News » Body Positive
Tracy wears The Doris in Royal Roses
Long before I joined this team, I struggled with depression and body dysmorphia. For years, I did my best to love my curves,
but I became very aware of the lack of clothing that loved my curves back. Disillusioned by modern fashion, I turned to the wonderful world of Retro/Pin-Up fashion...
Years later, destiny would walk me through the doors of a place I wished I had found so many years ago.
Working here is like working in Disneyland; every new print, every new dress...there's magic for everyone. :) It's SO fun to pour over the swatches and discuss what's to come. I love that not only do our dresses love curves, they encourage them!
I would be remiss if I didn't reminisce about my favourite thing to do here - I absolutely love connecting with our customers during personal shopping appointments and studio shops (sadly on hiatus at this time). Helping our customers find their dress(es) is so undeniably fulfilling, I live for those happy twirls in front of the mirror! :)
As I continue on this journey, I reflect about how much I've grown here - In this short while, my energetic, positive personality has been more than welcomed and I'm so motivated by the strong women I'm surrounded by every day (Diane, Julia and so many of our wonderful customers). I love motivating our team, and I love sharing everyone's excitement for every dress we release.
I look forward to continuing my Reign of Sunshine here :)
Read my last blog post here!
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!
Much love to you our awesome customers. Stay safe and far apart!
XOX Cherry Velvet
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
"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.
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