Size Doesn't Matter

Yes, a cheeky title!  But no, I'm not talking about man parts.

I am talking about clothing size!

So much emphasis is put on the number or letter inside a clothing label, but I'm here to tell you today that SIZE DOESN'T MATTER!!

Case in point?

Sweater:  New York & Company (May be available in stores)
The sweater I'm wearing today is a recent purchase from New  York & Company.  It is made to have a big, oversized fit.  The one I'm wearing has the intended loose fit. 

You know what size is on the label?  It's an XS/S!!

Tank:  The Limited (Available here)
Now, I haven't been either of those sizes in a long time, and yet, this sweater fits, and I was drowning in the larger sizes.

Women's clothing often has no sizing consistency, even within the same retailer.  For example, I have had to purchase jackets in an 18 Petite from this same store, though that is bigger than my typical jacket size at other retailers.
Pants:  The Limited
The number or letter you see on the tag has very little meaning in even accurately depicting our size, so why do we so often use this arbitrary figure to determine our self-worth?

The fact is - WE SHOULDN'T!!!  We are no less valuable if we are an XS or a XXXL, a size 2 or 22.  I'm the same person wearing an XS sweater as I am wearing my normal size XL.

Shoes:  Target (old)
Another aspect in which size doesn't matter?

The issue of fit and flattery.

Being petite and being curvy, we're often told by the "experts" to belt everything and to keep clothing close-fitting but not tight.  Oversized clothing like this sweater are heavily discouraged.  On the flip side, there seems to be a trend towards wearing tight, body-conscious clothing among fatshionistas who have rightfully rejected the message that they must hide their bodies in shame.

I'm not a fan of overly body-conscious clothing for myself - I'm not hiding, it's just not my personal taste.  I also don't feel the need to define my waist in everything I wear.

Cuff:  The Limited
Rings:  Torrid (Available here and here)
And, if following that advice of "experts" all the time means missing out on drapey tops and oversized sweaters like this one, then I am happily a RULE-BREAKER!!

Personal style is all about wearing what we want, participating in trends or fashion for personal enjoyment.  I'm not about to let someone else tell me how to do this!
Necklace:  Target
Clutch:  The Limited
When it comes to fashion, size doesn't matter.  Wear what YOU want when you want, and don't let the label or someone else's rules decide what you like.  Make your own rules, or better yet, enjoy a little fashion anarchy!  ;-)

For more on the arbitrariness of sizing, check out this piece on vanity sizing by J.Crew.

For the tank in another look, see here.
For the pants in other looks, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

P.S.  I realize my perspective has changed a bit in the last two years!  I wrote on the topic of wearing oversized clothing back in 2012, and my focus was much more on figure flattery.  I still love the pants and shoes though!  ;-)


It's All In The Details

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know my love of neutrals, especially black and white.  This week, I have been very much in the mood to wear black, so even though it is about 90 degrees and sticky (hello St. Louis humidity), black is what I've been wearing!
Blazer:  LOFT Petites (Available here)
To add a more summery feel to black separates, I added a white jacquard blazer and a mint quilted bag.
Pants:  The Limited
Blouse:  The Limited
The floral jacquard texture on the jacket, the quilting on the bag, the gold studs on the pants, and the striped detail on the shoes all add visual interest to a basic look.
Bag:  Forever 21
Shoes:  Target (old)
Rings:  Torrid (Available here, here, and here)
To finish off the look, I added mixed metal accessories.
Necklace:  Ann Taylor (Sold out on-line; may be available in stores)
Do you prefer wearing mostly neutrals or mostly color?  How do you add more interest to a neutral look?

P.S.  A quick note on fit:

This jacket is a petite, which provided a great fit in the shoulders.  It's a little too big in the waist though and needs to get taken in to get a more shapely look.  The sleeves are also too long and will be shortened.  A before and after coming soon!  :-)

For this blouse in other looks, see here and here.
For these pants in other looks, see here, here, here, here, and here.


Ready for Tea

Hope you're having a great week!

Today, I bring you yesterday's work look. 
Skirt:  eShakti (Similar here)
Camisole:  LOFT Petites (Similar here)
I apologize for the wrinkles, but I snapped these at the end of the work day.  Cotton is so breathable and great for hot sticky summers, but wrinkles are definitely a hazard.
Tea-length skirts are the big hemline trend this season, but I wasn't sure if this hem length would work for me at 4'9."  I decided to give this trend a try with a two-piece set from eShakti that I previously featured on the blog here.

Clutch:  Vintage
Blazer:  Forever 21+
While I do prefer a mini or maxi length for me, it's fun to step outside of my comfort zone with a new length. 

