All black everything

I love wearing black any time (and every time), but black is definitely best in the winter. All-black ensembles look so chic in winter–and they’re so easy to put together. An all-black look is also my go-to when I’m in a pinch and need to throw on an outfit in like, five minutes. Nothing goes better with black than black.

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Giving the side-eye.

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Outfit details
Jacket: Blank NYC
Sweater: Trouvé (similar)
Jeans: Hudson (similar)
Boots: Sam Edelman (similar)
Ring: Kendra Scott

The black suede jacket is by BlankNYC, and I’ve worn it more times than I can count this winter. It goes with everything, and the suede is really warm. I found the jacket to be true to size–I took an XS, and it fits well (albeit a little snug if I wear it over bulkier sweaters). For reference, my measurements are 32-24.5-33. This exact color still sells HERE, but if you prefer a different color, you can find it in burgundy and camel HERE. There’s also a black leather version selling HERE.

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RBF.

The jeans are by Hudson. I picked them up at Nordstrom Rack a long time ago, and I was actually on the fence about keeping them when I first got them. I’m glad I did, as they’ve proven to be a wardrobe staple. These are great dressed up or down, and the holes fall (more or less) on my knees (no shin holes, please!). The fabric is soft and stretchy but still thick, and the jeans hold their shape over a good number of wears. I couldn’t find this exact pair selling anywhere, but Rag and Bone carries a style that’s really similar HERE–and Rag and Bone is probably my favorite denim brand. As far as sizing goes, I’m usually a 25 in both Rag and Bone and Hudson–both those brands tend to fit true to size, though I’ve found some pairs to run slightly small. For a high waist skinny style, both brands tend to fit true to size on the legs, with a little room in the waist.

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The boots are actually a recent find, and one of the best impulse purchases I’ve made. I love the silhouette of the boot, and the leather is quite soft and pliable. The heel is high, but not too difficult to walk in, and it’s a stacked heel so it’s a little easier to walk in than a stiletto. These ran pretty true to size as well–I’m usually a 7, and I took a 7 in these–though if you plan to wear thick socks under these boots, I would suggest sizing up a half size. This exact pair is sold out, but there is a really similar style (also by Sam Edelman) that sells HERE. I also love the Margot boot by Rag and Bone–there’s a black suede version that sells HERE.

Sweater is by Trouvé, though the black version is sold out. I really like this alternative by NIC+ZOE selling HERE–I love knot details, and this one is convertible so you can knot it or front tuck it.

The ring is the Kenny ring by Kendra Scott, and I wear it almost every day. Statement rings are my favorite, and this one is exactly what I look for in a statement ring–it’s eye-catching, yet versatile. It’s a great addition to any outfit. This exact style appears to be sold out, but there is a similar alternative selling HERE, a budget-friendly version selling HERE, and an all-metal version selling HERE. Kendra Scott also carries another style that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, HERE.

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I gotta pee!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Ari

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Things I’ve learned this year…

2017 was an interesting year. I learned a lot. Here’s some of it:

  • Love is respect.
  • People are not made to be alone. We depend on each other. People who think it’s better to be alone because “people are dumb/ignorant/don’t get me” are unwise. People who think friendship and relationships are not a necessary part of life are naive. People who think they will never need other people are naive.
  • Emotions are just as important as logic. You need both to live a balanced life. You cannot have just one.
  • There is nothing wrong with being sensitive. There is strength in sensitivity.
  • Confidence and strength come in all forms and do not look like just one thing. Don’t underestimate someone’s confidence or strength just because they don’t look like your idea of confidence and strength. And don’t feel forced to change just because you don’t embody someone else’s idea of confidence and strength.
  • Reading, writing, music, and art fill the soul. They’re essential to human survival. Learn an art form, and make sure you’re always reading something.
  • Feminism and gender equality are the same thing.
  • Pick your battles.
  • Whenever possible, choose peace, compassion, and forgiveness.
  • Trust and respect must be earned.
  • Love is action. Love is a choice. Love is a habit. Love is not just a feeling.
  • Feelings are fickle. Don’t use them as your compass too much.
  • When things are right, your head and your heart will be in sync.
  • When your head and your heart are not in sync, follow your head.
  • True happiness takes strength and work to cultivate.
  • But love and respect should come naturally.
  • You have plenty of time, but use it wisely.

