Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#TeacherBae and the Body Police: Can a Woman just ******* Live?!?!

Greetings Stripers,
It has been WAY, WAY too long since I’ve written for my own blog. I have been on a long hiatus and writing stories for my friends over at, so if you’d like to take a look at what you’ve missed, head right over. Getting to the matter at hand however, I know by now some of you have seen stories about #TeacherBae and the conversation concerning the appropriateness of her clothing for her profession.  If you haven’t, people with no lives made an issue out of a non-issue the other day in writing this article, and though I’ve been stewing about it for a few days in silence, I decided to use my craft as catharsis. Plus, this is right up Horizontal Stripes’ alley! So alas, this is not exactly a think piece but one of those things that should make you go Hmmm? instead.

In case, you skipped the link I provided above and have been living under a rock, and Atlanta area teacher has been criticized and damn near vilified for wearing allegedly “inappropriate” outfits to work.  She has also been criticized for taking pictures in her workplace that were on Instagram of herself in an empty classroom, and lastly, she has been criticized for “sexualizing herself” by taking pictures: because we all know how people absolutely HAVE to comment on those just because you put them out there. So while everything I just wrote sums up the facts, I’m going to speak to you in the dialogue of Kermit and say, that little Billy’s mom rolled up in her dirty sweats and rat’s nest hairdo for a Parent/ Teacher conference, saw this young lady’s curvy body and beautiful face, felt intimidated, and made this an issue with someone. ***Mmmm, that chamomile sure tastes good today.*** And yes, I’m calling out my ladies because y’all can be catty and petty for absolutely no reason! 99% of the negative comments I’ve seen are from women, though there was a particularly soul searing one I saw by a man telling her to lose weight. Negro please! From where?!!!!!

I’ll go on by saying that I don’t have kids, but I understand why some parents are quick to jump on the “She’s inappropriate!” bandwagon. Americans have a convoluted relationship with sex, the body, policing women in particular, and associating professionalism or merit with outward appearance. I understand that there are social mores that we, unfortunately, are forced to follow in certain environments, however a few comparisons have been drawn between this young lady, and a handsome male teacher who circulated earlier this year nicknamed, “Mr. Steal Your Grandma”, who rocks fitted jeans and formfitting attire to teach his students and in his free time (as he has the right to), and yet no one had anything to say about his student’s wouldn’t be able to concentrate with him around.  This young woman teaches 4th grade students to boot, so though some of them may notice her body, the only reason they should be having “sexual feelings” toward her is because they are being taught that outside of school. I’m not naïve enough to say they won’t notice her figure, but as part of her personage, not as a sexual object. Besides if you’re afraid of kids seeing “inappropriate” bodies, how about not using women in various stages of undress to sell everything from burgers to watches to cars, often disembodying them and plastering them on every billboard, magazine ad, and commercial. How about that?

