25 January 2014

Looks Like A Girl, But She's A Flame

I am always on the lookout for brands, designers and shops that are doing unique things in fashion -- that are giving us something kind of magic. The thing about modernity (and the vast technology it breeds) is that it results in a lot of creativity, but also a lot of repetition. We see the same things all the time, be it in blogging, in la mode or in music. The whole, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun," thing is arguably more relevant today than ever before. So when something captivates me, I take note of it in the everlasting-Moleskin-pad that lives in my brain. And that's what happened when I was approached by Georgia-based lingerie boutique Livi Rae.

Although the boutique was founded in Kennessa circa 2006 by Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker, the founders have just launched an online store, thus bringing their southern-care-and-attention to all of us. I will confess I was immediately enraptured by their products, and the fact that the sizes are literally, as their motto suggests, for everybody. These are some of my personal favorites:

But besides having some amazing and very obviously high-quality products, Livi Rae's mission is also to help with bra-fit. Here's the thing, over 80 percent of women wear the wrong size bra. It's completely true. Oprah even did a huge segment on this exact issue years ago. Of course, we're never told this. We go into the majority of boutiques and lingerie shops, and it's a rare occasion that anyone on staff asks if you'd like to be measured, let alone that anyone mentions the risks that wearing an ill-fitting bra can actually have on your health.

The founders teamed up to tell me a bit about their mantra and the inspiration for Livi Rae's creation:
The real woman does not look like a Victoria’s Secret model. We wanted to have a store where we could help every woman, no matter her size, shape, race, age, etc. We deeply feel that every woman should be privy to a good bra and a healthy fit. The health aspect of bra-fit has been ignored in the industry for the large part, but we believe that it’s of the utmost importance.
In terms of health, an ill-fitting bra can actually lead to rashes, indigestion, headaches and hernias. Although a terrifying concept, it is certainly logical. Wearing the wrong kind of cup, strap and underwire for your body has been proven to trigger all these symptoms, and if you have things digging into your skin in places they shouldn't and prodding at your organs, it makes total sense. Maybe these negative results won't occur right away, and maybe they won't plague every woman, but the fact that the possibility exists is a scary thing.

Molly and Cynthia believe these are the most common bra mistakes:

  • Women going too big in the band and too small in the cup.
  • Many manufactures not making cup sizes above a DDD, thus causing larger bust women to wear sizes that are too small.
  • Wearing the underwire wrong. The underwire should not sit on breast tissue.

Livi Rae provides a rather unique opportunity to get just a bit more educated in bra fit, care and health, which let's face it, a lot of us never stop to think about (guilty!). Plus, they offer speciality bras for nursing and mastectomies as well, which just goes to show how conscious of all women's varied needs the founders truly are.

Awesomely enough, the boutique offers a venue for parties as well, whether you're looking for a bachelorette party, a lingerie shower, a girl's night-out, or, yes, even a divorce celebration (I plan on having like five divorces in my life, so this will come in handy...JK JK). Although at some point in life, I want to make it to Georgia to properly meet and fit with these ladies, the Internet will have to suffice for now.

Stay tuned for my shoot in Live Rae lingerie this spring. #Excitement

P.S. If you're wondering why a lyric from Alicia Key's "Girl on Fire" is the title for this post, it's probably because I just think Live Rae is on fire.

P.S.S. I have a promo code for all y'all: TENLIV can be redeemed for 10% off purchases over $100 on LiviRae :D

Get Tickets for British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2014 NOW

Courtesy of BPSFW: http://www.bpsfw.com/
This time last year, I was still living in New York and totally bummed when the first ever British Plus Size Fashion Weekend launched and I was 3000 miles away. Now it's 2014, though, and things are a little different. I am thrilled to say I will be in London on the 14th and 15th of February at Vinopolis, City of Wine, supporting some absurdly talented designers and models and probably having multiple fashiongasms that result in splurging on far too many clothes.


Simply Be
Remi Ray
Syreeta Badu
Dea London
The Curve
Yours Clothing
Dear Curves
Dynasty London
Jane Watson

Tickets are now available for sale, starting at £30, but less if you only want market or after party access. For more information, you can visit BPSFW's ticket page here.

To be honest, this is quite an epic bargain financially. All of the showcased brands are doing wonders in terms of giving plus-size women the same level of style and quality present in the mainstream market. If you're in the U.K. and you love fashion and you love curves and you want to meet some people who feel the same, you should seriously come with.

