Tag: fashion

Babushka Nation

happy babushka

Five years ago, wearing my favorite fashion accessory of all time – the Babushka. You’ve all seen this pic a thousand times but sometimes the only picture that will do for a post is an old favorite one.

I’ve always been a rustic old peasant lady at heart. I love simple food best. I need a strong connection to dirt* to feel whole. I love beets. I mean, I LOVE BEETS AND EVERY TIME PEOPLE MAKE SNARKY REFERENCES TO RUSSIANS SMELLING OF BEETS I EXPERIENCE THE FAMILIAR PANG I ALWAYS DO THAT I’M NOT AT ALL RUSSIAN AND ALSO THAT I DON’T EVER SMELL OF BEETS EVEN WHEN I’M ELBOW-DEEP PICKLING THEM.

toothy smile 2

My soul smells of beets, wet dirt, black wool, and rope soles.

Today it was almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I was covered shoulder to shoe in mostly black. Was I uncomfortable? Hell yes. But I could have been naked and I’d have been just as uncomfortable. My pants are long and drapey with an attached over-skirt. It has a Muslim or Indian feel to it. But mostly I felt like an old Greek woman today. An old Greek woman missing her babushka. A babushka is a brilliant accessory. It protects you from religious outrage against bare heads, against scalp sunburn, against the dreaded bad hair day, and it achieves membership in a non-exclusive club of super-gritty street smart women (and perhaps a few men?) who know how to pickle EVERYTHING and throw darts and get a mule to co-operate and other things way more important than world domination or gun ownership.

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Why fight it when you’re finally old enough to pull off the person you’ve always been? I’m fat, middle aged, and I haunt the local farm. I wear mostly black and yet I’ve become too lazy to apply makeup and arrange a babushka over my head? I’ve been an old lady out of context for my whole life UNTIL NOW.

stupid contrast

Many years now I’ve been most at home haunting my local farms. Breathing in the dust of hard dry tractor paths, collecting yellow tomato dust on my dry dirty fingers, saying ridiculous things only geeks or old ladies would say while my vegetables are being weighed. Uncomfortable with my Carson McCullers soul living in a Stephenie Meyer world, finding the farmer’s skull scars oddly attractive, crushing slightly on the farmer’s daughter slowly morphing into the farmer’s son.

Nowhere else am I more myself than in the middle of a mile long row of farm tomatoes. Nowhere else am I more myself than when I’m aproned, grimy with vegetable juice, hair covered in a scarf, and singing working class ballads into the hot summer breeze.

That’s a lie. The other time and place I’m most myself is during torrential downpours, out in the open, streaming with mountain water, laughing like a fucking loon and dancing like someone who knows hollow shadows. I AM rain. I AM snow. I AM bird.

I’ve been wearing a babushka since I was a teen. I’ve let it slide lately. Let it fall by the wayside. My national attire is a babushka, a fitted jacket, an ankle length voluminous skirt, Ghillie brogues, and red lipstick. Give me my office, I can rip your soul from your skin if you can’t give me room to breathe.

Just kidding. I don’t have power over you.

Much.

Knowing what you’re made of gives you power over the outcomes of your actions.

I’m not your cheerleader, I’m your grandmother. I tame kittens, make the best spinach pie, can stop your knee from bleeding faster than the ER, and I’ll shed my ghosts so they’ll only haunt you when you most need them. I come with a stick of butter in my spoon and olive oil in my pot.

 

*I’m sorry Dennis, it’s more satisfying sometimes to call it dirt than “soil”. I cringe in your honor every time I say it.

The Importance Of Skin

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This is one part of my fashion and beauty inspiration doors. The more diversity of skin the magazines include, the more you will see on my boards. I see beauty in all shades of skin. Missing: Asian models are the least represented in the magazines within my reach. I will need to get actual Chinese and Japanese fashion mags to see more Asian beauty!

I have been thinking a lot about skin in the last few days.

A twitter friend, Em Davey (@KromBoomEm), tweeted about seeing skin-lightening products all over the world but was particularly surprised to see them in Hawaii. My first thought was “Why would anyone want to lighten their skin?” and the next thought was the racist angle concerning white standards of beauty. But immediately following that I thought about the millions of white skinned women who spend tons of time and sometimes tons of money trying to make their skin darker through tanning. It was impossible to express all this without sounding either dismissive, racist, or annoyingly simplistic.

But for me, it really is simple: I think everyone should embrace the skin they’re born with. I think skin is beautiful in all the shades it comes in from so dusky it has an almost iridescent cast to it, to the palest that also has an almost iridescent cast to it. All of it. Every shade of natural skin, even my own occasionally annoying ruddy version of pale skin (moonlight skipped my skin, sadly), looks good on the person who was born with it.

To me, artificially changing one’s skin on purpose is a kind of self mutilation. White women working so hard to have darker skin weird me out. First of all, I don’t think it looks good, and second of all, it seems like an unhealthy obsession.

What I don’t understand at all is that in my country, where being a white person is supposedly such a huge privilege and whiteness of communities is something white people have been willing to protect with violence, why are so many white women working so damn hard to be LESS WHITE?

I don’t get it. I will never get it. If being white is so fucking superior, why do so many women work hard to get brown or orange skin?

I’ve thought about white women hating having actual white skin but I have rarely (probably because I’ve always lived in predominantly white communities) thought about women with brown skin trying to become lighter skinned. I didn’t know that was truly a thing outside of the rare Michael Jackson kind of – I don’t know if there’s a name for what he had – extreme whitening of his skin.

People: the skin you were born with, the shade it is when you use at least moderate protection to care for it, the shade it is when you go about living your life – that’s the shade that you’re meant to be. It’s the shade that goes best with the rest of you. Embrace the skin your in while also embracing the skin every one else is in.

I’m not saying I’m against enhancing or playing with one’s looks. I happen to very much enjoy make up and it’s fun to play with skin like a canvas. But make-up is superficial and you wash it off at the end of the day. I used to wear rice powder to be Kabuki-white. It was theatrical and fun, but not permanent. Make-up allows you to play dress-up but it doesn’t alter who you are on a cellular level.

Skin protects us. It holds our innards in. It filters junk before it can pollute our blood. It defends us, it also brings nutrients to us through light and air.

I can’t stand that skin color is used by so many (and no, not just white people) to judge other people’s character and worth. I hate that skin has become (or always has been) a political and personal tool for demoralizing and tearing other people down. It isn’t even just skin color but skin reveals things like who’s been working harder with their hands doing physical labor – something that in the past at least, was an actual barrier in society. Rough hands could keep you from taking any place of prominence in society.

What the ever-loving-goddamn-idiotic-fuck?

Humans can be so adamantly stupid.

I am declaring this the year of SKIN. What I would like is for everyone to take better care of the skin they’re in. Stop trying to significantly darken or lighten it. Don’t accept standards of beauty you can’t naturally fit into. Ruddy skis is NEVER going to be IN as far as beauty standards go, but this year, more than ever before, I will not only embrace my own skin but endeavor to take better care of it. Incidentally, most pictures of me don’t reveal my ruddiness. That comes and goes depending on temperature and lighting and exertion levels. I go red very easily and it isn’t generally with embarrassment. When I’m not flushed I’m medium pale with so many freckles that some people* claim I’m not even freckled.

I would like everyone to embrace the skin they’re born with. Care for it like the incredible organ it is. Care for it and love it and nurture it. If it’s naturally really dry, moisturize it. If it’s naturally really oily, wash it with gentle cleansers that offer more balance. Use sunscreen. Take care of your skin like it takes care of YOU.

Don’t bake in the sun like you’re a fucking pastry.

Don’t bleach your skin like it’s a fucking bathtub.

Love the skin you’re in and then love the skin everyone else is in too. This isn’t going to fix the world. It won’t make wars end. But seeing and appreciating everyone’s skin in all its shades is the first step to appreciating the precious spirits and hearts skin works so hard to protect.

*YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE

A Whole Lotta Ugly: Spring Fashion 2013

Ugly Fashion

A couple of these items are not from the Spring 2013 collections.  All of them are, in my opinion, HIDEOUS.  Here are some notes I’m taking as I go through the Spring fashion magazines:

I didn’t previously have an opinion on Proenza Schouler but suddenly they are putting women in boxy ugy sleeveless jean-jacket style vests (not just boxy, more like putting women in BIG BOXES) and low slung hole punched leather skirts and my all time favorite “shoe” the tall toeless boot.  Why do they suddenly hate women so much?

Prada – what is up with the gross furs with the bright red splotches?!  Not mod.  It’s ugly ugly ugly!  Also – stop with the furs!  NO FURS.  I usually like Prada.  They make great sunglasses that I always wish I owned.  I’m hating this season’s collection pretty thoroughly.

Etro – continuing to vomit color and pattern all over bodies in the most indiscriminate way.  Garish, gross, hideous.

icb – is giving Etro a run for their money.  Why you hate women so much?!

Juicy Couture – always promoting tasteless hooker style.  Going strong this season.  I was going to say something about the rhinestones on sweat-clothes but have decided there’s no point.

Eileen Fisher – just surprised me.  This is not a designer that I generally pay attention to.  I really like the outfit in the Vogue ad – the striped sweater and the harem pant.  Really nice.  That’s something I’d wear.  Love it.  Not sure what the rest of her line looks like but now I’m interested.

Versace.  Oh lord.  Still making clothes for rich women who want to look sexy and oily and trashy but still very very rich.

Miu Miu is delivering some really nice style this season.  Also enjoying some pieces from Dolce and Gabbana – the striped cotton suit and the rose accessories are both really good.

I LOVE Carolina Herrera’s silk faille blouse with the long black skirt.  Herrera rarely disappoints me – her clothes are really feminine without being patronizingly girlish.  Very elegant and classic without being staid or boring.

Alexander McQueen!  I’m still so sad about his death but his top designer is doing a really great job of carrying on the line in, I think, the same spirit of rebellion and fun that McQueen has always been known for.  Opulence with humor and innovation.  This is the best of Brittish fashion in my opinion and I’ve enjoyed that Duchess Kate has worn McQueen on a number of occasions.

That’s all I’ve got today.  Now it’s time to get dressed and then draft some pockets for a shirt I just drafted and do a sample sewing to see how well it might work.  I spent yesterday evening drafting and it was so enjoyable.  Will be better if it actually works out well.  I watched Foyle’s War while I worked – a great show for sewing and drafting to.

What to Wear to Fight Your Healthcare Provider

What to Wear to Fight your Healthcare Provider

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to get medieval on corporate ears to be heard, when you have to stand up and shout at the top of your lungs to get services you’re paying for but aren’t receiving, and when you will have to be an automated telephone system’s worst nightmare.

And you need to be ready for that day.

Get some armor to protect your vital organs from corporate whiplash.

Wear the biggest baddest pair of keister-kicking boots you can get your feet into.

While tiny cooter-revealing skirts or skintight pants might make you feel like a superstar they will not impress your healthcare provider. Command respect in a floor length voluminous skirt – the kind you can hide weapons in.

Hide weapons in it.

Add polish to your look with a neat and trim capelet, studded cuffs (for a most tough appearance), and acorn earrings to summon the courage and power to deflect lightening.

Go forth and irritate the hell out of your health care provider until you wear them completely down, and they take care of you the way they promised they would when they lined their offices with your paychecks.

How to Have a Cold in Style

How to Have a Cold in Style

So, you have caught your death of a cold, C’est grave! The cold, she is a vixen, n’est pas?

I am here to help you dress for this serious occasion. First of all, don’t wear color. Wearing color shows an unbecoming level of optimism that may attract the vultures of fate. You want to stick to black and grey. It’s important to appear to take your condition very seriously.

A large loose comfy chunky warm sweater will keep you feeling hugged as though by a big blanket. But this is not enough – next you must wrap your neck with a very big warm shawl or scarf – big enough to cover half your face. This will help you look as pathetic as you feel. Bottoms that are soft and warm are recommended. Slippers are more convincing than going barefoot which implies you are of stout enough health not to complain about a little cold. People who are really sick always wear slippers.

Have much tissue close at hand.

Art depicting skulls or bones will make you feel a little better because you still (presumably) have flesh on yours. For now, anyway.

Your mug may be bright and sunny, for all the evil eye knows you may have had it for ages. Cling to this mug with all your strength and beg someone to keep it filled with hot liquids. If you’re truly on your deathbed you may as well make it a hot whiskey beverage.

Schedule an appointment with your local funeral home. You may survive this cold, but if you don’t, it’s the least you can do for your loved ones.

What to Wear to Whip 2013 into Submission

New Year's Eve - how to kick 2013's ***

 

Let’s not beat around the bush – 2012 was a thumping BITCH of a year for most of us.  This is why it’s imperative to start 2013 off with the right attitude.  You need to be ready to KICK ITS ASS TO THE CURB before it wedges its boot up yours.

Always start with your head – put a tiara on it.  A big one.  The more you look like a snow queen with no feelings the better – chill the shit out of 2013 with a single look.

It’s wise not to go too punk rock because you don’t want to suggest that you can’t kick ass in a dress – if you don’t know how to kick ass in a dress that needs to be your first goal of the year: learn to throw a hard hook while wearing a gown.  Know how to deliver a side kick in long skirts.  Go with a sequined short dress and wear a fetching long skirt underneath.

The message is: “You want my Gi-Gi?  You’re going to have to get through my layers first – and I’m not talking about my damn skirt!”

A little edge to keep your look from getting too curly is good – this can be accomplished with a leather or metal cuff.  Spikes may offer a good side-blow to your hook.

Shoes: must be flats.  Don’t give me that bullshit about kicking ass in 5″ heels.  I’ve seen you all try to run in your spikes.  Would you run a marathon in Manolos?  2013 is going to be a marathon and you need to win it.  Go with ballet flats or boots or sneakers – sequins, leather, ruffles, bows – it doesn’t matter how you fluff them up – but keep your feet connected to the earth and you will have 2013 whipped like cream.

Cheers t0 2013 being everything you make it be!

What to Wear to Beg the Power Company to Not Turn Off Your Power

What to Wear to Beg The Power Company Not To Turn Off Your Power

 

It is devastating when the power company comes to turn off your power in the middle of winter just because you’re a “little” behind on payments. It is important to take care how you dress if you plan to plead with them while standing in your driveway. The most important thing is that you need to look cold. This will appeal to the mercy of the shut-off man.

To look cold it is recommended that you still be in your sleepwear. You want to avoid looking slatternly while still being under-dressed for the cold. The general look is one of haste and surprise (because otherwise you’d just look stupid standing around outside in your flip flops when snow has been predicted). Your shivering will make the power guy very uncomfortable. (Suppressing a few sobs is also effective but more difficult to achieve.)

Fingerless gloves are Dickensian and appropriate whenever one wants to look like they can’t afford a whole pair of gloves or to imply that one has worn through the fingers with hard work. Very effective for looking pathetic.

Lastly, it is recommended that your choice of jewelry be fresh and young implying a certain level of innocence which will enhance the shut-off guy’s guilt in turning off your power. He will probably still turn it off, but at least you will have succeeded in ruining his day.

What to Wear to a Winter Farmer’s Market

What to Wear to a Winter Farmer's Market

 

Must Haves:
Practical boots for trudging in and keep feet warm, no place for spike heels or strappy shoes here.
Warm hat that clashes pleasantly with warm ski socks.
Cute top underneath practical and warm tweeds.
Big bag for produce (I would need at least two of these).
I, of course, cannot afford this outfit, but the minute I’m a best selling author (and not so fat), I’m getting this whole ensemble!

What to Wear to Winco

What to Wear to Winco

Oasis vintage top, £40
Cape coat, £245
InWear mini shorts, £60
T KEES flip flop shoes, $55
Linda Macdonald silver jewelry, £55
Mango cat eye sunglasses, £35

Flip flops or bedroom slippers are a must.

Shorts or tight pants are a must (the shorter and tighter the better, respectively)

Your goal is to juxtapose your ratty indoor private look with your more chic grocery shopping look.

I don’t do tight pants or short shorts but I would do curlers in my hair, flip flops and shorts (in all weather), and the cape adds just the right soupcon of elegance to “balance out” the casual look of curlers and flip flops. (I opted out of slippers because I don’t wear them ever)

How To Dress Like a Top 1% Caveman

Really hideous vests and coats

 

I may have just bought the last issues of Elle and Vogue I’ll ever buy.  That’s what I’m telling myself right now because for the first time in 28 years of being an avid fashion magazine fan I am completely alienated by nearly everything I’m seeing in them right now.  It is difficult to explain to those who’ve been alienated by fashion magazines for a long time.  They nod their heads and cite the skinny models, the unreal clothes, and the ridiculous prices and know that obviously I’ve finally realized that they’re making me feel bad about myself.  Why would I suddenly feel disgusted with the prices of fashion?  I have never been a consumer of high fashion, I have never been able to afford it.  There’s never been a question of desiring Fendi or Valentino.  Not because Fendi is designed for people with more money than style and not because Valentino has been making women boring for as long as he’s been designing.  I simply haven’t ever wished I could buy couture or even high end ready to wear.  For me it’s all about inspiration.  The fashion magazines are where ideas take shape.  It’s where the mundane and practical need to clothe ourselves becomes art.  I enjoy the art of fashion design.  I wouldn’t spend $3,000 on a pair of pants even if I was in the top 1%.  I would look at the style of the $3,000 pair of pants and would either find a less expensive version or I would make my own.
What’s alienated me is the return of ostentatious displays of wealth during such bleak economic times, not only in our country, but across the world.  I haven’t seen so much blatantly luxury-focused style in years.  Fur.  It’s everywhere.  I know there’s plenty of faux fur out there but the big designers are using the real stuff.  I remember all the fur ads from the 80’s and it was awful then, but at least there was enough interesting and inspired fashion going on outside of fur that I could choose to ignore it.  You can’t ignore fur right now.  What’s more, it’s truly deeply hideous looking.  The fur vests represent for me the worst in ugly fashion.
Fur Accessories

 

No, wait, that’s a lie.  The purses are the worst- at least you can convince yourself that you need that fur vest to keep your implants warm through those brutal Malibu winters but fur purses are ridiculous and wasteful in every possible way.  I loathe the fur industry.  You may have guessed this.  It’s evil.  Most fur is not a by-product of the food we eat.  No one eats mink cutlets.  I most definitely think it matters that if people kill animals they use as much of the animal as is possible.  Any less effort is insulting.  I have no objection to people using the skins of animals they eat to cover their feet and to protect their skin from the elements.  I myself wear leather.  In fact, I have thought a lot about this this week after flipping through the magazines.  Why do I feel it’s okay to wear leather but not fur?  That is a good question.  I actually don’t feel easy about wearing leather.  I have tried to wear non-leather shoes but I have big shoe issues and leather breathes the best and lasts the longest compared to the synthetic alternatives.  So I keep coming back to it.  Synthetics make my feet fungal.  Nice, huh?  I don’t have any leather purses but for the first time in my life I have a messenger bag with a leather bottom.  I love this bag.  I love it because I put my bags through hell and the leather bottom is tough and can take abuse.
Fur everywhere!

 

The only way my conscience can accept the wearing of leather is that people eat a lot of cows and leather is a byproduct of that appetite.  Even so, I find it disturbing when people outfit themselves head to toe in leather.  Unless you’re a motorcyclist there’s no need to cover your whole body in the skin of another animal.  I think it boils down to respect.  I think it’s respectful to make fur coats and wear them if you live in the north pole and hunt (and eat what you hunt) and you’re damn cold.  The animal you ate is already dead and you’re freezing your ass off.  Throwing away a good material for warmth in such an instance would be wasteful.  But women on 5th Avenue and in the 6th Arrondissement can survive the winter wearing wool.
Even putting aside my feelings about the fur industry and the people who support it, if you’re going to spend a bucket of money to wear it – why would you want to look like you skinned a goat all by yourself?  Check out that goat fur coat by Valentino in the left hand corner of the vest and coat montage.  That baby costs $6,300!  I expect better design from the fashion industry.  What I’m realizing is that the good design is no longer happening in the major design houses.  The designs that are worth looking at are indy designers.  The ones who barely get article space in the big mags, the ones who can’t afford Vogue ad campaigns.  So I’m going to look out for indy fashion magazines.  There’s not much out there but the small designers, the up and coming ones, the ones that are still hungry and pinning madly just to get a small show together-these are the designers to watch.  The dinosaurs are creaky, obsolete, and frankly, much too tied to tradition and money to do anything worth copying.
But if what you want is to dress like a top 1% caveman, this is your season.  I’ve found all the key pieces you need.  You’re welcome.
P.S.  Both my Polyvore skills and my html code insertion skills are new and pretty screwy.  Can’t get any spaces in my text here.  Just bear with me as I figure it out.