Saturday, October 30, 2010

halloween 2010: the shining

from the shining (kubrick, 1980)


come play with us



dresses: handmade by annemarie,
made with fabric we got at a flea market for 8$
hair clips: 99 cents
white knee socks: 2/5$
ribbons: from my closet
shoes: ours, changed laces to match

total cost: 14$, 7$ each! pretty sweet.

some other fun costumes from last night:

1980s wrestling champion

cute flapper

homemade! from scratch! stormtrooper costume

also, i wrote a little article over at shameless about problematic halloween costumes. read it here.
i'm going to try out another costume tonight, hopefully it will go over as well as this one did.

happy halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

women with glasses: usurping the gaze

check out my new specs! my mother gave me an early birthday/christmas present: a lovely oxblood pair of burberry glasses. thank goodness, because my last pair were beyond scratched up and my prescription had changed a wee bit. i really enjoyed them but you know how it goes, even the best of glasses don't really last more than two or three years. especially when you are too broke to afford contacts and you have no choice but to wear them day in, day out.

here they are for reference:

in a perfect world, i would be able to find a pair of vintage cateye glasses that comfortable fit me, or would have enough money to splurge on a pair from urban spectacles. i think these would suit me quite nicely:

i do have a pair of vintage frames but with clear lenses, but they are a little broken and a little too small for me. here's a picture from when i first got them in winter 2009:

but this post isn't about me! it's about women who wear glasses in general. it's only recently that i've really started to enjoy wearing glasses 24/7 (well, aside from the time spent sleeping, of course). i have a lot more theoretical ideas about women and glasses but those are thoughts we can flesh out another time. here are some photos of women who wear glasses exquisitely well:

The woman who wears glasses constitutes one of the most intense visual clichés of the cinema. The image is a heavily marked condesation of motifs concerned with repressed sexuality, knowledge, visibility and vision, intellectuality, and desire.
The woman with glasses signifies simultaneously intellectuality and undesirability; but the moment the removes her glasses (a moment which, it seems, must almost always be shown and which is itself linked with a certain sensual quality), she is transformed into spectacle, the very picture of desire. Now, it must be remembered that the cliché is a heavily loaded moment of signification, a social knot of meaning. It is characterized by
an effect of ease and naturalness. Yet, the cliché has a binding power so strong that it indicates a precise moment of ideological danger or threat — in this case, the woman’s appropriation of the gaze. Glasses worn by a woman in the cinema do not generally signify a deficiency in seeing but an active looking, or even simply the fact of seeing as opposed to being seen. The intellectual woman looks and analyses, and in usurping the gaze she poses a threat to an entire system of representation.

roxanne aka persephassa. aren't these just wonderful? flashy but understated, i think they go so well with her complexion. you can even get the same pair on ebay! roxanne has pretty much the best taste of anyone ever in the history of the world, so it is unsurprising all of her glasses are magnificent.

the girl from hk, ldn & sf
it was so hard to just pick one picture of her, she has so many lovely frames!

one day you will be mine, perfect cat eye frames that are in my price range.
from framesbaby

Monday, October 25, 2010

inspiration: claude cahun

happy birthday, claude cahun. cahun was born on this day in 1894.
In many ways, Cahun's life was marked by a sense of role reversal, and her public identity became a commentary upon not only her own, but the public's notions of sexuality, gender, beauty, and logic. Her adoption of a sexually ambiguous name, and her androgynous self-portraits display a revolutionary way of thinking and creating, experimenting with her audience's understanding of photography as a documentation of reality. Her poetry challenged gender roles and attacked the increasingly modern world's social and economic boundaries. Also Cahun's participation in the Parisian Surrealist movement diversified the group's artwork and ushered in new representations. Where most Surrealist artists were men, and their primary images were of women as isolated symbols of eroticism, Cahun epitomized the chameleonic and multiple possibilities of the female identity. Her photographs, writings, and general life as an artistic and political revolutionary continue to influence countless artists, namely Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin.
i think it's unsurprising that i have a very special place in my heart for claude cahun and their art. the 1920s are definitely one of my favourite eras in terms of film, art, fashion, architecture... pretty much all around aesthetically i find it most dear to me. one of my favourite artists working in that era was claude cahun. the playing with identity, the use of photography, art, and clothing to express those different identities... it always stuck with me.

que me veux-tu? (autoportrait double); claude cahun, 1929.

auto-portrait; claude cahun, 1925

i.o.u. (self-pride); claude cahun, 1929-30

"sous se masque, un autre masque. je n'en finirai pas de soulever tous ses visages."

