#thecumulativeeffectPretty Is As Pretty… Dresses?

19 comments | May 7th, 2012

seriously pretty

(Story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda)

I decided to conduct a little experiment, just for the heck of it.

We've all heard the phrase, "Dress for the job you want," right?  When it comes to my "professional self," I've always adhered to that old adage. When I meet clients, go to conferences, or am otherwise representing myself as a business entity, I dress professionally. (Let's not get into the irony of this, given that most writers are believed to work in their pajamas 24/7.) And there are differing understandings of what dressing professionally means, too, but let's just say that when I'm "on" in the business sense, I'm generally wearing a nice dress, or a skirt and blouse, or nice slacks, etc. I don't go meet a client in jeans. I probably don't give a lecture in a t-shirt. I clean up pretty good and know when to do it, is my point.

Now: I've always known that dressing accordingly boosts my confidence in those situations, too. It's a win/win because I look like someone a client can depend on, plus I feel capable and ...

#lifestagesDressed to Impress

32 comments | April 10th, 2012

clothese horse

(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda) I don't think I'd characterize myself as "fashionable," past or present, by any stretch of the imagination. The way I dress is... fine. I think. I enjoy clothes, and I especially enjoy shoes. But I don't spend a lot of money on clothes, or a lot of time. In my current life, I'm a jeans-and-t-shirts type, most of the time. Do I clean up pretty good? I like to think so. Do people look at me and go, "I wish I had her fashion sense!"? Probably not unless they're sniffing a lot of glue. Still, it's clothing that encapsulates so many memories for me, when I look back on my life. I've written about some of my more unfortunate clothing incidents here, even. There's lots of good memories attached to clothes, too, though... even though a lot of the clothing in question is---now, at least---similarly cringe-inducing. There was my first pair of Esprit pants, in middle school, when Esprit was very "in" and hip. The pants were wide ankle-crops and sort of a coral-colored chino, and I ...

#lifestagesWalking Tall

19 comments | April 3rd, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)

It finally happened, and I have to tell you... I'm not usually all that sentimental, but it got to me. Not even when it was happening, but later.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start over.

Yesterday I took my daughter to Goodwill with me. I've been a dedicated thrifter since high school, which is a fancy way of saying "I'm cheap and I don't mind buying used." It's only recently that my teenage daughter put two and two together and realized that the chances of me saying "yes" to a purchase at a thrift store are astronomically higher than if we're at, say, the mall. (This is a no-brainer to me. A t-shirt for $2? Sure. The same t-shirt for $35? Uh, no.) So nowadays if I say I'm going to the thrift store, she's eager to join me.

As it happens, I was looking for shorts for my son. And as it often happens when it comes to thrifting, the thing I needed that day was in short supply. It seemed silly to leave five minutes after I discovered someone had ...

#bodiesEnding the Myth

8 comments | February 22nd, 2012

Screen shot 2011-10-05 at 2.35.04 PM

(story by Carre Otis, a Chestist, and author of Beauty Disrupted)

Motherhood has brought me many joys and insights, but the new perspective it granted me on the role I had inadvertently played in young women’s lives for the 2 decades I spent in the modeling industry was downright sobering.

Although everyone who works in the industry senses how discriminating it can be — against size, against age and against so much more — I had given very little thought to the ways in which I had personally been part of the problem. Once it did occur to me; though, I knew I had to be part of the solution.

I was essentially paid to perpetuate the myth that we are all, or should at least try to be, 17 and a size 2 forever.

For those of us who are older than 17, that means trying to turn back the hands of time… and for those of us who are younger, it means trying to accelerate time — literally growing up before our time. As a young model I was placed in impossibly ...

#thecumulativeeffectPainted Lady

43 comments | February 14th, 2012


(story by Mir, from We've already established that I hardly ever wear makeup. I could insist that this is due to my rejection of the patriarchal ideals of feminine beauty -- and you might even believe me, if I was earnest enough -- but the reality is that, mostly, I'm just lazy. Yep. I'm a feminist, sure, but I'm also not a morning person. Or even really a people person. And I don't like the way makeup feels on my face. What's more, I very rarely like the way makeup looks on people. Women who wear a full face of makeup every single day, to do things like run to the grocery store or---(my personal mind-boggling favorite) work out at the gym or go for a run---make me suspicious. I'm not unaware of the irony of not wanting to be judged for going bare-faced and then turning around and passing judgment on those who keep cosmetic companies in business, but I'm more or less okay with it. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who paints ...

#bodiesS, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL

6 comments | February 6th, 2012

double standard

(by Seth and Eva @OOC)

We shot the look-book for our women's StoryTee Collection the other day.

For those who don't know, a look-book is (as defined by Wiki)  "a collection of photographs compiled to show off a model, a photographer, a style, or a clothing line."  For Off Our Chests, it's the's showing retail buyers our new women's StoryTees, and how the shirts can be dressed up or down.  It's about giving the clothing a little attitude and context, and the retailer a little spark.

Here's the thing and the reason we bring it up at all.  We had 2 models.  They were both thin, really thin.  One was African-American and the other was white, size-wise they were "small", and we can't help but wonder if we should have had more body shape diversity, and so we feel the need to explain why a brand and platform like Off Our Chests that opens its arms and mind to the full diversity of women and their experiences as we do, did not reflect the same in our look-book.  Here's why.

Simply, we pretty much capitulated.  We gave in ...

#bodiesFashion’s Responsibility

2 comments | January 4th, 2012


(story by OOC via HuffingtonPost)   This first appeared in HuffPo back in September.  While it may have been more of a news story then, it's (sadly) no less topical or relevant now.  The CFDA is trying to embrace their role and responsibility, which is nothing short of great.  We look forward to some of the other major (and minor) players in the worlds of popular culture doing the same.  From the original article:  

"When the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) re-released its health guidelines earlier this year, it called for increasing awareness about eating disorder symptoms and recommended a ban on models younger than 16 walking in fashion shows. The goal was industry-specific: To address what the council's website calls the "overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin."

But as CFDA CEO Steven Kolb acknowledged, fashion's influence is broader than that.

"As Diane [Von Furstenburg, CFDA president] and I wrote in our outreach letter to the industry ... 'Fashion Week has become a powerful voice, which reaches millions of people across the globe and we should not ...

#bodies…A Stupid Waste of Time

17 comments | November 9th, 2011

stupid waste

(By OOC and via

So you might have heard about The Self-Esteem Act we've proposed, requiring "Truth in Advertising" labeling be attached to any ad or editorial that meaningfully changes the human form through digital manipulation, like photoshopping.  It's our hope that the Act might help contribute to stemming the epidemic cirsis of confidence affecting girls and women.  Not everyone agrees with us.

We bumped into the story below (reposted here with the author's permission) at  We love their site, their vision and mission, and everything they're trying to do.  We also love that they disagree with us so openly and productively and allowed us to disagree with them, equally. 

A large part of what we're hoping to accomplish with and through The Self-Esteem Act is to help mainstream a conversation about the aforementioned epidemic  - because no matter what the right answers are, they'll happen faster and with greater scale if the problems come to be understood and recognized at a mainstream level. Dissent (productive dissent) helps do this. 

And, we don't pretent to suggest that the act is the final answer or ...