Sunday, January 15, 2017

meet Helen and Georgia

In this post, you'll get acquainted with two of my best friends, Georgia and Helen. Georgia has been taking my blog pictures since the very beginning, so you've already been introduced to her in some ways. You may recognize Helen from my prom 2016 post.
Helen Maynard
WHAT TO EXPECT: film/ thrifting/ politics/ personal essays
DEFINITIVE FASHION PIECE: I wear mostly statement pieces. Stuff that you can’t wear everyday because it would tire. My favorite would probably be my light blue track suit, like the ones that were really popular (Juicy in particular) during the early 2000s. I can wear it in a preppy way with a crop top and tie the top around my shoulder or go “sporty” with no bra (my go to). It’s an easy way for me to be funky without having to try too hard.
3 OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS: Watching and talking about “films;" estate sales, the best place for nice clothes at a great price; the Walmart clearance and children’s toy section, specifically the baby dolls that cry and poop
A COUPLE OF SENTENCES ABOUT YOU: I’m a home grown Fayettevillian, with Texan and Californian roots. I wear whatever makes me feel good about myself and try to surround myself with others who do the same (and I return the favor).
SOMETHING RIDICULOUS: The choker trend. I think they’re just all terrible. I think I tie it too closely to my friend’s 5th grade goth phase. Next thing you know Hot Topic will be in style again, and I just don’t have the willpower to watch style fall.
FAVORITE FORM OF SELF EXPRESSION: I think writing right now. Writing is an intimate way that I try to tell my (currently undeveloped and frankly boring) story and my (unsolicited) opinions. I’ve been writing for about five years and currently am writing mainly personal essays. I love to take faint memories from my childhood and insert a message that may not have been there originally. I think even if the message wasn't there to start, by creating the story (and to an extent the memory) it develops more value to me than it ever could have otherwise.
WHAT DOES FASHION MEAN TO YOU? Through fashion I try to show my funky side. My style is inspired by Iris Apfel, and I often hear “I wouldn’t wear it, but it looks good on you.” I don’t follow many fashion rules either. I wear white after Labor Day, I wear two fancies, and I wear velvet in the summer. I just wear whatever I want and feels good in the moment. Style is how I establish my individuality.
WHAT TO EXPECT: photography/ humor/ outdoors
Georgia in Ireland
DEFINITIVE FASHION PIECE: I’m not sure that I have any piece of clothing I immediately picture when thinking of my “style,” but my go-to is my pair of dark-wash, high-waisted GAP skinny jeans. They are comfortable and high-quality, go with everything, and they hold in my tummy in the most comforting way while also slimming me down.
3 OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS: I love my Birkenstocks, especially with socks. Go ahead and judge me. I think I rock it.
I love my dogs and all other dogs. They are pure and can do nothing evil.
I love London fogs. The lady at my favorite coffee shop even told me she now associates my school uniform with London fogs.
A COUPLE OF SENTENCES ABOUT YOU: I’m more of a dirty hippie than a glamorous fashionista, and I may make cynical jokes too often for my own good. But if you can appreciate someone who can fit a fart joke into an intellectual discussion without skipping a beat, I’m your girl. I’m all about comfort and simplicity, and I hope I can provide the perspective of someone mostly oblivious to trends but inspired by many things nonetheless.
SOMETHING RIDICULOUS: Guides to clothing based on body type. My body doesn’t fit into any one of your definitive shapes or types, and I’m gonna wear what makes me feel good, not what “flatters my figure!” Take that, teen magazines!
GUILTY PLEASURE FOOD: Sea salt and vinegar chips. I’ll eat an entire bag in an hour. My tongue will be destroyed and I’ll be chugging water the whole time, but I’ll do it every time.
FAVORITE FORM OF SELF EXPRESSION: Writing. Hands down. I have no preference of form, but I tend to write a lot of poetry.
WHAT DOES FASHION MEAN TO YOU? To me, fashion is still an uncharted territory I’ve yet to traverse. I feel I have a good sense of what I like, but I’m stuck in the idea that comfort means loss of style (which is obviously false). I’ve spent so long taking photos for Claire and seeing the development of my friends’ styles that I’m excited to use it as another form of self-expression. I want to keep things simple and comfortable but also unique to me and creatively put together.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

