Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Heart Maxi Dresses

Spring fashion is not traditionally a thing I give a shit about, but this year's glut of maxi dresses, urban safari looks and wide-legged pants has me all excited about spending money. I went into the Gap today and sussed out a weird, Japanese-looking dress that got my heart all a flutter. I love silhouettes that remind me of experimental Asian fashion from the 1980s, and this piece was a primo example of such a phenomenon. Bring on the square dresses and the headscarves! I love them!

Spring fashion also allows for a certain amount of sartorial rebirth - the unswaddling of the winter layers means that my butterfly is emerging, and this year, the butterfly is all about the legging/Blundstone/long tank combo. It also allows for fashion patterns to come to light: for the last three years, I've gone out and gotten my hands on a pair of egregiously unflattering capri pants and then worn then daily until the snow flies. This year's iteration has pleats and pegged ankles; they're just off-the-charts disgusting. I adore them. They are hideous. And next year, I'll likely be getting a pair that make my unsheddable winter weight even more prominent that these bad boys! I can hardly wait.

I wear basically the same thing every day in the winter: black tights, a skirt, some kind of tank top and then a sweater. Summer allows a little more freedom. Some light scarves, or cute-but-confounding tank top/dress thingies? Sold. A maxi skirt with flip-flops and a shawl? I look like the mother of the bride at a California hippie wedding, but also: YES. A tube top and linen capris that make me look like a pottery teacher in 1984? OBVIOUSLY. Give me more!

Dressing my age has never been my strong suit - I either look twelve or sixty-five - and I've yet to master the shoe (I would wear fashion runners with everything, given half a chance), but damn, I know what I like when it comes to fashion. I feel like, along with planning weddings and raising kids, everyone has highly defined logic behind the way they choose to dress, if only someone would ask them. One of my pals defines her aesthetic as "lesbian gym teacher," a look that involves a lot of technical fabrics and cycling safety gear, while her husband might be best described as "highly, unquestionably, undeniably Canadian," featuring plaids upon plaids, toques and jeans. My boyfriend wears band tees and tight jeans 100% of the time, which I find sexy and he finds practical, since he owns pretty much every band tee every produced.

Others hew to a more fashionable line, following trends in hemlines and patterns, but keeping it personal when it comes to silhouettes and colours. Even though they seem to be everywhere this summer, one of my gal-pals flat-out refuses to attempt a maxi dress - given that they add weight to non-lithe frames, I should avoid them too, but I don't really care. I balance my long skirts with booty shorts and tube tops; I end up varying wildly between looking like a sex worker and looking like an Orthodox Jew. It's madness, but so satisfying.

In any case, the best thing about the spring shop is getting all the little pieces together for the upcoming heat, assembling tiny scraps of fabric that will become outfits fit for heat waves, putting together more substantial ensembles for rainy days and Mondays. Office wear needs to be considered, since some buildings overcompensate for the shimmering sidewalks outside to a point where you need a cardigan or you'll shiver. Cycling commuters need to take mid-afternoon thunderstorms into account, and we all need transitions from the schwarma joint to the CD store to beers on the patio to the dancefloor. The spring shop is essential to reset the mind from winter to summer, from bare trees to leaves, from shoveling the walk to mowing the lawn. Fashion is all about what's between your ears instead of what's going on below your collarbone, and spring is such a fun time to think critically about the way we clothe ourselves. Have fun in the boutiques, and don't forget to accessorize!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vote Mob

It's Election Day! Are you wearing your special election bonnet? Mine has purple ribbons all over it, which gives me a jaunty non-partisan air as I approach the polling stations tonight. I'm also carrying my special election ID (the only ID I have with my current address on it, a hospital card from when I had the grapefruit removed) and eating my special election snack (just kidding, it's an apple, regular-styles). I'm excited!

Actually, smarminess aside, I am pretty excited about this election. Maybe it's the orange wave or the non-starter massage "scandal," but Jumpin' Jack has been swinging a big stick this campaign, and it's fun to watch. I voted Green - hey, I live in Olivia Chow's riding, and it'll be a cakewalk for her, so I figure I'll throw some funding over to a party that believes in solar farms instead of prisons. I'm sure my grandpa is rolling his eyes at my youthful stupidity, but hey...what's that saying? If you're not young and liberal, you're hard-hearted, and if you're old without being conservative, you're soft-headed? Anyway, I'm part of the much-discussed youth vote (am I still a youth at 27? I hope so!) and as such, can vote as far left as I want.

Elections aren't exactly fun, per se, but voting gives me that satisfied citizen feeling that you can also get by shopping at organic grocery stores, but for free. I enjoy snarking on the candidates, watching my Facebook feed blow up with exhortations to vote, and get interested as the results come in. I feel Canadian when I vote - I can just show up and they let me pick! Unlike in other, more contested parts of the world, my country has decent elections that are fair and transparent. We are lucky! And that deserves respect, best shown by taking advantage of the opportunity to vote and doing it.

I'm not going to spoil this entry by telling folks how to vote - the Globe and Mail already lost a large part of my respect when they officially endorsed Harper's Conservatives, a party that has almost nothing in common with the way I live my life. Other papers have picked other parties, a practice I'm perplexed by. I'll just say that I hope you find a party or a representative who aligns with the way you prioritize your life: money, family, jobs, the environment, civic duty, transportation, foreign aid, urban development, rural funding, education, health care, food, human rights, taxes, death, and all the other glorious moving parts that make up this country. And if you can't find a party who can do all that, at least you have the option of voting for a man who will eventually get into the Mustache Hall of Fame.

Vote early, vote often, and vote well, friends: the next few months of this country depends on it.