Friday, October 28, 2005

Save the Animals?

A reader that went only by "Sleep" said: "I'd like to know your opinions on fur and/or leather."

I want to say for the record that we do not, in any way, endorse the mistreatment of animals. We do, however, eat plenty of beef, pork, chicken, what have you, and wear leather, etc. It's like there's an unspoken taboo against certain uses of fur and leather, and the lines are difficult to define at times.

As for leather, the problem is not so much that it's cruel to the cow. The cow is bred to be food anyway, so you might as well also use its hide for clothing. It's head-to-toe leather, or sleazy pieces like a leather vest that make me cringe. If you ride a motorcycle regularly, then by all means, wear a lot of leather - it will protect you in an accident. However, for the rest of us, a little leather goes a long way. Leather shoes are among the better quality shoes - they last longer and support your foot better. Leather belts are pretty standard, and again, last longer. Suede is also a very nice material to use in coats, shoes and jackets, but beware not to wear them in the rain. On the whole, I support the use of leather. For those who oppose leather, however, you can always get pleather, although I'm not sure if that type of person opposes the principle as well as the material. Sort of a "put off the appearance of evil" situation. Now, pleather won't last as long, and it doesn't have the feel of leather, but if you want a pair of pants to wear once in a while to go clubbing in (girls only - guys, don't even try it), pleather is a good, cheap option.

I have a hard time supporting the use of furs in most cases. When I see a terribly rich person walking down the street with a huge fur coat on, I just think of excess. I think of animals bred and killed for no other purpose than to put a coat on a woman who could afford to buy any manner of coat she wanted. If this were frontier days, and you needed to keep warm in the winter, then yes, kill the bear and make a tent out of him. But this is the 21st century, and we have many other methods of warming ourselves outside. Let's be inventive and use some of them. I mean, the coat at right is made out of coyote. Coyote. What's the status behind wearing coyote? That being said, I suppose little bits of fur here and there can be nice, but it seems foolish to kill a whole animal just to make a trim on a jacket, with a notable exception being angora. I know it's mean, but bunny fur makes great sweaters. I think that's the public's main idea - if it's useful, tasteful and appropriate, then go ahead. That's why I'll eat a cheeseburger, but not veal. I won't go into the gory details, but it's just not right what they do to baby cows. Other people are more like don't ask don't tell individuals; as long as they don't have to see the process, they don't mind getting the finished product.

I can't completely side with animal activists, however, because their methods are a little strange. I mean, throwing paint on a coat because they are wearing an animal hide does little else than to anger the people who bought it. It's not going to assist the plight of the animal. Thoughtful protest and intelligent debate are what will change people's minds, and the recent "I love Earth" phase we went through in the 90s went a long way to accomplishing that. Of course, the more recent "I love Bling" phase is changing things around again, but you can't win them all. The moral of this story is, as always, moderation. You can get a faux fur-trimmed coat a lot cheaper and not look a lot cheaper, like the one at right. Sure, you can tell it's not real fur, but does that really matter? All that does is prove that you are rich, and no one who is noticing cares.

Meeting the Parents-a girl's guide to first impressions

Oh, meeting the parents! It's a big step in your relationship. Long-term relationships are forged forever and severed permanently based on this crucial meeting. I decided to marry my husband based on my first meeting of his parents. I took one look at his family and thought: "NO WAY am I letting this one get away."

So what do you wear? Here's a little advice. Unless your sweetie's parents own a strip club, this is NO TIME to vamp it up. Most parents will not be excited to learn their son is dating a Britney Spears lookalike:

Instead, you want them to focus on other attributes of your personality. Wear something comfortable, something that makes you feel confident. If you could apply the adjectives 'hot' or 'sexy' to a projected outfit, steer clear.

I personally like skirts and dresses, but pants are certainly acceptable as well. Go for something modest and understated. Take into consideration what you'll be doing during this first meeting. Are you going out to dinner at a swanky restaurant? Then go for a glamorous look, like this dress from Ann Taylor.

Is this a casual event? Then go for a cute pair of jeans and a sweater, also available at Ann Taylor.

