Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fluffy is Disgusting: Response to Marie Claire Blog

 I'm sure by now the whole plus size industry is in an uproar about Marie Claire's article, "Should Fatties Get A Room? (Even on TV)", written by the now infamous Maura Kelly. Kelly shared with her readers two fat people kissing "grosses her out" and to see a fat person walking is "aesthetically displeasing". People are mad...hell most people are downright pissed off! Her words slung across the computer like daggers into the minds and hearts of people of various sizes.

After the swarms of faithful Marie Claire followers vowed to take up arms with the publication by canceling subscriptions and not putting another dime into the pages of one of the top fashion rags, I'm sure it was the editors that urged Kelly to revisit her article and show some remorse for her words. But to tear people down because of there size is unforgivable, though Kelly tried to clean up her dirty little mess with a statement and a few comments posted. The author apologizes IF her article was found offensive and wishes the post could be taken down. A little too late for Kelly and Marie Claire, the words are already branded into the mind of the public. Tisk tisk...

Was it not a month or so ago at New York Fashion Week, the industry praised the fluffy and pseudo-fluffy and courted us with a little attention? Did they just throw us a bone to pacify our egos or was it like a form charity work?

I'm a fashion magazine hog. I subscribe and purchase quite a few. I received a please subscribe letter from Marie Claire last week. It tried to persuade me to subscribe with a low cost of $5.99. I kept in on my kitchen counter because I was going to subscribe. Last night I threw it away. I will join the boycott of Marie Claire. They have a lot of work to do to gain the trust of the public, especially the plus size people who are readers despite the lack of plus size representation.

Let Marie Claire know how you feel about the article. Though apologies were given, the issue is far from over. It's not a plus size's not a skinny's a human thing. Get on the ball MC!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Local Love: Project IMA: Fashion Unbound

The Indianapolis Museum of Art's (IMA) Fashion Arts Society held a competition for local designers on Friday, October 22, at 7 p.m. with a second showing at 8 p.m. in the Toby inside of  the IMA. Project IMA: Fashion Unbound brought 40 designers, models, stylists and fans together to celebrate the art of fashion in the Circle City.

The Fashion Arts Society is a new group affiliated with the IMA to promote the collision of fashion and art. They orchestrate many fashion oriented exhibitions and special events. Project IMA: Fashion Unbound is just one of the events the Fashion Arts Society hosted this year.  
There were two awards presented to the best of show and audience choice. The best of show winner received the Elizabeth Kraft Meek Fashion Award of $500. The audience choice will receive a $250 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card. Voting for the audience choice was done online and ended Saturday night. 

My mother and I had a girl's night out; something that we rarely do. It was great to go with her and share our love of fashion. But after she kept stopping everyone to tell them how gorgeous they looked, I was done it was so nice of her! (Love ya Ma! I guess it wouldn't be the same if you didn't)
  These are my favorite pieces of the night.

Special thanks to local designer, Nikki Blaine, for letting me use her photos.  Running late, I forgot my camera.  Also I will be adding more pictures and names of the designers as they come in.  I was looking good too!  I may have to reconstruct my look and take pictures.  I had on a black long sleeved mini Dere'on dress.  I've been off my game all weekend.  I apologize.

(Designer: Emilliner by Emily Clark ~ That hat is goregous!)

(Designer: Nancy Todd ~ Nine women were zipped up together and unzipped themselves into groups of three. Amazing piece! What was even more amazing, they stayed in sync why walking the runway!)

(This patriot inspired flock is one of my favorite pieces from the show.)

(Designer: DLANG; designer and producer of IFT "Indy Fashion Time")

(Designer: d. lamont couture)

(Designer: d. lamont couture ~ When this male model stomped onto the runway, the crowd got excited. Unfortunately, I think my mother was the loudest person in the building. He IS good eye candy though. The vest and the tailored pant was good too!)

(Designer: Nikki Blaine and styled by One-Of-A-Kind Pieces by Zoe Renee Ashley)

The Fashion Arts Society is sponsoring an exhibition called Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA's Collection. The exhibit is on view at the IMA until January 30, 2011. I will be going sometime within the next few weeks. I will blog about that in the future.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

She Did the Monster Mash: Halloween Suggestions

Do you let your creative juices flow when planning your Halloween costume? 

I like to use resources I have on hand when it comes to Halloween planning; from clothes to make-up.  Sometimes you have to use what you've got. There are some overpriced costumes out there.  I remember the plastic costumes that ripped and destroyed by the time you finished trick or treating. My kids enjoy dressing up for Halloween, but mommy tries to use her creativity. My challenge this year is a witch and Spiderman costume for the kids this year. (or whatever they change their mind to again)

I love theme parties because you get to see people get CREATIVE!  Having a theme party really sets the mood and environment. The choices you use for location, food and drink are important too. I would like to suggest a few themes and a website for food.

1.       Decades – You pick one decade you want to promote and decorate according to the decade. Check the Internet for options. Look on eBay for hard to find but inexpensive pieces to set the mood.

