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By: Jennifer La Grassa


“Bae”: the fact that it stands for “Before Anyone Else” should be enough of a reason to stop using it. Unless bae is your mom, you should never use the name to refer to anyone. The name has run its course and it’s time for a change.

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Dying your hair gray: I don’t think anyone knows how this trend even began, but I like to tell my grandmother she started a revolution. With the eye bags and forehead wrinkles that university has given me, the only reason why I would ever attempt this is so I can finally use the grandma emoji in my Instagram pictures.

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Hashtags: I don’t care if your Instagram photo has #nofilter, nor do I enjoy spending at least two minutes trying to decipher #eachwordinyourlongandpersonalhashtag. Also this trend caused me to call the pound symbol the “hashtag sign” in my second-year stats course.

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Couple/ Squad Goals: Why is working out with your significant other and kissing them after every sit-up considered a couple goal? Things like these only make those who are single and without a squad feel completely horrible about their lives.

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Over-contouring: There is nothing wrong with contouring, but using excessive amounts of makeup and wrongfully applying it leads to a poor makeup job. Natural beauty is the best kind. Makeup is meant to play up your features, not give you a new face.

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Vaping: It has given a new vibe to smoking by making it seem cool and healthy when it really isn’t all that different from picking up an actual cigarette. If you’re going to smoke then smoke and if you want to quit or be healthy then do so, but vaping isn’t the way to go.

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By: Jeffrey Ye

If you’ve been keeping up with brands such as Zara and H&M recently, you’ll know that their moves have been surprisingly uncharacteristic for their “fast fashion” label. What is fast fashion? Fast fashion is characterized by the strategy of the aforementioned fashion giants to rapidly incorporate (knock off may be more accurate) the latest trends from either the runway or popular culture into their stores. Their streamlined processes take as little as two weeks to go from design to delivery. So far, this approach has been extremely lucrative, with H&M and Zara operating a combined total of over 5,000 stores worldwide. To say nothing of their association with poor working conditions, why fix what isn’t broken?

On one hand, Zara may be testing the waters to see if the average consumer is receptive to higher end designer styles and superior quality at an increased price point. Zara has unveiled their first male studio collection that does just that. The outerwear and knits are clearly the highlight of this line, displaying prominent check prints and using wool blends in addition to alpaca and mohair fibers. Textured turtle necks, rolled trousers and several suiting options round out the collection. The difference with this collection and the fast fashion model is permanence, both with regards to its lower turnover of pieces and reduced likelihood of clothes falling apart after ten washes.

H&M on the other hand, looks to appeal to more mature consumers who have a defined style and can afford to spend more to attain it. The company has opened new stores in Toronto and Montreal under the name of COS. Having visited the Bloor street location, I was impressed by the spacious, clean layout of the store compared to H&M’s usual cluttered racks. The pieces themselves take a minimal approach to patterns, branding, zippers, and buckles. COS instead opts for clean, monochrome styling, reminiscent of the work of Jil Sander and Lemaire. While we have come to associate fast fashion with descriptors such as cheap, poor quality and trendy, COS is far from it. The company has stated, “COS prices start where H&M’s finish,” and included in that cost is superior construction and fabrics with a recognizable aesthetic.

Both companies seem to be challenging consumers to choose quality and investment into a thoughtful wardrobe in place of cheap trends. In the words of everybody’s favorite Belgian fashion designer, Raf Simons, “Fashion became pop … And I don’t know if one should be ashamed or not to admit that maybe it was nicer when it was more elitist.” While I don’t necessarily agree with putting up barriers to people exploring fashion, I agree that things are moving too quickly. There is such a focus on hopping onto the latest trend without any attempt to get to know what’s out there and discover one’s personal style. Fast fashion feeds into this. But the fact that companies such as Zara and H&M are moving towards less volatile and more refined offerings is undoubtedly positive for promoting more thought about what we wear.

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Normally I would refrain from doing this, but the prevalence of “basic” in our day-to-day language is approaching other hall-of-famers like YOLO and #-insert random word-. Yet somehow the definition of “basic” is still very vague. According to urban dictionary, “basic bitch” is defined as “a bum-a$$ woman who think she the shit but really ain’t."

Setting aside the inappropriate use of the b-word (a serious discussion for another day), it sure sounds like being basic is not a good thing. Grabbing a quick extra-whip low-fat pumpkin spice latte? You basic. Making yourself a kale smoothie after Zumba class? You basic. But the truth is, everyone’s a little basic. The more important truth is that it’s no big deal if you are.

I’m pretty basic. On the tenth anniversary of the release of Mean Girls, I hosted a viewing party at my house, complete with sushi and copious glasses of Girls’ Night Out. It was also a ridiculously good time, so why not just shake off the haters? Because we all know the haters gonna hate hate hate.

Being basic is considered a bad thing in that it implies you lack agency. You will follow trends as they come, with not one original thought ever crossing your mind. That’s simply not true though. Remember that time you came up with the idea to deep-fry Oreos in a Nutella batter? How about that time you wrote a paper about Descartes’ ethics as a hopeful interpretation of human nature? That ain’t basic. Just because you follow trends doesn’t mean you are an unoriginal person as a whole. Not many people are invested enough in everything to go their own way all the time.

One of the reasons I don’t mind being basic is because I appreciate a basic’s honesty. Basics are unafraid of accepting the notion that they are not wholly creative in their outer appearance. Basics are predictable. By acknowledging the inherent stupidity of things like celebrity gossip and Pawn Stars, basics make it feel okay to occasionally indulge yourself in these pointless fun pastimes.

And if you really think about it, calling someone basic as an insult doesn’t really criticize them for their lack of originality. The term is thrown around so much and is so widely applicable that it’s hard to take seriously. Instead, calling someone out for being basic is just pointing out a common consumption pattern, and somehow asserting that it’s worse than subscribing to a less popular one (I’m looking at you, music snobs). It’s a really restrained way of proving your superiority over others, one that is buried in sarcasm and laced with just the right amount of sass. It also makes you a dick, but hey – what do I know? I’m just a basic guy who loveeeeees brunch.

By: Danielle Porano and Hayley Regis

Hayley: As anyone with Instagram might have noticed, we are just coming off of Fashion week. With things wrapping up in Paris, we thought we might touch on some of the coming trends in street style.

Danielle: While fashion month has sadly come to an end, New York, London, Milan, and Paris have been good to us on the runway, with so many beautiful shows that have already set the trends for Spring/Summer 2015 fashion (seriously, I am amazed at how many times designers can reinvent florals, it was an incredible season). While I adore and derive inspiration from runway shows, the constrictions of limited budgets, having to take the HSR and walk to school, and chilly fall days often make high fashion style inaccessible. Acknowledging the fact that runway trends can often be difficult to contextualize and work into our everyday wardrobes, street style trends can feel much more applicable to our regular university days.

Trend 1: Sweater and Skirts

D: London championed hundreds of pairings of sweaters and skirts in the chicest way possible. Echoed by my favourite way to style a skirt with a sweater, the fashion week attenders paired chunky cable knits with a-line skirts that cut a few inches above the knees. To carry this style into winter, add nylons, over the knee socks, and knee high boots. To keep it fresh, don’t tuck the sweater in (or perfect the half tuck).

H: I’m obsessed with the contrast between flowing feminine skirts and chunky knitwear, but one of my favourite looks this season was a fuzzy grey sweater paired with a bright skirt and sneakers. I like to layer up with tights in the winter and make up whatever leg heat I lose below by layering myself like a cozy student parfait up top.

Trend 2. All-Neutral Outfit

H: Another big thing this season was the all-neutral outfit. As I’m usually someone who aims to look like an extra from the Fresh Prince it’s hard for me to say this, but I am finding myself in love with the all-neutral look! I’ve been seeing and trying the kind of monochromatic look I’ve seen on bloggers and in style photos from London and Milan. Fashion week attendees have been rocking everything in the spectrum, from white on white, through jean on jean, all the way to all black (fondly referred to as “The Uniform”). Look through your wardrobe for black jeans or leggings to pair with black sweaters or t-shirts for super simple utilitarian vibes. If you don’t want to feel like Wednesday Addams, maybe punch up your outfit with a bright lip, some statement jewellery, or swap one of the black pieces out for a grey one. I like to rock that with sneakers, but as it starts to get colder I’m bringing my boots back out.

D: Let’s be honest here. There is nothing sleeker, cooler, and easier than an all-black get up. I personally found the varying warm shades of cream and grays as a welcoming beckoning to fall weather. While I love all neutral looks, I love to use them as a blank canvas for colourful accessories, like wearing all black with a red bag.

Trend 3: New Take on Sneakers, Over the Knee Boots, and Ankle Boots

D: No outfit is complete without the perfect shoes. More than an afterthought or accessory, shoes transform outfits from bland to fashion perfection easily. Fashion month revealed a plethora of sneakers, boots, and heels. For a fresh take on sneakers, put aside the inspiration of Adidas and Chanel runners, and try a slip on slide in plain black leather, plaid, or leopard print.

Boot season is my favourite thing about fall, especially because it comes without worries about shoe-destroying winter snow and ridiculously copious amounts of salt layering the sidewalk. So we can focus on what matters: colours, textures, and new styles. This fall, the women of fashion month were rocking over the knee boots and ankle boots in mostly neutrals or black. If you prefer boots without a heel, there are so many great options for those as well in the ankle or over knee height.

H: I like to keep my footwear short, so I go for sneakers and oxfords. Ankle boots are a must, so I’m looking forward to investing in a black pair for the coming winters. My advice is to always go for something you can wear seven days a week without feeling weird about it, and that can accommodate a cozy sock for days you wish you didn’t have to go outside.

Trend 4: Blanket Scarves

H: Now leave it to Burberry to basically pioneer a trend on its own, because really, if Christopher Bailey is doing something we probably should too. Inspired by the equestrian blankets worn by riders, Burberry gave us a final walk of models in matching monogrammed blanket shawls. These things are big, cozy, and exactly the kind of things a student needs to power through a last-minute cramming session in HSL. Too bad it’ll cost you over $1300 of your OSAP; actually, I guess it’s a good thing it’s sold out. Head out to places like H&M and Value Village to hunt for you own, or get your hands on one of those Aritzia blanket scarves as an alternative your wallets will thank you for.

D: Popularized by the Burberry runway and started streetwise by Olivia Palermo, blanket scarves are an outfit within themselves.  Buy them in a pop of colour or pattern and wear them over neutrals to draw focus to them and wear them as a cape or tie them as a regular scarf and have the coziest fall day ever.

By: Sophie Hunt

The last thing you would expect to see while sitting on a city bus is a puff of smoke. Yet there I was, on the number 44, sitting next to a young man exhaling smoke in my direction. It took a moment to realize that it was not a cigarette he was smoking, but a thin metallic cylinder about the size of a cigar.

With the sudden rise in the use of electronic cigarettes, this is a sight that is becoming much more common.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, use a mixture of water, nicotine, flavouring, and other additives as a replacement for real cigarettes. Whether people are choosing to smoke them in order to kick their smoking habit, or simply as a less harmful alternative, e-cigarettes are not as safe as people seem to think. The liquid nitrogen used by this product can be very dangerous in a concentrated form. Also, the smoke released can potentially contain chemicals that, while less harmful than regular cigarettes, can still have an impact on people that inhale it through second-hand smoke.

The lack of information regarding e-cigarettes has led to a disregard for the regulation, and even creation, of laws that control the use of this product. Currently there is a Canada-wide ban on the importation, sale and advertising of this product. Despite this, people are still able to bring them into the country.

But this is not the main issue.

There is a startling absence of regulation on the use of e-cigarettes in the province. Many people are using their e-cigarettes in public places that are considered smoke-free, raising questions of whether or not they are potentially harmful to both the smokers and the people around them. Which begs the question: should e-cigarettes have the same restrictions as the average cigarette?

Little is known about the full health risks associated with smoking e-cigarettes. This makes the growing presence of them in public spaces even more terrifying. If there are harmful effects associated with the inhalation of second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes, then it may be too late for many who have already come into contact with too much of this smoke without realizing the risk. But it is not too late to take action in order to educate people of the possible risks of inhaling e-cigarette smoke.

Not only should the Government of Ontario put more effort into fully exploring likely health risks, work should also be done to raise the public’s awareness about the growing presence of e-cigarettes. It is not enough to simply limit the distribution of e-cigarettes in Canada. By exploring the potentially harmful risks of e-cigarettes, the government can create more rigid laws regarding where e-cigarettes can be smoked, and as a result make public spaces – including city buses – safer throughout the province.

