The Fashion Movement, Podcast Ep. 27

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 KATY: It’s the Katy Says Po-Po-Po-Podcast, where movement geek, Dani Hemmat joins biomechanist, Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA for discussions on body mechanics, movement nutrition, natural movement and how movement can be the solution to modern ailments we all experience. Dani Hemmat, how are you doing, and more importantly, what are you wearing right now? Is that a creepy question to start?

DANI: Ooooh, well, l guess that depends which direction you want to go. Let’s see…

KATY: What are you wearing, hmmm?

DANI: My corset is in the wash, so I have just opted for yoga pants and a tank top, or what my husband calls, “the uniform.”

KATY: The uniform!

DANI: The uniform.

KATY: Is it really hot? What’s the temperature like where you are right now?

DANI: It was, like, 98 or 99 two days ago, but now it’s 70 so I’m feeling pretty spoiled.

KATY: Yeah.

DANI: What are you wearing?


KATY: I’m wearing, uh…I’m wearing…we should post a picture. It’s pretty terrible. I have Nike running shorts on and a tank top and a thin shirt over it all.


DANI: Is it super hot where you are right now?
KATY: It is. It has been, but it’s super smoky right now because there’s a lot of fires going around, so all my clothes smell like smoke even though it’s really far away. We’ve got the smoke everywhere. Flexible clothing: comfortable, you know. That’s my uniform.


DANI: That’s right.


KATY: Yoga pants, yeah, yoga pants. I don’t even know if I own anything that’s not yoga pants anymore, but that’s what we’re going to talk about today, right?


DANI: That sounds good, because there was a serious clothes related injury that happened in the news. I think this is fascinating, and I’ll tell you why a little bit later as we get into it. There was a gal in Australia, I believe, a 35-year-old woman, and she was wearing skinny jeans while she was helping her friend pack and move. That there is a whole other podcast: why would you be wearing skinny jeans packing and moving? But after several hours of this, she got up and fell because she could not feel her feet anymore.


KATY: Mmm.


DANI: Apparently she –


KATY: That’s why I don’t help people move [Dani laughs] is because of the potential injury. Sorry, it’s just too dangerous!


DANI: I can’t do it! I can’t do it! Well, I guess she laid there for a while – no, it says she spent several hours outside before she got to the hospital.


KATY: What happened to her friends!? What happened to her friends?


DANI: They were busy moving! No, she pulled herself like a zombie, apparently with her front arms, to the hospital. I don’t know. I’m – there we go. [Dani and Katy laughing]


KATY: She crawled on her stomach. . This is how rumors get started.


DANI: This is poetic license, that’s terrible. That’s what you get when you do this with a writer. But she got to the hospital and then for days and days, could not properly work her feet.


KATY: Did they have to cut her jeans off her? Didn’t they cut her jeans off her?


DANI: They had to cut the jeans off – I guess her, calves were swollen? Or her feet were swollen? After 4 days she still had some weakness but she walked out of the hospital. They’re saying the dangers of skinny jeans – “just don’t squat in them.” So let’s talk about that.


KATY: Oh my gosh.


DANI: You wrote, I guess you wrote a blog post on when it happened, right after it happened, because how could you not?

KATY: No. Again, one of those things, really –


DANI: There’s so much important stuff!


KATY: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.


DANI: Because it’s not just – it’s not just what it is. I mean, we have to talk about this.


KATY: Well, there’s a lot of sensationalism. It’s like, everything gets boiled down to the garment, you know, it’s like, someone gets hurt and the garment – it’s the garment that’s the problem and it’s like, what’s the mechanism? What’s happening, because the garment could, if that garment is the problem, then everyone wearing it would be likely to experience the same issues. So could there be something else happening? A relationship? An interface – between the garment and the garment wearer – that is the problem? Because we don’t want to make the mistake of thinking the skinny jean is the issue, because then if you can find people who don’t have the issue it’s very easy to say the skinny jean is not the issue. To eliminate it as a variable when what was happening – what were the mechanics of her particular situation?


