Saturday, May 13, 2006

Espadrille Wedges

When Colors Don't Work

Having been appalled at the atrocities in the Newport News online catalog, I tried another purveyor of decent, affordable basics, Chadwick's.

A bit better, but why do they do this?

They offer a perfectly presentable summer blazer: cut, fine, price, fine. And the bloody thing is only available in the most awful colors imaginable: nasty, cheap yellow, garish blues, eye-bloodying pinks, gag-inducing floral.

A general rule: keep bright colors as accents, not the main focus. If you find a garment you love in a bright color, that's fine but make sure it's rich and not chintzy, vibrant and not garish, and that you wear appropriately scaled accessories to stand up to it. No bright pink dresses with little tiny gold chain necklaces and earrings. Rock out some big beads, make it bold on purpose.

Tip: Bright colors on inexpensive fabrics = cheap looking clothes. If you're a budget shopper, best to stay with neutrals and splurge on a gorgeous, rich colored accents.


A Page of Bad

Everything on this catalog page is absolutely atrocious and should never be in your closet:


hideous Hideous.

better Better.

much better Better yet (espadrille heel very au courant).



Ponchos: A Fleeting Moment of Bad Taste

I have mixed feelings about ponchos. On one hand, they allow women of size to feel drapey and glamorous in an unstructured, won't-cling-to-chub manner.

On the other hand, they're shapeless and heinous and their fifteen minutes of fame is well over. I saw some at a big church event in town tonight and honey, can you hear me say "AMEN?"

PeaceBang has one beautiful silk poncho that she wears in the summer with bootcut jeans and *very* high sandals and since her arms are free she feels not as shapeless as she otherwise would have been. She slathers on silvery make-up and wears big hair and big earrings, but she's still not sure if she can get one more season out of the thing. Plus, this poncho comes dangerously close to the batik muu-muu that she has promised a close chum she will never wear, never, ever ever, and especially not while riding around a convention center on an Extremely Fat Person scooter at GA.*

Please, ladies and gentlemen, no
ambiguous crocheted "things"
unless they're timeless, well-made pieces (think British woman walking on the heath in her woolen shawl) or you're tall and striking enough a character to make a statement with it. If you can work the big wrap, sweetheart, work it! By all means. But it takes effort and strategy; these things don't just succeed on their own.

P.S. Crocheted items are almost always ugly, shapeless and inevitably cheap looking, no matter how much they cost. They are not, contrary to what the lady at Dress Barn told you, "feminine and springy." They are very fashionable this year. Caveat emptor.

* Please don't get your collective dander up about the Fat Person Scooters. I know full well that some people with disabilities use them to get around. I also know from first-hand knowledge that in some cases the user of the scooter's only disability is obesity. And as a Woman of Considerable Girth, it is my personal goal never to require motorized transportation for reasons of fatness only. Time may conspire to deprive us of the ability to walk at a brisk pace no matter what we do-- but one of the ways we may keep our ability to walk at a brisk pace is to walk at a brisk pace!
PeaceBang is making it one of her life goals to not have to ride a scooter around GA. She has nothing against those who do, except when they yell "beep beep" and run conferees down on the way to the Service of the Living Tradition.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Woodstock Refugee Hair

Amy Z-M posts a comment about her curly hair, seeking PeaceBang's advice:

My sympathies are with you, Amy!
Curly hair is a bear.
First of all, gravitas is as gravitas does.
However, having "Woodstock refugee hair" could mean that you're one step away from prairie skirts, dumpy European sandals and t-shirts with faded Gaia logos on the front. We must do all in our power to keep you from that fate!!

Bumble & Bumble reportedly makes good products for de-frizzing curly hair, and curly hair is all about products, my dear.

I believe that those of you with long curly locks would do well to seek out a stylist who specializes in curly hair. It will be worth your time and investment. One of my students has gorgeous, long curly hair and she passed on that hot tip to me, who does not have long, gorgeous hair, although it is slightly wavy and full of annoying cowlicks.

Long, curly hair is generally not the right choice for short women who do not have the body of Salma Hayek, for round-faced women or for short-necked women. When we consider whether our hair is right for our general look, we must go beyond the question of "is my hair great, or what?" and think CONTEXT, i.e., "is my hair great on MY face and body?" (Not to mention, "is my hair great for the image I would like to project?")

Best of luck, Amy. And by the way, whatever spectacles frames you're wearing are a very important part of the equation.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What To Wear For C.P.E.

Wintry Mix came out of lurking to ask PeaceBang about CPE-appropriate clothing, given their fairly stringent (and appropriately so) dress code.

Wintry, blessed are those who are brave enough to ask for sartorial help, for they shall receive it.

First of all, consider your role: chaplain in a hospital. Someone who needs to be able to get around fast in slippery hospital corridors, to stand for lengths of time around beds, and who needs to look approachable and yet still professional.

Open toed shoes are out. Good. They should be, as they are neither appropriate for the role nor hygenic in a hospital setting. We'll get to shoes later.

Look to the doctors for your role model: they stay crisp and tailored, and so should you.
I advise you to stay with the basics:

> Twill pants with a nice cut (not Dockers or the like -- shop for something with shape). Navy or black, nothing light (you don't want someone's last vision to be of your pantylines as you go out the door). Two pairs should be fine. Have them hemmed if necessary. You should *love* them.

> A couple of nicely tailored blouses, and I wouldn't recommend anything but solid colors. A rosy color is nice, as is a beautiful sea blue/green. Think soothing, not busy. Long sleeves or 3/4 length will do nicely, and nothing that wrinkles too quickly. Yes, it's the summer but hospitals are CHILLY!
If you want to run out and play right after work, wear a camisole under the shirt and rip off the shirt at the end of the day.