20 January 2014

I Drank Down My Sorrows, But The Damned Things Learned How To Swim

"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." -- Frida Kahlo

I first discovered Frida Kahlo when I was about 13 years old. I was visiting family in Medellin, Colombia, where I am from originally. For some reason or another, my uncle wanted to make it a point to go to every tourist destination the city had to offer. Most of my trips to Colombia have always revolved around spending as much time as possible with friends and family, and I always steer clear of anything touristy so as not to seem like a visitor in my own homeland. I stand out enough being 5'10" and pale-skinned, though at 13 I was probably more like 5'6" and pasty. But I humored my uncle regardless, because as one of my favorite relatives, I didn't want to disappoint him.

I can't remember all the places we visited. There were just so many. There was the Fernando Botero museum and the aquarium and a few cathedrals. I can't even tell you where it was that I saw Frida Kahlo's 1946 painting "The Litter Dear" or whether it was even the original or just a print replica. At the time, I thought it was the original, of course.

Though I'd always appreciated art, I never really stopped to think about Hispanic artists and their contributions to not just the artistic world, but social perceptions of Latinos/Latinas in general. Frida was a bisexual, Mexican woman painting in the first half of the 20th century. Her sexuality, gender and race made her something of an anomaly amongst prominent artists of the time. But she was so strong. Despite being crippled, despite being in a ridiculously tumultuous relationship with artist and womanizer Diego Rivera (the hothead that he was), despite being in the minority, she excelled in everything that she did. It is very evident from the macabre, grim works to come out of that mind that this was a woman consumed with pain and grief and more pain. But also beauty. Pure, unadulterated beauty.

I love Frida's self-portraits -- I really do. There is nothing narcissistic about them. Nothing feigned. But "The Little Deer" -- the painting of her face on a deer's body with arrows shot through its core -- has stuck with me for 10 years. Something about it resonated with my 13-year-old self, and still with my almost 23-year-old self. Maybe the feeling of dozens of different antagonistic thoughts and people and emotions being thrown at you whilst you lose yourself a little more each time (not to be depressing, though that's impossible when discussing Frida). I just love her. I love what she represents. I love that she gave Latinas a voice at a time when Hispanic women weren't really acknowledged as anything other than sex symbols. 

Anyway, rant complete. You can see why I was drawn to this dress, though. I received it a while back from amazingly talented designer Janet Zuniga of Vintage Galeria, an Etsy shop that creates custom-made pieces suited to your taste and size. The shop is all about retro rockabilly with a dark edge: think Frankensteins, deathly roses, macabre Virgin Mary's and all things Day of the Dead. I went for the halter cut because I like how it shapes my shoulders, not that you can tell because it was so chilly today that I couldn't bear to be without a jacket. I know this is more of a summer dress, but I woke up with the feeling of just needing to wear it. And consequently needing to re-watch Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in the biopic of her life, because Salma killed it.

Sometimes I pull silly faces. It happens. I like it.
I think Paddy and I enjoyed how our shadows made an "M" shape. How Migg Mag appropriate. 
Get the look:
Visit Vintage Galeria for a huge selection of custom-made dresses & more
Stop, Sign and Look Heel, ModCloth
Sporty Varsity Jacket (similar), Forever21, $48
Handbag, Vintage, My Mama's Closet

18 January 2014

In Shark Infested Waters, Her Plane Went Down That Night

I'm back, everyone!

Please forgive my temporary absence. I was traveling and caught up in something of a family emergency, plus I was immersed in writing two 30-page papers for grad school and once it was over I was briefly convinced I didn't want to look at a laptop screen ever again. But I am thrilled to be back, and able to catch up on all the amazing blog posts I have missed -- as well as styling some new outfits of my own.

The highlight of this outfit is, for me, the jacket. Designed by Nicolette Mason for Mynt 1792 as part of their epic Blogger Collection, I have had my eye on it since its release. I was saving up to buy it for myself as a birthday gift in March, but a lovely person beat me to it. This is one of the most amazing presents I have received in some time, as it is perfectly kindred with my style.  I adore that although the jacket is classified as a "moto" piece, the rose color and golden studs radiate femininity, giving it a "strong-minded yet fashion-forward" feel that unfortunately is still considered a paradox to a lot of people out there. The fact that it makes me feel very '40s-esque in combination with my high-waist polka dot trousers is a huge bonus as well. The pants are, of course, ModCloth. As always, they feel authentically vintage rather than vintage-inspired, which is something I always looks for in my clothes.

