Category Archives: Brand

Ugly Bodies: A Business

 

 

 

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There is a rather frightening statistic that only 4% of girls and women around the world consider themselves beautiful. If we quickly crunch the numbers in that equation, our results would lead to a total of 3.5 billion women self-conscious of their looks, out of a 3.6 billion total female population.

Furthermore, 7 out of 10 girls believe they do not measure up to a standard, or alternatively to a friend or family member in the appearance and performance department. That’s a seventy percent not only self-aware, but arguably self-critical to what could be a harmful degree.

Men have a similar issue, with 80.7% regularly engaging in “body talk” and expressing dissatisfaction with their own muscularity. In a recent study, researchers also discovered that 51% of school boys aged in the 11 to 14 bracket report low confidence in their body image. Doesn’t that make for a sad thought?

I really don’t mean to bombard you with numbers and exercise those rusty arithmetic muscles! The point of this article is to hopefully incite thought and conversation about the reality of bodies and the boundaries for beauty! I won’t force you to whip out the old Texas Instruments, but I might attempt to shed some light on the ongoing issue with self-worth and the way business controls all.

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You’ve heard the media being blamed over and over again. Although their involvement in the glorification of certain body types and features is undeniable, there’s a bigger culprit hiding in plain sight. Beauty companies make profit out of making you feel bad, that’s just a highly effective way to make capital. Granting the public painful self-awareness is such corporations’ biggest, quickest way to Christmas bonuses and monthly remunerations. It’s you versus money, and to a stranger that choice isn’t too difficult. Their system’s been working for decades and you know what they say – if the machine ain’t broke… Why fix it?

The logic is very simple – you walk down the street, you clock a billboard with a model. She’s sporting a gorgeous cherry red lipstick and that makes her face look absolutely phenomenal. Do your lips look like that? No. Do you want them to? Of course! That chick looks amazing and is obviously successful enough to be considered the optimum lip image. So, the closest you could possibly resemble her is by buying the product she’s wearing and hope for the best. I’ll take this time to coin the phrase “pretty by association”, because that result is more than likely to be your outcome. The beauty company who has paid for the media to spread that image gains profit, while you leave with the idea of  flawed features.

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I feel the need to clarify this, because when I was a teenager roaming the internet, I had no idea how the hierarchy was structured. I thought it didn’t matter, I wasn’t interested in finding out. The damage was being done whether I knew that key piece of information or not. But my twenty-one-year-old self is here to tell you it’s vital to be aware. There’s nothing inherently wrong with anyone’s physique, there’s just an astonishingly lucrative business of giving consumers lasting insecurities. There is no hard-set societal opinion behind the sea of Photoshopped, doctored images that circulate our streets and devices. Those messages do not come from our population’s widespread appeal, but they are given to us as such. They are sold to us. For money.

Let’s give it a quick (and loose) comparison with pornography. Erotic films are not a realistic depiction of sex and the public knows this. You walk into the bedroom with a lover and neither of you expects a three-hour bang session of perfectly timed ejaculations and endless supply of sheets. Although the majority of men and women don’t seem to realise this, everyday advertisements work in the exact same way.

Nobody expects us to fit a mould, but that inflamed sense of self-criticism in the back of our mind. The modern consumer is a lot more savvy with the internal mechanism of media, enabling them to have a more realistic approach on self image. However, teens and young adults have a harder time considering the bigger picture of influences, especially so with the flood of unrealistic depiction that surrounds them. I, for example, had more than a serious case of tunnel vision, which ultimately translated into – look like this person, or stay home. Having pores and stretch marks had become a deal breaker to my happiness and social success. It’s inescapable, because it’s meant to be! This means we’re sacrificing mental health for the survival of a Capitalist structure, which is not to say there is a grand flaw in Capitalism’s design. But it does make us question the decline of morality and ethical treatment. Does that ring like misplaced priorities? It should!

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However, just because someone creates a mould for their own monetary benefit, that does not mean we need to abide by it. Companies cannot physically force you to buy their products, because that would be illegal. Psychological extortion, on the other hand, is a fine line. Showcasing flawless models of people, which have been digitally altered to perfection, sells units.

A diversity of realistic bodily features does not gain exposure for that particular reason. When was the last time you saw a L’Oreal commercial with an ageing woman, who has beard fuzz or liver spots? Point to any internationally recognised clothing brand such as Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce and Gabbana or Gucci – the kind of brands who can afford to surround your environment. Do they proudly show diversity and if so, how much? Do they actively promote a variety of genetic make-up?

Even sports companies like Adidas and Nike fall in that category. Even though they celebrate an athletic physique, which is a step forward in the catalogue of body types, their athletes normally receive some sort of pampering to aid their appearance. This could be either through the use of tanning, make-up or post-production alterations. Notice how many of their “characters” carry natural features such as body hair, cellulite or veins.

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This Reebok advertisement is a good example to look at. I picked it, because it manages to illustrate a good amount of points at once. Let’s start with the fact that every woman has a full face of make-up on. Take a moment to appreciate their perfect hair and lack of sweat. The purpose of the portrayed exercise session is to demonstrate that females can look gorgeous while they’re attempting to burn off extra calories. So why would we, as viewers, want to appear ugly, when we can obviously be appealing?  You buy the leggings, because they make this athlete’s legs toned and firm. You’d want that! The top really accentuates her waist and makes it slimmer. Of course you’d need that! You wouldn’t want to be flabby and unsightly, God forbid you seem like there are flaws you’re working very hard to amend.

But here’s the bottom line. We’re human. We are not necessarily going to look like a fine selection of models, neither are we expected to. Just because Reebok needs to forward their business for profit, it does not mean you have to change yourself to accommodate them.

The point that I’m trying to convey is – rarely can we trust our eyes, and when an entire planet is looking at the same pictures and stereotypes, that becomes an issue. When does reality become too deluded? When will we prioritise people instead of money?

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The spark of doubt in the back of your mind – the question whether you’re worthy, whether you fit in a category or match a standard – that equates to money. Your self-awareness has a price and there are thousands of companies waiting to set it. While public images may revolve around somebody else’s beauty ideal, in the reality of things nobody expects ultimate perfection. The same way you appreciate other people’s quirks and flaws, someone is appreciating yours. In our age of media and entrepreneurship, it’s easier than ever to wound others for profit. If the world is proving to be a harsh and judgemental place, the least we can do is be kind to ourselves and spread that to the next person.

None of us are perfect, but all of us are beautiful.

 

 

Like this post? Disagree with what I’m saying? Please don’t be afraid to put your thoughts as a comment below.

Follow my blog for more articles about lifestyle and media.

Have a good one!

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Mango’s Killer Jacket Game

To all my peeps in London, with love, comes this highly targeted post on the topic of jackets! We have been experiencing what I could only imagine is an Arctic chill and there is no sweeter escape than spending some cash on a new coat. It’s a matter of survival, after all. Let’s be real.

Wanting to sniff some lucrative deals around, I embraced on a journey through the new collections. What I stumbled upon was a treasure chest. The same golden nugget we are sharing here today – Mango’s amazing spring/summer jacket line! Obviously by some sort of cruel mistake, I seem to have ignored this brand for a number of years, only to re-discover it this month. Just in time for the perfect, little splurge! Here are some of the apparel feasts, from the fashion gods, passeth down to us – mortals!

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What I’m looking for in a new jacket is specific shades and colours! This season I’m betting on the all-neutral wave with a random pop of colour, first of all, the black and white hype second, and thirdly – an unusual pattern style. As I mentioned in my “Fashion Block” this month, tiny, repetitive structures are in, being accompanied by equally exaggerated imagery. While the first set of coats were a more beige and brown tone, I’ve picked the second stack in greens. Both of them will give you a little elegant note, while remaining the signature fresh rebellion stamp.

Next, we move on to the blacks, followed by pieces with floral detailing. I think I’d be wise to invest in both. My finances argue.

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Top Picks: Topshop’s Karlie Kloss Inspo

Imagine you had a day off. Maybe it’s the weekend, maybe you called in sick so you wouldn’t have to face Susan from accounting, the possibilities are endless. It’s pouring rain outside, thus creating the conditions for a cosy afternoon in bed. You make an obligatory, slash complimentary, mug of coffee and sit on your computer. From then on, the browsing of clothing and make-up begins. Am I right? Totally.

So, having found myself in precisely that situation this morning, I went on Topshop. My intentions were to check what they have in the new collections. Turns out, to my excitement, that they are doing a Karlie Kloss collaboration! Without further ado, here are my top inspiration picks!

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Here we are. If only clothes from online retailers could magically appear inside of my closet, this world would be a slightly better place. By slightly I mean a lot.

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The Cool Trainer | JAN/16

Lately I have found myself in a bit of a predicament, ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies though, let’s be real). Alongside this year’s resolution to acquire new style, there has arrived a fascination with shoes. I can no longer be satisfied with a bimonthly pair of Vans and I can hear my bank account crying tears of poverty. Nonetheless, investing in a nice, well-made pair of foot candy is going to become a part of my life. Having fed off that inspiration, I come to you today with my top picks for Jan/Feb trainers. We all like being comfy, we all like an easy style. So, dig right in.

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The first Common Projects X shoe fits perfectly into the grunge comeback we’re expecting this and next month. Anything that a couture Nirvana would wear, you want! Secondly, we have classic black trainers with a pop of blue/green. Oversized patterns and small, repetitive ones are equally featured in Vogue and Elle. Thirdly, a must-have Vans species, which is a necessity in any closet. Universal and easy to style. What more could you need for a lazy day out?

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These last Hender Scheme kicks would be perfect for February, which gives me enough time to save up money for them. As Miu Miu’s new SS/16 collection has proven – dusty pinks are the way forward.

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Here come the eighties. Whether you go for an all-white Nike, which you can pair with anything black and white for a trendy look, or the popping D&G reds, there’s no hit and miss. Add playfulness with your formal casual office outfits, why not? Life’s too short to play it safe with shoes and I encourage all forms of experimentation strongly.

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We talked about patterns, right? Oversized, minimalistic, juxtaposing, repetitive, anything goes. Honestly, these red and blue Tory Burch trainers are to die for. Someone get me a half-way-birthday present, please! I’ll pay you back in hugs and kisses.

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Pinterest Styles: Doc Martens

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I think a fair share of us must be familiar with the Pinterest syndrome. The tireless nights of clicking and scrolling, the strenuous searching and tagging, all of which sums up to a vastness of internet mood boards. I’m guilty of spamming my followers with bursts of picture sharing, but I get rather excited about the diversity of sources and topics. If you’re not on Pinterest yet, I have no clue what your nights consist of, except maybe a healthy, social lifestyle, but who needs that anyway?

In today’s episode of Pinterest Styles, we’re gonna explore some trends in creating an outfit with Doc Martens. As one of my favourite shoe brands, I found grand heaps on inspiration and ideas, so the thought of this column surfaced. So, here’s five different ways to style your favourite Doc Martens.

Denim Accents

This trend stems from the olden days, when Dr. Martens could primarily be seen on England’s skinheads. Distressed denim is a staple in an anarchy-inspired wardrobe, so combining the two should be almost compulsory at this point.

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Funky Socks

This is the month of sock experimentation. Try a different colour on each foot and be proud of it, slip on some orange cactus babies, or blue dolphin ones. They stand out, elevating your outfit into a fashion statement.

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Trench Coat It

How about a long, winter coat with a sprinkle of rolled-up jeans and some Docs underneath? Does that sound like a winning combination? Because it is! The juxtaposition between lengths gives you asymmetry, which is trending this season.

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Maxi Skirt

Instead of going all the way, go for a skirt which stops mid-calf. You want to stay in the note of new collections, but also show off your sweet pair of Dr. Martens.

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Dungarees

Have a throw back into childhood and invest in a comfortable look with some short dungarees. They keep making reappearances in fashion trends, so whichever season you walk them in, be confident it’s being appreciated.

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BONUS

Here are some lone outfits that didn’t quite fit my categories properly, but are kicking strong enough to be winners.

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Hopefully some of these styles will inspire you to diversify the way you wear Doc Martens. I know they inspire me a fair deal and my bank account shall be the first to suffer. Boot collection, here I come!

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January Beauty Treats

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If you follow my blog, you know that I comfortably fall into the category of tomboy. That includes my use of make-up, which happens to be rather shameful. Foundation and eye liner are the only products I use on a daily basis. In the world of girls, this translates as medieval level of craftsmanship. As a part of my new year resolutions, I have vouched to pamper myself a little more and amp the stylish clothes away from teenage dirtbag. At least I can be a shiny barbie on the outside and still be the same reject on the inside, right?

So, in light of this, I went for a humble shopping trip in the mall next door. I ventured past jungles of bottles and things with scary pumps. They confused me, so I steered clear. Then, being five in the mental department, I saw shelves full of colours, so I thought – yep, this is my final destination. Long story short, I ended up with a bunch of lipsticks and nail polishes. So here are the chosen ones! Enjoy.

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My first pick was sparkles. There’s an eighties come back in the new fashion season, so I thought my nails should reflect accordingly. The Rimmel Love Glitter’s “All Glittered Up” (032) contains tiny shards of red, pink and blue. There’s a metallic finish to it, which is what you’d be looking for in a top coat.

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I didn’t stop with just one. In my defence, the Love Glitter line is entirely too addictive. It’s like sugar for my nails. So, I ended up purchasing “A Crush On You” (034), too. It contains the exact same shards, except in metallic blues and greens. Colourful grunge is making a return and I’m here to embrace it like a long-lost puppy.

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Making a nice segway to the topic of blues, here you can see Essie’s “Lapis of Luxury” (94). It’s a soft, ocean-like tint, which not only reflects the surfer chick in me, but is also trending. I’d pair it up with some of Dolce & Gabbana’s winter collection. If you need a block colour to invest in, any shade of blue is the way to go.

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Next up, I thought I’d buy a necessary tone of neutral beige. Like I mentioned, beauty products have not been my strongest point the past years, so this January I’m starting from scratch. This shade of Rimmel Salon PRO is called “Soul Session” (237). It’s from the Kate Moss’s collaboration for the brand, which also has some of my all-time favourite lip sticks. This reminds me of Kanye’s Yeezy collection on the runways, which concentrated on beiges and dull tones. They have a lot of space for juxtaposition, so the options here are endless.

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Just when you thought I was done with the metallic obsession. Just hear me out here, why add shimmery specs when you can go all out on fabulous eighties? It’s a no brainer. But seriously, this would be a banger for extravagant client meetings and night life adventures around London. This particular bottle is Barry M’s Nail Paint in “Arabian” (549).

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We’re graduating from nail polish and entering the multiverse of lip sticks. I have here, in my magical hand, what is in fact a Christmassy shade. However, the saturated, dark scarlet is freckled with golden specs, which makes it rather timeless. Due to my Balkan complexion, which is unfortunate in most situations, I can pull off deeper colours better than lighter ones. L’Oreal’s “Cristal Cappuccino” (362) is almost a black bean colour, which makes it grunge-like, and therefore January approved!

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Second up, this is a lip stick I keep repurchasing, because of its versatility. It’s Rimmel London’s “Vintage Pink” (180) and it so happens to be a major keeper in my books. It’s lighter than “Cristal Cappuccino” with what I consider is very close to a dusted rose kind of tint. It looks great on its own for daily use, or layered on top of bright reds, turning them into a plum colour.

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Last on my list we have MaxFactor’s “Mulberry” (685)! I pulled away from the reds and decided on a pink addition to my newly-found collection. The name describes its shade perfectly, it’s a very berry colour, which has shimmer finer than “Cristal Cappuccino”. It would be great for afternoon errands out and about, especially complimented with a lighter outfit.

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I’ve been developing a scary perfume addiction the past week and this baby was on a sixty percent discount. So, it would have constituted as a sin not to invest in it. Tommy Hilfiger is one of my top brands for clothing, thus making my decision-maker confident in spending money on their fragrance. It’s a flowery smell, which I can best describe as a spring, countryside morning. I would suit everyday use best, although you could pull it off on any event!

Here we go, these are my beauty treats for week one of January. I’ll make these mini hauls whenever I invest some cash into pampering products, which I expect will be around twice a month. Hopefully, by the end of 2016, I’ll be an educated beauty guru to my best standards, which in the real world are probably entirely too low. Anyhow, have a grand day, have an amazing month! See you next Tuesday.

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Monthly Favourites: DEC/15

Looking back on December, there isn’t much that I would change. My favourite holiday of Christmas surrounds the world with joy, I get to give and receive presents, decorate the old house and drink extra-alcoholic egg nog. I get to compose myself a nice Spotify playlist, including the most shamefully hipster and comfortingly classic tracks. I also get to devastate all bank accounts with vigorous purchasing and a distinct lack of logical thought. During the process this month I separated all products, which stood out to me in one way or another. I’d like to share them with you and even open up a conversation, should that happen. So, here we go – my top December favourites!

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I have to give Lush a special nudge in the festive category. As well as relaunching their Christmas Edition soaps and bath bombs, they drew attention to a glorious selection of gift sets. If you are in need of a quick present, make sure to drop by and have a little browse. I have taken advantage of the deals a few times over the past weeks and admittedly, would spend a lot more on them had my bank account not been left barren. Dreamy smells, lathery gels and mesmerising scrubs to go, please!

 

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Yeah, you know above, when I say “Yule Log”? That’s actually Yog Nog! My laptop autocorrected it under my nose, silly thing… Anyway, carry on!

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In the book department, “Joyland” by Stephen King came closely third. I do adore my horror fiction. However, I was somewhat disappointed in the piece, so I placed the ones you see above up the scale. If you are interested in literature, please comment bellow and I shall make an all-time favourites post!

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With December being as exciting and awesome, I’m looking forward to what January brings! If you enjoy the monthly favourites column, be sure to click the like button as that shows me I should keep making it!

Share what your own winter favourites have been and we can have a little product swap! Wouldn’t that be exciting?

Neato burrito.

Megs x

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Christmas Gift Guide: Designer Stocking Fillers

A few days ago I covered the issue of Christmas presents, or the lack there of. Well, this morning we’re mellowing down a bit with some simple and easy stocking fillers. Growing up means loosening childhood traditions and unfortunately, small surprises stuffed in socks is one custom that gets left behind. In my books that’s a darned shame, so let’s walk the extra mile and fill them up this year.

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Here is just a touch of inspiration that you could hopefully build on. I enjoy the thoughtfulness of little gifts and will keep the stocking tradition for as long as possible. Comment bellow! Give me some of your own recommendations and ideas!

Meanwhile, stay awesome!

Megs x