meet Darcy and Jenna

Like I mentioned last post, Outfits and Observations is evolving into a whole team of cool, creative girls! Today I'm introducing Darcy and Jenna. Get excited for the cool content they'll be publishing! Bailey Lindsey took these photos.
Darcy Olmstead
WHAT TO EXPECT: film/ art/ culture/ criticism
DEFINITIVE FASHION PIECE: A few weeks ago my best friends and I were discussing what we call our “cartoon character uniform”-- that one outfit we wear so often that it’s the only thing others think of when they’re trying to imagine you. Something on the lines of Timmy Turner’s signature red hat and pink t-shirt or Ferb’s fashionable high-waisted purple trousers.  For me, my friends will tell you my uniform always includes this one pair of mustard yellow cargo pants. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not cargo pants in the traditional sense (evoking images of male classmates with their exposed knees, red and chapped in the winter weather) but ankle-length and slim. I love the near androgyny of them (I’ve actually worn them as Richie Tenenbaum for Halloween. It’s the first picture of me on Google, if you’re curious) and how they make me feel like a badass Kim Possible impersonator.
3 OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS: Coffee ice cream, Boston terriers, and kayaking
ABOUT YOU: I’m an artist, writer, filmmaker, and history nerd. I’m also a bit of a monstrosity because I’m at least three inches taller than all my close girl friends. However, I do love the fact that my weight gain can be stretched out over such a long surface area.  My dream is to be a part of the art world, and museums are my true love. I currently volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where I’m president of the Teen Council - so expect many posts from there. Get me talking about art history or design and I won’t shut up. So it comes as no surprise that I plan to specialize in art, film, culture, and criticism here on the blog. Of course I’ll find ways to work in my many other interests (don’t be surprised by a post on Arkansas river trips or my love for Catherine the Great) and fashion will be a must.
SOMETHING RIDICULOUS: The nature of major film awards in this country, especially in regard to minority filmmakers. Literally the only categories ever specifically designated for women are “Best Actress” and “Actress in a Supporting Role.” What about female directors, writers, and musicians? Aren’t they rare enough as it is? Or what about categories for people of color? The fact that we have to have separate categories for these artists to get the recognition they deserve is sad enough (even when they’re obviously better than those who are being represented). Hollywood is ridiculous. I could go on, but I’ll keep this one short. Maybe I’ll turn this into a post of its own in the future?
GUILTY PLEASURE FOOD:  Any fridge leftovers but especially cold rice. Drench that thing in salt and I’m there.
FAVORITE FORM OF SELF EXPRESSION: As of late? Embroidery. I picked it up over Christmas break and I’m obsessed. It’s basically doodling on fabric.
WHAT DOES FASHION MEAN TO YOU? Pure self-expression … mixed with a pinch of humility, aesthetics, and societal norms.
Jenna Blakeman
WHAT TO EXPECT: politics/ feminism/ social commentary/ fashion
DEFINITIVE FASHION PIECE:  Over the past year, I noticed that the ‘90s were making an incredible comeback in fashion. One of the pieces that I clinged onto was the slip dress, which is very definitive of my personal style. My favorite slip dress that I own is a soft pink-purple dress with a small slit on the left side to add shape. It’s a piece that I’m able to carry with me from season to season by layering tops underneath it or throwing an oversized sweater over it. I’m able to incorporate new trends with the slip dress like sheer tops, bomber jackets, and sneakers. I can’t financially afford to never wear the same thing twice, nor do I want to, but I can creatively afford to use the same staple dress and create new outfits out of it. The slip dress is also very definitive of me because it includes my favorite dress and skirt length- the midi. The midi length to me is a bold fashion statement that makes your outfit go from something normalized to something unique. You are able to access so much creativity and fashion history with just a few more inches to your skirt or dress.
3 OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS: debate, documentaries, John Mulaney
ABOUT YOU: I grasped onto politics from a very early age of seven when I dressed up as Abraham Lincoln for Halloween. I had a very naive understanding of American politics at that point and idolized Lincoln for his efforts towards abolishing slavery. Of course, there is so much more to the story, and my suburban elementary school in Arkansas gave us the most heroic depiction of white politicians at the time, but it was one of the first memories I have of feeling empowered, inspired, and passionate about social justice and equality. Around this same time, I got in a fight with my mother in a Walmart for not buying me a plastic placemat that had the 43 presidents of the United States on it. I wanted it so badly so I could study all of the white men on it and figure out how to get my face on one of those. I willingly stared at it for the duration of our grocery shopping trip and never saw someone who looked like me on it, so I desperately searched for any similarities I had with them, and I discovered that I share a birthday with Herbert Hoover.
SOMETHING RIDICULOUS: Until I lived for a decade, my favorite movie was “The Wedding Singer” with Adam Sandler.
GUILTY PLEASURE FOOD: Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked. I will eat an entire pint by myself.
FAVORITE FORM OF SELF EXPRESSION: Modeling. It’s not something I could ever pursue as a career, nor do I think it’s one of my strengths, but I like the way I feel when I’m doing it. I enjoy being around photography, unfortunately I don’t know as much as I would like to about the art. With modeling, I’m able to see a vision come to life. I’m able to express my femininity through modeling as well as my sense of style and fashion. It’s an underappreciated outlet for creativity.
WHAT DOES FASHION MEAN TO YOU? Feminism. Gender is performative, and generally those who perform their gender the best, are more accepted and more likely to avoid scrutiny. The idea of gender equality is manifested in the ability for all people to express themselves freely, and feminism is capable of completely deconstructing the status quo where females are expected to wear one thing, and males are expected to wear another. Fashion is an outlet I use to communicate themes of feminism by turning gender stereotypes on themselves by using elements of men’s fashion and incorporating them in women’s fashion and vice-versa. It means expressing my individuality as a person regardless of if my outfit meets the social standards imposed on me or not.  Fashion means having the autonomy to express myself candidly through clothes.

