I Love My Knees

knees

Can we talk about knees for a moment?

Many years ago, a friend made a passing comment about her “fat knees.” I was about 22 at the time and utterly baffled. Previous to that, I’d never met anyone who felt self-conscious about her knees for any reason and figured they were not a point of bodily scrutiny for most folks. Oh, how wrong I was. And the older I get, the more women I meet who are so ashamed of their knees that they insist upon covering them with long pants or midi skirts at all times. And although most of these women are older than me – apparently knees that have passed the age of 40 are frequently assigned to the “eye-searingly gross” category – some are younger. Many, many women hate their knees. Women of all ages, sizes, and shapes.

After years of media brainwashing, I understand how we end up hating our bellies and busts and upper arms. I don’t like it, but I get it: There is enough anatomic variety and enough emphasis on how those body parts “should” be shaped to warp our views. Knee-hatred, on the other hand, continues to baffle me. I mean, have you SEEN knees? They are joints, for crying out loud. They are a body part where a whole bunch of cartilage and bone and tendon converges to enable locomotion. They are not supposed to be smooth and wrinkle-free. They would not WORK if they were smooth and wrinkle-free. There would be very little bending possible in a knee covered in tight, taut skin. And unless you have a very specific set of genetics and proportions, there will be a saggy little bit of bonus leg perched atop your kneecap. THIS IS FINE! This is how knees look. And don’t go telling me that celebrity knees are made of nothing but unbearably sexy planes and angles. All knees are a little smooshy, a little wrinkly, a little odd looking. They were designed to be that way.

I believe that my mother-in-law and father-in-law have at least three fake knees between them, and I’ve watched them endure the agony of knee-replacement surgery. Whenever my own knees get a little stiff or creaky, I am reminded to steward them well, because they are essential and somewhat vulnerable, even in a non-athlete such as myself. If you have the ability to walk unaided, you can thank your knees for that. If you can ride a bike or squat down to grab a fallen pen or bend to seat yourself in a car, you can thank your knees for all of those things, too. They may not be gorgeous, but they are little miracles of biological design.

Am I saying that you are required to massage your knees with essential oils and sing them love songs? I am not. Am I saying that if you and your knees aren’t getting along, you must immediately begin wearing mini skirts to heal the rift? Nope. But it hurts my heart to see this vital, undervalued, and amazing body part so maligned. I know that super wrinkly, saggy knees make people feel self-conscious, and if you are self-conscious about ANYTHING it is your prerogative to keep that thing private in any way you see fit. But I’ve met dozens upon dozens of women who reject skirts and dresses and shorts that look utterly marvelous on them, simply because those garments showed some knee. Wearing below-the-knee hems can make you overheat in summer, it can break up your proportions in odd ways, it can severely limit your shopping and dressing options. And hiding your knees enables you to continue feeling ashamed of them.

So, if you have been knee-shy in the past, I hope I can encourage you to practice a little knee-love. Your knees look like that because of motion, and that motion is a blessing that some are denied. Your knees look like everyone else’s, and very few people are going to scrutinize them anyway. Your knees and my knees and Shailene Woodley’s knees are all a little smooshy, a little wrinkly, a little odd looking. And that is completely, utterly fine.

Image courtesy Coba. A version of this first appeared on Huffington Post.

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Two Stylists, Two Looks: Asymmetric Tunic

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My friend and fellow stylist Carly Gatzlaff and I have extremely similar business models for consulting with clients, but we also have very different personal styles. Naturally, we put our own preferences aside when working with clients and focus on their tastes and needs, but we definitely bring different ideas and techniques to the table. So we thought it would be fun and interesting for us both to take items from our personal wishlists, style them into outfits, then post them side by side. Today, we’re continuing this series with one of my picks – an asymmetric Eileen Fisher tunic!

Carly’s Look

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Details on Carly’s set here

CARLY’S THOUGHTS: A tunic length top calls for a skinny pant to balance it’s proportion. I am obsessed with loft’s darkest cranberry cord, the perfect compliment to any black or neutral top! Flip up the bottom of the cord, so it sits right on top of a lower black ankle boot. Finishing touches include two gold layered necklaces (huge this season) and a suede vest to create a bit more of a waist and provide some warmth!

Sally’s Look

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Details on Sally’s set here

SALLY’S THOUGHTS: I agree with Carly that a slim bottom is the best bet with a tunic, but I opted for faux leather-front leggings. (Love this plus option, too.) They’re also black, but the matte jersey and slightly shiny leather will create textural contrast. Also going for an ankle boot, but in suede since leather leggings and leather boots can look a bit odd butting up against each other. I would cuff the leggings under (a French cuff) so they hit at the top of the bootie – totally fine for there to be a little crumpling, too. I want to let the asymmetric hemline shine so I added a scarf for warmth (and a splash of color.) Finish it off with a slouchy, subtly metallic bag.

Definitely some overlap with these looks, but they’re quite different, too! Which one suits your taste? Or would you wear both?

Thanks again to Carly Gatzlaff of A la Mode Wardrobe Consulting, and keep your eyes peeled for the next installment!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Dressed for: Hanging in There

Already Pretty outfit featuring Prairie Underground Long Cloak Hoody, tie dye leggings, Frye Vera Slouch boots, Rebecca Minkoff handbag

Hoody – Prairie Underground (mine is overdyed) – in black
Tee – Alternative Apparel
Leggings – H&M
Boots – Frye Vera Slouch
Bag – Rebecca Minkoff Logan (no longer available) – similar
Necklace – Sage K & Co (no longer available) – VERY similar
Earrings – I thought Etsy but can’t find them – similar

Have I mentioned that I’ve been sick for about five weeks now? (Definitely did over on Instagram.) This is from several weeks ago, but I was sick then, too. And when I’m sick and my brain is in a fog, I reach for my favorite cool weather formula: Prairie Underground hoody, leggings, and boots. Comfy and cute. Done and done.

This particular hoody used to be a dusty rose color. It wasn’t my wisest purchase since dusty rose generally makes me look ill – even when I’m not! – so I overdyed it black. As you can see, the zipper didn’t dye, what with being plastic and all. I thought it might annoy me to have a mismatched zipper, but I actually kinda like the effect. Which is fortunate because I’ve got the skills to overdye, but I can’t swap out a zipper. I KNOW MY LIMITS.

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**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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