Handmade clothing

The benefits of handmade clothing

Handmade clothing may seem like it is a little bit old fashioned. However, you should realize the handmade clothing has a couple of great benefits that you can enjoy. Then you will realize why handmade clothing is so valuable for you to seek out. 

The main benefit you will discover with handmade clothing is that you are able to know where these have come from. Typically when you buy items from any department store, it will indicate which country they are made in. You will recognize the artist who crafted the item either by buying directly from them or producing the item with your own hands. 

Another benefit that you will notice with handmade clothing is the quality is typically higher then the store-bought items. The reason for this higher quality in the handmade clothing is the person who is making the item is going to take pride in what they are selling. Since they are taking pride in what they are selling, you do not have to be concerned about the products falling apart as soon as you put the clothing on. 
Because store-bought clothing doesn't last very long, it's harder to enjoy it for long periods of time. This is when you should know more information about handmade clothing and why this clothing is so beneficial for you to wear. Once you know about these benefits, it is easy for you to understand why you should be buying or making handmade clothes, instead of anything else. 

Choosing what color to wear

Favorite color vs. suitable color

When picking out a new outfit, how do you decide on what color to wear?  Do you simply go with your all-time favorite color?  Or do you pick the color that suits you best?

For the longest time, my method for picking out what color clothes to buy would be to always go with the color that I like best from the rack of clothes at the store.  Since my favorite color is pink, I have a closet full of pink clothes.  Even a lot of my shoes and accessories are pink. 

In addition to liking the color pink, I generally like most pastel colors. So they are the colors that I tend to seek out when shopping for new clothes.  Then one day, a sales associate at a clothing store told me something that I never thought to consider. 

She said that I should give darker hues a try, since she thought such colors would look great on me.  After trying on a couple of the items that she suggested, I decided that perhaps there really was some truth to what she was saying.

Once I started to wear the darker colors, I began to get lots of compliments on my outfits.  A lot of people seem to think that red was definitely my color. So what do I do now? Do I abandon my pink clothes for some red ones? No, not completely. I still have a special place in my heart for anything that comes in pink. However, I am starting to build up a collection of bright red clothing.

I love my stripes

So leave them alone!

Recently I saw a friend post something on Facebook about hating stripes—particularly horizontal ones—because they don’t make anyone look good. This friend is so funny and delightful and I took it as a tongue-in-cheek comment, but it did make me think about how we police ourselves and what we are “allowed” to wear or not because of how we look.

For years I only wore black, telling myself it’s because I’m an artist and I love the color and it fits me. Well, that’s all true, but I like colors, too. I just didn’t want to look as fat as I am, and I thought wearing all-black, from ankle to elbow, was the answer—even in the summertime, which is hot and humid and unbearable in such clothing.

When I took a trip to California, everyone I met handled me with kid gloves and I didn’t get it; weren’t these supposed to be my own hippity-dippity people? Wasn’t I finally supposed to fit in? Well, I was fat, so that wasn’t going to happen anyway—but it turned out that they thought I was a conservative because of the way I dressed! I hadn’t worn my cute, bright peasant tops or wild rainbow earrings or anything since college, after all.

It wasn’t until last year, when fed up with my wardrobe once and for all, that I started to buy stripes. And colors. And other things that are pretty much barred from the Fatty Wardrobe. My favorite are the stripes! I don’t have the opportunity to buy many clothes period, but my black and white stripes, green and gray stripes, and other stripes are definitely my most beloved clothes.

It’s like being in a Tim Burton film. It’s like being a candy striper without the sexist comments, or the frivolity of the barber pole on your own body! I can’t fully explain why I love them so much—perhaps because I’ve banned myself from wearing them since I was, oh, fourteen?—but my stripes seem to give me a sense of power, as if I can defy fashion police and fat-haters and people who pretty much hate my existence just because of my appearance, something that I’ve dealt with nearly all my life (as many fat people have).

I can wear stripes. I can wear teal and orange and lavender. I can wear whatever I want! And so can you.

Bored man shopping

Be careful when taking a man to the store

I went clothes shopping with my wife the other day.  While flitting from store to store, I noticed that many stores are making their clothing fitting room waiting areas more man friendly.  There are comfy couches and even TVs running sports programs.  Many clothing retailers are starting to recognize the need to cater to the other half that is taken shopping, at times, under duress.  One of the reasons may very well be because of men like the one mentioned in this article:



As the full newspaper clip shows, one women was threatened with a lifetime ban from a shopping outlet after her husband did, among other things,

  • Setting the alarm clocks in the Housewares section to go off at regular intervals.
  • Hiding in a clothing rack and yelling “Pick me, pick me!”
  • And, suspiciously running around the store singing the Mission Impossible theme song. 

