Outfits Style Fashion Lookbook

Bras are a fashion trend men are finally trying on

If you were to ask your great-grandmother what the purpose of a bra is, she would probably say function. If your great-grandmother were to ask you the same question, you would probably say fashion. This is because Vanity Fair started selling leopard print bras in 1953, which, according to Vogue, “transformed underwear to fashion statements” and forever changed “the way we think about lingerie.”

With each decade, bras have moved closer to the surface of wearable fashion. Rather than underwear, bras have become outerwear. While our parents’ generation most likely views bras as invisible garments worn underneath clothes, millennials and Generation Z-ers are styling bras to be hyper-visible in any outfit, and even doing away with shirts altogether. But this trend didn’t start with us.

Y2K fashion (from the late ’90s and early 2000s) has made a comeback, which is arguably where the bra-as-a-shirt trend originated. In 1996, the late singer Aaliyah was in a Tommy Hilfiger campaign sporting her then-favorite look: designer boxers and low-rise jeans. Instantly iconic, this look has since been imitated by a variety of brands and celebrities. Calvin Klein, Supreme, and Savage X Fenty have all turned this look into a bra and underwear set sold as simple cotton “undergarments” lined with a band featuring the brand name.

Casual underwear sets are so commonplace in today’s fashion lexicon that it’s been easy to overlook the group—men—that wasn’t as well versed in this style. But no more. In the year of our style lord 2021, men are starting to discover what can be accomplished when one wears a bra for fashion rather than function—because obviously, anyone regardless of gender can wear a bra for any reason.

SHINee’s Taemin literally broke the side of the internet where K-pop fans dwell after releasing his latest MV for his title track “Advice.” Per usual, he showcased a variety of compelling looks, but none more compelling than a white cropped tracksuit revealing a matching Supreme set.

While fans are not quite sure if the top of the set is a bra or a cropped shirt, this look is a recreation of the casual underwear sets typically worn exclusively by women in the mainstream. The resulting look is androgynous, fun, and should be hanging in a museum.

Four days later, Holland posted a photoset on Instagram and Twitter of him wearing a bikini bra top with biker shorts. I repeat: the look is androgynous, fun, and should be hanging in a museum.

Fashion is genderless, and yet bras are still gendered in the mainstream. While more underwear brands are launching genderless bras—for functional and fashionable purposes—it’s refreshing to see men like Taemin and Holland helping to break down any remaining bra-rriers (see what I did there?).

In addition, fashion has always pushed boundaries. This has spurred movements in which various articles of clothing have been deemed more fluid. Men donning bras joins a long list of clothing pieces that have switched from traditionally coded as feminine to genderless. Crop tops, skirts, and dresses have all been worn by the likes of Billy Porter, Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator, Jaden Smith, Conan Gray, Harry Styles, Troye Sivan, Keiynan Lonsdale, Kid Cudi, and more who are toying with the construct of gender in important ways.

If men start wearing bras for fashion, this could help challenge the sexualization of women’s bodies. Of course, breasts are not sexual. While some have more fatty tissue than others, this is a phenomenon that spans all genders. And yet, it is women’s breasts that are controversial, immodest, and vulgar—a misconception that recently inspired a Florida high school to edit its female students’ yearbook photos for “dress code” violations.

A bra is a bra just like breasts are breasts. A person wearing a bra is simply a person wearing a bra. Sometimes it’s for function; sometimes it’s for fashion. If anything, I hope this is a style trend that catches on with all genders, because it is pretty fashionable by today’s standards.

It will be interesting to see how Taemin and Holland spark conversations around possible new fashion trends. It will be even more interesting to see how these conversations inspire a greater movement around more autonomy for all.

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Outfits Style Fashion Lookbook

Here are 8 tips on building a sustainable wardrobe without breaking the bank

We’re well aware of the importance of sustainability in fashion, but how can we enact ways to become sustainably conscious? Well, wonder no more – here is your handy guide on how you can build a sustainable wardrobe. 

It doesn’t involve spending lots of money on sustainable fashion brands. It’s more focused on appreciating the clothes already owned, becoming more informed and changing your mindset when it comes to shopping and buying.

1. Wear what’s already in your closet

Folded tops, sweaters and jeans
[Image Description: Folded tops, sweaters, and jeans] Via Sarah Brown on Unsplash
The most sustainable and ethical thing we can do is wear what we already own. Sustainability begins with what we already have, not what we can get our hands on. According to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, author of ‘You Are What You Wear’, we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. That’s a whopping 80% of our clothing we don’t even wear!

So instead of shopping or browsing for new clothes, take the time to sift through your wardrobe and create new outfits or different combinations with pieces you don’t regularly wear. You’ll be surprised how you’ve refreshed your style just by shopping your own wardrobe!

2. Download the Good on You app to become an informed shopper

Good on You logo
[Image Description: Good on You logo] Via Good on You
‘Good on You’ is an ethical rating app that allows users to check the credentials of fashion brands. They encourage consumers to make better decisions when it comes to buying clothes. Ratings are based on the brands’ ethics towards people, the planet and animals. To be an informed shopper and to find out how your favorite brands are performing ethically, simply type the brand name in the app. The app also provides news, exclusive offers and gives you the opportunity to discover ethical and sustainable fashion brands.

3. If you buy, buy clothes that you know you’ll wear again and again

A woman wearing white long sleeved top with scarf browsing clothes in a shop
[Image Description: A woman wearing a white long-sleeved top with scarf browsing clothes in a shop] Via Burst on Pexels
There are a huge amount of resources that go into making our clothing. Our clothes are being made by garment workers who are not being paid a living wage. Their condition has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic as brands have refused to pay for clothes already made pre-pandemic, leaving garment workers without wages and pushing them into poverty

There’s also the environmental impact that comes with buying new clothes. Research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that if we doubled the number of times we wore a garment, then Greenhouse Gas Emissions would be 44% lower per garment. 

Why are so many resources being used to make our clothes if we’re not even wearing them? Every time you intend to shop or you see something you like to buy, ask yourself whether you’ll re-wear the item. Re-wearing and appreciating the clothes you already possess can make a huge difference.


