tweets about people reading the book and enjoying it, I decided to pick up a copy.

So far, I’m only about halfway through Bloom, and I actually really like it. The photography and layout is gorgeous, which is something you could expect from her, but in my opinion the text itself is well-written and painfully honest at times.

Anna of the North

Bless Spotify, because I’m able to discover so many new artists I wind up loving off of that app. I first heard a song by Anna of the North in passing earlier this year, but now she has a few more circulating, and I’m really into her dreamy, minimalist sound.

Currently loving the tracks “Baby” and “Us.” Inexplicably, they remind me of high school.

Kings of Leon: WALLS

I’ve been a Kings of Leon fan for years. It’s true, I hadn’t heard of them until the big “Sex on Fire” takeoff, but I stuck with them. I got into their old stuff and kept following their new stuff. I think they may be the artist with the most songs listen in my iTunes other than Coldplay (and possibly One Direction, shhhh.)

When I heard WALLS was coming out, I was instantly stoked. There are definitely some albums by them I like more than others, but I’ve enjoyed nearly everything they’ve released. This album is no exception.

My favourite tracks off of WALLS right now are “Muchacho” and “Eyes On You.”

Black Mirror

I straight up only started watching Black Mirror because someone told me it was like a current Twilight Zone. Listen, there’s so damn much to watch on Netflix that things can easily get looked over, but the Twilight Zone is fantastic, so I was curious about Black Mirror.

Luckily for me, the third season came out recently, so I dove in, and was not disappointed.

It’s like the Twilight Zone in the sense that episodes are self-contained and can be awfully unsettling. Black Mirror’s perspective is mainly on technology, throwing in some dystopian and near-future elements. It’s pretty good, and has made me think pretty differently about certain aspects of technology.

Finding Your Personal Style

When I was in high school, I wore what my friends wore. This was pretty standard for the time. We copied each other for everything, which is probably why we all looked terrible. We didn’t have Instagram for reference.

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The uniform!! Me and my brother on my first day of high school.

I went to a Catholic high school, so I wore a uniform most days. I didn’t mind that so much, but for my early years in high school, it meant I had no kind of personal style. At all. I had few chances to examine it, and no desire to pursue it, because here’s the thing: out of my friends, I was the chubby one. I had hips and boobs before most of my closest friends had them. If anyone else had to grow up as that friend, you’ll understand the feelings of self-consciousness and inadequacy that would come at the most inopportune times: sleepovers, mall trips, school dances. I tried to copy what my friends wore, and, well, that was ill-advised. Some of the trends in the mid-2000s, like low-rise jeans and the layered look, really did not work on me. But I tried them anyway because my friends wore them, and I had no idea what else to wear.

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Low-quality pic, low-quality clothing choices. I went through a phase where I wore Lululemon hoodies a lot. Really, I wore hoodies in general a lot.

It wasn’t until late in high school when I began to think more about what I wore. Part of that came from making friends with people from different high schools, who had very different senses of style than everyone in my immediate circle. They inspired me to dress differently. I started wearing high-waisted skirts. I went through a phase where that was nearly all I wore. Don’t get me wrong, I still love and wear that look today, but it was all I wore.

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Grade 12, beginning to get a better idea of what I like. Thought this yellow coat was very ~fashion~. TBH would still wear.

But again, I was copying others. I copied my new, cool friends to try and, of course, make myself cooler. I don’t have to tell any of you that trying to be cool is an endless, ridiculous pursuit and the truth is none of us are cool at all. This world is full of nothing but dorks.

I digress.

There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from the people around you. Everyone does it. What I found, however, is it’s good to venture out on your own, and maybe try wearing some things that are different, things that only you like.

I began doing this when I left for university. I thought, okay, this is it. You’re in a new city, new school, and you don’t have a uniform. Figure yourself out.

I can’t talk about my personal style journey without talking about my body image issues because they are inexorably intertwined. I felt uncomfortable in my body and had no idea how to dress it when all I wanted was to hide it.

