Oh hey there, you doll, you!
You may have noticed the design change, ’round these parts. I’m super excited to have cleaned up, cleared out and completely revamped my site. Here’s une petite update in photos! Voilà!
As you may know, I’ve been in school, so my blog has been pushed to the wayside – but as the 20111-2012 school year comes to a close, I’ve got a little more free time to blog and do the things I love to do!
This past 9 months has been an amazing journey, meeting awesome people, gettin’ my know on, and enjoying the student life! I’ve also been doing a LOT of great work with the Rory Martin Web Design + Social Media Marketing crew…
I painted the entire interior of our new house and then moved into it!, went on vacation (Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Reno), watched my little sister get married, I bought a Memento Mori ring from Wendy Brandes, I put together a good amount of Ikea furniture, helped Kimberlee of Deco Modiste age some Victorian-style dresses…
In that time I radically changed my hair color (I took the plunge to a full head of shocking raspberry locks). I’ve changed my personal aesthetic. I’ve been getting into shape – skiing, riding horses, and riding my bicycle!
I went to Alefest with my pretty friends and dressed up in dirndls!!
Here’s a photo of my trusty steed – after she had a new paint job and a full tune up!
I planted a garden, I read several books – including a novel in French! I made Dean’s list for two quarters straight (and am crossing my fingers for a third).
And the fun’s not over. This summer will be the best – trips to NYC, and Boston, weddings galore (love! celebrate!), camping and a trip to the hot springs!
What have you been up to? Tell me, tell me!
My body is changing. In the last year, I’ve gained an inch or two around – everywhere. I know this because sometimes I can be a little self conscious, but if you no longer fit into any of your jeans, wouldn’t you be a little annoyed? Besides being heavier than I’ve ever been, I’m also more out-of-shape than ever. So in a recent conversation I mentioned a meeting with a trainer, and a friend asked me, “Like … at a gym? Why do YOU need a trainer? That’s silly!” I thought about it – I want to fit into the clothes I own. I’d also like to be able to run up a flight of stairs without gasping like a fish out of water! From the outside this might seem like a thin-obsession, but it’s more about knowing what makes me feel good.
I asked body-positive blogger, Jessica from Tangled Up In Lace, about this phenomenon:
The whole flipping point of Body Acceptance is that NO MATTER what you decide your body’s path is, its perfect for you. Its a matter of thinking critically about WHY you want to do what you want to do with your body. I’m so behind self care and deciding what healthy means to you
No one ever has the right to put value on how someone handles their own body.
And Ashe from Dramatis Personae pointed out:
There hasn’t been a point in my life where my body wasn’t solely my own concern. My parents were always worried about me being too fat as a child, when I really wasn’t more than chubby. Instead of teaching me to eat right, they just tried to ban foods from my diet. It wasn’t ever about health, it was about appearance.
In the past 2 months, I’ve had one close friend and one acquaintance call me fat. And the fact is, it made me more angry than anything. Who the hell are they to make comments on my body? As far as I’m concerned, my weight is the concern of me, my doctor, and my partner– in that order.
The media doesn’t help– since I was a kid, magazines had covers boasting the weight loss of stars, while tabloid magazines trashed the weight gains and struggles of others. They’ve taken women’s bodies and made them public property, free for all to make comments on, without regard to the fact that there are people inside those bodies.
Women should do, simply, what makes them feel good without being detrimental to their health. If eating a cupcake on a bad day makes you feel better, do it! If going on a 5 mile run makes you feel great after a fight with you best friend, do it. Every goal I have for my own body and weight is, for the first time in my life, strictly for me. It’s about feeling a certain way, going back to a place where I was happy, and was living a life in moderation.
My friend Carrie is undertaking a fitness/body challenge – she’s recently competed in figure competitions. She does it because “It makes me feel strong, confident, sexy, invincible… I’ve realized that I loved the process leading up to it much more than the competition itself. The way I feel when I take care of myself by eating right and working out is enough motivation for me now. There’s nothing better than feeling great!”
Although she does it for the best reasons, she’s still subject to body-shaming. She adds:
It’s much easier to cut a person down or discourage them because of your own issues than be unconditionally supportive. I see this in all aspects of my life, but never moreso than going through this fitness/body transformation journey… and I STILL get it even after all this time. The comments change but story is the same, the people belittling my effort, & my goals seem threatened by it. They are happier if I’m not doing than if I am.