"under this mask, another. i will never succeed in unearthing all of these faces."

claude cahun on wikipedia
thoughts about bahaus + gender
Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman edited by Shelley Rice
(someone, please buy me this book. three of my favourite people, artists, icons combined in one book!)

De l'Éros des femmes surréalistes et de Claude Cahun en particulier par Georgiana M. M. Colville
Une héroïne impossible: Claude Cahun par Agnès Lhermitte

currently ooing and awing over: sassyfrass

while procrastinating on the internet during my lunch break, i stumbled upon a most wonderful thing... how to wear a fanny pack and other gay information: a fashion blog

not only is it a great homo fashion post, i am cited as inspiration/instigation for the post itself! a while back i commented that if i could be anyone's internet sugar mama, i would be jb's. we need to queer up the fashion blogging world!

if you are unaware of the awesomeness that is sassyfrass circus (aka jb) in general, i strongly recommend browsing their official website and/or tumblr. she makes awesome zines and posts about epic bike rides and all around happy times.

here are some of my favourite comics of jb's:

ah, the misguided "fat talk" discussions.

unfortunately this resounded with hundreds of people in the tumblr-sphere. it needs to be said. (for a definition of manarchists, click here)

and other awesome stuff jb makes, like zines and patches and posters for shows:

you can buy some of jb's zines here, if you're interested.

please excuse the brevity of this post seeing as my lunch hour ended... five minutes ago.

sharing the love,

exes and ohs - garconniere

Sunday, October 17, 2010

vag magazine: laughing with or at feminists?

a question i get asked a lot when i mention this blog in conversations with friends and strangers is, "well, what is feminist fashion anyway?" and in some ways, that question is an unanswerable one. i like to think that my take on "feminist fashion" is an analysis of fashion from a critical perspective, trying to see ways in which the fashion industry impacts women involved in all levels, from the people who work in sweatshops to the anna wintour's of the world. but i'll stop myself there: while i'm not quite ready to put down a lot of my ideas in writing, this video piqued my interest and reminded me of why the idea of "feminist fashion" is so interesting:

Vag Magazine Teaser 1 from Vag Magazine on Vimeo.

Vag Magazine Teaser 2 from Vag Magazine on Vimeo.

those are the two teasers for a new web series:
VAG MAGAZINE is not your grandma's feminist magazine, though we support her as a woman. Go behind the scenes at this hipster third-wave feminist magazine with founders FENNEL, SYLVIE, and BETHANY, staffers HEAVY FLO (a hero on the roller derby circuit), REBA (truly a legend of gonzo feminist pop culture journalism), and MEGHAN (the lone holdover from fashion magazine Gemma, which the Vag founders bought out with the proceeds from their Etsy shop), as well as enthusiastic intern KIT, as they teach you how to be a better woman.

This six-part web series stars and was created, written, directed, and produced by comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
even after watching the teasers, and reading this description, the anticipation is killing me. i can't help but wonder... will it be my new favourite thing in the pop culture universe? or just another way of laughing at feminists, another reason why i'll have to defend why i choose to identify as feminist? if you couldn't tell, i feel conflicted. part of me is like "yeah! awesome! great! discussions about feminism's relationship to fashion! and hilarity!" and then another part is like "will this be another liz lemon brand of feminism, about thin able-bodied middle class straight white women who make jokes about how fat they are when in reality they are probably a size 6?" (for the record i do not completely loathe 30 rock, even though based on that statement you may be lead to believe otherwise)

