Beauty…and the Male: Man in the Mirror

THE MAN IN THE MIRROR

Recently, I found it interesting that the undergraduate institution that I attended initiated a dress code. I happen to love my school and when I left college, Morehouse was the only school that I sent my application to. This was primarily because what I SAW or perceived on the campus of the school was professional, mature and well put together.

When most of us think of college, we think of freedom to say, do, and even WEAR what we want. But, my school has adopted about 15 rules of things they prohibit. I won’t bore you with all of them but I will reprint some of them here:

Examples of inappropriate attire and/or appearance include but are not limited to:

-Caps, do-rags or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues. This policy item does not apply to headgear considered as a part of religious or cultural dress.

-Jeans at major programs such as, Opening Convocation, Commencement, Founder’s Day or other programs dictating professional, business casual attire, semi-formal or formal attire.

-Sagging – the wearing of one’s pants or shorts low enough to reveal undergarments or secondary layers of clothing.

-Pajamas, shall not be worn while in public or in common areas of the College.

-Wearing clothing associated with women’s garb (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the campus or at College-sponsored events.

-Additional dress regulations may be imposed upon students participating in certain extracurricular activities that are sponsored or organized by the College.

When I read these rules, I had to think about this for a minute. Most of this stuff SHOULD BE common sense to men. However, apparently they are not. I certainly would have never thought about leaving the house in my pajamas but that appears to be somewhat popular these days. For those that read my previous link on THE FLIP FLOP REVOLUTION (see link), I think this is what I was trying to get at. We’ve relaxed many societal rules. But is relaxing always good? Are men wearing DRESSES to convocation now? Shouldn’t budding college men know better?

Like it or not, perception matters. It’s been proven OVER and OVER again. The “beautiful” make more money, do more things, etc. By no means am I suggesting that we are not ALL beautiful but do we ALL take the time to enhance that beauty?

Ultimately, I think that when we want to do better, it is incumbent upon us to look at the man (or woman) in the mirror and determine if the way that we are dressed is the way that we want to be perceived by others. If the answer is NO, then I suggest we see the above list. Feel free to post this in your closet if necessary!

Until next time,

KP

More about Kenneth:

Kenneth D. Pratt Esq. is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. In his spare time he enjoys reading, travel, and sports.

(photo source)

Beauty…and the Male: The Flip Flop Revolution

Part of the reason for my column on COM, is that several ladies commented that they want to know more about what men really like. Many times, men are too embarrassed or frightened to tell you what we really find attractive. So we just go along, to get along. However, I feel compelled to use my voice to speak out for all men (well, the ones that care about fashion).

I’m not sure exactly what is happening in the culture of women’s fashion in this country, but the flip flop has seriously taken over. And as a man, I have to say, I am NOT happy about it! First, let me say that I am all for comfort in today’s stressful society. If you are out and about on a weekend, running errands, or taking your kids to soccer practice, then by all means, enjoy yourself and the comfort of having your feet exposed to the sun (pedicure–mandatory).

Yet, while I believe in comfort, I also believe in appropriateness and the envelope has been pushed way too far! Recently, I did an informal survey and just began to pay more attention to women’s footwear in professional and more formal settings. I observed flip flops at work, at school, in airports, in business meetings, and even at funerals! Is it too much to ask for a little black pump during a FUNERAL!?!?!? The sexiest image is and continue to be a woman walking down the street in a nice skirt and a nice pair of heels!

Call me a bad person, but I firmly believe that this is the difference between our current generation and the ones in the past. Take a look at the adults in the 20s and 30s. If someone came out in public wearing flannel nightclothes, they would have been stoned in the public square. Yet, we allow it under the guise of it being more comfortable.

Very slowly, our society is corroding. The “rules” are being relaxed. Even in those instances when they should not be. Well, I, for one am ready to stand against it!! Get a grip and hold on to your soles, ladies…here’s a newsflash…the Flip Flop Revolution is OVER!

Until next time,
KP

More about Kenneth:

Kenneth D. Pratt Esq. is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. In his spare time he enjoys reading, travel, and sports.

