Head Over Feet for Alanis Morissette

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary


Can you have a style crush on someone’s if you don’t like their style? Can you be a fan even though it’s not all that good? Further, can you celebrate someone who dressed a bit lazy? The answer is yes.

I asked myself these questions after this weekend’s Juno Awards. After seeing Alanis Morissette perform, I spent time reminiscing. She’s somewhat forgotten, yet she had an indelible impact on me as a kid. Plus, her award look was fine, especially that tailored black and white printed jacket she wore during her performance

Morissette was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and celebrated at the Juno’s. It was 20 years ago that “Jagged Little Pill” was released and, subsequently, awarded many Juno’s the year after. 

I got lost in my Google image search of her in the 90s and I was zoomed back. Do you remember those (p)leather pants and silk oversize blouses? Or how about the beanie or the braids she wore during the Ironic music video. Let’s not forget how much she could say while wearing nothing at all. Her only armour was that long, long hair – and that voice.

While her 90s look was messy and scattered, it was authentically her. What is admirable is that she was exploring herself and her identity day-by-day. The past did not necessary dictate the future and it seemed less calculated than rock stars of today. One day it was jeans and t-shirt and the next a floor length beaded black shift dress. Her clothing choices were an expression of her personality and stories.

Her hair, maybe her most defining attribute, was another tool of self-expression. She wore it long and limp, in dreads, short, dark, blonde, braided and unkempt. Her hair was an extension of her (and an effective prop while head banging and rocking out).

She reminds me of that was so very good about he 90s: women voicing themselves unapologetically. A casual, yet defiant, confidence and – yes – the leather.

She helped to teach me that being a strong person often meant sharing the weaker moments with others. Her music taught me how to zone into a personal experience one moment at a time to let myself really feel it. She taught me how to be angry without letting that anger turn to violence. She taught me that a modern woman can be anything she wants to be – but certainly not everything.

Thank you, Alanis Morissette. I’m a proud fan and hope to wear the shit out of leather pants the way you once did.