4. Check out the #OOOTD (Old Outfit Of The Day) hashtag for inspiration

Photo of Venetia La Manna wearing an old outfit of the day (OOOTD)
[Image Description: Photo of Venetia La Manna wearing an old outfit of the day (OOOTD)] Via Venetia La Manna on Instagram
The #OOOTD hashtag was started a few years ago by broadcaster and sustainable fashion campaigner, Venetia La Manna, to encourage outfit repeating. Influencer culture combined with clever marketing techniques from brands has rapidly affected consumer buying behavior – this has led to our overconsumption of clothing. Buck the consumerism culture and instead learn to be content with what you already have. The #OOOTD can help you with that, you’ll be inspired by others who are loving their clothes and repeating their outfits!

5. Check out the Love Your Clothes website

Love Your Clothes logo
[Image Description: Love Your Clothes logo] via Love Your Clothes
The Love Your Clothes website provides simple care tips on how to keep your clothes looking intact and make them last longer. There’s guidance on how to buy smarter, care and repair your clothes (wash your clothes less!), ways to refresh your style and how to keep unwanted clothes out of the landfill.

6. Invest in quality

Close up shot of a woman wearing a peach dress and black jacket
[Image Description: Close up shot of a woman wearing a peach dress and black jacket] Via The 5TH on Pexels
If you decide to go shopping, check the quality of each item you’re thinking of buy. What fabric is being used? Will the color fade after a few washes? Can the item be repaired if it’s ripped or broken? Will this item last for a long time? Am I going to wear this item again and again? Do I already have something similar to this in my wardrobe? Scrutinize new clothing purchases with these questions so that you purchase for quality and longevity.

7. Work on changing your mindset when it comes to shopping

Smartphone with 'No online shopping today!' text, next to folded clothes
[Image Description: Smartphone with ‘No online shopping today!’ text, next to folded clothes] Via OneSave/Day on Unsplash
Changing your mindset will come with time as it’s become easier than ever to purchase unwanted items through online shopping. We can buy the next on-trend piece without leaving our home – a few clicks on our smartphone and it’s on its way!

Sustainable fashion campaigner Gaia of ssutainably_  posted on Instagram how you can stop yourself from impulse buying. Her tips include avoiding browsing when you’re bored, understanding your emotional triggers, tracking your spending, and more. Take the time to assess your shopping habits and see what little changes you can make which can help you in the long term.

8. If you do want to shop, try secondhand shopping

Clothing shop with a neon sign that says 'Vintage Clothing'
[Image Description: Clothing shop with a neon sign that says ‘Vintage Clothing’] Via Kei Scampa on Pexels
Buying secondhand clothing lets you merge your love of fashion whilst remaining sustainably conscious. 

eBay, Depop, and Vestiaire Collective are dominating the resale market – consumer interest for secondhand clothing is growing and is expected to disrupt the fashion retail industry as we know it. The changing consumer attitudes towards secondhand clothing, driven by millennials and Gen-Zers, will help progress us towards a more sustainable way of living. 

Not sure of where to start when it comes to shopping secondhand? This handy post by ssutainably_  gives you the do’s and don’ts, so you can thrift with ease. Make sure to check out your local charity shops too! 


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Culture Life

Why I am constantly drawn to lavender

I find that my most blissful moments remind me of the strong, calming scent of lavender. For one reason or another, I relate it to a lot of the more meaningful aspects of my life. To me, lavender is like a feeling; like the wind brushing up against your skin.

While I think that lavender is largely optimistic, I also find a certain sorrow that is comfortable, even humble, in its presence. I’ve come to appreciate it in every shape and form – the color, the flower, the scent. Its hard to place; not sweet or bitter, but rather musty. 

Lavender manages to incorporate itself into my life seemingly on a whim and in the most fleeting of moments. We have a peculiar relationship. I am stomach-knottingly anxious in the presence of many, especially when I first meet them. But, with some, I sense lavender, and I know that something great is about to happen. It is more of a feeling than anything else. Just talking to some people can be rejuvenating, and perhaps it is because our meeting reminds me of that warm, soft smell of a mid-spring day when the sun is bright and pure, and the entire day lies ahead.

Nowadays, when I am feeling an emotion that is simply beyond words, I say that I am overflowing with lavender. 

According to etymology, the English word “lavender” is derived from the Latin “lavare,” which translates to “to wash.” It is a necessary refinement – a cleanse. I am purified with every utterance of the word. 

Perhaps it’s not just me. In literature, lavender has been used significantly as a token of love. To me, it’s more like a notion of love at first sight. Shakespeare offers a bouquet of “hot lavender” in The Winter’s Tale. Cleopatra also roots lavender with love, as she is said to have used its sultry perfume to seduce both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Christians are also known to have used it as a repellent of evil. The plant is said to have been taken from the Garden of Eden and is sometimes found hanging in a cross shape above the doors of some Christian households as a means of protection. There are so many songs with the title lavender, my favorite being by The Beach Boys, and there have also been many poems written about it, too. Take, for example, this quote by an anonymous writer, “as rosemary is to the spirit, lavender is to the soul.” 

Lavender is swift, like a movement, carrying me in and out of perfectly imperfect moments. The vision of it is rather uplifting as well. It stands delicately tall among the rest, but it is not intimidating either. I adore its confrontation. In fact, I look forward to it. 

Outfits Street Style Style Fashion Lookbook

23 Black fashion influencers you absolutely need to follow

We all know how Instagram can change peoples’ lives, build unprecedented careers, and highlight amazing voices. However, most of the top fashion and beauty faces we see across the grid and featured on media platforms are white. From fashion tips to feeds that mirror your favorite magazine spreads, these are the women whose style we can’t get enough of.

Between the top-notch style and eye-catching imagery, we’re not sure why you wouldn’t want to follow these badasses.

1. MsKristine

MsKristine wearing fitted denim jeans, a white top, and a long yellow blouse.
[Image description: MsKristine wearing fitted denim jeans, a white top, and a long yellow blouse.] Via MsKristine on Instagram
Former plus-size blogger turned fashion designer, Kristine Thompson is the founder of KIN, a shopping destination for everyday women. Fun fact: each letter of ‘KIN’ stands for a member of her family.

Her pieces are timeless and prove that you can be both trendy and curvy.

