Feb 17

Street Style Huntress: Rules are meant to be broken!

by Aldona Barutowicz · 0 comments

To say that I love Benjamin Toner’s style, fashion advice and general awesomeness, would definitely be an understatement. Upon first meeting we chatted about sewing, which is my latest hobby - so to have someone like Toner as inspiration is truly lucky!

This lovely young man has a great style aesthetic, and my aspiration is to be able to sew to even a quarter of his abilities - the jacket he’s wearing in these photos he designed and created himself!!!! But instead of me continuing to tell you all about his fantastic work (and so much more), here is a little Q&A with the man himself.

How would you describe your personal style? 

I think a lot of my style comes from my background in costuming. I love knowing what clothing says about a person, so I like to think my style changes and is characteristic of who I am and what I am feeling that day. I have a couple rules that I follow and some go-to outfits obviously, but rules are meant to be broken and go-to’s are meant to be updated. I tuck every t-shirt in and I love something high waisted, but my wardrobe is stocked with something from every genre of fashion.

What are some of your influences when it comes to fashion? 

I am influenced a lot by other people-by their stories, by what they love, by who they are. Of course there are some fashion and costume designers that I love and admire, but I am more interested in who they are as people, and what they bring to the table. I have a good friend who is one of my major fashion influences. She is such a proper lady and I have an amazing respect for how she carries herself and the grace she portrays in the way she dresses. I am constantly looking to dress to her level and to fashion myself to be the man I respect and want to be; creative, professional, put together, and kind.

What are some of your favourite stores and shopping destinations in Downtown Calgary? 

I could shop at NAQP forever. I am also beyond excited for the Simons to open up on Stephen Ave. I have been raised with an affinity for The Bay and the cleanliness of some of the designer collections they support, so I am always partial to shopping there for sure. I also love going to visit Fluevog and letting the amazing staff there influence the things I put on my feet.

What are some of your favourite Downtown YYC spots? 

I am always into grabbing a coffee, so my favourite spots are coffee shops for the most part. I am obsessed with the new Phil and Sebastian on Stephen Ave so I have been frequenting that spot a lot. I am an avid crossword-er, so its a perfect place to sit and drink amazing coffee, do some people watching and enjoy some problem solving. I also love the staff of the Rosso locations downtown, so I appreciate going in there and knowing most of the staff. I am always finding new places to love and new things to see in our downtown.

What are some of your favourite trends right now? 

I am in love with the new wave of androgynous clothing  and clothing that opposes a traditional gender norm. I am a super tiny person and so buying clothes off the rack has always been a really difficult, kind of embarrassing process for me. I love the idea of feeling safe and confident enough in our community to wear women’s trousers-because they come in a 25 when most men’s pants start at 5 inches bigger than I am at 30. I am also thoroughly enjoying the eclectic nature of fashion right now. We are in this weird intersection between the 90’s and wanting to push forward into fabric manipulation, new uses for synthetic textiles and using technology in fashion, so it leaves us with a lot to choose from.

What fashion advice would you give to others? 

Money can’t buy style. That is all. Money can buy fashion and the newest pieces but if it doesn’t fit the style that you have developed for yourself and the image you want to portray, screw it! Develop your own style and assemble pieces that fit who you are-regardless of if they’re brand names, or you’ve made them yourself. You have to develop a style sense and that takes some personal exploration, some hard questions, and learning to love the person you are. Most importantly it requires you to think about the person you want to portray and become. It will cost you energy and thought, but that will never need to cost you much money until you decide it does.

Tell us more about the projects and work that you’re involved with. 

I am lucky enough to be successful as a Costume designer, Buyer, Shopper, Assistant, Painter, Coordinator (you name it) and Set designer/scenic artist for film/television/theatre. In the last two years I have worked with the Calgary Stampede as their Head of Wardrobe for the Grandstand show. In this last year I have had the pleasure of working with Universities, Colleges, MGM, NBC, and on some indie films as well. In this next year I will be continuing to work in film wherever I can and giving my best shot in this difficult industry. While doing that I am always designing for myself and for friends, so I am super excited about some of the pieces I will be making this year and the heart that I get to put forth.

What are some of your future aspirations?  

I want to keep working. I am so unbelievably fortunate to work in the industry that I do and I want to continue to make a name for Calgary and for myself. I love representing this amazing city in my industry and showing what we have to offer to people who come from all over the world. One day I think I want to be a dad, but who knows what this world has for me. I also would like to go to the Olympics, for gymnastics preferably, and win. I have no formal education or training in that sport, but you know? Someone has to be that underdog.

How does your work influence your personal style? 

I am surrounded on a daily basis by incredibly creative people, so I am always picking up things from other people, or how someone wears a certain piece. It is amazing how my personality and thus my style, have changed by just being around so many new people in the last years. Also working in film, you have to dress like you are camping sometimes because we are constantly battling against the elements. So I have an affinity for really good outdoor gear, a new pair of Blundstones, and the newest collections from MEC and the like.

Anything you’d like to add or tell us about? 

I am about to be an uncle for the second time, and I am just beyond thrilled about that - so if you know of anywhere to get some beautiful drapery pieces for babies, hit me up.

Related Posts

  • Street Style Huntress: The Perfect Shade of LipstickStreet Style Huntress: The Perfect Shade of Lipstick Seriously gorgeous, talented, wise and stylish alert! I'm so thrilled to dedicate this edition of the Street Style Huntress to a lovely woman that I finally had the pleasure of meeting […]
  • Street Style Huntress: Gender Neutral To me the most successful events that I attend are those where I meet cool new people that I've never had the opportunity to stumble upon on the streets - and Raul Manriquez is one of […]
  • Street Style Huntress: @theoriginal10centStreet Style Huntress: @theoriginal10cent It’s extremely rare, but I love nothing more than meeting people who inspire me upon the first sentence that they utter - and that’s exactly what happened when I first met Lori […]
  • Street Style Huntress: MenswearStreet Style Huntress: Menswear What I love about meeting cool and stylish people (aside from the obvious), is that they are usually more than willing to introduce you to their cool and stylish pals - which is […]
  • Street Style Huntress: Anything Goes  Street Style Huntress: Anything Goes As someone who hunts for style, the most entertaining part for me is seeing how people choose to transition from season to season. This is even more perfect in a city such as Calgary, […]

Previous post:

Next post: