Under Where?

The male gaze dilemma meets pretty panties

“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.” – Dorothy Parker

While borrowing lines from Hamlet to describe panties may seem like a stretch no elastic waistband should endure, Ms. Parker’s witty remark raises many questions concerning what we choose to put on underneath our clothes. It’s a simple decision that arises daily for both men and women, often thought to be mandatory and thoughtless, but is it? For myself (and I hope I am not alone in this one) countless daydreams are filled with visions of me slipping in and out of lingerie; of waking to the early sunlight in my darling (but too rarely worn) vintage babydoll slip. I wish for the moment when passion stops to observe the way silk skims a nipple. But more often than not, these moments are either lost or pass within a flick of the light switch. So why do we invest so much of our time and money on a moment so brief?

One understanding is that our obsession is centered around conforming our bodies to an attractive ideal. From the Victorian corset to spanx, many women have attempted to chisel their way to the ‘perfect’ feminine figure with elastic and whale bone. Jill Fields, author of An Intimate Affair, links the evolution of our unmentionables to the ever-changing gender distinctions and transformation of the twentieth century American woman. While this socio-historical approach helps us understand how we have evolved from bloomers to thongs, it hardly explains our fascination with undergarments within the context of the bedroom.

In her novella Simple Passion, Annie Ernaux describes the events of her intimacies with a married man. At the height of their affair, she pauses to illustrate the wreckage of their most recent encounter: “I would sit staring at the glasses, the plates and their leftovers, the over flowering ashtray, the clothes, the lingerie strewn all over the bedroom and the hallway.” The garments, meticulously prepared, lay discarded amongst the carnage of the evening. Ernaux’s illustration is a scene that I’m sure many women have woken up to, or even caught their feet in as they stumbled sleepy-eyed from the bedroom. The tableaux provokes a common interpretation of intimate apparel. We picture Ernaux, the blood and guts of her affair, and a pair of red lace panties. She dresses—and undresses—for him.

Feminist film criticism has brought to us the idea of the male gaze, and as Fields points out specifically in the case of lingerie, “Women construct themselves in dress and deportment as ‘to-be-looked-at,’ which requires them to look through the male gaze to see whether their bodies are attractive objects on display.” But this is where I seem to fail. I can say with confidence (based on many years of field research—please don’t tell my parents) that hours shopping and countless dollars and debt later, I have found that the only reason a guy ever remembers the colour of my bra is because it was resting on the nightstand beside his iPhone. So why persist?

As I sit on a rainy afternoon, making a chart of sexual encounters, what I wore, and the reaction, I come to a hypothesis. And while I have never been one to air my dirty laundry, here it goes. The results of my oh-so-scientific chart seem to point to one small black g-string as the undefeated champ—which I’ll have you know I have only worn a handful times out of necessity, under a super tight pencil skirt, or this one pair of jeans that fit like they came out of the last musical number in Grease. Revealing cellulite, stretch marks, and the obvious deviance from my squat routine, this particular delicate would not be my first choice. Instead, I tend to opt for things you would expect to see circa Valley of the Dolls. These items, a tiny bit more modest than your average g-string, are how I have chosen to represent my sexuality—despite the often lackluster response.

In the past half century, feminist art has been subverting women’s status as sexual objects by claiming this very status and exercising their ability to choose how it is represented; in the words of Simone de Beauvoir, “To make oneself an object, to make oneself passive, is a very different thing from being a passive object.” While I would never claim my high-waisted satin briefs to be a feminist statement, something does seem to bind these two ideas together. Is our time spent rifling through Victoria Secret catalogues a forfeit to the demands of the male gaze? Or could my obsession with the latest Agent Provocateur collection be a reclaiming of my body and sexuality? While I would prefer to place myself in the latter category, it could very well be that I am simply stuck in a male gaze of decades past, where the movements of Lana Turner across a screen would have forced me to tighten the elastic of my wrap-around girdle. Pushing up and into the unmentionable adventures of my future, however, I will strive with every eye-hook latched and every stocking unrolled to ensure that these private garments become my own quiet reclamation; that, like my outer layers, what I put on under my clothes will remain how I want to be represented, both as a woman and sexually.

photography // Laura Tuttle

What’s in a Name?

