Monday, May 22, 2006

Making Faces

Dear Jeepers:
Whenever I get my make-up done professionally, like at the Bergdorf counter, they put a light color eye shadow on my lids. Why? This doesn't seem to match those old diagrams in
Seventeen magazine, where you put the darkest colors on your lid and then get lighter and lighter, the closer you get to the brow. Please discuss!

Jacqui Varnesi

Dear Jacqui,

We once read an article in Vogue where a French make-up artist complained that American women never put dark colors up by our eyebrows. He said something like, "Zeh are cowards, zeez American women."

Not knowing what your face looks like, we cannot speak to what looks best on you. But maybe you should take the French man's admonishment to heart and start living on the edge.

Here's how: Set aside an hour this week for utter bathroom privacy. Gather all your cosmetics, plus a good eye make-up remover. Prepare to paint your face at least three times, for three radically different looks. Have a pen and paper ready, so you can record the results. Write down your first impressions of what you see in the mirror, like "trashy," "old," "hot," "crazy," "sultry," and "ill."

We do know that light shadow on the lids tends to make eyes look more fresh, childlike, and open (and less dramatic, sexy, and mysterious). Maybe the guys at Bergdorf's think you have such pretty cheekbones and lips that you shouldn't emphasize your eyes.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Naked Menagerie

Cupid Dress

If you don't have one already, hurry up and get a skin tight, gray, strapless dress. Let your underarm hair grow out and apply peachy lipstick to your mouth. Voila!

(The dress shown includes applique of chubby cupid latched on to wearer's thighs. Last night as we watched yet more episodes of Alias, Marshall said, "Everybody needs to get over her. They're all in love with her!" Sydney Bristow might wear such a dress.)

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Wear this brushed cotton, strapless, speckled bubble dress with sandals for an early evening, late Spring/early Summer twilight stroll with the dogs through the sleepy streets of a Polish town on the Baltic coast. The market stands are closed. You missed your chance to buy radishes. But tomorrow is another day.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Cozy Patch

Chances are, it's raining where you are this very second. The perfect dress for today's weather? Airforce sweaters, or any other shirt/sweater/jacket with patches on the elbows and shoulders. This look pierces the soul. Is it the enticing admixture of military and academic origin, or the touching sense of extra-preparedness (for what exactly, we do not know)?

Coming soon: the perfect wedding dress for fourth-time brides, 10 new uses for lipgloss, the ugliest shoe in the universe, how to raise squirrels, the 5 item closet, and our favorite dresses for summer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Do It Yourself

Dear Jeepers:

What's your take on understated neutrals versus crazy colorful? I'm about to go on my annual Spring/Summer major shopping spree, and I feel torn in two directions.

Verity Whittelspoon

Dear Verity:

We're going to come down on the side of crazy colorful. And lots of pattern. Which way would you lean, Verity, if you had to make all your own clothes?

Someone needs to invent a machine that lets people design and print their own fabrics in the comfort of their own homes. This is how it would work: You'd buy a white dress, say, and bring it home. It would hang in the closet until the day you decided to pull it out. "I feel like peach polka dots today," you might say. Just punch a few buttons on the Pattern Plus XE 4000, lay the dress flat on the Input Belt, and 18 seconds later, you've got a dotted dress, sister! Within 72 hours, the dots would fade away, and you'd be left again with a plain white dress, ready for your next inspiration. Why doesn't this machine exsist?

Maybe Karl Marx would be horrified at our anti-labor fantasy. Polka dots, flowers, and stripes don't just magically appear on skirts. Someone had to think them up, draw them, TK, TK, and TK! (We're not clear on the process.)

Workers, unite!


Monday, May 15, 2006

Fashion Psychic

Dear Jeepers:
As a freelancer, I get paid every once in a blue moon, but man do I get paid! I just got a check for $37,000.

Since I know I'll have blown this wad of cash in about three months time, I better buy clothes now for all the forseeable future. What's going to be hot in 2046? Can you look into your crystal ball? Because I probably won't get another check before then.


-Isabelle Franklin

Dear Isabelle:

We don't need a crystal ball to know what's going to be in vogue forty years from today. We need only apply basic principles of science to accurately predict that, in forty years, some of the things most odious to us today will at last come back into favor (and thank goodness, really): long twirly mustaches, saris and tunics, pointy shoes, van dyke beards, solid coiffs, bell sleeves, and nose rings.

Within forty years, men will once and for all admit they need purses. Cellulite will be considered adorable (so womanly!) and will again be referred to as "dimples." The well-manicured hand will be seen as a sign you have too much money and not enough worthy pursuits. Dogs will be bred so small they can fit easily into the pocket of your Eight jeans.

We will travel by rail and astral projection. The Democratic party will have been replaced by the Whigs. We will be nearing our 29th birthday.


P.S. $37,000? When you say "freelancer," do you mean "hit man?"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Most Common Fashion Questions

A recent survey of letters from readers, combined with site meter data, reveals the top six fashion questions bothering What To Wear This Very Second fans:

1) Should I ever wear green eyeshadow, and if so, when and how?

2) What should I wear with a bubble skirt?

3) Are asymmetrical haircuts back in vogue yet? ("The waiting is killing me.")

4) If the invitation says black tie, do I really really really have to get super dressed up?

5) What should I wear on a second date?

6) "what to wear when fat"

Here are our answers, plus some tips on how to find solutions to similar quandaries:

1) Yes, please wear green eye shadow at will. The age of Strict Eye Shadow Guidelines and Regulations is in the past. Haven't you noticed the rise of embarrassing reality television and constitutional crisis? Pretty much anything goes.

2) Bubble skirts (and dresses) have a soft, slightly inflated hem. They remind us of tulips and ballerinas, so they look sweetest with feminine footwear--slim flats and dainty heels. Just My Cup of Tea always hunts down the cutest, cheapest shoes.

3) Yes, asymmetrical hairstyles are so in right now. (For women more than for men.) Also, one-shoulder dresses and bathingsuits.

4) If the invitation says black tie, wear a black or midnight blue tuxedo if you are a man; a formal dress of any length if you are a woman. A wonderful source of accurate and witty answers to men's "500 most pressing" satorial questions and "dilemmas" is at, in a section authored by someone called the Style Guy.

5) Depends on whether you're going apple picking or out to dinner...Wear something nicer than you wore to the first date. Please be more specific in your letters to Jeepers.

6) Cheese doodle hats and deep fried trousers. (At our sister's wedding this past weekend, our little cousin Will suggested that when we get married, our dress should be made entirely of cigarettes.)

Coming up: what 2 wear in space, when 2 wear boots in summer, and a contest/search for the best Fashion Disaster Anecdotes. ("My inappropriate skirt length nearly cost me my life.")

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Retro Angel, Kook

Dear Jeepers,

I've got a closet full of clothes. That's not my problem. My daily dilemma is which of my many outfits to grab. Do you have any advice for this very second?


Dear Jeannie,

This very second we're taking our inspiration from two relatives: Aunt Toddy (who ended up looking smashing in her black pants at the wedding, because she paired them with adorable flat strappy sandals and a weird, gorgeous cream cape blouse with giant buttons), and our cousin Ariana, who looked positively edible (and potable) all weekend. She went retro and ladylike, with a dash of bubble gum.

So that's our advice. Wear something ladylike and demure, then add at least one colorful or strange element, like giant earrings, or bright green clogs.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The UGG Incubator

Dear Jeepers,

What are some alternative uses for those out of season UGGs? Mine have been packed away in the back of closet, waiting to be taken out and worn again in the year 2036.

Jane P.

Dear Jane,

We don't think you'll have to wait thirty years to wear them again on your feet. In fact, we are wearing them this very second, as comfy slippers, while we putter around the house preparing a breakfast of pecan waffles and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. They protect our lower legs from kitty, who begs for food by hanging off us.

You could wear them on your way to lethal injection, too. (They give you the proper Dead Man Walking shuffling gait.) Or, wear them to milk the cows in that drafty barn, or to a seance in a haunted house. We wish UGG made panties.


Monday, May 01, 2006

A Poncho for Bloomberg

What To Wear This Very Second was featured this weekend in Metro (page 4), a free New York daily. The reporter posed the questions, we answered, in first person singular. (Would that we had been able to maintain the plural in print.)