On the Return of the Oughts and Desiree’s Skirt: A Conversation on Style, with Lauren Sundstrom

Lauren Sundstrom is a Vancouver-based content creator focusing on fashion, beauty and trans advocacy. In case it isn’t already obvious from the photo above, she’s got killer style, and a knack for mixing up vintage threads with (often) local brands, that we dig.

With the Spring season announcing itself all around us, we’re feeling the pressure to change things up in our own wardrobes. Fortunately, Sundstrom was more than happy to offer us some much needed inspiration, by indulging our list of style-related questions…

We’ve noticed from your IG feed that you mix new and thrifted items into your wardrobe – your cool-as-heck yellow plaid pants (pictured above) come to mind right off-the-bat. What three local vintage or second hand shops do you frequent / have the best luck at?

I adore Community Thrift and Vintage. They kind of count as three shops, because they have three locations: their unisex shop, their “frock shoppe”, and most recently their Studio. The Studio is where they keep all their online merchandise, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays it’s open to the public. Other than those, I love a small retailer called Belle Revival [pop-up and online shop] and I’ve gotten some really cool statement pieces from Burcu’s Angels.

Talk to us about local independent clothing stores – who has your attention right now?

Oh gosh, so many! Leze The Label is a great brand – not a shop per se, because I think they might be digital only, but they’re based here and their line of clothes use eco-friendly materials exclusively. I love Nettle’s Tale too – they have a shop in Gastown and have inclusive sizing. Decade Studio also has a chokehold on me – their jeans are spectacular.

We know fashion is cyclical. Which past style or item/trend do you think is due for a comeback?

Well, we all know that the 2000s are having a moment again, and depending on your memories of that time, that may or may not be a good thing, haha. I find it interesting that the 2000s have made such a comeback – the early oughts were a time of excessiveness thanks to a booming economy, and we’re not exactly *thriving* economically these days. Maybe the proliferation of 2000s garb in thrift stores caused that trend to rise, but who knows. Either way, trend cycles are faster than ever, and a 2010s revival is definitely on the horizon (some might say it’s already here) – something I’m very here for as a nostalgic millennial, specifically when it comes to “twee”.

The item you expect to wear to death this spring?

This plaid skirt I thrifted recently. It was literally somebody’s high school uniform – “Desiree G” is written on the tag. Desiree, if you’re out there, I have your skirt.

“Decade Studio also has a chokehold on me – their jeans are spectacular.”

The one clothing item (or accessory) you can’t resist buying and re-buying over and over again?

I have way too many white t-shirts and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect one. Pretties is a great brand for those kinds of basics. Other than that, I’m forever looking for the perfect jeans too – they have to be high-waisted (sorry, I’m 32) and have a looser cut. I can’t go back to skinny jeans ever again.

Who’s style are you crushing on these days?

My forever crush is Lydia Okella (@styleisstyle). They are a level of cool I will never be, and I can only aspire to be like them one day. They’ve inspired countless outfits for me (and they know this too, lol).

Skirt or shorts?

I’m having a moment with skirts! I resisted them for so many years in favour of my fave jeans that took me through the 2010s: my high rise American Apparel black short shorts. It’s time to move on.

Favourite local designer and where can we find their stuff?

I can’t choose just one local designer! Again, Leze The Label, Decade Studio, Free Label – lots of great designers/brands. For an actual designer, Maison Corpse by my friend Matthew Burditt is really cool – they’ve pivoted during the pandemic to basically exclusively making masks, but word has it that they’re set to start making clothes again. We shall see! Jason Matlo is also a sweet baby angel and will make you gorgeous custom dresses, as does Evan Clayton.

Favourite accessory (you feel naked without it)?

Earrings. Always earrings, usually from my favourite local jewelry maker, Zeleska. And my engagement ring, a vintage opal and diamond beauty.

Any Vancouver-made skincare or beauty products you think people should know about?

Blume is a great up-and-coming brand that’s based here. They just launched in Sephora! Also Somerset Moss is a divine treat, especially if you’re into more “natural” beauty products.

Local restaurant you want to dress up for and the drink or dish you’d be looking forward to ordering? (We are a food focused website, afterall!)

It’s funny, my partner (Matt, aka The Dumpling King), and I don’t often go to restaurants that require dressing up. We live in Kits, though, and we’re fortunate to have delicious food pretty close by. I love going to Grapes and Soda for a little romantic moment together. The bartenders are great, and if you ask them to make a concoction that isn’t on the menu (while specifying your base liquor of choice), they will create something gorgeous and delicious. Check the daily food specials too. Of course, when we are down for something casual, there’s Hanai, which our friends just opened on Commercial Drive – the Chicken Lau Lau is to die for, along with a cocktail called French Man Surfing.

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