Lovely Links: 4/18/14

Registration is open for my Dress Your Best course on April 21!

I’ll be speaking with Nancy Rosenbaum as part of the Unlikely Entrepreneurs series at CoCo on May 5. Admission is free!

My San Francisco trip is booked and I have availability on May 16, 17, 18, and 20. If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in working with me, please drop me an e-mail.

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Legislation is making its way through Congress that would require any advertising that alters the human body through digital manipulation to be labeled as such.

Dear Lisa, please hand over your trompe l’oeil shirt right away and no one will get hurt. Love, Sally

“The actual beauty industry, the one in which I’m trying to be a major player … actively promotes conformity and self-fear. Our bodies are being micromanaged by men, by women, even by ourselves. Quite often we believe our eyelashes are shockingly short, our lips are problematically thin, and our hair has an unruly attitude (that’s code for curly).” (Cheers, Sarah)

Cool girl fave Alexander Wang will be the next designer to partner with H&M.

Classics always mix well, and I’m just swooning over Ela’s trench, blouse, skinnies, and heels.

These DIY gem-embellished cuffs are totally gorgeous, and super simple to create.

At Rewire I wrote about the evolution of nursing uniforms. Because, ya know, “Call the Midwife.”

More great jean jacket inspiration from Shey, who teamed hers with a full printed skirt and hedgehog brooch!

AND! Pretty Tall Style rounds up her faves for tall denim jackets.

“I have always had this ability to almost will things into my life, just by wanting them hard enough. What this really means is that I’m fortunate, and I know that, but with clothes it has always seemed more like casting spells. If I want something, I get a restless feeling, like heat in my body. Then I go out and find just what I am looking for, almost immediately.”

Fluevog is running their 10 Years of Free Shoes promo again – sign up at a local store, or enter automatically by ordering online.

Aarti looks just radiant in her striped top, skater skirt, and sassy hat.

San Francisco-based startup Thirdlove is trying to revamp the bra-shopping experience by letting women size themselves in the privacy of their homes. Think it’ll work? (Via Nubby Twiglet)

What if you don’t make your body wrong?

Sheila pulls together such a chic, bold print mix with a vibrant pop of yellow.

Can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself: Use a necklace to create a metallic halter for a convertible dress. Totally trying it come summer.

“By photographing people’s personal beauty rituals I attempted to capture this awareness, this intimacy that occurs only when one is forced to examine their own body, the most basic thing that is theirs, and build upon it.”

Love the contrasting print at the collar and cuffs of Heidi’s darling printed button-front.

Over at Huffington Post I wrote about how I don’t believe wearing makeup is a prerequisite for career success.

Emmie shares her plus-sized swimsuit picks for the season, including skirted, one-piece, and two-piece options.

“Is Barbie to blame for giving girls body image issues, or are there larger forces at work? The Doll Project explores the influence of visual culture and societal norms while caricaturing and satirizing unattainable standards of beauty.”

Totally amazed by how fantastic this lavender bomber jacket looks with a flippy full skirt. LOVE.

On the Fox 9 Buzz we talked about making pearls look modern.

Aya looks absolutely smokin’ in her thrifted, printed, full-skirted halter dress.

Tilda Swinton is a style icon and hero of mine. Here are some reasons why Swinton rocks.

Canadian-born musician Rae Spoon describes their style as “grunge prep.” Love everything about both of the subdued-yet-polished outfits featured in this post.

“What I can do is find a way to not be someone who perpetuates the myth of a lesser sex and even find ways to call bullshit on those who insist on reinforcing sexist ideas. And I’m lucky. I’ve been given an opportunity to fight this huge, historically insurmountable equality barrier. I have a daughter. With the help of my wife and all of the other women and men in our lives I get to teach this girl, from the very beginning of her life, that she’s a person first and foremost.”

You can view the first four minutes of the documentary film “The Illusionists” here. It explores how the beauty, fashion, and advertising industries seek to exploit our fears and insecurities to cultivate negative body image and sell products that claim they can “fix” our “flaws.”

With the changes over at Facebook, I’m trying to tweet more tips, ideas, and good reads. Follow me on Twitter, won’t you?

And from the Department of Random: 11 Product Names That Mean Unfortunate Things in Other Languages. Mmm, Pee Cola. (Possibly not safe for work.)

Also: Prance, llama, prance.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Shirt Dresses

*In this late-night feature – which will run on Tuesday and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*

Diana requested a few picks for shirt dresses, so here we go:

seersucker shirtdress

Charter Club Seersucker Belted Shirtdress – was $89, now $46.74
with code EASTER

You guys love seersucker, right? I totally do. Such a fun, retro, summery fabric. And this structured dress would be fabulous with some colorful sandals and a bold statement necklace. Throw on a sweater or blazer for cooler temps, or go without and add a stack of bracelets. Available in sizes 4 – 18.  This similar dress comes in sizes 14W – 24W.

boden gingham shirt dress

Boden Gingham Shirt Dress - was $128, now $108.80
with code Z7C9

Yeah. Ya know there’s a pretty good chance this will make its way into MY closet eventually what with the full pleated skirt and kicky gingham print. It’s cotton lined in cotton so lightweight and breathable but likely to wrinkle a bit. Could be fun to replace that self belt with a contrasting color! Available in sizes 2 – 18, including some tall sizes. Size availability varies by color. Not a shirt dress, but this fab gingham frock comes in sizes 0 -36W and can be customized for petite and tall lengths.

calvin klein shirtdress

Calvin Klein Printed Shirtdress - was $128, now $71.99

What a fun print. Versatile black and white in an abstract that hints at reptile. The skinny patent belt is cute, but could also be fun to swap out for a wider black or red belt. Play up the light, bright colors for spring and summer, then add more black to the mix for fall and winter. Available in sizes 2 – 14. This short-sleeved shirt dress has a similar abstract pattern and is available in petite and plus sizes.

gap chambray shirtdress

Gap Chambray Shirtdress - was $59.95, now $44.96
with code TREAT

For whatever reason, chambray shirtdresses tend to verge on tunic length and this one is definitely short-ish at mid-thigh. But that could be great for petites, and this style also comes in actual petite and tall sizes, too. A great staple for casual, warm-weather wear. Available in sizes XS – XXL including some tall and petite sizes. Also love this similar style in sizes 1X – 3X.

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for shirt dresses:

  1. Gap – Currently 26 fun styles. Wow.
  2. Kohl’s – Lots of cute, affordable options, including petite and plus sizes. This geo print straight skirt dress is so sleek.
  3. Boden – For several years running, Boden has offered shirt dresses in spring and summer. I’m pining for this oversized dot one.
  4. eShakti – Some are really just dresses with buttons, but lots of cute, full-skirted options.
  5. And, of course, THRIFT STORES! It will likely be easier to find straight-skirt styles, but fuller skirts turn up sometimes, too. (thethriftshopper.com can help you locate stores near you.)

**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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The Value of Dressing Your Today Body

Hi again! Re-posting here in case you’d like to comment, leaving previous version because I’ve tried a dozen things and can’t get the comments open, but several folks have linked back already. Thanks for your understanding!

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A girlfriend of mine has been unhappy with her body for … well, for as long as I’ve known her. She is one of the most naturally beautiful women I’ve ever known, and her generous, open, loving personality just serves to amplify the startling physical beauty that shines out from her silky hair, and ladylike hands, and creamy skin, and perfect-pout lips, and dive-into-me eyes. But she battles her body, and loses.

Constantly.

She adjusts her food intake, and then adjusts it some more. She tries meal schedules and diets and avoidance of certain foods. She counts calories. She exercises twice as much as me and twice as hard. She varies her workout routine, and monitors her heart rate to optimize her efforts, and pushes herself to her physical limits. And she stays the same shape and size, and she stays unhappy.

And while it doesn’t matter a whit to me if she gains weight steadily for the rest of her natural days, it drives her wild with frustration. And seeing that hurts my heart.

My girl constantly compliments me on my taste and style while simultaneously lamenting her own unsatisfying wardrobe. I’ve offered to shop with her countless times, but she always declines, saying she doesn’t want to invest in new clothes until she’s in a better place with her body. And for a while, I understood that. I’ve been there. I’ve shopped for a transitional body and been frustrated when I had to cast off newish duds after just a few wearings because they no longer fit.

But recently, I began to push harder and encourage her to get some outfits into rotation that work for her right now, at this weight and in this shape. And here’s why: Even if she finally hits on the magic combination of diet and exercise that allows her to smallen, why should she feel uncomfortable, uninspired, and unhappy with her appearance in the meantime? Wouldn’t it be possible to bring in a few key pieces – just a few – to make the rest of her wardrobe more flattering, functional, and fun? And what if she doesn’t change her waist size for another year or more? For five years? For ten? Will it have been worth it to feel frumpy and grumpy that whole time?

My weight and body configuration have shifted more times than I can count. (Or anyway more times than I can recount without boring you all into a stupor.) And the most important lesson I’ve learned from all those body shifts is this: Dressing for your today-body is a positive, empowering, and beneficial practice. Buying too-small clothes that you plan to fit into “someday” is ill-advised and seldom serves as the motivator you hope it will be. Wearing shoddily made or ancient or stopgap clothes until you’ve reached a different/better physical place just makes you impatient and uneasy while you’re working toward your goal. Dressing for a body you no longer have or don’t yet have encourages you to live in the past or future, and prevents you from enjoying the present. If your clothes do not fit the woman you are right now, maybe you should get rid of them and get some different ones.

Note that I did not say “new” ones. I recognize that anyone in the throes of a physical transition won’t want to max out her credit card on items that might get worn a single time. Exploring thrift, vintage, swap, and hand-me-down options for these purposes is a fantastic way to keep yourself looking and feeling great – even in transition – on a budget. If you don’t want to get new, get different.

I believe that part of learning to love yourself is learning to see yourself. And that means seeing yourself as you are right now, not as you hope to be in six months or as you used to be six months ago. And that can be so hard: Facing down the numbers on the scale, or the sizes on a rack of skirts at the Gap, or even just the mirror. The emotional effort it takes to see ourselves in our today-bodies can be tremendously draining,

I know. But there is real benefit to be gleaned from dressing your transitional body well. Looking good now can get you hooked on looking good: It can establish a habitual desire to feel awesome when confronted with a mirror, and can even fuel style and body-related goals. Even if your body is changing shape, you are likely to maintain the same basic proportions: The process of learning to dress your transitional body will provide knowledge about your figure that will carry over even if you shift again someday. But more than any of that, dressing in a way that flatters your figure right now will make you feel good RIGHT NOW. And you deserve that.

So what are you waiting for? Why are you dressing for a body you don’t have, and neglecting the beautiful one you’ve already got? Start dressing for your today-body, and worry about your tomorrow body … well, tomorrow.

Image courtesy Sodanie Chea

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