(not so) random links

-when it comes to fashion photographs (good photographs put out by fashion bloggers included), can you really believe what you see? (via the independent) retouching, even on a minor level, is rampant, with the ease and accessibility of desktop photo manipulation programs like photoshop. is editing just a way of life now, used by many to perfect themselves or their photos, or does it sometimes go too far, completely warping our sense of reality when it comes to matters of aesthetics?

full disclosure: i do use photoshop on almost all my photos, to adjust color, lightness, contrast to what i think represents reality in a better way, or to what i think looks better to my eye (i like things really contrasty, what can i say??). but i do not etch out blemishes or wrinkles, cover up dark eye circles, or slim down/remove body parts…too much work for me, personally. 😛

what about you? do you use photo manipulation programs, if you do at all? if so, how? also, do you appreciate glossy, perfect photos, or do you wish for a little more reality and a little less polish in the images you view?


-apparently, we walk wrong. say what? well, not *exactly*, but most of the time, the shoes we choose to wear are not good for us. yet, we wear them anyway! (via new york magazine and flypaper) the consensus, say scientists? we’d be better off going barefoot.

this is bad news for me…with my seemingly unsatiatable shoe obsession! ha, i’m horrible! it’s a challenge for me to find a pair of shoes that doesn’t somehow eventually give me some sort of blister or abrasion. certain features on shoes seem to work better for me, and i tend lean toward buying and wearing shoes that have those features: a slight heel or wedge (too flat makes my calves feel funny and tight), a slightly wider toe box, and the like. but sadly, i still find myself entranced by that which doesn’t work. live, learn, and attach another band-aid, i guess!

when it comes to footwear, is it style over comfort for you, or vice versa? do you lean toward stepping out in that which is kinder to your foot? would you go barefoot if you could?


-over in the wardrobe_remix discussion forums (you have to be a member to view them and participate in the chat) there was a recent thread about ethics and fashion. since it’s a subject that i bring up here on occasion, and it’s something i think about quite a bit myself on a personal level, i’ll pose a related rephrasing of the question here…

do ethical considerations figure into YOUR clothes buying regime? do you set “rules” for yourself when shopping and adding to your wardrobe (like not buying anything new, seeking out ethical or green clothing brands or handmade clothing, etc.)? do you aim to make a certain percentage of your clothing come from a particular source (say, 50% thrifted/secondhand)? or is it admittedly hard to resist the new and shiny and trendy, ethical concerns be damned? does the idea of something being used seem distasteful?

what say you?


the quick and dirty:

-morgan of pandahead just launched an VERY sophisticated dc-focused online mag of the same name = PANDA HEAD magazine. worth a look…again, and again. congrats, morgan!

the hat trend continues unabated…i continue to be so tickled by this. (via buzzfeed)

rostitchery demonstrates how to make a ‘convertible’ dress (a frock that can morph into a bunch of styles, depending upon your mood). genius! (via craft:)

rowan yarns has a neat little archive of free knitting and crochet patterns here, all available via the pdf format.

-maker/crafter jon golden has a video how-to on youtube that gives the deets on how to make resin jewelry. i’ve *always* wanted to try this, myself… (via craft:)

-casey of casey’s musings illustrates how she dresses her tresses in the perfect modern-yet-1940s up-do.


  1. danielle

    I use the same amount of Photoshop as you: cropping, light balance, color balance, and that’s about it.

    I find that the comfort level of my shoes has gone up over the years. I sued to wear the most ridiculous shoes and now I feel as though comfort plays a larger role in my shoe choices. I also think having multiple knee surgeries has factored into that decision as well.

    I try to stay informed about the origins of the clothes I buy. However, sometimes F21 is too hard to pass up. I buy a lot of used/vintage clothing. It’s so hard these days – even companies that claim to be eco-friendly, may be just as damaging in the end because of the process involved in recycling the fibers is equally unhealthy for the earth. It’s a cost-benefit analysis that sends my head into circles.

    Good questions, as always!

  2. Maven

    That article about shoes (all kinds–even the so-called orthopedic ones!) ruining feet made a big impact on me when I read it about a month ago. I especially liked all the feedback from the life-long barefooters, but I definitely think that certain lifestyles/locales lend themselves better to barefoot living. Being a new bike commuter in Minneapolis, I’m not so likely to try barefooting it any time soon.

    In the past few years I’ve gone wayyy over to the side of function with my footwear, and it’s starting to happen with the rest of my uniform too. I don’t think this means sacrificing personal style; I just think that function has become one of the essential components of my personal style, and that place where form and function meet is always the most interesting place to me anyway. It’s the reason I always end up looking at kitchenwares and such when I’m at art museums.

    And by the way, those Nike Free shoes referenced in the article are not joking around. The maryjanes are pretty darn cute and they feel amaaaazing. I know I’ll end up buying some.

  3. Sal

    Ditto for me on Photoshop, although I will admit to using the Healing Brush if someone has a giant zit.

    I go for comfort over speed in shoes, overall, but a few torturously gorgeous pairs have definitely snuck into my wardrobe. Like you, Tricia, I often resort to encasing my poor feet in band-aids when the blisters start to burn. A major pain in the arse, and can leave sticky residues in your slingbacks, but sometimes well worth it! I am personally unable to walk in stilettos or anything higher than 3 inches, so I’m sure my “torturous” pairs would look like bedroom slippers to the footwear faithful … oh and I loathe bare feet. Even indoors. I hate accidentally walking on bits of yesterday’s toast or my cat’s kibble. Ick.

    Nothing about used clothing is distasteful to me. In fact, I consider it my favorite form of recycling! I don’t set rules for how often I thrift versus buy new, however, but instead consider the item itself. Items like coats and dresses are likely to have been better made 15 years ago anyway, and make great thrifting candidates. I rarely buy jeans new, since used ones somehow just FIT me better. But I am likely to buy brand new t-shirts and sweaters, since they don’t stand up to repeated washings as well. I believe I may be preaching to the choir here. 😉

  4. Violetwired

    re can you really believe what you see – I don’t photoshop anything on/off myself, but sometimes I will slightly change the contrast or color saturation so it is more true to life. I think it’s really obvious when a lot of photoshop effects are used on personal pictures and it doesn’t usually look great either. Something I see most frequently is extreme upping of contrast which just destroys detail and makes women with pale skin look ghostly and weird.

    In advertising, it’s no big surprise that this is done – all photos are retouched somehow. Even if they aren’t, they have the benefit of studio lights, which go father to change how someone looks than Photoshop does in my opinion. As far as people’s personal pics go, I joked with a friend once that in the future there won’t be bad photos of anyone because you can just delete or fix anything you don’t like!

    But really, it does just come down to how much free time people have…

  5. Ally

    I have tried to touch up photos but I am terrible at it, so I usually just adjust for color, etc.

    Shoes are the bane of my fashion existence. I do so much walking and standing for hours on end I just can’t afford pain-wise to look cute anymore! I have four different styles of shoes in a few colours– they are all basically either Birkenstock thongs or Earth mary janes. The best of an ugly orthopedic lot!

    I really long to wear more fashionable shoes but when I’ve tried I’ve almost been in tears, limping after a couple hours. At this point even buying a cute pair to “try” seems like a waste of money. It also doesn’t help that in the UK shoes don’t seem to go down to a 3 that often– which is like a US 5. Some stores just don’t seem to even carry that size except for little girls, and the little girl shoes are kind of silly looking.

  6. Persephone

    If I didn’t have some horrible fear of foot fungus, I would go barefoot. I love shoes, from a purely aesthetic point of view. I love looking at pictures of them, models/people wearing them, but 99% of the time, I wear flip-flops. I have exactly two other pairs of shoes, some sneaker-like Sketchers and a pair of “dress” shoes. Apparently, I have always disliked wearing shoes, though. All of my childhood pictures feature me, barefoot.

  7. Lauren

    I mostly just crop, and sometimes change saturation/contrast/brightness. I also tend to put photos of myself in black and white unless I want to bring attention to some certain colour. I like pictures with a more natural feel, but I also like the colour to sometimes just pop.

    As for the shoes– I can’t think of any shoes I own that are actually uncomfortable or hurt my feet! It helps that I mostly wear flats and converse, I bet.

  8. Sonia Luna

    Violetwired said pretty much all I wanted to say. I think there’s an art to using photoshop. You can see when an image is too photoshopped, retouched to death, in that respect I think the advertisments in Italian fashion magazines are the worst, most of the models look like plastic mannequins. As far as my own pictures are concerned, I use photoshop, like you to make the pictures pop a little, but I try to keep all the tinkering to a minimum, I’m trying to be a better photographer so I think my pictures should look the way I want them in camera.

  9. Sonia Luna

    Yep, me again! Just had to tell you: great links as well on this post! The dress is fantastique!
    And the resing jewellery? Brilliant! I wanted to try this for ages!

  10. Alison

    Tricia, I love the questions you come up with for these posts. I always find myself thinking about them for days afterward!

    I definitely have shoe envy. My job pretty much *forces* me to choose comfort over style, since I am on my feet and on the move all day. I LOVE SHOES, though, and I actually find myself resenting this aspect of my job because comfort or not, I would LOVE to wear great-looking shoes all the time. So, I know that my shoe choices are strictly out of necessity, and not because I am particularly practical, or strive towards optimal podiatric health. If I had my way, I’d be wearing fun heels, sexy slingbacks and wild wedges everyday. So, maybe my job is actually a blessing in disguise, but I still feel somewhat stylistically limited by it.

    After a stint working at a mall while I was in college, I really started changing the way I approached buying clothes. I was bored with how uniform so many of the “trendy” clothes looked, and it annoyed me how over-priced coveted brands were without generally even being better quality than anything else on the racks. I didn’t like how so often, I was paying a lot of money to wear what was really a mediocre item that simply had a logo on it. My first change was to stop buying items that had a noticeable logo on them (I hated feeling like I was paying to be a billboard). And, last year I decided to stop buying new clothes altogether (with the exception of more intimate apparel, of course). I am VERY much concerned about where our clothing comes from, how it is made, and the human rights issues that surround so much of its manufacture, not to mention environmental practices. By buying used stuff, I can be assured that I am not somehow funding practices that I would be uncomfortable with, and quite frankly, I just find it a lot more fun to search thrift store racks than to cruise through the stores at my local mall. I have JUST started making my own clothes, too…something I will definitely be doing more of in days to come!!!

    Getting dressed is just so much more fun this way!

  11. Melissa

    I do pretty much the same in Photoshop, although I’m not opposed to blending out my undereye circles! 😉
    I always color-correct for natural tones, up saturation when needed, and crop for best results. Occasionally I’ll take out a wall outlet or power cord, etc, if it distracts from the overall composition. I used to work in retouching, so I’m tempted to be fussy. That said, I much prefer grittier, natural imagery over Vogue cover manipulation any day!

    As for ethics, I do my share of buying thrifted items as you know…heh…but as far as clothing goes, I’m not as ethical as in my home decor and furnishings purchases. I’m guilty of abusing places like H&M, Old Navy, etc, because they’re easy and fit into my budget. After dozens of trips to Goodwill and the like, I still come away empty-handed due to poor selection most of the time. I do try to make sure what I buy is flexible and not single-use – shunning maternity clothes for dresses that work in pregnancy and beyond, for example – and avoiding expensive seasonal trends like Coach bags, etc.

    As for shoes, I tend to stick with cute flats and low heels that don’t have abrasive little straps and such, but you will never see me in a pair of Crocs. 🙂 I think you can certainly be comfortable without sacrificing style.

  12. Ashe Mischief

    When it comes to images, I limit my Photoshopping; like you, I will adjust contrast, color, and crop as needed, but only to make the image comparable to what I actually saw. As someone who spent many years in a darkroom, I believe in trying to keep my digital images in line with my traditional images, and will adjust artistic images within a certain degree.

    That being said, I don’t edit my body to look slimmer/taller/more perfect (though if there is a huge glaring problem, I may slightly adjust– like a huge zit! )

    Like you, I have an INSATIABLE shoe appetite. But for as much as I love them, my favorite time of day is when my feet are bare (or socked when it is cold). Too often, shoes are just uncomfortable anymore; they leave blisters and abrasions, are too narrow, cut wrong, and it’s hard to find something that is genuinely well made in ADDITION to being designed well. I love my Fluevog flats, but they did leave blisters on my small toe the first few times I wore them.

    As for shopping ethically… I try to limit my purchasing or make my own clothes as often as possible. I do enjoy buying garments made by indie designers, but find it is much more difficult to do online. While I am less than crazy about shopping at big box stores, I do it, within reason. I try to ensure that the pieces I am buying have durable seams and look to have a strong fabric. The way I see it, society on a whole cannot stop producing clothes, and cannot limit us to only shopping vintage/thrift/repurposed. Clothing will only last for so long, even with impeccable care. So buying new, so that the cycle of sustainability and recycling can continue, is kind of a natural component of shopping. That being said, I can do my best to support those companies that are introducing “green” lines, sustainable and healthy work conditions, etc.

  13. Ashe Mischief

    p.s. Boo to all of those hat haters! It’s such a bother to me that it was so predictable how people would react to SJP’s hat. It’s whimsical, it’s modest, it’s a lovely nod to a time when women wouldn’t leave the house for polite society without a large hat.

  14. Lady Smaggle

    I’m the same! I do a colour adjust to make the photo pop more but I have never made myself slimmer or airbrushed my face. Oh I’m lying. I did that once but only because I did a close up of some earrings and I had just been picking at scab on my chin. It was really gross so I airbrushed it out. Not for me… for my readers! 🙂

  15. Erica

    Like many others I crop and occasionally change color/light balance. I have in the past edited out perkiness, and I’ve tried doing some clone shots. I’ve even edited in a foot! But I generally admit things like that up front. I have a simple photo editing program that came with my old camera, so it’s kind of limited in what it can do. I can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted to use a “healing brush” if I could! But if I feel a photo of myself isn’t up to snuff, I’d rather just keep it private than airbrush it to death and make it public.

