Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Will Looking at Images of Fit Women Help Black Women to Lose Weight?

Cross-posted at Beyond Black & White

What is Fitspiration?
Based on what I have read online, "fitspiration" or "fitspo" is the process of creating, collecting, watching, and reading things that will inspire you to become physically fit. It can include collecting photos of fit women, making and watching videos, collecting and sharing inspirational quotes, and creating inspirational online posters combining images and quotes. I'm talking only about fitspiration not "thinspiration" where girls/women collect and share images and quotes of underweight women to support their eating disorder. This post is NOT about thinspiration or that pro-ana stuff, fat acceptance, or feminism. It's about inspiring yourself to become really fit using motivational images.

So I have decided (once again) that I want to become one of those really fit people and lose 20-30 pounds to look my best and be healthy (Whatever the reason you have for eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, the results are still going to be the same...better health and better looks. So no need to fuss about why you want to do it, just do it!). So, along with calisthenics, I plan to do 10,000 steps on the treadmill daily while I watch something on the computer. But I wanted to watch something inspiring instead of just TV shows and movies.

So I thought it might be helpful to look at fitspiration videos! I collected a bunch of them on YouTube...actually I collected over 170 that adds up to 8 hours of video! I started exercising and watching the videos and noticed there were very few Black women in them. So I searched for some with Black women and only came up with a handful. This is not a complaint post and I am just as motivated looking at non-Black women. It motivates me because by eating right and exercising I will be a fit, slimmer version of myself, able to run better and dance better, and I will healthier. I will be a part of the same lifestyle even though I don't look exactly like them. I don't get fixated on seeing someone looking exactly like me or "trying to be someone else", I'm more motivated by the control, dedication, attitude, and proof that a healthy lifestyle is possible and beneficial.

Would Black Women Benefit from More Fitspiration?
I'm wondering if BW seeing more fitspiration would inspire them to become healthier and fitness-minded? Maybe because a lot of the BW we see around us and in the media are overweight, or just not involved in fitness, maybe that makes us think it's not a lifestyle for us (i.e., fitness is for White people). Maybe if there were more of us in Nike commercials that would actually make a difference (I'm just not into looking like Serena). Maybe if we were in more of the fitness and healthy eating commercials and magazines then we would think that lifestyle was for us. No, I'm not using this to start a petition of athletic/fitness/health product companies, I am using it to understand why BW may not think about diets, healthy eating, and becoming gym rats the way White women do. If it's due to lack of media images then I'll have to collect those images myself and expose myself to them! I'll have to frequent fitness websites and videos regardless of race and have this lifestyle etched into my consciousness so that I want to achieve it all day every day.

I accept that 99% of the young women who make fitspo videos are White so they choose other White women for their videos so that doesn't bother me and I won'r complain to them. Could it also be the case that they couldn't find many images of fit Black models (e.g., bikini models, fitness models, dancers etc.)? The collected images are from magazines and advertisements posted online, or even photos fit women take of themselves so maybe there are just not many images of fit Black women available? My first instinct was to search Google images, Tumblr, and Pinterest to find images and make my own videos. But I changed my mind because there are a lot of things I want to do so I'll leave it up to someone else for now..hint hint! Below are two examples of Black fitspo videos and I prefer the first one. Here are two examples of  White Fitspo videos:  video1 and video2. I didn't make any of these videos and they have some images I don't like too, but they are good enough :)

By a man who likes fit Black women!

I wasn't inspired by this video. This might be by a man too!

