You guys! It’s here! A+

Stop the presses, everyone!  Anthropologie has finally expanded their size range to include both petites AND larger sizes.  Their new A+nthropologie items go up through a size 26W, and I could not be happier.  Over 120 new items, including dresses, tees, jeans, blouses… I am thrilled.  The only caveat is that their expanded line is only available in select stores and online, but I am hopeful that Anthro will expand availability in the near future.  In the meantime, I love that they have a great assortment of pants especially — tops can be easier to find, but a good pair of pants can be hard to track down, as can a well-cut dress.

I have to say, I am so pleased with the styling of this collection.  The models look wonderfully confident in their own skin, and they are seamlessly integrated into catalog photographs and ad space.  The clothes can easily be found by size, but they have not been shuffled off to a sad corner to exist in a silo — pieces are integrated well into the existing product line-up.  Bravo, Anthro.  It is encouraging to be seen and included.  A few of my favorites, below:

buttoned top  slim jeans  patterned tee  gingham dress  relaxed chinos  pocket joggers

Women creatives

Happy International Women’s Day!  In celebration of women, the work we do, and the world that we shape, here is a round-up of artwork and ceramics by women makers that I’ve been loving lately.

There is something feminine and strong about these paintings by Bernadette Marie Pascua.  She is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York City.

Humble Ceramics, created by by Belgian-born artist Delphine, offers artisan pottery made with mindfulness and intention in South Los Angeles, one small batch at a time.  I love their Alder tumblers.

On Society6 you can find art prints by Tracie Andrews, an abstract artist based in the UK.  The considered colors and shapes make me smile.

Bobby Clark is a Scottish artist and photographer who currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.  Her latest artworks “explore the symmetry and balance of shapes, creating minimal studies of shape composition,” which I find both meditative and inspiring.

I covet this small half mesa bowl from OATMEAL.  Elise Birnbaum is a maker and founder of OATMEAL, where objects are designed and made with care in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — ethically and with respect for the material and the people they are making for.

Support women, support artists.  Happy International Women’s Day.

 

The Last Romantics

“We believe in love because we want to believe in it.  Because really what else is there, amid all our glorious follies and urges and weaknesses and stumbles?  The magic, the hope, the gorgeous idea of it.”

–Tara Conklin, The Last Romantics

last_romatics_cover

This past weekend I devoured the new novel The Last Romantics from Friday night until late Sunday.  Quite frankly, I didn’t want to put it down.  Tara Conklin does a masterful job of drawing us into the lives of four siblings, weaving a story I found both arresting and vividly meaningful.

Spanning from their childhood in the early 1980s through to a slightly dystopian 2079, the Skinner siblings deal with the sudden death of their father, their mother’s depression that follows they call only “the Pause,” and the lives they lead in the years that follow.  Conklin deftly explores what love means, and loyalty — how family ties bind and break, pull and twist us into the people we become.  Romantic love is peppered into the narrative, but the overarching theme is familial love, how it shapes us, and the heaviness and the light which it carries.

Conklin’s writing reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver by way of Lauren Groff, yet with her own voice and style that make for a deeply engaging novel, one that resonated with me long after I turned the last page.  A rich, rewarding read.

On men, power, and a yearning for something better

small_woman_symbolI wrote this all in a rush of words about a year and a half ago, just to get it out of my system for myself.  I think perhaps it’s time I shared it, as it remains as pertinent as ever.  #metoo

  –C.M.D

I’ve got this very particular kind of yearning going on.  Expansive.  A yearning in just about every area of my life, small and large and in-between.  I had an unpleasant epiphany that I am not sure I have the energy to write out, about men and power and women.  I realized that even though I consider myself lucky to have never been assaulted, some of my most embarrassing moments as a young girl were because of men and their behavior — and I finally realized they were not my fault.  Because they were not overtly sexual or “abuse” it never occurred to me to frame these encounters this way, but a great blog post on Cup of Jo and an excellent piece by Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker on how men implicate their victims in their acts made me rethink things.

“…one of the cruellest things about these acts is the way that they entangle, and attempt to contaminate, all of the best things about you. If you’re sweet and friendly, you’ll think that it’s your fault for accommodating the situation. If you’re tough, well, you might as well decide that it’s no big deal. If you’re a gentle person, then he knew you were weak. If you’re talented, he thought of you as an equal. If you’re ambitious, you wanted it. If you’re savvy, you knew it was coming. If you’re affectionate, you seemed like you were asking for it all along. If you make dirty jokes or have a good time at parties, then why get moralistic? If you’re smart, there’s got to be some way to rationalize this.”

