(Self-consciously) Wearing Che

 

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This one is from the archives. A shoot that never made it onto this blog. Because, to be honest, I was just too self-conscious of the way my legs were just so visible.

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It was only when perusing through my fashion blog pics for an end-of-year “unseen” photos blog post, that I became aware of how I have this habit of crossing my legs.

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And, it’s not just crossing my legs, but crossing them/holding them together with purpose, tensing my muscles.

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A few weeks ago, I was in for an MRI. I was in a bare-naked gown (you know the see-through ones that are open mostly from behind, but are held together by two/three strings?) in a bare-naked state. The MRI lady asked me to lie down, still. But even as I went through the procedure, I realized that I was holding my leg muscles straight, tense, with force. As if no force on earth could pry apart my legs.

In other words, the tense-in-place-legs position was my safe space.

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When did this happen? At point while growing up did I internalize this nonsense?

T-shirt: Havana, Cuba; faux leather shorts: Forever 21; Boots: Nordstrom; Earrings: Forever 21.

samapt.

samapt.

mix and match

 

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I have been into mixing up elements lately. Crossing conventional fashion speak of masculine and feminine.

I have been putting together items in mashups I wouldn’t think of before: muscle tees over lace dresses, plaid shirts over summery dresses, with formal oxford shoes… you get the picture. I have also been investing in less form fitting clothes. Comfort equals fashion, I always say. Not really hitting on the androgyny note yet, but methinks that’s because pairing anything with a dress (for some reason) automatically puts you in the femme category.

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I think it started with summer, when my friend Alannah  Sawatsky (the photographer of the post earlier this year, remember? She’s in Cardiff now, following her zen) suggested I throw on a denim shirt over a dress for a date I was nervous for. Naturally, I paired my go-to comfort shoes with the outfit.

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The date was nothing to write home about, but the outfit stuck and when I ended up in Miami for a few days with the family, I pulled it out again.

Photo credits: Shinjini Sur (Instagram: @butternutvegan / @shinjinisur)

collage

Dress: Forever 21, also worn here and here;  Shirt: Target, also worn here and here; Shoes: Spring (on mad sale); Sunglasses: borrowed.

Shoot location: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami.

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Sun in eye, no candy in arm.

not yet a goodbye, and #summerwedding

Awkwardice = high fashion.

Awkwardice = high fashion.

Every time I tell myself I am done with this fashion blog, I am assaulted with brand new ideas that I want to incorporate. It is almost as if I am having separation anxiety pre-separation. Yet, let’s be honest, I am a lousy fashion blogger. Case in point is that the last post was in December!

Smile, but not too wide.

Smile, but not too wide.

The blog was instated as a fun project that then turned into a bid to write an academic paper on fashion blogging. But life happened. And shit in life happened… and the project sort of fell by the wayside.

Another in that sexy-and-you-know-it. Attitude is everything.

Another in that sexy-and-you-know-it. Attitude is everything.

Not to mention I am not as prolific as I should be, as I could be. My ideas come in patches, my inspiration in bursts.

Okay, smile!

Okay, smile!

To make matters worse, I am much more comfortable behind the camera. I like being in control and facing the camera requires giving up a certain amount of that control.

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Sari, not sari.

I have learnt, of course, that my photos work best when I am comfortable with my photographer, the relationship between me and the person clicking affects me (and the photos) directly. Yes, I know it’s a no brainer, but one doesn’t know for sure till one knows, you know?

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Goofball.

So, as I scramble to finish up the final two posts, I realize I want to add more, keep adding more and more and more, ad infinitum.

Okay, not.

Maybe, not end just yet, you know?

The light is just right.

The light is just right.

P.S. These outfits were worn at a summer wedding this year. Normally, I am not a fan of dressing up, my go-to outfit being sweats and a t-shirt (true story), but wedding equals dressup equals fashion blog post.

Walking on air.

Walking on air.

Outfit one- Skirt (on sale): Joe Fresh, also worn here; Velvet jacket: H&M; Shoes (on sale): Steve Madden, also worn here; Earrings: borrowed; On my lips: a mix of Maybelline On Fire Red 895 and MAC Retro Glam All Fired Up B54.

Outfit two- Sari (gifted): Raj Gharana, Kolkata, India; Blouse: custom made in India; Shoes: Inc. 5 ; Earrings: borrowed; On my lips: Maybelline On Fire Red 895.

With the sister, also the photographer.

Can you see the resemblance?

Photo credits: Shinjini Sur (Instagram: @shinjinisur/@butternutvegan)

Brand New Bi*ch

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The last day of the year is often the one that allows a chance to erase a year full of regrets, to awaken from a stupor and shake the self up, to refashion the self,  – and to use an oft used cliche – to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Until next year, of course.

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It is a chance to slough off the skin of your old self, someone who you used to be, and to become who you want to be. Another chance to fill that gap between your real self and your ideal self.

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Or, atleast try. Once more.

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It’s a chance to leave those behind, those who add nothing to your life, and to acquaint yourself with those who bring new challenges, new energy, or just a promise of new-ness.

