Body Image Warrior Week: Kate of Eat The Damm Cake

Welcome back to Body Image Warrior Week. A project organized by Sally McGraw of Already Pretty, BIWW brings together 11 amazing, inspiring bloggers who write about body image, why it matters, and what it all means to us.

Today's post comes from Kate Fridkis, of Eat The Damm Cake. Kate has a straight-from-the-hip writing style I have long admired, and she writes openly and honestly about body image. Be sure to visit her blog and read her posts.

Little Heart

I write about body image because I love eating cake, but women around me are always dieting.

I write about body image because I have been told it doesn't matter, but every year, more girls have eating disorders.

I write about body image because everyone cares about beauty, no matter how much we tell ourselves we don't. And because, really, we are beautiful, no matter how much we tell ourselves we aren't.

I write about body image because I moved to Manhattan, where suddenly everyone was very thin and very careful about eating and always going to the gym and suddenly it occurred to me that I was not thin enough and not pretty enough and very bad at going to the gym.

I write about body image because I noticed that after I noticed that I was maybe not thin enough, I stopped eating some of my favorite foods. They slipped out of my diet. I said no to dessert. I felt guilty when I gave in and made pasta for dinner. I felt guilty all the time, because all the time, I was cheating. There were all of these rules about what I could and couldn't eat, and how much of it was OK, and I had somehow memorized them without even being aware of it, and now, when I broke them, I was ashamed.

I write about body image because I got a nose job because my big Jewish nose seemed like the opposite of beauty. Because when I told people that famous, beautiful women never have big Jewish noses, they always said, "What about Barbara Streisand?" and that was a long time ago. No one can think of anyone more recent. And also, because when my boyfriend who became my husband told me over and over that my nose was beautiful, I didn't really believe him, even though I should have.

I write about body image because people make fun of people who get cosmetic surgery, even though when I got cosmetic surgery, there was nothing funny about it. I hated my face. I wanted to destroy my old face.

I write about body image because I don't look like a model, but sometimes, automatically, I really wish I looked like a model. And at the same time, I really wish I didn't wish that.

I write about body image because when I was a little girl, I thought I was gorgeous. I thought that I was gorgeous because I was me.

I write about body image because women are always complimenting each other by saying, "You look like you lost weight!" and because it's so hard to think that what you are is already enough.

I write about body image because the more I write about body image, the more letters I get from girls and women who tell me how important this topic is. I get letters from women who don't want to go outside because they feel so unattractive and women whose mothers told them they weren't ever going to be pretty enough and women who were told by the world that they weren't worth as much as they actually are, and women who feel fantastic about the way they look and are so relieved. And because the more I write about body image, the better I feel, when I look in the mirror. The better I look to myself. The better I realize I am.

That's why I write about body image.

And also, cake is just delicious. We really shouldn't ever give it up.

Kate Fridkis is a Brooklyn-based writer whose work appears regularly on The Frisky and the Huffington Post. She blogs at Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter @eatthedamncake

Image via Holy.

February 27 – March 3 is Body Image Warrior Week. Throughout the course of this week, you’ll read posts from an inspiring group of women who fight hard against body image oppression through their own words and work.

Participants in Body Image Warrior Week are:

Body Image Warrior Week: Patti of Not Dead Yet Style

Welcome back to Body Image Warrior Week. A project organized by Sally McGraw of Already Pretty, BIWW brings together 11 amazing, inspiring bloggers who write about body image, why it matters, and what it all means to us.

Today's post comes from PattiG of Not Dead Yet Style. She reflects on how certain body parts become a "problem" for us. This post struck a chord for me, as it shines a light on just how pervasive negative body conditioning is in our culture.

We Don't Have "Problem Areas"


Oh boy, this is a pet peeve. I hear it mostly on the home shopping channels (gulp, if I ever, um, happen to have the TV tuned to one of them while I am, errr, polishing up an article for the New York Times). The cheery host or model points to the latest tunic top (two easy payments!) and delivers the good news: it covers all those problem areas!

I know they mean our midriffs, in this case. Other garments mercifully cover over our problem hips, "derrieres", thighs and upper arms. Sometimes the salespeople make little unhappy faces as they mention the offending body region, or they smile ruefully and pat their own (perfectly nice) hips.

