Fashion: My Revolving Door of Love and Hate

To my dearest readers,

I thought an editorial might be appropriate. I apologize for leaving you all in the lurch last week. Sometimes I like to see life a series of buses. You can’t stay on one for the rest of your life, you often have to change and re-route to get where you would like to be and sometimes, you just miss the bus all together. At this point you have to decide, ” Was it meant to be that I missed my connection? Will there be another bus? Or am I going to have to eat the cost of this ticket and find another bus worth catching?”

I love clothing, I’ve earned two degrees studying fashion, fashion construction, business, textiles and anthropology. I don’t think I was starry eyed for more than 5 minutes about the reality of the industry. However, as I’ve worked in the field of fashion for several years and then taught it for several more. I’ve become jaded about the actual use of fashion.

In my history courses we look at the fundamental needs for clothing:

  1. physical protection
  2. psychological protection
  3. adornment
  4. group affiliation/ social acceptance
  5. religious affiliation
  6. modesty
  7. immodesty
  8. personal expression

There are many reasons why clothing is important. However, what we do with clothing is absolutely appalling. We’ve created an entire industry that is driven by people’s irresponsible consumption of goods. We are literally killing the environment and sometimes even people in order to drive an industry that overall body shames and judges, so you will buy their latest and greatest product. I really do believe that we should be focusing on making our lives better, but in the end I don’t think a $10,000 Donney and Bourke bag is ever going to solve that problem.

On the artistry side of this, it is a magical place where you get to use your hands to make stunning garments that fit bodies well. It becomes artistic expression in the types of clothes we wear, or the way a designer/ seamstress takes diligent strides to create a gorgeous and original piece of clothing. The artistry of fashion is amazing. Sometimes I believe if we moved away from the revolving door of fast fashion and moved toward the idea of artisan fashions like we do with our foods and coffees, the world would be happier with the clothing they buy. Clothes would last longer and we wouldn’t have millions of pounds of textiles end up in landfills every year.

The gist of this? I don’t want anyone to have to give up their drinking water for me to wear a pair of jeans. I don’t want to give up the oxygen we all need to breathe so that we can all have the latest polyester tank tops for summer.

I want people to feel good about their bodies, and I would like to continue to help plus size women see themselves as beautiful in a size 8 driven industry. But more importantly I would like for all people to see their own value, and know that it lies outside of the realm of leather and lace. I would like to see us all re-think what fashion is. Judge each other less, love ourselves and the environment more and finally do away with boring and unnecessary wastes of natural resources.

What does this mean for Evelynlouise as a blog/ advice column? I haven’t decided yet. Fashion has been both my life for the last decade, but it’s also been a daily struggle against the current values of the industry. So I will be taking a moment to re-group and hopefully come back to you in the next few weeks with a new outlook on where I would like to see this blog go.

I realized as I have been highlighting some of the atrocities of the industry, that it’s one thing to stand on a podium and rant and rave about the end of the environment, it’s another to actually go out and make a change. Even Al Gore can’t live by his own sustainable suggestions as he spent most of his tour for the “Inconvenient Truth” flying around in a private jet and using more Kilowatt hours in his own home than takes to power an average city block for a week.

We can’t start a movement writing articles about how we should implement the changes either. We have to actually do them. If any of you would like to learn more about pollution or sustainability, or have any other ideas for potential future blogs, please let me know. I’ve just been struggling for a while now with the concept of helping ladies with luscious curvy calves find boots, when those boots are made to fall apart after 3 months of wear. I am open to your suggestions!

Thank you all for your readership, I hope the new direction is a positive one and we all have something to gain from it.

Yours Always,

<3Evelynlouise

 

 

 

 

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Hey Everyone

For fear of breaking up consistency of my weekly advice, I had a family emergency this weekend and I let today’s entry completely pass me by. Please forgive me! In the meantime, here’s a pretty sweet documentary on Tom Ford. I used to let my students watch this for extra credit. I know it’s super lame, compared to my usual advice, but it will have to do.

