Who, What, Wear?
Photos and writing by Meaghan Harris
Interview Q's by jess Salgueiro
This week we got the opportunity to meet up with some women we admire to ask them about their style and why it’s important to them. Fashion is something that I've personally always been drawn to ever since I discovered the Spice Girls and realized that I NEEDED to own white platform sandals; I think I was five. My passion for fashion (sorry for the forage I just can't help myself), lies in the fact that I’m pretty shy with people I don’t know and clothing allows me speak without opening my mouth. On days where I’m feeling particularly timid I tend to peacock a bit more with the way I dress because I know it'll be an ice-breaker and hopefully make me approachable strangers. Wear something unique and the conversations will come-a-knockin. That’s my philosophy.
Fashion can be looked at as frivolous, but to me, it’s so much more than that. The way we dress is a form of communication that reaches even those who don’t speak our same language. So here I go, on the hunt for fashion/expression insights from a few super stylish humans. This is the first of its kind on BBW, so conceptually speaking, it's still in the infant stage. With feedback and reflection we're hoping to bring future editions of Who, What, Wear? with even more focus and intention.
Our first interview was with Emily Coutts, a gal who lives in Toronto, works as an actor, eats a lot of thai food and loves vintage hunting, travelling, and dancing to hip hop. We met her by a coffee shop and only had five minutes to take pictures before a torrential downpour began and we had to run for cover to said coffee shop. we did not buy any coffee (which was maybe awkward) but shared many a laugh. Thanks for being so f-ing photogenic!
What did you think about when you got dressed this morning?/What did you try to channel/express when you got dressed this morning?
It's a really organic process. Sometimes a white t-shirt and a ball cap can feel just right. Sometimes I need to be all the 'extra' with embroidery, faux fur and big sunnies. I've always loved dressing up. When I was a kid I befriended an old lady who lived next to us who gave me all her costume jewellery and dresses and I placed them all around my room like an old Hollywood dressing room. I started to express myself through my bedroom and had all of these secret boxes full of tiny little treasures (probably like fake credit cards, spice girls lollipops and rocks I found in the garden but hey I was a kid). I still do that. Anyone who knows me knows my 'dressing room' is a colourful parade of new found trinkets. Having my own aesthetic makes me feel really powerful. It's always changing as I grow, learn, and travel more. I'm still honing and urging myself to continue being authentic and find things that are really "me", whoever that may be day to day. I become obsessed with people, currently Yolandi Visser and Barbra Streisand so I've recently been channelling a bit more 'fuck it' in my fashion. It's too stressful worrying about what others think so just trying to 'do me'.
How would you describe your relationship with your clothes?
Everyday I am bombarded with images of fashion and beauty on Instagram, Pinterest and in magazines. Some days this can leave me feeling really inspired and excited. Seeing people from around the world sharing their original style is so cool. However, some days it can make me feel like I'm not enough. Some days social media has me wishing I was anyone but myself. It's complicated. The fashion world can be very superficial. It's all about more, more, more. It can be about changing who you are so people like you more or think you're cooler or prettier. At the core though it's about expression. It's about bravery and play. I try not to take it all too seriously. I just try to be that young kid in her bedroom who didn't care about how it looked, but rather how it felt. Because feeling colourful, powerful, sexy, weird, plain, or like a rockstar, that's the important thing.
How do you feel in an outfit that you absolutely love? / Or how do you feel in the outfit you're wearing right now?
Well currently I'm post-bath sitting in my robe (which might be my favourite thing I own, thanks mom!) so I'm feeling V cozy.
But in general when I'm in an outfit I love I don't have to think about how I look at all and that's a relief. When I'm in the 'right' look I feel like myself and I can just have fun and be present with others without feeling self conscious or uncomfortable. It's a freeing feeling.
Our second interview was also with a Toronto actor by the name of Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves. She invited us into her home, made us the best damn tea and then told us stories about love and life that had us hanging on to the edge of our seats. Her bulldog Gracie was also a sweet angel baby, who you'll see in the photos to follow.
What did you try to channel/express when you got dressed this morning?
I like to wear clothes that accurately express my energy and mood- the outfit I chose this morning does that job quite well. I bought it from some random shop in Eglinton subway station. It was $10, and everyone thinks it’s some designer shit. Sometimes cheap is good (as in this case), but sometimes it’s just cheap. And, conversely, expensive doesn’t necessarily equal stylish. Know the difference people, and you will always win. Lol.
How would you describe your relationship with your clothes?
I’ve made a huge effort to eliminate clothes from my wardrobe that don’t make me feel awesome. No matter what the occasion, I feel like my clothing should represent my vibe. Which wasn’t always the case. I think we all fall into this idea of what we’re ’supposed’ to wear, according to whatever situation we’re in. What is professional? What is formal? I think it’s whatever you want it to be- YOUR version of that paradigm. My relationship with clothing has evolved so much over the past twenty years. Where once I would wear something I liked even though it may not fit well or was uncomfortable, I now absolutely demand comfort AND style… and a fantastic fucking fit. I abhor trends. Growing up, me and my girlfriends never dressed the same. Everyone had their own unique take on classic items. I still look at my wardrobe that way, I still choose items that I feel are unique and/or classic. That’s important to me. My clothing is a tool for expression and artfulness, and has the power to make me feel like a million bucks, even on a shitty ass day. Also- accessories are everything.
How do you feel in an outfit that you absolutely love? /how do you feel in the outfit you're wearing right now?
Like a million bucks! Depending on the outfit, I feel sparkly, beautiful, handsome, powerful, statuesque, athletic, womanly, cheeky, vampy, sexy, boyish…all the things. There is power in what you wear, and that’s ok. More than. Today’s outfit makes me feel like art.
I met these women On the street- They were so rad that I had to include them. I didn'tget full nameS, but I got their instagram handles, because... 2017.
Instagram: @Lo___yo and @Maddee___
A couple words to describe your style:
Lora: Comfy, DIY.
Maddie: Just whatever I like, I used to care what people would think and now I"ll just wear ANYTHING.
How do you feel that expressing yourself through style helps you in day to day life:
Lora: Style is so individual and when you wear something what makes you feel good it affects your mood.
Maddie: Two years ago I would not even wear a white tee or anything without a bra that would show any nip, but now I could not care less.