Saturday, September 16, 2006

Land's End Tees

Bon giorno, my beauties,

Land's End ( seems to have a nice selection of very affordable supima cotton t-shirts that have a handsomely fitted neckline that won't cause inadvertent boobage, and they claim they're treated for color-fastness. At $19 a shot, sounds good to me.
I'll buy two in black (one snug, one a size up), one in navy, and one in white, I'm thinking. I'll wear those under blazers.

I'll probably purchase one or two v-necks also, for working out in.

In other exciting news, I am getting a make-over with LAURA MERCIER's OWN MAKE-UP ARTISTS ON NOV. 1ST! As ever, I do it for you. If they make me look like I just escaped from a bus-and-truck company of "Marat/Sade," I do it for you. If they send me out the door with heroin-chic cheeks and Lily Munster lips, I do it for you. As long as there's such a thing as facial cleanser and I can get home without anyone seeing me, I do it for you.

I wore peep-toe wedges to a funeral today, and I think they were appropriately sober with my robe. I wanted to look cute for the deceased, who was a fashion merchandising goddess and who I knew wouldn't want me to be traditional. Former Governor Michel Dukakis was there with Kitty. An elegant couple indeed.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Miss Matchy And One Bad Hairdo For Men

I saw an outfit today in a ministerial setting that made a nice attempt, I thought, at being attractive and professional but that undermined itself with one really unfortunate choice.

Outfit: Checked, short-sleeved, oversized boyish cotton blouse buttoned to the neck. Flirty, cute, fitted skirt with ruffle at the knee. Some kind of jet beads around the neck over the blouse. A pair of cute black flats.

The problem: The blouse. Bigger problem: The dressy beads at the neck over the blouse.

Even a nice, ironed, fitted t-shirt would have been an improvement. You just can't dress up a shapeless, cotton plaid shirt two sizes too big with a pair of beads. Sorry.

If your bottom half is dressy and flirty, the top half shouldn't be, for lack of a better word, farmeresque. The marriage between an oversized, plaid cotton shirt and a lovely skirt cannot be saved.

If the shirt is the only clean thing left in your closet, here's an idea: wear it as an overshirt over a fitted, sleeveless shell. Add some ethnic beads or a headwrap, wear a great pair of jeans and heeled boots, or get out your denim skirt. Add some glow to your face, and a nice neutral lipcolor.

If the skirt is the clean item, pair it with a cap-sleeved t-shirt and a slim, interesting belt, or a nice sweater set. Wear small hoops or bead earrings. Polish up the punim with a moisturizing lip color. A bit of blush. Make sure the flats aren't scuffed. Moisturize your legs if you're going without hose.

I cannot tell you how many colorless, washed out clergy I am seeing around these days, all of which makes me think, "DARLINGS, if we look this pallid and crusty in SEPTEMBER, we're going to be positively ATROCIOUS by Christmas!! And THEN the Baby Jesus will be AFRAID of us!"

Remember: You represent God's extravagant love for the world! Shine on!

P.S. Guys? A haircut that really, really doesn't work unless you're a totally hot Brazilian evangelical with a face like Antonio Banderas' is the whole slicked back thing. At best it looks really funeral directorish, and at worst I'm thinking maybe Dracula.

*Yiddish for face.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Few Tips Following a Cursory Glance at "Lucky"

I sacrifice for you, my dear readers! I DO. Because when I should have been reading a tome about the founding on the 17th century Puritan ministry, what was I doing but tearing through Lucky magazine looking for fashion tips for you? And eating vegetable pad thai?
As I say, no sacrifice too deep.

Lucky is getting more and more twee and insufferable in its fashion recommendations ("Look like a tart at your office! Wear tight skirts and henley t's that egregiously feature the bazoom! And 4" Mary Janes that will have all the hetero men at your meetings obsessing about your legs instead of focusing on your ideas! Set the women's movement back 100 years!"), but it's still a lot of fun and I guiltily enjoy it. Their notion of fashion is absolutely geared to very slim 20-somethings with an unlimited budget and unlimited closet space, but PeaceBang always finds a little something to take away.

This month it was these two things:

1. Don't wear pencil skirts with flats. Lucky's fashion editor and I agree. They make most women look dumpy and wrong, and they kill the line of the ankle. If you wear pencil skirts, wear a heel, preferably over an inch.

2. Prints are very hard to do well. The most chic women (men, I don't really think this applies as much to you) don't wear a lot of prints. If you wear prints, opt for a handsomely designed blouse rather than a patterned skirt, or better yet, limit the prints to accent pieces. PeaceBang has seen way too many clergywomen in overly-cute or haus frauish patterned skirts, and she recommends that you challenge yourself to stay with solids if your closet is bursting with patterns. If you must wear patterns (because they're gorgeous and they look wonderful on you, not because "it fit"), go easy on the accessories. One big bangle or a pair of simple, small hoops should do.
P.S. It's long past Labor Day so put the floral prints away. (It's a rhyme! You can memorize it!)

3. This is just for free from me and not Lucky magazine: if you are going to dress down for the office, dress chic casual, not frumpy casual. What I mean by that is that a denim jacket and spotless, fitted t-shirt with a pair of decent cotton pants is a lot better than either a nightmarishly sloppy pair of wrinkled shorts and a polo t or something huge, frumpy and muu-muu-esque. In other words, even when dressing down because you're in a rush or you don't have any particularly important meetings that day, keep your garments structured and coordinated. You can do it, and you can do it cheaply. And it's all the more reason to keep up with good haircuts, general grooming and nails. We live in a very casual world, but you must still look groomed and not messy.

I won't be watching "Project Runway" with SisterBang tonight (via the phone) because my television she is broken. I am trying not to be overly bereft, but I will be if Laura gets auf'd and Kaine doesn't.


I Hate Crocs

It's not just an opinion any more, it's a movement!!

So I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Monday with my bud T. and of course I dragged him into every shoe store in sight, which he goodnaturedly tolerated (as long as we got to buy some toys at the toy store). So there we are and I'm actually contemplating the CROCS, thinking that maybe they'd be good for gardening and for cooking (when I make a huge feast, I need good supportive shoes). Just as I'm about to say, "I can't do it! These are just too hideous for me to wear under ANY circumstances," I spot an old friend TRYING ON THE CROCS.

She's an adorable, petite women in the physical therapy field, very classic preppy, and you know, she can get away with it. But only she can. Another person who can get away with it is a very cute 5 or 6-year old girl I saw walking down the street this summer carrying a little dolly and wearing pink Crocs. She can wear them, too.

The rest of us, no.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Did He Just Have A Facial, Do You Think?

Jesus is looking really good here, and I even think that center part is working for him:

His skin is glowing, his brows and hair are perfectly groomed (and no frizzies at all, which is really hard to manage in the Galilean climate), and I'm not sure but I think he's been using whitening strips on his teeth.

I hope this isn't sacreligious, but do you think He waxed his chest?

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Just Plain Cute

I was googling some images when I ran across this image of this lovely pastor from Pennsylvania:

Langhorne Pastor

It's so simple. He has a beautiful smile, warm eyes, beautiful skin, a really nice, ordinary-guy shirt that looks like he ironed it. He has a really nice haircut, it's not aging him even though it's almost white, and he just looks really nicely groomed and very welcoming. No errant eyebrows or anything.

I hope I haven't embarrassed the lovely Rev. Winter from Langhorne, PA, but I just want to say that without needing a suit jacket or tie or anything cutting edge in terms of fashion, he's just handsome and pastoral as can be. I kind of have a crush on him, in fact.


Autumn Checklist

Lovely and esteemed pigeons, it's back-to-school time. Many of us have had a light summer schedule, and some of us haven't, but all of us have the opportunity to make a fresh start with the new season.

A few tips to put your most beautiful autumn pastoral foot forward:

1. Launder all your winter hats and scarves in Woolite now and set them out to dry in the sun. When they're dry, place them neatly in a sachet-scented drawer or box so you won't have to scramble for them when it starts getting cold. Find your gloves and clean and press as necessary, and take your winter coat to the dry cleaner. Find a fabulous big pin to wear with it, and then put it away for what I hope is a long time. Won't it be nice NOT to scramble on that first really cold morning? In the same vein, buy a new umbrella. Buy a few. Keep one in the car, one at church, and one at home. Totes makes excellent and reliable retractable ones for a reasonable price.

2. Shine your shoes and get them re-soled or re-heeled as necessary. A professional clean and shine costs about $5.00. Put away all your white shoes. Yes, all of them. You shouldn't be wearing white sneakers to work, anyway, and no one gets a pass on that. NO white shoes unless you're a nurse.

3. Mend the garments that need mending now instead of the morning you'll want to wear them: buttons on shirts, sagging hems, burst seams. Throw out stained garments. Don't think no one will notice the stains. Replace white and black t-shirts as needed; they lose their shape and color after a couple of seasons anyway, and should always look fresh even if you're wearing them (as you should be) underneath other clothes.

3. Check your key wardrobe staples for sizing and fit. Put things on, button them, and watch yourself walk from behind. If necessary, purchase appropriate undergarments to control jiggle or to reign in errant yantitas.* Note gaps in the fronts of blouses and suit jackets that don't close. You should be able to button your jackets and blazers even if you choose not to.
Gentlemen, no pulling your pants down under your paunch so that they look like they're falling off your tushie. They should FIT. Buy the correct size and for heaven's sake, don't fear the tailor! He is your friend! Likewise, if you have lost a considerable amount of weight, don't make the Ladies League fear that your pants or skirt will fall down any minute and reveal you in your skivvies. Get them taken in.

Guys and gals, if you have any doubt as to whether or not a garment is too small and snug, sit down in it and look at yourself in the mirror. Are you a festival of yantitas? Does the garment strain and threaten to burst? Do your thighs look like they're trying to escape from a garbardine prison? If so, my dears, I'm afraid you'll have to go a size up. Not three sizes too big; one or two sizes up to whatever fits you well and nicely. Remember, no matter what your size, your clothes should fit -- not obscure-- you.

4. Give yourself a nice facial or have it done professionally to slough off that sun-deadened summer skin. If you've been fake tanning, you can stop now.
A dusting of bronzer and a nice blush can help you fake the glow awhile longer.

5. Re-assess your make-up and clothing colors. Now is not the time for shimmery pink lipsticks and lime green headbands. Move into deeper tones, consider the change in the light based on where you live on the planet, and take advantage of the beautiful, rich colors that are in fashion for the fall. Get your hair colored a shade richer than you do in the summer, and consider low-lighting sun-bleached hair. Have it trimmed, at least, and/or or deep condition it with a product like Garnier Fructis Deep Conditioning Masque (about $4.00 available at any drugstore).

6. Gals, stock up now on pantyhose and opaque tights. You'll be glad you did. You need nude, off-black sheer, and opaque black tights. If you're young and have great legs, subtly textured tights are VERY big, but make sure you wear them with a skirt of modest length. Fellas, it's you who's supposed to be holy, not your socks. Toss the tattered ones and get some new ones already! P.S. Don't let PeaceBang catch you wearing blue socks with black shoes, or vicey versy.

7. Go through the medicine cabinet and toss expired medications. When you catch a cold in December you're not going to want to take that Sudafed from 2002.
Similarly, spend some time making self-care goals: how and when will you make time for you? Schedule a check-up and a tooth cleaning now for January. Better yet, schedule a vacation for some time in the winter, and commit to going on it. If money is an issue, consider a house swap with a friend. The aim is peace and quiet and renewal, and that can happen anywhere the phone's ringing and it's not for you!

8. If you haven't replaced your mascara or cleaned your cosmetic brushes since the spring, it's time to do it. Everyone, get yourself a new toothbrush too, while you're at it.

9. Have one perfect suit pressed and ready to go for funerals and weddings. Take it out of the dry cleaner's plastic, as it needs to breathe. Keep it hanging somewhere that it doesn't get crushed; preferably in a generally unused closet.

10. Shine your jewelry. Gentlemen, you too. Clean up and replace watch batteries and cufflinks, and keep them wear you'll be able to find them in a mad rush.

Extra Bonus Tip:
Install a full length mirror in your church office. Make sure you have a hairbrush, a lipstick or gloss, an extra pair of pantyhose (nude), Shouts stain remover or stick, Kleenex, anti-static spray, dental floss, breath mints, hand sanitizer and moisturizer in a drawer. In addition to keeping your hands smooth, moisturizer can tame frizzies (rub a tiny bit on your hands and run through your hair).

And now let us say AMEN to the Great Pumpkin.

* yantitas = rolls of fat, Mexican slang

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Aloe Vera As Deoderant

Hello Possums!

Remember the writer who wrote in with body odor issues?

I just discovered the strangest thing:
Aloe vera gel works as an anti-perspirant and deoderant for me.

Here's how I know.
I was getting very itchy armpits because of, I assume, a combination of shaving and using harsh chemical deody-o. A few days ago I wasn't going anywhere more strenuous than to the grocery store, so I showered and applied aloe vera gel to my armpits.

I noticed that evening that I was fresh as a derned daisy.

I tried it again the next day when I had more running around to do and again, no odor, no wetness. How strange!

Sunday was the big test: Homecoming Sunday, our big service of ingathering after a summer of intimate, lay led services. I again used nothing but aloe vera, and a liberal dose of powder all over my legs and torso to keep from dying under my preaching robe.

Once again, and I swear my sense of smell is quite acute, the aloe vera gel worked wonders! I got home after a huge morning and afternoon at church and was absolutely fine in the underarm department.

Could this be the end of my relationship with Mitchum?