Fashion, Humor, Pop Culture

“Pink is My Favorite Crayon”

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DSC_0992Motel ‘Rosebud’ satin bomber jacket, Emma & Sam cropped tee, Calvin Klein x UO boyfriend jeans, Furla customized ‘Metropolis’ cross body bag in ‘Moonstone’ & ‘Petalo,’ Superga classic sneakers in white.

I have always loved the color pink. In case this post title doesn’t ring a bell, it’s a line from Aerosmith’s ’90s single “Pink,” which I liked so much that I named a pink teddy bear Stephen Tyler. (I was an interesting kid.) Given that I was seven or eight, I understand why no one felt compelled to tell me that, in this case, “pink” was being used a euphemism for the vagina. (Funnily enough, that’s also the story behind the singer Pink’s stage name…I like fun vaginal facts.) ANYWAY, I have always been into pink, but shied away from wearing lighter shades until recently. Considering my newfound confidence in wearing pastels and my affinity for bomber jackets, this one was a no-brainer. The pink jacket and purse give such feminine vibes, so I decided to balance this look out with these amazing Calvin Klein, khaki-colored, cropped boyfriend jeans. These jeans fit with unparalleled perfection, and I have a close relationship with denim. No one does it quite like Calvin, am I right? Unfortunately, these pants were designed exclusively for Urban Outfitters and are completely sold out. Their medium blue acid wash counterpart, however, is still available here.

Photos by Miranda Mu

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Advice, Beauty, Boston, Fashion, fashion theory, Feminism, Humor

Ten Ways You’re Approaching Personal Style All Wrong

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Despite how much time I spend I dissecting outfits and breaking down ways to properly achieve certain styles, the fact remains that fashion ultimately has no rules. That’s just how art functions. It is, however, completely possible to approach personal style (which includes your beauty routine) with a bad attitude or misconceptions, and this can negatively impact a lot more than just your look. Here are ten mistakes you might want to reconsider:

1. You think having the latest trends is a foolproof way to look fabulous: So very, very wrong. Sure, it’s great to look current and in-style, but not every hot new trend is going to fit into your look organically or flatter your figure. Dressing well and having a strong sense of style are a matter of identifying and staying true to your taste, and dressing for your unique body. With that said, even catering to your body type is mostly a matter of confidence. Basically, wear what you love, not what magazines say you should love or what everyone else is wearing on Instagram. Besides, trends are usually fleeting, and blending in is often boring. Sometimes it’s best to feel out a trend’s longevity and see if you actually love the look before you drop cash on it.

2. You pile on too many trends at once: Slow down there, buddy. We get it: you’re cool. Except you don’t look cool—you look like you’re trying too hard (you are), and quite possibly look a little insane. Avoid a lifetime of unfortunate photos and keep your trends and statement pieces per outfit to a minimum. There are 365 whole days in a year to do each trend justice, so do that.

3. You have a “that’s so last season” state of mind: Whether you’re thrusting this concept unto yourself or others around you, it’s silly. We all love having cool new things, but newness shouldn’t define the value of everything in your wardrobe. What are you going to do? Throw everything away at the end of each season? Since fashion repeats itself, just like every aspect of history, I feel justified in hoarding clothes I’ve had since high school (maybe even middle school)…Fuck anyone who wants to make you feel inferior for wearing something that isn’t fresh off the runway. If you ask me, the most stylish people know how to repeatedly find fun and fresh ways to wear what’s already in their closet. If you’re concerned about having a passé wardrobe, then I yet again discourage you from investing in a lot of hyper-trendy pieces. Instead, splurge on versatile classics with a twist that you can see yourself wearing often and for various settings/occasions. And if you’re honestly so obsessed with having nothing but “the latest,” you’re using fashion as a status symbol, and it probably stems from greater insecurities. You might even polarize others with this snobbish outlook on style. What are you trying to prove? Perhaps pause to consider real therapy over retail…

4. You’re dressing for someone else: NO!!! Whether it’s for a crush or significant other, your parents, or friends you’re trying to impress, your wardrobe should never be the product of someone else’s ideal version of you. Your style is yours to define. There is a time and place to adhere to a dress code (like your place of work), and it’s one thing to occasionally adjust your look for special circumstances (my grandmother’s independent living facility is waging a war against shorts), or to sport your S.O.’s favorite color as a romantic gesture; but if you’re constantly adjusting or straight-up hiding your true personal style (read: YOUR IDENTITY) to appease others, that’s not healthy. We all want approval, but at what cost? Your appearances can be a huge factor in self-expression, and stifling your style to make others happy won’t make you happy in the long run. Ditch or stand up to the people who want to change you, and learn to impress people by staying true to yourself. (Quick question: does anyone else always feel incredibly sorry for the people who wind up on What Not to Wear? Like, let them live!)

