Archive for the ‘Fashion & Clothes’ Category

Femininity and feminism, and a magazine called Skirt!

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

theogeo critiques a new magazine called Skirt! (yes, the banger is part of the title) with which she is obliquely associated:

Tell me you’ve got a publication for strong, successful women and I’ll usually be all, “Okay, right on,” thinking we’ve got a political-minded, informative, thoughtful outlet on our hands. Tell me it’s called “Skirt!” and my brain will start shutting down. Suddenly you’ve introduced fashion and feminine markers into the premise. Not to mention the secondary verbal definition of “skirt,” which means to avoid or work around. It’s indirect; it’s passive.

The whole premise is bewilderingly patronizing. And it’s not like I don’t subscribe to fashion magazines — I do! several! — but I subscribe to them to follow fashion and admire clothing design. I know what I’m getting into when I open a copy of InStyle, and believe me, I don’t read it expecting to encounter thoughtful essays written from a feminist perspective. Those types of publications simply have no credibility with me for that sort of content. But when I want those feminist essays (Bust, perhaps, or Off Our Backs? I admit I don’t subscribe to either — blogs provide me with ample content), I don’t expect to be condescended to with fashion and beauty advice. And here the credibility issue works basically in reverse: include fashion and beauty advice in your progressive women’s publication, and, for me, you cease to be a progressive women’s publication.

This sort of mental partitioning may be uncommon, but I sort of doubt it. That’s not to say that a cross-market magazine (or even cross-cross-market, if you think fashion-feminist-local) can’t work, but this appears to be the reason to undertake such a venture with extreme caution.

Perfect timing (and thrift store mojo)

Sunday, July 11th, 2004

Last week I was complaining to Karsten about being bored with my work wardrobe. Not only bored, but I can’t help noticing that there are interns at my company that are wearing more stylish and interesting work clothes than what I’m making do with. I lamented that it may be time to make the switch from my entirely-thrift-store-bought wardrobe to one where I start buying one good piece at a time and build a real professional wardrobe.

So, with a heavy heart, on Friday I started doing a little research. I checked some of the big retailers online, like bananarepublic.com, nordstrom.com, macys.com, and so on. Mind you, I’ve only paid retail prices for, oh, about two garments ever in my life. So I was getting pretty depressed at the prices and what it would mean for my budget if I were to start having to pay a lot of money for each piece. We’re talking pants — on clearance, mind you — for between $40 and $80.

I also took a lunchtime run by a few of the more trendy independent stores in town. I liked some of what they had, but I was very unimpressed with the prices. Even on the clearance rack, we’re still talking about $30 to $50 for a pair of pants.

Then on my way home Friday evening, I stopped in at Goodwill. I don’t know what made me think it would be worthwhile on a Friday at 7:00 PM to bother with a thrift store (my usual approach is not to bother with thrift stores past mid-morning because most of the stylish stuff has usually been cleared out by resellers and other savvy shoppers), but the car just sort of steered itself.

I found five pairs of stylish, professional pants and a perfect blue-gray knee-length Banana Republic skirt that’s destined to become one of my favorite pieces, as well as a very cute knee-length denim skirt (with that sandblast wash with the sort of thin stripey look that’s been so hot for the past year or two) for evenings and weekends which is already one of my favorite pieces and I haven’t even worn it out yet — all for under $30 total.

But far more importantly, I found out that they were having a 50% off of everything sale the next day, and opening at 7:00 AM for the occasion.

So Karsten and I got there yesterday morning right at 7, and we were there until after 10, hunting, trying on clothes, hunting, trying on clothes. And I got 62 articles of name-brand (Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Benetton, Express, Gap, Limited, etc), stylish clothing, most of them appropriate for work, plus a hip Hawaiian-style shirt for Karsten, plus some children’s books (he uses them for art projects), plus a new Ralph Lauren 100% cotton sheet for our non-bed, for just under $150.

Let’s do the math real quick, shall we? A work wardrobe of five pairs of work-appropriate pants, a skirt, and, let’s just call it 40 shirts and sweaters and such. (Not all of the 62 items were work-appropriate, but definitely more than half were.) Even if I were buying these on deep, deep clearance, and the pants and skirt were, let’s say $15 each and the tops were, let’s say $10 each, that still adds up to $490. And my grand total of $180 for both shopping trips was well under half of that. Whee!

Anyway, I spent the next few hours at home trying things on again, looking for outfits in what I bought and what I already own (there were lots!), and then clearing out the less interesting pieces from my closet.

Now I just have to get to the laundromat and dry cleaner (only three of my new pieces are dry-clean only — I made an effort to avoid those except where it seemed really worth it) and then reorganize my closet.

Oh, and Goodwill is having another one of these big sales next month. :-)

I don’t do resolutions…

Friday, January 2nd, 2004

but here are some things I’d like to accomplish this year.

Run a half-marathon, at least. I had hopes of running the Country Music Marathon in April, but between the weather and my wicked work schedule, I lost a lot of valuable training time in November and December. With only three months left to train (and at least two months of bad weather left, and still a fairly wicked work schedule), I won’t make the marathon. I’m still hopeful about the half-marathon, though. And even if I don’t manage that one, I’m intent on being able to do it by the end of the summer.

Increase the amount and diversity of raw veggies I eat. I already do fairly well at this, but I’d like to be better about it.

Increase my nutrient:calorie ratio. Same as above, and will certainly be aided by implementation of above.

Decrease the amount of useless fat I eat. Again, I’m pretty good about this, but I still munch a little too much chocolate a little too often, and french fries never did anything good for anyone, even when they’re only eaten once in a great while.

Improve my guitar skills. I let this slip because of my wicked work schedule, but I really need to work on my guitar playing. It could be such a valuable songwriting tool, and I just haven’t taken the time to practice and improve.

Make more time for songwriting. My day job has been top priority for a few months, and that’s fine because it pays the bills. But once the big push is over (and it should return to normal by the end of March), I need to get back to spending serious amounts of time on writing songs.

Accelerate debt reduction plan. As of yesterday’s session with Quicken, my… our… THE debt will be paid off in May 2005, which is thrilling (only a few months ago I was excited to think it would be paid off by September 2007!) — but I’m a never-settle-for-less-than-everything kind of person, and I want to see if I can make it go away even faster.

Organize my clothes. This seems so minor in comparison to the others, but it’s really such an annoyance. I have a fairly generous closet space, but I have a lot of clothes because I basically have four wardrobes: my smart-and-professional work clothes, my sexy-and-stylish out-and-about clothes, my ever-growing collection of workout wear for all seasons, and my comfy-and-hip stay-at-home clothes. I need to find a way to make it all tidy and easy to access.