Meghan Markle Returns from Maternity Leave—Wearing Her Own Designs

Meghan Markle officially ended her maternity leave today with an engagement close to her heart: She launched a capsule collection to benefit her royal patronage, Smart Works, which helps women dress and prepare to confidently enter a job interview and the work force.

The Duchess of Sussex partnered with Jigsaw, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, and Misha Nonoo to create five pieces that any working woman will appreciate; for every item purchased, one is donated to Smart Works. Of course, there’s no better model for Smart Set (as the collection’s called) than the designer herself—so obviously, Markle styled some of the items on herself for the launch.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex wore the Misha Nonoo shirt and Jigsaw pants from the Smart Set collection, adding some Markle Sparkle to the launch.

Misha Nonoo The Smart Set Shirt

Misha Nonoo

$154

Buy Now

Jigsaw Paris Slim Fit Tapered Trouser

Jigsaw

$147

Buy Now

She paired the pieces with a Polo Ralph Lauren belt, Manolo Blahnik pumps, and Princess Diana’s butterfly earrings, per the fabulous ladies over at What Meghan Wore.

At the event, Markle spoke about why this initiative is important to her—and what she hopes it can accomplish.

“A big piece of this [project] is trying to transform the idea of charity to community,” she said. “The way that we do that, I think, as people is that we go into our closet as a woman and say, ‘I’m going to make a donation.’ You don’t go in a closet and toss in a box whatever you don’t care about anymore. That’s charity as we know it today. Community is going through your closet and saying, ‘This is the blazer that I wore when I nailed my first job interview and got my dream job and I don’t need that anymore because I’m where I want to be.’ But if I’m able to share that blazer and be part of another woman’s success story, then that’s community.”

It’s definitely nice to see our American Duchess back in action. Next up, a royal tour of Africa, which should bring us many more sartorial delights.

17 Celebrities Who Have Plastic Surgery and Injectables

Thanks in part to social media and the rise of “lunchtime lifts”—cosmetic procedures that require little to no down-time—the tides are turning when it comes to plastic surgery. While many still prefer not to disclose the work they’ve had done, more women are opening up about the changes they’re making to their appearances.

For years even a whisper of plastic surgery or Botox was considered taboo, but it was especially so in Hollywood, where an incredibly singular form of “natural” beauty has long been the ideal. But like the influencers on our feeds, celebrities, too, have gotten more candid about their decisions and are reclaiming the conversation. Scroll on for 17 celebrities who are open about the changes they’ve made.

Hunter McGrady: I Turned Down Over 30 Fashion Week Jobs That Weren’t Inclusive

Though calls for size inclusivity at New York Fashion Week have gotten louder in recent years, curve models are still a minority in the grand scheme of castings. One of these women is Hunter McGrady. The size 16/18 model, who’s been working in the industry since she was 15, has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and walked the runway for Chromat. In spite of these wins, she says she still finds herself being the only curve model in the room. And this season, she decided she’d had enough of it.

In order to really move the needle, McGrady decided to speak with her actions: She would flat-out turn down jobs that didn’t prioritize inclusivity, be it through who they cast or who they invited. After speaking on a panel at the CurvyCon, she opened up to Glamour about why she made this decision, what the reaction has been, and what true fashion inclusivity looks like.

Every year at Fashion Week, I’m always looking to see which brands cast diverse models—people of different sizes, races, genders. But by the end of it, I’m usually left disappointed. This year, I decided: Any event, fashion show, or party that’s going on and is not inclusive, I’m not going to be a part of. I’ve turned down about 32 opportunities this season because of that.

I’ve told people both online and in person that I’m taking this stand, and the response has been amazing. I know a few of my other friends are doing the same thing. But I think a lot of people have been wondering why, exactly, I’m doing it. For me, it’s more important to make it known that I’m not going to support somebody who doesn’t support me. If you’re not including plus-sized people, that’s basically what they’re saying to me. And I’m not okay with that. Hopefully, if enough of us take a stand, it’ll start catching on. We’re no longer supporting exclusivity.

