Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution Week has come on as a response to the breakdown in worldwide commerce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quite awhile ago I said I would write about the book Wear No Evil. Yes–I forgot to do this. It’s a guide to sustainable fashion that offers a system for choosing and using wardrobe items.

The author lists 16 criteria you can choose from and a diamond-design method for prioritizing each choice.

My prime choice is to buy clothes that require low water use to manufacture. And whose vendors don’t pollute the water with chemicals in the process of creating garments.

From the people to the products a fashion revolution is an idea whose time has come.

I recommend reading Wear No Evil. It’s the most concise, helpful, and cheerful guide to sustainable fashion. It refrains from judging the reader or belaboring the point with a academic treatise. Actionable steps are given for right now.

Alas, I regret that as a tiny person who is only 5 feet tall and a size 2 Petite I have yet to find clothes of any sustainable origin that would fit me. If anyone knows of a suitable vendor, I’d love to hear about these options.

My solution is to “shop in my own closet” for the foreseeable future. To mix-and-match items I already own to style new outfits.

Accidental Icon Lyn Slater in her Ripping Seams blog post talks about taking apart your consciousness as well as the seams in the clothes you wear.

Fashion and social justice seem like odd partners. Yet taking apart the fabric of society and getting under its seams is the first step in deconstructing the tattered clothing we’re in. That is the raiment we cloak ourselves in mentally as well as physically.

Living through the COVID-19 outbreak seems like the perfect time to do what Slater suggests: start ripping seams.

I estimate I have another two or three years before I have to buy a whole slew of clothes again. By that time perhaps more sustainable lower-cost options will arrive for a person like me who doesn’t fit into Regular sized clothing.

My goal is to at least buy fewer clothes and shop less often. To read up on the social standing of clothes vendors.

If you ask me doing whatever you can is all that matters in the moment.

Do Just One Thing. And do One More Thing after that.

This is the way to start a revolution from your closet.

Conscious Chic in a Crisis

Yes–I’ve been thinking about what I termed Conscious Chic in a blog category.

The Accidental Icon Lyn Slater talks about this in her latest blog post [see below].

Who needs 10 pairs of the exact same pants?

Who needs a bursting closet and overstuffed dresser drawers?

The manufacturing process of garments has long been a destroyer of our natural world.

It’s time to act in a considered fashion like Lyn Slater believes.

Though I’ve bought an eye shadow compact I intend for this to be the only beauty buy for the foreseeable future.

As well I have the intention to dress in the clothes hanging out in my wardrobe today.

I’m not a Green saint as far as this goes.  Like Lyn Slater I’ve been thinking about this.

She talked of being creative.

Acting creative can do a world of good in transforming a simple wardrobe of clothes and collection of makeup into a stunning reflection of individuality.

You don’t have to be rich or thin to express yourself through beauty and fashion.

You can trust that you’ll look good without needing a trust fund.

Read the Lyn Slater Accidental Icon blog entry here.

 

Beauty and the Boots

purple boots

I’m thinking more about the confessions in the Patti Smith article in Harper’s Bazaar.

She invests in coats and boots which has been my game plan in recent years.

The idea that your fashion gives you freedom resonated with me. Boots aren’t traditionally sexy when they’re the type Smith wears.

This is what cheers me as a cisgender woman. That you don’t have to wear stilettos to make a statement about who you are and what you stand for.

The boots above I bought in December in a shoe-buying frenzy. I decided that boots were going to be my thing since I really don’t care to totter in stilettos and pumps.

I”m not keen to wear classic pumps. Not after having worn them for 9 years to legal and corporate office jobs in the 1990s.

A lot of guys on internet dating websites express an interest in meeting a “sexy” woman. The definition of sexy is erotic. I don’t want to walk down the street with everything hanging out for men to see.

It gives me hope that if Patti Smith had a husband and was an iconic rock star that I can meet a guy without having to wear a skintight cleavage-baring dress with a slit up to there.

I’ve decided to wear booties and boots on dates. Mid-heel black booties and the purple ones shown above.

