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Tag Archives | fashion

Dress Codes?

I’m in The National today, writing about the question of whether the UAE should institute a dress code law.  I’m thinking it’s a bad idea, unless they include a provision about men having to cover up their visible back hair on the beach.

Click here for the article. What do you think? Dress codes or simply rely on good judgement?


Continue Reading · on July 7, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Feminism, Politics

can you be homesick for awards shows?

Confession: I love awards shows. Love the pre-game show, love the presenters stumbling through their teleprompted “witty repartee,” love the post-game recaps, love the glossy magazines filled with pictures.  Often I watch these shows while on the phone with my sister so that we can be catty about all the outfits (although, sadly, in this era of omni-stylists there are fewer and fewer faux pas).  And sometimes, I’ve been on the phone with my sister and on twitter and facebook, multi-catting, as it were.

The Golden Globes are on tonight–this morning–and I can’t find a live feed to save my soul. Although truth be told, it would feel a little weird to watch an awards show while eating my morning toast.  Maybe it’s a delayed reaction to being back in New York over the winter holidays, but for the past few days I’ve been feeling homesick, and missing the awards show has added to that feeling. (Yes, okay, sue me, deep down, I’m really shallow as hell.)

So in an effort to ease my case of the blues, I’m creating my own snarky post about what people are wearing tonight–this morning–yesterday–as they parade down the red carpet in Los Angeles.

I suppose this dress is actually incredibly fashion-forward but to me it looks like Charlize Theron couldn’t make up her mind: I want it long, no short; slinky, no poufy. And so she ended up wearing a washed-out everything:

Like many of the other women on the red carpet, Theron also went with the sideways hair, which further confuses me: why sideways? Don’t you eventually start tipping your head over to that side to kind of balance things out?

Nicole Kidman took a different route for her dress choice, it seems. She went with something as unmoving as her forehead:

I think she’s perhaps going to attend the ceremony as a column because there’s no way on god’s green earth she can sit down in that thing. Her face will not reveal whether she is or is not worried about that fact.

Other dresses with serious sit-down problems:

The kids at Glee Club pitched in and made her a dress from tinfoil and duct tape–wasn’t that nice of them?  Go ahead, sit down, Lea, I dare you.  Ditto you, Piper:

It’s the Glinda-the-good school of fashion. She just needs a sparkly crown and maybe a munchkin or two to complete the look.

Other beautiful-bodied celebrities seem to have gone shopping at the GunneSax store, or perhaps they went shopping in my midwestern home town’s Prom Shop.  Who knew that Jessica Biel and Amanda Peet were fashion besties?

I was seeing double a few times, actually, as I scrolled through all the pictures.  Julianne Moore and Debra Messing? Who knew…but think about it: do you ever see them at the same time? Exactly.

Red heads in black, with long green earrings. It’s a good look, but maybe they should’ve chatted beforehand to see who was going to dibs that look?

The Golden Globes revealed that Kelly Osborne gets her fashion inspiration from the always fabulous Helen Mirren, although Kelly looks old enough to be Helen’s mother.

Kelly’s mother seems to have come to the show dressed as the couch that Lea Michele can’t sit on:

I guess the shoes are cute, but the rest? Hmm. It’s hard for anyone to pull off a huge floral print on a huge foofy dress. Kelly should’ve talked to her mother about her choice, but Sarah Michelle (who claims her two-year-old daughter chose her dress), is living proof that the opinions of children are vastly overrated:

I could go on–with the Claire Danes/Kate Winslet black-and-white symphony (if they stood next to each other, they’d look like a human YinYang); the scary perfection of Angelina Jolie (why yes, it’s entirely possible that I do have a little crush on her and what of that?); the fact that Heidi Klum and Elle McPherson are turning into the same person; and what the beautiful Michelle Williams was thinking in choosing an upholstered velvet pincushion.  But instead, I will conclude with this picture, which is a warning to all of us that the rearview mirrors in dressing rooms are there for a reason, and that if you find yourself by chance working the red carpet in an employee capacity, not a movie-star capacity, you might want to invest in some serious foundation garments–and a bra that matches your outfit:

I feel much less homesick now, thanks.  So I and my pudgy tummy, sagging yoga pants, and ancient jog-bra will shuffle into the kitchen to do the dishes. Isn’t expat life so glamorous?


Continue Reading · on January 16, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat

Attention K-Mart Shoppers…

The Kmart at Astor Place has never managed to Tar-jay itself into ironic hipsterdom.  The fashion stylings of Jaclyn Smith just don’t quite cut the mustard, I guess, when  you can hike out to Target in Brooklyn or the Bronx and find equally cheap Mizrahi or McCartney or the hot youngster du jour.

Despite the lack of hipster fashions, I still love my Astor Place Kmart, where cynical, black-clad New Yorkers stumble around in suburbanly wide aisles:  mohawked holdovers from the late 1980s browse the cat food aisles; multiply pierced couples in matching skinny jeans and studded leather jackets debate which laundry detergent is best; downtown club kids cruising in for a few Red Bulls to tide them over drift past sensibly shod Orthodox women price-checking paper towels. We’re all here, cruising the aisles for whatever we need—and who knows, maybe a Selena Gomez sweatshirt is just the thing.

The other day I went in for laundry detergent (on special!) and then remembered that Caleb has outgrown most of his underpants, so I went upstairs to the sock-and-underwear section.  And that’s when I realized that perhaps the buyers for Kmart don’t realize who, exactly, is shopping at this store:

If you don’t like these light colored shirts (so great for spring, don’t you think?) perhaps you’d like something in New York black?

You’re right. It’s no good to be promoting drinking, particularly since some of these t-shirts are clearly sized for kids. We wouldn’t want that, would we? Maybe something with a message that’s more about community, connection, and friendship?

And my personal favorite:

I can totally see the guys in the Cooper Union math department wearing these.

I mean, do you think anyone in K-mart, or even a twenty-block radius of K-mart, knows that there is a hunting season, much less when it begins and ends?

Somewhere in K-Mart’s middle management is a merchandise buyer (perhaps now unemployed) who somehow, inexplicably, confused Astor Place with Wasilla.

hey! another post of mine is up at technorati!

Continue Reading · on March 14, 2011 in NaBloPoMo, NYC, shopping

Blue Jean Blues

All I wanted was a new pair of blue jeans. I waited like a good little shopper until the post-holiday sales began and then went to the Levi’s store on 14th street, where a few years ago I scored the perfect pair of jeans. If I were a teenager, those jeans would’ve been my traveling pants, baby, oh yeah. I was smart enough at the time to buy two pairs, but I should’ve bought about ten.

I wore my perfect jeans into the store and asked where I’d find 505 jeans.

The clerk said I could have Levi’s new curve-id jeans in slight curve, demi-curve, or bold curve; I could get whiskered finish, dark finish, broken-in finish; I could get boot cut, straight leg, or skinny leg; I could get skinny boot cut; I could get boyfriend jeans in dark denim, distressed denim, gray denim; I could get boyfriend skinny boot cut; boyfriend baggy; boyfriend straight leg. I could get 501s in boot cut, straight leg, skinny leg; I could 501s in dark gray, black, deep blue; fade.

But I couldn’t get 505s.

Oh, I tried. I really wanted to buy something, so I explored every possibility.  I tried 501s and wrestled with the button fly; I tried the curve-id jeans and found that: slight curve did not go over even one thigh, much less two; demi-curve went over my thighs but were such a low rise that the simple act of walking made me look ready to work the stripper pole; the bold curve, which the clerk told me was designed for “big butt tiny waist,” didn’t work at all: I am effectively a woman without a waist. If you were to draw my torso, it would be a rectangle with boobs. Not at all “bold” (and what genius came up with that designation, I wonder?)

I tried men’s jeans. Men still get 505s, apparently, but they’re made without lycra. One reason my perfect jeans are perfect have to do with their gentlest whisper of stretch, so essential to those mornings when the jeans are fresh from the wash and you need just a little give to fasten the top button. (I mean, hypothetically speaking, of course. I never, ever need to do the suck-in-and-PULL to get my jeans on.) While sweating and tugging on the non-lyrca-ed men’s jeans in the dressing room, I realized that I’ve become a lyrca addict. Isn’t that the way addiction always starts? You buy something innocently enough–this seems nice, makes me happy, I’ll take it–and then you wake up to realize you can’t live without it.

Why, oh why, Mr. Levi Strauss did you have to mess with my perfect jeans? Now where am I going to go? Don’t even whisper the word “Gap” to me, people, because trying to find jeans there sends me into a choice-paralysis that I don’t recover from for days.

I stomped home, empty handed, wondering if it’s finally happened: have I gotten too old to shop anywhere but “lady’s stores?”  Is it impossible to buy a pair of jeans that just look like jeans, without spending hundreds of dollars? Am I doomed to stone-washed LL Bean disasters just because I don’t want to wear jeans that sit south of my pelvic girdle?

Maybe 2011 will be the year where I wear yoga pants. Everywhere, for every occasion.

Continue Reading · on January 1, 2011 in ranting, shopping

Haitian relief, now in fourteen fashion colors



What do we think about this display? Apparently if you buy this bag from Ralph Lauren’s Rugby shop, for $35, 50 meals will be provided to Haitian schoolchildren through the UN World Food Program. This display should make me happy, yes? Feeding schoolchildren is good; Haitian relief effort, also good; targeting affluent college kids (this store is on University Place, just from the NYU campus), that’s gotta be good.

Somehow, though, despite all good intentions of the part of the store, this display irked me. Perhaps it’s the wild disparity between what it costs to feed a Haitian kid (50 meals for 35 bucks? that’s not very much food), and what the outfits on the mannequin cost:  the “Ashlin X Rugby” is 89.50; the fleece shorts are 59.50; the “pointelle cotton ruffle dress” is $178; god only knows what you’d pay for those leg-warmers that look like they cut the arms of an old-fashioned tennis sweater (and we won’t ask why you’d wear leg-warmers and shorts. If you’re cold, put on pants). Those outfits, cashed in, would buy a lot of lunches for little kids.

If you dig around on the Rugby Ralph Lauren website, you find that the store is also selling a Haiti Relief t-shirt designed by CFDA for $25, with the entire proceeds going to Haitian relief through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (Bubba and Dubya doing good works togetha).  And that’s a good thing too, that money from these t-shirt sales will continue to fund relief efforts, long after all the movie stars have stopped answering phones at the telethon.

What is it, then, that bugs me, aside from a case of late February misanthrope-itis? Maybe it’s my populist streak coming out again, along with those gray roots I keep forgetting to get touched up? Couldn’t Ralph Lauren just give, outright, a big huge freaking check to the World Food Program, or the Bubba Dubya foundation, or Doctors Without Borders, or whichever organization suits his sensibility? Does he (and others like him) really need to shill a canvas bag–use the bag, in fact, as bait to lure shoppers into the shore? Come in to buy a bag, walk out with weird tennis sweaters for your legs?

I gave money to Haiti, I will continue to give money to Haiti, I hope we all continue to help re-build that country. But the Feed Haiti bag reminds me that all too often, “good works” are accompanied by a sense of self-aggrandizement: look at me! I’m helping!

That self-aggrandizement shouldn’t matter, right? What should matter–what does matter–is that money keeps funneling to those who are on the ground in Haiti. That’s the big picture.  So if Rugby Ralph needs to flog a bag and a t-shirt on his website so that everyone knows what a mensch he is, fine, I guess. But there’s no way I’m buying those leg warmers.

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Continue Reading · on February 24, 2010 in Politics, Products

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