Fashion

Vancouver: Where Function is Fashion

By Jenica Chuahiock | 2 years ago | Speak Up

Perhaps one of the unusual days of 2011 was the day Vancouverites got fashion-burned for their affair with yoga pants. Yes, I’m talking about the MSN Travel post that ranked Vancouver as the third “worst-dressed city in the world”, all because we habitually take our yoga apparel beyond the confines of the gym and home.

The city-wide reaction to one traveler’s comment is quite surprising. The post made headlines and buzz everywhere, from personal blogs to actual news outlets, like the Vancouver Sun and CBS. Whoa! That clearly struck a chord to many yoga lovers and Vancouverites. And yet, despite the MSN Travel’s scathing remark, it doesn’t really prove anything other than pointing out that Vancouverites love their yoga gear, that whoever wrote the travel post has, uhhh, certain “physical insecurities”, and that people actually take MSN articles seriously (big surprise!).

What I find more fascinating is the general reaction after the travel post. Some people agree that “yoga pants are not pants” and Vancouverites deserve the burn, some feel offended, and some claim that Vancouverites don’t really care about fashion so long as the clothes are functional. The last comment is probably the most interesting, mainly because it reveals what Vancouverites want with style and fashion: function. Obviously, Vancouverites do care about fashion; otherwise, we wouldn’t make a big deal about being the third worst-dressed city in the world. But, as dozens have commented, Vancouverites value function with style and fashion. In fact, after the MSN Travel post was unleashed, I was walking by a Lululemon store and noticed the colorful, chalk-board message written on the windows: “Vancouver: 3rd worst dressed, but #1 in function”. This mentality also explains the popularity of other brands known for comfort, like Toms and Uggs shoes. Yoga wear is generally rooted on comfort and function, so no surprise that it’s a hit for Vancouverites.

Some people might still find it difficult to accept that function and comfort, like in yoga wear and wooly shoes, could ever go perfectly with fashion. I know that when I go all out for fashion finds, the last thing on my mind is whether or not skinny jeans and high-heels are comfortable (no, they are not). But is it possible to have function, comfort and style all together?

Yes, I would think so. If I could envision what is the ideal fashion-function look for Vancouverites, I would think it’s something like the Montreal based yoga boutique and studio, Yoga-a-Porter, created and designed by Caroline Frenette. I first came across Yoga-à-Porter while I was browsing through yoga websites and found Caroline’s “yoganista blog”. I loved her concept marrying yoga wear, function and fashion together, and once I found out her boutique carried yoga jeans, I was sold! And yes, those are literally jeans meant for the stretches and pulls of yoga! I spoke to Caroline for a few minutes about what she thought of comfort and function with fashion, and if wearing yoga pants all the time really was a fashion faux pas. She said, it’s all just a matter of style. Some people dress badly even with really good clothes, and some dress really well with whatever—it’s all about putting a different spin to it. As for function with fashion, both can absolutely go hand in hand, and sometimes we just need to go outside what our idea of style is.

And finally, I want to share with you my favorite fashion quote by Alexander McQueen, “It’s a new era in fashion – there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.”

So tell me, what’s your fashion style? Functional, trendy, or both?

Photo is by Andrew Park, viaYoga-a-Porter

Written by: Jenica Chuahiock

Follow me at:http://tattlestalesnthings.wordpress.com/

Speak Up

  • Spazzy

    Pfft I have yet to see one fashionable person in Vancouver. 

  • Madelaine

    Yes!! I agree wholeheartedly fashion and function. We in Vancouver are active bunch and don’t have the time to go back and keep changing clothes. I agree with this article, not the article that we are 3rd worst dressed. If you look at downtown and the surrounding areas we are pretty fashionable. Where it dies is in the lower class suburbs i.e. the Fraser Valley. And Surrey still is wearing sports jerseys and ed hardy etc… c’mon that was 5 years ago

  • Gina

    I like your guys new fashion section, much needed in this city. Agreed function/fashion is what we Vancouver women seek. Vancouver men have little fashion sense. Sorry gastown hipsters you suck as well

  • Darwin

    @Madelaine: Active lifestyle yes… but yoga pants EVERY-EFFING-WHERE do not count!

