30 November 2007
"Please send us your Christmas wishlist!"
I apologize for the gratuitous when-I-was-wee photograph, but I thought this one better represented how similar my childhood cut was to Miss Katie's. Twinsies, right?
Plus, I also wanted y'all to see that Oklahomans aren't all tree-dwelling Jim Bobs with wheat-stems hanging from their mouths.
See, at the age of four we already know to keep our legs crossed ladylike during high-tea.
Even when it's held in the backyard sandbox.
Since I don't (yet)
Sharkskin coat by Tracy Reese
29 November 2007
Having rocked the Asian-style bob from birth until I was old enough to say, "Yeeeah, I think I'm gonna try something different this time" to my stylist, I'm more than happy to pass the torch onto...
...the lovely Katie so she can now enjoy the more grown-up version thereof.
Go ahead, people, say she looks 45, say she looks suburban, silly or severe -- none of your barbs will change the fact that I think she looks absolutely divine. Deliciously so.
Not that I'm biased or anything.
To see more pics of Katie and the debut of her new like-Mommy-like-daughter 'do last night at the Bambi Awards in Düsseldorf, click here
p.s. bring on the "heavy leg" jokes -- I'm armed and ready with two pockets full of retorts!
I was out fairly late last night, which meant once I finally did return, I was left with two options:
(1) search online for 10-15 pairs of versatile, under-$200 party shoes to complement the dress collection I posted earlier in the week, write from scratch the accompanying piece, take the pup on his abbreviated four-block walk and go to bed alone around 1:30am
(2) write the excuse piece you're currently reading, spend 90 minutes in the gym working toward my current goal of achieveing JenConn's upper-body (the more ambitious waist-down goal is one I'm saving for after the New Year), take the pup on his preferred 10-block walk and go to bed in you-know-who's loving paws about 45 minutes earlier
As much as I love you guys, you should know by now that JenConn's shoulders and Monte are going to win *every* time.
But don't fret, hopefully you're resting up like the little one to chat me up all night at tonight's DC Style get-together at the Topaz Hotel. If you haven't already done so, please click here to RSVP.
See you there - I'll be the elitist-looking one double-fisting flutes of bubbly!
28 November 2007
As I walked home last night from work, my first enshrouded in The Precious pictured above, I realized I hadn't a single selection in my cache of 22 iMixes befitting such a special, such an inaugural occasion.
Of my existing compilations, one was too workout-y, another too maudlin, 11 others way too maudlin, and the rest, well, either too Britney or too Amy focused.
When I wear my new Hanii Y, I want to feel strong and lovely, maybe even a little coquettish -- certainly not anything reminiscent of bloody spousal fighting, poop-filled pool areas and two pregnancies in two years.
Never one to just "deal," after the dog-walk and just before Brian's sad but justified dismissal from "The Biggest Loser," I sat down Indian-style on the beige wall-to-wall and carefully pieced together the perfect six-song serenade to the new thick-waled, decorative-buttoned love in my life.
And I think I did good. Real good.
If this morning's reaction was any indication - I swear, I could feel her I-can't-stop-thinking-about-you-in-me-edness pulsating in major chorded colors all around my body - I think I chose wisely.
Please to enjoy the following with whatever new purchase (or old favorite) holds a special place in your heart:
"Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac
"Feeling Good" by Nina Simone
"Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison
"Heaven on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
"Crush" by Jennifer Paige
and one I haven't listened to in years...
"Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service
And because it really is the little things that make me smile, here is a close-up of the oversized buttons on my loverly Hanii Y:
My expectations for Beyoncé to wear anything figure-flattering are so low that I almost didn't include her in the bunch. This look is pretty much par for the course for her, after all. My only request is that she please give satin a rest -- it never has been and never will be a "zaftig girl" fabric.
27 November 2007
If there was one investment I was determined to make good on this year it was a new black Winter coat.
True, the knee-high almond-toed platform boots, the block-colored work sheath, the patent leather Mary Janes, the high-waisted tulip skirt, the replacement black leather daybag and the funnel-neck swing jacket were all on this same "what'll I do without it?" list, but you must understand, vital as each of these additions were to my poor, barren wardrobe, none of them, neither individually nor in sum, could compare to the need I felt for a suitable, can't-wait-to-put-it-on-every-morning black Winter coat.
Up until this past March (I've been relying on my olive trench since then), I had been wearing the same simple wool-cashmere blend overcoat for four straight years. My steady Betty has always hugged my body perfectly, a feat for which much props should be given considering the upsies and downsies in size my lady lumps have undergone between the point of sale and the present-day. Its collar pops up with a nice stiffness that blocks the wind and encases my neck on those frequent occasions when I absentmindedly leave my scarf at home. Its pockets so worn from the jagged edges of my house keys that unless I placed them just so in one of two back right-hand nooks, they - along with Monte's plastic sandwich bags and sometimes, my iPod or a handful of Ice Breakers Sours - would slip through and travel down, way down, only to be trapped inside the knee-length hem. In addition to lining deterioration, there was also the normal wear-and-tear dry cleaning chemicals and my own behaviors had taken on its of-mediocre-quality fabric and fasteners: some patches were blacker than others, some of the buttons were chipped or partially eroded, and though endearing and reminiscent of my Mother and Oma, the inside of the right hand sleeve was left threadbare from the constant friction against my seven gold bangles.
Until this Summer when I liberated from my coat closet the trusty piece of outerwear that had seen me through my second tour in China and my entire duration in this city and really took notice of its defeated state, the part of me that wanted to side with my Mother's "It'll last one more season" cautioning realized it could not, in fact, make it through one more Winter.
So from that early August day forward, the search for my new black topper has been in full-swing.
My requirements weren't outlandish. Sure, I wanted something a bit more stand-out than the traditional barn, pea and walking coats I see day in and day out at the foot of DC's cityscape, but I wasn't reaching for the Vidler & Nixon stars or anything. Preferably, I was hoping for a modern silhouette and something of the haircut-showcasing variety.
The first of my three disappointments was an impulsively purchased one. Essentially, I saw it, I liked it, and I ordered it. Because it is no longer available online, I'll send you here for a general idea of its aesthetic. I can't point to any one major flaw, but as we ladies are all too familiar with men, with coats there is the same kind of it-works-or-it-duhn't mentality. You know and you know right away. This selection, like so many men whose company I've endured in the past 11 months, was clearly not "the one."
The second disappointment, like the first, can be filed away in the "no shopping late at night while watching QVC's 'Gourmet Holiday' special" category. Against Monte's better judgment - a snubbing that would ultimately earn me three full days of silent treatment - I gave into the lure of 15%-off plus free shipping and "placed order" with this selection. There's no need to really get into the specifics of why the BR and I didn't work out, but let's just say that quality isn't BR's strong suit, especially with their larger ticket-priced items.
The third and final disappointment simply didn't fit, but unfortunately, it was not in an easily remedy-able should've-ordered-a-size-up/down kind of way. Too tight in the upper arms, too tight across the chest and far too loose in the waist, it took me half a twirl in the full-length before I was filling out the return form.
Jaded and sick of waiting in line at the Post Office on Saturday mornings, I just about gave up and gave into Monte's plan to permanently borrow without asking something from Hot Redhead's Lawyer's supersaturated outerwear collection.
But then something happened. Somethings, rather.
During my superficial attempt at cleaning before my trip to Michigan, I uncovered a piece of paper reminding me of a hefty credit at Bop I'd received after returning a pair of trouser jeans a shade - try 40 days - past the 30 day return window.
Then, while in Michigan and doing the research for my dress gloves post, I came across Bop's "getajump" promotional code.
And finally, to complete the tri-per-fecta, I found my dream coat, conveniently, also at Bop.
As Florentino well knows, if you wait long enough, those stars will align:
26 November 2007
I'm not gonna lie, when I was 14 years old - the age 'tween sweetheart Miley Cyrus was in the picture above - I threw this same coy expression at older men in grocery stores, sneaked second-glances at my Father's tweed-'n'-leather-elbow-patched colleagues as I took their coats at our annual holiday party, and of course, then there was the meticulously built Gene Hackman shrine before which I knelt each night to pray to whomever was listening that I might one day have the opportunity to take him in all his Avery-in-"The Firm" glory and...well, yeah.
And as my parents like to remind me on occasion with hung heads and incredulous "how did she come from us?" expressions, there was the incident with my 8th grade volleyball coach, Mr. F., to whom I once responded, "But we just met, didn't we?" when he quite forcefully asked me to remove my shoe after I'd just fractured my left ankle in my first girl-on-girl collision.
Point is, I'm not here to criticize little Miss Hannah Montana for her precociousness. I grew up with ultra-normal parents and an ultra-normal brother in ultra-normal Norman, OK and Okemos, MI, not among the ranks of Nashville and Hollywood celebrities with my own hit TV show and platinum record, and still, my hormones raged hard, fast, early and insatiably. Environmental factors may have something to do with the acceleration of a child's proclivity for (ahem) hormonal exploration, but they certainly aren't the only determinant. That being said, when it comes to the very newly-minted 15 year old MiCy, there's no achy-breaky argument about it, she's firmly in the fast lane to big-girl-dom in her fabulously tacky $690 Louboutins (shoes that ironically smack of a 4th grade art project) whether she likes it, wants it or not.
Where I have an issue - a major one - is when this so-called "sweet," "innocent," "wholesome," celebriteen steps out wearing this:
From a figure-flattering standpoint, she looks great. Absolutely great. The dress flatters her toned legs, highlights her defined shoulders, hugs her just-the-right-size-for-strapless cup-size perfectly -- I could go on and on about how women like Paula Abdul, Tara Reid and Beyoncé could all afford to take a page or two from this one's book. Her Nuj Novakhett mini isn't my favorite dress by any means, and I shake my head in distress at the shoes, but overall, I offer this look some of my highest praise for a young star still nascent in the process of defining her personal style.
And for a pre-show appearance at the American Music Awards, I can't think of a more venue-appropriate color and cut. Definitely an 'A' grade in that category as well.
My disappointment doesn't lie with Miley for wanting to don a dress with such a grown-up neck and hemline - after all, I know with right certainty I would've greeted Jeff S. at my front door in that same get-up for freshman Homecoming if I had the chance - rather it's geared toward the parents who allowed her to make that decision.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, one of the most meaningful lessons my Mother imparted to me, especially during my style-formative teenage years, is one I still carry with me every day as a 27 year old, and that is to dress thoughtfully and with consideration to how those around me will perceive my selection.
If you want to fill the girl-next-door void convincingly, Ms. Cyrus, let's try a little more Mandy and a little less cleavage next time.
And the time after that, too.
Whether you have one, two or twelve parties on your calendar this holiday season...
Whether you have one, two or twelve perfectly pretty party dresses already hanging in your closet...
Whether your bank account bottom line ends with one, two or twelve zeroes...
If you're like I am and given the choice would follow a semi-formal dress code all day, every day, there's no more intoxicating a journey, no more thrilling a transaction and no more anticipatory a feeling than finding, buying and wearing a figure-enhancing, trend-transcending, timeless cocktail dress.
Below, you'll find a 16-strong selection of elegant, subtly sexy, uniquely-detailed party frocks you'll be able to wear from your mid-20s well into your mid-30s without a hint of Dina Lohan/Leslie Panettiere/Teri Hatcher shame.
Provided, of course, you do what is necessary to maintain that mid-20s figure.
For motivation to step away from the leftover pecan pie and to increase your weekly gym visits by x+1, first click here to see 41 year old Cindy Crawford frolicking on the beach bikini-style this past weekend, then check out 40 year old Kate Walsh doing the same, and finally, scroll down and scour these snaps for your favorite under-$300 belle-of-the-ball party dress.
Della dress by Elie Tahari
($199.20 at bluefly.com)
Ruched shimmery goddess dress by Vanessa Bruno Athe
($280 at lagarçonne.com)
Ruffle-neck dress by Mint*
($254.10 at basicboutique.com)
Sleeveless dress by IRO