Lovely Links: 2/12/10

Couture Allure has a few choice words about the proliferation of unrealistic digitally enhanced images in advertising.

In related news, Angie has some ideas about why the concept of age-appropriate dressing is so insulting to many women.

I’m a dedicated heels girl, but Kyla has some good points about why flats are fabulous.

Is fashion oppressive, or a source of fun and self-expression? Actually, it’s both.

Forever 21 is not universally adored, as it turns out. Your thoughts?

I am totally participating in Tell Her She’s Beautiful. Anyone else hear about this darling Facebook-based event? (Thanks, Elise!)

Why can’t I coin a term as fantastic as “boobquet”?

Quick and easy ways to perk up your casual winter wardrobe.

An argument AGAINST constantly cleaning and purging your closet, and tips on growing your own vintage clothing.

Watch this video. Please. It made me cry. And not just because I’m hormonal, I swear. (Via WATRD, more on the project here.)

And, from the Department of Random: 43 Ways to Simplify Your Life. (Includes such wise suggestions as, “Smell your finger. All of it.” and “Sit on a big, thick book.” Cheers Cal.)

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  • Anonymous

    I understand the frustrations with sweatshop but are there any stores that are affordable, cater to a wide range of sizes and use only organic materials? Even if I wanted to sew my own clothes, the fabric comes from sweatshop labor. In fact, I'd venture that most of what we use are made by folk earning a sub-par wage and working in exploitative environments. I would love to be proven wrong.

    -Rainee

  • Healthy and Homemade

    I don't really know what to say about F21 and the articles issues with working conditions, quality, etc. I am extremely thrifty, and I appreciate the store for being able to keep me "in style" (and just clothed in general). As for their working conditions . . . don't work there then? I don't know. When I was in college I worked a ton of jobs I HATED, but I was in college so that's what I had to do. Also, I'm not saying sweatshops are good. I don't believe that they're good and that the workers are treated fairly/well compensated, but . . . do they have other options in terms of employment? Like my college situation, maybe people are working in sweatshops because that's their only option and their only opportunity to make a living.

    Now that I'm not a college student, I'm beyond thankful I'll never have to work retail again but at the same time those jobs are there for a reason. There will always be someone willing to work there, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, and education level.

    I like shopping at F21, but I can absolutely understand why some many people want to gripe about it. I also think it's hilarious the article favors H&M who is ballsy enough to throw away and damage their excess clothing. Because that's better? And they're calling Target's clothing "disposable"??

    I agree that F21's clothing is beyond cheap, but Target?!?! I have Target clothing that I've had and worn frequently for yeeeears. Come to think of it, my white eyelet skirt that I've had since high school is from F21. I don't know, I get the pros and cons, but when it comes down to it F21 has cheap and trendy clothing that shoppers will continue to love and adore.

  • Kyla

    Thank so much, Sal, for including me in your link round-up! I'm totally flattered to be highlighted by such a smart lady 🙂

  • Academichic

    Really great roundup, as always!

    The F21 article was preaching to the choir, in my case.

    Also loved the one about the ridiculousness of air brushing these days! S.

  • Kate @ Tres Lola

    Ta for the links Sal – always enjoy the round ups you do.

    Just re: sweatshops that was mentioned by another commenter. I'd rather buy nothing than cheap chain store sweat shop manufactured clothing. My desire to be "fashionable" will never be greater than my desire to respect and do right by my fellow men & women around the globe – no women should have to work a ridiculously long day with little to no pay just so I can have some pretty shoes or a sparkly top.

  • vêtements déments

    I cannot stand Forever 21 – and sometimes it seems as if I'm the only 20something around who feels that way. I find the sweatshop labor appalling and have also been sickened, for years, by the ethics of the owners and their practice of blatantly ripping off other designer's prints and patterns. It's why I've never really shopped there and feeds into the reasons why I've dedicated this entire year to second hand purchases only.

  • Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    Thanks for including my post in your links roundup this week! I'm glad I inspired you!

  • Anonymous

    I was bothered by that video!! 98% of everyone in it is a white teenager/twenty-something with nice figures!! I counted only one (overt) mother, and possibly 3 people over the age of 40.

    I think that your message of beauty is more all-encompassing than the video, but where it concerns the clip, issues of personal beauty/self acceptance go beyond "I have kinky hair" or "I have freckles" but am still young, healthy, and good-looking. Issues of looking good permeate through many more, heavier levels. Where were all the pregnant women in that video? The people who are too poor to get their fixed teeth and buy expensive eye gels? People that are chronically ill? The people that have lost limbs? That are old? That got plastic surgery they regret??

  • Sal

    Anonymous: I guess I feel like messages of positivity have value, even if they don't include absolutely everyone in their examples.

    I completely agree that there's more to self-acceptance than loving your freckles, but also believe that you've got to start somewhere. It's amazing what tiny quirks get tagged as "flaws," especially by younger women. So while some of these things might seem minor to us, they may feel major to the video's target demographic.

