Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just Chillin' in France

Hello again! I feel like such a bad blogger that this is only my second entry since Ive been here and I still haven't uploaded any pictures! Sorry!

I love France. It is absolutely, exceedingly beautiful. There are trees just everywhere with practically ancient buildings everywhere in between. Also, the weather is fantastic (although yesterday it was 40 degrees celcius which is, believe me, hot) and I couldn't be happier. My mom told me that it's 115 degrees farenheit in Phoenix right now and while I love the heat, I don't love it THAT much.

My blogging is probably going to stop all together on Thurseday untill the 18th of July (that post will have plenty of pictures!) because my host family is going to their vacation home in Cap Ferret on the western shore of France. We went for a picnic this weekend and it is truly amazing. I'd never been to the Atlantic Ocean before and it's about a million times better than the Pacific! All my hard work to stay pale in Arizona, though, is being completely undone!

In other news, I'm slowly working my through improving my French. It is rather difficult but I think I might be getting better!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

En France!

Im in France right now struggling my way through a rather large language barrier. I have about a million pictures of Bordeaux right now but I cant find where to put my memory card on this computer (nor can I find the apostrophe). I spent today at a pool party and I didnt understand a thing but it was kind of nice to just listen to the sound of French. Au revoir!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Imaginary Clothes

With all of my things packed away, I have surprisingly little to do. At first, I just watched a lot of Dead Like Me, but after spending my life sitting around and watching four episodes of a show whose basic message is "don't waste life while you have it," I had to stop. Study French? Non. I'm a bit tired of French (lately, I've had a bit of an obsession with trying to translate my every thought into French) and I think I'm going to get enough of it starting Sunday (and the four weeks that follow too). Then it came to me: I'll just make imaginary outfits for some imaginary, but fabulous woman with ModCloth stuff (because their stuff is simply the best). I used to love imaginarily shopping for houses on Remax when I was little (I hate the suburbs immensly and always have) and this is basically the same thing.
An outfit for an fabulous cocktail party.
A classy everyday outfit.
A cute little professional outfit (I don't know if professional people would really wear this. The only work environment I've ever regulared is school and most of the teacher's don't care what they wear at all).
Just something where, intentionally, nothing matches (I always love wearing those!).
Just something really classy.

(All of these are from the fabulous except the Amelia Earhart necklace which is from

I'm Bound Away

My last full day in America. OH, that sounds so weird. I've never left the country before! Anyway, I just finished packing my rather large suitcase. I thought packing for four weeks would take much longer, but I finished in less than hour so I guess I have the rest of the day to myself (although I should probably study French a bit more)!
I did not take this picture today while I was packing, but the pictures that I uploaded came up next to it on my computer and I thought it was rather appropriate.
Shirt: American Eagle, Skirt: Betsey Johnson via Goodwill, Feet: Bare
Just about my entire suitcase is dedicated to clothes! Ha ha!
According to my orientation material, I'm not supposed to use the computer too much while I'm in France. The program I'm going with is a foreign immersion program and by  using the computer, I'm not so thoroughly immersed. So, basically, I won't be blogging as much as I have been. Sorry! I will when I can!

The 1920s

Alas, this little mini-series has finally come to an end! I must admit, this conclusion is not great. I wrote this enitre, 2848 word essay in one day just because I had time for it that day and by the conclusion I was rather sick of it.
            The 1920s, through its creation of the new woman and the flapper, liberated women from the fashions that had so long plagued the gender and, in turn, cereated a great amount of conservative tendencies for the rest of America.
             The progressive clothes of the '20s are a perfect example of the importance of clothing in American society. They empowered women through the events that had allowed them to come about: the right to vote, the entrance into the workplace, the use of the body through dancing, and their general growth in equality. Through the immense evolution that clothing undertook in the '20s, women forever freed themselves from imprisonment through fussy hair, yards and yards of bustling cloth, and damaging corsets.
            The progressive times that brought these new styles onto women's bodies even further extended their influence through their offense of traditionalist America. The highly visible manifestation of progressivism in America through women's clothing lead to a number of conservative movements in America, reflecting the ture importance that the evolution in women's clothing had in the 1920s.
             Thus, women's clothing in the 1920s becomes a kind of representation of the entirety of the decade. It embodies its hight flying times, its progressive movements, and its desperate nostalgia for time sforever lost through the devastation of World War I.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Romp Through the Heat

Today is my second to last full day in America before I head off to live in France for a month. Really, though, it feels like the last since tomorrow will be occupied with packing and such preparations. I was planning to spend today by seeing Midnight in Paris (I did this morning; it was ok), going to my flute lessons in the evening, and watching old episodes of Dead Like Me on netflix in between the two (I've been obsessed with that show ever since I found netflix has it).
But, as you can probably tell by my use of the past progressive tense and these pictures of random newspaper bits I found, I went on a nice little walk today. I opened my front door this afternoon to see if I had finally gotten the new Beirut single I ordered last Wednesday (I didn't and I'm almost sure I wrote in the wrong adress in my excitement) to find that today is one of those lovely Arizona days where it literally feels like an oven outside! I know that probably sounds terrible, but, having spent the majority of my life here, I love no weather more than when it is scalding hot (103 degrees farenheit to be exact), dry as a bone, and the wind is blowing ever so slightly.
I walked to my favorite place within walking distance of my house: my old elementary school's playground. I don't know exactly why I love it so, but I really do. There aren't a lot of red-tiled, cookie cutter houses to see. There's a string of telephone wires next to it (I think telephone poles are some of the most beautiful things on earth). You can see the big open sky from anywhere, as well as south mountain (my favorite mountain). And...I don't know, it's just nice and oddly beautiful.
I didn't bring my tripod so I had to use the tables and benches in the...well...tables and benches area. I remember when I was really little, before school started, all the band kids would play their instruments here and I thought it was the most glamorous, lovely thing on earth (although they were probably actually terrible). When I started playing the flute in 5th grade, however, they had stopped doing that for some reason.
Hat: Vintage, Shirt: Forever21, Overalls: Forever21, Socks: Target, Shoes: Forever21
And then a random crime scene in the middle of it all.
As the date for France gets closer and closer, the trip is beginning to grow bigger and bigger in my mind. At first, I was just excited to get the guidance in French that my high school french teachers simply don't give. But, now, it's beginning to stand in front of me as this event that will change all of my events to come as well as my perception of all that have already passed. My life will be divided into two, that before and that after. I know that's a lot of weight to put on this trip, but I don't see how it couldn't. For one, I've never left the country before and I've never experienced another culture. Also, I've never traveled alone or lived with another family like I will be. I don't know. It's just an odd position to be in: knowing that you are days away from something completely unlike anything you've ever experienced before.

The 1920s

ii. American Politics
            The new women's fashions didn't just create a conservative backlash among the extremist groups of America. It also promoted conservative practices all across the American public after over a decade of the Progressive era practices. Traditionalists throughout America thought the new women were irresponsible, irreligious, and immoral (Dumenil 135), and their offense reflected in the political mindsest of the country, which seemed desperate to rid the country of the influences making women clothe themselves the way they did.

           One of the most obvious instances of trying to make the country how it was before World War I was in its elections. President Warren G. Harding ran his whole campaign on the idea of returning to normalcy (Miller, Nathan 83), and beat his opponent James M. Cox by the largest margin up to that date (Baily, Cohen, and Kennedy 767). Through their election of Harding, the American public was trying to vote itself back to the days when women had their place in society, and were held there by their restrictive clothing. Further, with the reelection of Calvin Coolidge, an "honest, thrifty, austere, punctual, concise, conscientious, frugal, cautious, conservative, and moral" man (Miller, Nathn 124), the public tried to install in the free spirited young women of the decade these conservative morals, whose loss appeared to be reflected in their immoral dress.
          During this time, America also greatly restricted its immigration with the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 which only allowed 3% of each country's population that left in 1910 in. This was then replaced by the Immigration Act of 1924 which reduced it to 2% of 1890 (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 773-4). These harsh conservative restrictions could surely have been a reaction to the overseas influence that held such sway in women's new clothes, ranging from France to Africa.
          Further, laws were created that restricted how women could dress. Some women were arrested for dressing immodestly at the beaches in new, scandalous swimsuits (Latham 70). In Utah, women could be fined and arrested for wearing skirts that went three inches above the ankle (Gourley 68). Ohio also outlawed clothing that accentuated women's figures (Gourley 68).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There's Short Hair Atop My Head

