Saturday, October 08, 2005

Guy Mistakes: 6 Through 10

"Those are the top five?! Hrmm. Where is six through ten then?"

This comment from Anonymous left me a little befuddled. Was it an insult? Was it a challenge? I decided to take it as a challenge and issue a few other don'ts for the guys out there. Especially since we've received a few reluctant letters who said they'd break down and buy a new pair of shoes, or pull up their pants. Now that we've gone beyond the top five, it's time to get a little more technical. Consider this part two of the beginner's course.

Mistake #6: Inappropriate Facial Hair
You have two choices: shave regularly or do facial hair right. Doing facial hair right means picking a style that works well with your face, and keeping it neat. Much like your hedges, you need to groom your facial hair so that it's well-trimmed and -shaped. Also, if you have facial hair, shave the five o'clock shadow! Do not allow other growth on your face - you will just look sloppy. Do it right or not at all. A nice beard and mustache trimmer is priceless and something you should use frequently.

Mistake #7: Tevas
If you'll recall, I mentioned that you should not go out shopping for mandals without graduating to the advanced class, and this is the reason why. I mean, there are a very few occasions where they would be okay. Hiking, maybe, but even then, with the amount of stuff that can hurt you in the woods, you need to wear boots. No, I can't think of one situation where Tevas would be better than a different shoe. They are just ugly. This rule is different for girls - they can get away with them more often - but not much. But girls have pretty feet.

Mistake #8: Ponytails
No! I must insist you cut your hair! Think about all the guys with long hair that don't look good: Kenny G, Michael Bolton, George Washington. Think about the only men that looked good: Slash, Gandalf, Chad Kroeger. Recognize that you are neither a wizard nor a rock star and go cut your hair. If you insist on wearing your hair long, follow the same rules as your facial hair: keep it neat, keep it clean. I knew a guy in college who used Pantene so his long hair wouldn't be offensive. I admit, I was jealous of his mane. But he cut his hair a couple of years later and looked fantastic.

Mistake #9: Ghetto Hat
I know you think you look all harsh because the brim of your baseball cap is anywhere but in front, but believe me, you look ridiculous. Baseball caps can look great on guys, I'm a big fan, but do it right. Also, if you're wearing the hat with the brim stick straight, you should break it in a little. You don't want to look foolish, right?

Mistake #10: The Speedo
There are myriad reasons to never don a Speedo. You'll look cocky, you'll look unattractive, I could go on all night. You have to be in pretty much peak physical condition to pull off a Speedo, so if you're not, wear a more flattering bathingsuit. Surf-style trunks are a great look for the beach. Look at the guy at left - he's not fat in any way, but do you really think he looks good? Definitely not. Get trunks.

Friday, October 07, 2005

50, 60, and beyond: Unveiling a whole new kind of beauty

A week or so ago, a reader asked us if we had any fashion advice/tips for women approaching 50. Sorry it took us so long, but we've been thinking. In the immortal words of the toy cleaner in Toy Story II: "You can't rush Art!"

It's our firm belief here at Las F that God endowed each woman and man with her or his own unique beauty. It may not be the beauty of Jessica Simpson or Clive Owen, but it's there, and it's our delight to help people around the world bring out the very best in themselves. Both Fashionistas are in their twenties, but in our jobs and lives we're surrounded by beautiful women who are 50 and up...and trust us, this age and life season is looking younger all the time!

However, in the immortal words of Dolly Parton: "It takes a leettle EHffuht to look lawk theyuhss!" You've earned the right to pamper yourself a little more. It may take extra time, but you're worth it! So, here we go. Readers, we give you possibly one of the most lovely and poised women Hollyweird has to offer:

Susan Sarandon!

Let me remind you that the reason she's shaking her well-toned thang in that picture is that she's celebrating her 59th birthday. Yep, you read that right. News flash ladies: if you take care of yourselves, 50 is the new 40. Here's how:

Drink plenty of water. This is a no-brainer, but we're reminding you anyway. Get up from your computer NOW and go chug a glass or so. We'll wait. Back? OK. It helps your joints, it helps your skin, AND it can prevent overeating. The last thing we can THINK about is food after we've pounded a couple pints of the 'rock juice'. How do you think we keep those pinup-worthy figures, darlings?

Invest in your skin. Hopefully at this stage in your life, the drudgery of your youth has paid off, and you have a little extra money to pamper yourself. We love Burt's Bees cosmetics and skin care, available at better drugstores and on the Internet. They are made from all-natural ingredients, and most are far more moisturizing than your average store brand. Be forewarned, though: A lot of their products are quite heavy, so if your skin is oily, this may not be the brand for you! At this stage of life, though, you may need the extra moisture. Burt's Bees also has a beautiful line of cosmetics, also all natural, and since they smell like products of nature, they're a delight to use!