    @Gina: Men have fashion, it’s the boys that don’t.
    Where can I go and model my fashion and function that’s NOT hipster?

  • Bryce Pugh

    Vancouver doesn’t lack for choice when it comes to fashion.

    If you’re female. Or relatively well-off.

    Don’t get me wrong, I can find some clothes here, and thank god for Indochino. but if I want to find some nice, reasonably-priced duds for the office? good luck.

    Holt’s, and the like are not a friend to my wallet, or to my slightly traditional bent for clothes. 

    Most other store cater to the Portlandia set. You know the type: willing to pay FAR too much for some flannel and denim.

    If I want to get clothes, I look East these days and buy stuff online.

    Lastly, and this mostly applies to guys in this town:
    Nobody here has ever heard of going to a tailor, or bothered to ditch the square-toes loafers.

    Gents, if you’re wearing a suit – wear it well, or not at all.

  • Sharan_u

    Fashion is what you make of it.  Wear what you’re wearing with confidence, really own it and who gives a sh** what anyone else thinks.  I feel fabulous when I walk out the door and no one can change my mind about it ;)

  • Suzanne

    The author of the article who labelled Vancouver as the 3rd worst dressed city was not alone in her observations, nor was she the first to comment on Vancouverites misuse of yoga pants.  In fact, Suzanne Price, author of How To Turn That First Glance Into A Date pointed out in her book on dating that a lot of Vancouverites consider yoga pants to be somewhat of a permanent fashion statement, and when it comes to dating this could well be a mistake.
    It is a sad fact that a lot of Vancouverites are way too casual for their own good, as our casual sense of style can have a very negative impact on both our love lives as well as our earning potential. 
    Even though some may argue that we are an active bunch here, we still have to remember that this is a city, and wearing yoga pants to work, a job interview or out on a date will probably not help you get ahead in life.
    In saying that, yoga pants are not the only problem, as it was only last fall that I had a guy show up for a brunch date in the Pan Pacific wearing sweats over his soccer gear.  And, men showing up for dates wearing unflattering spandex body suits (we can only assume they rode a bike to meet us) are another common turn off.
    The sad truth is that there are also a lot of people who simply to do not know how to dress.  A good rule to remember would be, dress appropriately for whatever the occasion, and take a bit of pride in your appearance.
     

  • http://twitter.com/TheSinglesTimes Suzanne J. Price

    The author of the article who labelled Vancouver as the 3rd worst dressed city was not alone in her observations, nor was she the first to comment on Vancouverites misuse of yoga pants.  In fact, Suzanne Price, author of How To Turn That First Glance Into A Date pointed out in her book on dating that a lot of Vancouverites consider yoga pants to be somewhat of a permanent fashion statement, and when it comes to dating this could well be a mistake.It is a sad fact that a lot of Vancouverites are way too casual for their own good as our casual sense of style can have a very negative impact on both our love lives as well as our earning potential.  Even though some may argue that we are an active bunch here, we still have to remember that this is a city, and wearing yoga pants to work, a job interview or out on a date will probably not help you get ahead in life.In saying that, yoga pants are not the only problem, as it was only last fall that I had a guy show up for a brunch date in the Pan Pacific wearing sweats over his soccer gear.  And, men showing up for dates wearing unflattering spandex body suits (we can only assume they rode a bike to meet us) are another common turn off.The sad truth is that there are also a lot of people who simply to do not know how to dress.  The rule to remember should be, dress appropriately for whatever the occasion and take a bit of pride in your appearance. 

  • Darwin

    I read another article, and it points out that the casual fashion style also carries over into dating styles. People who were not raised in Vancouver, seem to be okay. It’s the locals that end up staying conservative and at moot.

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