The Best Fashion Bloggers You Might Not Know About

  1. Brandy-Alexander @kenzohoe

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2. Iris Yang @1risy

hair perfectly done by @mysnugroom 💚

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YASYASS

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Total look @jh.zane 📸 @jh.zane

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3. Frances @beautyspock

Shooting with @lazyoafs

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My #metgala look! Wish I could have walked the red carpet in this

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I feel like my new bag and shoes are a couple

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4. @berthauxx

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Depop.com/cyberangels💕

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5. Lee Velvet @velvetcloouds

Barcade 🍸

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🔋🔋🔋 Set by: @fashionnova 📸: @savannarr

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6. @bbykamkam

One of my favorite looks

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Really wish I copped this top

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WORKTHISPUSSY

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7. @creativenatiive

Oh just pretending it’s not FREEZING OUTSIDE… 😒

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Do not like bananas 🍌

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8. Kyra Cherie @tacobell_dsl

I really loved this look

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A year ago

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9. @eclectic.hoe

🏁cyber-hoe-cowgirl🏁@luomostrano's baby blue cardigan

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have a nice day 🗑

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10. Evie @evkeisnothome

Prairie witch looks 🐓

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11. @yungbabytate (she’s actually a rapper)

I’m every single color of the rainbow 🌈 & u gone be forever GREEN 🤮💚

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chromatic 💚

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Instagram Filters Aren’t Cool Anymore

I started my tumblr career 7 years ago and ended it a couple years after. I feel like an old hipster who’s identity is free floating though my clothes still root me in something I no longer understand. Cool sexy recklessness used to excite me. Now I wish I could be a minimalist or a bougie woman decked in 80s pantsuits and hammered metal earrings. But the adolescent angst-look has drilled itself to me even as I’ve shed the angst and the adolescence. Will I be that thirty year old woman who never got over the punk phase? Yes.

Victims of a culture that derides art and intellect, no one wants to identify as a hipster. But come on, we all know who we are. The aesthetic used to feel natural. I was fascinated by the new creative ideas of the time. Now keeping up almost feels like a chore. I used to spend hours watching A$AP Rocky music videos when he was just tumblr-famous and recycling male-gaze images of naked women smoking cigarettes and holding guns. I’m not embarrassed. I think if you need art in your life, you need it. Sometimes we make art before we have found anything but a shallow understanding of the emotions beneath it.

Now I see a profile labeled as “Art” or see “Spam” written as a description and I don’t get the joke. Now I can see that on Instagram it seems to be that a lack of filters is what is edgy and cool. And I’m very aware of this and that scares me: to be aware of what the trend is and not feel it rooted in you. It’s weird to see that all the trendmakers are 5 years younger than me and didn’t know tumblr when it was just beginning to gather disdain.

It used to be that over-filtered, faded photos, grainy photos, saturated photos were exciting and moody. Now it’s the complete stripping of any filter as if to say, I’m too cool to busy myself with the construction of my coolness. I don’t have a finger on the pulse enough to know how this is actually done and if there is actually a filter that creates the no-filter, super shit-quality look. Because the quality is absolute crap, it’s all blurry with harsh warm light. And then there are the photos with the added stars and hearts and such.

Maybe it’s a response to the overproduced look. We are weary of the obvious filter. I guess we all got tired filters poorly executed. In the age of smart phones, there may be a greater appreciation for actual photography. If you can’t afford to get it done the right way, then just do it straight up, don’t try to make a crappy photo something it’s not.

The Double Standard For Visible Unmentionables

Something I noticed while wearing this outfit was that my pants were slightly too big and my underwear was showing. I was very uncomfortable with this because I knew it was inappropriate. So I decided I would buy a pair of men’s underwear: some men’s Calvin Klein boxers. Because that way I could show my underwear.

Suddenly the double standard occurred to me. If I’m showing women’s underwear, it’s inappropriate, but men’s underwear? No problem. A time in high school when a girl came over to give me the tip that my thong was showing flashed back to me. And I remembered doing the same for other girls.

