Archive for the ‘Personal Style’ Category

Flashback Glamour Friday: Miss Linda Darnell & Flowers In Your Hair

Linda Darnell

In my humble opinion, it does not get a lot more glamorous than the lovely Linda Darnell, a screen beauty and quite fine actress who starred in a string of movies, principally in the 1940’s. I watched a good one recently, “Fallen Angel,” where she plays a life-hardened beauty grasping for a better life. Often described as the girl “with the perfect face,” it makes sense that in almost every scene of the movie she is shot in close-up, and with a white flower in her hair to accent that face.

This is a nice look that you might want to adopt, particularly in the summer.

flower in hair

  • Start with a small flower, fresh or silk. Select a flower that looks elegant and of an excellent quality.
  • Find one that accompanies and advances the overall look you are going for. Florid and dramatic, earthy and feminine, super-elegant and so forth.

rose_in_hair

  • Select a color that contrasts with the color of your hair. If your hair is light, go with a darker flower. Dark hair? Go with a bright or light flower. Think about matching the lightest tones in your hair to the flower.
  • Secure it to a hairpin and experiment placing it around your face at different points. Start behind the ear at its most center point.

hairstyle_with_flower

  • A flower around the face will accent the face and draw others into it, so make sure your complexion and makeup looks as you wish it to look.
  • If you’re shy or very low-key in terms of your style, you might want to start by selecting a very small flower or, alternately, affix your flower to the base of your bun or ponytail.

Lastly, a flower in your hair will keep you from frowning. Because there is no way that you can wear a frown with a flower in your hair!

A Thought For Today: Your State Of Mind On Your Body, Face

“If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautiful your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are drawn by folly, passion, and pride.

I know a woman of ninety-six who has the bright, innocent face of a girl. I know a man well under middle age whose face is drawn into inharmonious contours. The one is the result of a  sweet and sunny disposition; the other is the outcome of passion and discontent.”

–From James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh (1902) a concise and highly recommended read.

 

 

Your Mate Disabling You In Weight Loss, Working Out & Looking Fine?

working out with a partner

I can’t imagine being anything short of stoked if I learned that my significant other or even sometimes other was going to embark on an earnest campaign of healthy eating and exercise. After all, this means that I would be the recipient of these changes in the form of a more happy and energized mate with an even more beguiling body. And I would also be less tempted to go out with them to eat truffle oil french fries and drink a gallon of champagne. So win. And win.

However, in certain relationships, even platonic ones, one person’s plans to change for the better may set the stage for discord or even an unraveling of the way things were.

A middle-aged friend was overweight, out of shape and sluggish, the product of night after night spent with his other plump and prosperous peers at popular Manhattan restaurants, eating lavish course after course, downing bottles of expensive wine and smoking cigars. He envisioned himself as a thinner, more energetic and youthful-looking dude, and made a quick change to a vegetarian diet with little-to-no-alcohol that included daily workouts and early nights.

En route he discovered that most of his tablemates were not truly his friends. They were more like fellow members of a club where admittance was based on mirroring each others’ dining and socializing habits. Ordering vegetable plates and salads and eschewing cigars and wine made him frequently the butt of the night’s jokes. He found that, fully sober, he had little to say to them.

Though he remained friends with one or two in the group, he eventually found a new set whose lifestyles were more in line with his. And now, 55 pounds lighter and toned, he is a much happier and satisfied man who also looks completely different.

So, making major positive changes in the realm of your diet, health or figure can be a litmus test of sorts to see just how much your guy or girl is on Your Team. Assuming you haven’t shaved your head, gotten impossible levels of plastic surgery or taken up a heroin diet, if someone you’re dating or married to or otherwise entangled with is trying to scuttle your plans to look and feel more lovely, I believe you should say adieau to them, and stat.

However, if you feel the relationship warrants it, you may first want to determine what the issue is really about: Does your friend fear losing you as someone she can always kvetch to about how models are spaghetti-slim and dress sizes are ridiculously small? Your boyfriend fear that with your alluringly upgraded figure you’ll be tempted to seek out greener pastures?

By the way, they might not even know themselves, so you might have to play some guesswork to figure it out. Have a word with the person to reaffirm that, though you are seeking personal changes, the essence of your relationship will not.

And if your diet or nutrition or workout scuttler is someone you simply can’t divorce, like an in-law or co-worker or something like that, when they dangle something Achilles Heel-like in your direction like a Choco Taco or a wedge of Humboldt Fog, do the following: Keep the image of you at your desired goal fixed firmly and with great detail in your mind, all the way down to how taut your future waist looks. And your arms! They will be the essence of shapely!

Whenever someone floats a platter of some fattening whatever under your nose, or insists you go to the mall with them during your dedicated running hour, flash back to this image. Then ask yourself which you want more: The momentary and hollow pleasure in front of you, or the long-term joy and satisfaction of achieving and getting to live with the You that you desire.

*I offer a couple more tips on making weight loss a more palatable affair for couples in Sheba Wheeler’s interesting piece in the Denver Post, “Weight Loss Shouldn’t Threaten Well-Adjusted Couples.”

101 Ways to Wear a Scarf: Wrist Glamour

wrist_scarf_way to wear a scarf

I think this is a particularly sassy and innovative way to wear a scarf. Make sure yours is on the small side and in crisp shape. Fold it neatly into a narrow strip before wrapping it around the wrist and knotting tightly. This look can be appropriated by men as well as women, and doubles as an on-the-go way to tote a headscarf. Imagine if she received an emergency invitation to board a yacht on a particularly windy day, for instance.

 

 

The Beauty of the Cowgirl

For me, seeing a genuine bona fide cowboy or girl is along the lines of seeing a Martian. I was raised far from cowboy country and I don’t have a speck of cowgirl DNA in my being. Recently I had the distinct pleasure of being around several, and found that there is a unique and singular glamour about the cowgirl.

For one, they spend time outdoors. A lot of time. So much that every inch of their face, style and body reflects it, cowgirl or boy, whether it’s in the form of deeply tanned skin, dusty boots or strong build. A quick way to tell a real-deal cowgirl or boy from the urban variety is in their movements, strong and purposeful and unhurried all at once. That, and a glance at their hands. The hands of the real deal are muscular and constantly being used to tie something or grasp something or direct something. They are typically thick, strong and sinewy and lined. Like the face, there is a lot of authenticity in the hands of the cowgirl or boy.

The life of the cowboy or cowgirl is not an easy one, nonetheless there is a freshness and satisfaction that I see in their eyes and faces that I don’t see in a lot of other people. Here’s the thing: the cowgirl works her tail off but does not look worn; she looks refreshed and alert. The people I see who look the most worn or fatigued by life are those with deep circles and paunches and unhealthy skin who spend too much time indoors or in cars or staring at computer screens and eating too much sugar.

cowgirl_beauty_natural_jackson hole

Cathy, pictured here, is a real cowgirl who is also one of the most beautiful women I’ve seen in a while. She ropes and calves and breaks horses and does many other things along these lines, starting from when the sun is not yet up until it sets, and in places like North Dakota in the snow.

When I asked her for a glamour secret or two that I could share, she blushed and said she doesn’t do anything special on the looks front. She did say that she let her natural hair color come in, a strong silver that goes beautifully with her deeply tanned skin and sparkling blue eyes.

I figured that ultimately it is her projection of strong, physical energy and joie de vivre that really wraps up her lovely figure and face. So, the beauty of the cowgirl essentially has to do with these nuggets:

  • Be authentic to who you are.
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors breathing fresh air and engaging in vigorous and purposeful activities.

It seems that, if you are a cowgirl or boy, it is because of a calling and one that rules out the option of doing other, non-cowboy things with your life like sitting in heels and a skirt at a desk, or knotting a tie around your neck in a condo somewhere each morning. A cowboy told me that once he tried to sell cable from an office in San Diego and lasted only a week. Four days, actually.

I’ll save a discussion on cowboy etiquette for another day. Suffice it to say, I’m convinced that all is not lost on the civility front as long as cowboys remain in our great nation.

A Flip-Flop Tip Or Two

 

how to buy the right flip flop for you

‘Tis clearly the season of the flip flop, this was made clear to me at a recent party where I, the designated driver, walked around a packed house with a bottle of Italian soda in my hand for what seemed like hours and avoided the cup cake table, which looked like it was going to collapse in a heap of bright frosting, sugar and flour. Since much of what I do in life is observe, I noted that every single person at the gather was wearing some version of the flip-flop. Every single person. And child. There were a lot of kids there, running around and around.

