#CoutureForEverybody: PUG in the Big Apple

When Pinup Girl Clothing announced a few weeks ago that they would be hosting a series of meetups and events in New York City during Fashion Week, my entire social lineup came to a screeching halt.

It was very much a STOP THE PRESSES moment, and nothing short of tragedy was going to make me miss this opportunity. After all, the Cali girls boast plenty of PUG face time but us East Coasters are oft left out of the fun, simply because of the distance.

Events were scattered throughout the weekend: drinks and socializing on Friday, a meet up and lunch on Saturday afternoon followed by the (in)famous PUG Yardsale and hangout in Brooklyn, and a vintage crawl in the big city on Sunday. Time, money, and a pesky little thing called “my full-time job” got in the way of a weekend of debauchery, however I was lucky enough to swing an entire Saturday in the big city. Best friend in tow, I took the town by storm in my hot pink Jessica dress. (It felt apropos, given that it is my namesake.) First stop: Lincoln Center Square.

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Requisite “Selife On The Train”

Lincoln Center Square is a different kind of beast during Fashion Week, and unbeknownst to me, a pin-up in the Big Apple is actually kind of a spectacle. Despite New York’s reputation for the unusual, we stuck out like two sore thumbs, and the cameras certainly paid us some attention. We were the first ladies to arrive to the meet up, so we  spent our extra time strolling, lounging by the fountain, taking in the sights, and keeping our eyes peeled for a glimpse of another set of Victory Rolls or pin curls in the crowd. Finally, we spotted someone. A navy blue Luscious dress, petticoat, and some of the prettiest red pin-curls I’ve ever seen. “I think we’re probably here for the same reason!”

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Dizzy Doll of Beauty Set Apart, pin-up girl and maker of rockin’ hair accessories.

We wandered aimlessly for a while, in search of the other PUG fans that were sure to be in attendance. After an hour or so of walking, we spied them from across the crowded square: hair flowers! We had found our people.

If  one pin-up in the big city was a spectacle, a whole group of pin-ups is enough to bring the house down. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before: photographers swarmed. Style bloggers, tourists, fashion photographers–everyone wanted a piece of us! After plenty of photography time (all of the ladies looked gorgeous!), we were off to lunch for a bite to eat before the yard sale.

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I can’t pronounce anything on this menu. Also, these girls are gorgeous!

 

Let me tell you something, readers. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room with so many beautiful, vivacious, and (quite frankly) stunningly-dressed women all at once. We talked, laughed, ate, drank (in moderation, because come on: margaritas.), and then it was game time. Yard Sale time. 

This is where we split up. A group of us decided to brave the subway, while the rest of the ladies hopped into a cab to Brooklyn’s Slapback Boutique, our gracious host for the evening. I was part of the subway-bravers, and let me tell you this: Pin-ups on a train? You guessed it: Spectacle.

Baby's first ride on the metro!

Baby’s first ride on the metro!

Pin ups on the train.

Pin ups on the train.

Under the city, over the bridge and up into the sunlight, we hopped into the quickly formed line at Slapback, waiting our turn. Thankfully the rain held off, and many of the ladies in attendance walked away with some fabulous goodies at fantastic prices. Me? I kept it small and settled on a gorgeous navy blue Laura Byrnes Janelle dress from previous seasons. The deep, rich color and thick fabric will make it perfect for this upcoming fall, and at a measley 40$?! The excitement was palpable. However, fantastic shopping was not the point of these events.

Pinup Girl Clothing is one of those rare by-women-for-women companies that truly believes and supports the idea that Every Body Is Beautiful. They have some of the most diverse models I have seen, their size range is impressive for a smaller company, and their dedication to their business is unrivaled. It is rare that a company actually practices what they preach–and PUG certainly delivers. It is this attitude that consistently brings me back, both as a customer and a fan. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that packing up boxes of goodies, suitcases of clothes/flyers/giftcards, toting the kids along, and flying across the country is no walk in the park. Yet some of the famous faces of PUG did just that. Not only to promote the brand, but to spread the message of #CoutureForEveryBody.

The Supreme Overlord herself, Laura Byrnes

The Supreme Overlord herself, Laura Byrnes.

Not only that, but time was spent actually getting to know us–the customers and fans. Let me tell you something, Laura Byrnes is hilarious. She’s quick witted, obviously intelligent, and very personable. And Micheline Pitt? It amazed me. Micheline Pitt spoke to every girl that approached her as if she’d known her forever. She was welcoming, friendly, and fabulous as all hell. I’m no designer and no business owner, but it takes true personality and passion to be able to exude that kind of positivity to every person you meet. Being able to spend an afternoon with these strong, driven women was truly inspirational. (Oh, and obviously the nanny in me wanted to cuddle the hell out of Gaia, Laura’s littlest.)

The one and only Micheline Pitt.

The one and only Micheline Pitt.

