Friday, October 28, 2005

Black Tie

Dear Jeepers:
I have a black tie event next week and was thinking of maybe wearing a men's suit (black tie), rather than a dress. I don't want to look Victor/Victoria, but as a tall, super slim woman, I think it might look glam. High heels, of course. What do you think?

-Just wondering

Dear Wondering,
We think that you would regret your choice as soon as you entered the room and saw all the gorgeous dresses. Instead, try a tuxedo-inspired dress. Black and white and crisp, but still a dress. (But, as a compromise, go ahead and lead when dancing.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Nation of NBA

Dear Jeepers,
I am a point guard in the NBA, and as such, I am prone to wearing throwback jerseys and gold chains. I am particularly fond of my 1975 orange-striped Astros uniform, and my diamond-studded monograms. But now, the Man (NBA commissioner David Stern, actually) is curbing my self-expression. He's enforcing a new dress code for all team business (and when am I not on team business!?).

No more jerseys or chains or "headgear" (whatever that means). The rule is now "business casual" (your favorite!): We must wear dress shirts and slacks and no sneakers or sandals or "work boots." We can't wear sunglasses indoors, and we must have sleeves.

Men's fashion may not be your forte, but please help. What's a man to do in these repressive times? And remember, I am very long.


Dearest Rejected,

Here are a few simple ways you can frustrate the commissioner without paying any fines:

1)The Catholic Schoolgirl Strategy: As any teenager in a school uniform could tell you, there are a billion sly ways to get around the rules. Commissioner Stern said "khakis or dress jeans," but who in the hell knows what dress jeans really are? For your next NBA business meeting, arrive in acid washed jeans covered in hundreds of tiny pockets.

2)The Beyond The Call of Duty Strategy: So, Commissioner Stern wants you to look like prep school athletic scholarship students or deputy directors of planned giving with zero sense of current style? Arrive to your next NBA press conference in a slightly too-small JC Penney's grey suit, a John O'Hara novel under your arm, chemically straightened hair, and Rockports. (Start smoking Capri cigarettes.)

3) The Black Power Strategy: Enlist every single other member of the NBA to join you in wearing black suits and bowties to all public appearances. Swear off women, booze, rowdiness, and every shot except the lay up. When asked to comment, raise left eyebrow slowly and say nothing.

Or, you could follow the example of the National Hockey League. When told that they must wear diamond pinky rings, do-rags, and $10,000 Italian suits, they gave up sports altogether.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This Just In

Merblouse with pearls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ethical Mermaid

Dear Jeepers:
Last night, a ship wrecked above our cave. The humans flailed about in the water, then disappeared onto a lip of land. Now their belongings float above us, some drifting slowly down--teacups and laminated maps, soggy rolls of toilet paper, backgammon pieces, bras and rubber boots.

Can I ethically take any of the clothes? Or should I gather them and swim to the island where the castaways are stranded, and return them?

Meredith Carib-Townsend

Dear Ms. Carib-Townsend,
We are not ethicists. An ethicist would answer: "By all means take a few of the items. As the castaways will certainly have more immediate concerns--like food and shelter from Tropical Storm ZZ Top--you may properly keep whatever you like."

We, on the other hand, are too overcome with a flood of questions for YOU to waste time answering any of yours. WHY would a mermaid want a shirt? HOW do you procreate? Is it any fun at ALL? What do you DO all day? Did you have anything to do with the shipwreck? Will you swim to a rock off the island's shore and beckon to the stranded sailors, who will strain with all their might as they swim through the waves, over the reef, to be by your side?


Saturday, October 15, 2005

To Throw the Best Party Ever

Dear Jeepers:I'm having a dinner party tonight and I hope to follow the advice I recently read, which suggested that a hostess should match her dress to her surroundings and even her food. This, the book says, gives an overall impression of harmony and lets the guests know how much careful planning you've done on their behalf. But how does one accomplish this on such short notice?

Hostess with the Mostest

Dear Hostess:
We have read that book too, and once, in slavish adherence to its advice, covered all our furniture in white canvas cloth to match our new white dress. The guests were alarmed, upon entering the apartment, to find themselves in what seemed to be an emergency room, or hazmat lab. It was our worst party ever. Our best party, on the other hand, found us painting the foyer a bright salmon pink hours before guests arrived. We hired a string trio, who arrived in black tie, rented 100 champagne flutes, and stocked up on five cases of wine and champagne. We piled two large platters with Popeye's chicken wings and called it a day. By eight-thirty, our small apartment was filled to the gills with more than 60 guests, who stayed until three in the morning dancing to Louie Prima in our bedroom and giggling and necking in the small kitchen.

