Last year I wrote a post about Lizzie Borden. In my blog idea notebook, I had written, “Lizzie Borden Mugshot” – but then I couldn’t remember what I meant.
I still don’t remember.
But it has paid off for me anyway.
Because when you search under Google Images for ”Lizzie Borden Mugshot” – you see my drawing on the very first line!
I recognize that I have risen in Click-dom because there’s a very finite (meaning miniscule) number of people who google “Lizzie Borden Mugshot.”
But … nevertheless.
I also recognize that my drawing bears very little resemblance to the real Lizzie Borden.
This is totally irrelevant, but in my Google-searches, I did happen upon a face that did remind me of Lizzie’s:
I don’t mean to smear Amanda Knox. I personally believe that she is almost certainly innocent, whereas I also believe that Lizzie Borden was almost certainly guilty. But am I nuts, or is there a resemblance?
My drawing is only half my fame.
Because when you search Google Images for “Lizzie Borden Mugshot” you get something else.
On the THIRD LINE – there it is:
Yes, ME! Right in the middle of all the Lizzie Borden pictures.
Me and Lizzie!
Should I be honored?
(PS – my photo on Google Images doesn’t link to anything anymore. But even so, I think you can move me up by clicking on it anyway. I’m going for the TOP LINE!)
Lest you think that my fashion-plateness (platedom, platability?) is a recent avocation, let me present to you little Nancy - Easter Sunday, 1958:
Not only do I have a stylish pink dress with matching coat, I have a new Easter bonnet, white gloves, patent leather shoes with matching purse, and a corsage. (And Daddy’s face.)
My hair is naturally fine and poker-straight. I’m sure my mother must have set it in rows of pin-curls, with beer for setting lotion. And she obviously had enough bobby-pins left over for her Mamie Eisenhower do.
How I loved that coat. We called it a “topper” back then. it was a plush material – sort of like the foam rubber inside your sofa cushions. Both my sisters wore it before I did. I thought the single big pearl button was an elegant touch.
That little black purse held my prayer-book, which was especially prayerful because it had a red ribbon to mark the page. I also carried a handkerchief with lace edges – imagine blowing your nose with lace! – and a dime for the collection plate. I was already counting the days until I could have a lipstick in there.
I particularly call your attention to the corsage. You may think seven is a little young for a corsage. In my family, my mother got a big corsage for Easter, and all three of us little girls found a tiny corsage right near our Easter basket on Sunday morning. I don’t think I have any baby pictures of me in a corsage, but I probably had one, held on with a diaper pin.
I don’t know where my mother bought these little children’s corsages. I wonder now if they were expensive. We didn’t have a lot of excess cash lying around when I was a kid. But I guess Easter corsages were a necessity.
The tradition certainly carried on.
This is about nine years later.
I am on the left – which is really about the center of the photo. My mother is a genius is a thousand ways, but centering a photograph is not one of them.
We were still wearing hats to church in 1967 – but probably for the last time. White hats were apparently the IN thing that year, especially those hats that made it look like you had really big hair. My sisters are also still wearing gloves, but at sixteen I was quite the rebel. (but they were in my purse). And yes, that is a mock turtleneck under my double-breasted suit. I was supposed to have Jesus in my heart, but my heart really belonged to Carnaby Street.
And do you see? We still have corsages to wear to church. Our Easter baskets had been replaced by a box of chocolates (except for my little brother – he was still receiving a basket). And on top of each chocolate box was a corsage. Sometimes I liked my sister’s better than mine, and if I got up really early in the morning, I could check them out and make a switch.
And through the years, my fashion-platidutiness drew me further away from white gloves. Then the hat went – which was a good thing, since I have the head the size of a cantaloupe. Where most of my girlfriends had boobs like ripe melons, a cantaloupe-sized head is unfortunate.
Eventually I also abandoned suits, but not before my shoulder pads were much bigger than my head. And of course, the pantyhose – although truthfully I still like the imperfection-smoothing look of nice sheer pantyhose. (Thank you, Princess Kate.)
I told my husband that I didn’t want chocolate for Easter this year. (But I’d secretly be happy if he bought me just a few dark chocolate truffles.) I told him to buy me flowers.
I am hoping he knows that I want a bouquet for the table and not a corsage.
Because today, if I saw a corsage, I would certainly think:
- Are there any bugs in there?
- Do I have to put a pinhole in my expensive blouse?