DANI: Right.


KATY: And this one made headlines because it was so…I don’t know, why did it make headlines? Video footage of her crawling out of the house on her stomach?


DANI: Yeah, commando style, like she’s in ‘Nam pulling herself down the streets of Australia. I don’t know. And the reason she couldn’t call the hospital is because she couldn’t fit a cell phone into her tight pockets? That’s my conjecture.


Katy: Yes!


DANI: I have it all figured out, man.


Katy: This is why the Fanny Pack needs to come back, because if she had been allowed to comfortably in society wear a butt pack, then she could have –


DANI: Are you – are you pro bum bag?


KATY: I’m not pro or anti-bum bag, and that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it called that, but I just think that there’s a lot of things that we could be doing wearing fanny packs if we weren’t worrying what everyone was thinking of us.


DANI: I just wanted you to be for it because I wear one when I go out walking –


KATY: That’s so cute!


DANI: – with my dogs, and my family calls it mah nerd pack.


KATY: You put your dogs in your butt pack?
DANI: No! But I have my phone and my poop bag, all that kind of stuff.


KATY: Your gear, sure, your gear.


DANI: But I love the bum bag, within reason.


KATY: I don’t have one. You know, I’m one of those people who has, like, 20 things in their hands. As a kid my mom was always screaming at me, “Get a bag!” and it’s like, “no, I prefer to carry all this stuff and then drop it and then pick it up again!” I just do that, and then, you know, any time I get anything, my husband’s like, “oh, great, I can’t wait to hold that for you, too.”


DANI: Oh, what a sweetheart.


KATY: He is, but he actually means it sarcastically.


DANI: I know.


KATY: I know you know, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that.


DANI: Ok, back to this crazy injury. Let’s delve in deeper as to why this happened to her – this was everywhere. NPR, Newsweek, NBC News – pretty much every news source picked it up across the wires, and they just went with, “Don’t squat. Don’t squat.” But you, in your blog post, which was called, Skinny Jean and Compression Garment Injury, (that is on your blog, at, June 23rd) I think you did that. Then you talk about why.


KATY: Yeah, and also, what is a skinny jean? I mean, I thought it was really interesting –


DANI: Yeah, let’s talk about that.


KATY: What is a skinny jean? What is a skinny jean? I mean, if you think of a skinny jean as a particular cut of jean, that could be what you think of as a skinny jean. But as far as, let’s say someone has a pair of skinny jeans on – what – I was trying to quantify a skinny jean.


DANI: Well, maybe we should back up and talk about tight.


KATY: Well, but do skinny jeans have to be tight? That was my question – that’s my big question.


DANI: Ohhhhh.


KATY: If “skinny jean” is nothing but a particular cut, meaning very narrow in the legs, all the way down, and you are someone who has very narrow legs all the way down, then “skinny jean” might mean something different to you than a skinny jean where everything is particularly narrow – like, there’s no bagginess to it at all. But your body is slightly larger at rest, out of the pants, than it would be in the pants, right? So in the blog post I’m trying to tease out a little bit that what I mean by “skinny jean” and that what this woman was experiencing had much more to do with the pressures created by the garment – not by the shape of the garment itself – because if the shape of the garment is real similar to your shape, then the pressure is going to be less. If the shape of the garment is real different than your resting shape, and that means, like, you in your birthday suit –


DANI: Right.


KATY: – Then the pressures are going to be higher. So I’m always more concerned with the forces, and the forces in this case are: What is the pressure created by wearing the garment?


DANI: Well, you, for example. You frequently wear – you know, I’ve never seen you in pants that are normal pants, but you always wear workout capris or lycra – stuff that is clinging to your shape, it is your shape, the clothes that you wear in particular, but they are not squeezing your shape. So I can see your shape when I am with you, but I’m not – it’s different. It’s a different kind of fabric and all that stuff.


KATY: Well, again, pressure is not just by the shape of your clothes, so if I take a pair of skinny jeans and I put them right next to a pair of yoga pants and they both have the same cut – so now I’m talking about cut, the geometry or shape of the fabrics at rest. So if I were to make a pair of stretch pants using the same pattern that was used to make a pair of skinny jeans, then you could compare those two pairs of pants – they could have the same cut. But the experience of the wearer would not be the same because the material – the give of the material – would be different. Now we have a new variable. I think I only own one pair of regular pants, which are jeans, and they’re stretchy jeans. Everything else that I own from top to bottom – from socks to pants to underwear, bras to shoes and sweaters, shirts and sweaters and jackets – they all give. I don’t have any clothing in my closet, give or take one or two pieces that I can’t think of because I never wear them, that don’t have give – meaning that, if I bend, they don’t bend with me. And as for sizing, I don’t wear any clothes that are not my same shape. So since I have a – I have an unusual – I have an hourglass shape, so that’s pretty unusual as far as clothing goes. Because I have this limitation on myself because I don’t want any clothing that doesn’t allow me to move, I’m stuck with exercise wear for the most part.


DANI: There are worse things to be stuck with.


KATY: Well, that’s true, and luckily there are a lot of really cool – as this movement towards more natural or organic fibers and using cottons grows – they’re creating clothing that has a lot more stretch or give. So a lot of people that will wear clothing to mask their shape – they’re trying to use clothing to re-shape – fashion –


DANI: Mm-hmmm


KATY: They’re using fashion to re-shape your shape to some preferred ideal based on the cut, right? So how it looks to the eye – when you’re looking at something and you go, “oh, make sure you have a jacket that tapers here, or make sure you have pants that have darts here,” – those geometrical features are trying to create a net appearance of a certain way. And then you have clothing that physically alters your shape, right? So those garments – gosh, there was a really cool photography blog post where he – the photographer – had taken pictures of women after getting out of their clothing all day. So they had worn their clothes all day, and they came to him, and they’d take off their garment, and it wasn’t a full body shot – it was about him capturing with his camera the indentations –


DANI: Oh my gosh!


KATY: – of the clothing on the skin –


DANI: I’m writing that down, we’re going to try to include that, that’s cool.


KATY: It’s somewhere on the Facebook page, because it was so great – you know, you think of Spanx. Clearly, if you’re wearing Spanx or a corset you’re physically trying to alter your shape. You got that. But maybe why you choose jeans over stretch pants is because you’re also trying to alter your shape; you want something that’s going to hold things in a little bit or that creates a smoothness. If you don’t have that smoothness or that shape without those clothes, something is pushing on something else and these photographs were such a really good, like, wow! I didn’t realize that my socks were indenting! Or that the seams on my underwear were all day pressing into my skin! If you – I take of f my wedding rings at night because I can see my hands are becoming deformed to my jewelry – it’s shunting things around and affecting the flow within those areas. That was a really beautiful depiction, photo depiction. I can say and say and say all these things but until you look at a photo of these women who took off their everyday clothes that they wear all day long – and this is you pushing your bodies into fitting into your clothes! And then he had the evidence of it every single day. I thought that was interesting.


DANI: That is. And I’m sure we’ve all seen evidence of that on ourselves.


KATY: On ourselves!


DANI: So let’s talk about that: potentially compressive things on your body -garments, things you wear. So you’ve got your skinny jeans, and you saw these in that blog post, but underwear – tight underwear and tight bras – and we’ve done a bra show, or I guess we called it the Breast Show, and we did a Balls Show, and we talked about those forces of tight underwear on your bits and pieces. So that matters. Belts. What do you do with a belt, when you cinch a belt down, and then just plain old tight pants, which, you know, I’ve never been a fan but you know that about me already.


KATY: Clothes that are tight –


DANI: Yeah, anything that’s too tight.