The Bazaar article is right: fashion gives you freedom.

On the cusp of 55 today I think about how we can use fashion as a means of expressing who we are and what we stand for.

There’s a beauty in expressing your Individuality. That’s the ticket to living in health harmony and happiness.

I want to talk more in coming blog entries about searching for Mr. Right. A person that in my case should be Mr. Left in terms of politics.

 

 

Fashion and Freedom

Venturing outside I bought the April Harper’s Bazaar. There are great articles peppered throughout this book.

A feature on rock innovator Patti Smith stated:

“For Smith fashion has always been about freedom.”

In the singer’s own words:

“Even as a kid, what I was wearing was always very important to me. I very much identified with my clothing.”

Decades Later I too remember the clothes I wore that were imprinted on my mind about who I was and what I wanted to tell people.

In the 1980s and 1990s I dressed in an Avant Garde fashion precisely to rebel the strictures and sanctions imposed on women where I lived.

On Staten Island the standard fashion fare was a pink sweater and the original Guess jeans.

I shopped in Unique Clothing Warehouse in Manhattan. My goal was to make a statement via how I dressed–it was how I wanted others to perceive me.

The photos of Patti Smith in Bazaar I tore out to insert in my fashion binder. Once a week I view the photos in the binder to get ideas on how to style outfits.

What I know:

It’s always right to dress in your own style even if it differs from what is popular or has become a trend.

I’m glad the 1980s and 1990s are gone and with them the bizarre outfits I wore then.

In the 1990s I bought a blouse with this quote on a hang tag:

You say much more when creativity speaks for itself.

Today I’ve learned that my outfits don’t need to scream for me to command attention.

I say: do your own thing with fashion. Speak your truth through your clothes.

The April Bazaar also features fashion designer Marc Jacobs wearing clothes that women traditionally wear.

His quotes are a must-read as well.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk more about the Patti Smith article which to me was so empowering as a woman.

How to Cheer Up in a Time of Crisis

New York City has shut down through the end of April and possibly this will continue through early May.

While indoors wherever you are I recommend going on the Dressing Well website to read the stylists’ blog regarding: 5 Ways to Get Out of Your PJs.

In early spring in New York City the weather is still colder and not always warmer yet. The heat still comes on in the apartments.

After reading the stylists’ blog I was motivated to wear lipstick in my apartment even though no one else can see me.

One other thing I do to cheer up is to wear one of my colorful sweaters every day:

I have a rose-pink sweater. A neon yellow Uniqlo. A blue-and-black striped Banana Republic sweater. A sky-blue cashmere sweater. And a cocoa brown cashmere.

How to cheer yourself up can be as simple as wearing a new “outfit” every day.

I rotate three pairs of dark jeans with the colorful sweaters.

Through this third week I’m going to start wearing jewelry at home too.

Wearing PJs all day is the quickest route to ill health and a low mood.

Face it: how do you feel when you’re dressed for bedtime and it’s noon?

You might get empowered after reading this blog entry to dress in street clothes while you’re indoors.

My new habit of dressing up to please myself while sheltering in place has done wonders for my mental and physical health.

This is the ultimate proof that fashion isn’t frivolous.

I think fashion can be feel-good medicine for women as we live through this pandemic.

Spring Cleaning in the Time of COVID-19

Staying indoors in your apartment or house is the perfect time to spring clean.

It’s a great day to get rid of the clutter as well as the thoughts in your head that keep you stuck in one place.

Are readers like I am thinking about your priorities in terms of what you want to keep and what you want to toss in your life?

I’ve decided to engage in spring cleaning as a method of rejuvenation and reinvention in this early spring.

What I’ve learned in terms of setting priorities is that you don’t need a lot of stuff weighing you down.

Yes–I can remember having had 22 tubes of lipstick when I was 40. Count them–22 tubes 🙂

Today  halfway through my fifties I have only 4 tubes of lipstick.

Living on less money while not at your job is the perfect time to get clear in your head that you won’t spend, spend, spend, as a hobby anymore.

