Sunday, May 29, 2011

What to Wear, What Not to Wear, Part II

I love the TLC television show What Not to Wear. If you’ve never watched this show, host Stacy London and Clinton Kelly single out women (I have seen one show with a man) who dress terribly. In most cases it’s because the women have self-esteem issues related to their body (and who doesn’t?). Of course, sometimes these women are just clueless about fashion. What I like about Stacy and Clinton is that, while they use humor to point out what these women are wear is hideous, they are really sensitive to the issues these women have. Their advise: learn how to dress based on the body you have. It doesn’t matter if you have a big butt, flat chest, huge thighs or dangling underarms, there are clothes out there that can make you look better and make you feel better about yourself.

I have a quote from Clinton Kelly taped to my full length mirror (side note: everyone woman should look in a full length mirror before she leaves the house) that says “What you wears tells the world how you want to be treated.” I totally believe that. If you dress classy people will treat you different then if you dress like a slob. That doesn’t mean you can’t run to the supermarket in sweats but I wouldn’t recommend doing it often. Just take a little bit of time to make yourself look good.

Now I will admit I am no fashionista. I don’t read fashion magazines or shop in trendy stores (I don’t have the budget for that). But I, like everyone else, have my own sense of style. It’s just that some people’s sense of style is…well, terrible. And I think a lot of it is common sense. Now, of course, what you wear in the privacy of your home is totally up to you but when you go out in public use common sense. So here are my common sense style tips:

1. If you have boobies, wear a bra (this is not a given as I know women who don’t). Believe me, people can totally tell if you’re not wearing a bra (and unless you’re a college girl on spring break in Florida, it’s not a sexy look). Having those boobies hang down to nearly your belly button is a dead give-a-way. It’s not an attractive look. And even if you don’t have boobies, unless you have on a thick sweater, wear a bra. Nobody wants to see nipples either.

2. Do not wear Crocs out in public. I know Crocs are supposed to be very comfortable but these are shoes made entirely of rubber and were never meant to be worn in public. They were meant to be worn in your backyard garden. These are the least attractive piece of footwear in the history of footwear.

3. After a certain age, certain pieces of clothing should not be worn. That age may vary but many of restrictions happen around the time you turn 30. I don’t care how great a body you have, a woman in her fifties should NOT be wearing short-shorts. And no woman past the age of 30 should wear sweat pants/work-out pants with words across the ass (do you really want to draw attention to your ass by having the word “juicy” of “sassy” on it?). And unless you work on a farm, nobody over the age of 12 should wear overalls.

4. Wear clothes that fit properly. This doesn’t mean wear clothes that are two sizes too big, but nobody wants to see blubber hanging over a pair of low ride jeans or butt cracks (this is NEVER in style). The biggest culprit I see in this area is jeans. If you are skinny and can wear skinny jeans that fit properly, kudos to you. But if you aren’t skinny, wear jeans that fit. And wear ones that are fashionable and age appropriate. Just because you’re a Mom doesn’t mean you have to wear Mom jeans.

5. When shopping, try clothes on. Something that looks great on the hanger may not look great on you, and vice versa. Try something that might be out of your comfort zone or style, you may be surprised. And taking a note from Stacy and Clinton, be realistic about your size. You aren’t going to look good in something that you know is two sizes too small before you even get to a dressing room.

6. Bath. If you haven’t showered in two days and your hair is greasy, nobody is going to notice that you are dressed nicely. They are going to notice the greasy hair and that is not fashionable. Which leads me to...

7. Don’t go overboard with the perfume or cologne. This is a big pet peeve of mine. I hate getting on the elevator alone but can smell what the person who just got off (someone I haven’t even seen) smells like. Also, if someone is walking 10 feet behind you and starts to cough, you’re got too much perfume or cologne on.

Okay, so I kind of got off the topic of fashion and into the realm of personal hygiene but kind of go together. And you may think my advice is crap but there it is. But I do think that clothes can help you feel better about yourself. You just have to know what looks good on your body. It may take some effort but I think it’s probably worth it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What to Wear, What Not to Wear, Part I

I recently moved into a new office with a new company. When we had an orientation I asked about the dress code. I have always worked in an office and the dress code is usually business casual. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what that is so here is what I think isn’t business casual: it’s not business attire that consists of suits but it’s also probably not what you wear on the weeks (jeans, t-shirts, sweats, shorts, sandals, tennis shoes, etc.). Monday through Thursday I’ve always had to wear nice clothes to my place of business and Friday was a more casual day. I didn’t get to wear sweats but I did get to wear nice jeans and a nice shirt (no t-shirts and no sandals).

