University of Minnesota: Dance Dynasty, cont’d.

Almost exactly three years ago I published a blog post that quickly became my most popular and widely shared post. I had been upset that I could not find a single article dedicated to the dual national titles earned by the University of Minnesota Dance Team, making them the five-time defending champions of both the Pom and Jazz 1A Divisions at UDA Nationals. I couldn’t believe that in a state so barren in sport titles, the only mention of this victory was a footnote in a single article published quietly almost 24 hours after the fact.

So I wrote my own article, which both called out the lack of coverage and paid tribute to the athletes who had claimed two national titles in one day. Based on the overwhelmingly positive responses and number of views and shares that quickly stacked up, it was evident that I was not alone in feeling let down by the radio silence surrounding collegiate dance team in the media.

Which is why it is so disappointing that I’m writing this post.

umdt5

Source: UDA

Last night, the University of Minnesota Dance Team won their eighth consecutive 1A Pom Division national title, as well as the title for the 1A Jazz Division, their tenth since 2003.

This afternoon I went to look up articles about their wins, and found…one.

The article, published by Minnesota Daily, is a beautiful tribute to the team and is an absolute must-read, and the Star Tribune published a blog post as I was finishing up this one, but that’s still just two articles covering Minnesota’s only team with eighteen national titles earned in the current century. By comparison, the number of articles covering the Gophers men’s basketball loss to Penn State on Saturday is in the double digits.

Additionally, when I went to check UMDT’s official website to verify the number of titles they’ve won, I found this:

umdt7

I’ll ignore the fact that the 2016-17 season finished before their webpage was built out, and instead focus on the header text not being updated in over two years.

Anyway.

Led by senior captains Kelsey Sutter and Alli Woodbeck, the University of Minnesota Dance Team earned their seventeenth and eighteenth national titles at UDA Nationals in Orlando, FL on Sunday, January 15th.

UDA – that is, Universal Dance Association – was founded in 1980 to help handle the need of educational training for what were called “drill teams” at the time. UDA helped spearhead the name change to “dance teams” to better promote the activity. Today, they run camps nationwide to provide quality training to high school and college dancers, and host the national championships for college dance teams competing in Pom, Jazz, and Hip Hop in three different size divisions.

UMDT competes in 1A, the largest, and most competitive division. In the weeks leading up to Nationals, the team practiced up to 30 hours each week, run by coaches Amanda Gaines and Ashley Hanne — both alumnae of the team. Each minute of every practice was dedicated to perfecting the intricate choreography, turns, leaps, tricks, and spatial elements critical to their victories.

Source: UMDT

Source: UMDT

Their Jazz, titled Element, was a deftly emotional routine that achieved edgy choreography with superior strength and unity, and featured highly difficult turn and trick combinations executed with near perfection, ensuring their reclamation of the 1A Jazz title after coming in second to the University of Tennessee last year.

In Pom, the team showed off their signature jumps, outstanding fouetté combinations, and overall excellent synchronization in a style reminiscent of cheerleading, but mainly known for its high-energy routines and military-like precision. UMDT was a clear crowd favorite in this category, and secured their eighth consecutive 1A Pom title.

Several other Minnesota teams competed as well over the weekend. The University of St. Thomas won the Open Hip Hop division title, and  Minnesota State University Mankato and St. Cloud State University came in third and fourth, respectively, in the Open division for Pom. In Open Jazz, the University of St. Thomas placed second, the University of Minnesota Duluth placed third, Minnesota State University Mankato placed sixth, St. Cloud State University placed seventh, and the College of St. Benedict placed fourteenth.

A post on the UMDT’s Facebook page from Monday morning thanks the fans and the team that helped with their victory:

“What an incredible weekend! We are so thankful for the love and support we received from our choreographers, consultants, spirit squad, alumni, friends, and our families. We couldn’t have done this journey without you! It was an honor to take the floor and compete against the INCREDIBLE teams in D1A–the talent on the stage (in all the divisions) was so inspiring, and to see everyone’s hard work come to life reminds each of us why we love what we do.

Winning our 8th consecutive Pom National Championship and 10th Jazz National Championship in team history is the icing on the cake for a memorable season. We are so proud of the fight and passion and pride we showed on the floor, and will cherish the memories from this weekend forever.

Thank you Gopher fans for everything!! #onelove”

Source: UMDT

Source: UMDT

The Star Tribune article marvels that the University of Minnesota has a “dance team dynasty” that “deserves recognition”. The fans have thought so for awhile, but we’re glad the rest of the state is slowly starting to take notice, too.