Resist the urge to wear a lot of makeup, unless that's what you usually do. Above all, be yourself. They'll love you!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Stars in Desperate Need of Fashion Intervention

A lot of people think that if you can afford a stylist, a makeup guy, a hair guy, and all these people to primp and coif you, you would look like a movie star. However, some movie stars are not using their resources to look their best. Some of them, in fact, look downright awful, and I'm going to out them, because they don't deserve to be on the red carpet while I'm stuck at home with Ben and Jerry.

1. Shooter Jennings. One of our readers mentioned in a recent post about Drea DiMatteo, and I cringed at the thought of this long-haired creepy fellow. You have to wonder why a woman as beautiful as Drea ended up with a guy like Shooter. I mean, look at him. The long hair wouldn't be such a problem if it was well-manicured, or at least clean. Those tinted aviator glasses are about forty years too late. This guy must have a really stellar personality if Drea's dating him. But then again, look at his shirt. I think that says it all. The thing that truly gets me annoyed, though, is the wristband. Why on earth did that become trendy? The worst part is, it hasn't died yet, so we're stuck looking at it until people get wise again. I even tried one on, just to see what all the fuss was about, and I just don't understand the appeal. It also felt rather uncomfortable on my wrist. Altogether, Shooter needs some serious fashion help. A haircut, a bath and some nice clothes would go a long way.

2. Selma Blair. I love Selma, but someone needs to take her aside and say, "Selma, what are you doing, here? Are you trying to look bad?" Unless she already knows she looks like a freak, in which case I guess that won't help. There are times when Selma looks absolutely wonderful, but I can't tell you how many times I've seen Selma on one of E!'s lists - in a bad way. My chief complaints here of course include the dress. It's like a toga, but turquoise, and the fabric just hangs off of her pathetically skinny body. You can count her ribs through her back, and aside from being unhealthy, it's gross. Not to mention that the dress is almost so low that you can see her crack, and as we've mentioned before, crack kills. Her hair looks like she just ran a comb through it and went out right afterward, and don't even get me started on her makeup. You're supposed to look natural, but she looks like Casper's sister in this picture. Maybe it's the lighting, but any fashionista will tell you that if you're going under bright lights, you need to wear extra so you don't get washed out. And being so pale with nearly no lip color? She just looks like a walking corpse. Let this be a lesson for when you get a professional photo done, ladies. Gloss is your best friend.

3. Adam Duritz. Here's another situation where a hot girl (Courtney Cox) ended up with a completely unattractive man. Fortunately for her, she moved on to - David Arquette. Oh well, you can't win them all, Courtney. Adam wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have those dread locks, which do not look good on any white man. The facial hair's not so bad, but the suit is really what takes the cake. I appreciate how the shirt and tie go together, but when you add the electric blue suit on top of it, it's entirely too much brightness in one outfit. If he wore that shirt and tie with a black suit, it might have then gone over better, but the shirt is a little too amazing-technicolor to really get a pass. So then, as if that weren't bad enough, he adds the vest under the jacket and the pimp cane, completing this train wreck of a red-carpet outfit. Oh, and the purple lapel flower, just for a little extra color. This is wrong on so many levels. Look at the people in the background of the photo - he's got some starers. Do you really blame them? Nonetheless, I don't think Adam has ever really been a fashion maven, anyway. I seem to recall him falling victim to the grunge look back in the 90s.

4. Diane Keaton. This woman tries to look like a man each and every time she steps on the red carpet. Think about it - have you ever seen her in a dress? Or even something that wasn't obviously a man's suit? As if that wasn't bad enough, the round glasses and bowler make her look positively anachronistic. The leather gloves are what really get me - it makes it seem as if she just doesn't want to touch anything, for fear of the germs. I remember the first time she stepped out looking like this. Every one thought, how revolutionary! How daring to wear such an outfit, caring less about convention and more about personal style! That's great, but do it once and be done with it. Look at the girl behind her, to the left. Even she's saying, "What, this again?" I know you can afford more clothes than just that, Diane. Time to spend a little cash and just get a nice dress. You have aged terribly well. I can only imagine the reactions if you came out in a truly lovely ensemble. They would rave about you! Now stop denying us the privelage and get a dress.

An Open Letter to H&M

Dear H&M,

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love your store. Your accessories are cute and your sales are admirable. Your clothes are perfect and I have made it a habit to shop at your establishment as frequently as I can. I bought a necklace there the other day for $4 and I absolutely love it. I must admit, however, that you have failed in your attempt to dress me when you made your winter trench coat.

