Tuesday, 9 June 2015

My Eternal Quest for Mom Jeans

I feel like there are certain staples everyone should have in their wardrobe, so you have a solid base on which to build fabulous looks and whatnot. Although my wardrobe is an amalgamation of unorganised nonsense 99.9% of the time, I always like to make sure I have the following things in my wardrobe:

1. A nice quality plain white tshirt. Chuck it over leggings with a leather jacket and you have a transitional day to night look. Boom.

2. A good fitting pair of jeans. I usually opt for stretchy ones, as they're comfy and they make one's butt look majestic.

3. A blazer. Always good to have a smart looking jacket in tow in case of job interviews, meetings and other such things where you have to look like you have your shit together. Plus, you can throw a blazer over some jeans, add heels and a bralet and you have a nice date look too.

4. A coat. DAMNIT GET A COAT. That's actually warm and not just pretty! You will thank yourself in winter. Just be sensible and have a coat. 

5. A pair of trainers you keep in (relatively) good condition. Looks sick with a pair of peg trousers for a smart casual look. Plus, trainers are comfy and great.

So bearing in mind staple number 2, I of course should have a pair of mom jeans. Right? That's only fair? Well apparently I can't because I can't find any which fit well and are in my price range. As a pear shaped gal especially, I've found it hard to find a pair which have enough give to allow for my butt (I need a lot of give...) but aren't huge on the waist. I did have this beauteous Boohoo pair (pictured below), however I had a real life wardrobe malfunction and they ripped all the way from my knee to my very very upper thigh. I WEEP.

And so, I ask you, the reader, WHERE CAN I FIND A PAIR? I'm taking suggestions. Everyone else seems to be having a fab Mom jean experience but me. Comment below if you have any recommendations or chat to me on Twitter, @kittyunderhillx.

When I did have my mom jeans (RIP, literally), my favourite thing to wear them with was this super versatile ribbed leotard from Boohoo. If you hadn't noticed, I'm a Boohoo fiend.

What I'm Wearing:
Leotard: Boohoo
Jeans: Boohoo
Boots: Cat Footwear
Coat: Missguided (you can find more fab Missguided coats here)
Hoops: Primark

(fun fact: this photo is me trying to keep my cool even though my jeans had ripped all the way up the leg that very second)

Thank you so much to the awesome Dave Willis for this week's photos and Nikki Southwood for my makeup. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Vintage Vibe

So recently I have been the busiest bee in the best way possible - I'm in the process of rehearsing for a production of Sex in Shorts for the Brighton Fringe festival! I've always wanted to perform in the fringe festival and it's been such an awesome, intense process. I'm so excited to perform next week, I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it!

So, as I'm rushing from place to place at the moment, I'm not really putting much effort in to what I wear - I'm just chuck whatever I can find on and bolt out the house to rehearsal. However, this has made me realise how much I love a good old proper denim shirt. Chuck it on - BOOM. Casual but still a little sassy. I actually have two because I wear them quite a lot; they're my go-to lazy outfit staple. If I want to dress it up, I'll add a statement skirt. I love this tartan one from Beyond Retro.

What I'm Wearing:
Shirt: Rokit
Skirt: Beyond Retro
Shoes: River Island
Earrings: New Look

Thank you to my favourite photographer/rapper extraordinaire Daniel Dovi-Dotse for this week's photos!

Oh, and if you fancy coming along to watch me in Sex in Shorts, you can buy tickets here.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Should We #DropThePlus?

If you’re in any way affiliated with the plus size fashion community, you’ll see that the #DropThePlus movement has caused, well, quite the stir. 

The movement was initiated by positive body ambassador Ajay Rochester, arguing that the segregation of women into ‘normal’ and ‘plus size’ is harmful; that we are all women, and we need to ditch this segregation of women and fight for size equality in the fashion industry. This movement calls out the fashion industry on its issues with sizing and the body standards it inflicts on women, arguing that labels such as ‘plus size’ are damaging to the self esteems of young women. On their website, droptheplus.org, they state their goals as follows:

1. The terms “plus” and  “plus size” removed from the fashion industry and removed from the media reporting on it.
2. Retail stores to follow suit by dropping the “plus size” label.
3. The fashion industry to consistently use models of all sizes, uncategorised.

I’m not going to lie - when I first saw the #DropThePlus hashtag I was all for it. I even tweeted in support of it (goodness I’m wild!! I know!!!). However after taking some time to research into and think about the topic, I knew there was more to this than meets the eye. Whilst this movement has great intentions and I admire their advocacy for body positivity, the whole thing is based on negative discourse around the word ‘plus’, which is perpetuated via mass media, such as the internet, television and magazines. ‘Plus’, in today’s world, has become a euphemism for fat. And due to the negative connotations attached to being fat, these become attached to ‘plus’. There would be no #DropThePlus movement if ‘plus’, i.e. fat, wasn’t constructed and viewed as such a dirty word. 