Honestly, the more I think about it, that whole “you’re fine just the way you are” thing really gets to me. Because if [someone] mentions a desire to change… why not improve? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with that (outside of like you said, extreme situations where there’s something else going on). I really think it goes back to making the rest of us uncomfortable… it’s been much easier for the masses to say, “love yourself the way you are” than for ALL of us to have to take an honest look at ourselves and either accept what we know we don’t like, or … work fucking hard to make changes. Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to matters of eating/exercise and the discipline that involves.
I felt a little shame as I headed to my gym appointment, because obviously I love me, right? Why should I get the side-eye, because I want to be healthier and stronger? There’s this derisiveness towards my hitting the gym as if these people think I’m deluding myself about why I go. I feel like we (Everybody. Women. Ourselves. Each other.) are so programmed to snark on women’s bodies, regardless of the situation – whether they’re curvaceous or thin or fit or waiflike or brown or purple or like cheese or whatever. We’re totally missing the point of just caring for ourselves.
As this post titled, The Body Count from “At War With Our Bodies” adds,
Body image should never be a battle. Although it is true that the ideal weight, as defined by the mass media, has been shrinking in recent years I am more disheartened by this attitude of “winning” and “losing” than I am by the media’s glorification of a nearly unattainable body. People are losing sight of the real problem maker, the media, and aiming their frustrations at each-other by splitting off into teams of sorts ; us against them, skinny against fat, muscular against frail… it just doesn’t make sense.
While I am 100% behind the Fat Acceptance Movement and all of the more generalized Body Acceptance Movements, I cannot get behind their unintentional exclusion of certain body types. For instance, the phrase used by many FA Activists, real women have curves**, really bothers me. Real women have curves? How about; real women have vaginas? Or even better; all women are real women, whether they were born female or became female by choice. By excluding women of a certain body type from being “real” women these groups are participating in the same exclusion they protest… that hardly seems like winning to me.
[These two sentiments] are both equally damaging as they deny people their right to feel comfortable with their body, regardless of what shape it is. One sentiment may be more mainstream than the other, however, this doesn’t make either statement right or justifiable.
I appreciate what the self-love movement does and is trying to do to liberate people from certain ideals. I also appreciate when a girl mows down a salad instead of picking pasta because she’s looking after herself (who am I to judge? Maybe she needs the fiber, right?). In my opinion, she should be able to also eat pasta if it pleases her, but jumping off on a rant about how she “needs a cheeseburger” assumes things about her that may not be true. Self acceptance comes from within – not from the peanut gallery. Self-love can mean challenging your self to become a better you. Just because you’re undertaking that challenge doesn’t mean you love you any less.
I think we could stand to stop treating women’s bodies like public property to comment on. I know that sometimes it’s hard to take a message off the ‘net and apply it in real life, and that it might be awkward to point out to your group of in-person friends when they’re body-snarking. But maybe you can turn it around.
When someone says something negative about a girl’s body, point out a positive. Or when you hear yourself saying you want to lose a few, acknowledge the reasons why and remember all the other reasons that your body is great. And then work out if you want to - if your goal is safe, and reasonable, there’s absolutely no reason why you should be ashamed of wanting to “make better”. Your choice is just that – yours.
And if you’re one of those people who constantly say “you’re fine the way you are” to your friends who express wanting to better their bodies, know your reasons for doing so. Stop to think about your reasons before you speak, because that sentiment could be inadvertently shaming. Instead of saying, “you’re fine the way you are”, try pointing out something positive, your favorite part of that person who wants to make better. Encourage them to do what they feel is right for their bodies, because ultimately that choice is theirs.
So what do you think? Angry? In agreement? Ever been subject to body shaming on either side?
Part 1 – I always feel strange writing about body issues – especially considering my size. I worry that, since I’m on the small side, I’ll be subject to a lot of negative commentary pointing out that I’ve got nothing to complain about. And that’s exactly the problem…
During a recent conversation with friends, a gal I know mentioned going on vacation and wanting to shed a few pounds for the beach. She was asking about our workout routines (for those of us who are so inclined). There were a few different camps – those who said that diet could change it, those who said that exercise could change it, those who (like me) said “get a trainer because they are magical creatures who tailor your workouts…” And then there was the camp that shamed us all, saying “That’s silly. You don’t need to go to the gym. You’re fine the way you are”.
It felt a little like saying *if you have to go to the gym you obviously don’t love you and that’s wrong* – like wanting to better your body is not a legitimate goal. I started to feel like that’s just as damaging as the whole “thin is in” campaign we see in fashion mags, etc. It’s very damned if you do, damned if you don’t – when did we start subconsciously shaming girls for wanting to care for their bodies? For striving towards becoming a better person (in whatever regard that may be)? Or for just loving and accepting themselves as they are now?
As Kate from Eat The Damn Cake says in this post: “Really, there’s probably a compromise here. If someone is trying to lose weight, I’m not standing next to them at the gym with a bag of Doritos, going, “You’re wasting your time! Want some pizza? I could really go for a pizza…” I think losing weight is a completely legitimate goal in plenty of cases. I don’t think it has to be a symptom of superficiality or self-hatred. It can be really, really healthy.”
When I shared my thoughts with Kate, she added:
“I think sometimes on my blog I lean too far in the direction of the women you were describing, who act derisive about weight loss. I don’t feel like that, but I feel pressure to act like that publicly. Reading [your note] helped me put that tendency in perspective and understand better how unfair and, like you said, shaming it can be, to emphasize either approach without giving people room to make their own decisions. Life is too complicated for extremism in either direction.”
It feels like the “real women”, body-love mantras we hear so much about are walking a fine line; we should start loving us regardless of what our body looks or seems like, but we should be ashamed of wanting to change ourselves (and, we know that certain body love movements can be very exclusionary).
While it’s great that the motto of many bod-acceptance movements is “love thyself”, I feel it’s can be healthy to both accept yourself and be a little conscious of your body, knowing its limits, knowing what it can do and what’s good for it. And if you’re comfortable with you, rock on! Work it!
But if you want to shed a couple pounds before your tropical vacation, that’s a legitimate goal. You can eat what you want, and/or be religious about exercise if that’s your thing. Being conscious of you, of how you look, of how you want to look doesn’t mean that you hate your body, or that you’re necessarily trying to conform to a thin ideal. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of “thin idolatry” out there, and current beauty standards do shame girls for not having the perfect body (whether it’s Christina Hendricks or Twiggy. And, of course, this is not touching on cases where there’s something else going on etc.). But we all realize that the perfect body doesn’t exist, but in a few very lucky cases. The majority of us are gloriously imperfect. And you have the power to demonstrate enormous self love by caring about your body – whether it’s feeding it cookies or taking it for a walk.
It’s been a whirlwind year already. I look back at goals I had set for myself and miraculously watch as they’re each ticked off the list. This year has been like a lesson in personal manifestation – the more tuned-in you are to your goals, the more you work consciously and subconsciously to achieve them.
This year I got the boot from my “safe” job that was slowly wearing away at my nerves. This was probably the best gift-in-disguise I’d ever received. I felt safe, and totally relied on the paychecks that came in on the regular. I had motivation to leave, but I didn’t have the cojones. You know when you are stuck in a rut and there’s reason to leave but you’re afraid to take that plunge? That was me. When it did happen, I packed up my things, walked out to my car and did a Saved-By-The-Bell-style, jump and “Woohooo!” I never thought I’d be so relieved to be laid off (for “restructuring” apparently…)
This year I found a new job doing work that I love, and inevitably find myself doing. I work with a Web Design, SEO and Social Media company: RoryMartin.com. I’m their Campaign Genius (that’s what my cards say) and we specialize in thinking outside the box. Being able to creatively think about the work I have is a huge bonus, and everyone I work with is incredibly cool. Oh and did I mention I get to work from the comfort of my own office, write creatively every day and set my own hours? Productivity is bliss!
Oh and I got into school! The pursuit of that magic piece of paper from an esteemed university somewhere has been my goal for… well… ages. I’m a brain. I like learning stuff and I finally felt it was a good time to get with it. I hadn’t previously, because former job frowned on my educational goals. For real. Like they told me I could not work and go to school (nevermind that I’ve been taking evening classes for like 3 years). I was pretty appalled that they’d tell me I couldn’t go to school – most employers are thrilled because they can mold your education to their needs. So I put in an application at UW (hard school to get into) and they laid me off, and then last Friday I got the acceptance letter. I’ll be studying French (something I love) at an amazing school. And my new employer is totally stoked for me.
Other goals have been connecting and maintaining relationships with amazing people and making sure Deco Modiste is off to a good start. It’s amazing to watch all this stuff just fall into place. I generally don’t give a whole lot of credit to magical manifestation, but I really feel like when you want something badly enough, your whole being goes into overdrive to get there (whether you realize it or not).
Little things are: Being more creative about my ensembles. Attending fun events like Haute Summer Night and the Body Shop Honey Bronze event (more on that soon). Learning from those with experience. Gym-related endorphins. Being able to walk the pup around the neighborhood in the sun. Buying my ever-coveted white Chanel sunglasses (COVETCOVET). Summer travels. Gettin’ shit done!
How are your goals for the year going (so far)? Is there anything you want to achieve in the next 6 months? I’d love to hear about it
While flipping through June’s Elle last night, (I go through it a couple times, once for the pretty pictures, once for the articles and once to tear all my favorite images out of) I stumbled across a quote that seemed incredibly relevant:
“It just reminds us how different “real” women and celebrities are when it comes to their relationship with fashion. Stars [and internet stars - my emphasis] use it to build an image; the rest of us look for clothes that connect with some inner part of ourselves – we need self expression, not a fan base.”
As the much-talked-about Blogger Beautiful post from Gala Darling points out,
“We all retouch our faces to be blemish-free, & if you only knew how many bloggers manipulate their waistlines or thighs in Photoshop! My point is, some fashion blog images are as unrealistic & idealistic as what is presented to us in magazines.”
Our relationship to the clothes, the platform, the photos are all different – but for many of us, it’s a form of self expression, not a means to a fan base. And the beauty of that is that our self expression is what keeps us beautiful, relevant, shining, bright. I sometimes wonder if, as fashion blogging becomes a bigger industry, it is becoming less creative – following the footsteps of the fashion world. I wonder that and then I remember all the unique, down-to-earth, well read and amazing people whose lives I’ve been given a peek into. And if they stopped blogging (and if you stopped blogging) and being them (your) selves, yes, fashion blogging would be less creative, less fun, and less intriguing.
When we give ourselves permission to be and feel everything we are – monstrous, large, loud, brazen, occasionally ugly – we age backward.
Translate that: when you love yourself regardless of your bad hair days, your outfit faux-pas, your gaffes in public (I’m a total goober in public, but I laugh, because it’s often hilarious!), you are nothing but inspiring – even on your non-fashionable days. When you allow you to be you, when you’re not afraid to post images of yourself, and challenge others around you to do the same, you are courageous. That’s what style blogging is all about.
I bought Style Statement as the ultimate lifestyle guide/workbook. Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy put a lot of time and effort into this book and gal pals raved about it. Nothing but glowing reviews and two-word revelations about how people I knew had found their true selves. So when I became so suddenly unemployed, I thought, “Let’s give it a try!” I wasn’t sure where I was headed or why… and I was hoping this book would put that all into perspective.
I sat down with the book and a notepad, and diligently followed a few of the exercises. Was I “this” or “that”? Was I “matte” or “glossy”? Was I “round” or “square”? How do I feel in a bookstore? How do I spend my free time?
As I wrote, I began to notice that I was writing the same things over and over – not one or two words, but whole lists of words written out like punishment on a chalkboard. Soon enough, I stopped writing. I would gloss over the questions, and read others’ responses. Playful Casual… I liked the sound of that. Dramatic Contemporary… I like the sound of that! Cultivated, Magic, Frivolous, Vintage, Connected, Cherished, Feminine, Cosmopolitan, Treasure, Vibrant, Curated… Full-time Dreamer. Motherfucking Starchild Odyssey.
And as so many of these words kept popping up, I realized that I just like words for words, and that I couldn’t boil my life and experiences down to just 2 words. Sometimes I feel like Cultivated Magic. Sometimes I feel like Connected Treasure. Sometimes I feel like Frivolous Vintage. I looked at my closet, I looked at my house. I looked at my art, I looked at the treasures I collect. I looked at these little slices of my life and all of them were different, and intertwined and just as much a part of me as the next.
At this point, I haven’t been able to nail down two words that define me. 80% here, 20% there. I haven’t been able to hit that magic number and I think it’s because I often feel like I’m more than a ratio. The whole “trying to fit my existence into two words” felt a little like surpressing all the other words I wanted to or could possibly be. And I know that that’s the point – once you figure out those magic two words, your life falls into place, you realize who you are and what path you’re on and all the sudden the Universe magically opens and you can rename your blog and your cat and your purpose in life.
Unless you’re like me… in which case, all of that happens without having just two goddamn words.
I have to give it to Style Statement’s authors. They genuinely made me think, and I’m not sorry I bought and read over half the book. And I think someday, I’ll probably plow through the rest and realize what I’ve been missing. Eventually, maybe, I’ll find that magic definition (Ooh… that’s a good one, right? Magic Definition?!) that I can’t quite nail down because my brain is a maze of letters and pictures and stars and numbers. I tried so hard to want one of these statements but the Childlike Wild-Thing (Is that one? I dunno… I think that’s 3 words) inside me cannot commit to one set of ideas. Objets Magiques, Strange Treasure, Random Clarity… my brain fills up with all the words I could be – words just spilling right out of my ears, there are so many – and somehow I’m comforted in knowing that somewhere inside my head I’m already defined.
As my Notes from the Universe said the other day: “Insisting on details, Birdie, always limits you.”
You guys know what that’s from – don’t even lie. (I can hear Alicia over there cackling to herself…)
In a grand gesture of “I DO WHAT I WANT”, last night Scarlet bleached out sections of my hair framing my face and I took the plunge. See, my hair is this mix of blue demi-permanent dye mixed with a purple-silver-black demi-permanent dye. You can tell it’s this indigo color in bright sunlight, or – if I’ve got my hair pulled back, you might discover the tiny baby hairs around my face are blue. When the color fades I mix a little Special Effects blue with my conditioner and my indigo color springs back to life. That is, unless Scarlet has bleached out portions of my hair, which then turns this manic cobalt color.
I’ve always had hair color that isn’t my own (since I was … 14?) and I think it’s fun to play with color that way. But it was always a red, auburn, sometimes the color of cherry cola… and then a few years back I lightened up and we put some orange into it. My job at the time scoffed, but decided it wasn’t my whole head. It was also a color close enough to real hair color, so that they left me alone.
And then we played with highlights…
And then I decided it should be pink – or at least partly so, in order to keep “the man” off my back about having an “interesting and unnatural” haircolor. The hilarious thing about that was being called out at work – a passing comment in which our HR person told me, “Well it’s not like it’s blue or purple or green. It’s close enough to real hair color so we won’t have to write you up.”
It never dawned on me until then that I could maybe be “less” if my hair was a strange color. I mean, it’s not like the dye alters your brain. The society we live in is more accepting of tattoos, piercings and things out of the ordinary, so why should I be written up for having HAIR that’s an interesting color. Of all the things that could be “wrong” about me, as a person, you pick that? Something as harmless as hair follicles.
Last night as we pulled the blue color through the bleached hairs, I thought back to that feeling. I’m interviewing for some freelance/contract stuff right now and I wondered for a moment if having fun highlights in my hair might ruin my chances for work. Because let’s face it – we still live in a world where “the man” can reprimand us for self expression. So I may NOT get the job – regardless of whether or not I work harder than the next girl who doesn’t use bright colors in her hair.
I had a brief second of “O wow. What have I done?” and then I realized that I don’t want to work in a place that doesn’t accept me head to toe. I will put my best work forward for that company that says “we don’t base your performance reviews on hair color”. I realize that comes from a position of privilege – some people may not have the option of saying “I don’t want to work anywhere that doesn’t like my (unnatural) hair color, tattoos… etc”. But I also think there has to be a way to approach these companies we work for and say, “Listen, I want to express myself this way – You know it doesn’t affect how I work for you”, without fear of reprimand.
And there’s a whole ideology behind that statement – “I whip my hair” is the power of individuality (that, or I’m reading too deeply into pop culture). It’s the power of you over those who think they can keep you down. Fear of individuality? That’s no way to live.
What do you think? Is your company cool with that? How do you handle self expression at work?
Not having a whole lot of extra spending money, I’m constantly trying to look for ways to update what I have for cheap. I still love the thrill of a purchase, but I have to be very choosy when it comes to what I’m buying. I’m looking for quality items that work with what I have (I’m trying not to bring home wardrobe “orphans”). Lately, this is how I’ve updated my wardrobe:
I’m looking for two things: Boldness and Versatility. Sometimes, if it’s versatile or bold enough I will forgo a little quality to buy these pieces – especially unique, handmade pieces at street fairs, craft fairs, etc. (FYI, if you’re in Seattle, the University Street fair is coming up and features all manners of artisans + crafts). I do consider quality in terms of, “can I fix it if it breaks” – and I have a spending limit for that kind of thing.
