The September Issues

It’s finally September, aka new year’s for fashion. I love seeing the latest trends, even though I live in a place where fall lasts for about three weeks in January. I finally know why peep toe booties, wool mini skirts, and sleeveless sweaters are a thing–the only way to signal the change in seasons here is through color and fabric because it never gets cold enough for the chic layering that is the staple of cold weather fashion. ¬†Anyway, on to the magazines! And apologies in advance for the low quality pictures, my Blackberry screen is cracked so I’m using a backup phone with a terrible camera.

Glamour

Number of pages: 216

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review: I used to subscribe to Glamour in college but after I turned 25 I felt like I had aged out of it. They have rebranded once again and it seems like they’re trying to expand their age demographic again. There were a lot of substantive articles in this issue, which I would normally applaud. This time it just annoyed me because for a September issue, it was less fashion focused than I would like. Their “Shop the Trends” feature was pretty basic, with the formula of picking a runway model look and surrounding it with the everyday version of the outfit. I can also tell they haven’t quite figured out how to reformat the magazine to look across digital and print, because many of the spreads looked very amateur-fashion-blogger-Instagram-y. Another feature, “Fashion Month Throwback”, where editors shared their fashion impressions of New York, London, Milan, and Paris, was literally printed diagonally. That’s cool if you’re reading on a tablet that can rotate, but just annoying if you’re reading print. “Outfits for Days” has taken place of their “30 Outfit Ideas“, which seems to have perished sometime in 2013. I liked the old feature because it revolved around 5-7 key pieces, worn by differently sized models, and guaranteed I would find at least one outfit or styling combination to try. This month’s feature revolved around just one week of outfits and 5 of the 7 pictures don’t show the full outfit -_- What’s the point?

However, I have to give Glamour a 1.5 point boost for diversity. I haven’t ever seen this many women of color featured in a magazine not targeted specifically to women of color, outside of a token “diversity issue”. There was a feature on makeup for WOC, black women featured in their career and financial advice sections, a black woman in the hair section, and all of their fashion editorials featured models of color. My favorite was titled “Hometown Hero” which spotlighted Khadijah Red Thunder, an up and coming model with both Black and Native American heritage. I’m 1/4 Muskogee so that was really cool to see, especially since she visually presents as a light skinned black girl (in fact, she looks like a few of my cousins). They even show her in traditional regalia, which was pretty cool.

 

InStyle

Number of pages: 440

Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: InStyle is my favorite fashion mag year round, and their September issue did not disappoint. While every magazine has sponsored content, InStyle is the best at writing features around the products that I still want to read anyway–the sponcon has the same production quality, as it were, with the same font used for the text and the same photographic feel. This was the only magazine I read with a minority on the cover and overall had a good amount of WOC featured throughout. There was an editorial featuring Dominican model Dilone; another featuring Kiersey Clemons (the actress who played the main character’s female BFF in Dope); and Solange was the celeb chosen for “Her Best Ever,” a feature that shows several of the star’s red carpet looks over the years and picks one as their favorite.

Still, if you want to see fashion that is (almost) price accessible but still treated with a haute couture sensibility, this is the mag for you. I mean, technically I can afford a $500 dress, ,a $150 blouse or a $275 pair of pants, I could just do so much more with that money. Like pay my car note and buy two $50 dresses, three $30 blouses, and a $40 pair of pants instead. ūüôā Anyway, what you won’t find is anything from Forever 21 or Old Navy (although the occasional Banana Republic piece may slip in from time to time). And while the menswear trend has been on the rise for the past few years, honest to goodness pantsuits are back. As an attorney, I very much appreciate a more stylish take on what is, for me, a workplace necessity.

And the photography is so lush–InStyle never cheaps out on editorials, they’re always a visual feast. Check out the stunning simplicity of this shot of Mariacarla Boscono, which I had to Google because my cell phone camera wouldn’t do it justice:

Photo Credit: InStyle Magazine, Phil Poynter

As Rachel Zoe would say, I die.

