I grew up as a Tupperware kid. My mom Joanne Petrangelo and my best friend's mom Linda Novak sold Tupperware when we were kids. I will never forget when my mom sold enough Tupperware to get the station wagon. I had a love and hate relationship with that station wagon. I liked it because we could sit in the way back backwards (yes, with no seat belts), but I also hated the wood panelling on the side of it. I was fortunate enough to have a stay at home mom most of my elementary school years. My mom's only job outside of the home at that time was selling Tupperware. I remember seeing her drive away in that station wagon packed full of Tupperware merchandise. She would go as far away as Cook on some school nights (I remember thinking this was REALLY far away for a school night). It was a school night for my mom of course too because she got up every morning with my brother and I. So, when I went to my first Lularoe party I imagined all of those moms pulling away from their houses with their cars packed with clothing as their kids watched out the living room window.
As I entered the home of Christi Estey, I wondered, is this the Tupperware equivalent of our time? Christi is a local elementary school teacher who had opened up her home to five Lularoe Clothing consultants to bring all of their clothing to sell. It was 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in Hibbing in the middle of winter. I pull up to the house on Hematite Street to see a street full of cars lined up on both sides of the street. Just the previous Sunday it was the Super Bowl. This was apparently the Lularoe equivalent of Super Bowl Sunday. Melinda Ruzich, Cassie Belak, Sara Rock, Adrian Martire, and Tammy Mastakoski were all there to sell their Lularoe clothing stock.
I had a lot of curiosity about the incentive and drive for all of these women and the many more who have come to be Lularoe Clothing Consultants to sell this product. I had a lot of questions and thoughts. Is this a fad? Is this going to be around a long time? Is this the Tupperware or Mary Kay of our time? You can still find Tupperware and Mary Kay consultants by the way.
A few fun facts I learned at the Lularoe party
Husbands - SKIP this paragraph and go to the next one
They all also had stories about how their clients have enacted many different strategies to hide their purchases from their husbands. They all had stories to share in this regard. Here are a few they shared:
Christi Estey - the host
My first questions were for Christi. I had assumed that she was a consultant also. However, she was just a very kind friend who agreed to open her home like it was a store. When I asked her why she does this, she replied, "I wanted to help my friend Melinda. I love this brand so much I told her I would love to have people at my house to buy this clothing." In addition, she talked about how as a teacher she uses the many patterns of her many, many pairs of Lularoe leggings in her teaching curricula and methods. She wore the "popsicle" leggings the day her class was learning about the letter "P" and her beach themed leggings the day they learned about the ocean, beach, and water. She also said that she really strives to shop local at Moxie, Nina Brooke and Lularoe consultants. She also joked at how if I looked in her laundry I would probably mostly see two name brands - Under Armor and Lularoe and that her jeans are lonely because it has been so long since she has worn them.
Melinda is the first person I bought Lularoe from and was my teacher about the brand. She has been selling since November of 2016. She described herself as always being crazy about clothes and a need to being social. Therefore, Lularoe was perfect for her. She said, "I live in a home full of all boys. This is my fun and girly thing to do. I also love moving people off of black clothing and moving them into patterns. For myself, it is the first time in my life that I do not change out of my work clothes when I get home because I am so comfortable."
Sara is a stay at home mom and describes herself as a "social seller." She said, "This is my social time and I am selling something I love to wear. I literally wear Lularoe every single day. And I am not joking, every single day since November of 2016." She talked about how she became addicted to the "buttery soft" leggings and that is what got her hooked. It is also Sara's social time and a way for her to meet people. Sara is new to the Iron Range having recently moved here after her husband got a job in law enforcement.
Cassie talked it being a fun way to supplement her income. She also liked that it was flexible. This means that for her when she is busy with her boys during basketball season she sells less and does more Lularoe on the off season of basketball. As a mom of young children she also stated that it provided a great way for her to stay social in her life with other women. She said, "I already have a full-time job. This is a very fun way to spend time with other women and make a little extra money on the side."
Adriana Martire and Tammy Mastakoski
Adriana and Tammy are related by marriage and enjoy selling Lularoe because they both love clothes. Adriana sells Lualaroe in part to help pay for her college. This is something that they do together and also call it their "girl time." They have been involved only for a few months but can both see themselves doing it for a long time. They described getting their boxes in the mail like "Christmas morning."
“This is a conversation starter. We are all well aware that our colleagues who are chairs … are not interested in having this conversation right now. But you have to have a starting point. My constituents have urged me to be bold and take on social issues," said State Rep. Jason Metsa.
What is Iron Range State Representative Jason Metsa referring to? A new innovative idea in education reform? An economic development incentive program for the Iron Range? Nope. He was referring to pot and the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in the state of Minnesota. It was just three years ago that Representative Carly Melin lead the initiative to legalize the use of cannabis derivatives for certain medical conditions. Law enforcement groups, parent organizations, and drug counselors are against it. Supporters of legalizing marijuana are concerned about the consequences imposed and the incarcerations rates on many because Minnesota prohibits marijuana use. In the first 10 months of 2016, Colorado marijuana shops reached a significant milestone: $1 billion in legal, regulated cannabis sales. So far in the United States, eight states have legalized recreational use of the drug through a ballot measure. Because the state of Minnesota does not use statewide ballot questions, this would require a constitutional amendment.
This issue brings up a number of questions to consider:
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The Iron Range culture has its own sense of fashion. It just always has. I have grown up here since the early 1970's and am an '80's girl at heart. Recently, Todd told our son Evan, "Just go put on your airplane pants." Evan's response, "What the heck are airplane pants?" Todd was referring to those pants otherwise known as "parachute pants" of the 1980's. I could easily feather my hair and get the bangs high at any moment. You don't have to look too hard sometimes to see that Zubaz pants, the mullet, and feathered hair still have a solid place here on the Iron Range.
What I love: Clothes that are soft and comfortable
What annoys me lately: 1) Too many people who try to sell things to their friends on Facebook; 2) When I get placed in a Facebook group I did not ask to join just to get lured by the latest product "I must have......."; 3) When women try to convince me to buy something because as a woman it will "empower" me.
I recently became acquainted with a women's fashion company called "LuLaRoe." I first kept seeing on social media that some friends had the word "Lularoe" before their first name and I got curious. I knew that there was some trend happening that I was in the dark about. I soon learned that Lularoe was a clothing company and known for its signature item, the "buttery soft and smooth" leggings they offer. I remember the first time I came across them. I was volunteering at the Brickyard Fundraiser and a friend said to Michelle Rice, "I love those leggings you have on! They are so cute!" Michelle's response initially surprised me. She responded with, "They are the softest leggings you have EVER felt! Come feel them!" It seemed like too peculiar of a response to not engage in her request! So, there we were, at the Hibbing Armory touching and rubbing Michelle's thigh at her invitation. She was right. I have never felt anything so soft. The leggings sell for only $25 and come in two sizes: 1) OS and 2) TC. One thing to note about Lularoe when you first join, they have a language of their own that you need to familiarize yourself with. The "Lularoe Lingo" is important to know if you want an item that other women want. I have provided a key below for interpretation. Many of the patterns are a bit too wild for me, but they are infamous. The patterns range from solid (if you are fast at typing you can catch a pair of these), to geometric shapes, to CooCoo Clocks, dogs faces, to a pattern for every holiday during in the year.
The process to buy them can be quite hectic. You either wait for a live show to pop up and then claim an item by putting your e-mail address in the comment section on Facebook or you wait until a consultant loads an album and then scroll through fast to find "the one." The enthusiasm in the live show is nothing like I have every seen. You wait for the consultant to bring that item in front of the screen and the descriptions are always "you must have this" sort of description. Whoever gets their e-mail address in their first gets the item. If you are not a fast typer, I just that you type your e-mail address somewhere else on your computer and then highlight it and hit "copy". That way you can just paste it in to get in fast - that is unless you never want a black pair of leggings. I have decided that those who type fast only get those. Those who type slow will be wearing geometric shapes only forever.
Now, back to the title of the blog: Are leggings pants?............
Here are a few opinions across the country and the Iron Range:
Kelley Ann Conway - President Trump's senior advisor's response: NO
Apparently after Kelley Ann Conway (advisor to President Trump), wore that horrendous "revolutionary" outfit on inauguration day, she responded with something like, "Sorry to offend the black stretch pant leggings wearing women of this country with a bit of color!" So, we can guess that Kelley Ann Conway did not spend her Friday night on social media looking on albums of Lularoe (I promise, this will be my only political reference in this blog).
A few Christian Bloggers: NO
*Note: Yes, I am a Christian and yes, I am a blogger but I do not centralize or coin myself as a "Christian blogger" per se.
Christian blogger and Oregon mom, Veronica Partridge, took her struggle over whether or not to wear leggings to the internet. She asked her husband his thoughts on leggings. According to Partridge her husband told her, "When I walk into a place and there are women wearing yoga pants and leggings everywhere, it's hard to not look. I don't, but it's not easy." And with that, she stopped wearing them. A few other infamous Christian bloggers have called leggings "lustful." Partridge wrote that she is pleased with her decision..."My conscience is clear and I feel I am honoring God and my husband in the way I dress."
Lularoe fans on the IRON RANGE: YES, YES, and YES
Overall, for those who I asked on the Iron Range the question, "Are leggings pants?" their answers were "YES." I have to confess that I asked no one over the age of 50 this question. For those who said "yes" to "Are leggings pants?" question, their reasons included: 1) If your weight fluctuates like ours does in Minnesota winters, then wearing stretchy clothes saves both energy and money; and 2) Tight jeans or a form-fitting dress can be just as "revealing." There was also an attitude amongst many women of "There's nothing wrong with wanting to show off your body and if you're going to do so, you might as well do it in the softest leggings ever!"
Lularoe Lingo (yes, they do have their own language):
OS = One size
TC = Tall and curvy; fits sizes 12-22
OOTD - this means "outfit of the day". I have learned that a lot of Lulalover's (yes that is a real name), post their outfits for the day with the hashtag #OOTD
Unicorn = Your MUST have piece of Lularoe. This is a print that you have fallen madly in love with and must have. Every person apparently has a different "unicorn" that they are searching for. Mine is a basic pair of plain old black Lularoe leggings. I know, nothing exciting but very hard to find - just like a unicorn is!
Pop-Up = A Pop-Up is a personal shopping boutique that come to you through either online on Facebook Live or an album or in someone's home.