SHE SAID: Winter

January 25, 2011

Being in Vermont in the winter is usually not that bad. We don’t get the wind whipping through the buildings off the water like Chicago.  We aren’t isolated for weeks whenever there is a large snowfall (although, one time, about 4 years ago there was a crazy storm and people were skiing to the grocery store or to try and locate a snow plow).  And despite cold temps we are still able to get out and enjoy all the awesomeness right outside the front door even if it means putting on two pairs of long underwear, fleece, wool, down and gore-tex.  I do have an issue with the fact that on the few occasions when the sun is shining and there isn’t a cloud in the sky it always, always coincides with a high of -20, but there’s not really anything I can do about that other than write a strongly worded blog post.  Another time.

Jeremy and I didn’t coordinate before writing, but I’m wearing almost the same thing.  The only difference is my cashmere instead of his flannel.  More expensive, but it’s also softer, and warmer and I don’t feel like I’m making a tribute to the mid-nineties when I’m wearing it.

In that light, I would like to give recognition to some of my other cold weather staples.

My microwave booties.  I have no idea who makes you, and no idea how you came into my life, but when we ran out of oil last month and it was 45 degrees inside the house, I was singing your praises.

The Champion sweatpants that I have claimed as mine.  You know the old ones that are at least ten years old and make you look about 30 pounds heavier.  I live in those in the winter once I’ve come home from work.

Heated seats in my car.  I was all ready to buy a car last summer until my mother pointed out that it lacked heated seats.  Needless to say, I walked on that one.  I chalk up my stupidity on that one to the fact that it was summer and I wasn’t in winter mode, but it’s still a rookie move.  I would like to make heated steering wheels standard on any car with heated seats.  It can’t be that hard to throw a wire in the steering wheel.

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, hot toddies.  There is nothing like holding on to a hot cup of something with both hands when you’re cold.  Preferably while you’re donning some sweet microwave booties and ringing for the butler to bring you more bon bons.

The hot dog roll.  Take a blanket and spread it out on the floor.  Position yourself on one end of the blanket stomach up so it comes up to your armpits (you can do it under your neck, but I prefer being able to use my arms).  Commence rolling.

Hot showers.  I know it’s bad.  I know water consumption should be limited.  But when I’m freezing, I love a hot shower.  Scaldingly hot.  I like to think I make it up to the planet by being super conscientious in other environmentally friendly areas…

Wool socks.  I use ones knit by my grandmother.  You’re probably thinking at this point, wow, she’s hot.  And it’s true.  Between the booties, the sweats and the huge blanket I’m quite a vision in the evenings.

And last, but certainly not least: the man sharing my bed.  Oh how I love your patience with the icicles that are my toes.

SHE SAID: Uniforms

July 15, 2010

I never had to wear a uniform while in school.  For years in grade school I was governed by a dress code requiring collard shirts on the boys, plain shirts with no writing and no jeans, but that was about as serious as it got.  Most of the reason I didn’t apply to a certain boarding school was because, if my memory serves me right, the girls had to wear dresses or skirts one day of the week.  Just to give you a idea of how little I thought of being told what I could and could not wear.

Perhaps I could have used some more structure in the wardrobe department and I might have avoided some catastrophic combinations (all of which seem to have been captured on film and haunt me still).  Instead, I was allowed to roam free in whatever horrendous trend my peers and I celebrated at the time.

I understand the ease of a dress code.  There is less fussing about what to wear, less picking on kids who aren’t wearing the latest and greatest, less of a chance the girl in front of you in biology is displaying her new thong and thus more focusing on the topic at hand, and easier shopping for those who can’t last more than 30 minutes in a store and get tired from trying on clothes.  I’m sure there are more benefits I am forgetting.

And I also understand the flip side: that it’s important for us each to demonstrate our individuality be it through clothing, music or hairstyles, that we don’t all look good in plaid, and that comfort often times carries confidence.