i really like the jokes about what makes something a "feminist" garment, and it's hilarious for me to hear jokes friends of mine have definitely made before, about ourselves, and about other feminist-identified folks. what third-waver hasn't made jokes about hippies playing with moonblood and mocking "sisterhood" and universally supporting other women simply based solely the fact that they are women (insert debates about sarah palin here)? part of the humour fellow feminists and i have shared about this has definitely been a defense mechanism, and as a way of blowing off steam when confronted with shitty attitudes and politics. there is a lot of infighting within any anti-oppressive community, feminism included, but how can we address those problems in effective and healthy ways? one of my favourite ways of addressing fucked up and problematic things in pop culture is with humour.

lately it seems like there is a dearth in feminist humour; sarah haskins' hugely popular target women is now sadly defunct, and its replacement, modern lady, is just not up to snuff. could it be that vag magazine will be a place for feminists to get their laughs? i hope so. that said, there are already some things irking me about it; namely, the fact that the cast is mostly white and pretty high-femme, and that most of the jokes seem to be at the expense of these very "extreme" hyper critical feminists... but! i'll stop myself there. really, i can't judge the entire series after only having seen a whole minute of footage. and maybe i'm just feeling a wee bit hypercritical about the whole thing in general. i'll save my thoughts until i've watched the webisodes, which launch tomorrow, october 18th.

edited to add: twitter informs me that both myself and vag magazine follow feminist hulk, so my hopes are now indeed higher for this interesting looking series.

vag magazine
vag magazine on vimeo
vag magazine on twitter
vag magazine wants to put the funny in feminism

13 ways of looking at liz lemon at tiger beatdown
ableism in 30 rock at deeply problematic

Saturday, October 9, 2010

what i wore: apple picking

fashion,apples,orchard,fashion blog
fashion,apples,orchard,fashion blog

one of my absolute favourite things to do when fall rolls around is to go apple picking. so earlier this month when my friends ben and april invited us to head up to l'île d'orléans, a twenty minute drive from québec city, i jumped at the chance! here are a few photos.

the bridge to l'île d'orléans. magnificent to visit in the fall!



the island is full of farms and orchards, and it is a great place for me to get local produce and enjoy the wonderful weather we have around this time of year. this was really wonderful, this orchard was right next to a beautiful old barn. i wish i had snapped some better pictures of the inside, but with the sun so bright and only my little point and shoot, this is all you get.



dress: vintage, thrifted in peterborough, 2007
belt: from le vestiaire, free
shoes: gift from simon, mexico city
socks: deadstock menswear! love 'em.
crinoline underskirt: thrifted


all of these were taken on september 19th, and we just finished our gigantic bag. it took us three weeks to finish our 20 pound bag of apples! we clearly overshot and should have gotten a 10 pound bag. instead we tried lots of new recipes, made apple juices and ciders, adding apples to salads, and of course making lots and lots of desserts like apple crumbles et bien sûr! des tartes tatins. i just simply cannot resist wonderful local fruit at such a good price.


also i don't think i've mentioned it before, but i started a food blog a little while ago. it's called "food i want to eat" and it mostly features recipes i want to try. expect mostly vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and/or raw recipes. check it out if you're interested in recipes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

inspiration: advanced style

this weekend, i was walking down la rue charest on a sunny afternoon, and an older woman caught my eye. she was a waitress leaning out of a window, speaking with a friend. her hair was bright white, except for a streak of neon pink and a dash of purple. on her left upper forearm, there was a small tattoo of a little unicorn's head in black and white. i was in awe. i find it so incredibly refreshing to see older women not get trapped into those boring "how to dress at 40, 50, and 60" scripts that all too many "women's magazines" promote, but at the same time can you blame those who do subscribe to that ideology?