 

Enjoy!

❤ Evelynlouise

Denim Comes Clean, Well… Kinda

It’s not a new fascination of mine to be obsessed with our consumption. We already knew that I was going to go on about this topic this week anyway.

Levi’s, finally released some known data on how denim is helping to destroy our fresh water supply. Why? Because One pair of jeans used 3,781 liters of water in it’s lifetime. Processing fibers, dying the denim, making it, processing it, specialty finishes, and then laundering. Here why don’t I just link you to the article.

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They project that in 10 years 1 in 3 people will have limited access to drinking water. Over what? Clothing? Seriously, not worth it, even with how much I love clothes. But the solutions are being given on how you can help to reduce your water consumption. However, if you’re like me and you live in an apartment sometimes you don’t have the option of changing toilets to lower water efficiency, or being able to replace your shower heads with eco-sprayers that reduce the overall amount of water used during a shower. So for those of us who are city bound here is how you can get yourself on your way to being a bit greener, not to mention keep us all from dehydrating to our deaths.

Here are my top 5 ways to get started on the road to reducing your water consumption:

1. Wear your jeans 10 times before washing. For that matter, stop washing everything so much! I thought this was going to be way worse than it was. You can always use a quick spritz of febreeze to keep jeans smelling good, or a drop of essential oil on your hands rubbed over the fabric. It helps tremendously with body odor. People did not wash laundry as frequently back in the day as we do now. It was not uncommon for clothing to never be laundered in it’s lifetime before the invention of the washing machine, think on that! Generally unmentionables are what you wash, camisole, bras, underpants, socks. The rest has at least 2 wears before it needs to go in the wash. And if you’re woodgy about putting your worn clothes with your fresh clothes. hang things on a drying rack or fold in a separate place to be re-worn.

2. Use one towel a week. Listen, you come out of the shower clean why are you using a new towel everyday? Use a towel hang it up. Good quality cotton towels will stay good for several uses. Let’s not forget jeans are not the only water hog.

3. Stop brushing your dumb teeth with the faucet on!

4. Replace your nozzles with aerator’s .  They are inexpensive, you can buy them at a hardware store, you can replace all the nozzles on your faucets by simply screwing new caps on. It reduces the amount of water coming out of your faucets. Sometimes, if you have an awesome apartment complex they will install them for you, ask them, it saves them money in the long run!

5. Rebell against your Dish Washer. This one is very hard for me. Dishwasher’s save so much time!!! But they use anywhere from 6-15 gallons of water per load of dishes! Holy crap! Washing by hand can use as little as 2-3 gallons of water. Not only that, but when you wash by hand, by filling the sink with hot water, you’ll find a significant difference in your electric bill as well. Even choosing to only run your dishwasher the 2 days over the weekend, versus all 7 days a week has a huge impact. Think about how many millions of galloons of freshwater we could conserve if everyone washed their dishes by hand for 2 weeks out of the year!

 

I hope that we can all work together to continue to aid in conserving this fantastic planet of ours! I would like to see people’s kids not end up living in a Tank Girl Comic.

Take care!

❤ Evelynlouise

Today is my birthday…

Today is my birthday, I turn 28 years old. This year has become unknowingly about re-learning who I am. New Goals, new beginnings. I didn’t think that I could actually make it with a blog for over a year, and as I keep writing I find new things to focus on all the time. I believe next week will be about the importance of limiting water usage and how we can all do our part to save the world, but re-wearing our clothes.

In the mean time… I speak so often about learning to love your body for what it is, but I so rarely post of myself. Some of this is lack of space in my apartment for proper lighting to take non-terrible mirror selfies in my thrift store outfits and some of it is my desire to desolve in to the background. I suppose my readership doesn’t know I also play guitar and I was recently invited by the lovely and talented Zed Martinez, a local artist and photographer and friend of mine, to do a photo shoot.

