Clothes Should Fit You, Not the Other Way Around

Hey all! I know I’ve done several tutorials in a row for the past couple of weeks and I thought it would be nice to write something a bit longer again. I want to discuss one of the most stressful parts of being a woman with a body in this society.

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Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

When I say that I’ve cried in a dressing room I’m sure it sounds shocking to some readers. But I guarantee that if you’re a woman it might sound a little familiar. Women’s bodies are constantly being pushed to fit certain standards. You have to be as skinny or as fit as every celebrity. You can’t have rolls, cellulite, small boobs, or a flat butt. I find one the most pervasive ideas we have is that we have to fit into certain clothing sizes. The goal is to be a size 5 and squeeze into those jeans that cut off your circulation.

But as I’ve reflected on this idea I feel like it makes no sense. Why do we have to fit into clothes when clothes should fit us? Despite what some fashion companies and designers would like you to think, it is actually easier to make clothes that fit all shapes then to lose weight or cause yourself injury trying to create a body type that you just don’t have.

Every woman looks good in some article of clothing. If something fits your unique body it looks good, no matter how “unideal” your body type is (that’s another discussion for another day). If you wonder why celebrities always look good it’s because they have all their clothes fitted and altered. That’s what you would look like if you had a personal tailor. Women used to make their own clothes and they fit perfectly which caused a lot less body insecurity. But instead of doing that now we are cramming ourselves into sizes that just don’t work because companies prefer to think that all women are size 2 when the majority are size 12-16 (and anyone outside of this range should have options too).

So yes, I’ve cried in a dressing room. Every year my numbers kept going up. Instead of celebrating my growing body and development in middle school I was worried that my pants might go over a size 8 when everyone else was wearing a 0. It’s like a game; when the numbers go up you are somehow a worse person. It’s no wonder men are allowed to feel good about themselves at a variety of median body sizes, they just use inches and centimeters to determine their sizes. But we can’t possibly give women that level of security. Make sure they are a 31 in one store, a 12 in another, and a 40 in the stores that want to make you feel extra terrible.

It’s like we’re gas lighting women every time they enter a store. You thought you knew your size but “surprise!” you’re fatter than you ever thought! It doesn’t matter that we just forgot to tell you that we arbitrarily change the numbers every 6 months. So we sit in the dressing room and cry because we don’t “fit” even when the problem is that nothing fits us.

I’m definitely not over my body image issues. I probably never will be completely for a lot of reasons. But I haven’t cried in a dressing room in several years. A lot of women find ways around this shame. We order online or find awesome sites that are ahead of the game and creating beautiful pieces for women of all sizes (see modcloth and Lane Bryant!). For me, I finally put on the “biggest” size number of jeans that I had ever worn in my life. But I looked good. The jeans fit all my curves and didn’t smash my stomach so much that I was afraid to eat. The clothes I wear aren’t a size small, but they look great. They make me feel confident. And when something doesn’t fit I throw it out. Why do I need to hang onto things that make me feel bad? I don’t have any obligation to fit into clothes that are too small. And I feel great about the clothes I wear. And guess what? No one knows or cares what size they are anyway.

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Photo Credit: Modcloth.com

As a disclaimer I know I haven’t had the hardest time of all people. I still fall into the range of people who are not discriminated against because of their weight. We also need to remember that other people’s bodies are NEVER our business. I don’t care if you are “concerned about someone’s health”, it is never ok to comment on someone’s body or tell them how to live. This is why the clothing sizes are super important. They send the message that it is okay to look however you look in this society.

So next time you’re in the dressing room depression I encourage a little rethinking. The cute skirt doesn’t fit you? That’s fine because it wasn’t made for you. It should be perfect for YOU. I promise there is someone else thinking the same thing and they made that skirt in the correct size in another store. It’s taking a while for the world to catch up, but people are starting to realize that selling clothes to everyone is the best thing for business and your moral compass. Maybe someday we can wake up and feel amazing for how our bodies pump blood to our organs and how our eyes reflect light to create images. It is a goddamn miracle that our bodies run how they do every day. So I try to create a little inner peace by covering my beautiful amazing mind vehicle with things that make me happy. Cellulite, extra cushioning and all.

