Tag Archives: Fashion

GOP soft money clothes laundering

sarah-palin-advisor-schmidt
Sarah Palin is now pointing out that what she’s wearing is from her “favorite consignment shop in Anchorage Alaska.” Are GOP campaign stylists now stocking the store in Alaska? Stocking it for Sarah Palin? Couldn’t a consignment collection be the ultimate slush fund in miniature, a wardrobe based on the soft money concept? It’s literally political rally wardrobe-laundering!

Purchased from Neiman Marcus, the item can be put on the books at the consignment store for a nominal consignment price. The paper trail can go through the favorite shop, but the clothes can go straight from the GOP personal shoppers in Sarah Palin’s entourage, to Sarah Palin’s steamer trunk.

Neiman MarxistThe infamous 150 thousand dollar shopping isn’t above par for a television wardrobe. Isn’t that figure but a fraction of what Cindy McCain wore in one RNC appearance? The $150K brouhaha masks the larger story, that Sarah Palin is no more a Washington outsider than George W. Bush. Though she plays a western territory governor risen from small time mayor, in reality Palin courted the Republican elite and charmed the GOP Neocons who are looking for another good-ol-boy figurehead to pitch their anti-democratic agenda.

The photo at top was taken of Sarah Palin as she was being ferried from Alaska to Minnesota for her unveiling at the RNC. While the newspaper caption read, Sarah Palin and unidentified male, in fact that figure is Steve Schmidt, head of the McCain campaign, who coached Palin for the entirety of her trip.

Sarah Plain, um, Palin

Cindy McCain elitist bananaSomeone forgot to tell Cindy McCain that the fashion word on Sarah’s big night was “populist.” Cin’s half-peeled banana outfit was examined by the couture analysts at Vanity Fair and the numbers look like this:

Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000

Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500

Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000

Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000

Shoes, designer unknown, I’m thinking Manolos: $600

Total: about $300,000!

How long until Sarah Plain stops playing moose hunter/hockey mom/sexy librarian and starts sportin’ some real duds? That would make the election season almost bearable.

info via Liza at culturekitchen

I wore polka dots today

polka dots are the new black
…and felt like an idiot. Why? I think polka dots are adorable. They are playful and happy and youthful which are traits I value. And the outfit I had on was classy and cute. So why did I feel anxious that someone might pop over unexpectedly and see my polka dots? I’m not sure, but I changed rather than further contemplate the issue.

I think that maybe polka dots aren’t me. Whatever that means. Like all women, I have a closet full of clothes that I never wear. Truthfully, my closet is a schizophrenic mixed bag pining for psychiatric intervention. I must’ve worn these styles at one time, but I guess I’ve changed. Or, more likely, they were never me. I just didn’t know it, because I was adept at changing me to be a part of the crowd du jour.

I don’t think men are this way. A couple years ago, a friend and I took a getaway to Mexico for a few days. We hung out under a big beach umbrella, two pale obviously-American chubbies in a sea of gorgeous foreigners. The women were thin, tanned, and beautiful, but they couldn’t hold a candle to the men. Unbelievably fit, glistening brown skin, boy shorts. At once holding a cigarette and a partner’s perky breast, we couldn’t stop staring at the men.

When the couples eventually got up and dressed, the guys wore capri pants, silky dark shirts, and closed-toe leather sandals. But even through my drool I knew that, were I given the chance, I probably wouldn’t date any one of them. Seriously! They were not my type.

As pretty as the beach boys were, my type of guy doesn’t spend much time thinking about his hair and wardrobe. A makeover is buying his favorite shirt in another color. I’ve never succeeded in slipping Bruni Maglis over his tennis shoes, nor a man purse over his shoulder. Even the plain front/pleated front battle can rage for days, so sartorial transformation has never been in the cards. Men know what they are comfortable wearing, and are usually unwilling to indulge our female fantasies. Truly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

If men can stay true to form, why do women’s closets suffer from bipolar disorder? Are we multifaceted and complex, or are we being unduly influenced the expectations of our mates, the opinions of our friends, and the daily media mind fuck?

Though my closet doesn’t reflect it yet, my chameleon days are over. I am newly unapologetic about my hairstyle, my yoga pants, and my Doc Martens. When I dress up I usually wear black from head to toe. I don’t show a lot of skin, and hide my few curves. I wear simple earrings, no other jewelry. I no longer worry about fashion trends, because I refuse to be trendy.

My manner of dress is merely an outward manifestation of the natural, unadorned, athletic, private girl that I am. I cover my body in such a way that I’m not constantly mindful of the fact that I’m wearing something. Something that feels foreign and awkward. Like polka dots.

An obsession with the boyish figure

Fashion designers share an obsession with Catholic priestsWas this magazine ad for Calvin Klein’s OBSESSION FOR MEN controversial because it featured an underage Kate Moss disrobed, or because it winked at the greater fashion culture fixation masquerading as the androgynous waif look: the sexualized, pure, although suggestively available, almost shapeless, pretty, prepubescent boy?

Feel Good Imperialism returns

Now that Dubya is in free fall with all his toads, it’s time for Feel Good Imperialism to return. And who better to be the general for all the feel goody liberals that like imperialism with a smiley face, than Al Gore, Rock Star? Is this better than the New Life Church, or what? Gore plans to rock against warming, and you can bet there’s money to be made by all our newly ‘green’ corporations. I’m so excited for Mother!

Ladies who lunch: a rebuttal

Ladies who lunchEric, I hardly know where to begin. I guess I will leave the analysis of sorority girls alone as I was never one of them, neither were any of my sisters, I’m guessing neither were yours. I’m sure I have a few friends who were but I couldn’t tell you who.

I do know many society gals, however. And, yes, we threw a big party this month to raise funds for Newborn Hope. We also educated the 1600 people in the room about prematurity and gave them further opportunity to get involved with the cause.

Because we fed our fat faces, migrant workers on the Western Slope will have access to prenatal care; Peak Vista will have money to see high-risk indigent pregnant women; McKee Medical Center will have a bi-lingual social worker on staff, Penrose Community will hold smoking cessation classes for pregnant teens, etc.

In August we threw a big party called Pasta in the Park to raise funds for TESSA. We challenged each other to make the tastiest pasta sauce, dressed up as though we were heading off to Ascot, and made a bunch of money so that abused women and their children have a safe place to go. Ask Cari Davis what she thinks of the work we sorority gals do, and what she would do without us.

I think in December, it’s S-CAP. The Red Ribbon Ball. Yet another garish event designed to raise funds to help those suffering with AIDS.

In February, it’ll be the Heart Ball. We’ll raise more than $100,000 in a single night. The men will dress in tuxes and we girls will get to wear our ball gowns, maybe even our furs. We’ll once again eat delicious fattening food and dance to the mellow sounds of Moments Notice, or some other local boring band.

I was part of the organization that started the Children’s Literacy Center. Remember, we used to hold the Celebrity Dinner at Jose Muldoon’s? “Important” people served us tacos and margaritas and we made enough money to kick off our fledgling project. If you don’t know what a difference the Children’s Literacy Center has made in Colorado Springs, you should really check out their website. Or talk to any educator in town.

Guess what? The same 100 or so society women hold every one of these fundraising events. EVERY ONE. We also do the Festival of World Theater, the Dance Theater’s wine tasting weekend, the Fine Arts Center’s annual gala–all kinds of arts and culture undertakings that benefit our community mightily.

I took a graduate course on Nonprofit Management a few years ago at UCCS. It was taught by Cathy Robbins who heads up the El Pomar Foundation. She taught us that the role played by society women, the fund raisers, in the world of philanthropy is immeasurable and critically important.

The thing about your post that is the most upsetting to me is the accusation that Newborn Hope has played into the hands of the anti-abortion activists. As the person who was recently in charge of granting the nearly $300,000 we raised last year, all I can say is NOT ON MY WATCH. The ironic thing about society gals is that we are smart. Really smart. Maybe we gave up careers to marry the big guys and raise families, but we were chosen by those big boys because of our DNA. Because of our charisma. Because of our mental acuity. We were chosen by them because of our genes. Not because of our jeans.

