It’s Not About the Ad

Lovely reader Patty sent me this link a while back, and I hesitated to include it in any roundups because it gets into some diet-y, fitness-y, pushy stuff toward the end. In fact, I’d say if you struggle at all or are in recovery, skip it.

BUT. The first bit was pretty fab, and has stuck with me all this time. Particularly this passage:

Because if we’re honest, this isn’t a war on Photoshop, this isn’t a war on consumerism, and this isn’t a war on glossy magazine ads. Sure, mass media has a collective responsibility to be more honest with their portrayal and we, as consumers, have a collective responsibility to hold them accountable. BUT cultural “ideals” will always be plastered on billboards. That’s not going to change. Even in a non-Photoshopped world, we’re never going to look like supermodels. They’re, you know, super. The perfect storm of genetics and training and nutrition and lighting and makeup and spray tanning and 8 weeks of broccoli goes into one Armani ad.

It’s not about the ad.

This battlefront is waged within each and every one of us, individually. At the end of the day, at the end of the commercial, at the end of the magazine, nobody can make us feel inferior about our body without our permission. The best way to change the ecosystem is to change our own psychology. We have the fundamental, inalienable right to look at a Photoshopped god-like body and appreciate it while simultaneously cherishing our own body.

This perspective isn’t nearly as popular or widely discussed as the need for change in the system.

Now I understand that retouched photos create impossible beauty standards and believe that magazines and ad agencies should back WAY off it. I also understand that being able to look at a Photoshopped image and say, “She looks great. And damn, so do I!” is a worthy goal, but an incredibly difficult one for many of us. Myself included. But it’s the germ of the idea that I’m clinging to: That pushing for change within the advertising and fashion industries is important but slow, and that a quicker route to empowerment is to accept all bodies as good, to discard the figure-shape hierarchy, to explode the definition of beauty and include ourselves in it.

We live in an oppositional world where we’re trained to want – even demand – black or white, yes or no, this or that. There’s not enough “and” in our lives right now. When we look at photos of supposedly “perfect” women’s bodies and faces, many of us – again, myself included – often feel shameful, deflated, filled with failure. Because our brains are saying, “Since I can’t be that, I’ll never be beautiful.” What if we could look at photos of supposedly “perfect” women’s bodies and faces, acknowledge their loveliness, and NOT feel that rush of self-focused negativity? What if we could just note their appearances neutrally, realize they have nothing to do with us or our beauty or our worth, and move on? Easier said than done, not an excuse for rampant re-touching, but definitely worth pondering, I think.

How we feel about our bodies is linked to how we feel about other people’s bodies. But we might be able to weaken that link a bit if we remind ourselves that there’s no one right way to have a beautiful body, and that there’s beauty enough for all of us to go around.

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Dressed for: Drop-waist Workarounds

Already Pretty outfit featuring denim jacket, Gudrun Sjödén striped dress, brown ankle boots, Frye studded skull tote

Denim jacket – Kut from the Kloth (no longer available) – similarsustainable
Dress – courtesy Gudrun Sjödén – similar for this season (eco cotton/low-impact dyes)
Boots – Clarks (no longer available) – similarsustainable
Bag – Frye via eBay
Necklace – Lucky Brand via eBaysimilar/handmade
Earrings – Mia Montgomery

As I mentioned the last time this dress appeared on the blog, it’s a drop-waist style and therefore far outside my comfort zone. I worried that the necklace pile I did back in April might be my only way to make it feel a little less drop-waisty, but was delighted to find that throwing a jacket into the mix worked just as well. Especially delighted since this Gudrun Sjödén dress is made from organic cotton and low-impact dyes. The company’s policies are admirable and thorough – so proud to have them as a long-time partner!


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**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Cropped Denim Jackets

*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?*

Nique requested a few picks for cropped denim jackets, so here we go:

express cropped denim jacket

Express Shrunken Denim Jacket – was $79.90, now $67.92
with code 9056

With a darker wash and a few strategically faded patches but no distressing, this cropped jacket looks cool and versatile. It’s 100% cotton so unlikely to stretch much, and Express does tend to cut small, so check those size charts. Available in sizes XS – L. This similar jacket is available in sizes 14 – 28. (See below for sustainable options)


Stanzino Long Sleeve Denim Jacket – was $33.99, now $25.49 – $29.99

And if you prefer a virtually un-sanded wash at a seriously bargainous price, try this cropped option from Overstock. Unlike the Express jacket, this one has a high poly/spandex content so is likely to stretch to fit much more easily. Available in sizes S – L.  This similar jacket is available in sizes X – 4X.

aero denim jacket

Aero Medium Wash Denim Jacket – was $49.50, now $28

A slightly lighter wash overall, but still a classic cropped shape. This jacket is sized for juniors so check the charts, but they don’t seem too far off from regular sizes. Available in juniors sizes XS – XXL. This similar style is available in sizes 12W – 38W, and this one comes in petite sizes.


Liz Claiborne New York Cropped Denim Jacket – $52

Throwing this non-sale option into the mix because it was one of the only truly dark wash cropped jackets I could find, and because it comes in sizes 2 – 28! Also comes in a super light blue wash and white.

Sustainable resources for cropped denim jackets:

  1. Eileen Fisher – Beautifully made from organic cotton, in regular and petite.
  2. Etsy – Loads of vintage options, like this classic mid-blue wash.
  3. eBay – Hundreds of options in a variety of sizes and washes.

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for cropped denim jackets:

  1. Express – A couple of other options in addition to the one above!
  2. Amazon – A wealth of options like this deep blue one from Liverpool Jeans Company.
  3. Bebe – They’re not billed as cropped, but Bebe cuts short and small and they look like they’ll fit cropped.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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