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Pretty Much Everyone Is Upset With Nasty Gal

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I’ve Finally Found the Limit to My Vanity

I’ve done a lot of things to my face. I’ve dermaplaned it, shaved it, waxed it, plucked it, run hundreds of needles across it, lasered it, peeled it, squeezed the pores on it, injected Botox into it, self-tanned it, shone lights on it, masked it, rubbed my own plasma all over it, slathered Retin-A on it, and pulsated it with micro-current. Most of this was for my job, but really, that’s just a convenient excuse. I would have done all these things voluntarily anyway. You see, I’m vain. But I recently hit my own version of beauty rock bottom in my dermatologist’s office a few weeks ago.

Vanity about one’s own appearance is generally not perceived as a positive thing. There’s a reason the so-called French girl aesthetic is so popular now. It seems effortless and gives the illusion these women don’t care about their appearance. But they do. Laura Mercier (who is French) said at a talk I went to a few months ago that French women love to get compliments on their beauty looks or outfits, but then won’t share whatever perfume/hairstylist/makeup brand/store it is that they’re using. They want to keep these secrets to themselves. I loved this. It’s vanity, make no mistake. Obviously it’s a generalization about an entire demographic, but so are a lot of things about female beauty.

That serious women shouldn’t care about their appearance is another gross generalization. Ditto that women should aspire to age gracefully. This topic has been tackled a lot, but what does it even mean? I suppose that you should accept your lines and grays and saggy body parts. I’ve seen enough breathless celebrity coverage, however, to know that in our society it means that once you are out of your 30s, you should still look like you’re in your 30s (at the oldest!) but without looking like you’ve done anything obvious to yourself. Jennifer Lopez, 47, is the poster child for this. Gwyneth Paltrow, 44, and Jennifer Aniston, 48, are runners-up.

Countless headlines have been written — always shouting out their ages, by the way — about their admirable agelessness. Last year, W magazine ran an eye-popping feature about how much upkeep it takes to maintain this type of appearance; many celebs spend between $25,000 and $50,000 a year for a steady stream of appointments to look like they’re 32. I’m lucky that I’m comped quite a few things for my job, and I have disposable income to indulge in some treatments on my own, but that kind of time and money is totally out of reach for me, as it no doubt is for most women.

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I am two years younger than J. Lo. And I do not want to look like a crone. There, I said it! I wish I didn’t care (I aspire to this mindset one day), but I do. I’m working on it. It’s taken me many years to be able to admit my age publicly, but I now work with a lot of twentysomethings and in an industry where youth is king, er, queen, so I think it’s important to not lie about it. I’ve done a lot of stuff. I know things. I’ve made mistakes. I look at my age as an asset, finally.

My crepey under-eye skin, however, is another story. Which takes us back to my vanity and my dermatologist’s office. My derm is wonderful and has never pushed any treatments on me. I’ve been getting Botox for a while now, but she refused to give it to me around my eyes for several years until I finally begged. I hit her office a few weeks ago for a skin cancer check and started bemoaning for the umpteenth time the lines that go from my nose to the corners of my mouth and the general droopiness of my cheeks, and she said, “Well, do you want to try a vial of Restylane?”

Ugh, I did but I didn’t. Restylane is a hyaluronic acid filler. Just the word “filler”  is, pardon the pun, loaded. It literally changes your face shape. My derm said that some patients use up to seven vials at a time chasing that youthful plumpness, so one didn’t sound so bad. Before I could really think about it, I said, “Yes, let’s do it,” and a few minutes later, she was sticking a needle over and over again into the top of my cheekbones. (Filler, when deposited strategically, can act as scaffolding and lift everything up.) Unlike Botox, whose effects take a week or two to see, filler makes itself known immediately. I could feel some tightening in my cheeks, and also a few weird nodules under my skin.

When I finally looked in the mirror I saw… not that much difference. Perhaps my lines were pulled a bit more taut and my cheeks slightly more cherubic, but it was very subtle. Unlike the other treatments I get, which I often photo-document and then send to all my friends right away, I didn’t tell anyone about this one until now. It felt like I had stepped over a much bigger personal line somehow than with Botox.

I’m not judging anyone who chooses to get fillers, by the way. I have a friend who has had some moderate success making and selling organic face oils. She told me at dinner recently, “I look this way because of my filler, which I love. The oil is like the icing on the cake.” She looks fantastic, not filled. But it just wasn’t for me. The thought of having this foreign plumping substance in me — sitting there, shaping me —  was just too surreal. Potentially deadly toxin? I’m fine with that for inexplicable reasons, maybe because smoothing seems less extreme to me than actually changing the shape of your face.

Is this what self-acceptance feels like? I have no idea, but I’m happy to know my vanity has found its limit, at least for now. Ask me again in two years, though.

I would love to hear about your struggles with or blissful acceptance of aging. Drop me a note at cheryl@racked.com. —Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter

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Shopping
Nasty Gal’s New Owner Is Pissing Off Customers
Nasty Gal shoe display

Nasty Gal customers have taken to Twitter to lodge a number of complaints against the brand: un-trackable orders, duplicate charges, items that never arrived, and long wait times for answers to those problems. Some are calling it a “scam” and threatening to never shop there again. @NastyGalHelp’s mentions are a mess.

These issues trace back to the British fast fashion site Boohoo’s $20 million acquisition of Nasty Gal in late February, a few months after the latter filed for bankruptcy. Boohoo bought Nasty Gal’s intellectual property — its name, essentially — and customer databases, but not, as its customer service Twitter has been quick to point out to peeved shoppers, its operations.

Apparently this means that Boohoo doesn’t have access to tracking information for Nasty Gal orders placed before the acquisition on February 28th, and it doesn’t have to hand out refunds.

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The Only Thing I Need This Summer Are These Brother Vellies Sandals
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Brother Vellies Rose Marabou Lamu Sandal, $285

Every summer, I wear two go-to pairs of shoes. Generally one easy black sandal with a block heel or none at all, and then to its opposite, a pretty loud show-off shoe. The latter in years past have included a colorful pearl-embellished platform and a pair of backless metallic loafers. Truly, “loud” is the only actual criteria.

This year, that shoe will undoubtedly be the Brother Vellies Marabou Lamu Sandal ($285) in pink. I’ve seen them pretty much everywhere since last summer — from Eva Chen to my boss — and after a brief winter hiatus, they’re back in stock.

They’re really beautiful and insanely comfortable, with a cross-front style on a vegetable-tanned leather sole that’s covered in pink feathers (!). They’re the opposite of subtle, and that’s why I love them. Plus, I’ve wanted something from the brand for years now, and at $285, these stand to be one of the more affordable items on the site, if not the most.

They’re available for pre-order right now and are slated to ship toward the end of April. Normally the idea of waiting for something over a month after the money swiftly leaves my bank account would be (really) annoying, but considering New York City is still bracing itself for snowfall, I’ll get them just at the perfect time. —Tanisha Pina, associate market editor 

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