Archive for the ‘Costume and Self Adornment’ Category

Having received my magical vaccinations, I have now begun to cautiously dip a toe into the exciting activities available to a lady of courage and high heart.
There was a story in the paper about such experiences: “I sat inside a restaurant. Incredible. I nearly wept when they brought me the menu.” YES! These once quotidien moments are now brilliant ceremonies to be noted in our diaries!
Dear friends, I went SHOE SHOPPING!

This humble pursuit used to be a standard part of my life. “I’m in the mood for SHOES,” I would warble as I sped to the shoe shop, “Long as I have this money–funny but with this money, I’m in the mood for shoes!”
For the past year I have not entered a shoe shop.
Nor any other kind of shop, excepting the grocery store and the hardware store.
Well, OK–and the liquor store.
So on Saturday I ventured into DSW. Everyone was masked–we are decent folk here in Maryland–but otherwise, it seemed pretty much the same as ever.
Except for one MAJOR change: serried ranks of sport shoes now held sway in the area once dedicated to deliriously modish confections–those adorable items with their ridiculous 5 inch heels, precious sparkles, and cunning ornamentation.

As I had come for sport shoes, I could not fault DSW, but in my heart I mourned the exile of those fabulous creatures. Which I used to try on but never bought. Just like all the other ladies, I guess.

I tried on a selection of sensible shoes, but none exactly worked, so I went home empty handed. But very pleased with having spent a pleasant half hour in the shoe shop, just as I used to.

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I am dutifully watching the weekly Mandalorian installments and while not completely blown away, am at least mildly entertained. And how I honor the actor who can spend so many hours inside that ghastly helmet! A half hour in my paper mask at the grocery store is as long as I can bear. Paper! The guy’s a hero.
So anyway, we are off looking for Jedi, and arrive on some planet ruled by an Evil Magistrate. A very BAD person, who tries to bribe the Mandalorian into killing the Lady Jedi who haunts the foggy groves about the fort.
However, he of course does no such thing, instead befriending her.
She is BEAMING WITH POWER! She has not one but TWO lightsabers!
But all I could think of was MY OH MY, WHAT A HEADDRESS on that girl! Zebra striped ponytails flowing down each shoulder with two perky ears up top, giving her something of a raccoon vibe, reinforced by her white stripy face paint. WHOA!
Intense research revealed that these are horns, not ponytails. They are called Montrals, and are a distinguishing feature of the Togrutas, of whom this lady is a proud member. But she will not train little baby Yoda–whose NAME, by the way, she tells us is Grogu–but instead advises that he be taken to a Temple of Power somewhere far away and placed on a High Peak (in a loving way, of course). It’s a sort of Jedi communication thing.
We have three more episodes to work this out. Should be exciting!

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The worthy WSJ tells me that stylish men all over the world are spurning their razors and GROWING BEARDS. I have noticed hairier aspects on faces about me, but didn’t realize it was a trend. Gillette is losing money! In their efforts to maintain the look, fashion conscious males are entering territory hitherto devoted to the ladies: numerous sightings of large guys covered with hair in make up stores! These customers may not know the difference between mascara and lip gloss, or the delicate gradations of face glow shades–but they need a way to cover up embarrassing gaps in the facial shrubbery. Makeup has been covering up such little flaws for centuries, if perhaps more in the eyebrow and eyelash department. Enters now the bearding augmentation product!

I am always charmed to see that guys are just as vain and silly as ladies.

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This morning my cat Bertie was annoying me by insisting on vigorously performing his toilette–and as he likes to place himself right against my side, the motion is disturbing. ‘STOP IT,’ I howled–more than once.
Then, it occurred to me to consult the clock.
HEAVENS! It was a half hour past my time to rise! Somehow my clock had failed to sound the alarm! That excellent cat was simply doing his duty by his beloved mistress, and if at the same time he managed to complete his morning ablutions, who can blame him? Well I did, of course.

Anyway, I leaped out of bed and cleaned and dressed and breakfasted and sprinted out the door–into a simply lovely morning. But I had foolishly decided to wear my New Shoes, and at each step was as if I was treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives, as the Little Mermaid noted after trading in her tail for feet.

I had no handsome prince to please, so changed into other shoes the minute I reached the office. My old shoes are a tad antique, and moreover do not feature the Velocity Memory Foam that the new ones do–but neither do they torment me at every step.
NOT a great way to start the week, but I must admit that the weather at least is perfect–bright, breezy, and COOL. That is to say, it is a genteel 72 degrees outside.
It has been so horribly hellishly hot lately that this respite feels quite heavenly.
It will change soon–cloud over, rain, soar up to the 80’s. But meanwhile, we have been given the gift of a lovely day or two. So happy end of August, everyone! September awaits us!

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As I readied myself for ballet class in the dressing room yesterday, I noted the pretty but low heeled shoes of another lady as she came in, and remarked that her usual footwear had heels of astonishing height, which I had always admired. She responded that even she had to rest her feet from time to time, and told me about her treasure house of shoes, each tenderly wrapped and stored in a fine box, stacked in rows in her closet. She is a robust creature–Russian, I think, though I can’t remember why–and dresses in a style that accentuates her charms. This learned exposition on shoes was the longest speech I have ever heard from her. I was pleased to hear that women continue to love their shoes, as I used to when I was young.

After the class–excellent as always–there was another discussion in the dressing room, but this time, about the care of cat litter boxes. I shared the gasper about washing out the litter box once a month–which I have never done, and neither had any of the other ladies. There should be one more cat box than there are cats in the house (2 cats=>3 boxes), said another lady. Hmm. But then another lady was floored by my mentioning the clumping litter that absorbs cat peepee. WHAT? She had never heard of such a thing. She used –uh, some kind of Magic Crystal litter, and the pee sits on the bottom of the box. The lady with the many cat boxes said she uses a DIFFERENT KIND OF LITTER IN EACH BOX. Good lord, I thought, such bounty for her cats. We didn’t even BEGIN to talk about cat food–or at least, I finished dressing and bade them goodbye. Perhaps they continued onto cat food and even cat toys after my departure.

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My little drugstore vial of face paint finally sputtered its last bit of magic juice, and so off I went to replenish my store. However, I simply could not manage to match the colors on sale with the color of my skin, and I thought–what about all those bedizened harpies lurking at the makeup counters in department stores? Surely one of them could solve the problem.
Prudently first checking online to ascertain which brand was the thriftiest (=Clinique) I made my way to Lord and Taylor’s, the Old Lady Store in my neighborhood. The make up counters are the first thing you see upon opening the doors to that place, and I found one of the harpies loitering about. I boldly begged her assistance in my quest, indicating that Clinique was my choice.
Ah, that was not her department! She dealt in Chanel, wouldn’t I like a little Chanel? At, quite literally, THREE TIMES THE PRICE.
Actually no, I wouldn’t.
So she sighed and started rifling through the Clinique samples, opened a bottle and poured a vast splodge into her hand, grabbed a paintbrush and daubed it on my face. I was a little taken aback–my usual technique is to dab a bit of the stuff on with my fingertips–but gamely said I’d take it.
As we were engaging in this business, a customer came up asking for some particular Chanel moistening agent. My harpy sadly replied that it was Out of Stock. OH NO, said the lady–when would it come in? Maybe Wednesday was the response. The lady was in despair. I thought, what, Amazon doesn’t carry Chanel? But politely kept my mouth shut.
Then it was time to purchase my paint–and lordie lordie, it took forever, she just couldn’t find it– well, finally she found something almost but not quite the same color.
WHATever, close enough.
My patience in department stores is brief, very very brief.
So I took the precious little bag and went home, thinking: I will buy online next time.
Now that I know the color.
Or at least, close enough to the color.

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I know we are all glad that Pakistan released Wing Commander Abhinandan back to his cheering countrymen! With perhaps a few bruises—but, alive and free.

Particularly since war is thereby averted. AND the meeting my office has planned in Islamabad at the end of the month doesn’t have to be cancelled. NOTE: our last Pakistan meeting was cancelled when hordes of screaming men shut down the country in their ardent desire to have one of their countrywomen murdered for drinking from the wrong cup.
THIS time, reason prevailed.
But the MAIN take away from this affair is of course–Abhinandan’s absolutely fabulous facial hair fashion! The internet is AGOG, and there is non stop discussion of it: “It heavily resembles the gunslinger, but also has some characteristics of the horseshoe, the Hungarian, and the wild west moustache.”

All over India, men are attempting to copy the bold commander’s style. And even beyond India.
Men, such cute!

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I saw an amusing article about the Pitti Peacocks–men attending the menswear show in Florence, whose sense of style is flamboyant and will not be denied. These gentlemen will never say no to whatever stupendous vision can be encompassed by a tailor and a heart that beats high.

Let them strut! There is something heartwarming about the lads and their efforts.

Not that ANYTHING can rival our ancestors in this department, for heavens sake.

Oh my, those KILLING looks over the shoulder…through those tumbling curls. Guys, you are IRRESISTIBLE.

Still, let us not disdain today’s dandies. And do check out this charming little documentary (includes a really fine Attenborough imitation).

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1. Parents Beware!

Thieves and wicked people are stealing your little children’s SS numbers and using them to set up fraudulent credit card accounts and otherwise commit mayhem. Your darlings will only learn about this when they ask for their first loan and the bank manager calls the police. What can you do? Nothing much, aside from being vigilant. Story here.

2. Miles Gloriosus!
There are ghastly conflicts all over the world creating misery for millions of people.
But shamefully, I keep noting the pictures of amazingly handsome young men.

Monsters, I make no doubt. But, sort of CUTE monsters. Military garb, deeply practical of course,
but also, one can’t help but admit, dangerously alluring.

Note that though the LandsNecht on the right may look like a dainty morsel, he and his chums were as deadly a force as any in our time, see this.
And also, this, because, irresistible.

3. Miles Pellis
All South Korean men spend a mandatory 2 years serving in the army, and during that rigorous time they learn –that daily skin care is very important! Toners, face masks, and moisturizers are de rigeur for the troops, and after their service they continue this regime. Older soldiers are slightly appalled, but naturally the young men ignore this.

4. Wearing the Hotel Carpet
There are MANY people who are obsessed with carpet patterns in hotels, airports and office buildings–going so far as to make costumes from especially charming samples and wearing them to comic book/fantasy conventions. The Dragon Con in Atlanta is going on as we speak, and members of the Cult of Marriott Carpet will march in the parade proudly wearing their carpet ensembles.

5. It’s September!
We made it through the summer!

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There was an article in the Journal this weekend, about how much men choose to pay for their haircuts. I was entertained–the Journal employs fine writers–and as always, charmed to be reminded that men are as vain as women. We are such frail creatures, and there is something so lovable in our anxious concern with appearances, with how other people perceive us.
Some men pay $12, some pay $100–said one, “I pay $25, but I tip $10. I’m willing to tip a barber more because they have life-changing power.”
Once upon a time, I was in Brooklyn, and a friend of my daughter’s had arrived from Brussels to join her and other friends for an occasion. He was wearing a knit cap. Why?
He is an elegant man, always looking just so. He had gone to a fashionable salon in Brussels right before his departure, and he described the astonishing chic of this hairdresser, so beautiful, so modish. HOWEVER, the modish hands were not entirely STEADY, and as time went by, the subject of the extremely modish cut began to have doubts. An HOUR passed by. Eventually, the modiste declared that he was done, a TRIUMPH of modern hair art had been achieved. The top of the coiffure tilted slightly, so that had, say, a tea cup been placed on the summit, it would have slid to the floor. Many people are LOVING this look! Not so my daughter’s friend, hence the knit cap. As we chatted in the bar, he disappeared to command the talent in a local barber shop.

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