Tag Archives: rant

Finding My Personal Style | BEDA Day 28

When I started this project, I made a list of topics I could touch upon over my 30 days of posts. One of those topics was “forming my aesthetic.”

Past Charlotte, what does that even mean? How does one fit such a whopper of a topic into one 500-word post? And which aesthetic are we talking about? Fashion? Literary? Home decor? Tumblr? Every time I return to the list, I’m not quite sure where to start with it. So I guess we’ll just go with some free thoughts on finding my personal style.

My style was pretty much the same throughout middle and high school. I was a standard t-shirt and jeans girl, particularly if those t-shirts were of the graphic variety. I’d mix it up occasionally with “punk” elements like Chuck Taylors or a studded belt (woof), but the general vibe was pretty casual. As time went on I softened up my look a bit, embracing cardigans and empire-waist tank tops with a dress or two to mix things up. My shops of choice at the time were Delia’s (RIP), American Eagle, and The Gap.

I was more willing to experiment in college, but tended to revert back to my denim comfort zone. If it took more than five minutes to get dressed, I wasn’t having it. Dresses and skirts made more of an appearance in my wardrobe, as I was more willing to embrace my femininity. Once I started to move out of the juniors department and into the world of Big Girl Clothes, though, I realized I was in a whole different category of customer, one that didn’t cater to my age group. I wanted to try crop tops and rompers, but the options in Forever 21 looked silly on me. Gaining the Freshman 15 kind of wrecked my self-esteem for a bit, making shopping even more difficult.

Something changed when I went to London, though. I stepped into a Topshop in Kensington and found that their petite section had a lot more than frumpy pantsuits. Finally, I could try out the styles I’d seen in magazines and style blogs. I’ll be honest, most of them still looked kind of silly, but just seeing that I could actually wear trendy pieces opened my mind up to new options. I started to wear brighter colors and pieces that didn’t always work, but made me feel good in the moment. For a second, I finally felt like one of the cool girls.

I now face a new dilemma as a post-grad working full-time in New York City. I can shop for work clothes without a problem and find outfits that look professional and comfortable at the same time. But part of me still wants to be “trendy” during my limited time off. I have very few “going out” outfits as I can’t find any that suit me (and I rarely “go out” as it is). I’m also just generally dissatisfied with the options available to me. The recent fare available in stores like Topshop and Zara kind of look like costumes you would find in a sci-fi movie. Culottes? Really, y’all?

I guess the key is to keep trying things on until something feels right. Or just keep perusing fashion blogs until I find a look to emulate. For now I’ll stick to my new uniform: LOFT blouses and black jeans.

Image via Enis Lebelici

On Being “Petite” | BEDA Day 23

I am what the fashion industry classifies as “petite.” I am 5’1” (on a good day), have small proportions, and can still fit into kids shoes. Almost everything I buy has to be from a petite section or tailored until I can actually wear it without looking ridiculous. I’m privileged in that I can go to a store like H&M and actually find clothes in my size, but they rarely look right on my body.

This all makes shopping extremely difficult. And expensive.

The petite sections of most department stores are pretty terrible. They’re full of bland pantsuits that even Hillary would pass on and basic blouses and pants that are fine, but not particularly trendy or fun. There’s something to be said for sticking with well-made basics that fit, but I want to have the choice to branch out and try new things. I shouldn’t be shut out of having fun with my personal style just because I’m short.

If I decide to venture out of the petite section, I eventually end up paying extra for tailoring. It’s usually worth it, but that’s an extra $20+ I wouldn’t have to pay for a garment were I a few inches taller. I may just be stubborn, but I’m on a budget, yo! I’d like to only pay for my new pair of jeans once.

And what about the ladies who are curvy AND petite? A lot of petite lines seem to cater to tiny, waifish figures (much like the rest of the fashion industry), effectively shutting out anyone who is short and above a size 12. That just doesn’t seem fair.

I like to think things are getting better for us short girls. Trendier brands like LOFT, Anthropologie, Topshop, and more offer pieces in petite sizes, even dedicating (small) sections of their stores to us. There’s even more selection online on sites like ASOS. I’ve also managed to find a few petite fashion bloggers, like Alterations Needed and The View From 5 Ft. 2, to get more style inspiration.

Despite all this, I never feel like I’ll get this whole “shopping” thing right. I have a tendency to walk into a store, try on a bunch of stuff, and leave with nothing. This is great for my wallet, but not great for my closet. The petite struggle is real, y’all. I think I’ll just stick with the juniors section for a few more years. They seem to get me.

The Case for Decaf Coffee | BEDA Day 14

Maybe it’s just New York, but the coffee industry seems to have something against decaf. I recently went to a trendy restaurant (which shall remain nameless) that refused to serve anything but the high-test stuff on principle. Look, I get that you love your coffee and don’t want anyone messing with it. But decaf has its merits as well!

Your daily cup of Chock full o’Nuts is actuallly chock full o’antioxidants. These antioxidants fight free radicals to prevent diseases and reduce your risk of diabetes and certain cancers. Coffee may stain your teeth, but it does contain trigonelle, an antibacterial compound which can help prevent cavities. However, a little too much caffeine can affect your sleep patterns and lead to high blood pressure. This is where decaf comes in handy.

Decaf coffee doesn’t come from any special beans that just happen to have less caffeine than normal coffee beans. To create decaf coffee, regular coffee beans are treated with a solvent that removes the caffeine without weakening the taste. As such, the beans retain about 1-2% of the original caffeine content. Decaf may not give you as much of a jolt, but it’s not as sad as drinking caffeine-free soda. Plus, you’re still getting all the health benefits of regular coffee without the jitters.

Not everyone can drink real coffee. It can increase the effects of anxiety and shouldn’t be mixed with certain medications. I had to give up the stuff about two years ago, and I was astounded by the lack of options for decaf drinkers. Most shops brew one vat of decaf for the day, so it tastes burnt or stale by mid-day. Other shops don’t brew decaf at all and only offer decaf espresso drinks. And those fancy beans you get in the store? Usually not available in decaf. What gives?

I guess it comes down to supply and demand. If one shop or roasting company could provide some decent decaf, though, I’d buy it all. I still like the taste of coffee even if I’ve had to give up the caffeine. And to all my fellow decaf-ers, I raise my Starbucks Grande Decaf Americano (with skim milk, sugar, and a dash of cinammon) to you.