Of course, I don't want to expose all my body secrets to the waking public. What a world it would be. I like to drape garments over my body to make a pleasing line. Because I have a relatively small waist, I like to wear clothes with waists, and/or I add a belt. I don't wear clothing that clutches on to my hips and thighs because it's 1) uncomfortable and 2) unprofessional in my workplace.

My thighs are not a "problem" however! Sometimes my finances are a problem, my cat having allergies can be a problem, and new construction making me late for work is a  . . problem. My pale, slightly dimpled thighs are just mine. My upper arms have lost a bit of their struggle vs. gravity but they are not a problem. They are  . . . interesting. I choose to show them or not, and for work I choose not.

I rarely hear any garments for men, of any size or shape, touted as covering up their troublesome bits. "This polo shirt will not cling to that problem tummy, guys, so grab two!"

We want to dress to look better, or we wouldn't be reading and posting on fashion blogs. It's natural to want to look good, we're built that way. Do I sound grumpy? I'm not. I am a happy woman who objects to the problem-ification of my body parts. Does that mean I have a . . . problem?

Patti is a 50-something blogger and mental health professional from Central Florida.  Her blog celebrates the over-40 woman; visit her at Not Dead Yet Style, and follow her on Twitter @PattiNotDeadYet.

Image via

February 27 – March 3 is Body Image Warrior Week. Throughout the course of this week, you’ll read posts from an inspiring group of women who fight hard against body image oppression through their own words and work.

Participants in Body Image Warrior Week are:

Body Image Warrior Week: Autumn of The Beheld

This post comes from Autumn of The Beheld. I had the pleasure of meeting Autumn in NYC this past fall, and her posts are thought-provoking, incredibly well-written and deeply researched. Read on for Autumn's contribution to Body Image Warrior Week.


I don’t write about body image.

I’ll write about beauty, any day of the week. I’ll write about what goes on from the neck up; I’ll cover the myth of men preferring long hair, or why I wear makeup, or Gen-X beauty trends. And of course every so often bodies worm their way in: One can hardly talk about the annoyances of “dress your figure” pages in magazines without talking about figures, after all.

But I specifically did not want to write about body image. For one, there are already so many excellent voices out there doing good work; I didn’t know what I could add. But the larger reason was that I didn’t feel qualified to write about body image, mostly because my own body image isn’t particularly good. Oh, I know how to walk the walk and talk the talk: I don’t put down my body out loud, ever. I don’t let women around me get away with it either; I’ve mastered phrases like That’s not what I see and Where is this coming from and even, when I’m feeling testy (which body put-downs tend to make me), I’m sorry, I can’t listen to this. I am pretty sure I’ve never, ever said something unkind about another woman’s body, and I’m certain that whenever I’ve thought something unkind, I’ve immediately asked myself why. I don’t know how many papers about body image I wrote in college, how high my mental cartwheels turned when I met one of the editors of Adios Barbie, how many tortured turns of phrase I created while working at women’s and teen magazines in order to avoid the implication that even a single reader should dislike her body.

I used all this reading and knowledge to try to help my own cause, of course. I’m better off for it. My body image is still mediocre at best.

But here I was wanting to write about what happens to women after we try to get past the beauty myth. My solution was to minimize how much body image writing I did. I never want any readers to walk away from my blog feeling worse about themselves, and I know that bad body image can be contagious, so I just don’t talk about it much. But neck up? Sure, I’ll talk about that. That’s beauty. That’s social construction, psychology, genetics. It’s age, race, personal history, communication, expression, social class, philosophy, aesthetics. I’m not exactly in love with myself from the neck up, but neither am I, like, messed up about it. So I’ll write about beauty, and I’ll leave the body image stuff to the pros. Deal?

I was trying to explain this to my boyfriend the other day. Someone—again—had categorized me as a body image blogger, and I was sharing my confusion. “I write about beauty,” I said. “I don’t write about body image.”

“You write about body image all the time,” he said. 

“No, I don’t,” I replied. “I write from the neck up.” I put my hand to my throat as emphasis, and saw a mental image of myself: Me and my writings above the neck; body image and its myriad, talented proponents below it. Except, in my mental image, my head and body were completely separate. My head was floating above my body, disconnected.

