Skip to content
Advertisements

Posts from the ‘clothes’ Category

how to lie about your shopping problem

When it comes to material goods, Tom’s needs are aggravatingly few. He saves the energy he might spend on coveting things for himself, on me. And by that, I’m not talking about him buying stuff for me. He hasn’t bought me a real gift since I lost the Hermes watch I scored for giving birth to his precious firstborn. No, I refer instead to his constant vigilance in spotting and calling out my new purchases.

“Is that new?” I have grown to hate and fear these three words. Usually when you hear them, they are asked by a friend who is about to validate your purchase by complimenting you. When Tom says the words, they come laden with innuendo, and enough guilt to kill.

I have four methods of dealing with this most annoying of questions. I’m not suggesting that these methods will work for you, but then again, they have served me well in the 15 years I have known my husband. So you might give them a go.

Hypnosis

Your success with this method will vary, depending on your guy’s relative knowledge of fashion trends, and the strength of his memory. Also, your skill at lying. Basically what you have to do is convince the guy that he’s not really seeing what he’s actually seeing.

In this, you will be aided by the fact that most of what you buy looks a lot like something you already have sitting in your closet. So when Tom points to my new black sweater, made of the softest, loftiest merino wool and asks, “Is that new?,” I can look over his shoulder at the nasty old black merino sweater I bought last year, and say, “No, I’ve had this for a year.” The beauty of this method is that in that moment, the hypnosis is working its magic on both of us, because in my mind, the two sweaters really do become one. Then, when Tom’s gone, the one sweater magically separates into two sweaters again. So I’m not really even lying.

This method works especially well with jeans. I could be married to Tom Ford, not Tom Johnson, and he’d still have problems telling the difference between my three pairs of ink blue J Brand skinnies. I mean, sometimes have trouble telling the difference. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need all of them.

Bribery

You can buy your husband’s silence by throwing him a bone, which for me usually involves stopping at H&M on my way out of Nordstrom, to buy a t-shirt that costs $9.90. L’Occitane soaps are also great for this. They cost ten bucks and have the added advantage of being soap, a product your man probably actually uses. And they smell really strong, which seems to have a mildly debilitating effect on my husband that allows me the 8 seconds I need to cram my shopping bags behind the laundry hamper in my closet.

If you’re shopping in the evening, treats work well. Tom gets so happy when I walk in the front door with an Oreo McFlurry that I could be dragging a new Lexus behind me and he wouldn’t notice.

Diversion

Your success with this method will also vary, depending on your guy’s attention span and your proximity to a television. In my house, it works like this.

Tom: “Is that new?”

Yoona: “Is what new?”  (Reaching for remote).

Tom: “Is THAT new.”  (Pointing to new bag).

Yoona: “Is WHAT new?”  (Turns on TV, to Channel 735).

Tom: “Wait a second, is that the Pats game?”

Like taking candy from a baby.

Role Playing

Sometimes Tom actually gets angry about a purchase, and then I have to work extra hard to justify my decision. Last Friday he beat me home and opened a heavy Amazon box to find a new pair of Fryes. While generally clueless about the relative cost of women’s fashions, Tom knows enough about women’s clothes to know how much Frye boots cost. I mean, they cost as much as one pair of his dress shoes, but whenever I say that he lashes out that he buys one pair of shoes every year. Cruel words that always strike me as a non-sequitur.

Anyway, all he saw when he opened that box was a pair of boots. What he did not see was that the boots were the culmination of two years of me searching for the perfect flat black boot. TWO YEARS. He had no idea how many heavy boots I’d had to purchase, then return.

He also had no inkling of the pain and mental trauma I suffered each time that I tried on boots that were unflattering. If you’re a guy, you might think I’m exaggerating, but you can be damned sure that every woman reading this post knows how it feels to try on something that is so bad that it makes you re-evaluate your life and how you’ve been living it. There are certain things you have to be very careful about trying on. Bikinis, natch. Skinny jeans, of course. Crop tops. Puffy sweaters. FLAT BOOTS.

So anyway, I basically had to lay out this entire sob story for Tom until he felt what it was like to live the experience of my search for the perfect flat boot. By the end, I felt like he not only approved of my purchase, but that he wanted me to have them.  Needed me to have them.

And that’s why Tom, and my new boots, are awesome.

fryes

my boots, with the world’s cutest pregnant person

Advertisements

the puffy shirt

When I first started dating Tom, I immediately began trying to expand his fashion horizons, but I shot out too fast from the gate. My first gift was an oxford shirt. It was a normal oxford shirt, in blue cotton, unremarkable in all aspects except that it had a ruffly tuxedo panel on the front. It sounds bad but take my word for it that it was cool—a casual tuxedo shirt, meant to be worn with sleeves rolled up and khakis or whatever guys were wearing on their legs back in 1999.

Our relationship was nascent, and Tom was eager to please. So he feigned awe/delight at the shirt, and then shoved it deep into the back of his closet where it rested against his pile of bootleg Phish cassette tapes.