5. You secretly want to change your look or try something new, but you’re afraid that people will react negatively or that you can’t “pull it off”: I understand that this can be a career-related issue for some folks, but let’s pretend that’s not part of the equation. Come on out of the fashion closet, and come out wearing what you want! Taking fashion and beauty risks can be scary, but also extremely liberating and fun. If you can’t think of a single person in your life who wouldn’t judge you if you altered your appearance or experimented with your style, then there’s your real problem. Since that’s probably not the case, life is short, so you should shed your insecurities and take the plunge. If you’re just not sure how to go about it, that’s what friends, social media, and professionals are for. Talk to your fashion-loving friends, look to Instagram for inspiration, and seek the knowledge of experts. High-end retail sales associates (I mean, you probably shouldn’t go Old Navy to inquire about the art of wearing drop-crotch pants), professional hair stylists and makeup artists are always ready and waiting to help, so take advantage of their advice. Just because executing a certain style doesn’t come naturally to you doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you’re really nervous about debuting a new look, take it for a spin with someone you trust, because I have news: “pulling it off” is almost entirely about wearing your clothes with confidence. If you loved the idea of a particular style but feel painfully awkward sporting it in public, people can probably sense your discomfort, and you’re probably not pulling it off. Wearing something you think is cool should make you feel cool. It’s that simple. If dramatically changing your look is a gender-related, or generally deeper identity issue, I realize that you’re facing something more complex; however, I still think opening up to someone you can trust is the first step. If you’re not ready to show the world who you are, try talking about it.

6. You think fashion is cool and want to elevate your style, but you’re worried people will view this change as a sign of superficiality: Look, fashion has no policy on newcomers. Unless all you do is stare in the mirror, take selfies and obsess over your outfits (lol), then it’s unlikely people will react negatively to your newfound appreciation for style. If someone does suggest that you’re shallow for upgrading your look, know that their attitude is a result of their own personal issues, and don’t make choices based on their passive-aggressive insecurities. Think of stepping up your style game as starting a new diet or getting into fitness—as long as you genuinely aren’t high and mighty about it and don’t attempt to impose your style unto others, odds are that people will be either supremely supportive or won’t care either way. There’s no shame in taking pride in your appearances!

7. You immediately cast off people who love fashion as being superficial: Haven’t you heard that old saying about what happens when you assume? Fashion isn’t for everyone, but consider the irony of this attitude. The idea that fashion and intellect are mutually exclusive is more outdated than shoulder pads, and the implication that you can somehow estimate whether or not a person is grounded based on their outfit proves you’re pretty superficial, yourself. There’s only one way to get to know someone. Wait for it…You have to actually get to know them. I’m not sure why you’re under the impression that loving fashion is any different from loving any art form (all of which involve vanity to some degree), but you need to get over yourself, quickly. No one is asking you to give a shit about Fashion Month, but we will ask that you not presume those of us who do are lesser beings. Congratulations on not caring about your outfit. If it’s really the inside that counts, well, you still kind of suck.

8. You love fashion, but you use it as a vehicle to be negative or exclusive towards others: I loved watching Joan Rivers roast people’s outfits as much as the next guy. You are not Joan Rivers. Whether you’re online or out with friends, if you’re channelling a lot of your passion for fashion towards mocking other people’s outfit choices, or even worse, body shaming, you need to realize that you aren’t being funny, you’re being toxic, and furthermore, you’re completely missing the point of personal style. It’s 2016. Fashion is an artistic form of self-expression that belongs to anyone who wants to participate, and it’s not your place to make people feel shitty about how they do so, or who they are. Because that’s the thing. Style and body image are an extension of people’s personalities, so it’s time to take a break from judging others and take a closer look at yourself, beyond the mirror. Ask yourself why you’re so compelled to criticize, as it’s definitely part of a larger problem, and your negativity won’t make you popular in the long run. Consider keeping those nasty insults to yourself, and learn to take pleasure in complimenting and celebrating styles you do admire instead of hurting others to make yourself feel superior.

