Karen Wornette

She travelled across the country to finish her practicum here with us

I’ve spent the past four years of my life immersed in the Human Ecology degree program at the University of Alberta. As a Clothing, Textiles, and Material Culture major, I’ve taken courses that consider the cultural, economic, social, and personal contexts that impact the ways in which we adorn our bodies and present ourselves to the world. When I discovered that WORN publishes creative, intelligent content about fashion’s many facets, I decided to move to Toronto for a couple months to complete my practicum… and become a wornette!

My relationship with clothing tends toward the historical, yet remains grounded in what’s practical. When I do have time to sew (I wish I could find more), I get on my mom’s sewing machine from the ’80s and stitch together vintage-inspired projects. Mostly, though, I mend the garments that I’ve worn through. My mom’s cousin gave me a floral dress that she wore to parties in the ’70s, and that I would wear on my first day of grade 12. I tore the armhole seams as I kept the dress in heavy rotation, and I ended up sewing and re-sewing the same curved lines. The thread unraveled and the fabric tore away, but that’s what happens to clothing when it’s worn—it’s not so terrible.

Working at WORN will bring me closer to the personal histories of dress that I so dearly enjoy. Through reading (WORN has a stunning collection of books on dress and culture/subculture), interviewing a few local artists and designers, and writing about “clothes” encounters, I’ll be able to further explore our dressed selves in context. To get my daily inspiration of personal interpretations on fashion, I’ll need to look no further than the decidedly individual wornettes.

Current Inspirations

Are Clothes Modern? Or, What We Talk About When We Talk About “Dress”
Swedish costume historian A. E. Funk documents what she’s been reading in books and around the net in a Tumblr-like format, only she appears to find her captions first and then adds the eye-catching images.

Brain Pickings
If you don’t have time to read all those books on your list, click over here for a well-curated selection of quotes from interesting authors and cultural icons on writing, reading, and the creative life, among other things.

Obakki’s Treana Peake speaks at Vancouver’s Creative Mornings
A designer with a conscience, Peake is refreshingly open about her internal struggle over her work in an industry that requires human hands to create the garments, but rarely pays attention to documenting their stories.

I recently re-discovered this Toronto-based master of the quirky interview. After watching him on MuchMusic growing up, I’ve enjoyed keeping up with him as he researches like mad and then surprises musical artists of all genres with his obscure questions and gifts.

Vogue Archive
An absolute must when doing fashion photographic research, this collection of Vogue from 1892 to the present has some real gems, including Anjelica Huston shot by Richard Avedon for a 1969 issue.

photography // Stephanie Chunoo and Tabitha Poeze

Our Lips Aren’t Sealed

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Lipstick

A lot has happened in the 5000 years since the dawn of lip paint. Wars, corruption, harem pants—the list goes on, and somehow, lipstick has survived. But everyone seems to have an opinion on it—Sarah Palin calls it the distinguishing factor between hockey moms and pitbulls. Holly Golightly can’t read the paper without it. Yes, we have very intimate relationships with our rouges, and below, you’ll find our list of 10 facts that’ll blow your mind about this colourful cosmetic.

1 // Don’t Forget Your Lipstick, Mummy!
Cleopatra used henna and carmine to paint her lips, and in her time, women were encouraged to be buried with two pots of lip paint so they would look good on the other side.

2 // Red-Lip District
The Moulin Rouge may have been hoppin’ in the 19th century, but alcohol-, prostitute-, and lipstick-induced good times date back to the Ancient Greeks (and perhaps even earlier). For the Greeks, though, the cosmetic was popular amongst women of the night, coming to signify poor social standing and low morals.

3 // Lipstick for the Lawless
At one point, wearing lipstick was actually illegal. During the French Revolution, lopping the head off a king may have been acceptable, but lipstick was completely banned. Wearing it was considered to be sympathetic to the monarch, and anyone caught with it was condemned to the guillotine. To borrow a line: off with their heads!

4 // Hot off the Production Line
Women (and a fair amount of men) added the cosmetic to their daily beauty routines in 1880, when French company Guerlain produced the first commercially successful lipstick. It was composed of a mouth-watering mixture of grapefruit pomade and wax.

5 // Portable Beauty
Women’s handbags welcomed a new addition in 1915, when Maurice Levy designed the first sliding metal tube. Thanks to this innovation, applying lipstick in public became socially acceptable. Instead of lugging pots of lip paint around, women could bring the convenient little tube with them wherever they went.

6 // Ain’t no Stalin our Lipstick Production
Lipstick experienced a resurgence of popularity after World War I, when women wanted to maintain their femininity while taking on new roles in the workforce. Fast forward to the next World War, and lipstick is prioritized by good ol’ Churchill when he rations all makeup—except for the precious tubular commodity. He felt it boosted morale on the homefront.

7 // Lipstick Fit for a Queen
Lipstick became a coveted Crown gem in 1952, when Elizabeth II commissioned her own shade to match her coronation robes. The royal rouge was named Balmoral after her Scottish country home.

8 // Lady in Red
On her film sets, Elizabeth Taylor required that she be the only person wearing red lipstick. Everyone else would have to wear a different shade or none at all.

9 // A Moment on the Lips, Forever on the Hips
A whopping 92 per cent of women wear lipstick regularly and buy an average of four tubes a year. But this magical substance doesn’t just stay on your lips; the average woman consumes four to nine pounds of lipstick in her lifetime, making the inside just as pretty as the outside. Not.

10 // Read my Lips
According to Dior makeup artist Eliane Gouriou, different lipstick colours convey different messages. Beige means “I don’t want to be noticed for this aspect of my personality.” Red evokes the feeling that “I have sensual and luscious lips, which I accept and which I offer.” Dark brown or violet means “I provoke, I impose, but my mouth is not to be touched.” Our thoughts? Let your lips, not your lipstick, do the talking.

photography // Stephanie Chunoo & Tabitha Poeze

further reading // Lipstick: A Celebration of the World’s Favourite Cosmetic. Jessica Pallington, 1998

The Wornlings Are Coming!

Stephanie3, Tabitha, and Alex Wornette form the newest WORN tri-pod

Howdy, Gütentag, and Aloha to you all! We are Stephanie, Tabitha, and Alex. We are the new Wornettes on the block, and this makes us very excited. Since the three of us are the new co-op interns—or “Wornlings” as we’ve been dubbed—we are writing a collective introductory post so as to maintain simplicity.

First up, Stephanie (or Stephanie3 as she has been newly christened):
Though I may initially come across as nit-picky, assertive, and (in layman’s terms) a bitch, deep down I’m not really a Grinch-like person, and my heart is indeed three sizes larger than most think. I’m a romantic at heart, and I’m happiest when listening to the sounds of Pat Benatar and The Police whilst flipping through the works of Helmut Newton and Lee Miller. I find beauty in couples who have been married for more than 40 years and can still be seen strolling about hand in hand. I love thunderstorms, Humans of New York, and wish my life could mirror Julia Roberts’ in Eat, Pray, Love. I hope to pursue photography in the future and travel the world, ideally working for National Geographic.

And now Tabitha:
My parents named me after the witch and I must admit I can’t imagine living with any other name. I’m opinionated, ambitious, and if you don’t fall in love with me immediately after we meet I’ll be sure to use my magical witch charms until you do. On a regular weekend you’ll definitely find me out and about; whether it’s record hunting for my collection, dealing with the strange customers at my retail job, or trekking across the city just for a good bite to eat, I don’t think a day is complete without some sort of adventure. Recently I have developed quite the obsession with flavoured lattés and Kanye West. I’m still very young and still very much trying to figure out what I’d like to do with my life. All I really know is that I never want to give up my artistic lifestyle, and hey, maybe my time here at WORN will help me figure out the rest.

Last but not least, Alex:
I truly am an old lady at heart, not because I have hoards of cats and teeth that have a tendency to move a little every time I sneeze, but because I truly believe chivalry isn’t dead and no day is complete without some lipstick and a couple dabs of perfume behind my ears. I probably watch way too much Star Trek and Criminal Minds, to the point where I am convinced my neighbours are psychopathic serial killers descended from another planet. On a normal note, I also enjoy springtime walks with my father, scouring thrift shops for jewelry, and making ravioli with my Nonna. I absolutely love to write, so much so that I tend to ramble, and hope to pursue journalism in the future.

Current Inspirations

Humans of New York
This Big Apple-based photo blog started by photographer Brandon Stanton in 2010 aims to capture the everyday people on the streets of NYC through an exhaustive collection of photographs. What makes each photo memorable for me are the diverse set of captions. Accompanying each image, they range from a personal commentary on the weather to hard-hitting life advice. Overall, Humans of New York is a moving and inspiring tribute to the eccentric and compelling city of New York.

A`bout Design Corporation
This Toronto-based fashion design company is led by the visionary Dean Hutchinson. His approach to fashion is unique in that he makes his clothes with the intention that the wearer will form their own identity and story whilst wearing the garment, as opposed to many other retailers who hope clients will simply buy their merchandise for the name. Interning at Dean`s studio opened my eyes to the personalities and stories a garment can have.

The Locals
After a trip to Denmark two years ago, I completely fell in love with the phenomenal sense of style that practically everyone had there. Coming across The Locals shortly after was like a dream. The blog originally started out with a focus on Copenhagen street style and has completely evolved and expanded to include street style from cities all over the world. I can’t think of a better display of how fashion and style are so universal, yet at the same time completely different from place to place. I love being able to grab inspiration for my style from such a diverse array of cities and people.

Thought Catalog
It could probably be defined as a blog but I think of it more as a collection of refreshing and nicely written articles. New content is posted every day relating to anything and everything from personal stories, music, fashion and pop culture, to poetry and, well, just life in general. Similar to the articles, the writers are also very diverse. They all seem to have intriguing (yet varying) backgrounds, style, experience, and locations around the globe. I find it so incredibly fascinating that all these different people can write such different pieces, and still have them come together like clockwork. There really is something for everyone on Thought Catalog and I’ve never left the website without a new idea, perspective, or thought.

The Original James Bond Movies
The 1960s, exotic locales, crazy villains, shoddy special effects, and a tanned and toned Sean Connery. Need I say more? In all seriousness though, it’s fascinating to compare the original 1960s Bond to the modern-day version. While his class, charm, and overall debonair disposition have stayed the same, the fashion and general social graces most certainly have evolved with the times. The impeccably tailored suits, sophisticated millinery, and of course the badass-ness that is The Bond Girl—or the original Femme Fatale—is nothing short of inspirational.

Maureen Lee & Jill Barber
Two very different people with two very different jobs, these ladies never fail to inspire me and put a huge, goofy grin on my face. The former is an author and a Liverpudlian as they call themselves, who centers all of her novels around strong-spirited female protagonists pre- and during WWII. The latter is a Canadian jazz singer who has recently risen to fame with her vintage, war-era sound and disposition, covering such artists as The Andrews Sisters (another personal favourite). As I am completely obsessed with the war years, these two remarkable ladies continually inspire me with their witticisms, class, and of course their obsession with lipstick.

photography // Zoe Vos