Trending or timeless?

My personal favourite female figures and characters to draw inspiration from.

As someone who doesn’t follow trends, it floors me how quick the shift is from lifestyle aesthetics such as “clean girl” with the ice rollers and five-minute Journals, to “mob wife” characterised by loud prints and oversized sunglasses. 

In this world of ever-changing aesthetics, people are constantly changing their fashion, dispositions, attitudes, and lifestyles to fit into a short-lived trend. By the time the average trend-follower reinvents themselves, the social media world has moved onto the next big idea, which leads to time and money getting wasted. 

It makes more sense to pick a couple key, inspirational people to use as a blueprint to stick to, rather than being a version of a trend you might not have understood in the first place. Trends tend to become a lifestyle, not just a fashion ideal—do not adapt to them when you know deep down that a particular lifestyle or fashion sense isn’t truly you. 

That being said, here are my favourite female icons to draw inspiration from. Whether through fashion, attitude, or mannerism, it has truly been a journey to cultivate my blueprint from these women. 

Starting off strong with the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. With her timeless class, style, and charismatic disposition, her looks have always been chic and elegant—and they are easily achievable. Grab some ballet flats or classic loafers, tailored black pants, a loose white button-down, and if you’re feeling mysterious, a trench coat. 

Forever an “It girl,” Lady Diana Spencer’s style became especially sought after in her 1996 post-divorce era. Between her revenge dress, that cute little red sweater with the sheep she wore to a polo match after her engagement, and iconic gym outfits, she was truly a sight to behold. Both she and Audrey kept it quite simple, with basics and a few statement pieces. 

Moving along with the classy and well-put-together style, Natasha Richardson’s portrayal of Elizabeth James in the 1998 classic The Parent Trap is an inspiration, and not just as a mother-figure. Though the character opted for more muted neutrals, the way she was styled gave her a certain level of sophistication. 

Those few shots of Louise Grant from Gilmore Girls when she isn’t in a Chilton uniform are a goldmine. With the simple graphic tees, go-to Levi’s jeans and miniskirts, the ‘90s style has become perennial—especially looking at Monica and Rachel from Friends. There is something so timeless about a culmination of late ‘90s mixed with the sophisticated classiness of elegantly polished looks. The clothes are always in style and can be matched any which way, which is why they are my personal fashion blueprints.
Especially if you’ve heard of these characters or people, you’ll see that there are valuable attributes in each of them. With each trend, it is easy to become obsessed with the aesthetic that comes with it, but it’s important to keep in mind to not blindly follow it because everyone else is – you are under no obligation to do something because everyone else is! Participate in the trends that feel right for you. I can’t stress enough that your lifestyle, clothing, and aesthetic choices don’t have to be the same as everyone else’s; your own are what make you a unique and interesting individual. Create an idea of who you want to be, and start there—it’ll up your confidence and save you from over-consumption.


Heather Ragnars sings the stories that are too hard to tell

There have been many debates throughout the years concerning whether an artist should be separated from their art. In Heather Ragnars’ case, however, doing so would be stripping her music from its essence.

Ragnars is a Concordia student of Icelandic origin, currently pursuing a degree in Music Studies, after completing a BA in Psychology. She moved to Montreal when she was eight years old, after spending most of her childhood in Maddison, Wisconsin.

She also happens to be a verified Spotify artist, and a frequent performer at The Wiggle Room on St-Laurent Boulevard. Just recently, she performed a collection of new songs in a show called “Your Money is Not a Gift,” a 1950s/60s-inspired Burlesque show.

Ragnars was raised by opera singers, and was taught the piano at age five. However, such a classical upbringing did not stop her from interpreting the standard musical pieces the way she believed would sound better. 

“I could sing before I could talk,” she proudly said. “I often wanted to change the classical pieces I would learn, and my dad would always tell me not to, but I would go ‘well, wouldn’t it sound better if I played it this way?’ and so it wasn’t long before I started writing my own music.”

She describes the writing process as such: an idea comes to her because there’s something she needs to say to someone but can’t, because it is a difficult conversation. Either it can’t be said, or it’s too hard to say.