I’m so tired of being the token plus girl invited to these things. I’ll feel really defeated. There have been times where I’ve gone home and cried after an event because, in that moment, I’ve felt like we’ve taken a step back. I alone am not enough to call a runway show “diverse.” If it’s just me, then we’ve got a big problem.

Hunter McGrady on the Chromat spring 2020 runway.

Victor VIRGILE

It’s also about not showing just one type of plus body: I want to see someone who’s a size 24 on the runway because she’s out there and she deserves fashion just as much as anybody else. Beyond size, I want a more diverse group of people at Fashion Week—all races, all genders. I want everybody to feel like they’re needed and wanted and heard in the industry because that is what’s fashionable to me.

Every Single Item from Meghan Markle’s New ‘Smart Set’ Fashion Collection for Charity

It’s almost hard to remember a time before Meghan Markle’s every outfit change was documented and tracked down, credit for credit. Up until this point, the best any royal fan could do was to shop the pieces she wore to channel the duchess’s refined, understated, small-business supporting style—which they did in a huge way, causing even the smallest business to rack up massive waitlists almost instantaneously. But nothing will compare to the responses to Markle’s personally curated fashion collection for charity, available for purchase today.

In partnership with Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Jigsaw, and personal friend and designer Misha Nonoo, Markle created a limited-edition capsule that follows a one-for-one model: For every piece sold, one will be donated to Smart Works to help underprivileged and unemployed women dress, prepare for, and ultimately ace job interviews. Which is wonderful news for anyone who appreciates a good cause as much as a work bag.

“Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organisations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact,” the Duchess said on the Sussex Royal Instagram. “It was just last September that we launched the ‘Together’ cookbook with the women of the Hubb Kitchen in Grenfell. Today, a year later, I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good.”

“Thank you to the four brands who came together in supporting Smart Works on this special project—placing purpose over profit and community over competition,” she continued. “In convening several companies rather than one, we’ve demonstrated how we can work collectively to empower each other—another layer to this communal success story, that I am so proud to be a part of.”

A dress, pair of perfect work pants, a blazer, and a blouse also the fill out the Markle-approved line, priced reasonably. (Most pieces are under $250.) Markle unveiled the collection at a rooftop launch event in London and you can shop it right now.

There’s a chic work tote (available in brown and black):

John Lewis & Partners Leather Smart Set Tote Bag

John Lewis & Partners

$134

Buy Now

… a versatile blazer:

Jigsaw One Button Jacket

Jigsaw

$245

Buy Now

… a slim fit work pant (available in black and navy):

Jigsaw Paris Slim Fit Tapered Trouser

Jigsaw

$147

Buy Now

… a day dress (available in black, blue, and pink):

Marks & Spencer Crepe Shift Dress

Marks & Spencer

$24

Buy Now

… and a crisp white button down:

Misha Nonoo The Smart Set Shirt

Misha Nonoo

$154

Buy Now

Fashion fit for a Duchess and that benefits a good cause? That’s shopping we can get behind.

Elizabeth Warren Makes Social Security a Feminist Issue

When people talk about the issues that have the biggest impact on women’s lives on campaign trails or in boardrooms, the same problems tend to come up: the wage gap, paid leave, child care, violence against women, and reproductive healthcare. But those structural issues don’t affect women in a vacuum; each has consequences that can sometimes be overlooked.

Take retirement benefits. It might not seem like an obvious feminist issue, but as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) explains in a new Medium post out now, the current calculation used to determine benefits for older Americans disadvantages women, and it costs us millions of dollars.

Because of work and wage discrimination, Warren explains, and the fact that some women take time out of the work force to care for children or sick relatives (and do so at higher rates than men), women’s average monthly Social Security benefit is just 78 percent of the average monthly benefit men receive.

It’s more than unfair. It’s catastrophic, and it’s affecting women’s financial futures. The National Institute on Retirement Security reports that women over the age of 65 are 80 percent more likely than men to live in poverty. That’s in part because people who dedicate their time to the care of a child or a relative don’t just make less at their prime earning age, but receive less once eligible for federal benefits.

“That particularly harms lower-income women, people of color, and recent immigrants,” the Medium post adds, with more than 43 million informal caregivers (60 percent of whom are women) spread out nationwide. T

he bottom line on that? It’s brutal. A 2011 report found that women over 50 forgo an average of $274,000 in lifetime wages and Social Security benefits when they leave the workforce to take care of an older parent.

As usual, Warren, whose poll numbers in the Democratic presidential race have risen over the past few months, has a plan for that.

Her new proposal would make several changes to the Social Security program. First, it would give almost all recipients a boost of about $200 a month, financed with a tax on the wealthiest Americans. But second, it would adjust the formula that the program uses to calculate benefits to assign proper value to the unpaid, but crucial work women do for their families. As it stands now, benefits in the program are calculated based on a person’s average lifetime income, with time spent out of the workforce recorded as a zero, whether it’s spent providing child care or not.

Warren, who has rolled out an impressive affordable child care plan, wants to fix that. Her plan would replace that zero in the calculate with the average national wage for each month a person provides up to 80 hours of care to a child under the age of six, a dependent with a disability, or an elderly relative. Moreover, as Warren writes, using that benchmark as a baseline would provide a particular advantage to lower-income workers, who might have otherwise made less than the national average. That’s the exact population that Warren wants to help.

“Women make up the majority of caregivers in America and our current Social Security system doesn’t fairly value their work,” Warren said in an emailed statement. “My plan recognizes how valuable the work of caregiving is and ensures that people who take time out of the workforce to take care of a relative get the higher Social Security benefits they deserve.”

Victoria’s Secret Might Be Getting a Brand-New Look—But Is It Enough?

As Fashion Week unfolded in New York—and Rihanna hosted her Savage x Fenty show in Brooklyn—Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands held its investor meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The consensus around Rihanna’s entry into the lingerie space has widely agreed that the current biggest name in intimates apparel could never. L Brands had an opportunity to prove otherwise.

According to Fortune, at Tuesday’s meeting, Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Officer John Mehas, who joined the company from Tory Burch last year, expressed confidence that the path forward to success was evolution and putting women at the center of the brand. “We need to be led by her, for her,” he said.

For Mehas, the future of Victoria’s Secret—a brand that hasn’t cast size-inclusive models and whose parent company’s stock fell 28% since beginning of the year—will look different by way of more wireless bras, a push toward matching bra and underwear sets, a new approach to sale associate training, CNBC reports. “[Customers have] been very vocal about what [they’d] like to see from us in terms of inclusivity, #MeToo, rethinking the fashion show,” Mehas said. “We’re essentially in agreement at this.”

At the meeting, sister brand VS Pink revealed images of its new direction, as well—one aimed to win back it’s Gen Z market. As Wall Street Journal reporter Khadeeja Safdar shared on Twitter, its creative team teased an upcoming campaign that featured a group of models of different sizes wearing brightly-colored clothing. The image suggested a more body-positive approach to product and advertising, but any information about potential size expansion has yet to be confirmed.

Pink’s CEO Amy Hauk (who, like Mehas, assumed the position last year) promised at the meeting that the brand is “committed to learning” and shifting its focus to the “power of femininity,” according to Fortune. But as the main Victoria’s Secret line, a clear vision has not yet been shared. “Amy and the team are a little further ahead than we are,” he said. Hauk was also the only female executive to present on stage at the investor meeting.

These investor meetings come a little over a month since L Brand’s former chief marketing officer Ed Razek left his post. A 36-year Victoria’s Secret vet, he was at the helm throughout the time when the brand’s identity was made iconic, i.e. the era of the VS Angel. Thin, cis-gender models in heavily-padded bras, oozing sex appeal that felt intended for the male gaze. A “fantasy” as Razek would call it, but one that excluded anyone who didn’t fit those parameters—something the former executive confirmed in an interview with Vogue last year.

All the Curve Models Who Walked During Spring 2020 New York Fashion Week

It’s well documented that the fashion industry has a plus-size problem. It’s seen in the lack of clothing options above a 12 and lack of representation in ad campaigns, editorials, and other imagery. There’s a long way to go before proclaiming true progress and inclusivity. But there are a handful of designers aiming to be a part of the solution by showing size diversity on their runways during New York Fashion Week.