 (80's Party at Janelle's House, Halloween 2009)

(Janelle and her sister. Pretty In Pink meets Janice from the Muppet Show, Halloween 2009)

2.       Movies - Pick a movie that everyone is familiar with and dress in those characters.

3.       Celebrity - We all think we look like someone famous, take these characteristics and have fun with them. Create a game of charades to guess who's who.

4.       Animals- Try makeup and face paint to bring out the animal in you.

5.       Cartoon – We all have our favorite characters from childhood, choose a character that reminds you of your inner child.

(Wilma and Pebbles, Halloween 2009)

6.       Box- Creating a costume from a box might be tricky, but it gives the party something to talk about.

There are tons of food ideas you can find online. Websites like Kraft and Allrecipes, explore Halloween food options in depth. Check them out!


(All pictures taken by Janelle Cissell from last year's Halloween soiree)

Reflection: October is Breast Cancer Month

As many of you know by now October is Breast Cancer awareness month.  Last November, I noticed a lump in my breast. I lost both parents to cancer, so I took this lump seriously. I made my appointment to have a mammogram done in January.  

 I was nervous because I heard stories of pain and discomfort while having the procedure done.  The day came for me to go to my appointment and my husband went me for support. I remembered hearing the door close as I departed him and changed into a gown. All I could think of was our life together. I thought about our kids and my parents.   

 I see this intimidating machine. I say to myself, "that's supposed to smoosh my breast"?  I recalled how my husband's grandmother described the procedure, smooshing your breasts into a pancake. I held still as the machine took pictures of my breast. It was the longest seconds, or minutes, of my life.  

I’m still in my gown in the waiting room, and the nurse returns and to tell me she would like to do mammogram again. I asked her what alarmed her. She put the x ray to the light and I see this circle.  She explains if it something the doctor doesn’t like, they conduct an ultrasound and check closer. She smooshed away. 

I sat in the waiting room for the second time. The door open and the doctor entered. Now I’m nervous! She ask me to follow her. The doctor conducted an ultrasound on my breast. She explained to me it could be a temporary lump, and urged me to come back in six months for a follow-up.  I went back for my follow-up visit and the lump was GONE! 

I'm so happy, but I will do another check up in six months to be safe.  Never ignore pains or symptoms, go to your doctor and ask QUESTIONS. 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kiss My Calves

Everyone has a pair of boots in their closet they love. Sometimes these boots become a little snug or uncomfortable. Or say you see the hottest boots ever, but there only for women with the calves of Olive Oyl from the cartoon "Popeye". 

Now there is a solution to your problem...(drumroll) BOOT BAND!


Boot band's website describes the product as a small insert that you can add to the zipper of your boot to increase the circumference by 2 1/2 inches.  The band, invented by Krista Barnett, comes in a variety of colors and designs. Prices range from $55 to $90 depending on the style of boot you're wanting to tailor. The one thing that looks difficult, especially if you're not a seamstress, is choosing the correct zipper according to the boot you have.

On the website, it says that it was featured in the Oprah magazine. I love Oprah's favorite things!
It's definitely worth a try if you have a pair of boots you've been crushing over. If you decide to try this product, send me your review and we'll post it to the blog.

Thanks to Angela Cannon for sending me this website!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ashley Stewart Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Daily Venus Diva announced today that retailer, Ashley Stewart, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. I'm not surprised by this announcement from the Ashley Stewart camp.

I worked for Ashley Stewart for many years as a part time sales associate. I wanted to move into management and started the transition, but decided to concentrate on school instead. While I was employed with them, I saw many problems with the corporation, the quality of clothing and its customers.

The customers that Ashley Stewart cater to is primarily African American women. I love my sistas, but a lot of us only buy clothes when there is a special occasion. Some of our customers would only come in during tax time, the first of the month, Indiana Expo weekend, Circle City Classic weekend and Mother's day. It's not being sterotypical, it's true. That was our prime shopping days. If it weren't for those days, Ashley Stewart would barely make their numbers. The returns are also abundant after those events; consumers would buy and return on a regular basis. Can't make any money like that.

The quality of Ashley Stewart clothing is sub par. When Ashley Stewart first opened in the Indy market, they carried well made clothing. I don't know if the distributor changed or if decline in profits affected their construction and material, but I stopped shopping there because of loose hems and shoddy craftsmanship. I would buy a bra and wash it once and it would crumble. Even if I hand washed the items, the clothes wouldn't rebound from the wash. 

Ashley Stewart needs a better marketing strategy. Many retailers like Lane Bryant and Torrid almost perfected their market penetration. Outlet stores, online sales and coupons help tremendously. Ashley Stewart just opened up its website to online sales recently. Most of Ashley Stewart's in store merchandise cannot be found online and their online products are dismal and lack luster. Ashley Stewart's parent company, Urban Brands, just wanted to market to urban females. There are a plethora of plus size women of all different ethnicity, races and don't live in urban communities. They put all their eggs in one basket, and it didn't pay off.

Now the company is in jeopardy. Hopefully the company finds their mistakes and work on fixing them. I would love to shop at Ashley Stewart again. I want them to rise out of bankruptcy, not only for my own benefit but I have a lot of friends that still work for the company that would lose their jobs if profits don't increase.