Sure, people would say that men should pull their pants up. But it’s usually said loud and as a joke. Not with the hushed embarrassment of a girl-to-girl heads up. Because there’s no way you would want your underwear to show, is the implication. Guys are scolded for wanting theirs to show but with the loud scolding comes the implication that these men had a choice. They made the “wrong” one, but they had a choice.

Also, it’s only a certain level of pant sagging that is a problem: the level that indicates that you are black. If simply the rim of your boxers peeks out, that’s considered respectable and sexy. Only when half your underwear is poking out and you’re emulating the black aesthetic circa 2007 does it become a problem.

Our level of comfort as a society with unmentionables being displayed directly correlates to society’s acceptance of women and black men.

Finding Revolution In Queer Joy

When you’re willing to put in the effort to pick up girls in straight bars you should know that something is wrong. You should go to the place where the women are who are ready to find you. You should go to the places where the experiences you like are normal. And when you’re closeted, you don’t.

Because making the effort to find something where it doesn’t exist is easier than confronting that thing that exists in yourself. This was my conundrum of seeking women in straight bars.

So for Pride this year we went to a queer bar. It was my first time going to Pride while out of the closet. And at first I was a bit resistant. What do I have to be proud of, I thought. I don’t feel oppressed enough in this identity to need pride. And maybe that says something about being a bi woman.

But it quickly became apparent that this time this was also my party.

As I sunk into the dance floor and felt the heat collapse onto my forehead in drops, I couldn’t have felt more comfortable. For so many years I have observed queer culture from afar and seen the trademark upbeat spirit and felt confused as to why that culture existed. It became clear to me on this night that it was the only way to be. That within these walls was not only a safe place but a space where people had decided to take refuge in each other and to celebrate life even under less than stellar circumstances outside. There’s a joy that LGBTQ+ people have that comes from a unique reaction to struggle. To have that much upbeat music and joy when you’re oppressed is creating a space for yourself to love life.

I remember when I was still closeted thinking about going to a gay bar and reading that if you’re a girl you should be prepared to not get any attention. As if that would be an unwelcome adjustment. I heeded those words only to find them both true and empty when the experience was realized. It felt good to just be a person. Who needs attention when the lense is objectifying.

For the first time I saw women dancing on each other (for real, not as a show) and felt an understanding of sexuality and what it really is in this place where predatory hands and words held no weight. Sexuality isn’t for ransom and it doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s an expression and a dance.

LA vs. The Bay Area

The Bay Area is all I know so I can’t really compare it to other places except for LA. I have visited at least a dozen times.

The Bay Area feels like a more real place than LA. People are more tangible.

In LA, everything feels like a theme park. People strut around and walk their dogs in full outfits. It’s sunny all the time. The heat can make you delirious. Everyone is half naked. And at any moment you could either turn the corner into a pristine neighborhood or a run-down pigeon fest. In LA, there are no clearly defined hoods. Everything is splattered across the sprawl.

In LA, there are bougie black men. Everywhere. I don’t know why anyone complains about the dating scene. At least you have one.

Coming back to San Francisco is like submerging yourself in a cool pool. Unlike LA’s candy-shores, ours are harsh and wild. As soon as you step onto the conveyor belt in SFO, you feel yourself sink into the earth. People walk around in dark clothes and warm clothes. Vans and quilted jackets are the uniform. Suddenly the lack of diversity becomes astonishing. White and asian faces become more noticeable if only for a moment because of what they have crowded out. You realize that San Francisco is segregated. The dark faces just aren’t in the airport.

People are lean in SF. They eat well and they walk a lot. In LA, fitness is intentional and premeditated. Nutrition is discussed. It’s not something hidden away as routine.

But if you peep into Beloved Cafe in the Mission you might get a taste of LA. Listen to people discuss coked out nights and ayurveda.