KATY: – so anything that doesn’t fit well, so there’s the effects of pushing on your skin, which then pushes the stuff under your skin around. This is everything deep to your skin, so everything that is inside your skin sack. But then, say you put on a pair of jeans and you have to [gasps] suck in your stomach to get them to fit: that’s another pressure change that isn’t as simple as pressing on blood vessels – you’re actually pressing on a big chamber of air and moving that around. I’m covering that in the diastasis recti book that comes out: core strength in general, how we displace our air filled chambers because it’s invisible but can create other forces elsewhere. You’ll suck your stomach in to get your waist narrow enough to fit in your jeans, but what happened to all that stuff that was in there? It was moved out of the ring of the jeans and if the front panel of your jeans is also tight, all that had to be displaced upward. That then pushes up into your diaphragm, which then pushes upward into the thoracic cavity where your heart and lungs are. So there’s different ways – it’s not just compression in the sense of fluid compression, trying to keep a volume smaller so that the fluid can’t flow into it, but sometimes fluid in this case is air, and pressure chamber distortion. Don’t know if that’s the way to say it.


DANI: Well, it does, you say it really well in the post – ‘you don’t come with extra space.’ So that stuff has to go somewhere, and I think that’s just not a – people don’t think about that.


KATY: The stuff that’s on the front of your stomach, if you can get it to go away for a picture, where did it go? You don’t have any extra space, what you do have is malleable walls so you’re able to move things away by changing the lengths of walls elsewhere. Then we have all these pressure related issues like hernias and diastasis and, well, pelvic floor issues and breathing problems – all of those functions. Your body functions really well on effective pressures, and so when you start playing with your pressures for the sake of vanity, then you start – your vanity starts encroaching on your biology a little bit.


DANI: Ooh, that’s good.


KATY: You want to Tweet that?


DANI: I am right now! That’s why I’m pausing. Hey, can I read something cool that you wrote? It was a really short blog post but it got her done – it got the job done. I’m going to read something. ‘You are a body full of tubes, tubes with important jobs. When you push on a tube, the fluid inside of it has to move elsewhere and the flow through the tube changes. And here’s a list of tubes that live inside your pants.’


[Dani and Katy laughing]


DANI: ‘Arteries, veins, lymphatic tubes, the digestive tract, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and then tubes through your privates.’ Let’s say that one again: tubes through your privates. We’re going to link to an article in the show notes – boys can have testicular issues as well from your skinny jeans, and you don’t have to squat to do it. There’s a lot of stuff in there that people aren’t thinking about, and it’s not their fault but thank you for alerting us to that.


KATY: Well, the tubes that live in your pants are important, but I think what was really the cool takeaway that I think one of our colleagues pointed out – Movement Revolution – I think it was Petra of Movement Revolution. She found it interesting that the recommendation was, “Don’t Squat in your skinny jeans.” Not don’t wear them, but don’t squat in them. Again, this is one of those things where our behavior: our physical behavior, our movement behavior, is altered to perform some sort of other acceptable societal behavior like wearing nice clothing or the clothing of the time, and those subtle “Move Less” messages are everywhere. Not don’t wear the pants – just don’t move in them. And I find that very interesting.


DANI: Yes, and even the doctor that they quoted in the AP story says he doesn’t wear skinny jeans himself – and not because of the medical risks. “I’m just too old to get away with them.” That was his quote.


[Katy and Dani laugh]


DANI: May we all be too old to get away with skinny jeans! And listeners, if you have not yet heard the breast show and the ball show – I think it was called the Boob Show, actually, let’s just call it what it is –


KATY: Yeah


DANI: The Boob Show and the Ball Show, we kind of flesh out better the –




DANI: – clothing’s impact on the cellular load, and so those are great shows if you want to learn more about what you’re doing to yourself with that stuff that doesn’t fit so well. That leads us to the next thing – if I’m not supposed to wear this, and not supposed to wear that, would the best thing be a muumuu?