Review – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

After a week of waiting and scrupulously avoiding social media lest I come across spoilers, I finally had the chance to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Overall, I enjoyed it and I think it is absolutely worth watching (maybe twice or thrice!). Read on for more of what I liked, disliked, and questions that need answering.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Proceed at your own risk. (Also, this is a long post. Grab a drink, have a snack, and settle in to read this.)

What I liked…

Kylo Ren and Rey. Honestly, I thought Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and Rey carried the entire film. I found myself anticipating their scenes during scenes with the other characters because Kylo and Rey were that compelling to watch onscreen. The lightsaber fight scene after Kylo kills Snoke is my favorite scene in the entire film (and quite possibly my favorite lightsaber fight scene in the entire series). The chemistry between Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley is perfect—they are able to strike a great balance between having a natural ease with each other, but also having a good deal of tension. I love the idea of the protagonist and antagonist striking up a friendship/relationship. It adds a lot more depth to both of them, and watching Kylo and Rey connect over their shared feelings of isolation made me root for both of their characters, even though they were on opposite sides. I found myself sympathizing with Kylo Ren—which is not an easy feat considering he killed Han Solo in The Force Awakens. Kylo Ren and Rey both had amazing character development in this film, and I hope that in Episode IX, JJ Abrams carries on what Rian Johnson started. I know the whole Reylo ship began back in Force Awakens—and though I honestly didn’t really notice their chemistry in that film, after watching The Last Jedi, I am officially so here for Reylo.

Conflicts between light vs. dark. The relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey ties into this theme, but this theme is highlighted in other ways as well. I really love how light and dark aren’t so cut and dried, the way they have been for the previous seven films (though Rogue One plays with this theme a bit). With Kylo and Rey, we see them both tap into their light and dark sides. Rey willingly taps into her dark side when training with Luke, rather than shutting it out the way previous Jedi had been taught. Kylo Ren isn’t all bad either—we see how torn up he is after killing Han, and we see the constant conflict and the push/pull between his dark and light side. Even Luke’s character development in this film shows this conflict—he’s not the pure, perfect Jedi hero who helped lead the Rebellion to victory. In the film, when Luke sees Ben Solo/pre-Kylo get more powerful and more tapped into the dark side, he momentarily considers killing him before realizing the error in his thinking—a mistake that led to Ben Solo turning over to the dark side to serve Snoke. Even the legendary Luke Skywalker is human and prone to human temptations and errors in judgment. Furthermore, we even see that the ultra-wealthy in Canto Bight have earned their wealth not only by selling weapons to the First Order but to the Resistance as well. I love how this film subverts the theme of light vs. dark and shows that it’s not completely black and white. Playing with the concept of light vs. dark in this way adds a lot more dimension to the characters and challenges us to view the light and dark sides differently.

YODA. Need I say more?

The idea of non-exclusivity. I know that the revelation of Rey’s parents is quite a controversial topic. There were those who were so sure (or who really wanted) Rey to be Luke’s daughter or be related to Luke somehow. (Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this theory. It’s too obvious/simple, and I really didn’t get fatherly vibes from Luke and Rey’s interactions. It’s like if Sirius Black actually did turn out to be Voldemort’s servant in Prisoner of Azkaban, instead of Peter Pettigrew. It’s too straightforward; it’s not complicated enough.) There were those who thought that Rey might be a Palpatine based on her lightsaber technique and why Kylo Ren was so fascinated with/threatened by her. There were those who, like me, were so convinced (and really wanted) Rey to be descended from Obi-Wan. (There are many convincing arguments to be made for this theory, and part of me is still holding out for this to be true…) BUT, we find out in The Last Jedi that Rey’s parents were nobodies. They were, as Kylo Ren says to her, nobodies who sold Rey off for drinking money. Even Rian Johnson confirms that Kylo isn’t lying when he says this to her—he does actually see this, and he is being honest with Rey in that moment.