 

Benefits Of Window Shopping

1. Orseund Iris Tube Tank $195 2. Poppy Lissiman Crystal Beth Sunglasses in Yellow $130 3. Sandy Liang Uniform Skort $525 4. Opening Ceremony Adam Selman Gingham Sheer Tulle Pant and Shirt $595 and $495 5. Cmmn Swdn Samson Tapered Trouser $192.99 6. Orseund Iris Structured Corset $230 7. Sami Miro Vintage The Valentina Body $210

I window shop a lot. On my phone. I have a penchant for peeping the retailers of luxury clothing and then going through major debates in my head on how to raise up funds while googling loan and grant websites, scrolling the requirements, and rolling around the question of whether a benefactor is a real thing and if only rich people have them. I keep reading and re-reading the New York Times article on why you need a patron. And wondering if anyone would consider dressing yourself art worth donating to. I mean, clearly it is art. But I don’t know that anyone else would agree when it’s also so much fun and so selfish. Maybe if I was buying clothes for a styling test shoot? Okay, that’s good, I’ll take it but I’m not even sure how to do that. Networking? Okay, actually the answer is Patreon, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and Kickstarter. How bold would it be for me to ask for money for clothing? And I’m cracking up because I am literally once again going through a major debate in my head on how to raise up funds.

Though window shopping outside of my price range is a torturously fun activity, I also think it is useful. I have noticed my actual buying habits mirror, or are informed by, my fantasy shopping. For example, I cannot afford a $250 silver ruched tube top with amazing structure and heft. But when I spotted a secondhand Forever21 tube top at Buffalo Exchange, that silver tube top came to mind and I knew I needed to try the cheap version on. So $10 later and my purchase is the training wheel version of my dream and I’ll take that. However, this calls fast fashion into question. I am justifying copying and settling for things made with nearly guaranteed questionable labor standards even if they are second hand. There is also the issue of a pretty basic wardrobe: one where new ideas are lacking and the same trends propogate. When you buy from places where runway looks are deconstructed to appeal to mass consumption, you lose some of the edginess and the daring silhouettes.

However, I still think this process has merit. For example, this product collage helped me to put together all of the items I have been eyeing for a while and in doing so, aided me in better identifying my aesthetic and the qualities my favorites have in common. Without spending a coin, I was able to gain a better sense of my style which will help me to feel more confident saying no while shopping later. It turns out that I am in the majority. Most online shoppers are window shoppers who look online to inform in-person purchasing decisions (Forsythe & Shi 2003). Heavy online purchasers tend to be older, male and wealthy. Heavy online window shoppers also known as browsers are younger, less experienced on the web, and low income. Moderate browsers tend to be somewhere in between (Forsythe & Shi 2003). Heavy browsers and women are also more likely to believe that online shopping carries financial risk, a deterrent from purchasing online (Forsythe & Shi 2003). So demographically, it’s not a surprise that I am a moderate to heavy browser.

Psychological Benefits of Window Shopping

Research shows that practicing doing something in your head is almost as effective as actually doing it. Engaging in this mental practice can also make you more confident and motivated. This is why athletes so commonly visualize their game beforehand. I remember learning from my voice teacher that you can actually warm up your vocal chords before a performance without making any sound. Simply think the melody in your head and your vocal chords will move to that spot to make the note.

Kit Yarrow states that when you shop you are imagining yourself with the product and visualizing what your life would be like. You regain a sense of control over your life. This is why people turn to shopping in times of transition — after a breakup or upon entering the workforce — because it can ease anxiety about all of these changes and also help you to figure out what you want your life to look like now that it has changed. So when I am creating a product collage or window shopping I am actually visualizing my future, building confidence in that future, and getting myself closer to that goal of living that life. When I see a cheaper version of that tube top, I am affirming that identity and bringing it closer to my reality.

Another benefit of window shopping is that it helps you take a break mentally. It can help you to unwind and can be a relaxing activity.

