So Many Selfies
This week the word “selfie” was chosen as word of the year by the erudite folks over at the Oxford English Dictionary. It has been included in the on-line version of the dictionary and is being considered for inclusion in the traditional OED.
Personally, I can’t take a decent selfie to save my life, which is fine because let’s face it, selfies are kind of annoying and mostly best left to the tweens.
However, I’m tickled by what Franz Ferdinand bassist, Bob Hardy, has going on. Basically, he’s been taking hotel room selfies since 2005 to document tour life, but he cleverly obscures his face with whatever book he happens to be reading. Check out a smattering over at T Magazine.
I’m going to start doing this with cheeseburgers, hoagies, burritos, gyros, tacos, bahn mi. I may have to get a smaller face and bigger sandwiches, but I think Bob is really onto something here.
Enjoy a little Franz Ferdinand for Movember. And top hats off to Bob Hardy for being humble and bookish and clever. It’s enough to make an SB a little frothy. This song certainly is.
Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out from BavarianBlue on Vimeo.
Spectacular Emergency Around Jessica Biel’s Neck
WHAT is Jessica Biel wearing around her neck? Is it the love child of a tawdry four-way between a shy necklace, some smooth talking chain mail and a couple middle-aged shoulder pads who thought What the hell, you only live once?
Be still my beating heart. No really. Be still before I have a heart attack.
Or maybe it’s simply part of the dress – which I presume to be Chanel since everyone wore Chanel to the MOMA 2013 Film Benefit.
Whichever the case, I swoon and then I die and then I resurrect, only to swoon again.
Previously on SB: Flights of Fancy – Herve Leger Fur Trimmed Leather Harness Vest
SB Tunes: AlunaGeorge
You’re welcome, in advance, for bringing you some pretty sweet make-out music. AlunaGeorge, an electronic music duo from the UK, sound like the love-child of CHVRCHES and Destiny’s Child – as cool, sexy and mysterious as a dark autumn night. Aluna Francis and George Reid just put out their first album, Body Music, and it’s causing a quite a hubbub across the pond. I think these kids are going somewhere. Watch them.
Francis rocks the ‘sexy tomboy’ look with short swingy dresses, high tops and gnarly necklaces or the ‘effortless homegirl’ look in cropped tanks, giant gold hoops and Hammer pants. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s drop dead gorgeous. But in true SB form, she picks cool over hot.
Did you catch that? Cool over hot. That’s a nugget, girls and boys. Put it in your pockets.
Photo credit: Fiona Garden
SB Tunes: Police
In honor of back-to-school, sharpened not-yet-chewed No. 2 pencils, new kicks and fresh starts, an iconic video I bet you haven’t seen in a while.
A good reminder to read your Nabokov.
p.s. a properly wielded carpet beater can be a compelling, uh, teaching tool.
p.s.s. minute 3.09 in the vid.
p.s.s.s. sometimes it’s not so easy to be the teacher’s pet.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Not a Fan: Grills (On Most of Y’all)
You know I love hip hop and you know I love accessories, but this SB draws a very firm line at grills, or grillz, if you will.
The fact that this very street manifestation of hip hop culture has been adopted by cheesy white swimmer boy, Ryan Lochte, is pretty much the last straw. Consider this camel’s back broken, bashed and bludgeoned into smithereens.
I would need a top and bottom grill with a lock on it to hold my tongue any longer on this trend. At the risk of this becoming a blog about Miley Cyrus’ myriad faux pas, I won’t even mention that she has (of course) sported a grill. As has Madge, Kardashian, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Rihanna. Rihanna even has one shaped like a gun.
I’m not anti-grill. Lil’ Wayne looks like a handsome devil in his. I’m not even anti-grill-on-girls. I just think this is extreme enough by way of accessory statements, that you’ve gotta be able to back it up. And NONE of the people above can back it up, except for maybe Rihanna.
And not for nothing, didn’t we all just get out of braces? A metal mouth is a metal mouth, if you ask me.
Let’s keep the bling out of the orifices, and leave grills to the pros.
Not a fan.
SB Loves: The Cynthia Rowley Flask Bangle
Would it be exaggerating to say that my heart skipped a beat when I stumbled upon this righteous feat of genius? Combining two great loves of my life: arm candy and the occasional surreptitious nip, this Cynthia Rowley flask bangle is nothing short of beautiful.
I must know who thought of this. If Cynthia herself did, then hats off, sister. If one of her underlings thought of it, then give that young thing a promotion, a vodka Red Bull, a meatball sub and time to brainstorm.
Ask the SB: Furries
Q: I agree with you about Miley, but do you realize she’s not just “dancing” with teddy bears? If you watch her video and check out the attached pic from her Instagram, I’d say she has a thing for Furries. It’s a thing, you know. Do you know?
A: As a matter of fact, Chad, I DO happen to know about this thing you speak of. This furry fetish, this stuffed subculture, this plushy porn and here at SB we live by the motto: to each his own.
We’re all lit up by different things, and who am I to say that giant stuffed teddy bears aren’t sexy? They aren’t to me and I happen to suspect, they aren’t to Miley either. I think she’s just looking for new ways to be shocking and maybe (although this may be giving her too much credit) it’s a subversive nod and hump to her teeny bopper Hannah Montana image.
I do appreciate my readers keeping me “in the know,” so thank you for that, dearest.
Photo Credit: Miley Cyrus’ Instagram
Previously on SB: SB Loves Kissing Footballers
Previously on SB: Real Beauty
On No, Miley. Just. No.
There are few things on this good green earth more likely to cause the SB to lurch off her floaty raft and sprint, sputtering lake water and Rosé, to the nearest computer, than a performance like Cyrus’ at the VMAs.
This was actually physically painful for me to watch. My teeth hurt, my eyes hurt, my stomach hurt. It’s like someone handed her some notecards with the words: CLASSY, SUBTLE, TALENT and LADY printed on them and she opened her giant mouth and guffawed Y’all, Imma gonna do the OPPOSITE of all these here words at the VMA’s. I’m gonna show erryone Imma big girl now! before spitting in the corner, growling, rubbing the cards on her coochie and tossing them on her spit.
Sweet baby Jesus, it’s almost like she was raised by a man with a mullet.
Deep breaths. Since this blog is about casting sartorial lifelines as opposed to sticks and stones, however, I feel obligated to help this wayward, misguided girl. And also, I’m only human – as much as I hate to admit it, We Can’t Stop is a pretty good party jam. So here goes nothing.
Miley, honey, if you’re listening, please stop sticking your tongue out. It’s abnormally long and that’s seriously saying something considering the size of your mouth. Gene Simmons can pull it off. You can’t. It looks vulgar. In fact, maybe stop short of unhinging your jaw like a python when you want to open your mouth. Basically, tone down the mouth shenanigans.
I was among the few who applauded your foray into faux hawk-ville. And I was even fine with the peroxide blond. Somehow the shorter boyish hair works for you – you have nice cheek bones. But never put it into two little knots on the top of your head again. It makes you look like a hungry teddy bear. Oh, was that intentional? My bad. Maybe don’t dance with bears anymore.
Stop twerking. I know it’s your body and you can do what you want to, but twerking is for girls who can actually do it and do it well. You need speed, you need booty. Your too-slow skinny white girl twerking looks lascivious, unnatural and strained. And those poor people in your rear view mirror. I hope you had a proper wax.
