Tag Archives: Always Ask a Man

Hat Trick #4

“A becoming hat…can hide a droopy hairstyle”  Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

The cloche hat is a magical hat.  It can hide even the worst hair, like when you have to rush to an Imagesudden interview and don’t have time to shower, plus it’s chic and kind of funky and really compliments short hair.

This 1920’s burlap cloche is another hat I’ve never worn.  A friend of my grandma’s gave it to me in high school because she knew I loved vintage clothes.  It had been folded up for decades, and never quite fit right.  So when I started this week, I borrowed a foam head from Ian and tried to reshape it, crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t damage it.  It worked, and now I have a sweet new hat, perfect for summer! (my other cloche is wool, not really summer ready).  And it made me look put together for my interview, even though I’d had to rush out the door when I got the call and didn’t have time to shower (don’t worry, I washed my hair when I got home!)

Hat Trick #3

“Hats are like vitamins–they make you feel good and look even better!” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

Hat3Wednesday is my day off in that I don’t have to go into the office and can dress a little more casually, but even when I’m “slumming it,” I still want to LOOK GOOD!  The flower pin is from my trip to London, and this grey cap is probably the hat I wear most often–it hides bad hair days (so many bad hair days) it keeps the sun out of my eyes and, best of all, is just cute!

A hat really can make an outfit.  Without the hat (and the scarf, which belonged to my grandmother) this would just be a boring tank top and jeans.  Add some accessories, and TA-DA! it’s a chic ensemble!

Hat Trick Day 2

“The right hat gives a woman a lift…when she adjusts a seductive wisp of veil over her eyes or pins a pert bit of fluff on her head, she not only looks more beguiling, she feels that way too”  Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

I’ve had this little black velvet cap with the birdcage veil forever, but I don’t remember where or when I got it or if I’ve ever actually worn it.  (Best guess: Rags-a-Go-Go in NYC, High School, No).  But what better time to try it out than during Hat Week?

The hardest part was putting together an outfit to go with such a vintage hat. A dress might make it look too costume-y for a Tuesday in the office, but I didn’t just want to slap it on my head all willy-nilly.

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Late night and still looking fine!

The birdcage veil caused it’s own set of problems.  It looked stupid over my glasses, and I don’t like to wear contacts on my 13 hour Tuesdays (plus I was out of contact lens solution).  I ended up draping it backwards so that it accented the hat.  I thought it looked awesome, and gave me a way to wear it more often.

Outfit wise, I ended up going with a my favorite red polo shirt and black jeggings, but it was the gloves that tied it all together.  I bought those for my 80s prom ensemble I wore to the Stonecoast graduation dance (Matthew, who went to a born-again high school and didn’t have a prom, was my date). and haven’t worn them nearly as often as I should.  They soften an otherwise boyish ensemble and lend a sweet, but edgy touch to an outfit.  The black lace matched the netting, pulling the whole thing together.  

The problem with this hat is, like the pillbox, it’s not very secure.  The velvet makes it too thick to pin down, and it merely rested on top of my head the whole day, held on only by wills and prayer.  I had to keep adjusting it, and if I moved, it threatened to fall forward.  At least for part of the day, though, it reminded me to sit up straight.

But despite that, I really, really liked wearing this hat.  I’ve held onto it for so long and often thinking about getting rid of it, but finally figuring out how to wear it and what it can do for an outfit means it’s going to get some heavy hat rotation.

Happy Father’s Day

“If you are a schoolgirl, flatter your father”  Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

I never really had one of those “Daddy’s Girl” relationships, which is fine because I find them just a tad creepy.  I like my family as a friend, thanks.

A couple quick words about my dad.  He’s responsible for just about everything I like except for Jethro Tull, Blondie and the Smiths.  He introduced my sisters and I to Star Wars, Back to the Future, Steely Dan, Rodney Dangerfield, SNL.  I watched MST3K on his TV.  He let Hilary and I put up outer space wallpaper that still stands to this day.  He never once said, “You are NOT leaving the house in that” (even in the full throes of my goth-girl phase) and never once punished me for ignoring my curfew, which I did all the time.

My dad is also responsible for showing me Arrested Development, which we have quoted at family gatherings every since.  The day my grandmother Cora died, we gathered at home and watched “Good Grief.”  We actually laughed, and I realized that everything was going to be all right.

So for my birthday, he got me an official Bluth Development tee-shirt, a substantial upgrade from the “Save Our Bluths” tee-shirt that Hilary and I made with fabric markers and, later, stencils (mine had a seal on it and it read “I Went Swimming in the Ocean”).  But one thing my dad has never been good at is guessing sizes.  The shirt, while awesome, was way too big.  It was comfy over leggings, though, which was fine because I rarely had time (or the weather) to actually wear a tee-shirt.

But my dad, who works for FEMA, was finally home from his deployment, and we were going to have a BBQ. I was going to flatter my father, damn it, by wearing the tee-shirt he gave me, and it was going to look NICE.

I got out Megan Nicolay’s Generation T*which is starting to fall apart, and tried to figure out what project to make.  I almost decided on a dress like I’d done with the XXL Shield tee-shirt Ian got me a while back (which earned me a half-drunk “your girlfriend looks so good in that dress” from a married friend of his), but then realized that I couldn’t find any black thread.  No-sew it was.  Enter Project #7, “Comfort Corset”

But in my haste, I misaligned the holes down the back.  It was all looking terrible.  I wanted to cry, fearing I’d ruined my awesome birthday Bluth tee-shirt.  It was bad enough I had to admit not really loving the new season, but I couldn’t show up for Father’s Day not wearing the shirt my dad bought me.  Arlene would be furious!

Pop Pop Approved

Pop Pop Approves!

 

I relaced it and tried again.  It had a bit of a Flashdance vibe, but it worked.  And my dad was happy to see me enjoying his gift.  And my niece Lucy put on a pair of 3D glasses she found, trying to imitate her Aunt Libby.  I mean, how much more flattered could a girl get?

 

 

 

 

 

*Seriously, buy this book.

Pinhead

“Men hate the sight of curlers” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask A Man

I’ve reached a critical juncture in this project–choosing between what I want and like and choosing between what Ian wants and likes.  Throughout all of these different books across various decades, they have one thing in common–a woman’s job is to please her man.

The other night he sat me down and said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think those pincurls and scarf make you look like a washerwoman and it makes me less attracted to you.”

Ouch.

I did everything Arlene told me to, and turns out . . . it didn’t work.  That Ian liked me better, thought I was more attractive, when I didn’t put my hair up.  Even when I hid all my implements, he could still see them, and it was a major turn-off.

But here’s the thing.  I LIKED putting my hair up.  I liked the act of doing so, and I felt like I was just on the cusp of getting it right (and if not, well, there’s always hats).  One of the things I’ve learned (and enjoyed) about makeup and hair is that it’s time for myself.  Just ten minutes or so in the early morning or late evening, not enough to really write or get into a book or anything like that, just ten minutes where I am alone, in front of my vanity, quietly reflecting.

My hair has always been a minor point of contention between Ian and I.  When I was living in NYC, I got it straightened, and while he loved it, I hated it.  I thought it made me look like everyone else, so I went home and cried and listened to Hole’s “Awful” to cheer myself up.  I want wild, curly, funky hair, and he wants something cute and flippy.  I don’t want to not be attractive to him, but I also want to feel like my hair is my own to do with whatever I please.  Now the next step is figuring out how to mesh both of our feelings on the subject and come up with something I like that also makes me attractive to him.

That’s the whole point of this project–to examine what vintage advice works and what doesn’t work.  Ian was just doing what I asked him to do–be honest about the status of each stunt I undertook.  He didn’t like this one, and that’s fine.   He’s not a bad person, it’s not a control issue, I’m not going to dump him because he doesn’t like pincurls.

I’m sure he’s relieved to hear that.

 

Porcupine Skull

“How is it possible …to put her hair in pincurls every night, to look attractive for me?”  Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

ImageMy cute haircut has now fallen into a flippy mess, and so the other day, while watching Gypsy on Netflix, I decided to give pincurls a try.  Upon returning home from work, Ian said I looked like Miss Tiggywinkle, when she dresses up like a washerwoman.  

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The pincurls themselves?  Well, they were kind of a mess.  But thank HEAVENS for cloche hats!

 

Aunt Libby

“Let your sons see what a glamour girl they have for a mother” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

Today I became Aunt Libby for the fourth time.  My sister Laura gave birth to her first child, a boy, Max Vaughn, at 12:03 a.m.  Max joins my nephew Jacob and my nieces Rachel and Lucy.  I went to visit Laura, Max and my brother-in-law Chris at the hospital, and while I held a very sleepy Max, Laura glammed herself up.  Laura has always been very glam, never going out without her hair done and her makeup on from a glitter clutch purse.  The fact that 15 hours ago, she gave birth to an 8 lb, 10 oz human being was not going to turn her into a slob.

My sister Shaun, mother of my nephew Jacob, has that seemingly-effortless glamour that many New York women have.  When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was look like her.  She had long, thick dark hair that fell in beautiful curls down her back and she wore silver glitter platforms to her prom.  She has a mysterious elegance to her, even if she’s wearing jeans and a black tee-shirt to push her kids on the swings.

I’m on the fence about having kids.  Right now my life is to hectic to even consider it, but I’m finally at an age where I can really start appreciating what it means to be an Aunt and how much fun I can have doing so.