- Will this leave a stain?
- Where is my allergy medication?
So much for sweet memories.
I may be known – (okay … famous) for spending too much on jeans and purses and haircuts.
But I just can’t shell out a lot of money for exercise clothes.
It’s not that I don’t want to look hot during hot yoga. But sweating into expensive duds just goes against my all my fashion beliefs. (Why, I considered swiping my deodorant over my whole body before putting on my wedding gown – regardless of the fact that I bought a sample dress and paid half-price.)
But they have cute clothes in TJ Maxx and Target that I can sweat into without guilt. $19.99 is good. $12.99 is better.
Now some women say that cheap workout clothes won’t hold up in the wash. But I have a pair of Jockey brand yoga capris that I have been wearing for eight years. They were stretchy enough to accommodate my thighs when I was a bit chubby – and they still have enough stretch to not fall off of me now that I am thinner. (Yup, I have managed to mention my weight loss yet again- thank you for your patience.)
I did buy some good yoga leggings recently. I had a coupon from Groupon and bought a very nice pair of $48.00 Gaiam leggings for $24.00, so they were just a little over my $19.99 threshold. And the first week I wore them, my senile cat made a nice big snag in the knee, as he tried to get my attention during a particularly interesting round of Words With Friends.
The top of the line in yoga clothes is Lululemon. Lululemon’s leggings go for $98.00. And though I think it is just nuts to spend that much to sweat, the Lululemon brand is wildly popular amongst the cute-while-sweating set. High-fashion, high-quality – and the adorable little logo on the back of your calf tells the world you have good taste – and more money than sense.
So I read with fascination this week that Lululemon is recalling their best-selling leggings. The reason – they are much sheerer than acceptable. And this is not the first time that Lululemon has had an over-exposure problem.
God – in a rare moment of sweet compassion – created the human body in such a way that you can’t see your own ass.
But yoga teachers in the trendier studios noticed that they were getting a much clearer image during downward dog that they were comfortable with. But for the most part, they didn’t comment. Yoga instructors are not judgmental, as a rule.
However, these yoga fashionistas like to wear their Lululmenon leggings out in the real world. (That calf-logo is still there, after all.) And so out to lunch went these logo-laden ladies with sheer behinds. And shopping. And to pick up their little progeny at school. And eventually, someone noticed.
And I – in a rare moment of sweet compassion – would like to offer this comment to these unfortunately over-exposed fellow yoginis:
“Ha ha on you!”
Last Spring I had the honor and infamy to be Freshly Pressed when I posted a picture of myself from 1977. (Please Don’t Come Back)
I had an unshakable sense of style, but unfortunately, 1977 styles were quite shaky.
I didn’t think I was overly brave publishing that horrible picture. If a hundred or so people saw me in my regrettable fashion choices – how bad could that be? Then WordPress played a practical joke, and decided to award me the coveted publicity of Freshly Pressed. And 100 people became 11,000.
Well, so you’ve all seen me at my worst.
Or so I thought.
This week I found a photo from about eight years later.
Oh my God, it got worse.
Do you remember the mid-80′s?
Oh what an interesting fashion era.
Women could be super tough – with huge shoulder pads and huger hair – and at the same time could be super girly – with as many lacy scarves and bracelets as you could pile on.
And I adopted it all – apparently.
I don’t remember myself as over-the-top.
I just remember being fabulously stylish. And racing home from Happy Hour on Friday night to watch “Miami Vice.”
Why can’t I be young now? I love today’s style -
whether it’s skinny leather jeans with ankle boots-
Or a great crazy combination of casual tee and sparkly skirt – with purple high heels thrown in for good measure:
I would love to be at my style peak today.
I was born too soon.
Or maybe too late.
I would look great in a full skirt, gloves, and kitten heels – a la Audrey Hepburn in the fifties:
Or I could go back even further – with Gibson Girl hair and high collars – that’s my Grandpa and Grandma on the left:
I had to peak in 1985:
I am interviewing again.
The last time I had an open position, I researched the latest advice on evaluating candidates. Recent studies demonstrated that a person’s smell was just as good an indicator of character as a personality test (Snow White and the Smelly Dwarfs). That took the selection process to a whole new level.
So now that I have another position to fill, I am doing my homework again. I’ve learned that typically, people tend to hire someone exactly like them. But experts advise that for an effective, efficient and creative work environment, you are better off hiring someone different from you.
