Essays - Olivia Stren



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Energy Crisis

FASHION magazine

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January, 2018

When my son was born, he greeted the world with a soft cry—and a big yawn. I knew in that instant that this was my child. I have never been what you’d call a high-energy person. At summer camp, my favourite activities were crafts (you can’t, say, jog while braiding gimp) and “rest.” In the […]

She’ll Take You There


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November, 2017

I recently purchased an unreasonable number of outfits in shades of white and cream. When I wear them, I feel fresh, well-leisured, like the kind of person who lets other people worry about the tedium of laundry—i.e., rich. That is, totally unlike myself. Not long ago, as my two-and-a-half-year-old, Leo, approached my creamy new dress, […]

The Color Cure

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ELLE (U.S.) 

May, 2017

“Your mother looks like a gypsy,” a so-called friend once said to me, referring to the clothes my mom would wear to pick me up from school—no doubt making an entrance. It was the mid-80s. I was about 10 years old. Among all the other mothers, sensibly dressed in their sweatshirts and jeans or Angela […]

You Must Remember This

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FASHION magazine

March, 2017

 It was springtime in Paris. Horse-chestnut and almond trees were in white, fluffy bloom, and children were floating toy sailboats across the Jardin du Luxembourg’s Grand Bassin. I was about 12 years old, and I was in giddy, heart- fluttering love—with a bag. My mom and I were visiting my aunt, and the three of […]

The Nanny Diaries

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ELLE Canada

August, 2016

A few years ago, I was invited to take a Silversea cruise through the Caribbean. Ordinarily, a week on board a cruise ship (the enormous kind, where you find yourself corralled into a Zumba class in the a.m. and sloppily adhered to the back of a conga line in the evening) would not entice. But […]

Tidy Up Your State of Mind

The Kit

July, 2016

 A few weeks ago, I turned 40. At the dawn of middle age, I have spent too much time bemoaning the passage of time. My mother is French, so nostalgia for all that is irrecoverable has proven both hobby and birthright. (I know, I shouldn’t blame my mother. I’m too old for that now.) I […]

Cabin Fever

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ELLE Canada

June, 2016

 At sunset on Sundays at summer camp in the Haliburton Highlands, we’d sit around a fire in our pine-green polyester camp uniforms and sing songs. I particularly loved “Leaving on a Jet Plane” because it was a sad song, making it (quasi-) acceptable for me to weep openly and blame it on the music. I […]

Olfactory Nerve

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FASHION Magazine

November, 2015

Last fall, when I was about six months pregnant, I went to the hospital for an anatomy ultrasound. As the technician applied gel to my abdomen, she informed me that she would not be speaking throughout the procedure and that I should address any questions I might have with my doctor. But after about 10 […]

Through the Haze

September, 2015

{ View Article PDF }At 16 days early and weighing six pounds, 13 ounces, baby Leo greeted the world with a soft cry—and a big yawn. As I lay in the hospital bed, my tiny brand new baby sleeping next to me, I felt weirdly euphoric. I’m no stranger to the blues, so I had […]

False Glow

ELLE Canada

April, 2015

A few years ago, I had lunch with a friend who was six months pregnant with her third child. “I loooove being pregnant,” she said as she tore happily into a crois­sant, her gestational mane gleaming. “It makes me feel powerful!” I never thought that pregnancy would make me feel formidable. (Power and I have never […]