Week in Review: 11/13-11/19

Let’s take a look at what we shared this week, shall we?

My new look and what it symbolizes Weekend Observations: A New Look for a New Me

Check out the new exhibit of artist photographs of Africa Americans throughout the decades Pic of the Week: Arresting Images of African-American Culture

Great to see fashion brands using age-appropriate models! Miu Miu Ages Up

Jessica Simpson admits that her embarrassing Mom jeans pics may have been brilliant move How Being Curvy is Great for Branding

More juicy beauty news More to Love: Additions to the Reading List

Going out for sushi night-on-the town.  Can’t wait!

Pic of the Week: Arresting Images of African American Culture

A new exhibit at USC’s Fisher Museum of Art, “Posing Beauty in African American Culture” presents artistic photographs of African Americans throughout the decades.  As the review from the L.A. Times states: “Taken together, these photographs ar far more than just striking pictures of African American men and women.  They document concepts of beauty throughout several decades of African American culture.  And each piece is the starting point for an intriguing discussion about what is considered beautiful, both within African American culture and within society in general.”

Wow!  If you’re on the West Coast, try to check it and report back on our site or tweet us @beautyskew

Week in Review: 10/30-11/5

What got us going this week…

The negative consequences of having a closer “relationship” to your body Weekend Observations: The Double-Edged Sword of Being so Connected With Our Bods

Even the most shunned appliance can be beautiful Pic of the Week: A Beautiful Pissing Pot … No Really!

Based on history, why I’m not surprised there’s a whole new cool generation of designers catering to the diverse, dapper looks of African-American men No Surprise That Black Male Fashion Is As Cool As It Is

While this new diet book for teens has pissed off lots of folks, I wonder if its such a bad thing to control our kids’ eating habits, that is, put them on diets! Are Diets for Kids Such a Bad Thing?

More great beauty-in-culture reading to sink our teeth into More to Love: Additions to The Reading List

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to pace yourself on the Halloween candy! 🙂

 

No Surprise that Male Black Fashion Is As Cool As It Is

The New York Times recently published a great article, “Pushing the Boundaries of Black Style,” about a number of cool, new clothing stores opened by young African-American men.  So what’s their style?  As the article states: “This generation emphasizes the basics: great fabrics, aggressive tailoring, thoughtful accessorizing.  It’s a return  to style as a source of dignity, a theme that has run through generations of black American style, from Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights era to the mixed messages of the hip-hop era.”

But there’s no ONE style.  Gone is the hegemony of the hip-hop look or extreme dandyism.  Instead there’s a range of style being embraced.  “There’s more than one cool now for black people,” says Travis Gumbs, co-principal of Street Etiquette, a style blog.  “When we were growing up, it was just one kind of cool.”

Unlike so many of my Caucasian male friends who dress like they just got out of bed, African-American men don’t eschew fashion and style.  And they don’t associate it with frivolity or femininity like so many white guys.  Instead clothing is, and has been for decades as the above quote reflects, a strong symbol of political expression, self-confidence and freedom.  And, if it makes you look hot, even better!

I hope my non-black male friends would take some more cues from their African-American neighbors and kick their wardrobes up a notch.  I’m not saying they need to be so deliberate about their fashions and view them as political statements, but at least they can tuck in their shirts!

Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew

Does Your Hairstyle Keep You From Working Out? Many Say Yes, Yikes!

I was flying back from L.A. a few months ago and sat next to a very friendly and astute African-American woman around my age.  She and I started talking about my blog and spoke almost the entire trip home.  She clued me in something interesting: I’m not very likely to see African-American women in the gym or outside jogging.  And if I do, look at their hair.  They probably have short ‘dos.  Why?  Because of the time, effort and cost of weaves and hairstyles, many African-American women don’t want to exercise and sweat, and then risk ruining their hair.  Turns out she’s not the only one whose said this.  Even surgeon general Regina M. Benjamin warned attendees of the Bronner Hair Show in Atlanta (a humongeous, international hair show for Black hair) “that women who skip exercising in order to protect their hairstyles should focus more on their health.” (Do Women Choose Beauty Over Health?  The Surgeon General (And Advertisers) Say So)

While I balked initially, I then recalled how I felt after getting my occasional blow-out.  No way was I going to throw away $50 plus tip, let alone gorgeous hair, to work out. But even so, it’s not that hard to make my hair look close enough to the way I want it when styling it myself.  But for many others, especially my African-American friends,  it’s damn hard to style their own hair and do it “just so” EVERY DAY.

So what do we do?  Are people going to just throw in the towel and look like crap so that they don’t feel bad about exercising?   There’s a new website called YouBeauty (one of the founders being Dr. Oz) that connects beauty with health.  They suggested sweat bands, hair extensions that you can clip in and out or braids.  Hmmmmmm….

Another solution is to cut your hair very short or go completely natural.  But that’s not for everyone either.