Does boredom really lead to havoc?  Or is this a retailer who is simply a bit of a Scrooge with no funny bone in their body? Either way, it was funny how I could relate to the man in question.  While I have never been so outlandish, I have considered doing similar things.  However, it’s not just the boredom that gets me when clothes shopping.  No, it’s also the questions posed by my wife – “How do I look in this?”  “Does this make me look fat?”  “Do these match?”  There is no good answer to any of these questions.  Yes, no, or maybe so means that I’m in trouble.  Could you imagine my wife’s response if I answered those questions in this way – “Gosh, that one makes you look horrendous!” “Fat?  Maybe.”  Or, “I can hardly match my socks, do you think I’m qualified to answer your questions about matching clothes?”

No matter how you look at it – clothes shopping with the spouse or girlfriend is an exercise in humility and learning what not to say or do.


Uggs in the Summer

UGG boots have come to be a staple piece for every teenage girl's closet. The fury boots are designed to keep your feet warm. They were also designed as a way for surfers, specifically to warm their feet after getting out of the water. Ugg boots have transition from a sensible invention to a fashion trend. People around the world wear UGG boots no matter the weather. At one point Uggs were only seen during the colder months, but its seems as though many wearers decided to start a fashion trend of their own. As a result, wearing UGG boots in the summer have become a popular new trend.

It is always nice to walk in an amusement park in Southern California, in 90 degree weather, in the middle of July, and see a young lady combining a pair of UGG boots with mini shorts. Being prepared is something understandable since cold weather is not a part of the vocabulary in Southern California. On the other hand, summertime in Southern California can sometime be painful so putting on a pair of furry, thick boots may end up increasing this pain. Wearing layers and covering up is a common way that people cool down. Sometimes wearing a long sleeve top is more rewarding in the heat than wearing a tube top. However, I too commonly see many people (mostly middle schoolers and high scholers) wearing UGG boots with some sort of mini skirt, dress or short.

Even though a large population of people may love UGG boots, there is also a good amount of people who would give anything to see an end to them. Therefore, wearing UGG boots in the summertime is not something that would help the case of why they are such a good idea. Do you wear UGG boots or do you opt to go a more subtle route when it comes to boots?


What Do your Shoes Say About You?

People often say to avoid letting material possessions define who you are as a person. Even though they may not define who you are they can say a lot about the person. It seems as though many celebrities live for their shoe collection. The other day Kim Kardashian (not really a celebrity) tweeted a photo of a portion of her closet.

Outlined with Louboutins of every color and Milano’s most people will never be able to afford you can't help but cringe at the image. For clarity, I feel as though people who have the money should be able to do with it as they please. On the other hand, I do feel strongly against people whose only purpose in life is appear at said parties or events just so they can afford their next pair of $5,000 shoes.

People like Kardashian allow shoes to define them, but I am also wondering about the people who allow their shoes to become a part of them, to tell a story. Not the story in the sense that my mom bought these for my birthday, but more along the lines of my mother was a diehard Beatles fan and she used to wear these boots to every concert, and now they are mine to abuse. For a short time I allowed shoes to define me entirely or that’s what I thought. Then you grow up, and see the people who have enough shoes to feed a village, those who wear shoes to protect their feet, and those who allow a nice pair of shoes to highlight a small fraction of who they are.

What do your shoes say about you? Do you let them define who you are or do they tell a story?

Remebering the 2011 Japanese Tsunami

The Fortitude of Those in Tohoku

20 years ago I lived in Japan.  I spent two years on a service mission in Tohoku. While there I found the people genuine and accepting of me – especially with my broken Japanese.  In some towns I was the only “gaijin” or foreigner.  Especially in these towns, the Japanese people were extremely patient with my developing language skills.  One even commented how much he appreciated that I was trying to speak Japanese rather than try to force English on him.  I have fond memories of my time in Japan. 

So, nearly one year ago I sat glued to the TV as I watched an earthquake followed by a tsunami devastate the area I had once called home.  While none of the areas I had lived in Northern Japan were affected as severely as those we saw on TV, my heart went out to the people of Japan, the area where I once called home.

Photographer Jake Price described, in a New Yorker photo essay, the devastation this way, “it took down the largest of structures, killed thousands of people, and inundated ancient fields, making them fallow for years to come.” This winter, Price lived with residents of the affected region in northeastern Japan in trailer homes provided by the government. “Living in isolation, they endure and exist,” Price said.  But what the people really want is not to simply endure, but to reconnect and belong again.

