Wednesday, September 23, 2009

but can you pogo in them?


So I got an e-mail from Vivienne Westwood today.

No, not Herself . . . her online store Hervia.

It seems that she has more of my favourite shoes.

Let me rewind for a moment for the benefit of our audience: I purchased a pair of the "Lady Dragon" (seen above) from the online store when I was abroad. I saw them on the feet of a well dressed lady in town and fell passionately madly in love with them.

No, your eyes do not mistake you – they are plastic shoes.

Before you say "Plastic Shoes? I ain't wearin' no Crocs!" let me assure you these are no Crocs. These are no shower shoes. These are not the jellies of Big Lebowski fame that you despised in the 80's. Non. These are by Melissa. These shoes are the wild collaboration of the fashion punk goddess herself with a Brazilian plastic shoe designer who is, herself, a Big Deal. Observe Melissa's other amazing creations here and judge for yourself.

Anyway, Moi. As I was saying. Viv has more - and my "buy" finger is itching . . . what do you think of these?
it seems if I pre-order them, they might ship by October something . . .

Moi Snarls Back:

First of all, let me get a leetle something off my chest about Vivienne Westwood. The woman started off making clothing for the Sex Pistols.

That's her on the right, circa the late '70s, with then-boyfriend, Malcolm McLauren, manager of the Sex Pistols.

Today, she's still tearing and tattering and safety pinning things together, only now, you need to rob Fort Knox to afford even one of her tee shirts. It looks like she's still punk, only she's snot.

Anyhoo, that being said, I do have to admit a bit of juh tem for these shoes. I've seen Pirate's in person and instead of being repelled, I found myself faced with an uncanny itch for a pair. Plus, get this! They're SCENTED! No kidding. Seriously. Fresh and fruity, y'all! And, they're surprisingly well made. What looks like plastic is in fact, like, industrial strength rubber. Uh-huh. So you know you'll last through the Apocalypse in these things.

(So, for that matter, will Vivienne herself. This is a woman who looks like she'll take a long, long, LONG time to expire. But there's something to be said for not going quietly.)

As for the bubble bauble on the pair o' shoes above, I'm not sure. On the one hand, I'd be afraid it would get knocked off somewhere in a New York minute. On the other, it does have that oh-so-space-age-industrial vibe that would go PERFECTLY with Pirate's Karen Millen outfit.

So, in the spirit of fashion enablers the world over and without with no designer would even sell an embroidered Kleenex, I say: Go for it.

Por Moi? My fave is the one with the bow.

Whatdya bet it smells like Wrigley's Gum?

Respondez vous les Pirate:

Oh, dude. I tried on some of Mme Westwood's threads - I gotta say, she's a fox. I tried on a jacket that made no sense and then suddenly seemed to drape indeed in a very flattering and unusual way, once I figured out which buttons matched with which. Skirts are the same - they look like a pile of fabric on the rack, but when you get it

I think it's quite appropriate that Amy Winehouse has been snapped in Westwood more than once.

I hear you on the oddness of the globe thingie...I'm not sure what I see in them, aside from they just look cool. I like cool. Also, I'm sure to be the only kid on my block with a pair.

Do you think we can get them to ship in bulk?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Like Sequins Through the Hourglass

So, not much time this week to ponder fashion, as I'm busy making the money that hopefully one day soon will put a bootie on my foot and a sequined dress on my back. How smart was it to grow up to be a writer when every adult in my life was shouting, "Doctor!" "Lawyer!" "A plumber, at least!" Not smart but, I suspect, a whole lot more fun. And besides, I have trouble with blood, poop, and lying, stealing, stinking thieves.

Anyway, yes. I said sequined. All I want for this holiday season is a simple black sequined mini-dress like the one from Antik Batik that recently went up for auction on eBay at a fraction of what these frocks from France usually go for, and which I, in my typical foot draggy way, let walk right on by. It was similar to this one, only in black:

When I queried Le Pirate about it last week, she said of course I should bid on it, because I could dress it up or down and wear it all about town, to the grocery store even (I would, you know; just watch me). Still it was teetering just at the precipice of affordable, which was one teeter too many on the totter that is my carefully balanced budget.

Regardless, I'm totally bummed I missed out on it. I so want to swan about this holiday season looking like an escapee from a Dynasty episode, only with a Goldie Hawn spin. Because the best thing about sequins is, you spill your drinkee or holiday canape on yourself in a fit of laughter or intoxication, and voila, it wipes up with a damp rag. See there? Better living through plastic.