The point here is that there are ways to select and wear flip-flops that enhance the look of your feet, legs and overall walk–and those that don’t. Here are two tips on selecting your best flip-flop:

Your skin tone. Is your skin warm or cool? In other words, are the undertones closer to blue or orange?

platform flip-flops

Exhibit A: Avoid any flip-flops with Frankenstein overtones

This is actually of some importance when selecting flip-flops, because the shade of the sole and band can either flatter the look of your foot or make it look sallow and pale and not in a good way.

Few deviate from the beige, black or brown flip flop. With the exception of black flip-flops–which I don’t recommend to anyone except those whose skin is a deep shade with cool undertones, and which make light-toned skin with warm undertones look particularly pasty–within the flip-flop world there are enough shade variations to flatter every skin tone. Try a few on in your chosen principal color to see just how much different shades can impact the look of your foot.

 

Size and shape. Aren’t there some particularly horrible-looking flip-flops out there?  Conversely there are some attractive and classic ones on the market. Hunt this type down. All flip-flops are not equal in construction or style or how they will make you look and feel while wearing them.

classic dr. scholl's sandals in red

The Classic Dr. Scholl's Sandal (approximately $50)

For women: Avoid big and clunky unless…just avoid this type of flip flop. Select a flip-flop style that matches the overall proportion of your feet, ankles and legs. One of the reasons to avoid big and clunky is that they make the girl with the sparrow limbs look like she’s balancing on two flotation devices. Conversely, larger-sized limbs seem amplified by the sheer mass of these flip-flops.

To help support the foot when you walk and add a comely shape to the leg, select flip-flops that offer some support. I am partial to the classic Dr. Scholl’s sandal, which comes in a variety of colors and designs. The mid-range proportion of this sandal, along with its sculpted one-inch heel, falls in-line nicely with almost any leg silhouette. Plus, they last forever.

Alternately, the thin-slip type can look very elegant provided their narrow silhouette does not contrast too much with your foot and leg silhouette. In other words, their spare design looks best on small to medium-sized limbs that have some curve to them. The brand Tkees, seen below, which calls their version “Wearable Cosmetics For Your Feet,” makes these in almost every shade imaginable, which means you can find the shade to flatter your skin tone and make your feet look their most lovely.

 

Tkees flip flops

For the males in the audience: Heed the above advice, and don’t buy cheap-looking flip flops. Those with some arch support will help display the nice masculine profile of the male leg, whereas the flat-soled kind tend to flatten any of the muscular curves in a man’s leg. And a flip-flop made from quality construction and fine fabrics (leather, suede, canvas) will help announce to others that you are indeed a grown up and not a stray neighborhood kid who has wandered in. I did a canvas of flip-flops for men, labeled “sandals” in the more class outfits, and found that the price difference between a civilized male flip-flop and the kiddie type is pretty slim. The pair below, for instance, are completely casual yet completely grown up and cost approximately $40. (Model: Sperry Top-Sider Santa Cruz)

sperry top-sider santa cruz

I’d like to close out with a cautionary footwear tale: A friend of mine, a marine biologist, says that when his department colleagues want to really dress up, like for a Christmas party or the like, they wear thick socks with their  Teva sandals. Where in blazes would such an idea come from? Not just the idea of Tevas, mind you, but the idea of layering yet another level of horror on them. If you have any ideas, let me know.

And finally, one of my all-time favorite passages on the flip-flop, excerpted from a July 2005 piece by Richard Brookhiser in National Review:

One of the most demanding jobs for women is sexuality, for which the proper footwear is high heels. The informal summertime substitutes for these are flip-flops. Some women may believe that high heels and flip-flops are functionally equivalent, since they both show skin. Flip-flops may even seem more effective, because they alone show toenail polish. This belief is deeply mistaken. High heels give you legs like Angelina Jolie in the “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” poster. Flip-flops give you legs like a Steinway. High heels make the compelling, aggressive tattoo of castanets. Flip-flops sound like water belching from a fire hydrant. Following a woman in high heels up out of the subway is like discovering America. Following a woman in flip-flops up out of the subway is like riding the subway.

 

Practical Presentation: Recast Your Emotions

stage_audience_fright_managing

My input on cultivating star-like confidence appeared in a recent issue of Woman’s World Magazine. The piece “Turn on Your Confidence and Be the Star of Your Own Life” by Alison Bell contains some great nuggets like:

  • Re-write your mental lines. Author Mick Berry says that performers who manage stage fright well do the following: Before heading onstage, instead of telling themselves, ‘I must do well,’ they said, ‘I want to do well.’ This simple change in wording takes off a lot of pressure, so ‘you’ll feel and perform better,’ he explains.
  • My tip on using your emotional energy: “Actors know that some of our most basic emotional responses can be turned into solid gold onstage. Marilyn Monroe reported that one of her directors helped her with performance anxiety by telling her to use it!”  To translate your tension into positive energy, tell yourself “I will use this nervousness to give my speech or presentation extra energy.”

oprah_cover_womans_world_constance_dunn

I’ve liked Woman’s World Magazine forever. Though probably not considered the most chic or glossy book on the block, it’s a great grocery line weekly that imparts a heap of practical and usable information each week, and is beautifully devoid of celebrities bending over in their swimsuits.

The Glamour Of The List

list making

There are many, many reasons to love the list. Lists made by hand, by your hand ideally, are oh-so effective, much more so than the computer or mental type because creating a list on paper:

  • requires a mental review of the task at hand (you need to break down and think about the steps that need to happen in order to realize the larger goal)
  • helps you focus and feel more in control of individual tasks and the larger goal at hand
  • forces you to break down each task into manageable or reality-based bites (it would be hard to, with a straight face, put down on paper a task like “buy a new house” without breaking it down into starter tasks like “determine mortgage amount I will need,””decide which neighborhoods to look for houses,” and so on
  • keeps the goal in your face (or on your desk), forcing a higher level of accountability and check-in than with other list-making methods, such as your eternal mind list
  • crossing off tasks from your paper list creates a tangible, physical act that creates a strong reward system

In short, creating a list on paper brings on your best thinking about ways you can make your life better.

To this point, NYC glamour girl, senior health producer at FoxNewsHealth.com and listmeister extraordinaire Paula Rizzo has done much of the legwork for us in by providing us with a slew of list making tips at her site The List Producer, from the hows and whys of a travel list, moving list, a grocery list (no more rotting food in your kitchen!), and more.

If you’re not a list maker, but are curious about the fantastic claims of list makers, like lists can save you time and money, minimize basic life annoyance and task redundancy, then I dare thee to pick up a pad of paper of a suitable size and weight, think of a singular task and go ahead–break it down into small and easy and completely do-able steps to take you to the glorious finish line.

Did you know? Ms. Rizzo writes that President Reagan was a list maker who  jotted down his favorite quotes, jokes and proverbs on 4-by-6 index cards, one of which was: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Here, here. And Happy Friday.

Doing The Gadget Dance…Beautifully

iVolution Stripes leather iPhone case by Vaja ($120)

We as a people are glued to our gadgets in varying degrees. And we each range in our ability to comfortably carry and use them while going about our daily lives. I know that I can get snippity, and quick, when I have to bumble around for my laptop, phone or whatever that thing is that I am obsessively carrying around with me everywhere.

When asked recently by Law Technology News (talk about glamour in not-so-expected places!) on ways to look smooth while doing so in a professional setting, I inputted that it’s important to a.) not carry around a mess of gadgets, b) keep them in the same place, so you can smoothly whip ’em out when needed, and c.) know how each gadget works, all in the name of achieving “gesture proficiency.”

“Your BlackBerry, let’s say, is always in your left-inside jacket pocket,” Dunn says, adding that there’s no hard and fast rule as to where to place each device, as long as each location is comfortable and easily reachable for smooth access. “It’s almost like law enforcement, where it’s key to have firearms, handcuffs, and other things in their own set places,” she says.”

ipad_cover_vaja

Ipad Cover by Vaja (approximately $200)

Article author John Edwards smartly points out that it’s in an attorney’s best interest to invest in a quality case. Advice that I “hear, hear” and extend to all gadget carriers: Don’t bother with the $10 cover from the mall; save your sous or Euros or pennies and get a really beautiful case that will last and last–and make you want to kiss it each time you pull it out. So far, I like Tumi and Vaja for their luxury/value intersection.

So, whether a lawyer or a glamourpuss or some lethal combination of the two, you’ll no doubt benefit from this article, which contains some smart ideas from various image consultants, and can be read in full here.

Too Much Denim, Too Much Of The Time?

