On Glamour for Fashion Week, but What Does that Mean?

What do I know about fashion, glitz, and glamour? Not much these days, but I care about my appearance. I live in Colorado where casual defies formal attire. My friend, Sherilyn wears the latest trends and bought me a flashy metallic scarf for Christmas. I couldn’t imagine how I would wear it.

A scarf like one in the Michael Kors collection

This is Fashion Week in New York City where all the 2017 fall lines are being unveiled. I worked retail many years ago and imagined my boss sitting at a runway show while making notes on the latest styles. Attending one is on my bucket list.

Twitter hosted the Michael Kors live fashion show Wednesday morning. I clicked on it and went full screen HD. With ten minutes remaining before it started, attendees found their seats and chatted. I felt like I was there rubbing elbows with the likes of Blake Lively and Anna Wintour.

As the cameraperson moved through the large room, superimposed phrases appeared. I didn’t think to write them down. One said something about fashion and glamour. I understand fashion, but what the heck does glamour mean, exactly?

I conjured an image of my mother getting ready to go out for the evening. Tightening her lips, she applied lipstick in the bathroom mirror. Makeup from a bottle of Revlon evened her skin tone. Her bright violet eyes popped with eyeliner and mascara. A fabulous new dress would be worn for dinner out with my dad and their friends, most likely a Vogue dress sewn on her Singer sewing machine. She may have worn a matching coat. She was the most beautiful woman I knew and still is.

Was being glamorous more easily understood? Continue reading

Stepping into New Orleans – A photo essay

I travel to visit relatives a few times a year, to the mountains most weekends, and in my dreams every night. Exploring new lands, people, dining experiences and cultures is one of my favorite pastimes. I just returned from California where I enjoyed the seafood, sourdough bread, shopping, and friendly beautiful people. Now I’m in the great state of Louisiana. It’s another Wild Ride!


Danny and me in NOLA

Danny and me and a booty bomber.

After landing in the French Quarter of New Orleans, my husband Danny and I headed down to the Oyster Festival, located on the soft shoulder of the Mississippi River. This event provided my first brush with NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana) culture. The women dressed in appropriate attire for 80+ degree weather. Many wore skirts and dresses, but what really stood out was on their feet. Continue reading

Do You Believe in VS Angels?

The first time I was in a Victoria’s Secret, I purchased a “gift” for my husband. At that time the store appealed to adult women and the lingerie could be quite bawdy.  I chose a see-thru push-up bra “teddy” with a killer thong. Later that evening, during a lovely candlelit dinner, I found the undergarments so uncomfortable even I couldn’t wait to get home to take them off!


Photo by Wonderlane from Seattle, USA

Over the years, VS has transformed their image to appeal to a younger crowd. Whenever I have crossed their threshold to buy a gift for my daughter, the salesgirls looked at me as if I was an ancient relic since I am the age of most of their mothers. I have to admit to having a drawer full of bikini and French cut undies, but only one thong “won” at a silent auction. Whenever I have considered buying their tiny panties, I would pick one up to examine it, shake my head, and set it back down into the bin of other colorful tiny panties. Since it is usually the first display in their store, I have always left before making my way to the bras.

One night my husband and I were invited to a party. I flipped through the dresses in my closet and found one I had been too shy to wear because of its plunging neckline. Realizing that décolletage is very much in style, I stuffed my push up bra, took a deep breath and slipped on the dress. I joined my now wide-eyed husband, held my head high and didn’t look down. Once I arrived, I received a few comments relating to the fact that I had exposed my curves.

“In order for me to have any cleavage at all, I need to stuff these pads into my bra.” I fished them out to show my girlfriends.

My more knowledgeable friend said, “They should look like this!” She grabbed either side of my boobs, pushed them together and continued, “All you need is a Victoria’s Secret bra. They have one that really smooshes them together.”

Well enough said. The following week, I crept into a VS filled with teenagers and twenty-somethings as usual. With hip-hop music blaring, I scanned the predominantly pink space for the elusive bra. A youthful blonde salesclerk asked, “Are you looking for something in particular?”

I looked around not sure if she had been addressing me since the store was packed with shoppers. “A bra that smooshes my boobs together,” I responded, quoting my friend.

Very sexy bras

“Do you want one that makes you 2 sizes larger?” she said rather loudly.

“No,” I replied and instantly my face heated up like a stove burner on a high setting. “I would just like some cleavage,” I mumbled.

“I think you are looking for our ‘Very Sexy’ bra.” After showing me a few wild patterns and colors, I settled on an unadorned black bra. It looked harmless enough.

I stepped into the fitting room and took off my t-shirt and sweater. I looked at myself topless in the mirror and thought, “Don’t expect miracles. I’m over 50 years old and nursed both children. Even when I was in my twenties, my breasts were never perfect.” I couldn’t find an adjustment for the straps, so I assumed they had been let out already. I know that my breasts have slid down my chest a bit since I was a teenager, but I could barely get the straps over my shoulders. “Ouch!” I thought, “They must want them really short to force women’s breasts up to their neck! Jeez! No amount of cleavage is worth this amount of pain.”

When I marched out of the fitting room, the clerk working with another customer asked, “How did you like it?”

“The straps are way too short for me,” I said as I handed her the tortuous contraption.

I felt her restrained eye-roll when she responded, “All of our bras are adjustable.” She simply slipped both straps out and handed it back to me with a tilt of her head and a smile as she spun around to continue with the other shopper.

Now my cheeks really burned, but I turned around and paced back in to the dressing room for round 2. I could almost hear the bell ring.

With the straps at the proper length (Duh!), I put on the bra and looked into the mirror. That is when I had a moment when the pounding music ceased, an intense spotlight enveloped me from above and angels (Victoria’s Secret Angels?) began to sing “Aaaaaahhhhh!”

‘Oh, my God!” I remarked out loud as I smiled at my reflection in the full length mirror. I looked good. No, I looked great! Amazing!

I floated out of the dressing room to the register and made my very first personal Victoria’s Secret purchase since the early 1990’s.

Driving home it occurred to me that these bras are wasted on the young. As some women over 40 know, our baggy, saggy, skin can be molded into whatever shape Victoria wants. Our aging breasts just need direction and encouragement. All we have to do is bend over and tuck them in.

The VS image has changed drastically from its inception in 1977. Roy Raymond started the company to make it comfortable for men to buy lingerie for their lady friends. Every bra company tried to knock off the Wonderbra after it was designed in the 1990’s. The VS Miracle Bra quickly took the lead leaving its competitors in the dust and now I know why.

I think that Victoria’s Secret should change its image once again, this time to include a wider range of consumers. In the future, commercials could air with stylish middle-aged ladies modeling the bras. Christy Brinkley could come out of retirement along with Cheryl Tiegs, Iman, and Cindy Crawford. What about Helen Mirren? Some report she is 63 years old and others say 66, but either way she won the “Body of the Year” award in LA! And why stop there? What about a runway show?  Replace Justin Timberlake and Black Eyed Peas with Sting or Mick Jagger! They can help us “bring sexy back” too!

This could be revolutionary. All women could benefit. It could also triple the amount of money Victoria’s Secret makes annually.

The next time you are strolling by VS hold your head high and enter the pink store.  Elbow your way through the crowd of teenagers and pick out something fun to try on. Maybe the Victoria’s Secret Angels will sing to you!

What do you think of the VS image?

Do you think it should change to be more inclusive?

