Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why there won’t be a giveaway on one year anniversary

I’m glad to announce that my blog is one year old and there won’t be a giveaway!

Yep. no beautiful bras that could be yours if you promote me in Facebook, Twitter and whatever and will be lucky enough. You know why? Because I’m not selling you bras.

No clothes either. For the same reason. I’m not in marketing. And especially self-marketing.*

I’m writing because I have information I want to share and I think that writing blog in English is great language practice. I also like to be a part of lingerie blogging community. But I’m not a salesperson. My English is not excellent and I never hesitate to write characteristics as ‘must be unsupportive’ or ‘good only for firm breasts’ or ‘inconsistent sizing’.

So, please, share with me the joy of writing what I think.  Of having zero photos in my underwear. Of not having to wear shapewear under cheap polyester dresses to make them look good on photos. Of the luxury to be a snob when it comes to clothes. Of the luxury to stop updating the blog because I don’t feel like blogging.

And thank you for all you comments and attention. I really like to have readers and especially interlocutors. People with whom I can share my interests.

UPD And, after second thought it doesn’t seem quite right to do nothing, so here is the thing: you can ask me in this post anything you want about style, what goes with the dress, why that bra or shirt fits funny, what skirts are the best for your body shape or anything you like bra and clothes related and I will try to answer to the best of my knowledge.

* I’m not sure that it’s official term. It’s from ‘The Jones’ movie (long story short: self marketing can make a real damage).

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Not everybody is beautiful

It has become very popular to say that everybody is beautiful, sexy etc. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t think so. Not every landscape is beautiful, why people should be? How often your breath is taken when you just see some person walking by or looking at you from a photo? Not every single time you just see anybody, I bet. Beauty, this ultimate visual harmony, is a rare gift and usually a lot of work on top of it. It has many faces and there is no single mold, your eyes usually should be trained by diverse visual experience to recognize it when it’s not what you expected, but it’s not something completely arbitrary.

If you are talking about human body from biochemical or medical point of view then I could agree that every body is beautiful. Complexity and that ever changing balance of human body, it’s adaptive abilities are amazing. But aesthetically most human bodies (and faces) are not beautiful. Many have some or many nice features, but there are some disharmony in them. Most people have at least one feature that can be called beautiful (eye color, shape of fingers, some gesture… possibilities are endless), but it doesn’t make them beautiful all over.

Blinded by the toxic ideas that only beautiful people are entitled to be loved, that everybody likes beautiful people, that only beautiful are meant to be happy so many people fall into a pit of the self-loathing and self-pity. But thinking that you body is not perfect (which is usually true) does not create body image issues, being unable to make peace with that simple fact does.

And here comes the idea that everybody is beautiful. Does it help? I don’t think so. I even think that it’s also toxic. Because it’s either about erasing our ability to distinguish beauty or about conflict with reality. And I doesn’t like either.

Attractiveness however is a totally different story. The vast majority of people are attractive in the eyes of other people (but of cause not all the people, and usually not most of them). Any regular person without some horrible disease which changes appearance drastically who makes very minimal effort (like keeping body, face and hair clean, buying clothes in the right size, having normal dental care, you got the idea) and who has no severe communication problems is already attractive to some (at least). If you add good attitude, some communication skills, some fitness and clothes that flatter then he or she will be attractive to many. Of cause much younger people won’t find much older person sexually attractive except some rare exceptions, but is it going to ruin lives?

I would say that about attractiveness and sexual attractiveness it’s half true, because they forget to add ‘not for all’.  And have you heard that half-true is the worst kind of lies?

I think that desire to be beautiful in the eyes of everyone, to be sexy for everyone, to be loved or liked by everyone is deeply neurotic. And an attempt to believe that it’s true will make you psychotic if it will be successful.