The reason #DropThePlus is so popular is a result of women being taught their whole life via mass media that being ‘plus’ is inherently bad. For example: tabloid publications such as Heat and others use the ‘circle of shame’ to point out weight gain, cellulite, and any other kind of ‘flaw’ they can find on a female celebrity. Look on any of their front pages and you’ll either see front page news about how one celebrity has ‘piled on the pounds post break-up’ or something equally as vapid, or you’ll see one celebrity or other telling the world how fabulous she feels now that she has lost weight, showing the before and after. The before is always an unflattering picture, exposing their fat rolls, their too tight jeans, their supposed frumpiness. The after, of course, is always glamorous - she’s in full hair and makeup, under studio lights, showing off her great new body in a bikini or bodycon dress, talking about how terrible it was to be ‘fat’. Either this, or fatness isn’t visible in media at all - just pages and pages of tiny models who don’t even look like their own pictures because they’ve been warped via photoshop. But it’s the bombardment of these kind of images everywhere that convince us from a young age that small bodies are the bodies we should have, otherwise we’re not good enough. And indeed, we end up thinking that skinny = good, and fat = disgusting/bad/unworthy.  So either, we’re told that our fat bodies are bad and something that must be changed, or we’re invisible. Either way, fat bodies are not acceptable.

And so, I somewhat understand where the #DropThePlus movement is coming from. Given this fat/thin good/bad logic we’re taught, shopping in the plus size section and being labelled as ‘plus size’ is something we ought to be ashamed of. And in turn, the models and the like at the forefront of this movement want to distance themselves from the label. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they think that being fat is bad - they have said themselves that they are all for women feeling empowered by the term ‘plus size’, and it’s mainly about the way young girls will view themselves as not being ‘normal’ if girls who look like them are being labelled ‘plus size’. But at the end of the day, the movement is based on this very harmful notion constructed by our media that being plus is a bad thing. 

NEWS FLASH: it’s not! 

In reality these ideas of what a good and bad body is is ridiculous. Every body is beautiful and worthy. And people are slowly beginning to realise this and combat this harmful dichotomy. Whilst yes, we are still being informed that being fat is basically the worst thing ever, we’re seeing a backlash from women. We’re seeing fantastic movements such as Tess Holliday’s #EffYourBeautyStandards saying a big ‘EFF YOU’ to expectations of the female body. And it’s fantastic! Just look through the hashtag and you’ll see so many beautiful fat girls in bikinis, in bodycon dresses, crop tops and short skirts, sticking their middle fingers up to societal standards of what a fat body should look like and dress like. The reactions are varied; sometimes positive, sometimes negative - sometimes it’s almost like people are completely baffled/offended/appalled by the notion that a fat girl can love herself and be happy. This is the kind of terrible society we live in. But despite this, it’s clear to see that fat girls have no limits; they’re feeling empowered by this plus size label, not insulted by it.

As I am a size 12 model myself, this puts me on the smaller end of the plus size model category. But what is interesting is that whenever people ask me what I do and I say that I am a plus size model, the reply I get is always the same - a very upbeat ‘but you’re not plus size!’. The implication to this however, is ‘you’re not fat’. It’s almost as though I am putting myself down by saying I’m plus size, but to be honest the reality is quite the opposite. I couldn’t be more proud to be a plus size model. But I am also aware that I am not representative of many plus size women. So whilst I can contribute to the discussion, I know that it is not entirely my place; I certainly can’t change the terminology which empowers so many people.

Stefania Ferrario, a model at the forefront of this campaign, however feels the opposite, saying that she is not empowered by the ‘plus size’ label and that it’s ‘damaging for young girls’. Each to their own. But personally, I think that if the plus size movement had been this big and progressive when I was a young girl, then maybe I wouldn’t have spent all my teen years hating myself for not looking like the straight sized models I saw everywhere I looked. I became a plus size model because I want to be that person I needed when I was 14; to show women and girls alike that bodies come in different shapes and sizes, and no matter what size or shape they are, they’re beautiful too. Without the plus size label and the wonderful plus size community, I wouldn’t have been able to get my foot in the door, and I probably wouldn’t be as happy with myself and my body as I am now. 