In all, PUG in the big city was an absolutely incredible experience. Every moment was filled with laughter, and just being able to network with this group of fantastic women was empowering. I connected with some fabulous girls on this trip, and I look forward to maintaining those connections and hopefully forming them into full-blown friendship. The Couture For Everybody event in NYC was a smashing success, and here’s hoping that the ladies of PUG decide to bring it around again in the years to come!

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Eyebrows in progress

Oops, I nearly forgot. (And seriously, how could I forget!?!) Who’s got two thumbs and got a new set of brows during Ms. Pitt’s brow demo at Slapback? That’s right ladies and germs, yours truly. They’ll never look like this again, so naturally I had to preserve the memory. Cheers!

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Cheers!

 

Stop The Hate: A Discussion on Girl-Hate in Popular Music

So there I was.

In the bathroom, up-close-and-personal with the mirror and a mascara wand (mascara face and all), jammin’ out to some dance tunes on Spotify and putting on my face for the day.
Just minding my own business, when it hit me like a ton of bricks: the amount of woman-against-woman hate in music is TOO DAMN HIGH.

The tune in particular that got the wheels a-turning in my head was a popular (albeit older) one: Pretty Girl Rock by Keri Hilson. Here’s just a sampling:

“Mad ’cause I’m cuter than the girl that’s with you”

“Girls think I’m conceited ’cause I know I’m attractive. Don’t worry about what I think, why don’t you ask him?”

If my iPhone wasn’t so precious to me, I’d have Hulk-smashed it into oblivion out of sheer frustration.

Pitting woman against woman? Basing your opinion of yourself on what a man (and not just any man, someone else’s man!) thinks of you? Keri Hilson, you should be ashamed of yourself. Of course, Keri doesn’t shoulder all of the blame. This kind of catty-girl banter is interwoven within every genre of the music industry, and the female population eats it up! One of the worst offenders is an artist I love: Carrie Underwood.
In her hit song “Before He Cheats”, Carrie sings about a “bleached blonde tramp” that her boyfriend is “getting frisky” with in the bar. She talks down about the fact that the woman in question can’t handle her liquor (don’t even get me started on the sexist/misogynistic undertones of this!) refers to her as white-trash…the list goes on. At no point does she clarify whether or not this girl that she’s verbally destroying has knowledge of the guy’s relationship status. And while this may seem like no big deal because it’s “just a song”, I think it’s very important to realize that while this is an imaginary example, this kind of stuff actually HAPPENS.

Almost every time I’ve heard about a cheating ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, the woman that was cheated with is always referred to as some sort of “slut”, “whore” or “bitch”:and not because she was aware of the cheating, but simply because she was involved. Regardless of her knowledge of the relationship, she is automatically branded as a harlot simply for being “the other woman”.

And do you know what, readers? I think that’s horrible.

20140114-000335.jpgShall we slap an “A” on her chest, too?!

If your significant other cheats on you with an unsuspecting individual, the blame should be placed SOLEY on them. If they sneak around behind your back with someone else and she is also being lied to, then you aren’t the only person being hurt, and she certainly does not deserve to be subjected to a verbal tongue-lashing. In more extreme cases, she definitely does not deserve to deal with harassment, acts of vandalism, or bodily harm. Instead of placing the blame on the actual perpetrator, women rage at someone who is possibly just another victim, because it’s easier: easier to blame a stranger, easier to dehumanize someone you’ve never met than it is to hold the right person responsible.

Think that’s bad? How about Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”? Now, Taylor is the Queen of Pining Over Someone Else’s Boyfriend, but that track takes the cake. It’s your typical boy-meets-girl-girl-likes-boy-boy-has-a-girlfriend-so-let’s-slut-shame-her storyline: insinuating that this boy’s fictional girlfriend is somehow awful because they don’t like the same music, because she doesn’t “get” his sense of humor, and she must be a slut because “she wears short skirts”. To some, it’s a catchy pop-country tune but let us not forget that our impressionable daughters, nieces, and friends are listening to these songs that condone slut-shaming and disrespecting the boundaries of relationships. Teens and Tweens practically worship these idols, so it’s doubtful that these harmful messages are falling on deaf ears. Essentially, popular culture is telling girls that this line of thinking is acceptable.

Except, it’s not.

Slut-shaming, name-calling, lying, disrespecting and cheating are all regarded as generally unacceptable behaviors, and yet the music industry tells a different story. These woman-hating-woman songs and albums are mainstream, and so commonplace that adults don’t even bat an eyelash at them. Young girls tuning in is a non-issue, when in fact it should be just the opposite.

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So, how do we break the cycle? For many, the idea of cutting out the influence of the mainstream is downright preposterous, but changes can be made without cutting ties. Conversations need to happen. As a former teenage girl, I understand that communication can be downright impossible at times, but if parents and mentors take the time to talk to their girls, they will listen. (They might roll their eyes, but they’ll listen.) Talk about the basics: how to treat others, basic respect, self-respect. But what I think is most important is to lead by example. If our girls see us balking at these negative girl-hating messages, chances are they’ll do the same. Want more? How about a Girl-Positive Playlist:

1. “Girl on Fire” by Alica Keys

2. “Who Says” by Selena Gomez

3. ““Strip Me” by Natasha Bedingfield

4. “F’in Perfect” by Pink

5. “Hard Out Here” by Lily Allen*

What do you think, readers? Is it time to stop the girl-on-girl hate? What’s atop your Empowerment Playlist? Sound off!

