I was shopping with a girlfriend a few weeks ago, and just to give you a little background: this is one of the coolest girls in the world. Beautiful, smart, hilarious, and always makes everyone feel like the most important/interesting person in the room. So you can imagine my heartbreak when I heard those discouraged words come out of the dressing room: “I’m too fat for these clothes.”
“No you’re not,” I replied. “The clothes are too small.” I wish I could have thought of something more clever, or reassuring, or somehow made her feel better. Even more, I wish I hadn’t said the same thing about myself hundreds of thousands of times in dressing rooms before that one.
I’m betting you’ve said it too at some point in your life, or some variation on it. I guarantee every woman has said some variation on this. I’m too short, I’m too tall, too fat, too thin, my butt is too big, my boobs are too small, yadda yadda yadda. In some way, YOU do not measure up to the standards set by this $30 dress and it is all your fault.
It’s pretty rare to hear a comment like this out of a man. If they try on a shirt that doesn’t fit, they say “This shirt doesn’t fit” and they put it back and try on another one. No therapy needed.
If you’ve read any of my other rants, you know that I’m no Skinny Minnie. I’ve walked the line between the women’s dept and plus size my whole life. Even when I was a junior, I wasn’t built like one – I think I had round hips before I even had hair. I suffered through the boxy-sweater era and the boyfriend-jeans trend, none of which suited my physique. Did I buck the trends and wear what looked good on me? Of course not, I blamed my body. I can’t count the number of times that I burst into tears in a dressing room because “I didn’t fit” into the clothes.
No. This is wrong. Self-effacement has gone too far. My body is fine just the way it is. There are plenty of clothes that look great on me. There are also plenty that don’t, and that’s fine. Lots of people aren’t shaped like me and they need clothes too. Plus, I would need several secret high-limit credit cards if I looked great in everything I tried on. But I can’t say I’m not discouraged when a really cute dress looks terrible on me, or worse: won’t even zip all the way up.
Think of how awful you’d feel if your best friend saw you in the dressing room and said “Ugh, you are WAY too fat for that dress.” Or if she said “Your boobs are too small” or “your ass is huge, you’ll never be able to zip that thing.” Yet we say these things to our own reflection over and over and over. Why??? If your best friend was trying on a dress that didn’t fit, you’d say “Let me go get the right size for you” or “That dress sucks, you’re too good for it.” You’d never blame her for the poor fit of cheap clothing, but you blame yourself all day long. It has to stop.
The day after that shopping trip, I spotted a cute dress online that I wanted, but I read the measurements I realized it would not fit me. I immediately responded “Oh bummer, my waist is too fat :-(” Less than 24 hours after being sad to hear my friend berating her body, my reflex was still to say the exact same thing about myself.
“I mean,” I corrected. “The dress is too small. My waist is just as it should be.”
Stay pretty, my friends –
“Do or do not do. There is no try.”
Probably true in Jedi circles; I never applied to Jedi school and probably would not get in if I did. But in my book, trying is everything. Nobody is really expecting perfection; the best we can do in any situation is to simply give it a try.
Yesterday I wrote an article about some of my personal fashion pet peeves, and they all have the same bottom line: it upsets me when people don’t try. I’m not talking about spending hours on hair & makeup to prepare for a trip to Target, I know you’re busy and I suspect you don’t give much of a rat’s ass what I think anyway. However, I do think it’s good for the soul to put some thought into how you present yourself to the world. I want you to give a rat’s ass what YOU think.
And I don’t mean spending lots of money, following the latest trends, emulating your favorite icon, or dressing for the job you want vs the job you have – UNLESS these are things that make you happy. What I’m really talking about is dusting off that old freak flag and flying it high.
I personally spent the decades between ages 13 and 39 trying to figure out what kind of clothes would best represent me and look halfway decent on my figure. I did a neon 80’s phase, a preppy phase, a goth phase, a dressy phase, a punky phase, a business phase…I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. My inability to either fit in or stand out continued into adulthood. I wore pink vinyl go-go boots with boxy sweaters & frumpy homemade skirts, long shapeless knit maxi-dresses with sequined flip-flops…to the OFFICE. I’m surprised they didn’t drug-test me.
The thing was, I thought about fashion all the time, I just didn’t know what to do about it. I’ve always walked the size line between “Misses” and “Plus” so my options always felt limited. So, I bought whatever fit, regardless of style, and the result was either hopelessly boring or borderline mental patient.
But at least I was trying. I tried and tried and tried until one day, I stumbled upon a look that worked for me. I was too nervous to fully embrace it at first, but eventually became comfortable enough to lean into it and embrace my newfound personal style. Then I began looking around, to see how other people embrace or ignore their personal style. It’s actually pretty fascinating to see not just how people want the world to perceive them, but how they perceive themselves.
I may have sounded a little negative yesterday, but the truth is that all kinds of fashions make me happy. In my hometown, there are a lot of very stylish people who dress on-trend, having lunch with artists who can make a fabulous ensemble out of thrift store finds. We have men who dress like women, women who dress like construction workers, people who dress for nightclubs on a weekday morning and people who go to nightclubs looking like they’re about to clean the garage. Folks here know a little bit about flying their freak flag, but it doesn’t always have to be so extreme. If a tailored, designer suit makes you happy, then maybe your freak flag is subtle and tasteful. My personal flag has polka dots and red lipstick and hair flowers. What makes YOU happy??
Think about how little kids would dress, when left to their own devices. Would you ever see a 6-year-old girl opt throw on an old pair of jeans and a faded sweatshirt? I don’t know that many kids, maybe they would. But my perception is that dressing wild and crazy is fun. They don’t know a lot about New York Fashion Week, they just know what makes them happy.
My objection to “the lazy look” is that it just isn’t making anybody happy, especially yourself. If you don’t already do this on a regular basis, give in to your inner child sometime and see how it makes you feel. Wear lime-colored tights and a pink tutu with a leather biker jacket and saddle shoes. Or wear a designer suit if that’s how you feel inside. Copy the latest “Who Wore It Best” ensemble from a gossip mag, or wear rubber boots & a prom dress. Just put some thought into how you’re addressing the world with your appearance. Wrap yourself in your freak flag and rock it like you mean it. It might not turn out the way you wanted at first, but all that matters is that you gave it a shot. Will people stare? Maybe. Most of them are just wishing they had the guts to have a little fun with their own clothes.
And don’t tell me how hard it is to find cute clothes because you’re not a certain dress size. I KNOW this one, very very well. I’ve never been small and there are still fashions I covet that simply aren’t available in my size. It takes more work to find flattering clothes that fit me, it really does. But it’s worth it. Is it more “comfortable” to just wear soft yoga pants and baggy tops when I leave the house? No, it’s lazy. It’s comfortable to feel good inside, knowing that I look sharp and feel happy, knowing that I could still turn heads and have strangers ask me where I shop. That makes me feel good. Feeling good about yourself is more comfortable than feeling bad. Don’t take my word for it. TRY IT!
Stay pretty, my friends.
“Dressing to impress” might be a pretty out-of-date phrase, other than maybe for job interviews or blind dates. But think about the word “impress” – it means to create an impression, yes? And no matter how you decide to present yourself to the world, you are creating an impression. Even if you downplay everything and try to look invisible, that tells the world “I’m trying to look invisible.” You actually are not invisible…unless you are, in which case I hope you’re using that superpower to do something more subversive than shop for groceries.
Lots of people are judging you based on your appearance, and most of them won’t admit it. I’m not only admitting it, I’m here to offer you a handy reference list so you will no longer have to guess! Views expressed here are my own and may not reflect the views of WordPress or society at large, although they probably should.
The bad, the borderline, and the truly unacceptable:
1) Stained, baggy, “comfortable” sweats or jeans: Like it or not, this always says “I don’t care.” And sometimes, it’s okay not to care! You’re sick, your kids are sick, your dog is sick, you’re in the middle of a move or a divorce or a major landscaping project. Shit happens, and you sincerely do not care – the errands aren’t going to run themselves, even in the middle of a crisis or a project. As long as it’s only for emergencies, you get a pass on this one.
2) CHRONIC stained, baggy, “comfortable” sweats or jeans: When this becomes a habit, it makes me sad. It makes you sad too. I know you’re about more than your clothes, but do you really feel excited about life in that ensemble? Confident? Dynamic? Sexy? Cute? If you said “yes,” would you feel the same way if you ran into your high school sweetheart? Your boss? A TV news crew? That smug neighbor who does everything with Martha-Stewart-level perfection?
3) Workout gear: Again, this is based on the situation. If you need to pick up some vitamin water or vegan cupcakes or a case of beer on the way home from spinning class, I understand. You don’t have to go home and change into shopping clothes first. But if you’re purposely gearing up in Lululemon to meet friends for lunch without going anywhere near a yoga studio, I object. Yes, it’s comfortable. No, it’s not fashion.
4) Stretchy leggings & a big shirt: This also makes me sad. It tells me that you think you’re fat and nothing fits you properly, so you might as well be comfortable. I don’t care how big you are, it’s not true. There are clothes out there in all kinds of styles that fit all kinds of sizes. Sassy tights with a stylish tunic and boots, is one thing – stretchy pants with sneakers and a big shirt just says “I give up.” Don’t give up. You’re better than that.
