Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Mexican, The Bitch, and The Wardrobe

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.

5. Shirtdresses

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

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.



  1. Now you have to tell us what's in your purse. Yes you do. You better.

  2. Shirt dresses and black flats are definitely essential. Oh and brown riding boots?? I just got my first pair and can't believe I lived this long without them.

    I think you've just described your halloween costume for this year. Mexican sailing dancing equestrian?

  3. Converses, check. (Although I am in the market for some Doc Marten's, speaking of them not-being-pictured-in-your-picture).

    Red coat, almost check - I'm a sucker for brightly colored outerwear (just ask my neon orange hoodie from Niagara Falls...). I actually have a green peacoat that I wear EVERYwhere. It's like... The Sim's plumbob green. Or Link's tunic green.

    Brown riding boots, also almost check. I love boots in general, but brown are always my favorites.

  4. Totally in agreement with you that your first pic would have made the best Sassy cover.
    Maybe even better than the one of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, which was, at the time, my absolute favorite.

  5. I must remember to pick up a lovely shrug the next time I'm out shopping. It would highlight my huge beer gut just beautifully.

    P.S. You crack me up.


  6. Holy Crap. 7 out of 10 items are the things that I would save if fleeing from a fire in my home.

  7. i love the sailor look! right now, american apparel has a sailor sweater that's kind of cute.

  8. Mrs. L: Currently, gloves that look kind of like severed Muppet hands, approximately 6 capless pens, a pair of flats, a makeup bag, an emergency Xanax stashed in a Vitamin bottle, and my iPod, langushing at the bottom of it all. No food at the moment, which is an anomaly. Usually I can count on finding a warm, week-old yogurt that I brought for lunch and forgot about.

    Megan: Oooh, now I have to decide between that and Snooki for Halloween.

    Metyl and J: We are obvs sartorial soul mates.

    Eleanor: Best compliment ever! I have 10 vinatge Sassys that I bought on eBay, but the Kurt/Courtney one is hard to find.

    David: Yes, dance shrugs are perfect for making people of all shapes, sizes and colors look like assholes. And thank you!

  9. I can't believe that a self-proclaimed Musical Theater Geek like yourself left the Tony's out of your fashion awards.

  10. Converse, shirtdress, flats, denim jackets, Mexi-wear, all check, check and check. And I shall be buried in my brown riding boots. Hopefully not soon. But still.

    Please be Snooki. Then post.

  11. oh i am TOTALLY wearing a snap crotch next time I fly. they'll have to use their wand on me.

  12. I still consider "Are you a dancer?" to be one of my favorite compliments. It is for this reason that I, at times, put my hair in a bun. And own a shrug. And may or may not be wearing it right now.

    (Note: I am not a dancer.)


  13. I've been looking everywhere for the perfect riding boots. I might just toddle off to banana republic now. Of course, there is the minor problem of me being a student with no money...

  14. Anonymous9:33 PM

    I LOVE the red coat. I have a similar one and ohhhh Converse = Love :]

  15. i just cried laughing so hard at this...particularly your thoughts on dance wear.

    so great.

  16. "Your colors are pink and pink."
    "My colors are Blush and Bashful!"

    I love Steel Magnolias and many of the classic lines run through my head on a daily basis, I appreciate your reference.

  17. you are just too funny

  18. Holy Funny Batman. You just gave me one more thing to smile about sweets, thanks:)

  19. I am also a giant fan of black leather flats!

    And, you are deliciously hilarious and I want to drink a bottle of wine with you.

  20. Have you read Amanda Brooks' book "I <3 Your Style?" I feel like you've successfully blended the classic/bohemian looks. Many of the items on your list got me excited to the point where I must comment:

    9) I adore that red coat! I have a magic coat in green. Every time I wear it I fee like Audrey Hepburn, which is strange, because I don't particularly recall seeing a picture of Audrey wearing a green coat, but I digress...;

    8) I love my over-sized Gucci sunglasses and I when I wear them in Manhattan I always put my head down and walk fast so that tourists will at least wonder whether I am some up-and-coming celebrity;

    7) Riding boots make ANYthing look chic. Mine are the leather and suede ones from J.Crew;

    6) Never, EVER do denim-on-denim;

    4) The black ballet flats I covet are made by Chanel. I am already committed to buy them after selling my first short story;

    3) I am a tap dancer and I don't even wear leotards or shrugs to class. The last time I wore a bodysuit was to the sixth grade dance.

    2) Nautical stripes make me swoon.

    Thanks so much for this post. I really enjoyed it!

  21. I love your writing style. You make me laugh. It's wonderful

  22. Oh dear god this is so funny.

    I love red coats!! I have one too :)

    I wrote a fashion column my senior year of college in which I basically did nothing but make fun of people around campus who dressed like total fools. Much like yourself, I had no idea why people thought I was any sort of authority on the subject, but people used to get so fucking mad. A lot of people loved me though, because they got that it was a big joke. IF you would like to read some of said columns, you may see them here:

    That's right, I turned them into a blog. Even as a wee little 22-year-old I knew what was up.

  23. Amazing humor, great writing ... glad I "accidentally" found your site (was NOT looking for adult porn tho, I swear!) ... anyway, hope to see your book or screenplays soon. After reading your site, I am sufficiently humbled to realize I'd better go back to writing news copy & forget about being a real blogger .. thanks for making me laugh in So. Ga!

  24. Wow. 9/10 over here. The only thing not a staple in my wardrobe is the Mexican gear. Perhaps it's time for an embroidered blouse...

  25. found you on blog of note, to funny, I love it! and chucks are def always on my feet too!

    after observeing your blast from the past picture post, i must say I wore leggings and an over sized shirt just the other day and was very pleased at the comfort. =)

    keep up the blog, def a follower now

  26. Thanks guys! I never expected this post would speak to so many of you... it felt kind of self-indulgent to be like "so... here's what I wear." Basically I'm saying y'all are awesome and know how to make a girl feel special.

    And for everyone who posts blog links, I promise I will check them out!

  27. I definitely owned a few crotch-snap leotards in my day. Pretty much the most uncomfortable piece of clothing ever, in my opinion. It felt like you were walking around with something in your pants all day. I don't think I'll be buying another one anytime soon.

    BTW, you are hilarious.

  28. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Oh jeeze, I hear ya on the boots....I've had these big old Ed Hardy boots I brought before Ed Hardy was the hip thing for youngsters to wear, and I haven't been able to take them off for years...needless to say I should probably take them off, seeings how their so worn down they hardly qualify as shoes.

  29. Anonymous5:02 AM

    Jesus! What in the hell is wrong with your eyebrows since your early ages? Hope you'd already (and late) have found your way to the beauty salon! Good lucky! Also with the blog!

  30. That was an entirely unnecessary comment/observation, Anonymous. They don't teach good manners where you come from, do they? You'd better make your words sweet, bubba or bubbette (when going "A-NON" who knows what gender may apply, right?) ... you may have to eat to them one day.

  31. Could you pretty, pretty, pretty please tell me where to find that red coat? The exact url would be great. Or a brand name, or a store name , or . . .

    ANYTHING! I adore it.


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