I have to think about what kind of person I am, and then look for just the opposite.
Who am I?
Looking at myself totally objectively (yeah, right) I am:
- and, of course -
I need a stupid, serious, conservative, frumpy person.
Now obviously, I can’t hire someone stupid. For one thing, I skipped one attribute of mine – Lazy. I am much too lazy to cover for a stupid employee. So instead of lazy, I’ll look for someone industrious.
And organized. I’m pretty disorganized, so someone who can find shit that I have misplaced would be a big help.
And I guess serious is okay. In Accounting, it’s a good thing to want stuff to balance. “Close Enough” is not always the right attitude.
Conservative is tough for me. I am an old Woodstock hippie. But since almost no one else is, I have learned to keep my opinions to myself anyway. (Well, I sort of try.)
Frumpy is easy in Connecticut (Oh my, did I include Snarky in my list of attributes? Feel free to add it in.) The easiest way to find my opposite here is to just hire a man.
There it is. Where can I find a diligent, organized, serious, conservative man?
I got it.
Pope Benedict is looking for work.
He’s so stylish.
Well, I went to New York City this week, and as your fashion correspondent from East Bumf**k, let me reassure you that skinny jeans are still in style.
It was good news for me, at least, because I only recently invested in a few pair. And I’d like to think I can wear them at least until they go through the washing machine twice.
Yes, Skinny pants are still big in the Big Apple. With boots (which I will discuss further below).
When we got to Grand Central Terminal, I thought for a second that I was in that old Superbowl commercial where all the identical zombie executives are marching off to work. Everyone this year has a black coat. And I mean EVERYONE. Me too. I was in style and I didn’t even know it. Up here in rural northwest Connecticut, bright ski jackets are popular. I thought that my black parka was a real standout. But no. The good news is that I am hip to New York Style. The bad news is that I am just another zombie.
Handbags are huge, and getting huger.
You don’t need a suitcase when you travel anymore. As a matter of fact, if you missed your plane, you could crawl inside, like a sleeping bag. They are cute though. And my husband could see how infatuated I was, so he bought me the miniature size – the smallest one in the store. I used it today, and I after I put all my stuff in, I could still fit a full-sized accordion. So I am thinking of taking music lessons.
Makeup is fantastic right now. Lots of eyeliner but a natural cheek and lip. This is me to a tee. And it means I don’t have to sharpen my liner pencil very often. It can be a thick stubby blunt crayon that draws a line 5/8 of an inch, and it’ll be perfect.
And I don’t like dark lipstick anyway. I have tiny lips and dark lipstick makes me look like Lillian Gish. She was quite a beauty in her day, but her day was 1915.
And now the boots.
I wore pointy ankle booties.
Despite the pointy toes and skinny heels, these boots are very comfortable, and I figured they’d be perfect for New York.
It was snowy, rainy and windy. But I did my best to keep my balance through the slippery slush. I looked great – if unsteady.
But no one else was wearing these stylish ankle booties with their skinny jeans.
They were all wearing knee-high, flat heeled, rubber boots.
Can you believe it? Practical boots in bad weather in New York?
I was shocked. And impressed. They were very cool – in army green, and yellow, and red, and even bright floral prints. With skinny jeans tucked in, they looked so urban sophisticated. (And you could muck out the barn too.)
Yes, as your fashion expert, I can assure you that these boots have an amazing coolness factor.
And I have proof.
As my husband and I followed a woman in mustard yellow knee-high rubber boots, my husband whispered to me, “Boy, are those boots stupid!”
I want some.
Last year, I wrote that I am among the most patient people in the world. (Just You Wait)
I love traffic jams and long lines at the grocery store. For me, waiting is permission to be lazy. The plane is late? Great. I have an excuse to do nothing. It’s not my fault.
But I realized recently that I’m not always patient (and not just when I have to pee and the traffic isn’t moving).
Last week during dinner with my Mom (Subway this time – she’s such a cheap date), I was using my iPhone to show Mom the latest Facebook pictures of her great-grandchildren. It was slow going.
“Cripe,” I said – as I never swear in front of my mother – “Facebook takes forever to load.”
But driving home, as I was saying the real swear words I had stifled – (I believe you have to let them out so you don’t explode) – I realized how crazy it is to think that my iPhone was slow.
When I was a little girl, photography was expensive. And VERY slow.
