April 12, 2011
I have never been very good at saying goodbye. And that’s why I went ahead and started my post-Beatrix blog without even putting the final stamp on this site that has helped me cope with the challenge of a back brace for the last three months. I’m a thankful that I not only found a medium to serve as a good distraction, but that I was able to discover a new creative outlet and entertain my readers at the same time.
So if you haven’t already made the conversion, please check out my new blog, the chelsea chronicles. I promise more social observations, fashion advice and updates on the doctor.
April 8, 2011
The first time I fell in love, it was the summer of 1984. The Summer Olympics were in Los Angeles, where my dad lived and where I spent six weeks of my summer vacations as a kid. Since I didn’t live there full time, I didn’t have any friends in my dad’s ‘hood, and he didn’t have any friends with bratty teenage daughters for me to bond with. So I spent most of my vacation listening to Dodgers games on the radio, obsessing over the U.S.’s inflated gold medal count and, of course, reading.
It was that summer that I devoured Giant by Edna Ferber. I fell head over heels in love with Bick Benedict. Really, it was seeing the movie (also starring Elizabeth Taylor) that sealed the deal for me. Rock Hudson, channeling Bick Benedict, embodied exactly what I can now (but probably couldn’t at the time) identify as being my “type.” I know, I know, massive age difference aside, I was not exactly Rock Hudson’s type. But surely I could have been Bick Benedict’s. I would watch again and again this particularly tender scene on the train when Bick is bringing his new bride to his ranch in Texas from her native Maryland. It seemed so romantic to me. I wanted him to hold me like he held her. Look on me adoringly. Not that the Benedicts had the perfect marriage. I probably would have hated living at Reata. But tall, dark and handsome definitely left its mark on me.
(Of course, prior to Bick Benedict, the seeds had taken root on my schoolgirl crush, Steve Sax, the Dodgers’ second baseman who tragically could not throw the ball to first base. That crush actually lasted from the early 80s right until Thanksgiving Day 1988 when he left the World Champion Dodgers for the Yankees, a move I could never forgive. While Steve Sax’s name was etched into just about every notebook I used in high school and pictures of him graced my college dorm walls, including the personalized photo my dad had arranged as a present for my 16th birthday, I never envisioned myself being Mrs. Steve Sax. He was a sports star known more for his flaws than his achievements. He was always on the road. He probably slept with a lot of groupies. His guest star appearances on Who’s the Boss demonstrated an embarrassing lack of acting ability. He was not marriage material.)
The summer of 1985 I fell in love again. By now my father was living in what had formerly been a ranch hand’s house on a horse ranch in Malibu, teaching journalism at USC. I had just finished 9th grade (which was still housed at what we called “junior high” in those days) and had had my first kiss that spring (yes, I was a late bloomer). But it was not that first kiss that had me reeling. It was one of my dad’s students, who came over for dinner one night. He was about to graduate, which must have made him 21 or so. Oh, he seemed so mature. And cool. He even owned a car. He had me at “hey, where is the bathroom? I have to take a leak.” Even though Mr. Journalism School never once suggested he was interested in me, I wrote a letter to my boyfriend the next day breaking up with him. Then I spent years imagining that when I was just a little older, perhaps a journalist myself, we’d reconnect and it would be love at second sight.
The summer of 1986 was all about me and Mr. Darcy. Long before there was a BBC movie version of Pride and Prejudice, I fell especially hard for Mr. Darcy. (I would go into Mr. Darcy in more depth, but it seems cliché to love him. Let me suffice it to say, I loved him first.) While my mother always held a torch for the tortured Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights (my brother Nathan was almost surreptitiously named for him) I adored the book not for the thwarted love story between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, but because it literally chills you to read it. You can feel how mean these doomed lovers are to each other, and it doesn’t stop there, they doom the generation to follow them. In other words, it’s brilliantly written, but it’s not exactly inspirational. On the Bronte sister front, I’m currently rereading Jane Eyre, which I last read in high school, so I will withhold judgment for now as to whether Mr. Rochester is a toe-curler the way Mr. Darcy is.
Now that I reflect on my first loves, it comes as no surprise to me that I didn’t date much in high school. I had set a bar so high that no teenage boy was ever going to be able to meet it. Not that any college guys really did either. And then there is what I most affectionately refer to as my “practice marriage.” As my friend Nancy says, there is no reason to settle for less than you want. But I think knowing what you want is the true challenge.
April 6, 2011
We all experience changes in our lives. And something about spring offers such promise for all that is new. No other seasonal transition evokes the same level of hope, brings such joy, or provides the perfect excuse to sit outside on your favorite patio and drink your beverage of choice. (I’m dying for it to be the right temperature to head to the Grape + Bean with Nancy for a bottle of sparkling.) The cold fades, the snow melts (except in New England) and pale skin emerges from under layers of sweaters and opaque tights.
I, for one, am in desperate need of a pedicure so that I can let my feet see the light of day. Tomorrow might be peep-toe weather in these parts. And while I have been constrained by Beatrix for the last two months, unable to sit long enough to have a manicure or pedicure, yesterday I received some fantastic news from my Physical Therapist.
PT: Take the brace off. You don’t need to wear it anymore.
PT: Ever. But don’t tell the doctor. This is our secret.
I know some of you are going to be concerned that I am keeping a secret from my doctor before we have even had a chance to go on a date, but a little deception is worth the freedom that has been restored to me. No more black clothes. It’s all pink, orange, and red for me now. (Or at least until I tire of brightness and return to my Northeast sensibilities.) I can drive for as long as I want. (I have to admit it has been nice to get six weeks out of a tank of gas though.) I can sit during meetings. (But was I more authoritative standing?) I have never been a fan of change, and maybe I have a little Stockholm syndrome. Beatrix hid that I haven’t gone to the gym in two months. Beatrix kept me warm. Beatrix made me into a blogger.
Some time ago, I realized that “styling my back brace” was not really an appropriate name for the blog. It never turned out to be the daily style log I envisioned it to be, primarily because I don’t live with my own personal photographer to take a picture each morning of a new Beatrix-inspired outfit. But much like personal style is perfected over time, the blog evolved into something more. I can honestly say there was something in it for me, but I have heard from a number of you all that there was something in it for you too.
That came out way more sappy than I intended it to on Day One of my post-Beatrix life. But the bottom line is that I want your advice. What am I going to call the blog now? Do I pay homage to Beatrix by putting her name in the title? Or do I move on? Just keep in mind that current and perspective clients, colleagues and employees, my parents, and potentially my doctor are all readers. Cast a vote. Send a comment with a new suggestion. Something will stick, just like my best cashmere sweaters had a tendency to stick to Beatrix.
Oh, I miss her already.
March 25, 2011
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though I have to assume that even if you never laid eyes on her, there’s universal agreement that Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most beautiful women to grace the earth. Putting aside for one moment that my 20-year old intern had never heard of her, and that my former boss was married to her, I have to say, objectively speaking of course, as an admirer of all things beautiful, I cannot help but be mesmerized by her image as captured in both still photography and film.
(I admit it, I am a sucker for pretty things. And man were her eyes beautiful.)
I remember once when I was working in the Senate and got a call from Anna (the maintainer of all order and sanity in our office) that the boss wanted me to come meet him on the Senate floor. I grabbed my Senate ID, slipped my feet back into the Cole Haan Nike Air Mary Janes that were my savior for those fast-paced walks down marble corridors, and made my way toward the Capitol.
Well, en route, I heard the ominous sound of the vote bell. Normally, one might not even notice. But there is a rule that staff cannot get on the Senate floor (if they aren’t already there) once a vote has been called.
I made way regardless. I arrived at the desk where you had to sign in to gain access to the floor, a post which was manned by two women who seemed to decide based on whim whether they were going to let you on the floor or not. (My LD had wisely counseled once to get them nice Christmas presents.) The neon, laminated sign that read something to the effect of “You are too late you slow-walking idiot and cannot get on the floor because there is a vote” was placed over the sheet one normally had to sign-in on to get a pass to get onto the floor.
I had to give it a go. I looked at them and pleaded my case: “My boss just called, he needs me on the floor, he doesn’t use a blackberry so I can’t get him out here to vouch for me.” (Like they don’t hear those excuses all the time.) They didn’t look up, but asked uninterestedly whom I worked for. When I told them, they gave each other sideways glances. Then one spoke.
Senate Floor Access Gatekeeper #1: Well (long pause) we think the staff of Senator Warner can have access to the floor if she can find out a very important fact for us.
Me: Anything, anything, what do you need to know?
(Another sideways glance)
Senate Floor Access Gatekeeper #2: We need to know whether it’s true that Elizabeth Taylor had a double row of eyelashes.
Me (thinking, “crap, crap, how am I ever going to find THAT out?”): Yes, of course, I will find out for you.
I don’t remember exactly what the boss needed me for that day, but I do recall that every other time I had to go on the Senate floor, I expected the gatekeepers to call me on my promise to find out the answer to their question. I never quite figured out how to work it into conversation with him without seeming slightly impertinent. One did not ask Elizabeth Taylor questions. One waited, and if one was lucky, a small story would be told, always in a respectful manner, always in an unexpected situation.
Elizabeth Taylor was iconic and she will never be forgotten (except by those sadly too young to know of her). I made sure to tell my kids about her legend and how the only politician they have ever “known” had once been married to her. Then I went on Amazon and ordered Giant, BUtterfield 8, and National Velvet (the one film of hers they could possibly watch now).
In the few days since her passing, I have pondered whether there is another woman who has the indisputable qualities exemplified by Elizabeth Taylor. For it wasn’t just her undeniable beauty that captured us, but something about her flaws that made her both human and more striking. She was not “one of us” but she suffered loss and she made mistakes just like we do. She seemed so untouchable, yet she was not afraid to show the world that you could hug a person with AIDS, raising both awareness and millions of dollars in the process. And when I was a General Hospital watcher, it was not only exciting to have her guest star on the show, but to know she did it because she was a fan.
In the words of my old boss on the passing of his former wife, she was “a woman whose heart and soul were as beautiful as her classic face and majestic eyes.”
And that is a type of beauty we could all stand to behold of a little more.
March 20, 2011
Over the weekend, after a post-photo shoot bottle of the Iron Horse Ocean Reserve (we love the environment), which was followed by a lovely bottle of the Copain Roussanne (paired with our first course of crab cakes), and while finishing a bottle of Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir (opened with our second course of filet mignon), my eyes caught sight of a long-forgotten photo album from my senior year of college. Since my college roommate and dear friend Chris happened to be visiting, it seemed only appropriate that we pull it out and regale BFF Nancy with the Boston University adventures of King Chris and Super Chelsea.
Little did we know what fashion horrors were captured in Kodachrome, preserved in a yellowing old photo album I probably bought for $3.99 at CVS more than 20 years ago. As we moved from page to page, laughing more with each turn, what was more glaring than the unruly eyebrows, more startling than my long blond hair (not to mention Chris’ perm) and more astonishing than my baby fat cheeks was how completely unflattering jeans were back in the early 1990s.
Why did we think that light wash denim was a good choice? (Thankfully no photographic evidence of acid wash appears to have survived.) I was at least 20 pounds heavier in those beer and carb-fueled college days and let’s just say the jeans I wore did not do me any favors. Even Chris, who is model tall and has always been rail thin, looked 15 pounds heavier than she was when wearing these denim disasters. I swear it was not our fault. I think everyone wore them like this. At least everyone who appears in the pictures in my album.
The jeans that appear again and again in the chronicles of our last year of college were made all the more unflattering by our propensity for XL rugby shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters. And bad shoes. Yes, I once had horrible taste in shoes. We all look like candidates for What Not to Wear. Stacy and Clinton were obviously not patrolling the streets of Boston in the early 90s.
But wait, I haven’t even mentioned the waist on these jeans. Seriously, they were practically an empire waist. These are not the high-waisted, flared-bottom style of denim pictured in today’s fashion magazines, jeans that evoke a bohemian 70s vibe. No, these jeans I used to wear hit just inches below my breasts and to add insult to injury, they tapered at the ankle.
Perhaps the worst denim violation of all though: jeans in the early 90s had pleats. I wore mom jeans before I was a mom. I’m a mom now, and I wear much better and more flattering jeans. How could we have been so collectively uncool in those days? Why didn’t we demand that Calvin Klein, Jordache, and the Gap give us better options? The only good thing I can say is that at least we weren’t wearing jeans with elastic waists. Thank God for that and for the fact that we not only graduated from college, but the fashion industry graduated to better styles that are figure flattering, no matter your age, shape or size.
While I promised Chris I would post a picture of us donning the worst of the offending jeans, luckily for me I don’t have a scanner at home. But even if I did, I wouldn’t want to risk destroying my photo album by removing a picture from its delicate, non-archival quality pages. Now that would be more tragic than even tapered legs and elastic waists.
March 19, 2011
I know you all want me to date my doctor. Well, Nicole wants me to anyway. And almost everyone who heard my story about how much unscheduled time he spent with me during my tear-riddled appointment with his nurse (or anyone who read about our pre-procedure “sex talk”) has raised an eyebrow in that “hmmm… really?” sort of way. But honestly, I don’t even know if (1) he’s interested or (2) it’s allowed.
In a fit of frustration last weekend, I decided that I would sign up for an internet dating service. Much like the Date Lab entry, I figured the worst that could happen is I’d have a funny story to write about (and I have been bereft of post ideas of late). Who knew that I’d have a story before I had a date.
Call me old fashioned. I mean, when I met my ex-husband, I had only had my own personal email address for two months (as opposed to one account shared by my entire office where people put “to: xx” in the subject line). I had never purchased anything on Amazon, and I still checked sports scores in the paper. But while the stigma of on-line dating has evaporated the same way it has for divorce, anti-depressants, and bankruptcy, it still feels a little too impersonal to me. Even though we all know someone who met a significant other on-line, I personally think I have a better chance of winning my NCAA office pool than I do meeting my perfect match electronically. Sorry e-harmony, it isn’t me, it’s you.
While I have suspended the experiment for the time being, I thought it might be helpful to throw out some immediate observations — okay, we can call them rules — I made in response to some of the “matches” that a well-intended computer system thoughtfully generated for me.
Rule number one: real men do not use emoticons. Ever. Maybe a smiley face every once in a great while is okay, but really, if you don’t think you’re adequately conveying your message, maybe you need to reword your thoughts. I’m not sure what I think is worse, the winky emoticon or the emoticon with the mouth opened in astonishment. I know this sounds like an act lifted from an episode of Seinfeld, but I closed several proposed matches before I ever got through photos and height stats because of the overuse of emoticons on their profiles. (I oddly do not hold the same standard for women. Plenty of my female friends “emoticate” in their emails and it doesn’t bother me. Maybe because we women verbally insert emoticons in real conversation.)
Rule number two: do not pose for photos in front of your gym equipment. Really. There are so many better ways to convey to a woman that you work out. A photo of you in a well-fitted suit or shirt will show us that you are in shape. A photo of you outside hiking, running or biking is fine (though I could have done without the photo of the guy leaning against his bike in his very revealing cycling shorts). But a photo of you with your bicep curled, weight machine behind you? Do you know what reaction it evokes? I immediately smell the gym. And I hate the smell of the gym.
Rule number three: include at least one photo of you without your sunglasses on. I know we all like pictures of ourselves in sunglasses. It’s true. We look a little hotter, maybe a little younger, and certainly it eliminates the whole red eye problem. But if you are going to go all Ray Ban in every photo, I assume you are concealing a third eye. Dude, there’s photo shop for that.
My last rule only applies to services with “controlled communication.” Do not make all your first round questions about sex and intimacy. Yes, they are important components of any serious relationship. But when your very first question to me is what level of verbal communication I exert during intimacy, you are putting the cart a little bit in front of the horse. (When I tell this story in person, I have a more crass observation.) Personally speaking, I don’t know you so I’m not going to answer it. Especially when your next question asks how affectionate I am in an intimate relationship. (That is for me to know and those who are very very lucky to find out.) At this point, it feels like you’re just looking to get laid. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but can’t you just meet someone at a bar?
Now, because I didn’t go deep into this process, I never had to explain Beatrix, but I figured that by the time I actually got to the meeting stage, the Big B would be a thing of the past. There’s no convincing way to say, “I’m wearing a back brace, but seriously, most of my friends say they never even notice it.”
Even doesn’t help with that line…
March 13, 2011
One comment I’ve heard a few times since starting this blog is “how do you remember the details of where you bought all your clothes?” Well, certainly, it would serve me (and perhaps the boys) better if I remembered the details of the War of 1812 or how to do quadratic equations. But instead, I am gifted with a memory for my wardrobe.
Honestly, it doesn’t end at where I bought my clothes. I associate each item with some event or occurrence in my life. And for the truly monumental moments, I remember exactly what I was wearing. I could detail to you down the the shoes what I wore each day the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act was on the Senate floor. (I have to be honest, I might have planned the week out ahead of time since I knew (1) I would be getting minimal sleep and would need as much of a head start in the morning as possible; and (2) I would be captured on C-SPAN sitting behind my boss.) I could tell you, for instance, that the sleeveless, v-neck olive green cashmere Magaschoni sweater I am wearing today is an item I bought from Betsy Fisher last summer. But more importantly, the memory I associate with this top comes from the first time I wore it, day one (with stops at Joseph Phelps, Mumm, and Signorello) of a wine-tasting weekend I went on with friends last June. The AG jeggings I have on? I bought these at the actual AG store in San Francisco in October when I was killing time after scoring an early connecting flight and arriving in the city before my friends were ready to meet up with me. (Come to think of it, that was for a wine tasting weekend too.) The memory I associate with these jeans is that immediately after buying them, I accidentally left my iPhone at the nearby Anthropologie, but didn’t realize I had done so until an hour later when I was in the hands of the Nars makeup artist at the Nordstrom across the street. Luckily, the nice people at Anthro held onto it for me so I got it back unlike the time my iPhone was swiped from where I had laid it down on a bar, also in San Francisco, but on a completely different trip. Which included wine tasting.
I know what you are thinking.
You: She spends a lot of time in San Francisco. And wine tasting.
Clothes have history for me, and memories of specific experiences are either created or evoked by each wearing. When I am donating or consigning clothing, items I haven’t “bonded” with are definitely easier to bid farewell to. But for those that have some special memory, I will take a moment to pay homage to the garment about to move on to a new owner’s wardrobe and life.
There are certain items that I will probably hang onto forever. My first DVF wrap dress (which was one of the items that I wore on the Senate floor that one week of climate “debate”) has not been worn in over a year, maybe two now that I think about it, but I cannot bear to part with it as I have with a couple other DVFs that have long gone to consignment. A navy blue Tory Burch sleeveless dress with this amazing (i.e. hot) zipper detail (hence its nickname, “the zipper dress”) will be found in my cedar trunk someday when my grandchildren are clearing out my belongings. I also have this really sad looking t-shirt that dates back to 1995 from the first race I ever ran that was longer than a 5K. It has holes in it. It’s an extra large (remember the days before women wore fitted tees?). I never wear it. But it remains at the bottom of my t-shirt drawer, while other race shirts (even the one from my first marathon) are long gone.
During what will someday go down in my clothing history as the Beatrix Era, I have experienced a sense of nostalgia for clothing that I cannot wear while she is binding my waist. These are outfits that are comforting, exude power, or are considered good luck, not because of the particular color, fit or style but based on some experience I had when wearing them. It has been through this constant wardrobe reflection that I realized how personal my clothes are to me, not only because style is so personal, but because they reflect back to me a little snippet of history from my own personal highlight reel. And it is hard for me to not have the comfort of being able to “go to” these items during this time when I could certainly use a little comfort, power and luck.
But perhaps, if she doesn’t get used by the boys as a bulletproof vest or some other object of their robust imaginative play, maybe, just maybe, Beatrix herself will find her way into that cedar trunk too, to remind me that we all get thrown obstacles, but that doesn’t mean we can’t handle them with style and grace.
Now if only her Velcro would stop snagging my sweaters…
March 10, 2011
I know I have neglected my small yet faithful fan club this week. I do so hope you haven’t cheated on me by following some other awesomely stylish yet witty and endearing back brace clad blogger, because I have not abandoned you. While I wish I could say I’ve been at the Paris edition of Fashion Week, I’ve just been busy responding to a Congress that thinks it will save money, jobs and the economy by having dirtier air. And I know you care about that, too.
Today I saw my favorite doctor (other than Dr. Picco, who would totally be my friend if she weren’t my gynecologist and Dr. Urban Coolness, who makes the pain go away) for an unexpected visit. “Unexpected” in that my appointment was with his nurse, Becky, whom I meet on a monthly basis to fill out the 50 pages worth of paperwork required for the national study of which I am a part. However, it was a particularly bad (i.e. painful) morning, following a particularly rough (i.e. painful) night during which I stubbornly refused to take percocet because (1) I didn’t want to get out of bed to get it and (2) it has been a month since the procedure and it feels like I shouldn’t have to use painkillers anymore. So when Becky, in all her cute pregnant cheerfulness, asked me how I was doing, and I started crying, well, she went and grabbed the doctor to “come say hi.”
Then as if it weren’t raining enough today, I blubbered for about 15 minutes about my standing-only woes. While I’m used to standing lunches now (which more often than not include wine since who eats lunch at the bar without having a glass of wine) and I am getting used to standing at meetings (which feels quite authoritative) being on your feet all day, especially when those feet are clad in heels, is not easy. I know, poor me… there are a number of professions that require constant standing, but by mid-afternoon (or today, mid-morning) I feel nauseous from the back achiness and fatigue after 8-12 hours of walking, running (but only to catch the train) and standing.
The doctor patiently let me have my meltdown, then did what every man in this situation and in his right mind should do: he complimented my blouse. And he told me that everything I’m feeling is very normal for this stage of the recovery.
In an effort to be the bearer of more good news, he told me that I needn’t worry about the brace much longer because in 4 more weeks, I can start taking it off.
Me: You mean in 4 weeks I won’t have to wear it at all.
Doctor: No, I mean in 4 weeks you don’t have to wear it all the time, but you still have to wear it.
I’m pretty sure that he never told me that I would still have to wear Beatrix after the 2 month period, but he is adamant that he wasn’t trying to mislead me just because he wanted me to agree to be in his national study. Right.
So throw out the countdown, the antics of me and my back brace won’t end on April 9th. I think the doctor is just a fan of my blog.
March 6, 2011
I submitted an application for Date Lab. Those of you who don’t know what this is, several years back the Washington Post started a new feature in the Sunday magazine that matches up two people, who meet at a local restaurant to have dinner, compliments of the Post. The next day, a writer for the magazine calls the respective individuals and gets the lowdown on the date (including a rating on a scale of 0-5) and usually at the end of the write-up there’s a little blurb that indicates whether the couple have seen each other again since the initial date. More often than not, the answer is no.
I have been a fan of this feature of the magazine since it first started, back when I was still married. It’s the section I flip to first when I get the guts of the Sunday paper, especially now that the so-called “Sunday paper” is a shell of what a Sunday paper used to be. My ex-husband and I used to joke that if we ever divorced (which we obviously did) we’d have to try out for Date Lab (separately, of course). He has been living with his girlfriend for over a year so it looks like it’s up to me to be the one who follows through.
While I believe only one couple has exchanged marriage vows as a result of the Date Lab matchmaking prowess, it does seem like many friendships have formed. And anyway, the ones where they don’t get along are actually quite entertaining too. Not that I am hoping for THAT kind of night, but I do have a theory that the worst that could happen is I’ll have a really funny story to tell (or now, blog about). I can almost feel you all hoping for something more on the side of comedy than romance.
The application itself did not exactly have the kind of questions one would expect to be conducive to making a match. They do ask the routine vitals like age and marital status; whether you have kids, a job (FYI: living with your mom is a total deal breaker for me) and religious beliefs; and whether you drink alcohol, smoke or have dietary restrictions. But they also ask such comically revealing questions as what three foods would you bring to a desert island (wine, salted caramels and steak); your dating history as a TV show (something written by Tina Fey); best date ever (a cold morning walk through the aquatic gardens followed by breakfast at a diner, though I regret giving this response in retrospect); and worst date ever (let’s just say he’s known in my dating lore as “chicken wing man” because he ate his chicken wings like they were corn on the cob).
So now I wait. I have no idea how many people apply to let the greater DC Metro area read of their dating follies. I have no idea whether I will be chosen. (A horrible thought just struck me: will I be one of their token older matches?). Even if I am chosen, I have no idea how quickly the process works. And already, I’m wondering what to wear. I just hope that if I am selected, by the time arrangements are made, Beatrix is a thing of the past. After all, Date Lab probably isn’t expecting to profile a threesome.
March 2, 2011
Who doesn’t love watching TLC’s What Not to Wear? For me, it never gets old. How the show’s producers continue to find so many people who need so much help astonishes me. I don’t necessarily watch to be entertained though. I actually don’t like the slightly-to-often ridiculing 360-degree mirror part. I watch to steal ideas from two stylists with whom I’d love to go to shopping in NYC (especially if they brought along one of those nifty $5000 VISA cards). I actually have to give a little credit to Stacy and Clinton for getting me out of my “mom rut” after Colin was born, when it took more time for my body to rebound. That is to say, unlike my first pregnancy when merely the act of breastfeeding brought me back to my pre-pregnancy weight after 6 weeks, the second time around I had to actually find my way back to the gym, but not after a long winter of wearing my now ex-husband’s jeans.
I have some very personal fashion rules. I’m going to hit three of them here. These are just a few of the basic “don’ts” so stay tuned for more, as well as the “please do!” list. I know my rules aren’t for everyone, and I apologize in advance if anyone feels insulted. I do hope to inspire some discussion though. If you think I’m wrong, please defend your case. After all, fashion sense and taste is constantly evolving. I once said I would never wear jeans unless they came in a dark wash and yet, today I am going to call around to see if I can find a pair in red. I said I would never wear skinny jeans (only bootcut) and now the skinnys (and jeggings) dominate my closet. I said I would never wear 4-inch heels. Yep, got some of those. I guess that’s why they call them “fashion trends.” But my rules, I think, apply no matter what the prevailing winds say.
Rule number one on my personal “what not to wear” list is based on my aforementioned experience: never wear your boyfriend/husband/brother/son’s jeans. Just don’t. They aren’t cut for a woman’s body. If you like the baggy slouchy look and can carry it off, they make woman’s jeans in something called a “boyfriend cut.” Personally, I stay away from the boyfriend cut too, based on my height (or lack thereof) and the fact that in all honestly, I wear jeans to make my ass look good, not saggy. I think I have gone down this why-I-hate-boyfriend-jeans road before though, so I won’t belabor it but to say I also hate the real thing, and no man who hopes to date me ever has to worry about me picking up his pants off the floor and trying to wear them (or wash them, for that matter). I can promise you now: I won’t.
Rule number two on my personal “what not to wear” list is do not wear Uggs. The one exception I might make is if you’re a ski bunny and if you’ve been on the slopes all day and if you find your feet icy cold, tired and hurting from a day of being crunched in a ski boot, and if you plan to spend the rest of the day/evening sipping warm cocktails in the ski lodge, then you may wear Uggs. But really, don’t wear them in the rain (that’s what rain boots are for) and don’t wear them in the snow (that’s what snow boots are for) and don’t wear them to the gym (that’s what sneakers are for) and don’t wear them errand running because there are a gazillion more stylish, yet practical options. They make your feet look, well, ugly. And huge. Even the Jimmy Choo designed Uggs are ridiculous, especially for the price. Just say no to Uggs.
I know I am going to get heat for rule number three, but again, it’s a personal guideline, and women often ask me for help or tell me they need my help, so here I go. Leggings, in general, should not be worn unless (1) you are Gisele; (2) you have Gisele’s body; or (3) you are Gisele or have Gisele’s body but still are wearing them with tall/riding boots and a sweater or shirt that covers your ass. Even if you meet those conditions, if you work in a traditional office setting (we have a lot of that here in DC) do not wear them to work. especially if you work on the Hill or with the Hill (no one wants to be labeled a “skin-tern”). I’m here to break it to you… no one looks good in them. If you want a super tight pant leg feeling, at least the jegging has some structure to it, though the wearing-of-something-long rule should still apply. Just be honest with yourself when you look in the mirror. My general rule is that if I am unsure, it probably isn’t right.
So I ask you, what’s your fashion “don’t?”