MJ’s fashion advice is meant to be taken, of course, with a grain (or many grains) of salt.

It’s that time of the year again. With Stratford just around the corner, it’s time to ask the ultimate question: what am I going to wear?

Some of you have figured this out ages ago. Some of you are just wearing the same thing back from forever. Some of you, however, are less lucky; wanting to buy something new or try a bold new look. But what if it isn’t right?

That’s where this article comes in. A few things to note first:

No jeans. We’re going to a more formal environment for the Shakespeare Festival, so come dressed up. That means tie and shirt and nice pants at least, and not one of those t-shirts-with-a-tie-design. Just no.

It’s cold. Stratford is up north; average temperatures in the autumn fall to around 8°C (sans wind-chill). Now, this may be obvious, but some people don’t get it. Dress warmly. That means wear layers, and bring a jacket.

You’ll be walking. This one applies mostly to the ladies. You’ll be doing lots of walking in Stratford, whether it’s to the theatres or to the restaurant or just to explore the place. That means flats over heels.

Now that we’ve set up the ground rules, here’s the most important thing: wear whatever you want. If you’re comfortable, and you look damn good, you’ve got it. Go forth and be beautiful.

Want to wear a 3-piece suit? Go ahead. Missing the vest? Turn it into a two-piece. Vest only? Turtleneck and blazer? Waistcoat and frock? Shirt and tie? Doublet and britches? Newsboy cap? Fedora? Beret? Tricorne? Top hat? Bowler? The male wardrobe is in no way limited; mix and match to your heart’s content. Just don’t wear running shoes.

I understand, or at least society gives me reason to suspect, that dressing up for ladies is like taking a test for TOPS kids. The vestments in one’s possession are to be studied with a passion, mixed and matched with scarves and serapes and shoes and shawls and accessories of all shapes and forms to make the perfect outfit. The other possibility calls into mind lengthy Hollywood shopping montages. I’ll just say this. Last year, a grade 12 girl came to Stratford dressed in the strangest possible way: bright red kimono draped over slim black dress patterned in gold, with a large gold bow set just above her solar plexus. She was gorgeous. Chill and go wild.

In conclusion, ladies and gents: dress up, dress warm, dress shoes, and dress crazy. I’ll see you in Stratford.