Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dress Your Best Week - Day 4: Thunder

Jeans: J Crew
Tee: gift from a friend (similar to this one)
Sweater: Banana Republic
Shoes: Sperry
Earrings: Target

First of all, thanks for the support for yesterday's post. I was scared to talk about my chest on the Internet, but apparently I am not alone in that arena, so, again: thanks.
Second, just when you thought I couldn't get any more awkward, let's talk about my thighs, shall we?

I have thick thighs. Even when I was at the lowest weight of my adult life, my thighs were round and heavy. They've been this way for as long as I've had a woman's body, which as we discussed yesterday, came early in my life. And while I haven't always enjoyed it, and while the delightful young men in my 6th and 7th grade PE classes liked to shout "thunder thighs" when I ran past (it wasn't special treatment, they were that nice to all the girls), I've come to appreciate these thighs.

I appreciate them so much that now I wear skinny jeans (drawing attention the the fact that my leg is not a single long line) with a lighter colored top that ends at my widest point (drawing attention to said "flaw"). Because I'm so over rules that don't make me feel more comfortable in my skin.

These thighs, with their round heaviness, connect me to a line of women I love. My mom and my sister have thighs like these. My aunts and cousins do, too. It's in our DNA. There's something that's almost like validation when I see these quirky parts of me and remember that they connect me to the people I love most.

So, I appreciate my thighs today. No, they're not slim, and no, it's not easy to find jeans that fit in the waist and the thigh, but they're a point of connection. They are strong. They are mine.

Are there any parts of your body that make you feel connected to your family? Am I the only weird one?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dress Your Best Week - Day 3: Ruffles or bust

Top: Ann Taylor (gift from my mom)
Bolero: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Target
Booties: Aldo
Bracelets: gift from my uncle
Earrings: gift from my sister-in-law
Crazy face: not sure...

I feel like I'm pulling out the big guns with Dress Your Best Week this year. It's been harder to make my list, but I feel like it's given me a new and improved appreciation for my body. For today? My chest, and trust me when I say that this post might be the hardest (most awkward?) one for me to write.

I got my first training bra in third grade. Third. Grade. And it was not a "let's make you feel all grown up" kind of training bra experience. It was like a "Hey, mom, people at school are asking if I wear a bra" experience. Next thing I knew, we were at JC Penney's picking out 32AAs. In fifth grade, I was the only girl who had to wear a bra every day (and my mom told me it had to be EVERY DAY) which meant I got "plinkied" every time we had a bathroom break. Plinkies were when the other kids snapped the back strap. It was awesome.

By "awesome", I mean "mortifying", of course. Naturally, I was self-conscious because I was a kid who didn't know what to make of her body. As I got older, there were all kinds of rules about what I could and couldn't wear thanks to all I had going on in the front. No tank tops, definitely no spaghetti straps, cardigans or jackets to cover me up, no scoop necks, few v-necks, nothing with an empire waist, no tops with writing across the front, avoid embellishment across the bust, no woven button-up shirts...

That's a lot of rules, especially for a high school kid, which is what I was at the time. Some of those were my parents' rules and some were my own, but it pretty much guaranteed that I had no idea what to do with my top half. I'll readily admit that these days, I'm much more comfortable covering up, but at the time, I felt awkward and ashamed. I mean, I didn't ask for what I had, right?

But I feel like these days I finally have perspective on my chest. For one, I'm just below the national average, which makes me feel way better about my options. For another, I've stopped fighting it. This is the body I have, the only one I have, and I've got a chest that women will literally pay money for. So I thank the sweet Lord for what I've got and move on.

And I'll just go ahead and put some ruffles on 'em to make up for lost time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dress Your Best Week - Day 2: Thick skin

Tee: Target (men's undershirt)
Skirt: J Crew
Belt: Banana Republic
Scarf: gift from my uncles
Booties: Aldo
Bracelet: gift from our intern, A
Earrings: Turkey

Today, I'm celebrating my skin. This is a big step for me because I have not loved my skin for most of my life. This is another one of the things that I have learned to love about myself, mostly because it does its job. Skin is important, y'all.

So, when we moved to the States, Oprah taught my mom English. What I mean by that is that my mom watched Oprah to learn English. I thought Oprah was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I was pretty sure that in order to be beautiful, I had to be a lot darker than I was.

By the time I got to high school, I'd get a lot of "Aren't Puerto Ricans supposed to be darker?" comments. And though I knew - I know - that we come in a variety of shades, I felt like I was lacking. I was jealous of my sister's caramel tone, and I hid my skin, especially my legs, for many years because of their whiteness.

I don't know when things changed, when I got over the hiding and started showing off my skin and really caring for it - because it is seriously dry and flaky no matter how much cocoa butter I rub into it. I've been embracing my skin, though, in all it's (relatively) pale glory. I'm thankful that I can wear colors like green and yellow and orange. I'm thankful that jewel tones pop against my skin. I'm thankful that I rarely burn out in the sun, and that if I do, it turns to a tan the very next day. I'm thankful that white shows off my tan when I've got one and that I look good in black whether I'm tanned or not.

This is my skin. I'm finally okay with it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dress Your Best Week - Day 1: Waist not

Skirt: I made it
Tee: Target
Cami: ?
Cardigan: J Crew
Belt: Target
Socks: gift from my sister-in-law
Boots: Nine West
Earrings: Turkey

I'm participating in Dress Your Best week again this year, though I'm not sure how consistently the posts will be going up this week with our spotty internet. We'll see how it goes. Anyway, I'm hoping that most of what I'll be showing off this week will be different from last year's choices. For one, my body has changed in the past year; for two, I've been embracing my body in new ways lately. So for this first installment, let's talk about my waist.

True story: I discovered my waist through blogging and a fitting for my wedding dress. See, my mom and my sister are super curvy. They're pear shaped and I always envied their tiny little upper bodies and wide hips. I was convinced that I was a rectangle. And then the tailor at my fitting gave me three different numbers for my measurements and I was like, "Oh, I've got a waist!"

And then I forgot about that and started thinking I was a rectangle again until my readers and commenters told me I was crazy and I was actually pretty hourglassy. So I started looking at my pictures and looking at my body, and yes. There it was: the waist.

Maybe that's kind of ridiculous, but I know I'm alone in the slightly warped (or a seriously distorted) sense of body. And it's taken a lot for me to start to see myself in a more realistic way, and I wouldn't say I'm totally there yet, but I do feel like I'm making progress. So, yeah, this recently discovered waist is one of the things I'm celebrating this week.

Has anyone else discovered something positive about their body through blogging?

And just to keep this light, a picture of my adorable kittens:

Elefante on the left, Pirata on the right. Aren't they cute?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thrifting and Muppet legs

Dress: Isaac Mizrahi for Target - thrifted
Tights: Target
Boots: Noble Town Vintage via Etsy
Belt: came with a blazer
Earrings: Target

While y'all are enjoying summer in the States, I'm pulling out my tights and boots. Rainy season is cold season up here in the Costa Rican mountains and I miss summer while I'm living in the land of eternal fall.

I scored this dress at a thrift store down in the city (where it's the land of eternal spring) for about $4. There are these "tiendas americanas" or American stores which sell used clothes and seconds from the States. There are none up where we live; honestly, there's nothing but a corner store up where we live, so when I spotted one while we were buying paint down in the city, I convinced B to go in with me. He doesn't like shopping unless it's thrifting, so it was a good day for both of us.

I love the hot pink lining on this dress because it was just the right amount of pop as far as color is concerned. I decided to play it up by layering my hot pink tights under the dress. My students were in awe. Is that all one piece? Is it like a jumper? How does that dress even work?! It was pretty funny to blow their minds with so much hot pink peeking out.

I have to say that this was the most comfortable I've felt with hot pink legs. Bright tights are one of those things that just freak me out. I like them on other people but I have no idea how to wear them myself. And yet, I felt like I was working them this day.

I love this combo, and I love that I have a new (to me) addition to my wardrobe. I'm envisioning this as a top at some point in the future or paired with a zebra belt and some sandals (when I go on vacation in July, certainly not up here in the rainforest).

I think I might be in love.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friend Friday: Ch-ch-ch-changes (in style)

Friend Friday!

This week's topic as stated by Katy:
This was partly fueled by a suggestion from Suze of MissVinylAhoy and partly by my own realization that I like some odd things since I started blogging – things I never would have looked twice at before.

So then, here we go...

1. Since you began blogging do you notice a change in the types of things you gravitate towards while shopping?
I'd say yes. I find that I'm more drawn to pattern than I was before, and that I'm not as afraid of color in unexpected places. That said, I'd say that my style has been more refined. I'm a lot more selective about what I shop for. I take greater risk with pattern and shapes, but I've also reminded myself that I don't really need those pants because I'd rather wear skirts every day. And, oooh! yellow skirts!

2. Do you find, as a fashion blogger, that you dress differently from your family and friends? Do they comment on that?
I think I come from a very stylish family, so they don't think it's weird that I dress the way I do. We have very different styles, but we're all pretty stylish. They do think some of my pattern mixing and color combos are a little funky, but as my aunt says: "Sometimes you wear things that don't really go, but they go." So that's a ... compliment?
I feel like I get more comments from coworkers and friends. My friends are used to my style - this has been a long time obsession, after all - but my coworkers often think it's weird. And my students? Forget it! They don't understand how I could possibly be more comfortable in a skirt or a dress than jeans. I also get a lot of comments that I don't exactly know what to do with. Like those, "Oh, Frances? Yeah, she sets the bar high...." in a tone that's not quite a compliment. Tell me I'm not the only one who gets those comments. I usually smile and walk away or say something about how really, this is me dressing for my own comfort. Seriously, no one up here in the mountains is checking out my style like that.

3. What’s the weirdest fashion that you secretly like, even if you aren’t bold enough to wear it?
I don't know if I'm into weird fashion. I mean, I don't think these fashions are weird. I enjoy some serious pattern mixing and I'm convinced that cowboy boots match with everything. What I wish I were bold enough to wear are crazy bright tights.

4. Looking at current trends – what would you like to try but need to build up the courage to do?
Oh, I wish I knew what the current trends were.... Some things I've seen around the blogs that I wish I could pull off: bright tights (as mentioned above), shorts (I have the same issue with shorts that I have with pants), neon. Neon makes me feel too much like I'm living in my NKOTB love days, but I have a feeling it would look fabulous with my skin tone. Also: head to toe vintage. I wish I could do it well.

5. Toot someone’s horn – what fashion blogger out there inspires you with her bold fashion choices?
Shey's choices always inspire me partly because her style is so different from mine. It's so romantic and vintage inspired, and she makes me think about color, pattern, and cut in different ways.
Also, pretty much everyone else on the blog roll.
I'm the worst ever at tooting horns....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Target addict

Dress: Target (gift from my mom)
Cami: ??
Belt: Target
Cardigan: Target
Boots: Nine West
Earrings: Sarchí, Costa Rica

Y'all, I finally found some time to post pictures from two weeks ago. Or was it three weeks ago that I wore this outfit? I can't even remember, all I know is that we have not had sun like that in the mornings for a minute here.

All I know is that I still like this outfit. It's flowy and comfortable and a mix of neutrals (win-win-win, if you're playing along at home) and just happens to be mostly from Target. Sometimes I get dressed and later realize that everything I'm wearing is from the same store.

That sometimes feels like cheating. As a style blogger, shouldn't I be mixing things up? Showing you how I wear Target with J Crew and LOFT and vintage? Except I'm not usually that cool.

Tell me I'm not the only one who feels a little bit like a cheater when this happens. If I am, that's okay, too, though.... I guess.

Oh, and yes, that's just me checking out good old Volcán Poás. Seriously, that view is stunning, even if I do have to force myself to ignore the fact that it's been quite active recently....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FFB: Women in Media

Tee: J Crew
Blazer: New York & Co.
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Ann Taylor
Scarf: Target
Flats: Naturalizer
Earrings: Target?

This entire look was based on a picture of this hair.


That is a true story. I pinned that image I don't even know how long ago and now that my hair is so terribly grown out that I can't wear it down, I've been trying to find a look other than my traditional high bun.

But, enough about my crazy hair. I've been slacking on my Feminist Fashion Bloggers posts for the past few months, but I've been thinking a lot about this month's topic: Women in the Media and Popular Culture.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and, of course, I'm thinking of this from the perspective of a Latina who grew up primarily in the States. So, there's my bias. I've been thinking a lot about the representation of women of color in the media quite often these days and thinking about how that plays into my own sense of identity and self expression. Too heavy for a style blog? Perhaps, but let's take it there today, shall we?

I've been thinking about this as I (finally) got caught up on Glee. I think Glee has one of the more diverse casts on television, but one of the issues I have with the show is its reliance on stereotypes for so many of the characters (Mercedes, for example). I think they try. I think there are some characters that are actually complex. As a Latina, I have to mention Santana. While that's one of those names that non-Latinos think are legitimately Latino and I am kind of weird about having believable names, I do like that they've developed her character a bit. The thing that bugs me, though? She's so spicy, that Santana, with all that attitude.

Because, you know, that's what we Latinas are: spicy. And all of us "ethnic" girls are angry, or at least attitude-y. (Either that or subservient women oppressed by machismo - but that's a different post. Also another post: the label "ethnic" for people who are not white.) I grew up seeing these images - not often, of course, because for the first twenty years of my life, I didn't see many Latinas on tv or in movies - and I've fought so hard against being the stereotype.

Because, really? When all you see is that woman with the attitude, who gets mad and spouts off in Spanish for everyone's amusement, it does get to you. Is that how you want to be represented all the time? I'm lucky that I had a family that held up other images, but what about kids that don't have that? You get a little angry that you're constantly portrayed as a one dimensional angry woman. Self fulfilling prophecy....

I often tell B that what I want to see is Latinos on tv just living. And I guess there are some shows like that (Ugly Betty), I just don't watch enough tv to really know. Ditto for the movies. Even more for books. When I write a book, I'm not explaining any of my Latinas. Does that make sense? They're just going to live and be. Maybe they'll be angry, maybe they'll be pushy, but they'll be a whole lot more besides. You know, like me and all the other Latinas I know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Everybody, Everywear: Lace

Lace | Everybody, Everywear

Top: some random store in Turkey
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Belt: Ann Taylor
Booties: Aldo
Earrings: Target
Crazy face: laughing at B and Kiku

I'm finally participating in Everybody, Everywear, and I'm beyond proud of myself. It's been a busy few weeks as we get our summer interns settled in, teach, and start some new projects, so to find time to build an outfit around lace, and post in time for EBEW is a feat in and of itself.

I love this top. It's about three sizes too big for me, but it works, especially when I tuck it in. It has the added benefit of reminding me of our vacation in Istanbul where we hung out, relaxed, and ate delicious foods.

The lacy back is a little risqué, perhaps, but I wore a sweater most of the time that I was at work, so it was totally appropriate. Although I always have a hard time with this kind of look. Too sexy? Just enough? I don't know....

All I know is that I like the simplicity of brown and black and that this top makes me think of good times, so I'm going with it.