McMaster students can avoid some of the daily problems of student life by bringing a bit of glamour to campus. As the snow melts, the nice shoes come out and wardrobes begin asking for more attention. What’s popular for girls right now is black and white, pastel colours, and floral prints. There are a lot of wide-legged hippie-style pants right now, crop tops and headwraps (headbands that look like scarfs or just wearing scarfs as headband). For guys, there are more floral prints too but also colorful Aztec prints. The spring season brings spring closet cleaning, stay as fresh as possible by shopping at popular stores while staying on top of that measly student budget.


Ardene has infinity scarves with bright colors and floral patterns. Cheetah and Aztec print harem pants are also donned by a few mannequins. T-shirts with funny prints were also popular among the mall crowd. Dogs/cats as celebrities and shirts plastered with ‘fashion blogger’ are good for a laugh. Sweatpants for comfort with Los Angeles emblems keep you dreaming.


At Bluenotes you’ll get your super stretch jeggings and super soft stretchy denim. For guys, a pair of dark wash jeans, a collared flannel shirt, a blue hoodie and black jacket will keep you looking cool.


Avoid Sirens. If you get one of their long sleeve shirts with stupid prints like ‘#CRAYCRAY; Party Sleep Wake Up Naked’ or ‘The Higher The Heel The Closer To Heaven’ you deserve the worst adjectives to describe your life choices.

 Urban Planet

At Urban Planet, girls can get cute skirts with black and white patterning, and trendy grunge denim vests. Pastel-coloured spring dresses will definitely make you feel nice, and you might want to pick up a floral pattern blouse and put a white wool sweater over. Long sleeve shirts with awesome cityscape prints of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Berlin will make you feel like an all-star.


With Pho being the ruling noodle of 2013, it seems that foodies of the world are gradually moving across South-East Asia finding their new food favourites. Pushing the Korean classic aside, it’s predicted that ramen noodles, a Japanese dish consisting of thin white noodles accompanied with a clear meat or fish-based broth will be at the forefront of 2014 trends.

Check Out:

Sushi Star (3.5 stars YELP)
127 King Street E



Expect to see more stylized grilled cheese sandwiches and haute hamburgers, as traditional comfort foods get a gourmet makeover. Old-time comfort foods are shacking up with modern ingredients like avocado, shrimp and candied bacon.

Check Out:

Macaroni & Cheese ($13) @
Bread Bar (4.5 stars YELP)
258 Locke Street S

Grilled Cheese from Heaven ($11) @
Bean Bar (4.5 stars YELP)
1012 King Street W



If “late-night coffee runs” has more than one meaning to you, then you’ll be pleased to hear that tea is taking over as the hot beverage of choice in 2014. Specialty tea stores have been popping up in shopping malls and collaborating with restaurants for the last year, and the trend is here to stay.

Check out:

Ginger Peach or Lemongrass Rosehip @
Ceylon Tea Bush
218 Locke Street S



It may not sound appetizing - or even safe to eat - but “sour” beers are a growing trend and are predicted to be appearing in your local liquor stores. Like sourdough bread, sour beers get their name from a fermentation process that allows the active yeast to permeate the brew. Another strong flavour to look for in your hops: alcoholic ginger beer.

Check Out:

Panil Barrique Sour ($14.70 for 750mL)

Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer ($3.65 for 330 mL)



While cupcakes, macaroons and donuts have all had their chance in the spotlight, the tried and true favourite is undergoing a palette makeover. Gourmet ice creams will be more commonplace, along with pop-up ice cream stores (à la Magnum in Toronto this summer) and decadent ice cream sandwiches.

Check out:

Rudy’s Paletas @
The Burnt Tongue
10 Cannon Street E



The newest of the five basic tastes, umami is predicted to be found in more diverse foods. The Japanese term translating to “pleasant savoury taste” is usually found in tomatoes, cabbage, shellfish and MSG salts. Look for it in salt blends, sauces and cooked into the growing and popular “umami burger”.

Check out:

Umami Salt ($10) @
www.umami.com (LA-based franchise, Umami Burger)



For the last few years, “local” has been a buzzword in restaurants, super markets and circles of young hipsters. But apparently, 2014 is the year for really implementing local diets and farm fresh cuisine. Jump on the bandwagon by shopping at your local farmer’s market, or looking into farm to table box programs that deliver local food to your home.

Check out:

Hamilton Farm Box deliveries from:

Plan B Organic Farms



Gluten is here to not stay. If you thought the celiac-friendly diet trend would have faded away with 2013, you were wrong. Menus and grocery stores will still be actively supplying gluten-free options during 2014.