In a flash, I remembered a study I’d read last year: Women with eating disorders are more likely to draw self-portraits of themselves as disconnected. Their feet were missing or disconnected; their necks were separate from both head and body. In some cases, the self-portraits had no neck at all. The theory was that women with eating disorders—who are often thought to be overly preoccupied with their body image—in fact felt utterly out of touch with their bodies, to the point where when asked to create a literal image of their form, they didn’t dare connect their body and mind. 

I’ve argued before about how eating disorders aren’t as linked to body image as many would have us believe, and it’s something I’ll continue to argue. My own experience backs this up: I went into a treatment program for an eating disorder in 2009 because I no longer knew how to eat normally, not because my body image was poor. I now know how to eat normally. I still don’t know how to truly be at peace with my body.

But by insisting that I am damn well not a body image blogger, I was drawing myself without a neck, over and over and over. 

I can’t claim that recognizing my schism will make me veer more in the direction of body image. I like focusing on the neck up; it’s an area not yet as explored from a feminist perspective as our bodies. In the much-needed counterattack on women’s bodies, the potency of our faces—individually, collectively—often goes examined, and I’m eager to correct that. What I do know is that identifying my eagerness to keep the face and body separate has illuminated the impossibility of ever separating them. I knew some fellow bloggers considered me a body image writer, and I’d always thought that was just because The Beheld was difficult to categorize; now I see that they considered me a body image blogger because I am. If any of us—body image bloggers, beauty writers, feminist critics, or thoughtful readers—are to explore the issues behind appearance as thoroughly as we’d like, we owe it to ourselves to not lapse into neck-up thinking. Specifically, I owe it to myself to not treat the topic of the body as something distinct from the issues of visibility, feminine performance, and beauty that are at the core of what I try to deconstruct. Body image is important on a personal level, sure. It’s also essential as an intellectual issue: How can I look at the performance of femininity without looking at the ways in which women try to minimize space by minimizing our bodies? How can I look at modern-day incarnations of the discredited science of physiognomy without examining the personality traits we ascribe to women’s forms?

My own body image path hasn’t made it easy to consider the messy ways that body image is relevant to the more generalized topic of women and being seen. I’d rather keep my body image private, as flawed as it is, presenting it in public only when it’s tidy and shiny and perfectly wrapped (and is it any surprise that perfectionism is another key component of eating disorders?). But if I don’t start to draw a neck—today—my picture will forever be incomplete.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano’s essays have appeared in Glamour, Marie Claire, Salon, and The New Inquiry, among others. She examines concepts of personal beauty at The Beheld.

Image via Brian Crews.

 February 27 – March 3 is Body Image Warrior Week. Throughout the course of this week, you’ll read posts from an inspiring group of women who fight hard against body image oppression through their own words and work.

Participants in Body Image Warrior Week are:

Body Image Warrior Week

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. According to NEDA, “The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment.” This week is extremely important to me, as someone who has struggled with anorexia and bulimia, and writes regularly about body image. You can click on the logo below to get more information about events, participants, and goals of this important ongoing event.

Both as a means of supporting NEDA’s work during awareness week, and as a way of introducing you to a group of amazing women who fight hard against body image oppression through their own words and work, Sally McGraw, author of the incredibly insightful blog Already Pretty, decided to coordinate Body Image Warrior Week. Throughout the course of this week, you’ll read posts from bloggers who have chosen to share their stories and wisdom, both here and on other participating blogs.

Here are some facts about eating disorders in the United States:

  • It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
  • Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
  • An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment
  • About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay
  • Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders
  • The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more

Participants in Body Image Warrior Week are:

I will be publishing posts from these smart, insightful women throughout this week. Be sure to click through to their blogs to read even more posts regarding body image, struggles, and insights.

Naturally, this is just a small group of warriors and all are welcome to contribute to this project. If YOU’D like to participate in Body Image Warrior Week, just grab this code and paste it at the top of your post.

