Sunday, June 29, 2008

Today I'm thinking there is something disturbing about the reaction of Gene Simmons' kids to his face just after his plastic surgery (see "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" clip show). Equally disturbing is Corey Haim hiring a personal assistant whose main functions seem to be finding him work, making all his phone calls, lighting his cigarettes, and giving him emotional support and giant bear hugs that last for at least five minutes each time.

I've been watching too much A&E.

Friday, June 27, 2008

AP Stylebook updated

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African-American is now acceptable, plus iPhone and 9/11. Check it out here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

summer of fashion confusion -- 2008

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OK, so here's what's happening right about now ...

Fashion is not entirely annoying me this summer, but it's somewhat confusing. The new trend in dresses is the maxi dress, last seen in such great numbers in the 1970s. I know because I still have my mother's maxi sundress hanging in my closet. Why this is back in style this summer, I'm not entirely sure, although I think it has something to do with driving all of us who bought short, short mini dresses and mini skirts last summer completely bonkers.

Fortunately, I was not about to buy one of those so-short-it-looks-like-I-forgot-to-wear-pants dresses, although I did buy a bubble dress which is a total no-no now. Sigh.

Then we have the pin-up styles coming at us from all sides this summer. The retro look has been popular for a couple years (see earlier Christina Aguilera post), and we've been warned not to combine our black cat's-eye eyeliner with bright red lips for fear of looking garish. One or the other was fine, but never together. Now the rules have changed and celebs (I apologize for that term, but what the hell else are they?) are wearing the heavy black eyeliner with the dark, red lips, thinking they might fool us into mistaking them for Marilyn or Rita. Starlets are even posing in remake photos these days (i.e. Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan). Are we so out of ideas that we have to return to a full-on pin-up look? Is this what is bound to happen in wartime?

My brother just hosted a 1950s party, and it was extremely easy to find a costume -- I just wore the most recent pencil-skirted shirt dress from Express. Belted waist and all. 1950s? 2008? Who can tell?

Then we've got the hugest trend of the summer -- gladiator. It seems the draping and folding and draping and folding that Rami designed in every single one of his creations for Project Runway (Season Four) have taken hold of most women aged 18-34 this summer. Sometimes they combine their Grecian dresses with wrap around gladiator sandals. Sometimes not. Either way, the look is rather costume-y. And you know how I hate adding "y" to create new words, so I must be serious about this.

The sandals themselves are cute when they don't go all the way up to the knees. They're being advertised as the most flexible sandal ever -- to be worn with shorts and dresses! Wait, aren't most sandals like that? I'm confused.

I always thought those sandals worked best with dresses because they are usually worn with togas. Just before my magazine interview in NYC last week, I spotted herds of young women wearing gladiator sandals in various heights and colors, and for a moment, I thought I was in a chariot race.

It looks like those side-swept bangs of years past might be just now fading out of style, but to replace them, we've now got big bangs. Like straight-down-your-forehead, heavy bangs. I will never, ever, ever be able to wear these. They say it makes people look younger because it's such a girlish look, and it seems to be a big hit with the hipsters, but I swear if I ever tried to pull that off, my face would look like a big fat tomato. Not that it would be red, but straight bangs tend to make most faces look wider.

Little forehead + small eyes + wide cheekbones + square jaw = no bangs!

I'll have to update this more often this summer because this is about all I've got right now. As far as grammar goes ... "at the end of the day" and "it is what it is" continue to haunt my eardrums. A new one I've been hearing quite often is "in the industry," which I think people like to say so that they appear to be some sort of insider or expert on a field ... when most likely, they have no clue what they are talking about. Or they are describing something that they think is unique to their "industry" but probably is not.

People are still saying "to be honest" pretty often, but this seems to be dying down, thank goodness. Just as the current administration's tour of duty is dying down ... did I just say "tour of duty"? Another cliche I hate! Ack!

The best neologisms I've heard in weeks came in an email I received from my cousin who is writing the great American novel. In the email, he called himself a "Momentum Fictionist." I'm still not entirely sure what that means, but I love it.

And the requisite trend-setters of the moment ...

1970s maxi dress (if you know who this is, please tell me -- I haven't a clue) ...

Ava Gardner demonstrating 1950s-style makeup application ...

Angelina Jolie in Grecian garb in Alexander ...

self-explanatory hipster bangs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fashion and Grammar Gripes -- yes, I'm back, Sept. 21, 2007

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Well kids, this is not going to be a traditionally irritated post because I'm in a fairly good mood lately.

That said, the new fall trends aren't bothering me a whole heck of a lot.

I'm getting used to this whole black-tights-with-everything idea. Looked good in high school with jumpers, looks good now with jumpers, albeit with a more 1960s vibe.

I've yet to buy any, nor do I have any fall-appropriate-length dresses and skirts to wear with the new black tights. But when I can, I will, and when I do, I will wear them nearly 24-7, at least, that's what the back-to-fall magazines predict.

