Showing posts with label girl talk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label girl talk. Show all posts

Friday, September 29, 2017

Shoes, Star Trek, and the glories of adult life

I recently got a new pair of Fluevogs, and, in addition to my usual pleasure in having a beautiful, funky pair of boots to wear, I also felt a renewed frisson of delight that I get to be a person who has a favourite shoe designer (acquired organically, not through a deliberate attempt to wear cool brands!) and a life (and paycheque) that accommodates wearing awesome shoes.

This didn't even occur to me as a possibility when I was a kid.  I wasn't into fashion not because I didn't like fashion, but because it didn't even occur to me that a person like me was allowed to even think about being into fashion. Fashion was for pretty people and cool people, which I most decidedly was not.

One thing I was into as a kid was Star Trek. And that got me bullied. The pretty people and the cool people would make my life a living hell for not being pretty and for not being cool and for being into Star Trek.

Star Trek: Discovery is the first Star Trek I've gotten to enjoy "live" - watching each episode as it comes out rather than watching the whole thing in syndicated reruns - in over 25 years. (And thank you, by the way, to Space Channel for showing Discovery on actual TV, so Canadians can enjoy our Star Trek in its traditional medium - and my preferred medium - without having to deal with streaming!)

So this has me thinking about 25 years ago, and appreciating everything that has changed in 25 years. I got to become the kind of person who has awesome shoes! I can be pretty whenever I feel inclined to make the effort. I'm not cool (although I've successfully tricked one or two people into thinking I am), but I'm in a place where my lack of coolness is irrelevant and I can love the things I love without worrying about coolness. I can watch Star Trek whenever I want without anyone giving me a hard time, and I can also tell everyone that I'm watching Star Trek and they still don't give me a hard time!

Plus, through the magic of 21st-century technology (i.e. Twitter) I can discuss Star Trek with like-minded people even if there aren't any in the room or in my social circle. I can talk to Star Trek cast members and Klingon translators (and have done so - and gotten likes replies - repeatedly!), and discuss serious themes like economics and colonialism interspersed with jokes and fannish speculation.

And I do all this from my very own condo in Toronto, which is significant because all those pretty people and cool people who bullied me aspired to leaving our small town and moving to Toronto, and, even though it didn't even occur to me at the time that a person like me was allowed to aspire to such things, I seem to have achieved it anyway.

My adolescent self would be mindblown!

I wonder if, 25 years from now, there will be elements of my life that currently don't seem like things I am even allowed to aspire to?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In which Reitman's breaks my heart again

I blogged before about how Reitman's broke my heart by discontinuing my jeans.  Just weeks later, they've done it again.

During my chafing-induced frantic acquisition of yoga pants, I found an absolute treasure at Reitmans: cotton yoga pants with pockets, styled so that (I was able to convince myself) they looked like real pants rather than activewear.  A strategically placed seam at the front emulated (from a distance) a crease that might be ironed into a pair of dress pants, and the drawstring at the top was easily covered by my shirt.  They worked with sneakers and a hoodie, they worked with boots and my good coat, they worked with everything.

I promptly purchased two pairs and, once I realized my jeans were discontinued, started using them as my go-to casual pants.

Then, after only a couple of months of using them as my go-to pants, they got a hole in the crotch.  And when I went to buy more pairs, I discovered that they, too, have been discontinued.

This is particularly frustrating because they were barely a year old, and I had only been wearing them as my go-to for a few months. (And wearing them during the hour or two a day when I'm out of the house.) I definitely wore them for less than 300 hours in total, and quite possibly as little as 200 hours.  I definitely washed them less than 5 times, and quite possible as few as 2 times.  And yet they wore out.

If they were still commercially available, I wouldn't be complaining on the internet. I would shrug my shoulders, say "Meh, 21st-century fast fashion, what can you do?", cheerfully buy a few new pairs at whatever the price and keep wearing them forever. They're that awesome!

But the fact that they wore out after only a couple of months' regular wear means that, if I wear them regularly, I only have a couple of months before they're forever lost to me. So now I have to ration every step and every wash. Every time I decide which pants to put on, I have to think about whether today's activities are worth the wear and tear on the pair of pants I really want to wear, or whether I should wear a suboptimal pair of pants to save my favourites for later.  It's so disheartening! I think about the decades of statistical life expectancy I have left, and cringe in dread of having to keep myself properly clothed for that many decades.

And the thing is, I actively want to buy all my clothes at Reitman's and never shop anywhere else again!  I love clothes, I hate shopping, Reitman's has always been reliable for me, plus Reitman's is literally the closest clothing store to my home.  All I want is to walk into Reitman's, pick up the reliable standard pants that have always worked for me and whatever pretty tops and skirts and dresses they have this season, hand over my credit card, and be home in half an hour. I don't want to shop elsewhere, because it's more work and less predictable.

