Happy Holidays from The Modern Austen

Christmas Card_2013

Merry Christmas, everyone! Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, I hope everyone shares in the spirit and magic of the season. May your time with family and friends be filled with joy, comfort, and peace.

I will be taking a break from the blog for a few days in hopes that I will get to recharge and come back with a newfound focus and energy. I’m looking forward to this time at home.

Enjoy your holidays! I can’t wait to hear about your special days.

How to Wear Your Ugly Christmas Sweater in Public

Festive Ugly Reindeer Christmas Sweater 1
Festive Ugly Reindeer Christmas Sweater_How to Wear it in Public

Sweatshirt: Handmade by me (Crewneck from Walmart)
Blouse: LOFT Outlet
Jeans: LOFT
Scarf: CozyCatCrafts (made by Laura from Forever Above Me!)
Moccasins: c/o Ashlie (store in Lewistown)

Last year I posted a tutorial for how to make an Alternative Ugly Christmas Sweater–you know, one that’s actually kind of cute but can also be made as tacky as the occasion allows. It’s an incredibly easy DIY and uses the same technique as Ashlie and my personalized dollar stockings. Be sure to check the sweatshirt tutorial out–I finally updated the terrible quality picture from last year! (Can’t really recreate the process pictures, however, sorry!)

Anyway, we all wear our ugly Christmas sweaters to parties (well, except me since I wasn’t invited to any :P), but here’s how you can have the courage to wear yours out in public, especially around the holidays when it’s still socially acceptable to be super festive.

Five Do’s and Don’ts for Wearing Your Ugly Christmas Sweater . . . in Public

1. Do pair it with jeans or cords. I know you’ve worn yours with bright colored leggings or some crazy sequined pants, but save that for the party. I promise you, you’ll still look great. You hear me? PUT DOWN THE LED LIGHT-UP PANTS WITH BATTERY PACK SEWN IN.

2. Don’t be tempted to sport the patterned turtleneck (circa 1994) you so wonderfully coordinated with your sweater. Stick to a solid tee in a nice contrasting color. I assure you this is a good life decision. Did you SEE the JC Penney catalogue from 1990 circulating around Facebook? (Pure gold.)

3. Do use accessories sparingly. Here I’m wearing a simple knit scarf that makes it cozy; you may be tempted to wear your fuzzy patterned scarf or jingle bell earrings (and girl, I know you can rock them), but let your sweatshirt be the focal point. Stick to solids if you’re not sure.

4. Do walk with confidence. Think Beyonce.

5. Don’t apologize for being festive. There is a very small window of opportunity to look this cool and you must own it.

Anyone else have any good tips? Anyone think you just shouldn’t wear them at all? HAHA just kidding I know that was a silly question to ask ;)

I plan on sporting this off and on all of Christmas break until it is time to pack it away for next year! Can’t believe Christmas is in TWO days! What are your plans? Today I work my LAST day of 2013 and then I’m off to Pittsburgh to be with my family up until New Year’s Eve. I can’t wait. I feel like it’s going to absolutely fly by, so here’s to hoping we can all treasure every moment.

A Cheerful Visit

A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to Alli’s blog The Cheerful Closet and shared how you can take a plain fall outfit and make it way more put-together. Today, Alli is joining us here and sharing a beautiful holiday look. Please welcome Alli! :)

Hey y’all! I’m so excited to be hanging out at The Modern Austen today!

Let me introduce myself: I’m Alli from The Cheerful Closet blog. I write mostly about fashion, but I also share recipes, DIY projects, and pretty much anything else that catches my fancy! I love reading The Modern Austen with Marissa’s witty and honest posts. Her style of writing really inspires me. The Modern Austen also had a part in the start of my blog when I read Marissa’s Blogging for Beginners Series.

As I’ve been on this adventure in the fashion/lifestyle blogging world, I’ve really seen my sense of style take off. Having to write several outfit posts a week has challenged me to broadened my wardrobe and think outside the box when putting together outfits (which is one of the goals for my blog!). During this holiday season I’ve really been trying to think outside of the box when it comes to wearing festive outfits, so today I’m sharing one of my latest holiday looks.

