Wishing you a zazzy 2021

In 2021, I am taking body positivity to a new level. Mid December, I launched The Zazzy Zaftig online boutique, catering to women of larger sizes. Our specialty is vintage and upcycled fashions for the discerning plus size woman. Our mission is to bring you body positive, woman affirming, planet friendly fashion offerings.

The Zazzy Zaftig did a soft launch on Etsy and Depop this December.

Too often, when one walks into a consignment shop, resale shop or thrift store, you’re convinced life stops at at a size XL dress and a size 10 shoe. That’s simply not the case. There are fabulous, stylish gently used, new-with-tags and upcycled pieces available. At The Zazzy Zaftig, my mission is to find them and bring them to you.

For a few years now, I’ve wanted to create a fashion venture. I decided on resale for a few reasons.

  1. Global supply chains of fast fashion rely on the labor of woman and children for their profit margins. Even if a global brand does check working conditions, the fact of the matter is that Third World labor is the bulk of the fashion workforce of fast fashion.
  2. Transporting and manufacturing fast fashion pieces globally taxes the environment. Offering high quality resale and upcycled pieces to the community gives us all the opportunity to lessen our carbon footprint.
  3. Great style is timeless. Fashions and fads change.

Here’s a look at some of our offerings on Pinterest!

I hope you check out some of our great pieces! For checking out this blog, get $5 off your order of $40 or more with the code : BLOGSALE

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheZazzyZaftig?coupon=BLOGSALE

Shopping While Plus-Sized

Shopping while plus-sized?  Feel frustrated in a fitting room?  I feel ya.  Limited choices often limit plus-size women from wearing clothing they really love.  With my busy life, it’s not unusual for me to attend several events in a week, in addition to meetings.  I am constantly shopping and trying on clothes.  As a plus size woman, this can be immensely frustrating.  Here’s some shopping tips I’ve come to live by:

Wear what you love.

75642445_543120503189762_2245747947067146240_nI can’t repeat this enough.  If an outfit does not put a megawatt smile on your face, if you feel insecure in any way, don’t buy it.  I only wear what I love.  I don’t wear colors I don’t like.  Shape wear may make you look better in a frock, but if you feel insecure in any way, I strongly suggest that you don’t spend the money.  Wear what makes you feel bold and beautiful and ready to be seen.  If you find your outfit hides “flaws” more than it makes you feel bodacious and beautiful, nix it.

If something works well, and it comes in colors you love, duplicate!

Shoe shopping drives me batty.  I wear an 11 W, so finding cute, comfortable footwear is always an adventure.  I always buy duplicates of shoes that I find comfortable, in several colors.  I do this with dresses and blazers too.  If it ain’t broke, I don’t fix it and I also don’t have to search as much for that elusive 11W.

Merge trendy and classic.

Let’s face it.  Most trends are showcased to the world in fashion mags on lithe bodies–bodies that don’t look plus-sized.  I look great in classic wear, but I want to be on trend as much as makes sense for me.  I never invest fully in the color of the year from head to toe or other fashion phenomenons.  I integrate what’s trendy that I like with what I know works for me.  Once again, if I don’t feel FABULOUS in it, I don’t wear it.

You CAN wear patterns.

polka dot blue and vermillionSo many plus-sized women lament the horrible patterns in shapeless designs that line clothing racks.  Because there’s so much bad available, we sometimes don’t  look for the good.  I love patterns when they are right for me:  polka dots, some paisley,  leopard print.  Sometimes I can do zebra print and snake print.  You will rarely see me wear horizontal stripes, because I am a broad broad!  Open your mind to some patterns, but it may take some hunting.

Don’t agonize.  Accessorize.

74571589_1149610211906382_6939747808291323904_n

I have a few simple black dresses that are mainstays of my wardrobe.  They could be seen as blah–but I offset the blah with some bling.  I love a great scarf too.  Accessorizing the tried-and-true is a fun way to revamp a classic wardrobe.

 

 

 

These are just a few of my fave tips for shopping.  Share yours in the comments!

 

Born Naked, Annihilated by Fashion…til now

Note:  These Botero-inspired, body positive fashion images are NSFW. They are also not safe for preserving outmoded paradigms of what a woman’s body should be.

GI_scarf

Kristin West in Global Intuition scarf & sneakers.  Photo courtesy of Yi Zhou Studio.

