"...brave and inspiring...required reading for those women who struggle with body-image issues - and even those who don't." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Kjerstin's First Book, Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love my Body by Not Looking at It for a Year, is a sociologically informed memoir that evolved from her popular blog of the same name. "Written in Gruys’s hilarious and very relatable voice, Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall is a keenly observed memoir of personal growth merged with timely social commentary on our culture’s unhealthy obsession with beauty. Gruys draws on her frontline expertise to explore the gender inequities created by society’s obsession with a flawless female body image. Putting a human face on an important issue with humorous and poignant scenes from Gruys’ life, Mirror Mirror off the Wall sparks important conversations about body image and reclaiming the power to redefine beauty."
Kjerstin's next book project, True to Size?: A Social History of Clothing Size Standards in the U.S. Ready-to-Wear Fashion Industry, will draw on participant observation, interviews with fashion insiders and consumers, content analysis of over 100 years of Sears catalogues, along with Kjerstin's own experiences working in the world of corporate fashion, to explore the puzzling (lack of) standardization in the U.S. Ready-to-Wear fashion industry. Why have women's clothing experienced extreme "vanity sizing" while men's clothing size standards remained the same since the late 1800s? If the average woman wears a size 14, why do most clothing stores stock clothing only up to size 12, and why does the "plus size" industry have such limited market penetration? Does the fashion industry really hate fat people? Weaving together more than a century of technological advancements alongside shifting cultural attitudes towards larger body size and women's sexuality, this research illustrates how clothing size standards reflect and reproduce notions of embodied gender, race/ethnicity, class, age, and sexuality.