But Reitman's is making this impossible, by discontinuing the clothes that work for me and not having a comparable replacement.

If they're going to discontinue the clothes, at least make the last batch sturdy enough to last. If they're going to make them so flimsy they get holes in only a few months, just keep them in stock and I'll keep buying them!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How Reitman's lost my loyalty and broke my heart

I have had brand loyalty to Reitmans for my entire adult life, ever since I discovered their Comfort Fit pants.  These are these only pants in the world that don't gap in the back when I sit down, which is particularly important because I have a desk job.

There were also Comfort Fit jeans, and they were a revelation!  The dark wash boot cut style not only fit comfortably, but was perhaps the single most flattering garment I've ever owned.  I look tall and toned and fierce wearing them, and feel bad-ass walking down the street!  In recent years they've been using a lower-quality denim that wears out faster (and, inconveniently, seems to wear out in the crotch first), but no biggie, I can just pop in and buy another pair of the same.

But this time, I couldn't.

There are zero boot cut comfort fit jeans, and zero dark wash.  There was a straight leg style, but it wasn't a true straight leg - the ankle was skinny and I could barely get my feet through. They looked exactly like the hideous cheap fake jeans from Biway that the kids on welfare wore in my preteen years.

Which means there are now zero jeans in the world that will fit me comfortably and make me feel good about myself.  And my old ones got a hole in the crotch, so now I don't even have the option of wearing jeans.  At all.  Ever.  An entire baseline category of clothing is unavailable to me.


This has been happening to me more and more often. Clothes that make me feel good about myself are taken away, and no workable replacement manifests itself. Victoria's Secret changed my underwear, and I still haven't found an alternative that's as good. Smart Set made shirts that were flattering to me, then they closed down. I normally adore Fluevog shoes, but everything this year has pointy toes and I don't think my black ankle boots are going to hold out long enough for their silhouette to evolve again. Lord and Taylor made cashmere gloves that actually fit me (even though they were a bit too delicate and I only got a year's wear out of them), but then this year they didn't make them any more.

Despite my best efforts to take care of my clothes (even my mother thinks the extent of my air-drying is ridiculous!), they're wearing out.  And I'm afraid once I lose the clothes that make me feel good about myself, I'll never be able to find a replacement and I'll never feel pretty again.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Last spring, I experienced thigh chafing for the first time in my life.

Due to my disproportionately long inseam and dislike of the current trend of tight pants, it turns out that on most of my pants the gusset fell below the bit at the top of my thighs that was chafing, meaning that the legs of my pants couldn't serve as a barrier to protect me against the chafing. What few pants I owned that did have a high enough gusset were made of unpleasantly rough or unbreathable material, which may have even made matters worse.

I clearly had immediate need of softer pants, and they probably needed to be more fitted so the gusset would stay right at the very top of my thighs and protect the area being chafed. But the last thing I wanted to do when every step was painful was go pants shopping!  So I went to multiple websites with generous return policies and ordered multiple pairs of yoga pants, one of each plausible pair in my usual size and one a size smaller.

Over the next few days, a wide selection of yoga pants arrived at my door. I tried them on and kept everything that worked for me.  It turned out my idea of going a size down was unnecessary (I hadn't bought new yoga pants in years and they're more fitted now than they were last time I shopped for them), so I returned everything in the smaller size and some of the things in the larger size.

Shortly after that happened, I started getting coupons and offers and recommendations for maternity wear.  I guess I triggered an algorithm somewhere - frantically shopping for yoga pants and opting for the larger size in every case is totally something a pregnant lady would do! 

This was all about nine months ago.  And now I'm getting coupons and offers and recommendations for baby things!  Even though I haven't bought yoga pants or maternity wear or anything comparable in the meantime, apparently online shopping algorithms are the kind of people who count months.

I wonder how long this will persist for? Will I be getting offers for toddler things for a few years, followed by back-to-school offers and high school graduation offers?  Will they start trying to sell me those conception monitors if I don't shop like a pregnant lady for a few years, on the grounds that my non-existent child should have a sibling?

Maybe I should use Privacy Mode when googling for baby gifts just in case...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I do not recommend Calvin Klein Ultimate Sexy Sheer Thigh Highs

I recently tried a pair of Calvin Klein Ultimate Sexy Sheer Thigh High stockings, and I don't recommend them.

One stocking stayed up fine, but the other simply couldn't stand up to walking. In the time it took me to walk to the elevator and across the lobby, it had fallen down below my kneecap, and when I tried to pull it back up it immediately got a huge run.

