Shopping while plus-sized? Feel frustrated in a fitting room? I feel ya. Limited choices often limit plus-size women from wearing clothing they really love. With my busy life, it’s not unusual for me to attend several events in a week, in addition to meetings. I am constantly shopping and trying on clothes. As a plus size woman, this can be immensely frustrating. Here’s some shopping tips I’ve come to live by:
Wear what you love.
I can’t repeat this enough. If an outfit does not put a megawatt smile on your face, if you feel insecure in any way, don’t buy it. I only wear what I love. I don’t wear colors I don’t like. Shape wear may make you look better in a frock, but if you feel insecure in any way, I strongly suggest that you don’t spend the money. Wear what makes you feel bold and beautiful and ready to be seen. If you find your outfit hides “flaws” more than it makes you feel bodacious and beautiful, nix it.
If something works well, and it comes in colors you love, duplicate!
Shoe shopping drives me batty. I wear an 11 W, so finding cute, comfortable footwear is always an adventure. I always buy duplicates of shoes that I find comfortable, in several colors. I do this with dresses and blazers too. If it ain’t broke, I don’t fix it and I also don’t have to search as much for that elusive 11W.
Merge trendy and classic.
Let’s face it. Most trends are showcased to the world in fashion mags on lithe bodies–bodies that don’t look plus-sized. I look great in classic wear, but I want to be on trend as much as makes sense for me. I never invest fully in the color of the year from head to toe or other fashion phenomenons. I integrate what’s trendy that I like with what I know works for me. Once again, if I don’t feel FABULOUS in it, I don’t wear it.
You CAN wear patterns.
So many plus-sized women lament the horrible patterns in shapeless designs that line clothing racks. Because there’s so much bad available, we sometimes don’t look for the good. I love patterns when they are right for me: polka dots, some paisley, leopard print. Sometimes I can do zebra print and snake print. You will rarely see me wear horizontal stripes, because I am a broad broad! Open your mind to some patterns, but it may take some hunting.
Don’t agonize. Accessorize.
I have a few simple black dresses that are mainstays of my wardrobe. They could be seen as blah–but I offset the blah with some bling. I love a great scarf too. Accessorizing the tried-and-true is a fun way to revamp a classic wardrobe.
These are just a few of my fave tips for shopping. Share yours in the comments!
Note: These Botero-inspired, body positive fashion images are NSFW. They are also not safe for preserving outmoded paradigms of what a woman’s body should be.
We are born naked and when we die, our bodies are stripped, examined and prepared for burial. Between birth and death, we are contextualized and classified by fashion. It is our nakedness that is universal and transcendent. It is fashion that gives us a sense of time, space and place. Fashion changes. That’s its nature. Our nakedness does not change.
So much of fashion for women revolves around hiding, camouflaging, binding, masking and correcting flaws. Many of those flaws even become fashionable after a time. What’s considered beautiful to one generation is horrifying to another. Binding of the feet, whalebone corsets, and obligatory shape wear are all examples of how we try to minimize women even in the space that they take up in their physical, tangible life. We do this in the name of beauty and glamour, but the tacit message is that a woman is not allowed to take up too much space and must expect to suffer as part of daily life as a matter, of course, to be acceptable to those around her. Wallis Simpson’s famous quip, “You can never be too rich or too thin,” has stayed with women long after her death.
Idealized images of the female form have been around since humans began the endeavor of making art but over time, our ideas of what a woman should be and could be have grown smaller and smaller. Would the Venus of Willendorf be considered gorgeous today if we saw her living, nude, in the flesh?
Siegfried Kracauer famously said, “The photograph annihilates the person.” Indeed, we live in an age of hyper-inundation of images. The average American sees 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, many of aspirational models portraying fictionalized situations rather than actual people living actual lives. Kracauer also said,”…what appears in the photograph is not the person but the sum of what can be subtracted from him or her.” People are reduced to objects, things, ideas, sales pitches, and talking points instead of subjectivities. The average woman has been annihilated in this unrelenting tide of over-processed, idealized imagery of unobtainable standards.
Is body positivity just having a moment? Is it fashionable? Or is body comfort, body positivity, and body acceptance something that we can reclaim as women? Is fashion having a fat fetish moment or can we truly embrace women of all sizes? Can we truly and whole-heartedly say all sizes and shapes are deserving of being clothed well?
These photographs are deeply informed by Fernando Botero’s oeuvre. Botero often imagined bodies as round and full, comic even at times, as opposed to clean lines and hard, harsh angles. Can we too have a full circle moment? Is it possible to enjoy looking at many different types of body types in photography and allow for their subjectivity?
We privilege chiseled perfectly toned, perfectly controlled bodies. This is what we hold up as the ideal. This is what advertisers sell to us. This is what so many women suffer for— trying to prove that they are in control of their lives by being in control of their bodies. It’s about proving to the world if you are indeed control of your own life. The sad history is, that even today, with remarkable freedoms for women, not all women have equal access to those freedoms. We are not always in control of our bodies at all times, all over the world.
