Category Archives: Humor

How I learned to purge my clothes closet

Now that the fall season is upon us and winter is at our heels, I finally got down to business yesterday cleaning my clothes closets. I do this periodically, in season or not, only because I can’t stand a messy closet. My motto: Clean closet, restful soul. The same goes for what’s under my bed.

But after a morning spent purging, folding, hanging and sorting, I barely made a dent. Oh sure, I dumped the obvious – a stained blouse, shoes that are painful to wear (no matter how many Dr. Scholl pads I put in them), boxy, unfitted jackets and forest green trousers that make my ass look twice its size (what was I thinking?)

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The purple boots get tossed

But I held onto items – a pair of purple tweed boots with stiletto heels and a green quilted suede jacket, for example, things I had not worn in years. I had no compelling reason to keep it or to toss it. I was in organizational limbo.

As a result, I still had a closet full of clothes and shoes and handbags taking up precious space. And to be honest, the excuse for holding on to these things has nothing to do with sentimental attachment  (like when it’s time to let go of your daughters’ baby clothes). Nope. It’s because, you never know when you’ll need a pair of purple ankle boots. Right.  Everybody knows that defense would never hold up in the Stacy and Clinton court of law.

This morning I worked on a client’s SWOT analysis, a method used to evaluate a business project based on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. When I was a kid, my dad called this “The Ben Franklin Method.” Probably, Ben used this method to determine that a volunteer fire department was a good idea or that this country needed a post office.

Indeed, a SWOT analysis can be highly effective in determining whether an organization keeps or nixes a project . So I was thinking: could it work for deciding whether to toss a pair of shoes?  

As it turns out, it can.

Although a SWOT analysis can be complex, delving into such issues as budget constraints, local and global competition, market saturation and user acceptance, I used the basic analysis methodology – the grid – and it looks like this:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

My first item: the purple tweed boots

Strengths

Very sassy looking

Moderately comfortable

Jazzes up a pair of black pants

Could wear with Halloween witch costume

Weaknesses

Style is dated

Could wear with a witch costume

Heels are high and difficult to walk on

Can only wear with black

The zipper gets stuck

Haven’t worn them in three years

Have lost their initial Wow! Those are sassy appeal

Opportunities

Could come back in style

I might dress up as a witch for Halloween and need them

Might be a conversation starter

Could consign them to Linda’s and maybe someone, looking for shoes to wear with a witch costume will buy them. Could make a couple of bucks.

Threats

Could twist an ankle trying to walk in them

Break a nail trying to pull up the zipper

Become a forgotten item taking up space in my closet

Be seen wearing them with a witch’s costume

I tossed the purple tweed boots.

Next item: Green suede jacket.

Strengths

It’s a great “in between” seasons jacket

Stand out color

Suede is soft

Weaknesses

Boxy shape

Stiff

Slightly oversized

Color is odd

Wore it only one season

Haven’t worn it in two years

Opportunities

Could keep it in the back of my car just in case I needed a light weight green suede jacket

All it needs is the right scarf to complete the look

Threats

It’s expensive to clean

Could be mistaken for a Coldwater Creek model while wearing it.

Bye-bye green suede jacket.

So it went on like this for a few more items, but once I got into the groove it wasn’t necessary to actually fill out the grid. I did the rest in my head, which then became a mental exercise in getting a grip. Toss, toss, toss became my motto. I culled 33 items (in under two hours) – four pairs of pants, two cocktail dresses, five skirts, six shirts, six sweaters, a pair of boots, three jackets and six belts.  I didn’t do the analysis for every item, just the ones I had a hard time pitching. And as it turned out, there wasn’t one item that I was on the fence on that I kept – go figure.

Using the SWOT analysis to clean my closet was frankly, brilliant and I highly recommend it to anyone staring into their closets at this moment wondering what to wear tomorrow.  

Now, open my closet and it’s lined with only my favorites, my white T-shirts with bright white collars organized by sleeve length, long dresses and trousers hung just so they skim the closet floor, knee length skirts lounge in a wide palette of color and texture and every pair of shoes has a box. It makes me giddy.

My closet is no longer a dark and mysterious jungle. My closet is neat. My soul is restful. Let’s go shopping.

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Filed under Economy, Fashion, Humor

Why I still wear pantyhose (oh, the horror!)

If there is one fashion rule that has me utterly perplexed it is the current opinion of popular stylists that wearing pantyhose is a big no-no. 

Uh, oh. 

I recently gave advice on wearing pantyhose to a friend of mine that obviously dates me. Big time. 

Sue, who lives in Las Vegas and is my age, emailed me the other day with this Fashion Question: 

“I have an evening wedding to go to in Massachusetts in October. Question is: what do you wear on your legs? I haven’t worn “stockings” in years, tights seem too heavy, boots don’t seem dressy enough?” 

Here was my answer:

 “I’d wear stockings, unless of course the shoes are open toe. But then again, I probably wouldn’t wear an open toe in October because then I wouldn’t know what to do about the stockings.  Jobst ultrasheer 20-30 pantyhose

“The only time I WOULDN’T wear stockings to a formal occasion is if it were a warm weather affair or if I was wearing a floor length dress with open toes. Now, having said that, you will most likely see young girls wearing dresses with open toes and NO stockings. It could be the dead of winter and I’ve seen girls go bare legged. 

“So, clearly the rules have changed dramatically on the stockings thing and if you chose not to wear stockings it would be perfectly acceptable, of course. Still, I prefer to wear stockings in the cooler months for more sensible reasons: 1. I don’t like the way my legs look without them when I’m wearing a cocktail dress and 2. because it’s probably not warm enough to go outside without something on my legs. 

“When I do wear stockings, they are most often nude. I rarely do shades anymore, not even black with a black cocktail dress. So something that looks bare, but you still have something on your legs to get a smoother look is what I’d recommend.” 

But after giving Sue what I thought was sound advice about this pantyhose conundrum, I happened upon a couple of fashion how-to books that mentioned several times that wearing pantyhose is dreadfully out of date. Wearing them makes you look “like an old lady.” Bare legs give us “over 40” that “young and hip” look. Oh, really? 

Obviously, they’ve never seen my bare legs. 

Fashion guru (and a designer for a line of Target brand fashions) Isaac Mizrahi in his book “How to Find Your Style” says he is adamant about NO PANTYHOSE (especially nude) EVER! While admittedly my confidence in giving sound pantyhose advice started to wan, I thought, OK, one man’s opinion. 

But then I read “How Not to Look Old” by Charla Krupp. Here’s what she says about wearing pantyhose: 

“My biggest legwear challenge is what to do when it’s freezing out and I’m all dressed up. I do try to go bare legged for evening whenever possible, but when heading out the door in subfreezing temperatures, bare legs simply won’t work. And since the only thing worse than wearing the wrong stockings is revealing frozen, goose-bumpy legs, it’s important to find a chic solution.   If you’re wearing a light-colored dress, try nude fishnet stocking (instead of nude sheer stockings). With a black dress, you can get away with very sheer black stocking or black fishnets. And if you dare, at least when wearing a short skirt or dress for evening, consider Isaac Mizrahi’s option: opaque black tights with peep-to pumps.” 

So, I’m thinking this woman is as confused about formal leg wear in the winter as anybody. But NO NUDE and wear FISHNETS OR TIGHTS?? They’re kidding, right? I get that hair that doesn’t move and “mom jeans” and ill-fitting bras make you look old. But nude pantyhose? I’m stumped. 

Although I’m sure this says VOLUMES about how shallow I am, the idea of pantyhose dating me without understanding why was driving me insane. And so my OCD kicked in. I went into my drawer and pulled out a pair of nude stockings and a pair of black tights. (Sorry, I don’t own, will NEVER own, a pair of fishnets) and tried them on with a couple of cocktail dresses. One dress was solid black, the other a black print, and one a light bronze with colored embroidery. First, the nude. The only way you could tell if I had on nude stockings was 1. by looking really close, and 2. that my legs looked smoother. Second, the black tights. 1. I looked like an Italian widow, and 2. my ankles looked thick with the pretty, sexy, pumps.   

Isaac and Charla you are nuts. Further, you’re not taking into consideration what standing on a pair of legs for 40 or 50 years and having babies does to our legs. And this other idea of leg spray? I don’t think so. For the life of me, I cannot see the problem with nude stockings in the colder months. Especially, since most of us are whiter than white in the fall and winter. If I went bare legged to a formal affair, I would look dreadful. So, I’ve decided that this is fashion advice I will not pay attention to. 

But it STILL begs the question: Why do nude pantyhose make you look “old?” If someone out there has a compelling argument, please let me know.  None of us wants Sue to show up at this wedding looking fashionably old, least of all Sue. 

So, in the meantime, I’ve altered my advice a bit. If you’re over 40 and you’ve got GREAT legs, go for it. Go bare legged. But if not, for goodness sake wear pantyhose.

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Filed under Aging, Fashion, Humor

Smarties outrage just dumb

imagesMy cousin, Judy, forwarded this Wall St. Journal article to me recently, with the  comment that even she’d pass on worrying about this one. Apparently, some kids can blow “smoke” from Smarties candies.  Parents and teachers are outraged and fearful that this trend will make smoking look cool.  I don’t know. But if I were 10, I’d think the kid that could blow Smartie smoke out of his nose would be more funny than cool. The fact that the smoking Smarties article took itself seriously is a sad commentary on our society of worry-addicted parents and educators who seem to have nothing better to do, or at best are just avoiding real issues. News flash: Kids who want to look cool “smoking” will do it with a real cigarette; probably from a pack they stole out of your purse.