Unlike other thigh-highs I've worn previously, these had a sort of sticky adhesive in the top in addition to the elastic to help it stay up. This adhesive was uncomfortable on my skin, and didn't even make the stockings stay up for long enough for me to get out of the building.

I don't have enough recent hosiery experience to recommend a better thigh-high, but if you're in the market for thigh-highs, try something else.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Rimmel Scandaleyes Precision Micro Eyeliner is none of the above

My default eyeliner is Rimmel Glam'Eyes liquid liner, which I appreciate in particular for its very thin brush, which allows a fine and precise line even with the dark liquid black I prefer.  My only qualm is that it isn't waterproof, and therefore needs to be touched up throughout the day.

On my last shopping trip, I noticed a new Rimmel product: ScandalEyes Precision Micro Eyeliner.  The packaging touted its fine tip and waterproof formula, so I thought this was just what I need!

Unfortunately, it doesn't do the job at all.

When I attempted to line my eyes using the tip of the pen, only a sporadic, sheer grey line came out. In frustration I scribbed with it on the back of my hand like it was a dead sharpie, and a darker line came out if I pressed down hard and used the side of the pen.  But that line wasn't narrow, and required pressing too hard to duplicate on my eyelids.  And even then, it wasn't consistently as dark as the liquid liner.

So, in short, this alleged precision micro eyeliner is not capable of providing a "precision" or "micro" line when used on the eyes.

The only part of its name that is accurate is the "scandal" part: it's a scandal that Rimmel would make a new product that's so inferior in every way to their old product. 

Dear Rimme: all you have to do is put a waterproof liquid liner in the same packaging with the same brush as the Glam'Eyes liquid.

Monday, August 03, 2015

I promise one day I'll blog about something other than pants

One more factoid from my exploration of young people's attitudes towards pants that I forgot to mention in my previous blog post on the subject:

It seems that young women who wear high-waisted pants don't consider the high waists to be suitable for when they're trying to dress like a grownup (job interview, internships, entry-level office jobs, etc.)  Many discussions by young people of dressing for the adult world specifically mentioned high-waisted pants on the "what not to wear" list, and no one ever argued against that point.

This surprises me because when I was a teen, it never would have occurred to me that a more youthful silhouette would be inappropriate for dressing like an adult.  If my pants were dress pants and my blouse was a blouse, I considered that sufficiently grown-up, even if the pants were hip-hugging flares and the blouse was fitted.  I made sure the individual pieces met "grown-up clothes" criteria and I made sure nothing was exposed (i.e. there wasn't a gap of midriff showing between my hip-hugging flares and my fitted blouse), but it never would have crossed my mind to wear a higher waistline, a baggier blouse, or tuck and belt.

Similarly, if a student came into our office wearing high-waisted pants tucked and belted, it would never occur to me to think that this outfit was less grownup or less professional than what I'm wearing.  I'd recognize it as a current style, something I myself wouldn't wear, but there's nothing inherently wrong or Less Than about it. Even if it were unflattering on her, I wouldn't see that as less professional or less adult. I'd just see her as someone whose fashion skills haven't yet fully developed, which has no bearing on her professional competence.

Added to that, some of the older female employees in my office are from the era that tucked in their shirts previously. Some of them evolved away from that as fashion trends changed, but I can think of one or two individuals whom I've seen in mom jeans.  For those of us who don't wear them, it's most often because we see it as too old, not because we see it as too young.

It's so interesting how something so innocuous can have such different connotations in the eyes of people with not even a generation's age gap!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I had a teacher in high school who always wore high-waisted, pleated pants, and I thought they made her look frumpy. This teacher was the kind of person who would otherwise have come across as youthful and with-it - she was under 40, savvy, up on her students' pop culture, able to discern who had a crush on whom, meticulous with her hair and makeup - but I thought these pants were so aging and out of touch.

It occurs to me that teenagers today probably think the exact same thing about me and my boot-cut pants.

I have noticed recently that when I see boot-cut, flared or wide-legged pants being worn in media from 10-15 years ago, it seems a bit out of place.  But, nevertheless, I feel badass in my own boot-cut pants, and frumpy in skinnies.  So I keep wearing what makes me feel badass, even if Kids Today might be laughing at it. Flares are scheduled to come back in a few years anyway.