SHORT PSA: Magazine guides for “dressing your body type” are bullshit. I know I’m talking about learning to dress for your figure in this, but I mean wearing things that fit properly. Things that are comfortable. It doesn’t mean that you HAVE to wear boot cut jeans when you’re curvy or you HAVE to wear wide-leg jeans if you’re tall. Magazines tell curvy women they have to colour-block the living shit out of their wardrobe and thin women can wear boyfriend jeans and t-shirt and be effortless. Honestly. Dressing for my body became a big thing for me. At the end of the day, rock whatever the hell you want.

Anyway.

My personal style changed so much over the course of my undergrad degree. I had a lot of influences come at me at once: new city, new friends, becoming fully immersed in Tumblr and Instagram and the beginning of my attention to style blogs and alternative fashion magazines (i.e. not monthlies).

Even now, as a post-grad, my personal style continues to evolve. At this point, I have a vey hard time describing it because it can be anything from a teenage delinquent from a 1988 movie to a cool librarian.

Even looking back to my first year, I cringe. I cringe when I look back at 13-year-old me and I cringe when I look back at 18-year-old me.

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The red jeans. The red jeeeeaaaans. And no, I didn’t just wear this for school spirit functions. No, I wore these all the time.

18-year-old me thought red jeans were a good idea. I don’t know her.

The point of this ramble-y history is that I kept trying. Once I actively started to build my personal style, I kept trying different things, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Through it all I began to slowly (very slowly) gain more confidence in myself.

I couldn’t say confidence affected how I dress, or how I dress affected my confidence. I think the two feed off of each other. My self-confidence was and is affected by so many different things, but ultimately, building it up came from me, and learning to actually like myself.

I’m not saying you can’t wear clothes properly until you’re completely at ease in your own skin. The crappy truth is, it can take a long time to get there. We have perfection shoved down our throats these days. It’s hard. For me, a way to navigate that came from dressing how I wanted to dress, and feeling good in my clothes.

And, I won’t lie to you, every time a friend said to me, “You always look nice,” or “You really pull that off well,” it gave me a smile for the rest of the day.

So, that all being said, I have a couple of tips for those searching for their personal style.

I feel as though these may seem obvious, and I don’t want to sound like I’m talking down to anyone. These are very simple tips, but a lot of them are things where, once you start to consciously think about them, it becomes easy to shop and style yourself.

Start Small

We are not on What Not to Wear. Most of us don’t magically have thousands of dollars to drop on a brand new wardrobe. And trying to think of your style as a whole can be overwhelming. When you’re shopping, just focus on one item at a time. Find something you really like. Get it. Look at the clothing you currently have. Donate items you never wear and think about why you never wear them. Consider your favourite, most worn pieces and make note of what you like about them. This all sounds very simplistic, but that’s what finding your style can be like. Simple and gradual.

Get Ideas

As previously stated, I get a lot of inspiration from my friends and my environment. If you have a friend, co-worker or even a family member whose style you admire, ask them about it. I’d advise against copying look-for-look, but ask them where they shop, or where they get their ideas from.

In the nature of full disclosure, I said don’t copy entire looks off of people but I have definitely seen outfits on Instagram that I have worn head to toe. There’s nothing wrong with that. Social media is a great place to draw inspiration. What’s always the best, though, is to take an outfit you like and make it your own. Do as I say, not as I do, kids.

Examine Your Own Patterns

When you’re building your wardrobe, item by item, it helps to take an inventory of your shopping patterns. What are your favourite stores? What type of clothing are you the most drawn to? What colour palette? What material? Try and be self-aware in your search, so you can get a better grasp on what your taste actually is.

Size and Fit

THIS. THIIIIIS. I can’t tell you how important these two things are. Again, very simple, but underrated in my opinion. Here’s something it took me years to learn: the number on the tag of the pants you buy doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. What matters is they fit perfectly and make your butt look amazing. It’s so important to try things on when you shop, as awful as that experience can be. Try and try again, size up and down as you need to in order to be comfortable in what you wear. Trust me, if you wear something uncomfortable or wrongly sized, it will be noticeable and that’s not a good look on anyone.

Trust Yourself

It’s great to get second opinions from people you trust. Sometimes if I’m unsure about something, I’ll ask my sister or my friends to weigh in on the dilemma. Sometimes we do need someone to tell us when something looks bad. Second opinions are great, but trust yourself above everyone. You know what you like and you know how things should fit your body. I do work in retail so take this with a grain of salt, but especially don’t trust sales people. I like to think that we’re all honest in the fitting rooms (I try my best to be), but some clothing stores are really all about selling, so they won’t always give the best advice. If they’re pushing you to get something you’re unsure about, don’t get it. If a friend isn’t a fan of a dress that you really love because it’s not their thing, then get it. You are your best critic.

Rock It

Wherever you are in finding your personal style, work with what you have. Feel good in what you wear and it will show. It sounds cliche, but nothing looks better than that.

 

Saying Thanks

Thanksgiving this year, for me, was a rushed affair. I was scheduled to work Thanksgiving Monday, but had the Friday to Sunday before free. So, I decided to join my parents at my brother’s place near Quebec City.

I took the train to Kingston, then drove with my mom and dad. Hella long travel days. Packing last minute. Montreal traffic. It was worth it. It always is, to travel to see family. I hadn’t seen my brother in a while and I gather as many opportunities as I can now to see my parents.

This Thanksgiving was like the ones before in that my mom and I destroyed the kitchen after working in it for hours, I ate far too much and I fell asleep during the movie we watched afterwards, with the top button of my jeans undone. My food baby was twins.

This Thanksgiving was also like the ones before in how I counted things I was thankful for. It seems cliche, maybe a bit tired, but in theory it’s what the holiday is about now, more or less. Once a year when we think of things we’re thankful for: a home, a job, good friends, loving family. These things we have all the time, that we sometimes take for granted, we recognize once a year.

(Other things I am thankful for, such as Netflix and Jared Padalecki’s arms, while very sincere, are not things that affect my daily life so much as my basic relationships.)

I think Thanksgiving should happen more. Not the feast or the holiday, but the openness towards thankfulness. The recognition of the people and things in your life that help make it all bearable. Even great.

It’s a very small thing, but something that I think is important to always keep in mind. Try never to lose sight of who you are and what you have accomplished, and be thankful for all of it.

That being said, Thanksgiving is still a holiday. An event. A meal with family and friends. A gathering. Whatever you want to call it, you need to wear something to it.

Staying true to form, I brought too many clothes with me on this trip, and packed within all of that were two outfit choices for Thanksgiving dinner. One more casual, one a bit more dressed up, both keeping within that sweet autumn colour palette.

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Warm tones.

I ended up wearing the casual option for a couple of reasons:

  1. The top makes me look like a glittery pumpkin. Not only festive, but very on-brand.
  2. Dinner was a casual affair, with close family.
  3. I was wearing it most of the day already while cooking with my mom.

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I live in these jeans now. You can’t tear us apart.

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The shirt was an impromptu buy from H&M. I saw it, and immediately needed it. The girl at the cash gave me a weird look when I got only that shirt and Star Wars socks, but I maintained I was making an investment. How perfect would that top be for Thanksgiving? Even my mom and dad loved it, though I’m sure that may be because it is awfully reminiscent of shirts I used to have as a kid.

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I wore socks within my brother’s house, but when I was thinking about shoes for this outfit, I thought a pair of light brown brogues I got on sale from Urban Outfitters years ago were the perfect accessory. They keep the outfit really casual while also being a step up from a sneaker. (Those shoes are really old. I got them for $10 back in 2012, I’m pretty sure. Definitely no longer available.)

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Not to say the other option isn’t perfect for Thanksgiving. A soft long-sleeve knit with a mock turtleneck. A faux suede a-line skirt. Ankle boots.

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If it’s colder, you can easily throw on tights, change the shoes, accessories, etc. Whatever is done with it, the basic combination definitely gives off “Queen of Stuffing and Gravy” vibes, which was more or less what I was going for.

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This was actually the look I wore to work on Thanksgiving Monday. So, if you think about it, they were both my Thanksgiving outfits. One for the meal with the family, one for the Friendsgiving with the entire store and every customer who came in. Who says retail can’t bring people together?

OUTFIT DETAILS

OUTFIT 1

Top: H&M (Not available – Similar!)

Jeans: Urban Outfitters

Shoes: Urban Outfitters (Not available – Similar!)

Watch: Daniel Wellington

OUTFIT 2

Top: Topshop

Skirt: Nordstrom (Not available – Similar!)

Boots: Shoe the Bear

Watch: Daniel Wellington

Necklace: Etsy, custom made

 

Vintage, Retro, Nostalgic

(This blog post is coming a day late because it is being posted from my sick bed. I have the bubonic plague. And I’m STILL blogging.)

(It’s actually a head cold. And after I post this I’m doing nothing but watching Scream Queens and drinking tea.)

Like many people, when I first started watching Stranger Things, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia.

But that doesn’t really make any sense. I was born in the 90s. I wasn’t alive in the 80s. Like many people my age, however, I have a healthy appreciation for the decade’s music, movies and fashion. I grew up on a steady diet of 70s and 80s rock thanks to my mum. I watched 80s teen movies as a kid. When I enter clothing shops now, I see all sorts of things inspired by that decade, and I’m into it.

I love going vintage shopping. Black Market Vintage and Tribal Rhythm are two of my favourite stores in Toronto. Scouring racks of old coats and mom jeans is a good time in my books. I love finding older things: a skirt from the 70s, a jacket from the 80s. I even found a dress from the 40s once but it definitely was not my size. Sadness, though it probably would have disintegrated the first time I wore it.

Maybe I’m nostalgic. I like old things. Well, relatively old. Is it possible to be nostalgic about a time period you never experienced?

I found an honest-to-god published article a few weeks ago saying millennials are the most nostalgic generation ever. It seems lately every time I go on Facebook, I see a different article claiming millennial are the most (insert descriptor here) generation ever, but this one stuck with me. There’s no way we’re the most nostalgic. At the most we’re equal to other generations in that regard. What are we even nostalgic about? The 90s? I was born in ’94, so I don’t remember them too well. The 00s then? The Britney and Justin double denim red carpet moment was historic. Crop tops and low rise jeans. I honestly can’t think of any other 00s fashion right now.

So, maybe, we do yearn for those past years. Maybe we’re nostalgic for a different time, for something we’ll never experience.

Everything becomes trendy again. The 70s are back, the 90s are back, and everyone is combining the two. In terms of fashion, it seems like we’re always looking backwards instead of forwards, or the forward thinking is just recycling something from the past.

But I think it may be something else.

As I watched the show, I started to think, maybe I’m not nostalgic about the time period. Maybe it’s the kids. It’s the mystery, the bicycles, the friendship. Maybe this show is reminding me of what it’s like to be 12 years old again.

Sitting awkwardly in my position of quasi-adult, I noticed lately I’ve been thinking about the past: when I was a kid, when I was in high school and even when I was a university student just last year. I miss the simplicity of it. When I didn’t have job anxiety, apartment anxiety, dating anxiety and money anxiety. Not to say younger years don’t have their own problems, but things were different then for me.

This is what Stranger Things reminds me of, and why I believe it resonated with so many people. It makes some of us nostalgic about a different time period, but for others, it reminds us of a different time in our own lives. We can’t let go of our responsibilities as adults, not really, but we can briefly escape to a time when adventure and mystery were prevalent in our everyday lives. When we shut down the laptop we have to return to our jobs and our problems, but for a brief amount of time, we’re all kids again, telling our friends about something we saw in the woods.

Since I was immersed in this feeling, and the show that gave me this feeling, I may have gotten some major style inspiration from some of the characters. Namely Nancy, Barb and Lucas. All of the kids, to be honest. They’re pre-teens and they’re all more stylish than me.

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You know I’m in those mom jeans. Always. I’ve already raved about the girlfriend jeans from Urban Outfitters so I won’t go on about them again. But just know, I bought them in another colour.

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In an outfit inspired by Stranger Things, the key piece is so obviously the jacket. I found this glorious corduroy, lined jacket in a rust colour and I had to have it. I mean, come on.

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I kept it kid-like for this outfit. No makeup, which was more of a coincidence than anything. Sneakers and no accessories. Simple, cool and basically ready to bicycle away and uncover a government secret.

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OUTFIT DETAILS

Jacket: Asos

T-shirt: Brandy Melville

Jeans: Urban Outfitters

Sneakers: Keds