9. You obsess over size: Literally every brand cuts clothing differently these days. It’s almost impossible that you’ll be the same size across the board, so you may sometimes have to take a different size than expected, and this might make you feel self-conscious. Even some individual brands have inconsistent sizing within singular collections, so try not to take sizing so personally. If you’re forcing yourself into clothes that don’t fit properly because you can’t get past the little numbers or letters on the size label inside, you’re ultimately just making yourself feel (and probably look) uncomfortable for no good reason, and to no one’s benefit. No one is going to reach inside your clothing and announce your dress size to the world. Please love yourself enough to purchase clothes in the sizes that make you physically look and feel your best. Much like those on the scale, you can’t let the numbers on a size tag define you. If there is someone in your life who is policing what size you take and making you feel bad about your body, that’s not ok. You need to do yourself a favor and take steps towards correcting that dynamic, or cut off the relationship entirely.

10. You don’t know how to shop, you hate everything you buy, so you’ve thrown in the towel: If I’ve learned anything from my time working in retail, it’s that most people find shopping overwhelming and style to be intimidating. You have no strategy, and without appropriate intervention, this can lead to bad habits, like buying a lot of clothes without actually trying stuff on, making a lot of online purchases from brands or retailers you’re not familiar with, and just constantly buying stuff that you later realize you don’t actually want or need. I’ve found that many people who struggle to shop effectively ultimately resolve to convincing themselves that since clothes don’t *really* matter, it’s easier just to stop caring and live life in outfits that miss the mark. Though shopping can seem like an impossible chore, if style is something you’d like to possess, there really are solutions. For starters, start scouring social media for images of looks you identify with and consider #goals to get a better idea of what you might like to achieve going forward. Tap your most fashionable friend(s) and ask if they’ll accompany you on your next shopping venture, and stop blowing off sales associates who genuinely want to help. Open up to these people about what it is you need and why you’ve been struggling, and learn to embrace their honest opinions—and while you should allow these people to push you outside your comfort zone to try garments that might seem strange on the hanger, you also shouldn’t be afraid to say no if friends or stylists suggest something that just doesn’t feel right. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for a special occasion, and if styling yourself doesn’t come naturally, don’t go shopping when you have very little time to spare. Give yourself a solid few hours to find things you love instead of settling or leaving empty-handed. Slowly but surely, you and your fashion advocates will zero in on your true personal style, and you’ll start to build a wardrobe that makes you feel fabulous. As for online shopping, this is for advanced shoppers who are super in touch with the styles and brands that suit them best, and who’ve become familiar enough with certain online retailers to choose the right sizes without trying items on. I’m sorry, but you’re just not there yet. Baby steps!

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If you’re in the Boston area and need help shopping for a special occasion (wedding, graduation, concert/festival, job interview, etc.), I offer freelance styling services! Contact me (Annie Goldman) at anniesfashionsauce@gmail.com for more info.

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Beauty, Fashion, Humor, Pop Culture, Promotional

Taking Bill Murray to Brunch

It’s Monday, so let’s talk about the weekend…

DSC_0827-13Piece Apparel Bill Murray sweatshirt over an LF blouse, J Brand ‘Maria’ skinnies, ALDO ‘Istrago’ heeled sandals.DSC_0814-10

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DSC_0880-Edit-26Oliver Peoples sunglasses, House of Harlow earrings, NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in ‘Dragon Girl.’DSC_0786-3

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DSC_0881-27Sandro Paris purse, Gorjana rings.DSC_0873-25

Who doesn’t love Bill Murray? Not only is he an accomplished actor who’s consistently made audiences laugh and truly think since the ’70s, but he’s also proven to be one of the most mysterious and spontaneous members of the SAG. It won’t take you much time lurking on Reddit to discover elaborate stories about Bill Murray’s wild nights with unassuming fans who are left baffled by the actor’s nonchalant sense for adventure, and his apparent ability to disappear out of thin air. Between his hilarious days on SNL, to his tender moments with Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, to his roles in the wacky world of Wes Anderson, I was so stoked to see that Piece Apparel included Mr. Murray in their “Old Man Crew” collection of sweatshirts, which also honors men such as Rod Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, and Johnny Cash.

With respect to Bill’s affection for the unexpected, I decided not to pair my oversized sweatshirt with boxers or my TV remote, and instead dressed it up Sunday-brunch style. In my experience, brunch isn’t such an obviously glamorous occasion. It’s usually a group of hungover friends peeling themselves off their mattresses in the interest of good food, good stories from the night before, and, questionably enough, more drinks. That being said, Instagram and other social media outlets have deemed brunch the official favorite activity of “betches,” and, fortunately or unfortunately, an obligatory photo op. Brunch-obsessed consumers have prompted fashion magazines to address brunch outfits on the regular, and they typically suggest flouncy, frilly ensembles that seem more appropriate for an old-fashioned tea party or somebody’s baby shower. So, if you’re like me, and tend to wake up on Saturday and/or Sunday morning lacking the energy to mix joyful prints, or just want to be more comfy than you ever could be in a strappy sundress, try dressing up your favorite sweatshirt or tee with forgiving stretch-skinnies, a statement bag, and a bold lip. (A good shade of lipstick and big sunnies are the best tools for looking polished when you’re feeling less-than.) I think graphics with a sense of humor, like these other witty tops by Piece Apparel, make the perfect palette for a look that’s chic, but not too serious, which is exactly how brunch should feel when you’re doing it right. For those who feel confident in their styling abilities, add a statement necklace or a Peter Pan collar to further elevate your look. As for shoes, go with something comfortable but sleek. While I personally find these ALDO heeled sandals light as air, if the idea of walking in heels after a long night out makes you want to crawl back under the covers, just reach for your favorite pair of ballet flats or slides.

Photos by Miranda Mu

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Essays, Feminism, Humor, Pop Culture

LOL: I Received Death Threats For Saying I Don’t Think Shailene Woodley is a Good Actress

Before I get into the details of the title of this post, I’d like to apologize for my near month-long hiatus from the Sauce. I’ve been getting back into the swing of school, trying to become a legitimate adult who doesn’t smoke weed every day and does laundry on a regular basis, and spending quality time with my boyfriend, friends and family without checking social media every minute. Oh, and I cut off about eight inches of my hair and bleached the ends, and I am LOVING it—but more on that another time. I’ve been meaning to let my readers in on the fact that I consider myself a writer first and a stylist second. I’ve been meaning to write more essays about pop culture and feminism on the blog, and last night presented the perfect opportunity to start.

A while back, some journalist or whatever (it’s a loose term these days) asked 22-year-old actress Shailene Woodley if she identifies as a feminist. It’s something the media wants every woman in the public eye to address right now—not because it’s a crucial topic, but more often because, in a disgrace to the idea of feminism itself, it has, in many ways, become a misguided trend that certain people carry around like a handbag. Don’t get me wrong; society has made some incredible feminist progress lately, but there are also many people who don’t actually know what feminism means (cough, cough, Rhianna) and who seem to say “I’m a feminist!” the same way they might say “I’m wearing Valentino!” Shailene Woodley is not one of those people. Her response to the question was basically that she does not identify as a feminist because she doesn’t believe it’s appropriate to suggest that women are superior to men. Clearly, Woodley was a little confused on the topic, and the media consequently pounced on the opportunity to shame her for this, which bothered me. For one thing, Woodley is quite young—a year younger than myself—and, given that she’s starred in a new movie just about every hour for several years now, I think it’s safe to say she hasn’t had time to take a Women’s Studies course, which is where I came to comprehend the true meaning of feminism, a mere year before the dialogue on feminist issues became the lively, ubiquitous one it is today. Without the luxury of taking that course on gender-related social conflict (a subject that should be required of all liberal arts programs), I’m not so sure my response would have been any better informed than Woodley’s. Secondly, Shailene Woodley is an actress: it isn’t exactly her job to talk about social/political issues or to explain the concept of feminism to the rest of us, and even though her level of celebrity comes with a certain level of responsibility, I still don’t think it was right for her to be cornered or criticized in this way. I also happen to think she’s not a very good actress.