UDA 1A Pom Final Rankings

  1. University of Minnesota
  2. The Ohio State University
  3. University of Iowa
  4. University of Kentucky
  5. Rutgers University
  6. University of Cincinnati
  7. University of Colorado
  8. University of Nevada Las Vegas

UDA 1A Hip Hop Final Rankings

  1. University of Cincinnati
  2. University of Kentucky
  3. Universtiy of Memphis
  4. Louisiana State University
  5. University of Nevada Las Vegas
  6. San Diego State University
  7. Arizona State University
  8. Temple University

UDA 1A Jazz Final Rankings

  1. University of Minnesota
  2. The Ohio State University
  3. University of Tennessee
  4. Arizona State University
  5. University of Michigan
  6. Rutgers University
  7. San Diego State University
  8. University of Arizona
  9. Florida State University
  10. Louisiana State University
  11. University of Wisconsin
  12. Washington State University

UDA 1 Pom Final Rankings

  1. Hofstra University
  2. Cal State Fullerton
  3. Saint Joseph’s University
  4. North Dakota State University
  5. Long Beach State University
  6. George Mason University
  7. Stony Brook University
  8. Tennessee Tech University

UDA 1 Hip Hop Final Rankings

  1. Northern Arizona University
  2. University of Delaware
  3. Saint Joseph’s University
  4. Southeastern Louisiana University
  5. College of Charleston
  6. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

UDA 1 Jazz Final Rankings

  1. Cal State Fullerton
  2. Hofstra University
  3. Northern Arizona University
  4. University of Delaware
  5. Southeastern Louisiana University
  6. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
  7. Stony Brook University
  8. Missouri State University
  9. Long Beach State University

UDA Open Pom Final Rankings

  1. Orange Coast College
  2. University of Central Oklahoma
  3. Minnesota State University Mankato
  4. St. Cloud State University
  5. The College of New Jersey
  6. Northwest Missouri State University
  7. Endicott College
  8. University of California San Diego

UDA Open Hip Hop Final Rankings

  1. University of St. Thomas
  2. University of Puerto Rico Bayamon
  3. Lindenwood University
  4. University of Puerto Rico Carolina
  5. West Chester Universty
  6. St. Joseph’s College
  7. Avila University
  8. University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
  9. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
  10. Georgia College
  11. Westfield State University

UDA Open Jazz Final Rankings

  1. Lindenwood University
  2. University of St. Thomas
  3. University of Minnesota Duluth
  4. Orange Coast College
  5. University of Central Oklahoma
  6. Minnesota State University Mankato
  7. St. Cloud State University
  8. Grand Canyon University
  9. Avila University
  10. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
  11. Bridgewater State University
  12. Northwest Missouri State University
  13. St. Joseph’s College
  14. College of St. Benedict
  15. The College of New Jersey
  16. University of Puerto Rico Carolina
  17. University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras

Congratulations to all the teams that competed!

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2016: A Year in Review

That’s right, I write about stuff besides clothes!

As most of us concluded quite a while ago, 2016 was an awful year.

Just the worst.

Just the worst.

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Antonin Scalia, Harper Lee, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Leonard Cohen, Alan Thicke, and John Glenn are a small handful of the icons we’ve lost in the last twelve months. Massive terrorist attacks occurred in Nice, Istanbul, Orlando, Brussels, Berlin, and Aleppo. Alligators attacked people at Disney, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti hard, hate crimes and ocean levels are up, and Zika keeps spreading. The presidential election and all the madness that goes along with it happened. Same with Brexit.

My intention for this post wasn’t to be depressing, but a recap seemed necessary, and as I was first drafting this, I learned that Carrie Fisher died.

Drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. RIP, space mom.

Drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. RIP, space mom.

Yes, 2016 sucked. It started as a pile of hot garbage that turned more and more rancid until it burst into flames in early November and did its very best to consume everything in its path before it burnt out.

Dumpster fire metaphors aside, I think deep down we all know that the year didn’t really do anything to us. It’s not the calendar’s fault that people in power ignored scientific fact in favor of their personal feelings, or that the law decided it was totally cool to sexually assault people as long as you’re a really good swimmer. Logically, we know that the year had nothing to do with it, but it’s so much easier to pretend that it did because as human beings we thrive on having a common enemy to subtweet and whine about on Facebook.