–Jia Tolentino

Joanna Goddard mentioned that every woman has these kinds of moments, and that we all seem to consider them “nothing” because they are so pervasive in our daily lives.  Her account of being a harassed and kissed by her boss at only 14 years old made me cast farther back in my memory than I ever have when thinking about whether I have had issues with men being inappropriate (until now I have only considered my life as an adult).  I was so surprised to realize that yes, I have, and that they are some of the most embarrassing moments of my childhood.  That I was sweet and shy was not my fault — what kind of man thinks it is appropriate to tease a 5 year old about having hair on her legs?  Are they already supposed to be hairless, the better to attract?  To be sexy?  I was mortified, petrified, and so, so ashamed of my body, for reasons I did not understand. And I hated every moment that I had to sit in that truck next to that man.  Why is the ability of a man to say whatever comes into his head so much more valuable, more legitimate a need, than the comfort and perception of safety of the woman (or girl) he feels the need to speak to?  Likewise I was uncomfortable and embarrassed to be asked about Morro Bay by a man in Home Depot.  I had never been to Morro Bay — the jaunty hat I was wearing was a souvenir I was given, and I liked that it was a sailor hat.  I hated being approached by a stranger, and hated being put on the spot.  He felt large and loud and looming.  I don’t think I ever wore that hat again.  Typing it out or trying to describe that encounter… it seems relatively innocuous.  But I think there is something to gut feelings, and in hindsight… well, he was certainly not offering to help me find my parents.  And that is not including all the microaggressions that are just “nothing” to us.  The older men who have called me diminutive names.  The harassment I got from boys my age in school.  The boy in 2nd grade who would chase me around the playground, for example, so instead of playing I spent my recesses hanging around the yard duty (who did nothing to stop him from hassling me).  The boy in 5th and 6th grade who would taunt me with ”monkey legs” during P.E., who left me, again, mortified about my body.  But insults and harassment mean a boy “likes you.”  If you complain, you’re told “boys will be boys,” and what’s the harm?  Is it any surprise that we grow into women who don’t speak up?

It is somehow terrible to realize and freeing to consider — that these embarrassments were not because I was too shy, or to naive to get the joke, or too sensitive, or overreacting.  The women I was so sad for in the Weinstein bombshell — those articles that made me feel ill — they are all of us.  I am part of that.  I am a women that blames myself.  It is so insidious and cruel, to turn the best things in us into liabilities, into faults, into reasons why we deserved what we got, what we get. And in a twisted way, it almost makes me feel more helpless.  To know that, albeit in comparatively small ways, men have successfully made me feel small.  And they have made me feel responsible for that smallness.

I don’t know what the answers are. I want so desperately to believe we have come a long way, that things are better than they were, but then I see the way these courageous women are belittled when they speak up.  “Why did she wait so long to say something?” “Why did she accept a settlement?” “She must have been in it for the money.” “She was asking for it.” “Welcome to Hollywood.” I am left with such melancholy, that there is so little regard for half the world’s population.  That I am a part of that half.  I should be respected as a person, regardless of whose daughter or sister or friend or wife I am.  I should not only matter in the context of the men I am related to.  Add this yearning to the rest of the pile.  I am a pile of aching yearnings, big and small.  I am yearning for something better.

Day to night

img_0595I had a personal triumph on Friday and just had to share.  Yes, that’s right… I successfully navigated, in fact NEEDED, to transition from day to night!  Now, I know what you are thinking: is that really a thing?  I hear you!  I didn’t think so either.  Margaret Lyons and I have clearly been on the same page thus far.  But Friday night I had a concert performance, and of course I had work during the day.  Behold!  A day-to-night opportunity was born.

For my orchestra concerts I need to wear all black, but at the office I prefer not to look like I am going to a funeral.  Also I prefer not to wear evening wear to the office (for obvious reasons).  My outfit for the evening consisted of a silky black top with a dramatic tie-waist, slim cigarette pants, a trim black blazer, and black heels.  To day-ify it, I swapped the blazer for a medium wash denim jacket, and wore leopard loafers instead of the heels.  My same pair of filigree earrings went from slightly bohemian to elegant with just a jacket change.

Yes, Virginia Margaret, there is a Santa Claus need for day-to-night outfits.  I am living proof — AND I lived to tell the tale.

blazer  cigarette pants  cupro tie top  black heels  filigree earrings  denim jacket  leopard loafers

conditional retraction

schiele_sitting_woman_with_legs_drawn_up
‘Sitting Woman with Legs Drawn Up’ by Egon Schiele (Narodni Galeri)

 

(for now) there is stillness amidst

what was once her maelstrom

whirling slowed into a lilting-soft song/dance

less frightened, more eager

no longer slamming her body against the walls

of an invisible cage

(for now) she is perhaps not sated, but quiescent

he has soothed the beast within

brought her light

velveted the darkness

into an appealing purple twilight

she has sheathed her claws

(for now) they do not reflect the cold moonlight

instead (for now) she allows his warmth

to thaw her edges

–Charla M. DelaCuadra

 

 

Get ready to vote!

suffragettes

Despite all of my concerns for the world today, the tragic violence of yet another mass shooting, and the dismal reality of each day’s news, I am buoyed by hope.  Midterm elections are this November 6th, and I encourage each and every one of you to seize your power and your voice.  We all lose when we are silenced.  Your vote matters, and your voice matters.

Joanna Goddard shared four things to do to get ready to vote, including helpful resources to educate yourself if you are feeling a bit lost about where your polling place is, what the issues are, or even how to get to the polls.

I believe in us, and I believe in our country.  Remember, a journey of 1,00 miles begins with a single step.

(Photo via The Sunday Post 16th May 1911)

Bravo!

universal_standard_foundation

Today Universal Standard launched their most inclusive collection yet: Foundation.  I know I have mentioned US a couple of times before, but in case you are new to the brand, they have been doing amazing things to improve inclusion in women’s fashion in the last couple years.  With Foundation, they are even closer to their goal of breaking down existing barriers and giving all women fashion freedom.  US is now offering 7 new wardrobe basics from size 00 to size 40, with each being custom designed for fit and comfort.  I find their attitude and aspirations so inspiring!  Not only are they offering clothes for as the widest range of sizes, ages, and body types that I know of, but they are thinking hard about good fit, good construction, and great style in the process.  Bravo, US!  You are a much-needed voice in the fashion world.