Fashion 101: Go North
Student fashion tips from a genuine Canadian.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
This may come as a shock, but here it is: Canada can help take American fashion to higher latitudes. I know this because I am a Canadian who has lived and traveled extensively in the US of A, carefully studying the fashion of my self-involved neighbors to the south. Canadians are known for many things: dog sleds, trapping and hockey, but definitely not fashion. However, just as our maple syrup is superior to your Mrs. Butterworth, so is Canadian fashion to American.
Exhibit A: Canadians invented ear piercing. Exhibit B: From our prime location in the north, Canadians are able to remain detached from the sillier pop-culture fashion trends that so many Americans get sucked into, and recognize the flaws in these fleeting fashion moments. Conclusion: Canadian fashion achieves a balance of practicality and innovation especially appropriate for the savvy American student.
Moreover, as the Canadian dollar does not spread as far, the Canadian student must take function and versatility into account when choosing items of clothing for the upcoming school year. It’s a formula that works in Manitoba and Saskatchewan — and it will work just as well in Marina and Salinas.
• Layering helps carry any summer wardrobe into fall and helps get the most bang out of your student buck. The first fashion must, the trapeze coat, adds the perfect finishing touch to fall’s layered look.
Add tights or leggings underneath light dresses; slip on knee-high boots, and finish off the look with this stylish coat. The relaxed cape shape of this chic garment will hide any extra winter weight — which Canadians pack on for insulation but those south of the border call the “freshman 15.”
• Predictably, jeans continue to be a student must, but this season things will shift toward wide-leg styles for girls and slim-cut for guys. Meanwhile, darker washes will work well for both men and women transitioning from daytime classes to nighttime parties. Canadians choose to pair jeans with a sturdy lumberjack-style coat, but the California climate should have local students thinking cute, preppy sweaters.
• Canadians are well aware of this next crucial fashion fact, but for all Americans that are a step behind, trust that the best of the ’90s is back in the form of the fanny pack. North of the border both male and female fashionistas are ditching backpacks and are sporting “fannies” from luxury labels — Gucci, vintage Chanel and Louis Vuitton — on both the waist or slung over the shoulder. Just as the Canadian word “Eh” is versatile enough to throw into any conversation, the fanny enjoys the flexibility to go with any outfit.
With easy access to daily essentials that won’t weigh down your posture, the fanny comes in handy when dancing at a club or carrying keys and pens between classes. Perhaps this trend has not made it to Monterey yet but brace yourself people: The fanny is coming. Try this hands-free fashion essential and you’ll find yourself asking, “Why did I not rock this before?”
• Contrary to popular belief, not all Canadians are running around the tundra in mukluks and hiking boots. Key alternatives are Converse All Stars for both men and women, which happen to be comfortable while trapping in the tundra or running around campus — and at bargain rates. Sneakers this fall for guys will be everywhere but loafers are also a comfortable yet more sophisticated option. For girls, boots are always great for winter with dresses, skirts and over or under jeans. The slouchy look can still be pulled off, although it may look a little dated. Tighter fitting boots with Western accents, fold-down collars and buckles are more in the now.
When walking home in your sky-high heels is too much to stand, keep ballet flats handy to change into; they pull together any outfit, smart or casual, and are comfy to boot.
• Because we live in igloos, Canadians always embrace fashion trends that keep the body warm. Keep cozy in style by adding thick, chunky, knitted sweaters to any outfit. Girls can choose to pair with jeans or look sexier in a jersey dress. Either way, this look is an affordable find in vintage stores.
So go forth and enjoy your new look, students of California — just as Canada gave America Pamela Anderson, Superman and basketball to claim as its own, these fashion insights are now yours. Here are some of the best places in the area to get these new fall looks:
BLUE MOON TRADING CO | 176 Boniface Pl. | Monterey | 641-0616 | With an eclectic collection of vintage and second-hand clothing and accessories, Blue Moon Trading Co. helps its customers look hip without breaking the bank. Buy or trade clothing for cash or store credit and score designer duds including 7 for All Mankind denim and Marc Jacob dresses for half the usual price.
MS. FABULOUS | 125 Oceanview Blvd. #206 | Pacific Grove | 641-0935 | The locals’ well-kept secret. Located in the American Tin Cannery, Ms. Fabulous has a trendy combination of super hot designer jeans and flirty dresses. Make sure to check out the absolutely-necessary-in-a-pinch “Low Beams” and “Hollywood Fashion Tape”. Just ask, and you’ll understand.
KARMA FASHION LOUNGE | 415 Alvarado St. | Monterey | 333-1350 | Karma, a small downtown boutique, has a casual Los Angeles feel to it, and it’s full of mid-range priced fun, funky and feminine clothes, shoes and accessories. Find something to wear (and handbag, and shoes) on the first day of class as well as to future formal events.
HEBEGEBES | 616 Lighthouse Ave. | Pacific Grove | 641-0966 | Amazing prices on stylish clothes and shoes are there for the taking at Hebegebes. This petite boutique is packed with everything from trendy tees and minidresses to slinky tops, perfect for a girl’s night out on the town.
BLISS | 266 Main St. | Salinas | 757-4055 | Bliss has unique looks that won’t be found at any mall. Its eclectic mix of casual tops and bottoms as well as formal dresses and accessories fit any occasion — and at practical prices.
PALOOSH | Ocean Ave. at Dolores St. | Carmel | 626-2773 | Design-conscious fashionistas with parental money to burn will find fall (and winter, and resort wear, and spring) essentials in this exclusive boutique. Paloosh carries chic pieces by Marc Jacob, Lacoste, Luella and a multitude of other high-end labels.