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

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

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

Stress Dressing: Dressing in a Pinch

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The reality of my world as far as stress dressing is concerned, and I confirmed this with my significant other, usually has two modes. The first is when I am just having a general day of being busy, frustrated, or down is usually improved by the ability to wear jeans (this can’t always happen with my job, but I have a nice pair of black dress slacks for those days. I have one pair of jeans, that no matter what kind of day I’m having fit like a glove (Thank you stretch denim). I usually always pair this with a comfortable cardigan or sweater. Sweaters to me look classy and they just feel really good on your body. The second mode is on the other end of the spectrum. When I am having a day of high stress or uncertainty and I am feeling really uncomfortable with myself, I will make sure to take the extra time to put in to my appearance. The simple task of putting on some mascara and eye shadow, a pair of earrings and a very nice dress will change my whole outlook on the day. I guess it’s that old “dress for success” concept.

Whatever your level of stress dressing, my basic advise is to simplify everything. Overthinking gets us all in trouble. To build off of last week’s entry about simplifying your wardrobe, I think it’s really about being more comfortable in your skin. I’ve said before and I will say it a million times, if you feel terrible about who you are, no amount of stuff is really going to make it better. It may temporarily relieve your feelings, but you’re looking to lighten your load over all. Stress is usually caused by this oppressive amount of stuff that has to be completed in a timely manner. It can be caused by a multitude of things you can’t control, and wouldn’t it be nice if looking your best wasn’t anywhere on those lists?

I was asked to elaborate a little about my personal go-to pieces for days when I’m not at the height of my game, so here are my best suggestions for on the go wear that makes the whole process a bit more streamlined. You may not like my choices, but that’s the glory of fashion. Find your own go to pieces that make you feel awesome! It is in the end you who has to wear it.

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Evelynlouise’s top go-to pieces.

  1. Shoes. Own at least one pair of classic black flats, that have enough arch support and padding that you can stand in them for hours or just slip on for a day of lounging. A pair of slip on flats will dress up an outfit more than a pair of sneakers, but they should be comfortable enough that you don’t mind doing a multitude of tasks in them. Some women feel this way about kitten heels. Personally, I say black leather flats.
  2.  A little black dress that fits like a glove. It is perfect for almost anything except for a rodeo or a formal event. You can dress it up with jewelry or sweaters. Color or go as simple as possible, just like Audrey Hepburn. If you’re not a dress person I would say a nice pair of black slacks is a good place to start and a well fitting black top. Why black? It’s slimming, it hides lumps and bumps, it creates an elongated and continuous line with your body, it matches anything including the aforementioned black flats, and it’s just classy!
  3. A cardigan that you just can’t stop wearing. In my not so humble opinion, the perfect cardigan sweater should feel like a hug on your bad days, a snuggle on your ‘sitting at home reading a book’ days and a professional asset on your work days. I suggest splurging on a good sweater, heathered or tweed to punch up the class, and something that has some shape (not just a sack). And you know what’s great about a cardigan? You can wear it with that Little Black dress and your flats and feel amazing.
  4. A pair of classy earrings. Single set diamond, pearls, something that you find beautiful. You would be amazed at how far a pair of earrings goes to class up your whole look and make you feel like you put more effort into your look than you really did.
  5. At least 1 blouse. I usually go with a color that compliments my eyes or black as it is slimming.  I love blouses that don’t cling to my midsection, I tend to also lean toward knits, and I like a blouse to have at least one interesting detail such as a lace neckline, or princess seams. If I can wear my cardigan with it, this is a bonus for me.
  6. A nice fitting pair of jeans or slacks. Again right now I have a pair of dark wash skinny jeans that just feel amazing on my body. I’ve discovered as I get older, nothing makes me crabbier about wearing pants than a waistband that digs in to my stomach. Buy a pair that fit. Hem them, and you are good to go.

I think for me the elements of stress dressing come down to having those interchangeable wardrobe pieces. I hope this was helpful fashionistas!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

One size fits… NO ONE EVER!

At risk of sounding redundant there is this notion in ready to wear clothing that we all have the same shape and size bodies. It’s not completely intended for the soul purpose of making us feel horrible, but it does definitely do a great job of raising everyone’s debts just a touch to achieve maximum visual appeal.