I want to add that I think it also sharpens your taste. If you are looking at coats every day, when you actually go to buy one, you know if it is really the best version around. You’ll also get a better sense of trends, spot dupes quickly, and understand when an item is a dime a dozen. It’s fun getting a sense of the lay of the land in fashion and feeling in control of your buying choices.

It turns out there is a name for someone like me who window shops based on curiosity. This kind of shopper is unique to online shopping and is called an e-window shopper. We are motivated by stimulation (“interacting with interesting websites”) and are least likely to haggle over prices or bid online (Ganesh, Reynolds, Luckett, Pomirleanu 2010). It was also found that another kind of shopper, apathetic online shoppers, who are not interested in online shopping, are less likely to value the convenience of online shopping. The researchers wondered if these shoppers may place more value on the tactile experience of shopping in store (Ganesh, Reynolds, Luckett, Pomirleanu 2010). But I also wonder if the e-window shopper may place value on the tactile experience as well as we tend to not make online purchases.

The Dark Side of Window Shopping

Dun dun dun. This is scary. So the signs of problematic window shopping are: procrastinating important tasks in order to keep shopping or feeling guilty about your browsing behavior.

Creating Your Own Product Collage

Creating a product collage can be helpful in focusing your online shopping and giving it purpose.  It can also help with relieving anxiety about not being able to purchase the items immediately and help you to visualize and manifest your future fashion look. Finally, it can help with mitigating symptoms of problematic shopping behavior by causing you to interact over a longer span of time with the items you ‘need’ before buying them. It forces an end-time to your browsing so you don’t just go on clicking “next page.” Polyvore would be great for this but it was shut down super recently and unexpectedly due to Ssense buying it up. Other great outlets for creating product collages for yourself include Canva and of course Photoshop (I like this, this, and this tutorial for beginners).

Journal Articles

Forsythe, S., Shi, B. (2003). Consumer patronage and risk perceptions in Internet shopping. Journal of Business Research 56, 867-875.

Ganesh, J., Reynolds, K. E., Luckett, M., & Pomirleanu, N. (2010). Online shopper motivations, and e-store attributes: An examination of online patronage behavior and shopper typologies. Journal of Retailing, 106-115.

Lucinda Chambers’ letter protects white supremacy: on the ‘posh girl exodus’ and ‘Vrexit’

Lucinda Chambers worked for British Vogue for 36 years, but as soon as she was fired by a black man, she suddenly had something to say about the publication. Lucinda’s seething indictment of Vogue is inconsistent. In some sentences she’s throwing around words like ‘crap’ to describe covers and complaining about advertisers. In another she’s moaning about how she wanted to tell everyone that Edward Enninful (the first black editor of British Vogue who replaced Alexandra Shulman, a woman who claims diversity doesn’t sell) fired her within three seconds and that she actually loved her time at Vogue.. If the new editor was white would she be spilling the tea? Or would she be trying to maintain appearances? She is also now shucking her knowledge at stylist hopefuls for the price of $195 for Business of Fashion which now sees Alexandra Shulman as a columnist. If she couldn’t even bother to read Vogue and the publication left her so ‘anxiety ridden’ why is she now working for the ex editor responsible?

Maybe Lucinda is so worked up because of the proclaimed ‘posh girl exodus.’ Maybe she was trying to let all her posh girls know that this black man came in and shook up the status quo and that she loved working with them but now she’s upset at Newhouse and Cooke for bringing a negro in.

But these headlines really interest me:

“‘Posh girl’ exodus as Vogue turmoil grows with departure of Emily Sheffield”

“Vogue: Why ‘posh girl exodus’ continues at fashion magazine”

“Vogue: Secret Behind Posh Girl Exodus’ Continuity At Fashion Magazine”

“What to take-away from the “posh girl exodus” at British Vogue”

“Why ‘Posh Girl Exodus’ Continues At Fashion Magazine”

“Alexandra Shulman takes thinly-veiled swipe at her Vogue successor Edward Enninful after ‘posh girl’ exodus at the magazine – and says an editor’s job isn’t to be snapped with celebs”

Ah, the ‘posh girl.’ What does this even mean? When I hear ‘posh girl,’ what am I supposed to understand? This whole thing is being painted as class warfare but let’s be real, it’s about race. Class warfare lines up with race warfare because of the institutionalized economic oppressions of black people.

Can a black girl be posh? Can a black girl be American? Sure. So I wonder if this is just like when some white people say ‘American girl’ as a ‘polite’ way to get around saying ‘white girl.’ So using this term is a cover for complaining about diversity and about Edward coming in and disrupting the all-white staff of 50 people that Naomi Campbell so eloquently put on blast with this Instagram post:

What’s so funny to me is these women’s language of victimization. Shulman complains of a ‘Vrexit’ on Instagram, likening herself and her all white staff to immigrants of color victimized by racism. She casts Enninful as voting to leave the EU and pushing her and all of her ‘posh girls’ out. But Enninful isn’t a white colonial power and Shulman can’t be a victim of racism.

How did this staff get to be all white? Nepotism and the expectation of trust funds as a prerequisite for employment. The salary is too low without one. As Hadley Freeman was told when negotiating her salary, most of the staff “have private incomes.”

How the media has covered this has been interesting and varied. But this particular article cracks me up. It describes the firings with such language as “savage class warfare,” “it’s being done in a very brutal way,” “bloodbath of redundancies.” So words linked with Edward Enninful: “savage,” “brutal,” “bloodbath.” Why am I surprised that we are still describing black people this way? And hm, I’m thinking maybe slavery was actually a savage, brutal bloodbath, mkay? Why don’t we discuss that?

Oh, and we’re also seeing these women trying to portray Edward as a misogynist. Can I spot a white feminist? So this black man comes in and fires your racist self and your first conclusion is that it must be because you’re a woman? Well he replaced you with a woman and a white woman at that so please come back to me when you have something to say.

Can you feel the heat? Can you feel this heat across the keyboard? So heated.

Also, though Newhouse and Cooke are ushering in this new age they are also the ones responsible for the problems in the first place. Among their current infractions: Cooke says she idolizes Clint Eastwood who most recently said we need to “just get over” racism and that “everybody’s getting tired of political correctness.” Some role model. The owners also reportedly refer to Enninful as their “child.” Excuse me? He is not a poor child that you need to adopt. He is a grown man. Let’s eschew the white savior complex please and thank you.

Moving on. How can we deal with this? I’m just enjoying myself, giggling from across the pond at all of these theatrics over diversity. I am taking solace in Naomi Campbells’ willingness to speak out: “I’m not pleased at how [Enninful] has been treated. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. I find it racist. It’s like a vendetta and it should stop.” But I also feel a glow coming on when I think of Edward Enninful quietly declining comment on this silliness, skipping Shulman’s going away party, and living his absolute best life.

Take advantage of your privileges, black women, if you have any

I so often want to do things the hard way. To ‘work’ for things. I feel that if something is not done in the most challenging and obstacle-ridden way, it is not valid. And maybe I don’t deserve it.

This interests me as someone who has many marginalized identities. So often we say that we as minorities have to work harder for things because of our oppression. And of course this is true. But I’ve found that this mantra has become self imposed as well. I’m realizing now that I need to leave the oppression to others, I can’t oppress myself. So often in anticipation of my dreams being rejected, I avoid reaching for them by doing things slow and rough.

I’m realizing that it’s okay to ask for more and to take the easy way out whenever possible. For people with more privilege, this isn’t even a thought. They are not even cognizant that so many things they do easily could be more challenging for others. I have been listening to lots of inspirational podcasts lately. Some of them are centered around white experiences and many guests talk about how they went out and started a business or became an entrepreneur. And the footnote is that they did so with money from parents. Most had degrees and/or came from high paying jobs. And the narrative is that, hey I was able to do this amazing heroic thing and so can you. So there isn’t even an understanding that that’s not possible for many people. The action is framed as being brave and pioneering, which it is, but it is also privileged.