 

People Style

Number of pages: 156

Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: People Style Watch has rebranded to People Style which is what it should have been called in the first place. No points for doing the obvious, but thanks for making the name less clunky! This is the smallest magazine in page count but probably has the most actual content, since September issues are notorious for having at least 20 more pages of ads than any other time of year. The photo shoots and sartorial style don’t matter because if you’re reading this magazine, it’s for the pages and pages of outfit ideas. People Style has reduced overhead and made their publication extremely accessible because without models, it’s that much easier to imagine yourself in the outfit.

Everything pictured is at Target right now.

The patented formula–take a celeb outfit and recreate it with affordable pieces.

 

However, this is one of the less diverse magazine because all the photos are of celebrities commonly featured in sister publication People, which only covers the celebrities who are household names nationwide. So basically Beyonce, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington are their black girl mainstays. Even so, the fact that you get 100+ pages of a curated Pinterest board is worth the read. Even more so because there are several pages of editors’ picks from what’s actually on sale currently, and a discount directory in the back with coupon codes for featured brands.

Marie Claire

Number of pages: 294

Rating:  3 out of 5

Review: Marie Claire is sort of a mashup of Vogue and Glamour. There are a lot of well intentioned opinion pieces, but the fashion is strictly high end. While the prices are listed, if you have to check? You can’t afford it. This a magazine for the fashion girls because it always features designers, editors, and other fashion industry insiders–not just celebrity clotheshorses. In this mag, the runway is the real way. If you need your fashion dumbed down, read something else. Typically it’s a little too snobby for my taste, but once or twice a year I like to see something that’s a little more elevated. Unsurprisingly, the snobbiest mag is also the least diverse. But the fashion content is on point, so this still skates by with three stars.

This daguerrotype style editorial was gorgeous.

Where am I supposed to wear this Hunger Games-ass oufit?!

 

Hopefully you enjoyed my ramblings. If you made it this far, leave a comment and let me know- what’s your favorite fall trend this year? Do you hate everything? Am I the only one who’s noticed that the trends for the past few years have been virtually the same?

 

 

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June Shopping Haul

It’s been a while since I had a summer wardrobe to speak of. That was okay, since Atlanta is only uncomfortably hot for the actual 3 months of summer, where as Houston is hot year round. It was 80 degrees at Christmas, which is unfortunate since one of my husband’s aunts insists on doing an annual ugly sweater contest. eek¬†Anyway, last¬†“winter” I finally came to grips with the fact that I live here now and I don’t need 25 sweaters, five coats and four pairs of boots. *sobs dramatically* So I’ve been purging my closet and realized I had “nothing” to wear. You know what that means!

Let’s get to it. . .

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Torrid cold shoulder romper

Rompers, rompers, rompers!¬†With all the talk of rompers for men, I realized that-tragedy!- I no longer owned one. My last romper was a sleeveless button up from Forever 21 that I had a lot of fun with circa summer 2011. My cups spilleth over and I had to safety pin the chest from day one, so after two buttons popped I just gave it up. When I saw this romper on clearance at ¬† Torrid I couldn’t resist. It just screams summer fun!

 

Currently all my shorts are bermudas or close to it so I couldn’t resist this mini pair in a polka dot print.

 

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Cole Haan ballet flat

 

I wear a size 11W so it’s hard to find shoes. And either I can’t find anything, or I buy several pairs at one time. Between last month and this month I’ve bought five pairs of shoes and I have no regrets! I’ve been searching for a classic ballet flat forever and this fit the bill. It’s not wide width, but with the round toe and genuine leather construction they stretch to fit. Plus the mini wedge makes them super comfortable. *happy dance*

I love the twist knot detail on these sandals. Simple but chic. They’re my new summer work staple because they go with everything!

 

 

 

 

Did I cop the new Fenty bow slides? Actually no and that’s why I have a beef with Rihanna. After those atrocious fur slides and Spice Girl platform sneakers she finally made some cute shoes but they only go up to a size 10! She really could have got me for about $300 because I L-O-V-E-D not only the bow slides, but also the satin sneakers with ribbon laces. I’ll never have the chance so I got a pair Steve Madden knockoffs, in white leather. At least they’re easier to clean.