2. Stylishcurves

Alissa Wilson wearing a blue pencil skirt with yellow vest
[Image description: Alissa Wilson wearing a blue pencil skirt with yellow vest.] Via Alissa Wilson on Instagram
Alissa Wilson is the fashion editor behind Stylishcurves, a plus-size brand featuring vibrant but classy outfits. Part of her mission is to offer stylish clothing options to women of all sizes and backgrounds.

If you’re a professional looking for cute clothes, look no further for inspiration.

3. Slipintostyle

Elizabeth Delphine wearing pink pants with a red plaid blazer
[Image description: Elizabeth Delphine wearing pink pants with a red plaid blazer.] Via Elizabeth Delphine on Instagram
Elizabeth Delphine, the model and Instagram influencer behind Slipintostyle is effortlessly chic with a style reminiscent of Parisian haute couture.

If you like colorful and unique pieces, you’ll fall in love with her feed.

4. Fashionvoice4u

Ajibe Oge wearing a red jacket dress with a black oversized purse
[Image description: Ajibe Oge wearing a red jacket dress with a black oversized purse.] Via Ajibe Oge on Instagram
Fashion designer, Ajibe Oge, created Fashionvoice in 2016. The name of the platform reflects her idea that fashion has the potential to give someone a voice.

If you like colorful flowy summer dresses and funky headwraps, you should stop by her shop.

5. Romeosfashionfix

Juliette Foxx wearing turquoise pants with black and orange top
[Image description: Juliette Foxx wearing turquoise pants with black and orange top.] Via Juliette Foxx on Instagram
Every week is fashion week according to influencer Juliette Foxx and we couldn’t agree more.

Her style is casual, yet equal parts trendy and edgy as well. If you like fierce looks with statement pieces, you’ll feel right at home on Juliette’s feed.

6. Amandafinesse

Amanda Finesse standing on a sidewalk, wearing a dress with black boots, a hat, and sunglasses
[Image description: Amanda Finesse standing on a sidewalk, wearing a dress with black boots, a hat, and sunglasses.] Via Amanda Finesse on Instagram
Amanda Finesse is a New-York based style influencer and personal shopper. She provides women the tools to dress for success and believes in promoting diversity and inclusion in fashion.

If you like fun and bright fashion with a unique twist, you’ll love her feed. You can also check her out here.

7. Karenbritchick

Black woman sitting on kitchen counter, wearing a green summer dress
[Image description: Karen Blanchard sitting on kitchen counter, wearing a green summer dress.] Via Karenbritchick on Instagram
Karen Blanchard is a fashion YouTuber and Instagrammer who encourages women to own their style. Londoner living in New-York, she vlogs about what everyone is wearing in the big city.

Her fashionably laid back style is everything and her blog ‘Wheredidugetthat’ can help you emulate her!

8. Annemarieamber

Black woman posing on a set of stairs, wearing a copper colored outfit
[Image description: Anne Marie Amber posing on a set of stairs, wearing a copper colored outfit.] Via Annemarieamber on Instagram
Chicago blogger Anne Marie focuses on fashion for petite women. Her feed is a stunning mix of neutrals and classic outfits with some accent pieces thrown in.

Follow her Instagram page if you can deal with aesthetic envy!


Black woman standing in the street wearing blue shorts and a white shirt
[Image description: Stacey Robinson standing in the street wearing blue shorts and a white shirt.] Via Thisandthatfashion on Instagram
Stacey Robinson is a lifestyle and fashion blogger from Alabama. She’s a mom of three daughters who are all into fashion.

She created her blog to show young women that you don’t need a lot of makeup or expensive clothes to look amazing.

10. Veilbydaraadams

Black woman in a white wedding dress looking at her reflection and smiling
[Image description: Black woman in a white wedding dress looking at her reflection smiling.] Via Veilbydaraadams on Instagram
Dara Adams is a bridal fashion stylist committed to helping women of color feel seen in an industry that otherwise fails to represent them.

She wants to break any preconceived notion of what a bride of color “should be” by encouraging women to be fashion-forward.

11. Lovebstyle

Brittany (lovebstyle) wearing royal blue fitted pants with matching crop top and ankle length vest
[Image description: Brittany (lovebstyle) wearing royal blue fitted pants with matching crop top and ankle length vest.] Via Lovebstyle on Instagram
Brittany is a Chicago based fashion Instagrammer. Her style is comfy, cute, and feminine. 

She’ll be your virtual shopping buddy. 

12. Monroesteele

Monroe wearing a bright yellow dress with oversized belt
[Image description: Monroe wearing a bright yellow dress with oversized belt.] Via Monroesteele on Instagram
Fashion blogger, Youtuber, and editor-in-chief of @steele.magazine, Monroe knows all about the best deals and brands to support. 

If you love colorful, elegant, and modern looks, you’ll fall in love with Monroe’s feed. 

13. SoniqueSaturday

Sonique wearing kaki colored oversized pants with white tank top
[Image description: Sonique wearing kaki colored oversized pants with white tank top.] Via SoniqueSaturday on Instagram
Sonique is a fashion designer, stylist, and overall inspiring woman based in LA. Her aim in life is to encourage women to go after their dreams and to look fierce while they do. 

Check out her designs here

14. Yvettecorinne

Yvette wearing a green ankle-length flowy skirt with matching head wrap and plunging v-neck tropical print yellow top
[Image description: Yvette wearing a green ankle-length flowy skirt with matching head wrap and plunging v-neck tropical print yellow top.] Via Yvette Corinne on Instagram
Yvette is a Texas-born blogger, model, and content creator. She’s all about fashion, lifestyle and beauty. 

Check out her blog to learn how to style the latest trends and get the latest on skin care tips. 

15. Marfarlane

Martina wearing a blue dress with white flowers, looking into the camera
[Image description: Martina wearing a blue dress with white flowers, looking into the camera.] Via Marfarlane on Instagram
Martina, the face behind Marfarlane on Instagram, is a Jamaican fashion blogger passionate about telling stories through imagery and poetry. 

16. Stephstyleguide

Stephy reading a magazine sitting in bed, wearing an orange dress
[Image description: Stephy reading a magazine sitting in bed, wearing an orange dress.] Via Stephstyleguide on Instagram
Stephy D. is a fashion blogger and stylist based in Dublin.