2016 is our scapegoat, and that’s not inherently bad (I much prefer it to mankind’s habit of blaming different ethnic groups throughout history), but it still leaves us with pointless blame. 2016 didn’t end because we called it on its bullshit and held it accountable for its crimes — it ended because that’s what years do.

Bad things happen regardless of the year on the calendar. Sometimes there’s a reason for those things, and sometimes there isn’t, but how we let them affect us is what’s important. I hope we don’t have another year like 2016, but I know we can’t spend another twelve months reacting like we did to 2016.

We’re going to have losses and setbacks and devastation, but we cannot let those define 2017. We fight back, we keep moving, we change the things we can, and we don’t for one second point our fingers at the calendar and blame the number we see. We have to be better than that.

Furthermore, despite corporate greed being seemingly more important than access to safe drinking water, and hundreds of unarmed civilians getting murdered by police in broad daylight, good things did happen in 2016. Every year has its high points, even one that’s basically the Attack of the Clones of its decade.

So much wasted potential.

So much wasted potential.

In 2016, poverty fell at its fastest rate since 1959, veteran homelessness dropped 50% since 2010, and the unemployment rate was down to 4.6%. International negotiators agreed to phase out hydrofluorocarbons to help curb greenhouse gases, 24 countries and the EU decided to establish a 600,000 acre marine reserve in Antarctica, and giant panda and tiger populations are steadily increasing. The US teen graduation rate reached a historic high with Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, low-income, disabled, and English-learning students accounting for 83.2% of the graduation rate as a whole — meanwhile, teen birth rates are down 61% from the early 1990’s.

Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Michael Phelps, and countless others helped team USA bring home 121 medals from Rio, and the Chicago Cubs won the world series for the first time in 108 years. Beyoncé released LemonadeHamilton won 11 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and US and Canadian currency are getting a long overdue diversity makeover.

In 2016, I went to five weddings and saw my friends start new lives with the people that make them the best versions of themselves. Four more friends became parents, and can’t believe how amazing every single day is. This year, the incredible people in my life pushed themselves, faced their fears, earned degrees, changed careers, moved across the country, battled illnesses, made scary decisions, and supported each other.

My year wasn’t perfect, and not everything went according to plan, but that’s how life is. In 2017, I know I’ll need to work a little harder to see the good that’s happening, but if all else fails, I know I can make good happen. Everyone can make good happen. How’s that for a resolution?

June Stitch Fix Review

I’ve been really busy lately, so the email reminder that this month’s fix was about to be styled took me by surprise.

Jun01

I jotted a quick note to Jessica that I wasn’t looking for anything specific (having abandoned my quest for black pants last month), but would love to see some sundresses. I also mentioned that I have several weddings in the next few months, and would be interested in seeing something a little more formal if she found something that would work for me.

In her note, she made mention of my Pinterest board and touted that several of the pieces could be dressed up for the office.

Here’s what I got.

THML Abriana Colorblock Embroidered Dress

Navy, $68.00

Jun03

Pros: I really loved the embroidery on the front of the dress, and the twin cutouts on the front and the back.

Cons: Shifts look really good on a lot of people — effortless, chic, and cool — but I am not one of those people. I’m one of the people who puts on a shift and transforms it into a sad lamp shade. The orange color of the bottom of the dress was also pretty awful with my skin tone.

Jun08

Verdict: Returned. I’ll have to reiterate my standing ban on the shift silhouette.

 

Karen Kane Lisa Printed Pencil Skirt

Navy, $88.00

Jun06

Pros: This skirt is awesome. It reminds me of the one I almost kept from my April fix, but it’s less frumpy and the pattern covers the entire skirt instead of just the front. I love the pattern, which is similar to several things I’ve pinned recently, and the length is great to fit into my work wardrobe. I also tend to gravitate to skater skirts, so a pencil skirt is a nice change of pace.

Cons: It’s a touch big in the hips, and the lining is partially detached, so that’s a little annoying.

Jun09

Verdict: Keeping it. Did I mention this skirt is awesome? Yes? That’s because it’s awesome.

 

Collective Concepts Janae Dress

Navy, $78.00

Jun04

Pros: I had pinned this a few weeks back, and really liked the idea of this dress. It seems like a great piece for summer that could be dressed up for the office or down for going out. Plus it has pockets!

Cons: Despite liking the idea of the dress, the reality is it was a hot mess on me. It’s huge up top, making the neckline a baggy and inappropriate plunge. The gathered waist hits me at a weird spot, and gives the entire middle a bulky appearance. The straps are also incredibly thin, which seems like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

Jun10

Verdict: Returned. Bummer.

 

See U Soon Kesse Cross Back Top

Light Blue, $58.00

Jun02

Pros: This isn’t really a pro, but apparently I pinned this? I have no recollection of doing so, or any idea why I would think this monstrosity would be a good addition to my style board, but it is in fact there. Mocking me. Points to Jessica for actually paying attention to my board.

Jun12

Cons: This shirt is a perfect storm. It’s pastel, and floaty, and gauzy, and shapeless, and has super weird accents at the top, and the straps are flimsy, and it’s too big, and it’s just terrible. Guys, this shirt is terrible. Plus, there’s the bra situation. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was designed with the intention that it be worn with no bra, which would be fine were it not for the incredibly sheer nature of the fabric.

lol no

lol no

Verdict: Returned. Seriously, why did I pin this?

 

London Times Darlena Lace Dress

Cobalt, $88.00

Jun05

Pros: This dress was Jessica’s answer to my wedding mention, and she nailed it. I don’t typically go for jewel tones, but it works well with my coloring, and it’s different from anything else I have. The fit is great, and it has a vintage vibe, which I really dig. Also, it’s pretty. Guys, it’s like really pretty.

Cons: Lace is kind of a misnomer, since it’s really more a crochet, but honestly? I don’t even care, this dress is perfect.

Jun11

Verdict: Like you even have to ask.

 

Overall, the bad pieces were really bad, but the good pieces were amazing. As far as the bad pieces go, Jessica really only had one miss — granted, an orange shift dress is one hell of a miss, but for the other two she was just trying to do right by my Pinterest board and I can’t fault her for that.

Clearly I need to cut back on my post-happy hour Pinterest usage.

Even with my misguided pins, she still managed to find me two pieces that I’m actually quite excited to wear. Thank you, Jessica, for dealing with finding me clothes.

If you’re interested in Stitch Fix, check it out! It’s free to sign up, and filling out the style profile is actually really helpful for thinking about what you do and don’t love for your wardrobe.

(Plus, between friends, if you sign up with my referral link, I earn credit with the site when your first fix ships. Win-win, right?)

April Stitch Fix Review

After last month’s little box of horrors, I ended up contacting Stitch Fix’s customer service to vent my frustrations. They were incredibly apologetic, offering to pay for my next styling fee, and giving even more tips to ensure my stylist understands my wants and needs – since apparently explicitly asking for pants with real pockets and non-jegging skinny jeans wasn’t specific enough.

Regardless, I complied with their suggestions. I pinned pins to my Pinterest board from boards they suggested. I updated my style profile summary to spell out things that I love (fitted tops, structured dresses, real pockets, earth tones) and things that I hate (flowy tops, flimsy fabric, fake pockets, pastels). They asked me to forward along any styles or aesthetics I prefer, so I shared the link my Pinterest board. For about the sixth time.

They also asked me about celebrity styles I admire, but the only people who came to mind were fictional characters from BBC and the Marvel universe, so I side-stepped that question and instead listed current trends that I like.

Thankfully, all of the extra effort seemed to have a big impact on my stylist this month.

Apr11

In my special instructions for this fix, I entered a final plea for work-appropriate skinny black pants with real pockets (I told them to think twill), and another request for a non-distressed, non-jegging, medium wash pair of skinny jeans. I emphasized the non-jegging part, telling them not to bother sending me any pair that contained more than 5% spandex or elastic. I didn’t have any other specific requests, and pointed again to my Pinterest board and updated style summary for further inspiration.

In her note to me, Jessica — my stylist for the month — apologized for my experience last month, and assured me that she spent lots of time looking at my notes, profile, and Pinterest board. She pointed out that she didn’t send me any black pants because they didn’t have any that fit my specifications, which is fine — I’d rather get no black pants and five things I might love, than a pair of black pants I’m going to hate. Based on her note, I was actually kind of excited about the fix.

Here’s what I got.

RD Style Belem Faux Leather and Ponte Jacket

Black, $88.00

Apr01

Pros: Yay, I love this jacket! The fit is amazing (and the sleeves are actually long enough!), and it goes with basically my entire wardrobe. I was a little hesitant about the mixed-media — the sides and back are a stretchy spandex-like (think yoga pants) material — but I actually really like it. It’s very well tailored and fits like a blazer.

Cons: Did I mention I love this jacket?