Monday, January 2, 2017

reinventing outfits and observations

2017 is going to be the year of many exciting changes! Outfits and Observations will be transforming into something better and larger than anything I could have dreamed up when I published my first post sophomore year.

This blog is my baby, and it's been one of the most rewarding things I've done in high school. It's a place that's completely mine, and I've used it to process my changing thoughts, interests, and feelings. I've published a lot of things that I'm proud of, but there's also so much more I want to do. Even if blogging was my full time job, I don't think I would be able to create all of the content I want to share.

So, I've gathered up some of my coolest, smartest, most creative friends to create a whole team! You'll be meeting them in a special post soon. We all have interests and ideas that overlap, but we also all have different special knowledge. Get ready for more about art, fashion, politics, music, feminism, and so much more! It's essentially what I've already done, but bigger and better and with more writers.

Our mission statement is: Outfits and Observations is a website that empowers young women to create and express themselves through intelligent, thoughtful content. It's a community for those who appreciate style, in all forms, and acknowledge the importance of sharing their thoughts. 

With more people and dedication, there's going to be a consistent schedule. Since it was just me writing before, and I have to deal with the unpredictable schedule of high school life, it's been difficult to have a concrete schedule. Now, posts will be published on Sundays. We're starting with the promise of at least two posts per month, and that number will grow as things get rolling.

If you're interested in creating content or you have things you want to see on the new Outfits and Observations, shoot me an email and let me know. I'm beyond excited for everything that's about to happen!

Spread the word, follow us on Instagram @outfitsandobservations, like us on Facebook!

much love,

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

the wonderful Alyson!