There were a few videos of fit Black women, but when I compared the Black videos to the White videos there were some differences that made them less motivating to me and possibly a turn off to some women:

1) The Black videos featured a lot of body builders who were way to muscular and this would turn off any woman who doesn't want to look like that. On the other hand most of the the White videos had some fitness models (slimmer with less muscles) or women who looked like models and dancers.
2) The Black videos  featured a lot of athletes especially track stars during competitions so they were not made up, with their hair done, posing to look perfect, or perhaps Photoshopped. So a physically attractive BW with some extra pounds might actually think she looks better than the fitspiration women. The White videos had more professional models looking their best, in the most flattering poses, and probably Photoshopped to make them look even more perfect. They had attractive bodies AND faces unlike in the Black videos.
3) The most motivating and attractive Black women were actually featured in videos made by MEN for MEN and not labeled fitspiration! I could tell that the White thinspiration videos were made by women. The male influence may bother some women (it doesn't bother me though).
4) On the positive side, many of the White videos had women who were very underweight and celebrities who have reported having eating disorders so I don't want to watch those videos. Fortunately I didn't see any such women in the Black videos so that's a good thing.

For the Fitspiration Critics
I don't know if fitspiration is right or wrong, but it exists and I think it will help me. Some people don't like fitspiration (e.g., those who only support "self-motivation" with no looking at other people for inspiration to do anything, and those against trying to improve your physical appearance for any reason. For example article1 and article2...objectification blah blah blah). Others think it's obsessive and are fearful that if they start dieting, eating healthy, or working out that they will become addicted and end up with anorexia or doing crazy things to get thin. Others feel bad about themselves when they see fitspo because they think it is impossible to achieve and don't see the value of even trying. So if you are fragile, have a history of eating disorder, know you have the tendency to go overboard and do crazy things, and if fitspo makes you hate yourself then it's definitely not right for you. But for those of us who know they will never try to starve themselves, don't want to look like waifs, and trust themselves to not go overboard, then fitspiration may be a helpful tool to help you achieve your fitness goals. It doesn't make me feel bad because I know I can do it and I have in the past so it's attainable. I don't think "fitspiration is something only White girls do and they all have eating disorders". I think to myself, 'A lot of White girls and other people seem to be able to keep their weight down and are into healthy eating and fitness. They seem to be getting benefits for their actions so maybe I should get some of those benefits for myself! If it works for them maybe it will work for me and if they can do it, then I can do it because they are not better than me.'

Some BW will insist that BW are genetically predisposed to be fat, being thin is Eurocentric so Black women shouldn't bother with it, and you can be fit and fat etc. I don't listen to that stuff because it will sabotage my goals of being super fit and hot! I'm just going to believe that we're overweight because we are too sedentary, eating too much convenient but unhealthy and calorie dense processed food, and eating restaurant food too often (if it was just genes then BW in the 60s, 70s, and 80s would have the same weight problems we have today). Cut all of those things out and the weight will come off. I choose to believe that and work to get in shape rather than complaining, thinking I'm supposed to be overweight, or not doing anything.

P.S. Not sure how this one will fly. This is one woman's opinion. Please don't fear that this one post will suddenly make all Black girls anorexic and permanently self-loathing. Remember if you read fitness magazines, do exercise DVDs, or see commercials then you are being exposed to fitspo so I didn't really introduce you to something new. The post was about looking at photos of fit women that other people have posted online. If you don't want to look at them you don't have to. If you don't want to get fit you don't have to.

Online Weight Lost Tools, Fitspiration Sites, and Related Articles
My Fitspiration Playlist (I haven't watched all the videos so save the playlist to your own account and edit out the ones that you don't like and those that have unhealthy images).
Zuzana Light (formerly on BodyRock TV, she motivates me like crazy)
Sparkpeople.com (free fitness and meal tracking with many features, cell phone app available)
http://blacknfit.tumblr.com/ (not bad but it included men)
Black women do work out 
Fit is the new black
Google images for Black women fitspo
The miseducation of fitspo: Why these sites can help you meet your goals

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Showing too Much Cleavage

I went on a great first date last week. It was great except that I wore an outfit that showed too much cleavage. It didn't look like too much when I looked at myself in the mirror, but by the time I got to our meeting place, my top had migrated downwards and my bosom was bulging to the delight of my date. We joked about it but I would have preferred to make a different first impression. I had worn a cardigan with a camisole underneath to cover my bust. Unfortunately, the camisole just didn't stay up.

