Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Crocs change their scales, but still...

My 20 year old twin sons are pretty cool about letting me do my thing, dress-wise. If I ask, "Do I look fat in this"?, Jules teases, "Yes, makes your butt look immense."

They're mostly complimentary, never actively weighing in, except for one item.


Their lone style imperative: "Maman, you can't ever wear Crocs."


Apparently the company's posting losses. Trying to boost sales, they've expanded the product line, so you could now buy a high-heeled model, the Cyprus. Mistake, despite the rockin' ruby colour!

I might wear the Cleo sandal (below) at a cottage, but it's still a Croc and my boys would know.

A mother
has to provide inspiration.

Photo: www.softmoc.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What can't you live without?



When I read a recent "10 Things I Can't Live Without" list, I began to play the game.

I could list noble items, like the hundreds of books in my home, but the article was on a "soy latte" level, so I'm keeping
mine there.

Of course each of these items is a luxury, the "live without" really means "They put a twinkle into life!"


1. Yoga class
Nothing feels better for my body, calms, opens channels of emotion and creativity


2
. Lindt Excellence Chocolate Intense Orange bars

So satisfying that a tiny square sets me up


3. Hair colour

I don't know what's under there, and don't want to


4.
A well-cut black skirt (e
specially matte jersey)
The equivalent of jeans for me.


5. Cashmere sweaters
Cozy and light; life in Canada requires a petite laine layer much of the year


6. Blundstones

I have dressy boots but never wear them


7. Mascara
(Lancome)
Without it, cannot see the world and vice-versa

8. Do
wn-filled duvet
Its floaty warmth is the definition of "comfort and joy"


...and I'm done.



I love other
things: perfume, textiles, pearls, Arche shoes, french fries, peonies, a glass of wine- but I could live without or merely cherish their memory.

Magazines publish these lists to fan the consumer flame: if she can't live without it, you should want one too.
This is the raison d'etre of magazines like In Style.

Never understood why the publishers assume that if Reese Witherspoon bought a particular vase, I would care. But apparently it works.

What's on your list?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fun in bed

I am coveting the strangest item: a bedjacket.

The urge first struck when I unthinkingly grabbed an old cashmere cardigan to wear over a too-thin black nightie while reading in bed.
Mmmmm.

The one of my Mom's friends said, "I just love that
bedjacket your mother gave me!" with ardent appreciation. The notion of a bedjacket slipped into the capacious section of my brain labeled Clothes.

A ballet wrap (top left) will do, and of course doubles as non-bed-wear.


But
ooooh, this cashmere mini-robe, from French Dressing Lingerie a Boston-based shop, is luscious, and could well make its way to the breakfast table.

I wouldn't wear the quilted silk number from Hammacher Schlemmer (bottom photo) outside the bedroom, but at $60 (reduced from $120) it's a glamorous light layer that would be more appreciated by DH than a flannel LL Bean nightie.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Premium Discount mall miasma

I visited two Premium Discount malls while in Florida recently- not my first trip, but hope springs eternal. What I found: an abundance of small sizes, which led me to dub the place XSMall.

Price reduction in many stores not as significant as the sale racks at Saks or Nordstrom.
But it was the quality of the goods in many shops that had me seething: the peddling of second-line shoddy merch (made exclusively for these outlet stores) that diminishes the brand.

Shame on you Coach, Aldo, Cole Haan.
Looks like these brands think we'd buy anything with their logo, even if the stitching is lumpy, the leather stiff.

J. Crew offers the same goods as in stores/catalogs, but it's just as cheap in an online sale. Banana Republic has a mix- some store items and some I suspect made for outlets.

You can find treasures
, if you're the right size: a sumptuous Etro silk poet shirt (in a pattern like that shown above) reduced to $400 from $1300 at Saks' Off Fifth. I wouldn't wear it enough for the price.

If you're a tiny perfect Prada devotee (with a large perfect wallet), you would have cleaned up.
But confronted by long rows of pallid Eileen Fisher cardigans in the throes of hanger death, it was a dispiriting outing.

My DH (an XL) hit pay dirt at Brooks Brothers- stocked up on spring-shaded polos, several linen shirts, and linen pants, all 40-55% less store prices.

Judging from the bulging racks, the
boxy 3/4 sleeve jacket (below) that looks like a truncated old-school maternity top is good for this season (if you liked it), then over.