5) Pajamas in public: the only way to excuse this lack of self-respect is if a) you are en route to the emergency room or b) you are under age 4. I know you think you look super cute in your Nick & Nora flannel pants and that you are telling all the other shoppers that you’re just too cool to care about putting clothes on. You don’t, and you’re not. Grow up. Put some clothes on.
6) Too tight, too short, too high: Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for dressing sexy when the situation calls for it. Date night, looking-for-a-date night, Girls Night Out, Lunch with Ryan Gosling, whenever you need to look hot. It’s the “too” part that equals trouble: if you’re tugging at your hemline, adjusting your bra strap, and limping in your 6” stilettos, that is Not Hot. It doesn’t fit and you don’t feel good. Size up in the dress and inch down in the shoe; I promise you’ll still be sexy. MORE sexy, in fact, because you’ll be dazzling the room with your confident smile instead of worrying about whether your Tuesday panties are showing on a Friday night.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m a very judgmental person and I hate every outfit I’ve ever seen. You’re only half right – I’ve seen LOTS of outfits that I don’t hate, in fact many of them positively tickle me silly! But I’m out of time and space for today, so you’ll just have to wait for my next post. I promise not to make you wait too long, and I promise you have probably already made my “Fashion Do’s” list. Here’s a hint: Yoda was wrong, there IS a try…
And as always, bonus points for accessorizing ANY ensemble with Planet Pinup hair accessories 😉
Stay pretty, my friends.
Halloween is right around the corner – do you have your costume picked out? Does your costume include…A WIG? Wigs can completely change your whole look, and are a lot of fun to wear year-round. I’m fairly new to it, so my good friend (and dazzling fashionista) Tess tipped me off to a little known secret of the wig world: headbands!
For a halfway decent wig, you’ll want to step out of the temporary Halloween store and into an actual wig shop. I’ve had good luck online at Jenny’s Hair Sense, and locally at Lee Beauty Supply (Detroit area, also available online). Expect to spend around $40-50. If you cheap out, you might end up looking like this:
One of the problems with synthetic wigs is that the color is sometimes a bit too shiny and a bit too monotone, unlike natural hair. Also, if the hair isn’t thickly woven, the skullcap might be visible at some angles. And, even with lots of bobby pins, I always feel like my wig might slip or move around, so I keep my head unnaturally still while I’m wearing one – this may not be a universal issue, just my own paranoia. Adding a headband will:
- break up the flat color
- cover any thin areas
- keep your wig securely in place
- and, add options for a variety of looks!
Another common issue with wigs, particularly those without bangs, is that they sit too low on the forehead, which looks unnatural even on those with larger foreheads. Lifelong fashion icon (and good friend) Live Wire Lizzy showed me this crazy little trick: add a headband UNDER the hairline! Suddenly you can slide the wig back to a more natural-looking location, plus the obvious line between wig and forehead is GONE – so simple, yet so genius!
So, how do you get your wig to hold still long enough to position a headband over it? Here, I’ll show you:
The bottom line? On Halloween or all year-round, wigs are a fun way to change your look and absolutely anybody can do it. And clearly, a headband will make your wig-wearing adventures even cuter and much more fun! For a superb assortment of really great headbands and hair ties, check out my shop, Planet Pinup – enter the code “AWESOMEBLOG” before checkout to save 10% on your entire purchase!
Stay pretty, my friends.
When my little shop, Planet Pinup, is open at a public show or artist’s market, I like to post little signs around my hair tie displays saying “Long Hair Ties: for hair, belt, scarf, or bondage.” This blog will NOT be offering a tutorial on at least one of those options. What you do in your own home is your business, and I don’t want to see pictures.
However, if you simply want to wear a lovely, long, handmade, and totally affordable hair tie in your hair, I’m here to help! Hair ties fit all size heads, and can disguise all manner of bad hair days: dirty hair days, windy hair days, curling or flat iron failure days, and most especially, I-really-need-to-dye-my-roots days. You can fashion your hair tie into a headband, a big bow, a tiny bow, long pony tails, and a variety of other shapes if you are creative (“snake” and “eel” are all I have mastered so far). I was going to write out concise instructions on how to create each look, but I thought it would be so much easier if I just explained it out loud. So grab your favorite hair tie, a couple of bobby pins, and a glass of wine, and enjoy!
At Planet Pinup, all hair ties are only $5! They range in length from 35″ up to nearly 50″, and whenever possible they are upcycled from vintage & thrift garments that could no longer be worn. Visit my shop at www.planetpinup.etsy.com for the current listings, or drop me a note if you have a specific color request!
Stay pretty, my friends –