Trading Places — Ripped Denim and Navy Cardigan

Of many idioms in the English language, ‘to be comfortable in one’s own skin’ is one of my favorites because it seems to me to express a certain kind of ideal: to be confident enough to be placed anywhere with anyone, exist without the limits of comfort zones. I’m not sure if anyone lives a life like that — maybe Jonathan Goldsmith does —and I certainly try to stay within the boundaries of my comfort zones. Routines are key to this feat; go to the same coffee shop, sit at the same spot, order the same drink; make, of small things in one’s daily life, rituals and repeat them. Or, visit the same shops, wear the same clothes in blacks and whites, and always button the button-up shirt all the way up.

In many ways, we are bound by what we’ve become comfortable with. And it’s difficult to ever really confront them since we’re also bound by the mechanisms of our daily lives and since not all of us can have an Eat, Pray, Love soul searching cruise down the inner-self time off from it. So at Novella, we thought that changing outfits, getting into something you’re not really used to, is a good and simple way to break free from our routines.

Trading Places is our way of trying to see ourselves outside of our usual selves. That our team’s outfits range from flowy flower patterned blouses, classic oxford button downs, and head to toe black to embroidered band denim jackets, sheer polka dot dresses, and short-sleeve jumpsuits make this prison break more exciting. For our first installment, Chris, our fashion editor, and I partnered up to kick each other out of our respective comfort zones.

Daytime Outfit

Hoon: The Metalica tank top was beyond comfortable. I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything that so coyly covered and uncovered my nipples every time I lifted my arms. The breeze, since it was a hot day, was nice and cool and I adjusted well to life at this temperature. Next, I put on the denim shorts. My left foot got caught in one of the artfully ripped areas and for a second it seemed as though it might rip entirely and leave me with no choice but to lead a criminal life of damaging, and absolutely refusing to pay for, H&M shorts. Once on, the shorts let in a lot of air and was not as tight as I had originally anticipated or as Chris had warned, which was a relief. Then I put on the hoodie, which was cut in a way that the front ends of it veered away from my body. This, also, was a new sensation. It was possibly the most daring outerwear I’ve ever worn. I think that had I been wearing my usual pair of long black pants, I might not have felt too out of place in this outfit Chris picked out for me. Something about the ripped denim, as absurd as it is, was entirely contrary to the way I picture myself.

Chris: Although this may seem like a simple white shirt and casual navy blue pants, this was so far out of my comfort zone that it’s almost haunting to see these pictures as I write this. I’ve never been the type of person to opt for what others would consider “appropriate” and “tame” clothing. My personal style, has above all else, remained extremely casual and undeniably very me. So the thought of myself (sorry Hoon) moving over to the dark side of “grown up” dressing was really a step away from anything I would ever do in my personal life. There is one thing that I think I really enjoy about this outfit; the pants. Now I can undoubtedly do without the white button up shirt, but the pants are truly something I could see myself wearing and making my own. Not only were they extremely comfortable, moving with my body rather than against it, they came with andextremely handy and unexpected draw string waist, which would allow me to tighten and loosen my pants as the occasion calls for. Congratulations Hoon, you’ve made me realize that Uniqlo has comfy pants. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

Nighttime Outfit

Hoon: You can’t really see it in the photo but the ripped areas of this particular pair of jeans from Zara are curiously patched with various patterns, the most disconcerting of them all the two leopard prints. The jeans were tight but wearable, which seemed to me to be cruel in that they’re meant to be exactly that: tight and just a snippet short of being unbearable. I fumbled for a while to get them off and, to be honest, I don’t think Chris would really wear this particular pair himself. Chris and I both liked the green, white, and yellow shirt with daisies on them. It has splashes of brightness but was toned down by the dark green, which would make it, were I to go down that route, the gateway shirt to more colourful shirts. The light oversized denim jacket though you can’t see it in this photo, had roses embroidered in the back. But aside from the oversized aspect, once I put it on, I realized that it isn’t too far from something I’d venture to try on by myself if the mood were to strike.

