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Hip Hip Hooray

2011 June 29

For this installment of Academichic’s Dress Your Best, I’m celebrating my hips. They are the kind of hips one might call “child-bearing,” as though it were a good thing. And maybe it will be someday…but for now, let’s just say they are wide. Sometimes, that can be tough to deal with and dress around, especially when most modern silhouettes in design are based on rail-thin, straight up-and-down women. No hips included. It’s easy to hide in jeans or loose dresses, to camouflage the full shape of my body. But I don’t let myself fall into that trap too often–especially when I have this skirt. 

Joe surprised me with the skirt after a blog post on my Anthropologie wishlist I did some time ago. It’s bright, it’s colorful, and it’s fitted–very fitted. Luckily, it happens to fit me perfectly, but the fit means reconciling myself to showing off my hips. The high-waisted pencil skirt is a statement unto itself, and the bold colors in this number shout for attention.


Hourglass? Maybe…


As for the book in my hands, it’s a book by Stephen Puleo called Dark Tide and it chronicles a rather strange event in Boston history–the collapse of a mammoth molasses tank in the North End, unleashing a lethal tidal wave of molasses that killed twenty-one people, injured over a hundred more, and decimated the waterfront area. I lived in Boston for four years and lived within 50 miles of the city for nearly my whole life, and the first time I heard this story was when a friend recommended this book to me. My initial reaction was disbelief–“Molasses? What the heck was that much molasses doing in the North End?” I laughed it off as a historical quirk and moved on, but my curiosity about the story niggled me until I got the book from the library last week.

It turns out that the molasses tank was used to house millions of gallons of molasses for distillation into industrial alcohol used in munitions manufacture during World War I. Puleo’s book does a great job of portraying the real people affected by this disaster, and also placing the event in the wider context of what was going on in early 20th century America–covering prejudice against Italian immigrants, the Anarchist and Labor movements, World War I, Prohibition, and the rise of Big Business in the 1920s. It’s a fascinating read and goes at a good pace–although it’s harrowing and awful.

Is there any nonfiction you can recommend that has a good event and happiness as its focus??


7 Responses Post a comment
  1. Amy G permalink
    June 29, 2011

    Nice–sorta “modern-day Joan Holloway!” Book sounds very interesting, too.

  2. June 29, 2011

    So, two things: one, that skirt is fantastic on you! I, too, am of the hourglass-y shape and I love the pencil skirt look, even when I find it a little intimidating to wear. And two, that book sounds great! There was an episode of the podcast Stuff you Missed in History Class (so great, by the way) a year or so ago about the molasses spill and I was so honestly shocked and intrigued; who could guess that molasses could do so much damage!

    Oh, and a third thing: thanks for the sweet comment on my blog! I’m so glad to have found new blogs to read through Dress your Best week!

  3. June 29, 2011

    Cute skirt! That Molasses flood book is on my book list. I will get to it some day. “The Devil in the White City” by Eric Larson is non-fiction about a good event–the Chicago World’s Fair–which was certainly a triumph, but he also tells of the serial killer who lured young women to the fair and gruesomely murdered them, so you can’t say it’s all about good things. And even though it’s not about something good that happened, David McCullough’s “The Johnstown Flood” is one of the best non-fiction books about an event ever.

  4. June 30, 2011

    That skirt is super colorful! I absolutely love it.

    I found your blog through the Dress Your Best page, and I just have to add it…it seems we have related interests. 😀

  5. Mallory permalink
    June 30, 2011

    I love this skirt! So cute.

    In terms of non-fiction recommendations, I can’t think of anything that chronicles a “good” event, although I will say that Bill Bryson’s latest book “At Home” was a fun, fast, uplifting read, although it is anecdote-driven (rather than narrative).

  6. Mallory permalink
    June 30, 2011

    OH OH OH. I lied! SEABISCUIT! So good. So, so good. Narrative, happy, tumultuous, historical, well researched, yes.

    …You’ve read already, haven’t you?

  7. Raquel permalink
    July 5, 2011

    I loved “Dark Tide.” Puleo is a great writer. He’s written some other nonfiction books that are about less morose subjects. Last year I read “Thin is the New Happy” about a woman’s struggle to get over her body image issues and that ended up being a good and uplifting read. “A Secret Gift” was really good and uplifting, about a man who discovered that his grandfather secretly gave money to townspeople during the Great Depression. “Henrietta Lacks” was excellent. Reads like a novel. “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” was fascinating and lyrical.

    You look bangin’ in that skirt! You have a lovely figure…. I hope that doesn’t sound creepy. But this is coming from someone whose hips are so wide that I could balance a child on each and still have both hands free, as well as carry a full tea service on my behind without spilling a drop. And proud! :) Yay, hourglass-y shapes! (I prefer to think of myself as a “cello” shape–which sounds much more sensuous than an hourglass, no?) I definitely can’t pull off that shape of skirt, though, because my hip-waist-thigh proportion is even more pronounced than yours, so I need to stick to A-lines. Sigh. You lucky lady!

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