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

Hair: Just Do it!

So, I’m going to get on my soap box for a second about you ladies out there who torture your stylists with the words,

“I want something completely different, but I don’t want to take any length off.”

It’s hair for god sakes, it grows, even after you die! I know that we attach to it the source of all our mysterious mystical lady powers, but seriously sometimes you can change your whole perspective, outlook on yourself and demeanor with a new hair cut. I have had hair style ranged from the quite crazy.

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All the way to tumbling past my shoulders (now, my hair was only past my shoulders for 3 life events, my senior pictures, my senior prom and my wedding).

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I have had every color of hair you can think of as well, Green, blue, hot pink, brown, black, neon red, purple, yellow, orange, etc. My natural hair color is red so I know this puts kinks in a lot of tails when it comes to my choices to destroy the ever loving crap out of my hair with boxes of bleach, but sometimes  girl has to give things a whirl.

What is the point of this meandering soap box? Cut your damn hair! Pixie’s are super cute right now, and just because you are a big girl doesn’t mean you are going to look bad in short hair. Rocking short hair shows a lot of confidence. Pay attention to face shapes. If you have a square shaped face, don’t pick a pixie cut on a round face, even the best stylist isn’t going to make you look like the celebrity who’s photo you bring in to style your hair. In 2015 take a leap of faith and find a hairstylist you trust and go for it! The worst that can happen is that you hate it and in a few months, you can go back to that boring straight mane of hair that you sweep into a pony tail half the time anyway.

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Get brave go short!

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Take before and after shots, and the best part! I’ve been able to do this twice and it feels amazing, if you’re losing more than 8″ of hair, you can donate it to locks of love even it it’s dyed or permed.

This year for me is about figure out some more details in this life puzzle, and I can tell you ladies confidence makes all the difference! If you don’t like the way you feel or look, you have the power to change it!

Take care lovelies!

❤ Evelynlouise

Solid Color Illusions

Not to get too Portlandia on you, but “I read recently” that when you have a difficult shape to dress, and more often than not plus sizes fall in this category, that keeping a consistent color through the majority of your torso can lead to an uninterrupted line that slims the figure. For many this means lots of black, and if you work in an office that requires you to wear business or business casual attired you instantly go for black as it seems to be the most readily available. However, Don’t neglect the idea of color to create a slimming line on your body! This season and next brings with it an array of bright and bold shades that can be just as flattering but offer more details than the old standby.

So what do I mean when I say keeping consistent color throughout?

Most of us will take a black skirt or solid pants and pair it with a patterned top as seen below.

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While these two outfits are still pretty cute, and they both use elements of slimming such as faded wash jeans or belting to accentuate the waist. It breaks up the space of the body. The White floral on the left in fact widens the hips as the line of definition between the shirt and the jeans accentuates this portion of the body. The stark contrast of the pink shirt on the right compared with the black in the pants and the belt also breaks the body up in to 3 sections breasts, tummy and hips. Now, I’m not saying that these styles can’t be flattering on your body, or that you should give up your cute patterned tops and forgo anything that isn’t denim colored while wearing jeans, but when you utilize monochromatic styles you end up with an elongated silhouette that flatters your curves and creates a slimming effect. Think of it as a way to both simplify and flatter an outfit.

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Lets take for example this lovely fashionistas take on the same dress. The look on the left while still very cute makes her shape look very blocky. She is wearing the same tights and colors of accent on her legs and upper torso, but see how the jacket on the right opens up her posture, her waist is slimmed by this uninterrupted color and the use of a belt and the line created from the neck to just above the knee gives the appearance of slimming and elongating the legs.

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In a casual use, colored jeans and textured pants paired with their color matched top as ween in the outfit above,  shows off the lucious curves of the wearer without creating an abrupt and broken line from bust to waist, waist to hip, hip to knee, etc. It is one soft line that flatters and when using garments in darker tones it is also incredibly slimming. Dresses often achieve these looks best, however with colored jeans, you can create an array of looks for yourself.

Don’t neglect the gorgeous array of prints that are out and about in these lovely seasons, but when going for sleek and elegant, you can never go wrong with a rich solid to show off your curves. The look below embraces the rich and gorgeous peacock blue but brings in accents in the form of a statement necklace to bring attention to the face. When looking at this garment however, the details in the construction pull your eyes throughout the garment rather than focusing you on one area. Your eyes don’t sit to rest an only one part of this gorgeous piece.

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As always, find something you love and makes you feel beautiful. I personally am a fan of the monochromatic look, but who can pass up some of the beautiful patterns we see out this season!

❤ Always,

Evelynlouise

Boots, boots, boots

Oh that fall weather is coming and  for some of us it is already here. With it comes the excitement of buying new shoes. Well, unless you’re like me and you look forward to not having to wear socks, and the thought of cramming you feet in actual shoes makes you sad inside, but I digress. Usually the biggest excitement in the fall fashion world for shoes is boot season. For this reason I have this blog entry on request from a friend of mine from college. For larger ladies this can sometimes be very frustrating as it’s not just an issue of what color boots to choose, but whether the zippers will make it past your ankles.

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A few tips on boot searches and buying:

  • If you’re like me you have wider calves than almost any boot in a normal store. When searching use the term “wide calf” boots. – DSW has some amazing boots and they sell both wide widths and wide calf boots on their website.
  • Search online at stores like DSW and have the boots shipped to a location nearest you – this or ask someone in the store to order a few pair, so you can try them on and not have to worry about the shipping costs.
  • Measure before you buy – the great thing about perusing store websites is that it will tell you the circumference of the calf in it’s wide calf boots. If You’ve ever tried on taller boots you know that the widths can vary amongst the normal sizes. Use a tape measurer and measure around the widest part of the calf. The description should give you the  calf measurement.
  • If you don’t order from a store, make sure the website has a generous and speedy return policy. Buying boots is expensive, add 3 rounds of shipping for trying on, returning and having new boots sent, it gets ridiculous. Make sure you verify the website you are using has a generous return policy like zappos, who will accept your return up to one year after a purchase for free.
  • Go in to a shoe store and have your foot measured. Places like Shoe Carnival still do accurate measurements on the foot, so you know what you’re ordering is correct.
  • Keep in mind if you are shorter in stature, boots that hit at the knee tend to shorten your stature, look for an awesome ankle boot to elongate your legs.

And because I don’t want to completely re-invent the wheel, this blogger had a similar entry almost a year ago about wide calf boots. She has compiled a great list of stores that either carry these styles of boots, or have them available for order!

The Style Supreme: Where to Shop for Wide Calf Boots

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I may have to try on some boots this season. Buckles and sectioned style lines seem to be a super important part of this years styles for boots, no matter what height you end up with. Happy Fall Boot Shopping!

❤ Evelynlouise

Naked Ladies and Handbags: The Minute I knew I was in it to win it

I have always been anywhere between a size 16 and 26 since I was in grade school. I look back at photos of myself at age 12 wearing size 16 ladies jeans trying to keep up with the late 90’s trends of peasant blouses and bell sleeves and think, why didn’t I feel more beautiful? I was a gorgeous and curvaceous red head with big blue eyes and a great personality. But the great beast of middle school can bring anyone down.

In October of 2002 I was sitting in my aunt’s salon while my mom got her hair done and picked up my very first issue of Vogue from the piles of gossip magazines laid out on trays in between dryer stations. Alexander McQueen was featured in this particular issue and this dress changed my creative life. McQueen-Fall_Winter-2002-4-200x300

Now at the time this dress was on a model with spiky black finger nails and it was photographed in motion, it was amazing! It combined my 15 year old love of gothic flowing fabrics and creepy creative details but his entire collection was just so full of imagination. I knew at 15 whether or not I became a fashion designer, an artist or a dentist I was going to love fashion forever. But my true love with fashion didn’t start until early 2003 with Dooney and Burke’s line of naked ladies  with handbags ads.

_Dooney_and_Bourke_The weird hair, the crazy braids, the awesome makeup, not to mention the amazing backpack purse made popular by movies such as Clueless and Ten Things I Hate About You. Fashion was a theatrical way of expressing yourself and did I ever express myself. I had a closet a clamor with neon shoes, lace and crushed velvet tops, corseted dresses, flowing sweaters, all in black of course, that told me I too could be part of this amazing theater production called life. Now when I look back at these photos it’s a tad embarrassing … As well, though I thought I looked awesome I could have dressed myself a tad more flattering, but my mother was more than encouraging of expressing myself, though I’m sure there were times she was embarrassed for me.

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Fashion has many facets, it’s important to wear things you love and are comfortable in. Some people will judge you for making poor fashion choices *coughs* but being experimental doesn’t kill you. Try new things you never thought would look good on your body! Find something in fashion that makes you feel good about yourself, obviously whether or not you are into following the latest trends or you are more practical in your approach to dressing yourself you still have to shop at the same stores as the rest of us, even if that is a thrift store. Find something that speaks volumes about you! I fell in love with naked ladies in handbags, and after this ad I spent 3 years making the most amazing custom purses. But why naked ladies in handbags you might ask? Because no one looks fat because of a handbag, just saying.