Despite the tsunami’s assault, the fortitude of the people in Tohoku has proven bigger than the tsunami itself.  The people of Northern Japan have responded to tragedy with resolve and compassion unmatched by many.  It is a spirit of determination that many can learn from - a determination to rebuild not only their cities, but their culture and way of life.

Donate Your Old Shoes

When you think of shoes, you probably think about the hundreds that you could buy with a little extra money, but the thought of the many that you rarely wear does not even cross your mind. Sometimes we buy shoes thinking they will go with this, that, and that outfit. Or we may guilt ourselves into buying shoes we never intend to wear. I tend to buy shoes with a purpose of wearing them until they are all out of breath. Growing up I was allowed one new pair of shoes each school year with a budget of $40.

This makes me think about donating my old shoes. I typically do this about once every two years and it helps to know that my shoes might be better served by someone else. Have you ever thought of donating, or trading in a pair of old shoes? This past couple of weeks, I have stumbled upon numerous signs asking people to trade in their old shoes or donate an old pair. One article even asks people to trade in an old pair of shoes for a cup of coffee.

You may not want a cup of coffee, but it is a way to get people to do stuff they normally would not do. If you have places like Goodwill or Salvation Army around you, then you can easily donate extra things you have lying around. There was an article dedicated to homeless men and women receiving shoes. This may sound like something so trivial and irrelevant to some, but it really puts things into perspectives. Now what would you trade in an old pair of shoes for?

Male Chefs Do Not Exist in a Void

They may dominate the kitchen, but it’s usually their moms who helped them get there in the first place.

Everywhere you look, there are male chefs—on commercials, television shows, cookware, cooking competitions, you name it. Most cooking competitions, and indeed most restaurants, feature male chefs. Why is this?

Ask just about any male chef where he was taught or what inspired him to become a chef in the first place and he’ll tell you it was his mom nine times out of ten. It’s one of the most common stories you hear from any male cook. In fact, many male chefs are making millions of dollars off their own mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes. I wonder if they ever considered that their mothers and grandmothers could have just as easily been the top chefs instead?

Imagine if they’d been able to not have children somehow. Many lived in times when it was illegal to obtain birth control outside marriage, let alone an abortion. Of course I’m not implying that these women did not want their children; I have no way of knowing whether they did or not. But they certainly were not in the position to become famous chefs all over the world as their sons currently are.

These women did not become famous chefs not only because they likely lacked the opportunities that the fought so hard to obtain for their children; they also simply had to care for their children in the first place. Many worked and cared for their children at the same time, while still providing them with recipes and cooking techniques that would lead to multi-million dollar cooking careers.

I wonder if these moms are even thanked for all that they did for their children? I wonder if the recipes they so painstakingly created or preserved that are now cast so carelessly into $25.00 cookbooks featuring big grinning male faces were worth it. Do they wish that family secrets had stayed secret? Do they wish that they had opened up a family restaurant themselves and become famous chefs in their own rights rather than simply serving as fodder for their progeny?

As a mother, I can tell you that it would make me proud if that were my child, for sure, and I would help her succeed no matter the price. That said, I can’t help but think that it should be these moms and grandmothers with their rich histories and pasts and stories who should be revered on food channels and cooking shows and, yes, restaurants themselves rather than their sons.

Modern Family sends mixed messages with "Virgin Territory"

Why is the media telling my teenagers when it is okay to have sex?

OK – like most teenage boys (and many men) I was preoccupied with the opposite sex.  Yet here I am, in my 40’s, with teenage daughters.  The idea of either having sex before marriage just plain scares me.  They are my babies, my little girls and how dare any young man take that away from me or from them.  So when I saw this week’s Modern Family episode about Phil (the father) the discovering that his daughter Haley, a high school senior, was sexually active, well it made my skin crawl a little. 

I love Modern Family.  It is witty and I can often connect with many of the characters.  I was less bothered that they chose to do an episode about a seventeen year old having had sex, and more concerned that it was presented as normal behavior for that age.  I don't believe that every high school senior is out there having sex.  Nor do I believe that they are ready to.  Now, prime-time TV is reinforcing the idea that 17 or 18 is the appropriate age to have sex. 

Maybe this is just protective dad writing.  But are we really ready as a society to put an age on when it is okay to have sex?  Emotional security is definitely something to consider.  Many of our youth look at sex as simply a physical work-out.  They have removed the emotional connection from the act, making it even more depersonalized.  Who in the media, or even in society is reminding our children that not only isn't everybody doing it, but it is okay to wait?