Cheap Wine and Fall Fashion Swooning

This week I am cheating on RLB with a post over at Cheap Wine and Panty Lines that has Nothing to do with body image. Except in the sense that it concerns fashion, and I see fashion as a great outlet for expressing yourself, your confidence, and how much you love your figure and love to snazz it up!

Here’s an idea of how I would gild the lily in the event of a sudden windfall:

Also, I’m happy to report that while these models are all clearly Models, none of them look like they’re anywhere close to starvation. Healthy is the new skinny! And skinny people can be healthy, too!

So go enjoy some beautiful clothes on some beautiful women, and share your dream Fall Collection with us here on RLB, over at CWPL, or via reallivingbeauty@gmail.com

Happy Friday!

Beauty is in the Eye of… These Kick Ass Ladies

Lou and I are back with another dual feature – this time it’s all about a few celebrities who are singing the body electric and the fashion they embrace along the way.

With all of the negativity and pressure thrown at everyday women, celebs fall under the gun of microscopic scrutiny. The following three ladies not only maintain their own positivity in the face of haters, they also share messages of confidence and joie de vivre with the rest of us.

Christina Hendricks

Let’s kick things off with the curvaceous wonder woman of Mad Men fame, Christina Hendricks. Her main body image quote floating around the interweb is from an interview she did with Health magazine in 2010:

“I guess my mom raised me right. She was very celebratory of her body. I never heard her once say, ‘I feel fat.’ Back when I was modeling, the first time I went to Italy I was having cappuccinos every day, and I gained 15 pounds. And I felt gorgeous! I would take my clothes off in front of the mirror and be like, Oh, I look like a woman. And I felt beautiful, and I never tried to lose it, ’cause I loved it.”

It is a great quote, and the whole interview is worth reading for more of the same. I like to think that perhaps her relaxed confidence is an extension of the joy she finds in the world. Chili and Pinot Grigio at 4pm? Sounds like my kind of woman.
Hi there! Lou here. Can I just point out that not only does Ms. Hendricks have killer curves, but she dresses them to perfection. Not to mention her pale skin and red hair that make her partial to jewel tones, which I very much enjoy. I don’t always love the gowns she chooses, but I do love that she plays with color and the tailoring is always impeccable. What? You want examples? Ok, exhibit A, B, and C:

ZING!!

Hair accessories are back in a big way lately and this one is perfect on her. And those BOOBS! My god. Her boobs, they’re … distracting. She has some huge boobs.

And finally my personal jewel-tone favorite from the set of Mad Men, aka Exhibit C:

In fact, I think these 60’s inspired looks suit her so well, she should just rock them in the real world, although that might get weird. She’s a major stunner. Let’s look at one more picture of her …

I chose this one as an example of bad fashion because that dress is horribly ugly and the shoes are even worse. What are those shoes?! But, the body definitely is nothin but bangin and girl knows how to dress it…usually.

Yeesh, couldn’t agree more on that last one! Pretty sure it’s the flowers. The giant, hideous flowers. But everything preceding this train-wreck outfit is the definition of flawless. Love.

Rihanna

This lady is all over the place talkin’ that body confidence talk. It’s particularly heartening coming from RiRi, because at all of 24 years old she is working to build the kind of self-esteem that eludes most of us until our 30’s.

In the March 2012 issue of Women’s Fitness, she discusses nakedness as a remedy for judging yourself too harshly:

“The more I got naked the more comfortable I felt. I just had to face my fear. You always find something wrong, you always find something you’re uncomfortable with, and one thing turns into another and you get embarrassed and self-conscious about it. After a while, it was like, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ and I just started being a little more daring with it. It was just knowing my body is the way it is no matter what that helped me, knowing that it is what it is under clothes or outside of clothes. My way probably won’t work for most people.”

In March the pop star was working overtime on the Confidence Train, telling a UK reporter all about the realities of loving what you’ve got.

“I don’t think anyone really is 100% [confident],” Rihanna said. “I mean, you get comfortable with the fact that that’s your body and it is what it is,” she explained. “That I had to learn, doing enough topless shoots with GQ and Esquire. You just have to accept your body. You may not love it all the way, but you just have to be comfortable with it. You just want something else that someone else has, but that doesn’t mean what you have isn’t beautiful. No one is every 100% ‘I’m the bomb.com’ from head to toe.”

Now RiRi will appear on the August cover of Harper’s Bazaar. What endears her to me here is her candid talk about eating (and enjoying it! what a concept!) and her only complaint being the desire for a Bigger Butt. Yes, you read that right.

“I don’t know if there’s something going on with my body right now, but I’m eating everything in life!” she laughs. “I miss my ass. It just went away! I need a butt. I have an idea of one, but it’s not living up to its full potential right now.”

Finally, Rihanna asserts this developing confidence by standing up for her art as well. As reported by NME Music News, she adamantly defends the artistic choices she makes in her videos and songs. It’s interesting to me that the two major complaints here are the “salaciousness” of Rihanna kissing a girl in a video (…other pop stars get all kinds of freaky with members of the opposite sex; how salacious is that?) and then in another video she’s accused of “promoting murder” because she *shoots her rapist.*

Sounds to me like some people just can’t abide powerful women who take ownership of their own sexuality.

I need to start by admitting I really love Rihanna’s style. And did you know she pronounces it “Ri-anne-a”? No joke. Heard her say it on the radio once. Anyway! You know what’s interesting to me? The way butts are coming back. Butt implants. J Lo, Jessica Beal, Beyonce … having a big butt is back in a big way. I love it. And speaking of butts, Rihanna’s is amazing and she loves to show it off in some of the cutest bikinis and bathing suits I’ve ever seen. How she thinks she lost it is beyond me. Girl spends so much time on the beach, and it’s summer, so I figure we should take a gander at her seashore styles (and her butt).

This is one of my most recent faves. Who says one pieces can’t be sexy? And on her skin tone, the white is white-hot:


Look at the back! So cute. Nice work Oscar de la Renta.

Erm, and check this out. This is crazy. Not quite as cute as the one above, but holy hell that is one smokin body. Girl is FIT. I know youth is still on her side, but you can tell she works for that body and doesn’t deprive herself in the process.

Another one of my favorite one pieces is below. These funky printed suits are everywhere right now. Leopards, zombies, world maps … you can pretty much find a bathing suit with anything printed on it these days. This one just happens to rule extra hard.

Cute beach cover up. Cute casual hair. And the nails and accessories really seal the deal for me on that entire beach look. Let’s look at one more before moving on to Ms. Reese Witherspoon.

Old school Rihanna! Super cutie. Great color. A little funky with those gold accents. On the rack I would hate this, but she proves me wrong by wearing the shit out of it … And look how much fun she’s having! Yay for the beach! Yay for bikinis! And yay for feeling awesome in them, whatever your body type.

Reese Witherspoon

Oh, Reese. I have so much admiration for this woman. And it’s not just because she totally won me over about 20 years ago with her gumption-filled portrayal of the younger sister in The Man in the Moon, but also because she is pretty damn consistent at Keeping it Real.

Ms. Witherspoon has always managed to keep a rational head on her shoulders, in spite of the aforementioned microscopic scrutiny of celebrities. For example, US Weekly’s website apparently has a collection that they call “Reese Witherspoon’s Body Evolution,” which, granted, is mostly a “she’s pregnant here, she’s not here, and here she is in a bathing suit!” retrospective, but still. Safe to say most of us would not welcome that sort of play-by-play on our physique.

Speaking of RW being pregnant, that’s the other thing that makes her a special feature in this blog post. She has a daughter, so her take on body image carries the additional weight of influencing her offspring, and making her all too aware of what girls go through in this information age.

Two years ago, in the UK’s Daily Mail, Reese pointed out the responsibility women have to little girls, particularly mothers:

‘…Living in Los Angeles has made her particularly aware though, she says, of teaching her children not about ‘fat and skinny’, but about ‘healthy and unhealthy.
“I can remember my own mother struggling with her weight and self-esteem. It was hard for me to watch her, because I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. When we women talk about our bodies and our looks, we have to be mindful of the effect this can have on little girls.”‘

She also credited her grandmother as an inspiring influence:

“In her day, girls could only go to certain colleges, where they were trained to be teachers or nurses, so she urged me to get a good education. She would say, ‘You can be whatever you want to be.’ She taught me to have strength and self-respect.”