Be aware of who’s around you. If Robin Thicke, the king of schmooove, looks vaguely uncomfortable and Drake is averting his eyes and Rihanna looks confused, maybe you’re doing it wrong.
And finally, if that foam finger was not your idea, then you need new people. ALL new people. Fire everyone you know and start fresh. If the foam finger was your idea, then I fear I may be too late. That was absurd and obscene and next time just ask yourself this simple question. Would Beyoncé simulate sex with a cheap sports souvenir? Oh my God.
That is all. It’s hotter than Hades where I live and I’ve broken a sweat trying to help you. I’m retreating to my floaty raft and hope that you’ll think long and hard about what I’ve said. I know you “can’t stop” and “won’t stop,” but honey, you SHOULD stop.
Previously on SB (and proof I’m no prude): Cover Up, Or Else
Previously on SB: Side Boob Do’s and Don’ts
SB Loves: A Loafer
What to do at this time of year, when we’ve angrily shoved our winter boots into the deepest recesses of our closets, yet it’s too soon for sandals?
Ballerinas are fine, of course, and NOT boring at all – but perhaps we’re feeling a yen for something different.
Moccasins and topsiders are another option, but haven’t they been co-opted by the teens? Not necessarily a deal killer, but maybe we don’t want to be similarly shod as the Carly Rae Jepsen set.
Oxfords are cute, but who wants to fuss with laces when we’re racing out the door to gulp spring?
I’ve always been vaguely suspicious of those Hugh Hefner smoking slippers – nice in theory, but has anyone ever really turned a pair of those into run-around-town shoes? Doubt it.
And I can’t get behind those driving shoes with the rubber nubs. A shoe made especially for driving is trying way too hard.
But a shoe made especially for loafing? Now we’re talking.
Consider the simple, classic loafer. It’s a shoe that gets better with age, ergo a perfect candidate for running-around-town. It never goes out of style and its tomboyish gravitas works brilliantly to balance out those summer minis and other (rightfully) frivolous summer fashion choices.
It’s a shoe that says, I may be wearing this fluttery lace skirt, but I read Tolstoy.
Previously on SB: Ask the SB: Again with the Clogs!
Coming Clean on Wedge Sneakers
You, dear reader, would have no way of knowing this, but SB has spent the better part of the last six, nay – eight months simultaneously coveting and despising the wedge high top.
It has been an internal struggle for the ages – heaven v. hell, dark v. light, angel v. demon – you can’t even imagine. The wedge high top (I shudder to even type the words) was vying for my very soul. It was epic. It was hideous. And it’s time to come clean, just in case any of you are also being tortured by this dastardly shoe.
When I first spotted the Isabel Marant version on Alicia Keys at a basketball game, I must admit I was intrigued. Floppy, but not too floppy. Sporty, but not too sporty. Cool – pretty darn cool. Until I found out they were like six hundred dollars. No way, José. No way, should anybody pay more than fifty bucks for the perfect non-performance sneaker. If you need some kind of support, or grip, or bounce, then fine, good, pay more. But don’t ask me to believe Alicia was busting out any layups in those Isabel Marants.
José? No way, OK?
However, for a tomboy girl who fancies she might have a bit of an urban edge to her, one could see the appeal of a cool high top topping off the bitty bottoms of a pair of skinnies. And for a large footed girl, well, we know all about the mystical magical minimizing effect of any wedge at all.
But c’mon, José. A wedge sneaker? It’s ridiculous and disgusting. It’s a crime against nature – like injecting cheese into a pizza crust, or breeding a zebra and a donkey or perming one’s bangs. Bad! Gross! No!
But as we all know, never say Bad! Gross! No! Because crimes against nature have a funny way of turning into crimes of passion. All it takes is an idle half hour spent looming about a three initialed discount shoe store that shall remain nameless. There sat an innocent pair of black suede high top wedges just begging to be tried on in the relative anonymity of said three initialed nameless store.
And so I did.
And that’s all she wrote.
As always, the shoe wins.
Adidas: All In for My Girls
Kudos to Adidas for launching this brilliant global girl-power campaign called all in for #mygirls. Adidas aims to give sporty girls all over the world a forum to cheer each other on and share their love of sports (and, of course, buy their shoes). Regardless, this is an example of how corporate profit can (and should) dovetail with social change.
A company who celebrates the pounding hearts, flicking ponytails, sweat, smiles, injuries, sacrifices and triumphs of girl athletes who “eat boyz for breakfast” is a company whose message I buy. And shoes too.
Enjoy and share it with a Spectacular Girl.
Previously on SB: SB Loves Healthy Bodies
Made in the Shade
I don’t know about you all, but this is my least favorite time of the year. The snow is melting, shamelessly exposing its gray, dingy underpinnings for all to see and the sun seems to be sitting on the bench with a towel over its head, gathering strength and basically avoiding its duties.
I’m sick of my boots. I’m sick of my coats. I’m sick of my scarves. And if pulling a sun move and hiding under the covers for the next two months were an option, believe me, I’d do it.
There is one thing I can do on these wet dreary days, however, and I’m going to share my tip with you, because I’m feeling generous.
As oxyMORONIC as it sounds, the best thing to do on a crappy cloudy day is to bust out your shades. Take a cue from what skiers and snowboarders have known for years: when the light is flat you need a proper lens to throw some definition into the terrain, or in our case, make things look prettier.
For sunglasses that can cast a happy tint on an otherwise cheerless day, look for something with a rose or gold tint and less blockage and most importantly, wear them. You’ll protect your eyes, prevent crows feet, avoid eye-contact in the streets because who wants to talk to anyone right now? and maybe, just maybe, make it to May without losing your wits and burning all your winter gear in a giant pyre in the middle of your living room.
Previously on SB: Ask the SB: Sunglasses for the Girlfriend
Ask the SB: How to Choose a Bag
Q: I am so embarrassed to even ask this, but I’m going to “dare greatly” in keeping with Brene Brown’s new book, and ask it anyway.
How the hell do I pick out a “good” purse? I suck at picking out bags. I cannot tell them apart to save my life other than the obvious – Louis Vuitton, etc.
Obviously, high quality material is factored in, but when people ooh and ahh over a bag, I cannot tell why. Is it the hardware? Is it the color? Is it the shape?
Could SB advise on how to pick out a beautiful yet practical everyday bag?
A: Morgan, darling. There is no need to be embarrassed as you are not alone in this conundrum of clutches. The esteemed and venerable Wall Street Journal even deemed picking a bag to be “nerve wracking,” one of their hardest hitting journalists exposing a little discussed epidemic called Handbag Decision Paralysis (HDP). You sound as if you are in the clutches of this insidious condition, but I’m here to help.
Women don’t need to suffer with HDP anymore and here’s why:
It’s just a fucking purse.
Repeat after me, Morgan. It’s just. A fucking. Purse.
Now I realize it doesn’t seem like just a fucking purse when you are trying to find the “IT” bag and facing the prospect of dropping thousands of dollars on it – to which I say, forget about the “it” bag. Unless you are so wealthy you can spend $2000-$10,000 on a bag every year or couple years, then there is no hope in chasing the “it” bag. The whole raison d’être of fashion is to move forward, providing new and better threads and baubles to covet.
And also, isn’t the concept of “it” anything just soooooo tired and annoying? If I hear about one more “it” girl, I think I’ll vomit in my “it” bag. Actually, I don’t have an “it” bag, so my regular bag will have to do. PHEW! So glad I didn’t spend four thousand dollars on it.