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I am embracing the new me. The Brand New Bitch.

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Are you?

Alannah 11

 

Skirt worn as a dress: Joe Fresh (on sale); Crocheted Cardigan: Sheinside.com (on sale); Belt: Westside; Shoes: Steve Madden (on sale); Earrings: Gifted; On my lips: MAC Retro Glam All Fired Up B54.

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Looking back for the final time.

Looking back for the final time.

 

Before letting go.

Before letting go.

 

Happy New Year!

These amazing pics were taken by my friend, the extremely talented Alannah Sawatsky. She will be taking the photos for the next two posts before I wrap up this fashion blog project.

You can catch her at her Instagram: @alannahsawa  AND/OR Twitter: @alannahsawa.

Looking pretty with my new photographer, Alannah Sawatsky.

Looking pretty with my new photographer, Alannah Sawatsky.

Organza City Lights

City lights

City lights

In fashion lingo, using the words “feminine” or “masculine” to describe a particular style is common enough. Yet, being from a gender studies background, using both of these words are not only limiting, but extremely problematic.

Both of these words imply that the concepts of masculinity or femininity are static and monolithic, instead of ever changing and being on a spectrum.

Fanning out my feathers.

Fanning out my feathers.

Take this attire for example.

An organza skirt, no less.

Can I describe it anything other than “feminine”. Is there a better non-gendered word?

Is it possible to degender a skirt? A part of my attire that is entirely associated with femininity, even though there are plenty of skirt-ish clothes for men out there? Let’s not forget the sarong, the lungi, the mundu, the kilt and if you want to go back to ancient Egyptians, the shendyt!

Yes, gender is a social construction, and the idea that skirts are feminine is an extension of that social construction.

Organza city lights.

Or, unfurling my organza wings…

Just like when novelists and short story writers use girly, manly, mannish etc. to describe a character. It makes me cringe, to say the least. And, makes me mentally blacklist that particular writer.

Instead, I say: Check me out in my organza city lights! My fabulous skirt that makes me look equally fabulous.

Fabulous has no gender. Just like my skirt.

Shirt: Target; Skirt: Sheinside; Boots: Nordstrom; Necklace: Dynamite; Ring: Green Earth. 

Gender is so silly.

Gender is so silly. Like this Bollywoodish pose.

TIP: Pair the organza skirt with a denim shirt and leather boots to dress down the skirt for a night out. Frost the look with a statement necklace, or earrings. Both items are versatile. The skirt, for its colour (can be paired with any shirt or crop top). The top, for its ability to be worn almost everywhere and with everything (I have worn it here before).

For the Love of Lace

Hello there.

Spot the cat!

I am a sucker for lace.

Buy me anything lacy (not lingerie, you imp! That’s my prerogative and whoever I grant that right to) and I am yours. Unless you have bought me a subscription to my favourite literary magazine, or the books I have been lusting over for months, then I could be yours too. Temporarily (and metaphorically, of course).

None other than I shall have the lace!

None other than I shall have the lace!

But when it comes to clothes, I seem to own way too much of lace (and leather, now that I come to think of it. I wonder what that says about me… probably that I love lace and leather, hah!).

Am I serious? Why, yes! Yes, I am!

Am I serious? Why, yes! Yes, I am!

I own two lace dresses (three, if you count my velvet dress with lace overlay), a capelet and now, this blouse. I love the texture on my skin (it’s important to invest in decent lace, lace that doesn’t scratch your skin) and just how it transforms my mood.

Lace makes me feel elegant. And, sexy.

So basically, lace makes me feel fashionably oxymoronic.

Being fashionably oxymoronic.

Being fashionably oxymoronic.

Blouse: Express; Dress: Forever 21 (also worn here); Belt: Shopper’s Stop; Ring: Green Earth (gifted).

 TIP: Both the blouse and the dress are extremely versatile. I have worn the blouse on several occasions just by itself, with shorts, skirts, pants etc. Its cream colour can be matched with any other colour. The dress too, because of its basic navy blue, can be dressed up or down. 

I will be posting another outfit post using this dress very, very soon-ish. 

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So not elegant. Or, sexy. But oxymoronic for sure.

Sorry, no slave chains here.

On my side of the wall,

On my side of the wall.

I was never a peacock earring kind of person. I mean, I own a pair (who doesn’t?) but I sure don’t recall ever having worn them.

Sometimes, I like to get my hands dirty.

Sometimes, I like to get my hands dirty.

For the most part, I detest wearing any kind of jewellery. They feel restrictive. Even the ring I wore on the forefinger of my right hand, I have given up for the pure pleasure of bare hands.

But it's all done in style.

But it’s all done in style.

In the Bengali movie, Anu (1998), the male character extrapolates on the origins of bangles and anklets, marking both as signs of chains of patriarchal slavery. He asks the female protagonist, Anu, if she feels the same way about them now that she knows the truth. She laughs and says, I don’t care. I love them! (I may be off on the exact dialogues, but this is the gist of it).

Even if it means I have to strategize first.

Even if it means I have to strategize first.

Fashion gurus will chow me down on this. They will say I am just lazy, and accessories can make/break an outfit.