When I was very young somebody told be that I’m not $100, so not everybody likes me. That’s very true. I’m a person. I’m quite good looking and I make some effort for that, but I’m not beautiful. There are men who think that I’m sexy as hell, and there are other men who are not interested at all. There are people who love me and there are many people who like me, but some people hate me or don’t like me,  and there are billions who just don’t give a damn about me. And you know what? It’s totally ok. I don’t need to be liked by everybody to be happy. I also don’t need to be perfect to be happy. I don’t need to be sexy for every man. I don’t need to be beautiful.

I’m not my appearance, I’m not my intellect, I’m not my sexiness, I’m not my feelings. I’m all of that and so much more. All the listed is important and none is solely defining who I am.

And it’s true for any person who is ok with the reality where people who are not beautiful could be happy and could be loved, for any person who is not a hostage of opinion of others about her (or him). Any person who is capable of seeing beauty and flaws, great features and imperfections in himself/herself and others without concentrating on something completely, without loosing the whole picture. Who can love and like real people, not some ideal imaginary models of people.

Ok, I let it out of my chest, so I hope that I will resume posts about clothes, bras and how to look better with what you have soon )

… but style is forever.

Not a lot of people could say that they have very distinct personal style when any person who can ‘feel’ clothes can look at an item and say “It’s [not] her/his style!”, most of people who carry the burden of first world problems just have a lot of clothes. And one of the most common complains from women when we speak about clothes is “I have nothing to wear (and I need more space in the closet, it’s more than full)”.

Another version of this, popular between women who are difficult to fit, is to buy clothes just because they are a little bit more fitted than a tent and don’t make them look like a zombie (and sometimes even despite that!).

I never really had the first problem, because when I was young I was on a tight budget, so I was thinking really hard about what I was buying (and as a rule if there wasn’t at least 5 items I already owned which could go with a new item I didn’t buy it). I have a good eye on colors and proportions, that also helped. So my wardrobe back then was a little bit boring and not always very flattering (see the part about fitting a little bit better that a tent). it had nothing to do with my personality, but very functional, I had clothes for any situation and it was color coordinated since I was 17, so I never had a reason for aforementioned rant. But as time passed by I began to want more from my clothes. There was a good portion of trial and error, when my choices were perfectly color coordinated, but stylistically all over the place and my wardrobe began to grow above my comfort level. So I returned to old habit: thinking and gathering information. One of my lucky findings was a very harmonious system of style personalities. This system is used by BFAS image consultants.

So it goes like this: there are 6 major types of style personalities: Natural, Town&Country, Classic, Romantic, Dramatic and Delicate. Most people are the mix of two. Some people are pure (one type), but harmonious composition of three is next to impossible. Being two types doesn’t mean that you should buy clothes from two types, you should rather look for items which have characteristics of both, which are most close to you, because you are not just a juxtaposition, but a unique mix.

Brief description of how clothes of pure stiles looks goes like this:

jennifer-aniston-street-style_Natural
Natural style is usually described as sporty and energetic, comfy, but not afraid of form-hugging.  it’s fresh and sometimes could get too casual. It’s all about jersey and effortless hairstyles, jeans and sportswear as citywear. Simple lines, otten bold colors and comfort of movement, often layering. Jane Birkin and Jennifer Aniston
Image from Harpers Bazaar

Image from Harpers Bazaar

Town&Country style is described as conservative and traditional, cozy, relaxed, it’s about wool and cotton, suede, tweed jackets, Hunter boots. Clothes often have a loose fit and layered. Think of British gentry, Susan Boyle and Bruno Cucinelly