I had been looking for a belted trench coat for the winter months for quite some time, and finding none that fit the bill, I had all but given up. That is, until the day I walked into your store and saw the beautiful, cream-colored coat you had on the rack. It was a good price, and exactly what I wanted in a coat. I took it off the hanger – it was just heavy enough for winter, but not so heavy to weigh me down. I put it on my arm – the fabric was soft to the touch. I put it on the other arm – I was going to make this coat mine! Then I tried to button it – complete failure, followed by a system meltdown. The problem seemed to be that my ample bosom did not fit into the coat. Everything else looked great, but the girls would have been left out in the cold. Then I started to cry, and my boyfriend had no idea what to do.

"Am I fat? Is this because I’m fat?"

The poor guy did what he could to reassure me, but it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend later that I figured out what the problem was. H&M’s clothes usually fit me great, and I wore your shirts and pants in my size, but the coat was another story. They cut their coats based on only one body type – European. Having a non-European body shape, it doesn’t fit me, and so I am without coat. Now I’m faced with a dilemma – either I get the coat that fits me in the chest and is enormous on the rest of my body, or I get the one that fits right but doesn’t button. Then I’d just freeze, and that defeats the purpose of having a coat on, doesn’t it?

I just wanted to say - I understand that you’re a huge corporation and you probably know what you’re doing, but maybe you shouldn’t just sell coats with a size stitched in. Maybe you should have coats that vary not only in waist size, but also chest size. Although I never knew it, I always thought I was fat not because I was overweight, but because my body didn’t look like those gorgeously-thin, stick-figure women in the magazine. I don’t blame you for my complex, but let's not perpetuate the myth.

I will continue to shop regularly at your store, however. I'll just get my coats elsewhere.

Ever your faithful customer,


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Throwing a Good Party

A few days ago we discussed how to attend a swanky party, but what if you're the one throwing it? It can be a daunting task, filled with responsibilities and what-ifs. What if people get bored? What if there's not enough food? There are great ways to avoid these problems and still have a great time at your own party.

Step one when deciding to throw a party is to decide what you want your theme to be. The theme doesn't have to be specific; it can be as simple as a cocktail party, or as particular as an Oscar party. Either way, it's important to have direction when picking things out for your event so that it all comes together seamlessly. Let's say you decide to have a cocktail party themed "A Night in Paris." Now that we've decided what kind of party it will be, we have to come up with a guest list. Jot down everyone you'd like to come, then decide how many people you can accomodate (consider the size of the space). Once you have those two numbers, do what you have to do to get them to match. Once your final guest list is decided, send out your invitations. The key to the invitation is to figure out what you expect of your guests, and then make it perfectly obvious on the invite. Obviously tell them the time, place and occasion, and what kind of party it is. They will make the decisions of what to wear, bring or do in preparation for the fete. This is also a good place to put down about when you want everyone to get out. People will make arrangements around your party, so that around the time that you've had enough party, people will be ready to move on. Once the invitations are out, start collecting RSVPs and think about your decorations.

Of course we'll want to have French decorations. A cheap, easy one is blue, white and red streamers that you can wind around bannisters, support beams and the like. Don't go too heavy on these, though, or else your party will look cheap, too. White, twinkly lights are a must to set the mood, but don't put them up like Christmas lights. Wind them around light fixtures, on the ceiling, in that fake ficus in the corner of your apartment. They don't belong around the door, so don't even think about it. The food table is where the decorating really has to get good, and a centerpiece is so old-fashioned. For inexpensive but cute party supplies, Oriental Trading simply can't be beat. You can get 25 of those plastic champagne flutes for $7, so not only do you have appropriate cups, but you don't have to worry about it getting broken. There are fun toothpicks for your snacks, themed plates and napkins, and of course, the piece de resistance, glass stars in the colors of the French flag. Scatter them around the table and you've got a festive setup. As for the food itself, consider either getting pre-made food or a caterer, for a bigger affair. If you're in the kitchen the whole night, you won't have any fun, and you could end up staining your outfit, which is not at all attractive. Also, make sure you order more food than you have people. More than enough is way better than not enough, and stick with the theme. For France, a variety of cheeses, and the accompanying fruts and crackers are a good start.

So, you've got a party together, but what are your guests going to do? A little mood music helps, but pick instrumentals, so it's a nice background and doesn't take away from conversations. There is some non-offensive French accordion music that would be a great background for just such a party. The main activities of the party will be people talking to each other, your greeting speech to the guests, and the food. For a fun diversion (and to help blossoming couples make small talk), have a do-it-yourself kind of activity out that people can try that will be a conversation point. This can be anything - oriental fortunes, a piece of art, or for our theme, leave open this book of traditional French songs. They will be an interesting thing to look at, and when your friends get drunk enough, they'll start singing them, and then you'll have made yourself a memorable party! The bottom line, your party will be good as long as you have fun and keep their plates and glasses full, and it will be a source of enjoyment for everyone.

Makeup advice, darlings!

You can never have too many makeup tips. With that in mind, here are some ideas for the fall:

Blush a Little! The days of ghostly white cheeks paired with racoon eyes are gone, gone, gone! It's no longer fashionable, in my opinion, to go without blush. (Do I sound biased? I am.) Ditch the pale look-blush is back. A little blush here and there will do wonders to wake up your pretty face. After applying foundation and before applying powder, smooth a little lipstick into your cheeks. Then dust your cheeks lightly with powder before applying a little blush. Your cheek color will last longer that way. By the way, don't bother spending your beauty bucks on expensive blush. I buy mine at Target and I never spend more than about $3. It's just not worth it for pink powder.

Stain your kisser! Try a lip stain. They typically wear well and the sheerness of color means you won't end up looking too dramatic. I have pledged my undying devotion to Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers, available at better drug stores everywhere for about $3.50. I am not easily impressed with drugstore variety lipsticks. I usually regret buying them, but these little stains are the best I've seen yet. They have a wonderful minty smell and feel too. Brilliant! Swipe a little on your cheeks for a uniform color. Just make sure you blend it in well-you don't want to look like a painted doll!

Add some new tools to your toolbelt! I discovered this product quite recently. I am a busy girl and have little time for primping throughout the day. I was skeptical of purchasing Benefit's F.Y.Eye because of the price--$20! However, a few months' use has converted me for good. Put this miraculous cream on your eyelids in the mornings. (I usually put foundation on the eyelids first, then the cream.) Let the cream set for about 3 minutes, then apply your eyeshadow. Your eyeshadow will retain that just-applied look all day long. This is a splurge that is worth every penny!

Let's Talk about Brushes. I recently discovered the wonders of makeup brushes. They really do improve the way the makeup wears and they give you more control as you apply it. I have the Studio Basics pictured at left, and it works just fine, but I've had to supplement with other brushes as well. I know that professional brushes run about $20 a pop, and that seems like a lot. Most people will probably tell you to go buy the expensive brushes. While I agree that you get what you pay for, I've not been dissatisfied with my little $6 set. Use your own judgement. Buy one expensive brush, perhaps, and supplement with cheap ones. My complaints about the set I have are a) they didn't have an eyeliner brush and b) the brushes are a little small. Don't go into debt on this item, ladies-it's not worth it!

What shall I wear this fall?

Even Legally Blonde girls can't justify the nastiness that is Marc Jacobs' Fall Line.

Naudy writes:

"Is there any overarching trend for this fall's fashion? I've looked at every magazine I can find, and nobody seems to agree on anything. It's just all a disjointed pastiche of '70's slinky, '60's mod, Victorian gothic, with a heaping helping of '80's "Dynasty" thrown in. Are there trends I should be following this fall? Colors I should be aware of? Sillouettes which are "correct"? Because I can't quite figure it all out."

Never fear, Naudy, the offical Las F answer is: NO! There's no particular style to which you must adhere, either this fall or ever! You have to find items that work for YOU. We at Las F are huge proponents of natural beauty. You all have it--just learn how to work it! This fall's palette of ideas is unfortunately so, well, specific, that most items are doomed to last only one season.

It's my opinion that we're riding the wave of a fashion change. Items this season are adolescent. They seem to be going through an identity crisis. No one really seems to know what sort of look they're after, so they shlep together a little of everything and pray to God it'll sell.

