Fashion

We Love This Content Creator’s French Girl Vibe

Vancouver-based content creator Lauren Sundstrom shares her love of '70s fashion and how she broke her fast fashion habit. 

(Photo, Rebecca Benoit)

“When I started transitioning in my late teens, I dressed very conservatively,” says Lauren Sundstrom. “None of my initial forays into exploring fashion were actually for me; I was dressing for everybody else in order to avoid negativity.” Now known by her followers for her French-girl vibes and love of ’70s silhouettes, the Vancouver-based content creator has found her signature look. Here, she pairs her go-to wide-leg jeans with unexpected elements, like a squiggly tee, a vintage bouclé blazer with touches of neon and a bright little satin pouch, proving that style is all in the details. “When you get an outfit right, it feels like you’re being the most authentic version of yourself,” she says. “Nothing compares to that feeling—a good outfit should make you want to strut.”

Here, she shares her love of ’70s fashion, how her style evolved over the years and how she broke her fast fashion habit. 

How would you describe your style?

I aim for French style—I don’t know that I always achieve it, but it’s the vibe I go for. I just love the way French women dress, there’s something so simple, effortless and sexy about it. I would also describe my style as being ’70s-inspired. The 1970s is the decade for me: I love the silhouettes, I love the colour palette, I love the hair and makeup. Everything about that era is so cool. 

(Photo, Rebecca Benoit)

How did your style evolve over time?

My style evolution is inextricably linked to being trans, there’s no question about it. When I started transitioning in my late teens, I dressed very conservatively. I was dealing with a lot of internalized transphobia, and I didn’t want to dress overly feminine or overly sexy —I didn’t want to be seen as the stereotype that anti-trans feminists and others who hate trans people have decided we embody. And nevermind that this so-called “over-the-top” femininity is often performed for survival purposes. None of my initial forays into exploring fashion were actually for me; I was dressing for everybody else in order to avoid negativity and appease others. 

About ten years ago, I was asked not to wear heels at a family event as I’m already so tall and would tower over people. “This isn’t about you, don’t wear heels,” I was told. I wore flats and a grandma cardigan, and when I got there all the other young women were wearing sky-high heels and really cute little outfits. That was the moment that I decided that I would no longer let other people dictate what I wear.

That said, the experience of dressing for others informed my current style. At the end of the day, a lot of us dress for external validation in one way or another. We want to be complimented because it feels nice. As I experimented with different silhouettes and got positive feedback from people, that’s how a lot of my favourite styles ended up in my repertoire. 

Who is your style icon?

I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by some very stylish people in my life. My mom has a really great eye for vintage pieces, and she’s handed me down some of her coolest pieces from the ’70s and ’80s. My friend Lydia from Style Is Style inspires me to get out of my comfort zone—they wear a lot of bold colors and patterns, while I tend to stick to more classic styles and neutrals. Whenever I feel like I’m leaning too much towards neutrals, I can just pop over to Lydia’s Instagram page and see how they put an outfit together and how patterns and colourblocking can work together. 

I also love ’70s icons, of course. There are so many wonderful women from that era whose style I adore and try to emulate, like Grace Jones and Jane Birkin. 

(Photo, Rebecca Benoit)

What is your process when picking an outfit?

There’s no real method to it, but I always start by checking the weather report as I live on the west coast. Based on that, a single piece will usually come to mind depending on my mood. Sometimes, I want my style to be simple and chic. Sometimes, I want patterns and colour. 

Nothing compares to the feeling when an outfit hits the right notes. When you get an outfit right, it feels like you’re being the most authentic version of yourself and displaying the person that you hope other people see as you walk down the street. A good outfit should make you want to strut.

What are some staple pieces in your closet?

I have an obsession with high heels. Especially when I was working in a corporate environment, I wore high heels every single day and they made me feel really gender affirmed. That’s something that I will always love.

I just love denim so much, I also wear jeans almost every single day. I have at least ten pairs, it’s just wild. Wide-leg silhouettes are also a signature look, I’ve gravitated towards them a lot over the past couple of years, especially high-waisted styles. There’s a movement back to low-rise pants right now, but a high-waist is always going to be classic even as denim trends start to shift. It’s chic and classic.

What do you look for when you shop?

I started shopping locally and vintage over the past few years. I used to buy a lot of fast fashion, at least a few pieces a week. I knew I had to change that because it was wasteful, expensive and my wardrobe didn’t look that fabulous. Eventually, I realized that buying from local brands, indie labels and vintage means you can get pieces that are unique and that nobody else has and that made me fall in love with that way of shopping. I’m not a queen of sustainability, but we all do what we can in the ways that we can. And for me, this is the longest standing sustainability choice that I’ve made in my entire life. I haven’t bought a single piece of fast fashion that wasn’t second-hand since 2019, and I don’t see myself going back to my fast fashion habit anytime soon. 

When I’m making decisions about what to add to my wardrobe, I look at silhouettes. Is it super trendy or is this something that’s going to go a little bit further than the next year or two? I also look at what I have in my wardrobe. Will the piece work with what I have? If I can make multiple different outfits in my head, then it’s definitely going to be worth it to me. As a content creator, I sometimes feel the pressure to show my audience new things and the fear of being boring or repetitive. But people who have followed me for a long time know that I constantly repeat pieces and outfits that I feel really good in. At the end of the day, it’s always going to feel good to be true to yourself and your personal values.

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