Love prints and dresses? You’ll feel right at home in Steph’s feed. 

17. Styledbykemi

Kemi wearing a navy blue dress, smiling at the camera
[Image description: Kemi wearing a navy blue dress, smiling at the camera.] Via Styledbykemi on Instagram
Kemi Ajibare is a personal stylist from D.C. 

She embraces the beauty of individuality both in life and fashion. Check out her blog for style and wardrobe tips. 

18. Ambermystery

Adeola Olajide wearing a white lace dress
[Image description: Adeola Olajide wearing a white lace dress.] Via Ambermystery on Instagram
Adeola Olajide is the creator and designer of Ambermystery, a brand dedicated to bringing ethical fashion to forward thinking women.

19. What_maya_wears

Maya wearing a black and white checkered pattern pencil skirt with a white top and black blazer
[Image description: Maya wearing a black and white checkered pattern pencil skirt with a white top and black blazer.] Via What_maya_wears on Instagram
Are you a tall woman? If so, Maya’s feed is perfect for you!

This London fashion blogger is all about finding cute clothes for tall women.

20. Stylebymenikkib

Nikki B. wearing blue denim shorts with a gray shirt tied up at the waist
[Image description: Nikki B. wearing blue denim shorts with a gray shirt tied up at the waist.] Via Stylebymenikkib on Instagram
Nikki is a New-York based model and personal wardrobe consultant. She’s a believer that less is more when it comes to fashion. 

Her streamline approach is reflected in her timeless and classy outfit choices.

21. Marlee_eliza

Marilee wearing a pale blue dress with matching headband
[Image description: Marilee wearing a pale blue dress with matching headband.] Via Marlee_eliza on Instagram
Fashion blogger Marilee makes comfy and casual look effortlessly chic. 

If you love a cute and approachable style, look no further than her feed for inspo. 

22. Allyne_ann

Allyne wearing a blue flowy dress and smiling at the camera
[Image description: Allyne wearing a blue flowy dress and smiling at the camera.] Via Allyne_ann on Instagram
Allyne Ann is all about “styling real life and building community” through slow fashion. 

Her style is bright and fun, it will bring sunshine to your feed!

23. Eccentric_beauty_

Erin wearing green shorts with pink flowers pattern with matching blazer and black tank top
[Image description: Erin wearing green shorts with pink flowers pattern with matching blazer and a black tank top.] Via Eccentric_beauty_ on Instagram
In her own words, Erin is “the girl next door who came here to slay” and we couldn’t agree more. 

Her looks are fierce and her confidence is inspiring. 


Did your favorite make the list? Let me and The Tempest know who else should be on our fashion radar by tagging us on social media @wearethetempest!

Also, if you’re looking for more fashion inspo, check out our 10 thrifting-focused fashion influencers you need to know about.

Fashion Lookbook

7 fashion trends that need to die in 2020

2020 is just around the corner, which means Christmas shopping, resolutions, and jam-packed stores are well on their way. And while the ‘new year, new me’ mentality is still fresh in our minds, let’s direct that sense of renewal and change towards saying goodbye to some of fashion’s biggest sins from this past year!

I am all for self-expression, but there are some trends that really make me want to scream, “WHY?” and also, “HOW?”. The worst part is that these trends have gotten immensely popular, which is as concerning as it is surprising.

Here’s a recap of 7 fashion trends that emerged in 2019, but definitely should not make it into 2020.

1. Boiler suits

A woman wearing a dark navy blue boiler suit.
[Image description: A woman wearing a navy blue boiler suit.] Via Amazon.
I feel like this trend is having an identity crisis. I don’t even think it knows what it is, let alone what it wants you to be when you wear it.

It doesn’t know whether it wants you to be  a skydiver, a member of a quarantine unit, the latest inmate on OITNB, or an extra on Top Gun whose 4-second appearance got cut out in post-production. Whatever the case, this look does not belong in your closet.

2.  Dad sneakers

Gray, white, and blue colored jogging shoes.
[Image description: Gray, white, and blue colored jogging shoes.] Via Amazon.
I get it, they’re comfortable. They make you feel like you’re walking on air. But – and I hate to be the one to break this to you – they don’t look nice worn with dresses, skirts, or any attire that is not intended for running. They don’t compliment the outfit at all.

Besides, they’re called ‘dad sneakers’ for a reason. Pass them on to your old man and move along.

3. Bike shorts

A woman standing with one knee bent wearing a white top, white sneakers, and gray biker shorts.
[Image description: A woman standing with one knee bent wearing a white top, white sneakers, and gray bike shorts.] Via Forever 21.
I don’t even want to know why anyone thought these would be okay to wear as an everyday look. They are not complimentary at all. Say it with me: in 2020, we save gym-wear for the gym!

4. Puff-sleeves or power shoulders

A woman wearing a pink puff-sleeved shirt with a python-printed pleated skirt and black open-toed heels.
[Image description: A woman wearing a pink puff-sleeved shirt with a python-printed pleated skirt and black open-toed heels.] Via SaksFifthAvenue.
Hi, the 80s called, they want their unnecessarily dramatic shoulder silhouettes back.

I never understood why or how the padded shoulder look made its way into the fashion world, both in the 80s and now. I also don’t understand why anyone would want their shoulders to look so puffy. It makes everything look so disproportionate!

 5. Birkenstocks

A woman wearing black jeans and tan Birkenstock sandals with orange nail polish on her toes.
[Image description: A woman wearing black jeans and tan Birkenstock sandals with orange nail polish on her toes.] Via Flickr.
Why are we even having this conversation? When did this become fashion? I feel like 2019 has turned into the year of wearing anything and everything that’s in your dad’s closet. Stop it!

6. Puffy, fluffy, or pom-pom sandals

A woman with toenails painted bright white is wearing sandals covered in fluffy yellow pom-poms.
[Image description: A woman with toenails painted bright white is wearing sandals covered in fluffy yellow pom-poms.] Via IvyRose.
Unless you plan on auditioning for Sesame Street as the newest Muppet, don’t do this. I don’t care how comfortable they are, these better be the first trend to die in 2020.

