Hello, my name is Casey McKinnon and I’m a size 0. Heck, sometimes I’m even a size 00 as my body measurements are 32-23-33 and I’m 5’1″. So, it goes without saying that when I hear people dissing my dress size, I get a little offended because it doesn’t make any sense. How is it that I can fit perfectly in my mother’s dresses from the 1960s, but the US fashion industry had to invent a size in the past ten years just to fit me?!
Recently I’ve seen a lot of photos being shared by my friends that affirm larger body images with slogans and quotes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does become hurtful when they start making fun of smaller sizes as if they are “unhealthy.” Sure, it would be rather unhealthy if you were 6′ tall, but the average American woman is 5’4″. With this in mind, I feel it’s important for my fellow females to understand the history of sizes 00-0 and why they exist in our stores today.
When it comes to body image, one of the most popular tropes in the world is the myth of Marilyn Monroe’s dress size. It is famously said that ‘Marilyn Monroe wore a size 16 dress.” This may have been true in the 1950s and 1960s, but not by today’s standards. If you’ve ever tried to purchase a vintage dress, you’ll know that the sizes are completely different from modern sizes. In 2009, British journalist Sara Buys had the opportunity to try on Marilyn’s dresses and had this to say about her size:
Contrary to received wisdom, she was not a voluptuous size 16 – quite the opposite. While she was undeniably voluptuous – in possession of an ample bosom and a bottom that would look at home gyrating in a J-Lo video – for most of the early part of her career, she was a size 8 and even in her plumper stages, was no more than a 10. I can tell you this from experience because a few weeks ago, I tried to try on her clothes.
Also referred to as size inflation, vanity sizing refers to the fact that the US fashion industry inflated the size of their garments to deal with the expanding population of consumers. As America grew outwards, so did the clothes… yet the numbers remained the same. In this New York Times article, journalist Stephanie Clifford has done some really interesting research and has this to say about my 32″ bust size:
A woman with a 32-inch bust would have worn a Size 14 in Sears’s 1937 catalog. By 1967, she would have worn an 8 [...] Today, she would wear a zero.
So why exactly would the US fashion industry succumb so overwhelmingly to vanity sizing?
The CDC reports that the percentage of adults with obesity has been growing since 1980. Last year they reported that, in 2009–2010, 35.7% of U.S. adults were obese. Given that number doesn’t even include overweight individuals, it just proves how large a demographic we’re looking at. It’s no wonder that the fashion industry felt the need to adapt and cater to their growing clientele.
Eventually, however, the industry would learn a very potent lesson: you can increase the size of clothes all you want, but you’ll end up screwing over the petite ladies that still exist in the US!
No matter what your size, it’s always difficult to find the right fit for your body type. In my case, being petite before the invention of sizes 0 and 00 meant shopping in the juniors’ section and dressing like a teenager. It also meant that I couldn’t for the life of me find a store that sold business suits in my size! I was over the moon when I finally took a trip to Vancouver and discovered a magical land called Aritzia… a store that had business suits that were TOO SMALL for me! They carried sizes as small as 000 and XXXS, and their clientele included many beautiful petite Asian ladies that I would not consider “unhealthy” in any way.
Sadly, some stores that carry such small sizes get flack. Last year it was revealed that Zara has had some difficulty in the US because its sizes were “too small” for Americans. Ironically, everything I try on at Zara is still too big for me. :/
The key in today’s world is to find the stores that are right for you and your body shape. We’re all different and we needn’t get upset and blame opposing body types just because our clothes don’t fit right. “Normal” and “healthy” come in a variety of shapes and sizes and it might be hard for us to find the right clothes, but it’s equally as hard on the merchants to decide how many sizes of a garment they need to make to have optimal sales. Sure, it’s frustrating not to find your size in every store, but that’s what seamstresses are for. And to bring it back to Marilyn Monroe; if she were alive today, she would probably have to buy a larger dress size and take it in at the waist because, again, we’re all unique and she had a bangin‘ hourglass figure!
When it all comes down to it, I love and respect my fellow ladies at any size… as long as they love Star Trek. ;)
I’ve been asking myself recently why I dislike the whole sexy geek girl movement so much. I mean, I was once a sexy blonde at a sci-fi convention dressed like Lieutenant Rand. Then, when Rudy and I launched Galacticast I became known as a geek girl online, featuring my geeky tees in my Daily Self Portrait photo series, and even scoring a t-shirt sponsorship from Think Geek! About a year later I became a subject of a documentary film and photo book called Fangirl Project where I posed in some of my favorite costumes. So why am I becoming so judgmental of the geek girls of today?
Recently I’ve heard about several cases of misogyny in the video game industry; most recently this case where some jerkoff (now fired from his job as a “journalist” for Destructoid) called Felicia Day a “glorified booth babe” who doesn’t “contribute anything useful to this industry, besides retaining a geek persona.” If Day, who has MILLIONS of followers online, hasn’t contributed to the gaming industry with her creative work on Dragon Age: Redemption, The Guild, and being an inspiration to women everywhere to talk more openly about their gaming obsessions, I guess gaming journalists haven’t contributed to the gaming industry either, huh?
I think the real problem that has been causing rifts and misogyny in the geek community today is not the simple fact that geek girls exist, but that there is a movement of people who participate in the sexualization of geek girls. Hell, even I’m guilty of doing a sexy sci-fi photo shoot, but there was always a line I would never cross.
“This is why they hate us,” I thought. And I’ve been facepalming ever since.
If there’s anything that I feel does not contribute to the geek girl community, it’s pin-ups and the whole “Hey! Look at me! I’m dressed like a geek and have bewbs!” type. Felicia Day, however, is not that type. And neither am I.
Sex sells and pin-ups will always exist, but we mustn’t allow them to define the image of our geek girl community. Comparing real-life geek girls to pin-ups wearing geeky costumes is like comparing a kid’s doggie costume on Halloween to a furry. But still, it sure feels like it’s eating our community from the inside out.
Our geek community is better than this. It’s time we show the world the intelligence and dedication our female geeks possess that our male counterparts have always been known for. And it’s time to encourage creative types, whether male or female, to promote a more realistic, everyday geek girl image instead of deconstructing our complexities to flat out sexual imagery.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Stu Maschwitz (@5tu), as Creative Director of Red Giant Software, launched a new iPhone App called Plastic Bullet. At the time I had mixed emotions… the angel on my shoulder says Stu is a visual genius, and the devil on my shoulder told me I already have a zillion camera apps on my iPhone and that Hipstamatic was the bee’s knees. The devil was wrong.
This morning I paid the $1.99 and downloaded the Plastic Bullet app to my iPhone. And. It. Is. Beautiful.
I’ve found a lot of camera apps are hard to control: Hipstamatic is a crap shoot; Toy Camera makes it difficult to change settings; and CameraBag was great at first, but I’ve grown bored of it over time. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great apps… but I love how Plastic Bullet simplifies creativity to the max. By placing a refresh button in the top right corner, you can keep generating random combinations of photo effects until you find “the one.” And, even if you find one you like, you can save it by clicking on the heart icon and continue searching for other effect combinations you like. Genius. And just the kind of simplistic experience that Apple is all about.
Below is a photo I took while shopping last weekend. The original photo was very plain (I was going to post it here, but my iPhoto kept freezing when I tried to import it), but you can see the effects generated for the photo make it look super cool. Hell, I want to march straight back to the store and buy that dress ASAP! …and perhaps a belt too… and some go-go boots. ;)
Thanks for the awesome app, Stu! XOXO
The Streamy Awards took place last Sunday and the photos and videos have been slowly rolling out over the past week. Below are some of my favorite images taken of me, Rudy Jahchan (writer of A Comicbook Orange) and Josh Allard (director of A Comicbook Orange).
And last, but not least… the annual Galacticast intro re-creation (and boobie grab):
Well, I must’ve tried on about 40-50 dresses over the course of the past few weeks… including the entire BCBG and Betsey Johnson catalog. A lot of people wonder why I tried on so many dresses and the reason is mostly due to size issues. Although I look 50 ft. tall on the interwebs, I’m actually only 5′ 1.75″! This causes a lot of problems because I’m not only short, but also slender… to the point where most size XS and 0 dresses fit like tents.
All problems aside, I documented most of the dresses on my iPhone (which helps me remember the dresses I liked, so I could make clearer decisions when shopping around). I won’t show you THE dress I’ll be wearing to the Streamy Awards this Sunday, but I will show you a few of the dresses I didn’t get…
This Betsey Johnson dress was one of my favorites, but it was a little out of my price range. Usually I try to steer away from sequins (due to my ancient history as a synchronized swimmer), but this dress made me LOVE sequins. It fit like a glove and looked fabulous, but it was a little too similar to the dress I wore to the Streamys last year, so I tore myself away from it and continued searching.
This was Rudy‘s favorite dress. It was a Betsey Johnson sale dress and looked truly elegant. My only problem with it was that I didn’t feel it made me as curvaceous as I wanted… I wanted a dress that showed a tinier waist and a rounder bust/hips. Also, this dress reminded me too much of a dress I wore to the Principal’s Ball in high school… a beautiful dress that belonged to my mother and that I had hemmed waaaaay too short.
I must’ve tried this cream BCBG dress on 4+ times. I LOVED it from the very moment I saw it. Unfortunately, the dress always felt a bit big and the coloring wasn’t really great against my skin tone. I tried this dress on in another material, but it wasn’t as elegant as the plain cream. Up until today, this was my backup dress… and I really thought I was going to get this one.
This green BCBG dress was pretty and simple, but it was HUGE on me and I wasn’t crazy about the color. Also, in hindsight it looks waaaaay too old for me. Perhaps I could get this one after a few kids? :P Although people tell me that green brings out my green eyes, I also feel that it makes my skin look more sickly. In the end, I just couldn’t get myself a real green dress… that’s cruel.
I really liked this LaRok dress, but the color was awful on me. I tried it on in a smokey purple and a pretty pink, but the fit wasn’t right. Also, although the dress is gorgeous on top, the skirt is made from an awkward heavy material that really brought down the quality of the dress. Not a great red carpet choice.
This casual dress from Guess fit like a glove and looked EXACTLY like something I would buy. I had considered getting it for the Craft Awards (being held tonight), but it seemed too typical for me and I wanted to look outside the box. Maybe I’ll swing by Guess in a few months and get it on sale ;)
So, you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see my dress choice! Until then, enjoy the above rejects… and the below dresses, which I tried on as a joke :P
Felicia Day‘s dress from last year’s Streamy Awards: Because if I wear it I’ll win, right? This lovely number was a few sizes too big for me, and you’ll notice that my skin color bra is totally showing through what can only be described as peep holes?
WORST. DRESS. EVER! I saw this ugly frock hanging on a hangar at Macy’s and HAD to pick it up! It was too ugly NOT to try on… happily, it did not disappoint… it was just as ugly as I assumed it was going to be :)
It’s not news that 80s fashion has been coming back little by little over the past couple of years, but I’m only starting to get worried now.
It’s a known fact to me that visiting the Topshop web site is like visiting the future of North American fashion. From my experience, it takes about 3-6 months for British fashion to eventually seep into the American fashion market, so here’s a taste of the crap we’ll apparently be wearing (and loving) later this year:
Personally, I just don’t think I’ll be able to get into this one… is there anyone out there who wants this crap?
Perhaps not yet… but will we have a different opinion once Watchmen comes out? This MTV spoof makes me wonder:
So, what do you think? Will you ever be able to get back into original 80s fashion like this again?
Photo courtesy of Jason DeFillippo
Since my Style Guide was such a hit the other day, I thought I’d share makeup tips ala Casey McKinnon.
Like clothing, makeup is a very personal choice. Sometimes you want to wear something classic and beautiful, sometimes you want something casual and easy, and sometimes you want to be creative and/or geeky.
I started getting serious about make up when we started making Galacticast, because suddenly I had to act as a zillion different characters – who all needed different makeup styles to boot! I learned a lot about what exactly looks good on me… so without further ado, here is my method of applying make up:
[Disclaimer: I don't DARE do all of this on a daily basis...]
30 SPF Daily Moisturizer
If you’re not already, start protecting your skin NOW! Four years ago I got strange brown blotches on my face from the sun and was told I had Melasma (aka. “the pregnancy mask”). I then had to bleach the skin on my face with a special lotion that made my face turn red and peel off (horrible) and ever since I’ve been told to wear no less than 30 SPF on a daily basis, and try to stay protected from the sun. I highly suggest getting a 30 SPF lotion that also dubs as a facial cream, I have used both Oil of Olay and Aveeno products. Both seem to work well.
I don’t use foundation on a regular basis because I feel like it clogs up my pores. I only use foundation when I’m doing a photo shoot or attending an important public event where I’m likely to be shot in photos! When shopping for a concealer, ask the person behind the makeup counter for something that suits your needs. My needs included looking natural on camera, and ever since I’ve been using Revlon New Complexion One-Step Compact Makeup.
I don’t use a concealer, but instead usually put white eyeliner and/or white eye shadow/cream to the inner point of my eyes, as well as under my eyes (in the “bags”), and just under my eyebrows. This will make you look younger and more awake – I learned this from the beautiful Carmindy Bowyer from TLC’s What Not to Wear.
To me, all makeup centers around the eyes… so my guide is much more concentrated in this area. Since my eyes are green, and my skin is so pale, if I’m not wearing makeup in photos I look completely washed out. This is why I try to bring out my eyes on a daily basis (if I’m leaving the house or planning to be on camera!). Here are my favorite looks:
- The Audrey Hepburn
Even before I started wearing fake eyelashes, people told me I looked like Audrey Hepburn. In fact, my own mother mistook this painting of Audrey Hepburn for me! But it wasn’t until I watched a video on YouTube by askmemakeup that I really learned to master the art of Audrey Hepburn eyes.
To achieve the Audrey Hepburn look, start by applying a white coal pencil (smudgingly) and/or white eyeshadow on the eye lid, the bottom line of your brow, and the inner corners of your eyes. Then, smudge a black coal pencil along your lash line and apply fake eyelashes. Next, apply a black liquid liner on the upper lid along the lash line… and voila!
Tip: Learn to apply fake eyelashes here.
- The Angelina Jolie
My rendition of smokey eyes. First, I lightly apply a black coal pencil around the entire eye. Next, I use a brush to smudge it out. Then, I take a dark aubergine-color powder and apply on my lids, as well as lightly around the entire eye – focusing on drawing it out a little further in the corners to give it a more oval look. After that, I highlight under my brow and the inner points of my eyes with white pencil (which I smudge) and I apply black mascara to the top and bottom lids.
I use the color aubergine because it goes well with my eyes. You might want to try other colors to see what looks best on yours. Sephora allows you to try all their products in store… go and knock yourself out.
Tip: There are great tutorials on YouTube for achieving the perfect smokey eyes, watch one here.
- The Rock Band
When you’re feeling creative and geek chic, go fire up the ol’ Rock Band. I don’t know about you, but I’m OBSESSED with the awesome eye makeup designs they have in the game… so I often treat Rock Band is my makeup consultant. Above, you can see I’ve tried the Fade To Pink design (I’ve also tried Red Out and Stardust, the latter of which looked awful on me! :P). And someday soon, I’ll be trying the Scarlet Ibis, Envy, Lynx, and Woodrobin designs.
The most important thing with makeup, especially eye makeup, is to be creative. You might not find what suits you at first, but you will in time… and trying new things or mixing it up will help you stay up to date – even my mother has been adopting my makeup tips at home by highlighting her upper lid with a black line and mascara!
Above is a photo of me blending intense smokey eyes with fake eyelashes (I was going for a neo-noir Blade Runner-type look). The photo next to it was from a Rock Band party I had where I did my makeup like Paul Stanley (*ahem* the third time I’ve ever done my makeup like a member of Kiss).
If you’re going for a vamp look, you needn’t apply any blush. You should apply a minimal amount if you’re going for a sweet look, and tons if you’re going for the burgundy-haired-middle-aged-woman-with-20-cats look… there’s a fine line, people.
I usually try to stay natural with my lipstick, using it as a type of lip-blush. I enjoy using Sephora Brand Ultra Shine Lip Gloss, but sometimes venture to a more vamp look with dark red lipsticks. That said, I don’t usually apply it too strongly, sometimes just a dab is all you need to blush up those lips.
Design your own t-shirt with the tweet of your choice? Yes please!
TwitoShirt is like a dream come true… and if I had money to burn, I’d already have ordered about three t-shirts/aprons/tote bags already. The way it works:
- Enter the permalink of the status message you want on your merch here. Click on Get a T-shirt!
- It will then show you a preview of the status message. Click on I want this T-shirt!
- Select what t-shirt style/color/size you want, add it to your shopping cart and buy away!
I’m tempted to buy one, but I’m always afraid of the t-shirt fit and sizing… which is why I stick with nicer quality non-custom brands like Junk Food (as mentioned in my Style Guide). BUT, if I was going to get some TwitoShirt merch… I’d have to get it with this status message, which still rings true to me:
An awesome internet friend of mine just lost a bunch of weight and is ready to go shopping for new outfits. She liked my style, so she asked me for advice on shops and web sites I like to buy from. I started writing a ridiculously long email message and realized that I should just make it into a blog post complete with links and photo illustrations… so here is the 2009 Casey McKinnon Style Guide!
- FASHION TOPS:
I buy a zillion tops a year… it started because I needed tops to wear for our web shows, but now I’m just obsessive. I love Topshop, H&M, La Maison Simons, Guess, and even Abercrombie & Fitch (for women’s clothes only).
Tip: I highly suggest branching out your color palette (I highly believe that if you’re wearing the right make up, you can look fabulous in any color). Also, my Korean traditional dance teacher used to tell me that the sexiest thing about a woman is her shoulders… keep that in mind when you’re looking for fashion tops (I often go for a slight puff in the sleeve).
- GEEK TEES:
I used to buy geek t-shirts based on what was on them (photo on the left), but now I’m buying them also based on how they fit (photo on the right). I highly suggest Junk Food for geeky tees – they usually use fabrics that are soft and thin, and they’re often made to be more fitted than the average t-shirt. You can find their stuff (and other cool stuff) at 80stees.com.
I get inexpensive fitted hoodies from pretty much anywhere. Just make sure that what you get is flattering… you want to try to find some that compliment your waist line. I’ve also been wearing a lot of long, loose-fitting sweaters. The fabric is nice and thin so, although it’s not fitted, you can still see my figure.
I got my sexy black leather jacket at Zara. It’s perfect for going out and looking frakking cool! :P I also love getting suit jackets to wear with jeans (great for looking casually professional). I try to find creative pieces in a staple color so they match anything. I’ve purchased really nice jackets at Guess and La Maison Simons.
It takes a LONG time to find the right jeans… so if you go jean shopping and feel discouraged, don’t worry… it happens to all of us! I’ve found nice jeans at Guess, Parasuco, and Buffalo. The jeans I currently wear are “skinny jeans”, but they aren’t flattering to everyone. Try on different cuts and different sizes to get the right pair… tight is good, unless your skin is bursting out!
Tip: Don’t be afraid to get higher waisted jeans if you wear long tops.
- Betsey Johnson is great, but expensive… so you can also find some nice fun dresses at Topshop, H&M, Jacob and La Maison Simons.
Tip: The key with Betsey Johnson dresses is the tiny waist line… but if you go shopping for a dress somewhere else, just remember that this can also be achieved with a funky belt. You can always buy them separately and still put together a fucking awesome outfit! In fact, in this photo I actually tied a pretty black ribbon (about 1″ wide) around my waist… this detail made the dress more fitted and unique.
I usually get flat ballet slipper-type shoes, they’re sleek and comfy, and I try to get shoes with some kind of feminine detail (a tiny bow, fun color, etc.). I’ve found gorgeous pairs at Steve Madden, Aldo and Browns/B2.
Every woman needs a pair of knee high sexy black boots, don’t they? I got mine at Aldo. I also have killer rain/snow boots which I got at Browns/B2.
Warning: Buying rain boots encourages you to step in more puddles.
I LOVE NIGHTIES!!! I own about 10. Go out and get yourself something cute and sexy. It doesn’t matter if you have a boyfriend or not, it’s all about feeling fabulous when you lie down to sleep! I have nighties from Betsey Johnson, Victoria’s Secret, and La Senza.
Necklaces can really complete whatever you’re wearing. You could wear a completely plain top, dress it up with a beautiful or artistic necklace and look like a million bucks! I buy a lot of cheap jewelery at Also Accessories, and my sweet Rudy gets me lovely crystal jewelery from Swarovski.
Tip: Don’t worry about getting matching bangles or accessorizing with watches, they make your arms look shorter.
- HATS & SCARFS:
Totally optional, but fun! Hats are great for me because I’m only 5’2″ and the sun visor in the car isn’t always helpful to me while driving! I’ve purchased kick ass hats at La Maison Simons, and scarfs can be found almost anywhere these days.
The most important thing to remember when shopping is your attitude. If the clothes you try on make you feel confident and perhaps even a little exhibitionist, they’re probably perfect for you. And remember too that my daily self portraits are all posed and color edited… no one’s perfect.
Happy shopping! Post photos of your new outfits on Flickr for me! :D
PS: A couple of general rules:
- Have fun and be creative with your accessories: Long gloves or even the wacky skirt from your Halloween costume can really make an outfit.
- Always cover up your mid-section in public, no matter how thin you might be.
- Always wear flattering undergarments. You never know when you’re going to die, and you don’t want to be caught wearing holey panties when the coroner is giving you an autopsy!