January 23, 2013

Flashback to 2005

Hair:  Botched dye job with friends.  My hair was black for 10 months, and it was supposed to be temporary dye.

T-shirt:  a gift from my German exchange student.

Purse:  A gift from an online friend.  Blogging isn't my first foray into the online world; I've had online friends for years!  I even met some of them when I was in Germany, with above mentioned exchange student.

Pants:  Are they tight rolled?  Really?  What's wrong with me?

Shoes:  Rusty, trusty Converse.

Let's not even get into Jordan's outfit.
I mean, that hair alone.
We actually dread-locked his hair about a month later.

You could say fashion wasn't exactly a high priority for either of us.

January 20, 2013

On Fashion and Function

I haven't regularly worn a watch in quite a while -- not since getting my first cell phone, my freshman year of college.  That watch (the silver one on the far right in the photo above) was a graduation gift from my father, and perfectly suited my aesthetic: simple, streamlined, not fussy, and worked very well stacked with the wrist-fulls of bracelets I wore all the time in my late teens.

However, it doesn't have a second hand, and now as I'm nearing the clinical stage of my education and career, I'm finding that to be a necessity as a piece of my professional equipment.  I scoured the internet and stumbled upon The Perfect Watch -- bracelet clasp, small round face, and that oh-so-important second hand, with a unique style I haven't encountered anywhere else.  It was what I needed, and everything I wanted...only, after an It's-SO-Sparkly-I-MUST-Have-It impulse buy brought me the teal one, and plundering the mister's watch collection landed me the leather one, I realized that everything I thought I knew -- about myself and what I wanted in a watch -- was wrong. 

Now, I'm sold on the large faces -- I think I like the aesthetic, and I definitely appreciate the practicality.  After all, functionality is why I'm even in the market for another watch.  I know that buckles don't bother me, but I still don't like the looks of most links.  I want something that will work just as well for me on my punk-rock pin-up days as it will when I'm channeling Kate Becket or Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  Tall order, especially given my aversion to having things that are just like everyone else's.  I think I've got two favorites, each with an alternate colorway, but we'll see.

What are your timepieces, and how did you select them?  It feels strange to suddenly over-think the choice of an accessory that I completely ignored for years -- have you come back to anything after a break, and found that your taste has completely changed? 

January 9, 2013


i love wearing grey.

it's soft, warm and cozy.

yet, mysterious too.

like fog, and dense forests.

like bon iver's for emma, forever ago.

these tights are like icicles or snow-covered trees.

beautiful, and dangerous too.

(tights are from urban outfitters.)

January 6, 2013

Let's talk about SHOES.

Let’s have a little change of pace here, shall we?  I want to talk about shoes.  (I also want to talk about empowered choices and calculated risk, but good luck getting someone to agree to that!  So, I’ll talk about shoes.)

I love me some high-heeled shoes.  I pine after the slightly-chunky, vintage-styled heels from Chie Mihara, John Fluevog, Miz Mooz, and ReMix – these are the shoes that feed into my pinup-cum-practicality aesthetic.  Less-pricey lovelies comprise the majority of my shoe wardrobe – and yet, only once or twice per month do I choose to wear shoes with higher than a 1/4-inch heel.
I’ve seen a bit of discussion recently in the style blogosphere on this topic: are heels feminist or anti-feminist?  How young is too young to start wearing them?  How old is too old to continue?  Are they inappropriate, immodest, scandalous?  In general, I believe sartorial choices are an individual matter.  I see feminism as a perspective of empowerment; shoes and skirts and handbags may reflect your social viewpoint, but those views are defined by the decisions you make and your motives for doing so – and a dozen different women may make the same decisions with very different reasons behind them.  The thing that saddens and alarms me in all of this is seeing people make these choices – choices of fashion, function, or self-expression – ignorant of some of the oh-so-significant consequences.  We pick our daily footwear based on how well they suit our activities, how we want to be perceived, how wearing them makes us feel.  But please think about it – have you ever given thought to how healthy your shoes are?
There are several factors in a shoe’s design which impact how beneficial or detrimental it is to your health, but we’re just talking about heel height here.  The truth in a nutshell is that anything with a positive heel has a negative impact on your body’s structure and function, and consequently, your health.  A “positive heel” is when the heel is elevated above the ball of the foot, which means we’re not just talking about “high heeled” shoes, but about clogs and gym shoes and wedges and boots and probably most of the things that most of us have in our closets.  

