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.
So last assignment for Pretty Shiny Sparkly’s Bloggers Do It Better involved pairing neon with neutrals. Since I don’t really… own any neon colored pieces, I went for the next best thing – as bright as I could get. I mean, I guess my nails count, since the tips were hot pink (a failed LivingSocial deal that I was a little sad about… more on that later.)
I was pleased because I was able to show off this super cute Deco Modiste skirt – at what some would call the “Impossible Skirt Length”, falling below my knee.
I love this little jacket – thrifted by Kimberlee from Deco Modiste. I know someone’s saying, “Jackets!?!” This June has been chilly. The temperature stays somewhere between 65 and 72…
Excuse the silly camera angle – I’ve been kind of lazy when it comes to outfit photos. It just seems like such a process to get out my DSLR and snap pics – especially when it’s already full of photos from events, or Deco Modiste shoots. I also work from home so my outfits aren’t usually this dressed up.
I paired the entire outfit with white accessories – a headband, a bag, and some super cute shoes to lighten up all the gray.
You can kind of see the neon nails in this photo. Also the fact that I regularly wear several different shades of gray. Sassy! Also, I am a shaggy pony. Someone needs a haircut, yes?
The outfit garnered quite a few complements – mostly on the shoes.
- Green wrap skirt – Deco Modiste Clothing
- Gray henley – Fluxus
- Gray wool jacket – Thrifted
- Black and White shoes – Diesel
- Headband – ? Who knows
- Bag – Céline from Rice and Beans Vintage
Did you participate in Bloggers Do It Better? What did you wear?
PS – Don’t forget to enter the Haute Summer Night Fashion Event Giveaway! You have until the end of the day, and you have a very good chance of winning. Please, and Thank you! xoxo.
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.”
I don’t know how many times in the last couple months this thought has run through my head. If I had the cash, I could spend money on this and write about it… if I had the cash I’d do more online browsing… I’d do more in-person shopping… I wonder; Does having a couple extra bills to drop make it easier to blog about fashion? Is fashion for the “haves” versus the “have nots”? And ultimately, how does one become inspired by, and write about fashion if they aren’t necessarily an avid consumer?
I don’t think fashion is necessarily a money game, even though it seems hard to be fashion forward without buying seasonally. As Ashe Mischief’s “Finance and the Fashion Blogger” series shows us, a girl on any budget can be inspired by and have some serious fashion impact. And it’s not some frivolous game for vapid girls who have nothing else going for them. As Mary Quant said, “[Fashion] is part of being alive today.”
So what’s a girl to do when she’s on a limited budget? How do you become inspired by fashion – how do you write for the fashionable masses – when you don’t have the funds? If you feel you’ve lost your fashion mojo because you just can’t keep up with the stylish Joneses, think again.
Look to your favorite fashion mag. You know women only wear about 30% of what’s in their closet, which means that hidden among the hangers, there’s probably a whole Elle Style outfit waiting to happen. Who cares if it isn’t designer, or if it’s not spot-on? Inspiration doesn’t have to be perfect. Personally, I love sitting in the sun, tearing out looks I love from thick magazines. When I’m done, I have a collection of looks and tears that I liked, just waiting to inspire me. And if it’s not the whole look I love, I go through with a silver sharpie and circle the pieces I love. I write thoughts and phrases on the pages as they come to mind – so that when I’m feeling uninspired, the images + words recreates inspiration in my noggin.
Look at old photos of yourself. Maybe there was an outfit you just loved 2 years ago – figure out how to make that current. Chances are you still have one of those pieces in your closet, so get a little bit creative and put those pieces to work for you. But don’t just pull out your midriff sweaters, Docs and tartan minis to wear to work à la Empire Records. Get creative and pair that little sweater with a high-waisted, ladylike skirt and appropriate shoes; you’re recreating the feel of that bygone outfit.
Look to your friends – chances are, they’re more stylish than you think! This works for 3 key reasons.
1. They’re instant inspiration in what they’re wearing. Don’t go all “single white female” and copy their every move. Instead, look at how they’ve paired things, maybe ask where she got that sweater that you love. Watch what they do with proportions. My favorite friend look is Mitzi’s “Long batik dress + Boots + Structured jacket”. I don’t personally own these very same items, but I have flowing skirts that I can pair with structured tops and jangly jewelry to get that same structured-boho look.
2. They can often help your style woes. You don’t know what to wear with this? Ask that pretty Laura, who will tell you a ladylike way to dress it up. Don’t know how to pull off studs? Ask Scarlet – because she’s the queen of rock ‘n’ roll chic! Shorts plus cowboy boots? Pull a Kirsten and pair them with black tights, a rock tee and a granny sweater for a fun, hip look.
3. They will trade wardrobe orphans with you. Pair of shoes that doesn’t quite work? They’ll take it! Need a belt to go with that dress? They’ve got it! Wardrobe swaps are the way to go when you’re on a budget and if your friends are into the idea, trading out pieces can be the perfect inspiration for your look. Even if you don’t end up swapping anything out, you may learn a few new ways to put those pieces together. Instant inspiration.
Other obvious inspirations: Celebrities, store windows, your favorite TV characters, reading up on fashion history (Mary Quant for example!), history books, movies, runways, people watching… the list is long…
Fashion doesn’t have to be about the cash it takes to stay current. There’s a world of inspiration waiting, and you’re more fashionable than you think – just fatigued from standing in front of your own closet with “nothing to wear”. And if you’re truly not feeling it, don’t force it – chances are, it will come to you when you’re ready! (CHEESY: If you build it, they will come)
How do you get inspired by fashion, on a budget?
I was riding the bus downtown last weekend for lunch and some light window shopping. I had a window seat and a girl sat next to me. It wasn’t anything remarkable, until we passed a little house, with a sign for haircuts out front. The sign said “Haircuts, Men & Women: $40.00″. I was surprised when she looked agape, and said to me, “Fourty bucks for a HAIRCUT!” as if the sign was some insult to her sensibilities.
$40 for a haircut… I looked at her, and wrinkled my face. Is that expensive, I wondered? I spend a little more than that on mine and they’re worth it every time. I learned long ago, from my fair share of shitty haircuts that it was worth it to spend the money for something so precise. I wanted to ask how much this girl’s haircuts normally cost (to be frank it didn’t look like she’d had a trim in a while) – and the differences between what she considered essential and frivolous.
Where do you draw the line at the cost of beauty and what do YOU consider essentials to your routine or look?
I often dye my hair myself, if I’m in a solid color. I do pay for professional dyes because they’re not as harsh, and the color holds better (and if you want to go from black to blonde, apparently it’s easier to do with professional color?). I keep the color fresh with veggie dyes (Special Effects). This, in itself, isn’t overly costly…
But then, sometimes, I get bored of the same old color and want something fun – I want to be pink or orange or fire engine red, and I don’t balk much at paying for that. In that case, the price jumps considerably for a color and a cut. Even if we do home hair, I still try to pay full price for a good cut and color if I can. I still have no problem going to Vain and paying out $45 + tip for an amazing cut (because Scarlet at Vain only gives me amazing cuts). Oh and let’s not forget, I have featherlocks in – and the price for feathers is continually climbing.
Does my choice in hair styles seem steep when you add up all the maintenance involved? Is my vanity overriding my wallet by paying so much just so I love my look? That’s what I started to wonder when this girl sounded so appalled that the price of a haircut could be around $40. I felt conflicted about this because I’m on a limited budget. I could go get hack-job haircuts for cheap, but I don’t. And what if I wanted fairy hair? Would I continue to spend the money on that? The thing is – I probably would. Part of paring down my budget should be rethinking what I consider essential services that I spend money on, right? But when it comes to that mess of hair, I have a hard time giving up the luxury.
I guess I consider that an essential part of me. There are girls who say, “I’m broke, but I cannot give up my weekly manicures.” I look down at my own sadly chipped nail polish and scoff. But aren’t I doing the same thing, essentially? I am still committed to playing around with my hair style, but the interaction definitely gave me something to think about. What do you think, readerland? Would you pair down on hair color if you had to, or do you consider the money well spent?
I was flipping through titles at the book store the other day and something caught my eye. In Entre Nous, the author Deborah Ollivier insists that French women have more “je ne sais quoi” than American women.
American women ask themselves, “How do I remake me/my wardrobe/my life…”
French women who possess that “je ne sais quoi“, ask themselves, “How do I make me/my wardrobe/my life more me?”
See what I did there?
Apparently, Parisian women are so much more intriguing and mysteriously seductive because they know who they are, without a doubt. They work on building that character instead of pretending to be a different character. They use that to their advantage, creating a world based around themselves; as a metaphor, “cultivating their inner garden”. Let this strike a chord with you for a second.
Apparently, Parisian women continually work to refine themselves, not to change themselves, or to become something different like the rest of us spend so much time doing. Ladies, don’t deny that sometimes we sit around, all starry-eyed, wishing we could be the next Mary-Kate, when instead we should be cultivating ourselves and refining our style to reflect exactly what it is that draws us to that image.
Know thyself. Discover thyself.
These words ring out from every self-help and style book on the planet. Yet we spend all our time and efforts trying to be different. We try to be unique, cool, interesting. It’s cool to be special. Individualism is the norm. Maybe it’s not about trying to be a certain ideal of cool, but instead embracing that inner individual, that wonderful weird that we try to bury to be this and/or that.
Like the garden metaphor, the authors of Style Statement suggest we spend too much time “out there” (p45) – not working on what feels right, what feels like us, and what feels authentic. We try too hard to be special, unique and ultimately cool. We stray away from our “inner homes” wanting so badly to be more stylish, prettier, wanting to have more friends and be more of an influencer. We invent these crutches to escape our inner home, confused by the mixed messages about who we are and who we should be. When we’re confused about who we are, we latch onto ideals of beauty, weight, purchasing power that have nothing to do with, and little to no bearing on who we truly are, inside.
Style Statement’s authors simply say, “Style is an expression of personal truth – never without meaning” (p76).
I confess, I did pick up both books, because realizing I haven’t put that “je ne sais quoi” into words is like realizing I haven’t been serious about cultivating my inner-self. I want to know how to make my life more “me”. I don’t think I’ll learn it from a book per sé, but I feel like I’ll have an interesting perspective to start building my life, my way.
Today I’m spending a little bit of time meditating on that personal truth. What is that overall theme that defines me, guides my life, draws me towards deco-inspired prints, futuristic shoes and crazy fur hats? It’s not something that I’ve really thought of – even though I’ve spent time coming up with a style direction for the new year. I’ve never stopped to think about the unifying “me-ness” of every thing I do, so I know exactly what part of me to cultivate.
Have any of you tried their method? What did you think?
“We are all going to die at some point so you might as well wear a crazy hat, you assholes.”
-Auntie Marie at Agentlover.com
Girl has a point.
Your life is too short to do things like: Purchase a party dress that will never get any play because you don’t have somewhere to wear it; Keep that expensive eBay investment bag in a dust bag in your closet for fear of ruining it; not wear your grandmother’s engagement ring as your own for fear of losing it; Not wear those fancy Loubies you bought because they cost a pretty penny…
You see where I’m going with this?
Life is too short not to: Take a plunge to do something different, because your day job sucks all the life out of you; burn the candle at both ends every once in a while because you’re excited about the new projects you’re working on; sleep in late and waste a little bit of a day because you can; learn a new craft or skill that you’ve always wanted to, and now you have the time for it.
I have a friend who said to me, recently, “You need to go out and do things for you. You don’t want to wake up one day and find out it’s too late.” He’s so incredibly right. The beauty of life is that you only have so much time to make it yours, and your time is never wasted, but sometimes it could be better spent.
I’m not saying you should be the grasshopper and not the ant (all play and no work has consequences), I’m just saying, make time to prioritize your business. Carve out a day in your planner to make sure the things you need to do/experience/make get done. And if you can’t do that thing right now, start writing out the plan to get to where you need to be. The first step is the hardest. Always.
Be kooky, be weird. Take chances, understand your risks. Create, create, create! Create love, create magic, create a space where you can be awesome. Rock out, work it. Be you.
Found this old post in my drafts from who-knows-when and thought I would post because it’s a goodie!
Tommaso Aquilano of Gianfranco Ferré thinks American women all dress the same. According to Aquilano, though we’re well dressed, this similarity in dressing is indicative of one thing – American women are working a little too hard at picking up men. In an article in NY Mag’s fashion blog, The Cut, Tomas Aquilano says American women dress like they’re overly concerned with sex and who they’re taking home tonight. Because of this concern with what makes us look sexy, we’re showing off the clothing that we think will get us laid instead of the clothing that makes us feel as sexy as we truly are.
According to Aquilano, we’re not dressing for our body types because we’re so focused on the clothing that will make us look attractive instead of our features that are attractive. We seem to put too much emphasis onwhat we wear, not how we wear it, or whether or not it shows off our amazing features. We’ve been compared against Italian women, who, Aquilano says, show themselves off by dressing in a way that accentuates their bodies instead of their clothing.
I’ve written about Dressing with Intent and Being Original here at Bonne Vie. Both articles emphasized ONE poignant point - dress for yourself. Simon Doonan, author of Eccentric Glamour, says that wearing what everyone else is wearing is just boring, and YSL once told us: “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” Chanel is often quoted with a similar statement.
These comments have something in common: what’s most important in your style is YOU – your body, your personality, your self. To incorporate Aquilano’s commentary on American women, what’s most important in your style is your ultimate self expression and how you choose to exhibit that figure you were graced with. It’s not about the clothes – it’s about you and your bod. If you want to feel sexy, emphasize that part of you that makes you feel sexy and do it in a way that matches your personality.
It’s important to emphasize fit and accentuating the body you have. Say “No!” to hiding features that many would consider “flaws.” Instead, dress with the intent of playing up your best features and your personality through what you wear. You make the clothes; they don’t make you. You are not a trend, you are an individual. You’re not a skinny jean, or a dolman top – you make those clothes part of your personality by wearing them.
Don’t stress because you’re a double-digit pant size. Instead, remember: “Highlight the positive and delete the negative” (Donna Karan). No body is perfect, and those with the highest self confidence realize this and LOVE every feature of their body. They’ve deleted the negative connotations of size and shape from their brains and have chosen to love and emphasize what they’ve got. They don’t fall prey to wishing they looked like this or that fearless female – they are the fearless female, and they don’t care what everyone else is wearing. They’re dressing for themselves.
I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s possible. Start by accentuating and focusing on the parts of you that you love. Through dressing with your best self in mind, you’ll find confidence in how amazing you look. That confidence will carry through your wardrobe and you’ll soon be able to rock anything you choose to put on.
There are days when I just don’t. want. to. get. up. Also, dress up. Also… just don’t care. Actually, that’s half the time I’m heading into the office – I dress up for dates and stuff after work, but where work is concerned, I’m too-often in denim and oversized hoodies, wishing I was in bed, or somewhere warm and sandy and has cabana boys who bring me margaritas (I’m sure that’s where you’d rather be too, right?). That place – it exists, but I’m not sure if it’s for the workin’ gal like myself (working girl – that sounds dirty!).
This morning, I was really feeling the pull of not wanting to get out of bed. It had snowed the night before leaving about 2″ on the deck and then rained over top. I debated phoning it in, but some of us have to pay the bills.
So I slid into a pair of jeans, and an oversized hoodie, with a gorgeous walker coat from All Saints and ended up with this:
The entire look is very utilitarian and I like that. It’s probably a little disappointing that my incognito outfit is blackblackblack and honestly, that’s a good portion of my wardrobe. Black and gray. But they match! Minimal color schemes match and for winter, that’s not bad. I pile on layers over layers, and it works because everything I have is the same style and scheme.
I was tempted to toss on some Chuck Taylors and call it a day, but I did dress it up a little. The heels and spike earrings are a fancy addition to what looks like a really basic outfit.
I’m super tempted to pull the white ties out of the hoodie – I wish American Apparel made hoodies with same-color ties and zippers. Other than that, I live in this hoodie.
The coat is a gorgeous envelope collar, asymmetrical walker coat. I’m currently crushin’ on EVERYTHING All Saints has to offer – including their store, with the walls of vintage sewing machines.
The Miz Mooz shoes are great – recommended by Ashe. They were a little narrow at first, but 3′rd wear is a charm and they’re comfortable as hell.
Pants are Flying Monkey – they’re the only “skinny” jeans I own, besides one pair of gray cigarette pants. I had a hard time embracing that trend – unless it’s done like this.
Underneath, I have a plain green tee by American Eagle and lightweight trouser socks from Sockdreams. Add arm warmers, a beret or beanie, and that’s MY incognito outfit. What’s yours? Link it in the comments!