I'm sure I'll end up wearing jeans most of the time anyway.

But really, I don't have any major problems with this fall ... lots of black and gray? Excellent. Both are slimming, both are attractive on everyone.

I don't love jewel tones, but they're not really that big of a deal.

Jeans are all over the spectrum now, which can be kind of confusing, but I like the whole individuality approach.

Clutch purses are getting a lot of attention lately, which is fantastic since I bought a faux-croc one in 2004.

Mary-Janes are back in shoes, which is great. I haven't decided yet if my Steve Maddens from 2002 might pass for new.

Flats are still very in, and so are platform pumps. Stilettos are still OK, but thank goodness they are no longer the only really trendy shoe. My feet are rejoicing.

Everyone's talking about bright colors showing up in various places, but that's been happening since 2003 when red sneakers were near omnipresent.

Which brings me to a slight grammar issue. "Popping."

Why is everyone saying that certain things need to "pop" all the time lately? It reminds me of Bob Ross (the late painter). Let's make the happy trees pop.

"At the end of the day" is still alive and well, but "it is what it is" is inching on it.

My main irritation as of late is not with grammar nor fashion. It's with celebrity "news." I'm a little disgusted after reading some recent interviews with Ashley Olsen and Lindsay Lohan. I no longer feel sorry for these girls, considering that they are millionaires, but at the same time, I feel very sorry for the American people who seem to think it is perfectly normal to be obsessive about celebrity lives. Nobody ever said they were saints -- they're irresponsible, young adults with a lack of education and way too much money and fame to know what to do with. We watch them self-destruct like it makes us feel better about ourselves, like they have no feelings and no right to any kind of privacy. Who the hell cares anymore what purse Paris is carrying? Does it really matter how pregnant Nicole Richie looks or how "fat" and drugged Britney Spears appears to be?

The most detrimental part of all of it is how it is affecting their peers ... I don't know how I would have reacted if this kind of phenomenon had existed when I was in college. All I had to deal with was a lot of nonsense about Britney and Christina and Jessica and Mandy and Backstreet Boys ... basically just a lot of bad music and slutty fashion hitting the scene. Thank God I knew very little about their social lives. Major magazines weren't hurling that info at me like they do today. I think if I were a college student today, I would be all the more aware of my image (do I look too slutty? do I look too thin? too fat? healthy enough? do i look too drunk? do i wear the right clothing to make sure I look rich and sophisticated? am i wearing underwear?) and I would no longer want to major in journalism. Because I would have very little respect for the "journalism" that's hurting these kids.

Which brings me to my major annoyance with fashion trends right now -- fedoras, big sunglasses and scarves. Worn by themselves, they are fine. Worn together, it's clearly the sign of a celebrity in disguise. The irony of so many eye-candy celebrities wearing fedoras with big sunglasses is that now everyone wants to wear fedoras with big sunglasses, or big sunglasses with scarves.

They are wearing these as protection, people. Do you see any paparazzi around you? Then take off the damn hat and shades.

Thank goodness Britney's wigs and hair weaves never caught on.

Fashion and Grammar Gripes -- issue 500, May 18, 2007

Somebody please tell me why super-short shorts and super-short dresses are trendy right now ...

Mod mini-dresses and late 1970s-era hot pants have no business coming back in style just after I've finished an all-cheese diet and gained 12 pounds. (I had been on a no-cheese diet for six years for medical reasons, so I went a little nuts with the pizza and cheeseburgers as of late).

Also annoying ... the Hollywood pin-up look is huge right now. Huge! I mean it's kinda cool to look like Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe. That never gets old. Audrey Hepburn, even. But how is it humanly possible that the same woman who gave us "Drrty" five years ago may now just be completely responsible for inspiring a fashion trend?

Yes, this is what I'm talking about ...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think she was wearing black leather chaps, a thong and nipple rings about two seconds before she started listening to that phonograph.

I'm going to start dressing like Rosie the Riveter. Maybe that will come back in style.

As for grammar gripes, I've been reading far too many women's magazines lately, and the trend of ending words with "y" or "ish" to make them all the more adjective-y is getting way out of hand. "Lucky" does it most often, but the others are really starting to follow suit with this. The worst part is that these writers now feel the need to add these unnecessary suffixes to words that are already adjectives!



These are adjectives! Just say beige! It's fine on its own!

Do these writers believe that women will enjoy what they are reading more if it is delivered in a sing-songy tone of voice? (That was an appropriate use of an adjective ending in y, by the way).

Does this come from the constant up-talking everyone does these days? My guess is that people are voicing statements like questions not because they come from the valley, but because we live in a society filled with such constant communication that we must pose our statements like questions, just to make sure the other person is still listening.

That might be another reason for the trend of starting sentences with the word "So." When I was a freshman in college, my next-door neighbor had an odd tendency to open the door and start conversations with me or my roommate with the word "So," as though she had already been in the middle of telling us something. It was quirky and funny, at the time. We didn't know anyone else who did that.

But these days, this kind of behavior is normal. These days, so many people never have breaks from receiving some kind of information ... whether it's from a cell phone, the internet, the radio, a television, an ipod ... it's so near-constant, that it is changing the way we think ... and when it changes the way we think, it changes the way we talk.

More revelations of prior complaints ... the constant use of "at the end of the day" is just an indication of lots and lots of people hating their jobs. Either that, or it's lots of people focusing on living "in the now." This whole recycling movement might change that. Instead of hearing, "well, at the end of the day" maybe we'll start hearing, "well, at the end of the century" ... since we are embarking on seriously long-term projects.

But that's probably a far-fetched idea.

I'm getting really tired of hearing about "being green" though. It always makes me think of Kermit the Frog. Today I was in a store that played "Leaves that are Green" by Simon and Garfunkel, and I had to wonder if the store was playing it simply because of this whole "Green" movement. Now that's just sad.

But it did strike me as odd when I left the store and walked out into the mall, only to hear "The Sound of Silence."

Who plays "The Sound of Silence" in a shopping mall? That can't be boosting any sales. Except for maybe sales of black turtlenecks and guitars.

Latest fashion and grammar gripes -- March 4, 2007

So it's happening again. Yes, it is literally that time again.

Honestly, it is time for the grammar and fashion nazi.

I mean me. In the third person.

Stop starting your sentences with "so." Why is this a language trend right now? I've yet to figure it out. And I've had to be careful as to not engage in it myself ... it just makes no sense to start every sentence with the word, "so." Were you just in the middle of telling me something? No. If you just started a conversation with me, please don't start your sentence with this word.

Also, "literally." If I hear one more person say they were literally doing something, I will literally puke.

"At the end of the day" and "honestly." These two just will not go away. Go away, I say. Back to the dictionary of misused phrases.

It is not a coincidence that joining corporate America makes me notice these phrases all the more ...

OK ... before I say anything incriminating, on to fashion.

Where can I begin?

Apparently, the goal this spring is to look like a tent. Or perhaps a sail boat, since the nautical look is still huge. Maybe a striped tent on a sail boat, with really long black legs and arms. And black-rimmed eyes. And a long, side-swept bang that hides those beautiful foreheads and shows off those unfortunate, aging jaws. And makes everyone's baby-hairs all the more pronounced because of the nature of the cut.

I know, I know, the hairstyle is 80s. It's punk.
The makeup is 60s. It's mod.
The dresses are 60s and 70s. They're ... um, well they're maternity-wear.

For the past year or so, trendy ladies have stuffed themselves into leggings and straight-leg jeans. And ballet flats. And long, body-hugging layers, and thick belts. And thick headbands (see earlier Peg Bundy post). And dark nails. And red lips.

And now we have a complete fashion turn-around. Now we have wide-leg jeans. And platforms. And short, a-line, flouncy minidresses. And thin headbands. And white nails.

The things that just won't go away? Shrugs. Stripes. Thick black belts.

These are not really flattering. On anyone. They are cute. But not flattering.

I love having to update my wardrobe this extensively every season.

Can we please figure out which decade we are living in? And stick to it for at least a little while?

And the requisite, style icons setting the trends:

Poor little rich girl.

Poor old rich girl.

Poor punk girl.

Yes, all roads do lead to Blondie. At least the cool ones do.

What teens should aspire to be, according to Macy's fall ads ... August 28, 2006

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news team
world travelers
indie filmmakers
reality show stars

reality show stars????

Rockin' My Leggings August 28, 2006

OK, so you know what time it is. Time for more grammar complaints. And fashion complaints, as an added bonus.

Please, please, please, please, please stop "rockin'" things. Stop rockin' your t-shirts, stop rockin' your haircuts, stop rockin' your leggings, stop rockin' your black nail polish. (I do kinda like black nail polish, though). You can rock out. You can rock. You can even rock and roll.

But please stop rockin' your clothes. You can wear your clothes. You can sport your clothes.

The next time some magazine tells me to rock some article of clothing, I'm going to assume they mean I must literally look like Ozzy Osbourne while wearing it.

Oh, and the leggings ...

Why are leggings back? Why must everyone wear leggings with long, over-sized sweater dresses? This was popular when I was in junior high, and now it's back?

Looking like Grimace is not flattering to any figure, no matter what size you are!

I really don't understand why mid-1980s fashion is back. It was bad enough the first time. Unless you really want to dress like Molly Ringwald for Halloween, there is no reason to pile on all sorts of layers.

And suspenders? Why are suspenders in?

As far as I can tell, here are some of the major trends right now ... long, bulky sweaters, thick belts on everything, leggings, bouffant hair, red lips, animal prints, large plastic beads and bangles ... in other words, you'll be cool if you look like this: