Striped Confessions

I recently flew across the country, paying approximately one arm, one leg, and fifty cents, to visit home. In many ways, I hope that a certain portion of my childhood is preserved in the home in which I grew up, that somehow it remains intact and untouched by change. Driving into my old neighbourhood it’s clear that much has been modified; my old high school is now a strange colour of evergreen rather than the original boring blue, and entirely new streets have been built and named. Even at my parents’ house I notice small things, modern differences, like olive oil hand soap in the bathrooms and shiny new saucepans. These changes are small, but when added together, substantial enough to rattle me.

As a creature of habit, I have a tendency to look through old photographs to restore and affirm the history I have memorized. I find it consoling to return to these small 4X6 records of time, in part because they will never change.

I would love to share with all of you perfect family snapshots and candid moments of picnics and past pets – but alas, I have uncovered some deep and dark secrets about my childhood. The photos I’m about to share with you reveal something so shocking and absurd that all I can do now is shake my head.

Mom, why did you dress us kiddies only in stripes?

Without further ado, the evidence:

Here I am at about 3 years old in my backyard. Sure, I am clearly excited about something (probably the attention of a camera lens), and every piece of my clothing (save for the shoes) is striped. Obviously, I myself have taken the liberty of putting on the hat I’m wearing, hence the asymmetrical hair did. In defense of my mother, I will say that she was trying to teach me my ABC’s through fashion, but this is only the beginning of my case materials.

Same hat, another day, another striped shirt. Sigh. What you see here is the very complicated baby bottle pose where one has to drink the milk with no hands. Not everyone can master this but I was particularly adept. Again, the tee-shirt is actually quite cute, puffed sleeves and all, but what about florals? Or solids? Maybe even an offensive fluorescent? Honourable mentions in this photo go to my bunchy diaper peeking out of my shorts, and the somewhat embarrassing fact that I am much too old to be drinking from a bottle.

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Do It Yo-Self: The Organic Necklace

Doing things yourself never gets old. Though my boyfriend could talk your ear off about the fact that I would rather stick a rusty fork in my eye than pay a trained professional to perform a task I can easily do (after reading a wikipedia article) myself, I would also like to attest to that uplifting and euphoric feeling that accompanies a job well done. Unfortunately, DIY projects often entail an unforeseen problem, a slight glitch — like fabric that is not quite long enough, or outdated tools, perhaps even a string of beads that comes apart over your parents’ shag rug — the kind that was all the rage in 70s home décor — rendering you a blubbering ball of frustration (tears). Perhaps you think briefly about punching another person in the face — anyone would do — but you put down the knitting needle, leave the sewing bench, and take a breather. Like any good journey, doing-it-yourself involves ups and downs which ultimately make the final product that much more satisfying.

Admittedly, the initial start-up costs of buying beads, clasps, and those little do-hickeys that connect the beads to the clasps can be a bit daunting. Yes, you will have to spend a bit of hard-earned coin to make some magic happen, but keep in mind the first investment is always the worst. Personally I would much rather spend $20 on crafting materials than a night on the town. And in the interest of honesty, I will add that handmade accessories always make me look much more put together than a few rounds of gin and tonics.

So without further ado, the object of my week’s DIY affection: The Organic Necklace

I toss this “organic” term in there audaciously simply because I can, and hey, aren’t you intrigued? What could be organic about a necklace? Well this one is made out of wood and silver, and I am pretty sure Mother Nature gave us both those ingredients. Thank you m’lady.

1) I began by laying out all my materials and tools. This is a good way to check if you are missing anything crucial.

Is that an issue of Worn in the background?! Why yes it is.

A closer look at the main ingredients: wooden beads, chain, silver doodads

2) Next I eyeballed a length of chain. I knew that I would be adding additional strands, so I made the first length of chain a bit shorter than I wanted the finished product to be. I splurged and bought chain that is actually silver plated, nickel-free so that I don’t have an allergic reaction. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing pure silver until I win the gosh darn lottery.

3) I threaded the wooden beads onto some pliable wire and finished the ends in a loop. I then connected the wire loops to the chain using a small ring — for this step you will need the pliers.

When the first string of beads was all finished, the necklace looked like this:

4) The next step is incredibly crucial. Pour chocolate-covered almonds into a bowl and photograph it only after you have eaten a considerable portion. This way, it does not look like you started with so many and ended with so few.

In the end I really got in the groove and made not one, not two, but three necklaces! Each one is slightly different, but they also look lovely all together. The techniques for making each one was the same, and really, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to make jewelry.

It was very affirming to hear from the Obamas and Queen Elizabeth such praise as, “The necklace matches my diamond-encrusted crown so nicely,” and “Your jewelry helps me lead America in groundbreaking style.”

Come on now Barack, I’m blushing.

- Carmen Vicente

Where Few Dare to Don

When most people take a vow it tends to be in a church, accompanied by their future spouse and a few too many distant relatives. Aunt Hilda has gone a little heavy on the punch, her bedazzled sweater dress becomes a spinning blur on the dance floor, and the bride can only ask herself, “Who’s Aunt Hilda?”

Sheena Matheiken, on the other hand, is decidedly more unconventional in her aims. When this Brooklyn native took a vow in May, it was not of matrimony but “an exercise in sustainable fashion” –- she promised to wear one dress for 365 days. In a mere three months since the birth of her sartorial venture, aptly named The Uniform Project, Matheiken has already begun making waves (well-groomed, immaculately adorned, and swoon-worthy waves).

Thanks to the power of the almighty internet, The Uniform Project has seen exponential and rapid exposure, which has helped to support Matheiken’s greater motive of raising money. Her charity of choice is the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organization that makes accessible “uniforms and other educational expenses” for children in need in India’s public school system. Much of Matheiken’s inspiration stems from similar beginnings having been schooled and raised in India, and she describes the process of modifying school uniforms with a certain nostalgic tone.

“Despite the imposed conformity, kids always found a way to bend the rules and flaunt a little personality. Boys rolled up their sleeves, wore over-sized Swatches, and hiked up their pants to show off their high-tops. Girls obsessed over bangles, bindis and bad hairdos. Peeking through the sea of uniforms were the idiosyncrasies of teen style and individual flare.” – Matheiken

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Carmen Wornette

Hello my Wornette sistas! I am Carmen, one half of the new two-part web intern team here at Worn. In the interest of being both welcoming and stylish, I wish I could give each and every reader a double kiss on the cheeks, but alas, that sort of thing is still impossible through the computer screen. As a web intern I vow to get on that technological glitch ASAP.

I am a recent graduate of Concordia University where I completed my degree in Creative Writing. Of course, [unofficially] I also specialized in anxiety attacks, speed reading romantic epics, and trying not to let my eye balls freeze in Montreal’s frigid winter. For some strange reason the university left those last three off my degree!

When I first became aware of fashion in my elementary school years, it was clear that my idea of “in” was not the norm. While I lacked the funds to support my strange addiction to runways, show my 11-year-old self an editorial or gussied up model and I could provide the designer, season, and year for that dress, hat, or pair of shoes. Sure, some girls my age sought out the infamous three-stripe gym short, but all I could do was longingly daydream about Miucca’s teetering platforms. I am all about DIY-ing, and fancy myself a master beader, knitter, spinner (of wool!), and embroider…er. I like to think my clothing inspirations are eclectic, drawing upon anything and everything from a walk through Chinatown, to Elizabeth Taylor’s dynamic wardrobe in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or my weekly pilgrimages to The Village of Everything Valuable. (Seriously though, you should watch that movie even if for no other reason but to drool over Paul Newman).

I am very excited to start my internship at Worn, in part because it will give me a chance to explore, research, and engage in discourse about the captivating world of clothing and representation. Moreover, I now have the opportunity to feed a large group of people subliminal messages through the internet. Suddenly and mysteriously feel like eating peanut butter on celery? Don’t look at me.

Current Inspirations:

Hannah and Landon
With her self-proclaimed pout and “snaggle tooth,” Hannah is simultaneously mesmerizing and intimidating. A Canadian beauty currently living in the States, Hannah and her husband update a blog of photographs that look like they were taken straight from a fairytale. Hannah and Landon never share what they ate for lunch or where they went out last night, choosing instead to post pictures of their quiet forest jaunts or eerie doll collections. The best part, hands down, is Hannah’s plethora of vintage hats which she documents both unassumingly and hypnotically. I adore this blog (and couple!) for its small “slice of life” feel.

Hipster Musings
The writer of this fashion blog (Isabel) is adorable, taking pictures of what she wears outside her dorm each day. Her style is slightly punk and almost completely thrifted, but what I like most is how her passion has translated into influence. Though her blog is not beefed up with ads or ostentatious displays of HTML, her modest display and dedication to a sense of whimsical fashion makes her stand out in the blogosphere.

In the Mid-Nineties
Wornettes of my generation will appreciate all references to the nineties. Just mention Slater’s parachute pants, the Fantastic Flowers craft kit, or that time my brother traded me his crappy Ninja Turtle for my awesome one –and I will tear up in the spirit of nostalgia. This blog documents very intimate and almost personal pictures from author Barb’s rock show(star?) past.

Craftzine blog
I considered myself crafty until I started reading this blog. The website is positively oozing with every kind of craft idea, from LED coasters, to shelves made of old novels, to organza flowers for pins and headbands. I am absolutely addicted to the creativity and DIYs on this site!

July Stars
With the onslaught of fashion blogs out there, navigating quality from quantity can be more than a little overwhelming. This blog consolidates the cream of the crop, combining beautiful photographs, personal anecdotes, and a sprinkling of historical inspirations.

I also have my own personal blog that is sometimes fashion related but largely about whatever floated my boat that day. Can you conjugate that expression in the past tense? I just did.