I don’t think I’ve ever owned a “freakum dress” in my life. I’m very modest so I very rarely show off more than one part of my body at a time. Honestly, this still probably doesn’t qualify but the combination of the thigh slit, cleavage and back out make it a freakum dress for me. My wedding anniversary is coming up in a few months and it will be nice to see my husband’s jaw drop because I *never* wear stuff like this. Hey boo! *body rolls*

Have you bought anything you love lately? Let me know in the comments!

 

May Shopping Haul

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a fun post. There’s nothing going on pop culture or celebrity wise that ¬†I find particularly interesting so shopping it is! I love the “Sh*t I Bought” series of posts on Jezebel’s The Muse so I decided to do my own for the past month or so.

Disclaimer: I bought a lot of stuff. Don’t judge me! The last time I went on a spree like this was right after I got my law firm job and realized I only had enough workwear to carry me through my first two weeks. Since I quit and went back to school, of course I slashed my discretionary spending. But I got some pretty well paying document review work, along with a surprise influx of cash from an unexpected source. So

I bought this on the spur of the moment while on the way to meet Sunny & Maya at a different store in the shopping center. This is basically the dress equivalent of yoga pants. The fabric is deliciously soft, it’s a modest length, and with the right shoes and a blazer it will pass for summer workwear. The flowiness is also great for that time of the month–you can feel like you’re in pajamas while looking fit for public consumption.H&M

I love a good polka dot tee. I actually already have one but it has half sleeves and no ruffles, and this one was cheap af so why not?

I love dark denim but in Houston, it’s 80 degrees at Christmas and I don’t know what the rest of the year. Dark denim is not your friend in the summer months. I was skeptical about the cropped flare deal, but these actually worked.

Khaki is back (never went out for me personally) and ruffles are majorly in. Unfortunately almost all the ruffles come on tops. With wide shoulders, DD cups and a short neck I know that shirt ruffles are not my friend (believe me Maya, I tried to make fetch happen and failed miserably). But I love that this side ruffle pencil skirt gives me some extra oomph in the hip department!

Victoria Beckham bee blouse¬†I bought this in a 3X so it fits my boobs and is big everywhere else. But this shirt was so me I don’t mind spending another $15 to get it tailored.

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Rebdolls is like Forever 21 but cooler. All their dresses are named after songs/song lyrics, they have cute graphic tees that are cut for women with boobs, and almost everything is under $50. If it’s over $50, just sign up for email alerts because every other month there’s a 20% off sale. Anyway,¬†I realized I don’t really have any going out dresses. I mean, I have dresses that I wear out but they’d really be more comfortable at brunch, church, or a networking event. Nothing in my closet really says “drinks with the girls” or “date night”. This is short with a mostly open back so I think this fits the bill. Bonus: the ruffle part hits below my boobs!

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My only other maxi dress is strappy and sleeveless, so I can only wear it with a strapless bra which I currently don’t own (come on, Lane Bryant semi annual bra sale!). In addition to the sleeves, I love that this one is white, but the print adds enough color that a small stain wouldn’t be immediately visible. I wore this to the Houston leg of Gentleman Jack Real to Reel film series and swished around all night!

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I love oxfords and I don’t have a black pair so, duh. Very comfy and work appropriate, plus they can be worn with pants and dresses. So you know how you jam your feet into your shoes without untying & retying them and the back gets mashed down? Well this shoe is made fore that. Curiously these “convert” to mules but I don’t think I’ll be wearing mine that way.

I love a good bag, but I usually get tired of them quick. This has long term potential though. The camel color is classic and the color blocked cloth strap is very summery.

What Not To Wear

My social media feeds have been lit up this week over an issue that combines my hometown, fashion, and talking about professionalism–three of my favorite things! So let’s get to it.