Sure, I agree.

And, get windswept in the process.

And, get windswept in the process.

But when it comes to summer dressing, sorry, no slave chains here. Just a pair of kickass sunglasses to accessorize will do.

Even if they are stolen.

Kurta (bought a long time ago): Newmarket, Kolkata; Light pink shorts: Express; Sandals: ALDO (on mad sale); Shades (stolen): Marc by Marc Jacobs.

With the owner of the stolen glasses.

With the owner of the stolen glasses.

I am Blue… da ba dee da ba die

Says who.

Says who.

Thou shalt not adorn thyself with the palazzo  (or, any other item that doesn’t seem to conventionally suit your body type) if thou do not meet a certain height requirement.

That was the hidden message in everything I owned as a teenager.

My height (or, the lack thereof) was one of great concern to my parents. My mother especially would take immense care to explain that so what if I wasn’t tall enough, I was smart etc etc. Which inevitably made me feel even tinier.

That's what you think, hah.

These pants are hella comfy.

Or, my boyfriend D in grade 12 who said, “You know… if you were taller, you could have any boy you wanted.” For the longest time I wondered, if it was meant to be a compliment or insult.

And even that girl in my school (yes, CK. I heard every word!) who whispered slyly to her friend P about how “tiny” I was, and was it even “normal”.

Sigh. The perks of growing up in a school steeped in homophobia, patriarchy and sexism.

The rocks under my bare feet are not...

The rocks under my bare feet are not…

It took a long time – a very long time – to get over it, and be like, phisssh. If I want to wear flats, I shall.

If I want to wear a potato sack, I shall.

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Hell, I even love my seasonal muffin top that crops up with every paper writing/marking season.

Look! The wall wants me too.

Look! The wall wants me too.

And lately, I have been in a spring mood (even though Ontario weather has decided that this year there shall be none).

I guess it has something to do with my upcoming trip to Havana. Two whole weeks of a roasting sun. I should be in a summer mood, really.

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Hence, the pants. My first palazzos.

(Oh and yeah, I do get all the boys, D. Especially the tall ones.)

 

Jacket: H&M; Shirt worn as a crop top: Target; Pants: H&M; Shoes: Skechers; Ring: Green Earth; Glasses: Clearly Contacts.

With my "tall" boy.

With my “tall” boy.

Betty Woop woop.

TRIGGER WARNING: The following is a discussion of rape culture and assault.

DISCLAIMER: This post has absolutely nothing to do with Betty Boop, but has everything to do with the freedom of being who you are (like Betty) without fear. 

 

Muted.

Muted.

The atmosphere at Queen’s University is tense.

Men’s rights groups are taking over through intimidation and implicit threat of violence.

A student has already been punched in the face (no one has been caught yet) and a philosophy professor has been harassed for speaking out.

And the last I heard, a list was said to being passed around with names of Gender Studies students along with their offices among those responsible. Which is why there has been extra campus security around the department.

It is fucking scary to be a woman and a feminist at Queen’s. Open your mouth and you could get stalked, bullied, assaulted or even have your house broken into.

Now, there are a bunch of vigilantes out there. Queen’s Anonymous they call themselves.

Someone should take a stand.

Someone should take a stand.

 

Their video that surfaced on 15th April has been making their rounds on the admin desks on campus.

They promise change.

An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth.

Will it work?

Violence to end violence has never worked, I think. And like a friend said, we are not creepy Saw people! This threat under the guise of anonymity might spark even more violence against the Queen’s community.

What to do, then? Who will take the onus of our safety?

Or, should we just suffer in silence?

Queen’s U, are you listening?

I hate to say this aloud, but I am kind of glad I am done with Queen’s soon.

Updates:

More info on the incidents on The Whig, Kingston.

http://www.thewhig.com/2014/03/27/queens-student-assaulted-off-campus

http://www.thewhig.com/2014/04/09/queens-prof-targeted-by-group

 

Glad.

Glad.

Freedom to be.

Freedom to be.

 

Kiss my …

Top: LOFT; Betty Boop Skirt: Forever 21; Jacket: Borrowed from sister; Boots: Spring; Tights: Walmart; Necklace: Dynamite.

Filler.

Filler.

Taking a Bow

On the spot.

On the spot.

Large crowds scare me.

Taking a bow3

Pigeontoed, when pushed.

But I have been pushing myself lately.

Won't bow down to you, fear.

Won’t bow down to you, fear.

 

Threw myself into the three minute thesis competition at my university the day before the event, just to see if I could. With only a few hours of preparation, I didn’t make it into the finals.

Stages.

Stages.

 

Well, not at first. Later, I find out, I am chosen as a wild card entry.

Well, what do you know? Wild card, hah!

Getting myself together.

Getting myself together.

Should I say thank you to this blog? For opening me up to face a crowd of unknown faces?

Perhaps.

Sweater: LOFT; Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger; Pants: Pantaloons; Clip worn as a bow tie: Forever 21 (on sale); Shoes: Spring from The Bay (on sale); Ring: Green Earth (gifted).

Backstage.

Backstage.