Some of you may have experienced a similar problem. Due to the size of my chest I just have to accept the reality...I have to wear large or extra large tops to accommodate it. Most men think about sex and like to look at attractive women, but they do this more when you are bulging out of your top (or when you are wearing very short or skimpy clothes). That is not the look that I am going for.

Some of you may say this isn't a problem, show your cleavage, don't hide it, it's men's problem if they stare, and you don't care if other people don't like it. Well that's not a battle I want to fight and it makes me uncomfortable to be so exposed. Sometimes I want to get that attention, but it's annoying when I want to cover up by my clothes just won't let me! If you don't want a men starring at your chest all night or only seeing you as a sex object then this problem has to be solved. So here are some ideas I have used and will use soon to make sure that I don't show too much cleavage anymore:

1) Buy tops that don't reveal your cleavage: I bought some yesterday. Unfortunately I have a large chest and large arms so many of the cute tops just didn't look right (elbow length sleeves are best for me. I think I just need to lose the weight and then the arm problem will go away). Even if a collar looks good on the hanger, I have to try it on because they often end up stretching lower than I would have imagined. Trying things on is a must! If you are a thrifter and a sewer then you can buy tops with higher collars and then cut  and hem them so that they are the perfect size for you.

2) Add lace to the bust areas of revealing tops: This is the next thing I plan to do. I will buy small pieces of lace in black, white, and the colours of tank tops and other tops I already have. I will cut the pieces to the appropriate sizes and then sew them into the tops. That way I don't have to go searching for new tops and I like the feminine touch of lace anyway.

3) Add fasteners to gaps between button holes: I had so many cardigans that I wasn't wearing because there were large gaps between the buttons that revealed bare skin underneath. So I bought some clasps (they were inexpensive) and sewed them on every cardigan that needed them. This took quite a while but it was worth it! You can use metal fasteners, plastic clasps, hook and eye fasteners, or velcro if you want.

4) Wear camisoles: Remember how your mom would make you wear cute little undershirts under your clothes? They came in packs (e.g., Fruit of the Loom). Unfortunately they don't sell them like that for women so you will have to buy separate camisoles. Camisoles are good but sometimes they do slip down and reveal too much because they are stretchy. I think that I have to permanently shorten the straps on some of mine so that they stay up. You can also wear tank tops. I think that camisoles would be easy to make from t-shirts, clothes you don't wear, and some elastic, with some lace at the top if you like.

This blogger loves camisoles and states that you can wear many more tops, even revealing ones, if you just wear a camisole underneath (she has some good fashion advice to make the best out of your wardrobe). I don't recommend Cami Secret because they really aren't wide enough for someone with a wide chest and the bottom part doesn't stay in place. It seems to only work for v-necks (maybe I just need to sew a better version). The Essential Cami looks a bit better (hopefully it can be worn higher because even that shows too much cleavage for work in my opinion. I would totally sew that myself). There are camisole bras available but I would prefer something removable and changeable.

5) Sew up collars and revealing openings: You can also always hand stitch the openings of certain tops (e.g., v-neck tops) so that they are not as low. If a top can be pulled over your head then you can permanently stitch the spaces between buttons closed.

The most important thing is that you are comfortable and that you look the way you want in the clothes you bought with your hard earned money. If there are items in your wardrobe you aren't wearing because they show too much cleavage then hopefully this helps :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Desensitized to Suffering or Just to Your Complaints?

Okay, this post was written out of frustration/boredom related to a Beyond Black & White post called Reciprocity: What does it mean to you. I must say that I haven't had many ideas about what to write lately and I'm losing some interest in blogging because there are other things I want to do (e.g., sewing, I need to exercise more, the weather is getting better and I want to get out and do things. I know that sometimes I complain about things but I have made a concerted effort for months to reduce how much I complain and vent online and offline (I wrote about this previously HERE and HERE). I chose to do that because I know that complaining is unpleasant and useless if I don't plan on doing anything about the problem. I would rather spend time doing something more pleasant with my friends. It's actually helped me to feel happier and more mellow about things. 