She is not teaching high schoolers, or students closer to her age group which would merit some additional considerations; unfortunately, this is the time we’re living in. It’s just ridiculous how out of proportion this has been blown, and I’m sure it’s by the same people who watch Susan from accounting stroll in, in her “walk of shame” uniform once a week, and want to dish about it with her, but are outraged that this woman simply exists in her body while consciously making clothing choices. I’m not gender bashing here, but notice how Teacher/Accountant Kevin can come to work every day after a series of different one night stands and wear whatever he wants without reference to his clothing. Does anyone care? Of course not. Do they even ask or insinuate what goes on outside of school or in school for that matter when he walks in. The answer is simply: no. Even when he posts things to his personal social media. How is this fair? It’s not. Oh yeah, I know.
 Teachers do a whole lot, so much so that their lives at school and personal loves often intertwine. There are the endless extra hours lesson planning and grading take, the pay that is so laughable, that almost every educator I know has at least a second part time job and sometimes another full time job, freezing your cheeks off during game duty because there aren’t enough outside volunteers, the lack of appreciation expressed by parents, society at large, and lastly being patient and unbiased with all the little hellions you send our way and practically want us to raise. We do the best we can with love and passion, and the desire to better our students and our country’s future.  We feed them, sometimes clothe them, and in extreme situations find them places to live. You know, REAL problems. At the same time must be wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, aunts, uncles, chefs, bus drivers {sometimes literally), disciplinarians, mentors, and a million other things to our students; way more than just someone who has to teach them the skills to advance to the next grade level.
This issue struck me as deep enough to write about because I feel that many of her critics are operating on a few hundred thousand assumptions, and she has won awards for her professional prowess and is obviously passionate about her profession, but the picture where she’s sitting next to her student, helping them with reading is not a part of this conversation though. Hmmm, I wonder why that is? If this was a mugshot vs student life still of a young teenage black man recently shot by police, a good portion of y’all would be the first to scream, “Racial profiling! How Unfair!”, but you can’t check yourself for your deeply embedded display of sexism and double standards, so I have no problem forcing you to look in the mirror and confront your hypocrisy.
Firstly, teachers are allowed to take pictures of themselves at work, no matter what kind of work they do. If she isn’t involving students without their parent’s consent. She’s allowed to take photos of herself. It’s literally in a consent form that everyone signs at the beginning of the year because when the school decides it wants to use you for good PR, it’ll take whatever it wants including your accomplishments and any independent accolades you’ve earned. Let’s keep it real.  Secondly, it’s clear that she puts thought into her outfits. She always has a high neckline, though she’s busty, for the most part she has on dresses to the knee. I think the only real complaint based on what I know about a school dress code, could be that some of her hemlines are too short to comply with the same dress codes students could get into trouble for, which someone brought to my attention, and I understand that. However, while I don’t think even these things should be such an issue at school or anywhere else for that matter, people seems to be hell bent on vilifying her as attention seeking gutter trash or something. SHE IS WEARING CLOTHES THAT FIT!
One of the assumptions I have the biggest problem with is that she’s almost maliciously wearing “Bodycon” dresses to work, meaning dresses that emphasize a person’s figure by being made often of fabric like jersey or a thinner cotton which drape the body differently than other fabric combinations. I’ve seen everything from, “Leave those outfits for the club,” to “She can wear a bodycon after work on Friday, “ which creates several more assumptions: 1) that she hangs out at the club to make those clothes appropriate, 2) that she is purposely wearing fabrics like those I mentioned above, when it is clear that she is curvy and you would be able to identify her as curvy if she was wearing a burlap sack, so maybe and for the second time SHE’S JUST WEARING CLOTHES THAT FIT, and 3) that even wearing those types of clothes makes her have bad/inappropriate intentions and make her lack the competency to do her job. It almost feels to me like people want her to wear baggy, ill-fitting clothes that would definitely be frumpy and unprofessional in their own right. And just as a side note, teachers have plenty of time to wear their “leisure time” clothing on weekends that are dedicated to all of that lesson planning, project planning, and grading papers.  Teachers don’t have time for, nor can afford separate wardrobes. GTFOH!

      Her body type is her body type regardless of whether she’s dressed down in jeans and a school shirt on casual Friday or whether she’s wearing pant or a dress during the week with heels or flats.  Pants come with their own issues. If you’re a woman who is really full in the hips, thighs, and butt like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Then you’re inappropriate for emphasizing body parts, when ALL PANTS FIT YOUR BODY LIKE THAT! I always joke about how I love my “slutty” pencil skirts because I once was in the library working and someone told me I should’ve asked my husband how I looked before I came to work that morning (to check my appropriateness) *Rolls eyes The Exorcist style*, and God forbid you enjoy playing volleyball because with the uniform required, you might as well go into hiding! I do believe that if a less buxom woman were wearing the same things, this story would never have made press, but I’m not going to harp on that in the way that makes the less curvy woman any less worthy, simply because of the way she naturally exists either.
     It’s crazy that this young woman’s life has been turned upside down when she touts her philosophy as God 1st, Educator 2nd.  She is young and still passionate about education, which promising and innovative young people are leaving in droves, for several REALLY good reasons. You want to be outraged about something, be outraged at their treatment, inability to survive based on the compensation, and the amount of bureaucratic, hands tied No Child Left Behind and Common Core BS that keeps kids testing half of the school year away, instead of actually preparing them for life with content that matters. If people would get as up in arms about the deficiencies of the American public school system, as they are about her dresses, we would invoke a lot more change than I’m sure has happened to this poor girl over the last week or so. (Seriously media. You do in fact affect people’s lives!) I could go on and on y’all because this issue touches upon so many intersectionalities! Her dress is only one thing that barely scratches the surface. I’ll wrap it up here though, and set my sights on my homework!

Love, peace, and rock those stripes! (Bodycon or nah!)

<3 Brittani

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Knock, Knock! Who's There?

Hey there guys and gals!
I said I was going to put some more varied content on Horizontal Stripes, and I think this one definitely counts.  I was wondering whether or not to write this post but think it merits a few words just as equally, if not more so than the other things I usually post for you. Unless you’ve been on Mars for the last few weeks, you know that Prince, one of the most versatile and talented musical artists and creative geniuses of our time, died last week at the age of 57. 
I promise this will not be another tribute post; I’m sure you’re sick to death of those by now, however it may be just as interesting to you. Many have contributed art in all forms, created social media posts, and many memes in memory and celebration of the artist. I’ve personally seen nails, tattoos, and even shrines to the Artist Formerly Known as Himself. Aside from those, some of the most striking to me have been many citing his ascendance to heaven and/or drawings or pictures of him next to Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson as angels. On a side note though, he really didn’t value MJ’s work as revolutionarily as most of us did, but I digress. I have always found American attitudes toward death fascinating, and in the same vein it’s always been interesting to me how celebrity deaths seem to feel so personal to people who have never truly known a person but feel melded to their persona.
 I’m usually indifferent to the mourning bandwagon, but I had to speak on this one. Though he was a wonderful artist and philanthropist, from what his protégés have been revealing, he was a human being like the rest of us.  This doesn’t mean I’m telling you, you aren’t allowed to feel a certain way: please don’t take that from this post. It’s just that, in addition to his music and giving, he was deeply spiritual and wouldn’t want what I’d almost consider, the idolization of his artistry and personage. He wanted his music to be his legacy, and I’m sure would be glad he’s touched so many lives. A little known fact to many of his fans is that:

Prince. Was. One. Of. Jehovah’s. Witnesses!

duh. Duh. DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      This isn’t a total surprise to some people because Prince wasn’t shy about sharing his faith and engaged in the door to door ministry with the rest of his brothers and sister, which is a hallmark of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ve been listening to interviews with people citing that he could or couldn’t, did or didn’t do this or that because he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and a lot of it has been inaccurate.  Anytime JWs are mentioned in the news, there is always some misinformation; so I figured what better time is there to clear up a few stereotypes and misconceptions, while everyone has their “Knock, Knock” jokes respectfully holstered. How do I know what I’m talking about? I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses as well, if you weren’t aware. Don’t think this is me trying to force feed you anything or that this post is a push for conversion. I don’t operate like that. But, if you don’t want to read on further about spiritual matters, you might want to stop right here. You might just learn something, though. Imagine that? :-D

This is not the definitive list of beliefs by any means, but commonly asked questions created from the objections most people hit us with when they think they’re doing a good job of insulting us off of their doorsteps. I tried to take good care to choose ones that Prince himself has addressed publically in interviews:
1.       What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe?

2.       You don’t believe in Jesus, right?

3.       Who is this Jehovah dude, you speak of and why do you call yourselves Jehovah’s Witnesses?

4.       What’s the big deal about celebrating birthdays?

5.       What happens when people die?

6.       Why don’t Witnesses give blood or get transfusions?

7.       Why do you knock on people’s doors?

8.       Why do you knock on the doors of those who already have a religion?

If you are curious about other beliefs, would like to explore some Bible based advice for teens, couples, kids, and adults, or ever need information for a project, there is a wealth of information that can be found at or you can ask a Witness yourself. Believe it or not, we don’t bite!

You don’t have to hide from us in your houses. If you don’t want to talk, we will leave if you tell us you’re disinterested, but please, don’t be rude.

We don’t believe Christians are perfect and acknowledge that we are all flawed human beings like everyone else. We also don’t expect you to be perfect, nor are we preaching perfection. We are not an angry mob coming to judge you at your door. I promise!

If you have questions, we will always try to answer you with a Scriptural reference, when possible. Our ministry is about glorifying Jehovah and loving our neighbors as ourselves, not about harassing you: truly.

I hope I shared some valuable information with you today, and while I can’t answer any questions from Prince’s perspective because he was his own person, I am always available to answer questions about Witnesses or Jehovah, without judgment. I recognize that everyone’s relationship to religion is different, and respectful adult conversations are always welcome!

Have a great day Stripers! Until next time!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Brands You've Been Sleeping On, Serving Up Summer Trends

Greeting Stripers!
Just in case you thought I'd completely forgotten you, know that that will never happen. I started blogging for a friend about social issues, and after they were published would put them on here but with time and circumstancial constraints, I gradually just forgot about this poor blog. Anyway, I'm back now! I missed you all terribly and really just miss writing in general. I think Horizontal Stripes will definitely be getting a revamp, with more varied content but the same quick wit and fashion tips you've come to know and love! Let's get started on today's topic!

Y'all know, if you  have ever read this blog before, that I will take fitted over frumpy and the showing of a few stretch marks over being dressed like a nun on her way to the convent any day. There are several brands that  I have never liked because:
  1. They use traditional models to sell plus sized clothing. I will never understand this. And I don't mean a traditional plus sized model, (size 6-14) I mean a size 2 or 4 model, drowning in fabric, I guess meant to inspire you to look that way too, if you buy that brand's clothing. I think we can all agree that this is an ineffective marketing tool. Someone's buying it though, so...yeah.

If this is your favorite nightgown forgive me, but while you don't have to look like Adriana Lima going to bed, let's stop short of giving up completely, ok? Might I add that this dress is for daytime. Oh, you were ready to put on your sleep mask? Me too.
     2. It feels like to me, that these brands, operate under the premise that if someone is a little thicker, that they want to be covered from collarbone to ankle because they can't stand the thought of themselves being seen or that all women of a certain size have suddenly become church ladies.I'm sure some of that applies, but those of us of a certain age don't feel that way!

Aaaaammmmaaaazzziiiinnnnnggggg Graaaacccceeee, How Sweet The Sound?

3. I'll wrap it up here because I could go on and on, but I kind of feel like most brands who primarily circulate via catalog are looking for a client who doesn't leave their house because they feel so badly about themselves, but they still need to wear clothes so they order from these catalogs full of terrible choices; then they see themselves wearing the clothing they bought and feel worse because it serves a purpose, but to flatter is not one of them!

Phew! Being negative takes a lot out of you, but let's explore the flip side! There are now, probably more than ever, plus sized companies, making clothes that you want to wear, from fast fashion juggernauts like Forever 21+ and Fashion to Figure to higher end selections like Jibri and Rum + Coke. The online world, is your giant, succulent oyster!

Here are a few brands you may want to keep in mind, in addition to the ones I've already mentioned.

Boo Hoo still does that annoying thing of not swapping out the models, however in the plus section you will find the exact same items found in the plus section down to the cut and style. A few other brands that make the plus version tend to change something about the original design, thereby making the item ugly and moo-moolike. Check them out for rompers and fun maxi dresses, along with soft shorts, and other festival essentials!
                                                                        Plus Ainsley Wrap Front Playsuit alternative image     

Rebdolls is like a big middle finger to the haters that try to tell you what you should and shouldn't wear. Think of it as the literal clothing version of Horizontal Stripes after a few shots and rounds of karaoke. Check it out when the rebel in you is trying to escape! You'll find enough high slits, low necks, and vulgar message tees to please your inner IDGAF. This is also a place to display your sexy with crop top, keyholes, and bodycon  clothing galore!
For those of you who've never heard of Cato, it is a treasure trove for trendy clothing at affordable prices. I feel like an appropriate way to sum it up is Southern Belle on a Budget. It has a lot of sweet, trendy styles, and if you have a physical store nearby, it actually does mark downs fairly often. It's very affordable to start anyway, but is a great  place to try if you have never heard of it before. They also do free shipping to the store if your size is out of stock and serve sizes 0-34W (tall and petite) with the same items! If you don't have a Cato nearby you can now shop with them online. Check it out and let me know what you think!

