Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sometimes, When It Rains, You Can Almost Hear the Mistakes About to be Made

I'll make this brief. Today, as I traversed the Sony lot in the rain, in search of postage stamps and Andy Capp's Cheese Fries,

I happened to overhear a marvelous mistake about to happen! Worse, even, than my own decision to eat an entire bag of Andy Capp's Cheese Fries.

How can you hear a mistake about to happen, you probably didn't ask? Imagine you are walking behind a woman with a leopard print umbrella, who's also wearing an understated black trench so as to (almost?) get away with said leopard print umbrella. And suppose coming this way towards the both of you is a tiny Kristin Chenoweth-ish blonde in a leopard print trenchcoat. Suppose Trenchcoat, as we'll call her, exclaims to Umbrella, "Oh my God, WHERE did you get that amazing umbrella?" - all smiles, a crazy reality-show-contestant-esque twinkle in her eye:

Umbrella responds, "Ya know, I got it years ago I don't even remember where," probably trying delicately to save Trenchcoat from herself. Suppose Trenchcoat then goes, "Darn! I was thinking...I need that umbrella to go with my coat!" Ha! Insane laughter follows!

I tense every muscle in my face so as to stop myself from exclaiming: "NO! That'd be way too matchy matchy! Don't do it! You'll look like an idiot!":

But you know she's going to go out and find a leopard print umbrella somewhere. And wear it with the trenchcoat. And you know she's not going to stop there because one mistake so often begets another. And because somewhere, in a Marshalls or a Payless, there's a pair of leopard print galoshes.

Thank God it only rains but ten days a year in Los Angeles. I only hope this woman doesn't have children.

Also, I'm mean! Also, in a future blog I'm going to discuss how LA is full of people who essentially think it's okay to wear the Andy Capp's cap.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Leggings and Other Nonsense

Please understand that the radio silence on my end has not been for lack of fashion adventures and frustrations. Rather it has been to allow myself proper contemplation of how far I've come in my quest to be less biz-caj over the past five months. Well I'm proud to report that three weekends ago, I wore leggings preeeety much as pants at the Edendale Grill - the very bar where I'd been accused of being a little business casual back in early June.

But I didn't JUST wear leggings as pants, and this is why I felt the moment called for a good blogging. This was not my go-to Gap Kids ensemble of yesteryear. (My sixth grade uniform: paisley leggings; matching color palate tunic sweater that draped to mid-thigh; and a locket that contained solution and a wand for blowing bubbles:

- sort of the coke spoon cross necklace from CRUEL INTENTIONS for the mid-90s middle school scene.)

These were plain black leggings, residing squarely in the center of the leggings spectrum.

Not so lame as to have stirrup feet:

But also not so cool as to be shiny gold lame and from the hipster porn store, American Apparel:

If the leggings I wore were politically minded they'd vote for Olympia Snow. Their taste in music would be Coldplay and they'd tell that story about when they tried out for "Deal or No Deal" at cocktail parties. Very middle of the road.

But I PAIRED them with my mom's 1980s Head Tennis dress which runs tight in the bust and short over the butt, with a teal and black striped pattern at the top and keyhole neckline. Something akin to these alledgedly easy-to-sew models:

And...wait for it...a jean jacket with the collar popped. Aaaaand theeen... yellow leather peep-toe flats. I mean, I made no sense as a human at that moment.

And I've NEVER gotten so much attention. From the opposite sex, from the same sex, from bartenders, from drunk hecklers. It was wild and it led me to an important conclusion: in LA, no one has any idea about what is going on, so if you dress like a second grader who got to pick her outfit, and just wear it like you're wearing Prada, people notice. And they think you suddenly know something they don't. I'm not so proud as to think people from Santa Monica to Eagle Rock started wearing vintage tennis dresses over leggings with jean jackets because I did it. I think most of us remember when I tried DESPERATELY to make L.L. Bean duck boots "happen" out here and that never quite caught on. I'm just saying, that maybe if I'd paired those duck boots with black denim overall shorts over a slinky tank top, instead of as part of a larger "Vermont lesbian mom who loves to garden" ensemble, I'd have had more success with my efforts.

Even as we moved from the Edendale to the more agenty hang out The Village Idiot, with God as my witness, people looked at my uncalled for, ridiculous outfit and thought, "Wait, that a thing now?" And I'd like to continue this experiment throughout this fair city, making people wonder if total nonsense is "a thing now." Mismatched outfits of the "what-the..." variety to come:

Puffy 1980s ski parka over a thermal long john shirt...with short-shorts. And Keds flat sneakers.

Low back leotard under high-waisted mom jeans with jelly sandals.

Silk shirt unbuttoned over ironic tee junior prom dress. With knee-high Doc Martins.

Perhaps I've gone too far. Perhaps I haven't gone far enough. It doesn't matter, because out here, no one knows any better.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The O.C. Super Fashion

It's been a long time, old friend. Let me catch you up since I last posted! After I got laid off and went to Vegas with my mom, I did the following things IN this particular order: sat around in my front yard in a bathing suit a lot, went to a fair - nay, a SUPER fair - in Orange County, watched MAMMA MIA, got a new job at Columbia Pictures, wore Juicy-brand terry cloth sweatpants on a red eye for the first time in my life (a cardinal fashion sin I've yet to stop self-flagellating for), fell asleep briefly on a bench outside the U.S. Capitol building, walked the halls of the Senate Offices in summer white pants and (by D.C. pearl earrings standards) "loud" jewelry, went to a wedding at a place in Virginia straight out of Dirty Dancing, went to an ironic not-quite-a-strip-joint-strip joint in a Soccer Mom-gone-wild ensemble of a skirt with sailboat blueprints on it and a purse-shaped locket containing photographs of my grandparents in the 80s, and - just last night - launched into a self-righteous rant in favor of Universal Healthcare. There. I think that's everything.

Much like my old roommate Lale whose brain often had to catch up with how rapidly her mouth moved when she spoke, I'm going to make a halting, off-putting effort to get up to speed. I'm going to take it one post at a time, and I'd like to begin with a little ditty about my fifth trip ever into Orange County, where signs welcoming you into various towns read, "Est. 1961 A.D." That's right. Down the 405 they do things a little differently - In the Year of Our Lord style.

My good friend Manless Dogless in LA (you may know her if you are a reader of the blog I ____ L.A., or if you are a dude living out of his car, a wimp hung up on his ex, a pro football player with no sense of how to conduct yourself at a Grand Lux chain restaurant, or any other relative disaster for womankind) was all, "Let's get Tears for Fears tickets! They're coming here July 17th!" And I'm like, "Yeah! I love 'Break it Down Again'! Dukakis for President! Get it? That's a DONNIE DARKO reference! Wooo!"

Cut to July 10th or so when I receive the Ticketmaster email reminding me of the show details. Location: The O.C. FREAKING Super Fair in Costa Mesa. What? That is by no means "here" - Tears for Fears is not coming "HERE"! But ManlessDogless and I were doing this...and if we were going to a SUPER fair, we were going down in a sober food coma hot mess (we totally succeeded there - I could barely drive home I was so gross). But aside from the greasy pretzels the size of my torso, the deep-fried twinkies, and the "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," we happened upon a fashion nightmare extravaganza! If I felt like a business casual frump before, this place had me feeling like Anna Wintour. I wish I had video of myself because I'm pretty sure I might have been prancing around with pride simply for not wearing overall shorts. Let me "Break it Down Again" for you all...

EXHIBIT A in my case against (or for?) the O.C. Super Fair (photos courtesy of Manless Dogless):

Hey kids! Did you think airbrushed articles of clothing went out of style in the 1980s/with the shuttering of your local roller rink? Well think again! Whether you're proud of your Drill Team or of your same-sex commitment (please see the photo of me in my "Gomez hat" above - look just to my right), say it with airbrush!


Now how can that even be safe? What are these "shoes" made of - paper and staples? At 3 pairs for $20, I wouldn't be suprised to learn later that they take years off your life, like carcinogens. I guess another interpretation of this sign is that for $20 you get three shoes - not three pairs. As though the discount were the result of a factory mistake where you get a left, a right...and then another left...of a pair. Needless to say, we didn't explore further to find out.