Kate-MiddletonClassic is well, about classics, not only business classic, but also sailor stripes and ballet flats, riding boots and little black dress. Thin wool in woven fabrics of highest quality, silk, cashmere, quality cotton (think white button down shirt). Clothes are usually fitted, but not clingy, accessories are small to medium sized and have clean simple shape, Bags are geometric, simple and expensive. Diamond studs and pearls. Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton
130224A1_ZETA-JONES_B-GR_02
Romantic is full of frills, lace and semi-transparent fabrics, satin, soft drapes, silk and cashmere, mink coats, it’s all about being dolled up and lovely. It often uses vintage or their outfits inspired by it. Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Zeta-Jones (yep, Romantic could be dark colored, but look at her, she is so glamorous!)
the L.A.M.B. For Lesportsac Cocktail PartyDramatic is bold and extravagant, it could be sexy and aggressive, it’s chic and it’s edgy. Leather, especially patent leather, silk, furs. Colors are black. white and brights.  Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga
211351-top-10-quirky-fashion-moments-of-helena-bonham-carter-cbeDelicate is youthful, sometimes freakish, nice and naive, funny, it uses whatever is available, but combinations always original and somewhat unfinished, gravitates to lot of accessories, ethnic stuff, boho, subcultural stuff. Helena Bonham Carter, Björk and Iris Apfel

But these descriptions concentrate on how it could be presented by pure types in extremes, which isn’t very helpful. because it’s very hard to translate these pure essences to a wardrobe for day to day life. But there is more important part of style analyses, inner part, which could help to find a way.

Process of finding who you are is rather intuitive and it more depends on traits of your character, on what do you want from life, you vibe, your “essence”, on your personality than on shape of your hips or length of your nose. It’s all about identifying your true self and being faithful to yourself.

So here is my brief descriptions of the vibes. I’m giving here not only positives, but also negatives, because people who are not compatible with the particular vibe are more prone to distinguish negatives. Also when other people are giving us their opinions they also tend to be more precise about negatives.

Natural – positives: youthful, fresh, full of life, energetic, funny, bright, sporty, outdoorsy; negatives: unreliable, careless, rude.

Town&Country – positives: traditional, conservative, warm and comfy, reliable, practical, simple, outdoorsy, solid and sound; negatives: outdated, stubborn, frumpy and narrow-minded.

Classic – positives: elegant, polished, practical, sophisticated, balanced, harmonious; negatives: bureaucratic, boring, unapproachable, snobbish.

Romantic – positives: emotional, sensitive and sensual, glamorous, soft and warm; negatives: emotional (no, this is not a mistake! emotional is both, because different people see it differently), passive, silly, illogical, vain.

Dramatic – positives: striking, outstanding, sophisticated, original, creative, edgy, extravagant. ironic; negatives: bitchy, slutty, strange, vulgar, vain.

Delicate – positives: creative, original, funny, youthful, playful, innocent, fresh; negatives: messy, unreliable, strange, laughable, infantile.

Of cause you can find your characteristics in more than two pure types and some types have something in common (Natural and Delicate have youthful, but when Natural has forever 17, most popular kid in the class vibe in it, Delicate is more about something childish and something about being creative and naive in a good way, something about to be open).

Delicate and Dramatic both seek for original, but in first case it is “more is more and less is bore” original, primitive art original, and in the second case it is very artful and sophisticated, one-of-a-kind and hiring the best professionals original.

Romantic and Town&Country are both warm, but Romantic woman is warm like a loving woman and in Town&Country woman it’s more of a mother warmth.

And type or their combination or I think it’s silly and I’m no type )), the key to the style which is truly forever is to know yourself and to express yourself through your clothes. Aforementioned style personalities are just some blocks which could be combined to give a starting point. What’s very useful is that if you identified your style personality you can google a lot of clothes choices connected with it and choose not from the whole continuum, but from  1/36, which is significantly easier task to do (for an example you can go here and here). And you can also go with associations: when you a looking on an item, think which memories, which feelings it calls, is it cold and sharp or warm and comfy? is it fashion forward or traditional? Is it boring? Is it exciting? Could you imaging your celebrity style twin wearing it? It’s totally ok that you don’t like any item you googled. it could be wrong color or wrong shape for your body type, associations and meaning of items are different not only from country to country, or social strata to social strata, but from person to person (i. g. certain type of kerchiefs is strongly associated with granny for me and for many Russians, but I bet that for most you, who has no Russian origin, these are just colorful and exotic without any granny vibe, oversized smoke-colored glasses are forever associated with my elementary school teacher for me, but I seriously doubt that many people share this association). And national specific or personal specific associations can make an item doesn’t feel right.