Formal Holiday Outfit

Top: Old Navy (thrifted)
Pants: Express (thrifted)
Boots: Beaty’s Shoe Store
Necklace: Target
Earrings: Target

Formal Holiday Outfits

When putting this outfit together, I knew I wanted to wear something that had that “Christmas” look, but I was determined to stay away from a red or green sweater. I had just picked up this brand new red top at a thrift store and decided it would be the perfect thing to wear. It wasn’t a sweater and it would still look festive after I added some sparkly touches to it. I paired the top with my gray wool dress pants, pointy-toed boots, and a sparkly necklace. The result was the perfect holiday outfit that didn’t look too original.

Formal Holiday Outfit Up Close

I will definitely wear this again during these Christmas festivities!

What are you planning on wearing to your holiday parties and such? If you would like to see more of my outfit ideas you can check them out here. I’m so glad I was able to share my inspiration with y’all today! Thanks to Marissa!

Thanks Alli! I love this look and hope to recreate it in the future :) What is your favorite part of this look? What are you wearing this holiday?

Body Shaming Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Can we talk about body shaming for a moment?

Body Shamingoriginal pic via

“Body shaming,” by definition, is the inappropriate negative statements and attitudes towards another person’s body, weight, or size–often with the intention of making one feel shameful about their appearance or even their health. While body shaming is heavily prevalent on social media, on TV, and on the news, most people don’t realize that body shaming happens to ALL people of ALL shapes and sizes. It’s ugly. It’s wrong. And it often stems from the shamer’s own insecurity.

Even though I’ve only worked in retail for a few months, I have seen instances of body shaming from a completely new perspective. I have always seen instances of body shaming toward overweight people, especially women, but it wasn’t until recently that I noticed that equally painful body shaming occurs toward skinny, petite, healthy, and/or athletic individuals. And it wasn’t until recently that I really understood that certain comments or attitudes towards me were actually instances of body shaming and were highly inappropriate.

I have a pretty healthy relationship with my body. Sometimes I feel like I’m in two different bodies. I spent most of my teens and early college years 10-15 pounds heavier, so I remember how clothes fit and how I looked. I also see my current size, weight, and appearance and recognize the new praises and struggles of this body. Neither body is wrong. I celebrate my body, but do not think it’s wrong to strive to be healthier or more toned or whatever it is you want to strive for in a healthy way. Having this dual perspective often helps me consider how clothes fit on a variety of body types, which is an asset in the retail world.

However, no matter what my understanding or background is, no matter where any of us have been in life or what our bodies have gone through or what our relationship and understanding with body types are, I am (and you are–we ALL are!) immediately assessed, judged, and categorized by my/our current body, weight, and appearance.

So often I am laughed or sneered at or given the comment, “Well, that’s because you’re skinny” as though what I have to suggest is invalid or even laughable. And more than that, it has the power to make me feel ashamed of my body, like I’m not allowed to be my shape or size. And weirdly enough, the women who have said this to me are almost always a similar size to myself and/or have very skewed perceptions of their own bodies. After these comments, they look in a mirror, try on clothes, and point out their flaws left and right, body shaming themselves into a belief that they do not have the body they actually have. And they refuse to see the beauty in themselves regardless of size or shape.

I recognize that self-acceptance, especially when it comes to body image, is not easy. It’s not easy for meeven if I am “skinny”–and it’s not easy for you.

It’s not easy for the bodybuilder who is called “disgusting” and “fake.”
It’s not easy for the woman who has lost an incredible 100 pounds but is laughed at because others don’t know how far she has come in her health journey.
It’s not easy for the girl who is called a “skeleton” and someone “no one would want to hug.”
It’s not easy for the curvy woman who is told to embrace her curves and to stop working out, even if her goal is just to be healthy.
It’s not easy for the athlete who feels awkward putting on heels and a dress because her friends don’t think it fits her frame “right.”
It’s not easy for the woman who feels obligated to cover up her tattoos just so she doesn’t have to face the judgmental ridicule that comes her way.

When there are tumblr accounts dedicated to images and instances of body shaming that are utterly disgusting, degrading, and sad–there is a problem. A major problem.

I don’t usually talk about issues like this on the blog, but I do when I believe wholeheartedly in something. And I believe in this. We need to stop body shaming towards ALL people. And that starts with ceasing body shaming towards ourselvesDefeat that voice in your head that points out your flaws and compares you to the stereotype of how you should look. Stop the word vomit that comes out when you see another person working out or eating or trying on clothes. Instead, let’s embrace the idea that bodies are not meant for shaming. Bodies are the mediums in which we paint our true selves and we are beautiful.