My brother and I shared a laugh early this week over how one would think that my skills and hobbies would make me good at making Halloween costumes, but they don’t: I’m actually kind of bad at it.
For about a decade, I didn’t even dress up. I spent Halloween at home watching scary movies in the dark, so there wasn’t really any reason to dress up. Then we bought a house with a front door that kids could actually come trick-or-treating to. We bought pumpkins, decorations and candy! We developed a tradition of making a festive meal, putting on the early episodes of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, drinking pumpkin beer, giving out candy… and dressing up.
This year, I decided to abuse the freedom Halloween provides and dress up – in my own clothes – as who I wish I were brave enough to be everyday: a spooky pinup.
Dress Capsule Vintage
Stockings What Katie Did
Photos by me & Matt Harrison.
I’m finding, more and more, that my personal style is evolving into a fairly specific aesthetic that I’ve been internally referring to as California, 1982. I love anything with this vibe and snap up everything that possesses it, even when it doesn’t exactly jive with my earlier mid century obsession.
Living, as I do, in Canada, 2019, I don’t get many opportunities to explore this new fascination. It’s made for an even murkier transition from vintage pin-up to retro boardwalk babe. It’s hard to find effortlessly aloof clothes with that sunny, summertime feel that can stand up to a Canadian winter, so summer is when I really get to shine. I feel most myself when I’m skating – on my quads or on my little banana board – to the 7-11 for a Popsicle in tube socks and a ringer tee.
Bodysuit Camp Collection
Necklace Emery & Opal
All photos by me.
I can’t believe it took me 31 years to realize I should just wear what I like. I shouldn’t be worried about showing too much; if someone has a problem with my cute crop top or unlined bra, that’s about them, not about me. I shouldn’t ask myself if my love for campy fringe is too much… too much for whom? and of course it is, that’s what makes it camp! This outfit might not seem like much of a statement, but stepping out in it, and feeling more confident than ever, was a big step for me and symbolic of the changes I’ve been trying to make for myself.
Maybe it’s the roller derby – and spending the last six months feeling my body become stronger and faster – but I felt great in this: the first crop top I have ever purchased. I wore it to a barbecue and didn’t feel the usual need to cover up or apologize for my female figure, like I’ve been trained to do since that summer my legs grew several inches and the boys noticed before I did.
I fell in love with the perfect black fringe and brightly coloured pom pom trim of these sandals the second I saw them last summer, but didn’t buy them because I was worried they would be too bold to fit in with my current wardrobe. When I saw that they were on clearance this spring, and about to slip through my fingers, I realized that I was being silly and if I loved something that much, it was obviously part of my core style. I have since worn them so often, they have found a permanent position on the little mat by my front door because of course they suit me.
I’ve had to learn, over the past two decades, to trust my taste, learn to stop fretting over other people’s expectations and opinions about my body and the way I choose to decorate it (because it’s super weird that they feel the need to tell me, anyway) and, really, learn how to be myself.
Top American Apparel
Skirt Steady Clothing
All photos by me.