Bold but Versatile Example: Chain + Crystal earrings from Heart Of Glass Designs on Etsy
Speaking of repairs: “Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, mail – upgrade it…” Some of the best pieces I own were once broken jewelry pieces I picked up at Goodwill and put back together in new/better ways. I have a Gap tee with a hole in the sleeve that I shredded and “laddered”, giving it a new life as the ultimate grunge tee. I constantly re-hem skirts, add embellishments, play DIY designer when it comes to shoes… Whatever it is – before you toss it and look for a replacement item for your wardrobe, consider giving that item a new life… whether it’s a simple repair, or completely reworking it.
Look to your fellow bloggers. There have been a couple lust-worthy pieces that I have picked up in various bloggers’ “Shop My Closet” sales. For instance, the Rodarte for Target dress I wore to last week’s Hollyhood came from The Clothes Horse. It garnered a lot of “oohs & aahs” and wasn’t a strain on my budget. Another example – I picked up this little tweed cropped jacket from Tiffany of I am Style-ish – it’s my light, go-to jacket when I want something fresh that will bring a lot of structure to an outfit.
I know, you can’t see a whole lot of the jacket, but it was the only photo I had of me that didn’t have a goofy face. You get the picture though – studded epaulettes, tweed, satin binding, slim zippered sleeves – oh and did I mention it’s cropped? It was a great find and works well in my wardrobe. And it wasn’t expensive.
Shop my closets can be difficult considering we’re all different sizes, but if you can find a blogger with a style you like who does them regularly, this is a great place to pick stuff up!
And then there’s the old-fashioned way: Layaway. I’ve found one store that does this – which is great news for those of us who can pay in increments, but don’t wan’t to do it with plastic. Need a spendy new pair of ‘Vogs? They offer layaway as an affordable option – which is great because they offer such limited quantities. It’s also great because they’re some of the most comfortable shoes I own and I’m happy when my feet are happy. Which is how these babies became mine:
Mmmm… Shoes. I had to have cash in hand to take them home, and that was a good way to do it. However, if the stores don’t offer layaway, I have a little pile of cash that I’ve saved so that I can buy when I want to. And then I pay myself back – every penny, plus a little extra.
So what are your secrets? How do you keep your wardrobe fresh on the cheap? Let me know!
“If you don’t want to spend money shopping, don’t shop?” He helpfully offered.
Don’t shop? The words roll around in my head. Don’t shop? Isn’t that what fashion and style bloggers do?
I had stopped checking all the sample sales, I turned a blind eye walking past the H&M when I was laid off – but it was an upcoming ladies tea… and the curve of a wedge heel, and the urge to shop was there.
It’s not that I need to buy, I told myself, I just like looking at stuff. The cut of a hem, the drape of a satin, the alluring sparkle of sequinned tanks. And besides, what harm can browsing do? Except, I saw this dress that was a gorgeous sateen cotton and I had to try it on. And that was the trap.
“I’ll just try this on… it probably won’t fit.”
It didn’t. The dress was too small to get over even my narrow shoulders and because I mourned the ill-fitting cut of the dress, the entire experience gave me pause. I can’t afford to just browse and shop. It’s true that I have great reason to browse – I can surf through a collection in person and write about it later. But it was the realization that I went into this store, consciously ready to consume. Unwittingly ready to buy had that little dress fit (and had it been oh… $10 cheaper – but even $10 is easy to rationalize) and I didn’t realize that until I was majorly bummed that it didn’t fit. I had a guilty second where I thought to myself, “I should NOT be here…”
Stepping outside the store gave me a breath of fresh air and I rationalized that I’d been emotionally shopping – I went in because I was bored and killing time. I haven’t felt the ego-blow of being laid off (because ex-employer was sort of a dick), but there is a sense of mania when I ask, “What am I going to do with myself now!??!” I’d rationalized my purpose for going in (“Oh I can just browse to kill time…”), but I hadn’t realized that I went in with the wrong mindset. At that same time, if I had seen something truly unique and special, that would seamlessly integrate right into my closet… shouldn’t I buy it?
