Saturday, February 03, 2007

You LIKE Me! You Really LIKE Me!

My darling and devoted powder pigeons!! Pardon me while I wipe tears from my face and compose myself!

What joy to have won three awards from the recent UU Blog Awards!
Your humble and holy beauty correspondent has won,

Best Writing
Best New Blog
Best Anecdote or Narrative, Best of Class (can someone explain that to me?)

from you! You! Aren't you just TOO DEAR?

Now honestly, while PeaceBang might have dared hope to be acknowledged as Best New Blog, she hardly knows what to say about Best Writing. How did this happen? What does this mean? Is this evidence of a quiet rebellion among American clergypeople? I hear the cry of my people: "Enough theology, we want LIP GLOSS!"

Well, my loyalists, PeaceBang HEARS you. She will keep the frivolity and the lip gloss ALIVE on this blog. Others may delve into the deep waters of religious meaning, but PeaceBang will keep this space alive for product reviews, dishy exposes of What Not To Wear in the pulpit, and passionate ruminations about looking our very best while toiling in the vineyards of the Lord.

Bless your hearts.

I'd like to thank my sister Karen for saying to me last April, "You really need to start another blog just for all the beauty commentary." She is the spiritual midwife to the madness that is Beauty Tips for Ministers, and we blow her kisses today.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Colored Tights and Hose

colored tights
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

Gentlemen, unless you're appearing in a Shakespearian production, you can sit this one out.

Ladies, Juniper asked in the comments a few days ago what PeaceBang thinks of colored stockings, tights, hose, etc., and what color hose I would wear with my new palm green Born shoes (scroll down for photo). First things first: I would not wear any colored hose with those Born shoes. I would not wear hose at all unless absolutely necessary, and if so, then a nude shade. If wearing the shoe with pants, I might wear a cute sock, like the cable knit tan ones I had on the other day. That shoe is too casual to be paired with a dressy skirt. It will look much better with sporty professional wear.

It's true that the fashion magazines are showing all kinds of colored hose this season, but we should wisely note that the gals wearing them are, shall we say, a little more junior in years than is PeaceBang (and most readers of this blog). Which is to say, cookies, we're mostly too damned old for colored hose.

As they used to say on "Hill Street Blues" (there! PeaceBang is showing her age again!), "Let's be careful out there." Colorful legs are the prerogative of the young and kicky. And clergy of any age, while young, should not be striving for a "kicky" look. Navy hose with a charcoal gray knee length skir and navy blazer, great. As long as the skirt is of a fine cut and fabric, and doesn't look cheap and schoolgirlish.

Opaque brown hose with a creamy ivory dress and brown blazer, loads of fun chains and a pair of fabulous knee-high boots, fab.

A peek of neutral fishnets worn with a pair of pointy-toed pumps, paired with a pair of flared trousers, classic jacket and for spring. Slightly naughty, but very "in." Fishnets of any other kind, anywhere else, visible for more than an inch of ankle...NO. Never in public.

Red legs? Gods, no! Pink, fuschia, stark white? No. This isn't 1967, and you're not Rita Tushingham in "Smashing Time."
As a general rule, use colored and patterned hose only if you have great gams, only if you're pairing them with a substantial shoe (don't ever wear a heavy hose stuffed into a delicate pump; it looks awful), and use them as an accent, not as a focal point for your outfit.

Keep fishnets in the bedroom, and gentlemen, that goes double for you.


Matronly/Patronly Is Not Frumpy

I chatted with an elder female pastor about this blog recently and she bemoaned her lack of fashionability-ness. "I'm in a frumpy rut," quoth she, earning sincere protestations from my lips.

Say you've been in ministry for 25 years. You have a sedate hairdo that you haven't changed in a decade -- perhaps it even gently suggests the dreaded helmet-head. Your clothing is staid, your shoes well-polished and just this side of orthopedic. You have a string of pearls that adorn your neck most days. Are you in a rut? Quite possibly. But are you necessarily frumpy? NO!
You may well be matronly. And while matronly may not be very exciting, it can be perfectly respectable, and even quite handsome.

Frumpy and matronly are not the same thing.

Frumpiness comes from being blithely sloppy, wearing ill-fitted clothing, caring not one whit about cut and quality of garments, drowning in fabric or spilling out over straining seams.

Frumpy is about defensively insisting that despite the entire world's devotion to beauty, you are exempt by some inner virtue of the spirit that magically renders your exterior appearance unimportant. Frumpy is about holding onto some eccentric personal opinion about "what looks good on me" despite all your friends' advice to the contrary. It is about schlumping around in what is most comfortable, as though comfort is a higher virtue than beauty and elegance (it isn't) -- and steadfastly refusing to conform to even the most basic dictates of fashion because you believe you're too poor, too busy, or too deeply spiritual. It is about wearing sloppy clothing, hair and face as a badge of honor, political commitments or professional martyrdom.