Vintage labels by any other name would not nearly be as sweet

Anyone who has combed the racks of Salvation Army or dug through mounds of rayon at a by-the-pound knows the thrill of finding vintage labels amongst the overpopulated Old Navy, H&M, and Talbots tags that cycle through community thrift stores. As a vintage clothing picker, sifting through thousands of pounds of clothing a day, styles and labels can begin to meld together and repeat themselves until everything seems like a big clump of deodorant stained polyester. That is until, every once in a blue velvet moon, an unusual vintage label catches my eye. While some may fawn over finding a Dior or Lanvin, the labels that tickle my sartorial fancy are not the designer, but the obscure and borderline ridiculous.

Move Over Sean John

Nowadays every celebrity and their pet Chihuahua have a clothing line, but here are a few celebrity labels that were around way before we were elbowing our way through Target for that MK and Ashley headband.

Your body might be a wonderland, but it would look super stylish in this plaid button down. Who knows, Taylor Swift might even write you a song about how she is never, ever, ever giving back your shirt or sweater.

Wool and Paris are two things I would never associate with Zebra and Pickle loving Snooki, but I’m sure the Shore gets cold every once and a while, and what girl from Jersey (or anywhere, for that matter) doesn’t want to pull a Carrie Bradshaw and have Big chase them through the city of love.

Like Adidas going back to the flower, do you think they’ll drop the Draper Price to regain their old school cred comme Mad Men season six?

So Fash-pun

If you’ve noticed anything about WORN (besides our modest yet wildly attractive and intelligent staff—thank you, BTW) it’s that we love our fair share of puns. Coming from this background, it’s hard not to find myself chuckling when I come across ones as good as these.

While some might say putting a specific sport in the name of your sportswear company is limiting (think how many less Air Jordans Nike would have sold if they were Bik-e), I still think this marketing is pure genius.

I just really want to go back in time and sit at the round table with the marketers that made this one, and eat all the donuts while scrolling down a dictionary.com list of all the words with ‘knit’ in them.

Honourable (and in some cases dishonourable) Mentions

Though I don’t remember the particular garment this label was on, you just know the guy wearing this was totally jamming to Flock of Seagulls while cruising in his Delorean.

There’s so much going on on this label, it’s hard to know where to start. I mean, like they say in the copy, obviously the first thing I notice is Fun and Fashion. But let’s remember that all that great capital F stuff must first come with the courage it takes to assert yourself and say NO! I feel there’s a lot of life lessons packed into these denims, ladies.

And from saying ‘No!’ to saying, well…No, is ‘Mr. Thomson…please!’ The most disturbing in ’50s office fashions, and coming to an HR rep near you!

The Motherloads

Everything we know about fashion, we learned from our TV mothers

Television opponents like to accuse parents of letting the boob tube raise their children. I gotta say—what’s wrong with that? For decades now, TV has been home to some effective mothers, from the lax and laid back to the strict and tough, with the wardrobes to match.

In deciding to profile some of the most stylish TV moms, we didn’t, of course, imagine this to be a comprehensive list—just a picking of some of our staff’s particular favourites. Want to gush about Jane Jetson or Peggy Bundy? Tell us in the comments. But first, sit down, read what we have to say, and don’t forget to eat your vegetables.

1 > Roseanne Conner from Roseanne (1988-1997)
Although comedian Roseanne Barr succeeded in turning her “Domestic Goddess” standup routine into a half-hour sitcom, the look of her character on Roseanne was anything but divine. Sweaters, simple button-downs and jeans made up Roseanne Conner’s wardrobe—that is when she wasn’t wearing her retro-kitsch waitress uniform.

The costumes were a way for the show to reflect the everyday authenticity of Lanford, Illinois. Roseanne battled with the wardrobe master over pricey clothes which made her “look like a show pony rather than a working-class mom.” As she wrote in New York Magazine, “I wanted vintage plaid shirts, t-shirts, and jeans, not purple stretch pants with green-and-blue smocks.”