I need to be aware of the underlying mental reasons for wanting to “just browse” – and if I had cash-in-hand the situation would have been much different. If you’re going to browse – just browse – without having the money in your pocket to purchase, do so with an editorial eye. Had I gone in, in the right frame of mind, telling myself “I’m going in because I want to note the construction of this line, or the new trends and fabrics”, I probably wouldn’t have put myself in potential debt danger (wait, how was I going to pay for this dress if I didn’t have the money on me? OH right! Credit!). Had I gone in with the actual money right in my hand, I would have been justified to try and buy.
I don’t think the solution to not frivolously throwing money out is to not shop. It’s a source of wardrobe inspiration, and often it’s a source of blog inspiration. Hell, we probably all spend at least half an hour browsing through sales on the internet while we’re looking for post-fodder. I think the solution to that mindless consumption is to be mindful of why you’re shopping, and what you’re feeling while you’re doing it. And to think I almost rationalized an ill-fitting dress just to satiate my feelings! I think for me, it will be about having that money right in my hand and available when I actually want to shop to consume. And to realize when there is an underlying emotion as I’m out surfing the racks. Don’t shop to kill time, but do it with a sense of purpose – whether that’s to write about the experience, or to actually purchase something. Know your purpose, be mindful of your triggers. Shop, but know why you’re there.
Mindless consumption is a pretty serious and prevalent problem – especially when you’re on a limited budget. How do you stay mindful while browsing?
I’ve been doing nothing for the past week but rolling around in a pile of blankets, sweating my buns off. I ended up with some sort of crazy death-flu and am trying to feel normal again. Lots of hot tea, Emergen-C, miso soup, and pho. And sleep. I think in the last week I probably averaged about 20 hours of sleep a day. It wasn’t fun, but it was well needed.
So it’s probably no surprise that instead of pre-planned content, I’m resorting to an outfit post. I’m reading through Style Statement, and one question it asks is: “What is working in your wardrobe right now; What are some pieces you really love, and why?”
For me it’s the recent collection of long, slinky, lounging-arond skirts. I’ve been all over the long skirt trend since… um… I don’t know – 1997? I have the crazy couch-print vintage skirt, I have a cool hippie skirt my mom made out of a pair of jeans (I suspect this will come back around… and in much better ways) and I recently read in the March copy of Elle that longer, swishy, 70′s style skirts are back with a madness you wouldn’t believe. I’m all about long skirts.
I keep finding these beauties at ASOS – long, printed, in the $13-20 range. And I keep pairing them with oversized comfortable sweaters (what few are left in my collection) to lounge around in. This outfit is no exception.
EDIT: I’m such a space case! I forgot to post…..
What I Wore:
- Silk Tape Sweater – Banana Republic
- Bleach print tube skirt – Motel
- Black kneehigh socks – Sockdreams
- Black Dr. Martens Darcie boots
- Turban – Patricia Field Online
- Gray beater tank – J Crew
- Tiffany’s heart necklace
- Bird skull necklace - InstantVintage on Etsy
Another thing I’m kinda loving – turbans. Goodbye bad hair days! Other things that work in my wardrobe: Knee high socks, Dr Martens boots (walkability!), tights, berets, little jackets, big scarves (wow is it still winter?), cute jumper dresses from Deco Modiste, wide leg 70′s style jeans, grandpa trousers (though my woolies will be too heavy for Spring/Summer), giant and funky old lady jewels, little hats, fun headbands…
Style Statement also asks you to think about what isn’t working in your closet anymore. For me it’s shrunken sweaters (curses!) and the fact that this outfit is… a little boring. C’mon – let’s get real. I’m a little over this whole blackblackblack trend that I’m going through right now. I can see the blooms starting to pop on the trees and I want bright pink, and turquoise and something that combats the crazy gray, rainy spring days we’re having.
Other things that don’t work: denim-all-the-time, stuff that doesn’t fit right, worn out items, blackblackblack… I’m grasping at straws here because I spend so much time getting rid of stuff that doesn’t fit right or look right. I don’t feel like all the pieces I have go together and that’s not working for me right now. I need to go through and find the unifying theme. I need to find those central pieces and work everything else around them. I have a lot of special pieces – I need to tie that whimsy together as a means to a meaningful end.
How about you? What’s working for you in your closet? Tell me, tell me!