Author Archives: alamode2010

Quickie: You’re not as fat as you think!

A study conducted in London has found that the average person’s body image is seriously distorted:

Scientists have discovered that the body image a person projects in their own brain is “massively distorted” and can be up to two thirds wider than it is in reality. The brain’s own “body model” is also around a third shorter than the body actually is, according to the study at University College London.

The scientists who conducted the study think that this may offer new insights into those affected by eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

I was sort of comforted reading about this study as I’m prone to anxiety about my weight and body image. I was a very skinny kid. Adulthood came along and these days I’m… not so skinny. I spend way too much time worrying about my weight and the size labels inside my clothes. The image perpetuated by the fashion industry (remember when we talked about this?) certainly doesn’t help when we’re surrounded by images of an “ideal” most of us will never meet. It makes sense to me that so many of us are walking around with a mental self-image that doesn’t match the reality when we’re constantly comparing ourselves to those ideals.

But next time you look in the mirror and feel like you’re having a “fat day,” take a deep breath and be a little kinder to yourself – it’s not as bad as you think.

Finding Your Style

Have you ever seen one of those quizzes called something like “Which Style Are You?” where some magazine tries to pin you down into a category? If you like beaded jewelry, your style is bohemian! If you like black, your style is classic! Those never made any sense to me. Why do you have to pick just one “style?” Where did we get the idea that women can’t develop our own eclectic look comprised of a variety of things? I think the idea is to distill the “personal style” question into something so simple anyone can follow it, but to me it’s just too restrictive. So I say ignore all that and do things your own way! Here are my tips for discovering and developing your own personal style. Continue reading

Saturday Quickies

Happy weekend, everyone! Here’s a couple of quickies for your style file:

The Budget Fashionista (a great site) has some options for wearing the current skinny jean trend, even if you’re not so skinny. I have a few pairs of skinny jeans (I’m a size 12 with not-inconsiderable hips) and I usually make sure to pair them with a long top that has some volume to it to balance out the proportions. Or I’ll add a big, bright scarf to draw the eye upward toward my face. The trick with skinny jeans is finding a comfy fit and choosing the rest of your outfit with proportion in mind.

Stylelist investigates the idea that a “go away gray” pill might be in our near future. I hope so!

Have you heard about the new Huggies faux denim diapers? Personally I think they’re a bit silly… since when is it taboo for a baby to be seen in a diaper? But one writer actually hates them so much she cites them as a symptom of a blurring line between childhood and adulthood and rising obesity rates. She even goes so far as to say that “People swollen with fat look like giant babies, the lines and wrinkles pressed from their faces.” Yes, she managed to blame all our societal ills on silly-looking diapers and insult overweight people all at once. I for one am impressed.

Braids aren’t just for little girls anymore!

If you have wavy/curly hair like me, the approach of summer means one thing: frizz. At least once a summer I consider chopping off all my hair to escape the heat and the frizzy mess it becomes when exposed to humidity. There are ways to fight frizz (Allure has nine handy tips), but some days you just want that hair off your neck, out of your face, and off your mind. The hot way to handle that hair this summer? Braids. Check out this season’s looks after the jump. Continue reading

Quickie: Here Comes the Sun

Sun protection is important year-round, but once the weather warms up we all spend more time outside. Gone are the days when brown, tanned skin was in style – the new tans are fake and sometimes unfortunately orange. But whether you choose to fake bake or embrace the pale, you need to protect your skin from sun damage!

Most facial moisturizers and some foundations contain a sunscreen now. But the sunscreen in that facial moisturizer and foundation may not be enough and the rest of your body needs protection too.

Confession: I don’t wear sunscreen every day. I use a facial moisturizer with SPF, but I don’t apply sunscreen anywhere else unless I’m planning to be outside all day. And with my fair Irish skin I really should. The truth is, almost everyone is making mistakes with our sun protection.

Allure Magazine explains the nine biggest sun-protection mistakes most of us make every day. Did you know that your face should get about a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen every day? And that your scalp still needs protecting? And that certain medications can increase your sun sensitivity? I didn’t either until I read this!

Quickie: Keep a Style File

A while back I was lucky enough to attend a fashion show hosted by Liz Claiborne’s Creative Director and my personal idol, Tim Gunn. Those attending the event were given a free gift – a black accordion folder made of heavy, coated board labeled a “style file.” The idea is that when you see a look you like in a magazine, or something you like in a catalog, you tear out the page and drop it in your style file. That way you don’t wind up buried under old magazines you’re keeping just for one article, and you can easily access all the ideas and inspirations you’ve kept when you want to update your look.

Any accordion folder will do for your own style file. Or even a binder with internal folders – anything that will allow you to keep things neatly organized. I have mine separated into these categories: fashion, beauty, social, accessories, hair, miscellaneous. I keep pictures of outfits I like, advertisements for products I want to try, makeup tutorials, trend reports, and anything else that catches my eye. That way when I want to refer back to something I have it easily at hand.

Go get yourself some cheap sunglasses…

Christina Aguilera in two-tone sunglasses. (Image courtesy of CelebritySunglassesFinder.com)

Time to break out the shades, people! (Actually, eye doctors recommend you wear sunglasses year-round. But spring and summer are when the new styles seem to come out anyway.) There’s no need to pay for a designer price tag when you’re looking for eye protection. Plenty of lower-priced sunglasses will do the same thing and look just as good.

According to EyeDoctorGuide.com you just need to keep a few things in mind:

• Look for a pair of sun glasses that provides UVA and UVB protection. Most glasses providing this protection have a label that designates them as UV safe. If they do not, do not assume that the glasses will protect you from UV radiation. Just because eye glasses are tinted does not mean they will provide you with ample protection from UV rays.

• Look for glasses that are dark enough they will help reduce sun reflection and glare, but not glasses that are so dark you have difficulty distinguishing traffic lights or signs.

• Find a pair of glasses that covers your eyes and line of site entirely.

• If buying children’s sunglasses, be sure they also protect against UV radiation.

• Make sure eyeglasses do not obscure your line of site.

This year’s sunglasses trends are very retro – oversized Jackie O. shades, the wayfarers look of the 1980s, and 1950s cat-eye shades are all hot right now. Brightly-colored two-tone frames (as seen on Christina above) are also popular. As someone who loves color (the more and brighter the better!), I love the two-tone look. It feels fresh and summery. But the more standard tortoiseshell or black shades are a perennial classic. The most important thing is to find a shape and color with which you’re happy – if you’re not comfortable, you won’t wear them. And no matter how much of a deal you got, no bargain find is really a bargain if it doesn’t get worn.

My current pair of sunglasses cost me $8 on sale at Target (my trusty shopping friend). You can see some of their current sunglasses here, but they have a lot more in-store.

GirlProps.com has a few different color options for only $9.99 if you like the two-tone look. (They have plenty of other styles too.) House of Sunglasses has a lot of options, from the classic to the crazy, all for just $9.99. If you want to imitate a celebrity look, try CelebritySunglassesFinder.com – just be aware that anything you find there will probably be expensive. I recommend using this site for ideas and finding a less pricey option elsewhere.

Keep in mind if you buy sunglasses online that you still want to look for that UV protection. Without it you may actually do more damage, since your pupils will dilate from the dark lenses but won’t be protected from the sun’s harmful rays. And remember – no trend is as important as your confidence! Find a look that fits comfortably and flatters your face and you can’t go wrong.

(Thanks to ZZ Top for the post title.)

20 Summer Dresses Under $50

The temperature is going up, which means it’s time to break out the breezy dresses! I love the way a good dress is an instant no-work outfit that looks put together and fab. After the jump, 20 dresses for your summer wardrobe under $50… Continue reading

Too fat for fashion?

Are you familiar with American Apparel? The retailer boasts a stock of American-made clothes ranging from basic tee shirts to… less basic pieces. They’re a popular brand because of their basics and because of their non-sweatshop approach. But they’re also a controversial brand – and only partially because they think people want to wear metallic leggings and neon scrunchies:

I'm not kidding.

These leggings cost $46.

No, most of the brand’s press is courtesy of their creepy, sleazy CEO, Dov Charney. Charney has been accused of sexual harassment, misogyny, and general creepiness more than a few times now. (The links describe him better than I ever could.) Their porny ads don’t do much to disprove the company’s image as degrading to women.

But now it seems AA is looking to alienate a whole new demographic: the plus-sized. A well-known plus-sized model and adult star recently blogged about asking an AA employee if the company had ever considered carrying larger sizes only to be told, “That’s not our demographic.” The website carries limited items in sizes up to 2X, but their men’s pants only go up to a waist of 34″ and the plus-size women’s stock is limited to mostly basic tees and tops.

In 2009 the Los Angeles Times reported that the average American woman wears a size 14, or an XL. Which means that retailers like AA are leaving a lot of us out of their “demographic.”

AA is currently suffering the media’s slings and arrows over this – and they’re not exactly a hard target – but they’re not alone in ignoring the reality of the American shopper. A size 8 model is considered plus-sized by industry standards. Size 8! That’s a full three sizes smaller than the average woman wearing clothes every day. And I find it hard to believe that any woman walking around the mall looking for a size 8 dress would be shopping at stores geared toward plus-sized women. The fact is, the fashion industry is unrealistic about women’s bodies. And the more women change the more the industry stays the same. Despite years of controversy the models that walk the runways still hover around size 0.

Plus-sized model Leona Palmer wrote a great blog for the Huffington Post about the image misconceptions surrounding plus-sized models. It has nothing to do with the AA issue, but she makes a lot of interesting points about how the fashion industry sees women with regard to our size.

AA isn’t the only retailer that refuses to carry clothes for a diverse clientele, but they’re one of the few willing to admit it openly. And as long as people keep shopping there they can afford to say what they like – though the business model may not be working out in the long-term as their stock sank to a new low this month. Which raises the question: how long can any business survive by excluding a majority of potential consumers?

(Images are from AmericanApparel.com.)

Two Quickies for the Price of One!

I’m updating a little slow this week. The truth is most of my brain power is going to mulling over the series finale of Lost. (Even fashionistas can be huge nerds.) But don’t forget me! I’m still working on keeping you up to date with fashion and beauty fun and news!

For today, here’s a couple of quick shots for you:

Allure Magazine has published its 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards. Every year the magazine surveys readers for their favorite drugstore and designer products and compiles a list of the best. So if you want to know what works for real people instead of what beauty editors want you to buy, this is the list for you.

ModCloth is a popular site for shoppers who want a unique look with vintage flair. Their prices can be a bit high, so I usually stick to checking out what’s on sale. I got a great pair of black and white tweed t-strap heels there that get compliments every time I wear them! I haven’t tried their clothes, but their accessories and shoes are adorable and you can get some great deals when they have a sale.