Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Summer Uglies

PeaceBang sighs and mopes this time of year, as she loves the summer but frankly looks like hell in typical summer clothes. And the heat and humidity wreaks God's own vengeance on her hair and make-up.

Professionally she sticks pretty much to white blouses, cool cotton skirts (sometimes showing some gams, sometimes not) and cute pumps or sandals. When off-duty, she sticks to jeans, t-shirts and cotton scarves in her hair (or fun caps). But what about those in-between occasions, when a girl wants to look polished but not ministerial, and not like her most casual running-errands-flopping-around-the-house self?

What about, for example, going on a DATE?

What about going on a DATE in the SUMMER when you HATE your upper arms and they should never been seen in public and you don't want to over-do the cleavage because that's just OBVIOUS and it's too casual an occasion to wear a cute skirt to, and you'd just about KILL to be able to wear a sexy camisole but you just can't because there are those ARMS to deal with? And what about the HAIR? How to manage the HAIR? Meanwhile your date looks perfectly adorable in just Levi 501's and a t-shirt while you can't find a THING in your closet and it's also too hot to wear your reliable constricting undergarments and my God, what if it should get to PAJAMAS or even, my Lord, less than that, like SWIMMING SUITS? And you can't very well wear a PAREO INTO the POOL, can you, and they don't make swimsuits with LONG SLEEVES. So you know you'll just have to keep having dates in clubs or restaurants with air-conditioning and pray he likes you well enough to make it through the season into fall, when really, you're just much cuter.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to PeaceBang's First Official Summer Meltdown.

Please, I beg you to comment. I might have a date soon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

No Mercy For Zubaz

I'm a little bit torn on the floral patterned pants thing. But only a little bit. Mostly I hate them and all their drawstring-waisted sisters and brothers.

I suppose some floral pants can be lightweight and flowy, and can pass muster IF they're a neutral shade (black and tan, e.g.) and you wear them with something lovely and perhaps linen on top, like a sleeveless sweater with classy gold hoops and nice black mule sandals. Also a nice bag.

However, if they're not in the neutral color family, nix 'em. Do you really want to go around looking suspiciously like you're wearing your husband's Zubaz from 1992? Remember Zubaz? They should have all been taken out and shot.

Also, does anyone's tushie look at it's best in big floppy floral pants?

For the love of God, ladies and gentlemen, let's keep our trousers in solids. Little summery stripes or pinstripes are all in good fun (and often in good fashion), but big splashy florals are just too Muffy At The CountryClub or Really Fat Americans Huffing Through DisneyWorld Eating Tast-T-Pops for us to maintain our dignity in.

If you disagree, send photo proof and I'll happily retract my harsh condemnation. But not 'til then.

P.S. You can stop thinking of cargo pants as "casual wear" right now. They are appropriate for gardening only.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Did you all see what Sarah said ?

Scroll down for the last comment:

Tell it, girl.

Fashion At Fifty

Aside from some Boomer whining about how "our generation" did this and that for the first time, bla bla bla, this is a peachy little article:

I agree with the dame who says, "I don't care how fit these women are; their clothes don't match their faces."

I happen to think that being a stylish fifty is ALL about confidence, achievement, life experience, a sly sexy knowing, humor, laugh lines (and some frown lines, too), and a classic look with hair that's a bit out of control.

My cousin Roni is rather my idol of being a cool 50 year old beauty: she's gorgeous and still maintains a bit of the old hippie vibe in her wild long hair, but her attire is classic classic classic rock-and-roll. Like gorgeously fitted jeans, fabulous boots and a great Italian leather jacket with a fitted t-shirt and one stunning gold chain. She has huge rings from places like Turkey, and she doesn't walk, she strides. She speaks in an insolent drawl and has a dirty laugh.
I adore her look. Effortless chic.

I think fifty is about putting away the "fun" prints that make us look lamely youthful and keeping major wardrobe pieces classic and streamlined, with a lot of personality in the accessories. A great black suit with leopard print pumps. A cashmere sweater over perfectly fitted, boot-cut dark denim jeans with an enormous bangle or two, or three. A crisp white blouse under a navy blazer with flattering slash cut pockets and thousands of pearls around your neck and movie star sunglasses. Let the girls look like pieces of candy. You look like a woman. Show 'em how it's done.

When I was in Italy ten years ago I bought some smashing black jet buttons and had my tailor put them on a black blazer. I'll have that blazer forever. It's a smashing, flattering, classic cut and everytime I wear it (when I'm not too chubby to fit into it -- something that happens every few years) I feel like the fifty year old woman I'm going to be someday: independent, accomplished, generous of size and of spirit, creative, courageous, naughty with just a tiny touch of glamour wherever possible.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Dreaded 1980's Groovy Vest

Since we're talking about ethnic garb, I need to share with you all that SisterBang won't step foot in a church if she thinks she's going to be confronted with this look:


I couldn't agree with her more.

On the other hand, I think this is fabulous:

ethnic garb

On him! On him! Not on you! Unless you're in retirement and don't care how eccentric you look.


I got this from Boy In The Bands:

We absolutely have to bring these back.
As the granddaughter of a famous-in-her-day milliner, I feel a familial obligation to bring back hats.

Shoe Recommendations, Again

I seem to be pimping Easy Spirit shoes today, so here, for the woman who wants a summer shoe to wear for weddings:

Stay away from anything too loafer-like and with buckles. Most of these are cut well and look fine and sturdy (I like the Await style) and I bet they're comfy. I'm not mad about the shiny leather of the pumps but hey, at least they're leather and your feet won't sweat.

These are called Finales by Easy Spirit and they're a bit pricey at $75, but you'd have them for millions of years and they're frumpy in a good way, like you're trying intentionally not to upstage the bride:


I rather loathe Mary Janes -- just because they're so often the choice for clergy without a smidgen of glamorous imagination, and they only look cute if you get the real chunky heeled ones and wear them with a flippy skirt and great sweater and textured hose and a great big dose of irony -- but these are acceptably classic for a Mary Jane-type shoe.

Ready-To-Wear Cultural Assimilation

Sarah wrote this in the comments section of the last post:

"PB, Here's a question I've been stewing over since reading this (and other recent) posts re: muumuus, caftans, Hawaiian Shirts, etc. I think a muumuu or Hawaiian shirt is great if you're Hawaiian. Otherwise it has an inauthentic tinge to it. Clothes associated with a culture other than one's own have the potential to look very out-of-place on one's body. For me, this begs the question: What is "good etiquette" regarding wearing clothes associated with cultures and ethnicities other than one's own? Like a white non-Latina non-Spanish speaking minister who wears a Guatemalan woven dress (and hasn't been to Guatemala), or a non-Indian wearing a salwar khamise to a professional meeting. I think some issues that need to be taken into account are one's relationship to a culture and the context in which the clothing item was received/acquired. Also, to be frank, whether the wearer is "posing"--trying to appropriate some of the "vibe" or stereotypes about a culture into their own vibe.Personally, I've sometimes felt like a poser when I've worn clothes associated with ethnicities other than my own (I can legitimately claim Jewish, Scottish, and English ethnic clothes. Yay for grandmotherly head scarves, riding pants, and tartans!) What do you and others think and feel about this issue?"

Dear Sarah,

PB just today bought an adorable scarf at an outlet store. As she tried it out in her hair, the lady at the cash register said, "Some people can pull that look off, but most people can't. You can." Quoth I, "Well, I come from a long line of babushka-wearing women from Eastern Europe so I come by it naturally."

PeaceBang, you see, feels ethnic enough on her own without having to borrow other people's ethnicities to give her some mojo.

I think you put it perfectly. Sometimes wearing clothing from another culture can be a compliment, a tribute, an expression of affinity (like when you just plain LOVE that dashiki and it feels it belongs on you). A lot of the time, however, people don ethnic garb with a smug preciousness as if to say, "Look at how down with the people I am in my little Guatamalan hat."
When they do that, I want to pinch them. I think you're right, Sarah. There's a lot of "vibe appropriation" going on out there, and as much as I don't want to live in a world of Eddie Bauer and Dockers, I also don't want to go to another gathering of liberals and be treated to the self-satisfied mug of the old white guy in the kimono, if you know what I'm saying.

Dudes and dudesses, if you scored that Indian shirt while on tour with the Maharishi, okay. Props to you (mostly because you can still fit into it). But if you have no personal, experiential connection to the garb, or an ethical relationship to the people who would customarily wear that garb, please.
Give it a rest.