Canadians are known for many things: our unfailing politeness, our tendency to say “aboot” rather than “about”, our maple syrup… But if there’s one area where we’re often misrepresented, it’s got to be our fashion. We’ve rounded up six Canadian fashion stereotypes to scrutinize.
1. Plaid is our go-to look
We’re looking at you, lumberjacks. Canadian loggers took to wearing distinctive buffalo plaid jackets (the red and black checkered pattern we often think of as plaid today) for their rigorous outdoor work. As our proximity to nature and rugged weather would indicate, quality outdoor gear is something we Canadians rely on every once in a while. But is it still fair to associate us with this ubiquitous flannel fabric? Yes and no: while we do still like a touch of plaid from time to time (Aritzia’s constant plaid offerings can attest to that), it’s definitely not our national uniform!
2. We all shop at Roots
With an emphasis on its Canadian heritage and iconic beaver logo, Roots is the quintessential Canuck company. (Fun fact: its founders Don Green and Michael Budman are, in fact, from Detroit, Michigan.) The clothing business was founded in 1973 and sells warm, functional gear. But are we as crazy about the brand as everyone thinks? There’s a tendency for tourists to bring back Roots apparel as souvenirs, leading foreigners to think it’s our no. 1 fave brand. And while it has a permanent place in all of our hearts, Roots is only a small part of a well-rounded Canadian closet.
3. We consider Canadian Tuxedos to be formalwear
It’s no surprise this denim-on-denim combo is associated with Canadians… it’s even named after us. In fact, legend has it that the outfit earned its name when American singing legend Bing Crosby, dressed in head-to-toe denim, tried to get into an upscale Vancouver hotel, but was denied access because of his “unacceptable” attire. Don’t worry: they eventually realized who he was and let him in. Levi Strauss and Co. heard about the incident, and made Crosby a custom-made denim tuxedo jacket and—ta da!—the Canadian tuxedo was born.
So is the stereotype true? Emphatically yes! This is one stereotype we’re happy to embrace. Hey, if Alexa Chung, Kim Kardashian, and Miranda Kerr are rocking it, you know it’s here to stay.
4. Toques are the holy grail of headwear
Yes, it’s cold here, and yes, we dress accordingly. That means keeping our heads, limbs, and necks covered, but we aren’t more attached to these cozy hats than the citizens of any other cold-weather country.
5. We’re always dressed like we’re ready to go camping
Sleeveless puffy vests, flannel shirts, solid boots, denim, and work socks… Our foreign counterparts seem to think that Canadians exist in permanent readiness for emergency camping trips or last-minute hikes. We blame Instagram and our enviable, photogenic wilderness. Whatever the reason, there’s a time and a place for the great outdoors and its gear, but we’ve figured out how to put a fashionable twist on the stereotype.
6. Every Canadian citizen owns at least one Hudson’s Bay Company item
While we’re proud of the Hudson’s Bay Company and aren’t ashamed to admit we have a Hudson’s Bay blanket on our couch at home, the iconic stripes aren’t worn or owned by every Canadian. However, great pieces with international acclaim like these make us feel all warm and patriotic inside. So let’s just say, we don’t mind perpetuating this stereotype.