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So Superstorm Sandy (newscasters should’ve just continued referring to it as “Frankenstorm!”) is almost over, and election campaigning will soon be back on track. (Not to gloss over Sandy—my thoughts and prayers go out to those who were in its path and were hurt or negatively affected by it.) How do you all feel about the phrase “war on women” being tossed around? Do you feel that politicians might just be using this idea as bait to get more women voters? If you consider yourself a well-informed feminist, would you vote for a candidate primarily based on social, economic, or foreign policy issues?

I personally do not like politics for politics sake, and to use my gender as a weapon for campaigning sickens me the worst. First of all, women are part of the collective human race—the same goes for every ethnic background. To decline a person from being chosen for employment primarily based on gender or race is unjust. On the flip side, to promote a person primarily based on their gender or race is also unjust. Considering that, how do you think women are being attacked from an economic standpoint—that is, if you even believe this discrimination still exists in our country?

The second reason why I hate the appeals toward women as part of a political campaign is that I care about mostly the same things men care or should care about when choosing a presidential candidate. To say anything else would be categorizing me as a separate entity not equal to men. As a woman, I should care about the economy for the future of my children and theirs as much as my husband cares about the economy to support his immediate family. To lure me in with women-only ads belittles my intelligence, leading me to believe you think this is the only—if not the primary arena I’m concerned with. For instance, these ads say that abortion is a women’s-only issue. When has it been possible to conceive without a man (or his seed) involved?

Why is it that Planned Parenthood seems to be the only place they make you think you can get affordable “women’s services,” excluding abortion? I don’t use them, but I was able to get my BCPs for $9/mo (with no insurance)! Now that I have good insurance that my husband and I picked out, I get them for free. That’s about the same deal as Planned Parenthood, if not better.

My dear fellow women, I do not need to tell you what you must do. All I want to warn you is that your world should not be limited to what they show you in a political ad. Some politicians will bait you by scaring you, making you mad, or making you feel like a victim. That is because these politicians rely on our estrogen-fueled emotions, and you need to prove that you can be as logical as men when making rational decisions. That kind of thinking, as well as our abilities, should determine our employment and our salaries—not because we are women. If your being hired is just because of your gender (or race), then you are merely part of a quota that needed to be filled.

My husband and I are not employed, but we are now proud small business owners—thank God for capitalism! Part of the reason why we felt a need to start a business together was because of his having been laid off by his job. Some of the people who weren’t laid off were arguably less qualified, but they were also definitely minorities. Maybe the company should’ve taken note that he was married to a then-jobless student minority before laying him off. I don’t need the government to make special arrangements to force employers to hire me even if I am a slacker or somehow less qualified than other applicants. I hope you get my point, despite my harsh tone.

Some time ago, during the height of my involvement with college, I used to buy into Marxist ideals. I have to say, they were always just ideals and never a plausible reality to me. Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom won me over. It is scary to see an America unfolding into a communist country, without the majority of its people even realizing it. A tactful politician can mask the ugliest thing you can think of and make you eat it up like cake.

I think the only war on women that exists (at least in the coming election) is the way that politicians make you think there is one and use it to their advantage. It’s like somebody’s trying to hypnotize us by waving pretty pearl necklaces in our faces, distracting us from all other issues and covering up huge past and pres(id)ent blunders.

You might not believe me if I say that I am not writing this politically to support a specific candidate. You’re partially right. I do know who I want to win (and so should you by now, being so close to election day). However, writing for women and as a woman, I want to preserve the integrity of our women as much as I can by telling you not to vote for a candidate because of our women’s issues. Our issues may be very important, but wise people (and even crafty terrorists like Bin Laden) know that to destroy a nation’s economy is to destroy a nation completely.


Whether you call it “Halloween” or “Harvest Fest,” this is the time of year when kids dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood or the Big Bad Wolf set out on a mission to collect as much candy as possible before the curfew, and you go out with your coworkers to drink your beverage of choice—dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood or the Big Bad Wolf. Not much has changed, except that you can’t go house to house without people thinking you’re a creepy salesman.

