My birthday, like most birthdays, is an excellent day. Beyond the presents and new numeral I get to attach to myself, I like it because it falls on the day before a national holiday (read: everyone can come out to party without worrying about work) and, oddly, I get to celebrate my birthday on the same day as my mother.
When I couldn't find anything befitting of a birthday girl downtown (that's actually a lie, see the above flats), I decided to bite the bullet and alter a dress that hasn't seen the light of day in approximately seven years. I purchased the strapless number in grade nine for my first ever high-school semi-formal. I was too tall for the fit then, and am definitely too tall for it now. Plus, I'm not sure adorning oneself entirely in a pattern this floral is appropriate anywhere outside of the Hamptons.
Initial experimentation revealed that the dress could indeed be cute as a shirt. A snip here, a snip there, and-- well, it was stupid easy really. I planned on wearing this new creation tucked in, which was convenient as I had no plans to properly hem it.
The zipper of the dress proves a little problematic with at-waist pants or shorts- it's too stiff and pulls the shirt away from the body where it should hug. With high waisted trousers though, it's quite nice. I sported it with my yellow skirt, a thrift find that I deemed my best bet at fitting in with the cool crowd at classic hip hop night. Well, at least I got the classic part right.
My roommate Jonny has designated me his cool consultant, a pretty big compliment. I advise him on things like the appropriate time and place for the Canadian tuxedo, and how many buttons on his denim shirt to button (all of them, of course). For me, Manuela de Medeiros unofficially holds this post. Since we started slinging cappuccinos together at the Riviera Bakery I have found myself in Bermuda length cut-off shorts and khakis- two dad-like styles I never envisioned myself championing.
When Manuela invited me to come see her art stylings at Tequila Bookwork (why do trendy cafes have to have such embarrassing names?), her cool status catapulted from supercool, to full-on rad. I grabbed my camera, jumped on my bike, and spent the evening making her fash-ion-a-ble friends feel uncomfortable as they attempted to avoid being in the frame of my photographs.
Manuela's work is process art-- emphasizing the means of creation over the finished product. She employs gasoline, nails, ink transfers, dry wall, wood stain, and fertilizers to modify her canvases (made of an equal variety of materials) and process or no process, the results are fantastically textured-- a sort of rough-hewn beautiful. There's this great dissonance between the form, one of system and process, and the organic quality of the pieces.
Oh, and Manuela's roommate Ariel was making me jealous with these dreamy shoes of hers. Oof.
You really can have too many clothes. In my second year of university I attempted to pack a small textile plants worth of t-shirts, jeans and what-if sweaters into my tiny, aging Montreal apartment. It was a disaster resulting in an eight month uninterrupted clothing-carpet wall to wall.
That summer when I headed West to Victoria B.C., Canadian travel restrictions kept my trousseau to a tidy 100lbs. I boiled the what-if collection down the basics and found enlightenment. I knew my wardrobe- the possibilities of each piece- inside and out. My apartment, style and life thrived on a well-ordered minimalism.
Now that I'm in Toronto, I'm still abiding by this less-is-more philosophy but my unruly clothes hoarding past still rears its head from time to time, namely in the form of my parent's begging me to get my garbage out of their closets.
This spring my father's significant other, the Dali lama of packing light, told me she was sending me a few things she thought I could use from home. In reality, the package consisted of wildly what-if things I had amassed and abandoned in my childhood room's closet. Sure, they're all cute enough: a floor length dress from Greece, a nautically striped zip-up, and office appropriate skirts, but I no longer have room for clothes that don't make the cut daily.
My challenge: reincarnate these misfits into wardrobe staples or send them on their buddha path.