Monthly Archives: August 2013

Burnin’ For You

I love Burn Notice.  I love Michael Weston, I love Tyler Brennan, I love Tyler Grey because Kenny Johnson is a beautiful specimen of human male.  Right now I’m MAD at Burn Notice because Michael Weston is being a jerk, but that’s besides the point.  

THE POINT IS that Fiona is awesome, and today, I’m dressing like her.  She generally sports very breezy, light, loose little dresses and rompers, and always, always wedge heels.  She is the Patron Saint of Wedge Heels.

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Also pictured: my awesome Fiona-esq Honda Del Sol convertible

This dress was given to me by my friend Amber.  It’s one of my “lazier” summer dresses in that it’s loose and comfortable enough for me to wear while writing.  It’s backless except for the  cowl, so I don’t wear it any time I might have to be on assignment–it’s just a little too sexy for work.

Today I paired it with wedge heels (obviously, duh) a Fiona-esq cuff bracelet and statement necklace, giant Betsey Johnson sunglasses and a hobo purse.

Makeup-wise, I went with a bronze eyeshadow, a little bronze on the cheeks (in honor of her golden Miami tan) and pale pink lipstick.

I was not prepared for the compliments I got.  To me, this is just a dress for chilling, but everyone–all of them older women–piled on the oohs and ahs!  Guess I must be doing SOMETHING right to net those kind of compliments!  

Professional Pirate

Anyone’s who’s ever had a movie conversation with me knows that I love Cutthroat Island.  So much so that I follow Matthew Modine (William Shaw) on Twitter, only because Geena Davis isn’t on there.  

In the opening scene of the movie, Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) having just finished boning some gross looking soldier, gets dressed to go off and be awesome.  She puts on a vest with no shirt, and it looks amazing on her.  Then she makes a dick joke and goes off into the sunrise/credit sequence.  I swore that when I was an adult, I was going to wear a vest as a shirt, because at 13, my mom wouldn’t let me.

But, like becoming a Broadway actress, I never quite lived up to that dream…until now. 

ImageThe vest is from Bebe, a gift from my office for my 30th birthday. The jeans are American Eagle and it’s the first time I’ve ever rolled jeans, because I have this weird thing about my ankles.  The tank top is scoop-neck to mimic Geena Davis’, umm, treasure chest, and this outfit also allowed me to finally mastered the low-slung belt look.  The secret to dressing like a pirate is to not look like a pirate, because that would just be silly.

For makeup, I went with something I once read about Geena Davis, that her makeup artist uses a lot of browns and pinks on her, so I went with brown eyeliner and pink glitter eyeshadow in a very subtle blush.  

You can’t see it in this picture, but I’m also sporting a skull cuff that I made from a tee-shirt, and bitchin’ skull earring’s Ian’s mother brought me back from Mexico.

This outfit was a good chance to try out styles I’ve been wanting to attempt for awhile.  I’m really surprised at just how many permutations can come out of my closet; I almost forgot I had that belt (it came with a pair of shorts) even though I only have five belts.  One of the biggest things I’m learning throughout this whole year, fashion wise, is that being a clothes horse is not necessarily an asset.  There’s something about having to put together an outfit with only a few basic pieces–it requires your imagination, a new way of looking at the clothes in your closet and forces you to experiment with new looks rather than just running out and buying a new one.  

Let’s All Go to the Movies

“Don’t just admire…study beautifully-gowned women”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex & The Single Girl.

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I, too, like to relax in my lemon costume

I never leave the house in just any old thing.  For me, fashion is such an art, a way of saying “This is who I am today.”  It’s a trait I share with Olivia, the fictional pig in Oliver Falconer’s children’s books. And much of my fashion inspiration comes from beautiful women (and occasionally, men) in movies.  It’s hard not to feel glam when you’re pretending to be, say, Geena Davis.

My first outfit for this stunt week of dressing in the study and style of others is inspired by the late, very beautiful and very darling Brittany Murphy in Sin City: The Big Fat Kill.  Now, putting aside the fact that I used to refer to one of Catch’s girlfriends as “The Barmaid” (as in “The one who never shuts up,” to which he would, with equal parts affection and irritation, reply “Damn it Gail, not now”) I have always liked Shelly and alwaysImage felt a little sorry for her, even if I liked Gail more.  However, I cannot go out dressed in a series of belts and assorted pieces of fishnet, so Shelly it is.  

The cowgirl shirt my dad bought me for Christmas is my essential white shirt, just barely covering the very tiny shorts underneath.  I am also wearing a Siouxsie and the Banshees tank top (rather than just a bra) and the fedora rounds it out with a little playfulness.  If you get a fedora, ladies, make sure it is a full fedora and not one of those weaslely little short-brimmed ones from Hot Topic that guys wear to announce the world, “I am a date-rapist & Reddit misogynist”

This is a specific variation on a uniform of mine; with dark eyeliner and pale lipstick it has a certain “Up All Night With a Man” vibe to it.  If you can borrow one of his shirts, well, all the better.  And if he won’t let you borrow his shirt, well, then, why are you even with him, what a jerk!

Shelly Outfit

Second Thoughts on Chivalry

I think I might have figured out part of the reason Chivalry is dead–because some men, (you can spot them because they’re usually wearing a fedora or a bow tie; the more romantic among them might sport a ruffled shirt or floor-length leather trench coat) use it as an excuse to lash out at women when they don’t bend over on the spot.  These guys (often referring to themselves as “gentlemen” or “nice guys”) believe that if they hold a door for a woman or pay for dinner, she “owes” them sex at the end of the night.  This is bunk, and women are sick of it. No wonder we get weirded out when people don’t hold doors!   There are men out there I wouldn’t let hold a door for me if it was leading into a room filled with bunnies where Walton Goggins and Clive Owen and Ewan McGregor were all there holding plates of tiny finger food to feed to me while I lounged on a soft couch watching 30 Rock.

So how about this, everyone.  How about we ALL hold the door for other people?  How about we pay for dinner if we know a friend is a little short on cash, and we help carry a pal’s luggage if it looks heavy or if the person is clearly burdened with packages.  If we get to the table first, we pull out the chair.

And everyone else, let’s try to say “hey, thanks” when other people perform nice tasks for us, hmm?  It’s 2013–let’s remove the gender politics from politeness.  And quit expecting things from other people.  Do good deeds from the heart, not because you think you might get something out of it.

 

At Your Service, M’lady

“Women complain that chivalry is dead.  Maybe we have helped kill it.  A little patience on our part can revive it.  If you want to be the woman men rush to pull up a chair for, give them time to get there.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

My friend Ari & I were traveling to NYC over the weekend, meeting my friend Matthew & her husband, Pav.  I’ve known Ari & Pav since college; I attended their wedding last year and they’re both some of my dearest friends.  Ari is an actual genius and scathingly funny; Pav has a sweet face that is almost deceptive about his quick, wicked sense of humor.

When we got off the bus, Pav met us and immediately offered to carry my vintage red suitcase, which was sitting on the ground next to where we were waiting.  “How come you didn’t offer to carry my bags!” Ari joked.

Pav’s answer was priceless.  “I didn’t want to insult you,” he said.  “After that talk we had about gender roles.  I know you’re strong enough to carry your bag.”

It was a perfect example of both chivalry & love.  He respected her enough to know that his offering to carry her bags might be considered an act of disrespect for her strength and position as an independent woman.  But because I am their friend and in her company, it was a show of respect for me for him to offer to carry my bag, the same way a young man in love might offer to buy his girlfriend’s friends a round of drinks when he meets them for the first time.

I thanked him, but carried my own bag out of respect for their marriage.   But I do love it when a man carries my bag; Matthew does it whenever we’re together and Ian, who was raised by a fiercely independent mother who taught him that all parties carry what they packed, picked up my suitcase when I arrived at the train station at the end of the weekend, without me even clearing my throat and awkwardly pointing.

Scents and Sensibility

“Into my underthings…I tuck a cotton ball scented with my favorite perfume” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man (although Helen Gurley Brown recommends it too)

I approached this one with some trepidation–after all, it required me to wear a bra, which I hate doing and because I was worried about being that girl with the stink cloud of perfume, setting off allergies and smoke detectors wherever I went.  But I went ahead and doused a cotton ball with Love’s White Vanilla, crammed it into my bra, and went off smelling sweet.

And boy, did I smell sweet!  It was nice to have that little whiff of yummy just under my nose.  Especially because, in my race to get ready on time and smell lovely . . . and this is so embarrassing . . . I forgot to brush my teeth.

So it was gum and perfume all day, and I’m happy/disappointed to report that no one commented on either.  But hey, I liked smelling nice!

Here, Dear, Alone With All Your Letters

As you start to write, visualize the other person and talk to him, then write the words down.  Write the sort of letter you would like to receive.” Helen Valentine & Alice Thompson Better than Beauty

I have long been a letter writing advocate.  How I adored getting an envelope address to me, whether at camp or at home, a postcard from the shore or a card from my grandmother.  Oh, and the love letters!  My favorite.  Every man I’ve ever loved has sent me love letters, many of which I still have.  My boyfriend, Geza, who had silver eyes and jet-black hair, sent me a letter every single day when I was at the Silver Bay Young Writer’s Retreat, all full of the longing and poetry only a teenage boy can have.  Martin wrote his in gold gel ink with J-Pop song lyrics, Catch with green ink and Sin City quotes, Mike in spidery ballpoint pen on loose leaf paper.

In college, Ian wrote me twice a week, packing his envelopes (which he made out of ads, because he’s an artist) with clippings and postcards and all sorts of goodies.  My friend Liz and I primarily communicate with letters and have since we graduated.  Our whole lives are written down for each other, records of our changing careers and movie star crushes, highs and lows, new boyfriends and new apartments.   After all, you can’t send an Uglydoll in an email, like my friend Corey did to announce that, heck yeah, she was moving back to New York after five years working for NASA. (Yes, my friend is a rocket scientist).

A few years ago, I was at a conference in Bloomington and I met this guy, Jake.  We wrote each other a few weeks worth of long emails before I suggested that we start writing letters.  That was three years ago.  In that time, I’ve read about his grad work and graduation, job searches and play rehearsals, meeting Anne, getting engaged to her and marrying her.  We’ve never talked on the phone and only exchange emails when it’s something time-sensitive, but we know everything about each other’s lives just through words put on paper. We have this recorded history  of each other when I, for the longest time, only had a vague recollection of what he looked like.   

(Read his blog Video Game Underworld.  It’s awesome.  Somewhere I have the letter where he was asking me how he should do it.)

Find or make some awesome stationary (I made postcards out of CD liner notes with brown bag paper glued on the back) and write a letter to a friend. Ask them to write you back and get a pen-pal thing going.  Get some kooky postcards (I have some Onion front pages that always get a laugh) and mail them to everyone you know, just for fun.