I think what really stuck in my craw about the tuxedo shirt is that I could have returned it. I have written before about my talent—nay, GIFT—for returning things. I would have returned the tuxedo shirt, albeit pissily. But he said he’d wear it, and never did. Eventually, the shirt became more than a shirt. It became a sign of my generous willingness to help guide Tom’s fashion choices, and his ungrateful rejection of my benevolence. To this day, any time I try to get Tom to try wearing anything different, he drags out the dead carcass that is the Memory of the Tuxedo Shirt. “Yoona, I can’t wear this! It’s like that tuxedo shirt.” Or, “Yoona, remember the tuxedo shirt. I never wore the tuxedo shirt. And I’m sure as hell not wearing THIS.”

You’d think I was trying to convince him to wear, like, a cape. Or ass chaps. But it’s usually something completely innocuous, like a t-shirt in a smaller size, a size that fits. I just want him to try something outside of his normal casual wardrobe, which is either jeans and button down, or shorts and a too-large v-neck t-shirt. He always looks good. But he could look GREAT if he’d just push the envelope a bit.

20130723-143055.jpg

linds. and tom, in standard tom dress

Last week I saw a blue and white striped boatneck shirt at H&M. You know, the type sailors wear. I’d been trying to get Tom to try one, for years. The last time, we’d been at American Apparel and I knew it was pointless to even ask, because it was hanging between some men’s v-necks cut to the navel and a rack of neon banana hammocks.

But this time, I felt like I had a shot. After an initial struggle, Tom had recently worn a t-shirt with a wide scoopneck that showed off a mantastic amount of chest hair. With that victory in my mind’s eye, I paid for the sailor top and drove home, considering my approach. I couldn’t make a huge production of it. Best to go lo-fi. Under the radar. To present the shirt as if he had twelve other striped boatnecks sitting in his closet.

“Hey babe,” I said, passing him in the doorway. “Oh,” I said, tossing him the yellow bag. “I picked this up for you today.” And then I went to the kitchen to start making dinner. But he followed me, agitated. He held the shirt away from his body as if it was a lace thong. “What’s this? I can’t wear this. It’s a girl shirt.” I began talking, fast. “Tom. It’s not a girl’s shirt. It’s a sailor shirt. Male sailors have worn them for years!!” Tom looked unconvinced, but confused. Confusion is always the first sign that Tom’s resistance is weakening. So I went for the jugular. “I mean, Tom, do you want to look like everyone else?”

Tom, like most men, has a streak of vanity, and I could tell by the set of his jaw that by God, Tom didn’t want to look like everyone else. When victory is imminent, you have to just leave it alone. Press too hard, and they can turn on you, like some feral animal. I walked out of the kitchen and went to water the plants at the front of the house.

Next thing I knew, Tom was on the front lawn, looking mouth-wateringly good in his striped sailor top. He looked like a Kennedy. A hot Kennedy, not a puffy one. Even better, he had a sheepish, tentative smile, as if he was getting comfortable with the notion of looking that fine.

And then my damn six-year old ruined everything. Finn ran over from a lawn two neighbors down as if his hair was on fire. He screeched to a halt right under Tom’s chin. “DADDY.” Finn’s expression was alarmed. “Why are you wearing Mommy’s shirt??”

Tom swore under his breath and turned back for the house, already pulling the shirt off his torso. I resisted the urge to kick my own son in the shins and ran after Tom. “TOM!! Don’t listen to him!! He’s SIX for godsake. Look how HE dresses!!” I heard Tom run up the stairs, likely in search of one of his boring too-big t-shirts. And then I heard another voice, hammering the nail into the coffin. My three-year old, Tate, stopping as he passed Daddy on his way down the stairs. “Daddy! Why you wear Mommy’s shirt?”

Tom stormed the rest of the way up to our closet. When Tate got to the bottom of the stairs clutching his Pokemon binder, I observed that his penis was dangling out the bottom of his Gangnam Style t-shirt. I couldn’t believe Tom was listening to this pantless freak, instead of me.

I eventually got Tom to wear the sailor shirt out of the house, but I had to use some serious emotional blackmail. In all, the process was very exhausting, for a shirt that cost $24.95. He says that he’s never wearing the shirt again, now that I’ve written about it here. He wouldn’t wear his calculator watch for months after I wrote about it. But time heals all.

And he WILL wear the shirt again. You can help by not commenting on this blog post if he does.

clothes in my house that refuse to die

1. Finn’s Detroit Lions t-shirt

20130711-190346.jpg

I have a small to medium-sized phobia of black cotton t-shirts. Even the best black cotton shirts are bound to fade, and once your black t-shirt fades, you might as well cut the sleeves off that bitch and pull on some jorts. Needless to say, Finn loves this shirt. He likes to pair it with his too-short sweatpants and a pair of striped knee socks from H&M, and the whole ensemble cuts me like a knife, every time. If this shirt had cost money, I would have burned it long ago. But unfortunately, it was free, as Tom likes to remind me. It came with Finn’s Sports Illustrated Kids subscription, and Tom carefully checked the box for the Detroit Lions, and the rest is history.

I’ve actually tried to throw this shirt away. Finn found it in his trash can and lovingly folded it back into his drawer.

2. Tate’s Gangnam Style t-shirt

20130711-190359.jpg

I’ll take any opportunity to inject a little Korean flavor into my kids’ lives, which basically means that we eat a lot of Korean bbq and that I get mad when my kids ask to take Karate lessons and say they want to be goddamn ninjas. Gangnam Style is Finn’s favorite song and has been for a good six months. Finn learned the Korean word “yuh-ja” from that song, which means “woman.” He has taken to greeting me with “What up, yuh-ja,” which is technically not incorrect, as I am a woman, but sounds very rude. Whatever. Even I have to admit that the song is catchy.

But there is a big difference between the song and this shirt, which, let’s be frank, is racist. I can’t even really point to what’s racist about it, but it feels racist. Does Psy look that pig-like in real life?? I can’t be sure. I understand that Koreans designed and manufactured this shirt, because it was procured in Seoul, which makes it worse. Also, my mom bought it, which confuses me further. I mean, she’s more Korean than I am. Am I not getting the joke? I want to get the joke.

3. This shirt

20130711-190416.jpg

20130711-190433.jpg

Tom and I turned on the TV the other day and caught ten minutes of the Walking Dead. I know everyone loves that show but if you’ve never watched it before and then you watch ten minutes of it, you might be forgiven for having the reaction that Tom and I did, which was to look at each other and laugh hysterically. I only mention that show because this t-shirt looks like something a zombie would wear. But it’s not. It’s actually something that my husband wears.

Whenever I complain about it, he leers at me, lifts up his arm, and asks if I find the direct access to his armpit sexy. He doesn’t use those words, but that’s the gist. I like his armpit, as much as I like the rest of him, but I don’t want direct access to his armpit. I just don’t.

4. Tate’s AC Milan shorts

20130711-190407.jpg

These shorts are fresh out of the wash. I have no idea what those stains are, but they aren’t coming out. I’ve tried. These look like they were worn by a guy manning the deep fryer at KFC. But when would my three-year old have been around a deep fryer?

Every morning, Tate wakes up and wants to put on a “soccer shirt” and these “sport shorts.” Tate’s actual interest in soccer or sports is arguably less extant than even mine, but his brother wears sports clothes, and he wants to be like his brother in a very bad way. Speaking of brothers, these were part of a complete kit bought for Tate by my brother Mike, a huge AC Milan fan. And I guess that’s why I can’t bear to throw them away.

5. Go Blue

20130711-190447.jpg

There’s a whole lot of maize and blue in my house. I don’t buy it, but still, it arrives, via Tom and his relatives.

Here’s the thing about the color maize. No one looks good in it. Especially not Asians (me, my kids) and extremely fair people (Tom). Sometimes the designers like to keep things fresh by replacing the maize with a lighter shade of yellow that you might call “cornflower” but which I call “pancake batter.” No one looks good in that either.

Anyway, we get a fresh influx of Michigan clothes anytime Michigan wins something or, in this case, gets close to winning something. Michigan made it to the NCAA finals this year, and it was a great run. I would never destroy this shirt even though it is intensely ugly. Because I love Michigan. And because it would only replicate itself if I tried to destroy it.

20130711-190455.jpg

**Tom said I could only use the photos of his t-shirts if I also provided this link. Enjoy.

6. Tom’s pick

20130711-190504.jpg

Tom got annoyed when he saw me taking pictures of his ugly clothes. So I told him to pick the thing he hated most from my wardrobe. So here it is. This offensive J.Crew cardigan, which I’ve had for eight years. Tom says it’s “Talbotty.” Meow.

20130711-190510.jpg

downers: sweaty pits

Finn is on the cusp of something. I don’t know if it’s the beginning of manhood, or the end of babyhood, but I’ll tell you this: it doesn’t smell right.

As usual, Cuz voiced it first. “Finn smells,” she said. I had noticed it myself, usually after one of his soccer games, but had been in denial, for months. Normally, Finn smells like warm, active boy—a very good smell. Possibly, the best smell. More and more often, however, that boy smell comes with a dash of Gouda.

I can’t even tell where the smell is coming from. At bathtime, I stuck my nose under his armpit as he grumbled about privacy. It didn’t smell good, but neither did it smell like cheese. I think it’s his feet. I almost keeled over this week when he sat down next to me and pulled his feet, sockless, from a pair of Nikes.

finn pits

How did this happen? Finn is half Asian, and Asians don’t have B.O. I know, because I know a lot of Asians. And in general, none of them smell as bad as white people. It’s not a scientific sample, but take the Asian and white guys I know. The Asians might smell like a shit ton of Polo Sport, but they aren’t going to smell like rotting vegetable matter, like Tom does after a summer day in a suit. I’m just saying. Sidle up to an Asian after your gym class. Maybe not exactly roses. But not so bad, either. I can’t explain it. Might be the lack of body hair.