Speaking of the plus size modelling industry, we need to get rid of this notion that the plus size label is segregating. For the modelling industry, people need to be put into categories. It’s not a positive or negative thing, it’s so that appropriate people are booked for the right jobs. For example, If I showed up to a catwalk for Chanel or a brand along those lines tomorrow ( a) lol i wish/one day, b) bearing in mind I am 5’6 and a size 12), they would not only laugh in my face but also probably call my agency and shout at them for supplying a model who was inappropriate for the job. The problem of plus size models apparently not being given the same opportunities as straight sized models is not to do with the plus label - it’s to do with the structure of the fashion industry. Yes, it is progressing in terms of diversity, but it still has a long way to go. It’s going to take a long time for the fashion industry to shift, which is why its so important that the plus size movement keeps its fantastic momentum so that it will finally get the recognition it deserves in mainstream fashion.

So to conclude, I don’t think we should drop the plus. By ditching this label, we would be ditching the fantastic progress and achievements the plus size fashion industry has accomplished thus far. By ditching this label, we would be invalidating and erasing a whole demographic of women. If we didn’t have the plus size label, we wouldn’t have such empowering pioneers in the plus size fashion industry - just look at Denise Bidot, Tess Holliday, Danielle Vanier, Callie Thorpe, Olivia Campbell, Georgia Horne...to name a few. Those names are only scratching the surface. These amazing women relish in and celebrate plus size, empowering so many who have been taught that they’re just not good enough because of their size. Ditching this label would be nothing but a detriment to not only fashion, but women everywhere. 

I think we should #KeepThePlus - but what do you think?


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint

I'm writing this as I sit on the floor of Heathrow Airport trying to work out what the HULK is going on with my flight. I was meant to fly out to Montreal today however due to the crash at Halifax this has become quite a kerfuffle. Fingers crossed I don't have to have an airport sleepover.


So, if you've ever been a 12-16 year old, you've probably had your share of cringeworthy looks. And now I've said that, you're probably having some terrible flashbacks to them. We've all been there. It's that period of time where we're all trying to figure out who the hell we are and trying to fit in, going from phase to phase, but to no avail. I still remember feeling so damn cool going to the school disco in my baggy pink flared corduroys...ahem.

There is however one phase I don't think I ever grew out of. My goth/emo/wannabe scene kid phase. Yes, I was the one with the stupidly backbrushed hair and the slicked down side fringe at underage gigs, dressed in all the studs, black, leather and tartan you could find. I was actually recognised at an underage gig under my scene-donym, Kitty Kapow. Yeah, I'm dying inside at that too.

I may be all grown up now (well, kind of not really at all), but studs, spikes, black, leather and tartan still basically make up my entire wardrobe. I love the grungey goth aesthetic, and probably always will. Some old habits die hard I guess!

The outfit post this week covers 4/5 of that wardrobe criteria. I love this dress' contrasting silk body/tartan skirt. Plus, this jacket, without fail, always makes me feel like a T Bird.

(Update: I'm flying out tomorrow, jubilations!)

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: Motel Rocks (you can find more Motel tartan treats here)
Jacket - Criminal Damage
Earrings + Necklace: Ebay
Boots: Irregular Choice (these have now sold out D: but this Spring/Summer version of the boot is BEAUT!)

And thanks again to the lovely Ray James for this week's photos.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Bad to the Bone

This is not any new information to those who know me, but to those who don't, I am a crazy dog woman.

I'm one of those people who looks at dogs the way broody women look at babies, and my life is a constant struggle of wanting to stroke every dog. My lovely housemate is pregnant at the moment, and whilst our house was discussing baby names, I realised I had picked out names for my future dogs but not my future children (Penelope for a girl, Jabba for a boy, if you were wondering).  If you've watched that crazy cat lady dating video and totally understood where she's coming from, you'll understand my struggle. 

So, of course, a t-shirt with a portrait of a majestic pug on it is the best t-shirt I could dream of.

I love a good graphic tee - I've been wearing them since I was an angsty emo 11 year old. I find it pretty hard to dress them up though, but I found pairing them with a black skater skirt can class up a good tee. This one from Boohoo has a fabulous shape.

What I'm Wearing:
T-shirt: The Hundreds (similar and equally as majestic)
Skirt: Boohoo
Necklace: New Look (more lovely statement jewellery from New Look here)
Bandana: Topman
Boots: Irregular choice (these are sold out! But Irregular Choice have lots more fab boots)

The pug ring is a particularly special accessory to me - it was made for me by the brilliant Catherine Faulkner, illustratorcraft-maker extraordinaire, one half of the dynamic The Almond Kitchen + Studio duo, and not to mention a great friend of mine. She is wonderful - check out her links!

Thank you to the awesome Ray James for this week's photos!

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