I’m listening to my favourite radio show this morning while I write this post. “Q,” hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, can be heard on CBC radio every morning. Today Jian interviewed Canadian icon Neil Young, much loved by all Canadians, but especially by those of us who remember the 70’s.
A few weeks ago I listened when Jian spoke with Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton, the editors of a new book on fashion called Women in Clothes.

A lot of people are talking about this book. Shannon Tien, in the National Post, calls Women in Clothes a 503 page “conversation” about fashion. Tien, says that “self-presentation is an almost universal concern, even for those who don’t care to be ‘fashionable,’ and yet our conversation on the subject has largely failed to move beyond the prescriptive rule box handed to us from on high, one sided at best.”

Women in Clothes editors  Heidi Julavits. Leanne Shapton, and Sheila Heti
Tien, who clearly loves the book, goes on to say that Women in Clothes is something new…”a conversation about style that kicks the ostensible rule box in the pants, using history, memoir, art, design, philosophy, psychology and sociology as tools for discussion. A true conversation, after all, has more than one side.” You should read Shannon Tien’s review for yourself here.
Before the interview with the creators/editors of the book, Jian (and the staff of “Q”) initiated a conversation about fashion with his audience.
Jian is flanked on left by Leanne Shapton and on right by Heidi Julavits and Sheila Heti
Fabiola Carletti  CBC.ca
Listeners were asked to post on Twitter a description of their style, in six words. Okay…sounded like fun. So I fired off a picture and a response to #mystylein6words. See below:

Then I watched as the other tweets rolled in. And to my chagrin… I appeared to be the only one who actually thought they wanted me to describe my style. Everyone else’s response seemed to be in jest, ironic or… at best… terribly self deprecating.

Comments like “Grandma dressed by colour-blind toddler” (Erin Bassler) or “Chronically overdressed because pants don’t fit” (Laura Simmons) or “Most days, I’d rather sleep in” (Fabiola Carletti) made me realize that I was the only one who didn’t think this was supposed to be a joke. And I felt like an idiot!

I mean, I could be funny too. I began to wish I had said “All skinny legs, and big head” or “Overly obsessed with clothes and hair.”

And then I began to get pissed off with myself. So what if I was the only one who responded seriously. So what if I put that picture and those six words out here. Live by the Tweet; die by the Tweet. That’s what I look like… some wrinkles around the eyes, more on my neck, not a fashion model (who is…except for fashion models) but still trying to look my best. And those six words actually describe what I wear … most of the time. “Skinny jeans, good jacket, vintage jewellry.”

Yep, that’s me. At the moment, anyway. 

Thanks Jian and the staff of “Q” for helping me define my style in six words.Even if I did have few hours of face-flushing, stomach-churning embarrassment.

And speaking of that book Women in Clothes. After reading Shannon Tien’s review I was planning to run right out after I finish this post and buy it.    

Then I saw Rebecca Carroll’s review in the Guardian UK. It’s not hard to figure out that Carroll is not a fan of the book which she calls “banal and stunningly self important” saying that it “could have been a thoughtful exploration of elegance and artistry, self-awareness and self-design, but is nothing more than an exercise in narcissism….”    

Phew….harsh words. And I thought we were tough on Eleanor Catton last week at book club. You should really read the entirety of Carroll’s review here.

And when you do, be sure to read the irate response from editors Heti/Shapton/Julavits in the comment section.    

Still… I may run out to the book store after this… grab a coffee and sit down with the book for a half hour. To make up my own mind before I decide to buy… or not.    

I’ll report back later on my findings. And we can have another conversation about style.  

Meanwhile….can you describe your style in six words? Please.


Would you like to have new posts automatically delivered to you? Sign up below, and when new content appears on the website, we’ll send the story to you via email. 

* indicates required


Would you like to have new posts automatically delivered to you? Sign up below, and when new content appears on the website, we’ll send the story to you via email. 

* indicates required

From the archives


Thirty years On … 1984 to 2014 … and Onwards

1984 was a big year for me. I quit a very stressful job that I …


Reading Round the Subject.

One of the great things about retirement is having time to read. And time to explore those …


Closet Editing During a Pandemic

I’m editing my closet this week my friends. Because I found a new closet editing system on YouTube. Oh, I do love a good closet cull.

18 thoughts on “Style in Six Words”

  1. i don't know why anyone would bother to respond to that question ironically. either you think it is a fun and thought provoking idea or you skip it. you did just right and have no reason to be embarrassed. my six words are "classic, tailored, simple, relaxed, colorful, fun."

    susan, you always get me thinking. thanks.

  2. My previous comment disappeared:( but the gist was I think your response was appropriate and you look fabulous in the picture you posted. My style lately is BF jeans, tee or shirt, cardigan, pearls, flats or ankle boots.

    1. Sorry about that Brenda. Blogger seems to eat comments when you sign into Google. When I'm commenting on someone else's blog now, I always write my comment and then copy it before clicking "Publish" and signing into Google. When the 'Comment" page reappears and my comment is gone…I then paste in back into the box. Such a pain….not sure why Blogger does that!
      Thanks for persevering!

  3. down-to-earth, practical clothing that is easy-care and comfortable but also feminine and fresh — that's 6 words if you just count the adjectives!

  4. Halfway through reading the book. (It's a lump.) Half and half on whether I like it. It is full of the kind of ideas I find fascinating. They are right – there was a gap in the market – and some observations are very smart. But. But it seems to me they've done a vast amount of research and …. OK it is divided into subjects … but apart from a little tidying up, what they have given us is a just huge book of source material. From which someone else could write an essay or put together some theories. It is taking me too long to read everything, for the sake of finding the good bits. No, I don't think I'm lazy. But perhaps they are?

    Personal style would be: "looking girly in boys' clothes" if I'm honest.

    1. Interesting comment. That's what one review said about the book. I doubt I will buy it, but plan to have a sit down with it (and a coffee) at Chapters. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. My style? This is something I’ve been trying to nail for sometime, with lots of ideas but nothing quite clicks. Simple, chic, subtle? However I do know what I like when I see it.

Comments are closed.