-Kate

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Tutorial: Two-Toned Eyes

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Hi all! Today’s post was inspired by the beauty section of Glamour magazine (not atypical of me). Sometimes the makeup trends are a little too intense for me (especially those terribly unwearable glossy lids), but going bold can also be really fun! My bold looks are often the ones I get the most compliments on because they are interesting and noticeable. Today’s look is all about bright colors and bold lines, so read on for more! Continue reading

Tutorial: Mono-toned Blush Look

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Hey all! Today’s look combines two of my favorite things: popular trends and simplicity. I have noticed the all-blush look popping up all over the place, from my Glamour magazine to the videos of some of my favorite Kpop stars. Granted, I think this look has been popular in Korea for a while, but I’m super excited to try it out! Read on for the details. Continue reading

Tutorial: Sunset Eyeshadow

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Hey all! Today I’m sharing an eyeshadow look that I stumbled upon by accident. I was out at brunch with some friends a few weekends ago and decided to experiment with different colors in my Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette. One of our friends said my eyeshadow looked really sunny, and I decided to make a little tutorial of the look! Read on for more. Continue reading

How I Learned to Love My Moles

If any of you have been reading my blog for a while you’ll notice that I have many freckles and moles on my face and body (these things are pretty obvious when you stare at close-ups of my face all the time). I’ve been noticing a trend lately where people use makeup to create artful splashes of freckles across their noses in all sorts of pretty colors, and it made me want to write about my own feelings about my spots.

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Freckles are all the rage lately… if they look like this. Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

I’ve always been a fan of light layers of foundation and concealer that look like skin. You might have noticed that I gravitate toward beauty blenders, powder foundation, and CC/BB creams for this reason. The first thing I always said to myself when I started wearing makeup is that I would never wear a heavy enough base color to cover up my moles and freckles. Initially I decided on this idea because I thought it would look weird to try to cover all the brown (which is true), but lately I’ve really come to appreciate my freckles and moles as parts of myself that are worth showing.

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I think my moles are special. Even though they aren’t multi-colored. Photo Credit: mashable.com

I’m sure many of you have complicated relationships with your birthmarks and scars like I do. For most of my childhood I was frustrated by the number of moles on my body. I thought that freckles were cute, but not moles. Freckles that fell across the noses of my palest friends were a sign of “being adorable” while moles were big ugly blemishes that grew on witches (It doesn’t help that my lip mole likes to grow long witchy hairs). All I wanted to do was have delicate little freckles and erase all my other spots.

It wasn’t until I got older that I noticed things I really loved about my moles. I have one little spot right on the tip of my nose that is my favorite thing ever. And I found 3 moles on my leg that connect to make a perfect equilateral triangle. I used to trace them with my finger when I wore shorts. Eventually I realized that my spots were something unique instead of a problem. I remember a girl in my middle school dance class insulting my moles. She told me that I was definitely going to get skin cancer because I had so many. In that moment I realized something: I didn’t give a crap what she thought about my body.

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Natalie loves her moles and so do I! Photo Credit: natalieportman.com

Ever since then I like my makeup to show my moles fully and I’m proud of them. I put sunscreen on to protect them and I can’t imagine my face without my upper lip beauty mark. I think this journey of self-discovery is really important in an age where we are adding freckles we don’t have to our faces. It’s considered “cool” to add freckles or wear glasses you don’t need, but not when these things are part of you. Because fashion is broadening so much, it’s time to appreciate our natural spots as beautiful too. Why would I be ashamed of my moles when people are drawing on beauty marks left and right?

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Winnie Harlow is a beautiful model who embraces her skin pigmentation. Photo Credit: Instagram.com/winnieharlow

I encourage taking a little time to get familiar with your so-called “flaws”. Take a look at the chicken pox scar on your cheek, that skin pigmentation on your chin, or that scar across your eyebrow. Life gets so much better when you realize that those features make you unique. Without your spots you would look like someone else; you wouldn’t be YOU. If we all wear a layer of foundation as thick as sunscreen and conceal our every flaw life is no fun. I hope if I can learn to love my moles (even the big ones and the hairy ones) others can learn to love their unique complexions, whether you’re drawing on a little something extra or not.

-Kate

Tutorial: Riverdale’s Betty And Veronica

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I’m sure I’m not the first person to get totally sucked into the show Riverdale after its recent release on Netflix (my sister can attest to that). I personally didn’t think I’d get into a show about the Archie comics since I’ve never read them, but The CW has always known how to create a good drama! One of the things I like best about Riverdale is its slew of interesting and capable female characters. I didn’t expect much after older and less progressive shows (Sorry Gossip Girl), but I was incredibly impressed with Betty and Veronica from episode one. They have a few mishaps, but generally their friendship transcends stupid boy fights and played out drama. They are there for each other and their friendship feels like the strong relationships I have with my best girl friends.

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Photo Credit: riverdale.wikia.com

As a makeup-obsessed TV watcher, I admired the way Betty and Veronica were styled and how their personalities showed through these choices. It only took me a few episodes to decide that I wanted to create makeup looks inspired by them! Read on for my looks as I channel two mystery-solvin’ ladies.  Continue reading

Are Makeup and Feminism Compatible?