I blogged previously about the recent trend among young women of wearing high-waisted pants with shirts tucked in.   I recently found out why they do this: they believe it's slimming because the well-defined waist emphasizes how small their natural waist is.  This flabbergasted me because, with my fashion awareness having happened just as the last shirt-tucking trend waned and shirt untucking (with narrow shirts) came into fashion, I think an untucked shirt is more slimming because it creates a smoother line, and a tucked shirt is less slimming because it creates a sausage effect.  In one of my journeys down an internet rabbit hole, I landed in a fashion forum populated by young women where people posted comparison pictures to prove that high waists and tucking and belting was more slimming, and I genuinely felt that these pictures demonstrated beyond any doubt that an untucked shirt was more slimming.  We're looking at the exact same thing and seeing it as a complete opposite!

I'm not going to link to the examples I saw, because it isn't appropriate to send my adult readership to look at pictures of teens and scrutinize their figures with the general message of "See how these kids think they look slim but they really look lumpen!"  So, instead, I'm going to show you two pictures of actress Angie Dickinson from the 1950s:

Angie Dickinson (right) in a belted bodysuit
Angie Dickinson in a non-belted bodysuit

I think the outfit on the left is less flattering, specifically because of the belt. To my eyes, the belt creates a sausage effect with the soft part of her belly above and below, making her tummy below look sticky-outy, and the fleshy bit above look like a roll of fat.  Obviously this effect is very minimal on Ms. Dickinson - it's far more pronounced on a person with a more average figure - but you can see the hint of it here.  In contrast, I think the outfit on the right is more flattering because it creates a smoother line without any bulges of flesh.

However, people who choose high waists and tucked-in shirts see the picture on the left as more flattering, because the belt is cinched tightly around her waist, showing just how small her waist can be made to go. They'd see the picture on the right as less flattering, because it doesn't necessarily demonstrate the minimum possible circumference of her waist.

This isn't just an evolution of fashion trends, it's a complete change in what different people perceive when looking at the exact same thing!  It will be interesting to see how the fashion choices of the belt = thinner contingent evolve as trends change and, eventually, a high waist and tucked-in shirt once again become signs of frumpiness.  I've blogged before about differing generational perceptions of pants length. Maybe in a decade or two, we'll also have differing generational perceptions of waistlines.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Could working-class women dress themselves when upper-class women couldn't?

At certain points in Western history, aristocratic women didn't dress themselves.  They had their maids help them.  Based on what I've absorbed from the ether, they weren't necessarily able to dress themselves either, because of the design and complexity of the clothes.

For example, there's a scene in Downton where Lady Mary is going away for a weekend tryst, and she and Anna are looking through her wardrobe making sure that everything she packs is something she can put on all by herself (implying that she can't dress herself in all her clothes independently).  And this is in the 1920s when clothes were easier - in the Edwardian and Victorian eras, with corsets and crinolines and everything, it would be even more difficult to dress oneself.

I also recently read a book that mentioned that Edwardian upper-class ladies would wear tea gowns in the afternoons because that's when they met with their lovers, and tea gowns were something that a lady could put back on herself (implying that she's not able to put on her other styles of dresses herself).

This makes me wonder about the situation for working-class women.  Even if their dresses are more practical, the maids on Downton still have corsets and petticoats before the 1920s.  (In fact, there was a brief period where the aristocrats were wearing the newer, more comfortable uncorseted dresses, but the maids - who had to do actual physical labour - were still in the old corseted dresses!)  Could they dress themselves, or did they have to help each other dress?  What about Daisy, who woke up before anyone else in the house?  What about Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore?  Did one of their subordinates see them in their underthings every morning?  What if a working-class woman lived alone?  If a household consisted of just husband and wife, did he have to learn how to do up a corset?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

In which Google messes up and gives me a scare

I recently decided to try a face cream containing retinol.  Shortly after I applied it, I felt a funny taste in my mouth.

So I googled retinol taste in mouth.

Near the top of the results was the wikipedia entry for strychnine poisoning!

It turns out that this result came up because Google perceives "retinol" as a synonym for "Vitamin A".  The strychnine poisoning article has a "Poisonings, toxicities, and overdoses" category box at the bottom, which includes a link to Vitamin A.  And one of the symptoms of strychnine poisoning is a taste in the mouth.

So I didn't die, and the next time I tried the retinol cream there was no taste in my mouth, so it must have been unrelated.

I haven't noticed any difference in my skin using retinol though.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Things that I learned about having a mammogram

1. At the beginning of the appointment, they screen you for pregnancy. They do this by asking if there's any chance that you're pregnant. When you say "None whatsoever," they take you at your word. This is a vast contrast to those various adolescent medical appointments where they interrogate you about choreography and bodily fluids.

2. If you're of childbearing age, you get a lead apron to put over your abdomen so your uterus is protected.  Then they tell you to lean over further so your head is closer to the machine.

