Crushing on Fieldguided

My crush on Anabela started somewhere between reading her blog, fieldguided, following her twitter, and browsing her flickr. We share many friends and live blocks away from each other in the same city, but, until early in this new year, we’d never met. Fieldguided became a regular read (even inspiring the title for the zebra photoshoot from issue 11) and filled with lovely photography, soft, clean design, and a distinct taste that is clearly all her own.

What did you wear when you where in high school?
I went to a Catholic high school and so most of the time I wore my school uniform, which was navy blue with white and pale blue, with a pair of buckled Doc Martens that I actually hated at the time but wish I still had. I’ve blocked a lot of it out, but I remember trying to dress like the girls from the band Lush in later high school. I wore a lot of shiny, satin clothing in 1996. Oh dear.

What are your local fashion store crushes?
My favourite is Robber, on Queen West. I love the aesthetic; I love loose dresses, I love clothing that is feminine and unpretentious. I appreciate that most of the clothing is made locally to the brand. When I want to invest in something I know I will love for years, I go there (I have worn an APC Madras dress I bought there in 2009 approximately three thousand times — or so it feels). I love the shoe selection at Chasse Gardée. For vintage, I like Silver Falls and Penny Arcade and the 69 Vintage Collective.

What literary characters have interesting style?
I have been reading a lot about the Mitfords on blogs lately, and I think me and others are attracted to the idea of their disheveled aristocrat style. I’ll go with “the Hons” in The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. Also, since I’m going through a weird VC Andrews obsession, I have to admit that her descriptions of makeup, perfume, hair, and clothing have stayed with me since I first read those books at the age of 12. I can’t pin-point an exact style (except, I guess, “filthy rich New England lady”) but I loved luxuriating in her descriptions of fabrics and textures and clothing details, as well as dressing rituals. It’s possible that I’m remembering it all wrong, though.

Did you make any fashion-related new year’s resolutions? If so, what are they?
I didn’t make any resolutions per se but I have resolved over the past few months to stop buying fast fashion. I have too many items of clothing in my closet that I have worn once or not at all. I find that as long as I stay out of those stores, I won’t be tempted, but I am always tempted once the season changes, particularly around spring or fall. I have also decided to try to hammer down what my specific aesthetic is over the next little while, and to stay faithful to it. It’s really just about making better choices, and being less wasteful. I also want to save up for a pair of clog boots. I have wanted them since 2008! It’s time. I love wooden heels.

As a huge cat fan, do you have any favourite cat fashions?

Leah Goren makes really amazing hand-printed clothing and bags with cat faces — the tee-shirt is on my wish list for sure! I also have a Paul & Joe Sister cat-face sweater that I got on clearance for about $10 a few years ago that is pretty special. The little knitted face is adorable.

Nothing beats the United Bamboo 2010 calendar for fashion for cats. If only I could get my calico, Pony, into that peach blouse and black skirt!

- Serah-Marie

Crushing on Betty Felon

Betty Felon is an outfit blogger of superheroine proportions. When not photographing her own outfits and costumes, she documents her favourite Fashion Tips from Comic Strips. Plus, one time she made this really wicked Pokemon dress, forever securing a place in my heart.

If you were a superhero, what would your costume look like?
First and foremost, a domino mask is mandatory, as are bow-shaped Batarangs, since I wear bows with almost every one of my outfits. The rest of my dream costume would include a long-sleeved leotard, matching tights, patent combat boots, a streamlined utility belt, and an optional cape that falls mid-thigh. As for the color palette, I think that I’d stick with a more retro colourway — light aqua body, cherry red cape and mask, and lemon yellow accents.

Do you think there is a difference between costume and fashion?
I think it really depends on the role that fashion plays in your life. In a general sense, there really is no essential difference between costume and fashion when you recognize both as a means of visual identity. While costumes often seem a bit audacious and inappropriate in normal settings, you really have to consider the significance of a costume to a superhero or supervillain, serving as an iconic identifier; even after years of redesigns, most characters can be identified simply by their synonymous symbol, theme, or style. Similarly, civilian characters also have a symbol in the form of a signature look, which allows us to identify Lois Lane by her impeccable sense of business-casual or Jim Gordon by his browline glasses within even the most intricately dense splash page. In relation to the fashion world, I think that virtually everyone has a signature style or item that they wear that personalizes their daily ensembles.

However, I think that the similarities between costume and fashion are actually more apparent when heroes and villains assume their civilian identities. As civilians, they wear “normal” inconspicuous outfits to blend in with their surroundings, not unlike how less-than-super individuals will abide by a dress code at work or this season’s popular-yet-overdone fashion trends on a daily basis, usually for the primary purpose of fitting in. Their civilian wear in turn serves as their Average Man and Normal Woman costumes, giving them the power to hide their actual powers and identities.

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Crushing on Lydia Okello

Lydia Okello’s wardrobe is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. Her ability to perfectly mis-match colours and garments never ceases to amaze me. The 21-year-old fashion merchandising student’s blog, Style Is Style, is a mix of personal style shots with inspirational editorial shoots. She’s quite sweet herself.

What was your first favourite outfit as a kid?
My mom sewed a lot of my clothing as a kid, and I remember having a large floral print dress with matching hair piece (either a scrunchy or hat) that I couldn’t wait to wear on Sundays to church when I was four. I think I loved it so much because a) it was matching and b) it was very, very girly. I think all of the pieces have been donated by now, so somewhere there is a kid wearing a 90′s dress that used to be mine!

Do you have similar taste in clothing now?
I actually find my self reverting back to my early childhood wardrobe. I had many dresses, and lots of girly, frilly things. Nowadays I look for the same elements in pieces for my wardrobe. You will very seldom see me in pants, I am hopelessly devoted to being pantless for eternity.

Tell us a story about the garment or accessory you love most.
One of my very favourite pieces (and it’s very hard to choose) is a floral print, scalloped neckline 80′s dress that I thrifted back in Grade 10. At the time, I was just beginning to sort of develop my style, and I was always on the lookout for 50′s inspired pieces at the local thrift store. I found this dress and I nearly had a heart attack! The print, the shape, the fact that it had a tulle underskirt… It seemed like a dream dress come true! I think at the time it didn’t actually completely fit properly, but I bought it anyway. I had debated converting it into a strapless dress, but luckily I was too lazy to actually do it. The scalloped details are actually my favorite part of the dress now! One of the reasons I love this particular dress so much is that I always feel good in it. When I went on a whirlwind trip to New York Fashion Week in the spring of 2010, I wore it, so now it also has really amazing memories attached to it too. It’s my “happy” dress!
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Crushing on Jessica Bialkowski

Scrolling through 21 year old Jessica Bialkowski’s blog (or looking at her flickr, for that matter) is like entering a dream world where everything is light and sunny, sparkly and sprinkled with a sort of ethereal cuteness. What stands out for me is her photography. Though her site is more personal diary than self-proclaimed “fashion blog,” there is still an emphasis on fashion and clothing. In Jessica’s photos, she captures clothing on its own, out of context, as well as in complete outfits she wears day-to-day.

What did you dress like in elementary school and how has your wardrobe changed since then?
I’m pretty sure back in primary school I just wore jeans (I think flares were cool back then, right?) and plain tops and that kind of thing. I don’t even really remember it that much because fashion wasn’t a huge focus for me, but obviously I have changed since then! For a large part of my teenage years I pretty much exclusively wore black jeans and band t-shirts, but since then my style has evolved to incorporate a lot of different things that I’m interested in (though I still wear band t-shirts occasionally) and I think it’s still changing and evolving now.

You seem to have a liking for bows, lace, and other little details in clothing now.
I think I always tend to gravitate towards clothing with a little extra detail, or if I’m wearing something plain I will add accessories to spice it up. I really feel like the details are what make or break the outfit and it’s where someone’s personal style really comes through. Floral dresses are a dime a dozen, but if it’s got a pretty lace collar or you match a cute belt and shoes with it, then you’ve created a look instead of just wearing a dress, y’know? Small details here and there make a big difference to an outfit and the overall impression that it gives people, so I always try to include a little something special whenever I get dressed.

What do you think contributes to shaping your style?
I think everything contributes to it. You can find inspiration anywhere – online, in the street, in the media, through music, books, or movies. I think generally my style is influenced by all of these things and by whatever happens to cross my path, but at the end of the day it’s my personal taste that brings individual elements together, and I am the one who shapes what I see into something that truly represents who I am.

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