7. Cargo pants

A woman stands against a white wall wearing dark cargo pants with a white shirt.
[Image description: A woman stands against a white wall wearing dark cargo pants with a white shirt.] Via Flickr.
Yet another item we’ve taken from dad’s closet! One we should have left there. This style never belonged in any year or decade unless you were a member of the armed forces. May it die in 2020 once and for all!

Which trend is your most hated, and which is your – dare I say – favorite?

Music Pop Culture

Alessia Cara is reshaping cultural expectations around beauty and we’re so here for it

Recently at the Met Gala, we saw a lot of colorful looks. The stars arrived adorned in glittery outfits and with their hair styled to perfection. Their appearances sparked conversations among people around the world. Some looks were admired while others received bitter criticism.

A lot of effort went into creating all these glittery, colorful looks. If we read closely into this, it becomes clear that all these celebrities feel the need to look a certain way at events—different, beautiful, the best that they can look.

These celebrities, even if unknowingly, are enforcing impossible ideas about beauty.

But in their midst, there’s a young star, who has refused to swim along with the stream.

Her name is Alessia Cara, and she is breaking traditional norms around the concept of beauty through her music and appearance. She has dared to be herself again and again.

I heard Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” at a time when my self-esteem was the lowest it had ever been. I was listening to her song on repeat—its lyrics gave me hope that I craved in my dismal life.

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are

Cara’s music is edgy, youthful, powerful and inspiring. There’s defiance in her words. They urge you to be yourself even when the world wants you to be someone else.

But you and I, we’re pioneers, we make our own rules
Our own room, no bias here

The message threaded in her carefully-worded songs is loud, clear and important—she tells her listeners to never be apologetic for being themselves, to escape tradition, culture and conventions, and reinvent themselves—to be who they are.

It takes courage to extricate yourself from society’s expectations. The pressure to conform to these expectations weighs most heavily on celebrities. They are expected to look a certain way, to act a certain way, to be a certain way. Some celebrities have made certain (mostly impossible to achieve) beauty standards the norm. Audiences now expect all of them to look the same—perfect, unreal, ethereal human beings.

And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

Cara has taken on the task of redefining beauty measures and promoting a healthier, more real self-image.

She hasn’t achieved this through her music alone but also through her appearances at different events.

The best example is her performance at the VMAs in 2017 where she sang “Scars To Your Beautiful”. In the beginning, she was dressed in a red gown with jewels dangling around her neck and her hair coiffed. As the song went on, the back dancers tore away the red dress, messed up her hair and took off her make up. By the end she was only wearing a plain black tank top and black jeans.

Her performance exhorted audiences to break free from the traditional measures of beauty and appearance. Her message was simple yet powerful—be who you are and not what others want you to be.

The new-age culture embodies stereotypes that especially pivot around female celebrities’ clothes. Cara is slicing these reductive stereotypes into halves by constantly dressing in clothes that are traditionally considered men’s clothes.

Cara’s music has personally been extremely important for me as it set me on the path of self-acceptance. I embraced my flaws and looked at myself differently. I realized if anyone’s opinion is important in my life, it’s my own.

It’s a well-known fact that her words have had the same effect on millions of others. But even then, she’s given much less recognition, appreciation and value than she deserves.

Her music and appearance both resonate with ordinary people. She’s real, she’s beautiful, she’s just like us. Her songs make us realize that everyone’s beautiful in their own way. And that we don’t have to change for the world. After all, we’re stars and we’re beautiful.

Fashion Advice Lookbook

Fashion helped revamp my confidence and became my main source of expression

Senior year is the year that every high school student looks forward to. Celebrations and fun adventures occur as we approach graduation and go out into what adults say “the real world”. But for me, this experience was different. The second semester of my senior year was when I realized I wasn’t myself. The majority of March, in particular, was when I started to feel a shift in my personality. I was constantly stressed with school, trying to figure out what college I would commit to, and I basically withdrew from my group of friends. I was starting to feel unhappy and unsatisfied with myself and how my life was going. Because of this, I started to lack in self-confidence.

For a long time, I cared about what people thought about me. I would think to myself: “Does he/she think I’m annoying?” “Am I too quiet?” “I probably shouldn’t have said that.” I was also trying to impress my teachers with my school work, club sponsors with my leadership, and colleges with my applications. If I did something wrong, I would blame myself right away. This constant overthinking wasn’t good for my mental health. One thing led to another and I felt alone and stuck. I was at my lowest breaking point. I even started to have thoughts that I knew could have hurt me. 

Instead, I turned to the creative, innovating nature of fashion.

Fashion was something that I was once interested in when I was younger. My dad gave me a fashion sketchbook when I was 13 after hearing I wanted to be a fashion designer at the time. I would sketch different designs that came into mind and put them on paper. I around that same time, I would look at the outfit that I chose the night before school the next day. I just knew that one specific outfit would make me feel more confident. After all, my mom always said: “dress to impress”. I would stand in my closet doorway and ponder. But, I would always change into a completely different outfit out of fear of what others would say about what I was wearing. But then I realized that I had to start putting myself first before others. 

Now as a young woman, I take my inspirations from my sketchbook and wear it out. By that, I put on a bunch of nice and fashionable clothes, sometimes even wear makeup and make myself look and feel good. I would spend almost an hour figuring out what outfit I would like to wear and ended up embracing myself. 

Most of the time when I dressed up I was bored, but honestly, it made me feel like I could take on the world. I would look through my closet and without any hesitation, I would pick an outfit that I think best suits me. I found out what colors look best on me, what hijab materials were my favorite, and what kind of style I like.

I would take a bunch of selfies, some of them with the biggest smiles on my face. I truly felt happy in my own presence.

After this, I started to care less about what people thought of me. I would wear whatever made me look and feel good without having second thoughts. Many people would compliment me saying that I looked beautiful and nice in a particular outfit. Slowly, I was starting to regain my confidence again.

My advice for those who are trying to gain confidence within a creative hub is to find out what gets you out of your comfort zone. If it’s fashion and makeup, look for different styles and concepts that you like. Follow our own trend. In the end, you will truly feel like yourself. I would also like to mention again to put yourself first before others. It might sound selfish, but if you put others first, then it just creates negativity. Put the focus on yourself. 