“It just comes out like that, and it’s usually not something very pleasant,” Ragnars said. “Hard to say but needs to be said. Some people would maybe think [the song] is empowering or negative. The feeling that I describe might be ephemeral, and it might be something is long-lasting.”

Her music is extremely personal, a sort of musical diary if one would choose to describe it. Her website best describes her songs as “heartbreaking, yet barefaced accounts of the many things we think but don’t say.” 

Some of her musical influences include The Supremes, motown music in general, Etta James, Billy Joel, and Cat Stevens. She is also inspired by contemporary artists like the late Amy Winehouse, Lana del Rey, and The Weeknd.

Ragnars’ show, “Your Money is not A Gift” was inspired by a song she wrote under the same title. Despite having a 60s theme – something she is quite taken by – the song is also a recollection of a time when someone tried to buy her off with gifts and money – things that don’t come for free.

“The song felt relevant to that whole idea ‘are housewives getting a free payout from their husbands?’,” she said. “I’m really fascinated by vintage, the aesthetic, because it also has an economic importance to it. The idea that the woman takes care of everything in the home, looking good while she does it is something that fascinates a lot of people, because the housework never ends. So why not take the housewife as she is, and put a little sexy in it too? Maybe these wives were fulfilled, and maybe there weren’t, but they spark a lot of mystery and fascination.”


Photo by Britanny Clarke

Student Life

Optimism through comedy despite hardships

Ellen DeGeneres on self-love and acceptance at Montreal tour stop

TV talk show mogul and stand-up comedian Ellen DeGeneres shared her story with a crowd of thousands at the Bell Centre on March 1 as one of the pit stops on her talking tour: “A Conversation with Ellen DeGeneres.”

DeGeneres was greeted with a round of applause as she waved a custom “Ellen” Montreal Canadiens jersey to the crowd. After receiving a brief French lesson, DeGeneres began cracking jokes with the audience. “I’ve been here before,” said DeGeneres. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful city. It is very cold. Do you know you don’t have to be here? It’s not this cold everywhere. Have your parents lied to you?”

In the early 1980s, DeGeneres’s career in stand-up comedy took off. Her claim to fame came in 1986 as the first and only woman to ever be asked to sit next to Johnny Carson following her bit on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. A decade later, despite a successful stand-up career and being the star of the Ellen sitcom show, DeGeneres felt like something was missing.

In 1997, DeGeneres made the choice to come out as gay in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, and again on her sitcom. “I hate lying and I never lie about anything,” said DeGeneres. “That’s one big lie and if anyone found out I was gay, I would lose everything.”

DeGeneres attributed her reasoning to a dream she once had about herself as a bird trapped in a cage. “The bird being me said ‘I don’t belong in here,’” said DeGeneres. “I woke up and said ‘I’m coming out.’” The bird realized it was small enough to fly between the bars and escape through an open window.

While DeGeneres was praised as a hero the day her coming out episode aired, the tables quickly turned and she was met with hate, including bomb threats and death threats. Ellen was soon cancelled and the comedian claimed her phone did not ring for three years following. “Well, it was unplugged,” said DeGeneres, jokingly.

Fast forward to over two decades later, DeGeneres is one of the most famous talk show hosts and philanthropists. She has won dozens of awards, hosted numerous award shows, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has given over $97 million in prizes and donations to fans on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Yet, it is not only through her humour that DeGeneres manages to stay on top. Her longevity could be accredited to her uplifting view of the world around her. DeGeneres encourages everyone to be themselves and to love themselves despite their biggest insecurities. Her tale of struggle and recovery brought tears to the eyes of some in the room. It was not the sadness of the story that stood out, but instead the positivity that DeGeneres has always carried with her that had people of all ages gather to see her talk.

DeGeneres did not need to convey her message explicitly, the idea was clear: love will conquer all. Towards the end of the night, moderator Dave Kelly noted that many people hear their names only when they’ve done something wrong, so he asked the crowd to say DeGeneres’s name with love and respect.

“Ellen!” the crowd chanted. “I’ll do it too,” DeGeneres said in response. “Jean-Claude, Mélissa, Stuart… it’s taking too long. I’ll just say Montreal.” Addressed with love and respect, Montreal felt DeGeneres’s warmth as they left the venue to brace the cold that awaited them outside.

Feature photo by Jacob Carey

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