For my second school newspaper column about ~Cool Teenz~ I got to chat with my friend Alyson Zetta Williams! She's incredible and does it all. I conducted her interview via google docs, so all of the answers are her actual words, and I thought she had a million little pieces of wisdom tucked in. Last column, when I interviewed Eliza Rubin, I published the finished article on here, but this time I'm switching it up a bit so you can hear directly from Alyson.

She's a high school senior in California, and she's worked her butt off to write for Rookie, Clover, and her own collective. I got to know Alyson last year when I wrote for Zine Club Mag, which you'll read more about, and she's seriously one of the Coolest Girls Ever. Read this and become her biggest fan!

What all are you involved in?
Oh dear . . . WELL, I guess I would be most known for Zine Club/ Zine Club Mag, although it’s now stowed away. Currently, Zetta Mag (a newsletter), ROOKIE, Obsessee, Clover, Adolescent Content, my own painting and writing, being a functional member of society, all that good stuff. I just became a certified yoga teacher, too, aaagh!

How did you get Zine Club started at your school?
There was just no inclusive way for students (me) to do their creative thang without having to submit to certain guidelines or aesthetics. Which is ridiculous. With the lovely platforms out now that are candid about creative success and showcase many different styles, I was on the verge of learning that I was okay in my path and don’t need mimicry to find my way to the clearing. I was passionate about it; that’s everything. Passion is magic, and it drove the whole dang Zine Club bus. I hustled, yo! Show people how great your idea is and show that your passion exists and it becomes a trend to have that same reaction.

Tell me a little bit about how Zine Club grew.
I don’t think anyone had known that a club/ platform like this could exist, so it kind of blew their minds, lol. For me, I was already immersed in the online community of places like ROOKIE where sharing art was already “a thing”. But these kids . . . no one was caring, or saying that it was important for these worlds they had inside of them to be known. A LOT of people were shocked at the acceptance of work and how many times I said “Yes!” and “Okay!” to their requests and submissions. If I had to say, I think it’s the uniquity of the platform/publication and the sheer inclusion that drew people to the idea.

What are you doing with Clover and Zetta mag right now?
Clover is so beautiful. It can be so saddening when you are 124% behind a pitch and it gets rejected; with Clover, they (Liza and Casey) are really willing to explore all avenues with the Ambassadors. It’s very real, is how I would describe it, and not afraid to acknowledge that it’s growing, learning.
Zetta Mag is what I’m living for right now. It’s my own art/beauty/fashion/music-focused newsletter where I’m doing whatever I want in the process of vomiting onto the world everything amazingly crazy-cool thing I love in the planet. It is set to launch at the end of the month, so look out! It will be sent every Saturday, for your weekend reading convenience. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but I have some ideas that I can’t wait to get out there.

How did you start writing for rookie?
Ah, Rookie. Well, I had been obsessed. You could say it was my first real obsession, which was relieving, because I was becoming quite concerned over my status as a late-bloomer when it came to those crazed things. Boy bands just didn’t do it for me. But Rookie . .  . that changed me. I NEVER EVER thought I would write for them; I idolized it too much. But the thing I did right was I kept trying every so often, emailing the submissions email whenever I felt it was right. It was after Zine Club began and I was running a very informal, very quirky blog to keep web folks up to date on our doings. I linked it in my latest email to Rookie and, low and behold, that was the key for Amy Rose, who replied to my email with a “Welcome aboard!”. I couldn’t believe it. That whole situation is pure evidence that when you start following/accepting the path that is right for you, and doing what you want to, you will be rewarded for not fighting the freakin universe. It already has enough work to do, so go easy on it and do what your ~thang~ is.

What’s next for you? Possibilities for college, area of study, or even projects
Oh gee, yeah, college. Unpopular opinion (maybe): I LOVE being a student. It’s almost like being a baby. Everyone is there to teach you and it’s okay to make mistakes, but there is also pressure to, like, crawl, which I guess is a metaphor for writing essays, etc? I am full-on enchanted with learning about things that I know aren’t wasting my time. I haven’t met a better feeling than that utter inspiration and awe that kind of sweeps you up off the ground and makes you forget how to come back down. So yeah, college, lol. Ideally, New York (original, I know), because the amount of people and things is literally soothing to me. I love California, where I live now, but I think I need to go. For a bit.