I’ve had a lot of thoughts on this topic for quite some time. I graduated with a Women’s Studies minor, so feminism is really important to me. I also started using makeup more heavily and creatively in college, so I’ve been in constant conflict with my desire to do my makeup and to support a feminist lifestyle.

I know that plenty of women have popularized the idea that “makeup makes me feel empowered so makeup is feminist”. While I like the sound of that idea, there are definitely complexities we have to consider. Makeup is implicitly tied to capitalism and cooperations. Makeup companies want to sell their product to consumers. This is often done by reminding people that imperfections are unacceptable or that there is always another product that they don’t have and need.

Makeup as empowerment is also flawed because it ignores intersectional concerns of feminist theory. Options for women of color have greatly expanded in the past few years, but there are still far fewer choices for them. People of color can’t necessarily explore makeup artistically the same way that a white woman like myself can, and that leads to unfairness. There are also wealth disparities between those who can afford every new Sephora product and those who save a few weeks for one item from the drugstore.

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Kim declares that she feels empowered by both makeup and nude photos. Photo Credit: twitter.com/KimKardashian

All of this is leading up to my personal opinion on makeup and feminism. This is my opinion of course, so it is neither right nor wrong. It’s just what I think. But I wanted to point out the multiple points of view of this issue before I dived in.

I’ve had a complicated journey with makeup. I wore no makeup at all until I was a freshman in college. I occasionally wore it for dance recitals, but otherwise I was disgusted by the use of makeup. I knew I didn’t need to cover anything up and I judged other girls who were “vain” enough to wear makeup in high school.

In college I started to wear eyeliner and mascara. In my junior year things evolved with bold lipsticks and a bit of shadow. Now I’m in a place where I have many palettes and lipsticks and love to create looks. It’s quite a reversal from my judgmental high school days.

I think my attitude in high school was wrong in many ways. I was a little bit of a female misogynist (I’m better than “regular” girls), so I was comfortable judging other girls when they were simply responding to our society’s training that their faces weren’t good enough. I was also ignoring the artistry of makeup. I truly believe that makeup can be used independently from a cover-up as something artistic. My main motivation for using makeup today is that it soothes me in the morning to do something creative just for myself. It is exciting to pick out what colors I will use that day and enhance my favorite features.

In some ways makeup helped me to embrace the femininity I always feared. I always thought I wasn’t girly enough or couldn’t be pretty. Makeup gave me my superpower. When I wear makeup and certain clothes I can make myself “visible”. I used to be completely invisible. I could sit a certain way, wear my hair a certain way, or exude an energy that made me unseen. With makeup I suddenly had the power to switch from an invisible person to a visible one at will. And it was a fascinating study in self- confidence.

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Alicia Keys has been going “no-makeup” for a while because of the stresses of looking put-together constantly. Photo Credit: lennyletter.com

I consistently try to go out without makeup to reassure myself that I don’t “need” it. But I still don’t go to work without a full face and would never attend a first date without it. Because makeup still has some control over me as it does for many people. I still look at my eyelashes and hope they could look like they have mascara on all the time. I have many friends who would rather have a quick routine with no makeup, but know they can’t do so professionally. So we have a long way to go with normalizing makeup as an art independent from female insecurity.

But I don’t see makeup as a flaw in my feminism. Because feminism is about women making the choices they want to without people imposing societal constraints on them. In some ways women don’t have a choice about wearing makeup because we are expected to have it on. This is why many women are told we look “sick” or “tired” when we don’t wear makeup. But judging someone for enjoying makeup and judging someone for wearing none are both incompatible with feminism in some way.

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Cara both declares herself a feminist and wears a full face of makeup in the latest issue of Glamour. Photo Credit: abcnews.go.com

What we need to understand is that there is no perfect form of feminism. Maybe you feel troubled because you like a partner to open the door for you or enjoy being dolled up every day. But what is most important is that we learn about the complexities of societal pressure and try to dismantle them without putting too much pressure on ourselves. Being happy is important too. So put on that red lipstick if it makes you feel good. Support companies that are ethical. And cheer on artists that post no-makeup photos and normalize natural faces like Alicia Keys. As for me, I’m going to keep taking selfies of my makeup skills while ranting about female superhero movies on twitter.

-Kate

How To: Fill in Your Brows 3 Ways

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Hey everyone! I recently had a few friends request a post on doing your eyebrows. I already wrote a post about the way I most often do my eyebrows here, but this post is more about giving newbies options and details on various methods for doing your eyebrows. My method isn’t right for everyone, so I decided to branch out a bit. Read on for more! Continue reading

Is Cutting Your Hair Brave?

