What is a maxi dress, and how do I wear it?

In the 1940s, stylish socialites and the hottest Hollywood starlets wore brightly colored dresses with long, full-tiered skirts. Designers drew inspiration for these so-called patio, or squaw, dresses from traditional Native American and Southwestern designs. Though the patio dress soon fell out of fashion, this ankle-grazing dress style was revived during the 1960s when women from all walks of life embraced the colorful, free-flowing maxi dress. Unfortunately, by the late ’70s, these long, billowing dresses had once again been relegated to the clearance racks.
After the sky-high hemlines of the early 21st century, the maxi dress gained a whole new generation of fans, as women everywhere sought out a comfortable

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, low-key alternative to the mini-skirts and impossibly short shorts of the period. However, the maxi dress is no longer the voluminous mound of polyester it was in the 1970s. Today’s designers rely on cotton and other fine fabrics, which keep the wearer feeling cool and breezy, even on the hottest summer days. Modern maxi dresses also offer a much more flattering fit, with plenty of styles to accentuate any figure.
Dressed up with simple jewelry and heeled shoes, these dresses give the wearer a look of casual sophistication that’s appropriate at a summer party or even at the office. Dressed down with flip-flops and some funky bangles, the maxi dress offers the perfect way to stay cool and comfortable at the beach or on vacation.
But what if you’re petite or plus-size? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a runway model to pull off this look. Part of the fun of the maxi dress is that with the right accessories and styling, this dress can work for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Ready to add this classic wardrobe staple to your closet? Read on to learn how to choose the best maxi dress and accessories for your body type.

5 Most Common Fetishes

The subject of sexual fetishism is one of those taboos that is, well, not all that taboo. In the right atmosphere, people barely hesitate to share what “really turns them on

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,” and you’d be hard-pressed to find a women’s magazine that hasn’t delved into the subject of fantasies, sex toys and stuff-he-won’t-tell-you-he-wants.
Are these fetishes? Sometimes. Technically, a sexual fetish is an intense focus on an inanimate object (like a shoe), a body part (like a foot) or a medium (such as leather or silk) that’s essential to a person’s arousal but does not have any inherent sensuality. A true fetishist cannot have a satisfying sexual experience without it, and it’s a problem, often interfering with real intimacy and sometimes resulting in destructive behavior.
But in the more common use of the term, a fetish is pretty harmless. It plays a supporting role, not the lead, in a person’s sexual experience. There are literally countless fetishes out there. Almost everybody’s got their “thing

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.” Still, there are those that turn up over and over in conversations, surveys and bedrooms around the world — a handful of sexual preferences that seem to be almost hardwired.
Here, five of the most common fetishes out there, beginning with one that’s relatively new¡­

8 Yoga Moves That’ll Help Keep You Calm and Collected Over the Holidays

The holidays can be a pretty rough time for some of us. If you don’t happen to see your family that often, it can be a bit too much family time at once. Why do you think so many people drink way too much? But yoga and meditation can truly serve to help you through some difficult times. My yoga studio, Amsa stays open throughout the holidays for the sheer fact that the owner feels that she needs to be there for her community during this sometimes tough part of the year. Instead of excessive booze