Do you suffer from compulsive daily denim wearing, denim on denim, or some variation thereof? Wearing too much denim too much of the time can land you in a fashion holding pattern: your style stays the same and you miss out on the display of your genuine self.

If you have spent the last winter or longer buried underneath a cloak of denim then think about busting out with a spring/summer style sensibility that is super light on the jeans. Hint: Begin by going denim free for a week.

By banning the wearing of jeans altogether, even for a short time, you will be forced to explore more glamorous but just as comfortable options. Go beyond fashion magazines for inspiration, and think of ways to revisit your own style history for non-denim options that you’ve always loved, such as wearing long, slim-fitting skirts or, for men, linen trousers in a contemporary color and shape.

Read my brief piece on the matter at Chic Galleria, here.

The Glamour Of A Zero-Waste Wardrobe

Another reason to not overstuff your closet…
your unwanteds may end up in a landfill

A few months ago I was invited on the radio show Environmental Directions to discuss how one could be glamorous and conservation minded at the same time. In preparation for it, I learned a few things. Though I knew that a tremendous amount of shoes, clothes and accessories end up in landfills–I had no idea the amount was as grand as it is: Did you know that clothes and shoes take up more space than any other non-durable goods in the solid waste stream?

Having a zero-waste wardrobe means that you have less fog clogging up your daily dressing decisions, you don’t waste money on stuff you don’t use and you have a small, targeted wardrobe that reflects you as you wish to be. And bonus: you can reduce the amount of stuff that ends up heaping your local landfill. (If you want to see a truly unglamorous site, take a visit to a local waste facility.)

To that end, here are some ideas on how to smartly dispose of items you no longer desire, want, need or use:

  • Donate still-nice clothing to a favorite local charity
  • If an item is too far gone for reuse and made of an absorbent material, such as cotton, cut it up and use it for household cleaning. By the way, few clothes donated to charities find their way to a second-hand rack near you. The bulk are sold to companies who then sell them overseas or turn them into wiping and polishing cloths.
  • Shoes are particularly tough to break down naturally due to the glue that is used to hold them together at points. You can donate still-wearable shoes to Soles 4 Souls, which collects and distributes them internationally. Sneakers you no longer use can be donated to Reuse-A-Shoe, a program by Nike that grinds down shoes and uses them to produce athletic surfaces.
  • Hold an informal swap with friends who are like-minded when it comes to garment quality levels and size. Bring only your finest.
  • Band together with some buddies and have a yard sale. Use the proceeds to further your glamour arsenal or a favorite cause.
  • Finally, get ultra-disciplined and streamlined when it comes to adding new items to your wardrobe. Read Chapter 5 of Practical Glamour, which zeros in on your personal style brand and Chapter 6, which is a step-by-step roadmap to a ruthless closet overhaul.

Environmental Directions is hosted by the very glamorous and multi-talented Nancy Pearlman, who also produces the EMMY-nominated environmental television series EcoNews. Ms. Pearlman told me that when she spoke at the first Earth Day back in the 1970’s, “recycling” was a brand new word.

Cool Male Move: You and Your Man Bag

Now, if this isn't a butch example of man-bag wearing I don't know what is

For the man, carrying a bag is tricky business. I’m not talking about standing on the sidewalk holding your lady friend’s purse while she dashes into another shop, either, I’m talking about dedicated daily man-bag wearing and accessorizing. The fear is, of course, you’ll look like a chick mincing about with a favorite and fabulous new tote!

Not to fear, male bag wearing has become so enmeshed in our culture that it is almost hard to look mincy while wearing one. The key, of course, is in your nonverbals: if you feel comfortable wearing a messenger bag, tote, satchel, briefcase bag or so forth, it follows that you’ll look entirely natural as well.

Here are some tips on selecting the professional man bag:

*Proportion is everything. Consider your physical size in relation to the prospective man bag. Choose one that is directly proportional to your overall physique. If you are a smaller man, a large man bag will make you appear even smaller. Ditto for the portly man with a princess-sized man bag.

It has to do with the contrast principle, and how the girl of your dreams appears that much more dreamy when standing in a crowd of folks who are not as easy on the eyes. Or how a miniature horse looks barely there when placed next to a strapping thoroughbred.

The Industrial Canvas Dipped York Brief by Jack Spade, which sounds like the name of a sandwich but is the name of this bag

*Your man bag should help communicate You. Man bags are no longer strictly boxy black or tan leather affairs. The dimensions, materials, finishes, fabrics and colors have busted out in a rainbow of twill, canvas, leather and even waxwear, a fine cotton canvas soaked in wax, the type originally developed for sails. In other words, man bags come in forms that insinuate you may be anything from very traditional to not.

Before going out in the world to shop for your man bag, think about what you want to look like. This will help you pre-determine the approximate shape and style you desire, and keep you from getting sidetracked by the many options out there.

*Quality counts. Like a cheesy suit that hangs clumsily off your body, a cheap man bag makes its presence known quickly and creates a bad impression. Don’t rely solely on a steep price or cache brand to cue you on whether a bag is quality: examine the leather, lining and stitching to determine its quality level.

On a practical level, a pricey-but-worth-it bag will pay dividends in terms of investment, outlasting a cheap bag by many years.

And, lastly, is very difficult to look like a serious grown-up with one of those great-outdoors-type backpacks, all mesh and straps and bright colors and Velcro, strapped to your shoulders unless you are on a mountaintop somewhere. It gives off a vibe similar to that of carrying a lunch box.


No Cheap Bras for You!

Bra_Fitting_TypeF.com

Being nice to your bosom means that you are unbending when it comes to the quality, beauty and, most of all, the fit of your brassieres.

Here’s how you can do this…

  • If you haven’t done so recently, get fitted by a professional. Preferably, at the lingerie department of a fine department store. However, you can even schedule a free bra fitting by phone.

Look for someone who really knows what they are doing, and will do more than just jut a measuring tape around your chest and announce your size. An undergarment professional should be able to assess your breasts, and give pointers on the types of bras that will suit your situation best.

 

tisha bra le mystere review

This is the Tisha bra by Le Mystere, and it rocks. And lasts forever. About $62.

  • Try on high-quality or luxury brands that you might normally bypass because of cost.

Here’s where: For the cost of two mall-issue bras I discovered I could purchase a Le Mystère bra that, due to its materials, construction and stitching, far surpassed my mall-issue bra in fit and feeling. With proper care, a fantastic bra, the cost is typically around $65 to maybe more, will last years of frequent use. Compare this to the average shelf life of 8 months for a mall-issue bra to start looking haggard.

The difference between the two types of bras is really noticeable–from the way the better bra looks to how it feels and, very important, how I feel while putting it on and sporting it. Bras are an area where you just can’t skimp. This does not mean you should break the bank on your next one–you might want to think about it, budget-wise, like this: Instead of buying two hum-ho bras; next time, save your money and buy one fantastic and long-lasting one instead.  It’s really the practical thing to do.

*Find my two cents on building your bra collection at TypeF.com.

Your Best Red & The SuperMoon Returns

Two warm shades (left) versus two cool shades (right)

Avoid reds? Chances are you’ve never found your best shade. Here is a simple, on-the-spot technique to suss out the specific reds that compliment your hair, skin and eye colors.

• Visually examine your bare skin in natural light. Skin with bluish undertones benefits from cool (blue-based) reds, while yellow or peach undertones are flattered by warm (orange-based) reds. To test:

If you are a gal: Apply a cool shade of red lipstick, then a warm one. (Remove color completely between applications.) See the difference? A clear red with bluish undertones is best for cool complexions; an orange-tinged red will flatter warm ones.

– If you are a guy: Place a fabric swatch under your chin in a cool shade of red, then swap it out with a fabric swatch in a warm shade. (Stand in front of the mirror to see the effects of each, and close your eyes in between swatches.) A clear red with bluish undertones is best for cool complexions; an orange-tinged red will flatter warm ones.

As you know, the benefits of knowing and surrounding yourself with your most pleasing colors are many–you make fewer shopping mistakes, plus you look and feel better.

Which brings me to SuperMoon: this Saturday if you feel like you are going a little nuts (in either the good or bad way), blame it on SuperMoon. This month’s full moon will appear to be bigger than usual. The moon is slightly closer to Earth than usual, so when it’s in full bloom, it’s closer than usual position will make it loom larger than ever. Whatever you do with your SuperMoon feeling, have a nice time…

Your Creamy And Fragrant Hand Doth Please, Milady

A way to keep a bit of you positively lingering long after you’ve passed through the room in your rustling silk skirts or tails is this: Rub a perfumed or cologned lotion onto the backs of your hands, wrists and arms before leaving for your next gathering or soiree.