Recently had this awesome video shared with me.

I don’t even feel like I have to elaborate on this, it says so much as is. The real issues of fast fashion and ready to wear clothing is that it is also not intended to last. It’s meant to become obsolete like everything else. Can you imagine the ecological impact if we all went back to even the beginnings of ready to wear clothing and the creation of the department stores in the last 1800’s? Our styles might not change as quickly, but the quality and craftsmanship of tailors and dress makers who actually fit clothing to your body?

I wish that I could say if we went back to this time period there would not still be social stigma on the way you were seen publicly if not wearing the latest fashions. We’ve been dealing with that since the middle ages.

Anyway, my thoughts for the week.

❤ Evelynlouise

Evelynlouise: New Years bring New beginnings

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What a serendipitous event that my last entry of the year should fall on the last day of 2014. I have been contemplating for weeks how to end the year on a note of positive and encouraging advice for all of my readers, and what a better way to discuss that than the false hopes of New Year’s resolutions.

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My goal with this blog over everything else was to create a positive space for fashion to exist for plus size women. I wanted to be inclusive to anyone who loves fashion and I wanted above all else to do the opposite of what many fashion magazines do. I wanted to create an encouraging environment for positive body image and social awareness. Fashion is supposed to be fun and an expression of self, not a place of doubts, self loathing and body fear. The industry is good at playing on these insecurities to get you to buy more things.

New years resolutions are touted at you from your television and will be for the next few weeks leading up to and shortly after the new year begins. Gym memberships sky rocket during this time as do health food sales and the sale of exercise equipment. New year’s resolutions at this point for adults tend to center around weight loss or body image. You will undoubtedly have an absolutely beautiful co-worker who grabs hold of there flat stomach and say, “Gawd, I gained so much weight this year, my new years resolution is to stop being realistic about my body expectations and set myself up with a plan to fail.”

Okay, maybe they won’t say that, but the message they deliver is essentially just that. And it’s the same for everyone, fit or not that we will some how miraculously become lovers of kale and juice cleanses and relinquish our desire for french fries and chocolate.

For 2015, I would like to put forth to you my readers a challenge of setting positive realistic goals instead of resolutions. I feel that goals are more obtainable in the sense that we understand as a culture that a goal is something you work toward. We understand it takes time and effort. Resolutions are so tied with our societies need for instant gratification, and when we don’t obtain that immediate result or we don’t gradually build up to whatever high feat we’ve set for ourselves, we always fall short.

I think it’s also important to share positive goals and to encourage those around you. I hope you all find a positive goal to work toward in 2015. Here are my top 5 goals for 2015 as they pertain to this blog and where I hope we will journey together in the new year.

Evelynlouise’s Top 5 Improvement Plans for 2014:

1. Be more positive about my body! I will not be motivated to go the the gym if all I do is beat myself up about my bowling lady arms. In fact, this self hatred will only lead me down a deeper rabbit hole of body hate. I will have bad days, but I will take time in my journals, in my speech to try and speak more positively about myself.

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2. Be more encouraging of myself to realize goals. I think we all experience that sense of defeat from time to time. Sometimes we really are our own worst enemy. This year I will continue to try and use positive speech to keep pushing myself forward, learn from my mistakes and move forward.

3. Be less judgmental of other appearance. As I’ve been writing this blog it has become more apparent to me how many times a day we judge another person. It usually always comes down to someone’s appearance. Because of this I have already been taking steps to stop and ask myself, “why am I being such a mean girl today?” Who is that person? Maybe they are more happy with who they are than I am.

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4. Be more encouraging to others. In follow up to not being such a mean girl, I think that sometimes you’re positive self talk only goes so far. We as human being seek the approval of others. This year as every year I hope to find ways to be more encouraging and loving to those around me, to keep their positive fire going. I really do think it’s a group effort

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5. Be more conscious of the ecological and social impact my consumption has on the world. I’ve already started doing more research on the ethics of the fashion industry. It goes so much deeper than learning to donate your clothes to Goodwill. We as a culture have to stop consuming at such an alarming rate or discussing fashion will be the telling of a horror story that contaminated all of our water, and used up all of our farmable land. We not only have to continue to strive to consume less, but to understand we drive the markets that are creating such a negative impact on not just mother earth, but the lives of people making the products.

