Monday, February 22, 2010

celebrity skin

Look everyone! You, too, can lose a crazy amount of weight and look super skinny just days postpartum! All you have to do is buy this magazine!

As if motherhood isn't hard enough with the whole having-and-raising-a-baby thing, mothers have the additional pressure of recovery from pregnancy, which most women will tell you, is no picnic. For many of us our skin goes to hell, we lose all our hair, and we feel like crap from lack of sleep and constant breastfeeding. Let's not even discuss the postpartum hormones.

This is Kourtney Kardashian with a "post-baby body exclusive" in OK! magazine, here to give us some perspective. Here she is in a great picture, beautiful teeth, awesome skin. She looks the absolute picture of motherhood . . . and she looks really skinny. While it is true that some mothers do slim down quickly after giving birth, here's the real before-and-after versions of that photo:

What? You mean that flat belly's not real?

Turns out Kourtney was photo-shopped after the birth of her son (7 days postpartum) and made to look as though she has dropped all of her baby weight plus some. Shocking.

I'm going to ignore, for a moment, the ridiculous alliteration of the family's names (Kourtney and Khloe and Kim? Oh, my!), and move on to the part I find really offensive. While Kourtney openly says this image is not real (she admits she gained 40 pounds during her pregnancy, not 26, as the magazine claims), the damage is still done.

OK! implies that if after you give birth you haven't fully recovered and look like a supermodel within a mere couple weeks, you must be doing it wrong.

Popular media wants to tell women that while you might not look so awesome after the birth of your child, all the good celebrity mothers do. If you feel a little less-than-spectacular, we have the perfect diet plan for you to follow. Just buy this magazine . . .

We say, don't buy it ladies. You just don't have the right publicist.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends Wear Bad Fashion

DATELINE: Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sunday, February 14th, Anthropologie Boutique. Shopping with Flamin' Mo.

In between ooh-ing and aah-ing at how wonderfully Miss Mo can rock all those problematic Anthropologie outfits, Pirate and I are taking turns scouting out potential bargains for ourselves. Because, well, when in Rome . . . look for Roman bargains.

When it's my turn to peruse the racks, I find myself singularly unimpressed with just about everything except a stunning beaded boho vest that Pirate has previously pulled for my consideration, and which I am, well, considering.

Pirate knows I am easily distracted by shiny objects.
Especially if they make me feel like I'm walking on the beach in Malibu circa 1977, while Lindsay Buckingham serenades Moi in the background.


Then a tropical sunset splash of color assaults my peripheral vision and I stop. Amazed. Mesmerized. Enchanted.

By this:

Tracy Reese Gainsborough Pencil Skirt

Gleefully, I grab a skirt off the rack and make my way back to Pirate.

Who recoils in horror.

"Lookie at what – !"


"But don't you just love – ? "


"But the print! Look at the exuberant – "

"Not only no, hell no."

Then Pirate snatches at the price tag. "Plus, it's too much money."

In this, she is correct. Still, you know how you get something stuck in your mind and can't get it out? This is Moi. With this skirt. I vow to one day return to try it on.

Which turns out to be: Four days later . . .

I make a beeline for the skirt, pull my size off the rack, and hold it up to my waist. "Hmmm . . ." I think to myself, "Looks small. Really, really small." The next size up isn't available, so I grab the next size up after that, a full two sizes (shhhhhhh!) larger than I usually wear. Then I make a quick pass by the sale rack at which I find a sequined bat wing black knit sweater that I think will pair nicely with the skirt.

One of those über chipper Anthro sales gals scribbles my name on the plaque on the dressing room door and in I go.

And the skirt . . . has the fit problems typical with my pear shaped bod:

Gapes at the waist like a big mouth bass.

Bunches at my thighs like a child hamster-cheeking candy.

Le sigh. It's not going to work.

The next day, I send the photos to Pirate and lament to her about the fit.

MOI: The pluses are that I think the print is unique and fun; something different. The minuses are that I got a booty, hips, and thighs. Doesn't matter what I weigh, they will always be there to some degree and do I really want all that HELLO! splash of Technicolor on my bottom half?

PIRATE: See, that's why I don't like the look for you. It unbalances your body . . . I do like the print, though. It reminds me of a painting. Monet? Chagal? Disney?

MOI: Baby barf?

PIRATE: Walt Disney Barf!

Finally, Pirate capitulates, with this bit of sage advice:

"Buy it when it goes on sale. In one size even larger and get it tailored to fit. Then immediately destroy the size tag."