    Shoes, ah shoes. How I love them, and how many a pair of beautiful shoes I’ve passed up because the heel was simply too high or the toe was too pointy and uncomfortable. I refuse to wear uncomfortable shoes, because there are too many cute ones that are comfortable. It’s true that flat does not equal comfort; I’ve passed on many a pair of too-flat, uncushioned shoes as well. I do appreciate a beautiful heel and there are occasions to wear them, so I have some for those occasions. But I prefer a low or medium heel for everyday. I think my feet are one of my favorite features so I try to treat them right and keep them looking nice. 🙂

  16. Prêt-à-Porter P

    I do edit photos, but only color/contrasts so that details can show better. I don’t have photoshop and I don’t elongate my pictures to make me look taller. But if I were to appear on a cover of a magazine any time soon, I demand photoshop or just taking a picture of paula patton and saying its me.

    Shoes. If they’re uncomfortable: I will find a way to make them comfortable.

    As far as ethics is considered, everybody can do their own thing. Im not familiar with the whole organic movement.
    I love leather, I love hamburgers, vinyl usually sticks, and PETA, I wont even go there. People that wrinkle their nose at shoes made in China annoy me, especially when I suggest they take a look at where their Marc Jacobs, flat screen TV, cellphones, cameras, microwaves, video game systems, laptops, etc… are made.

  17. Miss

    I remember the first time I owned a pair of sandals without a strap around the back, the tops of my feet were sore for two days because I had to walk just a little bit differently to keep the heels from shuffling on the ground, and my feet weren’t used to it. Maybe I’m unusual but it seems like this can’t be great for our feet. Mules do the same thing.

    Around the house I’ve always lived in socks. Generally I’m good to my feet, and I’ve learned to have proper posture, but I’m going to be more conscious about it since I do love shoes. Except those 3 1/2 inch heels have to come out every once in a while!

  18. Casey

    Great links, Tricia! I just started a Photoshop class this week, and it’s amazing how easy it is to retouch photos! I’ve always done some color/light/contrast changes to each photo I upload, but other than that, I rarely touch up anything (unless it’s a nasty nail pop that has appear right in the midst of my favorite “photographing wall” lol). There is just something… that almost makes the photo feel like a lie… when it’s really manipulated. Perhaps its just me, but a little bit of me is slightly rebellious against presenting an “idealized” me instead of how I really look… Plus, I just don’t have the time to sit there and retouch every photo extensively!

    Thanks for including a link to my tutorial, btw! 🙂

  19. whitney

    if you are interested in making resin jewelry, “the art of resin jewelry” by sherri haab is also a great reference.

  20. Tess

    As far as retouching, it totally depends on the photo and my aim with it. I shoot in RAW so it’s very easy to correct color balance, tone and contrast so that’s usually all I do for my wardrobe shots, and sometimes not even that. I took my first photography class this last semester and since then I’ve had a lot less retouching to do since I’m more aware of light etc. If it’s something up close and personal in my face, I will retouch blemishes but rarely under eye circles–again, depending on the purpose of the photo. I’m very self conscious about my skin, plus i feel the person should be seeing what I’m trying to communicate with my picture versus “OMG, she should do something about that skin”. In real life it’s not something you’d notice, but in photographs things that usually don’t stand out do. And (most the time) I leave discoloration, just erase the major big spots. I try to make sure my retouching enhances the photo and doesn’t distract, though I’m sure I have some glaring errors in my stream while I was learning (still am).

    The article on shoes was very interesting, I always thought it odd that my flat sandals with no support were more comfortable than my running shoes! I think next purchase I’ll invest in a pair of bare foot like running shoes. My only problem, and this overlaps with the ethics thing, is that I try not to buy new leather. I really don’t mind whether other people do, I just think if I’m going to declare myself as a vegetarian I might as well go the whole way. I’m not militant or what I would consider an “ethical” vegetarian, I’m health, environmental then ethical. The same environmental reasons that apply to abstaining from eating animal products applies to new leather. My husband still eats meat, and we used to do raw meat for our cats when we were in san diego as we had a really good, organic, local butcher. Now that we are kind of in the middle of no where, there really isn’t such a thing! Husband’s meat intake has gone down, he can taste the difference in it, and we went back to kibble for the kitties. If I were to buy a new pair of leather shoes I would rather buy a pair from a cobbler for 500 dollars that will last for an eternity versus a 50 pair of sneakers. I don’t know how I feel about synthetics, either, they can be just as damaging to the environment. So, for now, I’m going to wear my (vegan) trainers until they die and jump that bridge when I get there. I haven’t purchased new shoes in…let’s see, nearly a year? I’ve had good like finding better more affordable shoes at the thrift than anywhere else!