In this series, I ask the contributor to share an image of their favourite outfit – maybe a pair of pants they wore every day, maybe a special party dress – and write about where they were in their life and why this outfit has such significance. Today we welcome Vanessa Petey. I consider Vanessa the queen of Canadian-made fashion. For one thing, she has a blog called Fashion Canadiana (I feel like that is a pretty clear way to crown yourself). This is her favourite outfit.
I’ve always been a lover of comfort. Style is of course important, but comfort, for me is usually number one. When I first started working at Fresh Collective on Toronto’s Queen Street West back in September 2014, it was right when all of the Fall/Winter lines were starting to come in. One of the requirements of the job was to wear the clothes that were sold in the store, so I knew I had to choose something for my first purchase soon. All of the lovely Canadian-made things started to roll in: the soft sweaters and the cozy knits and the warm wintery fabrics. It was from this crop that I became infatuated with this very simple, super soft tunic by Toronto designer Desserts and Skirts [editor’s note: check out their llama shirt!!!] in the closest thing to pink I’ve worn since first grade picture day.
It was a little pricey for my shallow pockets. At the time I had never purchased a sweater for more than $100 and it seemed like a bit of a chunk. I started wearing the piece in the store and hiding it in the back section so it wasn’t bought by anyone else while I wasn’t there. The weeks went on and I was selling tons of these babies. The crazy soft fabric was an instant win for most customers who were gearing up for another bleak winter (this was the year of our infamous polar-vortex). Also in a state of evolution, though I may not have been aware right away, was my knowledge and appreciation for the Canadian-made clothing I was working with and the designers who made them.
I started to do the math every time I made a sale – 50% of the price is immediately deducted for the store, then take away cost of fabric and materials, not to mention machines and of course the time of the person sewing the garment – and it became very clear very quickly why these prices were what they were.
Finally the day came; the season was coming to a close and everything started to go on sale. I had to make a decision about my tunic or it would certainly be sold soon. I realized that after the many weeks that I had been wearing it in the store that it felt like my sweater. I looked forward to wearing it and it added some much-needed colour to my monochrome wardrobe. I bought it then and there and it quickly became my go-to piece. Chilly summer night on the beach? Toss on this tunic. Cozying up under a blanket with my cats? Tunic. Semi-casual night out at the pub? Add some sheer tights and heels and BAM – tunic to the rescue again.
There’s nothing more important than comfort – even style. So when you find a piece that both works with your love of soft AND stylish, GET IT. The price is ALWAYS worth it in the end and the feeling of supporting a local artist is like no other.