Guest Editor: Summer Fashions from Miss. Yaya

Are y’all ready for the guest post from Miss Yaya? I hardly think you are!!

As the weather outside gets less and less frightful, and the breeze is so delightful… our closets filled with blacks and browns, the edges of our clothing yearns for hikes of hems and sleeves alike. And so each year when spring melts into summer, some summer trends stand out (and fall just as quickly – haha get it?), while plenty have weathered through the years.

Current: This means they are of the essence, the same way bell bottoms, mood rings, door knocker earrings were once THE IT item in your collection, and are now out of sight/out of mind for the majority of the fashion frenzied.

Rompers: Though this style was always present in the fashion world, it is the first season in a while that it’s becoming so widely popular. The baby to OH BABY style is playful, and offers the same ease of choice as a dress does, in the sense that one item is your whole outfit.

The variety of styles go from strapless to different sleeve lengths, and from tight to loose. It is however suggested that you get one with a looser topside than the bottom, as it is meant to highlight your lower half. Anything looser on the bottom would really need to be a skirt – and thus become a dress.

Pictured: Dereon Romper $79.00

Gladiator Sandals: This is the second year that the sandal style has stuck around for. The style is versatile in that it can be bulky and add grunge/character to a girly outfit, or tone something down to a relaxed, bohemian mood.

This style comes in a plethora of studded to strappy versions, with every other style in between and has been fluid in the boundaries of flats to heels.

Be your picky self and choose just how strappy you want it – from minimal to your whole darn foot if you want it so. But please – leave the Crocs at home!

Pictured: Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent Dinah Flat Gladiator Sandal $142.10

Pinup Va Va Voom: With sweetheart necklines and highwaists galore, it is easy to evoke the era of the pinups, where clothes were sensual and not cut from here to there with little to the imagination.

Slowly making it’s comeback, this style is taking over everything from pants and tops to swimwear. It is recommended that if you do not want to do a whole themed outfit, you are better off to sticking to a few items (i.e. a high waist pair of shorts with a modern top).

Pictured: The June Dress $54.99


Keepers: Now this here is a summer style staple. A ‘let me buy this on clearance in December because it will still be relevant next June’ style. Something you could probably remember your parents rocking out (though maybe not as fashionably as yourself). This here style is not going anywhere.

Maxi Dresses: Ever since the celebrities started sporting maxi dresses, clothing companies took notice. Before – finding a decent maxi dress would land you in a house dress or an evening gown, with few well priced options in between. Now there are a gazillion ideas out there, with creative cutouts, backs, and patterns.

The shape itself lends to highlight the mother earth qualities and goddess-like similarities all females have from birth (yes ladies – please stand up proud). Once again, this is a whole outfit in one try, and being that it takes up your whole length, you don’t even need to worry about many accessories.

Pictured: Victoria’s Secret Maxi Dress $109.00 via a Shop.com search

Bright Colors: If it’s anything that happens in my closet every summer is that the rainbow comes around. This is the perfect time to experiment with neons, pastels, and everything in between. If you’re shy to the news – try it with a toenail color and work up the confidence – if it’s me? You’ll be seeing me with hot pink shoes, earrings and bags! (I try not to look like a big bright traffic light though). Let’s not forget that white is a bright too (okay for me it is). Have you ever been in an area with too much white light and it just overwhelmed you? Okay then – point proven! Forget the hokey about Labor Day and wear white all around – but wear it now especially!

Oh and ladies? Don’t ever think you’re too old to visit retailers that cater to a younger crowd. They usually have cheaper stuff in colors or styles you haven’t tried yet.

Some places to try (if you haven’t already started to mosey over…):

And who can forget the male clumps population? Certainly not I!

Men’s styles vary a lot less than women’s. They don’t have revolutionary different length short shorts to skirts and skorts every season (nor do I know many a man that will follow the trend). Male fashion houses are aware that for men, it is more in the shape and the fit.

So what do you ask is the summer style? Well – no matter if you’re 3008 or 2000-late, you can definitely make a boom by first realizing that the long tees, the abnormally long jeans – they’re out the window. Let’s all motivate and get our grown man on with a fit that compliments all your features, rather than highlights poor choices.

Tops: Polos, tees, and blazers. The ideal fit is that it is a half size bigger than the male body. So if your medium tee is snug – step it up a size, this will make it more comfortable to wear and undershirt and will not constrict movement. Plus no one looks confident or sexy when they’re fidgeting and uncomfortable in their own skin – and that sure as hell will happen if your shirts and shorts are bunching and twisting.

Men – don’t be afraid to look casual. A well designed tee in a soft fabric will make you extra comfy, and still keep you looking good. A button down is and always will be a good choice, but don’t be afraid to experiment!

Pictured: LRG polo $38.00

Bottoms: Personally, I like my man to wear a straight leg pant. I’m not a fan of a man in a skinny jean. If you can rock it – then by all means do so, but IMO that is a male nono.

Straight leg or bootcut will be the closest in line with your upper body and will create a long and lean silhouette. That means no breaks from top to bottom which also means you’re on the scene smooooth and clean (and I’m queen of corny…).

Pictured: Express Rocco Straight Leg Jeans $78.00

Manly trends you ask? Some similar to women’s: don’t be afraid of bright colors (but don’t overdo it – we are not looking for Skittle takeovers). Pastel colors are also in tune with the brights, but are toned down enough to be up to par with the relaxed summer mindset. Designs are also snazzy – whether on a t-shirt, blazer, or a pant.

Try not to go all nutso with it though, because I have never had much nice things to say for males whose pants have a golden arch on their behind (must I even name the brand?).

To save the best for last – unisex advice that never goes out of style OR seasonbe confident. Wear all that you are and have with confidence and everything else will be a perfect fit. Smiling seems to do the trick too – just brush yo teeth! I know every person reading this has stepped outside of their house and found the natural ability of checking out a person who’s having a good day. It’s in the smile, the posture, the language. Don’t ever put yourself down.

P.S. If y’all want to save money and catch all the deals without running around everywhere, check out my post on Shop It To Me – a free personal shopper service that comes straight to your inbox!

Or you can just give it a try here:

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Hope I did the Clumps Fam proud!

Sista Show Off: Jam Donaldson


Welcome to another post from the Sista Show Off series! In this series I like to show some love to other companies, blogs, businesses, organizations or just regular ladies like myself who are paving the way for women everywhere! Let me feature you! Shoot me an email at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com

As a beauty blogger, I can’t help but find beauty in everything! The way we speak being one of them. I once took a course in college called Black English. In it, I learned how language among African Americans was critical to survival. We even focused on Ebonics and “the hip hop language”. But, the line has to be drawn somewhere. Let me introduce you to:

Jam Donaldson Designs


The bio from her site says, “Jam Donaldson has shown she’s a force to be reckoned with on the internet. Her website www.hotghettomess.com is one of the most highly trafficked African-American owned websites in the world. The site has been stirring up controversy, praise, ire and powerful discourse since its inception in 2004. The site continues to grow and evolve and hopes to be a facilitator of edgy, racial dialogue for years to come. She hopes to partner with organizations that are working to help the community do better. A portion of proceeds from merchandise is donated to grass roots organizations that are helping us do better, one person at a time.”

Bad sista, ain’t she? (<---example of Black English, lol!) I had the opportunity to interview Jam.

1) So what was really the defining moment for you to start creating these t-shirts? Was it a particular song or saying that irked you to the point where you said, “I’ve got to do something,”?

I guess people using the word”conversate” has always been a big pet peeve of mine. Initially, it was typically used by the urban community and you can frequently hear it in hip-hop and R & B. Though as communities begin to mesh through popular culture, you can hear it used by any and everyone. Its use is spreading. Like the plague. My blog is actually called Conversate is Not a word, and I got such a big response to the title, that I thought it would be cool to create some shirts based on usage errors in English. So many people may not know what they are saying is incorrect and it may just cost you that next job. Just wanted to take a unique, humorous slant on the high-end t-shirt markets and start some conversations… Plus everyone has Ed hardy and Affliction tees, I think its time to do something different. So I created Jam Donaldson Designs and the response has been great.

2) As a beauty blog ClumpsOfMascara.com tries to find beauty in anything that represents us and language, without a doubt is one form of representation. How can we erase words like “conversate” and “irregardless” from our vocabularies?

I think its as simple as having the hard conversations with each other. So many people are afraid to challenge errors like this because it comes off as pretentious and elitist. You never want someone to feel like you’re turning your nose up at them. I thought these shirts were a funny, light-hearted way of doing this, no one gets their feelings hurt and at the same time you can look hot.


3) I did not know how prevalent “conversate” was in music until I went to your website. Any idea where this word came from? It doesn’t even sound right!

It’s really funny! I think it has been used so much, most people don’t even know its wrong. I have no idea where it came from but it looks like its definitely here to stay.

4) I am so glad to get the opportunity to present a young female entrepreneur to the Clumps of Mascara community. You have no idea how much of an inspiration you are to us. Any words of encouragement that you can drop to help others who may be considering pursuing entrepreneurial ventures?

I firmly believe that the path to happiness if following what makes you happy, what satisfies you. Entrepreneurship is not easy, but its infinitely rewarding. Even in the tough times of starting a business, its so much more fulfilling than working for someone else. It requires hard work and a passion. I’ve never started any project to make money. I only start projects because I have an idea or want to create something I think is important. I find when love and fun and integrity are the source of your businesses, the money will come eventually because people sense your sincerity and passion. You have to be willing to take risks and jump out there into the scary unknown sometimes , but its soooooo worth it. You wont be successful everytime. Lord knows I’ve had some disasters but you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and keep it moving. We all have bad experiences at jobs, but that doesnt stop us from getting another one. Entrepreneurship is the same way. I have a quote that I love by Kipling that says, “No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” That says it all.

5) Ohmigoodness, have you heard this one too? “Pacifically” instead of “specifically”?

Absolutely–that one may actually end up in the new Fall designs for the shirts… LOL.

6) Do you think we should get rid of slang all together?

Absolutely not. I think our slang and colloquialisms make us who we are and are a big part of our culture. I use a ton of slang, bad english and cuss words. The big thing is simply knowing there is a time and place for everything. Its when you cant distinguish when slang is appropriate and when it isnt, that we run into trouble.

7) And because we are beauty obsessed folx….do you mind telling us your favorite beauty product and why?

I have a couple of beauty products — one is the Arbonne bronzing powder for my face. I don’t wear a lot of make up so this gives me a great glow while getting rid of the greasies. I also wear my hair natural and my favorite hair product is Kiehl’s “Just Out of the Shower” its a hair gel I can put on my hair while it is wet and it keeps it nice and curly without making it hard or drying it out.

You can find out more about Jam Donaldson and her designs here. And while you’re at it….check out her Conversate is Not a Word blog.

Sista Show Off: One3Snapshot!



Welcome to another post from the Sista Show Off series! In this series I like to show some love to other companies, blogs, businesses, organizations or just regular ladies like myself who are paving the way for women everywhere! Let me feature you! Shoot me an email at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com

Check out…

One3Snapshot!,
an Arts & Graphic Collective



One3Snapshot! says, “
We are a collective of artists comprised mainly of women dedicated to promoting art and culture by creating art, apparel & events. We started out making screen printed tee shirts and we have now gradually expanded into making original one of a kind hand-painted apparel, and hand-made accessories. We have been and continue to consult with individuals and groups on cultural and artistic endeavors, and we teach (for free or cheap) any skills or knowledge that we have to anyone interested, especially youth.

Man oh man, I love stuff like this! Hand-printed apparel? I wish I could be THAT fly! Check out some of the fab pieces….



Are you swooning yet? Seriously peeps, in another life I would be a fashion designer creating eye-catching pieces for the world to see! Oh wait….maybe that’s you now. Or perhaps you are lookin’ for some designers that have created pieces that may fit your style. Either way, stroll on over to One3Snapshot! to see what they have in store. It’s okay to have a little personality in your everyday wear, chica. I love cardigans like the next 3rd grade teacher but a graphic tee is a must in every wardrobe!

Do you own any graphic tees? Or have you done some graphic designing? Tell me!!