Saturday, November 11, 2006

If You Must: Holiday-Themed Garments and Footwear

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

If you simply must do Christmas themed footwear, let it be something wild and whimsical (and painful enough to break you of the habit) like this:
JUST KIDDING, little elves!

And not these. I get a cavity just looking at them:

holiday horror

As we approach Advent, please consider what kind of statement you are making with overly cutesie-poo reindeer, sweater and Santa Claus sweaters, sweatshirts and earrings. Every time you wear those big candy cane earrings, you're unconsciously visually allying yourself not with the spirit of Christ, but with the mall. Consider: do you really need to contribute to the visual cacophany that is the holiday season? Is it festive or is it garish?

Try this instead: Add a bit of sparkle. Wear a bright, beautiful tie. Shine your shoes and wear red socks. Wear winter white and beautiful boots. There's no need to dress like a nursery school teacher this season. That's not who you are.


The Return Of the Unstructured Jacket

I know, you and I saw this on Eva Longoria and we were like, "Wow, if that style of jacket is coming back, I can totally plan my holiday outfits around them! And I can even maybe wear this as a vestment!"

Frumpy Housewives

Not so fast, my little candy corns. Let's think about this some more.

This jacket, while pretty fabulous, is extremely 1980's. Eva Longoria can sort of get away with it. On you and I, especially if you're of the plump brand of clergypigeon, it could just look shapeless and overly ornate, like a meatball dressed in Christmas wrapping. Some caution is required.

If you want to wear this look and you don't want to look like you just stepped out of 1983, pair it with a beautiful, dressy trouser and a high heeled shoe, preferably pointy-toed. That's the only salvation for the large, unstructured jacket. It should not be as long as Eva's unless you have a body like hers and are wearing a simple, very fitted, DRESSY outfit underneath. If it's an indoor garment and not being used as outwear, it should hit you at the hip, no lower.

And just as an aside, if that hair updo makes the likes of Eva Longoria look like Ethel Mertz, it surely can't be your best choice. Neither can the dull, old-school red lipstick. A smoky, bronzey eye and plummy gloss would be far more elegant and appropriate.

The fastest way to kill the elegance of an unstructured jacket is to wear it with Cobbie Cuddlers and with a stained t-shirt underneath. My point is: when an old fashion comes back into fashion and you want to wear it, you have to update and put some thought into the other elements. The return of the unstructured jacket, for example, does not give you permission to wear those huge, floppy cotton pants that I know you've had since that Wombyn Spirit Retreat in 1982.

And finally, remember that while the Unstructured Jacket does cover a lot of you, every time you move we can see what's underneath. What you see standing stock still in the mirror is not what we see. So --no stains, no extreme cleavage, no sloppy mcslopville cotton garments and no leaving off key undergarments.

[Thanks to the GoFugYourself girls for yet another example of celebrities setting bad fashion examples]


He's a Lumberjack and It's Not Okay

Fellas, a word to the wise: if even extremely hot celebrity Heath Ledger can look like H-E-Double Matchsticks in this flannel monstrosity, you shouldn't try it at home.

He's a Lumberjack and It's Not Okay
Also note the bad, greasy hair. Not that I don't sympathize, having been photographed with seriously flat, greasy hair recently myself.

Still, avoid the flannel plaid. That goes for you too, ladies. Need I even SAY it?

(Thanks to GoFugYourself for the photo!

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 09, 2006

PeaceBang Smells The Magazines

Thumbs up: Lucky Number 6 by Lucky Jeans. Sweet and floral. Spritz lightly and wait a few minutes for best effect. [Editorial update an hour later: I would now give this a thumbs sideways. - PB]

Thumbs down: Lacoste Inspiration. Smells like every department store you've ever walked into.
Stella by Stella McCartney. BO-ring.

Thumbs sideways: Irresistible by Givency. Intriguing, deep and fruity-musky. Not so good on me. You'll have to try it.

[This highly scientific survey was taken by my rubbing the perfume strips in Lucky magazine all over myself. You'll get truer results smelling the actual product in the store. - P.B., almost done with her sermon]


Too Much Skirt

Too Much Skirt
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
See what I mean about being swallowed alive by the Big Cloth Monster?

Trisha Yearwood has a great hourglass figure. But even the excellent fit of the skirt can't save it from overwhelming her and making her seem like one long swath of gray.

