Dressed to the nines or wearing jeans, comfort is the key
Mixing ‘high and low,’ dressy and casual, resonates for the new executive director of the HPO
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you were swept up in the music of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra?
Did you go to build memories with a loved one? Perhaps you’re an orchestra aficionado. Or maybe it was simply an escape, a way to forget about your day and lose yourself in a melodic adventure.
No matter the group you fall into, Diana Weir, the newly appointed executive director of the HPO, wants you to feel comfortable, to be able to freely connect with the music and fellow music lovers in the concert hall.
“I think it’s really special to come together with 1,900 other people in the city and decide that experiencing something unique and temporal and bigger than yourself, experiencing that together, deciding that, I think that’s a really special thing,” says Weir, 31, who has been immersed in the music world since she learned to play piano at the age of six.
To that end, concertgoers are encouraged to wear whatever makes them comfortable. Track pants, dressy outfits, jeans; Weir says all are welcome. In fact, even though she gravitates toward wearing dressy pants or dresses to HPO performances, when she attends concerts elsewhere she takes it down a notch.
“When I go to performances outside of the HPO, I tend to dress more casually,” says Weir, who looks for simple but unique pieces with clean lines and interesting shapes. “I like the mix of high and low. Sometimes I’ll wear patent leather sneakers and a long jacket with a fur collar, for example. And jeans. So I like to be comfortable but I also like to look nice, but by no means do I feel the need to be dressed to the nines all the time.”
And despite the bad rap sales racks get, Weir says she’s found some of her favourite pieces in the piles of items no one else seems to want.
The chartreuse cocoon dress by Cos with slash pockets she wears here is a perfect example of a great sales rack find, she points out. She accessorizes it with a few of her many pieces of beloved statement jewelry, in this case a lapis lazuli pendant necklace, gold “egg” earrings from a boutique in Vancouver and a chunky silver ring she found at the Chelsea Market in New York. She adds a bit of pop with a pair of gold-heeled United Nude booties she bought at Miller Shoes downtown.
“I either like things to be very simple and basic or I like things to have an incredible sense of design and flair,” says Weir. “I don’t really do in the middle. So I’m a big fan of black T-shirts because I believe in the power of a great black T-shirt to go from casual to formal to go with my pencil skirts, but to also go with me wearing jeans to meet a friend for dinner. But I also believe in really great dresses and funky tights.”
Most eye-catching piece:
Usually any piece of jewelry that I’m wearing. I have a number of really great pieces. I wouldn’t call myself a collector of jewelry but if you saw my jewelry box you would call me that … this ring is probably my most eye-catching piece.
Quirkiest wardrobe item:
I own a jumpsuit that … is my season closing concert jumpsuit.
And I wear this black jumpsuit with a white tuxedo jacket.
I’ve worn it every year for the past four years and I’ll probably wear it May 6 — that’s when we’re closing out the season here.
It was bought at Maska Mode in Oakville, which sells Italian-designed things. It’s sleeveless, it’s just black, it’s got little zippers in the bottom.
It’s got a cinched waist … this is one of those pieces that no one was buying but I saw potential in it and I appropriated it for concert evenings by pairing it with a white tuxedo jacket.
A good black T-shirt. I use my black T-shirts a lot for underneath cardigans, underneath suit jackets. And when I find a good brand I buy a lot of them.
A few years ago, when my husband was living in New York … I purchased a jacket with a really unique design (from Shop Untitled). It has leather trim all around it, a giant hood and in the back there is a crocodile spine made in leather … I’ve worn that to performances in Toronto just for fun, if I’m going out at night.
Nothing. I’m not an impulse buyer. I used to be when I was younger and I realize that it made me really unhappy.
So I’m very methodical about what I purchase. I have to have a good reason to buy it and I’ll often see something that I like and wait and think about it for quite some time before going back and purchasing it.
Loves to shop at:
I love the downtown Miller Shoes. And because I’m a big jewelry fan I also find myself on numerous occasions at the Barton Street Studio, which is a glass beads studio by Alicia Niles, a local jewelry artisan.
Ridding her closet of:
Anything that doesn’t make me feel amazing. Anything that doesn’t fit very well, anything that I wear because I’m like, ‘I own this so I should wear it.’ Anything that I’m wearing because I own it and not because I love it ...
I bought a military style vest four years ago when they were in for a short period of time. And this is one of those things where I don’t like to purchase trendy things and I find myself purchasing them and getting rid of them quickly.
I like to buy really good quality shoes. That’s very important to me. I walk a lot, I don’t own a car, so the ability to get around and be comfortable on my feet is very important so I really invest in good quality shoes. At the same time I really like jewelry so I wear quite a bit and I own quite a bit.
And if I see a piece I think is really special, I don’t usually have any qualms purchasing it.
Beauty product she can’t live without:
Origins Drink Up Intensive moisturizer.
Diana Weir wears a chartreuse cocoon dress with slash pockets over black tights and gold metallic and brown booties from Miller Shoes.
Weir loves statement jewelry, like this ring, which she found at the Chelsea Market in New York.
Her lapis lazuli necklace makes a bold statement.
“I either like things to be very simple and basic or I like things to have an incredible sense of design and flair,” says Weir, who has an extensive jewelry collection.
Gold metallic and brown booties, from Miller Shoes.