You saved up to buy a film. Mostly, you could only afford a 12-exposure film. A film that allowed for 24 shots was cheaper by the print, but you often couldn’t come up with that kind of up-front cash. And black-and-white of course. Only a special event called for the expense of color film and color processing.
And you hoarded those 12 pictures. No taking pictures of nothing. An “Occasion” only. Which was really a pretty good idea when you think about it. I am not really that interested in what my Facebook friends are having for dinner. (not that I haven’t done that myself of course… but my meals are fascinating….right?)
You’d load that film, carefully threading the beginning of the film through the little sprockets – in the dark of course. If you missed a sprocket, the film would pop off, and you couldn’t advance the film, and you’d go back to your darkened room to see if you could fix it, which you usually could not.
And you’d wait for a family event and line everyone up, and take ONE picture. Maybe two, just in case.
And using a flash on an indoor shot was even more expensive. And 78% of the time, the flash didn’t work. So you wound the camera back (yeah, you wound the film), and shot over the flash-flop picture , because you didn’t want to waste the frame. What you got was usually a weird surprise. No wonder people believe that ghosts appear in old photos.
Once you took all twelve shots – you usually took thirteen, because something you could squeeze in one more, and you wouldn’t want to waste that, although usually that meant you got half a picture – a few months had often passed by, because you were so stingy about taking out the camera. Sometimes you couldn’t even remember what was on the roll, so much time had gone by.
So you went into your dimly lit room, and carefully took the film off its little sprockets and wrapped it really tight, and put it in a light-proof box. And you brought it to the drugstore.
And waited for a week.
(Yeah, Facebook photos on your iPhone are SO SLOW.)
Our local drugstore would kindly only charge you for the prints that came out. But their interpretation of “came out” was very liberal. Your thumb over the lens was still a good picture – of your thumb. And headless people (which my mother was famous for) still had bodies, didn’t they?
Out of 12 (and a half) pictures, you were lucky if you had three shots where everyone had his eyes open.
And you had no way of knowing ahead of time. You’d open your Kodak envelope right in the drugstore – (yeah, that’s what soda fountains were for) – only to see two headless shots, one thumb shot, four “squinties” (you posed people FACING the sun), three total blinks, one with your brother looking especially dorky, one of your foot, and one half of a shot that would have been perfect – had you not run out of film.
And you kept them all. No delete button. You put the good ones in an album and the bad ones in a box. You had a very full box of headless, blinking relatives. And thumbs.
And you kept the negatives too. Envelopes of negatives – none of them labeled.
Today we have lost the value of photography. We can take 60 shots and toss 59 and just keep the one that looks good. (I do that, of course…just look at my profile picture.)
Old family photos are precious. Expensive and unique, impossible to recreate. There was no going back to that one moment to see if you could get a better shot. A picture was one second in time, closed eyes and all, and all the more sweet because of it.
“I’m just sittin’ on the dock of EBay…. Wastin’ Time…”
Well, not exactly. But close.
For the last month, I have become addicted to something other than blogging.
It all started with Pinterest.
I couldn’t imagine what anyone would use this for.
Then while browsing on a shopping site, I saw a sweater I kind of liked, but wasn’t sure I wanted to buy. So I started a board to hold the possible purchase for me. Then I saw a fabulous pair of ballet flats that were way too expensive, but I wanted to remind myself to look for a knockoff. Then a necklace and earrings that I considered dropping big hints to my husband about for Christmas.
And Whoa; this is what people use Pinterest for. I don’t need a memory after all.
And so I started looking to see what other people were keeping on their board instead of in their brain.
And of course, I was looking at Fashion, and Jewelry, and Makeup.
Do you know that thousands of people are pinning cute clothes?
And more and more, I found cute outfits that referred back to something called Polyvore.
So I logged onto Polyvore.com.
OMG, as they say two generations below me. (Or perhaps they say something new now… how the hell do I know?)
Polyvore is a website where you build outfits. They have shitloads of tees and sweaters and jackets and pants and skirts and shoes and dresses and handbags and jewelry. Plus backgrounds and colors and fonts. And you can pull them together and make any outfit you want. You can combine a $2,480 designer skirt with a $13 Mickey Mouse Tee. And you can search for a specific detail, like ruffles, or sort by brand or color.
And in case there are not enough choices (one day I scrolled through 133 pages of cardigans – and there are 20 per page)… well you can upload your own finds through a nifty and easy to use app.
And there are contests!
Every day there are contests from Polyvore and from hundreds of subgroups that you can join.
Design something for Valentine’s Day. Design an outfit around this blouse. An outfit with high-heeled boots. An outfit inspired by fruit. There is no end to the contests.
(And of course you can buy all the things you choose…of course, of course… they have links right to the website with the $5,285 Alexander McQueen clutch that you just so nicely paired with the $5.99 earrings from Etsy.)
One of my favorite past-times as a kid was playing paper-dolls.
I am so there again. The internet form of paper-dolls.
For hours and hours. And hours and hours. Every day. To hell with my blog and my novel.
For instance, here’s my entry in the Valentine’s Day outfit contest:
And here’s my entry in the Graphic Print contest:
I know I have missed my calling. I was meant to be a fashion consultant.
But no one else seems to recognize my talent.
If you are reading this, you are probably a blogger, so you know how addicting ‘Likes’ are. Even Facebook ‘Likes’ are sweet. When I enter a contest, I get maybe 4 ‘Likes’. A person posting about the same time often gets 87 ‘Likes’ in the first hour. I’m not kidding. I don’t know where all those Likes come from. Those people certainly have big families.
But I know that I will soon gain a following. Lots of those 87-Liked outfits are pretty crappy. I’m at least as crappy as they are.
I joined a month ago. I have 24 followers. A fellow designer (whose work I rather ‘like’) joined six months ago. She has 2,879 followers.
(And to think that it has taken me 18 months to get 500 followers on my blog. For real popularity, you just need to pair brocade shorts with a dolman sleeve tee.)
But I am on my way.
I had someone ‘Like’ 13 of my outfits. And she sent me a message, complimenting me on my skill.
I was excited and encouraged. I went to her page to see what her stuff was like and to check out her bio.
Two months ago my Zumba teacher surprised us.
She turned on the music and tied on a coin scarf.
You know what I mean: the scarf that belly dancers wear around their hips – the kind with coins or bells that jangle when they swing their hips.
I thought it was odd – even a little silly. Zumba instructors are more likely to dress in hip-hop style than hip jangling style.
And the next week she wore it again.
And so did one of my Zumba-mates.
I love Zumba and my Zumba teacher and my Zumba-mates, so I did my best not to feel to superior.
But clearly: jangly scarves do not go with bike shorts and sneakers.
The following week there were five women a-jingling.
“You’ve got a hip-scarf,” I said to the woman standing to my left – just in case she was not aware of the multitude of shiny stuff shimmering from her shimmying hips.
“It makes me feel different. A little sexy. And they’re really cheap,” she said. “Amazon.”
A little sexy.
That’s not such a bad way to feel when you are dancing away to Latin music.
Later in the week, even though I was still snickering a little, I checked online. $2.99 for a belly-dancing scarf.
Hell, I just threw away ten times that much by stopping at the drugstore for ‘just’ dental floss. Even if I only used the scarf for Halloween (or for a cat toy, although in that case it would last about 23 seconds), it wasn’t much of a risk.
So I ordered one. They come in every neon color imaginable, but I ordered basic black. I wouldn’t want a $2.99 belly dancing scarf to look cheap.
And five days later it arrived:
I tied it around my jeans and sweater and modeled it for my husband.
“Is that to wear with your bikini at the beach?”
Yup. That’s it.
At my next Zumba class, I got a nice smile from the teacher when I whipped my scarf out of my gym bag and tied it around my hips at a charmingly rakish angle.
Even though I mention it as often as I can, I guess I momentarily forgot while tying my scarf that now – that my hips and my butt are quite a bit smaller than they used to be. When I started to dance my scarf fell down around my ankles – sort of like my garter belt when I was twelve. Unlike the garter belt incident, however, I was not mortified. I mean – being too skinny to keep your hip scarf in place is hardly a bad thing. I kicked it to the back of the room with a definite pride.
It was better than wearing a shirt emblazoned with the word SKINNY. (which I’ve thought about making.)
But I tried again the following week. I tied my scarf a bit higher – knotting it well and then giving it a good tug to make sure it would stay.
I was ready for some sexy dancing.
Nobody told my hips.
You need to wiggle your hips and fanny to get those coins to jingle.
And my hips don’t wiggle.
I thought they did. I thought my Zumba was already pretty sexy.
But that scarf was awfully quiet.
I think I will embroider that shirt after all.