Tea-length skirts can make petite girls look shorter.  While I don't really mind looking short, I do find an elongating look to be more flattering.  To this end, I opted for an all-black look.  The solid color block from head to toe keeps the look more streamlined.  The cropped jacket help balance the proportions of the fuller long skirt.  

Booties:  Target (Available here)
Rings:  Torrid (Available in silver here)
Bracelets:  The Limited and New York & Company (Available here and sold out on-line)
Earrings:  Torrid
The heeled booties add height to create more of an elongating effect to the tea length.  A basic heel would be more visually lengthening, but I loved the idea of adding ankle booties and edgier jewelry to make this look feel the most like me.
Would you wear a tea-length skirt?

For the blazer in another look, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Tropical Fruit

Happy Monday, everyone!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 
Skirt:  The Limited (last year)

Tee:  Peter Som for Kohl's (Sold out on-line; Similar here)
While it's normally back to work for me, I took the day off, so my mind is on relaxation and comfort.  Summertime calls for easy clothes, and today's look is just that! 

For the last several summers, the man and I have managed to take some sort of trip.  This year, it's unlikely we'll be able to have that getaway, but I would definitely wear this for a beach vacay. 

Booties:  Target (Available here)
Clutch:  New York & Company
As an alternative, this outfit will work well for a backyard barbecue or some Saturday afternoon shopping.
Bracelets (right hand, top to bottom):  The Limited (Available here), LOFT (Similar here),
York & Company (Sold out on-line; may be available in stores)
Midi-ring:   Torrid (Available in silver here)
Bracelet (left hand):  LOFT (Similar here)
The knit fabrics and drapey fit keep the look cool and comfortable, while the booties add just enough polish.
Are you a fan of fruit prints?  Any summer travel plans?

For this skirt in another look, see here.
For the tee in another look, see here.


Lies My Society Told Me

Several years ago, I read the book, "Lies My Teacher Told Me" which provides insight into events and famous figures that our history books got wrong.  This book really resonated with me, but the more I have learned over the years, the more I have realized that it's not just history class where we've been deceived. 

Throughout our society, we have been taught many stereotypes, myths, and outright lies about women and our appearance.

We tend to think of the body as natural, but it is also social and political.  Culture and the institutions of our society (politics, the media, schools, the family, etc.) dictate what body types are perceived as ideal at any given time or whether there is much focus on the body at all.  They create gender distinctions that add social definition and meaning to those biological differences in our bodies. 

Even after having spent almost 20 years studying and teaching on the subject, the ideas that we are taught about women's bodies and appearance are so ingrained that it can be difficult to remember that they are social myths.  It can still be difficult to feel confidence when we as women are surrounded by a culture and institutions that so often operate to undermine us.

While knowledge of the problem is only the first step, it is an important one.  Understanding the myths that we've been taught about women and appearance makes it easier to be critical when we are exposed to yet another false idea or image.  It makes it easier, though still difficult, to begin rejecting these ideas and to see ourselves and other women in a less judgmental light.

What are some of these myths? 

I'm unpacking a few of them today:

You Have To Be Model-Thin To Look Good In Clothes

For decades, we've heard fashion designers stress a preference for ultra-thin models to showcase their clothing.  We've been told that a body type that only 5% of all women have the genetic predisposition to attain is the only body that looks good in clothes. 

This is problematic.

Source:  Glamour.com
While a model's job is to show a designer's clothing, these women are often referred to as walking "hangers" - as objects.  Aren't clothes designed for women to wear?  If there is anything that reading fashion blogs over the last few years has taught me, it's that clothing can look AH-MAZING on women of all body types.  I say if you can't design clothes to look great on anything besides a "hanger," you're not a very good designer!

Furthermore, comparing ourselves to models is a recipe for self-loathing.  We are taught in this society that our bodies can be controlled solely through hard work and effort (another mis-truth), but, hello...!  The overwhelming majority of us can NEVER look like models, no matter what choices we make!

The idea that a long-limbed, tall, very thin (and usually white) woman has become the standard for beauty in the U.S., and increasingly worldwide, is a social creation.  There's nothing naturally more beautiful or attractive about said women, but this emphasis on one body type that is out of reach for 95% of all women has had disastrous consequences.  For example, over 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance and 50-70% of normal weight girls think they are overweight.

You Will Be Happy And Successful If You're Skinny
Coupled with this idea that only women with model figures look good in clothing, we are taught through fashion magazines, alcohol commercials, movies, and pretty much everywhere else, that life is infinitely happy if you're a skinny woman.  If you're skinny, men want you (and that's always assumed to be a good in a heterosexist society).  You'll have a ton of friends, be the life of party, have great clothes, and have an amazing and high-paying career.  Life will be perfect. 
Source:  FrankWBaker.com
While most of us have probably realized that this myth isn't 100% accurate, how many of us have bought into it on some level over the years? 

