Ethical Outfit: Vintage Celine and New Gucci

Now that it’s spring, I’m usually in my uniform of ripped jeans and a leather jacket, but once in a while, I’ll bust out a casual boss lady outfit like this one. The silk orange pussybow top is vintage Celine from the 1970s, made in France. I found it at The Cat’s Meow, my favourite shop in Toronto for vintage couture. They also sell contemporary designer clothing and accessories on consignment. This blouse is the only orange piece of clothing I own so far, and I like the boldness of the colour.

I’d looked at all sorts of different trench coat options but ultimately decided on the classic Kensington Trench Coat in Stone because it had everything I wanted. This Heritage style is made in England, using the same methods Burberry has for decades. I didn’t want to get the typical tan trench (“Honey” as Burberry calls it) because it washes out my skin tone, and Burberry offered this stone color, which is more on the gray side. I’m a sucker for anything monogrammed and you can add your initials to your coat, an option for online orders only. I chose the Dark Forest Green color for the letters. If you’re Canadian, be careful with the sizing online! They use UK sizing for but they don’t tell you. If you’re going to get something monogrammed, you can’t return it, so make sure you have the right size. I would recommend going to the Burberry store to try it on first. Once you get the coat, your local Burberry store will take your coat to their in-house tailor to make it fit you perfectly, as long you bring it in within six months of purchase and you have proof of purchase.

I got the long version of the coat. It’s made from gabardine cotton, a really tightly woven fabric, so it’s water repellent, but not water resistant. I have worn it out in the rain, and my coat did not get soaked—the drops would sit on the fabric and slide off—unless it was really pelting. Because Burberry trench coats were originally made for the war, the details on the Heritage trench coats are also very practical. I can really button myself in at the neck. The pockets are very deep. While we no longer need the D-rings on the belt to clip on grenades, they do make sure the belt stays put in the loops when it’s unbelted. If you want to wear the trench coat during the winter (depending on where you live—not sure how feasible this is for Canada), you can buy a cashmere insert, an option for the Kensington trench style only.

All these details convinced me that the Kensington Trench would be a worthwhile buy. As long as I take care if it, I can wear this coat for the rest of my life. While the Heritage trench coats are made in England, I don’t know about the other trenches and pieces, so I would only recommend the Heritage trenches for now. Check the labels and ask the salespeople if you’re interested in other products from Burberry.

On to the Gucci Dionysus bag, another versatile investment piece. First, I’m a big fan of the new Gucci collections under Alessandro Michele. Once, I watched one of his runway shows online and it moved me so much I burst out crying—no joke. His collections are walking poetry. His influences are what I’ve always been interested in, fashion-wise: ’70s secretary style, ’90s Brit punk, the Renaissance, etc., etc. I love that he’s inspired by Victorian paintings, animals, and nature, and it’s incredible how he’s able to throw all these influences together seamlessly. The old Gucci was sexy. New Gucci sends the message that it’s cool to be weird, quirky, bookish, bold, modest, cultured. For someone who’s generally attracted to Normcore/minimalist fashion, I’m tempted to be a maximalist from admiring Michele’s work. But the thing is about new Gucci is that while the clothes are colourful and crazy, they are not trendy pieces that will go out of style since they are influenced by the past. Individually, many pieces are versatile and can be reworked with other pieces in your closet season after season.

Take this medium Dionysus leather tote for example. It’s got a lot of classic Gucci symbols: bamboo handle, iconic tiger head closure, sporty Gucci colors. Yet it’s completely modern and versatile. I can take this to a wedding or a casual lunch, wear it with a dressy outfit or a sporty one. With the strap, I can use it as a messenger bag.

I also chose this bag because it doesn’t depend on logos to convey luxury. I try to avoid logos whenever possible, although I’m not totally against them if they make sense in the design aesthetically. Gucci is under the Kering company, which takes sustainable initiatives. This bag was made in Italy, and Gucci guarantees to uphold their social and environmental responsibilities. Not all luxury brands do, and I only trust the brands owned by Kering (Stella McCartney, Saint Laurent, McQueen, etc.) for now. I bought my bag from Matches Fashion because it was slightly less expensive—duty and taxes were part of the price.

The jeans are my trusty high-waisted 3×1 cropped style. I bought this last year in New York and I’m not sure if they still stock them, but they have similar styles on their site, or you can get jeans custom made if you visit their SoHo location. The belt is by the Wiley Brothers. I bought it from Draper James in Nashville. It was hand crafted in Virginia with vegetable-tanned leather. The horseshoe style might’ve been specially made for Draper James.

The black boots are from La Canadienne, a Montreal brand. They make their shoes ethically in Canada or Italy. My “LaLa” boots were made in Italy, but I don’t see them in stock at the moment. Perhaps they’ll come back soon.

The luxury pieces were chosen to “adultify” my wardrobe. I put a lot of thought into each purchase before taking the plunge. I’ve been really happy with these items, and they’ve been mixing well with my casual clothes.




JEANS — 3×1 CROPPED BOOT CUT (see it with other outfits)

BELT — WILEY BROTHERS MEN’S HORSESHOE BELT (see it with other outfits)

BOOTS — LA CANADIENNE ‘LALA’ BOOTS  (see it with other outfits)

Photos by Tiantian Zou

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