The original article was written for and published in TheIssue. Magazine
A couple of weeks ago, before the first severe and unstoppable snowfall, when autumn, such a lovely treat, was still bright yellow, I was waiting for my sister-in-law at one of the downtown coffee shops. That day, despite the fact it was a late Monday afternoon, was so rare in its warmth for the end of October that tender sunlight and the scents of coffee and rotting foliage made pedestrians slow down their pace. Thus, I could watch them quite successfully from the window of the café, or I must say I could watch purses, shoes and coats in a detailed approach. I always find myself wondering about the subject of the connection between a piece of clothing and a person who wears it. Certainly, for many people, the idea of getting dressed in the morning has only one intention: to be fully covered according to the weather. For others, however, appearance has a much deeper meaning, even a hidden power, I say. Those people are easily recognizable on the streets of any city, and as we speak particularly of Edmonton today, that observation includes our home, the place of constantly changing weather.
Someone much older than myself told me once how glamorous, how busy the downtown used to be. It used to be the place to shop, meet, and dine, the place to dress up for. While I cannot say I witnessed gradual changes that the city experienced over the last two decades, I still believe that a sense of fashion, pure appreciation of historic and newly built districts can still be found in many locals and visitors. As such thought kept pursuing me, I sat with my cup of total black and watched, hoping to notice mentioned earlier signs of style. This piece of writing would end much earlier if my experiment would have a negative result. However, as the clock struck four in the afternoon, the intersection of Jasper and 104 Street was filled with people: men in good leather shoes and wool suits, women in lovely coats and dresses. I even noticed a few wearing higher heels than one would expect from an office clerk. After all, that was an hour when instead of rushing back to the cars, the crowd decided to take a longer route, grab a cup of coffee, and to stay on the patios to enjoy the last few warm days. Then, I started paying attention to people on the patios. Some ladies used the chance of no longer wearing a mask and switched to brighter lipsticks: in combination with their office attire, that little detail only added to their polished and sophisticated looks.
While downtown is not the only place to watch the signs of local fashion, I must mention the following places where men and women dress with exquisite style, where they belong to the group that finds power in wearing something fashionable. Those places are cultural events, in particular concerts and art exhibits, and clothing stores. As with a gallery visit it only makes sense to dress appropriately, then I would like to dive deeper into the idea of finding fashionable inspiration at boutiques. If we compare Edmonton to capital cities where the main fashion shows hold their place, certainly, we must admit that a young person dreaming of working in fashion, yet living in Edmonton, most likely would start with retail. There, in small boutiques on Whyte Ave, at clothing stores around the malls, you could see a group that stands out, that inspires and decides to dress up, to wear the latest trends because they understand one simple thing: we as representatives, not only of a brand we work for but of the city we live at, create the appearance of the place. Thus, they wear blazers with jeans and add funky shoes. They put on skirts and a little heel not for a special occasion, but a daily routine conversation with customers. And that drives them, and that creates excitement in those who interact with them.
Time after time, I would meet an older lady walking her dog in a residential area, and her elegance would astonish me. Sometimes, I would meet a cashier, a young man at my grocery store who would have the most stylish hair, who would wear a good watch and would express himself with exceptional manners. Sometimes, a random person on a street, far from downtown, would wear a plaid coat and yellow leather gloves, just because they feel the power of dressing up. Hence, that is where I find fashion in Edmonton. Everywhere. Those people who get up in the morning and thoughtfully think of how to present themselves are everywhere.
To finish this piece, I will only ask a question of where and what places do you go to get fashionable inspiration or to simply meet people who wear the latest trends? And, as a second, I will leave the list of local Edmonton bloggers whose outfits are also full of enthusiasm and prevailing taste.