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Who needs Queen St. West? Dress like a pop star at your local boutique

By Kelsey Sunstrum on September 20, 2014

The unaffectedly cool anti-pop star and chanteuse of the wildly popular Royals, Lorde, performed in Ottawa this past Thursday, September 11th as part of this year’s Ottawa Folk Fest line-up.

With surprisingly relatable lyrics, I’m a fan of Lorde not only for her haunting music but her subtle confidence. Without relying on barely-there clothing or abiding by every style rule, she proves that modesty and a strong sense of self can be chic, too.

Though the singer first shot to stardom as a result of her entirely unique sound comprised of stunning vocals, thought-provoking lyrics, and R&B and hip hop influences, her eclectic, one-of-a-kind sense of style is quickly becoming a hot topic in the fashion world.

Influenced by the styles of Stevie Nicks and David Bowie, Lorde has described her look as gothic-witch. Relying on a firm foundation of dark hues, eye-catching accessories, and her signature curly, voluminous mane, Lorde’s fashion is a refreshing change of pace compared to the less-than-tasteful looks sported by other popular singers recently. (Miley, I’m looking at you and your nipple tassels.)

Ottawa isn’t widely known as a fashion destination. Ottawa fashion week shut its doors this June, and shopping trips to Montreal or Ottawa are common for the city’s fashionista. However, Ottawa has a growing scene of hip, independent boutiques that can help fulfill those style cravings.

I took a trip to some of my favorite local independent boutiques in order to see if I could recreate the looks of one of my fashion idol. Here’s what I found.

Witchy Woman

Black quilted crop top from Milk.

Black quilted crop top from Milk.

With a gothic-inspired sense of style, Lorde naturally tends towards blacks and darker hues. Far from boring, she adds interest to her ensembles by introducing different textures, such as velvet, lace, and mesh. Ottawa boutique, Trust Fund – widely known as the place where you can go to get rid of your trust fund in a hurry – carries the Croc Luxe Structured Dress by French Connection ($138.00), which is reminiscent of Lorde in the black color and the barely there faux animal print.

For something more casual, I fell in love with a very chic, black quilted crop top by Timing Fashion ($48.00) at Milk. A local boutique that makes it easyfor you to perfect your street style, Milk is the place to put together your best “I woke up like this” look.

Crimson lace dress from Frou Frou.

Crimson lace dress from Frou Frou.

If you like a livelier palette for your outfits, turn to darker shades of reds or purples to maintain the same goth-witch vibe. Frou Frou, the delightfully whimsical clothing store in the heart of the Market, carries a crimson lace dress by Papillon ($89.95) that would be the choice pick for the more hue-friendly individuals. Receiving new inventory weekly, Frou Frou should be a regular stop on your fashion route.


Keep It Simple

Lorde’s timeless appeal is achieved through donning clothing in classic shapes and clean lines. Well-structured clothing begets the need for exorbitant, busy details and allows subtle elements to accent the piece, such as pattern or accessories. A minimalist go-to onstage outfit is a combination of a tailored palazzo-like pant with a fitted, simple top.

Geometric patterned dress from Milk.

Geometric patterned dress from Milk.

To copy her concert style and go for a more androgynous outfit, head to Muriel Dombret – a local designer who has served as the cornerstone of the growing West Wellington shopping district – for her sophisticated Nan Pant ($168), reminiscent of the palazzo pant. Then to Milk for Vera Moda’s semi-sheer sleeveless white shirt ($35.00). Trust Fund’s Salt and Pepper Jacket from French Connection ($188.00) nails the style with its structure and color-blocking.

When veering from solid colors, she generally sticks to simple, geometric patterns or textures. teenpLo’s black-and-white patterned shift dress ($60.00) is very Lorde-esque and versatile; it can be styled as office appropriate or casual-chic.


Edgy Accessories & Details

To save her look from getting stale, Lorde’s style is elevated through the use of edgy and interesting accessories and details. Fun patterns, funky jewelry and bold make-up are only a few ways the teen adds a touch of whimsy to her style.

Known for her love of platform and chunky shoes, the dark boots with punk rock embellishments found at Frou Frou would be right up Lorde’s alley. Wear these to bring out your inner badass or to add attitude to a more feminine ensemble.

Selection of black booties at Frou Frou.

Selection of black booties at Frou Frou.


Leopard knit top found at Trust Fund.

Leopard knit top found at Trust Fund.

Oversized sunglasses in fun shapes, 90s-flashback chokers and in-your-face black lipstick are other easy ideas to up the Lorde factor of your wardrobe this season. An avid solid color enthusiast, she does venture into patterned territory occasionally. If you’re like me and can’t stay away from a pattern, you can still get your Lorde on with this comfy, leopard print sweater made by velvet by Graham & Spencer ($170), found at Trust Fund.


Trust Fund: 493 Sussex Drive, open daily. For store hours and contact info, click here.

Milk: 45 William Street in the Market. Open daily, check out their blog for street style inspiration.

Frou Frou: 11A William Street in the Market. Follow them on Facebook for updates and new stock arrivals.

Muriel Dombret: 1258 Wellington West. For store hours, click here and follow them on Twitter for special promotions.