An Atlanta teacher went viral after pictures of her posing in the classroom set off a huge debate about whether her outfits were professional. After pictures from her Instagram profile started to circulate on Twitter, the story was soon picked up by media outlets such as The Root and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (which wins the award for best headline, lol). The outfits in question are shown below.

To me, it’s not even a question. While she’s dressed appropriately (i.e., all pertinent body parts are covered) 2 out of 3 of these are definitely not okay.¬†Tight, clingy spandex dresses are not professional attire, across the board. Each of these outfits is¬†tight all over. Yes, she has a beautiful, curvy figure and there’s no hiding that. However, she can work around it. The first pictures is a good example–the tights and cardigan mean no skin is showing and there is something to cover her hips and bust. In the second picture, which I’ll assume is a casual Friday/jeans day, she should have worn a longer, looser shirt or boot cut pants which would balance out her hips and legs. However, there’s no saving that pink dress in the third picture. If you can wear it at the club, DON’T WEAR IT TO WORK. Forever 21 body con dresses are not professional attire!

I’m curvy and also plus size,¬†so I know the struggle. If you have curves, they will always show but you can work around it. Buy shirts a size up so they don’t cling, wear a-line or pleated skirts and boot cut or wide leg pants. If everything is fitted, wear a longline blazer or cardigan.he key is balance. Tight all over is for weekends and after work. You don’t have to wear a potato sack, but in a work setting you can either be fitted on top or fitted on the bottom–not both. You can have bare legs or bare arms or cleavage–just one, not all three. Those are just the rules.

I saw a lot of arguments about how this was body shaming and objectification of women and reeks of rape culture. I hear that, and¬†agree that women’s bodies are always sexualized whereas men’s bodies are not. That’s an unfortunate double standard. But in this case,¬†I don’t think it’s that deep.¬†Rightly or wrongly, certain jobs¬†require us to dress certain ways in order to be taken seriously. If I show up for a hearing in khakis, a polo shirt, and Converse sneakers, the judge is very likely to send me home to change. Is it appropriate (i.e., all body parts covered)? Absolutely. Is it professional and reflective of the role I am playing? Absolutely not. Courtroom and law firm dress code are formal. Nobody wants to pay hundreds of dollars an hour to someone who can’t be bothered to put on a suit.

Like lawyer, and also doctors, teachers have to more than just apply for their job. They must have at least a Bachelor’s degree; pass a state licensing exam; and take¬†continuing education courses to keep their license current. Why so much work? For one,¬†we have specialized knowledge outside of what can be taught on the job. Secondly and most importantly, I think, we take¬†care of the things that people value most: their health; their freedom and property; and their children. Because of that the standard for professionalism is higher and we are expected to conduct ourselves accordingly. In a perfect world, it would be all about competence and people could wear whatever they wanted to work. But that is not the world we live in. Her outfits were cute. She wasn’t wildly inapporpriate. But that doesn’t mean she was professional.

On a final note-for goodness sake, teachers, STOP TAKING SELFIES AT WORK. At least do it in the bathroom or the parking lot or some place that’s not obviously a classroom. These pictures were more than likely taken after dismissal when the kids were out. But when people¬†see a picture of a teacher in a club dress with an alphabet rug on the floor, they’re usually going to assume that she was neglecting her job because the outfit is already sending cues that she doesn’t take it seriously (even if ¬†Additionally¬†I think a large part of the uproar is that she was doing outfit of the day pictures in the classroom– making it seem as if she potentially was neglecting her job. It’s just not a good look.

Dear Target

Dear Target,

Despite being a retailer that prides itself on stylishly being all things to all people, your plus size market has been grossly ignored. The plus size section is relegated to 2 or 3 racks at the far end of women’s apparel, and is often mixed in with maternity. While the emergence of the Ava & Viv line, designed in collaboration with several notable fashion bloggers, was supposed to provide a fresh face, nothing changed. The most fashionable items (which were little more than colorful basics) were offered in that initial launch, and everything since then has been absolutely pitiful. At my local Target, the plus line is updated with 5-7 new pieces per season. Invariably, half of them are black or white.