<a href=””><img title=”bodyimagewarrior_banner” src=”” alt=”" width=”502″ height=”102″ /></a>

I'm incredibly proud to be included in this project. It's so important to take a moment and reflect upon the importance of cultivating a positive body image. I hope you join me as I share posts from these bloggers, whom I so admire.

On Sundays I Smile 2.26.12

On Sundays I Smile.

And I share those moment with you. 


Spring came to north Dallas this week, and you'd better believe I am thrilled. Although I love my cozy winter clothes, I'm happy to shake them off for sundresses and sandals.

Yesterday my husband, kids and I piled into our car for a road trip out to College Station to catch a baseball game between Texas A&M and Holy Cross, my husband's alma mater. Though the game was exciting - Holy Cross won! - watching the fans was even more entertaining. I've never seen such enthusiastic synchronized cheering in my life.

While in College Station, we also stopped by a legendary bar called Dixie Chicken. It smelled like feet.

This week I thrifted three pairs of Ferragamo's. They are, by far, the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. I'm especially partial to the brown suede pumps with the bronze cap toes - can't wait to wear them!

I approved the final proof of my book this week, and the first shipment of books is due to arrive at my house later this week. To celebrate, I went out for margaritas and Tex-Mex. Not pictured: the margarita...because I drank it as soon as it hit the table. It was that good.

Now it's your turn. 

What were the best parts of your week? Leave a comment and share your smiles.

All photos taken with Instagram: dresscourage

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Suede. 2.24.12

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Vintage thrifted silk blouse; vintage thrifted suede skirt; thrifted Marc Fisher loafers; vintage thrifted Coach bag; Forever 21 and vintage bracelets

I don't wear this skirt that often, but it's one of my favorites. I love the soft suede, and the way it swishes around my calves. I dug this skirt our of the racks of a truly disgusting thrift store. If my memory serves correct, two drunk old men were behind me on line as I waited, skirt in hand, to pay, and one of them peed himself. Good times.

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Thrifting 101: An interview with Pamela of Market Publique, the online vintage marketplace

Among my many duties as community outreach manager and social media kingpin (ha, ha) for the Texas Style Council Conference is creating content for the TxSC blog. So along with writing posts for Dress With Courage, I've been posting for that blog as well. It's no wonder I've been so busy!

I had the privilege of interviewing Pamela, founder of  Market Publique, for the TxSC blog, and I've decided to include the interview here as part of my Thrifting 101 series. I was fortunate to meet Pamela in New York City this past fall, and trust me when I tell you that few people are as knowledgeable about thrifting and vintage as she is. As founder of Market Publique, the online marketplace for vintage clothing and accessories, Pamela is smart, stylish, and incredibly down to earth.

Read through for my interview with Pamela, and get to know her and Market Publique!


Elissa: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How long have you been in NYC? What’s your background?

Pamela: I was born and raised in Guatemala City and moved to New York to go to Parsons School of Design. I loved it so much I stayed and I have lived here for almost 8 years. My background is in design, fine art and business. Most of my experience is with User Experience and Interaction Design and Product Development -- which means I analyze and anticipate how people will use a website and design features to solve their problems or make their interactions easier. Before, I used to design and develop marketing & advertising campaigns for clients like Estée Lauder, InStyle Magazine, The New Museum and others.

E: How did you first get introduced to thrifting?

P: When I was younger, my family and I traveled to Florida for the holidays almost every year. My grandmother and dad love thrift stores and garage sales and I would often tag along. While they were busy with the housewares, I would browse through the jewelry and clothes and realized I could get similar styles to what I could get at the mall but at much lower prices -- and reduce the risk of showing up to school in the same dress as someone else! When you are a teenager on an allowance that’s huge!

E: When did you become passionate about buying and wearing vintage clothing and accessories?

P: Once my grandma realized that I loved older things, she started giving me things from her closet -- a necklace, a belt, a handbag here and there. I loved them and and they became my favorite and most-worn things. My mom also gave me all her Gucci bags from the 70s and 80s. Later on I started collecting my own vintage and found that a lot of times it fit better than new clothes. There’s nothing like a 50s dress for me - - the fit is just right and the fabrics are way better than what you can get for similar prices. I also collect vintage jewelry, as it never goes out of style and is unique and statement-making.

E: What is the best thing you’ve ever thrifted? What’s the most cherished piece in your closet today?