The fragrance will waft about you subtly with your normal movements, such as shaking hands, lifting your glass or waving. And here’s the really practical part: Those unopened bottles of scented lotion and cream that come with your perfume or cologne, usually around Christmas time, and are huddled in your cabinet –the ones that you do not typically use on your body and never on your face? Now they have a purpose in life.

Make sure the scent matches, or is an agreeable mix with, your perfume or cologne, and that it gives you the vibe and mood you desire since you’ll be the primary recipient of it all night. And keep the lotion off your palms to avoid directly transferring the scent to the nice guy who will then walk around for the rest of the night wondering why the hell he smells like Honeysuckle Rose Nights. Or doom the nice gal you’ve just met to an evening, aromatically at least, of Blue Seduction by Antonio Banderas.

Jane Russell. Adieu, Glamorous One

Screen glamour girl Jane Russell had a kind of direct and knowing sexiness that never came off brassy or hard; never crimped her beauty and abundant sensuality. I first saw her in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, where her warm camaraderie with fellow glitterball Marilyn Monroe made the film the ultimate glamour girl buddy movie. Do see it, if only to watch the two sing and dance “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.” She and Marilyn became close friends as a result of that movie.

Like many other true beauties, Jane Russell was attracted to the simple pleasures that love, marriage and family brought. “I was born to be married. A family life helps everything, and also my belief in Jesus,” she said. She passed away on Monday at age 89. RIP

Another Beautiful Shoe Saved By A Suede Eraser

The scenario: A pair of rich suede Charles David platforms in a shade of light butternut squash. A neutral cork heel. An angry charcoal smudge across the top of the vamp.

Prior to said smudge there was clearly much to love about these shoes. Their versatility made them work with almost any color or silhouette. Their height, which gave me the ability to lord over others, or at least look them in the eye (I stand somewhere around 5’2″).

On their first outing, while strolling down Ocean Boulevard with a friend after a gay evening at the Ivy, they were nudged against a raised sidewalk curb. The smudge did not budge even when faced with my full shoe-correction arsenal. I took them to the trusted neighborhood cobbler. He whipped out what looked like a rubber eraser and within a minute had wiped the smudge from the shoe. He followed the eraser with a soft shoe brush to remove the eraser crumbs and restore the nap. Poof! He also tossed the remaining nub at me across the counter to take home. I clutched it like the nugget of gold it was.

It is a suede eraser. One made by Woodlore that I like quite a bit can be had for about $8 and purchased here at Amazon.

Warning: With the power to make beige suede look bright again comes great responsibility. Use the eraser gently and tentatively the first few times. Brush the eraser across a white piece of paper first to clean it before using it on your shoes. And don’t fear the crumbling of the eraser, as those crumbs get into the nap of the suede to help buff out the stain. Also, if you value a particular pair of shoes heavily don’t take any risks you’ll regret. In this case, entrust your shoes to a professional.

Practical Valentine’s

“The final aim of all love intrigues, be they comic or tragic, is really of more importance than all other ends in human life. What it all turns upon is nothing less than the composition of the next generation.”

–Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, 1819

On this day of celebrating love and fertility, a toast to your ancestors who, if it had not been for their long line of success in one or both of these areas, would have not been your ancestors. And to continue your success in these areas, bow to the day’s pull of love–the romantic, ethos, eros or any other of its fine varieties–with a look back through your personal Valentine’s Day catalogue to tease out your best, most authentic mates and moments: those things that moved you, made you feel the most romance, the greatest connection, the most alive.

Chances are, those February 14th gifts, words or gestures that made you feel skippy and warm in your fourth-grade homeroom have much in common with those that still do it today.

The Evolving Face of Fashion

I spoke with smart generational trend-watchers DemoDirt on how economic and social factors are forcing a fashion-industry focus on mature consumers–and the models they love.

Current Fashion Celebrates Boomers and Beyond. From Oprah’s recent supermodel summit featuring Boomer beauties  Cheryl Tiegs, Beverly Johnson, Christie Brinkley, and others to mod icon Veruschka’s turn on the runway at London Fashion Week, it seems as if the fashion industry is broadening its age range…Read the full article here

The Year of the Rabbit, Or A New Year Redo For You


Today is the Chinese New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit. South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam are also celebrating the New Year, though in Vietnam ’tis the Year of the Cat. A major holiday for many of our fellow Earthlings, what does this day mean for you? A second chance.

If you have punted some or all of that fresh resolution roster you were so earnest about on January 1, then take advantage of this chance for a redo. This time, though, scale back some of those bigger aspirations you laid out for yourself. Instead, add some fun, not-so-Herculean spots.

● Instead of working out 5 times a week…set out to walk/jog for 3 and throw some crunches in on the side

● Instead of implementing a totally new personal style…start collecting images (mentally or from magazines) of those styles that catch your eye and tuck them in a folder to review every once in a while, thinking about the little ways you can bring the big themes (more elegant, more grown up, more masculine, more fun, you name it) to your everyday look

● Instead of hitting the nail salon each week without fail…go when you can and in between visits, make sure you self groom your nails nicely. Read this post on shortcuts to presentable hands, or read the chapter on at-home nail care in Practical Glamour

● Instead of upgrading your entire wardrobe…make sure you just throw out at least 10 items that you don’t really like or use–and refuse to bring home anything else that is not of boss quality

● Instead of getting a pro facial at a salon once a month…go when you can and twice a month deep-clean and condition your complexion at home. Chapter 1 of Practical Glamour has a step by step at-home facial.

● Instead of becoming fluent in another language…set out to fluently deliver 5 of the top-used phrases you’d need (“My name is…” “I am from…” “I work as a …” and so forth)

You get the idea. Happy New-New Year. Go forth and be glamorous!

Think, Dress & Grow Warm

Juno Beach, Florida - February 2011

As a raucous winter storm is a-brewing for the Midwest and Northeast, it helps to remember that when interacting in a freezing world, “Think yourself warm” can be a powerful link to keep a positive mindset and a limber body. Did you know that by simply creating imagery in your mind of your body at a comfortable temperature you can feel more fluid and relaxed in the bitter cold than when clenched against it beneath a bundle of clothes?

While the power of the mind is profound in feeling and looking one’s best, it’s a strategy best used in tandem with a smart-looking winter wardrobe. Consider the following when piecing together your most attractive storm-ready ensembles:

*Think Functionable & Flattering. Fewer things are more dreary from a glamour perspective than having your figure covered up a la mummy for months at a time. A sassy winter look is tights worn under a clingy knit dress, suede or leather skirt or even winter shorts. Select wool tights that are tightly knit, so you stay warm while maintaining the profile of your legs. Likewise, select shorts that are clearly of the dress variety and meant for cold weather. Usually these are found in heavy fabric, dark colors and lined.

Select tights and shorts (or dress or skirt) in matching or complementary  dark shades. Black is always a cold-weather winner, along with grey. Silver-grey shades like pewter or gun metal are nice and upbeat in a cold-weather way, particularly when worn against winter white or cream.

*Power of Proportion. Consider your physical size in relation to winter-weather gear, and choose items that scale nicely with your overall frame. No stomping about in ski boots and a puffed-up coat if you’re uber petite, or mini-me hats and scarves if your build is on larger side.

Twiggy with a modern, circa 1960's, take on the 1920's cloche hat

*Quality counts. Invest in the good stuff. In winter months, more than ever, purchasing quality items is important. For one thing, such items last longer, making them a better investment than wear-it-for-one-season-because-it-won’t-last-for-two items. Also, quality cold-weather items tend to contain sophisticated insulation and finer-woven fabrics, making them a better defense against the elements.

*Engage winter trends selectively. Yes, platform heels and knee-high boots are the rage this season, but they won’t do much for you if you toddle about uncomfortably in them. Find–and stick with–that sweet spot between practicality, warmth and your own personal style.

*Add your charm. Speaking of personal style, don’t forget yours in the gnarly weather. Add a touch of ye to your winter wardrobe via cold-weather accouterments like hats, scarves and gloves. A pair of gloves in sleek patent leather to match your handbag, for instance. A leopard scarf and muffler set, or a vintage wool cloche hat worn beneath a tumble of curls and beautiful bright lips. What storm?

Here, Here: It’s A Raquel Welch Wednesday

Wise words from one of the most head-turning glitterballs (still!) of our time:

“I was given a magnificent body and I have looked after it well. I never felt I could afford the luxury of letting myself go.”

“Just as you maintain your home, your car, your garden, you should look after your greatest gift: your body.”