I must admit, I can be a film and television snob. I have my guilty pleasures, but for the most part, I’m picky and critical when it comes to film. Film and television are two of my foremost passions, perhaps in part because dialogue is my favorite component of writing. I literally watch a full movie almost every day, and I’ve gone out of my way to study the subject formally even though I am an English Literature major (Boston University offers some wonderful film/lit combo courses), so I’ve been trained to hold all aspects of film, including actor performances, to a certain standard. I should state that I do understand movies should be judged for what they are: not every movie is made to be an Oscar-worthy, meaningful masterpiece; in fact, most movies simply serve to entertain a specific demographic, but, in my opinion, that shouldn’t affect an actor’s drive to convey their characters authentically. Before I say anything about Woodley’s acting ability, I should also confess that I haven’t seen The Descendants (2011), which was Woodley’s breakout, critically acclaimed movie, nor have I seen this year’s blockbuster Divergent, because, you know, I’m not in high school. (See? I can be a snob.) I did, however, recently watch Woodley’s movies The Spectacular Now (2013), The Fault in Our Stars (2014), and White Bird in a Blizzard (2014), all of which are based on successful young adult novels, and I feel strongly that Woodley’s performances in all three were weak, synthetic, forced, and mechanical. Woodley wasn’t my only problem with these movies. I thought The Spectacular Now was a flat-noted rip-off of an iconic movie called Say Anything (1989). Maybe you’ve heard of it? I also thought Woodley received a little too much applause when she cut her hair for her role as a cancer patient in The Fault in Our Stars, based on the novel by John Greene (which I happened to enjoy). She’s not the first actor to alter her appearance for a role, but she is the only one I can think of whose “team” felt compelled to share a tearful video of the transformation, and, you know, there are actual people with cancer who don’t get paid millions to lose their hair. Anyway, while the book made me cry, the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars made me cringe. Plenty of filmmakers have managed to gracefully incorporate today’s technology into their movies, while the masterminds behind The Fault in Our Stars decided the best way to depict teen-texting in a tale of complex love and intense loss would be…animation? As for Woodley, she can’t be blamed for that flaw, but I felt she made the character seem a bit too apathetic, although perhaps this was her subconscious reaction to her costar Ansel Elgort’s painfully cheesy performance (—acting is reacting!!!). The trailer for White Bird in a Blizzard promised a suspenseful and unique coming of age story, but it’s actually just another movie that perpetuates the notion that husbands “walk out” on their families, while wives “disappear.” (Let us always keep in mind that both men and women are victims of gender stereotyping.) Not to mention, it’s a total bore. The entire movie seems to avoid its own plot (that Woodley’s character’s mother has mysteriously vanished), and is mostly comprised of Woodley and Gabourey Sidibe taking swigs of vodka and having cliché conversations about loss of virginity, as if it is the single most important goal a girl will encounter. The way Woodley and Sidibe read their lines is reminiscent of a high school play, but not of high school itself. Neither Woodley nor I was 17 years old so long ago, and yet, based on her performances in these movies, you’d think she has no memory of that chapter in her life. Well, maybe she doesn’t; after all, she’s been playing the role of an adolescent girl on-screen since 2008, so it’s possible that she never really got to be one. Either way, if an actress takes on a role, I expect her to fulfill it, and I feel that Woodley repeatedly misses the mark. And I know you might think that I’m pompously over-analyzing movies meant for an age group that hasn’t fully matured, but if you compare these current hyped-up teen flicks to classics like The Breakfast Club (1985) and Mean Girls (2004), you might realize that the quality of these newer movies actually patronizes the teenage demographic.

Let me digress for a moment and explain something about myself. There are few things I value more than humor; I love fashion, but I live for laughs. In spite of my stylish social media presence, I spend most of my time in sweats, trolling Netflix, Amazon, and On Demand for fresh comedy that will make me laugh out loud. I have been watching South Park religiously since it first aired in 1997—when I was seven. I have watched almost every stand-up special (and every documentary about stand-up comedy) available on Netflix more than once. I believe that comedy helps us better understand the world and each other, and that it helps us heal. Comedy colors so much of my identity as a woman, as an American, as a person of Jewish faith, and as a human being trying to get through each day with a smile. Making people laugh makes me feel good, and as sentimental as I can be about humor, I also tend to revel in the “mean” kind of jokes that society so badly wants women to avoid. Needless to say, I adored and admired Joan Rivers, and I was devastated by her passing. Sarah Silverman, another hero of mine, put it perfectly when she wrote of Rivers, “She was 81 and she was taken too soon.”  In many ways, Joan gave me permission to be the dynamic type of woman I am today—a woman who can be fashionable and funny without feeling like a contradiction. Joan knew the importance of laughing a little at everyone, including herself. When she died, there were plenty of “haters,” if you will, who expressed bizarre happiness over the comedienne’s death, probably because Rivers had at one point made scathing, but nonetheless harmless jokes about said haters’ favorite celebrities. Part of me wanted to retaliate against those who celebrated Rivers’ death instead of her life, but if I know one thing, it’s that if there is an afterlife, Joan is somewhere laughing her ass off at those negative remarks, and blowing kisses at the people who cracked jokes about the fact that the Queen of plastic surgery died on the operating table. She would have loved that. Anyway, Joan’s particular sense of humor had a major impact on my own, and my sense of humor is something of which I’ve always been quite proud.

