I flew into Toronto last weekend for the sole purpose of shopping for bridesmaids dresses. If that doesn't make me one of the best MOHs out there, I don't know what will.
I planned to be there for moral support only. I have the luxury of standing next to five other bridesmaids, all beautiful (and thin, I might add), so my confidence level was at an all time low. I have a very different body type, so I knew it would be impossible that we all felt comfortable in the same style of dress. Yet, we did, and I learned a few things along the way.
1) Undergarments Are Important
Just like our momma's taught us. Wearing proper undergarments are important for two reasons. First, you want to see the real dress. Having a supportive bra with removable straps and underwear to slim you is integral.
But, there is a less obvious reason. Many of the dresses we tried didn't zip up. Either they didn't fit properly, or the zippers had been used so often that they were breaking. Our area was in front of a window, so luckily I was wearing suitable undergarments or the entire street would have been in for a show.
2) You'll be Distracted by Color
Talk about a generalization. Maybe you won't, but I was. No matter how beautiful the gown, it's hard to look beyond an ugly color, so be prepared for that.
3) You'll be Modeling for Everyone - and They will be, too.
We only went to Ritche, so I can't speak to every other experience. While we were there, whenever someone tried on a dress, everyone else would peek and determine if they wanted it next. We were swapping with strangers and calling dibs on dresses all day.
4) You Really have Nothing to Worry About
My biggest fear was standing aside as all of the bridesmaids stepped into the size two sample dresses. Boy, was I wrong. I didn't see a dress smaller than a size 10. Instead, the sample dresses are bigger so they can be clasped to size. Turns out, I was actually the PERFECT model because I filled the larger sizes out better. Bring on the chocolate.
5) It's all About the Bride
I mean this literally and figuratively. First, it's literally all about the bride. It's her day and it's her vision. If it's not the dress you would have chosen, tough.
Second, it's all about the bride. Your experience will depend on her. I, luckily, have the most gracious, kind sister ever. She understood my concerns about my body, and though I told her I would wear anything she put on me, she ensured we were all as comfortable and confident as possible. Jenn gave us all an opinion in the dress, and made sure the one we chose suited all of us.
To ensure full disclosure, know this - I detest shopping. It stems from a mixture of being lazy, being poor and having a completely disproportionate body. Last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised.
Not a sentence I thought I'd be typing. If you're looking for an example of a PR disaster, look no further than Toronto's mayor. From homophobic slurs and crack use, threats and drunken stupors, Rob Ford has garnered worldwide attention. Political beliefs aside, Rob Ford finally got it right during his Jimmy Kimmel interview. What more could a PR girl ask for?
1) Develop Key Talking Points
When you're preparing for any interview, understand your goals. What message do you want to get across? Develop a few key talking points and stick to them. They will be your guide throughout the whole interview.
Rob Ford's talking points were clear: he saved the tax payers money, Toronto is booming, he works hard, and he's running for mayor next term.
2) Blocking and Bridging
Journalists and reporters can ask you anything they want during an interview. In the same notion, you can respond any way you want. Keep control and composure - you don't have to answer every question. Instead, block an unwanted question and bridge it back to friendly territory.
When Kimmel reads out harsh criticisms, Ford makes a joke before bringing the conversation back to where he wants it. "Is that all they said?" he asks, "I guess they don't talk about the money I've saved them, that I've cleaned up the city."
When Kimmel brings up his many blunders and apologies, Ford, once again, blocks and bridges the conversation back to his talking points.
3) Speak in Positives
Journalists and reporters can take quotes out of context. Don't give them that opportunity. Only speak in positives when answering questions.
For the most part, Ford leaves sarcasm out of his answers, talking about the great, beautiful, booming city of Toronto.
4) Facts Facts Facts
Using facts goes back to the goal of the interview. Here, Ford gives numbers when he says he has saved the city money. He also gives third party endorsers who can support his messages.
5) Speak in Headlines
Don't say anything you wouldn't want in the newspaper. When responding to questions, think of potential quotes and headlines.
"I'm a businessman Jimmy. I run it like a business"
"People will judge me on my proven track record"
"Call Rob Ford and I guarantee I'll return your call"
All good, quotable answers.
Answer every question then add one of your messages. Repeating your talking points increases the chance that the journalist or reporter will pick it up. Every question Ford answered, he reminded the audience about one of his key messages.
7) Absent Party Ploy
FleishmanHillard talks about the absent party ploy. Here, a reporter will try to create controversy by getting you to negatively comment on another party. The most important lesson is not to question their character. Ford tried hard to do this, though he did slip up when discussing "political games". He saved himself by bringing the conversation back to tax payer's money.
I’ve never really been a huge fan of vacationing. I love a nice vacation as much as the next girl, but vacationing on exotic beaches has never been on my to do list. Now, the idea of exploring, on the other hand, gets me so excited I can just spit.
Living somewhere as diverse as Toronto for my entire 21 years of existence it would be safe to assume that I have explored a lot of my city. Well, you’d be wrong. One of my new goals this year is to actually get to know the city I call home in all its glory. I need to get out of my comfort zone and dive into every small corner of this beautiful city.
The first floor of the exhibit starts with an interesting 4500 year history of footwear, throughout fashion and function. With the focus on the displays and images, the explanatory text is just enough to keep you interested and provide the information needed.
We then moved on to the “Notable People” exhibit, ranging from Napoleon Bonaparte’s socks to Justin Bieber’s high top sneakers. Now, I’m not a fan of the Biebs and the fact that his song kept ringing throughout the exhibit kind of made me want to cut my ears off. However, seeing Elton John’s boots and Margaret Atwood’s peacock inspired shoes made it worth it.
Some of the other exhibits we had the opportunity to look through were the “Roaring 20s”, which reminded me of how badly I wish I was born during such a glamorous era, and “Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear”. Lastly, we visited Art in Shoes, which illustrates the numerous ways that shoes inspire art and art inspires shoes.
One of my favourite artworks is a piece by Paul Wunderlich called A Deux. Created in the early 1970s, the work aims to illustrate the seductive play between the sexes.
The Bata Shoe Museum is located at Bloor and St. George, outside of St. George subway station. We went on a Tuesday afternoon and with my student card it only cost me $8.00. Also, with that purchase you got a 2nd free admission within the week, if you chose to go back.
Now, despite being a girl I’m not a huge fan of shoes. I can’t walk in bare feet, so heels are my enemy. Yet, the Bata Shoe Museum is so much more than that. If you’re a lover of history, pop culture, fashion or anything creative, I’d suggest it for an inexpensive afternoon outing.
A Boston girl via Toronto. University of Toronto, Sheridan College, and Boston University alumna. Passionate about ending domestic violence. Hoping to never go a day without carbs or chocolate.