For those of you who don’t know, I work in a hair salon. I welcome clients at the front desk and check them out, so I have a lot of interactions with people who are cutting or coloring their hair. When working in this environment I’ve heard a comment that I’m pretty used to by now: “I love you hair! It’s so brave that you cut it all off!”

I’ve had a pixie cut for about 3-4 years, so I’m pretty used to people commenting on it. But sometimes it really bothers me that someone would consider my haircut “brave”. But we hear these kinds of comments all the time. It isn’t just with hair but also when you wear an atypical color or have a ton of visible tattoos. The comment comes out like a compliment, or is usually said in a very nice way. But it feels a little bit like a way to point out that someone is going against the norm. That they would have to be brave to do what they’ve done because they’re facing judgement.

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“Why does everyone keep talking about my haircut and not my charity work?” Photo Credit: prettydesigns.com

I’m not here to insult people who use these comments. They are usually trying to be nice and I often take what they say to be kind or intended as a compliment. But I wonder, what is so brave about cutting your hair into a pixie cut? What do people fear about it? I often see women approach me with an almost remorseful look on their faces because “they could never be brave enough” or “their face shape just couldn’t pull it off”. And this makes me so sad. What are they afraid is going to happen to them? No one is ever called “brave” for growing their hair out.

I think many women fear that their hair is the only thing that keeps them feminine and desirable. I know plenty of people who just want long hair, and that’s not a problem, but there is nothing to fear from having short hair. I remember when I decided to cut my hair. I have a bit of dramatic streak, so I didn’t tell anyone what I was going to do and just went for it. But those same concerns ran through my head: What if I look like a guy? What if my face shape is too severe and manly? I think so many women are terrified of the rejection we might face from failing to conform to feminine beauty standards like wearing dresses or having long hair.

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“Why am I brave for my pixie cut and not my work with the UN?” photo credit: glamour.com

I’m sure I’m not the first person who has had an older relative ask if I was a lesbian because of my haircut and propensity to attend the pride parade (nothing wrong with being a lesbian of course, but stereotypes aren’t so nice). But what bothers me the most is how many women look at my haircut with such a longing. It is sad that such a little thing feels impossible for so many ladies because of the pressure to appear more feminine. And the ironic thing is that I’ve never felt more beautiful or feminine than I do with this haircut.

I used to use my hair as a shield, a cover. It hung over my hunched shoulders in high school and covered my forehead in college. It was always a bit limp and undone because I am pretty lazy about my hair. I didn’t want to curl it every day or use endless products. I just wanted to wake up and go. I always felt like my hair was signal that I was a pretty girl, a feminine girl. But as soon as I cut it off something funny happened: I felt freed. I had nowhere to hide my face anymore, and I started to like it better. Styling short hair was so much easier and I could create more striking looks. Wear your hair over your forehead with short bangs and you look like a 90’s Demi Moore. Style it up and high to feel like a sculpted queen. Finally I could see my eyelashes from the side profile and there were no distractions. Finally I could see myself as I always was.

This may seem a little dramatic, but cutting my hair meant a lot to me. I don’t think I felt more beautiful because I actually was. I have always looked this way. But I felt beautiful because I was free of my hiding place. My inherent aspect of “femininity.” This might be why women are so desperate to cut off their hair but so afraid. Hair is a kind of security for them. I see women in my salon panicking at the idea of cutting off even a few inches. But with a pixie cut a woman has nothing to lose. If romantic interests don’t like you because you have “dude hair”, then they weren’t so great anyway. And at least you tried something that is often so scary to so many people.

 

So ladies, I don’t want to hear anyone saying “pixie cuts are so brave” or “you have the perfect face shape for it but I don’t.” Cause guess what?? I don’t have the perfect face shape for a pixie. I just tried it and now I feel confident. You could cut your hair and it could look terrible. But what’s wrong with trying? Hair always grows back. Men are working man-buns and girls are killing that shaved-head look. So is a pixie really that scary? If you want mermaid hair, have mermaid hair. If you have a lob go for it. But don’t like society decide what you do with your body. It’s not a very fun way to live.

-Kate

The Look: Sailor Moon

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Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post (3 months to be exact), but I’ve been having a bit of writer’s block and some stuff going on in my personal life so it’s been tough. But I’m finally ready to get back to my blog! I’m also going to start adding in some more lengthy and wordy posts in the future because I miss just writing for the sake of writing. Hopefully you’ll like the new content! If you’re curious about where this blog is heading, check out my twitter, because I’m trying to create that authenticity on here as well. Continue reading