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Fighting the mood swings of fall fashion

Tiio Horn (left) rocks as Mezaris silk scarf, while a smaller Tiio (Deer) (right) goes for a Merino wool style from the same designer. Both are solid fall looks. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

In the wee hours of the night, I recently tumbled down an internet black hole, a sort of Facebook-fueled chain of clickthroughs that led to YouTube videos that led to more YouTube videos and so on and so forth as my eyes became more bloodshot.

What a great night. Not.

Anyways, for whatever reason I landed on a video created by two psychiatrists seated in a beautiful room with windows floor-to-ceiling overlooking a garden. These docs were talking about seven signs to look for if you suspect someone has borderline personality disorder, and how not to mistake this for bipolar disorder. Hmm. Kinda interesting.

I’m not sure I made it through the video before I fell asleep, but what I do remember are a few of the signs of borderline personality disorder: going from depressed to ecstatic and back to depressed within the same 24-hour period, going by a different name from one day to the next, changing hair colours and fashion styles drastically from one day to the next, a chameleon-like personality that shifts daily depending on the company they keep. Generally, their sense of identity is unmoored.

How interesting.

After considering all this, I believe I am now qualified to make two diagnoses:

1. September weather definitely has borderline personality disorder. The wild shifts of temperature, humidity and rain within the span of 24 hours… checks all the boxes there. It doesn’t know if it’s summer or fall or winter or what, so it’s just guessing wildly, throwing out all kinds of combinations.

2. Fall fashion trends for 2018 also appear to be afflicted with the same disorder. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen so many random garments and fabrics spliced together…. it’s quite remarkable.

So how do we go about dressing for fall without being misdiagnosed for having a personality disorder?

I have a few thoughts on this.

Avoid the patchwork look

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good plaid, and a patchwork blanket in well-chosen colours can be cozy and lovely, but I’ve seen more than one plaid tank top with peplums, mixing four or five different colours of plaid, with uneven hems! I am all for taking fashion risks, and I don’t doubt the right person could pull this off, but the vast majority of us will look like we’re wearing a seven-year-old’s first sewing project or are trying to join a steam punk band.

However, if you love plaid, fall 2018 is definitely your chance to load up on all the different colours. The look is very Clueless inspired, so just channel your inner Cher and Dion and get yourself a pleated skirt, blazer or even a jumpsuit. It’s both on trend and timeless, so go nuts!

When you get a banana and two cherries in the slot machine. This might not make sense to anyone but me! Oh dear. (Illustration, Stephanie E.M. Coleman)

Give Louis Vuitton side-eye

I get it, you’re Louis Vuitton, you can do whatever you want. As one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, they’ve earned the freedom to do some weird things. Like this dress with crisp horizontal lines just above the bust, and again at the waist, like three different outfits were chosen randomly by a slot machine and spliced together.

Creative…yes! Wearable… maybe not so much.

Kinda looks like you were held upside down and dunked in a different outfit from the shoulders up.

Maybe they did it just so we’d have that mental image.

In which case, I’m actually kind of on board with that.

Silk scarves masquerading as clothing

And vice versa. I’m sure you’ve seen it in stores- the gold chain link print lifted from Gucci and Hermès classic silk scarves has bled over into fast fashion tops, jumpsuits, dresses, etc.

The trick here when getting dressed on a chilly morning is to make sure you actually grab a scarf and put it around your neck, and not your jumpsuit. If you haven’t had your coffee yet, it may take some time before one realizes one’s jumpsuit is impersonating a scarf. Not the worst fashion faux pas one has ever had to live down, but still.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure it’s the worst thing if someone out there wants to diagnose you as having borderline personality disorder. Part of dressing with joy and wearing what you love starts with caring little to nil about other people’s opinions. The other part comes from trying on different fashion ‘identities’ in order to find the style that resonates the most deeply with who you are. This is a process. I mean you probably noticed above my encouragement to channel your inner Cher and Dion. This is what we do when we have fun getting dressed – we step into another character for a moment. We try on a new ‘personality.’ Eventually our experiments settle into a style that feels easy and comes naturally, while still feeling fresh. So go ahead, dye your hair blue and wear plaid on Monday, and wear a silk scarf dress on Friday. It’s all part of the process.

Stephanie E.M. Coleman is an artist and designer and proprietor of Mezari & Co. boutique located at 365 Avenue Duluth in Montreal.

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