We are born naked and when we die, our bodies are stripped, examined and prepared for burial. Between birth and death, we are contextualized and classified by fashion. It is our nakedness that is universal and transcendent. It is fashion that gives us a sense of time, space and place. Fashion changes. That’s its nature. Our nakedness does not change.

So much of fashion for women revolves around hiding, camouflaging, binding, masking and correcting flaws. Many of those flaws even become fashionable after a time. What’s considered beautiful to one generation is horrifying to another. Binding of the feet, whalebone corsets, and obligatory shape wear are all examples of how we try to minimize women even in the space that they take up in their physical, tangible life. We do this in the name of beauty and glamour, but the tacit message is that a woman is not allowed to take up too much space and must expect to suffer as part of daily life as a matter, of course, to be acceptable to those around her. Wallis Simpson’s famous quip, “You can never be too rich or too thin,” has stayed with women long after her death.

gi_sleeping goddess

Relaxing poolside in Global Intuition sneakers.  Photo courtesy of Yi Zhou Studio.

Idealized images of the female form have been around since humans began the endeavor of making art but over time, our ideas of what a woman should be and could be have grown smaller and smaller. Would the Venus of Willendorf be considered gorgeous today if we saw her living, nude, in the flesh?

Siegfried Kracauer famously said, “The photograph annihilates the person.” Indeed, we live in an age of hyper-inundation of images. The average American sees 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, many of aspirational models portraying fictionalized situations rather than actual people living actual lives. Kracauer also said,”…what appears in the photograph is not the person but the sum of what can be subtracted from him or her.” People are reduced to objects, things, ideas, sales pitches, and talking points instead of subjectivities. The average woman has been annihilated in this unrelenting tide of over-processed, idealized imagery of unobtainable standards.

Is body positivity just having a moment? Is it fashionable? Or is body comfort, body positivity, and body acceptance something that we can reclaim as women? Is fashion having a fat fetish moment or can we truly embrace women of all sizes? Can we truly and whole-heartedly say all sizes and shapes are deserving of being clothed well?

78407594_1337186013130049_5960405268058603520_n

Striking a pose in a couture gown by Aida Novosel & Global Intuition sneakers.  Photo courtesy of Yi Zhou Studio.

These photographs are deeply informed by Fernando Botero’s oeuvre. Botero often imagined bodies as round and full, comic even at times, as opposed to clean lines and hard, harsh angles. Can we too have a full circle moment? Is it possible to enjoy looking at many different types of body types in photography and allow for their subjectivity?

deer pose gi

Feeling beautiful and authentic poolside in Global Intuition sneakers.  Photo courtesy of Yi Zhou Studio.

 

We privilege chiseled perfectly toned, perfectly controlled bodies. This is what we hold up as the ideal. This is what advertisers sell to us. This is what so many women suffer for— trying to prove that they are in control of their lives by being in control of their bodies. It’s about proving to the world if you are indeed control of your own life. The sad history is, that even today, with remarkable freedoms for women, not all women have equal access to those freedoms. We are not always in control of our bodies at all times, all over the world.

Nakedness is also vulnerability. You’re not hiding, you’re not distracting, and you’re not camouflaged. You’re there with all your rolls, pooches, all your stretch marks, all your cellulite, freckles, and moles. Forty percent of American women are obese. That’s a large minority. Instead of pressuring these women to be more in control, to work harder, to do better, perhaps we should unbind our thinking. Perhaps we should drop our whalebone thought corsets and make fashion compassionate. Let’s be seen, heard and accepted as we are.

gi-front

Feeling comfortable in my body and in my Global Intuition sneakers.  Photo by Yi Zhou Studio.

According to the American Psychological Association, women are twice as likely to report that they’re stressed and then men. Instead of gouging women’s pain points as a means to sell them things, it would be far more effective to extend the everyday woman the compassion she deserves, whether she’s a size 6 or size 16 or a size 26.

Instead of belaboring whether a woman is visually attractive or sexy, it’s far more important to help every woman find what’s within her that’s attractive, vibrant, sexy and alive. That’s why body positivity is so important–not to make the range of what we find sexy and sexual bigger, literally, but to help people feel better about themselves in the world that often undermines our mental and emotional health and our well-being in the name of profit.

 

Bubbling Over with Body Positive Joy!

When Yi asked me to climb on her conference room table, I didn’t hesitate.

This past week, Yi Zhou, founder of Global Intuition, a fast-rising international fashion brand, invited me to her headquarters in Beverly Hills for a body positive photo shoot.