P: The most treasured things in my closet by far are always what has been passed down to me. My great-grandmother’s Guatemalan chachal, my mom’s 70s Gucci purses and belts, my grandma’s jade necklace and turquoise and pearl pins...

The best things I’ve ever thrifted are surprisingly not clothing! I found a replica Arco lamp and a Wassily chair at Housing Works Thrift shop. I got an amazing deal on both pieces, especially because the lamp needed to be rewired - which is not that much! If you buy the original ones new at Design Within Reach they would have cost me over $5,000!

E: What inspired you to start Market Publique?

Markey Publique homepage

P: I had been selling vintage on the site on eBay and then, after all the changes to their policies, feedback system and fees, I switched for a while to Etsy, but found that neither of them had the right tools to sell vintage online. It takes a really long time to list an item for sale on eBay and at the end of it it doesn’t look all that and they hit you with a ton of fees. On Etsy I felt that you couldn’t really brand your shop and make it stand out and portray your style.

I looked for other alternatives but realized there was nothing out there for vintage specifically. Since I have a background in building web-based products, I decided to do something about it and build it! We are the only community exclusively for vintage, so we have become a destination for buyers looking for fashionable vintage. Our tools, taxonomy and listing process is designed specifically for vintage, making it easier & quicker to list than on Ebay or Etsy, and easier to shop as well.

We curate the sellers, which are either invited or go through an application process, to ensure that everyone is in good company and the quality of vintage and photography on the site stays high. This is very important to both sellers and buyers because it elevates vintage as a whole. When you have people selling items photographed on the carpet or on a scary mannequin with an unbrushed wig, it perpetuates the stigma some people have of vintage being 'old clothes' or not fashionable. Our site is for great quality, stylish vintage that can integrate seamlessly into your everyday wardrobe.

We also advertise and are present in many other fashion communities like Chictopia,, Fashism and more, and work with bloggers to inspire people to wear vintage in modern ways and show them how to mix it in with their new items.

E: How does Market Publique work?

P: We curate sellers & boutiques from around the world, who are either invited or go through an application process (if you are a seller or boutique you can find more information here and apply here. Each seller uploads their item listings complete with photos, descriptions, measurements and price, including how much the shipping on that item is.

As a buyer, you can register or log in to purchase an item outright or place a bid, depending on the listing. You pay the seller for the item directly via PayPal, and the seller ships the item to you. You can then rate your experience by leaving feedback. We charge the seller a small listing fee ($0.25), plus a small percentage commission (5%) once the item sells.

E: What are the advantages of buying vintage on Market Publique, as opposed to eBay?

P: Because our site is exclusively for vintage, there’s no guesswork into whether or not an item is really vintage and a lot less searching and sifting through an overwhelming amount of mis-categorized listings or vintage knockoffs. There’s also a lot more trust in our community, as the sellers are vetted and curated by us. They provide high-quality vintage items with great photos, so you can see what the item looks like really well. They also describe their items honestly and accurately and provide excellent customer service. It’s more like shopping in a curated vintage boutique than digging through piles at the Goodwill outlet, and the prices are still reasonable because the sellers don’t have to deal with the extra costs of renting a store front.

E: Any current projects you’re working on?

P: There’s many projects we’re working on! We just launched a collection of archival Cadoro pieces in collaboration with The Greedy Seagull. These pieces are highly collectible and very rare, so we’re proud to be hosting them on our site. We’re also revamping the whole site, so stay tuned for our new face-lift - and relaunching curated themed collections with The Vintage Coalition, an invite-only group of the best vintage sellers on the web.

E: Do you have any helpful hints for those new to thrifting and buying vintage?

P: Start with accessories if you’re really new. It’s a lot easier to add a necklace or a clutch to an outfit and get warmed up to all the compliments! Also, make friends with your tailor. You can turn a good piece into a show-stopper with a few minor, inexpensive alterations. Hemming, for example, is an easy way to make a vintage dress look more modern. Just make sure you don’t hack off a huge chunk off a 40s designer dress!