My Advisory Council co-chair, former Kappa Kappa Gamma turned attorney who has recently published her fourth book, and I understood very well how the issue of prematurity might be linked to the issue of abortion. She and I are actually on opposite sides of the abortion issue. Be we are most definitely on the same side when it comes to prematurity prevention and the work done by Newborn Hope.

I’ll give you a little education. We give a lot of money for pregnancy tests. This has never felt to me like a great use of our funds. However, because we have several physicians, neonatal nurses and social workers on our committee (we’ll only accept them if they have a least one strand of genuine pearls and understand that Birkenstocks with knee socks are not allowed in any circumstance), the pregnancy test is a very important first step. It is imperative if (1) a provider wants to enter the woman into the healthcare system (2) the provider wants to enroll the woman in the Medicaid system (3) the provider wants to take control of the woman (usually a young girl) to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.

Those in category 3 usually are also interested in funds for “early ultrasound.” From a medical standpoint, there is almost no reason to do an ultrasound at six weeks except to show a young girl that this is in fact a “baby” living within her womb that should not be aborted.

My co-chair and I, despite the fact that we are society gals, are not idiots. Nor are any gals on our committee. We understand very well the dynamic. As a result, we changed the way Newborn Hope grants funds. We now have a rubric that we use to evaluate grant proposals. If the pregnancy test is a first step in getting the patient into Medicaid, or if it is a first step in referring the woman to a doctor who will provide “continuity of care” all the way until birth, we’ll pay for the pregnancy tests. If not, we won’t. On our watch, a local medical care organization, which is actually closely aligned with the anti-abortion movement, got nothing. NOT ONE DIME. For the first time in years. Check out our website at NewbornHope.org to see who gets our money. Our evaluation rubric is posted there as well.

So make fun if you must. But this town would be a much different place without the ladies who lunch. People in the non-profit world know it. They would never belittle our efforts, because we help them achieve their ends in a way they couldn’t without our support.

If you’d like me to throw a little soiree to raise funds for one of your pet projects, maybe the PPJPC, my sorority friends and I could have about a hundred grand in your pocket by the end of next week. So let us know. Even with the holidays fast approaching, lots of shopping to do for our little silver spooners, we’d still love an opportunity to feed our fat faces! And shop for new outfits from our fine local merchants! You don’t have to ask twice!

Sorority girls

LineupI have nothing, nothing, nothing against sorority girls, nor society girls, they’re just fine.
 
I remember sororities at college. They provided camaraderie and support for women in educational institutions that had only comparatively recently become co-ed. And sororities prepped girls for the veneer surface of — I don’t know — a life of little academic enterprise after college?

Sororities taught girls social skills and cemented a community fashion. Not fashion in the creative sense but rather a pageant of the accepted norm. Beauty as a dress code that everyone could feel excited about despite it being ludicrously conformist. Sororities also reinforced the preening considered necessary to attract the ambitious corporate male who sought a domestic arrangement in much the same way that he courted a career. For girls who were neither creative, independent, nor perhaps all that complicated, sororities extended the home economics lessons to the prospect of hiring maids.

What do sorority girls do after college when their only idea of extra-curricular means to hold an ice cream social? I don’t want to demean what they do, they have children of course, and run communities. And when there is time, they do lunch. And when there’s charity afoot, these girls do as their sororities did and conduct a benefit.

I saw such a benefit recently, an enormous social function, an annual society event, the cumulative product of countless sub-subcommittee meetings. I could say that the beneficiaries of the charity could have mattered not the least, but that would in this case be most inaccurate. Two factors:

At Newborn Hope the fuzzy bunny factor is in overdrive. Money raised is “for the babies!!!” Specifically babies born prematurely in rural areas without access to urban hospital programs. The money goes for brochures and nurse training programs which teach, basically: Get that baby to the city stat! Money sometimes goes directly for taxi vouchers to accomplish that end.

So it’s not just that the NBH charity is for a demonstrably compelling, in-your-arms-tangible cause, but the chief beneficiaries, as with traditional sororities, are the sorority girls themselves. Making a rough estimate of the figures, I can approximate that well over half of the resources generated by NBH go to feeding itself. Throwing the big party, holding all the planning meetings, that’s the primary function. The money these women spend goes to pay for the luncheons and the overhead. It’s a great boondoggle for The Broadmoor and the shops which get to advertise through the annual function, the NBH fashion show.