An evidence of this fact is the superflous amount of era or philosophy-specific details can be found by poking fun at my favorite haunt, Ann Taylor Loft:

Now, I realize this jacket looks OK onscreen. Let me tell you, it was not so pretty in person. Some overambitious designer over at ATL decided to push the boundaries of their loyal clientele. By incorporating FOUR different fashion philosophies into this jacket, ATL has sealed its fate. Let's count the ways: the piping in floral fabric is a nod to the 80's and 90's. The fact that the piping is in a floral fabric is, I suppose, meant to be an oblique feminine reference. (The floral fabric is a rayon/chiffon, another nod to the 1990s era of flowy floral dresses.) Then we get to the the double pockets, a military touch, which we all know should never be combined with feminine. Rounding out this unfortunate jacket's identity crisis is the tweed, is a jaunty tribute to 60-year-old Englishmen everywhere.

(OK, OK, I admit that I love tweed...but not with a floral pattern. Everyone has standards.)

In closing, dear readers, GOOD LUCK. Wear what works for you and buy trendy items with caution this year. Think in terms of how you'll feel about a projected purchase at this time next year, when hopefully fashion will have overcome some of its angst. If you won't wear it more than once, stay away!

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Defense of Flats

As we've mentioned before, Las F are in many ways different. Noting that, I'm going to take a slight exception with F.Cali's heels only policy. I wholeheartedly agree that a heel does something to legs that flats just can't achieve, and under most circumstances if I'm not wearing a heel, I'm at least wearing a wedge or something similar. There are those times, however, when my feet are sore, or I'll be doing a lot of walking, or dancing, and a heel is just not going to cut the mustard. For those times, and in an effort not to ever resort to tennis shoes, I recommend dressy flats.

Why not tennis shoes? Unless they're cute sneakers, it's best to stay away. It will immediately drag your outfit down into below-casual, and they are probably the most unflattering shoe you could wear, aside from hideous clogs. They should be saved for when you're engaging in a sporting event, or running a marathon. Otherwise, an actual shoe is in order. Cute sneakers, as I said, are an exception, and I most certainly did not mean colored Keds. That is never the answer, unless the question is, "How can I dress more like a soccer mom?" The Diesels at left are a great example of what to wear if you're going for comfort. The unusual colors don't bore the people looking at you, and with the myriad varieties out there, you are sure to find a pair that expresses you perfectly. On a side note, I saw a girl in the mall this weekend wearing those hideous garden clogs in bright pink, and I wanted to stop her and say, "There's something you need to read..." People are wearing them, folks.

Let's say, however, that you're not in the mood to wear sneakers, but heels are a daunting thought. Dressy flats are your new best friend, and I advocate buying these in colorful, patterned styles to express yourself with. The good news is that flats have really experienced a renaissance, and stores are selling all types nowadays, including Oriental, Native American and ballet flats. That's right, kids, they're not just for librarians anymore (i.e. penny loafers). I am in deep smit with the shoes at right, available at our favorite discount haven, Target. Could they be any more comfortable? And with all that shiny, satiny material, they are not just for casual occasions. You could go out to dinner in these shoes! If you really can't bring yourself to slide flats onto your feet, but you're interested in trying them out, you might consider a kitten heel flat. They'll give you some of the sexy leg effect without readjusting your spine.

Quelle Horreur! The shrug, an atrocity against the modern woman

This seaon, we at Las Fashionistas have noticed the unfortunate resurrection of the shrug. The shrug is the evil stepmother of fashion, flattering no one, mistreating all it comes in contact with, and seeking only to promote its own ugly daughter, in this case, the idiot designer who created its miserable form in the first place.

It was bad enough last year, but this year it's been reincarnated even uglier than was imagined possible. (And believe us when we say that we at LasF have pretty broad-sweeping imaginations as far as ugly is concerned.)

The shrug commits several atrocities on the female form. First, it abbreviates the torso. Most women have a short torso already, so the shrug isn't going to help them any. Second, it accentuates curves, and not in that juicy, positive, all-those-curves-and-me-with-no-brakes sort of way. More of that lumpy bumpy food baby sort of way. Last, and most detestable of all, the shrug serves no purpose whatsoever. It doesn't keep you warm. It doesn't flatter your figure or hide a trouble spot. It looks good on no one besides models and skinny, mean girls with flat stomachs who frentically and guiltily work out after consuming half a sip of Pepsi One.

Ladies, don't fall prey to this horrible fashion. Let it a die a short and painful death, and may unemployment swiftly descend upon those who add it to their clothing lines.

Long live the Real Woman!