Thursday, April 24, 2008

Giraffes do change their spots



I've just spent a week in southwest Florida, and as always when I travel, played What's the Trend.

This Dooney & Bourke bag showed up everywhere; I spotted it (yes, Duchesse will pun) in five star resorts and back seats of BMW convertibles. Around $400 for this drawstring model.

But equally ubiquitous is the replica vinyl model (below), which I saw at Starbucks, the discount designer mall, and in my hotel dining room.

I had a pinch of one, it was sturdy and supple, way better quality than I expected.

My first thought was: "I would choose the D&B", but when one woman told me she'd picked up hers at a flea market for $30, I felt myself weaken.

It's a fun summer bag, not a classic, so the cheapie might supply just enough giraffe.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In the sky, with diamonds


I've always loved A.G.A. Correa's diamond constellation jewelry; I recall seeing the first pieces in The New Yorker many years ago.

Mr. Correa Sr. was inspired one evening looking at a star
ry sky. The diamonds are chosen in perfect proportion to each constellation, and placed in specially-designed setting that minimizes the metal. The Aquarius brooch shown is about $5600; the smaller Ursula Minor is $1500.


I
'm looking now for pieces I can give one day to a daughter in law or granddaughter (come on, boys!), and a magical image of the starry sky would be my choice.

Timeless, classic yet inventive, these are stars light, stars bright to wish upon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

UdeMan Part Two: Keef

Dear Ms. Hanson,
I have long admired you, and (at least as represented in interviews), you seem to be a forthright and level-headed woman.

I am wondering if you would do me a favour: please reply and tell me what it's like to brush your teeth next to Keith Richards.


I've always loved Keith,
quintessential rakish bad boy and guitar god, maybe before Patti did. Always wanted to be able to say, "Mom, Dad... meet Keith."

If you're not sure you'd like him, watch the Gram Parsons doc, "Grievous Angel". Keef the person, the friend, speaks with warmth, pain, reverence. Not just a pretty face.

T
his photo from the Louis Vuitton campaign captures the essence of louche luxe, the elder rock panther in his natural habitat.

I don't have a thing for Vuitton, though. Most women who carry LV in my city are either sloppily dressed (low-rise jeans, scuffed heels) or In Style magazine clones.


Photo: Annie Liebovitz

Monday, April 21, 2008

Buffed nails: Fresher fingertips

Funny how we might replace an out-of-date jacket from our wardrobes, yet button the new one with obsolete nails.

(Top photo: Scary French job.)


The natural-nail trend is gaining ground, and I'm in favour. I like my "red buttons", especially for parties, but years of budget salon services left my cuticles mowed into shaggy U's that look ratty two days after the manicure.

I'm rehabing the cuticles (which involves banning sharp instruments) and dark polish just draws the eye there.


I'm edging over to buffed finish (bottom photo) rather than polish. I admit it's not as glam as lacquered red, but it's fresh for spring and impervious to wear.
The shine lasts 3-4 days; re-doing is a 3-minute breeze.

Manicurists here are a touch surprised- they're used to buffing only for men. One luxury womens' spa did not have a buffer.

I use one of the three-way blocks at home, or if I'm feeling retro, a chamois buffer and cream.


The secret to a posh rather than practical look? Impeccable shaping, and use of a nail-white pencil under your nails.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You simply don't, when born 99 years ago


In memory of my mother, Evlin, who died peacefully this week after a full and stylish 99 years of life.

Advice from Evlin
Don't:
  • Cross your legs at the knee
Though at some point this was amended to "except with a Manhattan in your hand."
  • Smoke in public
She did quit- but when she smoked, never on the street and in a car only if in the middle of hell's half acre.
  • Forget to bring, on arrival at someone's home, a small gift; the gift should be homemade
"Don't show up with one arm as long as the other."
  • Pierce your ears
"Harlot! Gypsy!"
  • Carry Kleenex
"Why, when I bought you those beautiful hankies?"
  • Wear a suede jacket without putting a scarf between the collar and your neck
  • Wear too much lipstick...
"If you can blot it, it's too much."
  • ...BUT don't let your lipstick wear off!
(Tell me how they managed this.)
  • Be caught in houseclothes or loungewear when your husband comes home
"Wear a nice afternoon dress. he doesn't want to see you like that."
  • Comment about whose designs you're wearing or (the absolute worst) the price
"Those who know, know; those who don't know, don't need to know."


