Gwendoline Corset by Agent Provocateur
$355 at agentprovocateur.com
For the blouse that won't make you look a decade younger but might help you recall a time when TGIF stood for boy-crazy sleepovers and a solid two-hour punch of "Perfect Strangers" "Full House," "Mr. Belvedere," and "Just the Ten of Us".
Ladies, your little-bit-of-sunshine blouses, almost none of which, unfortunately, would be considered work-appropriate in these parts:
It's the palest of pale yellow and covered in tiny hearts of all different Summer shades - sunset red, night-sky purple, Crystal Lake aqua, Bazooka Joe pink, among others.
It has a structured hourglass cut at the base of which is a scalloped-edge hem that dips slightly lower in the front and back - a feature that lends it a distinct corset-like silhouette - a pair of scalloped-edge cap-sleeves, an abbreviated Mandarin-style collar, and a not-even-the-width-of-two-sparklers plunge that sits flush above my favorite detail of all: a vertical row of seven carved daisy-shaped buttons in translucent grass-green.
I recognize it's not immediately me. I recognize it's probably not even after-10-minutes-of-looking-at-me-in-it me. In fact, each time I wear it, I duly expect to have a family member, a friend or a colleague make a point of telling me just how not me it is.
But I love it.
It's the first blouse I ever purchased on my own from Anthropologie - a milestone I still celebrate - and it's the one article of clothing to which I always turn when I need sunshine not just above my head, not just when I'm outside, but all around me, enveloping me from 8:15 in the morning to 8:15 at night. Put differently, it's that one blouse in my wardrobe that when I slip my arms through its prim sleeves and fasten those flowers makes me feel as weightless as I did at eight years old.
Every woman should have such a blouse in her closet, and not just for the cloudy days but for any day she feels the pangs of nostalgia for a time when life consisted of socially acceptable bralessness, guilt-free cans of regular soda and a Pink Lemonade Lip Smackers beauty routine.
A selection of little-bit-of-sunshine blouses to come later in the day. Until then, enjoy a selection of another kind of sunshine: Jack Johnson.
9. Whether you sit in the sun or not, this bronzer will give you that desirable natural sunkissed look we're all after. What sets this bronzer apart is its touch of gold shimmer and its SPF 15.
($26 at skinstore.com)
7. I advocate a year-round no-more-than-three-shampoos-per-week routine, but with DC's high Summer humidity, oil buildup is going to look not only unprofessional but downright homeless. This hair powder, which comes in four colors (black, brown, blondish and red), will give your scalp the look of a same-day-shampoo.
($40.95 at amazon.com) 6. Because your lips sit in the sun just as much as the rest of your non-bikini-covered bits, go for the best when it comes to lip care -- go for Kiehl's. One of these tubes lasted me the entire May-August 2006 tanning season, and that's saying something considering how liberally (and often) I applied this balm after all those rough-and-tumble "sessions" down Dupont Circle side streets.
($8.50 at kiehls.com)
5. To see your skin at its healthiest, you need to indulge in a once-a-week full-body exfoliation treatment. This particular one sloughs with the best of the pricey sugar scrubs and it smells divine. What I like most is that even after your spritz on your favorite Summer scent (I like Sake by fresh), you can still detect a hint of pink citrus.
($15 at sephora.com)
4. Everything I wrote for the previous product applies here, save for the bit about lingering fragrance. Unlike most of the drugstore exfoliants, this one is a gentle scrub with rounded beads that won't irritate even the most sensitive face. I look forward to every Wednesday night, which in my household is not only double-anchovy thin-crust night but exfoliation night as well. Who says I don't have excitement in my life?
($25 at sephora.com)
3. Being the lifelong lotion-phile I am, I've tried everything from imported body butters to boutique salves to your most basic CVS-brand hand lotion. Through my ever-continuing search to find the holy grail of moisturizers, however, this thick Vitamin E-infused drugstore lotion has always come through victorious. If you could touch my legs right now (I'm touching them for you), you'd go out and join Sam's Club right now and buy two cases of the stuff. It's that good. And that affordable.
($5.29 at drugstores everywhere)
2. With the suntanning, the lack of sleep and the propensity to cry every time I listen to Roberta Flack or watch a Julia Roberts movie on TBS, the skin under my eyes is the first noticeable sign I'm no longer in my mid-20s. Hands down, this undereye cream is the one "luxury item" I would take with me if I were ever cast on "Survivor."
($46 at clinique.com)
1. As with body lotion, I've been testing, trying and second-trying facial moisturizers my entire life. Not just adult life but thanks to my Mom, my entire life. This is the richest one I've found in an under-$50 price-point. And yes, it has the requisite SPF 30.
($16.12 at amazon.com)
Pleated khaki capris, a plaid-trimmed white polo and metallic Velcro sneakers.
A boxy short-sleeve navy knit sweater, plaid-trimmed A-line oatmeal skirt with mid-calf hem and square-toed block-heeled slides.
A light pink leather double-breasted trench, these bermuda cargo shorts pictured above and plaid-trimmed raffia wedges.
This is just the amuse bouche of what I've seen in the two years I've had the displeasure of commuting twice a day past Burberry's multiple window displays.
Were I you, I'd opt for a textured black clutch, something in a brocade or embossed animal skin - animal skin, not animal print - that adds dimension to the ensemble without detracting from the primness of the dress and peeptoes. As for jewellery, even though you didn't ask, I would suggest minimal neutral studs (e.g. pearls, diamonds or opals) and an fun cocktail ring like this or even better, this. A thin gold necklace that hits just below the base of the throat would still look okay, but as you know, I always advocate erring on the side of simplicity, especially when the neckline, like this one, is an eye-catching accessory in itself.
Here are your flask-ready clutches, a couple of which, I realize, are pushing well beyond even an If-I-had-a-Sugar-Daddy price point:
Joan woven silk clutch by Franchi ($126.95 at zappos.com)*
Croc Lucia clutch by Lorelei ($198 at activeendeavors.com)
*my 'Since I don't (yet)' pick
**my 'If I had a Sugar Daddy' pick
I've been waiting all week for the Palme d'Or to be handed out and thus mark the end of the seven days informally known as the week when Sharon Stone goes extra crazy in a-too-young-for-someone-half-her-age wardrobe.
My anxiousness for the grand award had nothing to do with the films themselves but rather the final parade of evening couture. I needed this last red carpet song-and-dance so that I could finally cobble together my "loved it," "hated it" and "WTF?" categories.
So here they are, the good, the bad and the plastic tit-cones: