Take a time out with THL

It’s Wednesday, the days are getting warmer and brighter and our minds are on anything but our daily grind. So if you find your mind wandering in the middle of your work day or find a few minutes to unwind, there’s always something interesting to read online. Here are just a few of our favorites:

“A Culture of Extraordinary” by Stacy London

In this 2014 piece, the former What Not to Wear host not only offers a glimpse of life beyond the small screen, but also an honest assessment of the changing media landscape that is dominated by social media celebrities and so-called “online experts.” Calling our social media profiles our attempts at constant personal branding, London says we “don’t just have to be the woman who does everything; you now have to SHOW that you are (EVEN IF YOU AREN’T.)” While it’s already three years old, the piece has just as much relevance then as it does today.

Read it here.

Body Positivity Month at Outspeak

This digital opinion outlet is taking on body positivity all month long, “celebrating bodies of all shapes and sizes, and exploring our complicated relationships with them.” As part of the project, Outspeak is requesting video submissions that address themes ranging from illness and disability to eating disorders to media representations of bodies. If you want to submit a video, click here for submission guidelines — or if you just want to follow along, the result is sure to be a fascinating work that is both expository and enlightening.

‘Fast Fashion’ advice from The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan

Perfect for new college graduates — and anyone who needs a refresher course — this article presents the pitfalls of falling for fast fashion (read: cheap, trendy clothing) while offering the benefits of investing in higher-priced, yet more quality items that will stand the test of time. Also discussing tailoring as surefire way to make an outfit look much more polished, Givhan’s piece makes abundantly clear that style is a function of quality and fit.

Read it here.

Whether your week is brimming with activity or slowing to a crawl, take a time out with THL to clear your head and get inspired.

Gunn shoots down fashion industry’s sizing

Between being a mentor on Project Runway and serving on the faculty of the Parsons School for Design, Tim Gunn certainly knows a thing or two about fashion. But in a recent piece for the Washington Post, Gunn says that the very industry he’s been a part of for decades is severely at fault.

According to the Huffington Post, Gunn released an article on Thursday, Sept. 8, taking the fashion industry to task over its lack of size diversity. Pointing out the many women disserviced by the industry, Gunn wrote:

“There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.”

The Huffington Post says Gunn argued that such a dearth of sizes and styles available for plus-size women makes for — at best — an unpleasant shopping experience. “It’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience,” he wrote.

Gunn even named designers and brands who have openly disavowed creating designs — or even showcasing women —beyond a certain size.

“‘No one wants to see curvy women’ on the runway, Karl Lagerfeld, head designer of Chanel, said in 2009. Plenty of mass retailers are no more enlightened: Under the tenure of chief executive Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch sold nothing larger than a size 10, with Jeffries explaining that ‘we go after the attractive, all-American kid,'” he wrote.

While he admits that the problem is “difficult to change,” Gunn wrote that it is not impossible, citing “Eloquii for actually getting trendy clothing above a size 12 right, Christian Siriano for stepping in to dress Leslie Jones when she revealed that no designer would dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere, and Lane Bryant as his go-to spot for women above a 14  (although he admits ‘the items aren’t fashion with a capital F’),” in addition to ModCloth, the Huffington Post reports.

Gunn wrapped up his argument by saying that the fashion industry needs to let go of its antiquated standards in order to serve the diverse needs of women today.

“But this is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their minds around it,” he wrote. “I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices. Separates — tops, bottoms — rather than single items like dresses or jumpsuits always work best for the purpose of fit. Larger women look great in clothes skimming the body, rather than hugging or cascading. There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.”

There you have it, fashion industry. Now go and “make it work.”

Stomping out gender rules

Women have long carved out their own path in professional sports, with everything from basketball to soccer leagues present and rising stars in each sport. But one team is not just allowing for women to play professional sports, they are making the teams co-ed.

According to the Washington Post, the Sonoma Stompers, an independent professional baseball team, announced this week that it would be the first team since the 1950s Negro Leagues to allow females to play, thus creating a co-ed team.

Ushering in the new era with the Stompers are two recently-signed females — Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno — both of whom made their debut with the team on Friday, July 1, according to the Washington Post.

On June 29, WaPost reports that the Stompers officially signed 17-year-old Whitmore, a recent high school grad who will attend Cal State Fullerton on a softball scholarship and a utility player who can play the outfield and take the mound as a pitcher. The team’s other acquisition is 25-year-old pitcher and infielder Piagno, who, WaPost reports, “no-hit Puerto Rico at the 2015 Pan Am Games,” and “was a college softball player at the University of Tampa.”

While the duo have already taken the field, Sonoma General Manager Theo Fightmaster told MLB.com that Whitmore and Piagno are set to be with the team indefinitely, says WaPost.

“This isn’t a one-day event,” he said, according to WaPost. “That’s been done a dozen times. Let’s give women a chance to be part of a team, let’s give women a chance to play against men. What will they learn? What have they not been coached because they haven’t had the same coaching as boys? I remember being really disappointed with my sister’s coaches because they coached the girls a lot different than how I was coached.”

However, Fightmaster added that their performance in the July 1 game will determine how much they appear in the lineup going forward, says WaPost. While the team is making headlines for the move to include females on the team, Fightmaster shared that the idea to do so came from iconic Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola, whose winery Virginia Dare “entered into a partnership with the nearby team, and Coppola pitched the idea to Fightmaster,” reports WaPost.

Coppola explained in a statement the impetus behind his idea this way, according to WaPost:

“My family would play co-ed baseball games and inevitably the star player would always be an aunt who could run and hit and that made the games so much more fun,” Coppola said. “When watching Major League Baseball, I always wondered why there couldn’t be a co-ed team. It’s the one major sport in which weight and strength come less into play. So when my Sonoma winery became involved with the Stompers, I had the opportunity to turn this thought into a reality and recruit these amazing women capable of playing alongside men.”

Although the Stompers’ efforts to make a more inclusive team are just the first step in a larger process, Fightmaster said that the organization is hopeful that the team can ignite change.

“We hope this sends a message to the rest of the baseball world that there is room for women and girls in this game — from Little League to the Major Leagues.”