I was walking with a friend of mine the other day who was in town for Osheaga. She turned to me at one point after a small group of polyester clad teenagers pranced by and said “I hate it when unfashionable people go to music festivals.”

Now, that was a little harsh, she even realized it when I begged her to let me use this anonymous quote as the opening for this article, but I could understand what she meant.  People shouldn’t necessarily choose to look crappy just because they’re going to a music festival. Now, I’m not telling you to show up at Parc Jean Drapeau in an evening gown, but you don’t have to look all drab and boring just because you need to be practical.

I personally didn’t go to Osheaga- but if I’d  gone, I would have worn a pair of denim high waisted Levi’s shorts (these fit like second skin and nothing ever falls out of their pockets… plus, they’re hot) a sensible tank top (for the August in Montreal heat) with a low maintenance Kimono. Not only have Kimonos been making a huge comeback since the Oriental look quietly maneuvered  its way back into style, but they’re also super practical for nights that aren’t quite nippy enough for a full on jacket.

I also would have carried an over the shoulder tote or bag. Make sure it’s over the shoulder, so that you have the option of wearing it across your body for extra security. Also, it’s way easier to fish out your necessities from a messenger bag. Totes are expandable – you should bring one you don’t care about getting ruined in the rain.

For shoes, I recommend Tom’s loafers or boat shoes. Anything slip on and beat up, basically. Flip flops are a bad idea because they can break easily. Sandals, it depends. They’re cute, yes, but the flimsier they are, the more likely they are to give up on you at the most inconvenient time. If you really want to wear sandals, opt for a more secure model- such as the type that have a thicker weaving, or are practically closed toe.

End of the summer tip for ladies: a friend of mine was wearing a pair of adorable sandals similar to what I had just described yesterday. She reported that they were recently purchased from Ardene of all places! It’s not too late, ladies! Go give ‘er  a look!

Hats are always welcome for a summer festival, after all, we must protect our visages from the ozone layer-less rays of Canadian sun, but I feel that the head accessory differs per person. These days, I have been down with turbans. The nice thing about turbans is that you can use the scarf when you’re cold, or as a veil to protect you from the rain. When you’re not using the scarf for your hair, shoulders, or as an umbrella, just double knot it to the strap of your messenger bag. It makes for a cute bag accessory, and won’t take up any room in your tote.

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Gentlemen, I haven’t forgotten about you. First of all, let’s put my past preachings of patterns to use and go wild with the floral tanktops. If you choose not to wear a tanktop, muscle tee, wifebeater, whatever you choose to call them, wear an extremely thin material T-shirt, but I heavily advise against longer sleeved T’s or even baseball shirts (though you guys look adorable with three quarter length sleeves).

If you’re going to get cold, bring a cardigan or flannel shirt separately, because you might get hot again. And while I understand (and believe me, appreciate) that you can just take your tops off wherever you want when you feel uncomfortable, what are you going to do if your date gets cold? Give him/her your sweaty pit-stained baseball shirt because you weren’t smart enough to bring a button down along? I think a man with a button down is extremely sexy, especially when it’s plaid and he’s offering it to me when I’m cold.

Men, you look adorable with hats on, do what you want to with that accessory. Just no visors, please. You’re never going to get laid if you prance  around this world proudly wearing a visor.

Don’t wear long jeans, ESPECIALLY not skinny jeans.  It’s not the time or place. I encourage you all to wear a pair of demin shorts and roll up the pant legs. Ladies, this goes for you too. A summer festival and long jeans should not mix.

No shoes you would wear to the gym, that’s just stupid. For you, I recommend beat up loafers/any shoe you can easily slip into as well. Also, don’t bring your soccer ball thinking you’re going to play soccer in the middle of the festival, don’t bring your guitar to a music festival, it’s not about you, but please, bring your own bag. Your girlfriend does not want to carry everything around for you all day.

Well mesdames et messieurs, I think that’s all the wisdom I can pass down for this week. We have about a month left of summer, so use this guide for any other festivals you may be going to, or weekend trips to the beach, labour day… whatever the hell you’re going to do to prepare yourself for the cold days that are coming to us.

Peace, love, and forever promoting loafers.

Let’s talk about Hipsters.  It seems to me that most people living in a major city know at least one person who they would  define as a Hipster. What is a Hipster, anyway? Is there really a definition? Some may say a Hipster is somebody who consistently tries too hard to be ironic, while others may insist that Hipsters are a group of pretentious and judgemental assholes. In my opinion, both definitions apply, but as a self proclaimed fashion theorist I have come to gather that Hipsters are the modern day Beatniks of our generation, who actually may have a delicate psychology behind the movement we have come to both covet and mock.