New York & Company
This is not a plus centric brand: just a disclaimer. Their focus is not solely the plus customer, but I was excited to find that they have expanded their collections to size XXL in tops and dresses, and size 20 in bottoms.I'm sure you've heard of their collaboration with Eva Mendes, and their generally bright, girly, fun clothing. I would say that all their sizing is actually one size smaller than is on the tag, so the 20s actually fit like an 18, which I am, and an XXL is probably more like a 16, which I also am on top. I have suddenly become obsessed with shorts this summer, as though they never existed! Not sure why, but there is a surprising lack of choices over a size 16 (and that depends on if it's a true size 16), and if you need extra room in the hips and booty, forget it! Short inseams are beastly! Anyway, I am happy to report, in addition to the two pairs of Lane Bryant  shorts I bought this summer, I have bought about 10 other pairs from NYC and am happy with them all! They actually fit, give or take a one pair I had to return and they make me feel like summer! I may not have her gams, but I hear my catwalk music come on whenever I have on a pair. And yes.....I do shake my little tush. Right Said Fred, told me to!


I hope this post finds yo well and gives you some outfit inspiration!
Love, peace, and all things fashion,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Summer of Self-Care

Good morning Stripers!

        Summer is firmly under way, and we all have the midday hot flashes to prove it. Crop tops, sleeveless tees, and fresh fades are everywhere! People are looking hot while trying to keep cool, and of course, the haters don’t miss an opportunity to share their opinions with the rest of us. There’s a popular meme from a foreign country advising summer tourists to, “Dress for the Body You Have, Not the Body You Want,” and anybody that knows me, knows that body shaming gets no love here!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone should be Sashay Shauteing it down the runway in daisy dukes, but I resent the implication that people need to inconvenience themselves by overdressing in this treacherous heat because other people are ***holes. Point. Blank. Period. With the launch of the ESPN 2015 Body issue last week showing a diverse range of athletic bodies, as well as vast media recognition of some of my favorite pioneers of body confidence to include the incomparable Misty Copeland and Miss Tess “EffYourBeautyStandards” Holliday, it is clear that there’s no reason for ANY body to be your standard to live up to. We are unique individuals with a wide range of physical features, strengths, weaknesses, depths of soul, and special gifts. Big changes are happening right now all across the country and it’s a great thing, but we still have work to do and part of it starts with wholly accepting ourselves!
That’s why at the beginning of July, I decided to dub this the Summer of Self-Care. For me, it’s about making sure I am in a good place holistically: mind, body, and spirit. Each day, I am choosing to focus on different aspects of myself and doing some self-reflection; and even more importantly deciding to relax and enjoy reevaluating what I want out of life right now. I’m a teacher, so I have a unique window of time to be existential right now; I recognize that not everyone can take a few weeks off, but I urge you to block off a chunk of your day to focus on you! My wellness arsenal includes lots of Trap Muzik acoustic covers, pole fitness time, chats with good friends, and challenging my mind academically. Sounds too much like work you say? Well Summer Lovin’ has taken on a new meaning this year, and I plan to be Sandy by the times the leaves begin to change instead of Sandra Dee. I hope you’ll choose to be a bit of a chameleon for the rest of summer too. Don’t be afraid to join me!

If you enjoyed this post, go on over to my friends at! It's a virtual think-space that challenges and empowers you to freely express your authentic self.  Bmoje's motto is value difference, question tradition, take the edge off. I love it! The Bmoje app expands the options of representation in the digital world and is available in the App and Google Play stores,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

Good afternoon Stripers!
     I wanted to write a non fashion related post today about an important topic: Gratitude! The struggle has been oh-so-real in my life lately and instead of turning into Eeyore about it all, I've decided to count all my chickens, both hatched and unhatched.  I think it's very easy to get bogged down by what we don't have, whether it's a job that seems unattainable, the 30 cents in our bank account, or the broken A/C in our car.  We tend to forget that there are people without shelter, those who've just lost loved ones, and those who, no matter how hard they try, cannot seem to catch a break. Take a little time to show an Attitude of Gratitude today!