But having worn a uniform of sorts for the last few weeks, I will tell you a few things.  One is that you get bored of your limited clothing options pretty quickly and second, wearing a uniform makes accessorizing ridiculously important.  Watch or no watch becomes a huge decision.  Gold jewelry or silver?  When you have a limited selection of tops and bottoms, it’s the tiny details that take up the rest of my time.  So the theory that a uniform results in less fuss is moot.  The fuss is just being focused elsewhere.  If I were in high school, I would be spending a large amount of time finding ways to make my uniform more demonstrative of my personality.

Add the restriction of one color to a uniform, and the morning wardrobe selection process that I used to adore seem a heck of a lot like ground hog day.  I’m not getting to the point where I’m more comfortable in uniform, although I could see that happening since I don’t really have to think about it and I’m getting used to it, but it makes me wonder if getting comfortable in it means that I am changing, or my perspective on the uniform is changing?

HE SAID: Uniforms

July 15, 2010

I didn't know her as well as I wanted

I read your post, Nifer, and I immediately thought back to my favorite movie quote about uniforms (shocking, I realize, that I my first thought was unoriginal) “Catholic school girls. The uniform’s what does it for me. I wish I had’ve went with more Catholic school girls when I was a kid. As it stands I have no, ‘And then she unzipped her jumper,’ stories.”

It’s from “Chasing Amy,” a terrific Kevin Smith film.  And it actually applies to me, because I don’t have any of those stories either.  Of course, the local Catholic School most likely would’ve rejected my application, given I am one of Abraham’s kin and all.

Truthfully, uniforms and dress codes is a bit of a sore subject for me.  My first experience with them came in the 5th grade.  Up til then at me school we had a very lax code, something along the lines of no shorts after September and before May, and no jeans.  That was it.  Then all of a sudden the new headmaster decided it would be inappopriate to wear logo t-shirts, meaning I could no longer rock my sick-ass Charlotte Hornets T featuring Larry “Grandmama” Johnson on it.  Needless to say I, along with most of my classmates, were incensed.  The reasoning was kind of asanine, he thought we were fighting too much about sports teams, though there were no recorded incidents of a group of 6th graders manhandling a 5th grader wearing New York Yankee clothing (though I submit that would have been just fine).

Anyway, all the 5th graders started a petition and everyone in our class signed it…except one (for the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Benji).  One of my two best friends, who later went on to be 8th grade class president as well as something to do with the student council in high school, would not sign it.  He didn’t want to buck against the establishment.  That crushed me.

Actually, that’s really all I have to say about uniforms.  While I dealt with dress codes until college, they were pretty lax so I never paid much attention to them.  Though I will mention I didn’t wear denim (EVER) from 6th grade til sophomore year of college.  So there you go Benji, thanks alot for always making me associate uniforms and dress codes with your pathetic cowering to ‘the man.’

SHE SAID: Women’s Gear

November 18, 2009

I have a bone to pick with whoever is designing women’s active clothing.  Actually, scratch that.  I have a bone to pick with whoever is designing anything specifically marketed towards women.

Flowers are pretty.  I like flowers.  I like to grow them, smell them, look at them.  I have nothing against flowers, but I don’t need them plastered all over my clothing, skis, bike, etc.  I don’t feel the need to advertise or defend the fact that I’m female while I’m getting some exercise or getting outside with friends.

I don’t even mind the whole, (fill-in-the-blank) like a girl, campaign.   I don’t have the sticker on my car, mind you, but I think it’s cool.  And after years of being told to emulate the guys, I think it’s great that my nieces are growing up proud of what their female influences are capable of doing and what they themselves are capable of doing.

This is not an anti-female rant or an anti-female-specific-gear rant. Although, I do think that a lot of companies realized a way to make an extra buck and started making lines that were geared towards women.  But, I also realize that despite how strong I like to think I am, I know most of my guy friends could pin me if I were to challenge them to a wrestling match.  Thus, I am aware that men and women have different needs apparel and equipment wise.

And while I think the occasional detailing is cool, I’m okay without little flowers, swirls, hearts and whatever else is so incredibly stereo-typical female oriented printed all over my stuff. While I like fur detailing on some of my hoods, I don’t need it on them all.  And, please, designers, we don’t necessarily want all pastel colored clothes either.  I can still ski like a girl without a fur-lined pink coat covered in flowers.  You’re not putting hammers and horns all over the products geared towards men.  So why the double standard?  Is it so hard to refrain?

At this point, I feel like it’s crossing the line from cute to mildly offensive.

HE SAID: Women’s Gear

November 18, 2009

Did something specific happen with clothes recently, Nifer?  I mean, I see you quite often and you never seem to be wearing anything, or for that matter using anything, that comes close to remotely resembling a floral pattern.  Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean others don’t.

Yes, I realize that pretty much our entire blog is based on things we don’t like, and then force those opinions down our reader (maybe by now, it’s ‘readers,’) throat.  But in this case, clearly you have a choice.  And, I commend you on exercizing said choice and not wearing ugly clothes, skiing in tights with a fur coat, or placing lame stickers on your car.

From a male perspective, I think most guys my age are less than impressed when they come across females that constantly wear floral pattern type clothing.  Well, I can only speak for straight males that don’t have a predilection towards the creepy, like younger kids. “That’s the thing about them high school girls…I keep on gettin’ older and they stay the same age” is a line that is quite funny to use in conversation, but thinking about it more deeply…Wooderson probably loved creeping on younger femmes in floral patterns.

I feel like most guys would prefer one of three things when they see a woman dressing – elegance, slutty or casual.  Personally, if I think a girl is hot when she is rocking jeans and a hoodie, that is all I need.  Other guys get off on seeing a woman look good in a good ole fashioned pantsuit (shoulder pads not necessary).  And still some others need to see cleavage to find a woman attractive.  No matter what, floral patterns aren’t doing it for most.

But, at the end of the day…some chicks want to wear flowers.  Otherwise you wouldn’t see those patterns being made.  Just please, stay away from it.  I promise I’ll avoid any future Men’s lines that feature hammers…unless somehow those become a fad and give me a better chance at scoring with the undergrads.

Clearly, I’m more out of my element than Donny here, so I’ll stop now.


April 29, 2009

I have long had a love affair with denim.  Jeans, to be more specific.  In the winter, I wear them every day, which is saying a lot since I live where winter lasts about 8 months.  There is nothing sexier to me than a guy in jeans and a T-shirt if he can pull it off, and I love wearing the same.

When I first went to boarding school, my friend Gusty introduced me to the idea that jeans could have different fits.  We were skiers and had legs on the bigger side – the relaxed fit from the Gap was the jean of choice, thankfully peg rolling was out at this point.

Chip and Pepper, Sevens, Citizens, William Rast, Joe’s Jeans, Earnest Sewn,  Rich and Skinny, J Brand, Paige, Current/Elliot, True Religion … these are works of art to me.  Some of them can even create the illusion that I actually have an ass.  I have been with friends who are ecstatic when they try on a pair of jeans that enhances their body.  It’s a superficial thing, I’ll be the first to admit, but it’s so great to feel like you’re looking good.

The first time I tried on a pair of True Religions, I was in New York with my sister.  I had never felt so hot in anything in my life.  It felt awesome – those jeans were sold.  My sister watched me checking myself out for a few minutes, then pulled the sales associate aside and asked for the “real” mirrors.  There was a small standoff and a few minutes later we were standing in the back office of the store with an accurate mirror.  I still loved the jeans, although they definitely didn’t look nearly as slimming.

The downside?  A pair of Levis or Gap jeans sell for $40 – $60 and  I feel like it’s a steal if I find one of the designer pair for under $200.

Because of this, I operate under the theory of a dear friend’s mom: Price Per Wearing.  If I buy a pair of $200 jeans and I wear them twice, we’re already down to $100 per wearing.  Now just figure if I wear them for 200 days (completely possible given my penchant for denim).  Those jeans only cost $1 every time I wear them.

The theory is a stretch, but I embrace it because it makes me feel less insane.