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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Boring Truth

"I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso" ~Rita Rudner

Last week the outside world sort of poked into my little, hermetic bubble of a world. In a lovely sort of way, that is.  I was interviewed by Marc Tyler Nobleman for his series The Girl in the Video 2: MORE original interviews with icons of 1980s MTV about the MTV video I'd done in 1984 with Night Ranger for their song called Sister Christian, and the interview was posted Monday the 14th. Yahoo Music even did a little article about yours truly, which generated some 650 comments. Some of the comments focused on how I look now. (When I did the interview I didn't think about the fact that I was announcing EXACTLY how old I am. Ta-daaa!!) Most comments were very nice, some were funny, and a few suggested I'd had plastic surgery (I've not) or that my photos are 'air brushed' (they're not.) A few others suggested the 'new' photos aren't recent- the one with me in the strapless black dress, pink pearl earrings and the purple background was taken and posted the Saturday before the interview was posted. Those are my most recent photos. :-)

I was born with a genetic skin disorder and during adolescence found that I can almost control it using diet. So I learned early that it pays to be careful about food; to avoid sugar, coffee, soda, alcohol, white flour and processed foods in general. When I've gone off this diet my skin always becomes a serious problem. And even though my motivation wasn't about how it would affect how I age, it did. In college I developed a lifelong love of running. I've stopped running at times, sometimes for long periods, and my health has always suffered when I have. As I age I'm finding I have less leeway with all of these things; when I go off the proper diet I pay a heavier price and for longer than when I was younger. When I don't exercise it affects me more- my mood is not as good, I don't sleep as well, and my immune system gets weaker. As I get older I notice that it's of primary importance that I take care of my immune system and allow adequate time for sleep- if these two variables aren't in place, nothing else works right. So, if I look 'better than my age' now you know why. 

Also…let's not forget a couple of important points here- I am an image consultant, so I know what colors and clothing design lines flatter me. I'm also a makeup artist, so I not only know which colors and cosmetics to use, I also know how to apply them to best advantage. I also did a (very) little bit of modeling when I was younger, so I know a little about how to 'vogue' for the camera. You can always hire an image consultant and a makeup artist, and look your absolute best, too. For photos and every day.

Of course, truth is that if you haven't been working out regularly and eating well, and you DO start doing the 'right' stuff, you're bound to look better. You don't have to run marathons, either. Whatever your Dr says you can/should do should be the goal. It may take some time, but in the meantime, more important things may start happening- better digestion, better sleep, improved mood, reduction or perhaps even elimination of joint pain, better ability to the time your skin takes on a rosier hue and your eyes get clearer and a bit of a sparkle in them, you'll realize that's really less important than how much better you're feeling. As far as I'm concerned, when you're healthier and happier, you're bound to look your best. 

So there ya have it. There's no magical secret- ya just gotta put in the time on a regular basis, and think about your long term priorities when confronted with those edible temptations...

Happy Dressing!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sister Christian Revisited

It's only Tuesday night and already this has proven to be a most interesting week.

Last year I was contacted by Marc Tylor Nobleman, author and 'pop culture archeologist' extraordinaire for an interview about an MTV video I was in in 1984- 'Sister Christian' by Night Ranger.  Yes, I was Sister Christian.  Depending on your age, you may remember it.  The interview is part of his series The Girl in the Video 2: MORE original interviews with icons of 1980s MTV  (Click here to see part 1.) (An interesting aside; here's a link to Marc's TED talk about the history of Bill Finger, one of the co-creators of Batman. Link to book here.)

Since Monday morning when my interview was posted, USA Today ran an article titled 'Who's That Girl? Writer locates 80's music video stars, with links to several of the interviews, then the Yahoo Music page posted an article called  Tracking Down Sister Christian After All These Years - which is specifically about yours truly; later that day the story was spotted on Yahoo's home page-

That's the story, right smack-dab in the middle.  (I had to scroll through to find it.)


It's fascinating to read the stories of all these women; Marc is the kind of author who's sincerity and respect for his subject give an unusual depth to the interviews. We're given a view into her world as she experienced it, and in her own words, making her most human and in that sense negating the very genre for which she became famous- the objectified, nameless 'girl-in-the-video.'

What's also interesting to me is seeing how very different we all became. We've all bloomed and blossomed into our unique selves. One thing we have in common is that we're all women of, as they say, 'an interesting age' with widely varying experiences- and stories- to back it up.

I always talk about the importance of expressing your own sense of style in my blog and in my business- on many levels these interviews are a beautiful example of respect and appreciation for the individual aesthetic. The woman I've become looks back fondly on the girl I was in the video- I'm proud of my role in this part of this unique and gorgeous part of America's 'pop' culture- and history.

(Happy sigh.)
Happy Dressing!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Catching Fall(ing) Cash

'Money often costs too much.' –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I saw my first email ad for a 'back to school' sale last week. Imagine my shock and feeling of frozen horror at the realization that I've already let half the summer slip by me and I've accomplished pretty much exactly nothing of what I planned. First it was that wonderful feeling of not having to get up before dawn to get my day started, which for some reason seems to mean my day doesn't actually begin to be productive till after about 3, then added to that was the distraction that is The World Cup…Oh well, there's no time like the present to get started, right?

And yes, I guess it's also time to start thinking about getting ready for fall, and back to school, and all that those things entail. Including taking stock of your wardrobe; what you have and what you need. What will you be doing this fall and winter? What parts of your wardrobe need replacing, repair, tailoring, or dry cleaning? Two wee thoughts this week to keep in mind during this process.

Are there pieces that you're just kinda sick of, but still have plenty of life left in them? Depending on how much you initially invested, you might want to think this through fairly carefully.  If you can't afford to replace it you might someday seriously regret having gotten rid of it. It might be good to pack it away for a few seasons. If it doesn't fit or isn't the right color; then by al means either have it fixed or sell/get rid of it. Don't give a non-working item prime real estate in your wardrobe. As far as I'm concerned, that goes for most 'sentimental' pieces, too. The exception might be something like a wedding dress, especially if you plan on passing it on to someone.   

As for planning on what you need to buy- keep in mind the ever helpful 'cost-per-wearing' formula.  Guesstimate how many times a week or month you'll wear an item you're considering. Figure out how long you think it might last. Figure out how many total wearings that would theoretically be, and divide the cost by how many times you'll wear it- that's your 'cost-per-wearing.'  Here's an example:

1. Basic skirt, $150.00; which you’ll wear approx. 2x per week, for 3 years; total of 312 times.

$150 / 312 = .48    

So, it costs $0.48 per wearing.  Wear it for 5 years and it’s $0.29 per wearing.   

2. Unique evening top, $150; which you’ll wear approx. 5x per year for 7 years; total of 35 times.

$150 / 35 = 4.28

Clearly, the skirt is the better investment. Me being me, I'd look at consignment and thrift shops for a unique evening top, and spend as little as possible, but then I don't have a rollicking evening life. If you do, then your cost-per-wearing formula would look much different than this.

In the end, it really depends on your priorities. (And your bank account.)

Happy Dressing!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Beautifully Ugly

"Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head."~ William Shakespeare

There's a French term I love and have used before in this blog- Jolie Laide; it means to be 'pretty' and 'ugly' at the same time. I've got the urge to revisit it. (It's just that kind of concept for me.) It's used to describe someone who though not born with the physical attributes normally considered 'beautiful' is nonetheless attractive because she's not only made the most of what she was born with, but has gone beyond and created her own unapologetic sense of style- one that flatters her in particular, all with a personal sense of confidence and flair. And it may or may not be done with any respect to current fashions or what anyone else might think of her. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald said 'after a certain degree of prettiness, one girl is as pretty as another.' Though I can't say I totally agree, I can see his point- there can be a certain boring blandness to some prettiness.  Someone who is born beautiful doesn't have to work at it; those among us who were born less endowed have to work at it. Perhaps that's part of the reason that a woman who is Jolie Laide seems from first glance to have more and deeper substance than one who is just 'pretty.' Maybe it's the painter in me, but I find the well put together, more unusual people more interesting to look at than the pretty face. I think it's that I'm convinced there's somehow more to 'discover' by looking at them. 

So let's say one considers oneself the perfect candidate to be an enigmatic, fascinating example of jolie laide- how could one go about it? Remember my remark about how there can be a certain blandness to 'pretty'? I have to say for me that's usually true if there's just too much going on- too much makeup, too much with the clothes and hair, etc. Overcomplicated. True 'pretty' can be almost a shock in it's simplicity- and what usually contributes to this simplicity is one commonality between a traditional beauty and the more unconventional jolie laide beauty is good health. (Sorry, here I go again.) I know I harp on this, but it's what makes the 12 yr old models in the fashion mags pretty, and every other example of pretty, beautiful, good looking, gorgeous, sexy, whatever- and at every age, too- that's out there. It's THE foundation of attractiveness. 

The only 2 necessities beyond that would be 1) the deceptively easy task of finding visual proportional balance, both in face and body.  This requires seeing things as they are, without need for any criticism or judgement- just the visual reality, and figuring out what will make it all look 'balanced,' and thus visually pleasing. For this you can work with makeup, haircut, and design lines in your clothes. And 2), bringing out your individual aesthetic. If at all possible, definitely highlight what's unique about you. It'll make you stand out. As always, work with your style. Take from fashion what works for you and your personal aesthetic, and forget the rest. Only wear colors that make you look your absolute best, and styles that make you completely happy. 

Of course, all this is true for the conventionally beautiful OR the Jolie Laide stunner… :-)

Happy Dressing!