Thursday, May 29, 2008
In the past month alone, I've gotten no less than ten inquiries about my swimsuit. This, combined with the ominous cloud of the approaching swimsuit season, is why I've decided to set the record straight with a rapid fire Esther Williams Swimwear FAQ:
Are Esther Williams swimsuits really as awesome as you say they are?
If Esther Williams swimsuits were handed out as free gifts to every person in New York, would it have the same effect as blaring (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher from the Statue of Liberty in the climactic scene of Ghostbusters II?
Who is Esther Williams, anyway? Is it Madonna?
No, no, silly. Esther was a swimmer/movie star (best combination ever) in the 1950's, and now she designs adorable retro swimsuits that are flattering and comfortable. She is a hero and a patriot.
Seriously though, a swimsuit that's retro and flattering and comfortable? No way. Shut up.
So, Esther Williams suits are custom made to order. How does this work? Is it easier than ordering a sandwich at Subway? Cuz that's sort of involved and annoying.
Don't worry--it's way easier than ordering your five dollar footlong. Here's what you do:
1. Go to Esther's website.
2. Don't let the 80's-tastic photos faze you.
3. Pick out the style of swimsuit you fancy.
4. Pick out the fabric you fancy (so many cute options--I want them all).
5. Place your order.
6. In two weeks, receive your suit and look amazingly retro glamorous.
7. Begin spreading the gospel.
Since these swimsuits are custom made, they must cost, like, $500, right?
That's where you're wrong, friendo. All suits are around 80 bucks, which is way less than most designer suits churned out in third world factories, and way worth it.
Are there plus size options?
Yep. They carry sizes 6-26.
Soft foam cups sound good, but that "3/4 inch elastic under bust for support" bit makes me nervous. Will I feel saggy and naked in this thing?
As a chesty girl, I can measure my life in the number of swimsuit bust support systems that have let me down (quite literally) in frustrating and horrifying ways, so I was also nervous about the soft foam cups. I was pleasantly surprised by the suit's support--I think it's all about the quality of the fabric and getting a good fit. I wouldn't jog in it (I also wouldn't really jog, period), but I definitely don't feel saggy and naked in it. Praise the lord!
I hate buying a new swimsuit every damn year. How do Esther Williams swimsuits hold up?
Well, I got mine in September of '06, and it's still going strong. Here is a list of some of the things my swimsuit has been through:
- Daily lounging and lap swimming in a chlorinated pool during my five month stay in Hawaii.
- Snorkeling and swimming in the ocean in Hawaii.
- Halfheartedly splashing around in the ocean before screaming, "Holy shit it's cold!" and running away from the ocean in Oregon.
- Pretending I know how to boogie board.
- Teaching a man who may have been Danny DeVito to pretend how to boogie board.
Before you look (you already looked, didn't you?), I want you to know that I got to snap one photo before my stupid camera died, so this picture really doesn't do it justice:
But if it still looks cute tossed hastily onto my living room floor, think how cute it looks on a person, poolside, with a pair of Jackie O shades and self-esteem to boot! Bonus: the halter strap can be tied around the back for a cute strapless look and no tanlines.
This style is the 1 Piece Classic Sheath and the fabric is called...wait for it....wait for it...Polka Dot (White on Black).
Is Esther Williams paying you?
She's not, I swear! I just really love my swimsuit and want to share the Good News.
Updated to add: Today I received an email from wonderful reader Stephanie, who recently bought an Esther of her own: "In the spirit of sharing, I attached a bad picture of my swimsuit tossed hastily onto my bedroom floor."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Well, that's dumb. It's just a bunch of dots. What the hell kind of painting is this? Anyone could do this shit! Georges Seurat? More like Georges Overrated. Heh, heh. Good one, Winona. Freakin' dots... Dippin' Dots sound really good, come to think of it. Maybe I'll grab some later. I wish all food came in Dippin' Dots form, like Broccoli Dots, that would be fun. I should call someone about tha--Wait, wait, is that a frolicking dog? Whooooaaa hold on! Grass! Grass! I see grass! A woman! People! It's a Sunday afternoon scene! This is the best painting ever!