It's fine discussing something for the sake of making conversation, but if the issue is emotional or controversial I just don't bother doing it much because it doesn't benefit anyone. The problem online is that sometimes an interesting conversation for me can upset others when that was not my intention whatsoever. So once I realize someone is upset online I leave that person alone because it wasn't serious to me and I didn't realize the other person was taking the online discussion so seriously. I know that I am not perfect and some of my posts may come off as frustrated venting, but really, I haven't vented online in a long time and I haven't been upset while writing one of my posts in a long time. I write because I enjoy it or I'm bored not because I'm an activist, expect to change the world, or that what I write actually matters. It's not that serious...

I'm still reading Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus (I think I read one chapter per month lol so I've been reading it for a long time). The book mentions something that I learned about previously regarding ways men tend to communicate when compared to women. Basically the book states that men tend to make complaints to others for the purpose of getting advice about how to ACT on the problem or SOLVE the problem. In contrast, women often make complaints just so that they can VENT and have someone listen to them while being supportive and showing empathy without the expectation that they or their audience do anything about the problem. Although both genders can use both forms of communication, men are more likely to make a complaint for the purpose to getting advice or prompting someone to act on the complaint. If they don't need help or want something done then they don't bring the problem up. You have probably heard this before.

I think that when it comes to reading blogs I think like a man! Men often become frustrated with women when they complain to them about something (especially when it's the same thing over and over) but they refuse to take their advice about how to solve the problem. Or when the women keep getting upset over something they have no control over and expect that the man gets upset too, pay attention to the complaint (that they may have heard dozens of times before), and endure the intense emotional venting. If they become bored with the complaint and the venting they are accused of "not caring" about the woman or whatever issue she is complaining about. A man in such a situation may ask himself,

"Why in the world is this woman complaining and getting upset over and over again about the same darn problem? Didn't she learn the last dozen times that she can't change the situation, so why is she still focusing on it? Why doesn't she take any of my advice about how to deal with the problem so that we don't have to go through this anymore? Why does she ruin her day by getting upset and insist that I ruin my day by listening to her and getting upset too? Does she enjoy getting upset and does it make her feel like she is a good person or something? What does she get out of this draining and depressing behaviour and why does she need me to feel drained and depressed with her? I wish she would just do something about the problem or just stop wasting both of our time getting upset and worrying about it!"

When I hear certain complaints over and over sometimes I just want to yell, "Do something about it or stop complaining because I have better things to do! This is useless and doesn't benefit anyone! Don't drag me into your masochistic pit of despair!" I mean since you care about the person you listen the first few times and are very concerned. You want to help and stop the suffering. But after a while you wise up and realize, 'Oh, she just likes to complain and vent about things sometimes. There is no need for me to get worked up because in a few minutes she will get over it and move on. She's like Jerry Seinfeld complaining about things to pass the time but she's not really that upset or else she would be working to solve the problem.' I mean seriously, it's like someone getting a flat tire and complaining day after day about it and don't want you to fix it...fix the darn tire already or shut up!

