News » Body Positive
Close to Home: Having Fun and Staying Safe
Published Sep 09 2020 in Body Positive, Cherry Velvet, COVID-19, Dresses, Made In Canada, RetroWhen all the things we love doing are on indefinite hold, it takes a little bit of creativity to keep the fun going. And with autumn around the corner, and the long winter right behind, there’s no time like the present to think of some new ways to enjoy ourselves while focusing on self-care, body positivity, our friends and family and yes, fashion too. We’ve come up with a few ideas to help our Cherry Velvet family during the ongoing pandemic as we all continue to stay close to home:
Escape into Fantasy
There’s a reason it’s called “escapism” – the right book or movie can draw you in so deeply, you forget where you are. There’s never been a better time to tap into the joy of a story that helps you disappear for a few hours. We can’t travel right now but we can go anywhere in time (or space) with the right novel or film.
-Grab an old favourite and re-read: has it been a few years since you read the Outlander series? Time to pluck it off the shelf and dive back in. (As fans ourselves, we even found inspiration in Outlander for one of our pieces last year. Check out Style Inspiration – the Claire Capelet.
-Check out some fantasy faves: Hunger Games will take you into a dystopian future and the latest book in the series – a prequel to the original trilogy called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is out now. Also new and certain to be popular is Midnight Sun, the latest in the Twilight collection, which (if you don’t already know) will let you disappear into a world full of vampires and werewolves. If you prefer outer space, there’s an endless supply of science fiction to help you escape to Mars, or the other side of the universe – and everywhere in between.
We love all things vintage. From the tips of our toes to the tops of our heads, we adore a retro look: shoes, dress, jewelry, old-school hairdo. Now’s a great time to indulge in some vintage fun.
-Enjoy some old Hollywood glamour with a movie night of classic titles. Make some popcorn, pour yourself an Old-Fashioned (if you know how to make one) or a Shirley Temple, and enjoy a film night from another era. Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Ginger Rogers, Mae West … the list goes on.
-Always wanted to learn how to do a victory roll or another hairstyle from the 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond? There’s hundreds of tutorials on YouTube. Pull out the curling iron, the hairspray, and get started. Upshot: if you mess it up, you can just wash it out.
-Put on one of your favourite Cherry Velvet dresses. Don’t save them in your closet for a special occasion. Every day is a special occasion! Get dressed up for dinner and pull out the best dishes and light some candles while you’re at it – or just throw one on to wear for a walk or around the house. Putting on a dress doesn’t always equal dressing up. Not all dresses feel “easy” but ours definitely do – we even wrote about it in this blog post: Actually Dresses ARE easy. https://www.cherryvelvetplus.com/blogs/news/actually-dresses-are-easy
With autumn on its way, now is a good time to start “nesting.” This year especially, some of us may be dreading the shorter days and longer nights, but if we plan ahead, we can create our own cozy retreats from the world
-String up some little white lights around your living room or bedroom. The warm glow feels cheerful.
-If you’re a tea drinker, stock up on some new varieties. Add a warm blanket and a good book or movie (see the above tip about escapism) and you’re all set.
- Get creative with indoor arts and crafts on a rainy day. We have our very own pin-up colouring sheets to download (https://www.cherryvelvetplus.com/blogs/news/colour-me-cherry) so grab some markers or colouring pencils.
It’s a tough time for many people these days. If there’s ever been a time to make the world a little bit better, in ways both big and small, it’s now.
-Drop off some food to your local food bank. Better yet, make a financial donation online from the comfort of home (most food banks have websites where you can donate cash.) This allows the food bank to target spending to those items most needed. More people than ever are relying on their local food banks.
-Call a friend, even if you don’t think they’re struggling. Sometimes our most upbeat friends may be the ones having the hardest time in private. Reach out to a friend. And if your friends are all doing well, make a new friend: many seniors’ homes and local agencies have opportunities to be matched with a stranger to write letters or make phone calls, to help people from feeling isolated.