2013’s vegetable of the year is still trending, just not quite as much. Mashed, grilled or baked into meat and wheat dishes, cauliflower will still be widely available on menus across town.



Donuts had their moment in the sun in 2013, but will be drifting into the shadows with 2014. Still available at your favourite bakeries and grocers, gourmet donuts will be ready for purchase throughout the year.

  1. High Fashion Sweatshirts: Marvel-Inspired crew neck sweaters paired with white pumps, high-waisted skirts, and dark ‘90s lipstick will be a street style staple in months to come. Lovin’ the comfy-ness and the nerdy shout-out, but downside: being scammed into dishing out way too much for gym-wear.
  2.  High-Waisted Cut-offs: Tumblr went nuts over ombre, denim, and tye-dyed high waisted shorts that are more often than not cut off a little too short (hanging bum cheeks ftw). Buy ‘em at American Apparel for $435464357 or find a Youtube tutorial and a pair of old mommy jeans.
  3. ‘60s Silhouettes: Small waists, full skirts, cardigans, round buns, and short curly hair. Fashion tries once again to re-structure the disheveled ‘90s look.
  4. Rocker Chic: Motorcycle jackets, studded collars, studded shoulders, leather pants, leather peplum. The ‘90s edginess isn’t going away without a studded fight.
  5. Wedge Sneakers: I have yet to understand why fashion would take something as comfy chic as the sneaker and give it a heel.
  6. Animal Prints: Leopard print, cheetah print, snakeskin – RAWR.
  7. Contrast: Polka-dots paired with plaid, chunky black and white stripes, military raincoats with leather sleeves. Designers are turning up their nose to matchi-matchiness.
  8. Chunky Layered Necklaces: We layered our bracelets until there was no arm space left, so we started on our necks.
  9. Bikes: High fashion Print Ads with bikes, designers sending their models down the runway on bikes and entire style blogs dedicated to documenting stylish men and women on bikes. Is it environmental or just nostalgia?
  10. PeekaBoo: Dresses with the side cutouts, dress shirts with shoulders peeking out, tights with round cutouts and heart-shaped holes in the backs of blazers. Sexy? Or just DIY gone wrong?

By: Rachel Katz

There was a time not so long ago when action films dominated the box office. The protagonists didn’t have superpowers—unless you count muscles—and they were forced to solve their problems and save cities using their bare hands.

Fast-forward to today and the action landscape is very different. The classic action heroes of the Die Hard era have been replaced by men and women once loved only by avid comic book readers.

In recent years the superhero genre has experienced a surge in popularity. In 2013, both Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel ranked in the top ten grossing films of the year, and so far this year, four of the top ten grossing films have fit into this genre, with Guardians of the Galaxy claiming the first-place ranking. People are so excited about this genre that there are multiple infographics detailing the release schedule for the next installment of their favourite hero’s franchise, some of which stretch to 2020 and beyond.

Where is this sudden appeal coming from?

Following the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, audiences were left without a multi-installment series to follow. Trilogies like The Hunger Games have been extremely successful, but there will only be four films about Katniss Everdeen—half the number of films about The Boy Who Lived. It would be difficult to extend a trilogy much further than four films, so producers may have turned to the superhero genre as a way to maintain cash flow. The genre appeals to a huge demographic, from elementary school students to their grandparents, and theoretically, there is no limit to the number of Batman movies people will pay to see.

The heightened interest in the superhero genre is almost certainly tied to the nerdy-chic trend. The first season of The Big Bang Theory aired in 2007, and since then over 40 superhero films have been released. The adoption of “nerdy” interests and hobbies into mainstream pop culture means that more people are willing to admit their interest in or discover the superhero genre for themselves, and while some avid fans find this to be a corruption of their favourite interests, there is no shortage of new TV shows, books, and films capitalizing on nerd culture.

Some fans have voiced concerns about this fixation on superheroes and nerd culture being just a fad. They raise a valid argument, especially considering the lengthy amount of time before some of the proposed superhero films are set for release. If the trend dies down, though, what will replace it?

With a slew of non-superhero action films scheduled for release in the next year, the reluctant everyman hero/heroine trope still has appeal. Maybe the action genre hasn’t had its last gasp yet.

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