I’ve found myself becoming more and more inspired by 1970’s and 80’s fashion this past year. I don’t know what it is. As a child of the late 80’s and 90’s, I used to shudder at the old pictures and clothes my mother would show me. She would pull out a little black dress with way too my colours and ruffles from the back of her closet and we would giggle at it together. My brother and I would loiter around the bathroom while my mom was doing her makeup, waiting for her to take her giant, very thick prescription glasses off so we could snatch them and try them on. Later, we would watch That 70’s Show and my dad would show us pictures of himself dressed just like them when he was in high school. I thought the cuts of the 70’s and colours of the 80’s were tacky and awful and wondered why anyone would ever leave the perfect style of the 60’s behind.
I spent my childhood memorizing the looks from 50’s and 60’s movies and dreaming about having the figure to wear them when I grew up and became a woman. And I did, for a long time, always leaning towards clothing with a touch of mid-century to it. Then, slowly at first, I started to drift into the late 60’s and 70’s. I started buying things with my favourite flower, the daisy, on them. I designed a print using a ubiquitous 70’s font and put it on a ringer tee. I grew out my fringe and started wearing my hair long. Then I committed; I did what I though I would never do and entered the 80’s. I pulled out the costume jewellery I’d had since I was a child, some inherited from my mother, but never worn, and started wearing it. I got some blue eye shadow. I had my hair bleached over several sessions at the salon. I bought this dress. When my optometrist told me one eye had gotten worse, and gave me a new prescription, I ordered these glasses from Warby Parker and was told I look “like the one villain from Orange is the New Black, no offence”. I did not take offence, I love her look.
I can’t believe how much my new hair and glasses make me look like my memories of my mother, and I can’t believe how much it suits me.
Tights Joe Fresh
Earrings Magnolia & Scout
Glasses Warby Parker
Photos by me and Matt.
I’ve had a weird couple of months filled with news, stresses and experiences both very good and very bad. Three things have been getting me through the bad: my own personal reminders that without the bad, we don’t know when things were/ are truly good; my husband’s similar reminders that good things must always be tempered with the bad; and something a tour guide in Panama said at the end of trip to the rainforest. After telling us all the good and bad things happening in his country he signed and said, “the most revolutionary thing you can do, is be happy”. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, this struck me so deeply that I pulled out my notebook and quickly scribbled it down while my mom complained that he had been a real buzzkill.
I’m very glad I did write this third motto down because I’ve lost and rediscovered it buried in my notebook several times since returning home. I always seem to come across it just when I need a reminder to see and celebrate the good when all I can think and feel is the bad.
Choosing to be happy in the face of loss can feel both rebellious and horribly selfish. You can’t ignore your grief entirely, you have to give yourself space to grieve and hurt, but keeping those treasured memories close by, in the bottom of your heart and in the back of your mind will help you stay positive. You need to find a way – your own way – to celebrate the past, and the future without denying the present. Choosing to stay positive and remembering all the happiness that had to be created for me to feel such a loss now that it’s gone, as well as reminding myself to think of the exciting things ahead, is how I am choosing to be happy.
Being sad and heartbroken when something bad happens is ok, but don’t forbid yourself from rejoicing in all the good things still happening to you and those you love. Celebrating the things that you and, more importantly, the people close to you are doing and achieving is the key to regaining and sustaining happiness. Celebrate your friends’ personal and professional achievements even more than your own! When you take a moment to look around, you’ll see there’s lots to celebrate. If you can be as proud and happy for them as you would be for yourself, you’ll never run out of joy.
Earrings ModCloth (old)
Ring very, very old
Don’t stop planning for the future. Be revolutionary. Be happy. Something or someone may be missing, but the love and bond you shared will never leave you.
All photos by me.
I like dressing up on Halloween but I don’t like wearing a costume. I think it’s so much more fun to go as your real self. It’s the one day when you can experiment with all the weird things you like but aren’t brave enough to wear on a normal day. Things like bright red tights, matching lipstick, cut crease eye shadow even though you have hooded eyelids so it always looks weird, white nail polish and a party dress.
I own these things because I like them. I don’t hide them in the back of the closet all year just counting down the days, but today is the only day I can wear them all together and not worry about the stares and smiles I’ll get.
And you know what, every year, after every experiment, I get braver. I prove to myself that I can wear something bold, something I was unsure about, and not be bothered by the girl in sweatpants and moccasins, with the birds tattooed behind her ear, looking me up and down while I wait in line at the grocery store. Every year, I find the point where the real me stands and I get to see how much farther I need to push the boundary line before I can reach her.
Dress ModCloth (old)
Earrings Claire’s (old)
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Lipstick Rimmel Moisture Renew in Red Alert
Nail Polish Revlon Top Speed in Spirit
Maybe I’m not overdressed, maybe the world is simply underdressed. What’s wrong with looking like you are always on your way to a party?
All Pictures by me and Matt Harrison.