The wardrobe master admitted that head office instructed her to ignore what the star wanted to wear because they did not approve of how Roseanne was portraying the character (despite the fact that the character was obviously based on herself). While not a trendsetter, Roseanne deserves credit for sticking to her guns and bringing some realness to ‘Must See TV.’ WORN celebrates Roseanne for wearing what she wanted, even if we never found out what the deal was with that ubiquitous chicken shirt. // Max Mosher


2 > Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
As a kid (and, okay, kind of recently) we’ve spent many a sick day watching re-runs of The Cosby Show and wondering how one family could be so sartorially spot-on. Mr. Huxtable had his iconic sweaters, and Denise—well, Denise’s style was clearly not dreamt up by mere mortals. But the one family member who is most deserving of our nail art-embellished and bracelet-jangling applause is Mama Huxtable (Phylicia Rashād) herself—er, let’s just call her Clair.

Clair was a hard-ass, capital ‘M’ Mom (and lawyer) who could make you clean your room whether you liked it or not—and she’d wear a pile of jewels and a brightly coloured onesie while she did it. Then she would throw a matching apron over top and whip up a roast dinner without scuffing even one of her immaculately manicured nails. Even when she was working in the garden, Mama Hux was put together; she pulled weeds with style in oversized dungarees, a plaid shirt with rolled-up sleeves, and a straw hat.

It’s impossible to pick a favourite of Clair’s outfits, but a recurring look she owned and we’ve always envied was the oversized blouse and skinny trouser combo; there were usually shoulder-pads involved, and there was always a carefully selected set of jewelry on top, with the occasional belt to pull it all together. Mrs. Huxtable’s knack for style is simply undeniable. // Stephanie Fereiro


3 > Vivian Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
Two actresses may have played Aunt Viv in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but it was the original who was the most memorable. Janet Hubert played matriarch of the mansion from seasons one to three. She was spunky, stylish, and a rare sight as one of the few dark-skinned, black women on TV.

Will Smith’s dayglo tanks were no match for original Aunt Viv who stole scenes with her classy, luxurious style. The sitcom mom was rarely seen without a piece of gold jewelry. She wore suits that were masterfully tailored and jumpsuits that cinched at the waist. Her nails were always manicured, her hair always full. Even when she was cuddling in bed with Uncle Phil (that’s her husband, Will’s uncle), the woman always looked beautiful. Producers eventually fired Hubert over contract riffs, replacing her with Daphne Reed from seasons four onward. And Aunt Viv was never the same. Her wardrobe wasn’t as fly, she wasn’t as forthright, and she probably couldn’t pull off this dance in a pink unitard. // Mai Nguyen

4 > Morticia Addams from The Addams Family (1964-1966)
Morticia Addams is the spooky mama of the Addams Family; played by Carolyn Jones in the ’60s sitcom that paired creepy, gothic sensibilities with a sense of humour. Morticia (the Frenchies amongst you will recognize the word “mort” means “death”) is the ultimate domestic housewife with a demented twist. Her dark yet refined look was a fixture of the show, and she is considered a style icon for classy goths both inside and out of the fashion world.

Morticia was never seen without her cascade of sleek, black hair, cat-eye make-up and clingy, floor-length black gown. She ruled her household with cool (yet perfectly manicured) hand, in contrast to her excitable husband Gomez, who could barely contain his sexual attraction to her. Morticia’s trademark style oozed glamour, and was somewhere between a silent movie star and a grim funeral-goer. // Isabel Slone

5 > Florida Evans from Good Times (1974-1979)
Florida Evans, played by actress Esther Rolle, was the lead character and fiery mother of three in Good Times. The series followed the Evans family and their lives spent in a housing project in a poor, inner-city Chicago neighbourhood. While working class families had been shown on television before, depicting the lives of black characters living in such impoverished conditions was a breakthrough in the genre.

