SB Flicks: The Great Gatsby
For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened – then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The movie comes out next month, leaving you plenty of time to read (or in the case of you sexy, bookish SB readers, RE-read) the novel. Cracking its spine is like opening an exquisite package: beautiful, bright and shiny wrapping frantically tossed aside to reveal mystery, regrets, damnation. So good!!!
And the movie promises to provide some MAJOR eye and ear candy.
Leo, Carrie, Toby.
Darlings, I cannot wait!!!
Baby It’s Cold Outside
So I’m flying the coop. I am over and out, as they say. I had vast plans for more pre-holiday posts and SB revelry, but life got in the way, as it does.
Hang some twinkle lights and I’m a goner – just a sappy sucker for a fortifying beverage, a sparkly party and the people in my life who make me laugh.
I’m headed for warmer climes, so I’ll be out of touch for a few weeks.
Happy Holidays, dear readers. Be merry, be bright. Be SPECTACULAR.
Enjoy two versions of Baby It’s Cold Outside. I love this song and I really love an odd pairing, so try these on for size: Norah Jones and Willie Nelson (Who doesn’t love Willie?) and Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart (I know. Awesome.) I truly can’t decide which one I like better, but who says I have to choose?
Photo credit: Steven Meisel for Vogue – December 1998
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.
SB Tunes: Kylie Minogue
It’s with your holiday party playlists in mind that I bring you Ms. Minogue for this week’s SB Tuneage. Adorable Australian singer, songwriter, pop star, actress and breast cancer survivor, I love the fact that Minogue has always been absolutely 100 percent sartorially fearless.
High waisted cut off jean shorts? Bring ‘em. Spiral perm? Yawn. Vinyl dress? Honey, please. Hot pink space suit? Of course. Furry vest over bikini? And your issue is???? Homegirl cargos and blue eyeshadow? Yes to the YES. If you care to see what I mean, check out this slideshow.
But like any SB worth her salt, she manages to pull off the most preposterous flourishes because she wears what’s on the outside lightly. She’s fun and none of it seems too terribly serious to her, so even a frontless, legless, hooded jumpsuit seems to work.
And now, at the ripe age of 44, she looks better than ever and, dare I say, refreshingly devoid of dermatological facial monkeying. She’s gorgeous.
Can’t Get You Out of My Head. Enjoy. And pay attention to the robot dance moves. That’s how it’s done.
Previously on SB Tunes: Blondie
Previously on SB Tunes: Dolly
Ask the SB: Holiday Gams
Q: I want to wear something other than black shoes this winter at cocktail parties. If I go for gold or red, do I just wear regular hose (Oh God, I hate those things). Do people even WEAR hose anymore? Baring my legs in the winter is not an option – for my sake and everyone else’s. Ever grateful.
–The Fashion Not
A: Just say NO, Fashion Not. Say it with me. No. No to the panty ho. Notwithstanding the fact that Kate Middleton is singleleggedly waging a valiant campaign to bring nude hose back, pay no heed. If she weren’t married to Prince William and forced to wear demure little dresses and suits every day of her life (God, can you imagine? How exhausting!), you can bet your bottom dollar that she wouldn’t be wearing them either. In fact, should she ever go rogue á la Princess Diana, I imagine her peeling out of Nottingham Cottage leaving a tremendous, blazing, noxious nude hose pyre engulfing her dressing room.
In any event, I applaud your yen for a different colored shoe and suggest you try out a fishnet. The smaller the weave, the less saucy the look. Navy or black would work with a red shoe, a buff fishnet would work with a metallic. You could also try tights with color or texture, depending on what you have going with the dress.
And a final word on bare legs. Unless there’s something truly inhumanly god awful about ones legs, it’s amazing what a little shave, bronzer and moisturizer will do. Sadly for us gals in the winter climes, a bare leg simply looks chic at all times of the year. Furthermore, the ability to delineate muscle, bone, vein etc. actually makes ones legs look more slender.
Some poet somewhere sometime definitely said that there is nothing prettier than the top of a woman’s foot.
For more on this:
Ask the SB: St. Paddy’s Day Legs
Ask the SB: Fishnets at Work
Photo Credit: Dressed Leg by Lillian Bassman for Harpers Bazaar 1948
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a beautiful thing to take a day to slow down and be grateful. This year I am grateful for many things, chief among them being this space and you all.
I get to write whatever I want, whenever I want and you sweet smart readers indulge me by visiting anyway. So thank you. Thank you for your questions and comments. Thank you for being interested in what I have to say.
I’m also thankful for all the beauty and diversity our little planet has to offer if one is simply willing to stand still and notice. I appreciate your stopping with me and holding my hand to peek at one small sliver of it all.
Sometimes I worry that this blog verges on the frivolous, but without a bit of light and whimsy, I fear we’d all be sunk.
So thanks. Now go find your prettiest stretchy pants and have a gloriously luxurious and indulgent day.
Photo credit: ⓒ Contrasto
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:
SB Loves: Pencil Skirts
As we’re careening into the season of holiday happy hours, work bashes and soirees, I’d like to take a moment to sing the praises of the elegant and understated pencil skirt.
Every girl’s best friend, the pencil skirt is a fresh and unexpected way to sashay into your next fest.
Unlike almost every other article of clothing, a pencil skirt manages to look amazing on all shapes and sizes.
Big bootays go pow in a pencil skirt, slim hips go meow in a pencil skirt. It’s some kind of magic, I tell you. Styled the right way, a pencil skirt is a first class ticket to sexy and soignée.
Some tips for those hips:
1. Go tight. If you don’t get that contour in from the hips and in along the bum, then you’re just wearing the bottom half of an 80′s power suit. It has to be snug.
2. Watch the VPL. It goes without saying for any bottoms, but especially so if you’re ordering up tight. A thong or a seamless boy short will most likely be necessary.
3. The best length for a pencil skirt is right at the knee, to show of the slimmest part of the leg. The higher you go above the knee, to more you veer away from pencil skirt town into mini skirt town, and that may not be the town you intended to visit. The farther you go below the knee the more you veer into dowdy town, and that’s definitely not the town you want to visit.*
4. Wear a heel.
5. Define your waist. Whether you have a blouse tucked in or a fitted sweater, make sure the pencil skirt can work its full magic by showing off where it all starts.
6. Be(a)spectacle. Boys DO make passes at girls who wear glasses. Go ahead, wear your specs. Pencil skirts and glasses go together like champagne and caviar.
*Small caveat: some mid-calf length pencil skirts can look divine, but it involves a high degree of difficulty. You need to hit numbers 1 and 4 HARD. You also need to stand like a high fashion model from the early 60′s – you know, with your body in a question mark shape. Kind of like Marilyn above.
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!
Not a Fan: Cocktail Straws
I know it’s an odd thing to be peevish about, but hang with me.
Picture this: You’ve procured your cocktail from the bar, left a tip and shimmied out onto the dance floor. Your favorite song comes on and you reflexively lift your drink up to salute the dj, your pals, the night and the gods of frolicking. Only the straw in your drink gets snagged in your friend’s hair or worse yet, her cornea, or worse yet, your cornea. If we don’t run with scissors, why do we dance with straws?
Not convinced? Picture this: You’ve procured your cocktail from the bar, left a tip and stepped away to drink your drink. You stand there holding the glass in one hand, the straws in the other and sip like a little baby. Your shoulders are hunched, your head is down. Granted you might accentuate your cheek bones for a second, but that is far outweighed by how sorority this looks. It’s hard to look confident when drinking through a straw, which is why men, largely, don’t.
Man up, ladies. Use the straws to muddle your citrus, give your drink a stir and then leave them at the bar. Cocktail straws manage to be both dangerous and lame – a rare combo, indeed.
Happy Cinco de Mayo
Put on a swirly skirt and some bright red lipstick, make a pitcher of margaritas and find some way, some how to dance those cute sandals across a cool tile floor. Just try not to fall into that potted palm in the corner.
Amigas! Viva la revolución!
Photo credit: Nicole Bentley for Vogue Australia
Ask the SB: The Orange Bridesmaid’s Dress
Q: Oh my goodness! I am so excited that this website is finally up. :] My GBFF has been reading MB for ages now and I was absolutely dying for someone to ask all of my lady fashion-related questions. (Besides him, of course)
One of my very closest friends has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, which is loads of fun… except the dresses are going to be orange! Bleh. I’m so pale that I know the color will absolutely wash me out.
I know that it’s her day, and so it should be entirely about making her happy… but is there a way to politely suggest some alterations to the dress so that they aren’t quite so gaudy? It’ll be a summer wedding, so they should be about knee-length, a-line and probably sleeveless. ENTIRELY orange. Maybe add a cardigan or shawl?
Please advise, I have no idea how to approach this subject, she’s one to have her feathers easily ruffled.
A: Tread lightly, my dear, for you are entering dangerous waters. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off bride. I imagine your GBFF has been practically throwing himself between you and the phone when he sees you getting up the nerve to broach the subject with the bride.
It’s entirely reasonable to ask that you be allowed to add a little cardi to the ensemble at some point after the ceremony and pictures. Simply ask your princess bride if she wants a say in the color. You can also take the dress to the make-up counter and ask for help finding a bold lip to keep you from looking too washed out. Perhaps fuscia?
Other than that, my advice is to suck down multiple gin and tonics and wear the orange and a smile.
Rest easy — you’ll extract your revenge by having her wear sea foam green at your wedding.
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: 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
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