So, last night, after Modern Family and South Park, I decided to give Woodley another chance, and rented White Bird in a Blizzard, mostly because I really liked director Gregg Araki’s classic stoner movie Smiley Face (2007). (See? I’m only a snob to an extent.) Unfortunately, I found myself sitting through another one of Woodley’s dull portrayals of a young woman “discovering herself,” and so I tweeted, without hesitation, and perhaps in the spirit of honoring Joan Rivers, “It’s not Shailene Woodley’s job to accurately define feminism. Her job is acting. She just happens to suck at that too.” I gave myself a laugh, and didn’t give it much thought, because my tweets typically get little to no attention, and because it never occurred to me that my stance on Woodley’s performances would matter to anyone. After all, it wasn’t a comment on her character, just on the way she portrays fictional characters…No one in Twitter Land had anything to say about my two prior tweets that day: “I hate when a piece of food I really want refuses to get aboard my utensil and into my mouth. #GetInMyBelly”, and “GAP’s ‘dress normal’ campaign is giving me rage blackout. #BeAnIndividual.” My Woodley joke, however, did make some waves. Within seconds, Divergent diehards were ripping me apart. I was asked not “h8.” I was called a “wannabe hipster” and told to “go do a photo shoot with a pumpkin spice latte” (I don’t drink coffee). I was repeatedly reminded that Woodley has received close to thirty nominations for various awards, which I will admit is pretty impressive for such a young actress. However, in an era where ten films get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture just so the Oscars will have higher ratings, and since the majority of Woodley’s nominations have come from less prestigious associations that specifically honor young actors’ performances in projects targeting the teen demographic (a Teen Choice Award isn’t exactly proof of notable talent in my book), I’m just…not convinced that she’s so exceptional. I was told, in myriad ways, to shut the fuck up. These comments made me laugh harder than my own, but then I was told that I am “the reason white people are perceived as retards”, which I found especially troubling, because I don’t think my negative opinion of a young starlet’s career to date warrants using the word retard in that ugly, derogatory manner, and because I’m not sure how or why my opinion on Woodley as a professional actress could trigger such racism. (Plus, I’m 99.9% sure that Woodley is white…so I was pretty confused about that particular person’s point.) And then a shocking number of people said they would kill me.

Everyone knows the expression that no press is bad press, and maybe that’s true. Regardless, I have to admit, receiving death threats freaked me out a little—though perhaps not as much as the incalculable spelling errors in those threats. (If you regularly spell words with numbers instead of letters, you should reevaluate your life.) Mostly, I was left thinking, What’s the big fucking deal? I realize that Shailene Woodley is the star of many popular movies based on beloved young adult novels, and that she sits front row at Miu Miu fashion shows. However, as far as I know, she hasn’t actually won any of the more high-profile awards to discredit my opinion (the operative word being opinion—there are plenty of actors with Golden Globes and Oscars under their belts whose work I also dislike); Woodley certainly isn’t making progressive feminist speeches at the U.N. that bring me to tears (for the record, I don’t think Emma Watson’s acting track record is so hot, either), and, most importantly, who the fuck threatens someone’s life for not loving an actress’s body of work? For years now, I have considered social media to be a venue for jokes, and it makes me sad that there are people out there who feel compelled to take this side of pop culture so seriously. If you consider the history of the entertainment industry, you’ll realize that criticism plays an integral role in the fun of it all—and that’s what I was doing: having fun; so I find it highly disconcerting that Woodley’s Twitter fans took such a violent approach to enjoying her work. If you love an actor/actress, do you need complete strangers to agree? Ultimately, it’s not a big deal. I realize that I have a minuscule following, and that Twitter users will be over me and onto the next apparent travesty before I even finish writing this. What does bother me is that I honestly believe that if I’d previously tweeted something about how Woodley was wrongly criticized for her misguided commentary on feminism, no one would have noticed.

