Either you are the kind of person who gets super excited to grab your sunglasses and tote and go bathing suit shopping, or you’re like the rest of us, groaning and rolling your eyes and wondering whether the suit you bought online half a decade ago and wore throughout your pregnancy will still somehow magically fit.
To make that silent, shuddering majority of us feel better about the upcoming necessities of beach-time, a plus-size retailer called Swimsuits for All — perhaps you remember them from last year’s “Oh dear, turns out we don’t have nearly enough inventory to meet demand” Fatkini scandal? — has put together a video history that celebrates the variety of bodies, each of which, it assures us, is “bikini-ready.” Yes, basically it’s one big fat advertorial, coming to us via Jezebel. It’s also kind of sweet, and heartening, and, when combined with a stiff drink, useful for preparing oneself to face the mirrors.
Do you have bathing suit shopping hacks that make this process more bearable? Is the answer to spend more, since you are destined to wear the stuffing out of whatever you buy regardless? What is the most you’d be willing to shell out to feel like you look good at the pool, remembering of course that true beauty comes from within?
According to Quartz, we spend about 3 percent of our annual income on clothes (I expected it to be a little higher!). We also have five times the amount of clothes as we did in the first half of the 20th century, and it’s mostly due to the fact that overseas production has made clothes cheap to produce (low-cost fast fashion). But wages of workers overseas are slowly rising, and more consumers are considering the ethical dilemmas that come with cheap clothing. How will this affect the way we buy clothes in the future?
One option is to reconsider our approach to clothing by taking a cue from Europeans who have historically been more more focused on quality rather than quantity. Much of the cheap clothing we consume in droves is like our fast food diets—high in calories (quantity) but low in nutrition (quality). We are a culture that buys a lot of junk. Think about your own wardrobe—consider how many items of clothing you own and how often you wear each of those items. My guess is that most of us wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. That is a lot of wasted space and wasted money.
In the past few years, I’ve changed the way I buy and wear clothes by going the uniform route, though I also like this European approach of buying classic, quality pieces that last a long time. One item that comes to mind is my peacoat—I’ve worn it every winter for the past 14 years or so.
Photo: Maegan Tintari
It’s not optional, guys: you need to take cards. Which is why if the idea is cost savings, you’re looking at a bad business with a terrible approach to its customers: basically they don’t give a crap about you, just your cash. And yes, if a restaurant doesn’t take cards they are stealing money from the state (no paperwork means no sales tax trail). You’re giving the state money, their duty is to deliver it to Albany quarterly. Instead they steal it. Pretty awful? Most business people suck is why. Shortsighted, cheap, and unethical: Cash Only.
A place that doesn’t take cards is bad, but a place that doesn’t take cards and has an ATM right outside—that’s just straight up evil. It’s like “thanks for patronizing our establishment, let me kick you in the crotch on the way out!”
There was a famous cheese shop in the East Village when I lived there, ten years ago, about which you had to know two things: it had amazing prices — like, “Did these cheeses fall off a truck?” kind of good — and it was cash-only. Well, great. Now I have to wonder if it’s a front for the mob.
Crop tops are back, and the New York Times is on it! In the most Style Section possible piece ever, the paper of record covered the phenomenon this weekend — and what the trend means, financially, for fashion-conscious consumers:
Midriffs are suddenly in America’s face — in a way not seen, perhaps, since a young Britney Spears was in regular gyration-rotation on VH1. Crop tops were all over the spring runways, from Proenza Schouler and Dolce & Gabbana to more moderately priced lines like Tibi and Alice & Olivia. They are stocked several racks deep at Zara, H&M and Forever 21. …
Mary Alice Stephenson, a fashion commentator, thinks the look now evokes refined elegance rather than the overt sexiness or exoticism it used to signal (see: “I Dream of Jeannie”). “The stomach is the new erogenous zone, but not in a vulgar sort of a way,” she said. “Yes, you can show your whole midsection in a bra top, but most of the styles only give you a peek. Regardless, it is making women frenzied about shaping up their abs.”
Now that we can actually and more easily Instagram our own belly buttons, it will add a new dimension to the term “navel gazing.” How exciting! But, for those of us daring to be fashion-forward, how expensive. The article goes on to list the lengths to which women are going to rock short shirts, including Pilates-type classes, ballet barre-type workouts, sessions with private trainers, and, DUH, plastic surgery:
There’s an uproar happening right now in plus-size clothing. Fashionista started it by asking a provocative/insulting question,
what if the problem with the plus-size industry isn’t with faceless businessmen, but with the customers themselves? … Sarah Conley, a plus-size blogger and retail consultant, explains that when retailers are approached by customers to feature more true plus-size models, the companies will often conduct tests. One such brand displayed the exact same clothes on a size 8 model and a size 14 model on its website; the size 8 model sold better every time.
“As much as we think we want to see people who look like us, it’s not really showing through in customer behavior, which is really unfortunate,” she explains. “I think that people who say they want to see a more diverse group of women, whether it’s body shape or size, they’re not always following those wishes and demands with their credit cards.”
In the same way, the higher-priced items that customers clamor for — items designed by big names, items with more tailoring and trendier items — “don’t sell.” There’s also the issue of impermanence: “Everyone I spoke with agreed that women who are told that their body shape should be considered temporary, always in need of a new diet or weight loss plan, aren’t exactly going to plunk down $300 for a dress that, ideally, won’t fit them in a month.”
Jezebel weighed in, so to speak, and gave Fashionista a succinct answer: no. For one thing, sez Jez,
When plus-size blogger Gabi Gregg launched a swimwear collection with Swimsuits For All, the line sold out in hours. Women were more than happy to spend money on fashionable garments designed to flatter their bodies. Again, how can consumers buy clothes that don’t exist?
Once you have a baby, you have a lot more dinner parties, or at least more nights spent in mismatched chairs around your kitchen table drinking leftover white wine and sake and eating take out with your friends. On one of these recent nights at my place, a friend brought up the now inescapable trend of Monthly Boxes o’ Stuff, like Birchbox and Ipsy (cosmetics), NatureBox (snacks), BarkBox (cosmetics AND snacks — for dogs!), and so on.
Wouldn’t it be great, I wondered, tipsy on half a glass of Riesling, to have a Period Box? Once a month, it would show up, much like your period itself, only helpfully, with rom coms, tearjerker books, dark chocolate, and the occasional pad / tampon / Diva cup / whatever? My friends cheered the idea, told me I should go ahead and make my fortune. But when I took the zillion dollar plan to social media, other friends dealt my dream a boot to the face. Apparently HelloFlo and Le Parcel have already cornered the menstrual market. (Though both services are awfully pastel; would anyone pay for a more punk rock version? Just asking.)