So I wanted to do a post today about why Jeff and I could never have met and fallen in love on The Bachelor, but I didn’t have time to do all of my hand-drawn illustrations (oh, yes—they are coming) because I got distracted by The Biggest Loser: Couples and a burrito.
While you wait for that epic analysis, though, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about fashion, which seems to be one of my more popular topics thanks to my gig as a Project Runway recapper on The Huffington Post.
It’s funny that anyone treats me as any sort of fashion authority, seeing as I have no real background in style, not to mention abundant photographic evidence that proves I am probably unfit to sit in sartorial judgment of others.
1994: Cover of Sassy, here I come! (Doc Martens not pictured). Oh, and P.S. I was visiting my grandpa in a rehabilitation center where he was recovering from an aneurysm. I'm amazed this didn't kill him.
But I get complaints that I don’t cover more fashion events, like last weekend’s SAG awards. I generally comment on the big three awards shows (Golden Globes, Oscars, and Emmys) but ignore the others, simply because it is a lot of work to find all those photos and post them and think up snarky things to say that are even half as funny as what The Fug Girls come up with. Also the only thing I want to do at the SAG awards—because I am thirteen years old—is give out Sag Awards, and sadly this year all the ladies were very well-supported.
I realize that I bitch a lot about fashion on this blog, so much so that you, gentle reader, may wonder if I don’t have some kind of physical deformity that keeps me from wearing rompers, like maybe a vestigial tail or a hump. So I want to take this slow blogging day to let you know that there ARE items of clothing I covet and cannot live without. Without further ado, I present to you my Top Ten Wardrobe Staples That Are Not Made of Sweatpants (get excited!):
10. Converse All-Stars
I more or less live in two pair of dingy black Converse (low-tops only; I am not—as much as it pains me to admit this—Dylan McKay). I always wear them to work even though it's sort of against dress code, but I keep a pair of flats (see below) under my desk in case of emergency meetings.
9. Anything red (excluding pants)
Nora Ephron's mother once told her, "Never buy a red coat." I'm assuming she's already dead, and if she isn't, she will be when she sees my closet. I own nothing BUT red coats (I decided a few years back, after watching Steel Magnolias too many times, that red was my signature color and that a red coat would be my signature piece). Red coats, red tops, red dresses—I can never go to the Running of the Bulls. I once owned a pair of red track pants, which turned out to be a mistake. A red dress says femme fatale; red pants say Papa Smurf.
8. Giant sunglasses that make me look like The Fly an Italian movie star
Who is that with my husband? A young Sophia Loren?
I harbor the delusion that if I wear big sunglasses people will think I am a movie star going incognito, or at the very least some rich person recovering from an eye lift. Either way: score.
7. Pull-on riding boots
I buy a lot of things on the Internet, or at least I used to when I still had credit cards that worked. Most of these impulse buys ended up at Goodwill after a single wear—the denim goucho pants from Victoria's Secret, which I should have known were on final sale for a reason; the pinstripe wrap dress from Anthropologie that made my breasts look like deflated baloons; the voluminous silk top from J. Crew that I thought would make me look bohemian and willowy but which in fact made me look like I was wearing a big green Hefty bag—but my brown riding boots from Banana Republic are the single most perfect purchase I have ever made. Almost four years later I still wear them all the time and get tons of compliments. They have been on my feet while riding the subway, riding the unemployment line, and riding the gravy train, which is no so much, in this case, a euphemism for a windfall of cash as it is my nickname for Thanksgiving. Oh, brown boots from Banana Republic, you complete me.
6. Denim jackets
1993's ill-advised Texas tuxedo; in Berlin in 2009 with Kerry
Denim jackets have not always been kind to me (see photo at left, above), but I remain convinced that when paired with a summer sundress they will make me look effortlessly chic and not—as evidence might suggest—like a preteen ranch hand.
What's not to love about a piece of clothing that looks professional AND makes you feel kind of like a ’50s waitress, the kind who calls people "Hon" and wears cat's-eye glasses and snaps her gum? Bonus points for being able to be ripped off easily in case you are engulfed in flames.
4. Black patent leather flats
I'm just under 5'3", which might suggest that I would favor heels. But here's what happens when I wear heels higher than two inches: I toddle-walk for five or ten minutes feeling like hot shit, and then my ankle promptly faints and I face-plant in front of a large group of people. After this happened twenty or thirty times, I decided to reserve heels for occasions that simply require me to step in and out of cabs and up to the bar. Black flats are like my dress-up Chucks for when I'm feeling fancy
3. Things that make me look like a dumbass dancer
3. Things that make me look like a dumbass dancer
Once a year or so, someone asks me if I am a dancer, which makes me snort my Diet Coke but then sit up as straight as a Ballanchine Snowflake and say, humbly, "I was a dancer in college." I was "a dancer" in college, but what that means is that I took part in modern dance concerts that generally required me to stomp and sigh and either pretend to be tree or to be inside a tiny box (or sometimes to be a tree inside a tiny box). Nevertheless I like to sometimes pretend that I am a dancer and buy dance shrugs at KD Dance, which I wear over tank tops and which I am fairly sure make me look like a giant walking asshole, not unlike the model pictured above. I used to own a leotard, too, but I got rid of it a few years ago when I realized that anyone over the age of ten is too old to be wearing anything that requires getting totally naked in order to pee. Snap-crotch leotards are OK by that logic, but I know someone who had a very unfortunate experience with airport security wearing some crotch snaps, and so my official position is that I strongly advise against them.
2. Things that make me look like a sailor
I don't know if it's Popeye or Gene Kelly in On The Town or some kind of chromosomal abnormality, but I love anything that says "Seamen." Not that this look works for me; I do not belong on boats and high-waisted pants and striped shirts cannot change that, nor do they do any favors for my thighs.
1. Things that make me look Mexican (see what I did there, with the title of this post?)
When I was in first grade I had one of those sack-like white peasant dresses with bright floral embroidery at the neck and hem. I got my school picture taken in it, but sadly the photographer cropped out the entire neckline, making me look like Austin's tiniest (and most toothless) nudist. I wore that dress to our glee club performance of the seminal Spanish-language folk anthem "Des Colores," and I've been jonesing for an adult version that does not make me look pregnant ever since.
Looking over this list I can already envision my midlife crisis in 2030, when I decide to finally pursue my dream of becoming a Latina who is also an accomplished sailor/dancer/equestrian. I'll redefine the term "triple threat"! Watch out J-Lo; you're officially on notice.