So what do we do?  I think its time for some MAJOR tech-y inventions here.   Perhaps we can create cool caps that ensure we don’t sweat too much on our heads?  Or maybe someone could invent an “after exercise” spray or device that will vacuum out the sweat?

Any other suggestions? Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew

More To Love: Additions to The Reading List

  • Tattoos creeping up to necks and faces as recession status symbols

http://www.good.is/post/stick-your-neck-out-the-visible-tattoo-as-recession-status-symbol/

  • Recipes for tasty placentas?! Ok, maybe this isn’t exactly related to beauty but it’s so weird we had to send it along!

http://nymag.com/news/features/placenta-2011-8/

  • Other lux shoe designers can now create red soled shoes.  What’s the big deal anyway?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/raquellaneri/2011/08/17/christian-louboutin-ysl-and-whats-so-special-about-red-soled-shoes/

  • In these recessionary time should women dye their gray hair?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-hannah-grufferman/life-after-50-does-gray-h_b_946754.html

  • Vogue Italia, known to be at the forefront of highlighting varied images of beauty, went too far with an article “glamorizing the slave trade” to affirm a fashion trend.  But Christina Brown isn’t willing to give up on them.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-s-brown/vogue-italia-slave-earrings_b_943964.html

Enjoy!

 

Week in Review: 8/28-9/3

The sensuality of organic skincare products Weekend Observations: Becoming A Skin Goddess

Amazing, massive sculptures on New York’s Governor’s Island Pic of the Week: Governor’s Island Spectacular .

 
The undeniable politics that surround African-American hair The Politics of Hair .

The beauty mags have it totally wrong, older women can be gorgeous enough to model! Older Women Can Be Totally Hot

More of the latest beauty news and thought pieces More To Love: Additions to the Reading List

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

More to Love: Additions to the Reading list

Some more fascinating beauty reading:

  • How to differentiate between healthy insecurity and crazy insecurity when it comes to your aging appearance

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-diller-phd/aging-beauty_b_917754.html

  • Olympian Jane Evans shows how getting older means getting fitter, not flabbier

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/fitness-food/exercise/story/2011/08/Olympian-Janet-Evans-Older-and-back-in-the-swim/49965714/1

  • When African American Women go “natural” people can’t keep their hands off of them, literally!

http://www.xojane.com/relationships/please-don-t-pet-me

  • The question still remains, are better looking people treated better in the workplace?  Dan Hamermesh answers that in his book Beauty Pays

http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/08/18/dan-hamermesh-answers-your-questions-about-beauty-pays/

The Politics of Hair

Hair.

It’s something I fuss with, complain about, and think about everyday.  But I’m lucky.  I don’t have to spend a ton of money or time on it, at least not until those few white hairs I pull out start multiplying at an exponential rate.

But my African-American friends, colleagues and consumers I develop communications for have it much differently.  Hair takes up a lot more mental and physical space in their lives.  As the former Beauty Editor of Essence, Pamela Edwards told me, hair is inextricably tied to history and culture.  One hair style communicates one story while another can communicate a whole different one.  And black hair requires much more work to style.

Chris Rock’s movie, “Good Hair,” takes a simultaneously comical and harsh look at the hair industry and what African-American men and women will do physically and financially to get the hair they want.  After seeing the film, you’re definitely more enlightened – and even a bit disturbed.

But what he DOESN’T show nearly enough is that there’s a lot of fun, creativity, individuality and empowerment that is involved with hair too!  Especially now, according the L.A Times, as hairstyles for African-Americans are becoming much more diverse and accepted.  Unlike my hair that falls the second I step out of the house no matter how much spray I spritz on, black hair can hold very interesting and complicated styles.  So the opportunities for creativity are endless!

Ursula Stephens, the stylist that cut Rhianna’s hair when short hair was deemed too “scary” a move for performers, says that while it still isn’t “anything goes” for African-American hair in mainstream culture, many societal factors have led to positive significant changes.  Thanks to bi-racial families, pop cultural phenomena like tattoo artist shows, Sesame Street’s video I love My Hair, and greater access to a diversity of styles, both African-American and non-African-American communities alike are becoming more open and appreciative of diverse looks for all.

While I applaud Chris Rock for opening my eyes to some issues, I wish he could have shown the other side too.

For fun, catch the popular Sesame Street video and pass it along to your kids too.

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpFde5rgmw]

Week in Review: 8/22-8/27

What caught our attention this week?

The sites and sounds of the trek from NYC to Cape Cod Weekend Observations: Road Trip!

End of summer pics from Chatham (and other places) in Cape Cod Pic of the Week: A Taste of the Cape

An unnerving but profound preview of the movie, ‘Dark Girls’ ‘Dark Girls’: A Movie That Will SHOCK You

What men will do to remain beautiful Hey Guys, Admit It, You’re Vain Too!

Even more intriguing beauty reading More to Love: Additions to the Reading List

Enjoy!