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5.24.2018

Silhouette—that sneaky bastard—has always been a huge factor in how I dress myself, as well as how I see myself. It's funny to think that such a simple thing as a shape, the shape of your human body, can affect your life so profoundly.

Recently I've become very conscious of my clothing decisions. I asked myself a simple question: why do I dress like this? Why have I decided to put these particular pieces of cloth onto my body? I observed how I love to change and warp my own shape, not just adorn my body and make it look beautiful, but actually play dress up with form: adding layers and textures, hiding my legs under billowing fabrics, blurring my waistline, becoming formless. For me (and many other women), this is an easy escape from the pressures of that all-important Society, dictating who we are. Namely, we are just a body, and that body is the only asset we have. (Influence from my binge-watching The Handmaid's Tale is palpable here.) We must be sexually appealing Or Else. Our bodies must look like one very specific type of body Or Else. We must dress to please the man Or Else. Et cetera.

Ultimately I can't change the body that I'm in, and I can't un-hear Society's constant blaring on the loudspeaker, no matter how many times I try to block it out. But I can take control over my silhouette and change it briefly—whether with a long tulle skirt, or an oversized dress, or with a popcorn shirt purchased from Salvation Army (pictured above). I've always wanted to push the envelope with dress and form, challenge the traditional woman's silhouette and smash it to pieces. I think I first learned this from none other but Rei Kawakubo, who is basically like my fashion mom. I don't remember the exact moment that I first saw pictures of her 1997 Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body collection, but it's been in the forefront of my dealings with shape and silhouette ever since.



I guess I feel as if I have to explain to people (and myself) why I dress this way. After all, it's more difficult to do, and it can lead to awkward questions, i.e. "why do you love wearing ugly clothes" or "why can't you just dress normally". But dressing myself is very deeply tied to my emotional state, my insecurities, and my beliefs. Covering my body and changing the shape of it—wearing things that do not fit into the category of "traditionally attractive"—is my own personal form of rebellion. Because I own my body; this silhouette is mine. I can do whatever I want with it, regardless of what anyone thinks. 
Shirt from Salvation Army, pants are vintage, purse is vintage Coach (gifted to me by my aunt), shoes are Doc Marten's.

Comme des Garçons photos from Vogue. All other photos shot by me with my Canon D600 and an 18-135mm lens.

My sustainable fashion shopping guide

5.15.2018

(me wearing all thrifted/vintage clothes standing next to my mostly thrifted/vintage closet!)

This is a post I'm really excited about writing!! And it's about time, too, since I began trying to do a more ~sustainable fashion lifestyle~ almost a year ago. But I guess right now, with more changes in my personal life—namely, becoming 100% vegan and wanting to commit to a more complete, zero-waste lifestyle—I've started to care a lot about sustainable fashun too. I mean, I've always cared about sustainable fashun, but now I wanna walk the walk and not just talk the talk!!

So, you might be like, wait wait, why should I care about sustainable fashion?
WELL. Here are the basics.

If you care about the environment and the impact humans have on it: this is probably not shocking to anyone reading this, but the fashion industry harms the environment! A lot! How much, you might ask? Well here, here, and here you can read up on the amount of pollution that is generated by the production of clothes and leather goods. And yikes, it's not pretty.

If you care about people earning a living wage and working in safe conditions: fashion companies do not have the best track record for treating their employees well. Like, not even a little bit. Garment workers are generally women and children, and they definitely do not deserve to die horrible deaths just to make shitty Forever 21 shirts (1,140 died in the Rana Plaza Disaster in 2013!!!). Some other informative links on sweatshops, child labor and the likes: Labour Behind the Label , Fashion Revolution, Child labour in the fashion supply chain, and International Labor Rights Forum.

Okay, now that I've filled your link-clicking quotas for the day, I want to give you my guidelines for how I try to shop as sustainably as possible.

(The caveat here, of course, is that these are guidelines. A lot of times with activism, people transform simple lifestyle changes into very steep scary cliffs that you must jump off of against your will—i.e., You Must NEVER Buy Fast Fashion Again, And If You Do You're A Horrible Soulless Person Who Loooves Sweatshops. I don't believe this, and neither should you. The point is making small changes, medium-sized changes, or even big changes if you're up for that. As long as there's some change, I see that as an accomplishment. Because duh, I buy fast fashion shit too sometimes, and I'm the hypocritical asshole writing this post about sustainability! No one's perfect. But if we're moving in the right direction, cutting out fast fashion little by little, there can be real progress made. Sermon over.)

I know that this post is about shopping, but hey! We don't always need to shop. Let me direct you to a handy pyramid that I found on the internet:


So basically, before you go out to buy shit, look around! Does it need to be bought? Do you already have an item of clothing that's basically the exact same thing that you want to buy? (I am totally guilty of this.) Then you don't need to buy it! Wild concept. Very hard to implement. But possible, totally possible.

Following the pyramid up, here are some other tips for sustainable shopping.

1. Clothing swap with ur friends

This is ye olde sustainable fashion tip that is always repeated by everyone, but like, I might as well add it. I've never done a clothing swap before but it sounds cute, and I would totally make hypothetical vegan scones for my hypothetical clothing swap.

2. Go to some fucking thrift stores

Do it. DO IT. Thrift stores are the best because of these reasons:

a) They are hella cheap (a slap in the face to anyone who thinks living sustainably is "more expensive")
b) They have really cool original rare shit that will make your wardrobe super unique! No more going to parties and showing up in the same basic ass Urban t-shirt dress like everyone else! Be a special snowflake!
c) Sometimes you can find name brand stuff and feel all superior because you only paid like $3 for a fancy item of clothing. (My friends have found pieces from Comme des Garçons and Margiela for dirt cheap at thrift stores!)
d) Buying from a thrift store = recycling clothes!! Which means no production of new clothes!! Which means WAY less pollution, WAY less wasted materials, and no money goes to big evil companies who don't pay their workers properly!!!

When I go thrifting, I usually don't have any extremely specific item of clothing in mind that I'm looking for because that's pretty hard to find in thrift stores. It's best to browse in sections you know you enjoy (I usually make a beeline to the pajama/slip section) and always keep an eye out for colors, textures and silhouettes that stand out to you.

3. Buy used things online

This is the solution to wanting an extremely specific item of clothing. People resell popular clothes all the time so you don't have to be the last chump without the fancy Nikes or whatever. The bonuses are that they're usually cheaper than retail price, and if you really like a company's clothes but hate the company's ethical decisions, you can just get their stuff secondhand and not compromise your morals!

My favorite online resellers are:
Depop (I have a depop!! Hello!! Buy my clothes!!!)
Ebay
Etsy
Poshmark
& there are a helluva lot besides that. Search around, you can find almost anything secondhand online!

4. Support small/local companies that produce their clothing in an ethical way

I feel really lucky to be a pseudo-grown up during a huge uprising of ethical and sustainable brands. Seriously, there are SO many. When I first got into the fashion industry as a young teen, all I wanted was to see strong, empowered women taking care of themselves and the environment! And now I can! It's truly a dream come true.

Here are just some random smaller brands that I found, but keep in mind these are the tip of the iceberg:

Altar - ethically made in the U.S. and wonderfully size-inclusive
Only Child - so pretty and simple, made out of low-waste fabrics
Looptworks - made from excess materials in Portland
Reif Haus - sooooo pretty
Lauren Winter
Pause.
Colico - sustainable shoes!! So nice if you're like me and have a weird shoe size that makes it impossible to get thrifted shoes
Elizabeth Suzann
The Far Woods - this isn't really a "clothing store" per say, but they make The™ cutest posters, zines and patches. Follow them on Instagram too!


Also for the hell of it, here are some of my favorite ethical bloggers:
Tolly Dolly Fashion
Conscious by Chloé
Style Bee
Seasons and Salt
Mama Eats Plants (this blog is more focused food and cooking, but it also has really great low-waste lifestyle tips)

So that about sums up my sustainable shopping guide. If you have any other tips or brands you think I should check out, comment them! Or talk to me on Instagram! Or something! Now go out and save the environment, motherfuckers!!

some generic spring type of title

5.10.2018
It's late spring/early summer and I wanted to get a little shoot in before all the flowers are completely gone. 

Spring is an absolutely magical time. Sometimes I think I like it more than summer (blasphemy!). I love flowers (this has been well-documented, I think) and seeing all the trees covered in blossoms and putting on my spring wardrobe and sitting outside in the grass is just the absolute. fucking. best. I also love pressing flowers so most years I fill all the pages of my favorite books with pressed crabapple blossoms, lilacs, and lily-of-the-valleys.

Spring also means wearing a lot of frilly things. Or maybe it's just an excuse to wear MORE frilly things, since this blog is already stupid full of that. But I'm sure everyone in the audience isn't tired of that yet? Probably? 




Look 1: everything is thrifted or vintage, except the socks which are from the Target girls' section (yikes) and the New Balances which are not being sold anymore (similar here).
Look 2: bra is from Free People that's not sold anymore (similar here), skirt is Zara from a couple years ago, sunhat is from Anthropologie a couple yeas ago, everything else thrifted or vintage!
Look 3: shirts are vintage, jeans are Zara (Zara is the worst company ever but ugh, I love their mom jeans so much). 


All photos shot by me with my Canon D600 and an 18-135mm lens.


Skincare Roundup, or I Buy A Lot Of Useless Products To Pacify My Self-Esteem!

5.01.2018

I am the proud owner of a generally healthy soft skin organ. This healthiness and softness is probably 50% due to genetics, since no one in my family has had skin problems besides my brother's teen cystic acne (firmly cementing from then on that I am the Beautiful Child), and 50% due to birth control stopping any breakouts I would normally get from my ovaries destroying themselves every month.

Even though my skin, thankfully, doesn't take much upkeep, I too get swept away by the latest skincare crazes -- the last one I remember was when Glossier first opened its dewy doors and everyone went batshit trying to make their face look like a newly waxed piece of furniture.  I followed the crowds, eagerly reading all the articles on Into the Gloss, lusting over the latest $200 skin oils, even started a Pinterest board where I could stare at fancy "shelfies" and trying to calculate how much I would have to save just to buy some cool serums and have a pretty shiny face like all of the pretty shiny people online.

As with all trends, I basically got over it within a couple months. Before I used to obsessively do a face mask once a week and try out all the newest products; now I'm pretty casual with my skincare routine, sifting through all the general bullshit and religiously using a couple moderately priced products every day. So without further ado, here's some specific skincare products I've chosen to talk about from the above "shelfie" (ha ha!! I really hate that term but it's the only thing that works in this case!!).

THE STUFF I ACTUALLY USE AND REALLY ENJOY:



I guess what I look for in skincare is two things: Cheapness and How Will My Baby Sensitive Dry-Ass Skin Handle This. I love The Ordinary because it's pretty cheap (I use the rosehip oil, which is $9, as my everyday moisturizer) and I love how transparent they are about what they put in their products. I'm basically a super granola mom lady who needs things to be ~ALL NATURAL~ . The brightening serum is weird but apparently it's good for you, idk I don't use it that much. The salicylic acid is for breakouts and dries them out really nicely.

All my Kiehl's products really make me look so boujee but most of them were gifts / bought over extended periods of time. Their Ultra Facial Cream is just easy to use as an everyday thing and isn't crazy expensive for how long it lasts. Their Midnight Concentrate shit is like pretty eggspensive but I love it and uh, I! love! spending! money!! Their Creamy Eye Treatment is seriously so nice and makes my ugly puffy eyes turn into magical beautiful eyes again! And the clay mask is decent too, I've never met a mask that's truly "wowed" me but whatever, this one does the job.

(Not highlighted from the "shelfie" but random stuff I really really like: Palmer's Coco Butter Formula which is cheap and magical and smells like chocolate, Roses et Reines perfume, and sunblock! Lots of sunblock! I have 0.00% melanin so I need that shit all the time.)

THE STUFF I BOUGHT BECAUSE THE PRETTY PACKAGING BRAINWASHED ME:


Okay, so like, this really is only a small percentage of skincare I've bought for no specific reason other than buying things is my go-to coping mechanism. (If you're wondering, I bought the whole Glossier Super Pack and then sold the other two serums because I had a bad reaction to them.) But seriously, what is it about Mario Badescu that makes me wanna whip out my wallet and buy his beautiful shiny pastel-toned skincare bottles? 

Full disclosure, I've never even used the Protein Night Cream or the Drying Lotion, so I'm not calling them out as shitty products. (Maybe I'm calling myself out for wasting so much damn money on stupid skincare I don't even use ? ?) The toner was fine but very "meh" for something I could get at CVS for half the price. I also have this theory that Glossier is made out of tinted water and they only sell oodles of products purely because they're marketing geniuses. I was really into their shit because it was sparkly and trendy and baby pink is my favorite color, but honestly I think that's where my interest ended.

~

All in all, writing this post / forcing myself to look at all the dumb skincare purchases I've made in the past couple of years has really opened my eyes to how gross and calculating the skincare industry can be. I don't know, at least with makeup I feel like they're more transparent about being evil money hungry companies trying to sell you self-esteem. Or maybe it's just more obvious, because most of the time, we wear makeup to feel prettier, better, more "put-together", or just to get more money from our jobs. But skincare is actually marketed as something that is supposed to heal, not cover; it's supposed to protect and enhance our natural features. In reality, skincare is just another product that is sold to consumers, and with that comes all the usual yuck: convincing consumers they "need" an overly expensive product or they're not trendy enough, telling consumers they aren't valid with their natural skin, setting an impossible standard of soft, dewy, glowy skin without any blemishes, birthmarks, scars or other "imperfections". 

Listen, I love skincare and I think it can be a really fun method of self-care, but at the end of the day, get that $5 lotion from a drugstore and take care of yourself however you want to, or however you can. Sometimes the fancy stuff doesn't even work properly! And then you're stuck with tubs of confusing cream for a couple years before you suppress the guilt and finally throw it out!! (Me and that Mario Badescu cream have a long journey ahead of us.) Take me as an example of what not to do and find your self-esteem in some other way besides expensive serums and lotions: namely, through likes and comments on social media, and buying useless items of clothing. Kidding! Kidding.

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