With inclusive casting already in the DNA of brands such as Christian Siriano and Chromat, it’s no surprise—but exciting nonetheless—that show-goers were met with megastar personalities such as Marquita Pring and Precious Lee on the spring 2020 runways this past weekend. However, it’s also worth recognizing when brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Kate Spade New York hire a range of body types (even if it’s for the first time) because it means that designers and casting agents are listening and actively taking steps toward a more body-diverse future. That said, it also doesn’t hurt that women like Paloma Elsesser have a sick runway walk. Ahead, a reminder—and a celebration—of all the curve models who worked New York Fashion Week like a legitimate Super.

See every single curve model appearance on the spring 2020 runways (and, in some see-now-buy-now cases, fall 2019) during New York Fashion Week, ahead.

Modern Fertility Launches Annual Fertility Tracking That Puts Women In Control

Cheryl was 23 when she got married and always assumed she and her husband would have kids down the line. “We talked about having two to four kids. There were all these different periods where we set an age or a stage but then we would get there and it would be like ‘oh not yet,’” she says. “We had originally said for sure when I turned 30 we’d start trying—and then the year I turned thirty he decided to get his MBA.”

By the time Cheryl hit 32, kids still weren’t on the horizon. “He asked to wait another three to five years, and I was like oh my gosh, that’s not a part of my plan and now I kind of feel like it’s never going to be a part of our plan together,” she says.

As every cliche about biological clocks will tell you, fertility declines with age, dropping sharply around 35. But the curve doesn’t look the same for every woman—your individual hormone levels and factors like when your mom went into menopause all help to create a more personalized view of your fertility future. But historically, getting this information about your body has been out of reach unless you’re actively trying (and failing) to get pregnant. That means women like Cheryl who are trying to be proactive about making major life decisions have been left without all the info. “I was like this information is there, and it’s mine, and it’s my body,” Cheryl says. “So why wouldn’t I have it?”

Cheryl heard about Modern Fertility, one of a handful of femtech companies (and Glamour’s partner in the Modern State of Fertility survey) who are putting fertility insight straight into the hands of women with an at-home test that gives you a real time look into key measures of egg quality and quantity. “Let’s be realistic—as much as I can climb a career ladder, I only have certain years that are my fertile years. So why aren’t I learning more about my body and what’s possible and what my options are?” Cheryl says.

Modern Fertility’s at home blood test measures key hormones that can tell you if you have more or fewer eggs than the average woman your age, when you’re likely to hit menopause, and give you insight into potential egg freezing or IVF outcomes. Cheryl’s test results were promising—she could likely have kids if she wanted to. So she had a choice to make: stay in a marriage where kids were uncertain or take control. Eventually, Cheryl and her husband got a divorce.

At 33, she was back on the dating scene, armed with new insight into her reproductive future. For the first time in over a decade, she was dealing with all the uncertainties that come with finding a partner but now there was one other uncertainty: how long could she wait before trying to have kids?

A fertility test like the one Cheryl took is a helpful tool—one data point that gives you a good idea of your chances of getting pregnant right now. But the real power comes from understanding how your body is changing over time. This is where Modern Fertility’s latest resources, launching today, come in. To give women like Cheryl the information they need to make major life plans, the company overhauled its fertility reports to support annual testing, allowing women to get specific insight into how their reproductive curve has changed from the previous year. “We periodically check up on our daily steps, nutrition, and financial savings, not to mention cholesterol and blood pressure—why shouldn’t we routinely check in on our reproductive health?” Afton Vechery, co-founder and CEO of Modern Fertility, said in a statement. “This isn’t just about planning for kids or having them, it’s about owning an important piece of our body that impacts our overall health and future.”

Here’s How Kate Middleton Is Preparing to Be Queen

According to a new cover story in People this week, Kate Middleton has taken a few steps to cement her place as future queen.

Royal insiders tell People that the Duchess of Cambridge has really come into her own since the birth of her three children. We know that she takes a hands-on approach with her kids and is even the family photographer from time to time. Sources say that the confidence she’s gained over the last few years is also reflected in her own charity work, which focuses on issues related to parenthood and child development. She’s reportedly even writing her own speeches these days and sitting in long meetings with U.K. organizations.

“The Duchess wouldn’t just join us, she would stay for the whole meeting. She has a deep curiosity to really understand the issues,” Kate Stanley, director of strategy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, tells People.

“She is now more open with what she wants to say, and funnily enough, she is more relaxed as well,” a family source also told People, while another source added, “She is finding her voice.”

Fans saw a glimpse of this in January, when Middleton spoke frankly about the struggles of motherhood. “It’s so hard,” the duchess said at an event. “You get a lot of support with the baby as a mother particularly in the early days, but after the age of one, it falls away. After that, there isn’t a huge amount. Lots of books to read. Everybody experiences the same struggle.”

Meanwhile, a third close royals source told People, “She is an adoring mother, and she is contributing publicly in the way we would want her to. You see it more and more. The young student has turned into our future Queen.”

Weight Stigma Is Real—It Almost Caused Doctors to Miss My Cancer

My 5-month-old baby girl was shrieking into my left ear when the oncologist sat down. Our friends had come with me to watch her in the lobby during my appointment, but she was having none of it. So we all piled into the exam room and heard him say the words: “You have bone marrow cancer.”

Everyone was staring at me. The baby was screaming hysterically. All I could think was: let’s get on with it, this kid needs a bottle.

The first trimester of my pregnancy had been pretty uneventful, but during my second trimester, my blood pressure started creeping up. On a visit to the hospital to have it monitored, doctors found elevated levels of protein in my urine—often a sign of preeclampsia. But something didn’t quite add up. My high-risk OB told me she didn’t like how much protein they’d found. She wanted me on bedrest at home for the duration of the pregnancy. No going to work, no major chores, and constant monitoring. Ideally, she said, the protein in my urine would go away within a few days of having the baby, which is how preeclampsia usually resolves itself, but we had to make sure. She recommended I visit a kidney specialist as soon as my pregnancy was over.

On bedrest, I did a lot of puzzles and pretended I was going to knit a blanket. I was induced at 37 weeks (i.e. eight-and-a-half months), and the baby arrived no problem. She was tiny, strong, and stunning. We named her Rose. A few days later, the high-risk OB called to remind me to follow up with a kidney doctor. “To check on that protein,” she said.

We were getting used to a new normal at home. The dog was licking Rose nonstop, I was regularly peeing my pants before I could make it to the bathroom, and nobody was sleeping. At some point amidst the chaos, I logged onto my insurance website and found a kidney doctor who was covered by my plan. After lab work, I sat down with my doctor to go over my test results. The protein was still there.

We sat for a moment. “Can you start dieting and exercising?” she asked. “Try to lose some weight.”

Huh? I’d been through dozens of medical appointments throughout nine months of pregnancy, and no one had mentioned my weight. But I didn’t want to argue with her—she was the expert. “Okay, yeah. I can do that,” I said.

“Take the baby out for walks, eat less salt, nothing from a box, eat plants,” she instructed. She didn’t have to explain it to me. As a 38-year-old woman, I was painfully well-versed in how to lose weight. From the media to my own family, the world constantly encouraged me to stay obsessed with my size, and like literally every other American woman I knew, I’d spent a lifetime consumed by how I looked, and haunted by the number on the scale. It was inescapable.

I didn’t want to sound defensive, so I didn’t tell her that I already knew all about weight loss, or that I’d lost 115 pounds with diet and exercise at an earlier time in my life when my body image had been an emotional burden for me. I didn’t tell her that I lost that weight for vanity and to please my family, not for health reasons. I didn’t tell her my weight had never actually been a health issue for me, because I didn’t think she’d believe me. And I didn’t tell her that the idea of losing weight to fix this current problem sounded like a bunch of bullshit.

I didn’t tell her any of that because that’s not the kind of thing a doctor prescribing weight loss wants to hear. So I just played along. “And if I lose weight, the protein will go away?” I asked. “Yes. Lose weight, the protein will go away. Come back four months from now.”