Wednesday, 24 November 2010

My shoes never let me down



I'm having a bad technology week. So bad that I want to take everything in my life that flashes, beeps or rings, and make a big pot of tech stew. Everything except my iPad (which was a gift) because I don't use it nearly enough for it to piss me off. Plus, I feel like it makes me look cool, and since I no longer smoke and have hit the mid-30s hump, I can really use the cred. But between my BlackBerry failing to wake me up for a meeting the other day, both my email addresses getting hacked and Gmail suspending me from sending out emails for 24 hours, I'm about ready to convert to Luddism.

I remember going on a date with this guy when I lived in London who was one of these real political-activist types; all Pro-Labour Party and America is Evil and Capitalists Have Raped the World. Mostly sentiments that I was (and continue to be) quick to point out I agree with. I'm a socialist in a rabid consumerist's clothing, I agree that America can be evil — have you read this?! — and maybe capitalists have raped the world, although I'm loathe to give up my fancy car. Eventually our conversation migrated to technology and the rising price of gadgets and how we, as white, privileged Westerners, dispense of our disposable income. (Not that I have a great deal of disposable income, mind you. I am a writer after all. But, you know, I spend.) In a nutshell, my politically enlightened date (who was so enlightened we went Dutch) felt that his spending $500 on a tech gadget was far more magnanimous than my dropping $500 on a pair of shoes.

And this is what I said to him (well, not exactly, but whatever):

There's no magnanimity in spending $500 on any one thing, unless it's food for the hungry, so let's not overstate things. The thing with technology is you're spending a large sum of money up front for a product that you already know will peter out on you sooner or later (or sooner THAN later — ha! See what I did there?). And the chances are pretty great that it's going to be at a really inconvenient time. We buy tech gadgets — computers, Smartphones, DVD players, digital recorders — and know they're not going to work for long. And "long" is getting shorter and shorter every day. Sure, refrigerators and washing machines and dishwashers need to be replaced, too. As do spark plugs, mufflers, engine cooling thingies and under-the-hood-stuffs. But after what? Like, ten years? I've only had my BlackBerry for 18 months and it's already going screwy. My last PowerBook, which cost a few THOUSAND dollars, lasted less than four years.

Meanwhile, my Gianfranco Ferre leather jacket is a decade old and still looks crazy cool. My circa 1994 Versace dress that I wore to a friend's wedding last summer got me one very handsome admirer, proving it still works, and the Marc Jacobs shoes I had to buy in LA five years ago when Delta lost my luggage — isn't technology meant to ensure that doesn't happen? — can still make an outfit.

I admit, when my PowerBook went tits-up I bought another one, although I went for the cheapest MacBook on the market at the time. And yeah, I love having a BlackBerry, which allows me to cut the cord between me and my computer and get on with my daily life. I'm hyper aware of how technology has changed and facilitated my job — I mean, when I was in graduate school my professors were advertising the freakin' phone book as our greatest resource and we were forced to get a daily subscription to the New York Times. Someone once mentioned in class that she was reading the paper online and we were Blown Away. So, yeah, I appreciate technology and, you know, evolution. But it also consistently fails me. And you too, so don't pretend.

My shoes don't, though. My Chanel flats may give me blisters sometimes and I can't wear my Stella McCartney heels for more than two hours at a time (I actually initially typed "hells" instead of "heels" — paging Dr. Freud!), but they never purported to be comfortable, just stylish and pretty. I guess what I'm saying is, I wish technology would be a little more honest and stop telling me that it's going to change my life. Unless by change my life it means make me a Luddite. In which case, touché, technology.

I never did go on a second date with that guy. In all honesty, there wasn't any chemistry and frankly, I can't be with a man who doesn't support my relationship with designer footwear. Men may come and go, but my shoes never let me down.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Fat Comeback


I realize I'm a little late to the party on this — three days in the news biz is like years in the real world — but I simply couldn't let this Maura Kelly-Marie Claire affair go unmentioned. (Also, I apologize for my long absence, but I've been writing a book, and as it turns out, I'm not smart enough to write a book, fulfill my freelance obligations and make snarky observations on fashion and beauty and stuff. But I'm here now so let's just get on with it.)

If you haven't been following this scandal, Maura Kelly, a freelancer writer and relationship columnist, wrote a blog post for Marie Claire about the new CBS sitcom "Mike & Molly," which tells the story of the love that blossoms between two people who meet at Overeaters Anonymous. Apparently critics have derided the show for its gratuitous fat jokes, but the impetus for Kelly's column was that people have expressed discomfort with seeing "fatties" getting it on on TV. Kelly, who agrees with the latter, bases her whole sanctimoniously douchey argument on the fact that the actors on the show aren't merely overweight, they are obese and are somehow glamorizing an American epidemic that is "costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer," she writes. (I love how now that the United States is toying with the idea of universal health care everyone is suddenly so concerned with the collective health of the country.)

Kelly was taken aback by readers' outrage, which leads me to believe that despite having a prestigious resume that includes being published in The New York Times and The Washington Post, she can't be all that bright. How could she think she could get away with saying things like, "I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other," and "I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room"? I admit I feel the same way about stupid people, so Kelly best not walk across a room I'm standing in.

I'm not going to delve into the psychology of food or overeating. Mostly because I'm not qualified to do so, but also because if you don't know by now that obesity isn't just about having a weakness for french fries then you're an ignorant jackass who has clearly been living under a rock. In a remarkable fit of stupidity, Kelly lumps fat people in with drunks and heroin addicts, yet later goes on to say that obesity sufferers have "a ton of control" over their situation. And that's where I have to call her own editing skills into question. Someone obviously doesn't proofread her own copy.

Much as I would enjoy nothing more than to launch a personal attack on Kelly — who openly states in her bio that she's a 30-something-year-old woman who's never been in love. Well, duh. Who the hell would love you? — I think the larger issue at play here is why modern Western culture dictates that it's okay to pick on overweight people. Why did Kelly think she was justified in expressing an obvious hatred for people who struggle with their weight? If you substitute the word "fat" with "poor" or "gay", or "Jewish" or "Arab" for that matter, her post would never have seen the light of day (not on the Marie Claire website anyway). But for some reason our culture has made it okay to be mean to fat people, to belittle them and make them feel as though they are failing at life because they don't fit a skinny ideal. And let's not kid ourselves, the ideal is s-k-i-n-n-y, not healthy.

But I also wonder if this isn't so much about fat people as it is about fat women. I've often complained about how television glorifies the fat-husband-hot-skinny-wife archetype — The King of Queens, According to Jim, and yes, even The Simpsons and Family Guy — as if to perpetuate the idea that women should continuously work at looking their best while men can let themselves go and still be considered sexy. But all anyone sees in that pairing is an apparently inherent potential for hilarity. Add a fat wife and suddenly it's repulsive. Why was this not an issue when Roseanne debuted in 1988? What has happened over the past two decades for it to be acceptable to ostracize people based on how they look? I thought society was meant to evolve.

I was thrilled to see the backlash to her post, especially on Jezebel and this piece my good friend Lindsay wrote for the New York Daily News, because no one should be allowed to get away with being so mean and so ignorant. I join in the big fat collective "Fuck YOU" aimed at Kelly and suggest she seek solace in some french fries.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Carried Away

Here's a link to a story I wrote for ElleCanada.com about the anti-feminist message of Sex and the City. Although it doesn't treat the subject of fashion or beauty trends per se, it hits those high notes of acrimony that have come to symbolize this blog as well as my love-hate-despise-oh-ok-I'll-watch-it-if-it's-on relationship I have with the SATC franchise.

Enjoy. Or don't. Either way, let me know your thoughts.