"I'll find love if only I could lose a few pounds." 

"She only got that promotion because of her body!"

Weight discrimination in the workplace is real and shouldn't be discounted.  Studies show that both overweight women and men face job discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotions, with women experiencing significantly higher levels of this than men

That said, being skinny is NOT the key to success and happiness.  I know from first-hand experience that the promises we are fed about being thin are empty. I've been everywhere from a size 0 to a size 16, and my weight has had NO bearing on my happiness, personal feeling of success, or self-esteem. If thinness equaled happiness, we would expect all models and other thin women to be elated, but this is absurd.  Everybody has their ups and downs, their trials and tribulations.  It's up to each of us to find happiness and success in our own ways and regardless of our size.

Happiness and success are found in choosing to love yourself.  They are found in the laughter of a child, the gentle purring of a cat, the passionate embrace of a lover, the hug from a friend when you need it most.  Happiness and success are found in living life.  They are found in enjoying the simple pleasures and in not taking yourself for granted.  They are found in having the courage to follow your dreams and chase your goals.  Happiness and success are so much MORE than what you look like or what the scale reads!!

Boys Don't Make Passes At Girls Who Wear Glasses
Here's another one that assumes the norm of heterosexuality.  It's also a myth that teaches girls (women) that their value is to be found in both their appearance and in the approval of boys (men) vis-a-vis that appearance. 
Source:  Cedward Brice on Flickr
Linked to this myth are the ideas that only "nerds" wear glasses and that "nerds" are smart.  Girls have been taught that math, science, and computers are nerdy and best left to boys, leading to a gender gap in test scores, educational attainment, and employment in these areas.  I can't tell you how many children's television shows I have watched in which the "pretty" girl is shown purposefully downplaying any signs of intelligence in order to be more popular, especially with boys. 

I've worn glasses since I was two years old, and I heard this myth about girls in glasses many times growing up, including from members of my own family.  How many of us grew up watching movies where the nerdy, mousy girl suddenly becomes "hot" when she takes off her glasses?

I didn't have a boyfriend or even go on a date until I was 18 and in college.  I always thought that part of the reason for that was that I wore glasses.  While I may have been a late-bloomer, I can assuredly say that some males most definitely are into bespectacled women.  And you know what?  Some women are into bespectacled women too!!  

Women Over The Age Of 40 Are Unappealing And Don't (Or Shouldn't) Date
The idea that "old" people shouldn't date, be sexual, or have romantic/intimate relationships outside of what must surely be a celibate marriage has long been promoted in our culture.  We don't stop having sexual urges at 40, 50, 60, or 70, so why is it that women over the age of 40 are so often looked at as asexual and unappealing?

Ageism is definitely a factor.  In a capitalist society, people who don't work are often seen as drains on society.  Elderly people are seen as having worn out their usefulness and as such, they are socially discarded in this disposable culture.

Women, who historically have been given less value because of their lower contributions to the paid work force, are also de-valued due to patriarchy.  As women have moved more into the workforce, our beauty culture has put great pressure on women to stay young looking, in addition to being thin. 

Sharon Stone at Cannes, May 2014; Source:  BecauseIAmFabulous.com
Popular culture gives preference to the young, with older women so often depicted in film and television as sexless, as unattractive, as harpies, or as useless... if they are even depicted at all

Movies depict grandmothers as blue-haired women jollily baking cookies and living only for the joy and comfort of their grandchildren.  In the last two decades, a massive youth movement seemed to spawn where the main casts of popular tv shows and movies were usually teenagers going through problems and living lives that most of us don't see until well into our twenties.  Casting directors select 38 year old women to play mothers to 29 year old actors and actresses.  

It's a rare exception to have a show like "Golden Girls" that shows women well over 40 engaging in active social lives and enjoying sex.  20-something years lately, such depictions of older women are really rare. 

Real Women Have Curves
While the "real women" movement is a shift away from the idea that women must be ultra-thin, it is still fraught with problems. 
The notion that real women have curves implies that women without curves are less than "real" women.  Women come in all shapes and sizes, and we are all the more beautiful for these differences!  
Source:  About-Face.org

The internet memes that pit thin women against thicker women are not a solution to the preference for "skinny" in our culture.  Shifting the cultural mandate from ultra-thin to curvy or overweight is problematic because it does not address the real issues that force women into such narrow options in the first place.

But why do we do this?

In a patriarchal society, women are encouraged to compete not against men for resources, but against other women.  The beauty culture and its emphasis on thinness has become part of this competition. 

Women are taught to be "mean girls."  We are taught to compete with each other for men, for jobs, for popularity as though my failure equals your success. 

