Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shopping List Suggestions

If you only acquire six new items of clothing tomorrow, make it these six:
Strange ankle boot-shoes wide at the ankles, sailor pants, this exact scarf, a double breasted jacket, blast-from-the-fifties big dot earrings, and most importantly, something in dark emerald green. Readers, if you catch sight of a one-shoulder green dress, get it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

To Meet Your Boyfriend at The Airport

A reader writes:
Dear Jeepers,

The question of what to wear to meet my boyfriend from the airport in
two weeks time is keeping me up at night. I want to blow his mind in a
subtle & elegant way. I have a pretty extensive wardrobe so there are
lots of options but I just can't decide - miniskirt? Wrap dress?
Skinny jeans? Boots? Ballet shoes? Argh! Give me your wisdom.

Love Anna

P.S. I'm 23, tall-ish & slender-ish, & he won't have seen me for 8

Jeepers responds:
Dear Anna,

It depends on where he's been for the last eight weeks. Borneo? Philadelphia? Paris Island? In other words, has he been surrounded by mute and adoring South American women who perform slow, undulating dances around him while he eats figs, or has he been learning how to clean an M16 in under two minutes?

In general, your goals should be to look like your normal self, only a bit cleaner and softer and healthier. You will never find an outfit that will make him think: "She is the single hottest woman on the face of the earth." But you can find an outfit that makes him think: "Ah, my Anna!"

Also, you don't want to look ridiculous. We would suggest a longish skirt. The wrap dress also sounds promising. For some reason, we're picturing a sort of muted color and maybe a thin, cashmere shawl wrapped casually around your shoulders. Don't wear heels. Almost no one wears heels in an airport (except flight attendants). Make sure your hair looks its best and that you are wearing some color on your lips and cheeks, but no goopy lip gloss.

Also, have fresh breath and maybe a little snack for him to munch on after his long plane ride. Show him how happy you are to see him by smiling and kissing him, etc. In short: do not be sloppy, trying-too-hard sexy, or too different from your usual self.

Wishing you a very happy reunion,

Another reader (a man) begs to differ:
"I actually don't agree with your travel pickup advice at all. Given the right incentive, it's easy to make men think that you are the hottest girl in the whole
world. You hope for, "hey, great, it's Emily!" "Good, old Emily. She's so dependable! And sensible!" Two things that never fail, even for the slightly built woman? Patterned stockings and breast topswell, not too trampy, but saucy."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

How To Dress Your Age

A reader writes:
Hi Ms Jeepers

I have an emergency question. I am 43 and I have spiraled into
fashioned uncertainty. Can I still wear lace blouses and skinny
jeans? Platforms? I think I look good in them but maybe I don't. I
have a good body (I have been told) and I am holding up well. Its not
like a want to go raving but I hate the corporate suit look with a
neat haircut. Ditto beige.
Please help me! I would quite happily follow your advice to the 22
year old woman.

[name withheld]

Jeepers replies:
Dear one,

What is this "raving" you speak of? To answer the question implied in your letter--"Do I have to dress my age?"--the answer is no. Don't dress your age, dress your dreams, aspirations, humor, and rank.

Most complaints against people "not dressing their age" are really about rank. Psychologically, people don't want to be confused. It's confusing to see a woman who looks like she could have a teenage daughter dress as if she were a teenager herself. Or, to look at it another way, people object to both underachievers and upstarts.

A twelve-year-old dressed in an army sergeant's uniform is disturbing; a 19-year-old wearing sergeant insignia is impressive; a 40-year-old with the same rank is suspicious, because you would expect someone his age be a sergeant major already. (No matter that the 40-year-old sergeant is in even better physical shape, and more handsome, than his younger brother-in-arms!)

So, when considering whether you'd look good in a particular piece, use the following checklist:

1. Do I look good?
2. Do I feel good?
3. Does it say something positive (and perhaps truthful) about my rank in life?
4. Can I picture Sophia Loren wearing it?

We would also would make these additional suggestions:

1. No showing more than fiver percent of one's bra at any age.
2. No pinstripe pantsuits under 23.
3. No suspenders hanging down to form loops at the wearer's side after 22.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's father once pointed to a photograph of people bowing to the pope, and said, "What's going on here? We have one group of humans bowing to another human. The only difference between the bowing humans and the pope, son? Epaulettes."

Yrs with good wishes,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Choose Your Style

A reader writes:
Dear Jeepers,

I am in total confusion - I am a 22 year old fashion failure... altho i try to look good i find myself constantly wearing the same clothes over and over again (usually my comfiest jeans and a big jumper). I have plenty of clothes altho i can never think of anything to wear. I often find myself thinking - oh i musn't wear that because tomorrow i may really need to wear it and it will be in the wash.

I would love to look good every day and to have a certain style to call my own. How do i go about achieving this? How should i decide what i need to buy to complete my wardrobe and make it more 'user friendly'.

Can you help?


Jeepers replies:
Dear Anna,

You're a 22-year-old fashion failure? You can't be a 22-year-old anything failure, except maybe gymnast or diaper model. And what bothers us more in your letter is the deep psychic block you seem to be struggling with. Carpe diem, darling. Do not put off until tomorrow what you can wear today. This is your life. This is really happening to you.

Take yourself more seriously, pronto. Do you think Bill Clinton slunk stoop-shouldered in the corners dreaming one day of becoming outgoing and personable? No, he practiced it right away, running for class office in kindergarten. He knew that one's performance as a seven-year-old does not sink into obscurity. And, like every president before and since, he was able to find later, for his campaign movie, many former classmates to say things like "I always knew he'd be president one day."

In general:

1) Identify your favorite parts of yourself. Your thick hair? Your sexy eyes? Your long legs? Your curves? Your sense of humor? Your daintiness? Whatever. Then identify clothes or looks that emphasize those things.

2) Make sure to wear at least one non-standard thing every day, whether it's an unusual color combination, fabulous boots, or a tiny vest.

3) If you find something that looks really good on you, buy more of that.

4) Throw away all of your so-so clothing, so you won't be tempted to ever wear them again.

5) Choose one item from Column A and one from Column B to add to your wardrobe this autumn. It doesn't take much to take a boring outfit and turn it wonderful.

Unfortunately, we cannot really give you a specific list of things to add to your closet, because we don't know you. But every 22-year-old should probably have a good pair of dark, skinny jeans, a riding jacket type of thing, a blouse made entirely of lace, blue shoes, a sleek black dress, boots, belts, something plaid, lipstick, a thin scarf to wind and wind around the throat, a pleated mini-skirt, a pencil skirt to just below the knees.

Someone sent in a question very similar to yours about a year ago. Our reply to her, titled "Help From the Clothing Fairy" might be of some interest to you as well.

Yrs with best wishes,