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Let us reflect on the past 14 years of fashion. As I’d mentioned last week, doesn’t it seem like we have managed to turn a full circle since the year 2004? Yes, the vintage look and influences from the past were always trendy throughout the 20th century, but up until the return of skinny jeans, pieces were all new concepts, or concepts that were deemed classic. For example, remember 2007: flip through the pages of any Vogue of that year and you’ll find skinny jeans, V neck cashmere sweaters, cropped jackets, and knee high boots with jeans tucked in. Neutral tones with vibrant neon attached. Small glasses were the norm and fashion was just… modern. It didn’t seem like anyone was trying too hard.

About one year later, I noticed a new movement had taken the generation by storm when I visited my sister in Montreal.  I thought it was bizarre how a lot of her friends had taken up an extremely simple way of living that wasn’t modern or complicated. These people looked as though they had walked out of the scenes of 1980s movies with their skinny jeans, Doc Martens, oversized and ragged knit sweaters, loose toques, and grim facial expressions as they drank whiskey from their Mason jars and listened to records in their quaint Plateau apartments when the “normal” and “expected”  was to live downtown. I was living in Halifax at the time and had noticed that none of my friends or any of their friends had felt the need to mimic this lifestyle. It was as though the thought had never occurred to them. Halifax, being a much smaller city, had citizens who were more than happy with their five appliances, Uggs paired with Lulu Lemon leggings, and breakfasts at Chez Cora every Sunday.

Bludgeoning_Irony_-_Hipster_Girls_-_SXSW_2009But the economy was crashing, the political world was going nuts, and there were lots of unsettling theories and conspiracies about our futures. Collectively, I’d say with the way shit was going down, our generation had the right to be angry with our parents. It makes sense that these kids who we called Hipsters wanted to revolt against their parents’ frivolity that had taken the world through such highs and lows on political and economical levels. What does that mean? Everything old must be new again, and let us save, save, save. Everything that is quaint is fashionable. If it looks like something you would have owned as a child, your mother, father, aunt, or uncle would have owned as a child, and an apartment your grandmother would have lived in when she was your age, it was considered cool. Thriftiness had become a trend, and the thrifty people obviously flocked together with their similar interests.

Personally, I was a little surprised when I’d noticed a couple of years later how Hipster fashion had made it through the pages of Vogue. I had never in a million years expected it to be fashionably acceptable to look like Topanga Lawrence again, or to wear Steve Urkel eyeglasses—even though my personal taste had taken to the look when I had first discovered it. On some level, I find it fishy, how easily we returned to a whole decade that had only just passed. Was it because we were simply bored of the monotonous metallic and neon colours of the futuristic 2000s? Or, were we starting to think like the Hipsters and flock back to what we used to know, before the world was complicated.

The 90s wardrobe has been the peak of Hipster fashion for the past couple of years. And whenever I wear high waisted Levi’s shorts, I feel 8 years old again, not worrying about nuclear war or whether or not we are actually living in a 1984 environment. If I feel this way, others must as well, otherwise the trend wouldn’t have taken so strongly.

IHipster_med_öl really don’t think the movement was intended to turn into a huge trend. I feel that the image the Hipster generation was initially trying to convey was one of simplicity that had spun out of control.But when we think about the concept of everything old being new again, is it possible that we are clinging to the familiar because we are afraid of the future?

It is an interesting concept to think about next time you’re at a quaint cafe where the room is glittered with people dressed in clothes that are inspired by decades throughout the 20th century but everyone is on their smart phone or laptops. With that image, I always think: If someone were to teleport themselves from the 1960s, they would be extremely confused. On the other hand, I’m glad we’re not dressed in robot garb yet, and we can have fun with clothes from the decades we had missed out on.

Isn’t it funny how over the past decade we’ve managed to revive the best and worst styles of the better part of the previous century? Since 2003, we have introduced old concepts into our new wardrobes.

I remember the ressurection of leggings worn under mini skirts paired with the large baggy tops of 2005. I remember the unflattering ballerina warm up shrugs that were meant to be tied at the waist but made everyone’s arms look fat. I also remember the 1950s inspired poodle shaped skirts with flamboyant colours and prints of 2004, heinous large neon earrings that we would see Kimmy Gibbler wearing on old episodes of Full House paired with skin tight black mini dresses that would later be a part of American Apparel’s 2007 collection.