*Four minutes and twenty three seconds of delicious satire, addressing the same sexism, objectification, and negative messages that I just soap-boxes about. Lily Allen, the next round is on me. You go, girl.

Dear Douchebag,

Dear Douchebag,

I’m sure that it was pretty evident to you that you made a bad choice.

Of course I’m talking about the choice you made to tell me that I am only a lesbian “because I haven’t met the right man yet”. It may have been my “Oh no he DIDN’T” facial expression. Or, it could have been the fact that my retort was “you just asked a question that would get you punched in the face in some circles”. What you probably didn’t realize–or maybe you did, because I’m not good at hiding my emotions–is that the urge to actually punch you right in your smarmy mouth was hard for me to resist. Resist I did, though, because I’m a motherfuckin’ lady.

I wish that I could say I’m surprised at your ignorant mindset. Alas, no, because not five minutes before you said what you said, you referred to your girlfriend as “a nice pair of tits”. Thank you for that, because I was really hungry for a nice misogyny-and-objectification sandwich. So listen here, pencil-dick, because I’m about to impart on you some much-needed information about things you obviously know nothing about: like tact, manners, and how to NOT be a douchebag.

Lesson One: Just Because You Worship Your Penis, Doesn’t Mean Everyone Does

I think that this is a very important lesson for you to learn. While you may have a hard-on for your own, there are women (lots of us!) that don’t need an XY chromosome in their lives in order to feel complete. Trust me, honeychild, I can lift heavy things all by myself. I don’t need you to kill the spider on the wall for me. I don’t need you to build the dresser I just bought from Ikea. (This edit-out is for you, commenter Mark! 😉 ) Despite what you may have been taught, I don’t need a penis in my life to define who I am as a person. I would also note that it is especially unwise to assume that you know a damn thing about someone that you’ve only known for 45 minutes.

Lesson Two: Rudely Objectifying The Woman You Are Dating Is Not Funny

You sir, are not funny. In fact, I’ve seen more hilarious jokes come out of a gag reel from 1983. I don’t know for sure if you were trying to get laughs when you completely dehumanized the woman you are supposed to love. Maybe that’s just your personality. (NOTE: If so, you have a shitty personality.) I actually don’t know what you were trying to achieve, but I can assure you that all you managed to do was make yourself look like an ass. I have to say, my heart goes out to your girlfriend. Because if that’s honestly how you think of her, she needs to get the hell outta dodge before you try and rope her in for life.

Lesson Three: Think Before You Speak

I know this one is probably asking a lot from you, because this last lesson requires you to actually use your brain. I think that with time though, even YOU can learn how to think before you speak–thus avoiding situations like this in the future. Think about it. Think about how rude it is to assume you know something about a person you never met. Think about how inappropriate to pass judgement on another person’s life, without knowing anything about it. Think about how fucking offensive it is to my girlfriend: the insinuation that I would actually leave the amazing woman that I love just because some meathead with a penis came along and “swept me off my feet”. There’s a hell of a lot more to it, homeslice, then what your peabrain is capable of understanding. And no, just because you cite your sister as a source (“My sister was a lesbian, then she got a boyfriend and she isn’t anymore”) does not count for all lesbians–or her for that matter. She could be bi, or pan, or straight, or gay, or whateverthefuck she wants to be and just like me, DOESN’T NEED YOU DEFINING HER SEXUALITY.

There you have it, man-boy. Three simple steps, and you’re on your way to escaping the debilitating Douchebaggery that must affect your everyday life. I can assure you that if you just listen to me, you will be well on your way to changing your life for the better.

And if you don’t want to listen to me? Well, judgement can be a two-way street. You tell me that I need a man to make me straight,I tell you that your pathetic pubic-hair mustache makes you look like a pedophile. Cheers! xx

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The “New” Normal

You should have seen her face.

You should have seen her face when I leaned in for that kiss. Panic. Fear. Involuntarily, her whole body shifted as far away from mine as she could get within the confines of the tiny red car that she drives. She didn’t say anything at first, but her actions spoke loud and clear: no no no no no. And then after that? A curt and nervous: “Yeah, ok, bye.”
My heart dropped, and my face flooded with embarrassment. In that moment, I felt like the little boy on the playground, chasing the little girl and seeking out an ill-advised first kiss. Except, in this scenario, I’m not a little boy. I’m another little girl, and that makes things a thousand times worse.

“It’s the PDA. It’s the uniform.”

I tell you. I can actually smell the bullshit from here.

Because if I were her husband, or she mine, and we were living in some hunky-dory heteronormative fantasyland, this would have never been an issue. But I’m not, and we aren’t, and despite living in a newly post-DOMA country, in a marriage equality state, it is still not “ok” for me to kiss my girlfriend of nearly a year goodbye. In front of exactly zero other souls. Apparently it is ok, though, to treat the woman you love as if she’s some sort of leper. Unintentionally or not.