While this wasn’t the revelation I (along with many other fans) was hoping for, I think it works really well, and I personally would not change it. First off, since I unabashedly ship Reylo, I like that Rey has no relation to the Skywalkers. Secondly, and most importantly, I like how the film played into the idea that Rey didn’t need to have any special lineage in order for her to be significant in this story. She wasn’t special because she was a Skywalker, or a Kenobi, or what have you—she was special because of who she was on her own. She didn’t need to be a descendant of important people in order to find her place. It plays right into the idea that the Force doesn’t belong to just the Jedi and/or Sith—which is exactly what Luke explains to Rey when he trains her.

The Force is something that binds us all together, and it’s something that belongs to all of us. I love the end scene where the stable boy Force-summons his broom into his hand. He, like Rey, isn’t anyone well-known. He’s not a Jedi—but he, like Rey, is able to tap into the Force. I love this last scene because it shows that what happened in The Last Jedi, and the Star Wars saga as a whole, goes beyond the characters we’ve come to know. There’s always more to the story. There’ll always be more people, more heroes—who may or may not come from unlikely places. A character doesn’t need to be a Skywalker, or a Kenobi, or even a Palpatine, in order to have a place in this story.

What I disliked…

Luke’s character arc (or at least, bits of it). So, I have a lot of mixed feelings about Luke’s character arc, and I’ve discussed this at length with fellow Star Wars fans. On one hand, Luke’s character arc isn’t completely uncharacteristic. While Luke did insist that there was still good in Darth Vader, and while he did believe Vader could be redeemed, Luke was also impulsive and susceptible to the dark side. There’s a scene in Return of the Jedi where Luke does let his anger and aggression consume him, and he fights with Vader and slices off Vader’s hand—exactly the same injury that Vader gave to Luke in the previous film. That’s what wakes him up; that’s what reminds him of who he really is and brings him back to the light side. I can buy that Luke did have a moment of weakness and a momentary error in judgment when it came to Ben Solo. I can even buy Luke’s disillusionment with the Jedi Order, and his reluctance to train Rey because of it. But what I really didn’t like was Luke’s role in The Last Jedi. The Force Awakens made it seem like Luke was the key to helping the Resistance, but Luke’s role in the Resistance was mainly buying the Resistance fighters more time by distracting Kylo Ren with his Force apparition. While I love that scene, and while Luke’s Force apparition and his battle with Kylo has significance in both the film and the overall story, I really wish Luke had done more. Even if Luke was reluctant to train Rey, I wish he still had, but with his own unique philosophy that he developed after realizing the error of the Jedi ways. Luke’s role in this film was quite passive. He doesn’t really do much to train Rey—in fact, Rey is the one who steals the ancient Jedi texts and leaves after waiting around for Luke to train her. While Luke’s final act was meant to signify hope for the Resistance, I wish we had seen more of why he had a change of heart, aside from Yoda’s pep talk. I wish we had seen more of a story with Luke. I feel like his arc was cut off at several points with scenes of Rose/Finn/Poe, and that made his story feel disjointed and incomplete. So, while Luke made a great sacrifice at the end that ultimately saved the Resistance, I would have really liked his story to feel more complete.