I had Ronnie Lane's version of "Amelia Earhart" stuck in my head the whole time the photos were being taken, probably because there is something of an aviation feel to the whole ensemble. That makes me smile, too.

Get the look:
Nicolette Mason's Moto-Jacket, Mynt 1792, $208
The Sweet Life Pants, ModCloth, $65

04 January 2014

I Saw It Written And I Saw It Say, Pink Moon Is On Its Way

I used to be mildly obsessed with Jackie Kennedy. Something about her always inspired me. People are (still) quick to dismiss Jackie O. as being the prototypical trophy wife -- a young, beautiful girl too preoccupied with the latest French couture to notice anything else. But that just wasn't the case. Yes, she was a fashion icon, and a brilliant one at that, but she also had a knack for architecture and design, totally restoring the White House through her own vision. She was essentially the social event planner during JFK's presidency, but chose to invite artists, scientists, writers, poets and musicians to said events, to mingle with the otherwise quotidian politicians. She loved literature, and dedicated her later years to working as an Editor. AND she looked amazing while doing it all, turning Chanel into a household name in America.

Though I would not call her my style icon these days, I do draw inspiration from Jackie from time to time, which is the predominant reason I was drawn to this very pink knitted skirt suit. I discovered the suit via Nicolette Mason when she styled it for her New Year post, and thought "O. my Jackie" right away.

I decided to go ultra-glam with the rest of the ensemble, thus the fur coat -- one of the best vintage bargains I have ever made. This coat has been with me for a year, and has been a godsend for trapping in heat. I have been told I look a bit too upper class when I wear it (which couldn't be further from reality) but I just can't help being obsessed with it. And at least it isn't white fur, right? Though I normally prefer stud earrings, I got these cameo door-knockers as a gift, and thought they were the perfect accessory for the Jackie-esque, '60s chic vibe I was going for.

Being me, though, I had to juxtapose the uber classiness with the least classy environment I could think of: thus the hardware shop. There is zero glamour in a B&Q, the equivalent of a U.S. Home Depot (it even has the same horrible orange color scheme), so I thought it would be amusing to shoot there. We had to be quick, as I was getting far too many stares for comfort (though one very smily middle-aged man did make me kind of happy), so this means the shots aren't the best ever. But... it was fun, in one of those weird, not-really-that-fun kind of ways.

Get the look:
Knit Shirt/Skirt Suit, ASOS, $116
Black Patent Shoes, ASOS, on sale for $32
Cameo Earrings, ASOS, on sale for $11
Vintage Fur Coat, Antique Store in Mytholmroyd, Search Ebay!
Polka Dot Wallet, Gift from Mama#2, Search Ebay!

03 January 2014

Oh Let The Sun Beat Down Upon My Face, Stars To Fill My Dream

It's always been a dream of mine to attend Burning Man Festival. A week in the Nevada desert with amazing music and amazing art and amazing human beings willing to bond with perfect strangers over the two. I suppose it's always been a dream to spend time in the desert, period. Perhaps something to do with the minimalism. Take a tent, food and water, some good books, a way to play tunes, and head into the open space where all that remains is sand and stars. Cheesy/pretentious, maybe. But a dream nonetheless.

I hope to make it to Burning Man in the next five years, but for now I have to find alternative means of keeping the desert in my heart -- like this Topshop dress, for instance. I knew it needed to be in my life the moment I saw it. I adore a good bodycon, especially one with an artsy, almost psychedelic pattern on it. The landscape resembles everything I would want to see in the real world -- everything I'd want in my picturesque desert scene. I just think it's stunning. I'd been searching for the perfect outfit to pair this classic burgundy fedora with, and hopefully this was it.

A word about the choker I am wearing: I discovered this cowhide&leather necklace in a quirky little Italian-based Etsy shop called Madly Vintage. The shop owner was a delight to talk to, and I just love that you can tell she genuinely cares about selling authentic vintage products, not replicas or "inspired-by" items. From Christian Dior to '60s lizard leather, her style is obviously brilliant.

Because the English winter rain is so relentless, I had these shots taken in Paddy's music studio. I think the warm colors of the studio blend really well with the array of colors on the dress. It creates that "dry heat" feel I imagine I'll find at Burning Man...someday.

Get the look:
Desert Scene Bodycon, Topshop, $70
Catarzi Exclusive Classic Fedora, ASOS, $55
Cowhide and Leather Chocker (Similar), Madly Vintage, $18
Jacques2 Double Buckle Shoes, Topshop, $104
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