A second imagined interior monologue, starting with my nose pressed against Karl Lagerfeld's sequined self-portrait tank top (above), and slowly backing away:
Oooohhh fun! Sequins! Shiny! Weeeeee! Gosh, does it get any better than sequins? And I love the black, white and grey. Tres chic, indeed! I need more sequins in my life, I think. No wonder I've been feeling down. Must increase sequin intake. Umm...are those sequin eyebrows? And sunglasses? What the hell? A nose? KARL LAGERFELD? Stop staring! I'm sorry! Please spare me, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The first school, the Disposers (ooh intimidating!), believe that sunglasses get broken all the time (true), and should therefore be viewed as disposable and unsentimental. Sit down in your car and hear that familiar crunch? Oh well! Disposers tend to have stockpiles of backup frames stashed in their homes, cars, offices, and anal cavities.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Investors. These people spend a chunk of change on good quality sunglasses and good quality sunglasses cases to protect them. Their sunglasses last for years thanks to good care and protection, but in the event of breakage, Investors are often emotionally distraught and unprepared.
I try to play for both teams by buying formerly expensive designer sunglasses at discount stores like Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls. This strategy fulfills my shallow urge to keep a gaudy designer name close to my temple, and my responsible urge to keep a few dollars in my wallet. A girl in one of my classes once tried to convince me that buying knockoffs was the way to go, but as soon as I saw her "Guchi" frames, I knew it wasn't for me.
So, what about you?
Here are a few options to satisfy both teams (because when we look cool and protect our eyes from UV rays, we're all winners!):
People who know me know that I am never without my aviators. Whether I'm piloting a fighter jet (often) or sitting in a movie theater complaining that it's way too dark, it's kind of becoming a problem.
Other shopping options for Disposers: Forever 21, Target, ebay, H&M (note to H&M--please join us in 2008 and get an online shopping feature! Trust me, the internet is really fun! You can send letters around the world without paper! It's a supreme thrill! Think about it, OK?)
Marc by Marc Jacobs, $95
Other shopping options for Investors: Major department stores, snooty boutiques, ebay. All investment sunglasses above from nordstrom.com
Friday, May 23, 2008
My answer to A Cup of Jo's query about haircolor: Blondes totally have more fun, except when everyone thinks you're a dumbass.
If you are a teacher who's feeling stifled by a dress code and/or resorted to wearing floor-length linen dresses embroidered with colorful fish, you need to read this post, stat.
Never have I been more proud of my city.
The second coming of J. Sus, as indicated by the crazy antics of J. Crew.
I've been worrying about the disappearance of Style Bytes for awhile now (when I say "worrying" I mean "googling 'WHERE IS AGATHE??' twice a day for a month), but I assumed everyone else knew what was going on and just forgot to tell me. Turns out, a lot of people are worried/curious, from Fashion Hayley to Style Bubble to Jennine from the Coveted, who could easily secure a forensic investigator job if this fashion blogging thing doesn't work out.
Cake in my mouth--good. Cake on my wall--good. And calorie free.
Square Old Soul has a round up of supremely chic white t-shirt and jeans combinations--she also wants you to send in yours!
Just discovered this blog. Love it.
And finally, when a lardy chav buying several sausage rolls declares you an eyesore, that's when you know you've made it. Congrats, Queeny!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Whenever I pair my favorite blue tights with my new orange shoes, I feel like that class was maybe worth it:
p.s. Does anyone else hate summer solely because you can't enjoy colorful hosiery without guaranteed death by heatstroke? I'm moving to Antarctica.
I'll try to get a post up later today, but if it's packed with nonsensical references to greenhorns and the Bering Sea, you'll know why.
Lots of love and Dayquil,
p.s. Is this not the saddest, funniest photo you've ever seen? I might choose a stint on a crab boat over a job that had me fake smiling while painting the bottoms of Martha Stewart's $1000 shoes. How about you?
Monday, May 19, 2008
I second that emotion, so here we go:
Brother, age 13: Is it a tree or some sort of handbag? It looks like one of those trolls with the crazy hair.
Brother, age 18: I don't know....but it would make a good friend if I was stranded on an island.
Brother, age 21: This is it? This is a purse??? Hmmm... (makes a series of confused grunts and sighs) It's interesting. It looks like that character from the Muppets. It's decent. I like it.
Father: (Laughs) Oh god. It is a self-referential non sequitur and nobody cares.
Boyfriend: I could see the professor from Gilligan's Island making that as a contraption to get in touch with the mainland. (Starts walking away) What is it, by the way?
Me: It's a bag.
Boyfriend: It's a bag?? I thought it was, like, a GMO pineapple.
Dying to hear the men's thoughts (or, more specifically, their confusion/rage) on a particular fashion item? Email me! email@example.com
Friday, May 16, 2008
...and to think of them instead, as the title suggests, as a girdle you can wear on the outside without looking like a schizophrenic hobo or Sienna Miller. If you have a bit of a belly (or a lot of a belly), lowrise jeans are not your friend. They have the power to create a "faux muffin top" (I learned so much from that frog email, seriously), and they lead, inevitably, to this. Seeking out a pair of jeans with the waist even a few inches higher can have wonderful results, for you and for the world.
In response to my highfalutin' claim, reader Beth posted the following comment:
Do a post on cute, semi-normal looking (not the super fashiony ones, nor the mom ones) higher waisted jeans, please!
Alright, alright, if you insist!
Here are the top 3 that I've come across so far. All are fairly expensive, but--not to worry!--also easily found at discount stores and on ebay. ("Ebay, friends, not retail," says wise reader Nadarine.)
A few of you mentioned your love for Joe's in the comments of the Frog post, and I, too, have experienced the glorious revelation of trying on a pair. They're seriously amazing, and many styles have a rise high enough to be seriously slimming as well.
However, I do not own a pair, and here's the most random story ever to explain why: I went to Nordstrom a few months ago, fresh off the enthusiastic advice of no less than five friends and acquaintances that "You MUST try Joe's! Seriously
Me: So, I hate buying jeans. They never fit me cuz I have a giant belly.
Saleswoman: Oh my god, I totally understand! I have the same problem!
Me: DAMNED LIES! (OK, I didn't really say that, but I wish I did.)
Saleswoman: I have the perfect thing for you, you're gonna love 'em. They're a "curvy" style--
Me: Wait, here's the thing, though. I'm not curvy in the normal curvy way. Curvy jeans are for hourglass figures, but I'm more like...an urn. (I so wish I could have used the frog body analogy, but alas, I was not yet enlightened to the concept).
Me: What about Joe's?
Saleswoman: YES! Joe's! You MUST try Joe's!
And so she sent me into the dressing room with a pile of Joe's jeans. I slipped on a pair of the Muse style, and they were so comfortable and flattering and belly-containing that I literally almost cried. Then I tried the Provocateur, which were even more comfortable and flattering and belly-containing, and I believe I did shed a tear (jean shopping is an emotional experience, you know?).
This model may be a frog, but you'd never know it.
Joe's Jeans "The Provocateur," $179, shopbop.com
The jeans were fairly spendy (Joe's can run up to $200), but I decided that any piece of denim that could make me cry, in a good way, were totally worth it. I was on my way out of the dressing room to make the purchase when I stopped.
In the time I had been admiring how good my ass looked, the store had totally changed. An extremely douche-y DJ had appeared between the racks of $60 t-shirts and was spinning extremely douche-y R&B. Streamers were on the floor. Candy bowls were on the shelves. Weirdest of all, the Nordstrom salespeople were ignoring me. Excitedly swarming around something about a hundred feet away, they were completely oblivious to me and my impending purchase. Jesus, how long had I been in the dressing room? Had I actually fallen through the mirror into some sort of shopping Narnia, where customers dance to Chris Brown in the aisles and Nordstrom employees aren't paid on commission?
I finally tracked down my saleswoman and asked her what was going on.
Rushing over to join her coworkers, she squealed, "It's Joe! From Joe's Jeans! He's here! It's him! He's signing denim! It's an event!"
And then I saw him. Joe. From Joe's Jeans. And he was a douche.
I know, I'm totally judgmental, I need to get to know him, blah blah blah, but good god, his hair was tied back in a long, shiny ponytail, he had a DJ playing the soundtrack to his life, and, worst of all, he was wearing a giant pair of polarized sunglasses...inside. The entire Nordstrom staff was flitting and buzzing around him, complimenting everything he did and asking if he needed anything at all, and he wouldn't make eye contact with any of them, looking absolutely above the situation. He actually looked like he was smelling a vaguely foul odor, and while we were in range of the store perfume sniper, Joe, come on, you're charging us $200 for cotton, how about a smile?
As much as I loved the jeans, I couldn't bear the thought of my money funding another pair of indoor sunglasses for Mr. Joe, so I put them back (longtime readers may recall my similar issues with Jessica Simpson shoes). When I left Nordstrom (or Narnia, whatever), I felt a little righteous, a little richer, and sadly, still shaped like a frog.
Moral of the story: Joe's Jeans rock. Joe does not. And wow that story got long.
Lucky is such a great company and, as far as I know, their CEO does not wear sunglasses inside. Most of their jeans are made in the USA, the quality is excellent, and I want to be best friends with all of the girls who work at their Portland store. I've found their classic rider and easy rider styles to be quite effective at holding in the midsection, and I've found them at discount chains like Marshalls for thirty bucks.
Not Your Daughter's Jeans
I'm so in love with these jeans, especially the aptly named "Tummy Tuck" style. As the brand name implies, they're aimed more at my mom's generation than mine, which made me feel a little nervous buying them, like the cashier would ask for my ID and then glare back at me, declaring, "You're just a daughter! Security!"
Luckily, I was able to purchase them without incident, and I wear them quite often (by "quite often" here I mean "every day of my life and sometimes to bed").
I bought a pair like this on sale for $12 at the Rack (I swear they're out there!), and they look so adorable when you don't tuck in your shirt (I repeat: do not tuck in your shirt) and add cute shoes and a bright top.
NYDJ Tummy Tuck Rhinestone Roll Cuff Stretch Capris, $118, nordstrom.com
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"Giada prepared some Italian cookies. As usual, she dressed in a tight, sleeveless top. 'Now I can touch the dough and elongate it,' she said. 'I’m getting it all over my fingers.' When Giada squeezed a lemon, the camera moved in for a closeup of the abundant yellow stream. 'All that juice,' came Giada’s thick voiceover."
After our class discussion, we watched this Nigella Lawson clip called Solitary Sensations (hey, that sounds familiar...), which left everyone sort of sweaty and shifting uncomfortably in their chairs:
Gosh, the things they put me through to get a degree...
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
My friend Laila and I (our birthdays are days apart) rented an auditorium in an old high school and threw a joint bash complete with punch, rice krispie treats, and awkward grinding to the Eurythmics. We even pulled a Diebold and handed the prom queen election to ourselves. Those fleeting hours wearing a plastic tiara were, by far, the best of my life.
Disclaimer: By being friends with me, you forfeit your right to privacy. Plus you all look hot so don't complain. Thank you.
My friend Katelyn and me. As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, my persona was "insecure Madonna worshipper," so I went with a tight sequin dress, red tights, a black tuxedo jacket with the sleeves rolled up, a pile of religious necklaces, and some seriously augmented eyebrows that didn't come off for two days. Totally. worth. it.
Here my boyfriend and I illustrate a dance made famous by a kid who rode my bus in 8th grade and is now in jail for attempted murder. It is called the shopping cart, and here's a brief step-by-step so you can practice and, ideally, perform it at your wedding:
1. Walk in a straight line with hands out in front of you, as if you are pushing a shopping cart.
2. Stop every few feet, look to the side thoughtfully.
3. Raise your hand to meet your gaze and mime taking a can off a grocery store shelf.
4. Inspect the imaginary can's ingredients (see my boyfriend's pose above for reference) and look at the imaginary price tag. Put some effort into this step, work it, think about it--Do you really need another can of hominy? Could you get a better deal at Costco?
5. Either put the imaginary can back on the imaginary shelf, or enthusiastically toss it into your imaginary shopping cart.
6. Continue walking, repeating steps 1-5.
Note: Music is optional.
Alcohol was not allowed in the venue (yes, it was that authentic), so some of my besties got to live out their childhood dream of drinkin' in the boys' room. I'm glad I could grant them such joy.
My goal was to look as awkward as possible for the whole night. I think it worked too well.
p.s. Rachy we missed you!!
Friday, May 09, 2008
Ode to Christian Louboutin (And His Shoes)
Thine red soled slippers doth my heart swoon
My closet doth yearn for thy chic style
Even though heels make my ankles break soon
For you, love, I'd march more than a mile
Black patent leather are quite a classic
With a peep-toe, or not is your option
Yet thy price is longer than Jurassic
I sincerely hope for your adoption
Should a miracle happen, such as that
I would do a very big happy dance
See? I love you just as much as my cat
Thy geniosity must hail from France
And although you may not know my name or face
Should I grade thee, t'would surly be an ace
Thursday, May 08, 2008
I have what I like to call a frog body. (check the photo if you're confused)
As a swimmer, I have huge [broad] shoulders. I go in a BIT at the waist, but according to the technical fashion rules of body shapes, I'm a "vertical rectangle" or "vertical hourglass". Woo. BUT! I go in NOT ONLY at my waist, but at my hips, too, rrrright where my pants sit, like a frog's body. This can sometimes create a faux muffin top, which makes me sad inside. I am tall (5'10ish), so one might say "Gee, what about trying some oh-so-fashionable highwaisted pants?!". Well, I HATE highwaisted stuff, unless it's an AA style skirt. I'd like to hide/fix my frog problem without having to resort to a life of empire/baby doll tops and dresses. Any suggestions?
Hoppily Hoping to Hear from You!
Diane Von Frogenberg
I loved your email not only because it's the first time a fashion question had been accompanied by a photo of a dead frog, but also because I had gone my whole life without realizing that I, too, have a frog body! I feel so enlightened and relieved, sort of like the way I felt when I found out the secret twist at the end of The Village, minus the urge to kill M. Night Shyamalan.
Now, most fashion blogs/magazines/tv shows would tell you to just throw on a belt to define a waist and create an hourglass shape. Unfortunately, this is one of the greatest cultural myths of our time. Since I am easily brainwashed and have a steep learning curve, I throw on a belt almost every day expecting a grand transformation, but all I get is more emphasis on my ample gut. Our model illustrates this point:
As the proud owner of a frog body, here are my top tips and tricks that do not include throwing on a belt:
1. Buying pants sucks.
Oops, that wasn't a tip or a trick, but seriously, trying to find pants when your hips are smaller than your waist is a nightmare. It's been even more of a nightmare for the past, oh, ten years or so because of the proliferation of lowrise jeans. Jeans that hit at the hip or below serve as something of a sartorial muffin pan, forcing your belly to bloom out over the waistband, so I've always viewed lowrise jeans the same way my mom viewed lesbianism in the 70's--an appealing trend, but ultimately not a good fit for me*.
Therefore, I implore you to reconsider your hatred of “high waisted” items. As my friend Lyndsey once said: “I love high waisted pants because if you don’t tuck in your shirt, they’re just a girdle.” Wiser words were never spoken.
Seriously, go to a store, pick out a pair of jeans with a high (or even mid) rise and a straight or slightly flared leg, and put them on. Pair them with a shirt that hits a few inches below your hipbone. Look in the mirror. If you still see a frog, I will pay you $100. OK, I won’t, but I will give you a back massage and a mimosa. OK, I won’t do that either, but you get the idea.
Even this high will do. Not so bad, right?
2. Rock cardigans, and rock ‘em hard.
Cardigans are a frog’s best friend, because they flatter your neck, boobs, and shoulders while skimming over your belly. Play with different styles and lengths to see which are most flattering on you. I found a shrunken cardigan about a year ago that somehow perfectly hides my lovehandles, and I wear it so often that it’s faded and pilled and full of holes (for this reason, I’m currently engaged in a zealous campaign to bring grunge back…Come as you are, indeed).
This cardigan + long black tanktop + your new favorite high rise jeans = one hott frog.
jcrew.com sale, $60
3. Learn to layer; love to layer.
This ties into tip #2 (cardigans are by far my favorite layer), but layering effectively (as opposed to dangerously) can be really flattering and make your outfits more interesting. I personally almost never leave the house without a stretchy binding underlayer to mush my stomach into submission (my friend Rachel, who wears only comfortable, soft, flowy clothing, is horrified by this practice, but that’s another topic for an upcoming post). Try a longer tanktop under a billowy blouse, or a black vest over a men’s v-neck tee, or a fitted jacket over all of the above.
4. Embrace skirts.
Trying on dresses, for me, is not unlike a stay at Guantanamo Bay: it's humiliating, demoralizing, and often leaves me crying publicly in my underwear. Dresses have to fit perfectly in like 80 different places simultaneously--they're basically a mathematical impossibility, especially when your belly is bigger than your hips (I think if you tried to tell a fashion designer that not all women possessed smallish hourglass figures, they would say, "What do you mean?")
If you, too, find yourself on the unflattering end of this equation, consider joining me in giving up on the damn things (life motto: There is much honor in giving up.) and embracing skirts instead. Try flowy knee length skirts, mini skirts with bright tights, those favorite AA skirts of yours. Playing with proportion in your outfits is the best defroggifying (deeeefffiinitely my new favorite word) strategy I've found, except for, possibly...
*When I called my mom and asked, without explanation, if I could write about her lesbian yearnings on my blog, she said, "As long as you make it clear that I didn't actually do anything. I thought about it a lot because I was down on men and it was the cool thing to do but in the end I just couldn't get there."
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
When I get done chewing on a log, it looks like this:
When Stella McCartney gets done chewing on a log, it looks like this:
She's charging $1500 for hers. How much do you think I could charge for mine?
p.s. Thanks Pam!