In Defense of Rankings, Yoga Pants, and Just Going Naked

Pearl Street Mall
Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall on a Friday night 
GQ Magazine recently ranked Boulder as the 40th worst dressed city in America. On face value that sounded pretty bad until I read 40th meant that 39 other cities were worse. As I clicked to the right, the numbers got lower and I realized we were in good company, but I gasped when I clicked on #5) Manhattan. Wait a second. Manhattan? That fine city embodies the heart of American fashion whose pulse we rely on with a beat that strikes a rhythm for the rest of the 49 states and …okay… I will calm myself. Number #4) was Chicago, #3) Pittsburgh, #2) L.A., and the all-time worst-dressed city, drum roll please, #1) Boston. Boston is like America’s Bad-Taste Storm Sewer: all the worst fashion ideas from across the country flow there, stagnate, and putrefy.

Okay, I admit the Republic of Boulder should own its worst-dressed ranking. For years we have been known for our tie-dyed hippies who have recently traded in their Birkenstocks for Keens. Some Boulderites spend a lot of money to look like they just got done hiking a fourteener.  When I first moved out here from Wisconsin almost 25 years ago, (no city was picked from this state –surprised?), I included a dress code on my party invitations since many guests would show up in the same jeans and t-shirt they had picked up dog poo in earlier in the day. During the weekday, I was shocked to see women running around in workout clothes. Back in Madison we changed into nice outfits after working out. Yes, people from Wisconsin work out too. Slowly I got used to this Western casual dress code and now I can be found in a tennis skirt after a match while picking out a cantaloupe at Whole Foods or in yoga pants after working out while running errands on Pearl Street. My theory is that “Casual Friday” was so popular it spread throughout the week and then across the country like wildfire.

I will acknowledge some of Boulder’s fashion short-comings, but must defend some of the statements made in this article written by Nurit Zunger. “Strolling through this charming university town, you are most likely to find three major categories of clothing: 1) anything made by North Face 2) anything made by Patagonia 3) fanny packs.”

Seriously, fanny packs? They went out of style when all the elderly started wearing them to fast-walk unencumbered around the mall.

The next statement is just ridiculous. The observant eye will also spot unmistakable seasonal trends, such as Adidas for Fall, Crocs for Spring, and Uggs for Summer (we have no explanation for this).

Well that’s because it is also a falsehood. Adidas are worn year round. Crocs are not a trend around here unless you are under the age of 10. Even though adult Boulderites own at least one pair of Crocs since they are headquartered here and they practically give them away at warehouse sales, they would never be caught outside their yard wearing them since they are so 5 years ago. Uggs worn in summer, are you kidding me? First of all I thought this was a men’s fashion magazine. Women do not wear them on the summer sandy beaches like the Australian company intended, but in the winter snow. Did Nurit actually come to Boulder to observe us before writing this article?

He continues: These are often accompanied by Boulder’s year-round go-to accessory, the wheatgrass shot (sometimes paired with an unidentifiable vegan “cookie”). Yet of Boulder’s 100,000 people, about 30,000 are students, some 99.9% are blonde, and all of them in better shape than you.

I will agree that we eat well, but I would say the bike helmet is a more common accessory. 99.9% blonde? I think the number must be down in the 80thpercentile somewhere.

He concludes with: This town is always obnoxiously flaunting its “fittest-place-in-the-country” awards, and you will be hard-pressed to find one person here, including your 85-year-old grandmother, without a six-pack. It is, in fact, a worst-dressed city that looks best naked. So Boulderites, do your fellow citizens a favor: next time you reach for the biking-shorts-and-sneakers as eveningwear combo, just take it all off.

Naked pumpkin run

We are too busy working out to flaunt our “fittest” ranking, but I agree with the second statement and have been obliterated by some of those 85-year-old grandmothers in tennis. It is amazing how they can move on the court. One of them flashed her stomach at me when she overheated, but I wish six-pack abs had graced my view. You won’t catch me taking it all off, but Nurit, please feel welcome to come to Boulder for its Naked Pumpkin Run in October!

 Should your city be on the list? 

 Only in Boulder! 

Second photo, from  http://www.keepboulderweird.org/