-Learn and get involved. We recently wrote about our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and our support for Black Lives Matter. If you’re not sure where to start to become better educated and be an ally, we have a few suggestions on our post here: In Support of Anti-Racism and BLM https://www.cherryvelvetplus.com/blogs/news/in-support-of-anti-racism-blm
Don't forget, we always love to hear from you. Send us your thoughts, ideas, dress and print wishes and of course photos of you in a dress. Don't forget to tag us :-) #cherryvelvet
Christina Meyer for Cherry Velvet
Keep Calm and Carry On
Published Sep 03 2020 in Body Positive, Cherry Velvet, COVID-19, Dresses, Made In Canada
We do things a little bit differently here at Cherry Velvet. From the way we make our dresses (locally designed and manufactured) to our focus on body positivity (with sizing that’s inclusive and designs that are comfortable), we pride ourselves on having a unique approach to fashion, business, and life in general.
And we find our customers – all you fantastic fashion divas with fun-loving attitudes – do things a little differently, too. Over the years, so many of you have shared wonderful glimpses into your diverse lives (and oh-so-colourful closets) by sending us notes, photos, and highlights from your weddings, parties, travels, stage performances, and more “everyday celebrations” than we can count.
These days, things are definitely different – but in new and challenging ways. Those birthday parties and overseas adventures aren’t happening. Theatre and music shows are on hiatus. Our normal routines and activities are on all on hold. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and tired – like life has lost some of its colour.
We’re all eager for a time we can gather with friends and family and return to our favourite activities – but how can we bring back some of that colour to our lives, symbolically and literally, right now?
We have a few ideas on how to cope during this pandemic in our own unique Cherry Velvet style. Here’s a few tips on how to keep calm, carry on, and have some fun along the way:
Easier said than done at the best of times, and you may find that it’s uniquely challenging to feel worthy and valuable right now. There’s a lot of body-shaming and hurtful jokes about weight gain online these days. Social media can feel like a landmine, and prioritizing self-care can be a challenge when you’re juggling different responsibilities.
- Make a list of five attributes you love about yourself. If that feels too hard, make a list of five things that others have said they love about you. Look at the list when you go to bed, and again when you wake up.
- Trim your social media by keeping the people and organizations that offer support, care, and valuable content. Unfollow or remove those that do the opposite. Curate your social media for body positivity!
- Check out our blog post from earlier this year applauding some famous women who are making big waves in the body positivity and size inclusion realm. Reading about others can feel inspiring. https://www.cherryvelvetplus.com/blogs/news/judge-not-our-bodies
Safety First (But Keep the Fun)
-Missing parties? Host one on zoom. Go all out with a theme – encourage everyone to dress up in the style of a particular era or go tropical with sundresses and Hawaiian shirts.
-Wear your mask when out in public. And you might as well make it fun – and fashionable! There’s plenty of options out there now but our favourite is, of course, the ones we’ve been making right here at Cherry Velvet. Our beautiful printed masks come in packs of three, or as singles, and are made from two layers of tightly woven cotton. They are washable and adjustable, with a row of elastic that is worn behind the neck and one on the back of the head, rather than tucking around ears. Check out our colourful selection here: https://www.cherryvelvetplus.com/collections/face-masks
-Stay safe and shop from home. Find your favourite retailers online (especially the ones local to you) and see what they’ve got on offer. Treat yourself to something fun and new: some pampering treats like a face mask or new candles, a cozy new pajama, or a book. Better yet, bring home some colour with one of our many newly released designs and fabrics! Check out all our New Arrivals https://www.cherryvelvetplus.com/collections/new-arrivals
This is a catchphrase going back years but it means more than ever right now. Since most of us are staying close to home, we have the chance to explore (and make an impact) in our own neighbourhoods. Here’s a few ideas:
-Explore your local area by going for walks in different directions and routes each day. Even better, bring along a small garbage bag and pick up litter you see along the way.
-Check google maps for your closest parks and wildlife areas. Many of the favourite outdoor hotspots are extra busy right now (in Vancouver, this includes some of the beaches and world-famous parks like Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park.) Are there smaller places close to where you live that you haven’t explored yet?
-Support businesses that are owned and operated locally. Restaurants, small shops, and local services need support right now. Many have options for curb side pickup or delivery. You can also buy gift certificates now and save them to shop another day.
Stay tuned for more ideas next week in Part 2 :)
Christina Meyer for Cherry Velvet
Colour Me Cherry!
Published Mar 27 2020 in Body Positive, Cherry Velvet, colouring pages, Customer Appreciation, inspiration, Made in Vancouver, paper dolls, pin up dresses, retro dresses, stay at home, vintage dresses
Long time Cherry Velvet fans may remember our darling Pin-Up Paper Dolls (which are also fun little crafts for you and/or your wee ones) so we've decided to follow them up with...colouring pages! We wanted to offer you a stylish distraction and bring some fun to your day!
Simply click on the images below to download and imbue some hues on these sweet ensembles!
We hope we sparked your creativity with this little activity. Please feel free to share. We can't wait to see your ideas and creativity!
Much love to you our awesome customers. Stay safe and far apart!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Judge Not Our Bodies!
Published Mar 13 2020 in Billie Eilish, Body Positive, celebrities, Cherry Velvet, inspiration, Lizzo, Rihanna
It’s so inspiring to see the latest celebrity news about body positivity, and how things evolve in real time. Let's talk about the people and events that drive this change!
Of course, we could describe the scandals and infractions of the Victoria’s Secret brand, which has been dropping in sales and share value in recent years. But we’d rather talk about a big game-changer in the underwear industry, as a type of “anti-VS”: Savage X Fenty by Rihanna. The famous singer idealized her radically inclusive lingerie line, featuring all sizes and colors of women in her products. But even more significantly, for the past 2 years the brand has put on NYFW fashion shows that promote body positivity in an unprecedented manner. Small, large, trans, pregnant, and practically every other type of woman of every color have been seen on the catwalk, wearing Rihanna’s designs. Her message is clear: every woman can be sexy.Not only is she championing body positivity, but she’s also currently the richest female singer!
Also making loud statements about body acceptance and self-love is breakaway singer Lizzo (winner of 3 Emmy awards). The plus-sized artist writes songs that promote the idea that she – and women like her – are sexy, desirable, and beautiful. More than just preaching it, Lizzo also lives by her word, performing and dancing confidently with her body on full display. In August 2019, her show at the VMAs made headlines for flaunting her and her plus-sized back-up dancers' beauty unabashedly. Give her music a listen, and we can almost guarantee you’ll feel more powerful and confident!Her VMAs performance also included a giant inflatable bum! Fun!
Our last mention is of young musician Billie Eilish (who scored 5 Grammys this year, including Album of the Year!). Billie became famous with her first hit single in 2015, when she was only 15. Even though she was just a teen, her body was sadly the focus of many headlines – some even discussing the size of her bust. She soon became known for her oversized, masculine clothing, which was often misinterpreted as an opposition to the so-called “slutty” style of other popstars.
Just this week, Billie (now 18) made headlines for her body once again. This time, though, it was through her own narrative. On the first concert of her new tour, she played a video of herself stripping layers of clothing to the sound of a voiceover. In it, she criticized social ideas of how women should dress, and bravely states that she will be judged no matter what she wears, and therefore will not be ashamed of her body, and will dress how she likes. The statement is in line with past interviews, where she has brought up feeling uncomfortable showing her body, largely due to the media attention.
“If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? We make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are, we decide what they’re worth. If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”Inspiring words! You go, Billie!
In this day and age, it’s sad that women are still not allowed to just be themselves in peace. Our bodies are subjected to judgement and shame. Even young girls still face this issue. But there is hope that we can change things. Celebrities and brands can help shape culture, and that is what we want to do with our dresses. All bodies deserve love and respect.
Keep loving yourself, unapologetically.
XOX Cherry Velvet
Vintage Fashion, Self-love and the Pleasure of Pretty Things
Published Jul 11 2019 in Body Positive, Christina Myers, cotton dress, plus size, retro dress, Vintage Inspired
"This week we wanted to revisit this guest post by freelance writer Christina Myers. I would be lying if I said it didn't make a couple of us, here at the office, choke up a little. Christina is also a Cherry Velvet customer who decided to share with us her relationship with fashion and dresses. Thank you, Christina!"
Vintage fashion, self-love and the pleasure of pretty things...
I’ve always taken great pleasure in fashion – but for many years, that pleasure was reserved for browsing, only. I’d buy Vogue and Vanity Fair and spend hours relishing the designs and fabrics and accessories as they changed from year to year. Vintage anything, in particular, would catch my eye: cocktail dresses from the ‘50s, old-school silk and lace slips, war-era Victory roll hairdos. Don’t get me wrong: I loved modern things too (Tom Ford late ‘90s? Chanel all the way through the 1980s? Alexander McQueen basically any year ever? Yes, please!) But the things that always jumped out at me were the vintage touches: beaded clutches and Jackie O. pearls, glittery brooches and Mary Jane pumps, snug knee-length skirts and Cuban heeled stockings. If you think modern fashion in even its most simplistic, streamlined forms is a new-born beast each season, look again: vintage is everywhere, almost every year, though sometimes in just the tiniest details.
But, I struggled with the frivolity of fashion. I thought of myself as level-headed, smart – and strongly committed to feminist ideals, to boot. I worked in a field that required others to take me seriously. Was it fluffy-headed to like pretty things? Was I being silly and indulgent to care about this stuff?
Worse, I knew perfectly well that fashion could be a tool of oppression, a simple and effective extension of the intense scrutiny over female bodies – and a costly one at that, for an extra layer of gendered burden.
How was it possible that something that felt profoundly individualistic and pleasurable and even empowering – the fun I had in choosing a lipstick colour or a pair of shoes, the confidence I felt when indulging in certain outfits – was so laden with negative overtones? Could one be independent and intelligent and be taken seriously – and still enjoy a crinoline from time to time?
These were not idle thoughts but genuine debates I had with myself as I considered my responsibility not just to myself, but as a member of a larger “womanhood.”
On top of that, like many women, I struggled with my body – the food I ate, the shape of it, the way it changed through puberty and adulthood and motherhood. From my early teens forward, the message I heard was clear: unless you’re perfect, you need to cover up.
The result of all this body image/self-perception/internal philosophy was a wardrobe of black, with high necklines and long sleeves – and a lot of not-quite-being-myself-in-my-own-body. I’d treat myself to a pair of pretty tights or a satin purse or dramatic earrings – then tuck them away for “someday.”
It’s impossible to do that forever, without being unhappy. For me, a series of seismic life shifts, starting in my mid-20s, slowly – glacially slow at times – allowed me to come into myself in ways that were colourful, individual and most importantly, unapologetic.
It turns out that the unexpected result of indulging in the fashion that I loved – regardless of current trends or the disapproval of others or even my precise body shape at any given time – had the precise opposite effect I had feared when I was younger.
I don’t feel silly or self-indulgent, childish or fluffy – I feel like a woman in charge of herself.
It is a work in progress, and like most women, I’d be lying if I said I walk out of the house feeling divine every single day. I often pile on dramatic accessories, then take them back off. I try to tame my hair and lament when it’s bigger than it should be. I second-guess a polka-dot dress or a particularly bright pair of knee socks and wonder if I should go back upstairs and change. And it ain’t all silks and satins: many days, what makes me happiest is a pair of black leggings, an oversized sweatshirt, a ponytail and a pair of flip flops.
The point, though, is this: I dress for myself and I take intense pleasure in doing so – whether it’s dressing up or dressing way down – and if onlookers enjoy it, or don’t, is entirely secondary.
Discovering Cherry Velvet several years ago now, at the tail end of a lot of personal change, was (at the risk of sounding overly dramatic) a revelation.
The dresses were gorgeous, for sure: vintage shapes, big skirts, figure-hugging in the best ways even for curvy bodies.
But it was the spirit of the dresses that I fell in love with.
They’re meant to stand out. They are totally unapologetic. The fabrics are quirky at times, irreverent and fun. Squirrels and birds. Bicycles. Flamingos. Sushi rolls, anyone? Some are elegant, in classic colours and muted tones or bright primaries. They’re fun, and intentionally so. They’re pretty, elegant or cute, depending on the fabric and design. And let’s not mince words: they are ALL sexy as hell. (And, the cherry on top: the company is owned by a woman, the dresses are designed by that same woman, and the manufacturing happens locally – not to mention ethically, which can’t be said for most overseas clothing production.)
(Christina with her sister, both loving the same dress :)
But here’s the most important thing, in my opinion: these dresses are made to be worn. They’re comfortable and sturdy (yes, sturdy, and how often can you say that about a dress), practical (I’m talking pockets) and a breeze to take care of. They’re easy to get in and out of, with long zippers, or shapes that you can simply pull over the head.
In other words, they are made FIRST AND FOREMOST for the person wearing them. Think about that for a moment. They’re made with the woman who will wear them as the primary focus. Shouldn’t be so revolutionary, but it is.
A majority of fashion is made to look good to an observer but doesn’t feel so good to the person wearing it. Outfits are designed and made like props, objects one is required to “put up with” for the benefit of the world. The phrase “suffering for fashion” comes to mind.
But if I am truly dressing for myself, it can’t be just about the way a thing looks, it’s also fundamentally about how I feel while wearing it. And Cherry Velvet nails it.
I recently went out for a long-awaited celebration dinner with a group of women friends. All of us are CV fans and we each wore one of our CV dresses.
Not one of us wears the same size or even has the same shape. Between us we have given birth to nine children. We all have body image “junk,” parts of our bodies we like more or less. And we all enjoy very different things when it comes to colour and design.
The result? We were proud as peacocks in our dresses; from my solid cherry-red to my friend’s bluebird print, we were wearing every colour of the rainbow. We added cute-as-pie shoes, cardigans for our shoulders (hey, it’s still dang cold out), sparkly bead necklaces or pearls or no accessories at all, and off we went.
And every single one of us felt incredible. How often does that happen with a group of women? We were comfortable. Sexy. Smart. Fun.
We had a waitress take our photo and I sent it to Cherry Velvet that same night with a note about which designs we were each wearing. We are grinning like mad fools.
And though it was left unsaid, that photo for me was really a thank you – a way to say “look at us, all so different and so imperfect and so very, very beautiful being ourselves.”
Because what I’ve figured out, at long last, is that being different and imperfect – in body, in thought, in fashion - is not an impediment to being me.
Being different and imperfect – and feeling good about this – is, in fact, the very basis of being exactly who I am, as it is for all of us.
Christina Myers for Cherry Velvet
Christina Myers is a former journalist turned freelancer and creative writer. Her work appears in local magazines and she has been published in a number of anthologies. She is a fan of dresses with pockets, long socks and nerdy things. Find her online at christinaplus.wordpress.com, or on Twitter @ChristinaMyersA.
Elly Mayday's Message to all Women
Published Mar 08 2019 in Ashley Luther, Body Positive, Elly Mayday, Ovarian Cancer, Plus Model
You may have heard about Ashley Luther, also known as Elly Mayday; a body positive model that, sadly, recently passed at the age of thirty. We spent a day with Elly back in 2013, shortly after her diagnosis and want to share her video message again with all of you.
Elly's message is about Ovarian cancer -a much less talked about, but a very serious type of women’s cancer. Did you know there is no screening test for cancer of your #ladyballs. This is a somewhat controversial name for your ovaries, but it does require both knowledge and guts to beat this difficult to diagnose disease.
The teal green shade of her hair represents the colour of the Ovarian cancer ribbon. These photos were all taken just before she planned to shave it all off. (due to the expectation of hair loss from Chemotherapy)
It's important to our designer, Diane, to spread awareness, as not only did she lose her Mom to Ovarian cancer at a very young age but also her Sister-in-law as well.
There is no one specific symptom for Ovarian cancer and these symptoms are generally vague/non-specific (often mistakenly attributed to other causes). It’s called ‘the disease that whispers’ for good reason: it’s often overlooked and under-diagnosed.
Do you do a breast self-exam every month? What about going for an annual pap test? These simple steps could save your life. Taking care of your #ladyballs is not as straightforward.
These are the symptoms to be aware of:
- Swelling or bloating of the abdomen
- Pelvic discomfort or heaviness
- Back or abdominal pain
- Gas, nausea, indigestion
- Change in bowel habits
- Emptying your bladder frequently
- Menstrual irregularities
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Mass or “lump” in your pelvis that you can feel
- Inability to eat normally
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding
We hope we’ve inspired you to catch up on any tests you haven’t taken lately, and brought attention to ways to help spot Ovarian Cancer. Please also consider taking a moment to share this post with all the important women in your life so that they’ll be aware, too.
RIP Ashley Luther / Elly Mayday
XOX Cherry Velvet