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Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

Yesterday, I was listening to an NPR On Point interview with Ann Patchett about her essay in the NYT – she had decided to spend 2017 as her year of “No Shopping.” Her friend, Elissa Kim, inspired her to give up shopping for frivolous things. Kim had returned to the US after a trip to India and felt, “…obscenely rich.” She was shocked by our sheer abundance compared to the street people she met on her journey; so, Kim gave up shopping for a year. https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510053/on-point-with-tom-ashbrook

The rules were simple: No clothes; No shoes: No bags; No jewelry

WHAT?! What if your winter clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry were all in a Pod stacked somewhere in a warehouse? What if you had to buy holiday presents? Patchett said this didn’t apply to food, which is good since I’d seen her a few times at Whole Foods, and even though we’d met at her store, Parnassus, and I’d sat in front of her at the Love Bug’s Grandparent Turkey Day, I never imposed myself on her celebrity.

Living in Rumson taught me one thing, you may get introduced to the Boss at the gym, but you never fawn over him.

Still, after reading ALL of Patchett’s books, and knowing her husband is also a doctor, I felt a certain connection and found myself stuck to my Sonos on the Nashville NPR station. This year of living without shopping came about seamlessly. She said it had something to do with, “…the state of the country.” Oh I hear you girl. Also realizing that, “I had enough!” To which I would add, I am enough. And finally, she thought she’d been spending a little too much time, “…chilling out by browsing online.”       http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2018/01/02/author-ann-patchetts-year-of-no-shopping

There were so many questions I had after listening to this interview. How do I chill out?Why do we shop? As I’m typing, an email shoots into the right corner of my screen from Eileen Fisher, telling me about their new blue… Oh dear God. I ignore it. Then the doorbell rings, it’s an Amazon package…

But mostly, I am left wondering why people are so darn mean on social media?

I made the mistake of checking On Point’s Twitter feed to add my opinion to the mix, and there were all these nasty comments along the line of, “…it’s called poverty/what a bunch of pretentious, entitled/this is the worst etc.” A TED talk featuring a woman who saved $37,000 one year by not shopping seemed to really set the mob mentality over the edge.

Still, I listened to the subtext. What would happen to our economy if everyone just stopped shopping? And I heard the anger, the anguish of a certain part of society, the part that likes to pit US against THEM. They don’t just cling to their guns and their religion, they like to shop! They not only rejected the idea of doing without, they disparaged the “liberal elite” for trying to do so.

It left me wondering when Republicans became the party for the working class; of course I know it started with LBJ and the South, with that drum roll of racism that still underscores our gerrymandering. My Daddy Jim never finished grade school, worked his whole life and taught me to always root for the “little guy.” The Flapper always said, “Charity begins at home” because we were so poor. She idolized FDR! We came from the coal mining hills of Pennsylvania and always thought the GOP was out of touch, was the party of (and for) the rich. This latest tax scheme should enlighten us all.

Because a certain British rag couldn’t reach Patchett for a comment, they headlined their article about her abundance of lip balm, because at one point she thought she might have to buy some but found more in her coat pockets. My comment was about how Millennials are more interested in the Fashion Chain, ethically sourced materials, and so they love to shop vintage. I was actually trying to listen to the interview, not judge the panel.

I must admit I’m starting to like web browsing ever since we bought our mattresses online, and mea culpa, I’m guilty of standing in a Target aisle wondering how the heck I got there and what I wanted. And then there’s the problem with shoes…

Still who wouldn’t want to find more time and money by not craving that one (insert consumer product here) that will change your life forever? Maybe this will redeem me? Here is a picture of our adorable Cali cousins, little Frankie is in a red beret wearing a lilac bunny sweater that the Flapper knit for the Bride thirty some years ago. I’d call that “Sustainable Knitwear!”

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There’s no way around it, Hanukkah starts next week and shortly thereafter is Christmas. Great Grandma Ada told me she’s setting out for the mall to buy presents for all her little ones, and she needs some new makeup! I told her to be careful about “sale items” on the way to cosmetics, they can pull you away from your shopping goal.

“I don’t shop for myself anymore,” she said, “I shop my closet.”

“Ha, I shop my Pod!”

Or at least I wish I could shop my Pod. Almost every day that little Pod creeps into my conversation. I went to make chili, but my can opener was in the Pod. My super duper deluxe meatloaf pan from Williams Sonoma is in the Pod, not to mention my winter boots, hats and sweaters. Our mountain home sold so fast, Bob had to return for the final Pod Casting last summer, so I’m hoping all these things are in my Pod.

I never thought we’d be one of “those people” with a storage unit. Listen to Jerry Seinfeld’s bit on these wonders of the modern age; we Americans have so much crap we have to rent space just to contain it all! He called our homes “garbage processing centers,” and warned that once something leaves any part of the house for the garage it’s never allowed back in.  http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/videos/jerry-seinfeld-standup-tonight-show-20141224

I really really hope that no one accuses Jerry of sexual impropriety…

Sure the people who bought our home wanted the furniture, but that left all our personal belongings, including artwork, that would never fit in this tiny town home. Bob and I had packed for a month’s stay, thinking we’d go back and forth to Cville this winter. And I admit, we’ve been living the minimalist lifestyle pretty happily until now. The weather has changed and I’ve been missing my vintage blue Dutch Oven along with winter clothes. Although to be fair, we did visit the Pod once this Fall.

We had to schedule an appointment because presumably our Pod is stacked very high in a warehouse of similar Pods, like a sci-fi storage unit of astronauts in suspended life forms floating through space. It was one of those 90+ degree days and a crane dropped our Pod in the middle of a sunny, melting asphalt parking lot. We could only dig maybe a quarter of the way in, before heat exhaustion got the better of us – winter coats were salvaged along with some shoes and a chair or two.

And so there it sits, our poor little Pod, among thousands of similar Pods, waiting for us to find a beach house.

And while I extolled on the wonders of online shopping to Ada, who hasn’t tried Amazon yet, I drove myself over to my favorite independent bookstore, Parnassus, to pick out some special books for my little ones. Hint, if you have a three year old, she will love “Escargot!” Here is their gift list for children this season: https://parnassusmusing.net/2017/12/06/big-gift-list-2017-kids-teens/

Next, I walked over to a local designer pop-up boutique. Then down the street to our antique shop, where I can always score something fun and unusual. I found a beautiful silk and cotton scarf imprinted with an abstract guitar that was a perfect birthday gift for Aunt Kiki there. And I’m planning a visit to our amazing friend Robin’s pet boutique, “Come, Sit, Stay!” Because we only buy gifts for children during the holidays, and the occasional rescue dog. IF they’ve been good.

This December, I’m praying for a friend who broke her leg in too many places while saving her small son from drowning in TX. I’m sending positive vibes to a friend whose son is about to get a cardiac work-up in AL. And I’m wishing all those LA fires would just plain stop, and that our family and everyone on the Left Coast stay safe. And I wish Mr T would just resign already, instead of singlehandedly setting the mideast on fire with this Jerusalem business.

And I’m hoping when (or if) I’ve lived for nine decades, I’ll still think it’s a good idea to buy some new make-up!

So if you’re shopping for kids from 3 to 93, don’t let the holidays get you down ladies! Shop local, drink wine while baking cookies, and maybe splurge on a new winter hat! With pompoms, cause that Pod, you know. Thanks http://fannyandjune.com/shop/ Nashville!