She should have had it hit knee length and added a great pair of sparkly strappy sandals. And left the turtleneck on the rack. As it is now, it's like Pretty Face, Black Swath of Fabric, Gray Swath of Fabric.

Not a good look

(Thanks to for the photo!)


Glossed Over: Best New Blog

Darling pets (in the sense of dear and intimate compadres, not animal companions)!

I just threw my latest issue of Lucky magazine ("The Magazine About Shopping!") across the room in a fit of pique. The fashions are cute enough, although occasionally overly-inventive in that style we used to refer to in the 8th grade as "Try-Hard" -- and bordering on obscenely overpriced. Howevah, that's not the problem.

The problem with Lucky magazine isn't the fashion and the shopping tips. It's in the editorial tone, which insists on bouncing around like a not-too-bright 11 year-old on a sugar binge. There's nary a coherent, intelligent sentence to be found: everything is positively gushing. "Too cute!" "Vintagey appeal!" "Suit-y shapes," "makes skin impossibly soft," "you wake up with incredibly satiny, slept-for-ten-hours skin," "adorable, in a back-to-school sort of way," "brilliantly transporting" (this about a CANDLE?) Oh, for the love of our Savior, child. Just tell me about the bloody product and back away from the candy.

This editor never met a hyperbole she didn't like, and she has an obvious fetish for the letter "y," which she likes to stick at the end of every adjective, and a fair amount of nouns, too.

While PeaceBang loves nothing more than to wile away an hour after a hard day with a brainless fashion mag, she doesn't want to have her intelligence actively assaulted with every page. Hey editor gal,whoever you are, "vintagey" for this reader equals "vapidy." Knock it off, or let your beauty editor Jean Godfrey-June write more copy, as she seems to be able to communicate enthusiasm for products without sounding like a twit.

So thanks to Glossed Over, I know I'm not the only one feeling the pain.
Check it out at
(Scroll down a post or two)


Trish McEvoy Make-Over: PeaceBang Gets Dolled Up

Powder pigeons, I almost forgot to tell you about my

FABULOUS MAKE-OVER WITH TRISH McEVOY last week! Last Wednesday, I took my blotchy, haggard unmade-up self over to Beauty and Main

where a huge girl party was in progress. There were 28 make-up artists in attendance and none other than Trish McEvoy herself, hugging, praising, gushing and pimping products like there's no tomorrow.

PeaceBang, while inwardly laughing at this spectacle of materialism, false promises and vanity, of course LOVED it all.

When you have a make-over, pigeons, you must be prepared for a hard sell. You must be prepared for an onslaught of faux love and admiration for your beautiful skin, your gorgeous eyes, your perfect mouth, or whatever other feature your make-over artist chooses to flatter you about in the attempt to get you to purchase products to enhance that reportedly perfect feature. Yes, I know there's irony in this: if my skin is so perfect, why do I need Trish McEvoy's perfecting make-up at all? But this is the way it goes, my sweet and earnest people, so do just let go and enjoy the ride. The make-up artists aren't totally shining you on: like PeaceBang, they see your potential loveliness and they want to help you achieve it.

When Trish McEvoy comes over HERSELF to greet you and say, "Isn't this FUN?" from behind tired eyes, hug her right back and remember that she is a super-duper cosmetics mogul and that she has every right to be a bit pinched around the edges. Give her chocolate, because she's one of those super-thin chic New York women who appears to have been dieting since the 8th grade. She is one snappy little item, kids.
trish mcevoyPeaceBang wishes she could say more enthuastic things about Trish's products, which are very high quality but just not my favorite line for entirely personal reasons having to do with my penchant for more snazz. I think Trish's line is elegant and understated. PeaceBang is neither of those things.

PeaceBang came away from her make-over with a case of the appreciative little secret giggles, the heady aroma of top-notch cosmetics in her nostrils, and some severely over-priced base foundation, a gorgeous new make-up brush, and some Beta Hydroxy pads that look exactly like the old Stridex pads we used to use in 1982 for our teenaged zits. Except maybe 12 times the price. Now this is important: alpha hydroxies (and apparently beta hydroxies, too, although PeaceBang smells a gimmick here, since she's never heard of BETA hydroxies) are an excellent NON-ABRASIVE exfoliant. You should be using a non-abrasive exfoliant on a regular basis if you're over 30, and find a good one.
I am seeing some improvement already, and they don't cause my easily inflamed skin to get red. I am using them twice a week rather than the daily application recommended on the packaging.