just by taking a quick look at mainstream fashion magazines, we see that the message is overwhelming the same: you are either dressing too young or dressing too old, especially if you are over the age of 30. since you are no longer simply a sex object (with the assumption being that you are a hot sexual nubile young thing in your teens and twenties, but when you're in your thirties you are either a mother, wife, or career woman, or better yet all three!) then you're not really worth looking at or pandering to. advertisers will try and sell you the idea that if you buy our clothes, you will look as young as our models, you will relive your youth, etc. etc, because aging/being old is so completely horrible.

of course, there are exceptions to this boring sexist ageist script. every once in a while fashion magazines turn the attention on their own, like grace coddington, and the runway history makers like linda evangelista, naomi, and kate. but even while purporting to celebrate women of "all shapes and sizes," we all know this is a joke. even with articles hidden in the back, or one editorial that celebrates an actress or singer who is in her forties, older women are constantly being erased or worse, policed. year round, we see that their covers (think of elle, vogue, allure, etc.) feature almost exclusively women in their late teens and early twenties on their covers. the exception, of course, is made when they publish their "age" issue, which now shows skinny, blonde, white women in their 30s! how revolutionary.

gwyneth paltrow (37), uma thurman (38) and kate moss (34) grace the covers of the vogue "age" issues (age when they were on the cover)

but back to my love for the style of many older women i pass on the street, at thrift stores, at the grocery store. one of the main reasons i believe fashion magazines don't pay attention to older women on a regular basis is because they know most of them simply do not give a shit anymore. clearly this is not universally true, but for the most part i think it is easier for younger women to put all the emphasis on their appearance and to buy into the scripts fashion magazines sell them because they are the target audience. they are being pandered to, they see themselves, or at least someone they could aspire to look and/or dress like all the time so it is easier to buy into those illusions and fantasies. based on what many older women have told me, and the conversations i've had with them about fashion and clothing, you often have a better idea of what you want, like, and need which makes it all the more simple to not give a shit about what a fashion magazine has to say about your choices.

seeing this stylish woman this weekend was not the first time i have loved the style, demeanor, and fashion of a person twice, or perhaps even thrice my age, and it's a question that has been on my mind lately. my friend anne-marie has been expressing frustration at ageism in the fashion and beauty industry. around the same time, jezebel posted about a german magazine called brigitte which recently stopped using professional models, and now often posts the age of the "real" women participating in their photoshoots. last but not least, hellovagina was posting some amazing photos of stylish older ladies on their tumblr.

but honestly? the fashion blogging world isn't much better than the fashion magazine industry when it comes to representing older women. anyone who takes a quick glance at fashion bloggers will see that it is a relatively homogenous group; almost entirely white, mostly female, relatively thin (at least falling into the "straight" size category), able-bodied and young. 14 (including tavi) to about 30 years old, max. there are a lot of factors that could lead to this (it's a new technology, youth-target audience, etc), but i'll leave it at that seeing as this post is not about deconstructing fashion bloggers or even criticizing them. rather, i want to call attention to how, in some ways, the fashion blogosphere has created at least a small space for us to call attention to and celebrate stylish older women.

to cut to the chase, here are some pictures of some particularly stylish and savvy older women.

iris apfel

chantal thomas (loving everything except for the shoes)

lynn yaeger

some photos from one of my favourite street fashion blogs, hel-looks.

all from hel-looks

and i even found some from a few of my favourite photographers:

photos by diane arbus

the critic, 1943 by wee gee

even the most recent CocoRosie video indulges my love:

as my wonderful friend iris says, "i don't plan on my twenties being my most fashionable decade."

the wonderful helen mirren.

but before i go, i want to make one thing particularly clear if i haven't already; i want to celebrate older ladies style, not police them. i feel like the only conversations we have about older women and their relationship to fashion is how to look more youthful, how to hide the fact that they are older, etc. but i like to think that most of the women whom i posted photos of are the kind of women who say fuck off to those rules. they are the ones who have gotten to a point where they simply do not give a fuck what a fashion magazine has to say about their choice of clothing, or their bodies, etc.

but don't let me have the final word! who are your favourite stylish older ladies? are your grandmothers particularly stylish? share photos! links!

my three all-time favourite stylish older ladies:

anna piagi
louise bourgeois