Confessions of an exuberant reactionary

Confessions of an exuberant reactionary

Here’s the first offering from’s columnist Sheila Quinn


My contributions to L in Q are a spot for admitting to what I probably should have been for years now.  Join in my monthly-ish adventures in catharsis, starting with this contribution, right here.

Confession #1:

I am a style genius waiting to be discovered….or to suddenly burst through my shell, be stopped on the street by Jeanne Beker and her cameraman and asked, ‘Sheila, HOW DO YOU IT IT?’, begged to blog for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar on my innate fashion sense and sensibility.

The main roadblock to finally making the scene is, at long last, nameable. 

My style-agnosis is:

Growing up une Québécoise Anglophone.  I know!  I just felt you cock that eyebrow, wondering where in kittens almighty I could possibly find conflict in my array of blue jeans (several pairs of which haven’t fit for years), white t-shirts, reliable pumps, my sweatshirt with a school name on it, my one navy suit (with a skirt of course), my good coat, my sort-of sporty snow gear, my one bathing suit (that I abhor wearing), and the rest of my wardrobe that I bought at the same store I’ve been shopping at (with my mother) for the last fifteen years.

Except I’m not that Quanglo.  (Pronounced ‘kwanglo’.)  I guess I’m the style platypus of Quanglos.  Quanglo Untamed.

The conflict is this: My roots are ultra-Anglo – mostly square, classic, reliable, practical.  My influences, however, are heavily inflected by the dramatic punch of my Québécoise counterparts.  Les Québécoises Francophone, that is, the royalty of the style world.  Milan’s got nothin’ on these dames, the thriftiest, truly avant-garde, compartmentalizing queens of reinvention.

They have been boldly going sans Trek, painting, stitching, tweaking.  They are the hunter-gatherers of sales, the clairvoyants of fashion future.  This goes way beyond the rack though – I’m talking hair, nails, eye shadow colour, skin head-to-toe – no zit unpopped, no millimetre uninspected.  The mere thought of that kind of focus makes me break into a sweat.  An ugly sweat. 

Sheila_QuinnThis is where my innate thing comes in, you see, something that mes filles don’t have, and that you can’t learn (although I’m always willing to share).  The nature vs. nurture of my fashion abilities lies mostly in the part of my brain that decided that, as a kid growing up in 70’s-80’s-90’s Townships, strapping a towel to my head was the virtual equivalent of long hair, flowing behind me as I rode my bike around the neighbourhood.  Later in life, it was the thing that made me decide (in grade seven) that I could enter the high school sync contest covering a Crowded House song (‘What do you MEAN I’m a girl (in my aunt’s old dress that I dragged out of a cupboard at my grandparents’) and don’t look anything like Neil Finn?’).

These decisions don’t age well, I’ll admit.  Any photographic evidence is subject to much pointing and flat out rollercoaster face* laughing.  (*Rollercoaster face TM Chatfield-Quinn family.)

Ah, but mes Francofilles, their style has purpose, forethought, organization, reflection, and they’re not afraid to tell it like it is. They’ve got their men  lined up for inspection like usual suspects, something that I think in part either contributes to the long-lastingness or the spontaneous combustion of their relationships, depending on the situation.  Their guys love it and hate it, but mostly are pretty intensely intimidated by it.  It doesn’t make their style any less funny-looking in the future though.  We all look pretty dumb until whatever trends we’re sporting become trendy again.  Just look at Buddy Holly.  Who doesn’t want those glasses now?

My abilities in the guy realm haven’t been quite as mystical, translated into lots of buddies.  Not great for being waited on hand and foot, a throng of drooling suitors bathing in my candidness, but I’ve usually had help moving.  Don’t get me wrong, love rules!  My love life’s current success is all due to a dude whose comments upon seeing my various get-ups has more to do with whether I feel comfortable or like how I look than if he does. 

I’m never really sure how to take that.  Mostly with a shrug and *expletive* we’re ten minutes late – AGAIN!  No time to change!

Bottom line is: I’m grateful for the mix.  Lovin’ my khakis, my black Perry Ellis trench, my navy Chuck Taylors, AND my ridonculous platform turquoise Guess heels, my hot pink/verging on fluorescent dress from the summer 2013 collection, my relentless pursuit of fashion info.  History and the future, hand-in-hand, or at least, in a row.

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Sheila Quinn

Sheila Quinn (known as media mum Sheila Q.) is a radio show host, columnist, music-infused, mother of two/stepmother of two, half of DHTV’s Les Curieux media team, den mother, who works for Champlain Regional College in Lennoxville. Sheila Q.’s bucket list tends to be self-sustaining. She has lots of plans.

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