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Pop of neon for Poshmark! 2.22.12

Vintage thrifted chambray shirt; Current/Elliott jeans; Forever 21 belt; vintage thrifted Coach bag; vintage thrifted Bruno Magli heels; Forever 21 and vintage bracelets

This morning I'm off to meet with the PR rep, co-founder, and senior marketing manager of Poshmark in preparation for tonight's Posh Party here in Dallas. I'll be co-hosting the event, representing the Texas Style Council Conference, and am super excited to meet and mingle with other Dallas blogger.

It's going to be warm and sunny today, and I wanted to be both comfortable and stylish. Reaching for a new pair of heels and broken-in jeans was kind of a no-brainer. The pop of neon in my belt was a fun way to add come color!

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You might be wondering... What is Poshmark? Well, have you ever wished you could post an item for sale right from your iPhone, without the hassle and risk of eBay? With the Poshmark app, you snap a few photos with your iPhone, and enter a title, description, price, and product category. Once finished, voila! Your item is ready to list for sale.

I'm going to list several things for sale tonight, so you might want to follow me in the app -- my user name is elissastern -- if you love designer handbags (*hint* Marc Jacobs *hint*.) Here are a few more tidbits about this revolutionary way to shop your closet:
  • The Poshmark app offers several Instagram-like photo filters for enhancing your listing's appearance.
  • Listing is free on Poshmark, and fees are straight-forward. When you make a sale, Poshmark deducts a 20% commission fee from your earnings. In return, they handle the financial transaction, provide you with a pre-paid pre-addressed shipping label, and serve as your customer support team for the sale.
  • Download Poshmark for the iPhone for free from the App Store: According to the FAQs, an android app is on the horizon!
  • The Poshmark app is currently only available in the US.
  • Love someone’s style? Follow them in the app to have easy access to their items for sale. It’s easy to like, post comments and share each others items in the app!
Tonight's party theme is designer shoes and handbags, and I’m planning to list a few items during the party. However, you don’t have to wait for the party to post items or start shopping! Start uploading your own items and join me virtually during tonight's event!

Tweet me at @dresscourage or post a comment below if you are going to join us for the party tonight! If you will be at the Dallas event, please come say hi. :)

Blogging and the struggle between the creative and the commercial.

The indie rock band Bon Iver won two Grammy awards this year. However, the awards show made lead singer Justin Vernon squirm.

“It’s really hard to accept this award,” he began in his slightly awkward acceptance speech. “There’s so much talent out here… and there’s a lot of talent that’s not here tonight. It’s also hard to accept because you know, when I started to make songs I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here.”

In an interview with the New York Times back in December, Vernon expressed his feelings about the Grammys even more forcefully.
“I kinda felt like going up there and being like: ‘Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important.’ That’s what I would say.”
Of course, if Vernon really felt as he said he did, he would never have shown up at the Grammy Awards to begin with. He would not be the first artist to refuse an award. Sinead O’Conner famously refused a Grammy in 1990, and Marlon Brando turned down an Oscar. Having that been said, Mr. Vernon does put a spotlight on an issue that everyone who is passionately involved in a creative/artistic endeavor must deal with: how we negotiate the commercial with the creative.

What we create has enormous value to us as an expression of who we are and what we most believe. If we are good, or lucky, or in the right place at the right time, what we produce has a commercial value. We would love to leverage the commercial value in order to more fully pursue our creative process while insuring that it remains a true expression of who we are and what we most believe.

Unfortunately, when the creative intersects with the commercial it produces tension. There is a continuum between the creative and the commercial. At one end is the purely creative: art for the sake of art. Writing because one feels compelled to write, whether anyone reads it or not. Painting for the sole purpose of self expression. At the other end there is creativity for purely commercial reasons. This includes professionals such as copy writers, graphic artists, and studio musicians.

And then there are bloggers. There are numerous blogs that are purely self-expression; many others with commercial application; and even more somewhere in between. We all have different motives for blogging, but our intentions generally fall in one of three categories. Our blogs are creative outlets, or commercial tools to achieve advancement and recognition in our desired industry with the reward of financial gain or public achievement. Or they're somewhere in between -- somewhere on the continuum between creative and commercial.

