Archive for the ‘style’ Category

Le manicure

Posted: September 11, 2012 in beauty, fashion, style
Tags: , ,

I usually choose a demure, ladylike pink, but I was feelin’ a little bad*ss today. Kind of a mud shade, not red or brown.

Hey, it’s still a neutral! (OPI “You Don’t Know Jackie,” to be exact.) The toes are a more conventional “cathouse red.”


I haven’t yet had to put on a swimsuit. So far, so good…

Hope your summer is going “swimmingly!”

(This post shamelessly ripped off inspired by Fern at The Fur Flies.)

HotHags: Lauren Hutton

Posted: January 31, 2012 in beauty, hothags, style

Patti over at Not Dead Yet Style has posted the most wonderful homage to one of my fashion icons, Lauren Hutton. I would love to be as comfortable in my skin as she seems to be in hers. And that lovely gap-toothed smile always makes me rethink all of my fashion faults. Isn’t she swell? Thanks, Patti!

Been gone. No good excuses. (Well, a family trip to Hawaii followed by a bout with the nastiest of all intestinal viruses — complete with a visit to the ER — but I shan’t bore you with any messy details — other than the fact that, during the ensuing cleanup, my iPhone went through the wash cycle. Donations are currently being accepted, thank you.)

The end-of-the-year festivities always make me a bit sad, a little nostalgic. “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.” So far, the fates have been kind, and I still have many of the people and the things I love around me. That’ll change, I know, but we won’t think about that right now, okay?

Somewhere in this bittersweet funk, I have been remembering things that used to be really important to me that are no more, and wondering why. Such as:

Desert Flower Lotion. My dad owned a Mom and Pop pharmacy, and I used to love the Desert Flower line of products we carried, the first real lotion that I found made a difference in my desert-dry skin. Probably the aloe. (The original Jergens lotion smelled really good, but that stuff was like water.) One Desert Flower bath set also came with a bottle of light cologne and bath powder in a little round, paper-covered box with a powder puff. So girly. So gone.

Tweed cologne. And Tigress.  I can’t remember who made them, but I clearly remember the scents. Tweed was almost a man’s fragrance, very woodsy, and came in the coolest beige and plaid carton, sort of pre-Burberry. Tigress was much more complex and dark, probably too sophisticated for my 17-year-old self at the time. And the packaging was equally rich and sensual, all dark fur. I can still catch a glimpse of myself and my friend Sherri, down in her basement bedroom, dousing ourselves with Tigress and talking about boys. (She actually dated in high school. I just talked a good game…) Google update: Well, slap me silly. Tweed and Tigress are still available. But their packaging is ALL WRONG. They probably smell different, too. It’s just not the same.

Maybelline cake mascara. Wow, this is an oldie. The mascara came in a little red box that slid open to reveal a small brush and a line of hard brown or black  powder. You’d spit on the mascara moisten the brush, rub it on the cake and brush the mascara on your lashes. Of course, early on, I’d get to junior high early enough to apply it in the school bathroom so Mother wouldn’t catch me wearing make-up. And it helped me realize very early on that black mascara was too harsh-looking for me. One fashion faux pas avoided. I’m sure tube mascara is a vast improvement, but I really liked those little red boxes with their secret, face-changing contents. Other brands of cake mascara are still available on the ‘net, touted as “old Hollywood.”

Yardley Lip Slickers. These actually may still be around, just not at any of the stores I frequent. They conjure up all sorts of images of the British fashion and music invasion that dominated my high school years: Mary Quant, Carnaby Street, Twiggy, the Beatles and the Stones, Marianne Faithfull in her leather and lace. (And to think that byjane was in London, actually living out my fantasies!)

Of course, there are plenty of products I don’t miss, like Secret Cream Deodorant (that did absolutely nothing for a junior high sweat monkey like me and had the ickiest texture), Clearasil skin tone cream (which just made my acne brown),  Noxema Cream Cleanser (What were we thinking? That stuff made my skin worse. It was like Crisco!), sanitary napkin belts (UGH!), and magnetic rollers that we’d sleep in (and my hairstyle would still be gone by mid-afternoon). And weren’t we ALL glad when panty hose showed up?

I largely stumbled my way through adolescence. Never one for fashion, Mother didn’t wear makeup beyond a red lipstick for Church on Sundays, and I had no older sister or nearby cousins to show me the ropes. So I’d scour my monthly issue of Seventeen and scrutinize the faces, bodies and routines of my friends. It was hit and miss, but I found a few things that worked, like a good haircut. The advent of benzoyl peroxide cream and retin-A finally took care of my acne, and I found the Clinique counter at the mall. Antiperspirants continued to improve. (Is anyone else out there as grateful for that as I am?) One word: Tampax. Enough said. And a significant weight loss in my forties finally introduced me to the notion that clothes could be something besides camouflage.

I’ve always felt like a latecomer to the big Cosmetic and Sartorial Party, but I’ve enjoyed myself since I arrived. I just wish sometimes that a few of those products I once loved had arrived with me. They boosted the confidence of an awkward girl and helped her to become, well, me.

Is there something you miss from your wanton youth?

HagRags: I’m [Not] Too Sexy

Posted: September 12, 2011 in fashion, style

From the Department of Du-uh, No Kidding:

A study by University at Buffalo sociologists has found that the portrayal of women in the popular media over the last several decades has become increasingly sexualized, even “pornified.” The same is not true of the portrayal of men.

I don’t mean to mock. Kudos to the social scientists at Buffalo for quantifying what most of us know already: Women’s images in the popular media have been steadily creeping (and I mean CREEP-ing) toward the pornographic and the utterly unattainable.

The researchers used a simple, unique and surprisingly effective measure for their study:

[They examined] covers of Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 to 2009 to measure changes in the sexualization of men and women in popular media over time.

Using their own formula to compare the evolving images of both men and women, they discovered that photos of women celebrities over time have become more and more sexual or “hypersexualized” in the media.

“What we conclude from this is that popular media outlets such as Rolling Stone are not depicting women as sexy musicians or actors; they are depicting women musicians and actors as ready and available for sex…

And if that isn’t bad enough, this trend is reaching down into hypersexualized images of teens and tweens. Sexy is one thing, but pedophilia is quite another. (If you don’t believe me, google “Emma Watson” and watch what the years and media expectations have done to our little Hermione.)

And what about us? We women of a certain age aren’t even part of the picture. In this little universe, we don’t exist.

Do I need to point out why this is a bad thing?

“Sexualized portrayals of women have been found to legitimize or exacerbate violence against women and girls, as well as sexual harassment and anti-women attitudes among men and boys,” [said one of the researchers]. “Such images also have been shown to increase rates of body dissatisfaction and/or eating disorders among men, women and girls; and they have even been shown to decrease sexual satisfaction among both men and women.”

And, looking at it from an almost reverse perspective, it only gets worse: How can the fashion industry make the feminine ideal even more unattainable? Use male models. Perfect. No hips. No breasts. Nothing to get in the way.

It’s nuts. We absolutely cannot win.

Just how long are we going to put up with this? I don’t understand how we can let a runaway media and fashion extremists create impossible ideals and further dictate how we are to feel about ourselves. I believe I’ve earned the right to dress comfortably, using my own well-crafted fashion sense, without fear becoming fodder for Tom and Lorenzo or of winding up on a Glamour Don’ts page.

What’s your fashion philosophy? How do you deal with all the unrealistic expectations?

Aging with Style

Posted: August 22, 2011 in aging, beauty, style

Someone has managed to put a dollar figure to the vanity of the Baby Boomers, says the NYTimes today:

The market research firm Global Industry Analysts projects that a boomer-fueled consumer base, “seeking to keep the dreaded signs of aging at bay,” will push the U.S. market for anti-aging products from about $80 billion now to more than $114 billion by 2015.

That’s a chunk of change, especially if it gets spent on of snake-oil — and there’s LOTS of snake oil out there, as anyone who watches cable television advertisements can attest. Fortunately, the experts quoted by the Times extol the old basics:

“Our culture places great value on staying young, but aging is normal,” the [National Institute on Aging] says. “Despite claims about pills or treatments that lead to endless youth, no treatments have been proven to slow or reverse the aging process.”

Its advice for aging well is basic: Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, don’t smoke.

“If someone is promising you today that you can slow, stop or reverse aging, they’re likely trying hard to separate you from your money,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health who has written extensively about aging.

“It’s always the same message: ‘Aging is your fault and we’ve got the cure,'” Olshansky said. “Invest in yourself, in the simple things we know work. Get a good pair of running or walking shoes and a health club membership, and eat more fruits and vegetables.”

I reject the notion that aging is a pathology that can somehow be cured. It’s okay to use hormone therapy or even a little botox if it really makes us feel better, but we have to get over the idea that growing older makes us less. Less useful, less admirable, less human. What about wisdom, experience, life skills, friendships? They all grow stronger and deeper with time. I feel richer every day.

Come on, Boomers! Let’s show ’em how it’s done! Let’s be nothing but fabulous, regardless of our condition!

HagSwag: Advanced Style

Posted: August 12, 2011 in style

Whenever the specter of growing older starts creeping in under the door, I always wander over to Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog for a little zing. Ari roams the streets of Manhattan looking for stylish women of a certain age, and he never disappoints, such as today’s offering:

Aren’t they FABULOUS? Look at those necklaces! And hats! Black and white isn’t boring, especially when combined with a little cobalt blue and cherry red! They might a little over the top for me and my little town, but they provide loads of inspiration. (I’m mentally going through my closet, planning Monday’s outfit…)

Growing older certainly doesn’t mean you have to be ignored!