> A beautiful, classic belt buckle. Wear it everyday. Make it your major accessory. Tuck your shirt into the trousers and set it off with the belt. Lovely. Are you of slim or ample shape? It helps me to know that.

> Layer. Wear a cotton/spandex NICE t-shirt that FITS your body under a lovely cardigan. (But be aware of silk blends with an unfortunate odor.). When they specify no t-shirts, they don't mean nice t-shirts with a satin trim neck, a fitted bodice and cap sleeves, etc. They just don't anyone showing up in either Hanes or shirts with the latest youth ministry conference logo on it.

> Accessories should be simple. A nice watch, and a simple necklace and earrings. A small cross, if you're Christian. There's no need to make the common Beginner Minister mistake and adorn yourself with huge religious symbols. Chaplaincy is as chaplaincy does, my dear.

> The reason I'm not recommending summer jackets for you is that cardigans and blouses are softer and less "professional." You are going to be comforting people and praying with them. You need utmost mobility in your clothing without being sloppy. Blazers look wonderful but they're constricting. PeaceBang is too generously-sized to look good in a cardigan, so she does blazers a lot and knows this.

> If you go with skirts, and if you have the figure for it, a nice pencil skirt that hits just below the knee shouldn't cause anyone to cite you for dress code violation. For heaven's sake, don't buy anything long and floral! Again, as in the trousers the fabric should be non-clingy and beautifully tailored. Dark colors with lighter tops.


Dear heart, I went shoe shopping today and was HORRIFIED by the big rubber messes passing for sandals this season! There seems to be a new trend in Shoes That Resemble Tires, which may allow you to scoot around the ER with utmost confidence, but are far too sporty and give a girl a floppy gait, which is NEVER comforting to the afflicted. This is especially a problem with those ubiquitous backless shoes. Do avoid clogs and the like, unless they have a back piece. Clogs are generally okay (just okay) but they do clop, and you don't want to sound like My Friend Flicka making your rounds.
L.L. Bean has a nice Kennebunkport clog that I like in the neutral color. They're over $50 but you can be sure they'll be made well and offer excellent support. Just don't clop, and don't wear them with a short skirt.
(If you get this for your shoe, stay with a lower-calf length skirt. Just make sure you're not drowning in too much skirt. Keep it streamlined. A matte jersey would be good, but wear a control top tummy slimmer with it if you're chunky or you'll jiggle fore and aft.)

It just so happens that flats are wildly in fashion right now, and there are oodles of styles to choose from in every color and in every price range. Get yourself some flats with some good support in them, with a round toe (pointy looks fabulous but is impractical for your job), and a rubber bottom for good grippability. I swear by Dr. Scholl inserts myself, and you may want to purchase some trimmed in your shoe size before you hit the DSW Shoe Warehouse or wherever. It may be that your CPE shoes need to be 1/2 size bigger to accomodate the inserts. At the end of the summer, believe me, you'll never want to see those shoes again. Have a shoe burial party when it's all over.

You may be forgiven for wearing a slightly frumpy shoe for your CPE position. Buy yourself some strappy stilettos for when you're off duty and samba the night away. Promise me you will. And please don't feel the need to wear navy shoes with navy slacks. A lovely taupe or neutral will get you through any outfit. Just stay away from cutesy ballerina flats or anything with big bows.

P.S. Make sure to stock purse-sized Purell for yourself before you start, and lay in a supply of those fresh white hankies.

Oh, and Wintry? NO PERFUME WHATSOEVER when you're in the hospital. Not even heavily scented hand creams or hair products. Sick people are very sensitive to odors and their immune systems are compromised, and they may react badly to heavily scented products. Be a love and pass that along to your comrades in the program.

Take care of yourself and your own immune system. Make sure to play every day.
May God bless you in this ministry, and may the Good Fairy of Shopping send you just the right clothes for your CPE. Let us know how it goes.

Confessions of A Happy Product Addict

Juniper asked all about where product addicts keep all their stash.
Here's how it looks in the Land of PeaceBang:


And a close-up (25 lipsticks/glosses hardly take up ANY room, see?):



(I swear I did not intend one bit of comedy by the presence of the Cross. It's been there for years and I never realized how sacreligious it looks until now!)

And then we have the bathroom product bonanza:



(We would not HAVE our toothbrush out in the open, of course, where it can pick up flying ickies from a flushing toilet. That strange blue plastic item is actually a tongue sraper that I hardly ever use because it makes me gag.)

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Not to mention the supplies in the closet, because what girl wants to run out of deody-o right before an important preaching event? And what busy religious leader wants to have to pour shampoo into stupid little travel bottles before hopping on the plane when she can just keep nifty travel sized items pre-packed in a clear cosmetic bag, ready to go when she is?

Love me, love my products.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

When Breath Kills

How well I remember approaching a colleague at an evening event and almost falling over at the first whiff of his garlicky breath. "Just come from dinner?" I inquired with a smile. "Yea," he responded con brio. "We had Italian."

"I would have guessed Greek," I said, and slipped him a mint, brushing a bit of bread crumb off his beard (I thought it was feta cheese) and straightening his tie before sending him out to meet his public.

It's a good thing he was speaking from a distance that night. Can you imagine the fate of the poor bed-ridden hospital patient receiving a visit from their pastor with such breath? If we believe in a healing God, we should not be Angels of Death Breath.

Darlings, thou shalt not leave the house without thy Altoids.

Even better are my favorite dental picks that you can get in handy little boxes from the health food store. I always have a box in my car and in my purse. They get out the icky food particles that cause bad breath and are dipped in refreshing, antibacterial tea tree oil, what a bonus!

PeaceBang recommends:
>Tea Tree Oil Dental Picks by Desert Essence, $3.25 for 100 at

>Carrying a hanky at all times