     Below is a short list of tips compiled from Jeff Haden's article, How to Know You'll Be Extraordinarily Successful, which I read on LinkedIn earlier today. They were aimed at the business community but are generally good advice for all of life. I hope they give you a place to ground your attitude transformation.

Find happiness in the success of others.
Relentlessly seek new experiences.
Don't think work/life balance, just think life!
Be incredibly empathetic.
Have something to prove -- to yourself.
Don't think you're special.
Realize that success is fleeting, but dignity and respect last forever.

      I hope this post is encouraging to you, and though it's not Turkey Day -- the usual time that self-reflection is encouraged-- a little self-reflection never hurt anyone. I hope you'll join me in seeking out joy in the small things over the next 30 days! Show us what you're grateful for by tagging your photos #30daysofgratitude and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or by following us on Instagram: Horizontal_Stripes

Until next time Stripers!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sizzlin' in the Rain!

Greetings Stripers!
I apologize for the delay between posts, but I had the end of the semester time crunch at both work school and virtual school. I'm not a flake, but I don't have the ability to pull all nighters anymore.


     Nor can I pop up like a daisy in the wee hours of the morning to work on assignments.


But at least for awhile, I will have both my normal sleep schedule and my faculties back, so look out for posts to become a bit more consistent. 

Anywho, in celebration of  the consistently warm days and Vitamin D washing over me, I decided to be the ambassador of Spring today!

April showers have brought lovely May flowers, but a little rain doesn't have to mean sadness in the forecast!

One of my students came to stand under my umberella, ella, ella. She loves to photobomb my blog pics.

Shirt: Cato, Skirt: Venezia(an old Lane Bryant brand), and Sandals: Payless

I usually shy away from pastels because I think deeper colors look best with my skin tone, but this parasol skirt and butter yellow shirt just made me so happy, I couldn't resist!
The temperatures are rising and summer isn't that far away! Break out of your routine and try pastels today! 

Aren't I just a regular Dr. Seuss?

My classroom is calling, and I've gotta run!I hope your day is filled with fashion and fun!
Ok, I'll stop. I promise! Have a great day all!

Until next time Stripers!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stop the Presses! Tomboy Chic Finally Meets This Geek!

Greetings Horizontal Stripers,

     It's been way too long since I've seen your virtual faces, and I apologize for such a long hiatus. A few things have happened since the last time I posted, and some changes may be coming to the world of Horizontal Stripes that'll make it easier to navigate for both me and you! I've had the writing bug lately and lots more to talk about, so thanks for your patience while we try to figure it out.
                                                          So, what's on our agenda today?

     Well, I've always been kind of enamored with the sporty girly style clash that I've seen celebs like Rihanna or Ciara pull off with ease. It's not quite menswear, and it's not trying to look boyish necessarily, ironically. These ladies always look comfortable and stylish, but with edge and sass; sparkle and grit, and I love it!

The components are usually one part Jersey/jersey dress/ skirt + skinny jeans/shorts + heels/cute sneakers

or one part sweat/tracksuit + heels/cute sneakers

Well, it only took me 28 years, but I think I've finally pulled it off!
Garbo from the knees up & Cal Ripken from the knees down.

Top : Mynt 1792 via Gwynnie Bee, Skirt: Torrid, Kicks: Target, Necklace and Earrings: Versona

Dress: Spruce & Sage via Gwynnie Bee Shop; Kicks: Target

Though I'm no Rihanna or Ciara, and honestly didn't even try to aim for either combination of their looks, with a dash of this and a twist of that, I think I turned out ok. I'm not a big hat girl, and can't be anymore with my 'fro, but lipstick or big earrings are another way to throw a little more girliness at an outfit like this. I hope you'll give it a try.

Until next time Stripers,