KATY: Well, that’s a logical leap – tight clothes are bad, so let’s go to baggy clothes. But it all depends on the variables that you’re assessing – what’s your model? If you want to avoid compression issues, then yes, baggy clothes would certainly be helpful. However, if you’re talking about natural movement as a whole, baggy clothes can be problematic on their own. If you’re just trying to figure out what to wear to the office and you don’t want to wear something tight, can you wear something flexible and has more give? Fine. But I’ve noticed with my children – I have a story about my son, when he was learning to climb. When he was like one and a half or two, he could climb up on – you know you go to the playground that has those things that have springs on the bottom, and they’re always like sea horses, and they rock back and forth. Well, he could barely – just by a body segment length – he could get his foot up on the loop and he could reach up and hold the handle, and he could pull. He had to strengthen his arm, and his leg, and the mobility in his hips to lift his leg up to the other side so he could climb on this – and when you have kids, you’re constantly just watching – for milestones, and you note, “He can do that now,” or, “She can do that now.” And then a week later we went to the same park and he couldn’t do it, and he was very frustrated, and I was like, he could just do that last week! I just made a Dianne Fossey note about my little gorilla: he can’t do that anymore – that’s strange! And then it just took me maybe 5 minutes before I realized that his father had put him in jeans! A baggy jean, not a tight jean, but a baggy jean – but the baggy jean had a certain length of the crotch and it still affected his hip range of motion. So here you have this pattern recognition machine that’s going out and trying to gather what it can and can’t do, whose data set – whose input – to a certain motion was like, ‘oh, I can’t do that because of the clothing,’ – the clothing itself was a cast. At that point, I was like, “yoga pants for everyone! Including the children,” because when he had something looser on – or baggy – that posed its own problems because the bagginess would get caught – it’s like, your clothing is an extension of your flesh wall. What do you want it for? You want protection from temperature, perhaps for modesty, but I think earlier on it was more about for protection. If it’s getting hooked – if you’re trying to climb trees, or balance on things, baggy clothes are a liability because they catch on things and they create forces and you can’t feel something that’s two inches behind your body. Even though you’re using it as an extension of your body, it’s really baggy body-ness that has no sensation that gets incorporated in your brain, so really, the BEST would be clothing that serves whatever your modern world needs are – temperature wise or modesty wise – without limiting your biological needs, which would be movement. So for me, that has become fitted clothing that is completely flexible, but not tight. So fitted but not tight – it matches my shape, you’re trying to just get an extension of your skin. That’s what I use my clothes for.


DANI: I like that, the skin wall. And who among us hasn’t been caught on something that we don’t even know? If we wear something bigger or flowy, I mean, I’ve been there where I get something hooked and rip on a chair, and I didn’t even know that was happening because it was too far away from my skin wall!


KATY: Well, my daughter really likes princess dresses but even she also loves to climb, and after the tenth time of being stuck up in a tree because her clothes or whatever – the straps on her shoes – whatever she felt like she wanted for her, you know…clothing also serves quite a bit of happiness or joy. There’s a joy in self-decoration. So without taking anything away, you have to balance all of the needs that you have in your own life. She loves those things but she self-adjusted because she valued the art of climbing trees more than the art of decoration. So once we kept pointing out, “yeah, that’s not a great tree climbing dress, is it?” She was like, “it’s getting caught!” So she really loves self-decoration so she just draws hearts and flowers and paints all over herself and she climbs naked now.


[Dani laughs]


KATY: So I’m still looking for where I can move to so I can do that myself, but so she found this balance of what she wanted, which was – she loves decoration.


DANI: That’s awesome


KATY: I’m talking, head to toe paint. My husband was like, “I think we need to take her to a tattoo expo or something,” because he’s like, “she’s’ going to clearly come home with some sort of body art at some point.” But she doesn’t like anything to limit her extension of her shoulders and her hips, and she gets very aggravated and when she realized it was her clothing, now she wears nothing puffy. She’s like, “I don’t want anything puffy!” and so now when she does get dressed it’s all fitted, and you know, part of that is modeling, because that’s what I’m wearing as well – but her expressed rationale for those things has to do with that she’s noticed it was affecting her physical prowess.


DANI: That’s brilliant. You should take her to a henna party, have a little henna party.


KATY: you know what? There was just one here and I was thinking she would love, love, love that.


DANI: Because then it wouldn’t rub off when she’s climbing up a tree, she could still be so lovely. Lovely and decorated, that’s awesome. And she does the decoration herself so she gets to dictate what goes where.


KATY: Oh, yeah. She’s just into it – that’s what she does every day for 90 minutes is self-decoration.


DANI: There’s so many variables to what we can put on our body, and there’s just a whole other path that you can go down, too, when you’re starting to investigate: what feels good on my body? What works for me, and does it interfere with my biology and still make me feel good? And then that would bring us to slow fashion.


KATY: Yes, slow fashion is kind of my new – it’s my new passion, can fashion be a passion?


DANI: Slow fashion can be a passion.


KATY: Slow fashion passion.


DANI: Just don’t go party crashin, yo.


KATY: Oh, man, I wish I was a rapper, because then I could be dashin to figure out that rhyme.


DANI: Oh, I wish you were a rapper, too!


KATY: I’m not an artist! At all!


DANI: Leave that to me.


KATY: I’ll leave it to you. I’m such a linear thinker, I’m like, a – fashion, crashing, I have to go through the alphabet as a list. There’s no creativity here.


DANI: So, slow fashion is your passion.


KATY: Slow fashion is my passion is the idea that the textiles in your home have the potential to be something that is much more taxing. When I say “your biology” I’m usually referring to what’s deep to your particular skin, but of course “your biology” is also the planet, the environment, the community – all those things. As far as the ecosystem is concerned, there are fashion and clothing sources that are better for you in terms of – well, maybe their chemical treatments – but also in terms of sustainability. Where they come from and then whose lives were impacted by making them, and how they were impacted – there’s just so many variables with clothing. Companies that have – that are more slow – kind of like the slow food movement –


DANI: That’s what inspired it, yeah.


KATY: Yeah, so there’s a cool NPR – did you listen to that NPR piece?


DANI: I didn’t, that’s from April and we’ll link to that in the show notes, too. But if you cannot wait, person listening, it’s called, Slow Fashion Shows Consumers What It’s Made Of, and that was April of 2015.


KATY: Do you do any slow fashion? You probably do, right?


DANI: I’ve been looking more into it because I really don’t – my husband calls me Gilligan because I wwear the same thing all the time.


KATY: The uniform!


DANI: The uniform. I mean, I’m so – he’s very dapper and has great clothes and stuff and I swear, if you had 8 shirts all the same color and 8 yoga pants – I’d just be so happy.


[Gilligan’s Island theme plays in the background]


KATY: Lil’ Buddy.


DANI: Yeah, Lil’ Buddy. I am Gilligan and proud of it. I have been exploring this more, because as you think about those things like, well, how does this impact the tubes in my body but also the rest of the ecosystem surrounding my body? Because that matters, too.


KATY: Sure


DANI: So I have found one that one of our colleagues alerted us to and it’s called Pun-Jammies, I think?


KATY: is it pajamas?


DANI: Well, they’re like East Indian pants but I think they’re recycled fabric. They’re made from women who are trying to get out of the sex trade. So they’re not cheap, so they’re getting a good wage for these pants, and stuff like that matters. You can go down lots of different paths – who is making it? Ok, well if you’re just happy with that, that’s good. Where did it come from, what kind of chemicals are on it? I know you had that thing with your bed. Is that when this started or were you kind of down that road anyway?