Earlier this year, in the UK edition of Glamour, Reese let loose her thoughts on plastic surgery:

“I’m not for it. I’m not against it. I have plenty of friends who do stuff and if it makes you feel good, great … but I don’t think it’s the fix for some sort of unease that you’re having about who you are as a human being. I don’t think I need plastic surgery at this point: Can we just go day-by-day on that one?”

and on her own body image:

“I don’t worry about it. I have the body I earned: I had two kids and I’m still strong and healthy. And you start to have a different respect for your body the older you get. Instead of tearing yourself apart all the time, you start to go ‘Oh wow.'”

RW also tends to don the superhero cape of self-respect. When naked photos surfaced of “Blake Lively/Not Blake Lively/Wait You Can See Her Face, Yeah That’s Blake Lively,” Reese took an opportune moment to throw in her two cents on the matter:

“I get it, girls, that it’s cool to be a bad girl. But it is possible to make it in Hollywood without doing a reality show. When I came up in this business, if you made a sex tape, you were embarrassed and you hid it under your bed. And if you took naked pictures of yourself on your cell phone, you hide your face, people! Hide your face!”

To sum up: Reese not only believes in the value of self-confidence and self-respect, she also has enough savvy to lead the charge on Common Effing Sense.
I love Reese Witherspoon. As E pointed out, Man in the Moon was great, but I also rank Sweet Home Alabama and Fear at the top of my Reese watch list. Remember Markie Mark in that movie?? What a creep.

When thinking about Reese Witherspoon and fashion, it is tempting to focus on the amazingness that was her post-divorce style from that douche bag Ryan Phillipe (I never thought he was a douche bag while he was married to her though, interestingly enough), but her, what did E call it, her “breakover” style is pretty old news now and I think we should focus on the other side of Reese, the side that’s not on red carpets being glamorous, cause this starlet’s got major street style.

Reese’s street style is chic and classic. It’s not necessarily my style, but it’s a lot of my friend’s style and it’s a style I can appreciate.

She sticks to basics with a twist. That outfit on the left is really as funky as it gets (cute shoes!), but how comfy does she look? All while staying cute and put together. In addition to flouncy skirts, she also really enjoyed the boyfriend jean trend and I really enjoyed watching her do it so well.

How cute is the dress below? And I’m obsessed with my jean jacket lately … she wears hers really well here.

And those legs! They look strong, and here’s why – she works out. She is always photographed working out. She’s not one of those movie stars that claims they sit around and eat whatever they want and still have a body that defies reality. Nope. Girl works for it! And most likely, her kids will follow her example and that can only help their future body image too.

I’m sorry, but you don’t bounce back from having a baby by sitting around breast-feeding and doing absolutely nothing else. I suspect a lot of Hollywood mothers sit around and breast feed and don’t feed themselves, which is why I adore this picture of her out there working for it and being a hell of a lot more happy because of it. How grumpy would not eating make you? How great does exercise make you feel? Yay Reese! And with the muscles she develops as a runner, she can then sport adorable shorts like the ones below. In Reese’s world – everyone’s winning.

PS – give me that watch!!!

Hooray for celebrity ladies who know how to live, and know how to dress their strong, healthy bodies. Hooray for celebrity ladies who believe in themselves and their beauty and talent, all while sending loud and clear messages that we are capable of the same!

Join us next time for some shout outs to women who aren’t as famous as these ladies, but probably should be.

In the News Part One

After Jezebel posted a response to SkinnyGossip blogger’s ridicule of Kate Upton, my sister-blogger and I found inspiration to do the same.  

Without further ado, here is the chat that Lou (author of Cheap Wine and Panty Lines), and I (yours truly, RLB), had about the insanity that is calling Kate Upton fat….

CWPL: Ok – so first off – Are You F*cking Kidding Me? – is the perfect sentiment, no?

