TOM* Fashion Week Outfit Diary

I was lucky enough this past week to be able to attend Toronto Men’s Fashion week at Waterworks downtown. Myself and some other peeps from Novella were able to tag along to the illustrious coattails of our fearless editor.

It’s not the first time I’ve been to fashion show, but it is the first time I’ve been to TOM, and I had no idea what to expect.

The idea of attending a fashion show is daunting. You obviously want to look on trend and cool, but not like you’re trying too hard to be on trend and cool. It’s a fine line to balance on, same with the question of whether you need to dress up or dress down. After actually going, I can say that there’s a real mix of what people wear. There are people dressed to the absolute nines – high heels, floor-length dress, suit and tie – and there are also people taking it down a notch – denim on denim, all black, I even saw a guy in sweatpants.

Essentially, my biggest takeaway is this: just wear whatever you want but be confident in your decision and it’ll show. The coolest (and probably most photographed) people there are the ones you see just being themselves. Not that my own advice stopped me fro having a breakdown while getting ready for the shows every night, but I still stand by it.

After all of my anxiety and second-guessing, here is what I wore to Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.

(Please excuse the colouring of my pictures – it was dark and I tried my best with an iPhone 5s.)

Day 1

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Since it was Men’s fashion week, I decided to go with a menswear-inspired look for the first day. I paired a white tuxedo shirt with blue jeans and a corduroy coat. To finish the look off, I decided on a pair of brogues and a clutch, both in different shades of brown. I wasn’t sure if all of the brown tones would work well  or just end up clashing, but I was running late, so I just said “monochrome,” with a flourish and left.

Outfit Details

Coat – Na Nin Vintage

Tuxedo Shirt – Zara

Jeans – Urban Outfitters

Shoes – Urban Outfitters (These are at least five years old, here are some similar ones.)

Clutch – American Apparel (Not available anymore, here’s a similar one.)

Day 2

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On day 2, I went full 80s. Well, nearly. Full 80s would’ve been if I had also been able to do something cool with my hair. Alas, it was flat and decidedly not 80s, but I did don a bright red leather jacket complete with nice, big shoulder pads. Underneath it I kept it simple with a plain white tee and high-waisted trousers. Because I knew it would get warm in the venue, I needed something else to bump up the energy in my look, and I found it in my old blue suede booties.

Outfit Details

Jacket – Black Market Vintage

Tee – Anthropolgie

Trousers – Urban Outfitters

Shoes – Topshop (They’re pretty old, so here’s a pair that are similar.)

Day 3

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By day three, I had had just about enough of panicking over every outfit choice. I was trying too much to be different, to stand out from the crowd and that resulted in me trying on combinations that just really weren’t me. In the end, I decided on a pretty classic Tash silhouette of loose high-waisted trousers with a tee tucked in and a long coat overtop. I liked what I had on and I felt like myself, which I think is really all one can ask for when one attends an evening celebrating fashion and style.

(In hindsight, this really wasn’t the best outfit to pick for creds.)

Outfit Details

Coat – American Apparel (Not available anymore, but I found one kinda similar.)

Shirt – Anthropologie (Sold out,  here’s a similar.)

Trousers – Oak + Fort (Sold out [AGAIN], here’s a similar.)

Shoes – Michael Kors

Bag – Burberry

Luuuurve

I know very very little about love. Everything I know about romantic love, for example, I learned from romantic comedies, YA novels (specifically Sarah Dessen that shit was my jam) and via proximity to my friends’ relationships.

I used to whinge non-stop when I was in high school about the fact that no boys liked me. Where was my dream boyfriend? Where was he?? Never mind the fact that I had to continuously face the extended-family line of questioning on holidays. (“Still no boyfriend?” “Noooope.”)

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When I went to university, I became a lot less focused on getting a boyfriend. I was busy with school and new friends and honestly, didn’t need that drama. I got enough of that by listening to my friends’ relationship problems. I would be asked advice and, knowing absolutely nothing about dating, would always answer pragmatically, logically and clearly ripping off dialogue from Degrassi.

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To this day, I’ve never been in a relationship (save for one two weeks long in the 9th grade which I don’t really believe counts). I’ve spent every Valentine’s Day alone or with friends. And I’m absolutely fine with all of that. Sometimes, particularly when I’m cold/hungover/watching a cuddly-type movie, I do wish I had someone to cuddle with and kiss and junk. That feeling is always outweighed by the fact that, like every other woman, I have bigger goals for myself than just getting into a relationship.

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There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s normal to seek out human companionship in a romantic way. But sometimes the fear of being alone overshadows the actual feelings one may have towards another. To put it simply: dating for the sake of dating. I had a friend in high school who did this all the time. To me, it’s just too much effort.

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The thing is, pop culture has a habit of singling out romantic love as the most important kind. Magazines geared towards teenage girls put getting a boyfriend above all other priorities. And that’s ridiculous. There are so many other types of love that are just as important: love for the world around you, love for your family, love between friends and self-love.

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Self-love and friendship are the two types that I find are sometimes the most elusive for young women. There are industries built on not liking how we look. There are such high standards for appearance that feeling comfortable in your own skin is a rarity. And never mind trying to figure out if you actually like the person you’re becoming.

The classic narrative of girl vs. girl over boy puts romantic love above friendship. Its a cop-out to say things like “girls are mean” and “girls are catty” when more often than not, I’ve discovered other girls are friendly, insecure and want to be accepted and loved just as much as I do.