Fashion not only become a coping mechanism but a new hobby as well. It has taught me how to love myself again both inside and out and to express my individuality. Not only that, but I learned more about myself through this outlet. For example, I look for modest clothing styles on Pinterest and Abayatopia to get inspired on what I would wear on a future occasion. I discovered that people like Daniela M Biah, Dina Tokio, and Meghan Markle were my fashion inspirations. And how aesthetics can play into fashion and how they can define you. I am forever grateful for how fashion has played a huge role in my life and has helped me healed through times.

Beauty Lookbook

Want to feel healthier? Start dressing better.

Anyone who’s taken a shower and put on a full face of makeup when they’re running a 101 fever knows, when you look good you feel good. It’s not always about vanity. It can simply be about feeling prepared, confident, and ready to take on what the world has in store for you.  

When I wear formal clothes, I get nervous. It’s not that I’m afraid of falling ( I’ve actually played a game of football in a pair of high heels). It’s because dressing up comes with the expectation of acting the part – which I don’t think I’m capable of playing.

That’s because what we wear is more than just a method of fitting in with our environments. Clothing and makeup are more like the armor you wear to battle, or the costume you wear on stage. It’s what lets others know you’re prepared for anything.

Look Good, Feel Better is a charity that uses this very premise in an incredible way. They aim to raise the self-esteem of people undergoing treatment for cancer. The volunteers at Look Good, Feel Better know that the physical changes for those undergoing cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy can leave people feeling awkward.  This forces them to become reclusive while undergoing treatment.

To combat those feelings of poor body image and negative self-worth, Look Good, Feel Better offers complimentary beauty sessions to help those who are in treatment and recovering from a cancer diagnosis. They cover it all, from helping a woman put on a wig, to helping a person liven up a complexion turned ghastly from the side effects of chemotherapy.

It’s a fact that increasing self-esteem does more than just increase your confidence – improving what psychologists have termed “emotional immunity.”

Have you ever stewed over a rejection or negative comment, and wondered how for others, it doesn’t affect them at all? The secret is a good emotional immune system.

Good emotional immunity also means that you can be more resilient to anxiety and stress, meaning that you can actually impact your physical immune system as well!

Further, taking the time to pick out an outfit that makes you feel confident, applying makeup, and contributing to your daily hygiene are all methods of self-care that are often understated. Self-care isn’t always a spa day or a fantastic bath bomb; it can be something as regular as taking the time to brush and style the hair the way you want or wearing a fragrance that you find calming.

Even animals understand why self-care is a needed practice.

Monkeys will participate in social grooming because the release of oxytocin makes the action calming and wonderful. In fact, when stressed, rats will start compulsively self-grooming to make themselves feel better.

Take a little time each morning to pump yourself up with the very hormone that makes people wonderful to be around. I’m sure you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.

So next time you want to wear a little extra makeup or dress extra nice for work – don’t feel embarrassed. Looking good doesn’t have to be about vanity.

It might just be about feeling good as well.

Fashion Lookbook

5 ethical clothing brands that everyone should know about

Presented in partnership with Fashion Revolution.

I’m an adamant believer that if you believe in something, you should apply it to all parts of your life – you don’t get to pick and choose where it fits in. 

So I can’t pretend to care for the world and continue to buy products that are not human/animal/ environment-friendly can I?

I don’t know about you but knowing that my clothes and jewelry are produced and sourced in an ethical and sustainable way definitely makes me feel good. If I feel good on the inside, it always reflects on the outside. I know, you’re now imagining very dreary potato sack-like outfits, but its 2018 folks. It’s time we buy from ethical clothing brands.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for a fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry; the UAE edition of Fashion Revolution took place a few weeks back and was action-packed with pop-ups, panel discussions, workshops, and a sustainable fashion show, with collections designed and created by students!

It’s super easy to dress up with ethical clothing brands and slay at the same time.

Gina Rodriguez Ladies GIF
[Image Description: Gina Rodriguez snapping her fingers and twirling her head with the caption “Like SLAY”] Via

Teesing is a Dubai-based company that produces cute tops made out of 95% bamboo fiber.

Why bamboo? Well, the benefits are actually too many to count. The first and most obvious reason is that bamboo fiber is eco-sustainable. Yaye! Another ethical clothing brand!

Fun fact: bamboo is a super fast growing crop that doesn’t need fertilizer and regenerates without the need to be replanted. So if you’re going for a hassle-free, good-for-the-world clothing choice, then bamboo is the one. It’s also great for sensitive skin, has inbuilt UV protection, high absorbency, and natural antibacterial properties.

We get it, we get it: Teesing is great for the world, but did I mention how cute and sassy some of these t-shirts are?

2. Numa Collection

This is a stunning collection of jewelry and accessories made from recycled gold, sterling silver, and brass. More than that, you can instantly see the effort that has been put into making each piece an unforgettable addition to your own collection.

The collection was created by Melika Dahlouk, as part of her mission towards “sustainable creativity.”

The entire process of creating these gorgeous pieces from start to finish follow human- and animal-friendly guidelines, which makes buying yourself one, two,  – or maybe three! – pieces totally justifiable, right?

3. Eklectik

If you are looking for custom made, breath-taking jewelry that will last you a lifetime, then Eklectik is perfect. Now, this isn’t the place for flimsy seasonal pieces that barely survive the month. Eklectik creates the kind of wearable art that you want to pass onto your children (I mean if you don’t want to be buried in it that is). Have you ever wanted something but struggled to find it in real life? Like you can imagine it perfectly, but there is a chance it doesn’t exist? Well, fear not, you bring the vision and they will create the jewelry for you.

Personally, I love the idea of owning something that is truly one of a kind.

4. Vice Jewellery

For pieces of jewelry that are a little more affordable but just as creative, Vice Jewellery has you covered.

This UAE-based brand offers women’s jewelry and men’s jewelry, all of which is far too tempting to pass up.

Each individual design is bold and created to stand out from the rest. There is just something so rustic and unique about these designs- personally, I’m in love with their super cute bloom stud earrings.

5. Swarovski

Okay, so you’ve all probably heard of Swarovski’s beautifully-crafted crystals – they really are something to behold.