Chris: Here’s the thing. Hoon is one of the lucky few on this beautiful blue planet that can pull off the studious Ivy League valedictorian look and not make it look like the constricting uniform of the ruling patriarchy. I, on the other hand, manage to make this J.Crew ensemble look like a failed attempt at making an aggressive Yale Skull & Bones look approachable and friendly. There’s something about this navy cardigan and grey-slack-dress shirt combo that that looks menacing. It looks predatory. Like a republican who’s smelled the blood of a  lower middle class citizen and is looking for nothing less than to pounce on his unsuspecting victim and rid them of their life force through heavy taxation and a higher cost of living. But if I do look to the bright side, the one thing I may consider wearing out of all three items would have to be the cardigan, just as long as I can have it oversized and riddled with holes and tears.

Final Thoughts

Hoon: The exercise was fun. I noticed how the uneasiness I felt while Chris picked out the outfits would soon disappear and seem disproportionate in retrospect. Goes to show that I egregiously associate certain aspects of myself with the types of clothes I choose to wear. Though I am still pretty certain that I’d not wear the ripped denim of my own accord, I might very well go back to that H&M for that tank top.

Chris: I think my favourite part of this little activity was watching Hoon’s eyes widen and face shoot white as I went through rack after rack, pulling out options of what I was willing to put him in. In retrospect, I did  manage to learn something interesting about how two different people view each other and how we should accept everyone for what makes them different and unique. Props goes to Hoon though. Our outing has inspired me to buy both outfits that I put Hoon in.

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One Month, One Style: Fringe

Although Coachella, the heart of “festival season” is already over, there are many other music festivals upon us, like Governors Ball in NY, Glastonbury in Pilton – UK or Osheaga in Montreal. There is no denying that these festivals are shaping the face of the fashion trends, therefore we decided that the month of May will be all dedicated to the bohemian look.

There are some elements that reflect the ultimate festival look. Think lace, crochet, flower prints and fringe. One of the major trend this season is the playful fringe, that added a lot of movement and fun vibe to any garment or accessories.

Music festivals are no longer the only place to channel this bohemian free-spirit look. Here are several ways to incorporate fringe into your daily wardrobe:

Just a touch

Add a touch of hippie boho feel by carrying a fringe bag on your side. Since handbags can speak much about your personality, without being too risky, it can be the first step in building your relationship with this flirty accessory. Fringe or tassels bag can be worn with anything, from formal outfit to a free spirit one and can make a fancy dress look more casual.

Photo: Emillio Pucci , Vogue

The Wild Wild West

While it’s still chilly outside, a fringe jacket can be a great way to welcome the wild west into your wardrobe. For S/S ’17, it’s clear to that designers had the festival season on their minds, by showing a collection that perfectly capturing the boho western vibe. Rodarte features a cream leather fringe jacket on his collection, as a modern update to the cowgirl sexy look, or Roberto Cavalli’s with a blue suede leather with fringe details all over it,as part of his hippy ’70s collection. For a casual day look, opt for fringe crop jacket with a skinny jeans, or add a pair of cool sneakers, for an unexpected combination.

Photo: Anna Sui, Imaxtree

100% boho look

Fringed kimono is the most identified component with the bohemian style and the most popular piece in any music festivals, but if you think it’s only appropriate for certain event, think again. Kimonos can totally be an integral part of your day to day wardrobe.  Try to wear this bohemian topper with a t-shirt and skinny jeans or layered over a denim shorts for the ultimate weekend look. Do you Feel the urge to refresh your classic office look? simply wear it with a midi dress and add a belt, that will give the whole outfit a polished touch.

Photo: Apiece apart, Vouge

I like to move it

There is no doubt that fringe skirt is a statement piece. The street style circuit have already become a big fan of this daring trend, which brings movement and liveliness to any outfit. You can take your fringe skirt from night to day and make it ideal for spring days. To dress it down, pair it with a graphic t-shirt and leather jacket. You can also add a pair of sneakers to give the bold look a casual twist.