It’s also quite important to distinguish style and dress code. Casual is not a style even if it sometimes called so. It’s a dress code for a wide set of occasions. It’s no less dress code than business formal (if you doubt that try to imagine people reaction if you come to a barbecue in your best formal outfit). So each style personality can (and will) create a different outfits for the same dress-code. Sometimes it could be more challenging (business formal for Romantic or casual for Drama), sometimes it comes naturally (business formal for Classic or casual for Town&Country), but it’s still the same person in any occasion and it could be expressed with details and nuances to create harmony.

Prints and optical illusions. Polka dot

This is the third post of the series, here are the links to the first one (about Stripes) and the second one (about Plaid and Check).

As usual with most prints color of the background matters, you can use dark background for slimming effect and light background for widening effect.

But polka dot isn’t that simple. There are more factors in play: size and of cause color of the dots, how close together they are and if they placed on fabric regularly or randomly.

Bigger dots are more widening than smaller when scale of the print is the only factor that is different.

Scale effect. The right is the same print, but 4 times smaller

Scale effect. The right is the same print, but 4 times smaller

Darker dots create less widening effect when we are talking about dots of the same size and placement.

Effect of the distance between dots really depends on colorway. Light/warm dots on darker/cooler background are more widening when they are placed more close together, more dense, but cooler and darker dots on lighter/warmer background are less widening when there are more of them.

density_effect_on_diff_bkg

Rare dots on black will be slimming, more dense will give no effect on visual perception of size, dense black dots on white will be slightly widening, and rare black dots will be a little bit more widening, close to the perception of the pure white

But on the equally warm/cool background dots with the same warmth/coolness are more dense print is more widening.

Those two are warm and bright, so widening, but left one is even more widening, because it's more busy

Those two are warm and bright, so widening, but left one is even more widening, because it’s more busy

Contrast adds to the widening effect as usually with prints.

Grey is desaturated green/purple

Grey is desaturated green/purple, Green/purple version of print will be more widening, because there is a high level of color contrast

There are only two variants of polka dot which are slimming:

  • dark background small to medium dots that are far from each other;
  • dark background and vertically or especially diagonally organised dots.

Here is example of vertically and diagonally organized polka dots:

Here us direction effect,  Left fabric will behave like small scale check, and it will be slightly more widening, but actually they both are widening, because prints are busy, to avoid this effect there should be much less dots per square inch

Here is the direction effect, Left polka dot print behaves like small scale check, and it is slightly more widening, but actually they both are widening, because prints are busy, to avoid this effect there should be much less dots per square inch

Polka dot is “flattening”, making shape less sharp when it’s busy and it could be distorting shape if dots are oversize.

Super large polka dot print on sweater. It's distorting the shape and body of the model looks somewhat assymetric

Super large polka dot print on this sweater is distorting the shape and the body of the model looks somewhat asymmetric

Taking into account all aforementioned it may look like to banish this playful and youthful, yet feminine and classical print is the best wardrobe decision.  Please, don’t, if you like it – wear it! It’s so retro. It’s just made for full skirts with wide contrasting belts, lingerie, tops which should be worn under jackets or cardigans (to lighten up an outfit and give it a touch of joy). And light medium to small not dense dots on navy or black are perfectly slimming! And after all a little bit widening print isn’t the end of the world, maximum thinness isn’t what make you look great.

Picture from The Sartorialist blog. Click on image for more polka dot outfits

Awesome set from Mimi Holliday

Awesome set from Mimi Holliday

The only case when it’s a good idea to consider avoiding the print near your face IMO is when your face is all straight lines and angles. In that case the print could be very unflattering or just look odd.

Face line effect. Soft face lines + blouse from Aliexpress vs straight face lines + sweater from Gucci

Face line effect. Soft face lines + blouse from Aliexpress vs straight face lines + sweater from Gucci

That’s pretty much it about polka dot, but there are more prints to come. So thanks you for your attention and to be continued ).