So there are privileges that I have, there are some ways out for me, and yet sometimes I avoid those because I need to do things ‘the right way.’ The most dramatic example of this is with depression. For 6 years I suffered with depression before finally getting medication because I wanted to get out of depression ‘the right way’ on my own.

So I think about my vision for my life and I’m realizing I rarely dream too big as far as luxuries for myself. I feel the need to make sure I don’t have too much. But no, this has got to change. I am now working on setting intentions for a luxurious life. It is so hard to ask for this because so many people live without these luxuries and so I have all of this guilt as well. That guilt is necessary and important and it sort of brings in this larger question of the current version of capitalism and how we can take care of ourselves within this system. A system where caring for ourselves so often means an increase in impoverishment for someone else.

The main point is that it is okay to take the easy way out whenever you can especially when it doesn’t mean greater harm for someone else. We don’t have to do things ‘properly’ or for everyone else. We can want things for ourselves. It is okay to want more. If you’re ever able to get it, open up opportunities wherever you can, given our economic system, for others to have easier ways out as well.

Scarf: Salvation Army

Bralette: Urban Outfitters

Skirt: Salvation Army

Belt: hand-me-down

Everlane rips off Pansy’s female founder for a post-feminist underwear line

Pansy is a local brand to California, based in San Leandro and Oakland. The owner, Laura Schoorl, doesn’t claim to make feminist underwear and does not take advantage of feminism as a way to sell women things. She simply makes comfortable, organic cotton underwear that can be thrown in the compost bin and that is designed and sewed in California, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Her brand has a bit of a cult following on Instagram…

…which is why I was surprised when Everlane came out with an underwear line that looks just like it. Everlane’s ad features Jemima Kirke, a white woman from a show with women of color problems. All of the women of color in this ad are nameless. So they did not spend the kind of money on women of color that they spent on Jemima Kirke. They instead are profiting off of the bodies of women of color and using the voice of a white woman. This ad is clearly for white feminists.

They feature a plus size black woman as a full spread on the website and in the video ad, but their sizing only goes up to XL. Pansy’s goes up to XXL. So much for body positivity.

And Everlane sells the items with the message that purchasing from them would be a feminist act. This is a company headed by a white male who employs women of color in his factories at the lowest level of the company command chain.

Everlane also copies Pansy’s dedication to using organic cotton. No word as to whether or not Everlane’s underwear is compostable.

There are no visibly queer or trans women or trans women of color in this ad.

Anatomy Of An Outfit

I’ve been thinking a lot about styling. Working as a virtual stylist, I often tell people what colors go together, what items they can put together based on what is in my mind. But I find this process can be limiting at times. The truly innovative and exciting outfits I have put together are driven by curiosity. It is a very tactile process.

 

When I put an outfit together, I usually start with an item or two and I may wonder: what would this look like with this other piece? Once I have that piece on, I become a designer. I find all the ways I can wear that piece. Can I wear it like a scarf? Will I push it off my shoulders? Will I wear it backwards or tie it in a knot? Sometimes the piece doesn’t work. Sometimes I’m fresh out of ideas and I go rifling through my drawers and find treasures I have forgotten about.

Sometimes an idea strikes me because I am looking for something I don’t have. Constraints spur innovation. I’ll have most of an outfit together, and I’ll say to myself, I need a boot or a silver scarf or a bandeau with this. And I think, do I have any bandeaus? No. Sigh… And then: aha! I have a bathing suit bandeau. And so I twist the boundaries of what an item can be.

For me, styling is experimental, spontaneous, a perfect marriage between brain, body, and cloth. To take two of those elements out of the equation is to remove a limb, and to reduce my skill to a spin on conventional wisdom: wear booties with culottes, wear pleated skirts with t-shirts. It is a product of what I have seen before.