Apr02

Verdict: Keep.

 

Papermoon Beverley Lace Side Panel Knit Top

Gray, $54.00

Apr03

Pros: I like this a lot more than I thought I would. It’s a little looser than most shirts I would go for, but is still flattering. I love the stripes, and like that the color isn’t my typical black, but still fits in with the palette of my wardrobe. I also really like the lace detail on the side, which is very different from most things that I own.

Cons: $54.00 is kind of steep for basically a glorified t-shirt.

Apr04

Verdict: Keep.

 

Pixley Tenille Mini Skirt

Blue, $58.00

Apr07

Pros: I really wanted to love this skirt. I’ve pinned several geo-print minis, so this was a great pick. I love the pattern (it struck me as almost art deco), the color is great, and it’s long enough to be appropriate for work.

Cons: Unfortunately, it’s just too big. The fabric on the front also laid kind of funny due to the embroidery, which gave it a frumpy effect.

Apr08

Verdict: Returned, though returning this is how I justified keeping the Papermoon shirt.

 

Market & Spruce Jahana Cargo Vest

Olive, $68.00

Apr05

Pros: I had pinned a couple things with similar vests, so I was excited to see this in my box. I think this is a great piece, and will be very versatile for layering throughout the spring and fall. It has big pockets and a hood, and some really interesting zipper and button details around the shoulders. Additionally, there are internal drawstrings to cinch the waist.

Cons: The drawstrings are a little tricky to get to stay in place, so it doesn’t stay cinched for long.

Apr06

Verdict: Keep. I’m sure I’ll figure out the drawstrings eventually.

 

Mavi Gold Freida Skinny Jeans

Medium wash, $128.00

Apr09

Pros: She nailed exactly what color wash I wanted.

Cons: While these do contain only 4% elastic per my instructions, they also contain 9% polyester and are very stretchy. In short, Jessica thinks I’m going to spend over $100 on a pair of jeggings.

She is wrong.

These are painted-on tight, which makes them incredibly uncomfortable, as well as incredibly inappropriate to wear to most places I would want to wear them. Additionally, they’re way too long — they cover my heels and almost hit my arches.

Apr10

Verdict: Returned, just as soon as I manage to peel them off.

 

All in all, this was a huge improvement. The jeans were a miss, but they were closer, and everything else was spot-on. I’m planning on requesting to stay with Jessica for my next fix, so hopefully I’ll continue to have better luck with my boxes.

If you’re interested in Stitch Fix, check it out! It’s free to sign up, and filling out the style profile is actually really helpful for thinking about what you do and don’t love for your wardrobe.

(Plus, between friends, if you sign up with my referral link, I earn credit with the site when your first fix ships. Win-win, right?)

March Stitch Fix Review

It’s that special time of the month again…

Fix #3!

Fix #3!

OK, it hasn’t quite been a month, but I moved this fix up a week to better accommodate my schedule. Points to Stitch Fix for flexibility.

What’s Stitch Fix? It’s an online subscription personal shopping service that asks you to fill out a style profile, and a personal stylist sends you a package with clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories once a month (or however often you schedule to get a “fix” delivered). You’re charged a $20 stylist fee when the fix is put together, which is applied to your purchase if you decide to keep any of the items. If you keep everything, you get a 25% discount. Anything you don’t want can be returned in the prepaid envelope they provide, along with comment cards detailing what you did or didn’t like about the different pieces, which helps the stylists for future fixes.

In my special instructions for this fix I requested work appropriate skinny black pants (again), as well as a new pair of non-distressed, non-jegging medium wash skinny jeans. I also reiterated my prohibition on pastels, fake pockets, and see-through jersey knits, and encouraged her to take my associated and frequently updated Pinterest board into account.

In her note, Elena — my stylist for this month — said my requests were great since it gave her specific pieces to hunt for. After seeing what was in the box, this comment seemed ironic since she clearly didn’t actually hunt for what I requested.

My stylist was wrong.

My stylist was wrong.

Olive + Oak Jaen Chambray Top

Blue, $68.00

Mar04

Pros: The color blocking details of the shirt are really cool, and it fit pretty well in the shoulders.

Cons: The material is very thin and flimsy, which makes the price point kind of outrageous. Additionally, I already have three denim button-up shirts — one over-sized, one with a pattern, and one that has long enough sleeves for my orangutan arms — I really don’t need another one, especially in a silhouette that I don’t like. In Elena’s defense, there are two pins on my board that feature denim shirts. However, I have nineteen pins featuring leather jackets and over forty with skirts or dresses, so maybe any of those things would have been better choices.

