Awesome article about the importance of signalling

I read this article explaining why it might be financially smart for poor people to buy designer. It’s very eye-opening about the persistence of physical appearance in judging and success.

Fashion Review: March 2013 – Lucky Magazine

Another month, another airport fashion review. I’ll have you know that I researched one two weeks ago – at great cost of personal boredom! – only to leave the glossy magazine on the plane. Tragic!

I have managed to find another new magazine to review, in the Hudson News Kiosk in Boston Logan’s Terminal C (right across from Starbucks!) This flight’s magazine is Lucky ( It’s a light, $5 periodical that bills itself as “The Magazine About Shopping”. I’m actually really impressed with it. But first, the lessons learned from the season.

One of many totally buttoned up shirts.

1) BUTTON UP. And I can’t bold this enough… if you are wearing a button up, collared shirt this season, BUTTON IT ALL THE WAY UP. Practically every page had a button up shirt, and each and every one of them was shown buttoned to the neck. If you’re like me, and you take the fashion advice your older sister enforced on you when you were 14 as unchangeable gospel law, you may still think it is entirely unacceptable to button a button up shirt all the way. However, it turns out that this is the kind of thing that changes. So take that wardrobe staple and make it look like you are part of 2013.

Challenge rating: easy, low risk, different way of wearing what you already have. Do it.

Have fun with the prints on jackets this year.

2) Florals. Floral jackets, floral skinny pants, floral prints. Bright colors & pastels… the flowers are in. This works well for me, since I have a large collection of brightly colored jackets (many of which have floral prints). A pretty, bright jacket with a white/cream/black set of accents will probably endure several season without looking dated.

Challenge rating: easy, medium long term value, great accent piece.

I do not have this much courage. Or money.

I’m significantly more nervous about floral pants. I can’t see any way you get more than one season out of a brightly colored pair of daisy pants – and you’d probably only get to wear them 4 – 5 times over the course of the remaining season (you can wear distinctive pieces less often). Plus, they’re pushing it for office wear. So this is a style to go with only if you love it.

Challenge rating: moderate. Try to get more wear out of the fashion by picking a less flashy print (like a black and white, or a very subtle print). Don’t spend on quality for this purchase.

For the daring out there, floral print suits are apparently a “thing”. I’m having trouble coming up with a circumstance where this would be a good investment. I wouldn’t wear one to an interview, or to meet with an important client. And those are the two circumstances in which I wear suits. (Well, it probably goes without saying that a floral suit != the thing for a funeral either.) Maybe, maybe, maybe if you’re like officiating a wedding? Yeah. So here’s a fashion trend looking for a place to wear it.

Challenge rating: Difficult: I’d love to hear the circumstance where your best clothing choice would be a floral print suit.

I’m still not loving the color blocking that’s really popular right now.

3) A line skirts. I’m delighted to say that Lucky is less enamoured of the mini than whoever I was reviewing last time. Instead, they have a section on swishy, a-line skirts. I love this style skirt, as a person who has hips of note. (The style of skirt I cannot wear is a pencil skirt.) I might go a few inches longer in the hem than is fashionable, but that has everything to do with me and my inability to sit like a lady for any length of time. The way color matchings are going this year, you can even get a fun color (they have a neat plum skirt they matched with 11 tops, some of which are wild color combinations) and be adventurous with how you pair it.

Challenge rating: easy. It’s a great time to pick up a skirt you can wear when it gets warmer!

Now for the Lucky’s review itself. I must say that I am impressed. This one might be one worth subscribing to.

1) They have a four page spread showing how a significantly plus size model can dress to accentuate her figure. This was NOT ghettoized in a one page “what to do if you’re fat” section, which has so far been the best I’ve seen. It’s right in the middle of the magazine. Not only that, but the section gives tactical advice on the problems facing larger women. For example, thigh-irritation, button-up gapping, and pulling of fabric are all addressed. (For the record, the secret is apparently shapewear – a subject I’ve long promised to cover and have not yet done.) Best of all, the entire language and display are super positive. The model, who is probably a size 20, is show flatteringly and referred to as having “killer curves, and hourglass shape, pretty face, curves and professional polish”. It’s not pitying or condescending. NICE.

2) Among the beauty tips is a new kind of sunscreen designed for kids. It’s nice to read a fashion magazine that acknowledges the possibility its readers are also parents. This is useful information! (It’s a powder! You don’t have to rub it in!)

3) There was a fantastic Q&A section in the beginning that went over:
a. What to call various shoe types
b. How to wear them (and how not to)
c. Different outfit combinations.

This was particularly awesome as it finally answered a question I’ve been wondering for quite some time: namely what to call a particularly popular current shoe. (Answer: ballet flats! Yeah, I know everyone knows that. Except those of us who don’t.)

3) The prices were generally reasonable, and they include valuable discounts in the back (including a 30% off Modcloth which I may very well use!). The magazine did moderately well in the women-of-color category, with some ads and a few articles featuring diverse women. It was refreshingly short on celebrity homage and cattiness.

Overall score: A

This might be a very good choice for a starter fashionista. No tooth-grinding writing, no celebrity cattiness, no fat-shaming (not a single article on dieting), useful advice, discounts, reasonable price and cheerful attitude! (Also, not 3000 pages!)


November Fashion Update

Seriously, doesn’t this look non-human, photoshopped and unappealing?

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus lately. I know there are few things more annoying than bloggers explaining why they haven’t blogged and promising to blog again (which is rarely the case), but… well, I was very busy. I was also really wondering whether what I’m trying to do here has value, or whether me giving fashion advice is the height of hypocracy. Reading the article on the damage that beauty-obsession can cause, I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t stick to our Birkenstocks and socks – where at least we’re happy with ourselves.

But I remain convinced that there is a happy medium – a place where we pay attention to and enjoy the fun parts of fashion while still holding it lightly and remaining solidly in our skin. Also, someone came up to me at a party and told me that it was useful to her, and she was getting advice she valued. (She also called herself a fangirl. I am nothing if not susceptible to flattery.) So… thanks Jenny. And my schedule doesn’t get this crazy again until next October.

The next fashion magazine on my list to review is InStyle. I’ve read two or three of them, and I suspect that this is one of the better resources for my little target demographic. It, like all fashion magazines, cares about celebrities. But it is about 90% less catty than Glamour was. It’s also relatively factual in its delivery of the relevant material, without weighing it down with value judgments. Even better, I learned a few things I found interesting and useful. They also do a WAY better job of translating the fashion to people of different sizes. They interpreted one look up to a 5X. Most fashion magazines refuse to believe that there is a size larger than 8, so I was happy to see them not only admitting, but un-shaming the larger crowd.

Here are the relevant items:

1) Color blocking
I’m all set to hate this trend, but it’s definitely hot right now. You remember in the ’80s those sweaters that had big blocks of different colors? That’s all the rage. Kohl’s has quite possibly one of the ugliest front pages of their flier I’ve ever seen this last time – so ugly I noticed it (see top!). And the same seemingly-photoshopped picture is in the InStyle magazine. Seriously, it looks like an awful maniupulation job of a non-biologically correct mannequin, covered by a horribly unflattering dress. So…. you can adopt this color blocking trend. But I’m guessing that because even the models don’t look good in this style, it won’t have much power or endurance

2) Leather shorts/skirts
I ignored this in my last fashion report because I had trouble crediting it was true. Seriously, people are buying and wearing leather shorts? Apparently this is the case (although not in the financial district – I assure you. In fact, this is a trend I don’t think I’ve actually seen in public.) I consider a leather skirt/shorts a way advanced fashion skill. They’re really expensive and you’re supposed to be buying them as an “investment piece”. But an investment piece you can’t wash? Really? And what about the fit? How many of us have figures to pull off leather skirts anyway? And how many of us have bodies so unchanging we can purchase form-fitting clothing as an “investment”? And, um, don’t people get sweaty in them? Plus, this trend is so expensive it’s really hard to dabble in it and see how it will work. So it’s a trend, but unless you’re way more advanced fashion-wise than I am (or it’s a life long dream), I recommend against pursuing it.

3) Some great tips
– Use vinegar spray on armpits to remove staining
– “De-Scuff Skins: Rub plain leather with a crepe eraser ($2, which will lift even deep stains. For suede, all it takes is a firm toothbrush and some elbow grease”
– Store gems and jewelry in plastic bags
– If you have jeans you can’t or shouldn’t wash, you can freeze them to kill bacteria and reduce smell (which really? Why buy jeans you can’t wash?)

4) BB – Beauty Balm
Finally, there were like 93 ads in the magazine for beauty balm. As far as I can tell, BB is a generic name (as in there are multiple brands) for something that moisturizes, tints (like foundation) and provides SPF coverage. I decided that this might be worth trying out, so I’ve bought some (at the grocery store!) and I’ll give you a report.

So what’s up with you? Have you been paying more attention to your style? Have you learned any fashion skills or tips in October and November? Do you have something you wish I’d cover from the pragmatic perspective? Let me know!