So what’s a ’70s housewife in the projects to wear? Polyester, and lots of it. Florida’s outfits may have been tame compared to the funky wardrobes of her children, but she still had mad style. Her most memorable looks had her dressed in head to toe orange—just as fresh and bright as the fruit. Though this might be a clever comment about the state that Florida shares her name with, perhaps the choice was just a compliment to the autumn hues of the Evans’ ’70s living room. Dressed for a wedding in her “JC Penney Original”—a vibrant orange dress complete with matching bakelite necklace—Florida declares that her outfit for this uptown occasion is a little tight downtown. Like a good mother should—ain’t we lucky we got em!—Florida speaks the truth. // Jenna Danchuk

6 > Marge Simpson from The Simpsons (1989-present)
Marge Simpson has become so ingrained in pop culture as one fifth of the most iconic animated family, her style has become taken for granted. Sure, one could argue that she’s meant to represent the typical housewife (though what does that mean, really?) but quick—how many small town stay-at-home moms do you know who rock a green strapless dress, orange pearls, and a bright blue Bride of Frankenstein-style beehive? A mother of three, she understands the value of clothes to the extent that she can stop a counterfeit jean ring operating out of her car hole by recognizing their faulty stitching.

Marge is never more conscious of clothing than in the episode “Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield.” After rationalizing the purchase of a dramatically discounted Chanel suit (“It’ll be good for the economy”) she gets invited to a country club inhabited by Springfield’s elite. Marge desperately wants to be accepted by this new crowd, for whom living on a budget and meatloaf do not exist. It’s a world that the always resourceful Marge doesn’t understand, but nonetheless runs her sewing machine ragged trying to get the maximum mileage out of her Chanel suit. Eventually she learns that clothes are just textiles, capable of getting destroyed with the wrong amount of pressure on her sewing machine pedal, and that while they reveal a lot, they can never truly compensate for one’s values. Plus, let’s be real—her hairdo is way more chic than anything the women at the country club were sporting. // Anna Fitzpatrick

7 > Betty Draper from Mad Men (2007-present)
Ice-cold blue eyes shoot daggers through cat-eyed sunglasses, while fitted waists and full skirts cause children (even her own) to run in the other direction. January Jones as Betty Draper, or Francis rather—if we are able to picture her outside the golden era of her and Don and that blue velveteen headboard—is the ultimate in ’50s housewife style. If Grace Kelly put on an apron and went to therapy, she would be Betty. Never a blonde strand out of place or a smudged rouge pout—even while in a nighty, shooting the neighbour’s pesky pigeons.

To the world outside her suburban windows she is perfect. Her anxiety cramped hands hide in white day gloves, and as an audience we rarely see her looking dishevelled. Even sulking in polka dotted chiffon, she still manages to look way more put together than I would after a marathon Kleenex fest. For the most part, however, Betty’s costume is just that. A suit of tafetta armour, protecting the ideal she upholds.

And while the fashion thirsty Mad Men watchers in the past few seasons may have—like Don—found a new muse that’s more their cup of Scotch (cough, Megan), I would urge you not to overlook some of Betty’s sartorial adventures that prove she’s not just a cookie cutter gingham clad housewife. Remember when she recalled the story of being a muse to an Italian designer and pulled out that racy silk romper from the back of her closet? Or the time she bought that yellow bikini from the auction and confronted Don about wearing it outside (Hi, Feminism!…That is until he shamed her out of wearing it by saying she looked ‘cheap’—not cool, Draper). And, ummm, hello, this hair!? // Casie Brown

8 > Jo McGuire from Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004)
Lizzie McGuire was always one of the coolest 13-year-olds who managed to rock some the most flamboyant outfits the Disney Channel ever did see (your move, Hannah Montana). Her mom, Jo McGuire, on the other hand, was much plainer and often deemed by Lizzie as uncool. And yet, Mrs. McGuire was awesome—her look was former-hippie-turned-soccer-mom, who although plain, never lost her quirky flair. Jo’s hair was always in a simple yet complex up-do that even sometimes supported bright bandanas intricately laced. She also seemed to have a cardigan in every colour imaginable, and wore poignant thick rimmed glasses before they were the hip, go-to accessory. Still, what especially put Jo McGuire within the high ranks of super cool moms was the fact that she took Lizzie bra shopping with an enthusiasm and active motherly support that isn’t so common on television. She helped send a body-positive message to young girls wherein lingerie was seen as a part of growing up and womanly empowerment instead of a tool for male seduction with voyeuristic connotations too often seen in teenage dramas. // Paulina Kulacz

image compilation // Zoe Vos

Crushing on Moon Moon

Spreading music and love to infinity—and beyond

The last time I saw Moon Moon live, I left with a tattoo—literally. While I’m sure not everyone who sees them rushes out to get inked the very next day, the impression left by this sprightly duo is more permanent than the buzz of a needle and ink breaking skin. Lyrics and vocals haunt their audience, while stop-animations of pressed flowers project over a white canvas of lace and linen garments. I’ve been lucky enough to know June (who, along with partner Conor make up Moon Moon) and her closet for several years, as she has brought her message of “More Love” from Toronto treehouses, to her native Newfoundland, Montreal, California, and now a cabin in Vancouver where the two reside. More than geographically, Moon Moon is spreading their mantra of “More Love” to bodies across Canada, committing themselves, and encouraging others, to recycle clothing and remove themselves from the grips of Fast Fashion.

How much thought do you put into getting dressed in the morning? Do you put more or less effort into picking clothing for daily life than for stage?
June > I keep my wardrobe small. I like to repeat outfits. When I find something I can move in, it stays with me for days.
Conor > Getting dressed in the morning I think mostly about what I’m doing for the day… it’s a question of function mostly. For the stage, it’s a totally different thing; we discuss with each other and endeavour to create a unified stage picture.

From stamping the wrists of the audience, to carefully crafted projections, it seems like in your live shows you try to generate an overall aesthetic experience, rather than just a two dimensional, flat performance. How important does clothing/costume rank in creating this experience?
June > Live music is a sacred thing to me, it brings people together; an opportunity to create community. To honour the experience I want the performance to be special, magical, and all inclusive. Costumes are an important part of the aesthetic that is fun to play with.

Lately, you both have been wearing white on stage. Was this a conscious choice? If so, why white? Is there some sort of significance behind this color for you as a duo?
June > We have been playing with live projections, and wearing white helps to reflect the images. Plus, white is a serene box to put yourself in.
Conor > White reflects all the colours of the spectrum, like the face of the moon reflects sunlight back to earth, our bodies on stage reflect our video content back to the space.

Much of my wardrobe is filled with castaways from June’s wardrobe, which she almost ritually gives away the majority of each year. June, what have been your reasons for purging your closet in the past? Do you think you’ll continue to do so in coming years? (A girl can only hope.)
June > There is so much abundance in the world! This practice of release is integral to make space for the new. I only keep things in my life if they serve me. If I’m not wearing that dress anymore, I’m going to give it to someone who will, and Casie, you always get first dibs.

Tell me about your initiative to not buy new clothing. Conor, is this something you are doing as well?
Conor >Yes, absolutely. I love thrift store shopping, especially in small towns where the store hasn’t been picked over, because I find the craziest pieces. I feel like at this point the world is so saturated with garments it just makes sense to recycle whats already there.
June > I believe in More Love and less waste. I try not to buy clothes and when I do, I shop consciously, and second hand. I chose to be resourceful, especially when the alternative to shopping is an adventure benefitting me, and the planet. If you have never been to a clothing exchange, host one now. It’s brilliant. Trade your clothes! These threads have stories, these clothes have soul.

This one is for Conor. Sometimes I feel as though for women, the possibilities for reinvention through clothing are infinite. As a male, and particularly as a performer, do you ever feel limited in possibilities for stage wear compared to your counterpart?
Conor > The simple answer is no. I have always been drawn to “costumish” clothing, I love to feel the way people’s perception of me changes along with my wardrobe.

What is your favorite piece of clothing you’ve ever owned and why?
June > I have a grey sweater that’s been living on me for about five years. SO COMFORTABLE.
Conor > I have a black felt fedora that I bought with my very first pay cheque. It has traveled all over the world with me; it has been worn by so many people I love and quite a few that I will never see again. I feel like the value of an item of clothing can best be measured in stories.

What is your favorite item that you’ve given away?
Conor > The first time I went to a thrift store I was maybe 17 and I bought this amazing leather bomber jacket that had a map of the world pattern on the lining. I recently left it for a friend when I moved away from Montreal. It shall be sorely missed.
June > Once upon a time I bought a beautiful winter jacket, made in Canada, from 69 Vintage in Toronto. It swept around my ankles and made me feel all Hollywood ’20s. Sadly, there was no room for it my latest move. Someone please go find it at Local 23 in Montreal and love it and love it and love it…

photography // Allison Staton