When they start snorting crushed Smarties, then I’ll raise an eyebrow.

On the other hand, I don’t think the You Tube videos showing how to smoke Smarties are particularly funny, and ok, maybe the kids are a bit weird, but I don’t think they’re dangerous. These kids might end up in jail, but I don’t think it’s because they’ve smoked Smarties.

 The Girls Club (where I took swim lessons every Friday until I was in high school) had a candy counter stocked with penny candy. With a nickel, you could get FIVE packs of Smarties. I would unwrap them, holding them together with my thumb and index finger and run the line under the water spout. Then I’d suck on the saturated Smarties until they dissolved into my mouth. Adults didn’t pay attention to kids back then, but if they had, would they have seen this as a sign of a dangerous, drug-like trend? Perhaps. But nobody did care. We must have had other things to worry about in the early 70s. 

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Filed under Education, Humor, Parenting

Fashion icon Barbie turns 50 today, touts tatoo

Barbie turns 50 today. What a role model she has been. She has held up magnificently well. She continues to challenge herself by mastering different professions. She has kept her style up to date and makes cutting edge fashions work for her. And, regardless of the public outrage, I think she’s old enough to get a tattoo and put it anywhere she wants. With skin that doesn’t age, why not?

Barbie, fabulous at 50

Barbie, fabulous at 50

 

For most girls growing up in the 60s, having a Barbie doll was a rite of passage. My sister Maryann, who is five years older than me, was the first one to get a Barbie, the one with coifed blond hair. Maryann also had Midge, who had red hair and freckles. On a good day, my sister would let me play with her, but Midge was no substitute for Barbie. Everyone knew Midge was the ugly one.  

My Barbie was the first bendable Barbie and she came packaged with a neon orange bathing suit. It was not a good look for her. I changed her into a smashing white lace two piece and accessorized with matching wrap, straw hat, beach bag, and high-heeled sandals.

The way I see it, all that controversy about Barbie’s freakishly proportioned body diminishing my worth as a female is just stupid. Everybody knows that Barbie HAD to be built that way otherwise the clothes just wouldn’t have hung right.

I may not have been a particularly astute kid, but I sure as hell knew my body was never meant to look like Barbie’s. She was plastic for heaven’s sake. She had no nipples or body hair or, um, genitalia. With all the other women in my life with real, soft, buxom, warm bodies, why would I ever think that SHE was what I was suppose to look like?

I yearned for her wardrobe, not her boobs.

Barbie was, and always will be, a fashion icon. Playing with her was about dressing up and experimenting with style. Barbie had mini-skirts and maxi-skirts, black cocktail dresses, fur-trimmed ski parkas, go-go boots and fabulous handbags.  She always had the latest in fashion and for a kid like me who grew up with three pairs of shoes: brown school shoes, sneakers and black patent leather, and hand-me- down clothes that never fit properly and were horribly out of style, my Barbie doll case was a plastic box full of fashion possibilities.

If we’re going to blame Barbie for something, blame her for the 40 pairs of shoes in my closet, my obsession with wood hangers, a compulsive collection of handbags and scarves, and for the fact that I’m willing to spend an insane amount of time finding the perfect outfit for an important occasion.

So here’s to Barbie and a half-century of teaching girls that, yes, a red velvet clutch with tiny gloves tucked inside can be the ultimate prize. And here’s to all the women who grew up loving Barbie – and their own beautiful bodies. 

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Filed under Humor, Parenting

A little more honesty (and humor) as we age, please

I’m a loyal reader of More magazine, it “celebrates” my age. Over 40. In terms of women’s magazines, I relate to it more than say Glamour or Marie Claire and certainly more than Cosmopolitan. I don’t read Family Circle or Woman’s Day, although I used to. The fact is I just don’t need another recipe for boneless breast of chicken. imageaspxSo while I prefer More than any other, I admit, I’m getting weary of the “How Great Life is over 40 Testimonials.” I know. I know. Embrace your age. Love the skin you’re in. Yeah. Whatever. Here’s what would be fresh.  Interview someone over 40 who admits to having to pop a couple of Advil with her morning coffee before she can start the day. Honestly. I want to hear a woman over 40 candidly talk about hemorrhoids and how she found a really good cream that gets rid of that awful itch.  I want to hear a woman over 40 talk to me about thinning eyebrows. I want someone to admit the reason they don’t have sex more is because they’re too damn tired to undress – and then get dressed again, not because they’ve lost their will.