So at my new place of employment I was told one thing but saw something else. I understanding that the industry I work in is pretty laid back. And while I wouldn’t mind going to work and not caring what I wear, that isn’t real life. If you work in an office you should dress appropriately. So I was told that the dress code (which isn’t really official) is business casual but that sometimes people who are going out in the field wear jeans and some days jeans are acceptable. The guy who sits next to me is a Manager and does no field work. He’s worn jeans almost every day. And the support staff wears jeans as well most of the time. The group that came over with me (all men, except for me) dress nicer than most of the men in this office.

Here is my opinion about how to dress in a work environment (and it’s just my opinion), it depends on the work environment. If you work in an office you should dress appropriately. In the building I used to work in I saw people on a regular basis come into the building wearing rubber flip flops, torn jeans, tight t-shirts and shorts. There was a call center in the building but still, I thought that was a little too casual (just my opinion).

And unless you are applying for a job flipping burgers at McDonalds, you should always go to a job interview in business attire (yes, that means a suit and a tie for men). Even if the office environment is laid back, you should be dressed nicely for the interview (no exceptions). Once you get the job you can start dressing like everyone else.

I’ve had men come into the office dressed in jeans and a golf shirt for an interview. In my opinion, that’s a strike against you. Even if I’m going to a job interview and have to change in my car, which I have done (my current employer might be suspicious if I should up to work in a suit), that’s what I do.

Buck up and dress appropriately… and come back for Part II.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Are You an Idiot Savant?

Today on the radio they were talking to people who have what they called idiot savant talents, something you are really, really good at but has no value at all. My Sister and I call my Mother an Idiot Food Savant (those who know her know what I mean). While she gave birth to both my Sister and myself, she can’t remember what year we were born (she tends to make us a year older than we really are, not cool), but she can remember everything she ate on a road trip to California in 1983. Go figure.

I guess my idiot savant skill is Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a game some college kids in the 1990s came up with based on the theory of Six Degrees of Separation which is the idea that everyone is six steps away from any other person on Earth (i.e. a friend of a friend). Because Kevin Bacon has been in so many movies (he’s 52 years old and has been in about 70 movies) the purpose of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is that any actor can be linked to Kevin Bacon by less than six movies.

I’m really good at this game (and unless they make this into a game show, it has no real value to me) and I’ll give two secrets to being good at this game. #1 – you don’t have to see a lot of movies, you just have to know who was in them. #2 – you only have to know a few of the really well know movies Kevin Bacon was in with high profile actors. I’ll give you some examples using the most recent Oscar winners and I promise you I am NOT cheating by using Google or IMBb.

Colin Firth (Best Actor for A King’s Speech)

Colin Firth was in Bridget Jones’s Diary with Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger was in Case 39 with Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper was in Valentine’s Day with Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon

Natalie Portman (Best Actress or Black Swan)

Natalie Portman was in Where the Heart is with Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing was in Strange Magic with Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman was in Days of Thunder/Far Away with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise was in a Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon

Melissa Leo & Christian Bale (Supporting role in The Fighter)

Melissa Leo & Christian Bale were in The Fighter with Amy Adams
Amy Adams was in Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep was in The River Wild with Kevin Bacon

It’s a little bit harder with new, younger actors who have had many breakout roles, obscure actors who only done really small roles, or classic movie actors like Elizabeth Taylor. Movies with great ensemble casts also really helps, like with any of the three major actors in the Harry Potter movies:

Daniel Radcliff/Emma Watson/Rupert Grint were in all the Harry Potter movie with Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman was in Sense and Sensibility with Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant was in Notting Hill with Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon

Or how about the Twilight actors:

Robert Patterson was in Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon was in Pleasantville with Joan Allen
Joan Allen was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon

Kristen Stewart was in Twilight New Moon with Dakota Fanning
Dakota Fanning was in War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon

And just for good measure:

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was in The Flintstones with Elizabeth Perkins
Elizabeth Perkins was in Big with Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon

Give me a name and I’ll like them to Kevin Bacon is six or less steps!