Even if you don’t do New Year’s resolutions, do yourself a favor this Halloween and resolve not to be a sartorial stereotype. Every year, women in particular succumb to one of multiple Hallows’ Eve costume cliches: (1) an adult version of a childhood favorite featuring what looks more like a kid-sized dress, (2) a really bizarre infusion of estrogen into a masculine character or sexless object, (3) a cute bunny, or (4) some kind of feline (see The Office, season 2). These are major stereotypes that women from preteens to adult seem to be stuck in. And perhaps understandably so—it’s really hard to get away from it when that’s all they have for sale at Spirit Halloween.

For men (as well as women), all I can I say is that you should be absolutely mindful of the use of racial stereotypes as costumes—as well as others that might be perceived as offensive, obscene, or derogatory.

With that said, here are some creative ideas for costumes for both men and women alike:

The iconic David Bowie look consists of makeup, flashy clothing, and textured hairstyle. His spacey Ziggy Stardust costumes were mainly designed by Freddi Burretti. Bowie’s costume in the 1986 movie The Labyrinth takes a different path in the direction of the swashbuckling New Romantic scene (although, I do not recommend the guys’ donning anything similar to the Goblin King’s pants—ever). Other iconic personalities with similar styles include Adam Ant and Brian Eno.

Elizabeth Banks’ newest hit role, Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games, was widely celebrated by makeup junkies all over. If you’re feeling like buying makeup for Halloween that’s also suitable for all-year use but do not want to spend a ton of money on MAC Cosmetics, Coastal Scents and BH Cosmetics have similarly pigmented palettes (check out their Halloween contests).  Comparable personalities to Effie Trinket include Björk and Karen O.

 

If you feel like dressing around a theme instead of a person, you can pick a decade or a genre, or a combination of both. If the theme you pick is the 1920s, you know that every other girl with that decade in mind will be dressed as a flapper, so why don’t you instead pick Coco Chanel or Charlie Chaplin (Pam Beesly was really dressed up as Hitler)? Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that paints an alternate 19th century Victorian universe with futuristic technology using steam as the main power source. In essence, steampunk combines retro and futuristic elements. It’s fun to play around with the idea of mixing time periods and/or genres to create something completely new.

After having said so many Office references, I leave you with this challenge: What will you create?

This article was written for Extant Magazine. I published this on my blog, because the article was not published on time due to administrative issues.

SHOPBOP has been really generous with their freebies, so here is another $100 to spend on their site just for you! It’s that time of the year again where we all get to wear our favorite sweater dresses, scarves, and boots—so I compiled a few of my fall favorites on Shopbop’s website on the collage above. Also check out their collection of Maison Scotch jackets, No. 21 coats, and Rag and Bone coats.

To reduce the difficulty of winning, I have decided to stop the popularity contest by making this based on random drawing. So in order to do that, I require you to number each entry that you leave as a comment, taking into account the number of the entry left before you. For example, the person before you left two entries. Her first comment is her first entry, and her second comment is her second entry. You will then write your comment as such:

3. I have liked you on Facebook. Answer: Upcoming season’s runway reports on my favorite designers, Chanel and McQueen.

4. Followed on Twitter @TwitterUsername

5. Followed on Pinterest (Pinterest username)

Mandatory Entry:

You must “like” à la Modest on Facebook. Right after you do that, leave a comment on this post answering this question: What kind of stye-related articles do you like the best? These combined will be your first entry to the contest.

Bonus Entries (to be left as separate comments):

  1. Follow  à la Modest on Twitter (@alaModest), and leave a comment stating that you did. Include your user name.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway, and leave a comment stating that you did. Include your user name and/or a link to the tweet. Copy & paste this to tweet: “Win a $100 Shopbop Gift Card for designer clothing & accessories via @alaModest ! http://bit.ly/RmZAhx #giveaway”
  3. Subscribe to this blog through BlogLovin’, and leave a comment stating that you did.
  4. Post this giveaway as your status on Facebook, and leave a comment stating that you did. Include your Facebook’s e-mail address. Copy & paste this: “Win a $100 Shopbop Gift Card for designer clothing & accessories via alamodest.com! http://alamodest.com/?p=7935”
  5. Blog about this giveaway in a new post, and leave a comment  with the link.
  6. Follow this blog’s Tumbler or Pinterest. Leave your username(s). (2 entries total).