3. The machine compresses your breast as far as humanly possible, and then another 10% further.  The pain is exactly what I would have expected from this - it's not a shocking new disproportionate kind of pain, but neither is it painless.

4. The pain stopped as soon as they took me out of the machine.  There was no residual pain, and no marks or bruising left on my breast.

5. What was weirdest to me about the whole experience is that you literally can't move once you're in the machine.  You're held in place by your breast.  That's rather a disconcerting experience.

6. If your hair is breast length or longer, you should wear it in a bun for the appointment.  They don't tell you this in your pre-appointment instructions, but your hair can easily get caught in the machine.

7.  The mammogram is taken by a technician. The images are then sent to a radiologist, who writes the report. The report is then sent to your doctor. This means that your doctor doesn't have access to the images, and the person who interprets the images isn't present when taking them. So the person interpreting the images might wish she could pan over to the left a bit, but she can't unless she calls me back in for more imaging (which is not a step taken lightly). Or my doctor might be wondering how the mammogram findings jibed with what he was feeling in my breast that he believed to be a cyst, but he can't just look and see. That seems inefficient to me, and likely to magnify any human error that may occur.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why copayments for medical appointments are a bad idea: a breast lump story

When conducting a routine breast exam during my annual physical, my doctor detected something on the armpit side of my left breast that wasn't present on the right side.  He ordered a breast ultrasound, which found some of my  lymph nodes in that area were larger than perhaps they should be.  A mammogram was then ordered, which found that a few individual lymph nodes were enlarged, but there were no malignancies or other problems.  I was therefore instructed to return in six months for another breast ultrasound to see if the lymph nodes in question returned to normal.

While I was in the middle of this process, Steve Paikin posted a blog post sharing his doctor's idea for copayments for each medical appointment.  I commented on that post expressing my concern that the majority of medical appointments I get aren't even my idea but rather are required by red tape (I've previously blogged about that here), but this breast lump diagnosis process was an even better example.

During this little adventure, I had five appointments in a nine-day period (and a minimum of three more if I opt to follow up in six months as recommended), none of which I actually wanted or would have thought to request for myself.

I only got the annual physical because it's the price of admission for getting my birth control renewed. I'd be more than happy to buy my birth control over the counter (as some have recommended should be possible for public health purposes), but I have no choice but to go to my doctor and get the recommended screenings if I want a new prescription.

I didn't think the thing my doctor found was a problem - to my touch it felt just like a normal part of my breast anatomy. After reading up on breast cysts, I didn't think getting a potential breast cyst diagnosed was especially important - they're not a problem, most often non-actionable, and quite often go away by themselves. That area of my breast is squishy and mobile, it's nothing like the description of hard, immoveable lumps that I've always been told indicate possible cancer.  But I went along because it's a quick, easy, non-intrusive test and it was probably faster to get the test than to argue.  And, I figured, once the test shows it's nothing, my doctor will be more likely in the future to take me at my word when I say that's just how my breast is.

After the test, I had to go to the doctor for test results, which I think is a suboptimal way of doing things. I'd rather have the results emailed directly to me, and schedule an appointment with the doctor if I had any questions. But my doctor's policy is that they only contact you with results if action is required, so if I didn't go for that follow-up I'd never learn what action was apparently required.

On an intellectual level, I didn't think the mammogram was necessary as a follow-up to the ultrasound either.  After reading up on breast ultrasounds, I didn't see why a mammogram would be helpful or informative as a follow-up to an ultrasound - all the information I found talked about how ultrasounds saw things that mammograms didn't see.  But, frankly, I was scared into it.  Getting a phone call telling me I needed a mammogram (when this wasn't on my "things that might happen" list) was shocking and disconcerting.  I have it mentally categorized as a "cancer test", so it triggered fears of cancer, and I went along with the test to rule out cancer.

And, again, I had to go to the doctor for the mammogram results even though they were clear to me and I didn't need any help with interpretation.  Because I have no way of getting the results without going to the doctor, I had to take that appointment or I would never have received confirmation that there were no malignancies.

So that's five appointments, all of which were required by my doctor as opposed to by me, none of which I would ever have asked for myself if it were completely up to me.  And if I follow up in six months, I'll need three more (one with my doctor to get the ultrasound requisition, one at the imaging clinic for the ultrasound, and one with  my doctor for the ultrasound results.)  I'm really disinclined to follow up - it feels like a fishing expedition - but I'm concerned about being considered a non-compliant patient if I don't, and I do need my doctor's goodwill to keep getting my contraception.

At this point, some of you are thinking "Breast lumps are serious business!  It's good and important that you got it checked out - you really shouldn't skimp on that sort of thing!"

If that's the case, that's a very good reason why there shouldn't be a copay for each appointment.  A copay would disincentivize patients like me from following up on lumps in their breasts, or perhaps even having these lumps detected in the first place.

Besides all that, before they can even consider a copay, they'd have to streamline the process so that fewer appointments are required by red tape.  For example, as I mentioned above, they shouldn't make you go in to see the doctor to get your test results.  It would be much more efficient to just email them to the patient when emailing them to the doctor, and the patient can contact the doctor if they have any question.  When I'm doing medical translations, I find it a fairly simple matter to google up any terminology I don't understand and the implications of the test results become apparent once I've worked out the meaning of all the words.  If they want to cut down on the number of appointments, they need to at least start by eliminating unnecessary appointments like test results that can just be replaced by a simple email!

At this point, some of you are thinking "That would be hideously irresponsible!  Many people can't accurately interpret medical results and there's all kinds of ridiculous information on the internet! People who aren't medical professionals need the guidance of medical professionals."

If that's the case, that's another very good reason why there shouldn't be a copay for each appointment. A copay would disincentivize patients like me from discussing our test results with our doctors, and instead leave us making decision based on our haphazard informal education and Google.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


In the world of Downton Abbey, etiquette dictates that ladies don't remove their hats indoors. They don't wear hats in their own home (or in the evening), but if they go to a shop or a restaurant or someone else's home they don't remove their hat, even if they do remove their coat.

It occurred to me that this could make wardrobe planning difficult.  Do you choose a hat that goes with your dress or a hat that goes with your coat?  Or do you have to make your coat match your dress too so the whole ensemble works?

Obviously, not everyone has the budget for multiple hats and coats to go with every dress, and they actually show this on screen.  When a working-class character is visiting someone's home, she's shown wearing a hat that doesn't really complement or enhance her outfit.  And this is because it's her only hat, the best she could do to go with her only coat, which was the best she could do for as sensible a coat as possible.

You can't have a red hat, because then you won't be able to dress properly for a funeral. You can't have a dainty floral summer hat, because then you won't be able to dress properly for the cold and the rain. You can't have a delicate hat, because it has to last you several years.

But still, you have to wear a hat every time you're indoors but not at home during the daytime. No matter how carefully you dress and groom, you still have to wear this piece of pure pragmatism quite prominently, next to your face, so it's the first thing that people see.

In the 21st century, people talk about unrealistic standards of beauty projected by Hollywood, with fashion being set by celebrities who have access to all the beauty treatments in the world and plastic surgery and hair extensions and stylists and custom-tailored clothing.

I wonder if, in the olden days, people talked about unrealistic standards of beauty being set by the upper classes, who had access to a flattering, custom-made hat to go with every outfit?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Improper use of photoshop

In the past year, there have been a lot of fit and flare dresses in stores that have one thing on common: when I put them on, it looks like they shrunk vertically.  It's not just that the hemline is high, it's the entire proportions of the dress somehow make it look like it shrunk vertically in the wash and/or that I'm a child who had a growth spurt.

I know it's specific to this season's fashion as opposed to a change in my body shape because all my old dresses fit the same way they always have.  It's just that every time I try on a dress that's new in stores this year, I find myself wishing I could photoshop it to stretch the length by like 20%

While trying to google up a picture of this phenomenon, I stumbled upon the image below from Fashion Bomb Daily:

The lady on the left is actress/comedian/writer Mindy Kaling.  The lady on the right is modelling the same dress in the designer's catalogue.

The way the dress fits Ms. Kaling is similar to the way similar dresses fit me that I dislike (although it's worse on me), and the way it fits the catalogue model is the way I wish they fit me.

At first I thought this was because my body's far more similar to Ms. Kaling's than it is to the catalogue model's.  But then, when I looked more closely, I realized the proportions of the dress in the two pictures are different.  On Ms. Kaling, the skirt of the dress is 130% of the length of the bodice (putting a ruler up against my monitor, the skirt is 3.6 cm long, measured vertically from the waistband; the bodice is 2.7 cm long measured vertically from the highest part of the shoulder to the waistband).  On the model, the skirt is 182% of the length of the bodice (skirt 3.1 cm, bodice 1.7 cm).

So, in response to the design problems that caused me to wish I could photoshop the dress longer, it looks like they actually did photoshop the dress longer!

