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4 Jul 2011

Fashion Victim: Summer Daze

Fashion Victim: Summer Daze


Just like Toronto’s fine mayor, I decided to skip town about a week ago (and likewise renege on my official duties as an editorial eagle-eye for this years Pride Festivities, for shame!). While I love me some sparkle-covered ladyboys and look forward to the Dyke March, something about the lure of late nights, bonfires, still waters and loons over the lake convinced me to pack my bags (with sensible beachwear) and head up north for a week.

I thought that, from the comfort of the rocky beach, I’d be spared from some of the torments of urban fashion crimes. No more white sunglasses, orange faces and white lipstick, rompers and gladiator sandals, straight-brimmed caps on dudes on fixies. Instead—floppy brimmed hats, cut-offs and cover-ups, and not a single boardshort in sight. What a relief.

How a girl can dream! Much to my chagrin, reality descended our first day up. Sartorial horrors don’t, conveniently, take summer vacations from their summer vacations. Naturally, I’ve combed the beach to catalogue some of the worst Canada Day fashion offenses.

Number One: Canada Day Gear.

While half the country was tweeting about the Duchess’s brightly-hued maple-leaf fascinator (sorry Kate, but the verdict is tacky and gimmicky), the rest was out in full-swing, stocking up on every red & white t-shirt, towel, hat, BBQ apron, and pair of novelty, Canadiana sunglasses.

Not that there’s anything wrong with national pride, of course. Canada Day is a great source of fantastic BBQ’d meats, tans, lots of beers, and at least one drunken incident involving fireworks. However, I feel obligated to issue a general advisory against nationalistic impulses for wardrobe-building. If Alexander McQueen, and Lady Gaga both tried it (and failed)  it’s probably not a good go-to choice for the aspiring fashionista, no matter what website tells you the opposite—


Swimsuits pose their own unique challenges. I tried to cover some of the most glaring swimwear sinkholes a few posts ago, but I guess a few more points ought to be clarified. Number one: there is never any need to match your bikini to your holiday. Number two: it’s called “swimwear” for a reason—if you can’t swim in it, it’s no good. (This means: no white bathing suits, nothing that will make you pull a Li-Lo, and nothing that Ice T’s lady Coco would ever be seen in.)

The rules differ slightly for the lads. Speedos are technically a don’t, unless he’s European and ripped (and the cottage grannies you’re staying with like it so much they want to get a piece.) Board shorts are usually a safe-bet, but avoid the dumpy father-in-law-look. Similarly, avoid anything that reminds you of a Jersey Shore extra. This excludes anything in camo print, tribal print, or that features a sick fabric-rip image of a tiger or dragon bursting out.

The traditional aim of bathing suits and swimwear is typically to be water friendly. The other is to minimize skin coverage so as to maximize tanning potential. A word of caution, however: there are few occasions for which any shade of orange is appropriate. I’ve been really into orange and coral lips for spring and summer. Both shades also work pretty well for colour blocking, as memorably deployed on the Jil Sander runways.

What we can learn from this little venture into sartorial colour theory is a cautionary tale of avoiding the wrong shade of orange (and pink!) in the wrong application. For example, one might try to avoid turning one’s skin a lovely shade of (painful) pink, or a garish orange. Use sun-screen, keep a cover-up handy, and avoid skin-cancer.

Unless you’re this guy, or you own white sunglasses.

It seems that long weekends are harder than they look, between packing for windy nights and mosquito-proof gear for nights down by the water, fun frocks for that eventual half-hour drive into town, and the best itsy-bitsy bikini. Maybe I shouldn’t fret so much. Cottage life is all about roughing it a little—no internet, no cell-phone service, plenty of cheap beer and eating nothing but hamburgers. So don’t worry about a little bit of a tan-line—you’ve got the whole weekend to even it out.

About the Author


i read a lot of books. you probably shouldn't take me shopping. i tweet useless observations @_arriving.



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