Image courtesy of Nettle's Tale
It's almost that time of year that we all dread; swimsuit shopping season.
While my journey with loving and accepting my body has gone through its fair share of trials and tribulations one thing has always remained constant for me. I always want to be thoughtful and ethical about my fashion purchases, including swimwear. While it may be tempting to buy something cheap and chic from (eyeroll) Fashion Nova or one of thousands of Instagram brands that seem to bombard your feed with swimsuit ads on the daily a couple of reminders that have helped me be a more conscious consumer when it comes to swimsuit shopping are:
Also when I first started working on this post my aim was to find ten brands to feature and I was worried that I would have a hard time finding that many. After lots of research I managed to find twenty! I know there are a lot more brands that I could feature so perhaps I do a part two?
I know I promised this post a weeks ago but when I started trying to research where everything was produced, what sizes were available and costs it became clear to me that I bit off more than I could chew. Surprise, surprise, once again I take ages to produce content. Can I live?
All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.
There was a very raw moment for me about a year ago when I was invited to a fancy dinner party and less than 15 minutes before I had to leave I realized that the dress I picked out to wear no longer fit me. It was one of those dresses I hung on to for years due to sentimental value however never had an occasion to wear it to until I did and I could not fit into it to save my life. I couldn't help it - I started crying immediately. Here is a dress that used to fit that I couldn't even pretend to get on. There was no if, ands, or buts about it. This dress just did not fit. It wasn't so much that the dress that didn't fit that broke my heart (trust me, stuff doesn't fit me all the time) but the fact that this was a dress that used to fit that didn't fit anymore.
It was also too late for me to cancel going to this event so I had to borrow something from a friend and the entire time I was at this event I felt horrible, I felt insecure, I felt betrayed by my clothes and my own body. The majority of the evening was me feeling like an unattractive gloop of a human (for lack of a better word.) I think about that evening a lot because that lead to the idea of how I needed to be kinder to myself and my body. The idea that I should stop hanging on to clothes because "maybe" they'll fit again one day because who cares if they don't fit anymore? The only person who felt negatively about me not being a size 4 anymore was me and I needed to be a better friend to myself.
When I saw that one of my favourite swimwear brands, Nettle's Tale, was launching a clothing line I was intrigued because the swimwear brand had always aligned with my core values when it comes to garment shopping; ethical, sustainable, body positive and inclusive.
I thought about doing this post as a holiday gift guide, but honestly I would be happy getting jewelry all year round. I also wanted to take this opportunity to feature brands with a smaller following because Instagram famous brands like Mejuri don't need influencers to promote them. Brands like theirs do fine marketing on their own and are an easy option if you're looking for something to gift if you want to pick out something easily recognizable and sure to impress.
However, if you're anything like me you want to be able to give gifts that the recipiant will not only love, but perhaps not think of purchasing for themselves. I also love a gift with a fun fact so if you decide to pick up any jewellery from the following brands you can also share that the piece is ethically produced, locally designed and handmade in the Vancouver area.
This reoccurring category features me trying on clothes based on suggested sizing. Since there is no such thing as "standardized sizing" I have little to no expectations that things are going to fit properly. I'm 5' "tall" making inseams always an issue. I'm what Victoria Secret calls a 34DDD (yes that is a real size) meaning I have a large bust, but a small waist so normally the top half of my torso wants an XL but the lower half want a M. I also have what a drag queen once called "saddlebaggin' hips" - hence my preference of calling my body type an hourglass with extra minutes.
I have been trying to buy jeans for an entire year. Last year I ripped through the crotch of my favourite pair of blue jeans. They were also my only pair of blue jeans; a pair of 7 for All Mankind I had purchased about 4 years prior. In this time my weight has fluctuated and shifted a lot however I never really noticed because wearing denim is not my go-to, I instead opt for skirts and dresses (yes, even in the winter). When I first tried to replace my jeans I quickly got frustrated because my usual size 28 jean did not fit anymore. An occasional tear was shed in a dressing room or two and after a few attempts I gave up on replacing my jeans - just in time for when the weather warmed up so fuck pants, am I right?
Well. It took me all summer to get over my fear of denim shopping and I decided, "so what if I'm not a size 27 anymore? Just buy something that fits you that you like." With this new found confidence I went to a store and quickly got discouraged again because sizing is bullshit. From there it lead to me actually taking my measurements, asking strangers on the internet to tell me their favourite brands of denim and looking up what my suggested size was for each of those brands.
Topshop was the most frequent suggestion from friends when they found out I was looking for a new pair of jeans. One of the perks of shopping at Topshop is that they offer petite sizing so anytime I can avoid the cost of getting denim hemmed that's a definite consideration in terms of budgeting for a good pair of jeans. Their pricing ranges from about $65 CAD a pair and go up from there so Topshop is definitely budget friendly.
A collab (short for collaboration) means working with someone to produce or create something. Sharing an affiliate code is not collaboration, it's a one tier marketing tactic aimed at influencers that often leads to dishonest reviews and people promoting shit products. For full transparency purposes I believe that influencers should have to disclose when they get paid to post something (#sponsored or #ad) and not bury it in clusterfuck of hashtags and that they should disclose when doing a review on products they received for free. I also strongly believe that it should be disclosed that affiliate codes saves you a bit of money, but also earns an influencer a commission. It's a win-win if you genuinely believe that you're not being mislead about the product.
Truth be told, I get direct messages and comments like this one fairly often and often ignore them because it's bullshit. It's bullshit that you should have to pay for product you're not familiar with to promote for them with little to no return. But Game of Thrones isn't releasing any new episodes for a while so I thought I would follow one of these comments through just for the heck of it.
Full disclosure, none of the links below are affiliate codes. I am making negative $40.69 CAD on this post because I bought this jumpsuit myself in order to review these kinds of Instagram marketed brands.