Over the years I have heard women and people in general complain about certain things online and in the media so often that I'm desensitized to their complaints and don't get concerned anymore. It's just the usual venting about the frustrations of life that they do to pass the time, the situation won't change any time soon, and they don't really want to work on the problem anyway. Sometimes I engage in those conversations just to pass the time but I don't get upset anymore because what's the point, it's online not my real life. In many cases these are first world problems (link2; i.e., problems that those with serious problems don't worry about because they are busy trying to survive. Yes I know I write about first world problems most of the time...and I don't take it seriously either. If your complaint has anything to do with celebrities or entertainment those are first world problems but I get that you are using to demonstrate a larger social problem. Many people will still dismiss it as trivial though). What are some examples of complaints that I don't feel like listening to anymore?
  • Complaints about celebrities, television, or music. I know that people (including myself) sometimes use celebrities, TV, and music as examples of more important social problems or a symptom of social problems. But if the issue is that a celebrity said something, there are not enough Black people on TV, or a song says something objectionable I just don't feel like listening anymore. Write about the social issue and it's complex contributing factors instead of complaining about a particular celebrity. Better yet, stop paying attention to gossip blogs and entertainment. I will just listen to commentary about good shows, music, and role models.
  • Complaints about being fat. Do something about it or accept that you are fat and stop complaining about it. When someone gives you advice that what you are doing is keeping you fat, take their advice or never complain to them again. You have a brain, you decide what is too much, don't rely on me to tell you what is too much and what is unhealthy. I will just listen to commentary about how to lose weight and stay fit.
  • Complaints about certain people not finding you attractive. Make yourself more attractive, only focus on the things about you that are attractive, or only pay attention to the people who do find you attractive. When someone tells you something about you is not attractive and how you can improve, take their advice or never complain to them again. Accept that men and most people prefer attractive women. I am so tired of the complaining that I really don't care anymore what you do to make yourself look attractive, do whatever you think is appropriate. You have a brain, you decide what is too much, don't rely on me to tell you what is too much and what is unhealthy. I will just listen to commentary about how to be attractive and people who find Black women attractive.
  • Complaints about non-Black people not including or preferring Black people. Accept that all people prefer their own, stop expecting to be included or being surprised when you are not, and create your own resources and groups that will include and prefer Black people. I will just listen to commentary about Black people who have been included.
  • Complaints that some people are racists or say insensitive or mean things to Black people. Report it if you have to but accept that everyone won't like you for whatever reason and race is just one of those reasons. Accept that people are mean to other people for many reasons and racists are just mean people who don't warrant your attention. Accept that non-Black people's lives don't revolve around finding out what offends you and reading manuals about how to act around you so you might get offended. Think about all the times when you have been mean and stop giving mean people so much power over you. 
Now, if something is incredibly horrible, unusual, or effects someone I KNOW PERSONALLY then yes, I may get upset and I will listen. If I know the horrible details and someone is right in front of me upset about something that happened to them PERSONALLY then I will be concerned and empathetic. But I will no longer be concerned when someone online is upset about something that DID NOT EVEN HAPPEN TO THEM and that they have no intention of doing anything about the situation. I don't have time for that and I don't need that in my life. This is entertainment and I don't spend time on entertainment that makes me feel bad anymore. I would rather focus on the people around me and on things that I can actually do something about or things that make my life better. In my opinion, taking on negativity to make internet strangers feel better is being a mammy and a mule by sacrificing my time and emotional well being so that a stranger feels cared for. That's a sacrifice for your family and friends not for a stranger on the internet. 

I'll end with some questions I was wondering when I read the original post: Why do you need me/internet people to listen to your complaint or get upset about it? Why do you need me/internet people to care and how does my/our caring help you? Will your problem go away if everyone in the world cares yet can not or will not do anything to help? Do you think you are better/more human/more well adjusted than others because you pause to think and talk about negative world events?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hypergamy and Black Women Marrying Up

Cross posted at Beyond Black and White...