I will never forget the vintage movement that swept the end of the decade and turn of the century or as I like to call it, The Return of the 90s. The revival of the 90s took the fashion world by storm.

Being bi-continential, I noticed even my stylishly stubborn friends back in the Middle East eventually catching on to the look. Larger glasses were introduced, fedoras and bowler hats were encouraged and wayfarer sunglasses and skinny jeans were essential.

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However, 2013 offers something different. It is almost as though the fashion industry is pushing women’s fashion aside and dedicating the evolution of trend to the male audience.

I know, it sounds like crazy talk, but think about it ladies: has this season not been really weird? Anything “new” you can think of, with the exception of swimsuits and shoes, isn’t actually new.

Last summer, we were obsessing over chiffon material and hi-lo skirts and dresses. This year, feel free to raid your closet because it seems that everything that has been fashionable over the past five years is still perfectly acceptable to create an up-to-date outfit.

My theory is we’re taking a small detour since we’ve literally circled the better half of the previous century stylistically speaking. Yes, this year, with great hesitation, we are back to the years of fashion we were trying to forget not five years ago: the early 2000s.

What does that mean? The Oriental look, metallics, spaghetti strap halters with long a-line skirts and awkward strappy sandals a la Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in their creepy pubescent entertainment careers.

But men are seeing something different in fashion. This season, they are being given more of a chance to actually be fashionable!

mens fashion 2013Sure, more often than not you’ll still see the everyday average heterosexual dude between the ages of 18-35 wearing the same old cargo shorts, graphic tees and disgusting sports sunglasses. You’ll also spot the average sweatpants wearing, hideous high crotch, elastic band jeans with the awkward ass and high ankles wearing guy who looks like he’d just stepped out of a Mickey Mouse Club video cassette, pairing them with those insulting Velcro cross strap sandals.

It’s obvious, however, that the fashion industry has gone the extra mile for my adorable, hairy counterparts. It seems that men, regardless of their sexual orientation or personal style, are being encouraged to go bold with what they wear.

Think about it: the fashion industry for men is usually targeted towards the media’s idea of the “typical” fashion loving homosexual man, and the preppy guys (or as we call them here in Montreal, guys from France), but the everyday average guy, regardless of his sexual orientation, wouldn’t necessarily have much of an option.

What happens if you don’t like what’s coming out? If it’s too preppy for you? All they’ve been stuck with was skinny jeans, plain t shirts, and v neck sweaters (sexy). Otherwise, it’s back to the same old cargo shorts and graphic tees.

This year, shorts are encouraged, especially if they’re cuffed. The cuffed look is being pushed onto men like skinny jeans were.

I’ve spoken to quite a few men who have different tastes, and most of them agreed that the cuffed pant-leg look is too feminine. I personally disagree and feel they should give it a chance and take the risk; after all, cuffed pant legs look pretty classic with a nice loafer or boat shoe and a simple, light button down shirt that’s casually been left unbuttoned.

Now, I can see how that would look a little too Dawson’s Creek for some of you, but remember how people felt about skinny jeans when they first came out? Exactly. Just give it a couple of years.

I think that this season, it’s safe to say men are being encouraged to make bolder decisions, even in an androgynous sense. I know that the concept of androgynous style is not necessarily new, but it has definitely been expanding.

Some men are rocking heels paired with self-designed outfits and they look fierce. Same thing with dresses.

Back in the day, the public might have had negative reactions to the concept of gender-bending fashion, but especially after this season, I see great potential in the look. You wear your heels baby, and wear ‘em high.

There is nothing more beautiful than the silhouette of the androgynous look. It’s like having a bunch of beautiful mannequins walking around constantly inspiring me to go shopping.

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But you don’t have to wear heels or even cuff your pant legs to be bold. According to one of my fashion conscious, average Joe friends: “men are finally opening up to patterns that aren’t plaids or stripes…. floral, polka dots, small patterns like anchors.”

My friend does live in a in a city where these changes are more likely to take place straight away, but what about the rest of the world? Are men ready to take the plunge into this pond of fashion? All with a grain of salt and giving things a chance, even if you just start off with bold colours or wearing a denim shirt.

Keep in mind, though: rolling up your pant legs make you look taller, and I personally swoon over a tall glass of water.