Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shopping for Nail Polish and Lipstick, 1959

Today is my mother Georgia's birthday. I first realized the time necessary to take care of one's glamour needs by watching my mother pick out matching lipstick and nail polish. The year was 1959 and we had just moved to Arecibo, Puerto Rico, for my father's paper industry job. No doubt my mother enjoyed shopping for a familiar product in that exotic place. We were at a "farmacia" on the northwest corner of the main square in Arecibo. The wooden doors were rolled back so that there were just two walls for displays and the rest were open to the street and the fresh ocean breeze. The glass and dark wood cabinets were well-stocked. My younger sister Georgann was with us and she probably had a toy (while walking in the town in those days my sister would hang on to my mother's "wrinkled" hem). I remember that day so well: the time passing, the waiting, the wondering -- which color(s) would she pick? It wasn't pink and it wasn't orange. It was definitely red. She tells me now that she bought Max Factor products in those days. She also used mascara and eyebrow pencil. Her auburn hair was thick and her face full of freckles. She has a great big smile, is a gregarious and funny person. Her character and natural beauty shine through. In those days she had a fresh, crisp look to match the emerging, happy time. She wore beautiful sun dresses with spaghetti straps and was right in style with her hair done in a French twist. I tried to copy her with a bun on the top of my head. So, there in that island paradise, I learned how a woman puts together a look with time and deliberation. Such is the fun of being a girl.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Women Really Wear... Shoulders On

Despite the millions put into the high gloss fashion magazines, we see little of what we want or can afford in these advertising vehicles. Sure, we enjoy watching "Project Runway" and the highs and lows of the awards season, but do we really want a dress with one shoulder exposed? Michael Kors has just such an offering, the One-Shoulder Zip Dress, $1395, in his Spring 2010 collection on his website. The baby blue color is delightful, the fabric is a soft wool and the dress is made in Italy. It sports one short sleeve. As Ready-to-Wear, it is unreasonable to think that it can be worn to an office job or to a professional meeting. After a cold winter, no one can seriously entertain walking around with an exposed shoulder. Party dresses and evening gowns excepted, this well-constructed street dress is strictly for show. Let's put a little realism into what women can and do wear in the business world. Put that other short sleeve on and we're back in 1965 with a beautiful sheath with exquisite new lines ...