Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sick-Day Glam

“The idea is to possess a single perfect ensemble for each of the different occasions in your life, rather than wide choice of clothes to suit every mood.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

During this project, I have learned what works (feeding people) and what doesn’t work (wearing curlers to bed)  But today, I have reached a new level of glam…not with hair dye, not with jewelry…

Sick DayWith a sick day.

Having paired down my wardrobe and not bought on a whim, as HGB suggested, I now mostly own clothes I routinely wear.  It makes picking out an outfit for work, a day off or a dressy occasion that much easier, and it means that everything I have pairs well with lots of other pieces in my wardrobe.

I realized I had achieved this state of fashion zen when I was standing at the bus stop, feeling miserable.  I have a terrible cold coming on; sore throat, stuffy head, aches, fatigue and general unhappiness.  I had thrown together the most comfortable outfit that I could while still being work-appropriate, and was standing at the bus stop, drinking my tea and trying to to outright die.

As I approached my bus, I heard a girl say, “That’s what I want to look like–she’s got a great style, right there.”  She was pointing at me.  Me, in my sick-day cardigan and hat from Lady Heisenburg of Albuquerque, Doc Martens and leggings.  I had an enviable style because I don’t have erroneous clothes lying around.  I don’t keep unflattering garments or clothes that don’t fit and feel right. Just because you feel like garbage doesn’t mean you have to look it.

This weekend, find your sick day outfit.  Leggings and a fitted tee-shirt, a sweater dress, something comfy enough to lie around in but nice enough so that when you have to run to the store for Theraflu, people don’t assume you’re homeless and using it to make meth.  Here’s a hint: Sweatpants are never, ever flattering. Ban them from your closet.

Record of the Month Club

“Don’t have two many records.  If a man gets tired enough, he’ll bring over some new platters” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl

1) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–go cook a radish, HGB.  You can NEVER have too many records.  I have a whole crate full of actual real vinyl, and I love all of it–that’s not even touching on my mountains of CDs and oodles of MP3s.

2) That being said, most of the music I love the most has been at the recommendation of men.  My mom introduced me to Jethro Tull and Blondie, and my sister Shaun got me into The Smiths and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but it was my dad who introduced me to Cyndi Lauper, Steely Dan, The Vapors, Talking Heads and, of course, Warren Zevon.  Ian introduced me to Tom Waits, Matthew gave me Duran Duran, JaR and Michael McDonald.  Thor got me into Justin Townes Earle, and in exchange, I got him into the Replacements.  

Why goodness, just the other day I was talking to Mr. W about music, and he recommended Richard Thompson’s “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me.”  We had just been talking about The Magnetic Fields “All My Little Words,” (which I told him made me think of him and which he found very flattering) and he pulled out that recommendation, just out of the blue.  I responded with Tenpole Tudor’s “What You Doing in Bombay” just to remind him that, yes, I am cool.

 

Music is a means of intimacy.  In this age of MP3s, we don’t often make mix CDs anymore (or goodness, tapes!) but the art of doing so, of buying someone a record that was so dear to you, was a way of baring your soul.  You took the risk that they would laugh at your choices, that it would reflect badly or that it just might not land.  It can be a way to say “I love you” when the words won’t.  I distrust people who think of music as just something to dance to or have on in the background.

So let a man bring you some new music.  Have him tell you why he likes it, a memory associated with it.  You might be surprised at what he has to offer.  Or you might be horrified because he’s seen Nickleback in concert 15 times and in that case, aren’t you glad you dumped him sooner?

Dye, Dye My Darling

“They just want to know where they can get that color.  Even the dyes are simple enough to do at home” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl.

Oh yes, dying your hair is very, very easy.  You combine the components into a mixture that smells like cat pee and rotten fruit, slather it on your hair, watch an episode of 30 Rock and then rinse out.  Microwave popcorn is harder than dying your hair.

It’s very easy.  It just doesn’t work.  Maybe if you’re some delicate fair-haired blonde, sure.  But not for a staunch brunette like me.  The first one all but vanished before I could even get pictures up.  So I tried it again with a brighter red, and, well, that didn’t go so well either.

For starters, Red #2 ran down my forehead into the shape of an upside-down cross. The mark of Satan should have been my first clue that this wasn’t going to turn out well.  

The second clue should have been the Shield-esq crime scene left behind by the red dye.  Seriously, the end result of the season five finale, “Postpartum,” was cleaner than my bathtub during the rinse, and that ended with a dead body.  

And yes, my hair has a pretty red sheen in the right light, like, in my bathroom and nowhere else.  If anything, it made my hair a little darker.  It doesn’t even show up in photographs, which is why I haven’t posted any.  

HGB is always talking about how you can be cheap cheap cheap.  Like a little chick, she is, cheep cheep cheep.  If you want real haircolor results, just pay the $50 and get it done by a professional.  Or buy a wig.  If money is tight, learn to be happy with the color you have.  I’m not a wealthy woman.  I’m very DIY, but there are some things that are better left to people who have lots of training to know what they’re doing.  Hair color, in my case, might just be one of them.  After all, I buy my meat from the grocery store instead of butchering my own farm animals and I buy my sweaters instead of knitting them myself. 

So I tried, and I failed miserably.  I can live with that.  That’s what this blog is about.  And HGB, well, she knows where she can stick all that money she’s saved.

 

 

REDHEAD UPDATE: It washed out.  It’s barely noticeable, so I’m going to try it again!  Fingers crossed, glam geeks.

Finally, autumn!  Fall is my favorite season; once you get a job and have to wear office clothes instead of short shorts and micro-sundresses, summer doesn’t seem that much fun…but fall, that’s when I can REALLY show off the good stuff! Leggings, boots, jackets and hats, HURRAH!  And layering, layering, LAYERING!  It’s much more fun to experiment when there are multiple pieces involved and not just one sundress and some sandals.

Plus, it’s what Ian likes me best in–soft sweaters, cozy tights, all looking sweet and comfortable.  In the summer, I like to feel like a seductress with my long legs and high heels, but in the fall, I turn into Manic Pixie Dream Hipster.  I bought a dress printed with cat faces.  I wore flats ON PURPOSE.  And he LOVED it.  I might , just might, be getting the hang of this “impress your man” thing.

But it’s a look I can rock, and it’s a look that men seem to like.  It gives the appearance of low maintenance, charm and quirk.  Men all say they like high heels, until they want a girl to be able to walk more than ten feet.  The only man who ever hated my Doc Martens, well, let’s just say he’s not around anymore.

So As it Turns Out…

I took Arlene Dahl’s hair quiz again, and it turns out, I’m actually a redhead! Impulsive, vibrant, affectionate and proud–yes, that sounds about right!

This isn’t my first redhead rodeo.  In college, I went as Jessica Rabbit for Halloween, and I loved the spray-in dye so much that I went right to a salon and had it done permanently!  Apparently it was a hit, because Catch confessed a few years later that he to stare at a “beautiful redhead” across the dining hall, but never had the guts to approach me (until I was a brunette, that is!).

It’s been awhile since I dyed my hair and I’ve only ever had one bad experience with it, when I dyed it Bettie Page black and looked like a hipster idiot.  It took two weeks of cheap shampooing to strip out the color enough to dye over it, and I never tried THAT again!

But the grays I inherited from my dad have started showing up again, so I bought some “true red” and dyed my hair the other night (while skipping out on the first part of the Burn Notice series finale, since I am very sore at Michael Weston).  It gave me nice highlights, not as red-red as I had hoped, but even in that first night, I felt a little more daring, a little sexier….

Dare me to go redder?  Or maybe even . . . . blonde?

(Pictures didn’t show up well–will post some tomorrow)

Hair Affair

“Psychologically, the brunette is cool and logical.  Emotionally, she’s dynamite.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

My sisters Hilary and Laura were beautiful blondes, like my mother.  I was always envious of them, with their halos of fair curls, while my locks looked like wood paneling.

But it was my older sister Shaun (and movie stars like Geena Davis and Carrie Fisher) who taught me how to be a brunette.  Shaun, as I’ve said before, was (and is) a knockout.  As I got older, I began to embrace my dark hair, and Arlene says that brunettes are the “most sensational”  My dark hair and pale skin have always accompanied my “look” very well, whether it was dramatic goth girl or funky hipster chick.  

Ian gave me one of Arlene’s hair personality quizzes and, sure enough, I was a brunette. Animal magnetism and the brains of a chess player, a vamp, an adventuress, an eternal siren who always gets her man.  I like the sound of all that!

But check in tomorrow, because everything is about to change….