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Yesterday I wore a political tee shirt to the gym. I rode the bike, did some free weights and band stretching, a couple of machines and topped it all off with a T’ai Chi class. I’d forget what I was wearing until someone would smile at me, say they agreed with me, or just outright ask me where I got my shirt! I have never in my life put a bumper sticker on my car, but I walked around all day with this emblazoned on my chest:

My dog is smarter than the President

And it felt great. I even tagged my friend’s store in Nashville, “Come, Sit, Stay,” on Instagram cause I like to give credit where credit is due! And to her credit, Ms Bean is adapting to her city environment. Even though she’s a senior dog, she is learning to walk on a leash, avoid aggressive, yappy dogs, and only bark at the mail carrier, Craig, who has the audacity to come up on our front porch and make a clanging noise, every single day except Sunday, right next to the door.

Yesterday I tried introducing Bean to Craig but she was having none of it. Was it his shorts? The big bag he was carrying? Or that can of pepper spray in his pocket? Her ruff was up and her growl was low.

Our President, however, has learned nothing over his 70+ years of life. He’s become a national embarrassment. Remember when I told you Mr T wanted to buy an NFL team back in the 80s? You may find this interesting: http://www.newsweek.com/trumps-nfl-fight-dates-back-failed-usfl-experiment-80s-jeff-pearlman-670843

“They (NFL team owners) just saw him as this scumbag huckster,” Pearlman told Newsweek. “He was this New York, fast-talking, kind of con-man.”

All this nonsense about disrespecting the flag. Since when are “we the people” not allowed to protest peacefully? I went to a few NFL games back in the 80s, and no players were standing at attention during the anthem. Well, I take that back. My brother Mike would point out to me that the Vikings always stood at attention, while the other teams sat, or talked or stretched.

You don’t take on football in this country, even if you are the President, a guy who holds a grudge. You don’t call anyone’s mom the word for a female dog.

You don’t address the United Nations like a 12 year old school boy, calling countries “losers” and Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man!” Kim Jong-un called his speech a  “dog’s bark.”

You don’t threaten Iran and North Korea via Twitter like some ancient neo-con.

Lately I’ve been wondering if we should still be searching for a beach house, or building a bunker.

And I wonder how Buddha would have dealt with our mail carrier Craig. No, I know what he would have done. He would bark a couple of times, and eventually figure out he wasn’t a threat to his territory. Buddha would get himself up, walk over to the door, and watch the whole transaction very carefully.

But dogs are smart like that. They know when to bark and who to bite.

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When you ask for the damage report every morning, and you find that that we are getting closer and closer to a constitutional crisis, the best thing to do is throw up your hands and jump in the hot tub. Watch the sun stream down the slate blue mountains and listen to birds instead of pundits. Or, you could head out to the big city to shake up your political lethargy.

Yesterday, my cousin Anita invited me to lunch at the museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond that is. Their dining room is elegant, and I remembered being there for a wedding years ago. Floor to ceiling windows look out over a garden with a stream running through it, sculptures dot the landscape, and all would seem right with the world. But this was just the prelude to our adventure.

We were there to see the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit, “The Perfection of Style.”

It was like a walk down memory lane. The Algerian French designer documented my generation, beginning with the late 50s black and white, ultra conservative Catherine Deneuve “Belle du Jour” frocks, and seamlessly becoming an icon of the 60s and 70s. He worked hard, ascending to head designer for Dior at the age of 21, but he played even harder…

Despite his success, Saint Laurent, whose early responsibilities denied him a real childhood, felt a need for freedom and to experience everything ‘intensely.’ Sexual escapades and artificial paradises, including the use of drugs and alcohol, were his antidote to ennui.https://vmfa.museum/exhibitions/exhibitions/yves-saint-laurent-perfection-style/

Laurent was a true original. He was the first to create a more affordable line for ready-to-wear, he took his inspiration from the street and modern art, and he always had Black models on his Paris runway. I told Anita that since he was marginalized and bullied as a teenager in school for being Gay, he was able to understand, early on, what deep wounds prejudice can inflict; YSL was a contradiction, only feeling at home in his atelier with luxurious fabric and his models surrounding him, while also traveling to Marrakech on holiday and partying at Studio 54 whenever he found himself in New York.

As we just learned from Carrie Fisher’s autopsy report, addiction is a dangerous, chronic disease. And the epic levels of Hepatitis C in my generation only prove its lasting damage.

Is fashion frivolous? Some may think so, but as Laurent said, Style is timeless. That was another first, connecting lifestyle to clothes! We got to see the meticulous paper dolls he dressed as a boy, but you can preview Laurent’s Runway Checklist online – each collection, the materials he used and in some cases, the client. https://vmfa.museum/runway-checklist/

Now I’m going to search for that old black leather belt that ties in a big bow, I’m sure it was inspired by YSL, it dates to his era. When did I become vintage?   IMG_0834

 

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It’s raining men here in the Blue Ridge. Well, not literally, but my spring spirit has dampened with another dreary, rainy day. And while some men are asking for immunity in order to testify in the Senate, my man has finished spreading mulch and planting ground cover. We’re hoping the pachysandra will take root and spread out in the Buddha shade garden; in the same way we’re hoping this Russian investigation will tie up all of Mr T’s loose, spidery, tail-ends of aides to the same conclusion.

The one about collusion with a foreign government to effect our election; the constellation of events all of our intel agencies have been telling us for weeks now. If the shoe fits, you’ve gotta convict, right?

Remember how well George W Bush could dodge a shoe at a press conference?

This president doesn’t have the timing, stamina or strength for that matter to dodge the kind of evidence that has been unfolding. And Sean Spicer can’t seem to stop himself from insulting women journalists. I’ve had to raise my hand plenty of times at Borough Council meetings over the years, and I’ve never had to endure the kind of humiliation we’ve seen currently at White House press briefings. I’ll shake my head just as much as I want, thank you very much! http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/28/15094444/sean-spicer-april-ryan-trump

Which leads me to my discovery, in the very back of the guest bedroom closet, of a Nicole Miller silk blouse that managed to survive two moves and many closet purges. It’s a multi-colored masterpiece of Warhol-style design I picked up in New York back in the day. The pattern consists of multiple newspaper headlines, and since I was a reporter, Bob gave it to me as a gift, while also buying a matching tie. Yes, we are that couple.

But standing out in the pattern is a young, smug-mug shot, the Donald when his hair was blonde and not orange…and the header reads: “Best Sex I’ve Ever Had!” 

When Andrea Wood pulled that gem out of its hiding place, she told me it may be the single best bit of vintage she’d ever discovered! I’ve begun to accept the fact that my early life of mid-century, ugly blonde furniture is now hip again, but my old clothes? So I took another look at that blouse, and decided to save it for posterity. Its tag said it was made in Korea in limited quantities, a New York edition, and would not be repeated. Maybe the Love Bug will wear it in high school?

We elected a guy who has to carry TicTacs at all times just in case a pretty girl comes within range of his id-driven personality. The old money, carriage set in Rumson would avoid publicity at all costs. But new money, like that young, bragadocious NY real estate mogul, would seek out the press, and play them to write his very own melody. That’s how he won the White House ultimately, and it may also be how he loses it.

This is what the New York Post was writing in 1990 about the Donald and Marla Maples back when he was still married to his first wife. He met Marla in 1989, about the same time I met Mr T at my brother’s NFL game, and the rumor was “a model” was in the wings. His divorce from Ivana was finalized in 1992. The sex quote was supposedly leaked by a friend of Marla’s, along with something she said about loving his hands.

“Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” his lawyer had told me. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”

“One of my lawyers said that?” Trump said when I asked him about it. “I think if one of my lawyers said that, I’d like to know who it is, because I’d fire his ass. I’d like to find out who the scumbag is!” http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2015/07/donald-ivana-trump-divorce-prenup-marie-brenner

Sex, lies, and rumors are candy to a certain kind of man. Like his weekends at Mar-a-Lago, his gilded age mansion once owned ironically by Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post, he is chasing a dream, or a nightmare, that nobody saw coming. Like Gatsby, his “Make America Great Again” pyramid scheme, built with Russian oligarch money on the backs of blue collar workers, will be his undoing.

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Morning grammar nerds! And you know who you are. I must admit I no longer watch “Presidential” press conferences, but I just couldn’t resist Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Sean Spicer, and so I occasionally tune-in just to see what nonsense the White House is dishing up today; or, as I like to ask Bob over my first cup of coffee, “Damage report?”

Well bless his heart, yesterday poor Sean was trying to soften Mr T’s words on Twitter yet again, by placing his fingers up and gesturing “air quotes” around the word “wiretapping.” In other words, the middle school bullies really are running the show up on the Hill.

Everyone knows air quotes when they see them: the middle and forefingers of each hand wiggling to resemble quotation marks. Often accompanied by a spoken “quote-unquote,” they’re typically used to mock or disown the phrase they surround. They mean something “is ‘so-called,’” rather than real, the late William Safire, the great scholar of political language, once wrote. They cast “aspersion on the word or phrase that follows,” he said. “A sneer is built in.”             https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/03/14/an-investigation-of-air-quotes-mostly-used-to-discredit-the-other-sides-words-not-your-own-as-per-sean-spicer/?utm_term=.fe463b8a7442

And the funny thing is, even the Urban Dictionary knows that air quotes are so… one whole generation ago. “Used ad nauseam by ‘pretentious’ and ostensibly ‘intelligent’ university students, to advertise their ‘superior morals’ and ‘erudition’.” It’s like the thumbs-up sign, only worse, because air quotes exude privilege. They were (past tense) a preppy way to discredit those plebes beneath them, not in the way Sean tried to use them discrediting his boss’ words.

They belong to the 60s, where they should have stayed, along with Kellyanne’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band jacket. http://mentalfloss.com/article/80939/11-facts-about-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band

“Walking back” their boss’ Tweets seems to be a full time job on the Hill. But trying to soften Mr T’s attack on President Obama is yet another distraction. Let’s NOT discuss special prosecutors and Russia’s “involvement” in our election. Instead, like a child, Mr T turns responsibility away from himself, to shift blame on his predecessor for “wiretapping” Trump Tower. Only now, he only meant general surveillance, like spying “microwaves.” Darn, it’s hard not to use real quotes when writing about this stuff!

I wonder if Mr T went to his grandchildrens’ Temple for Purim this past weekend? Maybe that’s why his Twitter fingers went quiet, after all the “wiretapping” and microwave memes the media consumed during the week. Ivanka’s children are 5, 3 and almost 1. These are perfect ages for Purim celebrations; my Nashville grandchildren had a blast dressing up like super heroes and attending a carnival at their Temple.

Purim is a feminist’s delight because it’s about a Jewish woman who kills an enemy of the Jewish people. Esther is one of many Persian queens, but she, like Moses, was adopted and was actually Jewish. Think about this for a second. Does Christianity have a holiday dedicated to a woman? As a child, I remember having lots of saints days named after women, celebrating martyrdom…not exactly the same. Esther had balls, she had chutzpah! We had the Annunciation, i.e. a fourteen year old girl is visited by an angel and told she will have a Virgin Birth…

Coming out of years spent celebrating Mass in Latin, I was happy to enter a Temple and make lots of noise at Purim. In fact, Purim was so much fun – mohn cookies shaped like Haman hats, dressing up like Halloween or Carnevale, and laughing and playing in the Temple – I’m pretty sure that it’s what sold me on Judaism.

But the irony of my grandchildren celebrating in a building that had to be evacuated because of bomb threats since this last election is not lost on me. The paradox of a holiday marking Jewish survival during the week another attempt at a Muslim travel ban was enacted is surreal. Putting air quotes around the words of our Commander in Chief is yet another small cut in the slicing up of our democracy.

Our President is being sarcastic; he doesn’t really mean what he says; that was just locker room banter; it’s “alternative facts.”

I believe we deserve a President who doesn’t need minions to explain his rhetorical Tweeting voice, and a Presidential Press Briefing, without air quotes. The American people don’t need to watch the “built-in sneer” from an Oval Office devoid of compassion. In fact, Andrea Mitchell is a modern day Esther, insisting on answers at press “briefings,” refusing to be escorted from a room. Maybe a pair of parentheses would help us clarify Mr T’s meaning, his intent. Instead of charging President Obama with a felony, he would be revealed in all his paranoia.

(sometimes, alone at Trump Tower, I felt like I was being watched). My tower study (an aviary that functions as my refuge), was warm and inviting this (freezing cold) morning. Here is the view of the (snowy Blue Ridge) mountains. Only hawks watch me write. IMG_0183

 

 

 

 

 

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Forget Fashion Week. And don’t talk politics with me, I’m feeling sick about the whole darn mess. Shall I tell you what I want, what I really really want?

A dress.

I’m on the hunt for a dress for two glamorous occasions – our 50th high school reunion next month, and my son’s wedding next year. Yes, I don’t think it’s too much to ask this dress to do double duty. One occasion will be a beachy/Cali vibe, while the other will be what, more of a, “Of course it’s you, I’d recognize you anywhere after 50 years!”

Seeing as in 1966 I was dressed usually in loafers and kilts, my primal brain is feeling that approach/avoidance sensation. First because lots of our old friends have become new Facebook friends, and I can’t wait to actually SEE them again, and second, this is the avoidance part, because I remember hunting for a Mother-of-the-Bride dress in 2010.

“Everything I try on either makes me look like a stuffed sausage, or a Peggy Sue prom queen,” was my lament to Bob six years ago. We even traveled to the big city of Richmond, but came back empty-handed. Here is one of the few pix from the Bride’s wedding where I do not have a huge scarf draped around me – the detail from the back is telling. I need straps first and foremost! jm-0925

Unfortunately the fashion industry didn’t listen to my sobbing pleas for help then, and now it’s only worse. Yesterday I listened to NPR in the car, with Tim Gunn talking about his industry’s failure with plus-size women. He had this to say to the Washington Post:

Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12, and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/09/08/tim-gunn-designers-refuse-to-make-clothes-to-fit-american-women-its-a-disgrace/?utm_term=.410b22a78cad

Thanks Tim, and yes designers are thinking about size 0 to 6 instead of size 16, but lots of us “Women of a Certain Age” fall somewhere in the middle and still cannot find a decent dress to save our lives. I noticed that Marilyn Monroe’s Happy Birthday Mr President’s dress is going to the auction block and should fetch around 2-3M. OK, so what if she had to be sewn into the thing and couldn’t sit down the whole night. Rumor has it it’s a size 12! Would it be oh so hard to design a dress just a little less sexy than her sequined, see-through number? Maybe something not matronly or childish?

I totally get Hillary’s pant suits now…

Designers I have a tip for you. Stop looking at movies for inspiration, or the 18th Century. Start looking at us! What makes our bodies look good? Yes we have ‘born babies’ and were the first generation to breast feed our offspring since our immigrant ancestors stepped off the boat in this country. Sure we have a few pounds to lose, but we’re not obsessively dieting anymore. We register people to vote. We work in and out of our homes, we swim, we walk our dogs! We are Nanas, hear us roar! We are genuinely happy women, until we start dress shopping.

If you think you may have a solution to my existential problem, feel free to PM me. Or comment. I’m open to online shopping in 2016. After all, it was only after Leslie Jones posted her plight to social media, about her hunt for a red carpet dress, that a designer stepped up to the plate. Sample size is not the normal American woman size folks! http://www.vogue.com/13452803/leslie-jones-ghostbusters-premiere-christian-siriano/

And if all else fails, I might just go vintage in my closet!

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