If you read my blog regularly, you might remember my angry rant regarding people’s negative Facebook comments about Lena Dunham’s body, and you might be thinking to yourself that I of all people should understand how it feels to be upset by savage remarks about a celebrity one holds in high esteem. There’s a difference, though, between judging someone for their appearances, and judging someone for the quality of their work. I honestly don’t care about Shailene Woodley’s looks, the same way Dunham’s body doesn’t affect my perspective on the integrity of her career. You might also be thinking to yourself, Didn’t Joan Rivers host a weekly show called Fashion Police, on which she eviscerated various celebrities for their appearances, and aren’t I therefore being extremely hypocritical? That’s a very good question! However, Rivers never, to my knowledge, suggested that a person’s outfit choices had anything to do with talent, and I feel that many people discredit and dismiss Lena Dunham’s work simply because they find her physically unappealing. I discredited Woodley’s work solely based on her work itself. Ultimately, I’m sure Shailene Woodley is the wonderful lady her fans so ferociously insist she is, I just don’t think her talent matches the hype, and I really don’t think that’s a good reason to want me dead. And not for nothing, but you know who definitely doesn’t give a shit about my Woodley joke? The young actress who makes millions of dollars and has millions of fans (who are apparently prepared to kill to defend her honor) and sits in the front row at Miu Miu runway shows. So I don’t think Shailne Woodley is a good actress…Kill me!

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Fashion, Humor

Nip Tips

I’m one of those fortunate girls who can frequently go braless (or unlucky, if you just LOVE huge boobs, I guess). When I do wear a bra, it’s usually one of these minimal things from American Apparel, which are quite literally just two tiny triangles of lace with no underwire at all. I just find bras generally uncomfortable after a few hours, and I like to maintain a natural look when I can. (Women of the 20s, 60s, and 90s had it figured out.) Plus, so many tops/dresses look silly when straps or seams can be seen. But it’s getting cold in Boston, and there are some occasions when you’d rather people be unaware of the fact that your nipples are hard enough to cut diamonds. When your outfit demands you go natural, but nature demands coverage, what do you do? The original nipple covers are essentially circular bandaids. If you don’t put them on super carefully, your nipples won’t show but the creases will, and taking them off is a bitch. FEAR NOT! Bristols 6 Nipples Covers have come to the rescue: they’re completely invisible and comfortable under clothes, and they’re reusable. They even come in different colors to match your skin tone. Totally nipular, dude!

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Fashion, Humor, Pop Culture

Derelicte

Homeless bag lady-chic is one of those mysterious “Haha I’m kidding…but seriously, this looks good” compartments of fashion. Rooted in ’90s grunge and made famous by the Olsen twins, it’s a hard look to master, and even if you get it right, the majority of people will hate your outfit. Whatever. Sexy was never my strong suit. Since layering is the key ingredient to this style, fall/winter is the perfect time to do your best Blue Steel and go totally “derelicte…”1Q1A5801I take my T by Alexander Wang column dress right into winter with my American Apparel Mohair Loose Cardigan, a scarf & beanie from LF Stores, and, introducing my latest obsession: the Jeffrey Campbell Nirvana Boots a la Nasty Gal.1Q1A5804 - Version 2

1Q1A5797Can you say man repeller? 1Q1A5807

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Photos by Amanda Rosen

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Essays, Fashion, Feminism, Humor, Pop Culture

Talking Fashion

During a recent pause my in my anthropology class, a female classmate and I got into an enthusiastic conversation about fashion—about how street style culture in Boston is definitely on the rise, and about some of our favorite designers. One of the boys in class (who, by the way, wears one dangly earring, and in my opinion has a pretty distinct sense of style) interjected to patronize us, saying, “I don’t get why anyone cares about designer labels. I rip the labels off my clothes.” (I guess he’s never considered that some underprivileged children might have worked really hard to sew those labels in. But like, what could be worse than adhering to labels!? Oh, wait—being the person who says, “I don’t adhere to labels” out loud.) I looked at him and asked, “Do you like music?” and because he is a living, breathing human, he said yes. So I explained to him that being a fan of a fashion designer is no different than being a fan of a musician (or a painter, or a writer, etc.). I explained that I wear certain labels because I appreciate their work—because it speaks to me on a personal level. If their work were to become shitty (poor in quality or simply not relevant to my personal style), I wouldn’t keep buying their stuff…the same way people reject musicians or authors or movie directors when their work goes down the toilet. A designer’s body of work is like any other artist’s, and those of us who understand fashion reference it similarly. Specific collections and eras in fashion are just like albums and eras in music, and all other artistic media. (1950s Christian Dior, “Led Zeppelin II,” 1990s Helmut Lang, Picasso’s blue period…You get it.) And I added, “Music, and all art forms, are just as superficial as fashion, and I’m amused by people who think it’s any different.” He shifted his weight awkwardly from one foot to the other and grumbled, “Well, now it’s like that…” as if the music industry was molested by its drunk uncle and then ran away with its already corrupt friend, the fashion industry, to self-destruct and destroy all our souls—as if music hasn’t had a strong superficial side since long before this kid was even born. In my opinion, mainstream music has become more about image and less about artistic integrity while fashion has strived to exponentially push creative boundaries. But because fashion is so directly linked with physical appearances, people constantly assume it’s a shallow and artless industry, and that people who take an interest in fashion are empty, superficial people. This…is bullshit, and an ironically judgmental and superficial point of view.

I was struggling in my sixth grade science class, so the teacher pulled me out of the classroom not to ask how she could help me better grasp the material, but to tell me that I was “just like Cher in Clueless” and that I viewed school as “nothing but a fashion show.” Forget the fact that everyone has a different learning style—I liked clothes, so obviously this was the source of my academic difficulty, right? It’s been ten years, and I have more than a few cute outfits to put on my résumé. And yet, there will always be people who dismiss me for loving fashion—for “caring about designer labels.” Designing clothes, constructing garments, and putting outfits together are extremely artistic, labor-intensive processes. For me, getting dressed is a liberating form of self-expression that’s actually devoid of labels—I can be a different version of myself every day. It helps me get out of bed in the morning, and I’m never going to let anyone put me down for taking joy in that.

Yes, fashion has its superficial qualities: money, intimidation, popularity, sex appeal, harsh criticism, and some other deadly sins play major roles in the whole fashion scene (not to mention the issue of manufacturing), and these aspects of the industry have presented some moral conflicts for me at times. People tend to automatically respect artistic media such as writing or what you might find in art exhibits and galleries because they expect that kind of work to represent larger moral concepts, while fashion is vilified because it presumably only represents “what’s hot right now.” However, the fact that society tells us it’s okay to spend thousands of dollars on a painting and shames those who invest in clothing is problematic—because this has caused me to ask myself, Can I be a good person if I pursue a career in fashion?; If I follow that path, am I automatically anti-feminist? I took a women’s studies course in which we read a book called The Cult of Thinness, which compared America’s obsession with weight and appearances to some of the most dangerous religious cults. The cover of the book was a photo of a fashion show finale (—judging by the nude-colored sheaths, I would venture to guess it was a Calvin Klein ’90s catwalk), and I felt a pang of guilt for knowing more than one of the models by name. I had a momentary identity crisis, and then I realized that feminism means exerting my power to pursue whatever career I want, and that I can have a positive impact on this so-called “cult.” I can remind people that fashion is an art, and encourage everyone to embrace their unique beauty and to wear what makes them happy, not what the media claims is cool. Though fashion may seem like the most exclusive club, it’s actually wildly inclusive: it’s all about celebrating the weird (i.e. that high fashion stuff that is often categorically unwearable), drawing inspiration from different cultures, uniting those cultures, and, of course, unconditional acceptance. What would the fashion industry be without the LGBT community?

There are countless movements within the fashion world to right its wrongs—more and more companies/designers are sweatshop free, make stylish plus-sized collections, and collaborate with stores like Target to offer high-end looks at affordable prices. And everyone who actually understands fashion knows that those who do buy and wear designer labels for the sake of status just don’t get it. Plus, if you’re going to attack the fashion industry for being a “cult” that pressures people into an unhealthy obsession with appearances, you might also want to examine the whole “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” thing…and if you think trends don’t play into music, movies, TV shows, and the whole “real” art scene, well, you’re pretty fucking delusional. Fashion might appear to revolve around trends and putting people down, but I’ve witnessed fashion’s power to raise spirits. I spent the last year working in fashion retail, and helping women piece together ensembles that visibly boosted their confidence was so rewarding, and definitely restored my faith in the positive nature of fashion and personal style. Ultimately, fashion is just like anything else: an exciting and contradictory combination of good and evil. Love it or hate it, fashion brings people together and makes the world a little more colorful. With that said, stay saucy my friends (and watch this quintessential scene from The Devil Wears Prada)…

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