As promised, yesterday I cut my hair. This is the shortest my hair has been since I was a toddler and, to be quite honest, I didn't really want to cut it but I need something low maintenace for France (OH MY GOD I'm leaving Saturday!). I asked for it to look as 60s as possible and brought in this picture:
I think the woman did quite a nice job (but I can't wait to grow it back out)!
Dress: ModCloth, Belt: Forever21, Shoes: What's What
I love that pink rose bush so much! When I was little, we planted three rose bushes, a yellow one, red one, and a pink one. Of course, pink was my favorite color, and when I'd help my parents garden them, I'd always give extra fertilizer and water to the pink one and skimp out on the other two. Eventually the other two died (I can't imagine why) but the lovely pink one lives on!

The 1920s

*Disclaimer: Ok. When I was developping my research question for this essay back in 10th grade, I figured that the changes in fashion would, of course, have had some effect of its society and made it part of my research question. Well, after all of my extensive research, I'm not so sure it really did but I still had to answer that part of my question. As a result, this next section isn't that great. Just letting you know!
Fashion's Effect on 1920s Culture
              The groundbreaking new fashions of the 1920s, of course, did not emerge quietly in a socety that had known nothing but modesty since its puritan beginnings. Although most young women worshopped the new fashions (Latham 32), a good portion of the rest of America saw them as scandalous and immoral. William Jennings Bryan, former Secretary of State and three time presidential nominee, believed that America's modernism, which reflected heavily in women's dress, would erode America's faith (Leinwand 217). One woman, Mrs. John B. Henderson, wrote, "'The World War left us with our sense of values gone and our moral stamina weakened...the girls are shameless in dress and conduct alike,'" (Gourley 70). The new fashions reflected the modern times and, in turn, lead to growing strength within conservative America.
i. The Ku Klux Klan
              The Ku Klux Klan was "one of the largest and most politically powerful raqcist, right-wing movements in U.S. history," (Blee 2). The Klan was "antiforeign, anti-Catholic, antiblack, anti-Jewish, antipacifist, anti-Communist, anti-internationalist, antievolutionist, antibootlegger, antigambling, anti-adultery, and anti-birth short...[it was] against many of the forces of diversity and modernity that were transforming American culture," (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 772).
              Onek of the most visible and prevalent forces of modernity in the 1920s were women's fashions. The new clothes reflected the modern role women had egun to hold. It reflected the fact that they now had growing power in the world. This new power and independency carried over into the more liberating clothes of the 1920s. Further, the bare skin and heavy makeup "emulated...a more worldly, sexually charged adolescence" (Drowne and Huber 99), reflecting the new sexual frankness of American youth due to the theories of Dr. Sigmund Freud (Bailey, Cohen, and Kennedy 790).
          This outraged conservative America, leading to such strong conservative foreces as the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan saw themselves as "guardian[s] of the purity of Christian women," (Miller, Nathan 144). This guarding of the Christian woman could have created a number of the Klan's prejudices, including African Americans, whose influence was discussed previously, progressive politicians who would tolerate such public immodesty (unlike others who made legal restrictions on how high a skirt could be or how low a collar (Gourley 68)), and immigrants whose foreign influence had had a significant hand in creating the problem.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reflections of the Past

When I first started getting into fashion, it was simply as a rebellion to the uniforms I had to wear  in 8th grade. As the stereotypical rebelious uniform, I became gothic. I have since mostly moved away from all the black and the t-shirts and the skinny jeans, but every once in a while I find myself reverting back to those somewhat over the top, dark outfits. Today was such a day. I read this article in Nylon back in March about wearing BRIGHT eyeliner and then a black and white outfit. I gave it a try simply to discover that I am no makeup artist and I should stick to my black cat-eye and red lipstick!
Shirt: Forever21, Tie (really a ribbon belt saftey pinned about a quarter down): Forever21, Skirt: Homemade, Tights: Target, Shoes: Converse
Just as a sidenote, I'm getting my hair cut really short (I want it to look like Rosemary's in Rosemary's Baby) today, so this is my last picture with chin length hair (I'd say long hair but it's not). For once in my life, I'm actually quite pleased with my haircut, but alas! I must cut it off for France since I can't bring my hot curlers or hairdryer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The 1920s

iv. The Influence of Jazz
       Not surprisingly, the music that gave its name to the decade, The Jazz Age, had a major impact on the fashions of the decade. Ragning from the dancing it encouraged to the popularity of African culture in general, jazz had a hand in a number of the major aspects of flapper wear.
      With jazz music came a revolution in dance. Dances for jazz music such as the Charleston and the Black Bottom Stomp were very energetic, something that the fashion of the Edwardian period would not accommodate. In order for the body to be able to dance to jazz, short bobs replaced piled high hair, and , in order to allow more movement with the limbs, skirts were shortened and sleeves thrown away (Hannel 58). Embellishments were further added in order to enhance the fisual and audible experience of dancing. Fringe with beading, when in motion, added to the percussive sounds of jazz music and shiny fabrics were used to reflect light to the beat of the music (Hannel 65). Further, the clothes worn to these nightclub cabarets reflected their more relaxed atmosphere (Hannel 66) in comparison to the clubs of the Victorian era which enforced strict rules of etiquette and behavior (Perkin 98). The patterns on fabrics also reflected the "wildly rhythmic and spontaneous qualities of jazz" (Hannel 70).
        Jazz further held its sway in American fashion through its intoxication of France. In America, France monopolized the clothing market (Latham 165). From the influence of such French fashion designers as Paul Poiret and Coco Channel (Latham 33), to the Paris Imitations of department stores (Miller, Brandon Marie 62), French influence dominated '20s styles. The French themselves, however, were dominated by the influence of jazz and African culture in general. First, France embraced jazz music whose complete, unheard newness served as rebellion from the war of the previous decade (Hannel 60). Then came the obsession with African culture itself. After the devastation of World War One, France became disgusted with the European culture that had allowed it to happen. Along with their disgust of European culutre and its corruption, they began to look upon African culture as exotic and having the uncorrupted history of the "'noble savage'" (Hannel 60). With this new love for Africa, France began to incorporate certain aspects of its culture into clothes, such as "slave jewelry" and fringe which imitated grass skirts (Hannel 57). These styles then, inevitably, found their way to America.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Spirit's on Fire

Why so much red? Today was the first day of Pentecost at church. I always forget so, this time, when I remembered, I wore extra to make up for all those missed years. It didn't really matter anyway since I was an acolyte (somebody who helps out with the service) this Sunday and had to wear the floor-length black robe and white cassock over it all. One woman, however, said that she enjoyed seeing my polka-dotted, bowed shoes underneath the uniform!
Headband: Forever21, Sunglasses: Foster Grant via Walgreens, Dress: Modcloth, Shoes: Second Hand

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Other Side of Clothing

Today I actually tried to look pretty. I know that sounds kind of weird, but looking nice is actually very rarely on my mind. With clothes, I feel more like I'm obligated to make the clothes and the whole outfit look nice rather than myself. All the time I spend on my hair and makeup are simply done to complement the clothing, not myself, and if I end up looking good in the process, it's more of a happy accident than anything else. The great thing about clothes, though, is that one can manipulate them to her advantage to make oneself look pretty if she does so happen to please. Thank you clothes!

And, I must admit, today out of laziness I just used the mirror to take pictures to make up for the trials and tribulations of yesterday. Also, I appologize for my faces. I was concentrating so hard on holding the camera still (it's very sensitive) that I completely forgot about my expression!

Skirt: Forever21
Belt: Forever21
Shoes: Madden Girl
AGH! I look so concentrated!
Yesterday I got a new pair of ballet shoes! I haven't had any since I was ten and I'm so excited!