I think my blog  is all about hypergamy and becoming a high quality woman, because it feels great to be one and because it makes you attractive to high quality men. I think that a lot of Beyond Black & White and BWE articles are about hypergamy too. So what it hypergamy?
Hypergamy (colloquially referred to as "marrying up") is the act or practice of marrying a spouse of higher caste or status than oneself.[1]...The term is often used more specifically in reference to a perceived tendency among human cultures for females to seek or be encouraged to pursue male suitors that are higher status than themselves, which often manifests itself as being attracted to men who are comparatively older, wealthier or otherwise more privileged than themselves or their current partners.[2] According to evolutionary psychologists, females have evolved a preference for higher status males because they offer their prospective children both "better" genes and greater resources, e.g. food and security. Men, who invest less in their children, have less reason to prefer mates with high social status. Some have even argued that males "marry-down" to ensure that their mates have a higher incentive to remain faithful. (source)
With non-Black women, hypergamy has to do only with wealth, class, privilege. Unfortunately, Black people and Black women have been devalued so much throughout recent history that we have more reason than most non-White women to marry up. Some Black women come from extremely poor and lower class backgrounds and marrying up would help them to leave that poverty. Due to us being Black, some people automatically place us below non-Black women so marrying up would place us at the same level or even above many non-Black women. Because some people devalue Black women they expect us to be satisfied with sub-par men who treat us way worse than they treat non-Black women. Some will even say we are only good enough for Black men so we should not date interracially. We are expected to accept this because supposedly don't deserve any better.

Well people who devalue Black women can go jump off a bridge because I won't let them tell me I deserve less than non-Black women! I'm not going to "settle" for less if non-Black women don't have to. I'm fully behind hypergamy or just marrying someone on your level. Personally for me, I'm not expecting someone to make more money than me, but I'm expecting someone better than what the mainstream or certain Black people expect for Black women. I expect a man who is attractive to me, has good character, has an education, a good career, no criminal record, no band of baby mamas, and a wedding ring for me before I have his children. I will not listen to outsiders who try to convince me and other Black women that we don't deserve those things and we should settle for less.

On my blog I have written about ways that I have tried to improve myself because if you want to marry up then you have to be a high quality woman (I also wanted to improve myself because I just wanted to be the best I could be). To me that doesn't mean a rich or upper class woman, it's about being well-rounded, having useful skills, being attractive, having good manners, and having good character--being the ideal and highly desirable woman. I felt that I needed to improve in some areas so I did it. I think that many women can improve their qualities so that they can marry up too. Some men support hypergamy and some do not. Men who are of high quality and status often condone female hypergamy because they are able to attract the best women, so it benefits them. They seek out high paying careers, work out, dress well, and drive expensive cars because it makes them attractive to women and makes them look better than other men. Because these men are highly valued then they are able to date and marry highly valued women.
On the other hand, men who are of lower quality are opposed to female hypergamy. They will try to convince women to put aside their desire for someone attractive, without a criminal record, with and education and career, without baby mamas, and the possibility of a marriage proposal. They want you to lower your standards and marry down. What's interesting is that these men fully support male hypergamy--dating and marrying women who are way out of their league! These men have little to offer but they go after highly attractive and successful women and feel they deserve these women because they are supposedly "nice guys". Many of these men are jaded because they have been passed over by high quality women due to their below average looks, character, communication skills, wealth, career, and other factors. Many of these men have joined groups to rant about how evil women are or groups focused on learning skills/tricks to get women to think they are of higher quality. This is where the Pick Up Artists (PUAs) come in.

PUAs are men who read and learn tips/tricks from other skilled PUAs about how to pick up women. The PUA masters use their tricks to get many women to sleep with them with no intention of having relationships. Many act as though they want a relationship just to get women into bed. I LOATHE these men and they can be downright misogynists! Their goal is to sleep with attractive women who would never sleep with them if it was not for their game personas and tricks. However, there are also socially awkward or less desirable men who use PUA lessons to make themselves appear more confident, funny, and attractive to women. To me that doesn't sound bad, in fact it sounds a lot like what I write about on my blog and many articles/books about what women can do to become more attractive (everything you have ever read/heard about how to attract/please/keep a man is pretty much female game theory. It teaches you what to do to get/keep a guy by doing things that you would not normally do). These men are trying to improve themselves so that they can get better women so I don't have a problem with that. In real life I have been approached by 4 PUAs. They knew just what to say and they didn't try to get me to sleep with them (2 did get my phone number. The first one told me all about PUAs. I figured out the second one was a PUA the next day. It turned out he was an expert and trained the next 2 guys who approached me!!!) . They were just charming and friendly and we had great conversations. The less experienced PUAs were awkward and shy. I was not attracted to them but they did not seem like bad guys.