KATY: I think I started down the road when we were considering raising sheep. I mean, like I need anything else to do – I was like, “we don’t need any more warm bodies on this property!?” But sheep! And then looking at wool as how it contributed to – what’s the wool industry? I know there’s this resurgence of people who are raising their own wool and cleaning it and dying it and then knitting things from it. I grew up in California, so I was like, “what’s a sweater?” I didn’t even know until we moved to Washington and then found out that layering 7 California outfits still wasn’t going to be warm enough for Washington, and then I wanted to buy warmer clothes, but again – everything has to be super flexible, and I really like wool, but then I wanted wool that I knew where it was – what are the animal conditions of the wool? Basically, the animals are laborers – they’re growing it. What kind of working conditions, and where does it come from? I just became more concerned, really – I just like to be thoughtful. Concerned isn’t really the right tone. I like to think through about, “where is my money?” I vote with my dollars. Where is my money going? So I found that I could buy clothes from local handcrafters, you know, at farmer’s markets. Another really easy way to go slower with clothing is just to buy used clothing. Even if the clothing that you’re buying – if you’re there going, ‘there’ s no way I could afford slow clothing.’ Slow clothing, like high quality food, is more expensive because what makes it usually so inexpensive is that someone in another place is wiling to work in conditions that you would never yourself –


DANI: Right.


KATY: – tolerate and that’s what makes it cheaper. So if you don’t have the funding –


DANI: Yeah, shortcuts make it cheaper. Slow food doesn’t have that.


KATY: No, so for instance – I buy Soft Star shoes, usually new. But other than that, almost 100% of my children’s clothes are hand me downs or second-hand clothing, as are mine in my closet. So I buy a lot of second hand stuff, which is another way of going slow – it just keeps clothing in circulation so that the efforts that went into creating that product are not in vain. Sharing – you know, we did a show on community and one really cool event that I don’t think got in the show, that I like to have a couple times a year – I like to invite all my friends over for a fun night. It usually involves some sort of cocktail –


DANI: And rapping! No – sorry.


[Sound effect: electronic Katy, attempting to rhyme]


KATY: Yeah, I got nothing. Nothing.


DANI: Bless your heart for trying!


KATY: Thank you! Please submit all the words you’ll expect me to need rhymes for at least 7 days before recording. Thanks, Management. So take all the clothes out of your closet that you just never wear that are awesome, high-quality clothes still in great condition. You could donate them, or you could just bring them to your friends. My mom started this, where she had everyone bring on hangers – clean, not in a big garbage bag – but hung up on hangers, all pressed. She created 3 or 4 boutique stations, because my mom is good like that. She’s very much into the aesthetics and beauty of presentation, which is probably where my daughter got it from. So people laid out their jewelry and their clothing and their bags like it was for sale, like you were at a store. And everyone just swapped clothes. People walk around going, “I love this!” and tried it on, and everyone left with maybe 10 brand new things and no one bought anything.


DANI: Your mom is awesome!


KATY: And everyone cleaned out their closet, and everyone got – it satisfied so many buttons. That is a great community/eco-friendly/minimalism-friendly/just really good time need, all met. Boom, in the same time.


DANI: Brilliant. I’m glad you brought that up – thank you. So when you’re not, you know, getting stuff at second hand stores, are there some companies that you like, besides Soft Star shoes? For clothing, is there anything that you are particular that you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and found out that you like quite a bit?


KATY: Most of my – I’m not a fashionista at all. So my clothing is – I wouldn’t say that how I look is really great on a regular basis. I mean, that’s not – I would just say that clothing for me is not a – I don’t invest a lot of money in clothing, except for underwear. Undergarments. I don’t buy used underwear – not that I have a problem with anyone who does, but I don’t. So as far as slow, sustainable clothing – Pact clothing – you can follow them on Twitter @wearpact and they’ve got really beautiful, soft, cotton-y. I want to use the word delicious but I don’t know if that’s the right word. It’s yummy-feeling clothes and they have great socks. I love socks, I love underwear, so I am always buying – we’ve got a lot of agricultural tourism in this area. There are young people starting up alpaca farms and sheep farms. I have a lot of alpaca. I probably have the equivalent of one whole alpaca in my closet in terms of sweaters and stuff. So that’s where I splurge. And I think there’s a company, I buy their underwear a lot, I think it’s called Nausea?
DANI: Excuse me?
KATY: Nad-ja? Not nausea.