If you are serving edible flowers, or glistening heaps of strawberries, please feel free to coordinate your dress accordingly. But, as it's more likely that you plan to serve cooked animal flesh and pureed root vegetables, expend all your efforts instead* in the business of getting guests so happily drunk that they won't remember what you wore, or whether you were even clothed at all.

*Ed. note: We have of late been reading Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Message Dresses

Want to encourage environmentally responsible fishing, safe driving, or the observance of Arbor Day? Wear one of these dresses to your next public appearance. (Also available: The Safe Sex pantsuit, Stop Overplucking Your Eyebrows ballgown, and Raise the Minimum Wage bikini.)

In Early Autumn

Trouser fabrics like tapestry, velvet boots, shelter dogs, hair that honors and celebrates humidity, boy cuts, pearl chokers, puffy sleeves, pretty senior citizenry.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Help from the Clothing Fairy

Dearest Jeepers,
I hate to shop. But I have NOTHING to wear. (Today I wore a muffin and a circular saw.) Any advice on how to build a wardrobe for this fall quickly and painlessly?

-Naked in Newport

Dear Naked,

If the Clothing Fairy won't visit you (place frayed or outmoded clothing beneath pillow before sleep), then you might have to go to stores. Here are some guidelines:

1) Haggle. Just because the tag reads "$149" doesn't mean the price is firm.
2) Identify a well-dressed person in your workplace, study her for three weeks, then buy clothes identical to hers.
3) Or, just buy one pair of lightweight wide-legged black wool trousers, three lacy camisoles, three long-sleeved tees in dark colors, one black or midnight blue or grey long, bulky cardigan with belt, some boots and one pair of complicated looking round-toed heels, one pair of dark jeans, and a flimsy cocktail dress that you love so much you'd consider wearing it to your wedding.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

With Eyeshadow

Recently I have read a number of articles emphatically stating that any woman in her right mind should NOT match her eye shadow to her outfit. If this is indeed true, what should determine the eye shadow colour I should wear?

Jen. x

Dear Jen X.,

Have you been reading The London Review of Books again? You simply must diversify your media intake and, also, not take any advice therein (especially stern eyeshadow admonishments) to heart too much. We know JUST what sort of alarming article you speak of. We'll never forget: We once read something (perhaps not even an article, but rather a piece of short fiction) that contained a line about how only whores wear green eyeshadow. This line was burned into our corneas (retinas?), and it was nearly a decade before we could apply green eyeshadow with confidence of impunity.

What emboldened us? The realization that those articles are written (by 24-year-old editorial assistants fresh off the boat from Ohio) to prevent wishy-washy women with no confidence from stumbling accidentally into garishness. (And also, one day our v. elegant Aunt Toddy took us for ice cream wearing an oatmeal tee, grey wool trousers, and a gorgeous, casual smudge of irredescent green eye shadow the color of dragonfly wings on each lid. She looked gorgeous.)

If you want to bat sparkling green eyelids at a handsome stranger while wearing a sparkly green dress, then you should! If you feel it deep in your bones that your eyelids should be taupe when you wear your taupe pantsuit, then do that. What the writers of those articles you read REALLY meant to say was: "The girl in the next cubicle, Esmé, rubs me the wrong way. And yesterday she wore blue eyeshadow with a blue dress. How can I secretly turn the world against her and also make her feel uncomfortably self-conscious when she reads the proofs for this sidebar?"


UPDATE: Questions about eyeshadow, especially green, are among the most common on this site. To read more from Jeepers on the topic, go here.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Bird in the Hair... worth two on the street. (The hardest part of fashion writing? The math!)

Suggestions: slim button-down shirts tucked in snugly, tweed, tiny matrioshka earrings, and hair ornaments.

When Dog-Sitting

Dear Jeepers,
What should one wear to a dog-sitting engagement at a country home? I am to stay with the dogs for several weeks and will have the run of the house. My only duty will be to keep the dogs happy, separate them if necessary from a bad-tempered cat, and prevent the house from "burning down." Any wardrobe suggestions?

A Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lover,
Wear mostly muumuus.