RLB: Absolutely! I realize this is one blogger spouting one inane opinion, but it’s this type of mindset that makes beautiful, healthy young women feel like s*** about themselves.

CWPL:  I can’t help but wonder, this is clearly the site of some sick people. Actually really sick, if you ask me. And it can’t possibly be the only viewpoint of its kind out on the Interweb; why do you think this particular instance is garnering so much attention?

RLB:  In terms of the Kate Upton post, it’s such a vile personal attack. While there are a lot of sites that blatantly promote unhealthy notions of thinness, this post goes the extra mile in writing really horrid, insulting things about a perfectly stunning young woman. It’s interesting to me that the author equates her shapeliness with pornography. As if an extremely thin woman in tiny clothes is somehow less evocative. Clearly this writer has issues with women’s sexuality in addition to weight issues.

CWPL:  Clearly.

RLB: Let’s talk more about your sentiment that the author or authors of this blog are actually sick, as in mentally ill. Others have expressed the same sentiment, and the blog’s author claims to have gotten some pretty nasty backlash (violent threats). Doesn’t that kind of negativity just perpetuate the cycle? (of judging women as objects)

CWPL:  I would say yes. I would say a lot of what that woman is saying on her blog is a result of media portrayal of women. That she’s clearly a victim of her own beliefs. It’s sad and I hope two things – that she uses this as a way to reevaluate, seek help, whatever (being that it’s so public now though, I fear the opposite effect) and that our attention to what is going on contributes to a change in the portrayal of women in our society.

RLB:  While I don’t want to give her blog too many hits, I was curious about her “views on self-harm,” and she says the site is “intentionally outrageous and intended to provoke controversy,” which is fair to an extent. She’s revamping or eliminating her Starving Tip of the Day (seriously, Starving tip of the day??), and closes out by saying the following: “…there’s nothing wrong with saying skinny is beautiful, just like there’s nothing wrong with saying curvy is beautiful, or red hair is beautiful, or anything else someone happens to find appealing. It’s an opinion, and we’re all entitled to them.” This closing statement seems somewhat contradictory, as her site essentially invalidates any opinion outside of Super Skinny is Best. As for the Kate Upton post, I think it strikes a chord because this person’s “opinions” are so vicious and degrading.

CWPL:  Right. And she is attacking something that many people struggle with every day. It’s a hot button issue – battling with body image is a lot more serious than having red hair. We all know I judge people everyday on my blog, but it’s an aesthetic. Something they choose. There just seems to be such a stark difference between someone not liking your clothing choices, or hair color choice, and someone not liking your body … ya know? I know what you mean when you say it’s fair to an extent, it is I guess, but it’s also just a crock of shit. Ahem. What that lady was saying on there was crazy unhealthy.

RLB:  It is fair to claim that the purpose of your blog is to indulge in snarkiness (Hi there, CWPL!) but I agree that vilifying someone for their physique is far more harmful than critiquing fashion choices. As Amelia once pointed out, we all deserve to have ownership of our own person. Tearing someone apart  because of how their body looks diminishes their ability to say “this is me and I am happy with who I am,” because on the other end you have someone calling you a fat cow because you were once photographed eating a cheeseburger.

CWPL:  I wonder if the woman in question had actually been much, much curvier, if the outrage would have been the same. From the outside.

RLB:  As in someone like Christina Hendricks?

CWPL: Sure, or even some less well-known model.
(RLB note: for example, any of these women)

RLB:  I suspect she wouldn’t have had the nerve with someone curvier. It would be more insulting that way, and infuriate more people.

CWPL:  I don’t know. There is just something interesting to me about the fact that it’s Kate Upton, freaking Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Extraordinaire. It is our standard after all, as the Jezebel article points out, so would we be so quick to defend someone curvier? I dunno. I also think the pornography comment has a lot to do with the fact that we’re dealing with a real sex symbol here.