What’s your favorite thing that you do?
PAINTTTT!!! It’s my secret love. I’m not known for it, which is ironic, because I seem to identify as an artist first and a writer second even though my entire media presence is based on my writing (still confused on how this happened, haha). Like, if I was a celebrity and had one of those secret boyfriends that you only see half their face in all instagram posts to keep their identity secret . . . that would be me and my painting. It’s so natural. I could never stop.
Movies, too. If I was immortal I would be on that director train so fast.
Lesser known, but I really enjoy modelling/acting for my friends in their amazing projects. When it happens, it’s so fun. You are becoming part of art in a whole new way that many people take for granted.

How has doing all of this impacted your high school experience?
What a great question, honestly. I think about this pretty much everyday. I’m SO GRATEFUL. If I didn’t live in a time where youth were somewhat more of a priority in terms of art/media and the internet wasn’t alive . . . I would not have had any of these ideas. It’s crazy just to think how easily I could have been a different person without this online telescope that allowed me to discover ANOTHER ME.

I really got schooled in life, too. I had gotten one B, the rest As, in all my life and up through freshman year. Sophomore year, when I started Zine Club, I got not one but TWO Cs!! It was tough to swallow but when I looked at the project I had started that had grown to include so many people who were growing through the platform in their own ways, the grief dissolved. I got the chance to look at my life from above and tell myself “Hey, what you are doing there, that is what’s important.” I still cared about my grades, but I saw so clearly for the first time how ridiculously ridiculous it is to identify as your grades. They are nothing. Sorry, Mom. I still do care, and I still try, but there’s no going back: I have my priorities; I know what I need to do.

much love,

Saturday, December 3, 2016

worth reading part two

The other day, one of my friends was trying to explain to me how much someone loved something, and she said "like almost as much as you love books." So basically, if you know me, you know I'm in love with literature, and I'm always reading something. Two summers ago, I published a post about five of my favorite books. Many of those are still at the top of my list, like Lolita and Infinite Jest, but I have some new ones to add as well.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides is the novel my favorite movie is based upon, and it retains all of the aesthetic beauty within its pages. It's about the short lives of the five Lisbon sisters, from the distorted lens of obsessive neighborhood boys. They fixate on the girls, trying to piece together the mystery of their life and overbearing parents.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath chronicles the breakdown of its main character, Esther. She begins at an exciting summer magazine internship in New York City, but she's already losing interest. Once she returns home, Esther learns she's been rejected from an important writing program. This sparks her depressive spiral, and Plath makes Esther so real that all thoughts seem rational and real.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace is the best essay collection I've read. The whole thing, particularly the title essay, is hilarious; I was laughing out loud throughout the narrative of his cruise experience and trip to the Illinois state fair. He also writes about David Lynch and literary theory. Like always, Wallace uses his control of language and brilliance to make anything interesting.
After reading Kate Zambreno's Heroines, I became obsessed with Zelda Fitzgerald. Save Me the Waltz is Zelda's only novel, and she wrote it in a frenzied six weeks. After discovering her husband was vampirizing her and her psychiatric experiences for Tender is the Night, while he was blocking her from publishing, Zelda took it upon herself to claim her own experiences. She depicts young femininity with honest and tragic truth. It's been criticized for being too autobiographical, but I think that is part of its strength.
You've probably seen photos of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur on Instagram, the place where Kaur began sharing her poetry. Her pieces are emotional and moving, with themes of femininity, love, loss,  and survival. It's a journey of her healing from a destructive relationship. Girls are adoring it, which I love because I think it's inspiring a resurgence of poetry appreciation.

Check these out and share your favorites with me also!

much love,