On the impossible expectation of one-size-fits-all fashion, which ends up failing everybody while making us feel like failures:
His answer was that everything you will ever see on a celebrity’s body, including their outfits when they’re out and about and they just get caught by a paparazzo, has been tailored, and the same goes for everything on What Not To Wear. Jeans, blazers, dresses - everything right down to plain t-shirts and camisoles. He pointed out that historically, up until the last few generations, the vast majority of people either made their own clothing or had their clothing made by tailors and seamstresses. You had your clothing made to accommodate the measurements of your individual body, and then you moved the fuck on. Nothing on the show or in People magazine is off the rack and unaltered. He said that what they do is ignore the actual size numbers on the tags, find something that fits an individual’s widest place, and then have it completely altered to fit.
I sat there after I was told this story, and I really thought about how hard I have worked not to care about the number or the letter on the tag of my clothes, how hard I have tried to just love my body the way it is, and where I’ve succeeded and failed. I thought about all the times I’ve stood in a fitting room and stared up at the lights and bit my lip so hard it bled, just to keep myself from crying about how nothing fits the way it’s supposed to. No one told me that it wasn’t supposed to. I guess I just didn’t know. I was too busy thinking that I was the one that didn’t fit.
Ella Risbridger at The Pool, on not second-guessing yourself:
One of the things I love best about lipstick is the way it makes you make a little time for yourself, for noticing yourself. This lipstick makes you notice yourself, makes you examine your own face in a new way. Can I wear this? Can I pull this off?
What you’re really asking, of course, is whether it’s your place to wear that kind of lipstick. Whether it’s your place to be so bold, so daring, so dark. Whether people will think differently of you if you wear this kind of lipstick.
I am telling you now: who cares if they do? Wear the lipstick. Wear the lipstick. Wear the lipstick. Your place is exactly where you want it to be.
Storylessness, after all, has been women's big problem. The erotic narrative to which they have been confined by literature and common cultural understanding ideally leads to the altar and ends soon after with a house and babies and, theoretically, bland contentment. This story not only fails to fill a lifetime, it puts the plotline in the hands of others, the men who do not admire, love, offer marriage, and make full female adulthood possible. For women who step outside this narrative, "the price is high, the anxiety is intense, because there is no script to follow, no story portraying how one is to act, let alone any alternative stories." What women need, Heilbrun realizes, is to reframe their lives as quest plots—narratives framed around ambition and achievement, which is how men's lives are organized. Questing is what makes a woman the heroine of her own life.
— Katha Pollitt, in the foreword to Carolyn Heilbrun's Writing a Woman's Life
I wonder if an endless series of conference calls is the sort of quest they had in mind.