RLB:  If you consider what a major issue body image is these days, along with the issue of how women are portrayed in the media, I think there will always be a ton of people ready to defend attacks against curvy women (or not super-skinny women). The biggest issue here is that this “critique” is so… personal. I’m starting to repeat myself, so allow me to be specific: She repeatedly refers to Kate Upton not only as pornographic, but also as a “little piggy” and ….a cannibal, presumably because she’s a “cow” eating a burger. To imply that a woman who looks a certain way is a disgusting slut (simply because of the Way She Looks), is reductionist at best and presumptuous shaming at its worst.

CWPL:  I just hope Kate Upton doesn’t suddenly lose 15 pounds.

RLB:  Or become a vegan.

CWPL:  Or a prude. Hah. Celebrity is a dangerous game, more than ever now with the Internet.

RLB:  It’s a crazy game.

CWPL:  Facebook can be damaging enough – Tumblr too – for regular young women. I can’t fathom what young women in Hollywood/fashion/etc. must endure. And I know you can speak to that very well. And still, just imagine if people had actually been talking about your weight while you were living in LA. Strangers! Gah, it seriously spooks me. I even think how awful it would be to end up on the losing side of “Who Wore it Better” in my gossip rags.

RLB:  Strangers did talk about my weight! Agents would tell me to my face that I’d fare better if I lost 5-10 pounds. And I was already about 15 pounds thinner than I am today. It was insane, and a huge part of why I left. It sucks because fashion and celebrity gossip can be so fun, but when you think about how image obsessed it makes us as a culture, it becomes a serious problem, rather than a frivolous diversion.

CWPL: It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out, if it does. Newsworthiness is fleeting, but we can certainly add this to the Discussion and if there is anything positive to be said for it, it’s that this blogger’s vitriol is bringing attention to a subject in dire need of attention: how women are portrayed in our society.

Also in the news, this, which I think is something you’ve been really interested in lately. What say you of this Gawker writer’s approach to the story? It’s quite interesting and yay for those young girls, right? Methinks the message is spreading …

And that concludes our first In The News segment. Stay tuned for thoughts on the teen girl uprising against fashion mags!

Cheap Wine and Lady Like and Coming Up Next

What a fantastic weekend we have in store for you, RLB fans!

Instead of just one regular Friday shout-out, we have one guest blog feature on another site, and then coming up next: a conversation with one of our favorite real, beautiful ladies.

First up, I had a grand ol’ time writing a guest blog over on Cheap Wine and Panty Lines,  the blog of my youngest – and dare I say, feistiest – sibling. This blog is all about fashion, so I got to talk about how to find my favorite kinds of clothes (lady clothes) for my favorite kinds of prices (cheap!) Here’s Lous and I being sisterly, post cross-country road trip, and therefore very real:

NEXT UP: On Sunday we will feature my conversation with the delightful Miss Gwen Edwards, who has a thing or two to tell you about beauty and not sweating the petty crap. You can learn all about Gwen’s latest journey here. In the meantime, here is a photo of Gwen selecting her new breasts.

Now if that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.

Fashion is Fun. Take it from Lou.

Hello RLB Readers! The time has come for another guest blog spot, and to fill the virtual pages this week we’ve asked Elizabeth’s sister, one Miss Louise Christine, to speak about fashion fabulousness. It all overlaps with Lou’s blog (see link below), which is a bit more crass than RLB tends to be, so be prepared for some brashness and the occasional expletive. Consider it your mid-week break from propriety. Read on and enjoy!

Over on my own blog, cheapwineandpantylines, which I keep with a dear friend of mine, we might publish the following article under, “Completely Unqualified Fashion Advice”, or “We’re Awesome”. You see, we keep a blog all about fashion, even though neither of us really knows anything about it. We didn’t go to Parsons for fashion design, we have $0 to spend on nice things, and I’m pretty sure neither of us has ever set foot near a runway.

But the one thing we do have is a propensity for fun, a boatload of misguided confidence, a strong judgmental streak, and access to a city that is full of very inspired “fashion” choices. Holler Portland, Oregon! I know what you’re thinking, how can I be guest blogging on a site that is perhaps all about avoiding judgment and recognizing one’s inner beauty? But the fact of the matter is, I don’t care how pretty someone is on the inside, and I don’t care what size pants they pick up at the local Buffalo Exchange, bitches be wearing some whack shit out in our world.

And therein lies the beauty of fashion. Fashion is subjective. And maybe on our worst days, fashion is something that can help us feel better about the way we look, or maybe you’re like me, and when you’re bloated and on the verge of shark week, sporting grandma underwear, saggy jeans, and a shitty t-shirt, just might make you feel worse/better. But regardless of how it makes you feel, fashion is everywhere. Almost as prevalent as body image for young girls the moment they crack their first Seventeen magazine, and I don’t care who you are, it’s safe to say you probably have an opinion about it. Are you an Anne Taylor girl or an Urban Outfitter girl? See! You are definitely a something when it comes to fashion.

I think fashion is great because it’s fun. It’s frivolous and flippant. I can’t control the genetic spider veins that crawl across my legs that I know are sure to get worse with age, but I can control the skinny jeans that cover them. I can’t control my pale skin, a curse to me growing up, but now something I protect from the sun and have fun with every time I search out the perfect red/orange lipstick. I try to eat healthy and workout at the gym, but admittedly, sometimes I fall short, and while I can’t immediately change the natural shape of my body, I can appreciate how great my boobs look in a certain top, or how my ass looks banging in a particular skirt.

On those days when we feel self-conscious and also on those days we feel fabulous, fashion is something we can control and make our own. Fashion isn’t relegated to body size, despite what those stuck-up Vogue assholes try and tell you. See for yourself:

FUCK YEAH BETH DITTO

YOU AND DEBBIE HARRY BOTH BE LOOKIN’ FLY
And I don’t know about you, but if I had to bang one of them, it would most definitely be Joan Holloway. Girl. Can. Work. A. Dress.
 Overall, with my guest blog spot, I wanted to come in and pimp my own blog.
…No, no, just kidding, but I did want to assert the fabulous effect fashion can have on body image. Too often we think, mostly because of wretched fashion magazines and their perpetuation of unrealistic women wearing unrealistic clothing, that fashion is bad, but I’m here to tell you fashion is fun and not relegated to a particular body size. I encourage all women to embrace fashion as something that can make a small impact on feeling great about yourself. Find that one sweater that fits like a dream or that one pair of heels that make your legs go on for days and own it.
And that’s all I have for today, folks, baby sister to Ms. Elizabeth, signing off, until next time.
xoxo, Lou

Womanifesto by Guest Blogger Megan

I was the pudgy cheerleader and let me tell you, spending time at the bottom of the pyramid really changes your perspective. I spent most of my youth wishing I was good at volleyball and being tan instead of playing viola. It wasn’t until high school that I grew into my nose (mostly) and dyed my hair black that I realized that “being pretty” was relative.

I know now that I was very lucky to have escaped high school relatively unscathed. I went through a few of the phases you see Lifetime movies about: anorexia, crash dieting and all that jazz, but I never did it because I felt uncomfortable with my body I did it because my friends were doing it and I wanted to fit in. Terrifying right? Luckily my love of Nutella always outweighed my need to fit in and I did no irreparable damage.

Being a realist is becoming more difficult everyday because everyone’s idea of “real” is so different, and unfortunately the 90 pound real with huge tatters is the real we see on television and in magazines. Lucky for us nowadays we have nearly as many magazines telling us we are fat as we do magazines telling us the media is warped and bitches be air brushed.

I have stretch marks, pirate thighs and feel like I’ve spent close to 75 percent of my life tweezing, waxing or shaving something. I am also witty, loyal, have beautiful eyes and hips that won’t quit. I am a firm believer that it’s ok to think there are a few things about you that could deal with improving, because that keeps you striving and feeling accomplished when you achieve these goals; as long as you keep your feet planted firmly on the ground and realize that if there are 5 things about you that you’d like to change that there are at least 10 things about you that are worth stopping the presses over.

So in conclusion, never never never                                                                         stop eating carbs.

 

Hear, hear! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights and witticisms, Ms. Megan! If any of you readers have an interest in becoming a guest blogger, email me at reallivingbeauty@gmail.com

 

Beautiful Megan