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, drugs, and other unnatural highs consider yoga as a means to relieve any tension. But if your studio isn’t open throughout the holiday or finances preclude you from attending, try these easy yoga and meditation methods.
Get Through the Holidays With Yoga and Meditation
1. Alternative Nostril Breathing–Nadi Sodhana (in Sanskrit)
Photo featured above-right
Close the right nostril, leaving the left one open and inhale, then close the left nostril and open the right, and exhale. Continue this same pattern on each side for eight more breaths.
Why it works:
Alternative nostril breathing almost immediately calms down the nervous system. It is also said to balance the thoughts and provide clarity so it’s great to do before you’re about to see family that you haven’t seen in a while, especially those relationships that may cause tension.
2. Breath Retention
Start off by inhaling and exhaling and holding at the bottom of the exhale for a count of one. After each inhale and exhale add one second to the count until you get up to five. After you reach five, count backwards back down to one.
Why it works: Breath retention is one of the easiest yoga breathing exercises to calm yourself down fast. The breath retention at the bottom of the exhale is one of the few moments where thoughts exit. 3. Meditating on Understanding Start by sitting for at least 15 minutes, without moving in a silent place. It’s usually best to meditate in the early morning. Close your eyes and begin to follow the breath. The practice tells you first to forgive yourself for your shortcomings, because it’s impossible to forgive others if you cannot forgive yourself. Then meditate on the idea that we are all connected all the way down to the cellular level. Contemplate that we all need the same things: food, shelter, and the breath. Why it works: It’s much easier to try and understand where family and friends are coming from during the holidays, rather than becoming hurt and angry when you feel you have been wronged. By realizing that at the core we are really all connected, it’s easier to forgive those that upset you and listen to them instead of constantly reacting. 4. Double Pigeon–Agni Stambhasana Simple bend the right leg parallel to the top of your mat and then stack the left on top, heel to knee. Alternate sides. Why it works: Double pigeon is great for stress relief for a number of reasons. First of all, it is an extremely deep hip opener and we hold a lot of emotions in the hips. While it may seem counterintuitive to shake things up and get emotions flowing, eventually suppressed emotions will bubble over. I’ve taught many classes where this pose has caused an emotional release and in a controlled environment, that’s a good thing. But at the same time folding forward calms down the nervous system and provides a sense of inner calm. So while emotions may bubble up, you are calm and ready to face what will come. 5. Child’s Pose–Balasana Sit on the back of the heels. Place the head on the mat. Bring the hands to the sides of the body. Why it works: Child’s pose is great for slowing down the thoughts. In fact, it’s almost frightening how fast the pose works to blanket the body with a sense of inner calm. The reason it works so well is because the pressure point between the eyes, called the third eye chakra in yoga, touches the mat and sends a message to the parasympathetic nervous system calming down the entire body. Coupled with deep breathing, the nervous system slows down in no time. 6. Walking Meditation If you don’t have the opportunity to sit in silence meditating, it’s possible to get some relief just walking around. Take a walk outside and as you walk count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Why it works: Not only does this make you mindful of what you’re doing, it calms you down from the inside out. Additionally, when the exhale is longer than the inhale it automatically slows down the nervous system. As you walk if you loose your mindfulness simply return to the breath and start where you left off. 7. Corpse Pose–Savasana Corpse pose is usually done at the end of your practice and it symbolizes the death of your practice. But it can be done at anytime. Simply lie on your back allowing the legs to fall out. Bring the shoulder blades together slightly in the back of the body. Place the hands beside the body and close the eyes. Why it works: Corpse pose serves to ground the body because when the body isn’t grounded that’s when it’s the most stressed. For example, if you’re moving full speed and you’re running around all day upset or stressed, at the end of the day you’ll likely overeat or drink too much in an effort to bring yourself back down to the ground, but if you stay grounded all day long in a constant state of serenity, you don’t need to reach for stress relief because you’re already there. 8. Shoulderstand–Salamba Sarvangasana Lay on your back. Place the feet on top of the head. Bring the hands to the hips and move into shoulderstand. Why it works: Inverted poses, like shoulderstand, refresh the glandular systems keeping you rational and avoiding any mood swings. Shoulderstand also serves to sedate the nervous system.

How Sock Hops Worked

To some, thinking about life in the 1950s harkens back to a golden age of wives in heels and pearls. To others, it symbolizes the rise of suburbia and the infiltration of TV into the living rooms of those far-sprawling abodes. To still more, the decade smacks of the Cold War and rising tension in race relations

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. But for many, nothing characterizes the ’50s more than the sound of rock-and-roll, the swirl of skirts, the crinkle of lettermen’s jackets and the soft scuffle of socked feet across a wooden gym floor.
For the 1950s was the height of the sock hop — a pop culture phenomenon similar to the informal high school dances of today. The hops got their name because of the requirement that the frolicking teens remove their shoes so they didn’t scuff up the wooden floors of the school gyms that hosted the mixers.
Not everyone thought sock hops were great fun, however. Despite the fact that schools condoned such activities, many parents were horrified by the idea since sexual taboos appeared to be shattering right and left: The music and the dances made popular at sock hops were considered far too sexualized by the older, more conservative set. Many of the most popular songs were also the work of black musicians

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, and racial tensions were starting to simmer to the surface during the 1950s and in the years to follow.
The new music and dances were coupled with an ongoing cultural phenomenon — in part fueled by movies and other entertainment medium — that deemed fun-seeking youths as dangerous. But if you were lucky enough to be allowed out of the house, what was it like to attend a sock hop? Find out about the sights and sounds on the next page.

How Flamethrowers Work

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?
Alexander Hamilton: Most Influential American?
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Topics in this Podcast: Chuck, josh
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How Drag Queens Work

Singer, actor and television host RuPaul has been touted as the most famous drag queen in the world and has helped bring the campy performance-oriented brand of cross-dressing into mainstream popular culture

