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Gritty in Pink

BJJ: Gritty in Pink

We’ve all heard of the law of intended consequences. You do something to get result A, result B comes along for the ride. I spent a few weeks doing “focused freewriting” and suddenly noticed that my Sudoku skills had made a major leap forward. I might not have made the connection except that the writing guide I was using mentioned that surprising gains in other areas was a common phenomenon. Recently I’ve realized that my training in BJJ has had a rather interesting, if incongruous, unintended consequence: I’ve started to explore being girly.

The Back Story

I have never been what you’d call a girly girl. At the age of 3, I proclaimed there would be no more ruffled panties – I didn’t like how they made my pants bunch up. (Side note: This is also the first known example of my propensity to obsess about the “lines” of an outfit.) I also, sometime between 3 and teenage aged years, put a firm kibosh on the color pink. I’m sure it was present in the garish clash of neon colors in some early 90s gear. But I cannot recall a time when I ever considered or allowed it as a prominent feature.

As a teenager and young 20-something, I played around with funky and sometimes genuinely tiny clothing. But still no ruffles, still no pink. I was primarily a jeans and t-shirt girl who swapped to tank tops or halter tops and short shorts in summer. Skirts were avoided because I wasn’t terribly good at being ladylike but didn’t feel like flashing people either. I would wear dresses on special occasions or as costumes.

Wearing a silver cut away dress for a super hero party.
Super tiny superhero dress! And random guy’s iguana.

Fast forward to full-fledged adulthood. I spent most of my first year or so in a full time job wearing dress pants and button down tops. As soon the dress code relaxed, I was wearing khakis, cords, sweaters, and long sleeved cotton v-necks that I figured counted as “blouses.” And that was my pattern for each job. Start with dress slacks until I’d felt things out. Then dress as casually as possible, as close to jeans and t-shirts as “business casual” allowed. My aversion to pink and ruffles still remained. Years ago, I bought an argyle sweater with thin lines of pink on it when my ex-husband “challenged” me to try it. At one point when I was still in the dressy stage at a job, I bought a couple of pencil skirts to mix it up. They looked good on me and were long enough to avoid the flashing issue, so I thought they’d work. They ended up shoved in the back of the closet and forgotten. Since my divorce (and more limited closet space) my dress slacks and those skirts have been riding around in a plastic bag. They are too big for me now and I go back and forth on whether to have them altered.

Now

BJJ has helped me become both more and less aware of my body. I’m more aware of what I’m doing with my body. I’m less self-conscious about who sees. It is counter-intuitive that it would help me dress up if I don’t care who sees me. But I’ve found a freedom in that balance of awareness and lack of awareness. After my first two Totes, I decided to get a little more playful and tried a dress. And I loved it. Since then, there has been 1 or more dresses in every tote I’ve ordered. And I’ve enjoyed wearing nearly all of them. (Note to my newfound girly self, stripes changing direction need to land in a very particular place or you just look weird!) Most have been tight in the arms and some have been just skirting the length of office-appropriate. It’s still been fun to wear them. I have had to invest in some warmer “tights” so I don’t freeze my cute little ass right off. It was (is?) still winter in Maine, after all.

The real break through, so to speak, was when I ordered a predominantly pink dress in my tote. That’s right, pink. Purple stripes but the stand out color was absolutely pink. A playful cotton candy colored pink. And just like that very first dress I tried, I was surprised by how much I loved it. It was deliciously soft, nicely cut, and incredibly flattering. I sent it back but I adored it so much, I rented it a second time and bought it. That’s right, all in, I own a pink thing. And it’s a dress. And it requires a little decorum because it’s just barely knee length with a small slit. My friend Kaetlyn told me the dress looked like the Cheshire Cat. When I wear the dress, I feel like my smile is just as wide.

Author wearing a pink and purple striped dress.

Of course this doesn’t mean I’m whole hog on the pink bandwagon. You won’t catch me in a pink gi. I won’t be sporting “it’s the female version because we added pink” outerwear or camo. I won’t buy pink princess clothes for baby shower. But I’ve decided that pink is acceptable in doses. Wearing it does not automatically put me in some “typical girl/woman” category.

The freedom I’ve found in BJJ has let me play with my image. I can be sexy, playful, and powerful all at once. I’m starting to transform myself and adopt a new image. I have been Princess Fuck You, not Princess Charming, for several years. Now I’m upping my PFY game. Adding a little something to the Princess without sacrificing any of the attitude.

Sexy dresses paired with gnarly bruises.

Not pretty in pink, gritty in pink.

Stitch Fix Review #3: Getting Warmer

You might be surprised that I got another Stitch Fix package after my disappointment last time.  I ended up having an extended email conversation with a stylist who answered my service complaint. My original stylist was no longer with them, but the stylist (Kate) assigned to my ticket suggested that she be my stylist since she could use all the information from our conversation in addition to my style profile to choose my next fix. Continue reading Stitch Fix Review #3: Getting Warmer

Stitch Fix Review #2 Part Deux-Over

After my disappointing last Fix and frustrating initial follow up emails, I received an email from Stitch Fix informing me that they were going to send me a do-over. I would be comped the $20 styling fee and they would have a Senior Stylist review my profile and all my notes to prepare my fix. I was given a chance to give more detail and did so. I even went so far as to take a photo of my long sleeved work shirts and sweaters so they could get a sense of my winter work options. I won’t copy the entire email – it was long – but I will note a couple of key items:

 
I made sure to put in red bold letters No Dry Clean Only or Lay Flat to Dry.
 

I noted, after reviewing what I had for sweaters “If you couldn’t already tell, what I really need is a work-friendly shirt that isn’t a boring, collared button down.”

They used the notes from my previous fix, which specifically requested fall to winter transition pieces and twill pants or thin wale cords that were office-appropriate (fitted, NOT skin tight). 

The fix arrived last night and I opened it with a mix of excitement and trepidation. It turns out that dread was a correct reaction because this fix was an even bigger stinker than the last one. Not because any one item was awful, but because they didn’t listen to most of the things I said in my original stylist note OR the extra information I sent in the customer service emails. When they were trying to make up for not listening last time! Hello?? McFly?? 

So, to the nitty gritty… which is a fitting term because the photos look a bit gritty. Aaron got quite the look on his face when I asked him to take these photos, no way I was bugging him for a reshoot. 

Item #1: Holland Zipper Detail Ombre Sweater by RD Style ($74)

Ok, so part of this is my fault. When I describe my sweater needs, I said I could use a basic light v-neck… I followed that with a mention of gray and black, but it appears the stylist took “light” to mean color when I meant lightweight. The color is eh for me. I’m pale, I tend to avoid clothing that might accidentally blend with my skin tone. But then there are two things that are not on me and make this a no-go. #1: The zippers don’t have any backing, so if you are someone like me who doesn’t wear layers (and stated such in multiple places), that means cold zippers against both sides of my stomach. Sure, they’d warm up after wearing them, but one strong breeze … or just a strong draft in my frigid office … and brrrrrr. #2: The clincher, Lay Flat to Dry. Seriously?
 
Item #2: Mauna Border Print Fringe Detail Scarf by Look by M ($38)
Ok, so I asked for a scarf. But almost every scarf I’ve seen in a Stitch Fix review has been an infinity scarf so that’s what I was expecting. Probably my fault again because I mentioned having a pashmina. I didn’t want another one, but I didn’t say that. I said doesn’t have to be neutral but needs to go with a wide variety of things. I would pair it with mothballs and sensible shoes…
This was supposed to be a “let me pinch your cheeks” little babushka pose but came off more mysterious Middle Eastern.  Whoops. Anyways… the scarf is another pale blah item. And this thing is huge. The styling card showed a suggested way of wearing the scarf and when I did it, I had a wad of cloth up to my chin and about 6″ of fabric hanging.
Caution: Scarfs may be fatter than they appear.
Item #3: Roman Slub Knit Colorblock Sweater by Ellison ($64)
Ok, not something I would wear to work, but I don’t mind the pattern. The knit is a problem though. Do you see that color variation in the green? The bright parts are my skin, the dark parts are my bra. Um, no. I don’t do show through sweaters. Something I mentioned after the hooded sweater in original Fix #2. Sigh…Care instructions? Hand Wash Cold, no instructions for drying but I bet you they want me to lay it flat.

Item #4: Will Mixed Material Knit Top by Loveappella ($58)

So the stylist made a big point of saying how he thought I’d love this one. Great color for fall and hey, it’s machine washable! Dude, don’t pat yourself on the back too much. You sent a woman in Maine a short sleeved shirt when she requested fall to winter pieces. The shirt is OK, I might have even considered it as a Spring item. But I’m COLD, I want SLEEVES.

Item #5: Jonathan Corduroy Skinny Pants ($68)
These are the pants I’m wearing in every picture. They are actually a dark brown, the lighting issues make them look black. Remember what I said at the beginning about pants? Thin wale cords? Check. Fitted but not skin tight? FAIL. These are like the black jeans I got in my first fix, so tight that they wrinkle and stay wrinkled under the knees. Again, in concept, not awful. I’m open to skinny pants. Too tight on the lower legs, but a good fit otherwise. But once again, it is NOT what I asked for. 

Final Verdict:
I’m sooooo disappointed. I am giving so much specific feedback and getting a complete mismatch to my requests. I emphasized needing work friendly shirts that aren’t a boring button down. I tell them repeatedly my office is freezing. I get sent two sweaters and what is essentially a short sleeved t-shirt. I tell them fitted not skin tight, I get sent skinny pants. I ask for a versatile scarf to help me stay warm and I get a big, clumsy, granny-looking sheet. I was comped the styling fee so I have that $20 credit to use against any purchase and I’m not keeping anything

Oh and to top it off, when I logged in to the website, it said that my checkout was due on October 27th. News flash, that’s yesterday. The day the package arrived. I’ve already sent two emails to customer service – one when I was bummed about the contents, another when I discovered the checkout error – and unlike last time I haven’t received any response. Maybe they are cutting their losses since their algorithm doesn’t seem to work for me. 

IF I use this service again (and that’s a big if), I will definitely be requesting my original stylist. What she sent wasn’t a home run but (besides the red pants) everything was outside my norm but something I would consider and that worked for my request.

Stitch Fix Review #2: New Duds

After an underwhelming first fix, I was really hoping for a win the second time around. My first fix had some pieces headed in the right direction, so I figured things would improve after my detailed feedback (I even shared my review link with them).

Continue reading Stitch Fix Review #2: New Duds

Stitch Fix Review #1

I decided to jump on the bandwagon and post my Stitch Fix* reviews. Sure, this is a home improvement blog, but self-improvement happens in the home, right? 

I needed to get out of my comfort zone style-wise. Friends and family had started trying Stitch Fix and liking (or loving) it.  I filled out the lengthy form and added as much commentary as I could to the note to my stylist. I decided to ask for Labor Day BBQ style since I was getting the package in late August. I made sure to mention that it needed to be family safe/appropriate (aka needs to pass the bend over, bend down, etc test!). 
Continue reading Stitch Fix Review #1