It sure as hell isn’t the lack of sweat. I am 100% Asian and I sweat profusely in situations requiring even the most minimal amount of physical exertion. Once, after a Zumba class, I passed by a nice old lady in the locker room. “I hope you enjoyed your swim!,” she chirped. Listen, friendly people: sometimes, it’s better not to make assumptions. Sometimes, in fact, it’s best not to say anything at all.

At least my sweat doesn’t smell. I know, because, duh, I’ve touched my sweat and smelled it.

Sweating really creates issues when it comes to clothes. I remember when I wore a pair of tight pants to go dancing, way back in college. They call it vegan leather now, but back then it was called plastic. Imagine dancing in a hot room in skintight plastic pants. I’d dance for a few minutes and then go to the restroom to roll down my pants and sop up the sweat with toilet paper. For the record, it’s really hard to look sexy in your tight plastic pants if people think you have a weak bladder or uncontrolled diarrhea.

Sweat is also really bad with silk. I wear a lot of silk, because it drapes nicely over my A cups and skims over my love handles just so. But for me, even thinking about sweat while wearing silk results in immediate pit stains of man-sized proportions. I’ve spent many a wedding with something wedged under my arm, to hide the evidence. Try hugging someone with a wedding program tucked under one arm, and an evening clutch tucked under the other. Or don’t. Best to wait to be hugged in such scenarios. You can participate in the hug by leaning in. I’m a great leaner.

20130502-122902.jpg

linds and me, leaning

Anyway, I’ve spent a lot of time googling stuff like “extreme sweatiness” and “excessive sweatiness” and “does Certain Dry cause cancer.” Linds turned me onto Certain Dry, which she says keeps your armpits sweat free. I’m sure Linds wouldn’t mind me sharing that as a white person, she worries about sweaty pits even more than I do. If there’s someone with B.O. in a room, she immediately assumes it’s her. Even I don’t do that. Anyway, the Certain Dry. It works, Linds says. Of course, she had to stop using it when it started causing her to scratch at her armpits uncontrollably in public. There’s always a catch. Why does there always have to be a catch?

Why can’t they invent a silk that makes sweat invisible? Can you put deodorant on a six-year old’s feet? That Asian you know who smells really bad? I’m all ears.

how to dress like a hipster

In advance of my kids’ school auction, I was asked to write a little something for parents about how to dress for the event. The theme of my kids’ auction this year is Portlandia, as in, the TV show.

In any given year, dressing for the school auction is anxiety inducing, because parents at my school, being involved and enthusiastic Montessori parents, actually dress up according to each year’s theme.

That’s a problem for me because I hate costumes. I hated costumes long before married friends of ours suggested that the four of us dress up for Halloween as the gang from Scooby-Doo. “We can be Daphne and Fred,” the wife half of the couple chirped. “Tom can be Shaggy, and you can be Velma, Yoona. It will be so perfect!!” Perfect for whom? Daphne and Fred were hard-bodied and attractive. Tom is tall and white and could conceivably be made to look like Shaggy, but Tom was deeply offended by the suggestion. And me! Velma is the nerd who wears a baggy orange turtleneck sweater and knee socks. Why does the Asian always have to be the nerd? It all seemed so unfair, as if they’d suggested that we dress up as characters from the Lord of the Rings and then suggested that I’d make the perfect Gollum.

But this auction is for my kids. I’ll do anything for my kids, except wear a tankini. Portlandia means hipsters. I could throw something together, but what about Tom, who wears suits five days a week? I had never really thought about the components of a male hipster outfit. I started with online research, and found a Wikihow page called “How to Dress Like a Hipster” that included helpful tips like “Be under 30 years old.” Anyway, here’s my take.

Step 1: glasses

082

In case it’s not evident from his expression, I had to blackmail Tom into participating in this post. The blackmail went like this. Yoona: “Tom, I’ve fulfilled 12 volunteer hours for the school this year. How many have you fulfilled?” Tom: “I brought the guinea pig home that one weekend and bought the guinea pig supplies.” Yoona: (penetrating stare).

Anyway, hipsters love glasses. The more awkward, the better. I bought these for ten dollars at Lloyd Center and wore them religiously for two weeks until someone at work asked whether they had prescription lenses in them. I would have lied but I was worried that some jerk would snatch them off my face and look in the lenses to discover that not only were they not prescription, they had a cheap film over them that actually inhibited vision. Once people found out my glasses were fake, I got all sorts of unsolicited opinions. One partner was borderline distressed about it. “Why would you wear glasses if you don’t need to wear glasses??” When put that way, I felt sort of dumb about them. But glasses are a solid first step to hipsterville.

Step 2: plaid button down

087

Every waiter in town wears one of these. Usually they are buttoned up to the neck and tucked into a pair of high-waisted jeans, but Tom refused to do that. Anyway, the tighter the better. I think the one here is three sizes too small.  Straining buttons are great.

Steps 3, 4, and 5: the hoodie, the hat, the ‘stache

089

I wasn’t present when these photos were taken, as I was out of town. I gave Tom and Cuz my instructions and they did a bang up job, but Tom started getting upset so Cuz made the decision to fast forward from Step 2 and started piling everything on at the same time. The hoodie is de rigueur. The hat is usually of the skull cap variation, but you might go indigenous with a highly patterned number. Anyone who doubts my love for my kids should know that I had to visit the costume place on Hawthorne to procure this moustache, and that place scares the bejeezus out of me. For starters, I hate costumes. Also, it’s really cold in there because it’s staffed by vampires.

The moustache cost me $14.00 and is made out of someone’s real hair. Thinking about that for too long makes me want to vomit, but at least you know it’s authentic.

Step 6: the skinnies

091

Skinny jeans are a hipster must. We ran into some regional issues with the skinny jeans, as Cuz is from NYC, and apparently in NYC the hipsters only wear skinny black jeans. We tried to buy some from American Apparel for this shoot but NEWS FLASH you can no longer return items for a refund at AA. There goes everyone’s Halloween, I guess.

In Portland you see skinnies in all colors. I am particularly impressed by skinny jeans in raw denim, as they look spectacularly difficult to pull on. These are Tom’s own skinnies but as skinnies go, they aren’t that skinny. Still, every time I ask him to wear them he complains that they hurt when he eats. When you can’t feel your legs or your reproductive organs, just remember that it’s for a good cause. It’s for your kids’ education.

Step 7: put a bird on it

100

The joke goes that people in Portland like to put birds on things. We didn’t have any birds in the house except some chicken breasts and this Korean wooden duck but you get the idea. You might even get other animals involved. Like so.

110

So there you have it. How to dress like a hipster in seven easy steps. Any questions? I’ll refer you to Cuz.

Tom can’t wait for this auction.

laundry with strangers

My washing machine died on Monday. I could tell you exactly how it happened, except I don’t know. What I do know is that a repair person diagnosed the problem as catastrophic. He has no idea.

When the washer broke, we were already behind on laundry. While we decide whether to pay $800 to fix the old machine or $1000 to buy a new one, the load of laundry that broke the machine has been sitting, rotting, in the drum. I’ve ruined a lot of clothing by letting it get mildewy in the washer, and this particular load had about $300 worth of Hanna Andersson pajamas in it. So as the hours ticked by, I’d try not to think of that load, because when I did think about it, I’d feel the vapors coming on. Eventually I prevailed upon my awesome neighbors Anne and Dennis, who opened their doors and their washer to Cuz, who kindly washed the load while I was at work.

But that load only bought me a day’s peace, because on Tuesday, I started running out of underwear. I stood in front of my drawer, looking at the last two pairs of cotton granny pants on the left, and the two fistfuls of Hanky Panky thongs on the right, which have not been touched since the day that I decided once and for all that my butt cheeks prefer not to have material lodged between them all day. Linds suggested that I drop all our laundry at her place, and that she could do the loads in the evenings. I was tempted, but I couldn’t. I mean, I’m hopeful that one day a hand will be able to reach into my boys’ hamper feeling assured that it will not graze dried feces, but I suspect that we’re yet years away. I couldn’t do that to Linds, best friends or not.

Which leads me to tonight. After dinner I looked solemnly at Tom, Cuz, and the boys, who were wearing clothes they’d worn for two days. We all knew it was time. We packed the car with five full loads of laundry, and off I went, wearing the stoic expression I reserve for moments of extreme martyrdom. Here’s the thing though. I love doing laundry. With every completed load, I feel a sense of freshness, satisfaction, and rebirth. It is definitely my chore of choice, although I also really enjoy organizing and labeling my spices with my labelmaker. And laundromats? They get me crazy. I f-ing love them. Because you can do like ten loads at a time, and fold ten loads at a time, and nothing turns me on like efficiency.

20121107-220140.jpg

In fact, I’d live in a laundromat if it weren’t for the people. With everyone washing and folding and making change, you feel a sense of common purpose with the other people in the laundromat, or you would, if they weren’t complete freaks. In a place like NYC, everyone goes to a laundromat, because most people live in apartments without washers. In Portland, there is a very small subset of people who go to laundromats. Hipsters, older bachelors, transients, people with broken washers. A tall skinny guy who was surrounded by an almost visible nimbus of pot smoke sidled over to me as I was filling a dryer. “Uh, I don’t want to sound sketchy, but there’s a pair of black Victoria’s Secret panties over there that might be yours.” Uh, so much for not sounding sketchy. A hipster couple kept trying to engage me in conversation. For what possible reason would you want to engage in conversation with a stranger at a laundromat? Clearly they sought to distract me so they could steal my clothes. I crammed my Yogitoes and Lululemon into the bottom of my basket and kept my eye trained on them the rest of the night.