Do you shop at Ashley Stewart? What are your likes/dislikes?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pretty In Red

I always loved the movie "Pretty In Pink". I didn't enjoy it for the actual plot, though poor girl and rich boy falling in love with each other through adversity and the disapproval of others, is a picture perfect story. I loved the movie for its wardrobe.  The costume pieces in this movie inspired the real life street couture of the 80's. Molly Ringwald's character, Andie, constructed her own clothes. I will always remember Iona's, Annie Pott's larger than life character, Asian/Warhol inspired frock. I was a kid lusting for their sense of style. 

(Scenes of Iona and Andie - From

Being a compulsive eater, I decided to start using my boredom and hunger to channel my creativity. My new project is to make clothes. God knows, I'm not a fashion designer, but I figured it would be a fun task. My first project was to complete a tu tu. I executed my first project perfectly. I'm proud of myself that I finished. Thanks to blogger Amelia Pontes ( and her resurrection of her closeted tu tu, I wanted to free my tu tu this weekend. I must admit it was fun gallivanting around Indy in my masterpiece. I got a few stares, some great comments and even embarrassed my boyfriend by displaying my ballet positions in the middle of the Castleton Square parking lot!

(Blk tank-Old Navy, Red tank-Torrid, Tu tu-Janelle, Deconstructed legging-Torrid)

(Probably going to be the last hot weekend of the year!)


Friday, October 8, 2010

Proenza Schouler's Act Da Fool

Fashion house Proenza Schouler's new line debuts in a short film, directed by Harmony Korine (director of the movie Kids), called Act Da Fool. I really love the pieces displayed in the film and as much as I love black women being promoted in fashion and film, this video makes me a bit uncomfortable. 

The film shows a day in the life scenario of a young poor black woman wearing the Proenza Schouler brand. The visual is embraced by a poem spoken in the main character's point of view. The viewer follows the woman in her daily routine which consist of drinking 40s and destruction of property with her friends while looking fabulous in Proenza Schouler. This video in my opinion promotes the stereotypical life of a young black woman in the ghetto. I understand the grit and the realism the designers tried to display, but I feel it was at the expense of black women. In my opinion, we are starting to go back to the time where black women would only be portrayed as cooks and mammies. Now in the media, black women are portrayed as ghetto hoodrats delinquents with no education or class. I will admit toward the end of the film the woman shows she's a dreamer; this is the life she doesn't want to live. Unfortunately for her, if she continues down the road the character travels, she will be destined to stay in the world created for her.  

There are some black women that lead a hard life, but there are others that can't relate to this stereotype. Again, I love the promotion of black women in fashion and film, but let's try to promote the full spectrum of black women.

What do you think about Proenza Schouler's short film?

Proenza Schouler's Interview about their short film "Act Da Fool".

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reflection: Commitment

It's October! October is such a busy month; school has started, the holiday season is about to begin and it's my anniversary. My boyfriend and I have been together four years, October 19th. It's the longest relationship I've ever been in. I've wondered why this one lasted? What makes us tick? I thank God that we've been together this long and hope we will see many more years together.
(Jason and I Vegas 2009)
Today's question of the day derived from a television show I watched with my boyfriend. I don't remember what show or even who it featured, but a woman talked about her past relationship and why it ended. She used the phrase, "she fell out of love". So my boyfriend puts on his OMG face and says, "what does that even mean?"  Then a question sparked my interest, if it's so easy to fall out of love with someone, were you ever in love to begin with?
We are a generation that moves at a fast pace. Everything, objects and even people are easily disposable and replaceable; and our love lives are suffering. We want to try new things. We get easily distracted. As human beings, we long for companionship; even if it's fleeting. My friend is in the dating scene right now. I'm surprised at how many men she encounters that tell her, openly and without remorse, they have a girlfriend/wife at home. Their significant other is at home trying to establish a life with this person, while their man is out courting other women/men. Most of these men are shocked that she (my friend) disagrees with their infidelity. And women, you're not excluded, you are just as trifling... if not more.
There is a lack of commitment in our relationships. We fall out of love because there wasn't a foundation of love in the relationship. Relationships are a lot of work. It's not easy to be with someone through the good times and bad. We give up easily and we search for something or someone that is not there; not real. Don't start something that you can't finish. Don't get into a relationship with anyone unless it's real and you build your foundation with love. Not fleeting love or lust, but true love.
RL's First Luncheon
Next Saturday, October 16th is Ruby Leonne's first luncheon. I'm a little dismayed. We've had a lot of people say they're attending, but no one purchased a ticket yet. If you plan to attend the luncheon, email us at and we can reserve your ticket and get your name on the list. Please contact us as soon as possible. Bravo's will need a head count to prepare our meal. I'm going to be out and about this weekend. I will post where I will be so if anyone wants to meet to buy tickets we can do that. Come, network and meet others while having a great meal. Calling Anjie and Koko tonight and I'm sure they have something in store for us. Remember email us at and leave your contact information. We will give you a call shortly.
~ Janelle
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