There are tremendous risks involved in being on this continuum. If you move too far towards the commercial you run the risk of losing your voice and becoming a shill. If you make no move towards the commercial you are likely to never benefit financially for your creative output. There are certainly a few exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. Of course, the sweet spot we all want to be in is where our undiluted creative expression finds tremendous commercial appeal. However, this is even more rare. The odds of “being discovered” or connecting with the right person at the right time that will promote you to the perfect audience are beyond astronomical.

It is the prerogative of each creator, artist or blogger to decide when and how far they will make those moves. Some have no problem using their talents and gifts for the greatest commercial appeal possible. That is their right and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. Others, such as Vernon, are tremendously uncomfortable sacrificing any degree of their creative vision or innate talent in the name of financial gain or broader market appeal. That is their right as well.

Each of us have to make the decision of where we are most comfortable on the continuum between creative and commercial. We must make that decision based on what makes the most sense for financially and artistically. How much can my soul take? How much does my wallet need? Most of all we need to make that decision for ourselves and let others do the same.

Oscar Wilde said, “I use my talent for my art; I reserve my genius for my living.” The point being it is okay to use your talent and hard work to make whatever gains you wish, but you should always save a part of your genius for your soul's sake.

{Almost daily outfit of the day} I've got stripes 2.20.12


 Forever 21 denim jacket; vintage thrifted dress; Old Navy belt; Hue tights; vintage thrifted Ferragamo wedges; estate sale clutch; Forever 21 bracelets

Every time I wear a dress, I wonder why I don't wear dresses more often. A dress is kind of the perfect article of clothing. Feel a little lazy? Put on a dress. Have the urge to be a bit more feminine? Put on a dress. Bloated from last night's dinner of southern food, lemon meringue pie, and too many glasses of sweet tea? (not that I would know anything about that...) Dress.

I picked up this 1960's dress for less than $5 from the Goodwill. The red Ferragamo wedges were another steal for $4.

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red shoes

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Poshmark invites you to a Dallas Posh Party!

Dallas Poshmark Party

Poshmark is thrilled to invite all Dallas-Fort Worth fashion bloggers ( and Texas Style Council Conference attendees!) to a LIVE Posh Party this Wednesday, February 22nd!

Poshmark is bringing together top bloggers and local influencers, shoppers and press for a chance to list great items for sale from your own closet to their app. This is a great chance for your fans and followers to buy items directly from you within the Poshmark app from anywhere in the country! Poshmark will be broadcasting the event and live Tweeting -- all of which they'd love to include you in.

Poshmark makes it easy to list and sell items directly from your closet. Just snap a photo of an item you'd like to sell on your cell phone, upload it to the Poshmark app, transform it with one of the Poshmark filters, and voila! You've created a glam covershot for your listing. Add a description and price for your item, and you're all set!

Poshmark connects you to people who’s style you adore so you can shop their closets, anytime you’d like. The community is made up of people who love to discover unique fashion, share their style inspiration, and most importantly, have fun. The theme of the party is Designer Shoes and Handbags, so bring your best from your closet and get ready to sell!

To attend, be sure to RSVP by Tuesday, February 21st to Can't wait to see you there!

On Sundays I Smile - Week in review 2.19.12

On Sundays I share things that made me smile the previous week.

Antique Elegance Vintage Show 2/18

Victorian gold engagement bangles, the precursor to the modern day engagement rings. They were often engraved with flowers, scrolling, and the wearer's initials.

Snakeskin and crocodile bags from Vintage Martini's booth.

Henry Bendel's

Valentine's Day 

Dinner at Spoon's Restaurant, historic McKinney Square

Thrift scores of the week

1970's Coach 'Stewardess' satchel, thrifted at Goodwill

Ferragamo blow flats, thrifted at the Salvation Army, Dallas

Now it's your turn: What are some things that made you smile this week? Grab my button and blog about your Sunday smiles; share your weekly smiles in the comments; or smile just because it makes you feel good.