Have you heard? It's in the stars,
Next July we collide with Mars!
Well, did you evah?
What a swell party this is!

What a swella-gent, elegant party this is!

Anjela wearing her wellies



Belette, your wish is granted.

Lovely Anjela sent me a few photos: in gypsy skirt and denim, far left, and two avec Wellies.

She could ignite a major trend, which would be a damn sight better than Crocs.


Anjela is a woman of heart and mind: writer and editor, mother, owner of a small shop in the northeastern US.

I hope to show you an item from her silver line in an upcoming post.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday spree at Hudson's Bay

You know the feeling of having your arms full of clothes waiting to get into a change room?

Ahead of me, another woman, dressed in a black crepe suit she was considering, trying to figure out sizes.


My own decision concerned this cheetah print box-pleat cotton skirt that either would make me look like the entire pride, or quirky in a
good way. I put it on... and simply did not know. (I think the lights in department store change rooms leach brain cells.)

"Lady in Black Suit?" I inquired through the wall, "Are you still there?"


"Yes."


"I need an opinion, would you please tell me what you think?" (We Canadians are polite.)

The Lady came right out, in between trying two sizes of pants, and gave a forthright appraisal, including counsel on what to wear with the skirt: dark neutrals; hot pink or turquoise for a 50's look. She advised me to venture the slightly outrageous.


She was trying on a Jones Signature smallish-scale black and white animal print 3/4 topper (I guess that's why we bonded)- smashing with the pants to the new suit. I told her she had to buy it.

I learned that her name is Lana, that she has a friend who urges her to wear vibrant colour, take risks, work her va-va-voom.

The classic advice is to shop alone. But I find someone else's eye (not that of a biased sales person) useful input. I even like it when I don't ask and someone ventures an opinion.

Also took this Nygard linen and rayon coral jacket with embroidered ecru flowers with tiny beaded centres o
n the front, very Palm Beachy- just need the T-bird.

Oh. And a classic white shirt, and a black-and-white linen tablecloth check shirt with a mandarin collar... all 40% off, thank you Hudson's Bay Company!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A crisis of food and conscience


This morning, the Globe & Mail ran Eric Reguly's report on the escalating world-wide food crisis, "How the Cupboards Went Bare".

As prices surge, starvation looms for millions.


"The causes include the turning of food into fuel (biofuels), climate change, high oil and natural gas prices, greater consumption of meat and dairy products as incomes rise, and global investment funds' strategies, which have driven up prices of corn, soybeans, wheat and rice to new highs."

Suddenly the consideration of which white shirt to buy seemed far less appealing than: what can I do?


I'm not likely to resist the siren call of more and redirect all discretionary income to reducing malnutrition, disease and famine, whether in Africa or my country... but I can give more.


I have no answers, just a question for you: how do you reconcile having and giving?

Toppers for torrents


Today's day-long thunderstorms whet my appetite for rainwear.

I like trenchcoats but they don't suit me; I get the same effect as with drawstring pants: a beamy, dowdy back view.
If they did, though, I'd spring for this Louise Amstrup short trench from the drool-worthy Rous Iland web site. (Applause for a European shop that will ship internationally.)

I love the bright blue stripes on one arm, the sweeping collar, the eccentric pockets. Finally, an original trench, not at all masculine.

Then I remembered a comment from Mme. Genvieve Dariaux' classic, "A Guide to Elegance", which I discovered in a summer cottage we rented in the '80s.

(Her book has since been reissued; an instructive, tartly-written compendium of Parisienne wisdom.)

She wrote that chic women in the city do not wear rainwear, but simply carry an umbrella.

Et voila! I put on a very lightly padded black nylon blazer than I found on triple markdown at Talbot's for $36, but it looks like Prada, especially since I changed the buttons.

(Very, very rarely does Talbots pull this off and when they do, they deserve pronunciation a la Tar-jay.)


Grabbed a big proper umbrella, and out the door.

Garnet Hill trench


This one, Anjela? At $128 it's certainly reasonable but I'd take it in pear or coral for some interest. Or add pair of your red Wellies!

The one I posted, (500 pounds as I recall), raised my pulse rate!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Journeywoman: If your passion is travel

I recently sat with executives of a life insurance company and heard them lay out the key activities for various life stages. The little slice from 55-65 was labeled "Travel". At some point north of 50, women are freer to travel, and while some well over 65 are planning kayaking expeditions to Patagonia, that 10 year slice is a travel-intensive time.

Evelyn Hannon produces
Journeywoman, an exciting, resource-rich travel newsletter just for women. JW's packed with tips, resources, reports- and it's free.

Journeywoman also posts trips, a great way to find your next adventure: learning about Greek goddesses (and you, as one) on Santorini, staying on a comfortable farm in Thailand (with cooking lessons from your gracious hostess), celebrating the Wesak Full Moon during a private visit to Stonehenge... from the intrepid to the indulgent, JW gives me "travel drool."


Evelyn finds and qualifies great resources. I love the idea of
JustUsGirlsTravel.com, a matching service for women on their own who don't want to travel alone.

JW's HERmail.net Directory can link you with a woman in a city you're visiting, for mentoring, referrals, or even a meeting, rescuing you from the all-commercial tourist experience.


Currently a faculty member aboard
Semester at Sea, Evelyn is a true bonne vivante who supports you in every adventure, from a modest country weekend a short drive from home to a full-out safari.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Catalog porn: Python print dress lust

I'm easily seduced by catalogs. Here's a insouciant silk twill python-print dress from J. Crew.

I want it.


No, wait. I want to be a coltish Seven Sisters senior invited to Spring Fling by my lacrosse-playing boyfriend, Graeme. I want to be able to drink six Manhattans and dance to dirty house till 4 am. with no hangover.


Graeme proposes, and offers me a 2 carat pear-shaped diamond, which might be flashy, but it's a family heirloom. I will admire the ring while I study for my theoretical physics final- have to maintain my "A" average.


This is catalog porn; the clothes as metaphor for a life, which may be desirable or merely entertaining, depending on your dreams.

I would love to have this dress cut longer and large enough for my shape (a healthy 14-16).

I could comb fabric stores ("Do you have an olive python printed silk?"), hire a dressmaker, and hope it turns out. But that's even more of a fantasy than my life in the dress.

A more womanly interpretation could well result in a costly disaster: mutton dressed as snake.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Do the Funky Wellie



Some of you wonder: where does Anjela get her wellies?

You can wellie in classic green or black but why not funky wellie?

Help is at hand from (really)
The Funky Wellington Boot Company.

You can kit yourself and even the family in matching splashers for about $60 a pair, plus shipping.
All photos from their web site; yes, they ship internationally.

The gift no one else will give: a Funky Wellington Gift Boot Voucher! Let your kid's teacher set her self free; give your husband a little something in rubber.

Spring grace notes













On my To Do List:
  • Make homemade biscotti to thank Sandy for lending me Season Five of The Wire
  • Brush Duke, the tabby, to help him lose his old winter coat
  • Buy freesia (they last longer than tulips)
  • Throw out old makeup, replace- and that includes everything powdered that's worn to the glass below it and funny tasting lipstick... out!
  • Splurge on one of Hermes' new Egyptian cotton scarves. Devours a major chunk of my seasonal budget, but I'm learning: buy one great thing for both the pleasure and the simplicity

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Forever Cool: A stylist's lessons for 50+

I'm meeting a friend for lunch today to pass on my copy of "Forever Cool: How to Achieve Ageless, Youthful and Modern Personal Style" by style consultant Sherrie Mathieson.

I enjoyed her book far better then the much-touted "How Not to Look Old" by Charla Krupp (later for her) for three reasons:


1. The extensive Never Cool/Forever Cool photos provide a coherent story about the looks; you can actually
see the clothes, accessories and styling

2. The guys get help too; half the book is mens' attire

3. The use of a relatively wide range of age (up to 75) and weight for the real-life models. Lauren Hutton would look good in a prison jumpsuit. These are normal people.

What's she saying?


Mathieson promotes less-is-more neutrals with pops of colour and great accessories- no news flash here. But seeing the pieces with explanations about why they're right for each woman's shape builds your eye for your next shopping trip.


The Never Cool shots are squirmingly accurate, and include the ubiquitous "walking craft show" effect, overwrought applique (which I guess is redundant) and sage-and-rose floral pastels. In fact floral
anything tends toward the Never Cool side of the page.

Ms. M. likes skin-flattering coral tops, vintage Mexican silver necklaces, and lightweight wool-crepe pants.
There's no one Cool; she shows sleek and minimalist, ethnic/arty and sleek business looks- all of them wearable.

Price points are mostly mid-priced to rather expensive, supporting her deeply-held principle of buying quality clothes that
fit.

