Friday, October 10, 2014

NINE coats? Necessary? Excuse you, Popsugar Fashion.

So um, I saw this nonsense on PopSugar Fashion, and I couldn't go without saying something.

There are certain things I love about the fashion industry. I LOVE to watch runway shows and look at photos of the latest designs. It's nothing short of art that folks can wear. The ingenuity that comes from the human mind, seeing fresh and exciting new patterns and cuts each season, it's so exciting.

Seeing the way people mix up those styles to wear on the street, mixed with low-end trend pieces, DIY remixes of thrifted items, all thrown into personal expression. Like Miuccia Prada famously said, it's a language of expression without saying a word about who you are. It's fabulous on many levels.

 I just also have nearly endless criticisms when the barefaced, desperate nonsense of American-style capitalism gets thrown in.

Look, I'm all about folks making a living, and the apparel industry provides great ways of doing so. But NINE coats as an essential thing? Sorry, no. That's idiotic. That's playing to the worst sides of making a fantastic thing an ugly thing by playing on people's insecurities, and it's the wrong way to move product. Let's take this down.

1) A trench coat. (light jacket - yes, essential)
Waterproof trench, LL Bean, $79.99. Available in khaki, gunmetal gray, and deep red
Heart patterned trench coat, ModCloth, $129.99
This is entirely fair. It's a classic piece, and one can also turn it to a statement piece by selecting a trench in an exciting color and/or print. In emerald green, oxblood, hot pink, or classic khaki, camel, or black, this could be considered an essential piece.

But basically, any light jacket is what I would say goes here. Personally, I'd go with the classic color and make a statement with shoes, sunglasses, or a scarf.

 A packable down jacket is also a viable, versatile option for a light jacket as well, plus -- well -- it's something you can roll up and toss into your purse if the weather gets warmer and you don't want to carry it around.

Packable down jacket, Sam Edelman, $79.99. Available in coral and black.

Packable down jacket, Michael Kors, $169.99.

Packable down jacket, Express, $89.60 currently on sale. Available in black and berry.

 2) A duffel coat. (Not actually essential.)

Black duffel coat, Burberry, $995.00

Ginger duffel coat, ASOS, $142.13, also available in light blue
Patterned duffel coat, Woolrich, $325. Available in black and oatmeal.


OK, this looks cool, but I see no reason to have both this and a peacoat, so I'd say pick one or the other. Both can look polished and professional. 

 3) A parka. (Only essential if you live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada etc)

 Probably entirely necessary if you live in a place where the winters get super cold. In my area of the Midwest, it's good for a couple of months out of the year. Instead of this, though, what I've found works well is to layer my packable down jacket under my classic black peacoat. It's entirely comfortable, and still looks cool and polished.

 4) A peacoat. (Yes, essential.)

Via Spiga peacoat, $198. Available in black, navy, and winter white.

Lambswool peacoat, LL Bean, $199. Available in navy, lapis, red, plum, and teal blue.

Professional, versatile, and it never goes out of style. Much like the trench, you can find one to flatter every body. And it's perfect for layering. Love this classic coat in navy or black, or channel Olivia Pope in white or cream.

 5) A cape. (Not essential.)

This is a want. Plain and simple. They're not a particularly practical item, but they're pretty, and I see why you'd want to have one. Sometimes you get lucky and find one cheap at a thrift or vintage shop, so that's where I'd start if you have a burning wish to buy one and you're on as limited of a budget as I am. However, shame on anyone who says this is a need rather than a want.

 6) A puffer. (Not essential.)

 It's my personal opinion that these things look stupid on just about everyone. Your mileage may vary, of course. Layering the packable down under a sleeker silhouette such as the duffel coat or pea coat brings the same warmth in a more attractive look.

7) A camel coat. (Possibly but not necessarily essential.)

Sure, go ahead. It's a classic. Again, though, this is a want rather than a need, and you can just go with this color in your previously-mentioned pea coat, duffel coat, or trench.

8) A furry coat. (Not essential.)

Want, not a need. I love my faux-leopard jacket. I consider leopard to be a neutral. These can be obtained inexpensively, and they're a lot of fun. You can also be super awesome and get a brightly colored one that looks like you skinned a Muppet.

Faux fur coat, H&M, $168 currently on sale for $99. Available in "I just killed Cookie Monster" blue, black, and mauve.
Cheetah coat, Kohl's, $196.

White faux fur jacket, H&M, $68.

 9) A statement coat. (Not at all essential!)