Prints and optical illusions. Plaid and check

This is the second post of the series. The first one, about stripes, is here. The third one, about polka dot, is here.

Both prints are classic examples of busy print and both create vertical and horizontal lines at the same time. So they are almost always somewhat widening.

So it goes like that: the big scale check/plaid is more widening than small, high contrast is more widening than low contrast,  light/warm or very bright prevailing color(s) are more widening than dark/cool/low saturation.

Light tartan in warms, widening

Light tartan in warms, widening

Low contrast, dark, cool colors. Slimming (not as much as black or blue plain colors though)

Low contrast, dark, cool colors. Slimming (not as much as black or blue plain colors though)

Very bright colors, widening

Very bright colors, widening

Blue swatch is actually a little bit bigger than the two others.

Plaids which have a lot of clashing colors are more widening than plaids containing shades of the same color or colors that are good match and neutrals.

This will be widening, because red, yellow and black are clashing contrast

This will be widening, because red, yellow and black are clashing contrast, you could compare this to monochromatic plaids below

With plaid you can also have some effects which are more typical for stripes because contrast between two squares in a row could be less than between two squares in a column or vice versa.

This will behave somewhat like stripy

This will behave somewhat like stripy

While this will be widening as hell in both directions

While this will be widening as hell in both directions

There is also one thing that could significantly mitigate widening effect: rotating print 45°. Then we will have diagonals instead of vertical and horizontal lines and with right color scheme the item could be in fact slimming.

Compare this two skirts in similar colorway.

"Normal" direction of plaid

“Normal” direction of plaid

diagonal_plaid

Diagonal direction

Checks of average to large scale and plaid are also (like stripes) prone to distortion effect, when garment stretches to fit curvy body. This effect is very visible.

Not very pretty, IMO

Not very pretty, IMO

It also usually makes darts and seams very visible and so they always draw attention to themselves. E. g. side bust darts get very visible because of that, so no decent designer does that, darts usually moved to the waist, sometimes they could be masked by lapels and pockets.

Side dart on tartan. Very visible

Side dart on tartan. Very visible

This is Vivienne Westwood jacket, it's very fitted, but darts are not in your face at all

This is Vivienne Westwood jacket, it’s very fitted, but darts are not in your face at all

Yokes can make you thighs look wider. So if you are V shaped and you want to balance you shoulders and chest then bright high contrast skirt with yoke is something to look for.

This is Victoria Beckham, she is size 0, but her hips don't look narrow in this skirt, so if you are not that thin beware of the effect

This is Victoria Beckham, she is size 0, but her hips don’t look narrow in this skirt, so if you are not that thin beware of the effect

And I really like what Vivienne Westwood does with tartan playing with its direction.

Beautiful Helena Bonham-Carter in Vivienne Westwood suit, after getting her CBE

Beautiful Helena Bonham-Carter in Vivienne Westwood suit, after getting her CBE

There is one more thing that is very important about this prints, but not really connected to optical illusions: they always create certain associations. Stripes are more or less neutral (of cause there are sailor and seaside holiday theme in them, but it’s not that strong), but plaid and check are laden with associations.

Plaid: Scotland and Ireland, cowboys, working class, school uniforms. So if you want elegance in plaid then cut should be really creative otherwise item will look very casual (nothing wrong with that under right circumstances) or it can make you look like you are trying to cosplay a teenager (and if it’s not intentional and very well done with right doze of irony it looks awful).

Check. It depends on what check. It can be Prince of Wales, or it can be school uniform again.

There is one more interesting effect. Small scale check, especially Prince of Wales check has somewhat smoothing effect on people who have a lot of texture (curly hair, uneven skin etc), but it looks a little odd on people who are ‘smooth’ (strait hair or or hair in accurate large scale waves, smooth skin).

This has some smoothing effect on skin

This has some smoothing effect on skin

The reason for that is that it creates effect of raw texture, so in comparison skin looks more even.