Dressing for TIFF

Finally finally finally I am in Toronto for TIFF. In past years I would sigh my way through that 11 day period in September, disappointed by the fact that while the Vancouver or Atlantic film fest would be imminent – and would be awesome – those festivals would lack one important ingredient: lots of famous people. (Because famous people are better than normal people. Look it up.) I would read Laineygossip’s coverage and dream of a day when I, too, could sit in a darkened movie theatre next to Drew Barrymore or someone (and by “next to” I mean “in the same city as”) seeing the next MOST! AMAZING! MOVIE! EVER! before anyone else .

And now I’m here. And it is crazy. I was not at all prepared for just how huge this TIFF thing is. It seems to have completely taken over the city. To be honest I’ve found it a little overwhelming. Even figuring out how to get tickets was a challenge, and I started wondering if I would even get out to see anything (the $20 price tag per ticket means I’m trying to intuit which small, not yet sold out, mostly-foreign films will give me the most enjoyment per dollar. This feels a little like Russian roulette. Not that I’ve ever played Russian roulette, but I’ve seen enough movies to have an idea of what it’s like). Luckily for me I got a message from a friend yesterday afternoon letting me know that she had an extra ticket for something and asking if I wanted it. Um, YES.

And so I set about figuring out what to wear, keeping in mind the inevitable moment when I met up with Ellen Page in the concession line-up and she asked if I wanted to split a popcorn and drink combo (again: YES). Here, in all its glory, is my guide to Toronto International Film Festival fashion: how to look so good that the celebrities want to hang out with you.

1. Layer

Fall has… fallen on Toronto. There is a distinct crispness in the air, and I have to admit that I have fully embraced this new coolness. Ontario heat is new to me, and while I definitely adapted, I think the fact that I’ve been feeling a little more at home in this city has as much to do with the lower temperature as anything else. The days are still mostly sunny, but the emphasis here is on the word mostly. As such, layers are key to making sure you will be comfortable while waiting in long lines for rush tickets. Plus they look cool. Case in point, Marion Cotillard:

photo via.

That woman is gorgeous even just off a plane (and she cleans up nice, too).

2. Accessorize

My roommate is doing TIFF. I mean, really doing TIFF. She’s a producer with a press and industry pass, and I haven’t seen her for more than 20 minutes since the festival started. All day she’s in movies and all night she’s at parties and she’s doing this every day for a week and a half. Since a large part of this process involves meeting people and making connections, “networking” as some like to call it, she needs to look good. This morning I learned the key to looking good despite the fact that you have only had four hours of sleep and are subsisting on a diet of twizzlers and coffee: accessories. She put on a cute outfit, complete with a blazer and nice boots, and asked me what I thought. I said she looked cute. She wasn’t satisfied. She started rooting through her jewellery, finally pulling out these big dangly earrings I had never seen before. She rarely wears earrings, but she put them on and suddenly looked polished. About 5 seconds worth of effort made her look so much more put together.

If you need some inspiration, I saw this necklace at the Eaton Centre the other day and immediately started coveting it:

It’s from House of Harlow, so you get the added bonus that it’s designed by a celebrity. Or at least “designed” by a “celebrity.”

Another important accessory to consider: an umbrella.

photo via.

Minion with headset to hold it for you (while totally working the layered look) optional.

3. Choose your shoes carefully

I vote flats, but I pretty much always vote flats. If you happen to be a famous actress on your way to the premiere of your film, I get how flats might not be an option, but still, consider having a pair on hand (probably carried by your own minion) for situations such as this.

4. Go blonde

I have seriously seen about 8000x more blondes than usual walking around town, and I am positive it’s all TIFF’s doing. The Californians have descended, bringing with them their wheatgerm, good vibes, and bleach. For a stellar example of going blonde, see Carey Mulligan:

photo via.

Note also that while she may not be following the “layer” guideline, the bottom of her skirt can handily be zipped away in case she gets too hot. Well played, Carey Mulligan.

5. Wear orange

If you really want to fit in at TIFF this year, the most important item in your wardrobe is an orange top. Everywhere you look you will see about 15 volunteers in these very orange shirts. If you’re having trouble getting into something, I feel like it’s worth a try to find yourself an orange t-shirt and maybe a clip board to cover up the fact that it doesn’t say volunteer on the front, and just walk past people looking like you know what you’re doing. It will probably work better than putting on your sunglasses and pretending to be an important Hollywood type.

photo by flickr user thomernst2003.

I hope the films you choose (and the ones I choose) are fantastic, and that your time spent waiting in lines is sunny and provides you with the chance to make lots of new film nerd friends.

And oh! The movie I ended up seeing was Look, Stranger, “a psychological portrait of a woman traveling home in a war-torn world.” Not much to explore from a fashion perspective – the character’s wardrobe choices are extremely limited, and far less important than, you know, food and shelter. The film is… opaque. Nearly silent for large stretches of time, it is up to the viewer to decide what’s going on with pretty much everything: where it is, when it is, who people are, why they’re doing what they’re doing. There were some really beautiful (and strange) moments, and a wonderful performance by Anamaria Marinca. I enjoyed it, but I was so high on being at a TIFF screening (for free!!) that I probably would have enjoyed anything. Still, after I left the screening I kept thinking about the film, and wondering about it, and one moment in particular stayed with me, which seems to be the sign of a good cinematic experience.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Dressing for TIFF”
  1. Alexandra says:

    YAY! You got to go to a TIFF screening. The very short time I have been in Toronto…the only difference I noticed was some annoying traffic in Yorkville on the way back from the bus station. Aren’t you happy you live downtown now? you’re right in the thick of it! Hope J is having fun!

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