Yi is a Chinese multimedia artist who has lived in Rome from the age of eight and studied between London and Paris with degrees in Political Science and Economics.  Her innovative work has been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennal, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.  Global in reach, she founded her creative strategy digital production company, Yi Zhou Studio, in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  In late 2017, she brought her creative vision to LA  as a strategic partner of Cinemoi Network, Royal Yacht. She is currently developing her first feature film as writer and director.

I had the privilege of meeting Yi through What Women Want Show about a year ago as she was preparing her Fred Segal show.  I was extremely impressed by Yi’s drive, ambition and poise.  Yi’s brand is called Global Intuition and I can see why.  Working with Yi, she has a global outlook and also a strong sense of what makes others look and feel good.  My shoot with Yi was fun, collaborative and inspiring.

Here’s your first look–Body Positive and Bubbles!

global intuition shoot

Body Positive and Bubbles.  Photo by Yi Zhou of Global Intuition.

Yi and I discussed what intuition is and why it’s important for women, and really everyone, to trust their intuition .  Intuition seems to power much of what she does and how she works.

Video Courtesy of Yi Zhou, Global Intuition

My biggest take away from spending time with Yi this week was that joy and intuition  make everything we do better!  If you bring a joyful heart to whatever you are doing, and trust your hunches, you can accomplish so much.  Trust your intution and let your joy bubble over!

 

Body Positivity: My Spirit Needs Space!


I used to hate tale of Cinderella.  First, Cinderella was cheerful about doing housework.  Second, she has tiny, delicate feet.  I wear an 11W.  My shoe options are limited, compared to other women.  My feet need space.  My whole self needs space.

Copy of Copy of Copy of body positivity (1) It seems like plus sized women are not allowed to take up space. .  I recently went to a Sears and the plus size section was dwarfed by the petite section.  I went to Bloomingdale’s.  They don’t even have plus size attire in the store anymore–“online only” I was told, by the employees, many of whom were plus sized.  Macy’s has one third of one sales floor dedicated to plus size clothing, compared to two and two-thirds floors of miss and junior sized apparel.

It’s hard not to get frustrated when whole world seems to be telling you, “You don’t belong here.”  Yet, so many women around you are similar to you.  How can retailers and the culture as a whole invalidate the lives and bodies of so many women?

Take your space, especially in a world where we’re told we’re too big, too “this” or “that”.  Find space for you just to be you–online, at home, on the beach, wherever makes you happy.  Your body is the vessel of your spirit and my spirit is big–so it needs a bigger vessel.  So many of us have pain and shame over weight and image issues, but out of that pain can come a deep compassion for others who haven’t been allowed their “spaces” either, so use that and heal the world with that big heart and big spirit today.

Fashionistas Fashion the Future

megan.jpg

I was so inspired by last week’s broadcast of What Women Want Talk Radio.  We had fashion moguls Megan Grassell and Marissa Lewis on our live broadcast, two young, enterprising ladies making waves in fashion.

Megan Grassell founded Yellowberry, a brassiere company for teens and tweens, after she could not find an age-appropriate bra for her little sister. What I found interesting about Megan’s story was her ability to push back when all department stores offered were push-up bras for her young sister.  So often we go with the flow, or resign ourselves with “That’s the way things are.”  Megan didn’t accept the status quo when it came to bras for teens and tweens and has made it to a successful business.

Marissa Lewis, founder of Miss Jumpin, came to Los Angeles with dreams of making it as an actress but rekindled her love of fashion and now runs successful and philanthropic enterprise in downtown Los Angeles.  Marissa always loved jumpsuits and quite literally followed her dreams to where she is today.  Hers is a story of listening to her deep self and knowing when to pivot and adapt.  Marissa also has tremendous commitment to her downtown LA community and she exemplifies the moxie and pay-it-forward approach of the millennial businesswoman.

Listen to this powerful conversation here.

Building Brands into Billions

It’s not everyday you get to have a conversation with the woman behind some of the most successful fashion & lifestyle start-ups of recent memory, but I did.  Judy Goss  and I had the opportunity to share an hour with the amazing, inspiring and down-to-earth Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, founder of Gilt and Glam Squad, to discuss her new concierge wardrobe service, Fitz.

5.24 Building Brands Into Billions

Listen in to Alexandra’s wisdom here, discussing everything from testing ideas, to choosing team members, to naming a business for success.