Culture, Fashion

Independence Day: Go Big or Go Home

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DSC_0700Sandro ‘Eva’ top, Carmar denim shorts, Furla ‘YoYo’ cross body cosmetic case with ‘Lady’ fringe tassel, Jeffrey Campbell boots, Spitfire Sunglasses.

Some people are wary of theme dressing, but I think it can present a fun, creative opportunity. Who doesn’t want an extension on Halloween? Plus, we’re in an election year (it’s a complete shitshow), and America seems to be in this weird, constant flow of milestones and tragedies. If there were ever a year to wear your patriotism, it’s this one. That’s one way I’m coping, anyway. So, for your pleasure, here I am in a red, white and blue ensemble, complete with classic Daisy Dukes and powder blue cowboy booties, the perfect look for a 4th of July BBQ or party of any kind.

My mom recently texted me to ask if I’d left blue suede cowboy boots in her closet a while back, but the description didn’t ring a bell. Then I saw them, and my heart leapt when I saw these bad boys. I remembered buying them just before college…and then promptly never wearing them. How could I neglect such fabulous shoes? While there are plenty of more subtle ways to style these retro booties, it seemed like fate that they’d waltz back into my life just before July. I mean, do you see that star detailing?

Since denim shorts and cowboy boots are a very literal combination for the 4th, if you want to stay on-theme without going too kitschy, try a blouse that includes some red, white, or blue without actual stars or stripes. The red and white crochet collar on my Sandro top (now on sale), plus my luxe red leather bag add a level of maturity to my outfit (but not too much of course).

As you style yourself and celebrate throughout the weekend and this Monday, remember that denim is your friend and that red, white and blue looks great on everyone. Have fun with your look, and stay tuned to see how I wear my patriotism this 4th of July by following me on Instagram.

Photos by Miranda Mu

 

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Culture, Essays

Call Me Crazy, But We Need to Talk About Mental Health Right Now

Like most Americans right now, I’m extremely distraught over the shooting in Orlando, Florida, where I lived from 2009-2012. I’m horrified by how bigotry and hatred played into this act of terror, and I hope we all continue to shine a light on that aspect of what’s happened, because we absolutely cannot tolerate intolerance. I could use this moment and this space to preach about equality, which should always be our first priority, but I don’t believe I have anything new to offer on a subject that should be so obvious; we’re all people, and as Lin-Manuel Miranda put it at last night’s Tony Awards, “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.”

Less than two weeks after a shooting at UCLA that, to my knowledge, had nothing to do with sexuality, religion, or race, I personally want to focus on some things I believe we can immediately control in order to effect necessary change. Gun safety is the big one. Everyone’s talking about it: guns are dangerously easy to acquire in the U.S., and the country needs to loosen its ridiculous grip on the second amendment, adjust its policies, and work harder to prevent putting automatic weapons into the wrong hands. I feel like the conversation always ends there, though, and we rarely talk about what we mean by the “wrong hands.” In fact, I feel like a lot of people disgracefully use that subject as a vehicle for Islamaphobia, but religion hasn’t been the common thread tying the endless string of shootings in America together…The discourse on mental illness in America remains severely hushed, and the stereotypes surrounding mental illness are as ingrained as ever, despite the fact that mental illness is extremely common. As someone who isn’t ashamed to admit that I have to take medication every day and visit a therapist regularly in order to avoid manic-depressive episodes and manage my crippling anxiety, I’m curious as to how America plans to confront the role mental illness plays in gun violence, or begin reducing gun violence, if we can’t even manage talk about mental health at length at all. We need to be brave adults and just bust open the dialogue on mental health and de-stigmatize mental-emotional issues, because right now, for many Americans, guns are easier to access than health care and appropriate treatment. Mental illness doesn’t have to be shameful, and it doesn’t have to ruin lives.

I suppose I’ve contradicted myself. I am preaching equality: I don’t think people who suffer from mental illness are treated fairly in America. Many of the people we ultimately call monsters are people we cast off for being different, people we’d rather ignore than assist. At this time, I’m not going to bombard you with a bunch of statistics or clinical facts regarding mental illness; I’m just going to tell you, plain and simple, that stigmatizing or silencing groups of people based on fear, discomfort, a lack of understanding, and general prejudice, leads to unsafe situations, and when we aren’t safe, we aren’t free.

I hope you won’t think I’m being insensitive, or in any way excusing the Orlando shooter’s heinous, homophobic actions, or his affiliation with ISIS. There is no excuse for such bigotry, violence, or terrorism. The shooter is not the victim here. However, as many Americans gear up to place blame and fight hatred with more hatred, I think we should acknowledge that extremism, religious or not, often stems from mental-emotional instability. (The shooter’s ex-wife has stated that he was mentally ill, and cites this as the true root of his actions. She laments how this will affect the Muslim community.) I’m not saying a few therapy sessions or a prescription could have prevented this nightmare. I’m saying that the list of senseless shootings aside from this one is so long, that we must examine these massacres collectively and consider how we address mental illness more carefully. I could go on a million tangents in a million different directions right now, because the way I see it, most of our country’s problems are tightly intertwined, to a dizzying degree. But the bottom line is that we need to listen to each other, we need to accept each other. We need to give each other love, or at the very least, respect. And we need to open our eyes to reality. We need to ask ourselves why America faces mass shootings more frequently than any other country in the world, and and we need to become solution-oriented, instead of just angry and hateful. (I don’t know about you, but I am pretty fucking exhausted from being angry, and I’m certain I’ve exhausted all of my Facebook friends, too.) (…Insert angry rant about people who constantly talk about the Founding Fathers and harp on concepts that are completely irrelevant today…)

I’m sad, I’m scared—but I’m hopeful; and while I understand that a lot of the seemingly (or totally) empty “thoughts and prayers” on social media frustrate those who so desperately want to actively achieve change, I also personally appreciate how social media has created a platform for people to come together, enlighten and uplift each other, and initiate real conversations about real issues. Just think about Brock Turner: a judge may not have had the sense or decency to punish Turner appropriately, but social media has allowed us to rally together to raise his victim’s voice, to see that this injustice does not get swept under the rug, and to ensure that Turner ultimately won’t be entitled to the privileges he renounced as soon as he chose to rape someone. Similarly, in the wake of our country’s most recent tragedy, we can use social media to educate each other, sound off, brainstorm, and demand better protection for Americans and HUMAN BEINGS everywhere.

For my fellow Bostonians who’d like to show their support for Orlando beyond the digital world, a vigil is being held for the victims at Boston City Hall Plaza this evening at 6pm.

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Fashion, Travel

Bonnaroo: A Really Good Time

Unlike some of the other high-profile music festivals, such as Coachella and Governor’s Ball, almost all of the eighty-thousand people who attend the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee camp out in tents for the four-day extravaganza. This in no way eliminates fashion from the Bonnaroo scene, but it presents a challenge to festival fashion-enthusiasts who want to endure Roo in style. Comfort can’t be neglected when dressing for Bonnaroo and other festivals of its kind. Please enjoy these photos from my Bonnaroo 2014 experience (taken by Matt McKenna, kind strangers, and yours truly) and my list of key items and products and styles for the festival fashionista.

IMG_3187On the road I wore the lightweight Groceries Apparel ‘Wolff’ top, coated high-rise J Brand skinnies, a vintage necklace, MARC by Marc Jacobs combat boots, and my Oliver Peoples sunglasses.

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IMG_3211American Apparel California Select vintage halter top, Carmar denim shorts, Birkenstock “Gizeh” sandals, and an authentic Wayuu bag: Structured, comfortable sandals like Birkenstocks are necessary for the more rigorous festival, where you’ll spend most of your time on-foot. Don’t make the mistake of relying on flimsy flip-flops.

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IMG_3235Vintage Oscar de la Renta silk kimono dress from Nasty Gal, printed turband from LF Stores, Chanel sunglasses.

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026_26Helmut Lang tank, Millau perforated faux leather running shorts, BAGGU printed tote, MARC by Marc Jacobs sweatshirt and combat boots. To maintain your hair at a festival, be sure to bring dry shampoo. Oscar Blandi makes some great products, but Oribe has a dry shampoo alternative that doesn’t leave visible residue in your hair. Since roots tend to get oily while ends dry out in the sun, give dry conditioner a try, focusing on the ends of your hair.

024_24Brixton ‘Joanna’ hat from Nasty Gal, crop top from Urban Outfitters, Millau shorts, MARC by Marc Jacobs combat boots: running shorts in fun prints or textiles and combat boots were the definite MVPs of Bonnaroo this year.

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IMG_3244Be prepared for and positive about the possibility of rain. Poncho from Urban Outfitters, sunglasses from Walmart.

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007_7Since most festivals are blazing hot during the day, the nighttime chill can come as a shock. Bring soft tops that you can tie up in the heat and let down for more coverage once the sun goes down.

002_2My soft, high-waisted boyfriend jeans were the unsung heroes of my festival wardrobe.

004_4Floral crown from GoJane.com, Quay Australia sunglasses.

IMG_3277 (1)Silk aztec-printed dress from LF Stores, Le Specs sunglasses: so you can sit and dance comfortably in lightweight frocks, try wearing white Nike Pro Combat compression shorts underneath.

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014_14“Chi Chi” top from Nasty Gal, wooden necklace and high-waist shorts from American Apparel, lilac headband from LF Stores, Chanel sunglasses.

011_11Wide-brimmed hats, fanny packs, and anything tie-dye are festival essentials.

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hello.jpgPlease excuse my awkward tan/burn lines and shoebee status, and just focus on this awesome Wildfox Couture halter bikini with rainbow briefs. A cute bathing suit top can easily serve as your outfit of the day. I really don’t think I need to explain the greatness of Adidas original Pool Side sandals, do I?

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IMG_3338A gel manicure is a must for the rougher festival scene, unless you want to spend your days staring at the dirt underneath your nails. Take it as an opportunity to try some fun new nail art. And if you hate to go without lip color, but also hate the feel of makeup caking and baking in the sun, try a Revlon Color Burst balm stain. It moisturizes and feels like a regular lip balm, and actually lasts longer than most lipsticks. Miley Cyrus and the ongoing 90s fashion revival caused the double-bun look be a popular choice at Bonnaroo this year. It’s playful, and keeps your hair out of the way.

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003_3That’s all, folks.

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