Carried away: Relationships [1/2] - Elle Canada : Today

Friday, 23 July 2010

Jugs for chugs

Because apparently it's crazy underpinnings week here at The Chic Storm, this is sure to make those die-hard French lingerie-wearing mademoiselles blanch. BaronBob.com, a New Jersey-based company (quelle suprise), is selling the aptly named Wine Rack, a sports bra that can be filled with booze and comes with an extra long straw fuh drinkin'. It apparently holds 25 ounces of liquid and ups your cleavage by about two cup sizes. (Get it, cup sizes? Cuz you drink stuff outta cups? See? Uh, yeah.)

 Wine Rack bra, $29.95, BaronBob.com

The makers of this beaut think it is especially appealing to recessionistas who don't want to spend too much money on drinks at the bar but who are not willing to forgo an opportunity to get sloppy drunk, make out with a few of the classier cast members of Jersey Shore and puke on their shoes at the end of the night. And really, can you blame them?

I've certainly been guilty of stashing beers in my purse when attending an outdoor concert, because seriously, since when can indie rock lovers afford to spend $8 on a beer? (I'm talking to you, Molson Amphitheatre.) And what alfresco Shakespearean experience is complete without a mickey of vodka? But filling my bra with booze and drinking from a straw that juts out of my right boob? I dunno man. I get kind of squeamish when I see women breast feeding in public, so wouldn't this make me a hypocrite? Despite the fact that my breast would in fact be feeding me and no one else? Which somehow makes it more gross.

The way I see it, if I'm gonna be a jackass — and you can pretty much rest assured that 25 ounces of booze is gonna turn me into a jackass — I'd rather model myself after Homer Simpson and not Snooki.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Oh Mah Gawd, Becky

I admit, I don't necessarily like big butts so much as I accept my own for what it is. "You have a Mediterranean figure," my mother would say to me throughout my teen years, as I would try to squeeze my Mediterranean ass into the tight jeans that all my WASP-y girlfriends were wearing. It should be said that fashion forward-ism had nothing to do with the the deconstructed '90s aesthetic that I rocked at the time. But now it's time for their comeuppance. For although their high paying corporate jobs, two-car garages and sensible heels laugh in the face of my crippling debt and professional irrelevance, I have something that those WASPs will never have: a spring/summer 2010 butt.


That's right reader(s), my ass is in style. Literally. How do I know? Because Madonna's daughter said so. "I am totally obsessivo about 80’s shorts… You know the kind that makes your butt look kinda big." When rich, skinny 13-year-olds say they want a big butt, I know my ass has made it. And when Kim Kardashian — Who? Yeah, I don't know either — has a television show and is on the cover of tabloids every other week saying stuff like "I love my curves" and "My boyfriend loves that I'm curvy" and "Curves are so curvy curve", it means that big butts are back. And then of course, there's these:

Bump-a-Booty padded panties from Pure Style Girlfriends, $30

Those are padded panties for girls who want a little more donk in their badonka. Because, finally, fashion likes big butts and it cannot lie.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Masculine ideal, thy name is Ken

In kindergarten I had a crush on a boy named Marcel. He had chestnut brown hair and blue eyes, a slight French accent, showed real talent in the Lego department and we shared a birthday. It was, in my five-year-old estimation, a match made in heaven. I suspect he is responsible for inspiring a decade-long obsession with sandy-maned men in my 20s: Brad Pitt in Fight Club, Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You, countless New York bartenders-slash-actors-slash-models, and a particularly smooth Brit with a swimmer's build and a trust fund. Each one of them sandy-haired Adonises. Well, they had sandy hair anyway.

But looking back on all that, I realize perhaps the young Marcel isn't the one responsible for forming my follicular preferences in the opposite sex. That it is in fact another, far more influential man who drew me in with his kind eyes, million dollar smile and neat, responsible, sun-kissed haircut. That man is Ken Carson. And while I recognize that he has been inextricably linked to his girlfriend Barbie for the last half century, and that yes, he is a plastic doll, like Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson, Ken's legacy, influence and dead sexiness transcend mere time.

In typical Hollywood fashion — a world where men apparently "get better with age" while women over 30 are haunted by images of bread, Botox and big boobs — Ken, at the ripe age of 49, has landed his first major movie role in the summer blockbuster Toy Story 3. In it, he's every bit the dashing, handsome gentleman of my dreams, despite a "Tennis anyone?" outfit that suggests a propensity for wicker furniture and show tunes.


Thankfully Esquire UK has stepped in and outfitted Ken in a slew of designer duds including Prada and Burberry in an effort, I imagine, to dispel any rumours that could possibly contradict his hot-straight-guy party line. I may resent his skinny bitch of a girlfriend, with her long shapely legs and gravity-defying rack, but I refuse to believe she's a beard. These photos prove me right, and will serve as the perfect reference for my ideal mate.

I am a: WOMAN
Seeking a: MAN
Hair colour: SANDY BROWN
Eye colour: BLUE
Build: ATHLETIC
Characteristics: PROFESSIONAL, FUN-LOVING, PERPETUALLY HAPPY, SOMEWHAT STIFF, ANATOMY OPTIONAL.

Ken dressed in head-to-perfect plastic toe Paul Smith (image courtesy of Esquire)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Don't forget to tip the lady in latex

Every once in a blue blogosphere moon, an item pops up that manages to fuse several of my previously vented vitriolic observations. This is both good and bad: good because the initial rage has already passed through my bloodstream and revisiting the offending issue allows me to take a step back and get a calmer perspective on it — kind of like going back to chat with your therapist after having thrown her crystal paperweight at the wall and screamed "I'm not 'angry'. I just think you're a bitch!" (I swear I never did that, and yeah, I used airquotes when I said it. Oh, wait....); and bad because I may have exhausted all witticisms on the topic. But I'll try anyway.

There's a new hot spot in LA called Trousdale that's super hard to get in to unless you're an A-list celeb like Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston or Leonardo DiCaprio. The decor is real swanky-like and the menu is all comfort food-y and continental with stuff like churros and fresh-baked cookies. Yawn, right? Yes, until you spot one of the waitresses, that is, dressed in head-to-toe latex. Now before you picture a human condom or the aforementioned Gaga, see below:


Apparently the uniforms were designed by co-owner Darren Dzienciol and stylist Jessica Paster (who has worked with Aniston, Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts). Each uniform is custom-made for the waitress, must be polished every day and takes 45 minutes to get on. Which leads me to believe that much like the 20-minute wedding dress, these puppies must be pretty hard to pee in. Actually, scratch that. They're probably super easy to pee in, but I hope they don't.

Now, forgive my ignorance, but I'm not exactly well versed in latex dressing — not the kind that goes on girls, anyway, wink wink — but how could it possibly take 45 minutes to put on one of these outfits? There really isn't much to put on. It's basically a long tank top and thigh-highs, and Lindsay Lohan can tell you that's the fastest thing to throw on in the morning. Unless they have a collective Ross Geller moment every night of layering lotion on top of baby powder in the hopes of creating a slick surface upon which to slide those thigh-highs (which as the Friends episode taught us is a bad idea with hilarious results), I'm baffled by the 45-minute time frame. God forbid one of them is running late for her shift. What happens if she only has 30 minutes to get into uniform? Does she end up waiting tables in one thigh-high or no dress? In a pinch, would management let her get away with an extra long American Apparel tank and trouser socks? Maybe she could just work coat check that night. I mean, cut the girl some slack. Forty-five minutes is a long ass time to get into an outfit that once on still looks like you're half naked. File under WTF.

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I hope these uniforms come with matching diapers. (I also can't believe this would be my third post about diapers in less than a month. Apparently pee is the new black.) If not, I'm sure something suitable can be found at S&M&Things. Or maybe take one of those bridal ones and dye it black. Or talk to Huggies.

Now, my overinflated sense of entitlement and inability to take other people's crap without it resulting in some serious new-asshole-tearing (see previous mention of therapist) has always prevented me from working in the service industry, so I don't exactly have first-hand experience with waiting tables. But from where I've sat, it looks like a pretty taxing endeavour. There's a lot of running around, heavy lifting, bending, stretching and figurative dancing for tips. It looks like the type of job that would really make them break a sweat. And sweating in latex can't be pleasant for those waitresses or anyone sitting downwind from them. I'm just thinking about their hygiene...and my olfactory receptors. And leather shorts. *shudder*  

Finally, those uniforms remind me of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere first picks her up off the street. And much as we come to learn she's a hooker with a heart of gold, would you trust that she washed up before frying your churro? Yeah, me neither.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Deal breakers

Liz Lemon beat me to it. Again. She would so totally be my cooler, smarter, funnier, better bespectacled, more successful and motivated older sister if I had an older sister...and if she were real. To clarify that I'm not in fact at that stage in my freelance career where minimal contact with the outside world has resulted in mistaking TV people for my friends, I also have real life friends who are like that. If I didn't love them I'd totally hate them for being cooler, smarter, funnier, more successful and motivated than me. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I at least have better glasses.

I was at a movie premiere the other night — for a movie that shall remain nameless lest my dedicated reader(s) start to question my otherwise curmudgeonly charm in light of a secret devotion to a teen-based book series-cum-film saga about vampires, werewolves and the girl who loves them (I fear I've said too much) — when a few of my adult-aged companions and I started talking about the non-negotiable attributes in a potential mate. Also known colloquially as deal breakers. Oddly, "yearns to drink my blood" and "turns into a ferocious beast when he's really really mad" didn't make the cut.

But I'll tell you what did:

He wears skinny jeans, which upon closer inspection reveal that they're actually girl jeans and you have the same pair


Laugh if you will, but it happened to one of the ladies present. She noticed that a guy she was dating had the same jeans as her and when he popped out of the room she peeked at the tag only to find that he wore a smaller size than her. #Dealbreaker

He's a vegetarian...


Remember that episode of Seinfeld when Jerry was dating Elaine's cousin and she was a total carnivore and grew leery of Jerry when he tried to order a salad for dinner? The best line in the episode was: "Salad ain't got nuttin' on your mutton!" I totally sympathized with her. I'm not saying I wanna be on a date with a guy who enters the "finish a 15-pound steak and it's free" contest, but if I'm ordering the fillet mignon and he's pushing some freakin' romaine lettuce and tofu around his plate, it's a definite #Dealbreaker.

...Who does yoga...


I'm just gonna say it: I hate yoga. I've tried yoga, I've tried to love yoga, I've tried to tell myself how important yoga is for runners. But if I hear a yoga instructor tell me to "find my breath" one more time, I swear I'm gonna make it so she can't find hers. And a dude who does yoga is only doing it for one of two reasons: to pick up chicks or to align his chakras and awaken his third eye in the hopes of reaching a meaningful spiritual plain thus accessing inner peace and emotional harmony. And trust me, he'll try to indoctrinate you, too. Namaste this. #Dealbreaker

...And has flaxseed oil in his refrigerator...

My friend's ex-boyfriend was a douche and he had flaxseed oil in his fridge, so by association any guy who has flaxseed oil in his fridge is a douche in my mind. It's not fair or rational, I admit, but hey, that's life. #Dealbreaker.

...And wears this

Walter Van Beirendonck s/s 2011 — and yes, that's a multi-tiered skirt he's wearing

No explanation necessary. #DEALBREAKER

Friday, 25 June 2010

Something diapered, something blue

People get married everyday. People also go to the bathroom everyday, usually several times a day. As far as some brides are concerned, however, never shall the twain meet. A recent post on Marie Claire's Fashionista blog revealed that many bridal stores sell "bridal diapers", which salesladies suggest for brides whose dresses take "20 minutes to get in and out of."

Take a moment to digest the term "bridal diapers." Better yet, take a look at 'em:


There's so much that's disturbing about that opening paragraph I'm not even sure where to begin. What dress takes 20 minutes to get in to? When I think back to Lady Di's wedding dress, which was roughly the size of my London flat, I still can't imagine it took her 20 minutes to slip it on. What exactly is going on in these dresses that it takes women 20 minutes to put them on? Are there multiple dresses hiding inside? Do they have to complete a questionnaire before they can be zipped up? Are they fastening booby traps to their thighs? Do they come complete with a tear-away chastity belt? Or perhaps there are various layers of insulation, for the winter bride or the girl who has really bad circulation.

To put this in perspective for you, in 20 minutes I can: run two miles; prepare, cook and serve a bowl of spaghetti with made-from-scratch tomato sauce; bathe my 80-pound dog; shower, wash and blow dry my hair; consume 15 oz. of wine; drive to Etobicoke; climax at least twice (depending on the guy); purchase and return an ill-advised pair of Miu Miu heels on yoox.com; paint my nails; paint your nails; nail a painter. I think I'll be a happier person if I never meet a bride in a 20-minute dress, because that's just crazy and stupid and utterly absurd with a supersized side order of give me a bloody break.

Now, on to more pressing matters: the diapers. From what I understand about babies, which is minimal at best, one of the main reasons they cry is because their diapers are, uh, full. If a being who is barely 72 hours old recognizes the inherent discomfort and uncivilized aspect of wearing soiled underpants, how can someone 20 times older justify this? And don't say 20-minute dress. Also, I've always been led to believe one of the best parts of the wedding day is the wedding night. And while many couples today will say their wedding night shenanigans were less than toe-curling due to exhaustion and/or whisky dick, they still make the effort. If nothing else to uphold tradition. However, I fear that a man who's already struggling to get it up may give up entirely upon seeing his new bride slipping out of her soiled diaper. (Though my greater fear would be the guy who gets it up because of this.)

But wanna know what's sure to blow the wind out of his sails?


Malibu Betty is a dye kit that's meant to colour your hair down there a pleasant shade of aquamarine. You know, so that it's your something blue.

Presumably to match the colour of his balls. Because between the diapers and the blue vadge, girl, he ain't never gonna throw it to you again.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Defining glamour

Some people need glamour in their lives. Anna Wintour, for example, who has made a rather impressive career from her pursuit of it. The fictional character of Carrie Bradshaw, who is seemingly incapable of walking unless six-inch Manolos are strapped to her feet. Elizabeth Taylor who, if The Simpsons are to be believed (and why wouldn't they be?!?), sits around all day polishing her 33.19-carat diamond with a very dainty toothbrush. Alexis Carrington Colby, who requires no explanation.


You know who doesn't need glamour in their lives? Campers. These are people who relish the idea of sleeping under the stars, building a fire pit, pitching a tent and shitting in the woods. It's a lifestyle, so they tell me, that encourages a connection with nature and a rediscovery of our original primitive selves. I envision musty sleeping bags, canned food, mosquitos, flannel and leg cramps. And that's my romantic view. Believe me, you don't want to know what I really think happens behind closed cedars in the wilderness.

But lo! The camping times they are a changin'. Have you heard of this new incarnation that fashion designers and interior decorators are calling glamour camping or more succinctly, glamping? Yes, there are luxury tents with proper beds, 500 thread-count sheets, electricity, and help on hand to make coffee and kill bugs and stuff. You'd think this was right up my alley, right? Wrong. I've heard nothing of indoor plumbing. And don't think me precious just because happiness is a toilet flush away in my world. How many of you would be cool if the bathroom in your apartment was out of commish for a few days? Hmm?

Dean and Dan Caten, the gruesome twosome behind DSquared2, dedicated their spring/summer 2010 collection to glamping and elevated the humble (or is it horrible?) Birkenstock to pret-a-porter status. A feat — uh, pardon the pun — Parisian women have been trying to accomplish for years now. For it was in Paris that I first noticed women wearing those t-strap Birkenstocks in a rainbow of metallic and patent leather hues. Nice try, mesdames, but comfort footwear doesn't need to be so laide. Besides, anyone who's owned Birks will tell you the breaking-in period is enough to make you want to ditch the sandals and walk the streets barefoot. Oh sure, our heels have made us do the same, but at least they're pretty to look at and make our legs look longer.

 DSquared2 s/s 2010

I realize I'm being especially cranky pantsy on this, a Friday where I find myself staring down the barrel of a working weekend, but the way I see it, if you need to inject glamour into your camping weekend, maybe you shouldn't be going camping. Perhaps a nice picnic in the park is more up your alley. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, 11 June 2010

What goes around comes around. Sadly.

Earlier this week, archaeologists in Armenia uncovered a 5,500-year-old leather shoe from the Chalcolithic period made from cowhide and tanned with a vegetable or plant oil.


It was apparently worn by a woman with size 7 feet, who I can only imagine paired it with a fine sack dress made of a multihued hemp-like fabric and a decorative headband fashioned from fuzzy animal. Kind of like Mary-Kate Olsen here.


Wow, they don't kid around when they say fashion comes full circle, huh? I leave you with this one thought: How much do you think Chalcolithic Woman would pay for her shoes today? Cuz the going rate for Louis Vuitton's version is about $600. Damn, inflation's a bitch.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Jeans for tots to poop in

I really didn't want to write a post about the Huggies Jeans diapers. Firstly because I don't have any babies to diaper so I don't really care about technologies — fashion-y or otherwise — in the diapering arena. Secondly, because I think they're simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. But mostly because I don't like to say unpleasant things about babies; they're cute and squishy and defenseless and do not yet possess the ability to scream, "If you make me wear those I'll hate you forever!" (Oh trust me, that day will come.)

However, New York Times journalist Alex Kuczynski left me no choice. Her recent Obsessions column takes the Jeans diapers and uses them as a vehicle to [weakly] illustrate a growing trend of infant-adult role reversal. According to Kuczynski, the Huggies diapers are but a ripple in the menacing ocean of babies-as-grownups/grownups-as-babies that threatens to deluge society, as seen in E*Trade commercials, Three Dots t-shirts, the recession and the obesity epidemic. "The line between adulthood and infancy continues to blur, perhaps because of our national rates of obesity," she writes. "People swollen with fat look like giant babies, the lines and wrinkles pressed from their faces." I'm guessing the fillers that press the wrinkles from her face have nothing to do with wanting to look like a kid herself. In Kuczynski's defense, narcissistic rich ladies aren't considered an epidemic...yet.    

Despite her evident distaste for adult-babies, fat people and the unemployed, Kuczynski bought the denim diapers for her baby. Just like her Botox, her kid isn't part of the problem. Presumably she'll just diaper him in faux-jeans for shits and giggles (pun intended). Personally, I don't like them. I think denim on an infant (faux or otherwise) is weird and tacky, not unlike dressing a five-year-old boy in a tuxedo. There are myriad options in children's clothing out there that will make your babies look like babies and not shrunken versions of you. These kids have plenty of time ahead to dress awkwardly and in ways that will undoubtedly offend me. Why start them off so young? 

Despite it all, though, it's a helluva commercial!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Seize the dishevelled day

Putting on clothes that look crisp and tailored and clean is such a time-consuming pain in the ass, isn't it? I mean, I'm super busy, like all the time. I can't waste precious moments fiddling with fancy trimmings like zippers and buttons and stuff. Drawstrings. Elastic waistbands. Velcro! These are the mark of efficient clothes that understand my time constraints.  

You know who feels me? These guys:




They just get it, you know? The last thing I want to do in the morning is mess around with cumbersome trousers, uncomfortable skirts or confusing dresses. I mean, am I expected to, like, shower too? No time, man. I need to roll out of bed and run out the door without having to worry about things like hygiene and self-respect. The most important thing in the world to me is being comfortable at all times, no matter what.

I look at those suckers on the street rushing to their meetings in coordinated suits with button fastenings, lace-up leather shoes and colour-coordinated accessories, and I laugh out loud. Those are sucker clothes. I see the look of envy in their eyes as they watch me shuffle down the sidewalk, bedraggled and utterly unconcerned with societal standards in my PajamaJeans. They wish they could be as liberated and footloose as me. I've got news for them: I am the future. Seize the dishevelled day, and you too can be free!

God bless America.    

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

When a hair band isn't just a hair band

A hair band means different things to different people. To me, it means this:



To Benoit Missolin, a boutique in Paris, it means this:



Which is worse: a stylistically (and let's face it, musically) misguided rock band, or a store that thinks it's acceptable for girls to wear the universal symbol of female objectification on their heads for kicks and charges $360 to boot? You tell me. 

Friday, 28 May 2010

SATC2: The review



About 20 minutes in Sex and the City 2, Carrie Bradshaw is celebrating her two-year wedding anniversary with the man she bleated and bellyached over for six interminable HBO seasons. They are seated in their sweeping New York apartment that has been over-decorated within a throw pillow of its life and surrounded by strategically placed designer labels. When her big bacon-earning husband unveils his thoughtful albeit unsexy anniversary present to her (after he has cooked them a meal and presumably paid the gas and cable bills, and dismissed the housekeeper for the night) she balks in disbelief. Upon asking her what she would have preferred she cocks her head, twirls her hair and responds coquettishly, "A piece of jewellery would have been nice."     

And that's when a barf bag would have been nice. Suddenly I felt sick to my stomach. I'm not a fool and I'm not new to the SATC franchise; I know it's a cultural phenomenon that is based on unabashed consumerism and an inability to function outside the borders of white, privileged America. Unless of course, it's white, privileged Paris. But to break your husband's balls for not buying you jewellery for your anniversary is where I draw the line between harmless fun and the obliteration of feminist ideals, not to mention the poisoning of young women who have yet to navigate the choppy waters of a committed relationship. (Here's a clue girls: he's not obligated to buy you expensive stuff.)

Flash forward to an extravagant trip the frivolous foursome take to Abu Dhabi, because Samantha, who is taking a drugstore of pills to delay the onset of menopause (I want to fuck young boys! Isn't that fabulous?!), decides that she's done with the economic austerity of the last two years that has seen her downsize to a smaller Birkin and wants to live large Middle East styles. Shocked by the religious restrictions of a country that — WTF? — frowns upon public cunnilingus (evidently Sam doesn't bother with things like CNN) she brazenly throws propriety, respect and the law out the window. After all, she is American and who else to burst into a foreign land and tell people how to live their lives? In one especially appalling scene where [SPOILER ALERT] Samantha's purse flies open and sprays condoms across the souk, she proceeds to affront the chastising Muslim men who gather around her with "Fuck you! I like to have sex!" It's American arrogance at its best.

Perhaps what astounded me most was the sheer ignorance these four women displayed. They are educated, wealthy and reside in New York, a city that owes much of its appeal to multiculturalism. And surely they've travelled to other countries at some point in their lives? Yet they are utterly uninformed on the customs, rules and secrets of the Middle East. Crushed by a lacklustre review of her latest book in The New Yorker, Carrie says she's been walking around with the magazine in her purse for 20 years. Maybe she just never pulled it out and actually, like, read it. Because if she had, she wouldn't be so dumbstruck at the discovery that many Muslim women are wearing couture under their robes. Who doesn't know this?

The movie is two-and-a-half hours of the most idiotic observations since Sarah Palin saw Russia from her backyard. Upon first seeing a Muslim woman in the traditional hijab, Carrie opines, "It's like they're not allowed to have a voice" (uh yeah, thanks for the insight, Benazir Bhutto); and when her butler tells her that he and his wife are reunited once every three months because she lives in India and that's how long it takes him to scrape together the money to get over there, she interprets this as "how their marriage works." Um, actually, no. It's how he makes ends meet.

It wasn't all racial profiling and Manolo Blahniks, however. In one very touching and uncharacteristically self-aware scene, Miranda and Charlotte drink themselves silly to ease the guilt of admitting to the hardships of motherhood despite having live-in nannies, and raise their glasses to toast all the mothers out there who don't have full time help. It was a heartwarming albeit brief moment of humility. And [SPOILER ALERT] Liza Minelli makes a cameo and does a vaguely terrifying if mesmerizing rendition of All the Single Ladies. She may be a certified loon, but man can that lady dance!

And the clothes? Well, between Sarah Jessica Parker wanting to promote her own designs for Halston and Patricia Field being in dire need of some Lithium and a long nap, the costumes were nothing short of nightmarish. For a desert camel riding scene, a lackey appears with clothes for the ladies to change in to. In a flurry of Hermes, Dior and Chanel shopping bags, the women are transformed into a motley foursome of circus freaks reminiscent of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but less classy. Carrie wears a white bustier with nipple tassels fer Chrissake!

I know sequels can be tricky, and I suspect that's why we'll never know what happens when Ben and Elaine get off the bus or if ET will ever phone Elliot, but I beg of the powers that be at SATC to pull a condom out of Samantha's purse and slip it on before considering spawning another movie. Nine months from now, you and the viewing public will thank me.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Oh spare me dot com

As print media continues its agonizing shuffle down the green mile, online magazines have been popping up faster than Tiger Woods' mistresses. And while those of us who work in the industry are grateful that the web can provide a sufficient afterlife, there's no doubt that we are dealing with a different beast. For starters, we'd might as well start eulogizing the feature story because most people aren't going to put the time into reading a 1500-word treatise on the floral print on their computer or iPhone or Kindle or whatever other crazy contraption they're using today to read Perez. Furthermore, online fashion magazines have pretty well put to rest the traditional editorial shoot and birthed the celebrity Today I'm Wearing column to replace it. Alexa Chung, Olivia Palermo, Daisy Lowe and Daisy de Villeneuve, to name a few, have all enriched our lives with a daily photo and rundown of their outfits that reads like an early Tom Wolfe stream-of-consciousness novel. I mean seriously, who rolls out of bed on a Monday morning and throws on a 3.1 Phillip Lim blouse, Current Elliot cut offs, Wolford tights, American Apparel tube socks, Church's patent leather oxfords, a vintage military jacket from a flea market in Tokyo, a scarf stolen from a mother's closet and which was bestowed upon her by Mick Jagger backstage at Altamont, a Chanel 2.55 bag and Pete Doherty's trilby? Dude. (Just to clarify, none of the aforementioned celebrities have actually appeared in this outfit. I've just taken bits of each girl's signature style and put them together to create one massive celebudouche. Although I'm fairly certain that exact outfit has already been spotted on the streets of Brooklyn once or twice. Do let me know if you've seen it.) 

Now, I'm afraid to report, the online magazine-celebrity column affair is turning into a serious relationship. Agyness Deyn, the androgynous British model famous for her platinum blond crew cut and her inability to walk in Burberry platforms, is launching an online magazine with her friend Fiona Bryne, a journalist who has worked with pubs like NYLON and New York. They're calling it NAAG.com, which is kind of what I feel like doing to Aggy when I see her in outfits like this:



and this:

and especially this:

Asked about the editorial direction of the publication, Aggy replied succinctly: "It's just going to be stuff we think is rad." I'm pretty sure that's short for radon. Because only the ingestion of a radioactive chemical like that can explain these fashion choices.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Coke nails even Elvira Hancock wouldn't approve of


In other nail polish news (bet you'll never hear that on CNN), Diet Coke has partnered with London's Nails Inc. to launch the Diet Coke City Collection. Four polishes dedicated to the fashion capitals — London (nude: presumably a nod to the pantsless trend started, established and perpetuated by Daisy Lowe, the Geldofs et al.), New York (fuchsia: the East River is so radioactive right now that's probably its new natural hue), Paris (purple: insert requisite crack here about smelly Frenchmen) and Milan (red: passion, blood, Ferraris, marinara sauce: all solid Italian clichés) — will be given to shoppers free with every purchase of a 500mL bottle of Diet Coke in Boots stores (sorry, UK only). However, if you're desperate to get your hot little hands on this, one of the beauty industry's weirdest collabs, they are also available on Asos.com

Like scoring Louboutins at 95% off (you know who you are, Bonnie Mo), we wear our deals and cheap-chic finds with pride. I was at the Holt Renfrew fall preview the other morning when someone commented on my bright coral nails — what I like to call my Texan grandmother mani: "It's Sally Hansen," I declared with pride. The nail polish cost less than $7 at Shoppers Drug Mart and dried in under 10 minutes. I just can't argue with those numbers. But I don't know how I'd feel disclosing that my nail polish is Diet Coke Milan. It's kind of up there with wearing celebrity perfume. Like, who would ever fess up to dabbing a little of Jessica Simpson's Fancy Nights behind her ears? (Actually, don't answer that.)

I know Kaiser Karl is all "Coca Light ees 'ow I got so fashionably skeennee" and every woman's collarbone should be able to double as a weapon so we must all go on a Diet-Coke-and-cigarettes diet tout suite and a bunch of fashion designers created one-of-a-kind bottles of Diet Coke for Milan fashion week two seasons ago to raise money for charity and all, but DC nail polish? It sounds like it should be sold to little girls whose creepy mothers take them to the spa for baby facials and pedicures. Also, are you with me that they could have at least injected a second of humour into the situation by creating a syrupy brown colour? I mean, c'mon.     

Monday, 17 May 2010

I love to get nailed, but not like this

My mother's a classy dame. She's one of those ladies who never leaves the house without lipstick, a designer bag or, weather permitting, a fur coat. Don't be angry; it's an Italian thing. But beneath that polished surface beats the heart of a neurotic loon. A trait that was passed on to me in utero and haunts me — or enhances me, depending on who you talk to — to this day. Among our shared neuroses: obsessive cleanliness, a dramatic intolerance of poor table manners, a manic need to be the hostess with the mostest, and neat fingernails.  

That last one is weird, isn't it? I don't know why, but if we spot a stylish woman (or man, for that matter) in public, we both check out their hands before giving the green light of approval. It bears mentioning that this approval means nothing to them, but you know, we judge regardless. To our credit, we are pretty meticulous about keeping our own hands clean and, for the most part, freshly polished. My mom's a tried-and-true red lady, while I'm more of a floozy who flits from nudes to brights to dramatic grays and black. Sometimes we make a point of matching our nails to a particular item of clothing, and although I know I'm verging into old lady territory, sometimes I like to match my lipstick. It's more quirky than granny...or at least that's what I tell myself. In a pinch though, my mom and I will both reach for the nearest tube of top coat and slap it on naked nails as we rush out the door, because if nothing else, shiny nails are pretty nails.



Note: this is not my hand

For some reason, however, the beauty industry is trying to slip us a lethal dose of Ativan by way of a perplexing trend: matte nail polish. Flat and viscous, matte polish delivers all the saturated colour with none of the exciting pop. It's like painting your nails with Liquid Paper, which sure was a fun way to pass the time in geography class, but by the time you got to world history it was already chipped and the chemicals were slowly seeping into your bloodstream. In short, a bad idea. I'm not sure if nostalgia is what beauty companies were going for when they launched matte polish, or if like $350 half-pants-half-shorts (you know who you are) it's just because everything else has been done 20 times over. Either way, I beg of them to stop.

I understand that sometimes boredom is the mother of invention, but I don't think that 15-year-olds who switch between sniffing Liquid Paper and applying it to their fingernails is really where we need to be looking for inspiration. 'Cuz that shit ain't classy at all.     

Friday, 14 May 2010

How to be SATC

Because evidently even Carrie Bradshaw worries about bunions, the Sex and the City corporation has launched the "Afterparty" flat, a foldable slipper that sexy gals are meant to slip into once they've hobbled out of sight of the fabulous party where they drank Cosmos all night and fellated rich, handsome bachelors in the bathroom.

The "Carrie" flat, $64.99, available at store.hbo.com


There are six styles in total, four of which are named after the main characters in the show, natch. I'm perplexed by the two supplementary styles that bear the names "SATC Black Corsage" and "SATC Pink Gems" respectively. Surely they could have named them after a secondary character, or perhaps a recurring theme in the show like cats or desperation. They are, of course, just one item in a shit storm of tie-ins, which include martini glasses, thong underwear and a smattering of leopard-printed accessories. It begs the question: who in God's name would go to the HBO store in search of underwear? But I'm pretty sure I don't want to hear the answer to that.

None of this is remotely surprising; it's a business and this is what businesses do. In fact, it's a lesson I learned a long time ago while watching Mel Brooks' masterpiece Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs. As the pint-sized soothsayer Yogurt explains to Lone Starr, the ruggedly handsome space-bum-for-hire, the real money for movies is made in merchandising. There's Spaceballs the T-shirt, Spaceballs the Colouring Book, Spaceballs the Lunch Box, Spaceballs the Breakfast Cereal, Spaceballs the Flame Thrower: "The kids love this one."

If you ask me, the SATC merchandise development team should take a page out of the book of Yogurt. How about Sex and the City the Vibrator? Or Sex and the City the Cigarettes? Or Sex and the City the Perfume: L'Air du Tramps? For the fan looking to expand her horizons, there could be Sex and the City the At-Home Psychology Certificate Program. The course book would include chapters on how to come off like a respectable lady by putting out on the first date and how to ruin your credit by buying lots of stuff you can't afford. The possibilities really are endless.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Schizo Chic

Indecision is the God-given right of every woman. I don't care if that is a cliché or if it makes me a cliché to say it — there's a reason certain things become truisms, and that's because they're, well, true. I've changed my mind on thousands of things over the years. Why, just a few weeks ago I curtly refused a gentleman's offer of gin by explaining to him that I don't touch the stuff, and then bam! Last Sunday I woke up with a blinding gin-induced hangover from spending the greater part of Saturday night knocking back gin martinis. (For the record, I once again no longer touch the stuff.)  

And like most chronically-tardy women, in the moments leading up to an event that I will undoubtedly be late for, I stand before my open closet in my undergarments confounded by whether the outing calls for pants or shorts. Could this be why Bernhard Willhelm designed these?

 
God, I hope not. Because if Herr Willhelm thinks I'm gonna wear these just because he made them for me and my ilk, he's gonna be sorely disappointed. Of course it begs the question, for whom did he design these...shants? Ports? Shousers? Torts? I don't know what to call them. Other than hideous and wrong.

I wonder if they'd make you walk weird? Or if they would inadvertently force you to work that much harder at toning your right leg resulting in lopsided muscle definition? Maybe the designer can partner up with Reebok and get them to sell those EasyTone shoes in singles. That way the flabby pant leg can get a workout with every step and try to catch up to the sexy shorts leg. Come to think of it, Herr Willhelm has just cut all of our workout times in half with these things. And for that, we thank you. 

Monday, 3 May 2010

Leave the lederhosen to the kinder

If I had to choose my favourite season, summer would not be number one. In fact, it wouldn't even make it into the top three. Fall is my favourite for its poetic blend of nostalgia and bitterness. It's both beautiful and cruel, just like those expensive five-inch stilettos that cost you two paycheques and which you vowed to wear all-the-time because they go-with-everything but which almost caused you to plummet to your death while negotiating a spiral staircase after several martinis. And by you, I mean me.

This year, though, I'm looking forward to summer. The only explanation I can offer for this uncharacteristic change of heart is that I just went through my first Canadian winter as a dog owner. Of a dog, mind you, who curls up on a patch of ice and falls blissfully asleep the way most animals can only do on your goose-down duvet in front of a roaring fire. Of a dog who is capable of clawing through glass just to get a face full of fresh snow. A dog who sweats in -20 degree winds. Come to think of it, for a 14-month-old chocolate Lab, Floyd is remarkably similar to a menopausal woman in the throes of a hot flash. And being a good 20 years away from experiencing hot flashes myself, I tend to get a bit chilly when I walk the little monster. So yeah, I'm pretty psyched that summer is upon us.

What I'm not looking forward to, however, is the inevitable onslaught of fashion don't's that accompany the season: short-shorts and high heels, white jeans and red thongs, tube tops and tan lines. I dare say, I wouldn't bat an eyelash if I saw a woman swing herself around a bus stop pole. To add insult to injury, designers have decreed leather shorts to be a summer staple this year. They're calling them lederhosen (German for leather pants), the likes of which have until now been reserved for deutsche kinder and anyone with a walk-on role in The Sound of Music. (Though I would be remiss if I didn't also cite Chevy Chase in the greatest scene in European Vacation where his misunderstanding of a traditional German dance spirals into a festival-wide brawl.) It would seem that leather shorts are no longer the sole domain of S&M bars and gay pride parades. No, they're trendy. As seen on the runways of Chloé, YSL and Pucci, in the Bergdorf Goodman catalogue and even the shelves of Zara. You know what that means: expect to see them on a Main Street near you. Worse, near me. Scheiße.

Lederhosen on a child, where they may (or may not) belong








 Leather shorts at YSL and Cholé, where they definitely do not belong


I'm not so naive that I don't understand the sweeping appeal of a girl in short-shorts and heels, white jeans and a red thong, a tube top and tan lines, I just think it's tacky. But leather shorts bring out a whole other finger-wagging, tsk-tsk'ing old lady in me and she's most concerned about hygiene and breathability and ensuring a safe environment for all your lady bits. All things that will be highly compromised by leather shorts on a hot, humid day in July. And that's cruelty of the ugliest kind.
          

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

What Would Gwyneth Do?

In my ongoing series on things I will pass judgment on without ever reading/watching/clicking/buying, I would like to dedicate this post to Gwyneth Paltrow's unabashedly sanctimonious crapbag of a website, goop.com, which I've never actually read. But I know the gist of it (see blog post from March 2009 http://thechicstorm.blogspot.com/2009/03/goop-this.html). Just as la Paltrow lights up her subscribers' lives via a daily reminder of how blessed she is to be To The Manor Born and then tells them how to be just like her, so will I give you the skinny on what I love and which makes me...well...unemployed with no future prospects in the autumn of my professional life, but if nothing else on the receiving end of some sweet swag.

Better than Botox

I don't often align myself with one brand, but I love Kiehl's. Their products are amazing and the company is truly commitment to the environment. Plus, their stores are so inviting and warm — I used to spend hours in the 3rd Avenue flagship in New York when I was avoiding deadlines. The new Kiehl's store in Yorkdale Mall, which opened last week, is no exception. Filled with repurposed materials, like aeroplane scrap metal that lines the entrance, vintage medicine cabinets and pop art-inspired neon signs, it sucked me in immediately. But it's the product that keeps me coming back for more. If there's one Kiehl's item I simply cannot live without, it's their Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. With a high concentration of 10.5% pure vitamin C, this miracle product virtually erases fine lines to take your face back to a time when bad decisions and feathered bangs were your M.O. Admittedly, I have pretty good skin for a 3*-year-old gal (on a good day I'll still get asked what grade I'm in....by an octogenarian with severe cataracts, but whatever.) Even with my good genes and a Cullen-like avoidance of direct sunlight, the last three decades are starting to imprint themselves on my forehead and I'm none too pleased about it. With Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, however, those lines are a thing of the past...or future...or...oh whatever, they just go away, ok?

The new Kiehl's store in Yorkdale Mall

 Better than botox: Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, $77


Lock Talk and Two Smokin' Broads

A few weeks ago my friend in frippery asked me to be her date to the Genie Awards, which she was kindly invited to attend by the good folks at John Frieda. Although our party days ended around the same time as the halcyon era of glossy magazine journalism took its last ostentatious bow, we still can't resist an opportunity to get dolled up and try to catch Scott Speedman's eye. (For better or for worse, we ended up spending the evening chatting with three gentlemen and didn't actually see Speedy.) But we did see some incredibly cool 'dos by the hands of the John Frieda experts on Canadian celebs Karine Vanasse and Carine Leduc. Although I didn't take the John Frieda stylists up on their offer to coif me — and coif me good, I presume — I do turn to Sir Frieda regularly to ensure that my curls remain as bouncy and frizz free as is humanly possible. [This is where I switch on my brand spokesperson voice]: For shiny, bouncy and frizz-free curls I use John Frieda Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Conditioner in the shower. To style, I squeeze excess water out of my hair, run a dollop of John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum through my locks, twist individual strands into ringlets and dry with a diffuser. In less than ten minutes I have gorgeous, manageable and frizz free curls! [Stacy London eat your heart out.]













 My must-have hair products: John Frieda Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Conditioner and Hair Serum


I will now step down from my product pulpit and go back to the sofa. Because telling you people how to be awesome like me is exhausting. And I've got some soaps to catch up on.

Friday, 23 April 2010

French women don't get fat. Could that explain why they're so bitchy?

Surely you've heard of the book "French Women Don't Get Fat". I won't lie, I haven't read it. Nor do I have any intentions of doing so. The title annoys me on so many levels, and not just because I've seen plenty of corpulent dames walking the streets of Paris. I have a sneaking suspicion that the book reeks of the kind of nauseating superiority that has given the French such an unsavory reputation the western world over. And doesn't that make it, how do you say, un cliché? It's not that I dislike the French (entirely) or that I disagree with their lifestyle. I mean, we are talking about a people who have given us champagne, camembert and Chanel. They can't all be bad.


"Plus-size is not flattering to fashion"

There is one in particular, however, who really ground my gears this week. Garance Doré, a Paris-based style blogger of dubious influence, went on the record with British Vogue to comment on fashion's recent trending toward plus-size models. "It's not such a good thing to show plus-size because it's not really physically healthy and not always flattering to fashion," she said. I'll give her this, at least she stands behind her blog, because the only intrinsically stylish on-the-street people she shoots are ones who look like they just walked out of a casting for a Jean-Luc Godard film. It bears mentioning that the following day she tried to recant by telling the Huffington Post: "...what I said is that I will be happy to see [plus-sized models] on a runway on a regular basis, just mixed [in with regular models] and not [walking] all together at the same time." That doesn't sound like much of an apology to me, but maybe the mea culpa was lost in translation. Because I refuse to believe that she actually said plus-sized models are fine to put on a runway provided they're interspersed with skinny ones. I bet she's the type of woman who goes on coffee-and-cigarettes diets five days before a big event.
     
There was a time, I admit, when I would spot a stick-thin girl on the street and stare at her longingly, while quietly cursing my genetic lot and the thighs that came with it. And despite a recent ceasefire between me and the skinny bitch who lies within and keeps telling me to step away from the bread, it's not over between me and my thighs. I really want us to be friends, but I'm afraid if people like Garance Doré keep telling me that thin is in, it's never going to happen. The reality is that the thinness obsession that has been perpetuated by the fashion industry (okay, and continues to be, for the most part) is really starting to seem outdated. If the sweeping obesity epidemic has taught us anything, it's that proper nutrition is paramount to looking and feeling great. And if Esquire, the men's magazine dudes come to for the scantily clad women but stay for the articles (or is that Playboy?), is going to crown Christina Hendricks, a bombshell whose curves make mince meat of 32-25-32, the best-looking woman today, it seems pretty clear that we're ready to toll the death knell of skinniness.     

Maybe Garance Doré should put down her camera and take a break. She could go to the South of France and work on other fashionable pursuits like increasing her nicotine intake and working on her tan. 

Friday, 16 April 2010

The last of the mean girls

I think I'm a dying breed. [Note: I'm not actually dying.] I'm just saying that me and my kind are slowly but surely becoming extinct. Or at least as far as Rita Wilson is concerned: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/feature-articles/being-nice-is-fashionable-0310. In her recent Harper's Bazaar story on how "nice is the new black" (her words, not mine), it is painfully clear that there's no room in this new sugar-n-spice world for vitriolic curmudgeons like me. I guess I had it coming; society at large would stand for my brand of caustic commentary only so long.


"I hope [it's] here to stay. Nice is the new black."

Maybe it's nice that nice is back. (Although, between you, me and the lamppost — and the other two people who read this blog — I've always hated the word "nice." Shocking, I know. It's so bland and blah and bloring. See what I just did there?) If nothing else, there are sure to be a whole lot more people smiling out there. And let's be frank, with unemployment rates steady at shit-outta-luck levels, a continuously depleting ozone layer, melting polar ice caps and Lindsay Lohan's new clothing line, a smile is just the kind of emotionally-stunted hands free hug we could use right now.    

But should anyone decide to invade my personal space and close in for an actual hug (God help them), Scope and Crest have got my back. Or my mouth, to be more precise. Last week, the good people at P&G and MS&L PR invited me on "A Date with Shaun Majumder," a cast member from This Hour Has 22 Minutes and one of the best stand-up comedians I've seen in a long, long time. It's testament to his talent that he managed to seamlessly incorporate plugs for Scope's new Outlast mouthwash and Crest's Extra White Plus Scope Outlast toothpaste without coming across like a corporate shill. (Just a note to P&G execs, I have no problem shilling for a multinational corporation, if you're ever looking for someone new. I'm not as funny as that Majumder guy, but I do a spot-on Ralph Wiggum impersonation.) The Outlast technology in these two new products claim to keep breath fresh up to five times longer than your regular routine. Which is good, because the poor schmuck who tries to give me a hug is bound to get an earful that will last up to five times longer than their regular talking to. 

I'm not sure if P&G has been chatting with my mother or if they just know I haven't been on a date since the Bush administration, but a couple of days ago they introduced me (and a bunch of other beauty writers) to some new Crest and Oral-B products presented by none other than Olympic gold medalist Jon Montgomery. Although the dreamy ginger with the startling light jade-coloured eyes dropped the word "girlfriend" about 50 times in his presentation, he quite literally had me at hello. I think he mentioned some stuff about a new 3D White collection that encompasses Whitestrips, toothpastes, toothbrushes and a rinse that whiten and help protect against future stains, but I'm not entirely sure. I was too busy swooning over his slick suit and shiny shoes. Afterward, he was polite enough to indulge us with photos and let me hold his medal (literally, not metaphorically), which is really heavy with a super cool Native-inspired design embossed on it. I got to ask him how he ever came to participate in skeleton, a sport where you lie down on a narrow sled-like device and throw yourself head first down an icy ramp at, like, 140,000 kilometres an hour. His response: "I saw someone do it once and thought it was cool." (Well, I think that's what he said. I kinda got lost in his eyes while he was talking to me.) 


Here we are with Jon "dreamboat" Montgomery


I'm not so sure what all this means in terms of making me a nicer person. If nothing else, at least the people I yell at will get a minty fresh burst from my mouth, in addition to scathing criticism punctuated with profanity. I will say this, though, I look forward to putting my Scope and Crest samples to good use. That way, if I ever have a chance at another tete-a-tete with Jon Montgomery, he can get lost in my dazzling smile.   

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

And now for a little shameless self-promotion

It took me a full 48 hours to come up with a new year's resolution this year. I had already quit smoking and I hate gyms, so the ol' faithfuls were out. I gave up on trying to be a "better person" years ago, as my friend[s] and [estranged] family can attest, so that wasn't even a consideration. And looking on the bright side of life seemed like it would take a whole lot of concentration and effort, especially when a neat little pill can take care of that for you. After ruling out more facetious resolutions — like, buy more shoes and be judgmental — I settled on "2010: The Year of Self-Promotion." Sure, it's self-involved and selfish and self-centred, and there's no "i" in magnanimous (wait a minute...), but I realized that the humble writer angle I've been working all these years is the reason bookies (aka. VISA) are after me. And hell, if Lauren Weisberger is getting million-dollar book deals while I'm publishing zines out of my parents' basement there's something seriously wrong with the world and it's up to me to correct it. 

I considered posting a YouTube video of me lighting my high school diploma on fire and rhythmically chanting "I am so smart. Smrt." But then I remembered that's been done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhrfhjLd9e4


Instead, what I'll do is post recent links to the LG Fashion Week coverage I've done for the Fall/Winter 2010 shows. (Of course what I'd really like to post is a story about what a shit show fashion week was this season. How the venue felt like a Eurotrash nightclub; how the the media was treated like second-class citizens; how it was teeming with people who have nothing to do with the fashion industry; and most of all, how the guy who tells us to take our seats needs to stick to emcee'ing weddings in suburban banquet halls because we're well aware that when the lights dim it means the show's about to start.) But I'm not going to write about that. Instead, I'll write this:

Style snub 
What does it mean when some of the country’s biggest fashion designers decide to boycott their very own fashion week? 
http://www.ellecanada.com/home/fashion/style-snub/a/33242 

The It List 
ELLECanada.com brings you the top five trends for fall 2010-11 from the runways of LG Fashion Week. 
http://www.ellecanada.com/fashion/fashion-weeks/the-it-list/a/33449 

FASHION WEEK HAIKUS: Poetry in motion
http://thestylenotebook.com/2010/04/07/fashion-week-haikus-poetry-in-motion/#more-1490 

As my last order of self-promotion for today, I'd like to recount for you a thrilling email exchange that took place on Saturday between me and Jessica of GoFugYourself.com fame (http://gofugyourself.celebuzz.com/), whose acrimonious witticisms on celebrity fashion are unparalleled in the blogosphere today.

Jessica to me:
I just checked out your blog and it's GREAT! I could not agree with you more about "fashion sweatpants." I mean....seriously, people. THEY'RE SWEATS. JUST SAY NO. I've totally bookmarked you and can't wait to read more!

me to Jessica:
Wow, thanks so much! I'm so flattered you like my blog!! You just made my week!!!
P.S. Though we see eye-to-eye on the fashion sweats issue, I feel the need to admit to you that I love peg leg trousers (or hammer pants, as we both know I'm afraid to say out loud) and wore them to an event last night to rave reviews. I'm not sure if this means we can't be friends, but I had to let you know before you learned it from someone else. Phew. I feel so much better now.

Jessica to me:
Well, how boring it would be if we agreed on EVERYTHING, right? :)

me to me and anyone else who will listen:
OMIGODTHEFUGGIRLSREADMYBLOGANDTHEYLIKEIT!!!! AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

And for one blissful day, I was a better person who looked on the bright side of life.

Friday, 9 April 2010

A message to fashion sweats: Cantstandya!

A famous comedian once remarked (on his namesake show that ran to critical acclaim for eight years) to his short, stout and unemployed friend (who never really made it anywhere after the show ended and is now fronting a new Jenny Craig campaign presumably so that the weight loss company can start duping chubby, insecure men, because as another fading comedic actress known for her role as a sexy, smart-talking business woman on another defunct but equally relevant television sitcom already proved, the diet don't work!): "You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world, 'I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'"

 "My name is George. I'm unemployed and I live with my parents."   

I firmly believe this is what designers were thinking when they put "fashion sweats" on the runways two years ago. It started with Isabel Marant and Alexander Wang, and quickly spread like an STD to the design studios of Michael Kors, Thakoon, Bottega Veneta, Jean Paul Gaultier and Rag & Bone. It would seem that Seinfeld's summation was right on the money, as it were, especially when you consider the aforementioned sweatpants slouched down the runway around the same time that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost their shirts. The luxury market took a fairly serious blow — a setback so dramatic it sent even the most fastidious fashion plates to seek comfort in fleece-lined pants. And, presumably, a pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. (Remember how in Mean Girls one of their rules was they could only wear sweatpants on Fridays and then Rachel McAdams shows up in sweats on a Monday and when one of the other mean girls tells her she can't sit with them she says that they're the only thing that fits? Because, of course, Lindsay Lohan was tricking her into eating these high calorie bars her mother used to feed to starving kids in Africa.) I rest my case. Convoluted though that last point may be.

 Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone s/s 2010

Well, not quite. It may be that I'm getting old or that I'm alone too much engaging in existential discussions with my dog or that as a writer I spend far too much time in my head versus, say, interacting with society and people and stuff, but I swear this is a conspiracy fronted by the fashion industry and secretly financed by beauty companies and celebrity hairstylists to make us wear shit that we'll look back on in six months and cringe (or what my brilliant friend Lindsay once called shameafreude) and be forced to run out and buy new clothes and, naturally, get a new haircut and new makeup because if What Not To Wear has taught us anything it's that no one who wears sweatpants to work can possibly have good hair and be aware of their amazing bone structure and eyebrows most girls would kill for. And I'm SO ON TO THEM.  

And for the record, much as I may resemble George Costanza these days — short, stout, unemployed — and the cliché of the freelance writer means my gainfully employed friends always picture me in sweatpants scarfing cookies as we chat on the phone about global warming and Robert Pattinson's hair on any given morning, I don't even own sweatpants. Fashion-y or otherwise. And as God is my witness (and boy, has God ever witnessed pathetic shit over at my house) I will never, ever wear fashion sweats!

The prosecution rests.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Young ladies and the tramps

Remember your prom? The meringue dress, your date's cheap rented tux, the mismatched concealer on your chin zit, the stretch limo that smelled vaguely of Love's Baby Soft? And what about the reddish-brown carnation he slipped on your wrist or his declaration of "You make me sweaty" as he awkwardly attempted to grab your ass while you slow danced to Meatloaf? Ah, adolescence. So distant, so scarring, so self-consciously cringe-y.

Except, it's not like that anymore. At some point over the past 20 or 30 years, teenagers stopped being uneasy and awkward. Kids today are somehow bypassing their ugly duckling phase and going right into slutty swan. I've seen it. A few years ago when I was working as a mid-level editor at a national publication, I was asked to give a speech at my old high school before their annual fashion show. (I haven't been asked back since I quit my job. Apparently 30-plus-year-old freelance writers who sleep til noon, bounce cheques and live off their parents aren't exactly the models education administrators want for their Future Leaders Of Canada. Go fig.) As I walked through those hallowed halls, all signs of adolescent malaise — acne, baby fat, mismatched clothes and general despondence — had been replaced with bodycon dresses with a side order of fake nails and hair extensions. These were not girls on the verge of coming-of-age. It came, it saw, it slutted them up.      

It gets worse. This season, the New York Post recently reported, the theme in prom dresses is "slutty chic." "For prom this year, girls want short and poofy or long, tight-fitting, with everything cut out -- the sides are gone, the back is gone, the front is basically gone," a dress store manager in Brooklyn told the paper. (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/prom_queens_ohAX8aoexUMuvj6P6MhgRI) There are going to be some slutty and I would imagine, chilly, teenage girls roaming the streets this spring. Lock up yer sons! And it's not just the tacky stores that line the boulevard of broken dreams that stock these wonders, Saks is selling some pretty questionable styles too. 


Pencey and Black Halo dresses both available at Saks


Two popular cut-out styles

I wonder if the pendulum theory would ever apply in a situation like this? If 20 years from now I walk into a high school gymnasium and witness a bunch of disheveled kids slow dancing in their mismatched pajamas. It would be a freelancer writer's dream come true.