But what you possibly don’t know is how committed to sustainability this brand is. Swarovski is committed to using the most responsible crystal available, as well as other materials of the future.

They are constantly for more ways to ensure that sustainability is incorporated at all stages, as well as ways to collaborate with others so that the industry does better as a whole. I mean, sustainability is a great plus to these absolutely stunning pieces of jewelry.

Fashion Lookbook

This is how to build the perfect capsule wardrobe

Summer is just around the corner, so it’s time to put together your summer capsule! While capsule wardrobes may be in vogue online, it can be so challenging building one from your own closet. While capsules seem new and trendy right now, they follow the basic principle of wearing what you love most and fits your life best. 

According to a study done by ClosetMaid of 1,000 American women, the average woman has 103 items in her closet but she considers 21% to be “unwearable”, 33% to be “too tight” and 24% to be “too loose”. That’s a whole lot of clothes that you’re not wearing. Intentionally choosing the clothes can help make dressing easier, more functional, and more sustainable.  I have tried (with varying degrees of success) to make myself a the perfect capsule wardrobe and learned a couple tips and tricks along the way!

What even is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is when you pull a smallish number of clothing items that seamlessly work together that you can wear for a period of time. For example, some people choose thirty-three items (clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.) to wear for three months. This is commonly referred to as 333. But thirty-three might be too big or too small a number for you. Caroline from Un-Fancy does thirty-seven pieces in 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, 15 tops, 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats.  The idea behind the capsule is that you can eliminate some of the difficulty of dressing every day by having a set number of things that seamlessly work together to make you look and feel amazing.

[bctt tweet=”Intentionally choosing the clothes can help make dressing easier, more functional, and more sustainable.  ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Where do I start?

If you’re completely new to fashion-with-less, you can start getting some inspiration from online style blogs and Pinterest. I start by taking every single piece of clothing out of my closet. Yes, I do this three or four times a year. And while it may seem like a really arduous, messy task it helps you evaluate the clothes you have and what you may need. I sort my clothes into three piles: love, kinda like, dislike and seasonal. The “love” pile generally is incorporated into my capsule. The “kinda like” pile is usually put back into my closet. And the “dislike” pile is sorted into sell and give a new home or put into a box in my closet. The dislike box is taken out the next time I clean out my closet and either goes into the kinda like pile or is sold. The “seasonal” pile has things like down jackets, snow boots, and sandals– things that are only functional in the right season. I keep them in my closet and wait for the right capsule to incorporate them into. Reassessing your closet can help you get rid of items that no longer serve you.

[bctt tweet=”Capsules help you wear what you love most and what fits your life best!” username=”wearethetempest”]

How do I pick my clothes?

I generally start by choosing a time frame that could specific dates, seasons, or whatever you want. Generally I look at the weather of the time period, my plans for that time period whether it be school or work, and any special occasions. This can help you choose shoes, outerwear, and give purpose to your clothes. I only choose pieces that are comfortable, fit well, and serve my needs.

After I have sorted my clothes, I pick out three major color, four minor colors, and a couple of accent colors for my capsule. This allowed for most of my wardrobe to be worn together and look put together together.

I wore my capsule from the end of January to mid April. My main colors were black, white and red. My accent colors were grey, denim, maroon and navy blue. And I chose leather, gold, and stripes as my accents  And I chose thirty winter pieces: 3 pairs of shoes, 7 bottoms, 5 sweaters, 2 dresses, 10 tops, 3 jackets and 1 scarf. I did not count underwear, socks, or workout clothes in my capsule. I am currently not wearing a capsule right now, rather taking time to reassess my clothes and wear some of my dislikes, kind of likes, and plan for my summer capsule.

Why I capsule:

Ultimately, I capsule because I like doing more with less. Before I capsuled, I was often overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. I felt like I wasn’t taking risks with my clothing and was wearing the same thing everyday. With a capsule, I intentional create style risks that I feel comfortable taking, plan my outfits on my Stylebook app, and know that my clothes make me look and feel great. And I hope a capsule can do the same for you!

Fashion Lookbook

Do you know about the ugly afterlife of your clothes?

During the summer of 2015, I was on a bus visiting a farm in Eastern Province, Rwanda. We were jostling down dirt roads surrounded by small homes, shrubs, and a couple other motorcycles on the road. The sun was shining down on our rural landscape and I was annoyed when our bus had to stop because a car ahead had broken down. Soon word got out that Americans were stuck on the road and young children began to flock to our bus to ask us for spare change. And I noticed one boy in particular, he was staring at us and giggling with his friends, clad in an In-N-Out Burger t-shirt.

[bctt tweet=”The young boy in rural East Africa wearing an In-N-Out Burger t-shirt hadn’t gone there himself. So, where did his shirt come from? ” username=”wearethetempest”]

I was stunned. In-N-Out is a burger chain native to the West Coast. And I associate their Animal Fries with California girls and Hollywood stars alike. I concluded that this young boy who laughed at the foreign American women stuck on the road hadn’t gone to In-N-Out himself and probably never would have the opportunity to. And I began to wonder, where did his shirt come from?  The answer for that particular t-shirt is unknown. But I found a lot of unsettling information about the life-cycle of our clothes and the ugly effects of consumer culture.

[bctt tweet=”The afterlife of our clothes reveals our ugly and unsustainable consumer culture.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Say, I go into a Target, Forever 21 or H&M and buy my cotton t-shirt. Eventually, the t-shirt isn’t trendy anymore and I stop wearing it. First, the piece of clothing will sit in my closet taking up space. Once I decide that I don’t want my piece of clothing, I could sell it directly to a picky second-hand store, sell it to a friend either in person or online, or I could donate my t-shirt to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. If I choose to directly sell to either a second-hand store or another person, that’s great. But eventually they too will get tired of my t-shirt. So more likely than not, my garment will end up at a donation center.

At the donation center, my garment will either be deemed high quality enough to be sold within the U.S. or not. If not, my garment will be shredded into rags? Or, it will go into a bale that weighs a half ton and shipped overseas to a developing economy. These bales will be cut open at an auction and sold to a merchant.These local merchants create stalls of used clothes that line the streets of developing countries worldwide.