–Raquel Welch, quoted in the U.K.’s Daily Mail.

Event: Book Talk & Signing In Manhattan Beach

Thursday, January 13

Pages: a book store
904 Manhattan Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA

Who do you want to be in 2011? Architect your most attractive and authentic self for the new year and beyond. I will be at Pages bookstore discussing and signing copies of my book, “Practical Glamour,” a DIY-oriented grooming, style and manner guide called “A handy, relatable resource for women everywhere who want to look and feel their best.” 7 pm.

Easy Reader: Your Presentation As A Package Deal

Bondo Wyszpolski & I discuss the underused but potent power of presentation in LA’s Easy Reader, along with

  • clever ways to enhance your presentation
  • the idea of cultivating your “inner flame”
  • the importance of training your eye to spot plum-quality garments
  • and more.

“We have only one chance to make a good impression. Failing that, it can be a steep climb back, and by then the opportunity for a second try may have passed…” Read the full article here.

Off-The-Grid Gift Wrap

One of my all time favorite jobs took place in college during Christmas break when I wrapped gifts at the mall. You name it, I wrapped it. I worked with a crew of very colorful girls who, when bored, would think up creative ways to wrap gifts.  I got in on the act and pretty soon we had formulated a slew of wrapping scenarios that beat the hell out of the stock candy cane or Christmas bell prints we had on hand. Or even the eggshell blue paper with tiny dreidels on it.

Here are a few favorites from this and other times to help make wrapping a more perky affair:

*Completely random boxes. For fun friends only: A diamond bracelet discovered tucked in a box of tampons made the room erupt into a giggle fest. (It was a girls-only situation.) A beautiful silk shirt folded neatly in a cardboard cornflake box. Just don’t reverse the situation; I don’t think your girlfriend will appreciate a pair of socks placed in a Tiffany’s box.

*Butcher’s paper. Use a simple watercolor set to personalize the paper (paint a poem, message, design or picture) or leave it plain and tie with a colorful cloth ribbon. Tuck a small sprig of flowers, dried or not, under the knot.

*Use oversized photographs or sheets of color copies that show a favorite shot. An actor friend with a few hundred or so extra headshots used them to wrap smaller boxes. Lucky for me,  otherwise I would never have known who gave me those crazy earrings!

*Go to the coolest thrift shop in town and see if they have any rolls of ancient, unused wrapping paper that is otherwise in good condition. It’s hard to miss the gift neatly wrapped in a 70’s psychedelic swirl or Starsky & Hutch print. Wall paper works, as well.

*Hardcover book covers. Make sure they are clean and cool-looking. Use tape to secure the covers together in a single sheet. (Tape the not-visible side of the cover.)

*Sheet music. The older the better.

*Aluminum foil. This can look cool particularly in a pinch, provided the foil is smooth and unfurled and you top it off with a big luxurious bow.

*Fabric: lush but pliable velvets and brocades are excellent fabrics to wrap gifts in. Find in fabric stores. Affix with a bow in a contrasting color, such as a satin ivory bow against a midnight blue velvet fabric. Or extend the fabric and knot in a neat bow at the top of the gift. (This works best if you’re using lightweight fabric, such as a scarf, to wrap the gift.)

*Instead of tape, use drops of sealing wax to bond edges of wrapping paper together.

Technique: Whichever way you wrap, traditional or unusual, remember that the look of the finished product is all in the details. So focus, take your time and use care while wrapping so you present a gift that looks neat, sleek and completely buttoned-up.

Your Essential Impression

“’We look at a person and immediately a certain impression of his character forms itself in us. A glance, a few spoken words are sufficient to tell us a story about a highly complex matter. We know that such impressions form with remarkable rapidity and with great ease.’ (Solomon Asch, 1946)

Asch’s findings highlight the essence of first impressions: they are typically composed on the fly, created from a quickie computation of your most observable attributes.”

The kind folks at Microtank, the think tank for microbusiness, asked me to contribute to their weekly column. I chose the always intriguing and overlooking topic of “people perception.” Given the timing–the holidays and new year are soon upon us–it serves as a timely recap of the ways that we mentally suss each other up.

I think you’ll like it. Read the full text here. (Link: http://www.pressreleasesonline.net/2010/12/your-essential-impression.html)

Microtank is part of Gnosis Arts, a firm that does Internet PR.

 

How To Stay Warm Without Looking Like A Dancing Bear


I imagine she’s trying not to burst into laughter

My aversion to wearing a thick winter coat started around the time I realized I was a girl. Many a New England winter morning you could find my mother shouting “Put Your Coat On” from the front door. Being a bit of a shrimp, it was always the mass of the deep-weather winter coat that I was opposed to. Bulky coats can manage to swallow you and make you look like a sad little Weeblo tottering in the snow.

I kept the ban going on the burly winter coat until a few years ago. I was walking through the bitterly cold streets of Chicago shivering in a ridiculously thin but favored black wool Anna Sui matador jacket. My host happened to be a commanding, bigger-than-me gal who said she was going to tackle me if I didn’t put on a proper winter coat. Which I did.

She had selected a particularly fluffy one from her collection and so I ended up wobbling through the streets of Chicago for the rest of the trip quite warm but looking–and therefore, feeling–very much like a dancing bear.

When I got home, and after a gnarly bout of the flu, I decided to grow the hell up and dress properly for the weather.

Bottom line: I have found supreme warmth and the look of a female in the form of an L.L. Bean Lambswool Peacoat like the one pictured. (Approximately $200 and worth it.)

If you want to stay warm but keep a close-to-the-body silhouette during the winter then select a coat with modern condensed insulation in it, like this one.

“Thinsulate” is a common type of insulation found in many cold-weather coats. It provides deep warmth without bulk. The idea is that its fibers are finer and trap more air in less space. This coat, for instance, will keep you comfortable to temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the males in the audience: Thinsulate-like insulation is found in many fine men’s winter coats as well. And there are few things more nice to behold on a brisk day than a tall cup of handsomeness in a beautifully cut winter coat, strolling confidently along the street. Make sure the fit is right lest you end up looking like the chap above.

Here You Come: Because You’re Ready for a Change, No?

“After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.”

–Alfred Edward Perlman

What are those things in your life that will reach their tenth year, this year, and need to be thrown away and started “all over”? Hint: The first things that come to mind are typically the most on-target.

Luckily, those in the realm of your presentation are the easiest, most flexible and fun to change. Hair. Body. Skin. Style. Wardrobe. Manner. Since we often categorize our major life looks, or what I call our Personal Style Eras, by decades, start to think about how you want to visually remember You, Circa This Year.

As I say often, unless someone else is selecting your clothes, then dressing and grooming you each morning, this is an area you have absolute, 100% control over. You alone get to define what you look like.

Don’t let your look happen to you. For the coming year: Assess, Reinvent, Rejuvenate.

This is a fun process that you can kickstart easily. Begin to think about how you would love to look—don’t limit yourself. Let your mind roam to its most outlandish corners. Cling to these images. Let them take hold in your mind and form a new vision of you.

Once formed, start bringing this vision to life, piece by piece. Start with the areas that are easiest for you to evolve, it will make the more challenging, or bigger areas, less so.

 

 

 

 

Cues For The Camera Shy

Holidays are when the cameras come out flashing more frequently than any other time of the year.

You probably know someone–or you are that person–who so loathes having their picture taken you would swear they were in the Witness Protection Program. And woe to the person who insists on taking their picture anyway, along with the annoying: “Give me a big smile!” or worse, “Say Cheese!” or the much (much) worse, “I’m not gonna take the picture ’til everyone is smiling!”

I have always claimed that there is no such thing as an unphotogenic person. There is only the person who has not figured out how to hold their face, figure, chin and body to its most advantageous when the camera is present.

It’s a skill that is not one-size-fits all, since you need to compose yourself in order to accentuate, obscure, highlight or hide your favorite and not-so-much features. Here are a couple tips to finding your best photo face:

Find Your Best Pose. There is, at minimum, one shot in your photo history that you love; as in, take out and gaze at proudly with thoughts along the line of: Damn, that is one fine-looking woman (or man)!

This photo is probably casually sitting, framed, in your living room or on your office desk. Take it, along with a few other of your personal favorites, and spread them on a table. Examine them, looking at how your face and body are positioned relative to the camera lens.

  • What are the commonalities? What is the angle of your face to the camera? Straight-on or to the left or right? How much?
  • Also, is your chin tilted up or down? A little, a lot?
  • If your body is part of the shot, look at how it is positioned relative to the camera. Look at the position of your shoulders, legs and feet in particular.

Take away from this your favorite face and body positions. Narrow them down to the three that are your most flattering. Get insight from select trusted friends, if you like.

Find Your Best Expression. Re-examine your favorite photos, this time looking at the details of your facial expression.

  • Are you smiling? How wide?
  • Do you like your lips to cover both rows of teeth, or just the top row, or none at all?
  • The default big grin, by the way, is not always the best look. It often has the effect of scrunching up and obscuring other features, the eyes in particular.
  • Note: Keep your eyes open and fixed directly through the camera lens while the shutter clicks.

Finally, what personality do you convey with the arrangement of your facial features, and your eyes in particular?

Your favorite photographs will be the sum of the following:

Your Most Flattering Pose + Personality

Practice these–your best face/body position and facial expressions–in the mirror, over and again, until they are natural and immediate, and not posed. The next time the cameras come out, instead of shrinking away, fall into your favorite pose+personality.

Don’t be embarrassed to conduct this exercise. As photographs are, now more than ever, an unavoidable part of living life on Planet Earth, you may as well discover the way to present yourself most favorably in photographs.

And finally, no matter how many liters of champagne you’ve downed never, ever make the duckface.

*Tip. Former ambassador Chase Untermeyer offers the following from September 2010′s ForbesLife: “Let’s face it, some people look ghastly when they give an old-fashioned grin, displaying stretch lines and lopsided lips. The first President Bush pioneered a technique that works well: Just open your mouth and twinkle your eyes. For some people it looks better than their real smile.”

A Sense Of Theater In Your Dress

Model Dorian Leigh in an Adele Simpson suit. Year: 1950 Photographer: Gjon Mili

Model Dorian Leigh in an Adele Simpson suit. Year: 1950 Photographer: Gjon Mili

Adele Simpson was a notable American designer who created classic, wearable clothing for women and dressed political wives from Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford and Barbara Bush. I learned from Ervin Duggan, President of the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach and an elegant man who worked in the Johnson White House that, when he asked Ms. Simpson about clothing, she said it was important to have “a sense of theater” in your dress.

Ms. Simpson was not talking about theater in the sense of wearing sequins, glitter and a feathered head-dress. I imagine she meant theater in the sense of creating and projecting the essence of a character. Creating a public persona. Dressing a First Lady successfully meant she must be eye-catching and visually project a sense of First Lady-ness. She couldn’t, for instance, be seen exiting Air Force One with her head down wearing a rumpled beige suit.

Think about how you can add a sense of theater in your everyday dress. How can you better project the essence of You. (In my book Practical Glamour I have a chapter devoted to this, what I call finding your Personal Style Brand.)

This can mean something as small as tucking a white rose behind your ear or wearing red vintage sunglasses or your grandmother’s watch. Maybe it’s a collection of bright, plushy sneakers or swirl-print overcoats or stamped cufflinks or  sharply pressed bowling shirts. It can be color (you’re always in eye-catching jewel tones like plum and russet) or grooming (you’ve sported the same mass of brilliant curls since high school).

If “All the world’s a stage,” think about what you, the player, might want to say more clearly from your corner of it.

Closet Organization: Practical Glamour on 24|7

style_24_7 Laura Yoder at Style 24|7 features some swell closet organization tips excerpted from my book Practical Glamour. Since I consider a gal’s (or guy’s) closet to be their cockpit of personal glamour and style, included in it are the following strategies:

  • Determine (and actively use) your Personal Style Brand.
  • Perform a ruthless closet overhaul every few months “with the eye of a hawk and an attitude of a bitchy personal shopper.”
  • The order of your clothes must mirror your everyday dressing decisions.
  • Make sure all of your wardrobe items are visible.
  • Don’t overlook basic closet maintenance.

Your Closet As Your Glamour Cockpit

Along with these are the enduring principles of closeting, those values to keep tucked in your mind as you create, arrange and maintain your cockpit–that hub for expressing your most authentic and attractive self.

  • Getting rid of lesser items is necessary to make room for greater, more glamorous ones.
  • Crappy clothes only create crappy ensembles. Beautiful clothes, on the other hand, create beautiful ones.
  • Lousy, ill-fitting and unflattering clothes have no right to be loitering about in your closet.

Read the the entire excerpt here at Style 24|7 . Link: http://www.24-7style.com/category_s/21.htm

Airport Security Style Alert: Don’t Forget Ye Foot Shields

airport_security_footcover_peds_travel_tip

Having recently had to walk barefoot across the floor of the airport security area on a particularly packed and balmy day, I consider this travel tip more vital than remembering your luggage or passport.

If you wish to avoid that horrific trod across linoleum squares where many, many others have schlepped shoeless just moments before, always have a pair of ped-type foot shields on hand when you travel by air. Neither the thick jogging type nor the skimpy nylon ones either–select a lightweight cotton-based pair.

Nude_peds_airport_travel_style_hygiene I like those in a nude or beige color that are a low-cut design because they are more incognito and easy to slip on and off. These are easy to find at a neighborhood drugstore and cost approximately $5 for a two-pair pack.

Stash them in your purse or pocket and slip them on, one by one. Remove a shoe, slip on a ped. Remove the other shoe, slip on the other ped. I have done this so often the act is as seamless as a magician performing a stock trick.

Airport peds are a must for the woman who is often in heels, slides or flip-flops. On the rare occasion when I’ve approached the security area and realized I am ped-less, my first and automatic response is retreat. Turn and bolt the other way.

Faced with this fight or flight choice I always end up taking the flight. I take off my shoes and walk straight ahead. I try not to let my soles touch the floor. I try to block out any thoughts of what lies on the floor beneath me. I think of kittens playing with a ball of string on a sunny day and butterflies flirting in the flowers. And it always takes everything in my being not to shriek out: Ewww!

Learn What You Like By Looking

If, in the course of your everyday life, you spot someone who is particularly eye-catching, deconstruct them for a moment to discover why. (Note: For this on-the-street study to be its most successful, you must get specific.)

Perhaps their clothes are interesting, beautifully cut or suit their figure particularly well. Or the colors of their garments, or makeup or accessories, lift and accentuate the best of their hair, skin and eye shades. Maybe it’s their smile, strut or speech that gives off such an appealing vibe. In many cases it will be a bit of all of these things.

Conversely, when you see someone who has missed the mark in a big way, try to suss out why. Much of the time it has to do with an unkempt appearance or clothes that hinder rather than help one’s personal image or silhouette. Poor posture is an instant glamour-smotherer as well.

Observe_Glamour_Learn_Style

Brassiere Love: Wash With Care

Hand washing your brassieres in the sink is about as exciting and glamorous a venture as detailing the toaster. Out of lack of initiative in this regard, I have looked and researched and investigated on a way, any way, that I can avoid hand washing my bras and instead hurl them in the washing machine each week–yet get the same results as hand washing. Alas, I have not found it.

Particularly if your bras have lace, ornamentation and embellishments, hand washing is the way to go. According to Shahla, owner of Avisha Lingerie in Redondo Beach, the wash/spin cycles are too harsh for bras. Plus, they damage the moulding (support).

A lingerie rep, however, told me that she feels the “Lingerie,” “Delicates” or “Hand Wash” specialty setting available on some new washing models is kind enough to even luxury bras. As I do not currently own such a magic machine, I can neither personally confirm nor deny this.

I will continue to hand wash my brassieres in the interest of maintaining their life, general sassiness and shape (and by consequence, that of my bosom). I also hate the look of an old, worn bra. It’s horrible and soul-crushing and anti-glamour incarnate. (An admirable life goal is to never allow an ugly or cheap bra touch your bosom!)

To that end, here are some tips on washing your brassieres, lingerie and other unmentionables so they will serve you and look lovely for as long as possible:

  • Hand wash them in a basin of cool water with a small amount of mild soap or specialty lingerie soap (I have heard many good things about Forever New–find it at Macy’s in the lingerie department as well as at many fine lingerie stores.)
  • Rinse garments in clean water and remove excess water from the item gently with your hands.
  • Roll the item(s) in a clean dry towel to absorb moisture.
  • Do not twist, wring or otherwise Macarena* your items.
  • If you do use the washing machine, place items in a mesh lingerie bag.
  • After washing, lay your items flat to dry.
  • No dryers for your fine undergarments and lingerie. The motion beats the hell out of the garment and compromises its shape. Plus, a dryer’s heat fades colors, deteriorates the fabric and will weaken the strength of any stretch in the item.

