The Goal is Not Perfection: 3 Thoughts

When I began musing about this subject a couple of months ago, I thought I’d have a perfectly drafted thesis ready for my turn to write. Instead, I have a collection of observations that are only loosely connected by the theme and a deadline that won’t let me procrastinate any further.

A. Every Little Detail

When I saw this woman in front of me the other day, I had to photograph her. Everything about her looked coordinated in a polished way that wasn’t at all matchy-matchy. You can’t tell in this picture, but those are metallic heels . . . that went with the metallic tag on her bag . . . that went with the metallic clasp at her waist (she told me that everyone asks where she found that clasp, but she’s had it for years).

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Hourglassy used to have a series called “Back Interest”, but we dropped it for lack of reader interest. This gives me some consolation that I’m not the only one who focuses on my front, but this woman really raises the bar for the back!

A friend recently had her own story to share on this subject. A senior executive at her company was wearing a pair of black pants with white panels down each side. Not my friend’s taste, but she didn’t really care. It was only when the executive turned around that my friend saw what made the pants so great: the woman’s butt looked amazing. From that point on my friend vowed to care about her back as much as her front.

I’m afraid I can’t make that vow. I love the idea of a perfect appearance, and even though “the goal is not perfection,” I have this unjustified belief that I will eventually get there. Just not today . . . because I really want to wear gym shoes with my jeans. And no makeup. When it comes to a perfect appearance, whether in front or in back, I seem to have a very long view.

B. Age

More magazine has a feature called “This is What 40/50/60 Looks Like” each month where they showcase an amazing-looking middle-aged woman. I hate it. When we reach 40/50/60, aren’t we at least too old to be pressured to look like someone else? It reminds me of 5-year-old me yearning to be a Breck girl, or 12-year-old me yearning to be a Seventeen model. I love most ideas behind More magazine, but not this one.

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I was furious that my mother couldn’t guarantee I would have hair like this when I grew up.

We all age differently, but there’s pressure to have really cool white hair or bright eyes. Or not to age at all if we can help it. Just the other day my 75-year-old mother-in-law came away from dinner with friends feeling insecure about how old she looked compared to the 63-year-old woman at our table. But my mother-in-law takes really good care of herself and looks amazing! (Fortunately, she had fully recovered by the time we visited her 98-year-old aunt yesterday. This aunt had flaming red hair and was wearing a stylish blouse. She asked MIL when she was going to get that mole removed from her nose. My MIL only shrugged and said that she’s had it all her life–who would recognize her without it?)

Old people get condemned for looking old, and they’re praised if they can meet the standards of the younger generations. But age is permission not to strive for perfection anymore. I’m pleased with my body today, but if I’d had the same body in my 20’s, I wouldn’t have been caught dead showing you the bikinis I reviewed in June. But I’m 49, and no one expects me to look the way I expected myself to look when I was 29. It’s very freeing.

C. Sewing

In May I finished sewing my first ever dress shirt for my husband. Every completed step was a victory. I couldn’t believe it when the yoke materialized, and then the collar, and then the cuffs. I had very high standards: if I thought Mr. Campbell would be ashamed to wear the shirt with a slightly crooked seam, I ripped it out and started over.

Then I took the shirt to my mentor Steve and discovered my standards weren’t high enough. He didn’t care if Mr. Campbell would wear it. The edge of the cuff absolutely could not extend past the placket like this.

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And I had to remove the collar stand and reattach it to the shirt until it lined up perfectly.

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It’s too complicated for me to try to explain everything he noticed and made me fix, but I fixed it.

This past Saturday, I finished sewing my fourth shirt . . . a size 8M Campbell & Kate shirt that I’m really proud of. It’s getting easier, but I’m still ripping out seams and starting over again until I get them right. But that’s what makes the difference in my motivation–I know it’s possible to do things right!

Not perfect. Just right. And sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between the two, isn’t it?

Look for Off the Rack tomorrow.

Leah will have a writeup of a star-print red, white, and blue Heart of Haute dress for us. Happy 4th of July!

Introducing Hourglassy’s July Theme: The Goal is Not Perfection

Do you have a word you use all the time? My Jamaican-American mother-in-law’s word is “crazy”. If she can’t get her laptop to work, “This computer crazy.” When she doesn’t hear her cell phone and misses a call, “My phone crazy, man.” If she disagrees with someone’s life choices, of course, “He crazy!”

It was my husband who pointed her special word out to me, and whenever anything goes wrong or seems strange, we’ll laugh and imitate his mom, with extra emphasis on the first syllable, just like her: “That’s CRAzy.” (His mother is now living with us indefinitely, so pretty soon everyone is going to call me crazy.)

I didn’t think I had a trademark word until my husband pointed it out to me as well. It’s “perfect”. When we finish planning to meet somewhere, I’ll conclude with “Perfect.” A waiter seats us by the window, and I’ll exclaim, “This is perfect!” A parking place in front of our house is “Perfect!” I like someone’s shoes, and “They’re the perfect shoes with that outfit.”

I use this word so much that you might think the idea of perfection has lost all meaning for me. In reality, I’m so saturated with the idea of perfection that it’s overflowing into my everyday wording for commonplace situations.  “Perfect” is like saying “great” with a boost. Why settle for less?

As I prepared for my “D+ Dressing without Stressing” workshop in May, I began to question my presumption that we’re all going for perfection all the time. Was I trying to tell my D+ audience how to dress perfectly? If so, I needed to call and cancel the workshop because there was no way I could perform under that sort of pressure. In the end, I decided that my goal was to show my audience how certain details make a difference in our appearance . . . details that I’ve learned about while blogging and that I wish someone had told me about long ago. It was up to my audience to play with the details for themselves.

Because I automatically assume that the goal is perfection in every undertaking, the realization that perfection isn’t always the goal is raising a lot of questions for me. And it’s made me curious as to what others think on the subject. So this month, we’re going to delve into this topic. We won’t write about it every day, but at least one Hourglassy writer will cover it each week, and we’ll link to other bloggers who have decided to write about this theme. Plus, we have some great guest writers lined up as well.

It’s going to be perfect! :)

 

 

 

Busty and the Beach – Curvy Kate Starry Eyed Bikini Review

Hourglassy writers have been feeling pretty lucky to be able to review cup-sized swimwear all month, so when I opened my package from Curvy Kate to an extra bikini with my Moonflower tankini, I felt extra lucky! The Starry Eyed bikini was given to me by Curvy Kate, but all opinions are my own.

This bikini gave me a great opportunity to compare the fit of two different Curvy Kate swimsuit styles. While the 32FF unpadded Moonflower fit my chest perfectly, the 32FF padded Starry Eyed gave me a giant case of quadraboob. My need to size up in the padded cups is consistent with Leah’s and Patsy’s experiences with the Coco Loco and Luau Love.

After confirming that I only spilled out the top of the cups and nowhere else, Curvy Kate sent me a 32G instead. As soon as it arrived, I didn’t want to take it off. The 32G top gave me such a nice, rounded lift and so much support that I kept it on under a tee shirt and went to meet a friend for coffee.

curvy kate starry eyed profile

The interior of the cups is the same as Patsy described in her Luau Love review, and there is supportive side boning as well. The band is very firm with black power mesh beneath the print fabric. The center gore tacks perfectly. In these photos, you probably notice some wrinkling in the left cup fabric overlay. Perhaps a little extra fabric ended up in a couple of the 3-part overlay panels because this cup is certainly not too large.

starry eyed front hardware detail

Don’t you love the matching star hardware?

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More matching star hardware in the drawstring bottoms.

Overall this isn’t a “wow” design, but it’s classic and comfortable.

starry eyed front 1

curvy kate starry eyed back

The size medium bottoms didn’t feel 100% secure while swimming my 10 laps at the YMCA (perhaps 92%? I could feel the water resistance pressing down against the waist band–as well as the center gore), but of all the suits I’ve reviewed this month, these bottoms felt the most secure for bum coverage.

starry eyed bottom legs detail

Like the Moonflower bottoms, the Starry Eyed bottoms are only lined in the front and crotch, but I checked the mirror while sopping wet after swimming and didn’t find the back to be see-through. Speaking of sopping wet, here are front and side views immediately after getting out of the pool.

starry eyed after swimming front

starry eyed after swimming side

I’ll remove the tag before I go swimming in this suit next time!

Based on Leah’s, Patsy’s, Mia’s and my reviews, Curvy Kate is a big win for cup-sized swimwear. I hope our reviews of all our suits this month will help your own swimsuit choices for the rest of the summer!