So no, I would not look down on a guy who has read PUA material, it would just depend on what his attitude was towards women and what he was looking for. If he thinks women owe him sex and that we are all evil then obviously I want to avoid those guys like the plague. But if the guy thinks he is lacking in the looks and personality department and uses PUA tips/trick to appear more appealing, then that's fine with me (I would be a hypocrite if I looked down on that). I think that it's fine if women and men try to marry up as long as you are not creating an entirely false identity or lying just to get someone in bed or to the wedding chapel. Self-improvement is a great thing but use it for good not evil :)

Related Articles and Websites:

What's wrong with PUA (a woman's opinion)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What Kind of People Thrift Shop?

I think that Black women should really look into becoming thrifters. I aim this at Black women because I hear the statistics about how they don't have enough savings and thrifting is a great way to save money yet still get all the clothing and items you want and need. You can look very fashionable and people can't tell that you thrift shop if you don't want them too. You can keep it a secret and just have people believe that you can afford to buy everything full price ; ) So if you need to save money because you are underemployed, a student, or just want to save money, then thrifting is definitely for you. It's a great way to start off your feminine wardrobe or get professional wardrobe for job hunting or your new career.

Have you ever noticed that when you go to the mall the clothing items are very similar? That's because stores follow fashion trends so different stores will carry very similar items. Also, they will only carry items from the current fashion season which is again being trendy. On the other hand, at thrift stores you can often find things that are actually on trend because fashion trends come and go and old fashion trends come back. So why spend $80 on a pair of skinny jeans made last month when you can spend $5 on a retro pair (well if you like skinny jeans). Instead of just buying what's available and trendy at the moment and using that to determine your style, at a thrift store you can choose from at least 30 years of fashion. If you shop vintage of course you can shop and create a style from several decades of fashion. With more options you have the ability to create a unique style and look different from everyone you know.

You can also alter thrift store clothes and not worry too much about ruining the items. I finally got a sewing machine so I can alter the things I buy to fit me perfectly and I can also transform clothing items into totally new pieces! My first two projects were turning a t-shirt into a pencil skirt and making a loose skirt into a pencil skirt and they look great! So this will make thrift shopping a totally new experience because I can buy items just for the fabric (it's really expensive to buy from fabric stores), buttons, zippers, straps, and whatever I need to make my own projects. I have to goal of making every item in my wardrobe wearable. So large items will be resized, small items will be given away or somehow made into larger items, or I will take parts of the small items (e.g., buttons, zippers etc.) and use them to make new items. I barely shop in retail stores anymore so I could make it a goal to not buy any new (i.e., non-thrifted) clothing items for a year (well except for underwear of course).

I have quite a few projects already lined up: 1) add snaps in between cardigan buttons so that they close without leaving unflattering gaps (instead of cursing the size of my chest lol); 2) turning full skirts into pencil skirts; 3) turning dresses into skirts or even peplum tops; 4) turning mens suits into skirts, dresses or dress suits; 5) revamping old dress suits into more modern styles; 6) turning knit shirts and t-shirts into pencil skirts in many colours...and the list goes on.

So, some of you might be wary of thrift shopping so I wanted to show you some videos of some people who thrift shop. You might be surprised! They look very fashionable and well put together with great individual styles. Many of the vloggers below have multiple thrifting videos that you can watch. Notice all the name brands, store labels, and designer labels they mention. Also remember you can get great household items and fashion accessories from thrift shops too. Shopping vintage and buying antiques is no different from thrifting...you are buying previously owned and used items. Also, all those celebrities you look to for fashion ideas, a lot of them have stylists who choose their clothes and styles, they often get clothes for free, and they can afford expensive items while you can't. You have to live within your reality instead of trying to live the celebrity lifestyle you can't afford. Instead of spending money on clothes, spend it on your education, health, property, savings, and investments because those things are way more important :)