{Almost daily outfit of the day} Gloomy blues 2.17.12

Vintage thrifted blazer; vintage thrifted blouse; thrifted Seven For All Mankind jeans; thrifted Coach ballet flats; thrifted Coach bag; Old Navy belt

If I am wearing jeans, it's for one of three reasons:
  1. In a tragic twist of circumstance, I have become trapped under something heavy inside my closet, and am thus only able to reach a rogue pair of jeans that has escaped its hanger and become abandoned on the floor.
  2. Each and every pair of Spanx I own is swimming languidly in my washing machine.
  3. It's raining.
Today, we're going with option number three. It's hard to be inspired to dress creatively when skies are overcast and gloomy, and the only thing I plan to do is beach myself on the couch, eat takeout pad thai,  and watch Gwyneth Paltrow die a grisly, painful death in Contagion.

Thrifting 101: Thrifting The Trend - The Peplum

Popping up everywhere from New York to Paris, spring 2012 collections included a large, unmistakably flirty ruffle on silhouettes ranging from skirts and jackets, to dresses and blouses. This feminine note is the peplum. The February 2012 issue of Elle identifies the peplum as one of the four key silhouettes of spring 2012 (the others being the boxy jacket, pleats, and the maxiskirt). Long associated with 1950's ladylike fashion and 1980's excess, peplums are a fun nod to the past and can be extremely flattering to a woman's figure. Even better, they're often noticed while thrifting. So what's all the fuss about peplums? Today, we'll find out.

The peplum, a term dating back to the 19th century, is a short overskirt that is usually attached to a fitted jacket.  However, earliest versions were typically not attached to a jacket, but functioned merely as an extra overskirt or flounce dropping from the waist. The modern peplum, as we now know it, became popular as a design in women’s suiting in the 1940s. Here it took on its most recognizable form. Suit jackets were often fitted at the waist, but fabric extended beyond the waist in an overskirt. Women wore peplum-appended coats and dresses as a way to draw attention to a tiny waist and hourglass figure -- without being overtly erotic

McCall's dress pattern, c. 1940's

Sometimes the peplum was deliberately flared, enhancing or suggesting greater curve to the hips. In other styles, the peplum fit closer to the stomach and the hips, emphasizing the tight waist of the garment. A flared peplum with a skirt that also flared was common, as was a peplum with a pencil skirts.

The peplum fashion faded in the 1950s but came back with a vengeance in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was part a reaction to the boxy menswear-style jackets with exaggerated shoulder pads that were popular during the mid-1980s. Most jackets with peplums in the late 1980s still had shoulder pads, but feminine curves were emphasized by a fitted waist and either a flounced or straight peplum, usually covering the hips and stomach.

The right peplum can accentuate boyish hips, create the illusion of a smaller waist and mask less-than-flat tummies. Peplums are flattering on many women in that they add curves on a slender form with narrow hips, and, at the same time, accommodate generous hips and disguise them while highlighting the waist.

Examples of thrifted peplums

Victor Costa polka-dot dress, c. 1980's

Vintage blazer, c. 1940's

When searching for peplums while thrifting, head first to the dresses, skirts, and blazers section of your favorite store. Eighties dresses with peplums are aplenty, often in loud floral or abstract prints. If a peplum silhouette makes you shy, consider a dark, monochromatic style - a black, brown, or navy blazer with a slim dark pant or pencil skirt. Peplum blouses can also be thrifted. Pairing a peplum top with cigarette pants can offset the top's girlishness and balance it's volume.

Would you wear a peplum? Have you had luck thrifting for silhouettes featuring them?

Coming soon...

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you've likely heard me mention a little book I've been working on. Well, today the final proof came in, and I'm proud to introduce Thrifting 101: A Beginner's Guide to Thrifting and Vintage to you! I'm going to offer it as both an ebook and a hardback edition. More details regarding price and ordering information will be forthcoming in the next two weeks.

On a related note...this book would not have been possible without the support I've received from you, my followers and readers. THANK YOU for encouraging me as I've shared my love of thrifting and vintage with you. Thank you for dropping by each day, and leaving comments, and sending me emails, and allowing my blog to be a part of your life.

Everybody, Everywear: Pink + Red 2.14.12

Vintage thrifted blazer and blouse; Gap cargos; vintage thrifted necklace; vintage thrifted Bruno Magli heels; Forever 21 bracelets

Today I'm wearing pink and red for Everybody, Everywear! Whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day, or attempting to ignore it, I hope you're having a great day!

Pink + Red | Everybody, Everywear