What part of this is not already possibly covered by getting a furry coat, or a brightly colored trench or pea coat? Why not stick to a classic coat in a classic color instead, and make your statement with an accessory that will only run you between 5 and 30 bucks, rather than a coat that's going to be at least 60 on the low end and only last a season? What in the actual hell, Popsugar? You're daft.

In conclusion, only two to four coats are truly essential. Resourceful fashionistas can mix, match, and make a statement without devoting half the damn closet and hundreds of dollars on the sort of nonsense this type of fashion article peddles. Discernment is downright sexy, folks.

Above all else, buy 2 or 20 coats if that's what you want and if you can afford to do so. It's your life, your style, and your wallet.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A brief meditation on living as a culture of abundance

I know, I'm doing a really bad job of just writing wherever I'm at with the realization that my stuff will never *truly* be "together, and then I'll write regularly, I promise." I have not done the work on this attitude that I should be doing. Maybe things will be different moving forward.

Anyway.

Recently, I went to the People's Climate March. My friend Gretchen bought my bus ticket, so other than buying food, it was entirely free. Otherwise, I could not have gone.

I've been to New York City now! I'm nothing less than purely psyched about this! Even though I was only there for 6 hours after riding 12 to 14 hours each way by bus! And yes, I'm plotting to go back and spend more time there once I can save up.

Other than getting there, lodging, food, and getting back, everything I want to do except for the Met, Kinky Boots, and the FIT museum (and maybe, MAYBE the top of the Empire State Building, because I'm only human and humans get touristy) is free.

I'm getting off track, though.

But maybe not really, because an abundance of free stuff to have and to do is exactly what we're discussing.

I had a long-ish discussion with my new friend Pam, who I met on the bus, about how all this scarcity and poverty of money and goods in America and in the world is totally manufactured. The truth is we as a nation have too much stuff. We're hoarders. We sit on our piles, those of us who have piles, even meager ones, and we watch those who go without, and we say "what can I do, I'm barely even getting by."

And unless you're in the top 10%, you probably really are barely getting by. Some of that's truth, and some of it's the way we've been raised to look at the world all our lives.

Maybe we'll talk about this more soon. But I have a micro-example that just happened.

I was at City Market, and I was sad because the line at Twenty Two Juice was too long to get an acai bowl that I've been craving all week. I only have about 15 minutes to actually get anything at City Market. The walk to and from work is too long to allow for much more.

(It's OK, Twenty Two, I still love you!)

I settled for a pear and a smoothie from Market Street Produce. I didn't know why, but I got three pears. I don't need three pears. I need one or two. These were ripe and juicy enough that expecting the third to last the 3 days it'd probably take to get to it would be pushing things. But I still got three.

And then I made a friend on the way home who I'll probably never see again.

She was pushing her cart, and I was walking back to work, at Market Street and Park Avenue. It was no huge deal, I said hello, she said hello, and I asked if she wanted a pear. She ate it right there. I apologized because it had gotten a little bit bruised in transport. As if prettiness matters if it's a good enough piece of fruit and you eat it fast enough. I regret not getting her name. I hope I see her again. You know how sometimes you can just sense an aura around a person that is good? She had that.

My social Venn diagrams literally run from small-business CEO to homeless train hopper. Eventually you lose the liberal-guilt mess and the savior-complex mess when you just enjoy meeting people and making friends with people. Doing unto others because it would be right and kind whether they have a house to go home to, or whether their home is contained in the shopping cart they're pushing.

 "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" really shouldn't be that radical of a phrase. It also shouldn't be compulsory to anyone. We just need to re-recognize what enough is.

You don't want to oversimplify an idea, but for now in this brief time, we'll identify just 3 things we need to do:

1) Those of us who can buy or procure more than enough, freely share it. Give it.

2) Challenge institutions that actively refuse or impede doing this. Recognize that it's in Money's best interest, but not ours, to manufacture fake scarcity. Abundance is the truth, and the lie has gone uncalled-out for far too long.

3) Making a living and having some nice things/being nicely dressed is not mutually exclusive from living a culture of abundance. In fact, it's the only shot a lot of us have at getting there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I suck at blogging consistently, so here are some videos of women being amazing.

So I haven't updated for a while. I actually have reason to be optimistic about this moving forward, since - for the first time in forever (and hopefully you now have that Frozen song stuck in your head) - I actually have internet at my residence. It's been years. The last time I bought internet, I still lived in Vincennes. It's usually prohibitively expensive in Indianapolis if you're on one modest income. But I got a half-off for a year special on U-Verse, so here we are. The plans are to get back up to blogging at least twice a week, pick freelancing back up, and actually log into Duolingo frequently enough to learn something.