DANI: Put it on and you won’t be sick!


KATY: Yeah, it’s N-A-G – I’m sorry – N-A-J-A. Naja.


DANI: Oh, I think I’ve seen that. I know what you’re talking about.


KATY: They were on Shark Tank. I’d already bought some, and then they were on Shark Tank, and I was like, I think I just bought that underwear, and so –


DANI: That’s cool


KATY: – they’re made by single mothers or women heads of household, and so that’s they give the labor to. It’s clothing that has particular interests in not just producing clothing the way that they’re going about it is to maybe solve other problems at the same time. Besides, everyone needs underwear. So those are my undergarment recommendations.


DANI: I’ll have to check that out. Hey, I forgot to share a story with you about this whole injury thing.


KATY: Do it.


DANI: And we’re almost out of time, so I’ll just squeeze it in. Ha! [Katy laughs, groans] So, I don’t know – did you know that I worked in France picking grapes? I’m not making this up, so I’ll just get to it. I worked in a vineyard as an apprentice and I got to stomp the grapes in the tub, just like Lucy. But you’ve got to pick the grapes first, and so this is weeks of squatting in these vineyards with clippers, clipping grapes and throwing them into a bucket. So after about 4 days of this – I think I was in my early 20s – after about 4 days of this – and I was just wearing Levi’s, not tight jeans because I wasn’t a tight jeans kind of girl. I guess they were tight enough – 4 days – I get up, and I’m walking across the farm at lunch and I just fall on my face. My feet don’t work. I had the same injury as this woman.


KATY: What! And no one did an article on you?
DANI: It was in France in the early 90s, and I go to the hospital because it’s an awesome medical system and the doctor looks at me and pokes a pin in my feet and stuff. My hip flexors worked, so I could still walk but I had to throw my legs up like a duck, like a marionette to walk – and she goes, “oh yeah,” and this is all in French, so I hope I have this accurately – “oh, yeah, this happens often. We call it les jambs de vendages or ‘grape pickers legs.’” She says, “quit picking grapes, quit doing that, here’s a cane.” They gave me a cane with which to walk – which, you know when you’re in your 20s and working in France, trying to pick up on guys, nothing is hotter. Nothing is hotter than walking on cobblestones, throwing your feet out like a duck in your purple leather jacket. I mean –


KATY: You should have gotten some Nausea Underwear to just tie that whole thing together.


DANI: It never would have gotten that far – you should have seen me. But yeah, I could not for several weeks, I didn’t have full nerve feeling and control of my lower legs, and that was it. You know what they gave me? They were so cute, like, [French accent] “here’s some B vitamins – go!” and that was it. So the same thing happened, so when I read that I was like, “oh my gosh!” And I wasn’t wearing skinny jeans but I had enough compression going on.


KATY: Yeah, wow.


DANI: That is the story of Me and The Grapes. Thank you for listening.


KATY: Yeah, that is – you know what I’m trying to do right now? I’m stalling, because I’m trying to find out if I have any words that rhyme with grapes, and I got nothing!


DANI: Come on, Diane Fossey! APES!


KATY: Apes! You’re so fast – that’s why I love you! Nothing but apes, picking grapes.

DANI: Picking grapes. All right, peeps. Thanks for listening – for more information, books, online classes, etc. – you can find Katy! Katy Bowman at You can learn more about me, Dani Hemmat, movement warrior and corset burner at Thanks for listening!

KATY: Bye!

DANI: Bye bye.

Show Notes:


Pact Underwear:

Clean By Design:


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