Don't do Botox. Say it with us--with conviction, now! Wrinkles are beautiful. We at Las F respect and adore the many older women we know. The wrinkles they bear are symbols of their life experience and advanced wisdom. There's a good reason why women our age make friends with women old enough to be our mothers, and it's not because they look like Mandy Moore. Don't be ashamed of wrinkes, and don't try to cover them up! A woman who Botoxes is a woman in denial. Botox may temporarily smooth your wrinkles, but where a woman really shows her age is in her eyes. Eyes never lie! Vanessa Regrave is one actress we know who has absolutely refused plastic surgery, and look how beautiful she is:

She doesn't look twenty, sure, but she has something that us twenty-somethings can only dream of having: confidence in her own skin. Those wrinkles speak of a wisdom and grace that the teenyboppers that Marcian Crossing tries so desperately to compete with will never possess.

We never pass up a chance to make fun of her. Marcia, Denial is not just a river in Egypt!

Along this line of thought: Never pass up a chance to smile. Hopefully you've been doing this most of your life, but if not, begin immediately. The good and bad thing about wrinkles is that they'll never lie. They are a true herald of whether you've spent your life laughing or frowning! So develop a sense of humor. Laugh at yourself and those around you. Smiling takes far fewer facial muscles than frowning, and it can produce endorfins!

OK, what else? Let's talk about hair. We have mixed feelings about this. Some people say you should dye, some people say not to. We've seen beautiful women who dye regularly, and we've seen some pretty bad dye jobs too. Our advice: Go with your gut. If you're blonde or fair-haired, you can safely dye or highlight for the rest of your life. If you're brunette or darker, though, you might have trouble matching your natural color. If dyeing makes you feel pretty, then go see a reputable colorist. Please trust us on this one--it's rare that an in-home dye job turns out really well, and at your distinguished age you want to look professional, not like a broke college student. And don't think you have to chop it all off either. Just the other day I saw a woman with gray-white hair all the way down to her bra line. She looked beautiful. Take good care of your hair, at whatever length. See a stylist regularly for a little trim and color if you decide. Experiment with classy scarves or barrettes.

Fashion: Whatever you do, don't dress like a 20-something. You owe it to yourself to be edgy, but fun, and above all, suitable to a far more confident and wise stage of life. If you're in good shape, you have license to wear pretty much whatever you want, but just because you've got it doesn't mean you have to flaunt it like Paris Hilton. One place we love is Ann Taylor Loft, for their enduring committment to helping curvy women find good clothes and feel beautiful. It's one of our favorite haunts and definitely caters to a more sophisticated clientele. Wear edgy pieces, but do so with caution. Remember: less is more.

Let us leave with this photo of a lovely lady on Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. Go visit the website for a slide show of other views of her, but let her serve as an inspiration: Be yourself. Be proud of the experiences you have had, learn from them, and don't be afraid to change your conceptions of beaty to reveal a whole new you!

"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be." -Robert Browning

Feedback Loop: October

Here's what we want to know from you this month: what's the most embarrassing song on your [insert music playing device here]?

Fashionista Jersey: "Evergreen" by Barbra Streisand is the reason I don't let anyone else hold my iPod. It's an embarassment on so many levels - what if they were to scroll through and find it? I can't stand her, but there's that song, not to mention she is arrogant and annoying. But I love it. I think I sing it way better than she does, though.

Fashionista Cali: Well, I have to admit that I'm surrounded by academics who would most certainly roundly tease me for what I'm about to admit: I have a little thing for country music. I love the stories and the accoustic flavor of the music. As a vocalist, I also respect the good technique that most country singers have. They're certainly a sight better than, oh, Anvil Latrine or Dirtney Spears.

P.S. from F.Jersey - I am one of those who make fun of her. Although I love Johnny Cash.

A Night on the Town

"How about tips on how to dress up?"

Sounds like Bunny's got a hot date! She said she'd like some tips, especially about the right dresses for the right shape, so here's what we'll do. The staple of any going out wardrobe is the little black dress, so we'll look at some options for this classic for the pear-shaped, hourglass-shaped and straight-shaped. The LBD can come in many cuts and styles, but it follows a couple of rules - it should be appropriate for a fancy dinner, meaning both style and fabric choices. And rule #2 - show a little leg. Other than that, you have carte blanche.

If you have a heavier bottom than top, you are pear-shaped. In order to give yourself some balance, you'll want to draw more attention to the bust area. It's a common mistake to try to hide big hips under extra fabric, but this is a mistake for two reasons. Firstly, more fabric means you'll look heavier. Secondly, bootylicious is in! Take advantage of the opportunity and show them off whenever you get the opportunity to do so. This halter dress at left, by XOXO, is a pretty good choice. I've always noticed that when someone has a halter on, they look - let's say better endowed, so this will give you the balance I mentioned before. Not to mention that the hem is asymmetrical, which started as a trend and became a signature of this decade. It's incredibly sexy when it sways back and forth as you walk. Accessorize this with a colorful scarf or some rhinestone jewelry and you've got yourself a winner.

