Invisible Women, By Caroline Criado Pérez
Caught up in writing last week’s letter, which I normally outline the week before, I didn’t realise that International Women’s Day was going to happen in only a couple of days from sending it. Luckily, I am of the opinion that we should celebrate and empower women every day, so today I am doing just that by sharing with you a book that really opened my eyes to the bias we are facing.
It is in the smallest details of our daily lives – from how car seat belts are designed, how drugs are tested, how work is being quantified and monetized, how the streets are being cleared of snow after a big fall, and countless other small, but mostly enormous examples.
Invisible Women is monumental because it is extremely current and based on pure data. It’s impossible to argue with it, the numbers are very clear. I wish all men in my life would read it. I know all women in my life would, and this is my kind reminder.
I listened to the version narrated by the author herself and it’s a powerful experience, but I’ve been meaning to get a print copy and go through it again, so I can underline and take notes. This is a discussion we should have every day with anybody who dares to argue with facts, so we should all do our homework!
Source – Marlene Dietrich, ‘after having been threatened with arrest by the French police for donning a pantsuit in 1933. Until 2013, it was illegal for women to wear trousers in Paris under the pretense that she would have been “masquerading as a man.’
If you’re a woman, I bet that at some point in your life you were inconvenienced by the fact that an item of clothing didn’t have pockets. I recently came across this insightful video on the History of the Pocket on a favourite blog and it also reminded me of this short article on why Artists need Pockets by Austen Kleon.
Source – a whole Twitter thread about #DangerousCoats, a brilliant poem by Northern-Irish writer and illustrator Sharon Owens. Now all I want is a warm vintage coat with big pockets so I can embroider this on the back.
There is a lot to learn if we pay close attention to details, sartorial or not, that might otherwise seem unimportant or arbitrary. Notice Dietrich’s power pose in the image above, with one of her hands in her pocket. Even though she is being flanked and held by two men, she still looks powerful and one of the reasons for that is the power-pose, much more characteristic of men since only their clothes had pockets historically.
If you want to explore the topic further you can also listen to this episode of the Dressed podcast, and there is a plethora of articles and other resources around on the topic.
Preloved & co.
This is a ‘fashion trend’ that I absolutely support and have been following forever, mainly because it’s not a trend at all, it’s almost anti-trends! Buying preloved, pre-owned, second-hand, vintage or however you want to call it – I’m talking about the clothes sold on platforms like Vestiaire Collective, Depop, The RealReal, even Etsy, as well as on countless Instagram accounts and Facebook groups.
For me, it goes way back to my childhood when it was absolutely not-cool to go to the thrift stores, and yet I would go with my grandma and score all sorts of treasures, from amazing decor items and textiles to sometimes clothes as well. She and my grandfather were the first people to speak to me about the quality of clothes, of the fabrics and the cut, and to show me that what we were able to buy then (and even now) in stores in my home town was nowhere near what you could find in second-hand stores for a fraction of the price.
Decades later, I go to car boot markets and vintage fairs and browse the above platforms when I want to buy something for myself, and may I just suggest you try it too a couple of times if you haven’t already? Now it is very fashionable and I am pretty sure you’ll find some real bargains and become addicted to the thrill of what the next pile, rack or page of a search might reveal!
Max the Forger
Still under the spell of the Made You Look documentary I shared last week, today I recommend to you a series of short videos by Vice called Fakes, Frauds and Scammers, among them the charismatic Max the Forger – Max Brandrett. It’s only six-minutes, so I won’t divulge anything!
While you’re there, consider also watching this episode about another art forger, as well as the episodes about the honest gentleman thief, a modern Italian Robin Hood and the champagne lifestyle teenager who had a taste for the finer things in life.
I am afraid I’ve actually started re-watching White Collar so I hope you are not tired of this topic. It’s a surprisingly feel-good watch that I absolutely recommend!
Desktop Organising Backgrounds
I can’t remember where I found this link, it must be one of the brilliant newsletters I receive, but the idea of desktops organised this way, using the background image, is new to me and I think it is very clever. Naturally, I ended up googling and pinning ready-made templates to get more inspiration and create my own. I think this should be easy enough in something like PowerPoint if kept simple, right?
I hope you find it useful too!
Books make for the best ‘decor’ in my opinion, I’ve said this before and I will say it again. But that’s not only limited to actual books on shelves, indoors. Over the years I have come across some brilliant ideas of ‘ennobling’ the outdoors as well with these priceless objects, some, like the beautiful mural below or the book bench at the British Library in London, I have seen in person. Others I am still dreaming to see one day!
Which one would you visit first?
Do you know what flower frogs are? I didn’t until I came across some images of vintage flower frogs and now I want my own! These are normally glass or metal elements with holes, in all shapes and sizes, that can be put in a vase to help you create a beautiful flower arrangement. With spring upon us and an abundance of my favourite flowers at decent prices in every store, I wish I had one or a dozen of these handy.
Another item on my list for when markets and charity stores open! There are also of course modern flower frogs, some with metal pins, some ceramic, some minimalist… but the vintage ones are just so much more beautiful even on their own.
It’s no surprise that people collect flower frogs, and that some use them as holders for brushes, sewing accessories, pencils and other bits and bobs.
How did I know nothing about this?
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.