That new Dove sketch artist campaign…


A screenshot from the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” video.

If you haven’t watched it yet, you can see it here.

Quite a few of my friends shared this campaign on their Facebook pages. I didn’t watch it immediately, but I read enough about it get the basic idea: a police sketch artist draws a woman as she describes herself, and then as a stranger describes her, and that lo and behold, the strangers give the more flattering description.  Read the rest of this entry

A new kind of scale


I went to a clothing swap on Thursday, and among the skirts and pants and accessories, someone dontated a scale. I’m not sure which of the ladies brought the scale, or why she no longer needed/wanted it (got a new one, decided to judge herself on how her clothes fit, etc.). 

I do know that the girl who decided to take it home bravely got on the scale in front of the end-of-party crowd. She was the tiniest among us, so it may not have been that brave, but the hostess still made a comment about setting it 10 pounds lower. I made a comment, inspired by the Special K commercials, on the need for a scale that just talks instead of giving a number. Maybe if someone got on and had gained a few pounds, it would say “Lookin’ curvy!” 

*As I’m writing this, I’m realizing what we really need is a combination of the friendly scale, and another creation I’ve been thinking about for a few years, a mirror that speaks to people in the voice of Carmindy from “What Not to Wear.” If it had a way to scan your body, it could say things like “Your arms look great!” or “Have you been doing lunges? Your butt looks higher!” Or if you gained a couple pounds, it could say “You should wear that dress with the great neckline!” And then, of course, because it was Carmindy narrating, she’d also tell you how beautiful you are every day. Who doesn’t need that?

Human Barbies


Well, now, this is just crazy:

Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukrainian woman who supposedly turned herself into a Barbie doll. Photo from "Good Morning America."

In the “Good Morning America” report, Mikaela Conley tries to find out how much plastic surgery (or Photoshop) would go into turning a woman into a Barbie doll. Read the rest of this entry

Christina Aguilera, looking as gorgeous as her voice


I’m a sucker for a good makeover. I missed “The Voice” last night, but heard through the Book of Faces that Xtina, who went to high school in a city not far from my hometown, looked the best she’s looked in quite some time. I wholeheartedly agree. Whoever was responsible for this deserves a big, big raise. Here, a before and after: 

Nothing more to add, just almost brought a tear to my eye.

Photo courtesy of People StyleWatch.

Can’t we all just get along?


Samantha Brick, Kelly LeBrock - don't hate anyone because she's beautiful.

I happened upon an article on British writer Samantha Brick while looking for one on Photoshopping.

Brick wrote an essay lamenting the trials and tribulations of being a beautiful woman. Apparently, men randomly gift her with items (bottles of Champagne, train tickets) after being overwhelmed by her beauty. That sounds terrible.

All joking aside, she said she’s also been kept from promotions when working for jealous female bosses; she’s never been asked to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding (although I’m not sure I see a negative here; I was in my best friend’s wedding, and as much as I love her usual style, the dress I wore as a bridesmade, I was not in love with).  Read the rest of this entry

Men in shapewear… oh dear


Photo courtesy of

A big deal was made when Sara Blakely, 41, the creator of Spanx, was named the youngest, female self-made billionaire ever on the Forbes list. Blakely built her empire based on a pair of footless tights she perfected in her Decatur, Ga., apartment.

The company has grown through great word of mouth — recent Oscar winner Octavia Spencer claimed to be wearing three pairs of the shapers at the Golden Globes ceremony this year.

But women have a long history of suffering for beauty – squeezing into girdles, push-up bras and high heels. We’ll torture ourselves if we think it’ll make a dress look better.

Men, however, are known for being proud of their beer bellies, for walking around without shirts, sometimes going “commando.” Yet Spanx for Men debuted in February 2010, following a British line, Equmen, which introduced control undershirts in 2009. Inspired, coincidentally, by Blakely’s creation. The line claims to do for men’s chests what Spanx do for women’s thighs.

According to a May 2010 New York Times article, once control pieces were available for men, they flew off the shelves of stores like Nordstrom and Niemen Marcus.

Which is a nice idea, but who’s buying them? Not the guys who buy their underwear at Kohl’s or Sears – neither of which carry shape wear for men. Sales associates in the men’s departments of said stores at the Rego Park said not only do their stores not carry men’s shapers, men don’t ask for them, either. Read the rest of this entry

How to work a swimsuit if you haven’t been working out


Zack Galifianakis working his curves in the November 2010 Vanity Fair. Photo borrowed from the blog "Beauty and the Beach."

It’s spring break time for college students (and their teachers) across the country, and most designers and stores have rolled out their resort collections to graciously help the packing process.

Which means swimsuit season, that lovely time of year when we start packing away our (smoothing) tights, stop wearing layers and actually show our figures, is upon us. It unfortunately follows a time of year that usually involves sitting under blankets and eating comfort food. The idea of walking around practically naked can be daunting.

But even if you “forgot” to start working out before jetting off on a tropical vacation, there’s no reason to be self-conscious the whole time you’re at the beach – you probably won’t have any fun, but you will probably get weird tan lines.

In the spirit of having the best time possible, some tips to help you take off the sarong and flaunt what you’ve got: Read the rest of this entry

Dressing for success – why it matters


I just spent a good part of the morning at the Dress for Success Worldwide office on East 31st Street. While there I got to watch three women go through the “shopping” process – having a team of three personal shoppers pull suits and dresses and shoes and other accessories as the client tried on clothes.

The first client, Irena, was not a shy woman – she didn’t entirely close the dressing room curtain and spent nearly five minutes in front of a mirror in the huge closet admiring a blazer, worn over a yellow tank top and pink panties.

Irena’s a fit 57-year-old, with short, dark, curly hair, who clearly was in need of a little pampering. “I feel like I’m on ‘What Not to Wear'” she says from the fitting room, as personal shoppers Maxine Short, Jackie Montras and Marlene Bostwick bring her pants and skirts of varying lengths and shapes.  Read the rest of this entry

Fuller-figured mannequins coming


The very anatomically-correct mannequins that may soon appear, hopefully dressed, in a store window near you. Photo from

These mannequins, according to the Glamour magazine blog “Slaves to Fashion,” are size 8-10. Stores are buying them, as well as mannequins with larger breasts and bums.

Of the 21 comments on the piece, nearly a third were on the negative side. Two commenters said the mannequins made them feel fat, one complained size 6 was left out, one asked what was wrong with regular mannequins.

On the positive side, some commenters saw the fuller-figured models as a win-win for shoppers and stores.

“It not only will be nice to see what it would look like on us curvy ladies, it will show a lot of their wares better because those pieces were designed for that body size. It makes me cringe when I walk into a store and I see clothes-pins holding a shirt onto a mannequin because its so scary-thin,” said commenter Architectgal.

Glamour has been leading the way in showing “realistic” models in recent years. They’ve featured Crystal Renn, who is now considered “plus-size,” at least once a year since 2009; they had a flood of positive letters that same year after running a photo of a model with a belly-roll. The girl, Lizzie Miller, became known as “The Woman on Page 194.”  Read the rest of this entry

The benefits of compliments


One night in Bali, I decided to go compliment a girl's black and white dress, she was on her way to compliment my red skirt - we met halfway.

A few days ago Jennie Tezak, my friend and classmate, mentioned she recently set a goal of giving three compliments a day. It reminded me of a study I read (one that I can’t find, but remember the gist of), saying that the person who gives the compliment gets just as much joy as the recipient.

Tezak confirmed this, saying the idea was mostly random, but she realized she felt good after receiving compliments and wanted to “pay it forward.”

Quite a few people would say Tezak is on the right track. Brett Westcott and Cameron Brown, for instance. The duo became known as “The Compliment Guys” at Purdue University after standing in a common spot on Wednesdays and giving out compliments to everyone who passed. They kept it up until Brown graduated, and said in a 2011 article that they’d heard students copied the idea at other schools, some using it to stop bullying.

Debby Hoffman, a motivational speaker, and Kathy Chamberlin, both of New Hampshire, created National Compliment Day in 1998, according to Gloria Wall of the Journal Review of Crawfordsville, Ind. It’s a “day set aside to tell the people in our lives how much we appreciate them.” The pair went on to write “Find Something Nice to Say: The Power of Compliments.

Literature throughout the web extols the benefits of giving sincere compliments: improving relationships, boosting one’s own mood, getting ahead at work. As a girl who has always given compliments to loved ones and strangers, I have to agree, and add I think it also makes one a better recipient of compliments. When you have your eyes open to the good in others, you start appreciating the good in yourself.

It’s a pretty good way to live.