According to an Oxfam report, used clothes make up 50% of the clothing sector throughout the sub-Saharan region. And in 2014, East African countries imported more than $300 million worth of clothing. While this may seem like a win-win situation, it’s not.

[bctt tweet=”Exporting use clothes from America to developing countries undermines their local economies and prevents them from growing.” via=”no”]

These used-clothes undermine local economies in developing countries and prevent them from growing. Instead of creating, purchasing, and wearing locally-made and locally-sourced garments, people are wearing old American t-shirts simply because it’s cheaper. 

According to Andrew Brooks, lecturer at King’s College London:“Your t-shirt may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money stays within the economy and that helps generate jobs.” If people could make their own clothing, benefit from that clothing, and wear it for a long time, that would certainly be better for people and for planet.

[bctt tweet=”Our unsustainable consumption demands low-quality products that are easily thrown away– all at the expense of people and planet. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

And what happens when these countries no longer need our clothes? This is indicative of unsustainable consumption that demands low-quality products that are made the expensive of the planet and thrown away only to harm more people. Instead of blaming these charitable organizations, we should instead change our habits. 

So the next time you’re shopping, think about the clothing you choose to put on your body and how you plan to get rid of it when the time is right. I suggest buying better instead of buying more. And maybe, we can slowly but surely change the cycle.

Fashion Lookbook

5 ways to get rid of clothes you don’t want anymore

If your favourite t-shirt gets stretched, do you throw it away?

You probably shouldn’t. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, 21 billion pounds of textile waste reaches America’s landfills each year. Most of this can be reused or recycled. By filling up these landfills with unwanted clothing, we’re doing some serious damage to the environment.

Fortunately, there are many ways to declutter your wardrobe without harming the environment. There are a number of things you can do with your unwanted clothing instead of simply throwing it away. These tips can help you reduce your impact on the environment.

[bctt tweet=”21 billion pounds of textile waste reaches America’s landfills each year. Most of this can be reused or recycled. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

1. Try to mend your garments.

A close-up of someone sewing green fabric with a sewing machine.
Image description: A close-up of someone sewing green fabric with a sewing machine. Via Unsplash.

We often throw out items that aren’t unwanted but broken.

I go through black leggings really fast. Literally, my inner thighs rub together when I walk, causing little holes at the seams. While I always just want to throw them away, that would be awful for the environment – so instead, I try to sew them up.

Most of us want to throw items away as soon as we spot a hole, but mending clothes can save money and the environment.

If you’re not great at sewing, you can learn by watching some YouTube videos – seriously, it’s a skill that will help you after the zombie apocalypse. Otherwise, find a friend or family member that can sew, or hire a local seamstress or cobbler!

2. Upcycle your items – or use it in other ways.

Patterned green and blue fabric is laid out in squares on a flat surface. It looks like it will be made into a quilt.
Image description: Patterned green and blue fabric is laid out in squares on a flat surface. It looks like it will be made into a quilt. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Sometimes, things can’t be mended. Stains, for example, might tempt you to throw out a shirt. A stained T-shirt is a perfectly good pyjama top, and a large button-up shirt can protect your clothes when you paint or dye your hair.

You can also upcycle clothes to create other items. In my house, ripped clothes were always used as rags for cleaning. In high school, we all constantly lost our hairbands, and we often ripped the stockings we wore with our uniforms – so we cut the legs of our ripped stockings into strips, creating instant hair elastics that didn’t damage our hair. Pretty fabrics can be upcycled into hairbands, quilts, or rag rugs. Torn jeans can be transformed into bags or purses. Holey towels, scarves, blankets, and jerseys can make your pet’s bed cozier.

3. Recycle damaged clothing.

Two bins, one with a recycling symbol on it, stand outside.
Image description: Two bins, one with a recycling symbol on it, stand outside. Via Public Domain Pictures.

Sometimes, clothing is too damaged to fix or give away. What happens then?

Many people don’t realize this, but many materials are compostable or recyclable. For example, you can compost 100% cotton clothing. If it’s underwear, make sure to cut off the elasticated part before throwing it in the compost.

Not all fibers are biodegradable, but most of your clothes and accessories can be recycled and repurposed. Find out if there’s a textile recycling plant or drop-off point near you.

4. Donate your unwanted clothing.

The interior of a thrift store, full of clothing and accessories.
Image descriptions: The interior of a thrift store, full of clothing and accessories. Via Unsplash.

Of course, giving your clothes away is always an option – especially if your clothes are in good condition. When it comes to donating clothes, you have a few different options:

Donate it to friends or family. This is often the most convenient option since you might know their size, taste, and the sorts of clothes they want and need.

Donate it to people looking for those specific items. I live in a relatively small town where people often use our town’s Facebook group to look for help. Often, people post asking for clothing for fundraisers, for safe houses, or for families who’ve lost their possessions. If you have a similar online community, ask if anyone could use your clothes. The jacket you outgrew could be perfect for an unemployed person going to a job interview, and your old prom dress could be donated to a high-school student who can’t afford to buy their own. It’s helpful here to specify the sizes and styles (casual, formal, pyjamas, activewear, etc.) so that it can reach people who really need it.

Donate it to a charity store. While many stores often welcome new stock, stores often receive more clothes than they can possibly sell. Most stores take stock that they can’t sell to a textile recycling plant where the items can be reused and repurposed. Either way, charity stores and thrift shops are great

5. Sell or swap your clothing.

Someone looks through accessories laid out on a table at a market.
Image description: Someone looks through accessories laid out on a table at a market. Via Pexels.

If your unwanted clothing is in great condition and you could use the money, selling your clothing is always an option! You might want to try using Facebook buy/swap/sell groups or visiting a local second-hand store. If you have a lot of clothing, consider a garage sale or joining a local market for the day.

Another option is to have a clothes-swapping party with your friends, neighbors or community. Clothing exchanges are a great way to socialize while replacing your unwanted goods with new, exciting clothes. Create a Facebook group, tell everyone to bring their clothes, and set up little tables. Allow everyone to bargain and swap their items.

Whether you’re moving, clearing out your wardrobe, or changing your style, your unwanted clothing can be repurposed and reused. Decluttering responsibly is one of the many ways we can have a positive impact on the environment.