Spirituality vs. Religion. The way the film approached Jedi training and the Force reminded me of the differences between spirituality and religion. Religion is quite tradition-oriented, and there are rules and order and requirements—much like the Jedi Order in the first six films. Spirituality is quite the opposite. It’s less rigid, it’s less structured, and it focuses more on self-growth and transformation. It doesn’t require rules or training; it’s about transcending and being true to your inner self—very similar to how the Force was presented in The Last Jedi. I hate how the film played up the idea that the Force isn’t something that requires a great deal of formal training, and that the training and tradition are actually hindrances. We see the stable boy using the Force, and we’re often reminded about how Rey has a great deal of raw talent but is untrained. I hate when films play up the “raw talent” angle, as though it’s somehow better than hard work and formal training which are really just impediments and are “too traditional.” I hate the idea that you can have some kind of special skill and be able to master it with no training—that’s not true anywhere, including Star Wars. While the Force does belong to everyone, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to hone it in order to use it well. While I love the idea of the new films challenging the rigidity and tradition of the Jedi order, I don’t think it has to mean that the exact opposite is a better way. It’s all about balance, just like the films reiterate—so there should also be a balance between the Jedi traditions and the new ways of using the Force.

Finn and Rose scenes. I really liked Finn in The Force Awakens (even though every other line for him was “Rey!” or “Where’s Rey?”). In The Force Awakens, Finn had a significant role—if you cut Finn out of the film, the story wouldn’t be the same. In this film, Finn’s scenes with Rose felt almost like filler. Finn and Rose went on some rogue mission that ultimately didn’t need to happen and actually got in the way of Holdo’s plans for the Resistance. I wish Finn had a bigger role than that. I get that Rian Johnson was trying show that it pays to know how to listen to others (cough*POE*cough) and that your heroes aren’t always who they seem to be, and I appreciate that. But, for a character like Finn, who was quite significant in the previous film, I wanted his scenes to have more weight. I wanted to see more personal growth. In the previous film, he mainly joined the Resistance to escape from the First Order. I can see how this film tried to show that Finn is no longer running away and is learning to stand for something and fight—but I think the execution was lacking. That said, I think Finn’s scenes with Rose would have done really well in a standalone Rogue One type of movie, rather than squished into a saga film. I would have enjoyed them much more that way; in this film, I found myself waiting for those scenes to end so we could cut right back to the center storyline with Luke, Rey, and Kylo. It almost felt like the film tried to bite off more than it could chew—like it tried to show too many things, subvert too many things. It felt like there was too much going on and the story wasn’t tight enough. I get that second films in a trilogy are a really tall task to take on, and it’s hard to create a film that doesn’t quite begin and doesn’t quite end. Overall, Rian Johnson did a great job—but I think trimming down the Finn/Rose scenes, or making those scenes more relevant to the central plot, would have gone a long way in improving the pace of the film.

Questions I still have…

Why did Luke’s Force apparition cause him to die? Why did he have to die to begin with? I’ve discussed this question with fellow Star Wars fans as well, and it seems that the consensus is that his Force apparition required a great amount of exertion and is something that hasn’t been attempted by any Jedi, ever. I don’t love the idea of Luke’s death, but I think the film might have been trying to echo Yoda’s death in Return of the Jedi, where he tells Luke that his training is complete. What are your thoughts on this?

Where did Snoke come from? (I still want this question answered even if he’s dead.) I HATE that Rian Johnson just decided to pull a “fuck it” and kill Snoke, even though fans (including me) read theory after theory trying to figure out where Snoke might have come from. I hate that this film sort of killed or quashed a lot of loose ends the previous film teased—including Snoke. Rian, you do not get off the hook for this. I still want an explanation for who Snoke was and where the hell he came from.

Why is no one even mentioning Obi-Wan? I love Obi-Wan’s character in both the original trilogy and the prequels. He was a significant character, so the films are either saving the best for last or they’re pretending like he doesn’t exist. If it’s the latter, I will be fifty shades of pissed. I really hope Episode IX includes Obi-Wan a bit more in the film. I want to see the characters I love at least mentioned or having an appearance in the new films. It doesn’t work when new characters are just shoved down our throats without any reference to the older characters. STOP TRYING TO MAKE “NEW CHARACTERS” HAPPEN; IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Just kidding; I do like the new characters a lot. But seriously, I want to see some kind of mention of Obi-Wan in the next film. He deserves that.