It's only Wednesday, but the theme this week seems to be women behaving awesomely. I've picked out 4 videos of musical, mental, and physical achievement that ought to shut up every lying liar who perpetuates that "weaker sex" crap.

Ball girl makes amazing catch: This is actually a Gatorade commercial with a stuntwoman. The fact she's a stunt actress doesn't make her work any less genuinely impressive. She still did it.



Kacy Catanzaro's history-making Ninja Warrior run: The salmon ladder ON ITS OWN would make just about every man I know weep openly.



Electric violin cover of SOAD's Toxicity: Meytal Cohen on drums, Jennifer Lynn and Christine Wu on electric violin. I know it's from 2009, but it's new to me dangit!

 

And finally... my friend Elle Roberts being a total badass in her proposal for TEDx Indianapolis to talk about her big project, SheHive.

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I wrote a thing about #FightForSmall!

My write-up on Fight For Small's launch party is live at the TechPoint blog.
Although I work in customer service and marketing, I’m also a social justice activist. That’s probably why the word “fight” drew me to the #FightForSmall launch party.
That’s not an understatement. Hoosier businesses have a fight on our hands. In an evolve-or-die world, 53 percent of Hoosier small businesses do not even have a website. “This keeps me up at night,” said Jayson Manship, lead nerd of inSourceCode, one of the nation's leading WordPress development shops. Small businesses are the real job creators in the state, national, and global economy. We owe ourselves use of the best tools available.  Click to read the whole thing!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dangit, Avril.

OK, so I don't want to waste more than a couple of minutes on that wretched Hello Kitty video that everyone's talking about. It's just... If you  haven't seen it yet, it really just is as bad as everyone is saying. It offends by sheer virtue of existing. It makes Girlfriend look good. Hell, it makes Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl look good. And I am vehemently against anyone over the age of 24 doing anything having to do with a cheerleader costume. (except for private bedroom moments that remain private.)

I'll even admit, I kind of liked her ten years ago. And we're the same age, and I try to be at least somewhat supportive of people of my generation doing well. But... egh. I've never deserved so much side-eye for my guilty-pleasure pop music addiction.

The racist aspect of it has already been talked to death by people smarter than I. And... through an American lens, I can see why people would say that. The video, though, was supposed to be exclusive to Japan, where she's been more popular than here for oh, at least a good 5 years. This reads to me less as "white girl uses Asian girls as props" and more "white girl tries badly to be Kyary Pamyu Pamyu...while using Asian girls as props." Plus awkward Skrillex hair something something.

And by "tries," I mean... not really trying at all. More like let's do a couple hours of greenscreen and on-location shooting, throw in some random Japanese words (the way Japanese musicians frequently throw in random English words) and put a cupcake on it. And of course, OF COURSE, that guy from Nickelback was involved.

But then, when was the last time someone failed to get rich from underestimating the intelligence of a national population? Even if the single flops in Japan as hard as it's flopping here, Youtube page views still equal revenue.

I can say this, though. I haven't seen such a blatantly lazy, cynical grab at the common folks' money since Eric Turner in the most recent Indiana legislative session.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Questions

Ever wonder if maybe the end times crazies are right, maybe things are ending, but the mainstream church leaders maybe are the bad guys?

I mean, fundamentalism is catching on all over the world, cruel laws toward the marginalized run rampant, and anyone who read revelation knows the bad guys are winning right before Action Hero Jesus steps in to (bleep) some stuff up.

Then again maybe Mary just really stuck to her story, and maybe the writer of Revelation was just chilling on Patmos on some really good stuff, man.

I had a few fights this week with Christians because I spoke up about me and the many others hurt by the church, and I got brushed off with a "well, cruelty is everywhere."

Pretty sure that isn't what Jesus meant, and that was my sign to the question I have been wrestling for months, should I go back to church? But I don't think that church is any place for Jesus or for me.

I get this image sometimes of Jesus and Siddhartha, bro-ing it up like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, like "They figure it out yet?"

"Nope."

"Sigh. 'Nother round of skeeball?"

"Sure."

"You know, Jeezy, one of these days you're gonna skeeball yourself into a coma."

"Nah, it's cool, Dad already did that back in the 90s."

I don't know what it means any better than the next person. But "be kind" translates to every heart's language, and for now, that looks like it's all I have.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Post Links: "Why can't a smart woman love fashion?"

This essay by feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is perfection.

I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes.