Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Note From a Frustrated Conferee

I just received a rant from probably my best-dressed female colleague. She's on the road, having just attended a professional conference for Unitarian Universalists.

Here she is, verbatim. Most of what she says, I've already written about. I have bolded her comments that had me pumping the air in a power salute or laughing out loud in appreciation:

My colleague writes,

1. Bra straps showing. I dont' care if it is a young girl's fashion statement--it looks smutty on young women and sloppy on older women. And girls--if you wear a white dress--don't wear a black bra underneath. Hullo??!!!!

2. T-shirts. Never stand up in front of a congregation or lead worship in a t-shirt. I do not care if you got the t-shirt from last year's conference. Fugetaboudit...

3. Baseball caps. Noted by my colleague in fashion as someone one should only wear at a BASEBALL game and maybe while running on an isolated running path through the woods where no one will see you.

4. Tennis shoes with skirts. Get comfortable shoes (see note 14 below) but for God's sake, do not think you can get away with wearing tennis shoes with skirts. It just looks dumb. Are you planning on going running or are mopping the floor?

5. Elastic waistbands. Again--noted by my esteemed colleague in her blog, but no one looks good in elastic waistbands. Get it to fit.

6. Flip flops and Crocs. Just stop it, unless you are going from the garden to the garage, or the shower to the pool. I can't see Crocs on people's feet without seeing Jason's Hocky mask in Friday the 13th.

7. Keane shoes. Yes, they may be comfortable, but they do look like rubber tires strapped on your feet. They make even the most petite feet look like water skis. Don't succumb. [P.B. is busted on this one, but never wears here Keane's in a ministerial setting.]

8. Tevas. They have their place--on the beach, or hiking. Not at a conference or on the streets of any city. [Amen, sister!! - P.B.]

9. Suspenders and the female equivalent, Overalls. Men--you can get away with wearing suspenders if you are William Jennings Bryan. Women--you can NEVER get away with wearing overalls. NEVER. Overalls are for farmers not for the feminine sex. And if you EVER wear them to a professional conference, you should be redirected to the Wheat and Corn Growers Conference in Iowa.

10. Aviator sunglasses. they may be coming back in style, but when combined with a comb-over (see below) they make you look like an extra from "Boogie Nights." [P.B. notes that she refuses to date men who wear wrap-around sunglasses, and most especially the kind with the mirrored lenses. They are SO 80's skeevy!]

11. Comb-overs and long grey hair on middle-aged men. This is the counterpart to PeaceBang's admonition to "snip that pony tail!" Men, embrace your baldness. Take a tip from gay men and cut it hair short. You really aren't fooling anyone because we see the back of your head, even if you can't or don't.

12. White knee socks. Usually worn with funky tennis shoes, this makes most men look like Humpty-Dumpty (especially when combined with a middle age belly).

13. Mullets. You would think this hairstyle has received enough bad press that it would be forever banished, but I saw the worlds longest mullet on a woman recently--short up front, long (to the waist) down the back. Why? what's the point of that? Please--"cut that mullet!"

14. Sensible shoes. Why do women think there are no "sensible shoes" other than orthopedic shoes from "foot smart?" And then, to add insult to injury, coupling them with skirts, as if no one can see those shoes? There are amazingly cute, comfortable shoes, with no heels that actually work--check out the Skeechers website for example--troll through Zappos online, look at Ecco or other possibilities, but STOP BUYING SENSIBLE SHOES.

15. Wrinkled, rumpled anything. Most hotels have irons and ironing boards. Why do people show up to a professional conference as if they just slept in their car? If you are one of those people whose finances prohibt you from staying in a hotel, then I completely understand...rumple away. But for the rest---use the iron and maybe even include a bit of starch! Furthermore--if your wrinkled, faded t-shirt is stained or has even one hole...then for heaven's sake--throw it out! [YES! If your t-shirt has a stain on it, even a small one, TOSS IT. Do NOT be tempted to wear it in public.]

16. Dog and Cat hair. I know all about your pets from the amount of hair on your black sweater. Let's see--a long-haired white Angora; and that looks like Golden Retriever fur. There are simple things one can do in the absence of a lint brush--pick up some masking tape and blot your sweater--or better yet--don't let your cat sleep on your laundry.

17. Facial Hair looks good on Santa Clause, but men, unless you are the real Grizzly Adams, trim your beard, your ear and nose hair--regularly. As we age, hair does pop up in more volumnious amounts and in strange places. Do not let the forest take over. Hack it back.

18. Pegged Jeans. You thought they looked good in the 80's, did you? Now your middle aged body has spread so that the high-waist and skinny ankle jeans only serve to emphasis your rear end and belly. If you insist on wearing jeans, go for the lower waist and boot-cut length variety. Why women insist on wearing ankle-tight jeans that make their butts and bellies the prominent feature is beyond me. [As Emily Neill says in her book "Closet Smarts", tapered pant legs don't look good on anyone. Ignore the fact that they're back in fashion.]

Well dear PeaceBang, thank you for being the sounding board for my frustration. Of course, I am hardly perfect myself, but honestly, there were so many very lovely, but sloppily dressed people at this conference, I just wondered--was I at a professional conference, or at summer camp?

11 Comments:

Blogger Miss Kitty said...

I think I saw all these same things at the last literature/humanities conference I attended.

PeaceBang, I'd like to ask: can you suggest any good foundation brands for those of us who 1) are on the go all day long in hot, muggy climes (think Georgia), 2) have very oily skin, and 3) not much time for touch-ups?

Any commentary would be great. Oily skin and dark circles don't look good on anyone, no matter your profession.

8:58 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Hey Kitty. I sympathize with your plight. I would probably go the route of using foundation just to even out the skin tone, for which you can choose a water-based product that matches your skin tone. Stay with water-based products.
Another interesting option might be any one of the new mineralized foundations. They're powders, they're clean and non pore-clogging, they absorb oil and they get great reviews. Try Neutrogena's version, or spring for the whole Bare Escentuals thing. They take a bit of getting used to but they create a nice matte look without a heavy cakey feeling.

9:05 PM  
Blogger ms. kitty said...

Do not be confused. There is Ms. Kitty from the Pacific Northwest and Miss Kitty from Georgia.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Believe it or not, mullets are actually making a comeback. My stylist was going on and on about the new mullets, as seen in Italian magazines, and how HOTT she thinks they are.

*shudder*

11:20 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Speaking of hair -- Peacebang, I've got this huge conference coming up, as you know....

My hair is a shoulder length bob, no bangs, usually parted on one side. It is a strawberry blonde with a few subtle blond highlights added for summer.

I'm thinking for worship, I need to wear it up or tied back in some way, to avoid the habit of tucking it behind my ear (which is kind of gross in front of a crowd, especially right before breaking the bread). What do you think? How would you tie it up/back? My hair is VERY thick and has lots of natural body.

11:35 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Too many Kitties!

Sue, march yourself right into a snazzy, reputable salon and book a consultation with a stylist. Tell the receptionist that you want advice on professional up-do's and you need to book as much time as a blow-out. Be prepared to pay, and use the time wisely and well.

No one can advise on hair-do's who hasn't seen you. Don't be afraid to pay a professional for advice. It's worth it.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

It's not just UUs. I was at a writing conference that shared space with some Presbyterians, who seemed to think they needed to let it all hang out.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Kim in KCK said...

I will be heading to a national clergywomen's conference next week, and I won't be able to get this blog out of mind, I'm sure. I'll let you know what I see.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Just for the record, some of us with cat hair on our clothes do not let our companion animals sleep on our laundry, but rather it is just AROUND the house - in the air, in the car, on the couches and so on. No matter how much you comb four cats, and no matter how many sticky rollers one uses, it just gets on clothes. Sticky rollers need to be used to get this off. Black clothes need to be avoided. Damage control is do-able, but it is hard. And it is not because animals sleep in the laundry.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I have Tevas that I bought specifically so I could wear better shoes once I get to school. They are the only shoes comfortable enough to walk in that pack flat enough to slip in my bag once I get there so I can put on all those cute shoes PeaceBang has been promoting. So I believe that there is a way Tevas can promote the greater good. Is it just me (and it could be, because I have been reading a lot of PeaceBang and watching a lot of WNTW) or does it seem to anyone else that just as soon as you get all the logistics figured out to dress a little better in public life something throws a wrench in things. For example, for reasons beyond my control, I can no longer take the bus to school and have to walk, and now I have to worry about people cringing at me wearing Tevas with my nice outfit during my walk over there. Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and get a muumuu and some birks.

1:19 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Anna, no! Don't do it! (the muumuu and Birks, I mean!)
How about some good walking clogs or sturdy shoes like NAOTS (expensive but totally last forever) to go with your classic outfits? Sure, they limit what you can wear in the really cute and fashionable dept., but they'd keep you from the dreaded muumuu look!

Good luck and report back! xoxo PB

4:44 PM  

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