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What started as a fun and somewhat comical shoot resulted in a series of photographs that had me re-examining the way I see myself. I think readers, there is a different between being a conceited narcissus and learning to just inhabit your own skin unapologetically. I don’t particularly feel I am photogenic, but what a trip to be presented as such!

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Thank you to all my excellent readers, I hope that you have days where you feel this insanely beautiful! You do only get one body! Might as well make the best of it!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

Momma is going on a vacation

I wish my title were actually true. However, this week I am finishing up my last week of classes for a while and this quarter for whatever reason are really kicking my butt. I have lots of grading to Finnish this week, so for this week’s post I decided I would do a small historical feature, as I do teach history of costume. I am highlighting a woman after my own heart Annette Kellerman, the Australian Mermaid, who was arrested for being too scandalous in this full coverage swimsuit.

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Annette was a professional swimmer amongst other things and in 1905 she was arrested for her swimsuit design seen above, cited for indecency.

 

How does this have anything to do with anything I rant and rave about each week? Well readers it’s pretty simple. Someone will always seek to bring you down for innovation. If only the arresting party in 1905 could see what swimsuits looked like a mere 55 years later.

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If they thought Annette was encouraging lascivious thoughts in her spectators, oh man did they have a big shock coming to them.

So keep rocking it ladies and gents, I’m not saying go out nude and get yourself a record with the law. However, I am saying swimming in 20 pounds of wet wool would drag down even the strongest swimmer, and Ms. Kellerman decided she’d had enough. She created a suit of her own design that conformed to pretty modest standards, but for some people change is that scary. Sometimes we all have to pay a small price to pave the way for others, wether it be fashionably or otherwise. Also, I don’t know about any of you, but I’m certainly ready for the weather to be warm enough to wear either of these aquatic designs.

 

Take care my lovelies and wish me luck this week as I grade.

❤ always,

Evelynlouise

Pattern: Fashion Where I live.

I live in Indianapolis. Many people see Indiana as a po-dunk nowhere state where corn is grown and meth labs are housed in Wal-mart Bathrooms. In fact,  it was that exact Wal-mart, where the  bathroom meth lab was found, that I purchased most of my groceries while in college. Which, to say the least, is embarrassing. We aren’t known for a lot of super awesome things to the general public especially in the elite world of clothing. Indiana is mostly known for the Indy 500 and the Colts, neither of which are things I am interested in.

I, like many, had a preconceived notion that Indiana had nothing to offer in the way of fun and innovative ideas, let alone a place where fashion thrived.  However, it only took about a month living in the city to find that there were freelancers and successful small business owners all over the city. This and in the last 5 years a small group of individuals from Carmel decided it was time to change the way we looked at our midwestern city. They decided there needed to be more spaces in which fashion could thrive and a place where those small fashion business owners could network. This laid the groundwork for a group in Indy called Pattern.

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My main reason for highlighting them this week is the fact that they just released their 7th issue of the Pattern Magazine. The great thing about this magazine, was that it was never intended to be as widely distributed as it has become, but the most awesome part was, not only did this awesome idea start here in Indiana, it features mostly if not all Indiana designers and artists and it is now being distributed internationally!

When the magazine first came out, I have to be honest I had my doubts about the longevity of the project, but not only have they continued to find new and innovative ways of using the creative minds to create fun and new publications they have also stepped out in to the world of commerce to support these local talents. In August of 2014 they launched a store that sold garments from local designers and since then have been given a state grant to create what they are referring to as a makers space. An intended small scale manufacturing operation that will give local designers and artists to utilize the tools and equipment they need to continue to work. The support of the local economy and the visibility of the magazine are continuing to put Indy on the map as one of the best places to have a small business and at that a fashion business!

So, check them out at Pattern Indy. You can also subscribe to the magazine if you are interested!

I hope you enjoy!

❤ Evelynlouise

Curvy History

Hello Readers,

This week is a very busy week for me, but rather than completely phone it in I thought I would share someone else’s awesome and interesting blog. 🙂

It is unfortunate they are not on wordpress, or I would have just re-blogged it. Anyway, I digress. As many of you know I teach history of costume at the college level, and so I am always looking for awesome and interesting facts and tidbits about history.

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This article in particular caught my eye, because it is all about our plus size sisters from different misters all the way back in to the 1800’s. Curvy & Dressing Historical is mostly how to successfully dress in historical fashions, but it has some awesome tidbits about how curvier ladies dressed in the past!

Hope you enjoy!

❤ Evelynlouise

It’s time to pay attention

My dearest readers,

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This is a water supply. I love clothing, I love expressing myself visually, but when I think of the long term implications my consumption has, I know we have to change the way we think about it. Bored Panda released a visual photo essay about the pollution in china and it’s horrifying! Quite frankly this isn’t just about the physical toll our consumption takes on the environment, it’s also about the impact it has on the people who work and live in these conditions.

My good friend send me this article Bloggers sent to work in Cambodian Sweatshops, that links to the videos so you can watch the online reality show that is attached to the break down of this 17 year old blogger. There is a concept that my students and I discuss when we talk about the ethics of outsourcing that I think many of us overlook. The notion that because we are advanced as a culture that we have tied up all the loose ends of the highlighted issues of children in sweatshops, or the deaths of hundreds of women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The reality is these atrocities are happening today, they happen everywhere. Even with the green movement there is not enough  being done to make our clothes more ethical or sustainable. I feel the only way we change this is by knowledge and discussion.

I,  just like you, love new clothing, I love to buy new stuff to put in my closet, I love to look my best and I have an unnatural obsession for looking my best. However, there is no handbag in the world that is worth the loss of human life or the degradation of others or the places they live. I think of it this way. I love clothing and I love new designs and the innovation and creativity that is associated with the fashion industry, but if we don’t make severe cuts and changes in the selections and mass productions associated with this industry we may not get to look forward to many more Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. Why? Because we are going to eventually run out or ruin farmable land for all of that cotton for all of those t-shirts and jeans we love so much. It already depletes soil nutrients that could be used for growing food. And not to be too dramatic, but when we’re all dying of cancer from the amount of caustic chemicals we have put in to our water supply from pesticide run off for those crops and the chemical dyes we use to give them colors, I wonder if we’ll regret the damage we have done.

I’m not saying that first thing tomorrow you should throw out all of your unethically sourced clothes or that we all have deep pockets that allow us to buy 100% organic 100% sustainable 100% ethically sourced clothing. However, we all can start in acknowledging the problems and start facilitating discussions on how to make a difference. It’s time to start paying attention.

My partner and I have started this journey in baby steps by shopping the majority of our clothing through second hand clothing stores. While these present their own challenges and are dependent on a primary market to create the clothing that supply these stores, they do allow us to keep a large quantity of textiles out of landfills and keep those garments worn until the end of their intended life cycles. I think of it as starting in a place of waste not want not. I am also saying it is time to be more choosy in your wardrobe decisions and start finding your own answers about your consumables. Companies want you to buy their product, they don’t want you to know hundreds of 15 year old girls were killed in a factory fire that made those goods.

I also give this piece of advice, support your local economies, buy local and buy less. For those of you interested I’ve been reading this fantastic book Wear No EvilShe has some pretty hard hitting facts about our clothing and so far some pretty sound advice on how she changed her own consumption.

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I don’t think that any one person has all of the answers, or that any one person is 100% unbiased and accurate when it comes to discussing how we use, waste or manufacture. However, it starts with educating yourself and researching the things that important to you. For me, I would like to see us continue to have fashion weeks, and have new an innovative fashion ideas. In order to do this in the long term, we have to change. It’s lovely to look good, it’s awesome to accept yourself for who you are, but it’s amazing to be aware enough to take care of your surroundings.

Some food for thought my lovely fashionistas!

Yours,

❤ Evelynlouise

Changing The Way We See Our Bodies with Bodies that Look Like Ours

It’s difficult to have a realistic depiction of what a short sleeved, horizontal striped v neck t-shirt is going to look like on a plus size body when we only sample our garments in a size 8. If you and I are anything alike this garment is the epitome of unattractive on my body type. A simple v-neck for me goes from being simple and conservative to utterly pornographic because of the size of my bust. What started as a simple way to dress myself ends up being an ordeal of layers and questions about what else I need to make this ridiculously mundane garment less complicated on my shape.

Not to mention, some of us don’t look at a garment and see the 50 other garments in our closet that will easily match what we are about to purchase. Some of us need a bit of extra guidance and that is okay. But to the point, readers. Introducing, plus sized model Tess Holiday.

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She’s been creating buzz around the Internet for the last 2 months or so, but what is so significant about Tess that differs from the other plus size models on runways? Well first she’s a size 22 not a sample size 14 (which translates in to a size 10), and secondly she’s only 5’5″. Even more the point? She, in my opinion, is showing women of a short and larger stature that you can be beautiful at whatever size. It really comes down to confidence!

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When it comes down to it, for me, I think that all of us have something beautiful about each of us, and I am not about to start slamming the gorgeous women who won the genetic lottery and get to play their hands at the big bucks, walking catwalks in Paris and Milan. Let’s face it for those of us who love fashion, getting to be a designers visual muse is an untapped dream and the ladies who get to be a part of that most definitely have our envy. The thing that is significant here is we are beginning to see diversity in body type rep-ing the garments we wear. I don’t have to guess what a two piece high waisted suit is going to look like on a girl with thick thighs anymore, and I definitely don’t have to feel bad about myself leaving the poorly lit store to decide it is or isn’t for me.

Look her up, it’s nice to see another plus sized gal crushing it in the fashion world! Plus size women do make up one of the largest untapped markets of clothing! Keep rocking it, Tess!

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Be fabulous, as always!

❤ Evelynlouise

The ‘This woman is beautiful’ Challenge

Sometimes, life has a way of bringing even the most confident people down. I’ve been continuing to re-examine what I talk about in this blog, as I want it to be a place of positivity and motivation for those who come to it. So this week I am going to tell you a story and follow it up with a pretty simple challenge.

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When I was in college I knew this absolutely fierce woman. When I look back, I often think I put her on a pedestal because she possessed many qualities that I was envious to have. She was cool and calm in almost all of the right situations. Cruel and calculated when the occasion called for it. But in the privacy of her home she was kind and unapologetic. I know her now to also be incredibly sensitive and just as damaged as the rest of us, maybe more, but her fervor enamored me. I would spend hours on the floor of her one bedroom apartment listening to her talk, listening to her music, listening for how I would somehow absorb some of this tenacity.

 

There are many things I remember well about her apartment, but the one I always like the most was the fact that she always wrote at the top of her mirrors in dry erase marker. Messages to herself, messages of things for her to remember. The mirror in the hallway, which was the mirror you saw last before you left her apartment, said, “this woman is beautiful.” It quite frankly offended me. I thought, that’s super conceded, but as I chewed on the idea it grew on me. As copying is the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to discretely go home and try it on my mirror in my bedroom. The difference those words make in the way you feel before you leave the house is astounding. I started changing the text a little:

“This woman is beautiful.” “This woman is smart.” “This woman is hilarious.” “This woman is not a door mat.” “This woman deserves to be loved” “This woman is a bad ass.”

I even annoyed my roommate by leaving these messages on our bathroom mirror with the collective, “these women.” Self positive talk doesn’t have to be as ridiculous as that old SNL skit.

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But sometimes we need to remind each other how awesome we are. So It isn’t a leap to where I am going with this weeks challenge and it’s certainly not a new concept. Get a dry erase marker and have at it! Mirrors, windows, shower doors. There is only one stipulation, it has to be something positive. Try it for the whole week. If you find it works, try it for a month. I find it helpful in those months where I’m having trouble motivating myself.

Keep positive my lovely readers,

❤ Evelynlouise