Using photoshop to make the model appear more flawless is one thing, but using it to correct design flaws when attempting to sell a dress is quite another!  If the proportions of the dress are so bad that it has to be photoshopped to look good on a model who was specifically cast to make the dress look good, the dress should have been redesigned long before the photoshoot.  And if the designer can't make a dress with proportions that look good even on a model, perhaps they're in the wrong line of work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless

My favourite mascara is Rimmel Lash Accelerator.  I needed a new tube recently, and when I looked in the store I was surprised to discover that, in addition to regular Rimmel Lash Accelerator, there was also a new mascara called Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless.  Based on the information on the packaging, I couldn't tell the difference between the two. However, the Endless was on sale at a significant discount, so I decided to give it a try.

Unfortunately, it's not as good as the regular Rimmel Lash Accelerator.  It's about on par with that pink and green Maybelline mascara - perfectly serviceable, but not exceptional. 

If Rimmel Lash Accelerator works well for you and the pink and green Maybelline doesn't, I recommend sticking with the regular Rimmel Lash Accelerator and not going for the Endless.  (Although I have no idea if this approach would work in the reverse.)

Friday, August 01, 2014

High waists and tucked-in shirts

This year I've seen quite a few young women, especially teenagers,wearing high-waisted pants with loose shirts tucked in.  This surprised me because the first fashion I ever became aware of was a move away from high waists and from tucking in shirts.  When I was a child I wore waistbands at my waist because they're called waistbands and tucked my shirt into my pants because I thought that's what people do, but as early as Grade 4 people would make fun of people for doing that, saying it made you look like an old man with hiked-up pants.

I was wondering what people wearing this look think they look like (for instance, I think my untucked shirt and lower waist elongates my torso), and I recently had an opportunity to ask when the topic came up in an online community.  To my utter shock, Kids Today seem to think it's a 90s retro look!

In my experience as a teenager in the 90s, while high waists and tucked in shirts did exist, they weren't a deliberate look that people wore for fashion purposes.  They were something that people wore because they weren't super fashionable or that's what they were used to or that's what they had in their closet or the dress code required tucking your shirt in.  Before shirts got narrow, we'd tuck just the very very hem of our baggy 80s-style t-shirts into our waistband and pull as much of it out as possible in an attempt to emulate the look of an untucked shirt.  (The only reason why we didn't just untuck completely was either because baggy 80s-style t-shirts sometimes completely concealed the fact that you're wearing shorts, making it look like you're walking around in just a t-shirt, or because the shirt simply didn't drape well and made you look disproportionately fat.  But since the 90s narrowing of shirts, a reasonable proportion of shirts - even looser styles - have draped well enough that they don't need tucking.)  And even before hiphuggers arrived in the mid-90s, we'd wear our jeans (tailored for the waist) as low as physically possible.  A waistband that rose above your belly button was considered a major faux pas!

Basically, if someone was wearing high-waisted jeans with a tucked-in shirt, they either failed at their fashion attempt or weren't trying at all.  It certainly wasn't an on-trend fashion statement!

Analogy: I'm walking around in the year 2014 in boot-cut jeans because I don't feel good in skinny jeans.  But that doesn't mean that boot-cut jeans are representative of 2014 fashion.  They're a deliberate opt-out of the current trend, a throwback to my high-school days that I retain because I feel that it's more flattering to my figure, and I'd never expect a teenager finding their way into fashion for the first time to wear them.  So if 20 years from now someone wore boot cut jeans in an attempt to be early-2010s retro, they'd be doin' in wrong.

This makes me wonder if any of my various attempts to be retro have so egregiously misfired.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Things They Should Invent: "if you may like..." for beauty products

I use Beautypedia, but I don't always agree with their reviews.  For example, they give my favourite eyeliner a poor rating, saying that the long skinny brush is hard to control.  But I find that the brush is easier to control specifically because it's long and skinny, and I vastly prefer it to every other brand I've tried, whose applicators are all too thick for the look I'm going for.

This means that when I'm in the market for eyeliner, Beautypedia is useless for me.

And it might also be less than perfectly useful for other products, and I'm just unaware of it.  The perfect product for me might be sitting under some pile of average reviews on Beautypedia and Makeup Alley etc., because it isn't optimal for most people in the world but is perfect for my non-standard needs.

So I'd like to see a beauty product review site that compares products to other products.  If you find Product A and Product B very similar, you say so, and perhaps articulate how they differ from each other.  If you find Product C far superiors to Products A and B, say so and explain why.  If you find Product D far inferior, say so and explain why.

If they can get a critical mass of reviews, they could even match up users with similar skin types or other similar makeup needs.  For example, if several people have the same favourite masacara and the same favourite eyeliner, it might be helpful to know what each other's favourite eyeshadow is.  Or, if a product gets discontinued, you could find out what other people who liked that discontinued product also like and dislike, and avoid some irritating trial and error.