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Thank you for following my lovely readers! I hope to see more of you in 2015, and please, if there’s a topic you would like to see me discuss, feel free to leave it in the comments below! I love suggestions!

Happy New Year!

❤ Evelynlouise

 

Ugly Christmas Sweaters, We didn’t even need to look

Let’s be real here, finding ugly plus size clothing is super easy! I think about any time I’ve walked in to my local Goodwill and the number of themed teddy bear sweaters I find from the late 80’s early 90’s. Not to mention the infamous themed woven vests.

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Any of you who had aunts or Grandmothers who were at all in to sewing, quilting or crafting probably have the late 80’s early 90’s Christmas swag to prove it. My favorite of which were the cut out quilt square sweat shirts, but anyone who had anyone crafty had a puff paint appliqué sweatshirt.

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TBH, I’m surprised these haven’t made a come back with all the weird 90’s stuff. Anyway, the ugly Christmas sweater craze has gone so far that there are now companies producing ugly sweaters on purpose so that you will buy them. When I discovered this all I could say was, “What? why?”

We come up with a lot of wasteful ideas, but why on earth would you waste perfectly good resources to make new ugly sweaters, when there are plenty of them out there! Save a sweater from a Landfill. Because doesn’t making brand new mass manufactured sweaters completely defeat the entire purpose of the ugly Christmas sweater competition?

It’s about finding the perfect atrocity. That said, check out this site The Sweater Store, they have a plethora of second hand styles to choose from, just for your holiday competitions.

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Happy Hunting!

Great Plus Vintage Buys

You don’t think I would leave you with that intellectual entry with no redemption did you? At the heart of it all I still do love fashion, I just want to see more of us take care of our earth as much as we take care of ourselves.  To be honest it doesn’t matter how cute you look if you’re dead because there is no more oxygen. As you start adding must haves to your wardrobes I always love getting back to vintage fashions to keep up classic looks. However, sometimes finding vintage fashions that fit is a difficult task, so I’ve linked some of my top picks of vintage plus sized garments and the stores where you can purchase them.

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Hello, Joan Holloway just called and said anyone with a lots of curves should wear this dress. Can you imagine this with the array of colorful cardigans in your wardrobe? I can, especially since Pantone has been using this blue and it’s like shades as a neutral color for several years now. The dress needs a little TLC, possibly a new buckle but for $44, why not!Vintage Etsy dealer Size is Just a Number, has a large assortment of vintage fashions all sorted by bust size so you can find a better fit. From what I’ve seen on this dealer, her clothes go all the way up to a modern size 24.

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This totally gorgeous number comes in a size 18 for $28, the measurements the seller sites are across only one side of the garment. It is a knit and judging on the color, closure and skirt length this bad boy is from the 1970’s It is also a knit. Can’t beat that! This store called the Babery Underground, totes a cute tagline, and affordable prices! You could change this up with mismatched tights, belts, and some great jewelry.

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I couldn’t help but post this gorgeous 1960’s size 16 jacket from Etsy seller Roly Poly Vintage. Her garments may have a higher price tag, but from the images I’ve seen, you are getting garments that are still in amazing shape! I can’t help but think with the new trend of mixed patterns being forecasted for the spring, this jacket would go amazing paired with a fantastic stripe or subtle plaid.

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And I have to leave you on this gorgeous note, because Audri Hepburn called and said, beautiful curvaceous lady wear my dress! Please wear it with a large hat! This dress is so versatile I could go on for months, but instead I’ll leave you with the link to Thrift Store Mafia, so you can shop their plus sized vintage finds.

I hope some of you find a gorgeous piece to add to your wardrobe, a sense of confidence, the feel good feeling from supporting a small business, and the appreciation for how well these garments were made. Don’t expect to find anything from H&M or Forever 21 in a vintage store in 40 years, looking this good!

Have a wonderful week curvaceous fashionistas!

❤ Evelynlouise