Fashion Education

A collection of Wornette-approved fashion links from around the web

History: What Did The Renaissance Man Wear? Historian Recreates Outfit from The 16th Century
Change your outfit and change your fortune. Sounds like a fairytale, doesn’t it? Maybe not. A researcher at the University of Cambridge has discovered that dressing for success may have helped one German wine merchant’s son-turned accountant catapult into the nobility. Dr. Ulinka Rublack and dress historian Jenny Tiramani have recreated a piece worn by Matthäus Schwarz based on one of the many detailed portraits Schwarz had commissioned of himself wearing items from his prized wardrobe. The replicated outfit is helping to illuminate the role fashion played politically and socially during the Renaissance. The original item, which was worn by Schwarz on the occasion of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s return to Germany after a period of Protestant uprising, demonstrated his respect for the Emperor and commitment to the Catholic faith, and according to Rublack, played a role in Schwarz’s ennoblement a decade later.

Home Economics: Standard Apparel: Our Clothes Don’t Fit and They’re Falling Apart
Sometimes a short piece manages to say so much with just a few carefully selected words. Such is the case with this piece by Linda Besner. As “the first generation for whom made-to-measure clothing is exotic” explains Besner, we adorn ourselves with items manufactured to a standard size meant to fit everyone and no one at the same time. Never before had I considered placing the blame on anyone but myself for the feeling of shame I get when I try something on and it doesn’t fit. By reminding us that for generations clothing was made to the specific measurements of the individual, Besner helps us realize the absurdity of constructing pieces for someone without knowing any specifics about their shape and size. She also touches on other important topics such as garment quality and the human costs of mass production, but what struck me hardest was the thought of just how many women might have a better body image if all of our clothes were custom made to fit.


Social Studies: Pop-Up Museum of Queer History Tumblr
In the 12th issue of WORN, Max Mosher took a look at the evolution of fashion in the gay community in his piece entitled “Out of the Closet.” It is an informative look into a history of the LGBT community that is not widely known or accessible. The Brooklyn-based Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, a grassroots organization dedicated to creating temporary exhibits celebrating LGBT history does the same thing with it’s Tumblr. Quick, digestible posts like this one of a couple in 1946 Greenwich Village give us a window into a way of life that was at that time largely hidden from view. Even though wearing men’s clothing had become more acceptable during the World War II, the sartorial choices of the two women in this photo would still have drawn attention to themselves.

Sex Education: My Gucci Addiction
Until I read this article by Friday Night Lights author and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Buzz Bissinger, it had never occurred to me how gendered my interaction with fashion media has been. I rarely read about fashion from the male perspective. Bissinger’s account of his complicated relationship to fashion and addiction is a very personal story that doesn’t speak to the fashion experience for all men, but it does dispel the all too commonly held idea that an unhealthy addiction to shopping is the plight of women alone. Bissinger has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on designer items, feeding his leather fetish and providing him with the kind of stimulation he once got from writing. Bissinger himself doesn’t discriminate between women’s and men’s fashion, wearing both and seeing the former as having an “unfair monopoly on feeling sexy.” Nevertheless, clothing has given him a way to “transcend the rigid definitions of sexuality and gender” and reading this piece might help do a bit of the same for the rest of us.


Art: Rumours I’ve Heard about Anna Wintour
As the most talked about woman in fashion and the Queen of Condé Nast, Wintour holds in her hands the power to turn—whether we like it or not—the tides of fashion. But with great power comes great scrutiny, and Wintour has had more than her fair share. Sometimes, however, the rumours come in the form of gently prodding, oddly flattering cartoons like these by illustrator Lisa Hanawalt, published by The Hairpin a few years ago. “Anna Wintour does not have bowel movements. But she does lay stunning eggs,” reads the text on one hilarious drawing in the series. What Hanawalt imagines happening to those eggs is even better.

Men in Dresses, Dry Cleaning Mysteries, and Packing like it’s 1889

Karen Wornette makes some fascinating discoveries on the web

Hats off (but dresses on) to our Kurdish Feminist Brothers
By Dilar Dirik
The photographs capture the Brothers-in-dresses face on, shoulders back, and confident in their stance. In a regime that punishes a man who commits an act of domestic violence by sentencing him to walk the city streets in traditional Kurdish women’s robes, the Feminist Brothers stand in solidarity with the women of their culture, saying, “This is what we look like.” Harnessing the power of social media to spread this message by posting the photos on Facebook, the Kurds ensure the clothes speak of courage to a global audience.

Orthodox Jewish Women Find New Ways to Be Fashionable in Crown Heights
By Liana Satenstein
The Torah’s modesty guidelines are no match for the stylish, independent, and innovatively entrepreneurial women in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jewish sect Chabad-Lubavitch. Requirements to wear skirts that hit below the knee and blouses that cover the elbows and collarbones just means that the women face more of a creative challenge than others when they choose what to wear each day.

A Strip of Cloth that Makes Dry Cleaners Shudder
By Vijai Singh
One of my favourite summer jobs was working for the Textile Analysis Service at the University of Alberta, where I would perform detective work on garments that were damaged at the dry cleaners. Like a whodunit mystery, I tried to figure out who (the customer, the cleaner, or the manufacturer) ruined the garment (discolouration, tiny holes, loss of beads), and with which weapon (pretreating agent, solvent, or sunlight)—but not in which room, because, well, that doesn’t really matter in this case. I won’t tell you what strip of cloth makes these dry cleaners shudder; you’ll have to click to find out.

How to Pack like a Pioneering Journalist
By Maria Popova
Nellie Bly, the audacious journalist who, in 1889, challenged the fictional precedent set in Jules Verne’s classic novel Eighty Days Around the World by circumnavigating the globe in five fewer days, carried only a small leather gripsack with all of her personal items for the journey. This remarkable story puts to shame my packing job for my 60-day stay here in Toronto—and I had the luxury of one large suitcase and a couple of carry-ons. If you’re heading off on a summer vacation, keep Ms. Bly in mind as you repeat the mantra “less is more….”

Are Clothes Modern? Or, what we talk about when we talk about “Dress”
The Blog of A.E. Funk
I’m in awe of A.E. Funk, the veritable curator that she is, and her keen eye for evocative references to dress in all sorts of texts, from books on writing to the credits of Paris is Burning. For an assignment in a course on the history of dress, I scoured Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for references to clothing, textiles, and accessories so that I could attempt to make an assessment of the historical accuracy of the costumes in Ang Lee’s film adaptation. I was also graded on the number of quotes I came up with, and I fell far short of the student in the class who’d earmarked the most. If Funk were in that class, I have a feeling she would have set a formidable standard.

text // Karen Fraser

Wornette Bookmarks

What WORN staffers have been reading and loving around the web

Wornettes love to share. It’s just the way we are. And when we find something we love, we also love to share it with each other. Here’s a roundup of some of the things we’ve been into from around the World Wide Web.

A Black Crip’s Perspective on Fashion and Embodied Resistance
By Eddie Ndopu

Eddie Ndopu is a Black Queer Crip. He also loves fashion, and he takes any excuse he can to dress to the nines, because he enjoys it. But he’s noticed that his mode of dress has become a site of resistance against ableist assumptions about his body and ableist standards of being. He argues that his conscious choice to dress in a fashion-forward, non-casual way makes people less likely to assume that he is someone who is deprived or needs charity, and in turn challenges their notions of what the life of a disabled person is like.


On Pins and Needles: Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head
By Abigail Pesta

Janet Stephens is a Baltimore hairstylist who works at a regular hair salon during the day, but in her free time, she is an amateur hair archaeologist, and recreates hair styles from ancient times. Even better, she puts them up on YouTube, so we can see exactly how the hairstyles were done. Despite not holding a degree, she’s even written for scholarly journals about her hypotheses about how these hairstyles were done, which is a pretty big deal. Her vestal virgins video made somewhat of a stir with the fashion set online last month, and it also proved that the vestal virgin hairstyle, which scholars had long thought were wigs, actually probably were not. This is a must read for any history nerd.

ALERT: Your Vintage Clothing is Infected With Demons
By Lexi Nisita

Vintage lovers no longer just have to worry about bedbugs when buying their clothing, at least according to TV minister Pat Robertson. Apparently demons like to attach themselves to physical objects like clothing, so that ‘60s mini dress might be rife with demonic energy. The only way to prevent this is through prayer and binding friendly spirits to the clothing. No big deal. According to this logic, WORN staffers are all probably about 90% demon, so you have been warned.


‘We’re Done Hiding:’ A First Lingerie Line for Transgender Women
Chrysalis, a new NYC-based lingerie designer and the brainchild of Cy Lauz, is the first designed with the needs of transgender women in mind. The basics line will be released this spring, and features a power mesh panty that helps to create a seamless lines, and sleek, modern bras with pockets to accommodate full cup inserts. They’re also planning a couture collection that will bring this technology to other types of garments like teddies, shapewear, lingerie, and even bathing suits. Even better, all the models used in Chrysalis’ advertising are trans. It’s about damn time.

How Men’s Magazines Sell Masculinity to Young, Low-Income Men
By Amanda Hess

The media isn’t shy about talking about what the images in magazines do to affect women’s self worth and body image, but what about men’s? In this Slate piece by Amanda Hess, she examines the influence that advertising in men’s magazines like Playboy and Game Informer, which promote a heavily aggressive male archetype, has on the men who buy them.



How Fashion is Queer

By Alison Bancroft

Alison Bancroft’s short essay does away with the idea that fashion is frivolous flush that subordinates women, and instead examines fashion as a way to redefine and even ignore gender norms for everyone. Think Andrej Pejic, Ru Paul’s MAC ads, Thierry Mugler, Coco Chanel in the ’20s, and the entire concept of the androgynous fad. Almost everywhere you look in fashion, especially now, someone is challenging notions about gender in some way. “Fashion is not about shopping, and if you think it is, you have missed a trick.” We at WORN are of course heartily in favour of this mode of thinking.

Think Pink!

Alyssa Wornette shares her favorite set of ultra-girly internet snippets

Lately I’ve been floating around on fluffy pink cotton candy clouds, sipping pink tea in a lavender bath and sporting pink mittens with my new knitted cat ear hat. It seems everywhere I look, I am left helplessly fawning over whatever cutesy, fluffy, object-with-a-face meets my eye. This existence trapped within rose-tinted glasses has of course bled into my cyber activity, and inadvertently, into my link roundup:

Kittens, Unicorns, and Puppies, Oh My!
Cats riding rainbow unicorns on a pink heart background ON A SCARF? Yeah, do I need to say more to communicate the brilliance of Silken Favours? If you need to hear more to be fully converted, read this great interview with the creator, Vicki Murdoch, and learn why she thinks everyone should own a scarf.

Bubble Pop
I love K-pop. I am NOT ashamed to throw this love in others’ faces, switching the playlists at parties to my friends’ shock and dismay. Too bad. Just look at their sets, their dance moves, and most importantly THEIR STYLE! From the adorable flower crowns and cat tails of AKB48, to the yellow braids and tiger-print pants of G Dragon, this piece by John Seabrook captures a great tasting of K-pop style and sound.

“I’m the Mary!”
Growing up, Romy and Michele held the keys to my heart. Aside from their hilarious date ditching tactics (“Will you please excuse me, I cut my foot before and my shoe is filling up with blood”), they had the most fearless fashion sense and lived on a candy-filled diet. I got a 15 out of 16 on this quiz, and I’m celebrating with candy corns.

Cattoed, if only for one day
Ever thought you loved cats so much that you wanted to cover your body in them? Well, thanks to illustrator Harriet Gray, you can! These temporary tattoos are so adorable they are almost fluffy on your skin, and bonus: once your cat craze is over (if it ever is) they’ll wash right off!

Call on Me
I recently visited Pacific Mall for the first time. I walked in with a basic iPhone in an Etsy-ordered case. I walked out with a pink iPhone, complete with 3 different new cases and several accessories, like a popsicle plug for the headphone jack. I never realized phones could change with your outfits, but NEWS FLASH, it’s totally possible! The Cute iPhone Cases Tumblr validates this new obsession.

My Teenage Dream
No roundup of mine would be complete without a Katy Perry reference. We can all haggle over Katy’s upbringing, her choice of lyrics, and her politics, but when it comes down to her style and HAIRSTYLES, no one can really debate her genius. Case and point, this Glamour UK photo collection of KP’s 58 best hair days.