If you have a well-defined waist, and your top and bottom halves are pretty well balanced, you have an hourglass shape. This has for a long time been considered one of the hottest body shapes, so there is no reason to not flaunt it! Let me take a minute to advocate something we've said before - a full-body girdle, or what I call a foundation, is essential to getting dressed up. You can find such things in fancier lingerie stores, such as Victoria's Secret. It will not be cheap, I'll warn you, but it will last you a lifetime and you will not be sorry you bought it. Get a nude-colored foundation so you never have to worry about it showing through what you're wearing, and make sure the top is appropriate for the kind of dress you're wearing (strapless, halter, etc). Now, for the hourglass's LBD, I found this hot little number at right, available at Nordstrom. Yowza! This will give you that "all those curves and me with no brakes" look that we've touted before. The additional benefit of this dress is that it's revealing without making you look trampy. We really hate that.

Let's say you've got the straight sides body. I'm a bit jealous, because you can wear some of the slinkiest dresses and look fabulous, but the right dress can also add a little dimension to your body. Take our example at left - the well-defined empire waist will accentuate your top half, and the wispy bottom hem is feminine and alluring. What you need now is some sky-high stilettos and stunning gold jewelry, and you've got yourself a winner. No matter what dress you choose, though, the most essential accessory for the LBD is the chutzpah to pull it off. You need to strut like you're on the runway, and let your mantra be, "I don't look fat or slutty, I don't look fat or slutty..." The dress will catch his eye, but the confidence that pulls it off will be what keeps him staring all night long.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Our 100th Post!

Welcome to post #100! It's been a great ride so far, and by way of celebration, we decided to do something a little different. We get a lot of comments, emails, insults, etc. wondering what we're like. We personally feel that a little mystery is a woman's best asset, so we don't like to reveal too much. But we love our readers, so we decided to offer a little glimpse into Las F. You might think we're alike, but we're actually very different from each other. Below are a few favorites of the girls, complete with pictures of the Fashionistas, for the first time in history! Enjoy, dear readers!

Fashionista Cali
[I should tell you now that I've never been a good 'favorites' person. I have trouble picking one thing in each category that I like. And my interests change, especially in the music department.]
Favorite Actor: Sean Connery, Viggo Mortensen, Karl Urban. No nancy boys for me!
Favorite Actress: Liv Tyler, because she's beautiful and talented. Marilyn Monroe, for her singing and that archetypal vulnerability she displays. Catherine Zeta-Jones, because she's ridiculously talented. I loved her in Chicago. Angelina Jolie, based solely on her peformance in Playing by Heart. Reese Witherspoon.
Favorite Movie: Love Actually, Lord of the Rings [I never, ever get tired of watching it]
Favorite Band: Hmmm...maybe Ben Folds Five, Jewel, Alanis Morrissette/ Anything accoustic, with musical integrity. I'm also a huge fan of classic choral music.
Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, the Starbridge series by Susan Howatch, Harry Potter. I read these books again and again and again.
Favorite Article of Clothing: A good pair of jeans, a good little black dress. Anything that makes me feel hot.
Favorite Food: I've never met a food I didn't like.
Favorite Destressing Activity: Sex, [did I say that?!] writing, walking, talking with friends
Favorite Beverage: Red wine, a very dirty vodka martini with three olives, bottled water. Really. I love good bottled water. I keep a case of it in the trunk of my car at all times.
Favorite Thing to Do With Your Significant Other: Reading books, visiting with each other, playing bocce ball, going jogging, watching movies, goofing off. We're the best of friends and do lots of chummy things together.

Fashionista Jersey
Favorite Actor: Clive Owen. Just because he's hot, and he was great in Sin City.
Favorite Actress: Judi Dench
Favorite Movie: Fight Club
Favorite Band: I could never pick just one, but my top four in no particular order are Bjork, The Who, Jimmy Eat World and System of a Down. Number five is usually a wildcard for whatever I love at the time. Right now it's Dave Matthews Band.
Favorite Song: "Baba O'Riley" by the Who
Favorite Book: Great Expectations
Favorite Article of Clothing: I have a black tee shirt from Old Navy that I've worn into the ground. It fits like a polo, but without a collar. It's perfect for layering.
Favorite Food: My mom's eggplant parmesan.
Favorite Destressing Activity: Yoga, or just hit the gym. Yeah, FYI random anonymous person, I do go to the gym. All the time. Also coloring - I'm a child at heart.
Favorite Beverage: Tazo Chai Lattes. And Power Vitamin Water. Oh, and Dr. Pepper. I like a lot of things!
Favorite Thing to Do with Your Significant Other: Sex - did I say that?!?! We like to pretend it's a quiet night at home, but then after dinner just blurt out something completely random. One time it was, "Let's go to Ikea!" And we did. We pretended we lived in the display rooms, we picked out the furniture we'd have in our dream home, we just goofed around. It was a great time. Come to think of it, I think goofing around is one of our absolute favorite pasttimes. Especially in public.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Further Evidence that the Apocalypse is Near...

Sorry to disappoint those of you who hoped Katie would someday come to her senses...the Cruises are with child. Supposedly there isn't a disappointed family member to be seen.

Rumor has it that arguments have ensued between the happy couple over where to have their wedding. Tom apparently wants to get married in L.A. in the Scientology world headquarters, or whatever they call that place. Katie, on the other hand, prefers to marry in Mexico in a quaint resort in the Yucatan peninsula. We've also heard that Katie's father Martin, a devout Catholic, is openly against Tom's involvement in Scientology, as well as his daughter's. Good heavens, someone please stop these people!

I'm sure that Tom and Katie, however, will be comforted by knowing that the newly porkeriffic Charlotte Church has stood up for them and defended their union, saying that Tom Cruise is just "so genuine." Charlotte, what are you, fifteen? When you get a little more experience than dating a rugby player who can't even fend off the muggers who stole your shoes, maybe then you can talk. Until then, go back to the kiddie table and let the grown-ups talk for a while.

As for the child, well, God help the poor thing. He's probably going to get some name like Rocketship Hornblower, and then there will be no hope. As for Katie...I think we can let that little glimmer of hope die now.

Phew, time for a nap. It's been a busy newsday.

Done and Done!

US Weekly' headline today shocked us all, darlings. We always hoped that Jessica and Nick would make it--one fashionista went so far as to let her wedding style be influenced by the Lachey's famous vow-swapping back in 2002.

**Exclusive News**

Alas, some things are not meant to last. However, we at Las F have a little bit of news to share. It seems that the split is not entirely Jessica's fault after all.

Rumors are spreading that Nick is not the knight in shining armor that US Weekly would like us to believe. Our source, who has close friends in Nick's hometown of Cincinnati, has heard a first-hand account that Nick cheated on Jessica with a girl from his hometown.

That'll hurt the team!

Don't believe everything you read, darlings. We're still waiting for an official announcement, probably from Daddy Joe Simpson himself.

It seems a shame that what appeared to be such sweet beginnings would have such bitter endings.

Update: As predicted, Nick Lachey's overworked rep has released a joint statement from the couple. They are vehemently denying any tales of a split and say that their marriage is fine. We shall see...

As always, we remain vigilant, dear readers.

Being Comfortable In Your Skin

"My first piece of advice (and ladies, you can back me up on this one), have a good skin care regimen."

Toto, we couldn't agree more, and what better way to revolutionize yourself then to implement your own skin care regimen? As always, we're here to help, but you will have to resign yourself to taking - nay, making - the time to care for your skin. Many people say they are just too busy to have an entire regimen, but we challenge that notion. You must be your first priority sometimes, and what better way than by soothing your skin? Men, this goes for you, too. Your skin is the first defense against smog, dirt, germs and a host of other invaders, so it's important to take care of it.

The first thing you need to do is get a facial soap that you like and that suits what you're looking for and use it at least twice a day. By the way, it's a cardinal sin not to wash your face before bed - all that makeup and environmental gunk is going to sit on your skin and clog your pores while you sleep, and you don't want that. You have a few choices with your face soap, so pick one that suits what you want for your skin. A soap with a gentle exfoliant is great for everyday use to envigorate the skin, slough off the dead cells and renew yourself every time you wash. If you have sensitive skin, there are plenty of products out there for you, too, including milk-based washes that are very nourishing. If you like a soothing wash, the cleanser at left, from Biore, warms as you wash - sounds great for right before bed, doesn't it? The Biore website also has a pore profiler which can help you choose which products are best for you if you're not sure what you need. Men, you can use any of these products and see results, and if your buddies look down their noses at you, you can just scoff when you walk out with the hottie and they're nursing their beers with each other. Of course, there is a number of products for men, too, including by Nivea, which you can find pretty cheap at your local supermarket or drugstore, but do find a cleanser you can live with.

You'll need some kind of moisturizer next. It seems counterintuitive, but dry skin will moisturize itself with oil, so if you hydrate it well with a non-oily moisturizer, you won't have nearly as much shine problems. In order to pick a product, you'll need to determine what kind of skin you have. Your choices are dry, normal (a little oil, but not a problem), combination (oily on the nose and forehead - the T zone) and oily. Once you figure out which category you fall into, it's easy to pick a moisturizer that's right for you. They pretty much tell you on the front of the bottle what kind of skin it's meant for. Additionally, they make moisturizers that also soothe sensitive skin, prevent aging or prevent blemishes; no matter which you choose, though, consider getting one with a sunscreen. No matter the time of year, you need to wear sunscreen on your face every day. One of our absolute favorite moisturizers is the Origins A Perfect World moisturizer. I call it face magic in a jar - I love how silky and soft it makes my skin feel. Now, the guys are starting to think this paragraph doesn't apply to them, but it most certainly does. I know so many men that complain about how their face feels after they shave, but they are just unwilling to use a moisturizer. How foolish! You're suffering for no good reason. Again, there are plenty of men's products out there, so put on your moisturizer after you wash your face or shave. Not only will you suffer less, but girls will want to touch your smooth skin - and that right there is a shared moment.

So, you've taken care of your face, but let's not forget the rest of the body! This part is relatively easy - just pick a body wash and be done with it. Again, you have a lot of choices here, so go with what you need. If you have dry skin, there are plenty of moisturizing body washes out there. You might pick one because it smells good, or that has a gentle daily exfoliant - all valid choices. It is important that no matter which one you choose, you also pick up a weekly exfoliant that you can use all over your body to polish all your rough spots. To this end, St. Ives makes a great line of exfoliators with their Apricot Scrub products. You may also want to pay attention to rough feet, elbows or other stubborn areas with their Hand and Foot Scrub. You'll be amazed at how soft your skin feels after a good exfoliation - you'll feel like a baby's behind all over. Now that you have a regimen, go put it to good use. You'll find you glow all over!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Update: Britney and Kevin

"I want to hear about Britney Spears and Kevin, what is up with them since their baby's birth, anyways?"

Well, Snafu, as you might imagine, their life is just as chaotic (ho ho ho) now as it was before. And of course, so as not to disappoint her gawking public, Britney and hubby K-Fed are just as nutty as ever. As you know, B.S. is from Louisiana, and wanted to do her part to support the region with charity in response to the hurricanes. To this end, she is auctioning a number of personal items and donating the proceeds to charity. They are - get ready, now - her used pink flip flops, one of her used bras, and a pair of boxer shorts that may or may not have been worn by one of the two Federlines. You could even own a burgundy version of her confusing golden ticket tank top (the insinuations of which we are still grappling with). As she puts it, these trinkets are for those fans who want memorabilia that's "cool" and "rare" (read: for her psychofans).

In other news, the new family had to evacuate their home in Los Angeles due to the wildfires last week, so they're probably holed up somewhere else for now. The more fascinating news, however, is that Kevin's rap album (excuse me while I laugh about that for a minute) will be coming out oh-so-shortly, and I for one am dying to hear exactly what this is going to sound like. Even if he made Grammy-winning material, does he honestly think anyone will take him seriously? Well, mazel-tov, I hope it's a success. Rumors are rampant that we will be put through another installment of Chaotic, this time with scenes from the birth and infancy of baby SPF. All the while, Britney is claiming she just wants some private time with her family. Sure. Brit's also in talks with a Las Vegas entertainment house to start doing shows on the Strip - how appropriate! I suppose all of this will be contingent on whether or not she starts refusing the Cheetos and starts to work off the baby weight.

On the home front, things are looking dicey. Britney says she's suffering from postpartum depression. What's making it worse, according to a friend's report to Life and Style Weekly, Kevin forgot their anniversary. Shame on you, Kevin. Now is the time to turn up the heat on your responsibility pie. Oh, and as a juicy aside - guess who has been calling Chris Klein so much he had to change his number? None other than his ex-fiancee, the no-doubt desperate Katie Holmes, according to U.S. Weekly. Interesting!

More Network Deaths

When the fall comes along, a litter of new shows comes along, too. Then the pack gets weeded out to eliminate the shows that simply didn't hack it, whether it's worthy of the axe or not. It's all about ratings, and the networks only go by numbers, except in a few noteworthy cases. Now that the new season is a week or two old, it's time to find out how some of the more noteable acts are doing.

NBC is having a ratings crisis: they have no viewers. The new drama Inconceivable, which is based on a fertility clinic's daily happenings, has already been given the pink slip, and rumor has it Three Wishes is floundering and close to sacking. E-Ring is switching places with Apprentice: Martha Stewart, which means that neither of them are doing well, but don't expect to see either of them around for much longer. My prediction is that E-Ring will soon bite the dust (another case of a stellar cast in a mediocre vehicle) and Apprentice will finish out its season on CNBC. You just wait and see. The Donald is seeing much more success, by the way. My Name Is Earl is switching places with Joey to see if maybe the switch will help Joey do better. What the execs need to realize is that Joey is doing badly because it's not that great a show. You can't get blood from a turnip, no matter what time slot you put it in. NBC is hoping that their newest venture, a pilot for a show called "Heist," will turn its tides, so look for that during next year's season openers.

ABC has decided to renew Jimmy Kimmel's late night contract, which must mean that he's becoming (or is) a viable contender against NBC and CBS's stranglehold on the late night slot. Raise your hand if you were shocked at that, too. And it's no big surprise that the ratings juggernauts for the network remain Lost and Desperate Housewives. In fact, ABC seems to be the darling network for ratings, although it remains to be seen what the backlash will be now that Alias did something its viewers warned it not to. I won't say what they did, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, but she show's producers basically included a plot element that they swore they wouldn't, and a grassroots campaign has been organized to boycott the show in response.

Fox's big moneymaker this season will be the baseball playoffs, so expect to see that advertising plastered across the network for the next month or so. Much to everyone's shock (and possibly chagrin), the net also ordered four more episodes of Reunion, the drama that is trying to be suspenseful like Lost but have the gossip vibe of Housewives. The O.C. is holding steady despite being up against an onslaught of premieres on other networks, which bodes well for its season. Oh, and in case you've heard of that new show Sex, Lies and Secrets, starring newly-separated Denise Richards, you can stop holding your breath. The show will remain on the air for now, but don't look for it to come back. The jury's still out on whether or not the remaining episodes will even air - the network cites bad ratings. However, you can't blame UPN; with the right show even they can garner ratings, as evidenced by their shock hit Everybody Hates Chris. I was worried this hysterical show wouldn't last on UPN, but I guess everyone gets it right sometimes.

Choosing Your Aura

We've gotten a lot of requests for help in picking out a perfume, so we felt it best to tackle that question right away. It can be difficult to choose one; you don't want to smell like old lady on a Sunday, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of choices out there. They all basically smell the same. For our part, most big name fragrances for women have distinctly similar characteristics - heavy on the alcohol and flowery. These also seem to be the most expensive perfumes, so a mistake can be costly. For this reason, Las F can't get enough of Sephora. You can try just about everything they sell before you buy it, so you can make sure you really like it. As for the perfume, put a little on and wear it for a day. See what kind of reactions you get from the people around you. If it's a thumbs up, go back the next day and buy it. If not, test drive another one. Some of the nicer ones include Estee Lauder's Pleasures and Clinique Happy Heart. But don't, for any reason, buy Britney Spears' Curious. The only curious thing about it is why they decided to start selling it in the first place. It has been a teeny bopper's dream perfume, much like my obsession with Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth when I was young. There are also many scents out there that do not derive their odor from flowers, but spices or outdoorsy scents. Go with what suits your personality best.

This Fashionista found her aura not at the perfume counter, but at Bath and Body Works. Those department store perfumes can be incredibly expensive. This chain has really expanded its line in the last few years, and now includes a cyclical catalogue of scents for any occasion. There are so many choices available to test that there is bound to be one that you like. You can do the same test drive with these scents, too, and when they hold their end-of-season sale, you can buy them ridiculously cheap. They have some sprays that are flowery, but not as pungent, and other scents that are not at all flowery, like warm vanilla sugar. My personal favorite is the white tea and ginger spray. I wear it every day of my life, and it has become my signature scent. The beauty of a spray like this is that no one will be bowled over by how you smell. And be sure to spray it on skin, not clothes - the formula is not made to react with your clothes. Besides, that's what makes a smell truly your own - when it mixes with your own pheromones. You can also buy body washes in those fragrances in case you're not the sort to spritz yourself every morning. In case you're wondering, yes, it is best to produce a small cloud of scent and walk through it rather than to apply it directly to your body. If you're not using spray, apply it to places people will smell it. Try behind the ears (so people will smell it when they hug you) or on your sweat points (wrists, neck) so the scent will be emitted as you go through the day. I used to put a little in my hair - I'm quite short, and when my tall companions hugged me, they smelled it, too. Be creative. There is no wrong answer here.

So let's say you try every perfume there is to try, and you still can't find one you really love. If only you could make a perfume you like, you think to yourself. Actually, you can. We found this kit that not only comes with different oils to blend, but also some cute vials to keep your creations in. Yes, it's meant for children, but some of the ones meant for adults are quite complicated - this really dumbs it down for those of us who are not scientifically inclined. I actually used something similar to this previously and was quite satisfied with my results. It's worth a try, anyway; it's fairly cheap. Considering how different we all are, it wouldn't be a terrible shock to find out that we know our own bodies best and can pick the best scents for it. I can virtually guarantee, though, that individuality and scent fulfillment will not be found at places like American Eagle or the Gap. Unless you want to smell like every teenager in your town, do something different!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Men: Doff Your T-Shirt

When I met my boyfriend, all he wore was jeans, t-shirts with sayings on them, and the same pair of shoes. This was his wardrobe regardless of season or occasion. When he was ready to expand his closet, he came to me, and he came to the right place. For those of you guys who don't know what to wear other than t-shirts and jeans, I'm here to tell you there is a world of clothes you're missing out there. Now, you may be the sort of guy who hates shopping, and for that reason has nothing else to wear, to which I say recruit someone who will hold your hand and tell you what you look good in, and what you look awful in. Get some lunch and make a day of it; the time has come to grow up. And if you still need further motivation - do it for the ladies.

Tees are great on casual days, but you don't have to resort to the one you brought back from spring break in Cabo. Now that you're grown, heavier, sturdier fabrics are in order, so go for a quality brand. It's fine to buy cheap pieces once in a while, but we're building the foundation of your house of fashion- don't skimp on the materials. If you want to buy a cheap lamp, go ahead. Forgive the extended metaphor, but it's important. Get nice-looking jeans that will age gracefully and shirts that feature more than logos. The shirt at left is a great example. Tell me you don't think that mannequin looks hot! Find one you like and buy it in every color and pattern. Buy jeans in a few colors, too. Get stonewashed, dark wash, distressed - but stay away from acid wash. I'm warning you!

When you've achieved step one, you can branch out into the world of polos and button downs. Just like the finely dressed woman wears dressier pieces on casual occasions, men should, too. Since you're going to be buying these kinds of shirts, you'll need to buy a stock of shirts to go under them. My personal favorite is the a-shirt, more commonly known as the wife beater. They're great for summer so you don't sweat, but at the same time you won't have bare chest peeking out from behind those collars like you were Don Juan de Marco. You can go back to the regular undershirt in the fall. The added benefit of the undershirt is that it's the man's girdle. Buy one a size too small and it kind of sucks in the wobbly bits and helps the shirt on top to lay flat. Also, spare us the opulent jewelry. A simple chain on a guy, depending on the guy, can look quite handsome, and if you insist on piercing your ears, simple studs are all you require.

Step three is definitely the hardest sell. If you're not wearing cologne, you are omitting the strongest girl-attractor the world has to offer you. Find a scent that works well with who you are and wear it all the time. My brother has worn Aspen cologne for his entire life, and to this day, when someone walks by wearing Aspen, I immediately think of him. Now, pay attention, because this bit's important: you can wield the power to make women think of you and only you with a signature scent. Scent and memory, for some reason, are very closely linked in the brain, so harness this power! Women, this goes double for you. Some great ones to try: Drakkar Noir, Cool Water and Polo. Yum! If you really hate the idea of cologne or after-shave, there are some nice body washes out there that deposit scent as you wash, such as Old Spice. That way you won't have to tell anyone you wear cologne, but you just step out of the shower smelling that good.

Fall Fashion - Your Basic Artillery

"Save me, I've overdosed on hair and makeup!"

I can really respond to a cheeky monkey like Caitlyn. She, and many other budding fashionistas out there, would like to know what is going to be big for the fall. I can tell you now that the poncho and Uggs are already out, which is disappointing for me because I own both. The Uggs will still make the scene, but they will be what I wear to get to work on snowy days. The poncho may as well line my cat's bed. It was one of those cutsey trends that really looked good at the time, but it's as if the world woke up from that dream and now it's back to reality. So what should you stock up on now?

My favorite part of autumn is that you can layer all your favorite pieces to make one stunning outfit. Start buying some good, cheap layering pieces to put under the few expensive ones you buy. Don't be afraid to experiment with color, either. Accent your main pieces in deep, rich colors with some accesories in brighter colors. You can also still wear your tank tops - they are great for layering, especially a tank with some girly embellishments. The tank at left is a great example - it was darling with your peasant skirt in the summer, but it can make it into fall as well. The mainstream will say to pair it with a blazer, but we say it would look fantastic layered under a plain, long-sleeved shirt with a pair of jeans. It can do many things, don't limit it.

You should also start building your stock of opaque tights. Remember how I mentioned previously that I loved wearing skirts in the summer? Well, I can't lay off them in the fall or winter, either. There is no such thing, however, as pantyhose in my closet. I hate them - they are boring and I only have to wear them once to get runs in them. What better solution than opaque tights? They come in all kinds of fall-friendly colors, and can extend those skirts into fall. Make sure, however, that you stick with heavier fabrics, like denim or corduroy, for fall skirts. A linen skirt, no matter what leggings you wear, is out of place. Oh, and please spare me the legwarmers. Whose idea was bringing back the legwarmer? It's ridiculous. Last winter I saw a gaggle of teenage girls at the mall wearing micro-mini-skirts, bulky-knit sweaters, scarves, legwarmers, and flip flops. I wanted to scream. If it's cold enough to require leg coverings, wear pants, or cover your entire leg. What do you really think you're accomplishing with the legwarmer? It drives me crazy.

Your next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do something you should have done a long time ago. Go out and buy a winter accessory set. Get a pair of gloves, a hat and a scarf that matches, for pete's sake, and that also goes with whatever winter coat you're going to be wearing. Extra-long, thin scarves you can wrap around your neck a couple of times are the thing, so be on the lookout for that. As far as the hat goes, buy something that you'll actually want to wear, but that will keep the heat in. You don't have to get a boring old skullcap. Hats like the one at left are the look in headgear this year, so why not rock that? As for your hands, if you're tired of your Isotoners, how about a cute pair of knit mittens? You could even put your brand-new knitting skills to use and make a set, as some of our readers suggested. Mismatched accessories, however, just make you look sloppy, so get it together now so you're ready all season long.

Star, why do you make it so easy?

Good grief. Boys and girls, this is why we always say: Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Let's look carefully. Apparently even Star's stylist can't help her out here. First faux pas: It's AFTER LABOR DAY. Never wear white after Labor Day. OK, I could tolerate a little bit of white, but an all-white dress? Fuggedabotit.

Item two: never, ever, ever wear white if you're trying NOT to look like a sea cow. This DOES mean you, Star, even if you have had a gastric bypass or whatever.

Item three: Why is she wearing white? Why didn't she wear pink, or blue? She looks like a runaway bride.

Item four: Look at that panty line right at her waist. Just look at it. Let this be a lesson to you ladies: If you're going to wear a dress like that, and you're Star Jones' proportions, then WEAR A FULL-BODY GIRDLE. The writer of this post is about a size 4 and ALWAYS, ALWAYS wears a girdle with dresses like that. Eww.

Item five: Look at that neckline. Is that her idea of cleavage? *Retches* Raise the neckline--no one wants to see your old-lady flapjack boobs.

Item six: Star, stop looking so smug. You just got FIRED. And everyone is happy about it.

In closing, please go away.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Top 5 Girl Mistakes

"I read the section Top 5 guy's mistakes and it is so true at least for my boyfriend, how about Top 5 Girl's mistakes?"

Sure thing, Vero. Girls make plenty of mistakes, and I'd be happy to enumerate a few of them.

1. Smaller is Not Better
If there's anything that girls hate, it's having to buy clothes bigger than you thought you needed them. I sympathize with the philosophy, but for crying out loud, just buy it in the right size. Girls whose jeans are too small look like they're baking bread. And then not only do you look fatter than you would in the correct size, but you also look like you have a confidence problem. If you really can't handle the number, cut the tags out, and remember that some stores run small, some run big. You're the only one seeing the number, anyway. Your size doesn't matter as long as you dress appropriately, as we see on our lovely plus-size model at left.

2. Crack Kills
This goes back to the ill-fitting clothes problem, but it can happen to you if you buy the right size, too. The evil cousin of this phenomenon is the visible thong which, no matter what people tell you, is not sexy. The street name for that is apparently "whale tail". Again, only a select group of people should see your underwear. Now, in order to avoid this, you should do the squat test when trying on your jeans, especially low-rise. Do a deep knee bend and use the mirror to see what the person behind you is going to see when you're sitting.

3. Shoes are Not Worth Dying For
I completely understand the whole sexy shoe thing. No matter how much they hurt, you wear them anyway, and not only do you end up walking around like a crippled person, but you actually end up crippled. Just buy a comfortable pair of shoes! No one will respect you if you have the hottest shoes on the block but you can't walk in them. Either that, or learn to walk so you can hide your pain, because you're not going to get snaps with tears rolling down your cheeks. Besides, we live in the 21st century. Technology has reached a point where we can achieve beautiful shoes without permanent injury. Harness this power!

4. Just Because They Sell It...
Women can be slaves to fashion, but this is a mistake for two reasons. Firstly, you should dress the way that accentuates your personality. Secondly, sometimes even the hottest designers get it wrong. You have to use your best judgement at all times! Furthermore, just because everyone else is wearing it doesn't mean it's necessarily a stylish piece. As an example, I give you the busy pattern outfit, such as at left. A busy pattern is best done on either a shirt or scarf, but to make a whole outfit out of what looks like Mentos (the Freshmaker) is a mistake. I see women fall victim to this all the time. Do one at a time or not at all.

5. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
You need to do a couple of mirror checks and get a friend's opinion if you're going out in a daring outfit, such as Britney's. Thankfully, she wore a bathingsuit under this dress to spare us the gory details, but there have been many red-carpet faux pas when a woman wore a dress that she didn't know was completely transparent. You'll also like a second opinion to make sure everything you can't see is in check, like the dreaded Visible Panty Line (VPL). VPL is another mistake that need never be made, since they make all kinds of special undergarments (not just thongs, by the way) that can help you avoid that. Your friend will also be able to notice boogers, spinach in your teeth, sweater holes, etc, before you do.