Final Thoughts

I know this film was pretty divisive, but you can’t deny that it was a memorable film. I mean, weeks after seeing it, I’m still talking about it and thinking about it. There were things I loved, and things I didn’t love—but it’s a film that makes me think. It made me ask questions and challenge ideas I had about the Star Wars universe. It’s not a perfect film (no film is—and Empire Strikes Back had a similarly mixed reception when it released), but it’s a film that gets people talking and thinking. The film was impactful, and for me, it is right up there with my favorites.

Copycats

I’ve just finished reading this really great article by James Allworth, called “It’s Not Women Who Should Lean In; It’s Men Who Should Step Back.” Allworth gives his take on Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, which discusses the obstacles women face when trying to work towards positions of leadership, and what women (and men) can do to overcome those obstacles. While I personally haven’t read Lean In, Allworth’s article really resonated with me.

I’ve spoken before about how progress towards gender equality means more than just women doing the same thing as men do. It means more than just women copying men. By copying men, we’re still giving men the authority to set the standard. The whole point of feminism is to give women the power to shape the standard as well…so, maybe we shouldn’t just emulate the men when it comes to being successful.

I don’t disagree with the notion of women feeling more confident in their own abilities and being advocates for themselves. I think that in order to make progress towards gender equality, women do need to advocate for themselves. But, why do we assume that women are under-performing when it comes to being confident in our abilities?

There are a couple of examples from Lean In that Allworth mentions in his article. There’s one example of a group of medical students, where the female students gave themselves lower performance scores than the men on performing surgeries. There’s another mention of how employers tend to promote men based on potential, but they promote women based on past accomplishments. The point of these examples is to show women, to push women, to be more confident, more assertive. To be as aggressive as men for asking for promotions. For having the same level of confidence as men–after all, we are more qualified than them.

But, has anyone stopped to consider that maybe the right example to follow isn’t the men’s, but the women’s? Sure, female medical students rated themselves lower than the male students…but maybe the male students shouldn’t have given themselves the higher scores. Why did the female medical students give themselves lower scores? Maybe because they took more into consideration than their male peers; maybe because they had higher standards than their male peers. Doesn’t it make more sense for men to follow the example set by women? To be more critical and discerning of their own work and their own abilities? To hold themselves to higher standards? To try to give themselves a truly fair score rather than being biased towards their own abilities?

I’ve always felt that the feminist movement tended to get one-sided at times. Feminism often veers into the territory of showing women how they can better play the game, rather than changing the game and the rules altogether. After all, the game and the rules were established by men. Maybe we should rewrite the game so that the rules are established by both men and women. Instead of copying the men and copying how they’ve attained their leadership positions, we need to advocate for men to emulate the way women navigate their careers and their lives. Maybe men shouldn’t be such workaholics; maybe women should advocate that the path to a fuller life isn’t by slaving away at the office but by having a better balance between work and family life. Maybe women shouldn’t try to adopt the over-confidence of men; maybe men shouldn’t be overconfident and instead be more discerning over what they truly can do. Maybe us women aren’t under-performing. Maybe we’re the ones who are doing it right, and the men just haven’t caught on yet. Maybe we’re the example that men need to follow, and not vice versa. Maybe, like I’ve said before, it’s not us that should always be keeping up with the men and playing by their rules. Maybe it’s time that men started keeping up with us. Maybe it’s time that men started playing by our rules.

The blues

Cool tones

 

 

It feels a little silly, talking about clothes in light of what’s been happening around the country. I’d like to encourage you to do whatever you can to help–whether it’s donating money, donating blood, or just being there for someone who needs to talk about it and get through it. The small things add up.

I recently started wearing ballet flats again. I took a ballet flat hiatus for a couple years, though I’d worn them all throughout high school and college. I honestly think that sleek sneakers give an outfit a more current, cooler feel, while still being really comfortable, so I often opt for sneakers over ballet flats. But, sometimes flats really do complete an outfit better than sneakers do. I love a good pointed toe flat–it’s comfortable and classy.