"Forever Cool" operates from the premise that you don't want to fool people into thinking you're 30, let alone Forever 21- just look marvelous.


A dream day for me: morning with Sherrie pruning my closet, afternoon shopping with her. Wait, make that a weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A singular style: What Anjela loves

Anjela, an elegant, articulate friend, wrote recently about her refined yet playful style:

"
We are not 20 somethings and yet, not ready (I speak for myself) to jump into old lady clothes.

Though I, myself wear weird get-ups like Hunter Wellies with gypsy skirts or black jeans with J. Crew ballerina-style shoes or white tee shirts from Kohl's (really inexpensive) or a Ralph Lauren tweed skirt (HE HAS amazing sales online) with a Lauro Piana cashmere sweater.


I love Ghost of London for their beautiful silk blouses which go with threadbare jeans and boots of softest leather... Their black dress cut on the bias swings with such attitude it is sensuality personified but with undertones of class and elegance.


I adore Nicole Farhi and would wear her stuff ad nauseum if I had the money ...she makes ageless, timeless clothes) and add a strand of pearls to wear with casual stuff or the silver ball necklaces which works really well with a Pink of London man's shirt. I personally love Ralph Lauren men's shirts- and perfume subtle.

I love & adore contradictions in clothes- silk with denim and wool with silk and harsh with soft fabrics and integrating elements of masculine with feminine- androgeny can feel so good.


I once bought a pair of Prada black shoes- flat and chunky and have worn them with a sweeping pair of Eileen Fisher pants, to top it off a man's sweater and underneath a Rigby & Peller bra that is ultra feminine.


I love that ou
tfit and it is more what I know than what I expose- to the world I may seem in a plain mood but, to myself I can feel the intricacies of lace against skin."

Anjela's ode to sensuality moves and heartens me. The reference to her "get-ups" is, believe me, tongue in chic.

The magic ingredient is
quality. Better to hunt for your fine cashmere on sale than to cut corners with a synthetic.

If you'd like some beautiful new lingerie: Rigby & Peller is sold online through Fig Leaves' UK site; the US site is also lavishly stocked, but does not carry some of the European lines (like Barbara, my favourite.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Great colour, less cash: Beauty schools rule

I used to drop $115 for a monthly salon hair colour, including tax and tip. That's mid-price for a downtown salon in my big city. Inertia and fear of a bad job kept me from scouting cheaper places.

Then I had lunch with Colleen, a glamorous honey-blonde. She told me she had her highlights done at the school of the local Aveda Institute for $55, "but it's going up... to $60" she mourned.
What? My friend Amanda drops $225 for hers.

Didn't I just get myself booked into the Institute's school (yes that sounds redundant, but there is a full price salon on the ground floor), where an earnest young woman made me red again for $31.25 including tax and tip. (They consider my service a root touch up though they pull the colour through to the ends as a final step.)

The quality of the haircolour is fantastic. I'm a rich, shiny redder-than-auburn and I plan to stay that way till I can't get up those stairs. Aveda Educators check the work with eagle eyes.

After five visits, I'm prepared to say I have more attentive, precise service from the students than I did from the bored club kid who applied my goo in the Salon That Shall Go Nameless.

My visit might take 30 minutes longer, while the Educator gently quizzes the student on the colour formulation, training her eye, and for the hand massage- fine with me.

If you don't have an Aveda Institute, try any hairstyling school or salon chain that trains stylists. I don't think there's much risk if you
have the colour you want them to replicate, or can bring a photo.

Next, I'm considering the
cut. I checked out the clients today, and they look fab. The Educator's on it, right there to be sure you're pleased. I'm dithering, because I will spend anything for a great cut, and a lousy one inflicts months of pain and self-recrimination.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Becoming your own essence


Toronto Globe & Mail's Karen von Hahn wrote a provocative column, "Forget the fountain of youth- just age like a fine wine" in today's paper.

"Right now, everywhere you look, self-transformation is the name of the game. No matter who you are or what you care about, just being yourself means you're not trying hard enough.

Smart women who never banked on their looks to get them to the top of the heap have whitened their teeth, liposuctioned their thighs and enlarged their breasts to look like CEO Barbies..."


She lauds the opposing strategy, that of "becoming your very own essence, aging like fine wine or stinky cheese":

"The best ones, like the late Georgia O'Keeffe, sculptor Louise Nevelson... or the still rocking Patti Smith stuck hard with themselves. And as a result, exude the kind of powerful charisma that can come about only through a gradual ripening into their own self-acceptance."


I agree that there's too much pressure to "transform", to relentlessly pursue "a better you", and above all, to not look your age.

And I don't see it as an either/or choice. I applaud the friend who learns a new language (kudos, Carol), volunteers for a month at an orphanage in Thailand (cheers, Carolyn), or just changes her hairstyle after 23 years (smokin', Alice!)

For me, the deciding factor is whether our initiatives come from a place of desperation and fear or from the wish to live, learn, contribute.


Photo of Louise Nevelson: Jack Mitchell

Friday, April 4, 2008

Turquoise, gold Part 2: Should I fake it?

So there's my ring lust, exposed in the preceding post.

But browsing the J. Crew web site offered a budget alternative: a
Moroccan-inspired cocktail ring in resin stones and crystal, set in 12k gold-plated brass. The site calls the colour "cabana blue", so it's more saturated than than turquoise. With its coral and pistachio accents, it sings "Summer in the Souk".

The style is also avalable as earrings and a charm bracelet.
For $65, a possibility. Why am I not clicking to order?

1. A lot of costume jewelry is disappointing in person.

Gold's
burnished patina gives ever more pleasure over time. Gold plate is what it is- you'll never get that depth or richness.

I'd rather have honest silver or bronze than fake gold. As my beloved Aunt Magdalen said, "After 50, your jewelry should be real."


2. The site doesn't say, but I suspect this comes from China or India.

I'm not so dogmatic that I will only Buy Canadian; however, I know many brilliant Canadian and American artisans, and want to support their work. That is not a rationale for buying the Deleuse pearl ring in yesterday's post, which I can wear only in my Capri-dreams.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Turquoise, gold, pearl: An elegant combination


I unapologetically adore pearls, and I think over 50, you
own this gem!

The deal is, scale 'em up! Life begins at 10mm.

That does not mean hocking the house to buy a $60,000 strand of Tahitians.
Mabe pearls, also known as 'blister pearls', are usually generous, and provide great pearl value. Look for regular shape and lively iridesence.

The ring shown, aptly called "Capri" is by Janet Deleuse of Deleuse Jewelers, Tiburon CA, and, at $6,500, hardly a trinket.
I'm enchanted by the interplay of pearl, turquoise and 18k yellow gold. The essence of glamour, a ring a woman of 50+ can carry off.

This piece would lift a simple linen shirt and capris or pop a little black dress into the fabu-sphere.
Janet Deleuse's web site features this and other mouth-watering gems of high quality and impeccable technique.

You might be inspired by this ring and re-set your old pearl necklace with turquoise beads and a deep gold clasp. Or you can fall in looove with this ring, and make it your one and only.

There's much to be said for choosing one exquisite piece instead of a lot of lesser, just okay rings.

Photo: Deleuse Jewelers

Body shapers: Do they really?

The body shaper, the modern girdle, is one thing we 50+ women are told we absolutely need. Must. Not. Bulge. I've bought Spanx, Donna Karan, Flexees and a bunch of other brands, with hope and the fervent desire to Get It Together Under There.

I tug it on (gently... or there goes thirty bucks), and serve my self-inflicted sentence: every loathsome minute with crotch bifurcated, stomach straitjacketed and waist squished. If the temperature is above 70, I'm sweating in places my gyn says to keep dry.


Control-top pantyhose are less confining but provide minimal shaping, kind of a non-event- so I am happiest with no-line undies and a really good bra. What goes on between midriff and knees is my business.

Perhaps I could be sleeker... but in my darkest moments, I think the making shapers "an essential" is a plot to keep us
bound, harnessed and contained.

I just spring-cleaned my archives, I mean, closet and drawers, and all those elastic sheaths went in the trash.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An air of femininity: fans


Given the request to turn down the air conditioning, I expect to see a resurgence in the most alluring of accessories, the fan. An elegant woman would enjoy this silk batik version, framed in solid pinewood, by Thai designer Malati.

Let's banish those battery-operated hot-flash mini fans, nasty whirring plastic bullets with zero charm. Carry this graceful number to a restaurant, or hang on a wall to delight the eye. The very essence of spring!

You can find Malati fans and her other creations, including silk batik scarves, at the Novica web site. This fan, at $28 (plus $4 to ship to US addresses) is an affordable indulgence or original gift that will also prove practical on the first muggy evening.