Photo: Tory Burch, Imaxtree

Summer Flirt 

One summer accessory that you really need to own in your closet is a pair of fringe sandals. Whether it appears on suede lace up heels, flat sandals or come in a funkier version, it can bring a lot of fun you your outfit. The great thing about fringe sandals that it gives a bohemian hippie vibe to a city chic look, with no efforts. The good news that even if you are not a big fan of the retro 70’s trend, there are a lot of fringe variations to choose from.

Photo: Paul Andrew™ for J.Crew

Isabel’s Fall Must-Haves

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Garance Doré and Caroline de Maigret, Queens of Fall Layering | Photo: Trend Survivor

It might be odd that, in my twenties, I still feel the urge to do a back-to-school wardrobe refresh, but alas, such is the case. I love having all my looks figured out and ready-to-go for September 1st, just as I did when I was 6 years old. Through the many seasons of back-to-school shopping, I have added some sophistication and subtracted some pretty terrible trends from my wardrobe and, this year, I feel as though my fall must-haves have reached perfection through a blend of 90s classics (see Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy for inspiration), oversized modernity, and a touch of humour.

THE 90S CLASSICS

A PERFECTLY OVERSIZED KNIT TURTLENECK

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Doha Turtleneck Sweatshirt, Baserange $145 | Photo: Need Supply Co.

Try to have a cozy knit turtleneck in as many neutrals–tan, black, cream, grey–as possible and you will be set for the entire FW16 season simply because it is impossible to tire of them.

A THIN TURTLENECK

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Tissue Turtleneck T-Shirt, J.Crew $45.50 | Photo: J.Crew

 Yes, I recommend also having a very thin, layering turtleneck if you plan to stay on trend this fall. Try one in a bold colour under a more neutral statement piece to match the Hermès FW16 look.

CLASSIC DENIM JEANS

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Double L Jeans, L.L. Bean $39.95 | Photo: L.L. Bean

You can’t go classic 90s without a great pair of straight leg jeans. I recommend this pair from L.L. Bean because I am pretty sure they haven’t stopped making them since the 90s and for that they deserve the top spot.

OVERSIZED MODERNITY

A LAYERING TUNIC

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Tunic 2140, Oak + Fort | Photo: Oak + Fort

Nothing says “oversized modernity” (sorry I’m quoting myself) like layering an oversized tunic over wide-leg trousers. This whole look is very Olsen twin and is perfect.

WIDE LEG CROP TROUSERS

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Overlay Wide Pants, Stelen $79 | Photo: Need Supply Co.

These (very, very comfy) wide leg trousers will match with any oversized look. They even pair well with any of the items in the “90s classics” category above.

AN OVERSIZED WOOL COAT

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Filipa oversized wool and cashmere-blend coat, Isabel Marant $1,580 | Photo: Net-a-Porter

This is a great item to find vintage, usually in the men’s section of the shop, as buying new might cost you a bit. Make sure you love it and that you can fit sweaters underneath (because your mother was right about that) before you invest.

GLOVE SHOES

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Glove leather pumps, Martiniano $455 | Photo: Net-a-Porter

To top of your oversized look, try these effortlessly elegant glove shoes–the latest interpretation of the ballet flat that nod to Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Martiniano makes the perfect pair.

A TOUCH OF HUMOUR

FUN SET OF SUNNIES

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The Last Lolita, Le Specs $119 | Photo: Le Specs

How fabulous are these white and blue shrunken cat eye specs? I know. You want them too.

EMBROIDERED BOOTIES

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Isla Embroidered Boot, Loeffler Randall $550| Photo: Need Supply

My initial impulse was to add a classic black leather version of this boot, but then I saw these and they screamed “must-have” so here we are. Simply fantastic!

Honourable mentions (because you should probably already have these): camel coat, classic trench, cream thick-knit hat, black leather hand bag, red socks.