Tag Archives: clothes

#AskHerMore

23 Feb

I’ve been a fan of Reese Witherspoon’s for a while. Most people fell in love with her in “Cruel Intentions.” But my adoration began with “Man in the Moon.” It’s a coming-of-age where she plays a spunky and smart 14-year-old who doesn’t conform to what people think she should be. She likes a boy, so she makes that fact known to him. She likes to run and swim, so she goes running and swimming. Her parents suggest being a little more feminine, but they don’t push it on her. There’s more to her than her femininity.

I’m reminded of this because before last night’s ridonculously long Oscar ceremony, Reese put a photo up on Instagram with the hashtag #AskHerMore. For years, questions posed to women on the red carpet have centered on “Who are you wearing?” “How long did it take you to get ready?” “What’s in your purse?” “Did you diet before the coming here?” On one hand, I want to know who the designer of the dress is out of curiosity. On the other, what someone has in their purse crosses a line of invasion. How long it took a woman to get ready is such a misogynistic question that I can’t even. If there’s more to put on, it takes longer to get ready. That’s just facts; no need to dwell on it.

Worst of all is the diet question. We live in an image-obsessed society that places too much emphasis on how much weight a person has lost or gained in any given amount of time. Not only that, but no one asks the men if they’ve been dieting or working out before coming on the show. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter. These ceremonies are supposed to be a celebration of work, not a celebration of image.

Focusing on the image only hammers home the belief that it’s all that matters. Taking care of your health is different from taking care of your image. Diet and exercise are the keys to good health. Your image is something that is personal to you. How you look and how you want others to see you is the internal struggle you’ll forever deal with. Discussing the inner workings of that process in front of the E! red carpet cameras probably isn’t the best platform to be hashing out something so personal.

That’s why I am such a fan of Reese and others who pushed the #AskHerMore hashtag. Instead of focusing on her appearance, reporters were encouraged to ask about the work. Instead of diving into a stranger’s handbag, interviewers were pressed to ask about an actor’s relationship to the role. And instead of asking about the work it took to prepare for the night, reporters were requested to ask about the work it took to prepare for a scene.

These ceremonies are just big parties where people want to ask fun questions. But it’s a party honoring work, so don’t forget to ask about that, too.

Did you make it to the end of the three-and-a-a-half hours of the Oscars? Wasn’t Common and John Legend’s performance Glorious?

 

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Sizing Up the Fashion Industry

12 Nov

I majored in magazine journalism in college. I thought I’d either be a writer or a designer. Even though I now work in newspapers, I still love magazines. I have been a longtime subscriber to Elle, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Esquire.

As you can tell, I like my fashion magazines. I’m aware of the fashion industry’s lack of representation for all types: height, shape, size, skin color, etc. Last year during Paris Fashion Week, a designer broke the mold and used regular women, not professional models in his show. They were a glorious rainbow of shades, shapes and sizes. They stomped down the runway and all anyone could talk about the next day was how brave Rick Owens was for breaking the mold. Again, that was a year ago.

Last month, Calvin Klein launched its new “Perfectly Fit” underwear campaign featuring six models, seen above. Looking at the photos, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the female model in the bottom-right corner, Myla Dalbesio, is the larger of the five women at a size 10. She looks beautiful, just like everyone else.

It wasn’t until recently when Elle published an interview with Dalbesio in which she was called plus size that social media went into a tizzy.

To be fair, it wasn’t Calvin Klein or even Dalbesio calling herself plus size. It was Elle. The magazine’s site updated their story and even changed the headline to read “The Rise of the In-Between Model,” but the url is still “plus size.”

DalBesio went on the Today show to discuss the hubbub about her ad, saying, “Life doesn’t work in only extremes.” Most fashion campaigns and runway shows feature models who are very thin. Then there’s the other end of the spectrum where a designer will create pieces specifically for a much larger frame or even go on to shock the world with a fashion show featuring and abundance of sizes.

I applaud Calvin Klein for using a model of average size and not making a big thing about it. It’s a step in the right direction to show that women of all sizes need to be represented. My waist is a size 8, but my hips and thighs will at times put me in a 10. I don’t see myself as plus sized. I’ve been plus sized. I used to shopped at stores that catered specifically to plus sized women when I was an 18 flirting with a size 20. Nowhere in the racks did I see a size 10. For Elle to fall back on the trope of plus sized just because DalBesio wasn’t their norm is offensive and short sighted.

I wish more brands like Calvin Klein would take into account the women of varying shapes and sizes that want to wear they’re clothes. Some of us are tall or short, curvy or straight. Some of us have pear shapes, while others are hourglass. All of us are different hues. And we’re all looking for the “Perfect Fit.” I understand it’s not feasable to cater to every size for every piece. But just to acknowledge that we’re out there will make a world of difference.

Outfitting Your Exercise

7 Nov

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At this point in my life, I’ve accumulated enough clothes for every occasion. I have my work clothes. I have my clothes that work well after work. I’ve got my bar clothes, not to be confused with my club clothes. I’ve got Sunday brunch clothes that can lead to the day party later. And, best of all, I’ve got my gym clothes.

I’ve been working out so much over the years that my gym-clothes drawer is spilling into other drawers. I’ve got a decent amount of running pants, more than enough running shirts, quite a few bras with a few pairs of shorts sprinkled in. I’ve learned how to dress for every workout. What I’ll wear on a summer run may not be suitable for working out at the gym at my job. The running jacket I have for the fall and winter serves as just a jacket when I’m going to a class or the gym. And I’ve got plenty of items to keep me happy.

But I like shopping. So…I’m gonna buy more stuff if there’s a sale or I see something I like.

Which brings us to two completely different incidences where choosing the wrong item could have wreaked havoc on my bank account.

Fashion designer Alexander Wang released his new collection in collaboration with H&M yesterday. He previewed the collection a few weeks ago, which was where we saw the newly slimmed down Missy Elliot. I looked at the clothes online, and some of them seemed really cool. I liked the crop tops, though I’m not ready to expose my stomach to the world outside the beach. Some of the pants and shorts were nice, too, and they looked like they’d function during one of my many high-intensity workouts.

Um…not so much.

I went to the launch yesterday—twice. During my lunch break, I walked up the block to H&M only to find there was a barricaded line outside the store. Then the line went inside where it snaked around another barricade. I hadn’t planned on a two hour lunch, so I decided to browse the store. I’ve always liked H&M, even though it’s Old Navy with better looking clothes. There were some cute coats and dresses I saw, but what really intrigued me were all the people walking around with Alexander Wang bags. Many customers went through the long line, bought their stuff and continued to shop. One woman I talked to had gone through the line and seemed unscathed. “How was it?” I asked.

“That shit was ridiculous,” she said. “They kicked me out after 15 minutes.”

The store I went to was allowing customers to peruse the items in 15-minute increments. They even had a guy with a bullhorn announcing when time would be up. Still, I got a pretty good look at the items from the second floor. Just about everything is black, which makes them useless during the cloudy, dark days ahead. Some items had reflective fabric, but most were just for show.

In fact, just about everything was for show. When I came back that evening after the crowd had died down, I got a chance to look at all the clothes. None of them really seemed able to withstand a vigorous workout. Some of the capris seemed OK, but who wears a crop top on a run in the middle of winter? Not this gal.

Then there were the prices. Like I said, I like H&M, but making high-quality clothing isn’t their thing. That’s why most of their clothes are so inexpensive. Even though Alexander Wang is a top designer, the prices for his branded material was outrageous. Tank tops for $35, non-functioning sports bras for $40.

Where he failed in performance wear that you can perform in, he excelled in some dresses. They were designed to fall in line with Wang’s collection, but they had a “we’re gonna kick it hard” kind of vibe. Still, those dresses were about $200, way more than I planned to spend. So, I bought the one piece of sports equipment I could afford: a water bottle.

This experience was different from the last time I went sportswear shopping, which was a couple of weeks ago. I went to the Under Armour sample sale. This, too, was a bit overpriced. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as Alexander Wang, mostly because the clothes have better functionality. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as H&M. Plus, if you’re looking for stuff you can sweat in, the sample is your best bet, not the Alexander Wang collection.

Sizing Up the Matter

24 Oct
Without you, it's just fabric on a hanger.

Without you, it’s just fabric on a hanger.

Let’s be honest: shopping can be a pain in your newly shaped butt. And I like shopping. But when you’re “skinny now,” you tend to find yourself in between sizes.

No two bodies are the same. My waist makes me a size 8, but my hips still linger in the 10-12 range, depending on the stretch of the fabric. I prefer shopping using numerical sizes because it makes the search more consistent. But clothing makers are starting to shift their wares to alphabetical sizes (XS-XL).  It’s less clothes for them to make in different sizes and leads to fewer returns.