And that, dear readers, is how one manages to talk oneself into wearing Walt Disney Barf.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dress Like You Mean It

Recently, we were struck by a photo of a well known local artist who had just been featured in a full page spread in our city’s alternative weekly. Pretty woman, lovely smile, obviously talented and smart. If we had read the article, I'm sure it would have said something great about her and her art. Alas, we could not read further, because what we noticed were her clothes: they were decidedly frumpy, greys and blacks, shapeless. No style, no inspiration.

So why, we asked ourselves, did she choose to dress so dowdily for a photo to be published? Did she not care? Did she not have the skills? Did they catch her on a bad day? Or was she afraid, terrified even, of actually looking good?

We’re not being bitchy here (although we could be, because the woman was wearing fUggs with a skirt), but as we get older, it becomes increasingly apparent to us that many women still for some reason refuse to own their awesomeness. Why is that?

Does it go back to our girlhoods? Remember back in high school? What was it we called those girls who were the prettiest, smartest, and most successful? Awesome? Cool? Seems like fun? How about conceited and stuck up? Yup, that was it. Because somehow we’d been taught that self-confidence was something to deride, not admire.

As a result, we think many women now suffer from a kind of schadenfreude and also a bit of fear when it comes to our relationships with other women. For the most part, men are outwardly competitive with each other and that competitiveness can be a positive thing; it can spur them on to bigger and better things. But women are different. We tend to hide our feelings and are more likely to put another woman down by calling her desires self involved or conceited.

But that was high school.

Why, we wonder, are we doing it all these years later? Not only to other girls, but also to ourselves?

We are not the only bitches to notice and be tempted to pre-judge a person based on what they are wearing (book/cover/blah blah blah). What happened to our artist centerfold happens to everyone on a daily basis. Our theory: nobody bothers to give feedback because style choices are so personal. Could you tell the girl standing in line at the post office that pajamas are for the bedroom, without sounding totally sanctimonious? (well, we wouldn't have the balls for it, but we know Pirate's Mother would).

We put it to you that if you're not dressed to be taken seriously, you will not be taken seriously. To that end, we think the sisterhood needs to take care of itself: be a positive influence. Use your powers for good!

We here at Bitches believe that no bad can come from supporting your fellow sisters. We are advocates of unconditional positive regard.

Tell the woman next to you, when you are shopping for shoes, that those heels make her legs look a mile long! Tell the woman in the gym that the dress she is wearing today looks great with her skintone! Tell your office co-worker she looks really great today!

We’re a big fan of letting people know when they look good. Why? Because we can spend 30 minutes putting our outfits together before leaving the house and still feel self-conscious. So we bet all those gals out on the street and in the stores and tucked away in their offices do too.

We really are all in this together, and it really all is connected. Telling someone she is beautiful is making her feel good about herself. This can only be positive. What goes around, comes around. Remember that lady with the shoes? She could be the loan officer who processes your home loan. The lady in the gym? Might return the favor by wiping down the gym equipment. Your co-worker? She might save you half of the last cup of coffee in the pot.

The Bitches are not precious when it comes to random acts of kindness. We say, Tell The Truth, Pay it Forward, Love Your Fellow Woman!

Now, let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Only not in Birkenstocks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

dear bitches: Mo Help

Dear b!tches of fashion,

I am stuck. Like the popcorn hull that is lodged between my back molars. Like the 7 yr old ID badge on my car windshield. Like the hiker that got trapped in the Sandias with a boulder lying on his arm. (ok, maybe it’s not that painful.)

Every few months, when a project of my husband’s is finished, they have a wrap party. I bet you are excited by the word “party.” I bet you can’t wait to try on a bunch of things, and find the one thing that is fabulous, and you can’t wait to wear it in the company of others who are also wearing fabulous things (but not quite as fabulous as YOURS, to be sure).

I hear “wrap party” and I try not to groan. I had nothing to wear for the last one. I haven’t bought anything but cheap shirts since then, so I have nothing to wear for this one either. I doubt an old bridesmaid dress is going to cut it. I am trying to emerge from being, how did Pirate put it? – totally cheap a$ about my clothes. It’s hard. One wrong expensive purchase, and I’m telling you, I’ll dive back into my closest polar fleece shapeless top. But I need a few things that could create a few outfits that are wrap party worthy.

Where should I start?


Dear Mo,

Hell, yes, we loves us a good party! Not only because it means we can try out a new outfit, but because party also means food and if there’s one thing we love more than fashion, it’s food.

In this case, I’d say the first course of action is first hand, hands-on help from the Bitches. Failing that, our virtual help is going to depend on some answers to a few questions: the formality of the party, your body type, your budget, and whether or not Pirate and I can con you with cake and candy into a dress or if you are resolutely a slacks kind of gal.

But off the top of my head, here’s what I’d recommend.

1. A black jersey wrap dress, ¾ to full length sleeves, vee-neck, just above the knee length. There is nothing you can’t do with a dress like this and it comes in just about every price point. Dress it up: bling around the neck and at the ears, strappy metallic heels. Dress it down: a cute cardigan in a bright color, flats.

2. Loose fitting white button down shirt and a pair of beautifully tailored black pants. With this outfit, you can basically do what you do with the black jersey dress – bling it up, or dress it down. However, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to be wearing the pants with mostly heels or mostly flats and get tailored accordingly.

Where to buy: BCBG in Uptown Center (or in Dillard's), Banana Republic, Macy’s in Coronado Mall.

P.S. Is it “wrap party” as in movie business? In which case, we need dirt, girl, DIRT!


Dearest, Dearest Mo,

I know firsthand that the very thought of shopping sends you running: not only because you love to run, but also because you don't see the point. Shopping? What a waste of time – I can almost hear those very words coming from you.

Darling, as a friend, I'm here to tell you that you're a beautiful woman, and I'd be honored to help you find a way to show it to the world!

I'm with Moi – I think if you can find the patience, we would love to help you out firsthand. Let's plan a shopping trip! I promise to make it as painless as I can, but I know it's gonna be a big shift for you.

First things first: Before we step into your discomfort zone, I think we need to find some things out about the Inner Mo. Fashion is an extremely personal thing – everyone's idea of "style" is decidedly unique, and you, my snowflake, are no different (I suspect, however, that you are from the "Style? Who cares!" camp).

To that end, we first need to find out what inspires Mo: what teeny tiny spark can we nurture into a roaring flame?

For this I recommend that we start perusing the fashion annals – copies of current fashion magazines are a great source of inspiration. Not a magazine girl? I have some books I will loan. There's also the internets: Lucky Mag is not a bad place to start – very approachable, very "now." I also recommend that we start looking at various shopping websites to see what you like don't like, might like, think looks hideous, etc.. Our favorites include jCrew, Anthropologie, and Piperlime, but they might not be your favorites. Start somewhere. Give feedback.

For instance:


or this?


Or this?


or this?



Or her?

Don't be afraid if you can't see the forest for the trees – the whole process will feel unfamiliar at first, and that's OK. I'll hold your hand. And Moi will feed you candy.

From there, we can be counted on to find you the best deals we know, and be straight with you on what we think looks good on Mo.

So: What does Mo think? You game?

Failing all that, I have a really great bridesmaid's dress I think will be ideal (really, I'm not kidding – this one is a winner).

Much love,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Bitch A Day: Winter White

Drat! Turns out yesterday's brief sunshiny reprieve was nothing more than a cruel, cruel joke, an amuse-bouche sized portion of springtime rather than the whole ding dang meal. As I sit here and write this, even MORE SNOW is falling outside my window, floating down in that blanket thick way that almost always portends a major dump somewhere in the neighborhood of a gazillion inches. Which means more shoveling and more driving of the high clearance/high gas mileage vehicle instead of my zippy little Mini. Le sigh. The car, she is just going to have to wait until April to get out.

Seems like my spring wardrobe is stuck inside as well, regardless of the fact that the stores and magazines are all chock-a-block full of spring/summer fashions. Damn them. But that's just the way the fashion cookie crumbles: the carrot of fall/winter and spring/summer is always dangled in the opposite season. Which gets me all confuzzled for a month or so until I figure out the math.

So not only am I craving summer, I'm craving summer color. Like white. Lots and lots of white. Not ivory, not ecru, not vanilla. White. On me, though; not on the ground.

What started it was this spread in Lucky magazine about teasing four season usage out of every item in your wardrobe. This outfit in particular caught my eye:

I don't have a similar scarf (although, hey, note to self . . . ), but I do have a wonderful white cotton modal dress I purchased last spring that has been calling my name:

So when I saw the Lucky spread, I hollaed back. Here's my interpretation, minus the excellent photography (I really need to sit down and finally figure out this camera!)

Then, I topped it all off with a black pea coat and a colorful scarf, but by that time, I was ready to throw the camera against the wall, so you'll just have to believe me.

Dress: Deletta for Anthropologie, spring 2009
Sweater: Investment Cashmere, purchased a million years ago, Dillard's
Tights: Hue, Target
Booties: Söfft, Dillard's

Note: if you're looking for a well made, reasonably priced,
and unbelievably comfortable black bootie, these could be the pair.

Necklace: Upcycled chain mail necklace, Wear It! boutique, Albuquerque

Note to self: go buy striped scarf. Then clean bathroom mirrors.

I wore this outfit to an editorial meeting yesterday and actually got a couple compliments, although it did make me feel a little too wide-in-the-hippy. Another casualty of winter: my appetite.