Archive | May, 2012

‘Put a Brooch On it!’

22 May

According to Google, the brooch is the most coveted piece of jewelry, worldwide. Most people take them for granted today, however it never goes unnoticed when I wear one with an outfit. So why don’t more people wear them here? Is there some part of the country where woman still don these wonderful pieces of fashion? One of my favorite vintage shops in Minneapolis carries a slew of vintage pins, brooches, even those funny tag line ones from the eighties. Remember the days you covered your backpack in pins with funny saying, until the adult figureheads figured out you were making those snarky comments to them, via Jansport. So much for self expression in the schools.

Brooches and pins haven’t always been as much fun, or fancy. The origin of the brooch dates back to the loin cloth. Yes, I said it…the loin cloth. Obviously those cave men needed something to keep their boys from always making an appearance. And remember those kilt wearing Scots…well, imagine trying to make 9 yards of fabric stay put on your body with out a fastener in sight. I’m pretty sure they encountered the same problem those cave men did. The definition of a brooch is actually just a pin with a clutch back. It wasn’t until the 18th century that people found a way to make the brooch a fashionable item. It was the era of the gem that had brooches donned with diamonds, pearls, and other precious gems, hence the brooch we think of today.


Brooches were wildly familiar in the 50’s and 60’s, and almost always seen on a secretary with her work attire. Some are fancy and flashy, others meaningful. Don’t think that brooch bouquets are a new item either. Made popular again by Miranda Lambert, in her nuptials to Blake Shelton, they gained momentum and are currently offered by many designers, pre made. I even carried one in my wedding, but I made my own since I felt like it would mean more.
While I still feel the brooch is ever present in our daily lives, I still think it just gets dealt a crappy hand. Some think the brooch is just something your grandmother used to wear. Let’s not forget though, Grandma was one flashy and fashionable lady. In a world of fashion where everything old is new again, and there is no original thought in anything these days, why not bring back something as fabulous as the brooch. I’ve also seen the brooch worn as a hair piece, or barrette. But a brooch on a plain handbag and jazz it up. Instead of just tying your scarf, clip a brooch on to keep it together, and give you a looser, less uptight look. On a wedding budget? A brooch bouquet is a perfect solution, and even better, it won’t die in two days. You’ll have a wedding keepsake that will last your lifetime, and your children’s. There are so many reasons to own brooches, and so many uses for them. They are a fabulous piece of jewelry that can take your style up a few notches, and then some. Like I said, any time I add a brooch to my outfit, it never goes unnoticed. The brooch definitely falls in the hat category for me, as in I hear people say all the time, ‘Why don’t people wear hats anymore?’ I happen to think if you like something, you wear it. It doesn’t matter if people just don’t do that any more. You do it. And you look great doing it. That’s all that matters.

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Mothers, Don’t Let Your Daughters Dress Badly…

15 May

If there’s one characteristic I cannot deny, it’s that I’m opinionated. It’s a gift and a curse really. I’ve been told it’s because I’m  from New York. Irregardless, I have plenty opinions on women and parents, namely mothers. Since we recently celebrated Mothers’ Day, you know that one day a year the kids HAVE to behave, and your husband HAS to do the dishes, I figured a little mother/daughter dynamic was in the cards for this week’s blog. Also, since I recently found out I’m going to have a daughter in October, I figured I’d better get these parenting skills mastered. Already messed up the first kid, gotta do the second one right this time! If there is one thing that drives me ABSOLUTELY insane, it’s seeing a mother and daughter out, in public, the mother is dressed to the nines but the daughter looks like she just rolled out of bed, three days ago, and has missed her mouth every time she’s been fed a meal. Where is the pride, people? I understand we are in a recession, and there are parts of this country that the recession has turned into a depression, however, even at my poorest of poor, I have always managed to bathe, clothe, and take care of my son, even if that means I’ve had to go without. I live in a part of this great metroplex where I would say “class” is not always part of people’s moral code. This is a great place to raise kids, the schools are great, the people are nice, but their manners are somewhat lacking. Let’s just say if WalMart had a city, this is where they live. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen this exact instant there. However, this past weekend I had a proud moment. I was in line at Blockbuster, my personal hell, and the woman in front of me had three kids with her. All were well groomed, well dressed, and BEHOLD, their shoes matched their outfits. Now I have been the victim of the child that wants to “dress himself”. He doesn’t have mommy’s fashion sense, and his favorite pair of shoes are Sketchers…God forbid. But every once in awhile I “let” him dress himself, however for public events in which pictures are going to be taken, it’s all hands on deck. I don’t plan on being that controlling parent that dresses their kid until they’re 20, but I also don’t mind throwing out the phrase “he dressed himself” as often as possible when needed. There are definitely a few mommies out there that take the reflection of themselves to the highest degree when their daughters make public appearances. For celebrities I feel like the pressure is always on, and let me just applaud those mothers whose kids’ closets even I envy. Lets face it, could Suri Cruise be any more adorable? And Lourdes has had her own clothing line since, what, the 90’s?!?! We’ve all had our Britney moments, thankfully, the paparazzi don’t following me to Starbucks on the weekends…hence the reason for hitting the drive-thru. Can someone please tell me why I never have to get out of the car until the instant I wear rain boots and capris to the drive-thru??? It’s tempting fate, I know.   So after finding out we will be blessed with a baby girl yesterday, my husband was nervous, but relieved, and even a little excited.Me, suddenly terrified. Do I really have to share my shopping budget with another little fashionista, who I secretly hope loves vintage like I do, but also hope does not for fear I may have to get a real job. I do hope for a camera hog, a mini-me mixed with the best parts of my husband, and the admiration for her big brother that is only found between two siblings. As I pass through Minneapolis next week on our way to my in-laws, I know the perfect vintage shop to stop and see because they always have a small selection of vintage kids clothes. My daughter will have to look fabulous, there is just no way around it.   My best friend had a baby girl in September. The other day she posted a picture of her with rollers in her hair, with the comment, ‘Toddlers and Tiaras here we come!’ To this I replied, ‘Over my dead body’! I definitely won’t be one of those mothers. In fact if she comes to me and tells me she wants to be a cheerleader, I’ll probably make fun of her. And I’m sure one day she’ll tell her therapist about the other horrible things I did to her when she was younger, like made her wear pantyhose on a sweltering, Houston Easter weekend. My mother still insists that it was MY idea to wear those pantyhose with my Easter dress, WHILE I had chickenpox. Maybe it was, I’m pretty hard headed. If the roles were reversed, I’m sure I’d make my daughter wear them too. Scars are not cool, ladies. Oh I rue the day my daughter decides to get a tattoo, and I’m sure she’ll have more than a few boyfriends that her Dad and I disapprove of, but hopefully in the end she’ll still want to be my friend and love me unconditionally, as well she should. After all, nine months of back pain, butt pain, kicks, and what I’m pretty sure is her digging her finger nails into my insides, I deserve her love no matter what. And when she looks back at all the pictures I took of her over the years, she’ll think two things: 1. “Wow, my friend IS an awesome photographer.” and 2. “Thank you Mom for caring enough about me to not let me go out in public wearing purple and red together……… and never buying me Crocs.”

Mad Men Midseason Madness

9 May

I don’t know where it all went wrong, but I’m so glad it’s back to be right. Mad Men, that is. We are several episodes into the new season and I can finally say with confidence, Mad Men is actually GOOD again. Great even. I can’t get over how well written this season is, and how it actually keeps my attention, and doesn’t just drone on while I fold my laundry, or do a thousand other things around the house that never seem to get done. Mad Men is back, with a vengeance. I’m not sure what has changed: new writers? Jon Hamm directing? Perhaps it is the era we’ve found ourselves heading into, in the show. Whatever it is, it’s working, and if you aren’t watching it, you are missing out on something special.

The world became obsessed with Mad Men in the summer of 2007, and we continued to watch through every mistress, every cocktail, and every boring second we spent watching Pete’s life pass by. The first few years were something great, but still had its moments of drab. In the years just before the “quiet” writers’ strike, the show had become mundane, and I found myself just watching ’cause I always had. It’s like that show you watch on TV that would make a great movie, but then they drag it in to six seasons and suddenly there’s a polar bear on a remote island and you question whether or not the writers are sober, EVER, writing this crap. The style has always been there, the fascination with the past, and watching the events up to JFK’s assassination unfold were nostalgic and gripping to relive for some. But let’s be honest: Mad Men had become “old hat”. The outfits seemed to come in repeat. The arguments were the same. Roger still womanizing, Don still hating his life with Betty but somehow still making children, and Peggy, poor Peggy, always be a side character and not getting her fair share of spotlight. The highlight for most was Joan and her curvy attitude and bright hair. It definitely wasn’t Pete’s sweatiness that brought people back every week. Why does that guy always look so greasy??? Sure, Mad Men had it’s moments of excitement. I mean, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time Roger had a heart attack with one of the twins and Don had to slap his face to remind him his wife’s name was Mona. I still snicker when I hear that one replay in my head. What is it about men and twins?

I recently heard someone say that they couldn’t watch Mad Men because of all the sexism. They said it really bothered them and they just couldn’t stand to watch it replay on TV. I should’ve told her to take a walk around. We do live in Texas after all. C’mon! You’re telling me the sexism, (which to me is few and far between, not to mention funny at times), on the show is too much for you to handle, but living in the deep south doesn’t bother you…at all? If anything I think Mad Men has been a beacon, a little light shed on how men and women settled into what they thought were their roles. My stone cold example lay in this past week’s episode. Don “let” Megan quit her job at the agency because she wanted to follow her dreams. If he were any kind of A-typical 60’s man, shouldn’t he have told her to take off her shoes and get in the kitchen? Instead he and her were working side by side, something which he thoroughly enjoyed. I do believe it broke his heart a little when she quit, but he also understood the importance of letting her follow HER dreams, and not just be in his. He didn’t want her ‘to wind up like Betty, or worse, her mother.’ While Don has his faults, I think he’s shown everyone that he appreciates having a woman in the office to challenge him. He does and always has with Peggy. He believed in her and gave her an opportunity when no one else would. She stands up to him and puts him in his place when he needs to be put there, which is often. Ok, I get it, all the women are secretaries, and they all wear dresses, and most aspire to be housewives. Isn’t this still something we see every day anyway? And something we definitely see a lot south of the Mason Dixon line. I’d have to say to each their own, and I’m no more ready to throw stones at a glass house than anyone else. Mad Men just brings certain era-appropriate issues to light. It throws these issues that were swept under the rug for years and puts them in your face, but in that classy, stylish kind of way. You know, like the back-handed compliment from a frenemy.

Something a little less serious, is the style to which Mad Men has always alluded. It’s officially the swinging sixties. And things are getting into full swing. Young women like Megan are chasing their dreams instead of succumbing to their husbands’ aspirations. Peggy is moving in with her boyfriend. Not to mention the colors and patterns are getting more and more vibrant! I don’t know what it is about the 60’s that makes me wanna get up and dance, but I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong era. The sixties brought about shorter skirts, louder music, and the beginning of the free-love movement that the 70’s are utterly famous for. There is definitely a change in the air. Poor Don. His daughter Sally is about to be a child of the sixties. I see more drinking and grey hair in his future.

So Mad Men has finally gotten better. The stories are better. The characters are more fun and complex. The drug use is as blatant as the drinking. I have to say I’m excited for the 60’s. I’ve been told I have an old soul. Apparently, my soul loved the sixties, because I can’t help myself and I can’t get enough of them. Why is Mad Men so much better this time around? Is it just because they had more time to work on the storyline? Is it the era we are wandering into? Is it the deliberate care they are taking to build each character for you? Is it because Betty is heavier than her normal, unfair, perfectly thin body? Nah, that can’t be it. Maybe it’s the fact that Roger is back on the prowl and we know disaster is looming around the corner for that guy. Oh Roger, you       never disappoint. Whatever it is, it’s working and I am hooked again. And I’d bet another Pete affair that you’re hooked as well.

To Hair, and To Hair Not: From Vintage Classic to Just Plain AWFUL

1 May

Hair styles are one thing that go in and out of style before you even walk out the door the your latest hair appointment. I’ve seen it all. As someone who is particularly OCD about their hair, I find comfort in paying too much for a haircut in order to feel like I am

getting one that is quality. I am notorious for frequenting Toni and Guy. My friends laugh at me, but they always seem to compliment my hair. Hmmm. What do these two things have in common?


 I find it funny that a lot of women are turning to a vintage hair style and I thought I’d touch base on what that is actually considered. Having pin curls done for my wedding was quite the challenge. First of all, finding someone who knew what pin curls were, an accomplishment all in its own. Then, making sure this girl knew what to do so that the pin curls stayed in their proper place, while I busted a move on the dance floor to the Macarena…priceless.

The cut that I have seen come in and out of style, and seems to look good on everyone but me, is the Bob. January Jones made it quite the rage when she came donned the style in Mad Men, and everyone seemed to follow suit. Lets face it, nobody does a Bob better than Katie Holmes or Victoria Beckham. Of course if I had that kind of discipline, or lack of appetite, I’m

sure I’d look just as good. Unfortunately, I love cake. While the Bob has made a frequent comeback time and again, it wasn’t the 60’s housewife who made it popular. The Bob dates back all the way to the early 1920’s. After all, in all that Charleston-ing, you didn’t want a little hair getting in your way. My new favorite, the Bob and the Bangs. They could be an eighties grunge band, but instead they are an adorable pair that only look good on really skinny girls with thin faces (aka Posh and Joey). I find it makes my face look fat, and I tend to not like that look.I’ve seen the straight bang, the swept bang, the almost to the middle of my head bang. All adorable, but like I said, you have to look the part. Get it, part. Like in the part of your hair. I entertain myself, what can I say!


Oh the bang. I’ve had a love hate relationship with the bang. I love them, I hate them, I can’t live without them, but I’m on the 12 step, 12 month program where I am letting them grow out. It’s never easy to grow out your bangs, and by the time you do grow them out, they are back in style again and you concede to have them trimmed again. But getting bangs is like having that last drink of the night when you know it’s time to go home. You wind up blacking out and having to hear from a friend that your rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, was the best they’d seen in years, and has instantly become a YouTube sensation. Now Daniel Tosh is calling you to be on his web show and you realize you really can’t make it out there to do the show because you are in the middle of growing out your bangs. Damn the timing. There’s only one thing you regret more than that drink, and it was cutting your bangs to begin with. Can someone please explain to me why it takes your hair less than 6 months to grow 6-8 inches, but your bangs take a full year to completely recover. Isn’t it all hair to begin with?

Now here is something I commonly like to refer to as Pin-Up girl hair. A nice little curl in the front (ya know where your bangs are supposed to be) and a swept under curl in the back to show off your neck. It’s fun and cute and wildly popular with those hipster chics. (See previous blog if you are unsure if you fit the “Hipster” category). This looks good on just about anyone with curves. FINALLY! We have a cut for our own kind. The curvature of the hair style accentuates the curves of the body, and if it doesn’t, well, then you did it wrong. I once did this hair style for a friend who wanted to do a Pin-Up shoot with her a the drag-race girl. I don’t think I quite mastered it but, eh, that’s what Photoshop is for: to make you look like you knew what you were doing in the first place. (By the way, just kidding, this is NOT what Photoshop is for at all).

Lately on Mad Men, Roger’s wife, Jane, has been pulling out all the stops on her hair styles. I hate the look, personally, but I guess if you have that much free time and money, it doesn’t always guarantee that you have style as well. It’s what I kindly refer to as “I Dream of Jeanie” hair. You remember this look, if you grew up during the 80’s. We embellished the look with

the wall o’hair. Very simple: step one, pick up the front part of your hair and hold straight up; step two, spray with an entire bottle of hairspray; and complete. While Jane’s look was a lot less drastic than the famous 80’s wall bang, it still has the same principle. Take hair, put in top of head, making it hard to walk through low lying ceilings. You leave a little bit hanging off the back, that way it can sit comfortably on your right shoulder, or down your side. However, this is not a good look if there is any male under the age of 30 who still thinks it’s funny to pull girls hair. Watch out guys! These days you may get a handful of faux-hair inthat pull.

 

I love changing up my look with a new hairstyle every once in awhile. I unfortunately don’t have the face for a Bob and Bang, but I still love the style nonetheless. While I still hold that the I Dream of Jeanie looks good on no one, I’m sure it works for some. Sorry if this is your signature look. I’m sure you and Tony have a wonderful life together. Tell Endora I said hi…oh, wait, wrong hit 60’s sitcom. Good hair styles come and go, and go back again. I just hope the 90’s stay gone, and that wall o’hair 80’s bang don’t make a come back either. While the 90’s are not considered vintage yet…they will be one day. And if you survived the first go ’round of it, you know we don’t want to see those looks EVER again.