Meanwhile, a quick perusal of Target.com shows a substantial collection of plus items in Target’s proprietary Merona and Mossimo lines, many of which are equivalent to the plus size lines…and none of which make it to my local Target stores, with the exception of solid color tees, cardigans, and basic slacks. The demand for fashionable plus size clothing clearly exists, as evidenced by the fact that the Lilly Pulitzer collection sold out in mere hours.

So, you’ve tried it again in a collection with Who What Wear and you’re finally doing some things right. The collaboration is a long term one and includes plus sizes. Perhaps most importantly, almost every item in the straight size line was provided in plus, in at least 2 color/pattern options. ¬†Aesthetically, the offerings are a HUGE leap forward from Ava & Viv.

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This dress was the one thing I knew I had to have!

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I’m not a leather jacket kind of girl, but I love having the option to become one.

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Polka dots are always in style for me.

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Finally, modern styling for plus sizes. I bought the boyfriend jeans.

However, there’s still room for improvement. The Who What Wear line was only available in a limited selection of stores, and only a few of those stores carried the plus line. As stated above, some of the items were not available plus. ¬†For example, a longline blazer in blush pink and an olive green ¬†sweater dress that I would have purchased if I had the option. Additionally, the logistics were off. The collection was stated to go live on January 31, but I couldn’t add anything to my cart until about 12:30 pm CST (and I only got to the plus size items by searching the Target website, because they weren’t up on the splash page). But the Target twitter account said the plus size items wouldn’t be available until February 1–with the likely result that some shoppers missed out entirely. Last but not least, Who What Wear is dissociating itself from the plus items. They link to the Target collection on their website, but only provide links for the straight size items. It’s kind of hard to send ¬†a message that all your customers matter when your collaborator doesn’t acknowledge half of them.

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Love this dress, but couldn’t buy it.

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This would go great with some of my dresses if it were available in my size.

Target didn’t knock it out of the park, but it finally has a plus size collection that is comparable to Forever 21, H&M, ASOS, and others. It remains to be seen whether the progress will continue, or if this is just another means of placating the masses without really solving the problem.

 

 

5 Favorites for 2016

Happy New Year! I’m kicking off another year on the blog with 5 things that I’m loving right now.

Jazmine Sullivan, “Reality Show”

      This album dropped at the ¬†beginning of the year. I live my life on shuffle so it took until this summer for me to listen to the album as a whole, but it’s been on repeat ever since. My absolute favorite song on the album is “Let It Burn”. It samples an old Babyface-produced track which feels like a long lost Debarge track. ¬†

These boots from Target.

target shearling boots

 

    It’s cold as crap outside! Accuweather is telling me that I’m lucky, but 50 degrees feels stupid cold when you spend 9 months out of the year at 85 degrees and up. Not to mention that the office a/c apparently runs year round. I’m going to be wearing these bad boys out for the next 8 weeks!* ūüėÄ

Mozart in the Jungle

I finally broke down and got an¬†Amaz.on Pr.ime subscription. I knew it would pay for itself in Kin.dle books alone, but since all my regular shows are on winter hiatus, I had time to try out a new show. Mozart is actually really good! It’s a nice, light, 30 minute comedy. And having spent about 10 years in the orchestra, it’s nice to hear classical music and enjoy all the quirky musicians’ shenanigans. Check it out here.

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The Awkward Yeti web comics

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Somebody shared a collection of these on Facebook and I’m hooked. They’re super cute and the misadventures of Heart and Brain just speak to my life.

Tazo Gingerly Jasmine Tea

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Hubs got me a kettle for Christmas, which is enabling my new tea habit. I love green tea but this flavor from Tazo is wonderful. The flavor of the tea mixed with ginger, jasmine and rose petals has just the right balance of floral, earthy and spicy notes. Mixed with a couple teaspoons of local Texas honey, there’s no better way to unwind after a hard day at work.

 

 

*ICYMI, Houston has 3 months of winter, 3 months of spring, and 6 months of hell.