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While there is a part of me that rages at her, the more sound, logical part of my brain realizes: this is not her fault. After all, she lived a military life long before DADT was repealed, and a hell of a lot longer before the recent DOMA ruling. She lived a life that she had to keep hidden, lest she lose everything she worked so hard to achieve. Old habits, and all that. And even now, in this newly emerging country, I’m willing to bet my entire left leg that there are some dirty scoundrels working in the higher-ranks that would no sooner toss her (and others like her) out for “one reason or another”: just because’s she’s gay. It’d all be a matter of convenience. The military is wrapped so tightly in tradition, I can understand her fear. But I can’t understand how continuing to keep things hush-hush is going to change a damn thing.

Some of you are rolling your eyes at me. “It’s just a kiss” you say. “There are more important things.” Well, sure, asshole, there are more important things, like world peace, and equality, and liberty and justice for all. And while my (lack of a) kiss on a military base can’t even hold a candle to the fights and struggles of other military couples like Ashley Broadway and her wife Heather Mack, it’s what I have to offer right now to our fight for equality. (Seriously, if you just crawled out of your hole and don’t know who she is, read her story. That woman is incredible, and is one of my modern day heroes.) If you still think that this is so simple, the point that you’re missing is that this fear of “just a kiss” has derived from something a hell of a lot more evil. It’s bigger then “just a kiss”, and if you would get your heads out of your asses, you’d realize that.

It’s about showing everyone that this “new normal” is not new at all. We’ve always been here. Now, we can just show it more freely without being (as) afraid of losing our jobs or our lives. It’s about showing the people who are against us that: A) We are just like them, and B)We are not going away.

I refuse to “tone it down” or hide who I am for someone else’s comfort. I’m not streaking in the streets–I’m kissing my fucking girlfriend goodbye before she leaves for a long workday. I’m holding her hand as we walk through a city park. I’m buying groceries, and taking them home, and cooking her dinner–just like everyone else. I have never, ever felt shame about my sexuality. I have never felt fear of showing who I am. Who knows. Maybe it’s just my personality. Maybe I don’t give two fucks. (Scratch that, I definitely don’t give two fucks.) And here’s a newsflash to you, (Far-Righties and religious zealots especially) I NEVER WILL. I know that I’m lucky to even have the option to be as outspoken and aggressive as I am. Many LGBT community members live in places where it is downright dangerous to even resemble “gay”. And because of that, it is even more important that I keep fighting: for myself, and for those who can’t. It’s because of people like Ashley Broadway, and Edie Windsor, and even the little voices like me, that one day, we will be equal. This is the new normal, and it is here to stay.

(You know, I never did get my kiss this morning. I, in my signature hot-headed Italian way, walked off in a fury. But my love gets done work in ten minutes, so we’ll see. I’ll admit: I’m taking a chance publishing this post. It has massive potential to land me right in the doghouse. I could be sleeping on the proverbial couch for a while. Oooor….she could wise up, and I might finally get that kiss. 😉 )

An Open Letter

Unless you’ve just now crawled out from the cave you’ve been hiding in for a few weeks, you’ve probably heard that recently, the United States Supreme Court has ruled both Section 3 of the Defense Of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.
As a member of the LGBT community, I am rejoicing in this news. And as such, I’m taking a break from blogging about undergarments to write an open letter to the Supreme Court, as well as to all the gay-marriage “haters” (my god, I hate that term, but it’s so appropriate right now.) out there.
Ahemhemhem….

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image from TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com

Dear Supreme Court,

I wish there was a way to put this delicately…
It’s about damn time!

Admit it, you probably made up your minds way before last Thursday. DOMA and Prop8 were probably a done deal halfway through the hearings, but you just had to make us sweat it out, didn’t you? I mean, waiting until the very last day to hand down rulings on two of the most landmark cases in history? Pure publicity stunt, for sure. Pure genius, because the internet exploded about 25 seconds after the rulings were announced, but still. A little cruel, guys, a little cruel. I sat on pins and needles for weeks, waiting to hear if I would finally be considered equal under the eyes of the law. And imagine, at 22 years old, I have hardly seen any hardships compared to the discrimination that the older, wiser members of the LGBT community have experienced.

It started at Stonewall, and it will end with you. Because 5 out of 9 of you thought enough to remove your heads from your asses, millions of American citizens can sleep a little more soundly at night, knowing that if anything were to happen to them, they wouldn’t have to worry about their partners being barred from their bedside. I don’t have to worry about being viewed as a second class citizen by the USAF, should my girlfriend and I decide to take the plunge and wed. Our children would be eligible for military benefits, just like any other military children. I would like to extend personal Internet High-Fives to Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor for being the ones to say “Up yours” to DOMA. I’ll buy you all drinks, the next round’s on me.

As for Justices Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito?