    Finally, although most of the folks in this vid are for sure young, I saw both ethnic and bodily diversity in there as well as moms, elderly and middle-aged people, and folks with scars and extra fingers. I'd say that's a decent effort at diversity.

  • Audi

    I'm totally going to try sleeping in the liquor cabinet — it would save so much time going back and forth!

  • Claire

    Sally, forgive me if this seems a bit rambling, but I'm really interested in your opinion on the F21 article/debate, if you have time. I've thought through issues like this deeply and always get hung up in a bit of a logical conundrum, like so: Say I decide to ban this store (and perhaps others) from my personal shopping for ethical reasons. Even if I only shop 2nd hand, I could unknowingly buy one of their brands anyway unless I know all variations of all their brands all the time (unrealistic). And further, taking this stand would be hypocritical and pointles (to me! not necessarily others) if I'm not going to ban all other labels that have any semblence of these practices, which would require researching every brand I ever shop (unrealistic). This leads me to the conclusion that if I'm going to make this action for ethical reasons, I can only buy clothes/brands that I have fully researched, and that uphold ethical standards all the way through the production process (including component production, such as cloth/thread/buttons/etc, which would come into play even if I decided to make all my own clothes). This is also very unrealistic for what I hope are obvious reasons. And to me, this ethical dilemma branches out into almost everything we consume, similar to what Rainee pointed out.

    There obviously are more angles to the reasoning here, such as, will me refusing to shop there actually have the impact of making things better?… or is there a possibility of perhaps worsening the life situation of some of these workers (ie, what if the illegal aliens have to get into some worse job for money, get deported, fall into the social system, etc) and am I really on the hook for this because I shop there? Is perhaps a more effective route to support the legal actions being taken against the company, donate money, write a letter etc?… but honestly there are countless humanitarian crises going on in the world and only one me… and this one does not top my personal list, so giving it my limited resources is not logical for me.

    So, to shop F21 or not to shop F21? It's not a simple issue in my way of reasoning through things. It seems relevant to add, a few years back I felt compelled to stop buying "real"-stoned jewelry for similar reasons (think "Blood Diamond"); but because of these same arguments running through my head, I ultimately would cite the main reason as being that it just seems like a complete waste of money and it has no meaning for me if jewelry holds "real" stones rather than cz… wish I'd realized that b4 hubby put my engagement ring on a credit card 8 or so years ago 🙂

    So I guess to boil it all down, will/should folks stop shopping F21 after reading this article? I guess I'm wondering Sally.. will you? Why or why not? Do you feel it would make an impact, negative or positive?

  • Sal

    Claire: Doll, you have pretty much hit on every question and conundrum I face down when I consider shirking fast fashion. It's uncanny, really. Kinda like you crawled inside my head.

    That said, I don't shop at F21. I can stomach the occasional "designer inspired" item, but a place that makes it their business to knock off every single hot item is just too much. The quality of product is generally crap, and that drives me crazy. And I get sensory overload pretty easily, so shopping there gives me migraines. I'd rather thrift any day.

    Target is my fast-fash fix. I'm sure they're employing sweatshop labor, too, but as you've pointed out, unless you grow, spin, and weave your own fiber, you're going to support sweatshops SOMEWHERE along the purchasing chain. Target, at least, gives a huge amount of their profit back to charity. And they don't have weird evangelical tendencies. I'm not saying they're a pack of saints, and I don't shop there super often or for anything other than basics … but I prefer Target to F21 for quick fix fashion.

    Will people stop shopping at F21 after reading that article? A few may. But the majority will not change their behaviors because people want what they want. But it's generated some great discussion, so I think it was worth posting!

  • Claire

    Haha! That's funny Sal, about the head-crawling. Well then, I guess I needn't have fretted so about my ramblings being misunderstood 🙂

    It seems to me that we've been able to navigate past the quandry of finding an ultimate answer to this dilemma in a similar fashion – by discovering compelling, personal reasons outside of the ethical paradox (as I see it) to guide us to the right decisions for us. Which I consider a sensible, balanced solution… to keep my head from exploding! lol 😀

    I am glad you posted the article, b/c thinking through these issues again from a different angle (clothes vs. jewelry) has helped me clarify my own position based on my internal line of reasoning. That is, that there are too many unknown factors for me to know what true effect buying or not buying will ultimately have, and further that it is inappropriate and ineffectual for me to assume a feeling of personal responsibility for such things. More productive and meaningful is for me to channel my finite energies into the issues that matter most to me.

    Incidentally, I find it pretty impressive that you find the time and energy in YOUR limited resources to tend so diligently to this blog (and like, specifically answer my question!), work your job, nurture your relationships, keep up with other interests, etc… so, thanks! I mean, it takes me forever just to write a comment 😉 Perhaps someday you'll be inspired to share a post on how you manage such a feat…

    🙂 cheers!