As for the make-up application, PeaceBang understands that she's an unusual client in that she's pretty much an expert with make-up herself, and she's just not going to be much impressed with the soft, understated look that most suburban housewives hanker after. She wants bold, fun, dramatic, etc. I did learn a nice technique for applying smoky eyeshadow to the crease of the lid (dab a round brush into the shadow, position it in the crease and make like a windshield wiper with your little wrist, smudging the shadow down into the outer edge of the eyelid) but other than that, the look was fine, not great. HOWEVER, and this is a big HOWEVER, that understated look may be just what some of you cosmetophobes out there are looking for, so perhaps a Trish McEvoy make-over would be just perfect for you.

Go have a make-over! Know how much you can spend, ask lots of questions, and enjoy the attention!!

PeaceBang Recommends:

Stay away from this over-priced product, Skin Perfecting Foundation:
http:// It's messy, it really needs to be applied with a brush, and it's not miraculous.

Do get a Skin Shine compact. Trish makes several shades,and I ADORE mine. $32 and it will last at least a year. Stay away from the matte bronzer, which just made my skin look dirty.

The Beta Hydroxy pads may be the only answer for gals like me who have found that every other decent exfoliant irritates their sensitive skin. I'm excited about the prospects.


Right Proportions

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
This dishy lady attended the REVIVAL conference in NYC and I just had to photograph her. She's a lay woman from England who definitely knows how to put together an outfit *even though she's living out of a suitcase.*

Look how things fit her. Granted, she has a terrific figure, but that's just icing on the cake. The fitted shell, the jacket that falls perfectly at wrist and hip, the skirt that hugs her curves and then falls right below the knee to show terrific boots. We can see a bit of flesh on her upper half, so she isn't entirely shrouded in fabric.

Study, learn, ruminate. If you were wondering how to wear knee-high boots, ladies, this is how: not clomping around under yards and yards of fabric that hits you at the ankle and makes you look as though you're being swallowed by the Big Cloth Monster.

One thing I just love is that she's actually touching her hair in that universal gesture of "how do I look?"


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a Dame!!

nancy pelosi
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
Ladies and gents,
I give you the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, in her red power suit. Congratulations, Madame Speaker!

I don't know when this photo was taken, but this is one terrific broad who knows how to dress to project an image of beauty, power, competency and elegance.
May she rock on mightily, and with God's blessing.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Speak To Us Of Boots

Berrysmom writes that she breaks out into a cold sweat at the mere thought of shopping for boots.

PeaceBang can hardly blame her. There are 123 pages of boot choices on alone, and a plethora at every department store in America.

Boots, boots, boots! What's a well-dressed cleric to do? PeaceBang herself loves boots and has many pairs, but her favorites continue to be bronze cowboyish ones from Franco Sarto, which she dearly adores and wears everywhere.

A few guidelines:

1. Boots should be leather. Fake materials will just make your feet and calves sweat profusely. This is not to say that PeaceBang doesn't love her faux snakeskin pull-on boots with the 3" heel. She just doesn't recommend them for someone who is boot phobic and buying her first pair.
2. Boots should be classic in style. Avoid anything that makes your lower half look like Sasquatch, and do not fall prey to those squishy camel-colored items with faux shearling trim that resemble bedroom slippers. Stay with structure and a nice line with beautiful, classic detailing. The heel height is up to you. Totally flat boots with long skirts can really make a girl look stumpy, though, I'm warning you.
3. Boots should be weather-wise. Why in the name of the good Lord would I want to go out in a stilletto-heeled boot? What am I going to do if it snows? Get on my butt and slide around?
4. Boots should fit. They should not be so snug around the calf as to cause little puppies of excess flesh to ooze out the top of the boot.
5. Boots should be black or some shade of brown or red or bronze, or some other sane color. They should not be pink leopard skin or flowered or red, white and blue striped.
6. Boots are an investment. They are worth spending $150-$200 for.
7. We should not wear L.L. Been sports boots in the pulpit. Keep a nice pair of shoes in the office if you have to slog to church in bad weather.


Rev. Gets Revved-Up By Revver-Upper

Do you remember when I last went to Sephora and, like a bonehead, tried on obviously filthy, germ-infested mascara with a clean applicator and wound up with an enormous eye infection?

Well, if you thought *that* was funny (and admit it, you did), hear ye, hear ye:

We had a little break from our conference programming on Saturday afternoon, so BITB* and I went to Sephora to seek out a glorious skin product called Vanilla Shea Souffle by Carol's Daughter:

They didn't have it. Disconsolate, I went to spritz my face with a little spray bottle called "Skin Rev-er Upper" from the Bare Escentuals display. It was a dry, cold day and my complexion needed a lift.

Trouble is, the product I aimed at my face wasn't a gentle spray at all, but a goopy serum. It shot right past the side of my face and hit the wall behind me, dripping down the wall in an obscene mess. The remnants in my hair were reminiscent of that infamous scene from "Something About Mary."

BITB and I went into paroxysms of laughter and were utterly unable to move for minutes, so doubled over were we by the whole ridiculous event. I wish I could tell you something about this product, but all I can say is that it smells unpleasant and it looks very unattractive dripping down the wall.

Honest to God, do I get combat pay for this??

*= Boy In The Bands">

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Professor Gary Dorrien: Academic and Fashion Exemplar

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
Darling and devoted readers, I am back from the Big, Bad Apple. What an inspiration it was! Fashionable people everywhere walking little dogs in plaid sweaters! Autumn splendor and marathon runners sporting spandex! A little trip to Heaven by Amtrak.

Although I was in Manhattan for a most serious religious conference, I did manage to get a little bit of shopping done, including at Sephora and at Boyd's Pharmacy on the Upper West Side. I came away with just armloads of samples, and I've been slathering my face and body with all manner of concoctions just for YOUR edification! Because as you know, PeaceBang will gladly risk eye infections, skin rashes and anything short of permanent scarring to bring the best beauty recommendations to you, my lovelies.

But before we get to product recommendations, let's talk for a moment about the absolutely lovely human being featured in the blurry, dark photo up there. It is none other than the brilliant and prolific Gary Dorrien, preeminent theological historian of our time, whose work you must know if you're at all interested in American liberal theology.

Dr. Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and I actually met him this past May in his apartment at my friend Rachel's Ph.D. champagne toast, but I was too shy and intimidated to introduce myself then. Yes, imagine that! PeaceBang shy!
I'm sure you can understand my reticence when you study that photo and realize that not only is Professor Gary Dorrien a hugely important intellectual presence in the study of religion (you've at least read The Remaking of Evangelical Theology, right? Or a few of his articles in the Christian Century, which is where I first became enamored of his work? Not to mention his astounding three volume series on American liberal theology, the third volume of which you can order for Christmas!), he is a dreamboat.

Please let me assure you that I did get permission from Dr. Dorrien to post his photo here, and I am trying to be very respectful in my gushing about his intellectual prowess and handsomeness. Since you're undoubtedly already familiar with his academic contributions, I'd like to review a few details of his appearance, which is just flawless and which you should definitely consider emulating, fellas.

1. First of all, and it has to be said: Gary Dorrien has fantastic hair. You probably can't see the details in the terrible photo, but he has beautiful chestnut brown hair cut beautifully to enhance its natural curliness-- and I hope this isn't too irreverent -- he's wearing some kind of hair product that makes it shiny and defines the curls. Boys, take note. This should convert, for once and for all, any hold-outs to the scraggly look. I'm not saying you have to get a perm, I'm just saying that a little pomade and a decent cut won't kill you. Investigate.

2. Secondly, this man is blessed with perfect, glowing skin. Which I know I shouldn't have noticed, rapt as I was over his wonderful lecture, but how could I not? Which simply begs the question, "Dr. Dorrien, what's your secret?" Union seminarians, could you work this question into your next session with the good professor? I'm not sure how one would accomplish this, but perhaps working in a reference to Clinique in a discussion on the crisis in the liberal church would provoke a response about skin care in academia. I don't know, but I have faith that you can figure it out.

3. Little spectacles, pristine, clean and clear, not smudgy and hanging off one ear. De rigeur for academic royalty, and they're perfect on him.

3. What a beautiful outfit. Note the whimsical pink tie, the interesting shirt, the dark jacket pulling it all together. Impeccable, comfortable, communicates respect for himself, respect for his work, respect for his image, respect for the people he's come to address. This man exudes respect and respectability. He is a gentleman and a scholar, and I don't care how cliched that is.

And I don't even care if you've figured out that I have an enormous crush on him.
If I was Gary Dorrien and had people asking me very serious questions about liberal theology and empire and ethics all the time, I think it would be nice to know that someone was appreciating me not only for my scholarly genius, but for my gracious spirit and extreme handsomeness.

I wish him every happiness.

Labels: ,