The Times They Aren’t a-Changin’

Either he’s dead, or my watch has stopped. – Groucho Marx

There have been a few moments in my sartorial lifespan when strangers have been left dumbfounded by the impracticality of my choices. While most of these revolve around weather—wearing shorts in the midst of a snow storm, for example (I happen to find tights an acceptable substitute for pants, thank you)—there is one particular accessory that winds people up. In my experience, the wristwatch is an unmatched example of an object in which fashion and functionality are expected to keep perfect time.

My first encounter in this wristy business occurred just over a year ago, at an estate sale. As I handed over five dollars to the elderly woman behind the cashbox, she commented on how darling the white leather band and face of my watch was, and how it only needed a change of battery. “Oh, I don’t need it to actually work,” I replied to her disapproving frown. A year later, I was at an antique mall with my mother. By that time the charming white band is waiting in a wooden jewelry box to be repaired, and my wrist is bare. Among the cluttered shelves of collectables, I came across a carrot coloured watch box, with three delicate wristwatches inside, “Timex Electric” printed on the cream lining. Snapping the lid closed, I ran to show my mother, who couldn’t believe I had found three working watches for $6. “Oh, they don’t actually work.” I cringed slightly to hear myself reiterating the same speech. By the time we left the mall, the minutes I’d spent explaining that I regard the watches as objects of ornamentation and not utility almost outnumbered those on a Rolex.

In a world where our iPhones might as well be surgically implanted into our palms, and the twitch of a fingertip can tell you the time in Yakutsk—that’s in Siberia, F.Y.I.—what use do we have for a functioning watch if not for its jaunty addition to an outfit? Additionally, for the more sentimentally inclined there is something charming about a stalled second-hand. Like putting a photograph into a locket, our dead watches have, quite literally, the capability of freezing a memory in time. I regularly glance at the hands beneath the glass and think back to what my own hands were doing at that time yesterday, last week, or even a year ago.

While for tick-tock-less enthusiasts like myself, this argument may seem straightforward, when brought up to a panel of time-conscious Wornettes, the debate became divided. Many blamed the inevitable aggravation that would present itself when, for example, while waiting for your perpetually late friend outside Starbucks, you look down to your wrist only to be greeted by a blank face. While that’s an acceptable argument, I was surprised to receive this reaction from a group of people who spend hours drooling over the meticulous folds of a McQueen gown and have a library full of books lamenting the validity of fashion as an art. Why appreciate the beading of a vintage Dior gown that crumbles to dust if lightly touched, but disregard the craftsmanship of a time piece once its gears stop turning? Just because something loses its intended purpose doesn’t have to mean its beauty and the intricacies of its design are lost as well. Isn’t this aesthetic value enough to warrant use past the warranty?

text & photography by Casie Brown

Homemade Haircut

Change has an interesting way of manifesting in our appearances. A big promotion calls for a new suit, a new school year demands a new look, and a new romantic partner begs new briefs and panties (please tell me I’m not alone in this one?). The possibilities for displaying these shifts through personal aesthetics are endless, but the most obvious and attainable indicator of transition—be it physical or mental—has to be the haircut. In late November, I was ready for said change. With a new job and apartment on the horizon, and months full of trial and error, heartbreak, and harrowing anxiety behind me, I marched into the WORN office, scissors in hand.

I had decided 24 hours before to cut off my hair. And while I wasn’t planning on going Jean Seberg-short like many brave Wornettes before me, the impending change was drastic enough for me. Fund restrictions and a lack of patience led me to a Google chat with my editor here at WORN, and we scheduled my cut for 8 p.m. that same evening; like my dreary memories of the past, I wanted it gone, and I wanted it gone fast.

Looking back, this haircut wasn’t really about vanity. If I wanted a perfectly sculpted coif, I surely could have waited the extra week and booked an appointment at a salon—though I must admit that my confidence in Serah-Marie’s cutting capabilities doubled when I walked in the office and Edward Scissorhands was playing on the projector. For me, the cut was more about marking a transition. And, as corny as it sounds, holding six inches of loose hair in my hands somehow re-affirmed that I had the ability to not only accept change as it came, but to create it for myself; no week-long wait to book, and no hesitations.

text by Casie Brown
photography by Serah-Marie

What I Wore to WORN: Six French Schoolgirls and a Bad, Bad Hat!

What inspired this outfit?
I really wanted to wear this felt hat that my best friend Lindsay (you may know her from this) gave me. I had also been wearing this crop top that I got from my friend June for about a week straight. A mathematical equation of the outfit might read: hat + crop top x layers to prevent frozen limbs = lazy monday outfit I ended up really liking.

Tell me about one of the items you’re wearing.
You can’t see it in the photos, but I’m wearing one of my favourite new watches. I bought them in an antique mall in Queensville recently for $6, and they came with a tiny orange Timex case too!

What’s the best book to read in this outfit?
Katie Wornette said (in a loving way, I’m sure) that I looked like a French Hipster in this look, so maybe something by a French author. A Woman’s Story and Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux are beautiful, short reads that I feel might lend themselves to this look.

What style icon would wear this outfit?
Seeing as my day began by chasing my hat across Dundas street—after it narrowly escaped being crushed by a truck, but before the entire Junction 40 bus chuckled under their breath—I would have to say Madeline. Her rendition of this song seems particularly suited to my look. My roommate and fellow Wornette, Max, did say that the look came off as inspired by Six from Blossom though, which I can totally see.

Shopping Credits: Shirt from Value Village, Shorts from Tribal Rhythm, Boots from Silver Falls Vintage, Necklace from Robber.

photography by Katie Merchant

DIY Sleepovers: Bubbly, Baking, and Barrettes

Gluing things to other things has always been a favourite pastime of mine. Add champagne, my best friend and nighties and you’ve got a recipe for the best slumber party since The Baby-Sitters Club: Dawn and the Big Sleepover. We picked up some cheap barrettes from the dollar store, scoured our apartments for trinkets and thingamajigs (think old necklaces, pillowcases, shoelaces, or old perfume bottles) and plugged in a hot glue gun. The result: some pretty fantastic barrettes that I will probably never wear, but had too much fun making.

text and video by Casie Brown