Mar05

Verdict: Returned.

 

Mavi Freida Skinny Jean

Navy, $98.00

Mar07

Pros: I desperately need new skinny jeans, so I was excited to see these in my box. They were way darker than the medium wash I requested, but I still like the color. They fit well, though they’re a little on the short side.

Cons: These are jeggings, and I specifically requested jeans, not jeggings. I have no problem paying $98.00 for a quality pair of jeans that will be a wardrobe staple and last for many years. I have a very big problem paying $98.00 for a pair of jeggings that are pretending to be real jeans, while containing the same denim to spandex ratio as a pair of Target jeggings.

Mar08

Verdict: Returned. Seriously, is “real jeans, not jeggings” a confusing request?

 

Brixon Ivy Sylvester Split Neck Blouse

Green, $54.00

Mar10

Pros: Elena clearly listened to my complaints about jersey knits that are trying to be chiffon, and opted instead to give me…polyester that’s trying to be chiffon. Not exactly what I was going for, but points for creativity. The color is similar to the color palette I most regularly frequent.

Cons: I’m just very confused by this shirt’s inclusion in my box. It’s a nice shirt, but 110% not my style, as clearly illustrated by the lack of floaty or shapeless tops throughout my Pinterest board, the fact that my Stitch Fix style profile lists “fitted” as my preferred fit for tops, and after my January fix I explicitly told them not to send me shapeless sheer shirts. I’m all for stepping outside of my comfort zone, but this style of shirt doesn’t look good on my body, which is why I avoid them.

Mar11

Verdict: Returned. The fact that I even tried this on is a miracle.

 

Margaret M Emer High Waisted Trouser 

Black, $98.00

Mar13

Pros: Nope.

Cons: Are you kidding me with this?! These are basically yoga pants. They have no zipper, no buttons, no pockets, no belt loops, nothing. They’re yoga pants that cost ninety eight dollars, and aren’t even Lulu Lemon. This is honestly the furthest away from “work-appropriate skinny black pants that don’t have fake pockets” you can get while still technically being skinny black pants. They’re also incredibly uncomfortable — the material is paper-like and thin, and they seemed confused about whether or not they were ankle length or shorter. The waist was also a bit big on me, which I’d normally remedy with a belt, except the no belt loops makes that a little difficult.

Mar14

“Work-appropriate skinny black pants that don’t have fake pockets” is not an outlandishly difficult request, and it’s incredibly frustrating that this is an actual pin from my Pinterest board that Elena was supposed to be referencing:

Do i have to provide a product number, too?

Do I have to provide a product number, too?

Finally, while I appreciate her taking my “no fake pockets” comment to heart, THE ABSENCE OF POCKETS IS NOT BETTER.

Verdict: Returned. I read somewhere that you should only keep clothes in your wardrobe that bring you joy. These brought me anger.

 

Jill Michael Marianne Triangle Stud Earrings

Gold, $28.00

Mar16

Pros: They’re simple, and pretty, and I could use some more studs to rotate through my everyday earrings.

Cons: They’re too small and too gold for my taste.

Verdict: Returned.

 

So that’s the story of how I paid $20 for a cardboard box. I know I’m kind of picky when it comes to clothes, which is one of the reasons I hate shopping. I don’t expect my stylist to read my mind; however, I do expect her to read my instructions and at least look at the Pinterest board she’s supposed to be using for reference.

I am not shy with any of my feedback, so hopefully another month, another stylist, and one final plea for work appropriate skinny black pants with real pockets will make a positive difference. If not, I need to seriously consider if I want to continue paying for a “personalized” service that doesn’t listen to me.

Spoilers, I don’t.

If you’re interested in Stitch Fix, or at least in seeing if you have better luck than me, check it out! It’s free to sign up, and filling out the style profile is actually really helpful for thinking about what you do and don’t love for your wardrobe.

(Plus, between friends, if you sign up with my referral link, I earn credit with the site when your first fix ships. Win-win, right?)

 

February Stitch Fix Review

I still need clothes, and I still hate shopping, so I’m still on board with Stitch Fix.

Fix #2! My stylist for this month, Kari, definitely heard my feedback from the last fix concerning the quality of the clothing for my current climate, and there were no fake pockets in the box.

In my special instructions for this fix, I reiterated my need for Minnesota-worthy sweaters, and work appropriate skinny black pants.