Living through this crisis is the natural segue to making these kinds of changes once you’re on the outside.

I’m getting older. Your priorities can change when you go through menopause. I find that while living indoors I have cooled out with caring about things that don’t matter.

Having 22 tubes of lipstick is the not the kind of life goal to aspire to 🙂

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about ways I’ve used to cheer myself up while living through this exceptional time.

These ideas might empower readers too.

 

Living through This Crisis

I don’t intend to make light of the seriousness of this exceptional time in history that we’re living through.

To get through this it pays to be practical. Yet certain things I’m doing touch on the idea of using beauty and fashion to pull through a hard time.

Engaging in rituals of self-care is even more imperative today. It’s the method I will be using to protect my mental and physical health while I ride out the COVID-19 outbreak.

Luckily, I am free of the illness and expect to remain in good health.

What I’m doing to stay healthy:

I’ve ordered 3 black and 10 red bandannas from Amazon. It will take 2 weeks for the items to be delivered and possibly longer. Amazon has delayed order times because of the COVID-19 outbreak and increase in online shopping.

I will use the bandannas to cover my nose and mouth diagonally when I must go outside to a food market or an ATM at the bank.

You’re supposed to remain six feet away from other people when you’re outside. As I think everyone is aware of this.

The unintended effect is that the bandannas are a fashionable alternative to regular masks. I was told it’s the surgical masks that are the ones you should use for maximum effect.

So, I’ll stick with the bandannas.

An image consultant sent me the link to a lemon sugar body polish that I can order online. I had told her my skin is pasty like it’s winter even though the spring is here. Staying indoors will do this.

I discovered I had a tube of St. Ives apricot scrub for the face. I’ve started to use this even though it might have been in the drawer for two years.

Along with doing positive healthy things to feel better I talk to my mother on the telephone.

Too if you ask me it’s critical to keep up healthy habits: get out of your pajamas, take showers, and dress in clothes.

I’ve been wearing dark jeans and colorful sweaters while indoors. I was able to buy for only $27 a blue-and-black striped sweater from Banana Republic that arrived two weeks ago.

Now I don’t advocate for going into debt buying things online while we’re cooped up inside. What I recommend is the judicious use of adhering to a spending plan when you’re tempted to splurge on goodies.

To occupy my time I’m reading a book that a friend published–Madolina’s Daughter.

The goal as I see it is to protect our mental and physical health living through this time of crisis.

The things I’ve detailed here have worked for me.

 

 

February 2020 Allure

billy porter

I took home a free copy of the February 2020 Allure magazine as seen above. It’s the Art of Beauty issue.

Michelle Lee the editor-in-chief wrote in her art appreciation editor’s letter:

“Having the freedom to express yourself is art we can all appreciate.”

On the cover is Billy Porter who starred in and won a Tony for his role as Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots.

His audacity to be his authentic self has empowered me.

In the interview with Porter in the magazine he is quoted:

“The very thing that everybody’s telling you is wrong is exactly what you have to be.”

On the last page Porter is asked to Please finish this sentence: I feel most attractive when I’m…

“Living in the fullness of my authenticity.”

From watching an Oprah Winfrey episode he learned “the importance of shifting your mind-set toward service to others.”

Porter has done an inimitable service to readers simply by acting true to himself.

He was the first openly gay man to win an Emmy as a leading actor in a drama for his role on Pose.

Elsewhere in the February 2020 issue in a Modern Wellness feature a writer chronicles her own odyssey with making art:

“The truth is, medication can often help artists better access their creativity and express their emotions more readily.”

A fashion designer was quoted in this article:

“My creative output has never been higher than when I’m on medication.”

I identify as an Author Artist and Athlete.

The premise of my memoir Left of the Dial was “enjoy your quirkiness.”

Reading the articles in the February 2020 issue of Allure gave me a shot in the arm of confidence to continue blogging and speaking out.

My goal is to be part of the solution. My mantra is this:

I stand up for individuality in all its guises in everyone living on earth.

I’ll end here with a curious feature on page 36. Activist and art curator Kimberly Drew was asked to tout the products she loves the most.

When she gets a moment alone in her hotel room she usually ends up dancing. To do this only her Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 speaker will do for listening to music.

Imagine that: an activist touting a high-end speaker that most likely costs $100 or more.

The idea that you can be an activist on your own terms cheers me.

Crank up the tunes I say. Contribute something positive to the dialog.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day coming up this Monday I’m going to post a blog entry about how each of us can make a difference in our own way.

I believe in the transformative beauty of creating art to make the world a better place.

 

 

 

The Solution

I wanted to write about the solution as I see it. I wrote things out longhand over and over not satisfied with anything I wrote.

The solution might be as simple as liking yourself.

The fact is if you’re not living an authentic life it’s not possible to be happy or healthy.

(Cue the violin strings for my failed first career in insurance office jobs.)

I for one refuse to wear a suit or dress in neutrals. I need color and flair.

This is what I would tell readers: You have the right to be your original self.

Free of the torment of trying to please others and have them approve of you.

Ladies: I’m 54 years old and have stopped caring what people think.

Finally breaking free of the idea that I should conform.

I’m excited to read soon Beyond Beautiful the new Anuschka Rees book. This Curated Closet author replaced the body positive mantra with the term body neutral.

Narrowing down a woman’s worth to whether her body pleases a man or whether she lives up to a sexual ideal is just plain not right.

Wearing a cleavage-bearing mini-dress and stilettos won’t ever be my thing.

Fitting a mold holds no allure for me.

Living in menopause is the time to get things right in your head about how you feel about yourself.

In a coming blog entry I’m going to post 2 photos that illustrate this point. Along with what I’ve learned at 54 years old about self-acceptance.

It strikes me that if you turn 50 and still don’t like yourself this doesn’t bode well for when you turn 70.

I’ll end here with this affirmation:

Like yourself right now the way you are. Change what you’d like to change. Yet always remember that you’re the only person that has to like, approve of, and be happy with yourself.

8 Rules for Conscious Shopping

I’ve been as guilty as anyone of amassing a ton of clothes.

In a coming blog entry I’ll review the book Wear No Evil.

I read this book straight through in one week. It’s great to have on hand as a reference guide to responsible fashion.

My Fashion Challenge is to not buy another shirt, pant, skirt, sweater, or dress for the next two years.

In my own way I do use and wear about 30 to 35 items of clothing per season.

To make it easier to choose and use wardrobe items I’ve come up with 8 Rules for Conscious Shopping.

It really isn’t that great to lose track of how much you spend and what you spend it on. Whether that is clothing, food, or entertainment.

My contention is that you don’t need to have hundreds of items to choose from to be well-dressed.

Editing out the skeletons of wardrobes past that you no longer wear or fit into is the start of reclaiming your style power.

Here I offer my 8 Rules for Conscious Shopping:

  1. An item of clothing you buy should be able to be worn with at least two or three other items in your wardrobe.
  2. Shop to fill in missing items in your wardrobe instead of shopping for impulse buys as a weekly hobby. If you have ten sundresses and work in a corporate office, maybe you need to buy a power suit.
  3. Buy clothing that flatters your body and your color type (a warm or cool undertone).
  4. “Shop in your own closet”—the guiding principle of personal stylists everywhere.
  5. Reject buying clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle—that either don’t fit your life or your style. For help figuring out your style I recommend two books: The Curated Closet and Nothing to Wear? The 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet.
  6. Treat your clothes kindly, and they’ll remain in good condition for the long-term. This will save you from having to constantly replace fast fashion items that can’t withstand numerous wash cycles.
  7. Just say no to a neon green coat. Is neon anything a great look? Only if you’re a pop star touring America with an entourage.
  8. If you’re iffy about purchasing an item, leave it on the rack. The clothes you buy you should absolutely love at first sight. You’ll wear the clothes you love often and get more compliments.