What is Vanity?

Here’s a topic we’ve discussed before, but that definitely merits re-visiting: Vanity.

I take photos of my outfits and post them to a public blog. I am constantly encouraging women to find clothing that they adore, learn to express themselves through personal style, and embrace outer beauty as an integral component of holistic self-love. I write about figure flattery, fun shoes, shopping, hair care, and the power of compliments. I believe that loving your own body, just as it is, is absolutely vital.

And I’ve been asked, on occasion, if any of these behaviors or beliefs might be perceived as vanity. And they might. But not by me.

In my opinion, a behavior or belief becomes problematic when it impedes normal functioning. The dictionary definition of vanity is excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc. Excessive being the key word, there. Enjoying clothing, playing with makeup, deriving pleasure from looking at your own reflection, feeling genuine love for your physical form are all healthy, normal behaviors. Doing any of these things to the point of obsession, feeling compelled to impose your views of your own beauty or importance on others, or sapping your personal resources for the sake of furthering efforts to either beautify or glorify your own image? Entering Vanity Territory, perhaps. It’s imbalance, fixation, and strong feelings of superiority that tip the scales.

But in the grand scheme of things, I see vanity as a relatively benign “problematic behavior.” Our society vastly prefers that women bathe in vats of self-concocted self-loathing, and any sign of body- or beauty-related pride creates an excuse to vilify the culprit. Truly vain people are irritating and tiresome, but since they are so self-focused any damage they might do is to themselves. And I’m inclined to believe that a little public vanity by some strong women might help those of us who struggle to merely ACCEPT ourselves feel a little bolder.

At least, that’s my opinion. What is vanity to you? Do you feel that exercises in self-love or lessons in personal style verge on vain? Are there any times when you, yourself, have felt vain? What were the circumstances? Did you feel shameful afterward? Any idea why? Does vanity irritate you? Anger you?

Image courtesy gotnc.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Cute Tunic Tops

*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?*

Carmen requested a few picks for tunic-length shirts, tops, and sweaters, so here we go:

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Trouvé Ruffle Detail Tunic Blouse – was $88, now $58.96

SO GORGEOUS, right? With the sleek Mandarin collar, bodice detail, and long, elegant ruffle? I’m in love. This tunic is likely not opaque and would need a nude cami underneath, but would still be lightweight enough for spring and summer wear. Available in sizes XS – L, sold out in S. This tunic lacks the ruffle but is collarless, comes in six colors including white, and is available in 1X – 3X. This one is collared but comes in petite and plus sizes.

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Sapony Tunic – was $88, now $49.95

Washed stripes and faux leather pockets? Yes, please. This cottony blend will be great for warm weather and the light colors are perfect for spring. Half sleeves offer some coverage, but also allow you to show off a wristful of bracelets. Available in sizes XS – XL, including some petite sizes. Also love this gray and burgundy version. This fab tunic has leatherette details and comes in 1X – 3X.

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Land’s End Print Matte Jersey V-neck Tunic with Belt- was $55, now $40.99

So many cute details here from the versatile black and white print to the self belt to the flattering v-neckline. Punch this up with white or red skinnies for summer, and then bring it through the cold with black or dark jeans. Available in sizes XS – XL, as well as petite and plus sizes

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for tunic-length shirts, tops, and sweaters:

  1. Boden – Some are beach cover-ups, but others are a bit sturdier. Love this geo print v-neck tunic.
  2. Nordstrom – Lots of style and price-point variety, including plus sizes. This sheer inset tunic sweater is super cool.
  3. Coldwater Creek – I prefer a tunic that hits mid-thigh and some of these are more like very long shirts … but a few are longer. This simple solid v-neck is lovely.
  4. J.Jill – This retailer stocks tunics year-round. This time of year, you’ll get a lot of shirt-styles and linen.
  5. And, of course, THRIFT STORES! Especially if you can do the super-short dresses as tunics thing, thrifting is a great way to nab some options for cheap. (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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Already Prettypoll: Save or splurge?

Although there are several wardrobe pillars that nearly every woman is willing to invest in – generally at least one from the classic triad of handbags, coats, and shoes qualifies – there is always some fascinating variation. Some women don’t give a hoot about bags but will spend big on coats. others don’t care about any of the triad, but will plunk down the big bucks for properly fitting bras and undergarments. Plenty need to invest in suiting or work attire for career reasons while others have learned that springing for perfectly fitting designer jeans is a wise use of hard-earned cash.

Me? I am perfectly happy to thrift my tees and layering items, buy my button-front shirts secondhand, and stick to cheap but sparkly costume jewelry. I am more likely to spend big on boots than sandals, but always go for quality handbags. My coats are a mish-mosh of thrifted and cheap lightweight coats and expensive, reliably warm and well-designed down coats. And although I find blazers fairly difficult to fit, nearly all of mine are thrifted. I just can’t stomach paying $200 for a brand new blazer for some reason!

How about you? Do you scrimp on jeans and spend big on dress pants? Put serious money towards shoes, coats, or handbags? Which items will you thrift versus the ones you prefer to buy brand new?

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