Men (as a group) benefit from this competition because it never challenges the status quo.  Men largely remain in positions of power in the political, economic, and culture-building structures of society. 

Women can often be the worst critics of other women, not because we are naturally mean or catty (another MYTH promoted about women), but because many of us have been socialized to be this way.

Recognizing that women share many of the same struggles regardless of weight or appearance is a step towards treating each other as allies rather than enemies.

What do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Is there a topic you'd like me to explore more on the blog?  Let me know!


Author unknown.  Body Image.  Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://www.snac.ucla.edu/documents/BodyImage2010.pdf.

Gray, Louise.  Older women portrayed as 'sexless grandmothers.' The Telegraph.  March 28, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2014 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/8409629/Older-women-portrayed-as-sexless-grandmothers.html.

Hellmich, Nancy.  Do Thin Models Warp Girls' Body Image? USATODAY.com.  Updated September 26, 2006.  Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-09-25-thin-models_x.htm?csp=15.

Quast, Lisa. Thin Is In For Executive Women:  How Weight Discrimination Contributes To The Glass Ceiling.  Forbes.  Retrieved June 28, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2012/08/06/thin-is-in-for-executive-women-as-weight-discrimination-contributes-to-glass-ceiling/.

Ross, MD, Carolyn Coker. Why do Women Hate Their Bodies? World of Psychology.  Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/02/why-do-women-hate-their-bodies/.

Wylie, Catherine. Older women are disappearing from TV due to combination of ageism and sexism, warns Harriet Harman. The Independent. Retrieved June 20, 2014 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/older-women-are-disappearing-from-tv-due-to-combination-of-ageism-and-sexism-warns-harriet-harman-8618313.html.


Double-Duty Tunic

I have had this tunic for quite a while now, and for some reason, it never dawned on me to wear it as a dress until very recently.
Tunic:  Target
Heels:  Target (Similar here)
I've always layered it with leggings or pants, but it's perfect as a dress!! One joy of being petite is that sometimes you can make your clothes work double-duty like this simply by adding or removing a belt or making other minor adaptations.
Slip:  The Limited (Available here)
Bracelet (right hand):  eBay
Rings:  Torrid (Available here)

The first look would be good for an evening out, maybe even dinner with the honey.
Add caption
While I prefer the first look, the second look is more casual and comfortable.  
Bracelets, Left arm:  Wet Seal, eBay, LOFT
Sandals:  Target Kids (Similar here)
I wore the tunic with flat gladiator sandals while going out to dinner with the family on Father's Day.  I changed only the sandals, but I love how it gives the overall look a very different feel.
Clutch:  The Limited (old)
Which styling do you prefer?  Would you wear a tunic as a dress?

To see this tunic styled differently, see
here, here, here, and here.


Earthy Glam

During the summer, I love easy clothes that have a bit of a bohemian vibe.  Add in a touch of glamour with gold accessories, and I'm really feeling it.
Dress:  Babooshka Boutique (Available here)
Yesterday, the family and I went to dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant and then went across the street to a Route 66 festival that was unexpectedly happening. 

I was feeling lazy and wanted something quick and easy to throw on.  This cool maxi dress was perfect.  I threw a slip on underneath, feathered sandals, and gold accessories, and I was ready!

Sandals:  Target (old)
Necklace:  The Limited
Bracelets:  New York & Company and LOFT (Available in silver here and here)
This dress is getting a lot of mileage this summer, and I'm looking forward to styling it later on for fall!

Slip:  The Limited (Available here)

What is your summer style?

For this dress in other looks, see here and here.


Savanna Sunset

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found an adorable line of Gymboree clothes on eBay that had little safari animals all over them.  The line was called Savanna Sunset.  I was a huge fan of the line, and the collection was perfectly fitting for my Savanna whose middle name just so happens to be Sunrise.  :-)
Bag:  The Limited
Jacket:  Jennifer Lopez Collection for Kohl's (Available here)
Today's outfit reminds me of that line.  Outside of the zebras, it bears little resemblance to the children's clothes, but it feels like an adult version of the theme.
Here, the safari-inspired dress gets mixed with evening add-ons - a pale beigy blush moto jacket and ankle booties - a savanna sunset!
Boots:  Target (Available here)
Dress:  The Limited
Ring:  LOFT
Bangles:  Target, Claire's, Wet Seal
Even though this look would be great for evening, I confess that I actually wore it to work.  I normally wouldn't wear a (faux) leather moto jacket to the office, but on occasion, I like to make exceptions to my work style rules!  Besides, it was a casual Friday - the perfect opportunity to have a little more fun with my work attire.

This look is fun, a little edgy, and oh so comfortable....everything I look for in my clothes!
Necklace:  The Limited
Are you a fan of safari prints?

For this dress in another look, see here.