Yeah - see, you're thinking, oh Business Casual you're so mean. Clearly these three girls either just got off work at the local Strawberry, where they had to wear the new summer line, and didn't have time to change for the Super Fair, or they are out for a night of bachelorette hijinks and decided to dress alike...but see, here's the thing. THIS WAS THE FIFTH GROUP OF PEOPLE IN MATCHING OUTFITS THAT WE SAW. FINALLY Manless Dogless managed to catch it on film. And I'm not talking like, a group of people all wearing matching family reunion shirts, I'm talking full on plain clothes MATCHING OUTFITS.


AAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH! I mean - wha - huh - why - ARRRGGHHH? Make it stop! (Basically, I know I don't have any kids, but this CAN'T be the way you sell baby clothes. This turns my uterus very, very cold.)


Where's PETA because THIS is animal cruelty. I'm embarassed for zebras eveywhere. And I've seen zebra print clothing before - I'm from New Jersey. But this...this...this. I know what you're thinking. "Did she do it? Did she make the purchase? How could she not have with the price absolutely SLASHED like that?" All I'm saying is "maybe," and if you are in my extended family you MIGHT be getting this as your gag gift at Christmas.

And to be fair, let's take a crack at old Business Casual herself. Nice white boat neck Polo sweater with ruffled kelly green colored shirt underneath. Did I mistake the O.C. Super Fair for the 19th Hole? It was a miss in my attempt to dress younger and cooler, clearly. But I sacrificed my honor - and now my identity I guess, yeesh - to bring you the horrors...of the O.C. Super Fair. You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Gets Worn in Vegas SHOULD Stay in Vegas

It's been a while. Let me catch you up on my life since my heady, tongue-in-cheek blog entry about being a bridesmaid that now hilariously screams, "This girl's got NO idea what's coming for her."

On Tuesday, June 30th, the mini-major studio I worked for, Paramount Vantage, was dissolved. "Dissolved" is the cute way of saying we all lost our jobs but didn't take it personally. I was so upbeat and blase with the HR rep who gave me my little "goodbye" packet I think I freaked her out more than if I'd cried, screamed, and gone all Norma Desmond on her ("I AM Paramount Pictures!"). I remember sitting there, listening to something about my 401K rolling over and thinking, "I can't believe I dressed up today. For this. This HR rep's wearing jeans and wedge sandals." It was akin to one of my favorite titles of a country song I can't bear to listen to, Deana Carter's "Did I Shave My Legs For This?"

On Thursday, July 2nd, I boarded a plane to Las Vegas for a best-timing-ever vacation with...wait for mother. Now I know what you're thinking. Vegas with mom: body shots, day-long hangovers and mild vandalism MUST have ensued. Shockingly, however, Mom and I kept it together and mostly just ate and played video poker until we couldn't do 'em no more. We also watched some "Reba" as we got ready at night - a show that will never stop surprising me. It's hilarious and GOD Reba's plucky. It was sort of like when in college you and your girlfriends would get ready for a night out and listen to "I Touch Myself" and "Like a Prayer," but it was the laugh track of "Reba."

Anyway, this whole scenario roughly translated to heaven. If you're retired. So, I just pretended all the long weekend that I was just that. Retired.

But, to get to the "point" of this blog, I'd like to share with those of you unfamiliar with the big LVNV what I've learned one should wear to various outings and activities around Vegas, or in different scenarios that have brought you there. Granted I mostly saw all this through the lens of the ironically named hotel-casino the Wynn, a lovely establishment run by an egomaniac who's NOT Donald Trump. So here we go:

If you are ME - you finally give in and wear nothing but a bikini and kitten heels around the pool because, hell, everyone else is doing it (and I mean EVERYONE, I swear I saw an 8 year-old in plastic kitten heels and some American Apparel Jr.-esque silver one piece with like, cleavage and the sides cut out). If you are judging me right now, let me add, in my defense, I've only got so many bikini and kitten heels years left. So, rather bravely, I paraded from my chaise lounge to the pool that way. Otherwise it was J. Crew Cover Up City. But there was my big effort not to be business casual poolside.

Enough about me, let's get to the good stuff!

If you are A LITTLE OLD FOR A BACHELOR PARTY but still clearly with a bachelor party - an ironic tee-shirt that still subtly hints that you might be a catch. My favorite of this grouping read, "Trust me. I'm a doctor."

I believe Vegas is the place where men with reputable occupations wear shirts that make them seem a little more loosey-goosey, and porn producers wear Polo and Izod. I wish I didn't know the latter part from experience (thanks, Tao Beach! ick).

If you are at A TRENDY 21+ POOL PARTY at an upscale hotel and casino - nothing but your tattoos and plastic surgery, like badges of honor. At least not on top. Especially if you're pregnant. Oh yes, a pregnant French woman five lounges down from me was fully topless. And I'm sitting there trying to breathe deeply about my Target bikini and kitten heels. So repressed. Moving on...

If you are from ENGLAND OR ANY OTHER OF THE BRITISH ISLES - bathing suits and tee shirts with ABERCROMBIE or GAP written literally across the entire article of clothing. Only in the UK (and maybe Australia) do people wear GAP like it's Marc Jacobs.

At an UPSCALE RESTAURANT - dress like a prostitute going to a fancy meal (thanks to Shley for that turn of phrase), a Busch league sorority girl, or an Eastern European gangster channeling Dean Martin.

At THE PENNY SLOTS - a fanny pack. It's just good sense.

At TRYST NIGHTCLUB - HUGE diamond earrings (this applies to MEN ONLY).

In the GIFT SHOP - Beyonce Knowles-related bling. For those of you who don't know (so Ann, you can read a few lines ahead), Beyonce is ending her "I AM..." world tour at the Encore, the Wynn's sister hotel and casino, at the end of July. So you can't pull a slot machine handle or pay too much for a bottle of water without hearing the most upsettingly catchy "Single Ladies/Halo" medley this side of the Mississippi. And the gift shop is a Beyonce fan pack rat's nightmare. Can't swing a dead cat without hitting $200 sunglasses with "Beyonce" in some strange script where the "Dior" or "Chanel" should be or loads of other crazy in love crap.

The next time I go to Vegas I will probably be footing the bill and accordingly be staying at Circus Circus, or one of those casinos from the best sequence from the movie VEGAS VACATION where you can play "Which Hand" and "Pick a Number from 1 - 10." At that time I will revisit this subject.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

5 Dresses

After this coming Labor Day weekend, I will have been a bridesmaid twice, a flower girl twice (once at age 4, and again at age 28) and a maid of honor once. When I was a flower girl at age 4, my mom made my dress, and it was rocking. I mean, it wasn't as hold-the-phones awesome as the She-Ra costume she made me that Halloween (she made everything except the hard plastic weaponry!), but it was pink with an eyelet collar and lovely and totally the kind of thing these two undomesticated hands will never be able to make my own daughter some day.

Throughout my adult years, my closest friends - clearly BRIDEZILLAS one and all! - have had the audacity, the sheer nerve, THE GALL to choose affordable, flattering dresses from accessible color palates with zero gawdy detailing that I could actually wear again!! I know, I know. The brides and I are still talking - but barely, and only because I've been the bigger person.

But I mean, truly, if you are going to ask someone to be your bridesmaid, all you future brides out there, please don't half ass it. Really put them out, make them spend money their twenty-something salaries can't afford, and pitch a fit if they select jewelry not in keeping with what you had in mind. Enough of this rolling with the punches!! It's your special day - PUNISH ME FOR AGREEING TO BE A PART OF IT!!!

I have only ever been asked to purchase bridesmaid dresses from one of two locations:

J. Crew

Vineyard Vines

After perusing their websites, if you aren't already familiar with them, I know you will understand my outrage.

Just once, I want to feel the burn of polyester under midday sun while standing for 30 minutes straight. Just once, I'd like to be directed to David's Bridal with the directions to get something with sleeves in puce!

When do I get to wear something your great aunt bedazzled? Why didn't you ever offer me something with armpit sweat stains that three other bridesmaids in your family have worn before me? Why can't you brides take time out from reserving caterers and hand-making wedding favors to arrange for me to get knocked up about 6 months before the ceremony and have the unfortunate luck of having to wear something like this:

Because when you're a knocked up bridesmaid, pistachio and a ribbon choker are really your only options so as to draw attention away from your shame.

And where are my toilet cleaner antler crowns?

When did I ever give you the impression I was above traditional New Jersey wedding garb?:

Why can't I show my respect for days gone by in the Old West when men were men and women were whores?:

Honestly, I don't think denim ever goes out of style:

Or lacy white plastic umbrellas, for that matter.

Franny, Kathleen, Leah and Monica - consider yourselves on friend probation. Until you can come up with better ways to humiliate me (since you've already blown your chances to do so on a bridesmaid level), I have nothing left to say to you. Just keep forcing your good taste and sensibility down my throat. Living in L.A. has made me immune to both. So ha!

Monday, June 15, 2009

She Bangs, She Bangs

The summer before 6th grade, I chopped off the long golden locks I'd been growing for many girlie years into a pixie cut so that I might look like one of the hottest singers of the 1990s...Chynna Phillips.

Shut up - she and her group Wilson Phillips are still totally relevant and if you don't believe me, ask me to play you a cover of "Hold On" from my friend Scott's short film THE ASSASTANT and once you've successfully ripped yourself away from the computer, and willed yourself not to play it for a fortieth time, we'll talk about how "stupid" it was that I wanted to look like Chynna Phillips. She bagged Billy Baldwin, for crying out loud! How hot is that?

Anyway. As you can imagine, since I was 11 and had not even half a breast, or pierced ears, or an inclination to dress myself in anything other than the unisex looks of Gap, Esprit and Benetton that were so hot at the time, I was sometimes mistaken for a boy. Mostly by waiters at ethnic food restaurants, but still. Strangely enough I also got my first date out of this haircut. Yes, I shook my sassy cut at the Eatontown, NJ roller rink and was promptly asked to the Fireman's Fair by a popular kid. I can't really reconcile that low and that high and I've finally stopped trying.

That haircut and the weirdness associated with it made me a little gunshy. I really haven't tried anything ballsy with my hair since then.

Until now. Saturday, I marched down to Hazel at the Purple Circle (whom you all would love, I recommend her above everyone else - her $60 cut outshines the $120 ones at even Ken Paves) and got...layers and bangs.

I know, that doesn't sound so ballsy to you, but to me, that's like getting tattoo Hazel, the awesome chick cutting my hair had. She also had one of those little nose rings that make you look like a terribly cool bull.

This time - 18 years later - I brought another picture of a singer with me. But this time, it was Jenny Lewis. And already, I think this cut's going to fair a little better against the test of time:

As I handed the photo to Hazel, I calmed her down.

"Don't worry. I'm not one of those delusional people who thinks that by asking you to give me the haircut of someone beautiful you are going to make me actually look like that beautiful person in all other ways."

Only I totally am.

Hazel studied the photo and said, "Oh. Jenny Lewis. She's around this neighborhood a lot."

Suddenly I got a little nervous. I feel like if Jenny Lewis walked into the salon where I was asking Hazel to cut my hair like hers, I would die. Like actually die - stroke out. And then I'd be there all slumped over in the cool barber shop chair with cool music from the 1930s playing softly in the background and I'd have the tell-tale messy, chunky bangs, and - much worse - probably still be holding the photo of her I printed at work on the color printer (and stupidly left out on my desk, prompting my boss to ask why I had it and inadvertently revealing that I'm that girl who brings photos of pretty girls to hairdressers and asks them to make me look like them).

So that colored the rest of the cut with a tinge of fear that was only soothed by Hazel's awesome stories about her starving artist roommate and Argentinian boyfriend and living in San Francisco and getting hit by a car on her bike and doing wedding hair (which sounds like a NIGHTMARE - maybe even more so than the shoulder surgery and recovery associated with getting hit by a car on a bike). We also had the entire salon to ourselves as the rest of her coworkers - all of whom were apparently close friends - had taken off for Vegas together for the weekend.

Does this happen where you work? Because it doesn't where I work.

When all was said and done, I was super psyched with how it all turned out. If you know me and aren't a creepy internet skulker (she said, as if more than 6 people read this blog), I'd like to direct you to posted photos on my Facebook.

I was thankful she'd convinced me to go not only with the bangs but also the slightly wild layers -

"Please just don't give me hipstermullet," I had begged her. And sure as shooting, she listened.

Sure I sometimes pull my hair back and think I look a little like Moe from the Three Stooges. And last night our close friend Andrew told me I looked like a little Teutonic youth - like a Von Trapp family singer:

But I like my new non-business casual tresses. And as Shley, Cara (another best bud) and I readied for a night of pool at 7 Grand (the bar where Michael Scott bags a hot Canuck concierge in "The Office"!), we joked that we were going to look like some bizarre trio because all of us now had heavy bangs. And then they actually admitted - first one, and then the other, as if it were catching - that they too had brought in a picture of Jenny Lewis to their respective hairdressers. My first thought was "phew" and then my second thought was, "we all have the same hair and that might be creepy."

Like every time I'd ever busted out into Michael McDonald's soul-rattling opening lines of The Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes" (the count for this is far higher than it should be) I felt at once so cool and so retarded. What an auspicious beginning to my non-business casual future.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Was Blind, But Now I See

Amazing Grace! After what I've just now realized have been 5-6 years of sub-par vision - of squinting, pretending to enjoy long distance views, and scaring anyone driving with me at night - I finally went to the eye doctor.

Before I get into the amazing eye-wear and make-up fashion tips my 65 year-old Boca Raton-visitin' new doctor regaled me with (none of which I should heed given the point of this blog), let me cut to an important chase.

At age 29, I am wearing contact lenses for the first time. I know, you're thinking - wow. This is a rite of passage usually reserved for teenage ugly ducklings about to transform into beautiful swans, like in SHE'S ALL THAT - that movie where Usher plays a deejay.

But the strange thing about it is I don't wear my glasses that often. Oh you know, I'll throw 'em on when I'm driving, at the movies, watching TV, that sort of thing. But who wants to be at a bar in L.A. and actually see the faces of the people around you? Shley says I've been living in denial about the fact that my vision has slowly deteriorated since age 22 to the point where I need actual vision care. I hate her cause she's correct.

So all day I've been running up to my coworkers (all of whom - along with cars, buildings and traffic lights - seem to be coming at me in 3-D now) and exclaiming, "I got contact lenses!" Their reactions have been underwhelming-transitioning-into-patronizing to say the least. But you know what? Good for me for taking control of my vision health 5 years after it probably would have been a good time to do so.

My doctor, whom we'll call Doctor Wacky, also called me out. Let me preface this story with - I kind of adore my eye doctor and I don't plan on leaving him for a long time. (And if my past record is any indicator, I don't plan on going back to see him for another 6 years or so). But the man definitely fake raised a hand to slap me when I couldn't will my eye to stay open so he could fit me for a contact lens. He also refused to disclose to me my prescription.

"Why do you want to know that? Because people ask? Tell them to mind their own business."

He's a weirdo, frankly. He told me the fact that I've been living without proper vision for so many years, "tells him a lot about what kind of person I am." No, Doctor Wacky doesn't know what I do for a living, if I've ever fallen in love, what community service I'm committed to, or how I treat my mother, but he DOES know what kind of person I am.

He also is just sick and tired of pretty gals like me wearing glasses.

"You're an attractive woman, why wear glasses?" he asks me.

"I kind of like how I look in gla-" I try to answer.

"Tut-tut! Not another word. You're getting contacts AND you're getting glasses, and you're going to spend about $475 today," he tells me, sucking all the heart-racing suspense out of the visit.

So finally, in a scene from SAW or A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, he forces the contacts into my eyes, ("Hey, if Asians and ten year-olds can wear contacts..." he encourages me) and lets me pick out glasses - but with a fashion warning. He tells me not to pick the paler tortoiseshell frames I've been wearing all this time because they match my hair and blend in. I need to stand out!

Instead, he has one of his coworkers show me a wide array of green and red glasses. Because what 29 year-old girl doesn't want to look like Sally Jesse??? Finally the girl shows me good stuff - one cat-eyed pair I almost bought JUST to really bring it home during my almost annual karaoke performance of Lisa Loeb's "Stay" - and I get some good ones and vow to come back for two days of training which I totally needed because I'm not an Asian or a ten year-old.

I touched my eyeball, and I liked it.