Well, I did it. Five loads of laundry, washed and folded. In 90 minutes. Granny pants for days. Medal of Valor, you say? Nobel Peace Prize? Don’t mind if I do.

20121107-220201.jpg

ways to wear: cropped jeans

It’s been awhile since I did a fashion post, and I’m feeling a little rusty. I also have a new photographer. Thus far, Cuz is far superior to Tom in all ways as a blog photographer. She does not whine, does not ask “how many more outfits” or “is that new/how much did that cost,” and most importantly, does not try to position me in a manner such that she can watch the game on the TV at the same time. I thank her for her service.

I love cropped jeans. They’re unfussy, a concession to my tomboy past, and I just prefer them to regular jeans, year-round. So with all the cropped jeans being offered these days, I’m in heaven.

My text placement is a sad attempt to hide some incipient denim creasing that might, to the uneducated observer, be mistaken for camel toe, which it most certainly is not. New year, new shade of Clarks to add to the other pairs in my closet. You might call it a style rut, but I prefer to think of my desert boots as my signature. The popover is comfortable, as it should be, because it is a beach coverup. I wear it all the time.

Levi’s Curve ID system intimidated me as soon as it was introduced. So many fits, and how the hell am I to know how large my ass is in relation to other asses? I didn’t even bother trying any on until last month. But, epiphany. If you have no waist, no hips and no butt—like me—the Slight Curve is genius. GENIUS. Which leads me to believe the other fits for more feminine figures, might be equally as bangin’. These are technically not a crop but I bought them in a 30″ inseam. They fit like a dream, with no muffin top. In fact, they fit exactly like my Current Elliott Stilettos, which were $200+. Long live Levi’s.

Cuz took these pics while three different neighbors were outside raking their leaves. Listen, I suffer for my craft. I wanted to get the ordeal over with quickly and didn’t bother to clear off the stuff behind me. As you can see, we drink water and leave pumpkins out long past Halloween. Fashion bloggers are a dime a dozen, but how many blogs get you this close to the banal reality of domestic life? That’s right. One.

I’m digging on lighter denim for fall, but as Cuz noted—these jeans, being light AND cropped, are not the easiest. As she snapped away, Cuz opined that the only person these might look good on is Miranda Kerr, whose legs are approximately three feet longer than mine. But I don’t mind. I mean, they’re comfortable as hell, and every time I wear them, someone asks where I got them, which makes me happy. Anyway, they are my new favorite jeans, displacing J Brand and even my Diesel boyfriends. If you like thicker denim, try MiH.

Leopard shoes are everywhere. The reason why is that leopard goes with everything. The shirt has chickens on it. Chickens with little berets. Prints are not my fave but not even I can resist French chickens.

Cuz gave me these jeans, which no longer fit her when they stretched out. I worry sometimes that Cuz will become very bad for my morale. When I laid on the floor and wrestled these suckers on, I was so happy when the button closed that I almost cried. As you can see, after wearing them for two days, I can even bend my legs in them. I can’t ever wash them, but whatever!! Perfect medium blue. And free. Great success.

Check out the pairs here and a few others on Pinterest

downers: boys’ clothes

I have fairness on the brain. I hear “that’s not fair” at least 20 times a day. “That’s not FAIR that Tate got more Cheerios.” “That’s not FAIR that Finn gets to sit in that chair.” “Yoona, it’s not FAIR that I can’t watch Monday Night Football when the Lions are playing, just because I’ve already watched forty hours of Tigers baseball in the past week.” A heads up for the unattached: if you don’t want to spend your entire life watching sports on TV, don’t get with someone from the greater Detroit metropolitan area.

You know what’s not fair? Walking into a kids’ clothing store and seeing 90% of the real estate covered in pink and purple bedazzle. I don’t get it. Everyone I know has boys. Around these parts, it’s like you can turn on your tap and a bunch of Y chromosomes will come gushing out. So why can’t we get some decent boys’ clothes? Why??

It makes me roll my eyes when my friends complain that they can’t get their girls out of their tutus. Cry me a river. I find the wearing of tutus in non-ballet contexts to be an obvious cry for attention, but I readily admit that I probably feel that way because I’m bitter that I don’t have something equally as fun to put on my boys. I tried suspenders once for Finn but that ended badly, with pinched skin and a monster wedgie. Suspenders look sweet when you see them at American Apparel. What no one remembers about suspenders until they go to wear them is that you have to tuck your top tightly into your pants to work that look, and I don’t need to tell you how cool your typical five-year old boy looks with a tight tuck. So yeah, my boys have worn girls’ leggings and bell-bottomed jeans. As a consumer, I crave variety and choice. And neither of those things are available in the boys’ section.

Having boys means you’re likely buying a lot of one thing: stripes. In my boys’ rooms are drawers full of striped clothing in various stages of putrification. The problem with owning only striped clothing, of course, is that once your boys start dressing themselves, they are in danger of looking like blind mimes.

20121024-142828.jpg

not sure this works

Stripes aren’t all the stores are offering. They’re also offering t-shirts with school-friendly slogans like “My Mommy is a MILF,” and fedoras for toddlers. Our sons deserve better than clothing that looks like it was conceived by The Situation and J-Woww. The kids in the Crewcuts are working a look, but ironically, I don’t want my kids to dress like they care about fashion. It wouldn’t be honest, because they care not at all. Not to mention, as cute as those kids look in the catalog, my kid can’t wear suede chukka boots and a wool blazer to school—he would get stoned by his friends. I do like Boden’s boy pants. But $48 for a pair that he will grow out of in 3 months? Increasingly, not happening. Cuz says I need that money for retinol.

20121026-225200.jpg

mad that all his clothes are striped

I just want something that won’t tear, isn’t cheesy, and can stand up to gallons of dirt, blood, and urine. But please, no Gymboree. The clothing is inarguably well-made, but I have a problem with Gymboree. All my reproductive organs shrivel up whenever I go near a Gymboree. I guess my main objection to Gymboree is that everything in the store is designed as part of a set. Like, the frog pants go with the frog shirt that goes with the frog hat. Frogs seem like a cruel thing to do to your kid, especially in triplicate. And you’ll have those frogs forever, because Gymboree clothing is actually so well made that it has the half-life of plutonium.

When I had just the one kid, I would go to Cafe Press and customize Hanes t-shirts, like the one below. But now that I have two kids, I don’t have that kind of time. I once drove Tate all the way to school not realizing that both his legs were in one pant leg. So mostly these days I rely on H&M, but their sizing is weird, and the options few.

20121024-145304.jpg

Which is why I was so psyched that the folks at Prefresh sent me some stuff for the boys. I have a strong sense of journalistic integrity, but I happen to like these clothes a lot. And maybe you need leads. As you can see, the tops are awesome. Fun. Not trying too hard. With a perfectly laid-back neckline—something you might as well get your boys used to early on.

Take that, tutus.

20121031-170537.jpg

20121031-201327.jpg

downers: man sandals

People love themselves some summer.  My own relationship with summer is conflicted. What I don’t like about summer is that summer brings out man sandals, and I have a big problem with man sandals (“mandals”).

I realize it’s unfair to disparage an entire seasonal category of footwear.  But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I have NEVER seen a pair of men’s sandals that I felt good about.

Tom wears mandals.  I have a job and two sons and I can’t monitor Tom all the time.  But he doesn’t wear them in public, and he doesn’t wear them when he’s with me.  It’s in my marriage contract, look it up.  Although he wears them, when I asked Tom to model some of his sandals, he threw a sh*tfit of such epic proportions that I was frankly taken aback.  And some of the friends who own the feet in this post allowed me to use their photos on the condition that their identities are kept anonymous.  Which all leads me to the conclusion that deep down, men know that man sandals are wrong.

Acceptance is always the first step to recovery.  Below, some of the most popular mandals.

1. Slides


Are you David Beckham?  Wait, back up.  Are you David Beckham, and stepping out of a shower at this very moment?  If so, my number is 503-YOU-FINE; call me.  If you are not David Beckham stepping out of a shower and you are wearing these to do anything other than the recycling, what the hell are you doing?  These slides were really big when I was in middle school, when the popular kids wore them to class with tube socks.  I have, like, two fond memories of middle school, and the fact that I was not popular, and hence never did that, is one of them.  As an aside, I admit that the feet above belong to people in my family, but the smaller feet came home from school with the socks.  You can be damn sure that they did not leave my house with them.

2. Fisherman sandals

When I see these on a grown man, my soul cries.  For some reason, these are popular with many of my lawyer friends, like Doug (above) and Ben (below), who are both totally boss because each allowed me to use a photo of him wearing fisherman sandals that includes his face.  Anyway, they may be popular with professionals because they seem like a more serious man sandal option.  And they are serious alright, in the sense that religion is serious, and the only grown man in the history of time who has pulled these off is Jesus.  The irony in professionals gravitating towards the fisherman sandal is that this type of mandal makes men look especially infantile, because they are essentially a modified version of these.  It pains me to write this, because I have friends reading this post right now while wearing fisherman sandals.  You know who you are.  I know who you are.  And it’s going to be ok.

3. Keens

20120630-121716.jpg

I hate Keens.  I HATE THEM.  Keen makes some cute sneakers, but their bread and butter is this monstrosity, which is like the unwanted bastard offspring of a trail sneaker and an Aquasock.  If you have a boy child between the ages of 2 and 12 and you have tried to buy a cute summer shoe only to be confronted with these Keens in twelve different colors as your only options, I sympathize.  They have overtaken the market and I consider it National Priority No. 1 that they be stopped.

The thing that I don’t get about Keens functionally is that they cover so much of the foot that you lose the point of wearing sandals, which is to keep your feet aired out.  Anyone who has smelled their child’s Keens after a day of wear knows that there is absolutely no airing out going on whatsoever.  So, why do these shoes continue to exist?  I’m hoping that someone will educate me in the comments; I am all ears.

4. Crocs

20120629-194830.jpg

What can I say about Crocs that hasn’t already been said?  I can say that I find them cute on children, but that could be the Stockholm syndrome talking.  I can also tell a story, about the time that Tom went on a man trip with some men with guns.  Beer, cigars, and poker were had.  The next morning, Tom woke up to find pieces of his orange Crocs strewn across the property, because someone had shot them up after he fell asleep.  To that anonymous man, I say: well done, sir.

Crocs also bring me to a point that should have been made up front.  And that is this: in general, your chances of pulling off a pair of mandals depends in great part on how attractive you and your feet are.  I am sorry to put it out there like that, but there it is.  It helps if your feet are tan, for starters.  Tom’s feet are so pale that in the wrong light, they look blue.  He also has toes that are better described as, well, knuckles.  Suffice it to say that Tom is better off keeping his dogs covered.  But sometimes, it just doesn’t matter how hot you are.  My friend Eric (below) is very hot.  And dare I say that even he isn’t up to the challenge.  In that regard, I guess Crocs are the Great Equalizer.

5. Flip flops

I know I’m going to get pushback on this one.  I think a pair of cheap rubber flip flops or Reefs is probably acceptable–if you’re hot, 18, or at the beach.  I have not met the guy in the picture above, who is a friend of a friend, but clearly he is at the beach, given the sand, and hot, given that he is pulling off flip flops and wearing sideways seersucker.

What I find unacceptable are the flip flops that have thick soles on them, or leather trim, or some other gussied-up detail that is designed to make the flip flop seem street legal.  Below, my case in point.  The feet below belong to my friend John, whom I adore.  But the fact that I adore him makes these mandals no less of an abomination.  Tom saw this photo and suggested with a straight face that these shoes would be great for camping, for when you “accidentally kick a tree root.”  I grant that these might be ok in that sole instance.  Outside of that one circumstance, I can’t think of even one other situation in which these would be acceptable, and that includes fleeing a housefire in the dead of night.  Repeat after me: just because someone makes and sells them, doesn’t mean you should buy them.

20120630-120307.jpg

To conclude: guys, don’t give me any bull about mandals being the only viable summertime option.  Sneakers (Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell, Tretorn, Superga, etc.) are almost always going to look ok, assuming you are capable of wearing them without socks.  Toms stay cool and are comfortable, if you don’t mind walking on cardboard.  Boat shoes maybe, if you can pull them off, but don’t assume you are a good judge of whether you can pull them off–you have teens in your life for that.  Point being, there are options.

I hope you take this post in the spirit in which it was written, which is, in dead seriousness.  Happy Monday.

ways to wear: black tee at work

Tom loves the WSJ. I find it to be a miserably dull little paper (except for Rachel Bachman in the sports section, love her) with its stupid little drawings, and no, my resentment has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t understand 90% of the subject matter inside it. Anyway, the WSJ covers fashion but in the tone of an intellectual talking about tv–the paper wants you to know it’s slumming. Maybe that’s why the fashion in the WSJ always seem two seasons behind. Just the casual observation of someone whose wardrobe is 80% J. Crew. I can only imagine how lame the paper feels to someone who actually knows something about clothes.

Point being, you know the power suit is well and truly dead when the WSJ says it is. A few weeks ago they ran a story on the death of the power suit, accompanied by photographs of some hideous alternatives. I have suits for court, but I hate them. They are uncomfortable, hot, and mannish, even when there is a skirt involved. ESPECIALLY if there is a skirt involved. I don’t know why that is, but it just is. Plus, people think suits are easy to coordinate, but they aren’t. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to put under the suit that won’t make me look like a corporate drone, and it’s usually for naught.

Give me separates any day, especially cheap ones. I bought a slinky but fitted crewneck at the Gap a couple months ago and have been wearing it to work a lot. It was actually at Gap Body and on sale, so I have a nagging suspicion that it’s actually the top half of a pajama set. Whatever. Anything to avoid wearing a suit.

No one at work is going to give you a hard time about wearing a maxi. At worst they will think it looks weird, but look, genius is never understood in its own time. And long skirts are genius, because they are elegant, offhand, and comfortable–all at the same time.

Paperbag waists look so cute but I find them challenging. Cinching with a neon belt makes it a little easier.

Black with navy: do it. These shoes: buy them. They are walkable and not hideous, which IMO is the best you can hope for in a work pump. This pose: not serious. Happy Tuesday.