We like these shoes, and their 1”-2” positive heels.  They are comfortable.  Many people find truly flat or negative-heeled shoes to be hard on their backs, and that experience is valid.  However, it is important not to confuse “pain-free” with “healthy.”  The aches and pains we get in our knees or back when going barefoot or wearing truly flat shoes are actually caused, in most people, by a lifestyle that does not impose the demands that the structures of our bodies are intended to meet, and our personal adaptations to these lighter loads.  We hurt when we do something which is health-promoting because it forces our bodies to perform in ways beyond what we’ve adapted to; literally, we are outside our comfort zones, our comfortable patterns of movement.
So why talk about it here?  What is it about this that makes it appropriate fodder for a style blog?  I bring it up because I believe an informed perspective is a necessary prerequisite for an empowered decision.  We put intentional effort into our clothing choices based on how we want to look, feel, and function; the health consequences are another axis for consideration in the decision-making process.  I am not here to preach, or try to convince anyone to do anything other than think about these things when making their choices.  As in everything else within and beyond the world of personal style, the right answer is going to be different for everyone.  
For myself, though my commuter lifestyle and my personal aesthetic are both wholly inclusive of heels, I choose not to wear them…most of the time.  I also specifically choose not to completely give them up.  I confess, I like wearing them, I love the way they look and how they make me feel.  It’s definitely an ego boost that my carefully-curated collection garners comments of “I love your shoes!” whenever I wear them.  These are the benefits to my calculated risks, and the reasons why I do wear heeled shoes.  In most instances, however, I choose flats.  There are enough other places in my life where, as much as I’d like to, I am too constrained to make a choice that is health-promoting; since I have freedom to choose my footwear, I use that opportunity to even things back out.

My shoes are my choice – intentional, empowered decisions that consider my needs from a variety of perspectives.  It is my sincere hope that the same is true, or will soon be so, for you.

*     *     *

As a health professional-in-training and a hopeful academician, I acknowledge and confess that it rubs me wrong to assert claims such as I have above without providing citations to back them up.  I have been working on this post for weeks as it is, and the thought of having to wade back through semesters’ worth of medical school notes and peer-reviewed papers before hitting “publish” on the blog was wearying.  I will be back with evidence, eventually, and apologize for not providing it initially. 

January 2, 2013

Getting there

Shirt:  Kohls
Sweater:  Forever 21
Pants:  Goodwill
Shoes:  K-mart
Scarf:  a gift

I generally don't make New Year's resolutions.  For all the effort I could put in, it just feels like I'm spinning my wheels, making half-hearted attempts at insignificant changes.

That being sad, one of my goals from last year was to put more effort into my appearance.  I asked for beauty tips on my blog, and my reader came through generously.  I've bought some mascara and lip products, and truth be told, I've had fun playing with them.  

I'm wearing make-up in the above picture - you can hardly tell, which is perfect for me.  

I haven't figured out why it's important for me to take this step.  Why is make-up something that signifies being an adult?  I've gone this long without it, so why start now?  Partially, I get annoyed when people mistake me for being a teenager, but that's hardly a major influence.  Applying make-up also feels like something I should know, a piece of knowledge I should have gained a long time ago, but that's not entirely it either.

Ah well.  I'm making a mountain out of nothing more than tinted chapstick.  If it's something that makes me feel more confident, I should just go ahead and do it!