There’s no reason to be modest about this: I look spectacular in a hat.
Hats occupy the uncanny valley of clothes: they have all the aspects of things one might put on one’s body (softish, cover something up, come in sizes), but a vast segment of the population feels somewhere between uneasy about and repulsed by the idea of actually integrating them into their lives. Whenever I venture out of the house wearing a hat, someone says, “I love your outfit! I wish I could pull that off!”
Can I tell you a secret? There’s no such thing as “pulling it off.” You don’t have to have amazing bone structure or a certain haircut or be between 18-22 or anything at all. The reason you think I look good in a hat is that it’s novel (if you don’t know me) or you’re used to seeing me in one (if you do).
When I was 15, I was at Dot Fox, talking to my style mentor Sally Bird (I know we’ve talked about Sally), and admiring this big, black felt hat. Since I was 15, I said something like, “I love this but I couldn’t ever wear it! I’d feel so silly about how weird I’d look because I am a teenager and think everyone is looking at me all the time and actually no one cares but I think they do.”
Sally said this: “You know what the trick to pulling it off is? You put that sucker on and don’t take it off until everyone is telling you how goddamn stunning you are.”
One of my readers emailed me the other morning to tell me she has approximately 35 weddings to attend in the next few months (exaggeration mine). She was feeling a little weird about trying to figure out her wardrobe choices and asked for my help. I am extremely excited to provide said help, since I plan weddings for a living and also because I fancy myself a contemporary Amy Vanderbilt.
At approximately age 22, all your friends will start to get married. It’ll start with one or two, and you’ll be able to explain it away. Then, at around age 24, people will begin to get married without explanation. At age 26, you are suddenly awash in wedding invitations. Please feel free to +1.5 years to these numbers if you’re from north of Maryland or west of Dallas, but really, the point remains thus: once that tide starts, there is not one damn thing you can do to stop it except buy a bunch of things from Crate and Barrel. You’re an adult. Adults do stuff like get married. Calm down, okay? Weddings are super fun! You get to buy a new outfit, drink other people’s drinks, and try to make out with a cute gal/guy you may never see again. It’s like fraternity parties for older people. BUT WHAT DO YOU WEAR?
I have zero– and I truly mean zero– patience for bad travelers. Like picky eating, I consider it to be a stain on your good name. The worst subset of these people are the ones who keep the Rome Olive Garden in business, and the second-worst are the ones who can’t figure out how to be on a plane (DO NOT EAT TUNA SALAD), but the third worst is the group that can’t pack at all. I am here to help you, bad packers.
If you loved Inspector Gadget, you will adore this. Maxwell Smart, the titular character, had this amazing, colorful, very mod apartment in New York that really informed my sensibilities. While the time period in which this show is set is contemporaneous with Mad Men, it’s a lot more exuberant and expressive than you see on those sets, probably because it’s supposed to be a joke about the 60s. I dreamed of an apartment like this when I was little, and even though I now know I can’t have the exploding telephone or the bullet-proof invisible wall. Sigh.
The whole show is just an explosion of color blocking, sharp lines, fake eyelashes, and Cold War-era humor. It’s a big winner. Fun fact: Agent 99 and Max Smart get married in the fourth season and have kids, and she became the first working mother on television. Like I said: this show was hugely influential for me. Let’s move into the Smarts apartment after the jump.
I watched A. LOT. of America’s Next Top Model in high school. I didn’t want to be a model, per se, but I DID want to watch everyone roll around in awkward positions with bizarre doll makeup with Tyra and Nigel screaming at everyone to “SMIZE!” and all that.
Here is artist Yolonda Dominguez‘ series of normal people in normal places posing like models. This is good for at least several minutes of maniacal giggling at your laptop.
When it comes to hand holding, there are two styles: original recipe (that would be with fingers interlocked) and Michigan style (with a sort of cupped hand). Michigan style hand holding, which is, in fact, entirely of my own invention, takes its name from the Great Lakes State’s shape.
A few weeks ago, I came across these:
They are also very $85 dollars, which I thought was kind of absurd. So I made them myself, and now I’m wearing these suckers everywhere. It took me approximately one episode of This American Life to complete, taking in to consideration the wine I drank AND the time I accidentally sewed one of the quotation marks like a comma. After the jump, there’s a tutorial, so stay tuned.
My friend, the fabulous fashion designer Jasmine Chong, has started a little blog to post sketches of the work she’s doing now (the above photo is from her new site). Right now, she’s a full-time designer at Tory Burch as well as being a full-time truly outstanding lady. I bet she’ll even sell you her fancy drawings if you asked nicely. Go look at them!