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Runway to (Things Just Got) Real Life: What to Wear When the Flood Comes
Monica Heisey provides style tips for life's lesser moments

Anyone can adjust what’s on the runway for use in their everyday wardrobe. Obviously this is a fun and low-key intro to the “power-matching” trend, and this combo is perfect to accompany your mistress to lamaze class, but what do you wear when things turn–as they so often do–completely to shit? This column is here to help. Welcome to Runway to (Things Just Got) Real Life. You’re welcome in advance.


What to wear to: A flood/blackout

Toronto done flooded. Monday evening was some straight upfor realNoah’s ark shit. This is the End Times, everyone. And with recent disastrous flooding in Calgary as well, I feel like we might be experiencing the End Times over and over until eventually the Earth is like “THIS IS NOT A DRILL” and we’re all just underwater, rendering the fables of Atlantis not stories from a mythological past, but a prophesy of our water-y future. The aliens watching this all unfold on Space Netflix are going to be like “ooooh shiiiiiiiiit, TWIST!” and we’ll be all like “aogfduhoawerlkwerbuoj……” because we will be either growing gils or full dying, depending on our evolutionary potential. Honestly, it was scary. I saw sewer grates spurt water into the air like geysers, cars abandoned to bob down tunnels on their own, flooded vehicles and swollen rivers, plus one guy wearing socks with FLIP FLOPS. It was a hard time. Toronto Standard lost power Tuesday, so this column is comin’ atcha a day (or two) late. We’ve all had to make sacrifices. And I have to level with you, one thing I sacrificed this week is the general theme of the column. This is less a “what to wear when the power goes out and your bus was flooded on the way home and you don’t remember what dry feels like” list and more of a “here is some good news, fashion-wise for the next large-scale flooding and blackout situation” list, but my computer is at about 30% battery and then that’s it for all of us, so just let me have this one, this week. Now onto the good news!


I, for one, welcome our new anemone overlords. And so can you, in cute and on-trend stuff in some high-quality Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus fabric! To be honest I never really understood the scuba trend, but in light of recent events and global warming in general, it seems like fashion may be tapped into the future of the environment more deeply than the average politician. Throw on a scuba skirt and jacket in matching bright colours so the rescue boats can find you and you’ll be warm while you float alone on a floating oversized door. Did you know, according to a blog I just read, that “it is often said that white is summer’s black”? Now you do. And may I add to that that brights are summer black outs’ black? Many things are being learned today. 

Rain boots aren’t gross anymore

What is it with comfortable or functional footwear, especially for women, that feels the need to announce its comfort or functionality? Like, a deeply uncomfortable strappy Louboutin is capable of exercising restraint in design, and Hush Puppies designs a work heel that doesn’t make you want to die but then goes “We should add contrast stitching and some sort of flower by the heel. This woman is putting on comfy shoes and the world needs to know.” The same thing applied to rain and winter boots, leaving anyone with an ounce of fashion sense to choose between some hulking rubber behemoth with a ‘fun’ crossover strap detail or soaking wet feet during inclement weather. Muddy music festivals and, presumably, a general outcry from rainy fashion capitals the world over have led to a revolution in rain gear over the past few years. Now you can have dry feet and wet hair, what a confusing combo!

This purse glows in the damn dark

The scariest part of a blackout is, no duh, the moment right after everything shuts off but before you realize what has happened. There is the inevitable scramble for your IKEA 400 pack of tea lights, a terrified check of your iPhone battery, a flurry of texts from your mother, and a fumble for the Emergency Beer. But what if you can’t find the tea lights? What if you never did get around to putting batteries into the flashlight your parents bought you, just in case? You’re all “This is the end, it’s the apocalypse…now.” But never fear: your best friend Alexander Wang has designed a classy purse that also happens to glow in the dark. While at a club or bar I feel this would probably scream “look at me and then maybe also steal my ostentatious purse,” in your darkened apartment it could mean the difference between finding your way to the fridge to ‘get rid of’ the ice cream that was going to melt anyway or huddling alone in the dark, hungry and scared. #WANGED

Now is the time for that weirdly intense underwear you bought but never had the chance to wear

You’ve drank your power outage wine supply and lit that one scented candle your ex gave you. You’ve played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity and now you’re just sitting there wondering what Princess Monstertruck is up to (She just got good at Instagram video!), but powerless to check in. You’re huddled together in the dark for warmth and all of a sudden your faces are closer than they have ever been. You’re a bit more worried than you let on and your heart is racing and their eyes are just so SAFE and before you know it you are the co-mayors of Bonetown on foursquare. Honestly, Harlequin scenario aside, a blackout really is the perfect moment to pull out your weird impulse-buy fancy underwear thing with many clasps and confusing lace areas. Think about it: there’s nothing else to focus on, flattering dim light, hours and hours without interruption or anything else to do… just don’t get too carried away, the lights could come back on at any time. Go get ’em.

A flood is an intense and destructive experience, even on a relatively small scale. A blackout is kind of fun and different for the first twenty minutes and then annoying almost immediately afterwards. Put these two together? Yikes. No thank you. But if we’re going to have to get used to this kind of thing, we might as well face it calmly and preparedly, heads held high and well-appareled. Soon we will be Torontonians: masters of the sea. This is our future.


Monica Heisey is a writer and comedian from Toronto. She has also written for VICE, Huffington Post, and She Does the City. Follow her on Twitter @monicaheisey

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