That’s great for them, but here’s the problem: one size does not fit all. Humblebrag, but I’ve always had a small waist compared to my hips. Buying jeans leaves me with two options: a gap at the waistband above my butt or a super tight fit around my hips and thighs. It’s a never-ending struggle, one you’ll have to contend with until you shape your body the way you want it.

We’re in the worst season known to man. Some days are too cold while others are too warm. You have to layer a ton of clothes, then find someplace to put them all when two scarves becomes too many. However, this dreaded time of year does have its benefits.

The layers help hide whatever’s going on while you’re trying to figure out what looks good on your figure. Skinny jeans and a larger top will cover the gap at your back. A big belt can cinch your newly narrow waist over some leggings. These will get you through some rough patches.

But you should also enjoy this time. You lived a size 16 for so long, and now you’re a size 10. There were clothes you never thought would look good on you out there just waiting to be given a chance to shine. You never tried an pencil skirt before? See what it looks like. Cropped tops used to give you muffin-top anxiety? Screw that! You’ve got a flatter belly now that’s just itching to see the sun.

There’s so much to do now that you can fit into a new size. It’s easy to feel defeated even though you’ve done such good work so far. You’ve lost a few pounds, but your favorite clothes don’t fit anymore. Maybe you didn’t like shopping before because it was hard finding things you liked in your size. Guess what, love? You’re not that size anymore. Take this opportunity to see what else looks good on you.

And remember that part: It’s what looks good on you, not what you look good in. The clothes are there to amplify you, not the other way around. These are pieces of fabric cut and sewn to look good on you. Without you, they’re just patterns on a hanger.

What are you itching to try on once you reach your goal weight? How do you deal with in-between sizes

photo credit: Zylenia via photopin cc

You ARE Beach Ready

11 Aug
Don't you just want to wiggle your toes around in that?

Don’t you just want to wiggle your toes around in that?

While many of you parents are jumping for joy now that your kids are out of the house and back in school, a lot of us footloose-and-fancy-free folks are lamenting the last few weeks of summer. There are fewer cookouts on the horizon. Fewer screenings in the park. And, worst of all, fewer beach days to take advantage of.

I love the beach. I love the sand in my toes, the smell of the ocean, even the guy trying to sell me a bathing suit from an umbrella. Many of you worked really hard during the winter and early spring to prepare for this moment. You wanted a summer slim down. You wanted to be beach-body ready. But what if you were ready the whole time?

Stick with me, Dorothy. The idea of being beach-body ready is all subjective. I’ve put myself through this same mental torture.

What if my thighs jiggle too much?

What if my stomach isn’t flat enough?

What if somebody sees me?

Here’s the thing: all of these things have been true the entire time. Does that mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself? Absolutely not.

The only thing you need to be beach ready is sunscreen. If you’re like me and enjoy the beach, then go to the damn beach. Put on a bathing suit that you feel comfortable in. It doesn’t have to be a teeny-weeny bikini. It could be a one-piece with a skirt or a sarong. It could be a nice tank and boy shorts. Hell, it could be a muumuu. Don’t let the current state of your weight-loss journey prevent you from doing the things you enjoy.

The sun isn’t always your enemy. Slather on some SPF 50 and get some Vitamin D. Let the salt water and sand exfoliate your skin. Get in some cardio with a swim. And do it all in beach wear that is comfortable to you.

That’s what some women are doing with the hashtag #fatkini. If you haven’t seen it on Instagram, women (mostly of larger size) around the world are posting pics of themselves in their two pieces. And they are werking it! They are on the beach, in the pool or even hanging out in the park looking like the fly divas they are. They are enjoying themselves regardless of societal pressures to look another way.

The messages they’ve posted with these photos are inspiring.

View this post on Instagram

I love high waisted bikinis.

A post shared by Kristen Lively (@_lovelylively) on

This woman preaches body positivity. And that’s one of the things this blog strives for. I want you all to just be comfortable in your skin. The weight-loss and healthy-lifestyle journeys are difficult. You will leap tiny mounds and giant mountains to reach your goal. But you still have to live life in the process.

I’ve said before that there are tiny steps up this big mountain. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the progress you’ve made. So what if you haven’t lost your goal weight by the end of summer. Are you going to wait until next summer to enjoy the sun and sand? That’s ridiculous. Enjoy it now, enjoy it again next summer. There’s no need to punish yourself when there’s so much life to live.

So go out, find that suit that suits you, and rock it in the sand. No one’s going to live this life for you.

How are you taking advantage of the last few weekends of summer?