*One day I was towel-drying my wet hair with much vehemence and vigor and passion and muscle. I recall it being after some shoot that involved a “statement” done with hair  and my hair in particular. A kind and dressed-in-all-black hair stylist came up to me and said, “Don’t do the Macarena on your hair, chica, you’ll damage it.” He showed me how to gently dry my hair by pressing a towel through it to absorb the moisture. This fine tipster also told me that you can tell if a woman is iron deficient by touching her hand–it feels cold.

Viva La Glamour

In these modern times, there are few glamour girls to be found among the ranks of celebrity. (One must be dignified to also be glamorous. This criterion cancels out 96.5% of those on the radio, in tv/film or seen in magazines.)

Ah, Monica Bellucci. The rare glamour beacon among the famous. She is not just a competent actress; she has an elemental, earthy sexiness. That, in tandem with her elegance, makes her utterly glamorous.

So it’s not just her native beauty–it’s her bearing (in this case, her poise and authenticity) that makes her so lovely. It also makes it possible for her to appear nearly nude on a magazine cover and still be considered to play the film part of a saint.

Remember: true beauty, glamour, whatever you call it–it’s never just about how you look–it’s very much about how you act, how you move, how you speak.

And the man standing next to her has every reason in the world to beam. His wife is age 45 and 1 month prior to this picture had given birth to their 2nd child. That’s all.

101 Ways To Wear A Scarf: Beach Glamour

Protect your fair self from sun damage to this most vulnerable area–which includes the neck, check and decolletage–with a scarf worn like this glamorous gal Gwen Stefani with the always gorgeous and unblemished porcelain skin.

  • Fold First. If the scarf is square: fold it in half so it’s triangle-shaped, and tie it behind your neck, arranging the bulk of the scarf so that it falls neatly over your neck and chest.
  • Loop and Cover. If the scarf is long and narrow: hold one end at the back of your neck, then loop the remainder of the scarf around your chest and neck in a spiral, making sure the fabric covers your skin evenly. Tie that end of the scarf to the end you are holding in your hand at the back of your neck.
  • Fabric Selection. Select a scarf made from solid material that will block the sun. Note Gwen’s black, cotton choice. If you use a light, gauzy scarf that the sun can penetrate through easily, do also apply some level of sun protection to the skin beneath.

 

Don’t Let Your Whites Linger

White clothes should always look elegant, crisp and lovely. Keep them that way as long as possible by laundering your whites soon after wearing. Here’s why: oils, perspiration, spills and dirt–when left to linger on whites–infiltrate the fabric, resulting in permanent discoloration and that overall dingy look that, when worn, makes a glamour look impossible.

A Bandana To Rescue Your Roots

I was about to leave the house when I noticed a rather untoward part of my appearance: roots that were veering into noticeably greasy looking territory. If you, like me, notice that a day or two after shampooing you still have dry looking ends–but your scalp is starting to look a bit too moisturized–you have two options: Go wash your hair or somehow cover up the situation.

As I was not going to undress, shower, shampoo, condition, then dry my hair–and I was out of dry shampoo (which really is the preferred way to go)–I reached for a nice alternative in the form of a basic red bandana. Though neither a Blood nor a Crip, I chose a classic red one and affixed it like the gal to the left. Use a few bobby pins to keep the fabric from sliding out of place on your head.

That, a pair of silver hoop earrings and, if you’re feeling it, a nice red lipstick or russet lipstain, make for a very feminine and relaxed look. Perhaps that’s what the gal in the photo was thinking. Or the girl I saw who, at a red light, got out of the passenger side of a car and started dancing wildly to some song blaring on the radio. Now that is spontaneous glamour! Not to mention a good way to pass the time while waiting for the light to change.

PS. A basic bandana or scarf worn in the hair this way is also ideal for covering roots that don’t quite match the color of the rest of your hair. (That is, not until your stylist comes back to town.)

Overheard: Style Tip Of The Week

“Just keep on doing what you’re doing–at some point it will come back in style.”–so said the gal with the ice-blond Veronica Lake peek-a-boo hair to me in the ladies room of the Sportsman’s Lodge hotel in Studio City.

And yes, it appeared that she might have been alive and well during Veronica Lake’s (nee Constance Ockleman’s) Hollywood heyday of the 1940’s.

Praise For The Non-Iron Shirt

As close as you can get to a universal closet staple is the Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt. In basic white or black, patterned or printed or pin-striped–this is the most durable and sleek basic button-up I have come across.

 

non iron shirt review brooks brothers Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Shirt (Fitted Cut). Will it rock your world? No. Does it always look good right out of the dryer and never needs to be ironed? Yes.

 

It is impervious to the chafing that infects most fine cotton after a few tumbles in a high-heat dryer, and always emerges smooth and unruffled and ready to coast out the door. The fabric contains something called “DOW XLA” which lends a bit of stretch.

It comes in three cuts: classic, fitted and tailored. The difference in cuts has principally to do with the presence of darts in the front and back, with the tailored cut being the most slim-fitting or Va-Va-Voom Office Version of the bunch. Also, the non-iron can be found in sleeveless, which is completely convenient for when you feel like playing the suit and it happens to be summer.

 

brooks brothers non iron shirt review best A completely reliable and good looking work basic to have in your wardrobe

 

I heartily recommend this shirt as a foundation piece in a work wardrobe, as it’s the most perfect marriage of low-maintenance and polished, alluring professionalism that I have come across. The price ranges from about $55-75.

Shedding Your Shell


As they grow, spider crabs naturally create a new shell to accommodate the increased size of their body. New skin is grown within the shell, so when the crab feels the time is right, he’ll flex his body, forcing the old shell to splinter off his body and onto the ground. The crab then walks away, leaving the remnants of his old self on the ground.

Now, what in blazes does a spider crab have in common with you? You both walk around with shells of a sort, a public identity. Yours is made up of  items like your choice of hair style, makeup, clothes, shoes and accessories. Your movement, speech, behavior and manner are also vital parts of your shell.

And, like the spider crab, as you grow, your public identity should be revamped, reconfigured or, when needed, completely shrugged off and left behind for one that suits who you are today. And communicates your most attractive and authentic self to the world.

Golf: A Game Of Glamour Aplenty

Sam Saunders, Glamour Golfer

As the Masters are underway, it appears to be an opportune time to mention style as it related to golf. Whether you are a regular golfer or have never stepped foot on the fairway (and have no plans to do so), know that golf is a goldmine of glamour as it relates to easy-on-the-eyes male style.

Among the many finely attired male golfers out there are Camilo Villegas and Sam Saunders, two young golfers who bring glamour aplenty to the greens with tailored, unrumpled pants, finely fitted collared shirts and an attention to belts, shoes and grooming.

And, as no presentation is complete without elegance of movement, their attire is not the only thing in place–they move along the course with fine posture and quiet energy.

In the sea of haphazard scruff that is sadly the default style of most males in their 20’s and 30’s (slouchy shorts that reach nearly to the ankles, droopy t-shirts, you get the picture), it is heartening to see these standout golfers look like something we rarely see out there–gentlemen.

How does this relate to glamour and, more importantly, to you?

Camilo Villegas--Style Improves One's Backswing

No matter what you are doing or where you are doing it, it is always possible to inject a bit more of personal glamour. Think of your grooming, style, movement and manner–and what you can do to make each of these areas even better.

While these golfers are undoubtedly under massive amounts of stress performing in such pinnacle-level tournaments, they must know that these are the times to ratchet up, rather than relax, their standards. And I’m betting that looking beautifully pulled-together helps, rather than hurts, their game.

Champagne Tips: Keep a Bottle of Brut Bubbly (Or Sparking Wine) Around

King Louis XV’s official companion, the beauty Madame de Pompadour, is thought to have said: “Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.”

A practical and glamorous household habit then, is to always keep a chilled bottle of sparkling wine or champagne in the refrigerator. One never knows when one might need it on the spot to celebrate or commiserate. Or look a bit more beautiful.

 

Difference Between Brut Versus Dry and Extra Dry Champagne

 

champagne, bubbly, icebox, chandon blanc de noirs Make sure the bottle is of decent quality, and is kept well-chilled.

Among champagne tips, here’s a biggie: I would opt for a Brut style of wine, which is quite dry as far as champagnes go. Many people beg off champagne because they experience an instant headache upon drinking it. This is due to the high sugar content of Dry and Extra Dry styles of wine. So check labels before purchasing, and assure guests that you’re serving them a dry wine, not a sugar bomb.

Two special occasion favorites are Krug Grand Cuvee Brut (approximately $130) and Dom Perignon (approximately $150 and up, depending on the vintage).