Maru Marilin Fitted Knit Top

Navy, $48.00
Feb01

Pros: I really hate to say this, but I didn’t like anything about this shirt. I guess the color was okay?

Feb2.5

Cons: Except the color was heathered and I didn’t really like that, either. The fabric was incredibly thin and clingy, which is not a combination that I find particularly attractive. In addition to being thin and clingy, the material was ridiculously sheer — to the point that my bra was visible — yet the shirt was too tight to be able to wear a second layer underneath. I wasn’t incredibly surprised though, considering the shirt failed my primary litmus test.

Feb04

COME ON

Verdict: Sent back, with instructions to stop sending me knit shirts that resemble chiffon.

 

Staccato Dolan Open Cardigan

Navy, $64.00

Feb05

Pros: The length and the fit are both great, and I think it could be fairly versatile. I really like the design, and it’s a sweater without an open knit, just like I asked for!

Feb06

Cons: I just got a cardigan from my fix last month, and that was more neutral and goes with a lot more. This is on the pricey side, and the sleeves are bordering on too short.

Feb07

Verdict: Keeping it. I wanted winter sweaters, this is a winter sweater. And it’s pretty.

 

Kut From The Kloth Johnathan Skinny Corduroy

Brown, $48.00

Feb08

Pros: I really could use some new pants (evident by the jeans I’m wearing in some of these pictures). I like the chocolate color, and it would be something new and different for my wardrobe. They fit really well, and the material seems pretty good quality.

Feb09

Cons: I asked for black pants. Black pants, to accommodate my wardrobe that consists mainly of black and gray neutrals and accent colors that look best with black or gray. While I like the color, and it’s nice to consider other options outside of my normal blacks and grays, the fact remains that I asked for black pants because I really need black pants. Corduroys strike me as less of a wardrobe staple, and more of something you get in a fun jewel tone and wear in the fall with riding boots or cute flats. Furthermore, the cord parts of the corduroy material was very small, so the effect was closer to crushed velvet.

Feb10

Verdict: Sent back. I appreciate the attempt for something different, but this isn’t really the different I’m aiming for. Plus, I actually need black pants.

 

Market & Spruce Tommy Pointelle Weave Pullover Sweater

Dark Gray, $68.00

Feb11

Pros: This is exactly what I had in mind when I requested Minnesota winter-proof sweaters. Cozy, slightly over-sized, and dark neutral colors. It fits nicely and the sleeves aren’t too short, which is a big deal for me. It also has an abstract basket weave pattern on the lower half, which I really like. 

Feb12.5

Cons: It’s a little pricey, and it would be nice if it was a bit longer.

Feb14

Verdict: Keeping it. Kari definitely took my Pinterest board into account for this one.

 

Octavia Altura Cable Knit Infinity Scarf

Mint, $34.00

Feb15

Pros: I love the cable knit, and that it’s a great length without being super bulky.

Cons: Pastels make me even more washed out than I am in my naturally freakishly pale state.

Feb16

Verdict: Sent back. I don’t need help looking pale.

 

I’m not really sure if this was an improvement over my last fix. Kari definitely followed my request for Minnesota winter-proof sweaters to the letter, but she also completely missed/ignored my specific request for skinny black pants, and my notes to avoid pastels. Carefully worded feedback pending, but I’m still looking forward to what they come up with for me next month.

If you’re interested in Stitch Fix, check it out! It’s free to sign up, and filling out the style profile is actually really helpful for thinking about what you do and don’t love for your wardrobe.

(Plus, between friends, if you sign up with my referral link, I earn credit with the site. Win-win, right?)

#FeministFriday No. 34

Attention all Disney Darlings, we have a new princess.

moana

Meet Moana Waialiki, the Polynesian princess and heroine of the upcoming movie Moana, set for release in November 2016.

The animated musical will tell the story of Moana’s epic journey to meet demi-gods, and will be directed by the creators of The Princess and the FrogAladdin, and The Little Mermaid. Dwayne Johnson has signed on as the voice of Maui, Moana’s father, and rumors for the voice of the titular character include Hawaii-native Makamae Kailani Auwae, as well as Dinah Jane Hansen of Fifth Harmony.

Fans are beside themselves, particularly with the design of the character.

To quote tumblr user cronuseatsbabies, “JUST LOOK AT HER, LOOK AT HER WAIST AND BUST AND CALVES AND ANKLES SHE’S SO REALISTICALLY PROPORTIONED…DISNEY HASN’T HAD A FEMALE LEAD WITH A BODY THIS REALISTIC SINCE LIKE???? NANI??? CONCLUSION: I’M SO HAPPY”

Another user, clubhousemouse, commented, “Moana’s design is: not a straight copy and paste clone of Rapunzel, Elsa, and Anna; not tiny waisted; a woman of color; different and somewhat new; hella cute; that is all.”

This may seem like an odd reaction to an animated character, but they have a point. Disney faced a lot of scrutiny after the huge success of Frozen, with many people pointing out the lack of diversity in their female characters.

Particularly in the facial region.

Particularly in the facial region.

The Disney Princess brand is one of the biggest media franchises aimed specifically at young girls, so many parents have been glad to see more forward-thinking characters like Merida, the tomboyish heroine of Brave to balance out the passivity of the more traditional princesses like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. In fact, when Merida was given a more feminine makeover as part of her official induction into the Disney Princess pantheon, there was public outcry to return her to her original design.

The relative feminism of recent Disney princess movies is not the only thing modern viewers are concerned about. Most notably is racial representation — or rather, the glaring white nature of most of Disney’s animated output.

Because they’re directly marketed to be role models for young girls, the Disney Princesses come under a lot more scrutiny than other cartoons. The last three movies have featured four white princesses, and failed to include any POC in even secondary or background roles — including Frozen which included indigenous Scandinavian clothing and music from the Sami culture, but no actual Sami characters. This has led many fans and parents to accuse Disney of failing to represent people of color.

The Official Disney Princesses (according to the Official Disney Princess Wiki) are:

  • Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937)
  • Cinderella (Cinderella, 1950)
  • Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, 1959)
  • Ariel (The Little Mermaid, 1989)
  • Belle (Beauty and the Beast, 1991)
  • Jasmine (Aladdin, 1992)
  • Pocahontas (Pocahontas, 1995)
  • Mulan (Mulan, 1998)
  • Tiana (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)
  • Rapunzel (Tangled, 2010)
  • Merida (Brave, 2012)
  • Elsa* (Frozen, 2013)
  • Anna* (Frozen, 2013)

* Technically Elsa and Anna are Princesses-in-Waiting as they have not yet been crowned in an official ceremony at Walt Disney World. I’m told this is a big deal. 

Other female Disney characters like Lilo, Esmeralda, and Meg are not considered official princesses because they don’t meet qualifications set by Disney. There are very specific rules for this, which I’m told are also a big deal.

Here’s where it gets dicey, though. The following graph is the population of the United States by race, according the the 2010 U.S. Census:

US Population by Race

Here are the same demographics of the Disney Princesses:

Disney Princess Race

The lack of representation is disgraceful (“Other” in this case refers to Princess Jasmine, whose Middle Eastern descent does not currently have its own designation on census forms). Our second largest (and fastest growing) racial group doesn’t have their own princess, and while the debut of Tiana as the first black princess drew excitement, the character spent 80% of her screen time as a frog, and the movie contained some pretty unflattering racial stereotypes. Furthermore, while Mulan is arguably one of the better princesses in terms of independence and badassery, the Asian demographic includes 20 subgroups — the six largest of which are Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. As a Chinese war hero, Mulan technically only represents about 23% of all Asian Americans.

The lack of diversity seems even more ridiculous upon further breakdown. For instance, despite making up approximately 2% of the United States, red heads account for almost a quarter of all Disney Princesses.

Disney Princess Hair

 

Here’s my wishlist of Princesses that should be added to the Disney lexicon:

  • Hispanic Princess
  • Latina Princess
  • Black Princess that stays human for the entire movie
  • Indian/South Asian Princess
  • Muslim Princess
  • Mixed Race Princess
  • Physically Disabled Princess
  • Mentally Disabled Princess
  • Little Person Princess
  • Overweight Princess
  • Transgender Princess
  • Non-heteronormative Princess
  • Alto Princess
  • Any combination of above the above traits would also be acceptable

Obviously it’s a little unreasonable to expect Disney to create a feature length movie dedicated to every single diversity in existence. However, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to be more inclusive to their audience.

As tumblr user everything-is-broadway wrote, “As a person of Polynesian descent, I got extremely excited when Disney’s Moana was announced, and didn’t really know why…and then I realized, THIS is what representation feels like.”

Everybody deserves to feel that magic.

Leave any questions or comments below, and see you next week!