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Whether you have a partner or not, embrace these types of loves. Love yourself. Take time to appreciate yourself. Love your friends. Let them know how much you care about them. Don’t be scared or embarrassed to be alone on Valentine’s Day because you won’t be. You can organize a classic Galentine’s Day filled with chocolate and movies (my personal fave for V-Day is horror movies.) You can take yourself on a date; buy yourself a coffee and cupcake, sit down and enjoy being in your own company.

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Either way, there’s a whole lotta love everywhere you look and while Valentine’s Day is the official day of love, it’s something that you can celebrate every single day.

Since it is Valentine’s Day, though, I styled a look that I would wear out on a V-Day date (to a more casual setting) or on a Galentine’s day/night out. Like to mix up the female and masculine, and combining a pink romper with a black leather jacket seemed like a good way to do so.

OUTFIT DETAILS

(Fake) Leather Jacket – Zara

Romper – Urban Outfitters

Boots – Topshop (Similar)

Necklace – Anthropologie

 

A Touch of Yellow

I read somewhere that January of this year was a pretty depressing month for everyone. I couldn’t tell you the source of this, but I can tell you that upon reading it I thought, yeah that sounds about right.

It was something about the lack of sunshine, the cloudy days and early sunsets. While the month was unusually warm, towards the end of it the biting cold of Canadian winter reared its head. I knew, without a doubt, February was going to be just as hard to trudge through, maybe even more so.

I don’t necessarily dislike February (shortest month of the year, one of the last few full winter months before the early signs of Spring appear) but I also don’t really like it (snow squalls, frostbite, people insisting on going to outdoor festivals for some unknown reason). I usually wind up feeling so ambivalent about the month that I can’t decide how I feel about it before it ends.

Also, there’s Valentine’s Day. Bad because of couples, good because of excuses to buy chocolate.

Back when I lived in Ottawa, February was a really difficult month. I was still in school so there were midterms and it was Ottawa, so there was a metric ton of snow and temperatures dipping to -35 degrees. Now that I’m in Toronto, there’s definitely less snow but I would still classify this month as solidly “dreary.”

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It’s a very small thing, but something I’ve done that helps me with my winter mood is wearing bright colours. I’m not saying a red tee is going to cure seasonal depression, but when I do wear a nice, bright colour on a particularly nasty day, I feel a little brighter, too. Maybe it’s the comments I get from others on what I’m wearing, or maybe it’s just the way my brightness on the outside is being reflected internally. Either way, it’s worked for me.

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I’ve been really feeling pink lately, some kind of colour renaissance, but when I saw this yellow sweater at Topshop, I thought, oh golly how perfect. How bright yet cozy, how appropriate for my sticking-it-to-winter-with-clothing battle.

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Now, I could probably also pair this top with a colourful pant or boot, but naturally I went with an entirely black ensemble save for the yellow sweater in question. Why? Because the  honest truth is I have a lot of black clothing. Also, I liked how it made the yellow pop.

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If you’re like me and are feeling a little down about the winter months, maybe try throwing on a brightly-hued piece and strutting around town like it’s a sunny day in May. Bonus points for brightly coloured outerwear, which I’m still on the hunt for. Maybe it’ll help you feel a little lighter and brighter too, even if everything else is a little grey and cold.

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DETAILS

Sweater – Topshop

Skirt – American Apparel

Boots – Shoe the Bear

Coat – Topshop

Bag – Urban Outfitters

Watch – Daniel Wellington

Rings are all from Urban Outfitters

 

Real Cool

I have no idea what it means to be cool. It’s a pretty abstract concept when you think about it. What makes it? Style? Attitude? Aloofness? James Dean’s red jacket in Rebel Without A Cause?

Whatever it is, it’s pretty open to interpretation. For myself in high school, it meant trying to be exactly like the popular kids. As can be expected, that method wasn’t too successful.

Later in university, it meant doing whatever I wanted and TO HELL with the consequences and what everyone else thinks. I am, however, not nearly confident or badass enough to properly pull that off, but the thought was there. Because, let’s be real I care very much about what other people think.

In life, maybe being cool doesn’t actually exist because deep down we’re just a bunch of dorks.

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In style, I think the key is learning to be confident in your own decisions. Maybe you know that what you wear isn’t everyone’s taste but you do it anyway because you love it. I’ve been working on this for years while trying to make my wardrobe a little more interesting. Whenever I come across a piece that’s a little different than my usual threads, I think, yes, this will be so dang cool. But then, every time I’m getting dressed, I bypass it for something much more standard.

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These jeans are a small example of that process. The whole time I was trying them on, they kept making me think about it. These aren’t even strange, but they’re a step away from my usual black skinnies and mom jeans When I got them, I made a pact with myself that the only way I could justify buying them would be to wear them as much as possible.

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Styling them is proving to be a bit difficult, firstly because they’re not a high-rise fit (which just feels weird to me) and secondly because they’re a straight leg jean and I want to keep the proportions balanced.

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My most successful attempt is this: a plain white button down and a long coat. Simple but effective, and I feel really good in it. Further staying attempts will continue, of course.

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Author’s Note: I should mention this blog post was originally going to be about just how freaking cold it’s getting in Toronto, but I realized I should probably take it a bit deeper than that.

I do stand by that point, though. It’s getting hella cold. It was snowing on me when I took these pictures. I know it’s seasonal but. bro.

DETAILS

Jeans: Levi’s (from Anthropologie)

Shirt: Aritzia

Coat: Topshop

Hat: Aritzia

Necklaces: Oak + Fort, Anthropologie