Nakedness is also vulnerability. You’re not hiding, you’re not distracting, and you’re not camouflaged. You’re there with all your rolls, pooches, all your stretch marks, all your cellulite, freckles, and moles. Forty percent of American women are obese. That’s a large minority. Instead of pressuring these women to be more in control, to work harder, to do better, perhaps we should unbind our thinking. Perhaps we should drop our whalebone thought corsets and make fashion compassionate. Let’s be seen, heard and accepted as we are.
According to the American Psychological Association, women are twice as likely to report that they’re stressed and then men. Instead of gouging women’s pain points as a means to sell them things, it would be far more effective to extend the everyday woman the compassion she deserves, whether she’s a size 6 or size 16 or a size 26.
Instead of belaboring whether a woman is visually attractive or sexy, it’s far more important to help every woman find what’s within her that’s attractive, vibrant, sexy and alive. That’s why body positivity is so important–not to make the range of what we find sexy and sexual bigger, literally, but to help people feel better about themselves in the world that often undermines our mental and emotional health and our well-being in the name of profit.
It’s already been an eventful 2020, and we’re just barely a week in. We invest a lot of hope and enthusiasm for the new year. It can seem daunting to have so many goals and aspirations and need to keep track and plan them. I know one of the biggest challenges I have is forming new habits.
If you’re ready to toss out a traditional planner or date book or are fed up with keeping track of everything on your phone, it might be time to look into bullet journaling. My bullet journal is part art journal, part diary, part calendar and part project management system. It fits me…and if you’re a quirky creator, it might be fit for you too. My #bujo is a bit messy and whimsical–sort of like me, with little hidden surprises. I postponed bullet journaling for a long time because I was intimidated by how pretty and perfect some of them look. Mine is perfectly imperfect for me!
Truth be told, my journal is a bit different than many examples out there. Instead of grid paper, I use an old-school lined composition book and each page, front and back, is dedicated to the week. Instead of pretty calligraphy, my journal is personalized with stickers and cuttings from magazines I like. I added coloring pages. Here’s one!
I also really love re-purposing old magazines, cards and flyers. Here’s a few examples.
If you are glued to your phone, and wondering if it’s even possible for you to go to a completely analog system, don’t stress. There is a bullet journal app designed by Ryder Carroll that gives you bullet journaling on the go, if you’re not toting yours with you. Also, I back up my journal before my week begins on Evernote. That way, if my journal is in my car, or left at home, it’s still there for me digitally and I have digital record of my itinerary if needed. If I am traveling, I also back up my travel itinerary.
I think one of the best things I’ve learned from bullet journaling is that I do have a habit of over-scheduling myself, mistaking busier for better. Bullet journaling has helped me break large projects down into more manageable steps and help me spread workload over days and anticipate my busy-ness and business better. I’ve also adapted the bullet journal methods to the editing of a documentary feature I’m working on!
Plan your successes in 2020! I hope “Getting Organized Month” is a good month, and 2020, a productive, profitable New Year for You. Your bullet journal doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect. It, like you, is a work in progress! Here’s to making a masterpiece of 2020.
2020 is ruled by the planet Mercury. What’s that mean!? It’s time to communicate, be aware of fraud, and more. Listen up as we go through the major Mercury retrogrades of the year and how they could affect you.
This reading combines the wisdom of the tarot with the astrological house most affected by the eclipse on December 26, 2019. Listen in to your sun, moon and rising signs to get the most complete picture of what the next six months have in store for you. Eclipses influence us for six months at a time and are the major themes of transformation. Check your sign for what’s ahead for you in 2020.
When I was in 3rd grade, I broke my left arm. I fell off a swing backwards on the playground and snapped my left ulna. The bone was set properly. It seemed to heal quickly.
Flash forward a few decades, it’s giving me trouble when I do Wheel Pose during yoga. I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with yoga. I’ve settled into a steady yin and restorative regimen. I’ve always loved Wheel Pose. I made an ambitious goal. I was going to practice Wheel Pose every day.
It seems the old injury has come back. I can’t get up into wheel everyday. My left ulna needs a rest for a day and then it will cooperate the next day. It took me a week or two to figure out why this was. And then I remembered my elementary school swing incident.
Healing is an ongoing process. Long after the cast comes off, long after you’ve done talk therapy, you may still have flare ups from an old wound, whether the wound is physical or emotional. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to say, “not today”. It doesn’t make you less than.
It seems my left forearm needs my patience. If I force myself into the position, it hurts. How often have we forced something that ended up hurting ourselves or another? Probably more often than we’d like to admit. We’re often told to toughen up, feel the pain, push past it or get on with it. That’s not how we heal. We heal by listening. We heal by respecting our boundaries and limits. Right now, I have three limbs that are consistently ready to do the Wheel. My back appreciates the stretch too. My left arm needs a little coaxing and permission to back off when its too much.
Compassion for yourself is trusting your process–even if its decades-long.
Yi is a Chinese multimedia artist who has lived in Rome from the age of eight and studied between London and Paris with degrees in Political Science and Economics. Her innovative work has been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennal, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. Global in reach, she founded her creative strategy digital production company, Yi Zhou Studio, in Shanghai and Hong Kong. In late 2017, she brought her creative vision to LA as a strategic partner of Cinemoi Network, Royal Yacht. She is currently developing her first feature film as writer and director.
