Sunday Best….?

For quite some time I have planned on having nude portraits taken or painted. I have come a very long way in my body acceptance journey and I just felt this was the next step. Of course I knew (being a photographer myself) there would be flattering poses and beautiful lighting and while I would insist on no photoshop, I knew that I would still be looking at a manipulated version of myself to show me in the very best way. The problem with this (for me – everyone is entitled to their own self acceptance journey) is that it wouldn’t help with my body dysmorphia. Yes fat women get it too (I also had anorexia but was encouraged to keep going as I was still fat), in fact I think fat women can feel it even more.

Then one day I was sitting at home in the nude (if I am home I am almost always naked) and the rain started. The rain always improves my mood. More than any antidepressant on the market. When it rains I often feel the need to go sit in the rain or walk barefooted through the soft wet grass. But this time…this time I wanted to run around naked.

Then I asked hubby to photograph me. He seemed a bit confused and wanted me to come inside and get dry in case I get sick. We also have no front fence and I didn’t go around the side of the house meaning anyone driving by or walking by or my neighbours who could see into my yard could see me. He was worried about someone calling the cops on me. I didn’t care. In that very moment I loved my body.

Then I shared it on instagram. I’m sure I scared some people and certainly challenged some peoples belief of who should and shouldn’t be able to be seen naked. But I mainly got overwhelming support. Until of course it was reported and taken down. At first I was angry. But mostly I just never thought that my naked body in a very non sexual photo would be against the rules. I just didn’t think. But here at my blog…things are different. Here, I run the show. So if a fat, stretchmarked, non perfect body offends you – time to look away folks!

Miss Fairchild - Sunday Best

Saggy boobs – by breastfeeding twins for a year

Stretchmarks – by 4 pregnancies and growth spurts when young

70’s bush (thinning) – by me not giving a fuck about pubic hair

Smile – letting go 

So lovelies – what are you (not) wearing this Sunday?

Miss Fairchild

Introducing….

Miss Fairchild Milliner - Betty Hat

BETTY! The beautiful two toned, wide brimmed late 40s/early 50’s style hat 

I had so many fantastic entries that it was so hard to choose. But in the end “BETTY” won my heart. My Nana is Betty. She is beautiful, elegant, looks after herself and has lived and incredible life. She is the person I most look up to in this world and a total inspiration.

So let’s talk about BETTY!

She is beautiful and elegant, naturally, but there is so much more to her. She wears her hats and clothes – they never wear her. Even with this hat on her head you notice her face before the hat. Her smile. Her laugh. The ease about her and the clothing she wears. Her clothing needs to suit the life she lives. And boy does she live her life. She is an artist and when she isn’t covered in paint in her studio you will find her in the garden. Of course she wears a sunhat – she knows that being sunsmart matters in the harsh Australian sun. Driving gloves are a must too when out and about in the car – burnt hands are no fun at all. But these things are not for vanity, for fear of aging. It is purely for health reasons. She isn’t a vain woman at all. Aging is just a thing that happens. She is too busy to worry about such things. Too busy living a life. She is kind and warm hearted. So it is no great surprise that her calendar is always full to the brim. Her hat needed to be unadorned. Simple, but elegant – just like her. It needed to be able to be worn with a simple cotton dress or a beautiful summer pant suit. She is well read. Not just “classics” or novels – but news, scientific research, politics. She prides herself on forming an educated opinion. As busy as she is, she still finds time to send cards and letters. She never forgets a birthday or anniversary and often sends letters “just because”. And while she has beautiful handwriting, it’s what she writes insides her letters and cards that makes an impact. She is a woman so many strive to be and yet for her it is just her nature.

Miss fairchild Milliner - BettyThe hat that inspired the BETTY

The BETTY is inspired by many of my own vintage “picture” hats. But you might have noticed I prefer the less adorned hats. I needed something to go with a favorite vintage dress of mine. Originally in coral and moss (the closest colours I could find as it was a class assignment) the BETTY will be available in 3 two toned colour ways – coral/mint, blue/lemon and pink/lilac. The hat has a buckram base and is then covered in linen. The linen will be hand dyed to match the vintage straw bodies I have purchased for the next hat to be released (and named). It is all hand made by me, Miss Fairchild, using vintage methods (some parts will be machined sewed to make it more affordable) but most of it will be made using couture millinery techniques. It will come in one size only BUT it is designed to sit on the crown of the head and so *should* fit most heads. If you receive your BETTY hat and it doesn’t fit I will arrange for it to be couriered back to me and I will make it in a larger size.

It will be retailing at $295 plus shipping (shipping will be available world wide) and pre-orders will be taken as soon as the first sample is done and photographed. Preorders will be the only way to guarantee your colour options. Layby is also going to be available.

Betty, Betty and Miss Fairchild

Miss Fairchild wearing the original BETTY inspiration with the original BETTY (also known as Nana) wearing a custom Miss Fairchild hat

In case you didn’t already realise…I adore my Nana. I am so excited that my very first hat in my very first collection will be named after someone so dear to me.

Miss Fairchild xoxo

Miss Fairchild Millinery…

So despite swearing I would never work for myself again and that I would never take up millinery as a profession…here I am. I was hoping to launch my first collection in a/w 2014 but then my life imploded. I then settled on a s/s14-15 collection and started work on buying supplies (most of it vintage) and coming up with designs. I put a November deadline on it but even after we finally got moved in things happened (I had surgery, my end of year millinery parade, a bus crash, a fall which hurt the shoulder I hurt in the bus crash and a lovely surprise with someone reporting me to CPS – child protective services – worried about the girls “exposure” to my mental illness. – they are gone as they found absolutely no reason to be concerned so FUCK YOU to whoever made our lives so much worse for a few weeks). Today I decided to push it back until mid-late January. So not so much spring as mid summer. But who cares. My sanity needs to be saved.

Miss Fairchild Millinery Logowww.missfairchildmilliner.com

But come January (well mid-the end of) I will be lanching a mini collection – vintage reproduction hats made with almost all vintage materials – the trims will be all vintage as well as the straw. I am so excited. They will all be two toned and will come in mint/coral, blue/lemon and lilac/pink. My Vintage Casual Line: GELTATO will be hitting my website then (though as samples are finishes and final swatches of colours – I am hand dyeing everything just to be extra hard on myself) and I will be shipping world wide.

gelato-collection-logo

 

The idea behind “Vintage Casuals” was having some relatively simple and fun vintage reproduction hats for everyday wear. I have so many beautiful vintage hats and I wear them everyday – even the fancy ones – but not everyone feels comfortable with that. They will be able to fit in with your vintage (or repro) wardrobe or even worn with modern clothes and you won’t feel out of place. Beautiful. Fun. Simple. Casual. I spent a lot of time gathering vintage materials as where ever possible I will be using vintage millinery supplies as well as trying for historically accurate (not pinup) and original millinery techniques. This will be a ready to wear line and when the vintage supplies run out that design/colourway will end. So as the time approaches and each sample is finished I will be taking pre-orders. But until then you have a chance to win one of each design by helping me name them!

The first hat that needs to be named is this one…

 

 

Miss fairchild MillinerThis is not *the* first sample, but a hat I made for myself in class…but it will be almost identical…

Miss Fairchild MillinerNAME ME!!!NAME ME!!!!

To win this hat in your choice of colourways (to be sent mid January along with all pre-orders) all you have to do is name it. Entries close on the 15th of November and the name and winner will be announced by the 20th. You can enter by tweeting me @MsSFairchild, commenting on this drawing on my instagram account @MsSFairchild, emailing me at contact@missfairchildmilliner.com or commenting below. This hat is made in linen and will be adorned with nothing except a beautiful ribbon around the crown. She is just divine and I wear mine all the time!

Ok that’s it for tonight. Hope you are all excited about the new collection as I am!

Miss Fairchild xoxo

 

Beautiful Body Hair

Today this photo of this absolute bombshell Sophia Loren showed up in my feed.

Sophia Loren

 

Sophia Loren being her usual bombshell self and giving no fucks to what you think of her pit hair

As I sat there admiring her completely unfair sex appeal I noticed something. She had…. PIT HAIR!

I got hubby to take a look and he was convinced it was photoshopped. But as I looked at more and more photos of her I discovered she just didn’t seem to feel the need to rid herself of her underarm hair – or hide it.

Body hair is something that doesn’t actually phase me at all. I prefer to shave my legs when I am going to wear sheer stockings (or when they start to resemble wool stockings) and no matter how hard I scrub – I have to shave my underarms to get rid of the smell. But I have one glorious 70’s style bright orange bush…though I have to admit I seem to be thinning down there (time to invest in a merkin? or maybe hair plugs?). Many of my friends choose not to shave. Some because they really don’t care. Some because they are too busy doing things like having a career or running around after a bunch of kids and running a house. Some show their pit hair proudly as a feminist statement. As I said it doesn’t bother me one bit. As a staunch feminist (feminist meaning equal rights for all) I don’t see why women should *have* to shave. Especially to fit some stupid societal idea about what is CURRENTLY sexy.

Why “currently”. Let’s face it girls. As time changes what a women *should* look like also changes. Trying to keep up with it must be exhausting. From S bend corsets & bustles to tiny boobs to large boobs…With each fashion change comes a new expectation that women’s bodies should also change to fit the trend. 

While looking at photos of the STUNNING Sophia I discovered some really awful websites. Showing close ups of pit hair “faux pas”…you know an olympic weight lifter (who managed to get to the olympics, lift more than my husband and I combined, while being half the size of me, having managed to get what limited funding there is in any women’s sport, train and qualify) being chastised for not shaving before the worlds stage (including one that actually tweeted an apology and as she was lifting she realised and freaked out) or a runner who had just beat the world record and was holding a flag above their head or an award winning star with a super close up to show the 4 tiny fair hairs she had missed while shaving. All these women were mocked. The comments of course were worse. Men declaring how repulsive they found women with body hair (though I can tell you all my friends with body hair, and 99% of those without would tell you they find men who try to control women’d bodies repulsive), women declaring how embarrassed they were for these women and a small few who were all “WTF?!?!.  I am furious. These incredible women doing amazing things while some anonymous person who probably hasn’t done anything remarkable in their lives reducing these women to a tiny aspect of their appearance.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya who just won the women’s 800m race and beat the world record…but who cares PIT HAIR!!! (the website had to add an arrow though in case we couldn’t see how much she had “let herself go” – my most loathed phrase in the world)

I was sure one of my books mentioned that worrying about body hair was ridiculous and I was hoping that rather than laughing at their sometimes ridiculous and outdated ideas, that I could find something to back all this up. Now some of my books are still in storage so I can’t account for them all, but disappointingly this is what they had to say….

“The underarm area must be free from hair at all times. The hair holds the perspiration and odor and it is as necessary to remove it when coverup clothes are worn as during the obvious times when the area is exposed by bathing suits and other bare arm costumes.”

“Hair on the knees is unsightly and masculine. Whether the growth is heavy or slight, dark or light, it should be removed, leaving the leg smooth skinned and completely free of hair.”

- Secrets of Poise, Personality and Model Beauty by John Robert Powers

Now this book I was expecting – after all they were a modelling company. But I was so let down by what was to follow…

“Superfluous hair should be removed as regularly from the legs, especially below the knee, as it is from under the arms. How often will depend on you and how noticeable the hair is. There is nothing more unsightly than a grown girl wearing nylons with long hair poking out like a porcupine.”

-Charm & Poise for Getting Ahead by Ruth Tolman

Thanks Ruth…but I can think of plenty more “unsightly” things. Hey, maybe she lived a sheltered life?

“Nothing mars attraction so much as an ugly fuzz in the armpit”

- Woman’s World by Alleyne M. Jukes

This one made me sad. It is basically a “how to be a girl” handbook. It has everything from first aid to yoga, self defense to sports not to mention the usual beauty, charm and etiquette tips. How did the Australian woman in the 50/60s find the time for all of this? No wonder you hear about so many drunk housewives. I can barely get out of bed most days, let alone be everything to everyone and be immaculate all the time. My last hope had to be “Personality Unlimited” after all it has an entire chapter devoted to poop…surely it would be more accepting & open…

“Surely we are all awake to the necessity of keeping the underam free of any hair growth, not only for the improvement in appearance, but because such growths harbor the odor from even mild perspiration. But I find that there are many who still do not consider it important to keep the legs free of hair. Such women should be forced to wear heavy hose. If the are modern enough to demand silk stockings, then they should certainly prepare their legs so that no thick “forest” of hair is visible through the sheer fabric.”

- Personality Unlimited: The Beauty Blue Book by Veronica Dengel

So I decided not to get too worked up about it. Though women who choose not to rid themselves of the “horror” of “superfluous” body hair are still coping flack from guys who think our worth is based on whether or not they want to bone us we are making progress….and  after all it is a relatively modern “fad” right?

NOPE!!! I was wrong again. This Jezebel article sheds some light on the history of female body hair removal which has apparently been around since the Neanderthals…

“Burke’s fascinating post on the subject (and her blog is chock full of goodness) begins all the way back in 1848 on the famous wedding night of Indisputably Great Thinker/Critic John Ruskin and his bride, the reportedly attractive Effie Gray. All was swell until it was time to do the deed, when Ruskin — a grown man, and not a boychild — was apparently so grossed out by “her person” that he gave her the Heisman and could not consummate the marriage.

Apparently this brilliant critic, ironically enough, known for emphasizing the connection between art and nature, could not spare even his beloved the wrath of his critical eye when he gazed upon her pubic hair. (Aside: Was it gross? Was it unruly? Did it harbor rodents? Was she menstruating? Was she a hermaphrodite? Is he a dick? Recent Ruskin biographers seem to think the idea he didn’t know what a woman looked like is absurd, and yet, no other explanation is offered.)”

Personally shaving my pubes makes me look like an infant. Seeing as how I am not really into that and it was itchy as fuck growing back – I only did it once. And if a man didn’t like it, well I would first ask him to wax his hairy balls. After that we might negotiate…but probably not.

I particularly liked this quote on femininity

” Femininity, as any woman can tell you, involves doing a shit-fuck-ton of alterations to the natural to arrive at this softer, less hairy, and therefore more alluring, self, a paradox feminists have typically argued is a distinctly modern problem. Or is it?”

I am a woman who prefers to look more “feminine”. I do it for me. I can assure you that not even when I was a teenager would I have gone through all that effort for the approval of others. Maybe it was just the way I grew up – from the time I was 9 I was a full time carer to a psychotic mother, had to deal with her various boyfriends who ranged from visiting my room at night to masturbate in front of me to ones who beat the crap out of me while drunk, while raising my baby brother and finishing year 10 (straight A’s except PE…which doesn’t count. After all I had my “period” for a whole straight year of classes………….

I love women. I love them in all shapes and sizes. In all forms of dress. With burns, scars, stretchmarks and birthmarks. With disabilities. Beautiful and bald (like my 10yo twinnies) to long luscious locks that trail behind them. Societies very narrow and often changing view on beauty don’t line up with my views. Some people when meeting me for the first time in person (because I meet everyone I end up being real friends with on the internet) appologise for their appearance compared to mine. It makes me sad as I dress, do my hair, shave and not shave to make myself happy and comfortable. I want my friends to feel the same. And I have friends who would feel absolutely ridiculous wearing my clothes.

If you do decide on hair removal please be safe. Don’t burn yourself with wax, always do a test on a patch of skin for depilatory creams and use a clean, rust free razor (best not to share just in case). And whatever you do don’t use this 12th century recipe…

“How to Remove or Lose Hair from Anywhere on the Body
Boil together a solution of one pint of arsenic and eighth of a pint of quicklime. Go to a baths or a hot room and smear medicine over the area to be depilated. When the skin feels hot, wash quickly with hot water so the flesh doesn’t come off.”

So this one picture sparked something inside me. I know it’s a controversial topic in the greater community, but I want to hear from you. With most of my books unpacked I hope to do more blogging soon. Steering back to the original purpose of this blog. Me trying to be charming and feminine and still being true to my feminist voice, while swearing like a sailor & talking about my 70’s bush, getting back into my “Sunday Best” posts and my “Wise Words” series. I also plan on finishing my travel series and giving you all the low down on hosting and being hosted over the holidays and talking about hats. With my first ever millinery collection from Miss Fairchild Millinery (go here to sign up for the mailing list) – a mini spring/summer collection using almost all vintage materials and techniques to make them.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through the last year. It means a lot. But hopefully now I am back and with lots of goodies for you.

Miss Fairchild xoxo

 

 

 

How to help your Mentally Ill Friends

First of all I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported my Liptember campaign so far. My goal was to raise $1000, double what I raised last year. Before Liptember even started I had reached that goal and I have since changed my goal to $1500 with $1131 raised so far (if someone would be so kind as to donate $9 so my OCD brain doesn’t implode that would be awesome).

DONATE HERE – http://www.liptember.com.au/miss-fairchild

Again other ways you can help are:

  1. Join up for Liptember and raise money yourself. It’s not too late.
  2. Buy aLiptember lipstick from Chemist Warehouse (or buy them all!)
  3. Buy a special Liptember Candle from TANDA modern (all profits go to liptember) http://www.tandamodern.com/product/liptember-limited-edition-candle
  4. You can also buy anything in https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Nessbowify shop with 10% of all sales going to liptember
  5. Talk about Liptember. Talk about Mental health. Organise a day at work to talk about the ways mental illness can affect a persons ability to work. Talk about how you can set up support systems. Talk to your nana who thinks it’s all just an excuse to be lazy. Talk to your neighbours. Talk to your friends. Check they are ok. Read. Read a lot. Read blogs by mentally ill people (and you will see we all come from different walks of life as mental illness doesn’t care if your rich or poor or black or white. Read medical journals. Read weird statistics on mental health. If you are in Melbourne visit the Melbourne Museums permanent exhibit on the mind and body (where you can learn about the history of Mental health – like did you know Lithium was first discovered as a treatment for mania by an Australian psychiatrist John Cade in 1949 and is still used today). Or visit the DAX centre http://www.daxcentre.org/ which is an art gallery filled with art made by people with mental illness. Read up on how to see the signs in friends and families. “RUOK” day is great and all but we will often say we are fine. If you know the signs you can sit them down and really ask the question. Not only are they ok – but what do they need? Can you take them to the dr? Drive them to their psych appointments? Bring frozen single meals they can reheat (brushing my teeth becomes impossible when I am truly unwell…if I didn’t have a full time carer/husband I might never eat). When they withdraw it’s often when they need you the most. Ask to see them. Tell them you don’t care if they are in their pj’s. Offer to take them somewhere they love. I personally love going for long drives – but I don’t drive and neither does my husband. Volunteer or donate tp organisations like MIND (who provided us with $500 a few years ago to go toward a family holiday) who offer days out to people with a mental illness – op shopping, picnics, bush walks ect. http://www.mindaustralia.org.au/ or Outdoors Inc. http://outdoorsinc.org.au/ who provide outdoor activities, team building exercises and camps that build our confidence and give our carers a break. If you know a carer remember they deal with the worst of it and it is often their most beloved person (a mother, a sister, a child) and make sure they are ok. Could you do grocery shopping for them or hang out with their loved one so they can see a movie or just get out of the house.

As you can see by that last one there are a million ways you can make a difference and the more you read and learn and  experience the more you will understand. Simply asking “are you ok” or “what can I do to help” is not going to get you anywhere in my case as while I can unload on twitter I can’t talk in person at all when I am depressed. I am not ok but I may say I am. I also have no idea what I need at the time except love and support and even then I will think I am so undeserving of it that I will push you away. I will cancel our fun days out because I can’t leave the house even though those days could help break the cycle.

The hardest part about being friend or family with someone with a mental illness is being pushed away, getting frustrated when you want to help but we don’t let you. We need patience and understanding. Unfortunately at the end of each major depressive episode I have had, I have come out with less friends. Friends who got fed up with waiting to see me. Friends that got sick of me cancelling for the 6th time. Friends tat just couldn’t deal with mental illness. Friends left heartbroken by suicide attempts that decided for their own mental health they couldn’t be around me anymore. Please don’t leave us. We need you more than ever. We sometimes need forced hugs when we are backing away or thrashing – hold us tighter. Tell us you love us. Tell us all the things you love about us. Because our brains are telling us the most vile hate filled things about us. Don’t let us go. Send us care baskets filled with things you know we love. Or something from an in joke (hubby bought me the book of “P.S. I love you” and I laughed so much – at a time I had done nothing but cry). Write us letters and cards. Give us something we can look at and hold and read again and again to show the brain someone loved us enough to write the words and put them on paper just for us. Come and sit in bed with me and watch Jurassic park over and over. Hold me hand. Stroke my hair. Remind me that I am not a totally useless person. Love us fiercely as we can’t even like ourselves. Be prepared to do it all again in a month when we fall down that black hole again. Please don’t let us go.

Blanket Nest Depression & anxiety

 

Thank you to everyone who held onto me and didn’t let me go. Thank you to my husband who held me so tight until I could rest when I was yelling and screaming and crying and trying to pull away. Thank you to my baby girls who leave notes of love on my pillows. Who make me brooches and origami flowers. Thank you to Elise who comes and hangs out in my bed and who let me lay in her lap while she played with my hair. Thank you to Sian and Michael who always had a tweet to share and who never stopped offering visits…you didn’t give up on me even though I was just a stranger on the internet. Thank you to Vanessa who let me come and hide in her flat when I couldn’t handle anymore noise or conflict and expected nothing from me. Thank you to everyone who told me I was a good person and deserved good things. Thank you to everyone who donated to liptember because they knew it meant so much to me. Thank you to those who joined to support me. Thank you to the wonderful friends (I didn’t think I had) for coming to my tafe parade & exhibition and surrounding me all night with a shield of love.

You saved my life.

Miss Fairchild xoxo