Since fall is in full swing (although the weather might say otherwise), I’m all about adding in richer hues into my wardrobe. Burgundy and navy are my favorites, and they all pair well with–surprise surprise–black. I’m not sure who said you couldn’t pair navy and black, but you totally can. In the words of the wise Taylor Swift, “I do it all the time.” Plaid button down shirts are an easy way to add a fall touch to your look–and if there is a nip in the air, add a biker jacket. I love this jacket in gray suede because it’s a familiar silhouette with a different material and color–you often see biker jackets in black leather. The gray suede adds an unexpected touch.

To be or not to be….like one of the guys

I’m a huge fan of DC comics. Show Arrow and Comic Batman are my favorites. (What can I say? I like the broody types.) I recently came across an article picking apart and analyzing the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker. In general, it’s pretty widely acknowledged that both the movie and comic relationships between these two characters are unhealthy and abusive (though the movie relationship is less so). However, there is some debate over whether Harley Quinn can be viewed as a feminist icon because, as a villain, she fights Batman and other heroes just as well as the other male villains.

I think this is crap. I’m not trying to discount Harley Quinn’s abilities–but her villain abilities alone, in spite of all her other character traits (most notably, her obsession/addiction to the Joker), is not enough to make her a feminist icon. Just because Harley Quinn can fight like her male counterparts, doesn’t automatically mean this is a step forward for women. While I’m intrigued by the character of Harley Quinn, I don’t think she is a feminist icon, and I don’t think other women should view her as such. She’s interesting, she’s multifaceted, she’s tragic, she’s compelling….but she is not a feminist icon.

I won’t go into the reasons why I think Harley Quinn isn’t a feminist icon. That’s another post for another day, though I’m sure the reasons why I don’t believe she’s a feminist icon aren’t all that groundbreaking and are already known by others, especially DC fans.

The fact that Harley Quinn can hold her own in a fight and be in the same league as other male villains doesn’t make her a feminist icon. Feminism is equality–but when we say a that a character or a person is a feminist icon or a champion for feminism just because they can do the exact same thing as a man–all that does is continue to play into the idea that men set the standard, that men are the example. Which, paradoxically, is anti-feminist.

I sometimes wonder if we need to re-evaluate our understanding of how to achieve equality between the genders.

When we talk about equality between the genders, we generally look at it as women having the freedom to do all the same things men can easily do (and take for granted). It started out as having the ability to get an education. To vote. To work. To work in the same fields. To have the same pay. All of which I completely agree with. Why wouldn’t you want to have all those same opportunities that men have?

Where some of this gets a little muddled is in less concrete aspects. For instance, there is a double standard where if a man has multiple romantic/sexual partners, he’s often celebrated by how much he “scored”–at least among his male friends (not necessarily by women). On the other hand, if a woman does the same thing, she’s viewed negatively. It’s like that lyric in Christina Aguilera’s song “Can’t Hold Us Down.” So, in this sense, does equality mean women having the freedom to have as many romantic/sexual partners as she wants without the negative labels, just as men have? In this case, I don’t think we can define equality using this standard–because these sorts of actions should not be a standard. It’s not something to celebrate. Like, all men have the freedom to act like fuckboys, and we want that freedom too? This is all down to personal preference, but women having this kind of behavior should not alone be considered a win for feminism. An actual win for feminism would be fewer men acting like fuckboys, and more men being respectful towards women. Or, if you prefer the open relationship type thing, also more men being respectful and honest with their partners.