I don’t feel inferior reading how some women over 40 feel more confident because I know they’re mostly full of shit. “I love being 50.” Yeah, right. You’re now ok with having stomach fat and gray hair and having to spend a fortune to replace all the metal fillings in your mouth because some 30-year-old dentist told you they’re getting old and will crack at anytime.

Look, I am more comfortable with myself than I was at 25. I know myself better. I understand the world better. I’ve traveled. I have more money. I have better friends and a great marriage. I raised two terrific daughters.  And, I don’t give a rat’s ass about so many of the little things that I used to when I was younger. But I do wish I had the more resilient body and skin I had in my 20s, heck even my 30s. I wish I were still a fearless skier. I’m not so afraid of falling, but that I won’t be able to get myself back up again. I wish I didn’t have to put on glasses to read the directions on the back of the brownie mix box. I wish I could experience the joy of being a young mother again. I wish I didn’t have to work so hard to lose weight and stay fit. I wish I didn’t have dreams about my teeth falling out.

The idea behind More is to make us feel good about ourselves. I know that. And I do believe plenty of women are OK with being 50. After all, embracing it is healthy, physically and mentally. There is a lot of really good life to be had at 40, 50, 60 and beyond.  But I just hope that as we age, we can be more honest with each other and stop pretending that we’re 100% OK with our bodies aging. I’d be so much more OK with turning 50 if I new it meant more honesty and humor and a truly effective hemorrhoid cream. 

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Filed under Careers, Humor, Parenting

Why no sassy boots, Michelle?

Without question, watching Barack Obama be sworn in as our 44th President of the United States was an experience I will never forget. We spent the day at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum in Boston (aka Dorchester for you locals) and I can’t think of a better place to spend it. It had much of the same excitement and jubilation of being in Washington, D.C. but without the cold. His speech was rousing, poignant and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything – including a dumb ass company meeting.

This outfit so could have used a pair of sassy boots.

Her outfit so could have used a pair of sassy boots.

 

 

But really, can we talk about something more important than this historic peaceful transfer of power? The First Lady’s outfit. I admit, I’m disappointed. After all, she’s a classy woman with a tall lean body. She had SO many choices. So what was with her outfit? The color, ick. What color was that? Gold with a touch of Lime? The style? It looked like a mother-of-the-bride outfit, didn’t it? Is she so tired of people comparing her fashion sense to Jackie Kennedy that she wants us to be afraid to look? And what was that thing at the neckline? Metal? You don’t wear metal outside in the middle of January, duh! You’d think being from Chicago she’d know that. Perhaps she wasn’t cold. That would explain why she walked around with her jacket open. I wanted to scream, “Button up your coat, Michelle, for Heaven’s sake! It’s 20 degrees out there! And where’s your hat.” I’m surprised her mother let her go out like that. Flat pumps? Please. I would have forgiven the choice of outfit had she worn a pair of  sassy boots, tall black leather. *sigh* Such a wasted opportunity to look totally smashing. 

A white wool mid-length coat with faux fur collar in soft brown would have been my choice. Oh, and sassy boots. Can’t wait to see what she’s wearing tonight.

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Filed under Humor, Politics

Where do I begin?

I had this idea at 3 a.m. this morning that I would start a blog and chronicle my job search. This thought kept me up half the night. I have nothing else to think about now that I have no job. 

One of the few benefits of not having a job that requires I leave the house at 8 a.m. is that I get to watch morning TV, such as Good Morning America in its entirety.  This means I don’t miss the good stuff   like interviews with a stoned Meg Ryan and stories about outdoorsmen who chew their arms off to stay alive and reports from London about Madonna’s nasty divorce. You know, the real news. 

Today, though, hot cup of tea in hand and Daisy (my dog) curled up beside me, I hunker down for two hours of GMA. An hour in I realize staying at home is not all I had hoped it would be. The “Disney Kids” are dropping off coats for that special coat drive GMA sponsors with Burlington Coat Factory. When I see celebrities holding their soon-to-be cast-off coats I think Diane Sawyer should scream out questions like  they do at the Academy Awards. “Nicole? Who are you wearing? Who are you throwing in the box? Did you get tired of it or outgrow it? How long did it take you to decide which one to give. Is it actually your own coat or something your agent recently picked up for you at Macy’s?” I think these are questions GMA viewers want to know. But they never get asked.  I start to flip channels and land on some evangelical Christian station. I know it’s one of those programs because the woman preaching has big hair and a southern accent and most of the audience is overweight.  I am intrigued by the tweed pant suit she is wearing and think, hmm,  QVC?  It would make a nice interview suit. I hang in there. “It’s time to get real about who we are,” she says. This is a sign. I will make this blog real.

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