Aerie Bras for Real Women

aerieI am SUCH.A.FAN. of this new ad campaign by Aerie. It’s called Aerie Real, and not only does it make you feel a little less like a freak-of-nature by seeing real women modeling lingerie, it takes the guesswork out of your size and fit. After perusing the Victoria’s Secret catalog, and then going to try on bras in the dead of winter, the reflection in the mirror can be a little disheartening. Oogling all of those perfectly bronzed and well-toned bodies and then seeing your own normal, pasty white body can lead to a little bit of a let down when you’re trying on swim suits or lingerie. But now, Aerie is featuring real women without re-touching in their ads to promote acceptance of a wider range of body shapes, and to show what real bodies actually look like in their underwear. After seeing them, your body might not seem quite so bad after all.

And to top it all off, they are cutting all the mystery out of what size to buy. Sure, you can get measured at any Vicky’s store, but unless you want to invite the sales lady into the dressing room with you, it’s hard to tell if you have the exact right fit. Aerie launched a section of the site where you can view various bras on women with your cup size so you can see what amount of push-up is the right amount for that style. Well done!

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In Praise of Shabby Gym Clothes

gymI have one pair of Lululemon running tights. They’re definitely the nicest piece of workout gear I own, and I could only justify their absurd expense because first, I had my last pair of running tights so long they  became transparent  from over wearing them (not because they were the defective lululemons), and second because I received them as a gift. Also, they do truly fabulous things for my butt. The rest of my gym clothes are, if you put it nicely, somewhat shabby. I have great sneakers and awesome ear buds, because those are the accessories that really matter to me-the tunes that keep me moving, and the sneakers that keep me from getting extreme shin splints. While I tried to fancy things up with some new t-shirts and stretch pants, the majority of my exercise gear consists of a bunch of beat up t-shirts I got for free at college events and some tank tops I used to wear in public until they got an irremovable stain.

When I read this piece on The Cut unapologetically defending gross gym clothes, all I could think was, “Preach sister!” Gyms in NYC can be scary, intimidating places (see this article on Gymtimidation). In this city they are full of attractive thin people (who are strangely muscular for their size), in extremely trendy clothes that somehow don’t sweat. For someone who is there because they want to get in shape (and thus may not be 100% loving the way they look), the feeling of competition to look hot while trying to get fitter to look hot can be a lot of pressure. If investing in cute gym-wear makes you more motivated just so you get to wear it, more power to you. But I am just going to second Maggie Lange’s notion, and say I’d rather wear my faded Ram Fan t-shirt and some mismatched socks any day because by the time I finish my butt and gut class I am just going to be a dirty sweaty mess anyhow.

Sometimes it’s Hard to Decide What to Wear

closet

I am notorious within my family and group of friends for having trouble picking out my outfits, and hanging on to clothes that I never wear because I remember a fun night I had in outfit. Now after years of struggling with my overcrowded closet, and torturing my sister and friends to help me decide what to wear, I have science to back up my what I like to think of as “endearingly quirky” behavior. It turns out that I am not the only lady in the world who gets emotionally involved with what’s in her closet. Researchers have already proved that women tend to attach their emotions to their clothes, and use outfits that make us feel pretty to elevate mood. That’s why when you’re not feeling so hot emotionally, if you put on an outfit that doesn’t make you feel pretty/sexy/thin, it is suddenly a major catastrophe. Now further studies at the University of Queensland are underway to investigate the ways in which ladies use clothes to improve and mask their emotions. Let’s say you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you might put on a colorful, flowery dress to make you feel a little better about tackling the day. This is using clothing to mask your unpleasant mood, making you seem bright and happy to the world while you are feeling down, and also to boost your sense of well-being or to elevate a bad mood to good.

At the same time, people use clothes as scapegoats. An outfit worn for an interview that tanked may never be pulled out again, or a slinky dress for a failed date tossed in the donation bin. This is fashion scapegoating, experiencing bad feelings that occurred while wearing a certain item. At the same time, people remember the clothes that others complemented them on, and experience that rush of good feelings each time they wear it. What you put on, and if you feel good in it impacts your performance, self-esteem, and how well you interact with people. Now do you see why picking out an outfit can sometimes be a challenge? To keep all of these complex emotions from paralyzing you when you get dressed in the morning, think about your favorite outfits that make you feel good – then get to the bottom of WHY you feel good wearing them. Buy more clothes that have those qualities. If you have an outfit you bought, had a bad experience in, and have never worn again, toss it already. It’s only bringing bad juju to your closet. Finally, don’t let your nay-sayers make you feel guilty about holding on to clothes with sentimental value. They are akin to a family photo album of happy memories, but you might want to consider moving them out of the way to a storage location, your parent’s basement, or an under the bed bin where they’re not clogging up your decision making in the morning. Now happy outfit hunting!

What helps you pick out an outfit that makes you feel good? And! Check out the article that inspired this post here!