The truth is, you can get a lovely, high quality purse for every day use without investing so much stress and coinage. Just keep a few things in mind:
1. Leather or not. First you need to decide whether you’re willing to put your sundries into a cow, ostrich or other formerly living thing. Personally, I prefer a leather bag over just about any other material. Leather just gets better with age – all soft and supple-like and is easy to clean. Cloth, vegan leather (vinyl) and wool bags will show their wear much sooner and not in a good way.
2. Color. Pick a neutral, but loosely define neutral. I once had a coral colored bag that rocked my world because it matched everything in my closet whether I was doing the gray/blacks, the earth tones, or the color. Find a bag that will contrast or match with most of your stuff, especially your outerwear. Black is always a safe bet.
3. Shape and function. This is one of the most important aspects of a bag and can only be determined by trying the thing on and sashaying around the store. Do you require a long strap or are you fine carrying it by two handles? Do you want it to cross your body like a messenger bag or do you prefer to carry it on your forearm? Do you like structure or slouch? What needs to fit inside? Do you like compartments? Zippers? Outside pockets? Think about how you want your bag to work, but also how you want it to feel on your body.
4. Anonymity. If you do decide to overthrow the “it” bag regime, then I suggest you look for a bag with NO outside labeling whatsoever. If a bag has a tag, plaque or stitching on the outside that is not removable, then I move on. The coolest bags have an air of mystery – just like the coolest girls.
So, Morgan, love – I hope this helps take the pressure off. And if you start to feel HDPish in the store, remember your mantra: It’s just a fucking purse.
Ask the SB: Ballet Flats
Q: I’m a guy . . . and looking at the onslaught of ballet flats being worn, I am curious about the style. I find them boring to the eye and to the soul. Recently, there was an article on women’s footwear in the WSJ regarding power flats and ballet flats were termed “Dowdy” and “Demure.” I could not agree more. They may be comfy, but they hint at a passionless inner woman. Your thoughts?
A: Ooh. Michael. I just love a man with strong opinions on women’s fashion. Even if those opinions are dead wrong.
First of all, big ups for pointing me in the direction of the WSJ article – I hadn’t seen it and I couldn’t agree more with the idea that a power flat needs to be a shoe with some structure, detail and possibly the ability to maim (to wit, metallic studs and toe caps). If a heel isn’t an option, and in the real world, it isn’t always an option, then a rockin’ pointy toed flat will work just fine to show everyone around you who’s boss.
But saying that ballet flats hint at a passionless inner woman is like saying that white cotton undies hint at a passionless inner woman.
A Spectacular Bitch dresses and lives in a fashion that while not unaware of the male gaze, is unimpressed by it – and certainly unfettered by it. There are certain things in our wardrobes, like white cotton underwear, ballet flats, perfectly broken in jeans, a favorite sweater – that are comfort items. Freedom pieces.
And we don’t care. We just don’t care if you think they are boring. Hear that? We. Don’t. Care.
An SB doesn’t need a “power” shoe, high or low, at all times because, quite simply, she doesn’t need power at all times. Sometimes, what she needs is a light foot and a long stride and freedom to skip along the sidewalk or curl her feet underneath her in a banquette in the sun with the Sunday Times in front of her.
And none of it has anything to do with passion, Michael. Sometimes, a shoe is just a shoe.
Have I convinced you, Michael? Do let me know. But also know this. I don’t care!
SB Hauntings: Flashmob Headband
Anyone who has ever shopped a day in her life understands what it is to be HAUNTED by some exquisite little thing that grows in perfection and desirability with each wretched moment after it becomes an impossibility.
We all know what it’s like to pass something up in a moment of practicality or frugality or sanity, only to have one’s thoughts stray back to said little something again and again until it becomes unbearably clear that life without said little something is simply not worth living.
There are times, of course, when one passes on something and never thinks of it again. But on rare occasions, that boot, that bag, that cuff is so kick ass, that it MUST be had. NO MATTER WHAT.
And woe to the girl who goes back for it, breathless with anticipation, clutching credit card in her sweaty little hand and finds that said little something is SOLD motherfucking OUT.
OF COURSE I didn’t by a pom pom headband for three hundred dollars. How preposterous. But it is no lie to say that I have thought about this beauty every day, at least once a day from the time I first saw it and now I would gladly pay three hundred dollars for a pom pom headband. I know. How preposterous.
And it is no lie to say that I would actually wear it – I really would. I would wear it to parties with a black tube top and black tuxedo pants and a sky high heel. I would wear it to brunch with a sundress. I would wear it out dancing with a red mini and gold boots. I would wear it with a robe to write SB posts.
Pom poms are the new feathers. You heard it here first.
SB Tunes: GIRLS by Santigold
Y’all know I’ve got a lot of love for both Santigold and Lena Dunham’s cringe-y, brilliant Girls. So, of course I’m a fan of this song and video off of the Girls’ soundtrack for this season.
It’s refreshing to see females portrayed as fun, diverse and real – dancing, goofing and playing as opposed to posing, preening and pouting. Silly and joyous versus sexy and sad. We need to see more of this in our media culture, so girls can be girls – no matter what age.
And Santigold’s red fur hat? Want it.
Ask the SB: How to Get Hair to There?
Q: Back around May, Dan asked you about engagement rings. He introduced me to MB, and thus I found my way to you. So it was only a matter of time before I discovered this post. And he was right, I do prefer white gold, and thankfully he was as wise as he is handsome with his choice. I’m surprised he didn’t think the band itself was a gamble. It is different and, as you said, bold. Love it!
Here is my question. Due to a difficult stint in my occupation, I cut off all my wonderful hair in exchange for practicality. Think Anne Hathaway short. BTW, if I had known this engagement was coming, I never would have done it. (Dan did a good job in the surprise category).
It’s been about 9 months, and it’s a mess. Is there any way to gracefully grow out a hair cut like this? Is there a way to fake length that doesn’t include getting extensions that will be suitable for a spectacular updo for a wedding in 5 months?
~p.s. I said ‘yes’
A: WOW! Kendall! Congratulations!!! I always worry that answering questions for the boys might somehow preclude them from sharing me with their spectacular ladies, so I love how this has panned out! And well done to Dan for nailing it on the ring and the surprise. I am as proud as a mother hen. Just watch me strut around all puff chested, bragging about my Dan. Well done!
Now on to your hair conundrum. I trust the circumstances surrounding your cut weren’t quite as extenuating as Fantine’s, but I do quite understand your impatience with a rapidly approaching wedding. The fact is, growing out hair is a bitch. If it’s a mess, as you say, you may actually need a little trim to see you through the worst of it.
You must find a good stylist – someone who understands your endgame (long hair) and will play it, someone who will strategize with you on a coif for the big day. I understand not wanting to go the extensions route, but if you have enough hair by D-day, there are creative things that can be done with hair pieces and braids to fill out an updo.
But who says you need to put your hair up? There is no bridal canon that dictates you must have an intricate updo. Why not go for something unexpected? It sounds like you might be dealing with a medium length by the time of your wedding and if you have lovely hair, as you say you do, it could be even more stunning styled beautifully with whatever hairpiece, headband or veil you’ve chosen.
I’m feeling a 1920′s vibe. Charlize Theron does this really well for awards shows, so check her out for inspiration. Loose and whimsical hair can be so fetching with a wedding gown and frankly, probably photographs better. Many brides end up looking like pin heads in their updos due to the relative volume of their dresses. I’m just sayin’.
So relax. Enjoy the whole process of planning your wedding and know that you have gorgeous options no matter what length your hair.
Ask the SB: Watch for the Girlfriend
Q:Yes I am already Christmas shopping.
After a layoff my girlfriend is returning to the work world with two new careers in real estate and event planning.
I thought a nice watch would be a good gift for her, better than pulling out an iPhone during a meeting. I am not familiar with trends in women’s watches and wondered if you had any suggestions. She is not a dainty girl, so tiny faces and skinny bracelets are not going to work.
A: Can I tell you, sweet Michael, how much I adore you male SB readers? Y’all are the most thoughtful bunch of mo’ fos. It warms my heart, really. And I’ve been fretting about you and your question, Michael, because I know Christmas is approaching faster than a fat lady on ice-skates and I’ve been sitting on your questions for, er, a while. Mea culpa, but here we go.
I’m not sure I can tell you which watch to buy for your girlfriend, since I’m not sure what your budget is, but I will say that your “not dainty girl” is in luck. The trend in women’s watches is big and menswear-inspired, which is perfect for her build.
I will tell you what I told the bloke buying the engagement ring and the bloke buying sunglasses: take your lady. If you wish, do a little reconnaissance ahead of time and have a handful of potential watches set aside, ready for her to choose from. If there was EVER an accessory to get right, it’s a watch. Not only is its very raison d’être to be looked at, it has to feel right on her wrist.
I don’t know your gal’s taste, but I can tell you a few things about my own. I like a large watch, but nothing gargantuan. That trend will be gone soon and you’ll want something with staying power. Don’t go too much larger than a half dollar and make sure it sits relatively flat on the wrist.
Unless she’s going to take up scuba diving, celestial navigation or arctic exploration, you don’t need or want all that garbage around the circumference of the watch. No numbered bezels and also, unless it’s what she really wants, no gems. I can’t stand a watch that’s encrusted in diamonds. I know that smacks of sour grapes, but it’s true, darling – I swear.
Along those lines, I like a simple face in white, silver or black. I am not a fan of Roman or oversized numerals, in fact, I prefer no numbers at all, just those little sticks. And for the love of God, round not square – unless you’re buying her a Cartier, in which case WELL DONE!
I prefer a metallic bracelet because I like my non diamond encrusted watch to slide around my wrist a bit, but leather is fine and purely a matter of personal preference.
My last thought would be, whatever your price range, buy a watch that is made by a company that has always made watches. In other words, don’t get her a Michael Kors watch or a Mark Jacobson watch. I don’t like it when designers try to put their grubby fingers in pies where they don’t belong.
Good luck, Michael, and happy shopping!
Pictured Left to Right:
Seiko 5 Automatic Watch on sale for $152
Swiss Army Victorinox Classic on sale for $795.00
Alpha Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Quartz – good luck finding it for less than $2,000.
Holiday Gift Guide: For the Bookworm and the Glam Girl
For the bookworm: Does your SB carry a book around in her purse? Does she light up when someone so much as approaches her bookshelf, at the ready to pluck and discuss? Does she get ornery when someone doesn’t return one of her books? Does she get all frothy and greedy in a bookstore? Then, by all means, buy her some books! And this year, how about this adorable coffee table book called My Ideal Bookshelf? It has illustrations of the fave books of everyone from Patti Smith to Tony Hawk to Judd Appatow. For a dedicated copy, go here.
OR if you’re truly awesomely sneaky, you can commission a custom portrait of her favorite and most beloved books. You can also get a gift card, so you’ll have one year to send book picks and pictures of the spines to be illustrated. I just love this.
For the glam girl. Oh she’s easy. Not easy that way, you pervs. Anything sparkly or be-feathered is sure to please. J. Crew has some really cool bling to choose from and let’s just say I would be more than a little tickled to open a box and see the Band.o flurry pouf staring back at me. I can think of a million places I would wear that little piece, starting with the post office, the liquor store, the market, the dentist and oh, maybe a party or two . . .
For the bookworm glam girl: This hybrid is more common than you’d imagine and lucky for you, there’s the perfect book for her this year. Grace Coddington, the longtime creative director of Vogue magazine and a former model, has put out a memoir. Yep. Cannot wait to read it. Can. Not. Wait.
Holiday Gift Guide: For the Couch Kitten and the Party Girl
Everyone knows Spectacular Bitches come in all shapes and sizes – and all colors and flavors. More to the point, Spectacular Bitches embody a panoply of colors and flavors. Like Gobstoppers.
To be spectacular is to be complex.
With that in mind, I’m going to throw out a little holiday cheer over the next weeks by crafting a gift guide to suit all the delicious and delectable layers that hide within an SB.
Boys, listen up. Girls, ’tis the season to leave your laptops yawning open in plain view if you see something you like.
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list – just fun.
For the couch kitten: Sometimes a girl just needs a night in with nothing on the agenda but a crackling fire, a chilled glass of vino blanco and a soul satisfying music documentary. For those nights, a soft and heavy faux fur throw. Purrrrrrr.
For the party girl: Put up a disco ball in her living room. For realz. I have one and it makes me happy every single day. Fire it up and you have an instant party – even if it’s only one person. You’ll need a few accessories (light, hook, spinny-thing) but you can figure it out.
For the couch kitten party girl: You can never go wrong with a great pair of head phones. Here’s a little known fact: they double as earmuffs in the winter but instead of looking goofy, they look superfly AND play music. I have a pair of these (which I still adore), but these beauties by Frends kind of take my breath away. They look like jewels and I covet covet covet. You can get them at Apple stores. Sigh.
The American Music Awards
Did you watch? I did and as always, I found it to be completely entertaining, though quite sedate, sartorially speaking. My two take-aways from the night are:
1. Notwithstanding the fact that harem pants (or Hammer pants, if you prefer, which I DO) never really took root for women, they seemed to be working for the men at the AMAs. The Biebs was sporting a skinny boy version, so be prepared – these just may stick.
2. I am strangely obsessed with the fingerless leather gloves Carrie Underwood wore for her performance – especially paired with a gown. I am so feeling these for holiday fests. What a cool way to edge up a look and get a little hand candy going at the same time. Am I crazy? Entirely possible.
Also, Pink needs to join Cirque du Soleil, Jenny McCarthy should not lose her wits and kiss the Biebs on the neck when his mom is sitting right there, Taylor Swift should wear a color for once in her life, everyone needs to cut it out with the pants-less performances (talking to you, Aguilera and Ke$ha), Gwen Stefani still rocks but that illusion netting shirt should be burned and Chris Brown needs to go away. Just away.
Enjoy some more Hammer pants, Gangnam-style:
Ask the SB: Moderately Priced Holiday Dress
Q: I’m going to a Christmas party for a local bar where my friend works in early December. I guess everyone dresses up pretty formally, and I’m having trouble finding a cute dress in my price range. I’m a college student, so I don’t want to spend too much over $100. Do you have any suggestions of places to look?
A: Sophia, dear! I luuurrrve a Christmas party for a local bar where my friend works in early December! How fun! I’ll be ready at 8.
As for your dress conundrum, I suggest you check out Bluefly.com where you can get a more expensive dress at a steep discount. More dress for less cash is always a good thing and they have a reasonable return policy – just stay on top of it so you don’t get stuck with something that you don’t want. I swept through for about 60 seconds and saw a ton of cute options hovering around 100 bucks.
I don’t know where you live, but there are certain vintage stores that specialize in dresses and some are so good that they have them all organized by measurements. In Minneapolis, there is a store called Via’s Vintage, and they will literally measure you and show you exactly what will fit you. Vintage dresses are often of exquisite quality and go for a pittance, so it is something to consider. Vintage is also a great way to go for the sparkly bits to bling yourself up.
In general, if you don’t have much to spend, go for classic silhouettes and colors, which will look less cheap than bright and trendy pieces.
Now go forth and be merry, Sophia!
The chicest accessory of all. Do it.
SB (Kinda) Loves Vintage
We haven’t broken down vintage, have we? That’s because I don’t really do vintage. Aside from jewelry and clutches, it’s not my thing. But I’ve got nothing but love for those twee girls who can rock a vintage frock.
I adore the idea of wearing a piece with a past – with an old story to tell, maybe even a burning secret to whisper.
I was reading something somewhere that said the trick to nailing a vintage look is to figure out the eras that match your body type.
In other words, if you’re curvy go for the nipped-waisted silhouettes of the 40′s and 50′s – maybe even the body-con dresses from the 80′s. If you have a boyish figure, then drop waisted dresses from the 20′s, mod dresses from the 60′s or hiphuggers from the 70′s will tend to flatter you more.
Find the era when your body shape was the ideal – when you would have been da bomb – and wear those clothes.
Or maybe you just need to do it like this:
Ask the SB: Hair Clips
Q: I cringe to ask, but is it ever acceptable to leave the house in a hair clip? I think I know your answer but let me tell you why it is so tempting.
I have long hair that I put into a cheesy hair clip the second I walk in the door. It’s my version of putting on my pajamas. I like ponytails but hair clips are more comfortable and don’t pull my hair out when removing them. From the front, my hair looks swept back and soft and then I turn to the side and see the clip protruding from my head. I shudder at the thought of bumping into anyone I know but it’s so tempting when I’m running a quick errand or picking up a child.
Please know, SB, that I am otherwise a relatively stylish person but I have a small problem here. Please help me. I’m wearing a hair clip right now! The shame.
A: Sister, I don’t even know what you are talking about! What in the world is a hair clip? Are you talking about a banana clip from the 80′s? Or one of those white plastic clips they use at the salon? Good heavens, you must send me a picture because I am imagining the absolute worst.
This question falls into the category of questions to which you already know the answer, but I will answer it anyway.
We all need to let our hair down (or in your case, put it up) every once in a while. Everyone’s got a secret lazy piece – whether it be a pair of beat up sweatpants, dorky old eyeglasses, an ex’s rugby shirt, a pair of Dearfoams slippers or, in your case, these mysterious hair clips.
Secret lazy pieces are not discussed in your glossy fashion magazines even though they are a fact of life. Anyone who won’t cop to at least one secret lazy piece is a damn liar.
Having said that, secret lazy pieces should, by definition, be kept secret. Meaning, inside the confines of your home. Meaning, no quick errands for your hair clip. Have you heard of Murphy’s Law? If anything can go wrong, it will. Have you heard of Smurphy’s Law? If you go out looking like shit, you will run into everyone and their brother.
p.s. One more thing to consider apropos of secret lazy pieces: If there is at least one person in your household who would relish throwing your secret lazy piece onto a roaring bonfire, consider finding an alternative. At least some of the time.
Hope that helps you clip the habit, Clipt! Best of luck to you!
Flights of Fancy: Herve Leger Fur-Trim Leather Harness Vest
I’m not sure what to make of my leather fetish lately, but I suspect it has something to do with the changing weather. This little beauty would do nothing more than keep my shoulders warm, but oh MotherMaryMagdalena would I feel HOT.
It has a bondage slash equestrian slash orthopedic slash Joan of Arc vibe and I do believe this vest would be just the thing to edge up all my party dresses this winter.
$2,200.00 seems a small price to pay for that kind of posture and attitude.
The sounds of dropping jaws would be deafening.
SB Strangely Drawn to Badass Fanny Pack
You gotta love Etsy. I can’t even begin to re-create the internet peregrinations that led me to this thing, but when I saw it I actually gasped. I have a love/hate relationship with clutches, you see, and despite the fact that they are sooooo pretty, I generally can’t bear to carry one around.
My after-dark prowling rarely involves sitting at a table where I can lay my clutch on a nice clean tablecloth and admire it in the candlelight. I’m usually standing, sometimes I’m dancing – and I can’t stand having to clasp something in my armpit for hours on end. A small purse swinging around on a chain drives me batty as well.
So what is a clutch-challenged SB to do? I’ll tell you. Pull up a chair.
Lips: numero uno reason for a clutch is to hold your lippy, so I just go with a super pigmented lipstick to start the night, leave it at home and stuff a tiny tube of Cherry Chapstick in my front pocket to moisturize as the night develops. It works. At two a.m. you’ll still have color but you won’t run the danger of intoxicated lipstick application across your face with it ending up in your teeth. Trust me on this one.
ID and cash: Back pocket. Simple.
Phone: Other back pocket. Also simple, if a little lumpy. Sometimes I don’t bring my phone. I know, scandalous.
Anything else: You don’t need anything else.
Which brings me to the “Blaster” made by Canadian-based Jungle Tribe. The fact that it holsters around the leg renders it less fanny pack and more, well, holster. And it’s hands free!
Badass, if you ask me. I would want something slightly less bulky and maybe a tad less Mad Max looking, but the idea is brilliant. Imagine! I could even bring a pack of gum!
SB Mildy Tormented by: Tri-colored Zara Pump
I think this shoe is gorgeous. It’s bold and yet I can think of a million ways to wear it. The heel is high but not too high. It looks eminently wearable but I doubt I’ll indulge.
There’s the niggling issue of “fast fashion” being bad for labor, our environment and our closets. As much as I endorse mixing high and low and refusing to be a slave to high fashion labels, I am suspicious of trendy clothes that cost too little.
There is no free lunch, right? Clothes should not be disposable. Right?
If we know we need to pay more for sustainably raised beef and locally grown apples (and we DO), then why shouldn’t it be the same for clothes? Isn’t it better to invest in fewer clothes of better quality?
One would think. But then there’s that tiny issue of variety, of fun, of choice, of whim and whimsy. Must we be so earnest and serious about everything all the time? Oy.
And so these pretty shoes are a red, gold and black embodiment of that conundrum. Thoughts? Drop me a line.
They’re probably super uncomfortable anyway.
SB Loves A Peace Treaty
Ethnic or ethnic-inspired garb can be hard to pull off. Maybe I’ve been scarred by the itchy, smelly Guatemalan poncho I bought at that Dead show years ago, but whenever I wear something too beaded or colorfully threaded, I feel like a batty, bespectacled, flat-footed Latin studies professor out for a wild night on the town which begins with a Zulu dance performance at the student center and concludes with a medium vanilla frozen yogurt . . . at the student center. You know what I mean.
Until now. A Peace Treaty is a beautifully imagined project started by Farah Malik, a Pakistani Muslim, and Dana Arbib, a Lybian Jew in 2008. In their words, “A Peace Treaty is an evolving collection aimed at creating ethically-produced, artisan level accessories and apparel for the luxury fashion marketplace . . . A Peace Treaty creates employment for skilled artisans working in places of socio-political strife, effectively supporting their technique and craft while elevating their products to the level of high design for an exclusive and international fashion audience.”
So if preserving ancient metal working and textile techniques in danger of becoming extinct, and providing above fair trade wages, and lifting up women living in difficult situations weren’t enough, they are also bringing us gorgeous, reasonably priced pieces. Their scarves are bold and chic, as is their jewelry. I picked up these beauties recently and I’m smitten. I love a pointy dangler. AND they have a cool blog. Can you spell girl crush? G. I. R . . .
Kudos to you, Farah and Dana. Spectacular work, ladies.
Ask the SB: Bike Helmets
Q: I know I should wear a bike helmet, but I look like such a dork. Really, more dorkish than your average gal. Does SB wear a bike helmet? And if so, what kind?
A: Dear Melon Head – sweet, juicy, all sorts of goodness inside that melon, Melon Head. Of course I wear a helmet and so should you. There is nothing spectacular about a head injury. Here at SB, we understand a bit of vanity, but we also put a high premium on preserving life and limb. The truth of the matter is you never know when you might go over your handlebars, so best to be prepared.
We know YOU would never wipe out in front of your sixth grade crush’s house, effectively taking out you and your friend because you had released your handlebars in order to perform a bike-by dance routine to Electric Avenue, but someone else might. There is many a fool out on those roads.
I suspect you’re a casual, tool-around-town type of girl as opposed to a spandex-clad speedster, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Given that, I would suggest the rounded skateboarder type helmet as opposed to the aerodynamic racer helmet. Nutcase and Bern both have lots of cute and colorful options.
Embrace the melon head, Melon Head. Do it.
I harangue out of love. Do it.
SB Loves: Layered Jewelry
Coco Chanel may have been the one to start the whole layered necklaces thing – she used to throw on a whole mess of pearls, not all real because that would have been vulgar, to set off her boyish outfits. She also said that before you leave the house, you should look in the mirror and take one thing off. I hate to quibble with Coco, but if anything, you should be putting one more thing on. Especially now, when it’s summer.
We’re all running around half naked in sundresses, tank tops and little t-shirts leaving a whole lotta blank canvas to fill. Summer, with its dearth of collars, sleeves, gloves and scarves, is the perfect time to pile on the jewelry. Stack those cuffs and bangles, layer those necklaces, feel the weight of it on your extremities and if you jingle a little, all the better.
And remember, one MORE thing, not one less.
Here are some tips:
1. Pick one part of your bod. Layer on your neck or your arms, but not both. Unless you feel like it, in which case, go for it. Both arms is ok, but I like one – the one that you use to do gang signs, hail a cab, wave to strangers, pump your fist, flip the bird. That one. Stack on that one.
2. Mixing metals is A-Okay. The whole concept that you should only wear gold or silver at one time is outdated and priggish. Mix away.
3. Monochromatic can be good. Take a cue from Coco and her pearls and layer on a bunch of like colors or materials. A big glob of gold chains, a stack of colored bangles, or a bunch of ethnic beads would all look uber chic.
4. Better yet, cross-pollinate. Gold and leather, pearls and colored rope, rhinestones and turquoise, precious and costume, silver and gold, chunky and delicate. There is no right or wrong, so play around and see what looks good to your eye.
5. Be prepared to detangle. None of those silly fashion magazines will tell you that a bunch of necklaces around your neck will turn into a tangled mess, but they will. It’s no biggie if you have a bit of patience.
6. Don’t forget your fingers. Multiple rings on one or many fingers can look cool, especially if you tend to gesticulate with your hands or will be holding a drink all night.
7. Tone down the rest. If you’re doing some serious stacking, keep the rest of your outfit simple and let your handiwork shine.
Every magazine under the sun is doing a piece on summer nauticals right now. Breton shirts, or marinières, are a classic, but seem to be having more than a moment this summer. It’s as if we’re being invaded by the 19th century French Navy.
Back in the day, the heavy cotton striped shirts were worn to more easily spot sailors who had fallen over-board. While we’re no longer in danger of drowning in the sea, we may be in danger of drowning in stripes. Call me peevish, but when a trend gets too trendy, I lose interest. In this case, however, I keep getting sucked back in – the undertow that is a crisp white and navy stripe is simply too much to resist.
The trick with nauticals is not to be too literal. If you don’t want to look like you’re a deckhand on a yacht, don’t wear a boat shoe or a white sneaker. In fact, don’t even pair a Breton shirt with white pants. Take your stripes and edge them up, rough them up and combine them in unexpected ways.
Try these tips to add a little saltiness to your stripes:
Show a little skin. A boatneck Breton shirt provides a lot of coverage. Pair it with shorty short shorts for a sexy laissez-fair summer look.
Shape shift. Think beyond a boatneck shirt. Navy stripes on a backless dress, flirty bloomers, a translucent blouse or a booty mini are fresh ways to bring a little nautical style to your look.
Details, details. Stripes on your nails or the bodice of a cocktail dress provide a subtle nod to your seafaring brethren.
Big contrast. Pair traditional navy stripes with floral prints, a tough leather jacket, a gauzy tulle mini, messy braids or anything else not likely to be worn by a 60 year old woman at a country club.
Befriend shirtless sailors. Being carried around by or otherwise canoodling with seafaring men will enhance any naughty nautical outfit.
SB Tunes: Lykke Li
Growing up, I had a Belgian friend named Effi. Her dad had a stack of Playboy magazines that were an endless source of entertainment for us on rainy days and her mother was an impossibly chic natural beauty – a Euro-hippy with a closetful of high heeled wedges and mules for us to clonk around in.
Swedish chanteuse and songwriter, Lykke Li, reminds me of Effi’s mom. There’s something defiant about her. She’s beautiful, but it isn’t about her beauty. Today she may choose to wear a chain mail leotard with crotch spikes, but tomorrow she will sing in a plaza in a bowler hat, high waisted flares and a kazoo.
Either way, this quirky song bird is divine and original and I could watch her make music with her voice and her coterie of ragtag people and instruments all the livelong day.
Me likee Lykke.
Shackle Shoes? WTF?
Addidas has pulled these Jeremy Scott designed shoes from the shelves due to the tornado of outrage they stirred up after they debuted on Facebook on Monday.
Whether or not they were intended to evoke enslavement is rather beside the point, since they clearly do.
I just don’t understand how this design could have gotten through the layers of sign-offs necessary to make them a reality. How many people had to look at these and NOT notice what is so obvious to everyone else?
Brigitte and Hats
As a rule, hats can be tricky to pull off. Not everyone can do it, and it’s kind of a mystery whether mug, attitude or a combination thereof is to blame.
The beauty of sun hats, however, is that everyone should wear one and so those who fear they’re not hat girls can throw caution to the wind and just do it. No suntan now is worth the wrinkles and spots coming down the road.
Take a cue from iconic SB, Brigitte Bardot. I always pegged her as the queen of the messy, beachy blond tresses, but it turns out she was a bit of a hat girl herself. (Or more likely, the photogs were simply trying to figure out new and unique ways to take her picture.)
She’s divine, isn’t she?
So, ladies. Sun hats. Go big. Go dramatic. Go preposterous. It’s only a hat.
Not a Fan: Dolce and Gabbana Pasta Earrings
I like whimsy and pasta as much as the next girl, but I just can’t get behind these bow tie pasta danglers made out of resin.
They retail for $490.00, but I know a local pre-school where I could get something similar for free.
Not a fan.
Ask the SB: Sunglasses
Q: Glad to see your own site up and running. It is long overdue. My girlfriend has dropped subtle hints about wanting new sunglasses: “it sure has been unseasonably sunny out,” or “oh, aren’t her sunglasses cute?” etc.
Alright, I get it. You want new sunglasses. Being the man I am, I took a more direct approach and asked her what type of sunglasses she would like. She said wayfarers. I feel like wayfarers are a little overplayed as of late. Should I follow the MB convention and go with something from Allyn Scura? What do you recommend?
Thanks for your assistance,
A: Spencer, doll, I must admit I never understood MB’s fascination with buying sunglasses he couldn’t try on first. However, since any friend of his is a friend of mine, I poked around the Allyn Scura site and discovered: a) they have lots of cool sunglasses at very reasonable prices, and b) they have a 14 day return policy. So yes, do go with Allyn Scura if you’re an on-line shopping kind of guy.
Having said that, if you feel like you have the patience for it, I would suggest you take your lady love sunglasses shopping and then to lunch – preferably somewhere sunny with outdoor seating.
Fact: it’s fun to try on sunglasses. And even more fun if you have an audience – someone with a good eye and good taste. After all, you’re the one who’s going to have to look at them. Once they’re on her face, she’ll have no idea that they make her look like an insect or a crazy woman.
As for wayfarers, I agree that they are ubiquitous but I don’t think they could ever be played out. They are a classic. Like an aviator. Like a Jackie O.
Incidentally, women tend to fall into one of two categories regarding sunglasses (and glasses for that matter): Is she a plastic frame or wire frame gal? I suspect the former, but you’ll soon find out. You can wear both, but one will always feel better.
For the record, I am an aviator girl – so wire frames for me, almost always, except for sometimes.
Good luck and consider a cocktail before you go shopping. It’ll be fun.
How to Tie a Scarf
Let it be known that I am a fan of scarves. Worn myriad ways, for myriad purposes or no purpose at all (aside from utter chic-ness) a scarf is, hands-down, the easiest way to amp up your look. French women do this in their sleep.
I love this guide by Sears and Roebuck Co. from 1960. Every single suggestion would look cool today. For the details (and some decidedly un-pc names), take a peek at the Sears pamphlet.
I like “the Gypsy”and “the Apache”, but shhhh – we can’t really call them that.
Remember these Mark Jacobs for Louis Vuitton bunny ears from 2009? Preposterous and brilliant. So wishing I had a pair of these today.
I’ll simply have to content myself by gnawing on the ear of this here chocolate rabbit.
The Evolution of the Bra
Robin Givhan’s piece about the bra’s big moments in history in Newsweek’s Mad Men issue is a good read. It’s not entirely surprising that such a slip of a thing, an unmentionable, an undergarment would become such a politicizing and polarizing symbol.
It may be hidden, but it’s the article of clothing a woman feels the most – around her ribs, over her shoulders, across her beating heart – where big breaths and loud roars originate, where selfhood and passions reside.
It sort of gives new meaning to the lyrics: when you love somebody, set them free.
Not that I’m advocating any sort of bralessness lawlessness. If the girls need support, you give it.
But if they don’t, well, you know what to do.
Ask the SB: Dansko Clogs
Q: Wondering if you can give me permission to cruise around town in Dansko clogs? From other fashion sources, I hear this is a complete No-No, along with wearing work-out clothes as “day wear.” I do not know what to do because they are just oh so comfortable and somehow make their way onto my feet all the time. Help.
A: I’ve got GREAT news for you, Kirsten. You CAN cruise around town in Dansko clogs . . . if you’re an ER Doc or a chef.
Oh, wait. You’re not? Are you a nurse? No? How about a welder? A crossing guard? A ceramicist? No?
Do you operate a forklift throughout the course of your day? Are you a veterinary dentist? A weaver? A fishmonger? No?
Are you a glass blower? No?
Then, no. Be strong.
Flatforms – Yay or Nay?
I’m not quite sure the new flatform shoe is working for me. This shoe might be anathema to our generously-footed sisters – yours truly included. Talk about clodhoppers. A size 10 could keep a family of five afloat on the high seas for weeks.
On the other hand, I see the appeal of the lift with this season’s palazzo pant and maybe even my giant baggy homegirl jeans. Certain pants require a longer leg than nature provides and just like an orthopedic elevator shoe, these pups are here to help.
Tempting. Very tempting.
SB Loves: Veiled Skull Caps
I know!!! So ridiculous, but I love.
Being a girl who lives in the cold, hats are ripe for fancy flourishes. This Stephen-Jones designed black veiled beanie was first seen in the Jil Sander’s Spring 2012 runway show and I predict it’ll get traction. How could it not? It’s deliciously batty, yet totally flattering.
photo credit: Tommy Ton
Message for the MPD of the District of Columbia
Eeek! George Clooney was arrested outside of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington for protesting Sudan’s blockage of food and aid to its starving citizenry.
Here’s a message for the D.C. Police from the SB:
1. Watch the face!
2. What’s with those cheap plastic cable ties? Would it have killed you to use a proper pair of handcuffs on George?
Photo credit: Win Mcnamee/Getty Images
Ask the SB: What to Wear to a Cuba before Castro Party
Q: I’m preparing to dance the night away at a “Cuba Before Castro” event and I’m stumped on what to wear. There will be a great Latin band and some salsa dancers to kick off the night. I have a slinky black dress that I love. Are there simple ways I could dress it up and go with the theme?
Also, how to dress my husband? A penciled-in mustache perhaps?
–Clueless about Cuba
A: Ay, mujer! Que lindo!!! Should we meet before for mojitos?
Your black dress is basically a blank slate and there are indeed some easy ways to bring a little Chiquita to your look.
To start with, go with a matte red lip and some very large gold hoops – don’t hold back on either.
If I were you, I’d figure out a way to tie a scarf around my head to look like the Havana beauties above. The look is slightly Rosie the Riveter, but with those fabulous bows in front. Otherwise, a chic little turban with some bejeweled fruit and flowers would be divine. Since your dress is black, feel free to go with a red or leopard-print pump or wedge.
As for your hubby, the obvious choice would be a Guayabera shirt, perhaps a fedora and hell, yes – a pencil mustache!
Un beso grande,
photo credit: Klaus Lang
Ask the SB: St. Patty’s Day Legs
Q: Yo! SB! Yeah, I’m so out of the loop, I need help. Heading off to an early St. Patty’s Day party. It’s cocktail attire. I have several dresses in the closet to choose from but have no idea where we’re at with the leg covering rules these days. Naked, sheer, opaque (you hit fishnet- doesn’t work with what I got), to match , not to match. Help? Party this Saturday.
A: Mary! What fun! I la la love a party! I’ll be ready at 8!
As for your legs, go bare or go bold.
Since we’re in a middling season, you might not be feeling a dark, heavy opaque tight, but you can play around with pops of color (think fuschia, peacock blue, emerald green) or semi-sheer patterns to feel sassy, springy and festive.
For a simple rule of thumb, go for big contrast with the colored tights; go more matchy with the patterned tights.
Let those gams do the talking, girl.
Ask the SB: When You’ve Been There with the Hair
Q: Oh, SB! What’s a mid-40′s girl to do with her hair? My go-to pony just isn’t cutting it anymore. Please advise.
A: First of all, LDK, I must caution you to be patient. Please, darling – don’t do anything rash.
From what I can tell, it is this very issue that sends scads of mid-40′s women to the salon to chop off their hair in a fit of pique. Then they’re stuck with short, grown-up hair for the rest of their days. That is not to say that short hair is old hair, but if you were a pixie or short-bob type of gal, you would know it by now.
Let’s talk about your pony. Ponyentomologists have spent decades studying the effects, both psychological and sociological, of ponytail placement. It is a science worth exploring.
Have you tried moving it around on your head? I will grant you that a standard, back-of-the-head, athletic pony can get boring. It says: I’m all about business - whether that business be cranking out 40 minutes on the treadmill or making coq au vin.
Try bringing your pony low to the nape, for a soignée look that whispers I am intelligent, calm and French.
Bring it high for an instant face lift and a kick of joie de vivre. I’m not talking the top of the head like a water spout, but the top of the back of the head. This placement says, I’m fun, young and game.
And bring it to the side when you’re ready for a night on the town. The vertical placement along the side indicates just how much you want to party. The girl in the image is saying I’m ready for a chatty dinner out with maybe one too many glasses of wine. To avoid looking like a hooker circa 1987, don’t go above the ear without a corresponding move toward the back.
Finally, if all else fails, pony up for some cute hats. But you knew that.
Ask the SB: Fishnets at Work
Q: Is it inappropriate to wear fishnet stockings to work, even if you are wearing a very conservative outfit?
A: Good question, Rebecca! Luckily, there’s a good answer and it involves my unfurling a few simple mathematical formulas.
Picture me in a bun, spectacles and tweed, with chalk in hand. Ready?
Size of fishnet weave is inversely proportional to work appropriateness; or
Size of fishnet weave is directly proportional to sluttiness factor; or
Size of fishnet weave is directly proportional to size of tips at the end of the night.
In other words, go for it, but opt for a tiny weave. It’s a fabulous way to sex up those conservative suits.
Now excuse me while I go play around with some hyperbolic coordinates and logarithmic proportionality.
A Moment for Marie Colvin
I’d like to pay my respects to Marie Colvin, 56 year old war correspondent who was killed yesterday in Homs, Syria. A woman who believed in using words to flay open the truth, she was breathtakingly courageous and chose to bear witness from the front lines over and over, notwithstanding the danger.
She lost an eye in Sri Lanka during the bloody conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government and thereafter was always seen wearing a black patch over her left eye. The commitment, and frankly, the balls that defined her work and her life are mind-blowing. And that eye patch – it’s the ultimate I don’t give a fuck, I’ve got more important things to worry about accessory.
So bad ass. So chic.
SB Loves: The Artist
I have begun my pre-Oscars training regimen in earnest, people. February 26th is fast approaching and I still have a few must-sees that I must see so that I am adequately emotionally invested in the awards. I love all awards shows, but the Oscars, for all its archaic frippery, is the ne plus ultra. The more movies I have seen, the more I can clap, cheer, gasp, faint, curse, shriek, sob and shake my fist at the vagaries of the Academy. I like to care. It makes it more fun.
The other day I saw The Artist and I am absolutely besotted with this movie. It’s stylish and smart, hammy and heartfelt, a sparkling ode to the golden age of cinema. I found it completely enchanting, and I am not easily enchant-able. Actually, I am. But trust me on this one.
The clothes are beyond. George Valentin is dashing in his smart suits and elegant tuxedos. Pippi Miller’s wardrobe full of darling cloche hats, beaded drop waist frocks, swooshy fur stoles, and t-strap shoes ready-made for dancing is absolutely swoon-worthy.
I want to live in the twenties. I want her closet. I want to learn how to tap-dance. And I want The Artist to win Best Picture.
Ask the SB: What to Wear to a Love Ball
Q: I’m going to my friend Jeff’s marriage to his partner in Hudson, NY, which will take place at a “love ball”. There will be several couples exchanging vows and then there’ll be cocktails and dancing. I believe that the mayor is officiating (must also be a Justice of the Peace) and I think Coco Taylor is part of the entertainment. I’m not sure what to wear but I’m thinking of this Banana Republic black sheath cocktail dress with fishnet stockings and tall black high-heeled boots. I want to be able to dance, and these are my most comfortable heels. I was thinking of wearing a vintage rhinestone and silver choker but need to find earrings that will work with this. I also don’t want to look too formal.
A: I want to be invited to a Love Ball! It sounds magical! Claudette, my love, I agree that anytime dancing is an option, it should take first priority, so your sexy yet comfortable boots sound perfect. A black sheath and fishnets are an unimpeachable combo as well, but this is a LOVE BALL, darling, so do take the opportunity to accessorize with something fun and fabulous. Go crazy!
Think color! Feathers! Sequins! Fur! Why not try a boa or better yet, a wild fascinator? Ban.dō is the gold standard in hair adornments, so poke around there for inspiration and perhaps you will fall in love with something. The internet is rife with less costly, but pretty and glammy bejeweled, besparkled, bedazzled, befeathered and bepoufed accessories.
Love is a many splendored thing, and by BRINGING IT, you’ll be showing your support for your friends, for love, for joy, and for the uniquely human gift of CELEBRATION. If there was ever a night to BUST. IT. OUT. this would be it. Just go for it!
Have fun! XO
Ask the SB: Uggs
Q: Are Uggs really that bad? They are so comfy!
A: Liz dear, if you are younger than the age of fourteen, you and your Uggs are fine. If you’re older, read on!
Uggs can only wish they rose to the level of “that bad.” They aren’t interesting enough to be evil or even hideous.
Their biggest transgression is laziness. Uggs are so lazy, in fact, that I believe them to be largely to blame for Britney Spears’ unseemly barefoot gas station bathroom stroll a few years ago. If those lazy Uggs had bothered to scoot back onto her doughy white feet, then she never would have done that nasty thing.
Uggs are basically the boot equivalent of sweatpants, and as such, they will make your feet feel like two depressed fat asses with one hand on the remote control and one hand buried in a bag of Cheetos.
Wear at your own risk, Liz. No one needs to be that comfortable.
SB’s Favorite Golden Globes Dress
I must admit I shrieked and aspirated a bit of my vino blanco when I saw this custom-made Lanvin gown on Emma Stone when she hit the red carpet.
Cool and glamorous, everything about it rocks. The deep plumb color with the gossamer fuscia panels is striking on her, as is the vaguely Grecian silhouette. The deep plunging neckline is tempered by the wee capped cap sleeves and the whole beautiful thing is pulled together with an unexpected, whimsical, and completely kick-ass bejeweled eagle belt.
Dear eagle belt: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .
Well done, Emma. You are my favorite!
Coachella Boots and Bitches
Although I have long lost my taste for rubbing sticky shoulders with masses of unwashed music festival goers, I must admit that this year’s Coachella line up made me feel a bit frothy.
Any place on earth where I might see Radiohead and Snoop Dogg, not to mention Spectacular Bitches Annie Clark of St. Vincent, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Santigold, Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums and Azalea Banks, sounds like a place I’d like to be (if not for those stinky young people).
This year I’ll have to content myself with picking out the perfect pair of boots for my fantasy swoop in. I say boots because boots are the way to go – Coachella is no place for exposed toes. I’d pair these n.d.c. beauties with sun dresses and a big floppy hat.
Oh, look, now I’m getting all frothy again.
The White Suit
A white jacket just feels so chic right now and no one has ever done it better than the gorgeous Bianca Jagger.
Accessorized with a sweet mussed ribbon, a bowler hat and wide-collared blouse or, most simply, a fine pair of disco titties, the look is unspeakably sexy.
Pure as the white driven snow? Not a chance.
Nine Reasons to Rock a Giant Cocktail Ring
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