So how do we get all these people to write all these comprehensive and detailed reviews? My idea is: what if this website was sponsored by a retailer that sells a wide range of brands of cosmetics, like Shoppers Drug Mart or even Amazon?  Users could earn points for writing reviews, and the points could be redeemable for free cosmetics at that retailer.  To encourage users to populate the site quickly, the first X reviews (where X is the number of reviews they need to make the site useful) can get exponentially more points.  They could also have easy one-click links on the review site to buy reviewed cosmetics from the retailer.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My earring storage solution

I previously asked for advice on how to store my earrings.  I've now found a solution.

In addition to the jewellery tree for my necklaces, I've got a second jewellery tree for earrings.

The metal butterflies on this stand have dozens of little holes in them, which are perfect for putting earrings in. Hoop earrings and dangly earrings can also be hung on the hooks and the arms.

I like this method because there aren't carefully circumscribed slots for the earrings to fit into (so I'm not going to run out of spaces any time soon) and because it allows my jewellery (i.e. pretty/interesting things that reflect my taste and character and that I already own through the normal course of life) to serve as a decorative element in my bedroom, rather than having to go seek out other decorative elements that reflect my taste and character.

The only flaw in this particular jewellery tree is it's too short for necklaces (and my necklaces aren't particularly long), so I had to get another one for necklaces.

If you're in the GTA, you can buy this and many other jewellery trees at Kitchen Stuff Plus.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

An alternative to Rimmel nail polish in Crushed Pearl

My previous go-to nail polish was Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro in Crushed Pearl.  It's a subtle pink that alludes to the natural pink of my nails, but is a bit lighter and has a pearly finish, thereby making it more forgiving to my quickly-chipping nails.

Unfortunately, I can't find it anywhere anymore.  I'm not sure if it was discontinued or what, but it isn't in any stores or on ebay.  So this sent me on a mission to find an alternative.

After much trial and error, I landed on the following:

1. One coat of Cover Girl Outlast Stay Brilliant in "Pink-finity"
2. A second coat of Cover Girl Outlast Stay Brilliant in "Perma-pink"

Pink-finity is a matte baby pink.  It's very boldly baby pink in a way that's not nearly as natural as Rimmel Crushed Pearl and, because it's a shiny matte, isn't nearly as forgiving.

Perma-pink is a far more natural pink with a forgiving pearly finish, but it finishes somewhat sheer when used on its own (which I dislike).

However, in combination, these two colours produce a natural, forgiving, opaque pearly pink that's very close to Rimmel Crushed Pearl (a wee bit lighter and without that tiny drop of purple, but I doubt you're going to get close with what's currently commercially available.)  Although I'd really still prefer Rimmel Crushed Pearl.

Added bonus factoid: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in "Pink Satin" is not a suitable substitute for Rimmel Crushed Pearl.  Even though it does have that drop of purple and appears similar in colour to the natural pink of my nails, it's far brighter and bolder, not subtle at all.  It can't even be tamed with a layer of Cover Girl Perma-pink over it.

Update:  If you don't want to combine colours, Revlon Colourstay Gel Envy in "Beginner's Luck" is also very similar.  It does have a tiny tiny amount of glitter in it though - it's extremely subtle on the nail, but is more difficult to remove like glitter polishes tend to be.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Teach me how to store my earrings

I have a lovely wooden jewellery box.  It's lined in velvet or some reasonable facsimile thereof, with all kinds of neat little compartments.  And it's utterly unsuitable for the jewellery I actually own - the sizes and shapes of the compartments simply don't correspond with the sizes and shapes of the jewellery, so my jewellery is currently all sitting in a tangled pile on top of the compartments, making it impossible for the box to close.

I've already worked out that I need a necklace tree for my necklaces, but that still raises the question of what to do about my earrings.  Some necklace trees have a little tray at the bottom that you can put earrings in, but I'd prefer something that keeps them more contained.  Googling around this idea, I see suggestions to use ice cube trays or egg cartons, but that would take up more room than I'd like. But, at the same time, I'd like to be able to see what I have at a glance rather than having to dig through.

I have probably between 10 and 20 pairs of earrings.  (I've never actually counted, and I keep finding ones I've forgotten about because they're currently being stored in this tangle of jewellery.)  I'd like a storage solution that enables me to acquire earrings willy-nilly without having to worry about whether I have space for them in my earring organization system. Most of my earrings are hoop or drop styles, but there are some studs in there too.  The vast majority of them are cheap; none of them are expensive.  The smallest are tiny little studs, and the largest are about 2 inches.  I don't plan for any future earring purchases to go much more than 2 inches in diameter for hoops, but I might go longer than that for dangles if they're lightweight.

Any suggestions?  How do you store your earrings?