Saturday, November 12, 2005

Advertising is Getting Desperate

As you well know, I'm an avid watcher of VH1. It has a lot of programs that I enjoy viewing, they make me laugh. However, I'm starting to lose my jones for the network because I absoutely cannot handle seeing even one more commercial for But Can They Sing? Frankly, VH1, they can't, and I wish you'd stop asking me. For this reason, and of course others, I'm not a fan of BCTS, and I suppose it's obvious just how much they overadvertise their shows. Even the ones I like, I'm noticing, are plugged to the point where you'll be glad when it airs just so that you won't have to watch the commercials. Even when there was nothing else on, I'd leave the network on as background noise, but now I fear putting it just in case I might yet again see Bai Ling in that glittery wig. It's getting to be a bit much, but it doesn't stop there.

Product placement is out of control, as I read in a recent issue of mag fav Entertainment Weekly, but at least that's much more subtle. And how silly, I think, of advertisers to think that just because I see a character from my favorite show drinking a Pepsi that all of a sudden I'm going to want to go out and have it myself. Who knows, advertisers may have some stats that make it obvious that product placement works, but I'm skeptical. The outrageousness, however, doesn't stop there. I was enjoying a peaceful night at home with my cat the other night when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to see a woman on the other side, holding a bunch of pamphlets, trying to sell me something. I was surprised that any company was utilizing door to door salesmanship until I realized something - there are so few people that you can call anymore because of the Do Not Call list that going to someone's home is the only way they can reach the people they haven't already sold to. By the way, if you're not on that list, get on it right away. It's absolutely wonderful. The problem is you can't hang up on a door to door salesman, and I'm too nice to just slam the door in the guy's face. Companies are determined to take away from my peaceful night even if they have to break in to sell me something.

This is the same problem I have with movies. Other than the fact that there aren't that many good movies out there anymore, everything that goes on at the movies is an effort to get us to buy things. Movie studios wonder why we're not going to the theater as often as we used to. It's because I have to spend $10 to get in to the theater, another $15 to get popcorn and something to drink, and of course all over the sides of both are ads. Then I go sit down in the theater, after walking past a host of stand-up ads, and I sit down and wait for the movie to start, where I am entertained by - more ads. Then the movie starts, and I think I can sit back and enjoy myself, and I get yet more ads. It's getting to be a little too much! The public can only take so much, and it's frustrating we can't do anything about it. My only recourse was to not go to the movies as often, which is easy since I can't really afford it, and join an online movie rental outfit. I like that much better, and there are far fewer ads to muddle through. Until advertisers back down from being the wolverines they are, the public will continue to be turned off.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Modest Proposal

Monique wrote in with the following: "This is your next challenge, Las F. Help us girls with the modesty requirement look good for a party without the frump." She also provided a website that she indicated meant well, but "the style is lacking big time." So the first thing I did was to check the site out.

How can I put this delicately... Monique, you were absolutely right about the site. You've come to the right place, however, and I have some great ideas for you modest ladies out there. I wanted to say off the bat that different people and religions have different ideas of modesty, so I'll try to hit all of them. And let me tell you, this one was a little tough. There's not a lot out there that doesn't flaunt, if you know what I mean.

Let's say you've found the perfect dress, fits you like it was custom made but, sadly, it is sleeveless. This cocktail dress, from Jones New York, is a great one for modesty - hits below the knee and comes up to the neck, but it needs something extra for the arms. As we've said before, we're not big fans of the shrug. Let me instead suggest a cardigan sweater with some modern, stylish embellishments. The sweater at right is absolutely gorgeous, and available at Nordstrom. It's colorful, and the sequin design is very in this year. Leave the buttons open and go for a short set of pearls around the neck for a fabulous Jackie O finish. The key to keep in mind is that the cardigan is not just a cover up - remember that it should be just as fancy and well-thought-out as your dress was.

Another modest option is to try a Cheongsam, at left. Covers the legs, covers the neck and still is incredibly stylish and modern. They can be somewhat difficult to find if you don't live in an area with ethnic stores. There are plenty of places to buy them online, but these dresses are not very forgiving to those who might have some curvy parts, so your best bet is to go a size bigger and take it to a tailor who can take it in in all the right places. One such website is Good Orient, which I have ordered from in the past and found them to be quite helpful. Additionally the prices, I must add, are an absolute steal for some of their apparel. Some of you may not be able to bear the arms, and for this particular style a wrap that ties in the front may be your lifesaver. There are long-sleeved cheongsams, but I think that's a little too much in one outfit - the designs tend to be busy. I found the wrap at right at, and it's a silk/cashmere blend - very luxurious! I'll warn you, though, if you'll be wearing it all night you might get annoyed at not being able to lift your elbows away from your body, but it's an option. There are many out there, so find the one that suits you best. The beauty of this wrap is that the front is very open, so it will show off the decorative clasps of the dress.

I hope all of this was helpful to you, Monique, and props to you for sticking to your beliefs in a world which would prefer women dress like hookers.

She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown

Longtime reader and friend Jia Li wrote in with this brain teaser of a fashion question: "I am a advid ice skater who hates to wear tight clingy spandex, and at the moment am wearing leggings and tank top and a ballet wrap skirt to you have any other ideas?"

I have to admit I was a little stumped at first because I barely know the first thing about ice skating and what to wear. The last time I went I was probably eleven, and I wore jeans and a parka because it was outdoors. So what I figured was that skate fashion should do three things: allow for flexibility, keep a person warm (if the rink gets cold) and not get in the way of the skater's movements. Basically the clothes should be form fitting but warm and breathable, and the first thing that came to mind is the new trend in relaxing outfits - yoga clothing. Whereas this genre had previously been left to new agers and the like, the growing popularity of yoga means that the mainstream public needed a cute outfit to wear when they went to their classes. Fortunately, my favorite store on earth, Old Navy, picked up on this trend and offered a line of yoga-appropriate clothing. The benefit for the skater is that you'll be able to be flexible and yet not be tripping over sweatpants that are too long. Plus, the fabric is breathable yet warm, and of course the best feature is that they are affordable pieces with feminine designs. The top at left is a steal at $6 each (if you buy two or more) and the foldover capris at right are a nice alternative to the usual stretchy pants. Of course, pick colors that go together - I'd suggest black pants with the top, but you couldn't see the foldover in black. If it gets cool, a zip-up fitted track jacket like this zips up to the neck for warmth but you won't get a hood in the face when you go for that triple axel, like some sweatshirts. Gap Body is another good place to go for similar styles if you have a little more money to spend.

Another suggestion I had in mind was to go to a dance clothing store and select something from their collection. The Danskin website has a great variety of things to look at, and Capezio is another good option. Their clothes have the same qualities that we're looking for, but you can get something besides boring old pants and tanks. They have skirts like the one you mentioned and other types, such as the one at left. I love the way flowy skirts look on ice skaters. They also have a great selection of leotards to go underneath if you're tired of wearing leggings with your skirts. These tend to be a bit pricier, but you can get some good deals on sale days. I hope these suggestions helped - I don't do a lot of ice skating. However, for those of you who've never tried it and are looking for a different way to get some exercise, give it a try! You'll be surprised at the workout you get.

Cover Your Kissers-How to Choose a Lip Color that's Right for You

Tintin writes:

"Both fashionistas seem to agree on lip stuff being important. Do you have any word of advice regarding colors to choose? I have heard people say that you should choose something that complements your complexion, but not quite sure what that actually translates to?"

Rocky Racoon called, and he wants his mask back!

Regardless of what the Olsen twins think, lip color IS important. Lots of girls today elect not to wear it, but it adds a lot of spark to your face. Lipstick doesn't have to be bright and bold either. Remember that the purpose of makeup is NOT to change your face. The primary purpose of makeup is ALWAYS to highlight your natural beauty! With that in mind, let's begin.

First, decide what kind of lipstick you'd like. I recommend having several different kinds of lipstick on hand to fit your changing moods. Different days, occasions, and outfits call for different types of lipstick.

Are you looking for something natural? Try a stain. I've plugged the Burt's Bees stains numerous times, but I'm doing it again, kids. Wear it.

If you want a more dramatic look, then go for a creme or matte. I love Stila's line; the color wears well all day.

If you're willing to invest some money on your lipcolor, I suggest popping over to Sephora. Please do go to the store if you're new to the lipstick thing, as opposed to shopping online. Hopefully the nice broads there will help you. Just tell them that if they don't, F Cali is going to get all Fashionista on their skinny butts and tear them and their store to pieces in a post of staggering proportions. Because we have POWER! And Influence!

Oh, so where was I? Oh yes, lipcolor. Try a bunch of different shades. Start by swiping the color on your hand. Do you like the way it looks on your hand? Then try it on your lips!

The old rules of cool/warm are OUT. Don't worry if a color fits into your palette of "acceptable colors". Wear what makes you feel pretty. A good lipstick should showcase your eyes and accentuate your natural color. You'll know when you find one that works!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Curly Hair Woes, Or, Embracing Your Curly Self

Amy writes:

So I have a weird problem... my hair is really curly in front (I have tiny ringlets to about my ears) but only slightly wavy in back! It won't stay straight, but it won't be curly either!

Amy, I feel your pain! My hair is the same way. If I let it air dry it gets all frizzy without being really curly. Because of this you need to take more drastic measures to get the uniform look you want. Just remember that most girls have to do something with their hair, even if they swear they do nothing. :-)

In other words, "wash and wear" is not a viable option. However, if you follow my advice, you'll have the wash and wear gals seething with envy!

First of all, how much time do you have in the mornings? If you just want to air dry your hair, then find a good curl enhancing shampoo. Trythis one, about $10. Then scrunch a good curl enhancing product into you hair, such as Marc Anthony's Curl Polishing Serum. Squeeze the product onto your hands and then scrunch it throughout your hair. DON'T directly apply it to the hair as this will weigh it down. You can also use a diffuser.

If you want to spend a little more time, then break out the hot rollers. I've been using them for years and I love the results they produce. Since your hair has some natural wave you'll be fortunate enough to have long-lasting curls. Blow your hair dry using a leave-in conditioner, then spray a bit at the end of each strand of hair you curl. Use your blow-dryer's cool setting all over your hair once it's in curlers as this will help close the hair shaft and make your curls shiny.

Above all, don't be upset that your hair won't go straight. I had to endure YEARS of going against all the straight hair trends because my hair will take any shape as long as it's not straight. Enjoy your curly girliness!