Fashion Spotlight – Marie-Claire Norins


Jeffrey Xiong

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is a way of expressing myself, being able to show my inner personality based on the way I appear on a daily basis, whether that be how I’m feeling that day or just my general sense of style.


How do you decide on how to express yourself?

There are different fashion styles; you can be more edgy or flirty or girly, androgynous, masculine, all across the board. Every morning my choices usually reflect the way I’m feeling that day, so if that day I’m feeling edgier, then rather than putting on a floral, ruffly skirt, I’ll go for the leather jacket. And even though that doesn’t necessarily mean that much to the people around me, I feel like now I’ve contributed part of myself into my external appearance.


How did you learn how to express yourself through fashion?

I think a large part of it came from my parents, especially my mom who is a fashion designer. When I was younger I would also see the way she dressed and the clothing she purchased or made, and I tried to emulate her as much as I could in my childhood, whether that be me making my own clothes to reflect what she was doing or I was buying those clothes as well.


Were there any resources in particular you used?

I definitely watched a lot of runway shows when I was younger, like New York Fashion Weeks, Paris Fashion Weeks and Milan, and I would always want to know what the new collections are. Obviously, those are all designer brands and are relatively expensive so that was not in my price range, especially now when I’m getting dressed. So then I would also research more “fast fashion” brands with inspiration from designer brands and make it more easily accessible.


What advice do you have for people looking to learn to express themselves through fashion?

I would say that you really take the time to figure out what is your personal style; don’t try to follow the trends just because you see that’s what the people around you are wearing. That’s the exact opposite of using fashion to express yourself; that’s using fashion to fit in and doing what everyone around you is doing. Go to the stores that not everyone is going to, go to the stores that might seem weird but attract you, so that you can honestly find what you want to wear. Ultimately it’s about what you find most comfortable in; if you don’t feel comfortable in something — and not only physically, but if you don’t feel confident in that item — that means that’s not your personal style, so really try to gauge it in that way.


How long does it take for you to choose your outfit for the day?

I get this question a lot and most people expect it to take a really long time in the morning, but I honestly don’t. I might take like 5 minutes in the morning to get dressed. Usually there’s one specific piece of clothing I know I want to wear, and then I’ll try to build my outfit around it, or I know that I’m feeling a certain way and then it’s easy for me to then just go through my closet and quickly find the things that fall into that spectrum.


You said you base your outfit out of your mood, but what do you do if your mood drastically changes in the middle of the day?

It usually won’t be completely in that specific realm. Usually, if I’m feeling a certain way in the morning, then the outfit will keep me feeling that way for the rest of the day. I’m usually not trying to wear something that will keep me sulking [laughter], and I don’t want to wear something that will make me sad. If there’s a day where I feel more down or I want to be more comfortable, then I’ll wear something that’s not like an extravagant outfit, and if I get happy, then that’s great! My outfit is not going to keep me down. On the other hand, I might be trying to wear something that’s going to make me happier, and in that case, my outfit elevates me to that level and doesn’t send me back into sorrow [laughter].


So, basically your outfit gives you confidence or happiness?

Yeah, confidence is the word that I would use the most; that’s what I want to achieve. I want to feel confident in what I’m wearing and I want that confidence to translate in how I’m behaving. So ultimately that’s what I’m dressing for.