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,