Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Old Thing?

So nice I bought it twice

Why is it that the thing you loved last year this year seems so— well— last year? My love affair with fashion is forever. My closet bores me quickly.

That's not to say I don't wear an exciting new purchase to death for a few weeks, combining it every which way from Sunday. Then it either becomes a "go to" piece or gets lost in there. Usually the latter. Not to say I don't have some real favorites. Recently I re-bought (at much greater cost than the original) a treasured silk dress by Christopher Deane (no longer in business) that the cleaner ruined. Some things are worth more than rubles.

What I'm talking about is the general malaise of "I have nothing to wear" with a closetful of clothes staring back at you. To paraphrase Hoagy Carmichael, "It's the newness of you that excites me".

The following tricks have been known to stave off boredom while skirting the issue of breaking into the piggy bank or contemplating true credit card debt. Plus one idea that will knock your socks off. Do we have any venture capitalists reading?

Don't wear everything new all at once.
Did you score big on your last shopping trip? Avoid the temptation to wear it all the next day. Portion it out a little bit— the necklace one day, the blouse another, the pants yet another. Goes for everything new except underwear.

Keep the tags on.
Besides insuring an easier return if you develop buyer's remorse, leaving the tags on a garment gives you that extra pleasure of snipping them off when you first wear it. Sort of like cutting the ribbon on a present. Kinda.

Buy yourself a gift card.
When you are feeling flush (bonus, birthday, tax refund, extra-paycheck-in-the-month) purchase a gift card to your favorite store. It shouldn't expire (check if not certain) and will be at the ready when discipline or guilt might keep you from the checkout counter.

Discover the pleasures of thrift shopping.
Call it vintage or thrifty or just Goodwill, if you are lucky enough to have decent second-hand options in your area, by all means explore them. Money spent there is like eating celery, right? You use more calories chewing than the celery contains. There are almost 30 outlets across the country of my favorite, Buffalo Exchange. One in Houston is the repository for someone with a Marc Jacobs fix in my size, thank you very much. I've visited thrift shops in Palm Beach and Manhattan for stellar pickings and am the ecstatic recipient of a friend's adventures at her favorite thrift shop in the Hamptons. Thank goodness we do not wear the same size.

Drumroll please...
Here's the idea that I am waiting to see happen. Why can't we fashion-obsessed rent clothes? Yes I know there are rent-a-handbag sites and rent-a fancy-dress places, but I'm talking Rent a Wardrobe. In this day and age of food trucks and meals-on-wheels, not to mention the Bloodmobile, why can't a van drive up to our doors on a regular basis to let us choose and borrow a wardrobe for a week or two or a month (with option to buy of course)? A brilliant idea, no? I even have a name for it: the Fashionvan or— if housed in a permanent building— the Stylibrary. You would pay an annual fee (for cleaning bien sur) and a rental price per piece factored into length of your loan.

Then all I would permanently need in my closet would be that black skirt, black pants and little black dress the fashion mavens keep talking about. I can see hangers swinging already.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Mission Statement

All together now...

This post will be short and sweet.

Those of you reading who are "of a certain age" (and that age is just the one you are certain you are not getting any younger, be it 40, 50, 60 or 70), let's make it our mission to embrace our best, ignore (or camouflage) the rest, keep fashion in our hearts and— for heaven's sake— wear it with a smile.

It should be Our Mission to the young 'uns that looking great doesn't have an expiration date, smile lines and their cousins— crow's feet— are the results of a long and happy life. Every scar, wrinkle or jiggle tells your story, and I bet it's a good one.

Thanks to a beautiful woman who visited the Lovely Boutique Where I Work and asked if she should wear a short-sleeved top at her age.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Men Don't Make Passes...

The unforgettable Ms. Parker 

I hated Dorothy Parker from a young age. Long before I learned about the Algonquin Round Table or who she was, I knew she wrote, "Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses". I was ten and had just gotten my first nasty pair.

Glasses should not have come as a surprise. My mother told me childhood friends called her "Four Eyes". My older sister's eyes were so bad she was put in "Sight Saving" class in elementary school. By fifth grade, although I had memorized the school nurse's eye chart (F E L O P Z D was the tough line), it became apparent to all that glasses were my destiny.

Few photos exist of me in glasses. I always took them off for the camera. As a teenager I never wore them on dates (except when the lights went down at the movies). I begged for a pair of prescription sunglasses and wore them way past sundown. Yet I was always afraid to wear contact lenses. My Aunt Sally had tried unsuccessfully for years. Plus the thought of putting something in your eye...! By the time I got up the courage it was 1982, soft lenses had been perfected, and I was lucky enough to have a really patient nurse-practitioner for a teacher.

Flash forward thirty years. I have not been able to wear contacts for almost six months due to a lingering eye infection. I fear I'm known at the Lovely Boutique where I work as "the lady with the short red hair and glasses". My nice earrings are getting dusty in the jewelry box as I now only see fit to wear little studs. I have bought six pairs of eyeglasses since October (including the all-important prescription sunglasses). Instead of being grateful I can SEE, I am grumbling and ashamed of myself at the same time.

What is there about glasses— my glasses at least— that so irritates me? My husband looks way better in glasses than without. He morphs from Michael Caine to John Lennon to Cool Italian Art Director with his choice of eyewear. There are many women I know who look great in glasses, and some I couldn't tell you if they wear them or not. I've even gotten many compliments on my wardrobe of frames. I probably can see better with glasses as well— none of this one-eye-for-near-one-eye-for-far stuff. And if I want to thread a needle, I just take them off instead of squinting. Glasses hide my non-existent eyebrows and my tres-existent bags. Am I being all too human in wanting what I can't have? Persistent or stubborn in the goal to get back into contacts?

I do have another eye doctor appointment next week.

Dorothy, glasses would have hidden your bags...

Friday, April 13, 2012

What's Not to Like?

Why does this shirt tick me off?

Plenty as it turns out. We all have 'em— pet peeves in fashion that is. I'm not apologizing. In fact, it makes shopping that much easier as I zip through the racks easily eliminating items that contain mine.

A pet peeve is not the same as hesitating to try a new shape or a new color. I know shocking pink looks terrible on me, but I still like it. Not choosing it is not a pet peeve, it's a wise but sad realization that the color does nothing for me. Thus I have lots of shocking pink notebooks, throw pillows and always pick the raspberry jelly beans. But I digress. Pet peeves tend to stick around, and if you have some they've probably been with you a long time. Sometimes there is no reason for your dislike; you just do. Other times if you have learned by past experience that gathered backs on ballet slippers will irritate your feet, finding them on otherwise charming ballet slippers will break out the peeve.

For no other reason than this seems like a good time to catalog them, here are mine:

> One breast pocket on a any shirt. Really? A kleenex on ONE side? (see above)

> A designer logo on anything other than a lipstick. And that means any designer, even Chanel. (see above)

> Button-downs that don't really button all the way to the top. (see above)

> Buttons that don't really button anything. A "decorative button" is a contradiction in terms.

> V-neck t-shirts. Just not a fan.

> Belt loops sewn in such a way that they can't be easily unattached from the waistband.

> Elastic waistbands (unless 100% integral to the design). Enough said.

> Sleeves that have the option to roll up complete with strap and button. This is like wearing suspenders and a belt. I'll take my chances rolling my sleeves, thank you.

> Polyester that looks like silk and is priced like silk.

Feel free to tell us yours.