07 June 2007

Professional must-haves -- Summer edition

Frankly, I think it's either boyshorts or plain ol' bare-bottomed, with the latter winning out more often than not during the May-September warm weather season. With the humidity the way it is here, even if your below the belt options fit properly, you're going to face unavoidable fabric-to-ass stickage. Therefore, anything with even the most abbreviated backside coverage is going to result in VPL. So a thong, right? Well, I don't quite get the practical draw of the thong/g-string/v-string. These little triangles offer what, support? No. A substantive barrier between your trouser-lining and your cookie? No. A string wedged up the cleave of your bottom - not to mention other, even more sensitive areas - during a 90 minute meeting where only someone as uncouth as yours truly might attempt an extraction? Yes. Thongs are ridiculous - if it's fitted, I say just go bare. If you can't bring yourself to be that girl, at least get a three-pack like this one with a nude, black and white option.
(Low-rise thong three-pack by DKNY, $27 at nordstrom.com) To complement both the lightweight suits and sun dresses for the work-week and weekend, respectively, every woman needs at least one pair of versatile non-closed-toe pumps. I realize my high arches are freaks of genetic nature, and it's not normal to be ache-free after walking 50 blocks from the Met to Penn Station in stilettos with a 26lb overnight bag in one hand and a bubble tea in the other, but I'm pretty sure my bionic feet had some help in the form of these: the most comfortable 3.5 inches of added heel-height you'll ever experience for under $200. And ladies, they come in neutral and chocolate leather, too. Woot-woot!
(Taunt peeptoes by Charles David, $175 at zappos.com)
As I described in a post earlier this season, the troika of sauna-thick humidity, well-moisturized feet and 3+ inch heels can result in disastrous ankle injuries or worse, awkward, unladylike pump-shuffling. Like my Laura Mercier Eye Basics, this product is one I initially thought would be a frivolous addition to my already lengthy morning beauty routine, but surprisingly, in a relatively short amount of time, this baby has proved its worth and even joined the ranks of those eight or so items I simply can't live without. The cool spritz not only provides an instant burst of ahhhh for your overheated feet but it also de-sweats them like no powder ever could. My days of slippage and the one-two shuffle were over from the day I read Kate Beckinsale's testimonial on behalf of this product (which comes in two sizes, by the way: purse-size and full-size) in the May issue of Marie Claire.
(Cool feet airbrush catwalk heels by Model Co, $12 at sephora.com)
I consider Spanx a year-round necessity, especially for women with a little extra junk in the trunk and/or front seats, but after seeing an extremely fit woman last night with the better part of four inches of her sateen-cotton pencil skirt - a skirt that clearly fit her size-2 frame - crowded in a mess of wrinkles due to the aforementioned fabric-to-ass stickage, I realized the smoothing effect, independent of the slimming effect, of Spanx's 80% Nylon, 18% Spandex/Elastane and 2% Cotton is a Summer work-week necessity. Ladies, if I can swallow my pride and buy a pair of Power Panties, so can you. And much to my surprise, men don't seem to mind them, either -- "Just one more layer I get to peel off of you while you're still in heels," one aptly put it. Power Panties, indeed!
(Power panties by Spanx, $25 at spanx.com)
For those mornings when you wake up late or in an apartment with which you're not immediately familiar and need to throw something on and get out the door in 20 minutes, nothing beats a jersey dress. They don't wrinkle, they're lightweight and because they're relatively inexpensive, you can add two or more to your wardrobe for the price of a single Ann Taylor or Banana Republic gaberdine shift. Plus, as I'm sure my girl E would appreciate, these dresses can ball-up and fit snugly into even your tiniest purse with room to spare for your toothbrush, eye makeup remover and a fresh thong.
(Jersey boatneck dress by Lewis Cho, $198 at ronherman.com)
The short-sleeve oxford is a universally-accepted and uniformly-loved warm weather wardrobe staple. If you have any doubt, all you need to do is spend five minutes walking up and down ConnAve between K and M and you'll see women of all sizes, ages and levels of success sporting this classic piece. To separate yourself from the crowd, try selecting one with special just-for-you details such as piping on the collar, unique buttons, dainty ruffling, an unexpected color or an of-interest sleeve like the pouf, bell or extended-cap.
(Gidget tunic by Julie Haus, $138 at urbanchiconline.com)
Unless I have a specific reason, like today when I'll be freshly post-pedicured, I don't really do flats during the to-and-from work commutes. If you do, and you're one of those women who misguidedly thinks the first warm May day is the official start of "walk-to-the-office-in-flip-flops season," you need to remember you're no longer in high school, hell, you're not even in college anymore -- trade-up for a pair of still comfortable flats in a bright Summer shade and save that pair of Reefs for the beach. And please remember to change in the elevator. Even if you have objectively pretty feet, it is just oh-so unsavory to bare your piggies in a professional space.
(Celine flats by Sam Edelman, $80 at lorisdesignershoes.com)
As I stood on the corner of 17th/M this morning, a woman wearing J'adore - a fragrance I once considered my own and one of which I am still quite fond - made me so instantly and thoroughly sick to my stomach, I was thisclose to using my buy-$20-get-$4-off CVS coupon on an EPT multi-pak. But as I read the fine print and realized "family planning" items were exempt from the offer, not to mention that practical issue of not having had the pleasure of his pleasure in well over 28 days, I decided instead to engage in an exaggerated fit of are-you-getting-my-point? girly coughs until the woman turned around and full of genuine concern offered me a Luden's cherry lozenge. Granted, this woman was an extreme example, having left no inch of her epidermis unsaturated with scent, but still, it drove home the point that certain perfumes are just too heavy for DC Summers. In addition to your old faithful, invest in an airy, subtle fragrance for the office. And the commute. I recommend everything from fresh's fragrance line.
(Pink jasmine perfume by fresh, $75 at fresh.com)
To lighten up one of your navy or black suits - pant or skirt - try swapping the accompanying jacket for a linen, canvas, seersucker, poplin or lightweight cotton cropped swing coat with 3/4 sleeves. You'll not only look more fashion-forward, but you'll sweat a whole lot less walking from lunch at the Palm back to the office.
(Pleated swing coat by AKA New York, $195 at activeendeavors.com)


msu guy said...

Finally a *woman* who agrees with me on the flip-flop issue! BEACH ONLY.

intern in the city said...

Getting that high heel spray RIGHT after work today. Thanks for the heads-up!

AmyFrances said...

fyi - the top with the poof sleeve can be found at maggie and lola in souteast.

jessica said...

100% in agreement with you on the need for a Summer fragrance. I typically wear Chanel No. 5, but it is just too much on days like today. I use Sake by fresh per your earlier recommendation...hope you don't mind :)

Leah said...

And I agree with you about the idea of Spanx as a year-round necessity, for precisely the reason you mention. They make everything fit better and they make you smooth under everything, so no fabric gets into unflattering places. I also find that (um) men don't mind finding you in them at all, as some women seem to fear. My boyfriend even makes flirty little jokes about them, even after I've told him to stop.

Anonymous said...

about the flip flops - honestly, i'm going to wear sandals to work as long as i can - one day i'll be old and have to be uncomfortable :)

Johanna said...

non-sandals don't have to be uncomfortable, "anonymous"!

Syd said...

God! I am learning so much here.

I am SO not telling the other lesbians where I'm getting my info.

D said...

So glad you're back! I have Fresh's Pomegranate Anise... I love it!

Johanna said...


I'm glad you like - and are learning from - my site! Keep those other girls in the dark :-)

I wear Sake by fresh but am almost out. Perhaps I'll go check out your Pomegranate Anise this weekend...

Anonymous said...

Love the last idea (the jacket) and obviously the spanx. I'm a size 2 and I still wear mine every single time I put on a fitted skirt or dress. No shame!

Leah said...

I'm a size 4 and never step out the door in a dress or a skirt without a pair of Spanx. No shame and no reason for shame. Do they make me smoother and sleeker than I would be without them? Yes, of course. And heels make me taller. But I never think of feeling ashamed to wear heels.