Where is my javelin? Because those bastards deserve to be javelinned RIGHT OUT OF THEIR SEATS AND INTO OBLIVION. Perhaps, Justices, someone needs to remind you of your job description. Maybe then you’d stop trying to push your ridiculous, bigoted agenda on the rest of the country. If you four can not see the blatant and disgusting discrimination that was written into that now by-gone law, you need to have the prescription of your bifocals checked.

An extrasuperspecial “Fuck Off!” to Antonin Scalia for his frothy dissent of the court’s decision, wherein he gave special comment to “homosexual sodomy”. Slow down, ol’ boy. You certainly have a lot to say about what happens in homosexual bedrooms. Battling some inner demons, eh?

So that’s it, folks. We’ve won this battle. Though the war is far from over, we can rest easy for a bit knowing that this time: we won.

I Want To See You Be Brave

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Sara Bareilles just released a new song and video from her upcoming album, entitled “Brave”. It encourages the listener to be brave, speak up for what they believe in, and to not let fear control their lives. (I think this is awesome. Ten thousand brownie points for Sara Bareilles!)

As I was driving to work, I was listening to this song (over, and over, and over again), and it got me to thinking: what does it mean to be brave? For a lot of people, the word “brave” conjures images of superheroes and war veterans. You know, the few and the proud. For others, it brings to mind great, heroic actions: rescuing someone who is drowning, throwing oneself in front of a bullet for another, saving a life. And while all these things are massively brave things to do, I believe that bravery–like people–comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

For someone struggling with addiction or disorder, bravery is finally asking for help.

For someone who is being bullied, bravery is finally standing up and staying “Stop”.

For someone who has body image issues, bravery is saying “Screw you!” to impossible standards of beauty. It is finally loving who they are instead of struggling to become who everyone says they should be.

For someone hiding their sexuality, bravery is standing up and saying “This is who I am! Take it or leave it.” And if people decide to leave it, bravery is telling those folks not to let the door hit them on the way out.

Bravery is standing up for what you believe in, and shouting it off the rooftops. It’s sticking up for those who can’t, and speaking loudly for those with no voice.

For me, bravery was finally saying “Enough.” to a bad relationship, and getting the hell out of dodge. Then, bravery was allowing my heart to be open despite all the hurt I had felt, and falling in love again.

Sure, those veterans and heroes are brave. But “big” isn’t the only measure of bravery. So, if it means putting on a bikini for the first time, coming out to your folks, or finally breaking off that toxic friendship/relationship, go ahead.

I want to see you be brave.

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“You Would Be So Pretty If…”

We’ve all heard it. “You would be so pretty if…”

“…you just smiled.”
“…you lost some weight.”
“…you changed your hair.”
“…you changed your clothes.”

When I was 18, I had a dentist tell me that I would be “so pretty” and “attract so many boys” if only I just got braces to take care of my crooked teeth. (Well newsflash to THAT dick-for-brains, I’m a lesbian. An even better moment in that story? I was wearing a cheeky shirt that said “I Know What Girls Like” on the front. Guy was a moron.) So let me get this straight (ha), Mr. Dentist-Man. If I spend $2,500 dollars, and two uncomfortable years with a mouthful of metal, I will have done enough to change myself in order to make boys like me? Whoop-de-fucking-do.

Because you know what, when people drop these little lines, these “you would be so pretty if” nuggets, what they are really saying is: “You need to change yourself to measure up to what I find attractive, and only then will you be worthy.” And do you know what I say to those people?

You can fuck right the hell off. Seriously.

This morning, as I was sitting in rage-enducing traffic, I was tagged in a comment, meant to draw my attention to one of these “helpful” commentators. It was on an image of a woman on one of my favorite Facebook pages. She was kind enough to post a picture of herself in a new outfit, so that her fellow clothing-enthusiasts can see the products on her specific body type. In this particular photo, she was rockin’ a new top and some high-waisted shorts, and looked great, just stony-faced. She’s a regular contributor to the page in question, and I always look to her photos to get an idea of how any particular item would look on me, as we are close in shape. To clarify, this girl is a minx. She could be wearing a scowl and a burlap sack, and would still look good. So, when I saw one of those helpful “you would look so good if you just smiled”, I couldn’t help but be indignant.

Excuse me, Sir. She didn’t post that photo for your specialsnowflake eyes, only. In fact, I’d wager a guess that she didn’t post that photo for your eyes at all. (Shock. Gasp. Dismay.) And FURTHERMORE, if you’re only looking at this particular website to scope out clothing options for your wife, why the need for color commentary, huh? The jig is up, perv. And you aren’t fooling anyone.

This scenario is just one of many in which women are treated like, and expected to be accessories or objects. We’re expected to be malleable, and mold to become whatever any given person wants us to be. Because god forbid, we be whatever we want. Or who we are.
I’ll end with this little PSA for anyone who might be guilty of dropping those “helpful” lines:
I am not an accessory. I won’t smile/lose weight/gain weight/change myself just to gain your approval. If you aren’t willing to take me as I am? Well, you can go sit over there in the Box Of Shame with Douchebag Dentist and Pervy Facebook Guy. Because just like them, we don’t care what you have to say, anyway.

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To Wear, or Not To Wear? (A Discussion On Modesty)

The internet has been buzzing recently, and it’s all about modesty.

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First it was The Modesty Panel: a fascinating look at the different perspectives on modesty from various body image/bra fitting bloggers from around the world. Then, the web erupted when the news of Sarah Minder hit. (For those of you who have just crawled out of your cave, she is the Washington state high school senior who was instructed to “cover up her cleavage” or be barred from her prom.) This story hit every major media outlet like a lightening bolt in a storm, and evoked cries of “discrimination”! (It evoked cries of “bullshit!” from yours truly.)

This got me thinking about the topic of modesty. I said to myself “Jessica, what does modesty mean to you?” Turns out, it means quite a lot.

You see, modesty is one of those topics that you approach with caution. Talk about it to the wrong person, and you’re being screeched at that it’s “The Man’s” way of putting women “in their place”. (Seriously people, stop screeching. I’m not going to listen to you if you’re shrill, and I might punch you in the nose.) I don’t particularly like those people, and don’t want them screeching at me, so let me get this out of the way right from the get-go: I believe that grown women should be able to wear whatever the hell they choose.

With that being said, I think that modesty is one of those multifaceted topics that requires a lot of thought, and a good long look at all sides of the topic. Because let’s face it: there are certain situations in which modesty is appropriate. There are certain situations that it is necessary, and there are certain situations in which I don’t give a flying fart in space what you’re wearing. Allow me to outline:

If you are working in an office: it might be appropriate to dress for that setting. I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a miniskirt to a board meeting. If you are representing a company or business, you are serving a client. If you are working for a company that serves tightly-knotted, conservative older people, perhaps you should dress the part. And for the record, don’t even think about crying “sexism”. The same goes for men: Don’t show up to a board-meeting in an Ed Hardy deep-v and acid washed jeans. I’m not going to take you seriously as a businesswoman/man if you don’t dress the part.

If you are at church: Again with the conservatives, people. If the situation calls for it, it may be good to cover up just a little. I’m no church-goer, but I think the general consensus is this: if you would wear it to the club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to church. This is another one that goes for guys and girls alike. If it’s likely to make Great Aunt Ida fan herself and faint, you should probably tuck it back into the closet, and save it for a Saturday night.

If you are at the beach/Wal Mart/the Club,etc: Wear whateverthefuckyouwant, honeychild! The beach is one of those places where I expect to see various bodies in various stages of undress. If you want to wear that itty-bitty bikini or those teeny-tiny speedo shorts, go for it. I’m not judging you. In fact, I’m probably a wee bit envious of that rockin’ confidence that you possess. You work that suit, friend, and you look damn good. Same goes for if you’re headed to the club in a bodycon dress that hugs your body in just the right way, and makes you feel amazing. You don’t just FEEL amazing, you LOOK amazing too. Don’t forget it! And if you want to wear your pajamas to Wal-Mart, go for it.

If you are a child/teenager: This is going to be a controversial one. (And it’s also where the “grown women” parts of my beliefs comes into play.) I’m tapping my fingers together in anticipation of the angry comments/emails that I may receive. Bring it on, folks. I’m ready for debate. I strongly believe that it is important to instill this in our children: wear what you want, wear what makes you feel beautiful. BUT, be mindful of the rules, because they damn sure apply to you. This is in response to the prom-dress-fiasco, specifically. I don’t like the fact that so many people are siding with this girl because she “can’t help it”. Like she’s some superspecialsnowflake, and the rules should somehow not apply to her, simply because of her body. I don’t wanna hear it. There are resources out there for us boob-y ladies. Blogs, retailers, tailors: you name it. We aren’t the only ones “suffering”. Tall girls get called out in school for wearing “too-short” shorts, just because they have long legs. Busty girls get called out in school for showing “too much” cleavage. Boys get called out for wearing offensive tee-shirts, or too-saggy jeans. Are these rules silly? Some of them, yes. Are they necessary? I think so. Because school is not a fashion show. It is an educational facility, not a catwalk. I don’t know about you, but I went to highschool. In theory, the whole “No dress code, freedom of expression, FUCK YEAH!” thing is wonderful. In practice, it would never fucking work, not in a million years. Let’s not teach our children that the rules don’t apply to them. Let’s teach them how to work around it, how to make them work for them. And if they don’t like the rule, let’s teach our kids how to go about changing it the right way.

So there you have it, folks. For those of you who get turned off by walls of text:

TL:DR: Wear what you want, in moderation. Exercise common sense. Teach kids that dress code rules still apply/can be changed the RIGHT way.

Like anything, there is a time and a place for modest dress. And while everyone has differing opinions of what “modest” means, exercising some common sense never hurt anyone. I realize that this is only scraping the surface of such a complex idea. I also realize that some of you still believe that modest=sexism/being put down by “the Man” and this more important then anything I’ve outlined above. I’m open to some intelligent debate, but if you come at me screeching, I’ve got a punch in the nose with your name on it. 😉

“Tell Me A Story”

Currently, I’m sat in a hotel room in Dover, Delaware.
My girlfriend is off doing Air Force-y things for the Air Force, and I am alone. The television is turned to some show I’m not actually watching, and I’ve just hit “confirm” on a bra order at Nordstrom.com. (Freya Ashlee for 24$ with my 20$ Nordstrom Note, YES.) Before that, I listed three bras on Ebay that I’m trying to pass on to more loving homes, as I don’t fit them anymore. Before that, I found myself browsing Reddit.com’s A Bra That Fits. That’s when it dawned on me: I am obsessed.
You know, I don’t like the word “obsessed”. It has such negative connotations, and to use it to describe something that has had such a positive impact on my life just doesn’t feel right. “Passionate” is more appropriate. Whatever way you spin it, however, I have some seriously warm-fuzzy feelings over lingerie, and it has changed my entire outlook with regards to myself, my own body image, and how I view other people. Because of this, I’d like to take some time to share my story:

20130608-133821.jpg

A little over a year ago, I was in a relationship with a person who was just not right for me. I was struggling with and subsequently ignoring my sexuality, while being practically ignored by my significant other. I felt insignificant, unattractive, and utterly unwanted. After a particularly awful fight with my now-ex, I realized that the only way I was going to find happiness with myself was to find it within myself. And that’s where my changes started. First came Pin Up Girl Clothing, and their gorgeous, curve-friendly clothing. From there, I discovered the beautiful Georgina Horne, at Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, who introduced me to the world of lingerie, and what a well-fitting bra can do. I lay in bed one morning and read every single one of her posts in sequence. It was eye-opening. I refitted myself initially into a 36DD, and bought two Curvy Kates: I was hooked. After that, I was invited to join an online community of women, from which I have forged some amazing friendships and met some incredible people. It changed my life, and I haven’t looked back.

You see, a long time ago, I used to subscribe to that “only real men like curves” bullshit. I think that at some point in her life, every curvaceous girl has, in an attempt to make herself feel better with her own body. Obviously, I’ve wised the hell up, and instead of putting down other women in some lame attempt to somehow feel “better” or “more”, I’ve dedicated the past year of my life to this: uplifting, refitting, and reshaping women’s views. I initially started this blog last year with different intentions: to document my journey. It went nowhere fast. Now, I’ve shifted my focus. I want to help women with theirs.

Sounds crazy that something so simple could have had such a huge impact on a life, right? Sounds impossible that just discovering the right fit was the kingpin in my journey to loving and accepting myself as I am. Might sound crazy, but you better believe that it’s true. Only a year and a half later, and I’m happy, confident, and more knowledgeable then ever. I use the word “central gore” at least five times a day, and I am slowly but surely refitting all of my busty-girl friends (sometimes gently prodding, sometimes downright dragging). Initially, I get the eyerolls. The “Oh, sure, Jess. Whatever you say.” But once I get my mitts on them (so to speak), and wrestle them into their “correct” size, attitudes change, and gratitude rolls in. Possibly the best moment I’ve experienced so far was a sweetly written “thank you” from a friend of mine, who I had inspired to get fitted/answered questions for, etc. Her gratitude was heartwarming, and it brought tears to my eyes. I really felt like I was accomplishing something. I was helping people, and I want to keep doing so.

So there you have it. The crazy way that lingerie changed my life. Go on, roll your eyes.
Now, get over here and try on this bra… 😉

Has lingerie helped you? I’d love to hear your story, too.

Lingerie Lust List

It’s been a long time, readers, but I’m back with a vengence! Those two adorable, sweet, amazing little germ factories that I call my daily grind got me viciously sick, and I was laid out for quite some time. BUT! Now that I have regained the ability to breathe out of my nose (what a luxury it is!) and can move more then five inches without getting nauseous, I’m ready to jump back into this blogging game.

During the time I spent making sweet, sweet love to my bed and a box of Kleenex, I had countless hours to fill with Law & Order reruns. When SVU got old, I naturally turned to my favorite past time: undercrackers. And despite the fact that I am broke as a joke (Because I just sent the tax-man a hefty chunk of change via snail mail. Gotta keep the IRS happy, amirite?), a girl can dream. So, it is with great pleasure that I present to you: The Lingerie Lust List.

1. Kiss Me Deadly Paradise Long Line Girdle

Kiss Me Deadly has been on my mental lust list for a long while. They make some seriously sexy vintage-inspired lingerie, ranging from bras and panties to corsets and girdles. Alas, these 34FF’s do not fit into their standard size-range (32-38 A-DD), so I’ve been biding my time and scrimping my pennies, just waiting to see what new item would make me swoon. I needed something that would make me go “Ooh!”. And let me tell you…I got it.
Enter the Paradise Long Line Girdle.

20130604-232500.jpgimage from Kiss Me Deadly
It is…..(wait for it….wait for it…) customizable! Each gorgeous girdle is printed with flowers and hummingbirds, and comes with a set of fabric paint, so that the piece can be customized to your liking. It’s like a paint-by-numbers. FOR YOUR BODY. (!!!) Breathable power mesh for shaping and six metal garter tabs for your stockings complete the package. Kiss Me Deadly has pretty much taken my childhood dreams, applied them to my adulthood addictions and come out with something amazing. At £55, this girdle is a little on the pricier side for those of us that dwell Stateside, and suffer the wrath of poor currency exchange. (Damn you, dollar!), but I have no hesitation shelling out that kind of cash for a product from a company with a long standing reputation for quality. The Paradise Longline is a limited edition item, and quantities are limited! So if you’re drooling over it like I am, pre-order it here!

2. The “Betty” set by Tutti Rouge

Ever since news of new British lingerie designer Tutti Rouge hit the web, the lingerie sector of the blogosphere has been buzzing. Word on the street was, this was a brand offering sexy, playful, pretty lingerie to the DD+ market, that was going to be affordable. Say what!? When Tutti Rouge released it’s teaser video for their new Spring/Summer 2013 line, it not only made me want to bake cookies in my underwear with my best friends, but it succeeded in accomplishing what I’d imagine was the main goal of the promo: I want it. I want all of it. I want it in my closet. If my panties looked like that, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’d garden in my undercrackers without hesitation. However, despite the major affordability of this line (the two bras released at this time are 49$ and 38$ respectively, which is less than what you’d spend in Hell at Victoria’s Secret.), this Nanny has bills. Bills that take precedence over undies. Thus, I have narrowed my original desires of “All of it” down to one: the Betty set.

20130604-234544.jpgimage from Tutti Rouge
I had about fifty reasons lined up as to why I so desperately desire this piece of lingerie. I was going to talk about light padding, floral and ruffles, and two sets of hooks-and-eyes up to a G-cup, and a size range from DD cups up to HH cups (amazing!). But seriously, people? Do I have to say all that? Look at it. If you aren’t salivating just a tiny bit over this gorgeous piece of ruffled, floral-y goodness, then I question your sanity. (Ok, I’m exaggerating a little. But look at it!.)
Betty offers what many lingerie sets do not: she’s pretty, affordable (!!!), and comes in a great size range. What’s not to love? You can snag your own date with Betty here at Bravissimo.

3. Danielle from Parfait by Affinitas

I love me some Parfait by Affinitas, truly I do. I just managed to snag a free Casey set from Venusian Glow’s blog give-away (whoop whoop!), and I loved the Charlotte set so much that I bought both the padded plunge and the balconette. So naturally, with this kind of obsession in mind, you can imagine my excitement when Parfait released it’s SS13 lookbook.
I’ve experienced that take-your-breath away kind of love twice in my life. The first time was when I met my girlfriend, of course. The second was when I saw Danielle:

20130605-000835.jpgimage from Parfait by Affinitas
Isn’t she lovely!? Dusty pink with ivory lace and button detailing, Danielle is available in a longline or a bralette (30-40 D-G), with matching shortie and high waist brief option (XS-XXL). This set has a wonderfully vintage feel, and I have dreams of lounging around in this and set of pearls, with my cat named Cat and Breakfast At Tiffanies on my television. You can grab your own set over at Barenecessities.com, and if you hurry, there’s even a 20% discount code!

4. WhateverTheHellThatLongLineIsCalled by Curvy Kate

A few days ago, someone posted this link to Lingerie Insight, which featured a sneak peek of What’s To Come at Curvy Kate. As a huge CK fan, I had to check it out. As a person with eyes, I nearly fell off my chair when I spotted this little number:

20130605-002153.jpgimage from Curvy Kate
If I had been in a movie, I’d have spit my drink out all over my computer screen in a very cinematic way, sputtering and choking from my excitement. Because, really people? That longline. Those stockings. That garter belt. Oh my. Be still my beating heart, I need you, Oh-Beautiful-Unnamed-Longline-Bra, and I need you now.
Except, you can’t always get what you want, apparently, because this spasm-inducing number isn’t available until Spring/Summer 2014. ONE YEAR FROM NOW. 365 days.
I don’t know what it’s called. I don’t know what it’s size range is (though I’d imagine it’s close to Curvy Kate’s usual size range, which is something like 28-38 D-K!). I don’t know how much it is, and I can’t send you anywhere to buy it. (Which has me conflicted, as I’d love to send Curvy Kate some well-deserved business, but…mine.) All I can tell you, lovely readers, is that exact millisecond that this piece of beautiful fabric construction is available for purchase, it will be mine. Hey, Curvy Kate! Shut up and take my money. 😉

And that, dear readers, is my current Lingerie Lust List for June 2013. In all actuality, there were going to be five items on this list, as I’m slightly OCD and have an affinity for multiples of 5. Alas, it is late. I am tired. I have two teething munchkins to care for in the early hours of tomorrow. Responsibility, ahoy!

Adulthood: 1 Jessica: 0