How about you all? Any stories about the one that got away, and I don't mean men or ice cream cones. What is your latest or greatest sartorial regret?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In which I hold myself up for ridicule


Well, I'm back from the Colorado Relay - the biggest, craziest running adventure any girl could ask for. The Colorado Relay consists of running 174 (well, only 170 this year) miles across Colorado, come wind, rain, sleet, snow, more rain, and more crap weather. We do all this with a team of 10 runners in two vans and a lot of junk food. It is a fabulous adventure, although no high heels are involved in the running of the Colorado Relay.

I still feel kind of jet lagged by the whole experience (it took us 27 hrs 40 minutes to do it – no there was not a lot of sleeping going on), but I'm upright and still going. This year we had freakishly good weather: sunshine! What the hell?! Every year I've done it (this is year number four), we've had extreme weather challenges including ice, snow, wind, rain, frogs, locusts, and rivers running with blood. You name it, we've seen it. I've learned that Colorado in the fall (and spring) are Mother Nature at her most unpredictable, and I've learned to pack accordingly: tights, warm tops, SmartWool socks, waterproof layer, down jacket, hats, gloves, etc.

This year I didn't pack enough shorts. Go figure.

Anyway. On our way back we had a little bit of downtime in Silverthorne near my most favouritest outlet mall in the universe, and of course I had a whole hour to spend in the J. Crew outlet. A whole hour! I actually got to try a few things on!

Since I've been partying like a rock star, I decided to dress like one today. I'll grant that my mind is still a little fuzzy from running and eating Cheetos all night long, so maybe my fashion compass is not quite right:

I'm wearing skinny jeans. Of course. I mean, how could anyone live without skinny jeans? Day and night. Night and day. Easiest fashion decision ever. Skinny Jeans is my new version of Fashion Pajamas.

Black pinstripe velvet jacket – sorta like this:

Except mine is black velvet with a pinstripe. Really, it's nothing like this at all, now that you mention it. It was a hand-me-down from my mother. . . another story.

Under the jacket is a graphic tee-shirt which I purchased on sale at the outlet mall and which I cannot find a photo of, so I'll have to describe and you'll have to picture it: pewter grey tissue t-shirt with a big purple satin rose applique on it. I note that for some reason, J. Crew treats its Outlet store clothes as red-headed stepchildren, and doesn't plaster the interwaves with images from there. The prices at the Outlet store are hugely discounted below their regular store and catalog stuff, and the clothes overall are not bad!

And the piece de resistance: a pink neon belt.

Which I love.

But here's the thing: the shoes (silver peep toe flats from last season) and the belt don't match. I know this is a fashion crime in some parts, but as I trawl the intrawebs I can see that the ubiquitous Punch Of Color* theme is very much a done thing with kids today, with the whole suit jacket/funky t-shirt/jeans thing.

*Punch Of Color is an entree to another blog post on stupid catchy fashion phrases that make me feel slightly homicidal.

I stepped into the office and got a resounding "HMMMMM" from my co-workers. Not from the casualness of my couture (jeebus knows I tread the line of casual fairly often, and they have no room to talk, they of the Hawaiian Shirt Friday crowd), but because of the Pinkness of the Belt.

And so, I ask you, Moi: WTF??? What's wrong with a stripe of neon? It's not like I wandered in wearing my favourite over-sized fluorescent orange sweater from 1985, so what gives?

By that standard, if I really really wanted to achieve fashion nirvana I might have to purchase these . . .
. . . and you know I want to! Does a $30 belt really mean that I am forced to buy a $500 pair of shoes?

Wait. Don't answer that . . .

I fully intend to Wear The Shit out of said pink belt - but without matchy matchy shoes (since I'm a little short on the Pesos for a pair of McQueens at the moment). Am I destined to get cross-eyed looks from people forevermore? Or am I dressing too much like a kid?

Thus Answereth Moi:

First of all, congrats on the Colorado Relay! I was there with you in spirit, you know. Could you feel me sending you good vibes? Did you hear me tandem Cheeto-snacking to show my support? So, okay, I was doing it on my couch and you were doing it in freakish Alpine conditions, but there you have it. Hey, my brain waves are freakish, too. They have been known to move all kinds of mountains, feet, and sales girls into doing what I want. Sadly, they have yet to Vulcan mind meld either Johnny Depp or Christian Louboutin into doing my bidding, but that's another post, another blob.

Okay, so on to the belt.

You know, sometimes, it's OKAY to live in Switzerland. There is, after all, something super cashmere cozy about planting oneself firmly inside Neutral Territory. The borders, after all, are crisply delineated. Let the outside world sturm und drang itself over stacked shoulders, hip boots, and studded biker jackets with silk boho mini dresses. Inside Neutral Territory, the only conflict allowed is black tee or grey? Jeans or khakis? White or chambray button down?

Then again, sometimes? Switzerland isn't where it's at at all. Sometimes, what you need is a walk on the wild side, a good old fashioned bump and grind up against Brazil. During Mardi Gras. With Rodrigo Santoro along for the ride.

(Only maybe with not quite so cheesy an expression. Who takes these head shots, anyway?)

Don't worry, I recently booked passage to South America myself. I bid on and won a totally way cool pink patent leather wrap around belt on eBay. If it weren't for the fact that le 'Bay doesn't let you nick its photos, I'd show it to you. But rest assured it's on its way and when it arrives, I plan to wear it with my Cynthia Steffe skirt a la this, only with a grey turtleneck, tights, and boots instead of a tank and nerd-ass visor (WTF?)

I'm also with you on the skinny jean, tee, blazer thing. I will give up the look when Anna Wintour personally comes and peels it off my cold, dead body, and then only if she can make it past Carine Roitfeld. Until that happens, Moi's middle finger to anyone who says the look is too "young." Too young are cropped belly tees, any perfume with strawberry as a top note, and shopping in Juniors if you're over 18 years old (ladies, the department you're looking for is called Petites. Make it your friend.) But I don't care if you're 8 or 80, if you're human, you can pull off jeans, jacket, tee, and boots.

Here's what I'm doing this year:

1. DKNY boyfriend blazer, three season wool in navy with grey pinstripes - consignment shop, $10.00
2. Converse One Star graffiti tee – Target Boutique, $12.95
3. Gap Skinny Jeans – $32.99 (bought five years ago and still in perfect shape)
4. Born Riding Boots – $150, but that was three years ago and I've worn them about a hundred times since, bringing the cost-to-wear price down to around, what, I dunno, it's math, somebody help me here.
5. Fab retro 1970s layered necklace by Anthropologie – eBay, $8.99, free shipping.

And, I just may wind that pink belt around my waist to boot. I mean, really. Who's gonna stop me?

And the Pirate says:

Hot Damn, woman! I'll go on a trip with that Rodrigo fella any time.

My fashion sensibility concurs - a little Punch Of Color (god help me, did I actually say that out loud?) would certainly not look out of place on either of your planned outfits. I say Do It! Wear the Pink! If only to show solidarity in fashion as well as in brain waves. I can't wait to see the danged thing, it sounds super cool!

I hereby extend my own middle finger to my co-workers and their loudly exclaimed "HMMMM". I'll relax in my own fashion happy place and leave them to their polos and khakis and Loincloth Thursday.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ask The Bitches: It's a Jungle Out There

Lookee here, Pirate, another question!

Dear Moi and Pirate,

Is the saying "Everything old is new again" really true? And does that apply
to somewhat "vintage" clothes? I have a collection of leopard print blouses/jackets/scarves/sweater from my MIL's VAST collection of clothes and shoes. I have to admit they were destined for Goodwill until the other night I noticed the fabulous Heidi Klum wearing a leopard print blouse on P.R. Yesterday while at Nordstrom I also noticed quite a few leopard print sweaters, jackets and blouses. As I navigate myself through the new (and often scary) road to forward fashion (which in my world means ditching the black t-shirts) could you two cast a little light on when it's OK and not OK to wear leopard prints AND old leopard prints. I'm worried about turning up at my next soiree looking like the above photo.

Your friend,


* * *


Ooo! Ooo! Animal prints – my favorite topic!

No, everything old may not necessarily be new again. I mean, seriously: do we want to beam ourselves back to THIS:

However, as far as I'm concerned, the more animal print the better. I can't help it. Maybe it's in my DNA. Heck, maybe it's in all our DNA, winding itself all the way back to caveman times. Back then, we HAD to wear animal prints, right? I mean, what else were we gonna do, grow cotton or spin silk? Our brains were just not that evolved yet – clubbing innocent creatures over the head with big sticks was about as far as we got on the manufacturing end of things. How else to explain the enduring popularity of animal prints down through the ages?
Today, you can still walk like an Egyptian. You can go the discrete route with a neck scarf or 5” heeled Christian Louboutin pumps,

(Dear Santa: Moi has been a very, very, very, very VERY good girl this year.
So, please, how about for once you score me a little spotted Louboutin?)

or broadcast yourself like a brass band on a Sunday afternoon in the park with a vintage pinup style wiggle dress

Basically, there is an animal print for every body and every occasion.

Only three considerations when contemplating whether to bathe your body in lion, leopard, or snake:

1. Does the particular item also flatter your body? The same structural rules apply to prints as they do to solids. Which means, know your body shape, what flatters it, and be scrupulous about fit. Over all, that means, nothing baggy, boxy, or so tight that you have to be on oxygen to cross the street.

2. Determining the occasions at which to wear and or leave off wearing animal. That wiggle dress during date night with your beloved? You go with your bad ass self. At beloved aunt Gerdie’s funeral? Not so much.

But I’d say the most important question you need to ask yourself when considering an animal print is:

3. Do you have the fashion temperament to wear an animal print? Can you comfortably Hello, Kitty! yourself into a big ol’ leopard printed cocktail dress or trench coat or does the sight of anything but the most discreet Glen plaid print send you running for the hills?

Pirate, no slouch when it comes to putting the va-voom into even the most work-a-day outfits, will clearly have an opinion in how to tip toe yourself into the animal print and let out your inner bombshell. Or bottle cap, whichever the case may be.

Well, I'm a relative newcomer to this whole animal print fashion trend. Back when I was young, animal prints were only worn by animals. Or old ladies. I think when I was a youth, I still had the image of Raquel Welch clouding my fashion sensibilities.

I'm just a cavegirl, and I'm frightened by your fashioney ways.


I think now's about time I waved some Karen Millen under your nose:
That's it, Pirate, come to the animal print . . .



OK, OK, OK . . . While I admit that I am old enough to have seen the animal print thing be done to death and then ridiculed, I also agree that yes, everything old is new and trendy and fresh again. And, while I admit that my initial hesitance to embrace animal print was really about a resistance to re-discovering my inner Joan Collins, I think it's true confession time.

I, Dread Pirate, admit to owning the following items in my closet currently getting routine and unhindered wear:

1 leopard print dress by Michael Kors: Have we not already discussed his deep understanding of how my body is shaped? For a gay man, he really *gets* it.

1 zebra print cardigan, which, when worn, I refer to myself as "prey"

1 zebra print trench coat (YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT)

I will also admit to currently cultivating a certain lust for 1 pair of zebra print boots. Oh pretty please, Santa, while you are bringing Moi the cheetahs, do you have room in your bag for some Zebras for me? I promise I'll take very good care of them . . .

So, Boxer, bottom line: If you're new to animal prints, start small. A scarf, a blouse under a blazer or sweater, a shoe. But don't be surprised if one day soon, you wake up with a sudden, inexplicable urge to spot even your workout socks. The animal, it is addictive.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ask the Bitches: Hose Off, Eh?

In a recent e-mail, Miss La Diva Cucina asked the Bitches a question, thus offering us the perfect segue into our new blog segment entitled "Ask the Bitches." Thanks, Miss La Diva, for giving us a perfect opening.

Miss La Diva asks,

Are nylons out of style? I've not worn them in years because I live in very humid and tropical places where they are too hot but what about in places like Chicago? I thought Michelle Obama was crazy to have bare legs in the middle of winter when she was walking in the parade . . .

I used to wear tights all the time with skirts and boots but haven't worn nylons for years. I'm curious about this as I've not lived in any cold climates for 16 years but when I see these girls walking out in the middle of winter with bare legs and sandals, I think they are nuts. Why can't one be fashionable AND warm?

* * *


Thanks for your question! I love questions! I also have to expose the following facts about myself before I start in with my own personal opinions about the hoses (because we "bitches" are not experts – see disclaimer – but we are opinionated). The facts are relevant to my opinion, I promise.

Fact 1: I live in the desert, and it's just not very cold here ever. When I lived in the UK, I was constantly cold. Here, however, temperature is not so much of an issue.

Fact 2: I train a lot, so my legs have a good shape and don't need extra support – yet. They also get a certain amount of color from being outside, though I do tend to get a lot of odd tan lines. Biker tan may be sexy to the biker set, but it might not be quite so sexy to the fashion set.

Disclaimer #35: this is not the Pirate's Sock Tan. Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

Fact 3: I give way more of a shit about what other bikers think of my legs than what the fashion set thinks about my legs (I know, cyclists are weird). My sock tan is a badge of honor in my social circle, along with the road rash on my shoulder, and my Neapolitan* leg color. I worked hard to earn those things, I don't mind showing them off (at bike races, the depth of your tan is one thing that shows your competition just how hard you've been training).

Fact 4: I'm old and I don't care.

*Neapolitan legs is what happens when you have bike shorts that are different lengths, and you end up getting sunburned on a bike ride – so you have the pale "vanilla" skin at the very top of the leg, followed by a darker brown "chocolate" in the middle from riding all summer, followed by the "strawberry" sunburn at the bottom. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm in two minds about hoses myself, and my minds are pretty much split evenly between winter and summer.

During summer, slippery nylon (which smells bad and cuts off my middle in unattractive ways) would drive me insane. Is it just me, or do hose just make you feel like a 40 pound sausage in a 5 lb skin? I've tried some really pricey ones (DKNY comes to mind). They shredded just as fast as the cheap ones and did nothing for me except give me a uni-butt and a damned muffin top.

It gets hot here (see Fact 1), and the extra layer would do nothing for me aesthetically, except make me smell bad and maybe even out my sock tan (see Facts 2, 3, 4). I never wear anything short enough to reveal the Neapolitan tan disaster of my upper leg, so they don't help me there. My legs, though they are old, have a great shape from the upper leg down. Even if they didn't, I'm not convinced that hoses would do anything to add value for me (see Fact 4).

The winter season is different. You're likely to catch me wearing these all season:

Fashion-wise, some winter outfits do look odd with just bare legs, so then I'd say an opaque or textured tight, for effect, are good options. For example, I have an awesome kilt that looks good with textured tights. I also like certain skirts with tights and boots. Personally, I'd pick something not too dark (that dark dark black look is no longer a good look), maybe a color I could match somewhere else up top, and go with it.

Overall, I think the bare nekkid leg is more attractive than one that is encased in nylon - unless your legs are translucent and blue, and blue is not your color. I would also caveat by saying if your concerns are different from mine, then all bets are off. Michelle Obama has awesome legs, and she's worked hard for them. She also has a beautiful natural color – she went with what nature gave her, and it worked!

Also, I'm betting she had down-filled underpants on, to compensate for the DC chill . . .



Well, La Diva, if nylons aren't out of style they should be. Too dark. Too light. Too shiny. Too matte. They never end up looking quite right. (Although, I do make an exception for luxe silk stockings clipped to garter belts over pretty panties. But not in public.)

Here are my DOs for public:

In summer during the day: Bare legs. If one doesn’t have the legs to go bare, then wear pants.
In summer during the evening: Bare legs or fish net stockings.

In winter during the day: Opaque or textured tights, black or colored* (trust us, tights do feel different against the skin than nylon.)
In winter during the evening: Opaque black tights or fish net stockings.

* Don't be afraid of color on your legs. On the recent Project Runway All Stars show, Chris March sent some gawjuhs plaid outfits punctuated by colored tights down the runway.

Of course, it's possible to be fashionable and warm at the same time. Nothing wrong with living La Vida Loca in pants for half the year. Those who must– or like to – wear dresses in winter, are going to have to put up with the cold. But that's what central heating is for.

What about leggings? Usually, I'm of the opinion that nothing broadcasts, “I Give UP” louder than a sweat shirt and a pair of leggings worn as every day wear. Exercise in them, clean house in them, hell, sleep in them if you happen to live in Alaska, but otherwise, my opinion on leggings has always been a resounding nyet.

Today, I'm not so Draconian. If done correctly, leggings are a great way to turn a potentially hoochie mama mini dress or tunic into something fun, funky, and exceptionally wearable. Some of them are even weighty enough to substitute for skinny jeans. It’s all in how you do it. BCBG's recent Fall 2009 collection is spot on about how to do this look correctly.

So toss those nylons, ladies, toss them! Well, keep one or two for this nifty trick. Ever get that white, powdery deodorant residue on your clothing? Just rub a scrunched up pair of nylons with a vigorous but light touch over the stain, and out it goes!


What Moi said. I love that picture of my dear friend Madge – very much in keeping with my hose sensibilities.

Also, I imagine my husband would completely agree with you on the stockings and garters thing, though I have not tried this myself.

Remember, you too can ask the Bitches a question about anything fashion related, snark related, or otherwise. We'll do our best to make up some shit in response.