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. In 1994, RuPaul’s sassy single “Supermodel (You Better Work)” broke into the top 30 on Billboard Music’s pop chart, catapulting the multitalented personality into a successful career with rижsumиж highlights including a high-profile cosmetics campaign, bestselling autobiography and hit reality television series. But RuPaul isn’t the first man to become a household name by donning a dress and high heels.
During the early 20th century, Julian Eltinge, born William Dalton, became internationally famous for his uncanny ability to act like a lady. Details surrounding his initial interest in mimicking women’s fashion and body language are hazy, as origin stories offer different theories, such as Eltinge’s mother dressing him up like a girl, him stumbling on his gender-bending knack while taking dance lessons and female impersonation on stage being a lifelong dream of his [sources: Landis, The Julian Eltinge Project]. Whatever the preceding events, in 1911 Eltinge won theatrical acclaim for his cross-dressing role in the hit play “The Fascinating Widow,” which would open the door to his ultimate status as the father of modern drag queens. Transitioning from the stage to the silent silver screen, Eltinge commanded one of the highest salaries in show business at the time, launched three fan magazines dedicated to his craft, accumulated a cabinet’s-worth of product endorsements and even performed for a delighted King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.
Considering the era’s restrictive views on gender and widespread disavowal of homosexuality, Eltinge’s onstage drag performances surprisingly didn’t ruffle many contemporary feathers; female audiences in particular delighted in Eltinge’s seemingly magical transformations into women. But in his personal life, Eltinge displayed a distinct unease with his stage trickery of posing as female characters. Extremely concerned that fans might assume he cross-dressed offstage or

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, even worse at the time, engaged in sexual relationships with men, the bachelor made well-publicized displays of his masculine passions and pastimes that included boxing, cigar smoking and fishing.
By the 1930s, Eltinge’s silent film star had faded as “talkies” attracted larger audiences at the cinema, and his gender metamorphosis shtick had lost its novelty. His story, however, is only one pit stop along the extensive historical highway of cross-dressing and drag queens.

Why doesn’t everybody drive on the right?

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Is Chick Lit Getting Better For Women?

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New York Times’ First (and Feminist) Female Reporter
Over at The New Republic, Molly Fisher declares “a new brand of chick lit has emerged. It is set against a somewhat less glamorous backdrop: the blogosphere.” To support her thesis, she highlights three new chick lit titles coming out that revolve around blogger heroines who seem to barely have time to update their Facebook statuses, much less go therapeutic shoe shopping a la Carrie Bradshaw: Jessica Grose’s “Sad Desk Salad,” Karin Tannabe’s “The List,” and Janis Thomas’ “Something New.” From what Fischer describes, the plots stray from the prototypical chick lit fare by focusing less around the long-term getting of some incredible guy (who even if flawed has the inhuman capability to morph from a monogamy-averse cad into a ring-shopping dreamboat in under 300 pages) than the long-term getting/retaining of some incredible — by Internet standards — job. Fisher writes:
Female labor, however

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, has always been at the heart of so-called chick lit, ever since its first titles were published in the 19th century, courtesy of the Bront? sisters and their contemporaries. As Kerstin Fest explains in her 2008 comparison of working women in Jane Eyre-era novels and modern chick lit, these books initially came about as a product of Victorian social unease regarding women and employment outside the home. As a result, “tales of women in the workplace are also tales about what it means to be a woman,” Fest writes. And in the following 120 years, she argues, chick lit has carried on that tradition, while nevertheless largely sticking to its Victorian guns that pits a public, masculine-by-default workplace against a private, feminine domestic. Dedication to one’s job often comes at the expense of one’s private (read: romantic) life, as exemplified in best sellers like “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Bridgett Jones’ Diary.” The happily-ever-after comes not only with snagging fella, but also retaining femininity after temporarily ditching in the pursuit of career advancement.
Now, that tide seems to have turned, judging by Fisher’s chick lit roundup

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. The heroines lead more lower-rent lives than Carrie Bradshaw & Co., are working in the wild world of new media and, most crucially, enjoy a fairy tale wrap-up at the office, not the alter. As Fisher concludes, “Working in journalism is no longer a convenient context for fantasy; the job-ever more improbable-has become the fantasy itself.” At long last, it seems, chick lit is catching up to nonfiction female empowerment beyond credit cards, hot flings and hangovers. Professional tenacity, perhaps, is no longer conflated with endangering one’s womanhood.
Yes, this small sample size of chick lit should be taken into account, but as an unmarried new media professional in her late 20s, that dream-job-before-dream-guy preference resonates with conversations my girlfriends and I have over the occasion “Sex & the City”-style brunch. Speaking to Poynter’s Mallary Jean Tenore, former Politico blogger and author of “The List,” Karin Tannabe, echoed how real-world working girl conditions have changed in the new media, post-recession landscape:
Nailing down a 401k, health benefits and a handsome salary certainly isn’t a particularly romantic escapist fantasy. But in the chick lit canon so rife with idealized femininity winning out over ambition, this 21st-century heroine could be a welcome new chapter in women’s fiction.
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Why are women’s clothing sizes so hard to figure out?

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Topics in this Podcast: women, clothing

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, fat, shopping
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