In terms of rights like legal rights, equal pay, equal career opportunities–the standard of equality is the one set by men–because there’s no other standard. Men have had plenty of opportunities that women have not. So, naturally, for men and women to be equal, women should have the same education, career, and financial opportunities as men. It doesn’t make sense to decrease the opportunities granted by men–because what good would that do? But when it comes to things like social conventions, things that aren’t as easily defined–I don’t think we should always define equality as just doing what men do and being able to keep up with them. I mean, it’s one thing to want to have the freedom to express yourself and live your life in whatever way you choose–and that in itself is a vital part of the feminist movement–but I think there should be more emphasis placed on men also being influenced and doing what women do. We often celebrate women who are tough, who can fight, who are strong-willed and independent–because they demonstrate characteristics that are typically associated with men, and because these characteristics show that women are not dependent on men to live a good life and make an impact on society. Which makes sense, because men historically didn’t really need to depend on women for economic opportunities and such. And so, it’s a good thing when women can be independent. It shows progress.

But, how often do we celebrate men who are more gentle-mannered or soft-spoken or emotionally intelligent? Those are characteristics typically associated with women, and having a man display these characteristics would also be a form of gender equality–yet we rarely talk about this. Just like it’s good for women to feel free to be tough and independent, it’s also good for men to feel free to be emotional and sensitive. While it’s great for women to learn to be aggressive, to ask for promotions, to learn to fight or be good at math….it’s also great for men to learn to be a little more patient, to learn to take a deep breath and listen or learn ballet. I think lately, what I’m seeing as “wins for feminism” are women doing things that men have typically done. Which is awesome, for the most part. But an equally important “win for feminism” would be men doing things that women have typically done. Men taking on household duties, or choosing to be a stay-at-home parent during the first few months/years of their children’s lives–while their wife/partner works and takes home an income. (Side note: This is actually what my parents did. My mom worked, my dad stayed home, and it was the best thing ever. My dad is amazing dad…he made sure I knew how to read before I started kindergarten. Seriously, men can do just as great as job as women at being full-time parents. None of this “it’s a woman’s nature” and “men are helpless when it comes to child-rearing and household” bullshit. We’re all human. We all have brains. We can all do it.) Or men choosing to be nurses, or teachers–two fields that are incredibly important and rewarding, yet have always been associated with women. If it’s viewed as progressive when women feel empowered to be engineers or join a male-dominated career field, why can’t it also be progressive when men feel free and empowered to join a female-dominated career field? Equality isn’t just women working their way up to the level where men are. It’s also men working their way up to the level where women are. It’s not about viewing certain fields as “tough” or “girly.” It’s about choosing what’s best for you, and having the ability and opportunity to do so. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in thinking that feminism is all about tough women being able to keep up with the men. But we shouldn’t forget that, just as often, men need to be able keep up with us. That’s equality.

 

A little flare

Flare

 

I didn’t actually warm up to wearing flares again (not since my junior high/high school days) until I saw some pictures on Pinterest of flares being styled in ways that looked a lot more modern and less 70s. I then bought a pair of flares and wore them, and immediately remembered why I still prefer skinnies. At 5’1, I have to make some kind of hemming alteration to flares, no matter what. If I find a pair I love but they have a 35-inch inseam, the jeans will lose their flare and the cut will change if I get them hemmed. So flares have to be just the right length or not much longer if I want to keep the cut the same. And, I have to have specific pairs to wear with different heel heights. Ugh, the struggle.

If you’re up for the struggle, or if you are of normal height–this is my favorite way to style flares. It looks effortless, chic, and a little undone. The oversize sweater makes this look cozy and perfect for fall, and adding a flare jean dresses up the look (and gives a different feel than a pair of skinny jeans would–though skinny jeans are equally great to wear with an oversize sweater). While high-school me would wear flares with torn-up Converse sneakers and would let the back hems of my flare jeans drag and rip as I walked all over them, current me only prefers flares with heels. Heels really are the best shoe to wear with flares–the combination makes your legs look like they go on for days. I’m honestly not a huge fan of wearing flares with any kind of flat shoe–if you’re wearing flats, a skinny, boyfriend, straight, or girlfriend jean is the way to go. So, pair your flares with a nice heeled boot or stiletto–or a marriage of the two, like this Louboutin pair. Add a bag that’s a little less structured and more utilitarian, like this leather messenger, and complete the look with my favorite accessory: a ring that looks like glamorous brass knuckles.