The time which the girls expend toward putting it all together is also a large resource redirected. The girls are not driving the taxis nor holding any babies. These philanthropists are holding lunches, paying for the lunches themselves, eating the lunches themselves, and planning for themselves the next one. While it might be uncharitable to ask these ladies to give directly, albeit unselfishly to a good cause? Do premature babies have to settle for only a fraction of their self-serving dollar? Such sorority-style events are very similar to a retail store charity model where an advertized small percentage of sales, nothing extra from the customer’s pocket, is promised to go to a charity.

And what about the charity of premature babies? Wouldn’t a public health matter be best addressed by a public health program? Here you have rich Libertarians who would rather contribute their table scraps to the cause, rather than support taxes to improve the health system thereby resolving many health problems, among them premature births.

And in Colorado Springs there is the Christian Anti-abortion element. NBH plays straight into the hands of the Respect Life crowd. Anything that forces a pregnant woman to commit to her pregnancy, prematurely.

Youth revisited

(Author’s note: this entry has been revised due to the offense taken at its initial publication. It was not intended to make fun of anyone in particular. This article is about the strange cultural pressure for women to look unnaturally young. Woman have always sought to look youthful, but modern medicine now allows them to try for bloomin’ youth, except of course around the edges. We need to dissuade women from this folly because plastic surgery has yet to sculpt a feature that can age with you.)
 
Tissue wrapped in a corn fieldNicole Richie. What is she selling with this dress? I’m asking because I just attended a society function and this look was everywhere. I don’t mean the unwrap- me-my-body-is-a-gift-to-you look. More the faded- beauty-but-I-feel-fresh-as-a-pop-tart- popped-tart look. What is that?
 
I can imagine these women think that they have to compete with teen porn on the internet. So how’re they doing?

Do they resemble anything in nature? Nicole’s not the gaudiest example, but she’s already flirting with recreating something she is not: in this picture, ripe corn. With her hairline and sallow eye sockets, indian corn would be more like it, and the dress would be the loosely affixed branches and twigs which frame it on your door. A welcoming semblance of bounty, pretty but plainly inedible.

Can any amount of skin cream, Botox and muscle sculpting refashion a woman to her teenage bloom? Surely their mirrors do not deceive them. Do they think that an ersatz bloom-of-youth is anything but monstrous, especially in the spookiness of twilight?

I shouldn’t begrudge Nicole the half-peeled banana look. She’s put a great deal into her physical appearance and she can maximize its exposure. I ran into the same phenomenon at the society fundraiser. A woman there, who it’s said is quite self-effacing about what she’s spent on her boobs, wore a dress which half revealed them. I don’t know if she meant to upstage herself with her breasts, but that was the effect. Very nice to look at certainly, but quite an effort to talk to her.

Perhaps these youth costumes are not intended for men anyway. The creams and oils and aromas and salts may be all about a virtual reality more sensual than a man’s imaginary visual-based surreality. If a woman can wear something that makes her feel like a spring chicken’s bare bottom delivered on a silver platter, who am I to complain? Outside of the privacy of their baths however, I wonder if both men and women are rather more interested in people who inhabit their age.

Revision 11/25
Why do I hold so tenaciously to this argument? Because when I beheld those many augmented women, I could not image what it was like for their husbands. I defy anyone to tell me, as years pass, they look at their spouse and say “my goodness she’s getting old!” She’s the only one thinking that and God Dammit where is that coming from?

A mate can exercise and recover his or her health, to perhaps some notice, but otherwise our eyes grow only fond and familiar. On the other hand, the person you love coming home from a clinic in bandages, to be unveiled as looking like a strange somebody else, could only be shocking, as welcome as a disfiguring accident I think, sad.

No matter how much a surgeon is an artiste, facial reconstruction is at best face-saving. It is no match for what nature gave us, and as we wither, it takes away. We may not all start as beautiful, but of all the physical traits that define beauty, two come with age: kindliness and grace. If you weren’t born with those you can get them.