I had the privilege of meeting Yi through What Women Want Show about a year ago as she was preparing her Fred Segal show. I was extremely impressed by Yi’s drive, ambition and poise. Yi’s brand is called Global Intuition and I can see why. Working with Yi, she has a global outlook and also a strong sense of what makes others look and feel good. My shoot with Yi was fun, collaborative and inspiring.
Here’s your first look–Body Positive and Bubbles!
Yi and I discussed what intuition is and why it’s important for women, and really everyone, to trust their intuition . Intuition seems to power much of what she does and how she works.
Video Courtesy of Yi Zhou, Global Intuition
My biggest take away from spending time with Yi this week was that joy and intuition make everything we do better! If you bring a joyful heart to whatever you are doing, and trust your hunches, you can accomplish so much. Trust your intution and let your joy bubble over!
Special guest psychic and shaman Shea Herlihy-Abba and host Kristin West chat about how having opposite signs in the chart doesn’t automatically mean there’s a conflict. They discuss the Autumn Equinox, how to balance energies that might not be serving you and how to embrace the changing of the seasons. Sometimes sassy, sometimes deep this conversation is sure to challenge your assumptions about the “dark side” of the year.
Sometimes, we take too many cues from other people. They have something, so we should have something. They’re pursuing something, so we should pursue it too. Our #fomo overrides our common sense, and even worse, our #fomo leads us to look to others for what we truly want and so our lives our built on comparison and often, jealousy.
The last few weeks, I’ve been throwing around the word “success” often, but I hadn’t fully articulated to myself what success would be for me. I’d let the culture define what success was–a big house, a fast, expensive car, expensive stuff. My values had shifted, and my definition of success had indeed changed. I just didn’t realize it til a week and a half ago.
We have to get curious. Especially when we’re contemplating making big shifts, we must get curious about our assumptions. Would that fast car really make me happy or I am really angsty about the pace at which my ventures are progressing? Is that big house one I will be happy in or is what I truly desire to be able to travel more? Once we think we know our values, we get comfortable in them like an old shoe. And then, we tread very familiar paths in that old shoe til we feel lost.
If there’s part of your life that’s not working and/or not satisfying, it might be time to get curious about what you truly value. You may find that something’s shifted. Some values stay with us our whole lives, others shift as we learn, grow and experience.
Tomorrow, the Autumnal Equinox, is a great day to get a handle on what’s out of balance in our lives, which often means we’ve been overvaluing some things, people and situations, to the neglect of others. Unpack the buzzwords you’ve been aspiring to achieve. What’s success to you? Peace? Authenticity? Get specific and then there will be no #fomo.
It’s not fall yet, despite what Starbucks may have you believe. The autumnal equinox is a little over a week away, on September 23. Yet, you may already be feeling fall settling in. I walk almost every day and I see the leaves changing and falling.
Sometimes in life we don’t make the sharp turns that movies and TV would have us think are part and parcel of an exciting life. Not all of our lives have convenient plot points. Change is often gradual, like the seasons. Lately, I’ve been learning to pivot, to observe the transition and not necessarily fixate on the end result or where I would prefer to have things. The art of pivoting, for me, like the trees, is the art of knowing what to let go, when and how. It’s not dropping everything at once in a fury. It’s not uprooting and escaping. It’s knowing what to expand and what to contract at the right time. Pivoting takes a great deal of patience and discernment. It also takes a great deal of faith. Just as a tree lets go of its leaves gracefully, we are challenged to make our changes in life as gracefully and gratefully as possible.
Too often, we are not in the present. We’re mining the middens of the past trying to explain away our bad feelings or bad behavior or we’re floating into painful projections of a future more akin to a post-apocalyptic world.
Lately, I’ve been dealing with my anxiety. Part of my job as a movie producer is to prevent potential problems with production and minimize liabilities as much as possible. My job is to look at a script and ask myself, “What could go wrong here,” and “Where is there a waste of money or other resources?”
Therefore, as part of being in a leadership position, I do have to put some mind-space in the future and the what-ifs. People count on me to anticipate and solve problems. And if I solve a problem that never grows into a full-blown “issue”, all the better! However, once it makes my heart race or prevents me from moving forward, I’ve started to go to:
Here. Now. Today.
Here–where I am–the space–my office, the coffee shop, etc.
Now–what am I doing in the now–data entry, memorizing, budgeting
Today–the actual date and time
Here. Now. Today.
I also have to accept there’s enough entropy that I won’t be able to anticipate all the issues. I recently toured a movie ranch that lost 20 structures in the last California wildfire. There’s no way anyone could have predicted that specific facility would have lost all those structures–iconic ones. There are limits to what we can foresee and anticipate, even if we have keen minds and heightened intuition.
If you’re feeling anxious, or are tasked with trying to lead a group, especially projecting the future, know that you can’t project or prognosticate everything. You can only do the best you can do.