For an everyday wine that is festive, dry and goes well when enjoyed solo or with food — pizza and seafood work nicely; chocolate also — my all-time favorite is Chandon’s Blanc de Noirs (approximately $20).

Chandon’s Blanc de Noirs is a Rose style, which does not at all mean it is pink and sweet, but contains a higher amount of red wine than is usual. In this case, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Crisp, lovely and a tad fruitish, this sparkling wine is served at all White House receptions, yet easily acquired at a neighborhood grocery store.

How to Pick Out the Best Scarf for You

About 50 years ago, scarves were ubiquitous on the heads of the female populace. And with good reason. A scarf positioned smartly in the hair sounds an instant note of femininity. If selected with adequate thought to your most flattering colors and unique style, a scarf also enhances the color of your hair, and transmits characteristics your personal style. Trendiness. Vivacity. Elegance.

When it comes to selecting a scarf, do not skimp in the quality or style department.
Two scarf musts:

A. The colors must flatter the tones of your hair.
B. The quality must be excellent to superb.

 

How To Pick the Best Color Scarf for Your Hair

 

Color. Like the approach to pairing wine and food, select scarf colors that either contrast with or complement the tones in your hair.

Complementary colors are those that match, emphasize and enhance hair tones that you wish to play up. For instance:

  • Warm chestnut highlights are enhanced by a scarf containing gold, yellow or copper brown.
  • Warm red tones and golden blondes are enhanced via a scarf with warm peach, yellow and pink tones.
  • Cool blonde hair shades, on the other hand, are enhanced by icy blues, pinks and green.
  • Dark, cool-tone red shades, such as burgundy, are complemented by a scarf that contains even deeper, cool-based shades of purple, blue and green.
  • The gloss and mystery of black hair is enhanced with jewel tones and shiny finishes. Think deep, royal colors such as china blue or deep plum. Select fabrics with gloss and shimmer, such as leather or those with a metallic weave or finish.

Contrasting colors are those that don’t meld in with the tones in your hair. Far from being at odds or clashing, though, they are more dramatic than complementary colors, and just as flattering.

To create contrast, select a light-colored scarf to be worn against dark-tone hair. Vice versa for light-colored hair. For instance:

  • Blonde hair stands out beautifully against the contrast of an elegant black silk scarf.
  • A shawl of ebony hair looks elegant and dramatic set against a scarf with a royal blue-on-cream pattern, or a block pattern of bold pastels.
  • Light to medium tones of brown look lovely against the contrast of a winter white or cream scarf.
  • Bold red hair is heightened by a scarf of bright jade green, icy pale blue or ivory.


How to Recognize Excellent Quality in a Scarf

 

Quality. A high-quality scarf announces itself with fine fabric, glorious colors and intricate patterns. If you want to train your eye in this regard, visit a Hermes or Burberry store. Or, visit a local department store and hunt down the best scarves in the house. Feel the material. Examine the edges of the scarf. Luxury-tier silk scarves typically feature a hand-finished rolled edge. Note the quality of the stitching.

Knowing this difference between a fantastic scarf and a pedestrian-quality one will help greatly when it comes to selecting scarves in off-the-beaten path places. (Many beautiful scarves from the past survive in quality vintage and consignment shops.) Also, being savvy about scarf quality will help you to spot the fake designer scarves from the real deal.

When you acquire a beautiful scarf, right in color and quality, treat it well. Dry clean it. Hang or fold it carefully and store it properly.

How To Keep a Scarf From Sliding Off Your Head

Silken scarves have a habit of sliding from the hair. Before tying a scarf in the hair, affix a stay-put headband in the hair to keep the scarf in place. The Goody Stayput Headband does the trick. It features plastic nubs along each side to grip material.

Hair Straightening Treatment: Opti Smooth Cold Wave Review

I felt that my thick and wavy hair had veered too much into Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet territory for my liking, and I was looking for a sleeker hair profile. Less frizz. More shine. I spoke to a buddy about this, who said she’d arrange for me to get a Brazilian blow out.

 

It’s Permanent, Not Temporary

 

A few days later a stylist from the Taka Salon contacted me and asked when I’d like to schedule my blowout. Sure, I thought, I’ve had blowouts before – takes about an hour, not too hard on the hair and is always a fun change for a few days. This was a blowout of the more permanent kind, she explained. While they can do the ubiquitous Brazilian Blowout (which lasts for 3-4 months), I learned Taka Salon are super-experts in permanent straightening.

I paused at the idea of ‘permanent’ anything, particularly since I knew it would involve oodles of chemicals and possibly result in a hair change that I might not like, and maybe would even loathe. Sitting in a lounge the night before, I had looked around and noticed that almost every gal – redhead, blond, brunette or raven – was sporting the same glossy head of iron-straight hair.

 

You Control How Straight It Is

 

Averse to lemming-ness when it comes to looks, I learned at the Taka Salon that there are degrees of hair straightness to be had. The stylist who did my hair is something like a master chef of hair straightening and told me she could formulate a process that would do the following: relax the frizzies; keep some of the wave at the ends, maintain the volume and increase the shine.

Four salon hours later she achieved just that with the Opti Smooth Cold Wave Treatment, which is a great option if you are looking for a smooth, straight – but not too straight – look.

opti smooth cold wave review

 

opti smooth cold wave

After Opti Smooth Cold Wave – straight but with a bit of wave

 

There’s No Heat So It’s Kinder on Your Hair

 

Opti Smooth Cold Wave is different than the Opti Smooth Thermal Treatment or the Yuko System, which both use heat during the process and result in iron-straight hair. This absence of heat makes the Opti Smooth Cold Wave process less stressful on the condition of the hair.

Lots of chemicals are still involved though. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, the Cold Wave will cost approximately $150 and up, and takes approximately 2-4 hours in the salon. Like other permanent hair straightening treatments, you cannot shampoo for the first 48 hours, as the chemicals are still at work.

 

Bottom Line: It’s Awesome

 

For me, the Opti Smooth Cold Wave lasted about 1 year – until my hair grew out. It cost around $400 for my very long and thick hair and was worth every penny. I did not need to do anything to my hair after each washing to achieve a straight and sleek look – no hair dryer or flat iron needed, ever.

The Best Makeup Organizer Ever? A Tackle Box

If you are a glamour girl of the makeup-wearing kind, invest in a central command center for your wares. Forget fishing dusty eye shadow brushes from the bottom of makeup bags or grasping at tubes of lipsticks huddled at the rear of a bathroom drawer. Keeping a messy makeup spot is not just a mammoth time-waster, it’s not good for your skin (as in, it’s gross) and also makes it hard for you to maximize your beauty—because you don’t know where in blazes to find anything.

 

organize your makeup

Scared straight? I hope so. Time to invest in a makeup kit…and a tackle box does the trick at a great price.

 

Organize Your Makeup So it Makes Sense…To You

When you go to adorn your face, all of your cosmetic choices should be visible to you and then easily stored in a place where they remain clean and organized by category. Your makeup organizer should have lip liners separated from eye liners, mascara set apart from lip sticks and so on. It will make your makeup duty much more fun, creative and fast.

 

Don’t Need a Pro Makeup Kit? Try This DIY Makeup Organizer…

plano_tackle_box_makeup_storage_beauty_tip

For this I recommend not a makeup artist’s box or teen-type “caboodle” but a fisherman’s tackle box.

Why? Tackle boxes are way more sturdy and serious than the toddler-ish looking makeup kits from the drugstore. They are also more practical than the serpentine seven-tray systems created for professional makeup artists.

A tackle box is also radically less in price. For instance, a Plano 6101 1-tray tackle box (pictured) offers more than enough makeup space to the average glamourpuss, and costs around $11 the last time I checked on Amazon. (You can also go wild and get the 2-tray box for around $14.)

I have owned the same Plano 1-tray tackle box since I became serious about makeup and decided to steal my sister’s tackle box, who at the time used it to store art supplies. I’m not being cheap, this is a pure case of if it’s not broke, why fix it?

 

A 2 tray fishing tackle box...I mean, makeup organizer

A 2 tray fishing tackle box…I mean, makeup organizer

 

There are 3 and 4-tray boxes if you’ve got a ton of makeup, but the beauty of having a 1-tray box is that it keep you disciplined, and also forces you to throw out old makeup that you shouldn’t be putting near your face anymore.

My tackle box fits my makeup organizing and storage needs so thoroughly. Despite having been lugged cross-country more than once and used daily for many years, it has remained stubbornly in top shape. The durable plastic is lightweight, non-staining and easy to clean—simply empty the contents, soap it up with dish soap, scrub it thoroughly and rinse.