Matronly or patronly colleagues, this is not you. If you feel you're in a rut, that's one thing. But by virtue of your conservative attire, you are not frumpy. You are not sloppy. You are not demeaning the status of our profession in the eyes of the general public. And for that, we thank you.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

PeaceBang Does Zappos

Born Britten Pump
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
PeaceBang is happy to report that giant online purveyor of shoes, Zappos, lives up to its fine reputation.

PeaceBang ordered the Born Britten Pump as shown in the photo and received them one day later, and best of all -- free shipping and handling!!

Let's talk about the shoe: it's funky, it's a fabulous neutral color for spring, it has enough of a heel to stay well out of frump territory, it looks good with pants and with skirts, and it's comfortable enough to wear while running down hospital corridors. It isn't a pair of those insipid flats they're showing that gives a girl the appearance of "cankle" (calf/ankle), it's far more interesting than a mere clog, and it's made by Born, which means it will last for years and years. Did I mention that I *love* the color, which looks marvelous with many shades of blue (a staple of my spring wardrobe)?


One More Day To Vote

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

PeaceBang is so close to that tiara, she can just TASTE it.

Vote here:

and feel the love from Your Favorite New Blog (as of today's tally).

If I win, CoverGirl Outlast All Day Lipcolor for everyone!

And Gucci Homme for the guys!

In my imagination! But still, I would if I could!


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Houston, We Have An Eyelash Situation

As you all know, PeaceBang thinks that the world needs a li'l bit of glamour, and believes that even clergypeople can partake in that. A red lipstick, a pair of flowing velvet trousers on an elegant lady reverend, a distinguished, well-manscaped beard on elder gentlman pastors... you know what I mean.

As PeaceBang is fond of saying, she was in the theatre long before she was in the church, and she retains an old fondness for false eyelashes -- but never for church events. She procured a lovely pair of eyelashes from the Shu Uemura boutique in downtown Boston after a particularly odious professional engagement, and she likes to wear them to dinner parties and things of that nature. They are not potluck-friendly,

For those who would never dream of wearing false eyelashes, there are little eyelashes pieces one can easily add to the outer edges of the eye to open the eye, make them more visible from a distance (not a bad idea if you're preaching at a big conference).

I do believe that our young friend Brandy in the photo is wearing a few individual falsies there, and PeaceBang is sorry to have to say that this is Not Going Well. Individual false lashes should look very natural, not as though a winged creature has just splatted onto one's eyelid in an unfortunate accident.

If you have very short eyelashes and would like to see what an easy and dramatic difference falsies can make, darlings, just call me. Don't call Brandy. She's being charged with vehicular manslaughter anyway and won't be able to get back to you. I, on the other hand, would be happy to help.


Winter And Hat Head

Blow, winter winds, blow! I will flee into my warm parsonage at the end of the day and bundle myself into my bed made with flannel sheets and a 100% organic cotton duvet and hide from you! I will slather myself in Sephora body butter and run my humidifier all night long and I will defy you! Defy you, I say! I will not have a bloody nose in the morning! My heels and cuticles will not crack and bleed! God as my witness!

Now listen, all you readers in warm climes: this post is not for you. You can just go off in your shorts and tank tops and flip flops and have a mojito while the rest of us discuss the absolute havoc the cold is wreaking on our looks. Scamper off, now. Go paint your toenails bright Floridian pink or something. We are very blotchy this time of year and it makes us cranky.

The rest of you: are you enduring this? Remember, it's early yet. Think of the Donner party. This is no time to get lost and lose faith, hope and vision. We must keep moisturizing, and drink plenty of fluids. We cannot resort to panic, and cannibalism. Cannibalism is March. We're just starting February.
Being that it is almost February 1st, though, means that it's time to broach one of the more serious wintertime beauty issues:

Hat Head.

I know, you started the winter with a cute new hairdo and you had every intention of keeping up with the cut and color and styling. But that was back in November, when the days were crisp but not frigid, and the big religious holidays far enough in the distance that you had the time and energy for primping and products. These days you wake up, you drag yourself out of the warm bed, you inject coffee directly into your veins, you throw something fleece over your extremities, and you slog over to church. PeaceBang understands. She would hand you all a big steaming mug of Ovaltine at the church door if she could, and then she'd march you right back home to do something about that hair.

Since she can't march you home, she'll do the next best thing and give you some tips for getting through Hat Head Season:

1. Don't overwash your hair. Unless it's super oily, leave it be a few days between shampoos, and brush it to distribute oil to the dry ends. If you want to soak it in the shower to facilitate styling, you might put a bit of conditioner just on the ends. Conditioning just the ends is a good idea in general. Deep condition weekly as needed, especially if you have dry,kinky-curly or processed hair.

2. Get your hair out of your face. It's winter, there's no humidity, and your hair is hanging in your eyes. Put it up in a cute, bright scarf or barrette. Put it back in a neat ponytail. Change the part. Trim the bangs. Get it OUT of your face. Don't think that PeaceBang can't see you in that pulpit, sitting there with your big hank of hair swinging into your eyes. PeaceBang sees. PeaceBang knows. She is looking at you with stern disapproval this very moment. Let us see that beautiful face.

3. When you come indoors from wearing a hat, take a moment to smooth down your hair. Moisturize your hands with a good emollient moisturizer and run your hands quickly through your hair to distribute a bit of the lotion there. Yes, Virginia, hand lotion makes a perfectly fine impromptu pomade.

4. Spray the inside of your hats with a bit of hair spray so that you won't get frizzy flyaways.

5. If you have long hair, consider investing in an ionic hair dryer that leaves hair cuticles smoother. Friends of PB say they work like a charm.

6. Guys, bed head and hat head make for a mighty sad combo on a professional man of God. Check for big cowlicks before you leave the house and make an effort to have your hair in place before you clamp that Peruvian knit cap on your noggin.
What are you doing wearing a Peruvian knit cap, anyway? You're not in college anymore. Find some head gear that won't lead people in town to direct you to the nearest youth hostel. I know it's hard. Maybe some of you nattier gents would consider making recommendations in the comments?

Above all, my brave wintertime pastors, take care of yourselves. Wash hands frequently, do take care to moisturize so that cuts and cracks don't make you more susceptible to disease, and keep plenty of gas in the car. Some kitty litter in the trunk for traction if you get stuck isn't a bad idea, either, and a good emergency kit and some flares. Keep your cell phone charged, and if you're serving more than one congregation, leave plenty of time for travel between them so you're not speeding on icy roads. Try not to travel after dark, and never hesitate to accept home hospitality from parishioners if conditions warrant it. You are a precious and irreplaceable commodity; always err on the side of prudence and safety.



Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More On Clergy Shirts

Good evening, petunias!

PeaceBang is actually very happy to be back at church, attending meetings, planning the stewardship campaign, and eating comforting bowls of soup.

(Fashion note to self: we love those big dangly necklaces that are so popular lately, but we do not love them in the Italian Wedding Soup by Progresso.)

Those of you who can sew (PeaceBang's hands flutter helplessly at the wrists at the mere thought of sewing, and she even has her dry cleaner do her buttons for her after having stabbed herself in the finger with a needle once too many times) might want to looky here in the comments. Some fabulously caring and attentive readers have done serious research into clergy shirt patterns, bless their hearts!


Monday, January 29, 2007

UU Blog Awards: For Your Consideration

Powder Pigeons,

Wouldn't it be delightful if you all clicked on this link :

and went and voted for this blog as Best New Blog? Or even Best Minister's Blog, or Best Writing? Those latter two nominations, while I appreciate them, seem like a bit much for li'l ole me (and since my other blog is nominated in the first category, I'm even running against myself!)
But it would be such encouragement if you voted for me for best new blog. If you don't keep up with Unitarian Universalist blogosphere and don't feel qualified to make decisions on the other nominees, it's possible to vote in just one category.

Ta ta for now! And thanks! Voting closes on Feb. 2nd.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Going Native

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
This is Jamie, my new friend. We met at Posada Santiago de Atitlan in Guatemala and she was a hoot.
She bought that beautiful huipile (a kind of shirt) in the village. Doesn't she look adorable in it? It's really made to be tucked into a long sarong-style skirt, but it looks great as a poncho.

Jamie is a respected dog behaviorist in Chicago. I bet you a million dogs that she won't be wearing that outfit to work on Monday, or ever. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she'll pair the huipile with a denim skirt and a pair of boots, or belt it and wear it with trousers.

Ministers, I've noticed, like to don lots of native textiles and garments to show that they're down with God's people. I think this is a perfectly benign and understandable urge -- after all, we live in a global village and there's no reason to feel obligated to the Western uniform of suits and ties or skirts and jackets. However, some care should be taken that we do not assume that "indigenous" automatically means "appropriate."

What are we trying to communicate by wearing a specific garment? Are we expressing a solidarity with a people who may or may not be "solid" with us? our savvy as international shoppers? or our sense of entitlement to wear whatever we want whenever we want?

If we wearing the garment out of context, ,do we have any responsibilities to explain ourselves (eg, "This is what the women in Guatemala wear every day, and I just wanted to show you their amazing embroidery skills?" or "Indian women would never wear this anywhere but a wedding, but I was so excited to show you, I wore it today")?

We've raised these issues before, but they're worth raising again every now and then. Comment away, mis estimados!


The Iron Is Your Friend

Whilst I was away, I got this comment from Anonymous:

"I must say, I went to my first big gathering of UU ministers the other day, and all of a sudden the need for this blog became very clear to me. I mean, I am not all about super-cute shoes or special mascara, but hey - let's iron our clothes, people. There were only other ministers around, so it made it less painful, but I couldn't help but realize that everyone probably didn't dress down for the event - these were what they typically wore. There were exceptions, for sure, but it was not good overall. Yikes. Double yikes."

Anonymous, my honest amigo/a, thank you for reminding us that the household iron is not an instrument of oppression if used in moderation.
PeaceBang is about to get very serious, for she deeply believes the following things about wrinkled clothes:

1. Failure to iron completely destroys the fit of the garment. If you absolutely refuse to iron, buy a size bigger. If you are a woman, you can be assured that a wrinkled button-down shirt will be gapping and revealing your bra. There will be no "Festival of Inappropriate Sharing" joke here: you've already heard it.

2. Wrinkled clothes are slovenly. There is no other word for it. When I see a wrinkled garment, I expect to see dirt. And why should I not?

3. Wearing wrinkled clothing takes away all the focus from your face, where it should be.

4. Wrinkled clothing communicates that you cannot take care of yourself as an adult. I only expect to see wrinkled clothing on college students, the extremely bereaved, and abandoned men of the generation and upbringing who expect womanfolk to iron their clothes for them. When I see an extremely wrinkled adult, it always tempts me to say to them, "There, there, little boy/girl... are you losted?" and hand them a lollie. They always seem so helpless and hapless.

5. There are thousands of garments made especially for the iron-averse. Those who hate to iron should stay away from cotton in their professional wardrobe, which is made to look crisp and put-together. Don't insult the integrity of cotton garments by donning them in wrinkly form.

6. We all know the difference between casual, light cotton that's perfectly appropriate to wear wrinkly, and the kind that's not. Don't kid yourself. When in doubt, iron it out.

7. Pretty much everyone hates to iron. This is not a charming eccentricity but a common complaint. As my dear old grandmama used to say, "Want another pierogie, Vick?"
That's what she would say, but I would say, "Suck it up, my doves, and get out that iron."



Corduroy Jumpers Yet Again

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

You know how I occasionally display just the tiniest bit of flexibility about one of my iron-clad clergy fashion rule?

You don't?
Well, I do! It's just *very* occasional.

Like I might say, "Please don't wear batik muu-muus... UNLESS you're lounging at the pool having drinks with colleagues at the end of a hard day at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona." Or, "You should never, ever ever carry a cotton tote bag to a formal networking event... UNLESS your professional handbag or briefcase was stolen and you've just come from filling out a police report and didn't have time to change bags."

Sometimes I'll betray my own instincts and say to colleagues, "That shapeless smock would look appropriate for work if you make sure to add some fun earrings and do your hair and make-up nicely."

But I have seen the error of my ways. I will never again betray your trust and lie to you. You have Miss Mandy Moore above to thank for my new resolve.

Mandy is wearing what PeaceBang refers to as The Corduroy Jumper. PeaceBang fears and loathes the Corduroy Jumper, as it is too often worn by clergywomen who would apparently rather communicate, "It's juice and cookies time!" than "I am a serious religious leader."

Mandy's jumper is actually fashionable. She is wearing fashionable shoes and fashionable opaque stockings. Her hair is gorgeous and her make-up impeccable (if far too sultry for clergy gals). And yet for all that, all I can think of when I look at her is

Romper stomper bomber boo

Tell me tell me tell me do...

So let PeaceBang retract an earlier ruling she may have handed down regarding the Corduroy Jumper. If I ever said that female clergy might be able to get away with wearing one to church if you wear polished hair and make-up, I take it back.

I take it waaaay back. Unless you're wearing it for the Pilgrim Pageant, that is, playing John and Priscilla Alden's great aunt named Patience or Mercy or Prudence or Fortitude.

* Photo of Miss Moore courtesy of Go Fug Yourself, taken Jan 21, 2007 in Park City, UT.


Burning Questions

Darling readers, I'm back!

PeaceBang's plane got in from Miami (via Guatemala City) very late last night, so she spent the night in Boston. You can believe that as soon as she got into her car this morning she reached for her handy tweezer and PLUCKED the chin hairs that had grown completely out of control over the past ten days, rendering her a total bruja!

And now that PeaceBang is safely home, before she even lowers herself into a bubbly tub, she wants to know how you are, and how are your beautiful selves? What questions have you for the coming week as PB catches up with church and life in general?