Self-expression is back: what you wear can add a touch of joy to your day
ST. JOHN’S, NL — Zaren Healey White has worn many hats professionally, including in news media, communications, politics and marketing. She is also known for wearing hats that are bold, unique and which she says express her love for fashion.
“I don’t really remember getting into fashion. It came naturally over time, and in high school it was one of my big interests,” White told SaltWire Network. “This is when you figure out who you want to portray yourself (as) and what your interests are.”
White says fashion fits well with her inclinations towards art, creativity, theatre, improvisation and the visual arts. She grew up in an equally creative family, which she says influenced her.
Shopping for clothes became something of a treasure hunt, as she was more interested in finding interesting items and combining them into what she calls “wearable art.”
“Beyond fashion related to art and creativity, it should be fun and the way you dress should be for you,” she said. “Style is about self-expression and self-love. It’s always more important than trends or other people’s perceptions and tastes.
White’s interest in shopping and online shopping gives her the freedom to create her own personal style – one that continues to develop.
“The way we dress and our sense of taste is very personal and should be, otherwise things would get pretty boring. I look at the outfits I wore in the early 2000s and laugh, but I love wearing them and that’s what made me feel good at the time and in this cultural moment in fashion. I like to take style risks, grow with the times and be a chameleon.
“If you dress for yourself first and foremost, everything you wear will always be in style.”
– Zaren Healey White
White’s core belief whenever she talks about fashion with her friends is to wear what makes you happy and take care of those items because they can provide years of enjoyment if treated with care.
“I try to wear a lot more of everything I have,” White says. “I invest in better quality pieces and take great care of my things to make them last longer, including repairing them instead of replacing them. I wear things, especially hats, accessories and shoes, that I have for 10 to 15 years.
White’s love of vintage styles will take her to local thrift stores, where she’ll try to challenge herself to think about how much she plans to wear something before buying it. And once she feels that someone else can derive pleasure from an object, she will pass it on to a new owner.
“And if you dress for yourself first and foremost, everything you wear will always be in style.”
Kimberly French from PEI. is the owner of Kimberly French Styling, where she works as a personal and client stylist. She has always used fashion as an expression. Living and traveling around the world allowed him to experiment with an expressive style.
“Street style in Europe is such an art form that it gives you permission to take risks and cultivate your own individual style through expressive pieces,” French wrote in an emailed interview. .
“That’s what’s so good about fashion. Its creativity is limitless and its impact on you and those around you, considerable.
French sees himself as someone who also likes to push the boundaries of fashion. Maybe not in a loud and direct way, but in a way that makes people stop and think.
“That’s my favorite part of being a personal stylist, showing clients how to push the boundaries of fashion in different ways in their comfort.”
Along with her personal fashion influences, French counts Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy among her top influences, as her style choices in the ’90s would still hold true today.
“Carolyn didn’t follow trends, she set them. She is the epitome of timeless chic.
French considers shoes and jackets to be some of the boldest items people can use to express themselves and what she recommends to many of her clients who don’t know how to incorporate trends.
“These two items are truly the finishing pieces to any look and tend to stand the test of time better than other garments.”
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the country, the current trend among fashion-conscious people is to be more colorful and expressive after nearly two years of homewear.
French says the colorful, faithful style we’re seeing emerge in 2022 is certainly a reaction to the dress code and minimal outings that have become our norm for the past two years.
“The majority of us yearn to get back to a new normal and do the things we used to love, with the ones we love, and we want to look and feel amazing doing it.”
“And what better way to do that than wearing pieces that represent who you are (or who you want to be) – especially if they’re bright and bold!”
bring back the joy
Renée Martin, owner of The Style Coach, a Halifax-based personal styling service, recalls her mother dressing her like a young Audrey Hepburn, posing as if she were out of a Sears catalogue. Martin was only four years old at the time, but her love for fashion never left her. She also has no interest in standing out from the crowd.
“I really like my outfits to be different and unique,” Martin said. “Most Maritimers tend to dress simple, safe and blend in. including jewelry, makeup and my Cleopatra style hair never go unnoticed. It has become my signature look.
Martin credits her mother, the woman who dressed her in Hepburn and Shirley Temple, as her biggest fashion influence. She remembers how glamorous her mother was in the 80s – just like a “movie star”.
“Whether she was on her way to college to teach nursing or to take me to a dance class, she was always dressed to perfection – the best dressed herself; her colleagues and students were eager to see what she would wear. As for my sense of fashion, I owe it everything. The apple did not fall far from the tree.
Martin sees a trend this year among other clothing enthusiasts, as colorful and expressive designs and styles have become commonplace after two years of people wearing home clothes.
“Trends come and go. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a popular show in the 90s, bringing bright and cozy fashion into our homes as we shared many laughs as a family. It would make sense for this year’s 2022 trend to be comfortable, as our insulation garments have been, and colorful; bring fun and joy back into our lives.