 

For the bonus entries, I will check to verify if you have done these. If you are already subscribers/followers, indicate that you are in separate entries. Do not forget to leave me your real e-mail address (in the e-mail address text box).

This giveaway is based on random drawing. Remember, the more entries you have, the more chances of winning. Good luck! The giveaway is open to all (US and international) and will end on Saturday, November 10th at 11:59 pm EST.

Love Shopbop? Follow them on Pinterest!


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Winner: Kristie Dinh @aznlubsyew

Little Nemo (L/N) Jewelry

October 16th, 2012

If you did not see Google’s doodle of the day yesterday, you missed out! It was one of the best I’ve ever seen on their home page—partly because it was something very familiar and dear to me. Yesterday was the 107th anniversary of Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905) by cartoonist Winsor McCay.

If you haven’t figured it out yet based on the graphic above, Nemo is not a fish. Oh, and for the artists out there, his work done before 1923 is under public domain! You should know however that giving no credit is just like stealing.

Eight years later in 1913, jewelry tycoon Brier Manufacturing in Providence, RI created a series of costume jewelry whose name was inspired by the popular comic strip. The insignia on the back of each piece was either “Nemo,” “Little Nemo,” “L N,” L/N,” “LN 25,” “LN/25,” or “LN 50″ as the known variations. The significance of the number after the letters is not understood. The company created jewelry for big names like Revlon and Disney. They went bankrupt however in 1970 right around the time they started the “no-jewelry look.” I am not really sure what that means, but I think it might be that they stopped designing elaborate costume jewelry, which a lot of women like myself love. Little Nemo jewelry, having been made by the second largest jewelry manufacturer at the time, is not really all that rare. You might just find a few brooches at your local thrift store!

You’ll find some of my favorites below. I really do think the style is very similar to the comic strip as well! McCay’s drawings were surreal and had a lot of circular shapes and colors, just like these.

If you are not much of a comic reader, I suggest you watch the underrated and little-known 1989 movie Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, directed by Masami Hata and William T. Hurtz (sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury, who died just this year in June, contributed to the concept). Try not to fall into “Slumberland”as you get past the cheesy soundtrack!

Sources: Past and Present Jewelry, Aurora Bijoux

Art Nouveau

October 7th, 2012

I love this formal attire Navy hat! I’ve worn it twice in one week. It even has the female officer’s name written underneath, a plus for nerdy daydreamers like me playing make believe sailor. This hat just makes everything so much more fun, especially when the rest of my outfit is nothing special. I’ve even had a random homeless guy walk up to me quizzing me and my husband on what he thought to be the most valuable but common Navy item. His response? Ships in a bottle.

Just thought I’d make this set of photos of my everyday outfit on a Saturday afternoon reflect my current obsession—Art Nouveau. I hate to sound  like these History Channel shows, but art nouveau is a style of art (also a philosophy) hugely popular in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, especially in Paris. To me, this style sort of looks like stained glass with a little rust. Although not always in glass, you’ll see a lot of this style done through glass works.

Here are some works I have cherry picked from known artists of this style:

“Adele Bloch-Bauer I ” by Gustav Klimt (1907)

“Gismonda” by Alphonse Mucha (1894): Mucha is one of my favorite artists who has really captivated my imagination. This ad for a play called Gismonda is said to be what spearheaded the Art Nouveau style (full image).

“La Maison Moderne” by Manuel Orazi (1902):

“Prochainement Tournée du Chat Noir” by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1896)

 


The vintage clothing inspiration for today is the gorgeous Michelle Phillips of the 60s pop band The Mamas and The Papas. Michelle’s style back in her day had a good mix of textures—mostly tribal/hippie (trippy?)/ psychedelic. She wore a lot of maxi skirts and flowy free-spirited tops.

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